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APPENDIX, No. III.
Instructions to our right-trusty and well-beloved Cousin, Lewis, Earl of Feversham, sent by us to the Court of France.
You shall embark yourself at any of our ports, in order to your speedy passing the seas for France, and so to make what speed you can by land to that Court, wheresoever it is.
As soon as arrived, you shall desire an audience of our good brother the Most Christian King, to whom you shall deliver our letter, and desire to acquaint him with our desires, which are as followeth: —
You shall represent to the Most Christian King, that we have entered, as far as we could possibly with the Prince of Orange, upon the subject of the peace, and find him disposed to it, provided it may be made with safety to Flanders, upon which he conceiveth that of Holland and those countries to depend:
That without Valenciennes, Tournay, and Conde, as well as Charleroy, Aeth, and Coustrecht (Courtray), and Audenard, the Prince doth not conceive Flanders can be left in any possibility of defence, and is therefore sure the States can never go lower than that, whatever propositions we should make to them, nor could he consent to it:
That we desire to know the Most Christian King's mind upon these terms, as those only which we see any probability of consenting to, for a peace even on the States' side; and in the obtaining of this peace, conceive ourselves as much concerned as any of the party themselves:
That the Most Christian King having said always he intended not the conquest of Flanders; we have, likewise, ever declared to our Parliament and subjects, as well as all foreign ministers, that we could not see it lost. But the refusal of these towns, without which, indeed, it could not be said to have a frontier, would confirm the general opinion of the design of France to perfect that conquest. Since the loss of it, or leaving it indefensible, would be the same thing; nay indeed, the latter the more inconvenient to the Spaniard, who in time of peace must be at the charge of garrisons, repairing fortifications, and providing stores, wluch, whensoever the Most Christian King shall think proper to make war upon him, must be all sacrificed to his service; if so, considerable troops may have an open entry into the middle of the country at pleasure:
That how constant soever we have been to our friendship with France, and how desirous soever we are to continue it, yet we find the humour of our people so violently bent upon the preservation of Flanders, and for which we have so often assured them of our care and endeavours, that we do not see how we can live at any ease with them, if we should suffer it to be lost by any further conquest there during this war, or by the terms of a peace ruinous and destructive:
That this jealousy in the Parliament, and the desire thereupon of engaging us in the war, had for these three years last past run us into so many difficulties by hindering our supplies, and raising so general discontents among our subjects, because we alone have stemmed this tide for so long together, that we reasonably doubt, whether the heat of a whole nation be always to be resisted:
That we shall be necessitated to call a parliament in April, by reason of a very great branch of our revenue that will determine at Midsummer next; and that we cannot have the least hopes of getting it continued, if after these assurauces we have given them of the preservation of Flanders, they shall find it in so much a worse condition than when they parted:
That if a peace shall not be concluded, or at least the main points agreed upon before that time, the great influence that some of the confederates' ministers (less inclined to a moderate peace than the Prince of Orange) seem to have amongst some warm men in the Parliament, may raise many difficulties, which by concluding it now, may safely be avoided:
How far the irresistible temper of the House did necessitate us to a peace with Holland, is well known to the Most Christian King; and they having the like advantage now upon Us in respect of our revenue, they then had in respect of our expenses, to what streights they may, and are like to drive us, is not hard to guess:
That besides this, the many obligations we have to take care of the welfare and safety of the Prince of Orange, needs not repeating to you; they will sufficiently occur to you of themselves; and we do find a thorough resolution in that Prince, to fling himself into the most desperate counsels imaginable, rather than consent to the loss of Flanders by such a peace as must ruin it, in which he judgeth his own honour and country's safety concerned to the uttermost:
You may represent to the Most Christian King, that we are the more earnest in pressing this peace, because of the many reasons it draweth with it of removing all accidents that may obstruct the hearty friendship between that King and us. That it will be with all the honour and all the safety imaginable to that King, that he being now secured by Cambray, St. Omers, and other conquests in Artois, against all the apprehensions of Flanders, and further strengthened by the accession of Burgundy, whatsoever further towns or countries he shall desire, will argue not the preservation of himself desired, but the conquest of Flanders. He hath so often declared against the latter, that we have no reason to doubt it; and as the emoluments of the war redound solely to His Most Christian Majesty, so will the glory of the peace, besides the obligation upon us, by his making it at our intercession.
The foregoing reasons, the time of the year, the nigh assembling of the Parliament, will give you ample matter to press a speedy answer to these proposals; this opportunity being lost, I know not when we shall be master of such another, if the meeting of the Parliament should, as there is probability, cross the measures we have now taken. The rest of the instructions relate to terms. Lisle and Douay proposed to