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By the generality also of the menaces contained in this
paper (though infinitely aggravating the outrage) they hope to remove from each power separately the idea of a distinct affront. The persons first pointed at by the menace are certainly the princes of Germany, who harbour the persecuted house of Bourbon and the nobility of France; the declaration, however, is general, and goes to every state with which they may have a cause of quarrel. But the terrour of France has fallen upon all nations. A few months since all sovereigns seemed disposed to unite against her, at present they all seem to combine in her favour. At no period has the
power of France ever appeared with so formidable an aspect. In particular the liberties of the empire can have nothing more than an existence the most tottering and precarious, whilst France exists with a great power of fomenting rebellion, and the greatest in the weakest; but with neither power nor disposition to support the smaller states in their independence against the attempts of the more powerful.
I wind up all in a full conviction within my own breast, and the substance of which I must repeat over and over again, that the state of France is the first consideration in the politicks of Europe, and of each state, externally as well as internally considered. Most of the topicks I have used are drawn from fear and apprehension. Topicks derived from fear or addressed to it are, I well know, of doubtful appearance. To be sure, hope is in general the incitement to action. Alarm some men-you do not drive them to provide for their security ; you put them to a stand; you induce them, not to take measures to prevent the approach of danger, but to remove so unpleasant an idea from their minds; you persuade them to remain as they are, from a new fear that their activity may bring on the apprehended mischief before its time. I confess freely that this evil sometimes happens from an overdone precaution; but it is when the measures are rash, ill chosen, or ill combined, and the effects rather of blind terrour than of enlightened foresight. But the few to whom I wish to submit my thoughts are of a character which will enable them to see danger without astonishment, and to provide against it without perplexity.
To what lengths this method of circulating mutinous manifestos, and of keeping emissaries of sedition in every court under the name of ambassadors, to propagate the same principles and to follow the practices, will go, and how soon they will operate, it is hard to say--but go on it will --more or less rapidly, according to events, and to the humour of the time. The princes menaced
with the revolt of their subjects, at the same time that they have obsequiously obeyed the sovereign mandate of the new Roman senate, have received with distinction, in a public character, ambassadors from those who in the same act had circulated the manifesto of sedition in their dominions. This was the only thing wanting to the degradation and disgrace of the Germanick body.
The ambassadors from the rights of man, and their admission into the diplomatick system, I hold to be a new æra in this business. It will be the most important step yet taken to affect the existence of sovereigns, and the higher classes of life--I do not mean to exclude its effects upon all classes—but the first blow is aimed at the more prominent parts in the ancient order of things.
What is to be done?
It would be presumption in me to do more than to make a case. Many things occur. they, like all political measures, depend on dispositions, tempers, means, and external circumstances, for all their effect, not being well assured of these, I do not know how to let loose any speculations of mine on the subject. The evil is stated, in my opinion, as it exists. The remedy must be where power, wisdom, and information, I hope are more united with good intentions than they can be with me. I have done with this sub
ject, I believe, for ever.
It has given me many anxious moments for the two last years. great change is to be made in human affairs, the minds of men will be fitted to it; the general opinions and feelings will draw that way. Every fear, every hope, will forward it; and then they, who persist in opposing this mighty current in human affairs, will appear rather to resist the decrees of Providence itself, than the mere designs of men. They will not be resolute and firm, but perverse and obstinate.