The evident advantages to Great Britain and its allies from the approaching war: especially in matters of trade. To which is added two curious plans, one of the port and bay of Havana; the other of Porto-Belo
February 2, 1726/7. This Day is Publiſh'd the SECOND EDITION of
The Evident Approach of a WAR; and Something of the Neceſſity of it, in order to Eſtabliſh PEACE, and Preſerve TRADE. Pax Quaeritur Bello. To which is Added, an Exact Plan and Deſcription of the Bay and City of Gibraltar.
If the many Diſappointments which the Spaniards have met with in forming their Deſigns, and the dull Proſpects they have before them in carrying them on, have not prevail'd on them to take better Meaſures, or to act a wiſer Part; but that they will go on, in ſpight, not of Reaſon only, but even of Nature; that very Obſtinacy is an Encouragement to us, who have ſo many Aſſurances of Succeſs in every Branch of the War.
But when the Advantages to our Commerce come to be weighed alſo, and added [Page] to the Advantages of the War, one would be apt to ſay that as the Spaniards ſeem infatuated in the Beginning it; we ſhould all be infatuated, if we did not take hold of the Occaſion.
The Author deſires to capitulate for ſo much Favour, (however otherwiſe diſcouraged,) that as this Tract is written with the ſame ſincere Affection to the publick Intereſt, as well of the Government as of the whole Nation, as the former, it may be accepted in the ſame manner; he earneſtly wiſhes that the Advantages to our Commerce, which ſo evidently offer on the Occaſion of this War, may be embrac'd; that our Trade, which at this Time ſuffers under many other Difficulties, may at leaſt revive upon the Follies of our Enemies, and by thoſe very Steps by which they think to ruin it.
He is alſo ready at any time to diſcloſe ſome remaining Advantages of this War, as they relate to Commerce, which ſeem yet not to be noticed by our Superiors, and to recommend them to Practice, and that without any Proſpect of Intereſt, or Hopes of Reward.
THE EVIDENT Advantages to GREAT BRITAIN, and its ALLIES, from the Approaching WAR.
1. CHAP. I.
That the firſt Scheme of the Spaniards Deſigns might be ſaid
to have ſome Weight in them. That the Diſappointments
they have met with ought to have made them deſpair, and
give over; but that their obſtinate purſuing thoſe broken
Meaſures, notwithſtanding their Diſappointments, makes
them appear Ridiculous and Abſurd.
WHAT has hitherto been ſpoken of the Certainty and Neceſſity of a War, and of its Evident Approach, has been founded upon the Diſcoveries made by the Enemy themſelves, or by the general Knowledge of Things; as the Publick Affairs of Europe had an evident Tendency in their Conſequences to a Rupture. What can't be otherwiſe, muſt be ſo.
It is no great Conceſſion in this Argument, for an Author to ſay he is no Privy-Counſellor, no Secret-Service Man; that he ſees only without Doors, and judges only from what is, to what may be. The Spaniards, and even the Imperialiſts, (who in this Diſcourſe, and for this Occaſion in particular, we call the Enemy) have taken care to act, not as if they deſign'd the Thing ſhould be a Secret, or that they would amuſe the World about it, and that we ſhould be at an Uncertainty in the Queſtion, whether they deſign'd to make a War of it, or no; they ſeem rather to be removing all poſſible Doubts about it from our Thoughts, and making it appear, not that they really intended it, but that it can be no otherwiſe; that the Rubicon was paſt, the Thing determined, and that it could not be avoided.
[Page 2] This made the former Diſcourſe upon this Subject bear the Title of Evident, The Evident Approach, &c. intimating, that the War was Evident and Viſible in its Approach, and that they muſt have ſome Defect in their Underſtanding, who made any longer Doubt of it; that the Parties were as they ſay of Armies, in full March to Engage. Indeed, it ſeems to coſt the Spaniards ſome Pains to obtain a Belief among Mankind, that they were in Earneſt; for ſuch Difficulties offered themſelves in the Thing it ſelf, to the meaneſt and moſt common Obſervation, that it was not eaſy to bring People to believe the Spaniards Weak enough to be in Earneſt, or that they were really entering upon a War (and eſpecially making themſelves Aggreſſors) in which they were as certain to be Loſers, as as they were to be Parties; as certain to be beaten, as to fight, and in which indeed it could (by the Nature of Things) be no otherwiſe.
For this Reaſon, I muſt confeſs it ſeemed a neceſſary Piece of Work, to perſwade the People to believe the Spaniards intended a War, and that therefore That was firſt to be laid down as a Principle, and rendered as Undeniable as all Principles in Matters of Diſpute ought to be; and how could this be done better, than by the concurring Teſtimony of the Enemy themſelves, either declared in plain Words at length, or gathered as the Natural Conſequences of all their Actions?
When I ſay, the Meaning of an Enemy appears from the natural Conſequences of their Actions, I muſt be allowed to argue thus: When I ſee plainly, that a Man reſolves to put ſuch Hardſhips, ſuch Pieces of Injuſtice, and ſuch Affronts upon me, as he has good Reaſon to know I will not and ought not to bear, without the moſt Scandalous Reproach to my Character, the utmoſt Damage and Loſs to my Intereſt, and the utmoſt Danger and Hazard to my Life; and that therefore he knows at the ſame Time, ſuch Uſage of me will force me to reſiſt him, and repel Force with Force; when I ſee him, I ſay, acting in ſuch a Manner, I may (without Injury to him) conclude, That in ſhort he deſigns to Quarrel with me; it is the natural Conſequence of the Thing; the Language of his Behaviour ſpeaks it as plain, as if he ſent me a Challenge, or defy'd me in Words at length.
Thus in Caſe of the Conduct of the ſeveral Powers we are now ſpeaking of: When we ſee them Leaguing and Confederating together, forming a Strength of Intereſts, entering into Secret Engagements, and thoſe Secret Engagements pointed directly and particularly at the Intereſt of Great Britain, at [Page 3] the Perſon, Honour, and Royal Dignity of his Majeſty, as King of Great Britain:
If we ſee them breaking all Faith and Honour, Pledg'd and Engaged in the moſt ſolemn Manner, by eſpouſing that deſpicable Intereſt which they had Renounced, and Promiſed effectually to Abandon and Reject; I mean that of the Pretender, whom they had mutually engag'd not to Aſſiſt or Support in any manner whatſoever; and that thoſe Engagements were entered into in ſuch Termsa as could not be broken without a Violation of Honour, in ſuch a Manner, as few Perſons of ſuch Dignity, in the World, could ever ſatisfie themſelves to be guilty of:
If we ſee them, tho' Crowned Heads, tho' Princes, and Chriſtian Princes, ſtooping ſo far below the Dignity of Crowned Heads, as to encourage Treaſon and Rebellion, ſupporting Subjects in Traiterous Deſigns againſt their Sovereign; which Sovereign, both theſe Crowned Heads had Own'd and Receiv'd in the Quality of Lawful and Rightful; and had Solemnly, and in a particular Manner Engaged, not to diſturb in the Poſſeſſion of his ſaid Lawful and Rightful Government, as above:b
If we ſee them Leaguing and Confederating, for the forming Intereſts deſtructive to the Commerce of theſe Kingdoms; laying open ſuch Branches of Trade as by former Leagues and Conventions were expreſly Limited and Reſtrain'd; Invading the Commerce, which it was expreſly Stipulated ſhould not [Page 4] be invaded, and breaking in upon the Property of a Nation, as well as of particular Perſons in the ſaid Commerce:
If, I ſay, theſe things are evident, and that we know they are ſuch as the Nation of Great Britain will not ſit down ſatisfied with, or, as we may juſtly ſay, cannot but reſent, and that with the utmoſt Indignation; and that the ſaid Enemy muſt know they would be ſo reſented; we muſt conclude them likewiſe in earneſt to quarrel with the People of Great Britain, and to begin a War.
It has not therefore been inſignificant, in Order to convince the People of Great Britain, of the ſtated and ſettled Reſolutions of the ſaid Spaniards and Imperialiſts to inſult and affront his Majeſty, and to bring about a War in Europe, for the carrying thoſe Deſigns and Reſolutions on; I ſay, it has not been inſignificant to thoſe Ends, that Methods have been taken to expoſe the private, and, as I may call them, Clandeſtine Methods of the ſaid Confederating Powers, for the encouraging Treaſon and Rebellion among the King's Subjects, for animating diſaffected Parties, and for forming unjuſtifiable Schemes of Trade, ſuch as muſt neceſſarily end in War and Confuſion.
To prove that the Enemy reſolve to bring the Allies to a Neceſſity of making War in their own Defence, is to prove that a War will neceſſarily be the Conſequence; and in ſuch Caſe, if the Spaniards reſolve to prompt that Neceſſity, 'tis the Spaniards make the War, not the Confederates.
To put things upon us which it is not reaſonable we ſhou'd bear, which no Nation in their Senſes can bear, and which they may depend upon his Majeſty will not bear, or his Allies either, is indeed to begin the War, or at leaſt to declare the War to be inevitable.
It was not therefore ſo remote from the Queſtion in hand to ſay we ſhou'd go to the King of Spain, and to the Emperor, and ask them whether we ſhall have War or Peace; it is for them to anſwer that Queſtion; and their Actions have indeed determin'd it already, they have made the War a thing not only Certain, but, as I ſay, Inevitable; nay they have begun the War by a ſecret clandeſtine Conduct, full of Machinery, full of Secret, and yet Evident Acts of Hoſtility; and by carrying on ſuch Mines and ſubterranean Attacks againſt the Hanover Allies, as they might eaſily know and be ſure thoſe Allies would not bear, and ſuch as indeed they ought not to expect wou'd be born with.
In a Word, all the Conduct of the Hanover Allies has been Pacific, Healing, and viſibly endeavouring to heal and make [Page 5] up the Breaches which have appear'd, and to preſerve a good Underſtanding between the Powers of Europe; on the other hand, all the Conduct of the Enemy has been menacing, provoking, and inſulting; Clouds big with Thunder, tho' empty of Force; Brutum fulmen; Noiſe without a Bolt; Threats without a Hand to execute; pointing, but not pointed. In a Word, They have breathed War on every Occaſion, that if poſſible they might make it neceſſary to the Allies to begin it.
It ſeems they have 'till this time been able to do little more than Urge and Provoke, uſing all the Methods poſſible to ſhow their ill Will, except that of Force; which tho' they have been unable to make much uſe of, they have ſhown evidently, that they intend all that is or ſhall be in their Power, to injure and offend the Hanover Allies, and his Britannick Majeſty in particular, that ſo a War may follow of Courſe.
Not but that this Conſequence may happen much ſooner than they will find for their Advantage, and before they may be thoroughly ready for it; yet it might be very needful to ask upon what particular Foundation they, who are in reality ſo ill able to carry it on, ſeem ſo very haſty for bringing it to paſs? Whether they have not met with ſome Diſappointments ſince they begun thus to ſhow themſelves, and whether thoſe Diſappointments ever made any viſible Alterations in their Schemes, or no?
- 1. 'Tis evident, they had Hopes of obtaining ſome tolerable Conditions for the Preſerving the Eaſt-India Trade, that is to ſay, for upholding the Eaſt-India Company erected at Oſtend; by which Commerce, the Imperial Court depended upon it, a large Revenue would accrue to the Publick, as does by the like Company to the Governments in England, Holland and France.
- 2. 'Tis Evident, they hoped for a mutual Aſſiſtance and Communication between the united Powers of Vienna and Madrid, the one aſſiſting the other with Money, and the other reciprocally ſupplying Powerful Bodies of Troops to carry on an offenſive War. The Imperial Court, I doubt not, depended upon vaſt Supplies of Money in Specie; at leaſt all the ſtipulated Sums, which were very great; by which Money the Imperial Armies, great and numerous already, wou'd be ſtill made [Page 6] greater and more powerful, and the War be carry'd on into the Dominions of the Hanover Allies to great Advantage.
- 3. 'Tis Evident, they hoped to bring off France from its Attachment to the Intereſt of the Allies of Hanover, and particularly from its warm Adherence to all ſuch farther Meaſures as might embarraſs the ſaid Courts of Spain and Vienna in a War with France; believing perhaps, that at the worſt, France would not have come into an offenſive Alliance againſt Spain, and have turn'd its Arms againſt a Branch of the Houſe of Bourben; in which alſo we doubt not they are happily diſappointed.
- 4. It is evident, Spain is particularly under a moſt mortifying Diſappointment, in the Britiſh Squadron blocking up their Plate-Fleet at Porto-Belo, and ſtopping the Returns of thoſe immenſe Sums of Money which ſhould have been brought to Europe by the Galeons and the Flota; which had they come ſafe, had (as they tell us) brought them at one time forty Millions of Pieces of Eight in Specie, which, with the Merchandizes loaded on board thoſe Ships at the ſame time, amounted to above Ten Millions Sterling; which immenſe Sum, tho' much the greater Part of it was the Property of their own Subjects, and of the Subjects of the Allies, as Merchants; yet perhaps the King of Spain might have thought fit, at ſuch a Juncture as that of a War, to have borrowed ſome of, or otherwiſe to have appropriated it to the publick Uſes, for the maintaining the Engagements mentioned above; perhaps however making Satisfaction to the Proprietors by ſome other way▪
I may name ſeveral other Heads of Diſappointment in the firſt Views which the Spaniards had of theſe things, in their Order, and which had they foreſeen, they would perhaps have acted ſomething more warily than they have done, and ſo have given leſs Umbrage to the Allies, or at leaſt ſtopp'd their Hands, 'till they had gotten the Money, upon which all the Reſt ſo much depended, into their Hands.
But I muſt note as I go, that here they have been overſhot in their own Bow: Here the Allies have been too old for them: And now it ſeems they are going on without their Crutches, walking without their Legs, and in a word, making the War without the Money. I return to the Diſappointments.
It is evident, beſides all this, that the Spaniards met with a very great Diſappointment in the Baltick, where we are pretty well aſſured they promiſed themſelves great Aſſiſtance; and from whence we are told they expected a Supply of Naval Strength; which Supply they found as effectually lock'd up in the Port of Revel, as they did the Money (that was to pay for it) in the Haven of Porto-Belo.
[Page 7] The Muſcovites could no more part with their Ships, or cauſe a Squadron of Men of War to ſail without Money, than the Imperialiſts could cauſe their Armies to march without the ſame Supply; and if they (the Spaniards) expected it otherwiſe, if they expected fifteen Sail of Ruſſian Men of War would come to their Aſſiſtance without Money, they were much miſtaken, and acted more like F [...]s than the Spaniards generally uſed to do.
Nor is it leſs wonderful to me, that the Spaniards, who uſed to act in former Days with ſuch conſummate Wiſdom, and by ſuch impenetrable Councils, that it was ſaid of Don Lewis de Haro, he obey'd the Scripture in his Politicks, whatever he did in his Alms, and that he did not let his right Hand know what his left Hand did; that theſe very wary circumſpect Spaniards ſhould let ſo much of their ſecret Service come to light, and act in ſuch an unwary and impolitick Manner, as to have their Meaſures be talk'd publickly of, in the ordinary Converſation at Petersburgh, as I have been inform'd has been the Caſe.
Nothing can excuſe the Folly of it, in my Opinion, unleſs I ſhall with ſome People ſuggeſt, that the Improbability of their Schemes and Chimeras being Succeſsful, ſhould argue they were not at all in earneſt about them: But this has ſo much of the Jacobite in it, and ſo little of the Politician, that I think 'tis ſcarce worth repeating; 'tis much more certain, that the locking up the Muſcovite Fleet was an inexpreſſible Diſappointment to the Spaniards; and that it could not have been, if their Expectations of Help from that Ruſſian Fleet had not been very great.
It is true, under all theſe Diſappointments, and more which I ſhall ſpeak of preſently, it might have been expected the Spaniards and the Imperialiſts, notwithſtanding their Confederacy, ſhould have laid aſide the Deſign it ſelf, and ſhould have carried on the Project no farther; and indeed, this gave Occaſion to my calling the Deſign in general abſurd and ridiculous, ſuppoſing the Spaniards could not be ſo weak as to go on with it, and that if they were in Earneſt before, they could not be ſo now.
But ſince it is ſo, that the Spaniards, or the Imperialiſts, think themſelves ſtill able to carry on their Deſigns, and that they are not ſufficiently diſcourag'd by their Diſappointments, let us then turn the Tables as they do, and talk ſeriouſly of it as a thing really intended. And here, as I ſaid before, tho' the Spaniards are not ſo Conſiderable as to fright us, I hope we may allow that they are not ſo Inconſiderable as not to awaken [Page 8] us. They are certainly ſtrong enough to juſtifie our Preparations, tho' not ſo ſtrong as to fill us with Apprehenſions.
Hence all the Precautions which have been made uſe of by our Government, and by his Majeſty's particular Direction, have been not juſtified only, but are to be eſteem'd as Effects of the moſt wiſe and ſucceſsful Councils imaginable; a Prudence that has had ſomething more than common in it, and which has been the Foundation of all thoſe (happy) Diſappointments to the Enemy: Happy Diſappointments I ſay to us, Unhappy enough to them, and which at this time may be ſaid to compleat the Hiſtory of the Conduct and Succeſs of the Vienna Alliance.
Theſe Precautions and Proviſions, at the ſame time that they have diſappointed the Executions of the Spaniards Deſign, have alſo made the carrying it on farther, abſurd and fooliſh; have really turn'd the Tables upon the Enemy, and made their too-well-concerted Schemes become ridiculous; the Meaſures which, as firſt propoſed among themſelves, appear'd rational and probable, agreeable to a wiſe and prudent Nation, and to the Counſel of able Stateſmen and Miniſters, are by theſe Means become ſcandalouſly vain and imprudent; and we may bleſs the Precaution, I ſay, at the ſame time that we make a Jeſt of the Spaniards Obſtinacy, in carrying on theſe Deſigns, after they were ſo render'd ridiculous.
To juſtifie this Argument, let us return to the firſt Scheme; let us examine the firſt Proſpects upon which they were form'd, the Foundation upon which the Spaniards and the Houſe of Auſtria united, and upon which the Treaty of Vienna was made; and in doing this, we ſhall not perhaps find the Spaniards ſuch weak People as they ſeem to be now: We ſhall find, that 'tis rather their obſtinate perſiſting in their Purſuit of a blaſted Undertaking that renders them ridiculous, than any Abſurdity or incongruous Acting in the firſt Scheme, or in the Foundation thoſe Schemes were built upon.
Had the Spaniards (cloſe in their Councils, and prudent in their Conduct) kept their Affairs within the Compaſs of their own Cabinet, as they formerly uſed to do, and ſecured the Secret in their own Breaſts; Had they been ſo far the Maſters of their own Schemes, as to have ſecur'd the Supports and Supplies they wanted, ſo that they could neither have been kept from a Squadron by blocking up Revel, or from the Galeons by blocking up Porto-Belo;
Had they firſt receiv'd the Support of fifteen Men of War, which is ſaid to be the Number they expected from the Czarina, [Page 9] and the Supply of forty Millions of Pieces of Eight from Porto-Belo; had they brought in the King of Sardinia, and the King of Sweden, and the King of Poland, and the King of [...] and ſeveral other Princes and Powers into the Vienna Treaty, as I make no doubt they at firſt expected, and as they indeed at firſt reported;
Had they brought his moſt Chriſtian Majeſty, and the States-General to a Neutrality, as they ſay they have obtain'd of the King of Portugal, and the Duke of Lorrain, and as I doubt not they earneſtly endeavour'd with the two firſt:
In a word, had all theſe Points been gain'd, and had they met with none of the other Diſappointments already mention'd, I moſt readily grant they had form'd a Body of Power truly terrible and formidable to the Proteſtant Intereſt; and we had had more Reaſon (much more Reaſon) to be alarm'd, and indeed frighted with the Apprehenſions of what might have been the Conſequence of theſe things, than I hope we have had yet, or are like to have now.
But they have been diſappointed in almoſt every Part. Even the Venetians themſelves, tho' a State under infinite Obligations to the Houſe of Auſtria, and to the Crown of Spain, ever ſince the Battel of Lepanto, yet ſo ill have they manag'd, that we do not find they have been able to bring that wiſe People to eſpouſe their Cauſe, or ſo much as to promiſe a Neutrality, or to act as Auxiliars, by Land or by Sea.
This Conſideration however may ſerve to give us the uſeful Reflection mention'd above; (viz.) How Juſt have been the Cautions, and how Prudent have been the Meaſures taken on this Side, (be it by who you will) to dive into theſe Secrets, to detect theſe Contrivances! and, which is ſtill more, how Succeſsful, happily Succeſsful the Diſcovery! How many Ways has it been advantageous, and particularly how uſeful, in having given time for the Preparations of the Hanover Allies; nay, for the forming the Treaty it ſelf; and in having opened the Eyes of other Powers, and bringing Them into it, who ſeem'd doubtful whether they ſhould accede or no!
Again; Of what Uſe has the preventing thoſe things been to us! that from ſuch a formidable Appearance, from ſuch a deep-laid Deſign, that was capable of being made thus terrible, they ſhould be brought to ſo deſpicable, and truly concontemptible [Page 10] a Figure, that 'tis hardly reaſonable to talk of them at the ſame Time, or hardly think of them in the ſame Claſs, or under the ſame Rank.
Had not his Majeſty's penetrating Councils evidently reach'd to the Bottom of all their Deſigns, gotten the Knowledge of their Schemes, and div'd into the Depth of all their moſt conſiderable Projects, None of all theſe preventive Meaſures had been taken, none of theſe preventive Medicines had been made uſe of; the ſeveral miſchievous Things which they had concluded on, had not been calmly countermin'd and unhing'd, or the Contrivers of them been ſo effectually detected and diſappointed, as now they are.
I am far therefore from ſaying, or ſuggeſting, that the Deſigns and Schemes of thoſe Powers had not been capable of great Attempts; that the Naval Power of Spain and Muſcovy join'd, might not have been ſufficient to have brought the Pretender upon the Stage in ſome Part or other, or at leaſt to have given him ſome Expectations, and have put him, and his eaſily deluded Party, in hopes of great things to be done for him that Way: Or that the numerous Armies of the Muſcovites, and the King of Spain, united, with ſuch Allies too as are mentioned, might not have been able to have given us great Uneaſineſs, and to have even endanger'd the Safety of all the Proteſtant Intereſts of Europe, as well as of theſe united Kingdoms of Great Britain.
As then I grant the Danger to have been thus Great, had they gone on uninterrupted; I muſt allow alſo, that the Diſcovery having been thus happy, it behoves us to keep the Hold that is gain'd, to preſerve the Advantages of the Diſcovery, to keep the ſeparated Powers in the ſame ſtate of Separation; to keep up the engag'd Powers to their Engagements, and by all lawful means to preſerve the Conſederacy of the ſeveral Nations that are thus confederated; to cultivate the Union that they are now brought to, and if poſſible to encreaſe it; This I think is the only way to preſerve our Religion and Liberties, our Superiority of Power, and alſo our Commerce, in the Condition it ſtands in at this Time.
Heav'ns be prais'd! the Snare is laid open; the Enchantment is broken; the Plot for the cementing the Powers propoſed is diſcovered: No Application can be too Great, no Charge or Expence ought to be ſpar'd to keep it where it is: and therefore all that his Majeſty has recommended to the Two Houſes of Parliament, for their engaging themſelves vigorouſly in their own Defence, is of ſufficient Weight on that Side: Nor can any one object that the utmoſt Application ought not to be uſed, to render all thoſe Attempts [Page 11] as Abortive, as I think they are now become Ridiculous.
To do this, the proper Steps are taken indeed; the Money is lock'd up, and the Ships are lock'd in; the Spaniards are diſappointed, and nothing remains but ſo to double and redouble the ſame Efforts, as to make thoſe Lockings-up more effectual, and to take from the King of Spain all Hopes of removing thoſe Obſtructions.
I am told, while theſe Sheets were writing, that I write too much with an Air of Contempt, when I mention the Spaniſh Affairs; as if a Squadron of Ships at Porto-Belo could effectually ſtop the whole Channel of Silver, and that not a Ship could eſcape us, that nothing could paſs from America to old Spain without our Leave; and that we are as ſure of intercepting all the Ships that ſhall ſtir out, as if we had them in Tow.
But the Objector is miſtaken: I no where ſuggeſt that the King of Spain ſhall be able to bring no Money home, that we ſhall ſtop it all, ſo that nothing ſhall go by us: But I may venture to ſay, the Britiſh Squadrons, if well poſted, and if the Commanders do their Duty, will ſo narrowly watch the Spaniards, that they muſt run great Hazards, if they attempt to come away with any great Quantity; and that ſuch Hazards, as I am perſwaded the Spaniards will not think fit to venture their Treaſure upon it.
Perhaps it may not be poſſible ſo effectually to ſhut up all the Ports which the Spaniards poſſeſs on the Coaſt of America, or ſo effectually to ply off and on upon all the Coaſt of Old Spain, as that no Ship, not one Ship, ſhall be able to ſlip out on the one hand, or find its way in on the other, without falling into our Hands, or into ſome of the Hands of thoſe that would be willing to ſnap and lay hold on them; and I could fruitfully employ ſome Pages here to ſhow how and which way ſuch things might probably be done, and might more probably be prevented.
But as, in the firſt place, our Governors do not ſeem to want Directions for the preventing it; ſo, on the other hand, I am not Spaniards enough to ſhow the Enemy, if they ſtood in more need of it than they do, how to defeat the Meaſures taken by Great Britain, to meet with and ſurpriſe them.
But to go on. I may grant, that it is not probable the Confederate Fleets or Squadrons, however Vigilant, or how diligently ſoever they may guard the Coaſt, and ſpread the Seas, either on one ſide or the other, ſhould ever be able to ſurpriſe the Spaniards ſo effectually, that not one Ship ſhould be able to come ſafe in.
[Page 12] The Sea is a wide Place, and it muſt be very well ſpread to ſecure every Ship, and lie upon every Point of the Compaſs, ſo that nothing ſhould be able to go by: We ſee here that notwithſtanding Admiral Hoſier's Squadron on the Coaſt of the Iſthmus, and notwithſtanding Admiral Hopſon is cruiſing off of the Southward Cape; yet Fame tells us, that three or four Ships have found their way into the Ports of Spain; and coming by ſuch different Courſes as they have done, it is not at all ſtrange that they ſhould: It is true, we are told they bring no Silver, at leaſt, none that we know of; and had they been all deeply loaden with Silver, it might have been the ſame thing, and no Body to blame neither.
On the other hand, we muſt have exceeding bad Luck indeed, and ſuch as we have no reaſon to expect, conſidering the Numbers of our Ships, and the Vigilance and expert Knowledge of our Seamen, if they ſhou'd go all ſafe, and none of them ſhou'd fall into our Hands; in which Caſe I muſt add, that the Spaniards Treaſure comes in ſuch good round Lumps, and ſuch merry Sums together, that if it ſhou'd be but now and then that a Galeon ſhou'd fall into our Hands, it would make the Fortune of the War go ſmilingly forward on our Side; a few ſuch Prizes might make good a Summer's Service, and help the Government to carry on the War.
How often do we find the Loading of but one Ship amount to four, five or ſix Millions of Pieces of Eight; and if we ſhou'd chance to make ſuch a Ship or two find their way up to Woolwich in a Year, or to' deliver her Loading at Towerwharf, it would go a great way towards carrying on the War, and would be a much better way of raiſing Money, than four Shillings in the Pound upon Land.
This very Conſideration will no doubt exceedingly weigh with the Spaniards in that particular Caſe, viz. as to venturing out with their Silver; I mean not the Loſs only to themſelves, tho' that would be very conſiderable; (and the Diſcouragement and Damage to them in caſe of ſuch a Loſs, is not eaſily deſcrib'd:) But the Encouragement it wou'd be to their Enemies. The Loſs to themſelves would be inexpreſſibly great; eſpecially as they have no other Source of Wealth, no other Fund of Treaſure; all the Produce of their own Dominions is able to do little for them, compar'd to this; and if either the Galeons are kept entirely back, or ſhou'd miſcarry in coming forward, and fall into the Hands of the Hanover Allies, we may, without affronting the Spaniards, ſay they will be but in a ſorry Condition to carry on the War, and to ſupport their new-bought Friends.
[Page 13] But that is not all: The Triumph of their Enemies over them, ſhou'd the Money fall into the Hands of the Hanover Allies, would be infinitely a greater Mortification to Spain, as well to their Pride as their Power, than the Loſs of the Money; for this wou'd be enabling the ſaid Allies to carry on a War againſt Spain at the Spaniards Expence; and this I make no queſtion they ſhall do, though they ſhou'd not take the Treaſure at Sea at all. But of that by it ſelf.
In the mean time we need not fear but we ſhall catch ſome by the way, though it may not come all to Hand: As I ſaid above, we muſt have very bad Luck indeed if none of their Ships fall in our way; and if any are taken, they are generally worth bringing home.
The Probability of this is one of the Reaſons on which it has been ſo openly ſaid, that England may Gain by a War with France, but never Loſes by a War with Spain; of which we ſhall have room to ſay more from a particular Enquiry into our Engliſh Hiſtory, where (unleſs upon taking a Spaniſh Flota, a Vigo Account ſhou'd be given of it, (viz.) where much ſhou'd be loſt, and but little gain'd,) we might find large Sums have been brought into England, taken from the Spaniards on all Occaſions of a War; as particularly at the taking of Cadiz by the Engliſh and Dutch, when it was ſaid that beſides the publick Gain upon redeeming the City, and other Articles; all the Officers and Soldiers got not enough only, but enough to make them rich. But of this again in its Place.
In the mean time, though the Prizes we might take ſhould be but few, yet 'tis not unlikely we may have ſome Share of Booty in ſuch a War, as well private as publick; ſuch as may amount to another Diſappointment to Spain, and that, ſuch a Diſappointment as Spain will not eaſily recover, and of which they may have time enough to repent. And this brings me moſt naturally to the chief Deſign of this Work, (viz.) the Advantages Spain is likely to make of this War which they are ſo forward to engage in: or, to ſpeak plain, the Advantages the Hanover Allies are likely to make of it. In our Enquiry after which, it may be determin'd by the moſt ordinary Judgment, whether I have paſs'd a wrong Cenſure in ſaying that the Conduct of the Spaniards is abſurd and ridiculous, or no.
2. CHAP. II.
Of the Advantages which offer by this War to the
Hanover Allies, and to Great Britain in particular,
as they relate to the Trade of the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies.
THE Neceſſity of a War has been ſpoken to. The Conduct of our Enemies, however ridiculous, as well as the Conduct of Great Britain, however deliberate, concur to make that Neceſſity evident. Let the Spaniards go on, (as the Clarks ſay to a Priſoner who they know will be hang'd,) God ſend them a good Deliverance.
What Pacific Meaſures have they all along purſu'd? what Opportunities of offending have they paſs'd over? nay, what needful Defendings have they ſeem'd to omit? Let us ſee a little into the Nature of all theſe things.
Whether has the Backwardneſs of the Allies to a War been occaſion'd by their Fear of the formidable Power of the Enemy? or, Has it been from a full Perſuaſion that the Enemy having no Advantages in view from the War could not be in earneſt, in all or in any thing they have ſaid or done about it, or at leaſt would remain ſo but a very little while?
But Offenſive War is founded on a firm Belief of Victory and Hope of Conqueſt; it can ſtand upon no other Bottom; and therefore in old Times, entring into War was uſually call'd an Act of Faith, rather than of Hope, being an Opinion, nay a Confidence, of Succeſs; either truſting in Heaven for it from the Juſtice of the Cauſe, or in themſelves from the Strength of their Arms.
[Page 15] But here's a War to be undertaken, with neither Faith in Heaven, or Hope on Earth: Neither a View of Defending, or Hope of Offending. How the Heroes of Spain will come off with the Credit of their Underſtanding, That we ſee nothing of; Time muſt diſcover it.
Since then we cannot ſee any Gain the Spaniards can make of the War, nor any Loſs we can ſuſtain by it; let us ſee what are like to be the Conſequences of it, one way or other. 1. If the Spaniards are not like to Gain, let us enquire, What they are like to Loſe by it; for War is a Game in which the Parties ſeldom draw Stakes, they generally gain much, or loſe much. 2. Since the Allies cannot (with any manner of Reaſon) apprehend much Loſs by the War, let us ſee what Gain may be made by it on their Side.
The Learned in Politicks have an ancient Way of Talking (as old as Queen Elizabeth) about England's making War, which (with a little Amendment) reads thus: ENGLAND may Gain by a War with France, but never Loſes by a War with SPAIN.
'Tis my ſtated Opinion (ſpeaking without National Prejudice) that England is ſo far from being in Danger by a War with Spain, that it would be no Loſs to us if we never had any Peace with them; and I believe we have much more to ſay for a continued War with Spain, than the Spaniards have for a continued War with the Turks and Moors.
'Tis plain (as the Spaniards themſelves ſay) they have carried on the War in Africk, theſe Eighty Years paſt, without Fighting, and a Commerce theſe Hundred Years, without Trading. The Moors have indeed beſieged Ceuta (after their way) for above Forty Years; but the Spaniards ſay, that by the Commiſſary's Account of Ammunition, the Garriſon of Cadiz have ſpent more Powder at the Puntals there in Salutes, than the Garriſon of Ceuta have ſpent in Defending themſelves, during all the Siege; the late particular Expedition of the Marquis de Lede excepted, which was but ſhort.
This Reſolution of Spain, never to enter into any Treaty with the Moors, has been derived from one or both of theſe two following ſimple Cauſes: 1. A religious, rigid Separation, and fiery Zeal againſt Paganiſm, and againſt Mahomet; reſolving that the true Catholick Church ſhould have no Commerce, no Peace, no Communication with the Enemies of Chriſt; the ſame futious Zeal which they have likewiſe carried on againſt the Jews. Or, 2. and which I take to be the truer and more rational Account of it, A haughty Inſolence, founded on the cruel Animoſity of that War, which for ſo [Page 16] many Years was carried on againſt the Moors in Spain, 'till their utter Extirpation; in which War they gave no Quarter, took no Priſoners, not would admit even the Remains of thoſe People (tho' willing to become their Subjects) ſo much as to live among them.
Unhappy Pride! How many Nations, as well as private People, has it ſtruck blind, and cover'd their Eyes from their own Felicities? The Spaniards could carry on no Trade in the World more to their own Advantage, than that with the Moors of Africa, and yet they won't trade with them, either from a Civil Pride, that they will only make Slaves of them, or from a Religious Pride, that they will not converſe with Infidels.
Trade knows no Religions, no Sects, no Parties, no Diviſions. We may ('tis hoped) be as zealous to hate God's Enemies, as the Spaniards; and yet we trade with the Turks, Jews, Mahometans, Moors, or Pagan Negroes; and deal with the Idolaters of China and Malabar, as well as with the Native Savages and Cannibals of Virginia and the Carribees.
There's no Idolatry in Commerce; if the Spaniards reject the gainful Trade of Africa, on Pretence of Sanctity and Religion, Is that a Religious Separation? I ſay, No: 'Tis not becauſe they are Wiſer or Better, but becauſe they are Spaniards, that is to ſay, eaten up with Pride, Self-Opinion and Haughtineſs.
That the Spaniards might trade with the Moors to great Advantage, is evident, in that the little Trade they have to Africa (and which they may be ſaid to have with the Place, not with the People) is very much to their Gain, and would be much more ſo, if they extended it as they might do. But they trade with the Engliſh and French Merchants reſiding in Africa, not with the Moors; and rather buy the Goods they demand there, at ſecond and third Hand, than take them directly of the Moors; ſo they give away their Profit of the Trade to the European Nations, to gratify the Averſion they have to the People.
It is an undoubted Maxim in Trade, That we ought to Trade with every Nation, and with every People that we can get Money by. This the Spaniards are ſo far from purſuing, that they will not deal with the Moors, even for the Things which in Commerce they may be ſaid to be in Diſtreſs for, only becauſe they won't deal with them.
In the utmoſt Diſtreſs which the Spaniards are ſometimes in for want of Corn, how do they chuſe to ſend to England, to Holland, to the Levant, or indeed any where for Corn, [Page 17] rather than to Africa, rather than deal with the Barbarians, tho' the Barbary Coaſt ſometimes has a great Plenty, and tho' they give two Dollars per Buſhel for the Corn, which they could buy there for 3s. or thereabouts, and ſometimes for much leſs.
In their rejecting now the Manufactures of Europe, how eaſy would it be to ſupply themſelves with a Quantity of Wool from Barbary, which, with a ſmall Application, would mix and work up with the Spaniſh Wool, and make all the ſeveral Manufactures of England to Perfection, and to the infinite Advantage of Spain it ſelf: But, forſooth, they muſt not Buy or Sell with the Mahometans and Enemies of Chriſt; tho' Himſelf gave them a quite different Example, accepting of a Draught of cold Water from the Samaritan, with whom the Jews (Spaniard-like) had no Dealings.
But (contrary to the Beneficent, Humble, and Gracious Example of Chriſt himſelf) the proud Spaniards (pretending Religion) throw away their Commerce, ſcorn the Bleſſings of an advantageous Trade, and rather maintain a conſtant unreconciled National Feud, a fooliſh, faint, and unactive War; refuſing to trade with the Moors, and carrying on neither Peace or War.
As this Caſe ſtands with Spain and the Barbary Shore, the Former is infinitely to blame, and may be ſaid to act ridiculouſly, becauſe, as above (ſpeaking in the Language of Merchants) every Body ſhould be Traded with that you can gain by. No Nation willingly interrupt their own Commerce, or refuſe to let their Subjects trade with ſuch other Nations as they can gain by. For a Trading Nation to Prohibit the Importation of ſuch Goods as they want, is like Prohibiting the bringing in Corn in a Famine, or Prohibiting Arms and Ammunition in a War. When the War was hotteſt between England and France, and the French King prohibited almoſt all the reſt of our Engliſh Goods, forbidding, upon the ſevereſt Penalties, the bringing any of thoſe Goods into any Part of his Dominions, it was obſervable however that they always excepted Wool, Leather, and Lead; theſe were never Prohibited; the Reaſon was plain, they had none, or but very little of their own, and very much wanted them all; nor could they be ſupplyed (at leaſt not ſufficiently) from any other Place.
Now the Spaniards act by none of theſe Prudentials, for they refuſe to Trade with the Moors, or Merchants of Africa, though they might gain very conſiderably by it. The Africans have Corn, Copper, Wax, Wool, all which the Spaniards extremely want, and yet will not buy, becauſe (forſooth) they [Page 18] don't like the Moors worſhipping Mahomet; as if Religion had any thing to do with Commerce, and as if the Bread made of African Corn, would infect their People with Idolatry.
Now I alledge, and inſiſt upon it, That in a conſtant State of War between England and Spain, the Caſe would be quite otherwiſe, for here would be War without Prohibition; as in their Management with the Moors, they have Prohibition without War. I explain my ſelf thus:
As we Trade with Spain, the State of Things lies ſo much to the Advantage of Spain, that tho' the moſt violent War that it is poſſible to imagine was to be carried on between the Nations, the Spaniards (that is to ſay, the Merchants) would endeavour with the utmoſt Art to carry on the Trade, notwithſtanding the ſtricteſt Prohibitions: The Reaſon is plain;
They would Trade, becauſe they gain by the Trade; the Trade to Great-Britain takes off the Growth and Produce, which they are ruin'd if they do not Sell, and ſupplies them with Neceſſaries which they are ruin'd if they cannot Buy: In a word, they have no Commerce without us; their whole Export is ſtagnated; their Fruits (their Wines, and their Oyl) would rot upon the Trees, and not be worth gathering; their Lands lye uncultivated, and no Hands be employ'd; the Poor would ſtarve, and the Rich be beggar'd and undone: In ſhort, we buy nothing of Spain, but what we can very well be without, and the Spaniards take nothing of us, but what they extremely want.
On the other Hand, take the Alternative in the Commerce; what the Engliſh buy in Spain, as it is the Growth and Produce of the Country, 'tis eſſential to the Spaniards to have thoſe Goods taken off their Hands, and by the Engliſh too in particular; the Reaſon is, becauſe if the Engliſh do not take them off, no other Nation can do it. For Example:
The Growth and Product of Spain conſiſts (ſo far as it regards Trade) of Wines, that is to ſay, Sherry, Alicant, Tent, Mountain-Malaga; Galitia and Viana Reds; Barcelona and Bene Carlo Reds, and Canary Whites; Barcelonian Brandy, &c. alſo Fruits, ſuch as Malaga and Alicant Raiſins, Oranges, Limons, Almonds: beſides Spaniſh Wool, Spaniſh Iron, and laſtly, Oil and Soap.
Theſe Things being the Growth of Spain, the Engliſh buy in very great Quantities; if they are not bought off, Spain, as to the Trade of it, is ruin'd and undone: whereas if England bought none of thoſe Goods from Spain, they could either [Page 19] do without them (for neither Wine, or Brandy, or Raiſins, or Oranges, or Lemons, are ſo neceſſary to Life, or to Trade, as that we cannot, as to the moſt of them, live without them) or as to Trade, have them ſomewhere elſe.
It is true, the taking off the Britiſh Manufacture by the Spaniards, is very much the Advantage of Great Britain; but all that is Advantageous is not Neceſſary: We are able to ſubſiſt in Trade, without the Profits of our Manufactures, better than the Spaniards are able to ſubſiſt in Life, without the Uſe of them. Nor is that all; for let the King of Spain paſs what Negatives and Prohibitions he pleaſes, the Neceſſity of thoſe Manufactures will make their own Way, and the People muſt wear them, or wear nothing at all, for they have no equivalent Manufacture to place in the room of them; and if they have them not from England, they will have them from Portugal, from Italy, or from other Places, as has been the Caſe in all the Wars which have happened between England and Spain, in which Commerce has been Prohibited.
But the Weight does not lye in this Part. The Spaniards may Prohibit Trade with England when they pleaſe, they will puniſh themſelves infinitely more than England. But take the Trade of America into the Conſideration, and truly there let the Spaniards have a Care what they do: Let them take heed, leſt inſtead of Prohibiting their People Trading with us, that is, with England; I ſay, let them take heed that we (England) do not Prohibit their Trade with one another, and among themſelves.
By Prohibiting the Trade among themſelves, and with one another, I mean (for it requires Explanation) that it is in the Power of England (in conſequence of this War, and by the Means of it) entirely to Interrupt, nay, to Stop the Commerce between America and Old Spain: And thus I am come to my Text, namely, to enquire into what the Allies may gain by this War: How it may be carried on by the Engliſh or Britiſh Nation, in ſuch a Manner, as that Old Spain ſhould never more have any Commerce with America; that is to ſay, not Excluſively, that they ſhould no more call it their own Trade, but the Spaniards in America ſhall be entirely ſet free, as to Trade; ſhall be Independent of Old Spain; receive no Laws or Limitations from them; but be at full Liberty to Trade with all the World, if they pleaſe; or if we pleaſe, rather; [Page 20] for it would be meet to inſiſt upon ſome Limitation on our Side too.
Nor do I concern the Civil Government of New Spain, in any Part of this Proviſion; England (or Great-Britain) ſeeks no Conqueſts; all they covet is to eſtabliſh Peace, and extend Trade, and this we ſeem to have fairly before us in the approaching War. If the Spaniards cannot ſee the Fate that attends them in it (as it ſeems to me they do not) they muſt go on, and venture the Conſequences; the thing is plain to me, they run the Hazard of loſing all the Sovereignty of their Trade in America, by a War.
They may keep the Sovereignty of the Country, if they pleaſe, or if they can; that is, if the Natives will ſubmit to it: but they would ſoon have no Commerce to it, no Communication with it, other than in common with the reſt of Europe.
This, I ſay, England will have it in their Power to limit and reſtrain; that is, it ſhall be in the Power of England to take off all the Reſtraints and Limitations of Trade, which the Spaniards have impoſed, and do now impoſe upon the Americans, and upon their own People there, and lay the Trade open to the whole World; holding the Hands of the Spaniſh Government ſo, that they ſhould have no Power to impoſe any Terms of Commerce upon them in America, any more.
This is explaining my ſelf fully, as to the General Head of Commerce; and as that Commerce is now Stated by the Spaniſh Government, between their Colonies in America, and Old Spain, or indeed all the reſt of Europe.
It is obſervable, that the State of the Trade between Old and New Spain, ſtands thus: The Spaniards having Planted Mexico, and Peru, and all the vaſt Country between, in the Nature of a Colony; conquered, or extirpated the Natives, and taken Poſſeſſion of the Country as their own; in conſequence of this Right, they give Laws of Commerce to the Inhabitants, as well Natives, as Spaniards ſettled there; theſe Laws (like our Act of Navigation) are made up briefly thus, viz. That the Spaniſh Colonies in America ſhould drive no Trade, or in any manner Correſpond or Negotiate with any Nation of Europe, Directly, or Indirectly, but by the Licentiate, or Allowance of the Conſulade at Seville, that is to ſay, the Chamber of the Contractration at Seville, and by their Order; and in ſuch Spaniſh Ships, and no other, as ſhall be Licenſed in the ſame Conſulade, or Council of Trade: which, by the way, is call'd a Royal Council of Commerce, and ſo it is the Licenſe of the King.
[Page 21] This Council of Commerce not only limits what Ships ſhall go out, but the Perſons who ſhall be allowed to go over in thoſe Ships, and all the Cargoes or Quantities of Goods that they ſhall carry with them, and the Returns made for them; which are all Regiſtred in their Books: They have alſo other particular Powers and Limitations, which the Spaniſh Trade is bound to ſubmit to; but I am now upon Generals only, I ſhall come farther into the Particulars preſently.
As America is to Old Spain what we properly call a conquer'd Country, ſo they (even the Spaniards that are ſettled there) are Govern'd in an Arbitrary Way, as a conquered Nation, and that notwithſtanding their being Subjects of Old Spain. Under the weight of this Arbitrary Government, they ſubmit to this among the reſt, That no Ships are allowed to come into any of their Ports from any Place in the World, except from Old Spain, or by Aſſiento from Old Spain, as above, or ſome Place or other limited in the firſt Eſtabliſhment of Old Spain; that is to ſay, from Guinea, or any Part of the Coaſt of Africa, they may come loaden by the ſaid Aſſiento with Negroes, and with them only.
From the Canary Iſlands they may go ſo far as the Havana, carrying no other Goods but Wines and Pipe-ſtaves, the Growth of that Iſland; and even of that, the Quantity is limited, as well as the Ships.
Thus the whole Spaniſh Intereſt is brought under one Head of Univerſal Commerce, and is call'd the Trade of New Spain, or America; and is ſtrictly confined, limited, and reſtrained to Old Spain in particular, as is mentioned above; and the Spaniards in America, and the Spaniards in Old Spain, or New Spain, have no Commerce, or Liberty of Commerce one with another, but by the Licenſe of their Government.
- 1. Are the People of New Spain (whether Natives, that is Indians, or natural Spaniards) compleatly eaſy and ſatisfied with thoſe Limitations? And would they not ſhake them off if it lay in their Power?
- 2. Are the Government and People of Old Spain able to keep faſt thoſe Bolts and Bars by which the Trade is limited, and prevent the People of New Spain trading with the Europeans, in caſe of a War?
[Page 22] Then the Grand Queſtion follows, viz. How are the Spaniards ſure, that if the Inhabitants of America ſhall at any time come into a free Trade with Europe, by the Means of a War, they will ever be brought to quit that Commerce again, having taſted the Sweets of it, eſpecially if they in Old Spain cannot force them to it?
Theſe Queſtions, rightly inquir'd into, will let the Spaniards ſee (if their Eyes are not cloſed) upon what precarious Terms and Conditions their Tenure of the American Trade ſtands, and how ſoon they may irrecoverably loſe it, if they put the Powers of Europe upon a Neceſſity of Humbling their Inſolence by a War. I ſhall ſpeak more particularly to it in its Place.
3. CHAP. III.
The State of the Spaniſh Trade in America. How tho'
it is the Property of Spain, yet it depends upon the
Juſtice and Friendſhip of the reſt of the Powers of
Europe. How thoſe Powers (if they think fit to
withdraw that Friendſhip, or are provok'd to do themſelves
Juſtice upon the Spaniards in Europe) are able
to lay open the Trade to New Spain at one Blow, and
never ſuffer it to return to its former Channel.
IN almoſt all the Treaties which the Spaniards have made with the reſt of the Powers of Europe, whether Treaties of Peace, or of Commerce, they have always (from a Senſe of their own Weakneſs in this particular Caſe) taken care to Guarrantee their American Commerce, by Negative Clauſes; wherein the ſaid Nations and Powers have generally conſented, Not to Interfere in the ſaid Trade, that is to ſay, Not to ſuffer, or at leaſt not to authorize, their Subjects to carry on any Trade immediately to New Spain; contenting themſelves with carrying on the ſaid Commerce, or ſuch Share of it as their Subjects reſpectively carried on, in the ordinary Channel, and that the Spaniards ſhould enjoy the ſaid Trade in Property as their own.
It is needleſs to look back to the ſeveral Clauſes in the Treaties with Spain and other Nations, for the Confirmation of this Article; 'tis enough that it is particularly Stipulated in [Page 23] the ſeveral Treaties between England and Spain, and confirm'd by ſubſequent Treaties ſince that of 1670: Which I mention here, not to enquire how well thoſe Treaties have been obſerv'd, either on one Side or other; (tho' it may not be improper to ſpeak of that alſo in its Place) but I mention it here, I ſay, to let it be ſeen how ſenſible Spain has always been of its own Weakneſs and Inability to preſerve that Commerce, notwithſtanding all the Right they may claim to it, without the voluntary Conſent of the European Powers ſtipulating to yield and give it up, as above.
It is not thus with our Poſſeſſions in America; the Engliſh, and even the French alſo, have indeed the ſame excluſive Right to the ſole Trade of their own Colonies in America, as the Spaniards claim to theſe of New Spain; and they have Laws likewiſe reſpectively enacted, ſuch as the Act of Navigation in particular, binding their Subjects to ſuch particular Reſtraints and Limitations of Commerce, as are proper to ſecure the Property and Sovereignty of thoſe Trades to the reſpective Powers whoſe Subjects they are.
But the Engliſh and French, ſecure in their own Strength, and always believing themſelves able to ſupport and defend their own Right, have truſted to that Strength for their Defence; not at all ſeeking the Guarantee or Protection of any other Powers, for the Security of their Trade.
The firſt Inference I draw from theſe Premiſes, is, that a War breaking out, ſuppoſing that Part to be certain, and eſpecially the Spaniards becoming Aggreſſors, and beginning that War, the Powers with whom ſuch a War is begun are then evidently diſcharg'd from all the former Obligations of thoſe Treaties; their Subjects become from that Moment free from all the ſtipulated Engagements and Reſtraints relating to that Trade; our Ships may then as freely trade to the Ports of New Spain, as they may to any other Part of the World: I mean freely, with reſpect to any Reſtraint to be laid upon them from their own Reſpective Sovereigns; as to the Spaniards, they muſt do as well as they can; if their Ships of War attack our Merchants, that's allowed to be but fair, and we muſt bear it as well as we can; but if their People will come off to our Ships or Sloops, and buy or ſell, that can be no Breach on our Side; for the War is begun already, and all Obligations to limit that Commerce ceaſes.
The Argument is Short, and to the Purpoſe; the Spaniards may indeed puniſh their own American Subjects as they pleaſe, and treat them as Traytors for entring into this Commerce, as it is contraband and prohibited by their own Laws, which Laws are binding to their own Subjects.
[Page 24] But the Allies are, by vertue of the War mutually declar'd againſt Spain, and by Spain againſt them, effectually, and ipſo Facto, diſcharg'd from all Limitations of former Treaties forbidding this Commerce: And I take the more Notice of it, becauſe 'tis to be hoped the ſaid Allies, eſpecially the Powers of Great Britain and the States-General, will conſider very well of it, at any ſubſequent Treaty, before they conſent again to limit their own Subjects from a Commerce, which is ſo many ways advantageous to them.
What Reaſon have trading Nations to tye themſelves down to the arbitrary Laws of Commerce, which the Spaniards may think fit tyrannically to impoſe upon their own People? 'Tis enough that they refuſe to admit any of the Proteſtant Nations of Europe ſo much as to ſet foot among them, much leſs to trade and live among them; a Liberty which we no where deny to the Spaniards. I ſay, 'tis enough to be thus excluded from reſiding among them; but if their own People, at whatever Hazard, are content to trade with us, I cannot ſee why we ſhould pay ſo much Veneration to their Government, and their Arbitrary Laws, as to tye down the Merchants from a fair Correſpondence and Commerce together.
Let Trade take its Courſe; let Exchange of Goods and Money take its due Courſe, and be uninterrupted on all Sides; let the Spaniards and the Ally'd Powers come to a good Underſtanding, as ſoon as our Government pleaſes; let them fight and agree as his Majeſty thinks fit; let the Merchants be at Liberty to extend the Britiſh Commerce with their utmoſt Skill; this need be no Interruption to a Peace; for what has the peaceable Merchant to do with War and Government?
It is a ſtrange fit of religious Strictneſs, which the Spaniards think good to practiſe by the Power of their right bloody Inquiſition; (viz.) that they will ſuffer no Strangers whatſoever, unleſs Roman Catholicks, ſo much as to ſet a foot in New Spain, much leſs to live among them; and if any Engliſhman or Dutchman attempt to live among them, if they are diſcover'd, they are condemned to the Mines, and muſt go to work at Poteſt
Nay, ſo cruel are they, and ſo unmerciful, that if an Engliſh Ship ſhould come upon their Coaſt, in the greateſt Diſtreſs; whether in Diſtreſs by Storm, and ſo wanting perhaps Maſts or Sails, Anchors or Cable, or Carpenters; or in Diſtreſs for Proviſions, and are wanting Freſh-water, Bread, and other Proviſions; in none of theſe Extremities will they (as I have been inform'd) give them Relief, tho' they are by expreſs Treaties oblig'd to do it: A Piece of Inhumanity, which [Page 25] I do not find the Turks or Pagans are arriv'd to, in any of the known Parts of the World.
But theſe Catholick Chriſtians on the other hand, will, even in theſe Caſes of Diſtreſs, which all other Chriſtian Nations conſider, uſe all poſſible Stratagems to get the Ship into their Hands; in which caſe the Cargo and Ship is conſiſcated, and the poor Men, tho' no way offending, are perhaps made Slaves, and ſent to the Mines without Redemption. Which, by the way, (not to ſay any thing of the particular Cruelty with which the Spaniards treat their Slaves, and which few of them are able to ſurvive many Years) is a degree beyond what is practis'd, either at Algier or Salle, Tunis or Tripoli, or by any the Moors of the Barbary Coaſt.
I need go no farther for the Proof of theſe Things, than the Authentick Relations of thoſe of our own Country, who have been upon the Spot, and who have partly ſuffered under thoſe Barbarities, and partly been Eye-witneſſes to the Sufferings of others, and to the particular Method by which the Spaniards render themſelves ſo odious to the reſt of the Chriſtian World for Cruelty and Injuſtice.
That no Nation but the Spaniards, at leaſt no Chriſtian or Mohometan Nation that I have read of, do this but the Spaniards, I think I may appeal for the Proof of, to the general Practice of the Engliſh, Dutch and French, in like Caſes, and in the ſame Country.
It is true, that neither of theſe Nations permit any other Nations to trade in their reſpective Colonies: Reaſons of Trade, the Intereſts of Nations, and the Property of Commerce demands it, that it ſhould be ſo; that the Trade of the particular Colony may be reſerv'd carefully, ſeparately and diſtinctly, to the Uſe and Benefit of the reſpective Nation to which it of Right belongs.
But in any of the ſaid Colonies, if a Ship belonging to another Nation is manifeſtly driven into the Port or Harbour by ſtreſs of Weather, or is in Diſtreſs for Freſh-water, or Proviſions, the Government will allow them Shelter, and will allow them to take Freſh-water, and purchaſe Proviſions for their Voyage; and this notwithſtanding the ſtricteſt Prohibitions of Commerece: according to the expreſs Scripture-Law; If thine Enemy be hungry give him Bread to eat, and if he be thirſty give him Water to drink. Prov. xxv. 21. For all Ships of another Nation are, in the Language of Trade, and in the Senſe of thoſe Laws of Navigation, a kind of Enemy; as to Commerce, I mean, tho' otherwiſe in full Amity; and even if they were in Confederacy it would be the ſame.
[Page 26] It is true, if the Ship ſo diſtreſs'd ſhall tranſgreſs the Law, and break in upon the Hoſpitality which they meet with, and ſhall clandeſtinely and privately offer to trade with the Inhabitants, ſhall break Bulk as they call it, and ſell any Part of her Cargo, other than ſhall be allow'd by the Government of the Place, for the Payment of ſuch Proviſions as they are allow'd to buy, in ſuch caſe they are liable to be ſtopp'd, feiz'd upon, and the whole Ship and Goods confiſcated; and this is no Wrong done to them, becauſe they are the Offenders, and know before-hand the Conſequence of ſuch a Treſpaſs, if it was diſcover'd.
Yet even in this Caſe, tho' the Ship and Goods are confiſcated, yet the poor Men are not made Slaves; on the contrary, they are let go, and may ſhift for themſelves; and are oftentimes reliev'd and treated with Humanity; as may be prov'd by very many Examples, even upon the Spaniards themſelves.
Again: If a Spaniard, or a Boat full of Spaniards, ſhould come to any of the Engliſh or French Colonies, and land there, ſo be it, that they offer to bring no Goods to land there, againſt the Conſtitution of the Commerce mention'd above, they are admitted to come on Shore, may land, and go freely up and down, take themſelves a Lodging, may trade as Merchants, or dwell as Strangers; ſubmitting only to all the particular Laws of Commerce, which other People ſubmit to; nor will they meet with any Moleſtation or Obſtruction; while, on the contrary, the bare coming on Shore among the Spaniards, in any of their American Colonies, is Death, or perpetual Slavery, which, as the Spaniards order it, is worſe than Death: For, without injuring the Spaniards, as they are but indifferent Servants, when Servitude is their Lot; ſo they are the worſt Maſters in the World, at leaſt among either Chriſtians or Turks,
This then being the State of the Spaniſh Colonies, and of the Commerce, and it being (as is ſaid) conceded to by the European Nations, by ſundry Treaties of Peace and Commerce; hence it follows, that if any of the Subjects of the ſaid European Nations, tempted by the extraordinary Gain of a private Commerce with the Spaniards, do either lie off and on (as they call it) upon the Coaſt, with Sloops and Ships, and ſo trade in the Night with the Spaniſh Perioguas and Canoes which come off to them; as the Engliſh of Jamaica and the Dutch of Curacao frequently do; or do land in the Bay of Campeache, and cut Log-wood, as the Engliſh from Jamaica and New-England have always done; or trade by Force upon [Page 27] the Coaſt of Chili and Peru, as the French have done ſince their late Licenſe during the Time of War;
If, I ſay, in theſe Caſes, the Spaniards happen to fall upon them, and take them, burn or ſink their Ships, and uſe the Men after their uſual Spaniſh Severity, tho' it be too inhumane even to mention, yet the ſeveral Nations to which they belong do not uſually make this any Matter of Complaint, or reclaim the Ships or Men as if injuriouſly taken, the Trade it ſelf being contraband; an Example of which we have lately had in ſome Dutch Ships taken on the Coaſt of Chartagena and Saint Martha, or thereabouts, by the Spaniſh Cruizers, who they call Garde de Coſta's, or Guardſhips,
Not but that thoſe Carde de Coſta's, as the Spaniards call them, commit ſeveral Depredations and almoſt Pyracies in taking Ships, which are not Traders or trading; and this the Engliſh complain of at this Time, and that I believe with good Cauſe. But that by the way.
In General, it is true, that this Right of an excluſive Commerce, as it was at firſt aſſum'd by the Spaniards as a Property, ſo it is conceded to them by the Aſſent of their Neighbour Nations, and agreed to by Treaty; the very obtaining of which Treaty is a tacit Acknowledgment that they are not able to maintain the excluſive Commerce by their own Power; nor able either to reſtrain their own People, or keep the Ships of other Nations from their Coaſt; and this is the Reaſon of my entring thus far into the Caſe of the Limitations of the Commerce, which otherwiſe would not be to the purpoſe, in the Caſe before me.
But to bring it down directly to the Caſe in hand. With a War, (in which War, as it is evident, the Spaniards themſelves are Aggreſſors) all theſe Limitations and Reſerves of Commerce ceaſe at once; the Trade is laid open, and it is fair working not only to break in upon their Trade by all ſuch Methods as we find practicable, but to make ſuch Gaps and Openings in it, as it ſhall never be in the Power of the Spaniards to cloſe and make up again, no not by a Treaty of Peace.
Thus the Spaniards, (who, in Breach of thoſe very Treaties, by which their excluſive Trade was conceded to them, have unjuſtly attempted to open the Trade to a Nation expreſly ſhut out,) may find themſelves left naked of the juſt Defence which thoſe former Treaties always were to them, and ſo may never be able to recover the excluſive Commerce of the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies, which has been of ſuch infinite Advantage to their whole Nation, or to call the Trade their Own any more.
[Page 28] Nor would it be any Injuſtice to the Spaniards, eſpecially as (I ſay) they are the Aggreſſors in this War; for if during the paſt Ages thoſe European Nations, now ally'd againſt Spain, were leſs opulent and leſs powerful in Trade, and which is above all the reſt, were leſs united in Intereſts (trading Intereſts I mean) than they may be now; and were perhaps willing to keep Meaſures with the Spaniards, which might in ſome things be to their Diſadvantage, rather than to let them be laid too low, or perhaps rather than another ſhou'd reap the ſeparate Advantage of it, as was the Caſe in the late War, when France obtain'd an Admiſſion into the Trade to the Spaniſh America: I ſay, tho' in thoſe Times theſe Conceſſions might be made to the Spaniards, and their Pretenſions to an excluſive Trade were ſo far confirm'd, it may not be always ſo.
If this has been the Caſe, it was the Spaniards Buſineſs to have preſerved the Advantages which that divided Situation of the Affairs and Intereſts of Europe gave them, and to have cultivated that Friendſhip which alone was the Safety of their Commerce; and not by ſuch precipitate Councils as theſe to open the Door of that Commerce to a People no way in condition to carry it on, or to protect the Spaniards in it, and pretend (I might ſay, fooliſhly pretend) to ſhut thoſe out who are able to let themſelves in, and even to diſpoſſeſs Spain it ſelf, not of the Trade only, but of the very Country too, whenever they pleaſe.
Theſe are the Advantages which I mean, when I ſpeak of the Probable Conſequences of this War; and this is that which I call going to the Bottom of things. A full Enquiry into which will open the Eyes of Europe, and let us ſee farther perhaps than ever before, whether I have wrong'd the Spaniards in ſaying they know not what they are doing; that their Meaſures are abſurd and ridiculous: in a Word, if I had ſaid they were mad, (that is to ſay their Miniſters and Managers, whoever they are; I ſay, if I had concluded them mad, or next door to it;) it had been, in my Opinion, the kindeſt thing I could have ſaid of them.
To have ſaid, they had taken theſe Steps with their Eyes open, with their Reaſon in its full Exerciſe, with their Politicks free from Diſtraction, muſt have been to have ſuggeſted worſe things of them than I am willing to charge them with, and to have intimated, that they were a Set of Men in a Plot or Conſpiracy to betray their Maſter, and ruin their Country.
But be it which of the two you pleaſe, it ſeems to me that Spain may have an Occaſion to look back with ſome Reproach [Page 29] upon its late Politicks, in Leaguing with a Prince ſo very lately their Enemy, and ſo ill able to be their Friend; againſt two Powers, Great-Britain and France, ſo very able to ruin them, and which ſhould have been the two laſt Nations in the World that Spain ought to have differ'd with; and out of which Quarrel they will not find it ſo eaſy to deliver themſelves, as perhaps they imagine; that is to ſay, without deep Wounds in their Conſtitution, eſpecially as to Trade. And this is what I meant, when I ſaid, as the Clerks (Culprit) do to the Priſoner, who they know will be caſt upon his Tryal, God ſend you a good Deliverance; intimating at the ſame time, that 'tis not at all likely.
4. CHAP. IV.
Of the Condition of the Spaniards and their Colonies
in the Weſt-Indies; and the Manner how this
War may be carried on, to the Advantage of Great-Britain,
without making any Conqueſts upon the
Continent of America; or to do no Injury, or offer
any Affront to any of the Hanover Allies.
TRading Nations ſeek no Conqueſt, aim at no Encreaſe of Power, or Agrandiſing of Perſons or Families. Great-Britain is Rich, and Strong, and Opulent enough in her own Wealth, Power, and Commerce. She ſeeks no more but a peaceable Poſſeſſing her juſt Rights, and preſerving to her People the free Extending their Commerce, that they may Trade in Peace with all the World, and all the World with them.
As is the Nation, ſo is the Prince that governs them; Satisfied in his own Greatneſs, King George fights for the Peace and Good of his own People, and of all Mankind. His Majeſty enters upon this War on the moſt honourable, and moſt juſtifiable Grounds in the World, namely, to Eſtabliſh the World upon the immovable Baſis of Peace; that every Nation, and every Prince, and every Power, reſtrain'd only by Juſt and Capitulated Limitations, may with Safety enjoy their Own, and mutually Guarrantee the Property of all their Subjects.
[Page 30] Contrary to the meaner Principles upon which Princes too often make War, the King fights not for Fame: He is placed by Heaven on a Seat above all the empty Things we fooliſhly call Glory; and were my Buſineſs Panegyrick, or my Deſign Flattery, what could I not ſay here, to exalt the happy Proſpect of his Majeſty's preſent Undertaking!
Even the King himſelf cannot look upon it without lifting up ſome Thoughts to Heaven, and bleſſing the Power that has ſingled his Majeſty out to act in a Scene of ſo much ſuperior Glory; ſuperior to all the Kings of the Earth, as it affimulates the Deity, and repreſents a King acting by immediate Commiſſion from his Maker, and in a perfect Harmony with his Providence.
As Thunders diſſipate the noxious Air,And raging Storms the ſequent Calms prepare;So Nations, by his Pow'r reſtrain'd from Feud,Are to their own Felicity ſubdu'd.With awful Voice be calls at every Door,And warns their Monarchs not to ronze his Pow'r.His Sword, half drawn, makes their Commotions ceaſe;He Frowns, to Smile, and he contends for Peace.His Rebels cruſh'd, are, under Conqueſt, free;And only are confin'd to Liberty.
This ſeems then to be the State of the approaching War. Great-Britain acts the Part of the World's Protector. The King, linking the Nations in a ſtrong Confederacy, oppoſes the aggreſſing Diſturbers with ſuch an early and ſuperior Hand, that they find themſelves diſabled in the very Infancy of their Undertaking.
The Spaniards (obſtinate and opiniatre) beginning at the wrong End of their Work, break out into a War, with ſo little Proſpect of Succeſs, that the World looks on with Surprize, to ſee them act ſo as their Friends can have no Hope, and their Enemies no Fear, from the Event of the Undertaking.
A Town impregnable, even by its Situation, and made more ſo by the Addition of terrible Fortifications; open to the Sea, and their Enemies Maſters of the Bay, able to relieve it as often as they pleaſe: What ſtrange, unaccountable Beginnings are theſe: Spain ought to remember their Anceſtors ill Conduct at the Siege of Oſtend, which on the ſingle Article of its being eaſily reliev'd by Sea, held out a Siege of [Page 31] three Years and four Months, and coſt the Spaniards 66000 Men to conquer; whereas being not to be reliev'd by Sea, the late Duke of Marlborough took it in twelve Days.
This Town, with all the Advantages of Situation and Fortification, has in it a numerous Garriſon of old Veteran Soldiers, commanded by experienc'd Officers, furniſhed with all things needful for a vigorous Defence, and covered with a ſtrong Squadron of twelve large capital Men of War, ſuch as no twenty Ships that the King of Spain may get together will dare to engage.
To attack this Place, the Spaniards whole Infantry are about 20000 at the moſt, who (if I may ſpeak without boaſting) are no more able to attack the Town, to any purpoſe, than twenty Men would be to take the Tower of London.
If the King of Spain fails in this Enterprize, 'tis very likely he ruins the Infantry who are before it; and tho' his Kingdoms are indeed very large, yet we all know, that it is not the eaſieſt thing in the World to raiſe a new Army in Spain; 'tis not like Germany, which (as one ſays, travelling thro' it) is an inexhauſtible Store-houſe for Men, and thoſe Men all born Soldiers.
But in Spain it is quite a different Caſe: not but that the Spaniards are very good Troops, when well paid, well cloath'd, diſciplin'd, and led abroad from Home; but Spain is more fruitful of any thing than Men: there are ſo many go abroad, and ſo very few ſtay at home; ſo many turn Prieſts, and muſt not fight; are poor, dejected, and cannot fight; or are Lazy Dons among the Gentry, and will not fight, that it is the hardeſt thing in the World to raiſe an Army in Spain, at leaſt with Expedition.
As ſoon as they ſtrike a Stroke at Gibraltar, they ought to expect all the Allies to declare againſt, and fall upon them; France in the firſt Place, we may ſuppoſe will be expected upon their Frontiers with two Armies, one in Navarr, and the other in Rouſillion; and in that Figure we ſhall ſoon ſee how they will go on.
[Page 32] While the Britiſh Squadron remains on the Coaſts of America, ſuppoſe in the Gulph of Mexico, or upon the Coaſts of Porto-Belo and Carthagena, either the Spaniards muſt fight that Fleet, or otherwiſe remove it, or there's an end put to their Commerce on that Side, all at once.
It is objected, that a Britiſh Squadron may indeed interrupt the Commerce in this or that particular Place, but that this will not effectually ruin the Spaniſh Trade. The Coaſt of America (as poſſeſs'd by the Spaniards) is a large Place, 'tis extended in a vaſt Length, from the Gulph of Florida, or the North-moſt Part of the Gulph of Mexico, and in the Latitude of 24 to 25 Degrees to the Coaſt of Surinam, and even to the Month of the Gulph of Paria, and the lſle of Trinidado, and farther, to the Latitude of five Degrees: So that here is a Length of 1000 Miles, or thereabouts, in a Line North and South, beſides reckoning the Depth of the Bay, and the Indentings of the Coaſt of Yacatan, the Bay of Campeachy, the Gulph of Honduras, Darien, and others, which make the Coaſt above 2500 Miles in Length; of all which I ſhall ſpeak again in the next Chapter.
In the mean time, to give the Objection its utmoſt Streſs, they add, that the Heat of the Climate, the Unhealthineſs of the particular Places where the Station of ſuch Ships muſt be, and the want of Proviſions, are ſuch, as that no European Fleet can bear to be conſtantly ſtation'd in thoſe Seas.
That as well at La Vera Cruz, as at Porto-Belo, which are the two Centres of the Spaniſh Commerce, the Air is ſo unhealthy by reaſon of the exceſſive Heats, that even the Spaniards themſelves cannot dwell there, and only come at the particular times of Trade, when the Ships from Old Spain arrive, when they buy their Goods, deliver their Money, finiſh their Diſpatches and Letters to Europe, and return again, the former to the great City of Mexico, and the latter to Panama, and thence to Lima, and the other Ports on the Coaſt of Peru and Chili in the South-Seas.
That this is evident at this time, for that the Galeons being (as it were) beſieged, or block'd up by the Engliſh Squadron, their Men preſently grow ſickly, and dye a-pace; nor perhaps are the Men in the Squadron it ſelf quite free, tho' being better furniſh'd with Proviſions than the Spaniards, for the Country yields little or nothing there-abouts; I ſay, the Britiſh Sailors being better furniſhed, and better taken care of, and better fed, the Men are by conſequence better able to bear the Inconvenience of the Seaſon: yet the Place is allowed to be ſuch as admits no long Stay.
[Page 33] That the Scots, in their Settlement at Darien, which is but a little South from Porto-Belo, found by ſad Experience, that there was no bearing the Situation; tho' the Scots are as hardy a People, and as able to bear the Extremities of Weather, as moſt Nations in Europe.
I am the more willing to give the utmoſt Length to theſe ſeeming Objections, becauſe when they ſhall be fully and unanſwerably removed, they will leave the leſs to ſay by a Set of People who deal in Miſrepreſentations and Diſcouragements, as a particular Traffick of their own; and calculated for a particular Cauſe, which wanting ſome Cordials, knows not where to find or make any better.
It is true, the Coaſt of America (as now poſſeſs'd by the Spaniards) is exceeding large, as is deſcribed; and that the great Gulph of Mexico is not to be block'd up by a Squadron of Ships; the ſeveral Ports for Trade being ſo remote one from another, and that in the whole the Coaſt may lie extended above 2000 Miles.
It is likewiſe true, that the Ports of La Vera Cruz and Porto Belo, which are at preſent the Centre of the Spaniſh Commerce in thoſe Parts, are unhealthy dangerous Climates, the Shores deſtitute of Proviſions, the Heats exceſſive, airleſs, and not refreſh'd with Land Breezes, as in other Places; and that even the Spaniards themſelves are not able to bear the Extreams of the intemperate Seaſons, ſuch as the Summer's Heat, and the Winter's Rain, eſpecially about Porto Belo.
But the Miſtake of all this lies in the Ignorance of thoſe that lay the Streſs of this Cauſe, upon the poſting an Engliſh Navy or Squadron only for the Interrupting this Commerce; whereas there is nothing more plain, than that the Ally'd Powers are able at once, not only to Interrupt the Spaniſh Commerce, but to put an entire End to it, and in a Word, break off all ſettled Correſpondence between the two Countries, I mean of Old Spain and New Spain, and this without hazarding their Ships or Men to lye upon an unwholeſome Coaſt, and poiſon themſelves with the ſtagnate Air of Darien or the Baſtimentos.
Not but that on this Occaſion, the Galeons being in the Port, it became neceſſary to poſt a Squadron, as Admiral Hoſier has been poſted; to ſtagnate the Money, as well as give the Spaniards a Taſte of the ſtagnate Vapours of the Place, and to keep them where they were. If they are ill furniſh'd with Proviſions, if the Country cannot ſupply them, if the Stores in their Ships are not ſufficient for them, they are at home, they muſt take care of themſelves; no doubt but by [Page 34] Land-Carriage, or by the great Lake of Nicaragua, which runs eighty Leagues within the Land, and reaches within fifteen Leagues of the South-Sea, they may be ſufficiently furniſhed with Proviſions, at leaſt may have ſome Relief in their preſent Exigence; for it is very well known, that the Country of Guatimala, bordering on that great Lake, is the moſt fruitful, pleaſant, and plentiful of any Part of Spaniſh America; or elſe their own Accounts of it are very falſe, and they have deſcribed it much more to their own Advantage, than they can make out, when they find occaſion to make uſe of it.
But if it ſhould be ſo, that they are diſtreſs'd, for Proviſions, as I ſay above, they are at Home; they are under no Reſtraints; they have no Enemies landed upon them; they may ſend for Proviſions where they are to be had, and may ſend Expreſſes to the Governours of the ſeveral Countries to ſupply them, and to find Means to convey them: Certainly the Governours will not ſuffer the King of Spain's Ships to want Victualing, or ſuffer the poor Seamen to ſtarve upon their own Coaſts, and (as may be ſaid) at their own Doors.
But we are not ſpeaking of an Advantage to Great Britain only in this preſent depending Article of Blocking up the Spaniſh Galeons, which is a thing of to-day, and, as we may ſay, will be over to-morrow; is done to ſerve a particular Occaſion, and will ſerve that Occaſion moſt effectually; for we ſee how ill able the Spaniards are to bear the Diſappointment, and what a Check it gives to their Enterprizes, how low their Credit runs in Europe, and how even their Auxiliaries and Confederates (as it were) ſtand ſtill 'till they ſee from what other Springs the promis'd Streams of Money will flow.
The Occaſion therefore is abundantly ſerved by the Britiſh A'dmiral poſting his Squadron at the Entrance of the Harbour of Porto Belo, and hindering the Galeons from coming out, ſpreading the Sea with his Cruiſers, and interrupting their Commerce; and in a Word, locking up their Money ſo, as that tho' it be in their own Poſſeſſion, it is yet out of their Reach, and rendered (at leaſt for the preſent) as uſeleſs to them, as if it was in the Mines at Potoſt.
And tho' it is far from being mention'd as any part of the Advantages hinted at in my Title, and which are offer'd to the Allies in the preſent War, any farther than it is an Accident to the Beginning, and a particular Circumſtance which falls in to the Encouragement of our Friends, and the great Diſappointment of the Enemy; yet it muſt be acknowledged too, [Page 35] that it is a very great Advantage in its Kind; and it ſhows the World, that the Spaniards, with all the Funds of their immenſe Treaſure, which it may be ſaid they are Maſters of, beyond all the Nations of Europe; yet are ſo unhappily ſituated, that they muſt as it were be oblig'd to ask their Neighbours leave to bring it home, and dare not venture abroad with it, if but nine or ten Men of War appear upon their Coaſts.
But notwithſtanding all this, and ſuppoſing this Expedition of Porto-Belo were to be reckon'd as nothing in the preſent Account of the Advantages of the War; it is manifeſt that their whole Weſt-India Commerce is in the Hands, and at the Mercy of the Allies, in this War; that we are able to put an End to it at once, if we think fit; and that not for the preſent only, but for the time to come, whenever the Government thinks fit to enter into Meaſures for that Purpoſe.
And not to pretend to lead our Leaders, or to direct them, in whoſe Direction the whole Government is already ſo wiſely ſteer'd; I may venture to lay before you the Schemes of former Times, and make ſome ſmall Inferences from them; which if our Governours pleaſe to make any Uſe of, they may doubtleſs very much improve; and if they do not think fit to make uſe of, they will, 'tis hoped, not be diſpleas'd at any well-deſigning Subject (however injuriouſly miſrepreſented) mentioning ſuch things for their Service as are apparently capable of anſwering the End if accepted, and can be Hurtful to none if rejected.
Nor can it be ſaid, that it is a diſcovering the Weakneſs of the Enemy to themſelves, and putting them upon ſecuring themſelves where they lie open, ſince the Enemy are far from being ignorant of the Diſadvantage they lie under; they are not ſo inſenſible of the weak Part, and have been ſenſible of it many Years ago, but find there is no Poſſibility of preventing the Conſequences, but by being Maſters at Sea; which is an Article that never was but once their Chance, and is never likely to happen to them again; at leaſt it will not in this War, whatever it may do in After-times.
If ſome things offer in this War, which have not offer'd before, at leaſt not to be ſo practicable in any former War; and if wiſer Heads than mine have not yet ſeen them, or rather not look'd into them, ſo much as perhaps they may ſee reaſon to do hereafter; I hope it will be no Offence to give any Lights, however unworthy and ill-eſteem'd the Perſon, who ſo officiouſly offers them for the publick Service, and however ſinking under the Weight of unjuſt Calumny his Opinion may be ſlighted, yet he may boldly ſay, his Reaſons [Page 36] ſhall not be confuted, nor any Scheme he lays down be juſtly objected againſt by the moſt envious, either on one Side or other. As to their being made uſe of, or not made uſe of, that is an Affair by it ſelf, and which at preſent it becomes him to ſay nothing about, unleſs it is made his Duty.
5. CHAP. V.
Of the particular Advantages the preſent Proſpect of a
War offers to the Britiſh Nation, with reſpect to the
Commerce of the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies.
OLIVER CROMWELL, whatever other things may be ſaid of him, and how ill ſoever his Name may ſound at the Head of any Affair as a Precedent, yet was certainly no Fool; He was no more void of Counſel than of Courage. I do not find that his Enemies, even of thoſe Times, ever gave it as a part of his Character, that he was either a Fool or a Coward.
In conſequence of his Uſurpation, and while the Adminiſtration might be ſaid to be in his Hands; among all the Foreign Nations whom he differ'd with, he declar'd War againſt the Spaniards: The Reaſons and Occaſion of the War are known, Hiſtory is full of them, and I have no room for Quotations, the Reading World know where to look for them.
In that War, France was a Confederate as now, and their Forces in Conjunction with the England took Dunkirk; but Oliver, who was not us'd to give up any thing he could keep, took care alſo to have that important Conqueſt put into his own Hands (and leſt it to the Englaſh Government at his Deceaſe) leaving the French to make the beſt of the War for themſelves in remoter Parts. How the Engliſh kept it, publiſh it not in Gath,—
But Oliver, willing to touch the Spaniards in a more ſenſible Manner, and in Conſequence of the Experience of former Ages, obſerving that by attacking Spain in the Weſt-Indies, he ſhould not only wound that Monarchy in the tendereſt Part of its Government, but carry on the War in that Part of the World where moſt was to be gotten by it, turn'd his Eye towards America.
[Page 37] In calling up this ſhort piece of Hiſtory, I deſire my Readers to keep their Eyes ſtrictly upon the exact Parallel of Times and Circumſtances, leaving the Perſons quite out of the Queſtion, and to ſtand and fall as their Fate has long ago directed; and let it be Oliver, or Oliver's Maſter, the—it matters not here, as the great Andrew Marvel ſaid of him.
Tho' his Government did a Tyrant reſemble,He made England Great, and her Enemies Tremble.
His Meaſures at Home are nothing to me, nor much indeed to any of us, now they are over. Heaven ſuffer'd him to overturn things, and then Heaven over-turn'd things again; and having viſited the Nation for their Crimes, viſited their Afflictors afterwards, ſcourg'd the Scourgers, and reſtor'd the Government. Juſt as in ancient Times he delivered up his People to the Aſſyrian, and then reſtor'd his People again, and deſtroyed their Deſtroyers.
It was about the Year 1655, when the War with Spain continuing, after ſeveral other Attempts, the Council of War received ſome Propoſals laid before them by the Government's Order, for an Expedition to the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies; (and as I had it not from Hiſtory, but by a very Authentick, tho' Verbal Relation, from a Member of the very Council of War, to whom it was referr'd) a Deſcent was propos'd to be made upon the Continent of New Spain; This was in order to ſeize ſome Strength there, keep the Poſſeſſion of it, fortifie and place a Garriſon in it, to be defended afterwards againſt all the Power of the Spaniards, ſo by that means to extend themſelves Gradually into the Country, plant and cultivate, ſtill fortifying as they ſhould go on, 'till at length they might eſtabliſh a Colony there, and ſo ſhare with the Spaniards the Poſſeſſion of America; and perhaps lying between the two great Empires which the Spaniards poſſeſs, viz. North and South America, or as in particular they may be call'd, Mexico and Peru, cut off the Communication, and poſſeſs the Shores of both Seas, that is to ſay, the Ports of Nombre de Dios, (which is much the ſame as Porto Belo) and Panama.
By this Propoſal, it was ſuppos'd, a Door would be immediately open'd to a Commerce with the Spaniards in America, that a Trade would be carried on to infinite Advantage, a vaſt Expence of the Woollen Manufacture follow, and a return in Specie [Page 38] be immediately and directly made to England; without trading about by old Spain, and under the Limitations and Reſtrictions of the Spaniards, as it always was before; and that in particular, while the War continued, very great Sums would frequently fall into the Hands of the Engliſh, by keeping a certain Number of Ships of War always cruiſing in thoſe Seas; and having the Port of ſuch Place as ſhould be conquer'd to retreat into, refit, revictual, and ſhelter themſelves upon all Occaſions.
The Offer was ſpecious, the Adventure bold, and the Succeſs promiſing: But upon farther and mature Deliberation, tho' the Enterpriſe was accepted and undertaken in the General, yet the Meaſures were chang'd; the Place expected to be attack'd was rejected, and a new Scheme (as ſome ſaid, of his own) was appointed for the Expendition, and that was to attack the Havana, the principal Port, and the chief Strength of the Spaniards in America; at leaſt it was, and is ſtill a Place of the greateſt Importance to the Spaniards, of any in all their American Dominions, as ſhall appear preſently; The Reaſons given for this Alteration of Counſels were ſuch, as preſently made an Impreſſion upon All that were conſulted about it, and the new Undertaking was unauimouſly reſolv'd on.
In order to carry on an Enterpriſe of ſuch Importance, a Fleet and an Army was prepar'd, and that with all the Expedition and Secrecy, that ſuch a Deſign call'd for: Nor 'till the Troops were ready to Embark, was it ſo much as gueſs'd at whither they were deſign'd.
However the jealous Spaniards, made afraid from the meer Importance of the Place, rather than by any certain Knowledge of the Deſign, ſent away ſome Ships of War, with Stores of Ammunition and Supply of Troops for the Garriſons of the Havana, and of Chartagena, as the two moſt ſignificant Places they poſſeſs'd in all their American Dominions, at leaſt on that Side; and theſe Ships arriv'd before the Engliſh, ſome conſiderable time.
The Deſign was at laſt made known: only to amuſe the Spaniards, Carthagena was given out as the Place intended to be attack'd: The Squauron ſail'd, the Troops about 8 or 9000 Men, and commanded by the fam'd Colonels Penn and Venables.
The Hiſtory of the Voyage is but ſhort in it ſelf, and I ſhall make it ſhorter ſtill; the Deſign upon the Havana miſcarry'd, principally by the Diſagreement in Councils among the Officers; they were miſtaken in every thing, landed in a wrong
[Page 39] Place, (viz.) at Hiſpaniola; the Men were harraſs'd and fatigued, and the Spaniards by that encourag'd; they were repuls'd in two or three Places, and at length they gave over the Enterpriſe, laying the Blame one upon another reciprocally, as in all humane Diſappointments 'tis very frequent to do.
Failing in this Enterprize they reimbark'd their Troops; and tho' the Army had ſuffer'd ſome Loſs, Abundance of Men dead, beſides thoſe kill'd and hurt in Action (which was too many) and the reſt very ſickly, the General very unavailing to come home empty-handed, and undertake nothing worthy an Engliſh Army, reſolved to attempt the Iſland of Jamaica. Accordingly they ſail'd directly to the Place, entred the Port, landed the Army; and being made wiſe by their Misfortunes, and reſolving not to be beaten, unleſs cut in pieces, they went on with more united Councils, and a better Agreement than before; by which means, and the Spaniards being not well provided for their Defence, they took the Iſland, and, to ſhorten the Story, Jamaica has been Engliſh ever ſince.
It is not to be wondred at if the Spaniards, after this narrow Eſcape, went to work with the Fortifications of the Havana, and made it very ſtrong; adding a ſtrong Caſtle at the North Part of the Town it ſelf, and adding ſeveral Batteries at the Entrance, whereof one under the Caſtle El Morro has a particular Battery of twelve exceeding long Braſs Cannon, which they call the Twelve Apoſtles, and which carry, if the Spaniards may be believ'd, a fifty-ſix Pound Ball.
Since this, and even while they were alarm'd with the coming of a French Squadron into thoſe Seas, in the late War under Monſieur Pointy, when they took Chartagena, the Spaniards apprehending the Deſign was againſt the Havana, they cauſed the whole City to be accurately fortified, and a Fort and a Cittadel to be re-built; by which the Town as well as the Port has obtain'd the Name of a very ſtrong Place, tho' far from being what the Spaniards pretend to ſay of it, Invincible. But if it really were ſo at this time, or if it was five-fold ſtronger than it is, it is of no Value or Importance in the Scheme I am now to lay down, nor ſhall it be of any Uſe to the Spaniards in the Caſe before me, any more than the Strength of any other Place; for what ſignifies its Strength, when it is not to be attack'd?
It is not the Fortifications upon the Shore that will Import any thing in this War; the Superiority by Sea is the [Page 40] thing we lay the whole Weight upon, and being Maſters of the Sea is that which the Sum of Affairs depends upon.
However 'tis neceſſary a little to ſtate the Importance of this Port of the Havana, in as brief Terms as I can, becauſe this was the Reaſon why Oliver and his Council pitch'd upon it to make their Attack. By the Import of it, I mean, the Import of it to the Spaniards, as they are now poſſeſt of it, and as it would have been to the Engliſh, if Oliver's General had happen'd to take it.
The Havana is the beſt Port without Diſpute in all the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies; it is ſituate on the North Side of the Iſte of Cuba, oppoſite to the Gulph of Florida, in the Latitude of twenty three Degrees North.
The Gulph of Florida being the only practicable Out-let or Paſſage from the Gulph of Mexico, by which all the Spaniſh Ships make their Return from America, and by which they enter into Ocean, which they therefore call Diſemboguing; I ſay, the Gulph being the only Practicable Way, all the Galeons from Porto-Belo, and the other Ships called the Flota, from La Vera Craz, come firſt to the Havana in their Paſſage home, and there being in Safety from either Seas or Enemies (for it is a Port as ſafe from Winds and Storms, as from Enemies) they wait 'till they meet from all Parts, and, as they call it, make up their Fleet.
N. B. There is another Way between Cuba and Hiſpaniola, which the Seamen call the Windward Paſſage, which the Ships from Jamaica ſometimes venture thorough. But 'tis hazardous and difficult, and the Spaniards never make uſe of it, eſpecially with their Fleet.
N. B. It ſhould alſo have been obſerv'd, that the Fleets from old Spain, make this Port of the Havana be the firſt Place of their Arrival, when they are outward bound, and coming ſo far in a Body; they then ſeparate as their Orders direct: the Ships for the South go away to PortoBelo, and thoſe to the Weſt go to La Vera Cruz; the Men of War attending them, or not, as they ſee Occaſion, and as Inteiligence of things directs.
So that both ways, whether out or home, the Havana is the only Place of Safety, where the Plate Fleet rendezvous, and where they are cover'd from all Dangers; nor wou'd the Voyage be eaſily made without ſuch a Halfway-Port to ſtop in, to recruit, to take in Refreſhments, Proviſious, and eſpecially Freſh-water; after ſo long a Run, as it is from Cadiz thither, in which they have no Place to touch at for-Refreſhment, except it be the Canary-Iſlands, where their Stay is but [Page 41] very ſhort, the Road being not at all ſafe, either from Wind or Weather, or Enemies, even the Turkiſh Rovers not excepted.
Having thus given you a full Account of the Import of this Place to the Spaniards, I have only this to add; That in the propos'd Advantages to us for cutting off the Spaniſh Commerce, and totally intercepting their Correſpondence with one another, which is the Scheme to be propoſed, This mighty Port, this well-fortified City, and this excellent Harbour, ſhall be of no Signification or Importance one way or other; it ſhall neither be worth any thing to us to take, or to the Spaniards to keep: Allowing England to have only the Superiority of naval Strength, and to be Maſters of the Sea, which I think I may venture to ſay is not to be doubted, and all the reſt ſhall fall in of Courſe; the Havana ſhall be as uſeleſs to the Spaniards, as Majorca in the Mediterranean (comparatively ſpeaking) nor ſhall it be able, or the Spaniards by its help be able, to prevent our Interrupting their Commerce, and in ſhort, taking it wholly into our own Hands.
There is on the ſame Iſland of Cuba, and on the ſame North-Side of it, open to the ſame grand Paſſage of the Gulph of Florida, another Port or Harbour, call'd the Harbour or Gulph of Honda; it is about nine Leagues to the Weſtward of the Havana, and upon the very ſame Coaſt.
- 1. That it is a convenient Place to form a Settlement upon, and to fortifie, ſo as with little Expence to make it unapproachable by Land, and conſequently not to be interrupted by the Spaniards.
- 2. That it commands a fruitful, and plentiful, and healthy Country, where not only all manner of Proviſions may be had, but where ſuch eaſy and ſecure Planting would follow, as not Jamaica it ſelf would go beyond it, as well for Trade, as ſupply of Inhabitants.
- 3. But that which is above all the reſt, the Situation is ſuch by Sea, that not a Ship, much leſs a Fleet of Ships, can go in or out, to or from the Havana, from or to the Gulph of Mexico, or the Coaſt of Carthagena, Porto-Belo, &c. but they muſt paſs by this Port, and even in ſight of the Men of War riding here; ſo that England has no more to do than to poſt a Squadron of Ships in this Port, making it their Station, and keeping ſome of them cruiſing upon the Coaſt of the Terra Firma, as they ſee Occaſion; and let any one that underſtands the Situation of the Spaniſh Commerce, tell us how they will carry it on without our Leave, and which Way they will get out of the Gulph of Mexico, or out of the Gulph of Honduras, or (to uſe their own Language) how they will Diſembogus, that is, get into the Ocean, wihtout (as I ſay) asking us Leave.
If this is their Caſe (to make the juſt Inference from Things as I go) will any Man ſay I was too arrogant in ſaying the Spaniards ſeemed [Page 42] not to know what they were doing, when they begin a Quarrel with England, that their Proceedings were abſurd, and ridiculons, and that they ſeemed to be little off from Diſtraction?
The farther entering into this Scheme of Management, for the interrupting the Spaniſh Commerce, requires more Room than can be allowed to any thing from ſo mean a Pen. But if any Writer, or Writer's Maſter, can raiſe one Objection againſt it, that cannot with unanſwerable Force be refuted, I would be glad to ſee it.
Let the greateſt Friend to the Spaniſh Intereſt, or the greateſt Enemy to the Author of this, tell me, if they can, which way the Flota's from La Vera Cruz ſhall get out into the Ocean, which way the Galeons ſhall beat it up againſt a Leeward Tide (as the Seamen call it) from Porto-Belo, and not come under the command of this Port, or that of Jamaica.
There is a Paſſage already mentioned, which ſometimes our Ships from Jamaica do make uſe of, which is therefore called the Windward Paſſage, and which runs from the Eaſt Point of Jamaica, North-Weſt, and then fleering North, goes between the Iſlands of Cuba and Hiſpaniola, and paſſing among innumerable Iſlands, Sands, Shoals, Rocks and other Dangers, leaves the Gulph of Florida on the Larboard Side, and goes out or diſembogues into the Ocean, to the North-Eaſt of all the Bahama Iſlands; and it is true, that the Spaniards may (that is to ſay, now and then a Ship may) make their Eſcape this Way.
But I refer it to the Judgment of the skilful Mariner, whether this is a practicable Way for the whole Trade; and if it were ſo, whether then the Iſland of Jamaica, which is already Britiſh, would not be of the ſame uſe for that Courſe, as the Bay of Honda would be for the other.
I am no Projector, nor am I laying the thing down as a Propoſal, at leaſt not here; but I think it is plain (at leaſt to me) that a Britiſh Squadron poſted in this Bay, may when you pleaſe put an end to the Spaniſh Commerce in the Weſt-Indies, in ſuch a manner, that the Spaniards could never carry on any conſiderable Trade there again: Always ſuppoſing what we have reaſon to hope will ever be the Caſe, namely, that the Britiſh Fleet ſhall be Maſters of the Sea.
It may be pretended, that the Spaniards may coaſt along the South Side of that they call the North Seas, that is to ſay, under the North, Share of the South America, the Coaſt of St. Marta, Venezcula, or the Carata's; and ſo to Bosco del Drago, the Gulph of Paria, and the Iſle De Trimidada; and ſo going away Eaſt, get into the Ocean that way, and come home with the Portugueſe Fleets from the Braſils.
All this, Eke what was ſaid before of the Windward Paſſage, is no more than like a City not entirely inveſted, or that tho' beſieged, may have ſome ſuch ſecret Paſſages, as that now and then a ſingle Meſſenger may eſcape in or out, to carry a Letter, or bring particular Intelligence, but which ſignifies nothing at all towards its Relief, much leſs towards raiſing the Stage, and opening a Communication.
[Page 43] Having thus ſtated the Caſe of the Spaniards, in caſe of a War, and on ſuppoſition of the Britiſh Superiority at Sea, how their Commerce with Europe ſhall be interrupted and broken off, and how they ſhall be no more able to trade, no not with their own Subjects, but by Leave from his Britannick Majeſty, and his Allies: The Inference from hence is as natural, and as plain, as that mentioned above; viz. No Man need to ask what are our Advantages by a War with Spain.
I know ſome room lyes here for a Queſtion, thus: Suppoſe you ſhould thus Interrupt their Commerce, what immediate Benefit or Advantage would that be to us? ſeeing tho' they cannot trade ſo freely with one another, they may hinder the Commerce of their own Subjects with the Subjects of others; and ſo, tho' the Interruption of the Trade be a Loſs to them, it will be no Gain to us.
I State this Queſtion, not becauſe it is a Queſtion that any one who underſtands the Nature of the Commerce of New Spain will ask, but becauſe there are ſome People that will ask more Queſtions in half an Hour, than—&c. and becauſe ſome are (as Solomon ſays) Wiſer in their own Conceit, than thoſe that can render a Reaſon: The Reaſons to be given in anſwer to ſuch Queſtions, if any ſhould be Weak enough to ask them, are reſolved into not Argument but Demonſtration.
If the Spaniards of New Spain cannot trade with the Spaniards of Old Spain, Experience tells us they will trade with any Body: If their own Ships cannot come at them, to bring the Merchandize of Europe to them, 'tis evident they muſt have thoſe Merchandizes, and they will ſeek to be ſupply'd with them where they can.
The Spaniards themſelves know this too well; the Marquis de Puzz [...] Bueno, in his late Memorial, complains of this as one of the Effects of Admiral Hoſier's Squadron lying at the Beſtimento's, viz. that it covers and protects what he calls the Contraband Trade, to the Prejudice of their Commerce.
Let any one grant me that taking Poſt, or Stationing a Squadron at the Bay of Honda, ſhall command the Commerce of Mexico and Peru, as I think it evidently appears it would, I will anſwer for the Spaniards, that they will grant it ſhall lay open their Trade Wholly to the Allies.
The Spaniards in America, rich and at caſe, abound in Money, and have Plenty of all manner of Proviſions, Wine excepted. They have the moſt delicious Fruits; they have a Profuſion of Sugars for Preſerving, which they greatly delight in; the fineſt Sweet meats and Confections in the World being to be had there, in the greateſt Plenty; they have the Cocoa in ſuch Plenty, that their Chocolate (which is their ordinary Repaſt) coſts them very little. They have Fleſh, and Fowl and Fiſh in abundance, infinitely more than they can conſume. And as for Money, their Houſes are fill'd with Plate, and their Merchants Ware-houſes piled up to the Ceilings with Cheſts of Silver Coin.
But with all this Affluence they have no Clothes; they have neither Linnen or Woollen, Silk or Hair of their own; I mean manufactured, and of their own making; they have indeed ſome Cotton, and ſome Wool, and the Indians, or Natives, do in ſome remote Places make ſome ordinary things for their own Cloathing, chiefly of Cotton, and ſome courſe peruvian Wool.
[Page 44] But the Spaniards (like the Lord-Danes formerly in England, from whole Pride and Lazineſs an Idle Fellow was afterwards call'd a Lurdan) are too proud to ſtoop to any thing called Work, ſo that they have no Merchandize, and conſequently no Cloth, except what they receive from Europe; and ſome Eaſt-India Goods, ſuch as Callicoes, and wrought Silks of China from the Philipine Iſlands, by the way of Acapulco.
This Supply of Manufactures is (generally ſpeaking) the Loading of the Galeons, including ſome Wines, and Oyl, and Fruit of the Growth of Old Spain; and theſe Loadings chiefly conſiſt of the Woollen Manufacture of England, the Silks of France and Italy, and the Linnen of Holland and Germany.
This Supply has ſometimes been Interrupted by a War, as was in particular the Caſe in the firſt War with France, when the Galeons were ſtopped for two or three Years; then it was the oddeſt thing in the World, to ſee how ſhabby and ragged the Spaniards appeared, with their Pockets full of Gold, their Tables cover'd with Plate, and their Ware-houſes (as above) heap'd up with Silver. And the Author of this ſpeaks of particular Knowledge, that under one of theſe Diſappointments a Spaniſh Merchant came on board a trading Sloop, on the Coaſt of St. Martha, in a Periagua, and bought as many Goods at ſeveral times as he paid 19000 Pieces of Eight for, and had himſelf not a Pair of Stockings on his Legs, and the reſt of his Cloaths worn into ſuch Rags, as an Engliſhman with but 50s. in the World would ſcorn to be ſeen in.
He acknowledged that they had Money enough, but no Cloths; that every thing bore ſuch a Price as tempted them that were Merchants to ſell till they were almoſt naked. He brought 5000 Pieces of Eight with him the firſt time, and looking over the whole Ship's Cargo, bought as much as came to 19000, (the Sum above-mention'd) ſtay'd in the Sloop all the next Day, when they ſtood off to Sea to be out of Sight, and went on Shore with his Goods the next Night; returning again the Night after with more Money; and ſo conſtantly, 'till he had brought all his Money, and then ſent three other Merchants, who bought all the reſt of the Cargo.
If this Trade was carry'd on thus, when at the extremeſt Hazard; what would it be when, under the Protection of the Men of War, the Ships and Sloops ſhould come boldly to their Shores, and the Buyers be under no Reſtraint. Neceſſity obliging them to consive at one another on Shore, and no Guard de Coſtia's to take Cogniſance at Sea?
Nay, what would it be when the Bay of Honda ſhould be a free Fair, and that all the Spaniſh Veſſels that thought fit to come thither, ſhould trade under the Protection of the Place, and be ſafe going and coming, under ſhelter of the cruiſing Men of War?
Will any Man ſay that the Trade will not be wholly our own, that is to ſay, the Allies? for the Dutch at Curacao and Surinam, and the French at Martinico, would have their Share in the ſame Commerce; and any one may anſwer for it, the Advantage would be ſuch, that we ſhould never be concern'd, tho' there was never to be any more Peace with the Spaniards, either on this Side of the World, or on the other.