« ForrigeFortsett »
interesting: While our humanity is deeply engaged in the cause of the D ffidents, we cannot but lament the fatality by which a great nation is furrounded in its capital by a foreign army; and the fenators of a republic, that was once free and independent, carried off by a military force for a discusfion of their own affairs. This is a fubject, that, notwithstanding the rectitude and integrity of the motives which guided those transactions, affords a full opportunity for the most deep and serious reflection,
Our home affairs have not been deficient in matters-fufficiently interefting. Of these we give fuch an account as we hope will be agreeable to our readers; and have endeavoured to preserve that impartiality, which it will be always fo much our wish to fupport. And it fhall ever be our greatest happiness to have any opportunity of fhewing the grateful fense we entertain of the repeated indulgence which we have fo conftantly experienced from the Public.
General afpect of affairs. Prefent appearances pacific. Some ancient canfes of contention removed. France. Holland. General state of the North. Germany. Italy. Expulfion of the Jefuits from Naples and Parma. The Intereft of the court of Rome declining in Italy. Portugal. Scarcity of corn. Friendly intercourfe fubfifting between the learned.
E obferve, with pleafure, that the event has happily juftified our prognoftication of last year; and that the general tranquillity of Europe is not in any immediate danger of being disturbed. A fpirit of improvement in the arts of peace, in manufactures, commerce, and the elegant embellishments of life, feems to have taken place, for a VOL. X.
while at leaft, of that rage of conqueft, which had for fo many centu ries plunged the different parts of the great European commonwealth into all the calamities of devaftation and war. That martial difpofition, which fo entirely poffeffed the people of thofe ages, was the natural confequence of the hardy bo. dies, the active and intrepid minds, of the western and northern na
It may now appear late to look back to the fubverfion or change of the feudal fyftem, and from thence to derive reasons for prognofticating the approach of a lefs martial age. This change was not indeed immediately productive of fo hap. py an effect. Many, however, of the caufes of ancient quarrels were certainly removed, by the different modifications which that fyftem underwent in most of the countries of Europe. The two laft centuries were (partly through accident, and partly from thofe epidemic paffions, which have been obferved at particular æras to poffefs the minds of great bodies of mankind) fo peculiarly fertile in producing new caufes of diffenfion, that the confequences naturally to be expected from the decline of the feudal go vernment could not be perceived amidft the continual din of fresh difputes. It may be unneceffary to recapitulate thofe caufes of diffenfion; many of them are generally known. Religion, or the pretence to it, had its full fhare amongst them. The uncertain rights of fucceffion in most countries, together with the avidity with which all mankind were feized to grapple at the treasures of the new world, were fuch feeds of contention, as ferved, along with many others, to keep Europe in continual agitation.
Several of the principal of thofe caufes, and, happily, fome of thofe which occafioned the greatest mifchief, are now no more. The vio. lence of religious animofity; that bitterness of zeal, which fet mankind to the deftruction of each
other's bodies, for the falvation of their fouls, is not only worn out, but almoft forgotten. Succeffions, boundaries, and rights of government, are fixed upon a more known and fettled foundation than ever they were before; and commercial nations have difcovered a more fuccefsful and happy method of procuring gold, than by digging it themfelves from the mine, or forcing it from thofe that do.,
Many other fources of contention of a later date, together with fome mistaken notions in politics, which have had their day and done fufficient mifchief, are exhausted. Some juft caufes of contention are alfo removed. The ideas attendseem to be power, ing a balance of at prefent very different from what they have been formerly. The dread of univerfal monarchy appears to be much abated, if not entirely at an end. With regard to England, to our happiness, the caufes of thofe fears which were once fo prevalent, with refpect to the proteftant fucceffion; the danger of rebellions within, or invafions from without, from that cause, are fo entirely vanished, that they only ferve to endear to us our prefent fecurity.
Thefe circumftances feem in fome fort pledges of a greater tranquillity to our pofterity, than we or our ancestors have enjoyed. However, it must be confeffed that all fpeculations of this kind, however plaufible, are in their nature extremely uncertain. The natural inconftancy of mankind, the fport which fortune fegms at fome times to make of every fyftem, destroying in a day, or an hour, the best laid foundations, and trampling the labour of ages, and the wifeft
inftitutions in the duft; all thefe may forbid the hopes of a lafting permanency to any fyftem of tranquillity, let the prefent appearances be ever fo ferent.
It must be admitted that this age feems to have a caufe of contention more particularly its own, and which cannot fail to fupply, in fome degree, thofe which are now by time and change of manners extinguished. The defire of naval power, which at prefent acts fo trongly upon many of the nations in Europe, will generate daily difputes, and must become a fruitful fource of diffenfion. The fpirit of commerce will not be confined to the acquifitions of induftry. The new adventurers in this field will encroach upon the old, while the fame paffion will act as powerfully with the old poffeffors, not to relinquish any of thofe profits which ufually came into their hands, and to which they will think that long prefcription has given them a right. With refpect to other matters, the general ftate of affairs in Eu. rope has fuffered no material change fince the conclufion of our last volume. The fame clofe union and alliance ftill fubfifts between the different branches of the houfe of Bourbon. The friendship and union between that family and the houfe of Austria, is still more closely ce. meated by a marriage between the young king of Naples, and a daughter of the Emprefs Queen. The hopes of this alliance might indeed have been fruftrated in a lefs numerous family, by 15th Oct. the death of the Arch1767. duchefs Maria Jofepha, who was feized with the fmall-pox in a few days after her being married by proxy and
declared Queen of Naples; but upon this occafion' it made no great change, and the young Prince has been fince contracted to her next fifter the Archduchefs Caroline, who is about a year younger.
Unnatural as the prefent friend ship and alliance between those ancient and hereditary enemies, the houfes of Bourbon and Austria, may appear, and dangerous as the effects of it might at first feem to many of their neighbours; it is not perhaps impoffible, but it may contribute to preferve that tranquil. lity, which feemed to be fo much endangered by it. This will appear the lefs problematical, if we reflect on the many wars in which the bickerings and enmity of these two families have engaged for near two centuries the rest of Europe. Neither does this alliance appear fo very formidable to its neighbours, as it might have done in another fituation of things. The great weight which has accumu. lated in the northern balance of late years, may well prevent the fcale from preponderating exceffively in their favour.
It does not at prefent appear, that any of the three powers in queftion are difpofed, or indeed in à condition to disturb the public repofe. France has been long a lofer by her wars, nor do the late trials fhe has made of her ftrength, comparatively with that of her neighbours, give the leaft encou ragement to her feeking for new. The fyftem of Europe is much changed fince thofe victorious days of Lewis the XIVth, when he was fo much the terror of it. Other nations have gained great additional ftrength, whilft France has without question rather lost  2
ground; yet it must be owned, not in fucha degree, but that her great natural refources, and the very valuable and improveable colonies she is still poffeffed of, will always make her very refpectable, if not formidable. At prefent the is loaded with a very heavy debt, which will require length of time, joined with ftrict economy and clofe attention to her finances, to dif charge. Nor will her commerce, though greatly recovered, fuddenly forget the fhocks it received in the laft war. Agriculture has, through a series of mifmanage. ment, been long on the decline in that country; it was the error of the famous Colbert, that he wanted to form the French into a nation of manufacturers, and forgot that agriculture is the principal ftrength of a ftate. The French miniftry, as well as the nation, feem now fully fenfible of this error; and agriculture meets with all that encouragement and attention which it fo juftly merits. It will, however, require length of time, and all the leifure of peace, to bring it to any degree near the perfection to which it is capable of arriving.
Upon the whole it is evident, that nothing can be fo effential to the interest of France, as the continuation of peace; and that they must be the moft pernicious politics, which could at prefent urge it to enter wantonly into a war.
With refpect to England, France feems at prefent to be in a state of perfect good neighbourhood; nor Is there any apparent caufe of quar. rel likely to disturb this harmony. It may not perhaps be quite vifionary to imagine that the violent animofity and national prejudice, which has fo long fubfifted between
the two nations, is in fome degree wearing off; and it is obfervable, that more French of diftinction have visited England fince the laft war, than at any other period fince the English loft their great poffeffions in that country.
The most interefting event which the paft year has produced in Holland, has been the marriage of the Prince Stadtholder with the Princefs Royal of Pruffia. Nothing could be more pleafing to the whole republic than this marriage, nor could any thing happen of a more interefting nature; the public and private rejoicings they made, and the marks of refpect and regard which they fhewed the princefs upon every occafion, fufficiently teftified the fenfe they had of it. By this marriage the com
monwealth has entered into a nearer connection with a great, a powerful, and a neighbouring prince, whofe difpofition, if not a certain friend, was always to be dreaded; and the vicinity of whofe territo ries to thofe of the ftates, would always furnish fufficient matter for altercation, whenever he chose to feek for it. At the fame time this marriage is juttly to be looked upon in a very interefting light with refpect to the Proteftant fyftem in general, and to connect that chain of union which it will always be fo much the common intereft to preferve between the maritime and northern powers, and the Proteftant princes of Germany.
In the north, affairs at prefent wear the most benign afpect. The great difputes in Poland about the Diffidents, which feemed pregnant with fo much danger to the general repofe, are, through the weighty and effectual mediation of the