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happy crown, have experienced your favor and coun. tenance; and there is no doubt that they will finally enjoy the full benefit of your protection. The generosity of your Imperial Majesty has induced you to take an interest in their cause; and your sagacity has made you perceive that in the case of the sovereign of France the cause of all sovereigns is tried,
- that in the case of its church, the cause of all churches, and that in the case of its nobility is tried the cause of all the respectable orders of all society, and even of society itself.
Your Imperial Majesty has sent your minister to reside where the crown of France, in this disastrous eclipse of royalty, can alone truly and freely be represented, that is, in its royal blood, - where alone the nation can be represented, that is, in its natural and inherent dignity. A throne cannot be represented by a prison. The honor of a nation cannot be represented by an assembly which disgraces and degrades it: at Coblentz only the king and the nation of France are to be found.
Your Imperial Majesty, who reigns and lives for glory, has nobly and wisely disdained to associate your crown with a faction which has for its object the subversion of all thrones.
You have not recognized this universal public enemy as a part of the system of Europe. You have refused to sully the lustre of your empire by any communion with a body of fanatical usurpers and tyrants, drawn out of the dregs of society, and exalted to their evil eminence by the enormity of their crimes, -an assemblage of tyrants, wholly destitute of any distinguished qualification in a single person amongst them, that can command reverence from our reason, or seduce it from our prejudices. These enemies of sovereigns, if at all acknowledged, must be acknowledged on account of that enmity alone: they have nothing else to recommend them.
Madam, it is dangerous to praise any human vir tue before the accomplishment of the tasks which it imposes on itself. But in expressing my part of what I hope is, or will become, the general voice, in admi ration of what you have done, I run no risk at all. With your Imperial Majesty, declaration and execution, beginning and conclusion, are, at their different seasons, one and the same thing.
On the faith and declaration of some of the first potentates of Europe, several thousands of persons, comprehending the best men and the best gentlemen in France, have given up their country, their houses, their fortunes, their professional situation, their all, and are now in foreign lands, struggling under the most grievous distresses. Whatever appearances may menace, nobody fears that they can be finally abandoned. Such a dereliction could not be without a strong imputation on the public and private honor of sovereignty itself, nor without an irreparable injury to its interests. It would give occasion to represent monarchs as natural enemies to each other, and that they never support or countenance any subjects of a brother prince, except when they rebel against him. We individuals, mere spectators of the scene, but who seek our liberties under the shade of legal authority, and of course sympathize with the sufferers in that cause, never can permit ourselves to believe that such an event can disgrace the history of our time. The only thing to be feared is delay, in which are included many mischiefs. The constancy of the oppressed will be broken; the power of ty. rants will be confirmed. Already the multitude of French officers, drawn from their several corps by hopes inspired by the freely declared disposition of sovereigns, have left all the posts in which they might one day have effectually served the good cause abandoned to the enemy.
Your Imperial Majesty's just influence, which is still greater than your extensive power, will animate and expedite the efforts of other sovereigns. From your wisdom other states will learn that they who wait until all the powers of Europe are at once in motion can never move at all. It would add to the unexampled calamities of our time, if the uncommon union of sentiment in so many powers should prove the very cause of defeating the benefit which ought to flow from their general good disposition. No sovereign can run any risk from the designs of other powers, whilst engaged in this glorious and necessary work. If any attempt could be feared, your Imperial Majesty's power and justice would secure your allies against all danger. Madam, your glory will be complete, if, after having given peace to Europe by your moderation, you shall bestow stability on all its governments by your vigor and decision. The debt which your Imperial Majesty's august predecessors have contracted to the ancient manners of Europe, by means of which they civilized a vast empire, will be nobly repaid by preserving those manners from the hideous change with which they are now menaced. By the intervention of Russia the world will be preserved from barbarism and ruin.
A private individual, of a remote country, in himself wholly without importance, unauthorized and
unconnected, not as an English subject, but as a citizen of the world, presumes to submit his thoughts to one of the greatest and wisest sovereigns that Europe has seen. He does it without fear, because he does not involve in his weakness (if such it is) his king, his country, or his friends. He is not afraid that he shall offend your Imperial Majesty, — because, secure in itself, true greatness is always accessible, and because respectfully to speak what we conceive to be truth is the best homage which can be paid to true dignity.
I am, Madam, with the utmost possible respect and veneration, Your Imperial Majesty's Most obedient and most humble servant,
EDM. BURKE. BEACONSFIELD, November 1st, 1791.