Political Peace

Political Peace

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How a question of peace can be discussed without having them in view, I cannot imagine. If you or others see a way out of these difficulties, I am happy. I see, indeed, a fund from whence equivalents will be proposed. I see it, but I cannot just now touch it. It is a question of high moment. It opens another Iliad of woes to Europe.

Such is the time proposed for making A COMMON POLITICAL PEACE; to which no one circumstance is propitious. As to the grand principle of the peace, it is left, as if by common consent, wholly out of the question.

Viewing things in this light, I have frequently sunk into a degree of despondency and dejection hardly to be described; yet out of the profoundest depths of this despair, an impulse, which I have in vain endeavoured to resist, has urged me to raise one feeble cry against this unfortunate coalition which is formed at home, in order to make a coalition with France, subversive of the whole ancient order of the world. No disaster of war, no calamity of season, could ever strike me with half the horror which I felt from what is introduced to us by this junction of parties, under the soothing name of peace. We are apt to speak of a low and pusillanimous spirit as the ordinary cause by which dubious wars terminated in humiliating treaties. It is here the direct contrary. I am perfectly astonished at the boldness of character, at the intrepidity of mind, the firmness of nerve, in those who are able with deliberation to face the perils of Jacobin fraternity.

This fraternity is indeed so terrible in its nature, and in its manifest consequences, that there is no way of quieting our apprehensions about it, but by totally putting it out of sight, by substituting for it, through a sort of periphrasis, something of an ambiguous quality, and describing such a connection under the terms of “THE USUAL RELATIONS OF PEACE AND AMITY.” By this means the proposed fraternity is hustled in the crowd of those treaties, which imply no change in the public law of Europe, and which do not upon system affect the interior condition of nations. It is confounded with those conventions in which matters of dispute among sovereign powers are compromised, by the taking off a duty more or less, by the surrender of a frontier town, or a disputed district, on the one side or the other; by pactions in which the pretensions of families are settled (as by a conveyancer, making family substitutions and successions), without any alterations in the laws, manners, religion, privileges, and customs, of the cities, or territories, which are the subject of such arrangements.

All this body of old conventions, composing the vast and voluminous collection called the corps diplomatique, forms the code or statute law, as the methodised reasonings of the great publicists and jurists form the digest and jurisprudence of the Christian world. In these treasures are to be found the USUAL relations of peace and amity in civilized Europe; and there the relations of ancient France were to be found amongst the rest.

The present system in France is not the ancient France. It is not the ancient France with ordinary ambition and ordinary means. It is not a new power of an old kind. It is a new power of a new species. When such a questionable shape is to be admitted for the first time into the brotherhood of Christendom, it is not a mere matter of idle curiosity to consider how far it is in its nature alliable with the rest, or whether “the relations of peace and amity” with this new state are likely to be of the same nature with the USUAL relations of the states of Europe.


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