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as our approbation can be of avail, to persevere in exertions, fro,m which both profit and honour are likely to redound to their country.—It is well known, to us, as it is to all who have an extensive acquaintance with the state of American intellect, that if our press is not now prolific of able disquisitions in moral science generally, and especially in politics, the circumstance is not owing to incapacity, but to a %vant of liberal leisure, or more frequently, to a certain inertness and selfl distrust in numbers, who are otherwise qualified to render essential service to the cause of letters.—At this solemn crisis, individuals of this class, are bound by every consideration of patriotism, and of duty, both social and domestic, to repel the suggestions of indolence or self-love, and to make some sacrifices of ease, or incur some slight hazard of reputation, in attempts always laudable, to enlighten the judgment and to improve the taste of their fellow-citizens

We rejoice, therefore, particularly, at the present instance of successful emancipation from the thraldom of apathy and false shame, and cordially thank the writer of this pamphlet for the salutary example he has set; an example which if it were followed even by a small portion of those, who are worthy of treading in his footsteps, would soon prove to the world, in spite of the doctrines maintained in a certain description of our gazettes, and of the " cataracts of declamation" poured* forth in our deliberative assemblies, that we are- far from being universally the idolaters of French despotism, or even generally, what might be inferred from our legislative proceedings,—

—— ton weak to bear

The insupportable fatigue of thought.

While, however, we proffer such testimony as the foregoing-, to the merits of the author of " the Sketch," we do not wish to be understood as concurring in all his doctrines. The leading proposition of his work,—that the French power is destined to be short-lived,—still appears to us extremely questionable; nor do we think the arguments, which he has adduced in its support, by any means conclusive. It is not because we have heretofore maintained the reverse of his opinions, that we are now disposed to combat them; but because we are not yet convinced, and because we consider any hypothesis on this subject, however flattering to the hopes of the good, and mortifying to those of the bad, which is not founded upon clear analogy and fair conjecture, as likely to do more mischief, than can result from the anticipation of the most, probable issue, be that as disastrous as it may.—We will

be credited by our readers when we assert, that we would most joyfully and promptly retract, what we have elsewhere urged concerning the duration of the French power, if we could but be made sensible of the illusion, by which, it is not at all impossible, that our judgments may be hood-winked.— No mathematician could experience more delight, in achieving himself the quadrature of the circle, or discovering the longitude, than we should, in recognizing from any quarter whatever, the demonstrated presumption, that the dark and baleful cloud so long incumbent upon the continent of Europe, is to be dissipated, even within the long and Eventful term of ten or twenty years allowed by our author.

Without meaning to speak profanely, or rhetorically, but rather in the warmth of our zeal for the interests of religion, both natural and revealed, and in the sincerity of our deliberate affection for those of freedom and science, we will venture to add, that we look to the event of the overthrow oi French despotism, as to a second redemption for mankind;— as to the "renovation of a faded world";—as,—when compared with the reverse,—to the commencement of an era, like the millenium of the Apocalypse.—There is something in this idea that kindles all our enthusiasm;—something which, if it were as just as it is exhilirating, would almost reconcile us to the "every day's report of wrong and outrage," of which we may truly say with the poet, that " our soul is sick and our ear is pained."—But the present is not a season for the indulgence of extravagant hopes, and it behoves the provident politician, to weigh well all the probabilities of the case;—to contemplate the question under every phasis.—From the performance of this essential duty, he will not certainly permit himself to be deterred, by the fear of plunging timid minds into abject despair, or by the arrogant and absurd imputations which have been, from time to time, thrown out against those, who venture to exercise their reason dispassionately on this subject.

The object of our author in the first part of his pamphlet, is to exhibit an outline of the origin, genius and effects of the military system of France, and to show from her adherence to this system, as well as from her political history, that she aspires to universal dominion.—In his second section, he undertakes to prove,that the structure of her power,however vast, is even now tottering, and must, in the space of a few years, be totally dismantled.—Before we proceed to notice the reasonings upon which he founds this conjecture, we shall follow him in some of his preliminary details, and lay before our readers a few samples of his manneY.—We would object in the outset, to the mistaken or feigned modesty of the writer, in styling himself " a mere tyro in letters," when the tone of his work bears evidence to the contrary.—We give him credit for habits of liberal research, and for very respectable acquirements in literature, although we are inclined to think, from the tenor of several of his observations, that his reading is not extensive on the subjects, which he undertakes to investigate. He seems, for instance, to think, that an inquiry into the sudden and portentous increase of the power of France, would be something novel at this time, whereas the subject has been thoroughly discussed by a multitude of able hands, and may be found in its fullest extent, in the writings of Mr. Burke, of Gentz, of Fisher Ames, and of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviewers.—The question too, of the probable duration of that power, has been often agitated; with the view indeed, in almost all cases, of supporting the conclusions which our author himself has adopted.

After some introductory observations of a general nature, he proceeds to give a well written account of the military condition of Europe, in the middle ages, and of the rise, progress, and influence of standing armies.—As preliminary also to an exposition of the present French system of compulsory levies, he traces, with great spirit and force, a succinct history, of the progress both political and military, of the French revolution.

We' must remark here, that there is some inconsistency between the faithful picture which he draws of the condition of Europe, under the feudal system, and the effects he ascribes to the introduction of standing armies.—"The feudal governments," it is said, "were essentially oligarchies of the very worst description; the authority of the prince and the laws were openly set at defiance; the people were oppressed by exactions of every sort; the state was torn in pieces by intestine commotions,"—and yet to "standing armies we are to refer the rapid growth of arbitrary power in Europe; the enormous increase of taxation; to them it is owing that Europe has been converted into an immense intrenched camp, in which nothing is heard but the din of arms; in which nothing is seen but blood, slaughter, and confusion."*—Surely a person so well versed in the history of Europe as we presume our

* We suspect that our author has framed this passage from the 17th C. B. 13, of the Spirit of Laws. Montesquieu, however, inveighs only against the enormous abuse of the system.

author to be, will not contend, that the state of .mankind in that quarter of the globe, after the introduction of standing armies and regular monarchies, was not, under all points of view, infinitely preferable to what it was before?—that the pecuniary burdens imposed upon the people, were not much lighter, when considered in reference to the comparative amount of their resources, and the scope then first given to productive labour;—that the evils of war were not greatly lessened in number, and mitigated in severity?

The almost universal doctrine among the writers, who have treated of the progress of modern civilization, is, that the institution of standing armies was a most efficacious improvement, under the circumstances in which Europe was placed, at the commencement of the reign of Charles the Seventh of France, to whom, by the by» our author attributes much greater ability, and deeper designs, than are to be inferred from the details of his life.* In contributing to the subversion of the feudal system, and to the establishment of orderly government, standing armies were of incalculable service to the advancement of civil liberty. In effecting likewise the exemption of the great proportion of the population of the European states, from the toils and dangers of military service, they not only favoured in an eminent degree, the pursuits of agricultural and commercial industry, but were indispensably preparative, to all the social comforts, the moral refinements, and the liberal arts, which made Europe, before the French revolution, in the glowing and just language of Mr. Burke,— "the most beautiful and august spectacle ever presented to the moral eye, in the long series of ages that have furnished the matter of history."f

What historical truth has here extorted from us on the subject of standing armies, must not be interpreted into a general recommendation of these dangerous auxiliaries—In themselves, they are without doubt serious evils, and to be studiously avoided by every free government^ as long as the public

• The testimony of Bolingbroke may suffice on this point. "Lewis the Eleventh," says this great master of History, "was, according to the) French, the first,' qui mit les Rois hors de page.' Before Lewis came to the crown, the English had been driven out of their possessions in France, by the poor character of Henry the Sixth, the domestic troubles of his reign, and the defection of the house of Burgundy from his alliance, much more than by the ability of Charles the Seventh, who seems to have been neither a greater hero, nor a greater politician than Henry the Sixth, and even then by {he vigor and union of the French nobility in his service-"—Letter VI., on the Study of History.

t Letter to William Elliott, Esq.

exigencies do not imperiously require their aid.—But it is not the less true, that they have been rather the source of benefit than of evil to the continent of Europe, when the effects of the system to which they succeeded are taken into consideration. It is, indeed, problematical whether the infirmities of our nature admitted of any better substitute, and whether so vast a tract of territory, parcelled out into a number of independent states, could, as war is inevitable, have enjoyed any tolerable share of felicity, or reached even the mediocrity of civilization, with a different organization of their physical strength.

Many writers, enlightened and warm advocates of freedom, have advanced, that standing armies regulated in a particular way, and kept within moderate bounds, so far from being dangerous, were rather favourable to liberty.* We have seen that in England for two centuries past, experience has fully verified this doctrine.—The persuasion seems now to have become general throughout this country, that, whatever may be the hazard of the experiment, the United States must at length avail themselves of this species of military force, as a safeguard against external violence. We must confess that, if the number of troops lately decreed to be raised, were effectively thrice what it is now but in mere enactment or speculation; we should entertain no serious apprehensions on this score, for the integrity of our constitution, while the spirit continued to prevail, which we suppose to animate at present the great mass of the nation.—We believe with Bolingbroke that " all standing armies for whatever purpose instituted, or in whatsoever habit clothed, may be made the instruments of faction; but at the same time, that if a spirit of liberty be kept up in a free nation, it will be kept up in the army of that nation, and in this case, though the spirit of faction may do hurt, it cannot accomplish the ruin of the commonwealth."

The observations made in the present pamphlet, on the French revolution, are strikingly just, and for the most part eloquently expressed.—The opinion that the French rulers wantonly provoked the war of 1792 against Austria, is maintained by the writer, in common with almost every other candid and-diligent inquirer into the history of that period.—01 the Jacobin society, he truly says " It was they who raised the storm in which the bark of royalty foundered, and the prosperity of the nation was wrecked; who converted the spirit of

* We refer the reader particularly to Dr. Smith's chapter on the expend of national defence- Wealth of Nations- B. V.

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