The evident approach of a war: and something of the necessity of it, in order to establish peace, and preserve trade. To which is added, an exact plan and description of the bay and city of Gibraltar.
- 1. The Unreaſonableneſs of our Impatience to know the Certainty of things before our Governors thought fit to explain them, call'd aloud for ſome Reproof.
- 2. The Apprehenſions ſome People were under, or pretended to be under, for our Publick Credit, and for our Commerce in caſe of a War, Neither of which ſeem to be in the leaſt Danger, call'd (as loud) for ditto.
- 3. The Officious Entring upon this Subject, tho' ever ſo well intended, ſeems to call for ſome Apology.
The Author thinks the two firſt are ſufficiently defended in the Manner of reproving them, and adds nothing to it for that [Page] Reaſon; and for the Laſt, as he has taken all poſſible Care to give no Offence, and that the whole Tenour of the Work is evidently calculated for the Honour, Intereſt, and Service of His Majeſty, and the whole Britiſh Nation, and perfectly abſtracted from all private Views or Deſires, He humbly hopes, no Slip of the Pen, if ſuch ſhould be, tho' he has with the utmoſt Care guarded againſt that alſo, ſhall be miſconſtrued to his Prejudice.
THE Evident Approach of a WAR, &c.
A ſhort Introduction; with a Remark upon the Impatience of ſome People to know before-hand whether we ſhall have Peace or War. The Reaſon of their uneaſy Haſte; and ſomething of Who the People are. Alſo an Enquiry whether our Stocks and Publick Credit ſhould not Riſe, rather than Fall, upon the Proſpect of a War.
WHEN all the Politicians of the Town are conſulting their Oracles upon this Important Subject, and that the firſt Queſtion in all Converſation is, Peace or War? I hope if I may not give my own Opinion, I may be a little merry with thoſe that do.
Indeed, if we go to the Merit of the Caſe, I cannot ſee why every Britiſh Freeholder may not claim a Right to talk of it, and enquire a little into it, modeſtly, and as becomes them; ſince in moſt Caſes that I meet with, if any Body has a Right to enquire into the Rate of a Thing, 'tis thoſe who pay for it.
War and Peace in Great Britain, are, notwithſtanding all our Privileges, in the Breaſt of the King; 'tis a Branch of the Prerogative; no Body diſputes it; and I ſuppoſe 'tis the Prerogative of moſt of the Kings of Europe alſo, and ſo 'tis meet it ſhould be.
Let the Kings (Name a' God) make a War or a Peace,Let 'em Fight, or give o'er, as their Majeſties pleaſe.Let's be anxious no more, whatever's our Doom;Tho' we Fight all the World, let's be Eaſy at Home.
Leaving then the Superficials for the Superficial to refine upon, let us ſee what it is the Town is ſo reſtleſs about. For my Part, I don't ſee the People I ſpeak of, half ſo much concern'd about the Thing it ſelf, as about their not knowing it before-hand; a certain Hint of their Meaning; which is, in a Word, that they want to make a Bubble of it, and that before [Page 2] it begins too. Who may be bubbled by it when it comes, is a Queſtion by it ſelf.
And how unaccountable is this Imparience among us? Why cannot the Town be eaſy, and let things go on in the ordinary Courſe? If a War is for our Advantage, 'twill be good News when it comes; if not, bad News comes faſt enough. Let us have Patience; we moſt hear of it in the End, or Taxes muſt be lighter than uſual in like Caſes.
But there is a Figure in all this Speech; More intended than is expreſs'd: How happens it elſe that thoſe People are moſt concerned to be at a Certainty about a War, who are like to have the leaſt Hand in it when it comes? Latet anguis in berba.
In a Word, the preſent Haſte we are in to know what ſhall be, is not a meer Curioſity and Impatience, but 'tis a Bite; they want to be the firſt in the Secret, and to know it before their Neighbours, for Uſes and Purpoſes; and theſe Uſes and Purpoſes are worth our Inquiry after.
Some are of Opinion, and I among the reſt, that the Curioſity of the Times ſhould not be ſatisfy'd; and that much is to be learnt, tho' perhaps not ſo much to be got, by the State of Uncertainty Men are in at this Time: At leaſt this is to be learnt, that People within Doors ſee what Fools we are without Doors, to think we underſtand them.
Stateſmen always gain by being ſecret: If they have nothing at all upon the Anvil, ſay nothing, or mean nothing when they ſpeak, they always paſs for Politicians when they are Private; and we will have it that they are wiſe Men when they are doing nothing, tho' it be only becauſe they have nothing to do.
But why are we without Doors ſo impatient to know what perhaps no Body here can tell us? and why do we not enquire where it is to be known? Is this the Place for the Queſtion to be ſtarted in? Or is Madrid and Vienna the proper Center of the Intelligence?
Who do we ask? And why do we talk of it here? 'Tis plain his Majeſty has reſolved, if poſſible, to preſerve the Peace. If 'tis to be a War, I think you ſhould ask the King of Spain, the Emperor, the Czarina, and thoſe Heroes of War the Poles, who talk of Fighting as if the World durſt not look them in the Face. Happy! Strangely Happy! is this Age, that the only Nations that ſeem eager for a War, are thoſe that are [Page 3] leaſt able to carry it on; and thoſe that ſeem forwardeſt for Fighting, are thoſe that when they come to it, have been always forwardeſt to run away.
To hear the Spaniards talk of fitting out Ships of War, and the Poles of raiſing Armies! I muſt confeſs, if I were to ſpeak freely upon the Subject, and any Man who I thought worth an Anſwer ſhould ask me Whether we ſhould have a War with theſe Spaniards and Muſcovites? I ſhould anſwer, ſome little Articles excepted, I am afraid not.
To hear the Poles threaten the King of Pruſſia; talk of his doing Homage to them for Part of his Country; reject the Memorials of the Proteſtants, and order their Troops (their Invincible Poltroons) to march to the Frontiers; methinks 'tis of a Piece with the Orders of their late Dyet, to diſpoſe of two Millions of Poliſh Florins, when 'tis ſaid they have but 40000 in their Exchequer.
Then, as I ſaid, to hear the Spaniard talk of fitting out 50 Ships of War, when all Spain is not able to furniſh 3000 Seamen; to hear of their furniſhing the Emperor with three Millions per Ann. by way of Subſidy, when they can't bring home their Plate Fleet from Abroad, for fear of eight Men of War, and can hardly borrow 200000 Crowns in all their Seven Kingdoms at Home; Theſe are merry Things it muſt be allow'd, and fit for little elſe, in my Opinion, but to be laugh'd at.
To hear from the Baltick, that the Czarina has order'd her Fleet to be fitted out Early in the Spring, when ſhe has lately let us ſee, that if 20 Engliſh Men of War appear, they dare not look abroad: And then, for fitting them out EARLY, that's another Jeſt too, as if they could get out before we could get in; or that they could Sail over the Ice, and put to Sea when their Ports are frozen up. For my Part, I can hardly believe they talk ſo at Petersburgh; I think they can never be ſo ſilly. I am rather of Opinion our News-mongers make it for them; juſt as they did the other Day the French laying up great Magazines at Luxemburgh, which is a City in the Hands of the Emperor, one of the Barrier Towns. The Muſcovites can no more come out into the Ocean without our Leave, or without fighting our Fleet, and beating it too, than their Ships can fly over the Mountains. If they deſign ſuch things as are talk'd of, and to come into the Ocean with a Fleet, they muſt change the Scene of their Marine Affairs, and go and build Men of War at Arch-Angel or in Nova Zembla, and then they may indeed go to Sea without Interruption; but 'till they do that, they may ceaſe concerning themſelves in the Naval [Page 4] Affairs of Europe; and if they do it, they will be little more than laugh'd at.
Theſe are the terrible People to whom we ſhould go with our Important Queſtion, and of whom we ſhould ſo ſubmiſſively ask whether they pleaſe to give Peace or War to the ſo much weaker Kings of France and Great Britain. Why ſhould we not ask of them that know?
It is true, they are ſcarce worth our Notice in the Caſe before us; and that, in my Opinion, makes the Queſtion about Peace and War the leſs Important; and our Impatience about it ſeems the more Enigmatick. What mighty Haſte are we in? and what great Streſs do we lay upon a War with ſuch People, as (Heaven knows) are hardly worth the Queſtion; and who, as the Turks ſaid once to the Muſcovites, hardly knew how to make War, and were not worth making Peace with.
But to bring all this home to our Selves, and look into the Inſide of Things with our Eyes open, and the Miſts of Art cleared a little up; and ſo talk ſomething gravely to it: If the Enemies which we are like to have upon our Hands, ſuppoſing a War, are ſuch as I have hinted at, Why all this Concern about Peace or War with them? Why ſo anxious to know things before-hand? Why ſo much Noiſe about nothing! There muſt be more in it of one Kind, if there is not of another; it cannot be all meer Curioſity, meer Athenianiſm; an Enquiry for meer Tittle Tattle, and for the Pleaſure of a Tale.
The Caſe is plain, all this Part is of a mean and ſcandalous Original, hardly worth naming; 'tis the ALLY, and the JOBBERS, that make the greateſt Part of the Noiſe; and they want to be anſwered, only that they may know how to Put and Refuſe, how to Sell out or Buy in, and to make a Bubble of the War before it begins.
Now as this is in it ſelf a Trifle not worth ſpending two Words about, much leſs to ground ſuch a Clamour upon; a thing below Reproof, too mean for Satyr, has neither Jeſt or Earneſt in it, and circulates between the F—s and the K—s only; beginning and ending within and among themſelves; ſo I had not dirty'd my Fingers with it here, only to introduce a Superior Enquiry with it, and which may be of ſome Uſe to us to ſpeak of upon this Occaſion, and ſome others alſo that may follow.
[Page 5] 'Tis indeed for the ſake of this Queſtion that I mention theſe People, and begin my Diſcourſe with what would otherwiſe look ſo trifling. I muſt confeſs, if the Queſtion was put another way, I could give a more direct Anſwer to it, and ſupport that Anſwer with better Reaſons: I mean thus; If the Queſtion was, Whether the Certainty of a Peace or War ought to influence the Publick Credit, and the Price of Stocks, one way or other: I ſay, if this was the Queſtion, I ſhould, without the leaſt Heſitation, anſwer in the Negative; it ought not any way to affect the Credit or the Funds, no, not in the leaſt; and 'tis unaccountably fooliſh that it ſhould be otherwiſe.
If I ſhould incline to give it one way or other, and ſay which way ſhould the Publick Credit be moſt affected, I ſhould anſwer, That a War ſhould make Stocks riſe, not ſink them; and I ſhould value my ſelf much more upon my little Intereſt among them, in Caſe of a War, than in View of a Peace; and I may come to give you my Reaſons for this alſo, in their Place.
It is true, it paſs'd for a Maxim of War in the Time of Julius Caeſar, Never to deſpiſe an Enemy; but 'tis as good a Maxim, tho' not ſo Antient, Not to Over-rate an Enemy. He that is afraid before he fights, will be ſure to be beaten.
To run down our Eſtates, ſink the Value of our Funds, Sell out in a Hurry, and abate the Publick Credit becauſe of a War, and ſuch a War as this too! What is it but Fear? nay, 'tis worſe, 'tis a Fright; and without Deſpiſing our Enemy (that may be) 'tis Rating him much too high. As Spain is not ſo Inconſiderable as not to be worth our Preparations, ſo I am ſure it is not ſo Conſiderable as to be worth our Apprehenſions; their Power ſeems but to make the War half a Jeſt, and ſure their Threatnings and Swagger ought to be far from turning it into Earneſt.
I cannot but think there is ſome Similitude between the Spaniards talking of a War, and their late Prohibition of our Manufacturers; they prepare for War without Money, and they prohibit Trade without Clothes.
The King of Spain, they tell us, forbids his People to wear any of the Manufactures of Wool or Silk, made in other Countries; and yet 'tis plain they can make none of their own; ſo that 'tis a kind of a Proclamation for the People to go naked.
Let them take away the Manufactures of England, France, and the Seventeen Provinces, and tell us, if they can, what their People muſt wear? the poor Spaniards may indeed be careful, [Page 6] notwithſtanding the Scripture Prohibition, about wherewithal they ſhall be clothed. Not the Prieſts have a Caſſock, not the Nuns a Veil, not the Gentlemen a Cloak, or the Ladies a Robe, I might have ſaid a Smock, but what are made of ſome foreign Manufacture. They have not one Manufacture or Material to make it of, in the whole Dominion, which we now call Spain, that can amount to the cloathing of the Inhabitants of one Province, nay hardly of one City.
They have Wool indeed, but by it ſelf 'tis too ſoft, too fine, and too tender to work, nor will it make any Manufacture of Value, unleſs they could get Wool of a coarſer kind to mix with it. They have a little Silk, but no Quantity. They have neither Hemp or Flax. In a Word, they prohibit the Commerce juſt as they ſeem to make War, to ſhow their Teeth, or rather to ſhow that they have no Teeth. As they have no Manufactures to ſubſtitute in the room of thoſe they prohibit, ſo they have no Ships to defend the Trade they would exclude us from.
Never Nation went to War in the Circumſtances which the Spaniards muſt now, if they do make a War of it; and that makes me think ſometimes they are not in earneſt, that it is all Grimace, and a kind of Quixotiſme; For the Spaniards, take them abſtracted from their particular Reſentments, were always reckoned a wiſe conſidering Nation. They have made War in former Ages, and ſometimes with Succeſs; as under thoſe truly Great Princes, the Emperor Charles V, and Philip II; and ſince that in Confederacy with ſome or other of the Powers of Europe that were in Condition to ſupport them at Sea: and we may ſay there was ſome Senſe in that Part; becauſe their Weakneſs at Sea being ſupported, they in ſome meaſure could preſerve their American Correſpondence; receive Supplies of Treaſure by their Plate Fleets, and could have the Support of Troops, if wanted, either by Land or by Sea; as was their Caſe in their late Wars againſt France; and afterwards againſt the preſent Emperor, when they were ſupported by France.
In the Firſt, the Confederates guarded their Flota's, and convoyed their Ships by Sea; in the Second, the French marched powerful Armies to their Aſſiſtance by Land; and yet in both thoſe Wars, Spain ſuffered ſometimes prodigious Loſſes; as in the Firſt by the French, in America, when Monſieur Pointy took Carthagena; and in the Laſt, by the Engliſh at Vigo, and the like.
But now they have not an Allie that can help them by Land, or by Sea; no not one: and yet they want to make a War! 'Tis anſwered, the Emperor is their Allie, and his Armies [Page 7] are powerful, his Troops good, his Generals the beſt of the Age (that is to ſay, being interpreted, ſome of the beſt) and that he will ſupport them with all his Forces.
As to the Imperial Support, we ſhall have room to ſpeak of it when we come to ſee how well the Emperor will ſupport himſelf and his own Country; but for the preſent, as it relates to Spain, I may take notice, that perhaps the Emperor might ſupport, or at leaſt aſſiſt the Spaniards, if he knew how to come at them; but which way will that be done? and upon what Foundation does the Emperor propoſe to do it, or the Spaniards to expect it.?
By Land it is impracticable, unleſs the Imperial Troops appointed for it could firſt fight their way from Italy or Alſatia, thro' the Heart of France, and ſo enter Spain by Land; for by Sea they cannot pretend to it; the Britiſh and Dutch, and perhaps French Squadrous lying directly in the Way to intercept them.
At preſent Spain is ſurrounded on every Side by Land, way-laid on every Side by Sea, they can neither be ſuccoured by Troops from their Friends, or ſupplied with Money from their own Dominions; and yet theſe are the People of whom we muſt enquire whether we ſhall have War or Peace; and with whom if we have a War, our Bubblemakers pretend, the Stocks muſt fall, and the publick Funds ſink in their Value! What Reaſons they can give for it, I muſt confeſs I am at a Loſs to find.
It is true there are Facts and Events which frequently offer to our View, of which we can only ſay they are, not why or for what Reaſon they exiſt; as ſome Phoenomena appear in the Heavens which are ſtrange and unaccountable, and of which our beſt Aſtronomers can ſay they are, rather than give any Account from whence or by what Powers in Nature they exiſt; what their Motions and Revolutions are, or how performed; ſuch as Comets, ſurpriſing Meteors, Balls of Fire, and other Appearances in the Air.
There muſt be ſome Aenigma, ſome Arcana, in the Councils of that part of the World, and they muſt have ſome Dependances which we can ſee no room for, and can make no probable Gueſſes at; or elſe the Spaniards ſeem to be the moſt void of Council, or their Council (ſuch as they are) the moſt void of Senſe, of any People now acting as a Nation, and in the Capacity of a Monarchy, in the World. I know nothing can be more wonderful in the Courſe of all the Politicks of Europe than their preſent Conduct; nor in my Opinion can a greater Prodigy happen in the World, unleſs it ſhould be to ſee them [Page 8] come well off at laſt, which I would not Inſure under 100 per Cent.
Theſe things, and the abundant Patience of His Majeſty and the Britiſh Government, waiting the ntmoſt Length of Time, trying all pacifick Meaſures, and offering beyond what the Spaniards have the leaſt Reaſon to expect, in order to prevail with them not to run into a War which they are in no Condition to carry on: I ſay, theſe are the only Reaſons that would perſwade me to think ſtill that it would not be a War: my Meaning is, I cannot think the Spaniards are ſo entirely abandon'd, ſo given up to their Piques and perſonal Reſentments, ſo blind againſt their own Intereſt and Safety, ſo infatuated and reſolved for their own Ruin, as to run headlong into a War, which in all human Probability muſt iſſue in their Loſs, if not in the utter Deſtruction of their Intereſt, and perhaps of their very Government: of which I ſhall ſay more in its order.
And is this the War that muſt ſink our Stocks! Will any Man Sell out, as they call it, for the Apprehenſions of ſuch a War as this! Let the Bear-skin Men that build upon that Proſpect, depend upon it, that whatever Uſe they make of the Word War, which I know is a formidable Word, and is of late made, as we call it, a Term of Art in their way, to run down the Price of things, and make their Game of among themſelves; yet upon the whole, it will go but a little way, and they themſelves will buy their own Stock up again in a very few Days, after they have Bubbled it out in a Fright without ground.
The many frequent Occaſions in which thoſe People have been thus taken in their own Snares, are not worth our Notice, tho' they are very well worth theirs, that they may learn to be wiſer: The Stocks which fall by this Art will never lie there, but will ccertainly advance with the greater Reflux, as ſoon as the firſt Judgment of ſuch a War is paſs'd; and not to make the Spaniards ſeem meaner and more deſpicable than they are, the little Reaſon there can be to lay any Streſs upon their Part of the War, or to raiſe any Pannicks among us from the Proſpect of it, the more aſhamed theſe People will be of having ſunk the Rate of things upon that Occaſion.
It ſeems, if this Matter was examined, that the Gentlemen who are now ſo impatient to have this ſecret Intelligence, put much more Weight upon themſelves than the World may think fit to put upon them; believing that as they pleaſe to Rate their Stocks, ſo the reſt of the World ſhould Rate the War.
[Page 9] War is a terrible Word, and were it circumſtanced in any manner but as this with Spain ſeems to be, there might be ſomething of Foundation for it; But Reaſon dictates that we ſhould diſtinguiſh according to the particular People we are to engage with. Now if any good Politician will tell us what Nation in the World it could be wiſh'd we ſhould differ with rather than Spain; then I'll allow they might ſuggeſt a Fall of Stocks upon the Rupture.
But where is the Nation of the World that we can get more by, and are likely to loſe leſs by, in caſe of a War? In how many Places in the World are they expoſed even to our Adventurers and Letter-of-Mart Men, where they cannot defend themſelves againſt five hundred Men, and yet have immenſe Riches to loſe? How eaſie is it, not only to inſult their Weſt-India Colonies, but even to diſpoſſeſs them; and to take from them the immenſe Riches of Mexico and Peru?
This adds to our Wonder in behalf of the Spaniards, makes the Infatuation appear the more groſs, and ſeems to be ſtill a Reaſon why we ſhould think there can be no War; that is to ſay, that I think the Spaniards can never carry on the Jeſt ſo far. People in their Senſes never run great Hazards, where they have much to loſe; and as we know His Majeſty has taken all the wiſe Meaſures to preſerve Peace, we cannot ſuppoſe the Spaniards can come into a War, unleſs they are fallen under ſome National Infatuation.
For this Reaſon I would cloſe the Account thus, viz. No War, unleſs the Spaniards are mad; 'tis next to impoſſible. The Spaniards can never come into a War without a Blaſt upon their politick Senſe and Underſtanding; and 'tis ſtill more irrational to think, that a War with ſuch a Nation can be any Foundation for the running down our Stocks and Funds, &c.
As to the Advantages of a War with Spain, and the good Terms on which it might, and probably may, be carried on by Great Britain, I ſhall take that into Conſideration by it ſelf, when the Wiſdom of the Spaniards, and of their preſent Conduct, may be farther illuſtrated as it deſerves.
That Some may be allowed to enquire, and ſhould, if poſſible, be informed of the Approach of a War before it is begun; and that it is juſt in a Government to give them as much Information as they conveniently can.
HAving thus touch'd gently the Grounds and Reaſons of our preſent Impatience about Peace and War, and how far ſome People make a Bubble of the Enquiry, as they would do afterwards of the Diſcovery, and of the Thing itſelf; I muſt add, that after all, and abſtracting the Thing from thoſe jobbing Deſigns, which we muſt acknowledge are mean and low-priz'd enough, yet there are ſome People in the World who are juſtly concern'd to enquire, and anxious to know too, what will be the Iſſue of theſe things; and this upon a better Account, and who have very honeſt Reaſons for their Enquiries; and it is on their Account that theſe Sheets are made publick.
1. The Merchants abroad are concerned to make a Judgment of things: Many of theſe being ſettled in the Ports and Dominions of ſuch Princes and Powers as may be or are like to be Enemies in caſe of a Rupture, 'tis of Importance to them to have as early an Account of things as they can; that they may ſecure their Perſons and Effects in time from the Violences frequently made uſe of on ſuch Occaſions; and this may be one Reaſon why our Letters from Spain and Italy and other Parts of the World are full of importuning Enquiries about it.
2. The Inſurers, who are far from being an inconſiderable Body among the Merchants at home, have Reaſon to be concerned in the Enquiry; for that being to under-write Policies which are of very great Value, and inſure upon Ships and Cargoes going long Voyages, 'tis of the laſt Importance to them to know what Riſque they may run, in order to know what Premio's to take, ſaited to the Times that are to come.
As things may happen, many Ships may go out in Peace and come back in War; or they may go out in Peace, and a War break out before they arrive at the Port they are inſured to; ſo that the Inſurer knows not what Hazard he runs, or how to ſuit his Demand; nor does the Inſured know what Premio to give, any more than the other knows what to ask.
[Page 11] Trade ſhould not be embarraſſed with Uncertainties, or with unforeſeen Hazards. The Merchant has in all Ages been much the Care of wiſe and juſt Governors; they are a uſeful and valuable Part of the Common-wealth, and their Intereſt ſhould be regarded on all Occaſions: The Welfare of the Community very much depends upon the Safety of the Merchants and of their Effects: By them the People are employed, the Navigation encouraged, Numbers of Sailors maintained and bred up, the Revenue encreaſed, and the great Article of Commerce carried on and continued in this Kingdom.
They that venture their Eſtates and Perſons abroad, that eſtabliſh Factories, ſettle Houſes, and give Commiſſions for buying and ſelling in foreign Parts, ſhould not be kept in Ignorance and in the Dark, 'till the very laſt Moment of a Rupture. The Government will not leave them to the Mercy of the Enemies, betray them into the hands of Violence; or give them up at leaſt without a due Concern for them, and without giving them time to ſhift for themſelves, to ſecure their Effects, and to avoid the impending Storm.
3. In like caſe the Merchants at home ſhipping off daily large Quantities of Goods for foreign Parts, it would look particularly unkind to expoſe them to ingulph themſelves and their Fortunes in the publick Reſentment, if it may be avoided; leaving them to puſh on their Trade in Security, under the Protection of Peace, while a War is in the very Embrio, and as it were juſt breaking out; in which caſe they would often find themſelves on the ſudden ſurprized, their Eſtates confiſcated and ſeized upon, and their Factors abroad ruined and undone.
It has been uſual for Governments to give their Merchants private Hints in ſuch Caſes, not only not to run farther Hazards, not to launch out by continuing to ſhip off farther and greater Stocks of Goods, but to take care in time of the Effects they have already abroad; to diſpoſe and ſecure them, that they may not be expoſed to the Enemies; and when a Government does not do ſo, 'tis reaſonable to conclude there is really no Danger.
4. Maſters and Owners of Ships are concerned and may juſtly be anxious to know whether Peace or War is in the View of the State they live under, that they may man and arm their Ships in proportion to the Circumſtances of things; otherwiſe if they go out weak, and a War breaks out, they are made a Prey to Rovers and Privateers; if they go out ſtrong, and the Peace continues, they are at a needleſs Expence in [Page 12] hiring more Men than they want, and laying in greater Stores than they have Occaſion for; all which eats into, or rather eats out, the Profits of the Voyage.
5. The very Seamen themſelves are juſtly concern'd in the Enquiry; for as, in all ſuch Caſes, the Rate of Seamens Wages bears a Proportion to the Riſques they run, and to the Dangers they may fall into; ſo 'tis a Wrong to the poor Men to ſhip themſelves at the ordinary Wages, if a War is at hand; and 'tis a Wrong to Trade to be obliged to pay advanced Wages, and conſequently Advance of Freight for Goods, in view of a War, if no War is intended.
6. Tradeſmen at home are concern'd to know, whether there is likely to be Peace or War, that they may know what and when to buy or ſell, when to lay in Stocks and Stores of Goods, and when not: If a War be in View, 'tis the Tradeſman's Buſineſs to ſtore himſelf with ſuch Goods as are Imported from Abroad before the Price advances, before the Hazards of War make them uncertain in their Arriving, and as well in Time as in Quantity. The Vintner lays in a Stock of Wines, and buys freely, that he may not be forc'd to buy in a Scarcity; the Dyer lays in a Stock of Cocheneal and Indigo, Gauls and Gums, that he may work as cheap as before, if poſſible, and his Merchants not go from him to another; the Country Clothier, if he hears of a War, lays in a Stock of Oil for his Carders and Combers, and of Spaniſh Wool for his fine Clothes; that if a War happens, he may not be out of Goods for the carrying on his Buſineſs, and be forc'd to buy Dearer than his Neighbours.
Again; if theſe Tradeſmen buy, if they lay in a Stock of Goods with a proſpect of War, and no War happens; if the Seller uſes Art to deceive them, and perſwade them that there will be a War, (as is often done) and no War follows: I ſay, theſe Tradeſmen are hurt extremely, they are clog'd with Goods, run out Stocks, got deep into Debt, and the Rate of their own Goods not at all raiſed; ſo that they are irreparably weaken'd by the Diſappointment, and ſometimes ruin'd.
Theſe things, with many of the like, juſtify the Enquiries of the Men of Buſineſs (eſpecially) into the Poſture of publick Affairs, and whether they are likely to iſſue in Peace or War; and it is in Conſideration of theſe that I enter thus into the Enquiry. As for our Friends of the Jobbing Buſineſs, they are a Nation by themſelves, and we have nothing to do with them in the Caſe; nor are they otherwiſe worth taking notice of, except as before.
[Page 13] Since then there are ſome People to whom it is reaſonable we ſhould give as much Light into things as we can, Conſiſtent with the Publick Intereſt; let us for their Sakes enquire a little how things ſtand in the World, and what we may reaſonably expect, as well from the face of things abroad, as at home. Perhaps they may take ſome Light from our Enquiries, which they would not have before.
As things now preſent themſelves to our View, there ſeems to be more rational Gueſſes to be made, and a better Judgment to be form'd from Abroad, than from at Home; at leaſt as far as we may judge from the Outſides and Appearances of Publick Affairs, and as far as we are allow'd to ſearch into them, and paſs our Judgment upon them.
'Tis evident the Councils of Great Britain tend to Peace, if to be obtain'd with juſt and honourable Conditions: Peace, if attended with the good Underſtanding of Princes, and an agreeable Regard to the Treaties and Engagements already entered into, and ſubſiſting between the Nations, to the Advantage of all Sides, and with Support of the Laws, Religion and Liberties of Europe.
The Government of Great Britain quarrels with no body; we deſire no War, ſo that our Neighbours are not oppreſs'd, our Commerce invaded, new Trades and Correſpondencies opened, which were formerly by evident and excluſive Stipulations clos'd and ſhut up. Great Britain is a Trading Nation, and trading Nations never covet War. Peace is a Friend of Commerce, and Trade flouriſhes under the Banner of the general Tranquility.
But the Government of Great Britain, nor of its Allies, who are generally trading Nations too, muſt not be inſulted, muſt not be run down, much leſs their Commerce invaded and ſupplanted. Their Power is always exerted to protect their Trade; 'tis their Buſineſs to keep the Seas open, the Ports open, and all the Doors of Commerce open for their Merchants, and for their Ships; and, as I ſaid before, if this cannot be done by peaceable and quiet Means, they muſt do it by Force, and ſo they are as ready for War as other People.
'Tis for this that theſe Nations keep up ſuch a Military Force; ſuch Fleets and ſuch Armies to protect their Trade, to keep all the Back-doors open, to clear the Seas of Pyrates and Privateers, the Sea-Ports from Prohibitions and Repriſals, and to keep the Sea-Ports of all Nations free, and patent for their Ships, and for their Merchants; and if this be obſtructed by Force, they muſt uſe Force to repel it; if this cannot be obtained without a War, a War muſt be expected, and to me ſeems to be unavoidable.
[Page 14] Now the Queſtion before us in the preſent Caſe is very ſhort; Do the combin'd Nations, who ſeem now to oppoſe the Treaty of Hanover, ſeek to invade the Commerce of Great Britain, or do they not? Do they ſeek to undermine and ſupplant us, or no? Do the Oſtend Company, under the Imperial Eagle, invade our Eaſt-India Trade, or do they not? Do they fit our Ships for Parts, which by ſeveral Treaties and Agreements they are obliged not to do, and do not uſe to fit out Ships for? Do they trade to Places whither they ought not, even by Agreement, to Trade? and is this done by Force, and with Menaces of a Continuance of ſuch Trade, and of reſenting the leaſt Oppoſition to it? If this be ſo, then I think no Man of Trade need to enquire whether we ſhall think fit to renew a War for the Recovery of the Trade, ſeeing the War is begun already by theſe Aggreſſions and Invaſions.
All the Intervals of Peace which we ſeem to have had, were obtained by the Sword. The firſt War between Holland and Spain, which held forty Years, was cloſed by the Peace of Munſter, in which the Rights of Commerce, as well as of Government, were all adjuſted, ſettled and determin'd, and have remained ſo peaceably ever ſince, in moſt Parts on that ſide the World. If theſe Rights of Commerce are invaded, you need ask no Queſtions about it, the War is begun there. Beſides this, the ſeveral Treaties with Spain, and between Spain and France, have generally adjuſted the Commerce, as well as the Poſſeſſion of the ſeveral Countries; and the ſettling of Trade has been to theſe Nations as Eſſential, as the ſettling of Peace, and was always made a Part of it.
The Conditions on which the Netherlands have been aſſigned to this or that Prince, have been always ſettled and adjuſted by the ſeveral Powers, with ſuitable Reſerves to Trade, ſuch as ſerv'd for a Guarantee of the Commerce on either Hand: By theſe Treaties ſuch and ſuch Prohibitions have been taken off and laid on, by which the Intereſts of Trade on either of their Boundaries have been preſerv'd and taken care of.
If the Faith of Treaties is to be preſerv'd inviolable in Matters of Peace and War, in Matters of Government and Dominion, in the Rights of Poſſeſſion, and the Claims of Sovereignty, and not in Matters of Trade; why are the Affairs of Commerce, and the free Intercourſe of the Subjects one with another, mention'd in theſe Treaties? Why are the Liberties and Reſtrictions of Trade ſtipulated among other things in thoſe Treaties? They are not Articles made on purpoſe to be [Page 15] broken; there is no Reſerve made againſt them, no Exception; 'tis no where ſaid that the Breach of thoſe Clauſes ſhall not be taken for a Breach of the Peace.
On the contrary, thoſe Articles of Commerce have all along been looked upon as Eſſential to the good Underſtanding between thoſe reconciled Nations as any of the reſt, and the Breach of them is generally one of the firſt things complained of.
Upon this Foot then I take the Liberty to ſay the War is begun already; for the Enemy have invaded us, and refuſed to put a ſtop to their Invaſions. I am told that the Spaniards and the Muſcovites both complain of the Britiſh Nation's being Aggreſſors; and that blocking up their Fleets, whether for War or Trade, is an actual Invaſion, that lying before their Ports is an act of Hoſtility, and that in a word the War is begun on this Side.
I am not to enter into a Juſtification of what they ſay, but I ballance it with this: Invaſion of the Commerce is as much an act of Hoſtility, ſtrictly, as Invaſion of the Land; the Liberties and excluſive Rights of Trade being as much a Part of the Peace, as a Ceſſation of Hoſtilities; and if our Trade be invaded contrary to expreſs Stipulations, the Peace is broken. As for our Squadrons appearing ready to keep the Peace, where apparent Preparations are made to break it, it may be complain'd of, and they do make ſome Noiſe about it; but I cannot ſee how they can make that Part be called an Act of Hoſtility.
If the Britiſh Squadron lay off of Revel, or any where elſe on the Ruſſian Coaſt, demanding an Anſwer to the Enquiries made concerning their Preparations for War, and that they would explain themſelves upon the Subject of their fitting out a Fleet in time of profound Peace, it is no more than what has been uſual in all Ages, when Princes and Powers make Preparations of War, while their Neighbours are all at Peace with them: For Example;
When the Dutch in a time of profound Peace fitted out a Fleet of ſixty Men of War for the Expedition of the then Prince of Orange into England, the King of France ordered his Miniſter at the Hague to ask the Meaning of it, and to threaten the States, that if it was meant againſt the King of England, he (the King of France) ſhould take it as a Declaration of War againſt himſelf.
Now if it be objected that this was done by an Ambaſſador, not by a Fleet; 'tis anſwer'd, The French King indeed had not a Fleet at that time, but he threatned them directly with [Page 16] an immediate War, which was the ſame thing; and as ſoon as it appeared that the Deſign was againſt the King of England, he drew his Armies down to the Frontiers of Holland, and hovered about them, (the ſame thing as blocking up a Port) and at laſt took the Field publickly, and began an open War.
I might give a great many more Examples of the like, but this is ſufficient. The Preparations for War made by the Court of Petersburg, their fitting out a Fleet, and drawing down an Army to the Coaſt, gave ſufficient Reaſon to their Neighbours to ask the Meaning of it: And to what Purpoſe was an Enquiry at ſuch a Diſtance, without a Force ſufficient to act as Occaſion ſhould require, and as the Anſwer that was to be receiv'd ſhould direct?
Had the Anſwer been Satisfactory, 'tis probable the Britiſh Squadron had return'd ſooner; but as the Anſwer was not ſo Satisfactory, the Fleet continued there waiting the Event; and where's the act of Hoſtility in all this? I ſee nothing but what is uſual in the ordinary Practice of Princes; much more was it neceſſary at this time on many Accounts, too long to enter upon here.
Nor is the Reſentment which we hear of on the other Side, the leaſt Diſcovery of the good Effect of thoſe Meaſures. No doubt it was a Diſappointment to the great Deſigns of the Muſcovite Empreſs; put a ſtop to the Enterprizes juſt ripe to be begun, and has ſhut up all the ſecret Reſolves of the Ruſſian Cabinet; ſo that we know nothing of the Scheme they had laid, other than we are left to gueſs at by the Nature of the thing, and by the Apprehenſions and Jealouſies which thoſe Preparations raiſed in the Councils of their Neighbours; Some of which had certainly before now been engaged in a War with the Empreſs of Muſcovy, or at leaſt with the Duke of Holſtein, in whoſe Behalf all theſe Preparations ſeem to have been made.
As to the Britiſh Squadron in the Weſt-Indies, who block up the Spaniſh Plate-Fleet at Porto Bello, and which the Enemy complain of as an act of Hoſtility, and upon which they pretend the War is begun on this Side; the ſame Argument, and the ſame Example fully anſwer it: The blocking up the Muſcovite Fleet with which it was aparent they deſigned to begin a War, and blocking up the Spaniard's Money, without which we know they are but ill able to begin, much leſs to carry on a War, ſeem to me to be the very ſame thing, and that with no Difference at all, except only the Variation of the Circumſtance, and calling the Plate-Fleet an Army, [Page 17] an Alliance and a Confederacy of Armies, drawing together for a War; all which they indeed are in Effect; for Money appropriated for War, is War in Embrio, 'tis all that Fleets and Armies are, or may be ſuppoſed to be in Deſign; and it would ſoon ſhow it ſelf, had the Spaniards thoſe Sinews to ſtrengthen their Councils with, and to purſue the Meaſures which they have viſibly engaged in.
So that in all theſe things 'tis evident Great Britain has only acted by way of Prevention, and has hitherto only held the Hands of the quarrelling Powers, and ſaid to them; ‘'Ye ſhall not fall out; if ye will make Peace, be quiet, and accommodate things reaſonably, well and good, but quarrel you ſhall not, and fight you ſhall not.'’
If this has been ſpoken ſomething Magiſterially, and with an Air of Influence, as if we had Power to command them to be quiet; I ſay, If it has, (I do not ſay it has) 'tis our Felicity, 'tis Great Britain's Glory, that ſhe is in a Condition to enforce her Propoſals, tho' of Peace, with a hand of Power; ſeeing ſtill that Power is exerted but for the Good of Mankind, and to keep the World quiet: 'tis a kind of Imitation of Heaven, who, tho' its Pleaſure is enforc'd as a Command, yet it is ſo for the apparent Good of the World, that they can find it no Grievance to obey.
But our Enemies, they ſay, take this for an Act of Hoſtility, that the War is begun by us, and ſo conclude that they will carry it on as a War in other Places; adding, that we may depend it muſt be a War, unleſs the Reſtraint upon their Plate-Fleet be taken off; if ſo, then the Queſtion is anſwer'd, for we ſee no room to believe the Reſtraint will be yet taken off, nay I muſt grant that we can ſee no reaſon for it.
This being the true State of the Caſe, I think the People, who I ſay ſhould be inform'd, need not wait for any further Information, but may, without any Breach of Prudence, act as if a War was in View; I will not ſay Inevitable, becauſe many things may intervene, but Probable; and that ſo probable, that if they are deceived, and run any Hazards on the contrary Preſumption, it muſt be their own Fault.
THE Probability of a Rupture ſomewhere or other being thus ſettled, it will be very agreeable to the Age, if we could determine where it is likely to happen; and this is our next Work: In order to which I ſhall endeavour to make ſome Judgment upon the foot of the common Obſervation only, for I pretend to no Cabinet Informations.
- The Kings of
- The Government of Hanover and Lunenburgh, &c. certain.
- The King of Pruſſia, not certainly known.
- The Electors of
- The King of Pruſſia, as above, not certainly known.
As to any Private or Perſonal Piques and Reſentment which may add to the Grounds of the Quarrel, and may give Jealouſies on either hand among the Princes concern'd, tho' I might take notice of ſeveral almoſt among them all; ſuch as the ſending home the Infanta of Spain, eſpouſing King Staniſlaus, the Affair of Thorn, the eſpouſing the Duke of Holſtein, the Succeſſion of Tuſcany, with ſeveral others nearer Home, which I could enter into the Debate of, I purpoſely omit them here; being, as is ſaid before, reſolved to give no Offence; and as I am ſpeaking without Doors, I ſhall confine my ſelf to ſuch Things as Preſent to common Obſervation only.
The ſecret, and at that time ſurprizing Alliance, clapt up on a ſudden, between the Courts of Vienna and of Spain, and which is therefore call'd the Treaty of Vienna, was the firſt thing that gave Umbrage to the Proteſtant Powers of Europe; Particularly they ſeem'd to be alarm'd at ſome ſecret Articles which were not at firſt made Publick, or communicated to them, when the reſt of the Treaty was notified by the Miniſters of the Parties concern'd.
Upon the publiſhing this Treaty, and the ſaid Powers of Spain and Vienna appearing buſily employ'd to engage other Powers to come into it, as an Alliance or Confederacy; his Britanick Majeſty, being then in Germany, thought it time alſo to [Page 20] draw together the ſeveral Powers in other Intereſts, to form an oppoſite League or Alliance; which Alliance is ſaid to be wholly Defenſive, and therefore entirely Pacific, being form'd merely in order to balance the ſaid Treaty of Vienna; and this is called the Treaty of Hanover; into which the Neighbouring Powers mention'd above, were invited to join alſo.
The firſt and moſt pointing Clauſe, which appeared in this new-concerted Alliance or Treaty of Vienna, and which gave Umbrage to the ſaid oppoſite Powers, was a conceded Liberty of Commerce granted by Spain to the Subjects of the Emperor, to carry on a Trade to the Eaſt and Weſt-Indies; not only injurious to the ſeveral Nations of Great Britain, France, and the States-General, but directly contrary to, and inconſiſtent with, ſeveral ſolemn Treaties and Conventions actually ſubſiſting between thoſe ſeveral Powers, and on the Conditions of which the Emperor enjoys the Poſſeſſion of the Country, in which this Liberty of Commerce is made uſe of.
This the Members of the ſaid Hanover Alliance inſiſt, is an Invaſion of their Rights, and a manifeſt Breach of the ſaid ſubſiſting Treaties and Conventions; and have not been wanting in all poſſible, tho' yet peaceable Applications, at the Court of Vienna, in order to convince his Imperial Majeſty that the ſaid Commerce, and particularly the Oſtend Company, erected and carried on in conſequence of that conceded Liberty, is a Breach of the Publick Faith engaged in thoſe Treaties, and an Invaſion of the Rights and Properties of the ſaid Powers, and repreſenting that they could not on any Terms conſent to its being carried on.
Theſe Applications have been hitherto in vain, or at leaſt unſucceſsful; both the Courts of Vienna and Spain refuſing to yield to the juſt Demands of the Hanover Allies; they at the ſame time ſeeming rather to reſent, than comply with thoſe Demands, and to arm and draw together their Intereſts, ſtrengthning themſelves by farther and farther Alliances, and carrying on already a kind of War of Negotiation, in order to appear formidable, and to be really ſo in caſe of a Rupture; menacing the Allies with their intended Attacks of ſome of the ſaid Hanover Allies in Flanders, in Germany, or in the Baltick.
Theſe things have juſtly moved the ſaid Hanover Allies to Arm alſo both by Sea and Land; and not only by powerful Fleets to appear at the ſeveral Ports where ſuch Powers have been drawing together to carry on their Deſigns, but have, by the Awe of thoſe Fleets, kept the ſaid Powers from [Page 21] making any Attempt, and from breaking the Peace by the Invaſion of their Neighbours, as they moſt certainly deſigned to do.
On the other Hand, a Squadron has been ſent to the Coaſts of America, as well to bring off the Ships which are, in the Faith of former Treaties, Trading within the Dominions and in the Ports of Spain; as to put a Stop, for the preſent, to the Spaniſh Plate-Fleet coming away. And all in purſuit of the ſame Pacifick Meaſures; that Spain ſeeing how impracticable it is for them to carry on that Important Commerce, without a good Underſtanding with the more powerful Nations of Great Britain, France, and Holland, may be prevail'd with, if poſſible, to continue their Peaceable Diſpoſitions, and preſerve the General Tranquility of Europe.
How far theſe Steps, which have been viſibly taken to prevent a War (not to Excite it) have been Succeſsful, and how they are reſented by the ſeveral Powers, whoſe Deſigns are probably croſs'd and defeated by them; and whether thoſe Powers, being convinc'd of the Neceſſity of Hearkning to peaceable Propoſals, are likely to comply; or whether pretending to be Inſulted and Injured by thoſe Meaſures, they breathe out Reſentment, Revenge and War; this is what lies before us to Enquire.
And here, as I profeſs to be ſpeaking as without Doors only, I muſt content my ſelf to ground all the Reaſonings and Inferences which I ſhall make uſe of in this Diſcourſe, from the publick received Reports of Things; at leaſt, ſuch as are Confirmed by repeated Advices, are generally received for Truth, and have not as yet been Contradicted or Diſputed; without pretending, or indeed having any Occaſion to pretend, to Secret Intelligence, Private Information, or knowing any thing which ſhould not be known.
Nor in the Caſe before me is there any Occaſion for enquiring into Secrets, or looking farther than to what appears. For, to do Juſtice to the Hanover Allies, they ſeem to be above all Diſguiſes in the Caſe. They are Acting above Board; and the World is left to judge of the Reaſon and Juſtice of their Proceedings. The Matter is Short, and Open. They deſire Peace; that is evident by the Meaſures they have already taken to preſerve it. They are content with every thing ſtanding upon the ancient Foot. They demand that the ſubſiſting Treaties and Conventions be duly Executed; and upon this they Inſiſt. If it be quietly comply'd with, Peace is the Conſequence: If not, Pax Quaeritur Bello.
[Page 22] And this is the Reaſon, why (as I ſaid before) this is not the Place for the Impatient People to have their Queſtion anſwered. If they ask us here, Whether Peace or War? We Anſwer, with the Story in the Goſpel, The Emperor is of Age, Ask him: The King of Spain is of Age, Go and Ask him. They are to decide the Caſe; for the Offer of Peace is to them. And, as they may accept it if they pleaſe, they are the only People that can tell whether they will accept it ('till they are Box'd into it) or no.
Not that this is like to be long the Caſe neither, nor is it reaſonable it ſhould be ſo; for if they ſtand out too long; if they reject the Peace, while it is a Peace ſubſiſting, and ſuffer or leave Things to come on to Extremities; when once that Peace is broken, and they have pull'd the Houſe down upon their Heads, they muſt get out of the Rubbiſh as they can: The Allies are not oblig'd to give them the ſame Terms at laſt; or to ſtand always Tendering and Offering the Peace, when they may have been put to Five or Ten Millions Sterling Expence, to beat them to it. But of this in its Place. I return to the Point in Hand, viz. The Preſent Face of Things, as they appear to be, and as by the uncontroverted Accounts from all Parts we believe them to be.
1. The Britiſh Squadron under Sir Charles Wager have been in the Baltick; they have paſs'd by Denmark, ſhewn themſelves to Sweden, and, as it may be call'd, have block'd up Revel and Petersburgh, 'till the Seaſon for Action being over, the Muſcovites can do nothing on that Side.
2. By this Aggreſſion, all the mighty Deſigns of the Czarina, Empreſs of Muſcovy, which (as Fame ſays) were very Conſiderable, and would have broken the Peace of Chriſtendom, have been Interrupted and Diſappointed. Her embarking an Army in Aid of the Duke of Holſtein, to recover his Dominions from the Danes: Her ſending, or, as ſome ſay, Selling a Squadron of Men of War to the Spaniards, to ſtrengthen their Naval Power: And her other Nameleſs Deſigns, whatever they were, have been all render'd Abortive. Her Majeſty's Navy, however Formidable, or talk'd up as if they were ſo, have been Aw'd, kept in Port, and been able to do nothing; no, not ſo much as to go home again to Cronſlot, 'till the Engliſh Fleet thought fit to come away, the Seaſon for Action (as above) being over. All this we allow to be true in Fact; and the Conſequences have appeared as viſible as the Thing it ſelf: For, Peace, in all thoſe Parts of the World where the War was likely firſt to break [Page 23] out, has been Preſerv'd; the Danes are ſecur'd in the Intereſt of the Hanover Treaty; and the Swedes brought off from the other Side, when it was ſuppos'd they were juſt upon the Point of Engaging in the Treaty of Vienna; or in an Alliance with the Emperor, little better than the other.
How the Muſcovites will proceed in Conſequence of this Tranſaction; whether the Czarina, made ſenſible how utterly uncapable ſhe is to carry on any of her vaſt Deſign, for diſturbing the Peace of Europe, will comply, and come into the Pacifick Offers of the Hanover Allies: Or whether her Majeſty, full of Reſentment and Anger, at being thus overpowered, will ſtruggle (however vain) to purſue her firſt Deſigns; that remains to be diſcovered by Time. And there (as I ſaid) our impatient Enquirers muſt go, with their Queſtion about Peace or War. Her Czarian Majeſty is of Age, ask Her.
I cannot but put one Speculation here into the Hands of our Politicians, upon this Subject of the Muſcovite Fleet, and let them conſider of it. The late Czar had rais'd his Naval Power, conſidering its Beginning, and the few Years it has been in Being, to a kind of a Prodigy.
A Muſcovite Fleet, a Thing the World never heard of before, ſeemed to appear in the Baltick, like a Comet in the waſte or Starry Spaces; or like the new Star in Caſſiopeia's Chair, for all the World to wonder at. That ſuch a Thing was never heard of before, is moſt certain. The whole Moſcovite Empire never were Maſters of one Ship of War before; no, nor, notwithſtanding the vaſt Extent of their Dominions, had the Czar, or any of his Anceſtors, ever one Ship they could call their own, in any Part of the World, that I have ever heard or read of, except at Arch-Angel.
It was but in the late King William's Time that the Czar himſelf turn'd Ship-Carpenter, and work'd Journey-work for the States-General. Having in Diſguiſe (ſo Hiſtory aſſures us) Enter'd himſelf in ſome of the Building Yards in that Country; Work'd hard; Earn'd his Pay; and Receiv'd his Wages.
There he bought the firſt Ship he ever had; and now they talk of a Royal Navy, Ships of 80 to 90 Guns; and of bringing out 50 Men of War of the Line. In a Word, neither the Swede or Dane are able to look them in the Face. Nay, 'tis doubted, whether both together wou'd venture it, if the Engliſh and Dutch were to ſtand and look on.
And yet all this while (which is the Thing I mention it for) it is not yet tryed, to this Day, whether, notwithſtanding [Page 24] all their Ships, they dare Fight, or no. Nor do I find, or can learn, that whether Separately, or Together, they ever yet Fir'd one Broad-ſide in Earneſt, ſince they had a Ship.
That they were at firſt well Mann'd, when the Ships were but few, is very certain; and they had Seamen of all Nations in their Pay. Their Ships were Commanded by Dutch, and Scots, and Engliſh; and moſt of their Officers were ſuch alſo. But now the Number of their Ships is increas'd, and they have Seamen of their own, ſuch as they are: But how they will behave, or whether they have either Skill or Courage to Fight, none yet knows. And the World cannot but be a little Curious to know how it would be. It is indeed my Opinion, they would make but very ſorry Work of it. But 'tis ſtrange, that no Accident ſhould happen in all this Time, to give them an Occaſion to ſhow, whether they can Fight, or not, and what may be expected of them! Time alone muſt give us the Experiment, and make the Diſcovery. But this is a Digreſſion.
3. Another Britiſh Squadron, under Admiral Hoſier, being diſpatch'd in the very Critical Juncture of the Spaniards expecting their Galeons, has been ſent to the Gulph of Mexico; and ſhewing themſelves on the Side of Cuba, and near the Havana, ſtood over to the Iſthmus of America, and to Porto Belo, Poſting themſelves at the Iſlands call'd the Baſtimento's, a Road which commands the Entrance into Porto Belo. Here the Galeons were Unloading, and here they were to take in Twenty-ſix Millions of Pieces of Eight in Specie, beſides other Goods: The ſaid Galeons are ſtill block'd up in that Port, and cannot put to Sea; to the inexpreſſible Mortification and Diſappointment of the Spaniards; who, for want of that Treaſure, are in no Condition in Old Spain to carry on their ſecret Deſigns, pay their promis'd Subſidies to the Emperor; and, in ſhort, kindle the Flame of War in Europe. May they be ſtill ſo diſabled.
4. At the ſame Time, a Third Squadron, ſaid to be intended to the Mediterranean Sea, has been kept Cruiſing and Plying, off and on, upon the Coaſt of Spain; and is now at Gibraltar, ready to Intercept (if it comes in their way) the other Plate Fleet, or the other Part of the Plate Fleet; which, coming from La Vera Cruz, with Fifteen Millions of Silver more, is arriv'd at the Havana. But having Intelligence (as we ſuppoſe) from Europe, have landed that Treaſure there, and laid by the Ships, not thinking fit to venture any farther; By both which Incidents, the Spaniards are depriv'd of the Return of Forty Millions of Pieces of Eight in Bullion, and [Page 25] about Five or Six Millions in Merchandiſe. And thus ſtand Affairs on the Side of the Hanover Treaty.
Let us now look a little on the other Side. And how does the Vienna Treaty or Party proceed? How do they take all theſe Diſappointments? And what are they like to do, as to Peace or War, upon the Reſentment?
In their Endeavours to ſtrengthen themſelves, by other and farther Alliances, they have not been Idle, that muſt be granted; they have not been wanting to themſelves. If we may believe what their own People acknowledge, they have left no Stone unturn'd to draw off, if poſſible, the Court of France from the Hanover Treaty; and to prevent the King of Sardinia joyning in with it; but have miſcarry'd in both. The Firſt of theſe ſeems to be the greateſt and moſt eſſential Diſappointment of all the reſt; and which abundantly ſhows, how Impracticable it is, to bring the Intereſts of France and the Empire, or of France and Spain, to Unite together. No, notwithſtanding a Prince of the Houſe of Bourbon enjoys the Crown of Spain, uninterrupted, and in full Peace. But that by the way.
This Attempt, as it was of the utmoſt Importance to the Imperial Court, ſo I ſuppoſe I may obtain your Belief, when I ſay the Popiſh Clergy have not been wanting to uſe their utmoſt Intereſt at the Court of France in favour of it; and, if poſſible, to bring the Councils of France to favour the Happy Juncture (as they call it) of bringing about a Religious War; and for bringing the two Treaties of Hanover and Vienna to be entirely a Proteſtant Alliance, and a Popiſh; that ſo the Article of Religion might have been brought in, as the chief Matter to be Fought for.
But they have not been able to do it, tho' a Church-man fits at the Head of Affairs in France, and a Cardinal is their Prime Miniſter. So true is the modern Proverb in France, That All the French Fools are dead. So apparent is it, that tho' the French are, as a People, not only Papiſts, but have been Perſecutors; yet, as a Government, they are no Slaves to the Church.
That the King of Sardinia is as good as loſt to them alſo, appears by the Imperialiſts Arming in the Milaneſe; Fortifying Novara; and ordering 20000 Men to be drawn together upon the firſt Notice; which (as they write from thence) will advance, as ſoon as they have a certain Account of the King's having Signed the Treaty of Hanover.
It might have been of Uſe here, to take Notice, How much it would be to the Advantage of the Vienna Alliance, [Page 26] if they had been able to have drawn off the King of Sardinia. But this is a Subject too tedious for this Tract. I hear, however, that the Court of Vienna exclaim loudly at the great Ingratitude (as they call it) of that King, who, they ſay, owes his Crown and particularly the Deliverance of his Capital City of Turin, to the Imperialiſts; that Theſe travers'd the whole Breadth of Italy, in that Glorious March of the Imperial Army, to raiſe the Siege; and gave the French the greateſt Overthrow they ever receiv'd in all the War, except Blenheim only; and all to ſave Him from Imminent Deſtruction, which had been otherwiſe Unavoidable. But I ſhall reſerve that Part to an Article by it ſelf; when I may have Occaſion to ſpeak of the Gratitude of Princes, for Favours receiv'd; and of Imperial Gratitude, among the reſt.
Nor ſhall I enter here into the Meaſures taken by the Court of Vienna, to bring off (if poſſible) a certain Powerful Proteſtant Prince, from the Alliance of Hanover; in which, 'tis nois'd, that they have had at leaſt ſome Proſpect of Succeſs. But this Part being not yet ſo publick, or ſo perfectly known, nor the Particulars of their Succeſs (whatever it is) ſo Viſible, either in Fact, or in Conſequence, as it is probable they may ſoon be, I refer it to Time.
That the Imperialiſts have engaged the Electors of Bavaria and Cologn, and the Elector Palatine, and are not in doubt of Saxony, may, for ought we yet ſee, be true: And the Alliance of thoſe Princes (eſpecially of Two of them) are not Inconſiderable. But 'tis as certain, that the Motions even of the beſt of thoſe Princes (if not of all the reſt) depend ſo much upon Spaniſh Money, which ſeems at preſent very remote, that the Succeſs of thoſe Things ſeems very Doubtful upon that Account. And even the Emperor, however Powerful, may find it difficult to Act in a vigorous Manner, for want of thoſe Sinews of War, which they expected from Spain.
Were all theſe Things duly Weigh'd, and fairly and impartially Judg'd of, common Reaſoning would ſeem to tell us, there could be no War in View; that the Imperial and Spaniſh Councils could not be ſo Weak, ſo Infatuated, and ſo Blind to their true Intereſt, as to run themſelves into a War, ſo ſurrounded with Difficulties; and againſt Enemies ſo perfecty well Furniſh'd with every Thing that theſe want; ſo full of what they are ſo empty of; and ſo ready for Action, tho' ſo willing to have Peace.
But, What will not Pride and Paſſion drive Men to? And how Deaf are even the Wiſeſt Princes and States, to the Importunities [Page 27] of their own Circumſtances, when their Ambition and their particular Paſſions hurry them on?
Under all the Preſſures, which 'tis apparent the Principal Branches of the Vienna Alliance are embarraſs'd with, and notwithſtanding all the Difficulties they ſtruggle with, yet we ſee them Haughty; Menacing the other Allies, raiſing Forces, Filling up their Regiments, Storing Magazines, Drawing Troops to the Frontiers; and, in a Word, (as it is uſually expreſs'd) Talking of nothing but War.
Their Generals are Named for the Command of their Armies, in ſeveral Places where they are to Act; as in Flanders, Italy, and (as ſome ſay) at Gibraltar. The Emperor demands a new Levy of 6000 Men, ſay ſome Accounts, 10000, ſay others, of the States of the Lower Auſtria; and mentions the Occaſion of it; namely, to Oppoſe the Deſigns of thoſe that would diſturb the Peace of his Dominions; that is to ſay, to maintain the Oſtend Trade, and the Alliance with Spain. And thus ſtands the Caſe on the Imperial Part of the Vienna Alliance. We ſhall ſee more of it preſently.
Of the Adverſe Powers falling upon the Britiſh Commerce. That Invading our Trade, is Invading our Property; breaking the Peace: And ſo the War may be properly ſaid to be begun. A Word or two, how Weak, and Fooliſh, the Attempts this way are; and how eaſy it is to Diſappoint them.
THE Politicks of the Powers mentioned above, in Forming their Intereſts and Alliances, have been mention'd; and, in that Part, they may be ſaid to Act with ſome Council. If they had acted with the ſame Prudence, in ſome other Parts of their Meaſures, I am of Opinion we ſhould indeed have had no Quarrel at all; that is to ſay, they would have given the Allies no Occaſion of a War; no, notwithſtanding their New Vienna Treaty.
But that which more particularly calls for our Attention, in the Conduct of theſe Powers, is their falling upon Trade, and the Britiſh Commerce in particular. And this, tho' they [Page 28] are able to do but little in it, to any Purpoſe, or at leaſt have done but little in it yet; I ſay, this ſhows the reigning Diſpoſition among them, to inſult, injure, and affront his Majeſty, and his Allies, and wound their Intereſt in every Place where it is Valuable; ſo (if poſſible) to retaliate what they call our Interrupting their Commerce at Porto Belo.
In Proſecution of this weak Project (which ſeems, indeed, as fooliſh as it is forward) they have mutually made ſome little Eſſays. I ſhall mention the Facts firſt, and then the Views of the Contrivers; their Expectations from them, and the Meaning of them, ſo far as they may be allowed to have any Meaning; which I think indeed will appear very Empty and Weak, and unlikely to Succeed, or anſwer their End.
The firſt Step was made by the Emperor, in Prohibiting the Sale of the Engliſh Manufactures at the Fair of Meſſina. As to the generous Part of this Piece of Management, it had, indeed, ſomething very Extraordinary in it; particularly that the Emperor, that very Emperor, for whoſe Service and Aſſiſtance his Majeſty ſent an Engliſh Squadron, to drive away the Spaniards, and to keep the Sea clear, for his recovering the ſame City of Meſſina, and that whole Iſland; which Engliſh Squadron continuing in that Part of the World ſo long, and at ſo great an Expence of the Britiſh Treaſure, made way for the Conqueſt of Sicily; and without which the Spaniards would never have been Beaten out of it. I ſay, that the ſame Emperor ſhould be the firſt of all the Princes of Sicily, that ſhould prohibit the Engliſh Commerce there, and fall upon the Trade and Intereſt of his Benefactors!
Nor could there be any Pretence of the Subjects Benefit, in this Prohibition. No Sicilian or Italian Manufacture had been ſubſtituted in the Room of the Engliſh; or which the Engliſh could be ſaid to be Injurious to. Nor was any ſuch Reaſon given, or pretended to be given, for it, that I have yet met with; or any Other; only, That ſuch was his Imperial Majeſty's Pleaſure.
The farther Prohibition of the Engliſh Manufactures in the Imperial Hereditary Countries, and Proclaimed by Sound of Trumpet at Lintz and Vienna, tho' it has the ſpecious Pretence of being done in Favour of their own Manufactures, and at the Requeſt of a Company Eſtabliſhed by the Emperor, for carrying on the Woollen Manufacture there; yet it manifeſtly [Page 29] pointed at the Commerce of England in general; ſeveral Manufactures being mentioned in the ſame Prohibition, which their own Company do not pretend to make, or to make any other that can ſerve in their ſtead; as appears by the Remonſtrances of the Merchants and Tradeſmen of the neighbouring Provinces in his Imperial Majeſty's Dominion, made publick with the other.
But to leave theſe things, which, as I ſaid, are as weak and impotent as they appear to be piquant, and as I might ſay, malicious; we come next to the King of Spain's Grant of a Trade to the Emperor's Subjects to the Eaſt and Weſt-Indies; a Trade which the Spaniards have, 'till now, been ſo jealous of, that they have with great Strictneſs excluded all other Nations from it: But now as an Introduction to this Trade, they have ſet up an Eaſt-India Company at Oſtend, who have already carried on a Trade to India, and even to China, to the manifeſt Prejudice of the Allies; and this in a Country conquered for the Emperor by the Arms of thoſe very Nations which are now injured by it: and which Trade is expreſly contrary to and inconſiſtent with all the Treaties and Conventions upon the foot of which the Emperor enjoys the Dominion of thoſe Countries, and of the very Port of Oſtend it ſelf.
Will any Man ask, after this, whether theſe Powers acting thus, intend a War? Invading our Commerce, is invading our Property; eſpecially where the excluſive Right to that Commerce is expreſly ſtipulated; and invading a Nation's Property is a War begun. As Treaties of Peace commence an Amity and Accord between Nations who were before at War, ſo avowed Breaches of thoſe Treaties put an end to that Amity, and, ipſo facto, commence a War.
It is true, in moſt Treaties of Peace, and where a continued Amity is deſigned, there is uſually a Clauſe mentioning, that if any caſual Contravention of thoſe Articles ſhall happen on either ſide, on Complaint made, Commiſſioners on both Sides ſhall meet to ſettle and adjuſt the Grievances, and Satisfaction ſhall be made; ſo that ſuch Contravention ſhall not be deemed as a Breach of the Peace, or any Repriſals be uſed, unleſs the ſaid Satisfaction be firſt deny'd.
But have not frequent Repreſentations, Memorials, and Complaints been made at the Courts of Vienna and Madrid againſt this open Infraction of a Treaty, without being able to obtain any Redreſs? but on the contrary, ſeveral haughty Expreſſions been heard of, as if the Emperor was at Liberty to invade any Part of the Commerce of his Neighbours, and to break in upon the moſt ſolemn. Treaties and [Page 30] Conventions, in what Manner and at what Time he pleaſes; and, as may be ſaid, take the Bread out of the Mouths not of private Perſons only, but even of Nations and incorporated Societies of Trade, at whatever Expence and Hazard thoſe Societies and Companies have been eſtabliſhed?
This Method ſeems to leave the Allies no other Remedy but that of Force. Trading Nations are obliged to defend their Commerce. If others pretend to interrupt it, theſe think themſelves engaged to enquire into thoſe Interruptions, and remove them. If the Doors of our Commerce are ſhut, we muſt open them; if it is done by rigorous Uſage of our Merchants, new Impoſitions or Prohibitions, the Government always has thought fit to eſpouſe the Merchants, preſerve them from injurious Treatment, and to concern themſelves to obtain Right to be done; and have, as we may ſay, made the Caſe of their Merchants their own.
We had an Example of this lately, in the preſent Reign, when an Engliſh Merchant at Lisbon (betrayed by his Agents and Servants there) was ſeiz'd upon, and his Goods confiſcated, or ordered to be ſo, for a particular Affair of Exporting Money; and tho' the Offence was indeed, ſtrictly ſpeaking, Capital by their Laws; yet, as many of the Effects of Merchants here in England, who were innocent of the Fact, were ſtopt among the reſt, and the Perſon there was a Man of Worth and Conſideration, and of a good Character; and eſpecially as it ſeemed to affect the whole Commerce, His Majeſty was pleaſed to interpoſe, and procure the Enlargement of the Merchant, and the diſcharging of the Effects: And the King of Portugal liſten'd to the powerful Interceſſion of the King, and paſſed over the thing; notwithſtanding, as I have ſaid, it was a real Offence.
Much more in other Caſes, when the whole Commerce is ſtruck at, Trade loaded with new Burthens, new Impoſitions, and Difference made between the Subjects of one Nation and the Subjects of another: The Governments whoſe Subjects are ſo diſtinguiſhed in thoſe Oppreſſions, have always thought themſelves concerned in the Invaſions of their Trade, and have eſpouſed the Intereſts of their Merchants, and of the Trade, as a publick Concern.
It is alledged in this Caſe that every Prince or Government has a Right to govern their own Commerce, and make ſuch Prohibitions, or lay ſuch Duties and Impoſts upon their Importations, as they think fit; becauſe ſuch Prohibitions chiefly regard the Uſe and Wearing of ſuch or ſuch Goods by their own People; and it is always the Right of any Government [Page 31] to limit the Uſages, Habits, Cuſtoms and Apparel of their own Subjects.
The Anſwer to this is ſhort and direct. It is ſo, where no former Stipulations, Treaties and Conventions are made to the contrary; but that Right is limited, and ceaſes, when the ſaid Nation, ſo loading the Commerce of any other Country, have by Treaty oblig'd themſelves expreſly not to do it: Then, I ſay, and in caſe of ſuch Treaties, the Caſe alters, and their Hands are tied up, and to do it afterward is an Infraction of the Treaty, and a Breach of the Friendſhip and good Correſpondence eſtabliſhed between the two Nations.
This was exactly the Caſe in the late Diſputes which happen'd here, about opening the Trade to France. It was urged, that it could not be; that England could not take off the high Duties upon the Importation of Wines (in particular) from France, unleſs a Proportion of the Duties upon the Wines of Portugal were alſo taken off; ſo as that the Duty upon the Portugal Wines ſhould be ſtill ſo much leſs than the Duties on the Wines of France.
The Reaſon of this was, becauſe England was under Expreſs Conditions to the contrary in the Treaty of Peace and Commerce then ſubſiſting with Portugal; and the Articles of the ſaid Treaty of Portugal were produced, wherein it was expreſly ſtipulated as above, that the Duties on French Wine ſhould always be ſo and ſo limited; and this being found to be true in fact, was admitted as a ſufficient Reaſon why the Commerce of France could not be opened as was propoſed.
All Breaches of Treaties are Breaches of Friendſhip, whether they relate to the Peace or Commerce of the Nations; and the Breach of Friendſhip between Nations is a kind of declaring War in many Reſpects; and nothing but meer Force and Invaſion can be a more manifeſt Breach of Friendſhip, than ſtopping the Intercourſe and Correſpondence of the Merchants.
Nor is this one of the leaſt, or leſs important Articles in moſt Treaties, viz. That there ſhall be a free Intercourſe of Trade and Correſpondence between the Subjects of either Nation; as may be ſeen in almoſt all the Treaties of Peace which have been made among the Nations of Europe; and it will be found ſo in a particular and extraordinary manner in all the Treaties made and now ſubſiſting between Great-Britain and Spain; and this Particular will be found in thoſe Treaties which is modern and ſingular, namely, That the Subjects of Britain ſhall be uſed in all the Affairs relating to Commerce, upon the ſame foot as the Nations which are moſt [Page 32] favoured. Which Article was inſerted in regard to ſome Apprehenſions that the French ſhould be more eſpecially and particularly favoured in the Affairs of Trade, than the Engliſh, and that they ſhould be diſtinguiſhed with a Partiality ſingular, and to the Prejudice of the Britiſh Commerce.
In caſe this Partiality ſhould be afterward put in Practice, in caſe this Correſpondence, Intercourſe and Commerce be interrupted by the Governour of that Country with whom ſuch a free Intercourſe was ſtipulated, and Prohibitions of the Trade ſet up; the Peace is ſo far broken. Suppoſe, for Example, the Importation of the Britiſh Manufactures in Spain is forbid, and the Uſe or Wearing them prohibited, which is the ſevereſt way of interrupting the Commerce; is not this equally a Breach of the good Underſtanding and Commerce of the two Nations? Is it not a Breach of the Friendſhip and free Intercourſe between them? and what is this leſs than a kind of declaring War?
It was the Obſervation of a wiſe Man, that the Peace and Friendſhip of two trading Nations ſeldom (nay he ſaid Never) continued long, where Commerce remained contraband. 'Tis like two Men pretending to Friendſhip, yet never ſpeaking to, or ſaluting, or taking notice of one another upon any Occaſion. How long will that continue? How long will ſuch Friendſhip ſubſiſt?
Our Intereſt is our Trade; and our Trade is, next to our Liberty and Religion, one of our moſt valuable Liberties; if our Neighbours pretend to ſhut the Door againſt our Commerce, we muſt open it; and that by Force, if no other Means will procure it. To invade our Commerce is to invade our Property, and we may, and muſt defend it; and therefore I ſay, to invade our Trade is to begin a War; and will any Man then ask me, whether we ſhall have War or Peace?
The Anſwer is Categorical; if they pleaſe to leave our Commerce free and uninterrupted, as they found it; lay down their interloping Companies, by which they have begun to invade it; ceaſe their Infractions of the ſolemn Treaties, and leave our Commerce open, then with ſome other Conceſſions all will be well, and I believe we ſhall have no War.
On the other hand, Do all thoſe things go on, ſhall they ſupport their interloping Oſtend Company; forbid their Subjects wearing and uſing our Manufacture; and interrupt our Commerce? As Jehu ſaid to the King of Iſrael when he met him, and asked, Is it Peace, Jehu? he replied, What Peace, while the Whoredoms of thy Mother Jezabel and her Witchcrafts are ſo many? So I ſay, What Peace, when the Encroachments [Page 33] on our Trade, the Interruptions and Invaſions of our Commerce are ſo many? What Peace, while the Leagues and private Confederacies are ſo many? Leagues that are ſo apparently deſtructive of Peace and good Neighbourhood; Leagues that threaten War, and are an open conſolidating of Intereſts in caſe of War; Leagues that ſupport Popery and Perſecution, and ſuppreſſing and murthering Proteſtant Subjects under Guarantee of Proteſtant Powers and Princes: Leagues that are in their own Nature tacit Declarations of a warlike Intention. What Peace can there be, while this is the Caſe?
We have ſeen frequent Examples upon many, nay almoſt upon all ſuch Occaſions, that when any Princes raiſe Forts or fortify Towns upon their Frontiers, or re-fortify Towns which have been demoliſhed by Treaties and Confederacies; that ſuch fortifying of Frontiers is taken for an Intimation of War, or at leaſt for a Teſtimony of unpeaceable and dangerous Deſigns; and the neighbouring Princes generally take Umbrage at ſuch things; ſend Agents and Meſſages to enquire into the Reaſon of them; declare their Diſſatisfaction, and threaten to uſe Force to put a ſtop to thoſe Preparations, Fortifications, and repairing of demoliſhed Places.
If the Princes and Powers by whom thoſe Fortifications are made, do not give a peaceable and ſatisfactory Anſwer, aſſign proper Reaſons for what they do, and give Aſſurances that they have no Deſign injurious to their Neighbours the Complainers, they frequently draw together their Forces, and appear reſolved to oblige them by their Power, to give over or demoliſh again the Works they had begun.
Examples of this are many, and recent in Memory; as the Fortifications which the King of Denmark raiſed at Huſum, at Heuſden, and other Places on the Frontiers of Holſtein, which cauſed the Swedes and Princes of Lunenburgh to arm againſt him, after in vain having deſired his Daniſh Majeſty to ceaſe his Works and leave the Country open; and this cauſed an Army of thoſe Powers to aſſemble and march to the Frontiers, in order to effect it by Force, no other Method proving effectual; upon which enſued the Treaty of Trav [...]al, where the King of Denmark yielded, and the F [...] immediately demoliſhed.
[...], but more univerſally known and remembred, w [...] the French attempting to fortify Mardike, after the [...]hing of Dunkirk, and to build a Port or Haven with P [...]s and Sluices there, as before at Dunkirk.
[Page 34] It was certainly juſt (and no Nation had any thing to do with it) that the French might, and ought to be at Liberty to build Piers and make Harbours, Docks and other things for the Aſſiſtance of their Commerce and Navigation in any Part of their Dominions, as much as the King of England has a Right to do it at Dover, or the Dutch at Sluys.
But if his Majeſty had ſtipulated by a ſolemn Treaty not to do it, I cannot ſay it would be equally rightful or juſt to do it then. So the French having poſitively engaged not to raiſe any Fortifications at Dunkirk, or to reſtore that Harbour there, or on any Part of the Coaſt near it, as was the Caſe in the Treaty of Utrecht, that Right to do it ceaſed, and was anticipated and taken away by the Treaty; for what any Prince or Power have bound themſelves not to do, they may be ſaid to have no Right to do.
I might bring this home to the Harbour of Oſtend. I am not ſenſible that any Treaty or Convention by which the Emperor enjoys that Port, obliges him not to enlarge it, deepen the Channel, make Piers, Baſins, or any thing elſe, as ſhall appear for his Convenience, and for the Security of his Merchants and of their Ships: I ſay I do not know that the Emperor is under any Treaty or Obligation not to do this, and ſo his ordering theſe Enlargements are no Contravention of any ſuch Treaty, nor any juſt Ground of Quarrel or Jealouſy; for why ſhould not his Imperial Majeſty do every juſt thing for the Good of his People, the Encouragement of their Commerce, the Security of their Ships, and the like?
But as theſe Works at Oſtend are evidently deſign'd for the receiving and protecting the Ships, encouraging the Trade, and carrying on the new Company's Commerce to the Indies, which Trade the Emperor is expreſly bound even in the very Tenure of his Poſſeſſion not to ſupport or carry on, or to ſuffer to be carried on; then the Caſe differs exceedingly; and even the fortifying Oſtend, deepening and enlarging the Harbour, and the like, as mentioned above, is a juſt matter of Jealouſy; and however lawful in itſelf, yet intimates plainly, that the Emperor and his Subjects are reſolved to continue and carry on that Trade, how prejudicial ſoever to their Neighbours the Engliſh and Dutch, and however it may appear to be inconſiſtent with the Treaties and Obligations which His Imperial Majeſty is bound by, and enjoys the Country by the Stipulation of.
[Page 35] It evidently ſhews a reſolved Temper, a fixed Deſign and Diſpoſition to continue that Commerce, however injurious to us their Neighbours; and that (if it cannot be otherwiſe obtained) inſtead of abating or laying it down, as was expected, and according to the Remonſtrances of the Allies, they reſolve rather to maintain it by Force; and menacing the Ally'd Powers with their formidable Reſentments, pretend to make War upon thoſe that ſhall interrupt it; as if they were able to Act in the ſame Hoſtile manner they talk of, and as if their Power was equal to their Bluſter, on thoſe Occaſions.
This is what (in our vulgar way) we call Showing their Teeth; and could they do no more that way by Land, than they can by Sea, it would merit ſome vulgar Talking of it. But as they ſeem to threaten the World with their mighty Forces, and that thoſe Forces are indeed Conſiderable, at leaſt are far from being Deſpicable, this is that which tells me there ſeems to be a Neceſſity of a War.
The Flemings talk big, and ſay, if the Dutch (for Example) date to touch their Ships, and interrupt their Trade, in and to the Indies; the Emperor will attack them with all his Forces by Land. That I call War: and that is what I call the Neceſſity of a War. For it ſeems not to be expected, that Marine Trading Nations, ſuch as the Engliſh and Dutch, whoſe Trade to the Indies is ſo conſiderable, and which the Emperor is by Treaty bound not to Invade, will ſit ſtill, and ſee it Invaded and Inſulted. On the contrary, I think they will not, muſt not, cannot do it.
If then the Dutch, &c. cannot, muſt not, and will not, bear this Commerce; and the Emperor will not, cannot lay it down, and give it over; and threatens them, if they offer to interrupt it: What follows? What is the neceſſary Conſequence, but a War? Nay, What are theſe Things but a War in Effect, if not in all the Circumſtances of it? And where theſe things are Acted in this Manner, how can any Man make a Queſtion, whether a War will happen, or no?
IT is not the moſt difficult Thing in the World, to make a Judgment of what may be, by what is: The publick Conduct of Princes and States ſeldom ſo effectually diſguiſes their Intentions, but ſome Rational Obſervations may be made; ſome Juſt Inferences drawn; and ſome Probable Gueſſes be made, of what will be the Iſſue of their Councils.
The preſent Politicks of Europe are indeed more Intricate than ordinary: And yet they are not without evident, viſible Marks of the Intention that ſeveral Princes and Powers have, or had, to Break the Peace of the World, and invade the Property and Commerce of their Neighbours, in order to begin a War.
I have already mention'd, that the Czarina, or Empreſs of Muſcovy, had form'd a Reſolution to begin a War, and put and End to the Tranquility of Europe, by an Attempt upon the King of Denmark, in Favour of the Duke of Holſtein. I do not ſay poſitively it is ſo; but who can make any Doubt of it? To what Purpoſe were the Neighbours of that Princeſs alarm'd in that Manner? And why was the Britiſh Squadron ſent into the Baltick to prevent thoſe Attempts, if there was not ſuch an apparent Deſign? Nor (as I am told) did the Court of Petersburgh ſo much as endeavour to Conceal it; but rather ſollicited other Powers to Aſſiſt the ſaid Duke, in, what they call'd, Recovering his Inheritance.
Again, who can doubt the Reſolutions of the Britiſh Court (if poſſible) to Preſerve the Peace; keep every one in the quiet Poſſeſſion of what they held; and tye up every Side to thoſe Terms of Peace which they had already Conſented to; when they ſaw the Britiſh Fleet block up the Aggreſſors in their Ports, and put an End to all the violent Meaſures reſolv'd on? (A Teſtimony alſo, that ſuch Meaſures were reſolv'd on.)
As to the Juſtice of the Duke of Holſtein's Claim to the Poſſeſſion of his Antient Dominions, I have nothing to do with that here: Be it Juſt, or Unjuſt, that they were taken from him; and be it Right, or Wrong, that they are kept [Page 37] from him, that is not the Queſtion to us. But as the Czarina Aiding the Duke with a Powerful Army, as was intended, for the Recovery of thoſe Dominions, would neceſſarily have begun a War, and perhaps embarked ſeveral Princes on both Sides, in the Quarrel; ſo far the Pacifick Powers were juſtly engag'd to prevent it; and probably may exert themſelves in the ſame, or like manner, to do the like for the future; and that, not only there, but any where elſe where they find the like Occaſion.
Not that Great Britain ſhould be always at the Yearly Expence of ſuch a Fleet, to keep the Muſcovite Fleet within Bounds, and to preſerve the Peace of the Baltick: But it is to be ſuppos'd, that the Swediſh and Daniſh Powers being United, they may at length join their Fleets, and be in a Condition to match the Muſcovite Fleet, and Command the Sea ſo, as to keep them up within their Ports, without the Aſſiſtance of their Neighbours.
From thence let us conſider the Preparations of the Imperialiſts. Why ſhould I not ſay, that it is very probable they intend a War, when we have the following Account publiſhed in one of our publick Papers, ſaid to be come from the Council of the States General?
Hague, Decemb. 17. N. S.
Some Days ago, the Miniſters of Great Britain and France were invited to a Solemn Conference with the States General; where their High Mightineſs's Deputies opened the Diſcourſe with a Recapitulation of all the Reſolutions taken by the States, ſince their Acceſſion to the Treaty of Hanover, that regarded the Military Preparations; to which they added, That ſince there remained little or no Likelyhood that the Differences between the Contending Powers of Europe could be amicably Adjuſted during the Winter, the States had all the Reaſon in the World to fear that the Emperor would, in Revenge for ſuch their Acceſſion, begin Hoſtilities againſt the Republick; either by Attacking it with open Force, or by ſtopping the Payment of the Subſidies, ſtipulated by the Barrier Treaty.
The Reaſon of my quoting this Speech of the States Deputies, is very plain, as the Speech it ſelf is very convincing in the Caſe before us. If the States have all the Reaſon in the World to fear that the Emperor will begin Hoſtilities with them, for their Acceding to the Hanover Treaty; then we have the ſame Reaſon, that is to ſay, all the Reaſon in the World, to believe a War will follow. So that there you [Page 38] have the Anſwer of the States General directly to this great Queſtion about the War.
Here is another Thing alſo advanc'd in that ſhort Speech of the Dutch Deputies, which affords us ſome Foundation for the Arguments already uſed; where I ſeem to inſiſt That the War is as it were already reſolv'd on, if not begun, by the Imperialiſts and Spaniards, and by their interrupting and invading our Commerce. The Deputies ſay,
‘"They have all the Reaſon in the World to fear that the Emperor will begin Hoſtilities againſt the Republick, either by Attacking it with open Force, or by ſtopping the Subſidies ſtipulated by the Barrier Treaty.’
Where, Stopping the Payment of ſtipulated Subſidies to the Dutch Troops, is call'd a Beginning of Hoſtilities. And is not then ſtopping the Courſe of ſtipulated Commerce, a Beginning of Hoſtilities? I cannot refrain ſaying, I think it is: And, if ſo, then I think the Hoſtilities are begun, as much as if the Armies were in the Field, or the Fleets engag'd.
But now, as to the Queſtion, as it ſtands in Point of RIGHT; that indeed differs exceedingly: for 'tis one Thing to ask me, Whether I believe the Emperor WILL begin a War, and another Thing, Whether HE OUGHT to do ſo, or has a juſt Cauſe to do it, or no.
- 1. Becauſe, in general, no War ought to be made among Chriſtians, but upon juſt and unavoidable Occaſion. Had this War been entred upon, only in Support of a Commerce ſet up upon unjuſt Foundations, againſt expreſs Stipulations, and againſt the Tenor of Conditions on which the very Country came to the Emperor, in which he carries it on; he rather might be ſaid to forfeit by this Encroachment the Right he had, than have a new Right to puſh on Separate Intereſts, in Prejudice of others.
- 2. Becauſe, in particular, he is under Special and Perſonal Obligations to the very Nations who are injured by this Commerce; and that ſuch, as that to them he owes the very Poſſeſſions and Dominions which he enjoys, as well in that, as in ſeveral other Parts of the World. The Netherlands may be ſaid to be their Gift to him; they were gain'd at their Coſt, at the Expence of their Blood and Treaſure. And tho' it might be call'd his Right, yet ('tis very probable) he had never had the Poſſeſſion of that Right, if they had not Powerfully [Page 39] ſupported his Claim, conquer'd the Country by their Armies, put it into his Hand; and obtained the Conceſſion of France to it, by the Treaty of Peace concluded at Utrecht.
GRATITUDE binds Princes as well as private Men; Nations, as well as particular Perſons: And ſuch good Offices as theſe, can never be too much acknowledg'd, or too well requited. To ſay Kings and Emperors are not bound by ſuch Obligations, is to ſay Kings and Emperors are not or can not be Good Men, or Honeſt Men.
GRATITUDE is a Branch of Honeſty; and it is very hard to ſay, or even to think, a Man can be Honeſt that is not Grateful; for as Gratitude reſpects an Obligation paſt, or a Kindneſs receiv'd; ſo it is no more or leſs, than paying a Debt; and tho' the Debt be not ſuch perhaps as can be demanded by Proceſs (if it were, the Creditor could oblige the Debtor to Payment) yet the Obligation is the ſtronger. The Man of Honour always thinks himſelf bound faſter by the generous Kindneſs of his Friend, than by his own Bond, and will more punctually pay a Debt of Honour, than a Debt of Law.
Nor can Reaſons of State ballance this Principle of Honour, or the Senſe of Obligation in a Prince. The late King Charles II. and indeed the whole Engliſh Nation, left a remarkable Teſtimony of their publick Regard to this Principle of Honour upon Record, even in a National Capacity, which I cannot but mention.
After the Reſtoration, the Engliſh Parliament thought it convenient, for the Publick Good, to make ſeveral ſtrict Laws againſt Popiſh Recuſants; and eſpecially againſt Popiſh Prieſts, who were (on the ſevereſt Penalties) forbid reſiding here, and particularly officiating as Prieſts.
Yet not the King only, but the Parliament it ſelf, in all their Acts, made an Exception for Father Huddleſton a Prieſt, nay, a Jeſuit; in perpetual Remembrance of and Gratitude for his Fidelity to the Perſon of the King, in concealing his Majeſty, and aſſiſting to his Eſcape, even at the Hazard of his own Life, and in Contempt of the Reward of 1000l. offered by the Enemy for the Diſcovery, after the Defeat of the Royal Army at Worceſter.
Here was a Teſtimony of a Nation's Gratitude, and of a Prince's Gratitude, and that even when the ſaid Nation was under [Page 40] the moſt powerful and juſt Apprehenſions of the pernicions Practices of thoſe very Prieſts, for the perverting both Prince and People to Popery; and when that Prince, as it was ſaid at laſt, was influenced ſo far as to be ſecretly reconcil'd,—&c.
But GRATITUDE never dyes, and Obligation never ceaſes; nothing can wear it out of the Mind, where the Mind is once poſſeſs'd with Principles of Honour, of Religion, and of Juſtice: A Man of Honour can no more be Ingrate, than a Man of Honeſty can Steal. Ingratitude is hardly to be expreſs'd by any Word worſe than it ſelf; and therefore 'twas the Saying of a great Man, That to ſay a Man is Ingrate, is to ſay All of him that is Evil: Ingratitude being a Complication of almoſt all Crimes. 'Tis a cancelling all Obligations in the Mind; and harbouring Miſchief and Reſentment, inſtead of Affection and a Senſe of Obligation.
I have heard from ſome of our Moralizing, Criticizing Friends, who are fam'd for ſearching too nicely into Nature's Arcana, that it is an Evil rooted in Mankind, to have an Averſion, inſtead of Affection, where they are over-loaded with Obilgation. That Man, thro' a certain ſecret Pride natural to him, and introduced by the firſt Seeds of Degeneracy, conſtantly hates to be Obliged beyond his Power to make Returns.
That as long as he can balance Accounts, and while he is upon the Square, he will be an entire Friend, and act as ſuch upon every Occaſion; nay, he will be pleaſed with the Occaſion of over-paying the Debt: But when he ſees a Weight of Obligation flowing in too heavy for him to throw off, that the Debt is too great to be paid, and that he can never hope to balance the Account, he grows ſick of the Obligation; and conſequently throwing off all thoughts of Return, Hatred comes in of Courſe; for the Man hates to ſee the Perſon to whom he muſt be always making Acknowledgments.
I will not ſay how far I am or am not of this Opinion, in this Caſe; but I muſt own, that I can find out no other Way, (or at leaſt no better Way) to account for the Conduct of a certain Prince in the World; I mean as to Obligations laid upon him Perſonally, as well as in his Publick Capacity, by the Britiſh Nation.
I remember a ſmall Book, or Pamphlet, publiſhed in the Year 1712, Entituled, IMPERIAL GRATITUDE, drawn from a modeſt View of the Conduct of the Emperor Charles VI. and the King of Spain Charles III. with Obſervations on the Difference.
[Page 41] In this Book there is a large Account of Obligations laid on his Majeſty Charles III. then King of Spain, by the late Queen and the Britiſh Nation; and the GRATEFUL RETURNS made by his Imperial Majeſty Charles VI. The former taken principally from Acknowledgments under his Catholick Majeſty's own Hand; and the reſt from the Votes and Orders of Parliament, and other Authentick Vouchers; a few of which may not be improper to be quoted in this Caſe, becauſe of ſome additional Articles which Great Britain is able to add to the Account, ſince the Acceſſion of His Majeſty King George.
It is in every one's Memory, how after the Death of Charles II. King of Spain, the Houſe of Auſtria and the Houſe of Bourbon ſeverally claimed the Succeſſion to that Crown; and how the Emperor Leopold, then living, cauſing his eldeſt Son Joſeph to Renounce, who, being then King of Hungaria, and King of the Romans, was preſumptive Succeſſor (tho' in Election) to the Empire; declared his Second Son, the then Arch-Duke Charles, King of Spain, and made Application to the Confederates (then in War againſt France) for their Aſſiſtance, and for placing him upon the Throne; for None elſe could do it.
Let us ſee in what humble Terms (as to his Grandſon) the good old Emperor writes to the Allies, and eſpecially to the Queen of England. Take it, Word for Word, from his Imperial Majeſty's own Hand. N. B. The Emperor does not give the Title of Majeſty, but Serenity, to any Kings or Queens.
Our ſaid Son would gladly ſignifie this to your Serenity, and expreſs our Joint Gratitude and Acknowledgment of it in Perſon: But ſince the preſent Poſture of the Common Affairs calls him further, he will perform this in another Method, at his Arrival. But may it pleaſe your Serenity, in the mean time, to allow us (ſince he is to leave us in a few Days) wholly to deliver him over, and to recommend him to your Serenity as to another MOTHER, with Aſſurance on his Part, That as long as he Lives, he ſhall honour your Serenity with Filial Reſpect; and that our Family ſhall ever be obliged to ſerve your Serenity in the ſtricteſt Manner, and in perpetual Gratitude.
Vienna, Sept. 13. 1703.
‘'In conſequence of this Recommendation (ſays my Author) the young King is ſent by Land from Vienna to Holland, and paſſing from thence to England, we find him receiv'd [Page 42] with all the Reſpect and magnificent Bounty, that ſuited the firſt Steps taken for his Advancement.’
‘'He had his firſt Acceſs to the Queen at Windſor, Dec. 26, 1703. Her Majeſty receiv'd him at the Head of the Stairs, where his firſt Bow ſeemed (by thoſe that ſaw it) to ſignify, that he meant to kiſs the Ground at her Majeſty's Feet. Then he made the Queen a becoming Compliment, acknowledging his great Obligations to her.’
‘'His Majeſty receiv'd him very graciouſly, and expreſſed, in the moſt obliging Terms, the great Reſpect and Veneration he hath for her Majeſty, and how ſenſible he is of the great and many Obligations he oweth her; which he hopeth he ſhould be ſo happy as to be able to return, in ſuch a manner, as might ſhew the whole World the grateful Senſe he ſhould always retain of her Majeſty's Kindneſs to him.'’
In acknowledgment of the great Aſſiſtance he receiv'd from this Service, he writes to the Queen a long Letter, throughout which he expreſſes his Grateful Senſe of it; but in particular, as it reſpects the whole Kingdom, as well as the Queen, he has, among others, this high Expreſſion;
Nor can it be denied but that as theſe Obligations were laid on him, not by the Queen only, but by the whole Britiſh Nation, the Debt deſcends with the Crown, and the Gratitude becomes due to His preſent Majeſty in Right of the Britiſh Nation; and we ſhall ſee it ſtill more plainly, when I ſhall give you the Account of the Blood and Treaſure expended by this Nation in particular, for the Service of this very Prince; where we ſhall find that it coſt England the Blood of almoſt ſixty thouſand Soldiers, and above eight Millions of Treaſure to ſupport his Cauſe in Spain only; and that even his being elected Emperor was owing to the powerful Influence of the Britiſh Intereſt at that time; all which are at large expreſs'd in the Tract juſt now quoted, Pag. 41. as follows, viz.
So that in the whole, here was ninety five thouſand four hundred and five Men actually landed in Portugal and Spain, or raiſed there, and all paid at the Expence of Great-Britain. Well might the King expreſs himſelf under great Obligations to this GENEROUS NATION.
Let us now ſee a Sketch of the Expence which England was at in particular for this Service; and this we have in the ſame Tract, Page 42, taken from the appropriating Votes in the ſeveral Parliaments of thoſe Years, as follows:
[Page 45] Theſe things, ſays the Author, would hardly ſeem creditable, were not the Vouchers ready to confirm the Particulars, and to prove every Part of them; and he adds, ‘'That after ſuch an immenſe Expence of Blood and Treaſure laid out in his Service, it would have been very Grateful and Honourable, and perhaps but Reaſonable, that His Majeſty ſhould have written one Letter more, to aſſure Her Majeſty, He will think now of ſome Means to pay, or ſecure the Payment of, thoſe immenſe Sums which the Queen had laid out to aſſiſt him.’
The ſame Book gives a particular Account of his Majeſty's being beſieged in the City of Barcelona, and of the Diſtreſs he was reduced to; gives Copies of the preſſing Letters which the King wrote to Her Majeſty for Succours, and the Account of the timely Deliverance obtained by the Aſſiſtance of the Britiſh Fleet and Troops in raiſing the Siege, and cauſing the French Army to retire with Diſgrace; which adds to the Account, and heightens the Obligation that his Majeſty acknowledged himſelf to be under before.
After this, the Death of the Emperor Joſeph happen'd; and then all the Confederates, but England in particular, made the moſt powerful Inſtances among the Princes of Germany to procure the Election of the King of Spain; and carried it for his Majeſty againſt all the Intrigues of the French Court, and the particular Application of the Electors of Bavaria and Cologn.
Let us ceaſe here a little 'till the Acceſſion of his preſent Majeſty to the Throne of Great-Britain, and beſides all the Obligations laid on his Imperial Majeſty of another kind, of which I have no room to enlarge in this Place, we may at once look into the Quadruple Alliance; a Treaty which, by the Intereſt and Influence of his Britanick Majeſty, was calculated for the particular Service of the Emperor; the King of France was brought to aſſiſt by his Arms to bring the King of Spain to hearken to Reaſon, and to come to the Terms of the Truce, and Spain preſſed by the Arms of France did conſent to put an end to the War.
Without the powerful Fleet of the King of Great-Britain opening the Sea to the Imperialiſts, and ſhutting it up from the Spaniards, defeating and taking their whole Fleet, the Imperialiſts had never been able to have taken the Kingdom of Sicily: So that it is to the glorious Arms of His Majeſty [Page 46] that the Spaniards were driven out of that Kingdom, and the Emperor put in Poſſeſſion of it.
Now bring all this down to the preſent State of Things, May we not civilly examine for which of all theſe Acts of generous Aſſiſtance of the Britiſh Nation, I ſay for which of them it is that the Court of Vienna, or the Emperor, has prohibited the Engliſh Commerce at the Fair of Meſſina; the very City King George may be ſaid to have conquered for him; for which of them he has invaded our Eaſt-India Trade, and prohibited all our Engliſh Manufactures in the great Market of Lintz by Sound of Trumpet?
May we not ſay, Is this Imperial Gratitude? Is this a ſuitable Return to His Majeſty, and to the powerful Efforts of a Generous Nation, for the Intereſt and Honour of the Emperor? Is it what His Majeſty might reaſonably expect, or what the Britiſh Nation had Reaſon to look for? Or is this the Way the Princes of that Part of the World pay their Debts of Honour, and balance the great Obligations which they receive from one another? We hope we might ſay this without Offence.
Let the Language of His late Imperial Majeſty's Letters to the late Queen, to the Duke of Marlborough, and to the States of Holland, at the naming his Grandſon to the Succeſſion of Spain, and after the Battel of Blenheim; and the Language of His preſent Imperial Majeſty when ſhut up in Barcelona, and in Danger of being carried in Triumph to Madrid, be all conſidered, when he was every Hour expecting a general Aſſault, and begged of Sir George Rook to come ſpeedily to his Relief:
I ſay, let theſe which are at hand to produce, and which, had I room, I could give you at large, to illuſtrate this Part, be conſidered; May we not compare them with the Terms now uſed in Return to the frequent Memorials and Repreſentations of the Britiſh and Dutch Ambaſſadors at Madrid, claiming a juſt and friendly Performance, not of Promiſes only and grateful Remembrances of generous and kind Actions done, but of ſolemn Treaties and Leagues; Treaties of Peace and Commerce, Friendſhip and good Underſtanding, wherein Limits of Trade as well as Dominion are ſettled and adjuſted? Let the haughty Anſwers and the Expoſtulations of Reſentment, which Fame ſays were returned by the Court of V— to Memorials framed with the utmoſt Reſpect, be all Duly conſidered and compared as above, and what ſhall we conclude from it; what can we ſay! except that perhaps this is the Meaning of that hitherto Miſunderſtood Expreſſion, that difficult and doubtful Thing called IMPERIAL GRATITUDE.
[Page 47] From all which however, we may flatter our ſelves, that for the future, the Britiſh Nation and their generous Princes, will conſider very well how they oblige Emperors again, beyond their Power of Requital; and how they ſpend Eight Millions to ſet a Prince upon a Throne, that ſhall turn the Arms of that very Power they gave him againſt the Intereſt of his Benefactors.
But Heaven, whoſe Impartial Juſtice the Britiſh Nation and their injur'd Sovereign appeal to in all this, will no doubt ſoon diſcover its Sentiments of theſe things; and the Power God has put into his Majeſty's Hands can never be better employed, than to humble the Inſolence of ſuch Powers, as think themſelves above the Natural Laws of Friendſhip and Gratitude, and regard no Juſtice, but as it conforms with their Intereſt, and encreaſes their Power.
1. As to their Ability to manage a War with us, I have ſpoken of it in particular already; and leſt I ſhould be told, 'tis time enough to boaſt when we put our Armour off, I am content to ſtay 'till then; and let the Spaniards count their Gain when they have had their Fill of a War, ſo I ſay no more of that now.
As for the Firſt, they make a great Noiſe of it; complain of its being an Inſulting their Coaſt, an open Violation of Friendſhip, an Interruption of Commerce, and an Act of Hoſtility, with much more of that Kind; and upon this we are now told they draw together their Armies, Hover about Gibraltar, (tho' they are able to do very little to it) talk of Building new Fortifications to incommode the Bay or Port, buy Ships of War, and, in a word, ſhow by many weak Advances that they reſolve upon a War.
Certainly the Spaniards have very wrong Notions of their own Strength, or elſe we are ill inform'd about it; and particularly how ill able they are with all their Strength, tho' it were double to what it is, to annoy the Engliſh, or defend themſelves againſt us.
That they are not equal by Sea is very evident; 'tis no Boaſting to ſay they cannot look us in the Face upon the Salt-water; all the Naval Force of Spain, were it brought together, and had they the greateſt Liberty given them they could deſire to bring it together, could not fight a Squadron of twenty Britiſh Third Rates; and this I ſay is far from being a Bluſter, ſince it was proved at Cape Paſſaro, where the Spaniards had the beſt Fleet, and the biggeſt Ships that they have ever ſeen at Sea of their Own for a hundred Years paſt.
What then are the Spaniards doing? Do they reflect that Great Britain, France, and the States-General, the three greateſt Marine Powers in the World, are in Alliance, and may come to act in Conjunction in this War, if there was any Occaſion for it, againſt one (alas how Impotent!) fingle Power of Spain? Have they conſidered what they are able to do againſt Three ſuch Powers United, the weakeſt of whom are able to blow all the Ships of Spain out of the Sea, and make them not dare to ſtir out of their Ports? What can the King of Spain, or the Council of Spain, think of ſuch an unequal War? and what Encouragement can their Officers and Seamen have to engage in their Service, or embark in their Ships, where they are ſo ſure to be beaten?
2. Have the Spaniards conſider'd, that they have a vaſt unguarded Coaſt for above a thouſand Miles lying upon the Sea, as well on the Side of the Ocean, as in the Mediterranean; from St. Sebaſtian at the bottom of the Bay of Biſcay, to [Page 49] Viana on the Edge of Galitia, and from the River Guadiana on the ſide of Andaluſia, to the Mouth of the Straits, and thence to the Bay of Roſes, on the Frontiers of Rouſillon, in the Dominion of France.
The Length of this Coaſt is at leaſt twelve hundred Miles: Not all the Force of Spain, nay, ſcarce all the Men in Spain, were they arm'd and form'd into Regiments, could guard ſuch an extended Coaſt, ſo as that they could prevent its being continually harraſs'd and inſulted by an Enemy that is thus ſuperior at Sea; and who can appear now on this ſide, now on that, and whoſe Motions it is impoſſible any Troops on Shore can follow or obſerve.
What ſtrange Havock could the Allies, thus arm'd, and Superior at Sea, make upon the Coaſt of Spain? and whether they ever landed or no, their very hovering upon the Coaſt is Alarm enough to keep the whole Country waking, and hurry and fatigue their Soldiers to Death, by haſty Marches in a hot Climate; ſo that the Troops would be ruin'd as effectually, as if they had been beaten in the Field.
As to their bluſtering about Gibraltar, and threatning to beſiege it with twenty five thouſand Men, I may ſpeak of it by it ſelf; But let us look a little off of their Military Part, to that of their Commerce.
The firſt Attack they have made upon us there, (for there alſo they are Aggreſſors) is their publick prohibiting the wearing our Manufacture in their Country; Prohibiting the Importation follows of Courſe. How ill they are able to furniſh Manufactures, by the Induſtry of their own People, to ſupply the Place of ours, I have mention'd already; but let me ask the Spaniards a few Trading Queſtions upon this Occaſion.
Trading Nations never prohibit the Exportation of their own Goods, whether the Growth of their Country, or the Labour of their People. To Prohibit Trade with England, is to prohibit the Exportation of their own Growth, which by the way is the main Wealth of their Country; I mean as to its home Product: And can they live without the Trade with England?
Have they conſider'd what they ſhall do, if England finding the Spaniards refuſe to take off their Cloths and Stuffs, their Woollen Manufacture of all Kinds, and their other needful Exports, ſhould refuſe to take off their Wines, Brandies, Oil, Raiſins, Oranges, Lemons, Almonds, Soap, Spaniſh Wool? and if France ſhould refuſe their Wool and Iron, and all their other Produce? They need not perhaps forbid their Subjects the [Page 50] wearing any Silks or Stuffs of England or France, they would be naked enough; for they would ſoon have no Money to buy them, and muſt be glad to buy Blankets and Woadmill of the Moors of Africk, to cover them.
Xeres de la Fronteira is a Place near the Coaſt, in the Bay between Cadiz and Sevil; that Country is full of Vines, and they tell us that they make ſixty thouſand Pipes or Buts of Sherrey every Year, and moſt of this is brought away by the Engliſh, Dutch and Hamburgers; but if the Engliſh and Dutch refuſe it, how will all that Country live? how will the Vines run wild, and be ruin'd, the People ſtarve, and have no Employment, and the Lands lye waſte?
The like is to be ſaid of their Oil and Soap at Sevil, of which the Quantity is exceeding great, ſo that they have one Wood oppoſite to Sevil nine Leagues in Circuit, all of Olive-Trees, from which they tell us they make ſixteen thouſand Quintals of Soap in a Year; but unleſs they can ſell off this Soap and the Oil to England, Holland, &c. all will be waſte, for the Quantity they can conſume at home is next tonothing.
The Canary Iſlands have no other conſiderable Market for their Wines but to England, except what caſual Ships take off, going to Africa or America; if the Engliſh forſake the Place, and leave off the Trade, thoſe Iſlands are undone; and the Spaniards themſelves have always been ſo ſenſible of this, that when there has been a War between the two Nations, the King of Spain has always allow'd the Canary Trade to be open to England, and to enjoy as it were a Neutrality, that their Wines may be taken off.
From thence let us go on to the South Coaſt of Spain in the Mediterranean, and there is firſt Malaga, a City flouriſhing and rich; the Cuſtoms they ſay pay the King of Spain eighty thouſand Pieces of Eight a Year for that one Port. But with whom is their Trade? I inſiſt that five Parts of ſix of their whole Trade is with the Engliſh; the Wines, eſpecially thoſe we now call white Mountain, (call'd ſo, becauſe they grow on the Sides of the Hills, on all the North Part of Granada) who Buys them, and where are they Drank? The French buy no Wines, the Italians buy no Wines, the Moors are all Mabometans, they drink none; none but the Engliſh, and perhaps one Ship or two at moſt to Holland. Their Raiſons, called Malaga Raifins, come almoſt all to England; their Lemons go indeed to Holland, and the Neighbouring Coaſts; but three times as many to England, as to all other Places; and what will the Loſs of ſuch a Trade be to them? How will the Country be ruin'd, and the People ſtarv'd, if they cannot put off their Wine and Fruit?
[Page 51] The Trade at Alicant is much the ſame as at Malaga, only their Wines are richer; ſuch as Tent, and red Alicant, bought uſually to give Strength and Colour to other Wines. Their Raifins are the beſt in the World, and are Ship'd off yearly in a prodigious Quantity; but all chiefly to England.
The ſame Trade continues a long way on the Coaſt of Valentia: Upon the Catalonian Coaſt there is the ſame Trade for Wines, viz. at Bene Carlo, Barcellona, and other Ports; but all for England; alſo ſome Brandy is brought from thence; and who will have the Loſs, if all theſe Wines are left upon their Hands?
It muſt be the moſt ignorant thing in the World of its kind, to have the Spaniards prohibit wearing our Manufactures, when they have no other to wear; and to ſtop the Trade to England, when they have no other Market for their General Produce.
Firſt, That Gibraltar is ſo ſituated, that it cannot be attack'd? Do they remember that the Marſhal de Teſſe ſent the King of France Word, that to continue the Siege of Gibraltar would but ruin the whole Infantry, and that forty thouſand Men could never take it by Land?
Secondly, Do they know, that as ſoon as they begin this Enterprize, they may expect the French with two Armies upon their Frontiers, one on the Side of Catalonia, and the other on the Side of Navarr? and that by drawing their Troops off to the remoteſt Angle of their vaſt Country of Spain, they muſt leave their Frontiers open to the French? and that it will be very hard to bring them back upon an Emergence, when they are at leaſt five hundred Miles off?
But we are anſwered, That 'tis a Miſtake; the King of Spain is not forming the Siege of Gibraltar, he has only ordered a Fort, or ſome Forts, to be built in proper Places, and upon his own Lands, which is no Breach of the Peace; for ſure he may have the Liberty to do what he pleaſes upon his own Lands.
If the Spaniards build, or fortifie in the Neighbourhood of Gibraltar, or on the Bay, or Coaſt about it, as it reported, 'tis either to incommode the Town and Port of Gibraltar, or it is not; if it is not, and there is no Reaſon to take umbrage at it, or [Page 52] complain of it; then I ſuppoſe we ſhall not complain of it, for England will certainly take no Offence, where no Cauſe of Offence is given.
But if this is done with Deſign, either to Streighten and Block up the Town, or to incommode the Navigation of the Port and the Commerce; This is in a plain Senſe an Act of Hoſtility, and can be taken for no other; and Force is not to be Complain'd of only, but to be Repell'd.
Not but that even in this, the Spaniards ſeem to be rather ſhowing their Teeth, than any thing elſe. Nor does it appear that they are able to do any conſiderable Injury to the Port, and none at all to the Town of Gibraltar.
The Bay of Gibraltar is at leaſt five Miles over at the Entrance, that is, from Cape to Cape; and 'tis not leſs than three or four Miles over, within the Bay, oppoſite to the Town, and where the old Town of Gibraltar ſtood.
The Depth of Water is ſuch, that the largeſt Ships may ride almoſt any where; and they have from 30 to 50 Fathom Water, right againſt, and near to the Entrance of the Mole, and in the Offing they find no Ground at 100 Fathom, as appears by the Plan. Whatever the Spaniards can pretend to do by Fortifying the oppoſite Shore, I leave to the Judgment of the Publick; as I do, whether they ought to be allowed to Fortify there, or no.
As to any thing they can do by Land to Gibraltar, I believe the Government are in no great Pain about it; only that they will take Care to put ſuch a Garriſon into it, as may give the Spaniards occaſion to be more appehenſive of Diſturbance from the Town, than the Town from them.
The Town is a Peninſula: 'tis to be attack'd no way in Form, but by that ſmall Neck of Land which joyns it to the Continent of Spain; and there the Acceſs to it is Naturally ſo difficult, and by the Addition of Art made ſo impracticable, that I believe the Garriſon are in no Pain about what the Spaniards can do that way. Upon the Whole, I may ſay of Gibraltar, as the French formerly ſaid of Dunkirk, ‘Il et une Place Terrible’
For the farther Information of the Reader, and to make what I have ſaid be perfectly Intelligible, I have here given a Plan of the Situation, as well of the Bay, as of the Town, and of the oppoſite Coaſt; by which the Reader will judge, whether the Spaniards Act like Men in their Senſes, or no, in pretending to attack the Place, while at the ſame Time they know they are not Maſters of the Sea, or able to hinder its being relieved as often as there is Occaſion. [Page]
HAVING thus obſerved the angry impotent Diſpoſition of the Neighbouring Powers in the Vienna Treaty, for a War; it remains to inquire, What our Share may be in it? and what England has to be frighted and terrify'd at, among all thoſe Bluſters and high Words?
For my Part, I have conſidered, with all poſſible Gravity, every Part of the Thing, and I can ſee no Thunder in all theſe Clouds; the gathering Vapours may portend ſome Storm, but I don't ſee it can reach us; I wiſh other People would examine it too.
The utmoſt I can ſee in it all, is, that they may put us to ſome Expence, and that is (in its Kind) a Grievance, 'tis true; but let the Spaniards look out ſharp; 'tis Ten to One but we may make our ſelves whole at their Expence, one Way or other. Now and then a Galeon or two falling in our Way, may make us Amends for a whole Expedition; and we muſt have worſe Luck than ordinary, if we chop upon none of them.
The Firſt of theſe have been conſiderable, in former Wars. But will be now ſo ſurrounded (all the Ports of Great Britain, France, and Holland, being ſhut againſt them, and all the Ships of thoſe Powers being their Enemies) that I do not ſee how they will dare to ſtir out; or if they ſhould take a Prize, how they would be able to carry it home; the utmoſt they could do, would be to Cruiſe upon the Coaſt of Spain, that they might have the Ports of Galitia, or of Andaluſia, for their Retreat; and that would not be ſo fatal to us, but that we might venture them there. But all our Channel Trade, Coal Trade, and Coaſt Trade, would be very quiet and undiſturb'd; which three Articles were the great Sufferers in the [Page 54] laſt Wars with France, and are generally ſo in any War with the Marine Powers on this Side of the World.
The Biſcayams, again, have the ſame Reſtraint, in its Degree; for as the French are at their Door, and our Trade lying ſo diſtant as the Mouth of the Channel, they muſt go a great way for Purchaſe, and have a long Run back again for Safety, when they take a Prize; in which Caſe, 'tis great Odds but they may be met with, by either French or Engliſh.
In the late War, when they had all the French Coaſt to befriend them, and could run into any of their Ports, either in Streſs of Weather, or when chas'd, or when favour'd with a good Prize, then indeed their Riſque was not ſo great, and ſometimes they made a good Hand of it. But I am much miſtaken if they will pretend to fit out many Privateers upon all the Coaſts, as the Caſe is like to ſtand with them now.
- 1. The Majorkin Rovers are all ſmall, they never carry above Eight, to Twelve, and Sixteen Guns, being rather Sloops, and a kind of Galley-built Veſſels, than Ships; made for nimble Sailing, and Roving alſo; and they dare not attack Ships of good Force.
- 2. Moſt of our Ships Trading into thoſe Seas, are Ships of good Force, and particularly in Caſe of a War, will be ſo; from Twenty-four to Thirty-ſix Guns, and will ſeldom go without Convoy neither; ſo that the Majorkins will very rarely venture upon them.
- 3. Majorca is ſo Situated between Gibraltar and Port-Mahon, that they will find it very hard to keep the Seas, without being intercepted by ſome of our Men of War, who will be perfectly Maſters of the Sea, and be always Cruiſing between the Straits Mouth and that Iſland; and alſo Weſtward, between the Iſland and the Coaſt of Italy.
Thus, I think, we need not be very anxious for our Trade, on Account of their Privateers. Some few may indeed appear in the Bay of Cadiz, fitted out at Port St. Mary, Sevil, S. L [...] and thoſe Places, and may Cruiſe off of the Southward Cape, and the Coaſt of Portugal. But 'tis hoped we may have ſo good a Look-out there for Galeons, and ſuch People, that the Privateers will find but little Good upon that Coaſt.
[Page 55] We are told, indeed, that the Spaniards will have Privateers and Cruiſers among our Iſlands in the Weſt-Indies, in the Gulph of Florida, and on the Coaſt of Carolina and Virginia; theſe may, indeed, harbour at the Havana, St. Auguſtine, and St. Domingo, and have ſeveral Skulking Places on the North Side of the Gulph of Mexico: But as our Squadron in thoſe Seas is already very ſtrong, and likely to be ſtronger, it may be no difficult Matter to keep thoſe Seas clear; and perhaps the Havana may not always be a Retreat for them, as ſtrong as it is; of which more may be ſaid when a War (if it is to be a War) is actually begun.
1. Prohibitions of Commerce. It is true, every Prohibition of Commerce to a Trading Country, as this is, may in ſome particular Caſe or other be a Loſs, as it ſtops ſome of the Channels of our Trade, by which our great Vent of Woollen Manufacture in particular, is circulated and extended in the World. But it is alſo the particular Happineſs of our Woollen Manufacture, that the ſeveral Countries where it is carried and ſold, are generally in as much want of the Goods, or of the Sale and Conſumption of thoſe Goods which England takes in Return for them, as we can be of the Sale of ours; and in particular, the King of Spain is eminent for both theſe Circumſtances; as has been mentioned already.
The Conſequence of this has always been, that either by Connivance, or by the Interpoſition of Neutral Nations, Trade has always found private Channels of Conveyance; and the Merchants find Ways and Means to furniſh themſelves on one Hand, and diſpoſe of their Product on the other; ſo that ſuch Prohibitions ſerve indeed to make Things ſell for a better Price than ordinary, but ſeldom put a full Stop to the Trade. Were it ſo, I dare venture to affirm, Spain would be the greateſt Loſer by the Prohibition, beſides being far from the beſt able to bear it.
What Lengths the Imperialiſts may go in Prohibitions of Commerce, we yet do not ſee; but ſhould they do their utmoſt (as I ſaid above) they would do their own Subjects much more Damage than they can do us. And I appeal to the Experience of the Men of Commerce for Proof of the Fact.
It is true, they may ſtop the Importation of our Woollen Manufacture thither, tho' with all their Prohibitions Trade will find Vents there too, as well as it has done in France, and other Countries; and 'tis preſum'd, the Prohibition muſt be as univerſal as the War, that is to ſay, with Holland, France, and Great Britain all together; and how the Flemings will find their Account in that, is for them to judge, not for me.
But to ſpeak to it only as to England. Pray who will be the greateſt Sufferers in ſuch a Prohibition? England, for want of the Vent of ſome Woollen Manufacture (tho' indeed not very conſiderable) which are uſually ſent to Flanders? Or the Low Countries, for want of the Sale of their Cambricks and fine Bruſſels and Mecblin Lace? of both which ſo exceeding a Demand is made here, by the Humour and Fancy of our Ladies running into the Wear and Uſe of thoſe two Articles, and the Price of which is of late ſo extravagant, that the Ballance of Trade between the two Countries is evidently to the Advantage of the Flemings, and that in a prodigious Degree. So that I cannot but ſay, a Prohibition of Commerce between them, would be at this Time one of the kindeſt Things the Emperor could do for us, and we ſhall have no Reaſon to be ſorry or anxious about it, whenever it begins. Our only Buſineſs (at leaſt I think ſo) would be, whenever they make the Prohibition on their Side, to take care it be duly Executed on our Side.
There is but one Part of the World more, where the Emperor can make any conſiderable Prohibition of Commerce with us by Sea, and that is in Italy; and I am perſwaded his Council, if they are Men of Common Underſtanding in Buſineſs, will never adviſe his Imperial Majeſty to take ſuch a Step. Let us examine the Particulars briefly:
This Prohibition can only extend to the Ports of the Kingdom of Naples, in the Weſt and South Side of Italy, and the Ports of Meſſina, Palermo, &c. in Sicily. In return for which, he firſt of all ſtops the Engliſh taking off the Oil of Gallipoli, and then the Thrown Silk of Naples and Sicily; and at the ſame Time as he has not Power to prohibit the Engliſh Commerce at Leghorn, the Manufacture of Great Britain will be only carried thither, inſtead of being carried to Meſſina and Naples, and the Merchants will ſend thither to buy them; for we are aſſur'd they muſt and will have them.
I might ſay ſomething here to the Stop this War might ſeem to give to the Vent of Engliſh Manufactures in the Spaniſh Weſt-Indies: But if I ſhould ſay, on the other Hand, that the Spaniards ſeem really not to know what they are doing in that Particular; and that it is more likely, if they don't conſider it in time, that England may open a Door there to the Commerce, which it may never be in the Spaniards Power to ſhut up; and that a direct Trade from England to New Spain, may be a full Satisfaction to us for all their other Attempts upon our Trade, that they either have made, or can make to our Prejudice; I ſhould ſay nothing but what I could very effectually explain
2. As to their Menacing us with the Pretender; the Damage to Trade being my preſent Subject, I ſhall ſay little to it here: It is ſo remote from them as well as from us, they are ſo little able to do any thing in it, and the Creature himſelf has ſo little in him to make him Formidable, that I think it hardly worth naming.
Yet one Thing I cannot but obſerve in this (otherwiſe inſignificant) Thing, call'd the Pretender; viz. That as it was in the Time of one of the greateſt Engliſh Monarchs who ever wore the Crown, I mean Henry VII, that his Enemies, whenever they had a Mind to make him uneaſy, always play'd one Impoſtor or other upon him, ſuch as Simnel, Perkin Warbeck, and the like, ſo they would do now.
Thus whenever any Foreign Power deſigns to raiſe Diſtractions among us, and to Inſult the King of Great Britain in any Quarter whatever, they will always play the Pretender upon us. If the King of Spain has the leaſt View of Reſentment depending againſt England, preſently the late Duke of Ormond comes to Court, and has an Audience of his Catholick Majeſty. And the late Earl Mariſchal, a Scots Refugee (and who it ſeems is in Commiſſion under the King of Spain) is ordered to ſet aſide his Journey to Andaluſia, and the like; as if by theſe remove Motions, Great Britain was to be Alarmed, and that it was to be underſtood, that ſomething was doing, or contriving to be done on that Side, in Favour of that deſpicable Intereſt, call'd Jacobitiſm.
I remember we read in the Story of Henry VII. That when that firſt Impoſture was Que [...]ed, and Si [...] (who [Page 58] was play'd upon that Prince as a Pretender) fell into his Hand; inſtead of putting him to Death (as Juſtice indeed demanded) the King, to let his Enemies ſee how he contemned the Attempt, took the poor miſerable Thing and ſet him in the Royal Kitchin to turn the Spit, and lick the Trenchers, deſpiſing thereby not the Perſon only, but the Party.
The Inference I think is juſt; England has ſo little to fear from the Pretender, or from the Neſt of Pretenders now in Italy, for it ſeems there is a new Succeſſion of Pretenders in the Hands of the Pope and his Prieſts; I ſay, England has ſo little to fear from them, that the greateſt Contempt is to be put upon all theſe little Motions; and they ought to give us no other Alarm, than only to take care to keep Jacobitiſm down at home, to keep them in the ſame State of Mortification and Humiliation that they are already in, and then not to fear their Agents from abroad.
In a word, it ſeems to be the Cafe, as I have already ſaid in Spain; now tho' Jacobitiſm is not ſo inconſiderable as not to be worth our ſetting our Foot upon it, yet 'tis far from being ſo conſiderable as to make us afraid of it. No Thief is ſo inconſiderable as that we need not ſhut our Doors and bar our Windows when we go to Bed, to keep them out; but all the Thieves in the Nation are not ſo conſiderable, but that when we have faſtened our Doors, and the Watch is ſet, we can ſleep in quiet, and defy them.
Again, I muſt ſay, it is a Piece of Kindneſs to the Jacobites themſelves, who as they are a Deluded and Impoſed upon People, call for ſome Pity from even the Government which they offend; and the kindeſt thing the Government of Great-Britain can do for them, is to take away all their Hopes, forecloſe their Expectations, and ſhow them how impoſſible the Reſurrection of their Party is, under the preſent Diſpoſitions; and how effectually every Back-Door is barred up againſt them, that ſo their Hopes being entirely deſtroyed, they may learn to deſpair, and no more precipitate themſelves into certain Ruin, in attempting to revive a Cauſe that is not to be revived.
Beſides, it is worth their while to reflect upon what Foot it is, that theſe Foreign People bring their loſt Cauſe into the Queſtion; namely, for nothing but to play it upon the Nation, if poſſible, in the Nature of a Diverſion, or to give an Alarm, reſerving it always in Petto, to give it up whenever they are reduc'd to the Neceſſity of making a Peace; and that even [Page 59] the greateſt Prince that ever eſpouſed them, ſacrificed their whole Intereſt, when he found it needful to make a Peace at their Expence.
I had purpoſed here to have enter'd into a uſeful, and a ſerious Diſcourſe, concerning the Expedition to Porto Belo; and the Poſting the Britiſh Squadron under Admiral Hoſier, at the Iſlands call'd Les Baſtimento's, on the Coaſt of the Iſt [...] mus of America; and to have given a like Plan of the Situation of thoſe Iſlands, as I have here of Gibraltar, and how they reſpect the Harbour of Porto Belo; But as this would require alſo, that I ſhould conſider the great Advantages which lye before us in a formal and further Proſecution of that Attempt; and how Great-Britain in the carrying on this War, may give a new Turn to the Commerce of that Part of the World, infinitely to the Advantage of theſe Iſlands, and yet without giving Umbrage to the Allies, by making any Attempts to ſeize upon the Country it ſelf; and that I purpoſe to handle that Subject by it ſelf, as ſoon as the publick Affairs diſcover themſelves, ſo as to make it acceptable; for that Reaſon, and alſo, becauſe I have not room to ſpeak effectually to it here, I refer it to another Occaſion.