Letters on a Regicide Peace

Burke, Edmund
(1729-1797)
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Editor/Trans.
E. J. Payne, ed.
First Pub. Date
1795
Publisher/Edition
Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.
Pub. Date
1990
Comments
Foreword and notes by Francis Canavan.

1. Pp. 56-57.

2. P. 55.

3. National Review 48 (April 8, 1996): 53-54.

4. Sovereignty: An Inquiry into the Political Good (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1997), p. 12.

Vol. 3, Introduction, by E. J. Payne
The following notes are by Payne.

5. Remarks on the Policy of the Allies, 1793.

6. View of the Causes and Consequences of the Present War with France, p. 119.

7. Malmesbury's Correspondence, Vol. III. p. 398.

8. Select Works of Burke, Vol. II. p. 45.

Vol. 3, Two Letters...
The following notes are by Payne

9. "*y1 Mussabat tacito medicina timore."

10. Mr. Bird sent to state the real situation of the Duc de Choiseul.

11. Boissy d'Anglas.

12. "This Court has seen, with regret, how far the tone and spirit of that answer, the nature and extent of the demands which it contains, and the manner of announcing them, are remote from any dispositions for peace.

"The inadmissible pretension is there avowed of appropriating to France all that the laws existing there may have comprised under the denomination of French territory. To a demand such as this, is added an express declaration that no proposal contrary to it will be made, or even listened to. And even this, under the pretence of an internal regulation, the provisions of which are wholly foreign to all other nations.

"While these dispositions shall be persisted in, nothing is left for the King, but to prosecute a war equally just and necessary.

"Whenever his enemies shall manifest more pacific sentiments, his Majesty will, at all times, be eager to concur in them, by lending himself, in concert with his allies, to all such measures as shall be calculated to re-establish general tranquillity on conditions just, honourable and permanent, either by the establishment of a general Congress, which has been so happily the means of restoring peace to Europe, or by a preliminary discussion of the principles which may be proposed, on either side, as a foundation of a general pacification; or, lastly, by an impartial examination of any other way which may be pointed out to him for arriving at the same salutary end."

Downing-Street, April 10, 1796.

13. Official Note, extracted from the Journal of the Defenders of the Country.

"EXECUTIVE DIRECTORY.

"Different Journals have advanced that an English Plenipotentiary had reached Paris, and had presented himself to the Executive Directory, but that his propositions not having appeared satisfactory, he had received orders instantly to quit France.

"All these assertions are equally false.

"The notices given, in the English Papers, of a Minister having been sent to Paris, there to treat of peace, bring to recollection the overtures of Mr. Wickham to the Ambassador of the Republick at Basle, and the rumours circulated relative to the mission of Mr. Hammond to the Court of Prussia. The insignificance, or rather the subtle duplicity, the PUNICK stile of Mr. Wickham's note, is not forgotten. According to the partizans of the English Ministry, it was to Paris that Mr. Hammond was to come to speak for peace: when his destination became publick, and it was known that he went to Prussia, the same writer repeated that it was to accelerate a peace, and notwithstanding the object, now well known, of this negociation, was to engage Prussia to break her treaties with the Republick, and to return into the coalition. The Court of Berlin, faithful to its engagements, repulsed these perfidious propositions. But in converting this intrigue into a mission for peace, the English Ministry joined to the hope of giving a new enemy to France, that of justifying the continuance of the war in the eyes of the English nation, and of throwing all the odium of it on the French Government. Such was also the aim of Mr. Wickham's note. Such is still that of the notices given at this time in the English papers.

"This aim will appear evident, if we reflect how difficult it is, that the ambitious Government of England should sincerely wish for a peace that would snatch from it it's maritime preponderancy, would re-establish the freedom of the seas, would give a new impulse to the Spanish, Dutch, and French marines, and would carry to the highest degree of prosperity the industry and commerce of those nations in which it has always found rivals, and which it has considered as enemies of it's commerce, when they were tired of being it's dupes.

"But there will no longer be any credit given to the pacific intentions of the English Ministry, when it is known, that it's gold and it's intrigues, it's open practices, and it's insinuations, besiege more than ever the Cabinet of Vienna, and are one of the principal obstacles to the negotiation which that Cabinet would of itself be induced to enter on for peace.

"They will no longer be credited, finally, when the moment of the rumour of these overtures being circulated is considered. The English nation supports impatiently the continuance of the war, a reply must be made to it's complaints, it's reproaches: the Parliament is about to re-open it's sittings, the mouths of the orators who will declaim against the war must be shut, the demand of new taxes must be justified; and to obtain these results, it is necessary to be enabled to advance, that the French Government refuses every reasonable proposition of peace."

14. "In their place has succeeded a system destructive of all publick order, maintained by proscriptions, exiles, and confiscations, without number: by arbitrary imprisonment; by massacres which cannot be remembered without horror; and at length by the execrable murder of a just and beneficent Sovereign, and of the illustrious Princess, who, with an unshaken firmness, has shared all the misfortunes of her Royal Consort, his protracted sufferings, his cruel captivity and his ignominious death."—"They (the allies) have had to encounter acts of aggression without pretext, open violations of all treaties, unprovoked declarations of war; in a word, whatever corruption, intrigue or violence could effect for the purpose so openly avowed, of subverting all the institutions of society, and of extending over all the nations of Europe that confusion, which has produced the misery of France."—"This state of things cannot exist in France without involving all the surrounding powers in one common danger, without giving them the right, without imposing it upon them as a duty, to stop the progress of an evil, which exists only by the successive violation of all law and all property, and which attacks the fundamental principles by which mankind is united in the bonds of civil society."—"The King would impose none other than equitable and moderate conditions, not such as the expence, the risques and the sacrifices of the war might justify; but such as his Majesty thinks himself under the indispensable necessity of requiring, with a view to these considerations, and still more to that of his own security and of the future tranquillity of Europe. His Majesty desires nothing more sincerely than thus to terminate a war, which he in vain endeavoured to avoid, and all the calamities of which, as now experienced by France, are to be attributed only to the ambition, the perfidy and the violence of those, whose crimes have involved their own country in misery, and disgraced all civilized nations."—"The King promises on his part the suspension of hostilities, friendship, and (as far as the course of events will allow, of which the will of man cannot dispose) security and protection to all those who, by declaring for a monarchical form of Government, shall shake off the yoke of sanguinary anarchy; of that anarchy which has broken all the most sacred bonds of society, dissolved all the relations of civil life, violated every right, confounded every duty; which uses the name of liberty to exercise the most cruel tyranny, to annihilate all property, to seize on all possessions; which founds it's power on the pretended consent of the people, and itself carries fire and sword through extensive provinces for having demanded their laws, their religion and their lawful Sovereign."

    Declaration sent by his Majesty's command to the Commanders of his Majesty's fleets and armies employed against France, and to his Majesty's Ministers employed at foreign Courts.—WHITEHALL, Oct. 29, 1793.

15. *y2 Ut lethargicus hic, cum fit pugil, et medicum urget.—HOR.

16. See the Declaration.

17. See declaration, Whitehall, October 29, 1793. [Ante, p. 99.]

18. 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. "La Convention Nationale, après avoir entendu le rapport de ses Comités de Finances, de la Guerre, & Diplomatiques réunis, fidèle au principe de souveraineté de peuples qui ne lui permet pas de reconnoître aucune institution qui y porte atteinte," &c. &c. Decrêt sur le Rapport de Cambon, Dec. 18, 1792, and see the subsequent proclamation.

19. "This state of things cannot exist in France without involving all the surrounding powers in one common danger, without giving them the right, without imposing it on them as a duty, to stop the progress of an evil which attacks the fundamental principles by which mankind is united in civil society." Declaration, 29th Oct., 1793.

20. Declaration, Whitehall, Oct. 29, 1793.

21. See Declaration. Whitehall, Oct. 29, 1793.

22. It may be right to do justice to Louis XVI. He did what he could to destroy the double diplomacy of France. He had all his secret correspondence burnt, except one piece, which was called, Conjectures raisonnées sur la Situation de la France dans le Système Politique de l'Europe; a work executed by M. Favier, under the direction of Count Broglie. A single copy of this was said to have been found in the Cabinet of Louis XVI. It was published with some subsequent state papers of Vergennes, Turgot, and others, as, "A new Benefit of the Revolution"; and the advertisement to the publication ends with the following words. "Il sera facile de se convaincre, qu' y compris même la revolution, en grande partie, on trouve dans ces mémoires et ses conjectures le germe de tout ce qu'arriva aujourd'hui, & qu'on ne peut pas sans les avoir lus, être bien au fait des intérêts, & même des vues actuelles des diverses puissances de l'Europe." The book is entitled, Politique de tous les Cabinets de l'Europe pendant les règnes de Louis XV. & Louis XVI. It is altogether very curious, and worth reading.

23. See our declaration.

Vol. 3, Letter III
The following notes are by Payne.

24. P. 234, l. 23, of the present Edition.

25. P. 246, l. 10, of the present Edition.

26. P. 251, l. 20, of the present Edition.

27. It begins p. 234, l. 24, of the present Edition.

28. P. 268, l. 21, of the present Edition.

29. P. 262, l. 30, of the present Edition.

30. Pp. 304 and 305 of the present Edition.

31. P. 270 of the present Edition.

32. P. 277 of the present Edition.

33. The Archduke Charles of Austria.

34. Dec. 27, 1796.

35. Observations on a late State of the Nation.

36. The account given above is from the appendix B to the second Report. Since Mr. Burke's death, a fourth Report has come out, which very fully substantiates his information. There is a table, containing a view of the Land Tax, and Assessed Taxes, blended together. The amount of the Assessed Taxes may be easily found (except an occasional difference in the last figure, from the omission of the shillings and pence) by deducting the sum of £2,037,627, which is the gross charge of the Land-Tax, according to the Report of the Committee in 1791.

1789ending 5th April1790£3,572,434
1790''''1791£3,741,222
1791''''1792£3,743,961
1792''''1793£3,623,619
1793''''1794£3,635,250
1794''''1795£3,645,824
1795''''1796£3,663,501
1796''''1797£4,101,869

A ten per cent. was laid upon the Assessed Taxes in 1791, to commence from October, 1790. In 1796 were laid, a new tax on Horses not before included, an additional tax of 2s. and a new ten per cent. These produced in that year altogether £84,232, which being deducted, will still leave an actual increase in that one year of £354,130.

37. This and the following tables on the same construction are compiled from the Reports of the Finance Committee in 1791 and 1797, with the addition of the separate paper laid before the House of Commons, and ordered to be printed on the 7th of February, 1792.

BRICKS AND TILES
YEARS OF PEACE £ YEARS OF WAR £
1787 £94,521 1793 £122,975
1788 £96,278 1794 £106,811
1789 £91,773 1795 £83,804
1790 £104,409 1796 £94,668


Increase to 1790
£386,981 £408,258 £21,277


Increase to 1791
1791 £115,382 4 Years to 1791 £407,842 £416

PLATE
1787 £22,707 1793 £25,920
1788 £23,295 1794 £23,637
1789 £22,453 1795 £25,607
1790 £18,483 1796 £28,513


Increase to 1790
£86,888 £103,677 £16,789


Increase to 1791
1791 £31,523 4 Years to 1791 £95,754 £7,923

GLASS PLATES
1787 1793 £5,655
1788 £5,496 1794 £5,456
1789 £4,686 1795 £5,839
1790 £6,008 1796 £8,871
£16,190 £25,821


Increase to 1791
1791 £7,880 4 Years to 1791 £24,070 £1,721

38.

GROCERIES
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£167,3891793£124,655
1788£133,1911794£195,840
1789£142,8711795£208,242
1790£156,3111796£159,826


Increase to 1790
£599,762£688,563£88,801


Increase to 1791
1791£236,7274 Years to 1791£669,100£19,463

TEA
1787£1424,1441793£1477,644
1788£1426,6601794£1467,132
1789£1539,5751795£1507,518
1790£1417,7361796£1526,307


Increase to 1790
£1,808,115£1,978,601£170,486


Increase to 1791
1791£1448,7094 Years to 1791£1,832,680£145,921

The additional duty imposed in 1795, produced in that year £137,656, and in 1796 £200,107.

COFFEE AND COCOA NUTS
1787£17,0061793£36,846
1788£30,2171794£49,177
1789£34,7841795£27,913
1790£38,6471796£19,711


Increase to 1790
£120,654£133,647£12,993


Decrease to 1791
1791£41,1944 Years to 1791£144,842£11,195

The additional duty of 1795 in that year gave £16,775, and in 1796 £15,319.

39.

SUGAR
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£1,065,1091793£1,473,139
1788£1,184,4581794£1,392,965
1789£1,095,1061795£1,338,246
1790£1,069,1081796£1,474,899


Increase to 1790
£4,413,781£5,679,249£1,265,468


Increase to 1791
1791£1,044,0534 Years to 1791£4,392,725£1,286,524

There was a new duty on Sugar in 1791, which produced in 1794 £234,292, in 1795 £206,932, and in 1796 £245,024. It is not clear from the Report of the Committee, whether the additional duty is included in the account given above.

40.

BEER, &c
1787£1,761,4291793£2,043,902
1788£1,705,1991794£2,082,053
1789£1,742,5141795£1,931,101
1790£1,858,0431796£2,294,377


Increase to 1790
£7,067,185£8,351,433£1,284,248


Increase to 1791
1791£1,880,4784 Years to 1791£7,186,234£1,165,199

WINE
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£219,9341793£1222,887
1788£215,5781794£1283,644
1789£252,6491795£1317,072
1790£308,6241796£1187,818


Increase to 1790
£996,785£1,011,421£14,638


Decrease to 1791
1791£336,5494 Years to 1791£1,113,400£101,979

QUANTITY IMPORTED
tonstons
178729,978179322,788
178825,442179427,868
178927,414179532,033
179029,182179619,079

The additional duty of 1795 produced that year £730,871, and in 1796 £394,686. A second additional duty which produced £98,165 was laid in 1796.

SWEETS
££
1787£11,1671793£11,016
1788£7,3751794£10,612
1789£7,2021795£13,321
1790£4,9531796£15,050


Increase to 1790
£30,697£49,990£19,302


Increase to 1791
1791£13,2824 Years to 1791£32,812£17,178

In 1795, an additional duty was laid on this article, which produced that year £5,679, and in 1796 £9,443, and in 1796 a second to commence on the 20th of June; it's produce in that year was £2,325.

41.

MUSLINS AND CALLICOES
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1788£129,2971793£173,050
1789£138,6601794£104,902
1790£126,2671795£103,856
1791£128,3641796£272,544


Increase to 1791
£522,588£654,352£131,764

This table begins with 1788. The net produce of the preceding year is not in the Report, whence the table is taken.

42.

PRINTED GOODS
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£142,0001793£191,566
1788£154,4861794£190,554
1789£153,2021795£197,416
1790£167,1561796£230,530


Increase to 1790
£616,844£810,066£193,222


Increase to 1791
1791£191,4894 Years to 1791£666,333£143,733

These duties for 1787, are blended with several others. The proportion of printed goods to the other articles for four years, was found to be one-fourth. That proportion is here taken.

43.

SILK
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£159,9121793£209,915
1788£123,9981794£221,306
1789£157,7301795£210,725
1790£212,5221796£221,007


Increase to 1790
£634,162£862,955£208,793


Increase to 1791
1791£279,1284 Years to 1791£773,378£89,577

44.

FURS
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£3,4631793£2,829
1788£2,9571794£3,353
1789£1,1511795£3,266
1790£3,3281796£6,138


Increase to 1790
£10,899£15,586£4,687


Increase to 1791
1791£5,7314 Years to 1791£13,167£2,419

The skins here selected from the Custom-House Accounts are, Black Bear, Ordinary Fox, Marten, Mink, Musquash, Otter, Raccoon, and Wolf.

45. Report of the Lords Committee of Secrecy, ordered to be printed, 28th April, 1797, Appendix 44.

INCLOSURE BILLS
YEARS OF PEACE4 YEARS OF WAR
178933179360
179025179473
179140179577
179240179672
138283

46.

NAVIGATION AND CANAL BILLS
YEARS OF PEACE4 YEARS OF WAR
17893179328
17908179418
179110179511
17929179612
3069
Money raised£2,377,200£7,415,100

47.

POST HORSE DUTY
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
1787£169,4101793£191,488
1788£204,6591794£202,884
1789£170,5541795£196,691
1790£181,1551796£204,061


Increase 1790
£725,778£795,124£69,346


to 1791
1791£198,6344 Years to 1791£755,002£40,122

48. The above account is taken from a paper which was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 8th December, 1796. From the gross produce of the year ending 5th April, 1796, there has been deducted in that statement the sum of £36,666, in consequence of the regulation on franking, which took place on the 5th May, 1795, and was computed at £40,000 per annum. To shew an equal number of years, both of peace and war, the accounts of two preceding years are given in the following table, from a Report made since Mr. Burke's death by a Committee of the House of Commons appointed to consider the claims of Mr. Palmer, the late Comptroller General; and for still greater satisfaction, the number of letters, inwards and outwards, have been added, except for the year 1790-1791. The letter-book for that year is not to be found.

POST OFFICE
GROSS REVENUENUMBER OF LETTERS
£INWARDSOUTWARDS
April 1790-1791575,079
1791-1792585,4326,391,1495,081,344
1792-1793627,5926,584,8675,041,137
1793-1794691,2687,094,7776,537,234
1794-1795705,3197,071,0297,473,626
1795-1796750,6377,641,0778,597,167

From the last mentioned Report it appears that the accounts have not been completely and authentically made up, for the years ending 5th April, 1796 and 1797, but on the Receiver-General's books there is an increase of the latter year over the former, equal to something more than 5 per cent.

49. In a debate, 30th December, 1796, on the return of Lord Malmesbury. See Woodfall's Parliamentary Debates, vol. xiii. page 591.

50.

GENERAL LICENCES
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
178744,030179345,568
178840,882179442,129
178939,917179543,350
179041,970179641,190Increase to 1790
£166,799£170,237£3,438
Increase to 1791
179144,2404 Years to 1791167,009£3,228

51.

DEALERS IN TEA
YEARS OF PEACE£YEARS OF WAR£
178710,934179313,939
178811,949179414,315
178912,501179513,956
179013,126179614,830Increase to 1790
£48,510£57,040£8,530
Increase to 1791
179113,9214 Years to 179151,497£5,543

SELLERS OF PLATE
17876,59317938,178
17887,95317948,296
17897,34817958,128
17907,98817968,835Increase to 1790
£29,882£33,437£3,555
Increase to 1791
17918,3274 Years to 179131,616£1,821

52.

AUCTIONS AND AUCTIONEERS
178748,964179370,004
178853,993179482,659
178952,024179586,890
179053,1561796109,594Increase to 1790
£208,137£349,147£141,010
Increase to 1791
179170,9734 Years to 1791230,146£119,001

53. Since Mr. Burke's death a fourth Report of the Committee of Finance has made its appearance. An account is there given from the Stamp-office of the gross produce of duties on Hawkers and Pedlars for four years of peace and four of war. It is therefore added in the manner of the other tables.

HAWKERS AND PEDLARS
1789£6,1321793£6,042
1790£6,7081794£6,104
1791£6,4821795£6,795
1792£6,0081796£7,882
£25,330£26,823
Increase in 4 Years of War£1,493

54. This account is extracted from different parts of Mr. Chalmers' Estimate. It is but just to mention, that in Mr. Chalmers' Estimate, the sums are uniformly lower, than those of the same year in Mr. Irving's account.

55. Here I have fallen into an unintentional mistake. Rider's Almanack for 1794 lay before me; and, in truth, I then had no other. For variety that sage astrologer has made some small changes on the weather side of 1795; but the caution is the same on the opposite page of instruction.

56. Souverains Opprimés—See the whole proceeding in the Process Verbal of the National Assembly.

57.

    *y3Hic auratis volitans argenteus anser
    Porticibus, GALLOS in limine adesse canebat.

58. See Debates in Parliament upon Motions, made in both Houses, for prosecuting Mr. Reeves for a Libel upon the Constitution, Dec. 1795.

59. "In the Costume assumed by the members of the legislative body, we almost behold the revival of the extinguished insignia of Knighthood," &c. &c. See A View of the relative State of Great-Britain and France at the commencement of the year 1796.

End of Notes

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