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degree, of their offence, by a steady but a mea- 1 day stronger and stronger. Our ideas of justice sured justice.
appear to be fairly conquered and overpowered In the first place, no man ought to be subject to by guilt, when it is grown gigantic. It is not any penalty, from the highest to the lowest, but the point of view in which we are in the habit of by a trial according to the course of law, carried viewing guilt. The crimes we every day punish on with all that caution and deliberation which has are really below the penalties we inflict. The been used in the best times and precedents of the criminals are obscure and feeble. This is the view French jurisprudence, the criminal law of which in which we see ordinary crimes and criminals. country, faulty to be sure in some particulars, was But when guilt is seen, though but for a time, to highly laudable and tender of the lives of men. In be furnished with the arms and to be invested restoring order and justice, every thing like reta- with the robes of power, it seems to assume liation ought to be religiously avoided; and an ex- another nature, and to get, as it were, out of our ample ought to be set of a total alienation from the jurisdiction. This I fear is the case with many. jacobin proceedings in their accursed revolutionary But there is another cause full as powerful totribunals. Every thing like lumping men in masses, wards this security to enormous guilt, the desire and of forming tables of proscription, ought to be which possesses people, who have once obtained avoided.
power, to enjoy it at their ease. It is not humaIn all these punishments, any thing which can nity, but laziness and inertness of mind, which be alleged in mitigation of the offence should be produces the desire of this kind of indemnities. fully considered. Mercy is not a thing opposed This description of men love general and short to justice. It is an essential part of it; as neces- methods. If they punish, they make a promiscusary in criminal cases, as in civil affairs equity is ous massacre; if they spare, they make a general to law. It is only for the jacobins never to pardon. act of oblivion. This is a want of disposition to They have not done it in a single instance. A proceed laboriously according to the cases, and council of mercy ought therefore to be appointed, according to the rules and principles of justice on with powers to report on each case, to soften the each case; a want of disposition to assort crimipenalty, or entirely to remit it, according to cir-nals, to discriminate the degrees and modes of cumstances.
guilt, to separate accomplices from principals, With these precautions, the very first founda- leaders from followers, seducers from the seduced, tion of settlement must be to call to a strict ac- and then, by following the same principles in count those bloody and merciless offenders. With- the same detail, to class punishments, and to fit out it, government cannot stand a year. People them to the nature and kind of the delinquency. little consider the utter impossibility of getting If that were once attempted, we should soon see those, who, having emerged from very low, some that the task was neither infinite, nor the execufrom the lowest, classes of society, have exercised tion cruel. There would be deaths, but, for the a power so high, and with such unrelenting and number of criminals, and the extent of France, bloody a rage, quietly to fall back into their old not many. There would be cases of transportaranks, and become humble, peaceable, laborious, tion; cases of labour to restore what has been and useful members of society. It never can be. wickedly destroyed; cases of imprisonment, and .
, On the other hand, is it to be believed, that any cases of mere exile. But be this as it may, I am worthy and virtuous subject, restored to the sure that if justice is not done there, there can be ruins of his house, will with patience see the neither peace nor justice there, nor in any part of cold-blooded murderer of his father, mother, wife, Europe. or children, or perhaps all of these relations, (such History is resorted to for other acts of indemthings have been,) nose him in his own village, nity in other times. The princes are desired to and insult him with the riches acquired from the look back to Henry the Fourth. We are desired plunder of his goods, ready again to head a to look to the restoration of King Charles. These jacobin faction to attack his life? He is unworthy things, in my opinion, have no resemblance whatof the name of man who would suffer it. It soever. They were cases of a civil
in is unworthy of the name of a government, France more ferocious, in England more mowhich, taking justice out of the private hand, derate, than common. In neither country were will not exercise it for the injured by the publick the orders of society subverted; religion and moarm.
rality destroyed on principle, or property totally I know it sounds plausibly, and is really adopted annihilated. In England, the government of by those who have little sympathy with the suffer- Cromwell was to be sure somewhat rigid, but, ings of others, to wish to jumble the innocent and for a new power, no savage tyranny. The counguilty into one mass, by a general indemnity. try was nearly as well in his hands as in those This cruel indifference dignifies itself with the of Charles the Second, and in some points much name of humanity.
better. The laws in general had their course, and It is extraordinary that as the wicked arts of were admirably administered. The king did not this regicide and tyrannous faction encrease in in reality grant an act of indemnity; the prevailnumber, variety, and atrocity, the desire of ing power, then in a manner the nation, in punishing them becomes more and more faint, and effect granted an indemnity to him. The idea the talk of an indemnity towards them every of a preceding rebellion was not at all admitted
in that convention and that parliament. The struments and trumpeters of sedition, but as the regicides were a common enemy, and as such chief contrivers and managers, and in a short given up.
time as the open administrators and sovereign Among the ornaments of their place which rulers ?-.Who could have imagined that atheism eminently distinguish them, few people are better could produce one of the most violently operative acquainted with the history of their own country principles of fanaticism? Who could have imathan the illustrious princes now in exile; but I gined that, in a commonwealth in a caution them not to be led into errour by that cradled in war, and in extensive and dreadful which has been supposed to be the guide of life. I war, military commanders should be of little or would give the same caution to all princes. no account? That the convention should not that I derogate from the use of history. It is a contain one military man of name? That admigreat improver of the understanding, by shewing nistrative bodies in a state of the utmost confuboth men and affairs in a great variety of views. sion, and of but a momentary duration, and comFrom this source much political wisdom may be posed of men with not one imposing part of learned ; that is, may be learned as habit, not as character, should be able to govern the country precept; and as an exercise to strengthen the and its armies, with an authority which the most mind, as furnishing materials to enlarge and en- settled senates, and the most respected monarchs, rich it, not as a repertory of cases and precedents scarcely ever had in the same degree? This, for for a lawyer: if it were, a thousand times better one, I confess I did not foresee, though all the would it be that a statesman had never learned to rest was present to me very early, and not out of read—vellem nescirent literas. This method turns my apprehension even for several years. their understanding from the object before them, I believe very few were able to enter into the and from the present exigencies of the world, to effects of mere terrour, as a principle not only for comparisons with former times, of which, after the support of power in given hands or forms, all, we can know very little and very imperfect but in those things in which the soundest political ly; and our guides, the historians, who are to speculators were of opinion, that the least appeargive us their true interpretation, are often pre- ance of force would be totally destructive,-such judiced, often ignorant, often fonder of system is the market, whether of money, provision, or than of truth. Whereas if a man with reason- commodities of any kind. Yet for four years we ably good parts and natural sagacity, and not in have seen loans made, treasuries supplied, and the leading-strings of any master, will look stea- armies levied and maintained, more numerous than dily on the business before him, without being France ever shewed in the field, by the effects of diverted by retrospect and comparison, he may be fear alone. capable of forming a reasonably good judgment Here is a state of things of which, in its totality, of what is to be done. There are some funda- if history furnishes any examples at all, they are mental points in which nature never changes- very remote and feeble. I therefore am not so but they are few and obvious, and belong rather ready as some are, to tax with folly or cowardice to morals than to politicks. But so far as regards those who were not prepared to meet an evil of this political matter, the human mind and human nature. Even now, after the events, all the affairs are susceptible of infinite modifications, causes may be somewhat difficult to ascertain. and of combinations wholly new and unlooked Very many are however traceable. But these for. Very few, for instance, could have imagined things history and books of speculation (as I have that property, which has been taken for natural already said) did not teach men to foresee, and dominion, should, through the whole of a vast of course to resist. Now that they are no longer kingdom, lose all its importance and even its in- a matter of sagacity, but of experience, of recent fluence. This is what history or books of specu- experience, of our own experience, it would be łation could hardly have taught us. How many unjustifiable to go back to the records of other could have thought, that the most complete and nes, instruct us to manage what they never formidable revolution in a great empire should enabled us to foresee. be made by men of letters, not as subordinate in
A P P E N D I X.
VATTELL'S LAW OF NATIONS.
(THE TITLES, MARGINAL ABSTRACTS, AND NOTES, ARE BY MR. BURKE, EXCEPTING SUCH OF THE
NOTES AS ARE HERE DISTINGUISHED.)
that it should be suppressed. To form and supCASES OF INTERFERENCE WITH INDE- port an unjust pretension, is to do an injury not PENDENT POWERS.
only to him who is interested in this pretension, but to mock at justice in general, and to injure
all nations. BOOK II. CHAP. IV. § 53.
§ 56. If the prince, attacking the If then there is any where a nation of a restless fundamental laws, gives his subjects against tyand mischievous disposition, always ready to in- a legal right to resist him; if tyranny, jure others, to traverse their designs, and to raise becoming insupportable, obliges the nation to rise domestick troubles, it is not to be doubted, that in their defence; every foreign power has a right all have a right to join in order to repress, chas- to succour an oppressed people who implore their tise, and put it ever after out of its power to in- assistance. The English justly com- Case of Engjure them. Such should be the just fruits of the plained of James the Second. The lish Revolupolicy which Machiavel praises in Cæsar Borgia. nobility, and the most distinguished The conduct followed by Philip II. king of Spain, patriots, resolved to put a check on his enterprises, was adapted to unite all Europe against him; which manifestly tended to overthrow the constiand it was from just reasons that Henry the Great tution, and to destroy the liberties and the religion formed the design of humbling a power, formid- of the people ; and therefore applied for assistable by its forces, and pernicious by its maxims. ance to the United Provinces. The authority of
$ 70. Let us apply to the unjust, what we have the prince of Orange had, doubtless, an influence said above, (§ 53,) of a mischievous, or maleficent on the deliberations of the states-general; but it nation. If there be any that makes an open pro- did not make them commit injustice; for when a fession of trampling justice under foot, of despis-people, from good reasons, take up arms against ing and violating the right of others, whenever an oppressor, justice and generosity require, that it finds an opportunity, the interest of human brave men should be assisted in the defence of society will authorize all others to ite, in order their liberties. Whenever, therefore, Case of civil to humble and chastise it. We do not here forget a civil war is kindled in a state, the maxim established in our preliminaries, that foreign powers may assist that party which appears it does not belong to nations to usurp the power of to them to have justice on their side.
An odious tybeing judges of each other. In particular cases, He who assists an odious tyrant, he rant.
lious people. liable to the least doubt, it ought not to be sup- who declares For AN UNJUST AND REposed, that each of the parties may have some BELLIOUS PEOPLE, offends against his duty. When right: and the injustice of that which has com- the bands of the political society are broken, or at mitted the injury may proceed from errour, and least suspended, between the sovereign
Sovereign and not from a general contempt of justice. But if, and his people, they may then be his people by constant maxims, and by a continued conduct, considered as two distinct powers; powers.
when distinct one nation shews, that it has evidently this per- and since each is independent of all nicious disposition, and that it considers no right foreign authority, nobody has a right to judge as sacred, the safety of the human race requires them. Either may be in the right; and each of
• This is the case of France-Semonville at Turin-Jacobin clubs -Liegois meeting-Flemish meeting-La Fayette's answer -Cloot's embassy-Avignon.
+ The French acknowledge no power not directly emanating from the people.
ance to pre
those who grant their assistance may believe that the state, limited as to its duration, to the reign he supports a good cause. It follows then, in of the contracting king. This of which we are virtue of the voluntary laws of nations, (see Prelim. here speaking is of another nature. For though $ 21,) that the two parties may act as having an it binds the state, since it is bound by all the pubequal right, and behave accordingly, till the de- lick acts of its sovereign, it is made directly in cision of the affair.
favour of the king and his family; it when an alliNot to be But we ought not to abuse this would therefore be absurd for it to
serve a king pursued to an maxim for authorizing odious pro- terminate at the moment when they takes place.
ceedings against the tranquillity of have need of it, and at an event against which it states. It is a violation of the law of nations to was made. Besides, the king does not King does not Endeavour to persuade those subjects to revolt who lose his quality merely by the loss of lose his quapersuade sub
lity by the actually obey their sovereign, though his kingdom. * If he is stripped of loss of his jects to a rethey complain of his government. it unjustly by an usurper, or by re
kingdom. The practice of nations is conformable to our bels, he preserves his rights, in the number of maxims. When the German protestants came to which are his alliances. the assistance of the reformed in France, the court But who shall judge, if the king be dethroned never undertook to treat them otherwise than as lawfully or by violence ? An independent nation common enemies, and according to the laws of acknowledges no judge. If the body of the nawar. France at the same time assisted the Ne- tion declares the king deprived of his rights by therlands, which took up arms against Spain, and the abuse he has made of them, and deposes him, did not pretend that her troops should be con- it may justly do it when its grievances are well sidered upon any other footing than as auxiliaries founded, and no other power has a right to censure Attempt to ex
in a regular war. But no power avoids it. The personal ally of this king ought not then cite subjects complaining of an atrocious injury, to assist him against the nation that has made use to revolt
if any one attempts by his emissaries of its right in deposing him : if he attempts it, he to excite his subjects to revolt.
injures that nation. England declared war against As to those monsters, who, under the Louis the XIV. in the year 1688, for supporting Tyrants.
title of sovereigns, render themselves the interest of James the Second, who was deposed the
scourges and horrour of the human race; these in form by the nation. The same country deare savage beasts, from which every brave man clared war against him a second time, at the bemay justly purge the earth. All antiquity has ginning of the present century, because that prince praised Hercules for delivering the world from an acknowledged the son of the deposed James, under Antæus, a Busiris, and a Diomedes.
the name of James the Third. In Book 4. Chap. 2. § 14. After stating that na
doubtful cases, and when the body of aid may be tions have no right to interfere in domestick con- the nation has not pronounced or has given to a de cerns, he proceeds—“ But this rule does not NOT PRONOUNCED FREELY, a sovereign posed king. “preclude them from espousing the quarrel of may naturally support and defend an ally, and it
a dethroned king, and assisting him, if he ap- is then that the voluntary law of nations subsists
pears to have justice on his side. They then between different states. The party that has driven “ declare themselves enemies to the nation who has out the king pretends to have right on its side : “ acknowledged his rival, as when two different this unhappy king and his ally flatter themselves “ nations are at war they are at liberty to assist with having the same advantage; and as they " that whose quarrel they think has the fairest have no common judge upon earth, they have no appearance."
other method to take but to apply to arms to ter
minate the dispute : they therefore engage in a CASE OF ALLIANCES.
In short, when the foreign prince has faithfully BOOK II. CHAP. XII. § 196.
fulfilled his engagements towards an Not obliged to
unfortunate monarch, when he has pursue his It is asked if that alliance subsists with the done in his defence, or to procure
right beyond his
a certain king, and the royal family, when by some revolu- restoration, all he was obliged to per- point tion they are deprived of their crown? We have form in virtue of the alliance; if his efforts are lately remarked, ($ 194,) that a personal alliance ineffectual, the dethroned prince cannot require expires with the reign of him who contracted it: him to support an endless war in his favour, or but that is to be understood of an alliance with expect that he will eternally remain the enemy of
* By the seventh Article of the Treaty of TRIPLE ALLIANCE, between France, England, and Holland, signed at the Hague, in the year 1717, it is stipulated, "that if the kingdoms, countries, " or provinces, of any of the allies, are disturbed by intestine “ quarrels, or by rebellions, on account of the said successions, "(the protestant succession to the throne of Great Britain, and " the succession to the throne of France, as settled by the treaty " of Utrecht,) or under any other pretext orhatever, the ally thus in « trouble shall have full right to demand of his allies the succours " above mentioned;" that is to say, the same succours as in the case of an invasion from any foreign_power ; 8000 foot and 2000 horse to be furnished by France or England, and 4000 foot and 1000 horse by the States General.
By the fourth Article of the Treaty of QUADRUPLE ALLIANCE, between England, France, Holland, and the emperour of Germany, signed in the year 1718, the contracting powers “promise " and oblige themselves that they will and ought to maintain,
guarantee, and defend the right and succession to the kingdom " of France, according to the tenour of the treaties made at “Utrecht the 11th day of April 1713; and this they shall perform " against all persons whatsoerer who may presume to disturb the "order of the said succession, in contradiction to the previous acts "and treaties subsequent thereon."
The above treaties have been revived and confirmed by every subsequent treaty of peace between Great Britain and France. - Edit.
the nation, or of the sovereign who has deprived just and ambitious dispositions, by doing the least him of the throne. He must think of
injustice to another, every nation may avail themabandon the ally, and consider him as having selves of the occasion, and join their forces to those himself abandoned his right, through necessity of the party injured, in order to reduce that ambi
. Thus Louis XIV. was obliged to abandon James tious power, and disable it from so easily oppressthe Second, and to acknowledge King William, ing its neighbours, or keeping them in continual though he had at first treated him as an usurper. awe and fear. For an injury gives a nation a
The same question presents itself in real alli- right to provide for its future safety, by taking ances, and, in general, in all alliances made with away from the violator the means of oppression. the state, and not in particular with a king for the It is lawful, and even praise-worthy, to assist those defence of his person. An ally ought, who are oppressed, or unjustly attacked.
. Case of defence against doubtless, to be defended against subjects. every invasion, against every foreign
SYSTEM OF EUROPE. violence, and even against his rebellious subjects ; in the same manner a republick ought to be de- § 47. Europe forms a political system, a body, fended against the enterprises of one who attempts where the whole is connected by the relations and to destroy the publick liberty. But it ought to different interests of nations inhabiting this part of be remembered, that an ally of the state, or the the world. It is not, as anciently, a confused nation, is not its judge. If the nation has de- heap of detached pieces, each of which thought itposed its king in form ; if the people of a repub- self very little concerned in the fate of others, and lick have driven out their magistrates and set seldom regarded things which did not immediately themselves at liberty, or acknowledged the au- relate to it. The continual attention of sovereigns thority of an usurper, either expressly or tacitly; to what is on the carpet, the constant residence of to oppose these domestick regulations, by disput- ministers, and the perpetual negociations, make ing their justice or validity, would be to interfere Europe a kind of a republick, the
Europe a rein the government of the nation, and to do it an members of which, though indepen- publick to injury (see § 54, and following of this book). dent, unite, through the ties of com- preserve order
and liberty. The ally remains the ally of the state, notwith- mon interest for the maintenance of standing the change that has happened in it. How-order and liberty. Hence arose that famous
ever, when this change renders the al- scheme of the political equilibrium, or balance of real alliances liance useless, dangerous, or dis- power ; by which is understood such a disposition
ugreeable, it may renounce it : for it of things, as no power is able absolutely to pre
may say, upon a good foundation, that dominate, or to prescribe laws to others. it would not have entered into an alliance with § 49. Confederacies would be a sure way of prethat nation, had it been under the present form serving the equilibrium, and supporting the liberty of government.
of nations, did all princes thoroughly understand We may say here, what we have said on a per- their true interests, and regulate all their steps for sonal alliance: however just the cause of that the good of the state. king may be, who is driven from the throne, either by his subjects or by a foreign usurper ; his allies
CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE ENEMY'S Not an eter- are not obliged to support an eternal nal war. war in his favour. After having made
COUNTRY. ineffectual efforts to restore him, they must at length give peace to their people, and come to an
BOOK III. CHAP. IX. § 165. accommodation with the usurper, and for that Instead of the pillage of the country, and depurpose treat with him as with a lawful sovereign. fenceless places, a custom has been substituted Louis XIV., exhausted by a bloody and unsuc- more humane and more advantageous to the sovecessful war, offered at Gertruydenburgh to abandon reign making war: I mean that of contributions. his grandson, whom he had placed on the throne | Whoever carries on a just war
* has a right of of Spain : and, when affairs had changed their ap- making the enemy's country contribute to the suppearance, Charles of Austria, the rival of Philip, port of the army, and towards defraying all the saw himself, in his turn, abandoned by his allies.charges.of the war. Thus he obtains a part of They grew weary of exhausting their states, in order what is due to him, and the subjects of the enemy, to give him the possession of a crown, which they on submitting to this imposition, are secured from believed to be his due, but which, to all appear-pillage, and the country is preserved : but a geance, they should never be able to procure for him. neral who would pot sully his reputa- To be mo
tion is to moderate his contributions, DANGEROUS POWER.
and proportion them to those on whom they are BOOK III. CHAP. III. $ 45.
imposed. An excess in this point is not without
the reproach of cruelty and inhumanity : if it All nations It is still easier to prove, that should shews less ferocity than ravage and destruction, it may join.
this formidable power betray any un- glares with avarice. * Contributions raised by the Duke of Brunswick in France. Compare these with the contributions raised by the French in
may be renounced.