- Foreign Relations ( Continued )
- Cabinet Opinion
- Cabinet Opinion—hamilton and Knox
- Washington to John Jay, Chief-justice, and James Wilson, James Iredell, and William Patterson, Associate-justices, of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Questions Proposed to Be Submitted to the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Washington to the Heads of Departments and the Attorney-general
- No Jacobin 1
- Instructions to the Collectors of the Customs 2
- Cabinet Opinion.—hamilton to Washington 1
- Notes By Hamilton, to Frame Letter of Secretary of State to Gouverneur Morris, Minister At Paris (cabinet Paper.)
- Cabinet Opinion
- Hamilton to Washington
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Americanus (from the American Daily Advertiser .)
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Points to Be Considered In the Instructions to Mr. Jay, Envoy Extraordinary to Great Britain
- Hamilton to Jay (cabinet Paper.)
- Treaty Project
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Hamilton to Randolph (cabinet Paper.)
- Hamilton to Randolph (cabinet Paper.)
- Remarks On Lord Grenville’s Project of a Commercial Treaty, Made At the Request of E. Randolph, Esq., Secretary of State
- Hamilton to Washington (cabinet Paper.)
- Remarks On the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Made Between the United States and Great Britain
- Supplementary Remarks
- Horatius 1
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- No . Iii
- No . Iv
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- No . Viii
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- No . Xxiii 1
(From the American Daily Advertiser.)
February 1, 1794.
The two following papers were prepared some time since, but from particular circumstances have been postponed. The fresh appearances of a covert design to embark the United States in the war, induce their publication at this time.
An examination into the question how far regard to the cause of Liberty ought to induce the United States to take part with France in the present war, is rendered necessary by the efforts which are making to establish an opinion that it ought to have that effect. In order to a right judgment on the point, it is requisite to consider the question under two aspects.
- I.—Whether the cause of France be truly the cause of Liberty, pursued with justice and humanity, and in a manner likely to crown it with honorable success.
- II.—Whether the degree of service we could render, by participating in the conflict, was likely to compensate, by its utility to the cause, the evils which would probably flow from it to ourselves.
If either of these questions can be answered in the negative, it will result that the consideration which has been stated ought not to embark us in the war.
A discussion of the first point will not be entered upon. It would involve an examination too complicated for the compass of these papers; and, after all, the subject gives so great scope to opinion, to imagination, to feeling, that little could be expected from argument. The great leading facts are before the public; and by this time most men have drawn their conclusions so firmly, that the issue alone can adjust their differences of opinion. There was a time when all men in this country entertained the same favorable view of the French Revolution. At the present time, they all still unite in the wish that the troubles of France may terminate in the establishment of a free and good government; and dispassionate, well-informed men must equally unite in the doubt whether this be likely to take place under the auspices of those who now govern the affairs of that country. But, agreeing in these two points, there is a great and serious diversity of opinion as to the real merits and probable issue of the French Revolution.
None can deny that the cause of France has been stained by excesses and extravagances, for which it is not easy, if possible, to find a parallel in the history of human affairs, and from which reason and humanity recoil. Yet many find apologies and extenuations with which they satisfy themselves; they still see in the cause of France the cause of liberty; they are still sanguine in the hope that it will be crowned with success; that the French nation will establish for themselves not only a free but a republican government, capable of promoting solidly their happiness. Others, on the contrary, discern no adequate apology for the horrid and disgusting scenes which have been, and continue to be, acted. They conceive that the excesses which have been committed, transcend greatly the measure of those which, with every due allowance for circumstances, were reasonably to have been expected. They perceive in them proofs of atrocious depravity in the most influential leaders of the revolution. They observe that among these, a Marat and a Robespierre, assassins still reeking with the blood of their fellow-citizens, monsters who outdo the fabled enormities of a Busiris and a Procrustes, are predominant in influence as well as iniquity. They find everywhere marks of an unexampled dissolution of all the social and moral ties. They see nowhere any thing but principles and opinions so wild, so extreme, passions so turbulent, so tempestuous, as almost to forbid the hope of agreement in any rational or well-organized system of government. They conclude that a state of things like this is calculated to extend disgust and disaffection throughout the nation, to nourish more and more a spirit of insurrection and mutiny, facilitating the progress of the invading armies, and exciting in the bowels of France commotions, of which it is impossible to compute the mischief, the duration, or the end; that if by the energy of the national character, and the intrinsic difficulty of the enterprise, the enemies of France shall be compelled to leave her to herself, this era may only prove the commencement of greater misfortunes; that after wading through seas of blood, in a furious and sanguinary civil war, France may find herself at length the slave of some victorious Sylla, or Marius, or Cæsar: and they draw this afflicting inference from the whole view of the subject, that there is more reason to fear that the Cause ofTrueLiberty has received a deep wound in the mismanagements of it, by those who, unfortunately for the French nation, have for a considerable time past maintained an ascendant in its affairs, than to regard the revolution of France in the form it has lately worn, as entitled to the honors due to that sacred and all-important cause, or as a safe bark in which to freight the fortunes, the liberties, and the reputation of this now respectable and happy land.
Without undertaking to determine which of these opposite opinions rests most firmly on the basis of facts, I shall content myself with observing, that if the latter is conceived to have but a tolerable foundation, it is conclusive against the propriety of our engaging in the war, merely through regard for the cause of Liberty. For when we resolve to put so vast a stake upon the chance of the die, we ought at least to be certain that the object for which we hazard is genuine, is substantial, is real.
Let us then proceed to the discussion of the second question. To judge of the degree of aid which we could afford to France in her present struggle, it may be of use to take a brief view of the means with which we carried on the war, that accomplished our own revolution.
Our supplies were derived from six sources: 1st, paper money; 2d, domestic loans; 3d, foreign loans; 4th, pecuniary taxes; 5th, taxes on specific articles; 6th, military impress.
The first of these resources, with a view to a future war, may be put out of the question. Past experience would forbid its being again successfully employed, and no friend to the morals, property, or industry of the people, to public or private credit, would desire to see it revived.
The second would exist, but probably in a more limited extent. The circumstance of a depreciating paper, which the holders were glad, as they supposed, to realize, was a considerable motive to the loans obtained during the late war. The magnitude of them, however, even then, formed a small proportion to the aggregate expense.
The third resource would be equally out of the question with the first. The principal lending powers would be our enemies, as they are now those of France.
The three remaining items—pecuniary taxes, taxes on specific articles, military impress—could be employed again in a future war, and are the resources upon which we should have chiefly to rely; for the resource of domestic loans, though valuable, is not a very extensive one, in a community where capitals are so moderate as in ours.
Though it is not to be doubted, that the people of the United States would hereafter, as heretofore, throw their whole property into a common stock for their common defence against internal invasion or an unprovoked attack, who is there sanguine enough to believe, that large contributions of any kind, could be extracted from them to carry on an external war, voluntarily undertaken for a foreign and speculative purpose?
The expectation were an illusion. Those who may entertain it ought to pause and reflect, whatever enthusiasm might have been infused into a part of the community would quickly yield to more just and sober ideas, inculcated by experience of the burthens and calamities of war. The circuitous logic by which it is attempted to be maintained, that a participation in the war is necessary to the security of our own liberty, would then appear as it truly is, a mere delusion, propagated by bribed incendiaries, or hare-brained enthusiasts; and the authors of the delusion would not fail to be execrated as the enemies of the public weal.
The business would move on heavily in its progress, as it was in its origin impolitic, while the faculty of the government to obtain pecuniary supplies, would, in the case supposed, be circumscribed within a narrow compass; levies of men would not be likely to be more successful. No one would think of detaching the militia for distant expeditions abroad; and the experiences we have had in our Indian enterprises, do not authorize strong expectations of going far by voluntary enlistments, where the question is not, as it was during the last war, the defence of the fundamental rights and essential interests of the whole community. The severe expedient of drafting from the militia, a principal reliance in that war, would put the authority of government in the case to a very critical test.
This summary view of what would be our situation and prospects, is alone sufficient to demonstrate the general position, that our ability to promote the cause of France, by external exertions, could not be such as to be very material to the event.
Let us, however, for more complete elucidation, inquire to what particular objects they could be directed.
Fleets we have not, and could not have, in time, or to an extent, to be of use in the contest.
Shall we raise an army and send it to France? She does not want soldiers. Her own population can amply furnish her armies. The number we could send, if we could get them there at all, would be of no weight in the scale.
The true wants of France are of system, order, money, provisions, arms, military stores.
System and order we could not give her by engaging in the war. The supply of money in that event would be out of our power. At present we can pay our debt to her in proportion as it becomes due—then we could not do this. Provisions and other supplies, as far as we are in condition to furnish them, could not be furnished at all. The conveyance of them would become more difficult, and the forces we should be obliged ourselves to raise would consume our surplus.
Abandoning, then, as of necessity we must, the idea of aiding France in Europe, shall we turn our attention to the succor of her islands? Alas! we should probably have here only to combat their own internal disorders—to aid Frenchmen against Frenchmen, whites against blacks, or blacks against whites! If we may judge from the past conduct of the powers at war with France, their effort is immediately against herself; her islands are not, in the first instance, a serious object. But grant, as it is not unlikely, that they become so, is it evident that we can co-operate efficaciously to their preservation; or if we can, what will this have to do with the preservation of French liberty? The dangers to this arise from the invasion of foreign armies, carried into the bosom of France—from the still more formidable assault of civil dissension and the spirit of anarchy.
Shall we attack the islands of the powers opposed to France?
How shall we without a competent fleet carry on the necessary expeditions for the purpose? Where is such a fleet? How shall we maintain our conquests after they are made? What influence could the capture of an island or two have upon the general issue of the contest? These questions answer themselves—or shall we endeavor to make a diversion in favor of France, by attacking Canada on the one side and Florida on the other? This certainly would be the most, indeed the only eligible mode of aiding France in war since these enterprises may be considered as within the compass of our means.
But while this is admitted, it ought not to be regarded as a very easy task. The reduction of the countries in question ought not to be undertaken without considerable forces, for reinforcements could be brought to both those countries from the WestIndia possessions of their respective sovereigns; relying on their naval superiority, they could spare from the islands all the troops which were not necessary for the preservation of their internal tranquillity.
These armies are then to be raised and equipped, and to be provided with all the requisite apparatus for operation. Proportionate magazines are to be formed for their accommodation and supply.
Some men, whose fate it is to think loosely, may imagine that a more summary substitute could be found in the militia. But the militia, an excellent auxiliary for internal defence, could not be advantageously employed in distant expeditions, requiring time and perseverance. For these, men regularly engaged for a competent period are indispensable. The conquest of Canada, at least, may with reason be regarded as out of the reach of a militia operation.
If war was resolved upon, the very preparation of the means for the enterprises which have been mentioned would demand not less than a year; before this period was elapsed, the fate of France, as far as foreign invasion is concerned, would be decided. It would be manifest, either that she could or could not be subjugated by force of external coercion. Our interposition would be too late to benefit her. It appears morally certain, that the war against France cannot be of much duration. The exertions are too mighty to be long protracted.
The only way in which the enterprises in question could serve the cause of France, would be by making a diversion of a part of those forces which would otherwise be directed against her. But this consequence could not be counted upon. It would be known, that we could not be very early ready to attack with effect, and it would be an obvious policy to risk secondary objects rather than be diverted from the efficacious pursuit of the main one. It would be natural in such case to rely for indemnification on the successful result of the war in Europe. The governments concerned imagine that they have too much at stake upon that result, not to hazard considerably elsewhere, in order to secure the fairest chance of its being favorable to their wishes.
It would not probably render the matter better, to precipitate our measures for the sake of a more speedy impulse. The parties ought in such case to count upon the abortion of our attempts from their immaturity, and to rely the more confidently upon the means of resistance already on the spot. Indeed, that very precipitation would leave no other option.
We could not therefore flatter ourselves that the expedient last proposed—that of attacking the possessions of Great Britain and Spain in our neighborhood, would be materially serviceable to the cause of France.
But to give the argument its fairest course, I shall take notice of two particulars in respect to which our interference would be more sensibly felt. These are the depredations which our privateers might make upon the commerce of the maritime enemies of France, and what is of far greater consequence, the direct injury which would accrue to that of Great Britain from the interruption of intercourse between the two countries. Considering the shock lately sustained by mercantile credit in that country—the real importance to it of our imports from thence, and our exports thither—the large sums which are due, and in a continual course of remittance from our merchants—a war between the United States and Great Britain could not fail to be seriously distressing to her.
Yet it would be weak to calculate upon a very decisive influence of these circumstances. The public credit of Great Britain has still energy sufficient to enable her to struggle with much partial derangement. Her private credit, manifestly disordered by temporary causes, and propped as it has been by the public purse, seems to have recovered, in a great degree, its impaired tone. Her commerce, too, suddenly interrupted by the breaking out of the war, may be presumed to have resumed its wonted channels, in proportion as the progress of her naval preparations has tended to give it protection, and though the being at war with us would be very far from a matter of indifference either to her commerce or to her credit, yet it is not likely that it would arrest her career, or overrule those paramount considerations which brought her into her present situation.
When we recollect how she maintained herself under a privation of our commerce, through a seven years’ war with us, united for certain periods of it with France, Spain, and Holland, though we perceive a material difference between her present and her then situation, arising from that very effort, yet we cannot reasonably doubt that she would be able, notwithstanding a similar privation, to continue a war, which in fact does not call for an equal exertion on her part, as long as the other powers with which she is associated shall be in condition to prosecute it with a hope of success; nor is it probable, whatever may be the form or manner of the engagement, that Great Britain could, if disposed to peace, honorably make a separate retreat. It is the interest of all parties, in such cases, to assure to each other a cooperation; and it is presumable that this has taken place in some shape or other between the powers at present combined against France.
The conclusion from the several considerations which have been presented, carefully and dispassionately weighed, is this, that there is no probable prospect of this country rendering material service to the cause of France, by engaging with her in the war.
It has been very truly observed in the course of the publications on the subject, that if France is not in some way or other wanting to herself, she will not stand in need of our assistance; and if she is, our assistance cannot save her.
February 8, 1794.
Let us now turn to the other side of the medal; to be struck with it, it is not necessary to exaggerate.
All who are not wilfully blind must see and acknowledge, that this country at present enjoys an unexampled state of prosperity. That war would interrupt it need not be affirmed. We should then by war lose the advantage of that astonishing progress in strength, wealth, and improvement, which we are now making, and which, if continued for a few years, will place our national rights and interests upon immovable foundations. This loss alone would be of infinite moment; it is such a one as no prudent or good man would encounter but for some clear necessity or some positive duty. If, while Europe is exhausting herself in a destructive war, this country can maintain its peace, the issue will open to us a wide field of advantages, which even imagination can with difficulty compass.
But a check to the progress of our prosperity is not the greatest evil to be anticipated. Considering the naval superiority of the enemies of France, we cannot doubt that our commerce would in a very great degree be annihilated by a war. Our agriculture would of course with our commerce receive a deep wound. The exportations which now continue to animate it could not fail to be essentially diminished. Our mechanics would experience their full share of the common calamity. That lively and profitable industry, which now spreads a smile over all of our cities and towns, would feel an instantaneous and rapid decay.
Nine tenths of our present revenues are derived from commercial duties. Their declension must of course keep pace with that of the trade. A substitute cannot be found in other sources of taxation, without imposing heavy burthens on the people. To support public credit and carry on the war would suppose exactions really grievous. To abandon public credit would be to renounce an important means of carrying on the war; besides the sacrifice of the public creditors and the disgrace of a national bankruptcy.
We will not call in the aid of savage butcheries and depredations to heighten the picture. ’t is enough to say, that a general Indian war, excited by the united influence of Britain and Spain, would not fail to spread desolation throughout our frontier.
To a people who have so recently and so severely felt the evils of war, little more is necessary than to appeal to their own recollection for their magnitude and extent.
The war which now rages is, and for obvious reasons is likely to continue to be, carried on with unusual animosity and rancor. It is highly probable that the resentment of the combined powers against us, if we should take part in it, would be, if possible, still more violent than it is against France. Our interference would be regarded as altogether officious and wanton. How far this idea might lead to the aggravation of the ordinary calamities of war, would deserve serious reflection.
The certain evils of our joining France in the war are sufficient dissuasives from so intemperate a measure. The possible ones are of a nature to call for all our caution, all our prudence.
To defend its own rights, to vindicate its own honor, there are occasions when a nation ought to hazard even its existence. Should such an occasion occur, I trust those who are most averse to commit the peace of the country, will not be the last to face the danger, nor the first to turn their backs upon it.
But let us at least have the consolation of not having rashly courted misfortune. Let us have to act under the animating reflection of being engaged in repelling wrongs, which we neither sought nor merited; in vindicating our rights, invaded without provocation; in defending our honor, violated without cause. Let us not have to reproach ourselves with having voluntarily bartered blessings for calamities.
But we are told that our own liberty is at stake upon the event of the war against France—that if she falls, we shall be the next victim. The combined powers, it is said, will never forgive in us the origination of those principles which were the germs of the French Revolution. They will endeavor to eradicate them from the world.
If this suggestion were ever so well founded, it would perhaps be a sufficient answer to it to say, that our interference is not likely to alter the case; that it would only serve prematurely to exhaust our strength.
But other answers more conclusive present themselves.
The war against France requires, on the part of her enemies, efforts unusually violent. They are obliged to strain every nerve, to exert every resource. However it may terminate, they must find themselves spent in an extreme degree; a situation not very favorable to the undertaking anew, and even to Europe combined, an immense enterprise.
To subvert by force republican liberty in this country, nothing short of entire conquest would suffice. This conquest, with our present increased population, greatly distant as we are from Europe, would either be impracticable, or would demand such exertions as, following immediately upon those which will have been requisite to the subversion of the French Revolution, would be absolutely ruinous to the undertakers.
It is against all probability that an undertaking, pernicious as this would be, even in the event of success, would be attempted against an unoffending nation, by its geographical position little connected with the political concerns of Europe.
But impediments would arise from more special causes. Suppose France subdued, and a restoration of the monarchy in its ancient form, or a partition effected—to uphold either state of things, after the general impulse in favor of liberty which has been given to the minds of twenty-four millions of people, would in one way or another find occupation for a considerable part of the forces which had brought it about.
In the event of an unqualified restoration of the monarchy, if the future monarch did not stand in need of foreign legions for the support of his authority, still the powers which had been concerned in the restoration could not sufficiently rely upon the solidity of the order of things re-established by them, not to keep themselves in a posture to be prepared against the disturbance of it, till there had been time to compose the discordant interests and passions produced by the revolution, and bring back the nation to ancient habits of subordination. In the event of a partition of France, it would of course give occupation to the forces of the conquerors to secure the submission of the dismembered parts.
The new dismemberment of Poland will be another obstacle to the detaching of troops from Europe for a crusade against this country—the fruits of that transaction can only be secured to Russia and Prussia by the agency of large bodies of forces, kept on foot for the purpose, within the dismembered territories.
Of the powers combined against France, there are only three whose interests have any material reference to this country—England, Spain, Holland. As to Holland, it will be readily conceded that she can have no interest or feeling to induce her to embark in so mad and wicked a project. Let us see how the matter will stand with regard to Spain and England.
The object of the enterprise against us must be, either the establishment in this country of a royal in place of our present republican government, the subjugation of the country to the dominion of one of the parties, or its division among them.
The establishment of an independent monarchy in this country would be so manifestly against the interests of both those nations, in the ordinary acceptation of this term in politics, that neither of them is at all likely to desire it.
It may be adopted as an axiom in our political calculations, that no foreign power which has valuable colonies in America, will be propitious to our remaining one people under a vigorous government.
No man, I believe, but will think it probable, however disadvantageous the change in other respects, that a monarchical government, from its superior force, would ensure more effectually than our present form our permanent unity as a nation. This at least would be the indubitable conclusion of European calculators; from which may be confidently inferred a disinclination in England and Spain to our undergoing a change of that kind.
The only thing that can be imagined capable of reconciling either of those powers to it would be the giving us for monarch a member of its own royal family, and forming something like a family compact.
But here would arise a direct collision of interests between them. Which of them would agree that a prince of the family of the other should, by reigning over this country, give to that other a decided preponderancy in the scale of American affairs?
The subjugation of the United States to the dominion of those powers would fall more strongly under a like consideration. ’t is impossible that either of them should consent that the other should become master of this country, and neither of them without madness could desire a mastery, which would cost more than ’t was worth to maintain it, and which, from an irresistible course of things, could be but of very short duration.
The third, namely, the division of it between them, is the most colorable of the three suppositions. But even this would be the excess of folly in both. The dominion of neither of them could be of any permanency, and while it lasted, would cost more than it was worth. Spain on her part could scarcely fail to be sensible that, from obvious causes, her dominion over the part which was allotted to her would be altogether transient.
The first collision between Britain and Spain would indubitably have one of two effects, either a temporary reunion of the whole country under Great Britain, or a dismission of the yoke of both.
The latter, by far the most probable and eventually certain, would discover to both the extreme absurdity of the project. If the first step was a reunion under Great Britain, the second, and one not long deferred, would be a rejection of her authority.
The United States, rooted as are now the ideas of independence, are happily too remote from Europe to be governed by her; dominion over any part of them would be a real misfortune to any nation of that quarter of the globe.
To Great Britain, the enterprise supposed would threaten serious consequences in more ways than one. It may safely be affirmed, that she would run by it greater risks of bankruptcy and revolution than we of subjugation. A chief proportion of the burthen would unavoidably fall upon her as the monied and principal maritime power, and it may emphatically be said, that she would make war upon her own commerce and credit. There is the strongest ground to believe that the nation would disrelish and oppose the project. The certainty of great evils attending it, the dread of much greater, experience of the disasters of the last war, would operate upon all; many, not improbably a majority, would see in the enterprise a malignant and wanton hostility against liberty, of which they might themselves expect to be the next victim. Their judgments and their feelings would easily distinguish this case from either that of their former contest with us or their present contest with France. In the former they had pretensions to support which were plausible enough to mislead their pride and their interest. In the latter there were strong circumstances to rouse their passions, alarm their fears, and induce an acquiescence in the course which was pursued.
But a future attack upon us, as is apprehended, would be so absolutely pretextless, as not to be understood. Our conduct will have been such as to entitle us to the reverse of unfriendly or hostile dispositions, while powerful motives of self-interest would advocate with them our cause.
But Britain, Spain, Austria, Prussia, and perhaps even Russia, will have more need and a stronger desire of peace and repose, to restore and recruit their wasted strength and exhausted treasures, to reinvigorate the interior order and industry of their respective kingdoms, relaxed and depressed by war, than either means or inclination to undertake so extravagant an enterprise against the liberty of this country.
If there can be any danger to us, it must arise from our voluntarily thrusting ourselves into the war. Once embarked, nations sometimes prosecute enterprises of which they would not otherwise have dreamt. The most violent resentment, as before intimated, would no doubt in such a case be kindled against us, for what would be called a wanton and presumptuous intermeddling on our part; what this might produce, it is not easy to calculate.
There are two great errors in our reasoning upon this subject: one, that the combined powers will certainly attribute to us the same principles which they deem so exceptionable in France; the other, that our principles are in fact the same.
If left to themselves they will all, except one, naturally see in us a people who originally resorted to a revolution in government, as a refuge from encroachments on rights and privileges antecedently enjoyed, not as a people who from choice sought a radical and entire change in the established government, in pursuit of new privileges and rights carried to an extreme, irreconcilable perhaps with any form of regular government. They will see in us a people who have a due respect for property and personal security; who, in the midst of our revolution, abstained with exemplary moderation from every thing violent or sanguinary, instituting governments adequate to the protection of persons and property; who, since the completion of our revolution, have in a very short period, from mere reasoning and reflection, without tumult or bloodshed, adopted a form of general government calculated, as well as the nature of things would permit, to remedy antecedent defects, to give strength and security to the nation, to rest the foundations of liberty on the basis of justice, order, and law; who have at all times been content to govern themselves without intermeddling with the affairs or governments of other nations; in fine, they will see in us sincere republicans, but decided enemies to licentiousness and anarchy; sincere republicans, but decided friends to the freedom of opinion, to the order and tranquillity of all mankind. They will not see in us a people whose best passions have been misled, and whose best qualities have been perverted from their true direction by headlong, fanatical, or designing leaders, to the perpetration of acts from which humanity shrinks, to the commission of outrages over which the eye of reason weeps, to the profession and practice of principles which tend to shake the foundations of morality, to dissolve the social bands, to disturb the peace of mankind, to substitute confusion to order, anarchy to government.
Such at least is the light in which the reason or the passions of the powers confederated against France lead them to view her principles and conduct. And it is to be lamented, that so much cause has been given for their opinions. If, on our part, we give no incitement to their passions, facts too prominent and too decisive to be combated will forbid their reason to bestow the same character upon us.
It is therefore matter of real regret, that there should be an effort on our part to level the distinctions which discriminate our case from that of France, to confound the two cases in the view of foreign powers, and to pervert or hazard our own principles by persuading ourselves of a similitude which does not exist.
Let us content ourselves with lamenting the errors into which a great, a gallant, an amiable, a respectable nation has been betrayed, with uniting our wishes and our prayers that the Supreme Ruler of the world will bring them back from those errors to a more sober and more just way of thinking and acting, and will overrule the complicated calamities which surround them, to the establishment of a government under which they may be free, secure, and happy. But let us not corrupt ourselves by false comparisons or glosses, nor shut our eyes to the true nature of transactions which ought to grieve and warn us, nor rashly mingle our destiny in the consequences of the errors and extravagances of another nation.