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For these reasons, our wars with France have al., ways affected us in our most tender interests, and concerned us more than those we have had with any other nation; but, I may venture to say, this kingdom was never yet engaged in a war of so great consequence as that which now lies upon our hands. Our all is at stake, and irretrievably lost, if we fail of success. At other times, if a war ended in a dishonourable peace, or with equal loss, we could comfort ourselves with the hopes of a more favourable juncture, that might set the balance right, or turn it to our advantage. We had still the prospect of forming the same alliance, or, perhaps,' strengthening it with new confederacies, and, by that means, of trying our fortune a second time, in case the injustice or ambition of the enemy forced us into the field. At present, if we make a draw game of it, or procure but moderate advantages, we are in a condition which every British heart must tremble at the thought of. There are no second trials, no wars in reserye, no new schemes of alliance to which we can have recourse. Should the French king be able to bear down such an united force as now makes head against him, at a time when Spain affords him no greater assistance; , what will he do when the trade of the Levant lies at his, mercy; when the whole kingdom of Spain is supplied with his manufactures, and the wealth of the Indies flows into his coffers; and, what is yet worse, when this additional strength must arise, in all its particulars, from a proportionable decay in the states that now make war upon him?. It is no wonder, therefore, that our late king, of glorious memory, who, by the confession of his greatest enemies, was a prince that perfectly understood the interests of Europe, should, in his last speech, recommend to his parliament, the declaring war against France in these memorable words: “ You have yet an opportunity, by God's blessing, to secure to you, and your posterity, the quiet enjoyment of your religion and liberties, if you are not wanting to your
selves, but will exert the ancient vigour of the English nation: but, I tell you plainly, my opinion is, if you do not lay hold on this occasion, you have no reason to hope for another.” · We have already a dreadful proof of the increase of power that accrues to France, from its conjunction with Spain. So expensive a war as that which the French monarchy hath been carrying on in so many and so remote parts at once, must long since, have drained and exhausted all its substance, had there not been several secret springs, that swelled their treasury from time to time, in proportion as the war has sunk it. : The king's coffers have been often reduced to the lowest ebb, but have still been seasonably refreshed by frequent and unexpected supplies from the Spanish America. . We hear, indeed, of the arrival but of very few ships from those parts; but, as in every vessel there is stowage for immense treasures, when the car. go is pune bullion, or merchandise of as great a value; so we find, by experience, they have had such prodigious sums of monęy conveyed to them by these secret channels, that they have been enabled to pay more numerous armies than they ever had on foot before; and that at a time when their trade fails in all its other branches, and is distressd by all the arts and contrivances of their neighbouring nations. During the last four years, by a modest computation, there have been brought into Brest above six millions of pounds sterling in bullion, What, then, shall we suppose would be the effect of this correspondence with America, might the wealth of those parts come to them on squadrons of men of war, and fleets of galleons? If these little by-currents, that creep into the country by stealth, have so great a force, how shall we stem the whole torrent, when it breaks in upon us with its full violence? and this certainly will be our case, unless we find a means to dissolve the union between France and Spain. I have dwelt the longer on this considera, tion, because the present war hath already furnished
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us with the experiment, and sensibly convinced us of the increase of power, which France has received from its intercourse with the Spanish West Indies. ' sida?
As there are many who look upon every thing, which they do not actually see and feel, as bare probability and speculation, I shall only touch on those other reasons of which we have already had some experience, for our preventing this coalition of interests and designs in the two monarchies.; } } in iii * The woollen manufacture is the British strength, the staple commodity and proper growth of our country, if this fails us, our trade and estates must sinki together, and all the cash of the nation be consumed on foreign merchandise. The French, at present, gain very much upon us in this great article of our trade, and, since the accession of the Spanish monarchy, supply with cloth, of their own making, the very best mart we had in Europe. And what a melancholy prospect have we, if ever a peace gives them leave to enrich their manufacture with mixtures of Spanish wool, to multiply the hands employed in it, to improve themselves in all the niceties of the art, and to vend their wares in those places where was the greatest consumption of our woollen works, and the most considerable gain for the British merchant? Notwithstanding our many seasonable recruits from Portugal, and our plantations, we already complain of our want of bullion; and must at last be reduced to the greatest exigencies, if this great source be dried up, and our traffic with Spain continue under its present discouragement.
The trade of the Levant must likewise flourish or decay in our hands, as we are friends or enemies of the Spanish monarchy. The late conquest of Naples will very little alter the case, though Sicily should follow the fate of her sister kingdom. The Straights' mouth is the key of the Levant, and will be always in the possession of those who are kings of Spain. We jhay only add, that the same causes which straiten
the British commerce, will naturally enlarge the French; and that the naval force of either nation will thrive or languish in the same degree as their commerce gathers or loses strength. And if so powerful and populous a nation as that of France become superior to us by sea, our whole is lost, and we are no more a people. The consideration of so narrow a channel betwixt us, of such numbers of regular troops on the enemy's side, of so small a standing force on our own, and that too in a country destitute of all such forts and strong places as might stop the progress of a victorious army, hath something in it so terrifying, that one does not care for setting it in its proper light. Let it not therefore enter into the heart of any one, that hath the least zeal for his religion, or love of liberty, that hath any regard either to the honour or safety of his country, or a well-wisher for his friends or posted rity, to think of a peace with France, till the Spanish monarchy be entirely torn from it, and the house of Bourbon disabled from ever giving the law to Europe. 1; Let us suppose that the French king would grant us the most advantageous terms we can desire; withqut the separation of the two monarchies, they must infallibly, end in our destruction. Should he secure to us all our présent acquisitions; should he add two or three frontier towns to what we have already in Flanders; should he join the kingdoms of Sicily and Sardinia to Milan andi Naples; should he leave King Charles in the peaceable possession of Catalonia ; should he make over to Great Britain the town and harbour of Cadiz, as well as that of Gibraltar, and at the same time resign his conquests in Portugal: it would all be of no effect towards the common safety of Europe, while the bulk of the Spanish continent and the riches of America remain in the possession of the Bourbon family. s ro ! tu Boccalini, when he weighs the states of Europe in his political balance, after having laid France in one scale, throws Spain into the other, which wanted but very little of being a counterpoise. The Spaniards upon this,' says he began to promise themselves the honour of the balance; reckoning that, if Spain of itself weighed so well, they could not fail of success when the several parts of the monarchy were lumped in the same scale. Their surprise was very great, when, upon the throwing in of Naples, they saw the scale rise, and was greater still when they fộund that Milan and Flanders had the same effect. The truth of it is, that these parts of the Spanish monarchy are rather for ornament than strength. They furnish out vice-royalties for the grandees, and posts of honour for the noble families; but in a time of war are in cumbrances to the main body of the kingdom, and . leave it naked and exposed by the great number of . hands they draw from it to their defence. Should we therefore continue in the possession of what we have already made ourselves masters, with such additions as have been mentioned, we should have little more than the excrescences of the Spanish monarchy. The strength of it will still join itself to France, and grow the closer to it by its disunion from the rest. '-And in this case the advantages which must arise to that peos ple from their intimate alliance with the remaining part of the Spanish dominions, would in a very few years not only repair all the damages they have sustained in the present war, but fill the kingdom with more riches than it hath yet had in its most flourishing periods. .; no -2,8, 4 ;.
The French king hath often entered on several expensive projects, on purpose to dissipate the wealth that is continually gathering in his coffers in times of peace.'. He hath employed immense sums on archiitecture, gardening, water-works, painting, statuary, and the like, to distribute his treasures among his people, as well as to humour his pleasures and his ambition; but if he once engrosses the commerce of the Spanish Indies, whatever quantities of gold and silver stagnate in his private coffers, there will be still