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FrRevol_301-350.indd 6 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER V Ofthe First War Between France and Europe. We need not be surprised that kings and princes never liked the principles ofthe French Revolution. "To be a royalist is my business," said Joseph II. But as the opinion of the people always makes its way into the cabinet of kings, no sovereign in Europe thought ofmaking war on France to oppose the Revolution at its outset, when the object was only to establish a limited monarchy. The progress of knowledge was such in every part of the civilized world that, at that time, as at present, a representative government more or less similar to that ofEngland appeared suitable and just, and that system met with no formidable opponents among either the English or Germans. Burke, from the year 1791, expressed his indignation at the crimes already committed in France, and at the false systems of policy adopted there;1 but those of the aristocratic party on the Continent, who now quote Burke as the enemy of the Revolution, are perhaps not aware that in every page he reproaches the French with not having conformed to the principles of the English constitution. "I recommend to the French," he says, "our constitution; all our happiness arises from it." "Absolute democracy," he adds in another place,* "is no more a legitimate government than absolute monarchy. There is but one opinion in France against absolute monarchy;t it was at its close, it was expiring without agony, and without convulsions; all the dissensions *Burke's Works, vol. iii. p. 179. t Ibid., p. 183. I. For Burke's writings on the French Revolution after 1790, see his Further Reflections on the Revolution in France. 306 FrRevol_301-350.indd 7 3/16/12 1:08 PM CHAPTER v. First War Between France and Europe arose from the quarrel between a despotic democracy, and a government with a balance of power." If the majority ofEurope in 1789 approved the establishment ofa limited monarchy in France, how then, it may be asked, does it happen that, from the year 1791, all provocations arose from foreign powers? For although France made a hasty declaration of war against Austria in 1792, the foreign powers were, in fact, the first to assume a hostile attitude toward the French, by the convention of Pilnitz and the assemblies at Coblentz .2 The reciprocal recriminations go back to that period. Yet the public opinion ofEurope and the prudence ofAustria would have prevented war, had the Legislative Assembly been moderate. The greatest precision in the knowledge of dates is necessary to judge with impartiality which of the two, France or Europe, was the aggressor. A lapse of six months makes that proper in politics which was not so six months before, and people often confound ideas because they confound dates. The foreign powers did wrong in 1791, in allowing themselves to be drawn into the imprudent measures urged by the emigrants. But after the 1oth ofAugust, 1792, when the throne was overturned, the state ofthings in France became wholly incompatible with social order. Yet, would not this throne have stood, had not Europe threatened France with interfering by force of arms in her domestic concerns, and revolted the pride of an independent nation by imposing laws on it? Fate alone possesses the secret ofsuch suppositions: one thing is indisputable; it is that the convention of Pilnitz was the beginning of the long war ofEurope. The Jacobins3 were as desirous of this war as the emigrants: for both believed that a crisis of some kind or other could alone produce the chances necessary to enable them to triumph.4 2. The Declaration ofPilnitz (August 27, 1791) was signed by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II and King Frederick William II ofPrussia, who expressed their intention to help the king ofFrance in case ofneed. The assemblies at Koblenz were organized by theemigres. 3· A notable exception in this regard was Robespierre. 4· Austria, England, and Prussia followed closely the political developments in France and in 1791 began contemplating the possibility of intervening to support Louis XVI and restore order. The actual war began in April 1792, when France declared war on Austria; Prussia joined the Austrian side a few weeks later and invaded France in July. The battle JOJ FrRevol_301-350.indd 8 3/16/12 1:08 PM PART III In the beginning of 1792, before the declaration ofwar, Leopold, Emperor ofGermany, one ofthe most...


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