Page images

head was a just war; this, which is made to prevent the tearing of all crowns from all heads which ought to wear them, and with the crowns to Smite off the sacred heads themselves, this is a just war. If a war to prevent Louis the Fourteenth from imposing his religion was just, a war to prevent the murderers of Louis the Sixteenth from imposing their irreligion upon us is just ; a war to prevent the operation of a system, which makes life without dignity, and death without hope, is a just war. If to preserve political independence and civil freedom to nations was a just ground of war; a war to preserve national independence, property, liberty, life, and honour, from certain, universal havoc, is a war just, necessary, manly, pious; and we are bound to persevere in it by every principle, Divine and human, as long as the system which menaces them all, and all equally, has an existence in the world. You, who have looked at this matter with as fair and impartial an eye as can be united with a feeling heart, you will not think it a hardy assertion, when I affirm that it were far better to be conquered by any other nation than to have this faction for a neighbour. Before I felt myself authorized to say this, I considered the state of all the countries in Europe, for these last three hundred years, which have been obliged to submit to a foreign law. In most of these I found the condition of the annexed countries oven better, certainly not worse, than the lot of those which were the patrimony of the conqueror. They wanted some blessings, but they were free from many great evils. They were rich and tranquil. Such was Artois, Flanders, Lorrain, Alsatia, under the old government of France. Such was Silesia under the King of Prussia. They, who are to live in the vicinity of this new fabric, are to prepare to live in perpetual conspiracies and seditions; and to end, at last, in being conquered, if not to her dominion, to her resemblance. But . when we talk of conquest by other nations, it is only to put a case. This is the only power in Europe by which it is possible we should be conquered. To live under the continual dread of such immeasurable evils is itself a grievous calamity. To live without the dread of them is to turn the danger into the disaster. The influence of such a France is equal to a war; its example is more wasting than a hostile irruption. The hostility with any other power is separable and accidental ; this power, by the very condition of its existence, by its very essential constitution, is in a state of hostility with us, and with all civilized people. A government of the nature of that set up at our very door has never been hitherto seen, or even imagined, in Europe.

What our relation to it will be cannot be judged by other relations. It is a serious thing to have connection with a people who live only under positive, arbitrary, and changeable institutions; and those not perfected, nor supplied, nor explained, by any common acknowledged rule of moral science. I remember that in one of my last conversations with the late Lord Camden, we were struck much in the same manner with the abolition in Trance of the law, as a science of methodized and artificial equity. France, since her Tevolution, is under the sway of a sect whose leaders have deliberately, at one stroke, demolished the whole body of that jurisprudence which France had pretty nearly in common with other civilized countries. In that jurisprudence were contained the elements and principles of the law of nations, the great ligament of mankind. With the law they have of course destroyed all seminaries in which jurisprudence was taught, as well as all the corporations established for its conservation. I have not heard of any country, whether in Europe or Asia, or even in Africa on this side of Mount Atlas, which is wholly without some such colleges and such corporations, except Trance. No man, in a public or private concern, can divine by what rule or principle her judgments are to be directed; nor is there to be found a professor in any university, or a practitioner in any court, who will hazard an opinion of what is or is not law in France, in any case whatever. They have not only annulled all their old treaties, but they have renounced the law of nations, from whence treaties have their force. With a sixed design they have outlawed themselves, and, to their power, outlawed all other nations. Instead of the religion and the law by which they were in a great politic communion with the Christian world, they have constructed their republic on three bases, all fundamentally Opposite to those on which the communities of Europe are built. Its foundation is laid in regicide, in Jacobinism,” and in atheism; and it has joined to those principles a body of systematic manners, which secures their operation. If I am asked how I would be understood in the use of these terms, regicide, Jacobinism, atheism, and a system of corresponding manners, and their establishment, I will tell you: I call a commonwealth regicide, which lays it down as a fixed law of nature, and a fundamental right of man, that all govern

9 The Jacobins were the extreme radical faction in the French Revolution, and took that name from their place of rendezvous, which was a forsaken monastery, previously occupied by an order or fraternity of monks called Jacobins. The revolutionary Jacobins were at first a political club, who held secret meet ings, to concoct measures which were to be forced upon the Legislature. The Reign of Terror was their great triumph in political architecture.

ment, not being a democracy, is an usurpation;" that all kings, as such, are usurpers; and for being kings may and ought to be put to death, with their wives, families, and adherents. The commonwealth which acts uniformly upon those principles, and which, after abolishing every festival of religion, chooses the most flagrant act of a murderous regicide treason for a feast of eternal commemoration, and which forces all her people to observe it, this I call regicide by establishment. Jacobinism is the revolt of the enterprising talents of a country against its property. When private men form themselves into associations for the purpose of destroying the pre-existing laws and institutions of their country; when they secure to themselves an army, by dividing amongst the people of no property the estates of the ancient and lawful proprietors; when a State recognizes those acts; when it does not make confiscations for crimes, but makes crimes for confiscations; when it has its principal strength, and all its resources, in such a violation of property; when it stands chiefly upon such a violation ; massacring by judgments, or otherwise, those who make any struggle for their old legal government, and their legal, hereditary, or acquired possessions,— I call this Jacobinism by establishment. I call it atheism by establishment, when any State, as such, shall not acknowledge the existence of God as a moral governor of the world; when it shall offer to Him no religious or moral worship ; when it shall abolish the Christian religion by a regular decree;” when it shall persecute with a cold, unrelenting, steady cruelty, by every mode of confiscation, imprisonment, exile, and death, all its ministers; when it shall generally shut up or pull down churches; when the few buildings which remain of this kind shall be opened only for the purpose of making a profane apotheosis of monsters whose vices and crimes have no parallel amongst men, and whom all other men consider as objects of general detestation, and the severest animadversion of law. When, in the place of that religion of social benevolence, and of individual self-denial, in mockery of all religion they institute impious, blasphemous, indecent theatric rites in honour of their vitiated, perverted reason, and erect altars to the personification of their own corrupted and bloody republic; *

1 Nothing could be more solemn than their promulgation of this principle as a preamble to the destructive code of their famous articles for the decomposition of society, into whatever country they should enter. — Author's Note.

2 In the Fall of 1793, some of the chiefs publicly gave out their resolution “to dethrone the King of Heaven, as well as the monarchs of the Earth.” Not long after, the National Convention passed a formal decree, abolishing Christianity, and establishing atheism as the State religion. They also proclaimed death to be “an eternal sleep.” -

3. On this occasion, a veiled female was brought into the Convention; and

when schools and seminaries are founded at the public expense, to poison mankind, from generation to generation, with the horrible maxims of this impiety; when, wearied out with incessant martyrdom and the cries of a people hungering and thirsting for religion, they permit it only as a tolerated evil,— I call this atheism by establishment. When to these establishments of regicide, of Jacobinism, and of atheism, you add the correspondent system of manners, no doubt can be left on the mind of a thinking man concerning their determined hostility to the human race. Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them. Of this the new French legislators were aware: therefore, with the same method, and under the same authority, they settled a system of manners the most licentious, prostitute, and abandoned, that ever has been known, and at the same time the most coarse, rude, savage, and ferocious. Nothing in the Revolution, no, not to a phrase or a gesture, not to the fashion of a hat or a shoe, was left to accident. All has been the result of design; all has been matter of institution. No mechanical means could be devised, in favour of this incredible system of wickedness and vice, that has not been employed. The noblest passions, the love of glory, the love of country, have been debauched into means of its preservation and its propagation. All sorts of shows and exhibitions, calculated to inflame and vitiate the imagination, and pervert the moral sense, have been contrived. They have sometimes brought forth five or six hundred drunken women, calling at the bar of the Assembly for the blood of their own children, as being royalists or constitutionalists. Sometimes they have got a body of wretches, calling themselves fathers, to demand the murder of their sons, boasting that Rome had but one Brutus, but that they could show five hundred. There were instances

one of the chiefs, taking her by the hand, said, “Mortals, cease to tremble before the powerless thunders of a God whom your fears have created. Henceforth acknowledge no divinity but Reason. I offer you its noblest and purest image: if you must have idols, sacrifice only to such as this.” Then, letting fall the veil, he added, “Fall before the august Senate of Freedom, Veil of Reason!” At the same time appeared a celebrated beauty of the opera, known in more than one character to most of the members. This “goddess of reason” was then taken to the cathedral of Notre Dame, placed upon the high altar, and received the adoration of all present. -

in which they inverted and retaliated the impiety, and produced sons who called for the execution of their parents. The foundation of their republic is laid in moral paradoxes. Their patriotism is always prodigy. All those instances to be found in history, whether real or fabulous, of a doubtful public spirit at which morality is perplexed, reason is staggered, and from which affrighted nature recoils, are their chosen, and almost sole, examples for the instruction of their youth. The whole drift of their institution is contrary to that of the wise legislators of all countries, who aimed at improving instincts into morals, and at grafting the virtues on the stock of the natural affections. They, on the contrary, have omitted no pains to eradicate every benevolent and noble propensity in the minds of men. In their culture it is a rule always to graft virtues on vices. They think every thing unworthy of the name of public virtue, unless it indicates violence on the pri- . vate. All their new institutions (and with them every thing is new) strike at the root of our social nature. Other legislators, knowing that marriage is the origin of all relations, and consequently the first element of all duties, have endeavoured, by every art, to make it sacred. The Christian religion, confining it to the pairs, and rendering that relation indissoluble, has by these two things done more towards the peace, happiness, settlement, and civilization of the world, than by any other part in this whole scheme of Divine Wisdom. The direct contrary course has been taken in the synagogue of Antichrist,--I mean in that forge and manufactory of all evil, the sect which predominated in the Constituent Assembly of 1789. Those monsters employed the same or greater industry to desecrate and degrade that state, which other legislators have used to render it holy and honourable. By a strange, uncalled-for declaration, they pronounced that marriage was no better than a common civil contract.* It was one of their ordinary tricks to put their sentiments into the mouths of certain personated characters, which they theatrically exhibited at the bar of what ought to be a serious Assembly. One of these was brought out in the figure of a prostitute, whom they called by the affected name of “a mother without being a wife.” This creature they made to call for a repeal of the incapacities which in civilized States are put upon bastards. The prostitutes of the Assembly gave to this their puppet the sanction of their

4 All this representation, shocking as it is, speaks the simple language of actual history. The Convention passed a decree, declaring marriage a civil contract merely, binding only during the pleasure of the contracting parties. And a celebrated comic actress expressed the public feeling when she called marriage “the Sacrament of Adultery.”

« PreviousContinue »