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Let us bestow a few thoughts on this
subject.

All religions are in their nature kind and benign, and united with
principles of morality. They could not have made proselytes at first by
professing anything that was vicious, cruel, persecuting, or immoral.
Like everything else, they had their beginning; and they proceeded by
persuasion, exhortation, and example. How then is it that they lose
their native mildness, and become morose and intolerant?

It proceeds from the connection which Mr. Burke recommends. By
engendering the church with the state, a sort of mule-animal, capable
only of destroying, and not of breeding up, is produced, called the
Church established by Law. It is a stranger, even from its birth, to any
parent mother, on whom it is begotten, and whom in time it kicks out and
destroys.

The inquisition in Spain does not proceed from the religion originally
professed, but from this mule-animal, engendered between the church
and the state. The burnings in Smithfield proceeded from the same
heterogeneous production; and it was the regeneration of this strange
animal in England afterwards, that renewed rancour and irreligion among
the inhabitants, and that drove the people called Quakers and Dissenters
to America. Persecution is not an original feature in any religion;
but it is alway the strongly-marked feature of all law-religions, or
religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and
every religion re-assumes its original benignity. In America, a catholic
priest is a good citizen, a good character, and a good neighbour; an
episcopalian minister is of the same description: and this proceeds
independently of the men, from there being no law-establishment in
America.

If also we view this matter in a temporal sense, we shall see the ill
effects it has had on the prosperity of nations. The union of church and
state has impoverished Spain. The revoking the edict of Nantes drove the
silk manufacture from that country into England; and church and state
are now driving the cotton manufacture from England to America and
France. Let then Mr. Burke continue to preach his antipolitical doctrine
of Church and State. It will do some good. The National Assembly
will not follow his advice, but will benefit by his folly. It was by
observing the ill effects of it in England, that America has been warned
against it; and it is by experiencing them in France, that the National
Assembly have abolished it, and, like America, have established
Universal Right Of Conscience, And Universal Right Of Citizenship.*[7]

I will here cease the comparison with respect to the principles of the
French Constitution, and conclude this part of the subject with a few
observations on the organisation of the formal parts of the French and
English governments.

The executive power in each country is in the hands of a person styled
the King; but the French Constitution distinguishes between the King and
the Sovereign: It considers the station of King as official, and places
Sovereignty in the nation.

The representatives of the nation, who compose the National Assembly,
and who are the legislative power, originate in and from the people
by election, as an inherent right in the people.--In England it is
otherwise; and this arises from the original establishment of what
is called its monarchy; for, as by the conquest all the rights of the
people or the nation were absorbed into the hands of the Conqueror, and
who added the title of King to that of Conqueror, those same matters
which in France are now held as rights in the people, or in the nation,
are held in England as grants from what is called the crown. The
Parliament in England, in both its branches, was erected by patents from
the descendants of the Conqueror. The House of Commons did not originate
as a matter of right in the people to delegate or elect, but as a grant
or boon.

By the French Constitution the nation is always named before the king.
The third article of the declaration of rights says: "The nation is
essentially the source (or fountain) of all sovereignty." Mr. Burke
argues that in England a king is the fountain--that he is the fountain
of all honour. But as this idea is evidently descended from the conquest
I shall make no other remark upon it, than that it is the nature of
conquest to turn everything upside down; and as Mr. Burke will not be
refused the privilege of speaking twice, and as there are but two parts
in the figure, the fountain and the spout, he will be right the second
time.

The French Constitution puts the legislative before the executive, the
law before the king; la loi, le roi. This also is in the natural
order of things, because laws must have existence before they can have
execution.

A king in France does not, in addressing himself to the National
Assembly, say, "My Assembly," similar to the phrase used in England
of my "Parliament"; neither can he use it consistently with the
constitution, nor could it be admitted. There may be propriety in the
use of it in England, because as is before mentioned, both Houses
of Parliament originated from what is called the crown by patent or
boon--and not from the inherent rights of the people, as the National
Assembly does in France, and whose name designates its origin.

The President of the National Assembly does not ask the King to grant to
the Assembly liberty of speech, as is the case with the English House
of Commons. The constitutional dignity of the National Assembly cannot
debase itself. Speech is, in the first place, one of the natural rights
of man always retained; and with respect to the National Assembly the
use of it is their duty, and the nation is their authority. They were
elected by the greatest body of men exercising the right of election
the European world ever saw. They sprung not from the filth of rotten
boroughs, nor are they the vassal representatives of aristocratical
ones. Feeling the proper dignity of their character they support it.
Their Parliamentary language, whether for or against a question, is
free, bold and manly, and extends to all the parts and circumstances of
the case. If any matter or subject respecting the executive department
or the person who presides in it (the king) comes before them it is
debated on with the spirit of men, and in the language of gentlemen; and
their answer or their address is returned in the same style. They stand
not aloof with the gaping vacuity of vulgar ignorance, nor bend with the
cringe of sycophantic insignificance. The graceful pride of truth knows
no extremes, and preserves, in every latitude of life, the right-angled
character of man.

Let us now look to the other side of the question. In the addresses
of the English Parliaments to their kings we see neither the intrepid
spirit of the old Parliaments of France, nor the serene dignity of the
present National Assembly; neither do we see in them anything of the
style of English manners, which border somewhat on bluntness. Since
then they are neither of foreign extraction, nor naturally of English
production, their origin must be sought for elsewhere, and that origin
is the Norman Conquest. They are evidently of the vassalage class of
manners, and emphatically mark the prostrate distance that exists in
no other condition of men than between the conqueror and the conquered.
That this vassalage idea and style of speaking was not got rid of even
at the Revolution of 1688, is evident from the declaration of Parliament
to William and Mary in these words: "We do most humbly and faithfully
submit ourselves, our heirs and posterities, for ever." Submission is
wholly a vassalage term, repugnant to the dignity of freedom, and an
echo of the language used at the Conquest.

As the estimation of all things is given by comparison, the Revolution
of 1688, however from circumstances it may have been exalted beyond its
value, will find its level. It is already on the wane, eclipsed by the
enlarging orb of reason, and the luminous revolutions of America and
France. In less than another century it will go, as well as Mr. Burke's
labours, "to the family vault of all the Capulets." Mankind will then
scarcely believe that a country calling itself free would send
to Holland for a man, and clothe him with power on purpose to put
themselves in fear of him, and give him almost a million sterling a year
for leave to submit themselves and their posterity, like bondmen and
bondwomen, for ever.

But there is a truth that ought to be made known; I have had the
opportunity of seeing it; which is, that notwithstanding appearances,
there is not any description of men that despise monarchy so much as
courtiers. But they well know, that if it were seen by others, as it is
seen by them, the juggle could not be kept up; they are in the condition
of men who get their living by a show, and to whom the folly of that
show is so familiar that they ridicule it; but were the audience to be
made as wise in this respect as themselves, there would be an end to the
show and the profits with it. The difference between a republican and
a courtier with respect to monarchy, is that the one opposes monarchy,
believing it to be something; and the other laughs at it, knowing it to
be nothing.

As I used sometimes to correspond with Mr. Burke believing him then to
be a man of sounder principles than his book shows him to be, I wrote
to him last winter from Paris, and gave him an account how prosperously
matters were going on. Among other subjects in that letter, I referred
to the happy situation the National Assembly were placed in; that they
had taken ground on which their moral duty and their political interest
were united. They have not to hold out a language which they do not
themselves believe, for the fraudulent purpose of making others believe
it. Their station requires no artifice to support it, and can only be
maintained by enlightening mankind. It is not their interest to cherish
ignorance, but to dispel it. They are not in the case of a ministerial
or an opposition party in England, who, though they are opposed, are
still united to keep up the common mystery.



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