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causes, but in a good measure proceeds from internal soundness.
The poets of that classic country, whose style, sentiments, manners, and religion, the French so affectedly labor to imitate, have left keen and biting satires on the Roman vices Against the late proceedings in France, no satirist need em. ploy his pen; that of the historian will be quite sufficient, Truth will be the severest satire; fact will put fable out of countenance; and the crimes which are usually held up to our abhorrence, and are rejected for their exaggeration, in works of invention, will be regarded as flat and feeble by those who shall peruse the records of the tenth of August, of the second and third of September, and of the twenty-first of January.
If the same astonishing degeneracy in taste, principle, and practice, should ever come to flourish among us, Britain may still live to exult in the desolation of her cities, and in the destruction of her finest monuments of art; she may triumph in the peopling of the fortresses of her rocks and her forests; may exult in being once more restored to that glorious state of liberty and equality, when all subsisted by rapine and the chase ; when all, O enviable privilege! were equally savage, equally indigent, and equally naked; her sons may extol it as the restoration of reason, the triumph of nature, and the consummation of liberty, that they are again brought to feed on acorns instead of bread! Groves of consecrated misletoe may happily succeed to useless corn-fields; and Thor and Woden may hope once more to be invested with all their bloody honors.
Let not any serious readers feel indignation, as if pains were ungenerously taken to involve their religious with their political opinions. Far be it from me to wound, unnecessarily, the feelings of people, many of whom are truly estimable ; but it is much to be suspected, that certain opinions in politics have a tendency to lead to certain opinions in relis gion. Where so much is at stake, they will do well to keep their consciences tender; in order to which they should try to keep their discernment acute. They will do well to observe, that the same restless spirit of innovation is busily opera ating under various, though seemingly unconnected forms; to observe, that the same impatience of restraint, the same contempt of order, peace, and subordination, which makes men bad citizens, makes them bad Christians; and that to this secret, but almost infallible connection between religious and
political sentiment, does France owe her present unparalleled anarchy and impiety.
There are, doubtless, in that unhappy country multitudes of virtuous and reasonable men, who rather silently acquiesce in the authority of their present turbulent government, than embrace its principles or promote its projects from the sober conviction of their own judgment. These, together with those conscientious exiles whom this nation so honorably protects, may yet live to rejoice in the restoration of true liberty and solid peace to their native country, when light and order shall spring from the present darkness and confusion, and the reign of chaos shall be no more.
May I be permitted a short digression on the subject of the conduct of Great Britain to these exiles ? It shall only be to remark, that all the boasted conquests of our Edwards and our Henrys over the French nation, do not confer such substantial glory on our own country, as she derives from having received, protected, and supported, among innumerable multitudes of other sufferers, at a time, and under circumstances so peculiarly disadvantageous to herself, three thousand priests, of a nation habitually her enemy, and of a religion intolerant and hostile to her own. This is the solid triumph of true Christianity; and it is worth remarking, that the deeds which poets and historians celebrate as rare and splendid actions, which they record as sublime instances of greatness of soul, in the heroes of the pagan world, are but the ordinary and habitual virtues which occur in the common course of action among Christians; quietly performed without effort or exertion, and with no view to renown or reward, but resulting naturally and consequently from the religion to which they belong.
So predominating is the power of an example we have once admired, and set up as a standard of imitation, and so fascinating has been the ascendency of the Convention over the minds of those whose approbation of French politics commenced in the earlier periods of the revolution, that it extends to the most trivial circumstances. I cannot forbear to notice this in an instance, which, though inconsiderable in itself, yet ceases to be so when we view it in the light of a prevailing symptom of the reigning disease.
While the fantastic phraseology of the new republic is such, as to be almost as disgusting to sound taste, as their doctrines are to sound morals, it is curious to observe how deeply the addresses, which have been sent to it from the clubs* in this country, have been infected with it, as far, at least, as phrases and terms are objects of imitation. In the more leading points it is but justice to the French Convention to confess, that they are hitherto without rivals and without imitators; for who can aspire to emulate that compound of anarchy and atheism which in their debates is mixed up with the pedantry of a school-boy, the jargon of a cabal, and the vulgarity and ill-breeding of a mob? One instance of the prevailing cant may suffice, where a hundred might be adduced; and it is not the most exceptionable. To demolish every existing law and establishment; to destroy the fortunes and ruin the principles of every country into which they are carrying their destructive arms and their frantic doctrines; to untie or cut asunder every bond which holds society together; to impose their own arbitrary shackles where they succeed, and to demolish every thing where they fail—this desolating system, by a most unaccountable perversion of language, they are pleased to call by the endearing name of fraternization; and fraternization is one of the favorite terms which their admirers in this country have adopted, Little would a simple stranger, uninitiated in this new and surprising dialect, uninstructed by the political lexicographers of modern France, imagine that the peaceful terms of fellowcitizen and of brother, the winning offer of freedom and happiness, and the warm embrace of fraternity, were only watch-words, by which they, in effect,
And let slip the dogs of war. In numberless other instances, the fashionable language of France at this day would be as unintelligible to the correct writers of the age of Louis the Fourteenth, as their fashionable notions of liberty would be irreconcilable with those of the true revolution patriots of his great contemporary and victorious rival, William the Third.
Such is, indeed, their puerile rage for novelty in the invention of new words, and the perversion of their taste in the use of old ones, that the celebrated Vossius, whom Christina, of Sweden oddly complimented by saying, that he was so learned as not only to know whence all words came, but whither they were going, would, were he admitted to the honors of a sitting, be obliged to confess, that he was equally puzzled to tell the one, as to foretell the other.
* See the Collection of Addresses from Englande
If it shall please the Almighty in his anger to let loose this infatuated people, as a scourge for the iniquities of the human race; if they are delegated by infinite Justice to act “ as storm and tempest fulfilling his word;” if they are commissioned to perform the errand of the destroying lightning or the avenging thunder-bolt, let us try at least to extract personal benefit from national calamity; let every one of us, high and low, rich and poor, enter upon this serious and humbling inquiry, how much his own individual offences have contributed to that awful aggregate of public guilt, which has required such a visitation. Let us carefully examine in what proportion we have separately added to that common stock of abounding iniquity, the description of which formed the character of an ancient nation, and is so peculiarly applicable to our own—"pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness." Let every one of us humbly inquire, in the self-suspecting language of the disciples to their Divine Master—“Lord, is it I ? Let us learn to fear the fleets and armies of the enemy much less than those iniquities at home which this alarming dispensation may be intended to chastise.
The war which the French have declared against us, is of a kind altogether unexampled in every respect; insomuch that human wisdom is baffled, when it would pretend to conjecture what may be the event. But this, at least, we may safely say, that it is not so much the force of French bayonets, as the contamination of French principles, that ought to excite our apprehensions. We trust, that through the blessing of God we shall be defended from their open hostilities, by the temperate wisdom of our rulers, and the bravery of our fleets and armies; but the domestic danger arising from licentious and irreligious principles among ourselves, can only be guarded against by the personal care and vigilance of every one of us who values religion and the good order of society in this world, and an eternity of happiness in the next.
God grant that those who go forth to fight our battles, instead of being intimidated by the number of their enemies, may bear in mind, that “there is no restraint with God, to save by many or by few.” And let the meanest among us who remains at home, remember also, that even he may contribute to the internal safety of his country, by the integrity of his private life; and to the success of her defenders, by following them with his fervent prayers. And in what war can the sincere Christian ever have stronger inducements, and more
reasonable encouragement to pray for the success of his country, than in this? Without entering far into any politi. cal principles, the discussion of which would be in a great measure foreign to the design of this little tract, it may be remarked, that the unchristian principle of revenge is not our motive to this war; conquest is not our object; nor have we had recourse to hostility, in order to effect a change in the internal government of France.* The present war is undoubtedly undertaken entirely on defensive principles. It is in defence of our king, our constitution, our religion, our laws, and consequently our liberty, in the sound, sober, and rational sense of that term. It is to defend ourselves from the savage violence of a crusade, made against all religion, as well as all government. If ever, therefore, a war was undertaken on the ground of self-defence and necessity--if ever men might be literally said to fight pro aris et focis, this seems to be the occasion.
The ambition of conquerors has been the source of great and extensive evils; religious fanaticism, of still greater. But little as I am disposed to become the apologist of either the one principle or the other, there is no extravagance in assert ing, that they have seemed incapable of producing, even in ages, that extent of mischief, that variety of ruin, that comprehensive desolation, which philosophy, falsely so called, has produced in three years.
Christians! it is not a small thing—it is your life. The pestilence of irreligion, which you detest, will insinuate itself imperceptibly with those manners, phrases, and principles, which you admire and adopt. It is the humble wisdom of a Christian to shrink from the most distant approaches to sin, to abstain from the very appearance of evil. If we would fly from the deadly contagion of atheism, let us fly from those seemingly remote, but not very indirect paths which lead to it. Let France choose this day whom she will serve; “but, as for us and our houses, we will serve the Lord.”
And, ( gracious and long-suffering God! before that awful period arrives, which shall exhibit the dreadful effects of such an education as the French nation are instituting ; before a race of men can be trained up, not only without the knowledge of Thee, but in the contempt of Thy most holy law, do Thou, in great mercy, change the heart of this people as the
* See the Report of Mr. Pitt's speech in the House of Commons on February 12, 1793, published by Woodsall.