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which will preclude the two fovereigns from the poffibility of holding what they acquire, or even the dominions which they have inherited. It is on the fide of the ecclefiaftical electorates that the dykes, raised to fupport the German liberty, first will give way.
The French have begun their general operations by feizing upon those territories of the Pope, the fituation of which was the most inviting to the enterprise. Their method of doing it was by exciting fedition and fpreading maffacre and defolation through thefe unfortunate places, and then under an idea of kindness and protection, bringing forward an antiquated title of the crown of France, and annexing Avignon and the two cities of the Comtat with their territory to the French republick. They have made an attempt on Geneva, in which they very narrowly failed of fuccefs. It is known that they hold out from time to time the idea of uniting all the other provinces. of which Gaul was antiently compofed, including Savoy on the other fide, and on this fide bounding themselves by the Rhine.
As to Switzerland, it is a country whofe long union rather than its poffible division, is the matter of wonder. Here I know they entertain very fanguine hopes. The aggregation to France of the democratick Swifs republicks appears to them to be a work half done by their very form; and
it might feem to them rather an increase of importance to these little commonwealths, than a derogation from their independency, or a change in the manner of their government. Upon any quarrel amongst the cantons, nothing is more likely than fuch an event. As to the aristocratick republicks, the general clamour and hatred which the French excite against the very name,(and with more facility and fuccefs than against monarchs) and the utter impoffibility of their government making any fort of refiftance against an infurrection, where they have no troops, and the people are all armed and trained, render their hopes in that quarter, far indeed from unfounded. It is certain that the republick of Berne thinks itself obliged to a vigilance next to hoftile, and to imprison or expel all the French whom it finds in its territories. But indeed those aristocracies which comprehend whatever is confiderable, wealthy, and valuable in Switzerland, do now fo wholly de pend upon opinion, and the humour of their multitude, that the lighteft puff of wind is fufficient to blow them down. If France, under its ancient regimen, and upon the ancient principles of policy, was the support of the Germanick conftitution, it was much more fo of that of Switzerland, which almost from the very origin of that confederacy refted upon the clofenefs of its connexion with France, on which the Swifs Cantons wholly repofed
Old French the fecuity pendence.
of its inde
repofed themselves for the preservation of the parts of their body in their respective rights and permanent forms, as well as for the maintenance of all in their general independency.
Switzerland and Germany are the first objects of the new French politicians. When I contemplate what they have done at home, which is in effect little lefs than an amazing conqueft wrought by a change of opinion, in a great part (to be fure far from altogether) very fudden, I cannot help letting my thoughts run along with their defigns, and without attending to geographical order, to confider the other states of Europe fo far as they may be any way affected by this aftonishing revolution. If early steps are not taken in fome way or other to prevent the spreading of this influence, I fcarcely think any of them perfectly secure.
Italy is divided, as Germany and Switzerland are, into many fmaller ftates, and with fome confiderable diversity as to forms of Government; but as these divifions and varieties in Italy are not fo confiderable, fo neither do I think the danger altogether fo imminent there as in Germany and Switzerland. Savoy I know that the French confider as in a very hopeful way, and I believe not at all without reafon. They view it as an old memLombardy. ber of the kingdom of France which may be easily re-united in the manner, and on the principles of the re-union of Avignon. This country commu
nicates with Piedmont; and as the king of Sardinia's dominions were long the key of Italy, and as fuch long regarded by France, whilft France acted on her old maxims, and with views on Italy; fo in this new French empire of fedition, if once she gets that key into her hands, fhe can easily lay open the barrier which hinders the entrance of her prefent politicks into that inviting region. Milan, I am fure, nourishes great difquiets-and if Milan fhould ftir, no part of Lombardy is fecure to the prefent poffeffors-whether the Venetian or the Auftrian. Genoa is closely connected with France.
The first prince of the houfe of Bourbon has Bourbon been obliged to give himself up entirely to the new fyftem, and to pretend even to propagate it with all zeal; at least that club of intriguers who affemble at the Feuillans, and whofe cabinet meets at Madame Stahl's, and makes and directs all the minifters, is the real executive government of France. The emperour is perfectly in concert, and they will not long fuffer any prince of the house of Bourbon, to keep by force the French emiffaries out of their dominions; nor whilft France has a commerce with them, especially through Marseilles, (the hottest focus of fedition in France) will it be long poffible to prevent the intercourfe or the effects.
Naples has an old inveterate difpofition to republicanism, and (however for fome time past
quiet) is as liable to explosion as its own Vefuvius. Sicily I think has these difpofitions in full as ftrong a degree. In neither of these countries exists any thing which very well deferves the name of go. vernment or exact police.
In the states of the church, notwithstanding their strictness in banishing the French out of that country, there are not wanting the feeds of a revolution. The fpirit of nepotifm prevails there nearly as ftrong as ever. Every Pope of courfe is to give origin or restoration to a great family, by the means of large donations. The foreign revenues have long been gradually on the decline, and feem now in a manner dried up. To fupply this defect the refource of vexatious and impolitick jobbing at home, if any thing, is rather increased than leffened. Various well intended but ill understood practices, fome of them exifting, in their spirit at least, from the time of the old Roman empire, ftill prevail; and that government is as blindly attached to old abusive customs, as others are wildly disposed to all forts of innovations and experiments. Thefe abufes were lefs felt whilft the Pontificate drew riches from abroad, which in fome measure counterbalanced the evils of their remiss and jobbish government at home. But now it can fubfift only on the refources of domestick management; and abufes in that management of course will be more intimately and more severely felt.