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by them, as too many were, into a desire warning his countrymen against the dan of following them, he stood with firmness gerous influence of French principles. on the solid ground of experimental truth, He first drew the attention the senate and pointed out the deceitfulness of that to this great subject at the commenceSerbonian bog, which was the object of ment of the session in 1790, when the general wonder. At a very early period army estimates came under consideration. of the Revolution he expressed his senti. On that occasion Mr. Fox, in opposing ments upon it, to several of his friends, the military establishment as being too abroad and at home. One of his cor- bigh, adverted to the state of France, and respondents in France having solicited his in terms of exultation eulogized the Revoopinion more in detail, Mr. BURKE drew lution that had taken place. Mr. BURKE up a long letter in compliance with his rose upon this, and though he considered desire ; but finding that the subject con- the proposed establishment as unnecestinued to be pregnant with fresh matter sarily high, because England had nothing every week, and that as he proceeded in to apprehend from the powers of Europe, watching the agitated elements, the more one of the most formidable of them hava alarming the prospect became, he extend- ing been blotted out of the map, yet he ed his observations, till that which was could not avoid noticing and differing meant for an epistle became a volume. with the principles professed by his He now thought, and justly, that the in- friend. So far from agreeing that the exfluenza of revolutionary principles called amples of France were objects for imitafor a powerful antidote, on wbich account, tion, he reprobated them as extremely and neither with a view to profit nor pernicious, and even more dangerous popularity, he sent his "Reflections on than all her hostility. In the reign of the the French Revolution,” to the press. fourteenth Louis, they set an example of The effect produced was so electrical, splendid despotism ; in that of the sixthat in a few months several thousand teenth Louis, they had set one infinitely copies'were sold; and though, as was to more dangerous; they had shown the be expected, a host of antagonists rose up way to innovation and destructive specuin arms against the author, all agreed in lation; they had set an example by the paying a tribute to his genius. Among establishment of a bloody, ferocious, and the rest, Dr. Samuel Parr having had oc- tyrannical democracy; they had destroycasion in one of his fugitive tracts to notice ed in the space of two months, more this performance, expressed himself in than ages would restore; they had madly this remarkable manner: “Upon the pulled down their monarchy-destroyed first perusal of Mr. BURKE's book, I felt, their church- annihilated their lawslike many other men, its magic force, ruined the discipline of their army-put and, like many other men, I was at last an end to their commerce; and by the delivered from the illusions which had exertions of a desperate faction, establish
cheated my reason,' and borne me on- ed, in the place of order, anarchy and ward from admiration to assent. But, confusion. They had an army without though the dazzling spell be now dissolv- a head, accountable to no one, making ed, I still remember with pleasure the their own will the law, to which the gay and celestial visions, when my mind national assembly were forced to subin sweet madness was robbed of itself.'. mit;—and yet, this Revolution, this army, I still look back, with a mixture of pity was to be compared to the British Reand holy awe, to the wizard himself, who volution. “It was, however,” said Mr. having lately broken bis wand in a start BURKE, “a false comparison ; for the of phrenzy, has shortened the term of Revolution in England was against a bis sorceries; and of drugs so potent to king, who was taking the first steps to bathe the spirits in delight, I'must still make himself absolute; the Revolution acknowledge, that many were culled from in France was against a king who was the choicest and most virtuous plants of taking the first steps to make his people Paradise itself."
free. The Revolution in England was The phrenzy to which the philosophical not carried on for the subversion of the divine here alluded, was the conduct of Constitution, but for its preservation ; all Mr. BURKE in the house of commons, order, and all the ties of civil government where he seized every opportunity of were not destroyed, but strengthened ;
and England held up her head prouder on enjoy his little popularity, and the mean that event, than she had ever done before. applause of his clubs. England by her Revolution maintained The schism now became more extend. her natural aristocracy, as well as the aris- ed, and the opposition were divided into tocracy of the people; France in her Re- two parties, one headed by Fox, and the volution had destroyed aristocracy, and other by Burke. In less than a month involved herself in depth of ruin.” Mr. after the angry discussion here mentioned, Burke further observed, “That he could the former brought forward a motion for not well tell what they had done; but they the repeal of the Corporation and Test had by their Revolution destroyed every Acts, which Burke opposed, and in his bond of social order and regular govern- speech again drew a fearful picture of ment. They had separated the people the state of France, which country he still from their king-tenants from their land- thought was the most miserable upon lords—servants from their masters earth. In justification of the vote, which and in a word, done a deed without a he meant to give on the present occasion, name.”
he said that some parties here had, like Mr. Fos, in reply, endeavoured to the French, got possession of the words soften down the warmth of his friend by NatIONAL Rights, and on this they a moderate explanation ; but Sheridan relied as their strongest hold. “But," appeared to take a delight in widen- said Mr. BURKE, “I have from my earIng the breach, for he immediately con- liest years turned with aversion from demned the speech of Burke, as dis- all these chimerical and abstract rights, graceful to an Englishman, as supporting which have for some time past con despotism, and as libelling those who founded human reason, and disturbed were virtuously engaged in obtaining the the imagination of statesmen. At the rights of men.
age of twenty, I thought that all abstract It was impossible to sit silent under rights, natural rights, and such nonsense, such an attack, and it was not in the nature were unfit for men to hear; and now, that of Burke to bear a blow of this kind with- my hair is silvered by age, I am more
He rose, and said, " That and more con med in my abhorrence for some time he had apprehended that and disgust of them. Natural rights are the affairs of France would be productive dangerous topics of discussion, for they of a division among many in that house, supersede all social duties. They are who had frequently acted together ; hé paramount to the compact which introhad not, however, expected that upon a duced into the community new rights and separation being about to take place be- other ideas. They bring us back to that tween himself and that honourable gen- stage of savage helplessness, when, whattleman whom he used to call his friend, ever may be our rights, we enjoy them that he would have treated him so harshly, but precariously, depending on casual so unjustly, and so unbecomingly, as he circumstances for the miserable indulhad done, in imputing to him a conduct, gence of beastly appetite and ferocious of which he had never been guilty. He passion. Society, annihilates all those was no supporter of despotis:n, but a natural rights, and draws to its mass all firm defender of a well-mixed monarchy. the component parts of which these rights He was no libeller of freemen, or any are made up. "It takes in all the virtue other class of men, but he reprobated, as of the good, and all the wisdom of the he always would do, the conduct of fero- wise; it gives life, support, and action, cious, bloody, and desperate democracies.” to every faculty of the soul, and secures Mr. Burke then proceeded to observe, the possession of every comfort which “That there were persons in this country, these proud and boasting natural rights who would be happy to promote innova- impotently hold out, but cannot ascertain. tion, and he cautioned the house against Society finds protection for all—it gives them. He entreated them to be on their defence to the weak-employment to the guard, and to maintain as sacred the industrious-consolation to the distressground of the Constitution.” Mr. Burke ed; it nurses the infant, and it soothes concluded by declaring, that from hence the dying. In all the stages of the life of forward he would never have any inter- man, where either the instilment of princourse with Sheridan, but leave him to ciples or the consolations of hope are wanting, society is ready; and to confer such an effect upon the nerves of Mr. this succour, an established religion is Fox, that he let drop some tears, whilo a powerful and necessary instrument.” he endeavoured to appease the irritated Upon these solid principles, Mr. BURKE mind of his old associate. But neither resisted the claims of the Dissenters in the concessions which he made, nor the the present case, and defended the bul- interposing kindness of others, could bring warks which had been framed for the about a reconciliation; and from that mosecurity of the national church. Though ment these two great men became almost it was evident that the bond of union no as much strangers, as if there had never longer subsisted between the two leaders been the least intimacy between them. of the opposition, the forms of courtesy Without going so far as to say, that were still kept up till the next session, when the conduct of Mr. BURKE on this memo the bill for the government of Canada ble occasion was free from blame, much having brought the subject of the Revo- must be allowed to the warmth of his lution again into discussion, Mr. Burke, feelings, and to much praise he is entitled, in an elaborate speech, entered on the on the ground of general patriotism. Hé general principles of legislation, repeated certainly had reason to complain, if not what he had before observed on natural of Mr. Fox, yet of those with whom that rights, and expressed his conviction, that gentleman maintained the most familiar there was a league formed in this country, intercourse. These subalterns were in the design of which was to subvert the the constant habit, through various chanConstitution.
out a retort.
nels, of impeaching Mr. BURKE before Mr. Fox, after declaring his opinion, the bar of the public, and accusing him of that the French Revolution was one of a dereliction of principles; while Mr. Fox the most glorious events in the history was panegyrised for his firmness, in adof mankind, proceeded to denounce the hering to the sound Whig doctrine of doctrines of Mr. BURKE as inimical to “The Rights of the People." liberty, and contrary to the sentiments Upon this, Mr. BURKE drew up and pubformerly maintained by his right honour- lished his " Appeal from the New to the able friend. This charge of inconsis- Old Whigs," in which, after taking such tency, ot rather of apostacy, provoked a a review of his political life as was necesreply, in the course of which, Mr. BURBE sary to his justification from the charge said, “ Mr. Fox has treated me with of apostacy, he entered into an histoharshness and malignity; after harassing rical discussion of the fundamental prin
1 me with his light troops in the skirmishes ciples on which the English Revolution of order, he has brought the heavy artil- was established. lery of his own great abilities to destroy In the mean time his active mind was me."
intent upon the proceedings going on in Mr. BURKE then went over the ground France, and every day brought a melanagain, and maintained that the new choly proof of the correctness of the French system was replete with anarchy, opinion which at the beginning he had impiety, vice, and misery; that the prin- formed and expressed, of the awful ciples which he now advanced were in change that had taken place. He was perfect unison with the creed which he much affected by the condition of the had always professed, and to which he French clergy, who were among the first would inflexibly adhere as long as he sufferers by the Revolution. For those lived. “Hitherto,” said he, “Mr. Fox exiles of this venerable order, who sought and myself have often differed upon slight and found an asylum in this country, matters, without a loss of friendship on Mr. BURKE exerted himself with benevoeither side ; but there is something in this lent alacrity; and while his calumniators cursed French Revolution that envenoms were courting an alliance with the perseevery thing." Mr. Fox upon this whis- cutors, he employed all the means that pered, “There is no loss of friendship be- were in his power to relieve the afflicted. tween us." But Mr. BURKE, instead of This liberality procured him the thanks being softened
by this conciliatory remark, of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of France, exclaimed, “ There is! I know the price conveyed to him by the archbishop of of my conduct : our friendship is at an Aix; 'in return for which Mr. BURKÈ end !" This unexpected declaration had wrote to that prelate the following letter:
London, July 15, 1791. and the clergy of the noblesse, although SIR,
these two classes be for the present conIt is with great satisfaction to me, demned to passive courage, which gives that the generous victims of injustice and so much glory to the one and the other. tyranny accept in good part the homage I shall present to the bishop of St. Paul which I have offered to their virtues. de Leon your fine and affecting address ; It is a distinction which I would not have perhaps, he has already received it. I am had occasion to merit from the clergy of sure that he will remain fixed; if I may France in the time of their credit and judge from the little I have seen of him, splendour. Your church, the intelligence he is a most estimable and a most amiable of which was the ornament of the Chris- man. He has been received here by our tian world in its prosperity, is now more high clergy, and by many others, not cerbrilliant in the moment of its misfortunes, tainly in the manner due to his rank and to the eyes who are capable of judging merit, but with a respect for the one and the of it. Never did so great a number of other, with which, from his natural goodmen display a constancy so inflexible, ness, he seems to be satisfied. a disinterestedness so manifest, a humi- I do not know if it is to the complaility so magnanimous, so much dignity in sance of your lordship, that I owe the their patience, and so much elevation in chefs-d'æuvres of ingenuity, intelligence, their sentiment of honour. Ages have and superior eloquence, varied as the not furnished so many noble examples as occasions require, in the different disFrance has produced in the space of two courses and letters which I, from time to years. It is odious to search in antiquity time, receive. They are the works of a for the merit we admire, and to be insen- great statesman, of a great prelate, and of a sible to that which passes under our eyes. man versed in the science of administration. France is in a deplorable situation, both We cannot be astonished that the state, in its political and moral state; but it the clergy, the finances, and the trade of seems to be in the order of the general the kingdom should be ruined, when the economy of the world, that when the author of these works, instead of having greatest and most detestable vices domi- an important share in the councils of his neer, the most eminent and distinguished country, is persecuted and undone. The virtues raise their heads more proudly. proscription of such men is enough to Such is not the time for mediocrity. We cover a whole people with eternal re may have some diversity in our opinions, proach. Those who persecute them but we have no difference in principles. have, by this one act, done more injury
There is but one kind of honour and to their country in depriving it of their virtue in the world; it consists in sacrifi- services, than a million of men of their cing every other consideration to the senti- own standard can ever repair, even when ments of our duty, of right, and of piety, they shall be disposed to build upon
the It is this which the clergy of France bave ruins they have made. done. I will not examine scrupulously by Maintain, sir, the courage which you what motives men like you have thought it have hitherto shown; and be persuaded,
; your duty to support all that you have that though the world is not worthy of you done. All that I see, I am forced to ad- and your colleagues, we are not ingenmire. The rest is out of my reach-out, sible of the honour which you do to our perhaps, of the reach of those, who are common nature. better instructed than me. One thing I see I have the honour to be, distinctly, because the bishops of France
Very truly, &c. have proved it by their example; and that
EDMUND BORKE. is, that they have made known to all the orders and all the classes of citizens, the This letter was answered by the archadvantages which even religion can de- bishop in another, equally eloquent and rive from the alliance of its own proper expressive of liberal sentiments. dignity with the character which illustri. ous birth and the sentiment of honour
August 7, 1791. gives to man.
SIR, It is with good reason, that in France You have been pleased to address the noblesse should be proud of the clergy, to me an opinion that does me honour
and I cannot conceal the impression, that secute those who practise what they be the suffrage of the man, the most cele- lieve in religion, and who wish to preserve brated for talents, virtues, and success, the worship of their fathers ! We read has made on my heart. Give me leave, in the Constitution, that “ No one ought above all, to acknowledge with an inte- to be disturbed for his religious opinions;" rest infinitely superior to all personal con- we read in the laws concerning religion, sideration, the eulogy which you have oaths, deprivations, infamous penaltio 3, made on the respectable order cf which and exile; and it is on the overthrow of I have the honour to partake the mis-, their new Constitution that they found the fortunes. The first orator of England civil Constitution of the clergy. What has become the defender of the clergy of has become of all those natural laws, France. Yours is the voice that has so which were to serve for the basis of all long directed, and balanced the opinion their laws? We are the men whom, of a nation, of which France ought rather they wish to accuse with prejudices, whó to be the rival by its progress in intelli- plead this day the rights of liberty. The gence, than by its political interest. Oh! cause, sir
, that we have defended, is the that the dark clouds which overhang my noble, just, and holy cause of liberty, country may not for ever obscure the humanity, and religion. The clergy of rays of light' which the sciences, letters, France have demonstrated what it was, and the arts bestow ! We are in a time persuasion without fanaticism-courage of trouble; we attend only to the noise of without excess—and resistance without our discussions; we read only the pro- trouble, and without insurrection. We ductions of party; and how many wise have suffered all kinds of loss; we have men and enlightened citizens remain in endured all sorts of rigour; and we remain silence! We can no longer judge for tranquil and firm, because nothing is so ourselves, and a foreign observer only can unconquerable as the probity which supdecide for us, what ought to be the judg- ports itself on religion. Behold that of ment of posterity.
which they cannot judge in the world! When my colleagues, in addressing They conceive that honour is the only seuthemselves to you, chose me for their organ, timent which influences men of all conI was penetrated with their sentiments, ditions to the accomplishment of the and with those of the ministers of all most sacred duties. God forbid that I ranks, whom nothing can separate from should weaken this noble instinct, which their consciences. I spoke for them with comes to the aid of reason, which rallies the feeling which they gave me; and the warrior in the day of combat, and the noble thoughts, the touching expres- which can animate to the love of the sions, I can boldly say, were only the public weal when it does not mislead us in daily impressions which the knowledge the pursuit! But you have better defined of their virtues inspires. It is wanting this simple and true sentiment, “which to their glory that you should see them, as I consists in the habitual impression of our have seen them, simple in their conduct, duty, of right and of piety." This sentitranquil in their adversity, and content with ment ought to be in general that of good having fulfilled their duty. The church citizens, and there are no morals in a of France is the stranded bark which country where it is not acted upon. If the waters have left after the tempest, they wish to destroy religion in France, and every one of us in the shipwreck con- it will be the first example of an empire templates with astonishment those new without religion ; and no one has proved, heavens, and this new earth, which were sir, with more eloquence than yourself, unknown before. By what destiny must how much it imports to attach the prinit be, that after having supported, all my ciples of human society to something too life, those maxims of Christian charity, high for man to outrage or destroy. They of which the first ages of the church gave must consecrate by religion, respect for us both lessons and examples, I see myself the laws; for what must the laws be, the victim of intolerance and persecution! which an entire people obey only through It is in the eighteenth century—it is in a constraint, and not by inclination? They nation that boasts of its philosophy—it is will soon perceive that the force to which even in the moment that they announce they yield is only the force which they the Revolution of Liberty, that they per- give; this force will weaken of itself by