Front Page Titles (by Subject) FUTURE EFFECTS. - Arthur Young's Travels in France during the Years 1787, 1788, 1789
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FUTURE EFFECTS. - Arthur Young, Arthur Young’s Travels in France during the Years 1787, 1788, 1789 
Arthur Young’s Travels in France during the Years 1787, 1788, 1789, ed. Miss Betham-Edwards (London: George Bell and Sons, 1909).
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It would betray no inconsiderable presumption to attempt to predict what will be the event of the revolution now passing in France; I am not so imprudent. But there are considerations that may be offered to the attention of those who love to speculate on future events better than I do. There are three apparent benefits in an aristocracy forming the part of a constitution; first, the fixed, consolidated, and hereditary importance of the great nobility, is, for the most part, a bar to the dangerous pretensions, and illegal views, of a victorious and highly popular king, president, or leader. Assemblies, so elected, as to be swayed absolutely by the opinion of the people, would frequently, under such a prince, be ready to grant him much more than a well constituted aristocratic senate. Secondly, such popular assemblies, as I have just described, are sometimes led to adopt decisions too hastily, and too imprudently; and particularly in the case of wars with neighbouring nations; in the free countries, we have known the commonalty have been too apt to call lightly for them. An aristocracy, not unduly influenced by the crown, stands like a rock against such phrenzies, and hath a direct interest in the encouragement and support of peaceable maxims. The remark is applicable to many other subjects, in which mature deliberation is wanted to ballast the impetuosity of the people. I always suppose the aristocratic body well constituted, upon the basis of a sufficient property, and at the same time no unlimited power in the crown, to throw all the property of the kingdom into the same scale, which is the case in England. Thirdly, whatever benefits may arise from the existence of an executive power, distinct from the legislative, must absolutely depend on some intermediate and independent body between the people and the executive power. Every one must grant, that if there be no such body, the people are enabled, when they please, to annihilate the executive authority,—and assign it, as in the case of the long parliament, to committees of their own representatives; or, which is the same thing, they may appear, as they did at Versailles, armed before the King, and insist on his consent to any propositions they bring him: in these cases, the seeming advantages derived from a distinct executive power are lost. And it must be obvious, that in such a constitution as the present one of France, the kingly office can be put down as easily, and a readily, as a secretary can be reprimanded for a false entry in the journals. If a constitution be good, all great changes in it should be esteemed a matter of great difficulty and hazard: it is in bad ones only that alterations should not be looked upon in a formidable light.
That these circumstances may prove advantages in an aristocratical portion of a legislature, there is reason to believe; the inquiry is, whether they be counter-balanced by possible or probable evils. May there not come within this description, the danger of an aristocracy uniting with crown against the people? that is to say, influencing by weight of property and power, a great mass of the people dependent—against the rest of the people who are independent? Do we not see this to be very much the case in England at this moment? To what other part of our constitution is it imputable that we have been infamously involved in perpetual wars, from which none reap any benefit but that tribe of vermin which thrive most when a nation most declines; contractors, victuallers, paymasters, stock-jobbers, and money-scriveners: a set by whom ministers are surrounded; and in favour of whom whole classes amongst the people are beggared and ruined. Those who will assert a constitution can be good51 which suffers these things, ought at least to agree, that such an one as would not suffer them would be much better.52
If an aristocracy have thus its advantages and disadvantages, it is natural to inquire, whether the French nation be likely to establish something of a senate, that shall have the advantages without the evils. If there should be none, no popular representatives will ever be brought, with the consent of their constituents, to give up a power in their own possession and enjoyment. It is experience alone, and long experience, that can satisfy the doubts which every one must entertain on this subject. What can be know, experimentally, of a government which has not stood the brunt of unsuccessful and of successful wars? The English constitution has stood this test, and has been found deficient; or rather, as far as this test can decide any thing, has been proved worthless; since in a single century, it has involved the nation in a debt of so vast53 a magnitude, that every blessing which might otherwise have been perpetuated is put to the stake; so that if the nation do not make some change in its constitution, it is much to be dreaded that the constitution will ruin the nation. Where practice and experience have so utterly failed, it would be vain to reason from theory: and especially on a subject on which a very able writer has seen his own prediction, so totally erroneous: "In the monarchical states of Europe, it is highly improbable that any form of properly equal government should be established for many ages; the people, in general, and especially in France, being proud of their monarchs, even when they are oppressed by them."54
In regard to the future consequences of this singular revolution, as an example to other nations, there can be no doubt but the spirit which has produced it, will, sooner or later, spread throughout Europe, according to the different degrees of illumination amongst the common people; and it will prove either mischievous or beneficial, in proportion to the previous steps taken by governments. It is unquestionably the subject of all others the most interesting to every class, and even to every individual of a modern state; the great line of division, into which the people divides, is, 1st, those that have property; and, 2d, others that have none. The events that have taken place in France, in many respects, have been subversive of property; and have been effected by the lower people, in direct opposition to the nominal legislature; yet their constitution began its establishment with a much greater degree of regularity, by a formal election of representatives, than there is any probability of seeing in other countries. Revolutions will there be blown up from riotous mobs—from the military called out to quell them, but refusing obedience, and joining the insurgents. Such a flame, spreading rapidly through a country, must prove more hostile, and more fatal to property, than any thing that has prevailed in France. The probability of such events, every one must allow to be not inconsiderable; the ruin that must attend them cannot be doubted; for they would tend not to produce, a National Assembly, and a free constitution, but an universal anarchy and confusion. The first attempt towards a democracy in England would be the common people demanding an admission and voice in the vestries, and voting to themselves whatever rates they thought proper to appropriate; which, in fact, would be an agrarian law. Can there be so much supineness in the present governments of Europe, as to suppose that old principles and maxims will avail any longer? Can such ignorance of the human heart, and such blindness to the natural course of events be found, as the plan of rejecting all innovations lest they should lead to greater? There is no government to be found, that does not depend, in the last resort, on a military power; and if that fail them, is not the consequence easily seen? A new policy must either be adopted, or all the governments we know will be swept from their very foundations. This policy must consist, first, in making it the interest, as much as possible, of every class in the state, except those absolutely without property,55 to support the established government; and also to render it as palatable, as the security of property will allow, even to these; farther than this, none can look; for it is so directly the interest of the people, without property, to divide with those who have it, that no government can be established, which shall give the poor an equal interest in it with the rich;56 —the visible tangible interest of the poor (if I may use the expressions), and not the ultimate and remote which they will never voluntarily regard, is a pure democracy, and a consequent division of property, the sure path to anarchy and despotism. The means of making a government respected and beloved are, in England, obvious; taxes must be immensely reduced; assessments on malt, leather, candles, soap, salt, and windows, must be abolished or lightened; the funding system, the parent of taxation, annihilated for ever, by taxing the interest of the public debt—the constitution that admits a debt, carries in its vitals the seeds of its destruction; tythes57 and tests abolished; the representation of parliament reformed, and its duration shortened; not to give the people, without property, a predominancy, but to prevent that corruption, in which our debts and taxes have originated; the utter destruction of all monopolies, and, among them, of all charters and corporations; game-made property, and belonging to the possessor of one acre, as much as to him who has a thousand; and, lastly, the laws, both criminal and civil to be thoroughly reformed.—These circumstances include the great evils of the British constitution; if they be remedied, it may enjoy even a Venetian longevity; but if they be allowed, like cancerous humours to prey on the nobler parts of the political system, this boasted fabric may not exist even twenty years. To guard property effectually, and to give permanency to the new system, the militia laws ought all to be repealed. When we see, as in all the monarchies of Europe, the government only armed, despotism is established. When those who have property alone are armed, how secure the people from oppression?—When those who have no property are armed, how prevent their seizing the property of others?—Perhaps the best method of guarding against these contrary evils, is to embody, in a national militia, all who have property; and, at the same time, to allow arms (unembodied) to all citizens indiscriminately: we see, in the case of Berne, that the people being armed, keeps an aristocracy in such order, that great oppressions are unknown. An army was always dangerous; and, in the probable state of Europe, it may be doubly so; discipline preserved, it cemented despotism; undisciplined, it may unite with the people of no property, and produce anarchy and ruin. There seems to be no sufficient guard upon it, but a national militia, formed of every man that possesses a certain degree of property, rank and file as well as officers.58 Such a force, in this island, would probably amount to above 100,000 men; and would be amply sufficient for repressing all those riots, whose object might be, immediately or ultimately, the democratic mischief of transferring property.59 This for a free government:—despotic ones, that would wish to escape destruction, must emancipate their subjects, because no military conformation can long secure the obedience of ill treated slaves; and while such governments are giving to their people a constitution worth preserving, they should, by an absolute renunciation of all the views of conquest, make a small army as efficient for good purposes, as a large force for ambitious ones: this new-modelled military should consist, rank and file, of men interested in the preservation of property and order: were this army to consist merely of nobility, it would form a military aristocracy, as dangerous to the prince as to the people; it should be composed, indiscriminately, of individuals, drawn from all classes, but possessing a given property.—A good government, thus supported, may be durable; bad ones will be shivered to pieces by the new spirit that ferments in Europe. The candid reader will, I trust, see, that in whatever I have ventured to advance on so critical a subject as this great and unexampled revolution, I have assigned the merit I think due to it, which is the destruction of the old government, and not the establishment of the new. All that I saw, and much that I heard, in France, gave me the clearest conviction, that a change was necessary for the happiness of the people; a change, that should limit the royal authority; that should restrain the feudal tyranny of the nobility; that should reduce the church to the level of good citizens; that should correct the abuses of finance; that should give purity to the administration of justice; and that should place the people in a state of ease, and give them weight enough to secure this blessing. Thus far I must suppose every friend of mankind agreed. But whether, in order to effect thus much, all France were to be overthrown, ranks annihilated, property attacked, the monarchy abolished, and the king and royal family trampled upon; and above all the rest, the whole effect of the revolution, good or bad, put on the issue of a conduct which, to speak in the mildest language, made a civil war probable:—this is a question absolutely distinct. In my private opinion, these extremities were not necessary; France might have been free without violence; a necessitous court, a weak ministry, and a timid prince, could have refused nothing to the demands of the states, essential to public happiness. The power of the purse would have done all that ought to have been done. The weight of the commons would have been predominant; but it would have had checks and a controul, without which power is not CONSTITUTION, but tyranny.—While, however, I thus venture to think that the revolution might have been accomplished upon better principles, because probably more durable ones, I do not therefore assign the first National Assembly in the gross to that total condemnation, they have received from some very intemperate pens, and for this plain reason, because it is certain that they have not done much which was not called for by the people.
Before the revolution is condemned in the gross, it should be considered what extent of liberty was demanded by the three orders in their cahiers; and this in particular is necessary, since those very cahiers are quoted to show the mischievous proceedings of the National Assembly. Here are a few of the ameliorations demanded; to have the trial by jury, and the habeas corpus of England;60 to deliberate by head, and not by order, demanded by the nobility themselves;61 to declare all taxes illegal and suppressed—but to grant them anew for a year; to establish for ever the capitaineries;62 to establish a caisse nationale separée inaccessible à toute influence du pouvoir executiff;63 that all the intendants should be suppressed:64 that no treaties of commerce should be made but with the consent of the states:65 that the orders of begging monks be suppressed:66 that all monks be suppressed, and their goods and estates sold:67 that tythes be for ever suppressed:68 that all feudal right, duties, payments, and services be abolished:69 that salaries (traitement pécuniare), be paid to the deputies:70 that the permanence of the National Assembly is a necessary part of its existence:71 that the Bastile be demolished:72 that the duties of aides, on wine, brandy, tobacco, salt, leather, paper, iron, oil, and soap, be suppressed:73 that the apanages be abolished:74 that the domaines of the king be alienated:75 that the king's studs (haras), be suppressed:76 that the pay of the soldiers be augmented:77 that the kingdom be divided into districts, and the elections proportioned to population and to contributions:78 that all citizens paying a determinate quota of taxes vote in the parochial assemblies:79 that it is indispensable in the states-general to consult the Rights of Man:80 that the deputies shall accept of no place, pension, grace, or favour.81
From this detail of the instructions given by the nation, I will not assert that every thing which the National Assembly has decreed is justifiable; but it may be very fairly concluded, that much the greater part of their arrets, and many that have been the most violently arraigned, are here expressly demanded. To reply that these demands are not those of the nation at large, but of particular bodies only, is very wide from the argument; especially as the most virulent enemies of the revolution, and particularly Mess. Burke and De Calonne, have, from these cahiers, deduced such conclusions as suited their purpose; and if they are made authority for condemning the transactions in that kingdom, they certainly are equal authority for supporting those transactions. I shall make but one observation on these demands. The assemblies that drew them up, most certainly never demanded, in express terms, the abolition of the monarchy, or the transfer of all the regal authority to the deputies; but let it be coolly considered, what sort of a monarchy must necessarily remain, while an assembly is permanent, with power to abolish tythes; to suppress the intendants; not only to vote, but to keep the public money: to alienate the king's domains; and to suppress his studs: to abolish the capitaineries, and destroy the bastile:—the assembly that is called upon to do all this, is plainly meant to be a body solely possessing the legislative authority: it is evidently not meant to petition the king to do it; because they would have used, in this case, the form of expression so common in other parts of the cahiers, that his majesty will have the goodness, &c.
The result of the whole inquiry, cannot but induce temperate men to conclude, that the abolition of tythe, of feudal services and payments, of the gabelle, or salt-tax, of that on tobacco, of the entreés, of all excises on manufacturers, and of all duties on transit, of the infamous proceedings in the old courts of justice, of the despotic practices of the old monarchy, of the militia regulations, of the monasteries and nunneries, and of numberless other abuses; I say, that temperate men must conclude, that the advantages derived to the nation are of the very first importance, and such as must inevitably secure to it, as long as they continue, an uncommon degree of prosperity. The men who deny the benefit of such events, must have something sinister in their views, or muddy in their understandings. On the other hand, the extensive and unnecessary ruin brought on so many thousands of families, of all descriptions, by violence, plunder, terror, and injustice, to an amount that is shewn in the utter want of the precious metals, the stagnation of industry, and the poverty and misery found amongst many, is an evil of too great a magnitude to be palliated. The nourishment of the most pernicious cancer in the state, public credit: the deluge of paper money; the violent and frivolous extinction of rank;82 the new system of taxation, apparently so hurtful to landed property; and a restricted corn trade; all these are great deductions from public felicity, and weigh the heavier in the scale, because unnecessary to effect the revolution. Of the nature and durableness of the constitution established, prudent men will not be eager to prophesy: it is a new experiment,83 and cannot be tried or examined on old ideas; but the EFFECTS, good and bad, here arranged, in opposition to each other, are visible to every eye; the advantages are recognized; the evils are felt. On these circumstances we are competent to reason.84
[51.]It ought not to be allowed even tolerable, for this plain reason, such public extravagance engenders taxes to an amount that will sooner or later force the people into resistance, which is always the destruction of a constitution; and surely that must be admitted bad, which carries to the most careless eye the seeds of its own destruction. Two hundred and forty millions of public debt in a century, is in a ratio impossible to be supported; and therefore evidently ruinous.
[52.]"The direct power of the king of England," says Mr. Burke, "is considerable. His indirect is great indeed. When was it that a king of England wanted wherewithal to make him respected, courted, or perhaps even feared in every state in Europe?" It is in such passages as these, that this elegant writer lays himself open to the attacks, formidable, because just, of men who have not an hundredth part of his talents. Who questions, or can question, the power of a prince that in less than a century has expended above 1000 millions, and involved his people in a debt of 240! The point in debate is not the existence of power, but its excess. What is the constitution that generates or allows of such expences? The very mischief complained of is here wrought into a merit, and brought in argument to prove that poison is salutary.
[53.]This debt, and our enormous taxation, are the best answer the National Assembly gives to those who would have had the English government, with all its faults on its head, adopted in France; nor was it without reason said by a popular writer, that a government, formed like the English, obtains more revenue than it could do, either by direct despotism, or in a full state of freedom.
[54.]Dr. Priestly's "Lectures on Hist." 4to. 1788, p. 917.
[55.]The representation of mere population is as gross a violation of sense, reason, and theory, as it is found pernicious in practice; it gives to ignorance to govern knowledge; to uncultivated intellect the lead of intelligence; to savage force the guide of law and justice; and to folly the governance of wisdom. Knowledge, intelligence, information, learning, and wisdom ought to govern nations; and these are all found to reside most in the middle classes of mankind; weakened by the habits and prejudices of the great, and stifled by the ignorance of the vulgar.
[56.]Those who have not attended much to French affairs, might easily mistake the representation of territory and contribution in the French constitution, as something similar to what I contend for—but nothing is more remote; the number chosen is of little consequence, while persons without property are the electors. Yet Mr. Christie says, vol. i. p. 196, that property is a base on which representation ought to be founded; and it is plain he thinks that property is represented, though the representatives of the property are elected by men that do not possess a shilling! It is not that the proprietors of property should have voices in the election proportioned to their property, but that men who have a direct interest in the plunder or division of property should be kept at a distance from power. Here lies the great difficulty of modern legislation, to secure property, and at the same time secure freedom to those that have no property. In England there is much of this effected for the small portion of every man's income that is left to him after public plunder is satiated (the poor, the parson, and the king take 50 to 60 per cent. of every man's rent)—but the rest is secure. In America the poor, the parson, and the king take nothing (or next to nothing), and the whole is secure. In France ALL seems to be at the mercy of the populace.
[57.]The exaction of tythes is so absurd and tyrannical an attack on the property of mankind, that it is almost impossible for them to continue in any country in the world half a century longer. To pay a man by force 1000l. a year, for doing by deputy what would be much better done for 100l. is too gross an imposition to be endured. To levy that 1000l. in the most pernicious method that can wound both property and liberty, are circumstances congenial to the tenth century, but not to the eighteenth. Italy, France, and America have set noble examples for the imitation of mankind; and those countries that do not follow them, will soon be as inferior in cultivation as they are in policy.
[58.]The late riots at Birmingham [riots against persons commemorating the French Revolution, July, 1791.—ED.] ought to convince every man, who looks to the preservation of peace, that a militia of property is absolutely necessary; had it existed at that town, no such infamous transactions could have taken place, to the disgrace of the age and nation. Those riots may convince us how insecure our property really is in England, and how very imperfect that POLITICAL SYSTEM, which could, twice in twelve years, see two of the greatest towns in England at the mercy of a vile mob. The military must, in relation to the greater part of the kingdom, be always at a distance; but a militia is on the spot, and easy to be collected, by previous regulations, at a moment's warning.
[59.]The class of writers who wish to spread the taste of revolutions, and make them every where the order of the day, affect to confound the governments of France and America, as if established on the same principles; if so, it is a remarkable fact that the result should, to appearance, turn out so differently: but a little examination will convince us, that there is scarcely any thing in common between those governments, except the general principle of being free. In France, the populace are electors, and to so low a degree that the exclusions are of little account; and the qualifications for a seat in the provincial assemblies, and in the national one, are so low that the whole chain may be completed, from the first elector to the legislator, without a single link of what merits the name of property. The very reverse is the case in America, there is not a single state in which voters must not have a qualification of property: in Massachussets and New Hampshire, a freehold of 3l. a year, or other estate of 60l. value: Connecticut is a country of substantial freeholders, and the old government remains: In New York, electors of the senate must have a property of 100l. free from debts; and those of the assembly freeholds of 40s. a year, rated and paying taxes: in Pensylvania, payment of taxes is necessary: in Maryland, the possession of 50 acres of land, or other estate worth 30l.: in Virginia, 25 cultivated acres, with a house on it: in North Carolina, for the senate 50 acres, and for the assembly payment of taxes: and in all the states there are qualifications much more considerable, necessary for being eligible to be elected. In general it should be remembered, that taxes being so very few, the qualification of paying them excludes vastly more voters than a similar regulation in Europe. In constituting the legislatures also, the states all have two houses, except Pensylvania. And Congress itself meets in the same form. Thus a ready explanation is found of that order and regularity, and security of property, which strikes every eye in America; a contrast to the spectacle which France has exhibited, where confusion of every sort has operated, in which property is very far from safe; in which the populace legislate and then execute, not laws of their representatives, but of their own ambulatory wills; in which, at this moment (March 1792), they are a scene of anarchy, with every sign of a civil war commencing. These two great experiments, as far as they have gone, ought to pour conviction in every mind, that order and property never can be safe if the right of election is personal, instead of being attached to property: and whenever propositions for the reformation of our representation shall be seriously considered, which is certainly necessary, nothing ought to be in contemplation but taking power from the crown and the aristocracy—not to give it to the mob, but to the middle classes of moderate fortune. The proprietor of an estate of 50l. a year is as much interested, in the preservation of order and of property, as the possessor of fifty thousand; but the people without property have a direct and positive interest in public confusion, and the consequent division of that property, of which they are destitute. Hence the necessity, a pressing one in the present moment, of a militia rank and file, of property; the essential counterpoise to assemblies in ale-house kitchens, clubbing their pence to have the Rights of Man read to them, by which should be understood (in Europe, not in America) the RIGHT TO PLUNDER. Let the state of France at present be coolly considered, and it will be found to originate absolutely in population, without property being represented: it exhibits scenes such as can never take place in America. See the National Assembly of a great empire, at the crisis of its fate, listening to the harrangues of the Paris populace, the female populace of St. Antoine, and the president formally answering and flattering them! Will such spectacles ever be seen in the American Congress? Can that be a well constituted government, in which the most precious moments are so consumed? The place of assembling (Paris) is alone sufficient to endanger the constitution.
[60.]"Nob. Auxois," p. 23. "Artois," p. 13. "T. Etat de Peronne," p. 15. "Nob. Dauphiné" p. 119.
[61.]"Nob. Touraine," p. 4. "Nob. Senlis," p. 46. "Nob. Pays de Labour" (Labourd, Pyrenees, ED.), p. 3. "Nob. Quesnoy," p. 6. "Nob. Sens," p. 3. "Nob. Thimerais," p. 3. "Clergé du Bourbonnois," p. 6. "Clergé du Bas Limosin," p. 10.
[62.]Too numerous to quote, of both Nobility and Tiers.
[63.]Many; Nobility as well as Tiers.
[64.]"Nob. Sezanne," p. 14. "T. Etat Metz," p. 42. "T. Etat de Auvergne," p. 9. "T. Etat de Riom," p. 23.
[65.]"Nob. Nivernois," p. 25.
[66.]"Nob. Bas Limosin," p. 12.
[67.]"T. Etat du Haut Vivarais," p. 18. "Nob. Rheims," p. 16. "Nob. Auxerre," p. 41.
[68.]"Nob. Toulon," p. 18.
[69.]Too many to quote.
[70.]"Nob. Nomery en Loraine," p. 10.
[71.]"Nob. Mantes & Meulan," p. 16. "Provins & Montereaux," art. 1. "Rennes," art. 19.
[72.]"Nob. Paris," p. 14.
[73.]"Nob. Vitry le François," MS. "Nob. Lyon," p. 16. "Nob. Bugey," p. 28. "Nob. Paris," p. 22.
[74.]"Nob. Ponthieu," p. 32. "Nob. Chartres," p. 19. "Nob. Auxerre," art. 74.
[75.]"Nob. Bugey," p. 11. "Nob. Montargis," p. 18. "Nob. Paris," 16. "Nob. Bourbonnois," p. 12. "Nob. Nancy," p. 23. "Nob. Angoumois," p. 20. "Nob. Pays de Labour," fol. 9.
[76.]"Nob. Beauvois," p. 18. "Nob. Troyes," p. 25.
[77.]"Nob. Limoges," p. 31.
[78.]"T. Etat de Lyon," p. 7. "Nismes," p. 13. "Cotentin," art. 7.
[79.]"T. Etat Rennes," art. 15.
[80.]"T. Etat Nismes," p. 11.
[81.]"T. Etat Pont à Mousson," p. 17. Mr. Burke says, "When the several orders, in their several bailliages, had met in the year 1789, to chuse and instruct their representatives, they were the people of France; whilst they were in that state, in no one of their instructions did they charge, or even hint at any of those things which have drawn upon the usurping assembly the detestation of the rational part of mankind."
[82.]It is so because the inequality remains as great as if titles had remained, but built on its worst basis, wealth. The nobility were bad, but not so bad as Mr. Christie makes them; they did not wait till the Etats Generaux before they agreed to renounce their pecuniary privileges, "Letters on the Revolution of France," vol. i. p. 74. The first meeting of the states was May 5, 1789; but the nobility assembled at the Louvre, Dec. 20, 1788, addressed the king, declaring that intention.
[83.]After all that has been said of late years, on the subject of constitutions and governments by various writers in England, but more especially in France, one circumstance must strike any attentive reader; it is, that none of the writers who have pushed the most forward in favour of new systems, have said any thing to convince the unprejudiced part of mankind, that experiment is not as necessary a means of knowledge in relation to government, as in agriculture, or any other branch of natural philosophy. Much has been said in favour of the American government, and I believe with perfect justice, reasoning as far as the experiment extends; but it is fair to consider it as an imperfect experiment, extending no further than the energy of personal virtue, seconded by the moderation attendant on a circulation not remarkably active. We learn, by Mr. Payne, that General Washington accepted no salary as commander of their troops, nor any as president of their legislature—an instance that does honour to their government, their country, and to human nature; but it may be doubted, whether any such instances will occur two hundred years hence? The exports of the United States now amount to 20 millions of dollars; when they amount to 500 millions, when great wealth, vast cities, a rapid circulation, and, by consequence, immense private fortunes are formed, will such spectacles be found? Will their government then be as faultless as it appears at present? It may, Probably it will still be found excellent; but we have no convictions, no proof; it is in the womb of time—THE EXPERIMENT IS NOT MADE. Such remarks, however, ought always to be accompanied with the admission, that the British government has been experimented.—With what result?—Let a debt of 240 millions—let seven wars—let Bengal and Gibraltar—let 30 millions sterling of national burthens, taxes, rates, tythes, and monopolies—let these answer.
[84.]The gross abuse which has been thrown on the French nation, and particularly on their assemblies, in certain pamphlets, and without interruption, in several of our newspapers, ought to be deprecated by every man who feels for the future interests of this country. It is in some instances carried to so scandalous an excess, that we must necessarily give extreme disgust to thousands of people, who may hereafter have an ample opportunity to vote and act under the influence of impressions unfavourable towards a country, that, unprovoked, has loaded them with so much contumely; for a nation groaning under a debt of 240 millions, that deadens the very idea of future energy, this seems, to use the mildest language, to be at least very imprudent.