R. B. McDowell and William B. Todd (eds), The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. 9: I: The Revolutionary War, 1794-1797; II: Ireland

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Source: MS. Draft at Sheffield, Bk 10.2.

This draft is endorsed: French Language of the Pamphlet/Advice to Political writers—Neology— /to Clairfait—to the Emperor/Ececution of Qu. of France/Regicide Peace

We have actually learned the Ideas and principles and almost the language of our Enemies, raised we are resolved to have no Energy on our side. 〈Happily we can〉 pray. I hope your 〈Lord〉 Clairfait's1 dont be misled by false Glory. Respect the Soil of Liberty. Do not sully the land of Freedom with the Feet of your German Slaves. Wurmer2 hold back. Do not penetrate into Alsace! Clairfait avoid Champagne! It is 〈abandond〉 Ground. Tremble at Victories [they will] bring you too near a sovereign peoples for your Enemy. Respect your Natural Masters. You will rouse a Mothers Lair. You will rouse the Tribes of Lions. Would not one imagine that this Pamphlet had appeared from the National press. What is that these are the declamations (composed indeed with a good [deal] of puddle Water) which have been for years the 〈basis of〉 Citizen Barreres3 Reports. In general it would be wise for every practical Statesman or who may be employd one day in 〈Pursuit〉 of Negotiation to religiously abstain from the Press. There are better reasons for this Caution. But there is one point which one would think ought to be absent from the mind of the whole race of us political Pamphleteers if we are actuated by the smallest degree of good intention. We ought never to let it out of our minds that he who publishes any thing on the Sling of a batten must consider the Enemy. What good End does it achieve or indeed 〈cannot〉 it serve to inform the Enemy, that you do not wish your successes to be pushed beyond a certain point.4 That you are afraid if you press him too close that his Enthusiasm will be roused; and that you stand in Terror of the Rescources of that Enthusiasm. That you fee! distressed by a Scarcity of Provision. That the people of England wish for a peace and that you are wonderfully pleased with their pg 687constitution, the fancy of their dresses,1 Their reformation since their Murder of one of their associates—that you date your AErar from that happy murder &c. The French may husband the forced Loan. They have no need of Spies to tell them the nakedness of our Land. Persons affecting zeal for our Government and attachment to our Ministry tell them as much and I trust a great [deal] more than I hope their Emissaries could be able to tell them with any regard to Truth. If this be the way to make war with Spirit or peace with advantage it is a great discovery to me. The last October author gives us a serious List of the Neology of France. I am obliged to confess [that] this enrishment of the Academies Dictionary—the word is equivalent to the Neology and of Reason as well as in discourse. It is in my opinion far more mischievous. If this way of proceeding be either patriotick, or politick, or consistent with the most vulgar common Sense It is as novel in prudence as any of our Scurges can be in any French Vocabulary. Well! I begin at last to feel it. Often the Jacobins have kindly told me that I have been left behind by the Age and am groping about in the appearance of former Centuries. I must confess that I am still groping about in the old State of blindness. It is likely enough, because I have not been, to be courched or to have the films cut from my Eyes either by loss of the 〈Principal〉 or by the moral Language of Mr Thelwall.2

As to the advice 〈fairly〉 given to our Allies to fight in mufflers not to strike our foe in any weak place or seriously vulnerable part. I have this to say; That I shall never propose to such men, as Clairfait from my fireside at Beaconsfield the mode in which he is to make war on the Rhine or the Moselle. I do not forget what Hannibal observed on the old Greek Sophist, who had the good sense to entertain that great Captain with a Lecture on the art of War.3 But leaving the mode to him; I am not afraid, that he would reprimand me with very great Severity if I told him that it would be proper for him to consult his own Genius, seen in the Carrear of his own Glory, to pursue his hostilities in the way his Judgment and experience pointed out to him as the best [course] adopted to the total ruin and 〈…〉 of his Enemy; If he could get pg 688between him and his rescources; to strike a decisive blow at his most vulnerable part. To make it as much offensive as he could and to destroy his actual Strength without any apprehension of the positive effects of an Enthusiasm inspired into a beaten Enemy by his Defeats. This is the instruction I give as a Phamphleteer. I should give no other if I had the honour of being in the Cabinet of Vienna, or the Cabinet of London; and I do not know a Course more potent to damp if that is a Term fit to be thus applied, all martial ardour and to cripple to palsy 〈…〉 the military power of a State as for a Minister to give any other directions to a General. If I had not chosen well my Commander I ought to change him immediately I had him. I ought to 〈…〉 leave him and 〈…〉 of the War. It would be my Business to supply him abundantly with the means of that Energy which I demanded from him; and secondly to support the Enthusiasms of the army by exciting a correspondent Enthusiasm of the Nation that employd it.

Having nothing more to say to the General, I say with as little fear, because with as much respect, and as much goodwill, to the Court which he has the honour to serve; that the present is the last chance of a Successful conflict his Imperial Majesty will1 have with the Regicide System of France.2

If he suffers it to exist, to repair 〈breaches〉 and to consolidate itself with his Enemies within and without the Empire He is undone. The most unchristian Empire of Regicide will unite with the Turk against him not occasionally not accidentally as heretofore; but with a real 〈and established〉 System and by a policy counter conceived by predilection. From that moment the Turks become a new sort of power. These feelings are their [sic] appointed by God as alert Centineals ever watchful for their Safety. From that moment the King of Prussia becomes a far more terrible Enemy; The Emperor will be invested on all pg 689sides. If it be true, and I hope to prove it is a part of the French Revolution made for that purpose to destroy the House of Austria. From that settled purpose there can be no deviation. The imperial House well knows how the Politics the stars of the great orbs have always felt a disturbing power, by means of their Alliances by blood and marriage and that these ties have always modified and often overruled political Systems; and that influence has been sometimes most heavy often salutary; always more or less the means of composing differences among Princes and of preventing Hostilities to run to the full length of their principle. Here is a great cold blooded merely political Empire sprung upon the heart of Europe.1 A power of steady ambition unconnected and incontestable ambition that has nothing of the softness of natural human feeling to distinguish it or to mitigate the austerity of its politicks.2

All that they may offer him by compensation out of the Spoils of others will be so many scources of weakness. Whatever draws him near to them approximating them to him. It is a neighbourhood of his weakness to their Strength; But on all this I shall detail more fully hereafter—if I am not anticipated by the arrival of his imperial Ambassador at the Metropolis of Regicide;3 When a Coach with the Austrian arms, shall a second time drive over the Stones wet with the blood which flowed through the interstices of the Dung Cart in which the pride and honour of the Austrian Race was conveyed with every Circumstance of contumely and scorn to an ignorminious death in Cruelty and barbarity only exceeded by all they made or go thro in every Recruitment and corporeal Suffering.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 François-Sébastien-Charles-Joseph de Croix, Comte de Clerfait (1733–98), Austrian Field Marshal. In 1795, commanding the Austrian forces on the middle Rhine, he defeated Jourdan.
Editor’s Note
2 Dagobert Sigmund, Graff von Würmser (1724–97), Austrian General. Recaptured Mannheim at the close of 1795.
Editor’s Note
3 Barère de Vieuzac (Bertrand), 1755–1841. A member of the National Assembly, the Convention, and the Committee of Public Safety.
Editor’s Note
4 In the margin at this point; 'if the Enemy has to be soothed and softened'
Editor’s Note
1 In the margin at this point: 'There may be points fit enough to be insisted upon in a Cabinet Council by those who are in that unfortunate way of thinking.'
Editor’s Note
3 When Hannibal ('see above, p. 189) was in exile at Ephesus, Phormio, the peripatetic, harangued him for some hours on the duties of a general and the art of war. When Hannibal was asked what he thought of the philosopher he answered 'in not very good Greek, but at any rate candidly, that time and again he had seen many old mad men but never one madder than Phormio'; Cicero, De Oratore, ii. xviii. 74.
Editor’s Note
1 Burke has crossed through 'will' by mistake.
Editor’s Note
2 In the margin at this point Burke has written: 'He ends with an escape. They end with a Triumph. The Enemies of Kings have censured the great to corroborate its 〈…〉 to grow into Strength and Credit to hold out an example of the 〈Effect〉 of Crimes that have torn up humanity by the Roots turned all the principles of 〈…〉 and yet Led to reputation 〈reason〉 and power. He is undone by the sacrilegious effusion of the Blood that runs in their Veins. He blames the Hermage. They who advise them to suppress the feelings natural to men want to cut them off as men. They who advise them against the feelings of Kings mean as Kings to depose them. Natural Sentiments are reason and the highest reason. They supersede and 〈note〉 the 〈very〉 Interests of all men; for what are interests but the means of purveying to our Sentiments and which are by far the largest part of the Necessities of us ail and most of those who stand highest. They who tell Kings they have an Interest against their Dignity, mean to betray both their Dignity and their Interest: A King who is not a person of Dignity in his own Eyes will not be so in the Eyes of any person living. The sentiments of respect must Pray out from the Monarch himself.'
Editor’s Note
1 In the margin at this point: 'Here is art unalliable power, a Power which is not of the family of Europe.'
Editor’s Note
2 In the margin at this point: 'base Traitors'
Editor’s Note
3 In the margin at this point: 'The politicians [Burke has forgotten to cross out 'Mankind'] may give themselves one of nobility and that they have never disparaged themselves by commerce.'
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