« הקודםהמשך »
has entered upon the present war; and that we may bear with a becoming patience any difficulties or inconveniences its prosecution may bring upon us; and finally, that we may, each in his sphere, contribute to its success, by offering up our daily and earnest prayers to him that ruleth in the heavens, upon whose will the fate of empires entirely depends. Now it must be a noble ground of courage and satisfaction in our present circumstances.
1. That the war we are engaged in is most equitable and just.
II. That the nation with which we war, hath rendered itself obnoxious to the great displeasure of heaven by most unparalleled cruelties; and that seas of innocent blood cry loudly against it,
III. That they trust in idol gods, in fictitious and false protectors; whereas we go forth to battle only in the name of the living and the true God.
I. The war in which we are engaged is most equitable and just.
It was not rashly undertaken : not from a love of conquest, or of military glory; nor an avaricious desire of extending our borders, or of seizing lands or effects which were not our own : a war enterprised from such motives, is no better than public robbery and murder; and 10 beg heaven's blessing upon our arms, when engaged in such designs, is an impious affront, not an honour to the Divine Majesty; it represents him as the patron of violence and fraud.
It must therefore be a mighty satisfaction to every good Briton, that the grounds of the present' war are so unquestionably just. We have not precipitately plunged into it; but have tried all the reasonable methods of argument and persuasion, of patience and forbearance, before we
drew the sword. Great outrages and oppressions, through a course of many years, Spain has prace tised upon us : seizing our ships; interrupting our navigation; violating our trade; plundering us of our treasures ; and treating our fellow subjects with an insolence and barbarity peculiar to that land : and all this, not only in direct violation of the sacred law of nations, and of the common rights of mankind, but in open contempt also of solemn treaties and conventions subsisting betwixt us.
That they have done us great wrongs, them, selves have publicly owned ; and by a late compact, or convention, have obliged themselves to make us restitution for these wrongs. Upon a balance of the account betwixt the two nations, Spain has confessed itself ninety-five thousand pounds in our debt for damages done us; and in the most sacred manner bound itself to pay us this sum, within a certain number of days : the days run up; the money is not paid ; new difficulties are started by ihem ; their depredations are continued ; they obstinately insist upon a right to stop, detain, and search our ships upon the American seas, contrary to that liberly of navigation expressly acknowledged and declared to belong to us by most solenn treaties, particularly that concluded Anno 1670. This now being the case; what remains for us to do? Treaties having no force upon such insolent and faithless men, we are constrained to have recourse to arms. We appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause; and go forth in the name of the God of righteousness and truth.
What that late convention was, which so much engaged the attention of the public, considered in a political light, whether it was a safe and a prudent measure or not, I presume not to say: but viewing it in a moral light, every one must own it a very extraordinary occurrence for the justifying and clearing up the grounds of our present war, and putting its equity beyond all possible doubt. The war might indeed have been just, had that convention been never made; but its justice could not then have appeared in so strong a light, to all the world, and to us, as now it does. There had, no doubt, been wrongs and irregularities committed on our part, as well as on theirs : and some might have doubted, whether the injuries we had received, were not fully balanced by those we had done? To such, the justice of the war bad not been evident. It cannot therefore but seem a very remarkable circumstance, as if intended by Providence to set the justice of the war in the most indubitable light, that Spain should thus publicly acknowledge itself to have wronged us, and upon the honour and faith of nations promise us a certain sum as a reparation for the wrong done us, to be paid at a set time; and yet openly break their faith ; violate their sacred treaty; and absolutely refuse to pay us what, before the whole world, they had acknowledged to be our due.
This certainly is to be considered as a very extraordinary event, which sets the justice of our cause beyond all possible doubt; and consequent. ly gives us the noblest ground of confidence in the protection of heaven. For our hope of God's help, may be always equal to our conviction of the justice of our cause : if we doubt that our cause is bad, we ought proportionably to doubt of his countenance and favour; but if we are assured, that we have equity and right on our side, we may be also assured, that God will be with us; and that, if we rightly depend on him, he will fight our battles for us, and make us, in
the issue, to triumph over those who unjustly rise up against us.
It is objected indeed on the part of Spain, that 68,000l. was due to it from the South Sea company; and that its minister delivered to ours a paper, in which he declared, that this debt should be considered as part of the 95,000l. payable to Great Britain. But as there is not the least stipulation nor article in that treaty relating to this matter; such an after-declaration made by one party, but the terms of it not admitted nor agreed to by the other, can be of no authentic force. Treaties mutually signed, and confirmed by both parties, are the only authentic rules, or measures of action betwixt kingdoms and states. Forasmuch then, as in a treaty thus mutually executed, Spain had obliged itself to pay us a stipulated sum, it could by po means reverse or annul this obligation by any consequent claim of a sum due
What both parties had confirmed, one could not revoke. But, that this was all collu. sion, and that a scheme was even then concerted with a neighbouring great power to humble and distress us, and to wrest from its some important branches of our trade; what has since happened, will scarce suffer us to doubt.
Next to the justice of our cause, it is
II. A noble ground of confidence that the nation, which thus unrighteously wages war upon us, hath rendered itself obnoxious to the great displeasure of heaven, by most unparalleled cruelties; and that seas of innocent blood cry loudly against it.
Of all the sins men commit against each other, murder seems to be the chief: and with how much the greater torture we take away a person's life, by so much is the guilt of that murder inhanced : and when it is committed upon a person
that is innocent and righteous, yea, and for the sake of his righteousness, and is moreover committed in the name of God, this raises its guilt to the highest possible pitch. Now, that moun. tains of this guilt rest upon unhappy Spain, history fully shews.
Its annals are stained with seas of righteous blood. Upon the professors of all the four principal religions into which the world is divided, it hath committed the most shocking and execrable cruelties ; for the blood of slaughtered Pagans, Mahometans, Jews and christians unite their cry to heaven, and call loud. ly for vengeance upon it.
As for CHRISTIANS, at the time of the reformation, betwixt the years 1550 and 1560, so miglitily did the truth prevail, even in Spain, that had not its progress been stopped by the infernal cruelties of the inquisition, the whole kingdom in a few months had, probably, been overspread with its light. “Some eminent Spanish divines, who were sent by the · Emperor Charles V. and his son Philip, into Germany, England and Flanders, to convert the protestants of those countries to the Roman faith, having by conversing with the reformers, and reading their books, been themselves converted to the catholic (the protestant) religion, returned home full of zeal, to propagate that holy faith through their native country; and being persons both by their exemplary piety, and great learning, extremely well qualified for so blessed a work, their success in it was such, that had not a speedy and full stop been put to their pious labours by the merciless inquisition, the whole kingdom of Spain had in all likelihood been converted to the protestant religion, in less time than any other country had ever been before."
# Gedde's Spanish Martyrology. Pref.