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LETTER I.: TO THE EDITOR OF THE SCOTS CHRONICLE. - John Millar, Letters of Crito, on the Causes, Objects, and Consequences, of the Present War 
Letters of Crito, on the Causes, Objects, and Consequences, of the Present War, Second Edition (Edinburgh:the Office of the Scots Chronicle, 1796).
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TO THE EDITOR OF THE SCOTS CHRONICLE.
May 27. 1796.
The French Revolution, and the war in which we have been involved on that account, are, doubtless, the most singular events which have occurred in the course of the present century. The abolition of the old government in France, and the constitution established there in 1789, were beheld, by men of enlarged views, with equal surprise and satisfaction. The real friends of liberty were highly gratified by the sudden overthrow of a despotism which had, for ages, been apparently gathering solidity and firmness; a despotism which, in the progress of civilized manners, had acquired the most plausible appearance of which, perhaps, that species of government is susceptible; and they were no less delighted to see, in its place, a regular system of limited monarchy reared, as by the power of enchantment, and fitted, all at once, for the immediate use and accommodation of the people.
The poceedings, indeed, in relation to this great revolution, were in many respects liable to exception. The changes introduced were not, in all cases, justified by necessity. Though the old privileges, immunities, and peculiar jurisdiction of the clergy, and of the nobility, were with great propriety abolished, the entire abolition of the titles and rank of the latter appeared a needless and insolent stretch of innovation. The frivolous minuteness, too, of the leaders and directors of this great transaction, the affectation of philosophic accuracy with which they entered upon many abstract and useless questions, and the pomp of systematic regularity with which they endeavoured to exhibit and to adorn their new political system, were disgusting to many, and were considered rather as the juvenile efforts of raw and speculative politicians, than as the solid productions of experienced and profound statesmen. Upon the whole, however, the new institution, with all the objections which could be made to it, and notwithstanding all the ridicule attempted to be thrown upon the persons engaged in conducting it, appeared, in the eye of reason, to be fraught with numberless advantages to the French nation, and likely to produce over all Europe, perhaps over the whole globe, a rich field of instruction and example to the human race.
The peculiar circumstances which, by irritating and provoking the French people, and by creating inextricable difficulties and embarrassment to administration, became the immediate occasion of breaking down the old goverment, have been clearly pointed out, and fully stated, in a late publication by a Noble Author of this country. Among these, the imprudent behaviour of some part of the Royal Family, the disgust excited by a glaring outrage to the military spirit of the nation, and the thoughtless profusion, which, promoted by the practice of funding, had led to a national bankruptcy, may perhaps be regarded as the most conspicuous. But the ultimate cause of this great phenomenon appears to be no other, than the general diffusion of knowledge, and the progress of science and philosophy.
Men are disposed to submit to goverment, either from the mere influence of authority, or from the prospect of the advantages to be derived from that submission. The former principle is the effect of an immediate feeling or instinct; it acquires additional strength from habit, and rises commonly to its highest pitch in the ages of ignorance and barbarism. The latter supposes information and reflection, and may be expected to become the prevailing principle, in proportion as the understanding is cultivated, and as reason triumphs over ancient prejudices.
Among all the great nations of Europe, the French were the first who attained that state of civilization which is necessary to encourage liberal pursuits; and as they have remained longer in that situation, their progress, in the natural course of things, has been so much the greater. In the other countries upon the Continent, this point is is undisputed. The French literature, taste, and fashions, are universally considered as a model for imitation.
England, with its dependancies, appears alone to dispute this universal superiority. In many branches of philosophy, indeed, the English have certainly been eminently distinguished; and we might mention the names of a Newton, a Locke, a Hume, and a Smith, with several others, which will not easily be matched by the neighbouring nations. But in England, literature is a good deal confined to men of learned professions; whereas in France, the result of the discoveries of all seems known to every person of education. A philosopher, in that country, is no peculiar character; but corresponds to what we should call a gentleman. Every part of knowledge, even that which is derived from the abstract sciences, enters into common conversation, and is handled almost equally by both sexes.
In England, too, it must be admitted, that literature, even among persons intended for the learned professions, is narrow and frivolous: Instead of pursuing an extensive range of useful and ornamental knowledge, what is called a learned man, is frequently occupied merely in scanning Latin verses, and in acquiring a very minute acquaintance with two dead languages. He reads even Latin and Greek authors, not for the sake of the information contained in them, but on account of the classical purity of their compositions; and a public speaker often interlards his discourse with scraps of Latin sentences, in which the thought, if expressed in his mother tongue, would seem unworthy of notice. The French are above this pedantry. Upon the first revival of letters, they were, like the English, engrossed by objects of this nature; but according to the advancement of taste and science, their views have been enlarged, and their pursuits rendered more manly. The knowledge, which has diffused itself over all that part of the society exempted from bodily labour, could hardly fail to shed its rays upon the subject of government, and in that quarter, as well as in others, to enlighten the great body of the people. It has enabled them to examine, and to despise the quackery of politicians, to explode the superstition of old institutions, and to render authority subservient to general utility. How far they have always reasoned properly upon this subject, I shall not at present enquire. That they have ventured here to speculate boldly, and have fallen into errors, is of a piece with their conduct in regard to religion, and to other branches of science.
But whatever were the causes of the French Revolution, the alarm and terror which it spread in the neighbouring countries of Europe may be considered as the most natural, and the least surprising of all its consequences. The consideration of this, however, would lead me too far at present. If you think these hints worthy of insertion in some corner of your well conducted Paper, you may possibly be troubled with more of the same sort. I am, &c.