A Prognostic of the French Revolution. CHESTERFIELD TO HIS SON.
LondonApril, 13, O. S. 1751.
I Received this moment your letter of the 19th, N. S. with the enclosed pieces relative to the present dispute between the king and the parliament I shall return them by Lord Huntingdon, whom you will soon see at Paris, and who will likewise carry you the piece, which I forgot in making up the packet I sent you by the Spanish Ambassador. The representation of the parliament is very well drawn, suavitor in modo, fortiter in re. They tell the king very respectfully that in a certain case, which they should think it criminal to suppose, they would not obey him. This hath a tendency to, what we call here revolution principles. I do not know what the Lord's anointed, his vicegerent upon earth, divinely appointed by him, and accountable to none but him for his actions, will either think or do, upon these symptoms of reason and good sense, which seem to be breaking out all over France; but this I foresee, that before the end of this century, the trade of both king and priest will not be half so good a one as it has been. Du Clos, in his Reflections, hath observed, and very truly, qu'il y a un germe rasion qui commence â se dêveloper en France. A developpement that must prove fatal to regal and papal pretensions. Prudence may, in many cases recommend an occasional submission to either; but when that ignorance, upon which an implicit faith in both could only be founded, is once re∣moved, God's vicegerent, and Christ's vicar, will only be obeyed and believed, as far as what the one orders, and the other says, is conformable to reason and truth.