To William Short June 1, 1790

To William Short June 1, 1790

LONDON, KING STREET NO 31 SOHO,

DEAR SIR:

Mr. Rutledge set off yesterday afternoon for Falmouth to go by the Packet. He received your letter of the 26th, the Contents of which impressed me very much, yet I cannot bring myself to infer the same Consequences from the Tumults as you apprehend, and I think that this, like the affair of Versailles, will serve to confirm the well earned popularity of the Marquis de la Fayette. You say those Mobs may at any time be excited by Money. The Question then is: from whom do the money come? I would sooner, at this moment, suspect that it came from this Court or some Emissaries of theirs than from any Quarter. Any tumult, from any cause, no matter what, serves now the purpose of this Court, for let the cause or the pretence be what it may, the effect is the same. This Court is now what the French Court used to be. It is conducted with Mystery and intrigue. It is maneuvering every where and every how. I find I am not the only one here who has these suspicions, and I am certain there is some cause. Here is a courtly and an aristocratical hatred against the principles of the French Revolution, but besides this, here is another cause which operates more immediately and more universally. It is that of disabling France at this moment from making the necessary naval preparation even for her own security. They, the English, begin to apprehend that if a war break out with Spain, that France will not be so inactive as they had calculated upon.

No news or answer is yet arrived from Spain, but the preparations for war continue as much as ever. They begin to parcel out Peru and Mexico and to send some of the young Cubs to reign over them, and to pay off their National debt out of the Mines. As to the family compact I hold it as nothing, but certain I am that France ought not to permit those Sources of wealth, from which Europe is supplied, to fall into the hands of the English. Such a transfer of property and Dominion would even prolong the bondage of those Countries, and until they assert their own Independence, it is better for themselves and the World, that they remain as they are. There are so many great interests to combine France and Spain as Nations, that the Family Compact is not the Question.

France has nothing to do but to equip a Navy. Whatever views the English Court may have it will not send out its Fleet on any distant expedition and leave France mistress of the Channel and all the home Seas. With respect to Navies, they are of a Nature different in their operation to Armies. They are limited to the Sea. They cannot be employed to the purposes of internal despotism. They can neither make nor overturn revolutions. They are Fishes, and though a whale might swallow a Jonah at Sea it could not hurt a pismire at land.

I have written five letters to the Marquis de la Fayette. In the last I enclosed one for you. I have not a line from him, not so much as to inform me if he received them. The first letter I sent was under Cover to Mr Christee of May 4th informing him of what would happen. This was before the Press warrants and the King's message to Parliament. The other letters were sent in M. de la Lucerne's despatches. Be so kind as to show him this letter and let me hear from you by the next opportunity.

Your affectionate friend etc.

THOMAS PAINE.