THAT it is the joint Intereſt of all the Confederates to uſe their utmoſt Efforts for the putting a ſpeedy End to the preſent War, is plain from hence, That a Delay will probably be more favourable to the French than it will be to us: For wherever there is a War between a Confederate Power on the one ſide, and an united Abſolute one on the other, Time (if there is any proportion of Strength between them) muſt ſubject the Confederate to more Contingencies than it can the Single Abſolute Power.
The making a very great Effort at Sea, will be more effectual on our part towards the ſpeedy ending of the War, than the ſending formidable Forces to Flanders, or any part of the Continent, becauſe at Land we run a greater Risk, and the Gain is not ſo ſignificant.
The French have more numerous Armies than we; and thoſe Armies are very well diſciplin'd; and they have a great many more impregnable [Page 6] Gariſons. From which it is evident, that we run a Hazard at Land whether we ſhall be victorious or not; and if we are, the Gain of ſeveral Battels may not conclude the War.
At Sea the caſe is vaſtly different, for there we need run little or no risk of the Enemy, unleſs we pleaſe our ſelves; this being a thing that is never to be queſtioned, That if the Dutch and we will make an Effort, we may be Maſters of the Sea.
Now this is certain, That if we can continue entirely Maſters of the Sea, we muſt put a ſpeedy End to the War; for our entire Command o'er the Seas muſt ruin our Enemys Commerce, and that utterly. Now Commerce is the only Fountain of Treaſure in Countries that have no Mines; and Silver and Gold, are the only Sinews of War; which Sinews, when they happen to be cut off, or to be very much obſtructed, the Body Politick becomes of a ſudden either Maim'd, Impotent, or Paralytick.
But then this at the ſame time muſt be obſerv'd, That they only are entire Maſters of the Sea who can command it abſolutely; and they alone can be ſaid to command it abſolutely, who make their Maritime Power anſwer all the Ends for which it was deſigned; and theſe are the Defence of their Coaſts, the Security of their own Commerce, and the Ruin of that of their Enemies.
From which it is plain, that our preſent Maritime Forces are inſufficient to render us entirely Maſters of the Seas; for being unable to protect [Page 7] us from the French Privateers, they cannot ſecure our Commerce. But that they are unable to protect us from the French Privateers, is evident, not only from Matter of Fact, and the vaſt number of Veſſels that we loſt in the late War, notwithſtanding that we had above one hundred Men of War equipp'd on our own part, but from the nature of the thing it ſelf: for the French Privateers being ſo much ſmaller, and lighter, at leaſt for the generality, than our Ships of War which cruize upon them, are conſequently ſo much ſwifter; and not drawing half the Quantity of Water which the Cruizers draw, are by that means enabled to eſcape from them in ſhole Water, beſides that our Fleet of War is obliged for the moſt part to act united.
But if it is impoſſible to ſecure our own Commerce with our preſent Maritime Power, it is by conſequence impoſſible to ruin that of the Enemy; for their Robberies upon the Seas are equivalent to them (at leaſt in ſome meaſure) to Commerce: For by means of the aforeſaid Robberies they import thoſe Commodities into France, for which their Enemies trade for nothing; beſides that by this method they ſupply themſelves with Ships. So that our preſent Maritime Power being inſufficient to ruin the Enemies Commerce utterly, and by that means to enervate the Sinews of War, is by conſequence inſufficient to put a ſpeedy End to that War.
But that it is in our Power, with an additional Maritime Force, to ſecure our Commerce and ruin that of the Enemies, and ſo to become intirely Maſters [Page 8] of the Seas, may (I believe) appear from hence, that having more Ships of every Burden, and more Seamen than the French, we are as able to make an effectual Proviſion againſt their Pirats and Robbers, as againſt their Fleet of War; by which we at once ſecure our Trade, and ruin that of our Enemies, nay, and ruin it in all the Branches of it; not only cutting off their Correſpondence between the Weſt-Indies and Europe, but that which they alſo at preſent maintain between one part of Europe and another.
- Firſt, I ſhall ſhew, what Number of Ships, of what Bigneſs, and how Armed, muſt be provided for the compaſſing this Deſign.
- Secondly, I ſhall enquire into the Expence of ſetting them forth.
- Thirdly, I ſhall diſcover a Method to defray that Expence, without taxing the People.
- Fourthly, I ſhall ſhew how theſe Ships are to be uſed and diſpos'd.
- Fifthly, I ſhall ſhew the Advantage which may be reap'd from them.
- Sixthly, I ſhall anſwer ſome Objections.
[Page 9] Firſt then, Beſides the Grand Royal Fleet, which in conjunction with the Dutch, we ſuppoſe to be more than an equal Match for the whole French Royal Navy; not only in the Channel, but in the Straits too, and the Weſt-Indies, according to the ſeveral Squadrons: We next ſuppoſe a ſubordinate Fleet to be equipp'd, which for the moſt part is to act diſtinctly from the other, and to conſiſt of two hundred Veſſels Engliſh, and two hundred Dutch, the beſt Sailers that the Queen and the States can light of, all of them containing one with another two hundred Tuns a Veſſel; the whole to be arm'd with ten thouſand Engliſh, and ten thouſand Dutch, who are to be a fifth part Mariners, and the reſt Marines. The Number of Guns in every Veſſel to be proportioned to the bigneſs of the Veſſel, and the Number of the Men. The Captain of every Veſſel to have the Queen's and the State's Commiſſions, by which they are to be authoriz'd to ſcowr the Seas of Privateers and Pirats: But they who have the Queen's Commiſſions, are not like the Veſſels of the great Fleet to carry the Royal Flag, becauſe in caſe of a manifeſt Diſadvantage they are to be allowed to run, which the Honour of England will not allow to the Flag.
I come now to ſay ſomething of the Expence of Equipping this Fleet; and without pretending to an exact Calculation, I ſhall content my ſelf with coming ſomething near to it. Let us allow then 200000l. per Annum for the Hire of the Ships for [Page 10] our part of the Expence, and as much for the Dutch; and 300000l. per annum for us, and as much for the Dutch, for the Wages of the Men, their Proviſion and Ammunition: and having done that, let us proceed to the Method of defraying ſo conſiderable a Charge.
Nothing can be more natural than to conclude, that ſince this additional Expence is originally and immediately employ'd for the defence of the Merchants, that they ſhould be oblig'd to defray it, who principally derive their Security from it. 'Tis true, the whole Nation will ſhare in the Defence which they will receive from it; but the Merchants will have the principal Share in the Gain, of which it is but reaſonable that they ſhould contribute a part to ſupport it, eſpecially ſince they will derive the Security of their Gain from that very Contribution. Let us ſuppoſe then, that every one ſhould be oblig'd to enſure at the rate of 5l. per Cent. Exports, and 10l. per Cent. Imports, (take one Place with another) and that this Inſurance Mony, according to the value of Imports and Exports, as they have been valued by late Computations, the Imports at between ſeven and eight Millions, and the Exports at between four and five, will amount to a Million of Sterling Mony. So that 500000l. being allow'd on our part, and as much on that of the Dutch for the Hire of the Ships, the Wages of the Men, their Ammunition and Proviſion, there remains 500000l. to us, and 500000l. to the Dutch, to make good the Loſſes.
[Page 11] But now as every Merchant is oblig'd to enſure, the Queen is ſuppos'd to become the General Enſurer for us, and the States for the Dutch: And this Enſurance Mony is to be paid down at the Cuſtom-Houſe, at the ſame time with the Cuſtoms, to prevent a new Creation of Officers, which may be troubleſome and expenſive. But one thing I forgot to add, That tho the Queen is ſuppos'd to be General Enſurer, yet ſhe is always to except the Danger of the Sea it ſelf, for Reaſons ſo obvious, that they are needleſs to be inſiſted on here, and is only to enſure the Merchants againſt all Captures; and that the other Enſurance againſt the Danger of the Seas, may be practis'd by thoſe who undertake it in time of Peace. But then in caſe it would be more for the Queen's Convenience, that ſome of the Enſurance Mony for the Imports ſhould be paid at the reſpective Foreign Ports from which the Ships ſet forth, becauſe this Method in ſome places, particularly in the Straits, and the Weſt-Indies, may ſave the Queen the trouble and charge, and delay of Remittances in that caſe; it may be provided that the Mony be paid to the Queen's Governor, or Conſul reſiding at or near the reſpective Ports; and that Debentures may be given by the aforeſaid Governors or Conſuls, to the Value of each Receipt.
[Page 12] I ſuppoſe then that 30 of them ſhould be always cruiſing in the Seas between England and Holland; twenty between Oſtend and Calais, which takes in Dunkirk; five between Calais and Haver de Grace; five between Haver de Grace and La Hogue; before St. Malo twenty; in the Chops of the Channel and the Iriſh Seas forty; South Weſt of Ireland twenty; Bay of Biſcay thirty; Coaſts of Spain in the Ocean thirty; which Numbers computed make two hundred in all. The remaining two hundred are to be thus employ'd; An hundred of them are to accompany the Royal Squadron to the Straits, there to ſeparate from, and to act diſtinctly (unleſs neceſſity require otherwiſe) and fifty to cruize in the Mediterranean; thirty in the Gulf of Venice, and twenty in the Archipelago. The remaining hundred to be thus diſpos'd of; Threeſcore and ten of them to be ſent to the Weſt-Indies, fifty of them to act on the Coaſts of the Spaniſh-Indies, in conjunction with the Buccaneers; and the other twenty on the Coaſts of New-England and New-York; and the remaining thirty are to be ſent to the Coaſts of Guinea and Gambo.
Firſt, We ſhall by this means effectually ſecure our Commerce; for if during the late War, we did not loſe above one Ship in four, in the time of the greateſt Miſmanagement, [Page 13] it is very probable we ſhall not loſe above one in twenty now.
If there ſhould be no miſmanagement in the preſent War, yet our Grand Fleet would never be able wholly to ſecure our Commerce; for the French Privateers would be too nimble for our Men of War, and our own Privateers (if we ſhould ſet out any) would ſcarce ever attack thoſe of the Enemy; but it would be the main part of the buſineſs of this ſubordinate Fleet to attack the French Privateers, and if it were ſupported and ſuſtained by our Cruizers, we have no reaſon to doubt, but that in a very little time it would be able to clear the Seas of them; ſo that by this Method, in all probability, we ſhould ſave the Nation thoſe vaſt Sums, which our Loſſes would otherwiſe amount to. Beſides, as by this means we ſhould ſecure our Commerce, we ſhould expedite Trade, and by diſpatching it, in ſome meaſure double it, becauſe none of our trading Veſſels would be oblig'd to ſtay for Convoys.
Secondly, As by this means we ſhould ſecure our own Commerce, we ſhould ruin that of the French; and I leave it to any one to judg, Whether fifty of theſe Ships in the Weſt-Indies, acting in concert with the Buccaneers, and diſtinctly from our Royal Squadron (unleſs there ſhould prove at any time a neceſſity for their acting jointly) would not cut off all manner of Intercourſe between France, Spain, and the Weſt-Indies, and hinder the Importation of Bullion, and the Paſſage of their Plate Fleets? by which alone they [Page 14] can pretend to be formidable: And whether it would not prove the moſt effectual Method for the ſeizing upon ſeveral Places there, which at the end of the War remaining our own by Treaty, would ſerve to defray the Charges of it? Beſides, I leave it to any to conſider, whether the Royal Squadron to be ſent to the Weſt-Indies, acting (as it might do) upon an Emergency in concert with this additional Force, might not ſeize upon the moſt important Places which the Spaniards hold in thoſe Parts?
By the Squadron of theſe ſubordinate Ships, which we ſhould have in the Straits (diſtinctly by our Men of War) the Dutch and We ſhould be enabled to ſecure the Turky Trade to our ſelves; we ſhould, as it were, inveſt the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, and be inſtrumental in reducing them to the Emperor's Party; raiſe the Credit of the Emperor with the Port, and ſink the Reputation of the French; prey on both ſides the Eccleſiaſtical State, not only upon the Mediterranean Coaſts adjacent to Oſtia and Civita Vecchia, but likewiſe upon the Adriatick Shore, adjoining to Ceſennate, Peſaro, Ravenna, Ancona, Rimini, &c. encourage the Venetians to declare for the right Side, and be a terrible Awe upon the reſt of the Italian Princes. This Squadron cruizing in the Mediterranean, whilſt the Royal Squadron obſerv'd the French, would lamentably haraſs the Spaniſh Coaſts, and utterly intercept their Trade, while that in the Ocean would hinder the Intercourſe between France and Spain, and be a ſevere Bridle upon the Portugueſe.
[Page 15] To come nearer home, the French would have no Correſpondence by Sea between one part of France and another. Their Coaſters in all likelihood would be a perpetual Prey to us: Nothing could be tranſported from Dunkirk to Breſt, or from Breſt to Dunkirk, unleſs it ſhould be by Land-Carriage, which would put the French King to a prodigious Expence; beſides, we ſhould hinder their Traffick to Denmark and Sweden, and Hamborough, and the reſt of the Northern Ports, from which they have not only their Naval Stores, but their beſt Timber.
Beſides all this, we ſhould ſecure our Newcastle Trade, and ſo provide in ſome meaſure for the Relief of the Poor, and defend and ſupport the Fiſhery both of England and Holland, intercept the Commerce of our Enemies here, and of thoſe in France; interrupt the nightly Traffick of our Owlers, which is ſo prejudicial to the Woollen Manufacture, and prevent and obſtruct all manner of Smugling and running of Goods, and ſo advance the Cuſtoms; ſuſtain the Commerce of our Weſtern Ports, which in the late War were ruin'd, either for want of Convoys, or by too high an Inſurance. All this we might do by this additional Force rightly manag'd, and according to the Neceſſity of Time and Place ſupported and back'd by our Cruizers. Beſides, theſe ſubordinate Veſſels repairing to our Coaſts upon any Neceſſity, as to Deal, Sandwich, or the like, while Winter conſtrains our great Ships to keep the Harbour, might prove an admirable Outwork to our Royal Navy, which is the natural Bulwark of England. [Page 16] Moreover, they might be ſerviceable in tranſporting our Soldiers to any of the Coaſts of France, or be made inſtrumental in bombarding any of their Ports; and the Marines by frequent Deſcents might continually ſpoil their Coaſts.
To all this I might add, that by employing the Marines deſigned for this Subordinate Fleet, we ſhould eſtabliſh a numerous Nurſery of Seamen; who as ſoon as the War is over, may be made uſe of in recovering the Fiſhery of Greenland and Newfound land, and reſtoring the Northern Fiſhery.
- Firſt is, That the Merchants would think this a hardſhip upon them.
- The Second, That the Dutch would not comply with it.
- The Third, That the French Privateers would out-number, and conſequently over-pow'r them.
- The Fourth, That the Mony ſet apart for the making good the Loſſes, might prove inſufficient, and ſo bring the Nation more into Debt.
- The Fifth, That this would be a needleſs Preparation, becauſe our own Privateers encourag'd, would anſwer the end.
Firſt, That the Merchants would think this a Hardſhip upon them. To which I anſwer, That this way of proceeding would make the Merchants Gain more certain, tho it might not make it ſo great. If the Preſſure upon them were to be [Page 17] intolerable, nay very grievous or perpetual, we might be enclin'd to bear with their Complaints, and to indulge the Frailties of Human Nature: But ſince they are to be but ſlight, we muſt beg leave to tell them, that at a time when their Religion, their Liberty, nay the whole of that very Property, for a trifling part of which they appear ſo much concern'd, is at ſtake, they ſhew themſelves unreaſonable to ſet an inconſiderable Overplus of ſordid Gain in the Ballance againſt all this; nay, they proceed contrary to the Maxims by which they are guided even in their own Commerce; for they make nothing of hazarding five hundred Pounds, that they may draw a thouſand home from the Indies. How then can they reaſonably murmur at the paying a ſmall Sum to the Queen, which will not much burden them, for the Security of all which they are to trade during the War, and all they inherited or acquired before, eſpecially ſince this is a Maxim among them, that what is ſav'd, is got? But they are but a Part of that great Body, the People, and they ought not to repine at any little Inconvenience, if it tends to the Defence of the Whole; becauſe the whole can never be ruin'd, but the Parts too muſt be deſtroy'd. If there remain any few among them, who are ſo unreaſonable as not to be ſatisfy'd with what has been ſaid, they are deſir'd to conſider, that they are but a Part of the whole Body of the Merchants, and it is unreaſonable in them to repine at what the State thinks neceſſary for the Defence of themſelves and their Brethren, and the common Security of Trade. But to make this Unreaſonableneſs [Page 18] appear ſtill greater, I ſhall conſider them in their different Capacity, for all the Merchants by the preſent War are reduced under one of theſe three Heads; They who are Inſurers; They who Inſure; Or they who run the Venture.
1. They who are Inſurers, will infallibly oppoſe this Deſign, becauſe it will oppoſe their Gain: But the unreaſonableneſs of theſe People will appear from hence, that they have a mind to be the only Gainers by what the Publick does for the Security of Trade; for even in the condition in which things are at preſent, thoſe Ships which will be preſerved, muſt be protected by our Men of War, and therefore I think it very unreaſonable that the Government ſhould be at the Charge of ſending out Convoys to protect the Merchants, and that the Jews (for ſuch in the late War were moſt of the Inſurers) ſhould be paid for it; for I hope no one believes that they can contribute any thing to the Security of any one Ship for which they may underwrite. But their Unreaſonableneſs may appear yet further from this, That theſe People are for hazarding the Publick in hope of their private Gain. In our late War, ſeveral of our moſt conſiderable Merchants left off their Trade to turn Inſurers, I mean, either left it vvholly off, or in a great part; by vvhich there followed two Inconveniences to the Publick: for, firſt, the Extent of the Trade vvas reduc'd to a narrow compaſs; and, ſecondly, the King's Cuſtoms vvere conſiderably leſſen'd. And will theſe Men have the face to tell the Government that they ought [Page 19] to reject the preſent Deſign, becauſe their imbracing it would infallibly put theſe People out of capacity of doing the Publick the ſame Miſchief again?
But now let us come to thoſe who in caſe of a War are reſolv'd to Inſure: And for theſe Gentlemen I deſire only in ſhort to ask them two or three Queſtions. Firſt, Whether they had rather the Queen and the Publick ſhould get that Mony which they are reſolv'd to part with for their private Security, or a few private Perſons who have no relation at all to, and perhaps are mere ſtrangers to them? Secondly, Whether they had rather part with their Mony to thoſe who can ſecure them, or who cannot? The Government is ſolvable in caſe of Loſs, whereas private Men often fail; no ſort of People in the late War being more known to break, than the Body of Inſurers. But ſuppoſing they do not, private Men at the beſt can ſecure but the prime Coſt, ſuppoſing the Dealing to be direct and fair between them; nor even the whole prime Coſt, becauſe the Inſurers pay but ſeventy five or eighty Pounds for a hundred; whereas the Government not only ſecures the prime Coſt, and the whole prime Coſt, but by ſcowring the Seas, according to the ſcope of the preſent Deſign, ſecures their Gain too in a very great degree, and by ſo doing confirms it ſelf, which is a double Security to them: for they would have little cauſe to boaſt of their Gain, if after having thriven in their private Capacity, they ſhould be undone at laſt with the Publick. They ought to conſider then, [Page 20] that by Inſuring with private Perſons, they make no proviſion at all for the Publick, with which they muſt ſtand or fall; and a very invalid one in the mean while for themſelves, becauſe private Perſons who appear to be the moſt conſiderable, are often ſeen to be utterly undone in a moment. Whereas by paying this Inſurance Mony to the Publick, they make an effectual Proviſion for that, and a valid Security for themſelves; becauſe, by proceeding thus, they are certain not to fall, unleſs the Government falls with them, without which they cannot ſtand. In ſhort, I deſire to ask theſe Gentlemen, Whether ſince the Loſs of every Man, who lives under the Protection of the Government, is a Loſs to the Publick, which no private Inſurer ever did, or can pretend to make good, it is not very reaſonable, nay very natural, that the Publick ſhould be enabled to provide effectually againſt it?
But now let us come to the Merchant-Adventurer, who neither underwrites, nor inſures, but is reſolv'd to run the Risk. He is in a wealthy and ſanguine Condition, both his Veins and his Coffers are full, and conſequently he is enclined to hope the beſt; and he is willing to venture, becauſe if he ſucceeds, his Gain will be more conſiderable: 'Tis true, but then ſo will his Loſs provided he does not ſucceed. But Fortune, he ſays, has been favourable to him hitherto, and why ſhould he doubt of her being ſo for the future? Why, for that very reaſon, becauſe ſhe has been favourable hitherto; and the Reaſon is good, conſidering her uſual Inconſtancy. He would be a fooliſh Gameſter [Page 21] that ſhould be confident of his winning in the latter part of the Night, becauſe he had Luck in the former. Well, but if he has a Loſs, he is very well able to bear it; but then he is a great deal better able to bear the Inſurance Mony, and therefore ought the leſs to repine at it: For ſince whatever he loſes is ſo much Loſs to the Publick, becauſe every Man's ſingle Property is infallibly part of the National Stock, I believe it will be found but reaſonable, that what he gets ſhould likewiſe be a Gain to the Publick. But that he who is able to bear a Loſs, is better able to bear the Inſurance, is plain from hence, That during the time of the late War, when the Privateers made moſt havock, there was about one Ship loſt in four, ſo that but three parts in four, both of the Imports and Exports, went and came ſafe; whereas the Inſurance will not amount to above a ſixth part of each. Conſidering that in the preſent War, our Enemies will be more numerous, and our Ports abroad fewer: we have no reaſon to believe that our Loſſes will be fewer, unleſs we take effectual and timely care, ſo that our Adventurer may very well loſe one Ship in three; and if Fortune ſhould prove ſevere to him, one in two. Since therefore he cannot foreſee the future, is it not a moſt unreaſonable thing in him to murmur againſt a Deſign which will moſt probably be advantageous to him, and may poſſibly ſave him from ruin? So that being unable to authorize his Complaint by Reaſon, he has nothing left to juſtify it but his Fancy: And what a pleaſant Perſon muſt he be, who ſets ſo ſenſleſs a thing as his Humor in ballance againſt [Page 22] the common Security of Traffick, and the Safety of his Country?
But now I come to the next Objection, which is, That the Dutch will not fall in with a Deſign which is concerted here. In anſwer to which I ſhall only take notice, that the Dutch are as immediately concern'd (and perhaps more immediately) to put an end to the preſent War, than we; for it the War ſhould be protracted 7, or 8, or 10 Years like the laſt, ſeveral deſtructive Accidents might very well happen in that ſpace, which would not probably happen in 3 Years. The Queen (whom God long preſerve) may die, ſo may the Emperor, ſo may the King of the Romans; theſe things in ſeven or eight, or ten Years, may fall out, conſidering the common condition of Mortality, and the Machinations of our Enemies: And in that caſe, conſidering the preſent Confuſions of England, and the Diſtractions of the Empire, what would become of the Liberties of Europe, and of Holland particularly? Well then, the Dutch are concern'd as immediately, or rather more immediately than we to put a ſpeedy end to the War. Now nothing can put a ſpeedy end to the War, but the entirely ruining the Commerce of the Enemy, and the ſecuring our own; and the doing this, in three Years time, would either bring down the French to our own Terms, or reduce them to ſo poor a condition, that if any of theſe fatal Accidents ſhould happen, they would not be able to make their Advantage of them, but like an old Greyhound upon too hot a Courſe, they would [Page 23] be forc'd to lie down, and only pant and blow upon the Prey, which they would not be able to touch. Whether the Expedient above propoſed is ſufficient to the compaſſing this Deſign, I leave to be determin'd by the Impartial Reader: But if this Expedient is ſufficient for the ruining the French Commerce, and the ſecuring our own, why then the Dutch would act moſt unreaſonably, if at a time when we ſo chearfully contribute, beyond what we are obliged to by antient Treaties, to their Support and Aſſiſtance by Land, where their Danger is ſo much greater, and ſo much nearer than ours; they ſhould refuſe to contribute their part to our common Support at Sea, where our Concern is equal.
But if it be objected, that moſt of the Forces aboard theſe Subordinate Veſſels, being to conſiſt of Landmen, it would be unreaſonable to expect that the Dutch ſhould ſend Land-Forces to Sea, at the very time that they borrow of their Neighbours to defend their Frontiers: To that we anſwer, that we may raiſe Landmen for the Dutch, and the Dutch in return ſupply us with Seamen.
Suppoſing then that the Dutch will join with us, I ſhall proceed to the next Objection, which is, that the French and Spaniſh Privateers will outnumber the foreſaid Veſſels, and conſequently overpow'r them. In order to the anſwering this, I deſire leave to take notice of the moſt remarkable Differences in the Conſtitution (if I may ſo call it) of the French Privateers, and the abovementioned Veſſels, and then to obſerve what Influence [Page 24] thoſe Differences muſt neceſſarily have on their Action, and on their Conduct.
Thirdly, The Privateers have no other incitement, than the hopes of immediate Gain, whereas the others will have that, and the Spur of Honour and Ambition beſides; for if they do well in the Queen's Service, they may expect Advancement from Her. From which differences in their Conſtitution, there would follow theſe conſiderable ones in their Conduct: The Privateers being govern'd each within it ſelf, and each of them abſolutely independent of others, would act for the moſt part ſingly; for acting in Concert can hardly anſwer their End, which is, to enrich themſelves; for they can ſcarce get ſo many together as to be potent enough for a trading Fleet and its Convoy, and they could never find their Account while they were altogether imploy'd in taking of ſingle Ships: But while they act ſingly, or by two or three in a company, the foremention'd Veſſels would act in concert, always within call one of another, as having their General and Subaltern Officers like a Royal Navy; for which reaſon the Privateers would ſeldom or never have any Advantage over them, and they would never attack them without [Page 25] ſuch an Advantage, becauſe Gain being their only Incitement, they would hardly be induced to fight when there was a great deal more danger of loſing their own Ships, than of taking their Enemies; whereas our Ships acting in concert, and upon occaſion in conſiderable numbers, would very often have the advantage of the Privateers; and when they had not, would be oblig'd by honour to attack them on the ſquare; and whereas they who did ſo, would have both Ambition and Intereſt to ſuſtain them, the others would have only mere private Intereſt. 'Tis true indeed, the number of Privateers may be ſomething augmented by the D. of Anjou's acceſſion to the Crown of Spain; but it will not be much, becauſe the Spaniards have neither much Mony, nor many Seamen to ſpare: And if ſometimes our Cruizers alone, during the time of the late War, made ſuch terrible work with the French Privateers, and would have made more if they had not been too nimble and too light for them; What muſt not ſo conſiderable, and ſo well proportion'd a Force do, back'd by thoſe very Cruizers? How would thoſe Privateers get out of St. Malo, or Dunkirk? or how would they get in again with their Plunder, when thoſe Ports ſhould be block'd up by our foreſaid Veſſels, ſuſtain'd by our Fourth-rate Cruizers? Or would they not be afraid to venture when the Hazard is ſo great, and the Gain ſo uncertain? and when in open Sea, it would be difficult for them to diſtinguiſh our trading Ships from the very Veſſels that would lie in wait for their Ruin. But if it ſhould be urg'd that the French King in a very little time would be [Page 26] for uſing the ſame Method, and ſend out his Privateers on his own account, back'd by ſome of his Men of War, in Numbers and Strength ſufficient to reſiſt ours: To that we anſwer, that he can never find Seamen enough to ſupply both his Navy and thoſe ſmaller Veſſels; and that if he could, this Method would infallibly bring on a Sea-fight, which is the very thing that we chiefly ought to deſire.
I come now to anſwer another Objection, which is, That the Mony ſet apart for making the Loſſes good, would be inſufficient, and that conſequently this Deſign would bring the Nation more into debt. But by what has been ſaid already, and by what ſhall be now ſaid, I doubt not of making it appear, that it would be an infallible Means for the keeping the Nation out of Debt. For, firſt, we have ſhewn in the preceding Paragraph, that the French would not be likely to take many of our Ships, and conſequently this Method by ſaving the Ships, would preſerve the Cuſtoms, and ſo prove a conſiderable Support to one of the greateſt Branches of the Publick Revenue. But, ſecondly, ſince this Method will hinder them from taking our Ships; we muſt take theirs if they ſtir, and conſequently there would be more Mony coming to the Queen, as well as to the Seamen to encourage them: Beſides, that ſeveral of the Ships which we take from them might be imploy'd in the room of as many of the hir'd ones, and ſo leſſen the Charge of the Undertaking. But if on the other ſide their Ships ſhould not ſtir out, we [Page 27] ſhould do our Buſineſs without taking them, for they cannot ſubſiſt without Commerce. Thirdly, The Mony coming in daily at the Cuſtom-houſes for Inſurance, may ſave the Government the borrowing of ſeveral Sums, and conſequently ſave the Nation a great deal in extravagant Intereſt. Fourthly, The Mony that may be paid for Importations at the Out-ports, and particularly at Jamaica and Barbadoes, may ſave the Queen a great deal of Charge, as well as Trouble and Time in Remittances thither. Fifthly, The proſecution of this Method will capacitate us the ſooner to make an end of the War, and conſequently enable us the ſooner to get out of Debt, and ſo may ſave us vaſt Sums in Intereſt and in Principal.
There remains yet one more Objection, and that is, That this would be a needleſs Preparation, becauſe our Privateers encourag'd, would anſwer all the Ends of it. To which I reply, That, firſt, the whole Number of Privateers would not amount to half the Force. Secondly, That that Number which ſhould be equipp'd of them, would not act in concert. Thirdly, That in Privateers the Seamen would not have half the Incouragement that they will have in this Subordinate Fleet: For we ſuppoſe, that beſides the ordinary Premiums upon Guns, ſuch a Proportion of the Prizes as ſhall be thought convenient, ſhall ſtill be allow'd to the Officers and the Seamen. Fourthly, Our ordinary Privateers would rarely attack thoſe of the Enemy. Fifthly, The Gain to the Publick from Privateers would not be ſo much by a Tenth Part. [Page 28] Sixthly, It would be a hard matter to encourage Privateers, without burdening the Publick, becauſe the French are a People of ſmall Traffick, and others for the moſt part carry out their Goods for them.
Thus I have laid down the Method which came into my Thoughts for the ſecuring of Commerce, and which the Senſe of the Duty that I owe my Country, oblig'd me to propoſe to the Great Aſſembly which is choſen to repreſent it at this important Juncture. Whether the Method that I have propos'd be ſufficient to anſwer the End, I leave to be determin'd by that Illuſtrious Aſſembly. If it appears to be effectual, I make no doubt but it will be follow'd; for then, tho we may be victorious without it, yet we may not: but the ſecuring our Commerce will ſecure our Victory; and the Repreſentatives of a Great and a Wiſe People will, if they can help it, leave nothing to Fortune. If we can ſecure our Commerce, we muſt remain a free Independent People; if we cannot, we may become a conquer'd Province.FINIS.