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ance of every man who approves of our defign, and may be defirous to promote it, we at the fame time moft earnestly exhort and conjure the true friends of the caufe of reform, to difcourage, and refift to the utmost of their ability, every attempt to fupport it by any other means, than those which the laws permit, and the conftitution warrants. Mistaken zeal is always at the mercy, and too often under the guidance, of real treachery. They who affect most to abhor fedition, are fometimes found at the bottom of it themselves; and inftances are not wanting to prove, that, under the fpecious pretence of ftrengthening the hands of government, a defign may be formed of deftroying the liberty of the prefs, of calling in the military power, and finally annihilating the civil government of the country.

That whereas we have received affurances from numerous and refpectable affociations, in different parts of this united kingdom, of their entire concurrence in our declared views and principles, of their confidence in our integrity and prudence, and of their determination to fupport us, we earnestly hope that thofe affociations, as well as all others, who are friends to the fame caufe, will confine themfelves to the fame diftinct object that we do, and 'co-operate with us on the principles ftated in this and our former declarations. In return, we promise them, that we will exert, and devote our faculties, and our labours, faithfully, honourably, and fteadily, to the great caufe of reform, in which we are engaged and united with them.

In the name and by the order of the fociety, (Signed)


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M. P. in the chair.
Unanimously refolved,

1. That the liberty of the prefs is a right infeparable from the prin ciples of a free government, and effential to the fecurity of the Britifh conftitution.

2. That this liberty confifts in the free difcuffion and examination of the principles of civil government, and of all matters of public opinion.

3. That no writing ought to be confidered as a public libel, and made the fubject of criminal profecution, unlefs fuch writing fhall appear to be published with a defign to excite the people to refift the civil magiftrate, or obftruct the execution of the exifting laws.

4. That fuch publications may become proper objects of profecution; and that the executive government is entrusted with powers amply fufficient for that purpose.

5. That we have therefore feen, with uneafinefs and alarm, the formation of certain focieties, which, under the pretence of fupporting the executive magiftrate, and defending the government against fedition, have held out general terrors against the circulation of writings, which, without defcribing them, they term feditious, and entered into fubfcriptions for the maintenance of profecutions against them :-a proceeding doubtful as to its lega(F 3)


lity, unconstitutional in its principle, oppreffive in its operation, and deftructive to the liberty of the prefs.

6. That such associations have appeared to us the more exceptionable from an attentive obfervation of their proceedings; whilst mutually binding and engaging themfelves to enforce the execution of the laws against feditious libels, they have themselves produced and circulated publications containing doctrines long fince exploded, and which, if admitted, would prove the revolution to have been an act of rebellion, and the title of the reigning family to the throne of thefe kingdoms, to be founded in ufurpation and injuftice.

7. That a fyftem of jealoufy and arbitrary coercion of the people has been at all times dangerous to the stability of the English govern


8. That, anxious to preserve the public peace as connected with public liberty, this meeting confiders it as an indifpenfable duty to warn their fellow fubjects against all proceedings, which appear to be inconfiftent with either, on whatever pretext they may be grounded; we are therefore determined to oppofe, to the utmost of our power, every attempt to prejudice any part of the conftitution, to maintain that which appears to be its beft fecurity, the freedom of the prefs; and to use our endeavours to counteract the effect of meafures which feem calculated to fupprefs that liberal fentiment and manly freedom of difcuffion, which form the life and foul of the British conftitution.

9. That the thanks of this meeting are particularly due to the hon. Thomas Erskine, for his conftitutional defence of the freedom of pinion and the liberty of the prefs,

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At a moment when, for the first time fince the epoch of their liberty, the French people may fee themselves reduced to the neceffity of exercising the terrible right of war, their reprefentatives owe to Europe, to all mankind, an account of the motives which have guided their refolutions, and an explanation of the principles which direct their conduct. The French nation renounces the undertaking of war with the view of making conquefts, and will never employ her forces against the liberty of any ftate.' Such is the text of their conftitution; fuch the facred vow by which they have connected their own happiness with the happiness of every other people; and they will be faithful to them.

But who can confider that as a friendly territory, in which exifts anarchy, waiting only the prospect


of fuccefs, for the moment of attack?

Is it not equivalent to a declaration of war, to give places of ftrength not only to enemies who have already declared, but to confpirators, who have long fince commenced it? Every thing, therefore, compels the powers eftablished by the conftitution for maintaining the peace and safety of the public, to employ force against rebels, who, from the midst of a foreign land, threaten to tear their country in pieces.

The right of nations violated the dignity of the French people infulted-the criminal abufe of the king's name, employed by impoftors, to conceal their difaftrous projects-the diftruft kept up by finifter rumours through the whole empire-the obftacles occafioned by this diftruft to the execution of the laws, and the re-establishment of credit-the means of corruption to delude and feduce the citizens the disquiets which agitate the inhabitants of the frontiers-the evils to which attempts the moft vain and the most speedily repulfed may expose them-the outrages ftill unpunished which they have experienced on the territories where the revolted French find an afylumthe neceffity of not allowing the rebels time to complete their preparations, or rife up more dangerous against their country-fuch are our motives. Never did any exift more juft or more urgent. And in the picture which we have drawn, we have rather foftened than overcharged our injuries. We have no occafion to roufe the indignation of citizens, in order to inflame their courage.

The French nation, however, will never cease to confider as a friendly people, the inhabitants of

the territory occupied by the re. bels, and governed by princes who offer them protection. The peaceful citizens, whofe country their armies may occupy, fhall not be treated by her as enemies, nor even as fubjects. The public force, of which he may become the temporary depofitary, shall not be employed but to fecure their tranquillity, and maintain their laws. Proud of having regained the rights of nature, fhe will never outrage them in other men. Jealous of her independence, determined to bury herself in her own ruins, rather than fuffer laws to be taken from her, or dictated to her, or even an infulting guarantee of thofe fhe has framed for herself; fhe will never infringe the independence of other nations. Her foldiers will behave on a foreign territory as they would on their own, if forced to combat on it. The damages which her troops may involuntarily occafion, fhall be repaired. The afylum which he offers to foreigners fhall not be fhut against the inhabitants of countries whofe princes fhall have forced her to attack them, and they fhall find a fure refuge in her bofom. Faithful to the engagements made in her name, the will fulfil them with a generous exactnefs; but no danger fhall be capable of making her forget, that the foil of France belongs wholly to liberty, and that the laws of equality ought to be univerfal. She will prefent to the world the new fpectacle of a nation truly free, fubmiffive to the laws of juftice amid the ftorms of war, and respecting every where, and on every occafion, toward all men, the rights which are the fame to all.

Peace, which impofture, intrigue, and treafon have banished, will never ceafe to be the first of our (F 4)



wishes. France will take up arms, compelled to do fo, for her fafety and her internal peace; and fhe will be feen to lay them down with joy, the moment she is aflured that there is nothing to fear for that liberty-for that equality, which is now the only element in which Frenchmen can live. She dreads not war, but she loves peace; the feels that he has need of it; and fhe is too confcious of her ftrength to fear making the avowal. When, in requiring other nations to refpect her repofe, he took an eternal engagement not to trouble others, the might have thought, that he deferved to be liftened to; and that this folemn declaration, the pledge of the tranquillity and happiness of other nations, might have merited the affection of the princes who govern them; but fuch of thofe princes as apprehend that France would endeavour to excite internal commotions in other countries, fhall learn, that the cruel right of reprifal, juftified by ufage, but condemned by nature, will not make her refert to the means employed against her own repofe; that he will be juft to thofe who have not been fo to her; that he will every where pay as much refpect to peace as to liberty; and that the men who ftill prefume to call themselves the masters of other men, will have nothing to dread from her, but the influence of her example.

The French nation is free; and, what is more than to be free, fhe has the fentiment of freedom. She is tree; he is armed; fhe can never be reduced to flavery. In vain are her inteftine divifions relied upon: fhe has paffed the dangerous moment of the reformation of her political laws; and fhe is too wife to anticipate the leflon of experience; fhe wifhes

only to maintain her conftitution, and to defend it.

The variance of two powers proceeding from the fame fource, and directed to the fame end, the last hope of our enemies, has vanished at the voice of our country in danger; and the king, by the folemnity of his proceedings, by the frankness of his meafures, fhews to Europe the French nation strong in her means of defence and profperity.

Refigned to the evils which the enemies of the human race, united against her, may make her fuffer, fhe will triumph over them by her patience and her courage; victorious, fhe will feek neither indemnification nor vengeance.

Such are the fentiments of a generous people, which their reprefentatives do themfelves honour in expreffing. Such are the projects of the new political fyftem which they have adopted-to repel force, to refiit oppreffion, to forget all when they have nothing more to fear, and to confider adverfaries, if vanquifhed, as brothers; if reconciled, as friends. These are the wifhes of all the French, and this is the war which they declare against their enemies.


The national affembly may be affured, that I fhall always maintain the dignity of the nation.'

Decree of the National Affembly of France, prefented by a Deputation to the King, Jan. 26, 1792.

The national affembly, confidering that the emperor, by his circular letter of the 25th of December 1791; by a new treaty concluded between him and the king of


Pruffia on the 25th of July 1791, and notified to the diet of Ratisbon on the 6th of December; by his anfwer to the king of the French, on the notification made to him of the acceptance of the constitutional act; and by the official notice of his chancellor of the court and state, dated December 21, 1791, has infringed the treaty of the 1ft of May 1756, endeavoured to excite among divers powers a concert injurious to the fovereignty of the French nation; confidering that the French nation, after having manifefted its refolution not to interfere in the government of any foreign power, has a right to expect for itself a juft reciprocity, of which it will never fuffer any derogation, applauding the firmnefs with which the king of the French has replied to the of ficial notice of the emperor; after having heard the report of the diplomatic committee, decrees as follows:

Art. 1. The king fhall be invited by a meffage to declare to the emperor, that he cannot in future treat with any power, but in the name of the French nation, and in virtue of the powers delegated to him by the constitution.

2. The king fhall be invited to demand of the emperor, whether, as head of the house of Auftria, he intends to live in peace and good understanding with the French nation; or whether he renounces all treaties and conventions directed against the fovereignty, independ ence, and fafety of the nation?

3. The king fhall be invited to declare to the emperor, that in cafe he fhall, before the ift of May next, fail to give full and entire fatisfaction upon all the points above ftated, his filence, as well as every evafive or dilatory answer, will be confidered as a declaration of war,

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I have examined the invitation, in the form of a decree, which you prefented to me on the 25th inftant. You know that by the conftitution it belongs to me alone to entertain political connexions abroad; to conduct negociations; and that the legislative body cannot deliberates on war, but on my formal and neceffary propofition. Undoubtedly, you may require of me to take into confideration whatever interefts the fafety and the dignity of the nation; but the form you have adopted is open to important obfervations. I fhall not enter into them at prefent. The importance of circumftances obliges me to attend more to maintaining the harmony of our fentiments, than to difcuffing my conftitutional rights.

I must therefore acquaint you, that I have demanded of the emperor, more than fifteen days ago, a pofitive explanation on the principal articles which are the object of your invitation. I have obferved toward him the refpect which powers mutually owe to one another. If we are to have war, let us not have to reproach ourselves with having provoked it by any wrong on our part. This certainty alone can aid us to fupport the unavoidable evils it muft bring with it.

I feel that it is glorious for me


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