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political interests, but for the support and aggran- | it always their business, and often their publick dizement of the two leading states which headed profession, to destroy all traces of ancient estabthe aristocratick and democratick factions. For, lishments, and to form a new commonwealth as in latter times, the king of Spain was at the head in each country, upon the basis of the French of a catholick, and the king of Sweden of a pro- Rights of Men. On the principle of these testant, interest, (France, though catholick, acting rights, they mean to institute in every country, subordinately to the latter,) in the like manner the and, as it were, the germ of the whole, parochial Lacedemonians were every where at the head of governments, for the purpose of what they call the aristocratick interests, and the Athenians of equal representation. From them is to grow, by the democratick. The two leading powers kept some media, a general council and representative alive a constant cabal and conspiracy in every of all the parochial governments. In that represtate, and the political dogmas concerning the sentative is to be vested the whole national constitution of a republiek were the great instru- power; totally abolishing hereditary name and ments by which these leading states chose to office, levelling all conditions of men, (except aggrandize themselves. Their choice was not where money must make a difference,) breaking all unwise; because the interest in opinions, (merely connexion between territory and dignity, and as opinions, and without any experimental refer- abolishing every species of nobility, gentry, and ence to their effects,) when once they take strong church establishments; all their priests, and all hold of the mind, become the most operative of their magistrates, being only creatures of election, all interests, and indeed very often supersede and pensioners at will.
Knowing how opposite a permanent landed inI might further exemplify the possibility of a terest is to that scheme, they have resolved, and it political sentiment running through various states, is the great drift of all their regulations, to reduce and combining factions in them, from the history that description of men to a mere peasantry, for of the middle ages in the Guelfs and Ghibellines. the sustenance of the towns, and to place the true These were political factions originally in favour of effective government in cities, among the tradesthe emperor and the pope, with no mixture of men, bankers, and voluntary clubs of bold, prereligious dogmas: or if any thing religiously doc- suming young persons; advocates, attornies, notrinal they had in them originally, it very soon taries, managers of newspapers, and those cabals disappeared; as their first political objects disap- of literary men, called academies. Their repubpeared also, though the spirit remained. They lick is to have a first functionary, (as they call him,) became no more than names to distinguish fac- under the name of king, or not, as they think fit. tions: but they were not the less powerful in their This officer, when such an officer is permitted, is, operation, when they had no direct point of doc- however, neither in fact nor name to be considered trine, either religious or civil, to assert. For a long as sovereign, nor the people as his subjects. The time, however, those factions gave no small de- very use of these appellations is offensive to their ears. gree of influence to the foreign chiefs in every This system, as it has first been realized, dogcommonwealth in which they existed. I do not matically, as well as practically, in France, makes mean to pursue further the track of these parties. France the natural head of all factions Partisans of the I allude to this part of history only, as it fur- formed on a similar principle, wher- French system. nishes an instance of that species of faction which ever they may prevail, as much as Athens was broke the locality of public affections, and united the head and settled ally of all democratick facdescriptions of citizens more with strangers, than tions, wherever they existed. The other system with their countrymen of different opinions.
has no head. The political dogma, which, upon
This system has very many partisans in every mental princi- the new French system, is to unite country in Europe, but particularly in England,
the factions of different nations, is where they are already formed into a body, comthis, “ That the majority, told by the head, of prehending most of the dissenters of the three lead“the taxable people in every country, is the per- ing denominations; to these are readily aggre
petual, natural, unceasing, indefeasible sove- gated all who are dissenters in character, temper,
reign; that this majority is perfectly master of and disposition, though not belonging to any of “ the form, as well as the administration, of the their congregations—that is, all the restless people
state, and that the magistrates, under what- who resemble them, of all ranks and all parties
ever names they are called, are only func- Whigs, and even Tories—the whole race of half“ tionaries to obey the orders (general as laws bred speculators ;--all the Atheists, Deists, and
or particular as decrees) which that majority Socinians ;-all those who hate the clergy, and
may make; that this is the only natural go- envy the nobility;-a good many among the monied “ vernment; that all others are tyranny and people ;-the East Indians almost to a man, who “ usurpation.”
cannot bear to find that their present importance Practical pro- In order to reduce this dogma into does not bear a proportion to their wealth. These ject.
practice, the republicans in France, latter have united themselves into one great, and, and their associates in other countries, make in my opinion, formidable club,* which, though Originally called the Bengal Club; but since opened to per- sons from the other presidencies, for the purpose of consolidating
the whole Indian interest.
now quiet, may be brought into action with con- under the royal government to an innumerable siderable unanimity and force.
multitude of places, real and nominal, that were Formerly few, except the ambitious great, or vendible; and such nobility were as capable of the desperate and indigent, were to be feared as every thing as their degree of influence or interest instruments in revolutions. What has happened could make them, that is, as nobility of no conin France teaches us, with many other things, siderable rank or consequence. M. Necker, so far that there are more causes than have commonly from being a French gentleman, was not so much been taken into our consideration, by which go- as a Frenchman born, and yet we all know the vernment may be subverted. The monied men, rank in which he stood on the day of the meeting merchants, principal tradesmen, and men of let- of the states. ters, (hitherto generally thought the peaceable and As to the mere matter of estimation Mercantile even timid part of society,) are the chief actors in of the mercantile or any other class, the French Revolution. But the fact is, that as this is regulated by opinion and prejudice. In money encreases and circulates, and as the circu- England, a security against the envy of men in lation of news, in politicks, and letters, becomes these classes is not so very complete as we may more and more diffused, the persons who diffuse imagine. We must not impose upon ourselves. this money, and this intelligence, become more What institutions and manners together had done and more important. This was not long undis- in France, manners alone do here. It is the nacovered. Views of ambition were in France, for tural operation of things where there exists a the first time, presented to these classes of men. crown, a court, splendid orders of knighthood, Objects in the state, in the army, in the system of and an hereditary nobility ;-where there exists a civil offices of
kind. Their eyes were daz- fixed, permanent, landed gentry, continued in zled with this new prospect. They were, as it greatness and opulence by the law of primogeniwere, electrified and made to lose the natural spirit ture, and by a protection given to family settleof their situation. A bribe, great without example ments ;—where there exists a standing army and in the history of the world, was held out to them navy ;—where there exists a church establishment, -the whole government of a very large king- which bestows on learning and parts an interest dom.
combined with that of religion and the state ;Grounds of se
There are several who are persuaded in a country where such things exist, wealth, new curity suppos- that the same thing cannot happen in in its acquisition, and precarious in its duration, England
England, because here (they say) the can never rank first, or even near the first; though occupations of merchants, tradesmen, and manu- wealth has its natural weight further than it is facturers, are not held as degrading situations. I balanced and even preponderated amongst us as once thought that the low estimation in which amongst other nations, by artificial institutions commerce was held in France might be reckoned and opinions growing out of them. At no period among the causes of the late Revolution ; and I in the history of England have so few peers been am still of opinion, that the exclusive spirit of the taken out of trade or from families newly created French nobility did irritate the wealthy of other by commerce. In no period has so small a numclasses. But I found long since, that persons in ber of noble families entered into the countingtrade and business were by no means despised in house. I can call to mind but one in all England, France in the manner I had been taught to be and his is of near fifty years standing. Be that lieve. As to men of letters, they were so far from may,
it appears plain to me, from my best being despised or neglected, that there was no observation, that
and ambition may, by art, country, perhaps, in the universe, in which they management, and disposition, be as much excited were so highly esteemed, courted, caressed, and amongst these descriptions of men in England, as even feared : tradesmen naturally were not so in any other country; and that they are just as much sought in society, (as not furnishing so large- capable of acting a part in any great change. ly to the fund of conversation as they do to the What direction the French spirit of
Progress of the revenues of the state,) but the latter description got proselytism is likely to take, and in French spirit Literary forward every day. M. Bailly, who what order it is likely to prevail in the
made himself the popular mayor on several parts of Europe, it is not easy to deterthe rebellion of the Bastile, and is a principal mine. The seeds are sown almost every where, actor in the revolt, before the change, possessed a chiefly by newspaper circulations, infinitely more pension or office under the Crown, of six hundred efficacious and extensive than ever they were. pounds English, a year; for that country, no con- And they are a more important instrument than temptible provision : and this he obtained solely generally is imagined. They are a part of the Monied as a man of letters, and on no other reading of all, they are the whole of the reading
title. As to the monied men—whilst of the far greater number. There are thirty of the monarchy continued, there is no doubt, that, them in Paris alone. The language diffuses them merely as such, they did not enjoy the privileges of more widely than the English, though the Eng. nobility, but nobility was of so easy an acquisi- | lish too are much read. The writers of these tion, that it was the fault or neglect of all of that papers, indeed, for the greater part, are either undescription, who did not obtain its privileges, for known or in contempt, but they are like a battery their lives at least, in virtue of office. It attached in which the stroke of any one ball produces no
great effect, but the amount of continual repetition tion, by inducing them to think lightly of their is decisive. Let us only suffer any person to tell governments, and to judge of grievances, not by us his story, morning and evening, but for one feeling, but by imagination. twelvemonth, and he will become our master. It is in these electorates that the Balance of
All those countries in which several states are first impressions of France are likely, Germany. comprehended under some general geographical to be made, and if they succeed, it is over with description, and loosely united by some federal | the Germanick body as it stands at present. A constitution ; countries of which the members are great revolution is preparing in Germany; and a small, and greatly diversified in their forms of revolution, in my opinion, likely to be more degovernment, and in the titles by which they are cisive upon the general fate of nations than that held—these countries, as it might be well expected, of France itself; other than as in France is to be are the principal objects of their hopes and ma- found the first source of all the principles which chinations. Of these, the chief are Germany are in any way likely to distinguish the troubles and Switzerland : after them, Italy has its place and convulsions of our age. If Europe does not as in circumstances somewhat similar.
conceive the independence and the equilibrium As to Germany, in which, from of the empire to be in the very essence of the Germany.
their relation to the emperour, I com- system of balanced power in Europe, and if the prehended the Belgick provinces,) it appears to me scheme of publick law, or mass of laws, upon to be from several circumstances, internal and which that independence and equilibrium are external, in a very critical situation, and the laws founded, be of no leading consequence as they and liberties of the empire are by no means secure are preserved or destroyed, all the politicks of from the contagion of the French doctrines and Europe for more than two centuries have been the effect of French intrigues; or from the use miserably erroneous, which two of the greater German powers may
If the two great leading powers of Prussia and make of a general derangement, to the general Germany do not regard this danger emperour. detriment. I do not say that the French do not (as apparently they do not) in the light in which mean to bestow on these German states liberties, it presents itself so naturally, it is because they and laws too, after their mode ; but those are not are powers too great to have a social interesi. what have hitherto been understood as the laws That sort of interest belongs only to those, whose and liberties of the empire. These exist and have state of weakness or mediocrity is such as to give always existed under the principles of feodal them greater cause of apprehension from what tenure and succession, under imperial constitutions, may destroy them, than of hope from any thing grants and concessions of sovereigns, family by which they may be aggrandized. compacts and publick treaties, made under the As long as those two princes are at variance, sanction, and some of them guaranteed by the so long the liberties of Germany are safe. But, sovereign powers
of other nations, and particularly if ever they should so far understand one another, the old government of France, the author and as to be persuaded that they have a more direct natural support of the treaty of Westphalia. and more certainly defined interest in a propor
In short, the Germanick body is a vast mass of tioned, mutual aggrandizement, than in a reciheterogeneous states, held together by that hete procal reduction, that is, if they come to think rogeneous body of old principles, which formed that they are more likely to be enriched by a dithe publick law positive and doctrinal. The modern vision of spoil, than to be rendered secure by laws and liberties, which the new power in France keeping to the old policy of preventing others proposes to introduce into Germany, and to sup- from being spoiled by either of them, from that port with all its force, of intrigue and of arms, is moment the liberties of Germany are no more. of a very different nature, utterly irreconcilable That a junction of two in such a scheme is with the first, and indeed fundamentally the re- neither impossible nor improbable, is evident verse of it: I mean the rights and liberties of the from the partition of Poland in 1773, which was man, the droit de l'homme. That this doctrine effected by such a junction as made the interpohas made an amazing progress in Germany there sition of other nations to prevent it, not easy. cannot be a shadow of doubt. They are infected Their circumstances at that time hindered any by it along the whole course of the Rhine, the other three states, or indeed any two, from taking Maese, the Moselle, and in the greater part of measures in common to prevent it, though France Suabia and Franconia. It is particularly prevalent was at that time an existing power, and had not amongst all the lower people, churchmen and laity, yet learned to act upon a system of politicks of Ecclesiastical in the dominions of the ecclesiastical her own invention. The geographical position of
electors. It is not easy to find or to Poland was a great obstacle to any movements conceive governments more mild and indulgent of France in opposition to this, at that time, than these church sovereignties; but good govern- unparalleled league. To my certain knowledge, ment is as nothing when the rights of man take if Great Britain had at that time been willing to possession of the mind. Indeed the loose reign concur in preventing the execution of a project held over the people in these provinces must be so dangerous in the example, even exhausted as considered as one cause of the facility with which France then was by the preceding war, and they lend themselves to any schemes of innova- | under a lazy and unenterprising prince, she would
have at every risk taken an active part in this either as friend or foe her whole scheme has been, business. But a languor with regard to so remote and is, to throw the empire into confusion : and an interest, and the principles and passions which those statesmen, who follow the old routine of were then strongly at work at home, were the politicks, may see, in this general confusion, and causes why Great Britain would not give France in the danger of the lesser princes, an occasion, any encouragement in such an enterprise. At that as protectors or enemies, of connecting their tertime, however, and with regard to that object, ritories to one or the other of the two great Gerin my opinion, Great Britain and France had a man powers. They do not take into consideration common interest.
that the means which they encourage, as leading Possible
But the position of Germany is not to the event they desire, will with certainty not ject of the em- like that of Poland, with regard to only ravage and destroy the empire, but, if they king of Prus- France, either for good or for evil. If should for a moment seem to aggrandize the two sia.
a conjunction between Prussia and the great houses, will also establish principles and emperour should be formed for the purpose of se-confirm tempers amongst the people, which will cularizing and rendering hereditary the ecclesias- preclude the two sovereigns from the possibility of tical electorates and the bishoprick of Munster, holding what they acquire, or even the dominions for settling two of them on the children of the which they have inherited. It is on the side of emperour, and uniting Cologne and Munster to the ecclesiastical electorates that the dykes, raised the dominions of the king of Prussia on the to support the German liberty, first will give way. Rhine, or if any other project of mutual aggran
The French have begun their general operations dizement should be in prospect, and that, to by seizing upon those territories of the Pope, the facilitate such a scheme, the modern French situation of which was the most inviting to the enshould be permitted and encouraged to shake the terprise. Their method of doing it was by exciting internal and external security of these ecclesiastical sedition and spreading massacre and desolation electorates, Great Britain is so situated, that she through these unfortunate places, and then, under could not with any effect set herself in opposition an idea of kindness and protection, bringing forto such a design. Her principal arm, her marine, ward an antiquated title of the crown of France, could here be of no sort of use.
and annexing Avignon and the two cities of the To be resisted
France, the author of the treaty of Comtat with their territory to the French repub
Westphalia, is the natural guardian lick. They have made an attempt on France.
Geneva. of the independence and balance of Geneva, in which they very narrowly Germany. Great Britain (to say nothing of the failed of success. It is known that they hold out king's concern as one of that august body) has from time to time the idea of uniting all the other a serious interest in preserving it; but, except provinces of which Gaul was anciently composed, through the power of France, acting upon the including Savoy on the other side, and
Savoy. common old principles of state policy, in the on this side bounding themselves by case we have supposed, she has no sort of means the Rhine. of supporting that interest. It is always the in- As to Switzerland, it is a country Switzerland. terest of Great Britain that the power of France whose long union, rather than its posshould be kept within the bounds of moderation. sible division, is the matter of wonder. Here I It is not her interest that that power should be know they entertain very sanguine hopes. The wholly annihilated in the system of Europe. aggregation to France of the democratick Swiss Though at one time through France the inde- republicks appears to them to be a work half done pendence of Europe was endangered, it is, and by their very form ; and it might seem to them ever was, through her alone that the common rather an encrease of importance to these little liberty of Germany can be secured against the commonwealths, than a derogation from their insingle or the combined ambition of any other dependency, or a change in the manner of their power. In truth, within this century the aggran-government. Upon any quarrel amongst the candizement of other sovereign houses has been such tons, nothing is more likely than such an event, that there has been a great change in the whole As to the aristocratick republicks, the general state of Europe ; and other nations as well as clamour and hatred which the French excite against France may become objects of jealousy and ap- the very name, and with more facility and sucprehension.
cess than against monarchs,) and the utter imposNew prin
In this state of things, a new prin- sibility of their government making any sort of ciples of alli- ciple of alliances and wars is opened. resistance against an insurrection, where they have
The treaty of Westphalia is, with no troops, and the people are all armed and trainFrance, an antiquated fable. The rights and ed, render their hopes, in that quarter, far indeed liberties she was bound to maintain are now a sys- from unfounded. It is certain that the republick tem of wrong and tyranny which she is bound to of Berne thinks itself obliged to a vigilance next destroy. Her good and ill dispositions are shewn to hostile, and to imprison or expel all the French by the same means. To communicate peaceably whom it finds in its territories. But indeed those the rights of men is the true mode of her shewing aristocracies, which comprehend whatever is conher friendship; to force sovereigns to submit to siderable, wealthy, and valuable, in Switzerland, those rights is her mode of hostility. So that do now so wholly depend upon opinion, and the
Old French maxims, the security of its independence.
humour of their multitude, that the keep by force the French emissaries out of their lightest puff of wind is sufficient to dominions ; nor whilst France has a commerce blow them down. If France, under with them, especially through Marseilles, (the hot
its ancient regimen, and upon test focus of sedition in France,) will it be long cient principles of policy, was the support of the possible to prevent the intercourse or the effects. Germanick constitution, it was much more so of Naples has an old, inveterate disposition to rethat of Switzerland, which almost from the very publicanism, and (however for some time past origin of that confederacy rested upon the close- quiet) is as liable to explosion as its own Vesuness of its connexion with France, on which the vius. Sicily, I think, has these dispositions in Swiss cantons wholly reposed themselves for the full as strong a degree. In neither of these counpreservation of the parts of their body in their re- tries exists any thing which very well deserves the spective rights and permanent forms, as well for name of government or exact police. the maintenance of all in their general inde- In the states of the church, notwith- Ecclesiastical pendency.
standing their strictness in banishing Switzerland and Germany are the first objects the French out of that country, there are not of the new French politicians. When I contem- wanting the seeds of a revolution. The spirit of plate what they have don at home, which is in nepotism prevails there nearly as strong as ever. effect little less than an amazing conquest wrought Every Pope of course is to give origin or restoraby a change of opinion, in a great part (to be sure tion to a great family, by the means of large dofar from altogether) very sudden, I cannot help nations. The foreign revenues have long been letting my thoughts run along with their designs, gradually on the decline, and seem now in a manand without attending to geographical order, con- ner dried up. To supply this defect the resource sidering the other states of Europe so far as they of vexatious and impolitick jobbing at home, if any
any way affected by this astonishing Re- thing, is rather increased than lessened. Various volution. If early steps are not taken in some well intended but ill understood practices, some way or other to prevent the spreading of this in- of them existing, in their spirit at least, from the fluence, I scarcely think any of them perfectly se- time of the old Roman empire, still prevail ; and
government is as blindly attached to old, abuItaly.
Italy is divided, as Germany and sive customs, as others are wildly disposed to all
Switzerland are, into many smaller sorts of innovations and experiments. These states, and with some considerable diversity as to abuses were less felt whilst the pontificate drew forms of government; but as these divisions and riches from abroad, which in some measure counvarieties in Italy are not so considerable, so nei- terbalanced the evils of their remiss and jobbish ther do I think the danger altogether so imminent government at home. But now it can subsist there as in Germany and Switzerland. Savoy I only on the resources of domestick management; know that the French consider as in a very hope- and abuses in that management of course will be
ful and I believe not at all with
more intimately and more severely felt. out reason. They view it as an old In the midst of the apparently torpid languor of member of the kingdom of France, which may be the ecclesiastical state, those who have had opporeasily re-united in the manner and on the princi- tunity of a near observation, have seen a little ripples of the re-union of Avignon. This country pling in that smooth water, which indicates somecommunicates with Piedmont; and as the king thing alive under it. There is in the ecclesiastical of Sardinia's dominions were long the key of state a personage who seems capable of acting (but Italy, and as such long regarded by France, whilst with more force and steadiness) the part of the France acted on her old maxims, and with views tribune Rienzi. The people, once inflamed, will on Italy; so, in this new French empire of sedi- not be destitute of a leader. They have such an tion, if once she gets that key into her hands, she one already in the Cardinal or Archbishop Buon can easily lay open the barrier which hinders the Campagna. He is, of all men, if I am not ill inentrance of her present politicks into that inviting formed, the most turbulent, seditious, intriguing, region. Milan, I am sure, nourishes great dis- bold and desperate. He is not at all made for a quiets-and, if Milan should stir, no part of Lom- Roman of the present day. I think he lately held bardy is secure to the present possessors—whether the first office of their state, that of great chamthe Venetian or the Austrian. Genoa is closely berlain, which is equivalent to high treasurer. At connected with France.
present he is out of employment, and in disgrace. The first prince of the house of If he should be elected Pope, or even come to have princes in Bourbon has been obliged to give any weight with a new Pope, he will infallibly Italy.
himself up entirely to the new system, conjure up a democratick spirit in that country. and to pretend even to propagate it with all zeal ; He may indeed be able to effect it without these at least that club of intriguers who assemble at the advantages. The next interregnum will probably Feuillans, and whose cabinet meets at Madame shew more of him. There may
be others of the de Stahl's, and makes and directs all the ministers, same character, who have not come to my knowis the real executive government of France. The ledge. This much is certain, that the Roman peoemperour is perfectly in concert, and they will not ple, if once the blind reverence they bear to the long suffer any prince of the house of Bourbon to sanctity of the Pope, which is their only bridle,