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[424] the moral existence, and with greedy eagerness
Chap. XLVIII.} 1772. Aug.
catches at every physical enjoyment that can be crowded into declining years. The absolute king of France, now that he was growing old, abandoned himself to dissoluteness, even while he trembled before the unknown future, and dared not hear death named. The Puritans of England, when they used the stone altar as a threshold to the church for every foot to trample on, never so insulted an emblem of the Catholic faith, as did ‘the most Christian King’ of France, when he withdrew an attractive woman from public licentiousness, consecrated her by the sacrament of marriage as the wife of a French nobleman, and then installed her in his own palace as his mistress. In return, she adored royalty and sided against the philosophers. The power which had been snatched from those to whom by the constitution it belonged, was bestowed on her; and, in the country of Montesquieu and Turgot, an abandoned female who pleased the lewd fancies of an intemperate old man, became the symbol and the support of absolute monarchy.

The king of England likewise had no higher ob-

ject than to confirm his authority. The ministers ot Prussia, Austria, and Russia, were signing at St. Petersburg the treaty for the first partition of Poland; he neither questioned its justice nor inquired into its motives. Towards European affairs the British policy, like that of France, was one of inertness and peace. Poland might perish, and one province after another be wrested from the Porte, that Louis the Fifteenth might repose in voluptuous indulgence, and George the Third obtain leisure to reduce America.

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