again, if he can possibly help it! The new legislators
were pedants, not politicians, when they announced
the equality of all men. We are all born so,
no doubt, abstractedly; and physically capable of
being kept so, were it possible to establish a perfect
government, and give the same education to all men.
But are they so in the present constitution of society,
under a bad government, where most have had no education
at all, but have been debased, brutified, by a long
train and mixture of superstition and oppression, and
witnesses to the luxury and vices of their superiors,
which they could only envy and not enjoy? It
was turning tigers loose; and the degradation of the
nobility pointed out the prey. Could it be expected
that savages so hallooed on to outrage and void of
any notions of reciprocal"duties and obligations, would
fall into a regular system of’ acting as citizens
under the government of reason and justice? It
was tearing all the bonds of society, which the experience
of mankind had taught them were necessary to the mutual
convenience of all; and no provision, no security,
was made for those who were levelled, and who, though
they enjoyed what they had by the old constitution,
were treated, or were exposed to be treated, as criminals.
They have been treated so: several have been
butchered; and the National Assembly dare not avenge
them, as they should lose the favour of the intoxicated
populace. That conduct was senseless, or worse.
With no less folly did they seek to expect that a
vast body of men, more enlightened, at least, than
the gross multitude, would sit down in patience under
persecution and deprivation of all they valued; I
mean the nobility and clergy, who might be stunned,
but Were sure of reviving and of burning with vengeance.
The insult was the greater, as the subsequent conduct
of the National Assembly has proved more shamefully
dishonest, in their paying themselves daily more than
two-thirds of them ever saw perhaps in a month; and
that flagitious self-bestowed stipend, as it is void
of all patriotic integrity, will destroy their power
too; for, if constitution-making is so lucrative a
trade, others will wish to share in the plunder of
their country too; and, even without a civil war,
I am persuaded the present Assembly will neither be
septennial, nor even triennial.
(701) Now first collected.
Is it possible to write to my beloved friends, and
refrain from speaking of my grief for losing you;
though it is but the continuation of what I have felt
ever since I was stunned by your intention Of going
abroad this autumn? Still I will not tire you
With it Often. In happy days I smiled, and called
you my dear wives—now I can only think
on you as darling children of whom I am bereaved!
As such I have loved and do love You; and, charming