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three-coloured plumes, his body fantastically habited, strutted from the back scenes, and after a short speech, in the mockheroic falsetto of stupid tragedy, delivered the gentleman who came to make the representation into the custody of a guard, with directions not to lose sight of him for a moment; and then ordered him to be sent from Paris in two hours.
Here it is impossible that a sentiment of tenderness should not strike athwart the sternness of politicks, and make us recal to painful memory the difference between this insolent and bloody theatre, and the temperate, natural majesty of a civilized court, where the afflicted family of Asgill did not in vain solicit the mercy of the highest in rank, and the most compassionate of the compassionate sex.
In this intercourse, at least, there was nothing to promise a great deal of success in our future advances. Whilst the fortune of the field was wholly with the Regicides, nothing was thought of but to follow where it led; and it led to every thing. Not so much as a talk of treaty. Laws were laid down with arrogance. The most moderate politician in their clan? was chosen as the organ, not so much for prescribing limits to their claims, as to mark what, for the present, they are content to leave to others. They made, not laws, not conventions, not late possession, but physical nature and political convenience, the sole foundation of their claims. The Rhine, the Mediterranean, and the ocean were the bounds which for the time they assigned to the Empire of Regicide. What was the Chamber of Union of Louis the Fourteenth, which astonished and provoked all Europe, compared to this declaration ? In truth, with these limits, and their principle, they would not have left even the shadow of liberty or safety to any nation. This plan of empire was not taken up in the first intoxication of unexpected success. You must recollect, that it was projected, just as the report has stated
· Boissy d' Anglas.
it, from the very first revolt of the faction against their Monarchy; and it has been uniformly pursued, as a stand· ing maxim of national policy, from that time to this. It is, generally, in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles, and designs. But this principle, suggested in their first struggles, fully avowed in their prosperity, has in the most adverse state of their affairs been tenaciously adhered to. The report, combined with their conduct, forms an infallible criterion of the views of this Republick.
In their fortune there has been some fluctuation. We are to see how their minds have been affected with a change. Some impression it made on them undoubtedly. It produced some oblique notice of the submissions that were made by suppliant nations. The utmost they did was to make some of those cold, formal, general professions of a love of peace which no Power has ever refused to make; because they mean little, and cost nothing. The first paper I have seen (the publication at Hamburgh) making a shew of that pacific disposition, discovered a rooted animosity against this nation, and an incurable rancour, even more than any one of their hostile acts. In this Hamburgh declaration, they choose to suppose, that the war, on the part of England, is a war of Government, begun and carried on against the sense and interests of the people ; thus sowing in their very overtures towards peace the seeds of tumult and sedition : for they never have abandoned, and never will they abandon, in peace, in war, in treaty, in any situation, or for one instant, their old steady maxim of separating the people from their Government. Let me add—and it is with unfeigned anxiety for the character and credit of Ministers that I do add—if our Government perseveres, in it's as uniform course, of acting under instruments with such preambles, it pleads guilty to the charges made by our
enemies against it, both on its own part, and on the part of Parliament itself. The enemy must succeed in his plan for loosening and disconnecting all the internal holdings of the kingdom.
It was not enough that the Speech from the Throne, in the opening of the session in 1795, threw out oglings and glances of tenderness. Lest this coquetting should seem too cold and ambiguous, without waiting for it's effect, the violent passion for a relation to the Regicides produced a direct Message from the Crown, and it's consequences from the two Houses of Parliament. On the part of the Regicides these declarations could not be entirely passed by without notice : but in that notice they discovered still more clearly the bottom of their character. The offer made to them by the message to Parliament was hinted at in their answer ; but in an obscure and oblique manner as before. They accompanied their notice of the indications manifested on our side, with every kind of insolent and taunting reflection. The Regicide Directory, on the day which, in their gipsey jargon, they call the 5th of Pluviose, in return for our advances, charge us with eluding our declarations under evasive formalities and frivolous pretexts.' What these pretexts and evasions were, they do not say, and I have never heard. But they do not rest there. They proceed to charge us, and, as it should seem, our allies in the mass, with direct perfidy; they are so conciliatory in their language as to hint that this perfidious character is not new in our proceedings. However, notwithstanding this our habitual perfidy, they will offer peace 'on conditions as moderate '—as what? As reason and as equity require ? No! as moderate as are suitable to their national dignity.' National dignity in all treaties I do admit is an important consideration. They have given us an useful hint on that subject: but dignity,
hitherto, has belonged to the mode of proceeding, not to the matter of a treaty. Never before has it been mentioned as the standard for rating the conditions of peace; no, never by the most violent of conquerors. Indemnification is capable of some estimate; dignity has no standard. It is impossible to guess what acquisitions pride and ambition may think fit for their dignity. But lest any doubt should remain on what they think for their dignity, the Regicides in the next paragraph tell us that they will have no peace with their enemies, until they have reduced them to a state, which will put them under an impossibility of pursuing their wretched projects;' that is, in plain French or English, until they have accomplished our utter and irretrievable ruin. This is their pacific language. It flows from their unalterable principle in whatever language they speak, or whatever steps they take, whether of real war, or of pretended pacification. They have never, to do them justice, been at much trouble in concealing their intentions. We were as obstinately resolved to think them not in earnest; but I confess jests of this sort, whatever their urbanity may be, are not much to my taste.
To this conciliatory and amicable publick communication, our sole answer, in effect, is this. “Citizen Regicides ! whenever you find yourselves in the humour, you may have a peace with us. That is a point you may always command. We are constantly in attendance, and nothing you can do shall hinder us from the renewal of our supplications. You may turn us out at the door ; but we will jump in at the window.'
To those, who do not love to contemplate the fall of human greatness, I do not know a more mortifying spectacle, than to see the assembled majesty of the crowned heads of Europe waiting as patient suitors in the antechamber of Regicide. They wait, it seems, until the sanguinary tyrant Carnot shall have snorted away the fumes of the indigested blood of his Sovereign. Then, when, sunk on the down of usurped pomp, he shall have sufficiently indulged his meditations with what Monarch he shall next glut his ravening maw, he may condescend to signify that it is his pleasure to be awake; and that he is at leisure to receive the proposals of his high and mighty clients for the terms on which he may respite the execution of the sentence he has passed upon them. At the opening of those doors, what a sight it must be to behold the plenipotentiaries of royal' impotence, in the precedency which they will intrigue to obtain, and which will be granted to them according to the seniority of their degradation, sneaking into the Regicide presence, and with the reliques of the smile which they had dressed up for the levée of their masters still flickering on their curled lips, presenting the faded remains of their courtly graces, to meet the scornful, ferocious, sardonic grin of a bloody ruffian, who, whilst he is receiving their homage, is measuring them with his eye, and fitting to their size the slider of his Guillotine! These ambassadors may easily return as good courtiers as they went; but can they ever return from that degrading residence, loyal and faithful subjects; or with any true affection to their master, or true attach.ment to the constitution, religion, or laws of their country ?
There is great danger that they who enter smiling into this Trophonian Cave, will come out of it sad and serious conspirators; and such will continue as long as they live. They will become true conductors of contagion to every country which has had the misfortune to send them to the source of that electricity. At best they will become totally indifferent to good and evil, to one institution or another. This species of indifference is but too generally distinguishable in those who have been much employed in foreign