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LETTER V.: 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.
“Bella per Ematheos plusquam civilia campos.”—
June 17. 1796.
Though the outlines of the French Revolution were completed in 1789, the more minute parts of the work occupied a much longer time, and were not understood to be finally adjusted until the year 1791, when the Convention, invested with revolutionary powers, gave place to an ordinary legislative assembly. During the period while this great undertaking was in its progress, the neighbouring potentates appear to have indulged the malignant hope, that insuperable difficulties, or some sinister accidents, would prevent its completion; but when, to their extreme disappointment and mortification, they saw the whole fabric successfully and completely reared, there occurred no other resource than to join, by main force, in pulling it down.
For this purpose, therefore, was concluded the famous treaty of Pilnitz; a treaty by which the greater despots of Europe, forgetting their former feuds, and overlooking that opposition of interest which had hitherto been continually exciting them to overreach and undermine one another, united in the common cause of despotism, and became bound, by themselves, and with the assistance of all whom they could persuade to embark in the same enterprize, to overturn the new government in France, and to root out those obnoxious principles and opinions which had given rise to it.
From a publication which is believed to be authentic, it appears that the object of this treaty, was not only the invasion of France, and the restoration of its ancient government, but the partition of that country, and of Poland, among the principal contracting powers. The accomplishment of that object, in part, with respect to the Poles; the barbarous treatment which that people have experienced in the destruction, not only of their free constitution, but of their existence as an independent nation, leave no room to doubt what would have been the fate of the French, had their unprincipled and ambitious invaders been able to carry their designs into execution.
It seems impossible for any person, animated by the least spark of justice or humanity, to reflect, for a moment, without indignation and horror, upon a combination of this atrocious nature; a combination against the liberties of mankind, by which a fet of absolute princes, not contented with enslaving their own subjects, resolved to maintain by force a system of slavery in other countries; arrogated the power of dictating a form of government to a foreign independent state; and while they required that the people should renounce that constitution which they had voluntarily adopted, laid hold of the opportunity for enriching and aggrandizing themselves by the wreck of those dominions which they proposed to dismember. Such were the avowed sentiments of those combined powers; the basis of their association for the conquest of France, in which the other states of Europe were invited to concur, and to contribute their assistance. It was expected, it seems, that the other European nations would join in this confederacy; but how far this expectation arose from any particular assurances to this purpose actually given, or from the general belief that they would feel a common interest in suppressing the late political innovations in France, the public has not yet been sufficiently informed.
In pursuance of this treaty, the Duke of Brunswick, in summer 1792, invaded France with an army of about 90,000 men; having circulated, at the same time, a manifesto, in which he threatened military execution to such of the inhabitants as dared to defend themselves, and promised safety and protection to all who should open their gates to his troops; adding, withal, a declaration, that he had no intention to meddle with the internal government of France.
This was accompanied by another elaborate manifesto, in which the Emperor and the King of Prussia undertake the arduous task of vindicating these violent measures, by declaiming against the French Revolution, and by maintaining, with great gravity, that the French King was possessed of a supreme, never-ceasing, and indivisible authority, of which he neither could be deprived, nor could voluntarily divest himself.
With respect to the proceedings of the French, which are here the subject of such keen invectives, it is to be observed, that the establishment of their new constitution was attended with less tumult, disorder, or licentiousness, than from the nature of things could have been expected. And among the other circumstances arising from that great political change, the little bloodshed, which it had hitherto occasioned, is most especially worthy of notice. Though the French populace had, in some few cases, discovered remarkable ferocity in taking vengeance upon some obnoxious individuals; yet, upon the whole, the number of lives destroyed, in a nation comprehending five-and-twenty millions, and in so great a revolution as that of changing an inveterate despotism into a very limited monarchy, had been incredibly small.
It also merits attention, that hitherto the resolution of establishing a pure democracy had never been taken. There had, indeed, been great differences of opinion upon that subject, in what was called the Constituent Assembly; but the majority had determined in favour of a limited monarchy; and the partizans of a republic had formerly expressed their acquiescence in that determination. The circumstances of France, however, with respect to the other powers of Europe, had unavoidably weakened and discouraged the friends of monarchy; and had no less confirmed and strengthened the adherents of republican government. During the impending quarrel with those powers, and after the war was publicly declared, or distinctly foreseen, suspicions that the king was disposed to support the enemies of France, and was engaged in a secret correspondence with them, were almost unavoidable. In that critical situation, the continuance of monarchical government became, perhaps, impracticable.
I do not enter into the question, how far the sovereign had really formed a conspiracy with those foreign powers, and with that part of his own family engaged in the same cause, for the purpose of restoring the government handed down by his ancestors, which had been so recently and so violently overturned. Supposing him to have been involved in that conspiracy, his situation, if it could not entirely justify, will be admitted to palliate at least, and, in some measure, to excuse his behaviour. The hardships and insults to which he had been exposed, the total want of the confidence of his own subjects which he experienced, and the absolute confinement to which he was subjected; not to mention the loud voice of his ancient nobility, deprived of their estates, and banished from their native country; the intrigues of an artful and ambitious queen, whose spirit was not broken by her misfortunes; together with the flattering promises of so many powerful sovereigns who had warmly espoused his interest, and had resolved to hazard every thing for the recovery of his prerogative; these afforded, perhaps, temptations too powerful, and seducing, to be resisted by a person of his feeble and flexible character. But whatever was the real state of the fact, the suspicions entertained against him were too universal, and had too much the air of probability to render it prudent for the French Nation to commit their rights and liberties to the custody of so equivocal a guardian.
The effects produced upon the minds of the French people by the Duke of Brunswick’s invasion, and by such a powerful combination against them will be the subject of another letter.
I am, &c.