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by it along the whole course of the Rhine, the Maese, the Moselle, and in the greater part of Suabia and Franconia. It is particularly prevalent amongst all the lower people, churchmen and laity in the dominions of the ecclesiastical electors. It Ecclesiastiis not easy to find or to conceive governments more mild and indulgent than these church sovereignties; but good government is as nothing when the rights of man take possession of the mind. Indeed the loose rein held over the people in these provinces must be considered as one cause of the facility with which they lend themselves to any schemes of innovation, by inducing them to think lightly of their governments, and to judge of grievances, not by feeling, but, by imagination. It is in these electorates that the first impressions Balance of
Germany. of France are likely to be made, and if they succeed, it is over with the Germanick body as it stands at present. A great revolution is preparing in Germany; and a revolution, in my opinion, likely to be more decisive upon the general fate of nations than that of France itself; other than as in France is to be found the first source of all the principles which are in any way likely to distinguish the troubles and convulsions of our If Europe does not conceive the independence, and the equilibrium of the empire to be in the very essence of the system of balanced power in Europe, and if the scheme of publick law, or mass of laws,
Prussia and emperour.
upon which that independence and equilibrium are founded, be of no leading consequence as they are preserved or destroyed, all the politicks of Europe for more than two centuries have been miserably erroneous.
If the two great leading powers of Germany do not regard this danger (as apparently they do not) in the light in which it presents itself so naturally, it is because they are powers too great to have a social interest. That sort of interest belongs only to those, whose state of weakness or mediocrity is such as to give them greater cause of apprehension from what may destroy them, than of hope from any thing by which they may be aggrandized.
As long as those two princes are at variance, so long the liberties of Germany are safe. But, if ever they should so far understand one another, as to be persuaded that they have a more direct and more certainly defined interest in a proportioned, mutual aggrandizement, than in a reciprocal reduction, that is, if they come to think that they are more likely to be enriched by a division of spoil, than to be rendered secure by keeping to the old policy of preventing others from being spoiled by either of them, from that moment the liberties of Germany are no more.
That a junction of two in such a scheme is neither impossible nor improbable, is evident from the partition of Poland in 1778, which was
effected by such a junction as made the interposition of other nations to prevent it, not easy. Their circumstances, at that time hindered any other three states, or indeed any two, from taking measures in common to prevent it, though France was at that time an existing power, and had not yet learned to act upon a system of politicks of her own invention. The geographical position of Poland was a great obstacle to any movements of France in opposition to this, at that time, unparalleled league. To my certain knowledge, if Great Britain had at that time been willing to concur in preventing the execution of a project so dangerous in the example, even exhausted as France then was by the preceding war, and under a lazy and unenterprising prince, she would have at every risk taken an active part in this business. But a languor with regard to so remote an interest, and the principles and passions which were then strongly at work at home, were the causes why Great Britain would not give France any encouragement in such an enterprise. At that time, however, and with regard to that object, in my opinion, Great Britain and France had a common interest. But the position of Germany is not like that of Possible
project of Poland, with regard to France either for good or the empefor evil. If a conjunction between Prussia and king of the emperour should be formed for the
of secularizing and rendering hereditary the eccle
To be resisted only
siastical electorates and the bishoprick of Munster, for settling two of them on the children of the emperour, and uniting Cologne and Munster to the dominions of the king of Prussia on the Rhine, or if any other project of mutual aggrandizement should be in prospect, and that, to facilitate such a scheme, the modern French should be permitted and encouraged to shake the internal and external security of these ecclesiastical electorates, Great Britain is so situated, that she could not with any effect set herself in opposition to such a design. Her principal arm, her marine, could here be of no sort of use.
France, the author of the treaty of Westphalia, by France. is the natural guardian of the independence and balance of Germany.
Great Britain (to say nothing of the king's concern as one of that august body) has a serious interest in preserving it; but, except through the power of France, acting upon the common old principles of state policy, in the case we have supposed, she has no sort of means of supporting that interest. It is always the interest of Great Britain that the power of France should be kept within the bounds of moderation. It is not her interest that that power should be wholly annihilated in the system of Europe. Though at one time through France the independence of Europe was endangered, it is, and ever was, through her alone that the common liberty of Germany
can be secured against the single or the combined ambition of any other power. In truth, within this century the aggrandizement of other sovereign houses has been such that there has been a great change in the whole state of Europe ; and other nations as well as France may become objects of jealousy and apprehension.
In this state of things, a new principle of alli- New prinances and wars is opened. The treaty of West- alliance. phalia is, with France, an antiquated fable. The rights and liberties she was bound to maintain are now a system of wrong and tyranny which she is bound to destroy. Her good and ill dispositions are shewn by the same means. To communicate peaceably the rights of men is the true mode of her shewing her friendship; to force sovereigns to submit to those rights is her mode of hostility. So that either as friend or foe her whole scheme has been, and is, to throw the empire into confusion: and those statesmen, who follow the old routine of politicks, may see, in this general confusion, and in the danger of the lesser princes, an occasion, as protectors or enemies, of connecting their territories to one or the other of the two great German powers. They do not take into consideration that the means which they encourage, as leading to the event they desire, will with certainty not only ravage and destroy the empire, but, if they should for a moment seem to aggrandize the two great houses, will also establish prin