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by it along the whole courfe of the Rhine, the Maefe, the Mofelle, 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 ecclefiaftical electors. It Ecclefiaftiis not eafy to find or to conceive governments more mild and indulgent than thefe church fovereignties; but good government is as nothing when the rights of man take poffeffion of the mind. Indeed the loose rein held over the people in these provinces, must be confidered as one cause of the facility with which they lend themfelves to any schemes of innovation, by inducing them to think lightly of their governments, and to judge



grievances not by feeling, but by imagination. It is in thefe electorates that the first impreffions Balance of of France are likely to be made, and if they fucceed, it is over with the Germanick body as it ftands at prefent. A great revolution is preparing in Germany; and a revolution, in my opinion, likely to be more decifive upon the general fate of nations than that of France itself, other than as in France is to be found the first fource of all the principles which are in any way likely to distinguifh the troubles and convulfions of our age. If Europe does not conceive the independence, and the equilibrium of the empire to be in the very effence of the fyftem of balanced power in Europe, and if the scheme of publick law, or mafs of laws,


Pruffia and emperour.

upon which that independence and equilibrium are founded, be of no leading confequence as they are preferved or destroyed, all the politicks of Europe for more than two centuries have been miferably erroneous.

If the two great leading powers of Germany do not regard this danger (as apparently they do not) in the light in which it prefents itself so naturally, it is because they are powers too great to have a focial intereft. That fort of intereft belongs only to those, whose state of weakness or mediocrity is fuch, as to give them greater caufe of apprehenfion from what may deftroy them, than of hope from any thing by which they may be aggrandized.

As long as those two princes are at variance, fo long the liberties of Germany are fafe. But if ever they fhould fo far understand one another as to be perfuaded that they have a more direct and more certainly defined interest in a proportioned mutual aggrandizement than in a reciprocal reduction, that is, if they come to think that they are more likely to be enriched by a divifion of spoil, than to be rendered fecure by keeping to the old policy of preventing others from being spoiled by either of them, from that moment the liberties of Germany are no more.

That a junction of two in such a scheme is neither impoffible nor improbable, is evident from the partition of Poland in 1773, which was effected by


fuch a junction as made the interpofition of other nations to prevent it, not eafy. Their circumftances at that time hindered any other three ftates, or indeed any two, from taking measures in common to prevent it, though France was at that' time an exifting power, and had not yet learned to act upon a fyftem of politicks of her own invention. The geographical pofition of Poland was a great obftacle to any movements of France in oppofition to this, at that time unparalleled league. To my certain knowledge, if Great Britain had at that time been willing to concur in preventing the execution of a project fo dangerous in the example, even exhaufted as France then was by the preceding war, and under a lazy and unenterprising prince, the would have at every risk taken an active part in this business. But a languor with regard to so remote an interest, and the principles' and paffions which were then ftrongly at work at home, were the causes why Great Britain would not give France any encouragement in fuch an enterprise. At that time, however, and with regard to that object, in my opinion, Great Britain and France had a common intereft.

But the position of Germany is not like that of Poland, with regard to France, either for good or

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for evil. If a conjunction between Pruffia and the emperour should be formed for the purpose of fecularifing and rendering hereditary the ecclefiaftical electorates and the bishoprick of Munster, for


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fettling two of them on the children of the em perour, and uniting Cologne and Munster to the dominions of the king of Pruffia on the Rhine, or if any other project of mutual aggrandizement fhould be in profpect, and that to facilitate such a fcheme, the modern French should be permitted and encouraged to shake the internal and external fecurity of these ecclefiaftical electorates, Great Britain is fo fituated that fhe could not with any effect fet herself in oppofition to fuch a defign. Her principal arm, her marine, could here be of no fort of use.

France, the author of the treaty of Weftphalia, by France. is the natural guardian of the independence and balance of Germany. Great Britain (to say nothing of the king's concern as one of that auguft body) has a serious intereft in preferving it; but, except through the power of France, acting upon the common old principles of ftate policy, in the cafe we have fuppofed, fhe has no fort of means of fupporting that intereft. It is always the interest of Great Britain that the power of France fhould be kept within the bounds of moderation. It is not her intereft that that power should be wholly annihilated in the fyftem of Europe. Though at one time through France the independence of Europe was endangered, it is and ever was through her alone that the common liberty of Germany can be fecured against the single or the combined ambition of any other power. In truth, within

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this century the aggrandizement of other sovereign houses has been fuch that there has been a great change in the whole ftate of Europe, and other nations as well as France may become objects of jealoufy and apprehenfion.

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In this ftate of things, a new principle of alli- New prinances and wars is opened. The treaty of Weftphalia is, with France, an antiquated fable. The rights and liberties fhe was bound to maintain are now a fyftem of wrong and tyranny which she is bound to destroy. Her good and ill difpofitions are fhewn by the fame means. To communicate peaceably the rights of men is the true mode of her fhewing her friendship; to force fovereigns to fubmit to those rights is her mode of hoftility. So that either as friend or foe her whole scheme has been and is, to throw the empire into confufion: and those statesmen, who follow the old routine of politicks, may fee in this general confufion, and in the danger of the leffer princes, an occafion as protectors or enemies, of connecting their territories to one or the other of the two great German powers. They do not take into confideration that the means which they encourage, as leading to the event they defire, will with certainty not only ravage and destroy the empire, but if they should for a moment feem to aggrandize the two great houses, will also establish principles, and confirm tempers amongst the people,

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