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description, who did not obtain its privileges, for their lives at least, in virtue of office. It attached under the royal government to an innumerable multitude of places, real and nominal, that were vendible; and such nobility were as capable of every thing as their degree of influence or interest could make them, that is, as nobility of no considerable rank or consequence. M. Necker, so far from being a French gentleman, was not so much as a Frenchman born, and yet we all know the rank in which he stood on the day of the meeting of the states.

As to the mere matter of estimation of the mer- Mercantile cantile or any other class, this is regulated by opinion and prejudice. In England, a security against the envy of men in these classes, is not so very complete as we may imagine. We must not impose upon ourselves. What institutions and manners together had done in France, manners alone do here. It is the natural operation of things where there exists a crown, a court, splendid orders of knighthood, and an hereditary nobility ;-where there exists a fixed, perinanent, landed gentry, coutinued in greatness and opulence by the law of primogeniture, and by a protection given to family settlements ;--where there exists a standing army and navy;--where there exists a church establishment, which bestows on learning and parts an interest combined with that of religion and the


In no pe

state:--in a country where such things exist;
wealth, new in its acquisition, and precarious in
its duration, can never rank first, or even near
the first; though wealth has its natural weight,
further, than as it is balanced and even preponde-
rated amongst us as amongst other nations, by ar-
tificial institutions and opinions growing out of
them. At no period in the history of England
have so few peers been taken out of trade or from
families newly created by commerce.
riod has so small a number of noble families en
tered into the counting-house. I can call to mind
but one in all England, and his is of near fifty
years standing. Be that as it may, it appears plain
to me from my best observation, that envy and
ambition may by art, management and disposition,
be as much excited amongst these descriptions of
men in England, as in any other country; and
that they are just as capable of acting a part in
any great change.

What direction the French spirit of proselytism Progress of

is likely to take, and in what order it is likely to prevail in the several parts of Europe, it is not easy to determine. The seeds are sown almost every where, chietly by newspaper circulations, infinitely more efficacious and extensive than ever they were. And they are a more important instrument than generally is imagined. They are a part of the reading of all, they are the whole of


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the French spirit-Its


the reading of the far greater number. There are thirty of them in Paris alone. The language diffuses' them more widely than the English, though the English too are much read. The writers of thëse papers indeed, for the greater part, are either unknown or in contempt, but they are like a battery in which the stroke of any one ball produces no great effect, but the amount of continual repetition is, decisive. Let us only suffer any person to tell us his story, morning and evening, but for one twelvemonth, and he will become our master. . All those countries in which several states are comprehended under some genera geographical description, and loosely united by some federal .constitution; countries of which the members are small, and greatly diversified in their forms of government, and in the titles by which they are held-these countries, as it might be well expected, care the principal objects of their hopes and machinations. Of these, the chief are Germany and Switzerland : after them, Italy has its place as in circumstances somewhat similar. · As to Germany, in which, from their relation Germany. to the emperour, I comprehend the Belgick provinces) it appears to me to be from several circunastances, internal and external, in a very critical situation, and the laws and liberties of the empire are by no means secure from the contagion of the French doctrines and the effect of French intrigues ;


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or from the use which two of the greater German powers may make of a general derangement, te the general detriment. I do not say that the French do not mean to bestow on these German states, liberties and laws too, after their mode ; but those are not what have hitherto been under. stood as the laws and liberties of the empire. These exist and have always existed under the principles of feodal tenure and succession, under imperial constitutions, grants and concessions of sovereigns, family compacts and publick treaties, made under the sanction, and some of them guaranteed by the sovereign powers of other nations, and particularly the old government of France, the author and natural support of the treaty of Westphalia.

In short, the Germanick body is a vast mass of heterogeneous states, held together by that heterogeneous body of old principles which formed the publick law positive and doctrinal. The modern laws and liberties which the new power in France proposes to introduce into Germany, and to support with all its force, of intrigue and of arms, is of a very different nature, utterly, irreconcileable with the first, and indeed fundamentally the reverse of. it: I inean the rights and liberties of the man, the droit de l'homme. That this doctrine has made an amazing progress in Germany, there cannot be a shadow of doubt. They are infected


cal state,

by it along the whole course of the Rhine, the Maese, the Moselle, and in the greater part of Suabia and Franconia. It is particularly prevalent amongst all the lower people, churchmen and laity, in the dominions of the ecclesiastical electors. It Ecclesiastie is not easy to find or to conceive governments more mild and indulgent than these church sovereignties; but good government is as nothing when the rights of man take possession of the mind. Indeed the loose rein held over the people in these provinces, must be considered as one cause of the facility with which they lend themselves to any schemes of innovation, by inducing them to think lightly of their governments, and to judge of grievances not by feeling, but by imagination. It is in these electorates that the first impressions Balance of

Germany. of France are likely to be made, and if they succeed, it is over with the Germanick body as it stands at present.

A great revolution is preparing in Germany; and a revolution, in my opinion, likely to be more decisive upon the general fate of nations than that of France itself; other than as in France is to be found the first source of all the principles which are in any way likely to distinguish the troubles and convulsions of our age. If Europe does not conceive the independence, and the equilibrium of the empire to be in the very essence of the system of balanced power in Europe, and if the scheme of publick law, or mass of laws,


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