תמונות בעמוד

enough to carry on the circulation among his subjects. By this means, in a short space of time, he may heap up greater wealth than all the princes of Europe joined together; and in the present constitution of the world, wealth and power are but different names for the same thing. Let us therefore suppose that, after eight or ten years of peace, he hath a mind to infringe any of his treaties, or invade a neighbouring state; to revive the pretensions of Spain upon Portugal, or attempt . the taking those places which were granted us for our security; what resistance, what opposition can we make to so formidable an enemy? Should the same alliance rise against him that is now in war with him, what could we hope for from it, at a time when the states engaged in it will be comparatively weakened, and the enemy, who is now able to keep them at a stand, will have received so many new accessions of strength ? ! , tit l in'.

. . · But I think it is not to be imagined, that, in such a conjuncture as we here suppose, the same confederates, or any other of equal force, could be prevailed upon to join their arms, and endeavour at the pulling down so exorbitant a power. Some might be brought into his interests by money, others drawn over by fear, and those that are liable to neither of these impressions, might not think their own interest so much concerned as in the present war; or, if any appeared in a disposition to enter into such a confederacy, they might be crushed separately before they could concert measures for their mutual defence.

The keeping together of the present alliance can be ascribed to nothing else but the clear and evident conviction which every member of it is under, that if it should once break without having had its effect, they can never hope for another opportunity of reuniting, or of prevailing by all the joint efforts of such a union. Let us therefore agree on this, ás a fixed rule and an inviolable maxim, never to lay down our arms against France, till we have utterly disjoined her from

the Spanish monarchy. Let this be the first step of a public treaty, the basis of a general peace. 14 ) :

Had the present war indeed run against us, and all our attacks upon the enemy been vain, it might look like a degree of phrensy, or a mixture of obstinacy and despair, to be determined on so impracticable an undertaking. But on the contrary, we have already done a great part of our work, and are come within view of the end that we have been so long driving at. We remain victorious in all the seats of war. In Flanders we have got into our hands several open countries, rich towns, and fortified places. :- We have driven the enemy out of all his alliances, dispossessed Thirn of his strong holds, and ruined his allies in Germany. . We have not only recovered what the beginning of the war had taken from us, but possessed our selyes of the kingdom of Naples, the duchy of Milan, and the avenue of France in Italy. The Spanish war hath given us a haven for our ships, and the inost populous and wealthy province of that kingdom. In short, we have taken all the outlying parts of the Spanish monarchy, and made impressions upon the very heart of it. We have beaten the French from all their advanced, posts in Europe, and driven them into their last intrenchments. One vigorous push on all sides, one general assault will force the enemy to cry out for quarter, and surrender themselves at discretion. - Another Blenheim or Ramilies will make the confederates masters of their own terms, and arbitrators of a peace.

But, notwithstanding the advantages already gained are very considerable, if we pursue them, they will be of no effect, unless we improve them towards the car. rying of our main point. The enemy staggers; if you follow your blow, he falls at your feet; but, if you allow him respite, he will recover his strength, and come upon you with greater fury. We have given him several repeated wounds that have enfeebled him, and brought him low; but they are such as time will heal, unless you take advantage from his present weakness to redouble your attacks upon him. It was a celes brated part in Cæsar's character, and what comes home to our present purpose, that he thought 102 thing at all was done, while any thing remained una done. In short, we have been tugging a great while against the stream, and have almost weathered our point; a stretch or two more will do the work; but if, instead of that, we slacken our arms, and drop our oars, we shall be hurried back in a moment to the place from whence we first set out. it' sņi di After having seen the necessity of an entire separation of the kingdoms of France and Spain, our subject naturally leads us into the consideration of the most proper means for effecting it. ; , ; ; uin :: : We have a great while flattered ourselves with the prospect of reducing France to our own terms by the want of money among the people, and the exigencies of the public treasury; but have been still disappointi ed by the great sums 'imported from America, and the many new expedients which the court hath found out for its relief. A long consumptive war is more likely to break the grand alliance, than disable France from maintaining sufficient armies to oppose it. An arbitrary government will never want money, so long as the people have it; and, so active a people will always have it, whilst they can send what merchandises they please to Mexico and Peru. The French, since their alliance with Spain, keep thirty ships in constant mot tion between the western ports of France and the south seas of America. . The king himself is an adventurer in this traffic, and, besides the share that he receives out of the gains of his subjects, has immense sums that come directly from it into his own hands. .':',1;

We may, further consider, that the French, since their abandoving Bavaria and Italy, have very much retrenched the expence of the war, and lay out among themselves all the money that is consumed in it.- in

Many are of opinion, that the most probable way of bringing France to reason, would be by the making an attempt upon the Spanish West Indies, and by that means to cut off all, communication with this great source of riches, or turn the current of it into our own country. This, I must confess, carries iso promising an appearance, that I would by no means discourage the attempt: but, at the same time, I think it should be a collateral project, rather than our principal design.í Such an undertaking (if well concerted, and put into good hands) would be of infinite advantage to the common cause: but certainly an enterprise, that carries in it the fate of Europe, should not turn upon the uncertainty of winds and waves, and be liable to all the accidents that may befal a naval expedition.

Others there are that have long deceived themselves with the hopes of an insurrection in France, and are therefore for laying out all our strength on a descent, These, I think, do not enough consider the natural love which the gross of mankind have for the consti. tution of their fathers. A man that is not enlightened by travel or reflection, grows as fond of arbitrary power, to which he hath been used from his infancy, as of cold climates or barren.countries, in which he hath been born and bred. . Besides, there is a kind of sluggish resignation, as well as poorness and degeneracy of spirit, in a state of slavery, that we meet with but very few who will be at the pains or danger of recovering themselves out of it; as we find in history. instances of persons, who, after their prisons have been flung open, and their fetters struck off, have chosen rather lo languish in their dungeons, than stake their miserable lives and fortunes upon the success of a revolution. I need not instance the general fate of descents, the difficulty of supplying men and provisions by sea, against an enemy that hath both: at hand, and without which it is impossible to secure those conquests that are often made in the first onsets. of an invasion. For these, and other reasons, I can never approve the nursing up commotions and insurrections in the enemy's country, which, for want of the necessary support, are likely to end in the massacre of our friends and the ruin of their families. .

The only means, therefore, for bringing France to our conditions, and what appears to me, in all human probability, a sure and infallible expedient, is to throw in multitudes, upon them, and overpower them with numbers. Would the confederacy exert itself, as much to annoy the enemy, as they themselves do for their defence, we might bear them down with the weight of our armies, and, in one summer, overset the whole power of France. .:: · The French monarchy is already exhausted of its best and bravest subjects. The flower of the nation is consuined in its wars: the strength of their armies consists, at present, of such as have saved themselves by flight from some or other of the victorious confederates; and the only proper persons to recruit them are but the refuse of those who have been already picked out for the service. Mareschal de Vauban, though infinitely partial in his calculations of the power of France, reckons that the number of its inhabitants was two millions less at the peace of Ryswick than in the beginning of the war that was there concluded : and though that war continued nine years, and this hath as yet lasted but six, yet, considering that their armies are more strong and numerous; that there hath been much more action in the present war; and that their losses sustained in it have been very extraordinary; we may, by a moderate computation, suppose that the present war hath not been less prejudicial than the foregoing one, in the ravage which it has made among the people. There is in France so great a disproportion between the number of -males and females; and among the former, between those who are capable of bearing arms, and such as are too young, sickly," or decrepit for the service, and at the same time such vast numbers of ecclesiastics, secular and religious, who live upon the labours of others, that when the several trades and professions are supplied, you will

« הקודםהמשך »