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Danger of slavish Principles, from Ld. Shaftesbury's
Sir Robert Talbot, 1762. Singular Vision on the probable
Dr. Price, 1776. Observations on Civil Liberty
Approaching Revolution in Commerce. Extracted
Extract from Prophetic Records, by the Rev. R.
The Sights that I have seen, by the Rev. ... Dutens,
True Causes of the Decline of the French Nation".
"THE mean figure which was made by the French in the last war ought not to astonish any one who duly considers the state of the French nation. The French nation is governed by a futile and debased court, and the court governed by female influence: every thing is inverted in the French nation. The Fabriciuses, the Scipios, and the Cæsars, languish in the stillness of private life, while monkeys, asses, and baboons, are placed at the helm. Wherever the females of a debauched court are suffered to hold
* The prophetic sentiments contained in this piece (taken from The Complete Magazine for October, 1764, page 368), must command the astonishment of every reader.
the reins of state, outside show and grimace usurp the place of merit, and represent it every where; little accomplishments are considered as the greatest, and great accomplishments are ridiculed. This is actually the case in France: a fine address, a knowledge of what is called the great world, that is to say, the art of bowing, sitting, standing, twisting a bon mot, or tossing a card; these are the qualities that characterise a great man at court: he that excels in these is sure of being promoted in some department of the state; a superficial knowledge of the profession he engages in is sufficient for his purpose; nay, he has often no more to do than to learn the terms of his profession by heart, and to bandy them to and fro in conversation with, a face of confidence. Those who employ him are as ignorant as he, and if he be hard pressed in the execution of his office, he will find some obscure, neglected understrapper, who knows the trade, to direct and instruct him.
"Thus it was that generals in the late wars were put at the head of armies, and ministers at the head of the state: as soon as any of these exposed themselves to the ridicule of the public, by defeats and blunders, they were recalled or dismissed. Other fops who bowed more gracefully, whose hair was better dressed, and had more chit-chat and more impudence, were put in their places; these were dismissed and laughed
"It is no wonder that the great men of France are so little relished at the French court; they want the necessary qualifications for appearing there; they cannot dance themselves all at once into the airs and intrigues of a court; and when ing they come there, they are laughed at.
"What is still more to the disadvantage of the great men of France, they have a free and independent spirit: they scorn the meanness of a court; they speak more freely of things and persons than the female rulers permit, and when they speak too freely, they are for ever excluded from all hopes of preferments, and sometimes shut in a Bastile. The parliaments, the free, unbiassed parliaments of France, abound with men whose talents put them on a level with a Pitt, a Demosthenes, a Cicero, or a Montesquieu: there are hundreds of great men in different stations and employments, I mean employments and stations of the middle class; but they must hide themselves from France, because they dare not produce their ideas; the hair-suspended rock hangs over their heads, and every moment menaces a fall: they have towers, messengers, and informers, to keep them in constant awe.
"The parliaments of France are obliged to conceal the strong spirit of liberty with which
at in their turn; but the war ceased, and the French were saved by a peace from the ruin that was ready to crush them.