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Sometimes that government employs
Prussia against Austria; at another time Austria against Prussia; and
always one or the other, or both against France. Peace with such a
government is only a treacherous cessation of hostilities.

The frequency of wars on the part of England, within the last century,
more than before, must have had some cause that did not exist prior to
that epoch. It is not difficult to discover what that cause is. It is
the mischievous compound of an Elector of the Germanic body and a King
of England; and which necessarily must, at some day or other, become
an object of attention to France. That one nation has not a right to
interfere in the internal government of another nation, is admitted; and
in this point of view, France has no right to dictate to England what
its form of government shall be. If it choose to have a thing called a
King, or whether that King shall be a man or an ass, is a matter with
which France has no business. But whether an Elector of the Germanic
body shall be King of England, is an _external_ case, with which
France and every other nation, who suffers inconvenience and injury in
consequence of it, has a right to interfere.

It is from this mischievous compound of Elector and King, that
originates a great part of the troubles that vex the continent of
Europe; and with respect to England, it has been the cause of her
immense national debt, the ruin of her finances, and the insolvency of
her bank. All intrigues on the continent, in which England is a party,
or becomes involved, are generated by, and act through, the medium of
this Anglo-germanic compound. It will be necessary to dissolve it. Let
the Elector retire to his Electorate, and the world will have peace.

England herself has given examples of interference in matters of this
kind, and that in cases where injury was only apprehended. She engaged
in a long and expensive war against France (called the succession war)
to prevent a grandson of Louis the Fourteenth being king of Spain;
because, said she, _it will be injurious_ to me; and she has been
fighting and intriguing against what was called the family-compact ever
since. In 1787 she threatened France with war to prevent a connection
between France and Hoi-land; and in all her propositions of peace to-day
she is dictating separations. But if she look at the Anglo-germanic
compact at home, called the Hanover succession, she cannot avoid seeing
that France necessarily must, some day or other, take up that subject,
and make the return of the Elector to his Electorate one of the
conditions of peace. There will be no lasting peace between the two
countries till this be done, and the sooner it be done the better will
it be for both.

I have not been in any company where this matter aas been a topic, that
did not see it in the light it is here stated. Even Barthélémy,(1) when
he first came to the Directory (and Barthélémy was never famous for
patriotism) acknowledged in my hearing, and in company with Derché,
Secretary to the Legation at Lille, the connection of an Elector of
Germany and a King of England to be injurious to France. I do not,
however, mention it from a wish to embarrass the negociation for peace.
The Directory has fixed its _ultimatum_; but if that ultimatum be
rejected, the obligation to adhere to it is discharged, and a new one
may be assumed. So wretchedly has Pitt managed his opportunities» that
every succeeding negociation has ended in terms more against him than
the former. If the Directory had bribed him, he could not serve his
interest better than he does. He serves it as Lord North served that of
America, which finished in the discharge of his master.*

1 Marquis de Barthélémy (François) (1750-1830) entered the
Directory in June, 1796, through royalist influence. He
shared Pichegru's banishment, and subsequently became an
agent of Louis XVIII.--_Editor._

* The father of Pitt, when a member of the House of Commons,
exclaiming one day, during a former war, against the
enormous and ruinous expense of German connections, as the
offspring of the Hanover succession, and borrowing a
metaphor from the story of Prometheus, cried out: "Thus,
Hie Prometheus, is Britain chained to the barren rock of
Hanover; whilst the imperial eagle preys upon her vitals."--
Author.

Thus far I had written when the negociation at Lille became suspended,
in consequence of which I delayed the publication, that the ideas
suggested in this letter might not intrude themselves during the
interval. The _ultimatum_ offered by the Directory, as the terms of
peace, was more moderate than the government of England had a right to
expect. That government, though the provoker of the war, and the first
that committed hostilities by sending away the ambassador Chauvelin,(**)
had formerly talked of demanding from France, _indemnification for
the past and security for the future_. France, in her turn, might have
retorted, and demanded the same from England; but she did not. As it was
England that, in consequence of her bankruptcy, solicited peace, France
offered it to her on the simple condition of her restoring the islands
she had taken. The ultimatum has been rejected, and the negociation
broken off. The spirited part of France will say, _tant mieux_, so much
the better.

** It was stipulated in the treaty of commerce between
France and England, concluded at Paris, that the sending
away an ambassador by either party, should be taken as an
act of hostility by the other party. The declaration of war
(Feb. M *793) by the Convention, of which I was then a
member and know well the case, was made in exact conformity
to this article in the treaty; for it was not a declaration
of war against England, but a declaration that the French
Republic is in war with England; the first act of hostility
having been committed by England. The declaration was made
immediately on Chauvelin's return to France, and in
consequence of it. Mr. Pitt should inform himself of things
better than he does, before he prates so much about them, or
of the sending away of Malmesbury, who was only on a visit
of permission.--Author.

How the people of England feel on the breaking up of the negociation,
which was entirely the act of their own Government, is best known to
themselves; but from what I know of the two nations, France ought to
hold herself perfectly indifferent about a peace with the Government of
England. Every day adds new strength to France and new embarrassments
to her enemy. The resources of the one increase, as those of the other
become exhausted. England is now reduced to the same system of paper
money from which France has emerged, and we all know the inevitable fate
of that system. It is not a victory over a few ships, like that on the
coast of Holland, that gives the least support or relief to a paper
system. On the news of this victory arriving in England, the funds did
not rise a farthing. The Government rejoiced, but its creditors were
silent.

It is difficult to find a motive, except in folly and madness, for the
conduct of the English government. Every calculation and prediction of
Mr. Pitt has turned out directly the contrary; yet still he predicts.
He predicted, with all the solemn assurance of a magician, that France
would be bankrupt in a few months. He was right as to the thing, but
wrong as to the place, for the bankruptcy happened in England whilst the
words were yet warm upon his lips. To find out what will happen, it is
only necessary to know what Mr. Pitt predicts. He is a true prophet if
taken in the reverse.

Such is the ruinous condition that England is now in, that great as
the difficulties of war are to the people, the difficulties that would
accompany peace are equally as great to the Government. Whilst the war
continues, Mr. Pitt has a pretence for shutting up the bank. But as that
pretence could last no longer than the war lasted, he dreads the peace
that would expose the absolute bankruptcy of the government, and unveil
to a deceived nation the ruinous effect of his measures. Peace would be
a day of accounts to him, and he shuns it as an insolvent debtor shuns
a meeting of his creditors. War furnishes him with many pretences; peace
would furnish him with none, and he stands alarmed at its consequences.
His conduct in the negociation at Lille can be easily interpreted. It is
not for the sake of the nation that he asks to retain some of the taken
islands; for what are islands to a nation that has already too many for
her own good, or what are they in comparison to the expense of another
campaign in the present depreciating state of the English funds? (And
even then those islands must be restored.)

No, it is not for the sake of the nation that he asks. It is for the
sake of himself. It is as if he said to France, Give me some pretence,
cover me from disgrace when my day of reckoning comes!

Any person acquainted with the English Government knows that every
Minister has some dread of what is called in England the winding up
of accounts at the end of a war; that is, the final settlement of all
expenses incurred by the war; and no Minister had ever so great cause of
dread as Mr. Pitt. A burnt child dreads the fire, and Pitt has had some
experience upon this case. The winding up of accounts at the end of the
American war was so great, that, though he was not the cause of it,
and came into the Ministry with great popularity, he lost it all by
undertaking, what was impossible for him to avoid, the voluminous
business of the winding up. If such was the case in settling the
accounts of his predecessor, how much more has he to apprehend when the
accounts to be settled are his own? All men in bad circumstances
hate the settlement of accounts, and Pitt, as a Minister, is of that
description.

But let us take a view of things on a larger ground than the case of
a Minister. It will then be found, that England, on a comparison of
strength with France, when both nations are disposed to exert their
utmost, has no possible chance of success.



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