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slow length of that always unwieldy, and ill constructed, and then wounded, and crippled body, to drag after us, rather than to aid us. Whilst our disposition is uncertain, Spain will not dare to put herself in such a state of defence as will make her hostility formidable, or her neutrality respectable.
If the decision is such as the solution of this question, (I take it to be the true question) conducts to no time is to be lost. But the measures, though prompt, ought not to be rash and indigested. They ought to be well chosen, well combined, and well pursued. The system must be general ; but it must be executed, not successively, or with interruption, but all together, uno flatu, in one melting, and one mould.
For this purpose, we must put Europe before us, which plainly is, just now, in all its parts, in a state of dismay, derangement, and confusion; and, very possibly amongst all its sovereigns, full of secret heart-burning, distrust, and mutual accusation. Perhaps it may labour under worse evils. There is no vigour any where, except the distempered vigour and energy of France. That country has but too much life in it, when every thing around is so disposed to tameness and languor. The very vices of the French system at home tend to give force to foreign exertions. The generals must join the armies. They must lead them to
enterprise, or they are likely to perish by their hands. Thus, without law or government of her own, France gives law to all the governments in Europe.
This great mass of political matter must have been always under the views of thinkers for the publick, whether they act in office or not. Amongst events, even the late calamitous events were in the book of contingency. Of course, they must have been in design, at least, provided for. A plan, which takes in as many as possible of the states
cerned, will rather tend to facilitate and simplify a rational scheme for preserving Spain, (if that were our sole, as I think it ought to be our principal object), than to delay and perplex it.
If we should think that a provident policy (perhaps now more than provident, urgent and necessary) should lead us to act, we cannot take measures as if nothing had been done. We must see the faults, if any, which have conducted to the present misfortunes ; not for the sake of criticism, military or political, or from the common motives of blaming persons and counsels which have not been successful; but in order, if we can, to administer some remedy to these disasters, by the adoption of plans more bottomed in principle, and built on with more discretion. Mistakes
may be lessons. There seem indeed to have been several mistakes
in the political principles on which the war was entered into, as well as in the plans upon which it was conducted; some of them very fundamental, and not only visibly, but I may say, palpabiy erroneous; and I think him to have less than the discernment of a very ordinary statesman, who could not foresee, from the very beginning, unpleasant consequences from those plans, though not the unparalleled disgraces and disasters which really did attend them : for they were, both principles and measures, wholly new and out of the common course, without any thing apparently very grand in the conception, to justify this total departure from all rule.
For, in the first place, the united sovereigns very much injured their cause by admitting, that they had nothing to do with the interiour arrangements of France; in contradiction to the whole tenour of the publick law of Europe, and to the correspondent practice of all its states, from the time we have any history of them. In this particular, the two German courts seem to have as little consulted the publicists of Germany, as their own true interests, and those of all the sovereigns of Germany and Europe. This admission of a false principle in the law of nations brought them into an apparent contradiction, when they insisted on the re-establishment of the royal authority in France. But this confused and contradictory proceeding gave rise to a practical
errour of worse consequence.
It was derived from one and the same root; namely, that the person of the monarch of France was every thing ; and the monarchy, and the intermediate orders of the state, by which the monarchy was upheld, were nothing. So that if the united potentates had succeeded so far, as to re-establish the authority of that king, and that he should be so illadvised as to confirm all the confiscations, and to recognise as a lawful body, and to class himself with that rabble of murderers, (and there wanted
persons who would so have advised him) there was nothing in the principle, or in the proceeding of the united powers, to prevent such an arrangement.
An expedition to free a brother sovereign from prison was undoubtedly a generous and chivalrous undertaking. But the spirit and generosity would not have been less, if the policy had been more profound, and more comprehensive; that is, if it had taken in those considerations, and those persons, by whom, and, in some measure, for whom, monarchy exists. This would become a bottom for a system of solid and permanent policy, and of operations conformable to that system.
The same fruitful errour was the cause why nothing was done to impress the people of France (so far as we can at all consider the inhabitants of France as a people) with an idea that the government was ever to be really French, or indeed
any thing else than the nominal government of a monarch, a monarch absolute as over them, but whose sole support was to arise from foreign potentates, and who was to be kept on his throne by German forces; in short, that the king of France was to be a viceroy to the emperour, and the king of Prussia.
It was the first time that foreign powers, interfering in the concerns of a nation divided into parties, have thought proper to thrust wholly out of their councils, to postpone, to discountenance, to reject, and, in a manner, to disgrace, the party whom those powers came to support. The single person of a king cannot be a party. Woe to the king who is himself his party! The royal party with the king or his representatives at its head is the royal cause. Foreign powers have hitherto chosen to give to such wars as this the appearance of a civil contest, and not that of a hostile invasion. When the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, sent aids to the chiefs of the league, they appeared as allies to that league, and to the imprisoned king (the cardinal de Bourbon) which that league had set up.
When the Germans came to the aid of the Protestant princes, in the same series of civil wars, they came as allies. When the English came to the aid of Henry the Fourth, they appeared as allies to that prince. So did the French always when they intermeddled in the H 3