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It was said, that as she had speedily fallen, in Europe, and with it a perfect despotism she might speedily rise again. He doubted Though that despotism was proudly arrayed ir. this. That the fall from an height was with manners, gallantry, splendour, magnificence, in accelerated velocity; but to list a weight up and even covered over with the imposing robes to that height again was withcult, and opposed of science, literature, and arts, it was, in by the laws of physicai and political gravitation. government, nothing better than a painted and
In a political visw, France was low indeed. gilded tyranny; in religion, a hard, stern into She had lost every thing, eveu to her name. lerance, the fil companion and auxiliary to the • Jacet ingens littore truncus,
despotic tyranny which prevailed in its governAvolsumque humeris caput, et sine nomine
ment. The same character of desputism insicorpus."
nuated itself into every court of Europe—the He was astonished at it-he was alarmed at
same spirit of disproportioned magnificence: it-he trembled at the uncertainty of all human the same love of standing armies, above these greatness.
ability of the people. In particular, our then Since the house had been prorogued in the sovereigns, King Charles and King James, summer much work was done in France. The fell in love with the government of their neighFrench had shewn themselves the ablest archi- bour, so flattering to the pride of kings. °A tects of ruin that had hitherto existed in the similarity of sentiments brought on connections world. In that very short space of time they equally dangerous to the interests and liberiies had completely pulled down to the ground, their of their country. It were well that the infecmonarchy; their church; their nobility; their
tion had gone no farther than the throne. The law; their revenue ; their army; their navy; successful, unchecked in its operations, and
admiration of a government flourishing and their commerce; their arts; and their manufactures. They had done their business for us
seeming therefore to compass its objects more as rivals, in a way in which twenty Ramillies speedily and effectually, gained something upon or Blenheims could never have done it. Were
all ranks of people. The good patriots of that we absolute conqucrours, and France to lie day, however, struggled against it.
Thcy prostrate at our feet, we should be ashamed to sought nothing more anxiously than to break send a commission to settle their affairs, which
off all communication with France, and to could impose so hard a law upon the French, beget a total alienation from its councils and and so destructive of all their consequence as
its example; which, by the animosity preva
lent between the abettors of their religious sysa nation, as that they had imposed on themselves.
tem and the assertors of ours, was, in some France, by the mere circumstance of its degree, effected. vicinity, had been, and in a degree always
This day the evil totally changeul in must be, an object of our vigilance, either with France; but there is an evil there. The disregard to her actual power, or to her influence
ease is altered; but the vicinity of the two and example. As to the former, he had spoken;
countries remains, and must remain; and the as to the latter, (her example,) he should
natural mental habits of mankind are s.ch,
say a few words: for by this example our friend that the present distemper' of France is fai ship and our intercourse with that nation had
more likely to be contagious than the old one, once been, and might again, become more
for it is not quite easy to spread a passio:: for dangerous to us than their worst hostility.
servitude among the people: but in all eriis of In the last century, Louis the Fourteenth
the opposite kind our natural inclinations are had established a greater and better disciplined flattered. In the case of despotism there is military force than ever had been before seen
the fædum crimen servitutis ; in the last the
falsa species libertatis; and accordingly, as the * Mr. Burke, probably, had in his mind the historian says, promis auribus accipitur. remainder of the passage, and was filled with In the last age we were in danger of being some congenial apprehensions :
entangled by the example of France in the net Hec finis Priami fatorum; hic exitus illum of a relentless despotism. It is not necessary Sose tulit, Trojam incensam, et prolapsa vi.
to say any thing upon that example. It exists Pergama; lot quandam populis, terrisque, su.
no longer. Our present danger from the experbum
ample of a people, whose character knows nc Regnatorem Asiæ. Jacet ingens littore iruncus, medium, is, with regard to government, a darArolsumque humeris caput, et sine nomine
ger from anarchy; a danger of being led through corpus. . Al me tum primum sævus circumstetit horror;
an admiration of successful fraud and violence, Obstepui : subiil chari genitoris imago".
to an imitation of the excesses of an irrational,
unprincipled, proscribing, confiscating, plun- wicked persons had shewn a strong disposidering, ferocious, bloody, and tyrannical demo- tion to recommend an imitation of the French cracy. On the side of religion, the danger of spirit of reform. He was so strongly opposed their example is no longer from intolerance, to any the least tendency towards the means but from atheism ; a foul, unnatural vice, foe of introducing a democracy like theirs, as well to all the dignity and consolation of mankind; as to the end itself, that much as it would afflict which seems in France, for a long time, to him, if such a thing could be attempted, and have been embodied into a faction, accredited, that any friend of his could concur in such and almost avowed.
measures, (he was far, very far, from believing These are our present dangers from France: they could,) he would abandon his best friends, but, in his opinion, the very worst pa.t of the and join with his worst enemies to oppose example set is, in the late assumption of citi- either the means or the end; and to resist all zenship by the army, and the whole of the ar- violent exertions of the spirit of innovation, so rangement, or rather disarrangement of their distant from all principles of true and safe remilitary. He was sorry that his right ho- formation ; a spirit well calculated to overturn nourable friend (Mr. Fox) had dropped even states, but perfectly unfit to amend them. a word expressive of exultation on that cir. That he was no enemy to reformation. Alcumstance; or that ho scemed of opinion that most every business in which he was much conthe objection from standing armies was at all cerned, from the first day he sat in that house !essened by it. He attributed this opinion of to that hour, was a business of reformation ; Mr. Fox entirely to his known zeal for the and when he had not been employed in corbest of all causes, Liberty. That it was with recting, he had been employed in resisting à pain inexpressible he was obliged to have abuses. Some traces of this spirit in him now even the shadow of a difference with his friend, stand on their statute-book. In his opinion, whose authority would be always great with any thing which unnecessarily tore to pieces him, and with all thinking people-Quæ max- the contexture of the state, not only prevented ima semper censetur nobis, et erit quæ maxima all real reformation, but introduced evils which semper.-His confidence in Mr. Fox was such, would call, but perhaps, call in vain, for new and so ample, as to be almost implicit. That reformation. he was not ashamed to avow that degree of That he thought the French nation very un docility. That when the choice is well made, wise. What they valued themselves on, was
sirengthens instead of oppressing our intel- a disgrace to them. They had gloried (and oct. That he who calls in the aid of an equal some people in England had thought fit to take understanding doubles his own. He who pro- share in that glory) in making a revolution ; fts of a superiour understanding, raises his as if revolutions were good things in themselves. powers to a level with the height of a superiour All the horrours, and all the crimes of the understanding he unites with. He had found anarchy which led to their revolution, whicn the benefit of such a junction, and would not attend its progress, and which may virtually lightly depart from it. He wished almost, on attend it in its establishment, pass for nothing all occasions, that his sentiments were under- with the lovers of revolutions. The French stood to be conveyed in Mr. Fox's words; and have made their way through the destruction that he wished, as among the greatest benefits of their country, to a bad constitution, when he could wish the country, an eminent share they were absolutely in possession of a good of power to that right honourable gentleman; one. They were in possession of it the day because he knew that, to his great and mas- the states met in separate orders. Their buterly understanding, he had joined the greatest siness, had they been either virtuous, or wise, possible degree of that natural moderation, or had been left to their own judgment, was which is the best corrective of power; that he to secure the stability and independence of the was of the most artless, candid, open, and be- states, according to those orders, under the nevolent disposition; disinterested in the ex- monarch on the throne. It was then their duty treme; of a temper mild and placable, even to to redress grievances. 2 fault; without one drop of gall in his whole Instead of redressing grievances, and imconstitution.
proving the fabric of their state, to which they That the house must perceive, from his were called by their monarch, and sent by coming forward to mark an expression or two their country, they were made to take a very of his best friend, how anxious he was to keep different course. They first destroyed all the the distemper of France from the least counte- balances and counterpoises which serve to fix nanre in England, where he wes sure some the state, and to give it a steady direction; and
which furnish sure correctives to any violent to the events which had happened in France, spirit which may prevail in any of the orders. where the abstract principle was clothed with These balances existed in their oldest consti- its circumstances, he thought that his friend tution; and in the constitution of this country; would agree with him, that what was done and in the constitution of all the countries in there furnished no matter of exultation, either Europe. These they rashly destroyed, and then in the act or the example. These soldiers they melted down the whole into one incongru- were not citizens; but base hireling mutineers, ous, ill-connected mass.
and mercenary sordid deserters, wholly destiWhen they had done this, they instantly, tute of any honourable principle. Their con and with the most atrocious perfidy and breach duct was one of the fruits of that anarchic of all faith among men, laid the axe to the root spirit, from the evils of which a democracy of all property, and consequently of all national itself was to be resorted to, by those who were prosperity, by the principles they established, the least disposed to that form, as a sort of and the example they set, in confiscating all refuge. It was not an army in corps and with the possessions of the church. They made discipline, and embodied under the respectable and recorded a sort of institute and digest of patriot citizens of the state in resisting tyranny. anarchy, called the rights of man, in such a Nothing like it. It was the case of common pedantic abuse of elementary principles as soldiers deserting from their officers, to join a would have disgraced boys at school; but this furious, licentious populace. It was a deserdeclaration of rights was worse than trifling tion to a cause, the real object of which was to and pedantic in them; as their name and level all those institutions, and to break all authority they systematically destroyed every those connections, natural and civil, that regu hold of authority by opinion, religious or civil, late and hold together the community by a chain on the minds of the people. By this mad de- of subordination ; to raise soldiers against their claration they subverted the state ; and brought officers; servants against their masters; tradeson such calamities as no country, without a men against their customers ; artificers against long war, has ever been known to suffer, and their employers ; tenants against their landwhich may in the end produce such a war, lords; curates against their bishops; and chiland perhaps, many such.
dren against their parents. That this cause With them the question was not between of theirs was not an enemy to servitude, but to despotism and liberty. The sacrifice they made society. of the peace and power of their country was He wished the house to consider, how the not made on the altar of freedom. Freedom, members would like to have their mansions and a better security for freedom than that pulled down and pillaged, their persons abused, they have taken, they might have had without insulted, and destroyed; their title deeds any sacrifice at all. They brought themselves brought out and burned before their faces, and into all the calamities they suffer, not that themselves and their families driven to seek rethrough them they might obtain a British con- fuge in every nation throughout Europe, for no stitution; they plunged themselves headlong other reason than this; that without any fault into those calamities, to prevent themselves of theirs, they were born gentlemen, and men from settling into that constitution, or into any of property, and were suspected of a desire to thing resembling it.
preserve their consideration and their estates. That if they should perfectly succeed in what The desertion in France was to aid an abomithey propose, as they are likely enough to do, nable sedition, the very professed principle of and establish a democracy, or a mob of demo which was an implacable hostility to nobility cracies, in a country circumstanced like France, and gentry, and whose savage war-whoop was they will establish a very bad government--a “à ľ' Aristocrate," by which senseless, bloody very bad species of tyranny.
cry, they animated one another to rapine and That, the worst effect of all their procee- murder; whilst abelled by ambitious men of ding was on their military, which was rendered another class, they were crushing every thing an army for every purpose but that of defence. respectable and virtuous in their nation, and v That, if the question was, whether soldiers their power disgracing almost every name, by were to forget they were citizens, as an ab- which we formerly knew there was such a stract proposition, he could have no diffe- country in the world as France. rence about it; though as it is usual, when He knew too well, and he felt as much as abstract principles are to be applied, much any man, how difficult it was to accommodate was to be thought on the manner of uniting the a standing army to a free constitution, or to character of citizen and soldier. But as applied any constitution. An armed, disciplined body
is, in its essence, dangerous to liberty ; undis- To this prince, so invited, the aristocratic ciplined it is ruinous to society. Its compo- leaders who commanded the troops went over nent parts are, in the latter case, neither good with their several corps, in bodies, to the de citizens nor good soldiers. What have they liverer of their country. Aristocratic leaders thought of in France, under such a difficulty as brought up the corps of citizens who newly almost puts the human faculties to a stand ? enlisted in this cause. Military obedience They have put their army under such a variety changed ils object; but military discipline was of principles of duty, that it is more likely to not for a moment interrupted in its principle. breed litigants, pettifoggers, and mutincers, The troops were ready for war, but indisposed than soldiers.* They have set up, to balance to mutiny. their crown army, another army, deriving un- But as the conduct of the English armies der another authoriiy, called a municipal army was different, so was that of the whole English -a balance of armies, not of orders. These nation at that time. In truth, the circulilatter they have destroyed with crery mark of stances of our revolution (as it is called) and insult and oppression. States may, and they that of France are just the reverse of each will best, exist with a partition of civil powers. other in almost every particular, and in the Armies cannot exist under a divided command. whoic spirit of the transaction. With us i This state of things he thought, in effect, a was the case of a legal monarch attempting state of war, or, at best, but a truce instead arbitrary power—in France it is the case of of peace, in the country.
an arbitrary monarch, beginning, from wha:What a dreadful thing is a standing army, ever cause, lo legalise his authority. The one for the conduct of the whole or any part of was to be resisted, the other was to be manawhich, no man is responsible ! In the present ged and directed; but in neither case was the state of the French crown army, is the crown order of the state to be changed, lest governresponsible for the whole of it? Is there any ment might be ruined, which ought only to be general who can be responsible for the obe corrected and legalised. With us we go. rid of dience of a brigade ? any colonel for that of a the man, and preserved the constituent parts regiment? Any captain for that of a company? of the state. There they get rid of !! conAnd as to the municipal army, reinforced as it is stituent parts of the state, and keep the man. by the new citizen-deserters. under whose com- What we did was in truth and substance, and mand are they? Have we not seen them, not in a constitutional light, a revolution, not led by, but draggiug their nominal commander made, but prevented. We took solid secu with a rope about his neck, when they, or those rities; we settled doubtful questions; we corwhom they accompanied, proceeded to the most rected anomalies in our law. In the stable atrocious acts of treason and murder? Are any fundamental parts of our constitution we made of these armies ? Are any of these citizens ? no revolution; no, nor any alteration at all
We have in such a difficulty as that of fitting We did not impair the monarchy. Perhaps it a standing army 10 the state, he conceived, might be shewn that we strengthened it very done much better. We have not distracted considerably. The nation kept the same ranks, our army by divided principles of obedience. the same orders, the same privileges, the same We have put them under a single authority, franchises, the same rules for property, the with a siniple (our common) oath of fidelity; same subordinations, the same order in the law, and we keep the whole under our annual in- in the revenue, and in the magistracy; the spection. This was doing all that could be same lords, the same commons, the same corsafely done.
porations, the same electors. He felt somo concern that this strange thing The church was not impaired. Her estates, called a Revolution in France, should be com- her majesty, her splendour, her orders and gra. pared with the glorious event commonly called dations continued the same.
She was preser the Revolution in England; and the conduct ved in her full efficiency, and cleared only of of the soldiery, on that occasion, compared a certain intolerance, which was her weak. with the behaviour of some of the troops of ness and disgrace. The church and the state France in the present instance. At that period were the same after the revolution that they the Prince of Orange, a prince of the blood were before, but better secured in every part. royal in England, was called in by the fower Was little done because a revolution was of the English aristocracy to defend its ancient not made in the constitution ? No! Every constitution, and not to level all distinctions. thing was done ; because we commenced with
reparation not with ruin. Accordingly the state They are sworn to obey the king, the nation, flourished. Instead of lying as dead, in a sort and the law
of trance, or exposed as some others, in an epileptic fit, to the pity or derision of the the particulars of their conduct. He declared, wird, for her wild, ridiculous, convulsive that he did not affect a democracy. That he o svoments, impotent to every purpose but that always thought any of the simple, unbalanced of lashing out her brains against the pave- governments bad ; simple monarchy, simple ment, Great Britain rose above the standard, aristocracy, simple democracy; he held them evin o her former self. An æra of a more all imperfect or vicious: all were bad by them. improred domestic prosperity then commenced, selves: the composition alone was good. That and still continues, not only unimpaired, but these had been always his principles, in which growing, under the wasting hand of time. All he had agreed with his friend Mr. Burke, of ihc energies of the country were awakened. whom he said many kind and Aattering things, England never preserved a firmer countenance, which Mr. Burke, I take it for granted, will or a more vigorous arm, to all her enemies, and know himself 100 well to think he merits, from to all her rivals. Europe under her respired any thing but Mr. Fox's acknowledged goodand revived. Every where she appeared as nature. Mr. Fox thought, however, that, in the protector, assertor, or avenger of liberty. many cases, Mr. Burke was rather carried too A war was made and supported against fortune far by his hatred to innovation. tself. The trouly of Ryswick, which first Mr. Burke said, he well knew that these had imited the power of France, was soon after been Mr. Fox's invariable opinions; that they made: the grand alliance very shortly followed, were a sure ground for the confidence of his which stook to the foundations the dreadful country. But he had been fearful, that cabals power which menaced the independence of of very different intentions, would be ready to mankind. The states of Europe lay happy make use of his great name, against his chaunder the shade of a great and free monarchy, racter and sentiments, in order to derive a which knew how to be great without endan- credit to their destructive machinations. gering its own peace at home, or the mternal Mr. Sheridan then rose, and marle a lively or external peace of any of its neighbours. and eloquent speech against Mr. Buche; in
Mr. Burke said he should have felt very un- which, among other things, he said whal Mr pleasantly if he had not delivered these senti- Burke had libelled the national assembly of ments. He was near the end of his natural, France, and had cast ont relections 07 sub probably still nearer the end of his political characters as those of ulc Misopis de la Fa: career; that he was weak and weary; and yette and Mr. Bailly. wished for rest. That he was little disposed Mr. Burke said that lie did not liber ile na10 controversies, or what is called a detailed tional assembly of France, whom he couldered opposition. That at his time of life, if he very little ir. ihe discussion of these inatters. could not do something by some sort of weight That he thought all the substantial power reof opinion, natural or acquired, it was useless sided in the republic of Paris, whosu authoand indecorous to attempt any thing by mere rity guided, or whose example was followed struggle. Turpe senex miles. That he had by, all the republics of France. The refor that reason little attended the army busi- public of Paris had an army under their ness, or that of the revenue, or almost any or'ers, and not under those of the nationa: other matter of detail for some years past. , assembly. That he had, however, his task. He was far N. B. As to the particular gentlemen, I do from condemning such opposition; on the con- not remember that Mr. Burke mentioned either trary, he most highly applauded it, where a of them-certainly not Mr. Bailly. He allujust occasion existed for it, and gentlemen had ded, undoubtedly, to the case of the Marquis vigour and capacity to pursue it. Where a de la Fayette; but whether what he asserted great occasion occurred, he was, and while he of him be a libel on him, must be left to those continued in parliamepi, would be among the who are acquainted with the business. most active and die most earnest, as he hoped Mr. Pitt concluded the debate with becohe had shewn on a late event. With respect ming gravity and dignity, and a reserve on to the constitution itself, he wished few alte- both sides of the question, as related to France, rations in it. Happy if he left it not the worso fit for a person in a ministerial situation. He for any share he had taken in its service. said, that what he had spoken only regarded
Mr. Fox then rose, and declared, in sub- France when she should unite, which he rather stance, that so far as regarded the French thought she soon might, with the liberty she army, he went no farther than the general had acquired, the blessings of law and order. principle, by which that army shewed itself He, too, said several civil things concerning indisposed to be an instrument in the servitude the sentiments of Mr. Burke, as applied to this of their fellow-citizens, but did not enter into country.