Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

and impolitick, the superiority of the military Accordingly, the Rhine, Sardinia, and the Swiss, force might in a great degree have supplied the are left to their fate. The king of Prussia has no defects, and furnished a corrective to the mistakes. direct and immediate concern with France ; conseThe greater probability was that the duke of quentially, to be sure, a great deal : but the empeBrunswick would make his way to Paris over rour touches France directly in many parts : he is the bellies of the rabble of drunkards, robbers, a near neighbour to Sardinia, by his Milanese terriassassins, rioters, mutineers, and half-grown boys, tories; he borders on Switzerland; Cologne, posunder the ill-obeyed command of a theatrical, sessed by his uncle, is between Mentz, Treves, and vapouring, reduced captain of cavalry, who op- the king of Prussia's territories on the Lower Rhine. posed that great commander and great army. The emperour is the natural guardian of Italy But—Diis aliter visum—He began to treat, the and Germany; the natural balance against the winds blew, the rains beat, the house fell-be- ambition of France, whether republican or monarcause it was built upon sand--and great was the chical. His ministers and his generals, therefore, fall thereof. This march was not an exact copy ought to have had their full share in every material of either of the two marches made by the duke consultation, which I suspect they had not. If of Parma into France.

he has no minister capable of plans of policy, There is some secret. Sickness and weather which comprehend the superintendency of a war, may defeat an army pursuing a wrong plan; not or no general with the least of a political head,

, that I believe the sickness to have been so great as things have been as they must be. However, in it has been reported; but there is a great deal of all the parts of this strange proceeding, there must superfluous humiliation in this business, a perfect be a secret. prodigality of disgrace. Some advantage, real or It is probably known to ministers. I do not imaginary, must compensate to a great sovereign, mean to penetrate into it. My speculations on and to a great general, for so immense a loss of this head must be only conjectural. If the king reputation. Longwy, situated as it is, might (one of Prussia under the pretext, or on the reality, of should think) be evacuated without a capitulation some information relative to ill practice on the part with a republick just proclaimed by the king of of the court of Vienna, takes advantage of his Prussia as an usurping and rebellious body. He being admitted into the heart of the emperour's was not far from Luxembourg. He might have dominions in the character of an ally, afterwards, taken away the obnoxious French in his flight. to join the common enemy, and to enable France It does not appear to have been necessary that to seize the Netherlands, and to reduce and those magistrates who declared for their own king, humble the empire, I cannot conceive, upon every on the faith, and under the immediate protection, principle, any thing more alarming for this counof the king of Prussia, should be delivered over try, separately, and as a part of the general system. to the gallows. It was not necessary that the After all, we may be looking in vain in the regions emigrant nobility and gentry who served with the of politicks, for what is only the operation of king of Prussia's army, under his immediate com- temper and character upon accidental circummand, should be excluded from the cartel, and stances—But I never knew accidents to decide given up to be hanged as rebels. Never was so the whole of any great business ; and I never gross and so cruel a breach of the publick faith, knew temper to act, but that some system of polinot with an enemy, but with a friend. Dumou- ticks, agreeable to its peculiar spirit, was blended rier has dropped very singular hints. Custine has with it, strengthened it, and got strength from it. spoken out more broadly. These accounts have Therefore the politicks can hardly be put out of never been contradicted. They tend to make an the question. eternal rupture between the powers. The French Great mistakes have been committed : at least have given out, that the duke of Brunswick I hope so. If there have been none, the case in endeavoured to negociate some name and place future is desperate. I have endeavoured to point for the captive king, amongst the murderers and out some of those which have occurred to me, and proscribers of those who have lost their all for his most of them very early. Even this has not been denied.

Whatever be the cause of the present state It is singular, and, indeed, a thing, under all of things, on a full and mature view and compaits circumstances, inconceivable, that every thing rison of the historical matter, of the transactions should by the emperour be abandoned to the king that have passed before our eyes, and of the future of Prussia. That monarch was considered as prospect, I think I am authorized to form an principal. In the nature of things, as well as in opinion without the least hesitation. his position with regard to the war, he was only That there never was, nor is, nor ever will be, an ally; and a new ally, with crossing interests in nor ever can be, the least rational hope of making many particulars, and of a policy rather uncertain. an impression on France by any continental powers, At best, and supposing him to act with the greatest if England is not a part, is not the directing part, fidelity, the emperour and the empire, to him, must is not the soul, of the whole confederacy against it. be but secondary objects. Countries out of Ger- This, so far as it is an anticipation of future, is many must affect him in a still more remote man- grounded on the whole tenour of former history

France, other than from the fear of its -In speculation it is to be accounted for on two doctrinal principles, can to him be no object at all. plain principles.

[ocr errors]

cause.

may

a

ner.

the an

First, That Great Britain is likely to take a more Seventhly, to acknowledge the king of France's fair and equal part in the alliance, than the other next brother, (assisted by such a council and such powers, as having less of crossing interest, or per- representatives of the kingdom of France, as shall plexed discussion with any of them.

be thought proper,) regent of France, and to send Secondly, Because France cannot have to deal that prince a small supply of money, arms, cloathwith any of these continental sovereigns, without ing, and artillery. their feeling that nation, as a maritime power, Eighthly, To give force to these negociations, an greatly superiour to them all put together; a force instant naval armament ought to be adopted; one which is only to be kept in check by England. squadron for the Mediterranean; another for the

England, except during the eccentrick aberra- Channel. The season is convenient, most of our tion of Charles the Second, has always considered trade being, as I take it, at home. it as her duty and interest to take her place in After speaking of a plan formed upon such a confederacy. Her chief disputes must ever cient policy and practice of Great Britain, and of

, be with France, and if England shews herself in Europe; to which this is exactly conformable in different and unconcerned when these powers are every respect, with no deviation whatsoever, and combined against the enterprises of France, she is which is, I conceive, much more strongly called for to look with certainty for the same indifference on by the present circumstances than by any former, the part of these powers, when she may be at war I must take notice of another which I fear, but with that nation. This will tend totally to dis- cannot persuade myself to believe, is in agitation. connect this kingdom from the system of Europe, This plan is grounded upon the very same view of in which, if she ought not rashly to meddle, she things which is here stated, namely, the danger to ought never wholly to withdraw herself from it. all sovereigns, and old republicks, from the preva

If then England is put in motion, whether by a lence of French power and influence. consideration of the general safety, or of the in- It is to form a congress of all the European fluence of France upon Spain, or by the probable powers, for the purpose of a general defensive operations of this new system on the Netherlands, alliance, the objects of which should be, it must embrace in its project the whole as much First, The recognition of this new republick, as possible, and the part it takes ought to be as (which they well know is formed on the principles, much as possible, a leading and presiding part. and for the declared purpose of the destruction of I therefore beg leave to suggest,

all kings,) and, whenever the heads of this new First, that a minister should forthwith be sent republick shall consent to release the royal capto Spain, to encourage that court to persevere in tives, to make peace with them. the measures they have adopted against France ; Secondly, To defend themselves with their joint to make a close alliance and guarantee of posses- forces against the open aggressions or the secret sions, as against France, with that power, and, practices, intrigues, and writings, which are used whilst the formality of the treaty is pending, to to propagate the French principles. assure them of our protection, postponing any It is easy to discover from whose shop this comlesser disputes to another occasion.

modity comes. It is so perfectly absurd, that if Secondly, To assure the court of Vienna, of our that, or any thing like it, meets with a serious endesire to enter into our ancient connexions with tertainment in any cabinet, I should think it the her, and to support her effectually in the war which effect of what is called a judicial blindness, the France has declared against her.

certain forerunner of the destruction of all crowns Thirdly, to animate the Swiss, and the king of and kingdoms. Sardinia, to take a part, as the latter once did on An offensive alliance, in which union is preserved, the principles of the grand alliance.

by common efforts in common dangers, against a Fourthly, To put an end to our disputes with common active enemy, may preserve its consistRussia, and mutually to forget the past. I believe ency, and may produce, for a given time, some if she is satisfied of this oblivion, she will return considerable effect; though this is not easy, and to her old sentiments, with regard to this court, for any very long period can hardly be expected. and will take a more forward part in this business But a defensive alliance, formed of long discordant than any other power.

interests, with innumerable discussions existing, Fifthly, If what has happened to the king of having no one pointed object to which it is directPrussia is only in consequence of a sort of panicked, which is to be held together with an unreor of levity, and an indisposition to persevere long mitted vigilance, as watchful in peace as in war, in one design—the support and concurrence of is so evidently impossible, is such a chimera, is so Russia will tend to steady him, and to give him contrary to human nature, and the course of human resolution. If he be ill disposed, with that power affairs, that I am persuaded no person in his senses, on his back, and without one ally in Europe, 1 except those whose country, religion, and sovereign, conceive he will not be easily led to derange the are deposited in the French funds, could dream plan.

of it. There is not the slightest petty boundary Sixthly, To use the joint influence of our court, suit, no difference between a family arrangement, and of our then allied powers, with Holland, to no sort of misunderstanding, or cross purpose arm as fully as she can by sea, and to make some between the pride and etiquette of courts, that addition by land.

would not entirely disjoint this sort of alliance, and render it as futile in its effects, as it is feeble too little importance to suppose the name of the in its principle. But when we consider that the writer could add any weight to the state of things main drift of that defensive alliance must be to contained in this paper. That state of things prevent the operation of intrigue, mischievous presses irresistibly on my judgment, and it lies, doctrine, and evil example, in the success of unpro- and has long lain, with a heavy weight upon my voked rebellion, regicide, and systematick assassi- mind. I cannot think that what is done in France nation and massacre, the absurdity of such a scheme is beneficial to the human race. If it were, the becomes quite lamentable. Open the communica- English constitution ought no more to stand tion with France, and the rest follows of course. against it than the ancient constitution of the king

How far the interiour circumstances of this dom in which the new system prevails. I thought country support what is said with regard to its it the duty of a man, not unconcerned for the foreign politicks, must be left to better judgments. publick, and who is a faithful subject of the king, I am sure the French faction here is infinitely respectfully to submit this state of facts as this strengthened by the success of the assassins on new step in the progress of the French arms and the other side of the water. This evil in the heart politicks, to His Majesty, to his confidential of Europe must be extirpated from that center, or servants, and to those persons who, though not in no part of the circumference can be free from the office, by their birth, their rank, their fortune, their mischief which radiates from it, and which will character, and their reputation for wisdom, seem spread circle beyond circle, in spite of all the little to me to have a large stake in the stability of the defensive precautions which can be employed ancient order of things. against them.

I do not put my name to these hints submitted Bath, November 5, 1792. to the consideration of reflecting men. It is of

a

[blocks in formation]

As the proposed manifesto is, I understand, to not be the less severe, or the less exemplary, when promulgate to the world the general idea of a it is not threatened at a moment when we have it plan for the regulation of a great kingdom, and not in our power to execute our threats. On the through the regulation of that kingdom probably other side, to pass by proceedings of such a neto decide the fate of Europe for ever, nothing re- farious nature, in all kinds, as have been carried quires a more serious deliberation with regard to on in France, without any signification of resentthe time of making it, the circumstances of those ment, would be in effect to ratify them; and thus to whom it is addressed, and the matter it is to to become accessaries after the fact, in all those contain.

enormities which it is impossible to repeat, or As to the time, (with the due diffidence in my think of without horrour. An absolute silence own opinion,) I have some doubts whether it is not appears to me to be at this time the only safe rather unfavourable to the issuing any manifesto, course. with regard to the intended government of France : The second usual matter of manifestoes is and for this reason, that it is (upon the principal composed of promises to those who co-operate point of our attack) a time of calamity and defeat. with our designs. These promises depend in a Manifestoes of this nature are commonly made great measure, if not wholly, on the apparent when the army of some sovereign enters into the power of the person who makes them to fulfil his enemy's country in great force, and under the im- engagements. A time of disaster on the part of posing authority of that force employs menaces the promiser, seems not to add much to the digtowards those whom he desires to awe, and makes nity of his person, or to the effect of his offers. promises to those whom he wishes to engage in his One would hardly wish to seduce any unhappy favour.

persons to give the last provocation to a merciless As to a party, what has been done at Toulon tyranny, without very effectual means of protectleaves no doubt, that the party for which we de- ing them. clare must be that which substantially declares for The time, therefore, seems (as I said) not faroyalty as the basis of the government.

vourable to a general manifesto, on account of As to menaces-Nothing, in my opinion, can the unpleasant situation of our affairs. However, contribute more effectually to lower any sovereign I write in a changing scene, when a measure, very in the publick estimation, and to turn his defeats imprudent to-day, may be very proper to-morrow. into disgraces, than to threaten in a moment of Some great victory may alter the whole state of impotence. The second manifesto of the duke of the question, so far as it regards our power of Brunswick appeared, therefore, to the world to be fulfilling any engagement we may think fit to extremely ill-timed. However, if his menaces in make. that manifesto had been seasonable, they were

But there is another consideration of far greater not without an object. Great crimes then appre- importance for all the purposes of this manifesto. hended, and great evils then impending, were to the publick, and the parties concerned, will be prevented. At this time, every act, which look somewhat to the disposition of the promiser early menaces might possibly have prevented, is indicated by his conduct, as well as to his power done. Punishment and vengeance alone remain, of fulfilling his engagements. and God forbid that they should ever be forgotten. Speaking of this nation as part of a general But the punishment of enormous offenders will combination of powers, are we quite sure, that others can believe us to be sincere, or that we can made in the course of the present campaign. By be even fully assured of our own sincerity, in the these two capitulations, the Christian royalists protection of those who shall risk their lives for were excluded from any participation in the cause the restoration of monarchy in France, when the of the combined powers. They were considered world sees, that those who are the natural, legal, as the outlaws of Europe. Two armies were in constitutional representatives of that monarchy, if effect sent against them. One of those armies it has any, have not had their names so much as (that which surrendered Mentz) was very near mentioned in any one publick act; that in no way overpowering the Christians of Poitou, and the whatever are their persons brought forward, that other (that which surrendered at Valenciennes) has their rights have not been expressly or implicitly actually crushed the people whom oppression and allowed, and that they have not been in the least despair had driven to resistance at Lyons, has consulted on the important interests they have at massacred several thousands of them in cold blood, stake. On the contrary, they are kept in a state pillaged the whole substance of the place, and of obscurity and contempt, and in a degree of in- pursued their rage to the very houses, condemning digence at times bordering on beggary. They that noble city to desolation, in the unheard of

are, in fact, little less prisoners in the village of manner we have seen it devoted. Hanau, than the royal captives who are locked up It is then plain by a conduct which overturns a in the tower of the Temple. What is this, accord thousand declarations, that we take the royalists of ing to the common indications which guide the France only as an instrument of some convenience judgment of mankind, but, under the pretext of in a temporary hostility with the jacobins, but that protecting the crown of France, in reality to we regard those atheistick and murderous barbausurp it?

rians as the bonâ fide possessors of the soil of I am also very apprehensive, that there are other France. It appears at least, that we consider them circumstances which must tend to weaken the as a fair government de facto, if not de jure ; a force of our declarations. No partiality to the resistance to which in favour of the king of France, allied powers can prevent great doubts on the fair- by any man who happened to be born within that ness of our intentions as supporters of the crown country, might equitably be considered, by other of France, or of the true principles of legitimate nations, as the crime of treason. government in opposition to jacobinism, when it is For my part, I would sooner put my hand into visible that the two leading orders of the state of the fire than sign an invitation to oppressed men to France, who are now the victims, and who must fight under my standard, and then,

on every

sinister always be the true and sole supports of monarchy event of war, cruelly give them up to be punished in that country, are, at best, in some of their de- as the basest of traitors, as long as I had one of scriptions, considered only as objects of charity, the common enemy in my hands to be put to death and others are, when employed, employed only as in order to secure those under my protection, and mercenary soldiers ; that they are thrown back to vindicate the common honour of sovereigns. out of all reputable service, are in a manner dis- We hear nothing of this kind of security in favour owned, considered as nothing in their own cause, of those whom we invite to the support of our and never once consulted in the concerns of their

Without it, I am not a little apprehensive king, their country, their laws, their religion, and that the proclamations of the combined powers their property ? We even affect to be ashamed of might (contrary to their intention no doubt) be them. In all our proceedings we carefully avoid looked upon as frauds, and cruel traps laid for the appearance of being of a party with them. In their lives. all our ideas of treaty we do not regard them as So far as to the correspondence between our what they are, the two leading orders of the king- declarations and our conduct: let the declaration dom. If we do not consider them in that light, be worded as it will, the conduct is the practical we must recognise the savages by whom they have comment by which, and by which alone, it can be been ruined, and who have declared war upon understood. This conduct, acting on the declaEurope, whilst they disgrace and persecute human ration, leaves a monarchy without a monarch ; nature, and openly defy the God that made them, and without any representative or trustee for the as real proprietors of France.

monarch, and the monarchy. It supposes a kingI am much afraid, too, that we shall scarcely be dom without states and orders; a territory without believed fair supporters of lawful monarchy against proprietors; and faithful subjects, who are to be jacobinism, so long as we continue to make and left to the fate of rebels and traitors. to observe cartels with the jacobins, and on fair The affair of the establishment of a government terms exchange prisoners with them, whilst the is a very difficult undertaking for foreign powers royalists, invited to our standard, and employed to act in as principals; though as auxiliaries and under our publick faith, against the jacobins, if mediators, it has been not at all unusual, and may taken by that savage faction, are given up to the be a measure full of policy and humanity, and executioner without the least attempt whatsoever true dignity. at reprisal. For this, we are to look at the king of The first thing we ought to do, supposing us Prussia's conduct, compared with his manifestoes not giving the law as conquerors, but acting as about a twelvemonth ago. For this we are to look friendly powers applied to for counsel and assistat the capitulations of Mentz and Valenciennes, ance in the settlement of a distracted country, is

cause.

« AnteriorContinuar »