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Dear Sir,

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TOU are pleased to call again, and with some earnest

ness, for my thoughts on the late proceedings in France. I will not give you reason to imagine, that I think


sentiments of such value as to wish myself to be solicited about them. They are of too little consequence to be very anxioully either communicated or withheld. It was from attention to you, and to you only, that I hesitated at the time, when you first desired to receive them. In the first letter I had the honour to write to

you, and which at length I send, I wrote neither for nor from any description of men; nor shall

n this. My errors, if any, are my own. My reputation alone is to answer for them.

You see, Sir, by the long letter I have transmitted to you, that, though I do most heartily wish that France may be animated by a spirit of rational liberty, and that I think


bound in all honest policy, to provide a permanent body, in which that spirit may reside, and an effectual organ, by which it may act, it is my misfortune to entertain

great doubts concerning several material point: in your late tranfa&ions.

You imagined, when you wrote last, that I might possibly be reckoned among the approvers of certain proceedings in France, from the solemn public seal of fan&tion they have received from two clubs of gentlemen in London, called the Constitutional Society, and the Revolution Society.

I certainly have the honour to belong to more clubs than one, in which the constitution of this kingdom and the principles of the glorious Revolution, are held in high reverence; and I reckon myself among the most forward in my zeal for maintaining that constitution and those principles in their utmost purity and vigour. It is because I do so, that I think it necessary for me, that (6) there should be no mistake. Thofe who cultivate the memory of our revolution, and those who are attached to the constitution of this kingdom, will take good care how they are involved with persons who, under the pretext of zeal towards the Revolution and Constitution, too frequently wander from their true principles ; and are ready on every occasion to depart from the firm but cau. tious and deliberate fpirit which produced the one, and which presides in the other. Before I proceed to answer the more material particulars in your letter, I shall beg leave to give you such information as I have been able to obtain of the two clubs which have thought proper, as bodies, to interfere in the concerns of France; first assuring you, that I am not, and that I have never been, a member of either of those focieties.

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The first calling itself the Constitutional Society, or Society for Constitutional Information, or by some fuch title, is, I believe, of seven or eight years standing. The institution of this society appears to be of a charitable, and so far of a laudable nature : it was intended for the circulation at the expence of the members, of many books, which few others would be at the expence of buying ; and which might lie on the hands of the booksellers, to the great loss of an useful body of men.

Whether the books fo charitably circulated, were ever as charitably read, is more than I know. Pofsibly feveral of them have been exported to France; and like goods not in request here, may with you have found a market. I have heard much talk of the lights to be drawn from books that are fent from hence. What improvements they have had in their paffage (as it is said some liquors are meliorated by crossing the sea) I cannot tell: But I never heard a man of common judgment, or the leaft. degree of information, speak a word in praise of the greater part of the publications circulated by that fociety ; nor have their proceedings been accounted, except by fome of themselves, as of any

serious consequence.

Your National Assembly seems to entertain much the fame opinion that I do of this poor charitable club. As a nation, you reserved the whole stock of your eloquent acknowledgments for the Revolution Society; when their

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(7) fellows in the Constitutional were, in equity, entitled to soine share. Since you have selected the Revolution So. ciety as the great object of your national thanks and praises, you will think me excuseable in making its late condu&t the subject of my observations. The National Assembly of France has given importance to these gen. tlemen by adopting them; and they return the favoury by acting as a fort of sub-committee in England for extending the principles of the National Assembly. Henceforward we must consider them as a kind of privileged per. sons; as no inconsiderable members in the diplomatic body. This is one among the revolutions which have given splendour to obscurity, and distinction to undifcerned inerit. Until very lately I do not recollect to have heard of this club. I am quite sure that it never occupied à moment of my thoughts; nor, I believe, those of any person out of their own set. I find, upon enquiry, that on the anniversary of the Revolution in 1688, a club of diflenters, but of what denomination I know not, have long had the custom of hearing a sermon in one of their churches ; and that afterwards they spent the day cheerfully, as other clubs do, at the tavern. But I never heard that any public measure, or political system, much less that the merits of the constitution of any foreign nation, had been the subject of a formal proceeding at their feftivals ; until, to my inexpreffible surprise, I found them in a sort of public

, capacity, by a congratulatory address, giving an authoritative sanction to the proceedings of the National Assembly in France.

In the ancient principles and conduct of the club, fo far at least as they were declared, I see nothing to which 1, or any sober man, could possibly take exception. I think it very probable, that for some purpose, new members

may have entered among them; and that some truly christian politicians, who love to dispense benefits, but are careful to conceal the hand which distributes the dole, may have made them the instruments of their pious designs. Whatever I may have reason to suspect concerning private management, I shall speak of nothing as of a certainty, but what is public. For one; I should be sorry to be thought, direaly or


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fndire&ly, concerned in their proceedings. I certainly take my full share along with the rest of the world, in my individual and private capacity, in speculating on what has been done, or is doing, on the public stage; in any place ancient or modern; in the republic of Rome, or the republic of Paris: but having no general apostolical miffion, being a citizen of a particular state, and being bound up in a considerable degree, by its public will, I should think it, at least improper and irregular, for me to open a formal public correspondence with the a&ual government of a foreign nation, without the express authority of the government under which I live.

I should be still more unwilling to enter into that correspondence, under any thing like an equivocal description, which to many, unacquainted with our u{ages, might make the address, in which I joined, appear as the act of persons in some sort of corporate capacity, acknowledged by the laws of this kingdom, and authorised to speak the fenfe of fome part of it. On account of the ambiguity and uncertainty of unauthorised general defcriptions, and of the deceit which may he practifed under thein, and not from mere formality, the house of Commons would reject the most 'sneaking petition for the moit trifling object, under that mode of fignature to which you have thrown open the folding-doors of your presence chamber, and have ustered into your National Affembly, with as much ceremony and parade, and with as great a bustle of applause, as if you had been visited by the whole representative majesty of the whole English 'nation. If what this fociety has thought proper to send forth had been a piece of argument, it would have signified little whose argument it was. It would be neither the more nor the less convincing on account of the party it came from. But this is only a vote and resolution. It stands solely on authority ; and in this case it is mere authority of individuals, few of whom appear. Their fignatures ought, in my opinion, to have been annexed to their instruroent. The world would then have the means of knowing how many they are ; who they are ; and of what value their opin ons may be, from their personal abilities, from their knowledge, their experience, or their lead and authority in

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