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France. The Muscovites are no great speculators ---but I should not much rely on their uninquisitive disposition, if any of their ordinary motives to sedition should arise. The little catechism of the rights of men is soon learned; and the inferences are in the passions.
Poland, from one cause or other, is always unquiet. The new constitution only serves to supply that restless people with new means, at least new modes of cherishing their turbulent disposition. The bottom of the character is the same.
It is a great question, whether the joining that crown with the electorate of Saxony will contribute most to strengthen the royal authority of Poland, or to shake the ducal in Saxony. The elector is a Catholick; the people of Saxony are, six sevenths at the very least, Protestants. He must continue a Catholick, according to the Polish law, if he accepts that crown. The pride of the Saxons, formerly flattered by having a crown in the house of their prince, though an honour which cost them dear; the German probity, fidelity and loyalty; the weight of the constitution of the empire under the treaty of Westphalia ; the good temper and good nature of the princes of the house of Saxony; had formerly removed from the people all apprehension with regard to their religion, and kept them perfectly quiet, obedient, and even affectionate. The seven years war made some change in the minds of the
Saxons. They did not, I believe, regret the loss of what might be considered almost as the succession to the crown of Poland, the possession of which, by annexing them to a foreign interest, had often obliged them to act an arduous part, towards the support of which that foreign interest afforded no proportionable strength. In this
delicate situation of their political interests, the speculations of the French and German economists, and the cabals, and the secret, as well as publick doctrines of the illuminatenorden and free masons, have made a considerable progress in that country; and a turbulent spirit under colour of religion, but in reality arising from the French rights of man, has already shewn itself, and is ready on every occasion to blaze out.
The present elector is a prince of a safe and quiet temper, of great prudence, and goodness. He knows, that, in the actual state of things, not the power and respect belonging to sovereigns, but their
very existence depends on a reasonable frugality. It is very certain that not one sovereign in Europe can either promise for the continuance of his authority in a state of indigence and insolvency, or dares to venture on a new imposition to relieve himself. Without abandoning wholly the ancient magnificence of his court, the elector has conducted his affairs with infinitely more economy, than any of his predecessors, so as to restore his finances beyond what was thought possible from
the state in which the seven years war had left Saxony. Saxony, during the whole of that dreadful period having been in the hands of an exasperated enemy, rigorous by resentment, by nature and by necessity, was obliged to bear in a manner the whole burden of the war; in the intervals when their allies prevailed, the inhabitants of that country were not better treated.
The moderation and prudence of the present elector, in my opinion, rather perhaps respites the troubles than secures the peace of the electorate. The offer of the succession to the crown of Poland is truly critical, whether he accepts, or whether he declines it. If the states will consent to his acceptance, it will add to the difficulties, already great, of his situation between the king of Prussia and the Emperour. But these thoughts lead me too far, when I mean to speak only of the interiour condition of these princes. It has always however some necessary connexion with their foreign politicks.
With regard to Holland, and the ruling party there, I do not think it at ail tainted, or likely to be so except by fear; or that it is likely to be misled unless indirectly and circuitously. But the predominant party in Holland is not Holland. The suppressed faction, though suppressed, exists. Under the ashes, the embers of the late commotions are still warm. The anti-orange party has from the day of its origin been French, though the
alienated in some degree for some time, through the pride and folly of Louis the fourteenth. It will ever hanker after a French connexion ; and now that the internal government in France has been assimilated in so considerable a degree to that which the immoderate republicans began so very lately to introduce into Holland, their connexion, as still more natural, will be more desired. I do not well understand the present exterior politicks of the Stadtholder, nor the treaty into which the newspapers say he has entered for the states with
emperour. But the emperour's own politicks with regard to the Netherlands seem to me to be exactly calculated to answer the purpose of the French revolutionists. He endeavours to crush the aristocratick party—and to nourish one in avowed connexion with the most furious democratists in France.
These provinces in which the French game is so well played, they consider as part of the old French empire : certainly they were amongst the oldest parts of it. These they think very
well situated, as their party is well-disposed to a reunion. As to the greater nations, they do not aim at making a direct conquest of them, but by disturbing them through a propagation of their principles, they hope to weaken, as they will weaken them, and to keep them in perpetual alarm and agitation, and thus render all their efforts
against them utterly impracticable, whilst they extend the dominion of their sovereign anarchy on all sides.
As to England, there may be some apprehension from vicinity, from constant communication, and from the very name of liberty, which, as it ought to be very dear to us, in its worst abuses carries something seductive. It is the abuse of the first and best of the objects which we cherish. I know that
many, who sufficiently dislike the system of France, have yet no apprehension of its prevalence here. I say nothing to the ground of this security in the attachment of the people to their constitution, and their satisfaction in the discreet portion of liberty which it measures out to them. Upon this I have said all I have to say, in the appeal I have published. That security is something, and not inconsiderable. But if a storm arises I should not much rely upon it.
There are other views of things which may be used to give us a perfect (though in my opinion a delusive) assurance of our own security. The first of these is from the weakness and ricketty nature of the new system in the place of its first formation. It is thought that the monster of a commonwealth cannot possibly live—that at any rate the ill contrivance of their fabrick will make it fall in pieces of itself—that the Assembly must be bankrupt, and that this bankruptcy will totally destroy
Objection to the stability of the French system.