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The publication of the *' Memoirs of Sir Samuel Romilly 
edited by his Sons" requires some explanation of what is 
included under this title, and of the motives which have 
led to this undertaking. 

From the great mass of papers left by Sir S. Romilly, 
those have been selected which furnish, in some measure, 
a connected history of his life. They begin with a narra- 
tive, in two parts, of the events of his earliest years, from 
1757 to the close of 1189. The former of these bears 
date 1 796, two years previous to his marriage : it appears 
to have been carefully revised and corrected, and a fair 
copy was made of it, of which no other instance is to be 
found amongst these papers. The latter part, dated in 
1813, seems to have been more hastily written ; the rough 
draft, consisting of loose sheets, is the only copy ; and the 
alterations and corrections which are to be found in it 
appear to have been made when it was originally written. 
With the exception of two passages, both parts have been 
published entire. 

This narrative is followed by a series of letters written to 
his brother-in-law, the Rev. Mr. Roget, who was then 
residing at Lausanne: they commence in 1780, and con- 
tinue till the death of Mr. Roget in 1783. Besides 
many domestic details, most of which are omitted, these 
letters contain an accoimt of the principal events which 
took place in England during those years, and much criti- 
cism on the books he was then reading. Such of them 

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have been selected as present the most faithful picture of 
his mind and disposition at that period of his life. 

No original materials exist from which alone it would 
have been possible to continue the history of Sir Samuel 
Romilly's life during the sixteen years which elapsed from 
1*789 to the beginning of 1806. This interval has been 
filled up with a selection from such letters, either from hh 
correspondents or himself, as seems best calculated to 
supply this deficiency. To this correspondence has been 
added the diary of a visit to Paris in 1802, and an unfi- 
nished narrative of certain events belonging to the history 
of his life which took place in 1805. 

The next and principal part of this work is a journal 
of his parliamentary life, extending from the beginning 
of the year 1806 to the close of it in 1818. The original 
manuscript is contained in three small quarto volumes. 
Except a few references to subsequent passages, and some 
pages inserted in the middle of the second volume, 
containing letters relating to the Bristol election, no 
addition appears to have been made to any part of it 
after it was first written; and, except two lines which 
are effiu:ed in the second volume, no passage is erased, and 
very few corrections are to be found, throughout this 
manuscript. The Editors have added several notes, some to 
furnish explanations and references, and some for the pur- 
pose of introducing at the proper dates a few contempora- 
neous letters : all the other notes and the marginal abstjuracts 
which appear here, together with a copious index, exist in 
the original. A few passages have been omitted, but no 
attempt has been made to remove any of those marks of 
haste which show the manner in which this journal was 
written from day to day, as the occasion prompted. 

Four papers, which are entitled ** Letters to C," to 
which is prefixed a separate explanatory introduction, con- 
stitute the last portion of these Memoirs. 

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Such is a short account of the papers which compose 
this work. The reader must not expect to find in them any 
connected history of the times in which they were written, 
and scarcely any hut an incidental reference to the great 
events which were then taking place on the continent of 
Europe. But to record public events did not enter into 
the views with which these Memoirs were written, neither 
does it constitute any part of those with which they are 
published. It should be borne in mind, throughout, that 
to give such a history of Sir Samuel Romilly's life as will 
illustrate his character, by describing his feelings and 
opinions as far as the production of original documents 
will accomplish it, is the exclusive object of this work. 
The Editors have accordingly strictly confined themselves 
to the task of selection and arrangement. They have 
sedulously abstained from comment or remark; and, with 
the exception of the few notes and references, not a 
word will be found in these volumes which has not been 
written by their father, or by one of his correspondents. 
They have, however, availed themselves, although very 
sparingly,* of the power of suppression ; but in no case 
has any passage been omitted which would have given a 
diflFerent colour to the observations in the text. 

Some passages will be found in the parliamentary diary 
in which the conduct of various persons is animadverted 
upon : but wherever these have been retained they have 
been considered to relate exclusively to public character or 
public conduct, and to be such as the terms in which they 
are expressed, and the object for which they were written, 
entitled the Editors to publish, and would not have justified 
them in suppressing. 

There are, however, many deficiencies in these Memoirs 

which, consistently with the plan adopted, the Editors are 

* The passages omitted from the parliamentary journal amount 
in the whme, to eight pages, of which five are a mere catalogue of 
places passed through in travelling. 

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unable to supply. Of one part, and that a most material 
one, of their father's life, they regret to say that no account 
is .to be found in these pages. Of his labours in the 
study of the law, of his gradual rise and ultimate success 
in his profession, to which he owed the opportunities of 
doing all that is here recorded, these pages contain scarcely 
any mention . Although abundant materials remain which 
testify the intensity of his labours in his profession, he 
has left none which show the mode by which he ros^ or 
the eminence which he reached. The Editors have not 
sought for information to supply this omission, being 
anxious that his character should appear as it is displayed 
by himself. If, in truth, they had departed from this 
course, it would have been, not to record his triumphs in 
his profession, or to relate the influence of his eloquence, 
but to describe some few of those scenes which live in 
the memories of them all, when, in the intervals of relaxa- 
tion from his labours and in the midst of his children, he 
sympathised with their pursuits, partook of their enjoy- 
ments, added by his gaiety to their mirth, and to each, in 
his different way, was scarcely less a companion than a 
father. This gratification, however, they have not ven- 
tured to allow themselves ; and as they neither pretend to 
write his life, nor affect to possess the impartiality which 
should belong to those who undertake that task, they have 
deemed it necessary, with whatever reluctance, to confine 
themselves strictly to the course they had laid down for 
their conduct, and to which alone they felt themselves to . 
be equal. The portrait they present must, they are aware, 
be in many respects unfinished, and in some scarcely more 
than an outline; but many considerations, amongst which 
the following have had the greatest weight, have induced 
them to offer it, imperfect as it is, to the observation of the 
public : — 

In a codicil to Sir Samuel Romilly's will, after stating 
that he had prepared materials for a work on Criminal 


Law,* he proceeds to say, " What I have written is not by 
any means in a state fit for publication ; but I should be 
glad if some friend of mine would look over it ; and if 
he thought that there were any extracts or detached parts 
of it which it might be useftd to publish, either as fur- 
nishing good observations, or affording hints which might 
be serviceable to others who may treat on the subject, that 
so much of them should be printed with my name. That 
such a publication may be injurious to my reputation as 
an author or a lawyer I am quite indifierent about ; if it 
can be any way useful, that is all I desire." 

Every perusal of their father's manuscripts impressed 
the Editors with the belief that the publication of another 
portion of them, that which forms the principal part of 
these volumes, would, though in a different way, fulfil the 
spirit of his wishes, and accomplish the objects he had in 
view, without diminishing or impeding any benefit which 
might flow from a compliance with the request he had 
expressed. And they further felt a conviction that, 
although he perhaps did not contemplate the possibility 
of these Memoirs being known to others than his children 
and their descendants, yet that, if he had believed that a 
more extended knowledge of them could in any way tend 
to the advancement of human happiness, he would« had 
it been possible to consult his wishes, have consented to 
their publication. 

Strongly as the Editors felt this conviction, they dis- 
trusted their own judgment in a case where they felt per- 
sonally so deep an interest, and would probably have re- 
frained from acting upon it, if they had not been sup- 
ported by other authority ; but their opinions were con- 
firmed and enforced by those of the late Mr. Dumont, the 
earliest of the friends who survived their father, and who, 

* The papers here referred to are mentioned subsequently in a 
note to the introduction to the Letters to C, vol. ii. 

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after an attentive consideration of these papers, urged 
their publication in the following manner, in a letter* in- 
tended to be addressed to the friend to whom Sir Samuel 
Romilly had entrusted the care of his children, and who, 
as far as it was possible for any one to do so, has supplied 
to them the place of their father. 

" I propose, my dear Whishaw, to set down the prin- 
cipal observations which have occurred to me in reading 
the memoirs of the friend whose virtuous intentions we 
wish to fulfil, and whose objects we desire to accomplish, 
by devoting to the public good those writings which 
breathe, in a peculiar manner, the spirit of patriotism 
and benevolence. 

" The private memoirs being written only for himself 
and his family, and he never having thought of publish- 
ing them, it may be asked if his friends have the right to 
do so ; that is, if they would be authorised by him thus 
to reveal his inmost thoughts, and to display the privacies 
of life, the very secrecy of which endears them to us ? 
Should I wish it, were I in his place ? and I, who knew 
him so well, who was thoroughly acquainted with his most 
intimate disposition, can I believe that he would approve 
of their publication ? I believe — to answer my own ques- 
tion — that, always true, always seeking in the public 
good for the sources of his actions, he would say, 'If my 
friends think that this publication can injure no one, 
and that it may be of public utility, I resign myself to 
their judgment, and sacrifice my own inclination.* I think 
also that it must have occurred to him, as to every one 
who writes his own life, that these recollections might be 

* This letter was, in fact, never sent, but was found amongst Mr. 
Dumont's papers after his death. The passage in the text is a trans- 
lation of that portion of it which relates to the priirate memoirs and 
the parliamentary journal ; the rest of the letter refers to other 
manuscripts of Sir Samuel Romilly, which are not of an autobio- 
j^raphical character. 

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one day published either by his friends, or from some 
accidental cause; and this appears to me the more pro- 
bable from the habitual reserve which is preserved towards 
the persons mentioned in them. 

" There is, I think, no other work of this kind which 
could produce the same moral effects upon a youthful 
mind. On one side we see great talents, great repu- 
tation, .and ample fortune ; and, on the other, ah obscure 
origin, scarcely any education, years lost, — and all these 
disadvantages overcome by unwearied application, and by 
efforts constantly directed towards the same end. It is 
a lesson composed entirely of facts, worth more than 
volumes of moral sentiments ; to which none of those 
pretences, by which young people commonly reconcile to 
themselves their own nothingness, can be suggested as an 
answer. Nor does the example stop here. During 
twenty years, no one enjoyed happiness surpassing his, 
and this of a kind to be described by him alone who felt 
it. Although his natural disposition was not without a 
tinge of melancholy, this had ceased at the moment of his 
marriage, and left only that serious turn of mind which 
gave weight to all his thoughts. I, who knew him from 
the age of two-and-twenty, could describe how vividly 
his flexible imagination dwelt on the pleasures derived 
from the beauties of nature, from literature, from the 
fine arts, and from the society of his friends ; and how 
he made all these enjoyments keep their proper place in 
the disposal of his time. But never did I see in him 
any trace of those habits of despondency which produce 
discontent with one's self and with the world. A charm, 
too, is spread over the whole work, and it leaves in the 
mind a feeling of affection for the author ; and this 
because be displays himself without pretension, and be- 
cause the picture he draws relates only to those moral 
feelings, those private virtues, which every one can imitate. 

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and to that domestic life, the happiness of which, as it 
is derived from the purest and most amiable feelings, 
creates jealousy in the breast of no one. Mere men of 
the world will probably disbelieve it : in their eyes it will 
appear a romance, but one that will not offend them ; 
and, by the middling ranks, the most numerous class of 
society, these Memoirs will be read with the same feeling 
as that which dictated their composition. 

" As to the Memoirs of his Pariiamentary life, I should 
have still fewer doubts about them. I know that he wrote 
them only for his private use ; but, at the same time, the 
only objection that he could have made to their publica- 
tion is derived from their imperfect state, the consequence 
of the little care he was able to bestow upon them. But 
it appears to me that we are able to appreciate the force 
of this objection. If these Memoirs present a very in- 
teresting summary ; if they will be read (and as far as I 
can myself judge this will be the case) with very great 
pleasure; if they contain a parliamentary history, in- 
structive in the highest degree with regard to the course 
of public affairs, to the incidents which determine their 
issue, to the difficulties which lie in the way of all reforms, 
and to the precautions necessary to ensure success ; if 
they contain abundance of novel and striking observa- 
tions on many parts of civil and penal legislation ; if, as 
I believe, all this is true, then I think that the publica- 
tion of these Memoirs, although in some respects and on 
certain subjects they be but mere sketches, will confer an 
essential benefit on the public. 

" Above all, it appears to me that no one ever saw a 
more perfect model of all that ought to constitute a 
public man in the character of a member of parliament. 
And all this appears by a simple statement, with no pre- 
tension, no exaggeration, no display of feeling, not a word 
of satire^ not an expression which denotes a man hurt by 

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his want of success ; but, on the contrary, representing 
him never discouraged, always ready to renew his defeated 
projects, and always entertaining the hope that reason 
would one day triumph. 

"To me, these Memoirs appear a precious monument: 
and when I reflect that this laborious undertaking was 
the work of a man always occupied to the utmost extent, 
who gave up to it, as well as to alibis legislative labours, 
that time from whence he might have derived very con- 
siderable professional advantages, it seems to me that it 
cannot fail to produce a lasting eflfect upon those who 
know how to profit by a great example, and to reflect 
upon what may be done with life by him who chooses to 
employ it." 

It is not for the purpose of recording praise of their 
father, or of deprecating criticism on these papers, which 
it would ill become his sons to attempt, that they have 
inserted this letter, but because the writer's intimacy with 
him, prolonged without interruption from youth to the last 
concluding scenes of his life, gives a weight and authority 
to the opinion here expressed, which scarcely leave them 
the liberty of choice. 

In addition to these, the weightiest considerations, they 
have felt that, if they shrank from this task, it might be 
performed at some distant period, when those to whom 
the perusal of this work would afford the highest gratifi- 
cation had passed away, and when none remained either 
to correct accidental errors, or to bear witness to the accu- 
racy of its author. 

If the following pages can furnish any useftil example 
or convey any useful instruction, and thus contribute to 
the honour of their father's memory, their end will be 
answered. It is, in truth, with the view of promoting 
the objects to which he devoted his life, in obedience to 
the spirit which dictated the latest wish recorded by him- 

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self, and under the conviction that these objects and this 
wish will, by these means, be to some extent accomplished, 
that his sons now give these papers to the world. 

The following statement respecting that portion of Sir 
Samuel Romilly's papers which, not being of an autobio- 
graphical nature, forms no part of the present publication, 
is inserted by the Editors, at the request of their father's 
executor, Mr. Whishaw. 

'<In a codicil to Sir Samuel Romilly's will, dated Oct. 1818, 
there is the following passage : — 

" ^ I ha\re for some time past employed what leisure I ha\re had in 
preparing materials for a work on Criminal Law, and have written 
some observations, and collected facts upon different heads, which 
would enter into such a work. What I have written is not by any 
means in a state fit for publication ; but I should be glad if some 
friend of mine would look over it ; and if he thought that there were 
any extracts or detached parts of it which it might be useful to 
publish, either as furnishing good observations, or affording hints 
which might be serviceable to others who may treat on the subject, 
tiiat so much of them should be printed with my name. That such 
a publication may be injurious to my reputation as an author or a 
lawyer I am quite indifferent about ; if it can be any way useful, 
that is all I desire. If my friend, Mr. Whishaw, would look over 
the papers with this view, and decide what should be done with 
respect to them, I should be highly gratified ; they could not possibly 
be in better hands. If it were not to suit him to undertake such a 
task, perhaps my friend Mr. Brougham, who finds time for anything 
that has a tendency to the advancement of human happiness, would 
be able, notwithstanding his numerous occupations, to perform this 
office of friendship.* 

''In compliance with these directions, Mr. Whishaw carefully 
examined the papers in question, and, on full consideration, was of 
opinion that, under all the circumstances of the case, the publication 
of them was no longer a matter of importance, and, unless accom- 
panied or preceded by a more general publication, was, on the 
whole, not advisable. The amendment of the Criminal Law had 
made great progress in public opinion, had engaged the attention of 
Parliament and the executive government, and several of the pro- 
posed measures had been anticipated by the legislature. He will- 
ingly admits that his peculiar habits, and aversion to publicity, may 



have contributed to this opinion. But on consulting others in whom 
he had confidence, and especially his excellent fiiend Sir James 
Mackintosh, then chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on the 
amendment of the Criminal Law, his opinion was confirmed by their 
judgment. He intimated this to the Editors ; and delivered up to 
them all their father's manuscripts at that time in his possession, 
including those which form the principal part of the following work, 
and respecting which no other directions had been left, but that they 
< should be preserved for his children/ The papers on Crimind. 
Law were then in the hands of Lord Brougham ; but these also were 
subsequently returned to the family, with expressions of great kind- 
ness and approbation. To that distinguished individual Mr. W. 
gladly avails himself of the present occasion to record the deep sense 
of gratitude he, in common with every member of Sir S. Romilly's 
family, entertains for the repeated tributes paid by his Lordship, in 
his writings and in his speeches, to the talents and virtues of their 
departed friend.'^ 

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Part I. — Motives for writing his life. Ancestors. His grand- 
father abandons France and settles in England ; his marriage, 
difficulties, and death. His father's character. Anecdote. His 
own infancy. Mrs. Facquier. Mary Evans. Instances of his 
early disposition. French chapel. Day school. Plans of life. 
His self-education. His brother^s marriage. Mr. de la Haize's 
legacies. Articled to Mr. Lally. His occupations. Friendship 
with Mr. Roget. His sister's marriage. Greenway. 

Pages 1—28 


Past II. — Motives for resuming this narrative. Reasons for re- 
linquishing the Six Clerks' office. Enters at Gray's Inn. Mr. 
Spranger. Ill health. Lord George Gordon's riots, and their 
effects on his health. Journey to Switzerland. Lausanne. So- 
ciety of Geneva. Criminal Trial. Dumont. Excursions. 
Journey. Paris. Illuminations. D'Alembert, Diderot, Romilly. 
Mde Delessert. Return to England. Baynes. Called to the 
bar... Death of Mr. Roget Journey to Paris. Dr. Franklin. 
Mr. Gautier. Geneva. Abb6 Raynal. Return to England. 
Midland circuit. Sergeant HiU. Old Wheler. His father's 
death. His clerk Bickers. Mirabeau; Trial of Hardy ; Mr. 
Justice Buller. Lord Lansdowne. Fragment on the consti- 
tutional power and duties of juries. The Rev. Dr. Madan's 
Thoughts on Executivs Justice. Observations on a hte publication 

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entitled Thoughts, 8fc, Ascougb, Perceval, Bramston. Quarter 
sessions. Death of Baynes. Journey to Paris. Mirabeau. 
BicStre. Malesherbes ; Anecdote. French politics and society. 
Return to England. Statement of rules of the House of Com- 
mons. Thoughit on the probable influence of the French revolution 
on Great Britain, Visit to Paris. Courrier de Provence. Abb6 
Sieyes. Anecdotes. Mallouet Mirabeau • Pages 29 — 82 




I. — Lord George Gordon's riots. Meeting in St. George's 
Fields. Tumults at Westminster. Attack upon the 

Catholic Chapels .83 

II. — Lord George Gordon's riots— continued. Lord Sand- 
wich. The prisons broken open, and houses burnt. 
|if easures of the Government • • . .90 
III. — -Anecdotes respecting the riots. Character of Lord 
Greorge Gordon. Steps taken by the Inns of Court. 

Tumults at Bath 93 

IV. — ^Effect of the riots upon his own health. Character of 
the new parliament. Burke's rejection at Bristol. The 
appeal of the Protestant Association compared to the 
war song of the American savages . • .98 
V. — His friends ; occupations ; and future prospects. Ame- 
rican war; Arnold's conduct and proclamation; Major 
Andr6. Burke's speech at Bristol . . • 101 
VI. — Machiavel's Del Principe. Voltaire's Anti-Machiavel. 
Hurricane in the West Indies. Rousseau . 106 

VII. — Debate in the House of Lords on the Dutch war. Death 

of Mrs. Facquier 109 

VIII. — Remarks on a bill to disable contractors from sitting in 
Parliament. English judges in India. Petition of the 

Gentoos 114 

IX. — ^Tendency to exaggerate the miseries of life. Mode of 

life; politics • 118 

X. — Burke's motion on the conduct of Rodney and Vaughan 
at St. Eustatius. Religious debating societies. Howard 
on prisons .•••••• 121 

XI. — Description of the Grande Chartreuse . .125 

XII — Ostend. Diderot and Rousseau. Life of Seneca. 

Character of the French. Mass at Versailles • 127 

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XIII. — Diderot ; anecdote of Hume. Birth of the Dauphin ; 

rejoicings on the occasion • • • Page 131 

XIV. — Lord Comwallis taken prisoner. Meeting of parliament. 

Fox's Amendment to the Address . . .134 

XV. — Character of Lord North*s administration. Pitt's first 

speeches. Roget's future plans. Fine arts at Paris. 

Houdon 139 

XVI.— De Lolme. French Atheists. Taking of St. Eustatius. 

D'Alembert 144 

XVII. — ^Foz's motion on the conduct of Lord Sandwich. De- 
bate on General Conway's motion on the American 

war . • 147 

XVIIL — Rejoicing of the people on the prospect of a change of 
ministry. Cross elections at Geneva. Demagogues less 
dangerous in office than out of it Wilkes. . 151 
XIX. — Motion for the removal of the Ministry. Their resig- 
nation. Burke^s speeches, and eloquence. On the 
engagement not to accept office • . .154 
XX. — Change of ministry ; Lord North. Lord George 
Gordon. Affiiirs in Ireland ; Eden's conduct. Fox's 
speech ....... 159 

XXI. — Debate on Pitt's motion for parliamentary reform. 

Atheism • 162 

XXII. — Rodney's victory over De Grasse. Debate on his recall. 

Hood. Geneva 167 

XXIII. — Death of Lord Rockingham. Resignation of Fox, 
Burke, &c. Their speeches on resigning. New ap- 
pointments •...•., 171 
XXIV. — Geneva. Abb6 St. Pierre and Rousseau on perpetual 
peace •••.... 175 
XXV. — Prospects in his profession. Genevese colony in Ireland. 
Hume on eloquence ; Orators of England, and of an- 
tiquity; Bolinbroke 178 

XXVI. — Anticipation of peace. King's speech on the opening 
of parliament ; debate ; Fox's speech. Genevese emi- 
gration. Locke 181 

XXVII. — His profession. Geneva. Characters of Duroveray, 
Claviere,&c Pitt's talents . . . .189 
XXVIII. — Linguet. M6moire9 9ur la Bastille, Mirabeau; in- 
fluence of religion on eloquence. Alliance between 

Fox and Lord North 195 

XXIX. — Coalition ministry ..... 203 

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XXX. — ^Pitt's motion for refonn in parliament Anecdote. 

Penal Code. Locke and Rousseau on education. On 

Roget's proposed return to England • Page 206 

XXXI.— To hifl sister on the loss of her husband • .213 

XXXII.— On the same subject . . • . .215 



XXXIII. — From Mh. Baynes. Cheanbre du ParlemenL Renault. 

(note) Dr. Parr's account of Mr. Baynes . .218 

XXXIV. — Fhm THE Count de M wabeau. Work on the order 

of Cincinnatus • 220 

XXXV.— From THE SAME. On Fontenelle • . . 222 
XXXVL—From the same. On hospitals . . . 228 
XXXVII. — From the same. Gibbon. Marquis of Lansdowne. 
Examination of coniricted criminals . . 236 
XXXVIII. -From Mr. Baynes. Fox. Mirabeau. His friend- 
ship 242 

XXXIX. — From the same. On his expectation of the Marquis 
of Lansdowne's offering Mr. Romilly a seat in par- 
liament ....••• 244 
XL. — From the Count de Mibabeau. On the immortality 
of the soul. On Mr. Romilly's prospects . . 244 
XLI. — From the same. His journey to Paris, and publication 
of the Banque (TEspagne .... 247 

XLII.— From the Mabquis of Lansdownb. On Mr. R. g 
Observation* on Madan't Executive Justice . 250 

XLlll. — From Sib G. Elliot. On the same subject • 251 
XLI v.— From M. Target. On the same subject , 252 

XLV.— From Mb. Baynes- Trinity College. Studies . 253 
XLVI. — From Mr. Wilbebforce. On the death of Mr. 

Baynes 255 

XLVII. — From Mb. Mason (the poet). On the ame subject 



XLVIII. — To Madame D. Journey from Paris. Mr. Seguier^s 

speech 257 

XLIX. — To THE same. King's recovery. The King of Prussia's 
letters. Gray's letters. Abb^ de Mably • .258 

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L. — To THE SAME. Abergavezmy ; beauty of the country ; 

Palm Sunday. Abolition of slave-trade • Page 260 

LI. — To M. DuMONT. Debate on the slave-trade. Fox, 

Wilberforce, Necker, Burke. Petition from Sheffield 

LII. — From M. Dumont. SocUU dea Amis des Noira, 

Rousseau and Voltaire 265 

IJII. — To M. Dumont. Rules of the House of Commons, 
Mirabeau. Slave ships; misrepresentations of their 

captains 267 

LIV. — From M. Dumont. Rules of ike House of Commons^ 
Disinclination of the French to borrow from the British 

constitution • 270 

LV. — To M. Dumont. French Revolution ; sympathy of the 
English. Mirabeau. Murder of Foulon • 271 

LVI. — From Mlle D. Switzerland ; Canton of Berne ; hap- 
piness of the people. Expectations respecting the 
French Revolution • . • • • 273 
LVII, — From Mr. Trail. Mirabeau's proposition for a Riot 
Act in France. National Assembly. Departure of the 
Duke of Orleans. Reported plots. Excursion to Ver- 
sailles, 5th and 6th October. Entertainment given by 

the Gardes du Corps 276 

LVIII. — From M. Dumont. On the French Revolution. Effect 
of the removal of the National Assembly to Paris. 

Slave-trade 279 

LIX. — To Madame" D. Opinion on the removal of the Na^ 
tional Assembly. Change of opinion in England on 
the French Revolution • • • .281 

LXw — To M. Dumont. The English law respecting the sup- 
pression of riots ; powers of the justices of tJbe peace ; 
employment of military force ; Riot Act • . 283 
LXI. — To the same. Courrier de Provence, On the exclu- 
sion of ministers from the National Assembly. On 
rewards for discovering conspiracies in France. Poor 
Laws. Suppliants • • • • . 286 
LXII. — To the same. Law proposed in National Assembly 
respecting the children of bankrupts. False reports of 
tumults at Paris. History of the French Revolution. 

Joseph II 288 

LXIII. — From M. Dumont. Mirabeau's loss of favour in the 
Assembly. Law respecting the children of bankrupts. 

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Intentions of writing the history of the French Revo- 
lution. Geneva. Rousseau s Confessions • Page 290 
LXIV, — To Mr. Vaughan. Domine Salvum, &c. Diwaont. 
Miraheau. Courrier de Provence • • • 294 


LXV. — To M. DuMONT. Urges him to write a history of the 

French Revolution. Slave-trade . . . 296 

' LXVI. — To Madame G. Congratulations. Reflections on the 

progress of the French Revolution. State of Flanders 

LXVII. — From Madame G, The king's acceptance of the con- 
stitution. On the finances. State of France. Division 
into departments ...... 299 

LXVIII. — From the same. Thoughts on the Influence, &c. On 
the State of France ; want of employment, and general 
distress ........ 301 

LXIX. — From the same. Proceedings of the Assembly ; 
Judicial establishments ; church property. General 

licence 303 

LXX. — To Madame G. Opinion on the National Assembly. 
Right of making peace and war. Spanish war ; cala- 
mities of war 306 

LXXI.— 7b the same. Bentham's Defence of Usury. Adam 

Smith's Mwral Sentiments, Opinions of the universities 

on the French Revolution . • . • . 308 

LXXII. — To M . DuMONT. Affairs of Geneva ; advice to Dumont 

respecting them ...... 309 

LXXIII.— 7b M. G . Congratulations on the birth of a 

daughter. Reflections on the French Revolution. Meet- 
ing of parliament. Warren Hastings • .312 
LXXIV. — From Madame G. Opinion on the French Revolution 


, 1791. 

LXXV. — From the same. Manner in which English opinions 
are considered in France. Danton and Pastoret 315 

LXXVI.— 7b M. Dumont.— Gro«tw//'« Letters, On Paine's 
Rights of Man. Bentham . . . .316 

LXXVII. — From Madame G. Paine and Burke. Death of 
Mirabeau ; his character and funeral . . 319 


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LXXVIII. — From M. Dumont. On the death of Mirabeau. 
GroenwU'a Letten .... Page 323 

LXXIX. — To Madame G. Of Mirabeau's character. Slave- 
trade ; prejudices. Burke and Paine . . 324 
LXXX. — From Mr. Trail. The King's reception on his return 
from Vaiennes. Anecdote. Bon-mot on Voltaire^s 

iiineral • 327 

LXXXI. — To Madame G. On the Birmingham riots . 329 
liXXXII.— 7b M. Dumont. On Groenvelt's Letters . 330 

ItXXXIII. — From Mr. Wilson (note). Characters of Wilson and 
Trail. Louis XVI/s acceptance of the constitution. 
" Richard'* at the Italian opera. Stories current at 
Paris. The republicans in the Assembly. D'Andr£. 
Chamfort. Yoinefs Ruinet . • .331 

LXXXIV.— From Mr. Trail. Popularity of Louis XVI. Illu- 
minations. Rerocation of the decree in favour of the 
gens de coukur. Barnave. Report on national edu- 
cation. The Queen and French princes. FSles Na- 
tionaks. Bailly. Emigrations . • . 336 

LXXX v.— To . Trials of the Birmingham rioters at 

Warwick 339 

I^XXVI. — From Madame G. Legislative Assembly. General 

desire of the nation for peace and order. Emigration 

among the middle classes .... 344 

LXXXYII. — To Madame G. His profession. National Assembly. 

Fox. Insurrection at St. Domingo • • 346 


LXXXVIII.— ro Madamb G. The French Revolution ; conduct 
of the Assembly. Slave>tiade abolition ; resolution 
rejected by the Lords ; feeling in favour of the bill. 

Lotteries 349 

LXXXIX.— r© M. Dumont. Arrival of young D . On the 

September massacres at Paris • . • 350 

XC.—From M. Dl-mont. Death of M. de la Rochefo« 

cauld. September massacres ; how far provoked. 

Cabanis 352 

XCI. — To M. Dumont. On the September massacres. 
Union of political proscription, and religious per- 
secution ....... 355 

XCIL— i^ow M. Dumont. Parisian mob. Passports. Con- 

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duct of Catherine II. Louis XIV» EflTect of the 
Prussian and Austrian alliance • . Page 356 

XCIII. — Fhmt The Marquis op Lansdowne. Country gen- 
tlemen. Reform in Parliament. French clergy ; per- 
secution ••••••• 358 

XCIV.— From Madame G. The French Republic. Trial of 
Louis XVI, Conduct of the Convention. England 
and its institutions 359 


XCV. — From Madame 6. War with England ; consolations. 

State of Paris 362 

XCVI.— 7b M. DuMONT. Edinburgh. Dugald Stewart's 
account of Adam Smith. Administration of justice 
in Scotland. Scotch scenery; Loch Lomond. The 

Rev. Mr. Stuart 364 

XCVII. — 7*0 THE SAME. M. Guyot. F&ris massacres. Manuel; 

anecdotes 368 

XCVIII. — To THE SAME. On literary composition • • 370 

XCIX.— From M. DuMONT. The Gironde. Brissot . 373 

C. — To M. DuMONT. Profession of the law. State of 

France. The Queen s trial. Kentucky. American 

writers, 375 


CI. — To Madame G. Anxiety for the safety of her family. 
Stateof France; of England • • ,377 
I CII. — To Mr. Duo ALD Stewart. Adam Smith. Imprison- 
ment of Mr. D 379 

cm. — To Madame G. Congratulations on the release of 

. Mr. D . Profession of the law. State of the 

country. Volunteers • . • • . 380 


CIV. — 7b Mr. Duoald Stewart. Expedition into Brittany. 
Memoirs of the Girondistes. Madame Roland 

Louvet 383 

CV. — Fhnn M. Dumont. Garat's apology, and Madame 
Roland's memoirs. Destruction of the Girondistes 
Hie Convention 385 

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CVI. — 7b M. DuMONT. Garat. French character. French 
pamphlets; spies; prisons. Tronson du Coudray 

Page 387 


CVII. — To THE SAME. London. Mitford's Greece. Lite- 
rary composition. Charlotte Smith's novels. Drouet's 

escape 389 

CVIII. — From M. Dumont. Worthing. Literary compo- 
sition 391 

CIX.— 7b M. Dumont. Proposed Visit to Bowood • 393 


CX« — 7b HIS Nephew. Friendship^ Advice against too 
close an application to study. Hastings • • 394 


CXI, — Fnw» M. Dumont. Congratulations on Mr. R.'g 

marri£^ 395 

CXII. — From Mr. Manners Sutton. Same subject • 397 

CXIII. — 7b Madams G. Announcing his marriage • 397 

CXIV. — 7b the same. M. Corancez' book ; Rousseau. Coxe's 

Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole . • .398 


CXV. — From M. Dumont. Education ; Sandford and Merton 

CXVI.— 7b Madame G. Criticisms on La Harpe . 401 


CXVn. — 7b the SAME. Riots; cause of them; mistaken ex- 
pedients to check them ; resolutions . • 403 


CX VIII.— 7b M. Dumont. Bentham. Traitei de LtgUlation 
civile et penale. Dugald Stewart s Life of Robertson. 
Hume • • 405 

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Abbeville ; beggars — improvement in the condition of the people 
and land. — ^Paris ; Place de la Concorde. — Original MS. of Dr. 
Franklin's life. — ^Talleyrand ; England and France. — ^Picture by 
Girodet. — Gallois; Tribunal criminel; juries; witnesses; fre- J> 

quent acquittals. Other courts ; special juries ; examination of N 

the accused by the judges. — Place de Greve; the guillotine ; ex- ■ 2 
ecution. — Inscriptions on public buildings; monuments; Le ^j^ 
Brun. — The opera ; Talleyrand ; dinner at Neuilly, — St, Cloud ; ■ '^ 
pictures. — Lotteries. — Madlle. Duchesnois. — Bonaparte — Hall of I ) 
the legislative body. — ^Palais Bourbon. — ^National Institute. — J 

' Galvanism. — Anniversary of the Republic; illuminations. — Dinner 
at Talleyrand's. — Infernal machine. — Inscriptions in the H6tel j ^ 
des Invalides. — Gallery of the Museum ; West ; pictures ; Ver- ' t 
saiUes. — Houses of the Bonaparte family ; levee at St. Cloud. — ' X 
National library; manuscripts. — Leaves Paris. — Abundance of 
specie; assignats; banknotes; high rates of interest ; despotism 
in France ; police ; restraints upon the press ; English newspapers 
prohibited; spies; Bonaparte. State prisoners. — Fouch6; Liberie 
andEgalit^; Tuileries; Bonaparte; cause of his power. — ^French 
opinion of Pitt ; disposition to refine • • Pages 407 — 424 

CXIX — 7b Madame G. Friendship. Bonaparte's proclamation ' 
against the Swiss. Paley's Natural Theology • 424 ! 

1803. i 


CXX.— r© M. DuMONT. Edinburgh Review. Lord King. '' 

War with France. Influence of Pitt. Fox ; Tiemey. ■ 

Bonaparte's detention of English travellers. Bentham > 

426 : 

CXXI. — 7b Madame G. Domestic happiness. Profession of . 

the law. Bowood 428 \ 


Romilly appointed Chancellor of Durham ; circumstances which ' 
led to the appointment ; Mr. Bernard ; duties of the office ; limited ' 
number of causes; reception at Durham. — Offer of a seat in par- ' 
liament from the Prince of Wales; Creevey ; Miss Seymour; ' 
Mrs. Fitzherbert; answer to Creevey's letter ; Princess of Wales; ' 
Lady Douglas; Lord Thurlow .... 429—446 

Appendix 447—458 

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I ^ . ^ |p ^ ! 1^ 




H S^l J- (•»■' 

i4 ''i^ 

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^" 4^ 








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IN 1796. 

1751— 1718. , ^,, ,,^ 

August 16, 1796. 
I SIT clown to write my life ; the life of one who never 
achieved anything memorahle, who will probahly leave no 
posterity, and the memory of whom is therefore likely to 
survive him only till the last of a few remaining and affec- 
tionate friends shall have followed him to the grave. A 
subject so uninteresting will hardly awaken the curiosity 
of any one into whose hands this writing may chance to 
faU, and I may almost be assured of having no reader but 
myself^ In truth, it is for myself that I write, for myself 
alone ; for my own instruction, and my own amusement 
In old age, if I should live to be old, I may find a plea- 
sure, congenial to that season of life, in retracing the 
actions and sentiments of my youth and of my manhood, 
less imperfectly than by the aid of an impaired and de- 
caying memory, and as it were in living again with rela- 
tions and with friends long deceased. 

If I had the inclination, I have not the means, of speak- 
ing of many of my ancestors. The first of them that I 
have ever heard of is my great-grandfather ; and of him 
I know little more than that he had a pretty good landed 
estate at Montpellier. in the south of France, where he 
resided. He was a Protestant, but living under the reli- 
gious tyranny of Louis XIV., and in a part of France 
where persecution raged with the greatest fury, he found 
it prudent to dissemble his^ fkithy and it was only in the 

▼OL. I. B 

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2 NABRATIVE OP 1757-78. 

privacy of his own family that he ventured to worship 
Grod in the way which he judged would find favour in His 
sight. His only son, my grandfather, he educated in his 
own religious principles, and so deeply did the young man 
imbibe them that, when he was about seventeen years of 
age, * he made a journey to Geneva for the sole purpose of 
there receiving the sacrament. It was a journey which 
had most important consequences to his posterity, and to 
which I owe that I was not born under the despotism of 
the French monarchy, and that I have not fallen a victim 
to the more cruel despotism which succeeded it. At 
Geneva my grandfather met with the celebrated Saurin, 
who happened to be on a visit there. The reputation of 
that extraordinary man was then at the highest. He was 
revered as an apostle ; and his eloquence and his authority 
could not fail to make a forcible impression on a young 
mind deeply tinctured with that religious fervour which 
persecution generally inspires. The result of a few con- 
versations was a fixed determination in my grandfather 
to abandon for ever his native country, his connexions, 
his friends, his affectionate parents, and the inheritance 
which awaited him ; and to trust to his own industry for 
a subsistence amidst strangers, and in a foreign land, but 
in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. Instead 
of returning to Montpellier, he set out for London ; and 
it was not till he had landed in England that he apprized 
his father of the irrevocable resolution which he had 
formed. He, at first, met with much more prosperity in 
the country, which he had thus adopted, than he could 
have had reason to expect. His father endeavoiured to 
alleviate the hardships of his exile by remitting him 
money ; and, after he had been a few years in England, 
he set up with a tolerable capital at Hoxton, in the neigh- 
bourhood of London, in the business of a wax- bleacher. 
He soon afterwards married Judith de Monsallier,t the 

* In 1701 : he waa bom in 1684. 

f She was one of four children of Francis de Monsallier : the 
other three were also daughters ; Lucy, married to Solomon Pages ; 
Anne Marie Picart, married to a person of the name of De Laferty ; 
and Elizabeth, married to [Samuel] Fludyer. See the will of Francis 

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1757—78. HIS EABLY LIFE, PAKT I. 3 

daughter of another French refugee, and he hecame the 
father of a very numerous family. His generosity, his 
piety, his afPection for his wife, his tenderness towards his 
children, and their reciprocal fondness and veneration for 
him, are topics on which I have often heard my father 
and my aimts enlarge with the most lively emotion. His 
generosity, indeed, was such, that it led him into expenses 
which the profits of his business alone would have ill ena* 
bled him to support ; but he had a better resource in the 
remittances which he was seldom long without receiving 
from his father. 

This resource, however, at last faOed, and a sad reverse 
of fortune ensued. His father died: a distant relatioa 
(but the next heir who was a Catholic) took possession of 
the estate, and my grandfather was reduced to a very 
scanty income for the subsistence of his large family; 
difficulties were soon «(iultiplied upon him, and bank- 
ruptcy and poverty were the consequences. His gentle 
spirit sunk under these calamities, and he died at the 
age of forty-nine of a broken heart, leaving behind him a 
widow, fom* sons, and four daughters, and most of them 
wholly unprovided for.* To them, though they were all 
of an age to discern the full extent of the melancholy 
prospect before them, all misfortunes appeared light in 
comparison with the loss of such a parent; and the 
yoimgest of them, whose nam« was Joseph, abandoning 
himself to grief and despair, was within a few months 
buried in the grave which had recently closed upon his 

Of the three remaining sons, Stephen, Isaac, and Peter, 
my father was the youngest. He was born in the year 
1712, and had been bound by my grandfather an appren- 
tice to a jeweller, of the name of Lafosse, who lived in 
Broad Street, in tiie City. 

During his apprenticeship he contracted a great intih 

de If oDfiiHier, dated ftth May, 1735. When he died does not ajK 
pear, buttfaere is a codicil to hu will, dated 13th Oct., 1726. 

* He died in 1733. His four daughters were Ann, afterwards 
married to * * * * Gibbons ; Catherine, who married * * * * Hunter; 
and Martha and Margaret, who were never married. 

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4 NARRATIVE OP 1757—78. 

macy with one of his fellow-apprentices of the name of 
Garnault, who was, like himself, the son of a Protestant 
refugee. This lad had a sister, to whom my father was 
introduced, and his acquaintance with her soon grew up 
into a mutual passion. The hrother long encouraged it ; 
but afterwards, either from a change in his own prospects 
in life, founded on a hope which he conceived that a rich 
uncle would leave him his estate, or from mere caprice, 
he began to look on my father with coolness, disapproved 
the visits to his sister, and at last desired that they might 
be discontinued. She had no money, indeed, but she had 
rich relations, and they too were averse to her marrying 
a young man without fortune, and with no other expecta- 
tions than what industry, honesty, youth, and good health 
could enable him to form. The passion, however, which, 
under the sanction of her nearest relations, she had in- 
dulged, had taken too strong possession of her mind to be 
dismissed just as they should dictate ; but what she could 
do she did, she submitted to their authority, resigned all 
hopes of marrying my father, and gave herself up to a de- 
spair which destroyed her health, and endangered her life. 
My father soon afterwards quitted the kingdom, and 
went to reside at Paris. There he continued for a con- 
siderable time, working as a journeyman in his business ; 
and having saved out of his little earnings a small sum 
of money, he employed it in making an excursion into 
the south of France. Montpellier was amongst the places 
which he visited ; and he did not fail to take a view of 
the family estate, now in the possession of strangers and 
irrecoverably lost, since it could be redeemed only by 
falsehood and apostacy. 

^ In this part of the manuscript there is a considerable erasure. 
The writer had no doubt proceeded to give an account of his father's 
marriage, and of the circumstances connected with that event ; but 
dissatisfied, as it would seem, with what he had written, he expunged 
several pages. This chasm in the narrative he never afterwards filled 
up \ and the papers he has left do not afford any materials from 
which to supply the deficiency, beyond the fact that Miss Gamault's 
family at length consented to her union with Mr. RomUly's father, 
which accordingly took place. — ^Ed. 

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1767-78. HIS EARLY UPE. PART L 5 

His children were his greatest delight ; and yet of the 
six eldest of those children, five died in infancy. The 
sixth, a girl, lived indeed a few years longer, but she 
lived only till she had taken stronger hold of his affec- 
tions, and then was torn from him like the rest. The 
death of this favourite child was considered by my father 
as the greatest calamity of his life. Her extraordinary 
perfections, my father's doting love of her, his habit of 
waking her in the morning by playing on a flute at the 
side of her bed, his anxious solicitude during her illness, 
and the violence of his grief at the loss of her, have 
been often described to me. I was not born^ myself till 
several years after her death. 

Naturally, my father was of the most cheerful and 
happy disposition, always in good humour, always kind 
and indulgent, always, even in the worst circumstances, 
disposed to expect the best, enjoying all the good he met 
with in life, and consoling himself under adversity with 
the hope that it would not be of long duration. Of ex- 
treme sensibility, and quick in expressing what he felt, 
he was subject to violent transports of anger ; but they 
were always short and transient, and left not the least 
trace of resentment behind, not even where a real injury 
had been done him : warm and persevering in his friend- 
ship, he can hardly be said to have ever entertained an 
enmity. He was very religious, but his religion was 
without austerity: and, though he did not fail to read 
prayers in the midst of his family every Sunday, he at- 
tached much less importance to the forms of religion than 
to the substance of it ; and the substance he thought con- 
sisted in doing good to our fellow-creatures. His charity 
far exceeded the means of his fortune, and he sometimes 
indulged it to a degree which cold discretion might tax 
with imprudence. At a time when he had but a slender 
income, and a numerous family, it happened that he fre- 
quently observed in a street in his neighbourhood a 
woman lying at a door in rags and dirt, half naked, and 
apparently in extreme distress, yet generally intoxicated j 

' He was bom on the Ist of March, 1757. — Ed. 

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( NARRATIVE OF 1757-^78. 

she had a female infant by her side, who was crying for 
bread, but to whose cries she seemed insensible. My 
father's imagination was forcibly struck by this spectacle 
of wretchedness and depravity. He pictured to himself, 
in strong colours, the fate to which the wretched child 
seemed devoted, and he determined if possible to save her. 
He applied to the woman, who, without diflSculty, parted 
with the child, of which she did not pretend to be the 
mother. He clothed her, maintained her for several 
years, had her taught to read and work, and when she 
had grown up to a proper age, provided for her the place 
of a servant, and had the satisfaction to see her in that 
situation living for many years with reputation and com- 

There was one occurrence, and that a very important 
one, in his life, in which he acted with such unexampled 
disinterestedness, and made so extraordinary a sacrifice of 
his happiness to what he conceived to be his duty, that 
it is with great reluctance that I deny myself the satis- 
faction of relating it ; but it is unfortunately connected 
with transactions the memory of which might give great 
pain to persons now living, and who perhaps may survive 
me. My father, therefore, I am sure, would be sorry that 
it should be remembered, and I suppress what would 
add so largely to his praise from a pious respect for his 

He used often to talk to his children of the pleasure of 
doing good, and of the rewards which virtue found in 
itself ; and from his lips that doctrine came to us, not as 
a dry and illusive precept, but as a heartfelt truth, and as 
the fruit of the happiest experience. 

All my father's favourite amusements were such as his 
home only could afford liim. He was fond of reading, 
and he had formed for himself a small, but a tolerably well- 
chosen, library. He was an admirer of the fine arts, but, 
pictures being too costly for his purchase, he limited 
himself to prints; and in the latter part of his life, as he 
grew richer, indulging himself in this innocent luxury to 
a degree perhaps of extravagance, he had at last a very 
large and valuable collection. He took pleasure in gar- 
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1757-78. HIS E^RLY UFE, PAKT I. f 

dening, and he hired a small garden, in which he passed 
in the summer most of the few leisure hours which his 
business afPorded him. But I am anticipating a subse* 
qucnt period. 

The loss of so many children filled my father with 
consternation. He began to ascribe it to the unwhole- 
someness of a constant town residence, and he determined 
to take a small lodging in the country, where his family 
might, during the summer months, breathe a purer air 
than that of London. He accordingly hired some rooms 
at Marylebone, which was then a small village about a 
mile distant from town, though it- has now, for many 
years, by the increase of new buildings, been united to, 
and become a part of the metropolis. My father had 
reason to congratulate himself upon the success of this 
experiment, for all the children which he afterwards had 
lived to years of maturity. They were only three ; my 
brother Thomas, my sister Catherine, and myself. 

We were brought up principally by a very kind and 
pious female relation of my mother's, a Mrs. Margaret 
Facquier, who had lived in our family ever since my 
mother's marriage. She taught us to read, and to read 
with intelligence ; though the books in which we were 
taught were ill suited to our age. The Bible, the Spec- 
tator, and an English translation of Telemachus, are those 
which I recollect our having in most frequent use. But 
this kind relation had too bad a state of health to attend 
to us constantly. During the last forty years of her life, 
it seldom happened that many weeks passed without her 
being confined to her bed, or at least to her room. The 
care of us, upon these occasions, devolved on a female 
servant of the name of Mary Evans, who was ill qualified 
to give us instruction or to cultivate our understandings ; 
but whose tender and affectionate nature, whose sensi- 
bility at the sufferings of others, and earnest desire to 
relieve them to the utmost extent of her little means, 
could hardly fail to improve the hearts of those who were 
under her care. 

Perhaps there hardly ever existed three persons more 
affectionate, more kind, more compassionate, and whose 

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g nabrauve of 17»7— ts. 

sentiments and whose example were better calculated to 
inspire every soft and generous affection, than these two 
excellent women and our most excellent father. It was 
under the influence of these examples that we passed our 
earliest years ; as for my mother, she was incapable, from 
the bad state of her health, of taking any part in our 

The servant whom I have mentioned was to me in the 
place of a mother. I loved her to adoration. I remem- 
ber, when quite a child, kissing, unperceived by her, the 
clothes which she wore ; and when she once entertained 
a design of quitting our family and going to live with her 
own relations, receiving the news as that of the greatest 
misfortune that could befal me, and going up into my 
room in an agony of affliction, and imploring God upon 
my knees to avert so terrible a calamity. 

It is commonly said to be the happy privilege of youth 
to feel no misfortunes but the present, to be careless of 
the future, and forgetful of the past. That happy pri- 
vilege I cannot recollect having ever enjoyed. In my 
earliest infancy, my imagination was alarmed and my 
fears awakened by stories of devils, witches, and appari- 
tions ; and they had a >nuch greater effect upon me than 
is even usual with children; at least 1 judge so, from 
their effect being of a more than usual duration. The 
images of terror with which those tales abound, infested 
my imagination very long after I had discarded all belief 
in the tales themselves, and in the notions on which they 
are built ; and even now, although I have been accustomed 
for many years to pass my evenings and my nights in so- 
litude, and without even a servant sleeping in my cham- 
bers, I must, with some shame, confess that they are 
sometimes very unwelcome intruders upon my thoughts. 
I often recollect, and never without shuddering, a story 
which, in my earliest childhood (for my memory hardly 
reaches beyond it), I overheard, as I lay in bed, related 
by an old woman who was employed about our house, of 
a servant murdering his master; and particularly that 
part of it where the murderer, with a knife in his hand, 
had crept, in the dead of night, to the side of the bed in 

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which his master lay asleep, and when, as from a momen- 
tary compunction, he was hesitating before he executed 
his bloody purpose, he on a sudden heard a deep hollow 
voice whispering close to his ear in a commanding tone 
'* that he should accomplish his design I" 

But it was not merely such extravagant stories that 
disturbed my peace ; as dreadful an impression was made 
on me by relations of murders and acts of cruelty. The 
prints, which I found in the lives of the martyrs and the 
Newgate Calendar, have cost me many sleepless nights. 
My dreams, too, were disturbed by the hideous images 
which haunted my imagination by day. I thought myself 
present at executions, murders, and scenes of blood ; and 
I have often lain in bed agitated by my terrors, equally 
afraid of remaining awake in the dark, and of falling 
asleep to encounter the horrors of my dreams. Often 
have I in my evening prayers to God- besought him, with 
the utmost fervour, to suffer me to pass the night undis- 
turbed by horrid dreams. 

I had other apprehensions^ and some of a kind which 
are commonly reserved for maturer years. I was op- 
pressed with a constant terror of death, not indeed for 
myself, but for my father, whose life was certainly much 
dearer to me than my own. I never looked on his coun- 
tenance, on which care and affliction had deeply imprinted 
premature marks of old age, without reflecting that there 
could not be many years of his excellent life still to come. 
If he returned home later than usual, though but half an 
hour, a thousand accidents presented themselves to my 
mind ; and, when put to bed, I lay sleepless and in the 
most tormenting anxiety till I heard him knock. This 
state of mind became so habitual to me, that an uneasi- 
ness and a foreboding of some misfortune came upon me 
regularly about half an hour before the usual time of his 
return, and went on increasing till the moment of his 
arrival. So far, indeed, was I from endeavouring to over- 
come this weakness, that I willingly encouraged it, from 
a strange idea which I had conceived, that by dreading 
misfortunes I prevented them, and that the calamity 
r%ich I feared would, whenever it happened, come upon 

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10 NARRATIVE OF 1767--78; 

me quite unawares. I took a pleasure therefore in in^ 
dulging my terrors, and reproached myself if ever I felt 
a moment of security. 

The idea of my father's approaching death pursued 
me even in the midst of scenes which seemed most likely 
to dispel such gloomy reflections. I rememher once ac- 
companying him to the theatre on a night when Garrick 
acted. The play was Zara, and it was followed by the 
farce of Lethe. The inimitable and various powers of 
acting which were displayed by that admirable performer 
in both those pieces, could not for a moment drive from 
my mind the dismal idea which haunted me. In the 
aged Lusignan I saw what my father in a few years 
would be, tottering on the brink of the grave ; and when 
in the farce the old man desires to drink the waters of 
Lethe that he may forget how old he is, I thought that 
the same idea must naturally present itself to my father; 
that he must see as clearly as I did that his death could 
not be at the distance of many years ; and that, notwith- 
standing his apparent cheerfulness, that idea must often 
prey upon his mind, and poison his happiness more even 
than it did mine. I looked at his countenance as he was 
sitting by me, persuaded myself that I observed a change 
in his features, conjectured that the same painful reflec- 
tions had occurred to him as had to me, repented of having 
entered the theatre, and returned from it as sad and as 
dejected as I could have done from a funeral. 

The anxiety which I constantly felt about my father 
strengthened in me the natural inclination which I always 
had for a life of peace and tranquillity, and gave me such 
an aversion, and even a terror, of every kind of tumult 
and disturbance, as I can hardly describe. It was not 
often that my father took us to any public amusements : 
it did, however, sometimes happen ; and my mother, 
whenever her health would allow of it, was of the party. 
My father, as I have already observed, was of a temper 
warm and impatient of injury, and his solicitude for the 
beloved objects which he had under his charge made him 
resent, with an unnecessary degree of warmth and vio- 
ence, the incivility of those who happened to crowd upon 

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n57-.78. HIS £ARLT LIFE, PART I. H 

US, or in any way to incommode ns. The dread of such 
quarTe]s, and of what might he the consequence of them 
to him, always depressed my spirits when in any place of 
puhlic resort: and the greatest pleasure I readied from 
those kinds of amusements was the satisfaction with 
which, upon our return home, I reflected that he was 
safe, as if there had heen some mighty danger which he 
had escaped. 

My infancy and my childhood, though they were thus 
clouded, did not however pass without many gleams of 
sunshine. My spirits were often high, even to a degree 
of tumult and intoxication, and my imagination was not 
always employed upon melancholy suhjects. My imagi- 
nation, indeed, was the faculty which I most exercised, 
and it was often very husily employed when those ahout 
me were little aware of it. During the winter months we 
were always very regular on Sundays in our morning and 
evening attendance at church. My father had a pew in 
one of the French chapels which had heen established 
when the Protestant refugees first emigrated into Eng- 
land, and he required us to attend alternately there and 
at the parish church. It was a kind of homage which he 
paid to the faith of his ancestors, and it was a means of 
rendering the French language familiar to us: but nothing 
was ever worse calculated to inspire the mind of a child 
with respect for religion than such a kind of religious 
worship. Most of the descendants of the refugees were 
bom and bred in England, and desired nothing less than 
to preserve the memory of their origin ; and their chapels 
were therefore ill attended. A large uncouth room, the 
avenues to which were narrow courts and dirty alleys, and 
which, when you entered it, presented to the view only 
irregular unpainted pews and dusty plastered walls; a 
congregation consisting principally of some strange-look- 
ing old women scattered here and there, one or two in a 
pew ; and a clergyman reading the service and preaching 
in a monotonous tone of voice, and in a language not 
familiar to me, was not likely either to impress my mind 
with much religious awe, or to attract my attention to 
the doctrines which were delivered. In truth, I did not 

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12 NARRATIVE OF 1757-^8. 

even attempt to attend to them ; my mind was wandering 
to other subjects, and disporting itself in much gayer 
scenes than those before me, and little of religion was 
mixed in my reveries. 

But it is time to say something of my education, if the 
little instruction I ever received from masters deserves to 
be so cailed. My brother and myself were sent, when 
we were very young, to a day-school in our neighbour- 
hood, of which the sole recommendation seems to have 
been, that it had once been kept by a French refugee, and 
that the sons of many refugees were still scholars at it. 
All the learning which it afforded we were to receive ; but 
the utmost that our master professed to teach was read* 
ing, writing, arithmetic, French, and Latin, and the last 
was rather inserted in his bill of fare by way of ornar 
ment, and to give a dignity and character to the school, 
than that there was any capacity of teaching it either in 
our master or in any of his ushers. I doubt whether any 
one of them was capable of construing a single sentence of 
the easiest Latin prose. Our master was ignorant, severe, 
and brutal : my brother and myself, however, escaped the 
effects of those bad qualities, by the help of others which 
he possessed; for towards his scholars he was unequal 
and partial, and we were both among his favourites. The 
severity with which he treated many of the other boys, 
however, often excited my indignation and aversion; 
and I often burned with shame at not being among the 
victims of his injustice. He had very bad health, and 
his disorder gave an edge to his ill-humour, and kept it 
in constant activity. Many a poor boy have I seen over- 
whelmed with stripes because our master had a sleepless 
night, or felt the symptoms of a returning rheumatism. 
Young as I then was, I was struck with the bad effects of 
this severe treatment. There were some boys who were 
always in scrapes, continually playing truant, and con- 
tinually punished with increasing severity. Their faults, 
and the mischievousness of their dispositions, seemed to 
increase in proportion to the severity with which they 
were treated. The observation, however, could not, by 
daily experience, force itself upon the mind of so 

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1757—78. HIS EARLY LIFE, PART L 13 

thorough-bred a schoolmaster as Mr. Flack. He would 
as soon have doubted that food is the proper remedy for 
hunger, as that blows and stripes are the only genuine 
promoters of goodness, and incentives to virtue. From 
the nature of the school may be conjectured what was, in 
general, the description of the scholars. They consisted, 
principally, of the sons of all the barbers, bakers, and 
butchers in the neighbourhood ; and the superior gentility 
of my father's trade was, I believe, the contemptible mo- 
tive for the favour which we experienced. At this miser- 
able seminary we continued for several years, and the 
only acquisitions that we made at it were writing, arith- 
metic, and the rules of the French grammar. The more 
familiar use of that language we acquired at home; it 
being a rule established by my father that French should 
be spoken in the family on a Sunday morning, the only 
time which a constant attendance to business allowed him 
to pass with us. 

My father was particularly desirous that I should learn 
Latin, and Latin was among the things which my master 
professed to teach me ; but, after the account which' I 
have ghren of my instructors, it is unnecessary to say that 
I made no proficiency in it. The motive with my father 
for wishing me to learn it was a desire, which he enter- 
tained, that I should enter into the profession of the law ; 
as he destined my brother to succeed himself in his busi- 
ness. But those plans, which he had formed in his own 
mind, were formed in perfect subordination to what might 
be our own choice ; it being a fixed opinion of his, that 
few men succeeded in any profession which they have not 
themselves chosen. He endeavoured, however, by his con - 
versation, to give me a favourable opinion of the way of life 
of a lawyer, an attorney I should say, for his ideas certainly 
soared no higher. But, unfortunately for the success of his 
plan, there was one attorney, and only one, among his 
acquaintance, a certain Mr. Liddel, who lived in Thread- 
needle Street, in the City, and was, I believe, a man emi- 
nent enough in his line. He was a shortish fat man, with 
a ruddy countenance, which always shone as if besmeared 
with grease ; a large wig which sat loose from his head ; 

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14 NARBATIVB OF 1767-78. 

his eyes constantly half shut and drowsy ; all his motions 
slow and deliberate ; and his words slabbered out as if he 
had not exertion enough to articulate. His dark and 
gloomy house was filled with dusty papers and voluminous 
parchment deeds ; and in his meagre library I did not 
see a single volume which I should not have been deterred 
by its external appearance from opening. The idea of a 
lawyer and of Mr. liddel were so identified in my mind, 
that I looked upon the profession with disgust, and en- 
treated my father to think of any way of. life for me but 
that ; and, accordingly, all thoughts of my being an at- 
torney were given up as well by my father as myself. 

But my father was not long without forming other 
schemes for me. Sir Samuel Fludyer, and his brother 
Sir Thomas, who were at the head of a great commercial 
house in the city, were his cousins-german ; two of his 
brothers,* my uncles, had been partners in the house, 
and he began to entertain hopes of my arriving in time 
at the same situation. The Fludyers had began their 
career in very narrow circumstances ; but, by extraordi- 
nary industry, activity, enterprise, and good fortune, they 
had acquired inordinate wealth, and were every day 
increasing it by the profits of a most extensive commerce. 
Sir Samuel was an alderman of the city of London, and 
a member of Parliamentt He had been created a baronet ;> 
and had served the office of Lord Mayor in a year very 
memorable in the history of city honours ;* for it was that 
in which the king, upon his marriage, made a visit to the 
corporation and dined in Guildhall. Notwithstanding, 
however, the great elevation at which fortune had placed 
these opulent relations above my father, they always 
maintained a very friendly intercourse with him, and 
professed, perhaps sincerely, a great desire to serve him. 
Sir Samuel, too, was my god-father; and the humble 
situation of a clerk in his counting-house might, if I had 
pleased him by my conduct, have led to a very brilliant 
fortune. My father therefore determined to fit me for 

* Stephen and Isaac. f For Ghippenham. 

» On Nov. 13, 1756.--ED. « In 1761.— Ed. 

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17*7—78, HIS EARLY LIFE. PART L 15 

that situation, and it was resolved that I should learn the 
art, or science (I know not which it should be called), of 
keeping merchants' accounts. A master was accordingly 
provided for me. I was equipped with a set of journals, 
waste hooks, bill books, ledgers, and I know ; not what ; 
and I passed some weeks in making careful entries of 
ideal transactions, keeping a register of the times when 
fictitious bills of exchange would become due, and posting 
up imaginary accounts. I should have lost more time 
than I did in this ridiculous employment, if my instructor, 
Mr. Johnson, as he was called, (but whose name was per- 
haps as fictitious as those of my correspondents at Am- 
sterdam, at Smyrna, and in both the Indies, and to whose 
merits my father had been introduced only by an adver- 
tisement in a newspaper,) had not suddenly decamped to 
avoid his creditors. Events which soon afterwards happened 
made it unnecessary to look out for a new professor of 
the mercantile science. Sir Samuel Fludyer died of an 
apoplexy ; Sir Thomas did not long survive him ; and all 
the prospects of riches and honours which we thought 
opening upon me, were shut out for ever. 

Other plans were now to be thought of, and my father 
talked at one time of placing me as an apprentice with a 
jeweller and silversmith in Cheapside. Neither this, how- 
ever, nor any other scheme was carried into execution. 
What prevented them I do not recollect ; but at the age 
of fourteen, when I had left school, I remained at home 
without any certain destination, and my father began to 
employ me in his business, at first because I had no other 
occupation, and afterwards with a view to its being carried 
on by me and my brother when he should decline it. 

A short time before his marriage, my father had set up 
for himself as a jeweller ; and by his diligence and honesty 
in his dealings, and the taste andj merit of his workman- 
ship, he had so much extended his business, and had 
acquired in it such celebrity, that, for several years, 
about the period of which I am now speaking, its returns 
were not less than twenty thousand pounds a year. With 
all this, however, he had not acquired much riches by it. 
He had contented himself with very moderate profits, and 

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16 NARRATIVE OF 1767—78. 

that not at the beginning only, and as a means of establish- 
ing his name, but when his reputation was at the highest 
and he was obliged to decline much of the business that 
was oifered him. His easy and unsuspecting nature, too, 
had induced him to give credit incautiously, and his losses 
had been considerable. The business itself, however, if 
properly and skilfully managed, would afford very ample 
profits, was capable of being much enlarged, and might 
be considered as a very good provision both for me and 
for my brother. 

My new employment was merely to keep my father's 
accounts, and sometimes to see and receive orders from 
his customers. In this occupation about two years of 
my life were spent. It was an occupation which never 
pleased me but in one respect ; it imposed little restraint 
upon me, and left me many hours of leisure. These 
I employed in reading, which had been for some time 
my principal amusement. I read, without system or 
object, just such books as fell in my way, such as my father's 
library afforded, and such as several circulating libraries, 
to which I subscribed in succession, could supply. Ancient 
history, English poetry, and works of criticism, were, how- 
ever, my favourite subjects ; and poetry soon began to 
predominate over them all. After a few attempts, I found 
myself, to my unspeakable joy, possessed of a tolerable 
faculty of rhyming, which I mistook for a talent for poetry. 
I wrote eclogues, songs, and satires, made translations of 
Boileau, and attempted imitations of Spenser. My feeble 
verses and puerile images were received with the most 
flattering applause by my family, and afforded supreme 
delight to myself. I was soon persuaded that I possessed 
no inconsiderable share of genius. My father's business 
became every day more unpleasant to me, and I lamented 
that I had not been educated for some profession connected 
with literature. I considered that it was not yet too late 
for me, with an abundance of zeal, to make a very great 
progress. I determined, therefore, when I was between 
fifteen and sixteen years of age, to apply myself seriously 
to learning Latin, of which I, at that time, knew little more 
than some of the most familiar rules of grammar. Having 

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1757-78. HIS BABLY UFE, PART I. 17 

made myself tolerably master of the grammar, I was for- 
tunate enough to meet with a very good scholar in a 
Scotchman of the name of Paterson, who kept a school 
in Bury Street, St. James's, and who became my instructor. 
From him I every day received a lesson, which consisted 
in his correcting my Latin exercises, and hearing me 
construe a few pages of some Latin author. But the hour 
I passed with him was a very small portion of the time 
which I every day dedicated to this new study. I con- 
sumed the greatest part of my time in poring over Caesar, 
livy, and Cicero ; in consulting, at every difficulty, the 
translations of those authors which I had procured ; and 
in making translations of my own, first from Latin into 
English, and then back again into Latin. 

In the course of three or four years, during which I 
thus applied myself, I had read every prose writer of the 
ages of pure Latinity, except those who have treated merely 
of technical subjects, such as Varro, Columella, and Cel- 
sus. I had gone three times through the whole of Livy, 
Sallust, and Tacitus : I had read all Cicero, with the excep- 
tion, I believe, only of his Academic questions, and his 
treatises De Finibus, and De Divinatione. I had studied 
the most celebrated of his orations, his Lcelius, his Cato 
ASajor, his treatise De Oraiore, and his Letters, and had 
translated a great part of them. Terence, Virgil, Horace, 
Ovid, and Juvenal, I had read again and again. From 
Ovid and from Virgil I made my translations in verse, for 
so I ought to call them, rather than poetical translations. 
At the time, however, they appeared to me to have such 
merit, that I remember reading with triumph, first Dry- 
den's translations, and then my own, to my good-natured 
relations, who concurred with me in thinking that I had 
left poor Dryden at a most humiliating distance ; a proof 
certainly, not of the merit of my verses, but of the bad- 
ness of my judgment, the excess of my vanity, and the 
blind partiality of my friends. 

In ranging through such a variety of authors and study- 
ing their works, I did not imagine that I was doing any 
thing extraordinary. With great simplicity, I supposed 
that a similar course of reading entered into the plan of 

yoL. I. c 

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18 NARRATIVE OF , 1767—78. 

education adopted at our public schools and Universitiea. 
Greek I attempted, but with no success ; and, after seri- 
ously considering the difficulties which the language pre- 
sented, and the little probability that there was at my time 
of life of my ever becoming completely master of it, or 
even of my making in it any tolerable progress, mthout 
sacrificing a large portion of time which might be more 
usefully employed, I renounced the hope of ever reading 
the Greek writers in the original. I determined, however, 
to read them ; and I went through the most considerable 
of the Greek historians, orators, and philosophers, in the 
Latin versions, which generally accompanied the original 

My reading had been so various, that I had acquired 
some slight knowledge of a good many sciences. Travels 
had been one of my favourite subjects ; and, as I seldom 
read either travels or history without maps before me, I 
had acquired a tolerable stock of geographical knowledge. 
I had read, too, a good deal of natural history, and had 
attended several courses of lectures on natural philosophy, 
given by Martin, the optician in Fleet Street, by Fergu- 
son, and by Walker. 

My father's taste for pictures and prints could hardly 
fail of being communicated to his children. I found a 
great source of amusement in turning over the prints he 
was possessed of, became a great admirer of pictures, 
never omitted an opportunity of seeing a good collection, 
knew the peculiar style of almost every master, and attend-^ 
ed the lectures on painting, architectiure, and anatomy, 
which were given at the Royal Academy. 

Such were my pursuits and my amusements ; but these 
were not my only amusements. My father's house fur- 
nished me with others most congenial to my disposition. 
Several happy changes had by this time taken place in our 
family. As my mother advanced in age her constitution 
was strengthened, and she at last recovered a good state of 
health. Our family had been increased and enlivened by 
two female cousins, the children of my uncle Isaac, who 
had been left orphans in their infancy by the premature 
and almost sudden death of both their parents within a 

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1757—78. HIS EABLT LIFE. PAKT I. 19 

few days of each other. Immediately after that melancholy 
event had happened. Sir Samuel Flndyer took the eldest 
under his guardianship, and Sir Thomas the youngest ; 
but a few years only passed before death reduced them 
both to a second orphanage. Their sprightly society and 
amiable dispositions contributed most essentiaUy to the 
happiness of us all. 

The eldest, particularly, added to the utmost sweetness 
of temper, extraordinary accomplishments and uncommon 
beauty. Her charms were really most captivating, and 
both my brother and myself felt the effects of them . Mine, 
however, was the love of a child, and soon yielded to my 
brother's more earnest passion, which increased and 
strengthened with time, and was many years afterwards 
rewarded by marriage. They have ever since lived 
happy in each other and in their children, siurrounded at 
this moment by eight of them, and having never for a 
single instant had their harmony interrupted. 

Among other changes a very considerable one had 
taken place in my father*s circumstances. A very rich 
relation of my mother's, a Mr. de la Haize, had died, and 
had left us very large legacies. To me and to my brother 
2000/. a-piece, to my sister 3000/., to my father, my mo- 
ther, and Mrs. Facquier, legacies of about the same amount 
for their lives with remainder to my brother, my sister, 
and myself, and to each of us a share of the residue of his 
fortune equally with the rest of his legatees. The whole 
property bequeathed to us amounted together to about 
14.000/. or 15,000/. Blessed be his memory for it! ^But 
for this legacy, the portion of my life which is already 
past must have been spent in a manner the most irksome 
and painful, and my present condition would probably 
have been wretched and desperate. I should have engaged 
in business ; I should probably have failed of success in it ; 
and I should at this moment have been without fortune, 
without credit, and without the means of acquiring either, 
and, what would have been most painful to me, my nearest 
relations would have been without resources. 

Upon receiving so large an accession to his fortune, my 
father removed out of his country lodgings into a house. 


20 NABRATIVE OP 1757—78 

still however at Marylebone; though, by the increase of 
the new buildings, it had ceased to be the country, and was 
merely the outskirts of London. There our whole family 
now resided throughout the year, what had been our town- 
house being appropriated entirely to business. Our new 
house was in High Street, and, to judge from its external 
appearance, its narrow form, its two small windows on a 
floor, and the little square piece of ground behind it, which 
was dignified with the name of a garden, one would have 
supposed that very scanty and very homely, indeed, must 
have been this our comparative opiQence and luxury. But 
those who had mingled in our family, and had hearts to 
leel in what real happiness consists, would have formed a 
very dififerent judgment They would have found a lively, 
youthful, and accomplished society, blest with every enjoy- 
ment that an endearing home can afford; a society imited 
by a similarity of tastes, dispositions, and affections, as well 
as by the strongest ties of blood. They would have ad- 
mired our lively, varied, and innocent pleasures ; our sum- 
mer rides and walks in the cheerful country, which was 
close to us ; our winter-evening occupations of drawing, 
while one of us read aloud some interesting book, or the 
eldest of my cousins played and sung to us with exquisite 
taste and expression ; the little banquets with which we 
celebrated the anniversary of my father's wedding, and of 
the birth of every member of our happy society ; and the 
dances with which, in spite of the smallness of our rooms, 
we were frequently indulged. I cannot recollect the days, 
happily I may say the years, which thus passed away, 
without the most lively emotion. I love to transport my- 
self in idea into our little parlour with its green paper, 
and the beautiful prints of Vivares, Bartolozzi, and Strange, 
from tb^ pictures of Claude, Carracci, Raphael, and Cor- 
reggio, with which its walls were elegantly adorned ; and 
to call again to mind the familiar and affectionate society 
of young and old intermixed, which was gathered round 
the fire ; and even the Italian greyhound, the cat and the 
spaniel, which lay in perfect harmony basking before it 
I delight to see the door open, that I may recognise the 
friendly countenances of the servants, and above all of 

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1757—78. HIS EiULLY LIFE. PART I. 21 

the old nurse* to whom we were all endeared, because it 
was while she attended my mother that her health had so 
much improved. 

But yet with such means of happiness, and in the midst 
of ei^oyments so well suited to my temper and disposition, 
I was not completely happy. The melancholy to which I 
had from my childhood been subject, at intervals oppressed 
me ; and my happiness was often poisoned by the reflec- 
tion, that at some time or other it must end. 

The dislike which I had conceived for my father's busi- 
ness every day increased, and I earnestly wished for some 
other employment. My indxilgent father readily yielded 
to my wishes, and, after some consideration, it was deter- 
mined that I should enter into some department of the law. 
The Commons were first thought of; but it was afterwards 
judged, by the friends whom my father consulted, that a 
more advantageous situation for me would be the office of 
the Six Clerks in Chancery. This was accordingly de- 
cided on ; and, at the age of sixteen, I was articled to Mr. 
William Michael Lally, one of the sworn clerks in Chancery, 
for a period of five years. The prejudice which Mr. Liddel 
had inspired me with against all lawyers had been before 
this time removed ; but if any vestige of it had remained, 
it must have yielded to the temper and manners of Mr. 
Lally. A strong natural understanding, improved by much 
general reading, and much knowledge of the world, a high 
sense of honour, the purest integrity, a very brilliant fancy, 
great talents for conversation, an extraordinary flow of 
spirits, and a most convivial disposition, were the predomi- 
nant characteristics of this amiable and estimable man. 

I had not, it was not possible indeed that I should have> 
any accurate idea of the business of a sworn clerk in Chan- 
cery till I had adopted it for my profession. I^ business 
lies in a very narrow compass : it consists almost entirely 
in making copies of bills, answers, and other pleadings in 
Chancery ; in receiving notices of motions to be made in 
suits, and the service of orders pronounced by the court, 
and transmitting them to the solicitors of the different 
suitors ; and in occasional attendance upon the Court of 
Chancery at the hearing of causes, and upon the masters 

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22 NABBATIVEOF 1757—78. 

in Chancery when they are proceeding upon matters re- 
ferred to them. Except these attendances, all the business 
of a clerk in coiurt is transacted at a public office in Chan- 
cery Lane. Mr. Lally acted, as indeed did ^most of the 
other clerks, as a solicitor in Chancery as well as a clerk 
in court ; and his business of a solicitor procured me 
much more attendance upon the court, and in the masters' 
offices, than I should have otherwise had. In these occu- 
pations I found no amusement, and took little interest ; 
but they still left me a great deal of leisure. The office 
was open only during certain hours of the day. In the 
time of vacation, and in one season of the year for three 
months together, no attendance was required. The pa- 
ternal house still continued to be my home, and I still had 
the means of pursuing, with little intermission, my fa- 
vourite studies and amusements. I had soon laid out the 
plan of my future life, which was to follow my profession 
just as far as was necessary for my subsistence, and to as- 
pire to fame by my literary pursuits. For a few years I 
still cultivated that talent for poetry which I supposed 
myself to possess. But insensibly as my judgment im- 
proved, my self-admiration abated ; I even grew dissatisfied 
vnth what I wrote, and before I had obtained my nine- 
teenth year I had the sense, and I may say the good taste, 
to wean myself entirely from the habit of versifying. I 
did not, however, relinquish the pleasing hope, for such it 
was to me, of becoming a very distinguished author. I 
began, therefore, to exercise myself in prose compositions ; 
and, judging translations to be the most useful exercise 
for forming a style, I rendered into English the finest 
models of writing that the Latin language afforded ; almost 
all the speeches in livy, very copious extracts from Taci- 
tus, the whole of Sallust, and many of the finest passages 
in Cicero. With the same view of improving my style, I 
read and studied the best English writers, Addison, Swift» 
Bolingbroke, Robertson, and Hume, noting down every 
peculiar propriety and happiness of expression which I 
met with, and which I was conscious that I should not 
have used myself. 
While I was pursuing these studies with unremitting 

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1757—78. HIS BABLY LIFE, PART I. 23 

zeal, I formed an acquaintance which has had great in- 
fluence on all the subsequent events of my life. It was 
that of Mr. John Roget, a clergyman and a native of 
Geneva, who had then lately left that city, and had been 
elected minister of the French chapel we attended. It 
was no longer the gloomy building which I have de- 
scribed. Out of the permanent funds of the church a new 
chapel had been erected upon a different spot ; small, 
indeed, and suited to the congregation, but neat and cheer- 
ful. The difference between the old and the new edifice 
was not greater than between the newly elected preacher 
and his predecessor. Instead of the stammering mono- 
tony, and the learned, but dry and tedious, dissertations of 
Monsieur Coderc, we heard, from Roget, sermons com- 
posed with taste and eloquence, and delivered with great 
propriety and animation. He was, indeed, possessed of 
the genuine sources of eloquence ; an ardent mind, a rich 
imagination, and exquisite sensibility. Immediately upon 
his arrival in England, he became acquainted with our 
family, and that acquaintance soon grew into very great 
intimacy with us all. He took pleasure in talking with me 
about my studies ; used to give me great encouragement to 
persevere in them ; and often pronoimced of the talents, 
which he supposed me to possess, predictions that have 
never been fulfilled, but which, as is often the case with 
prophecies of another kind, had a strong tendency to bring 
about their own accomplishment. 

Roget was an admirer of the writings of his countryman 
Rousseau, and he made me acquainted with them. With 
what astonishment and delight did I first read them I I 
seemed transported into a new world. His seducing elo- 
quence so captivated my reason, that I was ^lind to all 
his errors. I imbibed adl his doctrines, adopted all his 
opinions, and embraced his system of morality with the 
fervour of a convert to some new religion. That enthu- 
siasm has long since evaporated : and though I am not 
even now so cold and insensible as to be able imder any 
circumstances to read his writings with an even and lan- 
guid pulse, and un moistened eyes, yet I am never tempted 
to exclaim, Malo cum Platone errare, quam cum aliis 

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24 NABRATIVE OF 1757—78. 

vera sentire, — ^a motto which I once seriously inscribed in 
the first page of Emile, But though the writings of 
Rousseau contain many errors on the most important sub- 
jects, they may yet be read with great advantage. There 
is, perhaps, no writer so capable of inspiring a young 
mind with an ardent love of virtue, a fixed hatred of op- 
pression, and a contempt for all false glory, as Rousseau ; 
and I ascribe, in a great degree, to the irrational admi- 
ration of him, which I once entertained, those dispositions 
of mind from which I have derived my greatest happiness 
throughout life. 

In our family, Roget found a society well suited to his 
taste. His visits to us became frequent ; his conversation 
was uncommonly interesting, and he had soon secured 
the friendship of us all. My sister he inspired with 
warmer sentiments than those of friendship. On his part» 
he was by no means insensible to her merits, but he for- 
bore for some time to offer his addresses to her. He had 
no property but the very moderate* income which his 
church afforded him ; my sister's fortune, though not 
large in itself, was comparatively large, and her expec- 
tations were supposed to be much greater, for my father, 
from his assiduity, the long time he had been in business, 
his extensive dealings, and his moderate expenses, was 
reputed to be possessed of great wealth. Roget's intimate 
friends endeavoured to dissuade him from making a pro- 
posal, which, they said, they foresaw would be unfa- 
vourably received ; they were, however, as much mistaken 
with respect to my father's disposition as with respect to 
his fortune. Upon the first mention of Roget's addresses 
my father declared, that, if they had my sister's appro- 
bation, thef had his ; he had long before resolved never 
to resist, or even to check, his daughter's inclinations. 
With respect to Roget, however, it was not a case in 
which my father was merely not to oppose : he could not 
but approve a marriage so well calculated to render a be- 
loved child happy; and it was, soon afterwards, solem- 
nized* to the great satisfaction of all our family. 

* On the 12th of February, 1778. 

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1757—78. HIS EARLY LIFE, PART I. 25 

There was one person, indeed, who, though not of our 
family by blood, was from long intimacy and mutual 
affection considered almost as a part of it, to whom 
this event gave as much pain as it did satisfaction to 
all the rest This was a young man of the name of 
Greenway. He had been an apprentice to my father, and 
as such had lived with us. He had afterwards travelled 
together with my brother, upon a tour of seven or eight 
months, on the continent ; and, upon his return, an uncle 
who was possessed of an estate of about 500/. a year, 
had died and left him his heir. Though no longer 
living under the same roof, we still continued in habits 
of the greatest intimacy : he was of all our parties, ac- 
companied us in our rides, in our walks ; and was al- 
ways a welcome and a happy guest at our house. He 
had conceived, unknown to us all, a warm affection for 
my sister : from the natural reserve of his temper, or for 
some other cause which I have never learned, he did not 
give the least intimation of his affection to any one ; not 
even to her who was the object of it. The only expression 
that ever dropped from him, which bespoke any incli- 
nation to open his mind, was during a visit which, after 
his uncle's death, my father and mother, together with 
my sister, made him at his house in the country. In an- 
swer to a compliment which my father paid him upon the 
appearance of his house, and the air of comfort which pre- 
vailed in it, he said, " Yes, sir, it wants nothing but a mis- 
tress." My father, either from not understanding his 
meaning, or from having determined not to control or in- 
fluence in any manner his daughter's choice, remained 
silent: and poor Greenway construed that silence into 
disapprobation of what he supposed could not fail to be 
understood. My sister certainly felt no affection for him, 
but she highly esteemed him : his person was agreeable ; 
lus temper was even and amiable ; and he had an intrinsic 
goodness of heart, a disinterestedness, a generosity, and a 
sense of honour, which it was impossible not to admire. 
Her heart, too, was at that time disengaged, and, but for 
the most fatal reserve on his part, he undoubtedly might 
have obtained for his wife the woman, without whom, as 

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26 NABRiLTIVB OF 1757-78. 

it afterwards appeared, it was impossible for him to live 
and to be happy. He remained, however, silent ; not an 
expression ever fell from him which could lead to a dis- 
covery of his secret, not even to my brother or myself, in 
our greatest intimacy. He was a witness to Roget's being 
introduced into our family ; marked the progress which 
he made in our friendship ; observed the first dawning 
of affection in my sister's breast ; watched the sentiments, 
which she and Roget mutually entertained for each other, 
growing up into attachment, affection, and the warmest 
passion; and still observed the most profound silence; 
and it was not till after the marriage had been resolved 
on, that any of us discovered the cause of that melancholy 
which had then long become apparent in him ; nor should 
we, even then, have discovered it, but it would perhaps 
have passed with him in silence into that grave into which 
his misfortunes soon led him, but for the most accidental 

One night my brother and myself supped with him, at 
the house of one of our friends. We stayed very late, and 
drank a good deal of wine ; not enough, however, to pro- 
duce a visible effect on any of us, but on poor Greenway. 
On him was produced an effect the most extraordinary : 
his spirits were not exhilarated, his reason was not cloud- 
ed, or his articulation impeded ; but the passions, which 
had long preyed upon his mind, heightened and inflamed, 
overcame at once the restraint which he had long imposed 
on them, and burst out in the most vehement expression. 
As we were walking home, he talked in vague terms of 
his wretchedness, till, unable to proceed, he sunk down 
on the steps of a door ; and there, in a transport of passion, 
and in words and with an accent that penetrated to the 
soul, expressed the cause and extent of his misery ; and 
in a spirit of prophecy, which was but too truly fulfilled, 
exclaimed, that he should never, never again know what 
it was to be happy. 

Immediately after the intended marriage of my sister 
was made public, he entered into the Oxfordshire militia, 
which was then encamped, in the hope that the bustle 
and novelty of a military life might efface those recollec- 

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1757—78. HIS EARLY LIFE, PART I. 27 

tions which were incompatible with his peace of mind. 
But all was in vain. A deep melancholy settled and 
preyed upon his mind. Calamities the most dreadful, 
which in the course of a few years afterwards happened 
in his own family, increased this load of affliction. He 
soon afterwards set out upon a journey into France, in 
the hope that a change of place, and of objects, might 
relieve the anguish which he suffered ; but it was to no 
purpose. Nothing could dissipate, for a single moment, 
the gloom which hung upon him. He had no sooner ar- 
rived in any town than he was impatient to leave it; and 
he hurried from place to place, more dejected every day, 
and more decHning in his health, till, upon his arrival at 
Calais, on his return, he was too ill to proceed any farther. 
His companion in his travels * immediately wrote to me 
to apprize me of his situation ; and with all possible expe- 
dition I set out to join'him. I arrived ; but too late for 
every thing but to witness his last agonies. He turned 
upon me his dying eyes, attempted to speak, but was 
unable, and shortly after expired. He had twice at- 
tempted to make his will, but found it impossible. In 
the delirium of the fever which consumed him, he often 
exclaimedywhen distmrbed by the noise of a hammering in 
the court-yard of the inn where he lay, that he heard they 
were preparing the rack for him. Unhappy man I the 
torments of his sensible and affectionate mind were more 
poignant even than those of the rack which he dreaded ; 
and yet he, whose destiny it was thus exquisitely to suffer, 
had employed his whole life in serving his friends, in acts of 
kindness, humanity, and generosity, and had never done an 
injury to any one, or entertained a sentiment but of virtue 
and benevolence. His body was conveyed to Canterbury, 
and now lies buried in the church-yard of the cathedral. 

The melancholy fate of poor Greenway has led me 
much beyond the period to which I had brought down 
the account of myself. I wished to conclude his story 
before I proceeded with my own ; and I have spared myself 
the frequent renewal of affliction, by crowding into a few 

* Mr. Byme, the eDgraver. 

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28 NARKATIVE OF 1767— 7»^ 

pages the miseries and the daily sufferings of several 
years. From /the time of my sister's marriage, nay, from 
the time when it was first in contemplation, he knew no 
happiness ; but he lingered through seven tedious years, 
before his sorrows laid him in the grave.^ He lived long 
enough to see the instability of human happiness, and 
to witness the cruel misfortunes which overwhelmed those 
whom he had considered as completely blessed. 

But let me not anticipate other calamities; let me 
rather postpone them as long as possible, and forget 
awhile that they are fast approaching, to live over again 
and enjoy completely the too short period of pure and un- 
mixed happiness, which followed my sister's marriage. I 
had always loved her with the tenderest affection. I had 
conceived for Roget the sincerest friendship, and their 
union increased and enlivened these sentiments. I passed 
most of my leisure hours with them, enjoying the small 
but well selected society which frequented their house, 
and enjoying still more their conversation when alone. 

I shall never forget the charms of our little frugal sup- 
pers, at which none but we three were present ; but where 
we never were at a loss for topics that went to the hearts 
of all of us : where each spoke without the least reserve, 
nay, where each thought aloud, and was not only happy 
in himself, but happy from the happiness of those most 
dear to him. Our happiness, indeed, was such that it 
could hardly be increased ; but, if not increased, we might, 
at least, reckon upon its duration ; the sources of our en- 
joyment were in ourselves, not dependent upon the gifts 
of fortune, and not subject to the tyranny of opinion. 
We were young ; myself, indeed, but just of age : and 
many years, in the enjoyment of the purest friendship 
and affection, seemed to be in store for us. Vain, however, 
were these expectations ! our happiness was as transient 
as it was pure. 

* He died in the autumn of 1785 : his remains were conveyed to 
Canterbury for interment on the 2drd of October in that year. — ^£d. 

d by Google 

1778-89. HIS SARLY UFE. PART II. 29 

IN 1813. 


Tanhunt, ^ August 28, 1813. 
After an interval of seventeen years I am about to re- 
sume the task of writing my life ; a task undertaken in 
very different circumstances^ and with very different 
views, from those with which I now resume it. When 
I began to set down the few events of my unimportant 
history, I was living in great privacy ; I was unmarried, 
and it seemed in a very high degree probable that I 
should always remain so. My life was wasting away with 
few very lively enjoyments, and without the prospect that 
my existence could ever have much influence on the hap- 
piness of others ; or that I should leave behind me any 
trace by which, twenty years after I was dead, it could be 
known that ever I had lived. But since that period, and 
within the last few years, I have been in situations that 
were more conspicuous ; and though it has never been 
my good fortune to render any important service, either 
to my fellow-creatures or to my country, yet, for a short 
period of time, at \fiast, some degree of public attention 
has been fixed on me. It is, however, with no view to 
the public that I am induced to preserve any memorial 
of my life ; but wholly from private considerations. It 
is in my domestic life that the most important changes 
have taken place. For the last fifteen years my happiness 
has been the constant study of the most excellent of 
wives; a woman in whom a strong understanding, the 
noblest and most elevated sentiments, and the most 
courageous virtue, are imited to the warmest affection, and 
to the utmost delicacy of mind and tenderness of heart ; 

> A country houie, in Suirey, on ike side of Leith Hill.— >Ed. 

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30 NARRATIVE OF 1778. 

and all these intellectual perfections are graced and 
adorned by the most splendid beauty that human eyes 
ever beheld. She has borne to me seven children, who 
are living ; and in all of whom I persuade myself that I 
discover the promise of their, one day, proving themselves 
not unworthy of such a mother. Some of them are of so 
tender an age that I can hardly hope that I shall live till 
their education is finished, and much less that I shall 
have the happiness to see them established in life ; and of 
some it is not improbable that I may be taken from them 
while they are yet of such tender years that, as they ad- 
vance in life, they may retain but little recollection of 
their father. To these, and even to my dear wife, if, si 
I devoutly wish, she should many years survive me, it 
may be a source of great satisfaction to turn over these 
pages ; to learn or to recollect what I was, what I have 
done, with whom I have lived, and to whom I have been 
known. Such is the information that these pages will 
afford, and they will, 1 fear, afford nothing more. Of 
instruction there is but little that they can supply : what 
to shun or what to pursue, is that of which a life, so little 
chequered with events as mine, can hardly present any 
very striking lessons. I have been in no trying situa- 
tions ; the force of my character has never been called 
forth ; I have fallen into no very egregious faults, and I 
have had the good fortune to escape those situations which 
generally lead to them; but, from the pious affection 
which may have been instilled into my children's minds, 
they may set a considerable value, and take a lively in- 
terest in facts which, to the rest of mankind, must appear 
altogether insipid and indifferent. It is, therefore, to 
eiyoy conversation with my children, at a time when I 
shall be incapable of conversing with any one; and to 
live with them, as it were, long after I shall have de- 
scended into the grave, that I proceed with this narrative 
of my life. It is surrounded by these children in their 
happy infant state ; cheered with the little sallies of their 
wit ; exhilarated with their spirits ; become youthful, as 
it were, by their youth ; and transported at sometimes 
discovering in them the dawnings of their mother's vir- 

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tues ; it is in the repose of a short period of leisure after 
unusual fatigues in my profession ; it is in a fine season, 
in the midst of a beautiful country, with some of the 
richest and most luxuriant scenes of nature spread before 
me: it is in the midst of all these sources of enjoyment 
and of happiness, that I sit down to this pleasing employ- 

Writing of times so long past, my memory may some- 
times fail me (for till within the last seven years I have 
never kept any journal, but while I was travelling) ; it 
can be, however, only in trifles that it can fail ; and even 
as to matters the most trifling, I shall endeavour most 
strictly and religiously to adhere to truth. 

When my former narrative broke off, I think (for I 
have it not at this moment before me) I was serving Mr. 
Lally as his articled clerk. I had never, during my 
clerkship, thoughtvery seriously of engaging in the line of 
the profession for which that noviciate was intended to 
qualify me. To distinguish myself in some literary career 
was the chimerical hope which I had long indulged ; and 
I had once even supposed that I might become illustrious 
as a poet ; but thu delusion was not of long duration. 
The important moment, however, had arrived when it 
was necessary to come to a decision, upon the prudence 
or folly of which my future fate was to depend. The en- 
couragement I had received from Roget hsid very strongly 
inclined me not only to continue in the profession, but to 
look up to a superior rank in it ; and although I had yet 
taken no step whatever towards such an object, I could 
not, now that it was requisite to decide, persuade myself 
to decide against it With the exception, however, of 
Roget, I believe most of my friends thought it a hazardous 
and imprudent step ; Mr* Lally deemed it so in a very 
high degree. He did not, indeed, undervalue my talents, 
though I believe he did not rate them very high ; but he 
thought my diffidence invincible, and such as must alone 
oppose an insiurmountable bar to my success. He had, 
however, the generosity not to [urge his objections with 
the force with which he felt them. He thought himself 
interested in my decision, since, being desirous himself 

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of retiring from business, it was of him that I should 
naturally purchase a seat in the Six Clerks' Office, for it 
is by purchase only that these situations are obtained. 
Others of my friends thought that, whatever my talents 
might be, and even if my modesty could be overcome, 
yet my delicate health was hardly equal to the laborious 
course of study which I was about to undertake ; and 
I had very kind intimations of this from many of my 
friends ; but I do not recollect that I had a direct re- 
monstrance on the folly of what I was doing from any 
one. My good-natured father (too good-natured perhaps 
in this instance) hardly interposed his advice; he left 
every thing to my own decision ; and that decision was to 
renounce the Six Clerks' Office for ever, and, as the only 
other course that was left me, to aspire to a higher for- 
tune. What principally influenced this decision was, that 
it enabled me to leave in my father's hands my little fortune 
(the 2000/. legacy), and the share of the residue (perhaps 
700/. or 800/. more) which M. de la Haize had left me, 
and which I knew it would be very inconvenient to him 
that I should call for ; but which would have been indis- 
pensably necessary, if I had purchased a sworn clerk's 
seat, 2000/. being about the price which it would cost 
This consideration, I am sure, had no weight with my 
father, in his acquiescing in my resolution; but it was 
decisive with me in forming it; and it is not the only 
instance of my life in which a decision, which was to have 
most important consequences, has been taken principally 
to avoid a present inconvenience. Even with a view, 
however, to my father's pecuniary circumstances, the 
determination I took was hardly to be justified ; because, 
however inconvenient to him the immediate payment of 
the money might have been, yet it would have secured 
to me, without the possibility of risk, an income much 
larger than I had then occasion for ; and with which I 
might, in the course of a few years, have replaced as 
large or a larger sum in his hands. The course of life I 
was entering upon, on the contrary, insured expense ; and 
postponed all prospect of profit certainly for five years, 
and probably for a much longer period. At a later season 

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of my Hfe,. after & Bucccds at the bar which my wildest 
and most sanguine dreams had never painted to me; 
when I was gaining an income of 8000^. or 9000/. a year ; 
I have often reflected how all that prosperity had arisen 
out of the pecuniary difficulties and confined circum*^ 
stances o£ my father. There was another circumstance; 
which, though a trifling one, I ought to mention ; for it 
certainly had some, though I cannot at this distance of 
time recollect how great an influence over the judgment 
which I exercised. The works of Thomas had fallen into 
my hands: I had read with admiration his Ehge or 
Daguesseau ; and the career of glory, which he repre-^' 
sents that iUustrious magistrate to have run, had excited^ 
to a very great degree my ardour and my ambition, and 
opened to my imagination new paths of glory. 

I had completed my twenty-first year before my resola- 
tion was taken, and at this late period of life I entered 
myself of the Society of Gray's Inn ; took there a very 
pleasant set of chambers, which overlooked the gardens ; 
arranged my little collection of books about me, and 
began with great ardour the painful study of the law. 
My good friend, Mr. Lally, advised me to become the 
pupU of some Chancery drsiftsman for a couple of years ; 
and, for the first year, to confine myself merely to reading 
under his direction and with his assistance. This advice 
I followed, and. placed myself under the guidance of Mr. 
Spranger. I was the only pupil he ever had ; and, in- 
deed, his drawing business was hardly sufficient to give 
employment, even to a single pupil. I did not, however, 
repent of the step I had taken. I passed all my morn- 
ings and part of most of my evenings at his house. He had 
a very good library, which I had the use of; he directed 
my reading; he explained what I did not understand; 
he removed many of the difficulties I met with: and, 
what was of no small advantage to me, I formed a lasting 
friendship with this very kind-hearted and excellent man, 
who was universally esteemed, and who had a high cha- 
racter in the profession. 

As I read, I formed a common-place book ; which has 
been of great use to me, even to the present day. It is, 

VOL. I. p- T 

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34 NAKRikTIVK OF 1779. 

indeed, the only way in which law reports can be read 
with much advantage. 

It was not, however, to law alone that I confined my 
studies. I endeavoured to acquire much general know- 
ledge. I read a great deal of history ; I went on improv- 
ing myself in the classics ; I translated, composed, and 
endeavoured (though I confess with a success little pro- 
portioned to the pains I took) to form for myself a correct 
and an elegant style ; I translated the whole of Sallust, 
and a great part of Livy, Tacitus, and Cicero ; I wrote 
political essays, and often sent them without my name to 
the newspapers, and was not a little gratified to find them 
always inserted; above all, I was anxious to acquire a 
great fiicility of elocution, which I thought indispensably 
necessary for my success. Instead, however, of resorting 
to any of those debating societies which were at this time 
mueh frequented, I adopted a very useful expedient, 
which I found suggested in Quinctilian ; that of express- 
ing to myself, in the best language I could, whatever I 
had been reading ; of using the arguments I had met 
with in Tacitus or Livy, and making with them speeches 
of my own, not uttered, but composed and existing only 
in thought. Occasionally, too, I attended the two Houses 
of Parliament ; and used myself to recite in thought, or 
to answer the speeches I had heard there. That I might 
lose no time, I generally reserved these exercises for the 
time of my walking or riding ; and, before long, I had so 
well acquired the habit of it, that I could think these 
compositioHs as I was passing through the most crowded 

The very close application with which I pursued my 
studies proved at last iiyurious to my health. There 
were other causes, too, which tended to impair it. Among 
the principal of these was the ^eat anxiety I long felt 
for my sister and her husband. The happiness they en- 
joyed upon their marriage was as pure, and as complete, 
as is ever the portion of human beings ; but it was of very 
short duration. They were blessed with (me sweet child 
to increase that happiness; but not long after the joyful 
event of his birth, in the spring of 1779, and just when I 

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had projected to pass the approaching summer with them 
in a lodging they had taken at Fulham, and when we had 
begun to carry our project into execution, Roget was 
seized with an inflammation of the lungs, attended with a 
violent spitting of blood, and with other symptoms so 
alarming, that his life appeared to be in the most im- 
minent danger. As the only chance of saving him, his 
physician recommended that he should be removed to his 
native air ; and he, soon afterwards, set out for Geneva. 
But he set out in such a state, and the violence of his dis- 
ease so much increased upon the journey, that it soon 
appeared very doubtful whether he would ever be able to 
reach the end of it. A situation more distressing than 
my sister's can hardly be imagined. Separated for the 
first time completely from her family, in a foreign country, 
amongst strangers, without even an attendant; exposed 
to all the inconveniences of wretched inns, and destitute 
of all medical assistance in which she could place any con- 
fidence, she was doomed to watch the progress of a terrible 
disease, undermining and gaining every day upon the 
strength of a husband on whom she doted with the fondest 
affection. Her letters during this journey, and after it 
had terminated, written with a simplicity and a resigna- 
tion which were celestial, but in which it was impossible 
for her to conceal the torment of mind which she suffered 
and the constant alarms she entertained, pierced me to 
the heart; and the dread of what she probably had still to 
undergo preyed continually on my mind. 

Roget arrived, at last, with my sister at Geneva ; but it 
seemed as if he had arrived only to die there ; and it was 
long, very long, before their, prospects at all brightened, and 
before they ventured to flatter themselves with any hopes. 

The declining state of my own health induced me to 
take medical advice. My stomach was particularly disor- 
dered, and my physician advised me to try the waters of 
Bath ; and accordingly, in the spring of 1780, I passed 
six weeks at that place. There happened, soon after I 
arrived there, to be an auction of a law library, at which 1 
bought many books. With this supply I continued my 


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studies, and probably too closely : I drank too mucb of 
the water ; I was advised by an apothecary there to try the 
bath : I followed that advice, but I went into the bath 
when it was too hot, I stayed in it too long, and in a short 
time, by these various means, I found myself in a much 
worse state than that in which I had left town. The dis- 
order in my stomach was all I had then to complain of; 
but now I was disordered throughout my whole frame. 
I was incapable of walking half a mile without excessive 
fatigue. Any exertion either of mind or body produced 
the most distressing palpitation of my heart. My nights 
were sleepless, my days restless and a^tated. My appre* 
hensions for the future were the most gloomy. Having 
heard at Bath of persons i who had never recovered from 
the relaxed and nervous habit into which an intemperate 
use of the hot bath had reduced them, I persuaded myself 
that such was my destination. I imagined that my whole 
life (and I feared it might be a long one) would drag on 
in my then state, useless to all mankind and burdensome 
to myself; and I entertained strong apprehensions that 
my disorder might end in madness. 
/ Under the pressure of all these real and imi^nary ills, 
j I returned to town. Sir William Watson, my physician, 
^ endeavoured to repair all the mischief I had been doing. 
He made me use the cold bath, and drink the chalybeate 
waters of Islington : and he recommended me for a time 
to relinquish all study ; but this recommendation was un- 
necessary, for my constant restlessness and uneasiness 
made it impoa^ble for me to fix my attention upon any 

Gradually I got better ; but my health had not made any 
considerable progress, when I was obliged to undergo bo* 
dily fatigues which threw me back again, and left me in 
a very deplorable state. In the beginning of June broke 
out that most extraordinary insurrection, excited by Lord 
George Gordon, which has hardly any parallel in our his- 
tory. In a moment of profound peace and of perfect se- 
curity, the metropolis found itself on a sudden abandoned, 
as it were, to the plunder and the fury of a bigoted and 

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frantic populace. The prisans were bralceii open and 
burned ; and their inhabitants — debtors, men accused of 
crimes, and convicted felons — ^indiscriminately turned 
loose upon the public^ and received into the first ranks of 
their deliverers to assist in further acts of devastation. One 
night the flames were seen ascending from nine or ten 
different ccmflagrations, kindled by these unresisted insur- 
gents. The Inns of Court were marked out as objects of 
destruction ; «nd Gray's Inn, in which many Catholics re- 
sided, was particularly obnoxious. Government, which 
had acted with extraordinary irresolution at first, took at 
last very vigorous measures to put a stop to these disgrace- 
ful outrages. In the mean time, however, it had become 
necessary for every man to trust to himself for security ; 
and the barristers and students of the different Inns of 
Court determined to arm themselves in their own defence. 
The state of my health rendered me quite unequal to so 
great an exertion. I was ashamed, however, of being ill 
atauch a season. I did therefore as others did ; was up a 
whole night under arms, and stood as sentinel for several 
hours at the gate in Holbom. 

This fatigue, and the excessive heat of the weather, 
threw me back into a worse state of health than ever. I 
was so relaxed that I could hardly stand ; I had, from mere 
weakness, continual pains in all my limbs. My nights 
were restless ; and if the continual agitation of my fibres 
would have permitted me to sleep, the pulsation of my 
heart, which was continually sensible to me and which 
was visible through my clothes when I was dressed, would 
have prevented me. I hurried out of town to try the 
efBsct o^ sea air ; found myself worse, and hastened back 
again. Very stow indeed was my recovery. Through- 
out the whole of the following winter I was incapable of 
walking more than a mile at a time. My studies 1 was 
obliged almost entirely to lay aside. I read little but for 
my amusement, and rather by way of diverting my 
thoughts from my malady, and from my melancholy pros- 
pect that I had before me, than with any view to my im- 
provement. It was at this time, and with this object, that 
I began to read Italian ; and I certainly found consider- 

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38 NARRATIVE OF 1780. 

able entertainment in the novelties which the literature of 
Italy presented to me. 

My constitution seemed so much altered, I felt so sen- 
sibly and so very disagreeably every change of the atmo- 
sphere, and this had lasted so long, that I continued 
strongly possessed with the idea that my health was irre- 
coverably lost ; that for the rest of my days I should be a 
wretched valetudinarian ; and that the bright prospects of 
success in my profession, in which I had sometimes in-, 
dulged, were shut out from me for ever. Such I continued 
throughout the winter, and during the following spring.. 
Fortunately for me, an occasion presented itself, early in 
the summer, which tempted me to go abroad. 

When Roget's deplorable state of health compelled him. 
and my sister to quit this country, they had been obliged 
to leave their child, an infant then not a year old, behind 
them. They had intended to be absent but for a few 
months ; but they were soon convinced that a return to 
this country, if ever to be ventured on, could not, without 
the greatest danger, be undertaken for several years; and 
with this sad conviction, they had naturally become very 
impatient to have their child restored to them. My most 
alPectionate father had grown dotingly fond of his little 
grandson ; and though he would reluctantly resign him to 
the hands of my poor sister, who in a foreign country, and 
with a sick husband, stood in great need of such a conso- 
lation, yet he would not consent to commit his little charge 
to the care only of strangers, or of a servant, for so long a 
journey. I offered, therefore, to convey him, and deliver 
him into the hands of his parents ; and this offer was very 
thankfully, on all sides, accepted. 

His nursery maid was of course to go with him, and, as 
the best mode of conveyance for such a party, and the 
most economical too (which was a consideration very 
important to be attended to), we put ourselves under the . 
care of one of those Swiss voituriers, who were at that 
time in the habit of convoying parties of six or eight per- 
sons to any part of Switzerland. Our party consisted of 
seven : a Mr. Bird, who was going to Turin ; a Mr. Barde. 
a Genevese ; a young man of the name of Broughton ; a 

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little effeminate Englishman, whose name I do not recolr 
lect ; the nursery maid, the child, and myself.* It was a 
time of war, and we were therefore obliged to pass through 
the Low Countries ; and, as is necessary in this mode of 
travelling, which is performed with the same horses, we 
made short and easy journeys of not more than thirty or 
forty miles a day, which gave us an opportunity of seeing 
all the objects of curiosity that lay upon our road. 

The improvement of my health and spirits as I pro- 
ceeded, the great variety of places we passed through, and 
the novelty of every thing I saw, made it to me a most de- 
lightful journey. I shall never forget the impression I 
received on first landing at Ostend ; and, afterwards, upon 
entering the magnificent city of Ghent ; every human 
creature, every building, every object of superstition, al- 
most every thing that I beheld, attracted my notice and 
excited and gratified my curiosity. 

We pursued our course through Brussels, Namur^ 
Longwy, Metz, Nancy, Plombidres, and Besangon, to 
Lausanne, where I delivered safely their little boy to Ro- 
getand my sister. 

I found Roget much better than I had expected ; obliged, 
indeed, to live by the strictest rule, and compelled to 
make his health the subject of his continual care and at- 
tention, but well enough to enjoy the society of a few 
friends, and to amuse himself with literary pursuits. He 
had formed the project of writing a history of the Ame- 
rican war, and it served to employ very agreeably many 
hours of the few last years of his life ; but he did not live 
long enough to complete the work, or even to make any 
considerable progress in it. His friendship for me, and 
the favourable opinion he had entertained of my talents, 
had been greatly increased by absence, and by the nume- 
rous and long letters which had, during that absence, 
. passed between us. My success at the bar he considered 
as certain ; and, knowing what that success leads to in 
England, he spoke of my future destination with a degree 
of exultation and enthusiasm, which rekindled those 

* We set out June 16, 1781. 

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40 VABBATIVE OP 19»1. 

hopes tint had for «ome time been aearhf extingaished 
in my mind. The recollection oC one of these oonverear 
tione, which took place oi we were walking upon the ter- 
race of hiB garden one iioe summer night, when not 
a dond appeared upon the atmosphere to intercept the 
effulgence of the stars scattered over every part of the 
heavens, has since a thousand times occurred to me, and 
is now as fresh in my memory as if it had been an event 
of yesterday. Scarcely any thing, indeed, that I saw, or 
heard, or read, during the six weeks that I passed in this 
ddightfol retirement, have I since forgotten. 

The situation was one oi the most beautiful that imagi- 
nation could paint it was about a mile from Lausanne, 
and at a considerable eminence above it, commanding a 
most extensive view of that enchanting country, with the 
lake of Geneva stretching out to its whole extent, and 
bounded by the lofty and rude mountains of Savoy. Never 
could there be a clearer refutation of the common saying, 
that the most beautiful objects by familiarity tire upon the 
sight, than what I here experienced. The window of my 
room commanded this sublime prospect; every day I 
gazed upon it with fresh rapture ; and the last time that 
I beheld it» its beauty kindled in me the same pious admi^ 
ration as the first 

From Lausanne I proceeded to Geneva, where I made 
a stay of only about a month ; but during that short resi* 
dence, I saw so great a variety of persons, and I saw so 
much of them, that I derived as much profit as I could 
under other circumstances from a much longer residence. 
It was in the midst of those political contests which, soon 
afterwards, ended so fatally for that repubhc I lived 
with Chauvet who was deeply engaged with the popular 
party, and was one of those who, upon the aristocratical 
faedim becoming triumphant was banished the republic. 
Duroveray, formerly sitomey*gencral of the republic, a 
man of great talents, but unfit from his unconciliatory 
Qianners to be the leader of a party ; Ckvidre, afterwards for 
a short time, and at a very unhappy season, minister of 
finance in France, possessed of considerable abilities, and 
a man of undoubted ambition, though wholly deficient in 

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couxa^ to gratify it ; and Reyba^, of a beiteft judgraant, of 
nMfre extensive knowledge, and ei more solid talents, but 
equally wanting in courage, were amongst the foremost 
of those who conducted the measures of the popular party. 
Politics, -dioogh they serred to bring out the characters of 
individuals, and display all the variety of dispositions inci- 
dent to mankind, had, in some respects, considerably hurt 
the society of Geneva. Politics had engrossed what be- 
fore was given to literature. The society <tf Geneva must» 
indeed, judging of it even under all the disadvantages in 
which I saw it, have been at one time highly interesting. 
It had the liveliness of French conversation without its fri- 
volity, and the good sense of England, with a refined lite- 
rary taste, formed by an intimate and feuniliar acquaintance 
with the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire, to which we 
have no pretensions. 

I was very desirous, while I thus passed through fo- 
reign countries, to inform myself as well as I could of their 
laws, particularly their criminal law, and their mode of 
administering justice. While I was at Geneva, an oppor- 
tunity presented itself of learning the manner of conduct- 
ing criminal trials there, which few travellers have had 
the good fortune to meet with. The proceedings, as in 
most other parts of the Continent, are secret; and none 
but the prisoner, his counsel, and two friends named by 
him to assist him, are permitted to be present when the 
cause is pleaded. It happened before I arrived here, that 
a burglary had been committed by a gang of Savoyards, of 
whom three w^^e seized, and Uie rest, three more in 
number, had made their escape. A criminal trial of any 
kind was, at this time, in this little republic, of very rare 
occurrence, and always excited an interest proportioned to 
its novelty. The advocates of the highest reputation were 
accustomed to afford their gratuitous assistance to the ao- 
GQsed, and to conduct their defence with as much care 
and zeal as the wealthiest and most liberal client could de- 
sire. I was acquainted with one of the advocates upon this 
occasion ; and he suggested to one o£ the prisoners, who 
was a stranger in Geneva, to name me to assist him. Be- 
fore I was admitted to be his assistant, I was obliged to 

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take an oath before one of the syndics (the chief magis- 
trates of the republic), that I would not give, or suffer to be 
taken, copies of any papers in the cause ; and that I would 
return to the court, immediately after the cause should be 
ended, all the copies or extracts which I might have made 
for my own use. All the prisoners were found guilty ; 
but their sentences varied according to the degree of evi- 
dence which had appeared against each. One, a lad of six- 
teen, was sentenced to be whipt, and then to be sent to 
the galleys for twenty years (the French Government 
having some time since agreed to take all the criminals of 
the republic to work in their galleys). Another was con- 
demned to be present while his companion was whipt, and 
then to be banished the territory of the republic for life ; 
and the doom of the third was merely banishment. As 
to the three accomplices, who had escaped, they were 
sentenced to be whipt in effigy ; which was executed by 
the pictures of men being whipt, with the names of the 
offenders inscribed under them, being carried round the 

During this residence at Geneva, I formed. a friendship 
with a young man about my own age, of the name of 
Dumont, who was then studying for the church, and was 
soon after admitted one of its ministers. Roget, who had 
been long acquainted with him, had spoken to each of us 
in such favourable terms of the other that we were desi- 
rous of becoming friends before we had met ; and a per- 
sonal acquaintance, improved by a little tour we had made 
together to the glaciers of Savoy, and round the lake of 
Geneva, by the TSte Noire, Martigny, Bex, and Vevey, 
was soon matured into a very intimate and firm friend- 
ship, which remains to this day, increased and strength- 
ened by the number of years during which it has lasted. 
His vigorous understanding, his extensive knowledge, 
and his splendid eloquence, qualified him to have acted 
the noblest part in public life ; while the brilliancy of his 
wit, the cheerfulness of his humour, and the charms of 
his conversation, have made him the delight of every 
private society in which he' has lived: but his most 

d by Google 


valuable qualities are, his strict integrity, his zeal to serve 
those to whom he is attached, and his most affectionate 

WhUe I was in this enchanting country, I made several 
little excursions to see and admire its beauties ; amongst 
others to the Lac de Joux, to Evian, and the rocks of Meil* 
lerie ; and one, which more than all the rest made a 
deep impression on me, to the summit of the Dent 
d'Oche, a very high mountain of Savoy on the southern 
bank of the lake of Geneva. The ascent is very difficult, 
and for that reason, perhaps, it is seldom visited by stran- 
gers ; but the prospect it affords is the most beautiful and 
the most sublime that ever I beheld : the lake of Geneva 
stretched out to its whole extent with the rich country of 
the Pays de Vaud and its numerous towns, on the one 
side, and the Alps of Savoy on the other, like a vast sea 
of mountains, terminated by the distant Mont Blanc, 
towering far above the rest. It was after this expedition 
that, crossing the lake, I again paid a short visit to Lau- 
sanne, and took leave of my sister and of Roget. The 
precarious state of his health, and the prospect of the re- 
newal of my own studies, and of the occupations which I 
hoped might follow them, made both of us apprehensive 
of what proved but too true, that we were bidding each 
other an everlasting farewell. 

Upon quitting this country, I made a party with three 
other persons* to visit the Grande Chartreuse, intending 
from thence to get the best way I could to Lyons, and to 
return home by way of Paris, which I was desirous of 
seeing. I have since often regretted that I did not ex- 
tend my travels, and allow myself to visit at least some 
of the cities in the northern part of Italy. Perhaps, how- 
ever, I did well to resist the temptation which this oppor- 
tunity held out to me. The prolongation, for a few 
months more, of this interruption of all regular habits of 
study might have had very serious consequences to me, 
and have disappointed all my future .schemes. Our road 

* M. Juyentin, puteur of Geneva ; M. de V^gobre, an advocate 
there; and Mr. Shore, a young Englishman, who was at Geneva for 
bis education. 

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to the Grande Chartreuse lay through a very beaatiiid 
country ; and we had an opportunity of visiting Cham- 
berry, the capital of Savoy. The wild and romantic 
ecenery of the Chartreuse has been often celebrated. I 
8aw it to some disadvantage ; for though it was early in 
September, we had so deep a fall of snow, and which lasted 
so long, that the roads became impassable, and for three 
days we were obliged to prolong our stay with the hosr 
pitable fathers against our will. Amongst the travellers 
collected together, there were two young French officeri^ 
one of whom was going to Lyons, and I joined his com- 
pany. We proceeded together on mules to Grenoble, and 
there hired a cabriolet, which conveyed us to Lyons. At 
that place we parted : and I proceeded to Paris in the 
diligence or mHsagerie* a large carriage containing eight 
inside passengers ; not a very convenient or a very ele* 
gant conveyance, but one which was well suited to my 
humble circumstances, and in which much more is to be 
learnt of the manners of a people than by being shut up 
in a commodious English carriage and travelling post 
Arrived at Paris, I left my luggage at the Bureau dee di- 
ligences ; and set off on foot to inquire my way through 
the street for an hotel at the other end of the town, to 
which I had got a direction. It was in the Rue de 
Richelieu, and in a very pleasant situation, the back win« 
dows looking upon the gardens of the Palais Royal ; for a 
garden it then was, though the duke of Orleans, to the 
great indignation of the Parisians, was preparing to cover 
it with buildings. At Paris I saw all that common tra- 
vellers see, the theatres, the palaces, the public buildings, 
collections of pictures, and other objects of curiosity. I 
saw, too, the court in all its splendour ; and I was present 
at the Royal Chapel at Versailles when high mass was 
celebrated before the king. 

An event happened while I was there which showed 
Paris to great advantage ; this was the birth of a Dauphin, 
after the Queen had .been married several years without 
having had a son. Great public rejoicings took place. 
The theatres were thrown open to the people with gratui- 
tous representations; and at the Comedie Franpaise they 

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were indulged with the adventures of Henry IV., their 
good and favourite king. There were puhlic illuminations 
too, but these were commanded ; and I felt no small sur- 
prise when I read placarded in the corners of the streets 
the mandate by which the loyal people of Paris were or- 
dered to shut up their shops, and to illuminate their 
houses for three successive nights, and the ofiBcers of the 
police w^e enjoined to see the order executed. The illu- 
mination corresponded with its cause ; and in many a 
house I observed one solitary lamp at each window glim"* 
mering, not in token of joy, but in reluctant obedience to 
the pleasure of the government. The public buildings, 
however, were splendid ; and in most of the large squares 
were orchestras and bands of music, which played to the 
dancing of the people. The Place de Gr^ve was (as I 
thought unfortunately) chosen as the favourite scene of 
these amusements. The Hdtel de Ville was resplendent 
with lamps. Fire-works were played off before it ; and 
to the music of four different orchestras, were as many 
parties of dirty and ragged creatures dancing, with as 
much life and gaiety as if they were in a theatre devoted 
only to mirth and joy. For myself, I confess that my 
cheerfulness was not a little damped by the squalid ap- 
pearance of the dancers ; by the soldiers ranged on every 
side ; by the sudden appearance from time to time of the 
horse patrol (marSchaussie) silently and unexpectedly 
making their way through the thickest of the crowd ; and 
by the recollection that the ground on which I stood was 
the common place of execution, which had been so often 
wet with blood, and had so often witnessed the lengthened 
agonies of tortured wretches expiring in flames, or upon 
the wheel. 

The King went to Notre Dame in great state to return 
thanks to God for the birth of his son. The scene was 
a very splendid one, and the crowds which pressed on 
every side to see the royal procession pass, were immense. 
Only eight years afterwards I was present at a ceremony 
accompanied with the same military pomp, and beheld 
with the same eager curiosity by many of the same spec- 
tators, but which was of a very different kind; it was 

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40 NARRATIVE OF 1781. 

when, in the same church, the colours of the National 
Guard of Paris received the henediction of the archbishop, 
and when a patriotic sermon was preached on the occa- 
sion by the Abb6 Fauchet. 

I saw at Paris a great variety of persons; artists, 
advocates, and authors. Amongst these were D'Alembert 
and Diderot, the most celebrated of all the writers then 
remaining in France. D'Alembert was in a very infirm 
state of health, and not disposed to enter much into con- 
versation with a person so shy and so unused to society 
as I was. Diderot, on the contrary, was all warmth and 
eagerness, and talked to me with as little reserve as if 
I had been long and intimately acquainted with him. 
Rousseau, politics, and religion, were the principal topics 
of his conversation. The Confessions of Rousseau were, 
at that time, expected shortly to appear; and it was 
manifest from the bitterness with which Diderot spoke of 
the work and of its author, that he dreaded its appear- 
ance. On the subject of religion he made no disguise ; 
or rather he was ostentatious of a total disbelief in the 
existence of a God. He talked very eagerly upon politics, 
and inveighed with great warmth against the tyranny of 
the French government. He told me that he had long 
meditated a work upon the death of Charles the First ; 
that he had studied the trial of that prince ; and that his 
intention was to have tried him over again, and to have 
sent him to the scaffold if he had found him guilty, but 
that he had at last relinquished the design. In England 
he would have executed it, but he had not the courage to 
do so in France. 

D'Alembert, as I have observed, was more cautious; 
he contented himself 'with observing what an effect 
philosophy had in his own time produced on the minds 
of the people. The birth of the Dauphin afforded him 
an example. He was old enough, he said, to remember 
when such an event had made the whole nation drunk 
with joy * ; but now they regarded with great indifference 
the birth of another master. 

♦ Tbi» was in 1729. *< On etait dans une ivrcsse de joi©." 

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I must not quit the subject of my abode at Paris with- 
out the mention of two acquaintances I formed there, for 
to them I owed the most agreeable hours I passed in that 
celebrated city. The one was a person of my own name, 
a watchmaker, who then lived in the Place Dauphine, a 
Genevese, of the age of seventy, but who had all the 
gaiety and vivacity of youth. He was a man of very 
great merit in his business, had seen a great deal of the 
world, and was not without a considerable portion of 
literature. All the articles upon the subject of his own 
art, which are to be found in the EncyclopSdie, were his. 
He conceived himself to be under obligations to my 
family, on account of the great kindness which his son 
had received during his residence in London at the hands 
of my father. The son had been elected a minister of 
one of the French Protestant churches in London ; but 
ill health forced him to return to Geneva, where he died 
about a year before I arrived there. He was the author 
of two articles in the Encyclopidie, "Toleration" and 
"Virtue," \vhich had very great celebrity. These, and 
two volumes of sermons, which were published after his 
death, attest the merits of that extraordinary man. He 
was the delight of the societies in which he lived, and 
his good-natured repartees were in every body's recollec- 
tion at Geneva when I visited it. Nothing could ex- 
ceed the zeal of this good old M. Romilly to serve me 
while I was at Paris, or the attentions which were paid 
me by his family, particularly his son-in-law and his 
daughter, M. et Mad* de Corancez. It was to them I 
was indebted for my introduction to D'Alembert and 
Diderot, and for all the society I knew at Paris ; which 
was confined, however, to the bourgeoisie^ and to the 
descriptions of persons I have before enumerated. 

The other valuable acquaintance which I have said 
that I formed at Paris was that of Mad* Delessert, one 
of the most benevolent and amiable of women. She was 
from Switzerland; was, as long as Rousseau saw any- 
body, one of his best friends ; and it is to her that were 
addressed the charming Letters on Botany which, since 

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43 KAKiumvB or itm. 

his death, have been published. She had a large col- 
lectian of other tetters from him» of some of which she 
permitted me to take copies. At her country house at 
Passy, in her society, and in that of her amiable daughter, 
then a girl of fifteen, of a very agreeable person and of a 
very cultivated understanding, I spent most usefully the 
time I passed at Paris. There is nothing, indeed, by which 
I have through life more profited than by the just <^serva* 
tions, the good opinion, and the sincere and gentle en«- 
couragement of amiable and sensible women. 

I returned to London by way of Lisle and Ostend, still 
travelling in public carriages, having greatly benefited in 
every respect by my short travels. My health particularly 
was very much improved; though I still occasionally, 
during the winter* fdt the effects of my former maladie& 
I was able, however, to resume my studies with great 
ardour, and I prosecuted them with considerable success. 
Soon after my return, I published, in The Morning 
Chronicle, a tolerably detailed account of the late poli- 
tical events at Geneva, which I had written while I was 

There was a young man of my own age, a student and 
an inhabitant of Gray*s Inn, with whom I, about this 
time, formed a great degree of intimacy. His great 
talents, and his learning as a classical scholar, as an Eng^ 
lish antiquary, and as a profound lawyer, must, if he had 
lived, have raised him to very great eminence in his pro^ 
fession ; though his honest and independent spirit would, 
probably, to him have barred all access to its highest 
offices. This was John Baynes. He was a native of the 
West Riding of Yorkshire ; had received his early educa- 
tion at Richmond in that county; and had afterwards 
very much distinguished himself both in mathematics and 
in the classics in the University of Cambridge, where he 
became a fellow of Trinity College. A man more high- 
spirited, more generous, more humane, more disposed to 
protect the feeble against the oppression of the powerful 
and the great, never adorned the annals of England. His 
premature death, which happened five or six years after 

d by Google 

1783. HIS EASLT US^ PART U. 4g 

tite time I ani speaking of, 1 have always considered as a 
very great public loss* To our profession, particularly^ 
the loss of such a man, and in such a state of the pro* 
£ession as that in iHiich it happened, wasc the greatest 
that it could sufier. The intimacy which I formed with 
this excellent man soon ripened into the firmest friend«- 
ship. We prosecuted our studies together ; we c(Hn>' 
municated to each other, and compared, the notes which 
we took during our attendance in the courts. We used 
to meet at night at each other's ehambers to read some 
of the classics, particularly Tacitus, in whom we both took 
great delight ; and we formed a litde society, to which we 
admitted only two other persons, Holroyd and Chuistian, 
for arguing points of law upon questions which we sug- 
gested in turn. One argued on each side as counsel, the 
other two acted the part of judges, and were obliged to 
give at length the reasons of their decisions ; an exercise 
which was, certainly, very useful to us all. 

On the last day of Easter Term, 1783, 1 was called to ' 
the bar. It was my intention to have gone a circuit, but 
this I was obliged to postpone till the ensuing spring. 

Roget, whose health had continued very precarious 
from the time when I left him» had, early in the present 
summer, a fresh attack of his disorder, which in a few 
weeks proved fatal to him. His death happened at a 
most unfortunate time for my poor sister, for it was when 
she had been brought to bed only six weeks of her 
daughter. Never did any womsm adore a husband with 
more passionate fondness than she did hers ; never had 
anxiety surpassed that with which she had been tortured 
during the different periods of his long disease ; and never 
was affliction greater than that which she now endured. 
My father and all our family were very impatient that she 
should return to us from the strange land in which her 
melancholy lot had been cast. But with two children, and 
one of 80 very tender an age, and with no companion but 
her maid, it was an alarming journey to undertake. My 
brother was married, and was entirely occupied by his 
business. There was no person who could, without the 
greatest inconvenience, attend her on such a journey but 

VOL.1. A ] 

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myself, and I therefore undertook it ; it was only losing 
one circuit, and it was rendering a very essentia] service 
to all those whom I most loved and valued. 

Baynes was desirous of seeing Paris, and agreed to be 
my companion so far on my journey. It was not the most 
direct road to Lausanne ; but it was that by which 1 was 
likely to find the best opportunities of conveyance. We, 
accordingly, proceeded to Paris together; and his good 
spirits and agreeable society rendered it a very pleasant 
journey. At Paris I staid only a week, and had little 
more tban time to renew my acquaintance with the con- 
nexions I had formed there, particularly with M. Romilly 
and Madame and Madlle. Delessert. Baynes had a letter 
of introduction to Dr. Franklin, who was then residing at 
Passy, and I had the great satisfaction of accompanying 
him in his visit. Dr. Franklin was indulgent enough to 
converse a good deal with us, whom he observed to be 
young men very desirous of improving by his conversa* 
tion.^ Of all the celebrated persons whom, in my life, 
I have chanced to see, Dr. Franklin, both from his ap-^ 
pearance and his conversation, seemed to me the most 
remarkable. His venerable patriarchal appearance, the 
simplicity of his manner and language, and the novelty of 
his observations, at least the novelty of them at that time 
to me, impressed me with an opinion of him as of one of 
the most extraordinary men that ever existed. The 
American Constitutions were then very recently pub- 
lished. I remember his reading us some passages out 
of them, and expressing some surprise that the French 
government had permitted the publication of them in 
France. They certainly produced a very great sensation 
at Paris, the effects of which were probably felt many 
years afterwards. Diderot was at this time dead; and 
D'Alembert was in so infirm a state that I thought he 
would gladly enough dispense with a visit from me. 

From Paris I travelled by the direct road to (Jeneva, 
in company with a M. Gautier, a Genevese, with whom I 

' See extracts from Mr. Baynes's Journal at Uie end of this rolume. 

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had, some years before, made acquaintance in London— « 
very worthy and friendly man. He, afterwards, married 
Madlle. Delessert; and with him and his incomparable 
wife I constantly maintained a correspondence by letters. 
I made but a short stay at Geneva ; few of my best friends 
were then remaining there. The revolution which had 
taken place had a£Porded a complete triumph to the aris- 
tocratical party ; but it had been effected by the interfer- 
ence of France, and by the terror of its arms. I shall never 
forget the burning indignation which I felt as I looked 
down upon a French regiment, which was mounting 
guard in the place of Bel-air, luider the windows of my 
hotel, and as I heard the noise of the military music, 
Which seemed, as it were, to insult the ancient liberties of 
the republic. 

At Lausanne, I met with the Abb£ Raynal ; but I saw 
him with no admiration either of his talents or his charac- 
ter. Having read the eloquent passages in his celebrated 
work with delight, I had formed the highest expectations 
of him ; but those expectations were sadly disappointed. 
I was filled at this time with horror at West Indian slavery 
and at the Slave Trade, and RaynaVs philosophical history 
of the two Indies had served to enliven these sentiments ; 
but when I came to talk on these subjects with him, he 
appeared tome so cold and so indifferent about them, that 
I conceived a very unfavourabte opinion of him.* His 
conversation was certainly so inferior to his celebrated 
work, as to give much countenance to the report, which 
has been very common, that the most splendid passages in 
it were not his own. 

My return to England with my sister and her two 
children was but a melancholy j oumey. We put ourselves 
under the care of a Swiss voiturier ; and, for the sake, I 
think, of avoiding any of the places through which my 

* I brought with me from Lausamie, on my former visit to it, a 
little tract on West Indian Slavery, which the Marquis de Condor- 
cet bad printed there, and had written under the pretended name of 
Schwarte, a Swiss clergyman. I translated it into Englidi ;. but up- 
on offering it to a bookseller, I found that he would not undertake 
the printing. I laid it aside, therefbre ^ and it never appeared. 


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Bist^ had passed with her husband when she left her coun- 
try, and which she thought would be attended with re- 
membrances too painful for her to endure, we made rather 
a circuitous journey. We passed through Soleure, Berne, 
Basle, Louvain, Malines, Antwerp, Breda, and Rotterdam 
to Helvoetsluys, whence we crossed to Harwich. At 
Helvoetsluys we arrived just after the packet had sailed, 
and as four days would elapse before the next, and we 
were unwilling to venture in any other vessel, I took ad- 
vantage of this delay to make a little excursion to the 
Hague, and I returned time enough to accompany my sis- 
ter in her passage across the sea. 

Thus was my first long vacation passed. By Michael- 
mas term I bad returned to business, or rather, to attend 
the courts, and to receive such business as accident might 
throw in my way. I had endeavoured to draw Chancery 
pleadings before I was called to the bar, as an introduction 
to business when I should be called. In that way, however* 
the occupation I got under the bar was very inconside- 
rable ; but soon after I was admitted to the bar, I was era- 
ployed to draw pleadings in several cases. This species of 
employment went on very gradually increasing for several 
years; during which, though I was occupied in the way of 
my profession, I had scarcely once occasion to open my 
lips in court 

In the spring of 1784, 1 first went upon the circuit All 
circuits were indifferent to me, for I had no friends or 
connexions on any one of them ; and my choice fell upon 
the Midland, because there appeared to be fewer men of 
considerable talents or of high cha];acter as advocates upon 
it than upon any other, and consequently a greater open- 
ing for me than elsewhere. It was, besides, shorter than 
some other circuits, and would, therefore, take me for a 
less time from the Court of Chancery ; and, what was no 
unimportant consideration, my travelling expenses upon 
it would be less. The circuit did not indeed, when I 
joined it, appear to be overstocked with talent. At the 
head of it in point of rank, though with very little busi- 
ness, was Serje^t Hill ; a lawyer of very profound and ex- 
tensive learning, but with a very small portion of judg- 

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ment, and without the faculty of making his great know- 
ledge usefiiL On any subject on which you consulted him, 
lie would pour forth the treasures of his legal science 
without order or discrimination. He seemed to he of th6 
order of lawyers of Lord Coke's time, and he was the last 
of that race. For modern law he had supreme contempt ; 
and I have heard him observe, that the greatest service 
that could be rendered the country would be to repeal all 
the statutes, and burn all the reports, which were of a later 
date than the Revolution. Next to him in rank, but far 
b^ore him in business, and indeed, completely at the head 
of the circuit, stood ♦ * * * ; who, without talents, with- 
out learning, without any one qualification for his profes- 
sion, had, by Uie mere friendship, or rather companion- 
ship, oi Mr. Justice ***, obtained the &vour of a silk 
gown; and by a forward manner, and the absence of 
commanding abilities in others^ had got to be employed in 
almost every cause. The merits of a horse he understood 
perfectly well ; and when in these, as sometimes happened, 
consisted the merits of a cause, he acquitted himself adoti'- 
rably ; but in other cases nothing could be more injudi- 
cious than his conduct. In spite, however, of his defects, 
and notwithstanding the obvious elects of his misma- 
nagement, he continued lor many years, while I was upon 
the circuit, in possession of a very large portion of business* 
The other men in business on the circuit were DayreU, 
Balguy, Parker Coke, Clarke, White, Gaily, and Sutton 
(afterwards Lord Manners, and Chancellor of Ireland) ; 
none of them very much distinguished as lawyers, or as 
advocates. There were, besides, s<Mne young men without 
business, and who seemed to have little prospect of ever 
obtaining it ; George Isted, Rastal, Aufrere, Skrine, Gough, 
Sfaipston, Tom Smith, and some others whose names I 
may probably have forgotten. The society of the circuit 
wa« not very much to my mind, but I formed in it a friend- 
ship with several men whom I highly valued. Of these, 
however. Gaily and Sutton were the principd ; the others 
joined the circuit some years after I had entered upon it. 
At different places we had provincial counsel, who joined 
us. The most remarkable of these was Old Wheler (so 

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we always called him), who lived in the neighbourhood of 
Ck)ventry ; an honest, sensible, frfuik, good-natured, talk- 
ative old lawyer. He had been upon the circuit forty years 
when I first joined it, and was attending the assizes at the 
time of the rebellion of 1745. It was some years later, 
and when I attended the Coventry and Warwick Quarter 
Sessions, that I became very intimate with this cheerful, 
open-hearted, kind old man ; but I was so much delighted 
with his conversation and society, that I cannot, upon the 
first mention of the lawyers whom I found upon the cir- 
cuit, refuse myself the pleasure of speaking of him. He 
had read nothing but law, he had lived only among law- 
yers, and all the pleasant stories he had to tell were of the 
lawyers whom he remembered in his youth. His stories, 
indeed, were repeated by him again and again ; but they 
were told with such good humour, and had so much intrin- 
sic merit, that I always listened to them with pleasure. 
Among some peculiarities which he had, was a very great 
dislike to parsons and to noblemen. He often remarked 
that it would have given him the greatest joy if his 
daughter and his only child had married a lawyer ; but he 
had the mortification (a singular one, undoubtedly, but 
such it appeared to him) of seeing, before he died, his 
two grandsons the presumptive heirs of two different 

Soon after my return from this, my first circuit, I lost 
my dear and excellent father. He died * in his seventy- 
third year, of a palsy which had affected him several weeks 
before it proved fatal. Happily, he suffered no pain, and 
was never sensible of the nature of his disease. A few 
years before, I had persuaded myself that he w$a likely to 
live to a much more advanced period. His faculties were 
then all unimpaired, his natural cheerfulness unclouded, 
and his activity unabated. I remember his once observing 
that he had grown an old man to others without seeming 
so to himself ; and his telling us of a pleasant mistake he 
had made, when, being announced to some house, and one 
of the servants having, from the top of the stairs, called 
out '* that the old gentleman was desired to walk up," he 

• On the 29th of Augutt, 1784. 

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had drawn aside, altogether forgetting himself, in order to 
let the venerahle person, whoever he might he, who he 
supposed was meant, pass him : and he, prohahly, would 
have lived to a very great age, if in his latter days he had 
enjoyed that serenity of mind to which his virtues so justly 
entitled him ; hut, alas I they were harassed with perpe- 
tual anxiety. The expensive stock in trade, necessary to 
the carrying on of his business, had obliged him to raise 
money by procuring the discount of hills, which were 
from time to time renewed. As he was known to he a 
man of the strictest integrity, and was supposed to be very 
wealthy, he had for a considerable time found no difficulty 
in procuring his bills to be discounted ; hut when, in the 
latter end of the American war, there was a great stagna- 
tion of credit, he, in common with others, found himself 
involved in difficulties, and he became exceedingly alarmed 
for the consequences. These alarms had damped his 
natural cheerfulness, and greatly agitated his mind, and 
may be truly said to have brought upon him, though he 
was then of the age of seventy, a premature old age. 

When I was called to the bar, it became necessary for 
me to have a servant, one who should be always in cham- 
bers to receive briefs, cases, and instructions for pleadings, 
if any should chance to be brought for me, and who should 
attend me upon the circuit, in the various characters of 
clerk, valet, and groom. It was a singular choice that I 
made of a man to serve me in these capacities. I have 
mentioned, I think, in the early part of my life, a female 
servant, to whom the care of myself, my brother, and my 
sister was intrusted, one Mary Evans, as simple-hearted, 
honest, and affectionate a creature as ever existed. Be- 
fore she left my father's house, she had become strongly 
infected with methodism ; and, not long after she left it, 
she married a pious journeyman shoemaker, of the name 
of Bickers, as fervent a methodist as herself. The poor 
man began to grow infirm ; he had become incapable of 
working assiduously at his trade, and consequently inca- 
pable of supporting himself, and of supporting her. I 
could not endure the idea of seeing a woman whom in my 
infancy I had revered almost as a mother, and who had 

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loved me as her eon, reduced to distress ; and I could not 
afford to maintain her husband and to pay the wages of a 
servant besides. I determined, therefore, unpromising aa 
the project seemed, to try whether I could not make shift 
with him as a servant I certainly suffered, during seve- 
ral years, for my good nature. He could ride, and he 
could stand behind my chair at dinner, but this was al- 
most all that he could do ; and though I, sometimes^ em- 
ployed him to copy papers for me, he wrote very ill, and 
made a thousand faults of spelling. The want of proper 
attendance, however, was far less disagreeable to me than 
the jokes which he excited on the circuit His appearance 
was singular and puritanical ; and the first day he was seen 
on the circuit, he was named by the young men upon it 
'*The Quaker," an appellation by which he was always 
afterwards known. It is not easy to give an idea of the 
great familiarity which existed amongst the yoimg men 
who went the circuit of the strong disposition to turn 
things into ridicule which prevailed, and how very formid- 
able that ridicule was. To all his defects. Bickers added 
that of sometimes getting drunk ; and he has often made 
me pass very unpleasant hours under the apprehension 
that half elevated with liquor, and half inspired with the 
spirit of methodism which possessed him, he would say 
or do something which would afford an inexhaustible 
fund of mirth to the whole circuit. All this, however, 
I submitted to, from the motives which I have ahready 
mentioned; and, in spite of his increasing defects and 
infirmities, and notwithstanding the disagreeable hours 
which he made me pass, he continued my servant to the 
day of his death, (a period, I think, of about seven 
years,) though I was obliged, at last to take a temporary 
servant to attend me on the circuits. With all his defects, 
he had some excellent qualities. He knew that it could not 
be for the services he rendered me that I continued him 
in my service, and he was all gratitude for my kindness. 
In every way that it was possible for him, he showed his 
zeal and his attachment to me ; and I shall not soon forget 
the earnestness with which he once ventured to offer me 
his advice upon what appeared to him to be a matter of no 

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mnall moment. I had, sometimes, employed him to copy 
IN^rs which I had amused myself with writing up<m 
abuses esdsting in the administration of justice, and upon 
the necessity of certain reforms. He had seen with great 
regret the little progress I had made in my profession, and 
particularly upon the circuit, and had observed those whom 
he thought much my inferiors in talents far before me in 
business ; and putting these matters together in his head, 
he entertained no doubt that he had, at last, discovered the 
cause of what had long puzzled him. The business of a 
barrister depends upon the good opinion of attorneys ; and 
attorneys never could think well of any man who was 
troubling his head about reforming abuses when he ought 
to be profiting by them. All this he, one day, took the 
liberty >of representing to me with great humility. I en- 
deavoured to calm his apprehensions, and told him that 
what I wrote was seen only by himself and by me ; but 
this, no doubt, did not satisfy him. 

But it is time for me to mention the acquaintance 
which I formed with some celebrated men. It was in 
the latter end of the year 1784 that I first met the Count 
de Mirabeau, and it was to D'lvemois that I owed his ac- 
quaintance. His extraordinary talents, the disorders of 
his tumultuous youth, the excesses he had committed, the 
law-suits in which he had been engaged, the harsh treat- 
ment he had experienced from his father, his imprison- 
ment in the dungeon of Vincennes, and the eloquent 
work he had written with the indignant feelings which so 
unjust an imprisonment inspired, had already given him 
considerable celebrity in Europe ; but it was a celebrity 
greatly inferior to that which he afterwards acquired. 
He brougljt with him to this country a short tract, which 
he had written against the Order of the Cincinnati lately 
eitaUished in America, which it was his object to publish 
here. He was desirous that an English translation of it 
should appear at the same time with the original. He 
read his manuscript to me ; and, seeing that I was very 
much struck with the eloquence of it, he proposed to me 
to become his translator, telling me that he knew that 
it was impossible to expect anything tolerable from a 

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58 NAJUtAnVB OP }9M« 

translator that was to be paid. I thought the translation 
would be a useful exercise for me ; I had sufficient leisure 
on my hands, and I undertook it. The Count was dif- 
ficult enough to please ; he was sufficiently impressed widi 
the beauties of the original. He went over every part of 
the translation with me ; observed on every passage in 
which justice was not done to the thought, or the force of 
the expression was lost ; and made many very useful cri* 
ticisms. Diu-ing this occupation, we had occasion to see 
one another often and became very intimate ; and, as he 
had read much, had seen a great deal of the world, was 
acquainted with all the most distinguished persons who 
at that time adorned either the royal court or the republic 
. of letters in France, had a great knowledge of French and 
Italian literature, and possessed a very good ta^te, his 
conversation was extremely interesting, and not a little 
instructive. I had such frequent opportunities of seeing 
him at this time, and afterwards at a much more impor- 
tant period of his life, that I think his character was well 
known to me. I doubt whether it has been as well 
known to the world, and I am convinced that great in- 
justice has been done him. This, indeed, is not surpris- 
ing, when one considers that, ftom the first moment of 
his entering upon the career of an author, he had been 
altogether indifferent how numerous or how powerful 
might be the e'nemies he diould provoke. His vanity 
was, certainly, excessive ; but I have no doubt that, in his 
public conduct as well as in his writings, he was desirous 
of doing good, that his ambition was of the noblest kind, 
and that he proposed to himself the noblest ends. He 
was, however, like many of his countrymen, who were 
active in the calamitous revolution which afterwards took 
place, not sufficiently scrupulous about the means by 
which those ends were to be accomplished. He, indeed, 
in some degree professed this; and more than once I 
have heard him say that there were occasions upon which 
** la petite morale Stait ennemie de la grande,'* It is not 
surprising that with such maxims as these in his mouth, 
unguarded in his expressions, and careless of his reputa- 
tion, he should have^afforded room for the circulation of 

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many stories to his disadvantage. Violent, impetuous, 
conscious of the superiority of his talents, and the declared 
enemy and denouncer of every species of tyranny and 
opfK-essimi, he could not fail to shock the prejudices, to 
oppose the interests, to excite the jealousy, and to wound 
the pride of many descriptions of persons. A mode of 
refuting his works, open to the basest and vilest of man- 
kind, was to represent him as a monster of vice and profli- 
gacy. A scandal once set on foot is strengthened and pro- 
pagated by many who have no malice against the object of 
it Men delight to talk of what is extraordinary ; and 
what more extraordinary than a person so admirable for 
his talents, and so contemptible for his conduct, professing 
in his writings principles so excellent, and in all the of- 
fices of public and private life putting in practice those 
which are so detestable ? I, indeed, possessed demonstra- 
tive evidence of the falsehood of some of the anecdotes 
which^ by men of high character, were related to his pre- 

While he was in London, he lost a great part of his 
linen, and a manuscript copy of the correspondence be- 
tween Voltaire and D'Alembert, which was at that time 
unpublished, but has since appeared in Beaumarchais* 
edition. A person of the name of Hardy, who served him 
in the capacity of amanuensis, having abruptly left him, 
although his wages remained unpaid, suspicion naturally 
fell on him, and the Count obtained a warrant against 
him ; and after some time he was apprehended and tried 
at the Old Bailey.* The evidence was very slight, and the 
man was properly acquitted ; but nothing at all discredit- 
able to Mirabeau appeared upon the trial. On the 
contrary. Baron Perryn, who tried the prisoner (Mr. Jus- 
tice Buller being at the same time upon the bench), de- 
clared, that though the prisoner ought certainly to be ac- 
quitted, no blame whatever was to be imputed to the pro- 
secution.* Lord Minto, then Sir Gilbert Elliot, who had 

* On the 26th of February, 1785.— Ed. 

' The following are the expressions used by the Court on the occa- 
sion. ** Sir Gilbert, you will take the trouble to tell the Count, there 
is nothing has dropt that throws the smallest imputation on him ; 



been at the same school with Mirabeau, and was the 
greatest friend he had in England, Baynes, and myself^ 
were present ^ the trial, and had been consolted by Mi* 
rabeau upon all the steps he had taken upon the occauon* 
When the trial was over. Lord Minto said that it wonldbe 
extremely important to have an accurate account of what 
had passed upon the trial inserted in some of the news^ 
papers, to prevent any misrepresentation of it, which he 
thought might be apprehended from Mirabeaus enemies ; 
for it had been observed that some of them» and psrtica* 
larly Linguet, had taken a great interest in the a&ir, and 
had been present watching every thing that passed, as 
wdl upon the trial as previously upon the examination of 
the prisoner before the magistrate who committed him. 
At Lord Minto's suggestion, therefore, he, together with 
Baynes and myself, went immediately from the Court to 
Baynes's chambers ; and there drew up a very full account 
of the trial, which was the next day published in one of 
the newspapers. I have the paper still in my possession, 
and it contains a most scrupulously exact account of every 
thing that passed.^ What was my astonishment, therefore, 
some years afterwards, when Mirabeau had, by his con^ 
duct in the National Assembly of France, drawn the at- 
tention of all Europe upon him, to hear, as I did, that Mr. 
Justice Buller had stated * in diiferent companies, that 
Mirabeau had had the villany, because his servant de* 
manded his wages of him, and threatened him with an 
arrest, to charge him with a felony, for which there was so 
little foundation that it was proved upon the trial that 
Mirabeau had never been possessed of so many shirts as 
he had accused his servant of stealing ! That Mr. Justice 
Buller deliberately circulated these untruths, knowing 
them to be such, I do not believe. He had a very imper- 

he has acted very wisely, and his honor is not in the least degrege 

impeached by anything that has occurred in the prosecution 

The attempt to throw a stain on the Count^s honor was very impro- 
per." Old Bailey Sessions Papers, 1785, p. 396. Ed. 
1 See Public Advertiser, Monday, 28th Feb. 1785.— Ed. 

* I heard this from persons who told me they were present when 
Mr. Justice Buller made these statements. 

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feet reeoIleetioQ of the trials although he had himself pre- 
sided at it ; he fancied what he stated ; he did not give 
himself the trouble of lo<^ng back to his notes, and it 
did not seem to him to be very important that he should 
be scrupulously exact respecting a man who had already 
80 bad a reputation, and who would not be the better or 
the worse for what waa thought of him in England. It 
is in this way» only, that I am able to account for what 
appears so extraordinary, but upon which it is hardly 
possible that I can have made any mistake. 

Mirabeau*s indifference as to the enemies he made was 
shown in various instances during his residence in Eng- 
land. In his notes upon his Cincinnati he attacked Sir 
Joseph Banks for his conduct as President of the Royal 
Society ; and he arraigned the judgment of the Court of 
King's Bench, in the celebrated case of the Dean of St 
Asaph. In private company he was positive and into- 
lerant in his opinions. One remarkable instance of this 
appeared at a dinner, at which I was present, at Mr. 
Brand Hollis's. Among the company were John Wilkes* 
General Miranda, and Mirabeau. The conversation 
turned upon the English criminal law, its severity, and 
the frequency of public executions. Wilkes defended 
the system with much wit and good-humour, but with 
very bad arguments. He thought that the happiest re- 
sults followed from the severities of our penal law. It 
accustomed men to a contempt of death, ^ough it never 
held out to them any very cruel spectacle ; and he thought 
that much of the courage of Englishmen, and of their hu- 
manity too, might be traced to the nature of our capital 
punishments, and to their being so often exhibited to the 
people. Mirabeau was not satisfied with having the best 
of the argument, and with triumphantly refuting his op- 
ponent ; he was determined to crush him with his elo- 
quence. He declaimed with vehemence, talked of Wilkes's 
profound immorality, and with a man less cool, less in- 
different about the truth, and less skilled in avoiding any 
personal quarrel than Wilkes, the dispute would probably 
have been attended with very serious consequences. 

Mirabeau seemed to provoke and to take a pleasure in 

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02 narrahvb of itss. 

these Boris of controversies with celebrated men ; and he 
wrote a letter to me while I was on the circuit in 1785, in 
which he gave me a very detailed account of a dispute 
which he supposed himself to have had with Gibbon, the 
historian, at Lord Lansdowne's table, and in which he ex- 
pressed himself with so much violence, that he seems in 
some degree to admit that he was to blame. The most 
extraordinary circumstance, however, is, that he certainly 
never had any such dispute with Gibbon ; and that, at the 
time when he supposed it to have taken place, Gibbon was 
actually residing at Lausanne. How the mistake hap- 
pened, and who it was that he took for Gibbon, I never 
discovered ; but of the fact there can be no doubt, for I 
have still the letter in my possession.^ 

I have dwelt too long, perhaps, on this extraordinary 
man, especially as I shall have occasion to mention him 
again, and probably more than once. My acquaintance 
with him may have had considerable influence on the 
subsequent events of my life, though I am unable to say 
with any certainty whether it really had such an influence. 
He introduced me to Benjamin Vaughan, and Benjamin 
Vaughan made me acquainted with Lord Lansdowne. 
Mirabeau, too, was loud in his praises of me to that noble- 
man ; he had formed high expectations of me ; he was 
anxious that I should act a distinguished part in the 
country ; and he was impatient to see me in Parliament, 
as the only theatre upon which that part could be acted. 
In all this he was actuated by the most disinterested 
motives, and by the purest friendship for me.' 

Lord Lansdowne's acquaintance with me was entirely at 
his own request He begged that I would call on him to 
give him some information respecting my friend Dumont, 
who at that time was the pastor of the Protestant church 
at Petersburgh, and whom he had some thoughts of en- 
gaging to come into this country to undertake the educa- 
tion of his youngest son, Henry, the present Marquis of 
Lansdowne. I accordingly waited on his Lordship, and 

^ See m/ra^ '< Letters from Mirabeau" in 1785.~Ed. 
« Ibid. 

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was received by him in the inost flattering manner. 
From that time he anxiously cultivated my acquaintance 
and my friendship ; and to that friendship I owe it that 
I ever knew the affectionate wife who has been the author 
of all my happiness. What procured me so kind a rcr 
ception by Lord Lansdowne was less the praises of Mira- 
beau, than a small tract which I had written on a subject 
which at that time very much interested the public. 
The trial of the Dean of St. Asaph had revived and given 
a more lively interest to the question often before dis-^ 
cussed, '* what was the proper province of the jury in 
matters of libel.*' Upon this question I had drawn up a 
paper, which I called A Fragment on the Rights and 
Duties qf Juries \ or by some such title, and which I 
had sent anonymously to the Constitutional Society, that 
Society having warmly entered into the controversy, and 
being, indeed, deeply interested in the trial out of which 
it arose, since the dialogue, written by Sir William Jones, 
which the dean was prosecuted for publishing in Welsh, 
had been originally printed in English by the Society 
itself. The only object of this Society, which con- 
sisted of a few men of great talents, but of which the 
greater number were well meaning but foolish persons, 
was to publish and circulate gratuitously political tracts 
which might inform the people upon the true principles 
of the constitution. These tra(;ts, as Burke has some- 
where observed, were never as charitably read as they 
were charitably published. The Society received my 
paper, with great applause, and ordered many copies of it 
to be printed and distributed. Baynes, Vaughan, and a 
very few more of my friends knew the paper to be mine, 
and Vaughan mentioned it as such to Lord Lansdowne, who 
conceived from it a very favourable opinion of me, and 
became, in consequence, desirous of my acquaintance.^ 
His Lordship loaded me with civilities, and seemed to 
take, and I have no doubt did sincerely take, a great 
interest in my success. The projects, however, which 

^ The accurate title of the tract is, A Fragment on the Constitu- 
tional Potoer and Duties ofJttriet, — Ed. 

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04 KABKAnVB OF 178S. 

Mirabeau had conceived for me, were not at this tiine 
at all in question. If, indeed, they had been, I should 
not have hesitated to decline them, as^ if I am not mia* 
taken, I very fully stated to Baynes, in a letter which I 
wrote to him from the circuit, in answer to one", in 
which he stated to me all that Mirabeau had been dream* 
ing about for my advantage. Some years afterwards, 
indeed. Lord Lansdowne did offer me a seat in Parliament^ "^ 
and strongly pressed me to accept it, with an assurance 
that I was to be at perfect liberty to vote and act as fl 
should think proper. This was at a time when I had 
got a tolerable share of business at the bar, when I seemed 
certain of gaining a competence in my profession, and 
when, in point of fortune, I should have risked very 
little by going into Parliament It was that which, above 
all things, I should have rejoiced in, if I could have gone 
into the House of Commons perfectly independent, and 
not with the consciousness that I was placed there by an 
individual whose opinions might, on some important sub- 
jects, be very different from my own. Even with all 
these disadvantages, the offer was at that time so tempt- 
ing, that I confess I hesitated : it was not, however, for 
long : I had the good sense and the honesty to decline iU 
and I have ever since applauded my determination. 

But whatever distant views Lord Lansdowne might 
have had» he had no wish, at this time, to see me in the 
House of Commons ; and I believe he did not imagine 
that I should ever be a successful speaker there. He 
was very desirous, however, that I should distinguish 
myself in my profession ; and he was, at the same time, 
anxious that I should write some work which might 
attract the attention of the public. Madan had recently 

^ The following passage is taken from another of Sir SamueVs 
manuscripts. — Ed. 

** I was not the only person whose supposed talents had procured 
him Lord Lansdowne's friendship. That admirable criticism on 
Blackstone** CommentarieB, which was published under the title of 
A Fragment on Government^ procured for its author, my most 
excellent friend, Jeremy Bentham, an introduction to Lord Lans- 
downe of the same kind, and in consequence of ithis warm friendship." 

* See infra, " Letters from Mirabeau " in 1785.— Ed. 

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published his ' Thoughts on Executive Justice ; * a small 
tract» in which, hy a mistaken application of the maxim 
* that the certainty of punishment is more efficacious than 
its severity for the prevention of crimes,' he absurdly 
insisted on the expediency of rigidly enforcing, in every 
instance, our penal code, sanguinary and barbarous as it 
is : the certainty of punishment he strongly recommended, 
but intimated no wish to see any part of its severity re- 
laxed. The work was, in truth, a strong and vehement 
censure upon the judges and the ministers for their mode 
of administering the law, and for the frequency of the 
pardons which they granted. It was very much read, 
and certainly was followed by the sacrifice of many lives, 
by the useless sacrifice of them ; for though some of the 
judges, and the government, for a time, adopted his rea- 
soning, it was but for a short time that they adopted it ; 
and, indeed, a long perseverance in such a sanguinary 
system was impossible Lord Ellenborough, who seems 
to consider himself as bound to defend the conduct of all 
judges, whether living or dead, has lately, in the House 
of Lords, in his usual way of unqualified and vehement 
assertion, declared that it was false that this book had any 
effect, whatever, upon either judges or ministers. To 
this assertion I have only to oppose these plain facts : in 
the year 1783, the year before the work was published, 
there were executed in London only 51 malefactors ; in 
1785, the year after it was published, there were executed 
97: and it was recently after the publication of this 
book that was exhibited a spectacle unseen in London for 
a long course. of years before, the execution of nearly 20 
criminals at a time. Lord Lansdowne, amongst others, 
was dazzled and imposed upon by this writer's reason- 
ing ; and he even recommended me to write something 
on the same subject. This, of course, induced me to look 
into the book ; but I was so much shocked at the folly 
and inhumanity of it, that, instead of enforcing the same 
arguments, I sat down to refute them ; and I soon after- 
wards produced a little tract, which I published without 
my name, as Observations on a late Publication, entitled, 

VOL. I. » 

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* Thoughts on Executive Justice f and I added to it a 
letter of Dr. Franklin's to Benjamin Vanghan, on the 
same subject. A few of my friends, — ^Baynes, Vaugfaan, 
Lord Lansdowne, Dr. Jebb, Wilberforce, and Sir Gilbert 
Elliot, knew that the work was mine, and highly ap* 
proved it. I did not, however, publicly avow it, nor 
had I any encouragement to do so ; for though it was 
much commended in the Reviews, it had so little success 
with the public, that not more than a hundred copies of 
it were sold. I sent a copy to each of tJie judges ; and I 
had great satisfaction in hearing Mr. Justice WiUes, while 
he was on the circuit, speaking highly in its praise, and 
wondering who could be the author. To Lord Sydney, 
who was then Secretary of State for the Home Department, 
I also sent a copy ; but it was not received, his servant 
having told the person by whom I sent it, that he had his 
Lordship's orders not to receive any letter or parcel 
without knowing whom it came from ; a curious precaution 
to be used by a minister who is at the head of the police. 

The little success of this pamphlet did not deter me 
from occupying my leisure hours in writing observations 
on different parts of our criminal law. Upon the circuit, 
too, I made the criminal law very much my study, and 
attended as often as I could in the Crown Court, and noted 
down all the most remarkable things that passed there ; 
not merely the points of law that arose, but the effects 
which the different provisions of the law, the rules of 
evidence, and our forms of proceeding appeared to me to 
produce on the manners of the people, and on the ad- 
ministration of justice. 

The society of the circuit had much improved within a 
few years after I first entered upon it, by the addition of 
several men for whom I entertained a very great regard. 
The principal of these were Ascough, Perceval, and Bram- 
ston. Ascough, though possessed of large property, and 
though generous to a degree which amounted to a perfect 
contempt of money, followed the profession with as much 
ardour as if his subsistence had depended upon his success. 
He had read a great deal, always brought many books 

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with him upon the circuit, and was possessed of much ge- 
neral knowledge, in which English lawyers are commonly 
so lamentably deficient. He was cheerful, warm, friendly, 
and was a great acquisition to the society of the circuit. 
So, too, was Perceval : with much less, and indeed very 
i ttle reading, of a conversation barren of instruction, and 
with strong and invincible prejudices on many subjects ; 
yet, by his excellent temper, his engaging manners, and 
his sprightly conversation, he was the delight of all who 
knew him. I formed a strong and lasting friendship with 
both these men. Poor Ascough died of a consumption a 
short time after I was married ; and Perceval, after he 
had, in a manner which my private friendship for him 
could never induce me to consider in a favourable point of 
view, obtained the situation of Prime Minister*, and quite 
to the moment of his tragical end, was desirous that our 
friendship should remain uninterrupted: I could not, 
however, continue in habits of private intimacy and inter- 
course with one whom in public J had every day to oppose. 
Bramston had the goodhumour and the friendly disposi-. 
tion of the other two, and his conversation was likewise 
very engaging. Many very happy hours have I passed in 
this society ; particularly when we could contrive for a 
day to get away from the circuit, either at Matlock, or at 
our friend Digby's at Meriden, in Warwickshire. 

This sort of amusement, however, was for a considerable 
time the only profit that I derived from the circuit. Many 
of the barristers upon it had friends and connexions in 
some of the counties through which we passed, which 
served as an introduction of them to business ; but for 
myself, I was without connexions everywhere : and at 
the end of my sixth or seventh circuit, I had made no 
progress. I had been, it is true, in a few causes ; but all 
the briefs I had had, were delivered to me by London at- 
torneys, who had seen my face in London, and who hap- 
pened to be strangers to the juniors on the circuit. They 
aftbrded me no opportunity of displaying any talents, if I 
had possessed them, and they led to nothing ; I might have 

> See infr&, Pail. Diary, April, 1807.— Ed. 

P 2 

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58 NABRATIV1B OF 1787. 

continued thus a mere spectator of the business done by 
others, quite to the end of the sixteen years which elapsed 
before I gave up every part of the circuit, if I had not 
resolved, though it was very inconvenient to me on ac- 
count of the business which I began to get in London, to 
attend the Quarter Sessions of some Midland County. 
There is, indeed, a course by which an unconnected man 
may be pretty sure to gain business, and which is not un- 
frequently practised. It is to gain an acquaintance with 
the attorneys at the different assize-towns, to show them 
great civility, to pay them great court, and to aifect before 
them a display of wit, knowledge, and parts. But he who 
disdains such unworthy means may, if he do not attend 
the Quarter Sessions, pass his whole life in travelling 
round the circuit, and in daily attendances in court, 
without obtaining a single brief. When a man first 
makes his appearance in court, no attorney is disposed 
to try the experiment whether he has any talents ; and 
when a man's face has become familiar by his having 
been long a silent spectator of the business done by 
others, his not being employed is supposed to proceed 
from his incapacity, and is alone considered sufficient 
evidence that he must have been tried and rejected. It 
was an observation, indeed, which I heard Mr. Justice 
Heath make, *• that there was no use in going a circuit 
without attending sessions,'* which determined me to try 
the experiment, and I fixed on Warwick as being the last 
place upon the commission, and thei:efore that part of it 
which I could attend with the least interruption of my bu- 
siness in Chancery, and as being also the place at which 
at that time the greatest number of causes were tried. 
At the sessions there is a much less attendance of 
counsel than at the assizes ; and from the incapacity for 
business of many who do attend, every man is almost 
certain of being tried ; and if he has any talents, of being 
a good deal employed. I found the experiment very 
successful ; I had not attended many sessions before I 
was in all the business there ; this naturally led to business 
at the assizes, and I had obtained a larger portion of it 

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than any man upon the circuit, when my occupations in 
London forced me altogether to relinquish it : this» how- 
ever, was at a period long subsequent to that to which I 
have brought down my narrative. 

The increase of my business in town was so regular and 
considerable, as to make it evident that I ought princi- 
pally to rely upon it, and that the circuit should be made 
a matter of very subordinate consideration. It was^ 
indeed, more for the sake of cultivating the habit of ad- 
dressing juries, of examining and cross-examining wit- 
nesses, and of exercising that presence oi mind which i& 
BO essential to a nisi prim advocate, and which I thought 
might be of great use to me in the higher stations of the 
profession to which I began to aspire, than on account 
of the emolument I might derive from it, that I remained 
on the circuit. 

In the summer of 1787, 1 suffered an irreparable loea 
by the death of my most excellent friend, Baynes. I had 
engaged to pass a part of the vacation with him at his 
father's in the neighbourhood of Skipton, . in Yorkshire, 
and we were to have set out immediately upon my return 
from the circuit ; but, upon the circuit, I received the 
news of his illness, of the alarms which were entertained 
for him, and of his death. He had been applying himself 
to study with unusual assiduity ; his business as a special 
pleader under the bar had much increased, and he had 
undergone extraordinary fatigues in it ; and, during all 
this, he had determined to live with a very unusual degree 
of abstemiousness. He was attacked by a putrid fever, 
which baffled aU the efforts of medicine, and in a very 
short time brought him to his grave. His loss was one 
of the greatest misfortunes which at that time could 
have befallen me, and it was a source of great affliction to 
me ; but I shall ever account it one of the most fortimate 
occurrences, in my prosperous life, that, for six years be- 
fore he died, I enjoyed his warm and generous friendship. 
In death, he bore testimony of his affection for me; he 
appointed me the executor of his will, and he left me a 
valuable part of his library, all his classics, and all his 
books upon law and legal antiquities. His friend Dr. 

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70 NARRATIVB OP 1788. 

Parr, at the instance of his father, wrote an inscription 
for his tomb, which is very happily characteristic of him.^ 

In the vacation of the following year, 1788, I made a 
third visit to Paris. My friend Dumont was my compa- 
nion ; and my principal object was to amuse myself, and to 
see more of the society of that celebrated city than my 
former short visits had enabled me to do. As soon as the 
circuit was over, we set out together, and after a delight- 
ful journey through Normandy, by Dieppe, and Rouen, we 
arrived at Paris. It was on a Saturday that we arrived ; 
and on the next day the ambassadors of Tippoo Saib 
were to be presented to the King at Versailles. We re- 
paired thither; and though we could only procure a place 
in one of the rooms through which the ambassadors passed, 
yet we had an opportunity of seeing all the splendour and 
gaiety of the court ; and its dazzling magnificence has 
often occurred to my imagination, when I have read of 
the horrible scenes which were, soon afterwards, acted on 
the same theatre. 

We brought with us many letters of introduction, and 

particularly some from Lord I-Ausdowne ; we had both of 

us already acquaintances at Paris, and we saw a great 

number and a great variety of persons. Among the 

^ The following ia the inscription alluded to ;— Ed. 



















H. M. P. 

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most remarkable were the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, 
M. de Malesherbes, M. de lAfayette, the Abb6 Morellet, 
Chamfort, Dupont de Nemours, Condorcet, Mallet du 
Pan, the Count de Sarsfield, Jefferson the American am- 
bassador, Etienne de St Pierre, Target, and Mercier the 
author of the TcUdeau de Paris, Mirabeau, too, was, at 
this time, at Paris, publishing his great work on the 
Prussian Monarchy. We saw him; I renewed my ac- 
quaintance with him : he was delighted with Dumont's 
wit and extraordinary talents ; we became again very in- 
timate, and passed many hours in his most captivating 
society. Amongst other objects of curiosity for travellers, 
we made, during our stay at Paris, a visit to BicStre. 
Mercier, Mallet du Pan, Dumont, and myself, were the 
whole party. I was much shocked and disgusted at what 
I saw, both in the hospital and the prison ; I saw Mirabeau 
the next day, and mentioned to him the impression they 
had made on me ; he exhorted me earnestly to put down 
my observations in writing, and to give them to him. I 
did so; and he soon afterwards translated them into 
French, and published them in the form of a pamphlet, un- 
der the title of Lettre (Tun Voyageur Anglais sur la Pri- 
son de B%c€tre; and he added to them some observations on 
criminal law, which were very nearly a translation from 
the little tract I had published on Madan's Thoughts on 
Executive Justice, The work was suppressed by the police 
of Paris. The letter upon BicStre, after my return to 
London, I printed in a periodical publication called The 
Repository^ which was published by Benjamin Vaughan, 
or under his auspices. I printed it as being a translation 
from Mirabeau, although it was in truth the original. 

Amongst all the eminent persons we saw at Paris, 
there was none who impressed me with so much respect 
and attachment as the good and virtuous Malesherbes. 
There was a certain simplicity and warmth of heart in 
him, which, at the first moment, put those who approached 
him perfectly at their ease, and inspired them with 
the freedom of a long and intimate acquaintance. Of 
a man, who, soon afterwards, upon the trial of the un- 
fortunate King, acted so magnanimous a part, it may 
\>e worth while to remember a circumstance, very trifling 

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in itself, but yet which puts his afOftbility and kindness of 
heart in a very amiable point of view. One day that I 
dined with him, the Count de Sarsfield, who was of the 
party, told me and Dumont that it would be well worth 
our while to go one day to some of the large guinguettea 
about Paris, and to observe the scenes that passed there, 
when they were filled, as they commonly were in the 
evenings, with persons of the lower orders. It happened 
that, in the neighbourhood of M. de Malesherbes, who 
lived beyond the Boulevards, there was one of the most 
celebrated and crowded of these places of entertainment ; 
and the good-natured old man consented that, after 
dinner, the whole company should take a walk to it. Ac- 
cordingly, in the evening, the party, which was a pretty 
large one, and consisted, amongst others^ of M. de la 
Luzerne, M. de Lafayette, and Target the celebrated 
advocate, proceeded to the guinguette. The master of 
it, a man of very mean appearance and vulgar manners, 
was a tenant of M. de Malesherbes ; and while they were 
convei^sing together with great familiarity and bonhomie, 
M. de Malesherbes, being desirous of surprising the poor 
fellow with the great name of one of his guests, and eu" 
joying his admiration, asked him if he had ever happened 
to hear of a certain Marquis de Lafayette, pleasing him- 
self with being able, when he had received for answer, as 
I he expected, '* to be sure he had, as had all the rest of the 
world," to point out to him the modest-looking gentleman 
who was standing at his elbow ; but, to his great disap- 
pointment, the man answered, '* No, really I can't say I 
ever did. Pray, who was he?" His little disappoint- 
ment, however, he took with that good nature which 
characterized every thing that he said or did, and he 
joined in the laugh against himself. 

The state of public affairs, during this our visit to 
Paris, was highly interesting. The administration of the 
Archbishop of Sens had become extremely unpopular, 
and there were some trifling commotions in the streets. 
Crowds assembled on the Pont Neuf, and obliged all the 
passers-by to take off their hats, in token of respect, 
before the equestrian statue of Henry IV. In the coffee- 
houses of the Palais Royal, the freest conversations were 

1788. HIS EARLY UFE. PART 11. 73 

indulged ; and in the midst of the puhlic ferment which 
prevailed, a change of ministry was announced, and M. 
Necker was recalled to the administration. He had not 
long returned to office hefore the King declared his deter- 
mination to assemble the States General. Such an event, 
as may well be supposed, produced a very great effect, and 
was the subject of every conversation. The best and most 
virtuous men (and I place the Duke de la Rochefoucauld 
and M. de Malesherbes amongst the foremost of them) 
saw in it the beginning of a new era of happiness for 
France, and for all the civilized world. The ambitious 
rejoiced at the wide field that was opening to their aspir- 
ing hopes, and the men of letters began to entertain a 
higher opinion of their own importance than even they 
had before conceived. There was not, however, to be 
found a single individual, the most gloomy, the most 
timid, or the most enthusiastically sanguine, who foresaw 
any of the extraordinary events to which the assembling 
the States was to lead. Who, indeed, could, in that single 
measure, have discovered the seeds of what followed?— 
tde abolition of the monarchy ; the public execution of 
the king and queen ; the destruction of the nobility ; the 
annihilation of all religion ; the erection of a petty but 
most sanguinary tyranny in almost every town of France ; 
a succession of wars, all contributing to increase the 
martial glory of the nation ; and, finally, the establishment 
of a military despotism, the subjugation of almost all 
the rest of Europe, and the nearest approach that is to 
be found in the history of modern times to universal 
empire ! 

Paris was at this time, from the different characters of 
the individuals we saw there, and the occasion which 
called these characters forth, as instructive to us as it was 
amusing. I should have been glad to have stayed longer, 
and to have enjoyed and profited more by it, but I was 
obliged to be back early in October, to attend the Coventry 
and Warwick Quarter Sessions; and to an object of such 
great importance to me as my success in my profession, I 
was disposed to make great sacrifices. We reluctantly, 
therefore, set out on our return, and yet I was near missing 

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the object of it ; for though we had allowed ourselves fiill 
time to perform our journey, when we arrived at Boulog:ne 
we found the wind adverse, and blowing so strongly, that 
it was impossible to sail for England, either from that 
port or from Calais; and after staying at Boulogne 
nearly a week, we were still there on Saturday at one 
o'clock in the day, when it was requisite that I should be 
in Court, at Coventry, by ten o'clock on the morning of 
the^ following Monday. This, however, by great good 
fortune, I was able to accomplish. We had a passage 
of only three hours; we proceeded the same night to 
Canterbury; and I arrived in London early enough on 
the next evening to obtain a place in a mail-coach, which 
Conveyed me by nine o'clock the following morning to 

Some months after I had returned from Paris, I re- 
ceived a letter from the Count de Sarsfield, requesting 
me to send him some book which stated the rules and 
orders of proceeding in the English House of Commons. 
He thought it would be extremely useful to assist the 
States General in regulating their debates, and their 
modes of transacting business. There was no such book, 
and I could send him nothing that would answer his 
purpose. Hatsell omits the common rules which are 
known to every body, and which are just what the French 
would stand the most in need of ; and he is very minute 
and very ample in precedents upon points which to them 
could not be of the smallest use. There was nothing to 
be done but to draw up a statement of the Rules of the 
House of Commons myself ; and I very cheerfully set about 
it, though it was likely to occupy a good deal of my time. 
In truth, I thought it of extreme importance that the 
States should begin by making some regulations which 
might insure order and tranquillity in their proceedings. 
Dupont, who was one of the Secretaries of the Notables, 
and had a proces verbal of their proceedings, had men. 
tioned to me the tumult which had often prevailed in that 
assembly, and which was sometimes carried to such a 
height that he was obliged to suspend his journal. It was 
once, he said, pleasantly proposed by one of the members 

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to establish as a rule, that there should never be more 
than four members speaking at once. I gave m3rself 
great pains to make the paper I drew up as accurate as 
possible ; and after I had finished it, I showed it to Sir 
Gilbert Elliot, who corrected it in some matters in which 
I had been mistaken, and who showed it likewise to Mr. 
Ley, the assistant clerk to the House of Commons. When 
it was as complete as I could make it, I sent it to the 
Count de Sarsfield. He received it most thankfully, 
and set about translating it into French. He died, how- 
ever, before he had advanced far with the work; and 
from his hands the papers passed into those of Mirabeau 
Mirabeau, fully sensible of the importance of the work, 
with all expedition translated and published it. It never, 
however, was of the smallest use ; and no regard what- 
ever was paid to it by the .National Assembly, as the 
States General were pleased, soon after their meeting, to 
call themselves. They met, having to form their rules and 
mode of proceeding. The leading members were little 
disposed to borrow any thing from England. They did 
not adopt these rules, and they hardly observed any others. 
Much of the violence which prevailed in the Assembly 
would have been allayed, and many rash measures un- 
questionably prevented, if their proceedings had been 
conducted with order and regularity. If one single rule 
had been adopted, namely, that every motion should be 
reduced into writing in the form of a proposition before 
it was put from the chair, instead of proceeding, as was 
their constant course, by first resolving the principle as 
they called it (decreter le principe), and leaving the draw- 
ing up what they had so resolved (or, as they called it, 
la redaction) for a subsequent operation, it is astonishing 
how great an influence it would have had on their de- 
bates and on their measures. When I was afterwards 
present, and witnessed their proceedings, I had often 
occasion to lament that the trouble I had taken had been 
of no avail. 

I was among those who, in the early stages of the 
French Revolution, entertained the most sanguine expec- 
tations of the happy effects which were to result from it, 

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76 NARKATIVE OF 17g9. 

not to France alone, but to the rest of the world ; and I 
very early, I think some time about July, 1789, published 
a short pamphlet on the subject, under the title of 
Thoughts on the probable Influence qf the hie JRevohitum 
in France upon other Countries, or some such tiUe.^ 

By the time that I was able to enjoy again the leisure of 
a long vacation, events in France had become so interesting^ 
and the National Assembly, then sitting at Versailles, had 
become an object of such curiosity, that I could not resist 
the desire of being a near spectator of them. Acoor- 
dingly 1 set out, on the first day after I was released from 
the circuit, for Paris. I arrived there shortly after the 
celebrated decrees of the 4th of August had been passed 
— ^those decrees by which in an evening sitting, and in a 
moment of enthusiasm, the Assembly had, by a string of 
hasty resolutions, abolished tithes and all feudal rights^ 
without considering what consequences were to follow^ 
or what compensations or precautions it might be expe- 
dient should accompany' such important 'measures. Aa 
the rules which govern all other legislative assemblie& 
had been neglected, no guards whatever had been put on 
the legislative powers which the Assembly exercised. It 
was not necessary that an alteration of the law should pass 
through various stages, so as to become the subject, or at 
least to afford the opportunity, of renewed consideration 
and debate. After some of the first resolutions had been 
passed, the rest were carried by acclamation the moment 
they were proposed ; and I afterwards heard it lamented 
by several of the deputies, that they had not availed them- 
selves of that fortunate moment of effervescence and en- 
thusiasm to propose the abolition of other abuses, which 
it would then have been only necessary to have named in 
order to have destroyed. How unfortunate, I have heard 
it said, that no person happened to think of the Slave 

At Versailles, I found Dumont and Duroveray living 
there together, and together conducting a periodical pub- 
lication which gave an account of the proceedings of the 

^ Thought* on the prMble Influence of the French Revolution on 
Great Britain, The year on the title-page is 1790.~£d.. 

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1789. HIS EARLY LIFE. PART II. tjtj 

National Assembly, and was entitled the Courrier de Pro- 
vence. It passed with the public for Mirabeau's ; and was 
a continuation of the Letters to his Constituents, which 
rendered them an account of his own conduct and of that 
of the other deputies. Duroveray and Dumont had gone 
to Paris early in the year, to endeavour to avail them- 
selves of M. Necker being minister to procure for their 
common country, Geneva, an alteration of the law which 
France had guaranteed at the late fatal revolution in that 
republic. They had— and who could avoid it ? — taken a 
great interest in the opening of the States, and the events 
that rapidly followed. Mirabeau was well aware of their 
talents, and was disposed to benefit by them. On several 
important occasions they assisted him ; and the address 
of the Assembly to the King for the removal of the troops, 
an address which was adopted the moment that Mirabeau 
had proposed it, and which produced so great an effect in 
France, was entirely written by Dumont. The last of 
Mirabeau's letters to his constituents, one of the most elo- 
quent compositions in the French language, was also Du- 
mont*s. Its extraordinary success suggested the idea of 
pubUshing a regular journal, under a different title, and 
not under Mirabeau's name, but which, from the great 
talents displayed in it, was generaUy supposed to be 
written by him ; and he was too proud of the performance 
to deny it. Of course, I found Dumont and Duroveray 
in great intimacy with Mirabeau. They were very well 
acquainted, too, with other members of the Assembly. I 
had a letter from Lord Lansdowne to Necker ; I was ac- 
quainted with the Bishop of Chartres, a deputy to the 
States ; and by these various means I saw a great number 
of the persons who were most distinguished as speakers 
in the Assembly. I was very frequent in my attendance 
there, and often heard Mounier, Bamave, Lally Tolendal, 
Thouret, Maury, Casales, and D'Epresmenil, who were 
some of the speftkers at that time most looked up to by 
the different parties. I heard Robespierre ; but he was 
then so obscure, and spoke with so litUe talent or success, 
that I have not the least recollectiou of his person. I 
met the Abb6 Sieyes several times at the Bishop of 

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78 NARRATIVE OF 1789 . 

Chartres' ; he was the Bishop's atimdnier, and a person of 
whose talents he entertained the highest opinion. Sieyes 
was of a morose disposition, said little in company, and 
appeared to have a full sense of his own superiority, and 
great contempt for the opinions of others. He was, 
however, when I saw him, greatly out of humour with the 
Assembly, and with everybody who had concurred in its 
decree for the abolition of tithes, and seemed to augur 
very ill of the revolution. While I was at Versailles, he 
published his defence of the tithes, with this motto pre- 
fixed to it — ** lis veulent etre libres, et ils ne savent pas Stre 
justes." At the Bishop of Chartres', too, I sometimes 
met with P6tion, a man who appeared to me to have 
neither talents nor vices which could have enabled him to 
have so great and so unfortunate an influence on public 
affairs as he afterwards appeared to have. What struck 
me as most remarkable in the dispositions of the people 
that I saw, was the great desire that every body had to 
act a great part, and the jealousy which in consequence 
of this was entertained of those who were really eminent. 
It seemed as if all persons, from the highest to the lowest, 
whether deputies themselves, declaimers in the Palais 
Royal, orators in the coffee-houses, spectators in the gal- 
lery, or the populace about the door, looked upon them- 
selves individually as of great consequence in the revolu- 
tion. The man who kept the hotel at which I lodged at 
Paris, a certain M. Villars, was a private in the National 
Guard. Upon my returning home on the day of the be- 
nediction of their colours at Notre Dame, and telling him 
that I had been present at the ceremony, he said, "You 
saw me. Sir ?" I was obliged to say that I really had not 
He said, " Is that possible, Sir ? You did not see me. 
Why I was in one of the first ranks— all Paris saw me !" 
I have often since thought of my host's chDdish vanity. 
What he spoke was felt by thousands. The most impor- 
tant transactions were as nothing, but as they had rela- 
tion to the figure which each little self-conceited hero 
acted in them. To attract the attention of all Paris, or of 
all France, was often the motive of conduct in matters 
which were attended with most momentous consequences. 

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The confidence which they felt in themselves, and their 
unwillingness to be informed by persons capable of giving 
them information, were not a little remarkable. I was 
dining one day at M. Necker's, at Versailles, at a great 
dinner, at which many of the deputies were present; 
amongst others, M. Malouet, a man of considerable 
eminence. It was a day in which great tumult had pre- 
vailed in the National Assembly, and the Bishop of 
Langres, who was then the president, had rung his bell to 
command silence till he had broken it ; but all had been 
in vain. The conversation turned upon this. Malouet 
observed, that in the English House of Commons the 
greatest order prevailed, and that this was acc^biplished 
by dint of the great authority vested in the Speaker, Who 
had power, if any member behaved disorderly, to impose 
silence on him by way of punishment for two months, or 
any other limited period of time. M. Necker turned 
round to me as the only Englishman present, and asked 
me if this was so. M. Malouet had been so positive and 
bold in his assertion, that I thought the most polite way 
in which I could contradict him, was to say that I had 
never heard of it. But this only served to give that gen- 
tleman an opportunity of showing his great superiority 
over me. I might not, he said, have heard of it, but of 
the fact there was not the least doubt. 

Mirabeau was acting a great part during the whole 
time that I was at Versailles ; and it was not surprising 
that he was a little intoxicated by the applause and ad- 
miration which he received. He was certainly a very 
extraordinary man, with great defects undoubtedly, but 
with many very good qualities ; possessed of great talents 
himself, and having a singular faculty of bringing forward 
and availing himself of the talents of others. He was a 
great plagiarist; but it was from avarice, not poverty, 
that he appropriated to himself the views and the elo- 
quence of others. Whatever he found forcible or beauti- 
ful, he considered as a kind of common property which he 
might avail himself of^ and which he ought to make the 
most of to promote the object he had in view ; and not- 
withstanding all tiiat has been said against him, I am well 

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80 NAREATIVE OF 1789. 

convinced that both in his writings and in his speeches he 
had what he sincerely conceived to he the good of man- 
kind for his object. He was vain, and he was inordinately 
ambitious ; but his ambition was to act a noble part, and 
to establish the liberty of his coimtry on the most solid 
foimdations. He was very unjustly accused of having 
varied in his politics, and of having gone over to the 
court. From the beginning, and when he was the idol of 
the people, he always had it in view to establish a limited 
monarchy in France upon the model of the British Con- 
stitution. That at the time when the democratical 
leaders in France had far other projects in contemplation 
he was in secret correspondence with the court, and that 
he received money from the King, I think highly pro- 
bahle ; and the gross immorality of such conduct I am 
not disposed to justify, or even to palliate. But those 
who believe that he suffered himself to be bribed to do 
what his own heart and judgment condemned, and that 
unbribed he would have acted a very different part, do 
him, in my opinion, and I had frequent opportunities of 
hearing his sentiments at the different periods when I 
was intimately acquainted with him, very great injustice. 
I have already spoken of his relaxed morality, and of 
his vanity. In matters of indifference, yea, and some- 
times in matters of importance txx), the placing himself in 
an advantageous point of view to those whose applause or 
admiration he courted, far outweighed the interests of 
truth. Among many instances of this kind which came 
within my own observation, there was one so remarkable 
that; I cannot forbear to mention it. In one of the early 
numbers of the Courrier de Provence, in which Mirabeau 
wrote himself, he represents Mounier as saying in the 
National Assemhly that it was corruption wbdch had de- 
stroyed England, and himself as very happily turning 
that extravagant hyperbole into ridicule, by exclaiming 
upon the important news so unexpectedly communicated 
to the Assembly of the destruction of England, and asking 
when and in what form that remarkable event had heen 
brought about ? The truth, however, ^s, that of all this 
not a single word was uttered in the Assembly. Neither 

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Mounier nor any other person talked of the destruction of 
England ; neither Mirabeau nor any other person made 
any such reply as he assumes to himself. The whole 
origin of this fiction was, that, while Mirabeau was writ- 
ing his Courrier de Provence^ exactly what he has stated 
passed in a private conversation, at which he was present. 
Brissot de Warville used the words which he has ascribed 
to Moimier, and Dumont those which he has claimed for 
himself. He thought the dialogue too good and too hap- 
pily expressed to be lost ; he made himself the hero of it, 
and placed the scene in the National Assembly : and this, 
though he well knew that Brissot, Dumont, Mounier, and 
all the members of the Assembly, could give evidence of 
the falsehood of his statement, and which, indeed, Mou- 
nier took occasion formally to do in the justification of 
his own conduct, which he not long afterwards published. 

Of all Mirabeau's extraordinary talents, his faculty of 
availing himself of the knowledge and abilities of others 
was perhaps the most extraordinary. As an author, he 
has published the works of others, and, with their permis- 
sion, under his own name, and as if they were his own. 
The eight octavo volumes which he published on the 
Prussian Monarchy were entirely, as to every thing but 
the style, the work of M. de Mauvillon. His tracts upon 
finance were Claviere's ; the substance of his work on the 
Cincinnati was to be found in an American pamphlet ; 
his pamphlet on the opening of the Scheldt was Benjamin 
Vaughan's : and I once saw him very eager to undertake 
a great work on geography, of which he was totally igno< 
rant, in the expectation that M. de Rochette, a geographer 
of great merit, and with whom he had contracted great 
intimacy, would supply him with all the materials for it 
As an orator, he on many occasions delivered in the Na- 
tional Assembly speeches as his own, which had been com- 
posed for him by others; and so much confidence had he 
in the persons who thus contributed to establish his repu- 
tation, that he has sometimes, to my knowledge, read at 
the tribune of the Assembly speeches which he had not 
even cast his eyes upon before, and which were as new to 
himself as to hk admiring audience. 

VOL. I. o 

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I was again obliged to leave Paris by the end of Sept- 
ember, that I might not lose the Quarter Sessions. I 
left it with a much less favourable opinion of the state of 
public affairs than that which I had entertained when I 
arrived there. I found the most exaggerated and extra- 
vagant notions of liberty entertained by many, and the 
most violent and bitter animosities prevailing, and all that 
disposition to violence on the part of the lower orders of 
the people which, a few days afterwards, manifested itself 
in the insurrection that ended in bringing the Royal Family 
to Paris. 

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FROM 1780 TO 1783. 

Letter I. 

Gray*B Inn, June 6, 1780. 

At last, then, my dear Roget, my mind may be some- 
what at ease. The salutary air of Lausanne, and your 
great attention to your health, have, thank God, enabled 
you to write a letter which has given me the greatest joy. 
From the moment when I ought to have taken leave of 
you in the coach at Rochester, but could not, because I 
perceived I had not sufficient fortitude for the ceremony, 
to the instant that I received your letter from Lausanne, 
I have never thought of you without anxiety. I had no 
sooner read any of your letters from Geneva> than imme- 
diately the melancholy reflection rose in my mind, that 
you were ill ; and that fourteen days had elapsed since my 
last news from you. But what was my anxiety when 
sometimes fourteen days were added to that, before we 
bad another letter ; and perhaps, from the delay of posts, 
even more ! But I may flatter myself that, hereafter, the 
delay of receiving news from you will be no otherwise 
disagreeable, than as it will delay the pleasure of hearing 
that you continue to grow better. I will endeavour that 
my imagination shall be as active in magnifying to myself 
your increasing health and strength, as it was once busy, 
to my torment, in representing every circumstance that 
concerned you in too gloomy colours. Yes, my dear friend, 
the love of you and my dear sister will now be rewarded 


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34 LETTERS TO Jane, 

with uninterrupted felicity, I hope, in this life ; it is not 
presumptuous to say, I am sure it will in that to come. 

The shameful means hy which, as I related to you in 
a former letter, names were procured to the petition for 
repealing the Catholic Act, did not give one any idea that 
the party could he either very formidable or numerous : 
but you know how dangerous an engine religion is, when 
employed upon the minds of the ignorant ; so dangerous, 
indeed, that it is formidable in any hands, however weak 
and contemptible. The Methodists, the followers of Wes- 

Iley, and the sectaries of Whitfield, were the first, if not to 
raise, at least to join, the cry against Popery ; and it should 
seem, from the effects that have been produced, that no 
art has been left untried, which either could magnify the 
1 terrors of the people, by painting to their imagination in 
/ the most glaring colours all the horrors of Popery, or 
could infuse among them a mistaken zeal and a dangerous 
spirit of fanaticism. One way or other, 40,000 persons 
were prevailed on to sign the petition. Lord George Gor- 
don, that he might give it greater weight, or rather, that 
he might by violence force it upon the House, advertised 
in the newspapers as president, and in the name of (what 
they style themselves) the Protestant Association, the day 
on which he purposed presenting the petition to the House, 
at the same time desiring the attendance of all the petition- 
ers ; and " as no hall is capable of containing 40,000 men '* 
(such were the words of the advertisement), they were re» 
quired to assemble in St. George's Fields, wearing blue 
cockades as a distinction by which they might know one 
another. The concourse of people on the appointed day, 
which was last Friday, was astonishing. You know how 
difficult it is to judge with accuracy of the numbers of a 
multitude assembled in an open field. By the largest 
computation I have heard, and which is certainly very 
much exaggerated, there were 100,000 in the fields ; but 
by the most moderate accounts, no less than 14,000 accom- 
panied Lord George to the House of Commons. 
f When I arrived at Westminster, whither I went to 
\ hear a debate that was to come on in the House of Lords 

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1780. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. g^ 

upon a motion of the Duke of Richmond, I found the 
large opening (which you may remember) between the 
Parliament House and Westminster Abbey, all the 
avenues of the House and the adjoining streets, thronged 
with people wearing blue cockades. They seemed to 
consist, in a great measure, of the lowest rabble ; men 
who, without doubt, not only had never heard any of the 
arguments for or against toleration, but who were utterly 
ignorant of the very purport of the petition. To give 
you one instance : a miserable fanatic who accosted me, 
not indeed with any friendly design, but to question me 
where my cockade was, which I very civilly informed him 
I had dropped out of my hat in the crowd, told me that 
the reign of the Romans had lasted too long — the object | 
of the petition, you know, is only to repeal an Act * that \ 
passed the year before last. As I think there is much to 
be learned by studying human nature, even in its most 
humiliating and disgusting forms, I would fain have 
mingled in a circle which I saw assembled round a female 
preacher, who, by her gestures and actions, seemed to be 
well persuaded, or desirous of persuading others, that she 
was animated by some supernatural spirit ; but I found 
it attended with some little danger : the want of a cockade 
was a sure indication of a want of the true faith, and I 
did not long remain unquestioned as to my religious 
principles. My joining, however, in the cry of "No 
Popery I^' soon pacified my inquisitors, or rather, indeed, . 
gained me their favour ; for a very devout butcher in- [ 
sisted upon shaking hands with me as a token of his 
friendship. Upon my getting into the House of Lords, 
I found my Lord Mansfield, and five or six peers, who t 
were all that were yet assembled, seemingly in great I 
consternation from the news they had just received of 
Lord Stonnont's being in great danger from the popu^ 

^ There i| a very good account of the object of thi« Act, and of 
the circumstaDcei under which it was paued, in Burke's speech to 
the electors of Bristol.* 

» This and the following notes, in the Correspondence, are in- 
serted by the Editors. 

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35 LETTERS TO June, 

lace. That lord, however, soon made his appearance ; he 
had been treated rudely, but not very outrageously, by 
the mob. Lord Hillsborough and several other peers 
came in soon after, with their hair dishevelled, having 
lost their bags in the scuffle they had to get into the 
House. Lord Bathurst, the late Chancellor, was pulled 
in by the attendants out of the hands of the populace. 
Several noblemen, among others Lord Sandwich, seeing 
the ;danger, had returned home ; so that the House was 

I rather thin. The Duke of Richmond, notwithstanding, 
rose to speak upon the motion he was about to make. 

\He had proceeded in his speech for about an hour, 

/though with frequent interruptions from the thundering 
of the mob at the doors of the House, and the shouting 

i that was heard without, when one of the peers abruptly 
entered to inform the Lords that the populace had forced 
Lord Boston out of his coach, and that his life was thought 
to be in the greatest danger. Several lords immediately' 
offered to go out and rescue him ; but, by the assistance 
of thfe attendants and some of the people about the 
House, this was rendered unnecessary. Not long after, 
word was brought that Lord Ashburnham was in the 
same situation, surrounded by the mob and in great 
danger ; at last, however, he was dragged into the House 
over the heads of the people, and apparently much hurt. 
The tumult becoming every moment more violent, it was 
found impossible to go on with any business ; and at half- 
past eight the House adjourned. Thus far as to what I 
was myself a witness to. 

At the House of Commons, the lobby was so much 
crowded with the petitioners, that the members could 
hardly get in ; and none, it is said, were suffered to pass 
without giving in their names to Lord George Gordon, 
and promising to vote for the repeal. As soon as the 
House sat upon business, the petition was taken into 
consideration ; but certainly nothing could be done upon 
it then, for many members had been deterred from 
coming to the House, and those who were present were 
far from enjoying any freedom of debate. A motion 
was therefore made to defer the further consideration of 

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1780. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 37 

it till the following Tuesday, and carried by a majority of 
190 against 9. Lord George then came into the gallery 
over the lobby, and harangued the populace: he told 
them their petition was as good as rejected ; that if they 
expected redress they must keep in a body, or meet day 
after day till the Catholic Act was repealed. Some of 
his friends, who stood behind him, besought him, with 
the greatest earnestness, not to excite the people to mea- 
sures which must be destructive to themselves; but 
nothing could deter this frantic incendiary, till he was 
by violence forced back into the House. The clamours 
of the people were now become so loud, and there ap- 
peared among them symptoms of such a dangerous tem- 
per, that it was absolutely necessary to call up the Guards. 
This expedient was so far successful that the lobby and 
the avenues of the House were soon cleared ; but, with- 
out doors, the fury of the populace was ungovernable. 
The Bishop of Lincoln, the Chancellor's brother, was 
torn out of his coach as he was going to the House ; 
happily he escaped out of the hands of the mob, and took 
refuge in a house in Palace Yard ; the mob, however, 
pursued him, broke the windows, and insisted so reso- 
lutely on being admitted to search for him, that it was 
impossible to keep them out any longer than while the 
Bishop changed his dress, and made his escape over the 
garden wall. The tumult continued till very late at night, 
when the mob divided into different parties and broke 
into three Homish chapels (two of which belonged to 
Ambassadors), tore down the a] tars, the organs, and 
decorations of the chapels, brought them out into the 
street and burned them. Not content with this, at the 
Sardinian Ambassador's, they carried the fire into the 
chapel: the inside was presently consumed, but for- 
tunately no other damage was done. 

It is well that none of our patriots, except that mad-\ 
man. Lord George Gordon, promote these disturbances. 
The opposition, in general, are entirely against the ob- 
ject of the petition. I myself heard the Duke of Rich- 
mond declare, upon one of the occasions when he was in- 
terrupted in his speech, that •* he would ever oppose the 

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gg LETTERS TO June, 

repeal of the Aot ; that he was determined to defend liherty 
♦ of conscience in all sects of religion : those were his un- 
alterable sentiments; no fears, no hopes, should ever 
make him change them ; they were what he would not 
scruple to go out and declare to the multitudes who were 
assembled at the doors of the House, though they were 
twice 50,000." Several of the rioters were taken, some 
i in the very act of carrying fire into the chapel ; these de- 
V luded wretches will be tried and executed without delay, 
for, the following day, the Lords voted unanimously, that 
an address should be presented to the King, to give direc- 
tions for prosecuting with rigour the authors, abettors, 
and instruments of these outrages. Severity is a very 
' dangerous instrument for suppressing religious fury. 
You know how often the guiltiest sufferers in such a 
cause are elevated into martyrs, and how a fanatical 
preacher may work upon his hearers to court a death, 
which is instantly to be rewarded with a crown of glory. 
And yet in the present circumisdances there seems no 
other expedient. This rage of mistaken zeal is the more 
extraordinary, and the more to be dreaded, because it has 
no visible cause. The Catholics have not, of late, used 
any extraordinary pomp in their mass- houses, their num- 
bers have not increased, nor have they in any respect 
made a bad use of the relaxations given them by the late 
Act. Stories, indeed, have, of late, been very artfully and 
very maliciously circulated of their making a number of 
proselytes ; but not one instance of this that I can find is 
well authenticated. As to the hypocrites who excite these 
outrages, they affect the greatest moderation. In their 
advertisement, they requested the Protestants (for they 
pretend that none are Protestants but the petitioners) to 
behave with decency and order. What I — summon 
40,000 fanatics to meet together, and expect them to be 
orderly ! What is it but to invite hungry wretches to a 
banquet, and at the same time enjoin them not to eat ? 
But the real intentions of these men are evident from 
some hand-bills they distributed, under the same pretext 
of inculcating moderation and the spirit of peace. In 
these they say that, as there was great reason to suspect 

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1780. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. gg 

that a number of Papists intended to mingle in disguise 
among the petitioners for the purpose of raising riots and • 
disturbances, they entreated the Protestants not to return 
their insults or violence, but to secure the aggressors 
quietly, and give them up to the constables who should at- ! 
tend. Who does not see that the former part of this ad- 
monition was all that was intended to have any effect, and 
that when once the terrors of the people were set afloat, | 
every purpose of it was answered ? I 

On Sunday night the mob assembled again in Moor- 
iiekls, broke into a mass-house that had lately been built 
there, and into some adjoining houses which were inha- 
bited by Catholics, destroyed all the furniture, and every 
thing they could lay hands on, and at last set fire to the 
houses. Five were consumed besides the mass-house. 
Last night, they committed great outrages at the houses 
of several persons who had appeared as witnesses against 
those who were taken. Afterwards they broke all the 
windows and destroyed all the furniture at the house of 
Sir George Savile, a man who bears an excellent character, V 
who is one of the most active men in the opposition, and 
who was the very person who brought up the York peti- \ 
tion to the Parliament ; but all these merits it seems are 
cancelled by his having moved, two years ago, to give 
some privileges to an unfortunate class of men, who were 
unjustly the objects of very rigorous laws. I hope a sud- 
den exertion of severity will put a stop to these enormi- 
ties ; but I confess I am not very sanguine in my hopes, 
for when a torrent of religious fury is once let loose, who 
shall say to it, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther?" 

Though part of my paper remains imfilled, I must here 
bid you good night^ unless I postpone sending off this 
letter to another post, and I know you would be impa- 
tient to remain so long without hearing from your sincere 

Saml. Romilly. 

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Letter II. 

Dear Roget, Gray's Inn, June 9, 1780. 

I would not suffer a post to pass, after the alarming in- 
telligence which my last letter contained, without writing 
to you ; but it will be necessary first to inform you, that 
we are now quite at peace again, and that last night the 
most profound tranquillity reigned in every part of Lon- 
don. The evening of Tuesday, the day when I wrote to 
you last, was attended with the most violent outrages and 
excesses that can be imagined. I informed you, I be- 
lieve, that the further consideration of the petition was re- 
ferred to that day. Prodigious multitudes, wearing blue 
cockades, assembled, as before, in Palace Yard ; but, on 
the first appearance of a crowd, guards, both foot and 
'horse, were drawn up, and formed an avenue for the 
; Members to pass to the House. But this martial appear- 
ance, far from intimidating the mob, only rendered them 
more insolent: they boldly paraded the streets with 
colours and music, and attempted to pass through the 
Park to Buckingham House ; but were stopped by a very 
strong party of guards stationed there. TTie Lords, how- 
ever, were suffered to go on to the House with no out- 
rage, though they were followed by the hisses and re- 
proaches of the people, till the arrival of Lord Sandwich. 
His chariot was stopped at the end of Parliament Street, 
where there happened not to be any guards, and the cha- 
riot doors were immediately torn open. At that instant 
three light horsemen rode up to his relief, but all the as- 
sistance they could give him was^ to make room for his 
carriage to turn round ; this was accordingly effected, 
though with difficulty, and he drove back to the Admi- 
ralty with the utmost rapidity ; but some of the most 
daring of the rioters seized the horses' bridles and again 
stopped him. I expected that moment to have seen him 
torn in pieces ; but leaping quickly out of the chaiiot, he 
saved himself in a coffee-house, and a very strong party 
of guards immediately rode up and kept off the mob. 
About five o'clock the rioters were become so outrageous. 

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that there was no possibility of awing them but by read- 
ing the Riot Act, which (you know) gives a right to fire 
upon the mob if they do not disperse. Upon this a great 
part of the rioters quitted Palace Yard; but they only 
quitted it with an intention to wreak their fury upon the 
objects of their resentment in other parts of the town. 
One party went straight to the house of the justice of 
peace who had read the act, and entirely demolished it. 
Another, and a much stronger body, marched to New- 
gate, demanded the release of the persons who were con- 
fined there for burning the ambassadors* chapels ; and, 
this demand not being complied with, broke open all the 
doors, set at liberty all the felons and debtors, and set fire 
to the prison and to the keeper's house, which were both 
presently consumed. They then proceeded to the New 
Prison at Clerkenwell, and set free all the prisoners who 
were there in confinement. About one o'clock in the \ 
morning they attacked the house of Lord Mansfield ; his 1 
Lordship had but just time to escape by a back door when ' 
they broke in. A bonfire was immediately made, in the 
street, of his furniture : and with merciless fury they 
threw into it all his books, and, among others, many ma- , 
nuscripts of inestimable value. At last, they set fire to | 
the house, which was presently burned down to the / 
ground. The soldiers, after having for a long time en- 
dured the insults of the populace, were at last obliged to 
fire. Eight or nine persons were killed and several 
wounded. The same night, the house of Sir John Field- 
ing was burned ; and in diiferent parts all over the town 
the houses of Catholics were 'pulled down or set on fire. 
Some, of the mob at last insisted upon lights being put up 
at every window, in joy for the destruction of Newgate ; 
the illumination accordingly was general. You can 
hardly represent to yourself so melancholy a sight as this 
appearance of ijiyoluntary rejoicing, and at the same time 
to behold the sky glowing on every side with the light of 
different conflagrations, as if the city had been taken by 
an enemy. The terror which these acts of violence spread 
through the town is not easy to be conceived. The next 
day, Wednesday, it was reported everywhere that, that 

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92 LETTERS TO June, 

night, the houses of the Secretaries of State, of every 
Bishop, of every Catholic, of every justice of the peace, and 
of all the King's tradesmen, were marked out for destruc- 
tion. The Catholics, and many other persons, moved all 
their effects ; their neighhours as well as themselves fled 
into the country, or waited, in the utmost horror, the ap- 
proach of evening. The panic which had seized upon the 
people gave birth to a multitude of alarming reports ; at 
one time it was said that none of the soldiers would do 
then: duty, but were all ready to join with the rioters ; at 
. another, that there were insurrections as dangerous in the 
country, and that 30,000 colliers were upon their way to 
London to join the insurgents. The King and his Privy 
Council took the most effectual way to put a stop to the 
enormities which were being committeid; they ordered 
a great number of the regiments of the militia to march 
straight to London, and issued a proclamation command- 
ing all persons to keep within their houses at night, and 
warning them of the ill consequences of neglecting this 
injunction, as the King was resolved to exert the military 
force to put an end to these rebellious and treasonable 
practices. Martial law was thus established, by which all 
persons taken, concerned in these riots, were liable to 
be tried by a court martial, and executed upon the spot ; 
but, as this proclamation was not universally known, and 
but few of the militia regiments arrived in town by 
Wednesday night, many daring outrages were still com- 
mitted. Several houses were pulled down, the King's 
Bench prison thrown open, and about 700 prisoners 
released, and the prison set on fire and consumed. But 
the insolence and audaciousness of these men were not 
confined to night ; in the middle of the day they made 
bonfires of the goods of several Papists openly in the 
streets; in some places they went in a large body, from 
house to house, exacting contributions, which they called 
mob-money. The excesses which these delirious wretches 
committed are inconceivable : among^ other houses, they 
threatened to pull down that of a Catholic, a distiller in 
Holbom ; the man, to save his house, told the rioters 
that he would give them out liquor as long as they 

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1780. THE RllV. JOHN ROGET.' 93 

pleased ; this stipulation was immediately concluded on» ' 
and spirituous liquors were accordingly handed out to 
the mob in large vessels ; they drank to such a degree 
that numbers of them lay intoxicated in the middle of 
the way, and some died. But all this could not save the 
poor man's house, which was set fire to the following . 
night. Last night, and to-day, every thing has been at 
peace: we have two encampments, one in St. James's 
Park, and another in Hyde Park ; no man is suffered to 
wear a blue cockade in the streets, and we have no doubt 
that the rioters are entirely quelled. I have just received 
news that Lord George Gordon is taken; the person 
who told me saw him conducted through the Park by a 
party of light horse, under the care of the Usher of the 
Black Rod. I have not time to write more to you at 
present, but you may depend upon hearing from some of 
us by the next post. 

Your affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter III. 
Dear Roget, J»ine is, i780. 

I should not write to you again so soon, but for the 
sake of fulfilling the promise I made you in my last. Such 
profound tranquillity reigns in London, that the late 
scenes of riot and confusion seem nothing but a dream. 
Indeed, the outrages which have been committed this 
week past were so unexpected and so unaccountable, 
that one would be inclined to believe one's senses had 
deceived one, did not the ruins of houses and other 
vestiges of the fury of the populace in all parts of the 
town make it evident that these calamities are but too 
real. In the account I have given you of these transac- 
tions, I mention no circumstance but what I was either 
an eyewitness of myself, or heard from authority which 
I had no reason to doubt. I could not disguise the truth, 
though I was afraid it would alarm you; much less 
would I be so cruel as to exaggerate the horror of my 
narration. It was really no exaggeration to say that, on 

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94 LETTEBS Td . Jane, 

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, London had the ap- 
pearance of a city taken by storm. The fires blazing in 
different parts of the town, the terror and dismay of one 
part of the inhabitants, and the rage and licentiousness 
of the other, were equal to what one can imagine in such 
a catastrophe. There seems no probability that these 
monstrous excesses were concerted beforehand, or that 
they formed part of any regular plan to overturn the 
Government. They appear to me to have been only the 
/ accidental effects of the ungovernable fury and licentious- 
ness of a mob, who gathered courage from their num- 
bers, and who, having ventured on one daring act, found 
their only safety to lie in imiversal havoc and devastation. 
When once the rioters had gone so far as to bum down 
Newgate, one cannot be surprised at their entering on 
any enterprise, however daring; for, besides that they 
thought they might go on with impunity when they had 
left no prisons wherein to confine them, they gained as 
an accession to, or rather as leaders of their party, a set 
of criminals whose lives were already forfeited to their 
country. One of these wretches, who was to have been 
hanged the following day, appeared at my Lord Mans- 
field's on horseback, leading on the rioters. But religion 
has certainly been used, and too successfully, as an instru- 
ment to excite these feuds; not that I think any the 
wildest fanatics were concerned in breaking open the 
prisons, but they were certainly wrought up to a pitch of 
fury, which made them capable of any acts of violence 
against the Catholics, and ripe for any mischief that 
could be represented as serviceable to their religion. I 
can give you some proofs how grossly the people have 
been deceived and played upon by some designing vil- 
lains. I have heard from three persons (a]l strangers 
to each other) who jpined in conversation with the popu- 
lace, that it was a current opinion among them that the 
King was a Papist Some were sure of it: they pre- 
tended to know that he heard mass privately, and that 
his confessor had the direction of all politicaJ concerns. 
A woman told a friend of mine that she hoped to see the 
streets stream with the blood of Papists. But nothing 

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1780. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 95 

shows more evidently what base arts have been practised 
to rouse the fears of the people, and excite them to mad- 
ness, than a hand-bill which was distributed about the 
streets oh the morning of Tuesday. I will transcribe itT 
verbatim, for it now lies before me. " England in blood ! 
On Thursday morning, the 8th instant, will be published, 
TTie Thunderer, addressed to Lord 'George Gordon and 
the glorious Protestant Association, showing the necessity 
of their persevering and being united as one man against 
the infernal designs of the Ministry to overturn the 
religious and civil liberties of this country, in order to 
introduce Popery and slavery. In this paper will be 
given a full account of the bloody tyrannies, persecutions, 
plots, and inhuman butcheries exercised on the pro- 
fessors of the Protestant religion in England by the See 
of Rome, together with the names of the martyrs and 
their sufferings, highly necessary to be read at this im- 
portant moment by every Englishman who loves his Grod 
and his country. To which will be added, some reasons 
why the few misguided people now in confinement for 
destroying the Romish chapels should not suffer, and the 
dreadful consequences of an attempt to bring them to 
punishment." The author of this paper has been since 
taken into custody. 

Lord George Gordon underwent an examination last 
Friday before the Privy Council during three hours. 
Nothing more, it is reported, appeared against him than 
an inflammatory letter which he had sent to be inserted 
in one of the newspapers, wherein he applauded the 
rioters for what they had done, and encouraged them to 
further excesses ; and some private letters to confidential 
friends in Scotland, relating the events that had passed 
in London, and speaking of them in terms of high ap- 
probation; but there was no evidence of his having 
planned any revolution. The Privy Council committed 
Lord George a prisoner to the Tower. From what I 
knew of Lord George Gordon before the present dis- 
turbances, (which, by the way, was only by having heard 
him often speak in the House of Commons,) I never 
thought him a man from whom his country had much to 

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9g LETTEBS TO June, 

dread. He spoke, indeed, U{K)n all occasions, but his 
speeches were incoherent and ridiculous. One day, I 
remember, he read a newspaper as part of his speech ; 
at another time, he kept the whole House waiting two 
hours while he read them an Irish pamphlet. He seemed 
the less dangerous as he had not the support of either 
party ; one day he attacked the Ministry, the next the 
Opposition, and sometimes both the one and the other. 
It has ,'happened to him to divide the House, when he 
alone voted for a question to which every other member 
gave his negative. Yet what dreadful effects may not a 
mistaken zeal produce even in such hands as these! 
Though it must be confessed that Lord George Gordon 
is not destitute of qualities which, in an age when reli- 
gion had greater influence upon the minds of men than 
it has at present, might have raised him to be the scourge 
of his country. He is endowed with a spirit of enthu- 
siasm, and with the most determined resolution; add 
to this, that his manner of speaking not being in 
the least declamatory, but in the style of conversation, 
is most capable of working an effect upon an ignorant 

I believe I did not mention in my former letter that 
these civil broils have converted me into a soldier. 
Gray's Inn was one of the places which these determined 
f enemies to all law threatened to lay in ashes. All the 
law societies (for Lincoln's Inn and the Temple were 
likewise threatened with destruction) resolved to stand 
upon their defence. Accordingly we all armed our- 
selves, and kept watch at our different gates for several 
nights. The Temple, however, was the only Inn of 
Court that was attacked ; and there the rioters retreated 
very precipitately when they found what resistance was 
made to them. This example is followed all over the 
town : the inhabitants of almost every parish arc forming 
themselves into associations to protect their houses and 
property; so that hereafter, should any disturbance of 
this kind happen, it will be very shortly quelled, without 
the assistance of tlie soldiery. And we shall esteem it 
no small happiness to be able to do without them ; for. 

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1780. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 97 

though we are greatly indebted to the military power for 
saving our effects from being plundered, and our houses 
from being burned, it is no very comfortable sight to 
Englishmen to see encampments at their very doors, . 
and soldiers patrolling all their streets. I should not/ 
omit to mention that the government have conducted 
themselves very prudently in not using any unconstitu- 
tional remedies against these outrages : they have taken 
prisoners all the rioters they could find, and mean to let 
them have a fair trial by jury. We have just received 
news» that at Bath they have been disturbed with the 
same riots as broke out here: several Romish chapels 
and houses have been burned ; but when this intelligence 
was sent from thence, peace was pretty well restored. 
This information is certainly authentic ; but the reports 
we have of the same fury raging at York, at Bury, and in 
other parts of the country, are, I hope, entirely ground- 
less ; indeed, we have had so many false report^ that one 
knows not what to believe. At one time it was said that 
the rioters had broken into the Bank, at another that 
they had attempted the Tower ; again, that Lord Peters* 
house in the country was levelled with the ground, and 
that he himself was murdered; in short, every tale of 
horror to which the fears and the credulity of the people 
could give birth and strength, was circulated with astonish- 
ing rapidity throughout every part of the town. 

It has been no small comfort to me, amidst all these 
tumults, to reflect that you and my dear sister were far 
removed from them. I could not turn my thoughts to 
you, without agreeably contrasting in my mind the quiet 
you enjoy at Lausanne, amidst all the riches of nature, 
a fertile country, and a benignant climate, to the rage 
and uproar that revelled among us, and set before us, in 
the most shocking points of. view, the enormous vices 
of some of our fellow-creatures, and the miseries and 
afflictions of others. Not but that I was aware how far 
the baneful influence of these disorders must have spread, 
and that they must have occasioned some uneasy moments, 
even at Lausanne. Nature did not form you to say with 
the inhuman Lucretius,^ 

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" Suave man magno, turbantibas equora ventis, 
£ tend magnum alterius spectare laborem ;" 

especially when those yon saw struggling with the tem- 
pest were united to you by the tenderest bonds of love 
and friendship. But how happy am I that I can tell you 
(so fully is peace restored to us) that the tranquillity of 
my beloved hermits need not hereafter be disturbed by 
any melancholy reflections on the situation of afiPairs with 
us! Enjoy then, my dear Roget, that repose so con- 
genial to your disposition, and may it soon restore you to 
perfect health. 

Your affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter IV. 

Dear Roget, Gray's Inn, Oct. 27, 1780. 

Your inquiries after my health, as well as those of 
my dear Kitty, are so frequent and so pressing, that they 
seem to require of me a short history of my Indisposition ; 
it shall be but short. I dignify it with the name of 
history, because, as I am now very nearly, if not quite 
recovered, nothing will be wanting to make it complete. 
It begins, then, with the late riots. For several days 
before they commenced, I had attended constantly at the 
House of Lords to hear the debates, where one is obliged 
to stand the whole time. This slight fatigue was in- 
creased by being pressed in the crowds of the petitioners, 
and still more by my sitting up three successive nights 
when the confusion was greatest, and by running about 
all day instead of taking rest or even giving my usual 
application to study ; for I cannot boast the same com- 
mand over myself with Archimedes, to wrap myself up 
in meditation when my city is given up to be plundered. 
After this, you will easily'imagine I was not in a condition 
very proper for entering upon military discipline ; yet, 
without refusing to join an association which I wished 
ardently to see formed, and which I had warmly pro- 
moted, I could not avoid it. Accordingly I began to 
learn my exercise. The ardour of our association deter- 

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^'^' THE WSV. JOHN R06ET. gg 

mined them to indulge in no relaxation, but to exercise 
every day, for two hours each day, without intermission • 
and this, too, in very warm weather. The consequence 
was, that after persevering for some time, I was obliged 
to withdraw. Nor was 1 the only person who found the 
fatigue too much. The cold bath, from frequent use, 
was no longer a remedy. I was advised to try the sea! 
I did BO, but unfortunately had a slight fever at the time ; 
bathing increased it, and so much that I arrived in town 
very ill. The care of my good friend. Dr. Watson, soon 
delivered me from my fever; my strength returned by 
degrees, and I am now so well recovered that I should 
resume my regimentals, were it not that, most of our 
association being out of town, our summer campaign is 
at an end. My physician tells me, that I shall have better 
health as I advance farther in life: so that, unlike most 
men, I may regard the revolution of time and the ap- 
proaches of old age, as desirable. The worst eflPect of my 
illness has been to make me lose some time. My doctor 
forbade me to look into any books but such as are merely 
amusing. I followed this prescription at first ; but I had 
soon the courage to disregard it, and found myself grow 
much better by my disobedience. 

There is great reason to presume that the character of 
our new Parliament will not difPer materially from that 
of its predecessor: for there are but 150 new members. 
The greater number of the old members who have been 
thrown out at this election are of the court party ; but 
as the ministry always commanded such great majoritie^ 
one cannot thence conclude that the opposition have 
gathered any strength. The most famous of those re- 
jected members of the last Parliament is Burke. Though 
he was thrown out at Bristol, he certainly might have 
been elected for some borough ; but it seems he is re- 
solved to retire altogether from public af&irs. To with- 
draw his assistance from the public counsels at so difficult 
and dangerous a crisis does not, in my opinion, admit of 
any excuse ; even though one should make every allow- 
ance for what a man of nice honour must feel under the 
di^race of being rejected by his former constituents. 

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and under the torrent of abuse which the newspapers 
have long vomited forth against him. Surely, the nicest 
sensibility to injury can never so disorder a man's judg- 
ment, as to make him mistake the sordid traders of 
Bristol, and venal gazetteers, for an ungrateful public. 
But it is not in the dregs of modern patriotism that we 
must look for a Phocion exhorting his son, as he drinks 
off the poison to which he has been sentenced by an un- 
grateful country, never to forget that even veneration of 
his father's memory is a duty subordinate to love towards 
his country. 

/ '^I have lately read a pamphlet published by the Pro- 
testant Association about a year ago, and entitled. An 
Appeal to the People of Great Britain. Had I read it 
before, and known how much it had been circulated 
among the common people, I should not have been at a 
/ loss to account for the violence of the petitioners' religious 
zeal. It is extremely ill written ; the reasoning such as 
' refutes itself; but the author addresses himself to the 
passions of his readers in a strain of furious declamation, 
well calculated to work up enthiisiasts to very madness. 
He professes to favour toleration; but his book is such 
an exhortation to revenge and persecution, as the days 
of Charles the Ninth never, perhaps, produced. But 
judge yourself whether I exaggerate. "Let us call to 
remembrance," these are the very words of the appeal — 
{ ''Let us call to remembrance the massacre at Paris; 
there Popery appeared in its true colours, drunken with 
the blood of the saints and toith the blood qf the martyrs 
of Jesus. Whilst Popery has existence upon earth, let it 
be remembered, though, to the disgrace of humanity, let 
it be remembered with [horror, that on Saint Bartho- 
lomew's Day thousands and tens of thousands of Pro- 
testants were murdered in France in cold blood. Smith- 
field, Oxford, Cambridge, and many other places have a 
f voice crying aloud * Beware of Popery.* O Britons I let 
not the blood of the martyrs be forgotten, or their sufier- 
ings effaced from our memories, or from those of our 
children to the .atest posterity. Are there none living iit 
these days whose ancestors suffered by the unparalleled 

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1780. THE SEV. JOHN R06ET. J^QJ^ 

massacre of Ireland ?" Is not this dictated by the vindic- 
tive spirit which animates the war-song of the American 
savages ? Do you remember that inserted in Dr. Robert- 
son's History of America ^— ** The bones of our country- 
men lie uncovered ; their bloody bed has not been washed 
clean ; their spirits cry against us. Let us go and devour 
the people by whom they were slain. Lift the hatchet ; 
console the dead ; tell them that they shall be avenged." 
They certainly will bear comparison ; and so far it is to 
the advantage of the savage, that he honestly owns him- 
self to be actuated by a principle of revenge, while the 
pious Protestant affects to have at heart the good of 
mankind and the glory of God. He has not omitted the 
aiigument of all persecutors, that they seek the happiness 
of those they persecute. ** To tolerate Popery," he says, 
"is to be instrumental to the perdition of immortal 
souls now existing, and of millions of spirits that at pre- 
sent have no existence but in the prescience of God, and 
is the direct way to provoke the vengeance of an holy 
and jealous Grod, to bring down destruction on our fleets 
and armies." So that, according to the arguments of this 
wretch, persecution is a religious duty I 

Adieu ; believe me to be, &c. 

Saml. Rohilly. 

Letter V. 

Gny*8 Inn, Dee. 19, 1780. 

You ask me, my dear sister, if the circle of my 
friends is as small as ever. Yes, to the full ; less I should 
rather say. All the few friends I had here two years ago are 
now scattered in different parts of the earth. Yourselves 
banished to the distance of above six hundred miles ; 
Greenway, always in camp, or in winter quarters, does not 
pass a month in town in the whole year ; Joseph Garnault, 
in China ; and even Appia, (with whom you know I had 
contracted some intimacy,) at Petersburgh. My brother 
and our dear Jane are all I have left to console me for 
being separated from you : with them I dine almost every 
day, and frequently pass my evenings. New acquaintance 

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I have none ; hoir, indeed, should I make them, since I 
am stil] as backward to introduce myself into company as 
ever ? One acquaintance, it is true, I have made since 
you were in England ; a friend I ought to say, if to take 
the greatest interest in my concerns, and to load me with 
unaffected civilities, can give a claim to that title. I mean 
Mr. Spranger, a name, I believe, perfectly new to you. 
He is a counsellor, under whom I have studied almost ever 
since you quitted England. Mrs. Spranger is one of the 
most amiable women I know ; not very young, indeed, for 
she has four children, but still handsome, and possessing' 
the most engaging manners. At their house, where I fre- 
quently dine or sup (though less often than I am pressed 
to do), I meet a good deal of company, which, consisting' 
mostly of men of sense and education, is very agreeable. 
But the most engaging society, that, my dear Catherine,; 
of your amiable sex, I seldom enjoy, for I am hardly ever 
of their card parties ; besides that, it is not at a whist table* 
that your sex appears in its native charms. With so 
small an acquaintance, you will easily conceive that I seek 
for amusement in my studies, and there I am never dis- 
appointed. My rooms are exceedingly lively, and capable 
of themselves to secure me from indulging in melancholy, 
so that you may discard those apprehensions which I per- 
suade myself I discover under your inquiries. In the 
depth of winter, the moment the sun peeps out, I am in 
the country. ' A cold country indeed it is ; for, having only 
one row of houses between me and Highgate and Hamp* 
stead, a north-west wind (sharp as your piercing bise) 
blows full against my chambers : fortunately I am shel- 
tered from the north-east. What renders my chambers 
very comfortable is a tolerable collection of books, which, 
I confess, somewhat extravagantly, I have lately purchased. 
Thus far to my dear sister ; and now, without taking leave 
of her, to her husband. 

Alas 1 my dear Roget, you quite despair, then, of re- 
turning to England. For myself, I cannot yet resign that 
hope. So much, indeed, is niy happiness attached to it, 
I must be cruel to myself were I forward to give it up. 
As to yoiur little boy, if you should be resolved to ha\e 

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him over in the spring, be assured that, thinking every 
other concern of less importance than your happiness, I 
shall not hesitate, whatever may be my employments, to 
quit them all, and to be the bearer of joy and comfort to 
my dear friends. But at the same time I am forced to add 
that, should you (as I hope you will) alter your intention 
of having him sent to you, or should there be any other 
means of sending him with safety, you must not think of 
seeing me. It can hardly be necessary to dwell upon my 
reasons for denying myself the happiness such a jomrney 
would afford me. Having so much to do before I can be 
qualified for the employment I have chosen, and so short 
a time in which to do it, all my moments are precious ; 
they are now, indeed, become still more so, by reason of 
the time which I was obliged to lose during my illness in 
the summer. Were I actuated by the bad ambition of 
gaining honours or of winning applause, this would be but 
a poor apology for being remiss in the duties of friend- 
ship ; but with you I need not enforce the necessity of 
fulfilling the prior duties one owes to one's country, and 
unless I much mistake the intention of my heart, my 
greatest ambition is " patriie impendere vitam»** 

What do you think of Arnold's conduct ? You may 
well suppose he does not want advocates here. I cannot 
join with them. If he thought the Americans not justi- 
fied in continuing the war, after the offer of such favour- 
able terms as the commissioners held out to them, why did 
he keep his command for two years afterwards ? In my 
opinion, they must be very extraordinary circumstances 
indeed which can warrant a man's bearing arms in a civil 
war on opposite sides. Arnold will certainly, from his 
knowledge of the people and the country, prove a very 
useful man. He has published a proclamation, inviting 
the Americans to enlist under his standard, for Clinton 
has empowered him to raise a regiment for the service of 
the King. It abounds with invectives against France and 
the Congress, and what seems to me to come less from 
the heart, with high professions of zeal to serve his coun- 
try and assert its liberties. One word in this procrlama- 
tion I think very remarkable. He says that the Americans 

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104 LETTERS TO ]>eo* 

might have been 8]>ared the calamities which they have 
suffered for these two last years if, as prudently as the 
Irish, they had accepted of the liberality of Great Britain. 
Either the Americans were, at first, contending for their 
rights, or they were not ; if they were, it was not liberality* 
it was but strict justice in us to acknowledge those rights* 
— a piece of justice not very meritorious in us, since we 
were forced into it. If, on the other hand, what they 
contended for was not their undoubted right, but an usur- 
pation they sought to make upon the parent country, the 
war on the side of the colonies was, from the first, rebellion, 
and Arnold a traitor. My brother says the word may 
have been inserted inadvertently. What 1 a word on 
which so much depends : and in a solemn proclamation ! 
But Arnold, they say, may in truth have discovered his 
error ; he may now think that the Americans were wrong 
from the beginning. But, admitting this, surely the dis- 
covery of an error so fatal, and which has been attended 
with such an effusion of blood, should have left an honest 
man no inclination to form new schemes of ambition, and 
to embark with as much alacrity as ever in new enter- 
prises, where I see no reason why he may not be as much 
mistaken as before. 

The Congress, to justify their generals in the severity 
eiercised over Major Andr6, who, as he was returning 
from concerting measures with Arnold, was taken and 
hanged, have published a very long account of that affair, 
with all the letters that passed between the generals upon 
the occasion. Major Andre's case was laid before aboard 
consisting of fourteen field-officers, and it was their 
unanimous opinion that he ought to suffer death ; but 
they gave no other reasons for their sentence than that 
it was conformable to the rules of war. The arguments 
used by Clinton and Arnold in their letters to Washington, 
to prove that Andr6 could not be considered as a spy, are, 
first, that he had with him, when he was taken, a protec- 
tion of Arnold's, who was at that time acting under a 
commission of the Congress, and, therefore, competent to 
give protections. Certainly he was, to all strangers to his 
negotiation with Clinton, but not to Andr6, who knew 

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him to be at that time a traitor to the Congress ; nay more, 
whose protection was granted for no other purpose but to 
promote and give effect to his treachery. In the second 
place, they say that, at the time he was taken, he was 
upon neutral ground ; but then they do not deny that he 
had been within the American lines in disguise. The 
letters written by Andr6 himself, show a firm, cool intre- 
pidity, worthy a more glorious end. Writing to General 
Clinton, he requests that his mother and sister may have 
the sale of his commission ; as for himself, he says, he is 
** perfectly tranquil in mind, and prepared for any fate to 
which an honest zeal for the King's service may have de- 
voted '• him. There is another short note which he wrote 
to Washington the day before his execution ; it concludes 
with these words : " Let me hope, sir, if aught in my cha- 
racter impresses you with esteem towards me, if aught in 
my misfortunes marks me as the victim of policy and not 
of resentment, I shall experience the operation of these 
feelings in your breast by being informed that I am not 
to die on a gibbet,** "But," say the Congress, **the 
practice and usage of war were against his request, and 
made the indulgence he solicited inadmissible." The 
fate of this unfortunate young man, and the manly style 
of his letters, have raised more compassion here than the 
loss of thousands in battle, and have excited a warmer 
indignation against the Americans than any former act of 
the Congress. When the passions of men are so deeply 
affected, you will not expect to find them keep within the 
bounds of reason. Panegyrics on the gallant Andr6 are 
unbounded ; they call him the English Mutius, and talk 
of erecting monuments to his memory. Certainly no man 
in his situation could have behaved with more determined 
courage ; but his situation was by no means such as to 
admit of these exaggerated praises. Arnold, in his letter 
to the Americans, charges the Congress with having reject- 
ed the offers of the English commissioners by their own 
authority, and without ever consulting the different Pro- 
vinces. This, if true, was a very bold step indeed ; but it 
may be said, that if the Provinces have re-elected the 
same members to represent them in Congress, they have 

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IQ5 LETTBBS to Jan. 

tacitly confirmed all their former measures ; bat whether 
the fact is so I cannot tell. 

Burke has lately published the speech he made to the 
people of Bristol, in which he had the courage not only 
to vindicate the act for the toleration of the Roman 
Catholics, but to give it the highest encomiums. He 
concludes a very noble panegyric on Sir George Savile, 
by saying, that one of the actions which in his whole life 
does him the greatest honour, is his having been the man 
who brought so just and wise a bill into Parliament. 
Your friend and affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter VI. 
Dear Roget, ^^^'» inn»^«* ^» "«i- 

Use has not at all lightened your loss to me. After an 
absence of eighteen months, I still regret as much as ever 
that I am debarred the happiness of your conversation. 
In my studies I miss you yet more : I long to consult you 
upon what I read, and to read over to you and take your 
opinion on what I write. I have lately learned Italian : 
do not censure me for such a waste of time. I began to 
apply myself to it when I was ill, and was forbidden 
any severer studies ; and so easy a language is it, that I 
soon began to read its prose writers with pleasure. I 
have just read Machiavel's famous book, Del Principe. 
Had Caesar Borgia, his hero, been as successful as he was 
cruel and profligate, he would have been exactly the un- 
just man, stained and polluted with every vice, whom 
Plato, in his Republic^ proves to be miserable in the midst 
of his prosperity, and to whom he opposes his just man, 
despised and persecuted. Though, in the end, his crimes 
availed not this monster, M achiavel does not scruple to 
propose him as a model for the imitation of princes ; and 
seems to lament that his great talents could not give him 
the disposal of events. The picture this Italian politician 
gives of human nature is the blackest that ever was 
painted; but it seems probable that he never travelled 
out of his native country ; and though his acute penetra- 

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tion may have given him a fall insight into the character 
of his countrymen, he was assuredly but ill acquainted 
with human nature in general. When he says that men 
are by nature hypocrites and cowards, ungrateful and ra- 
pacious, this may possibly be as exact a copy of the 
manners of Italy, in an age just emerging from barbarism, 
as his gloomy imagination could trace ; but for a repre* 
sentation of the human specdes, how false and prepos- 
terous is it I ** Princes,** he says, ** are not to be bound by 
promises and oaths, for all men are perfidious ; and were 
monarchs alone observant of their faith, they would find 
themselves the dupes of their own ridiculous scruples,"* 
He is thefirst writer, perhaps, who, regarding mankind with 
the eyes of a sullen misanthrope, has expressed no indigna- 
tion at what he saw, and seemed well contented that 
things should remain as they were. Seeing men in the 
odious light in which he represents them, Machiavel 
could not but have conceived a deadly hatred against 
them ; and, if so, his book seems to me no longer a pro- 
digy : for in this institute of a tyrant, he has, consistently 
with that hatred, set himself to arm with force, and with 
every destructive art, the most cruel scourge of mankind. 
The author of the Anti-Machictvel, published by Voltaire, 
seems to have formed his opinion of the Human heart 
from the manners of France, as much as Machiavel did 
from those of Italy. Machiavel says, that no oppression 
of a prince will so soon draw on him the hatred of his 
subjects, as to rob them of their property or wives ; for 
these are wrongs which raise a more implacable resent- 
ment than the murder of a father. The Anti-Machiavelian, 
falling into the opposite extreme, says, that such gallantry, 
using that fashionable phrase of the language he writes 
in, never renders a prince odious. The story of Liicretia, 
indeed, stands a little in his way ; but he dexterously 
removes that obstacle by supposing the whole story a 
romance, — a convenient mode this of getting rid of the 
great examples of ancient virtue, where they obstruct a 
modern system or remain a reproach to modern depravity. 

^ Principe, chap. 18. 

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\Qg LETTERS TO Jan. ' 

Without doubt, you have had some account of the 
dreadful hurricane and earthquake in the West Indies ; 
but not, I imagine, such particular relations as we have 
had here. They exceed in horror anything; I ever read of. 
Wherever the storm directed its coiirse, it was attended 
with desolation and death. The letters from the in- 
habitants of Bridgetown, in Barbadoes, contain descrip- 
tions of the night they passed, when the storm was at its 
worst, which are horrible beyond conception. To the- 
howling of the tempest was added the noise of the houses 
falling on every side, and of the shrieks and groans of the 
inhabitants who were crushed by their ruins, — ^this, too, 
in a night impenetrably dark, interrupted only by sudden 
gleams of lightning, which discovered imperfectly the 
havoc suffered in every quarter. The return of light, which 
had been so long and so fervently prayed for, brought 
no abatement of the storm ; and only served to display the 
most dreary prospect that the imagination can devise : 
what was, the preceding evening, a well-built populous 
town, was now a vast heap of ruins, interspersed with the 
bodies of the dying and the dead. Those who have es- 
caped this calamity find themselves only reserved for 
greater misfortunes : reduced from afiluence to beggary, 
without any shelter to protect them from the inclemency 
of the weather, and with all the horrors of a famine 
staring them in the face ; for the devastation has been so 
universal, that they say it will scarce be possible to avert 
that dreadful evil. It is hardly credible, but the same 
letters declare it to be a fact, that, 'in the midst of this 
shocking scene, numbers of the negroes were employed in 
pillaging the houses. Great allowances are certainly to 
be made for a race of men so oppressed and trampled on, 
in any vengeance they take upon their oppressors ; but 
one would think no human being had a heart so hardened, 
either by natural stupidity or by the longest course of op- 
pression, as not to be melted or appalled at so awful' a 

Jan. 5. — I intended, you see, to send this letter by the 
last post, but I was unluckily prevented from finishing it in 
time. I have since received yours of the 16th December. 

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You profess yourself unequal to the task of criticising 
Rousseau ; what presumption would it then be in me to 
undertake it f I have lately read a great part of his works. 
It astonishes me that I should not formerly have been 
more struck with the merits of the Emile. '* M on cceur 
a b6ni cent fois pendant cette lecture Thomme yertueux 
et ferme qui ose ainsi instruire les humains." I sincerely 
lament with you that he abandoned the plan he had 
formed for its continuation. I am much surprised that 
any one should ever have questioned his speaking his real 
sentiments, in his Discourse upon the Arts. Surely 
never had any piece of oratory the marks of coming warm 
from the heart, if that has not. Some parts of the Lettrea 
Scriies de la Montagne, and that addressed to the Arch- 
bishop of Paris, to me appear superior, for forcible rea- 
soning and a strain of irresistible eloquence, to any 
modern production I ever read. Had I the arrogance to 
judge of originals, some of which I know but from trans- 
lations, I should possibly give to some passages of Rous- 
seau the preference over the great masterpieces of anti- 
quity. At least, after reading Rousseau, I am inclined to 
confess that, after all, my favourite Cicero ** n*6tait qu*un 
avocat." Among other of his writings, one I had never 
heard of, a Letter addressed to Voltaire, on the subject of 
his Poem on the Earthquake at Lisbon*, has given me 
great pleasure. Do you recollect it? It is in that he 
makes the very just distinction, that we should not say 
••tout est bien,*' but •* le tout est bien." 

Yours, &c. 

Sam L. RoMiLLY. 

Letter VIL 

Dear Roget, Ony's inn. Feb. 9, 1781. 

It was not till last Monday that I received your 
letter of the 13th of last month, in which you paint in 
such strong colours the very alarming occurrences which 
have lately happened at Geneva. It will be needless to 

* The date of this letter is Ang. 18, 1756. 

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trouble you with any reflections on that subject ; though 
you must think they could hardly fail of presenting them- 
selves to me in abundance upon reading your letter. Let 
me particularly beg of you not to fail to inform me of 
every event of any importance, which may happen in con- 
sequence of what I am already acquainted with. 

The Dutch have not' yet published their counter-mani- 
festo: we wait with impatience to hear how they will 
justify their conduct : they have some very able defenders 
here. Having lately heard a debate in the House of Lords 
upon the Dutch war, which lasted seven hours, you must 
needs think I am pretty well master of the arguments on 
both sides of the question. The substance, or rather the 
heads of them, I will state to you as concisely as I can. 
The Ministry represented Jthe conduct of the Dutch, ever 
since the breaking out of the war with America and 
France, to have been, in the last degree, injurious and 
faithless to England. Mention was inade of their sup- 
plying the enemy with stores, contrary to the treaty 
subsisting between them and us ; of their giving refuge to 
American privateers, not only at St. Eustatius, but even in 
the Texel. and refusing to surrender them up to our 
ambassador ; of their denying us the succours they were 
by treaty bound to furnish ; and, lastly, of their having 
actually signed a treaty with our subjects in open rebellion 
against us, nay, of their having assented to American 
Independence almost as early as France, for the treaty 
bears date September, 1778. On the other hand, the 
conduct of Great Britain towards the Dutch was repre- 
sented to have been in every respect friendly, moderate, 
and even indulgent ; we did not persist in our demands 
of having Paul Jones delivered up to us ; we suffered 
them for a long time to carry on an illicit commerce with 
our enemies ; and, when we were at last obliged to stop 
their ships, we scrupulously paid them for all their 
cargoes, and indemnified them from loss. We did not 
so much as demand the stipulated succours, to which we 
had an undeniable right, till our coast was threatened 
with an invasion; and even now, when fortune has 
thrown into our hands their secret treaty with America, 

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we have still left them room to repair their fault, by only 
demanding that the pensionary Van Berkel, who had 
signed it, may be punished. So much for the justice of 
the war. 

As to its expediency, they say it is now clear that the 
Dutch are secretly our enemies. It is, then, prudent in 
us to strip them of their disguise, and force them to meet 
us face to face ; as open enemies, they cannot do us more 
prejudice than they have already done as false friends. 
St. Eustatius has been the continual source which has 
supplied vigour to the Americans. Had some violent 
convulsion in nature sunk that island in the sea, before 
the breaking out of the war, America must long since 
have submitted -to our arms. The Dutch were, once, 
powerful as a maritime state, it is true ; but ships are 
now constructed in so different a manner, and lie so much 
deeper in the water than they did formerly, that their 
harbours are totally incapable of containing any formida- 
ble fleet. They are a people naturally averse to war, and 
fond of that peace and security by which alone commerce, 
their great idol, can thrive. This innate disposition has 
been nourished by the torpor of a century, passed in ease 
and quiet As they are thus indisposed, so are they 
wholly unprepared for war ; their possessions are every- 
where open and exposed to an enemy : St. Eustatius, the 
Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of Ceylon, the Spice Islands, 
in short, all their distant possessions, are in a state to 
invite invaders. One vigorous blow will strike an alarm 
through all the States ; will open the eyes of the better 
part of the nation, and rouse them to shake off the yoke 
of that French faction, which has gained so entire an 
ascendant over them as to make them forgetful of their 
fsuth, and blind to their true interests. 

The Opposition, on the other hand, contend: First, 
That the war is unjust. The Dutch, they say, are, by the 
now subsisting treaty, allowed to furnish our enemies 
with stores. They are, as everybody knows, so rapacious 
of gain, that they have supplied even their own enemies 
with stores, particularly in a very memorable instance, 
the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom ; and how can we then 

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112 LETTERS TO Feb. 

expect they will do for us what they will not do for them- 
selves ? The pretended treaty which has been found is, 
in fact, no treaty; it is only a rough draft; it purports 
to be no more, for its initial words are, " We agree upon 
this as the proper plan for a treaty," &c. Our demand 
of punishment on Van Berkel is insolent, ridiculous, and 
illegal. How is he punishable ? by what law ? Suppose 
an Englishman, some years ago, had, in his cabinet, 
drawn up a treaty with Corsica, or that he had actually 
agreed upon terms with some Corsican chief, and the 
French had demanded punishment on him ; should we 
have inflicted it? or rather could we? Our demand to 
the States is not unlike that of the Czar Peter, who, when 
an ambassador of his was arrested in London for debt, 
demanded the heads of the persons concerned in the 
arrest I 

Secondly, As the war is unjust, so is it inexpedient 
and rash. War is at all times an evil ; what then must it 
be to a nation already engaged in hostilities with three of 
the greatest powers in the world, sinking under the 
enormous weight of its debt, with all its resources ex- 
hausted ;— a war against our natural ally, whose interests 
are inseparable from ours ? What though they have been 
long lulled in peace; their indefatigable industry will 
shortly put them in a state, not merely of defence, but of 
annoyance. The severest blows our naval power ever 
sustained were from the Hollanders. The names of Van 
Tromp and De Ruyter are still dreadful. Who knows 
how soon the rashness of our councils may raise up other 
commanders as formidable ? We talk of the weakness of 
the Dutch settlements, but we forget the condition of our 
own ; that our oppressions in the East Indies have made 
for us there as many enemies as there are natives ; that 
we are already engaged in war with the fierce Marattoes ; 
that discord and enmity rage among the servants of the 
Company, particularly at Bengal, where all is anarchy. A 
war with Holland must be a war with all the powers of 
Europe; for as the Dutch have acceded to the armed 
neutrality, there can be no doubt that all the neutral 
powers will make theirs a common cause. 

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1781. THE REV. X>HN BOOST. X 1 3 

I leave you, my dear Roget, to determine on which 
side the arguments preponderate. However weighty the 
arguments of Opposition, it must he confessed they come 
with a had grace from men who have so often hlamed the 
timidity of the Ministry. Our circumstances, you will 
say, have greatly changed, and it would he madness in us 
to hold the same language now, which, a few years since, 
would have heen moderate and reasonahle; but it was 
only last summer, at a moment the most alarming we 
have ever known, when great part of London lay in ashes, 
and rebellion and civil war seemed at our very doors, that 
the Duke of Richmond reproached the Ministry in the 
severest terms for not proceeding rigorously to punish a 
Russian, who was said to have been concerned in burning 
the chapels. The Duke was then for despising the 
Russians, and the armed neutrality. No matter what the 
consequences. " Fiat justitia et mat coelum.'* 

I must now conclude by informing you of the death of 
Mrs. Facquier.* You know too well the great obligations 
we have to her, and were yourself too well acquainted 
with her excellent disposition, not to conceive how much 
we all should feel her loss, were it not lightened by the 
consideration that her death is a deliverance from a pain- 
ful existence. Considering what she has gone through 
for many years past, one cannot call it a cessation of life, 
but the conclusion of a lingering death ; " non erepta 
vita sed donata mors est" She expired, free from all 
paui, in a state of composure and tranquillity which could 
hardly be expected after what she so long had suffered. 
Though she had never any apprehension of quitting 
this life, (for it had proved to her a state of too severe 
probation for her to be attached to it, nor could a life of 
such piety and charity leave her any dread of futurity,) 
yet having so often experienced [such sharp pain from 
disease, she always expressed some fear of what she might 
suffer at the moment of dissolution ; but her death was 
like sleep. So true is it that half the terrors of death are 
of our own creation. Adieu. Yours most affectionately, 

Saml. Romilly. 
^ See ante, p. 7. 

TOL. I. I 

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1 1^ LETTBBS TO Kuoh, 

Letter VIII. 

Oray's Inn. March 27, 1781.. 

When I have told you, my dear Roget, that your 
little boy and all your friends here are in perfect health, 
I have concluded all the most interestmg intelligence I 
have to send you, and must have recourse to public news 
to fill my letter. I might, indeed, indulge myself with 
planning schemes of future felicity: the probability of 
our seeing each other next summer in Switzerland 
already affords me the dream of a transient happiness ; 
but of happiness it becomes us to be economists. 

Little business of consequence has come on lately in 
our Parliament; the Lords have scarcely any debates; 
the Duke of Richmond, Lord Shelburne, and Lord Cam- 
den never attend. In the Commons, some unsuccessful 
attempts have been made to curb that system of corrup- 
tion which is the bane of our constitution. One was a 
Bill against contractors sitting in Parliament ; the same 
Bill which last year passed the Commons, and was thrown 
out by the Lords. The debate was short ; for the majority 
were so confident of victory, and so vociferous for the 
question, that few deigned to speak on one side of the 
House, or were permitted on the other. One argument 
used against the Bill was, that it was unjust and cruel to 
suppose that members of Parliament would be induced 
to vote against their conscience by the hope of being 
favoured with lucrative contracts ; as if men of honour 
and fortune would prefer their own interests to those of 
their country. Another objection was, that the Bill 
would, in its effects, prove an exclusion of merchants 
from Parliament You observe how these arguments 
destroy one another. If these contractors are so disin- 
terested as to prefer the public to their own private goodt 
they will sooner resign the advantage to be made by con- 
tracts than quit the service of their country in Parlia* 
ment ; consequently, the Act will not operate as an exclu- 
sion. If, on the contrary, preferring an increase of their 
private fortunes to the honour and satisfaction of pro- 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. 115 

moting the public good, they keep their contracts and 
resign their seats, it necessarily follows that they are not 
men who have the welfare of their country at heart, not 
men who can safely be entrusted with the rights of their 
fellow-citizens and the interests of their country. Ano- 
ther Bill, which has been thrown out by the House of 
Commons, was for disqualifying officers, employed in the 
collection of the Excise and Customs, to vote at elections 
of members of Parliament. The opposers of this Bill 
dared to profane the name of Liberty by saying that the 
Bill was destructive of it, and that it would rob a very 
large class of men of their dearest privilege; though 
they well know that this dear privilege is a hateful burden 
to ^1 but those who are dishonest enough to make a profit 
of it : that the rest, threatened with the loss of their places 
if they vote against the court, find themselves, at every 
election, reduced to the dDemma of choosing between a 
sacrifice of fortune or of conscience. 

The conduct of the English judges in India is become : 
a matter of public inquiry by a committee of the House, . 
of Commons, in consequence of petitions which have been 
presented to the King and the Parliament from the 
British inhabitants, and from the Gentoos and Mahom- - 
medans in India, complaining of great injustice and op- 
pression in the administration of justice. But, before t 
proceed, it maybe proper to remind you that this English 
court of justice was established in the year 1773, and that 
the Act, under which it was erected, confines its jurisdic- 
tion to British inhabitants and natives in the service of 
the Company. Our countrymen complain that they are 
refused the trial by jury in civil causes; that the judges 
have, in many particular cases, acted partially and illegally ; 
that they have denied Magna Charta to have force in 
India, &c. &c. But the wrongs of the natives are much 
more insupportable. The judges, in order to extend their 
authority, have given to the Act of Parliament the most 
literal, rigid, unfair construction ; for example, all per- 
sons who rent farms of the Company are, they say, ser- 
vants of the Company, and therefore, by the letter of the 
Act, subject to the English court of justice* By such 

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2X6 LETTEllS TO Mairch, 

means, multitudes of Indians are brought under the 
English law; that is, a complicated system of law, so 
voluminous that years of study are requisite to enable 
even Englishmen to acquire a knowledge of it, is at once 
transplanted into a country whose inhabitants are stran- 
gers even to the language in which it is written. The 
arbitrary institutions of a commercial republic, in which 
all men are equal, are made the laws of a despotic empu'e, 
where distinctions between every different class of men 
are religiously observed, and where such distinctions are 
even become necessary to subordination and government. 
In a word, a law is given them which clashes with their 
own law and their own religion, and shocks their manners 
and prejudices in a thousand instances. But, indepen- 
dently of the laws themselves, they detest the practice of 
our courts, our pleadings and mode of trial, as founded 
in absurdity and injustice. Why, they ask, must we em- 
ploy an attorney to prosectite our suits? How is it to be 
conceived that another man, a stranger, whose acquaint- 
ance we must seek for the purpose, will defend our 
cause as zealously as we should ourselves ? Money can 
be the only inducement for his becoming our friend ; bo 
that our adversary has but to offer a higher bribe, for this 
mercenary friend to sell his friendship again and to 
betray our cause. The monstrous expense, the perpetual 
delays, and enormous length of your proceedings ruin us 
before our cause is heard ; and, after all, when it comes 
to a hearing, ignorant of your language, we remain 
strangers to what passes in court, to the rules of your 
decisions, to every thing, in short, but the sentence we 
are to undergo and the fees we are to pay. 

Though it was scarcely possible to reconcile the Indians 
to the novelty of oiu: laws and the practice of our courts, 
however cautiously and gradually it might have been 
attempted, yet by prudent conduct the yoke might have 
been made to feel less galling at first ; but our judges seem 
to have sought to aggravate its weight. They were at- 
tended to India by a swarm of desperate adventurers, 
debtors, and bankrupts, who went to repair their ruined 
fortunes by the plunder which was to be made under 

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1781. THE RBV. JOHN ROOET. '117 

sanction of the law. These wretches, upon their arrival 
tt Calcutta, assumed the character of attorneys, officers of 
the court, servants of the judges, &c. &c. ; and are de- 
scrihed to have spread themselves over the fertile pro- 
vinces of fiengal, fiahar, and Orissa, like the locusts over 
Egypt, carrying with them ruin and desolation ; hreathing 
a spirit of discord and litigation wherever itey went; 
opening public shops to supply a redress for every 
imagined wrong, or rather to gratify the malevolence and 
resentment of every restless and revengeful spirit ; insti- 
gating slaves to bring actions of assault against their 
masters, and culprits to recover on the judges of the 
country for false imprisonment, and reviving causes which 
had long been terminated ; for, what seems incredible, the 
judges gave the law a retrospective force, and property 
was disposed of, and crimes ac^udged and punished, by po- 
sitive laws, which were not in being, in that country, at 
the time of the transactions. The confusion that followed 
from all this is hardly to be conceived. On the principle 
that all men are equal, writs were issued out indiscrimi- 
nately against persons of every description, no matter what 
their sex, rank, or consideration in the country. Gentoos, 
who think themselves polluted by the touch of any but 
those of their own particular sect, were personally arrested, 
thrown into a common dungeon with malefactors of every 
description, and there left with the alternative either of 
perishing with hunger, or offending against their religion 
by eating of food prepared by profane hands. The harams, 
the apartments of the females, which are held sacred in 
that country, and which it is profane in any male to ap- 
proach, were violently forced open by bailiff and the 
bodies of the women arrested ; an indignity which they 
complain of as more cruel than death itself. Judges were 
seized in the administration of justice, and torn, with cir- 
cumstances of contempt, from their tribunals in the sight of 
the prisoners they were trying. The administration of 
justice was at a stand ; murders were committed with im- 
punity; and the country judges refused to punish the 
murderers, lest they should draw down on themselves the 
severity of our Supreme Court by some error in their pro- 
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215 LETTEBS TO April* 

ceedings, or by interfering with the English jurisdiction. 
The petition of the Gentoos concludes in these words, ** If 
(which God forbid !) it should so happen that this our pe- 
tition should not be accepted, those amongst us who have 
power and ability, discarding all affections to our families, 
will fly to any quarter we can : whilst the remainder who 
have no m^ns or ability, giving themselves up with pious 
resignation to their evil fate, will sit down in expectation 
of their death. After this, let the soil of the country re- 
main, and the court of justice ! Let the court of justice 
remain upon the earth, or the earth cover it !" Though 
I have read a great many of the papers and publications 
upon this subject, yet, as I have not seen any thing written 
in defence of the judges, I ought to suspend my judgment 
upon their conduct]; but with very great allowances for 
exaggeration and misrepresentation, they still seem very 
I must now take my leave of you. 

Your affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter IX. 

Gray's Inn, April 4, 1781. 

It gave me great pain, my dear Roget, to find 
you in your last letter speak in so disconsolate a manner 
of life, as if you had lost all relish for any of its enjoyments. 
I own I did not expect it ; for, though I am sure no one 
has felt your afflictions more sensibly than I, yet I have 
often pleased myself with thinking that your life was not 
destitute of enjoyment ; for, knowing that ambition and 
the tumultuous pleasures of the world never had charms 
fdr you, I confess I thought I still saw room for many 
happy hom's in a life of quiet and obscurity, with the 
company of a few friends and our dear Catherine for the 
partner of your exile ; above all, in the prospect of educat- 
ing your son. I know that the purest intellectual plea- 
sures are poisoned by bodily pain ; but you have flattered 
us, or you are free from that evil. You speak of your life 

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as precarious; but who is ccrtaiu of existence till to-mor« 
TOW ? and what thinking being would have the idea of 
death less present to his mind than you say it is to yours ? 
You know, my dear Roget, how we always exaggerate to 
ourselves our past happiness and our present misery : so 
much, that were we to live over again some of the most 
envied moments of our past life, we should be surprised 
to find that that happiness which, seen through the delu- 
sive medium of time, appeared with so many charms, was, 
in reality, possessed of so few ; and yet it is by comparisons 
with this distant magnified happiness that we add to the 
bitterness of all our present sorrows. 

You ask me how I spend my time : in a manner so uni- 
formly the same, that a journal of one day is a journal of 
all. At six o'clock, or sooner, I rise; go into the cold 
bath ; walk to Islington to drink a chalybeate water (from 
which I have found great benefit), return and write or 
read till ten ; then dress and go to Mr. Spranger's, where 
1 study till three ; dine in Frith Street, and afterwards re- 
turn to Mr. Spranger's, where I remain till nine, or else 
stay in Frith Street, and read with my brother and Jane. 
This is the history of every day, with little other variation 
than that Of my frequently attending the courts of jus- 
tice in the morning, instead of going to Mr. Spranger's, 
and of my often passing my afternoons at one of the 
Houses of Parliament ; for I have lately been so fortunate 
as to find the means of gsdning admittance to both Houses 
whenever I choose. Indeed I am grown as great a poli- 
tician as Appia was, though it is not mine, as it was his, 
favourite topic of conversation. " Peace is my dear de- 
light," and peace and our politics are incompatible. My 
father is still as warm an advocate as ever for the Minis- 
try*, and I as deeply affected as ever with the miseries 
and disgrace they have brought upon my country. The 
moment the conversation turns upon public afBEiirs, I im- 
pose it upon myself as a law not to take part ; and yet I 
am often weak enough to let the subject carry me away 
by degrees, in which case our conversation never ends 

^ The administzation of Lord North. 

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120 LETTERS TO April, 

without my sincerely repenting, and reproaching myself 
with want of firmness in not keeping my resolution. Mr. 
Spranger is as warm a friend of the opposition as my 
father of the court ; too warm a friend for me to concur 
with him ; for, though I helieve many of the minority to he 
as disinterested and truly patriotic as any men in the king- 
dom, yet some of the leaders of the party are such, that 
one must he prejudiced to hlindness, not to see that their 
only view is to raise themselves upon the ruins of the 
party they oppose. At Mr. Spranger's I pass for a minis- 
terialist, and at home for a patriot — an epithet not very 
honourahle in the sense in which it is used. 

As for political news, we have none, except that the mi- 
nority are very angry with Lord North for the terms 
upon which he has made the loan this year, and for his 
distribution of it among the subscribers. I should not be 
very intelligible, I fear, if I were to endeavour to explain 
what those terms were ; suflSce it to say, that they were 
so advantageous to the subscribers, and consequently so 
disadvantageous to the public, that the next daysiter 
they were declared, they bore a premium of 10 per cent, 
and have remained ever since at a premium of between 
10 and 7 per cent. The distribution is complained of as 
having been made to none but the friends of the Ministry 
and a very great part of it to Members of Parliament, 
who are thus bribed with the public money to betray the 
public, and whose interest it thus becomes to ratify the 
most improvident bargain a minister can make, when 
they themselves share the spoil. Tliey are not the 
guardians of the people, but the usurers who profit by 
their prodigality. 

Adieu ; believe me to remain, my dear Roget, your 
warm friend and affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. 221 

Lbttek X. 
Dear Roget, May 22. i78i. 

The conduct of Rodney and Vaughan in confiscating 
all the property at St. Eustatius, has lately been brought 
before the House of Commons by Burke. As his motion, 
though it was only for papers necessary for an inquiry 
into that transaction, led to a censure upon the Ministry, 
if the orders of confiscation were sent from hence, and if 
not to a censure upon Rodney and Vaughan, you will not 
be surprised that it was rejected, though it was supported 
by very strong arguments, at least in my opinion ; but 
you shall judge for yourself. It was admitted, that to 
confiscate all the property of a place taken in war is con- 
trary to the law of nations observed by all civilized states, 
and particularly as that law is laid down by Vattel, the 
last writer of authority upon the subject. But then it is 
said, a distinction is to be made between a people openly 
at war with you, and one who, like the Dutch, have per- 
fidiously violated their treaties, and secretly supplied your 
enemy with succours. The answer to this is : their per- 
fidy was the cause of our declaring war, but, war being 
once begun, we must conform to the rules of warfare 
established in Europe ; and it is a principle laid down by 
every writer on the law of nations, that each state at war 
must be presumed to have justice on her side. Besides, 
it is impossible to punish the perfidy of a nation by se- 
verity in carrying on war against it ; for the only effect 
of such severity would be to draw retaliations from the 
enemy, and finally to establish a more cruel law of nations 
than what now prevails. But then it is said, St. Eusta- 
tius is not a settiement ; it ought not to be compared to 
Grenada, or any other conquered island ; it is nothing but 
a depdt or magazine. But how does this alter the case? 
The only question is, whether, in a place which has sur- 
rendered at discretion and without resbtance, the private 
property of individuals is liable to confiscation. Lord 
George Germaine ^ said, that the orders sent from home 
^ Secretary of State for the Colonies. 

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were, that the property of the inhabitants established in 
the island should not be touched. But this is a reason 
for going into an inquiry ; for if it be true, Rodney is 
highly criminal in having departed from his orders, and 
that to commit an act of the most wanton injustice. 
With respect to the Jews, it was said that the orders that 
were given for transporting them, were given unknown 
to the Commander-in-Chief, and that they were counter- 
manded the moment they came to his knowledge. An 
inquiry, then, is still more necessary, in order to discover 
who it was that dared to give orders so disgraceful to the 
nation. With respect to the property of English mer- 
chants it is said the trade was improper, and supplied 
the enemy with strength: the cargoes that were con- 
signed to St. Eustatius might, with much more safety, 
have been sent more to the north. To this it is answered, 
that the trade was perfectly legal ; that it was protected 
and encouraged by acts of parliament, made since the 
commencement of the American war ; that more to the 
northward the cargoes might, it is true, have been safe 
from capture, but they would not have been sold, they 
would have found no market. But that this dread of 
supplying the enemy is only a mask to cover the most 
flagrant injustice is evident, for the Commander-in-Chief 
sold all the effects they seized, — sold them much cheaper, 
indeed, but exactly in the same manner as the merchant 
would have sold them ; so that to supply the enemy by a 
fair trade is with them a crime, but not, to supply them 
by dint of violence and plunder. After all, it is said, what 
injury has been done ? Whoever think themselves ag- 
grieved, may have recourse to law. Without doubt they 
may ; but it is only because they have been injured that 
they must reciu: to law. Are we to thank Rodney and 
Vaughan if our courts of justice are open, and our judges 
impartial ? Was it a merit in Verres that the Sicilians 
found a Tully to plead their cause, and a tribunal to hear 
their complaints? When one considers who they are 
whom those men advise to go to law, one must see that 
it is adding insult to injury. It is telling the wretches 
whom they have reduced to beggary, that they may follow 

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1781. THE BBV. iOBV ROGET. 123 

them home if they wDl, engage in an expensive lawsuit^ 
and try whether the goodness of their cause alone will 
enahle them to overcome men crowned with laurels, ele- 
vated with popular favour, and loaded with riches. And 
what redress will the law give them ? at most only the 
restoration of their property. But who will compensate 
them for a long separation from their families, and for 
the injury their commerce must have sustained hy a 
tedious attendance on our courts of justice? But the 
strongest ground on which the motion was opposed was* 
that it would be unjust to condemn Rodney and Vaughan 
unheard and absent ; and yet this argument comes with 
an ill grace from those who are so confident of their inno- 
cence ; for being innocent, they cannot fear a condemna- 
tion. These confident friends of Rodney, to be consistent 
with themselves, should be the most earnest for the pro- 
posed inquiry, which will clear his character from the 
foulest stain which, whether justly or not, it has certainly 
contracted. Let us be just to our officers, but let us not 
be unjust to these miserable sufferers who are reduced to 
want bread ; let us not be unjust to ourselves, nor suffer 
the honour of the nation to be blasted by a flagrant vio- 
lation of the laws of nations. 

Did I ever inform you that, among the variety of dis- 
puting societies which were established here in such 
abundance last winter, there were several for debating 
topics of religion ? Having never been present at any of 
them, I cannot speak of them from my own knowledge ; 
but, according to the representation I have had given me 
of the company which usually frequent them, the auditors 
are mostly weak, well-meaning people, who are inclined 
to Methodism ; the speakers partly fanatics, who persuade 
themselves that a jargon of scriptural words, as unintelli- 
gible to themselves as to their hearers, is inspired elo- 
quence; some designing villains, who are anxious to 
poison the minds of the people, and by means of their re- 
ligious prejudices to work their own bad ends; and a few 
coxcombs, with more wit than understanding, and who 
go there for the purpose of ridiculing religion, or rather of 
displaying their own talents to advantage, by placing them 

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^24 LETTERS TO May, 

in contrast with the imbecility of their opponents. That 
such meetings, where the cause of religion is probably no 
less injured by its defenders than by its assailants, are at 
all times pernicious, can, I think, admit of no dispute ; 
but at present they are particularly dangerous, as they 
tend to keep alive that rage of persecution against the 
Catholics which has of late so unhappily infected the 
minds of the people. Nothing, one would imagine, could 
raise up panegyrists of these societies but what has lately 
happened, an attempt to suppress them. The Solicitor- 
General^ has lately brought a bill into Parliament for 
this purpose. The bill is drawn artfully enough ; for, as 
these societies are held on Sundays, and people pay for 
admittance, he has joined them with a famous tea-drinking 
house, involving them both in the same fate, and en- 
titling his bill, A Bill to regulate certain Abuses and 
Profanations of the Lord's Day. This bill has met with 
no opposition in Parliament but from two or three 
members ; but among the common people, I am told, it is 
exceedingly odious. It is called a persecution, an inqui- 
sition, and many other names equally reproachful and in- 
applicable. Could one, indeed, expect that those tur- 
bulent spirits who have sought to blow up the wildest fa- 
naticism among the people, would patiently suffer so 
powerful an instrument to be Wrested out of their hands ? 
Have you ever heard of a book published here some 
time since by a Mr. Howard, upon the State of the Prisons 
in England, and in several other countries of Europe ? 
You may conjecture from the subject that it is not a book 
of great literary merit ; but it has a merit infinitely su- 
perior. It is one of those works which have been rare in 
all ages of the world ; it is written with a view only to the 
good of mankind. The author was some time ago sheriff 
in the country ; in the execution of that office a number 
of instances of abuses practised in the prisons came under 
his observation. Shocked with what he saw, he began to 
inquire whether the prisons in the adjacent counties were 
on a better footing. Finding everywhere the same in- 

^ Mr* James Mansfield. 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 125 

justice prevail, he resolved, — a private individual, — to 
attempt to reform abuses which he found were as general 
as they were shocking to humanity. Accordingly, he 
made a visit to every prison and house of correction in 
England, with invincible perseverance and courage; for 
some of the prisons were so infected with diseases and 
putrid air, that he was obliged to hold a cloth steeped in 
vinegar to his nostrils during the whole time he remained 
in them, and. to change his clothes the moment he returned. 
After having devoted so much time to this painful em- 
ployment, he set out on a tour thiough great part of 
Holland, Germany, and Switzerland, to visit their prisons. 
What a singular journey ! — not to admire the wonders of 
art and nature, not to visit courts and ape their manners ; 
but to dive into dungeons, to compare the misery of men 
in different climates, to study the arts of mitigating the 
torments of mankind I What a contrast might be drawn 
between the painful labour of this man, and the ostenta- 
tious sensibility which turns aside from scenes of misery, 
and, with the mockery of a few barren tears, leaves it to 
seek comfort in its own distresses ! The result of all his 
inquiries Mr. Howard has laid before the Parliament, and 
some steps have, 1 believe, been taken towards putting 
our prisons on a better regulation; but I am sorry I 
cannot particularly inform you what they are. 
Adieu, yours most ait'ectionately, 

S. R. 

Letter XI. 
[TO .] 

La Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble, Sept. 8, 178I.> 

This is but the third day, my dear , that I 

find myself in this monastery, and I seem already to have 
inhabited it for years. The sight of the same objects 
and of the same faces, and the precise order which reigns 
here, soon destroy the novelty of the life of a recluse ; 

■ ^ Mr. Romilly made a journey to France and Switzerland in the 
summer of this year. See *< Narrative of his eaily Life^" p. 43. 

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126 LETTERS TO Sept. 

and I can hardly persuade myself, since I have been in 
this place, that I am ever to quit it. It was dusk when we 
arrived, and we were so much fatigued with our journey 
that we paid little attention to any thing but the hospitality 
of our religious hosts, and the excellent supper they setbc^- 
fore us. As for myself, when I was shown into my cham- 
ber, I was so overwhelmed with drowsiness that I took 
notice of nothing in it but a bed, into which I threw my- 
self with the impatience of a weary traveller. The next 
morning, after a slumber of nine hours without interrup- 
tion,— except once, indeed, that I was waked by the melan- 
choly bell which simimons the fathers to the midnight ser- 
vice,— I found myself lying on a small wooden bed, in a little 
cell paved with tiles, and furnished only with two wooden 
chairs, and a desk for prayer, over which hung a very in- 
different print of the passion of our Saviour. My window 
looked over, the spacious court-yard before the houses 
which was vast, but solitary ; the grass grew between the 
stones, and in the midst stood two fountains, the melan- 
choly splashing of whose waters alone interrupted the 
deep silence. The aspect of the country was well suited 
to the building, and presented to the view a dreary 
mountain rising above, one end wholly covered with 
woods of gloomy pine. I quitted my little cell to walk 
about the house of this solitary community. Every object 
struck me with awe and respect. As I walked through 
the long cloisters, nothing broke the profound silence of 
the convent but the sound of my steps on the pavement, 
faintly echoed by the vaulted roof. The cloister led me 
by a small burial-ground in the midst of the building, 
where a number of tombstones in the form of crosses were 
placed in a kind of irregular order, — some high, some low, 
some new, others mouldering away and broken or fallen 
down, and with inscriptions scarce legible. This is the 
burial-place of the Generals ; and they are never per- 
mitted to be far distant from it after their elevation to the 
supremacy of their order ; for the General must not step 
beyond the precincts of the monastery. I began to read 
the inscriptions ; and while I was remarking the very 
advanced age to which a life abstemious even to excess 

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1781. THE BEV. JOHN ROOET. 121 

had been prolonged by these venerable fathers, and was 
observing the slight distinctions which some of them de- 
rived from the addition of a few years to their imiform 
lives, or by having died, some in the present century, and 
some three hundred years ago, I heard the distant steps 
of some person in the cloister. I quitted the cemetery 
to see who it might be ; a white figure at a considerable 
distance was advancing towards me ; it was one of the 
fathers. I walked to meet him, and should have spoken 
to him ; but he had arrived at the door of his cell, which 
opened into the cloister : he entered, and shut-to his door. 
I reproached myself for having forgotten that the fathers 
are not permitted to speak, and for having exposed him 
to the temptation of opening his lips ; for he seemed in 
that instant to regret that the laws of his order imposed si- 
lence on him. The falling-to of the heavy door rang 
through the building, and left an awful impression on my 
mind. In imagination I followed this venerable monk 
into his cell. I fancied myself, like him, imprisoned from 
the world, and separated from the grave by nothing but 
the unvaried round of fasts and prayers ; and that I should 
never quit my cell, except to rehearse the vigils in the 
chapel, to eat one weekly meal in silence with my brethren, 
or to walk about the lonely mountain, till I was carried 
into my tomb. 

S. R. 

Letter XII. 

OBtend, Nov. 10. 1781. 

Once more better than my word» I write to you, my 
dear Roget, from this place, though I did not give you 
reason to expect to hear from me till I should have arrived 
at London ; but I deserve no thanks for this letter, for it 
la the fruits of the most irksome leisure which an unfa- 
vourable wind inflicts on me, by confining me to this 
place. I cannot look back on the manner in which I have 
spent the last five months, without owning myself much 
indebted to you for having induced me to take a journey, 
jpart of which has afforded me much pleasure, and all, if I 

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128 LETTEBS Tt) Nor. 

do not flatter myself, mucli instruction ; at the same time 
that I have gained by it this great advantage, that I now 
find myself possessed of a tolerable stock of health and 
strength, both of which I was poor in when I landed here 
in June last. 

Pray inform me in your next letter whether the last 
part of Rousseau*s works has yet been published, and 
whether you hear any thing of the edition of Berne. I 
have talked a great deal about that our favourite author 
with Mr. Romilly * of Paris, who was one of the very few 
persons who remained connected with him till his death ; 
though, what is singular, he did not sacrifice to that con- 
nexion his friendship with Diderot. The manner in which- 
these two authors used to speak of one another well ex- 
emplifies their different dispositions. Rousseau, though 
fully persuaded that Diderot had used him exceedingly 
ill, used to tell Mr. Romilly that he did well to continue 
his acquaintance with him, for that there was much to be 
learned in his conversation. Diderot, on the contrary, 
could not forgive Mr. Romilly for seeing Rousseau, 
whom he loaded with the most opprobrious names, though 
he never would particularise the injuries he pretended to 
have received from him. The acrimony of Diderot against 
Rousseau, instead of abating, seems to have increased 
with the death of that unfortimate man.' His remains 
were hardly cold before Diderot, in his L\fe of Senecct, 
treated him in vague and general terms, as a monster of 
hypocrisy and impurity. In one of the visits I made Di- 
derot, I purposely turned the conversation on Rousseau. 
The reason which Diderot gave for not attacking him till 
after his death was that several private persons were in- 
volved in the transactions in which Rousseau had used 
him so ill, and that, if he had mentioned those affairs 
before, Rousseau, ** qui n'avait point de pudeur," would 
not have scrupled, in defending himself, to have blasted 
the characters of those other persons. This reason seems 

^ The Mr. Romilly here mentioned was no relation of the writer. 
See p. 47. 

* Rousseau died in T778. 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. |29 

a very strange one ; and the rather so, as Diderot's accu- 
sation, entirely vague and uncertain, particularises neither 
things nor persons. However, he is going to publish a 
second edition of the I4fe of Seneca, increased by a whole 
volume, in which he is to defend his accusation of Rous- 
seau in the former edition against the editors of the 
Jowmal de Paris, among whom are Mr. Romilly and Mr. 
Corancez, who severely criticised it. I talked with Dide- 
rot a good deal about this work, of which he said he would 
send me a copy. I find that, among other very extrava- 
gant means which he has hit on to defend and exalt the 
character of his hero, one is to destroy the veneration with 
which the world has hitherto regarded Thraseas ; though 
in truth, the extravagant design of abusing Thraseas is 
but a consequence'^ of a former extravagance, that of ex- 
alting Seneca. When I see these two men compared 
together, I cannot help thinking of the two architects ^ of 
antiquity : in Seneca I see the eloquent speaker who talks 
of the greatest virtues ; in Thraseas, the godlike stoic, who 
shows those virtues in action. The chimeras of Seneca 
were realized in Thraseas. 

In the little I have seen of the French, I have found 
them to be much less gay than they are commonly 
said to be. They are merry and serious by starts ; but 
they are strangers to cheerfulness, and still more to 
serenity of temper. When Mr. De Luc was at Paris, he 
often observed to a gentleman whom I am a(;quainted with, 
as he walked out with him on Sunday evenings, that he 
never saw in England that mirth and gaiety which appear- 
ed on the countenances of the French. The observation has 
often been made before, but by men of less sense than Mr. 
De Luc ; and thence one is to conclude, that the French 
are a happier nation than the English, and consequently 
that a despotic government is preferable to a free one ! 
I greatly doubt the happiness of the French ; but, if they 

^ Competitors for the erection of a public building at Athens; the 
one of whom fascinated the people by his eloquence, whilst the other, 
who had more knowledge of his art than of oratory, said only, <' Men 
of Athens, all that he has spoken will I perform." — Fide Plutarch, 
Reip, Ger, Prcec, 

VOL. I. K 

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130 LETTERS TO Nov. 

are happy, they are more to be pitied than if they were 
discontented, because, in their situation, it is not possible 
they can be happy till their souls are debased to a level 
with their condition. Slaves must be insensible indeed 
to the misery and ignominy of their state, when they can 
hug the chains that dishonour them, and lick the feet by 
which they are trampled on. Such men can never taste 
of real happiness ; to them all its genuine sources are dried 
up. It is ever the policy of a tyrant to enervate the 
minds of his subjects, and to give them a fondness for 
false grandeur and empty pleasures. When he has. once 
wrought this change in their disposition, he may at an 
easy price glut them with all that they are greedy after : 
they will never feel the want of pleasures which they no 
longer have souls to enjoy. So it w)is that, in the worst 
days of the Roman empire, its tyrants fed a populace, 
whom they had rendered stupid and sensual, with offals 
and gaudy shows. It is not more surprising that a people 
ignorant of liberty are contented with servitude, than that 
a man blind from his birth laments not the want of the 
most delightful of the senses. I have never seen a troop 
of children who appeared more cheerful and contented 
than the deaf and dumb scholars of the Abb6 de TEpee ; 
but ought I from thence to conclude, that they are as 
happy, or perhaps happier than we, and that Providence, 
in giving us our senses complete, bestowed on us a super- 
fluous, if not a pernicious gift ? 

At Versailles I assisted at the mass. The service was 
very short, though it was on a Sunday ; for kings are so 
highly respected in that country that even Religion ap- 
points for them less tedious ceremonies than it imposes 
on the people. The moment his Majesty appeared, the 
drums beat and shook the temple, as if it haid been in- 
tended to announce the approach of a conqueror. Daring 
the whole time of saying mass, the choristers sang, some- 
times single parts, sometimes in chorus. In the front 
seats of the galleries were ranged the ladies of the court, 
glowing with rouge, and gorgeously apparelled, to enjoy 
and form a part of the showy spectacle. The King 
laughed and spied at the ladies ; every eye was fixed on 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. ]31 

the personages of the court, every ear was attentive to the 
notes of the singers, while the priest, who in the mean 
time went on in the exercise of his office, was unheeded 
by all present Even when the Host was lifted up, none 
observed it ; and if the people knelt, it was because they 
were admonished by the ringing of the bell ; and even in 
that attitude, all were endeavouring to get a glimpse of 
the King. How can a King of France ever be brought 
to regard his subjects as his equals, when, even before the 
throne of heaven, he maintains so high a superiority over 
all around him ? What an idea must he not conceive of 
his own importance, when he thus sees .his God less 
honoured than himself? 


Lettkr XIII. 

Gray's Inn. Nov. 16, 1781. 

At last, my dear Roget, you find I am safe arrived at 
my dear home. It was very fortunate that I took advantage 
of the first favourable moment which presented itself for 
crossing the sea, as the wind has been contrary ever since, 
and there are, at present, no less than four mails due. 

I have not yet had time to do anything in the com- 
mission you gave me ; but I shall now set about it im- 
mediately, and give you an account of it in my next. 

I forget what it was I wrote to you from Ostend ; I 
know I mentioned something of Diderot, but did I tell 
you how zealously he preaches his system of materialism ? 
In the first visit I paid him, after we had talked a little 
on political topics, he turned the conversation to his fa- 
vourite philosophy ; he praised the English for having led 
the way to true philosophy, but the adventurous genius 
of the French, he said, had pushed them on before their 
guides. •* Vous autres," these were his words, " vous melez 
la theologie avecla philosophic ; c'est gSter tout, c'est meler 
le mensonge avec la verit6 ; il faut abrer la th6ologie." He 
spoke of his acquaintance with Hume. " Je vous dirai 
un trait de lui, mais il vous sera un pen scandaleux peut- 
etre, car vous Anglais vous croyez un pen en Dieu ; pour 


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232 LETTERS TO Not. 

nous autres nous n'y croyons gueres. Hume dina avec 
une grande compagnie chez le Baron d'Holbach. II 
6tait assis k c6t6 du Baron ; on parla de la religion na- 
turelle : *Pour les Ath6es,' disait Hume, *je ne crois pas 
qu'il en existe ; je n'en ai jamais vu.' * Vous avez 6t^ un 
peu malheureux,' r^pondit I'autre, • vous void a table 
avec dix-sept pour la premiere fois.' " 

He said that Chancellor Bacon was one of the greatest 
men our country had ever produced, and that Bacon says, 
" Causa finalis est virgo, Deo sacrata, quae nihil parit ;" 
that Plato, too, the author of all the good theology that 
ever existed on the earth, says, that there is a vast cur- 
tain drawn over the heavens, and that men must content 
themselves with what passes beneath that curtain, without 
ever attempting to raise it ; and in order to complete my 
conversion from my unhappy errors, he read me all 
through a little work of his own,— a Dialogue between 
himself and a lady of quality much attached to religion, 
whom he attempts to convince of her folly.^ 

You know that the Queen of France was brought to 
bed at the time that I was at Paris ; but I never had time 
to give you any account of the rejoicings on that occasion. 
What seemed to me most extraordinary was, that they 
were commanded. The day the Dauphin was born, an 
order was posted up in all the streets, enjoining the 
citizens to illuminate their houses for three successive 
nights, and to shut up their shops, and commanding the 
officers of the police to look to the execution of this order. 
Who would have thought that a people so famous for 
their fond attachment to their kings could have needed 
such an order ! an order which, even when rendered ne- 
cessary by the disloyalty of a nation, can never answer 
any purpose, imless it be to lull a feeble government into 
a childish joy by an outward show of happiness, by making 
an oppressed and discontented nation for a moment act 
the part of a happy and a grateful people I 

At night I walked about Paris to see the illuminations ; 

^ This is published in his works, under the title of Entretien d^un 
Philasophe avec la Marechak de . 

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the streets were crowded with people, and the public edi- 
fices were well lighted up ; but in many of the private 
houses there appeared only one glimmering lamp at each 
window, hung up, not in token of joy, but of reluctant 
obedience to the Sovereign's will ; and some of the citi- 
zens were daring enough not to illuminate their houses at 
all. In many of the squares were little orchestras with 
bands of music playing to the populace, some of whom 
danced about in wild irregular figures. But it was at the 
Place de Greve that the greatest crowd was assembled. 
The Town-house there was richly illuminated, a fire- work 
was played ofP, and afterwards the people were invited to 
dance to the music of four bands in different orchestras. 
The company, which consisted of the very lowest and 
dirtiest rabble of Paris, soon began to dance in a ring ; 
but they were noisy rather than merry, and none seemed 
happy, unless happiness can be found ini a tumultuous 
oblivion. My opinion of the Parisians, liith respect to 
gaiety, is so different from that of all travellers, that I 
hardly dare trust to it ; but I must describe things as I 
see them, and not borrow from others my opinions and 
observations. However, as the idea one forms of a people 
commonly depends in a great measure on the disposition of 
mind one happens to be in one's self, I ought not to conceal 
from you, that the ragged and miserable appearance of the 
people, the sight of the guards drawn up on every side, 
the frequent appearance of the horse-guet, who came 
upon one every now and then unexpectedly, and the re- 
flection that the pavement on which I stood had been so 
often wet with the blood of the wretches whom the bar- 
barous justice of the country dooms to expire in excru- 
ciating and lengthened agonies, spread over my mind such 
a cloud of melancholy as nothing could dissipate. 

Forgive me for not making this long letter still longer ; 
but as yet I have hardly found a moment's leisure since 
my return. Pray write to me soon, and often think of 
your sincere friend and most affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

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134 LETTERS TO Dec. 

Letter XIV. 

Dear Roget, Gray's Inn, Dec 4, 1781. 

j I have just received your letter of the 14th of last 

month, wherein you mention a former letter addressed to 
me at London, which unfortunately has not yet come to 
hand. I fear it was on board that packet which has been 
lost, and which sailed the last before the one in which I 
came over. As there is no prospect of my ever recovering 
it, I shall be much obliged to you to repeat, in your next, 
the most interesting of its contents which you recollect. 
The hopes you give us of your returning to England have 
given me the greatest joy. When we have you here again 
we intend it should be for life. I hope, therefore, you 
will be careful to lay in a good stock of health before you 
undertake the tourney. 

And now, t(f speak of public news, which is of much 
too serious a nature to be passed over in silence. When 
I arrived home, I found everybody in great anxiety for 
the army under Lord Comwallis. His situation was very 
critical ; an army, vastly superior in numbers to his own, 
surrounded him on every side ; and no person seemed to 
doubt that, unless Clinton arrived in time to relieve him 
before his provisions were consumed, he would be obliged 
to surrender up himself and his army prison rs, and the 
disgrace at Saratoga would be renewed in the Chesapeak. 
It was thought, however, that Clinton might reach the 
Chesapeak before it was too late ; and much was then ex- 
pected from the valour of two such British armies against 
forces so unnatural allied together, and so unaccustomed 
to act in conjunction as those of America and France. 
At any rate, it was supposed that the event must be quite 
decisive of the war; and the public was eager and 
burning with impatience to hear whether America was to 
return to her dependence, or be dissevered from us for ever. 
In this uncertainty, the day on which the Parliament was 
to meet drew near. The king's speech was prepared, had 
been read at the Council, and was to have been delivered 

d by Google 

1781. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 135 

to Parliament the very next day, when news arrived that 
Cornwallis and all his soldiers were prisoners. This 
report, which came with such authority as not to admit of 
any doubt, filled many persons with the deepest conster- 
nation ; they saw blasted all our hopes of ever attaining 
what, in the course of so many years, we had pursued at 
the cost of so much blood and treasure. Others, instead 
of turning their views back, looked forward to the evils 
we had escaped, and thought we had more reason to re- 
joice at an event which had delivered us from a war so 
destructive to the nation ; an event which, by happening 
thus early (for they considered it as inevitable at some time 
or other), had spared us many millions of debt, and the 
loss of many gallant armies, which fhe ministers would 
certainly have sacrificed in the pursuit of a favourite, but 
unattainable object. But none (at least none that I have 
heard of) saw this calamity with the terrors with which it 
has since been heightened ; for none imagined that, after 
another so awful a lesson, there would be any talk of con- 
tinuing our inauspicious war in America. 

The debates, which were to be had on the following day, 
promised to be very interesting ; and so much had they 
roused the attention of men, that the lobby of the House 
was full long before the Speaker arrived; nor was it 
without difficulty that he could make his way into the 
House. The moment he had entered the people crowded 
after him : it was impossible to shut the doors, and the 
gallery was in a moment filled with a promiscuous crowd. 
I, among the rest, had the good fortune to get a seat. As 
you have, without doubt, already seen the King's speech, 
you have as certainly observed that, after boasting of suc- 
cesses in the East Indies which nobody had heard of before, 
announcing the disaster in Virginia, and declaring his reso- 
lution to prosecute the war with vigour, he goes on to in- 
volve the future conduct of the war in darkness and un- 
certainty. Let me recall his words to you, for they are very 
material. " I should not answer the trust committed to me 
as the Sovereign of a free people, &c., if I consented to sa- 
crifice, either to my own desire of peace, or to their tempo- 
rary ease and relief, those essential rights and permanent 

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136 LETTERS TO Dec. 

interests, upon the maintenance and preservation of which 
the future strength and security of this country must ever 
principally depend ;" and afterwards, " the late mis- 
fortune calls loudly for your firm concurrence and assist- 
ance, to frustrate the designs of our enemies, equally pre- 
judicial to the interests of America, and to those of Great 
Britain." In both Houses, all the' speakers on the side 
of Opposition understood these words to intimate that 
the war in America was still to be carried on ; and the 
address, which echoed them back to the throne, they under- 
stood as pledging the House to give their sanction to that 
measure : but the Ministerial speakers denied that to be 
the sense either of the speech or of the address, and many 
of them declared that, if they had understood it so, they 
certainly would have voted against the address ; not that 
they were clear that the war in America ought to be 
abandoned, but because it was a question of too great 
moment to be thus hastily decided. 

But let me confine myself to the debate in the Commons^ 
which I was myself witness to. The gentlemen who 
moved for an address, echoing, as usual, every sentence 
of the speech (men so little known that I shall not trouble 
you with their names), prefaced their motion with ha- 
rangues of a very singular kind ; giving the most dismal 
picture of the nation, yet saying we ought not to despond ; 
boasting that our empire had numberless resources, yet 
omitting to point out any one of those resources ; con- 
fessing that we were overcome in America, yet insisting 
that we ought still to maintain the style and deportment 
of conquerors ; reminding the House that it became a 
renowned and high-spirited nation not to sink under its 
misfortunes, but, like ancient Rome, to take courage and 
a more determined resolution from its defeats: that, 
though every man must be deeply affected with the late 
calamity, it was not for Britons to indulge an unmanly 
sorrow; and that it better suited the character of the 
nation to appear before their King on this occasion as the 
bold Barons, our ancestors, are recorded to have done in 
former times, upon alike disaster, when for mourning they 
put on suits of armour. To these declamations they 

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1781. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 13»J 

added an abundance of angry invectives against the ambi- 
tion of the Bourbons, threw out many vague accusationa 
against the opposition as the real authors of all these 
measures, whose mischievous conduct they contrasted 
with the wise schemes and prudent measures of adminis- 
tration, which the seditious harangues of their opponents 
had frustrated. 

When the last of these gentlemen had ended. Fox rose 
to move as an amendment to the ^proposed address, the 
omission of all the words which I have above transcribed, 
and the insertion of others which said nothing of con- 
tinuing the war, but recommended a change of measures. 
This motion he introduced by a very long and passionate 
speech, in which he said that he had to set before the House 
a picture of the nation, melancholy indeed, but much less 
melancholy than had been drawn by the gentlemen who 
preceded him. He would use to the House the same 
reasoning with which Demosthenes addressed the peoplie 
of Athens: "If your country had been reduced to its 
present miserable state under a wise and virtuous ad- 
ministration, as these men pretend, your situation would 
be desperate indeed ; but if, as I insist, your affairs have 
been foolishly, imprudently, and perhaps treacherously 
administered, you have still hopes of retrieving them 
under other men and by some other system." He said, 
that for the party of administration to stand forth the 
accusers of the minority on a day of such shame and 
humiliation to themselves was insolence not to be en- 
dured; that their accusations were the severest con- 
demnation of themselves, for what could be thought of 
those, men whose best digested plans and profoundest 
schemes were all disconcerted and scattered into air by 
the breath of one seditious orator! that the authors of 
the ruinous measures which had been pursued sought to 
shift the responsibility for what they had been guilty of 
from their own shoulders, to those of the men who had 
from the first seen the folly of these measures, had fore- 
told their failure, and had endeavoured in vain to open the 
eyes of the nation before it was too late. He then en- 
tered on the subject of the address : he said he must call 

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138 LETTERS TO Dec. 1781. 

back the attention of the House to the events of the war; 
events which, though the movers of the address had 
passed them over in silence, should and must be often 
mentioned that night ; events which would long be re- 
membered with horror in the history of* this country, and 
the effects of which he hoped would soon be felt upon its 
scaffolds. At this, the Solicitor-General smDed. Fox 
perceived it, and hastily asked him if he was not yet con- 
tented. "What," coiAinued he, "are we still to suffer 
before the Ministry are called to account? Is not all they 
have done suflScient, — not the loss of thirteen provinces, 
— ^the effusion of so much blood, the waste of so much 
public money,— the annihilation of so many branches of 
our commerce? What crimes can be imagined black 
enough to provoke the severity of justice, if deeds so 
atrocious, if such accumulated treasons to their country, 
do not bring their authors to the scaffold?" He then 
went through the history of the war, pointing out every- 
where the misconduct of Ministers, and concluded with 
saying that, though he would not assert that they were 
pensioned by the King of France, he would be bold to 
say that France had not, among all the statesmen whose 
memory she reveres the most, one who had done her half 
such essential services as the present English Ministry. 
They railed, indeed, at the French King with empty 
words, as the Miso-philippoi, of whom Demosthenes 
speaks, railed against the King of Macedon ; but, like 
them, they were bent on securing to him the most sub- 
stantial benefits. They disdained to pursue, like Louis 
XIV., vain and ostentatious schemes of superficial great- 
ness — they had industriously gained for the country they 
favoured the greatest and most solid advantages — an ex- 
tension of her commerce, and the annihilation of the only 
rival which could check Irer power. Nor was this great 
design more meritorious than the admirable mode of 
its execution ; the Ministry having so contrived it that 
America should separate from England, not by treaty, 
but by the decision of war, in order that sentiments of 
resentment and hostility might remain for ever impressed 
on either party. Nor was this all ; they had so managed 

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Jan. 1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 139 

matters as to render the union between France and 
America indissoluble; they had made the concluding 
blow proceed from their joint efforts, and had taken care, 
by letting the French be their deliverers, that a sense of 
gratitude to that people should be with them eternal, 
like the memory of their deliverance. He ended with 
showing the folly and cruelty of still continuing the war 
in America, and said the Ministers had dared to suggest 
to his Majesty the speech of a hard-hearted, unfeeling 
prince, who was not to be moved by the affliction of his 
much injured and exhausted people, but was determined 
madly to prosecute the same measures as had already 
driven them to the brink of ruin. Burke made another 
very violent speech, in which he promised soon to move 
for an impeachment against the Ministers: but the 
amendment to the address was lost in the Commons, by 
218 to 129 ; and in the Lords, by 75 to 31. 

Adieu. Yours most affectionately, 


Letter XV. 

Gray's Inn, Jan. 11, 1782. 

That I have suffered so many posts to pass without 
writing to you, my dear Roget, you will have ascribed, I 
hope, to its true causes, — a great deal of business, and no 
news to send you. 

In a letter which I received at Paris you desired me to 
procure for you the papers which the Congress published 
at their first meeting, their petition to the King, and their 
addresses to the people of Great Britain and to the Cana- 
dians ; but I suppose you have since discovered that they 
are all printed at length in the Annual Register for 1774. 

You desire me to send you characters of Lord Dart- 
mouth, Lord George Germaine^ &c. Their private 
characters I am quite unacquainted with ; and it is not 
easy to distinguish their characters as statesmen, for no 
one minister has appeared to be the author of any parti- 
cular measure. All that has been done has had the ap- 

^ Members of Lord North's administration. 

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140 LETTERS TO Jan. 

parent approbation of the whole administration; and 
there are persons who go so far as to assert, that the real 
authors of all the proceedings against America are still 
behind the curtain. Of the whole administration, how- 
ever, taken together, the principal characteristics are, 
want of system and irresolution ; and the latter, indeed, 
is but a consequence of the former. Having little, con- 
fined views, they seem never, from the first, to have 
formed any comprehensive plan ; and this original defect 
has increased with ill success. Perplexed and con- 
founded with the mazes and dangers into which they 
have run, like children they rather turn away from what 
affrights them than endeavour to prevent it. They ward 
off' the present evil that presses on them, but leave the 
morrow to provide for itself; they may truly be said, ac- 
cording to the Latin phrase, in diem vivere. Their plan 
of operations (for system they have none) changes with 
every new occurrence ; with every various accident, every 
various passion takes its turn to rule them; regarding 
only the immediate object before them, they magnify its 
importance; they are now confident of success, now 
plunged into despair. The idol they erected yesterday 
is cast down to-day, and perhaps will be enshrined again 
to-morrow. In prosperity they are proud, contemptuous, 
and overbearing ; in adversity supple, mean, and abject. 
At the commencement of the disputes with America, 
they treated the refractory colonists as a despicable gang 
of ruflSans ; but the moment a league was formed with 
France, they prostrated themselves at the feet of those 
rebels they had spurned, and offered them much more 
than ever had been demanded. This panic was soon 
dissipated by a gleam of success ; the ministers resumed 
confidence, and one of them was imprudent enough to 
hint, even in the House of Commons, that unconditional 
submission was alone to be listened to ; 

" Quidlibet impotens 
Sperare, fortun&que dulci 

» Horat. Car. lib. i. 37. 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 141 

Nay, only last winter, flushed with the successes of Lord 
Cornwallis, they were already, in imagination, masters of 
all the Southern provinces ; and masters so absolute, that 
they thought it time to send out again Lord Dunmore to 
chastise, not to govern Virginia. 

The petitions and remonstrances I mentioned in my 
last go on very languidly ; the nation seems fallen into a 
deep sleep. There are calamities, I fear, enough in store 
to awaken them ; God forbid that it be then too late I The 
first business the Parliament is to be engaged on, when it 
meets again, is an inquiry into Lord Sandwich's conduct.^ 
The cause, however, is already prejudged; for Lord 
North has declared that this inquiry will prove his col- 
league to be honest, able, and vigilant. William Pitt, the 
late Lord Chatham's son, of whom I believe I talked with 
you, has made a great figure this session in Parliament ; 
he has spoken only twice, but both his speeches have 
gained him uncommon approbation. Applause was echoed 
from one side of the House to the other ; and Fox, in an 
exaggerated strain of panegyric, said he could no longer 
lament 'the loss of Lord Chatham, for he was ag^in living 
in his son, with all his virtues and all his talents. He 
studies for the bar ; and, to whatever he applies himself, 
whether to law or politics, he is likely soon to take pre- 
cedence of all our orators. He possesses those talents 
which are said to have been peculiar to his father — 
warmth of utterance, command of language, strength and 
closeness of reasoning, and, above all, an energy and 
irresistible vigour of eloquence. 

As I could not have published an article about Geneva 
in The Annual Register before next year, 1 sent the ac- 
count I had written to the printer of The Morning Chron- 
icle ; and it has been inserted in two very long articles of 
that paper of last Tuesday and of this day. The account 
is exactly the same as when you saw it, except as to cor- 
rections of the style, which, after all, I have not had time 
to make other than indifferent, and except a continuation 
from the time when that accoimt broke oif to the present 

^ First Lord of the Admiralty. 

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142 \ LETTERS TO Jan. 

moment. I will send you both papers with your parcel of 

I must now leave you, for I have a great deal to say to 
our dear Catherine. 

My dear Sister, 

If my ascending the Dent d'Oche had answered no 
other purpose, I should not regret my excursion, since it 
serves sometimes to recall me to your memory, and to that 
of your dear little boy. Pray when he knows his Uncle 
by no other description than that of the man who went up 
the high mountain, do not fail to assure him that I am 
not very much taller than Roget, lest the gigantic ideas 
his little imagination may form of me should be sadly 
disappointed when we are happy enough to meet. I hope 
he always talks English to you, though all his soliloquies 
are French. 

I was very sorry to hear that you were somewhat uneasy 
about your future plans, whether to return to London or 
Geneva: you seem to think that whichever part of the al- 
ternative you embrace, it will be decisive where you will 
spend the remainder of your days. If I thought so too, I 
should not hesitate to entreat you to return without delay 
to England. But why not pass one year more at Geneva 
or at Lausanne (for as affairs are at Geneva, I every day 
rejoice that you are out of it), and then, with Roget's in- 
creased stock of health, come and make us all happy here ? 
Nay, suppose you should be obliged to remain two or 
three years longer abroad, they will seem as nothing when 
we meet. Life, it must be confessed, is short enough, but 
at our age two or three years is no very considerable por- 
tion of it. Should it happen, which God forbid, that 
Roget's health should render it unsafe for him to return 
to England, I hope we shall both learn to endure separa- 
tion with patience. I will not preach to you that the 
satisfaction of acting properly in every station of life into 
which we are thrown, and of bearing with composure 
every misfortune, is a pleasure to compensate every want 
and to remove all the uneasiness of absence. I feel too 
painfully by the concern I experience at being so far from a 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 143 

sister I so dearly love, that that doctrine is too sublime for 
me, and therefore not to be preached by me to others. But 
yet, my dear Kitty, when we are guided only by the 
emotions of our hearts, we are very often misled. Great 
as is the pleasure of being amidst our friends (and how 
great it is I believe no one knows better than myselOt I 
fear we often magnify it much beyond the truth. Separa- 
tion gives to what is absent a thousand charms which 
vanish on a nearer approach. Yes, I really believe that 
even the charms of my dear father's society, and the 
pleasure of remarking continually, by a close observance, 
the uncommon excellence of his heart, may be exagge- 
rated by an imagination always flying back to the paternal 
house, and hovering over it with habitual fondness. Let 
us, my dear sister, be cheerful as long as Heaven permits. 
You mustf needs think me a very insipid traveller, for as 
yet I have not given you an account of any thing that I 
saw since I left you ; but if such accounts will afford you any 
amusement, you have bat to write me word, and we will 
make together a great many excursions to Paris ; but we 
will not take Roget with us, lest, while we are gazing at 
its magnificent buildings, its spacious squares and exten- 
sive gardens, at the costly grandeur of Versailles, its su- 
perb gallery, and its almost animated pictures and statues, 
he draw us away, and exclaim in the words of our favourite 
Rousseau, ** Prdtendues grandeurs ! frivoles d^dommage- 
mens de la servitude, qui ne vaudront jamais I'auguste 
liberte ! '' I know your penchant for the fine arts ; but to 
describe all the beautiful in asterpieces of the best masters, 
which I have seen in the collections of the Duke of Orleans 
and the French King, would be almost an endless, and I 
fear, after all, a tedious task. The living artists at Paris, 
in every branch except sculpture and architecture, are, I 
think, much below mediocrity. These two arts, indeed, 
are not yet on the decline ; architecture, on the contrary, 
seems better cultivated now than it has ever been. Have 
you ever heard of Houdon, a famous sculptor at Paris ? 
He it was who carved the bust of* Rousseau, which is now 
so common at Geneva : he is a man of great merit, I think 
I may say of great genius. I was particularly struck with 

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144 LFTTERS TO Jan. 

two of his designs for sepulchral monuments. In one. 
Virtue with a serene and cheerful countenance, and 
Friendship weeping with dishevelled hair and in an agony 
of grief, are laying the dying man in his tomb : on one 
side appear Envy and Calumny, hovering aloof, and not 
daring to approach the grave : and on the other, the Dig- 
nities, the Pomps, and Follies of the world dissolving into 
air. The other is a monument for a Princess of Saxe 
Gotha : she is represented walking in a kind of chapel ; 
at the end is a recess, with a curtain half lifted up by the 
image of Death, who has seized upon the princess, and is 
dragging her with an irresistible arm into his dark abode : 
the princess seems resigned to her fate, and is turning a 
farewell look upon her subjects. In both these monu- 
ments the thought is noble, but they both leave in the 
mind a sentiment of despair ; and such is the effect of what, 
at Paris, is called Philosophy : they boast that it has made 
men wiser ; I am sure that it has not made them happier 
than they were before. I must confess I regret those 
times when Religion gave awful lessons from the graves of 
the dead ; when she appeared, as on the tomb of Richelieu, 
mitigating the pangs of death ; when the dead were seen 
rising from their sepulchres, as in one of the master-pieces 
of Roubillac, and the proud monuments of human grand- 
eur mouldering away at the sound of the last trumpet. 
But I must take my leave of you ; it is with that regret 
which I always feel on quitting you. 

S R. 

Letter XVI. 

Gray's Inn, Jan. 24, 1782. 

At last, my dear Roget, I have sent your books ; Pache 
set out last Monday. 

Has Mr. Berenger heard any thing of De Lolme ? his 
bookseller here has had no news from him since he left 
Ostend, from which, and I believe some other circum- 
stances, it is supposed that he is in the Bastille ; and it is 
likewise supposed that the crime he is accused of is being the 
author of the invectives against M. de Vergennes ^ which 

^ Minister of Louis XVI. 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 145 

appeared in the Courrier de Londres. It is true he is 
not the author, but no matter for that. It is the policy of 
an arbitrary court to make sure of all those whom they 
suspect ; if he is guilty he deserves his fate, if innocent 
there is no harm done. They will be convinced of their 
error in some four or five years, and then, with true 
politesse, on lui demandera miUe exciises, and set him at 
liberty. I was very much surprised to hear that such a 
zealot of liberty had set out on an errand so humiliating 
and so hopeless as to sue a minister of France for permis- 
sion to seU his papers in that kingdom. If it be true that 
he is in the Bastille, I fear he is there for a long time ; for 
to write against a minister is, in the religion of govern- 
ment, the sin against the Holy Ghost. 

You ask what I think of Diderot. I did not suppose 
you would have thought that question necessary, when you 
had read the account of my visit. With respect to the 
atheists of Paris, among honest men there can hardly be 
two opinions. A man must be grossly stupid who can en- 
tertain such pernicious notions on subjects of the highest 
importance without strictly examining them ; and much 
is he to be pitied if, after examination, he still retains 
them : but if, without examination of them, and uncertain 
of their truth, though certain of their fatal consequences, 
he industriously propagates them among mankind, one 
loses all compassion for him in abhorrence of his guilt. 
He is like a man infected with some deadly contagious 
disease, for whom one's heart bleeds while he submits in 
secrecy to his fate ; but when one sees him running in the 
midst of a multitude, with the infernal design of commu- 
nicating the pestilence to his fellow-creatures, indignation 
and horror take the place of pity. I am not vain enough 
to pronounce what is the extent of Diderot's and D'Alem- 
bert's learning and capacity ; but, without an over-fond ' 
opinion of myself, I may judgqofthe subordinate atheists, 
the mob of the Republic of Letters, the Plebecula who 
have no opinions but what those their arbitrary tribunes 
dictate to them ; and in these I have generally found the 
grossest ignorance. The cause of modern atheism, I 
believe, like that of the atheism of antiquity as Plato 

VOL. I. L 

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1 ^g LETTERS TO Jan. 

represents it, is the most dreadful ignorance, disguised 
under the name of the sublimest wisdom. You do well 
to say that Plato does not favour their opinions. I fear 
these self-erected idols of modern phDosophy, had they 
been born among the philosophical magnates, would have 
been but outcasts and exiles; for, if you have read Plato 
lately, you will remember that, among his laws, some were 
to be enacted for maintaining an uniformity of language 
in matters of religion in all times and places, in all writ- 
ings and conversations ; others for obliging all men to 
worship the gods with the same ceremonies and to prohibit 
all private sacrifices ; others, again, for inflicting the seve- 
rest punishments on any who should dare maintain that 
the wicked can be happy, or that the useful can be dis- 
tinguished from the just. So totally does the authority 
of the ancients, on which the advocates for unbounded 
toleration build so much, upon occasion fail them. 

You have long since read the account of the taking of 
St. Eustatius. What infamy! The Governor is too 
prudent, undoubtedly, ever to return to England ; he must 
either drag on the load of his life in France, in the receipt 
(for he cannot know the enjoyment) of the wages of his 
treachery, or be more actively infamous, and take up 
arms against his country. I am wrong, perhaps, to speak 
as if his treason were proved, but can it possibly be 
doubted ? How unfortunate we are in our commanders ; 
some cowards, some traitors, others brave, indeed, but the 
slaves of party, or the more abject slaves of avarice ! The 
Ministers have often availed themselves of some circum- 
stances which seemed for the moment fortunate, to boast 
that we had Providence on our side. What will they say 
now ? Never did the hand of Providence appear more 
conspicuously than at present. We took St Eustatius 
like pirates, violating in the persons and property of the 
prisoners the law of nations ; but we did not profit by our 
guilt. The effects seized were retaken in their passage 
home, and the island itself is lost in the most disgraceful 
manner. We encouraged treachery in the rebel Arnold, 
but all we gained by it was empty promises ; the same 
treachery is retaliated on us, and what we lose by it is the 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 14»j 

only pledge we had, by which we might have purchased 
back the friendship of the Dutch.^ And, indeed, when 
one looks upon all the dreadful events of the war, and upon 
all the calamities which this administration has brought 
upon us, one is tempted to exclaim, " Nunquam atroci- 
oribus cladibns, magisve justis indiciis approbation est, 
non esse curae Deis securitatera nostram, esse ultionem I** * 
Lord Cornwallis and Arnold are both arrived at Plymouth ; 
the latter is said to have brought with him a very great 
fortune. The Parliament met last Monday, but they have 
not yet entered on any business of importance. 

Admire my self-sufficiency ; for I am going to censure 
a fault in the language of your last letter. You say " de- 
puis lorSj^ a phrase which is used only in the territory of 
Geneva, and which, as you are now in the Canton of 
Berne, you are not entitled to. The literati of Paris are all 
agreed to say ** depnis ce temps'' And how came I to be 
so learned ? By the favour of D'Alembert, who told me 
that " depuis lors " was one of the Genevanisms which 
blemished the style of Rousseau. This piece of know- 
ledge is not to be despised, for it is almost all I learned in 
two visits I made to the reserved D'Alembert. Whatever 
subject I talked of, he found means to turn the discourse 
upon what was to be seen at Paris ; as if I visited him for 
the purpose of gaining imperfectly that intelligence which 
was to be had completely in the CuriositSs de Paris, 
Your most affectionate 


Letter XVII. 

My dear Kitty, Cray's inn, Marck 1, 1782. 

When, after having read your first letter, where you 
are all joy with the thoughts of soon living with us again, I 
came to the second, where that scheme is quite abandoned, 
where you talk of taking a final leave of me, and of teach- 

^ St. Eostataut was taken firom the Dutch, February 3rd, 1781 ; and 
W88 taken by the French, under the command of Marquis BouiU^, 
OQ NoTember the 26th 1781. 

* Tac. Hist. 1—3. 

L 2 


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148 LETTERS TO Mardi, 

ing your boy the history of our family and of his country, 
as if we were to be only a tale in his memory, and be 
to be for ever an alien to his native land, I sincerely 
lamented the mischief I had undesignedly done ; and re- 
proached myself a thousand times with coming like a 
cruel invader, and carrying off the little sum of happiness 
you had been so long scraping together : but how is it 
possible, my dear sister, you could find anything in my 
letter tending to fix you in so cruel a resolution ! My 
intention, when I wrote, was only to persuade you not 
to come to a determination at present either way. Not 
but what I knew how painful it is to remain in suspense ; 
but I strongly suspected, what your last letter has con- 
vinced me of, that your seeming resolution had left you 
in a very undecided and uneasy state, and that your think- 
ing so continually on what was far distant only served to 
weary and harass you by anticipating again and again the 
fatigues, and by multiplying tenfold the dangers of the 
journey. Let me preach to you a philosophy which I 
have myself often found successful ; it is to command 
one's imagination, and not to suffer it to carry one astray 
into the midst of tragedies which are but possible ; for 
though it is, I think, our duty in all cases to be prepared 
for the worst, it cannot be necessary that we should afflict 
ourselves by entering into all the detail of misery, and 
by dwelling on objects which we see but darkly, and 
through a medium that always magnifies and distorts 
them. It becomes us to look forward to futurity, but not 
to pry into it with too curious an anxiety. Another con- 
solation which my little share of misfortunes in life has 
taught me, is to trust that every evil will bring with it 
some cause or means of comfort. The greatest of our 
joys and afflictions are but in imagination. Learn then, 
my dear sister, with me to treat those waking visions, 
which you so forcibly describe to have thrown you into 
alternate ecstasies of joy and starts of fear, and to have 
made you pass many uneasy days and sleepless nights, as 
the vain representation of what never was and never will 
be. I flatter myself I am not teaching you any ideal 
philosophy, but what I have myself practised with success. 

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Thank you, my dear Roget, for giving me so con- 
stantly accounts of what passes at Geneva : my paper is 
too short for me to waste it in compliments ; I shall there* 
fore thank you, hy a like service, and tell you the news 
we have here. 

In my last I think I mentioned a motion which Fox 
made in the House of Commons, censuring Lord Sand- 
wich. He has since repeated it to the fullest House that 
has been known for several years, there being 453 Mem- 
bers present. The division was, for the motion 217, 
against it 236. Lord Sandwich is, nevertheless, still con- 
tinued in his oflSce. A motion has since been made by 
General Conway, whose name I suppose you are by this 
time well acquainted with, as he was principally con- 
cerned in the repeal of the Stamp Act. His motion was 
for an address to the King, praying that the impracticable 
plan of subduing America by force might be abandoned* 
and that proper means might be taken to efPect a recon- 
ciliation with the American Colonies. I omit, as un- 
necessary, the arguments by which it was supported : it 
will naturally occur to you, that the principal topics of 
argument were, the distress of this country, the impossi- 
bility of succeeding in the conquest of America, the much 
worse situation we are in now than at the very com- 
mencement of the war, &c. 

The Ministers opposed the motion with all their 
strength : they said that to vote such an address would 
be to apprize the enemy how we intended to act, and to 
teach them how to counteract our designs ; it would be 
to encourage the Americans by showing our despondency, 
and instead of forwarding peace would set it at greater 
distance. The expression of the proposed address was, 
they said, much too loose and extensive ; it was impossible 
to know how to comply with it. Was it intended to with- 
draw all the troops from America? The motion might 
be so understood ; and yet nobody had pretended that 
this would be expedient. 

The Ministers disclosed to the House, but in a very 
unsatisfactory manner, their design for carrying on the 
war. They said they meant to keep the posts ; and when 

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250 LETTERS TO Maxdi/ 

it was asked what they meant by a war of* posts, the 
Secretary at War said they meant to keep the posts they 
had already, and to take more if they saw occasion. This 
explanation produced a roar of " Hear, hear !" from the 
Opposition. Fox said is was evident, from this and many 
similar expressions dropped inadvertently, that the plan 
of the war was changed only for the moment, and that the 
faintest glimmering of success would awaken all the vain 
projects of the Ministers ; that they would indulge new 
dreams of conquest, that new armies would be marched 
through the country, and unconditional submission be 
again the only terms to be listened to. The new Secretary 
of State for the American department, Welbore Ellis, 
spoke in the debate, little to the purpose, though in a 
great many words. One objection he made to the ob- 
ject of the motion was, that it would be to abandon 
our friends in America. The state of those friends. 
Colonel Barr6 declared, and, as he said, from very good 
information, to be this : those who were called our friends 
in the Northern Provinces hardly troubled themselves 
to know whether we were in existence, and those in 
the South remembered us only to pour execrations on 
our heads. The Ministers were asked why, if the war 
was to be merely defensive in America, had Sir Guy 
Carleton been appointed to the command in chief? 
They answered that, unless the troops were recalled, an 
officer must be sent to take the command, as otherwise 
the chief in command, when Sir Henry Clinton leaves 
America, would be a foreigner. But the argument which 
the Court party seemed to rely on most, and which I 
presume was meant to operate by way of threat (though, 
if the event had been foreseen, it would surely never 
have been used), was this : the Opposition, they said, to 
act in a fair and manly manner, ought not to have made 
such a motion as that before the House, but to have 
moved at once for a change of ministers ; for that was 
the effect which the motion must indirectly have if it 
were carried, since no ministers could possibly remain 
in office, if the Parliament could not trust them with the 
executive power, but took upon itself to direct it. The 

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House was. exceedingly f\ill when I left it, which was 
about one o'clock in the morning; but several Mem- 
bers went away before the division. The motion was 
lost by a majority of only a single vote ; the numbers 
being 193 to 194. The House did not rise till three in 
the morning. 

The minoritjy resolved to try their strength again upon 
the same question : accordingly the day before yesterday, 
General Conway moved the following resolution : " That 
after the long and fruitless continuance of the ofPensive 
war in America, for the purpose of subduing the revolted 
Colonies by force, it is evident that that object is im- 
practicable, inasmuch as it takes from our exertions some 
part of that strength which ought to be employed against 
our European enemies, and is contrary to his Majesty's 
inclination, expressed in his speech to both Houses, in 
which he declared it to be his royal wish to restore peace 
and tranquillity." I was not in the House, but the argu- 
ments used in the debate were much the same as had 
been employed before. The House did not divide till 
half past one o'clock, when the motion was carried against 
the Ministry by a majority of 19 ; 234 for the motion to 
215 against it. This happy event occasioned, the next 
day, a rise of the stocks of one and a half per cent. 

Letter XVIII. 

Dear Roget, ^^^y'^ ^^^' m*"* ®» ^'^^' 

In my last letter I mentioned General Conway's 
motion : as soon as it had passed the House, a motion was 
made for putting it into the form of an address, and carry- 
ing it up to the Crown. An address was accordingly 
carried up, to which the King answered, ** that the House 
might be assured that, in pursuance to their desire, he 
would take such measures as should appear to him to be 
most conducive to the restoration of harmony between 
Great Britain and the revolted Colonies." The day after 
the motion passed, there were rejoicings in several places ; 
the bells were rung, and a great many houses were illu- 
minated ; and papers were cried about the streets, " 

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152 LETTERS TO Mardi, 

news for England — Lord North in the dumps, and peace 
with America." The Ministers affected to take the sdarm, 
and sent advice to the Lord Mayor, that they had notice 
of intended riots ; but every thing was very peaceable, as» 
I believe, everybody expected. The joy of this victory 
over the Ministers was much damped by their still con- 
tinuing in office. Lord North, a few days after when 
pressed with his own declaration, did not scruple to say 
he would stay in his place till the House voted that he 
should be removed ; which may be fairly interpreted thus, 
that as his administration had lasted in calamity to his 
country, so it should end in utter disgrace to himself. 
Since the success of his last motion, General Conway 
moved the House to come to a resolution, " That whoever 
should be hereafter concerned in advising, or by any 
means attempting, the further prosecution of offensive 
war on the Continent of North America, for the purpose 
of reducing the revolted Colonies to obedience by 
force, were declared and should be considered as enemies 
to their King and country." The Ministry said the 
motion was useless ; that when the House voted the 
address, that implied a censure upon those who should 
dare to disobey it: but the Ministry, probably feeling 
their weakness, would not divide the House upon the 
motion, and it passed. We have since received news 
of the loss of Minorca and of St. Christopher's in the 
West Indies. Some very important motion is to come on 
to-day in the House of Commons ; it is said to be for a 
total change of Ministers: in my next I will tell you the 
fate of it. 

I forgot to mention before, that the Attorney-General 
has brought in a Bill preparatory to a peace with Ame- 
rica. Charles Fox said, a few days ago, in the House, 
that he knew peace with America might be had immedi- 
ately ; that there were persons in Europe empowered by 
the Congress to treat for peace ; and that he himself, as 
much as he detested the Ministry, would, if they would 
give him authority, negotiate with those men. Lord 
North answered, that services so offered he disdained. 

I am much surprised you thought anything in my 

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letter worth communicating to M. de V6gobre. On the 
subject of the Cross Elections he seems to think that 
political energy is not essentially necessary in your com- 
monwealth [Geneva], except in such a crisis as the pre- 
sent ; and that such a crisis is not likely soon to recur. 
He may be assured it never will recur if the citizens are 
once unmanned and enervated. Perhaps I am mistaken ; 
but it is my opinion that political indifi'erence must at all 
times be mortal to a small republic. If the cross elections 
do not produce the effect which I think most natural, 
that of stifling all zeal for the people, they will be still 
more dangerous to the peace of the community. A 
demagogue in office is infinitely less dangerous than when 
excluded and persecuted into importance* In office, the 
demagogue is fettered by the known extent of his power, 
his views are restrained and his proposals overruled by 
his colleagues ; but when excluded and kept in a private 
condition, he stands alone ; his power being illegal knows 
no limits, and as he cannot take a single step without an 
infringement of the constitution, as, to be active at all, 
he must come under the animadversion of the law, he 
little heeds how desperate may be his measures. Suppose 
him to be actuated by the ambition of acquiring honours ; 
which is wisest, to cut off the possibility of his gratifying 
that ambition without the subversion of the state, or to 
lure his attention from more dangerous objects by leaving 
certain places in view, which, when he attains them, 
disarm him of half his power ? When Wilkes was forced 
into popularity by expulsions and exclusions from Parlia- 
ment, his power over the populace was little less absolute 
than that of eastern despots ; they yoked themselves like 
slaves to his coach ; they rescued him out of the hands 
of the ministers of justice ;• and, when afterwards he 
voluntarily surrendered himself up, they besieged his 
prison, and shed their blood in his cause : but the moment 
he was admitted into the House of Commons, his power 
fell to be that of a single vote in a small minority ; for 
none of the talents which make a demagogue important 
with the multitude have much influence in a senate. 
What avails it ten members of a coimcil that each is a 

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254 LETTERS TO Mareh. 

Demosthenes in eloquence, in zea], and in patriotism, if 
they have to oppose the silent votes of eleven pedestrian ^ 
senators ? 

Adieu. Yours most affectionately, 

S. R. 

Lbttbr XIX. 

Dear Roget, ^"^y'" ^°°' ***"* ^' *''^^* 

Though I have received your and my dear Kitty's letter 
of the 2nd of this month, I must postpone answering it, till 
I have given you some account of the fortunate event which 
has taken place here since the date of my last letter. 

You may remember I then talked of a motion that 
was to be made that day in the House of Commons, and 
from which much was expected. The motion was for a 
removal of the whole administration : it was lost by 226 
votes against 216. The Friday following, another motion 
was made, different in form, but the same in substance ; 
that, too, was lost by 236 against 227. How the ministers 
began already to tremble for their places you may judge by 
the topics on which they were defended in the debate ; the 
principal of which were, that the Ministers were not 
the authors of the American war, which, it was admitted, 
was the source of all our calamities : that that war was the 
unavoidable consequence of measures adopted before any 
of the present Ministers came into office, particularly the 
Stamp Duty and the Declaratory Act: that to enforce 
our right of taxation over the Americans was not a 
project of the Ministers, but of the whole nation, expres- 
sed by their representative, the House of Commons : that 
if the present ministry were now to be removed, they 
must be succeeded by men who entertained the most 
dangerous and unconstitutional principles of government, 
and who had pledged themselves to the nation to reduce 
those principles into practice (for Charles Fox had pro- 
tested a few days before, that, if ever he came into office, 
he would act upon the same principles which he had 

^ Roman senators who voted but did not speak were called 
PedarUf from their expressing no opinion but with their feet. 

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always professed in opposition, and .that he should hold 
any man who did otherwise in the most sovereign con- 
tempt and abhorrence) : that we should soon see half the 
boroughs in the kingdom stripped of their rights of election. 
Parliaments made triennial or even annual, and the popu- 
lace assembled to give their advice in matters of legisla- 
tion and government : that unanimity was now more than 
ever requisite : that it was unanimity to which we owed 
all our success in the last war : that a change of ministers 
ought to be effected, not by turning out one party and 
bringing in another, which was to aggravate, not to heal 
our divisions ; but by a coalition of all parties, who, uni- 
ting cordially in the common cause, might destroy the 
very name of opposition. 

To all this it was answered, that the question was not 
now who were the authors of the war, but whether, after 
that scries of disasters and disgraces which had over- 
whelmed us under the present administration, it was 
proper to intrust them any longer with the conduct of 
our affairs : that the sanction of Parliament, under which 
the Ministers sought to shield themselves, had been ob- 
tained by deceit and misrepresentation of our having in- 
numerable friends in America, of all the powers of Eu- 
rope being resolved to remain at peace, of the certainty of 
our being always able to command a fleet equal to that of 
the House of Bourbon : that whatever the political 
principles of a new ministry, no innovation could be esta- 
blished till after it had received, in the constitutional form, 
the assent of the King and both Houses of Parliament ; 
that unanimity was desirable, but not an unanimity obsti- 
nately to pursue impracticable schemes of ambition, and 
complete that ruin which was so far advanced: that the 
unanimity of the last war was produced by no coalition, 
but by discarding an obnoxious administration and form- 
ing a new one agreeably to the wishes of the people : that 
a coalition with the men now in office was impossible, for 
what the nation required was, not a change of men, but 
of system ; and that the government should no longer be 
founded on corruption, but on the affections and confi- 
dence of the people. 

Upon this motion being lost, notice was given that 

156 LETTERS TO Match, 

another motion to the same effect would be made upon 
the Wednesday following. On that day, accordingly, the 
House met ; but, just as the motion was about to be made, 
Lord North rose and informed the House that the busi- 
ness they were going to proceed upon was quite un- 
necessary, as the King had come to a resolution to change 
all his ministers. He therefore moved that the House 
might be adjourned to Monday (to-morrow), in order 
that the new ministry might be properly arranged. We 
are all very impatient to know who will compose this 
new administration : I will send you a list of them if it 
be settled before I close this letter, for it is greatly ap- 
prehended that the House will be obliged to adjourn 
again to-morrow. 

I am not surprised that you so much admire Burke's 
speech ; but, though it is somewhat cruel to tell you so, 
it is far inferior to some of his later compositions, parti- 
cularly to a speech made at Bristol at the last election, 
in justification of his own conduct, which is perhaps the 
first piece of oratory in our language. The passages 
which you pointed out are those which I the most admire, 
particularly that of General Conway's quitting t]xe House 
of Commons after the repeal of the Stamp Act. Cer- 
tainly never had any writer a more luxuriant imagination 
than Burke ; he is more a poet than an orator ; but do 
not you think that he indulges that poetical imagination 
to a fault ? When he has once hold of a beautiful image, 
he forgets that its only use is to illustrate ; the ornament 
becomes with him the subject, and he employs many 
phrases to decorate and enrich the figure, while the 
matter of his speech is quite neglected. I think I could 
point out several instances of this in the speech I sent 
you^ if I had it before me. One I recollect in the 
character of Lord Chatham's second administration, which 
he calls a motley composition, a piece of joining work, a 
tessellated pavement, making several other allusions of 
the same kind ; and, in the very first words of his speech,, 
where an orator ought surely to be very temperate in the 
use of figures, having, in describing the uniformity of the 

^ Barke'8 Speech on American Taxation, April 19. 1774. 


1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 15»j 

arguments upon the American question, called it a circle, 
he pursues the metaphor, and says " we have been lashed 
round it till our heads are g:iddy and our stomachs nauseate." 
The imagination of Burke properly restrained, and united 
to the force and irresistible reasoning of Fox, would form 
a perfect orator as to composition ; for in delivery they 
are both defective. The account of the European settle- 
ments was written when Burke was a very young man ; 
though it certainly bears no marks of being a juvenile 
performance. However, I should suppose he is much 
less to be relied on than Robertson, who everywhere cites 
his authorities. You certainly could not read, without 
being much struck with, A Description of the Feast of the 
Dead ^ extracted from Lafitau. When I read it, it recalled 
to my mind a passage of one of Saurin's sermons, where, 
upon occasion of the title of a book, Rome Souterraine, he 
carries his hearers into the subterranean world, the regions 
of the dead as they lie scattered there in all the various 
stages of corruption. Do you know Lafitau's book? I 
should be curious to see it from Burke's commendation 
of it. 

You ask whether I do not think there may be circum- 
stances in which an Englishman should begin his political 
career by a solemn engagement never to accept of any 
place. I think there hardly can be any circumstances in 
which such an engagement would not, in a man of great 
abilities, be culpable. In one of an inferior capacity it is 
indifferent whether he make such a declaration or not ; 
for, though his integrity admit not of the remotest suspi- 
cion, his opinions will have very little weight. We have 
an instance of this in Sawbridge, who has done exactly 
what you mention, solemnly professed that he will never 
come into oflfice ; but who seldom speaks in the House, 
and never commands attention. When a man is endowed 
with very distinguished talents, there can be no question 
that he owes the utmost exertion of them to his country ; 
and you certainly know too much of our politics to think 
that he can render his country the hundredth part of that 

^ Burke's Account of the European Settlements in America, vol. i« 
p. 225. 

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158 LinTERS TO March, 

service in opposition that he can in administration. In 
politics, above all things, I think it the highest imprudence 
to bind one's self down to any determinate rule of action, 
except that supreme rule of conforming one's self in all 
things to the dictates of virtue and to the public good. 
Imagine a Chatham having, in the days of his coimtry's 
prosperity, bound himself by such a vow as you allude to. 
Suppose, after the lapse of some years, his country brought 
to the verge of ruin ; the ministers driven from the helm 
by public indignation ; and every honest man deterred, 
by the dangers to be encountered^ from venturing to take 
their place. What is he to do, who by the suicide of his 
incomparable talents has made himself useless to his 
country ? A second Jephthah, he would have to choose 
between perjury and parricide. I very much doubt such 
an engagement having the good effects you seem to ex- 
pect from it. To men of honest minds, who cannot easily 
bring themselves to think that others have no nobler mo- 
tives for their public actions than their private interest, it 
would be superfluous ; and the envious and suspicious 
would not be debarred every means of misconstruction, 
even by such an engagement. It would still remain for 
them to doubt its sincerity, however solemn it was ; or to 
allege, as you have heard it alleged at Geneva, that, the 
ambition of riches and titles removed, there still remained 
the more captivating ambition of fame and popularity. 

26th March.— Yesterday morning nothing was known 
of the new ministry. The Parliament, however, met, and 
it is said that an announcement was there made of all the 
members of the new administration ; but no business was 
done, for I was there at four o'clock, and both houses were 
adjourned.^ I am, dear Roget, &c. &c., 

Saml. Romilly. 

^ On the 25th of March, 1782, Lord North's adminiBtration was 
replaced by that of Lord Rockingham, in which Lord Shelbume 
and Charles Fox were the secretaries. On the 1st of July Lord 
Rockingham died, and a few days after Fox resigned his office. 
Lord Shelbume then became prime minister, Lord Grantham and 
T. Townshend secretaries, and William Pitt chancellor of the 
exchequer. This ministry was succeeded early in 1783 by the 
coalition ministry, in which Lord North and Charles Fox were ^e 
two secretaries. 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 159 

Lettee XX. 

Gray's Inn, April 12, 1782. 

The news of the change of ministry will, I hope, my 
dear Roget, have revived your spirits, and disposed you 
not to think any longer that we can expect a peace but 
from the generosity of our enemies. Not that I am yet 
very confident in my expectations ; one may almost doubt 
whether things have not gone too far to be retrieved, even 
hy such superior talents as are found united in the new 

Lord North has had two places, which he held only 
during pleasure, settled on him for life ; so that you may 
judge he is not very much chagrined at being displaced. 
He attends regularly in the House of Commons as a pri- 
vate member of Parliament. In private company the 
other day he said, that the Opposition who had always 
complained of his publishing lying Gazettes, were no 
sooner in office than they set off with a Gazette more full 
of lies than any of his had been, for it contained a string 
of paragraphs, each beginning, " His Majesty has been 
pleased to appoint," &c., when it is certain that the King 
was not pleased at any one of those appointments. It 
Tvould amuse you to see how most of the pensioned news- 
papers have changed their style ; they now pay assiduous 
court, with compliments and panegyrics, to the men 
whom a few weeks ago they constantly persecuted with 
libels and lampoons. We hear of nothing but the public 
savings they are to make, of the peace we are to have with 
America, and of the peace with Holland. 

It is generally imagined that the new ministry will meet 
with no opposition of any kind in Parliament. Out of it, 
indeed, there is an impotent attempt to oppose them. 
Lord George Gordon is endeavouring again to poison the 
minds of the public by dispersing handbills, in which he 
has not unsuccessfully imitated the style of the Puritans 
of the last century. He inveighs against the new mi- 

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150 LETTERS TO April, 

nisters; says that they are no better than their prede- 
cessors ; that they are despised by the public ; that Fox 
is a Papist; that the present disturbances in Ireland 
are to be imputed to the toleration of Catholics ; and 
laments that no person moved to amend the resolution 
proposed to the House, "that the Ministers had lost the 
confidence of the people," by adding, " and the Oppo- 
sition have not found it." 

Are you not very curious to know what will be the first 
measures of the new administration ? Is it not too much 
to expect they should perform literally all they promised 
when in opposition ? Will Fox, agreeably to his promise, 
impeach Lord Sandwich, even though he may now find 
affairs of more pressing importance on his hands ; or is 
not this another instance of the imprudence of not leav- 
ing one's future political conduct free ? The Ministers 
seem likely, at the very commencement of their admi- 
nistration, to have great diflSlculties to encounter in the 
affairs of Ireland. You' know the Irish have long talked 
of throwing off the supremacy of Great Britain. A mo- 
tion for that purpose has been made this Session in the 
Irish Parliament, but lost by a very great majority, since 
which the different associations in Ireland have come to 
resolutions to assert their independence. This has been 
followed by tumults at Dublin ; Lord Carlisle, the Lord 
Lieutenant, has not dared to stir out of his castle, and 
Eden, his Secretary, was near receiving personal violence 
from the populace as he was setting off for England. 
The object of his journey was to bring Lord Carlisle's 
resignation of his vice-royalty, and to represent to the 
Ministers the state of affairs in Ireland ; but, on his ar- 
rival here, he found the ministry changed. Lord Carlisle 
deprived of the honorary oflSce of Lord Lieutenant of the 
East Riding of the county of York (which was now re- 
stored to the Marquis of Carmarthen, from whom it had 
been taken two years ago because that nobleman pre- 
sumed to vote with the Opposition), and deprived of the 
vice-royalty of Ireland, which was now conferred on the 
Duke of Portland. Piqued at this affront, as he considered 
it, to Lord Carlisle, he refused to give the Secretaries of 

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1782. THE KEV. JOHN ROGET. jgl 

State any information, but told them he should, on the first 
day of the Common's meeting (for they were then ad- 
journed), make, a motion relative to the affairs of Ireland. 
Accordingly, last Monday, he moved to repeal a clause in 
an Act of George I., which declares the supremacy of the 
British over the Irish legislature. The Ministers, par- 
ticularly Fox, complained loudly of the very uncandid 
manner in which Eden had behaved. They said that, 
for themselves, having no information of the state of 
affairs in Ireland, or of that people's demands, they could 
not judge how far the measure proposed wa» proper, but 
that it seemed, like all the measures of the late ministers, 
designed to palliate, not eradicate the evil ; that the pre- 
sent ministers intended to make such a settlement of the 
affairs of Ireland as should be agreeable to both countries, 
and remove all fears and jealousies for the future. Eden 
was desired by a number of members to withdraw his 
motion; for a long time he refused; General Conway 
talked of moving a vote of censure on him ; at last he 
complied with the wishes of the House. Fox, in the 
course of his speech, said that, if the motion were per- 
sisted in, he should be obliged to move for the order of 
the day, though he should be sorry to do it, for then the 
House must adjourn immediately; and he wished that, 
on the very first day <rf their meeting under the' new 
administration, something might be done towards that 
reformation which they had promised. Accordingly, after 
this business was over, a motion was made for leave to 
bring in a Bill to exclude all persons concerned in col- 
lecting the customs or excise from giving their votes at 
elections. In another part of his speech Fox said, that 
since he and his colleagues had come into ofSce, they had 
found many more instances of the shameful neglect and 
mismanagement of the late ministers even than they had 
suspected; such instances of mismanagement as would 
render public inquiries on the subject necessary. So 
much for politics. 

Yours affectionately, 
S. R. 

YOL. I. M 

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Letter XXI. 

6ray*s Inn. May 20, 1782. 

I always write to you, my dear Roget, on the sup- 
position that you take as much interest as ever in English 
politics ; and certainly, if you were at all changed in that 
respect, these letters must be very dry and unentertain- 
ing ; but I cannot suppose you are ; and the present situ- 
ation of our a&irs should rather increase than abate your 

I mentioned to you in my last letter the object and the 
fate of Mr. William Pitt's motion^ ; it remains to give you 
some account of his speech, and of the arguments used in 
opposition to the measure. The account you have had in 
the Courrier de r Europe has, I suppose, been very in- 
different; as the Parliamentary intelligence of that paper 
is borrowed from the English newspapers, and in them 
there have been but very imperfect accounts of that de- 
bate, for the fame of Mr. Pitt's eloquence had drawn such 
a crowd down to the House that many of the news-writers 
could not get in. I was more fortunate. 

Mr. Pitt began by establishing as propositions which 
could not be controverted, first, that every free state, to 
maintain its liberty and the vigour of its constitution, must 
be frequently brought back to its original principles ; and 
next, that the English constitution has departed widely 
from the principles on which it was originally founded, 
inasmuch as the House of Commons, which ought to be 
the representative of the people of Great Britain, waa 
become a partial representation, having no connexion 
with the people at large, and from which the sense of 
the nation could not be collected. He then went on to 
this effect:— ''That this is so cannot be disputed; we all 
know it by reason, we all know it much more feelingly 
by fatal experience ; we have all been the melancholy 

^ In favour of parliamentary reform. 

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witnesses of a war carried on obstinately and ruinously 
against the sense of the nation, but with the approbation 
and support of Parliament. We have seen ministers, 
obnoxious and hateful to the nation, retained in their 
places by Parliament, in the nation's despite ; and plans 
of economy, brought forward in consequence of the 
people's demands, and supported by their earnest pe- 
titions, rejected with scorn by Parliament. We all know 
that many of the constituents who send members to this 
House are not men zealous for the honour and happi- 
ness of their country, but venal electors, who carry ti]«ir 
votes — the noblest privilege of Englishmen— to market, 
like some vile and contemptible commodity ; not populous 
and commercial towns, but miserable boroughs, the drains 
of all that ill-got wealth which from the East pours in upon 
us like a deluge. After having seen all this, all these fatal 
symptoms of the approaching ruin of a state, can it be 
doubted that the original principles of this constitution 
are lost ? Nay, it is past all doubt ; our shame and our 
misfortunes cannot be dissembled. This House is not the 
representative of the people of Great Britain ; it is the 
representative of nominal boroughs, of ruined and exter- 
minated towns, of noble families, of wealthy individuals, 
of foreign potentates ; and this is surely the most to be 
dreaded of all the misfortunes that can befall a nation, 
for there can be no stronger symptom of the approaching 
dissolution of a state than that foreigners have gained an 
interest and an ascendant in the national council. Our 
laws have, with a jealous care, provided that no foreigner 
shall give a single vote for a representative in Parliament ; 
and yet we now see foreign princes, not giving votes, but 
purchasing seats in this House, and sending their agents 
to sit with us as representatives of the nation. No man 
can doubt what I allude to. We have sitting among us 
the members of the Rajah of Tanjore, and the Nabob of 
Arcot, the representatives of petty Eastern despots ; and 
this is a thing notorious, publicly talked of, and heard 
with indifference ; our shame stalks abroad in the open 
face of day, it is become too common even to excite sur- 
prise. We treat it as a matter of small importance that 


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2g4 LETTERS TO May, 

some of the electors of Great Britain have added treason 
to their corruption, and have traitorously sold their votes 
to foreign powers; that some of the members of our 
senate are at the command of a distant tyrant ; that our 
senators are no longer the representatives of British 
virtue, but of the vices and pollutions of the East.'* He 
then strongly recommended a reform of the represent- 
ation, as the only effectual means to restrain the influence 
of the Crown, which had lately manifested itself with 
such dreadful symptoms, and which had brought the 
nation to the verge of ruin. 

The speakers against the motion insisted on the danger 
of innovation in a constitution, which had ever been 
the boast of this country, and the admiration and envy 
of all others. They urged that, in matters of government, 
visionary projects could not be put to trial innocently; 
for a failure of success might involve a whole nation in 
anarchy and confusion ; that to vote for the motion was, 
in effect, to open a wide field for innovation of every 
kind : it was no less than, by destroying the old consti- 
tution, to dissolve all the bands of government, to reduce 
men to the primeval state of nature, and to prompt every 
individual to propose such a form of government as the 
wildness of a luxuriant imagination, or the frenzy of ig- 
norant enthusiasm, might suggest : that though the mo- 
tion did not directly propose a general representation of 
the people, yet it must necessarily hold out that idea to 
the pubhc ; it would raise among them mighty expect- 
ations, which must end in disappointment and apparent 
deceit, because a general representation is a thing abso- 
lutely impracticable: that nothing could be more dan- 
gerous than to infuse into the people's minds vast ex- 
pectations of franchises and privileges, which, by frequent 
and habitual reflection, they woidd come to consider as 
their undoubted rights, and as such would think them- 
selves justified to assert and contend for: that this in* 
convenience would arise from the mode in which the 
measure was proposed, — the motion did not offer any 
specific plan, whi^h might be canvassed and duly con- 
sidered, and pas8e4 or rejected ac4M>rding to its merits or 

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defects ; but generally it pledged the House to do some- 
thing upon the subject without ascertaining what ; thus 
leaving it to the people to imagine, as they should please, 
what it was the House was bound to do, and then to ac- 
cuse it of deceit if the new-modelled representation did 
not come up to the wild expectations of every hardy 
reformer : that no time could be more improper for such 
a motion than the present, at a moment the most perilous 
this country had ever known ; when we were surrounded 
by enemies, when the greatest exertions were necessary, 
and when (as Mr. Fox had lately declared) ten times the 
ability of the Ministers would not be more than was 
requisite for the salvation of the country. At such a time, 
instead of fixing all our attention on our own defence, 
and on the annoyance of the enemy, the bands of go- 
vernment are to be dissolved, a new constitution is to be 
formed, visionary schemes of perfection are to be de- 
bated. Will the measure proposed help, in any degree, 
to extricate us from our difficulties ? Will it strengthen 
the hands of the Ministers ? Will it weaken our enemies ? 
Will it give us allies ? Will it supply our navy with one 
ship, or our army mth a single man? If not, let us save 
the country from the dangers which threaten it on every 
side, and then aim at its political perfection. But it is 
said that a more equal representation is the only eiFectual 
remedy that can be found against the influence of the 
Crown, and that it is to that influence over Parliament 
that we owe all our present calamities. If this be so, why 
did that influence never appear with such dreadful effects 
before? Is' the representation different? Is it more 
unequal than it was? Nay, it never has been altered 
from the time of Charles II. It was what it is now 
during all the illustrious reign of King William, at the 
time of our immortal victories under Queen Anne, dur- 
ing our unrivalled greatness in the last war. Where has 
this baneful influence lurked during all this long period ? 
Either an unequal representation is not the cause of in- 
fluence in the Crown, or that influence cannot be very 
fatal to the strength, the happiness, or the glory of a 
nation, which, under its shadow, can flourish at home, 

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156 LETTERS TO May, 

gain victories abroad, and rise to be an object of uni- 
versal terror and envy. — As I suppose the answers to 
all these arguments will present themselves directly to 
your mind, I shall not dwell any longer on the subject 
than to say that Charles Fox supported the motion with 
all his force. 

I turn abruptly from one subject to another ; but you 
do not, I hope, expect method in my letters. 

The more I reflect on the reasoning of the atheists of 
France, the more I wonder at their absurdity. I cannot 
forgive them that, not content with starting doubts, they 
are for utterly destroying everything that falls not under 
the notice of the senses, which they preposterously regard 
as unerring, nay, as the only guides to truth. Wholly 
absorbed themselves in matter, they will allow nothing 
else to have existence. Do you not think that the ab- 
surdity of their reasonings on this subject might be piit 
in a very strong light by the fable of some imaginary 
island, not unlike those one meets with in the Travels 
of Gulliver f An island, suppose, inhabited by none but 
blind men, who should have a traditionary religion which 
taught them to believe, that if they observed all their 
natural duties to God, themselves, and their fellow-crea- 
tures, they should be rewarded, at some future time, with 
the gift of a fifth sense; a sense which would open 
to them enjoyments which, in their present imperfect 
state, they had not capacities to conceive; a sense by 
which they would, as it were, feel things at a prodigious 
distance, which would enable the soul to expatiate, as it 
were, apart from the body, to soar into vast regions of 
space above their heads, and to contemplate thousands of 
celestial luminaries which were placed there ; in a word, 
which would make them infinitely happier than they then 
were, though it was impossible to give them any clear 
notion of that happiness. With this tradition, and this 
prospect before them of unknown joys, they may be sup- 
posed to have long lived happy and virtuous, tUl there 
arose among them a sect of philosophers, who captiously 
scrutinized these religious doctrines, and ridiculed the 
believers of them, who demanded proof that these pre- 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN B06ET. Igf 

tended future blessings were not imaginary. Prove, said 
they» that the soul, which is clearly inseparable from the 
body, and reaches no farther than the extension of the 
body, can otherwise than by the hearing know what is 
passing at a distance from it How shake off this material 
frame, and wander into superior regions ? If not, how 
feel at a distance ? Are men to be equipped with organs 
of feeling that shall reach miles ? Must not they obstruct 
one another? &c. &c. One might thus, to prove the im- 
possibility of there being a fifth sense, employ similar 
arguments to those which our dogmatizing philosophers 
use to prove the impossibility of the soul's existing apart 
from the body, or rather to prove the non-existence of 
spirit, because it falls not under the notice of the senses. 
But you laugh, perhaps, at this ridiculous cx>nceit of mine. 

Lbttee XXII. 

Ony's Inn, June 11, 1782. 

Your last letter, my dear Roget, put me a little out of 
humour with you, not because it followed so quickly upon 
its predecessor, but because it began with an apology for 
such diligence, as if I did not always, when I had read 
one of your letters, begin to be impatient for anotlier, and 
count the days until it should arrive. 

You have heard before this time all the particulars of 
Rodney's victory over De Grasse, and you perceive un- 
doubtedly the very great advantages resulting from it ; 
that, besides depriving the enemy of eight line-of-battle 
ships, it has frustrated all their designs upon Jamaica, 
and will probably enable us to recover many of our 
islands. The thanks of both Houses of Parliament have 
been voted to Rodney ; they have likewise been voted to 
the other admirals and captains who were in the engage- 
ment, and to every common seaman on board the fleet. 
A monument, too, is to be erected in Westminster Abbey to , 
Lord Robert Manners, and two other officers who were 
killed in the action. Rodney has, besides, been made an 
English Peer, and Admiral Hood, who commanded under 
him, a Peer of Ireland. Rodney, however, was recalled, 

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and Admiral Piggot sent to supersede him, before the 
news of the late victory arrived here ; and the Ministers 
have not since sent to countermand Rodney's recall. In 
all this they have, in my opinion, done exceedingly right ; 
they did well to recall him ; and to have afterwards counter- 
manded his recall must have made them appear ridiculous 
and contemptible, as if they were wholly uncertain and 
undecided in their measures. However, this step of re- 
calling Rodney has displeased many people, and raised 
something like an opposition to the Ministry. You have 
seen an account of the debates upon this subject, I sup- 
pose, in the newspapers. A motion of censure was 
offered to the House, but not made, and the speakers 
against the Ministry were very few. Governor John- 
stone was the most violent. You recollect him, I sup- 
pose ; he went out as one of the Commissioners to Ame« 
rica. In the character of a warm friend of Rodney, he 
has delivered two philippics against the Ministry, in 
which he styles the recall of Rodney a disgrace, and 
the moving of thanks to him by Fox an insult ; because 
Fox and Burke had said that, though they thought Rodney 
deserved great thanks and rewards from his grateful 
country, yet they could not change their opinion of what 
had happened at St. Eustatius from anything he had 
done since ; that they thought, however, that the nation 
ought entirely to forget the transaction at St. Eustatius, 
and drop all inquiries into it ; all the errors of Rodney 
were hidden under the trophies he had won from France. 
But this. Governor Johnstone said, he would never agree 
to : he defied the Ministers to prosecute the inquiry which 
was afoot; he would agree to no compromise ; his gallant 
friend would never consent to be dressed up with honours 
and titles, while the world was made to believe that he 
was a plunderer and a corsair. Don't you think it would 
have been a more friendly part to have left it to Rodney 
to determine about this matter for himself ; especially as 
the Admiral seems so little anxious to have the 
inquiry prosecuted, that this very session he voted in 
person against its being gone into by the House ? Lord 
North made a kind of speech which is very usual with 

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him ; uncertain, undecided ; wishing, but not daring to 
join in opposition ; saying that he should vote against the 
motion, but exhausting his invention to find arguments 
in its support; and saying he was sure such a motion 
would have been made against him, had such a measure 
as the recall of Rodney been adopted in his administration. 
Fox answered with a degree of warmth and indignation 
which a cooler politician than myself would blame; he 
bade Lord North speak his sentiments boldly, and not, 
with an affectation of candour and delicacy, vote against 
a motion which he sought obliquely to recommend to 
the House. Fox seemed to despise the man, and to scorn 
his assistance, and indeed, 

'' Non tali auxilio, nee defeoBoribus istis 

But if it is impolitic to provoke enemies by such warm 
language, it is surely much more so to irritate them by 
the severity of sarcasm . When Governor Johnstone com- 
plained that Fox was an improper person to move the 
thanks of the House to Rodney, Fox said that he was 
actuated only by zeal for the public, and promised to 
move the thanks of the House even to Governor John- 
stone, if ever he should render any service to his country. 
And again, when Johnstone, giving an account of his 
being himself employed by the late ministry, said that he 
was applied to to command an expedition to South Ame- 
rica to foment a rebellion that was said to have broken 
out there, but that at first he refused it, as not thinking 
himself equal to such an expedition. Fox observed that 
he was much too modest when he supposed himself not 
qualified to excite seditions and rebellions in the domin- 
ions of any Prince upon the earth. Are not these the 
"facetifiB asperse, quae acrem sui memoriam relinquunt ?"« 

By Rodney's being created a Peer, his seat in Parlia- 
ment is become vacant Hood has been proposed to 
succeed him; but the Westminster committee have 
named another candidate. This opposition to Hood is said 

1 Viigil. iEn. ii. 621, 622. 
« Tac. Ann. xv. 68. 

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to be ungenerous and ungrateful ; but why, is more than 
I can tell, unless a seat in Parliament is to be considered 
merely as a reward, a titular dignity; or unless it be 
proved that the same qualities are requisite to make a 
good senator as to constitute a brave admiral. What 
man, who was engaged in a lawsuit, would, out of grati- 
tude to Hood, take him for his advocate ? and yet that 
would be as reasonable as making him a member of 
Parliament, only because he fights well ; besides that it 
is impossible he should do his duty as a member of 
Parliament, without giving up that station in which he is 
so much better calculated to serve his country. 

No material change has yet been made in our constitu- 
tion. Sawbridge has made his motion for shortening 
the duration of Parliament, but it was lost by a great 
majority. If the Ministry are sincere in their desire to 
bring about the great changes that have been talked of, 
they must dissolve the Parliament ; and a dissolution is what 
I fully expect, although it does not seem to be generally 
thought of. So much for politics, with which I fear I 
have very much tired you. 

What I mentioned that I had written about Geneva 
has been printed : I will send it to you by the first op- 
portunity, though I should be sorry it were seen at 
Geneva, for this among other reasons, that it might in 
some measure (what above all things I wish to avoid) 
influence the conduct of the citizens ; for the opinions of 
the obscurest individual, when they appear in public, are 
often mistaken by foreigners for the opinions of a nation. 

Pray continue to be very particular about the affiurs 
of Geneva, whose patriots I regard more as my country- 
men than all the literati in the world. But I must 
answer my dear sister, so adieu with more than fraternal 

S. R. 

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1782. THE REV, JOHN &OGET. |71 

Letter XXIII. 

Oray*B Inn. July 16, 1782. 

Your letter of the 29th of June left me, my dear 
Roget, in very anxious suspense about the fate of Geneva. 
The news I have since heard of the city's opening its 
gates has relieved my mind from many of the horrors 
which I began to paint to myself; but I still wait with 
impatience for the circumstantial account of this event» 
which I hope you have sent me, before I determine with 
myself whether to rejoice even at the restoration of peace, 
and the sparing of many precious lives. 

The news I have to send you from hence is not of a na- 
ture to afford you any consolation for the misfortunes of 
Geneva. The fair prospect which the change of the mi- 
nistry opened to us is at present very much overcast No 
doubt, you have heard of the death of the Marquis of 
Rockingham, and of the unhappy division among our Mi- 
nisters which followed that event. Fox, Burke, Lord 
John Cavendish, and Lee the Solicitor-General, have all 
resigned ; and Keppel, it is expected, will very shortly 
follow their example. O n the first day of the Parliament's 
meeting after this political schism, the expectation that 
Fox would explain the motives of the step he had taken 
drew an uncommon crowd to the House of Commons. I 
was fortunate enough to be carried along with those who 
forced their way into the House, so that you may depend 
on the account I send you. 

The business began by Mr. Coke, a very independent 
county member, moving a vote of censure against the Mi- 
nistry for having granted a pension of 3200/. a-year to 
Colonel Barrg, which is to take place whenever he shall 
be out of office ; a pension which has been hurried through 
the House with unusual expedition, that it might be be- 
forehand with the Bill for the Reform of the Civil List 
Expenditure, because that Bill provides that no pension 
shall be granted for more than 300/. a-year, and that all 
the pensions in any one year shall not amount to more 

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1 72 LETTERS TO July. 

than 600/. This very culpable measure (for as such 
I must consider it) was but weakly defended by an 
exaggerated representation of the great services which 
Colonel Barr6 has rendered his country, and by an enu- 
meration of the honourable and lucrative employments of 
which the persecution of the late ministry deprived him ; 
and it was very soon quite forgotten in the more important 
discussion which the debate produced. For, when a 
member of the late administration drew a comparison be- 
tween them and their successors, each being, as he pre- 
tended, alike eager to enrich their friends, and alike dis- 
united in opinion. Fox rose and denied that it was true that 
he and his friends, when in opposition, had ever blamed 
any of the late ministers for differing in opinion from 
their colleagues, but said that they had blamed those who, 
though divided in opinion and disapproving the political 
system they saw adopted, were still mean enough to con- 
tinue in place, and, through the criminal dread of losing 
the emoluments of office, lent their name and authority to 
measures which they knew threatened inevitable destruc- 
tion to their country ; that, for himself^ he disdained such 
conduct, and no sooner had he seen the political system 
of the last ministry likely to be revived by the present, 
than he had resigned. This called up General Conway to 
declare that he saw no symptoms of any renewal by the 
present adHiinistration of the ancient system ; he said that 
he understood the principles upon which the present ad- 
ministration had come into place to be these: — 1. That 
the independence of America should be made the basis of 
a peace. 2. That economy should be observed in every 
department of the State. 3. That the influence of the 
Crown should be diminished. 4. That Ireland's depend- 
ence on the British Parliament should be preserved in- 
violate, as it had lately been established. These, he said, 
he believed to be the political principles of the whole 
administration ; he was sure they were his own ; he never 
would forsake them ; and the moment he saw them aban- 
doned by his present colleagues he would stand forth, he 
pledged himself, as one of the warmest members of oppo- 
sition. What were Mr. Fox's motives for resigning, Ge- 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 1>J3 

neral Conway said, he did not know. The opinion he 
entertained about the necessity of making America inde- 
pendent diifered so little from the sentiments of other 
members of the Council, that to himself it appeared to be 
only a subtle distinction, merely a shade of difference in 

This declaration led Fox into a general explanation of 
his conduct in a speech an hour and a half long, delivered 
with more than his usual eloquence. The sum of what 
he said is shortly this : that his opinions have been over- 
ruled at the Council. on several subjects, particularly re- 
specting the independence of America. What the dif- 
ference exactly consisted in he did not explain, because, 
he said, that if he were to speak without reserve, it would 
be said that he had transported to America suspicions to 
which the Americans had before been strangers, and 
made them more exacting in their demands than they 
would otherwise have been. He declared that he should 
not be surprised to see the war revived in America on 
its original plan. As to what Conway had laid down as 
the principles of the administration, they were principles 
which he had never heard of before, and which, if really 
adopted by the Ministry, had been adopted since he had 
retired, and justified his resignation ; for they showed that 
he had much more weight at the Council out of adminis- 
tration than in it. He then mentioned the backward- 
ness of the Ministry to correct and punish the abuses and 
peculations that have been committed in the East Indies ; 
and said that, finding his opinion always overruled at the 
Council table, he had formerly signified to his colleagues, 
before the death of Lord Rockingham, that he should re- 
sign ; a step which he would have takeiUmmediately, had 
he not feared it might affect the declining health of that 
nobleman. But when Lord Rockingham died, and Lord 
Shelburne was made First Lord of the Treasury, he was 
then confirmed in his resolution, and immediately resigned. 
Since that promotion, he said, the administration was no 
longer that which the Parliament and the nation had 
brought in ; that, for himself, he had not the least confi- 
dence in the present administration ; and that he had, as 

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was his duty, resigned : that he had made a very great 
sacrifice : that he did not affect such a stoic indifference 
for what all the rest of the world earnestly aspired to as to 
pretend that he had, without regret, resigned high dis- 
tinctions of fortune, power, honour, and glory ; hut he did 
not hesitate a moment to give up all these advantages, 
and, what he prized ahove them all, near political connex- 
ion with those he was most united to hy blood and affec- 
tion (meaning the Duke of Richmond, who stays in), 
rather than submit to the treachery and infamy of con- 
tinuing in office, and patronising by his name an adminis- 
tration and its measures which in his conscience he 
disapproved, and believed dangerous and fatal to the 
country. He then prophesied that all the real friends of 
the constitution and of the people would soon be in oppo- 
sition again, and that Lord Shelbume would be in admi- 
nistration with all the old ministers. 

Burke spoke against the appointment of the First Lord 
of the Treasury. He exclaimed with uncommon warmth 
(uncommon rage I should rather say), that he had no 
confidence in the administration, constituted as it now 
was; that he saw in them, indeed, ** satis eloquentitie sed 
sapientiue parum ;'' that in his soul he believed the 
Government was more safely intrusted to the hands of 
the late ministry ; that the country was sold, betrayed, and 
ruined; that his own conduct in resigning could not 
appear interested, for it was certainly most prejudicial to 
his fortime, most adverse and repugnant to his nature ; that 
his disposition was an attachment to business, a desire to 
exert his little talents to the utmost for his country, to 
promote the public good, and assist in the public business'; 
that, by a strange fatality, he had been doomed to pass 
his days in opposition, and now, after three months spent 
in a manner congenial to his nature, he found himself 
condemned to pursue, during the remainder of his life, 
the same unprofitable course that he had formerly taken, 

William Pitt answered Burke and Fox in severe terms ; 
said that their great talents ought to be considered at this 
time as public property, and that to withhold their assiat- 
ance from the public at a time when it stood so much in 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 2'J5 

need of them was a species of treachery. To him, he said, 
the dispute between the Ministers appeared to be only a 
contest for power. 

The new promotions are as follows :— Lord Shelburne, 
First Lord of the Treasury; William Pitt, Chancellor of 
the Exchequer ; Thomas Townshend, and Lord Grantham, 
who was lately ambassador at Madrid, Secretaries of State ; 
Sir George Youug, Secretary at War. 

The Americans liave refused to enter into any separate 
negotiation, so that peace seems much more distant than 
we hoped. To this bad news must be added the loss of the 
Bahama Islands. But let us quit this ungrateful subject. 
Adieu. Love to our dear Kitty. 

S. R. 

Lbtter XXIV. 

Gny'8 Inn. July 26, 17^. 

I am not to expect then, my dear Roget, any more 
letters from you on the melancholy subject of Geneva. 
The few words which my dear sister inclosed for me in 
her last letter, too fully confirm all the fatal intelligence 
we h^ before received. The warm interest which you 
know I took in the cause of your fellow- citizens will have 
enabled you to conceive the concern I feel at the issue of 
their affairs. I lament it, too, from a more general con* 
sideration ; for I do not doubt that the conduct of the 
pretended patriots of Geneva will be remembered here* 
after by the advocates for arbitrary power ; who, when 
they find the arguments by which the people's cause is 
defended unanswerable, betake themselves to an attack 
upon its defenders, and triumph in showing the insincerity 
and selfishness of seditious demagogues. Thus are the 
people alike the victims of the treachery of their pre- 
tended friends and of the tyranny of their open enemies. 
I am less astonished at the want of public virtue and pa- 
triotism, which has appeared in the chiefs of the Repre- 
sentantSf than at their folly and inattention to their private 
interests. For, admitting that they were careless about 

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276 LETTERS TO July, 

the honour and freedom of their country, surely pruden- 
tial and interested considerations alone might have in- 
duced them to risk their lives in defence of their own 
fortunes, their character and consideration in their 
country, rather than to preserve, at any rate, a miserable 
existence, embittered by the reproaches of their own con- 
sciences, and the contempt of mankind, — 

** Et propter vitam viTendi perdere causas.'* ' 

My dear sister gives me room to hope that she will 
write me a detailed account of this melancholy catastrophe. 
I am the more desirous of this, as I think of continuing 
my account of the affairs of Geneva, not (undoubtedly) 
with a view to its appearing in any publication, but 
merely as an exercise and a matter of instruction and im- 
provement to myself. 

What do you think of the Abb6 St. Pierre's project of 
perpetual peace, and Rousseau s observations on it ? * A 
mi^ch stronger objection might, I think, be made to the 
proposal than either of those writers have foreseen and 
answered, which is, that the ultimate consequence of in- 
stituting, as supreme arbitrator of all the affairs of Eii- 
rope, a Diet, of which the majority would be the repre- 
sentatives of arbitrary princes, must be the total extirpa- 
tion of liberty. For the internal political disputes of 
every country must be submitted to the decision of the 
Diet, there being no other alternative but an appeal to 
war ; and the project supposes war never to be made but 
by the whole confederacy. To explain my meaning 
better — Suppose the project to be adopted, and a general 
European confederacy to be formed ; a dispute arises in 
England between the Crown and the Commons about 
the extent of the royal prerogative ; and the king and the 
people are both alike inflexible in their pretensions. 
The confederates, who are the guarantees of each national 
constitution, must be recurred to, to decide the contest ; 
and, no doubt, the weight of royal influence, the necessary 

Juvenal. Sat. viii. 84.. 
* Entitled Jugement gur lit Pair perpetwUe,, and published with 
Rousseau^s political works. 

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ignorance of the judges with respect to our constitution, 
and the despotic principles of government prevalent in 
their own states, will render their decision favourable to 
the^King. Nor is it any answer to this objection to say, 
that the confederates are guarantees of every distinct con- 
stitution of government, such as it exists at the time that 
the confederacy was formed ; because in disputes between 
different members of a government, the question always 
is, what is the constitution ? and every ambitious prince 
has prudence enough to cover his encroachments, and 
the stretches of his power, with the name of the exercise 
of his constitutional prerogative. Besides it may often 
happen, from a change in the character and manners of a 
nation, that to maintain its present constitution ift to de- 
stroy its liberties ; witness England at this moment; or 
granting that the confederacy should violate the first 
principle on which it was formed, who shall take advan- 
tage of the violation and refuse obedience to its decrees ? 
Shall a populace, unxised to arms, and ignorant of disci- 
pline, array themselves for war against a league of all the 
powers of Europe ? There would be nothing then to re- 
strain the general diet from deciding every contest for the 
prince and against his subjects. One victory of this 
kind would encourage the prince to excite fresh troubles 
which must be brought before the same partial tribunal, 
and the example would soon become general. It is ab- 
surd, as Rousseau says, to imagine, that, if the project 
took place, many of the confederate princes would \mite 
their forces for the purpose of making conquests ; but it 
is not absurd to suppose that they would unite their 
counsels in order to extend their authority over their sub- 
jects : and it would be to be dreaiied that not only princes 
but even aristocratical governments would join in this 
cruel policy, by turns assisting each other to become the 
tyrants of their country. The evil would be without the 
possibility of a remedy ; for what would it avail a country 
that she had many Brutuses among her sons, if their 
virtue was overawed and rendered useless by a mighty 
league of all Europe, firmly resolved " ut e conspectu ' li- 

TOL. I. N 

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1*73 LETTERS TO Oct. 

bertas tolleretur ? ''^ Whether Europe would not be com- 
pensated for the loss of liberty in the very few states that 
stDl retain any shadow of it, by having war banished from 
all its quarters, is a question which I should not hesitate 
to decide by saying " Mihi potior visa est periculosa liber- 
tas quieto servitio." * But it is time to put an end to this 
long dissertation. 

Adieu ! believe me, &c., 


Letter XXV. 

Gray's Inn. Oct. 25, 1782. 

I was obliged to send my last letter to you, my 
dear Roget, in so great a hurry, that I had not time to 
read over what I had written. I hope, however, you 
were able to make it out. From that time till the pre- 
sent moment I have never had leisure to write to you, 
and the hour which I now devote to you is stolen from 
occupations which, compared to anything that I had less 
at heart than writing to yourself, I should think neces- 
sary. All this is not so much to apologize (for apologies 
to you would be Dl placed) as to account for my silence, 
and to prevent your being uneasy whenever I am thus 
forced to interrupt our correspondence. Do not ima- 
gine, by my seeming to be thus immersed in business, 
that I am yet called to the bar. I cannot be caUed be- 
fore six months ; and a just diffidence, or rather know- 
ledge of myself, will make me postpone it for six months 
longer. Indeed, the nearer I approach the term» which 
I have formerly so often wished for, the more I dread it. 
I sometimes lose all courage, and wonder what fond 
opinion of my talents could ever have induced me to 
venture on so bold an undertaking; but it too often 
happens (and I fear that has been my case), that men 
mistake the desire for the ability of acting some very 
distinguished part. Of those who may truly say 

1 Tac. Agile. 24. * Sallust. Hist. FragTu. lib. i. 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. 179 

'* aliquid jam dudam invadere magnum 
Mens agitat mihi; nee placid& contenta quiete est,"' ^ 

very many were never designed by nature for heroes. 
But not to lose all the little time I have upon no better a 
subject than myself, let me inform you of news in which 
I presume you must take the deepest interest. 

It has been determined, in the Privy Council of Ireland, 
to recommend the King to offer to the Genevese a per- 
mission to establish themselves in Ireland, and to grant 
them a sum of money for the purpose. The king has 
agreed to give 50,000/. It is proposed that the colony 
shall consist of 1000 persons, who understand the watch 
manufacture ; and they are to have a charter of incor- 
poration, by which they will be enabled to elect their own 
magistrates, and to regulate entirely their own internal po- 
lice. The Duke of Leinster, by letter, invites the colony 
to settle upon his estate in the county of Wexford, in the 
province of Leinster. He offers to give them, by a pure 
and perpetual donation, a very large tract of ground 
which he now lets (though much below its value) for 
600/. a-year ; he engages to procure them places of abode, 
and particularly offers his own house, Leinster Lodge, a 
mansion capable of lodging one hundred persons, till they 
can build houses for themselves. The spot of ground 
where he proposes that they should build their little 
city is, he says, in one of the most fertile and temperate 
parts of Ireland, at the confluence of two rivers, at a 
convenient vicinity to the sea, and distant about thirty 
miles from Dublin. All this news you may depend on, 
for I have seen the order of the Irish Council, and the 
letters of Lord Temple and the Duke of Leinster. Other 
noblemen have invited the colony to settle upon their 
estates, but none offer terms so advantageous and so 
noble as the Duke of Leinster. You will wonder how I 
gained all this intelligence, but your astonishment will 
cease when I inform you that I have had some visits 
from D'lvernois. He hinted to me that, besides the 
watch manufactory, there were some thoughts of institut- 

» Virgil. iEn. ix. 186. 


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180 LETTERS TO Oct. 

ing a French College at the New Geneva (for so the city 
is to be called). It is to resemble the old Geneva in 
everything) except in having an upper and a lower town» 

" et parvam Trojam, simctlataqvie magnift 
Pergama, et arentem Xanthi cognomine rivum 
Agnosco, Scsffique amplector limina ports."' ^ 

You were perfectly right in supposing that do such 
opinion is to be found in Hume, as M * * * ascribes to 
the pkilosopke Anglais. That writer does say, it is true, 
that England has not produced any orator who may be 
compared with those of antiquity ; but, far from prophe- 
sying that it never will, he writes purposely to exhort 
his countrymen to the imitation of those great models; 
and instead of imputing the want of success in oratory of 
the Enghsh to their great sense, he entirely refutes that 

The Essay of Hume, which I suppose is alluded to. is, 
in my opinion, a very indifferent performance. In ex- 
amining all the causes of our inferiority in eloquence, 
the writer passes over in silence that which seems to me 
to be the most material — I mean the different application 
which the ancients gave to that science from that which 
we give it. Our great men are everything; geome- 
tricians, historians, poets, orators, and I know not what. 
Demosthenes was an orator alone. Till we have seen 
men of genius shut themselves up for whole months, to 
study only the force and beauty of their language, tran- 
scribing with their own hands eight several times the 
works of an eloquent writer, and struggling with unre- 
mitting efforts to overcome every imperfection in their 
nature, we cannot wonder that we have not a modern 
Demosthenes. Hume is the more surprised that we 
have had no orators (though he must or might have 
heard Lord Chatliam, Mr. Pulteney, Lord Hardwicke, 
Lord Mansfield, and Lord Camden), when we have had 
such a writer as Lord Bolingbroke. You know Lord 
Bolingbroke's history: during the greater part of his 
life he was debarred a seat in ParUament, or, in his own 

* Virgil. Mu, iii. 349. 

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words, he was "stripped of the rights of a British sub- 
ject, of all except the meanest of them, that of inherit- 
ing;'' but if his delivery was equal to his style (and 
according to Lord Chesterfield it was so), he was, at least, 
capable of rivalling Cicero. You are unacquainted, I 
believe, with his writings ; let me, therefore, give you a 
specimen of some of his figures. I have a multitude of 
them present to my memory. Speaking of the criminal 
indifference and gaiety of some of his contemporaries, he 
says, that "they were men ready to drown the dying 
groane <\f their country in peals of unseasonable mirth 
and laughter ;'* of Catherine of Medicis, that "she first 
bleu) up the flames of religious faction, and then endear 
voured in vain to extinguish them in a deluge of bhod;"* 
of Philip IV. of Spain, that " he languished rather than 
lived from the cradle to the grace'' To Sir Robert Wal- 
pole he speaks of the many crimes which might now be 
proved against him, of the many more which were ready 
to Mart into light the moment the powa: by which he 
concealed them should determine. 

Pray, thank my dear Kitty for her letter ; I mean to 
answer her soon, and am rejoiced to find she continues 
to draw the beautiful prospects that surround you. To 
g^e on those sublime views, to be conversing with 
you and my dear sister, and walking with you and your 
little boy over your grounds, are the frequent, but, alas ! 
the imaginary occupations of your affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romuuly. 

Letter XXVI. 

Gray's Inn, Deo. 10, 1782. 

Before I take any notice, my dear Roget, of the 
contents of your letters of the 13th and 23d of last month, 
r must hasten to communicate to you the agreeable news 
I have to tell you. It is much less agreeable, however, 
than we were flattered with hopes of, a fortnight ago. 
We have had the greatest expectations of peace: the 
Parliament, which was to have met the 26th of last 
month, was a^ourned to the 5th of the 'present : a letter 

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232 LETTERS TO Dec. 

was sent from the Secretary of State to the Governor of 
the Bank, informing him that a negotiation had been 
begun, and was very far advanced, and that, before the 
meeting of Parliament, either peace would be concluded, 
or all negotiations would be at an end. The dealers in 
stocks were immediately in an uproar and tumult, which 
has lasted almost ever since. The stocks rose and fell, 
one, two, and sometimes three per cent, every day; from 
57, the price at which they were when this news arrived, 
they one day rose to 65. The opening of Parliament, 
however, has disappointed much of our expectations: 
how much of them has been fulfilled I cannot state to 
you more accurately than by transcribing a part of the 
King's speech. It shall be only a part; for, whatever 
other merits it may possess, it has so little of that "im- 
peratoria brevitas" which Tacitus commends, that it fills 
very nearly two columns in the newspapers. 

** Since the close of the last Session, I have employed 
my whole time in the care and attention which the im- 
portant and critical conjuncture of public affairs required 
of me. I have pointed all my views and measures, as 
well in Europe as in North America, to an entire and 
cordial reconciliation -with the colonies. Finding it in- 
dispensable to the attainment of this object, I did not 
hesitate to go the full length of the powers vested in me, 
and offered to declare them free and independent States, 
by an article to be inserted in the treaty of peace. Pro- 
visional articlee are agreed upon, to take effect whenever 
terms of peace shall be Jincdly settled taith the court of 
France. In thus admitting their separation from the 
crown of these kingdoms, I have sacrificed every con- 
sideration of my own to the wishes and opinion of my 
people. I make it my humble and earnest prayer to 
Almighty God, that Great Britain may not feel the evils 
which might result from so great a dismemberment of 
the empire, and that America may be free from those 
calamities which have formerly proved, in the mother 
country, how essential monarchy is to the enjoyment of 
constitutional liberty. Religion, language, interest, af- 
fections may, and I hope will, yet prove a bond of per- 

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manent union between the two countries. To this end, 
neither attention nor disposition shall be wanting on my 
part. While I have carefully abstained from all oflFensive 
operations against America, I have directed my whole 
force, by land and sea, against the other powers at war, 
with as much vigour as the situation of that force, at the 
commencement of the campaign, would permit. I trust 
that you feel the advantages resulting from the safety of 
the great branches of our trade. You must have seen, 
with pride and satisfaction, the gallant defence of the go- 
vernor and the garrison of Gibraltar ; and my fleet, after 
having effected the object of their destination, offering 
battle to the combined fleets of France and Spain on their 
own coasts ; those of my kingdom have remained, at the 
same time, perfectly secure, and your domestic tranquil* 
lity uninterrupted. This respectable state, under the 
blessing of Grod, I attribute to the entire confidence which 
nUmsts between me and my people, and to the readiness 
which has been shown by my subjects to stand forth in 
the general defence. Having manifested to the whole 
world, by the most lasting examples, the signal spirit and 
bravery of my people, I conceived it a moment not unbe- 
coming my dignity, and thought it a regard due to the 
lives and fortunes of such brave and gallant subjects, to 
ahow myself ready, on my part, to embrace fair and 
honourable terms of accommodation with all the powers 
at war. I have the scUitfaction to acqiuiint you that ne- 
gotiations to thie effect are considerably advanced. * * * 
I have every reason to hope and believe that I shall have 
it in my power,' in a very short time, to acquaint you that 
they have ended in terms of paciflcaiion, which I trust 
you will see just cause to approve. I rely, however, with 
perfect confidence on the wisdom of my Parliament, and 
the spirit of my people, that, if any unforeseen change in 
the belligerent powers should frustrate my confident ex- 
pectations, they will approve of the preparations I have 
thought it advisable to make, and be ready to second my 
most vigorous efforts in the further prosecution of war. 
* * * I must recommend to you an immediate attention, 
above all things, to the state of the public debt. Not- 
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234 LETTEBS TO Dee. 

withstanding the great increase of it during the war, 
it is to be hoped that such regulations may still be esta- 
blished, such savmgs made, and future loans so conducted, 
as to promote the means of its gradual redemption, by a 
fixed course of payment.*' 

These are the most important passages in the speech ; 
but it wanders over a multitude of subjects, calling the 
attention of the Parliament to the affair^ of India, the 
scarcity of com, a revision of our commercial system, the 
late increase of robberies, the Mint, the King's revenue, 
particularly the royal forests, the money voted for Ame- 
rican BufPerers, &c. The King assures ^the Parliament, 
too, that he has carried into strict execution the Act 
passed in the last session for making reductions in the 
civil list expenses. 

There was not, in either house, any opposition to the ad- 
dress. In tlie House of Lords, Lord Shelbume explained 
the offer of declaring America independent, not to be a 
present and irrevocable recognition of her independence, 
but a mere offer, which, if peace did not follow, was to 
be entirely at an end. Fox, in the other house, under- 
stood it to be a full acknowledgment of the independence 
of America ; supposed the word "offer" to be a mere in- 
accuracy of expression ; and, upon this ground only, ap- 
proved the measure. But his speech is worth giving you 
a fuller account of. 

It appeared, from some parts of the speeches of the 
mover and seconder of the address, that great sacrifices 
must be made to purchase peace. The cession of Gib- 
raltar was hinted at ; that fort was represented to be an 
empty honour, of little advantage to the country ; and it 
was said that, by giving up to the Spaniards what they 
had 80 set their minds upon, and what seemed to have 
been the sole object of their ambition in the last wars, 
England would secure the permanency of peace. Fox 
commended the speech ; praised a part of the present 
administration, but said that he saw great danger in some 
members of it ; — declared that he never would make any 
opposition to them, while they acted so wisely as they did 
at present. He enlarged upon the wisdom of signing^ 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. 185 

a separate treaty of peace with America, by which our 
acknowledgment of her independence was made certain 
and irrevocable. It was a measure which he had always 
himself recommended when in administration, but which 
was then disapproved. He did not doubt, however, that, less 
powerful in the ministry than out of it, he had much con- 
tributed to the adoption of that measure ; and that, speak- 
ing in the House of Commons on the opposite side from 
that of the administration, his sentiments had had that 
weight with his ancient colleagues which they never ob- 
tained in the council. He said that the acknowledgment 
of the independence of America was an act so wise and 
so expedient, that he was only sorry to find in the same 
speech which announced it words expressive of reluct- 
ance and regret, of distrust and apprehensions of its con- 
sequences: that those apprehensions, he would venture 
to affirm, were groundless ; the consequences must be 
happy to this country ; the ministers need not fear, they 
had acted well and wisely ; he would defend them against 
themselves; he would maintain against any eloquent 
lord, that when America was independent, the sun of 
Britain's glory was not set (such had been once the ex- 
pression of Lord Shelburne) : on the contrary, that sun 
would now shine out brighter than it had done for years 
before. He would pledge himself to the world that no 
learned lord (alluding to a former speech of Dunning 
now Lord Ashburton) should move for an impeachment 
against the first minister ; that minister might be secure ; 
his life was in no danger ; the independence of America 
should not be granted with such gloomy auspices as im- 
peachments and public executions; it should not be 
sealed with Lord Shelburne's blood. He owned that 
})eace was most desirable ; yet he thought too high a 
price might be paid for it. He would not iiay that it 
could not be expedient, in any possible situation of this 
country, to give up Gibraltar; but he would say that. 
Great Britain and Ireland excepted, it was the last of his 
Majesty's dominions that ought to be ceded ; that it was 
the most effectual instrument of war in our hands ; and 
that, had it been properly employed by stationing a fleet 

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186 LETTERS TO Dec. 

there, early in the present war, to have prevented D'Es- 
taing from sailing to the West Indies, we should pro- 
bahly have had peace at this moment. To part with 
Gibraltar was to resign the Mediterranean altogether into 
the hands of the house of Bourbon, to be theirs as com- 
pletely and as absolutely as any lake or pool in their own 
dominions. Gibraltar was an important possession as a 
means to gain us allies; but when foreign powers saw 
that we could afford them no assistance in the Mediter- 
ranean, they would be little solicitous of our alliance. 
To suppose that the cession of Gibraltar would secure a 
longer duration of peace was as unphilosophical as it was 
impolitic ; for one must be strangely ignorant of human 
passions to suppose that ambition could be extinguished 
by enjoyment ; on the contrary, it was a passion whose 
appetite was sharpened by being gratified; a passion with 
whi(;h every success was the parent of a thousand new 
projects, and which the farther it advanced the more un- 
bounded were the prospects that opened before it. It 
had been said that the failure of the Spaniards now would 
be a lesson to them hereafter ; and that the more import- 
ant the advantages which we had reaped from Gibraltar 
during this war, the more certainly would it be a useless 
possession in future, when our enemies would have learned 
to neglect it, and to point their arms against some vul- 
nerable part. But this reasoning proceeds upon a notion 
(the vainest that ever was conceived) that states are ex- 
empt from human follies, prejudices, and passions ; but 
that states, and those who are intrusted with their go- 
vernment, are, in fact, subject to all the weaknesses in- 
cident to humanity, is a truth, of which we need not go 
far to find a striking example. It was not a first, a 
second, or a third campaign in which we had exhausted 
our strength, lavished our treasures, and poured out our 
blood upon the plains of America, quite as ineffectually as 
the Spaniards had wasted their efforts against the im- 
pregnable rock of Gibraltar, that taught us to desist from 
our design. The ministers of that day gained new ob- 
stinacy from every repulse ; and, though their object was 
every day more distant, they would still have pursued it 

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1782. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. Jgij 

with as much eagerness and rage as ever, if this House 
had not timely interposed, wrested the sword from their 
hands, and saved the country. Let us trust for the dur- 
ation of peace, not to so frail a hope as that the amhition 
of the Bourbon^ will be satiated, but to the terror of our 
own arms. 

Lord North, too, spoke much upon the importance of 
Gibraltar. It had one advantage, he said, above what 
anything we could receive in return for it could possess ; 
it was impregnable. He recommended that, notwith- 
standing all our domestic divisions, we should be united 
against France and Spain as one man. Peace was de- 
sirable to us, but it was also desirable to our enemies. 
America was exhausted ; an attempt had been made by 
the Congress to r4ise taxes, but without success: Hol- 
land was divided in herself, and as likely to consume her 
strength in intestine wars as to annoy her neighbourp : 
Spain was impatient till she could turn her arms against 
her own revolted subjects in South America ; and even 
France was in no condition to supply her allies with 
money. He claimed merit to himself and his ancient col- 
leagues for our late successes, and for the happy change 
in the aspect of public affairs. It was they who had made 
the mighty preparations for the last campaign, and had 
laid in such abundant naval stores. He said he would 
tell our naval Alexanders that, if they had conquered, 
they had conquered with the troops of Philip. 

The day after the address had been voted. Fox said in 
the House that he had quite mistaken the purport of the 
King's speech ; that, as the offer of independence to Ame- 
rica had been explained by Lord Shelburne in the House 
of Peers, he by no means approved of it, but retracted all 
he had said the preceding day in its praise. Burke made 
a similar declaration, and talked of moving an amendment 
to the address, which Fox affirmed he would second. 
After so hmg a detail, all reflections of my own may well 
be spared. 

To pass, then, to another subject I am much obliged 
to you for giving me so particular an account of the diffi- 
culties which are supposed to stand in the way of an emi- 

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188 LETTERS TO Dec. 1782. 

gration from Geneva. You seem to think, as I do, that 
they are too weak to merit a moment's consideration. 
One would think the Genevese imagined their manufac- 
ture to be the sole means by which they could support 
themselves, or be useful to society ; and that, ceasing to 
be watchmakers, they would cease to be men. I confess 
I augured very ill of the project when my dear sister was 
asked whether coals were burned in Ireland, whether 
wine was drunk there, and was importuned with other 
such minute and frivolous inquiries. How different was 
the manly conduct of the Hollanders, when, to preserve 
their liberty, they resolved to transport their common 
wealth to Batavia, the most pestilential climate upon the 
whole face of the globe I Were I of Geneva, I should 
be tempted to apply to my countrymen the words of 
Brutus, *'Nimium timemus mortem et exilium et pau- 
pertatem. Hac videntur Genevensibus ultima esse in 
malis. Servitutem luxuriosam modo et honorificam non 
aspernantur : si quidquam in extremst ac misen'imi con- 
tumelid potest honorificum esse."^ To many I hope they 
will be inapplicable ; but all those who can bear to live 
under the present government of Geneva deserve all its 
severities, and all the contempt which attends the con< 
dition of slaves. But perhaps there is more of resent- 
ment than of reason in what I have said, for I confess I 
am impatient with the prospect of this second disappoint- 

I have never read Locke's book on education which 
you speak of, but I have always heard it esteemed as one 
of his best works. From the idea Rousseau himself gives 
me of him, I should have supposed that our admired 
author had borrowed all the physical part of his education 
from Locke, but none of the moral part. Locke's plan 
seems to have been to exercise the reason early, instead 
of burdening the memory, according to the usual method ; 
but you know it is not Rousseau's design to make chil- 
dren reasoners. Madame Genlis is very ungrateful if 
what Roustan tells me fs true (and he is an admirer of 

^ Cic. Epist. ad Biutum, 17. 

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Jan. 1783. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. jgQ 

hers), that the best part of her book is borrowed from 
the Emile. Rousseau's reason for refusing to educate a 
prince, namely, that his scholar would afterwards refuse 
the title, flows necessarily from the best maxim of prac- 
tical philosophy, that we should avoid temptations; a 
maxim which is so little of a paradox, that no person of 
the plainest understanding can refuse his assent to it, 
and that it is recognised by every Christian in his daily 
prayers. Rousseau might, with more propriety than any 
other writer, have used the exclamation which I have 
somewhere read was frequently in the mouth of a Spanish 
polemic, " Ye powers that preside over controversy, give 
me, I ask no more, give me an adversary that under- 
stands me." 

S, R. 

Letter XXVII. 

London, Jan. 7, 1783. 

It would seem, my dear Roget, by your last letter, that 
you thought I had affected doubt of succeeding in the way 
of life on which I am to enter, only to draw from you such 
praises as might encourage me in my pursuit. That object, 
had it been mine, must have been fully gratified by your 
silence, which, introduced as it is, is a greater encourage- 
ment to me, and is more offensive to modesty even than a 
panegyric upon talents which your mdulgenoe might have 
supposed me to possess.^* However, I assure you I had no 

^ The following is the passage of Mr. Roget *8 letter, alluded 
to — Ed. 

" Je vous le rSpete, mou cher " I tell you again, my dear Sam, 

Sam, ma plus grande peine, that what gives me the greatest 

toutes les fois que vous tardez ^ anxiety, whenever you delay writ- 

xn'6crire, se porte sur IVtat de iug to me, is the state of your 

▼otre sant^; car je comprends health; for I quite understand 

d'ailleurs que toutes les heures that, every day, each hour must 

vous doi vent devenir chaque jour become more precious to you; 

plus cheres; et quant a votre and as for your friendship, of 

amiti^, j en ai d6ja re^u trop de that I have already received too 

marques pr6cieuses, pour que ma many tokens for my belief in 

croyance k cet 6gaid se laisse this respect to be easily shaken. 

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290 LETTERS TO Jan. 

such wish, and that what I wrote to you was but a faith- 
ful transcript of what I felt. Could I but realize the 
partial hopes and expectations of my friends, there could 
be no doubt of my success, almost beyond my wishes ; 
but in myself I have a much less indu]p:ent censor, and, 
in this perhaps alone, I cannot suffer their judgment to 
have equal weight with my own. I have taught myself, 
however, a very useful lesson of practical philosophy, in 
order to make myself easy in my situation, which is, not 
to suffer my happiness to depend upon my success. 
Should my wishes be gratified, I promise myself to em- 
ploy all the talents and all the authority I may acquire 
for the public good. Should I fail in my pursuit, I 
console myself with thinking that the humblest situation 
of life has its duties, which one must feel a satisfaction 
in discharging; that, at least, my conscience will bear 
me the pleasing testimony of having intended well ; and 
that, after all, true happiness is much less likely to be 
found in the high walks of ambition than in the " secretum 
iter et fallentis semita vitae." Were it not for these con- 
solations, and did I consider my success at the bar as 
decisive of my future happiness, my apprehensions would 
be such that I might truly say, «*Cum illius diei mihi 

facilement 6braiiler. Sans en 
chercher des preuves loin de moi, 
je sens trop bien que le goiHt 
d^une vocation n*en suppose pas 
toujours les talens; mais quand 
ce goiit se troave accompagn^ 
d'une ardeur deTorante pour 
I'^tude, mais quand IL cette 
ardeur se joint une application 
constante, des efforts soutenus, 

il faut que je m'arrSte ; 

je vous estime trop sincdrement 
pour Tous louer en face, et je 
n*aurois |)as dit le quart de tout 
ce que je pense sur ce sujet, 
qu'un exc^s de modestie vous 
feroit m'accuserd^ji d'exagg^ra- 
tion " 

Without searching for proofs 
further than myself, I am too 
well aware that inclination for a 
pursuit does not always pre>8up> 
pose the talent for it; but when to 
that inclination is found united 
an insatiable ardour for study, 
when with this ardour are com- 
bined constant application, per- 
severing efforts I must 

stop : I esteem you too sincerely 
to praise you to your face ; and 
I should not have said one 
quarter of all that I think on 
tiiis subject, before an excess of 
modesty would have already 
made you accuse me of exag- 
geration " 

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1783. THE REV. JOHN ROOET. 292 

venit in mentem, quo mihi dicendum sit, non solum com- 
moveor animo, sed etiam toto corpore perhorresco.'* ^ 

My account of the new edict of Geneva did not come 
from the republican Beauchateau, but from one who feels 
no less indignation at it than yourself. I hear of articles 
in it more insulting and tyrannical than any you mention ; 
such as the abolition of the liberty of the press ; a pro- 
hibition under a severe penalty to bear arms, or even to 
have any weapon in one's house ; a law to make all clubs 
unlawfid, even those for amusement ; to make it unlaw- 
ful to speak of politics in a coffee-house, or even in a 
private family ; to punish every transgression with great 
severity, and to compel the master and servants of the 
coffee-house, or the master of the family where the words 
are spoken, under a heavy penalty, to inform against 
their guests. But you must tell me that you have read 
all this in the edict before I can give credit to it. Not 
that X suppose men who can resolve to destroy the liber- 
ties of their country are likely to be guided by any sense 
of decency in the choice of the means most proper to 
effect their object; but a tyranny so complete and so 
atrocious as this, seems quite repugnant to the manners 
of the age we live in. It is only under the detested 
tyrants of Rome that one can find its parallel ; and it is 
the wonderful pencil of Tacitus that alone can paint 
all its horrors. *' Non ali^a magis anxia et pavens civitas, 
egens adversiim proximos; congressus, colloquia, notse 
ignotaeque aures vitari : etiam ihuta atque inanima, tectum 
et parietes'circumspectabantur.'' * I rejoice, however,'that 
the Government has not deigned to assume any mask : 
one has at least the satisfaction to reflect that none wUl 
suffer its severities but willing slaves. Besides, the 
instructive lesson, which Geneva affords the world, ac- 
quires tenfold weight from the horrors of such a tyranny. 
How much is it to be lamented that such a subject should 
not find an historian worthy of it ! Why is not there some 
Genevan who, now that he has lost his own country, will 
enlarge his patriotism into a divine philanthropy, and, 

> Cic. In Q. CcBciL Diy. 13. * AnnaL lib. iy. 69. 

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292 LETTEBS TO Jan. 

considering the world as his country, turn the miseries of 
his native city to the advantage of mankind ? I would 
fain see the history of Geneva written, not hy a member 
of the commission, whose talents must be prostituted to 
palliate the faults, and it may be to excuse the treasons, of 
himself and his colleagues ; but by one who has no interest 
in the subject but the interest of virtue: "Uni sequus 
virtuti atque ejus amicis." * If you know a citizen of this 
character (as you assuredly do), an enthusiast of virtue, 
one who to a Roman's patriotism adds the utmost sensi- 
bility of heart, conjure him to undertake the subject: 
entreat him not to doubt his talents ; let him be assured 
that the energy of his mind and the tenderness of his 
heart cannot ful to render him eloquent Exhort him 
to write with no view to interest, with no view even to 
reputation, but only for the benefit of mankind, and most 
of posterity. Find such an historian, and let me have 
the honour to be his translator; for that is the only 
literary character in which I can venture for many. years, 
if ever, to appear before the public. I have attempted, 
indeed, the very subject which I am now exhorting you 
not to suffer to remain without an historian; but my 
attempt, which (for I had scarcely any materials) was 
only an exercise, and consisted but of detached parts, 
such as seemed to afford the greatest scope for ima^na- 
tion, has corroborated my opinion that it is not for me 
yet to think of being an author. Most of what I wrote 
I had the grace to destroy immediately aften Some 
passages, however, I preserved ; and, though it may seem 
inconsistent with the rest of what I have said upon my 
composition, I shall, if I do not find wherewith to fill this 
letter, send you, for your opinion, some of the characters 
which I had drawn * ; not for your opinion as to style or 

1 Hot. IL S. L 70. 
* " Duroveray was at this time Attorney- Greneral of the Republic ; 
an honour which he owed less to acquired talents than to his zeal for 
liberty, and to the bold and decided manner in which he had en- 
gaged in the party of tlie citizens. His natural eloquence was little 
improved by study or by art; but the violence of his temper sup- 
plied him with bold and imposing images, and the warmth and 

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1783. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 293 

composition, for in that respect they are beneath your 
notice, but as to truth of design; in a word, to know 
whether you think I have caught any of the features of 
their characters, and have made any progress in that 
which Pope calls the proper study of mankind. 

quickness of his passions with a rapid and impetuous elocution. 
These natural endowments soon rendered him one of the most con- 
spicuous characters in the commonwealth, and the citizens the more 
willingly gave him their confidence, as he was an entire stranger to 
artifice ; the ingenuous openness of his character displayed qu^ities 
less proper to conciliate the affections than to command the ap- 
plause of his fellow-citizens. He was violent, resolute, uncomply- 
ing, warm and overbearing in dispute, exacting rather than courting 
approbation, and impatient of contradiction as well from friends as 
from enemies. 

<< Claviere, who might be considered, next to D., as chief of the 
repr^entant party, was of a character very unlike that of the 
Attorney-General. Not bom in the city, nor the son of a citizen, 
his zeal in the popular cause wanted ^e animating warmth of 
national j^judices ; for which sentiments of philanthropy and gene- 
ral principles of politics are but a feeble substitute. His reason 
might convince him of the people's rights and the government's 
injustice ; but his heart had not inherited the enthusiasm of liberty, 
or the stem hatred of tyranny. Nor were his passions strong and 
energetic to conceal or supply his want of patriotism. His genius 
was penetrating and subde, not bold and enterprising. Though 
artful and. cautious, he was incapable of that firm and deliberate 
calmness which is tiie most requisite quality in a popular leader. 
His timid ambition, intoxicated by the prospect of success which 
a delusive imagination painted to him, yet startled and was checked 
by the least suspicion oi a reverse of fortune : even his art forsook 
him when it was most required, and he knew not, in any critical 
moment, how to dissemble his fears, or to conceal his intemperate 

^'Vemes had all those qualities which can adorn and render 
amiable a tranquil and studious life, but nothing of the republican s 
force and energy. Tender, mild, affectionate, learned, eloquent, 
and polite; the friend of Rousseau, but, at die same time, the 
friend of Voltaire ; his love of virtue was blemished by an intem* 
perate love of letters, of glory, and of applause. Nature designed 
him for an ornament to a Trajan's court, in whose pure serenity 
every lesser virtue flourishes and is embellished with all the inno- 
cent elegancies of life; and not to embark amidst the tempests of a 
divided republic, where occasion may call for those higher virtues 
at which vulgar natures shudder. She had denied him the mascu- 
line vigour of mind which shrinks not at the sight of blood when 
liberty can be purchased at no less a price. 

VOL. I. O 

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204 LETTERS TO Jan. 

There are those, then, it seems, who think the pleni- 
potentiaries justified because they acted under their 
royal master s commands. I, on the contrary, have always 
been taught that no commands, no fear, not even of death, 
can ever excuse the author or the instrument of a flagrant 
injustice. There once, too, were men of honour in France 
who thought so; witness the gallant soldier who re- 
turned for answer to the mandate of the most bloody 
tyrant of France, '* Je supplie votre Majesty d'employer 
mes bras et ma vie k choses faisables." 

Our ministers seem, in the House of Commons, to be 
very weak in orators, however strong they may be in 
numbers. If Mr. Pitt had more experience, and were 
more accustomed to business, in short, if he were some 
years older than he is, he might almost alone support the 
administration ; but talents as wonderful even as those he 
possesses can hardly qualify a man, at the age of twenty- 
three or twenty-four, for the arduous part he has to sus- 
tain. With a great command of language and quickness 
of parts, it is no difficult task to support any side in a de- 
bate ; but to propose taxes in such a manner as may be 
palatable to the Parliament, when almost every resource 
of finance is exhausted, and to be ready to answer the 
multitude of objections which are started from every 
quarter of the House, is an undertaking to which one 
would suppose nothing but long habit and the most per- 
fect knowledge of the subject could render any man equal. 

'* Lamotte was a trae republican, bom in a low condition of life, 
and destined to a mechanic trade. His rude bluntness, the boldness 
of his language, and bis ostentatious contempt of the accidental dis- 
tinctions of fortune, challenged attention to his singular character, 
and he delighted in that singularity. He affected alike to despise 
the foppery of artificial manners, the refinements of systenoatic 
politics, and the resources of study and of learning. Yet he pos- 
sessed a rough and nervous eloquence, whose vigorous sallies pro- 
duced the greater effect as they were the less expected ; but his 
arguments were mingled with coarse and unseasonable jests; bis 
language was uncouth, his pronunciation vulgar, his tone of voice 
loud and clamorous. Such manners could not fail of being highly 
offensive to the wealthy families, who looked down with scomfid 
pity on a man who, glorying in tiie meanness of his condition, had 
yet the presumption to be ambitious." 

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1783. .THE BEV. JOHN ROGET. I95 

Mr. Pitt is soon to propose some plan for a reform of the 
parliamentary representation ; but who is so sanguine as 
to hope that it will be adopted by the present Parhament ; 
— a Parliament elected under the predominant influence 
of the late ministry, and many of whose members cannot 
be ignorant that a new-modelled representation will, in 
effect, be an exclusion of themselves from Parliament? 
The present Parliament was tried last session upon both 
questions, of a new representative system, and of shorten- 
ing the duration of Parliaments, and rejected both by a 
majority of almost two to one ; since when, I cannot see 
that anything has happened to convince them of the ne- 
cessity of these reforms. 

Your most affisctionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Lkttee XXVIII. 

Dear Roget, Gray's Inn, March 21, 1783. 

I am very sorry my silence should have occasioned 
you any uneasiness : my letter of the 10th of last month 
ought to have arrived at Lausanne before the date of your 
last ; I make no doubt you have received it since. You 
do me but justice when you suppose that I am prevented 
from writing to you by business, and that you are never 
forgotten by me. I lost no time in executing your com- 
mission respecting Linguet. Three numbers, containing 
the *'Memoire8 sur la Bastille,*^ had been published when 
your letter reached me ; these I have sent to you by Le- 
cointe, who will put them in the post at Geneva. I never 
was more completely disappointed in any book than in 
this. Before he enters upon his subject, he talks so much 
of the horrors and of the unparalleled atrocities of the 
Bastille, putting his imagination and his language to the 
rack for the strongest images and expressions, that one 
is quite astonished, afterwards, to find only a narrative of 
a confinement, rigorous indeed, but such as one would 
expect in almost every prison. He resembles the poet, 
his countryman, who began, — 

o 2 

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196 LETTERS TO March, 

*' Je chante le vainqueur des yainqueurs de la terre ;" 

and one may very well say with Boileau, — 

*' Que produira Tauteur apres tous ces grands ctisi 
La montagne en fravail eufaote vine souris." 

Even his motto is as injudicious as all the rest : ** Non 
mihi si voces* centum sint," &c. After this mighty pro- 
mise upon the cover, one opens the book, and behold ! it is 
with the utmost difficulty that the author is able to spin out 
three small pamphlets, of which his narrative does not 
occupy a third part. The Memoirs are useful in one respect, 
as they serve to convince one that no account of the Bas- 
tille coming from a prisoner can be at all interesting, and 
that the only men qualified to write a good history of the 
prison are the governor of it, or the lieutenant de police. 
Even with Linguet's exaggerated language, the horrors 
of the Bastille fall much short of what one's imagination 
had painted to one. I cannot agiee with him ''que 
jamais oppression n'a 6t6 si cruelle;" much less should I say 
** que jamais elle n'a 6t6 reproch^e avec tant d'energie." 
I perceive, by your letter, that you are still inclined to 
think Linguet a good writer. It is to myself only I ought 
to make excuses for differing from you in opinion ; but 
indeed, upon this subject I do differ from you entirely. 
This, at least, I think certain : if Linguet is eloquent, we 
must not call Demosthenes so, or Cicero, or Rousseau,* for 
no two things can differ more than their style of writing 
and his. We find all those great writers, in different parts 
of their works, pleading their own cause, painting their 
own sufferings, and reproaching their enemies with the 
wrongs which they had done them. In doing this, we 
find that they content themselves with copying faithfully 
what passes in their own mind, with representing every- 
thing exactly as it struck themselves, and with giving a 
voice, if I may so express myself, to nature. They keep 
the attention of their readers fixed upon the single subject 
they are treating of, because they know that all ambitious 
ornaments will only weaken its force. We never find 

* This word is lingua: in Virgil. 

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them straining their imagination to find out metaphors 
and similes that were never imagined before. They 
invite, they even force us to think, but it is on the subject 
before us, not on the ornaments with which it is profusely 
covered ; they do not oblige us to pause at every figure to 
consider its meaning ; in a word, they do not sacrifice 
their subject to its ornaments : they seek to show us what 
they have suffered, and how they have been wronged, not 
what wit, imagination, and powers of language they 

* The following was. Mr. Rogef s estimate of Linguet^s merits as a 
writer — Ed. 

" Ma surprise k la lecture des 
* M^moires wr la BastWe ' n'a 
pas ^t6 moindie que la v6tre : j*y 
ai trouY^ tousles d^fauts dont vous 
parlez : ' de grandt touliers pour 
de petits pieds^^ comme dit Mon- 
taigne ; un mauvais choix de mots 
ronflans, un entassement de 
grandes phrases, une accumula- 
tion de figures fausses ou froides, 
nn air de pretention qui indispose 
le lecteur ; force esprit, certains 
tours heureux, de Timagination, 
beaucoup d'616gance, quelque 
chose de pittoresque, d'original; 
mais d'ailleurs rien qui paraisse 
partir du coeur, rien qui touche 
et ptoetre, rien m^me qui pr6vi- 
enne pour Tauteur, et qui lui 
attire la confiance, &c. Au reste, 
tout cela pent s'expliquer: si 
Linguet eut 6crit ses M^moires 
dans la Bastille meme, je ne doute 
pas qu'il n*eut eu plus d'61o- 
quence en peignant ce qu'il sen- 
tait ; mais ^ present qu il en est 
dehors, et qu'il se trouve heu- 
reux en raison de ses malheurs 
passes, je ne suis pas bien surpris 
qu'il ne peigne que foiblement ce 
dont il n'a que des reminiscences. 
Pour rendre le pass^ avec force, 
il lui faudrait une ^me capable 
d'impressions durables et pro- 

My surprise on reading " Les 
Memoir €8 aur la Bastilie^'' was 
not less than yours. I found in 
it all the defects you mention : 
" de grands soulierspour depetUa 
ptedSy" as Montaigne says; a 
bad choice of sonorous words, a 
heap of inflated phrases, an accu- 
mulation of false or frigid figures, 
an air of pretension which dis- 
gusts the reader ; abundance of 
wit, certain happy expressions, 
imagination, much elegance, 
something picturesque and ori- 
ginal ; but, on the other hand, 
nothing which seems to come 
firom the heart, nothing which 
affects you or makes an impres- 
sion, nothing which disposes 
you in the author's favour and 
which gives you confidence in him, 
&c. But all this may be explain- 
ed : if Linguet had written his 
Memoirs in the Bastille itself, I 
do not doubt but that he would 
have been more eloquent in de- 
scribing what he felt; but now 
that he is out of it, and that he 
feels happy by reason of his past 
misfortunes, I am not much sur- 
prised that he should describe but 
feebly that of which he has 
reminiscences alone. To portray 
the past with effect; he musthave a 

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I am not surprised that you were in such haste to sell 
out your stock after reading the author of the *^ Finances 
(VAngleterre,"' However, French writers upon our govern- 
ment and politics deserve very little attention ; they are 
commonly very ignorant of the suhject on which they 
write, and very partial against the English. De Lolme, 
and perhaps Montesquieu, are the only foreigners whom I 
have read who have written anything worth reading upon 
our constitution. I can say nothing of Mably, for I have 
not seen his book ; but the inaccuracies, to use no harsher 
an expression, of the French writers in general, are unpar- 

fondes. C'estce quWait Rous- 
geau au plus haut degr6; mais 
c'est ce que n'aura jamais lin- 
guet. Croyez-Tous, apres ceque 
je viens de yous dire, que cet au- 
teur me paraisse bien estimable f 
Non : je le trouve plus que me- 
diocre comme historien; mais 
comme amialiste, ou nouyel- 
liste, j'avoue qu'il m'amuse, et 
que s'il a un genre, c'est celui-U. 
II ii*a pas le talent de me per- 
suader ; mais il a celui de me faire 
quelqu'illusion. Sans dtre mo- 
dele, il ecrit du moins avec rapi- 
dity et ayec grace; sa maniere 
est ais6e ; il a de Toreille ; il 
connait son monde; son style a 
du nombre, et tout le feu que 
peut donner Timagination. L'au- 
teur a des saillies, et une maniere 
de voir par fois plaisante, &c. 
En un mot, je le compare k ces 
mets trop composes, dont un 
trop fr^uent usage prvertirait 
le go&t et la sant^, mais qui, pris 
k petite dose, ne font que piquer 
le ^ais, et r^veiller les esprits. 
J'aime beaucoup a lire une fois 
Linguet, maisje ne voudrai pas 
qu'on me condamna k le relire.^' 

soul capable of deep and lasting 
impressions. This is what Rousseau 
had in the highest degree, but 
what Linguet will neyer have. 
Can you believe, after what I have 
just told you, that this author 
seems to me very estimable ? No : I 
consider him worse than indifferent 
as an historian ; but as an annal- 
ist or novelist^ I confess that he 
amuses me, and that if he has any 
peculiar line, it is that. He has 
not as regardJs myself the talent 
of persuasion ; but he has that of 
creating a certain degree of illu- 
sion. Without being a model, he 
writes at least with rapidity and 
elegance ; his style is easy ; be has 
a good ear ; he undeistands his 
readers; his style has rhythm in 
it, and all the spirit which imagi- 
nation can infuse. The author has 
his flights, and a way of sometimes 
seeing things in a humorous light, 
&c. In a word, I compare him to 
those too highly seasoned dishes, 
the over frequent use of which 
perverts the taste and the health, 
but which, when taken in mode- 
ration, only excite the palate and 
awaken the intellect. I much 
like reading Linguet once, but I 
should not like to be condemned 
to read him over again. 

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donable. Who can imagine that the author of the treatise 
on " Lettres de Cachet " believed what he was writing, or 
that he had taken the trouble to inquire into the fact, when 
he tells the world that the trial by jury is falling into dis- 
use amongst us, and that the habeas corpus can only be ob- 
tained with diflBculty ? A propos of the " Lettres de Cachet," 
that book has confirmed me in my opinion that religion 
is necessary to excellence even in the arts; and I cannot 
doubt that, if the Comte de Mirabeau had been as devout 
as he was animated, he would have been infinitely more 
eloquent. With what energy might he have invoked the 
Author of his existence, and have called upon him to wit- 
ness his veracity, instead of using that cold exclamation, 
'• J'atteste Thonneur que tout dans mon r6cit est conforme k 
]a v6rit6 !" With how much more eloquence might he have 
committed his child to the care of Providence, and have 
implored its vengeance on his head if ever he became a 
friend or an instrument of oppression, than have addressed 
those vows, as one may say, to aerial nothing, '' Puisse la 
mort vous moissoner avant Tage !'' &c. &c. Swift has 
written a book* to prove the advantages of Christianity ; 
but the work is ludicrous, and his principal argument is 
that, if Christianity was utterly destroyed, the wits would 
want a subject for pleasantry, and minute philosophers an 
enemy to combat. The subject, however, might, I think, 
very well be treated seriously ; at least I know that, when 
I was at Paris, everything I saw convinced me that, in- 
dependently of our future happiness and our sublimest 
enjoyments in this life, religion is necessary to the com- 
forts, the conveniences, and even to the elegances and 
lesser pleasures of life. Not only I never met with a 
writer truly eloquent who did not, at least, affect to believe 
in religion, but I never met with one in whom religion 
was not the richest source of liis eloquence. Cicero, 
sceptical as he is in his philosophical writings, in his 
orations always (except once or twice where it was his 
interest to shake the established faith of his country) ap- 

^ Entitled An Argument against abolishing Christianity, 

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200 LETTERS TO Maich, 

pears to be a firm believer. He repeatedly invokes those 
** Dii immortales " who he knew did not exist, and is never 
perhaps so eloquent as where he adopts even all the 
absurdities of paganism : where, for instance, in his plead- 
ing for Milo, he attests the sacred hills and groves of Al- 
bania, its subverted altars, and the great Jupiter Latiaris, 
that they were roused to punish the infamous Clodius who 
had polluted all their holy rites ; where, in his oration for 
Sextius, he invokes to his aid Jupiter Capitolinus, Juno, 
Minerva, and the Dii Penates, whose temples and shrines 
he had secured from destruction, and that maternal Vesta 
whose priestesses he had saved from violation, and whose 
eternal fire he had preserved from being extinguished in 
the blood of his fellow-citizens, or lost in the general con- 
flagration of the city ; where, in his defence of Flaccus, 
he works upon the passions of his audience, by repre- 
senting the sister of his client, a vestal, in the delirimn of 
her grief, neglecting the sacred fire on which the exist- 
ence of Rome depended, or likely to extinguish its eternal 
flames with her tears. But the instances are innumer- 
able where the eloquence of Cicero owes all its wonderful 
force to the fables, the errors, and the superstitious rites 
of heathenism : and one cannot doubt that the same ob- 
servations may be extended to the literature of France 
when one reflects that her first orators are Bossuet, Mas- 
sillon, and Flechier ; and that the finest pieces of poetry 
in the language are " Athalie" ** Zaire," and Rousseau's 

' " Rien de plus vrai," says Mr. Nothing can be more true than 

Roget in reply, " que ce que what you say on the advantages 

Tous dites sur les avantages de la of religion with relation to the 

religion par rapport aux arts. arts. To what prodigious ac- 

Quel immense parti n'en ont pas count have notthe ancients turned 

tir£ les anciens! Leur th^olo- it! Their theology was, in some 

gie 6tait en quelque sorte toute respects, all poetical. They in- 

po^tique. lis la taisaient entrer trodu6ed it generally in their 

partoutdansleurspoemeslyriques, poems, lyrical, epic, tragic, 

^piques, tragiques, &c. Nos phi- &c. Our philosophers themselves 

losophes eux-m^mes savent bien, well know, on occasions, how 

dans Toccasion, mettre k profit to profit by our religious ideas, 

nos id6es religieuses. Voltaire Voltaire owes them a multitude 

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I suppose the Courrier de PEurope, and all the gazettes, 
have proclaimed to you the scandalous alliance between 
Fox and Lord North. It is not Fox alone, hut all his 

leur doit une foule de beaux vers. 
Olez du * Pere de Famille ' tous 
les passages quisupposent iin Dieu, 
c'est retrancher de la piece tout 
ce qu elle a de plus touchant et 
de plus beau. Buffon, comme 
^crivain, est, sans contredit, bien 
•up^eur ^ Bonnet ; et cependant 
combien la^ ^ Contemplation de la 
Nature^ par ce dernier, n'est elle 
par plus ^loquente que ' Let 
F'ices," ^c, du premier ! Mais 
(elle est la manie du siecle. 
On ne veut que de laphilosophie, 
c^est-^-dire du verbiage et des 
reveries, pourvu que la religion 
8oit moqu6e. Les plus sens^ 
mSmes cedent au torrent. D — 
me disait toujours qu'il n aimait 
pas Saurin, parce qu'il n'^tait pas 
philosopbique. D — - ! St. Lam- 
bert, dans sa preface des ^Saisons,* 
met en syst^me les vers m6taphy- 
giques. Yoltaire en donne sou- 
vent Texemple dans ses tragedies. 
Aussi n'y a-t-il rien de plus sec 
et de plus froid que les poemes 
de nos jours : c'est par la surtout 
que p^chent *Le8 Georgiquet de 
Delisle, et * Les Mois ' de Rouil- 
lier. Nos nouvelles trag^ies sont 
la froideur m^me. II y a longtems 
que Tode est morte en France. 
Le style Acad^mique passe en 
proverbe. II nous faudrait aussi 
entendre la plupart de nos jeunes 
pr^dicateurs. Ce n'est pas que 
nous n ayons encore quelques 
auteurs ^loquens; mais il est 
certain que leur nombre diminue 
k xnesure que les principes reli- 
gieux s'afiaiblessent ; et je doute, 
ainsi que vous, qu'on put en 
trouver un seul parmi les philo- 

of fine verses. Erase from the 
" Pere de Famille " all the pas- 
sages which presuppose a God, 
and you take away ^om the piece 
all that is most touching and beau- 
tiful in it. Buffon, as a writer, 
is incontestably very superior to 
Bonnet ; and yet how much more 
eloquent is the " Contemplation de 
la Nature" of the latter than **Le» 
Vices," &c., of the former ! But 
such is the mania of the age. 
The world will have nothing but 
philosophy, that is to say, jargon 
and reveries, provided religion 
be derided. The most sensible 
themselves yield to the torrent. 
D — was always telling me that 
he did not like Saurin, because he 
was not philosophical. EvenD — ! 
St. Lambert, in his preface od 
'' The Seasons," reduces to system 
metaphysical verses. Voltaire 
often sets the example in his tra- 
gedies. Thus then it is that no- 
thing can be more dry and frigid 
than the poems of the present 
day ; such Is the fault especially of 
"Lr» Georgiqaes " of Delisle, and 
of **Z^» Alois " of Rouillier. Our 
new tragedies are frigidity itself. 
The ode has long ago disappeared 
from France. The Academician 
style is becoming proverbial. 
We ought also to listen to the 
greater number of our yoimg 
preachers. I do not mean to say 
that we have not still some elo- 
quent authors; but certainly 
their number diminishes in pro- 
portion as religious principles are 
weakened ; and I doubt, as you do» 
whether a single one can be found 
amongst the philosophers. One 

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202 LETTERS TO Maxch, 

party ; so much that it is no exaggeration to say that, of 
all the puhlic characters of this devoted country (Mr. Pitt 
alone excepted), there is not a man who has, or who de- 
serves, the nation's confidence. But that even these men 
may not he judged unheard, the apology for their conduct 
which they offer, or rather with which they insult the 
puhlic, is this. They say the great cause of enmity be- 
tween them was the American war, which being removed, 
there remains no obstacle to their now becoming friends : 
that this country has long been shamefully rent with 
party feuds and animosities, to which it is now high time 
to put an end, by uniting all the talents of the country in 
one administration : that their alliance implies no depar- 
ture from their ancient principles ; for, though each party 
consents to act with men whom they formerly opposed, 
yet neither gives up any of their political sentiments: 
that an administration formed of men holding contrary 
speculative opinions in politics is no novelty in this 
coiintry : that even Lord Shelburne*s administration was 
one of this kind, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Advo- 
cate of Scotland being the warm advocates of the Crown 
and of the present established constitution, and the other 
ministers being the zealous friends of the people and the 
promoters of a reformation of the constitution. These 
sophisms are not worth refuting. 

sophes. Encore une remarque : more remark : the Matadoies of 

leg Matadors de la philosophie the philosophy of the age, I mean 

da siecle, je veux dire leg Ency- the Encyclop^distes, are no much 

clop^distes, ont si grand peur que afraid that the idea of a Divinity 

rid6e d'une Divinity se trouve should be foimd in their works, 

dans leurs ouvrages, que toutes les that every time they quote from 

fois qu'il mettent Charles Bonnet Charles Bonnet without naming 

It contribution sans le nommer, him, which is often the case, wher> 

ce qui leur arrive souvent, par- ever this writer says " the Author 

tout oil cet^crivaindit TAuteur of Nature," the Encyclop^distes 

de la Nature," les Encyclop^distes always say '^ Nature." 

ne disent jamais que * La Na- Farewell, dear Sam : I can never 

ture.' sufficiently tell you how much I 

"Adieu, cher Sam : je ne pour- am more and more affectionately 

rai jamais vous dire assez com- attached to you. 
bien je vous suis de plus en plus 
tendrement attach^." 

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1783. THE RBV. JOHN R06ST. 203 

Adieu ; I make no apology for breaking off abruptly, 
since it is to procure you the pleasure of hearing from my 

Yours most affectionately, 
S. R. 

Letter XXIX. 

London, April 1, 1783. 

To compensate, my dear Roget, for having of late 
written to you so little upon politics, I propose that it 
shall be the principal subject of the present letter. The 
peace has by no means deprived me of materials ; on the 
contrary, it has rather increased them. To one who 
would acquire a knowledge of mankind, the political con- 
tests of this country offer much for reflection : unhappily 
the reflections they surest, at least to an Englishman, 
and therefore to you, my dear Roget, as well as to myself, 
must be of a very melancholy kind. 

The long-expected, and I will add the much-dreaded, 
administration of Lord North and Fox has not yet taken 
place, though five weeks have elapsed, since any of the 
late ministers, except Pitt» have acted as ministers, and 
this at a time when we are engaged in various negoti- 
ations of the greatest importance. What is the true cause 
of this delayjl cannot inform you : some impute it to the 
averseness which the king entertains to the appointing of 
an administration so profligate ; others to the same dispo- 
-^ition in the Chancellor, and the influence he has over his 
lajesty. The week before last, Mr. Coke gave notice in 
ic House of Commons that, if an administration was not 
•rmed before the following Friday (March 21), he 
-hould move for an address to the king upon the subject 
When the day came he was informed that the new Minis- 
try was settled. The Duke of Portland had arranged it, 
and it was (according to a list which appeared the next 
day in the newspapers) as follows : — ^The Duke himself, 
First Lord of the Treasury ; Lord John Cavendish, Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer ; Lord North and Mr. Fox, Secre- 

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204 LETTERS TO April. 

taries of State ; Lord Keppel, First Lord of the Admiralty ; 
Lord Stormont, President of the Council ; Lord Carlisle, 
Lord Privy Seal. In a day or two, however, the project 
of this new Administration was laid aside ; owing, as is pre- 
tended, to the king's having insisted upon having a list of 
the names of the persons who were to fill all the inferior 
departments before he would make any appointment, and 
the Duke of Portland and his party having absolutely 
refused to comply with that requisition. 

On the following Monday, Mr. Coke made his.promised 
motion for an address to the king, praying that he would 
be graciously pleased to form an administration entitled to 
the confidence of the people, and such as might have a tend- 
ency to put an end to the unfortunate divisions and dis- 
tractions of this country. The motion was carried without 
a division, but not without debate ; in which Fox inveighed 
against the Chancellor, once his boasted friend and the 
subject of his panegyrics. He insisted upon the necessity, 
in order to our salvation from the dangers which threatened 
us, of an union of all parties, and of a general amnesty of 
all animosities and ancient prejudices. Divisions and oppo- 
sition, according to him. would prove the destruction of 
the country : he would have it so, if possible, that there 
should be no difference of opinion in the nation ; and to 
attain that desirable end of unanimity, he wo\ild consent 
to unite even with the Shelburne party, as well as with 
that of Lord North. That if any men could suppose that, 
in times so critical as the present, he, and those who acted 
with him, were actuated merely by motives of private in- 
terest, he would not condescend to remove their suspicions. 
Lord North was upbraided by some of his former friends 
with having abandoned them, and with having disgrace- 
fully made, not a coalition with Fox, but an humble submis- 
sion to him ; with having consented to accept a subordinate 
office, and to form part of a Cabinet in which there would 
always be a majority against him. Lord North treated 
these reproaches as the mere eif'ects of disappointment in 
those who saw that, having less power and authority in the 
intended administration than he had when he was in 
office before, he wotdd be less able to serve them. Mr. 

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1783. THE REV. JOHN ROGET. 205 

Pitt treated the offer of a coalition held out to him by Fox 
with all the scorn which it deserved : " He never would 
consent to call the abandonment of former principles a 
forgetting of ancient prejudices ; nor would he be, by any 
consideration, induced to pass an amnesty upon measures 
which had brought his country almost to the verge of ruin ; 
but he saw that his system of politics differed from that of 
his contemporaries, and he felt that his principles and his 
temper were not calcidated for the times in which he 
lived." Since this debate it has been much reported that 
an administration will be formed from which both Fox and 
Lord North will be excluded, but to this I give no credit ; 
and the only hope with which I endeavour to console myself 
is, that such an administration cannot be of long duration, 
but must soon be put an end to, either by disputes among its 
own members, or by majorities of the House of Commons 
declaring against them ; though, after what we have seen, 
we can hope for little good from the House of Commons, 
Fox seems already to have lost all his popularity ; and it 
is almost a general wish that some man of character and 
credit may be opposed to him as a candidate for West- 
minster at the election which his acceptance of a place 
will render necessary. Lord North has lost still more in 
the public estimation. Wonderful as it may seem, it is 
certain that he was growing into a kind of popularity. 
The tranquillity in which he was left by his successors 
after the loud threats which had been heard of parliament- 
ary inquiries and impeachment, was considered by many 
as a complete triumph over his enemies, and an unanswer- 
able proof of his innocence ; though certainly there are 
other more plausible ways of accounting for ministers 
avoiding to bring into precedent the instituting of rigorous 
inquiries into the conduct of their predecessors. 

April 11.— You see, my dear Roget, that till this mo- 
ment I have not been able to find an opportunity to finish 
my letter. Since my being interrupted in it, the new 
administration has been appointed ; it is exactly the same 
as that which I have already mentioned had been pro- 
posed by the Duke of Portland, with the addition of the 
following appointments :— Burke is Paymaster of the 

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206 LETTERS TO May, 

Forces ; the other Lords of the Treasury are Sir G-rey 
Cooper of the North party, Mr. Montagu and Lord 
Surrey of the Whig party. Colonel North is to be the 
secretary to his father, and Lord North is to be cre- 
ated a Peer. The Lord Chancellor has resigned, and the 
Great Seal is to be put in commission ; the Lords Com- 
missioners to be Lord Loughborough, formerly Wedder- 
burn (the man whom Fox has repeatedly charged with 
being the immediate author of the American war), and 
two other judges. Last Monday Fox was re-elected for 
Westminster, because no person opposed him. The po- 
pulace received him with hisses, hooting, and every other 
mark of displeasure ; he attempted to speak to them seve- 
ral times, but to no purpose ; they were resolved not to 
hear him. Byng and Lord Surrey, Fox's great friends* 
and men who were once very popular, endeavoured to 
harangue the people, but all in vain ; the people would 
listen to none of them. At last Fox was proposed, and of 
mere necessity elected ; afterwards he with difficulty ob- 
tained an audience from the people, and the very short 
speech he made was frequently interrupted by the hisaes 
of his hearers. 

Pray, when you write to Dumont, make my excuses for 
not answering the letter which M. Mercier brought me. 
I had intended to have written by Lecointe, but he went 
sooner than I expected. 

S. R. 

Letter XXX. 

My dear Roget, London, May 9, 1783. 

I was in hopes I should have been able to give you a 
good account of a debate which took place the day before 
yesterday in the House of Commons, upon a motion of 
Mr. Pitt for a more equal representation in Parliament ; 
but, though I was at the house by twelve o'clock, I could 
not gain admittance, the gallery having been quite full 
at a little after eleven, and three times as many as it would 
hold obliged to come away. One might imagine, from this 

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1783. THB REV. JOHN ROOET. 207 

crowding, that a great many persons took concern in the 
fate of their country ; hut the truth is, that it was the 
eloquence of Mr. Pitt, and not the suhject on which it was 
to he employed, that excited people s curiosity : and, no 
douht, the reflection which his speech produced in the 
minds of many of his hearers was not unlike that which 
the usurer makes upon the preacher in the Diable Boi' 
teuXy ** II a hien fait son m6tier ; aliens faire ]e ndtre.*' 

We have lately had a very convincing proof that laws 
which contradict and (if I may so express myself) do vio- 
lence to the general sentiments of a nation, never can he 
executed. Two officers quarrelled ahout a gaming deht ; 
they did not fight till six months afterwards, when a duel 
ensued. One of the officers was shot through the lungs, 
and, though he could with difficulty stand, he insisted 
upon firing ; he did so, and killed his adversary. The 
law is express that to kill a man in a duel is murder. 
The coroner ^s inquest, however, which sat upon the hody 
of the person killed, refused to hring in a verdict of ' 
murder ; and the hody was huried in Westminster Abhey, 
attended by the choir, and with a kind of mDitary pomp. 
A few days afterwards the other officer died. 

I have just got the newspaper with the account of the 
debate upon Mr. Pitt's motion. The motion was, that the 
House should come to the three following resolutions : — 
1. That it was the opinion of the House that measures 
were highly necessary to he taken to prevent bribery and 
corruption at future elections for Parliament. 2. That, in 
future, when the majority of voters for any borough 
should be convicted of gross and notorious corruption 
before a committee of that House, such borough should 
be disfranchised, and the minority of voters not so con- 
victed should be entitled to vote for the county in which 
such borough should be situated. 3. That an addition of 
knights of the shire and of representatives of the metropolis 
should be made to the representative body. In his speech 
he said that the addition he would propose should be 
of about 100 members. He spoke of a perfectly equal re- 
presentation as a wild Utopian scheme which never could 
be realized, and gave as a reason for not proposing to 

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208 LBTTBBS TO May, 

strike off the corrupt boroughs and those which are the 
patrimony of particular families, that it would be an unjust 
and unwarrantable invasion of private property. This is 
a kind of argument which, I confess, has no great weight 
with me ; for I think the laws are not bound to protect 
men in the possession of such pecuniary advantages as 
they ought never to have obtained. If a man's having a 
pecimiary interest in a thing, no matter how acquired, is 
sufficient to make his property in it sacred, then may the 
laws become a shield to every species of fraud, iniquity, 
and immorality. The motion was lost (as you will, no 
doubt, have expected) by a majority of 293 against 149. 
Fox strenuously defended the motion ; Lord North as 
warmly opposed it. Burke rose to speak ; but it was late, 
and a great many members, dreading the length of his 
oration, quitted the house at the very same moment, 
which so much offended him that he sat down without 
speaking : this has happened to him more than once. 

I am much obliged to you for giving me your senti- 
ments on the question whether any crime ought to be 
punished with death.^ The objection you make to the 

^ The passage which follows contains the opinions referred to in 
the text. — Ed. 

Je crois, comme vous, que les I believe, with you, that the 
argumens de M. Sinrin pour arguments of M . Sirvin against 
combattre la peine de mort sont the punishment of death are, to say 
tout au moins contestables. En the least, open to discussion, 
voici un qui me semble avoir There is one which seems to me 
plus de force : peut-etre n*est-il to have more force ; perhaps it is 
qu'une reminiscence de ce que j'ai but a recollection of what I have 
lu autrefois dans Beccaria. Quel formerly read in Beccaria. 
est le but des peines? Ce but, What is the end of punishment? 
tous en conviennent, est, d un The end, as all admit, is, on the 
cot6, de mettre la soci^t^ II Tabri one hand, to protect society from 
des outrages du m^chant qui la the outrages of the bad man who 
trouble ; de I'autre, de retenir, disturbs it ; on the other, to re- 
par Texemple des suites funestes strain, by the example of the 
<le la violation des lois, ceux qui fatal consequences of the violation 
seraient enclins k ne les pas re- of the laws, those who would be 
specter. Mais non seulement on inclined not to respect them, 
peut obtenir ce double but sans But not only may this twofold 
avoir recourse la peine de mort — end be attained without having 
on peut I'obtenir encore plussfire recourse to the punishment of 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 




punishment of death, fouuded on the errors of human tri- 
bunals and the impossibility of having absolute demon- 
stration of the guilt of a criminal, strikes me more forcibly 

ment et avec moins de danger ; 

done, la peine de mort est in- 

jmte, puisqu'elle est inutile. Vous 

auiez pu voir dans le discours 

de Sirvin bien des raisons en 

faTeur de Tesclavage, substi- 

ttt£ k la mort. Permettez-moi 

d^y en ajouter une nouvelle, qui 

me frappe singulierement, et que 

je suis bien surpris de n'avoir lu 

nuUepart. L*erreur des hommes 

est trop connue pour qu*on puisse 

la r^voquer en doute. Les pr£- 

jug^ les passions, I'int^rSt, I'au- 

torit6, de malheureuses circon- 

stances, tout pent nous ^garer. Les 

lumieres les plus ^tendues, le 

travail le plus constant, lattention 

la plus soutenue, les intentions 

les plus droites, ne les mettent 

pas m^me i labri de I'erreur. 

Un juge, quelqu'il soit, est 

homme: lI peut se tromper; il 

peut Stre tromp6; et lorsqu'un 

innocent a £t6 envoy 6 au supplice, 

qnelles ressources lui restent-il f La 

douleur, lesremords, les regrets, 

et Pafireuse certitude de ne pou- 

Yoir r^parer les suites funestes 

d'une si cruelle erreur. Mais 

s'il vit encore, avec quel empresse- 

ment un juge malheureux, mais 

honnSte, tromp^, mais non pas 

coupable, ne volera-t-il pas vers 

luif Avec quelle joie il dk- 

tacherases liens, commeileffacera 

par ses larmes les cicatrices des 

fers qui auront li^s des mains 

innocentes ! La soci^t^, pour la- 

quelle, et au nom de laquelle, il 

aura 6fk condamn^, s'empressera 

i r^parer ses torts ; et Tinnocence 

opprim^e et g^missante pouira 

esp6rer d* voir une foislejour 

VOL. I. 

death — it may be attained still 
more surely and with less danger ; 
if so, the punishment of death is 
unjust, since it is useless. You 
may have seen in Sirvin's dis- 
course many reasons in favour of 
slavery as a substitute for death. 
Let me add a new one, which 
strikes me as having singular 
force, and which I am muchsur* 
prised never to have met with. 
Human error is too well known 
to be questioned. Prejudice, 
passion, interest, power, unfortu- 
nate circumstances, all may lead 
us astray. Knowledge the most 
extensive, labour the most perse- 
vering, attention the most continu- 
ous, intentions the most upright, 
are no safeguards against error. 
A judge, whatever he may be, is 
still a man : he may deceive him- 
self; he may be deceived ; and 
after an innocent person has been 
consigned to punishment, what is 
then his resource ? Grief, remorse, 
regret, and the horrible certainty 
of being unable to repair the fatal 
consequences of so grievous a mi»- 
take. But if he still lives, with 
what eagerness will not a judge, 
unfortunate but upright, mistaken 
but not guilty, nasten to him I 
With what joy will he not loosen 
his bonds, and obliterate by his 
tears the marks of the iron which 
bound his guiltless hands ! Soci- 
ety, for whom, and in whose name, 
he will have been condemned, will 
hasten to repair the mischief done, 
and innocence crushed and bro- 
ken-hearted may hope at last to 
see the happy day of her triumph. 
But in the present times, with 

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210 LETTERS TO May, 

than any argument I have ever hefore heard on the same 
side of the question. I confess, however, that to myself 
it seems ahsolutely impossihle, even if it were to he wished 
(of which I am not quite sure), to omit death in the cata- 
logue of human punishments ; for if the criminal will not 
Buhmit to the punishment inflicted on him, if he escapes 
from his prison, refuses to perform the lahour prescribed 

heureux de son triomphe. Mus our legislation as it is, their me- 
aujourd'hui,dansnotreUgislation mory is restored, their wretched 
actuelle, on r^habilite leur m6- families are slightly and sadly 
moire, on donne ^ leurs families indemnified ; and yet they have 
infortun^es de Ug^res, de tristes not the less perished on the 
d^dommagemens; et ilsn'ont pas wheel or the scaffold ; they have 
moins expir6 sur la roue, ou sur not the less drunk to its dregs, 
r^chaffaud : ils n'ont pas moins and for ever, the bitter cup 
bfl jusqu*a la lie, et sans retour, of opprobrium and ignominy, 
le caliceamer de Vopprobre etde Nor do I conceal from myself ^e 
rignominie. Je ne me dissimule objections. It may be answered, 
pas non plus les objections. On that there is more cruelty in end- 
pent rdpondre qu'il y a plus de less slavery than in the punish- 
cruaut6 dans im 6temel esclavage ment of death. One may expa- 
que dans la peine de mort. On tiate too on the abuses attached 
pent 8*6tendre encore sur les abus to slavery ; abuses on the pEirt of 
attaches a la servitude; abus inferiors without pity for the 
commis par des subaltemes sans wretched being confided almost 
entrailles sur des malheureux blindfold to their care. It is 
confi^s presqu'aveuglement H more humane, in fact; for once to 
leurs soins. C*est plus humain, lavish blood than inflict stripes 
en effet, de prodiguer une fois le and bad treatment for years and 
sang, que les coups et les mauvais years. The higher officers cannot 
traitemens pendant de longues enter into all the details of the 
ann^es. Les sup6rieurs ne management of the unfortunate 

Seuvent d^scendre dans tons les prisoner, often at a distance from 
6tails du regime de Tinfortun^ the capital whence their sentence 
captif, souvent 61oign6 de la capi- came. It depends upon a gaoler to 
tale d'oii sort leur sentence. II 06- destroy all proportion in punish- 
pend d'un geolier de d^truire ment. The complaisant and 
toute proportion de peine. Le servile culprit will know how to 
sc^Urat complaisant et bas saura conciliate his good-will; while 
captiver sa bienveillance ; tandis his ill-humour, his passions, his 
que sa mauvaise humeur, ses cruelty, may exert themselves on 
passions, sacruaut^pourronts'ex- a less grovelling prisoner, &c. 
ercer sur un captif moins rampant. This remark staggers me to that 
&c. Cette observation m'6branle degree as to leave me almost un* 
au point de me laisser presqu'in- decided. Be yourself the judg^e 
d6cis. Soyezvous-mSmele juge of my reasons, and try to relieve 
de mes raisons, et tachez de me me from my doubts, 
tirer de mon incertitude. 

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1783. THE BEV. JOHN EOGET. 211 

to him, or commits new crimes, he must, at last, be 
punished with death. So it is, at least, in the Utopia of 
Sir Thomas More ; and it is a very melancholy reflection, 
that some of the miserable victims of that excellent phi- 
losopher's compassion might, if his visions had ever been 
realized, have suffered years of miserable servitude in 
addition to the punishment of death, which would at 
last be inflicted on them as the consequence of crimes 
which they had been provoked to commit. One reason 
why I cannot think that death ought so carefully to be 
avoided among human punishments is, that I do not think 
death the greatest of evils. Beccaria and his disciples 
confess that it is not, and recommend other punishments 
as being more severe and effectual, forgetting, undoubt- 
edly, that, if human tribunals have a right to inflict a se- 
verer punishment than death, they must have a right to 
inflict death itself. 

You will not, I hope, conclude from all this that I am 
perfectly satisfied with the penal codes that now subsist in 
Europe, and particularly with that in my own country, 
where theft (pilfering it should rather be called), forgery, 
and every description of the Crimen fain, ai-e punished 
with death. The laws of our country may indeed be said 
to be written in blood ; and we may almost apply to our- 
selves the words of Montaigne, " II n'est si homme de 
bien qu'il mette k Texamen des loix toutes ses actions et 
pens6es, qui ne soit pendable dix fois en sa vie." 

Since you mentioned Locke on Education, I have read 
it. I have lent it, too, to Roustan, who exclaims with 
Madame Genlis against the injustice of Rousseau, and 
wonders how he could dare to call his subject new after 
Locke's treatise. But what there is in common between 
the moral system of the one and the other, I leave you to 
judge, when Locke, according to his manner of education, 
woul4 have curiosity in a child cultivated and encouraged, 
and all his questions answered to his understanding; 
would have the idea of God very early impressed on his 
mind, and have him taught to pray soon after he could 
speak ; would have a disposition to generosity encouraged 
in a child by making him sensible that it is his interest to 

p 2 

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212 LETTERS TO May, 

be generouB) and by taking care that more shall always be 
repaid him than he has given away ; would have him sti- 
mulated to learning, by giving him dominion over his 
younger brothers and sisters, and making him their in- 
structor ; and when he relies so much upon the article of 
good -breeding, and repeats his instructions upon it so 
often, that he seems to have more remembered that he was 
educating a gentleman than a man. Rousseau was in- 
finitely better acquainted with his subject than Locke ; 
that is, with the dispositions, passions, capacity, and intel- 
ligence of children. Nevertheless, I admit that Rousseau 
owes a great part of his book to Locke ; inasmuch as Locke 
directed the attention of Rousseau to objects which he 
.1 might otherwise have overlooked, and that to some errors 
' in Locke we owe some tniths in Rousseau. The book is 
well written ; not indeed with the elegance of an Addison, 
but with an energy of which Addison was incapable, par- 
ticularly in those passages where the author inveighs 
against pubUc schools, as seminaries of every pernicious 
principle, and where he reproaches the generality of 
parents with inculcating every vice in the tender minds of 
their children, not indirectly and by example only, but 
directly and by way of precept. 

You have perfectly reconciled me to your plan of 
returning to England, and I now not only consent to 
it, but earnestly solicit its execution. Indeed, you do 
not know how painfully J resisted my own inclinations, 
when, alarmed, though perhaps unreasonably, for your 
health, I started objections to your scheme. But one 
short truth will best show it. Of all my life, that short 
period which elapsed between your marriage and your 
being taken ill was infinitely the most happy. Let me 
then renew that happiness. Nor is it for my pleasure 
alone, but for a much better purpose, that I wish you 
were again in England. I have often lamented your ab- 
sence, as depriving me of a very considerable assistance 
in my studies ; but you are now to render me a more im- 
portant assistance. I am soon to enter on a career which 
possibly (though 1 grant not very probably) may placse 
me in important and critical situations, which will cer- 

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1783. MRS. ROGET. 213 

tainly give me partial and selfish interests, incompatible 
with the good of others, and which will throw me amidst 
mankind, and condemn me to hear the profession of dis- 
honourable sentiments without opposing them, and to be^ 
a near spectator of selfish and degrading conduct without 
discovering any detestation of it. It will in part depend 
on you to save me from the contagion of such examples ; 
for though my heart still recoils from them with an an- 
tipathy that seems quite insurmountable, I have I know 
not what kind of terror, which I cannot overcome, of the 
force of habit, of perpetual temptations, of being fami- 
liarized with a contempt for virtue, and, above all, of 
an habitual attachment to the miserable gold which one 
earns. The best shield against these is, I am convinced , 
the society and conversation of such a friend as yourself, 
whom one may consider as the pledge and deposit of all 
the sacred engagements which one has taken with God, 
oneself, and one's fellow- creatures. This very letter is 
some proof of what I say, for to whom should I venture 
to write thus but to yourself? 

Adieu ! Be assured of the sincere and invariable af- 
fection of your warmest friend and brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter XXXI. 

My dear Sister, London, June 10, 1783. 

I should not at this moment sit down to write to you 
if I thought it would add to your misfortunes ^ to hear how 
much I share them ; but, judging of you by myself, I do 
not fear increasing your grief. It were to no pmpose not 
to speak of our affliction ; it cannot but be always before 
■us, nor can we wish it were not. What a loss I suffer, 
and how ill I am able to bear it, you know but too well. 
You know whether I have an affectionate heart ; you 
know whether Roget did not, with yourself, engross 
almost all that affection. The anxiety for the health of our 
dearest friend, of which I never could divest myself, and 
the apprehension of the worst that could happen, which 

1 The death of Mr. Roget, which took place on the 23rd of May. 

Jigitized by Google 

214 LETTERS TO Jime, 

never quitted me when I had the least knowledge of his 
being ill, had made me suppose it impossible that any 
news from Lausanne could ever have surprised, how 
much soever it must afflict me. That news, however, 
which I had often formerly expected, and endeavoured to 
prepare myself to meet^ came upon me at last the most un- 
expectedly. I had heard indeed of your last letter, but I 
had not seen it, and the most alarming circumstances in 
it were concealed from me. 

Great as our loss is, my dear Kitty (and I presume to 
place my loss nearly on a level with yours, when I reflect 
that I have lost the best and dearest friend I ever had, a 
better and a dearer than I ever shall have again), still are 
we not without reason to be consoled, when we reflect that 
this great misfortune is ours alone, and reacthes not our 
dear friend. It is we who are deprived of the society and 
friendship of the tenderest, the most amiable, the most 
virtuous of men ; but our friend is happy, which in this 
life he never could have been ; he was too good, too tender, 
too affectionate, for this life. It could not but be a source 
of misery to him as long as there were men in it who 
were unjust, and others who were unfortunate. Dissolu- 
tion of life is not, in truth, a misfortune to any man who 
has lived well ; to him it must have been less so than to 
. any man I ever knew, for it' was always present to his 
mind, and his whole life was a preparation for it. He is 
now assuredly rewarded for his virtues by that Grod in 
whom he has always firmly believed, and he now partakes of 
that immortality for which he showed, by the whole tenor 
of his life, that he knew he was created. But I feel that, 
however little reason there may be for our tears, it is 
hardly in our power to prevent them ; and if we considered 
ourselves alone, what could we do better than indulge our 
sorrows to the utmost, and return, by our tears, the senti- 
ments of affection which he always did and still does enter- 
tain for us ? Bat it is in our power to make abetter return, 
and it is our duty to do it. It is the duty of both of us 
to guard, to instruct, and protect the children which he 
has bequeathed to us ; those dear children who have not 
lost, but only changed, their father. We know how much 

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17B3. MRS. BOGBT. 215 

our excellent friend had theirhappiness at heart ; we know 
what a parent they would have experienced in him ; and we 
will, my dear sister, take care that they shall not suffer 
by our misfortune, and that his fondest hopes shall not be 
disappointed. But to fulfil this sacred promise, it becomes 
US to take care that the excess of our grief do not put it 
out of our power to render them service. I entreat you 
then, my dear sister, not to indulge your grief, to be careful 
of your health, to think what would be the dreadful conse- 
quence of depriving your infants of that care and assistance 
which they have a right to expect from you. But it is 
not for your children alone, and for the memory of dear 
Roget, that you are bound to take the greatest care of 
your health, but for all your fond relations here in your 
native country ; those relations who have deeply felt all 
your misfortunes, who have hardly ever dared, since you 
left them, to indulge any joy, whose greatest pleasures 
have always been damped with the reflection that one of 
those who were entitled to partake them was absent Yes, 
indeed, my dear sister, you do owe us something. Hitherto 
your life has been most unfortunate; what remains of it 
you have the prospect of spending, not indeed joyfully, 
but unruffled with tears and anxieties, in a calm and 
pleasing melancholy. I have a thousand projects to men- 
tion to you ; but when I reflect that it will be a month 
before I can have an answer, I dare not mention one of 
them. Pray write to us immediately. I thought it im- 
possible anything could add to my affection for you ; but 
the more unfortunate you are, the more I feel myself to 
love, to esteem, and respect you. That God may protect 
you under your misfortunes is the constant prayer of your 
most affectionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter XXXII. 

My dear Sister, London, June 13,:i783. 

I could wish to be constantly with you, and, since 
that is impossible, at least to write to you every day ; but 

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216 LETTERS TO Jw^e, 

the post, unfortunately, goes from hence but twice a week. 
What a consoling reflection must it be to you to think 
how much your tenderness alleviated the misfortunes of 
our dear friend ! without you, how unhappy must have 
been the last years of his life I It is a comfort even 
to me to reflect that if he had never known me, he would 
have been less happy than he was. Though his friend- 
ship has been to me a source of infinite uneasiness and 
affliction, I thank God that I was blessed with it ; his 
life was happier, and mine, I am sure, will be better for 
it. I do not seek to divert my attention from the cause 
of my sorrows. I know that to be a resource as vain 
and ineffectual as it is unworthy. I rather consider what 
is the amount of my loss, and examine what is real and 
what imaginary in the terrors of death. I know that my 
dear brother's virtues had made him invulnerable to its 
sting. I know that he is immortal, I know that he still 
lives ; and I carry the idea so far as to read over all his 
former letters. I think with myself he is still only in a 
foreign country, — we shall soon meet again ; not so soon, 
indeed, as we intended ; but what can be late that is cir- 
cumscribed by the limits of life, and what can be distant 
that lies no farther than the grave ? I reflect that my 
dear brother is now more present with me than ever, that 
he looks down upon me from Heaven, is the witness of 
all my actions, knows all that passes in my mind, and sees 
the sincerity of my affection for him ; that he will still be 
the guardian and director of my conduct ; and that, when- 
ever 1 am doubtful how to act, I will consider how he 
would have acted in such a situation, and I shall then be 
certain always to determine for what is just and virtuous. 
It is a pleasure to me to reflect that by this means his will 
be the merit of the laudable actions which I may per- 
form ; and that perhaps it will be part of those joys which 
are to reward his good works to contemplate their exten- 
sive effects, and to see the good fruits of the virtues which 
his friendship has inspired me with, and to behold his 
own virtues reviving again in his children, by the happy 
effects of that wise and judicious education which he had 
begun, and which he has taught you how to perfect. I 

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1783. MRS. ROGET. 217 

do not exhort you, my dear sister, lo dismiss all sad re- 
flections, but rather to turn them to another object — to 
think of your friends in this country, to think how your 
return among them will revive and cheer them. Think 
of our dear parents, and comfort them in their old age. 
Think of your sweet children, and bring them amongst 
protectors who are anxious to devote themselves to their 
care and service. When, my dear Kitty, will you set out 
upon your journey hither ? To perform it alone must 
be painful ; I will come to bear you company. I will 
be with you by the end of July, or sooner if you desire it» 
though it would be inconvenient to me. All the months 
of August, September, and October shall be devoted 
wholly to your service. If you choose, we will return to 
London immediately ; or, if you prefer it, I will stay with 
you for some time at Lausanne, or any other place, till the 
hottest weather has passed over. Above all things, let me 
entreat you to be careful of your health, think of your 
children, and remember that at their age the loss of a 
mother is much greater than of a father ; think what en- 
dearing duties you have to discharge. We shall certainly 
join our dear friend again soon, (for what are a few years, 
what is a whole life, compared to that eternity which we 
shall pass with him ?) but let us endeavour, first, to have 
done all that we know will afford him pleasure, and not 
to leave unperformed those offices for which he would 
chiefly have desired to live. In the midst of our afflic- 
tion, and under the hard lot which has befallen us, we will 
find out serious, nay melancholy pleasures, which might 
be envied by those who seem more the favourites of for- 
tune. Once more let me entreat you to be careful of your 
health, and not to cause another affliction to your dearest 
friends, greater than they will be able to bear, — at least, 
if I may judge of their hearts by that of your most affec- 
tionate brother, 

Saml. Romilly. 

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Letter XXXIII. 

My good Friend, P*™' September, 1783. 

Since you left me, I have not known what in the 
world to do with myself. The first morning I verily 
believe I should have been tempted to throw myself into 
the Seine, had I not, luckDy, met with an acquaintance, 

' The following accoiuit of Mr. Baynes is extracted from a letter 
of Dr. Parr, dated March 2, 1820. See ante, p. 48. 

"John Baynes was born at Skipton, in Yorkshire, where his fatibcv 
was a prosperous attorney. He was a member of Trinity College ; 
and, at a tmie of life unusually early, he gained the highest, or 
nearly the highest, honours, mathematical and classical. He had 
great ardour of mind, great singleness of heart, great variety of re- 
search. He was an antiquary as well as a scholar. He waa for a 
time suspected of having written the celebrated Epistle to Sir Wil- 
liam Chambers : he disclaimed the authorship, but confessed that 
he superintended the press. He had a very fine, commanding person, 
the tones of his voice were impressive, his dress was at all times be- 
coming, his manners were unaffected, and yet dignified. He was noir 
and then fond of paradoxes, and would defend fhem resolutely, 
when they had aU the properties of improbability and even al>- 
surdity. He was a steady advocate for civil and religious liberty. 

'* John Baynes was perhaps the most intimate fnend Sir S. Ro« 
milly had in early life; and in consequence of their connexion, my 
own acquaintance at Warwick with Sir Samuel hegan at some 
assizes or sessions. Sir Samuel spoke of him with sSOfection and 
admiration ; and doubtless, if he had lived, he would have been a 
bright luminary in the literature and politics of England. He hacL 
not yet been called to the bar, but practised at Gray's Inn, 1 believe 
as a conveyancer. He died, to iny sorrow, of a fever; and his re- 
signation at the approach of death was worthy of his intellectoal, 
moral, and religious excellences. I wrote his epitaph in Latin.^* 

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who was at the Hdtel d^Espagne in the next street, at the 
Caf(6 Conti. I called on M . RomDly, * and was very sorry 
to find Madame Romilly was very ill ; so I did not stay, 
but promised to call the next day, which I did, and saw 
her much better, but he was not at home. The next 
morning I called at Passy, but Dr. Franklin was gone to 
Paris. I set off for Poutoise, and arrived there on Wed- 
nesday. I was much taken with the look of the place ; 
the bridge, the river Oise, the rising ground on which it 
stands, made me very much in love with it; — ^began a 
copy of verses on the place. The next day I went to see 
the convents, and to make inquiries about a preceptor* 
but the devil a preceptor could I find; did not like 
Pontoise quite so well. The third day, not meeting with 
any better success, I thought Pontoise a most horrible 
place indeed ;— burnt my verses, and set off for Paris 
again, where I now am chez M . Villars. 

I went this morning to the Chambre du Parlement, 
where I understood rather more than I had done before. 
The subject of the cause was a suit between the sheriflfe 
of a neighbouring town and the bakers, for enhancing 
the price of bread. But (would you believe it?) the 
" avocats du Parlement de Paris " are as arrant squabblers 
as any of our King's Bench practitioners. I was not a 
little diverted with the dispute between a little dapper 
avocat with his own hair, and a great tall man in an 
enormous wig, both concerned in this cause: the tall 
man seemed to rely much on the prosecution being at 
the suit de la ville; "Ah," said the other, " on sait fort 
bien ce que c'est que la ville ; ce n'est que deux ou trois 
officiers de la ville.'' 

I have half read through M . Henault.' It is certauily 
a very useful book, and by a learned man ; but he has 
two faults: 1. His principles of toleration in religion, 
and his ideas of government, are both very bad. 2. He is 
perpetually making very foolish and childish observa- 
tions, qui ne prouvent rien, as he says himself. Pray tell 
me if you are not of the same opinion. His observations 

J See ante, p. 47. 
* Probably Abr^g^ Chnmoiogique de PHutoirt de France, 

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220 LETTEBS FROM 1785. 

on the progress of customs, laws, manners, &c., are 
excellent, and show him to have been a great antiquarian 
in that particular line. 

I saw St. Denis's church, a fine light building (I speak 
of the inside), the roof unornamented, the windows won- 
derfully rich and (ut ita dicam) frequent, the church 
being surrounded with windows which have hardly any 
space between them. The ornaments on the gate are 
very curious, being as old as Charlemagne. The lightness 
of the columns and windows pleased me much. This 
morning I went to see the Duchess of La Vallidre at the 
Carmelites. Oh I I had. almost forgot to tell you that, 
on Tuesday, I went to see the Due de la Vallidre's library, 
which, for the number of rare and fine books, is well 
worth the trouble. I never saw such a magnificent col- 
lection for an individual; there are some volumes of 
drawings and paintings which I should think invaluable, 
immense numbers of ancient romances, printed and 
manuscript, and a fine collection of the first printed 
books, all in excellent condition. 

Pray tell me if you have already written to Pontoise. - 
Write immediately ; be full, explicit, nay, even be tedious ; 
have no mercy on me. 

Yours ever sincerely, 


Letter XXXIV. 

Mon Ami, [Londres,] Ce Jeudi [1785]. 

Je ne voulais plus vous 6crire que je n'eusse une 
r^ponse de vous qui me dit que ce n'est pas par simple 

Letter XXXIV. 

London, Thursday, 1785. 
I had resolved, my dear friend, not to write to you again until 
I had had an answer from you, telling me that you did something 

' Mr. Romilly became acquainted with Mirabeau in 1784. See 
ante, p. 67. This letter refers to the work on The Order of 
Cincinnatut, by Mirabeau, which Mr. Romilly was translating. 
The translation was published by J. Johnson, 
St. Paul's Churchyard, in 1785. 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 221 

tolerance que vous souiFrez mon amitie et mes bavardages. 
L'extrait ci-joint d'une lettre de Franklin me force k un 
billet d'envoi. J'ai fait toutes les d-marches n^cessaires 
chez Johnson, pour remplir ses voeux de ce cbi6: du 
vdtre, je vous demande un avertissement bien fait dans 
le sens tr^s-sage oii il Tenvisage, et je vous prie d'y dire 
un mot de Touvrage, si vous trouvez que cela convienne. 
Adieu, mon ami, car je ne veux pas rompre mon voeu ; 
et, d'ailleurs, je suis tr^s-occup6, soit par Madame de 
* * *, k qui il faut force instructions, soit par Parrange- 
ment et le triage de mes papiers, que je fais avec autant 
d'exactitude que si j'allais me noyer. Vous trouverez ces 
deux rapprochemens de Madame de ♦ * ♦ etdelaTamise 
trfis-disparates ; et cela vous rappellera peut-Stre ce tem- 
ple, consacr6 k V^nus et aux Graces, dont parle Plu- 
tarque, sur le frontispice duquel 6taient Merits ces mots, 
** II faut mourir;" et cela vaut bien le " Libertas " de la 
prison de Venise. Quoiqu'il en soit, soyez tranquille, 
mon ami ; je ne me noyerai pas avant de vous avoir 
embrass6 encore une fois. Peut-6tre, conviendrait-il i 
un homme d'un aussi grand et beau talent que vous, qui 
daigne traduire, de traiter, dans un discours pr^liminaire, 
le beau sujet de Tinfluence du bonheur de TAm^rique 

more than mei'ely tolerate my frieDdship and my idle talk ; but 
the enclosed letter from Franklin obliges me to send to you. I 
haye taken all the necessary steps with Johnson to fulfil his wishes 
on that side. From you I hope to receive a good introduction, in 
accordance with the very sensible view of the subject taken by him ; 
and I beg of you to insert in it a word or two about the work itself, 
if you think it right to do so. Farewell, my friend, for I will not 
break my vow; and besides, I am much engaged, partly with 
Madame de * * *, who requires a good deal of instruction, and 
partly with the arranging and selecting of my papers, which I am 
doing with as much care as if I were going to drown myself. You 
will think the ideas of Madame de * * * and the Thames very in- 
congruous : and this will perhaps remind you of that temple, sacred 
to Venus and the Graces, of which Plutarch speaks, upon the front 
of which were these words — " We must die;^* a motto which is at 
least as good as the " Liberia s^^ of the prison of Venice. Be that 
as it may, do not be alarmed, my friend ; I shall not drown myself 
before I have shaken hands with you once more. Perhaps it might 
suit a man of talents as great and noble as yours, who condescends 
to translate, to treat in a preliminary discourse that noble subject of 
the influence of the happiness of America upon the rest of the world^ 

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222 LETTERS FROM Maieh, 

BUT le reste du monde, ce qui vous ferait passer aupr^ de 
la locality de Maty.* Quoiqu'il en soit, envoyez-nous un 
avertissement, si non mieux. 

Letter XXXV. 

M on cher Romilly, [Londres. ce l Man, 1785.3 

Vous me quittez aujourd'hui ; et Tamie qui fait le 
bonheuT de ma vie me quitte demain ; ce concours de 
circonstances p^nibles m*a fait sentir encore mieux 
combien je vous aime tons deux, et combien Thabitude 
est un lien 6troit pour les bons coeurs. 

** Quel siecle jiuqu'au soir ; il mesure des yeux 
Le tour que le soleil doit faire dans les cieuz : 
II faut que sur ces monts ce grand astre renaisse, 
S'61eve leDtement et lentement s^abaiue.^* 

C'est un trds-mauvais poete qui a fait ces quatre beaux 
vers, et la m^moire de Tamie me les rappelle au moment 
du veuvage. Eh I mon Dieu I nous vivons un jour : faut- 

which would place you near the locaiity of Maty.* At all events, 
send us an introduction, if nothing better. 

Letter XXXV. 

My dear Romilly, London, March 1, 1785. 

You leave me to-day, and she who makes the happiness of my 
life leaves me to-morrow ; this concurrence of painful circumstances 
makes me feel still more forcibly how much I am attached to yoa 
both, and how closely habit binds together affectionate hearts. 

" Quel siScle jusqu^au soir ; il mesure des yeux 
Le tour que le soleil doit faire dans les cieux : 
II faut que sur ces monts ce grand astre renaisse, 
S eUve ient«ment et lentement s'abaisse." 

These four fine lines were written by a very bad poet, and the 
recollection of my friend brings them to my mind at the moment 
of separation. Alas! we live but for a day! Shall we then curtail 

^ Henry Maty, the editor of a monthly Review, the first number 
of which appeared in February, 1782. 

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1785. MIBABE^U, ETC. 223 

il xnutiler cette frSle journfe par des privations de notre 
choix? des privations volontaires? £t quels sont done 
088 tristes intSrSts d'invention humaine pour lesquels cet 
^tre, si passager, malheureux par lui, par les choses, par 
«es semblables, cet 8tre qu'on appelle homme, aggrave 
encore ses peines et diminue ses jouissances? En v6rit6, 
cette pens6e abat quelquefois mon s^me, au point de m'dter 
toute faculty d'^crire et de m'occuper. 

Ufutheureux! disais-je un jour en parlant de Fon- 
tenelle. Ce mot» qui devrait retentir avec tant de joie 
dans les dmes honn^tes, k peine on ose le prononcer : la 
haine et Tenvie ont toujours reproch^ son bonheur 4 
Fontenelle ; elles lui ont fait un crime de n'avoir point 
attir6 sur lui la persecution des pr^jug^s de son silcle, 
de n'avoir indiqu^ qu'^L demi la v^rit^ qu'il voyait toute 
entidre ; de ne lui avoir 6te les voiles qui la cacbaient que 
pour lui en donner d'autres qui la d^robent; d' avoir 
montr^ le G6nie tremblant devant les Pr6jug6s^qui de- 
vaient trembler . devant lui. Quelle passion que Tenvie ! 
elle poursuit sans relSche Vhomme de g6nie, pour lui 
rendre tons les tourmens qu'elle en re^oit S'il fait en- 
tendre des plaintes, elle pretend qu'il s'avilit par la ven- 

this one precarious day by privations of our own choice — by volun- 
tary privations? And what, after all, are those pitiful objects of 
human invention, for the sake of which this short-lived being, un- 
happy in himself, imhappy by his fellow-creatures and in the cir- 
cumstances which surround him, this being, called Man, aggravates 
his sorrows and lessens his enjoyments t Indeed, this reflection at 
times so depresses my spirits, that it deprives me of all power of 
writing and of application. 

**He was happy," said I, one day, in speaking of Fontenelle. 
These words, which ought to find a joyful echo in every good breast, 
alas! one hardly ventures to utter them. Hatred and envy have 
ever made Fontenelle's happiness a cause of reproach to him. They 
made it a crime in him that he did not draw down upon himself 
persecution from the prejudices of his age ; that he showed to others 
only half of those truths of which he saw the whole; that he drew 
aside one veil from the image of truth, only to throw over it another ; 
that he exhibited Genius trembling before Prejudice, which ought 
to have trembled before him. What a passion is envy! without 
relaxation she pursues the man of genius, throwing back upon him 
all the torments she suffers at his hands. If he utter a complaint, 
ahe says that he is lowering himself by retaliation ; if he be silent, 

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224 LETTERS FfiOM lUrdt, 

geance ; s'il se tait, elle assure qu'il est insensible k rinjure ; 
si son Sme imp^rieuse attaque k d^couvert les erreors 
populaires, elle le peint comme un esprit s6ditieux, 
pour qui rien n est sacr6 ; si sa sagesse adoucit la verity 
pour ne pas Texpoter aux outrages de la multitude, elle 
I'accuse de Tavoir 6to\jS^e dans sa pens^, d'avoir saciifi6 
les droits ^ternels du genre humain a quelques jours de 
repos. Sans doute, il faut bien admirer ces dmes fortes 
et intr6pides qui annoncent la v^rit^ avec I'^clat et la 
majesty qu'elle a prise dans leur g^nie, et, apres la gloire 
de Tavoir d^couverte, veulent obtenir encore celle de 
souffi*ir, et, s'il le faut, de mourir pour elle. Je respecterai 
F6n61on 6crivant le " TSlimaque'* dans la cour de Louis 
XIV., et Thomas Morus publiant ** I' Utopie '* dans le palais 
de Henri VIII. Ces dmes sublimes consacrent les sidcles 
qui se sont d£sbonor6s en les pers^cutant. Mais en 
versant des larmes d'attendrissement et d'admiration sur 
ces d^vouemens h^roVques, on regrette que Tesprit humain 
n'en ait pas retir6 d'assez grands avantages. Mon ami, 
j'en viens k croire que Ton ne fait point triompher la 
v6rite en s'immolant pour elle. La persecution, qui 6tend 
les progrds de Terreur, arrSte ceux delaraison; etles 
philosophes ne se multiplient point, comme les fanatiques» 

hissileDce is insensibility to insult; if his uncompromising spirit 
lead him to make popular error the object of his undisguised attack, 
she paints him as a factious spirit, with whom nothing is sacred ; if 
his prudence soften truth, in order that it may not be exposed to the 
outrage of the multitude, she accuses him of having stifled it in its 
birth, and of having sacrificed the eternal rights of mankind to a 
few days of repose. Doubtless, we must admire those vigorous 
and intrepid spirits who proclaim truth in all the splendour and 
dignity with which their own genius has clothed her, and who, not 
satisfied with the glory of discovering her, aspire to that of suffering, 
and, if need be, of dying for her. I shall always respect F^n^lon 
writing " TeUmachut " in the court of Louis XIV., and Sir Thomas 
More publishing the *^ Utopia " in the palace of Henry VIII. These 
noble spirits haUow the age, which dishonoured itself by persecut- 
ing them. But while one sheds tears of pity and admiration at die 
thought of such heroical self-devotion, one regrets that the human 
mind should not have benefited by them as it ought. I come, my 
friend, to the conclusion, that to sacrifice oneself for truth is not 
he way to ensure its triumph. Persecution, which spreads the 
progress of error, arrests that of reason; and philosophers do not. 

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1786. MIRABEAU, ETC. 225 

dans I'exil, dans ]e8 prisons, et sous la hacfae des bourreaux. 
Peut-etre il y a eu des pays et des siScles oh la v6rit6 ]a 
plus hardie, presentee tout k coup k un peuple souverain, 
persuade k une multitude immense par I'ascendant de la 
parole, pouvait faire une revolution aussitdt qu*elle 6tait 
entendue ; et il 6tait beau de 8*immoler k cette esp6rance. 
Parmi nous, ce n'est qu'avec le temps que la v6rit6 pent 
vaincre les prejug^s ; il faut qu'elle r^gne non avec Teclat 
d'une nouvelle creation du g6nie, mais avec cette force 
invisible, de la raison g^n^rale, qui a severs^ les erreurs, 
sans qu'on ait entendu le bruit de leur chiite. 

Voili, mon cher Romilly, sous quels rapports ce Fon- 
tenelle, que j'ai si longtems m^pris^, peut-Stre parceque 
e'est de tons les hommes d'esprit celui dont la nature 
m'a fait le plus dissemblable : voila sous quels rapports 
Fontenelle me semble trds-remarquable. Fontenelle 
paratt voir dans la v6rit6 cette statue antique d'Isis, 
couverte de plusieurs voUes. II croit que chaque sidcle 
doit en lever un, et soulever seulement un autre pour le 
siecle suivant : il connatt les hommes et U les craint, non 
seulement parcequ'ils peuvent faire beaucoup de mal, 
mais parcequ'il est tr^s-difficile de leur faire du bien ; et 

like fanatics, multiply in exile, in prison and under the axe of the 
executioner. Perhaps there may have been a country and an age 
in which the boldest truth, announced on a sudden to a sovereig^i 
people, forced upon the attention of an immense multitude by all 
the powers of eloquence, might have given birth to a revolution at 
the very moment of its utterance; and it were noble to sacrifice 
oneself to such a hope as this. But in our days, time only can 
give to truth the victory over prejudice ; with us the reign of truth 
is not the dazzling sway of some new creation of genius, but it is 
the imperceptible influence of general intelligence, by which error 
18 overmrown without the sound of its fall being heard. 

This is the point of view, my dear Romilly, in which this Fon- 
tenelle, whom^I have so long despised, only perhaps because of all 
men of genius he is the one to whom nature has made me the most 
unlike, appears to me to be so remarkable. Truth seems in his 
eyes to be like that ancient statue of Isis which was covered with 
many veils. He thinks that every age should remove one veil, and 
only raise the next for the age which is to follow. He knows 
men, and he fears them, not only because they are capable of do- 
ing much harm, but because it is very difficult to do them any good : 
and he has found the means of doing them good by the practice of 

TOL. I. Q 

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226 LETTERS FROM March, 

il en a trouv^ les moyens dans un art qui n*aurait jamais 
€te, sans doute, celui d*un caractire plus ^nergique et 
plus imp6tueux, mais qui a fait servir sa timidit6 m^me 
et sa discretion k un grand progr^s de Tesprit philoso- 
phique. Tantot il se courbe un instant devant une erreur 
du siecle, et se releve de ce respect contraint en frappant 
en sa presence une erreur toute semblable qui a trompe 
toute I'antiquite. D'autrefois il met k c6t6 d'elle une 
v6rit6 qu'il semble lui sacrifier et lui soumettre, mais qui 
est sure de triompher, pourvu qu'on I'y laisse, meme a 
ce prix. Souvent il 6tale les pr^juges avec toutes leurs 
pretentions, et leur accorde mSme ce qu'ils refusent, pour 
ne pas paraitre trop absurdes. Dans les occasions o^ ils 
attendent un homms^e, il passe en silence, et ce silence 
est toujours place dans Tendroit oii on Tentend le mieux 
et oi\ il offense le moins ; quelquefois, au contraire, il se 
presse de parattre sans n6cessit6 soumis et ob6issant, et 
montre par la des tyrans injustes et soup9onneux dont il 
faut se d^fier. En g6n6ral, au lieu d'attaquer les erreurs 
les unes aprds les autres, il s'attache a d^voiler, k tarir 
dans I'esprit humain les sources d'oii elles naissent; il 
6claire et fortifie la raison qui doit les renverser toutes, et 

an art which would doubtless never have been the expedient of a 
more energetic and impetuous character, but which in him has 
made even timidity and discretion subservient to the progress of the 
spirit of philosophy. At one time he bows down for a moment 
before an error of his own age, and then, raising himself from this 
constrained attitude of respect, in its very presence he crushes an 
exactly similar error which has deluded all antiquity. At another 
time, he places by the side of error a truth which he appears to 
sacrifice and subject to her, but which is sure to be triumphsmt pro- 
vided only she be allowed to remain there, in spite of all risks. 
Often he parades prejudices in all their pretensions, and even grants 
them that which, from the fear of appearing too absurd, they do not 
claim. At those times, whea homage is expected from him, he is 
silent ; and this silence always occurs at a place where it will best 
be understood, and give least offence. Sometimes, on the other hand, 
he goes out of his way to appear unnecessarily submissive and 
obsequious, and by so doing shows that there are unjust and suspi- 
cious tyrants whom one must distrust. In general, instead of 
attacking errors one by one, he devotes himself to the task of dis- 
closing and drying up in the human mind the sources whence tiiey 
spring. He aims at giving new light and strength to that human 

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^^8^- MIRABEAU, ETC. 227 

par la leur suscite un ennemi Eternal : ainsi il les combat 
par ses respects, les d^tniit par ses hommages, les perce 
de toutes parts de traits dont elles n'ont das le droit de se 
plaindre, et quoiqu'elles aient toujours Foeil sur lui, 
comme sur rennemi le plus dangereux, il vit, il meurt 
en paix au milieu d'elles. 

N'en d^plaise a ma v6h6mence, mon cher ami, cette 
methode pourrait bien gtre la meilleure, et n'gtre pas 
moins estimable que la mienne, et certainement elle vaut 
mieux pour la tranquillity individuelle ; mais comme elle 
n'est pas et ne sera jamais k mon usage, je commence a 
ressentir un grand penchant pour la paresse, mgme celle 
de la pens^e: et surtout des regrets tr^s-vifs pour le 
temps que me consument le respect humain, Topinion 
phantastique des autres hommes, et les conventions 

Mais voil^ beaucoup de bavardage pour vos yeux, et 
peut-Stre pour votre esprit. Excusez-moi, mon Jher 
Romilly ; j'ai besoin de distractions, et j'en cherche au 
sein de votre amiti6, parcequ'elle m'est bien douce et bien 
ch^re. Fale, et me ama. 

Ce Mardi. 

reason which is destined to be the destroyer of them all, and by this 
raises up against them an everlasting enemy. Thus he attacks them 
by treating them with respect, he destroys them by doing them 
reverence, he pierces them on every side with shafts of which they 
have no right to complain ; and although they have always their 
eye upon him, as upon their most dangerous enemy, he lives he 
dies, in peace in the midst of them. ' 

Without any disparagement to my own impetuosity, this method 
may,' very possibly, my dear friend, be the best, and no less entitled 
ix> respect than mine, and, as far as personal ease is concerned, un- 
doubtedly it is the best ; but as it does not and never will suit my 
character, 1 begin to feel a great inclination for idleness, even that 
of mind, and above all a very lively regret for the time which human 
observances, the fantastical opinions of other men, and ^e conven- 
tions of society make me waste. 

But your eyes, if not your head, will have had enough of this gar- 
rulity. Excuse it, my dear Romilly ; I want something to divert my 
thoughts, and I seek for it in the bosom of your friendship, because 
it is very pleasmg and very dear to me. Fale, et me arna, 


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228 LETTERS FROM Maich, 

Letter XXXVI. 


LondreSt ee Vendredi,4 Mara, 1785. 

GrSces k Ilndicible dtourderie de Baynes, dont je n'ai 
jamais vu T^gal dans un homme aussi sage et aussi 
studieux, vous avez k peine ma premiere lettre, mon bon 
ami, ou vous ne I'avez pas, et je suis cependant tr^-tent6 
de vous en 6crire une autre ; car I'absence de Madame 
de * * * me laisse un mal-€tre auquel je ne puis 6chapper. 
Oh, combien les &mes sensibles 6prouvent les besoins du 
occur plus que les autres n^cessit^s de la vie ! La mienne 
est une suite d*exp£riences sur les infirmit^s du coeur 
bumain; et je voudrais bien trouver 1e terme oi!i il ne 
pent plus soufirir, afin d'etre siir du moins une fois d'avoir 
^puis6 ma destin6e. 

J'aurais 6t6 vous chercher si vous eussiez 6t6 ici. J'ai 
6t6 voir Baynes; mais cet homme excellent d'ailleurs 
analyse toujours, et moi j'ai besoin d'etre senti. Diriez- 
vous oii, press^ de la n6cessit6 de m'attendrir et d'Stre 
triste, j'ai 6t6 ? Dans les hdpitaux ; et en v6rit6 je n'en 
ai pas 6t6 content, quoique Elliot m'ait montr6 les 

Lbttee XXXVI. 

London, Friday, March 4, 1785. 
Thanks to the unspeakable thoughtlessness of Baynes, which I 
never before saw equalled in so steady and studious a man, you have 
hardly got my first letter, my good friend, or you have it not, and 
yet I am much tempted to write you another ; for Madame de 
* * *^s absence leaves me in a state of wretchedness which I cannot 
get rid of. Oh ! how much does an affectionate disposition feel the 
yearnings of the heart more than all the other wants of life ! Mine 
is a succession of experiments on the infirmities of the human heart, 
and I would gladly find the period when it may cease to suffer, 
that I might, for once at least, feel sure of having exhausted my 

I should have looked for you, had you been here. I went to see 
Baynes; but that man, however excellent in other respects, is always 
analysing, and I want sympathy. Would you guess whither, im- 
pelled by the desire of indulging in my feelings of emotion and 
sadness, I went? To the hospitals; and, indeed, I was not pleased 
with them, though Elliot showed me the best as well as the worst. 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 229 

meiUeurs comme les plus mauvais. J'aurais mille choses 
^ dire ; mais je ne veux vous parler que d*une, qui, menant 
a des id6es gdnerales, vous fera mieux supporter mon 

Tous les hSpitaux, tous les lieux oA Ton recueille les 
infirmes, les enfans trouv^s, les mendians, les fols, &c. &c. ; 
toutes ces maisons sont 6tabliea dans les villes. Pourquoi 
ne les transporte-t-on pas des villes, qu'elles infecten^ et 
qui les infectent, dans les campagnes, et surtout dans les 
campagnes les plus 61oign6es, dans les d6serts ; car tous 
les royaumes, et meme TAngleterre, ont des deserts ? 

I''. Les enfans, plus sensibles k toutes les impressions 
de I'air, prennent et communiquent les maladies con- 
tagieuses avec une extr@me facilite; et chez eux, dans 
ces petits corps spongieux, pour ainsi dire, toutes les 
maladies sont contagieuses. Dans les hospices des villes, 
o^ on les amoncele les ims sur les autres, il y a une con- 
tagion fix6e parmi eux, et Ton pent dire qu*ils vivent 
toujours avec une maladie mor telle. Dans les campagnes 
on les placerait k d'assez grandes distances pour couper 
ais^ment toutes les routes de contagion k leurs maladies. 
De cela seul rdsulterait trois grands biens : on en con- 
serverait infiniment davantage; Fair des villes serait 
d61ivr6 d'un grand foyer de corruption ; et Tentretien de 

I have a thousand things to say, but I will keep to one, which, as it 
leads to general principles, will better enable you to bear with my 

All hospitals, all institutions for the reception of the infirm, of 
foundlings, beggars, lunatics, &c. &C., are established within towns. 
Why are they not removed from towns, which they infect, and which 
infect them, to the country, and indeed to the most distant parts of 
the country, 'to deserts; for sJl kingdoms, even England, have deserts ? 

1°. Children, who are more susceptible to influence from the 
atmosphere, take and give contagious disorders with extreme facility,' 
and with them, in their little spongy bodies, so to speak, all diseases 
are contagious. In town hospitals, where they are huddled one 
upon anotiier, contagion is settled amongst them ; and it may almost 
be said that they live with a mortal disease. In the country they 
would be placed at distances from each other, suflScient to cut off 
with ease all access to contagion. From this alone would result 
three great advantages : the lives of many more would be preserved ; 
the air of towns would be freed from a great hot-bed of corruption ; 
and ^e funds of the establishment would be relieved from the 

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230 LETTERS FBOM Mareh, 

ces maisons serait soulag6 des frais de tous les remddes 
qu'on fait prendre k ces enfans continuellement malades. 

2°. N'est-il pas Strange que ce soit dans les villes oii 
le luxe ench6rit tout, oii Topulence mSme et Tindustrie la 
plus active ont tant de peine k vivre, qu*on place des 
maisons qui doivent subsister de la charite du gouveme- 
ment ou de la nation? Qu^on les transporte dans les 
campagnes, oii tout est k meilleur march6, leur enti'etien 
coiitera un tiers, une moitie, deux tiers de moins, suivant 
les lieux, et ce qu'elles consommeront sera une source de 
f6condit£ pour ces mSmes campagnes. 

3°. Ici meme, et peut-ltre autant ici que partout 
ailleurs, les employes a la regie de ces maisons d6poui]lent 
le pauvre des deniers donnes par la charity publique, et 
s'enrichissent en d^robant le pain k la faim d^vorante, en 
volant k Tenfant qui se meurt le remdde qui devait lui 
sauver la vie .... Le brigand couvre souvent la nudit6 
du pauvre ; le plus feroce assassin soutient Thomme qui 
tombe en difaillance, et dans ces administrations .... 
C'est le crime qui accuse k la fois, qui outrage, et qui 
r^volte le plus Thumanit^. II ne peut 6tre commis que 
dans les lieux oii les plus grands excSs sont devenus des 

ezpeDM of all those remedies which must be given to these children 
who are constantly ill. 

2*. Is it not strange that it should be in towns, where luxury en- 
hances) the price of everything, where even opulence and the most 
active industry find it so difficult to live, that these establishments, 
which must subsist on the charity of government or of the people, 
should be placed ? Let them be removed to the country, where 
everything is cheaper, the cost of maintaining them will, according 
to the situation, be one-third, one-half, two-thirds less, and what 
they consume will be a source of prosperity to the neighbouring 

3*. Even here, and perhaps as much here as elsewhere, the officers 
of these establishments strip the poor of the pittance given by public 
charity, and enrich themselves in pilfering bread from those who are 
famishing with hunger, and in robbing from the dying child the reme- 
dies which were intended to save its life Tlie highwayman 

often covers the nakedness of the poor, the most ferocious assassin 
supports the fainting man, and in these establishments . . • . It is 
the crime which at once accuses, outrages, and most revolts humanity. 

It can only be committed in places where the greatest excesses ai« 
become necessities — ^where, from the constant excitemeutand prompt 

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1783. MIRABEAU. ETC. 231 

besoins, ou les passions, sans cesse irrit^es et toujours 
promptement satisfaites, font passer continuellement les 
£^mes du dSlire, de la'fureur de d^sir, k cet assoupisse- 
meut des volupt6s et de la moUesse dans lequel on n'a 
pas la force d'avoir un sentiment ; oil Ton est cruel et 
barbare par Timpuissance de recevoir les donees Amotions 
de la pitie. II ne pent ^tre commis que dans les lieux o^ 
les objets de luxe vous cacbent, pour ainsi dire, la nature ; 
oil la foule vous d6robe a chaque instant k vous-meme ; 
oill le bruit des plaisirs 6touffe etfait taire la voix int^rieure 
de r^e et de la conscience ; oii, vivant continuellement 
dans des spectacles qui ne sont qu'illusions, on finit par 
oublier qu'on est homme et qu*on vit avec des hommes. 
Un tel crime ne peut Stre commis que dans les villes k 
grand luxe. Dans les campagnes, oii Ton ne sent gu^re 
que les besoins de la nature, o^ les passions sont moins 
s6ductriceB et moins enivrantes, on ne voit rien qu'on 
soit tent^ d'acheter par un si grand crime. Les adminis- 
trateurs, restant continuellement pres des enfans mal- 
heureux confies k leurs sokis, entendraient mieux k la 
fois, dans le silence des campagnes, et la voix de leur 
conscience et le cri de Tinfortune. lis seraient pitoyables 
et bons meme par int^ret personnel. 

gratification of the passions, the minds of men pass continually from 
Sie delirium, the frenzy of desire, to that lethargic state of volup- 
tuousness and effeminacy which deprives men of the power of feel- 
ing, which makes them cruel ana barbarous, from their inability 
to receive the soft emotions of pity. It can only be committed in 
those places where nature is in a manner concealed by objects of 
luxury, where the crowd every moment draws you away from your- 
self, where the sound of pleasure stifles and silences the inward voice 
of sympathy and of conscience, where, living constantly amidst 
sights which are but an illusion, one ends by forgetting that one is a 
man, and that one lives with men. Such a crime can on]y be com- 
mitted in towns of great luxury. In the country, where few desires 
but those of nature are felt, where passions are less seductive and 
less intoxicating, one sees nothing one is tempted to purchase at the 
price of so great a crime. The officers of the establishment, remain- 
ing constantly with the unfortunate children intrusted to their care, 
would, in the silence of the country, be more alive both to the voice 
of their conscience and to the cry of misfortune. They would become 
kind and compassionate even from self-interest 

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232 LETTEBS FROM ' M»nh, 

II se pr^sente une objection, et elle est unique, k ce 
que je crds. On peut dire que des maisons dloignees des 
grandes villes, oii sont aussi les grandes fortunes, ne se- 
raient pas aussi bien plac^es pour attirer sur elles les 
bienfaits de la charity ; en les perdant de vue, la piti^ 
s'affoiblirait peut-Stre ; elles ne s'enrichiraient plus des 
expiations du crime, et des dons g6n6reux de la vertu^ 
Mais, mon ami, je ne crois point que ce soient les mouve- 
mens fugitifs et instantan^s de la piti6 qui attirent des bien- 
faits sur ces maisons. Elles sont trds-peu connues dans 
les grandes villes au milieu desquelles elles sont plactes ; 
elles y sont aussi cach6es qu'elles pourraient I'^tre dans 
les campagnes ; c'est le sentiment r^flechi et constant de 
rhumanit6 qui leur portent des pr6sens, et ces deux sen- 
timens savent aller chercher loin les objets de leur lib^- 
ralit6. C*est commun^ment par les der nitres volont^s de 
la vie, par les testamens qu'on leur laisse des biens, et la 
pensee d'un homme qui dispose de sa fortune pour les 
temps otk il ne sera plus n'est pas plus ^loign^e des mal- 
heureux qui sont k cinquante lieues de lui que de ceux 
qui sont k ses cdt^s. Les reflexions, et les relations, et 
les lumidres, en r^pandant au loin le sentiment de Thu- 
manite, Tout peut-Stre affoibli, mais elles Tout singulidre- 
ment ^tendu. On pleure moins, on secourt davantage. 

One objection presents itself, and one only, as I believe. It may 
be said that establishments at a distance from large towns, where are 
also the large fortunes, would not be so well placed to attract the be- 
neficence of charity ; in losing sight of them, compassion would di- 
minish, perhaps ; they would no longer be enriched by the expiations 
of crime, and the generous gifts of virtue. But, my friend, I do not 
believe that it is from momentary and fleeting emotions of pity that 
these institutions derive their benefactions. They are very little 
known in those large towns in the midst of which they stand; they 
are there as much out of sight as they could be in the country ; it is 
the matured [and the lasting feeling of humanity which brings offer- 
ings to them,and these two feelings travel far in search of objects for 
their liberality. It is usually by tiie last dispositions of life, by wills, 
that property is left to them ; and the thoughts of a man who dis- 
poses of his fortune for the time when he shall be no more are not 
farther removed from the unhappy beings who are fifty leagues off 
than from those who are by his side. Reflection, intercourse and 
information, in spreading far the feelings of humanity, may perhaps 
have weakened, but have singularly extended, them. Fewer tears 

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La piti6 prompte etpassionn^e est la g^n^rosit^ dessiecles 
barbares; ]a g^n^rosiU r6fl^hie et combin^e est la piti^ 
des siScles 6clair68. II ne faut done pas croire que la 
source des cbarit^s particulieres et publiques tartt dans 
les yilles, si Ton en ^loignait les bospices des^nfans trou- 
y^s ou des mendians ; elle coulerait en ref£condant dans 
sa route jusqu'aux lieux 61oign6s oii Ton transporterait 
ces maisons. 

£t si tant d'avantages ne regardent que ces bospices 
mSmes, remarquez, mon ami, qu*il s*en pr^sente de bien 
plus considerables pour la nation enti^re. On s*est plaint 
de tons temps, et depuis un demi si^cle les plaintes ont 
singuli^rement redouble en Angleterre ce me semble 
comme en France, de ce pencbant aveugle et funeste qui 
fait abandonner k tous les bommes les campagnes pour 
les yilles, qui peuple les ateliers des arts et des manufac- 
tures des bommes qui manquent k la culture des cbamps. 
L'6tabli8sement des maisons de cbarit6 dans les villes est 
tr^s-propre k entretenir, k augmenter ce d^sordre. Les 
enfans qu'ou y nourrit ne peuvent 6tre 61ev6s que pour 
les metiers et pour les villes ; le travail sedentaire des 
metiers tue les enfans, dont le premier besoin est de 
courrir, de sauter, et de s'^battre. Et c'est Ik sdrement 
line des causes de la mortality effrayante dtablie dans ces 
maisons. Si on les transporte dans les campagnes, les 

are shed ; more anistance giwen. Quick and impusioned pity is 
the generonty of barbarous ages; well considered and combined 
generosity the pity of enlightened times. It must not therefore be 
supposed that the source of public and private charity would be 
dried up in towns, if hospitals for foundlings or beggars were removed 
from them ; it would flow on fertilizing in its course to the most 
distant spots in which Ihese buildings might be placed. And if 
these numerous advantages concern the hospitals alone, observe, my 
friend, that much more important ones result to the whole nation. 
Complaints have at all times been made, and for half a century they 
have wonderfully increased in England, as it seems to me, as well as 
in France, against the blind and fieital inclination which induces all 
people to abandon the country for towns, which peoples <he work- 
shops of art and manufacture with the men who are wanted for the 
cultivation of the fields. Charitable establishments in towns tend 
much to maintain and increase this evil. Children bred Ihere can 
only be brought up for trade and for town ; the sedentary employ- 
ment of trades kills children, whose first want is to run, to jump and 
play about; and this is no doubt one of the causes of the frightful 

234 LETTERS FROM March. 

etifans que F^tat y nourrit seront nourris et 61ev6s pour 
les campagnes. Le gouvernement, qui aura toujours dans 
ses mains cette source de population, la repandra, la dis- 
tribuera k son gr6 sur les terres d'un royaume ; et tandis 
que les vices naturels de la soci6t6 entratnent les hommes 
des campagnes dans les villes, les lumi^res du gouverne- 
ment les feront refluer des villes dans les campagnes. 
Produits la plupart par les vices des cit6s, ces infortun6s 
enfans seront ^lev68 du moins dans les bonnes moeurs et 
dans la simplicite des champs ; on se servira des fruits 
mSme de la corruption pour en arrSter les progr^s ; alors 
on en conservera davantage, et loin de craindre on pourra 
d^sirer d'en voir augmenter le nombre. L'etat, qui fera 
pour eux et par eux de grands 6tablis8emens de culture, 
les regardera du m^me ceil que le laboureur regarde ses 
nombreux enfans, dans lesquels il voit sa richesse. . . . 
Je ne sais, mon ami, si ce ne sont pas la de bonnes specu- 
lations pour TAngleterre, mais je sais que ce serait un 
des mes grands ressorts en France. Adopt^s par le 
gouvernement, le gouvernement aurait 16gitimement 
sur ces enfans deux esp^ces de pouvoir, celui de 
souverain et celui de pere ; il aurait un droit ab- 
solu et sur leur Education et sur les fruits des travaux 

mortality in these hospitals. If removed into the country, these 
children, fed there at the expense of the nation, will be fed and 
brought up for the country. Government, which will always have 
this source of population at its command, will, at pleasure, spread 
and distribute it throughout the kingdom; and thus, whilst the 
vices natural to society draw mankind from the country to towns, 
the wisdom of government will make the tide flow back from towns 
to the country. These unhappy children, the produce for the most 
part of the vice of cities, will at least be brought up in the good and 
simple morals of the country. The fruits of corruption will them- 
selves serve to arrest its progress ; a greater number will be preserved, 
and this increase, far from being to be dreaded, will be to be de- 
sired. The state, which will form, for them and by them, great 
agricultural establishments, will look upon them in the same light 
that the labourer looks upon his numerous family, in whom he sees 
his wealth. I know not, my friend, whether these may not be good 
speculations for England, but I know that it would be one of my 
main resources in France. 

The government which had adopted these children would have 
two legitimate kinds of control over them, that of sovereign and that 
of father ; it would have an absolute right over both their education 

1785. MIJtABEAU, ETC 235 

de toute leur premiere jeunesse. Que d'exp^riences et 
que d'essais avantageux k ces enfans eux-memes et it la 
nation entiere un gouvernement 6clair^ pourrait faire 
dans la culture, dans la legislation, et dans les moeurs de 
ces colonies naissantes ! Que d'antiques usages on pour- 
rait y detruire ! Que de vues qui paraissent des syst^mes 
y prendraient Tautorit^ des faits I Les pr^jug^s, les er- 
reurs, les abus deviennent 6ternels en se transmettant des 
p^res aux enfans. Ces enfans sans p^res se trouveraient 
adopt^s par le gouvernement avec moins d'erreurs et de 
pr6jug6s. Au sein d'un empire antique s'^l^verait, pour 
ainsi dire, un nouveau peuple. En v6rit6, s'ils est quel- 
ques moyens de peupler et de f6conder les landes de la 
Normandie et de la Champagne, les d^sertesqui sont entre 
Bayonne et Bordeaux, je crois qu'on les trouverait dans 
ce nouvel emploi des enfans et des hommes renferm^s 
dans les hospices de la nation. 

Voild, un beau rSve, n'est-ce pas, mon ami ? mais vous 
le trouvez trop long peut-Stre, et je finis. Pardon, mais 
il est doux de r^ver au bonheur des hommes, tout m^chans 
qu'ils sont, parceque ce n'est pas la faute du plus grand 
nombre s'ils le sont ; il est doux d'y rSver surtout quand 
on est tr^s-malheureux et on craint de se r^veiller. Vale, 
et me ama. M. 

and the produce of the labour of their early youth. How many ex- 
periments, useful to the children themselves and to the whole nation, 
might not an enlightened government make in the culture, the 
legislation, and the morals of these infant colonies ! How many 
old customs might they not abolish ! how many new ideas, which 
pass for theories, would there acquire the authority of facts! Preju- 
dices, errors, abuses, become eternal, by being transmitted from 
father to son. These fatherless children would find themselves 
adopted by government with less of error and less of prejudice. 
From the bosom of an antiquated empire there would arise, as it 
were, a new people. If, indeed, there are any means of peopling 
and fertilizing the waste lands of Normandy and Champagne, the 
deserts which lie between Bayonne and Bordeaux, I believe these 
means would be found in turning to this new account children and 
men now confined within the hospitals of the nation. 

This is a fine dream, is it not, my friend ? but you find it too long, 
perhaps, and I have done. Forgive me, but it is pleasing to make 
dreams for the happiness of men, wicked though they be, for it is 
not the fault of the greater number if they be so ; it is pleasing to 
indulge in such dreams, above all when one is very unhappy, and 
when one fears to awake. Fakj et me ama, M. 

236 .LETTEBS FROM March, 

Letter XXXVIL 
from the count de mirabeau. 

[Lon^res, ce 5 Man, 1785.} 

Vous saurez, mon ami, que je suis devenu si phi- 
losophe, si sage, si insouciant, qu'une conversion si 
prompte, si complete, est un vrai ph6nom6ne. Vous 
saurez que j'ai entendu hier M. Gibbon^ parler, comme 
un des plus plats coquins qui existent, sur la situation 
politique de TEurope, et que je n'ai pas dit un mot, quoi- 
que des la premiere phrase de M. Gibbon sa morgue et 
son air insolent m'eussent infiniment repousses. Vous 
saurez que, press6 par votre candide ami le Marquis de 
Lansdowne de dire mon avis, je me suis content^ de pro- 
fSrer ce peu de mots : " Je n^entends rien a la politique, 
et .^urtout rien k celle de M. Gibbon ; mais je crois que je 
puis assez bien deviner les motifs des 6crivains politiques, 
parceque, solitaire et studieux, j'ai Thabitude de d6meler 
dans les 6crits d'un homme de lettres ses principes, et les 

Letter XXXVII. 

Loudon, March 5, 1785. 
Yoa must know, my dear friend, that I am become so philo* 
sopbical, so rational, and so indifferent, that such a speedy and com* 
plete conversion is positively a phenomenon. You must know that 
yesterday I heard Mr. Gibbon ^ talk like one of the most arrant knaves 
in existence upon the political state of Europe, and that I did not 
utter a word, although I was infinitely disgusted with the air of 
insolent confidence which accompanied his very first sentence. You 
must know that, urged by your candid friend the Marquis of Lans- 
downe to give my opinion, I contented myself with delivering these 
few sentences : — *< I understand nothing of politics, and especially 
nothing of Mr. Gibbon's politics; but I think I can pretty well guess 
the motives of political writers, because, solitary and studious in my 
habits, I am accustomed in the writings of a man of letters to make 

This is a mistake of Mirabeau's. Gibbon was at this time at 

Digitized by V 

Uu«mDe. Seea„<^,p.62. ^ ,,GoOgk 

1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 237 

principes sont la clef de tout. Or, j'ai lu T^l^gante his- 
toire de M. Gibbon, et cela me suffit. Je dis son eUgante, 
et non pas son estimable histoire, et void pourquoi. Jamais, 
k mon avis, la philosophie n'a mieux rassembl6 les lu- 
mi^res que T Erudition peut donner sur les temps anciens, 
et ne les a dispos^es dans un ordre plus heureux et plus 
facile, Mais, soit que M. Gibbon ait H€ s^duit, ou qu*il 
ait voulu le parattre, par la grandeur de Tempire Romain, 
par le nombre de ses legions, par la magnificence de ses 
chemins et de ses cit6s, il a trace un tableau odieusement 
faux de la fllicit^ de cet empire, qui 6crasait le monde et 
ne le rendait pas heureux. Ce tableau mSme il I'a pris 
dans Gravina, au livre de Imperio Romano, Gravina 
m^rite indulgence, parcequ'il 6tait excusS par une de ces 
grandes id6es dont le g6nie surtout est si facilement la 
dupe. Comme Leibnitz, il 6tait occup6 du projet d'un 
empire universel, form^ de la reunion de tons les peuples 
de TEurope, sous les mSmes lois et la m6me puissance ; 
et il cherchait un exemple de cette monarchic universelle 
dans ce qu'avait 6t^ Tempire Romain depuis Auguste. 
Monsieur Gibbon peut nous dire qu'il a eu la mSme id^e ; 
mais encore lui r6pondrai-je qu'il 6crivait une histoire, et 
ne faisait pas un syst^me. D'ailleurs cela n'expliquerait 

oat his principles, and principles are the key to everything. Now, 
I have read Mr. Gibbon's elegant history, and that is enough for me. 
I say his elegant, not his veUuable history, and for this reason : Never, 
in my opinion, has philosophy more skilfully collected together the 
information which erudition can afford respecting ancient times, nor 
arranged it in a happier and more natural order. But whether 
Mr. Gibbon has really been led away, or has wished to appear to 
be so, by the greatness of the Roman empire, by the number 
of its legions, by the magnificence of its roads and of its cities, 
he has dnwn an odiously false picture of the felicity of that empire, 
which crushed the world and did not make it happy. This picture 
too he took from Gravina, in his book de Imperio Romano. Gra- 
vina is entitled to indulgence, for he is excused by one of those 
great ideas of which genius especially is so easily the dupe. Like 
Leibnitz, he was taken up with the project of an universal empire, 
formed by an union of all the nations of Europe, under the same 
laws and the same authority, and he sought for an example of this 
universal monarchy in the Roman empire from the time of Au- 
gustus. Mr. Gibbon may tell us that he entertained the same idea, 
but to this I should reply that he was writing a history, not found- 
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238 LETTERS FROM March, 

point, et surtout cela n'excuserait pas I'esprit g6n6ral de 
son ouvrage, oii se montre h, chaque instant ramour et 
Testime des richesses, le goiit des volupt^s, Pignorance 
des vraies passions de rhomme, Tincr^dulit^ surtont pour 
les vertus ripublicaines. En parcourant FHistoire du Bas 
Empire de M. Gibbon, j'aurais ais6ment devin6 que, si 
I'auteur se montrait jamais dans les affaires publiques de 
la Grande Bretagne, on le verrait pretant sa plume aux 
ministres, et combattant les droits des Americains k Fin- 
d6pendance: j'aurais aussi dcvin6 la conversation d'au- 
jourd'hui ; T^loge du luxe et de rautorit6 compacte, comme 
dit Monsieur. Aussi, je n'ai jamais pu lire son livre sans 
m'6tonner qu'il fQt 6crit en Anglais. Chaque instant k 
peu pr^s, comme Marcel, j'6tais tentd de m'adresser a 
M. Gibbon et de lui dire, * Vous un Anglais ! Non, votts 
ne Vites point Cette admiration pour un empire de plus 
de deux cent millions d^hommest oii il h'y a pas un seul 
homme qui ait le droit de se dire litre, cette philosophic 
effiminee qui donne plus d'iloges au luxe et a/ux plaisirs 
qu^aux'vertusy ce style toujours cligant et jamais Sner- 
gique, annoncent tout au plus Vesclave d^un electeur 
d^Hannore* " Diriez-vous, mon ami, que des paroles si 
i6dulcor6es ayent paru irriter M. Gibbon, et qu'il m'ait dit 

ing a system. Besides, this would not explain, still less would it 
excuse, the general spirit of the work, which displays at every mo- 
ment a love and respect for wealth, a taste for luxury, an ignorance 
of the real paraions of man, and above all a disbelief in republican 
virtue. In reading through Mr. Gibbon's History of the Lower 
Empire, I should readily have guessed that, if the author ever came 
forward in the public affairs of Great Britain, he would be seen 
lending his pen to ministers, and contesting the right of the Ameri- 
cans to independence. I should also have anticipated the conver- 
sation of to-day, the praise of luxury and of * compact* authority, as 
he is pleased to call it. Accordingly I never could read his book 
without wondering that it should be written in English. At almost 
every moment, I was tempted, like Marcel, to address Mr. Gibbon, 
and to say to him, * You an Englishman ! No, that you are not. 
This admiration for an empire of more than two hundred millions of 
men, where there is not a single man who has the right to call him- 
self free — this effeminate philosophy, which bestows more praise 
upon luxury and pleasure than upon virtue — this style, always ele- 
gant but never energetic, — proclaim, at the very best, the slave of an 
dector of Hanover.' " Could you have supposed, my friend, that 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 239 

qu'il n'y avait rien k r^pondre k des injures ? et moi, j'ai 
ri . - . . Oh ! je vous assure que je fais de grands pro- 
gres dans Tart de manager les hommes. 

Au reste, men ami, notez deux choses que me dit liier 
le Marquis, qui a r^ellement beaucoup d'esprit et d'id^es. 
La premiere, bien digne de remarque, c'est qu'on lit dans 
les Memoires de Bellecombe ^ qu'un capitaine, dont il ne 
se rappela pas le nom, proposait, avant le milieu de ce 
s^icle, de conqu6rir le Bengal e avec cinq cents hommes. 
On le prit pour un fol. Cela met bien a leur juste mesure 
les brigands post^rieurs qui voudraient se faire passer 
pour des h6ros ; et cela prouve, ce que je pense depuis 
longtemps, que la revolution de I'Am^rique s'est faite a 
Londres, et celle de Tlndostan dans le Bengale, ex vis- 
ceribus ret. 

La seconde chose porte sur une idee belle et profonde. 
** Je voudrais," dit le Marquis, **que Ton questionnit les 
8c^l6rats convaincus, pour les 6tudier en philosophes^ 
apres les avoir interrog^s en magistrats pour les con- 
damner. On gouverne les hommes, et on ne les connatt 

words so softened down could have appeared to irritate Mr. Gibbon, 
and that he could have told me that he had no reply to make to 

abuse % As for me, I laughed Oh ! I assure you I make 

great progress in the art of conciliating men. 

In the mean time, my friend, observe two things which were said 
to me yesterday by the Marquis, who is really very clever and very 
full of thought. The first, which is well worthy of remark, was, 
that in BeUeconAes ^ Memoirs it is said that an officer, whose name 
he did not remember, offered, before the middle of the present cen- 
tury, to conquer Bengal with five hundred men. He was taken for 
a QGiadman. This places on a proper level the cutthroats of a later 
date, who aim at being thought heroes; and it proves, what I have 
long thought, that the revolution of America was made in London, 
and that of Hindoostan in Bengal, ex viscerihus ret. 

The second thing involves a fine and profound thought. <^ I 
wish," said the Marquis, " that convicted criminals were questioned, 
in order that they might be philosophically studied, after having 
been magisterially examined with a view to their conviction. We 
govern men, and we do not know them, we do not endeavour to 

^ Probably Melcombe; see Diary of G. Bubb DodcUngton, Lord 
Mekombe, who, in 1751, relates a proposal by Colonel Milles, to 
conquer Bengal with 1500 men, p. 110, 4th edit. 

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240 LETTERS FBOM Mansh, 

point ; on ne fait rieif pour les connaitre." Cette pena^e 
m*a paru grande, vraie, et touchante. 

Un malheureux, accost d*im crime qui pent le mener 
k r^^a&ud, est assis sor une sellette; on Tinterroge, 
mais sur son crime uniquement, et, si son crime paralt 
etabli, on Tenvoie k la mort sans liii rien demander de 
plus. Chez nous, il se confesse k Voreille du ministre de 
la religion, dans le sein du quel tous les secrets de sa vie 
doivent se perdre. On ne doit plus que de la piti6 aux 
criminels m@me, lorsquHls ont entendu leur sentence de 
mort: car, des ce moment, ils ont d^j^subi leur plus 
grande peine. Que le magistrat, qui la leur a prononc6e, 
fasse succ^er k ce miniature, si terrible pour lui-mSme, 
un minist^re qui le console d*avoir 6t^ aussi s^v^re que 
la loi ; qu'en t^moignant de la piti6 et de la compassion 
aux malheureux qu'il a 6t^ oblig6 de condamner, il p^ 
ndtre dansleurs dmes d^j^ d6chir6es par le repentir et par 
la douleur; qu'il en obtienne I'aveu des fieitales circon- 
stances qui les ont 6gar£s dans les voies du crime ! Que 
de lumi^res ! quelle nouvelle connaissance de Thomme et 
de la society on verra r6sulter de ces confessions faites 
aux prStres de la loi I £t qu'on ne croie point qu'il fdt si 
difficile d'obtenir ces revelations de la bouche de ces in- 

know them." This thought appeared to me important^ true, and 

An unfortunate man, accused of a crime which may bring him 
to the scaffold, is placed in the dock ; he is examined, but with re- 
ference to his crime only, and, if that appear to be proved, he is sent 
to death without another question being asked him. With us, he 
makes his confession in private to the minister of religion, in whose 
breast all the secrets of his life are to be buried. As soon as a 
criminal has heard his sentence of death, our only feeling towards 
him should be that of pity ; for from that moment he has already 
suffered his greatest punishment. I would have the magistrate, who 
has pronounced sentence against him, pass from the performance of 
an office so terrible to one which may console him for having been 
the instrument of the law's severity. Let him, by showing pity and 
compassion for the wretches he has been obliged to condemn, pene- 
trate into their breasts, already torn by remorse and grief, and draw 
from them an avowal of the fatal circumstances which led them 
astray into the paths of crime. How many new lights, what in- 
creased knowledge of man and of society would ensue from these 
confessions^ made to the ministers of justice ! And let it not be 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 241 

fortunes. L'homine qui va mourir a bien peu de choses 
k dissimuler. Interrogds par des magistrals qui connat- 
traient la langue que rhumanit^ doit parler aux malheu- 
reux, ils 6prouveraient k s'entretenir des vices qui les out 
perdus, cette espece d'attrait que rhomme eprouve k ra- 
conter ses malheurs. II est, d'ailleurs, dans la nature hu- 
maine de trouver je ne sais quelle consolation, je ne sais 
quel soulagement, k faire des aveux, dout on n'a rien a 
craindre. II semble que TSme oppressee du poids de ses 
remords le rejette, et s'en d61ivre, en faisant Taveu de ses 
fautes ; et c*est ainsi que la confession m'a toujours paru 
d'institution de nature, quoique bien dangereuse comme 
institution divine ou politique. 

Mais, mon ami, voici le troisi^me bavardage volumineux 
que vous recevez de moi ; il est temps avant de continuer 
de savoir si cela vous d^plait ou vous d6range. A votre 
r^ponse done. 

M. Hardy ^ laisse k toutes les portes un libeUe Anglais 
centre moi. 

L'Histoire de Geneve m'est irr^vocablement et exclu- 
sivement abandonn^e, mais Dyer n'a pas remis une ligne. 
. Diraanche, 5. 

thought that it would be so difficult to draw such disclosures from the 
moutiis of these unfortunate beings. The man who is about to die 
has very little to conceal. If examined by a magistrate who knows 
the language which humanity should employ towards the wretched, 
they would experience, in speaking of the vices which have proved 
their ruin, tHe same kind of pleasure as that which is felt by all men 
in relating their misfortunes. It is, moreover, a part of human 
nature to find I know not what of consolation and relief in making 
confessions from which there is nothing to be feared. It would 
seem that the mind, oppressed by the load of remorse, shrinks from 
it, and throws it off by confessing its faults ; and thus it is that the 
practice of confession has always appeared to me to have had its 
origin in nature, however dangerous as a religious or political 

But this is the third long rhapsody which you will have received 
from me, my friend ; it is high time, before I go on, to know if this 
annoys or disturbs you. I await your answer. 

Mr. Hardy ^ is leaving at every door an English libel against me. 
The History of Geneva is finally and exclusively given up to me ; 
ItSit Dyer has not sent me one line. 

^ See ante, p. 59. 
VOL. I. R 

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Letter XXXVIII. 


Dear Romilly, London. March 7, 1785. 

I dined yesterday with your brother; we had, as 
usual, a very agreeable afternoon ; he is to go in your 
stfed with Mr. M. into the House of Commons, in case 
of your absence. It was yoiu- mother*s birthday; they 
did not intend to tell me ; but I happened to have found 
it out by accident previously, and, all on a sudden, I 
drank your mother's health, congratulating her on the 
occasion. They were all surprised, and we laughed most 
heartily — an art in which, if loudness and frequency are 
any merit, I surely excel. However, they soon guessed 
that I had got my information at Kensington, whither I 
had been on a walk with the Count.^ 

I dare say you are no more sorry than myself that the 
scrutiny is ended. Mr. Fox's party keep within no 
bounds of joy ; they have illuminated two or three nights, 
and yesterday the rabble drew Mr. Fox to the House of 

The Count called upon me to-day, to desire me to 
write to Johnson to insist on his finishing the translation, 
and publishing it immediately. * Hardy has printed an 
English libel against him, apparently translated from the 
French of Linguet :— this, I trust, will be of no great 
service to H. if he should bring his cause to a trial. The 
Count complains bitterly of his hard fate, in losing 
Madame de * * * and you at once. By his letter to 
you, he seems to think my heart harder than adamant or 
Marpesian rocks, in being so insensible to his distress. 
For my part, as I well know that there are many persons 
^who possess much finer feelings than myself, so, I trust, 
I am far from being that unfeeling philosophizing mass 
of clay which the Count seems to imagine me ; and 

* Mirabeau. « See ante, p. 68. 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 243 

though I douht not in the least the sincerity of his sor- 
row, yet I own I am, on this occasion, much more dis- 
posed to wish he had no greater cause of uneasiness. 
One reason why he seems to think thus of me is pro- 
bably a certain resrt-ve or backwardness (which, in other 
respects, I do not possess) in expressing my affections 
either of pity or regard to any other person. This is 
perhaps a weakness, perhaps a fault, which I feel I pos- 
sess, and which I cannot help attributing to the circum- 
stance of my not meeting with a friend whose disposition 
exactly suited me till very late in life. This, however, 
if a fault, will I trust be readily excused by you ; particu- 
larly as, on many occasions, I cannot help fancying that I 
have seen you feel much more than you have ventured or 
had the courage to express. I do not know whether 
I am not much bolder on paper than in conversation in 
expressing as well my own uneasinesses as my regards. 
I think I have observed the same in you. However this 
may be, I hope you will not think me the more insensible 
because I do not always express my sensations ; nor in- 
sincere, when I assure you that I do really feel a great 
want of your company. I have even the pleasure to hope 
you will believe me when I assure you that your friend- 
ship is the principal source of my present happiness ; and 
that it is my greatest consolation to reflect that we shall 
never probably be far or long separated during our lives. 
"Equidem ex omnibus rebus, quas mihi aut fortuna 
aut natura tribuit, nihil habeo, quod cum amicitial Sci- 
pionis possim comparare. In h^c mihi de republics^ con- 
sensus, in h^c rerum privatarum consilium; in eidem 
requies plena oblectationis fuit" (I wish I might add, 
*• nunquam ilium ne minimi quidem re offendi, quod qui- 
dem senserim") ; " nihil audivi ex eo ipse, quod noUem. 
Una domus erat, idem victus, isque communis: neque 
solum militia, sed etiam peregrinationes rusticationesque 
communes." * 

Yours, dear Romilly, ever sincerely, 

J. B. 

Tuesday, 8th. 

^ Cic. de Amicit. 

R 2 

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244 LETTERS FBOM Maich, 

Lettee XXXIX. 

Deax Romilly, Gray's Inn, March 16. 1785. 

The Count is delighted with your letter ; he is de- 
termined you shall be a great man ; and, from the con- 
versation I had with him this morning in confidence, I 
have great reason to think that he has spoken of you in 
such terms to Lord Shelburne as to induce Lord S. to 
offer you a seat in Parliament. ' I doubt not but that you 
will be astonished at this information ; it is, however, my 
firm opinion that some such plan is in agitation. I col- 
lect it only from what passed between the Count and me 
this morning. The terms offered wUl, I doubt not, be 
very liberal. Though my information is founded only 
on the Count's ideas, which are in general very sanguine, 
yet I see no reason to doubt his accuracy in this account 
At all events, I thought it would be the best to tell you 
my suspicions ; as it would be very unpleasant for you to 
be attacked unprepared upon so important a subject. 
I wish you would give me a line, immediately or as soon as 
possible, with the rough sketch of your ideas of this pro- 
pose]. Pray consider it well. I will then tell you mine 
very freely. 

Yours sincerely, 


Letter XL. 

FROM the count DE MIRABEAU. 
Mon Ami, [Londres,] 18 Mars, 1785. 

Je ne vous r6pondrai pas, parceque je suis ficrase 
d'ouvrage inattendu ; mais je vous dirai du moins combien 

Lettbr XL. 
My dear Friend, London, March 18, 1785. 

I will not reply to you, because I am overwhelmed with unex- 
pected business ; but I will at least tell you how much your letter 

^ See ante, p. 64. 

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1785. MIRABEA.U, ETC. 245 

votre lettre m'a touch6, combien elle porte Tempreinte 
d'un cceur tendre et d'une iuae honn^te, et quel charme 
ce didcia sunto ^ r6pand sur les plus grands talens et sur 
les plus fortes conceptions de I'esprit. Je sens comme 
vous avez senti dans votre lettre, quoique je ne pense pas 
sur ce sujet comme vous pensez ; parcequ'il est impossible 
k ma raison de donner son assentiment k la seule Amotion. 
On ne me ripond pas, metis peut-Stre on m'entend; ces 
mots touchans, prof6r6s sur Tume cin6raire d'un ami, 
m'ont toujours paruce qu'on pouvaitdire de plus Eloquent 
en faveur de Pimmortalit^ de I'dme; et si je ne puis 
trouver k cette th^orie qu'un attrait, et non pas une Evi- 
dence portant conviction, ni mdme une probability en- 
tratnant persuasion, cet attrait m'a toujours sembl6 assez 
vif pour non seulement excuser, mais aimer et louer ceux 
qui admettent ce dogme, quoique leurs argumens me 
paraissent incomplets et d^fectueux. Et plut au Fabrica- 
teur des mondes que le grand ressort qu'il a mis en nous, 
la sensibility, n*e(it jamais entratnE notre ^espece k des 
illusions plus dangereuses, k des paralogismes plus funestes I 
Quoiqull en soit, mon ami, si vous avez cru me faire un 

has touched me, how deeply it bears the stamp of a tender heart 
and an honest mind, and what a charm these ^ dulda sunto ^" diffuse 
over the gpreatest tsdents and the most vigorous conceptions of the 

I feel as you felt in your letter, although I do not think upon this 
subject as you think : because it is impossible for my reason to give 
its assent to feeling alone. <' I am not answered, but perhaps I am 
heard r these affecting words, uttered over the grave of a friend, 
have always appeared to me the most eloquent thing that could be 
said in favour of the immortality of the soul; and if in this theory 
I can find but a charm, and not evidence amounting to conviction, 
or even a probability carrying with it persuasion, still it is a charm 
which has always appeared to me attractive enough not only to 
excuse, but to make one love and praise those who admit this dogma, 
although to me their arguments appear incomplete and defective. 
And would that it had pleased the Creator of worlds that sensi. 
bility, the great elastic principle with which he has endowed us, 
had never seduced our species into more dangerous illusions, into 
more fatal paralogisms! Be that as it may, my friend, if you 

^ Non satis est pulchra esse poemata ; dulda sunto, 
Et quocunque volent, animum auditoris agunto. 

Hor. deA.P. 99. 

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246 LETTERS FROM March, 

sermon, je vons dirai, sermonnez-moi toujours ainsi ; la 
poesie de votre ^me vaut mieux -X la mienne que la logique de 
mapauvre tSte, qui, dans ce genre, apres avoir bien travailM, 
ne fait guSre que substituer des difficult^s a des difficultes. 
Je vous attends avec impatience, mon bon ami, non pas 
seulement parceque vous voir et causer avec vous est 
devenu un des plus vifs et des plus pr^cieux besoins de 
mon coBur et de mon esprit, mais parceque je suis tres- 
tromp^ ou il s'ouvreune carriere digne de vous, et propre 
k donner I'essor k vos grands talens. On m'a fait des 
propositions k votre sujet qui ne blesseront pas votre 
d61icatesse, puisqu'elles n'ont point effarouch6 la mienne, 
et qui vous prdsagent un nouvel ordre de choses. Je sais 
ce que votre damnable timidity et votre aimable modestie 
vont me r^pondre; mais, mon ami, je vous r6p6terai 
pour la millidme fois qu'un homme fort doit avoir le 
sentiment de sa force, et que la sauvagerie n'est pas la 
modestie, ni la timidity la circonspection. Heureusement 
on a dans ce pays le tres-bon esprit de mettre moins de 
prix aux graces que partout ailleurs ; mais il estcependant 
une vacillation de contenance qui nuit partout, et le tr&- 
petit et frivole talent de costumer sa personne et son 

thought to read me a lecture, I will say to you, lecture me ever 
thus ; the poetry of your soul is better for mine thau the logic of my 
poor head, which, on such matters, after having laboured hard, does 
little more than substitute one difficulty for another. 

I expect you impatiently, my good friend, not only because to 
see you and to converse with you is become one of the most lively 
and precious wants of my heart and mind, but because (unless I 
much deceive myself) a career is about to be opened to you which 
is worthy of you, and suited to the exercise of your great talents. 
Proposals have been made to me on your behalf, wlucb will not 
offend your delicacy, since mine has not been alarmed by them, and 
which hold out to you the promise of a new order of things. I know 
the answer your cursed timidity and amiable diffidence axe going 
to make; but I will repeat to you, my friend, for the thousandth 
time, that a powerful mind ought to have the consciousness of its 
own power, and that shyness is not modesty, nor want of courage 
prudence. Fortunately, in this country, people have the great 
good sense to set less value upon external grace than in any other 
part of the world, but nevertheless there is a certain want of self- 
possession which is injurious everywhere; and the art of setting off 
the person and demeanour, petty and frivolous as it is, is only to be 

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1786. MIRABEAU, ETC. 247 

attitude ne se gagne que dans le monde. Si done, par des 
raisons tiroes de votre profession, ou de vos projets (car 
il n'est aucune autre objection admissible lorsqu'on vous 
appelle au rdle d'homme public sans conditions), vous ne 
voulez pas accepter les propositions qui vous seront faites, 
connaissez du moins, et voyez, ceux qui veulent vous les 
faire. R6pandez-vous, voyez, soyez vu, montrez-vous, 
formez-vous. Tout ce k quoi je me suis engage c'est k 
vous amener, parceque je sais qu'un Stranger ne pent pas 
conseiller dans les choses locales ; mais je me suis engage 
k cela, et vous ne m'en d6direz pas ; car, dans un pays 
libre, dans un pays oill il y a une patrie, un citoyen doit 
conference a quiconque la lui demande sur des objets 
d*utilit6 publique. 

Tout ceci vous parattra peut-Stre du galimatbias, mon 
ami, mais ce n'est rien moins qui cela, et vous en aurez 
la clef k la premiere vue.— VcUe, et me ama. 

Letter XLI. 


[Paris,] 22 Mai, 1785. 

Pour cette fois, mon bon et cher Romilly, et,sans tirer 
k consequence, vous avez tort J'arrive ce soir k minuit k 

acquired in the world. If then, for reasons drawn from your pro- 
fession or plans in life (for when, unfettered by conditions, you are 
called upon to take a part in public life, no other reason is admis- 
sible), you will not accept the proposals which will be made you, at 
all events know and see those who wish to make them. Mix in 
society, see and be seen, show what you are, form yourself. I know 
that in local matters a foreigner is not a safe adviser, and accord- 
ingly all that I have engaged to do is to bring you with me : to so 
much I am pledged, and you will not deny me ; for, in a free 
country, one which is truly a mother country, a citizen is bound 
to give audience to any one who may demand it of him on matters 
of public utility. 

All this may, perhaps, appear jargon to you, my friend ; it is 
however, nothing less, I assure you, and I wUl give you the key to 
it when we meet. Vale, et me ama. 

Letter XLI. 

Paris, May 22, 1785. 

This time, my good and dear Romilly, (but without any dispa- 
ragement to you), you are in the wrong. I reached Paris to-night 

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Paris : j'y trouve votre lettre, arriv^e de hier : et je n'ai 
que le temps de vous dire que je viens de faire 900 lieues, 
composer, imprimer, tirer, et brocher 300 pages k 2000 
exemplaires ; que ce livre,^ bon ou mauvais, mais n6ce8- 
saire pour sauver un bon ministre, et, qui plus est, une 
banqueroute de quelques centaines de millions, a 6t6 com- 
post, imprim^ en pays Stranger, rapport^, et mis en 4tat 
d'etre distribue, en moins de cinq semains, parcequ'il de- 
vait parattre avant le 1*' Juin : que ma toum6e, un peu 
rapide comme vous voyez, se faisait en pays ou la moin- 
dre chose qui m'edt d6cel6 me faisait pendre ou empaler : 
que c'est \k la raison unique qui m'a empSche d'k^rire : 
que cela m*a si peu emp^che de penser k mes amis que 
ma petite, qui ne m'a rejoint qu*iL la fin, et quand j'ai eu 
besoin d'elle pour la contrebande, a dd ^crire trois ou qua> 
tre fois ; qu*enfin, en signe de souvenir, il est parti un 
paquet de cinquante exemplaires de ce livre, oii je les rap- 
pelle aux ordres de leurs graces MM. Elliot, Romilly, 
Baynes, Vaughan, et Chauvet. La justification vous parai- 
tra complete, mon ami, si vous y ajoutez que, le troisi- 

at twelve ; I find your letter, which arrived yesterday ; and I have 
now only time to tell you that I have trayelled 300 leagues, com- 
posed, printed, struck off, and stitched 2000 copies of 300 pages 
each ; uiat this book,^ whether good or bad, — but which was neces- 
sary to save a good minister, and, what is more, to prevent a bank- 
ruptcy to the extent of some huncbreds of millions, — -has been written, 
pnnted in a foreign country (because it was essential that it should 
appear before the 1st of June), brought back, and got ready for dis- 
trioution, all in less than five weeks ; that my journey, somewhat 
rapid, as you see, was in a country where the slightest thing which 
had betrayed me would have sent me to the gallows or the stake ; 
that this has been the only cause of my not writing to you, and has 
so litde prevented me from thinking of my frieods, that my little dear, 
who only joined me towards the end of my expedition, when she 
was wanted for the smuggling, must have written not less than three 
or four times ; that, to conclude, a parcel containing 50 copies of the 
book has been sent off, in token of remembrance, to Messrs. Elliot, 
Romilly, Baynes, Vaughan, and Chauvet, at whose disposal I beg 
to leave them. My justification will appear to you complete, my 
friend, if you add that the third day after my arrival from England 

^ The work alluded to was probably the one entitled De la Banque 
iFEtpagne, dite de St. CharUa, which was suppressed by the French 
govenmient on the 17th of July, 1785. 

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1785. MIRABEAU, ETC. 249 

eme jour apr^s mon arrivSe d'Angleterre, j'ai ^t6 saisi par 
cette besogne, le onzi^me en course, car de fait, mes ma- 
t^riaux une fois ramass^s, le livre a ^te fait dans les au- 
barges ; que vos lettres ne me sont parvenues (sauf la v6tre) 
qii'aprds des circnits immenses ; que deux me galoppent 
et ne me sont point encore parvenues ; que je suis rendu 
de fatigue plus que motiv6e par une expedition d*une 
activite et d'une audace presque sans exemple ; qu'enfin, 
si le prochain courrier je ne suis pas k la Bastille, vous 
aurez tous trois ou quatre une grande lettre de moi. — 
N. B. Que si j'y 6tais, Mde. de * * ♦ le manderait, et qu'il 
ne faudrait pas beaucoup s'en efirayer. 

Sur le tout, cher ami, aimez-moi comme je vous aime, 
et montrez sur-le-champ cette lettre k Elliot et Baynes, 
car il est temps qu*ils sachent ce qu'ils auraient dii deviner, 
que j'etais incapable d'une negligence si coupable, et qu'il 
fallait bien qu il y eut un dessous de carte qu'ils ignoraient. 
VcUe^etme ama; car je tombe de sommeil, mais j'ai voulu 
saisir le courrier. 

Justifiez-moi aussi aupres de M. Vaughan. 

I was engrossed by this work ; that on the eleventh I was on my 
journey ^for, in truth, my materials once collected, the book was 
written in inns); that all the letters of my English friends, with the 
exception of your own, made enormous circuits before they reached 
me, and that two of them are still in pursuit of me ; that I am ex- 
hausted with fatigue more than accounted for by an expedition al- 
most unexampled for its activity and boldness : and, finally, that, 
by the very next post, if I am not then in the Bastille, you shall all 
three or four have a long letter from me. — N.B. Tbkt, if I were 
there, Mde. de * * * would send you word of it, and there would 
be no great reason for alarm. 

To sum up, my friend, love me as I love you, and show this letter 
forthwith to Elliot and Baynes, for it is time they should know 
what they ought to have guessed, that I was incapable of such cul- 
pable neglect, and that of course there was something behind the 
scenes of which they were not aware. Vale, et me ama ; for I am 
dropping from my chair with sleep, but I was resolved to save the 

Set me right also with Mr. Vaughan. 

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250 LETTEBS FROM Dec. 1785. 

Lettek XLII. 


Sir, Bowood Park, Dec. 25, 1785. 

I should have thanked you sooner for the favour of 
your letter, but deferred doing it till I had time to read 
the book^ which accompanied it, with the attention 
which anything coming from you will always command 
from me. The principles of penal law is the subject of all 
others upon which I am most ignorant and most unread. 
However, your arguments, and the authorities to which 
you refer, incline me to think that a revision of our penal 
law is not only desirable, but necessary, for the purpose 
of making it agreeable to the spirit of the times, and such 
as can be executed. 

Mr. Blackburne*s plan was stopped during my time at 
the Treasury. I was assured that, if the number of ale- 
houses could be lessened, the Vagrant Act enforced, and 
the general administration of justice as it stood invigo- 
rated, a great deal might be done without having recourse 
to any new institution. As Parliament was not sitting, 
nothing could be done about the public-houses; but a 
proclamation was issued, and every method tried to bring 
about the two last, and the effect answered the most san- 
guine expectation. I see, by a late charge of Mr. Main- 
waring's to the grand jury of Middlesex, that those most 
'conversant in the police continue of the same opinion. 
Under these circumstances, it was impossible for me to 
consent to so great an expenditure upon a plan which I 
plainly saw had been partially taken up, and the whole of 
the subject not properly considered. No man would do so 
in his private affairs ; and I still think it would be inexpe- 
dient, in the double light of expenditure and punishment, 
till the measures to which I allude have had a fair and 

* Entitled Observations on a /ate Publication, entitled 
" Thoughts on Executive Justice, by Madan:' See ante, p. 64. 

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Feb. 1786. MIRABEAU, ETC. 251 

effectual trial. Upon the change of ministry these mea- 
sures were dropped ; and a number of persons confined 
under the Vagrant Act were immediately set at liberty ; 
who have made, if I am rightly informed, a material part 
of those who have infested London since. 

I propose to be in London in about a fortnight ; when 
I shall be very glad of the pleasure of talking to you 
upon this or any other subject. 

I am, with great truth and regard. Sir, 
Your most obedient humble servant, 

Lansdowne. , 

Letter XLIIL 
from sir gilbert elliot, i 

Dear Sir, P»rk street. Feb. 10, 1786. 

I thank you for the very excellent work * you have 
favoured me with. As I am writing to yourself, I shall be 
more reserved than with any other man I can converse 
with on the subject ; but you mtist just give me leave to 
wonder that you should feel the least desire to conceal the 
name of the author. Your design is too honourable, I 
think, to leave you much anxiety about the performance, 
even if that were at all doubtful : but one is worthy of the 
other, and you know, from me, c'est tout dire. I do assure 
you, the perusal has given me the greatest pleasure, both 
from the certainty of the very high credit you must derive 
from it, and from the hope it affords me of seeing real 
and extensive good result from our penal law and our ad- 
ministration of criminal justice being treated with your 
views and by your pen. I entreat you to go on. 

I send you the paper you desired, and some others which 
you may perhaps either have already or not want ; but 
they may take their chance of serving you. 

Believe me most sincerely, dear Sir, 

Your faithful humble servant, 
Gilbert Elliot. 

^ Afterwards Lord Minto. 

^ The work alluded to in the preceding letter. 

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Letter XLIV. 


[Paris,] 19 Jain, 1796. 

Recevez, Monsieur, tous mes remerctmens du bon 
ouvrage que vous m'avez envoys. Je Tai lu avec TintfirSt 
qu'inspire un grand objet sociaJ, et Pattendrifisement que 
Ton ressent toujours k la lecture d'un 6crit dict6 par 
Tamour de Thumanit^. Ces sentimens s'accroissent de 
tout ce que peut y ajouter Tamiti^ que vous m'avez inarqu6e» 
et dont je conserve un pr6cieux souvenir. Ecrivez, com- 
battez toujours, Monsieur, pour la bienfaisance et pour I'u- 
tilit6 publique ; c'est le meilleur emploi d'une vie qu'on perd 
toutes les fois qu'on ne la consacre pasaux choses utiles. 

Je suis d61ivr6 depuis peu de jours d'une affiure dont 
toute r Europe a parl6 : vous savez sans doute quepar arret 
du 31 Mai dernier, M. le Cardinal de Rohan a 6t£ d^ 
charge de I'accusation, et a obtenuune victoire pleine ; les 
m^moires que j'ai faits pour lui sont k Londres ; il y en 
a mSme une traduction Anglaise, que je d^irerais avoir si 
cela ^tait possible. 

Letter XLIV. 

Paris, 19 June, 1786. 
Accept my best thanks, my dear Sir, for the excellent work you 
have sent me. I read it with the interest which a great social object 
must inspire, and with the feelings which must be always excited in 
reading what is dictated by the love of mankind. Much is to be 
added to these feelings from the friendship you have shown me, the 
recollection of which is most valuable to me. Continue, Sir, to write 
and to labour in the cause of benevolence and of public utility ; it 
is making the best use of a life which, when not devoted to usefiil- 
ness, is thrown away. 

It is only a few days since I have been set at liberty from a cause 
which has engaged the attention of all Europe. You, no doubt, 
know that, by the decree of the 31st of May last, the Cardinal of 
Rohan has been freed from the accusation against him, and has ob- 
tained a complete victory ; the defence which I made for him is in 
London ; there is even an English translation of it, which I should 
wish to have if possible. 

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1786. MIRABEAU, ETC. 253 

Je ne recommande point ^ votre zele la cause de Mad. 
de Rochard, qui me remercie k chaque occasion du pre- 
sent que je lui ai fait en vous indiquant pour d^fenseur. 
Je n'ai surement aucuns efforts k faire pour vous engager 
i la servir de toute votre justice et de tous vos taJens. 

Ne m'oubliez pas, je vous prie, auprds de M. Baynes, 
que je remercie de sa lettre, et k qui je demande pardon 
de n'avoir pas r^pondu. 

J'ai rhonneur d'etre, avec un attachement respectueux 
et un d^vouement inviolable. 
Votre tres-humble 
Et trds-ob6issant serviteur, 


Letter XLV. 


My dear Friend, T™»- CoU. Camb., Oct. 3, 1786. 

I should have been with you by this time, had not 
our Master and Seniors, by making the late election of 
Fellows exactly in the most improper as well as most un- 
popular manner possible, detained me in college a few days 
longer, for the purpose of endeavouring to effect some re- 
form in the present mode of carrying on that business. 
How far we shall succeed, Heaven only knows. The par- 
ticulars of what has passed I cannot now communicate, 
for many reasons.^ 

I do not beg you to be zealous in the cause of Mad. de Rochard, 
who takes every opportunity of thanking me for the present I made 
her in pointing you out for her counsel ; no exertions of mine are 
necessary to induce you to assist her with all your justice and all 
your talents. 

Pray remember me to Mr. Baynes, whom I thank for his letter, 
and whose forgiveness I ask for not having answered it. 

I have the honour to be, &c. &c. 

^ See the history of Trinity College, which is appended to Bishop 
Monk's Life of Bentley^ voL ii. p. 423. 2d edit. 

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254 LETTERS FROM Oct. 1786. 

My time has been, on the whole, very agreeably spent. 
Our juniors form a very pleasant party: Cautley and 
Hailstone ^and Popple have been with us pretty con- 
stantly ; Mansell, the M omus of our Pantheon, supplies 
us liberally with puns, as Harry Gordon, our Ganymede, 
with his nectarean port. Alas, poor Gordon! for our 
Seniors, the other day, thought proper to displace him, 
after Christmas next, for an insult on some of their own 
body. We are all imanimous, and facetious, and merry ; 
what can I say more ? 

Our evenings are filled up by the exertions of two com- 
panies of comedians, one from Norwich, the other from I 
know not where ; but the latter is under the management 
of W. Palmer, of the Theatre Royal Covent Garden. 
Palmer and Edwin come down occasionally to W. Palmer's 
theatre. I am going thither to-night, with some very 
handsome ladies; therefore wonder not at my unususd 
brevity if I be obliged to conclude soon, as the hour is not 
far distant. Shakspeare and black letter muster strong 
at Emanuel. Farmer the master, Stevens, Isaac Reed, 
and Master Herbert the editor of Ames, have taken up 
their quarters there. I have looked for Douce every day ; 
but, alas ! he does not come. 

I shall come to law with redoubled fury. I have ran- 
sacked all the libraries here for manuscripts, but find 
nothing of much consequence except old readings, which 
are, mostly, very difficult to read. I have done a chapter 
of Coke on Fines, read a book of Cicero de Lcgibus, an 
oration in Greek, and newspapers and reviews sans nom- 
bre. You seem all very dull in town, and want a certain 
person, who shall be nameless, to enliven you. I intend, 
therefore (provided I can accomplish my point by that 
time), to set off on Saturday next. 

J. B. 

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Sept. 1787. MIRABEAU, ETC. 255 

Lbttkr XLVI. 

Dear Sir, Teignmouth, Aug. 20. 1787. 

I loved and valued poor Baynes ^ more, almost, than 
I was warranted to do by the length of our acquaintance, 
or the time we had spent together ; and excepting one or 
two persons only, there is scarce any man living to whose 
future public services I looked forward with such good 
hope as I did to his. An understanding so solid as his, with 
such unaffected simplicity and honesty of heart, are indeed 
rarely to be met with in our days ; and are a greater 
national loss than can well be estimated. Though a 
stranger to his father, it is impossible not to be deeply af- 
fected for his situation; I understand he had no other 
child. The book and ring I shall be much obliged to you 
if you will transmit to me at Exeter, or rather the latter 
of them only, and which may be sent in a letter, and will 
be forwarded to me wherever I may be rambling ; the 
former you will have the goodness to reserve for me until 
my return to town. 

I cannot lay aside my pen without expressing a wish 
that I may be allowed to persuade myself that the con- 
nexion which was formed between us through the medium 
of our deceased friend will not be broken off ; but that, 
though this bond of union exist no longer, we shall con- 
tinue mutually to cultivate it, as opportunities may occur, 
I am, dear Sir, yours, &c. 


Letter XLVII. 
from mr. mason. > 

g^ Aston, near Rofherham, Sept. 15, 1787. 

I was on a visit in South Wales when the very afflict- 
ing news of our excellent friend's death was first commu- 

1 Mr. Baynes died in the summer of 1787. See ante, p.69. 
» The poet 

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nicated to me by the papers ; and your letter of the 22nd 
of August, directed to me at York, travelled almost half 
the kmgdom after me before it found me, only the last 
post-day, returned to my parsonage. This, I trust, you 
will think a sufficient excuse for so late an answer, and 
will account for a silence which would otherwise have 
been highly culpable. 

I should expatiate much on the character of him who is 
now lost to us and our country, did I not firmly believe 
that the person whom he selected for one of his executors 
must have as true a sense, and even more experience, of 
his invaluable qualities than myself ; suffice it for me to 
avow, that, as youth is the season of virtue, I never saw 
youth more replete with moral excellence than his ex- 
hibited. The remembrance he was pleased to honour me 
with in his last moments will make his end only with 
mine. Let me entreat you. Sir, when you can do it with 
propriety, to make my tenderest expressions of condolence 
acceptable to his too justly afflicted parent, and I hope 
this will find both you and him somewhat recovered from 
so severe a stroke. 

I am, Sir, with most tnie respect, your much obliged 
and obedient servant, 

W. Mason. 

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Letter XLVIII. 


Gray's Inn, Oct. 14, 1788. 

I profit very gladly of the liberty you have al- 
lowed me of writing to you, and of writing in that lan- 
guage in which I can most forcibly express the sentiments 
of affection and gratitude which I entertain for you and 
your family. The hours which I spent with them were 
by far the happiest that I passed in France ; and though 
my frequent visits to Passy must have shown that I 
thought them such, and have made this declaration un- 
necessary, yet I make it because I find a pleasure in doing 
so, and in transporting myself, though but in imagination, 
once again amongst you. If anything could be wanting 
to make me feel how much I lost in quitting Paris, it was 
our unpropitious journey. We* had the misfortune to 
be kept six days by adverse winds at Boulogne ; and, not- 
withstanding all the philosophy we could summon to our 
assistance, and a pretty large number of books with which 
we were provided, the contrast between our late residence 
at Paris, and our then condition, imprisoned in a miser-' 
able inn, and, to add to our mortification, with the coast of 
England full in our view, was too striking not to provoke 
very frequently our impatience. Our only resource was 
to talk of Paris and Passy, and in idea to live over again 

^ These letters were written to a lady with whom and with whose 
family Mr. Romilly formed, during his stay at Paris, in 1781, a 
friendship which continued uninterrupted to the end of his life. 

> M. Dumont accompanied Mr. Romilly on this journey. 

VOL. I. ^B . 

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the time which was passed. A few hours' more delay 
would have prevented the possihility of my arriving at 
Warwick in time for the sessions, and have totally dis- 
appointed the only ohject for which I was in so great a 
hurry to get from Paris. However, hy travelling two 
nights, and not stopping in Loudon even to unpack my 
trunks, I arrived time enough ; and the only misfortune 
produced hy this delay (but which, indeed, I feel as no 
small one) is, that I have been prevented delivering Miss 
D 's letters till my return from Warwick. 

With respect to public affairs, I interest myself so much 
in them, that I am as impatient to read the foreign ga- 
zettes as if the preservation of our liberties depended 
upon the recovery of those of France. I have found M . 
Seguier's speech (for which I return you many thanks) 
much more curious than edifying. What has most 
shocked me in it, even more than his legislative volonte 
du Boi, is the doctrine which he takes so much trouble 
to enforce, that les abw tudssent du sein des innovations; 
because it appears to me to be a doctrine which is per- 
nicious everywhere, but which in France is destruc.tive 
not only of all public good, but even of every hope of 
good : for the people to be happy and free would certainly 
be, in France, the greatest of all innovations. 

Permit me. Madam, to beg that you would present my 
most affectionate compliments to all your family, to M. 
Guyot and to M. Gautier, to whom I hope .to have the 
pleasure of writing by the next post. I have the honour 
to be, with the sincerest respect and affection, Madam, 
Yours, &c. 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter XLIX. 

Madam, London. Feb. 27. 1789. 

Miss D does me great injustice in supposing 

that the late situation of our affairs, or indeed any pos- 
sible situation of them, could make me forget your family. 

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Feb. 1789. HI* DUMONT, KTC. 259 

It has not been forgetfulness, but the fear of tiring you, 
which has prevented my writing sooner. Perhaps I may 
still have that to fear ; but even at so great a risk, I can- 
not any longer delay telling you the pleasure I always 
feel in hearing from you. 

Our situation in England begins to wear a very happy 
appearance. The King, if not quite recovered, is very 
nearly so. There will be no regency, and consequently 
no change of ministry. The joy which has taken place 
throughout the nation is very sincere and very general : 
it is not, however, universal. A number of persons ' 
had made themselves sure of coming into great and lu- 
crative offices, and of long enjoying them: these have 
now waked from their dream of grandeur, and find 
themselves condemned still to toil on in an unsuccessful 

I quite concur with Miss D in her judgment of the 

King of Prussia's letters. It is certain that the King 
everywhere gives his philosophical correspondents indi- 
rect lessons of toleration and forbearance. The historical 
parts of his works, though certainly not written in the 
proper style for history, are very instructive. The de- 
scription he gives of his own desolated dominions at the 
end of that war of seven years in which he reaped so 
much glory, seems better calculated to inspire mankind 
with a detestation of war than any arguments or any elo- 

Gray's Letters I have never read since they were first 
published ; but I remember at that time being very much 
delighted with them; and particularly with some frag" 
ments of poems which are nearly equal to his finished 
performances. I cannot say that I am acquainted with 
the Abb6 de Mably's Observations on the History of France, 
although I have bought them, for I have not yet had time 
to look into them. I entertain much more respect for 
the Abb6 de Mably's memory on account of his private 
character than his literary talents. I have never much 
admired anything I have read of his, not even his famous 
Entretiens de Phocion, If this letter were by any acci- 
dent to fall into M. Gautier's hands, I fear it would quite 


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ruin me in his good opinion. May I beg of you. Madam, 
when you see him, to assure him that however erroneous 
my judgment may be with respect to others, it is very 
just with respect to himself, and that I always entertain 
the warmest friendship for him. 

But it is time for me to put an end to this letter ; per- 
mit me to do it with the most earnest assurances of the 
respect and attachment with which I am, &c. 

Sahl. Rohillt. 

Letter L. 
to the same. 

Abergavenny, April 18, 1789. 

I write to you. Madam, from a place, the name of 
which is, I fancy, hardly known to you. It is a little 
town on the borders of Wales, which I have hurried to 
from the circuit in order to pass a week with my sister. 
She has lately come hither for the sake of her children's 
breathing the pure air which blows from the Welsh 
mountains, and enjoying the pleasures which this beauti- 
ful country affords. It is the most beautiful that I have 
seen in England, or anywhere else, except in Switzer- 
land : indeed, it very much resembles some parts of Switzer- 
land, but everything is on a smaller scale ; the mountains 
are less high, the rocks less craggy, and the torrents less 
rapid. The valleys are perfectly Swiss, and are enchant- 
ing: scattered over with villages and farm-houses, and 
portioned out into a multitude of small fields, they be- 
speak a happy equality of property, and transport one 
back in idea to the infancy of society. You will easily 
imagine that, at this time of the year, I cannot have 
seen this country to its greatest advantage. We have had 
a very long winter; it has quitted us little more than a 
week ago, and though the summer has burst upon us all 
at once, yet the trees are but just beginning to put out 
their leaves; and, though the outline of the landscape 
may be seen, all its colouring, except the ric^h verdure of 
the fields, is wanting. Butthe most beautiful objects in 

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1789. M. DUMONT. ETC 261 

this country, and which are in a great degree independent 
of the season, are the health, the cheerfulness, and the 
contentment which appear on the countenances of the 

The poor people here have a custom which I never 
knew observed anywhere else, and which is very poetical, 
and very affecting. Once a year (on Palm Sunday) they 
get up early in the morning, and gather the violets and 
primroses, and the few other flowers which at this season 
are to be found in the fields, and with their little harvest 
they hasten to the churchyard, and strew the flowers over 
the graves of their nearest relations. Some arrange their 
humble tribute of affection in different forms with a great 
deal of taste. The young girls, who are so fortunate as 
never to have lost any near relation or any friend, exert 
themselves that the tombs of the strangers who have died 
in the village, at a distance from all who knew them, may 
not be left unhonoured; and hardly a grave appears 
without some of these affectionate ornaments. I came 
here soon after this ceremony had been observed, and 
was surprised, on walking through a churchyard, to find 
in it the appearance of a garden ; and to see the flowers 
withering, each in the place in which it had been fixed. 
I have been the more delighted with my excursion hither, 
from the contrast it forms to the noise, the hurry, the 
crowd, and the contentions of the courts I have just 
quitted. What would I not have given to have been able 
to transport your family hither, to have enjoyed their 
company in this charming spot, and to have had the 
pleasure of introducing my sister to you ! But all that is 

I am very much indebted to Miss D for the news 

which she sends me respecting French politics, in which 
I take the greatest interest. 

The question respecting the abolition of the slave trade 
is to be discussed, in about ten days' time, in the House of 
Commons ; and I am happy to find that those who are 
concerned in the trade begin to be very seriously alarmed. 
The society, which has so strenuously exerted itself to 
procure the abolition of the trade, wrote a letter some 

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time ago to M. Necker, to entreat that he would endea^- 
vour to procure the concurrence of the French govern- 
ment with that of England in so laudable an enterprise. 
M. Necker's answer was very flattering to them, but 
gave them so little reason to hope for the concurrence of 
France, that they thought it advisable not to publish it. 
The King of Spain is giving additional encouragement 
to the trade ; and the argument which is used with most 
force here, and indeed the only argument from which any- 
thing can be feared, is that by our abolishing the trade we 
shall give no relief to the negroes, but only transfer to our 
neighbours the advantages which we derived from that 
commerce. I believe that argument admits of a very 
easy refutation ; but, if it did not, I should have no ob- 
jection to making such a transfer* when I must at the 
same time transfer all the guilt of so abominable a 

I hear my friend M. Dumont is gone to Paris, and J 
make no doubt he will have the honour of waiting on you. 
There is no pleasure I envy him so much as that of see* 
ing you and your family. I beg to be remembered very 
affectionately to them all, and have the honour to be, &c 

Saul. Rouilly. 

Letter LI. 

Dear Dumont, Cray'i inn. May 16. 1799. 

My conscience reproaches me for having sent you 
80 shabby a letter as my last, in return for yours, which 
was so long and so very entertaining. * I was quite de- 
lighted with it. You transported me into the midst of 
the assembly of your district, and I was as much amused 

^ Mr. Romilly became acquainted with M. Dumont at Geneva, 
in 1781 (see ant^, p. 42), and an intimate friendship was maintained 
between them up to the close of Mr. Romilly's life. 

* In this letter, dated April 28, M. Dumont had given a very 
long and detailed account of the proceedings connected with the 
election of deputies to the States-General. 

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17». M. DUMONT. ETC. 263 

as if I had been present. I took the liberty of reading 
parts of your letter to Trail and Wilson. We all agreed 
in admiring it, and in abusing you, first for not employ- 
ing your talents in writing some useful work ; and se- 
condly, if you won't do that, for not writing me more 

I was in the House of Commons last Tuesday, when 
Wilberforce opened the business of the slave trade. He 
did it in an admirable speech, which seemed to make a 
great impression on the House. What he proposes is, 
that the trade should be totally and immediately abo- 
lished. Pitt, Fox, Burke, and Grenville (the Speaker 
of the House), all declared that they were for a total abo- 
lition, and seemed to vie with one another who should 
express in the strongest terms his detestation of the trade. 
Fox says that it will certainly before long be abolished, 
and the only question is, whether England shall have the 
honour of setting so noble an example, or shall wait to 
follow it in others: that he made no doubt that the 
French would soon abolish the trade: that, though he 
had often talked of the rivalship of France, and professed 
himself a political enemy to that country, yet God forbid 
that he should not do justice to their national character ; 
and he did not believe that there was any nation on earth 
who would be more quick to catch a spark of such noble 
enthusiasm, even from those whom they might consider 
as their enemies, or who would be more eager than they 
would to imitate our example. Wilberforce, among 
other reasons which he gave for believing that the trade 
which we abandoned would not be taken up by the French, 
relied much on the character of M. Necker, and par- 
ticularly on the passage in his book on Finance, where 
he says that the only obstacle to the abolition of the 
trade is that, if one nation abolished it, another, and 
perhaps a rival nation, might take advantage of their 
generosity. For, when once England has abolished the 
trade, France cannot have to fear anything from her 
rivals by abolishing it ; and it is impossible to suppose 
that any man, much more M. Necker, would consent to 
become so infamous as he must, if, after having published 

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this work, he should attempt to take advantage of us be- 
cause we had abolished the trade. But what gives us 
better security than these arguments is, that the trade 
cannot be carried on by France, but under much greater 
disadvantages even than those under which it is carried on 
by us ; for the commodities proper for the African market 
are (at least the greater part of them) manufactured 
better and cheaper in England than anywhere else. A 
part of Wilberforce*s speech which I thought admirable 
was, where he showed that the present barbarism of 
Africa was to be ascribed principally, if not solely, to this 
trade; which, by making it the interest of the native 
princes to wage war perpetually with one another, and to 
plunder and carry away their own subjects, and by 
destroying all mutual confidence among the native sub- 
jects, and encouraging men to enslave their neighbours and 
parents to sell their children, prevented any improvement 
in manners or civilisation. Burke, in speaking of this 
trade, described it very truly, very concisely, and with 
great energy. He said that it was a trade which began 
by violence and war, was continued by the most dreadful 
imprisonment, and ended in exile, slavery, and death. 
Among the speakers, none did more service to the cause 
which we have so much at heart than those who spoke 
against it. All they did was to use invectives, to insist 
that the statements which had been made were misrepre- 
sentations, to call Wilberforce's propositions reveries, 
and to rely on objections which had been answered and 
on arguments which had been refuted. A few days be- 
fore this debate came on, a petition was presented to the 
House of Commons by a great many of the manufacturers 
of Sheffield, stating that they were greatly interested that 
the slave trade should not be abolished, the principal 
manufactures employed in that trade being made by 
them; but declaring that they were desirous that no 
regard might be had to their interests, but that they 
might be readily sacrificed and the trade abolished. 
There seems the greatest probability that the Bill for the 
abolition will pass the Commons ; but it is to be expected 
from the enemies to it, that they will throw every obstacle 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 265 

they can in the way of it ; and that, by bringing a mul- 
titude of witnesses to the bar of the House, they will 
delay the business till the next session, when all will be 
to begin again. What opposition may be made to the 
Bill when it gets into the House of Lords cannot be fore- 
seen ; however, I think it is certain that in three or four 
years to come, at farthest, this trade will no longer dis- 
grace England. ^ 

Mr. Frazer is, or will very soon be, at Paris. He will 
call on you. If Rousseau*s Cor^fessiom are published by 
that time, pray do not fail to send them to me by him. 
I wish much, too, to see Necker's speech to the States. 

Have you read Voltaire's posthumous letters? What 
do you think of them ? We talk of you very often in 
Frith Street, and long to see you. If you don't come 
back soon, pray write me another of your long letters. 
I am sure you would conquer your idleness, if you knew 
how much pleasure they give me. I write to you in a 
very great hurry. 

Pray give my compliments to M. Clavi^re, and to all 
his family, to M. de la Roche, and to M. and Mad**. 

Mallet. The family of Mad*. D I fear have quitted 


Yours most sincerely, 

S. R. 

Letter LII. 


Paris, 22 Mai, 1789. 

Je viens de recevoir votre lettre, mon cher Romilly, 
et je suis charm6 qu'un scrupule de conscience m'ait valu 

Letter LII. 

Paris, May 22, 1780. 

I have just received your letter, my dear Romilly, and I am 
delighted that a scrapie of conscience should have procured me the 

^ It continued, however, till 1806, when it was abolished by the 
Whig administration. 

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rint^ressante relation de ce qui s'est pass^ dans la Cham- 
bre des Communes relativement k la traite. J'avoisoubli^ 
de vous dire que je m'^tois fait agr^ger k la Soci6t6 des Amis 
des Noirs a Paris, pour voir par moi-mezne de quel esprit 
elle ^toit anim6e, et de quoi Ton pouvoit se flatter. C'est 
un foible commencement ; elle a environ cent souscrip- 
teurs, et la plupart de ceux qui la composent sont des 
grands seigneurs ou des hommes de lettres, qui peut-Stre 
ne d6^nt^ressent pas assez leur amour propre, et ne 
s'occupent pas assez de la chose elle-mSme. Tout est 
formality dans Tassembl^e ; leur mani^re de recueillir les 
opinions est si mauvaise que la moindre question tratne 
durant des heures, et Tennui m*en a toujours chass6 avant 
la fin de la discussion. 

Cette 60ci6t6, toute foible qu'elle est, a caus6 de Tom- 
brage k des planteurs, qui Tout d^nonc^e au Roi, mais ils 
ont 6t^ bien dfisappointfis. ** Tant mieux,'' a-t-il r6pondu ; 
•* je suis charm6 qu'il y ait dans mes 6 tats quelquos hon- 
nStes gens qui s'occupent du sort de ces pauvres nfegres." 
Ce mot a donnfi un peu plus de vigueur k nos philan- 
thropes. II faut esp6rer qu'on fera ici par Emulation ce 
qu'on aura fait en Angleterre par principe. 

interesting account of what took place in the House of Commons 
on the subject of the slave trade. I had forgotten to tell you that I 
had joined the Society of the Friends of the Negroes at Paris, that 
I might myself see the spirit which animated them, and what might 
be expected from them. It is a small beginning ; there are about a 
hundred members, most of whom are men of rank or men of letters, 
who perhaps do not sufficiently set aside their personal vanity, and 
io not attend sufficiently to the object itself. All is formality at 
heir meetings ; their mode of collecting the opinions of the mem- 
)ers is so bad, that the most trivial question drags on for hours 
ogether, and I have always been driven away by ennui before the 
end of the discussion. 

This society, feeble as it is, has given umbrage to some of the 
planters, who have complained of it to the King, but they have had 
little reason to be pleased with his answer. " So much the better,'* 
he replied: "I am delighted to hear that there are some honest 
people in my kingdom who interest themselves in the lot of these 
poor negroes." This answer has infused a little more vigour into 
our philanthropists, and it is to be hoped that emulation will do 
here what in England will have been done on principle. 

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1799. M. DCMONT, ETC. 267 

Les CoT^fessions de Rousseau ne paroissent pas; je 
n'en ai plus entendu parler, mais ce que je vous ai mand6 
k cet 6gard est certain. J'ai lii quelques unes des lettres 
posthumes de Voltaire; elles ne sont pas fort int^ressantes ; 
11 faut en acheter une bonne par vingt mauvaises. Le 
r^gne de Voltaire est pa8s6, except^ au tli6itre. Rous- 
seau s'616ve k mesure que Tautre s'abaisse. La post6rit6 
sera bien 6tonn6e qu'on les ait regard^s comme rivaux. 

Mes complimens ^ MM. Trail et Wilson ; ils devroient 
bien venir passer r6t6 k Paris ; je crois qu ils y passeroient 
six semaines d'une mani6re fort agr6able. — Adieu, mon 
cher Romilly ; aimez-moi comme je vous aime. 

Et. D. 

Letter LI 1 1. 

Dear Dumont, London, June 9, 1789. 

I return you many tbanks for your long and very 
entertaining letter of the 3d of this month. It has given 
me as much pleasure as I could possibly have received 
from the scenes themselves which it describes, if I had 
been present at them. The inconveniences of debating 
in so tumultuous a manner are terrible ; they render me 
quite impatient that the papers I sent the Count de Sars- 
field should be published. * Perhaps they would do no 

Rouwean's Omfetiicns are not yet published. I have heard 
nothing more said about them ; but what I wrote to you on the 
subject is accurate. I have read some of Voltaire's posthumous 
letters; they are not very interesting; it is at the expense of twenty 
that are bad that one has to get at one that is good. Voltaire's 
reign is over, except at the theatre. Rousseau rises in proportion 
as the other sinks, and posterity will be much astonished at their 
having been considered as rivals. 

My compliments to Messrs. Trail and Wilson ; they should come 
and pass the summer at Paris ; I think they would spend six weeks 
there very agreeably. Farewell, my dear Romilly, &c. &c. 

Et. D. 

An account of these papers is given at p. 74. They consisted 

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good ; but, however, there is at least a chance of their 
doing good. 

M irabeau is probably so much engaged with the politics 
of the day, that you must not speak to him of any other 
subject. If you may, I wish you would tell hira, that, 
upon my return last autumn from Paris, I told Mr. 
Vaughan and Sir Gilbert Elliot that he said he would send 
each of them a copy of his Monarchic Prussienne, and 
that they have neither of them received one. I wish 
Mirabeau may be induced by the noble opportunity which 
he now has of making the most distinguished figure, 
and rendering a most essential service to mankind, — I 
wish he may be induced to avoid provoking so many 
enemies as he has hitherto done. He should remember 
that he at the same time makes them enemies to his 
principles, and consequently to the good of mankind. 

I dined a few days ago at Mr. V.'s. Lord W. was there. 
The abolition of the slave trade was the subject of con- 
versation, as it is indeed of almost all conversations. I 
was sorry to find that Lord W. is not a friend to it. I 
make no doubt that he looks upon me as a mad enthu- 
siast ; and, to speak the truth, I cannot boast of having 
shown much coolness in the conversation: but I every 
day hear such arguments used ilpon the subject as no 
human patience can endure. You have seen the repre- 
sentation of a slave-ship. Can you believe it possible, 
after having seen that representation, the truth of which 
it is easy to ascertain with a pair of compasses, that any 
man should be found capable of giving such an accoimt 
as I here transcribe of an African voyage? "In the in- 
terval between breakfast and dinner, the negroes are 
supplied with the means of amusing themselves, after the 
manner of their country, with musical instruments ; the 
song and dance are encouraged and promoted ; the men 
play and sing, whilst the boys dance for their amusement ; 
the women and girls divert themselves in the same way, 
and amuse themselves with arranging fanciful ornaments 

of a statement of the rules and forms of proceeding of the English 
House of Commons, and were intended to serve as a model for the 
French Assembly, which met at Versailles on the 5th of May. 

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1789. M. DUMONT. ETC. 269 

for their persons with heads When tired of music 

and dancing, they go to games of chance. The women 
are supplied with heads, which they make into ornaments, 
and the utmost attention is paid to the keeping up their 
spirits, and to indulge them in all their little humours." 
Such is the evidence which two African captains have 
not heen ashamed to give before the Privy Council. Some 
other witnesses however are examined ; one, a surgeon, 
who speaks of what he himself saw. " It was usual," he 
says, *' to mdke the slaves dance, in order that they might 
exercise their limbs, and preserve health. This was done 
by means of a cat-o'-nine tails, with which they were 
driven about among one another, one of their country 
drums beating at the same time ; on these occasions they 
were compelled to sing, the cat being brandished over them 
for that purpose. He sometimes heard the women among 
themselves singing, but always at those times in tears. 
Their songs contained the history of their lives, and their 
separation from their friends and country. These songs 
were very disagreeable to the captain ; he has sometimes 
logged the women for no other reason than this, in so 
terrible a manner, that the witness has been a fortnight 
healing the incisions." It appears by the Report of the 
Privy Council that the crimes for which men are made 
slaves in Africa are frequently those of witchcraft, and 
that for witchcraft the punishment involves the whole 
family of the person convicted. 

Trsdl and Wilson desire their compliments to you ; they 
will thank you to inquire which is the best French Jour- 
nal that they can take in, in order to have an account of 
the proceedings of the States. Is M irabeau's ^ regularly 
continued ? The last number you sent me comes no lower 
down than the 11th May. It was reported here that even 
these letters to his commettans were suppressed. 

Your friends in Frith Street, not forgetting your little 
niece, desire to be very affectionately remembered to you. 

^ Leitres de Mirabeau a sei Commettans, which afterwards at- 
tracted great attention under the name of the Courrier de Provence, 
See SoMvenira 'sur Mirabeau, by Dumout, chap. vi. 

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LrrrxR LIV. 


Snitee, prta Paris, SI Jain, 1789. 

Je vousenvoye, mon cher Romilly, un exemplaire de 
la Trculuciion,^ &c. ; vous en aurez d'autres que je vous 
porterai moi-mdme, car je ne resteplus ici que pour voir 
deux ou trois stances des trois ordres r^unis, et juger s'ils 
s'inspireront mutuellement aseez de respect ou de terreur 
pour s'assujettir k ]a discipline, et si, de T^niulatioii entre 
ks ordres, r^sultera le bien public. Quant & votre ouvrage, 
il sera utile ; les bons esprits le lisent avec attention, mais 
son effet sera lent : ils ont tant de vanity nationale, tant 
de pretention, qu'ils aimeront mieux toutes les sottises de 
leur cboix, que les r6sultats de Texp^rience Britannique. 
Le temps seul les 6clairera sur les absurdit6s du r6gle- 
ment de police qui est en projet, et ils s'accoutumeront 
k rid6e, qui les r6volte, d'emprunter quelque chose de 
votre gouvernement, qui est ici respu6 comme un des op- 
probres de la raison humaine: quoique Ton convienne 

Letteb LIV, 

SurSne, near Paris, June 21, 1789. 
I send you, my dear Romilly, one copy of the Tronsiationy^ 
&c. ; I will myself bring you others ; for I shall only remain here 
to see one or two meetings after the union of the three orders, and to 
determine whether they will inspire each other with sufficient reqiect 
or fear to submit to control, and whether, from emulation between 
the different orders, public good can arise. As to your work, it will 
be useful; the well-disposed read it with attention, but its effect 
will be slow. The French have so much national vanity, so much 
pretension, that they will prefer all the follies of their own choosing 
to the results of English experience. Time alone will enlighten 
them on the absurdities of the police regulations which are in con- 
templation, and will accustom them to the idea now so revolting to 
them, of borrowing any thing from your government, which is here 
repudiated as a reproach to human reason. It is, indeed^ admitted 

' A translation of the papers mentioned in the preceding letter. 

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1789. M. X>UMONT, ETC. 271 

que vous avez deux ou trois belles loix ; mais il est insou- 
tenable que vous ayez la pr6somption de dire que vous 
avez une constitution. Cependant il faut convenir que 
la jalousie nationale a 6t6 clairvoyante, et leur a tres-bien 
fait d6couvrir qu'il y avoit une grande distance de la th^ 
one de Montesquieu et de De Lolme k la pratique r6e]le, 
k I'etat vrai des choses. J'ai revu la traduction, mais ce 
fut un travail fort rapide, une revision avec Thomme dont 
vous connoissez la turbulente impatience ; vous ne serez 
juge que des fautes qui restent» et non de celles que j'ai 
fait disparottre, et cette comparaison seule pourroit me 
m^riter un peu d'indulgence. 

Mille amiti6s, je vous prie, k nos amis communs* Je 
suis fort press6 pour finir. 

Aimez-moi comme je vous aime. 

> Et. Dumont- 

Letter LV. 


Dear Dumont, July 28, 1789. 

I sit down to write a few lines to you as fast as 1 can 
before I set out on the circuit, which will be early to- 
morrow morning. I shall return in about a fortnight, and 
how I shall dispose of myself during the vacation is yet 
uncertain. It is true that you have written me some very 
long letters, but that was long ago. Since a£fairs have 

that you have tw6 or three fine laws; but then you have the un- 
warraD table presumption to assert that you have a constitution. 
Nevertheless, it must be allowed that the national jealousy has been 
clear-sighted, and has very properly made them discover that there 
is a wide difference between the theory of Montesquieu and De Lolme 
and actual practice — the real state of things. I have gone through 
the translation ; but revisinj?, with a man whose boisterous impa- 
tience you well know, was hurried work. You can only judge of 
the faults which remain, and not of those which I have struck out ; 
and yet this comparison alone can entitle me to any indulgence. 
Best remembrances to our mutual friends. 

Yours, in haste, &c. 

Et. Dumont. 

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been in such a state in France as must make every man 
who has the least humanity impatient for news, you have 
not let me hear from you once. 

T am sure I need not tell you how much I have rejoiced 
at the Revolution which has taken place. I think of no> 
thing else, and please myself with endeavouring to guess 
at some of the important consequences which must follow 
throughout-all Europe. I think myself happy that it has 
happened when I am of an age at which I may reasonably 
hope to live to see some of those consequences produced. 
It will perhaps surprise you, but it is certainly true, that 
the Revolution has produced a very sincere and very ge- 
neral joy here. It is the subject of all conversations ; and 
even all the newspapers, without one exception, though 
they are not conducted by the most liberal or most philo- 
sophical of men, join in sounding forth the praises of the 
Parisians, and in rejoicing at an event so important for 

Pray congratulate Mirabeau on my behalf; tell him that 
I admire and envy him the noble part he is acting. The 
force of truth obliges me to say this, though I am really 
ofiended with him (and I wish you would tell him so), for 
having very wantonly bestowed on me a very undeserved 
panegyric* The book in which it is contained is cer- 
tainly, upon the whole, well translated ; but there are 
some errors in it which I would correct, and send you or 
him the corrections, if I thought there were any probabi- 
lity of its passing through a second edition. 

You have never sent me the third and fourth letter of 
Mirabeau to his constituents : I wish you would get them 
for me to complete my set. When is M. Claviere's great 
work to appear ? I don't know whether I told him not 
by any means to use the name of Dr. Price as an autho- 

' The following is the passage alluded to : — " Je dois ce travail, 
entrepris uniquement pour la France, k un Anglais qui,jeune encore, 
a m^rit6 une haute reputation, et que ceux dont il est parti culi- 
erement connu regardent comme une des esp^rances de sou pays. 
C'est un de ces philosophes respectables, dont le civisme ne se borne 
point {I la Grande Bretagne,*' &c. See Dumont's TdcHqtie dei 
Asaemb, Ligialat,, vol. i. p. 285, 2nd edit. 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 273 

rity for the information he communicated to him through 
me. Be so good, therefore, as to tell him that Dr. Price 
begs he may not be named. 

My brother and sister beg to be very affectionately re- 
membered to you. They think we should all be happier, 
sitting in their little parlour in Frith Street, than being 
spectators of the revolutions in France, and the tragedies 
which attend them. We have just heard the news of the 
murder of Foulon and his son-in-law, which no doubt 
everybody, and chiefly the friends of the people, must 
consider as a very unfortunate event Adieu ! Believe 
me to be, with unalterable affection, 

Yours, &c., 

S. R. 

Letter LVI. 
from mlle.d — 

Paris, 27 Aoflt. 1789. 

Si vous avez pu croire que c'^toit par oubli ou par 
negligence que nous n'avons pas repondu k vos dernieres 
lettres. Monsieur, et que nous avons gard6 un si long 
silence, vous nous avez fait une grande injustice. La mul- 
titude de scenes, d'id^es, d'evdnemens, par lesquels nous 
avons pass^, nous ont caus^ tant d'agitations, que, mSme 
en pensant plus que jamais k nos amis, il ^toit impossible 
de leur 6crire. Combien de fois, Monsieur, vous avez 
ete present k mon esprit, pendant ces troifr mois qui feront 
epoque dans ma vie, par tant de raisons! C'est a fH)us, 

Letter LVI, 

Paris, August 27, 1789. 
If you can have believed tbat it has been through forgetfulness 
or neglect that we have not answered your last letters, Sir, and that 
we have so long been silent, you have done ns great injustice. The 
multitude of scenes, of ideas, of events through which we have 
passed, have thrown nsinto a state of so much agitation, that, whilst 
we have thought more than ever of our friends, we have found it im- 
possible to write to them. How often have yon been present to my 
mind during the last three months, which, for so many reasons, will 
form an epoch in my life ! It is to you, Sir, that I must turn when. 
VOL. I. T 

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Monsieur, que j'ai besoin de parier de la Suisse ; persoxine 
icine m'entend, etjesaisbien qoe v<ms m'entendrez, me 
comprendrez, car vous connoissez ce pays favoris^ duCiel, 
et vous 6tiez digne de le parcourir. Je B*ai 6t6 que dans 
une bien petite partie de la Suisse, mais j'en ai vd assez 
pour juger de tout ce que la Nature y a accumul6 de grand, 
de beau, de sublime, pour Padmiration des fimes sensibles. 
Tai ^pronv^ 1^ des sensations qui m'etoient inconnues, et 
en v^rit^ trap dSlicieuses ; car elles m'ont laiss6 beaucoup 
trop de regrets d'etre destin^e a vivre si loin des objets 
ravissans qui les causoient. 3*bx visits cette lie * od Rous- 
seau a joui de quelques mois de bonheur, du seul qui 6toit 
fait pour lui, auquel il 6toit accessible, celui qu'D trouvoit 
dans la contemplation de la nature et de lui-mSme. Nous 
y avons retrouv6 encore ce mtoe calme dont il a sii si 
bien jouir, qu'il a sii si bien peindre, et qu*il a si vainement 
recherch6 depuis. J'ai vii Geneve, encore dans une ivresse, 
ou, si vous voulez, une illusion de bonheur, qu'il seroit cruel 
et barbare de d6truire et de troubler. J'ai vft dans le canton 
de Berne, sous un gouvernement haissable par ses formes, 
mais doux dans ses effets, un peuple tranquille et heureux, 

I would talk about Switzerland ; no one here understands me ; and 
I am well aware that you will, and will feel with me on this sub- 
ject ; for you know that country, so favoured by Heaven, and you 
were worthy to know it. I have only been in a very small part of 
Switzerland; but I have seen enough io form an idea of all the 
grandeur, the beauty, the sublimity which Nature has there thrown 
together for the admiration of men of feeling. I there felt emotions 
to which I was before a stranger, and which, indeed, were too de- 
lightful ; for they have left behind them too much regret that I should 
be destined to live so far firom the enchanting scenes which called 
them forth. I visited that island ^ where Rousseau enjoyed a few 
months of happiness, the only happiness which was made for him, and 
to which he was accessible, that which he found in the contemplation 
of nature and of himself. We found there the same tranquillity 
which he knew so well how to enjoy and to describe, and which be 
has so vainly sought for since. I saw Geneva, which was still in an 
intoxication, or, if you will, a dream of happiness, which it would 
be cruel and bubarous to destroy or disturb. I saw in the canton 
of Berne, under a government hateful in its forms, but gentle in its 
effects, a happy and contented people, sheltered by the comfort and 

^ Llle de Saint Pierre, in the middle of the Lake of Bienne. 

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1769. M. DUMONT, ETC. 275 

garanti par son aisance et sa prosp^rit^, encore mieux que 
par ses montagnes, des orages et des r6volution8 qui d6- 
Solent d*autre6 contr6es. C'est au milieu de ces valines for- 
tun^es. oii le bonheur doit 6tre bien plus facUe, puisqu'il 
y est d6pouill6 de tant de biens factices, c'est \i oii il se- 
roitsi douxde vivre et d'oublier le reste du monde, que la 
nouvelle des d^sastres de la France est venue m'atteindre. 
Quoique la succession la plus inconcevable d'^venemens 
inesp^r^s ait ensuite un peu calm6 nos alarmes, nous avions 
un trop grand besoin de venir rejoindre tout ce qui nous 
6toit cher, pour continuer paisiblement notre voyage. 
Nous I'avons done pr^cipit^, et nous sommes depuis peu 
de jours de retour au sein de notre famille, encore ^mues 
du bonheur d' avoir re trouv6 tant d'objets ch^ris, pr63erv6s 
de tons maux, au milieu de tant de dangers. 

Je ne vous dirai aucune nouvelle. Monsieur ; vous Stes 
mieux inform^ sdrement que peut-ltre je ne le suis moi- 
m6me. L'inqui6tude est encore le sentiment dominant, 
et surtout sur Tobjet des finances. Mais les biens dont 
nous allons jouir ne sauroient lire trop achet6s ; on se 
fera gloire m6me des soucis et des peines dont on les 
payera. £t vous, Monsieur, qui seriez si digne de voir 

prosperity of their condition, «till jnore than by their mountains, 
from the storms and revolutions by which other countries are laid 
waste. It was in the midst of those favoured valleys, where happi- 
ness is the more accessible that it is there stripped of so many factitious 
pleasures,*-it was there, where it would be so delightful to live and 
to forget the rest of the world, that the news of the disasters of France 
reached me. Although the most inconceivable succession of un- 
hoped-for events has since, in some degree, allayed our fears, we 
felt too strongly the want of being reunited to all that was dear to us 
to continue our journey in peace. We accordingly hastened our re- 
turn, and have now been some days at home in the bosom of our 
family, and are still under the joyful emotion of having found so 
many objects of our love, preserved from all harm in the midst of so 
many dangers. 

I shall send you no news. Sir, for you are, no doubt, as well in- 
formed, perhaps better than I am myself. Anxiety is still the prevail- 
ing feeling, especially on the subject of finance. But the blessings which 
we are going to enjoy can scarcely be too dearly purchased ; we shall 
even glory in the cares and privations by which we shall have paid 
for them. And you, Sir, who are so worthy to be a near spectator 

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de pres le spectacle int^ressant qu'offre la France dans ce 
moment, celui d'un grand peuple qui veut rentrer dans 
ses droits naturels que les institutions sociales avoient 
effacees depuis si longtems, ne viendrez-vous point? 
Jamais de plus grands motifs n*attirerentsurle Continent, 
et, en v6rit6, si vous y r^sistez, je ne sais k quelle hauteur 
je placerai ce degr^ de vertu. J'attends au moins, Mon- 
sieur, de votre amiti6, une lettre de vous. Je n'en ai 
jamais si vivement souhait^, pour savoir votre opinion de 
ce qui se passe ici. Veuillez nous faire part de quelques 
unes de vos reflexions ; j*ai encore bien plus d'envie de 
vous entendre sur la France, que je n'avois de besoin de 
vous parler de la Suisse. 
Recevez, Monsieur, &c. 

Letter LVII. 


Dear Romilly, **"*•» Oct. 18, 1789. 

You will see that Mirabeau has proposed a law fo 
the suppression of riots, similar in many respects to our 
Riot Act. It is intended by him to be much milder ; and 
Dumont wishes extremely to have an accurate statemen 
of the English law on that subject. I believe he has the 
Riot Act ; but I think there are many cases in which the 

of the interesting spectacle which France exhibits at this moment, 
that of a gieat people re-assuming their natural rights, which social 
institutions had so long obliterated, will not you come ? Never was 
there a stronger motive to draw men to the Continent ; and, in truth, 
if you resist the temptation, I know not at what height I shall place 
this degree of virtue. At least, Sir, I trust to your friendship for a 
letter ; I never before so strongly wished for one, that 1 may bear 
your opinion on what is passing here. Pray impart to us some of 
your reflections ; I have a still gi eater desire to hear from you about 
France, than I had to write to you about Switzerland. 

I am, &c. 

^ For an account of Mr. Trail, and the origin of Mr. Romilly'i 
intimacy with him, see tw/rd, note to letter of Sept. 21, 1791. 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 2*77 

civil magistrate employs force, and military force where 
he has it, without going through the forms prescribed by 
that statute. If the mob are actually committing a felony, 
may not the magistrate, or even any person whatever, dis- 
perse them by force? In 1780, immediately after the 
riots. Lord Mansfield stated the law in the House of 
Lords, which appeared to many to give more power to 
the magistrates than it was supposed did legally belong 
to them ; but the Chancellor approved of every thing he 
said : and if you could transmit to Dumont a copy of that 
speech, which you will find in the Parliamentary Register^ 
he will be greatly obliged to you. The sooner you do it 
the better. 

I have seen but little of the National Assembly, and I 
am afraid that I shall see little more. It is supposed the 
members will not venture to regulate the admission of 
strangers by tickets, or in any other way, but will permit 
the vacant space to be filled by such as come first. I was 
in the Assembly on Tuesday evening, all Wednesday, and 
on Thursday forenoon, when they adjourned till Monday 
at Paris. Mirabeau spoke a few sentences with great pre- 
cision, and like a man of business : he has an imposing and 
dictatorial manner, with an air of superiority and seJf 
sufficiency. I heard a short speech from Volney, which 
I liked on account of the temper and delicacy with which 
he reproached the Assembly for changing, inconsiderately, 
the order of the day. The sudden departure of the Duke 
of Orleans is the only topic of conversation among all 
ranks, ages, and sexes, so far as I know. The most pre- 
vailing report is, that the Ministry got evidence of his 
being engaged in some conspiracy, and offered him the 
alternative of a trial, or a pretext for withdrawing out of 
the kingdom. The object of his plot, according to some, 
was to put himself upon the throne by the most violent 
and sanguinary means ; according to others, to get himself 
declared Regent, in case the King should withdraw, or 
should, by any other means, be removed from the govern- 
ment. It is confidently asserted that they can prove his 
having distributed large sums of money among the people : 
perhaps from this single fact the other reports have 
arisen. For my own part, having no authority for any of 


the stories, I believe none. I am the more inclined to 
scepticism, that I perceive every body suspectins: a plot 
in every accidental circumstance that occurs. It is diffi- 
cult to decide which of the parties are most credulous and 
suspicious. I have read almost all the printed accounts 
of the late excursion * to Versailles, and have conversed 
with several persons who were about the palace at the 
' arrival of the Parisians, and after all I cannot make out a 
consistent story. It is certain the Paris militia, preceded 
by several hundred women, went to Verswlles ; that a few 
of the Gardes du Corps were killed, and one or two 
women ; and that they prevailed on the King to com« 
with his family to reside in the capital. It is equally cer- 
tain that the officers of the Gardes du Corps gave, some 
days before, a great entertainment to a great niftmber of 
military people at Versailles ; that the King permiited 
them to use the Opera House, and he and the Queen and 
Dauphin visited them after dinner, and conversed &- 
miliarly with them ; and that, during this entertainment, 
some rash and violent expressions were used, the national 
cockade laid aside, and the black one resumed. Thk ex- 
ample was beginning to be followed by some military 
men at Paris; and, added to this, bread became unac- 
countably scarce, and for a day or two was hardiy to be 
got at all. The removal of the National Assembly will 
bring things, I should imagine, to a crisis. If the people 
do not disturb their deliberations, all will go well ; if they 
do, the King and they must, with the support of the mu- 
nicipality, endeavour, once for all, to restore energy to the 
laws ; and if they fail, it is in vain to conjecture the coa- 
quences. This morning I saw his Majesty walking in the 
Champs Elys^es, without guards. He seemed easy and 
cheerful. He passed along the line of 5000 or 6000of the 
Paris militia, who are reviewed there every Sunday. 
Dumont is at the Hotel Royal> Rue Neuve St. Mare. I 
have not seen him since he came from VersaiUea^ although 
we have been in search of each other. 


J. T. 

1 Oa the 5th and Stb of October. 


1789. M. DUMCMtT, ETC. 219 

Lbitbb LVHL 


PtiTto. 190ctolxre,l7B9. 

Eh bien, mon cher Romilly, vous Tavie* pr6vu ; noua 
le disions ensemble; rien n'6toit fini; rhwizon 6toil 
trouble, Vous avez vu un insipide entr'iicte, et k peine 
^tiez vous parti ^ que la scdne est devenue trds-intdres- 
sante et tr^s-anim^e. Yous ne me demandez pas des 
details: ceux qui peuvent Stres publics sont partout; 
ceux qu'il faut dire en confidence, il ne feut paa les en- 
Toyer par la poste. 

Vous me demandez mon opinion sup la revolution. 
H^las ! mon ami, que puis-je vous dire ? Cette terre-ci 
est tenement volcanique, les mouvemens sont si soudains, 
Pautorit6 si foible, qu^on a lieu de redouter ce s^our* 
pour rABsembl6e Nationale. Plusieurs provinces sont 
bless^es de la conduite de Paris, et regardent les quinze 

Letter LVIII. 

Paris, October 19, 1789. 
Well, mj dear Romilly, you foiesaw it. We both said so ; 
nothing was concluded ; the borizoa was overcast. You saw ao i». 
sipid iuterlude, and you were hardly gone ^ when the scene became 
very interesting and very animated. You do not ask me for details : 
indeed, those which can be published ara to be had everywhere ; 
those which must be told in confidence must not be sent by the 

You ask me my opinion of the revolutiou, Alas! my friend, 
what can I say ? The ground on which we stand is so volcanic, all 
our movements are so sudden, all constituted authority so weak, 
that one cannot but dread the present abode* for the National Assem- 
bly. Several of the provinces are offended at the conduct of Parii, 

* Mr. Romilly had spent the greater part of the months of August 
and September of this year at Paris. See anfe, p. 76—83. 

« The National Assembly had removed from Venuulles to Paris 
after the 5th and 6th of October. 

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mille ambassadeurs arm6d, envoy6s k Versailles, comme 
un attentat qui int^resse tout le royaume. Les autres 
croyent que la capitale est TonV de la Erance, comme le 
dit M. de Warville, et que sa vigilance a sauve la liberty 
d*une conspiration plus hardie que la premiere. L'une 
de ces conspirations est aussi bien prouv^e que I'autre ; 
et vous savez mon avis sur la pr6c6dente. Des m^contens, 
des impi-udens, des malveillans, des ennemis de la liberty, 
des courtisans corrompus, des gens qui voudroient bien 
avoir assez de moyens pour mal faire — ^assez de caract^re 
pour §tre dangereux — ^il y a de tout cela ; mais des con- 
spirateurs, des chefs, des projets suivis, une marche sou- 
terraine, une reunion d'efForts, de vues, de personnes, 
voila ce qui n'existe pas, ou du moins ce qui n'est pas 
prouv6. Laconduite future de Paris, le sentiment des 
provinces, voili deux donn^es qui me manquent pour as- 
seoir mon jugement Si les deputes sont insult6s, s'Ds 
ne sont pas libres, vous pr6voyez bien qu'ils fuiront les 
uns aprds les autres. La desertion est d£j^ trSs conside- 
rable, e tils n'ont vu qu'avec la plus vive douleur leur 
translation k Paris. Les plus z616s r6publicains en ont 
pens6 k cet %ard 3L-peu-pr6s comme les autres. 

and look upon the march of the 15,000 armed ambassadors to Ver- 
sailles as an ouirage which concenis the whole kingdom. The other 
provinces look upon the capital as " the eye of France,*' to use M. 
de Warville 8 expression, and believe that its vigilance has preserved 
our liberty from a much bolder conspiracy than the ^rst. The evi- 
dence upon which both conspiracies rest is of the same value, and 
you know my opinion of the first. Discontented men, imprudent 
ones, ill-disposed people, enemies of liberty, corrupt courtiers, 
creatures who long for ability enough to do mischief — determina- 
tion enough to be dangerous, — all this we have ; but as for con^i- 
rators, leaders, settled designs, deep-laid plots, a concert of efforts, 
views, or persons, nothing of this exists, or, at least, nothing is less 
established by evidence. The future conduct of Paris, and the feel- 
ing of the provinces, are data without a knowledge of which it is 
difficult to form a judgment. If the deputies should be insulted, if 
they should not be free, it is clear that they will desert their post one 
after the other. This desertion is already very considerable, and it 
was with the deepest sorrow that they beheld their removal to Paris. 
On this subject the most zealous republicans have thought much 
like the others. 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 281 

D^s que je verrai M. de Mirabeau, je lui rendrai fidele- 
ment votre commission. Vous pouvez compter que Trail 
vous portera ce que vous demandez, except6 les deux 
cahiers arri6res du Courrier de Provence j parceque ma 
maudite m6moire a laiss^ 6chapper les Nos. ; mais cette 
omission sera bienl6t r6par6e. 

L'afFaire des nSgres n'est pas mdre, mais je vous assure 
qu'elle n'est point n6glig6e ; et il me parott encore pro- 
bable qu'elle sera trait6e mSme dans cette session. Le 
Due de la Rochefoucauld est trSs-instant li-dessus. Nous 
avons les papiers dont vous parlez entre les mains, et ils 
iront 4 leur destination premiere, ou retourneront dans 
les v6tre8. 

L'EvSque de Chartres et TAbb^ Sieyes m'ont pri6 de 
vous faire leurs amiti6s. 

Et. D. 

Letter LIX. 


London, Oct. 20, 1789. 

It was with great concern and anxiety, Madam, that 
I learned the events which passed at Paris and Versailles 
soon after I left them. Those events were related here 
with circumstances so alarming, that it was impossible 

As soon as I see M. de Mirabeau, I will faiUifully deliver to him 
your commission. You may rely upon Trail's bringing you what 
you ask for, excepting the two numbers of the Courrier de Provence 
in arrear, because my confounded memory has allowed the numbers 
to escape me ; but the omission shall be soon repaired. 

The question of the negroes is not yet ripe, but I assure you that 
it is kept alive ; and I still think it likely that it will be discussed 
even this session. The Duke de la Rochefoucauld is very earnest 
about it. The papers of which you speak are with us, and they 
shall either go to their original destination or be returned into your 

The Bishop of Chartres and the Abb6 Sieyes have begged that I 
would remember them to you. 

Et. D. 

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not to feel great uneasiaeas for those dear friends whom 
I had left at Paris, and of whom none are so near to my 
heart as your family. It is astonishing how formidable 
dangers appear at the distance of above two hundred 
miles, and when one sees them thrcmgh that cloud of un- 
certainty which attends all the early accounts we have 
from Paris. I endeavoured to comfort myself with sup- 
posing that those accounts must be greatly exa^erated ; 
and so they have proved to be. Still, however, I own 
that I am much concerned at what has passed. I cannot 
but think that the removal of ^tbe National Assembly to 
Paris may be a source of great mischief; and I fear for 
the freedom of debate in the midst of a people so turbu- 
lent, so quick to take alarm, and so much disposed to con- 
sider the most trifling circumstances, as proofs of a con- 
spiracy formed against them, as the Parisians seem to be, 
and, indeed, as it is natural to suppose a people so new to 
liberty would be. At any rate, I am vexed at seeing even 
the possibility of new obstaclea arising to the establish- 
ment of a free constitution in France ; not that I suppose 
it possible that any obstacles can prevent such a constitu- 
tion being established, but they may delay it ; and that 
alone, under the present circumstances of France, would 
be a dreadful evil. 

I find the &vour with which the popular cause in 
France is considered here, much less than it was when I 
quitted England. We begin to judge you with too much 
severity ; but the truth is, that you taught ua to expect 
too much, and that we are disappointed and chagrined at 
not seeing those expectations fulfilled. 

Our ministers have lately held a council on the affairs 
of France, the result of which was. that England should 
in no way interfere in them. 

S. BQMai.Y. 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 283 

Letter LX. 

Dear Dumont, Gray's inn, Oct 23, 1789. 

I this morning received Trail*s letter, in which he 
says that you desire to be informed of our law respect- 
ing the suppression of riots ; and I sit down immediately 
to comply with your request, though I believe Trail could 
have given you a better account of it from his memory 
than I can from books. The Riot Act, he says he believes 
you have, and that Mirabeau has in some degree taken 
it for his guide. I am much surprised that he has, for 
that act has always appeared to me to be a very useless 
law. It makes the offence of persona being riotously 
assembled together for the space of an hour after pro- 
clamation has been made for them to depart punishable 
with death. This severity was certainly never meant to 
be executed against all who should expose themselves tc 
it : the only object was to hold out a terror ; although it 
ought to have been foreseen that the cireumstance of the 
law not being executed would prevent its inspiring terror. 
The effect of the law, certainly, has not been to prevent 
riots, which have been at least as frequent and as mis- 
chievous since as before the passing of it. One great 
absurdity in the act is, that it is not calculated to disperse 
a mob immediately, and that nothing can be done under 
it for an hour, although in that space of time the mischief 
may have increased a hundred times. It is true that the 
magistrates in England do not wait patiently for an houi 
before tbey take any steps to suppress a riot ; but every 
thing which they do before that time, they do by virtue 
of the powers which they derive from older statutes, or 
from the common law, and not from the Riot Act. 

The powers which the justices have, independent of 
the Riot Act, are these. Two justices of the peace and 
the sheriff may, in order to suppress riots which happen 
in their own county, either within their own view, or of 
which they have credible information, raise the pow». 

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of the county ; that is, they may command all persons 
whatever within the county, except women, clergymen, 
and children under fifteen, to attend them, and assist in 
dispersing the rioters, arresting them, and conducting 
them to prison : and all persons who refuse or neglect to 
give such assistance are punishable by fine and imprison- 
ment. And if the justices or the sheriff neglect to call 
for such assistance when it is necessary, they too are 
punishable in the same manner. The persons so called 
on to assist are to arm themselves ; and if they kill any of 
the rioters who make resistance, they are justifiable. 
Besides this, all persons whatever may act of their own 
accord, and without the authority of any magistrate, to 
suppress riots which they are themselves witnesses of. 
Neither the Riot Act nor any other statute declares on 
what occasion the magistrates may call military force to 
their assistance ; nor, indeed, is it any where said that the 
magistrates may upon any occasion call in military force ; 
which I mention, because it is generally supposed that 
the justices have a right to call in the soldiers after they 
have made proclamation for people to depart. The fact 
is. that the justices have power to command the assistance 
of all the king's subjects, and consequently they may com- 
mand the assistance of soldiers, who are subjects like the 
rest ; and this they may do after proclamation by the Riot 
Act, and before it by the older statutes. 

This doctrine of soldiers being to be considered as other 
subjects was heard by many persons with great dissatisfac- 
tion when it was advanced by Lord Mansfield and the 
Chancellor in 1780. During the riots of that time no 
proceedings whatever were had under the Riot Act ; pro- 
clamation was not anywhere made for the people to dis- 
perse, and the soldiers acted without the direction of any 
magistrate. Lord Mansfield and the Chancellor asserted 
(and there can be no doubt that the law is) that all per- 
sons might act to suppress riots, and that, where felonies 
were being committed, such as the burning of houses, 
&c., it was the duty of all persons to do everything in 
their power to prevent those felonies, and to resist the 
persons committing them, and that soldiers had this power 

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1789, M. DUMONT, ETC. 285 

and were bound by this duty as well as other men. I do 
not send you a copy of their speeches, because they are 
long, but they amount to no more than what I have told 

There is one part of the Riot Act which seems very 
wise ; it is that which makes the district in which the 
riots have been committed liable to be sued, by the per- 
sons whose houses or property have been destroyed, for 
the amount of the loss; and which directs how, when that 
loss has been so recovered, it shall be raised by a tax on 
the district. The effect of this is to make it the interest 
of the inhabitants of every district that the peace shall 
be preserved, and to render them more active than they 
would otherwise be in suppressing riots. 

It is possible I may be mistaken on some of the informa- 
tion I send you, for I write in great haste ; if, therefore, 
you mean to make any use of it, show my letter first to 
Trail, and he will probably be able to correct my errors. 

Pray, if you ever see the Bishop of Chartres and the 
Abbe Sieyes, say a great many civil things to them from 
me. I leave full scope to your genius. 

I am quite impatient for the numbers of the Courrier 
de Provence subsequent to 44. 

Mirabeau promised me Helvetius's Letter on Mon- 
tesquieu; pray torment him for it, and send it me if you 
can. I think the Address to the Constituents on the 
Tax of the Fourth Part of the Income admirable. If Trail 
be still at Paris, tell him that I am much obliged to him 
for giving me some account of French politics ; and that 
I don't write to him because no news can be worth re- 
ceiving from so dull a place as London, where the Duke 
of Orleans is feasting with the Prince of Wales in igno- 
minious safety. 

Yours sincerely, 

S. R. 

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Dear Dumont, Not. n. 1789. 

As we cannot yet see you, I wish you to make your 
stay at Paris as profitable as possible. If it is not very 
profitable, I think your bookseller must certainly cheat 
you. The Courrier de Provence is become very fashion- 
able in London ; and though the booksellers here make 
a profit of cent, per cent, (for they charge half a g:uinea 
for a month's subscription), yet I saw the other day, in 
De BoflFe's shop, a list of forty-five subscribers to it. 
Among them were some persons of the first rank : the 
Duke of Portland, Lord Loughborough, Mr. Grenville the 
Secretary of State, Lord Mountstuart, and many others 
whose names I don't recollect. Elmsly has it too, and is 
a more fashionable bookseller than De Boffe. From all 
this I conclude that there will very soon be a long list of 
subscribers in London alone. 

You know my opinion about the Ministers being in the 
National Assembly ; I need not tell you, therefore, what 
I think of the question ^ which has been lately carried on 
that subject. They seem to suppose the eloquence of a 
minister to be more dangerous than that of any other 
man ; but the fact is that it is much less dangerous, 
because he always speaks under the disadvantage of being 
supposed to be interested in every question, and all bis 
words are weighed with peculiar distrust. Upon the sup- 
position that seems prevalent in France, that a minister 
is, by virtue of his office, an enemy to the public good, 
they ought to rejoice at having him in the Assembly, and 
that he may fight against them in the face of day. 

I was very sorry to see that large rewards had been 

^ The decree passed by the National Assembly on the 7th of 
November, 1789, to the effect that no member of the representatiye 
body should be capable of holdint^ the situation of a Minister as 
long as the Assembly to which he belonged should be in existence. 
See Choix de Bapporis, Sfc, vol. V. p. 177. 

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17®. M. BUMONT, ETC. 281 

offered at Paris to persons who would make discoveries 
of the conspirators in the plot supposed to have heen 
formed against the nation. If France contains in it any 
such men as Bedloe and Titus Gates, I fear that it is likely 
to be disgraced with such scenes as were acted in England 
in the reign of Charles II., when a Popish plot was sup- 
posed to have existed, when discoveries of pretended 
conspiracies were every day made, and the most infamous 
false accusers grew rich upon the public terror and cre- 
dulity, and the worst men in the nation made some of the 
best instruments in the foulest judicial murders. 

I very much fear that the nation will follow the example 
we have set them as to the support of the poor ; and hav- 
ing taken the possessions of the clergy into their hands, 
and by that means deprived the poor of that resource, 
will establish in the place of it a certain provision. If 
that provision is to be distributed according to the discre- 
tion of persons in whom that trust may be reposed, it is 
very well ; but if, as with us, any poor person shall be 
enabled to demand support as a matter of right, and not 
be made dependent for it on the judgment of other men, 
I am well satisfied that it will be there, as it has been 
with us, a source of much greater mischiefs than any it is 
intended to prevent ; that it will prove a great check to 
industry ; and will, in the end, produce greater misery 
than would arise from the poor being left to depend en- 
tirely on the casual bounty of the charitable. 

Don't you think the invention of having neppUants a 
very injudicious one? The people should form their 
judgment of a man at the moment he is about to discharge 
a public duty, and not a long time before. A man may 
enjoy the public confidence when he is named a suppliant, 
and may have lost it totally long before he takes his seat 
in the Assembly. Surely there is great inconvenience in 
such a man sitting as a new representative of the people. 
With us, whenever the King appoints a man to any 
office, his seat in Parliament is vacated, and an appeal is 
in some sort made to the people, whether the honour or 
the trust has been properly bestowed ; and the people are 
called upon to say whether, notwithstanding their repre- 

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eentative is under personal obligations to the King, they 
have confidence enough in him to continue him their 
minister. So appeals are sometimes made from the 
House of Commons to the people ; as, where the House 
expels a member, the people, if they please, may re-elect 
him, and the House must then receive him. This has 
been decided in the case of Wilkes : but nothing of this 
kind can ever happen in France ; for the moment a seat 
in the National Assembly has by any means become 
vacant, the suppliant succeeds to it. 

I have not time to make this letter as long as I in- 
tended, but I send it you ; for I don't know when I shall 
have time to write again. 

Yours affectionately, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Lkttsr LXII. 


Dear Dumont, i>«c- 1«». iw. 

After receiving so many letters from me, you will no 
longer, I hope, pretend that I have not as good a right as 
everybody else to reproach you with your idleness. 

Trail, who subscribes to the Courtier de Provence, 
lends me the numbers of it as he gets them. I am very 
much rejoiced that the law excluding the children of 
bankrupts from voting for representatives in the National 
Assembly was not carried in the manner it was proposed \ 
notwithstanding that you and Duroveray seem so warmly 
to have espoused it. Surely it is gross injustice to punish 
a man for not paying a debt which be has not the means 
of paying, and which he never contracted. That that 

' The proposition was that the children of bankrupts, who should 
not, in the course of three years, have discharged that portion of 
their father's debts with which they would have been chargeable 
in case they had inherited property from him, should not be eligible 
to any council or assembly, miuiicipal, provincial, or national, or 
capable of exercising any judicial or municipal office. (See 
Afoniteur, 1789, No. 78.) 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 289 

law has produced all the happy effects which were seen at 
Geneva, requires, I think, to be proved. It might be 
very true that that law existed, and that the people of 
Geneva were happy and virtuous, without one being the 
cause of the other ; and one might just as fairly conclude, 
because in England we have a very unequal representation 
of the people in Parliament, and yet the perfect enjoy- 
ment of civil liberty, that these are to each other cause 
and effect. I think you talk a great deal too much of 
Geneva, and that you are likely to prevent, rather than to 
promote, the freedom of the Republic, by so often dinning 
it in the ears of the French. They will soon be as tired 
of hearing you talk of your Geneva as they are of hearing 
M. Necker talk of his integrity. 

We have lately had an account of a most terrible insur- 
rection at Paris. The martial law was held, we were told, 
in the utmost contempt ; everybody was under arms, and 
many lives had been lost. The newspaper called the 
World went so far as to say that the streets of Paris 
were streaming with blood, and it concluded the account 
with saying that the King and Queen were yet alive. It 
appears now that there is not a word of truth in all this, 
except the conclusion. It is supposed to have originated 
with the aristocratical refugees here, who have great in- 
fluence over our newspapers. Calonne has the Times 
entirely to himself. It was in allusion to that circumstance 
that one of the Miss Norths the other day said of the 
report of the insurrection, that it was une Calomnie; a 
saying which you have too pure a taste for puns not to 

I hope you are seriously thinking of writing the History 
of the Revolution, and preparing materials for it. You 
will be unpardonable if you do not. I assure you with 
the utmost sincerity that I don't believe there is any 
man living capable of doing it so well as yourself; and it 
certainly must be the fault of the historian if it is not one 
of the most interesting works that ever was composed. 
Pray undertake it, and collect all the materials for it that 
you can. 

There seems to be an end of Joseph II. in the Low 

VOL. I. u 

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Countries, to my inexpressible joy.* It has been said 

in our newspapers that L discovered the Brussels 

plot to the Government, and was seized to conceal his 
treachery. To judge by the character of the man only, 
one would think this probable. I have just received, 
from Lord Lansdowne, the Courtier de ProvencSy from 
No. 56 to 68 inclusive, for which I return you many 
thanks. I have just received, too, the sequel ■ of Rous- 
seau's Con/essionSt and am so impatient to read them that 
I must conclude thus abruptly. 

Yours very affectionately, 




[Paris,] Dec. 1789. 

J'attendois une occasion pour vous 6crire, mon cher 
Romilly ; car, sans avoir des secrets k vous communiquer, 
rid6e de ces trahisons des postes gSte le plaisir de la 
causerie, et retient toujours au fond du coeur quelque 
chose qui voudroit en sortir. 

Mirabeau est tomb6 dans TAssembl^e, soit par un effet 
des manoeuvres de ses ennemis, soit par le d61uge des 

Letter LXIII. 

Paris, December, 1789. 
I have been waiting for a private opportunity to write to you, 
my dear Romilly; for, without having secrets to impart, the notion 
of post-office treachery spoils the pleasure of conversation, and keeps 
buried in the heart one thought or other which is longing to escape. 
Mirabeau has lost ground in the Assembly, whether from the in- 
trigues of his enemies, or from the torrent of libels poured forth 

^ In the January following the Emperor lost all remains of au- 
thority in the Low Countries, and an independent confederacy was 
formed under the title of the United Belgic States. 

' The second part of the Confeations of Rouaaeau, containing the 
account of his life subsequent to the year 1741. The first part, 
which embraced only the twenty-nine first years of his life (from 
1712 to 1741), was published (with the omission of the more objec- 
tionable passages) in 1781, three years after Rousseau's death. 

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1789. M. DUMONT, ETC. 291 

libelles, soit enfin par les fautes perpetuelles oii Tentraine 
ce caract^re violent, cette fureur de domination, et cette 
ambition impatiente qui s'est trahie elle-mSme. On n*a 
pu souffrir l'id6e de le voir ministre. Au lieu de donner 
aux inimiti6s le temps de se calmer, de se refaire une 
reputation k neuf, de prendre une marche lente et me- 
8ur6e, dont Teifet eiit 6t6 infaillible, il a tout brusqu6 et 
tout d^truit. Pendant plus d'un mois satSte 6toit comme 
alt^r^e par les convulsions de ses passions. Sa motion 
pour le r^tablissement des exiles Corses * a eu beaucoup 
de succes, mais tel est I'effet du d^cri personnel, ce qui 
feroit beaucoup d*bonneur k d'autres ne lui en fait point. 
Je ne sais s'il pourra reprendre de Tascendant, mais je 
suis bien sur qu'^ moins d'une refonte totale, il n'aura 
jamais que des Eclairs de succes dont la lueur ne tarde 
pas k Tegarer, et ranime les efforts de ses ennemis. Quelle 
carri^re il aura manqu6 1 . . . 

La motion de Duroveray sur les faillis fut tr^s-applaudie. 
Je ne veux pas entrer en pol^mique avec vous sur Texten- 

against him, or from the continual faults into which he is drawn by 
his impetuous disposition, his rage for domination, and that im- 
patient ambition which has been its own betrayer. The idea of 
seeing him minister could not be endured. Instead of allowing 
time for enmities to subside, for his own reputation to be formed 
anew ; instead of pursuing a slow and measured course, the effect 
of which would have been infallible, he has risked and ruined every- 
thing. For more than a month his head was, as it were, disordered 
by the convulsions of his passions. His motion for the restoration 
of the Corsican exiles^ has had great success; but such is the 
effect of his loss of character, that he gains no credit by what would 
have conferred much on any other man. I do not know whether 
he will be able to recover his ascendency ; but I am sure thal^ 
unless his whole conduct be remodelled, he will never have more 
than flashes of success, the glare of which is siure to lead him 
astray, and revive the efforts of his enemies. What a career he will 
have missed! 

Duroveray's motion with respect to bankrupts was received with 
great applause. I will not enter into a controversy with you as to 

^ The decrees of the Assembly, constituting Corsica a part of the 
French empire, and permitting exiled Corsicans to return to France 
as French citizens^ were passed on the 30th of November, 1789. 


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sion de Texclusion jusqu'aux enfans ; si je me trompe a 
cet egard, c'est de bonne foi, mais je ne crois pas Stre 
dans rerreur : les faits sur cette matidre valent mieux que 
les abstractions. J'en ai mille k vous citer oCi Texclusion 
prononc^e a fait r6parer des torts, des malheurs, ou des 
crimes ; je n'en connois pas un seul oil elle ait entrain^ 
une injustice. La loi n'est pas encore absolument et 
irrdvocablement decr6t6e, puisqu'elle Ta 6tfe sauf redaction, 
et que la redaction est a faire. 

Je n'ai pas perdu de vue le recueil des mat^riaux pour 
6crire quelque chose sur cette revolution, et si rien an 
monde peut vaincre le profond sentiment de la dispropor- 
tion de mes forces avec une telle entreprise, c'est Ten- 
couragement de votre amiti6 ; au reste, la moisson m6me 
des 6v6nemens est encore en herbe ; il faut au moins une 
seconde 16gislature pour completer Pouvrage de la pre- 
miere, et le temps seul peut faire des revelations sans 
lesquelles il seroit impossible de donner un corps d'his- 
toire. Mais il faut en causer au coin du feu, et surtout 
k la promenade. Le petit essai que je fais dans les 
fantassins de la litt^rature me montre tous les jours davan- 
tage combien j'ai peu de gout pour ce metier. Vous dites 

the exclusion being extended to the children. If I am mistaken on 
this point, I am at least sincere ; but I cannot think that I am 
wrong : facts, in a matter of this kind, are better than abstractions. 
I could quote you a thousand in which this exclusion enforced has 
brought about the redress of injuries, of misfortunes, nay, of crimes; 
and I do not know one where it has led to injustice. The law is 
not yet absolutely and irrevocably passed, but it was so, with the 
exception of the wording of it, which is still to come. 

I have not lost sight of the collection of materials with a view of 
writing something on the Revolution; and if anything in the 
world can overcome the deep sense I entertain of the disproportion 
between my own powers and such an undertaking, it is the encou- 
ragement which your friendship gives me. However, the harvest of 
events is not yet ripe ; there must be a second legislature at least to 
complete the work of the first, and time alone can bring to light 
those facts, without which it would be impossible to form the 
groundwork of a history. But we must talk the matter over by our 
fireside, and especially in our walks. The slight attempts which I 
am now making in the lighter ranks of literature show me every 
day more and more how little taste I have for this vocation. 

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que nous ennuyerons de Gendve k force de repetitions, 
autant que le vertueux Necker de son int^gritfe ; cependant 
c'est le plaisir de parler quelquefois de Gendve qui nous 
donne le courage d'aller en avant. Nous en disons trop 
pour nos lecteurs, mais pas assez pour nous ; et je ne 
vous promets pas de me corriger 1^-dessus, quoiqu' assur§- 
ment je sente bien que vous avez raison. 

Vous avez done lu les Confessions de Rousseau ; * on 
voit combien son style dependoit de Tetat de son ^me. 
On y cherchoit I'histoire de ses sentimens, on n'y trouve 
gudre que celle de son menage. La premiere lecture 
m'a desappoint^ ; la seconde m*a fait plus de plaisir. II 
est si bon homme, si naif; il se montre avec tant de 
verite ; ses sentimens sont toujours si prds de la nature. 
Get ouvrage a fait peu de sensation, mais cette sensation 
n'a pas ^t^ d6favorable k Rousseau. Cerutti a eu beau 
imprimer des injures dans le Journal de Paris; il n'a 
persuade personne. 

Mille petites occupations m'empSchent de causer avec 
vous aussi longuement que je me I'etois promis. En 
relisant ma lettre, je m'aper9ois que je n'ai presque rien 

You say that we shall tire out people by our repeated allusions to 
Geneva, as much as the virtuous Necker does by descanting on hia 
integrity ; nevertheless, it is the pleasure we feel in sometimes talk- 
ing of Geneva which gives us tne courage to go on. We say too 
much about it for our readers, but not enough for ourselves ; and I 
make no promise of amendment, although I quite feel that you are 

So you have read Rousseau's Omfetaiont.^ One sees how much 
his style depended on the state of his mind. One seeks in it for the 
history of his feelings and opinions, and one finds only that of hia 
domestic life. The first reading disappointed me ; the second gave 
me more pleasure. He is so good — so simple ; he describes himself 
with such truth ; his feelings are always so close to nature. The 
work has made little sensation, but that little has not been unfavour- 
able to Rousseau. Cerutti might have spared his abuse of it in the 
Journal de Pari* ; he has convinced no one. 

A thousand little occupations prevent me from talking with you 
as long as I had wished. In reading over my letter, I perceive that 

1 See note, p. 290. 

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dit de ce que je voulois vous dire. Je m'en console en 
pensant que le peu que j'ai dans mon r6pertoire nous 
foumira matiere k conversation. Dites beaucoup de 
choses de ma part ai nos amis de Frith St. ; je me promets 
tant de plaisir de nos paisibles soir6es, qu*il redouble mon 
impatience de me debarrasser de mes liens. Le Courrter 
de Provence ne m'enrichit pas ; nous ferons banqueroute 
avant que nous ayons 8auv6 les debris de cette sotte en- 

Letter LXIV. 


Dec. 29, 1789. 

I am very much obliged to Lord Lansdowne for 
sending me the Domine Salvum* &c. ; and am very grate- 
ful for his goodness towards Dumont in feeling any soli- 
citude on his account. I cannot, however, entertain 
the least doubt of Dumont's being perfectly safe at 
Paris, notwithstanding his being named in that libel. 
A work so contemptible and so malignant, replete with 
notorious falsehoods, can hardly have made impres- 
sion on anybody. I believe the only person who has 
thought it deserving of any notice is the aristocratical 
editor of the Ley den Gazette, You may recollect my 
speaking to you about the book, near two months ago, 

I have scarcely said anything of what I had intended. I console 
myself with thinking that the little which remains of my budget 
will furnish us with matter for conversation. Say many kind things 
for me to our friends in Frith Street. I promise myself so mudi 
pleasure from our quiet evenings, that it makes me doubly impatient 
to throw off my fetters. The Omrrier de Provence is not making 
my fortune ; we shall be bankrupts before we have saved anything 
from the wreck of this foolish undertaking.^ 

» See note, p. 269. 

* This was a political pamphlet, which had been published some 
weeks before at Paris, and in which M. Dumont bad been men- 
tioned as the principal writer of Mirabeau's journal (the Onanrier de 

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1789. M. DXJMONT, ETC. 295 

when I dined at your house with Mr. Dugald Stewart. 
Perhaps I did not say that Dumont was named in it ; in- 
deed, I thought it of little consequence. However, my 
friendship for Dumont could make me wish, if himself 
alone were to be considered, that he were no longer at 
Paris ; for it is impossible not to feel the utmost indigna- 
tion when one sees the services which he has rendered to 
the French nation, and which are certainly not much less 
considerable than those of any one man in the National 
Assembly, have no other reward than the calumnies of 
the most malignant libellers. I believe it is no exag- 
geration to say that all the good which Mirabeau has done 
was suggested to him by Dumont or Duroveray, and that 
they have prevented him from doing nothing but what was 
mischievous. It is hardly necessary to say that Dumont 
has acted with the purest disinterestedness, and that he 
has never had any other object in view than that of being 
useful. He has done what few people could have had 
magnanimity enough to do ; he has seen his compositions 
universally extolled as masterpieces of eloquence, and all 
the merit of them ascribed to persons who had not written 
a single word in them : and he has never discovered that 
he was the author of them but to those from whom it was 
impossible to conceal it. Of everything that he has 
written, the advantages have been shared between Mira- 
beau and his bookseller, the one taking the glory, and the 
other the emolument. It is true that, with respect to the 
Courrier de Provence,^ Dumont ought by agreement to 
receive a share of the profit ; but the honest bookseller 
always manages so well that, though the book is in every- 
body's hands, there never are any profits to divide. 

S. R. 
* See Dumont's Souvenirs sur Mirabeau, pp. 120-129. 

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Lbttkr LXV. 

to m. dumont. 

Dear Dumont, J«»- 26. 1790, 

I sit down to answer your letter of the 18th of this 
month ; but it will give me great pleasure if the answer 
does not reach you, and if you have quitted Paris before 
my letter gets there. I assure you I am much more im- 
patient for your return than you are yourself. I trembled 
lest you should set out for Geneva ; but you say nothing 
about any such intention, and therefore 1 trust you have 
given it up. I still fear, however, that you will again get 
involved with the Courrier de Provence ; but, indeed, you 
ought not, through good nature, thus to sacrifice yourself 
to others. I shall not be easy till 1 see you quietly esta- 
blished in Berkeley Square, writing the History of the 
Revolution, and giving me sheet at a time to translate. 
Positively you must undertake it. Your objections, which 
amount only to this, that you will not be able to attain an 
ideal perfection which you have painted to yourself, are 
good for nothing. With all the defects which even your 
severity may imagine, it will still be the most useful work 
that has been published for a century, and will be infinitely 
better executed by you than by any other person that 
attempts it. Once more, you must undertake it. Make 
it a work for posterity, but make it a work for the pre- 
sent generation too ; and prepare for yourself the sublimest 
of all pleasures, that of contemplating the extensive good 
which you will have effected. Indeed, I am serious in 
thinking that you cannot renounce the idea of writing the 
work I have mentioned to you, and be exempt from all 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC. 297 

My only commissions are to beg you would bring me 
the Bishop of Autun's* book on Lotteries, a copy of my 
Reglemens of the English House of Commfms^ Helvetius's 
Letters, and to inquire the date of the Abbe Sidyes' pam- 
phlets. At least I don't, at present, recollect any others. 

I grieve beyond measure that the National Assembly 
does nothing respecting the slave-trade. The question 
has been revived here the first day that the House met 
on business. If there were any prospect of the French 
giving up the trade, I think it certainly would be abolished 
here. I cannot conceive why it is delayed. If the sub- 
ject were merely introduced, and the temper of the French 
seen, it would be sufficient. 

I write in great haste. 

Yours affectionately, 

Saml. Romillt* 

: Letter LXVI. 


Gray's Inn, Jan. 26, 1790!. 

I was very sorry. Madam, that I could not send you 
my congratulations ^ at the same time that you received 
those of your other friends. I am sure that you will have 
received none more sincere, and that no one has formed 
more ardent wishes for your happiness than I have. AH 
those wishes, indeed, are now comprehended in one — that 
of long life ; for length of life to both of you must be to 
both a prolongation of the greatest happiness. I long to 
pay you both a visit, and to see you in your menage, which 
I cannot express in English, because we have no word for 
it; although there is no country, I believe, where the 
domestic comforts which it imports are more felt and 
valued than in ours. As I cannot visit you in reality, I do it 
often in idea, and transport myself from my solitary 
chambers in Gray s Inn, to the cheerful fireside of my 
dear friends in the Rue des Capucines. I accompany you 
too in many of your frequent visits to M"®. D , and 

1 Talleyrand. « See ante, p. 74. 

^ On her marriage. 

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enjoy the satisfaction she feels at being surrounded by her 
happy and virtuous family. 

We, in England, are surprised and rejoiced that so 
great an operation as the division of the kingdom should 
have been accomplished in France without anything that 
deserves the name of opposition. So convincing a proof 
of the unanimity and public zeal of the whole country 
makes it impossible even for the most incredulous to 
doubt any longer of the success of the Revolution. I 
was present in our House of Commons on the first day of 
the session, and blushed for our legislators when I heard 
Lord Valletort*s observations on the French Revolution, 
and found that they passed without animadversion. How- 
ever, it was a very thin House ; none of the considerable 
men of opposition were there, and the friends of the 
ministry were probably unwilling to disconcert their young 
aristocratical friend in his first essay at public spesiking ; 
but this, I admit, is a very bad excuse. 

I am disappointed and vexed beyond measure at the 
turn which affairs seem likely to take in Flanders. One 
would have thought it impossible that one of the first 
measures of a people who had just recovered their inde- 
pendence, and who had such examples before them, would 
be to sanction their old government, with all its abuses, 
and that one of the worst governments on the face o^ the 
earth ; and that in all their manifestoes they should com- 
plain of the Emperor's tolerating other religions as an 
insufferable grievance. Indeed, one can hardly rejoice at 
their success. It is of little consequence that they have 
thrown off the yoke of Joseph II., since they willingly 
submit to the double yoke of a proud aristocracy and a 

persecuting superstition. Pray assure M. G of my 

most affectionate regard ; and believe me, &c. 

Saml. Romilly. 

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Letter LXVII. 


[Paris,] 7 Fevrier, 1790. 

Si nous 6crivons rarement a nos amis. Monsieur, nous 
y pensons bien souvent, et rarement un jour se passe sans 
une occasion de prononcer votre nom entre nous : tantot 
un ev6nement politique, tant6t la lecture d'un de vos 
grands poetes, nous ramene a vous ; et surement il y a 
bien peu de pens^es interessantes auxquelles votre idee 
ne puisse Stre li^e. Vous voulez nous aflBliger en nous 
pr6sentant comme si peu probable Tesp^rance de vous voir 
en France ; mais I'avenir est si incertain, il am^ne si sou- 
vent des maux et des biens sur lesquels on ne comptoit pas, 
que nous ne voulons point d^sesp6rer du plaisir de vous 
voir au milieu de nous, et nous nous reposonspour cela sur 
le temps et les circonstances. 

Nos affaires ici von t bien, et la venue du Roi k I'Assem- 
bl6e a produit un excellent effet.* On est k present tout 
occup6 de preter serment, Vous trouverez peut-Stre quel- 
que ridicule dans cette id6e, et qu'on se presse trop de 

Letter LXVII. 

rParig,] Febraary 7, 1790. 
If we seldom write to our friends, Sir, at least we very often 
think of tbem, and scarcely a day passes without there being some 
occasion to mention your name : at one time a political event, at 
another the perusal of one of your great poets, brings us back to 
you; and, indeed, there are very few interesting thoughts with 
which you are not associated in our minds. You seem bent on 
distressing us, by holding out so little prospect of our seeing you in 
France. But the future is so uncertain, it brings with it so often 
both good and evil, upon which one did not reckon, that we are 
r^olved not to despair of having the pleasure of seeing you amongst 
us, but to trust for it to time and circumstance. 

Our matters go on well here, and the Kings visit to the Assembly 
has produced an excellent effect.^ Every one is now busy in taking 
the oath. You will perhaps think this notion somewhat ridiculous, 
and that people are in too great a hurry to swear to maintain a con- 

^ On the 4th of February the King came to the Assembly to 
accept the constitution formed by them ; and on the following days 
the oath of fidelity to the constitution was taken by the Assembly 
and other public bodies. 

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jurer de maintenir une constitution qui n'estqu'^bauch^e. 
Tout cela a ^t^ produit par une effervescence qui ne per- 
mettoit pas la reflexion, mais qui aura de bons effets. 
L'Assemblee trayaille avec ardeur, et parott bien dispose. 
Les finances sont toujours notre cdt6 malade, et c'est ce- 
pendant le point important ; mais les biens du clerg6 se- 
ront notre salut, et on va s'occuper tr^s-incessamment de 
mettre en vente ceux qui en sont susceptibles. La France 
offre dans ce moment un beau spectacle, et je ne doutepas 
que vous n'y fixiez avec complaisance vos regards, d'autant 
plus qu'actuellement tout est calme et tranquille, et qu'D 
n est plus question des horreurs qui ont tant rgvolt6, et 
avec raison, les Strangers. 

La division de la France^ parott achev6e ; mais ce n'est 
pas sans peine, et il est difficile d'imaginer le travail du 
comity de constitution. Les reclamations ont 6t^ innom- 
brables, et il n*y avoit pas de petit village qui n*eut de 
fortes raisons k all^guer pour dtre choisi pour cbef-lieude 
district ou de d^partement. Les municipalit^s sont for- 
nixes en grande partie ; les Elections sont assez bonnes, et 

stitution of which nothing exists but a mere outline. All this has 
been brought about by an ebullition of feeling which allowed no 
time for reflection, but which will do good. The Assembly is 
earnest in its labours, and appears to be well disposed. Finance is 
still our weak point, and yet the most important ; but the church 
property will be our salvation, and steps are about to be taken to 
offer for sale that portion of it which can be so disposed of. France 
affords at this moment a noble spectacle, and I have no doubt that 
you contemplate it with pleasure ; the more so, that at present all 
is calm and tranquil, and that there is an end of the horrors with 
which foreigners were so greatly and so justly shocked. 

The division of France^ appears to be completed, but not without 
difficulty ; and it is not so easy to form an idea of ^e labours of the 
constitution-committee. The claims set up have been numberless, 
and there was no little village which had not strong reasons to urge 
for its selection as the capital of the district or department. Most 
of the municipalities are formed. The elections are tolerably good ; 

^ The Act which decreed a division of France into eighty-three 
■Iments was passed on the 15 th of January, 1790 ; and the letters 
of the King relative to this new division of the kingdom were 
on the 4th of March. See Moniteur for 1790, No. 17. 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC. 3Q1 

dans trols endroits on a 61u pour maire Tintendant, et dans 
beau coup des privilSgies. 

Excusez, Monsieur, ma precipitation, mais je ne veux 
pas manquer encore ce courrier. Croyez d notre amitie. 

M. D. G. 
Letter LXVIII. 


Paris, 4 Mars, 1790. 

M. Dumont vient de nous faire dire, Monsieur, qull 
partoit pour TAngleterre, c'est i dire, qu'il all})it vous re- 
voir et vous rejoindre ; on ne pent se refuser k le charger 
d'un petit mot pour vous. Nous avons re9U les pamphlets 
et votre lettre qui en indique la destination qui a €ti aus- 
8it6t fidelement remplie. Nous avons lu, avec beaucoup 
d'int6r@t. Thoughts on the InflueTice,^ &c., dont Tauteur se 
cache si soigneusement qu'on n'ose pas le deviner, quoi- 
qu'on en ait pourtant bien envie. Ce sera un bien beau 
spectacle que T^mulation de ces deux nations pour parve- 
nir au bien et au perfectionnement dans leurs gouveme- 
mens, et qui rendra bien meprisdble et bien puerile celle 

in three places the intendant has been elected mayor, and in many 
others persons of the privileged class. 

Excuse haste, but I must not again miss the post Believe 
me, &c. 

M. D. G. 
Lettbe LXVIII. 

Paris, March 4, 1790. 
M. Dumont has just sent us word, Sir, that he is setting out 
for England ; in other words, that he is going to see and join you. 
We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of giving him a few lines for 
you. We received the pamphlets you sent us, and immediately 
forwarded them to their destination, according to the directions con- 
tained in your letter. 

We have read, with much interest, Vtoughts on the Influence,^ &c., 
the author of which conceals himself so carefully that we do not 
venture to guess who he is, although we are very anxious to do so. 
It will be a very noble spectacle to behold the rivalry of these two 
nations vying with each other in their endeavours to increase the 
measure of human happiness, and to perfect their respective govem- 

* Thoughts on the probable Influence of the French Revolution on 
Great Britain^ printed in 1790. See ante, p. 76. 

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d'un genre bien different qui a existe depuis si longtems 
entr'elles. Je souhaite bien vivement que cette emulation 
soit bient6t fetablie k juste titre, et que le moment oil I'An- 
gleterre aura quelque chose k envier k la France k ne soit 
pas trop 61oigne. Notre position, d Tenvisager philoso- 
phiquement et moralement, est grande, belle, et faite pour 
animer et exciter tons les sentimens nobles et eleves. Mais 
le r^gne de I'imagination ne subsiste pas toujours, et nous 
avons bien des maux r6els. Au reste, il nous sied /ort 
mal de tenir ce langage, car nous sommes du nombre de 
ceux auxquels la revolution ne procurera que de grands et 
nombreux avantages, et d qui elle ne coiitera presque rien. 
Je plains foiblement aussi ceux qui ne sont attaqu^s que 
dansleurs pr^jug^s les plus chers, qui perdent des places, 
des pensions mSme, quoiqu'une grande revolution de for- 
tune soit souvent bien p^nible sL supporter. Mais je g^mis 
8ur la cessation d'ouvrage de tout genre, de manufactures 
de toate espdce, qui se fait sentir d'un bout du royaume a 
Tautre, et qui cause une misere aussi difficile k imaginer 
qu'ck d^crire ; heureusement que la belle saison qui s'ap- 
proche va beaucoup adoucir sa rigueur. C'est vraiment 
le c6t6 triste de la revolution, celui qui fait dlsirer avec 

ments ; which will place in a justly puerile and contemptible light 
that very different rivalry which has so long subsisted between them. 
I fervently hope we may soon see this spirit of emulation in operation 
on proper principles, and that the moment is not far distant when 
France may possess something which may be justly envied by 
England. Our position, looking at it in a philosophical and mend 
point of view, is great and noble, and calculated to animate and 
excite every fine and elevated feeling. But the reign of imagination 
will not last for ever, and we are suffering under many re^l evils. 
However, it ill becomes us to hold this language ; for our family 
is of the number of those to whom the revolution will bring many 
and great advantages, and will cost scarcely anything. Nor do I much 
pity those who are attacked only in their darling' prejudices, who lose 
places, and even salary ; although a great reverse of fortune is often 
very hard to bear. But I do lament over the cessation of every kind 
of work, and of every sort of manufkcture, which is felt from one end 
of the kingdom to the other, and which creates an amount of misery 
as difficult to imagine as to describe ; fortunately, the summer is 
coming on, and will greatly mitigate its severity. This is indeed 
the melancholy side of the revolution, and makes one long very 

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1790. ' M. DUMONT, ETC. 3O3 

une bien vive ardeur que Tordre et la coniiance, qui feront 
tout revivre, renaissent bient6t. II est peu probable que 
la France donne k TAngleterre Texemple de rabolition de 
la traite et de Tesclavage des nSgres : oncraint d'ouvrir 
une nouvelle plaie, et peut-Stre pour I'honneur de notre 
humanity le craint-on trop. 

Je desire ardemment que vous conserviez votre bonne 
opinion de notre revolution ; et je souhaite bien que nous 
la justifions : c'est siirement un des suffrages qui lui fait 
honneur, et je me le cite souvent pour ranimer mes esp^- 
rances. Recevez, &c. 

M. D. G. 

Letter LXIX. 


Paris, 2 Mai, 1790. 

Nous sommes depuis quelque temps priv6s duplaisir 
de vous ^crire, Monsieur, et cependant nous avons regu 
plusieurs marques de votre souvenir. Nous avons envoy6, 
des le mSme jour qu'il nous est parvenu, Touvrage* de M, 
Bentham k un membre du comit^. de constitution, qui sait 
parfaitement I'Anglois ; et certainement, si ces messieurs 
Font voulu, ils ont eu assez tdt connoiss^nce de cet int6- 

ardently for what would give new life to everything, the restoration 
of order and confidence. It is little likely that France will set 
England the example of abolishing the slave-trade and slavery : 
people are afraid of opening a fresh wound, and too much so perhaps 
for the honour of humanity. 

I fervently wish that you may retain your good opinion of our 
revolution, and I much hope that it may be justified. Your good 
opinion is one of those which do us honour ; and I ojften recall it 
to my mind for the sake of reviving my hopes. Believe me, &c. 

M. D. G. 
Letter LXIX. 

Paris, May 2, 1790. 
We have for some time been delved of the pleasure of 
writing to you, Sir, although we have received several tokens of your 
kind recollection of us. We forwarded, on the same day that it 
reached us, Mr. Bentham 's work^ to a member of the constitution- 
committee, who knows English perfectly ; and certainly, if the com- 
mittee had wished to profit by this interesting work, they have been 

Emancipate ywr Coloniei, 

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ressant travail pour pouvoir en profiter. L'Assemblee est 
s^rieusement occup^e de Tordre judiciaire dans ce moment 
On craint beaucoup qu'elle ne fasse qu'^ moiti6 bien; 
peut-etre auroit-il ^t6 plus sage de ne faire que de change - 
mens provisoires, et de renvoyer k quelques ann6es ce tra- 
vail important, qui pourroit bien se ressentir de Tagitation 
des esprits, de Texaltation des tetes, &c. Je redoute quel- 
quefois, Monsieur, que vous ne nous trouviez bien F^an- 
fois dans la plupart des choses que nous avons faites. On 
s'6chauffe, on dispute, on discute avec esprit de parti ; on 
decide promptement, parcequ'on est press^ par les circon- 
stances ; et quand le dicret est rendu, on se persuade qu'il 
€toit impossible de pouvoir rien faire de mieux. II y a 
une fermentation plus vive que jamais dans I'Assembl^e 
depuis quelques jours. Les derniers d^crets sur les biens 
du clergS ont caus^ une irritation chez ceux qui en sont 
les victimes qui va jusqu'^L la rage. Dans leur desespoir 
ils se portent aux derni^res extr6mit6s. Heureusement 
que leur influence sur les esprits est trds-foible, etque leur 
protestations et toutes leurs d-marches ne servent qa*k les 
rendre moins intfiressans, et k gSter leur cause. Je crois 

in possession of it quite long enough to have done so. The Assembly 
is at this moment earnestly engaged on the judicial establishment 
It is greatly feared that what it does will only be half done ; and 
perhaps it would have been wiser if none but temporary alterations 
had now been made, and the permanent execution of this important 
work had been postponed some years, to a period when it would be 
less likely than it now is to suffer from the agitation and enthusiasm 
of men^s minds. 

I sometimes fear that you must think most of the things we have 
done very French. We get heated, we dispute, we discuss with 
party-spirit; we decide precipitately, because we are pressed by 
circumstances, and when the decree is passed we persuade ourselves 
that it was not possible to do better. 

For some days past the Assembly has been in a more violent state 
of ferment than ever. The last decrees respecting the property of 
the church have caused an irritation amongst those who are suflferers 
by them which amounts to a state of phrenzy ; and, in their despair, 
they would carry matters to the last extremity. Happily their 
influence on men*s minds is very slight ; and all their protestations 
and proceedings serve only to lessen the interest with which they 
are regarded, and to injure their cause. If you were in the midst 
of us, I think you would have many painful moments, and that you 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC.| 305 

que, ei vous 6tiez au milieu de nous, vous auriez souvent 
des m omens p6nibles, et que vous souffririez de la licence 
effr^n^e qui r^gne dans les Merits, dans les propos. Toute 
id^e de d6cence, de retenue, est foul6e aux pieds, et il est 
d craindre qu'on n*ait de la peine k se raccoutumer d ob6ir 
auxlois qu'on se sera impose^s. Au reste, ce qui peut 
rassurer, c'est que les provinces sont beaucoup plus calmes 
et raisonnables ; que la mil ice nationale est partout fort 
bien compo86e et dispos6e d faire ex6cuter les d^crets de 

Nous avons, au milieu des agitations de la revolution, 
pas86 un hiver trds-beureux et paisible, fort r6unis en fa- 
mille, prenant Tint^rSt le plus vif k la revolution, et nous 
affligeant quelquefois de voir les deux partis aller trop 
loin. Toutes les fortunes ont M pendant quelque temps 
en grand danger ; mais Top^ration des assignats semble 
r^ussir, et probablement nous sauvera. Recevez, Mon- 
sieur, mille choses de vos amis de Paris, qui s'occupent 
bien souvent de vous, et qui vous sont bien sincSrement 
attaches. M. D. G. 

would grieve at the unbounded licence which pervades all writings 
and all conversations. Every idea of decency and of restraint is 
trampled under foot ; and it is to be feared that men will not easily 
return to a habit of obedience to the law, even though it be the law 
of their own creation. In the mean time, one may derive some con- 
fidence from the fact that the provinces are much more tranquil and 
reasonable, and that the national militia is everywhere formed of 
good materials, and is well disposed to give effect to the decrees of 
the Assembly. 

In the midst of all the agitations of the revolution, we in our 
family circle have passed a calm and happy winter, taking the 
deepest interest in the revolution, and grieving sometimes to see both 
parties going too far. All private property was, for some time, in 
great danger ; but the operation of the oMignatt seems to succeed, 
and will probably prove our salvation. 

I have many kind messages to send you from your friends at 
Paris, who think of you very often, and are very sincerely attached 
to you. 

M. D. G. 

VOL. I. 

y Google 


Letter LXX. 

to madame g . 

Madam, ^^"^y'* ^^' J*^® ^ 1790. 

You are apprehensive that I shall think a great deal 
of what has been done in France is very French; and I 
guess that you allude to an observation which I remember 
to have made on young Vernet's picture at your exhibition : 
but though your countrymen have acquired a manner in 
the fine arts which is peculiarly their own, it may be 
doubted whether they have been legislators long enough 
to have given their name to any peculiar mode of legis- 
lation. I assure you, however, that, if I were to venture 
to call any species of law-making French, I should use 
that expression as a term of great honour, and not of 
reproach. The National Assembly are better judged of 
at a distance than near at hand, because they should be 
judged by what they do, and not by their manner of doing 
it. I find this by experience ; and I have, I assure you, 
much more respect for the National Assembly now that I 
am in London than I had while I was at Versailles. I am 
fifiur from approving of everything that they have done ; 
but one finds so much to admire, that one is not willing 
to dwell upon the few things which one would wish were 
otherwise than they are. 

I congratulate you on the decision of the National As- 
sembly 1 on the king's right of making war. I hope it has 
given you as much pleasure as it has me. I consider every 
difficulty thrown in the way of making war as so much 
gained to humanity ; and if a project of universal peace 
can ever be established, I am satisfied it must rather be 

^ The decree of tbe National Assembly on this subject was made 
on the 22d of May, 1790, and was in substance as follows : — "The 
right of making peace and war belongs to the nation. War can only 
be decided on by a decree of the legislative body, passed on the 
formal proposal of the king, and sanctioned by him.'* See Momtatr 
for 1790, No. 144 

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1790. M, DUMONT, ETC. QQtj 

by disarming kings than by the Abb6 St. Pierre's congress 
of regal deputies. 1 know that many very warlike re- 
publics have existed, and that it is easy to cite the example 
of the Romans, the Carthaginians, and so forth ; but I 
hope the French Revolution has put those kinds of his- 
torical arguments quite out of fashion. I know, at least, 
that by such arguments I could have proved to demon- 
stration, eight months ago, that the districts of Paris, — 
those sixty republics, as they were called, — with their 
senates and their demagogues, would never have submitted 
to be annihilated; which however has since happened 
without opposition (as far as we have heard here, at least) 
even of a single individual. 

I am afraid, though I should not call anything that has 
passed with you very French, you would, if you had been 
here at the first news of a Spanish war, have thought us 
very, very English. The discovery of the grand elixir, 
which would efface pain and disease out of the list of 
human calamities, could not have given a man of humanity 
more pleasure than some persons felt here at the piospect 
of plundering foreign merchants, and burning and sinking 
Spanish ships. It is very fortunate for France that her 
National Assembly does not meet in a city where they can 
be much influenced by the barbarous prejudices of persons 
concerned in privateering, or in particular branches of 
commerce. The situation of our parliament has more than 
once made an unjust and impolitic wax have the ap- 
pearance of being popular. I had the mortification, a few 
days ago, of finding myself considered as a maintainer of 
the most extravagant paradoxes, because I asserted that 
a war of any kind must be to England a calamity ; but that 
a victorious war would be the greatest of calamities. And 
this is thought a paradox; after the experience of the 
glories, as they are called, of Lord Chatham's administra- 
tion, — ^glories which procured no one solid advantage to 
this country ; which did not add one single moment's hap- 
piness to the existence of any human being, but which 
were purchased by an immense debt, by infinite blood- 
shed, and, what was worse, which gave us false notions of 
our honour, and our dignity, and our superiority, of which 

X 2 

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we cannot be corrected but by the loss of much more 
treasure and more blood I But I beg your pardon for 
troubling you with my observations on these melancholy 
subjects. I would have talked with you of subjects more 
pleasing to us both, but it is now too late to correct my 
error, for I have got to the end of my paper, and it is im- 
possible for me at this moment to command time enough 
to begin another letter. Pray remember me very affec- 
tionately to Mr. G., &c. &c. 

Lettbr LXXI. 


London, Angost 20. 1790. 

The first use. Madam, to which I devote the leisure 
that the long vacation affords me is to return you many 
thanks for the translation of Mr. Bentham's book on 
Usury y^ which you did me the favour to send me. I have 
read it with very great pleasure. It appears to me to be 
extremely well done, and the omissions and alterations 
which have been made in the order of the work I think 
very judicious. I have given a copy of it to Mr. Bentham, 
who is exceedingly pleased with it, and returns many 
thanks to his unknown translator for so ably assisting 
him in propagating opinions which he hopes will prove 
useful to mankind. 

I very gladly seize the opportunity of M. de la Roche's 
departure to send you the new edition of Adam Smith's 
Theory of Moral Sentiments. It was published only a few 
months before the author's death, and contains many 
passages and some whole chapters not published in any of 
the preceding editions. These will afford you entertain- 
ment if you should be, as I suppose you are, already ac- 
quainted with the rest of the work. If that should not be 
the case, you will receive great pleasure from the whole of 
it. Not, indeed, that I think his theory perfectly solid : 
but the speculations of an ingenious man on such a sub- 
ject are always interesting, and those of Adam Smith 
would render any subject interesting. I have been sur- 
prised, and I own a little indignant, to observe how little 
* Defence of Umry, 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC. 309 

impression his death has made here. Scarce any notice 
has been taken of it, while for above a year together, after 
the death of Dr. Johnson, nothing was to be heard of 
but panegyrics of him — Lives, Letters, and Anecdotes: 
and even at this moment there are two more Lives of him 
about to start into existence. Indeed one ought not, 
perhaps, to be very much surprised that the public does 
not do justice to the work^ of A. Smithy since he did not 
do justice to them himself, but always considered his 
Theory of Moral Sentiments as a much superior work to 
his Wealth of Nations, 

The French Revolution seems to be growing popular, 
where one would last expect it, even in our universities. 
One of the questions proposed this year by the Vice- 
Chancellor of Cambridge, for a Latin prize dissertation, 
was, ** Whether the French Revolution was likely to prove 
advantageous or injurious to this country ;" and the prize 
was given to a dissertation* written to prove that it would 
be advantageous to it. 

I was very agreeably surprised to hear from my friend 
Mr. Vaughan that he had spent part of one of the very 
few days which he passed at Paris in your company. I 
have been importuning him with questions about you, 
and have made him tell me where he saw you, and when, 
and for how long, and how long he walked in the garden 
at Passy, and everything which could assist me to trans- 
port myself to the same scene, and to make one of the 

Pray assure Mr. G of my warm and unalterable 

friendship. I mention him less frequently in my letters 
than I should do if I did not consider the whole of them 
as being addressed to him at the same time as to you. 

Letter LXXIL 

Dear Dumont, September 25, 1790. 

After reading Duroveray's letter with the greatest 
attention, I cannot say that I find in it sufficient reason to 
^ This diflsertation was written by Mr. Whisbaw. 

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induce you to undertake the journey which he proposes. 
If he does not deceive himself as to the situation of affairs 
at Geneva, your presence seems quite unnecessary ; and 
matters are likely to be settled without you, if not in the 
best manner possible, at least in the best that can be 
expected : and if he does deceive himself, and considers 
matters with too sanguine hopes, it must be at least doubt- 
ful what can be done, and how distant may still be that 
crisis which he supposes has already arrived. I cannot 
conceive how Duroveray can persuade himself that the 
people of Geneva ought to be careful not to let the pre- 
sent opportunity pass imimproved. That opportunity (if 
it ought to be called by that name) is what the French 
Revolution has offered them, and seems likely to be an 
opportunity which will last for ages. A counter-revolution 
is impossible ; and, if there were degrees of impossibility, 
it would be still more impossible that France should again 
exercise any control over the government of Geneva. The 
most essential thing, therefore, at Geneva is to do nothing 
precipitately ; the making a constitution is a work of rea- 
son, not of enthusiasm. Argument and discussion may be 
of great use at the present moment at Geneva ; but I do 
not see what good is to be done by eloquence ; and argu- 
ment and discussion may as well be communicated to them 
from London as at Geneva. I can easily conceive, in- 
deed, that if you were on the spot you might be able to 
induce them to do more for the natives than they would 
otherwise do; but I own I should dread the effects of 
what they might be induced to do merely from a sudden 
movement, with which they would be inspired, and which, 
in cooler moments of selfish reflection, they might repent 
of. It is easy to foresee the jealousies which might arise 
from hence, how the seeds of future divisions might by 
that means be sown, and how the most generous conduct 
on your part might in the end receive no other reward 
than the complaints and dissatisfaction of your country- 
men. With all this, however, 1 cannot in my conscience 
tell you that I think you would be of no use at Geneva. 
I have too high an opinion of your talents and your virtues 
to think that you could ever be useless where any good 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC. 3U 

was to be done. But, of whatever use your journey might 
be to your countrymen, I am sure it would be of none to 
yourself: and a person, destined to do as much good as I 
sincerely believe you are, ought to be allowed a little to con- 
sider what effect any measure he may take is likely to have 
on his own character. A person who sets out on such a 
mission as that on which your friends desire you to go to 
Geneva assumes to himself a degree of importance which, 
however well you may be entitled to it, it is not in your 
temper to assume, and which, if such an expedition prove 
fruitless, cannot fail of covering him with ridicule. I 
admit, however, that all this and much more ought to be 
risked, if there were a prospect of rendering any important 
service to your country; but I cannot persuade myself 
that this is the present case. The disinclination you have 
to going i6 Geneva is alone sufficient to convince me that 
you would be of little service there ; and though I cannot 
blame the zeal of your friends, who importune you to 
surmoimt that disinclination, and to sacrifice your own 
ease to an object which they think important, yet, in fact, 
it is much easier to recommend sacrifices than to make 
them. The truth is, that we never know what the sacrifices 
are which we recommend ; and that which we look upon 
as only a slight inconvenience may be to the person whom 
we would persuade to submit to it a very serious evil. I 
say all this merely to convince you that you alone are the 
proper judge what you ought to do. Trust to your own 
judgment alone. Regard no part of the letters which you 
receive from Geneva but the facts they contain, and the 
opinion which is entertained of your abilities and your 
virtues, and from those data decide whether you oi]^ht to 
go or not. To undertake such a journey, on such an 
occasion, merely from deference to the opinions and wishes 
of others, is a weakness hardly excusable. Trust to your- 
self, and I have no doubt of your doing right. 

I dined two days ago with Trail, who vas in town for a 

day. He is very much pleased with Mirabeau's two 

speeches on the family compact and the assignats,^ and 

has conceived a higher opinion of him than he ever had 

i See Motiiteur for 1790, Nos. 240 and 241. 

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before, at finding he can do so much when deprived of 
the assistance to which he owed so great a part of his for- 
mer reputation. 

Erskine is returned from Paris a violent democrat. He 
has had a coat made of the uniform of the Jacobins, with 
buttons bearing this inscription, " Vivre libre ou mourir," 
and he says he intends to wear it in our House of Com- 

Yours affectionately, 

Saml. Romillt. 

Letter LXXIII. 

TO M. G- 

J)q2lT G - Gny's Inn, Oct. 29, 1790. 

I thank you for your good news, and congratulate you 
upon it most cordially. I will venture to cast the nativity 
of your little daughter, and to pronounce that she is infal- 
libly destined to be happy ; for the education she will re- 
ceive cannot fail of rendering her so. You promise me 
that she is by and by to be my very good friend ; in the 
mean time, however, I foresee that the little damsel will do 
me a great deal of mischief, and will engross moments that 
otherwise perhaps would be employed in writing some of 
those letters which I always expect with so much impa- 
tience, and read with so much pleasure. Pray tell Mad«. 

G , however, that I shall never admit the validity of 

such an excuse ; and since she has received her morality 
from me, tell her that I hold it to be an indisputable prin- 
ciple in morals that there are no incompatible virtues, 
and that therefore she may be a good mother and a good 
correspondent too ; and, much as I wish well to my little 
new-born friend, I cannot consent to sacrifice to her the 
very few hours in the year which I have any claim to. In 
short, tell her that I shall not believe she is perfectly re- 
covered till I see a letter from her under her own hand. 

At the same time that you tell me you won't speak of 
public affairs, you let me discover very easily what your 
opinion of them is ; but I really think that, if you are dis- 
appointed at the turn which the Revolution has taken, it 

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1790. M. DUMONT, ETC. 313 

is because you expected too much. I will admit all the 
violence, and, if you will, even the interestedness, of the 
leaders in the National Assembly ; but that men should 
act from the pure motive of procuring good to others, 
without any regard at all to themselves, is, I am afraid, 
more than one is entitled to expect, even under the 
most perfect government that human wisdom could desire, 
much more imder such a government as that under which 
the characters of all the men who are now acting any 
public part in France have been formed. Notwithstand- 
ing the vanity and ambition of some individuals, and not- 
withstanding the injustice which the Assembly itself has 
been guilty of in several instances, it must be admitted 
that no assembly of men that ever met since the Creation 
has done half so much towards promoting the happiness 
of the human species as the National Assembly. Don't 
imagine that I judge of what is passing in France merely 
from the accounts in our English papers ; I constantly 
read four French papers ; and among them the Gazette 
Nationale, and the Journal des Debats et des Dicrets, 
Our English papers indeed afi'ect to treat everything 
which is done in the National Assembly with contempt ; 
but it is the contempt of the contemptible. 

Our parliament is to meet on the 25th of next month ; 
and we shall then learn, it is to be hoped, why we have 
been making such expensive preparations for war. There 
are, I think, about 150 or 160 new members in the par- 
liament ; some of them certainly will take part in the 
debates. Erskine is, I think, the most remarkable of 
these, though his eloquence, which certainly is very great, 
was not displayed to much advantage when he was for- 
merly in parliament. Another new member, who will 
probably speak, is Sir Elijah Impey, the East India Judge, 
the friend of Mr. Hastings, and the man against whom 
the last parliament were very near voting an impeach- 
ment. As to Mr. Hastings himself, his partisans pretend 
that the dissolution of the parliament has put an end to 
his impeachment ; and it is said that even the Chancellor 
maintains that opinion. It is an opinion, however, for 
which the principal members of the House of Commons 

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insist there is not the least foundation, and there will 
probably be some violent debates on the subject in both 
houses. If, on the pretence of a dissolution, an end 
should be put to the trial, I should not be at all surprised 
to see Mr. Hastings dignified with a peerage, and .taking 
his seat among his judges, as his friend Sir Elijah Impey 
has taken his among his accusers. 

Pray remember me very affectionately to Mad«. D ^ 

and to all her family. 

Yours, 8ec. 

Sahl. Romillt. 

Lettbe LXXIV. 


Paris, 3 Nov. 1790. 

Nous venons de recevoir, Monsieur, votre obligeante 
lettre, et je ne laisserai pas partir M. Smith sans quelques 
lignes qui vous prouvent mon parfait r^tablissement, 
puisque vous ne voulez y croire qu'4 cette condition. 

Nous sommes bien aises que vous con8id6riez encore 
notre revolution et notre position sous un aspect un 
pen favorable. Votre opinion nous redonne du courage. 
Peut-etre notre difi6rence de maniere de voir tient-elle d 
ce que vous ne voyez que les resultats des operations de 
]*Assembiee, et que nous, qui sommes sur le lieu de la 
scdne, nous sommes blesses du spectacle du jeu des passions 
dans tons leurs exces, des fureurs de la cabale, de Tintrigue, 
uniques ressorts qui conduisent dans ce moment nos af- 

Letteh LXXIV. 

Paris, Nov. 3, 1790. 
We have jiut received your obliging letter, and I cannot 
allow Mr. Smith to leave lu without a few lines which may satisfy 
you as to my complete recovery, since you will believe it on no 
other condition. 

We are very glad that you still view our revolution, and the 
posture of our affairs, in a somewhat favourable light. Your good 
opinion gives us fresh courage. Perhaps the difference in our mode 
of viewing arises from your seeing only the results of the proceed- 
ings of the Assembly, whilst w^ who are on the spot, are shocked by 
beholding the working of passions in all their excesses, and the 
raging of cabals and intrigues, the only springs which now direct 

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Feb. 1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 3^5 

faires. Quelquefois on ne peut s'empScher de craindre 
qu'une si grande depravation, dans les esprits et dans les 
caxact^res, ne nuise et n'empoisonne totalement tout le 
bien qu'on avoit lieu d'esp^rer de la revolution. Voil^ la 
cause du d6couragement des honnStes gens, qui g^missent 
de voir tous les jours se reculer davantage I'^poque du 
retour de Tordre et de la paix au milieu de nous. 


Letter LXXV. 


Paris, 18 Fevrier, 1791. 

Nous aurions dii r^pondre bien plutdt. Monsieur, i 
votre obligeant envoi, et ^ la lettre qui Taccompagnoit, 
que M . Dumont nous a remise. Nous nous sommes pro- 
cur6 le plaisir de parler beaucoup de vous avec lui : nous 
avons tdche d'arranger que vous fissiez bient6t un voyage 
ici, et nous trouvons que vous ne pouvez pas vous en dis- 
penser. Pensez bien, Monsieur, au plaisir que nous 
aurons k vous voir, k tous les objets d'inter§t que la 
France peut vous ofPrir, et vous serez de notre avis. Nous 
vous rendons mille graces des pamphlets que vous nous 
avez envoy^s : ils nous sont fort agreables ; car on met ici 
un tr^s- grand int^rSt k ce que vous dites et pensez de 

our movements. Sometimes one cannot help fearing lest so great a 
depravation of mind and disposition should neutralise, or entirely 
poison, all the good one had reason to expect from the revolution. 
This it is which discourages right-minded men, who lament to see 
ihe time when order and peace may be restored to us becoming 
every day more distant. 

Letter LXXV. 

Paris, Feb. 18, 1791. 
We ought, Sir, to have acknowledged much sooner your oblig- 
ing packet, and the letter which accompanied it, and which M. 
Dumont delivered to us. We indulged the pleasure of talking 
much of you with him. We endeavoured to settle for you the plan 
of a journey to Paris, which we really think it is incumbent on you 
to put into early execution. Consider well the pleasure we shall 
have in seeing you, all the interesting objects which France offers 
to you, and you will agree with us. We return you many thanks 
for the pamphlets you have sent us : they were very welcome ; for 
we feel a strong interest in all that you say and think about us. 

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nous. C'est i dire, que, quand vous bl^ez quelques-unes 
de nos operations, les aristocrates triomphent, et se font 
gloire de votre autorit^, tandis que les d6mocrates disent 
que vous etes recules, que vous n'^tes pas encore k notre 
hauteur, et que vous ne connoissez pas encore les prin- 
cipes. Quand vous nous admirez, alors c'est different; 
car, pour le bl&me et la louange, les Jacobins sont hommes, 
comme pour plusieurs autres petites choses. Mirabeau a 
6prouvfe un 6chec dernier ement ; il ^tait en concurrence 
avec M. Pastoret, pour etre Procureur-Syndic de notre 
d6partement. Danton a fait un discours pompeux, pour 
prouver aux 61ecteur8 qu'il devoit Stre 61u, mais cette fois 
Teloquence a eu le dessous, et M. Pastoret I'a emport^. 

Vous avez mille choses de tous les individus de notre 
famille. Notre petit enfant prosp^re 4 merveille, et nous 
procure d6ji beaucoup de bonheur. Recevez Tassurance 
de la sincere et inviolable amiti6 de mari et femme. 

Letter LXXVI. 

Dear Dumont, London, April 5th, 1791. 

I make you no apology for not writing sooner, be- 
cause you deserve none. I own I have been much disap- 
pointed, after all your promises, to have received only 
one letter from you since your departure. The only way 

That is to say, when you blame any of our proceedings, the aristo- 
crats triumph and glurify themselves on the strength of your autho- 
rity ; while the democrats say that you are gone backwards, that 
you have not risen to our height, and that you have not yet any 
knowledge of principles. When you admire us, then the case is 
altered ; for, in so far as blame and praise are concerned, the Jacobins 
are much like the rest of mankind ; as, indeed, they are in many 
other small matters. Mirat)eau has lately met with a rebuff; he 
was opposed to M. Pastoret as candidate for'the place of Procureur- 
Syndic of our department. Danton made a pompous speech to 
prove to the electors that he ought to be elected ; but, for this once^ 
eloquence had the worst of it, and M. Pastoret carri^ the election. 
Every member of our family unites in kind regards to you. Our 
little child thrives wonderfully, and is already a source of much 
happiness to us. Believe in the sincere and unalterable friendship 
of husband and wife. 

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1791. , M. DUMONT, ETC. 317 

in which I can account for it is by supposing that you 
intend to return very shortly,— the end of this month or 
the beginning of the next, as you at first intended. The 
politics of Geneva at least will not delay you, as I under- 
stand everything is finally settled. I cannot give you 
my opinion of that settlement, as I am not sufficiently in- 
formed of the circumstances that relate to it. 

Kirkerbergher,^ I am afraid, is quite forgotten by you. 
I have written a few letters for him since you went, but 
he will not be able to go on with spirit till you return. 
We have been anticipated in our design by a real Kirker- 
bergher — a man of the name of Wendeborn, who has 
published a book in two volumes 8vo., entitled, A View qf 
England towards the Close of the Eighteenth Century. 
I have only seen the accounts which the Reviews give of 
it, and it seems accurate, and not devoid of merit ; but I 
do not believe that we shall find he has often taken the 
same ground as we take. I thought K. had been a name 
of our own invention, but I find Rousseau, in his Con- 
Jessionsy mentions a Bernese of that name who made him 
a visit at the He de St. Pierre. 

There have been several answers to Burke since you left 
us, but none that have much merit, except one by Paine,' 
the author of the famous American Common Sense. It is 
written in his own wild but forcible style ; inaccurate in 
point of grammar, flat where he attempts wit, and often 

* It appears from preceding letters that Mr. Romilly had been 
very urgent with M. Dumont to write a History of the French 
Revolution. This suggestion was never acted on to the full extent 
<jf Mr. Romilly's wishes ; but a series of historical letters on the 
events of which M. Dumont had been an eye-witness, during the 
four months from Apiil to September, 1789, were written by him, 
and translated into English by Mr. Romilly. To this translation 
were added several original letters, on subjects connected with the 
manners and institutions of England, all of them, with one ex- 
ception, by Mr. Romilly himself; and the whole was published in 
a small 12mo. volume, in 1792, under the title of GroenveWt 
Lettertf that name beuig substituted for Kirkerbergher, which they 
had at first chosen. It is afterwards referred to under the letter K, 
Various circumstances, which it is unnecessary to state, prevented 
the intended continuation of this work. 

* Righi* of Man, 

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ridiculous when he indu]ge8 himself in metaphors ; but, 
with all that, full of spirit and energy, and likely to pro- 
duce a very great effect. It has done that, indeed, al- 
ready ; in the course of a fortnight it has gone through 
three editions ; and, what I own has a good deal surprised 
me, has made converts of many persons who were before 
enemies to the revolution. As you are not likely to see 
it soon, I will give you a specimen of his manner. He is 
speaking of the law of primogeniture. " The nature and 
character of aristocracy shows itself to us in this law. It 
is a law against nature. Establish family justice, and 
aristocracy falls. By the aristocratical law of primoge- 
niture, in a family of six children, five are exposed. 
Aristocracy has never more than one child ; the rest are 
begotten to be devoured. They are thrown to the can- 
nibal for prey, and the natural parent prepares the un- 
natural repast. All the children which the aristocracy 
disowns (which are all except the eldest) are in genend 
cast, like orphans, on a parish, to be provided for by the 
public, but at a greater charge. Unnecessary offices and 
places in governments and courts are created, at the ex- 
pense of the public, to maintain them." He speaks of 
titles of nobility with true republican contempt, and says 
that " they afford no idea," that " no such animal as a 
Count or an Earl can be found anywhere but in ima- 

Bentham leads the same kind of life as usual at 
Hendon ; seeing nobody, reading nothing, and writing 
books which nobody reads. His brother, who is a colonel 
in the Russian army, and a great friend of Potemkin's, is 
on his road to England, on a visit My brother and sister 
desire to be remembered to you. 

Yom-s sincerely and affectionately, 

Saml. Romilly. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 319 

Letter LXXVII. 


Paris. 7 Avril, 1791. 

Nous avons regu ces jours derniers encore un paquet 
de vous, Monsieur, contenant les reflexions de M. Bentham 
BUT notre ordre judiciaire, une esquisse du r^gne de George 
III., et une r6ponse k M. Burke. Nous vous rendons 
mille graces de ces marques d'attention, fort agr^ables en 
elles-memes, et qui ont de plus le m^rite de nous assurer 
de votre souvenir. Vous devez trouver que nous y r6pon- 
dons bien mal, car nous n'avons pu vous envoyer aucune 
brochure ni nouveaut6 qui fiit digne de vous. Nous avions 
pens6 un instant k vous faire parvenir les M€moires de 
Franklin, dont nous avons ici une traduction informe et 
incomplete, mais nous avons presume que vous connoissiez 
peut-etre, deji le manuscrit, et qu'ils ne devoient pas tar- 
de k paroitre en original k Londres. Nous avons lu 
Touvrage de M. Paine en reponse k M . Burke ; c'est la 
folie inverse ; oependant il y a des idees assez piquantes, et 
assez neuves, et qui sont assez au niveau de celles qui 
remplissent les tStes Fran9oise8 actuellement. 

Letter LXXVII. 

Paris, April 7, 1791. 
We have received within the last few days another packet from 
you, containing the observations of Mr. Bentham on our judicial es- 
tablishment^ a sketch of the reign of George III., and an answer to 
Mr. Burke. We return you many thanks for these marks of atten- 
tion, very agreeable in themselves, and which have the additional 
merit of assuring us that we are not forgotten by you. You must 
think that we make a very poor return, for we have not been able to 
send you any pamphlet or new publication worthy of you. We had 
atone moment thought of sending you Franklin s Memoirtj of which 
we have here an imperfect translation ; but we presumed that you 
-were, perhaps, already acquainted with the manuscript, and that the 
original would shortly be published in London. We have read Mr. 
Paine's woik in answer to Mr. Burke ; it is the opposite extreme of 
madness; it contains, however, ideas somewhat new and striking, 
and which are pretty much on a level with those which at present 
fill the heads of Frenchmen. 

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Vous aurez surement pris part a la perte que la France 
vient de faire par la mort de M irabeau.^ L'impression 
que cet 6v6nement a produite seroit seule une preuve suf- 
fisante que la revolution est complete et achev6e jusques 
dans les derni^res classes de citoyens ; que les titres, les 
rangs, les places ne nous 6blouissent plus, etque le talent 
seul sera disormais Fobjet des regrets et des honneurs. 
La carriSre de Mirabeau nepouvoitpasfinir dans un mo- 
ment plus propice pour sa gloire : six moisplutot sa mort 
auroit ete consid6r6e comme heureuse pour la chose pub- 
lique, et il y a seulement deux mois qu'elle auroit et6 vue 
generalement avec indiff6rence. Mais depuis quelques 
semaines il avoit tellement embrasse le bon parti, et on 
sentoit sibien qu*il devoit faire reussir tout ce qu'il vou- 
droit, que tons les honngtes gens avoient mis leur espoir 
en lui, pour le retour de Tordre et de la paix, et le re- 
gardoient comme laterreur'des factieux etlesoutien de la 
constitution ; aussi, sa perte cause-t-elle des craintes ex- 
ag6rees peut-etre. II faut se flatter que les vrais amis de 
la chose publique se rallieront avec plus de fermete encore, 
en proportion de ce qu'ils sentent que sa mort pent leur 
6ter. Nous n'avons plus rien k apprendre, je crois, des 

You will, no doubt, have felt for the loss which France has ju«t 
suffered by the death of Mirabeau.^ The impression which this event 
has produced would alone be sufficient proof that the revolution is 
complete, and that its effects extend even to the lowest classes of the 
people ; that titles, rank, and office no longer dazzle us ; and that 
talent alone will henceforth be the object of our regret and of our 
homage. Mirabeau's career could not have come to an end at a mo- 
ment more propitious for his own fame ; six months earlier his death 
would have been considered as a happy event for the public ; and 
only two months ago it would have been looked upon with general 
indifference. But for some weeks past he had so entirely taken up 
the right side, and it was so strongly felt that he could not but ac* 
complish whatever he wished, that all well-disposed people had 
placed in him their hopes for the restoration of order and peace, and 
looked upon him as the terror of the factious and the prop of the 
constitution. Accordingly, his, loss has raised fears, which are, per- 
haps, exaggerated. We must hope that those who have the public 
good at heart will rally with a degree of vigour proportioned to their 
sense of the loss they have sustained by his death. We have no- 
thing more to learn, I believe, from the Greek and Roman republics, 

* Mirabeau died on the 2nd of April, 1791. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 321 

r^publiques Grecques et Romains, pour les honneurs k 
d^cerner aux grands hommes. Les spectacles, les diver- 
tissemcDS publics, ont 6t6 ferm6s : tous les corps k Penvi 
ont d6cid6 de porter le deuil et de se rendre k son convoi. 
L'AssembI6e Nationale, les 61ecteur8, la municipalit6, le 
d^partement, les ministres, plusieurs clubs, une grande 
parti de la garde nationale, &c., formoient le cortege le 
plus imposant et le pluslugubre ; unconcoursinnombra- 
ble de peuple 6tait sur son passage ; un morne et profond 
silence r^gnoit dans cette multitude immense, qui parois- 
soit frapp6e d^un sentiment nouveau et extraordinaire. 
C'6tait seulement grand dommage que quelques vertus ne 
pussent pas se trouver dans le nombre de choses qu*on 
regrettoit dans cet homme illustre, et qu'au contraire, le 
talent s'y trouve obscurci par tout cequ'il y a de d^goiitant 
dans la nature humaine ! Son corps a 6t6 pr6sent6 k St. 
Eustache, oii s'est fait le service funebre, et ensuite depos6 
k I'ancienne 6glise de Ste. Genevieve, en attendant qu'il 
puisse Stre plac6 dans la nouvelle ^glise k cdt6 des grands 
hommes que rAssembl6e jugera digne d'y admettre. Mi- 
rabeau a conserv6 une trds-grande presence d'esprit et un 
grand sang-froid jusques dans ses derniers momens. II 
fait par son testament un grand nombre de legs. II pos- 

with respect to the honours to be decreed to ^reat men. The 
theatres and other places of public amusement were closed, and all 
public bodies vied with each other in their zeal to put on mourning 
and to attend the fiineral. The National Assembly, the electors, 
the officers of the municipality and the department, the ministers, 
several clubs, and a large portion of the national guard, formed a 
most imposing and mournful procession ; an immense concourse of 
people attended it on its passage ; a deep and solemn silence reigued 
throughout the countless multitude, which seemed to be overwhelmed 
by some new and extraordinary feeling. What a pity it is that no 
virtues are to be found among the things for whica this illustrious 
man is regretted ; and that, on the contrary, talent was in him ob. 
scured by all that is most repulsive in human nature ! His body was 
taken to St. Eustachius, where the funeral service was performed, 
and it was afterwards deposited at the old church of St. Genevidve, 
where it will remain till it can be placed in the new church, by the 
side of the other great men whom the Assembly may think fit to 
admit there. Mirabeau retained great presence of mind and compo- 
sure up to the last moment. He leaves, by his will, a great number 
VOL. I. Y 

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sdde une terre, line maieon, el I'apergu de sa fortune est 
d 'environ un million, mais on croit qu'il en doit deux. M. 
de la Marck, son ami, a promis de suppleeri ce qui pour- 
roit manquer, pour que ses demidres volontSs puissent 
Stre remplies, mais M. de la M arck est endett^ au-del^. de 
ce qu'il possdde. II laisse quelque chose k Mad. le Jay, a 
ses enfans, puis k un fils naturel, ensuite k une de ses sceurs, 
et k ses nieces. 

Mon mari na pas le temps de vous ecrire ; il vous 
adresse mille choses. 

Agr6ez, &c. 

Letter LXXVIII. 


Sacconex.i 9ATril« 1791. 

Voil^ done Mirabeau 6teint au milieu de sa carridre ! 
Est-ce un malheur pour la revolution ? Je le crois. Sa 
maison fetoit un foyer de liberte. S'il ne travailloit pas 
lui-mSme, il faisoit travailler ; il excitoit les talens, et don- 
noit un appui considerable au parti qu*il embrassoit. II 

of legacies. He ponessed an estate and a house, and his fbrtane is 
estimated at about one million, but it is believed that he owes two. 
His friend, M. de la Marck, has promised to make good what may 
be wanting to carry into effect his last wishes ; but M. de la Marck 
himself owes more than he is worth. He leaves something' to Ma- 
dame le Jay, to her children, to a natural son, to one of his sisters, 
and to his nieces. 

My husband has not time to write to you. He desires many kind 

Believe me, &c. 

Letter LXXVIII. 

Sacconez,^ April 9, 1791. 

So Mirabeau is extinguished in the midst of his career ! Is it a 

misfortune for the revolution i I think it is. His house was a focus 

of liberty. If he did not work himself, he made others work : be 

stimulated men of talent, and was a strong prop to the party whose 

* Near Geneva. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 323 

6tait dangereux, sans doute, k cause de ses passions, qui le 
gouvernoient absolument; mais on pouvoit les dinger 
au bien, et 11 avoit Tamour de la gloire. J'ai senti, aux 
regrets que saperte m*a fait ^prouver, qu'il avoit bien plus 
gagn6 mon affection que je ne le savois moi-mSme. On 
ne pouvoit pas le connottre et n'Stre pas seduit par son 
esprit et ses manidres caressantes. Combien de fois il m'a 
fait deplorer qu'il manqu&t k ses moyens la puissance que 
donne une reputation intacte ! II a 6l€ consume par ses 
passions ; s^il avoit su les mod^rer, il avoit pour cent ans 
de vie. Nob aristocrates le dSchiroient, et ils le regrettent. 
C'est une perte pour eux que celle d'un homme qui sou- 
tenoit le credit public. 

Je compte partir du 20 au 25 de Mai pour Paris, et du 
10 au 15 Juin pour Londres ; ainsi j'arriverai vers le mi- 
lieu de Juin et je me remettrai d*abord pour m*6gayer et 
me distraire k la correspondance de Kirkerberg. II faut 
renoncer k faire un nom Allemand, puisqu'on ne sauroit 
en imaginer un assez dur, assez barbare, assez Gothique 
pour qu'ils ne s'en soient pas d6ji empares. Je suis presque 
siir que tout sera prSt pour le temps o^ nous Tavons 
pens6, et j*ai pris quelques mesures indirectes pour la 

cause he espoused. He was dangerous, no doubt from his passions, 
which exerted absolute dominion over him ; but even these might be 
directed to good ends, and he had a love of glory. I felt, from the 
grief that I experienced at his loss, that he had acquired a stronger 
hold on my affections than I had been myself aware of. It was im- 
possible to know him, and not be fascinated by his talents and his 
engaging manners. How often have I lamented that his powers 
should have wanted the influence of an unsullied reputation i His 
passions have consumed him ; if he had known how to control them, 
he might have lived for a hundred years. Our aristocrats tore him. 
to pieces, and they regret him ; the death of a man who sustained 
public credit is a real loss to them. 

I propose to set off for Paris between the 20th and 25th of May,, 
and to leave it for London between the 10th and 15th of June, so that 
I shall arrive towards the middle of June ; and, by way of an agree- 
able diversion to my tlioughts, I shall at once set to work on Kirker* 
berg. We must give up the idea of inventing a German name forr 
our letters, since it is impossible to imagine one so harsh, barbarous, 
and Gotiiic, as not to nave been abready appropriated. Every- 
thing will be ready, I have little doubt, by the time we had antici- 
pated, and I have indirectly taken some steps for the publication... 

Y 2 

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publication. Ne seroit-ce encore qu'un songe agr6able ? 
mieux vaudroit un joli songe qu'un mauvais r6veil. Quoi- 
qu'il en soit, je suis bien silr qu'on ne perd rien pour at- 
tendre. L'int6r@t ne diminue en aucune mani^re, et rien 
n'a paru qui doive d^courager T^mulation de nos corre- 

Letter LXXIX. 


Madam, G»y'» !»»» May 20, 1791. 

I am very much ashamed of not having written to 
you sooner ; and I am ashamed, too, of making you an 
apology, because you are so used to such kind of apologies 
from me. The best apology I could make would be to 
give you an account of the manner in which my time has 
been spent ; but I shall spare you the pain of reading so 
uninteresting a diary, in which you would find me per- 
petually occupied in a way which, of all others, is least 
pleasant to me. 

I am exceedingly obliged to you for the very interesting 
account you give me of Mirabeau's funeral. I sincerely 
regret his death. You certainly do not do him justice, 
when you suppose him destitute of all private virtues. 
I know that he was capable of very warm friendship, 
that he often exerted the greatest zeal, and made very 
considerable sacrifices to serve his friends. I know, too, 
that he has been very grossly calumniated in several in- 
stances which have come under my own immediate ob- 

You have before this time heard, and, I make no doubt, 
lamented, how the question respecting the abolition of 

What though it should still be but an agreeable dream f and yet an 
agreeable dream is better than a sad waking. However that may 
be, I am sure that nothing is lost by delay. The subject loses 
none of its interest, and our correspondents have no reason to be dia- 
eouraged by anything that has yet appeared. 

See ante, p. 59. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 325 

the slave-trade has been decided in our House of Com- 
mons.^ Nothing can be more disgraceful to the nation 
than such a decision, after so long an inquiry too ; and 
after that inquiry had shown the necessity of an imme- 
diate abolition in the strongest light possible, and had 
converted into well-authenticated facts what had before 
been only matter of conjecture, and the supposed and 
probable consequences of the trade. I believe the history 
of mankind cannot furnish another instance of a nation, 
calmly, and after long deliberation, giving its sanction to 
continual robberies and murders, because it conceives 
them to contribute to its riches. We have but one con- 
solation under this disgrace ; it is a consolation, however, 
which is itself the source of another species of disgrace. 
It is that our House of Commons is not a national assem- 
bly, and certainly does not speak the sense of the nation. 
It is remarkable that, though the question was carried 
by a great majority, not one man who has any character 
for abilities spoke on the side of the majority, and all the 
^ members who are most eminent for their talents took a 
very active part on the side of the abolition. But elo- 
quence, humanity, policy, reason, and justice were easily 
defeated by the most stupid prejudices. The question, 
however, is not (as the West India planters flatter them- 
selves) now at rest. It will be resumed in a future session, 
and must before long be carried. The arguments urged in 
the last debate, though they could not convince the House of 
Commons, have produced a very great effect on that large 
portion of the public whose hearts are not hardened by 
opulence, nor their understandings corrupted by com- 
mercial and political prejudices. Even the arguments 
for the trade have contributed to increase the public 
horror of it. One member, an alderman of London, to 
prove the advantage of slavery to this country, told the 
House that it afforded a market for the refuse fish and 

^ On the 19tb of April, 1791, Mr. Wilberforce's motion for leave 
to bring in a bill to prevent the further importation of slaves into the 
British colonies in the West Indies was lost in the House of Com- 
moDS by a majority of 163 to 88. 

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corrupted food, which could be sold for no other de- 
scription of persons. Undoubtedly, neither the trade, 
nor even slavery in the islands, can exist for many years 
longer ; and yet it is dreadful to think what misery must 
be endured in the interval which is to elapse before 
they are abolished. 

We have had violent debates in our House of Commons 
on the French revolution ; and they have produced a 
total, and, as it should seem, an irreparable breach be- 
tween Fox and Burke. Fox has gained much with the 
public by his conduct, and Burke has lost as much. It is 
astonishing how Burke's book is fallen ; though the tenth 
edition is now publishing, its warmest admirers at its 
first appearance begin to be ashamed of their admiration. 
Paine's book, on the other hand, has made converts of a 
great many persons, which I confess appears to me as 
wonderful as the success of Burke's ; for I do not under- 
stand how men can be convinced without arguments, 
and I find none in Paine, though I admit he has great 
merit. It is a book calculated, I should have thought, to 
strengthen preconceived opinion, but not to convert any 
one. However, the event shows that I was wrong. The 
impression which it has made in Ireland is, I am in- 
formed, hardly to be conceived. But the French revolu- 
tion there has always been universally popular ; and if the 
enthusiasm which it has kindled should anywhere break 
out in acts of violence, it will certainly be first in Ireland. 

I write to you in very great haste, and, I fear, illegibly ; 
but t would not let slip the only opportunity I may have 
of writing for some time. Pray let me hear from you, 
and as often as you can conveniently. I don't deserve it 
by my letters, but I do by my thoughts, which transport 
me perpetually in the midst of your family. Pray re- 
member me very aifectionately to all of them, particularly 

to my dear friend G . 

Saml. Romilly. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 327 

Lbttek LXXX. 


Paris, June 27, 1791. 

Nothing can exceed the good order and tranquillity 
which have reigned at Paris ever since the King s elope- 
ment^ Some very seditious resolutions have been adopted 
and published by some of the inferior clubs, and some 
abominable libels have also been published against Lafay- 
ette and the municipality, but, it would seem, with very 
little effect. Profound silence was recommended to the 
people on the entrance of the Royal family ; and it was 
in general observed. I stood in the Champs Elysees, on 
the edge of the road, from three till near eight, and I 
never saw more tranquillity or even indifference on any 
occasion. An officer passed us about half an hour before 
the King's arrival, and called out as he passed, *' Chapeau 
Bur tSte !" This order was punctually observed. I heard 
of a young man, who lost his hat, being obliged to get be- 
hind, that nobody might appear uncovered. In all the 
conversation I heard, not a symptom of pity or sympathy 
appeared — nor much resentment. Ridicule, contempt, or 
great indifference, characterized all the observations that 
were made. When the Royal family got out of the car- 
riage, three gardes du corps, who had acted as couriers, 
and were brought back tied on the coach-box, were for 
some time in great danger of being put to death by the 
mob, and even by the national guards. A deputation 
from the National Assembly arrived in time to save them ; 
they are in prison. It is needless to give you an account 
of the King's being stopped. Everything known about 
it has been published by the Assembly. It is certain that 
the King has repeatedly declared that he did not mean to 
quit the kingdom. When Lafayette's aide-de-camp pre- 

^ The King's flight from Paris took place on the night of the 20th 
— 2lst of June, and he was brought back on the 2dtb. 

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sented him with the decrees the Assembly h^ passed 
immediately on the discovery of his flight, it is said both 
the King and Queen expressed themselves with much 
violence and resentment. 

I have been much entertained in listening to the dis- 
cussions in the groups formed in the Palais Royal and in 
the streets. I have heard very little violence against the 
King, a good deal against the Queen, but still more 
against those who assisted their escape. ** Le Gros 
Cocbon " is the most common appellation. They seem 
unwilling to believe that the guards about the Tuileries 
knew nothing of the elopement. A woman said, speak- 
ing of the Queen and Madame Elizabeth's escape, ** S'U 
avoit ^t£ question de Madame d*Artois et de Ma- 
dame de Provence, je les aurois cru 6chapp6es en bonnes 
Savoyardes par la chemin^e.'* When the King was 
passing yesterday, a man by me said, ** Voila vingt-cinq 
millions perdus, pour un Louis gagne !'* The day the 
King went o£P, it was a very common reflection that the 
nation would save thirty millions a year. I did then sup- 
pose that the general opinion was for a republic ; but I 
am now persuaded I was mistaken, for since, nobody talks 
of it— at least very few. All the schemes I have heard 
proposed imply continuing the monarchical form of go- 
vernment. They do also imply setting aside in efiect, if 
not also in form, the present sovereign. When the com- 
missaries from the Assembly met the Royal famUy, the 
Queen said, " Eh bien, factieux, vous triomphez encore !" 
She asked Lafayette's aide-de-camp, who came up with her 
at Varennes, " En quel 6tat est Paris ?'* " Dans la plus 
parfaite tranquillity ; votre depart n'inspiroit que du m6- 
pris.'' The King, on his arrival, was, it is said, much in- 
toxicated. A thousand other circumstances are repeatedly 
mentioned. I give you these, as the most likely to be true 
of all I have heard. 

When the people were destroyin?: all the insignia of 
royalty they coidd find on signs, &c., they came to the 
head of the King of England, a sign of one of the restaura- 
teurs in the Palais Royal ; when they were about to " faire 
main basse,*' an orator persuaded them that the King of 

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1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 329 

England was a good man, and the only good king in Eu- 
rope, and so saved his Majesty's head. I did not hear 
what arguments he employed. 

After P6tion and Barnave got into the carriage with 
the Royal family, the Dauphin examined the legend on 
Barnave's buttons, one after another, and at last said, 
" Vivre libre, ou mourir partout, M aman." 

Voltaire's funeral procession will probably be put off. 
They* say here, " Le clerg6 a refus6 d'enterrer Voltaire, et 
Voltaire a enterr6 le clerg^." 

Letter LXXXI. 


Madam, Gray's Inn, August 2, 1791. 

Indeed it is not just that you should always wait to 
receive a letter from me before you let me have that plea- 
sure. You have many subjects to write on, while I have 
none that are worth saying anything about. Every day 
furnishes materials for a volume in the land of wonders 
which you inhabit ; but here every day passes exactly like 
that which went before it. I speak of London, for at 
Birmingham ^ that happy uniformity which is the effect of 
peace and prosperity has been dreadfully interrupted. It 
is very singular that all the persons who have most suffered 
from the outrages of the rioters were persons particularly 
distinguished for their benevolence and charity, and who 
had most contributed to the prosperity of Birmingham by 
their industry. But all their virtues were of no avail in 
the eyes of men who had been deluded, by those who are 
very improperly called their superiors, into a belief that 
they intended to overturn the civil and ecclesiastical con- 
stitution of the country. I do not say this from conjec- 
ture, for I am just returned from Birmingham, where I 
have had occasion to inquire particularly into the causes 
and circumstances of the riots, and I am perfectly con- 
vinced that the persons who were the most active in 
destroying and burning the chapels and houses are not 

^ The riots at Birmingbam took place on the 14th of July and 
following days. 

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by any means the most criminal. The celebration of the 
French revolution was entirely forgot in the rage of the 
people against the Dissenters. Several of those who have 
most suffered were not at the dinner, and had never en- 
tertained any thoughts of going thither ; and the only cry 
that was heard among the mob was, " Church and King 
for ever, and down with the Presbyterians !*' I enclose 
Dr. Priestley^s and another letter giving an account of the 
dinner, which may perhaps entertain you. 

Pray have the charity to write to me soon, and send me 
good news of the health of your little girl, for Mr. Trail 
does not mention her so often as her mother. 

I beg to be remembered very sincerely and affectionately 

to M. G , to Mad*. D , and to all your family- 

Yours, &c. 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter LXXXII. 

Dear Dumont, September 6. 1791. 

I send you the conclusion of the letter on Lotteries, 
and another letter on Cruelty towards Animals. I believe 
I formerly read it to you ; but I have since added to it, and 
I think improved it. It consists of scarcely any thing but 
description ; but the subject admits of nothing else. Men 
cannot be I'easoned into humanity ; and perhaps our rea- 
ders will not be sorry to find that we do not ergotise for ever. 
I have added several passages from you to the letter 
on Elections and some of my own, and on the whole I 
think it much better than it was. I have been working 
very hard since you left us. I hope you have done the 
same. I long to see some of your original letters. Re- 
member that, as yet, since K. has been in England, you 
have done nothing but translate. Pray send me originals 
and translations as fast as you can. I can hardly reckon 
upon more than a month's leisure, if so much, and after 

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17W. M. DUMONT, ETC. 33 j 

that, adieu to K. Enable rae to make the best use of my 
time. Never send me a larger packet than I now send 
you, lest K. should cost me more in MS. than he will 
ever repay me in print. 

Yours affectionately, 

S. IL 

Letter LXXXIII. 
from mr. george wilson.» 

Hdtel da Roi, an Carousel, 
Dear Romilly, Wedneaday night, Sept. 21, 1791. 

You have in the French papers probably more French 
news than I can give you. Since the completion of the 
Constitution, the Assembly has been dull, and we have 

^ The foUowiDg account of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Trail is taken 
from a copy [ireserved by Sir Samuel Romilly of a letter written by 
him to Sir Jas. Mackintosh, in 1816 : — 

«CabaJva,Sept 8, 1816. 

'^ Whisbaw told me, just before he left town, that you were desirous 
of knowing where I first became acquainted with our late excellent 
friend George Wilson ; and I intended immediately to have written 
to you, but the unusually early and late sittings of the Chancellor, 
day after day for the last three weeks, left me not a moment that I 
could call my own, and it really has not been till I have got out of 
town that I have had an instant of leisure. My first acquaintance 
with Wilson was in the year 1784. The first circuit I went, which 
was in the spring of that year, I met Trail, who was then travelling 
it for the last time. Having gone round to every assize-town for 
three successive circuits, without having a single brief, he gave it 
up in despair, as he afterwards relinquished the Chancery bar. He 
was a very remarkable instance of a man most eminently qualified 
to have attained the highest honours of the profession, but who, 
having no other recommendation than his great talents, was indeed 
respected, admired, and consulted continually ; but it was only by 
those who were of ihe same rank in the profession with himself. No 
attorney ever discovered his merit ; he never got any business, and 
the profession was to him only a source of expense and disappoint- 
ment. By being continually in the same society during the three 
weeks or month that the circuit lasted, we became very well ac- 
quainted together ; and he was so intimate with Wilson, that it was 
impossible to have formed a friendship with him, and not frequently 
to be in Wilson's society. In a short time I became as intimate 
with the one as with the other, and our friendship remained un- 

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gone seldom ; we were present when the King's letter ^ 
was read, and enjoyed the transport with which it was 
received by all parts of the Salle, except the coU 

diminished and uninterrupted for a moment till I lost both of them 
by death — Trail in 1809, and Wilson in the present year, 

<< You were yourself so well acquainted with Wilson, that it is 
not likely that I should be able to inform you of any incident of his 
life, or any ingredient in his character, which is not already known 
to you. Perhaps, however, you may not have had so many oppor- 
tunities as myself of observing his great sensibility and warmth of 
affection. Under a cold and reserved exterior he had the warmest 
attachment to his friends, and the tenderest sympathy for the mis- 
fortunes of others, that I ever met with; and though there was 
something of austerity in his manner, he was singularly kind and 
even indulgent to all about him. You knew, and must have re- 
marked, the clearness of his understanding, the soundness of his 
judgment^ the propriety and perspicuity of his language, and the 
great ex tent of his learning as a lawyer, and the readiness with which 
be applied it. That with such qualifications, so universally known, 
acknowledged, and brought into practice as they were by his being 
for many years the leader of the Norfolk circuit, he should never 
have been raised to a judicial station, or, I should rather say, 
should never have had such a situation offered to him, must be ad- 
mitted to be matter of just reproach to those at whose disposal 
judicial offices are placed. If judgeships were elective, and the 
Bar — that is, the men best able to estimate the qualifications of a 
candidate — were the electors, he would, by their almost unanimous 
suffrages, have been raised to the Bench. But in truth, it was hit 
other admirable endowments which prevented justice being done to 
his professional merit. If he had entertained political principles 
less liberal and less honourable to himself than he did, be would 
probably never have seen men, far his inferiors in learning and 
talents, raised over his head to those honours which of right should 
have been his. I say probab/y ; for, from what I know of his dis- 
position, I entertain much doubt whether he would, at any period 
of his life, have accepted the office of Judge, and /whether tiie 
ministers might not have had the credit of desiring to raise to the 
Bench, without regard to politics, a man whose administration of 
justice would have been one of the greatest public benefits they 
could have conferred on the country, and yet have enjoyed what 
they consider as the solid advantage of appointing to the office as 
determined a Tory as they could find amongst their most favoured 
friends. He thought so modestly of himself, and was so devoid of 

^ Containing the King's acceptance of the Constitution, which had 
been presented to him by the Assembly a few days before. On the 
29th of September the sittings of the Constituent Assembly terminated. 

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1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 333 

droit, who hung their heads and were silent. The pro- 
positibn for an amnesty was prodigiously applauded hy 
the public tribunes; and the moment the reading was 
over, the people in them rushed to the door, tumbling 
over each other as if the house had been on fire, to tell 
the news all over Paris. At the Champ de Mars, on Sun- 
day, the ceremony was very fine, and the people pleased 
and good-humoured, but without those transports which 
they say were shown at the Federation. The illuminsr 
tions in the evening were very fine in the Champs Elys^s 
and the castle and garden of the Tuileries. All Paris 
was there, and the Royal family appeared in the evening, 
and were well received, though perhaps with less en- 
thusiasm than Lafayette. On Monday ''Richard*' was 
given at the Italiens to an immense house. The song, 
•* O Richard, O mon Roi I" was not interrupted till the 
excessive applause of the Aristocrats provoked it, and the 
piece was heard throughout. A biliet was thrown on the 
stage, which the audience desired to have read ; but as soon 
as it began, " Louis, mon Roi I " they stopped it, and 
a tumult arose. After some time a juge de paix came on 
the stage and commanded silence in the name of the law, 
which to my surprise was immediately complied with. 
He said the spectacle must not be interrupted by this 
paper. If the verses were fit to be published, they should 
have them in the Journal de Paris next day. The audience 
clapped, the piece went on, and the verses have not been 
published. Last night all the Royal family were at the 
Opera ; the Boulevard and the house as full as they could 
hold, and the most enthusiastic applause without any 

ambition, and ao contented with the quiet enjoyment of the society 
of the small but well-cboaen circle of his professional and literary 
friends, that I believe he would have thought the highest honours 
and the greatest emoluments of the profession too dearly purchased 
by the sacrifices they would have cost him, and the painful duties to 
which they would have subjected him. It was not, as you know, till 
very late in life that he was promoted to the rank of King's Counsel. 
It was at the instance of Lord EUenborough, whose private friend- 
ship he had long enjoyed, that that rank was conferred on him, 
and I know that it was with some hesitation and reluctance that 
he accepted it.'' 

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alloy. One verse, "R^gnez sur un peuple fiddle," wai 
encored, and amazingly clapped ; and the applause, as far 
as I could judge, was distributed to their Majesties very 
equally. They have been very popular ever since their 
enlargement, and the acceptation has fixed it for the 
present, though the people in the groups still express a 
distrust of the King, and some of the Queen. There is a 
story very current that the Queen has discouraged the 
Emperor from assisting the Princes, thinking that the 
King must be a cipher at all events, and that she is better 
under the present government than with the Princes as 

Another story is, that the King said lately to an officer 
of the national guard that he was afraid of being assassin- 
ated by his brothers. Perhaps these things are circulated 
to persuade the people that the King and Queen have an 
interest in and are attached to the constitution. It is of 
great importance that their situation should be made 
comfortable, and that the world should think it so ; and 
the leading men and the bulk of the people seem sensible 
of this, and disposed to contribute to it. Bailly and 
Lafayette were in the next box to the King last night, 
and several leading men in other parts of the house. 
Lafayette is to command at Metz, and BaUly' does not 
resign till November. A letter from Monsieur and M. 
d'Artois to the King, accompanied with another from the 
Cond6s, was published yesterday by Calonne*s printer, 
and is said to be authentic. It is, I think, Dl written and 
injudicious. It treats all innovation on the old system as 
illegal and void, and does not hold another assembly or 
any mode of forming a constitution, and it is full of un- 
popular expressions about nobility; and the declaration 
of the Emperor and King of Prussia is given at the end, 
which seems to bind them to nothing ; and the emigrants 
at Spa now say that everything is put off till the spring 
Last week the invasion was fixed for the beginning of 
October. I was in hopes that the amnesty would have 

^ Bailly had held the ntuation of mayor of Paris since the 14th 
of July, 1789. 

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1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 335 

brought back the greater part of the emigrants, but this 
letter makes it impossible for the Princes at least. Three 
deputies have been chosen * to-day for Paris, one a gold- 
smith, and all good men as I hear. Except Brissot, and 
Garran de Coulon, and perhaps Mulot, I have not heard 
of any violent man being chosen for Paris, and we hear 
good accounts of the elections in the country. Perhaps 
the best way of extinguishing Brissot is to choose him. 
It made an end of Wilkes. There is a story that Thouret, 
Chapelier, Beaumetz, and Talleyrand are to be in the 
King's council, without office or salary. I hope it is not 
true. It would be an evasion of the law which makes 
them incapable of office. It would never be believed that 
they received no emolument ; and besides ruining these 
men and hurting the government, it would throw a sus- 
picion on the whole work of the constitution, which is at 
present universally popular. The Republicans seem to 
be a very small party, and their leaders men of no talent, 
and very unpopular in the Assembly. I have never heard 
any of them make a tolerable speech. The man with 
whom I am most pleased is D'Andr6, and he is now clearly 
the leader of the Assembly. I have heard an excellent 
character of him in private life, and as a magistrate 
at Aix. He is going to set up as a grocer. I never saw 
a man do business better, or take his ground with more 
judgment. I have been sometimes at the '89,* but do 
not speak with sufficient ease to get on much there. The 
only man of any eminence that I have made a little ac- 
quaintance with is Chamfort, who is a man of parts, but 
too fond of talking and of systems. There is a new book 
of Volney's, called Les Ruines, ou Meditations sur les 
involutions des Empires, written chiefly before the re- 
volution, containing reveries of all sorts in a bad form, 
with some good things here and" there. I have read but 
little of it. Sutton" and Lens live in the house with us, 
and we are much with Windham, Mitford, * and Douglas. 

^ As members of the Legislative Assembly. 
* This was a club called the Club of 1789, established in May, 
1790. See Moniteur for 1790, No. 135. 

8 Lord Maraiers, * Lord Redesdale. 

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Everybody sends you compliments, and we hope to hear 
from you soon. Sutton has a note to-night from Lally, 
who has a letter from you to Trail, which we hope to get 
to-morrow morning. I must conclude, because it is very 
late ; and I must rise early to go to the Assembly, where 
we expect a debate about the colonies. 

Yours sincerely, 

G. Wilson. 

Letter LXXXIV. 


Dear Romilly, Pteii. Sept. 26. 1791. 

I had the pleasure of your letter by Mr. Lally a few 
days ago. I was in hopes that between Ascough and 
Wilson you would have had a regular and circumstantial 
detail of what is passing ; but, with the best dispositions, 
they have frequently delayed writing till the last moment, 
and have then been prevented by some unexpected occur- 
rence. I believe, however, they have both written at least 
once ; I am sure Wilson did last week. 

Things continue pretty much in the same state. The 
satisfaction with theKing*s unequivocal and decided mode 
of accepting the constitution is still manifest among all 
ranks of people. For the present suspicion seems to be 
asleep ; and I think it is not impossible, by a continuance 
of the same open and frank conduct, to prevent it from 
being waked. Some hot-headed people and some specu- 
lative republicans are, or affect to be, alarmed at the re- 
ception the Royal family meet with wherever they appear, 
as if there was the most distant probability of the people 
relapsing into their ancient idolatry of the Grcmd Ma- 
narque. Last night the King illuminated the Tuileries and 
the Champs Elys^es in return for the testimonies of affec- 
tion he has received from the people. He went in grand 
cavalcade with all the family, preceded by his servants, 
and followed by Lafayette and the etat-tnajor, to the bar- 
rier, to see the illuminations ; he was well received by an 
immense concourse of people wherever he passed. There 

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1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 337 

was no enthusiasm to alarm the anxious and timorous 
patriots ; hut there was a great deal of hearty good-hu- 
mour and satisfaction in everybody's countenance. Al- 
though the weather was not so fine as on the preceding 
Sunday, there was a much greater assemblage of people 
in the Tuileries and Champs £lys6es : perhaps that was 
occasioned by the illuminations being much more splendid. 
I never saw anything so magnificent. 

The National Assembly revoked on Saturday the decree 
of the 15th of May ^ in favour of the gens de couleur. I am 
sorry it was ever passed ; and am rather inclined to think 
that it was wise, under all the circumstances, to revoke 
it. It was certainly understood in the colonies, and with 
some foundation, to be contrary to the decree or declara- 
tion of the 12th of October. It was very likely to occasion 
a separation of the colonies from the mother country, as, 
at present, measures of vigour for its execution could not 
be pursued. That event, though in itself no great mis- 
fortune, would, however, have been considered in all the 
trading and manufacturing towns a great calamity, and 
have been imputed to the revolution. Besides, it is more 
consonant to the grands prindpes that the colonies 
should be permitted to decide on this matter themselves, 
fiarnave has throughout the whole business of the colonies 
behaved with great artifice and mawmsefoi ; he has also. 
met with severe mortifications in consequence of his mis- 
behaviour. He made a very great speech, I am told, on 
Friday. Douglas heard it, and was much pleased : so he 
is in general with the manner of doing business in the 
Assembly. Mitford is also a tolerable French Whig. I 
am sorry the decree of Saturday is declared constitu- 
tional ; it would have been better to have revoked the 
decree of the 15th of May, and to have declared every- 
thing relative to the colonies to be within the province of 
the ordinary legislature. The friends of the gens ds 
couleur in the Assembly are numerous ; but there is not 
among them a good head, unless it be the Due de la 

1 Making penoos of colour bom of free parents eligible to all colo- 
nial and parochial assemblies. 

VOL. I. Z 

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Rochefoucauld, who has certainly an excellent under- 
standing, hut wants energy of manner. Your friend 
Dupont has always a crotchet on which he is entM like 
a mule. I have not heard how there appeared to he a 
decided majority against the colonial committee, although 
on the appel nominal there was a majority of ahove one 
hundred the other way. 

I have just glanced over Talleyrand's report on national 
education. I don't like either his general principles or 
his plan. I hope the Assemhly won't enter far into the 
subject ; they have not time, and of course they wDl do 
ill what they attenfpt. It is adjourned to the next legisla- 
ture. It is very generally believed that the Queen is 
determined to abide by the constitution rather than run 
any more risks; and that she is satisfied, if the Count 
d'Artois were to succeed, the King would be a cipher, 
and the kingdom would be governed by the Princes. 
The declaration of the Emperor and the King of Prussia 
made but little sensation here ; it amounts to nothing, and 
can only be considered as a very civil refusal . The letter of 
the King's brothers makes none ; it is said to be Calonne's 
workmanship ; it is ill written, and worse conceived. 

It is clear that, in the fites nationales which they in- 
tend to institute, no religious ceremony whatever will be 
admitted. This maybe done on a sound principle, which 
can offend nobody. The f^e should be such as every 
French citizen can partake of without violence to his 
religious principles. 

Bailly has offered his resignation as Mayor of Paris, 
and, at the request of the municipal body, has delayed it only 
till November. It is said he is fatigued ; and he has lately 
been insulted by the people, and accused of forestalling 
corn, of which he is, most undoubtedly, perfectly innocent. 

A great number of Aristocrates have lately quitted the 
kingdom. The letter of the Princes and the declaration 
of Pilnitz have, perhaps, persuaded, them that a counter- 
revolution would be immediately attempted. They all 
appear so thoroughly mortified with the King's accepta- 
tion and subsequent conduct, that I have not the least 
doubt of his sincerity. 

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Sutton, Wilson, and Lens desire their compliments. 
Lens sets out to-morrow or Wednesday for London and 

Yours, &c. 

James Trail. 

Letter LXXXV.' 
TO . 

October, 1791. 

The impatience which in your last letter you said 
you felt to know what had passed at the assizes at Warwick 
must have heen already pretty well satisfied by the ac- 
counts which have appeared in the newspapers. If your 
curiosity was excited by the expectation that, in the 
course of the trials, some discovery would be made of the 
first instigators of the riots, you must have been much 
disappointed ; nothing of that kind appeared. The per- 
sons tried were all men in low situations of life, and no 
discovery of any importance came out on any of the trials. 
Twelve men were tried, and only four were convicted. 
One was acquitted because the meeting-house which he 
had burned had not been properly registered, and there- 
fore did not come within the Act of Parliament. Against 
another the counsel who managed the prosecution declined 
to call evidence on account of his youth ; and the other 
six were acquitted, although the evidence against them 
was so strong that no rational being could entertain the 
smallest doubt of their guilt. Two of these six. Rice and 
Whitehead, acted as the ringleaders of the rioters, and 
Rice had been twice tried at Worcester and twice ac- 
quitted, though his guilt was proved beyond all doubt. 
If these two men had been convicted, it was hoped that 
they might have made a discovery of their employers ; 
and for this reason it is supposed that the gentlemen, 
who have christened themselves the friends of Church 

1 The following letter is taken from a copy in the handwriting of 
Mr. Romilly. 

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and King, were particularly anxious for their acquittal. 
They were indeed anxious for the acquittal of all of them ; 
and a private suhscription was made for the purpose of 
affording the rioters all the legal assistance they could 
have. Two counsel and an attorney were employed for 
each of them, and three counsel appeared for the only 
prisoner who could afford to retain counsel for himself; 
for the friends of Church and King extended their gene- 
rosity indiscriminately to all who had risked their lives 
in so good a cause. The assistance, however, which their 
counsel could afford the prisoners was inconsiderahle, 
when compared with that which they derived from the 
absurdity of the leading counsel for the crown, the very 
extraordinary incapacity of the judge, and the most pro- 
fligate partiality in the jury. The counsel for the crown 
began, in opening, the first prosecution, by telling the 
jury that the prisoner was to be considered as an object 
of commiseration, and that he acted under a delusion and 
a species of madness, and he represented his case as that 
of a man who, though mistaken, was sincere in his opi- 
nions ; and all this of a fellow who was a notorious thief, 
and had been tried several times before at Warwick for 
robberies. An opening so injudicious might induce any 
one to think that government was not sincere in the pro- 
secution, and that they wished merely the show of a trial, 
which should end in an acquittal. That, however, cer- 
tainly was not the case, and any one who has been often 
a witness to the conduct of the leader of our circuit has a 
much easier way to account for it ; as it is a very usual 
thing for him to state a case as strongly as possible against 
his own client, and to sacrifice the cause which he is en- 
trusted with to what he thinks a stroke of wit or a display 
of eloquence ; and this was the case at Warwick, where 
his only object was to utter a nonsensical dissertation on 
difference of opinion, and to paint the devastation done 
at London in 1780, and at Birmingham a month ago, in 
a style that would very well have suited the tragedy of 
Tom Thumb. The judge, who has, and not undeservedly, 
the character of being the very worst upon the bench, 
who is totally ignorant of law, and who is incapable of 

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1791. M. DUMONT. ETC. 341 

Stating facts in a manner intelligible to the jury, summed 
up several of the plainest cases for conviction in the only 
way that could give the jury a pretence for acquittal. In 
one case, after stating the facts as strongly as he could to 
the jury, and telling them that they were proved by four 
witnesses, the veracity of whom was entirely unimpeached, 
who had no interest in the matter, and all of whom must 
be perjured, and must intend wrongfully to take away 
the life of their neighbour if he was innocent, he con- 
cluded with telling them that, whichever way they found, 
their verdict would be equally satisfactory to him. Two 
of the men who destroyed Dr. Priestley's house were con- 
victed ; and as the evidence against them was not at all 
stronger than what was given against several of those who 
were acquitted, it can be ascribed to nothing but to a 
speech which was made by Mr. Coke, another of the 
counsel for the crown, on opening the prosecution, in 
which he represented to the jury the scandal which their 
conduct in acquitting men accused of such offences, con- 
trary to the plainest evidence, would bring ou themselves 
and on the country. The jury, who, being most- of them 
men of property in Birmingham, conceived themselves 
to be gentlemen, and who thought they might give false 
judgments and commit perjury without any reproach to 
their reputation, but that to suffer themselves to be told 
of what they had done without resenting it would bring 
an indelible stain on their honour, immediately took fire 
and complained to the judge; and afterwards one of 
them told a friend of mine that he thought they were 
bound, as gentlemen, to insist on Mr. Coke's making 
them satisfaction, or fighting them one after another. 
Mr. Burke's favourite spirit of chivalry, you see, is not 
quite extinguished ; and when one finds so much of it 
still prevailing among the noblesse of Birmingham, one 
cannot be surprised that the doctrines of the National 
Assembly are with them so unpopular. The rage which 
prevails in Warwickshire against the Dissenters is not to 
be conceived by any one who has not been there. There is 
no story so incredible, no calumny so gross, as does not 
meet with implicit credit and the most speedy propaga- 

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tion among the friends of Church and King; and the 
complete refutation of one calumny, instead of begetting 
distrust of the truth of another, only procures it a more 
easy reception. The appetite for defamation grows 
stronger as it has missed the prey of which it thought 
itself secure. I heard one of these zealots declaring his 
utter detestation, not of Dissenters in general, hut of those 
of Birmingham, founded, as he said, on the whole of their 
conduct, which he declared to have been scandalous and 
infamous beyond all example. These expressions were 
so strong, and were uttered with so much vehemence, that 
I thought I had now at last found the opportunity, which 
I had so often wished for before in vain, of hearing some 
specific charges which had been the pretext for the per- 
secution ; and I ventured to ask the gentleman what were 
the facts to which he alluded ; but I am afraid my ques- 
tion, though certainly unintentionally, was expressed in 
such a way as betrayed more doubt than curiosity ; for he 
told me, with great impatience, that it was to no piurpose 
to talk with a person so prejudiced as I was. The suf- 
ferers by the riots, though several of them were in War- 
wick, thought it decent not to appear in court, and indeed 
they had no more business there than any other spectator; 
but I heard it observed by a warm Churchman that not 
one of the Dissenters had dared to show his face in court 
during the trials. The prosecutions have all been con- 
ducted entirely by the Solicitor of the Treasury ; and yet 
I have heard many persons say that the Dissenters were 
so malignant that they tried to get all the rioters hanged, 
and that they would not be satisfied unless they could hang 
half the town of Birmingham. The Dissenters had es- 
tablished a Sunday-school at Warwick, and through mere 
charity had sent thither some children of poor persons 
who were of the Church of England. This diabolical con- 
duct has produced several meetings of the Churchmen of 
Warwick ; and, with a Rev. Mr. Daniel in the chair, they 
have voted this conduct to be a dangerous attack upon the 
rights of the Church, and have appointed a committee to 
watch over and protect the Church from invasion. In a 
word, the spirit that prevails against Dissenters now in 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 343 

Warwickshire, and, I believe, in some of the adjoining 
counties, is not unlike that which raged against the 
Catholics in the time of the famous Popish plot. A gen- 
tleman of good education, and who, on all other subjects, 
is certainly a sensible man, told me, as a story .which he 
had heard from good authority, and to which he gave 
implicit credit, that, on the day after the revolutionary 
dinner, a hamper was brought to the hotel, and left there 
without direction ; that, on being opened, it was found 
to be full of daggers, and that it has never since been sent 
for, and no one knows by whom it was brought. 

At the time of the riots a common cry among the mob 
was, "No philosophers — Church and King for ever I" and 
some persons painted up on their houses, " No philoso- 
phers I" 

Two of the men who were convicted have been par- 
doned ; one of them very soon after the trial, and without 
any application being made for him by the people of 
Birmingham. His pardon was a matter of great surprise 
to the Birmingham people, as he was a man of very bad 
character. It is said he has a brother at Windsor, who is 
in a mean way of life, but witli whom the King has some- 
times entered into conversation in his walks. 

Dr. Parr is almost as unpopular at Birmingham as Dr. 
Priestley. The reason alleged for his unpopularity is, that, 
in a sermon which he lately preached in the town, he men- 
tioned Dr. Priestley by name, spoke in praise of him, and re- 
commended some of his sermons. Perhaps a more probable 
cause of his loss of popularity is, that he has had private 
quarrels with the heads of the Church-and-King faction. 
But, whatever be the cause of it, the fact is certain that 
he has the honour to be involved in the persecution of 
the Dissenters ; and, himself an intolerant high church- 
man, he wonders to find himself an object of enmity to an 
intolerant high-church mob. 

nie fugit, per que f aerat loca seepe secutus : 
Heu famulos fugit ipse Suos! clamare libebat, 
Actffion ego sum ! dominum cognoscite vestrum. 

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Letter LXXXVI. 


Paris, 1791. 

Nous avons revu avec int^ret M. Smith, puisqu'il 
nous a donn6 de vos nouvelles avec detail, mais nous 
sommes extrSmement faches d'avoir aussi peu profit^ de 
son s6jour. II parott partir avec une assez triste opinion 
de notre Assembl^e Legislative ; ^ il est sur qu'elle a bien 
perdu son temps depuis qu'elle est assembl^e, et que du 
Isruit, du tumulte, des d^nonciations, puis du tumulte et 
du bruit, sont les seuls r^sultats de ses stances. Les 
tetes exalt^es, jusqu'a pr6sent, y ont eu une grande in- 
fluence. Le d^sir general de la nation actuellement est 
pourtant celui de la paix et du repos. Toutes les classes 
de la societe sentent que les temps de revolution ne sont 
favorables ni aux aifaires ni aux plaisirs; et depuis 
ceux qui ont besoin de gagner leur vie, jusqu'd ceux qui 
ne veulent la passer qu'd jouir, tons souhaitent 6galement 
Taifermissement de Tordre. Mais 11 y a quelques obstacles 
qui s'opposent a Taccomplissement de ce voeu general, et 

Letteb LXXXVI. 

Paris, 1791. 
We had much pleasure in seeing Mr. Smith again, for he gave 
us many particulars about you; but we are very sorry to have 
enjoyed so little of his society during his stay here. He appears to 
leave us with but a poor opinion of our Legislative Assembly ; ^ and, 
certainly, from the first day of their meeting, they have only been 
wasting their time. Noise, and tumult, and recrimination, and then 
tumult and noise again, are the only results of their sittings. 
Hitherto the enthusiasts have had great influence among tfaeoo, 
although the general wish of the nation now is for peace and quiet. 
All classes of society feel that times of revolution are not favourable 
either to business or pleasure ; and from those who have their liveli- 
hood to gain to those who live (^ly to enjoy themselves, all axe 
equally desirous for the establishment of order ; but however general 

^ It had commenced its sittings on the Ist of October, 1791. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 345 

nous serons encore assez longtemps obliges de les com- 
battxe. Les Emigrations sont dans ce moment plus nom- 
breuses que jamais ; on dit mSme qu'elles gagnent d'autres 
classes que celle de Tancienne noblesse. II est tr^-difficile 
de deviner les motifs qui peuvent engager at cette triste 
resolution, car les puissances Etrangdres paroissent assez 
peu disposes k venir nous attaquer, et nous nous bergons 
beaucoup de Tid^e que nous n'avons rien d en craindre. 
On commence d s effirayer de cette emigration, et Ton 
pense qu'il seroit prudent de prendre quelque mesure 
pour TarrSter. Cette idee fait des progr^s dans TAssembl^e ; 
je crois pourtant que ce seroit une sottise, et que les gens 
qu'on retiendroit par force seront toiijours de dangereux 
et mauvais enfans pour leur patrie. 

Mon mari a re9U de votre part. Monsieur, un livre 
interessanc, et qui a ete lu ici avec avidity par quelques 
personnes, II est flatteur pour nous de voir notre con- 
stitution defend ue par des etrangers. Nous ne pouvons 
cependant nous dissimuler qu'elle s*est assez ressentie de 
notre caractdre Fran9ois, facilement exalte et pr^somp- 
tueux. Nous avons voulu n'imiter personne, et nous 
n'avons point profit^ des le9ons que nous oifroieut I'expfe- 
rience des autres nations. Si nous nous d^terminons au 

the wish, there are several obstacles to its accomplishment, against 
which we shall still have to struggle for a long time. Emigration 
is at this moment more frequent than ever ; and it is even said that 
it is spreading to other classes besides that of the old nobleue. It is 
very difficult to conceive the motives for so sad a determination ; for 
foreign powers seem little disposed to attack us, and we even buoy 
ourselves up with the belief that we have nothing to fear from them. 
People are beginning to be alarmed at this emigration, and to think 
that it would be prudent to take some steps to put a stop to it. 
This notion gains ground in the Assembly ; but I think that it would 
be an act of folly, for those who are retained in a country by force 
will always be dangerous and bad citizens. 

My husband has received an interesting book from you, which 
has been read here by some with avidity. It is flattering to us to 
see our constitution defended by foreigners ; but we cannot, at the 
same time, conceal from ourselves that it has a tinge of the French \ 
character, which so easily gives way to extravagance and presumption. 
We were determined not to imitate ; we have, therefore, not profited 
by the lessons which the history of other nations supplied us with. 

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moins k nous ]ais8er eclairer par notre propre experience, 
et k reconnottre sans partialite lea defauts de notre gou- 
vemement qui nous blesseront, ce sera dejd beaucoup, et 
nous serous alors assez avances. 

Nous avons une petite GWe qui a un an accompli, qui 
commence d marcher et d begayer quelques mots : dans 
quelque temps nous lui verrons former des idees. Nous 
tdcherons d'etre raisonnables, de suivre les conseils de 
notre Emile, et de ne pas gdter cette plante confine d nos 

Nous avons du regret de n'avoir ni livres nouveaux ni 
brochures interessantes d remettre d M. Smith. Nous 
n*avons d vous envoyer que les assurances bien sinc^resde 
notre inviolable attachement. 

Lbttee LXXXVII. 


Madam Lincoln's Inn, Dec. 6, 1791 • 

Indeed your letters do not need to be scarce to make 
them valuable. As for mine, I wonder you have the 
patience to read them. I write from a country which fur- 
nishes no event worth communicating to you. About 
myself I have nothing to write ; my life passes without 
any incidents in it, and one day of it exactly resembles 
the former. I have been passing the whole of the last 
summer in town, seeing nobody but my brother's family, 
(for, indeed, at that season, there is nobody here to see,) 
and scarcely stirring out of my room but to go to his 

If we resolve at least to submit to be guided by our own experience, 
and impartially acknowledge those faults of our own government 
which may be injurious to us, it will be a great point gained : we 
shall then have made some progress. 

Our little girl, who is just a year old, begins to walk and to lisp 
a few words ; in a littie time we shall see her forming ideas. We 
shall endeavour to act with sense, to follow the advice of our Emile, 
and not to spoil this tender plant entrusted to our care. 

We are sorry to have no new books or interesting pamphlets to 
send you by Mr. Smith. We can only send you the sincerest 
expression of our unalterable attachment. 

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1791. M. DUMONT, ETC. 34'y 

house, or to take exercise. You may judge that such a 
life does not afford any adventures to relate. The most 
important transaction that has taken place in it for a long 
time, and one which, for a very powerful reason, I ought 
to communicate to you, is, that I have changed my 
chambers, and that your future letters are not to be ad- 
dressed to Gray's Inn, but to Lincoln* s Inn^ No. 2, Netp 
Square. I have changed much for the better as a situation 
for business, but much for the worse as far as my own 
pleasure is concerned. Instead of having a very pleasant 
garden under my windows, I have nothing but houses 
before me, and I can't look any way without seeing bar- 
risters or attorneys. This is another sacrifice which I 
have made to a profession which nothing but inevitable 
necessity forces me to submit to, which I every day feel 
more and more that I am unfit for, and which I dislike 
the more the more I meet with success in it. 

We do not think at all more highly of the present Na- 
tional Assembly here than you seem to do at Paris. Nothing 
could be more mischievous than the decree by which the 
last Assembly disqualified themselves. If any one wished 
to bring popular elections into discredit, he could not do 
it more effectually than by letting the people elect their 
representatives, but forbidding them to elect those in whom 
they had most confidence, and of whose talents and vir- 
tues they had had experience. It is certain that hitherto 
very little ability has been shown in the Assembly, either 
collectively or by any of its members ; but I have no doubt 
that they will improve, and that much good may be ex- 
pected from them. I remember having heard Mr. Fox say 
that a parliament was so good a thing, however ill it might 
be constituted, that, if it were to consist of the first five hun- 
dred men who should be met passing in a certain street at a 
certain hour, it would be better than to have none. I believe 
it better to be governed by a very bad National Assembly 
than by a very good king. I cannot but persuade myself that 
there are men of great talents in the Assembly who have 
not yet spoken. It was natural to suppose that the most 
superficial men would be the most in haste to speak. Men 
who are conscious of their own superiority are not so im- 

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patient to discover it ; they wait for some occasion worthy 
of them, and willingly forego a little reputation, which 
they are sure of reaping at some time or other in the 
greatest ahundance. 

I have heen exceedingly shocked at the insurrection at 
St. Domingo. It was natural to expect that it would he 
imputed to those who have exerted themselves in Europe 
on hehalf of the negroes, because, if a bad cause be not 
defended by falsehood and calumny, it must remain with- 
out defence. The planters have, ever since it was first 
proposed to abolish the slave-trade, that is, for above five 
years, predicted insurrections in the islands. Like the 
prophecies of Henry ^ IV.'s death, it was impossible that 
they should not at last be right. It is observable, how- 
ever, that there has been no insurrection in any British 
island, in which alone it has ever been proposed to abolish 
the slave-trade ; and that, as there never has been any long 
period, since the present barbarous system was first esta- 
blished, without insurrections in some of the islands, there 
is no more reason to ascribe the insurrection at St. Do- 
mingo to the generous exertions of the friends of the 
negroes, than to the taking of Ismael, or to any other 
event that has happened in Europe. The true cause of 
this, as well as of all the former insurrections, is the cruelty 
of the planters ; and one cannot but feel the warmest in- 
dignation when one hears men imputing that mischief, 
which is caused by their own crimes, to the virtues of 
those who resist them. 

I remain, &c. 

Saml. Romilly. 

1 Of France. 

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May. 1792. M. DUMONT, ETa 349 

1792—1794. ' > 



Madam, lanooln's Inn, May 15, 1792. 

I could willingly persuade myself that I am ill, 

merely that I might take the remedy which Mr. G 

recommends, and make a visit this summer to Paris. By 
much the strongest temptation I could have to adopt his 
prescription would be, to have the pleasure of seeing you 
both, and your excellent family. Indeed, I see little else 
to tempt me at Paris ; and I have not the smallest wish 
to be present at the debates of your Assembly; to read 
them is more than sufficient. My opinion, however, is 
not in the least altered with respect to your revolution. 
Even the conduct of the present Assembly has not been 
able to shake my conviction that it is the most glorious 
event, and the happiest for mankind, that has ever taken 
place since human aflTairs have been recorded ; and though 
I lament sincerely the miseries which have happened, 
and which still are to happen, I console myself with 
thinking that the evils of the revolution are transitory, 
and all the good of it is permanent. 
You have heard, I suppose, what has passed here on 

the subject of the slave-trade since Mr. G wrote; 

that the House of Commons came to a resolution that the 
trade should be abolished on the 1st of January, 1796, 
and carried that resolution up to the House of Lords ; 
and that the Lords have determined to examine witnesses 
upon the subject, which must take up so much time that 
there is little prospect of any Bill passing in the present 
session. This, however, will be no great misfortune; 
and, strange as it may appear, will probably accelerate the 
abolition. It is very likely that the House of Commons 
will, in the next session, pass a Bill for an immediate 
abolition ; and, though the Lords may at first reject it, 
they will hardly venture to do so a second time, and they 

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will certainly have a second Bill sent to them. However 
sincere the Lords are in their zeal for slavery, they will 
hardly carry their sincerity so far as to endanger their 
own authority ; and the cause of the negro slaves is at 
present taken up with as much warmth in almost every 
part of the kingdom as could be found in any matter in 
which the people were personally and immediately in- 
terested. Innumerable petitions for the abolition have 
been presented to parliament, and (what proves men*s 
zeal more strongly than petitions) great numbers have 
entirely discontinued the use of sugar. All persons, and 
even the West India planters and merchants, seem to 
i^ree that it is impossible the trade should last many 
years longer. 

"We are likely too to get rid of another evil, the mis- 
chievous effects of which are felt every day among oiu*- 
selves— that of lotteries. There has been a debate on the 
subject in the House of Commons, and it seems under- 
stood that, after the present year, there are to be no more 
lotteries. In these two instances the Parliament has fol- 
lowed the opinion of the public, though it must be owned 
that it has been the speeches of members of the Parliament 
which has greatly contributed to form the public opinion. 
I remain, &c. 

Saml. Rohilly. 

Lettbr LXXXIX. 

Dear Dumont, Lincoln's Inn, Sept 10, 1792. 

I hoped by this time to have been at Bowood, but 
several things have happened unexpectedly to prevent 
me ; one of the principal has been the arrival here of the 

eldest of the young D s. His whole family, you know, 

are accused of being aristocrats, though their only ortV- 
tocratism consists in wishing to defend a constitution 
which all France has sworn to maintain. He was him- 
self particularly obnoxious, for he was in the castle on 
the 10th of August, commanding a battalion of the Na- 
tional Guard. He has accordingly been denounced by 
the Jacobins, and he got away with great difficulty, and 

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1/92. M. DUMONT, ETC 35 j 

without any passport He has come, as might he sup- 
posed, without letters, and has scarce any acquaintance 
here. I have been endeavouring to be as useful to him 
as I could. You know how much I am, and how much 
reason I have to be, attached to his family. I had not 
seen much of him till now ; but I find him very sensible, 
well informed, and amiable. 

I observe that, in your letter, you say nothing about 
France, and I wish I could do so too, and forget the 
affairs of that wretched country altogether ; but that is so 
impossible, that I can scarcely think of anything else. 
How could we ever be so deceived in the character of the 
French nation as to think them capable of liberty? 
wretches who, after all their professions and boasts about 
liberty, and patriotism, and courage, and dying, and after 
taking oath after oath, at the very moment when their 
country is invaded and an enemy is marching through it 
unresisted, employ whole days in murdering women, and 
priests, and prisoners I^ Others, who can deliberately 
load whole waggons full of victims, and bring them like 
beasts to be butchered in the metropolis ; and then (who 
are worse even than these) the cold instigators of these 
murders, who, while blood is streaming round them on 
every side, permit this carnage to go on, and reason about 
it, and defend it, nay, even applaud it, and talk about the 
example they are setting to all nations. One might as 
well think of establishing a republic of tigers in some 
forest of Africa as of maintaining a free government 
among such monsters. 

My plan, at present, if nothing should happen to de- 
range it, is to be with you in the middle of the next week, 
and to go from Bowood to Warwick to the sessions, where 
I must be at the beginning of October. I have seen the 
Duke de Liancourt twice, and am to dine with him to-day 
at Bentham's : I like him extremely. 

Yours, &c. 


^ The massacres at Paris took place on the 2nd^ 3rd, and 4th of 

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Letter XC. 


Bowood. Sept. 11, 1792. 

Je vous re ponds tout de suite, mon cher Romilly, 
pour vous prier d'ecarter autant qu'il vous sera possible 
tous les obstacles, et de venir a Bowood au temps marqufe, 
ou plutdt. 

Vous deviez etre k diner chez Bentham quand on a 
appris k M. de Liancourt la mort horrible de M. de la 
Rochefoucauld. Nons avons cherche k croire que c'^toit 
le Cai'dinal, et non pas ]e Due ; quoique ces b^tes f^roces 
n'aient pas plus de droit k tuer.Pun que Tautre : cepen- 
dant les vertus, les services, le patriotisme du dernier, 
aggraveroient bien Thorreur de ce massacre. 

Je me promene la moiti^ du jour dans une agitation ex- 
treme, et par Timpossibilite de rester en place, en pen- 
sant a tous les Svenemens malheureux qui d^coulent d'une 
source d'oii nous nous sommes flatt6s de voir sortir le 
bonheur du genre humain. Brulons tous les livres, ces- 
sons de penser et de rSver au meilleur systeme de legis- 
lation, puisque les liommes font un abus infernal de 
toutes les verit6s et de tous les principes. Qui croiroit 

Letter XC. 

Bowood, Sept. II, 1792. 
I answer your letter at once, my dear Romilly, to beg that 
you will do what you possibly can to remove all impediments, and 
come to Bowood at the appointed time, or sooner. 

You must have been dining at Bentham's when M. de Liancourt 
received the news of the horrible death of M. de la Rochefoucauld. 
We tried to persuade ourselves that it was the Cardinal, and not the 
Duke; for, although those wild beasts had no more right to kill the 
one than the other, yet the virtues, the services, the* patriotism of the 
latter would add much to the horror of this butchery. I walk about 
half the day in a state of the greatest agitation, from the impossibility 
of remaining still, with my thoughts fixed upon all the sad events 
which are flowing from a source whence we had flattered ourselves 
human happiness was to arise. Let us bum all our books, let us 
cease to thmk and dream of the best system of legislation, since men 
make so diabolical a use of every truth and every principle. 

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1792. M. DUMONT.ETC. 353 

qu'avec de si belles roaximes on pQt se livrer k de tels 
exc^s, et que la constitution, la plus extravagante en fait 
de liberty, parottroit k ces sauvages le code de la tyrannic ? 
Le pass6 est afPreux, mais ce qu*il y a de plus affireux en- 
core, c'est qu'on ne pent rien attendre, rien esplrer, pour 
I'avenir. Nous ne verrons que d^chiremens et massacres. 
A moins que la France ne se divise en un grand nombre 
d'6tats ind6pendans, il est impossible de se former une 
id6e du rdtablissement de Tordre. 

Je cherche pourtant k balancer ces id6es par d'autres : 
je sens bien que ]e peuple est jet6 dans cet 6tat de fidvre 
par I'approche des ennsmis ; je me rappelle Tetat de colore 
et de douleur fr^n^tique oil j'ai ^t6 moi-meme quand j'ai 
vu trois armees environner Geneve pour nous soumettre k 
un gouvernement odieux: Je comprends que, dans une 
grande ville comme Paris, oCl tant de passions fermentent, 
elles ont dii s'exalter jusqu'^ la fureur centre les aristo- 
crates, qui ont attir6 ces fl^aux d'Autriche et de Prusse 
sur leur patrie ; et comme la declaration sanguinaire de 
I'Attila Prussien a menac6 detoutmettre k feu et sL sang, 

Who would believe that with such noble maxims it would he 
possible for men to give themselves over to such excesses, and that a 
constitution, the most extravagant in point of freedom, should appear 
to these savages the code of tyranny 9 The past is hideous ; but what 
is still more frightful is, that there is nothing to expect, nothing to 
hope, from the future. We shall see nothing but destruction and 
massacre. Unless France should separate into a great number of 
independent states, it is impossible to form an idea in what way 
order is to be re-established. 

I endeavour, however, to find some counterpoise for these thoughts. 
I know that it is the approach of a hostile army which has thrown 
the people into this fever : I have not forgotten the rage and frantic 
grief wnich I myself endured when I saw Geneva surrounded by 
three armies, united to enforce our submission to a government we 
detested. I can conceive that, in a great city like Paris, where so 
many passions are in constant ferment, they must have risen to a 
pitch of madness against the aristocrats, who have drawn down upon 
their country the scourges of Austria and Prussia; and that, when 
the people found that the sanguinary manifesto of the Prussian 
Attim^ threatened to destroy all with fire and sword, that those who 

^ The manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick, who was afterwards 
mortally wounded at the battle of Jena in 1806. 

VOL.1. 2Ji 

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de faire p^rir dans les flammes ceux qui auroient ^chapp^ 
an fer, ils se seront dit k eux-mSmes qu'avant de p^rir il 
falloit 6ter aux conspirateurs la joie du triomphe. Dans 
le dernier acc^s ils ont ^gorg6 les prisonniers, parce qu'il 
s'est r^pandu un bruit qu'i Tapproche du Due de Bruns- 
wick les prisons seroient ouvertes, et que tons les prison- 
niers acheteroient leur grace en servant leur Roi, et en 
se tournant centre les patriotes. 

Je re9ois unelettre de Paris de Thomme le plus douxet 
le plus humain que je connoisse, et il paroit croire que 
tout ce qui est arriv§ est n^cessaire, que c'est le denoue- 
ment d'une conspiration, et que, sanscela, Paris 6toit cer- 
taineroent livr6 aux' troupes 6trang^res. C'est M . Cabanis^ 
qui m*6crit ainsi. II n'a nul int^rSt dans la revolution ; il 
est dgar6 par Tesprit de parti : mais quand Tesprit de parti 
6gare les hommes bons et 6clair6s, il faut bien qu'il ai 
quelque couleur sp^cieuse. On n'a aucun doute des tra- 
hisons de la Cour. Beaucoup de Feuillants qui croyoient 
Bervir la constitution sent revenus k TAssembl^e, et sont 
les plus indignfis contre le Roi, parcequ'ils ont eteles 

should escape the one might perish by the other, so they may have 
said to themselves, " Before we die, at least let us snatch from the 
conspirators the joy of their triumph/* In their last paroxysm they 
murdered the prisoners, because a report had been spread that, at 
the approach of the Duke of BrunswicK, the prisons would be thrown 
open, and that the prisoners would purchase their pardon by serving 
their king, and turning against the patriots. 

I have just received a letter from Paris, written by the mildest, 
the most humane man I am acquainted with, and he seems to think 
that all that has taken place was necessary; that it was the sabvei^ 
sion of a conspiracy, and that without it Paris would undoubtedly 
have been given up to foreign troops. It is M. Cabanis^ who writes 
to me thus. He tias no interest m the success of the revolution ; 
he is misled by party-spirit ; but when party-spirit misleads good 
and enlightened men, it must surely have assumed some specious 
form. No doubt is entertained of the treachery of the Court 
Many Feuillants, who hoped to do service to the constitution, have 
returned to the Assembly, and are the more indignant against the 

^ The author of Rapports du Physique et du Moral de fHomme^ 
and several other works. He was Mirabeau's physician in hia last 
illness and published an account of that illness. 

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1792. M.DUMONT, ETC. 355 

dupes d'un parti qui s'^toit servi, pour les tromper, de 
leur bonne foi mime. Voili comme on parle. Mille 
choses de ma part k nos amis communs. 

Adieu I tout i vous, &c. 

Et. D. 

Letter XCI. 

Dear Dumont, Sept. 16, 1792. 

I am exceedingly obliged to Lord Lansdowne for his 

invitation of my friend D . I have mentioned it to 

him, and he begs you would return Lord Lansdowne a 
great many thanks for his goodness. He seems, however, 
afraid of going so far from London, and of receiving news 
from his relations at this alarming time twenty-four hours 
later than he would if he stayed here. But still, if I can 
persuade him to go, I shall ; for solitude in his situation, 
with a thousand ideal dangers continually present to his 
mind, is terrible. 

You know undoubtedly that it is the Duke de la Roche- 
foucauld who has been murdered. His own tenants, it is 
said, were among his assassins. The Cardinal had been 
murdered before at the Carmes ; and M. Chabot Rohan, 
the brother of Mad«. de la Rochefoucauld, and the grand- 
son of Mad«. d' Anville, was among those who were killed 
at the Abbaye. He was a very young man : perhaps you 
do not recoUect him, but we dined with him at the Duke 
de la R.'s, in '88. There seems to be no doubt that all 
these assassinations were planned and directed by the 
persons who have now the power in their hands. Manuel 
sent an order to the Abbaye to release M. de Jaucourt on 
the morning of the massacre, but before there was any 
talk among the mob of attacking any of the prisons. 

King, inasmuch as they have been flie dupes of a party who have 
made their very honesty an instrament in deceiving them. This is 
what is said. 

A thousand kind messages to our common friends. Adieu. 

Yours, &c. 
Et. D. 

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I don't think the ohservations you make afiEbrd the small- 
est extenuation of the guilt of the murderers. Observe that, 
at the time of these massacres, though the Duke of Bruns- 
wick was marching towards Paris, yet all the Parisians, 
with their stupid confidence, were very sure he could 
never reach the capital; and that the fury of these 
wretches has been directed, not against aristocrats, who 
would triumph at the Duke of Brunswick's victories, but 
against the persons who have, during the revolution, 
always acted the most conspicuous part on the side of the 
people, and who would be proscribed, and their estates 
confiscated, if the revolution should be overturned. It is 
impossible to walk a hundred yards in any public street 
here in the middle of the day without meeting two or 
three French priests. Who would have conceived that, 
at the close of the eighteenth century, we should see, in 
the most civilized country in Europe, all the horrors of 
political proscriptions and religious persecution united ? 

I hope to be with you by the middle of next week. 

Yours sincerely, 


Letter XCII. 


Bowood, Sept. 16, 1792. 

T^chez d'amener M. D ; nous avons les lettresle 

matin a 9 heures, il n'y a que douze heures de diflGSrence 
pour la plupart. 

Le meurtre du Due de la Rochefoucauld n'est que trop 
vrai. Garat en parle avec un sang-froid atroce : " M. de 
la Rochefoucauld, qui se laissoit toujours appeler Due, a 
&i6 tue." II y a dix k douze hommes, plus noirs que 

Letter XCIL 

Bowood, Sept 16, 1792. 

Try to bring M. D with you. We get our lettexs at 

nine in the morning, generally, not more than twelve hours later 
than in London. 

The murder of the Duke de la Rochefoucauld is hut too true. 
Garat speaks of it with a cold-blooded indiflference, which is atrocious. 
" M. de la Rochefoucauld," he says, " who always permitted himself 
to be styled Duke, has been killed." There are some ten or twelve 

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1792. M. DUMONT, ETC. 35*^ 

to US les assassins de la terre, qui seront la cause que 
TEurope entidre devient insensible au sort des Frangois, 
et les verra passer avec plaisir sous le joug. 

Je ne sais si Thistoire de Manuel est vraie. Je sais seule- 
ment que I'AssembMe Nationale est atrocement coupable 
de tous les meurtres qui se feront encore, en n'ayant pas 
imm^diatement aboli le d6cret sur les passeports. Fermer 
les portes d*un empire, ou le peuple furieux massacre 
sur un soup9on tous ceux qui ne pensent pas comme lui, 
c'est Itre responsable de tous les assassinats qui se com- 

Je ne veux pas ext^nuer des horreurs qui font chanceler 
tous mes principes, mais je cherche a voir ce qui est ; 
c'est que, si les peuples sont f^roces, les despotes ne le 
sont pas moins. Comptez les personnes qui ont 6t6 en 
Pologne les victimes d'une seule femme.\ Pensez que cette 
seule femme, sans provocation, sans cause quelconque, 
pent s'attribuer a elle seule la mort de deux millions 
d'liommes. Pensez k Louis XIV., et vous conviendrez 
peut-Stre qu'on peut d6sirer encore le succ^s des armes 
Frangoises, la destruction des Prussiens et des Autrichiens, 
sans offenser Thumanit^. Si les Fran9ois sont battus, je 

men, blacker thim all the assassins of the earth, who will be the 
cause that all Europe will become careless as to the fate of the 
French people, and will look on with satisfaction while they pass 
under the yoke. 

I do not know whether the story of Manuel is true. I only know 
this, that the National Assembly is atrociously guilty of all the 
murders which may yet be committed, in not haying immediately 
repealed the decree on passports. To shut the gates of a kingdom, 
in which a frantic people butcher on bare suspicion all those who do 
not think as they do, is to be responsible for all the murders that are 

I do not attempt to palliate horrors which shake all my principles, 
but I endeavour to see things as they are; and I know that, if the 
people are ferocious, despots are no less so. Reckon the number of 
persons who, in Poland, have been the victims of a single woman. ^ 
Only reflect that this one woman, without provocation, without any 
cause whatever, may lay claim to the deaths of two millions of 
human beings. Think of Louis XIV., and you will perhaps admit 
that one may still wish for the success of the French arms, and for 

^ Catherine II. of Russia. 

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mer^signerai i r6v6nement plus aisementquejen'aurois 
fait sans les horreurs commises. Mais je ne puis m'emp6- 
cher de fr^mir centre cette ligue, qui nesauroitetre justi- 
fi^e dans son principe, puisque les crimes les plus noirs du 
peuple Fran9oi8 sont post6rieurs k cette ligue, et princi- 
palement occasionn^s par elle. 

Nous vous attendons avec impatience.- Adieu. 

Et. D. 

Letter XCIII. 


Dear Mr. Romilly , Bowood Park, Oct. 8. 1792. 

I only wish you to like Bowood half as well as Bowood 
likes you. 

As to the Warwickshire country gentleman, I am only 
afraid that he is the same with those of every other county 
in England. I thank God, the King has nobody about 
him cunning and wicked enough to advise him to meet 
the desire of reform, and compose a parliament of quali- 
fied men. I mean in the solid legal sense, for I verily 
believe a more corrupt, ignorant, and tyrannical assembly 
would not be to be found upon the face of the earth, espe- 
cially with a little scattering of a certain profession, which 
I will not presume to name, but which the King has found 
too useful to consent to any reform which went to exclude 

I pity the French very sincerely, particularly the clergy ; 
but, after all, those who have any elevation of mind cannot 
be considered in such a desperate situation. I have always 
doubted whether an ambitious man, whose object is fame. 

the destruction of the Prussians and Austrians, without offence to 
humanity. If the French should be beaten, I shall make up my 
mind to the event more easily than I 8hoi;dd have done if these 
horrible scenes had never been acted. But I cannot help shudder- 
ing at this league, the principle of which it is impossible to justify, 
inasmuch as the blackest of the crimes of the FVench people were 
subsequent to it, and for the most part occasioned by it 

We expect you impatiently. Adieu. Ex. D. 

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1792. M. DUMONT, ETC. 359 

gained most by being persecuted or favoured through life. 
So far as kings are concerned, I am sure they gain most 
by being persecuted ; and people resemble kings so much 
that I believe it makes no great difference, except that the 
people are sure to open their eyes sooner or later, and 
where they have been guilty of injustice to repay with 
ample interest either the dead or the living. The clergy 
have no families ; the harshness under which they suffer 
gives a dignity to their deportment, if they know how to 
assume it, and certainly no small degree of interest. I am 
sure there is^'not a priest of them all who will be half so 
miserable as the Duke of Brunswick, if he continues to 
have the worst of the campaign ; but the clock strikes six, 
and I am not dressed, and you know the government under 
which I live, so that I hope you will excuse my bidding 
you adieu so very abruptly. 

Ever yours, 


Letter XCIV. 


Passy, 9 Decembre, 1792. 

II y a bien longtemps. Monsieur, que nous sommes 
priv^s de vos lettres ; c'est bien notre faute; mais j'espere 
que vous n'aurez pas un seul instant accuse notre amiti6, 
et plutSt les circonstances qui ont ^t6 si extraordinaires 
qu'elles laissoient peu de presence d'esprit. 

Nous sommes bien surs que vous avez suivi, avec un 
int^rSt souvent mel6 d'horreur, tons les ^v6nemens qui se 
sont accumules dans cette memorable 6poque. Nous 

Letter XCIV. 

Passy, December 9, 1792. 
We have been for a long time, Sir, without letters from you ; 
the fault is certainly our own, but I trust that you will not for one 
moment have attributed our silence to want of ^iendship, but rather 
to circumstances which have been so extraordinary as to leave but 
little time for thought. 

We feel sure that you have followed up, with interest often mixed 
with horror, all the events which have crowded one upon another 

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Bommes toujours dans un chaos effrayant, et il ne reste pas 
le plus 16ger rayon d'espoir de voir bientot renaitre un ordre 
de choses calme et paisible : tous les 616mens revolution- 
naires sont si bien rdunis, et r^pandus avec tant de profu- 
sion dans toute P^tendue de la Ripublique ; nous sommes si 
savans et si habiles en conjuration, qu*il est pen probable que 
de semblables talens ne cherchent pas k faire naitre et du- 
rer toutes les circonstances qui leur seront favorables pour 
briller. Nous sommes done destines aux agitations de 
tout genre pour un temps illimitfi, et nous regrettODS 
d'avoir une disposition d'esprit qui est entidrement con- 
traire k cette maniSre d'Stre. Nous touchons dans ce 
moment ^une catastrophe^ horrible, qui laissera sur le nom 
Fran9ois une tacho ind61^bile, et qtd aura des suites plus 
funeates qu'on ne pent le pr^voir. On apporte dansce 
proems une partialit6, une injustice, qui ajoute encore k 
ratrocit6 du forfait,et qui produit une indignation sourde, 
mais que la peur emplche de laisser percer ; car il y a 
parmi les soi-disant honnStes gens de la Convention une 
l&chet6, qui ^gale la f6rocit6 barbare de Tautre parti. Ces 
circonstances affectent profond^ment, quelque effort qu'on 
fasse pour s'en distraire ou s'en d^sinteresser. 

during this memorable epoch. We are still in a state of disorder 
the most fearful ; and not the slightest ray of hope remains of seeing 
any speedy 'return to a state of peace and tranquillity. All the 
elements of revolution are so well combined, and are spread with such 
profusion over the whole surface of the Republic, we are so learned 
and skilful in conspiracies, that it is little probable that such talents 
ajB these should cease to encourage and keep alive everything which 
may favour their display. We are therefore doomed for an 
unlimited time to agitation of every kind ; and it is become matter 
of regret that the character of our minds should be wholly opposed 
to this kind of life. We are now on the eve of a horrible cata- 
strophe,^ which will leave an indelible stain on the French name^ 
and which will have more fatal consequences than it is possible to 
foresee. This trial is being conducted with a degree of partiality, 
' of injustice, which, if possible, adds to the at rocity of the crime, 
and produces a silent indignation, which*f|M||^revents from break- 
ing out ; for there is, amongst the self-called honest members of the 
Convention, a degree of cowardice which equals the savage ferocity 
of the other side. One cannot but be deeply affected at all this, 
however much one may strive to divert one's thoughts ftom the 
subject, or to divest oneself of all personal interest in it 

1 The trial of Louis XVI. 

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1792. . M. DUMONT, ETC. 361- 

Nous sommes aussi tres-affecl6s des nouvelles qu'on 
exag^re, sans doute, de ce qui se passe en Angleterre. 
C'etoit la que nous allions nous r6fugier en imagination, 
quand nous voulions trouver une liberty sage, et accom- 
pagn6e du respect pour les lois. Nous nous flattons ce- 
pendant que notre exemple vous sera utile, que vous saurez 
arrSter I'incendie k temps, et en mod6rer les effets. Nos 
voeux pour le bonheur de ce beau pays sont bien sinc^res, 
et votre opinion sur ce qui s'y passe nous seroit tres-pr6- 
cieuse. Tout en g6missant sur lesmalheurs de Thumanit^, 
nous jouissons cependant de tout le bonheur particulier 
qui nous est laisse. Comme il y a plusieurs sortes d'in- 
conv^niens k passer Thiver a Paris, nous sommes tous en 
famille r^unis k ce Passy oii nous avons eu le plaisir de 
vous voir, et nous y savourons tous les genres de jouis- 
sances domestiques. 

Nous trouvons qu'en g^n6ral le commerce des hommes 
ne donne que des chagrins et du dlgodt pour la pauvre 
humanity, et nous voudrions beaucoup nous en detacher, 
pour le remplacer par des Etudes et des occupations qui 
ne laissent apres elles aucun genre d'amertume. Vous 
comprendrez, j*esp^re. Monsieur, que ce qui cause notre 
misantropie nous rend encore plus chers et precieux les 

The accounts, too, of what is passing in England, although no 
doubt exaggerated, give us great pain. It was the land of refuge 
for our imagination when we sought for an example of well-regulated 
liberty, combined with respect for the law. We trust, at least, that 
Qur example will not be thrown away upon you, and that you will 
know before it be too late how to arrest and moderate the flame of 
popular enthusiasm. Our wishes for the welfare of your noble 
country are very sincere, and your opinion of what is passing there 
would be highly valued by us. While mourning over the suft'er- 
ings of human nature, we yet enjoy that domestic happiness which 
still remains to us. As a winter at Paris would be attended with 
many inconveniences, we are all imited in our family circle at that 
Passy where we had the pleasure of seeing you, and here we taste 
with the same relish as ever all the various pleasures of domestic 

We find tbat the intercourse of the world produces for the most 
part only sorrow and disgust for wretched humanity ; and we would 
willingly keep aloof from it and replace it by studies and occupa- 
tions which leave no bitterness behind them. You will, I trust, 
understand that what makes us misanthropical renders still dearer 

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liens de ramitie ; les sentimens que nous avons pour vous 
sont du nombre de ceux qui consolent de voir les hommes 
se degrader par tons les excds que dictent les passions, 
parcequ'on sent qu'il y a des compensations. Nous vous 
prions de ne pas oublier que tout ce qui vous touche nous 
iut^resse particulidrement, et nous vous demandons de 
nous prouver que vous en Stes persuade, en entrant avec 
nous dans quelque detail sur ce qui vous concerne. 

Je suis oblig6e de fermer pr^cipitamment cette lettre. 
Agr6ez toutes les assurances de notre amiti§. 

Letter XCV. 


Paris 13, Man. 1793. 

Nous ne pouvons pas, Monsieur, laisser partir M. 
Dumont sans lui remettre quelques lignes, qui vous don- 
neut de nouvelles assurances de notre amiti^ et de notre 

Quoique les sensations individuelles soient bien se- 
condaires aupres des grands int6r@ts qui agitent dans ces 
temps-ci, nous n'avons puvoir sans chagrin rinterruption, 
ou plut6t les difficult^s, de communication que la guerre 

and more precious to us the ties of friendship ; the sentiments we 
entertain towards you are among those which console us when we 
see men degrading themselves by the commission of every excess 
which is prompted by their passions, because we feel that there are 
compensations. Pray do not forget that there is nothing which 
affects you in which we do not take a lively interest ; and we beg 
you to prove to us that you do not doubt it, by giving us a particular 
account of whatever concerns you. 

I am obliged to conclude my letter in haste. Believe ever in our 

Letter XCV. 

Paris, March 13, 1793. 

We cannot allow M. Dumont to set off without making 
him the bearer of a few lines, to assure you that we have the same 
friendship for you, and that you are as often in our thoughts, as 
ever. Although all private feelings are of secondary importance, 
compared with the mighty interests which now agitate men's minds, 
it has been impossible for us to observe without pain the interrup- 
tion, or rather the difficulty, of communication between us which 
war will occasion. We are deeply grieved to think of the ine- 

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1793. M. DUMONT, ETC. 353 

apportera entre vous et nous. Cette rupture^ nous a pro- 
fond6ment afiHigds par les maux inevitables qu'elJe doit 
causer aux deux pays. Combien Y humanity a lieu de g^mir, 
quelques soient les suites de ce bouleversement g^n^ral ! 
Lors meme que la fin seroit parfaitement heureuse et glo- 
rieuse, il est impossible que tous les coeurs sensibles ne 
soufPrent pas cruellement des moyens. Au milieu des 
calamit^s publique nous conservons le m^me bonheur 
domestique ; nous pourrions dire meme que le iidtre en 
est augment^ : les liens de l'intimit6 se resserrent encore 
dans les momens oii le coeur froiss6 sent le besoin de ses 
consolations. D'ailleurs ce qu'on appeloit autrefois de- 
voirs de 80ci6te, les visites, les repas, les assemblies, 
n'etant plus demise dans les circonstances actuelles. Ton 
se trouve plus habituellement aupr^s de ses vrais amis, et 
Ton les en aime davantage; I'onjomt de la douceur de 
gemir avec eux, mais vous savez que ce ne pent etre que 
bien bos. Paris est violemment agit^ depuis quelques 
jours ; on voudroit faire partir tout le monde pour Tarmde, 
et il y a bien quelques oppositions. Cependant il partira 
beaucoup d'hommes, et les sacrifices d'argent pour les 

vitable evils which this ruptare^ will bring upon both countries. 
How much humanity has reason to lament, whatever may be the 
consequences of the general confusion ! Even though the end should 
prove glorious and happy, no feeling heart can fail to be cruelly 
affected by the means. 

In the midst of public calamity, the happiness of our family 
circle is the same as ever. We might almost say that it is in- 
creased ; for the ties of intimacy are drawn closer when the bruised 
heart feels the want of consolation. Besides, what were formerly 
called the duties of society, visits, dinners, and parties, being no 
longer suited to existing circumstances, one is thrown more habitually 
amongst one^s real Mends, to whom, on that account, one becomes 
the more attached. One finds a pleasure in uniting one's lamenta- 
tions to &eirs, although you are aware that it must be only in a 

Paris has been for some days in a state of violent agitation ; every 
one is required to set off to join the army, and this meets with some 
opposition. However, a great number of men will go, and great 

^ The National Convention declared war against Great Britain 
ou the Ist of February, 1793. 

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bien payer et les bien habiller sont considerables. C'est 
bien le moment de vaincre ou de mourir, car quelle 
esp^ce de mis^ricorde pourrions-nous attendre de nos 
ennemis ? Nous vous comptons avec bien du regret dans 
le nombre, et nous tournons nos regards avec amertume 
vers le temps oii nous vous faisions des soUicitations pour 
nous venir voir. 

Mon mari se joint k moi pour vous assurer de notre 
inviolable amitie, et pour vous prier de penser k nous. 

D. G. 

Letter XCVI. 

Dear Dumont, September 14, 1793. 

I have just received yoUr second letter, and must with 
shame confess that no letter of mine to you has mis- 
carried, for I have never yet written to you. You wiU, I 
am sure, do me the justice to believe that I have not been 
able to find half an hour*s leisure since I left London, or 
you would certainly have heard from me. At Edinburgh, 
which is the only place where I have been at all sta- 
tionary, the business I came about occupied, on an 
average, five or six hours of every day. I had then to 
see the curiosities of the place, and the charming country 
about it, and I had every day dinner and supper parties 
in a very excellent society. You will easily believe that 
all this left me few moments of leisure — so few that I have 
hardly been able to read a newspaper, and that I know 
little more of what is passing on the Continent than what 
I have heard in conversation. 

sacrifices are made to pay them well and clothe them well. This 
is indeed the moment to conquer or die, for what mercy could we 
expect from our enemies t It is with pain we reckon you amongst 
the number, and we call to mind with bitter regret the time when 
we entreated you to come and visit us. My husband joins me in 
assuring you of our unalterable friendship, and in beggmg that you 
will sometimes think of us. 

Yours, &c. 

D. G, 

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1799. M.DUMONT, ETC. 355 

The society I have been living in has consisted prin- 
cipally of lawyers and men of letters. Among the last of 
these, the person whom I most saw and lived with at 
Edinburgh was our friend Mr. Dugald Stewart, whom 
the more I know the more I esteem for the qualities of 
his heart, and the more I admire and respect for his 
knowledge and his talents. 

He is at this moment printing two works: one, An 
Accoimt of Adam Smith and his Writings, to be pub- 
lished in the Transactions of the Edinburgh Society ; 
and the other, the heads of his Lectures on Moral 
Philosophy, a part of which only he has already published 
in the book which you are well acquainted with. This 
last work is only intended for the use of the students who 
attend his lectures, but he has promised me a copy. He 
has shown me part of his account of Adam Smith, which 
is very interesting. It contains a history of his different 
works ; but Mr. Stewart has unfortunately resolved to be 
much shorter in what he says of the Wealth of Nations 
than he had once intended. Smith*s life, as you may 
suppose, does not abound with extraordinary events. 
There is one, however, which happened to him in his 
infancy, which is worth mentioning : he was stolen by 
some gipsies, and they had carried him to the distance of 
some miles before they were overtaken. A little more 
expedition on their part, or a little more delay on the part 
of their pursuers, and that acuteness and invention 
which has produced a work that will benefit the latest 
posterity would have been wholly exercised in finding 
out irregular expedients to preserve a precarious exist- 
ence. I have seen many of Adam Smith's friends here, 
and he seems to have been loved and revered by every- 
body who knew him. 

Nothing is wanting in Edinburgh but a fine climate to 
make it the place in which I should prefer, before any 
that I have seen, to pass my life, if I were obliged to pass 
it in any town. Nothing can surpass the beauty of the 
country around it, which is rich, highly cultivated, well 
wooded, well peopled, and bounded on the different sides 
with the sea or with mountains. I have been pleased 

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with everything I have seen in Edinburgh and about it, 
except the persons of the women ; I mean those of the 
lower ranks of life, who are certainly very plain ; and the 
administration of justice, which I think detestable. I am 
not surprised that you have been shocked at the account 
you have read of Muir's trial ; you would have been much 
more shocked if you had been present at it as I was. I 
remained there both days, and think I collected, in the 
course of them, some interesting materials. You may 
judge, however, from the account I gave you of the 
manner of my spending my time, that I have not been 
able to collect any materiaJs on any subject in a more 
faithful repository than my memory; and as that was 
never very good, is pretty much used, and is stuffed tole- 
rably full, T am afraid I shall lose a good deal of what I 
have been collecting. 

I write this letter, as you may guess from the different 
coloured inks, in different inns, just as I have five or ten 
minutes' leisure, and am at this moment at Luss, a little 
village on the side of Loch Lomond, in a most romantic 
country, by the side of an immense lake (Loch Lomond), 
which is enclosed with mountains and enriched with 
islands. My course from Edinburgh has been to Lin- 
lithgow, from thence to Falkirk and the iron-works at 
Carron, and so on to Stirling, which, as well as Linlith- 
gow, was formerly the residence of the kings of Scotland. 
I am not much given to copy the inscriptions which I 
meet with on my travels, but I was very much struck 
with one I saw at Stirling. It was indeed so modem, 
having been only put up the last year, that no learned 
traveller would have deigned to look at it. It is upon 
some almshouses, which were founded by a tailor. He 
had, in the exercise of his trade, earned a considerable 
fortune, which he chose to employ in this foundation, and 
in establishing a fund for repairing bridges. The inscrip- 
tion commemorates this fact, and then concludes with 
these words : " Forget not, reader, that the shears of this 
man do more honour to human nature than the swords of 

I have been perfectly astonished at the richness and 

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1793. M. DUMONT. EXa 36*J 

high cultivation of all the tract of this calumniated 
country through which I have passed, and which extends 
above sixty miles, quite from Edinburgh to the moun- 
tains where I now am. It is true, however, that almost 
everything which one sees to admire in the way of cul- 
tivation is due to modem improvements ; and now and 
then one observes a few acres of brown moss, contrasting 
admirably with the corn-fields to which they are con- 
tiguous, and affording one a specimen of the dreariness 
and desolation which, half a century ago, overspread a 
country now cultivated and scattered over with comfort- 
able habitations, and become a most copious source of 
human happiness. I complained to you formerly of the 
climate, and I never had more reason to be out of 
humour with it than at this moment, when the rain is 
pouring down, and spreading a veil between me and one 
of the most beautiful views that I have ever seen. 

I take up my pen to conclude this long letter. While 
I was complaining of the rain it began to cease, and I 
soon afterwards set out for an island, on an eminence of 
which I had a beautiful view of the lake, its islands, and 
the surrounding country. I was accompanied by the 
minister of the parish, a Mr. Stuart, to whom Mr. Dugald 
Stewart gave me a letter. I afterwards dined with him, 
and found in him the hospitality and naivetS of a moun- 
taineer, and the learning and cultivated mind of one who 
had divided his whole time between study and the so- 
ciety of a metropolis. I was quite delighted to make 
acquaintance with him. In the morning he preaches at 
his church in English, and in the afternoon in Erse ; and 
he is now translating the Bible into Erse, a considerable 
part of which has been already printed. After dinner I 
proceeded to this place (Dumbarton), in my way to 
Glasgow, which I shall reach to-morrow morning. From 
thence I shall return to London, though not by the most 
direct road. 

S. R. 

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Letter XCVII. 


Dear Dumont, ^^"^'^ ^»»'^- 2, 1793. 

I am 80 senaible of my fault in not having written 
to you oftener while I was in Scotland, that I have sat 
down with a firm resolution of writing you a very long 
letter now that I am returned, and nothing less than the 
interruption of a client shall prevent my keeping my 
resolution. Since my return I have been overloaded 
with business, and I have found accumulated for the few 
days I have to be here all the business which would have 
been thinly scattered through the last two months if I 
had been in town. Of the little time I have had to spare 
a part has been taken up with Mr. Guyot, whom I found 
here on my return from Scotland, and who is now set off 
for that country himself. I was very glad to see him, 
both on his own account (for, with all the faults which 
you impute to him, he has many very estimable and 
amiable qualities), and because he brought me some news 

of the D 8. They are still well, and at Passy ; and 

what may be deemed extraordinary good fortune, not- 
withstanding then: riches, they have not yet been any of 
them fixed on as objects of persecution. The second son, 
however, has been compelled to take arms, but by special 
favour he has been permitted to enter into the corps of 
engineers, and has been allowed a little time to qualify 
himself for that situation, so that he has a short respite 
before he will be compelled to risk his life in defence of 
the oppressors of his country. The eldest son is still at 
Hamburg. G.'s brother, who was in the National Guard, 
has been murdered in a riot at Lyons. Guyot was at 
Paris in August and September of last year, and I have 
learned many more curious particulars of the events of 
that time, in a few hours' conversation with him, than 
are to be found in all the five or six hundred pages of 
Dr. Moore. He left Paris immediately after the mas- 

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1798. M. DUMONT, ETC. 369 

sacres of September ; and although he was a foreigner it 
was with great difficulty that he obtained a passport. 
Finding all other resources faO him, he resolved to try 
what influence he might have on Manuel, with whom he 
had once been intimate, and whom he had introduced to 

the D family. Accordingly he went to the Hotel de 

Ville, and was there conducted into a room where a num- 
ber of persons were assembled, all waiting to have an 
audience of Manuel. A profound silence prevailed 
among them, and the deepest ^melancholy and dejection 
was painted on every countenance. Guyot could not 
conjecture who they were ; but he soon found that they 
were the relations and friends of persons who had been 
confined in different prisons, come to inquire what had 
been their fate. The mode adopted to answer their in- 
quiries, and to remove their anxious uncertainty, was 
this : they were taken one by one into a room, where 
were strewed about a number of fragments of clothes, 
torn, stained with dirt, or soaked in blood ; and if, upon 
minutely examining these vestiges of massacre, they 
could discover nothing which they recollected, there was 
some faint hope that the son or tiie husband they were 
trembling for had escaped. While this tragedy was 
acting in the rooms of the Hdtel de Ville, a most dis- 
gusting farce was performed in the court below. Volun- 
teers, who were setting out for the frontiers, came in 
crowds to take the oath to the new government before 
their departure, and as they came out of the Town House 
each in his turn walked up deliberately to the prostrate 
statue of Louis XIV., which had been cast down with the 

other monuments of royalty, and p upon it in the 

midst of the shouts and laughter of a circle of women and 
children, delighted with this obscene ceremony, which 
lasted without interruption during the two hours that 
Guyot was there waiting for his passport. 

I am sorry to find that you are wavering in your deter- 
mination about going to Bowood, for I know how that 
sort of wavering generally ends in a person of your 
indolent disposition. I wish you would determine to go 
with me. It is pretty evident from your last letter that, 

YOL. I. 2 b 

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if you have not quite laid aside Bentham's work, it oc- 
cupies very little of your time; and as toK., it seems 
completely eflGewsed from your memory. There may un- 
doubtedly be some kind of enjoyment in sauntering away 
the whole morning with D., and hearing, during the 
whole afternoon, T.'s panegyrics on that loss of time 
which he professes to adore, and thus approaching so 
near to the quiescent state of death ; but I really cannot 
persuade myself that it is an enjoyment fit for one of 
your talents, natural dispositions, and prospects of haj)- 
piness. Indeed I am quite vexed, not only with you, 
but with myself, when I see such means of being useful 
to mankind as you possess so lost as they seem likely to 
be. I reproach myself as being in some degree an ac- 
complice by not endeavouring to rouse you from so fiital 
a lethargy. Indeed, Dumont, you must come to a reso- 
lution of doing something that will be useful to posterity. 
Surely the hope of being able to prevent some of those 
calamities from falling on future ages which we now see 
so dreadfully visiting the present might be as strong a 
motive to excite your energy as any that has ever hitherto 
called it forth. ^ I have a great deal more to say to you 
on this subject ; but, not to fatigue you too much at pre- 
sent, I conclude. 

Yours most affectionately, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter XCVIII. 

to the same. 

Dear Dumont, Oct 4. 1793. 

I was very much rejoiced to find that you were ca- 
pable of reading my long letter quite to the end, and even 
of answering it in the same day : after so great an ex- 
ertion your case is certainly not quite to be despaired of. 
You cannot think that I meant very seriously to cen- 

^ M. Dumont became subsequently the coadjutor of Bentham, 
and published ten volumes 870. of his works on subjects connected 


by Google 

I'm. M. DUMONT. ETC. 37I 

sure you for sending my letter open to the Chauvets. 
They have said nothing to me about K., nor I to them. 
However, my attack upon your indolence, loss of time, 
&c., was most serious, and I really think that it can be to 
nothing but your habitual want of exertion that can be 
ascribed your using such curious arguments as you do in 
your defence. Your theory is this : Every mao does all 
the good that he can. If a particular individual does no 
good, it is a proof that he is incapable of doing it. That 
you don't write proves that you can't, and your want of 
inclination demonstrates your want of talents. What 
an admirable system ! and what beneficial effects would 
it be attended with if it were but universally received ! 

Indeed, I cannot condescend to refute a theory which 
I am sure it is impossible you can have seriously adopted. 
One would suppose by your letter that you thought the 
true criterion of a fine writer was, that he was fond of 
writing ; but the contrary is so true that I doubt whether 
there ever was a great writer who took great pleasure in 
writing, and who had not, generally, when he began to 
write, a sort of repugnance to surmount. It must natu- 
rally be so. He must be difficult in the choice of expres- 
sions ; he finds more pain from what is ill expressed than 
pleasure from what is merely as it ought to be. He is 
sensible of the defects of his own style, and he feels more 
pain from them than from defects in the style of others ; 
and whatever pleasure his own performances may give 
him when they are corrected to his mind, they afford him 
but little in their intermediate state. You recollect the 
labour which Rousseau had in writing, and the fatigue 
which he says it gave him ; many other examples of the 
same kind might be mentioned. 


See ante, p. 317. 

2 B 2 

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Letter XCIX. 


13 Novembi«, 1793. 

J'avois compt^, mon cher Romilly, de retoumer in- 
cessamment k Wycombe, mais j'apprends que Madame de 

va s'^tablir i Londres, et en consequence je resterai 

k Bowood, ce qui me privera du plaisir de vous voir, 
jusques vers la fin de I'ann^e, selon toute apparence. Ce 
long s6jour n'eat pas precis^ment ce que j'aurois choisi, 
surtout parceque, n'ayant point fait mon plan pour cela, 
je n'ai pas apport^ les materiaux de mon travail. Cepen- 
dant, pour ne pas m^riter tout-i-fait vos reproches, je 
remplis ma t^te d'histoire, avec un projet suivi, et j'amajsse 
des pierres et du sable pour faire un jour un Edifice, si mes 
forces peuvent seconder mes d6sirs. 

Mais que font les livres ? Qui est-ce qui ne seroit pas 
d6goiit6 d'^crire et mSme de penser, quand on voit la bar- 
baric se reproduire dans le pays le plus 6clair6 de T Europe ? 
Les hurlemens des sauvages sont moins afreux que les 

Letter XCIX. 

November 13, 1793. 

I had reckoned, my dear Romilly, upon returning forthwith 

to Wycombe, but I learn that Made, de is going to §ettle in 

. London, and I shall therefore remain at Bowood, which will, in all 
probability, deprive me of the pleasure of seeing you till towards 
the end of the year. This long stay is not exactly what I should 
have chosen, especially as, not having foreseen it when I made my 
arrangements, I have not brought with me the materials of my work. 
Nevertheless, that I may not altogether deserve your reproaches, I 
am cramming my head with history, and am endeavouring to lay 
down a connected plan ; I am collecting stones and sand, which, if 
my powers do but second my wishes, may one day become an 

But of what use are books ? Who can write or even think with- 
out disgust, when he sees the most enlightened country in Europe 
returning to a state of barbarism i The bowlings of savages aie 
less frightful than the harangues of the representatives of a nation 

d by Google 

1793. M. DUMONT, ETC. 373 

harangues des d^put^s de la nation la plus polie et repute 
la plus douce du Continent. On est presque r^duit k sou- 
haiter que les Frangois eussent les vices de la Mchet^, 
comme ils ont ceux de la barbaric. Le courage du peuple 
est devenu I'instrument de la f6rocite de ses chefe. 

Quoique j'aie condamn^ autant que vous la faction de la 
Gironde, pendant qu'elle attaquoit et renversoit la consti- 
tution, je vous avoue que I'horrible vengeance de la faction 
dominante m'a cau86 une profonde douleur. Je n'ai jamais 
aim6 Brissot sous ses rapports politiques ; la passion I'avoit 
6nivr6 plus que personne ; mais cela ne m'empeche pas de 
rendre justice k ses vertus, k son caract^re priv6, k son 
d6sint6ressement, k ses qualites sociales comme epoux, 
comme pere, comme ami, comme defenseur intr6pide de 
la cause des msJheureux noirs. Je ne pense pas sans effroi 
qu'il avoit puis6 une partie des principes qui Font 6gare 
dans les ecrits m^me de Rousseau, et qu'un cceur naturelle- 
ment humain et honnete ne Ta pas d6fendu des illusions 
de Tesprit de parti. La vanite d'etre regaxd6 comme un 
chef a sans doute contribu6 k ses fautes ; la MgSrete de son 
jugement Ta precipite dans die fausses mesures, et la vio- 
lence du peuple a fait le reste. II 6toit de ceux qui 
crojoient de bonne foi que tout 6toit sanctifi6 par ce qu'on 

esteemed the gentlest and the most polished of the Continent. One 
is almost reduced to wish that the French added the vices of 
cowardice to those of barbarity. The courage of the people has 
become the instrument of the ferocity of their leaders. 

Although I condemned, as strongly as you did, the faction of the 
Gironde whilst it was attacking and pulling down the constitution, 
I confess to you that the dreadful vengeance taken on than by the 
dominant party gave me the deepest pain. I never liked Brissot 
as a politician; no one was ever more mtoxicated by passion; but 
that does not prevent me from doing justice to his virtues, to his 
private character, to his disinterestedness, to his social qualities as a 
husband, a father, and a friend, and as the intrepid advocate of the 
wretched negro. I cannot reflect, without^' a shudder, that he 
imbibed some of the principles which led him astray from the very 
writings of Rousseau ; and that a disposition naturally kind and 
good did not preserve him from the delusions of party-spirit. The 
vanity of being looked upon as a leader no doubt contributed to 
his faults, the weakness of his judgment hurried him into false 
measures, and the violence of the people did the rest. He was one 
of those who sincerely believed that what is called the will of the 

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appeloit la volont6 du peuple, et il a fait de grands manx 
par Tenthousiasnie de la liberty, comme tant d'autres en 
ont Mi par renthousiasme de la religion. Le pouvoir 
d'absotddre, que s'6toit attriba6 TEglise Rcnnaine, a pr€- 
cis^ment k mgme 6nergie sar les consciences que Ten- 
thousiasme politique sur I'esprit. Je ne m'^tois pas pro- 
pose de vous parler si longtemps d'un homme que vous 
n'avez jamais pu souflBrir; mais je Tavois connu sous 
d'autres points de vue que ceux qui lerendoient justement 
bMmable k vos yeux, et la triste fin de cet homme,^ qui 
eut 6t6 excellent s'il fut n6 dans les Etats-Unis, m'inspire 
un sentiment de compassion qui ne me laisse voir dans ses 
fkutes que TefFet de la contagion g^nftrale. 

Mais que penser de I'abominable 16gSret6 de ce peuple 
qui a compt6, Tune apr^s I'autre, les tStes de ces vingt 
victimes, k mesure qu'elles tomboient sous Tinstrument 
fatal, sans parottre conserver le moindre souvenir des 
applaudissemens qu'il avoit donn6, pendant plus d'une 
ann6e, i des hommes qu*il regardoit comme les d^fenseurs 
de sa liberty ? Cette r6flexion ne devroit-elle pas affrayer 

people was a justification of everything, and he has done as much 
mischief by the enthusiasm of liberty as many others have done by 
the enthusiasm of religion. The power of absolution assumed by the 
Romish Church has precisely the same hold on the consciences of 
men as political enthusiasm has on their understandings. I bad 
not intended to talk to you so long about a man you never could 
endure, but I had seen him in points of view different from those 
which made him justly blamable in your eyes ; and the sad end of 
this man,^ who would have been excellent had he been bom in tiie 
United States, inspires me with a feeling of compassion which pre- 
vents my seeing .in his faults anything more than the effect of the 
general contagion of the time. 

But what are we to think of the abominable fickleness of tiiat 
people who could count, one after the other, the heads of those 
twenty victims, as they each dropped under the fatal instrument of 
death, without seeming to retain the slightest recollection of the 
applauses which, for more than a year, they had bestowed upon 
them, as men whom they then looked upon as the defenders of their 
liberty ? Ought not this reflection to alarm those who have directed 

^ Brissot was executed at Paris on the 30th October, 1793, 
together with twenty other members of the Gironde party. 

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1793. M. DUMONT, ETC. 375 

ceux qui ont dirig6 ces executions pr^tendues juridiques ? 
J'esp^re que les sc616rat8 qui dominent aujourd'hui 
ont aign€ leur arr^t de mort. Mais verrons-nous ce 
peuple f6rocia6 revenir k I'hunianit^ et k la raison? je 
n'en sais rien. La folie des Croisades a dur6 deux cents 
ans ; la d6mence actuelle pent engloutir plus d'une g6n6- 

Vous Stes plong6 dans vos occupations judicielles. 
C'est presque un bonheur pour vous de n'avoir pas le 
tems de r6fl6chir, car toutes les reflexions aujourd'hui 
sont amdres. J'esp^re que vous avez fait une provision 
de sante dans vos excursions. On parle ici de vous 
comme ayant donn6 plus de plaisir que vous ne pouviez 
en recevoir, et Ton se flatte d'un plus long s6jour une 
autre ann6e. 

Adieu! Je vous 6crirai bientdt une lettre moins la- 

Et. D. 

Lbtter C. 

Dear Dumont, Lincoln's Inn, Nov. 22. 1793. 

You would perhaps set some value on this letter, if 
you knew how many things I have to do at the moment I 
write it, and what excuses I must make to-morrow to 
some stupid attorney for having devoted to you the time 
which I ought to employ upon a bill in Chancery. You 

these pretended legal executions ? I trust that the ruffians who rule 
to-day have signed their own death-warrant. But shall we ever see 
this brutalised people return to humanity and reason ? I know not. 
The madness of the Crusades lasted two hundred years ; the present 
frenzy may swallow up more than one generation. 

You ajre engrossed by your legal pursuits. It is almost a blessing 
for you that you have no time for thought, for all thoughts are bitter 
now. I hope that, in your excursions, you have laid in a good 
stock of health. You are spoken of here as having given more 
pleasure than you could have received, and a longer visit is looked 
forward to another year. Farewell ! I will write you soon a less 
melancholy letter. 


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must have fonned a very inaccurate idea of the insipid 
and uninteresting occupations to which I am every day 
enslaved, when you conjecture that I am so deeply ahsorbed 
in them as to pay little attention to what is passing in 
France. I have almost always present to my mind the 
state of that deplorable country. I cannot say that I felt 
no compassion even for Brissot and his party, but it is a 
compassion which reason cannot justify. They who have 
been teaching such bloody lessons have no right to com- 
plain that they fall by the hands of the disciples whom 
they have themselves instructed. How fortunate it is 
that the torture was an aristocratical or a monarchical 
invention I — it is certainly that circumstance alone, and no 
degree of humanity, which prevents its being exercised 
on all the victims who are daily offered up to the popu- 
lace of Paris. The Queen's * trial furnishes one among 
many instances that the wretches who at present rule in 
France have been able to invent tortures for the mind 
more cruel than any that had ever before been heard of. 
The French are plunging into a degree of barbarism which, 
for such a nation, and in so short a period, surpasses all 
imagination. All religion is already abolished ; and the 
next proceeding will undoubtedly be a persecution as 
severe and as unremitting as any that has taken place in 
the darkest ages ; for it is only in order to arrive at the 
persecution that religion is abolished. We may soon 
expect to see all books exterminated ; history, because it 
relates to kings; poetry, because it speaks the language 
of flattery ; political economy, because it favours mono- 
I polizers and freedom of trade ; and so on through all 
other sciences, till the French preserve nothing of civil- 
ized life but its vices, which they will have engrafted on 
a state of the most savage barbarism. 

Are you not astonished to see Si^yes in all this standing 
up in the midst of his fellow-murderers, and claiming 
applause for his having so long ago thought like a phi- 
losopher ? Ill as I have long thought of him, I did not 
imagine him capable of such degradation. 

* Marie Antoinette had been executed on the 16th October. 

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July, 1794. M. DUMONT, ETC. 3>jij 

I have been lately endeavouring to relieve my mind 
from the reflections which these hideous scenes suggest, 
by an accoimt which has been lately published of the 
new colony of JCentucky, in America. It is no small 
consolation to one to think that there is at least one quarter 
of the globe in which mankind is daily increasing in 
happiness. The book is very interesting, though it is 
written, like almost all the other American compositions I 
have seen, in a style which has every possible defect, and 
not one merit ; and though the author has the American 
mania of pretending to philosophize upon everything, and 
to treat all nations but his own with contempt. 

Yours ever, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter CI 


London, July 29, 1794. 

I can hardly express to you. Madam, the pleasure 

which I felt on opening M. G ^'s letter, and reading 

the first four lines of it ; by which I learnt that you were 
both with your children, well in health, and out of France. 
My joy, indeed, was greatly damped by the rest of the 
letter, which gives me an account of the situation of M. 

D ; and yet, as I had heard a vague report of his 

having been arrested, unaccompanied with any particular 
circumstances, my anxiety for you had so much exagge- 
rated the evil, and had so heightened your^ distress, that 
your letter brought me very great relief. I most ear- 
nestly pray that your endeavours may be successful, and 
that the time is not far off when you will again enjoy un- 
disturbed that domestic happiness which you so well de- 
serve. May I beg of you, when you write to your excellent 
mother, to mention my name to her, and to say how much 
I feel, and how anxiously I interest myself for her? 
Would to God that you were wholly separated from the 
wretched country^ which you have quitted, and could have 
the full enjoyment of being once more in a land of peace 

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and tranquillity I I have never read any of the accounts 
of those unexampled enormities which have been com- 
mitted at Paris, without feeling, amidst the emotions of 
horror and pity which they excited hi my mind, the 
strongest sympathy for you, who were doomed to be near 
the spot where all those atrocious crimes were perpe- 
trated, and to have your imaginations alarmed, and your 
sensibility tortured, by a detail of a thousand circum- 
stances of horror which we at this distance have escaped. 
I do not, however, wish to bring them back to your recol- 
lection, and should be happy if I could efface them from 
it for ever. 

I have no news to send you, for happily this country 
produces no events worth relating. A great deal, indeed, 
has been said, both here and abroad, of the dangerous 
designs which are entertained and cherished by many 
persons in this country ; but there has not hitherto been 
the smallest indication by any open acts of any such 
designs existing; and whatever interruptions of tran- 
quillity have happened have been by the too zealous 
friends of quiet and good order riotously demonstrating 
their loyalty and attachment to the constitution. 

It is impossible not to be curious to hear particulars of 
the unhappy country you have left, and of which the 
public accounts here, where we never see a single French 
newspaper, are very imperfect ; and yet I hardly know 
how to require them from you ; " infandum renovare 
dolorem." But at any rate write to me. I can scarcely 
say how much I rejoice at the renewal of our correspond- 
ence. It seems as if we had met together after a long 
journey, and the lapse of many years. And what trage- 
dies have filled up the interval! Our correspondence 
will, I hope, never again be interrupted, and I trust we 
shall, before many years have passed, meet in reality 
either in this country or in Switzerland. 

I remain, &c. 


d by Google 

1794. ( M. DUMONT, ETC. 3»J9 

Letter CII. 


Angost 26, 1794. 

1 reproach myself very much for having so loBg 
delayed returning you thanks for the great pleasure which 
your account of Adam Smith afforded me. Some very 
pressing engagements made it very inconvenient to me to 
write to you for some time after I received it ; and having 
once postponed writing, I have ever since gone on in- 
creasing my fault hy heing ashamed to own it. All my 
acquaintance who have seen the account of Adam Smith 
think it extremely interesting. The only complaint I 
have heard respecting] it is that it is too short, and that 
you have withheld from the puhlic the observations which 
an analysis of the Wealth of Nations would have sug- 
gested to you. 
I received, a few weeks ago, a letter from my friend 

G , who married Mile. D . It was dated from 

Berne, and hrought me the good news of his heing safe 
there with his wife and his children. But M. and Made. 
D are still in France, and he is in confinement ; ac- 
cused, however, of nothing but vaguely of being attached 
to aristocracy ; and reaUy guilty, I believe, of no crime 
but that of being rich. He is in a house in the neighbour- 
hood of Paris, in a good air, with the use of a large garden, 
and in a very numerous and very good society of his 
fellow-prisoners. All these indulgences, however, are paid 
for at a very high rate ; and I have heard it said (though 
G does not mention it) that this species of imprison- 
ment of the rich is a source of corruption to those who are, 
or lately were, in power at Paris. Enormous sums are 
exacted, nominally for the board of the prisoners, but in 
truth to enrich some of the members of the governing 
committees. The lives of the persons so imprisoned are 
not supposed to be in much danger, because their deaths 
M^ould put an end to a source of wealth to the persons to 
whose protection they are committed ; but, for the same 

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reason, their impriaonmeiit is likely to be of long duration. 

The object of M. G ^'s journey into Switzerland is to 

procure the Council of Berne to interpose in behalf of 

M. D , who is still considered as a Swiss; and he 

seems to entertain great hopes of the success of that ex- 
pedient. You told me, I recollect, that you had some 
thoughts of making a visit to London in the course of this 
year. I hope you have not given- up all intention of that 
kind, and that I shall have the pleasure of seeing you 
here, where I shall probably pass the greatest part of my 

I remain yours, 

S. R. 

Letter CIIL 


Oct. 14. 1794. 

Your excellent letter gave me inexpressible joy. I 
know that it is unnecessary to tell you so, but yet I feel 
pleasure in doing it. At the moment I received it I was 
under great uneasiness on your account. I had, indeed, 
considered the overthrow of Robespierre's system* as the 

forerunner of M. D 's liberty, and I had even sat down 

to congratulate you on that event, when I read in one of 
our newspapers that he was removed to the Conciergerie. 
I immediately destroyed my letter, lest my congratula- 
tions, reaching you at a moment when you were in the 
most tormenting uncertainty, should have only given you 
additional pain. I have ever since been waiting witii 
great anxiety to hear from you. Judge then of the joy 
which your letter afforded me. May you long— long 
enjoy the society of the parents who are restored to you ! 
I felt the most lively pleasure in learning that your ex- 
cellent and admirable mother, whose virtues have been 
put to so severe a trial, and whose sensibility has been so 
tortured, was not indifferent to the interest which I take 
in everything that concerns her. I please myself with 
thinking that, before this letter reaches you, she will have 

* On the 27th of July, 1794 (9th Thermidor, An 11). 

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1794. M. DUMONT, ETC. 3Qj 

joined you, and that when you read this it will he hy the 
side of that excellent parent, and that you will read it 
with a heart perfectly at ease, and in that calm and tran- 
quillity which can enahle you to enjoy the charming 
country which you now inhahit. I have at this moment 
before my eyes the very prospect which you are perhaps 
admiring. I once passed six weeks in the neighbourhood 
of Lausanne, and I every day beheld the sublime scene of 
the Lake of Geneva spread out at the feet of the rude 
mountains with fresh astonishment and delight. I think it 
never will be effaced from my memory. Unfortunately, 
I don't recollect the village of Cour, though I must several 
times have passed through it in going to Ouchy ; but I 
lived above the town, in a house which then went by the 
name of the " Pavement." It has probably changed its 
name by this time, for it is now thirteen years ago : it was 
just before I first visited Paris, and when I had the good 
fortune to be introduced to your family. 

You are kind enough to reproach me for not talking 
about myself in my letters. It is, I assure you, because it 
is a subject upon which there is nothing to be told. If any 
events had happened in my life which could afford either 
pain or pleasure to those who take any interest about me, 
I should not have failed to relate them to you, on whose 
friendship I so firmly rely. But mine is a life which 
passes without events. I am, I believe, exactly what I 
was when you last saw me, with the addition of five years 
to my age, with some alteration in my opinions produced 
by the terrible experience of public events, but with none, 
that I am aware of, in my dispositions. I am still un- 
married, and, I think, likely to remain so. My success in 
my profession has been much greater than I could have 
had any reason to expect. My business has of late years 
greatly increased, and seems likely to increase much 
more. I devote myself indeed entirely to it, and it has 
been without much struggle with myse^ that I have twice 
refused a seat in Parliament.* My reasons for it I think 

* The following paasage occurs, at the date of January, 1792, in 
a diary of evente in the handwriting of Mr. Romilly :— " Lord 

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you would approve of were I to trouble you with them ; 
but I have been long enough talking about mjTBelf; and 
if I have been too long remember tbat the fault is 

Notwithstanding our total failure of success, the war 
seems, I think, as popular here as ever, at least in the 
part of the country where I have been, for I am but just 
returned to town. In London, I believe, and in other 
great trading towns, people begin to reflect that no ad- 
vantage can be gained by prosecuting a war which has 
hitherto had no effect but to strengthen the system it was 
intended to overturn. As to the internal tranquillity of 
the country, there is no reason to fear its being inter- 
rupted, at least not for a considerable time. There are 
indeed many persons here who wish, a total overthrow of 
our constitution, and many more who desire great changes 
in it ; but the great majority of the nation, and particularly 
the armed part of it (which is at present a very large por- 
tion, for volunteer regiments have been raised in every 
county), are most ardent zealots for maintaining our con- 

Lansdowne offered me a seat in Parliament for Calne, in the room 
of Mr. Morris, who was about to resign. I refused it.^' 

There is no account in these papers of the second offer here men- 
tioned ; but at a date subsequent to that of the letter in the text, the 
following correspondence passed between Lord Lansdowne and Mr. 
Romilly on the same subject : — 

Extract from a letter of Lord Lansdowne, dated 27ih June, 1 795 : — 
" As YOU mention the* possibility of its [a dissolution of Parlia- 
ment] taking place in a few days, I send this by the coach to save 
time, for I cannot think of making any arrangement as to a new 
Parliament without knowing your final _ determination in regard to 
yourself. I am persuaded it is unnecessary for me to say anything on 
my part, as I have already explained myself so fully and repeatedly 
to you." 

From a rough draught, in the handwriting of Mr. Romilly, dated 
28th June, 1795 : — ^ I return your Lordship my warmest thanks 
for your yery obliging letter. Nothing which has happened since I 
had last the honour of conversing with you on the subject has in the 
least altered my sentiments with respect to Parliament; it is, there- 
fore, with the truest sense of the obligation which I have to your 
Lordship, and with a great degree of reluctance, that I think myself 
obliged to decline profiting of your Lordship^s kind intentions in my 

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1795. M. DUMONT, ETC 383 

stitation as it is, and disposed to think the reform of the 
most palpable abuse, which has been of long continuance, 
as a species of sacrilege. I am 

Yours, &c. 

S. R. 

Letter CIV. 



I know you do not very rigidly exact punctuality in 
your correspondents, but yet I am afraid you will think I 
have abused your indulgence by delaying so long to write 
to you. Very soon after I received your last letter I de- 
livered your book * to Lord Lansdowne ; he desired me to 
return you many thanks for it, and to say that as soon as 
he is sufficiently recovered from a fit of the gout, which 
he has had for a considerable time, to be able to hold a 
pen, he will write himself to thank you for it. 

Since I had the pleasure of writing to you I have re- 
ceived some account of M. D 's family. I told you, I 

believe, that he was a long time in confinement for 
having, as was alleged, in his possession papers of a coun- 
ter-revolutionary tendency. Soon after Robespierre's 
death he was tried and acquitted, and he immediately re- 
moved with his femily to Lausanne, in Switzerland. 

M. G and his wife have, however, since returned to 

Paris, and I believe they are there at present. The eldest 
son, who went to America, and was at the head of a com- 
mercial establishment which his father had formed, died 
there after an illness of a very few dajrs. 

I understand the ministers entertain very sanguine 
expectations from the expedition of the emigrants into 
Britany, though it seems hardly likely to produce any 
great efiect at Paris ; or, if it does, the most probable 
effect of it will be to restore the credit of the Jacobin 

^ Account of Adam SmitL 

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party, whose vigorous measures may be thought the only 
resource in times of danger. The state of Paris seems very 
singular. There are no disturbances there but in fevour 
of moderantism, and the only murders at present to be 
dreaded are likely to be perpetrated, as in the south of 
France, by those who are actuated by horror of the assas- 
sinations committed by Robespierre and his adherents. 

Many persons who have been proscribed in France ever 
since the establishment of the Republic now appear with 
security, and even challenge the public attention by jk)- 
litical publications. Among these, some of the most re- 
markable are Vaublanc, Dupont de Nemours, and Ber- 
gasse ; but the most singular publications that have ap- 
peared at Paris are the different memoirs of the Giron- 
distes, and which seem by the French papers to be very 
numerous. A few of them have been reprinted here ; 
among others that of Mad®. Roland, composed during her 
confinement in different prisons at Paris. It is written 
with uncommon eloquence, contains a great many curious 
facts, and gives some very well-drawn characters of the 
leading men in the different factions which have pre- 
vailed during and since the time of her husband's ad- 
ministration. But the most extraordinary character it 
paints is her own. Her enthusiasm, her party zeal, her 
masculine courage, and unalterable serenity under the 
most imminent dangers, are exactly calculated, in the 
present state of France, to excite the most enthusiastic 
veneration for her memory. Her eloquence, however, is 
much superior, to her judgment ; and the warmth of her 
zeal more remarkable than the purity of her morals. She 
expatiates on the extraordinary talents and virtues of 
Brissot, Buzot, Potion, and, indeed, almost all of her own 
party : she applauds the famous letters of her husband to 
the King, which certainly, more than anything else, con- 
tributed to the revolution of the 10th of August, and the 
consequent destruction of that unfortunate prince. She 
bestows high encomiums on the patriotism of Grangeneuve, 
who had laid a plan to have himself murdered, in order 
that the popular leaders who survived him might falsely 
accuse the king of the murder, and by that means inflame 

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1795. M. DUMONT. ETC. 885 

the indignation of the people against him. Another sin- 
gular book, but much inferior in point of merit, is Louvet's 
account of his dangers and hair-breadth escapes during his 
journey from Paris to seek an asylum in the Gironde, and 
back again from the Gironde to find a place of conceal- 
ment at Paris.^ The facts which it contains render it very 
interesting, though it is written very much in the manner 
of a novel, and though nothing can exceed the extravagant 
absurdity. of the author's political opinions. He is fully 
convinced, for example, that Robespierre was bribed by 
Pitt, and that the English army suffered itself to be beaten 
in order to gain the Jacobin party credit in France. 

I am, &c. 


'Letter CV. 
prom m. dumont. 

Bowood, 26t)ct., 1795. 

J'ai i6t6 fort Men re9U ici, mon cher Romilly, mais je 
I'aurois 6t6 beaucoup mieux si je vous avois amen6 ; il a 
fallu expliquer qu il n'y avoit pas de ma faute, et rejeter 
sur la n6cessit6 des affaires. 

Si vous n'avez pas lu Tapologie de Garat,' n'oubliez pas 
de vous la procurer. II y a quelques details extrSmement 
curieux, non pas sur lui-mSme, car, malgrS tous ses^fforts, 

Letter CV* 

Bowood, October 26, 1795. 

I have been very well receired here, my dear Romilly; but 
I should hare been much better received if I had brought you with 
me. I was obliged to explain that the fault was in no respect mine, 
and to lay it on pressing business. 

If you have not read Garat's apology,* do not forget to procure it. 
It contains some extremely curious detsuls; not on himself, for, in 
spite of all his efforts, he can nowhere make it appear that he played 

1 Le Recti de me8 Perils dejmU le 31 Mai, 1793. 
' Entitled Memoires aur la Revolution, ou Expose de ma Cbnduiie 
da/u les Affaires et dans les Fonctions Publiques, Paris, 1794. 
VOL. I. 2 C 

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il ne peut jamais se donner qu'un role bien mediocre. Le 
morceau le plus soign6 est un portrait de Danton, vers la 
fin de Touvrage ; mais, en le comparant avec Made. Roland, 
on voit combien tous les efforts d'un bel esprit sont im- 
puissans pour arriver k ce style 6nergique et simple qu'elle 
a trouve naturellement dans la trempe de son caractere. 
Au reste, il a dit aux Girondins une bonne v6rit6, c'est 
que, par les lois les plus absurdes et les plus atroces, ils 
avoient arm6 eux-mSmes la commune de Paris de tous les 
moyens qu'on a ensuite toum6 centre eux. Ils ont 6t6 
d6truits par les instruments qu'ils avoient pr^par^ pour 
d6truire les Royalistes. 

n me parott bien difficile que la Convention puisse 
rester avec s(iret6 ou avec confiance dans Paris, apres 
Tavoir convert de victimes. Si elle transporte ses stances 
k Versailles, en abandonnant la capitale, ils perdent Tin- 
fluence qu'elle exer9oit sur les provinces. 11 me semble 
que le m6contentement de Paris doit @tre une nouvelle 
source de revolution. 

Vous verrez dans Garat qu'il a sauv^ la vie k Mr. 
Vaughan, que Ton alloit trainer devant le tribunal r^volu- 
tionnaire comme espion de Pitt. II ne le nomme pas, 

more than a very secondary part. The most laboured passage in it 
is a portrait of Danton, towards the end of the work ; but in com- 
paring him with Madame Roland one sees how powerless are all the 
attempts of a wit to acquire that simple and energetic style which 
she derived from the peculiar temper of her own mind. However, 
he has told the Girondists one home truth, namely, that it was hj 
their own absurd and atrocious laws that they supplied the commune 
of Paris with all the powers which were afterwards employed against 
themselves. They have been destroyed by the weapons which they 
had prepared for the destruction of the Royalists. 

It seems to me that it will be very difficult for the Convention to 
remain with safety or confidence in Paris, after having strewed it 
with victims ; and, on the other hand, if they transfer &eir sittings 
to Versailles, they will, by quitting the capital, lose the influebce 
which it exercised over the provinces. It appears to me that &e 
discontent of Paris must become a new source of revolution. 

You will see in Garat that he saved the life of Mr. Vaughan, 
who was about to be dragged before the revolutionary tribunal, as a 
spy of Pitt's. He does not mention him by name, but he points 

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1795. M. DUMONT, ETC. 387 

mais il le d6signe pour ceux qui le connoissent, en parlant 
d'une lettre qu'C en a re9U de Basle. 

Adieu, mon cher Romilly. Quand vous serez de loisir, 
envoyez-moi en deux lignes le bulletin de votre sant6. Je 
voudrois bien vous transporter ici subitement. Je ne 
suis pas le seul k qui cela feroit plaisir. Vale, et me ama. 
En finissant comme notre ami Mirabeau, je me rappelle 
encore un trait de Garat, qui a eu la Mchet6 de I'insulter 
dans sa tombe, quoiqu'il aimdt beaucoup sa compagnie et 
ses dtners. 

Et. D. 

Letter CVI. 

Dear Dumont, Lincoln's inn, Oct. 27, 1795. 

I have received your long-expected letter, and, as a 
gentle reproach, I answer it immediately. It would have 
given me great pleasure to have been with you at Bowood. 
I should certainly have passed my time much more agree- 
ably than I have done here in the midst of Chancery 
pleadings ; but I should hav6 had so great an arrear of 
business as would have kept me hurried and fatigued 
throughout the whole winter. I do not much envy you 
any of your company at Bowood, except those who always 
reside there, and Robert Smith, whom I should be glad to 
know better than I do. 

I have read Garat, and found many parts of it curious ; 
but the most extraordinary thing in it is the spirit in 
which it is written. Surely none but a Frenchman could, 
after having acted such a part as he has done, speak of 

hizn out to those who know him, by speaking of a letter which he 
received ftom. him from Basle. 

Farewell, my dear Romilly. When you have leisure, send me 
in two lines the bulletin of your health. I wish I could suddenly 
transport you hither. I am not the only one to whom it would give 
pleasure. FaU, et me ama. In ending my letter like our friend 
Mirabeau, I am reminded of another trait of Garat's, who has had 
the meanness to insult him in his grave, although he was very fond 
of his company and his dinners. 

Et. D. 
2c2. , 

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himself with pride and self-applause, and, in the midst of 
the ignominy in which he is involved, challenge the 
honours due to the most unexampled courage and patri- 
otism. But such is the national character ; no Frenchman 
is satisfied with a mere justification of himself; he must 
have a panegyric, and not to have done wrong is a praise 
which such heroes despise. Vilate, one of Rohespierre's 
jurymen, who, as a matter of great merit, says that he 
never condemned 9Jxy/oum4es (that is, he only murdered 
his victims one hy one), has puhlished a pamphlet^ to 
hlazon forth his own virtues, and ahove all his sensibility. 
But the vanity of no Frenchman surely is superior to that 
of Isnard. I have just been reading his memorial, which 
he has entitled Proscription (Tlsnard, in which, in one 
modest tirade, he puts himself at least on a level with 
Curtius, Mutius Scsevola, and Cato of Utica. He boasts 
that he never acted in concert with any man, " pas meme 
pour faire le bien." "J'avois la manie," he says, "de 
former un comity k moi tout seul." 

I have probably been reading many more French pam- 
phlets than you, for a friend of mine has lent me a la^e 
cargo just imported from Paris. Among others are the 
papers found in the possession of Robespierre. Nothing 
can exceed the adulation of many of his correspondents. 
Louis XIV. was never exalted higher by the poets who 
cringed about his court, than Robespierre by his pretended 
republicans. He appears to have had spies, like those of 
the police under the old system. There are reports made 
by some of them to this mighty despot, in which they give 
an account where Tallien, and Thuriot, and others, went 
on such a day, and with whom they were seen, and much 
more of the same kind. The lists of the persons confined 
and transported, with the crimes imputed to them, which 
are also published, are much more curious than the 
Registers of the Bastile, which once excited so much 
indignation. Another curious pamphlet is V Almanac des 
Prisons, and Le Tableau des Prisons, which consists of 
relations of what passed in the different prisons, given by 

* Entifled Causes Secrttes de la Revolution du 9 Thermidor. 

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Aug, 1796. M. DUMONT, ETC. 389 

6eveFal persons who were confined there. There is, too, a 
history of Terrorism in the department of Vienne, by 
Thibaudeau, a depaty ; but it is less interesting than one 
would expect. It contains an account of some of the 
enormities of Piorry and Ingrand, the two commissioners 
to whom that department was delivered up ; but the author 
seems to think no persecutions so interesting to the public 
as those to which he and his own family were exposed, and 
to those he has accordingly mostly confined his narrative. 
There are likewise two volumes of other pieces relating to 
it. Among these is Tronson du Coudray's defence of the y 
Revolutionary Committee of Nantes, which contains such 
a picture of France, under the government of Robespierre 
and his proconsuls, as surpasses in horror the most hideous 
scenes that history, or even poetry, ever before presented. 
Perhaps you have seen all these publications ; and yet I 
think you would have mentioned some of them if you had. 
Bentham has been locking himself up at Hendon, and 
working, as he teUs me, for you at his Civil Code. He 
has, too, a refutation of the French Declaration of Rights, 
which I encourage him to publish. 

Yours ever, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter CVII. 


Dear Dumont, August 26, 17%. 

Your description of Worthing is not very alluring, 
but yet there are some circumstances in it which are not 
to be despised, and I am by no means clear that I shall 
not make it a little visit. If I do, it will not be till after 
your ladies have left you. I wish, therefore, you would, 
some time in the course of the next week, give me some 
account of the plan of life which you have laid down for 
the season of adversity, that is, when they shall have left 
ypu. I take for granted we can dine together, in any 
lodging we may have, tHe-h'tite ; that is a circumstance 
upon which so much comfort depends, that, if I understood 

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I most dine either with boarders in a house, or even in the 
public room of a coffee-house, it would be quite decisive 
with me not to set my foot in Worthing. You may recol- 
lect how poor a compensation I thought the goodness of 
the dinner for the badness of the company when we were 
at Liverpool. I shall depend on your writing to me again, 
but you must not depend on seeing me. I may probably 
go for a week to the neighbourhood of Richmond : and, 
after all, the heat, the dust, the smoke, the closeness, and 
the stenches of London, at this season of the year, are not 
so oppressive to me as to those whom nature or fashion 
has moulded of a more delicate texture. The truth indeed 
is, that, though I reside in London, I spend most of my 
evenings in its environs ; sometimes at my brother's, some- 
times on the banks of the Thames, and now and then at 
Kensington ; and for my mornings, I pass them in the 
enjoyment of my newly acquired liberty. Instead of law- 
books and Chanceiy pleadings, I read and write just what 
I please. I am still devouring Mitford with unabated 
pleasure, and, that it may last the longer, I often consult 
his authorities, and am led away from him, for hoars 
together, by the narrative of Pausanias and the charming 
simplicity of Herodotus. I have been writing, too, a great 
deal,^ and I cannot discover that want of exercise hte had 
that sensible effect upon my style which you prophesied 
that it would ; but, perhaps, together with the faculty of 
writing, I have lost that of judging ; or, which is more 
probable, perhaps I never possessed those merits which 
you were apprehensive I should lose. But when I see 
you, you shall decide ; and yet, what I have been writing 
is hardly likely to afford you much pleasure, since even in 
myself, with all an author's partiality, it has produced very 
mixed sensations. Have you ever read any of Charlotte 
Smith's novels? If not, get them at your circulating 
library. No doubt they have them ; for, as she is either a 
native, or at least has been long resident in Sussex, her 
reputation there is even higher than in other parts of H^e 
kingdom. They will give you great pleasure, and are just 

^ Probably the first part of the Narrative of hu own Life, which 
is dated 16th August, 1796. 

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1796. M. DUMONT, ETC. 391 

suited to your present medicinal course of study. I forget 
the names of all of them but the Old Manor Houscy and 
Eihelindoty which are two of the best 

What do you think of Drouet's escape, and of the letters 
which he h»& written to the Five Hundred and to the 
public ? If such facts as have appeared in the course of 
the French Revolution were to be found in Herodotus, 
they would be set to the account only of his credulity and 
his love of the marvellous. 

Cura ut valeas, et ut ad nos firmus ac valens quam 
primum venias. 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter CVIII. 


Worthing. 29 Adut. 1796. 

Je suis plus content de Worthing, mon cher Romilly, 
que je ne r6tois dans les premiers jours. Je m'6tois ex- 
ag^r6 le bruit et la foule, parceque je m'attendois a une 
esp^ce de retraite ignoree. II y a des environs fort agr6- 
ables, et on pent varier ses promenades dans quatre ou 
cinq milles, de maniere k d6jeiiner ou dtner tons les jours 
de la semaine dans quelque endroit different. Je resterai 
seul d^s Samedi matin ; si vous gtes tent6 de venir, en sup- 
posant le temps beau, et nul sacrifice de votre part de 
quelque soci6t6 aimable, marquez-moi le jour, et vous me 
trouverez k Steyning, k htdt milles d'ici, oil Ton quitte la 

Letter CVHI. 

Worthmg, August 29, 1796. 

I like Worthing better, my dear Romilly, than I did at first. 
I had fancied the noise and tlie crowd greater than they really are, 
because I had expected to find a kind of secluded retreat The 
neighbourhood is very agreeable^ and one may vary one's excursions 
for four or five miles round, so as to breakfast or dine every day of 
the week in a difierent spot. I shall be alone after Saturday morn- 
ing, and if you should be tempted to come, assuming the weather to 
be fine, and no pleasant party to give up, let me know the day, and 
you will find me at Steyning, eight miles from hence^ where you 

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diligence, et oii Ton prend une chaise de poste. Sans 
doute, il ne &ut pas vivre dans la cbambre publique d'an 
caf6, ni diner k une table-d'hdte ; quoique j'aime assez de 
temps en temps cette vari^t^j ce n'est pas lorsque je peux 
gtre t8te-&-tSte avec vous. Notre chaumi^re, im village 
Yoisin, un bateau, peut-8tre une excursion plus lointaine 
jusqu'ji Arundel, ou telle autre place sur les bords de la 
mer, nous offrent plus de diversity qu'il n'en &ut pour un 
temps si court 

Apportez-moi done; je vous prie, quelque rayon de 
votre miel. Je vous dirai bien fhinchement mon avis sur 
sa saveur et le goiit du terroir. Vous n'gtes pas dans T^e 
des pertes ; mais quand je pense que Rousseau et Boffon, 
apr^s plusieurs volumes admires, sentoient encore eux- 
memes leur progr&i, je suis jaloux pour vous de tout ce 
qui vous retarde dans une carri^re oii vous pouvez aller si 

^< Quotque in flore novo pomis se fertiliB arbos 
Induerat, totidem autmnno matura tenebat." 

Quoique mon 6criture soit si mauvaise, ne Tattribuez pas 
k une main foible et tremblante; je n'ai pour pupitre 
qu'un livre appuy6 sur le dossier d'une chaise. Je me 

leave the coach and take a chaise. Of course, we must not live in 
the coffee-room, nor dme at a public table ; although I like this well 
enough for a change now and then, it irnot when I can be alone 
with yon. Our cottage, a neighbouring village, a boat, and now 
and then a more distant excursion to Arundel, or some other such 
place by the sea-side, will afford us more variety than we shall want 
for so short a time. 

Bring me, then, I beg of yon, a sample of your honey. I will tell 
you frankly my opinion of its flavour, and of the garden in which it 
is produced. You are not in the age of decline ; but when I think 
that Rousseau and Buffon, after several popular volumes, were 
conscious that they were still gaining ground,^ I am jealous of all 
^at keeps you baick iu a career in which you may rise so high. 

" Quotque in flore novo pomis se fertilis arbos 
Induerat, totidem autumno matura tenebat" 

Although my writing is so bad, do not suppose that my hand is 
weak and trembling : my only desk is a book supported on the back 
of a chair. I am better in all respects ; good nights, good appetite. 

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1796. M. DUMONT, ETC. 393 

troave mieux k tous ^gards ; bon 8ommeil» bon app6tit, et 
surtout bonne digestion, a tel point que, si nous avions en- 
core deux mois de chaleur, je suis per8aad6 que je serois 
tout-a-fait r^tabli. Adieu, mon cher Romilly. Je ne me 
suis pas encore livr6 d I'esp^rance de vous voir icii et je ne 
le Youdrois pas au d^pens de vos plus 16geres convenances. 

Tout k vous, 


Letter CIX. 
to m. dumont. 

Dear Dumont, September 6, 1796, 

But for your letter, I should have been, soon after the 
time when you receive this, at Worthing ; your unexpected 
visiter, of course, immediately put an end to my plan. I 
have, however, little regret at it, for I had before given up 
the idea of passing a week or a fortnight with you in the 
friendly tHe-h-tite which I had once promised myself, and 
my principal intention in visiting Worthing was to prevail 
on you to quit it 

I shall very much enjoy the parly you propose. With 
respect to going to Bowood, I have not yet come to an ab- 
solute determination.^ I intended to go, but the meeting 
of Parliament, which is certainly to be on the 27th of this 
month, quite deranges my plan. Lord Lansdowne will 
probably be in town ; and indeed I intend to be, myself, in 
town at that time, and to be as constant an attendant in the 
gallery as I used to be before I was induced to sacrifice my 
love of politics and eloquence to my love of money. 

Yours ever, 

S. R. 

and aboye all good digestion ; so much so, that, if we have two 
more months of warm weather, I am persuaded I shall be quite well 
again. Farewell, my dear Romilly. I have not yet given way to 
the hope of seeing you here, and I would not wiih it if it were in 
the least inconvenient to you. 

Yours, &c. Ex. D. 

* See infrh, Political Diary, Sept 8, 1817. 

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Letter CX. 


My dear Peter, Haatmgs, Sept. 12, 1797. 

I have for some time intended to write to you, but I 
have been so much occupied by business during these last 
two months, that till very lately I have never had half an 
hour which I could dispose of quite as I pleased. It would 
give me very great pleasure to entertain a regular cor- 
respondence with you; though, as your mother knows, 
mine is a correspondence in which I give but little and 
require a great deaL The time, however, is, I hope, now 
not veiy distant when there wiQ be a better intercourse 
between us than can be kept up by letters ; when we shall 
see one another very often, and be connected, not merely 
by relationship and by warm affection, but by a most 
intimate and familiar friendship. I have heard lately from 
several persons of your application, and of the success of 
your studies ; and it has given me great pleasure, but a 
pleasure not wholly unmixed with anxiety. I am afiraid 
of your prosecuting your studies with more ardour and 
perseverance than your strength will allow of. I need not, 
certainly, impress on your mind the value of life and 
health, not on your own account alone, but for the sake of 
those who are most dear to you. But you really should 
consider that it is with respect to knowledge as with many 
other things ; by attempting to get too much we often lose 
instead of gaining, and a fortnight of too close occupation 
may make all study impossible for many weeks and months 
that may follow it I have experienced this myself, when 
I was nearly of your age, and have been obliged to ex- 
piate, by several tedious months of languor and constrained 
idleness, the imprudent exertions which had exceeded my 
strength. You ought to reflect that relaxation is to the 

^ Now Dr. Roget, his nephew, who was then studying medicine 
at Edinburgh. 

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Jan. 1798. M. DUMONT, EXa 395 

full as necessary as study to your success ; and that the 
time which appears to be thrown away is really, even with 
respect to the advancement of your studies, time most pro- 
fitably employed. I am at this moment puttrog in practice 
the doctrine I inculcate, for my only occupation here is to 
ride about the country, to enjoy the sea-air, and to read 
books of amusement. I regret that your mother, in her 
rambles about England, never found out this spot. I think 
it would have exactly suited her. The town itself indeed 
has nothing to recommend it, nor yet much that can be ob- 
jected to it : but the country about it is one of the richest, 
and one that affords the greatest variety of beautiful views, 
of any that I have seen in England ; and it possesses in a 
very eminent degree that which is unfortunately almost . 
peculiar to England, a general appearance of prosperity, / 
comfort, and content I have been here about a fortnight, 
and am going from hence, with M. Dumont, along the 
coast as far as Chichester, and from thence to Bowood. 

Remember me very affectionately to my sister and to 
Nannette, and believe me to be 

Most affectionately yours, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter CXI. 


Kendngton. 6 Jan. 1798. 

Je n'essaye pas, mon cher Romilly, de vous dire tout 
ce que j'eprouve dans le sentiment de votre bonheur :^ ce 
que je puis vous pr6dire d'aprds la connoissance de votre 
cceur, c'est qu'il augmentera encore, quoique peut-etre 

Lettbb CXI. 

; Kensington, January 6, 1798. 
I will not attempt, my dear Romilly, to tell you aU I fee], 
when I think of your happiness ;^ but I may venture to predict, 
knowing your heart as I do, that you have still greater happiness in 

^ His marriage with Anne, eldest daughter of Francis Garbett, 
Esq., and Elizabeth Walsham, of Knill Court, Herefordshire, which 
took place on the dd of January, 1798. 



aujourdliai vous ne croyez pas cette augmentation possible. 
Vous 6te8 dans an tumulte de sentimens qui, en se cal- 
mant par degr^s, vous laissera plus propre k connottre, a 
gouter tons les cbarmes de votre nouvelle existence. Je 
vous attends k deux ans d*ici pour faire honneor k la 
justesse de mon discemement. 

Nos amis, avee lesquels j'avois anticip6 votre confidence, 
et vos raisons pour ne pas la faire vous-mSme, quoique ce 
tat d^j'l il y a quinze jours le secret de tout le monde, 
m'avoient fait toutes les questions que Tamiti^ pent sug- 
g6rer en pareille occurrence. 

Si vous aviez pr6vu les questions auxquelles j'ai k r6- 
pondre, vous auriez sans doute ajout6 deux ou trois Lignes 
k votre lettre sur le temps de votre retour, sur vos arrange- 
mens, si vous prenez maison cet hiver, si ... si .... : tout 
cela veut dire au fond qu'on est tr^s-impatient et trds- 
curieux de voir la personne qui vous a fait passer sous 
le joug, parcequ'on salt bien, avec les sentiments qu'on 
a pour vous, que cela n'a pas pu se faire avec un m^rite 

A present, mon cher Romilly, je me recommande a vous 
aupr^s de M. Garbett et de sa famille ; 11 &ut qu'il me 

store, although you may not now perhaps think this possible. When 
the first tumult of emotion has gradually subsided, you will be 
better able to know and feel all &e charms of your new life. I 
give you two yeaz» to do justice to the accuracy of my diacem- 

Our friends, to whom I had already confided your secret, a» well 
as your reasons for not having communicated it to them yourself, 
(although, for a fortnight, it had been no secret to any one,) beset 
me with every question which friendship can suggest on such an 
occasion. If you had foreseen all the inquiries I have to satisfy, 
you would no doubt have added two or three lines to your letter, 
respecting the time of your return, your plans, whether you take a 

house this winter, whether , whether— — ; all which means, 

that there is great impatience and gieat curiosity to see the person 
who has made you pass under the yoke, because, firom what we know 
of you, we are well aware that it is no common merit which could 
have brought about such an event. 

And now, my dear Romilly, I commend myself, through you, to 
Mr. Garbett and his family ; I trust to you to secure for me some 

d by Google 

1798; M. DUMONT, ETC. 397 

revienne qaelque chose de leur amiti^ ; r^glez bien pour 
mes int6rets tous ces prfilimiiiaires. 

Tout k vous, 

Et. Dumont. 

Letter CXII. 


Dear Romilly, Apethorpe,Jaii.8. 1798. 

I have just read the paragraph of your marriage, and 
I do most sincerely and heartily congratulate you on that 
event. I am extremely glad on every account that you 
have taken this step ; amongst many other reasons, I am 
sure it will contribute most essentially to your own happi- 
ness, and I think it must create a new interest in your 
mind in the situation of public affairs, and in some way or 
other give the country the advantage of an understanding 
which I never thought much inferior to that of the ablest 
man in it. 

I beg you will give my respects to Mrs. Romilly, and 
believe me with great regard 

Yours very sincerely, 

Thomas Manners Sutton. 

Letter CXIII. 


Linoola's Inn, Feb. 19, 1798. 

You have sometimes reproached me for not speaking 
more of myself than I usually do in my letters ; my excuse 
has been that, in a life of so even a tenor as mine, no event 
ever occurred worth communicating to you. I have not 
that excuse, however, at present ; for since I last wrote to 

portion of their friendBhipw Settle all these preliminaries to my 

Yours, &c. Et. Dumont. 

^ Afterwards Lord Manners. 

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you, an event no less important has taken place than that 
of my marriage. I remember telling you some time ago 
that I was unmarried, and likely to remain so ; but I did 
not at that time know that such a woman as I have now 
the supreme happiness of having for my wife existed. 
You will naturally wish to have some account of her, but 
really I am unfit to give you that account. Were I to speak 
of her only as she appears to me, you would imagine I was 
exercising my talents in drawing the model of female per- 
fection rather than describing a person who really exists. 
How happy should I be if uncontroulable circumstances 
had not placed us at so great a distance from each other ; 
and if I could make intimately acquainted persons who are 
so formed to enjoy each other's society as you and my dear 

S. R. 

Letter CXIV. 


August 21, 1799. 

Can you really have supposed that a natural effect of 
happiness was to make one forget one*s best friends ? In- 
deed the effect of it has been very different on me. Since 
I have been blessed with my dear Anne I have thought 
of you even more frequently than I did before. I have 
often talked with her about you, your affectionate husband, 
and your excellent mother; and we have together fre- 
quently lamented that we are separated frOm you by so 
great a distance, and by other obstacles far more insur- 
mountable than distance. 

My time has, during the last winter and spring, been 
more engrossed by my business than ever; and, in addi- 
tion to my usual occupations, two of my hours in every 
morning have been occupied with military exercises, which 
are now with us become the business of everybody. For- 
tunately, I have now at last a little leisure ; and we are en- 
joying it by the sea-side, in a most delightful country, and 
with the finest weather imaginable. 

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1798. M. DUMONT. ETC. 399 

I return you thanks for M. Corancez'sbook.^ I cannot 
however but say that I was disappointed to find from a 
person who had frequently conversed with Rousseau for so 
many of the last years of his life little more than anecdotes 
of his frenzy. When one recollects the two or three traits 
of Rousseau which M. de St. Pierre has related, one cannot 
but wish that he had seen him oftener instead of M. Coran- 
cez. It makes one's heart bleed to think what Rousseau 
must have suffered in the latter part of his life ; and yet 
those sufferings were mild compared with what he must 
have experienced if he could have foreseen the events 
which have since happened, the horrors which have been 
committed by his pretended disciples, and the calamities 
which have befallen the countries which of all others were 
dearest to him. 

I wish our literature had produced anything worth 
sending you, or worth giving an account of ; but for a 
long time nothing has appeared of any considerable merit 
Coxe's MemoirB of Sir Robert Walpole have been pub* 
lished ; but they seem to have disappointed everybody, 
although the expectations which they had raised were not 
very great. 

You will be kind enough, I hope, not to lose any oppor- 
tunity of letting me hear news of you ; and that you will 
not with very scrupulous exactness wait for a letter from 
me before you let me hear from you. My dear Anne joins 
in the wishes that I form for the health and happiness of 
yourself and your family. 

I am yours, 

S. R. 

^ Corancez was one of the editors of the Journal de Parity from 
1777 to 1790 ; and the work here alluded to was principally ex- 
tracted from that Journal. 

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Lettek CXV. 

" < HastingB, 4 AoAi, 1799. 

VouB avez done vu M. et Mad«. G . Je prends 

part k toutes vos joies mutuelles ; grande impatience de 
toutes parts, grande curiosity k satisfaire. Je serois bien 
tromp^ si Tamiti^ des deux dames n'dgaloit bientdt celle 
des deux amis. Dites-moi \k, en confessional, si vous 
n'avez pas eu un mouvement d'orgueil, apr^s tous les 

autres II faudroit certes, comme disoit Mirabeau, 

que vous fussiez plus ou moins qu'un hommepour ne pas 
r^prouver ; mais on ne d^mSle pas cela dans Pagr&ible 
confusion de sentimens qu'occasionne une telle entrevue. 
Je serai curieux de voir le mari et la femme aprds leur 
B^jour dans le centre de cette revolution. lis ont diL vous 
communiquer bien des anecdotes int^ressantes ; mais est- 
il possible de vivre si longtemps au milieu de tant de pas- 
sions d^chain^es sans en prendre soi-mSme ? II me semble 
qu'on ne pent pas venir de Paris avec une Sme calme 
et mod6r6e. Ce ne seroit pas mSme un fort bon signe, 
que de voir avec moderation les actes et les acteurs de ce 

Letter CXV. 

Hasting^ Aug. 4, 1799. 

So jou have seen Mr. and Mrs. G . I take part in your 

mutual joy. Great impatience on both sides; great curiosity to sar 
tisfy ! I am much mistaken if the friendship of the two ladiea does 
not soon equal that of the two friends. Now, confess to me, in con- 
fidence : had you not a feeling of pride, after every other? In truth, 
you must have been more or less than man, as Mirabeau used to say, 
if you had not ; but it is not easy to distinguish it in the agreeable 
confusion of feelings occasioned by such an interview. 

I shidl be curious to see the husband and wife after their abode in 
the centre of the revolution. They must have told you many inter- 
esting anecdotes. But is it possible to have lived so long in the naidst 
of so many unbridled passions and to have escaped the contagion f 
I can scarcely conceive any one coming from Paris with a calm and 
sober mind : indeed it would not be a very good sign to view with 
moderation the acts and actors on that theatre. 

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J799. M. DUMONT, ETC 401 

Un petit mot k I'oreille de Mad*. Romilly pour William : 
c'est d'6ducatioD que nous parlous ensemble, et nous anti- 
cipons un peu. Je viens de lire, ou plutot de relire, ce 
Sandford et Merion, danslequel j'ai trouv6 beaucoup d'es- 
prit, de talent, de Tart de d^velopper les id6es, de les pre- 
parer, de les faire entrer dans une jeune tSte ; mais ne 
trouvez-vous pas k cet ouvrage le d^faut d'etre une satire, 
et de Jeter une espSce d'odieux sur les rangs plus 61ev^ de 
la society, de donner constamment le beau r61e au petit 
fermier, et le mauvais au petit gentleman ? et ce contraste 
continuel entre les deux est-il sans danger ? On conviendra 
qu'il ne seroit pas trop bon entre les mains des petits fer- 
miers ; je conviendrai qu'il seroit moins mauvais entre les 
msdns des petits gentlemen exclusivement, mais je crois 
encore que cette satire, cette sauce piquante, est de trop 
dans rinstruction, et j 'opine pour que William ne le Use 
pas avant I'aige de quinze ans. 

Tout ^ vous, 

Et. Dumont. 

Letter CXVI. 
to madame g 

KnfU Court, Sept. 4. 1799. 

The letter. Madam, which my dear Anne wrote to 

you last Saturday, and mine to Mr. G , were directed 

to Arundel Street, and may therefore possibly have mis- 
One word in Mrs. Romilly's ear about William. The subject is 
education, and a little premature. I have just been reading, tot the 
second time, Sandford and Merton, in which I find a good deal of cle- 
verness, of talent, of the art of developing ideas, of preparing them, and 
of introducing them into the minds of children. But does not this 
work appear to you to have the fault of being a satire, and of throw- 
ing a sort of odium upon the higher rac^ of society, by always 
making the little farmer play the good part, and the little gentleman 
the bad one ? and is this perpetual contrast between the two without 
danger ? Every one will admit that it would not be a very good • 
book for little farmers ; I allow that it would do less harm in the 
hands of little gentlemen, but I still think that this satire, this high 
seasoning, education would be better without, and my advice is, 
that William should not read it till he is fifteen years old. 

Yoins, &c. &c. 

Et. Dumont. 
VOL. I. .2d 

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carried. I send this therefore to your new residence, for 
it would he great injustice to ourselves, as well as to you, 
to suffer you to entertain the idea that this heautifiil coun- 
try, even with all its charms, can so soon have made us 
forget the pleasure which your company afforded us. As 
you say nothing of your sweet children, I conclude that 
they are both in good health. Our little William improves 
every day. He walks about, laughs, and is as happy as his 
little means of happiness will allow him to be. Every 
body that sees him is surprised that so healthy and strong 
a child should have been nursed in London. 

Your La Harpe affords me great entertainment ; though 
I have not yet got to that which I guess to be the most 
entertaining part of his works — his criticisms on modem 
authors. He has certainly a great deal of taste, his ob- 
servations are generally just, his illustrations are new, and 
he is always amusing. It is remarkable, however, how 
much afraid he seems of ever going alone. He is conti- 
nually a critic upon other critics ; and. he seldom judges 
of one author but through the medium of another. He 
gives his own opinion on dramatic poetry, on the sublime, 
and on oratory, in -the form of a review of Aristotle's 
PoeticSy Longinus's Treatise^ Quinctilian's Insiiiuttons^ 
and Cicero's Dialogue. To praise Homer he finds it ne- 
cessary to refute Lamotte ; to defend Sophocles he attacks 
Voltaire ; and to explain his own opinion of Horace and 
Juvenal he undertakes to show how much Dusaulx had 
mistaken the characters of both those satirists. He seems 
to me like a man who had long followed the business of a 
reviewer of new publications, and who could not suffi- 
ciently divest himself of the habits of his past life, when 
he set about a great work, which required to be treated 
upon general principles and with method. The disposi- 
tion of his work appears to me to be made in defiance of 
all order. He begins with dramatic poetry ; then proceeds 
to the sublime ; next to a comparison of the French and 
ancient languages ; then to epic poetry ; then to dramatic. 
The division of the work between the ancients and mo- 
derns appears to me to be most injudicious, since he must 
necessarily, in both parts of it, have to compare the mo- 
derns and ancients together. I will not, however, tire you 

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Sept. 180e» M. DUMONT, ETC. 4q3 

with my observations ; I should rather say, I will not tire 
you any longer with them ; but will thank you again for the 
great pleasure which the book has afforded me. Indeed 
you can hardly think what pleasure, after the drudgery of 
the last winter and spring, I have in passing a few days 
just as I like; in reading what I please; in walking 
when I please; in strolling about, or taking a ride with 
my dear Anne ; in carrying about my little William ; and 
in laughing only because he shakes his little sides with 

Yours, &c. 

S. R. 

Letter CXVII. 


Cowes, Sept. 29, 1800. 

I am afraid you will both carry away a much less 
favourable opinion of this country than you brought into 
it, but I think you have seen it under disadvantages ; and 
though I believe that many things are altered among us 
for the worse since the French revolution, which has had 
a most important effect on the whole nation, yet I 
really do not believe that our national character is so 
much changed as Mr. G. seems to think it. I must own,, 
however, that what is now going forward in almost every 
part of the kingdom is not calculated to give a favourable 
opinion of the wisdom of my countrymen. Never, to be 
sure, were there such temptations held out to riot and in- 
surrection as the resolutions which, in consequence of the 
late riots, have been entered into in different parts of the 
country respecting the price of provisions. London is 
almost the only place in which the rioters have not been 
triumphant; everywhere else, although the riots have 
been stopped by an armed force, yet the price of pro- 
visions has for a moment been lowered ; the rioters have 
consequently carried their point ; and the success of one 
commotion has constantly produced others in other places. 
Nothing can be more foolish than the expedients which 
have been adopted for lowering the price of provisions : 
they are such, indeed, as will probably produce that effect 


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for a short time (I believe a very short one), but as must 
of necessity greatly increase them hereafter. The eflPect 
thus produced, while it lasts, will be naturally attributed 
by the rioters to their exertions ; they will feel the ne- 
cessity of interposing their authority again, and will con- 
sider a fresh violation of the law as an act of patriotism 
and a public duty. I have so little doubt of this effect 
being produced, and of fresh riots breaking out, that I 
should really think the state of the country most alarm- 
ing, if the number of armed volunteers that are spread 
throughout it did not make it impossible that any com- 
motions, in which only the lowest part of the community 
takes part, should be carried to any formidable length. 
The poor misguided wretches who engage in these riots 
are greatly to be pitied. They feel the scarcity and the 
high price of the necessaries of life most severely ; great 
pains have been taken by persons in high authority to 
persuade them that what they suffer is not to be ascribed 
to those natural causes which were obvious to their 
senses, but to the frauds and rapaciousness of the dealers 
in provisions. They are told that there are severe laws 
in force against these crimes, and yet that the crimes are 
everywhere committed: it is clear, therefore, that no 
justice is done for the people till they do it for themselves. 
Then indeed resolutions are entered into, which the per- 
sons who make them admit to have been necessary, but 
which they never thought of 'entering into while they 
only saw their poor neighbours starving around them, and 
till the moment arrived when their own bams were about 
to be burnt, and their houses to be pulled down over their 
heads. Certainly a poor man, who, actuated by such con- 
siderations, has the courage to expose himself and his 
family to ruin for the public good, acts most meritoriously, 
though the men who have contributed most to mislead 
him will be the first to send him without pity to the gal- 
lows. To this very moment I cannot find that the least 
attempt has been anywhere made to undeceive the people ; 
but, on the contrary, an opinion the most repugnant to 
common sense, that is, that provisions of all kinds bear a 
higher price than the persons who deal in them can well 

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Jan. 1802. M. DUMONT, ETC. 495 

afford to sell them at, is, without the least inquiry upon 
the subject, everywhere acted upon as an established 

Yours, &C. 

S. R. 

Letter CXVIIL 
to m. dumont. 

Dear Dumont, Saturaay, Jan. 9, 1862. 

A thousand thanks for your letters; next to the 
pleasure of being at Paris, and comparing with one's own 
eyes the Paris of to-day with that which existed before 
the Revolution, is that of receiving such interesting 
details. ^ 

I am extremely rejoiced to hear that you and Bentham 
are about to make your appearance in public so .soon. It 
is very entertaining to hear Bentham speak of it. He 
says that he is very impatient to see the book,* because 
he has a great curiosity to know what his own opinions 
are upon the subjects you treat of. The truth I believe 
is, that he has a great curiosity to read these opinions in 
print ; for when you gave them to him in manuscript, he 
had so little curiosity that I believe he read very little of 
them. He says that he thought what he read very in- 
sipid, principally because there was nothing new or strik- 
ing in the expressions. This, however, was not said to 
me, and was so confidential that he would exclaim against 
a double treachery if he knew that I told you of it. 

Have you yet seen Dugald Stewart's Life of Robertson f 
It is well done, but inferior to the Ltfe of Adam Smith. 
The most interesting part of it consists of the Letters^ 
particularly those of Hume. The sincerity and cordiaHty 
with which he interests himself about the writings, and 
rejoices in the success of a contemporary and rival his- 
torian, do him the greatest honour. If Dugald Stew- 

* Traith de Ldgisiaiion Cwite et Penate, which was shortly after- 
wards published at Paris. 

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art's book be a good criterion by which to judge of the 
spirit which at present prevails at Edinburgh, it must be 
more intolerant than ever. Our friend thinks it neces- 
sary, upon most of the subjects which he incidentally 
mentions, to say that he would not be understood to adopt 
the opinions which he relates; and he has carried his 
caution so far as to suppress some letters, which were ex- 
tremely characteristic of the writers of them, because he 
thought they might scandalize his pious and loyal coun- 
trymen. Amongst others, one that I have seen, in which 
Hume, after reproaching Robertson for speaking without 
disapprobation of some enormities which were committed 
by the Scotch Reformers, concludes with saying, "But 
I see you are a good Christian and a Whig, and I am 
therefore your very humble servant, David Hume." 

I have read with very great pleasure the papers you left 
with me ; they are extremely interesting, and seem to me 
new, though I believe that there is very little in them that 
I had not heard from you in conversation. 
Ever and most sincerely yours, 

Saml. Romillt. 

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Aug. 90, 1802. Left London on a journey to Paris. 

Sept, 3. We passed through Abbeville, where we found 
most of the large houses shut up, and the streets full of 
beggars. The cause, we were told, was, that the woollen 
manufactures, which had once flourished .so much at this 
place, were totally ruined. 

Sept 4. Slept at Chantilly. The magnificent castle at 
Chantilly is a heap of ruins, and its beautiful garden has 
been laid waste. The stables, the private apartments in 
which the Prince de Cond6 lived, and a range of buildings 
erected for the Prince's servants, is all that remains of the 
splendid piles of building which once constituted and 
adorned this palace. 

Sept. 5. Arrived at Paris. The rooms which had been 
taken for us were in the Hdtel de Courlande, Place de la 
Concorde, the place once known by the name of Place de 
Louis XV., and afterwards Place de la Revolution. This 
was the spot upon which the unfortunate Louis XVI., 
and afterwards the Queen and Mad*. Elizabeth, suffered 
death ; and where, under the reign of Robespierre, daily 
executions of a number of victims took place before a 
gigantic statue of the Goddess of Liberty which was then 
placed there, and as a sacrifice to whom so many victims 
were offered up. In the last six days before the tenth 
Thermidor, the Revolutionary Tribunal condemned two 
hundred and thirty persons to death. 

During our journey, which was entirely through a corn 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

408 DIARY OF Sept. 

country, we found the land everywhere cultivated ; no 
waste land to be seen; but we saw no pasture and no 
turnips. A number of small new farm-houses have been 
built, and the condition of the middle and lower ranks of 
the people seems to have been much improved. In general, 
they plough with only two horses, which are yoked 
a-breast : and one person alone can, by a long rein, drive 
the horses and plough at the same time. We once saw a 
woman alone ploughing and guiding the horses. 

Sept 6. We went to Passy with Mad*. Gautier. 

Sept 7. Mad*. Gautier procured for me the reading of 
the original manuscript of Dr. Franklin's Life. There are 
only two copies— this, and one which Dr. F. took with a ma- 
chine for coppng letters, and which is in the possession of 
his grandson. Franklin gave the manuscript to M. Vielkrd, 
of Passy, who was guillotined during the revolution. Upon 
his death it came into the hands of his daughter or grand- 
daughter, Mad«. Viellard, who is the present possessor of 
it. It appears evidently to be the first draught written 
by Franklin ; for, in a great many places, the word ori- 
ginally written is erased with a pen, and a word nearly 
synonymous substituted in its place, not over the other, but 
farther on, so as manifestly to show that the correction 
was made at the time of the original composition. The ma- 
nuscript contains a great many additions made upon a very 
wide margin ; but I did not find that a single passage was 
anywhere struck out. Part of the work, but not quite 
half of it, has been translated into French, and from the 
French re-translated into English. The Life comes down 
no lower than to the year 1757. 

Sept. 8. Called on Talleyrand, who received me with 
great politeness. I afterwards called on Le Chevalier, 
Talleyrand's secretary ; in a short conversation I had with 
him, he told me that in his opinion nothing could restore 
good morals and order in the country, but, as he ex- 
pressed, it, *Ha roue et la religion de nos ancStres." He 
knew, he said, that the English did not think so, but we 
knew nothing of the people ; even Fox, with whom he 
bad just had a conversation, knew nothing of them, fbr he 
had said the same thing to him, and Fox bad been shocked 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 4()g 

at the idea of restoring the wheel as a punishment in 

We went to the Mus6e Central dea Arts, where all the 
fine statues and pictures brought from Italy, from the 
Netherlands, and from different parts of France, are col- 
lected together: the Apollo Belvidere, the Laocoon, the 
Dying Gladiator, the Torso, &c. 

We dined at Mad*. Gautier's, at Passy, with Mad*. La- 
voisier, the widow of the famous chemist. 

Sept, 9. Mad*. Lavoisier took us to see a celebrated 
picture of M. Girodet. The subject is Victory intro- 
ducing the shades of Desaix, Dampierre, Marceau, Jou- 
bert, and the other officers who have died in the war, to 
the heroes of Ossian. The execution is, if possible, more 
ridiculous than the subject. All the figures, except 
Victory, and an eagle which is soaring in the sky, are 
plEdnted as if seen through a mist to represent shades. 
The nymphs who attend Osdan are hospitably regaling 
the subordinate heroes, the private soldiers and drummers, 
with the nectar of Ossian's time, good beer, in shells ; and 
some of these manes of drummers and soldiers are repre- 
sented as smoking their pipes, and are such burlesque 
figures, that they might well have a place in Hogarth's 
March to FincJUey. M. Girodet's reason for putting one 
of these figures in his picture I thought a curious one. 
He told us that he had placed him there (a little ugly 
fellow beating a drum and smoking a pipe) to serve as a 
foil to one of his heroes (I think Dampierre), who was 
not much favoured in his person by nature. 

Sept, 10. Gallois breakfasted with us, and afterwards 
accompanied me to the Palais. At the Tribunal Criminel 
I heard part of the trial of a woman accused of having 
stolen some jewels and money belonging to her mistress, 
upon her mistress's death; and of the brother of the 
servant, who was accused of being an accomplice and a 
receiver. The only part of the trial that we heard was 
the speech of the counsel of the prisoners, and the sum- 
ming up of the judge. The summing up was very mas- 
terly; the judge recapitulated and observed upon the 
evidence with great ability, and without the assistance of 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

410 DIARY OF Sept. 

any notes; all his observations were against the pri- 
soners. It seems that it has been found that jaries very 
often acquit the prisoners whom they ought to convict ; 
which may account for the judge's sumjning up stron^y 
against the prisoner. It is said that the frequent acquit- 
t^s prevent witnesses from giving their testimony. They 
foresee that, notwithstanding whatever they may depose, 
the accused will be acquitted, and that by their evidence 
they will only have provoked the vengeance of a despe- 
rate villain, who is shortly to be turned loose upon the 

The juries are required to decide, not upon the single 
question, guilty or not guilty, but upon a series of ques- 
tions unnecessarily numerous. 

In the court in which the criminal tribunal is held are 
the busts of Brutus and of J. J. Rousseau. There are also 
two unoccupied stands for busts, on which were formerly 
placed those of Marat and Le Peletier St. Fargeau. 

I afterwards went to the Tribunal de Cassation^ the 
Tribunal de Premiere Insiance, and the Tribunal de Po- 
lice Correctionnelle. Dined at Mad*. G.'s with CaxniUe 
Jourdan, Portalis, (the son of the minister, and who is to 
go as secretary to General Andr^ossi in his embassy to 
England,) and Girodet. 

Sept. 11. Attended again at the Tribunal Crindnel; 
six men were tried together for forgery. There was no 
jury. The trial by jury for the Crimen faUi, and like- 
wise for the crimes of setting fire to barns of com, &c., 
was taken away by a law made last May, or Florial. Till 
then, crimes of this description were tried by what was 
called a special jury, consisting partly of persons who by 
their profession were most likely to understand the sub- 
ject (a sort of experte). The reasons given for super- 
seding juries, as to these crimes, were, that the crimes had 
become very common, were extremely dangerous to so- 
ciety, and ought to be suppressed without delay. But, 
in truth, all crimes ought to be suppressed as speedily as 
possible, and if the trial by jury does not tend to the due 
execution of justice, and consequently to the prevention 
of crimes, the trial by jury ought to be abolished univer- 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 411 

Bally. The men I saw tried were, according to the last 
law, tried by six judges; their judgment must be unani- 
mous to condemn. 

After every witness was examined, an examination took 
place of the prisoners by the judge^. This would have 
much shocked most Englishmen, who have very super- 
stitious notions of the rights and privileges of the persons 
accused of crimes. It should seem, however, if the great 
object of all trials be to discover the truth, to punish the 
guilty, and to afford security to the innocent, that the 
examination of the accused is the most important and an 
indispensable part of every trial. I observed one ob- 
jection to it, however; which is, that the judges often 
endeavour to show their ability and to gain the admir- 
ation of the audience by their mode of cross-examining 
the prisoners. This necessarily makes them, as it were, 
parties, and gives them an interest to convict. They be- 
come advocates against the prisoners; a prisoner who 
should foil the judge by his mode of answering his ques- 
tions, particularly if by that means he should raise a 
laugh from the audience, would have little chance of 
obtaining a judgment from him in his favour. 

Having heard a sentence of a man who was to be ex- 
ecuted at the Place de Grh>e cried about the streets, I 
walked thither. The scaffold was erected, and the guil- 
lotine ready ; a great crowd of persons were assembled, 
principally women. The ideas which the guillotine must 
awaken in every body's mind naturally render it an 
object of horror : but, independently of those ideas, the 
large slanting axe ; the hole through which the neck of 
the sufferer is placed, smeared round of a different colour, 
and seeming to be yet stained with the blood of former 
malefactors ; the basket placed to receive the head, and 
the large wicker chest in which the body is afterwards 
thrown, render it altogeUier a most hideous instrument 
of death. It seems to answer very well the idea of Mon- 
taigne, who I think somewhere recommends, as the most 
proper public punishments, those which make the strongest 
impression on the spectators, but inflict the least pain 
upon the malefactor. From the Place de Gr^ve I walked 

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412 DIARY OP Sept. 

back towards the Palais; and I there saw the prisoner 
brought out to be led to the place of execution. A small 
party of dragoons attended him : he was placed in a cart, 
his body naked, with a red cloak (or, according to the 
terms of the law, une chemise rouge) tied round his neck 
and hanging loose over his shoulders. He had been con- 
victed of a murder and robbery. 

On all the public buildings at Paris are inscribed the 
words, Unitit Indivtsibiliii de la RSpublique, LibertS, 
EgcUiti, Pratemiti: the words "om la mart'* followed 
in all these inscriptions, but are now effaced ; and in 
some places the words Justice, Humaniti, are substituted 
in their place. Under one of the windows of the Louvre 
an inscription was placed during the reign of Robespierre 
to commemorate that it was from that window that Charles 
IX. fired upon the people. This inscription too is now 
effaced. Upon the Chiteau of the Tuileries, next the 
Place de Carousel, are the marks of the cannon-balls fired 
on the fiunous 10th of August, and over each of those 
marks is an inscription still remaining, 10 Aoikt, 1792. 

We went this morning to the Petits Augusdns, where 
are collected the monuments out of most of the churches 
of France, the remains of the Vandalisme (as it is called) 
which prevailed during the most extravagant times of the 
republic. The inscription upon the monument of LeBrun, 
the famous painter, may give some idea of the folly and 
extravagance of those supposed republicans. The words 
tfi italics have been struck out with a chisel, and the rest 
of the inscription was suffered to remain. ** A la M6moire 
de Charles Le Brun, Ecuyer, Sieur de ThionviHe, premier 
Peintre du Roi, Directeur des Manufactures Royales des 
Gobelins, Directeur Chancelier de VAcadimie Royale de 
Peinture et de Sculpture. Son g6nie vaste et sup6riear le 
mit en peu de temps au-dessus de tous les peintres de son 
siecle. Ce fut lui qui forma la 661dbre Academic de 
Peinture et de Sculpture que Louis le Grand a depuis 
honor6e de sa Royale protection, &c. &c., pour marque 
6temelle de son m6rite. Louis le Grand le fit son premier 
peintre, lui donna des lettres authentiques de noblesse^ et 
la combla de ses bien&its, &c. &c." 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PAAIS. 413 

We dined at home, went afterwards to the Theatre de 
la Rue FeydeaUi and then to Mad^ Lavoisier. We met 
there a party of ahout a dozen persons ; amongst others, 
the Ahb^ Morellet, MM. Suard, Barb6 Marbois, one of 
the ministers (ministre du Tr6sor National), Dupont, Gal- 
lois, Girodet the painter, M. and Mad*, de Souza (formerly- 
Mad*, de Flahault). The conversation was very pleasant, 
and principally literary; not a word of politics: this, 
however, seemed to proceed rather from indifference than 
from caution. 

Sept. 13. I called with Gallois upon the Abb6 Morellet, 
Suard, and Baert We went to the Panorama of Lyons, 
and Mad*. Delhi's manufactory of china, formerly called 
the AngoulSme manufactory, and afterwards to the Prison 
of the Temple. 

Went to the Opera Buffa. " 11 Barbiere di Seviglia." 

Sept 14. Dined at home. Erskine and his son dined 
with us. 

Went after dinner to the Opera, to the first repre- 
sentation of " Tamerlan." We saw there General Moreau, 
Cambac^res, Mad*. Tallien, Mad*. Recamier, &c. &c. We 
were going the next day into the country, and, to give 
our horses some rest, we had a hackney coach brought to 
take us home from the Opera. The consequence of this 
was, that, though we quitted our box before the last dance 
was over, we were obliged to wait till almost everybody 
else was gone before we could get away. Every gentle- 
man's carriage (no matter in what order they stood) had 
precedence over our contemptible hackney coach ; and we 
waited three quarters of an hour while the numerous car- 
riages of the politer part of the audi^ice drove up and 
carried off their company. I could not but think this a 
singular order of police, enforced as it is by dragoons and 
foot-soldiers, in a city where it is impossible to stir a step 
without seeing the word ** Equality" displayed upon some 
public building, or at the corner of a street, in conspicuous 

Sept, 17. On my return from the country I found an in- 
vitation from Talleyrand to dine with him to-day at his house 
at Neuilly. I went there, of course, without Mrs. Romilly. 

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414 DIAKY OF Sept. 

A large company was assembled ; we waited a long time 
for Talleyrand; soon afterwards dinner was announced. 
We sat down about thirty. Among the men were Count 
Cobenzl (the Austrian ambassador), the Danish ambas- 
sador, General Andr^ossi, Admiral Brieux, Roederer, 
Portal (a physician), and about ten or twelve Englishmen, 
particularly Charles Fox, General Fitzpatrick, Lord Hol- 
land, St. John, and Adair. After dinner the company 
very much increased, and amongst those latter visiters 
were General Boumonville and Cardinal Caprara. Tal- 
leyrand received me cddly enough, with the air and 
manner of a great minister^ and not of a man with whom 
I once was intimate. The dinner, and the assemblage 
after dinner, were so grave and solemn, that one might 
have conceived one's self rather at the court of some little 
German prince than in the house of a man of good society 
in Paris. The dinner was one of the most stately and me- 
lancholy banquets I ever was present at. I had the good for- 
tune to sit next to Charles Fox, and to have a good deal of 
conversation with him. But for this circumstance, I should 
have found this dinner a very irksome and unpleasant 
task which I had imposed on jnyself. After dinner, in 
the room in which we took coffee, two young women, 
dressed d FAngloisey and, as it is said, English women, 
walked in and burned incense ; after staying some time 
in one part of the room, they walked to another cor- 
ner, still burning incense, till the whole room was per- 

Sept 18. We went by water to St. Cloud, in the hope 
of being able to see the inside of the castle. Nobody is 
admitted even into the outer court of this place, since it 
has been determined that it is to be the habitation of the 
First Consul, without producing a ticket; and, after 
getting into the first court, the visiter is stopped by every 
sentinel in his way, and ordered to produce his ticket, till 
he gets into the palace. Into this palace, so difficult of 
access, have been transported some of the finest pictures 
of which the gallery of the Louvre has been despoiled, — 
pictures which had long been exhibited there, which the 
public of Paris have been accustomed to admire and to 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 415 

feast their eyes and their vanity upon, as part of the spoil 
won from the nations with which France has heen at war. 
This puhlic property is thus appropriated to adorn the 
private residence of the First Consul, into which the un- 
hallowed feet of the Parisian moh are not suffered to 
penetrate. This, more than anything I have met with, 
proves to me in what scorn Bonaparte holds the opinions 
of the people. He seems to despise their favour ; and, if 
he supplies them with frequent festivals, it is less to gain 
popularity than to occupy and amuse them. 

One can hardly pass through a street in Paris without 
seeing a lottery-office, or meeting fellows offering lottery- 
tickets for sale. The Constituent Assemhly aholished all 
lotteries, as being destructive of the morals of the people. 
Under the Directory they were restored, and they now are 
encouraged and flourish to such a degree that this most 
mischievous temptation to the most ruinous kind of gaming 
is held out unremittingly, and almost in every village, to 
the lowest class of society. Under the old government 
there was only one lottery, which was drawn at Paris ; 
but now there is a lottery by authority of government, not 
only at Paris, but at Lyons, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, and 

Sept, 20. Went to the Exhibition of the Productions of 
the Arts at the Louvre ; afterwards to the Palais, where a 
man and two women were tried for forgery; then to 
Notre-Dame, and lastly to the Cabinet of Mineralogy at 
the Hdtel de la Monnoye. At Notre-Dame all the cru- 
cifixes and statues were removed while public worship 
was prohibited, and the church was called the Temple of 
Reason. In the great choir is a Mosaic pavement, with 
the arms of France, the fleurs-de-lisj and a crown over 
them. This was not removed, but the following inscription 
is engraven upon it : — *' Sous le r^gne des lois, la liberty, 
apres avoir 6cart6 tons les objets qui pouvoient blesser les 
yeux r6publicains, a conserve ce pave par respect pour 
les arts." Dined at home. Gallois and Bentham dined 
with us. In the evening at the Theatre Frangois, Tar- 
tuffe, &c. 

Sept. 21. Went to the Jardin des Plantes with Mad®. 

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415 DIARY OF Sept. 

Gautier, Erskine, and his son. Saw the Cabinet d'Hia- 
toire Naturelle, the Gardens, the Menagerie, and the 
Cabinet of Anatomy of Cuvier, which Cuvier himself 
showed us. Called on the Duchess de la Rochefoucauld. 
Went in the evening to the Th6dtre Fran9ois — Phedre. 
Mile. Duchesnois, a new actress, who has very consider- 
able merit, appeared in the character of Ph6dre : the rest 
very bad. 

Sept 22. Went again to the Louvre to the Exhibition of 
the Productions of the Arts, in the hope of seeing Bonaparte. 
He was there ; and we had an opportunity of seeing him 
very well, he being close to us during a pretty long con- 
versation he had with Mongolfier, who explained to him a 
machine he had exhibited. None of the prints of him are 
very like. He has a mildness, a serenity in his counte- 
nance which is very prepossessing; and none of that 
sternness which is to be found in his pictures. His 
painters seem rather to have wished to make the picture 
of a very extraordinary man than to paint a portrait very 
like him. Went with Bentham to see the hall of the legis- 
lative body, which is built on what was formerly the Palais 
Bourbon. The hall is very beautiful, and admirably 
adapted to a country where the nominal legislature is a 
mere ornament, a toy to amuse the nation with. Went in 
the evening to a meeting of the National Institute — the 
Class of the Sciences : Monge, president ; La Grange, 
La Place, Bertholet, Cuvier, Guyton de Morveaux, Prony, 
&c. A paper read of Aldani, a nephew of Galvani, on 
experiments of Galvanism ; some, on the heads and bodies 
of two men immediately after they had been guillotined. 

Sept 23, I VendSmiaire. Anniversary of the Republic. 
Talleyrand sent me word, by Charles Fox, that I might 
be presented to day to the First Consul, together with 
Erskine, at his levee at the Tuileries. I had been dis- 
gusted at the eagerness with which the English crowded 
to do homage at the new court of a usurper and a tyrant, 
and I made an excuse. 

The Illuminations and Fireworks. — The illuminations at 
the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries were very fine. 
The illuminations of private houses were miserable. In 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 417 

England, the finest part of a public illumination consists 
of the lights in the windows of private houses ; in France, 
it is only in the illumination of public buildings and gar- 
dens that one finds anything to admire. It is a trifling 
circumstance, but it characterizes the two nations. In 
France, almost all great works are undertaken by the 
public ; in England, they are carried on by private pro- 

Sept, 24. Dined at Talleyrand's at Neuilly ;— a solemn 
dinner, like the former, and still more numerous. 

Sept. 26. Dined at Passy with M. Gamier (the trans- 
lator of Adam Smith, and the present prefect of the de- 
partment of the Seine and Oise), Bentham, Dumont, Lord 
Henry Petty, &c. 

Sept. 27. Saw the Hotel of the Invalides with M. 
Treipzac, the architect, who lost a leg and was wounded 
in many places by the explosion of the infernal machine, 
3d Nivose. A-propos of the conspiracy of the 3d Nivose, 
everybody here is firmly persuaded that it was suggested 
and paid for in England. Windham is universally con- 
sidered as the principal macliinator. Bonaparte spoke of 
it to Charles Fox, and was astonished at Charles Fox as- 
suring him that he was fiilly convinced that there was not 
the least ground for the imputation. 

At the Invalides, in the inscriptions under all the pic- 
tures, the word ** Roi" is everywhere effaced, and no- 
thing substituted in its place. *• Maestricht pris par le 
." " Entree du dans la ville," &c. &c. 

Sept. 28. Went to the gallery of the Museum ; met 
West there, who showed us the pictures which are not 
public. The Transfiguration of Raphael ; the demoniac 
and his father, and a figure immediately behind him, were 
left unfinished by Raphael, and were painted by Julio 
Romano. The portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio, by Van- 
dyke, the finest of his portraits. West told us the pictures 
were most judiciously repaired, and that no injury what- 
ever was done to them by repairing them. There is not 
a single picture of Salvator Rosa or of Gaspard Poussin in 
the Gallery. 

Sept. 29. Dined at Madame Lavoisier's, with Dupont, 
VOL. I. 2 b 

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418 DIARY OF Oct 

Baert, Dumont, and Lord Henry Petty. Went after- 
wards with Dumont and Lord H. Petty to Neuilly to 
Talleyrand's. Saw Saint Foix there. 

Oct 1. Went to Versailles ; breakfasted at Little Tri- 
anon ; saw the castle. A miserable collection of pictures, 
all of the French school. 

Oct. 2. Dined at home. Went to the Th6Stre Fran- 
9ois— The Cid : Lafont, in Rodrigue, received great ap- 
plause, but appeared to me to be one of the worst actors J 
ever saw. 

Oct 3. Went to see the houses of Lucien Bonaparte, 
General Murat near Neuilly, and Madame Bonaparte, the 
mother. We could not help contrasting the fresh splen- 
dour and magnificence of the habitations of the present 
reigning femily with the tarnished grandeur and ne- 
glected appearance of Versailles, the palace of the Bour- 
bons in the days of their prosperity, and the ruinous cot- 
tages and temples of the Little Trianon, which the last 
queen had made the principal abode of her pleasures. 

Oct 10. Went to the castle of Meudon and to Bellevue ; 
returned to Passy. The road to St. Cloud at the bottom 
of the garden at Passy was crowded for many hours with 
the carriages of persons going to and returning from the 
levee of the First Consul, or rather of Madame Bonaparte, 
at St Cloud. We dined at Passy, and in the evening 
Matthieu de Montmorency, the ex-constituent, came in. 
He seems unaffected, unassuming, possessed of good sense, 
and of an excellent disposition. 

Oct 12. Went to the Hospice of the Enfans Trouvfe in 
the Faubourg St. Jacques, formerly the Port Royal, and a 
prison during the reign ot terror. 

Oct 13. Went to the National Library. The Professor 
Millin showed us the antiquities, and M. Dacier the 
manuscripts. Among the most curious were, the fiimous 
Virgil from the Vatican Library ; the Terence, which is 
supposed to be of the ninth century, with a commentary 
interlined ; a Latin translation of Josephus on the Egyp- 
tian Papyrus, and written in the running hand of the 
Romans, and said to be of the fourth century, but sup- 
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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 419 

posed by the best critics to be of a later date by two or 
three centuries ; the letters of Henry IV. to his mistress ; 
a most beautiful manuscript of Petrarch, with illumina- 
tions, and a part of Dante in the same manuscript ; another 
manuscript of Dante, with very curious illuminations ; the 
** Heures" of Anne of Brittany, with a great variety of 
plants and insects, beautifully drawn ; the " Heures" of 
Louis XIV. ; the campaign of Louis XIV. ; the original 
manuscript of Telemachus, in the handwriting of F6n61on, 
with many interlineations and corrections, &c. 

Went in the evening to M. Suard's ; met there the Abb6 
Morellet, Lally Tolendal, Camllle Jourdan, &c. 

Oct 14. Left Paris. 

Oct, 19. Got home to Gower Street 

There is at present in France the greatest abundance of 
specie. All payments, except of large sums, are made in 
gold and silver. Gold is scarce as compared with silver, 
but not in a greater degree than it was before the revo- 
lution. If a banker pays a sum in Louis-d'or, he deducts 
three or two sous upon every Louis, although there has 
not been, since the banning of the revolution, any coin- 
age of gold. The principal part, too, of the silver that is 
current consists of crowns of six livres of the old mo- 
narchy. Soon after the first acts of violence which at- 
tended the commencement of the revolution, gold and 
silver coin became extremely scarce ; there was a general 
cry, and almost a universal belief, that the coin had been 
carried into foreign countries, and very strict, but very 
futile, regulations were made to prevent what was thought 
so great an evil. To men of reflection, it was very obvious 
that the only possible cause of a scarcity which was so 
sensible must be the general alarm which had spread 
throughout the country, and which must have induced 
most persons who were possessed of money to bury or con- 
ceal it, as the only resource they could have when their 
other property was gone. The creation of assignats ope- 
rated in the same way, but to such a degree as to make all 
coin disappear. It was obvious to everybody that a time 
would come when assignats would be of no value ; every- 
body therefore who was inclined to save anything saved in 


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420 DIARY OF Oct. 

coin and paid in assignats. If assignats had not been 
created, coin, however scarce, must have continued in 
circulation. A man possessed of coin must have parted 
with some of it, or must have reAised himself the neces- 
saries of life ; and no future evil which he was disposed 
to provide against could be greater than that of starving. 
As soon as the assignats were put an end to, gold and 
silver coin again immediately appeared in the very same 
Louis-d*or and crowns which it was supposed had been 
exported into foreign countries and melted. 

The facility with which the currency of assignats was 
stopped, and the perfect tranquillity which attended that 
operation, is one of the most extraordinary political phe- 
nomena of the revolution. 

Bank-notes of the Cmsse cTEgcompte are current, but 
only for large sums ; the smallest I have seen are for 500 

The only silver coin there has been during the revo- 
lution is of pieces of five francs, which are not very com- 
mon ; there is a coinage of silver and copper mixed, con- 
sisting of pieces of 30 sols and 15 sols ; and a copper 
coinage of pennies ; all of which are very common. Money 
is lent here at an enormous interest, as high, I have been 
told, as 12 per cent, upon good security. Mortgages of 
real estates of the old possessors of them produce an in- 
terest of 10 per cent. ; and Government borrows money at 
10 or 11 per cent., to be repaid in a few months by the 
receipt from the taxes. As long as this lasts, none of their 
great commercial enterprises which the French seem in 
general to expect can possibly take place. What must be 
the trade in which a man can afford to pay 12 per cent. 
for the money he uses in it ? and who that can sit quietly 
at home, dine with his friends, go to the Opera every 
evening, and then to Frescati, and with all this receive 12 
per cent, for his money, will devote his time, undertake 
the trouble, and incur the risk of any trade ? 

It is very curious to consider what France is, to recollect 
what it has been during the last fourteen years, and to 
speculate upon what it is likely to be. A more absolute 
^oa*vr»*;a«, fhau that wWch now exists here France never 

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1802. A JOURNEY TO PARIS. 421 

experienced: Louis XIV. was never so independent of 
public opinion as Bonaparte is : the police was never so 
vigilant or so well organised. There is no freedom of dis- 
cussion ; the press was never so restrained, as at present, 
under Louis XIV. and XV. ; the vigilance of the police in 
this respect was eluded, and books, published in other coun- 
tries, containing very free opinions, were circulated at 
Paris: but that is not the case now. Among other re- 
straints, all English newspapers are prohibited ; and it is 
said that even the foreign Ministers are not permitted to re- 
ceive them by the post. An opinion is entertained, whether 
with or without foundation I do not know, that persons of 
character, and who mix in good society, are spies employed 
by the police, and consequently that a man is hardly safe 
anywhere in uttering his sentiments on public affairs. It 
should seem, however, that few persons have any desire to 
utter them. I have been in several societies in which there 
was certainly the most perfect security, and where politics 
seemed the last subject that anybody wished to talk upon. 
It may seem at first very wonderful by what means Bona- 
parte can maintain so absolute a power. It is not by the 
army ; for if he is popular with the soldiers, it is only with 
those he has commanded : he does not seem, however, to 
have been ever very popular even with them. His cha- 
racter is of that kind which inspires fear much more than 
it conciliates affection. He is not loved by any of the per- 
sons who are about him, not even by the officers who served 
with him ; while Moreau is universally beloved by all who 
have served with him. It is impossible to say that it is by 
the force of public opinion that Bonaparte reigns : there is 
certainly an opinion very universally entertained, highly fa- 
vourable to his talents both as a general and as a politician : 
but he is not popular ; the public have no attachment to 
him ; they do not enjoy his greatness. Bonaparte seems, 
indeed, to despise popularity ; he takes no pains to gain the 
affections of the people. All the public works which he 
sets on foot are calculated to give a high opinion of him- 
self, and to immortalize his name, but not to increase the 
happiness of the people, or to alleviate the sufferings of any 
particular description of them. To increase the beauty and 

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422 DIARY OF (M. 

magnificence of the city, to build new bridges, to bring 
water by a canal to Paris, to collect the finest statues and 
pictures of which conquered nations have been despoiled, 
to encourage and improve the fine arts, are the great ob- 
jects of Bonaparte's ambition in time of peace. That he 
meditates the gaining fresh laurels in war can hardly be 
doubted, if the accounts which one hears of his restless and 
impatient disposition be true. His literary taste may serve 
to give some insight into his character : Ossian is his favour- 
ite author. 

When the Bastille was stormed by the mob of Paris, 
there were not found in it I think more than ^ve or six 
prisoners ; and to those the Bastille served as an hospital 
rather than a prison ; for they were advanced in age and 
without friends.— I am assured that there are, or at least 
very lately were, more than seventy prisoners confined in 
the Temple, the bastille of the present day ; persons of the 
most adverse principles and opinions, some of them violent 
Jacobins, others emigrants and aristocrats. 

As persons of the most opposite opinions are subject to 
persecution, so are they, as indiscriminately, objects of 
favour. Fouch6, who till a few days ago was minister of 
police, and was supposed to have the confidence of Bona- 
parte, was at Nantes one of the most violent revolutionists, 
in the very spirit, it is said, of Carrier. It is reported of 
him that he used at one time to wear in his hat the ear of 
an aristocrat, in the manner of ar national cockade. 

What strikes a foreigner as most extraordinary at Paris 
is that the de8X)0tism which prevails there, and the vexa- 
tious and trifling regulations of the police, are all carried 
on in the name of liberty and equality. It was to establish 
liberty and equality on their true basis, according to Bona- 
parte's own declaration in the legislative assembly at St. 
Cloud, on the 18th Brumcdre^ that he commanded his gre- 
nadiers to charge the assembly with fixed bayonets, and 
obliged most of the members to seek their safety by escaping 
through the windows. Liberty and equality are still 
sounded as high, and displayed in as conspicuous charac- 
ters, as ever. In the front of the Tuileries, one of the most 
magnificent palaces of Europe, the most sumptuously far- 
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1802. A JOUBNEY TO PARIS. 423 

nished, filled with the finest pictures, continaally sur- 
rounded with guards, and inaccessible but to those who are 
connected with the First Consul, who makes it his place of 
residence, is displayed the word EgalitS in large letters. 
You attempt to pass through an open passage, and you are 
rudely stopped by a sentinel, who, with the voice of autho- 
rity, halloos out, ** On nc paase pas par ici." You turn your 
bead, and for your consolation behold inscribed in charac- 
ters which seem indelible— Xt^tfrte. 

And has it been only for this, and in order that a num- 
ber of contractors, of speculators, of persons who have 
abased the military or civil authority they have possessed, 
may enjoy securely their ill-gotten wealth, that rivers of 
blood have been shed, that numbers of individuals, who by 
their talents and acquisitions were the ornaments of one of 
the most enlightened nations in the world, have perished 
on the scaffold, that the most opulent families have been 
reduced to misery and languished out their wretched lives 
in exile? Such an excLunation is very natural. It is, 
however, to all these horrors of the revolution that Bona- 
parte owes his power. If public opinion is not strongly 
expressed in his favour, it is strongly expressed against 
everything in the revolution which has preceded his con- 
sulate. The quiet despotism, which leaves everybody who 
does not wish to meddle with politics (and few at present 
have any such wish) in the full and secure enjoyment of 
their property and of their pleasures, is a sort of paradise, 
compared with the agitation, the perpetual alarms, the 
scenes of infamy and of bloodshed which accompanied the 
pretended liberties of France. 

Bonaparte is said to entertain a very bad opinion of man- 
kind, at least of the nation he governs. In consequence of 
that opinion he distrusts everybody, and does everything 

Almost all the French I have seen entertain a very high 
opinion of Mr. Pitt, and a proportionally mean opinion of 
the English opposition. They admit that Mr. Pitt did not 
carry on the war with great ability, but they think that his 
talents alone saved us from a revolution, such as they have 
themselves experienced. 

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It 18 astonishing how much the French are disposed to 
refine, to account for everything that happens in an extra- 
ordinary way, and to find deep design and contrivance in 
the most simple transactions. There is hardly a French- 
man who is not satisfied that Pitt's conduct with respect to 
the skve-trade was only a trap laid for France, and into 
which she unfortunately fell. I rememher to have heard 
this very thing said in France in 1788, of the measures 
taken in England to procure the abolition of the slave-trade. 
The expedition of Quiberon was, according to this re- 
fined way of thinking, undertaken with no object of suc- 
ceeding in it, but merely to send to their graves all the best 
naval officers that France had to boast of, and who happened 
then to be emigrants and in England ; and in this point of 
view it is considered as a great stroke of policy, and as one 
of the adbievements which prove Pitt's great talents. 


Letter CXIX. 


Norember 2, 1802. 

Anne's two letters from Dover and London will have 
informed you, my dear Mrs. G., of our safe arrival here, 
and of our having found our children perfectly well. The 
contrast between France and England is not greater than 
that between our present mode of existence and that which 
we have lately enjoyed. From a life of gaiety, of seeing 
sights, and of going into company, Anne's is become per* 
fectly domestic, and she sees scarcely any but the faces of 
relations ; and for myself, fiDm a life of complete idleneas, 
I have passed into the midst of great business, and have the 
near prospect of much more. The time, indeed, is so fast 
approaching when I shall hardly have a moment which I 
can call my own, that I am fearAil of suffering this season 
of comparative leisure to pass without thanking you for all 
your kindness to us. We are indeed indebted to you, and 
your most amiable family, for almost all the enjoyment we 
have had at Paris ; but what we have most reason to thank 
you for is, for enabling us to know you so much better than 

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1802. M. DUMONT, ETC. 425 

we had done before. It was necessary to have lived with 
you, to have seen you in your own house, and with your 
own family, to have known all that you have gone through 
and how you have gone through it, to appreciate justly all 
your merit Our friendship and affection for you hardly 
could increase, but at least we have now many additionsd 
motives for them. I can hardly express how much I am 
obliged to you for the memorial of my most excellent friend, 
your husband. I had read the book often, but I have read 
it again with new delight, because it was his ; and I have 
been most sensibly affected by some passages which he had 
marked, and particularly that in which Lselius laments 
the loss of the best of friends in Scipio, and exclaims that, 
although snatched away from him, yet in his memory he 
still lived, and would live for ever ; and that the virtues 
which he loved in him had not perished with that part of 
him which was mortal. It will often be a source to me of 
exquisite though melancholy pleasure. 

I hope to God that a renewal of war is not at hand ; but 
there does not seem much of a friendly disposition either 
in your or our governors. There is no describing to you 
the effect which Bonaparte's proclamation against the Swiss 
has produced in this country. The language of all the 
newspapers, of all parties, has been the same upon it, and 
they certainly only express the indignation which has been 
universally felt here. I hope, however, that our ministers 
are not weak enough to mistake this for a wish on the part 
of the nation to plunge into all the miseries of war ; but I 
will not answer for it. 

We have a work just published here by Paley, entitled 
Natural Theolofry ; which, from an observation you made 
when we were seeing Cuvier's cabinet, I think would afford 
you great pleasure ; and I will send it to you by the first 
opportunity I meet with. It is the only book worth 
noticing which has been published during our absence. 

I am yours, &c. 

S. R. 

d by Google 


Letter CXX. 


Dear Dumont, May 31, 1803. 

It is vain to wait for a moment of leisure ; I may as 
well write to you, therefore, now that I have not an instant 
to spare as at any other time. Anne told you, I believe, 
that there is no mention of you in the third number of the 
Edinburgh Review. I dont think you have any reason to 
be sorry, unless you think it would be of use to your book* 
to have it abused. The editors seem to value themselves 
principally upon their severity, and they have reviewed 
some works seemingly with no other object than to show 
what their powers in this particular line of criticism are. 
They begin their account of Delphine with these words : — 
** This dismal trash has nearly dislocated the jaws of every 
critic among us with gaping." Of Fiev6e's Letters they 
say, " It is some advantage to have this kind of standard of 
pesntnism, to see the utmost extent to which ignorance 
and petulance can go ;" and of Dugald Stewart's Life of Dr. 
Robertson, which, upon the whole, they treat with compara- 
tive indulgence, they say at the conclusion that a Life of 
Robertson is a work yet to be written. There are, however, 
many articles in the last number of g^reat merit, and it is, I 
think, upon the whole, very much superior to the second 

Nothing has been published here since you left us, ex- 
cept a pamphlet, by Lord King, on the Restriction on 
Payments in Specie hy the Bank, which has great merit. 
He has rendered clear and familiar a very obscure and 
difficult subject I suspect that our friend Whishaw has 
contributed something to the merit of the work. 

I suppose you see our newspapers, and that you have 
consequently read the papers which our ministers have 
published as their justification for proceeding to hostilities 

' Traites de Leffislation Civile et Pinah, 

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1803. M. DUMONT. BTC. 427 

against France. The first day's debate which took place 
on the subject of them has not been published, for, owing 
to a new regulation which was made respecting the ad- 
mission of strangers into the gallery, none of the news- 
writers were able to get in. Pitt's speech is universally 
allowed to be one of the finest, if not the very finest, he 
ever made. His influence and authority in the House of 
Commons, shown upon the debate I have just mentioned, 
and still more on the day when Fox moved that the House 
should recommend the Crown to accept the mediation of 
the Emperor of Russia, exceed all belief. The ministry 
seem, in the House of Commons, in comparison with him, 
to be persons of no account. An administration whose 
talents were generally thought so meanly of, or I may say 
who were so universally despised, was never before at the 
head of a great country. There does not seem likely, 
however, to be any great change. It is said that Tierney 
is immediately to be in office, and it seems probable 
enough ; but the king is supposed to object more firmly 
than ever to Pitt's return into administration. 

You wDl have heard, to be sure, before this that Bona- 
parte, under pretence that to make captures at sea before 
a formal declaration of war is contrary to the law of 
nations, has made prisoners of all the English between the 
ages of eighteen and sixty within the French territory. 
Mr. Listen, our ambassador at the Hague, Lord Elgin, 
who was at Paris on his way to London, and Mr. Talbot, 
the secretary of Lord Whitworth, are said to be of the 
number of persons who are not permitted to return to 
England. AH the other Englishmen are made actual pri- 
soners ; the men being sent to the Temple or the Concier- 
gerie, and the women to Fontainebleau. If it had been 
Bonaparte's object to give strength to the British ministry, 
and to make the war universally popular in England, he 
could not have devised a better expedient. 

I have not seen Bentham for a long time ; but I under- 
stand the ministry intend to propose, among other mea- 
sures of finance, a tax on Successions, resembling that 
which he some time ago suggested. This will, no doubt, 
be not a little agreeable to him, and will probably, for a 
time, divert him from his present occupation, which is, 

428 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. Ang. 1803. 

I conjecture, writing on that particular question of the 
Law of Evidence which has lately been discussed in our 
Courts. Ever most sincerely and affectionately yours, 

Saml. Romilly. 

Letter CXXL 


Aogiut 9. 1803. 

The uncommonly warm weather we have had lately 
has made me very much enjoy the cool and refreshing 
evening air at Kensington ; and now and then a vralk by 
moonlight, after passing sometimes nine or ten hours of 
the day in a crowded court of justice. You pity me for 
not passing more of my time in this retreat, and in the 
company of my dear Anne ; and I am not so dull as not to 
perceive the gentle reproof which is concealed under your 
pity. You think that I am sacrificing real and certain 
happiness for an imaginary and uncertain good— that do- 
mestic comfort which I might now enjoy, for riches and