previous next

Her Blessed Majesty, the Queen, states in her speech at the opening of the British Parliament, February 8th, that she "remains steadfastly neutral between the contending parties. " This is, of course, the highest, as it is the latest, exposition of British policy. It is not alone the Queen personally that speaks, but the Government, of which she is the mere mouthpiece. We needed not this new assurance of" steadfast neutrality," nor do we see any motive for its "steadfast" reiteration but profound solicitude to avoid the penalty for her "steadfast" influence in promoting and in keeping alive the war on this continent, which it is possible Great Britain may be called upon one day to pay.

Among the many evidences of profound sagacity which Washington, the greatest man that ever lived, gave to the world, was his thorough and abiding distrust of the British Government. It may have suited the policy of those demagogues who assailed his Administration to represent him as a sympathizer with British institutions and ideas, but there never was a more groundless calumny. If he reprobated the aggressions of France upon other States, and was ready to draw his sword in defence of his own country against similar wrongs, no one was more sensible of the debt of gratitude which America owed to France for her powerful aid in the Revolution, and not Jefferson himself was less influenced by English prepossessions.--Lord Brougham, in his eloquent eulogium of the character of Washington, says:

‘ "Towards England, whom he had only known as a tyrant, he never, even in the worst times of French turbulence at home, and injury to foreign States, would unbend from the attitude of distrust and defiance into which the conduct of her sovereign and his Parliament, not unsupported by her people, had forced him, and in which the war had left him.--Nor was there ever, among all the complacent self-delusions with which the fond ancients of national vanity are apt to intoxicate us, one more utterly fantastical than the notion wherewith the politicians of George III.'s school were wont to flatter themselves and beguile their followers, that simply because the Great American would not yield either to the bravadoes of the Republican envoy, or to the fierce democracy of Jefferson, he had, therefore, become weary of republics, and a friend to monarchy and to England. In truth, his devotion to liberty, and his intimate persuasion that it can only be enjoyed under the Republican scheme, constantly gained strength to the end of his truly glorious life; and his steady resolution to hold the balance even between contending extremes at home, as well as to repel any advance from abroad incompatible with perfect independence, was not more dictated by the natural justice of his disposition, and the habitual sobriety of his views, than it sprang from a profound conviction that a commonwealth is most effectually served by the commanding prudence which checks all excesses and guarantees it against the peril that chiefly besets popular governments."

’ The insidious and malevolent policy by which England finally succeeded in the disruption of the American Union, and the "steadfast neutrality" by which she has helped each party to injure the other in this war, demonstrate the profound discernment, and justify the ineradicable antipathies of Washington.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
France (France) (2)
Jefferson City (Missouri, United States) (1)
England (United Kingdom) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George Washington (2)
Jefferson (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: