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H E A D S
HAT France by its mere geographical posi
tion, independently of every other circumstance, must affect every state of Europe; some of them immediately, all of them through mediums not very remote.
That the standing policy of this kingdom ever has been to watch over the external proceedings of France, (whatever form the interior government of that kingdom might take) and to prevent the extension of its dominion, or its ruling influence, over other states.
That there is nothing in the present internal state of things in France, which alters the national policy with regard to the exterior relations of that country.
That there are, on the contrary, many things in the internal circumstances of France, (and perhaps of this country too) which tend to fortify the
principles of that fundamental policy; and which render the active assertion of those principles more pressing at this, than at any former time.
That, by a change effected in about three weeks, France has been able to penetrate into the heart of Germany; to make an absolute conquest of Savoy; to menace an immediate invasion of the Netherlands; and to awe and overbear the whole Helvetick body, which is in a most perilous situation. The great aristocratick cantons having, perhaps, as much or more to dread from their own people whom they arm, but do not choose or dare to employ, as from the foreign enemy, which against all publick faith has butchered their troops, serving by treaty in France. To this picture it is hardly necessary to add the means by which France has been enabled to effect all this, namely, the apparently entire destruction of one of the largest, and certainly the highest disciplined, and bestappointed army ever seen, headed by the first military sovereign in Europe, with a captain under him of the greatest renown; and that without a blow given or received on any side. This state of things seems to me, even if it went no further, truly serious.
Circumstances have enabled France to do all this by land. On the other element she has begun to exert herself; and she must succeed in her designs, if enemies very different from those she has hitherto had to encounter do not resist her.
She has fitted out a naval force, now actually at sea, by which she is enabled to give law to the whole Mediterranean. It is known as a fact (and if not so known, it is in the nature of things highly probable) that she proposes the ravage of the Ecclesiastical state, and the pillage of Rome, as her first object; that next she means to bombard Naples; to awe, to humble, and thus to command, all Italy—to force it to a nominal neutrality, but to a real dependence—to compel the Italian princes and republicks to admit the free entrance of the French commerce, an open intercourse, and, the sure concomitant of that intercourse, the affiliated societies, in a manner similar to those she has established at Avignon, the Comtat, Chamberry, London, Manchester, &c. &c. which are so many colonies planted in all these countries, for extending the influence, and securing the dominion, of the French Republick.
That there never has been hitherto a period in which this kingdom would have suffered a French fleet to domineer in the Mediterranean, and to force ITALY to submit to such terms as France would think fit to impose-to say nothing of what has been done upon land in support of the same system. The great object for which we preserved Minorca, whilst we could keep it, and for which we still retain Gibraltar, both at a great expence, was, and is, to prevent the predominance of France over the Mediterranean.