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The author of the following essay has endeavoured to draw into one continued scheme the whole state of the present war, and the methods that appear to him the most proper bringing it to a happy conclusion.
After having considered that the French are the constant, and most dangerous, enemies to the British nation, and that the danger from them is now greater than ever, and will still increase, till their present union with Spain be broken, he sets forth the several advantages which this union has already given France, and taken from Great Britain, in relation to the West Indies, the woollen manufacture, the trade of the
Levant, and the naval power of the two nations.
He shows how these advantages will still rise higher after a peace, notwithstanding our present conquests, with new additions, should be confirmed to us; as well because the monarchy of Spain would not be weakened by such concessions, as because no guarantee could be found sufficient to secure them to us. For which reasons, he lays it down as a fixed rule, that no peace is to be made without an entire disunion of the French and Spanish monarchies. That this
may be brought about, he endeavours to prove, from the progress we have already made towards it, and the successes we have purchased in the present war, which are very considerable, if well pursued, but of no effect if we acquiesce in them.
In order to complete this disunion, in which we have gone so far, he would not have us rely upon exhausting the French treasury, attempts on the Spanish Indies, descents on France, but chiefly upon out-numbering them in troops, France being already drained of her best supplies, and the confederates masters of much greater forces for multitude and strength, both in men and horse, and provided with generals of greater fame and abilities.
He then considers the wrong measures we have hitherto taken in making too small levies after a successful campaign, in regulating their number by that of the enemies' forces, and hiring them of our confederates ; showing at the same time the inconveniences we suffer from such hired troops, and several advantages we might receive from employing those of our own nation.
He further recommends this augmentation of our forces, to prevent the keeping up a standing body of them in times of peace, to enable us to make an impression on the enemy in the present posture of the war, and to secure ourselves against a prince, who is now at the head of a powerful army, and has not yet declared himself.
In the last place, he answers by several considerations those two particular objections, that we furnish more towards the war than the rest of the allies, and, that we are not able to contribute more than we do already.
These are the most material heads of the following essay, in which ere are many other subordinate ref that naturally grow out of so copious a subject.
THE French are certainly the most implacable and the most dangerous enemies of the British nation. Their form of government, their religion, their jealousy of the British power, as well as their prosecutions of commerce, and pursuits of universal monarchy, will fix them for ever in their animosities and aversions towards us, and make them catch at all opportunities of subverting our constitution, destroying our religion, ruining our trade, and sinking the figure
may so call
which we make among the nations of Europe: not to mention the particular ties of honour that lie on their present king to impose on us a prince who must prove fatal to our country if he ever reigns over us.
As we are thus in a natural state of war, if I it, with the French nation; it is our misfortune, that they are not only the most inveterate, but most formidable of enemies : and have the greatest power, as well as the strongest inclination, to ruin us. No other state equals them in the force of their fleets and armies, in the nearness and conveniency of their situation, and in the number of friends and well-wishers, which, it is to be feared, they have among us.
For these reasons, our wars with France have always af. fected us in our most tender interests, and concerned us more than those we have had with any other nation; but I may venture to say, this kingdom was never yet engaged in a war of so great consequence, as that which now lies upon our hands. Our all is at stake, and irretrievably lost, if we fail of success. At other times, if a war ended in a dishonourable peace, or with equal loss, we could comfort ourselves with the hopes of a more favourable juncture, that might set the balance right, or turn it to our advantage. We had still the prospect of forming the same alliance, or, perhaps, strengthening it with new confederacies, and, by that means, of trying our fortune a second time, in case the injustice or ambition of the enemy forced us into the field. At present, if we make a drawn game of it, or procure but moderate advantages, we are in a condition which every British heart must tremble at the thought of. There are no second trials, no wars in reserve, no new schemes of alliance to which we can have recourse. Should the French king be able to bear down such an united force as now makes head against him, at a time when Spain affords him no greater assistance; what will he do when the trade of the Levant lies at his mercy? when the whole kingdom of Spain is supplied with his manufactures, and the wealth of the Indies flows into his coffers ? and, what is yet worse, when this additional strength must arise in all its particulars from a proportionable decay in the states that now make war upon him ? It is no wonder, therefore, that our late king, of glorious memory, who, by the confession of his greatest enemies, was a prince that perfectly understood the interests of Europe, should, in his last speech, recommend to his parliament the declaring war against France in those memorable words : “You have yet an opportunity, by. God’s blessing, to secure to you and your posterity the quiet enjoyment of your religion and liberties, if you are not wanting to yourselves, but will exert the ancient vigour of the English nation: but, I tell you plainly, my opinion is, if you do not lay hold on this occasion, you have no reason to hope for another.”
We have already a dreadful proof of the increase of power that accrues to France, from its conjunction with Spain. So expensive a war as that which the French monarchy hath been carrying on in so many and so remote parts at once, must long since have drained and exhausted all its substance, had there not been several secret springs, that swelled their treasury from time to time, in proportion as the war has sunk it. The king's coffers have been often reduced to the lowest ebb, but have still been seasonably refreshed by frequent and unexpected supplies from the Spanish America. We hear, indeed, of the arrival but of very few ships from those parts; but, as in every vessel there is stowage for immense treasures, when the
bullion, or merchandise of as great a value; so we find by experience they have had such prodigious sums of money conveyed to them by these secret channels, they have been enabled to pay more numerous armies than they ever had on foot before; and that at a time when their trade fails in all its other branches, and is distressed by all the arts and contrivances of their neighbouring nations. During the last four years, by a modest computation, there have been brought into Brest above six millions of pounds sterling in bullion. What then shall we suppose would be the effect of this correspondence with America, might the wealth of those parts come to them on squadrons of men-of-war, and fleets of galleons? If these little by-currents, that
creep into the country by stealth, have so great a force, how shall we stem the whole torrent, when it breaks in upon us with its full violence ? and this certainly will be our case, unless we find a means to dissolve the union between France and Spain. I have dwelt the longer on this consideration, because the present war hath already furnished us with the
experiment, and sensibly convinced us of the increase of power, which France has received from its intercourse with the Spanish West Indies.
As there are many who look upon everything which they do not actually see and feel as bare probability and speculation, I shall only touch on those other reasons of which we have already had some experience, for our preventing this coalition of interests and designs in the two monarchies.
The woollen manufacture is the British strength, the staple commodity and proper growth of our country; if this fails us, our trade and estates must sink together, and all the cash of the nation be consumed on foreign merchandise. The French, at present, gain very much upon us in this great article of our trade, and, since the accession of the Spanish monarchy, supply with cloth, of their own making, the very best mart we had in Europe. And what a melancholy prospect have we, if ever a peace gives them leave to enrich their manufacture with mixtures of Spanish wool to multiply the hands employed in it, to improve themselves in all the niceties of the art, and to vend their wares in those places where was the greatest consumption of our woollen works, and the most considerable gain for the British merchant. Notwithstanding our many seasonable recruits from Portugal, and our plantations, we already complain of our want of bullion; and must at last be reduced to the greatest exigencies, if this great source be dried up, and our traffic with Spain continue under its present discouragement.
The trade of the Levant must likewise flourish or decay in our hands, as we are friends or enemies of the Spanish monarchy. The late conquest of Naples will very little alter the case, though Sicily should follow the fate of her sister kingdom. The Straits' mouth is the key of the Levant, and will be always in the possession of those who are kings of Spain. We may only add, that the same causes which straiten the British commerce will naturally enlarge the French; and that the naval force of either nation will thrive or languish in the same degree as their commerce gathers or loses strength. And if so powerful and populous a nation as that of France become superior to us by sea, our whole is lost, and we are no more a people. The consideration of so narrow a channel betwixt us, of such numbers of regular troops on the enemy's side, of so small a standing force on our own, and that too in