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nor ever can be,” any decided impression made upon her of which England is not the directing power, the soul of the confederacy ;-with what truth time has shown. He
urges as part of his reasons for asserting there must be war (in opposition to Mr. Pitt, who shortly before said there would be none), that whatever might be the form of the internal government of France, it had been always our policy to watch over her external proceedings; and that now, having conquered Savoy, penetrated into the heart of Germany, menaced an invasion of the Netherlands, completely overawed the Helvetic body, and sent a fleet into the Mediterranean to do the same to Italy, we could no longer view these things with indifference. “Spain,”
“ is not a substantive power; she must lean on France or on England; and it is as much for the interest of Great Britain to prevent the predominancy of a French interest in that kingdom, as if Spain were a province of the crown of Great Britain, or a state actually dependant on it; full as much so as ever Portugal was expected to be.” Pursuing the subject he distinctly points out, what was so truly verified by the event, her ultimate subserviency to France, if great pains were not taken by England to prevent it. In conclusion, he offers many severe comments on the wretched plan and conduct of the invasion of France by the Duke of Brunswick. The whole paper thrown off without finish, or participation in the knowledge of official secrets, displays the reflective discrimination of a great statesman, as correctly as if they were all under his eye.
His labours, in fact, connected with the great convulsion in that country, were almost beyond belief, as well in thinking, in writing, in debating, in corresponding upon it with many of the chief persons in Britain and in Europe, in imparting information, and in unwearied diligence in procuring it. For the latter purpose principally, he had dispatched his son the preceding year, with the knowledge of government, to the French Princes and others assembled at Coblentz, who on his return brought with him to England the famous M. Cazalés, a man of superior talents, distinguished in the National Assembly as the chief opponent of Mirabeau, but who, like most other persons of common sense and common honesty, found it necessary soon after to consult his safety in emigration; and who was further remarkable for bearing so great a resemblance to Mr. Fox as to have been mistaken for him two or three times in the streets of London.* By means of his son, on this trip, Mr. Burke also opened a communication with some of the Ministers of the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, particularly the former, suggesting hints for quieting the disorders of the Netherlands and of Hungary, and alluding to those of France. Some additional communications, written and verbal, said to have
• This gentleman subsequently spent much of his time at Butler's Court, and evinced warm admiration for the great talents and virtues of his host. An anecdote told of him on his fint arrival in the house, used to be afterwards à source of laughter and amusement to himself. He had often heard of what he called rost-bif as a leading and indispensable dish to all Englishmen, but was so perfectly ignorant of what it meant that he took up a slice of toast at breakfast, paused for some time, and then inquired whether this was not the great staple of an English stomach of which he had heard so much?
To do any
been made by him to Lord Grenville on the latter fertile theme, have never been made public; but his suggestions, of whatever nature, were probably not adopted, his views differing materially on many points from those of persons in office.
His further views at this time are stated in the following extract of a letter to his son in Dublin,“ I am now in town trying to take my little part in measures which may quiet the unhappy divisions of the country, and enable us to make head against the common enemy of the human race. good, there ought to be a general cessation, as much as may be, of all public and all private animosities ; and first the R-f-yought, in my firm opinion, in this question of the very existence of monarchy, as a basis, to be reconciled within itself; the next is, that the Opposition should be reconciled to the Ministry; and that, for that purpose, its dissonant parts should be brought to some agreement if possible-if not, that the well-intentioned should be separated from the contagion and distraction attendant upon an apparent connexion with those who, under the false colour of a common party, are as completely separated in views and in opinions as the most adverse and factious ever have been or can be: the last part of the plan is, that there should be a reconciliation between the Catholics and Protestants of Ireland.”-In all these plans he succeeded, but in the last the least ; either because government could not or would not pursue the plan he had chalked out, on account probably of the scruples of the King, or perhaps the equally strong obstacles presented by the violent antipathies of the ruling party in Ireland to their Roman Catholic countrymen. Mr. Pitt, there is no possible doubt, felt some jealousy of appearing to be too much guided by his advice, for fully aware of his energy and resources of mind on every subject, he fancied that by adopting his suggestions, he should be only inviting a continuance of them, which might possibly bring him too much under the influence of so active a coadjutor. Yet had his advice been fully followed up by the Minister sanctioning the subsequent arrangements made by Earl Fitzwilliam, there is a general impression among the best informed men of that country that the rebellion would not have taken place.
The first day of the Session, 1792-3, December 13th, brought him forward again, “ not,” he said, “as the defender of Opposition, or of Ministry, but of the country.” Mr. Fox still not merely retained but enforced with a warmth that astonished and confounded many of his most devoted admirers, his former opinions as to the quiet state of the country, the total absence of any spirit in it hostile to the Constitution or Government, and asserted that the alarm arose from the artful designs and practices of Ministers; moving an amendment to the address to this effect. On the report being brought up the following day, he again proposed an amendment to avert the calamities of war with France, by entering into negociation with her rulers. This Mr. Burke replied to with great effect, urging that could war be avoided it were advisable, but he saw a spirit at work that would leave them no option—that he could not recognise a tittle of that peaceful spirit which those persons were stated to possess, who, without the formality of a public declaration, were as hostile
to the government, property, and respectability of England as they well could be; who had received at the bar of their Convention as representatives of the English people, a few obscure and worthless men, deputed by obscure, mischievous societies; who had passed many decrees which were in effect declarations of war against every government, and who had declared their determination to retain their new conquests in the Netherlands, which it seemed to be the general sentiment in the House, and in the country, they must give up. Between the nations there was at that moment a moral war, which must soon become an actual war.
Uninfluenced by the results of these proposals, Mr. Fox disregarding the general feeling of the country to the contrary, brought forward on the third day of this struggle (15th December), a motion for sending a Minister to Paris, to treat with the Provisional Government. To this likewise Mr. Burke opposed a negative; and took the opportunity of paying a handsome compliment to the discrimination, good sense, and sound patriotism of the present Earl of Liverpool, who, he remarked, though young, did not permit his understanding to be warped by the infatuation of the day, but nobly stood forward to resist the growing evils. In him, and in the other promising young men, his friends, by whom he was accompanied, he was happy to find that the new doctrines would find powerful opponents.* He com
The late Lord Erskine, who came frequently under his lash, experienced it again on the present occasion. “ He was sorry he could not say the same of the learned gentleman, whose speech they had just heard, who always instructed that House as the ancient philosophers did their pupils, by proposing himself as their