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affairs of Germany. They came to aid a party there. When the English and Dutcb intermeddled in the succession of Spain, they appeared as allies to the emperour Charles the Sixth. In short, the policy has been as uniform as its principles were obvious to an ordinary eye.
According to all the old principles of law and policy, a regency ought to have been appointed by the French princes of the blood, nobles, and parliaments, and then recognised by the combined powers. Fundamental law and ancient usage, as well as the clear reason of the thing, have always ordained it during an imprisonment of the king of France; as in the case of John, and of Francis the First. A monarchy ought not to be left a moment without a representative, having an interest in the succession. The orders of the state ought also to have been recognised in those amongst whom alone they existed in freedom, that is, in the emigrants.
Thus, laying down a firm foundation on the recognition of the authorities of the kingdom of France, according to nature and to its fundamental laws, and not according to the novel and inconsiderate principles of the usurpation which the united powers were come to extirpate, the king of Prussia and the emperour, as allies of the ancient kingdom of France, would have proceeded with dignity, first, to free the monarch, if
possible ; if not, to secure the monarchy as principal in the design; and in order to avoid all risks to that great object (the object of other
than the present, and of other countries than that of France) they would of course avoid proceeding with more haste, or in a different manner than what the nature of such an object required.
Adopting this, the only rational system, the rational mode of proceeding upon it, was to commence with an effective siege of Lisle, which the French generals must have seen taken before their faces, or be forced to fight. A plentiful country of friends, from whence to draw supplies, would have been behind them; a plentiful country of enemies, from whence to force supplies, would have been before them. Good towns were always within reach to deposit their hospitals and magazines. The march from Lisle to Paris is through a less defensible country, and the distance is hardly so great as from Longwy to Paris.
If the old politick and military ideas had governed, the advanced guard would have been formed of those who best knew the country, and had some interest in it, supported by some of the best light troops and light artillery, whilst the grand solid body of an army disciplined to perfection, proceeded leisurely, and in close connexion with all its stores, provisions, and heavy cannon, to support the expedite body in case of misadventure, or to improve and complete its success. H4
The direct contrary of all this was put in
practice. In consequence of the original sin of this
of the French princes was every where thrown into the rear, and no part of it brought forward to the last moment, the time of the commencement of the secret negotiation. This naturally made an ill impression on the people, and furnished an occasion for the rebels at Paris to give out that the faithful subjects of the king were distrusted, despised, and abhorred by his allies. The march was directed through a skirt of Lorraine, and thence into a part of Champagne, the Duke of Brunswick leaving all the strongest places behind him; leaving also behind him, the strength of his artillery; and by this means giving a superiority to the French, in the only way in which the present France is able to oppose a German force.
In consequence of the adoption of those false politicks, which turned every thing on the king's sole and single person, the whole plan of the war was reduced to nothing but a coup de main, in order to set that prince at liberty. If that failed every thing was to be given up.
The scheme of a coup de main might (under favourable circumstances) be very fit for a partisan at the head of a light corps, by whose failure nothing material would be deranged. But for a royal army of eighty thousand men, headed by a king in person, who was to march an hundred
and fifty miles through an enemy's country-surely this was a plan unheard of.
Although this plan was not well chosen, and proceeded upon principles altogether ill judged and impolitick, the superiority of the military force might in a great degree have supplied the defects, and furnished a corrective to the mistakes. The greater probability was that the Duke of Brunswick would make his way to Paris over the bellies of the rabble of drunkards, robbers, assassins, rioters, muțineers, and half-grown boys, under the ill-obeyed command of a theatrical, vapouring, reduced captain of cavalry, who opposed that great commander and great army. But-Diis aliter visum—He began to treat, the winds blew, the rains beat, the house fell-because it was built upon sand--and great was the fall thereof. This march was not an exact copy of either of the two marches made by the Duke of Parma into France.
There is some secret. Sickness and weather may defeat an army pursuing a wrong plan; not that I believe the sickness to have been so great as it has been reported; but there is a great deal of superfluous humiliation in this business, a perfect prodigality of disgrace. Some advantage, real or imaginary, must compensate to a great sovereign, and to a great general, for so immense a loss of reputation. Longwy, situated as it is, might (one should think) be evacuated without a capitulation with a republick just proclaimed by the king of Prussia as an usurping and rebellious body. He was not far from Luxembourg. He might have taken away the obnoxious French in his flight. It does not appear to have been necessary that those magistrates who declared for their own king, on the faith, and under the immediate protection, of the king of Prussia, should be delivered over to the gallows. It was not necessary that the emigrant nobility and gentry who served with the king of Prussia's army, under his immediate command, should be excluded from the cartel, and given up to be hanged as rebels. Never was so gross, and so cruel a breach of the publick faith, not with an enemy, but with a friend. Dumourier has dropped very singular hints. Custine has spoken out more broadly. These accounts have never been contradicted. They tend to make an eternal rupture between the powers. The French have given out, that the Duke of Brunswick endeavoured to negotiate some name and place for the captive king, amongst the murderers and proscribers of those who have lost their all for his cause. Even this has not been denied.