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a sore evil; an evil from which, before this time, England was more free than any other nation. Nothing can preserve us from that evil—which connects cabinet factions abroad with popular factions here,but the keeping sacred the crown, as the only channel of communication with every other nation.
ENGLAND. FRANCE. THE EMPEROR. THE EMPIRE. But the great resource of Europe was in England : not in a sort of England detached from the rest of the world, and amusing herself with the puppet-shew of a naval power, (it can be no better, whilst all the sources of that power, and of every sort of power, are precarious,) but in that sort of England, who considered herself as embodied with Europe ; but in that sort of England, who, sympathetic with the adversity or the happiness of mankind, felt that nothing in human affairs was foreign to her. We may consider it as a sure axiom that, as on the one hand no confederacy of the least effect or duration can exist against France, of which England is not only a part, but the head, so neither can England pretend to cope with France but as connected with the body of Christendom.
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England, except during the eccentric aberration of Charles the Second, has always considered it as her duty and interest, to take her place in such a confederacy. Her chief disputes must ever be with France, and if England shews herself indifferent and unconcerned when these powers are combined against the enterprizes of France, she is to look with certainty for the same indifference on the part of these powers, when she may be at war with that nation. This will tend totally to disconnect this kingdom from the system of Europe, in which, if she ought not rashly to meddle, she ought never wholly to withdraw here self from it.
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I wind up all in a full conviction within my own breast, and the substance of which I must repeat over and over again, that the state of France is the first consideration in the politics of Europe, and of each state, externally as well as internally considered.
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This general balance was regarded in four principal points of views :--the GREAT MIDDLE BALANCE, which comprehend Great Britain, France, and Spain ; the BALANCE OF THE NORTH; the BALANCE, external and internal, of GERMANY ; and the BALANCE OF ITALY, In all those systems of balance, England was the power to whose custody it was thought it might be most safely committed.
France, as she happened to stand, secured the balance, or endangered it. Without question she had been long the security for the balance of Germany, and under her auspices the system, if not formed, had been at least perfected. She was so 'in some measure with regard to Italy, more than occasionally. She had a clear interest in the balance of the North, and had endeavoured to preserve it.
It is always the interest of Great Britain that the power of France should be kept within the bounds of moderation. It is not her interest that that power should be wholly annihilated in the system of Europe.
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I do not conceive that the total annihilation of France (if that could be effected) is a desirable thing to Europe; or even to this, its rival nation. Provident patriots did not think it good for Rome, that even Carthage should be quite destroyed ; and he was a wise Greek, wise for the general Grecian interests, as well as a brave Lacedemonian enemy, and generous conqueror, who did not wish, by the destruction of Athens, to pluck out the other eye of Greece.
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As to the power of France, as a state, and in its exterior relations, I confess my fears are on the part of its extreme reduction *. There is undoubtedly something in the vicinity of France, which makes it naturally and properly an object of our watchfulness and jealousy, whatever form its Government may take. But the difference is great between a plan for our own security, and a scheme for the utter destruction of France. If there were no other countries in the political map but these two, I admit that policy might justify a wish to lower our neighbour to a standard which would even render her in some measure, if not wholly, our dependent. But the system of Europe is extensive and extremely complex. However formidable to us as taken in this one relation, France is not equally dreadful to all other States. On the contrary, my clear opinion is, that the liberties of Europe cannot possibly be preserved, but by her remaining a very great and preponderating power.
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Some of these nations the people of France are jealous of; such are the English, and the Spaniards others they despise; such are the Italians—others they hate and dread; such are the German and Danubian powers.
* This was written early in 1793.
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The Emperor is the natural guardian of Italy and Germany ; the natural balance against the ambition of France, whether republican or monarchical.
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If Europe does not conceive the independence, and the equilibrium of the empire to be in the very essence of the system of balanced power in Europe, and if the scheme of public law, or mass of laws, upon which that independence and equilibrium are founded, be of no leading consequence as they are preserved or destroyed, all the politics of Europe for more than two centuries have been miserably erroneous.
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I allow indeed that the empire of Germany raises her revenue and her troops by quotas and contingents ; but the revenue of the empire, and the army of the empire, is the worst revenue, and the worst army, in the world.
ESTIMATION OF PROFESSIONS. The degree of estimation in which any profession is held, becomes the standard of the estimation in which the professors hold themselves.
ETIQUETTE. ETIQUETTE, if I understand rightly the term, which in any extent is of modern usage, had its original application to those ceremonial and formal observances practised at courts, which had been established by long usage, in order to preserve the sovereign power from the rude intrusion of licentious familiarity, as
well as to preserve majesty itself from a disposition to consult its ease at the expence of its dignity. The term came afterwards to have a greater latitude, and to be employed to signify certain formal methods used in the transactions between sovereign states.
In the more limited as well as in the larger sense of the term, without knowing what the etiquette is, it is impossible to determine whether it is a vain and captious punctilio, or a form necessary to preserve decorum in character and order in business. I readily admit, that nothing tends to facilitate the issue of all public transactions more than a mutual disposition in the parties treating, to wave all ceremony. But the use of this temporary suspension of the recognised modes of respect consists in its being mutual and in the spirit of conciliation in which all ceremony is laid aside. On the contrary, when one of the parties to a treaty intrenches himself up to the chin in these ceremonies, and will not, on his side, abate a single punctilio, and that all the concessions are upon one side only, the party so conceding does by this act place himself in a relation of inferiority, and thereby fundamentally subverts that equality which is of the very essence of all treaty.
The states of the christian world have grown up to their present magnitude in a great length of time, and by a great variety of accidents. They have been improved to what we see them with greater or less degrees of felicity and skill. Not one of them has been formed upon a regular plan or with any unity of design. As their constitutions are not systematical, they have not been directed to any peculiar end, eminently distinguished, and superseding every other. The objects which they embrace are of the greatest