Item of the Day: The Revolution in France (1794)

Full Title: The Revolution in France, Considered in Respect to Its Progess and Effects. By an AMERICAN. [Noah Webster] New-York: (Printed and Published according to an act of Congress) By George Bunce, and Co. No. 64 Wall-Street. M,DCC,XCIV. [1794]



IN the progress of the French Revolution, candid men find much to praise, and much to censure. It is a novel event in the history of nations, and furnishes new subjects of reflection. The end in view is noble; but whether the spirit of party and faction, which divided the National Assembly, sacrificed one part, and gave to the other the sovereign power over the nation, will not deprive the present generations of the blessings of freedom and good government, the objects contended for, is a very interesting question. Equally interesting is it to enquire what will be the effects of the revolution on the agriculture, commerce, and moral character of the French nation. The field of spectulation is new, and the subject curious.

The writer of the following remarks came into society, during the late war with Great-Britain; his heart was very early warmed with a love of liberty; his pen has often advocated her cause. When the revolution in France was announced in America, his heart exulted with joy; he felt nearly the same interest in its success, as he did in the establishement of American Independence. This joy has been much allayed by the sanguinary procedings of the Jacobins, thier atheistical attacks on christianity, and their despicable attention to trifles. He is however candid enough to believe much of the violence of their measures may be attributed to the combination of powers, formed for the most unwarrantable purpose of dictating to an independent nation its form of government. Perhaps other circumstances, not known in this country, may serve to palliate the apparent cruelty of the ruling faction. But there are some proceedings of the present convention, which admit of no excuse but a political insanity; a wild enthusiasm, violent and irregular, which magnifies a mole-hill into a mountain; and mistakes a shadow for a giant.

A just estimate of things, their causes and effects, is always desireable; and it is of infinite consequence to this country, to ascertain the point where our admiration of the French measures should end, and our censure, begin; the point, beyond which an introduction of their principles and practice into this country, will prove dangerous to government, religion and morals.

With this view the following strictures are offered to the American Public. Freedom of discussion is a privilege enjoyed by every citizen; and it is presumed that some degree of severity will be pardoned, when it has truth for its support, and public utility for its object.


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Filed under 1790's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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