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THOUGHTS

ON

FRENCH AFFAIRS,

&c. &c.

WRITTEN IN DECEMBER,

1791,

THOUGHTS

ON

FRENCH AFFAIRS,

&c. &c.

Montmo

IN
N all our transactions with France, and at all

periods, we have treated with that state on the footing of a monarchy. Monarchy was considered in all the external relations of that kingdom with every power in Europe as its legal and constitutional government, and that in which alone its federal capacity was vested.

It is not yet a year since Monsieur de Montmorin formally, and with as little respect as can be ima- rin’s Letter. gined to the king, and to all crowned heads, announced a total revolution in that country. He has informed the British ministry, that its frame of government is wholly altered; that he is one of the ministers of the new system; and, in effect, that the king is no longer his master (nor does he even call him such) but the “ first of the ministers," in the new system.

The

Acceptance of the contified,

.

The second notification was that of the king's stitution ra- acceptance of the new constitution ; accompanied

with fanfaronades in the modern style of the French bureaus; things which have much more the air and character of the saucy declamations of their clubs, than the tone of regular office.

It has not been very usual to notify to foreign courts any thing concerning the internal arrangements of any state. In the present case, the circumstance of these two notifications, with the observations with which they are attended, does not leave it in the choice of the sovereigns of Christendom to appear ignorant either of this French Revolution, or (what is more important) of its principles.

We know, that, very soon after this manifesto of Monsieur de Montmorin, the king of France, in whose name it was made, found himself obliged to fly, with his whole family ; leaving behind him a declaration, in which he disavows and annuls that constitution, as having been the effect of force on his person and usurpation on his authority. It is equally notorious that this unfortunate prince was, with many circumstances of insult and outrage, brought back prisoner, by a deputation of the pretended National Assembly, and afterwards suspended, by their authority, from his government. Under equally notorious constraint, and under menaces of total deposition, he has been compelled to

accept

accept what they call a constitution, and to agree to whatever else the usurped power, which holds him in confinement, thinks proper to impose.

His next brother, who had fled with him, and his third brother, who had fled before him, all the princes of his blood, who remained faithful to him, and the flower of his magistracy, his clergy, and his nobility, continue in foreign countries, protesting against all acts done by him in his present situation, on the grounds upon which he had himself protested against them at the time of his flight; with this addition, that they deny his very competence, (as on good grounds they may) to abrogate the royalty, or the ancient constitutional orders of the kingdom. In this protest they are joined by three hundred of the late assembly itself, and, in effect, by a great part of the French nation. The new government (so far as the people dare to disclose their sentiments) is disdained, I am persuaded, by the greater number; who, as M. de la Fayette complains, and as the truth is, have declined to take any share in the new elections to the National Assembly, either as candidates or electors.

In this state of things (that is in the case of a divided kingdom) by* the law of nations, Great Britain, like every other power, is free to take any part she pleases. She may decline, with more or

* See Vattel, b. ii. c.4. sect. 56. and b. iii. c. 18. sect. 296.

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