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ously spread by partizans of arbitrary power arid the advocates of passive obedience and court government, we think it incumbent upon us to declare to the world our principles, and the motives of our conduct.
"We rejoice at the glorious event of the French revolution. If it be asked, ' What is the French revolution to us?' we answer as has been already answered in another place.* 'It is much—much to us as men; much to us 'as Englishmen. As men, we rejoice in the 'freedom of twenty-five millions of men. We 'rejoice in the prospect, which such a magni'ficent example opens to the world.'
"We congratulate the French nation for having laid the axe to the foot of tyranny, and for erecting government on the sacred hereditary rights of man; rights which appertain to all, and not to any one more than another.
"We know of no human authority superior to that of a whole nation; and we profess and
* Declaration of the volunteers of Belfast.
proclaim it as our principle that every nation has at all times an inherent indefesible right to constitute and establish such government for itself as best accords with its disposition, interest, and happiness.
"As Englishmen, we also rejoice, because we are immediately interested in the French revolution.
"Without inquiring into the justice on either side, of the reproachful cbarges of intrigue and ambition which the English and French courts have constantly made on each other, we confine ourselves to this observation, that if the court of France only was in fault, and the numerous wars which have distressed both countries are chargeable to her alone, that court now exists no longer, and the cause and the consequence must cease together. The French therefore, by the revolution they have made, have conquered for us as well as for themselves, if it be true that this court only was in fault, and ours never.
"On this state of the case the French revolution concerns us immediately: we are oppressed with a heavy national debt, a burthen of taxes, an expensive administration of government, beyond those of any people in the world.
"We have also a very numerous poor; and we hold that the moral obligation of providing for old age, helpless infancy, and poverty, is far superior to that of supplying the invented wants of courtly extravagance, ambition, and intrigue.
"We believe there is no instance to be produced but in England, of seven millions of inhabitants, which make but little more than one million families, paying yearly seventeen millions of taxes.*
"As it has always been held out by the administrations that the restless ambition of the court of France rendered this expence necessary to us for our own defence, we consequently rejoice as men deeply interested in the
* Now nearly seventy millions!
French revolution, for that court, as we have already said, exists no longer, and consequently the same enormous expenses need not continue to us.
"Thus rejoicing as we sincerely do, both as men and Englishmen, as lovers of universal peace and freedom, and as friends to our national prosperity and reduction of our public expences, we cannot but express our astonishment that any part of any members of our own government should reprobate the extinction of that very power in France, or wish to see it restored, to whose influence they formerly attributed (whilst they appeared to lament) the enormous increase of our own burthens and taxes. What, then, are they sorry that the pretence for new oppressive taxes, and the occasion for continuing many old taxes, will be at an end? If so, and if it is the policy of courts and court government to prefer enemies to friends, and a system of war to that of peace, as affording more pretences for places, offices, pensions, revenue and taxation, it is high time for the people of every nation to look with circumspection to their own interest.
"Those who pay the expences, and not those who participate in the emoluments arising from them, are the persons immediately interested in inquiries of this kind. We are a part of that national body on whom this annual expence of seventeen millions falls; and we consider the present opportunity of the French revolution as a most happy one for lessening the enormous load under which this nation groans. If this be not done we shall then have reason to conclude that the cry of intrigue and ambition against other courts is no more than the common cant of all courts.
"We think it also necessary to express our astonishment that a government desirous of being called Free, should prefer connexions with the most despotic and arbitrary powers in Europe. We know of none more deserving this description than those of Turkey and Prussia, and the whole combination of German despots.
"Separated as we happily are by nature from the tumults of the continent, we reprobate all systems and intrigues which sacrifice (and that too at a great expence) the blessings