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merly had been able to stir up troubles by their discontents and to quiet them by their corruption. The chain of subordination, even in cabal and sedition, was broken in its most important links. It was no longer the great and the populace. Other interests were formed, other dependencies, other connections, other communications. The middle classes had swelled far beyond their former proportion. Like whatever is the most effectively rich and great in society, these classes became the seat of all the active politics, and the preponderating weight to decide on them. There were all the energies by which fortune is acquired; there the consequence of their success. There were all the talents which assert their pretensions, and are impatient of the place which settled society prescribes to them. These descriptions had got between the great and the populace; and the influence on the lower classes was with them. The spirit of ambition had taken possession of this class as violently as ever it had done of any other. They felt the importance of this situation. The correspondence of the moneyed and the mercantile world, the literary intercourse of academies, but above all, the press, of which they had in a manner entire possession, made a kind of electric communication everywhere. The press, in reality, has made every government, in its spirit, almost democratic. Without the great, the first movements in this revolution could not, perhaps, have been given. But the spirit of ambition, now for the first time connected with the spirit of speculation, was not to be restrained at will. There was no longer any means of arresting a principle in its course. When Louis the Sixteenth, under the influence of the enemies to monarchy, meant to found but one republic, he set up two; when he meant to take away half the crown of his neighbor, he lost the whole of his own. Louis the Sixteenth could not with impunity countenance a new republic. Yet between his throne and that dangerous lodgment for an enemy, which he had erected, he had the whole Atlantic for a ditch. He had for an outwork tho English nation itself, friendly to liberty, adverse to that mode of it. He was surrounded by a rampart of monarchies, most of them allied to him, and generally under his influence. Yet even thus secured, a republic erected under his auspices, and dependent on his power, became fatal to his throne. The very money which he had lent to support this republic, by a good faith which to him operated as perfidy, was punctually paid to his enemies, and became a resource in the hands of his assassins.
With this example before their eyes, do any ministers in England, do any ministers in Austria, really flatter themselves that they can erect, not on the remote shores of the Atlantic, but in their view, in their vicinity, in absolute contact with one of them, not a commercial, but a martial republic, - a republic not of simple husbandmen or fishermen, but of intriguers, and of warriors, – a republic of a character the most restless, the most enterprising, the most impious, the most fierce and bloody, the most hypocritical and perfidious, the most bold and daring, that ever has been seen, or indeed that can be conceived to exist, without bringing on their own certain ruin?
Such is the republic to which we are going to give a place in civilized fellowship, — the republic which, with joint consent, we are going to establish in the centre of Europe, in a post that overlooks and coinmands every other state, and which eminently confronts and menaces this kingdom.
You cannot fail to observe that I speak as if the allied powers were actually consenting, and not compelled by events, to the establishment of this faction in France. The words have not escaped me. You will hereafter naturally expect that I should make them good. But whether in adopting this measure we are madly active or weakly passive or pusillanimously panic-struck, the effects will be the same. You may call this faction, which has eradicated the monarchy, expelled the proprietary, persecuted religion, and trampled upon law,* — you may call this France, if you please; but of the ancient France nothing remains but its central geography, its iron frontier, its spirit of ambition, its audacity of enterprise, its perplexing intrigue. These, and these alone, remain: and they remain heightened in their principle and augmented in their means. All the former correctives, whether of virtue or of weakness, which existed in the old monarchy, are gone. No single new corrective is to be found in the whole body of the new institutions. How should such a thing be found there, when everything has been chosen with care and selection to forward all those ambitious designs and dispositions, not to control them? The whole is a body of ways and means for the supply of dominion, without one heterogeneous particle in it.
Here I suffer you to breathe, and leave to your meditation what has occurred to me on the genius and character of the French Revolution. From hav
* See our Declaration.
ing this before us, we may be better able to determine on the first question I proposed, - that is, How far nations called foreign are likely to be affected with the system established within that territory. I intended to proceed next on the question of her facilities, from the internal state of other nations, and particularly of this, for obtaining her ends; but I ought to be aware that my notions are controverted. I: mean, therefore, in my next letter, to take notice of what in that way has been recommended to me as the most deserving of notice. In the examination of those pieces, I shall have occasion to discuss some others of the topics to which I have called your atten tion. You know that the letters which I now send to the press, as well as a part of what is to follow, have been in their substance long since written. A circumstance which your partiality alone could make of importance to you, but which to the public is of no importance at all, retarded their appearance. The late events which press upon us obliged me to make some additions, but no substantial change in the matter.
This discussion, my friend, will be long. But the matter is serious; and if ever the fate of the world could be truly said to depend on a particular measure, it is upon this peace. For the present, farewell.
L ETT ER III.
ON THE RUPTURE OF THE NEGOTIATION; THE TERMS
OF PEACE PROPOSED; AND THE RESOURCES OF THE COUNTRY FOR THE CONTINUANCE OF THE WAR.
EAR SIR, -I thank you for the bundle of state
papers which I received yesterday. I have travelled through the negotiation, — and a sad, founderous road it is. There is a sort of standing jest against my countrymen, - that one of them on his journey having found a piece of pleasant road, he proposed to his companion to go over it again. This proposal, with regard to the worthy traveller's final destination, was certainly a blunder. It was no blunder as to his immediate satisfaction ; for the way was pleasant. In the irksome journey of the Regicide negotiations it is otherwise: our “paths are not paths of pleasantness, nor our ways the ways to peace.” All our mistakes, (if such they are,) like those of our Hibernian traveller, are mistakes of repetition; and they will be full as far from bringing us to our place of rest as his well-considered project was from forwarding him to his inn. Yet I see we persevere. Fatigued with our former course, too listless to explore a new one, kept in action by inertness, moving only because we have been in motion, with a sort of plodding perseverance we resolve to measure back again the very same joyless, hopeless,