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tradefmen, and manufacturers, are not held as degrading fituations. I once thought that the low eftimation in which commerce was held in France, might be reckoned among the causes of the late revolution; and I am still of opinion, that the exclufive fpirit of the French nobility, did irritate the wealthy of other claffes. But I found long fince, that perfons in trade and bufinefs were by no means despised in France in the manner I had been taught to believe. As to men of letters, they were fo far from being despised or neglected, that there was no country perhaps in the univerfe, in which they were fo highly efteemed, courted, careffed, and even feared; tradefmen naturally were not fo much fought in fociety (as not furnishing fo largely to the fund of conversation as they do to the revenues of the state) but the latter description got forLiterary in ward every day. M. Bailly, who made himself the popular mayor on the rebellion of the Baftile, and is a principal actor in the revolt, before the change poffeffed a penfion or office under the crown, of fix hundred pound English, a year, for that country, no contemptible provifion; and this he obtained folely as a man of letters, and on no Monied in other title. As to the monied men-whilft the monarchy continued, there is no doubt, that' merely as fuch, they did not enjoy the privileges of nobility, but nobility was of fo eafy an acquifition, that it was the fault or neglect of all of that




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 fuch nobility were as capable of every thing as their degree of influence or intereft could make them, that is, as nobility of no confiderable rank or confequence. M. Necker, fo far from being a French gentleman, was not so much as a Frenchman born, and yet we all know the rank in which he ftood on the day of the meeting of the states.

As to the mere matter of eftimation of the mer- Mercant interef. cantile or any other clafs, this is regulated by opinion and prejudice. In England a security against the envy of men in these claffes, is not fo very complete as we may imagine. We must not impose upon ourselves. What inftitutions 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, fplendid orders of knighthood, and an hereditary nobility;-where there exifts a fixed, permanent, landed gentry, continued in greatness and opulence by the law of primogeniture, and by a protection given to family fettlements;-where there exifts a standing army and navy;-where there exifts a church eftablishment, which bestows on learning and parts an intereft combined with that of religion and the ftate;

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Progrefs of

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state;-in a country where fuch things exift,
wealth, new in its acquifition, and precarious in
its duration, can never rank first, or even near
the firft; 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 inftitutions and opinions growing out of
them. At no period in the hiftory of England
have fo few peers been taken out of trade or from
families newly created by commerce.
In no pe
riod has fo fmall a number of noble families en-
tered into the counting-houfe. I can call to mind
but one in all England, and his is of near fifty
years ftanding. Be that as it may, it appears plain
to me from my best observation, that envy and
ambition may by art, management and difpofition,
be as much excited amongst thefe defcriptions 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 profelytifm fpirit-Its is likely to take, and in what order it is likely to prevail in the feveral parts of Europe, it is not eafy to determine. The feeds are fown almost every where, chiefly by newspaper circulations, infinitely more efficacious and extensive than ever they were. And they are a more important inftrument than generally is imagined. They are a part of the reading of all, they are the whole of


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 these 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 decifive. Let us only fuffer any perfon to tell us his story, morning and evening, but for one twelvemonth, and he will become our mafter.

All thofe countries in which several states are comprehended under fome general geographical description, and loosely united by fome federal conftitution; countries of which the members are fmall, and greatly diverfified in their forms of government, and in the titles by which they are held -thefe countries, as it might be well expected, are the principal objects of their hopes and machinations. Of thefe, the chief are Germany and Switzerland: after them, Italy has its place as in circumstances fomewhat fimilar.

As to Germany, (in which from their relation Germany. to the emperour, I comprehend the Belgick provinces) it appears to me to be from feveral circumftances, internal and external, in a very critical fituation, and the laws and liberties of the empire are by no means fecure from the contagion of the French doctrines and the effect of French intrigues;


or from the ufe which two of the greater German powers may make of a general derangement, to the general detriment. I do not say that the French do not mean to bestow on these German ftates, liberties and laws too, after their mode; but thofe are not what have hitherto been underftood as the laws and liberties of the empire. These exift and have always exifted under the principles of feodal tenure and fucceffion, under imperial constitutions, grants and conceffions of fovereigns, family compacts and publick treaties, made under the fanction, and fome of them guaranteed by the sovereign powers of other nations, and particularly the old government of France, the author and natural fupport of the treaty of Weftphalia.

In fhort, the Germanick body is a vast mass of heterogeneous ftates, held together by that heterogeneous body of old principles which formed the publick law pofitive and doctrinal. The modern laws and liberties which the new power in France proposes to introduce into Germany, and to fupport with all its force, of intrigue and of arms, is of a very different nature, utterly irreconcileable with the first, and indeed fundamentally the reverfe of it: I mean 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


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