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Stadtholderian Government, supported only by the terror of foreign arms, naturally dreads the destruction of a Government odious and intolerable to an immense majority of the people.
Every where then are those alarms discernible, which are the most evident symptoms of the approaching downfall of the Eu. ropean despotisms. But the impression produced by the French Revolution in England, in an enlightened country, which had long boasted of its freedom, merits more particular remark. Before the publication of Mr. Burke, the public were not recovered from that astonishment into which they are plunged by unexampled events, and the general opinion could not have been collected with precision. But that performance divided the nation into marked parties. It produced a controversy, , which
may be regarded as the trial of the French Revolution before the enlightened and
independent tribunal of the English public. -What its decision * has been, I shall not preYume to decide ; for it does not become an advocate to announce the decision of the Judge. But this I may be permitted to remark, that the conduct of our enemies has not resembled the usual triumph of those who have been victorious in the war of reason. Instead of the triumphant calmness that is
* Those who doubt the service done by Mr, BURKE to his cause may be pleased with this passage of Milton.
Magnam a regibus iniisse te gratiam omnes principes et terrarum Dominos demeruiffe Defensione hâc regiâ te fortè putas Salması; cum illi fi bona sua remque suam ex veritate potius quam ex adulationibus tuisvellent æstimare nemi. nem te pejus, odiffe, neminem a se longius abigere, atque afcere debeant. Dum enim regiam poteftatem in immensum extollas admones eâdem operâ omnes fere populos fervitutis fuæ nec opinatæ; eoque vehementius impellis ut veternuin illum quo se ele liberos inaniter fomniabant repentè excutiant." MILTON, Def. Pop. Anglic. apud opera, tom. ii. p. 266.
Ed. Lond. 1738,
ever inspired by conscious superiority, they have betrayed the bitterness of defeat, and the ferocity of resentment, which is peculiar to the black revenge of detected imposture. Priestcraft and Toryism were supported only by literary advocates of the most miserable de. scription*. But they were abundantly supported by auxiliaries of another kind. Of the two great classes of enemies to political reform--the INTERESTED and the PREJUDICED --the activity of the first usually supplies what may be wanting in the talents of the lastt. Judges forgot the dignity of their function, Priests the mildness of their religion; the Bench, which should have spoken with the serene temper of justice; the Pulpit, whence only should have issued the healing founds of charity, were prostituted to party purposes, and polluted with invective against freedom. The churches resounded with language at which Laud would have shuddered, and Sacheverell would have blushed; the most
* A DOCTOR Cooper, or a Doctor TATHAM, cannot be so infatuated as to dream, that even their academical titles can procure them the perusal, not to mention the refutation of men of sense. The insolence of the latter pedant had, indeed, nearly obtained him the honor of a castigation, which would have made him for ever fick of political controversy!
# Both are admirably delineated by HELVETIUS.
“ Entre ceux-ci il en est qui, naturellement portés au “ vrai, ne font ennemis des verités nouvelles, que parce
qu'ils font paresseux, et qu'ils voudroient se soustraire à « la fatigue d'attention necessaire pour les examiner.
“Il en est d'autres qu'animent des motifs dangereux & “ ceux.ci font plus a craindre: ce sont des hommes dont “ l'esprit est depourvu de talents & l'ame de vertus : incapa“bles de vues elévées et neuves, ces derniers croient que leur “ consideration tient au respect imbecille ou feint qu'ils « affichent pour toutes les opinions & les erreurs recues : “ furieux contre tout homme qui veut en ebranler l’Empire, “ ils ARMENT contre lui les paffions & les prejugés mêmes
qu'ils MEPRISENT & ne cessent d'effaroucher les foibles esprits par le mot de nouveauté !"
The last passage must be explained by some WARWICKSHIRE COMMENTATOR!
profane comparisons between the duty to the Divinity and to Kings, were unblushingly pronounced ; flattery to Ministers was mixed with the folemnities of religion, by the ser: vants, and in the temple of God. These profligate proceedings were not limited to a single spot. They were general over England. In many churches the French Revolution was expresly named! In a majority it was the constant theme of invective for many weeks before its intended celebration. Yet these are the peaceful pastors, who so sincerely and meekly deprecate political sermons* !
* These are no vague accusations.
A sermon was preached in a parish church in Middlesex on the anniversary of the restoration of CHARLES II. in which ETERNAL PUNISHMENT was denounced against POLITICAL DISAFFECTION ! Persons for whose discernment and veracity I can be responsible, were among the indignant auditors of this infernal homily,