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Either, therefore, the commerce of England is unproductive
of profit, or the gold and silver which it brings in leak continually
away by unseen means at the average rate of about three-quarters of a
million a year, which, in the course of seventy-two years, accounts for
the deficiency; and its absence is supplied by paper.*[15]

The Revolution of France is attended with many novel circumstances, not
only in the political sphere, but in the circle of money transactions.
Among others, it shows that a government may be in a state of insolvency
and a nation rich. So far as the fact is confined to the late Government
of France, it was insolvent; because the nation would no longer support
its extravagance, and therefore it could no longer support itself--but
with respect to the nation all the means existed. A government may be
said to be insolvent every time it applies to the nation to discharge
its arrears. The insolvency of the late Government of France and the
present of England differed in no other respect than as the dispositions
of the people differ. The people of France refused their aid to the
old Government; and the people of England submit to taxation without
inquiry. What is called the Crown in England has been insolvent several
times; the last of which, publicly known, was in May, 1777, when it
applied to the nation to discharge upwards of L600,000 private debts,
which otherwise it could not pay.

It was the error of Mr. Pitt, Mr. Burke, and all those who were
unacquainted with the affairs of France to confound the French nation
with the French Government. The French nation, in effect, endeavoured
to render the late Government insolvent for the purpose of taking
government into its own hands: and it reserved its means for the support
of the new Government. In a country of such vast extent and population
as France the natural means cannot be wanting, and the political means
appear the instant the nation is disposed to permit them. When Mr.
Burke, in a speech last winter in the British Parliament, "cast his eyes
over the map of Europe, and saw a chasm that once was France," he talked
like a dreamer of dreams. The same natural France existed as before,
and all the natural means existed with it. The only chasm was that the
extinction of despotism had left, and which was to be filled up with
the Constitution more formidable in resources than the power which had
expired.

Although the French Nation rendered the late Government insolvent, it
did not permit the insolvency to act towards the creditors; and the
creditors, considering the Nation as the real pay-master, and the
Government only as the agent, rested themselves on the nation, in
preference to the Government. This appears greatly to disturb Mr.
Burke, as the precedent is fatal to the policy by which governments have
supposed themselves secure. They have contracted debts, with a view
of attaching what is called the monied interest of a Nation to their
support; but the example in France shows that the permanent security of
the creditor is in the Nation, and not in the Government; and that in
all possible revolutions that may happen in Governments, the means are
always with the Nation, and the Nation always in existence. Mr.
Burke argues that the creditors ought to have abided the fate of the
Government which they trusted; but the National Assembly considered
them as the creditors of the Nation, and not of the Government--of the
master, and not of the steward.

Notwithstanding the late government could not discharge the current
expenses, the present government has paid off a great part of the
capital. This has been accomplished by two means; the one by lessening
the expenses of government, and the other by the sale of the monastic
and ecclesiastical landed estates. The devotees and penitent debauchees,
extortioners and misers of former days, to ensure themselves a better
world than that they were about to leave, had bequeathed immense
property in trust to the priesthood for pious uses; and the priesthood
kept it for themselves. The National Assembly has ordered it to be sold
for the good of the whole nation, and the priesthood to be decently
provided for.

In consequence of the revolution, the annual interest of the debt of
France will be reduced at least six millions sterling, by paying off
upwards of one hundred millions of the capital; which, with lessening
the former expenses of government at least three millions, will place
France in a situation worthy the imitation of Europe.

Upon a whole review of the subject, how vast is the contrast! While Mr.
Burke has been talking of a general bankruptcy in France, the National
Assembly has been paying off the capital of its debt; and while taxes
have increased near a million a year in England, they have lowered
several millions a year in France. Not a word has either Mr. Burke
or Mr. Pitt said about the French affairs, or the state of the French
finances, in the present Session of Parliament. The subject begins to be
too well understood, and imposition serves no longer.

There is a general enigma running through the whole of Mr. Burke's
book. He writes in a rage against the National Assembly; but what is he
enraged about? If his assertions were as true as they are groundless,
and that France by her Revolution, had annihilated her power, and
become what he calls a chasm, it might excite the grief of a Frenchman
(considering himself as a national man), and provoke his rage against
the National Assembly; but why should it excite the rage of Mr. Burke?
Alas! it is not the nation of France that Mr. Burke means, but the
Court; and every Court in Europe, dreading the same fate, is in
mourning. He writes neither in the character of a Frenchman nor an
Englishman, but in the fawning character of that creature known in all
countries, and a friend to none--a courtier. Whether it be the Court of
Versailles, or the Court of St. James, or Carlton-House, or the Court in
expectation, signifies not; for the caterpillar principle of all Courts
and Courtiers are alike. They form a common policy throughout Europe,
detached and separate from the interest of Nations: and while they
appear to quarrel, they agree to plunder. Nothing can be more terrible
to a Court or Courtier than the Revolution of France. That which is
a blessing to Nations is bitterness to them: and as their existence
depends on the duplicity of a country, they tremble at the approach of
principles, and dread the precedent that threatens their overthrow.

CONCLUSION

Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the
great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently
extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on.
Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to
it.

The two modes of the Government which prevail in the world, are:

First, Government by election and representation.

Secondly, Government by hereditary succession.

The former is generally known by the name of republic; the latter by
that of monarchy and aristocracy.

Those two distinct and opposite forms erect themselves on the two
distinct and opposite bases of Reason and Ignorance.--As the exercise of
Government requires talents and abilities, and as talents and abilities
cannot have hereditary descent, it is evident that hereditary succession
requires a belief from man to which his reason cannot subscribe, and
which can only be established upon his ignorance; and the more ignorant
any country is, the better it is fitted for this species of Government.

On the contrary, Government, in a well-constituted republic, requires no
belief from man beyond what his reason can give. He sees the rationale
of the whole system, its origin and its operation; and as it is best
supported when best understood, the human faculties act with boldness,
and acquire, under this form of government, a gigantic manliness.

As, therefore, each of those forms acts on a different base, the one
moving freely by the aid of reason, the other by ignorance; we have next
to consider, what it is that gives motion to that species of Government
which is called mixed Government, or, as it is sometimes ludicrously
styled, a Government of this, that and t' other.

The moving power in this species of Government is, of necessity,
Corruption. However imperfect election and representation may be in
mixed Governments, they still give exercise to a greater portion of
reason than is convenient to the hereditary Part; and therefore it
becomes necessary to buy the reason up. A mixed Government is an
imperfect everything, cementing and soldering the discordant parts
together by corruption, to act as a whole. Mr. Burke appears highly
disgusted that France, since she had resolved on a revolution, did not
adopt what he calls "A British Constitution"; and the regretful manner
in which he expresses himself on this occasion implies a suspicion
that the British Constitution needed something to keep its defects in
countenance.

In mixed Governments there is no responsibility: the parts cover each
other till responsibility is lost; and the corruption which moves the
machine, contrives at the same time its own escape. When it is laid down
as a maxim, that a King can do no wrong, it places him in a state
of similar security with that of idiots and persons insane, and
responsibility is out of the question with respect to himself. It then
descends upon the Minister, who shelters himself under a majority in
Parliament, which, by places, pensions, and corruption, he can always
command; and that majority justifies itself by the same authority with
which it protects the Minister. In this rotatory motion, responsibility
is thrown off from the parts, and from the whole.

When there is a Part in a Government which can do no wrong, it implies
that it does nothing; and is only the machine of another power, by whose
advice and direction it acts. What is supposed to be the King in the
mixed Governments, is the Cabinet; and as the Cabinet is always a part
of the Parliament, and the members justifying in one character what
they advise and act in another, a mixed Government becomes a continual
enigma; entailing upon a country by the quantity of corruption necessary
to solder the parts, the expense of supporting all the forms of
government at once, and finally resolving itself into a Government
by Committee; in which the advisers, the actors, the approvers, the
justifiers, the persons responsible, and the persons not responsible,
are the same persons.

By this pantomimical contrivance, and change of scene and character, the
parts help each other out in matters which neither of them singly
would assume to act.



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