Изображения страниц

aimed at the whole corps, in which they themselves, under another denomination, are included. It is im pollible for me to say what may be the character of every description of men amongst us. But I speak for the greater part; and for them, I must tell you, that facrilege is no part of their doctrine of good works; that, so far from calling you into their fellowship on such title, if your professors are admitted to their communion, they must carefully conceal their doctrine of the lawfulness of the proscrip. tion of innocent mens and that they must make restitution of all stolen goods whatsoever. Till then they are none of ours.

You may suppose that we do not approve your confiscation of the revenues of bishops, and deans, and chapters, and parochial clergy poffeßing independent estates arising froin land, because we have The same fort of establishment in England. That oba jection, you will say, cannot hold as to the confiscation of the goods of monks and nuns, and the abolition of their order. It is true, that this particular part of your general confiscation does not affect England, as a precedent in point : but the reason applies; and it

goes a great way. The long parliament confiscated the lands of deans and chapters in England on the same ideas upon which your assembly set to sale the lands of the monaftic orders. But it is in the principle of injustice that the danger lies, and not in the description of persons on whom it is first exercised. I see, in a country very near us, a course of policy pursued, which sets justice, the common concern of mankind, at defiance. With the national assembly of France, pofseflion is nothing, law and usage are nothing. I see the national assembly openly reprobate the doctrine of proscription, which *one of the greatest of their own lawyers tells us, with great truth, is a part of the law

of nature. He tells us, that the positive ascertainment of



its limits, and its security from invasion, were among the causes for which civil society itself has been instituted. If prescription be once shaken, no species of property is secure, when it once becomes an object large enough to tempt the cupidity of indigent power. I see a practice perfectly correspondent to their contempt of this great fundamental part of natural law. I see the confifcators begin with bishops, and chapters, and monafteries; but I do not see them end there. I see the princes of the blood, who, by the oldest usages of that kingdom, held large landed estates, (hardly with thre compliment of a debate) deprived of their poffellions, and in lieu of their stable independent property, reduced to the hope of some precarious, charitable pension, at the pleasure of an assembly, which of course will pay little regard to the rights of penfioners at pleasure, when it despises those of legal proprietors, Flullied with the infolence of their first inglorious victories, and pressed by the distrefies caused by their luft of unhallowed lucre, dilappointed but not discouraged, they have at lengtlı ventured completely to subvert all property of all descriptions throughout the extent of a great kingdom. They have compelled all men, in all traniactions of commerce, in the disposal of lands, in civil dealing, and through the whole communion of life, to accept as perfect payment and good and lawful tender, the symbols of their speculations on 2 projected sale of their plunder. What vestiges of liberty or property have they left? The tenant-right of a cabbage-garden, a year's interest in a hovel, the goodwill of an alehouse, or a baker's shop, the very strado:v of a constructive property, are more ceremoniously treated in our parliament than with you the oldest and most valuable landed possessions, in the hands of the most respectable personages, or than the whole body of the monied and commercial interest of your country.


We entertain an high opinion of the legislative authority; but we have never dreamt that parliaments had any right whatever to violate property, to overtule prefcription, or to force a currency of their own fiction in the place of that which is real, and recognized by the law of nations. But you, who began with refusing to submit to the most modefrate restraints, have ended by establishing an unheard of despotism. I find the ground upon which your confifcators go is this; that indeed their proceedings could not be supported in a court of justice; but that the rules of prescription cannot bind a legislative assembly t. so that this legislative assembly of a free nation sits, not for the security, but for the destruction of property, and not of property only, but of every rule and inaxim which can give it stability, and of those instruments which can alone give it circulation.

When the Anabaptists of Munfter, in the sixteenth century, had filled Germany with confusion by their system of levelling and their wild opinions concerning property, to what country in Europe did not the progress of their fury furnis just cause of alarm? Of all things, wisdom is the most terrified witli epidemical fanaticism, because of all enemies it is that against which she is the least able to furnish any kind of resource. We cannot be ignotant of the fpirit of atheistical fanaticism, that is inlpired by a multitude of writings, dispersed with incredible affiduity and expence, and by sermons delivered in all the streets and places of public refort in Paris. These writings and sermons have filled the populace withi

withi a black and savage atrocity of mind, which supersedes in them the common feelings of nature, as well as all sentiments of morality and

religion ; infomuch that these wretches are induced to bear with a. sullen patience the intolerable distresses brought upon them by the violent

convulsions + Speech of Mr. Camus, published by order of the national assembly.

convulsions and permutations that have been made in property *? The spirit of profelytism attends this spirit of fanaticism. They have societies to cabal and correspond at home and abroad for the propagation of thet tenets. The republic of Berne, one of the happiest, the most prosperous, and the best governed countries upon earthi

, is one of the great objects, at the destruction of which they aim. I am told they have in some measure succeeded in fowing there the seeds of difcontent. They are busy throughout Germany. Spain and Italy have not been untried. England is not left out of the comprehensive scheme of their malignantchatity; and in England we find those who stretch out their arms to them, who recommend their examples from more than one pulpit, and who choose, in more than one periodical meeting, publicly to correspond with them, to applaud them, and to hold them up as objects for imitation, who receive from them tokens of confraternity, and standards consecrated amidst their rites and mysteries ti who suggest to them leagues of per.. Vol. III.


petual * Whether the following description is ftri&ly true I know nor ; but it is what the publishers would have pass for true, in order to animate others. In a letter from 'Toul, given in one of their papers, is the following paffage concerning the people of that district. « " Daits la Révolution actuelle, ils ont refillé à toutes les féductions du bigotisme, aux persecutions et aux tracafjeries des Ennemis de la · Révolution. Oubliant leurs plus grands intérêts pour tendte hon

inage aux vues d'ordre général qui ont déterminé l'Assemblée Na“ tionale, ils voient, sans le plaindre, supprimer cette foule d'éta· blissemens ecclésiastiques par lesquels il, subfistoient ; et même, en

perdant leur fiége épifcopal, la seule de toutes ces ressources qui

pouvoit, ou plutôt qui devoit, en toute équité leur étré confervée ; " condamnés à la plus effrayante miféré. fans avoir été ni fu élre entene * dus, ils ne murmurent point, ils reitert fidelé aux principes du plus

pur patriotisme ; ils font encore préis á verser leur sung pour le si maintien de la conftitution, qui vă reduire leur Ville á la plus dëpige rable nullité." These people ate not supposed to have endured those sufferings and injustices in a struggle for liberty; for the fame account fates truly that they had been always free ; their parience in begga. ty and ruin, and their suffering, without remonstrance, the most fa grant and confessed injustice, if Atrialy true, can be nothing but the effect of this dire fanaticisin. A great multitude all over Franse is in the same condition and the fame temper.

+ See the proceedings of the confederation at Nante.



petual amity, at the very time when the power, to which our constitution has exclusively delegated the federative capacity of this kingdom, may find it expedito make war upon them.

It is not the confiscation of our church property from this example in France that I dread, though I think this would be no trifling evil. The great source of my folicitude is, left it should ever be considered in England as the policy of a state, to seek a resource in confiscations of any kind, or that any oue description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey * Nations are wading deeper and deeper into an ocean of boundless debt. Public debts, which at first were a security to governments, by interesting many in the public tranquility, are likely in their excess to become the means of their subverfion. If governments provide for these debts by heavy impositions, they perish by becoming odious to the people. If they do not provide for them, they will be undone by the efforts of the most dangerous of all parties ; I mean an extensive discontented monied interest, injured and not destroyed. The men who compose this interest took for their security, in the first in


" Si plures funt ii quibus improbe datuin est, quam illi quibus “ injuste ademptum eft, idcirco plus etiam valent? Non enim nu“ nero hæc judicantur fed pondere. Quam autem habet æquitatem, “ ut ægrum multis annis, aut etiain sæculis ante poflefTum, qui nul. “ lum habuit habeat ; qui autem habuit amittat. Ac, propter hoc “ injuriæ genus, Lacedæmonii Lyfandrum Ephorum expulerunt :

Agin regein (quod nunquam antea apud eos acciderai) necave“ runt : exque eo tempore tantæ discordiæ fecutæ sunt, ut et tyran" ni exfillerint, et optimates exterminarentur, et preclariffime con“ ftituta refpublica dilaberetur. Nec vero folum ipfa cecidit, fed “ etiam reliquan. Græciam evertit contagionibus malorum, quæ a “ Lacedæmoniis profectæ manarunt latius.”—After speaking of the conduct of the model of true patriots, Aratus of Sicyon, which was in a very different spirit, he says, “ Sic par eft agere cum civibus ;

non ut bis jam vidimus, haitam in foro ponere, et bona civium voci • “ fubiicere præconis. At ille Græcus id quod fuit fapientis et præft

“ antis viri) omnibus consulendum esse putavit : eaque est sunima “ ratio et sapientia boni civis, commoda civiuni non divellere, fed

omnes eadem æquitate continere". Cic. Off. 1. .

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »