What do you think of an idea of mine, of offering France a neutrality? that is, to allow her to assist both us and the Americans. I know she would assist only them: but were it not better to connive at her assisting them, without attacking us, than her doing both? A treaty with her would perhaps be followed by one with America. We are sacrificing all the essentials we can recover, for a few words and risking the independence of this country, for the nominal supremacy over America. France seems to leave us time for treating. She made no scruple of begging peace of us in ’63, that she might lie by and recover her advantages. Was not that a wise precedent? Does not she now show that it was? Is not policy the honour of nations? I mean, not morally, but has Europe left itself any other honour? And since it has really left itself no honour, and as little morality, does not the morality of a nation consist in its preserving itself in as much happiness as it can? The invasion of Portugal by Spain in the last war, and the partition of Poland, have abrogated the law Of nations. Kings have left no ties between one another. Their duty to their people is still allowed. He is a good King that preserves his people: and if temporizing answers that end, is it not justifiable? You who are as moral as wise, answer my questions. Grotius is obsolete. Dr. Joseph(310) and Dr. Frederic(311) with four hundred thousand commentators, are reading new lectures—and I should say, thank God, to One another, if the four hundred thousand commentators were not in worse danger than they.(312) Louis XVI. is grown a casuist compared to those partitioners. Well, let us Simple individuals keep our honesty, and bless our stars that we have not armies at our command, lest we should divide kingdoms that are at our biens`eance! What a dreadful thing it is for such a wicked little imp as man to have absolute power!—But I have travelled into Germany, when I meant to talk to you only of England; and it is too late to recall My text. Good night!
(310) The Emperor of Germany.
(311) Frederic ii. King of Prussia.
(312) The Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia having some dispute about Bavaria, brought immense armies into the field, but found their forces so nearly balanced, that neither ventured to attack the other; and the Prussian monarch falling back upon Silesia, the affair was, through the intervention of the Empress of Russia, settled by negotiation, which ended in the peace of Teschen.-E.