« PreviousContinue »
considerable talents and resources. But with all their talents and resources, and the apparent momentary extent of their power, we see the fate of their projects, their power, and their persons. We see before our eyes the absurdity of thinking to establish order upon principles of confusion, or, with the materials and instruments of rebellion, to build up a solid and stable government,
Such partisans of a republick amongst us as may not have the worst intentions will see, that the principles, the plans, the manners, the morals, and the whole system, of France are altogether as adverse to the formation and duration of any rational scheme of a republick, as they are to that of a monarchy absolute or limited. It is indeed a system which can only answer the purposes of robbers and murderers.
The translator has only to say for himself, that he has found some difficulty in this version. His original author, through haste, perhaps, or through the perturbation of a mind filled with a great and arduous enterprise, is often obscure. There are some passages, too, in which his language requires to be first translated into French, at least into such French as the academy would in former times have tolerated. He writes with great force and vivacity; but the language, like every thing else in his country, has undergone a revolution.
The translator thought it best to be as literal as possible; conceiving such a translation would perhaps be the most fit to convey the author's peculiar mode of thinking. In this way the translator has no credit for style; but he makes it up in fidelity. Indeed the facts and observations are so much more important than the style, that no apology is wanted for producing them in any intelligible
[The address of M. BRISSOT to his Constituents being now almost forgotten, it has been thought right to add, as an Appendix, that part of it to which Mr. BURKE points our particular attention, and upon which he so forcibly comments in his Preface.]
HREE sorts of anarchy have ruined our affairs in Belgium.
The anarchy of the administration of Paché, which has completely disorganized the supply of our armies: which by that disorganization reduced the army of Dumourier to stop in the middle of its conquests; which struck it motionless through the months of November and December; which hindered it from joining Bournonville and Custine, and from forcing the Prussians and Austrians to repass the Rhine, and afterwards from putting themselves in a condition to invade Holland sooner than they did.
To this state of ministerial anarchy, it is necessary to join that other anarchy which disorganized the troops, and occasioned their habits of pillage; and lastly, that anarchy which created the revolutionary power, and forced the union to France of the countries we had invaded, before things were ripe for such a measure.
Who could, however, doubt the frightful evils that were occasioned in our armies by that doctrine of anarchy, which, under the shadow of equality of right, would establish equality of fact? This is universal equality, the scourge of society, as the other is the support of society. An anarchical doctrine which would level all things, talents, and ignorance, virtues, and vices, places, usages, and services; a doctrine which begot that fatal project of organizing the army, presented by Dubois de Crance, to which it will be indebted for a complete disorganization.
Mark the date of the presentation of the system of this equality of fact, entire equality. It had been projected and decreed even at the very opening of the Dutch campaign. If any project could encourage the want of discipline in the soldiers, any scheme could disgust and banish good officers, and throw all things into confusion at the moment when order alone could give victory, it is this project, in truth so stubbornly defended by the anarchists, and transplanted into their ordinary tacticks.
How could they expect that there should exist any discipline, any subordination, when even in the camp they permit motions, censures, and denunciations of officers, and of generals? Does not such a disorder destroy all the respect that is due to superiours, and all the mutual confidence without which success cannot be hoped for? For the
spirit of distrust makes the soldier suspicious, and intimidates the general. The first discerns treason in every danger; the second, always placed between the necessity of conquest, and the image of the scaffold, dares not raise himself to bold conception, and those heights of courage which electrify an army and ensure victory. Turenne, in our time, would have carried his head to the scaffold; for he was sometimes beat: but the reason why he more frequently conquered was, that his discipline was severe : it was, that his soldiers, confiding in his talents, never muttered discontent instead of fighting. Without reciprocal confidence between the soldier and the general, there can be no army, no victory, especially in a free government.
Is it not to the same system of anarchy, of equalisation, and want of subordination, which has been recommended in some clubs, and defended even in the Convention, that we owe the pillages, the murders, the enormities of all kinds which it was difficult for the officers to put a stop to, from the general spirit of insubordination; excesses which have rendered the French name odious to the Belgians? Again, is it not to this system of anarchy, and of robbery, that we are indebted for the revolutionary power, which has so justly aggravated the hatred of the Belgians against France ?
What did enlightened republicans think before the tenth of August, men who wished for liberty,