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to live in exile in another country, which owes its liberty to his house?
Would Keppel have heard with patience, that the conduct to be held on such occasions was to become short by the knees to the faction of the homicides, to intreat them quietly to retire? or if the fortune of war should drive them from their first wicked and unprovoked invasion, that no security should be taken, no arrangement made, no barrier formed, no alliance entered into for the security of that, which under a foreign name is the most precious part of England ? What would he have said, if it was even proposed that the Austrian Netherlands (which ought to be a barrier to Holland, and the tie of an alliance, to protect her against any species of rule that might be erected, or even be restored in France) should be formed into a republic under her influence, and dependent upon her power ?
But above all, what would he have said, if he had heard it made a matter of accusation against me, by his nephew the Duke of Bedford, that I was the author of the war? Had I a mind to keep that high distinc: tion to myself, as from pride I might, but from justice I dare not, he would have snatched his share of it from my hand, and held it with the grasp of a dying convulsion to his end.
LOUIS THE XVI.
The unhappy Louis the XVIth was a man of the best intentions that probably ever reigned. He was by no means deficient in talents. He had a most laudable desire to supply by general reading, and even by the acquisition of elemental knowledge, an education in
all points originally defective ; but nobody told him (and it was no wonder he should not himself divine it) that the world of which he read, and the world in which he lived, were no longer the same. Desirous of doing every thing for the best, fearful of cabal, distrusting his own judgment, he sought his ministers of all kinds upon public testimony. But as courts are the field for caballers, the public is the theatre for mountebanks and impostors. The cure for both those evils is in the discernment of the prince. But an accurate and penetrating discernment is what in a young pince could not be looked for.
His conduct in its principle was not unwise ; but, like most other of his well-meant designs, it failed in his hands. It failed partly from mere ill fortune, to which speculators are rarely pleased to assign that very large share to which she is justly entitled in all human affairs. The failure, perhaps, in part was owing to his suffering his system to be vitiated and disturbed by those intrigues, which it is, humanly speaking, impossible wholly to prevent in courts, or indeed under any form of government. However, with these aberrations, he gave himself over to a succession of the statesmen of public opinion. In other things he thought that he might be a king on the terms of his predecessors. He was conscious of the purity of his heart and the general good tendency of his government. He flattered himself, as most men in his situation will, that he might consult his ease without danger to his safety. It is not at all wonderful that both he and his ministers, giving way abundantly in other respects to innovation, should take up in policy with the tradition of their monarchy. Under his ancestors the monarchy had subsisted, and even been strengthened by the generation or support of republics. First, the Swiss republics grew under the guardianship of the French monarchy. The Dutch republics were hatched and cherished under the same incubation. Afterwards a republican constitution was, under the influence of France, established in the empire against the pretensions of its chief. Even whilst the monarchy of France, by a series of wars and negotiations, and lastly by the treaties of Westphalia, had obtained the establishment of the protestants in Germany as a law of the empire, the same monarchy under Louis the XIIIth, had force enough to destroy the republican system of the protestants at home.
Louis the XVIth was a diligent reader of history. But the very lamp of prudence blinded him. The guide of human life led him astray. A silent revolution in the moral world preceded the political, and prepar ed it. It became of more importance than ever what examples were given and what measures were adopted. Their causes no longer lurked in the recesses of cabinets, or in the private conspiracies of the factious. They were no longer to be controlled by the force and influence of the grandees, who formerly 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 connexions, 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 er their success.
There were all the talents which assert Eu 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 cor
respondence of the monied and the mercantile world, -: the literary intercourse of academies ; but, above all,
the press, of which they had in a manner entire pos* session, made a kind of electric communication every
where. 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 Bi its coursé. When Louis the XVIth, under the ino fluence 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 neighbour, he lost the whole of his own.
Louis the XVIth 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 out-work the 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.
As to the prince who has a just claim to exercise the regency of France, like other men he is not without his faults and his defects. But faults or defects (always supposing them faults of common human infirmity) are not what in any country destroy a legal title to government. These princes are kept in a poor obscure country town of the king of Prussia's. Their reputation is entirely at the
every calumniator. They cannot shew themselves, they cannot explain themselves, as princes ought to do. After being well informed, as any man here can be, I do not find, that these blemishes in this eminent person, are at all considerable, or that they at all affect a character, which is full of probity, honour, generosity, and real goodness. In some points he has but too much resemblance to his unfortunate brother; who with all his weaknesses, had a good understanding and
many parts of an excellent man, and a good king. But Monsieur, without supposing the other deficient, (as he was not) excels him in general knowledge and in a sharp and keen observation, with something of a better address, and an happier mode of
* Now Louis the XVIII.