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URING the early progress of the French revolution, and long before any decided part was taken by Great Britain, a debate relative to the army estimates, on the 9th of February 1790, led to a very violent shock or conflict of opinions between Mr. Burke and Mr. Fox. The former argued in favor of a reduction of the peace éstablishment, from the state of perfect security which the nation at that time enjoyed ; professing that, on a review of all Europe, he did not find that politically we stood in the smallest degree of danger, from one state or kingdom it contained ; nor that any foreign powers, but our own allies, were likely to obtain a preponderance in the scale. “ France," said he, “has hitherto been our first object in all considerations concerning the balance of power ; but France is in a political light to be considered as expunged out of the system of Europe. Whether she ever could appear in it again, as a leading power, was not easy to determine; but at present he considered France as not politically existing, and most assuredly it would take up much time to restore her to her former active existence. Gallos quoque in bellis floruisse audivimus, might possibly be the language of the rising generation. He did not mean to deny that it was our duty to keep our eye on that nation, and to regulate our preparation by the symptoms of her recovery. That it

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was to her strength, not to her form of government that we were to attend; because republics, as well as monarchies, were susceptible of ambition, jealousy, and anger, the usual causes of war. But if, whilst France continued in this swoon, we should go on increasing our expences, we should certainly make ourselves less a match for her, when it became our concern to arm. It was said, that, as she had speedily fallen, she might speedily rise again. He doubted this. That the fall from an height was with an accelerated velocity, but to lift up a weight to that height again, was difficult, and opposed by the laws of physical and political gravitation. In a political view, France was low indeed. She had lost every thing-even to her name.

"-Jacet ingens littore truncus,

“ Avulsumque humeris caput, et sine nomine corpus.” He was astonished at it-he was alarmed at it-he trembled at the uncertainty of all human greatness.

« Since the House had been prorogued in the summer, much work was done in France. The French had shewn themselves the ablest architects of ruin, that had hitherto existed in the world. In that


space of time they had completely pulled down to the ground their monarchy, their church, their nobility, their law, their revenue, their army, their navy, their commerce, their arts, and their manufactures. They had done their business for us as rivals, in a way which twenty Ramilies or Blenheims could never have done it. Were we absolute conquerors, and France to lie prostrate at out feet, we should be ashamed to send a commission to settle their affairs, which would impose so hard a law upon the French, and so destructive of all their consequence, as a nation, as that they had imposed upon themselves.

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« France,

“France, by the mere circumstances of its vicinity, had been, and in a degree always must be, an object of our vigilance, either with regard to her actual power, or to her influence and example. As to the former he had spoken ; as to the latter, (her esample) he should say a few words; for by this example, our friendship and our intercourse with that nation had once been, and might again become, more dangerous to us than their worst hostility. In the last century, Louis the fourteenth had established a greater and better disciplined force than ever had been before seen in Europe, and with it a perfect despotism. Though that despotism was proudly arrayed in manners, gallantry, splendor, magnificence, and even covered over with the, imposing robes of science, literature, and arts, it was in government nothing better than a painted and gilded tyranny; in religion, an hard, stern, intolerance, the fit companion and auxiliary to the de. spotic tyranny which prevailed in its government. The same character of despotism insinuated itself into every court of Europe the same spirit of disproportioned magnificence-the same love of standing armies, above the ability of the people. In particular our then sovereigns, King CHARLES and King James, fell in love with the government of their neighbour, so flattering to the pride of Kings. A similarity of sentiments brought on connections equally dangerous to the liberties and interests of their country. It were well that the infection had gone no farther than the throne. The admiration of a government flourishing and successful, unchecked in its operations, and seeming, therefore, to compass its objects more speedily and effectually, gained something upon all ranks of people. The good patriots of that day, however, struggled against it. They sought nothing more anxiously than to break off all communication with


France, and to beget a total alienation from its councils and its example; which, by the animosity prevalent between the abettors of their religious system, and the assertors of ours, was, in some degree, effected. This day the evil is totally changed in France; but there is an evil there. The disease is altered ; but the vicinity of the coun

! tries remains, and must remain; and the natural mental

l habits of mankind are such, that the present distemper of France is far more likely to be contagious than the old one ; for it is not quite easy to spread a passion for servi. tude among the people; but in all evils of the opposite kind, our natural inclinations are flattered. In the case of despotism, there is the fædum crimen servitutis ; in the last the falsa species libertatis; and accordingly, as the historian says, pronis auribus accipitur.

“ In the last age, we were in danger of being entangled by the example of France in the net of a relentless despo. tism. It is not necessary to say any thing upon that example; it exists no longer. Our present danger from the example of a people, whose character knows no medium, is, with regard to government, a danger from anarchy; a danger of being led through an admiration of successful fraud and violence, to an imitation of the ex. cesses of an irrational, unprincipled, proscribing, confiscating, plundering, ferocious, bloody, and tyrannical democracy. On the side of religion, the danger of their example is no longer from intolerance, but from atheism, a foul, unnatural vice, foe to all the dignity and consolation of mankind; which seems in France, for a lontime, to have been embodied into a faction, accredited, and almost avowed.

“ These were our present dangers from France; but, in his opinion, the very worst part of the example set, was in the late assumption of citizenship by the army, and 5 3



the whole of the arrangement; or rather disarrangement of their military

“He was sorry that his right honorable friend (Mr. Fox] had dropped even a word expressive of exultation on that circumstance; or that he seemed of opinion that the objection from standing armies was at all lessened by it. Me attributed this opinion of Mr. Fox entirely to his known zeal for the best of all causes, liberty. That it was with a pain inexpressible he was obliged to have even the shadow of a difference with his friend, whose autho. rity would be always great with him, and all thinking people. Quæ maxima semper censetur nobis, et erit qua maxima semper. His confidence in Mr. Fox was such, and so ample, as to be almost implicit. That he was not ashamed to avow that degree of docility, that when the choice is well made, it strengthens instead of oppressing our intellects. That he who calls in the aid of an equal understanding, doubles his own. He who profits of a superior understanding, raises his powers to a level with the height of the superior understanding he unites with. He had found the benefit of such a junction, and would not lightly depart from it. He wished, almost on all occasions, that his sentiments were understood to be conveyed in Mr. Fox's words; and that he wished, as amongst the greatest benefits he could wish the country, an eminent share of power to that right honor. able gentleman ; because he knew that to his great and masterly understanding he had joined the greatest pose sible degree of that natural moderation, which is the best corrective of power; that he was of the most artless, candid, open, and benevolent disposition ; disinterested in the extreme; of a temper mild and placable even to a fault; without one drop of gall in his whole constitution.

“ That

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