Графични страници
PDF файл

rojects. The confederate armies have the happiness of being ommanded by persons who are esteemed the greatest leaders f the present age, and are, perhaps, equal to any that have receded them. There is a sort of resemblance in their haracters; a particular sedateness in their conversation and ehaviour, that qualifies them for council, with a great intreidity and resolution, that fits them for action. They are all f them men of concealed fire, that doth not break out with oise and heat in the ordinary circumstances of life, but shows self sufficiently in all great enterprises that require it. It

true, the general upon the Rhine hath not had the same ccasion as the others to signalize himself; but, if we conder the great vigilance, activity, and courage, with the conimmate prudence, and the nice sense of honour, which ppears in that prince's character, we have great reason to ope, that, as he purchased the first success in the present ar, by forcing into the service of the confederates an army hat was raised against them in the very heart of the empire, e will give one of the finishing strokes to it, and help to onclude the great work which he so happily begun. The adden check that he gave to the French army the last camaign, and the good order he established in that of the Gerans, look like happy presages of what we may expect from is conduct. I shall not pretend to give any character of he generals on the enemy's side ; but I think we may say his, that in the eyes of their own nation, they are inferior o several that have formerly commanded the French armies. f, then, we have greater numbers than the French, and at he same time better generals, it must be our own fault, if Je will not? reap the fruit of such advantages.

It would be loss of time, to explain any further our supeiority to the enemy in numbers of men and horse. We see lainly, that we have the means in our hands, and that nohing but the application of them is wanting. Let us only onsider what use the enemy would make of the advantage e have mentioned, if it fell on their side ; and is it not very trange, that we should not be as active and industrious for ur security, as they would certainly be for our destruction ? But before we consider, more distinctly, the method we ught to take in the prosecution of the war, under this par

? It must be our own fault if we will not.] Certainly, if we will not : ut the hypothesis should have been-if we do not.

ticular view, let us reflect a little upon those we have already taken in the course of it for these six years past.

The allies, after a successful summer, are too apt, upon the strength of it, to neglect their preparations for the ensuing campaign, while the French leave no art nor stratagem untried, to fill up the empty spaces of their armies, and to swell them to an equal bulk with those of the confederates. By this means, our advantage is lost, and the fate of Europe brought to a second decision. It is now become an observation, that we are to expect a very



after a very successful one.

Blenheim was followed by a summer that makes no noise in the war. Ramillies, Turin, and Barcelona were the parents of our last campaign. So many dreadful blows alarmed the enemy, and raised their whole country up

in arms. Had we, on our side, made proportionable preparations, the war, by this time, had been brought to a happy issue. If, after having gained the great victories of Blenheim and Ramillies, we had made the same efforts as we should have done had we lost them, the


of France could not have withstood us.

In the beginning of the winter, we usually get what intelligence we can, of the force which the enemy intends to employ, in the campaigns of the succeeding year, and immediately cast about for a sufficient number of troops to face them in the field of battle. This, I must confess, would be a good method, if we were engaged in a defensive war. We might maintain our ground with an equal number of forces ; but our business is, not only to secure what we are already in possession of; we are to wrest the whole Spanish monarchy out of the hands of the enemy; and in order to it, work our way into the heart of his country, by dint of arms. We should, therefore, put forth all our strength, and, without having an eye to his preparations, make the greatest push that we are able on our own side. We are told that the enemy, at present, thinks of raising threescore thousand men for the next summer; if we regulate our levies in that view, we do nothing ; let us perform our utmost, as they do, and we shall overwhelm them with our multitudes. We have it in our power, at least, to be four times as strong as the French, but is ten men are in war with forty, and the latter detach only an equal number to the engagement, what benefit do they receive from their superiority ?


[ocr errors]


2 A

It seems, therefore, to be the business of the confederates, to turn to their advantage their apparent odds in men and horse; and, by that means, out-number the enemy in all rencounters and engagements. For the same reason, it must be for the interest of the allies to seek all opportunities of battle, because all losses on the opposite side are made up with infinitely more difficulty than on ours; besides that the French do their business by lying still, and have no other cencern in the war, than to hold fast what they have already got into their hands.

The miscarriage of the noblest project that ever was formed in Europe, can be ascribed to nothing else but our want of numbers in the several quarters of the war. If our armies, on all sides, had begun to busy and insult the enemy, at the same time that the forces marched out of Piedmont, Toulon had been at present in the hands of the duke of Savoy. But could that prince ever have imagined that the French would have been at liberty to detach whole armies against him? or will it

appear credible to posterity, that in a war carried on by the joint force of so many populous and powerful nations, France could send so great a part of its troops to one seat of the war, without suffering in any of the rest? Whereas, it is well known, that if the duke of Savoy had continued before Toulon eight days longer, he had been attacked by an army of sixty thousand men, which was more than double the number of his own; and yet the enemy was strong enough everywhere else to prevent the confederates from making any impression upon them. However, let us fall into the right measures, and we may hope that the stroke is only deferred. The duke of Savoy hath secured a passage into Dauphiny, and, if the allies make such efforts in all parts, as we may reasonably expect from them, that prince may still make himself master of the French dominions on the other side of the Rhone.

There is another part of our conduct which may, perhaps, deserve to be considered. As soon as we have agreed with the States-General upon any augmentation of our forces, we immediately negociate with some or other of the German princes, who are in the same confederacy, to furnish out our quota in mercenaries. This may be doubly prejudicial to the alliance : first, as it may have an ill influence on the resolutions of those princes in the diet of the empire, who may be willing to settle as small a quota as they can for themselves, that they may have more troops to hire out; and, in the next place, as it may hinder them from contributing the whole quota which they have settled. This actually happened in the last campaign, when we are told the Germans excused themselves for their want of troops upon the

Rhine, as having already put most of their forces into the British and Dutch service. Such an excuse, indeed, is very unjust, but it would be better to give them no occasion of making it; and on such occasions, to consider what men are apt to do, as well as what they may do with reason.

It might, therefore, be for our advantage, that all the foreign troops in the British pay should be raised in neutral countries. Switzerland in particular, if timely applied to, might be of great use to us; not only in respect of the reinforcements which we might draw from thence, but because such a draught of forces would lessen the number of those that might otherwise be employed in the French service. The bulk of our levies should, nevertheless, be raised in our own country, it being impossible for neutral states to furnish both the British and Dutch with a sufficient number of effective

besides that the British soldiers will be more at the disposal of their general, and act with greater vigour, under the conduct of one for whom they have so just a value, and whom they do not consider only as their leader, but as their countryman. We may, likewise, suppose, that the soldiers of a neutral state, who are not animated by any national interest, cannot fight for pay with the same ardour and alacrity, as men that fight for their prince and country, their wives and children.

It may, likewise, be worth while to consider, whether the military genius of the English nation may not fall by degrees, and become inferior to that of our neighbouring states, if it hath no occasion to exert itself. Minds that are altogether set on trade and profit often contract a certain narrowness of temper, and at length become uncapable of great and generous resolutions. Should the French ever make an unexpected descent upon us, we might want soldiers of our own growth to rise up in our defence: and might not have time to draw a sufficient number of troops to our relief from the remote corners of Germany. It is generally said, that if

men ;

we may

King Charles II. had made war upon France, in the beginning of his reign, he might have conquered it, by the many veterans which were scattered up and down this kingdom, and had been inured to service in the civil wars. It is to be hoped we shall never have such another nursery of soldiers; but if the present war gives a more military turn to all other nations of Europe, than to our own, it is to be feared

lose in strength what we gain in number. We may apply the same consideration nearer home. If all our levies are made in Scotland or Ireland, may not those two parts of the British monarchy, after the disbanding of the present army, be too powerful for the rest, in case of a revolt? though, God be thanked, we are not in any danger of one at present. However, as these considerations do not concern the more essential part of our design, it is sufficient to have mentioned them.

The sparing of ourselves in so important a conjuncture, when we have but this single opportunity left for the preserving everything that is precious amongst us, is the worst sort of management that we can possibly fall into. The good husbandry of one age may entail an endless expense upon all posterity. We must venture the sacrificing a part of our lives and fortunes at present, if we will effectually secure both for the future. The British kingdom is so well stocked with people, and so much abounds in horse, that we have power enough in our own hands, did we make our utmost use of it, to humble France, and in a campaign or two to put an end to the war.

There is not a more disagreeable thought to the people of Great Britain, than that of a standing army. But if a peace be made before the disunion of France and Spain, there are few, perhaps, that will not think the maintaining a settled body of numerous forces indispensable for the safety of our country. We have it, therefore, in our choice, to raise such a strong reinforcement of troops, as at present may be sufficient, in conjunction with those of the allies, for breaking the strength of the enemy; or, hen the peace is concluded, to keep on foot such an army as will be necessary


preventing his attempts upon us.

It is to be hoped, that those who would be the most zealous against keeping up a constant body of regular troops

« ПредишнаНапред »