Letters on a Regicide Peace
1. Page 62, line 2. Our last conversation. Burke assumes for his correspondent the same point of view as his own. Cp. post, p. 77, l. 8. The letters are therefore not controversial in form. The Monthly Review, April, 1815, describes them as "addressed to those advocates of the peace who had originally been partizans of the war: and it was only with persons of this description that Mr. B. deigned to enter into controversy." This is true of the ultimate public whom he hoped to influence, but not of the ostensible correspondent.
2. l. 4. unpleasant appearances. The continued manifestations of a desire for peace with France.
3. l. 8. disastrous events. The military disasters of the allies on the Continent, beginning with the battle of Fleurus in 1794, and followed by the separate treaties of peace successively made with the Republic by Tuscany, Prussia, Sweden, Holland, and Spain, leaving only Great Britain and Austria at war with it.
4. l. 23. in its aphelion, i.e. in its deviation from its normal path. Burke would have hailed the returning popularity of the war in 1798 as a return to this normal path.
5. l. 33. same periods of infancy, &c. The allusion is to an ever-popular but false theory of history, which may be traced as early as Polybius. In Burke's time this theory was put forth in many forms. Churchill, Gotham, Book iii:
Let me not only the distempers know
Which in all states from common causes flow:
But likewise, those, which, by the will of fate,
On each peculiar mode of Empire wait:
Which in its very constitution lurk,
Too sure at last to do their destin'd work.
E tutti li politici systemi
In se di destruzion racchiudon' semi."
As to England, Mr. Hallam remarks that it differs from all free governments of powerful nations which history has recorded by manifesting, after the lapse of several centuries, not merely no symptoms of decay, but a more expansive energy. Middle Ages, vol. ii. chap. viii.
6. P. 63, l. 3. similitudes—analogies. The hint has been developed by Mill, in his account of Fallacies of Generalization, Logic, Book 5. "Bodies politic," says Mr. Mill, "die; but it is of disease, or violent death. They have no old age."
7. l. 10. moral essences. Cp. post, p. 139, l. 28.
8. l. 14. There is not, &c. Specific attempts to create a "philosophy of history" have at length ceased with the extinction of the German schools of speculative philosophy. Burke's criticism thoroughly agrees with the general spirit of the best historians.
9. l. 29. It is often impossible, in these political enquiries, &c. Burke derived his observations from a favourite author: "La conservation des estats est chose qui vraysemblablement surpasse nostre intelligence: c'est comme dict Platon, chose puissante et de difficile dissolution, qu'une police civile; elle dure souvent contre les maladies mortelles et intestines, contre les injures des loix injustes, contre la tyrannie, contre le desbordement et ignorance des magistrats, license et sedition des peuples." Montaigne, Liv. iii., chap. 9. In an earlier chapter of Montaigne, and in Bolingbroke, we have the duration of states compared with that of individuals.
10. P. 64, l. 1. remained nearly as they have begun. e.g. China.
11. l. 3. spent their vigour, &c. e.g. the Mahomedan Caliphate, the monarchy of Charlemagne, &c.
12. l. 4. blazed out, &c. The allusion is clearly to the Mogul Empire in the time of Aurungzebe. "Most nations," says Young, in the letter above quoted, "have been gayest when nearest to their end, and like a taper in the socket have blazed as they expired."
13. l. 5. meridian of some. Ancient Rome, Venice, Holland, are instances.
14. l. 9. plunged in unfathomable abysses, &c. Burke has in mind the phrase "Mersus profundo pulchrior evenit."
15. l. 16. death of a man. Among many instances that will occur to the reader, Pericles is perhaps the best.
16. Ibid. his disgust. Coriolanus is an instance.
17. Ibid. his retreat. Burke probably alludes to Pitt, and his disastrous withdrawal from public affairs in 1768-1770. See vol. i. p. 206, where the revolt of
18. l. 17. his disgrace. The allusion is probably to the Constable Charles de Bourbon, whose disgrace at the French court led to the misfortunes sustained by France under Francis I.
19. l. 18. A common soldier. The allusion is to Arnold of Winkelried, whose self-devotion on the field of Sempach secured the freedom of Switzerland.
20. Ibid. a child. The allusion is to Hannibal, and the oath administered to him at twelve years old, by his father Hamilcar. Cp. p. 348, l. 14.
21. Ibid. a girl at the door, &c. The allusion is to Joan of Arc, who according to one version of her story (probably the true one) acted as ostler at a small inn.
22. P. 65, l. 9. humbled—weakened—endangered. By the independence of America, established by the aid of France.
23. l. 13. high and palmy state. Hamlet, Act i. sc. 1.
24. l. 29. a vast, tremendous, unformed spectre. Burke is thinking of Virgil's "Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens." Burke seems to have been the first Englishman who discerned accurately the portentous shape which France was assuming. This powerful description was fully justified during the following years.
25. P. 66, l. 7. poison of other States, &c. A new application of the proverb that "one man's meat is another's poison."
26. l. 17. finest parts of Europe. The Austrian Netherlands, the Rhine, Savoy and Nice, Lombardy.
27. l. 28. At first, &c. Burke himself was among those who believed France to be crushed as a nation by the Revolution: but he soon undeceived himself.
28. P. 67, l. 15. publick—never regarded, &c. Burke has in mind the famous Roman maxim, "non de republica desperare."
29. l. 18. Dr. Brown. The work was his "Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times." See vol. i. p. 88, and the Editor's note.
30. l. 27. Pythagoras. Burke probably means Archimedes, and alludes to the well-known story of his great discovery in solid geometry.
31. l. 32. as in the Alps, goitre kept goitre, &c. The phrase is Juvenal's:
Quis tumidum guttur miratur in Alpibus?
—Sat. xiii. l. 162.
32. P. 68, l. 5. never did the masculine spirit, &c. This great stir in the public mind occurred when Burke was a young man lately arrived in London, and just turning his attention to public affairs. It profoundly affected him, and influenced his whole life.
33. l. 33. eye of the mind is dazzled and vanquished. Burke copies the phrase, "In bello oculi primi vincuntur."
34. P. 69, l. 6. palpable night. "Palpable darkness," Par. Lost, xii. 188.
36. l. 31. vast interest to preserve—great means of preserving it. "You must not consider the money you spend in your defence, but the fortune you would lose if you were not defended; and further, you must recollect you will pay less to an immediate war, than to a peace with a war establishment and a war to follow it.... Your empire cannot be saved by a calculation." Grattan, Speech on Downfall of Buonaparte. Reference to the use of the argument by Bacon and Swift will be given in a note to the Third Letter.
37. P. 70, l. 7. If our wealth commands us, &c. So B. Jonson, "The Fox," Act vi. sc. 12:
These possess wealth as sick men possess fevers,
Which trulier may be said to possess them.
The conceit is derived from a classical source: "Ea invasit homines habendi cupido ut possideri magis quam possidere videamur": Pliny, Letters, B. ix. Lett. 30. So Archbishop Leighton, Commentary on 1 St. Peter, iv. 8: "Hearts glued to the poor riches they possess or rather are possessed by." Leighton repeats it in his "Commentary on the Ten Commandments."
38. l. 8. poor indeed. Shakspeare, Othello, Act iii. sc. 3:
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
39. l. 21. He is the Gaul, &c. Alluding to the story of Brennus, Livy, Lib. v. cap. 48.
40. l. 27. that state which is resolved, &c. i.e. Republican France.
41. P. 71, l. 9. petty peculium. Burke alludes to the additions by conquest to the colonial empire, which went on until both the French and the Dutch were left without any colonies at all.
42. l. 10. ambiguous in their nature. He alludes to the conquest of Martinique with its population of revolutionary people of colour.
43. l. 12. any one of those points, &c. i.e. in his conquests on the border of France, especially Austrian Flanders.
44. l. 19. When Louis the Fourteenth, &c. Burke describes the most critical period in the War of the Grand Alliance.
45. l. 36. puppet shew of a naval power. See p. 164, where Burke maintains that England ought to have made a campaign with 100,000 men on the Continent.
46. P. 72, l. 5. nothing in human affairs, &c. The common phrase "Nihil humani alienum."
47. l. 12. our account, &c. See note to p. 270, l. 6.
48. l. 25. pale cast, &c. Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 2, transposed:
"And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," &c.
49. l. 32. prolific error, i.e. prolific of other errors. Cp. vol. i. p. 137, l. 31.
51. l. 13. desertion. Prussia deserted the campaign as soon as it began to fail.
52. l. 15. mutual accusations. Between England and Austria.
53. P. 74, l. 7. cry is raised against it. Burke alludes to the public indignation which followed on the passing of the "Gagging Act" of 1794.
54. l. 9. most efficient member, &c. Burke alludes to the failure of the prosecutions of Hardy and Horne Tooke at the Old Bailey in 1794.
55. l. 11. highest tribunal of all. Parliament.
y1. l. 34. Mussabat tacito, &c. Lucretius, Lib. vi. 1178.
56. P. 75, l. 17. poisonous jaws, &c. The allusion is to the fascination said to be exercised by serpents over birds.
57. l. 24. It is in the nature, &c. The modern historian will hardly sympathise with Burke's lament over the failure of the State prosecutions, nor could Burke himself have seriously wished to recall the days of Scroggs and Jefferies. Besides, his wishes had been amply satisfied in the State Trials in Scotland, where, owing to the difference in procedure, all the prisoners had been convicted.
58. l. 34. what the bulk of us must ever be. A powerful statement of the weaknesses inherent in democracies.
59. P. 76, l. 16. Burke now powerfully enforces that view of the nature of the war of which he was the author, and for a long time the sole expositor. It was perfectly true, and in a year or two its truth was obvious to every one.
60. L. 20. a system—an armed doctrine. Grattan, Speech on Downfall of Buonaparte: "Sirs, the French Government is war; it is a Stratocracy elective, aggressive, and predatory..... Their constitution is essentially war, and the object of that war is the downfall of Europe.... Not an army, but a military government in march!" Again: "If the government of any other country contains an insurrectionary principle, as France did when she offered to aid the insurrections of her neighbours, your interference is warranted: if the government of another country contains the principle of universal empire, as France did and promulgated, your interference is justifiable." It was no easy task to prove to the English government and people how the France of the Directory differed from the France of Louis XIV. Macaulay, in a passage founded on the present one, has admirably described Mr. Pitt's own blindness to what was so distinctly seen by Burke: "He went to war: but he would not understand the peculiar nature of that war. He was obstinately blind to the plain fact that he was contending against a state which was also a sect, and that the new quarrel between England and France was of quite a different kind from the old quarrels about colonies in America and fortresses in the Netherlands. He had to combat frantic enthusiasm, restless activity, the wildest and most audacious spirit of innovation: and he acted as if he had
61. l. 25. in every country. See the Second Letter, p. 155.
62. Ibid. a Colossus. &c. Burke alludes to the famous Colossus which bestrode the harbour of Rhodes. Jacobin sympathies in England were rapidly extinguished after Burke's death, when the struggle with France became a struggle for national existence.
63. P. 77, l. 6. To their power = "as far as in them lies."
64. P. 78, l. 28. Regicides—first to declare war. This statement, pertinaciously repeated in the early Parliamentary debates on the Peace question, is not strictly true. England was the first to break off all diplomatic communication with France. The King recalled Lord Gower from Paris, and commanded that ordinary relations should cease with Chauvelin after the 10th of August, 1792, when the French monarchy was abolished. Chauvelin, whom the Convention still continued in London, was only communicated with as representing the monarchy, and on the execution of the King in January, 1793, he received from the English government notice to quit England. It is true that the French government had already instructed him to the same effect, but these instructions were unknown to the English government.
65. P. 80, l. 11. afflicted family of Asgill. Charles Asgill, a young captain in the British army in America, chosen by lot to be surrendered to the enemy's mercy in reprisal for the execution of Huddy, April 12, 1782. Asgill's mother appealed to the King and Queen of France to intercede in her son's behalf. The intercession was successful: and Asgill visited Paris to acknowledge in person the exertions of Marie Antoinette.
66. P. 81, l. 22. a war of Government, &c. Such it unquestionably was in 1793. Whether it continued to be so when the French government avowedly carried it on for the purpose of destroying the European balance of power, and annihilating England, is another question.
67. P. 82, l. 1. Speech from the Throne. Intended to stop the mouths of the opposition and prepare the way for negotiations with France. See Introduction. It had neither effect.
68. l. 15. gipsey jargon. The phrase is borrowed from the account given in the Annual Register of the nomenclature adopted by the Convention.
69. P. 83, l. 15. "Citizen Regicides," &c. In Burke's most effective Parliamentary style, and scarcely a caricature of the attitude assumed by the ministry. The passage reminds us of Thomson, Britannia:
Whence this unwonted patience, this weak doubt,
This weak forbearance?
70. l. 24. patient suitors, &c. The picture which follows is in that vein of profound and scornful irony of which Burke was almost as great a master as his countryman Swift.
71. l. 25. sanguinary tyrant Carnot. Burke has no word of toleration, much less of praise, for a single statesman of the Revolution. Cp. the allusion to Hoche, p. 221. Carnot's vote for the death of the King outweighed everything else in the eyes of his critic.
72. L. 27. down of usurped pomp. Carnot was one of the Directors, who lived in the palace of the Luxembourg.
73. P. 84, l. 15. Trophonian Cave. The rites of the deity Trophonius were celebrated in a cave near Lebadea, in Boeotia. Pausanias denies the tradition to which Burke here alludes, that none ever laughed after once visiting the cave.
74. l. 33. speeches and messages in former times. Burke's usual line of argument. Cp. vol. i. p. 267. Burke in the next page qualifies this reference to the past, to avoid the charge of "pedantry."
75. P. 86, l. 29. squander away the fund of our submissions. Burke gloomily anticipates the time when this humiliating attitude on the part of England may really become necessary. Cp. vol. ii. p. 128, l. 26.
76. L. 33. Barthélemy. This able diplomatist, who negotiated the Treaties with Spain and Prussia, afterwards became a Director. Allied with Carnot, his upright and statesmanlike opposition produced the Revolution of Fructidor. Carnot escaped: but Barthélemy was dragged through the streets of Paris, and before the windows of the Luxembourg, in an iron cage, on his way to the convict settlement of Cayenne.
77. P. 89, l. 34. ten immense and wealthy provinces. Burke proceeds to characterize the pretensions of France to the "Rhine, Alps, and Mediterranean" boundary.
78. P. 90, l. 25. a law, &c. The decree of the Convention incorporating Belgium with France, like Savoy and Nice.
79. l. 34. sacred Rights of Man. See vol. ii. p. 149. The allusion is, of course, ironical.
80. P. 91, l. 7. cooped and cabined in. "Cribbed, cabined, and confined." Macbeth, Act iii. sc. 4.
81. P. 92, l. 22. over-running of Lombardy. This had taken place early in the year (1796).
82. l. 23. Piedmont—its impregnable fortresses. Alessandria, Tortona, Coni, Ceva, and others. See Hamley's Operations of War, p. 142.
83. l. 25. instances for ever renewed—Genoa. The Ligurian republic was constituted in the next year, and the French policy thus completed.
84. l. 27. half the Empire. Swabia and Bavaria, overrun by Moreau in this year.
86. P. 95, l. 2. "None but itself," &c. The line "None but himself can be his parallel," is quoted from Theobald, in Martinus Scriblerus, as a specimen of fustian.
87. P. 96, l. 4. Light lie the earth, &c. The phrase, repeated from Letter IV (p. 351) is from the well-known elegy of Prior on Col. Villiers:
Light lie the earth, and flourish green the bough.
The conception is borrowed, through the Latins, from the Greek elegiac authors. Meleager in Anthol.;
Πamm&eeivrgr;tor g&eeivrgr; χa&iivrgr;re, s&ugrgr; t&ogrgr;n p&aacgr;roς o&upsgr; bar&ugrgr;n e&ipsacgr;ς se A&ipsgr;sig&eacgr;n&eegr;n ka&upsgr;t&eegrgr; n&uivrgr;n &epsgr;p&eacgr;χoiς &apsgr;bar&eeacgr;ς.
—See Martial, Ep. Lib. v. 34. Juv. Sat. vii. 207, &c.
88. P. 99, l. 6. "If it be thus," &c. St. Luke, xxiii. 31.
89. l. 12. wax into our ears, &c. Burke alludes to the story of Ulysses and the Sirens, Odyssey, Book xii.
90. l. 14. Reubel, Carnot, Tallien. The two former were Directors: but Tallien had by this time ceased to be a leading politician. He had sunk into obscurity as a member of the Council of Five Hundred. He afterwards went to Egypt, and in 1801 appeared in London as a prisoner, on which occasion he was feted by the Opposition.
91. l. 15. Domiciliary Visitors. Under the law of August 1792, 3000 persons were at once dragged away to prison in one night.
92. l. 17. Revolutionary Tribunals. The famous Revolutionary Tribunal, which took cognizance of treason against the Republic, was instituted by Danton, who was himself condemned by it. It had ceased to exist in December 1794, after employing its vigour during the last six months against the party of Robespierre. It sent to the guillotine 2,774 persons, including the Queen and the Princess Elizabeth.
93. l. 18. Septembrizers. Alluding to the massacres at Paris in September 1792, in which 1500 persons perished. The "Septembriseur" par excellence was Tallien.
94. l. 26. little national window. One of the pleasantries which enlivened the despatches from Carrier to the Convention, describing his cruelties in La Vendée.
95. l. 28. declaration of the Government. The Whitehall Declaration, which filled Burke with unbounded admiration, to which he more than once recurs (see pp. 156, 318), was from the pen of Lord Grenville.
96. P. 101, l. 2. Plutarch. The allusion is not in Plutarch. Burke is thinking of Cicero, De Oratore, Lib. III, cap. 34, where the critic recalls the satire poured on Pericles by the comedians, who nevertheless ascribed to him such force and power of engaging attention "ut in eorum mentibus qui audissent quasi aculeos quosdam relinqueret."
y2. P. 102, l. 34. Ut lethargicus, &c. Horace, Sat. Lib. ii. 3. 30.
98. P. 104, l. 8. competence to act. Cp. vol. i. p. 254. Burke's observations on the necessity of popular support to a great war, though apparently quite modern in spirit, were based on history, as he presently shows.
99. P. 104, l. 25. country of old called ferax monstrorum. Burke quotes as usual from memory, "Asia, terra ferax miraculorum," Plin. Epist. 173.
100. l. 34. muster of our strength. The remarkable estimate which follows excludes, as usual with Burke, the mass of the people, who are regarded (P. 105, l. 15) as merely the "objects of protection," and the "means of force." It is curious that one who had laid down the rational doctrine of the causes of hostility between people and government contained in vol. i. p. 75 (Present Discontents), should now see no anomaly in the existence of an incurable Jacobin faction numbering one-fifth of the effective forces of the country.
101. P. 106, l. 10. By passing from place to place, &c. Cp. vol. ii. p. 180.
102. l. 18. naturally disposed to peace. The observation is true: and it illustrates Pitt's difficulty. The mass of his supporters in the country were interested in peace.
103. l. 19. languid and improvident. Dryden, the Medal:
The wise and wealthy love the surest way,
And are content to thrive and to obey:
But wisdom is to sloth too great a slave.
104. P. 107, l. 11. But strong passions awaken the faculties, &c. Burke clearly has in mind the lines of Akenside, "Pleasures of the Imagination," Bk. ii.
Rouses the mind's whole fabric, with supplies
Of daily impulse, keeps the elastic powers
Intensely poised," &c.
105. P. 108, l. 14. Pope—dying notes. See the last fifty lines of the two dialogues called "Epilogue to the Satires."
106. l. 15. Johnson. See the first sixty lines of "London" (1738).
107. l. 17. Glover. See his poem, London, or the Progress of Commerce, and the pathetic ballad, Admiral Hosier's Ghost.
108. l. 35. driven by a popular clamour, &c. See Lord Stanhope's History of England.
109. P. 110, l. 25. Guarda-Costas. The coast-guards of Spanish America, whose insolence to English ships was a main cause of the war.
110. Ibid. Madrid Convention. Made in 1713, for thirty years. It secured to England the "Assiento," or contract for supplying Spanish America with African slaves.
111. l. 26. Captain Jenkins's ears. Exhibited in the House of Commons as having being cut off by a Spanish captain.
112. l. 34. dilatory pleas, exceptions of form. Proceedings under the old
113. P. 113, l. 7. contending to be admitted at a moderate premium. Burke states the circumstances of the loan voted in December, 1795, with the partiality to be expected. For the facts, see the notes, post, to pp. 254-60.
114. l. 26. When I came to England. In 1750.
115. l. 29. Aire and Calder. The improvement of the navigation of these rivers, which connected the West Riding with the port of Hull, may be said to be the first step in the construction of those two great networks of canals and railways, which have played so important a part in developing English trade and manufactures. Burke returns to the subject in the Third Letter, p. 290.
116. P. 118, l. 26. three great immoveable pillars. Cp. vol. i. p. 295, note to p. 73, l. 17.
117. P. 121, l. 14. "Of large discourse," &c. Hamlet, Act iv. sc. 4.
118. P. 122, l. 8. If the war, &c. In these three brief paragraphs Burke puts his argument for the war into a compendious and striking form. Compare with the whole argument Bacon's very similar plea for a Holy War. As will be seen, Burke evidently had Bacon in mind in some other passages: "Such people as have utterly degenerated from the laws of Nature, as have in their very body and frame of estate a monstrosity, and may be truly accounted, according to the examples we have formerly recited, common enemies and grievances of mankind and disgraces and reproaches to human nature—such people all nations are interested or ought to be interested to reform." "When the constitution of a State and the fundamental laws and customs of the same, if laws they may be called, are against the laws of Nature and of Nations, then I say a war upon them is lawful."
119. P. 123, l. 31. abolition of the law. Cp. vol. ii. p. 191.
120. P. 125, l. 9. Jacobinism is the revolt, &c. So Southey, Essay on Popular Disaffection: "Of mere men of letters, wherever they exist as a separate class, a large proportion are always enlisted in hostility, open or secret, against the established order of things."
121. l. 27. regular decree. The allusion is to the frantic efforts made under the Convention to get rid of Christianity and even faith in a God and the soul. They came to an end with the acknowledgment of Deism as the national faith, and the establishment of the Festival of the Supreme Being by Robespierre in 1794.
122. P. 126, l. 2. profane apotheosis. The allusion is to the funeral honours paid to the remains of Marat in the Pantheon.
123. l. 8. rites in honour of Reason. Burke alludes to the scene of Nov. 10, 1793, when the Commune of Paris enthroned a superannuated prostitute in Nôtre Dame as the goddess of Reason. Similar scenes were repeated throughout the country.
124. l. 11. schools founded at the publick expence. By the Convention. They
125. l. 23. Manners are what, &c. Burke draws his arguments from the old, French school itself. Massillon (Vices et Vertus des Grands): "Moeurs cultivées, bienséances voisines de la vertu." Again, "Les bienséances qui sont inseparables du rang, et qui sont comme la première école de la vertu."
126. P. 127, l. 8. five or six hundred drunken women. It may be objected that Burke has no business to charge upon the Directory all the excesses of the Assembly and Convention. The presumption in the eyes of any candid observer was now in favour of reaction. Burke had denied the reality of the reaction in his then unpublished Fourth Letter.
127. l. 17. paradoxes. Cp. vol. ii. p. 277, l. 13.
128. l. 20. at which morality is perplexed, &c. The same idea is admirably expressed by Molière: "Ne fatiguez point mon devoir par les propositions d'une facheuse extrémité dont peut être nous n'aurons pas besoin." Mons. Pourceaugnac, Act i, Scene 4.
129. l. 24. improving instincts into morals. On this doctrine, so often insisted on by Burke, see Introduction to vol. ii. p. 40, &c.
130. P. 128, l. 12. common civil contract. Here again Burke goes back to the early legislation of the Revolution. Subsequent legislation, in European countries least to be suspected of revolutionism, has justified the advocates of the measure.
131. P. 130, l. 21. cannibalism. Burke follows Bacon, in the Tract on a Holy War, in arguing from the cannibalism, among other traits, of the American Indians that their territory was forfeited by the Law of Nations, and that the Spaniards, or any one else, might lawfully invade it.
132. P. 132, l. 21. papers and seals. Cp. vol. i. p. 288, &c.
133. l. 24. Nothing is so strong, &c. Burke's sketch of the European system may remind the reader of the relations of the Greek communities as reflected in Herodotus and Thucydides.
134. l. 33. As to war—sole means of justice. Burke uses a saying of Bacon, "Wars are the highest trials of right," Observations on a Libel.
135. P. 133, l. 28. several orders. i.e. church, nobles, and commons.
136. P. 134, l. 2. continued in greater perfection, &c. As in Venice, Holland, and Switzerland. This was natural enough. The power of a Crown counterbalanced the authority of the upper orders.
137. l. 25. formed resolution, &c. Peace had however been made by France with all Europe except England and Austria.
138. P. 135, l. 11. never in a state, &c. Cp. Introduction to vol. ii. pp. 44-45.
139. l. 32. praetorian law. The "Equity" of Roman law.
140. Ibid. Law of Neighbourhood. So M. de Puisaye, quoted by Southey, "Public Opinion and the Political Reformers": "It is with the independence of nations as with the liberty of individuals, they have a right to do everything which involves no wrong to others. So long as my neighbour demeans
141. P. 137, l. 9. ground of action—ground of war. So Bacon, On a War with Spain. "Wars (I speak not of ambitious, predatory wars) are suits of appeal to the Tribunal of God's justice."
142. P. 138, l. 1. trifling points of honour, &c. Imitated by Casti, Anim. Parl. Canto iii.:
Due passi pił o men lunghi, pił o men corti,
Un inchino talor pił o men profondo,
Capace è di mandar sossopra il mondo.
143. l. 5. wild-cat skins. In the American settlements.
144. P. 139, l. 23. bailliages. Districts of judicature.
145. P. 140, l. 4. France is out of her bounds. Burke means that the emigrants were the real France. Sheridan often refers to this striking expression of Burke on the subject: "Look at the map of Europe: there, where a great man (who however was always wrong on this subject) said he looked for France, and found nothing but a chasm." Speech, Dec. 8, 1802. Again, Aug. 13, 1807: "France,"—as Mr. Burke described it—"a blank in the map of Europe."
146. P. 142, l. 9. negro slaves. Burke alludes to the blacks of Hayti.
147. l. 15. Oppression makes, &c. Ecclesiastes vii. 7.
148. l. 19. bitterness of soul. Burke evidently had in mind the lines of Addison (The Campaign) describing the cry of Europe for deliverance from Louis XIV:
States that their new captivity bemoan'd,
Armies of martyrs that in exile groan'd,
Sighs from the depth of gloomy dungeons heard,
And prayers in bitterness of soul preferr'd.
This poem was sometimes quoted in the debates on peace in Parliament.
149. P. 143, l. 30. Algiers. The argument had been advanced by Fox, on the occasion of the famous debate, Dec. 15, 1792, when Burke first took his seat on the Treasury bench. Mr. Fox moved the house to send a minister to Paris to treat with the provisional government. "If we objected to the existing form of government in France, we had as strong objections to the form of government at Algiers; yet at Algiers we had a consul." The argument from Mahomedan communities is derived from the controversial theologians of a preceding age. See Hooker, Eccl. Pol. iv. 7, &c.
150. P. 146, l. 22. "Thus painters write," &c. Prior, "Protogenes and Apelles." Apelles of Co (Cos) visits his brother artist at Rhodes, and not finding him at home, draws a perfect circle on a panel:
And will you please, sweet-heart, said he,
To show your master this from me?
How painters write their names at Co.
Burke alludes to Grenville's master-hand similarly displayed in the Declaration.
151. P. 149, l. 30. whom my dim eyes, &c. Burke has in mind a pathetic triplet from Pope's Homer:
Two, while I speak, my eyes in vain explore,
Two from one mother sprung—my Polydore,
And lov'd Lycaon; now perhaps no more!
—Iliad, xxii. 63.
Vol. 3, Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter II
1. P. 155, l. 23. wherever the race, &c. i.e. in America as well as in Europe. Incidents in Hayti and in Spanish America suggested the observation. Cp. post, p. 231.
2. P. 156, l. 29. our friends. The Duke of Portland and his followers.
3. P. 157, l. 15. Conquest of France. Cp. vol. ii. p. 291, l. 4.
4. P. 158, l. 24. linked by a contignation, i.e. by a structural tie. The image is Shaksperian:
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd.
—Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 3.
5. P. 159, l. 16. Centrifugal war. The expression aptly characterizes the war policy of the Allies. Cp. 163, l. 12, where it is explained as a "scheme of war that repels as from a centre," i.e. France itself.
6. P. 160, l. 22. nothing to hold an alliance together. Burke proceeds to show why the coalition failed. His thorough and exact analysis of the situation may be relied on.
7. P. 161, l. 11. worse than a negative interest. Because all the West Indian possessions of European powers other than Spain were originally encroachments on Spain. Spain has been losing the West Indies piecemeal ever since she gained them.
8. l. 20. No continental power, &c. The dilemma was complete.
9. P. 163, l. 5. contemptible factories. Pondicherry, Karikal, &c.
10. l. 8. Cape of Good Hope. The Cape was in those times only valuable in connexion with India and the East. British policy and enterprise has made it the nucleus of a great group of colonial states.
11. l. 25. declines still more. The decline of Holland as a colonial power was measured by the failing prosperity of the Dutch East Indian Company.
12. P. 164, l. 23, foll. The passage which follows, expanding the criticisms on the general plan of the war, and alluding to the unfortunate campaign in
13. l. 35. fierce barbarians. The negroes of Hayti and Guadaloupe.
14. P. 165, l. 7. ally in the heart of the country. Burke was always for stirring the strong anti-revolutionary elements which existed unused in France. The subsequent history of French factions has amply shown how much might have been done in this way.
15. P. 166, l. 15. made for the seat, &c. Burke has in mind the early settlement of the Spaniards in the West Indies, when Hayti was the centre of government, and the transfer of West Indian supremacy to the French with the possession of the west of the island.
16. Ibid. not improved as the French division had been. The extraordinary prosperity of French Hayti is a striking feature in colonial history. See the Editor's History of European Colonies.
17. l. 21. reclamation = protest.
18. P. 167, l. 1. ties of blood. Burke derives the hint from Bacon, speaking of the Social War: "You speak of a naturalisation in blood; there was a naturalisation indeed in blood." "Of General Naturalisation."
19. l. 34. I see, indeed, a fund, &c. Burke alludes to the ecclesiastical electorates of Cologne, Trèves, and Mainz, and to the large sovereign bishoprics of Liège, Paderborn, Munster, &c. These it was proposed to secularize and cede some parts to Austria and Prussia in compensation for the Austrian Netherlands and the Rhenish possessions of Prussia.
20. P. 169, l. 4. Substitutions, i.e. family settlements. Cp. vol. ii. p. 207, l. 17.
21. P. 170, l. 19. there is no doctrine whatever, &c. Burke repeats the observation from Bolingbroke (On the true use of Retirement, &c.), who borrows it from Montaigne, Essais, Liv. i. ch. 40: "Toute opinion est assez forte pour se faire espouser au prix de la vie."
22. l. 30. with all their heart, &c. The phrase is borrowed from the Church of England Catechism.
23. l. 33. strike the sun out of heaven. Burke has in mind Gray, The Bard:
Fond impious man! think'st thou the sanguine cloud
Rais'd by thy breath can quench the orb of day?
24. P. 171, l. 7. "carried along with the general motion," &c.:
For as in Nature's swiftness, with the throng
Of flying orbs whilst ours is borne along,
All seems at rest to the deluded eye,
Moved by the soul of the same harmony;
So carried on by your unwearied care
We rest in peace, and yet in motion share.
—Dryden, Lines to the Lord Chancellor.
25. l. 17. evil for its good. Milton, Par. Lost, Book iv. 110.
26. l. 18. nothing, indeed, &c. Borrowed from Aristotle, 'Arχ&eegrgr; &apsgr;ndr&agrgr; de&iacgr;ξei.
28. l. 13. The diplomatic politicians, &c. This ingenious account of the growth of an aggressive policy on the part of France, though based on notorious historical facts, is difficult to justify specifically.
29. l. 23. Russia and Prussia. The rise of the former dated from Peter the Great, of the latter from Frederick.
30. l. 26. by the very collision, &c. The Seven Years' War.
31. P. 177, l. 4. French party. See p. 175, l. 16.
32. l. 19. Out the word came. The allusion is to the arguments in the Encyclopédie and elsewhere. The politicians, of course, never employed the word except in theoretical discussions, before the Revolution.
33. P. 178, l. 10. Austrian match. Between the Dauphin and Marie Antoinette.
34. P. 179, l. 4. commercial treaty. Made by Mr. Pitt in 1784.
35. l. 10. facilitated—but did not produce it. Burke can hardly escape the charge of bending his facts to his theory. Political ambition alone would never have produced the treaty.
36. l. 17. unhappy American quarrel. Here again the alliance of France with the revolted Colonies may be accounted for without assuming an unnatural ambition on the part of France.
37. l. 26. produced by their republican principles. But cp. p. 182, post, where the policy of the old monarchy is shown not to have been repugnant to republics.
38. l. 30. in a great extent of country. The example of the United States destroyed at once the old illusion that a non-monarchical government could only suit with small states. Cp. vol. ii. p. 224, l. 35.
39. P. 180, l. 31. found in monarchies stiled absolute. Burke repeats a well-known conclusion of Gibbon.
40. P. 181, l. 8. entire circle of human desires. Burke alludes to an idea put forth by Montesquieu and developed in Goldsmith's Traveller. It is fully explained in the note to vol. i. p. 237, l. 31. Burke's account of the growth of English civilization has been well amplified by Guizot: "The general character of European civilization has especially distinguished the civilization of England. It was exhibited in that country with more sequence and greater clearness than in any other. In England the civil and religious orders, aristocracy, democracy, monarchy, local and central institutions, moral and political development, have increased and advanced together.... Not one of the ancient elements of society ever completely perished; no special principle was ever able to obtain an exclusive dominion. There has always been a simultaneous development of all the different powers, and a sort of compromise between the claims and the interests of all of them..... It cannot, for instance, be denied that the simultaneous development of the different social elements caused England to advance more rapidly than any of the continental states towards the true aim and object of all society—the
41. l. 16. direct object. Burke alludes to the specific provisions in its favour, from Magna Charta to the Habeas Corpus Act.
42. l. 21. as great to spend, &c. Cp. vol. i. p. 285, l. 34. Since 1832 the people have been less disposed to expenditure.
43. l. 29. above my power of praise. Burke's general estimate of Pitt has been fully confirmed by modern opinion. Supreme in influence over Parliament, and the first of the great school of English financial statesmen, he failed signally as a war-minister.
44. P. 182, l. 27. We go about asking when assignats will expire, &c. "The French, beginning with bankruptcy at home, had proceeded abroad on the maxim of Machiavelli, that men and arms will find money and provide for themselves." Southey, Essay on State of Public Opinion and the Political Reformers.
45. P. 183, l. 6. Jinghiz Khan. A famous Asiatic conqueror of the twelfth century.
46. l. 28. Harrington—never could imagine, &c. Harrington uniformly derives all government from property. A man, he argues, with no estate, either in land, goods, or money, can have nothing to govern, and therefore no share in government. A state of things in which the people, not owning at least two thirds of the land, are supreme, he denominates "an Anarchy." See his System of Politics in Aphorisms.
47. l. 33. "The mine exhaustless." Burke is followed here by an opponent: "Nothing in point of resources is beyond the reach of a revolutionary government: whereas regular governments have their limitations in this point."—Marquis of Lansdowne's Speech on the Address, 1801.
48. P. 184, l. 4. copying music. Burke is perhaps thinking of Rousseau.
49. Ibid. plaidoyers. Law proceedings.
50. l. 10. must be destroyed. Burke copies the "Delenda est Carthago" of Scipio.
51. P. 185, l. 32. diligent reader of history. "A century after the expulsion of James, Louis XVI was anxious to draw wisdom from the fate of the Stuarts. He was continually reading over the lives of Charles I and James II, and even, it is said, added comments with his own hand on the margin. Determined to avoid their erring policy, he, as we have already seen, temporised and yielded on every possible occasion."—Lord Mahon's Essay on the French Revolution.
52. P. 186, l. 35. but one republic. i.e. America.
53. P. 187, l. 13. paid to his enemies. i.e. to the new French government.
54. l. 20. husbandmen or fishermen. As in New England.
55. P. 188, l. 6. you may call this France, &c. We have elsewhere the idea
And here remain with your uncertainties," &c.
—Act iii. Scene 3.
And Carew to Master William Montague:
The kingdom lives in exile.
"Non te civitas, non regia domus in exilium miserunt, sed tu utrasque." Cicero, quoted in letters of Swift to Gay.
56. P. 189, l. 1. a circumstance which, &c. The allusion is to the months of July and August, 1796, during which Burke was at Bath, prostrate under the malady which in the next year carried him off.
Vol. 3, Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter III
1. P. 193, l. 24. "Vast species." Cowley's lines on Pindar:
The phoenix Pindar is a vast species alone.
2. P. 198, l. 22. bundle of State-Papers. The correspondence between Lord Malmesbury and Delacroix, beginning Dec. 17 and ending Dec. 20, 1796, together with the long Royal Declaration of Dec. 27. The correspondence was presented to the House of Commons Dec. 28.
3. l. 31. "paths of pleasantness," &c. Proverbs iii. 17.
4. P. 200, l. 31. rehearsal at Basle. See ante, p. 86, &c.
5. P. 201, l. 9. "garrit aniles," &c. Hor. Sat. ii. 6. 77.
6. l. 18. "malignant and a turban'd Turk." See end of Othello.
7. l. 33. In the disasters of their friends, &c. "Nous avons tous assez de force pour supporter les maux d'autrui." Rochefoucauld, Max. xix. Popularized in England through the "Thoughts on Various Subjects" by Pope and Swift. Very humourously expressed by Villemain in his "Souvenirs" when speaking of Talleyrand: "Il paraissait quelquefois d'une résignation trop grande sur le malheur de ses amis."
8. P. 203, l. 1. boulimia. Raging hunger.
9. l. 8. "shreds and patches." Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 3.
10. l. 9. mumping cant = Beggars' set phrases. To "mump" is to go begging. Cp. vol. i. p. 175, l. 6.
11. l. 11. "Where the gaunt mastiff," &c. Pope, Moral Essays, Ep. iii. l. 195.
12. l. 22. neighbouring vice. The allusion is to the Aristotelian theory of Virtues, which places each in a mean state between two vices.
13. l. 28. speech of the Minister. Mr. Pitt's speech of Dec. 30, 1796.
14. P. 204, l. 18. Virgil proposed, &c. Georgics, Book iii. l. 25.
15. l. 19. hides his head, &c. Bonaparte had forced the passage of the
16. P. 210, l. 7. in this mother country of freedom, &c.:
Onde provò con riflessioni egregie
La libertà delle prigioni regie.
—Casti, Animali Parlanti, Canto xvi.
Casti's work was published in the beginning of the present century. The coincidences with Burke are too many to be accidental.
17. l. 32. patriarchal rebels. Lafayette, Latour-Maubeuge, and Bureau de Pusy. Burke goes on to speak particularly of Lafayette, who had been taken prisoner in the territory of Liège in August, 1792. General Fitzpatrick as early as March, 1794, had moved the Commons for an address to the Crown with the object of procuring his release. This motion was opposed by Burke, and lost by a large majority. The motion was repeated Dec. 16, 1796, warmly supported by Fox, and again lost. The Peace of Campo Formio, made shortly after the publication of this letter, set Lafayette at liberty.
18. P. 211, l. 10. that family. The Austrian.
19. l. 33. not only of no real talents. Burke's estimate of Lafayette is just.
20. P. 212, l. 3. fifth of October. An account of this deportation from Versailles to Paris is given in Burke's "Reflections." See Select Works, vol. ii. pp. 164-65.
21. l. 16. This officer, &c. Smith was taken prisoner in an attempt to cut out some vessels from the Havre. The French government had him sent to Paris, and imprisoned in the Temple as a spy. He managed to escape, together with the royalist Phelippeaux, an officer of engineers, by means of a forged order for transporting them to another place of confinement. Phelippeaux accompanied Smith to the East, and aided him in the famous defence of Acre in 1799, which stopped the advance of Bonaparte in Syria.
22. P. 215, ll. 20 foll. Muse of fire—ascended the highest heaven of invention—swelling scene—Potentates for fellow-actors—port of Mars—dogs of war—famine, fever, &c. Burke has freely used the opening lines of Shakespeare's Henry V:
O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire,
Crouch for employment.
Burke evidently assumed that the passage was well-known to his readers.
Da caldo amore è di viva speranza
Che vence la divina volontade.
—Dante, Paradiso, Canto xx. l. 94.
By tears, and groans, and never ceasing care
And all the pious violence of prayer.
—Young's Last Day, Book ii.
We by devotion borrow from his throne,
And almost make omnipotence our own:
We force the gates of Heaven by fervent prayer,
And call forth triumph out of man's despair.
—Young's Force of Religion.
24. P. 217, l. 9. Freinshemius. The continuator of the Roman historian Livy.
25. l. 29. Never, no never, &c. "Nunquam aliud natura, aliud Sapientia dixit." Juvenal.
26. l. 32. of Belvedere. The Belvedere palace at Rome.
27. Ibid. universal robber. Bonaparte, who during the past year had stripped the states of North Italy in succession of their choicest art-treasures as part of the price of peace.
28. P. 218, l. 3. Vehement passion does not, &c. Addison, Spectator, No. 408: "We may generally observe a pretty nice proportion between the strength of reason and passion.... The weaker understandings have generally the weaker passions."
29. l. 8. If ever there was a time that calls on us for no vulgar conception of things, and for exertions in no vulgar strain. "This sincere and solid compliment I would pay them (the French people and commanders), of saying and showing, that we must omit no human preparations which the heart and head of man can contrive and execute." Sheridan, Speech on Traitorous Correspondence, &c., April 28, 1798.
30. l. 18. De la Croix. The minister who conducted the negotiations with Lord Malmesbury.
31. l. 31. His Majesty has only to lament. A poor possession to be left to a great monarch:
Nil sibi legatum praeter plorare, suisque.
—Hor. Sat. II. v. 9.
32. P. 220, l. 17. former declaration. The Whitehall Declaration. See ante, pp. 99-100.
33. P. 221, l. 16. Regicide fleet. A fleet of seventeen vessels sailed from Brest in December, 1796, for a descent upon Ireland, relying on the support of the inhabitants. It retreated to France without landing any troops.
34. l. 33. practised assassin Hoche. The allusion is to the execution of the invaders at Quiberon. Driven by the national army to an isolated rock, and unable to escape to the British ships, all surrendered and were shot. Many of the wretched émigrés who thus perished were personally known to Burke.
35. P. 224, l. 5. mask of a Davus or a Geta. Characters of slaves in the Roman comedy.
36. P. 225, l. 15. hypothecated in trust. By the Treaty of Peace with Prussia, concluded at Basle April 5, 1795, the left bank of the Rhine was to be occupied by the French pending a general pacification. The French evacuated the Prussian territories on the right bank.
37. l. 26. Lucchesini. An Italian adventurer who had ingratiated himself with Frederick the Great, and had ever since been a diplomatist of high repute. Burke's contemptuous mention of him here is interesting, for it was he who negotiated for Prussia after the battle of Jena.
38. l. 33. Prince of Peace. Properly, "Prince of the Peace," a title conferred on Godoy in honour of the disgraceful peace negotiated by him between France and Spain, July 22, 1796. By this peace, the Spanish part of St. Domingo, and the Spanish possessions in North America were ceded to France.
39. P. 226, l. 3. Tetrarch. So called by Burke, contemptuously, from his holding his crown on the sufferance of the Republic. Cp. post, p. 339, l. 32. The Sardinian king saved his crown by suing for mercy at the first irruption of Bonaparte in 1796. He ceded to the French Savoy and Nice, together with the right of occupying Coni, Ceva, Tortona, Alessandria, and six less important fortresses, and the right of passing and repassing through his dominions at any time.
40. l. 21. admission of French garrisons. The fate of Genoa had been clear since the first occupation of its soil in 1794. The French easily democratized the old commonwealth, and in May of this year (1797) it was abolished and replaced by a "Ligurian Republic," which had a Directory and Councils like France.
41. l. 25. early sincerity. The Grand-Duke of Tuscany, weak in mind and insignificant in position, created general amusement by being the first member of the alliance to detach himself from it. This he did early in 1795.
42. l. 32. placed Leghorn, &c. Leghorn was seized by the French in June, 1796, notwithstanding the peace made by the Grand-Duke. They expected to seize abundance of English property, and, disappointed in this, pillaged their own allies.
43. P. 227, l. 16. "murdering piece." The technical name for this species of pictures; like "landscape."
45. P. 228, l. 8. regenerated law. Burke alludes to the revival of the study of Civil Law at Bologna.
46. l. 9. hideously metamorphosed. In 1798 the same process was extended to Rome itself.
47. l. 14. work which defied the power, &c. The drainage of the Pontine marshes had been attempted at intervals by several Popes: but no progress was made until the time of Pius VI, who restored the canal of Augustus and constructed the modern road on the line of the Appian way. It is not correct to say that the same task defied the engineers of ancient Rome. Their works had fallen into decay.
48. P. 229, l. 16. at all times—powerful squadron. The Mediterranean had been evacuated by the British squadron employed on that station in consequence of the demands of the war in the West Indies.
49. l. 21. despotic mistress of that sea. "The Mediterranean a French lake."
50. P. 230, l. 9. himself the victim, &c. The allusion is to the assassination of Gustavus (III) by Ankarström, March 16, 1792.
51. l. 16. late Empress—new Emperor. Catherine II had died Nov. 17, 1796, leaving Paul I her successor. Burke's expectations from Paul were justified. The unprincipled aggressions of France after the peace of Campo Formio drew him into the alliance: and the tide of events on the continent was first changed by the Italian campaign in 1799, in which Suwarrow bore so important a part.
52. P. 231, l. 19. As long as Europe, &c. Though the possessory interest of Europe in America has practically ceased, time has confirmed Burke's diplomatic dictum that "America is to be considered as part of the European system."
53. l. 24. attempts to plant Jacobinism instead of liberty. The allusion is to the arrogant bearing and intrigues of the French envoy in the United States, where the French confidently hoped to Jacobinize the government as in Holland and Genoa. The Directory instructed their representative to take no notice of Washington, and to appeal to the people.
54. P. 232, l. 25. if any memory, &c. The qualification was necessary. This antiquated distinction of parties, fading early in Burke's career (cp. vol. i. p. 72, l. 11), was now mere matter of history.
55. l. 33. by their union have once saved it. An ingenious account of the desertion of the Portland Whigs, with Burke at their head, in 1792.
56. P. 233, l. 16. other party. The followers of Fox.
57. P. 234, l. 25. distinguished person. Lord Auckland, a shrewd man bred to the law, had risen to some eminence as a diplomatic agent of Mr. Pitt's.
58. P. 238, l. 14. when the fortune of the war began to turn. In 1793.
59. l. 32. noble person himself. Lord Auckland. In the debates of the early part of 1795 he had opposed the peace proposals.
61. l. 14. riggs of old Michaelmas. Stormy weather about that time. (Rigs = capricious tempests.)
62. l. 19. Speech from the throne. The speech on the opening of the Session in 1795.
63. P. 242, l. 4. As to our Ambassador, this total want of reparation for the injury was passed by under pretence of despising it.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
That tie him to an answer.
—Lear, Act iv. sc. 2.
64. P. 243, l. 15. non omnibus dormio. The allusion is to a story contained in Plutarch's Eroticus, of one Galba, and Maecenas: Ωsper ka&igrgr; &odagr; P&ohgr;ma&iivrgr;oς &epsgr;ke&iivrgr;noς K&aacgr;bbaς e&idagr;st&iacgr;a Maik&eeacgr;nan, e&ipsivrgr;ta &odagr;r&ohivrgr;n diapl&eegr;ktiz&oacgr;menon &apsgr;p&ogrgr; neυm&aacgr;t&ohgr;n pr&ogrgr;ς t&ogrgr; g&uacgr;naion, &apsgr;p&eacgr;klinen &eedagr;sυχ&eeivrgr; t&eeacgr;n ke&phis;al&eegrgr;n, &ohdagr;ς d&eegrgr; ka&thgr;e&uacgr;d&ohgr;n, &epsgr;n to&uacgr;t&ohypogr; d&eegrgr; t&ohivrgr;n o&ipsgr;ket&ohivrgr;n tinoς prosrυ&eacgr;ntoς &epsacgr;ξ&ohgr;&thgr;en t&eeivrgr; trap&eacgr;z&eeypogr;, ka&igrgr; t&ogrgr;n o&ipsivrgr;non &udagr;&phis;airoυm&eacgr;noυ, diabl&eacgr;ψaς, "Kak&oacgr;deimon," e&ipsivrgr;pen, "o&upsgr;k o&ipsivrgr;s&thgr;a, &odaacgr;ti m´on&ohypogr; Maik&eeacgr;n&aypogr; ka&thgr;e&uacgr;d&ohgr;."
65. l. 32. two confidential communications. Both delivered to Delacroix by Lord Malmesbury on Saturday morning, Dec. 17, 1796. The first contained the proposed terms of peace so far as they related to France, the second so far as they related to Spain and Holland. The Confidential Memorials were not signed by Lord Malmesbury, though his signature was affixed to the note to which they were appended: and the Directory returned the memorials to him on Sunday stating that they could recognize no unsigned documents, and demanding an ultimatum properly signed, within twenty-four hours. On Monday, Lord Malmesbury returned the memorials properly signed, with a statement that they contained not an ultimatum, but a project subject to discussion. Later in the same day he received the peremptory notice to quit Paris in forty-eight hours.
66. P. 246, l. 21. German War. So called at first: afterwards best known as the Seven Years' War.
67. P. 247, l. 29. the Empire and the Papacy. Neither of the two Cardinal powers of mediaeval Europe, now in their political decay, were so formidable to progress as is now often supposed. The continual attacks directed against them proceeded mainly from the politicians, and date back long before 1789.
68. P. 248, l. 13. body of republics. Alluding especially to the Ligurian and Cispadane Republics in Italy. The establishment of the Parthenopaean Republic confirmed Burke's augury.
69. l. 19. universal empire—universal revolution. In a very short time the justice of the charge was confessed by the best friends of France. No sooner was the peace of Campo Formio signed than the attacks on Rome, Switzerland, and Naples, made it clear that faith would be kept by the Directory on no other terms than a submission to republican principles.
70. P. 249, l. 2. Scrap of equivalents. His contemptible list of proposed cessions to France in exchange for the Austrian Netherlands.
71. P. 250, l. 7. very dubious struggle. The result of the war in the rest of the West Indies was still doubtful.
72. P. 252, l. 10. family of thieves. The allusion is to the division of power between the two assemblies—the Council of Ancients and the Council of Five Hundred.
73. l. 29. The identical men, &c.
Da riguardo servil, da melensaggine
Vinte per uso,—un anima non hanno
Capace d'una bella scelleraggine.
—Casti, Animali Parlanti, Cant. xi.
74. l. 30. original place—dirtiest of chicaners. The allusion is to the two lawyers Rewbel and Lepaux.
75. P. 254, l. 23. "The slothful man," &c. Proverbs xxii. 13.
76. P. 255, l. 4. open subscription—of eighteen millions, proposed by Mr. Pitt, December 7, 1795. For every £100 in cash the subscriber became entitled to £120 3 per cents., and £25 4 per cents., with further addition in the Long Annuities. The loan was notoriously not an open competition. It was placed in the hands of the mercantile house of Boyd. The circumstances attending the loan were brought to light by Mr. W. Smith in a motion for a Committee of Enquiry. An ample account may be seen in the Parliamentary History.
77. l. 8. whiff and wind of it, &c.
The unnerved father falls.
—Hamlet, Act ii. Scene 2.
78. l. 25. Ne te quaesiveris extra. Persius, Sat. i. 7.
79. P. 256, l. 18. ritually, i.e. formally, properly.
80. P. 257, l. 2. very lucrative bargain. The premium on the loan amounted to no less a sum than £2,160,000!
81. P. 258, l. 14. The love of lucre, &c. i.e. as productive of capital. Burke may have had the following passage in his ear when he wrote the above clause: "The inclination is natural in them all, pardonable in those who have not yet made their fortunes: and as lawful in the rest as love of power or love of money can make it. But as natural, as pardonable, and as lawful as this inclination is, where it is not under check of the civil power, or when a corrupt ministry," &c. Swift, Examiner, No. xxiv.
82. l. 23. "with all its imperfections," &c. This well-known phrase from Hamlet is a favourite quotation with Burke. See vol. i. p. 243, l. 28.
84. P. 267, l. 18. "Modo sol nimius," &c. Ovid, Met. Lib. v. 483.
85. P. 269, l. 1. How war, &c. Milton, Sonnet xvii. l. 7.
86. l. 19. Proving its title, &c. Among many embodiments of this commonplace, Shakespeare's is perhaps the best:
"Therefore, brave conquerors! for so you are,
That war against your own affections,
And the huge army of the world's desires," &c.
—Love's Labour's Lost, Act i. Scene 1.
87. P. 270, l. 5. "palmy state." Cp. note, p. 65, l. 13, ante.
88. l. 6. brighter lustre than in the present, &c. Burke alludes to the English campaign in the Low Countries under the Duke of York. The British contingent took the field at the investment of Valenciennes, which surrendered to the Duke of York, July 28, 1793. A month after, the Duke was besieging Dunkirk: but was forced to raise the siege suddenly by the arrival of overwhelming reinforcements to the enemy. He took the lead in the succeeding year, capturing all the posts between Courtray and Lille; and the English contingent was distinguished in the repulse of the French at Tournay, May 10, 1794. The English ranks were greatly thinned by the terrible fighting at Turcoing, on the 18th and 22nd, while the severe losses they inflicted on the enemy drew from the Convention a decree denying all quarter to the British and Hanoverian troops. Moreau and several other French generals, to their honour, refused to execute this savage decree. A month afterwards, the decisive battle of Fleurus gave Flanders to the French. At the head of an overwhelming number of troops, Pichegru drove the Duke into Holland. The states of Holland having submitted to the French early in 1795: and the English army, pursued by Macdonald and Moreau, had to retreat through a practically hostile country into German territory. They embarked at Bremerhaven for England, 1795.
89. l. 21. distant possessions. West Indies.
90. l. 23. neighbouring colonies. The British West Indies.
91. Ibid. one sweeping law, &c. That of August, 1793, which decreed a levy of the people en masse until the enemy should be driven from the soil of the Republic.
92. P. 271, l. 6. invasion. The alarm of invasion naturally began to be felt as England was gradually deserted by the Allies, as a consequence of the great development of France, and her bitterness against England. After the Peace of Campo Formio England was left absolutely alone, and the probability of invasion was redoubled.
93. l. 13. forty years ago. In the time of the elder Pitt and his vigorous war-policy.
94. P. 272, l. 27. much more to dread. See Burke's famous Letter to a Noble Lord.
95. P. 273, l. 1. The excesses of delicacy, &c. The argument is amplified in a note
96. l. 9. whose name, &c. These touching words allude to the recent death of the author's only son in 1794.
97. l. 13. the ancients. Burke alludes to his favourite philosopher, Aristotle.
98. P. 282, l. 24. The allusion is to the statutory registration of deeds in that county.
99. P. 286, l. 26. "migravit ab aure voluptas." Hor. Ep. ii. 1. 187.
100. P. 287, l. 23. all the three theatres. The famed old ones of Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and the "Little Theatre" in the Haymarket, made popular by Foote and Colman.
101. P. 288, l. 10. my first political tract. The "Observations on the State of the Nation." See ante, p. 245. The publication of the quarto edition of his works evidently attracted Burke's attention anew to this early production.
102. P. 299, l. 18. The different Bills. The first bill, originated by a private company, was introduced in the previous session (1795-6), supported by the leading merchants, and by the East India Company. It was defeated by the interest of the corporation of London. The second bill, containing the rival scheme of the corporation, was introduced early in 1797.
103. P. 303, l. 1. bore—an exceptionally high tide.
104. P. 304, l. 34. Famish their virtues, &c. The image belongs to Young: "Eusebius, though liberal to the demands of nature, rank, and duty, starves vice, caprice, and folly." Letter on Pleasure, iii.
105. P. 305, l. 7. mines of Newfoundland. The fisheries. The expulsion of the French from St. Pierre and Miquelon (see Introduction) had thrown them exclusively into English hands.
Vol. 3, Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter IV
1. P. 309, l. 27. eternal duration. See for examples the conclusion of Horace's Odes and Ovid's Metamorphoses.
2. P. 310, l. 4. Parisian September. The allusion is to the memorable September of 1792.
3. l. 7. pleasant author. Voltaire.
4. l. 32. Rider's Almanack. Then and long afterwards the best popular almanack.
5. P. 312, l. 2. Second edition. Burke waited to watch the effect of Lord
6. l. 12. Qualis in aethereo. Tibullus, Lib. iv. Carm. 2.
7. l. 16. simple country folk. Burke was no longer in Parliament: he lived in retirement at Beaconsfield.
8. P. 314. The style here, as in many other parts, is that of a speech in debate.
9. P. 317, l. 5. Esto perpetua. Father Paul Sarpi's dying prayer for his country (Venice). See Dr. Johnson's Life of him.
10. P. 318, l. 7. restored the two countries, &c. Thomson alludes to the idea, "Liberty," Part iv.:
Since first the rushing flood
Urged by almighty power, this favoured isle
Turned flashing from the Continent aside,
Indented shore to shore responsive still.
11. P. 319, l. 21. "That strain I heard," &c. Milton, Lycidas.
12. l. 23. a style which, &c. Burke somewhat unfairly contrasts the flimsy style of Auckland's pamphlet with that of Grenville's Declaration. The compositions were in different kinds.
13. P. 321, l. 16. first republic in the world. Holland.
14. l. 27. Pomoerium. The limit of the precincts of ancient Rome.
15. P. 322, l. 2. boulimia. See ante, p. 203, l. 1.
16. l. 19. Doctor in Molière. See "Le Malade Imaginaire."
17. P. 323, l. 18. opinion of some. See the opening of the first chapter. That empires fall by their own weight is not only an ill-formed analogy, but formed on false premises. A tree, or a building, never falls by its own weight until some other cause has done its work.
18. P. 324, l. 11. "once to doubt," &c. Othello, Act iii. sc. 3.
19. l. 25. excellent Berkeley. Bishop Berkeley's Queries, mainly directed to the condition of Ireland, make an important epoch in the history of Political Economy.
20. P. 326, l. 12. dare not be wise. "Sapere aude." Horace, Epistles, i. 2. 40.
21. l. 15. "To-morrow and to-morrow," &c. See Macbeth, Act v. sc. 5.
22. P. 327, l. 27. the famous Jurieu. Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713) a Protestant theologian of some eminence, had satisfied himself by study of the Prophets and Apocalypse that the year 1689 would witness the final triumph of Protestantism over Rome. As the time approached, so jubilant were the partisans of his views that a medal was struck in his honour with the legend "Jurius Propheta." The year 1689 however, passed without seeing his predictions fulfilled. Jurieu reapplied himself to his studies, and discovered that he had made an error of twenty-six years, and that 1715 was the real date of the second advent of the Messiah and the fall of Antichrist. Before this date the prophet died. Among his numerous writings is a curious one
23. l. 29. Mr. Brothers. Richard Brothers was a harmless fanatic who prophesied and published various pamphlets containing his prophecies. In 1792 "he was commanded by the Lord God to go down to the House of Parliament and acquaint the members for their own personal safety and the general benefit of the country that the time of the world was come to fulfil the 7th chapter of Daniel." But on his publishing his prophetic mission to George III to "deliver up his crown, that all his power and authority might cease," he was taken up on a warrant, on suspicion of treasonable practices. One member of Parliament, a Mr. Halhed, believed in him, and repeatedly strove to bring his wrongs before the house.
24. P. 328, l. 35. gemitus Columbae. Cooings. Isaiah lix. 11 (Vulg.).
25. P. 330, l. 3. untimely wisdom, &c. "Eventus ille stultorum magister," Livy.
26. P. 332, l. 17. Jourdan Coupe-tête. Matthew Jourdan, the illiterate ruffian who devastated the Comtat Venaissin, and executed the horrible "Massacre de la Glacière" at Avignon. The Revolutionary Tribunal rid the world of him in 1794.
27. l. 18. whose Predecessor, &c. Joseph the Second.
28. P. 333, l. 14. Juignie—Cardinal de Rochefoucault. Juigné, Bishop of Chalons, had taken part in the famous sitting of the 4th of August, 1789, and proposed a Te Deum in celebration of it. He was now in exile at Constance. As to the Cardinal de Rochefoucault, see note to vol. ii. p. 213, l. 31.
29. l. 16. their very beings. Perhaps borrowed from what Grattan had said of the famous preacher Dr. Kirwan: "In feeding the lamp of charity he had almost exhausted the lamp of life." Speech on the Address, Jan. 19, 1792.
30. P. 334, l. 15. D'Espremenil. D'Espremenil had been a minister before the Revolution. On the establishment of the Convention he had retired to the country, and ceased to take any part in politics. From his country seat he was suddenly called before the Revolutionary tribunal, condemned, and executed, in 1794.
31. l. 17. Malesherbes. The famous ally of Turgot, in his plans for saving France by timely fiscal and constitutional reforms. He had been the king's advocate at his trial. After the king's execution, he also retired to the country: whence he was brought before the Revolutionary tribunal, condemned, and executed with D'Espremenil. Sainte-Beuve calls him "ce Franklin de vieille race."
32. P. 335, l. 13. "last that wore the imperial purple." The prophecy was to meet with a striking fulfilment.
33. P. 336, l. 13. humility and submission—silent adoration—trembling wings.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar:
Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore.
34. P. 337, l. 4. old Trivulzio. The famous old general was then (1515) in his seventy-fourth year. The battle of Marignano was fought by him at the head of a French army. It gained Francis I, for a short time, possession of the whole Duchy of Milan.
35. Ibid. battle of Marignan. Burke quotes from memory the famous description of this battle in Mezeray, Book iii: "Il se trouva sur le champ quatorze mille Suisses morts et pres de quatre mille François: ceux-là pour la plus grande part brisez de coups de canons ou percez de traits d'arbaleste, et ceux-cy fendus et hachez par d'horribles et larges playes. Aussi Trivulce, qui s'estoit trouvé à dix-huit batailles, disoit que celle-cy estoit une bataille de géants, et que toutes les autres n'estoient en comparison que des jeux d'enfans."
36. l. 14. Origenist, &c. So Young, Satire vi:
Dear Tillotson! be sure, the best of men!
Nor thought be more than thought great Origen—
"Though once upon a time he misbehav'd,
Poor Satan! doubtless he'll at length be saved."
37. P. 338, l. 13. usurper, murderer, regicide. Claudius. See Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 3.
38. l. 33. massacre at Quiberon. The captured French emigrants, not being recognised as belligerents, were all shot. Burke alludes to this in the Third Letter, p. 170, where he speaks of the "practised assassin Hoche."
39. P. 339, l. 16. Taedet harum, &c. Terence, Eun. ii. 3. 6.
40. l. 24. Muscadin. Perfumed with musk.
41. l. 32. Tetrarchs. Cp. p. 226, l. 3.
42. P. 340, l. 31. "pride, pomp, and circumstance." Othello, Act iii. sc. 3.
43. P. 342, l. 2. Anacharsis Cloots. Jean Baptiste Clootz, or, properly, Klotz, a wealthy German settled in Paris, and greatly inflamed with revolutionary ideas. He assumed the name Anacharsis in honour of the philosophic Scythian, when travelling in Europe before the Revolution. His early exploit is abundantly described by Burke. He afterwards added to his assumed title of "Ambassador of the Human Race" that of "Personal Enemy of God." By a decree of the 26th of August, 1792, the title of citizen was conferred upon him: on which occasion he thanked the French people at the bar of the Convention, and pronounced a panegyric on the regicide Ankarström. Cp. note to p. 230, l. 9, ante. He perished a victim to the Terror, March 23, 1794.
44. P. 343, l. 1. their Cotterel. Sir Clement Cotterell was a high official of the Court of George III.
46. P. 344, l. 3. grown philosophick. This keen sarcasm refers not only to the late Emperor, Joseph the Second, and to Louis XVI, but to such living sovereigns as the Grand Duke of Tuscany. See p. 226, where he is spoken of as a "pacific Solomon."
47. l. 6. Cappadocia. Burke of course means that Prussia had become to France what Cappadocia was to Rome; a humble province of the regicide empire.
48. l. 8. Judean representation. Burke likens Austria to Judea, as he has just likened Prussia to Cappadocia.
49. l. 14. daughter. Marie Antoinette.
50. l. 26. Moriamur, &c. The story of the unanimous enthusiasm of the Hungarian Diet is apocryphal. The words were used by Charles, Maria Theresa's husband, and a certain number of the nobles repeated it after him: but the majority murmured, and demanded a readjustment of taxation.
51. P. 346, l. 15. Lord Auckland—Duke of Bedford. The latter was one of the leaders of the opposition in the Lords.
52. P. 347, l. 23. I do not believe, &c. Burke is right. Washington bore no hatred to Great Britain.
53. P. 348, l. 15. infernal altar. The allusion is to the story of Hannibal, as stated by Livy. Cp. note to p. 64, l. 18.
54. l. 28. an Author who points, &c. Tacitus.
55. P. 350, l. 10. Marquis de Montalembert. This veteran soldier was still living, and actively employed in the service of the Republic. He wrote more than one "Military Treatise."
56. l. 26. Mire sagaces, &c. Horace, Odes, Lib. ii. 5. 22.
57. l. 32. old coarse bye-word. "God sends meat, and the devil sends cooks."
58. l. 35. Thomas Paine. The author of the Rights of Man had been installed as a member of the Convention.
59. P. 351, l. 10. house that he has opened. Burke goes on in his happiest vein of humour, to apply to Paine the amusing lines of Swift on the old and the new Angel Inns.
60. l. 32. light lie the earth, &c. Cp. ante, p. 96, l. 4.
61. P. 352, l. 7. Republic of Europe. The argument is amplified in the First Letter.
62. l. 24. I have reason to be persuaded, &c. Cp. the earlier pages of the Reflections (Select Works, vol. ii.). Thiers, in his History, says that the French political clubs were modelled on those of England.
63. l. 29. formal distributions—moral basis. See the arguments in vol. ii. p. 278, and following.
64. P. 353, l. 15. Astraea. The goddess of Justice, said to have quitted the earth when the Golden Age ceased.
65. P. 354, l. 6. I have heard that a Tartar believes, &c. Butler, Hudibras (Part i. c. 2):
A man that's handsome, valiant, wise,
If he can kill him thinks t' inherit
His wit, his beauty, and his spirit.
So Shaftesbury, Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour: "For, in good earnest, to destroy a philosophy in hatred to a man implies as errant a Tartar-notion as to destroy or murder a man, in order to plunder him of his wit, and get the inheritance of his understanding."
66. l. 14. tontine of Infamy. A happy stroke. A Tontine (so named from its inventor) is a lottery in which the longest livers divide the produce of the stock, with its accumulations. Cp. vol. ii. p. 361, l. 7.
67. l. 26. Murderers and hogs, &c. This grim humour is borrowed from Bacon's "Spurious" Apophthegms, No. 16.
68. l. 30. Pantheon. Cp. ante, note to p. 126, l. 2.
69. P. 357, l. 10. regardants. A "villain regardant" is the old legal term for an ordinary serf.
70. l. 11. even the Negroes, &c. Burke goes too far. At this time the condition of the negroes in the British West Indies, which Burke had been the first to characterise adequately, in a juvenile production forty years before, was being widely discussed.
71. l. 26. more at large hereafter. See the Second Letter.
72. P. 358, l. 34. genethliacon. A birth-song. Burke's observation is correct. It was the strength of the opposition in the Assembly, and the goodness of their cause, that led to the Revolution of Fructidor, and the triumph of the war-party, in 1797.
73. P. 361, l. 35. "splitting this brilliant orb," &c.:
Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he shall make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world shall fall in love with night.
—Romeo and Juliet, Act iii. sc. 2.
74. P. 365, l. 8. eundem Negotiatorem, &c. The Roman negotiator or factor was usually a slave.
75. l. 14. master Republick cultivates the arts, &c. The allusion is to Virgil's well-known lines:
Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento;
Hae tibi erunt artes.
76. l. 33. by inch of candle. By auction; the time for bidding limited by an inch of candle.
77. Ibid. dedecorum pretiosus, &c. Horace, Odes, Lib. iii. 6. 32.
78. l. 35. Prince of Peace. See ante, p. 225, and the note.
79. P. 366, l. 2. pesos duros. Dollars.
80. l. 24. death of Philip the Fourth. Burke works out this hint in the First Letter, p. 111.
82. P. 370, l. 19. transatlantic Morocco. Burke alludes to the political rights which according to French principles were granted to the free blacks and men of colour in the French West Indies, and to the stimulus which this would give to communities originally founded on piracy, and always addicted to it.
83. P. 372, l. 28. Here ends that part of the critique upon Auckland's Letter which Burke corrected for the press. The following pages, down to p. 376, l. 28, were made up by Bishop King from loose uncorrected papers.
84. P. 373, l. 7. bought by so much blood. Burke has in mind his favourite lines from Addison's Cato:
Remember, O my friends, the laws, the rights,
The generous plan of power deliver'd down
From age to age, by your renown'd forefathers—
So dearly bought, the price of so much blood—
O let it never perish in your hands,
But piously transmit it to your children.
85. P. 376, l. 1. They never will love, &c. Dr. Johnson "loved a good hater."
For in base mind nor friendship dwells, nor enmity.
—Spenser, Faery Queen, Book iv, canto iv, st. 11.
86. l. 16. best accounts I have, &c. Burke alludes to the strict retirement in which he was living, since the death of his son.
87. l. 18. "some to undo," &c. The line is from Denham's "Cooper's Hill."
88. l. 28. Here the original terminates. The remaining portion of this letter does not belong to Burke's confutation of Lord Auckland. It was added by Bishop King from a separate copy, already put into type, but never finished or published. The Bishop says that it formed part of the Third Letter of Burke's original scheme (see p. 148), and was laid aside in consequence of the rupture of the negotiations.
89. P. 377, l. 17. tremblingly alive. The expression is Pope's. Essay on Man, i. 197.
90. l. 24. "vanished at the crowing," &c. Shakespeare, Hamlet.
91. l. 26. us poor Tory geese. The allusion is to the story of the Capitol of Rome saved from the Gauls by the cackling of geese, Livy, Lib. v. c. 47.
y3. l. 33. Hic auratis, &c. Virgil, Aen. viii. 655.
92. P. 378. This bitter tirade, which applies to most of Burke's former political associates, cannot be read without pain. It must be remembered that he did not publish it.
93. P. 383, l. 13. jewel of their souls, &c. Othello, Act iii. sc. 5.
94. P. 384, l. 31. awful and imposing. The allusion is clearly to Windsor Castle, as seen on the approach from the uplands of Buckinghamshire, where Burke was living in retirement.
95. P. 385, l. 30. for a few days, &c. This indicates that the fragment was
96. P. 387, l. 17. coaches of Duchesses, Countesses, and Lady Marys:
Monsieur much complains at Paris
Of wrongs from Dutchesses, and Lady Marys.
—Pope, Dunciad, Book ii.
97. P. 389, l. 2. Is it for this that our youth of both sexes are to form themselves by travel? Wordsworth illustrates the warning:
Not in my single self alone I found,
But in the minds of all ingenuous youth,
Change and subversion from that hour. No shock
Given to my moral nature had I known
Down to that very moment.
—The Prelude, Book x.
Much of this book may be read to show the working of the French Revolution on the minds of many of the young men of England.
98. P. 392, l. 32. Tenth wave. Silius Italicus, xiv. 121.
Non aliter Boreas Rhodopes a vertice praeceps
Cum sese immisit decimoque volumine pontum
Expulit in terras.
So Taylor, "Mercy of the Divine Judgments": "If Pharaoh will not be cured by one plague he shall have ten, and if ten will not do it, the great and tenth wave which is far bigger than all the rest." Young, The Brothers, Act iv.:
This, Fate, is thy tenth wave, and quite o'erwhelms me.
99. P. 394, l. 26. Mr. Hume's Euthanasia, &c. In his early Essay "On the British Government," Hume argues from a fallacy already confuted by Burke (see p. 62) that the "English constitution" must end either in a republic or an absolute monarchy. The latter he thought the easiest and most natural.