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a faction, to both which a peace would have put an 'end; and that the part of the war which was chiefly our province, which would have been moft beneficial to us, and destructive to the enemy, was wholly neglected. As to a peace, we complain of being deluded by a mock-treaty, in which those who negotiated, took care to make such demands, as they knew were impossible to be complied with; and, therefore, might securely press every article, as if they were in earnest.
These are some of the points I design to treat of in the following discourse; with several others, which I thought it necessary, at this time, for the kingdom to be informed of. I think I am not mistaken in those facts I mention; at least, not in any circumstance fo material, as to weaken the consequences I draw from them.
After ten years wars, with perpetual success, to tell us, it is yet impossible to have a good peace, is very surprizing, and seems so different from what hath ever happened in the world before, that a man of any party may be allowed suspecting, that we have been either ill used, or have not made the most of our victories, and might, therefore, desire to know where the difficulty lay. Then it is natural to enquire into our present condition ; how long we shall be able to go on at this rate; what the consequences may be, upon the present and future ages; and whether a peace, without that impracticable point, which some people do so much insist on, be really ruinous in itself, or equally fo with the continuance of the war.
THE CONDUCT OF THE ALLIES. *
HE motives that may engage a wise prince
or state in war, I take to be one or more of these : either to check the overgrown power of some ambitious neighbour ; to recover what hath been unjustly taken from them; to revenge some injury they have received (which all political casuists allow); to assist some ally in a just quarrel ; or, lastly, to defend themselves when they are invaded. In all these cases, the writers upon politics admit a war to be justly undertaken. The last is what hath been usually called pro aris et focis; where no expence or endeavour can be too great, because all we have is at stake, and, confequently, our utmost force to be exerted; and the dispute is foon determined, either in safety or utter destruction. But, in the other four,
I believe * This was written preparatory to the peace which the ministers were then concerting, and which was afterwards perfected at Utrecht. "It begins by reflections on war in general, and then particularly mentions the several civil wars in our kingdom. ----Unhappy country! torn to pieces by her own sons; a wretched mother of vultures, for whom, like Tityus, she produces new intrails, only to be devoured! Orrery.
This tract, and remarks on the barrier-treaty, contain the. principal facts which the author of John Bull has thrown into allegory; and greatly illustrates that piece, of which indeed it is possible they were the ground-work. Haukes.
A particular account of the occasion of this tract, and of the confequences it produced, may be seen in Dr. Swift's life, prefixed to Vol. I.
I believe it will be found, that no monarch cr commonwealth did ever engage beyond a certain degree; never proceeding fo far, as to exhaust the strength and substance of their country by anticipations and loans, which, in a few years, must put them in a worse condition, than any they could reasonably apprehend from those evils, for the preventing of which they first entered into the war ; because this would be, to run into real, infallible ruin, only in hopes to remove what might, perhaps, but appear fo by a probable fpeculation.
And, as a war should be undertaken upon a just and prudent motive, so it is still more obvious, that a prince ought maturely to consider the condition he is in, when he enters on it; whether his coffers be full, his revenues clear of debts, his people numerous and rich, by a long peace and free trade; not over-pressed with many burdenfome taxes; no violent faction ready to dispute his just prerogative, and thereby weaken his authority at home, and leffen his reputation abroad. For, if the contrary of all this happen to be his case, he will hardly be perfuaded to disturb the world's quiet and his own, while there is any other way left of preserving the latter with honour and safety.
Supposing the war to have commenced upon a just motive; the next thing to be considered, is, when a prince ought in prudence to receive the overtures of a peace; which I take to be, either when the enemy is ready to yield the point originally contended for, or, when that point is found
impossible to be ever obtained; or, when contending any longer, although with probability of gaining that point at last, would put such a prince and his people in a worse condition than the present loss of it. All which considerations are of much greater force, where a war is managed by an alliance of many confederates, which, in the variety of interests among the several parties, is liable to so many unforeseen accidents.
In a confederate war, it ought to be considered, which party has the deepest share in the quarrel : for, although each may have their particular reafons, yet one or two among them will probably be more concerned than the rest, and therefore ought to bear the greatest part of the burthen, in proportion to their strength. For example : two princes may be competitors for a kingdom, and it will be your interest to take the part of him, who will probably allow you good conditions of trade, rather than of the other, who possibly may not. However, that prince, whose cause you espouse, although never so vigorously, is the principal in that war, and your properly speaking, are but a fecond. Or, a commonwealth may lie in danger to be over-run by a powerful neighbour, which in time may produce very bad consequences upon your trade and liberty : it is therefore necessary, as well as prudent, to lend them aflıflance, and help them to win a strong secure frontier : but, as they must, in course, be the first and greatest sufferers ; so, in justice, they ought to bear the greatest weight. If a house be on fire, it behores VOL. II. Gg
all in the neighbourhood to run with buckets to quench it; but the owner is sure to be undone first; and it is not impoflible, that those at next door, may escape by a shower from heaven, or the stillness of the weather, or some other favourable accident.
But, if an ally, who is not so immediately concerned in the good or ill fortune of the war, be fo generous as to contribute more than the principal party, and even more in proportion to his abilities, he ought, at least, to have his share in what is conquered from the enemy; or, if his romantic disposition transport him so far, as to expect little or nothing from this, he might, however, hope, that the principals would make it up in dignity and respect, and he would, surely, think it monstrous, to find them intermeddling in his domestic affairs, prescribing what servants he should keep or dismiss, pressing him perpetually with the most unreasonable demands, and, at every turn, threatening to break the alliance, if he will not comply.
From these reflections upon war in general, I descend to consider those wars wherein England hath been engaged since the conquest. In the civil wars of the Barons, as well as those between the houses of York and Lancaster, great destruction was made of the nobility and gentry; new families raised, and old ones extinguished; but the money spent on both sides, was employed and circulated at home; no public debts contracted; and a very few years of peace quickly set all right again.