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1793.

Brun, was on his way to England with fresh dis- BOOK patches from the executive council, and, as there is no good ground to believe, fresh concessions of the highest importance. But on his arrival in London, being informed of the compulsive dismission of M. Chauvelin, he did not think himself authorized to open his commission, He therefore merely announced his arrival to lord Grenville, but no advances were made to him on the part of the English court.*

Throughout the whole of this delicate and difficult negotiation it was most clear and manifest that the English minister, in respect both to talents and temper, was utterly unequal to the conduct of it.

• A political writer in the confidence of government, (Mr. Miles) who has attempted the arduous task of vindicating the proceedings of administration, in the whole of this momentous transaction, says : “ The propositions which the executive council had authorized M. Maret to offer, and which would have been offered if M. Chauvelin had not left London, but which I am not at liberty to reveal, were so different from the imperious language which M. Le Brun had lately assumed, and the concessions were so much greater than it was reasonable to suppose would have been made after what had passed, that I doubted the sincerity of them at the time.” Thus, while general overtures only of amicable negotiation were made, they were stigmatized as vague and illusory ;—when followed by specific offers of reparation and redress, they were branded as deceitful and insincere. The events which have resulted from this most impolitic and dangerous contest might well draw repentant tears from its authors ;-but, alas ! according to the Arabian proverb, “ Repentance comes too late, when the city of Basra lies in ashes."

XXIV.

1793.

BOOK The sagacious Walpole, placed half a century be

fore him in nearly similar circumstances, far from urging the country by his violence, or inveigling it by his artifices, into a war, opposed the frantic eagerness of the nation to involve themselves in a calamity so dreadful by every possible means. Most' unhappily for mankind, in all ages,

the wisdom of a Walpole has been compelled to veil to the folly of a Grenville.

The death of the French monarch was in every view a disastrous and mournful event. It is well known that the executive council and a great majority of the conventional assembly were eagerly desirous to have averted this fatal catastrophe; but the violence of the Jacobin faction, and the savage rage of the populace, rendered it impossible, We may (said M. Le Brun to a confidential friend) sacrifice ourselves without being able to save the life of the king.” It was not that the moderate party entertained any doubt of the ve. racity of the leading charges brought against the king, or, in other words, of his being deeply engaged in the conspiracy against that constitution which he had sworn to defend--for on this point there was never any difference of opinion in France; but they discerned innumerable circum. stances of palliation which formed an irresistible claim to compassion and mercy. In England no one attempted to justify the deed ; nor, says an animated writer of that time, “ is it the season for

154

Mr. Hastings impeached at the Bar of the House of Lords 156

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