« PreviousContinue »
men against France, either in Italy, or upon the Rhine; Holland to bring fixty thousand into the field in Flanders, exclusive of garrisons ; and we forty thousand. In winter 1702, which was the next year, the Duke of Marlborough proposed raising ten thousand men more, by way of augmentation, and to carry on the war with greater vigour; to which the parliament agreed ; and the Dutch were to raise the same number. This was upon a par, directly contrary to the former ftipulation, whereby our part was to be a third less than theirs; and therefore, it was granted, with a condition, that Holland should break off all trade and commerce with France. But this condition was never executed ; the Dutch only amusing us with a specious declaration, till our session of parliament was ended; and, the following year, it was taken off, by concert between the General and the States, without any reason assigned, for the fatisfaction of the kingdom. The next, and some ensuing campaigns, further additional forces were allowed by parliament for the war in Flanders ; and, in every new supply, the Dutch gradually lessened their proportions, although the parliament addressed the Queen, that the States might be desired to observe them according to agreement; which had no other effect, than to teach them to elude it, by making their troops nominal corps ; as they did, by keeping up the number of regiments, but finking a fifth part of the men and money; so that now, things are just inverted. And, in all new levies, we contributed a
third more than the Dutch, who at first were obliged to the same proportion more than us.
Besides, the more towns we conquer for the States, the worse condition we are in towards reducing the common enemy, and, consequently, of putting an end to the war. For they make no fcruple of employing the troops of their quota towards garrisoning every town, as fast as it is taken; directly contrary to the agreement between us, by which all garrisons are particularly excluded. This is at length arrived, by several steps, to such a height, that there are at present in the field, not so many forces under the Duke of Marlborough's command in Flanders, as Britain alone maintains for that service, nor have been for some years past.
The Duke of Marlborough, having entered the enemy's lines, and taken Bouchain, formed the design of keeping so great a number of troops, and particularly of cavalry, in Lille, Tournay, Doway, and the country between, as should be able to harass all the neighbouring provinces of France during the winter, prevent the enemy from erecting their magazines, and, by consequence, from fubfifting their forces next spring, and render it impossible for them to assemble their army another year, without going back behind the Soame to do it. In order to effect this project, it was necessary to be at an expence extraordinary, of forage for the troops, for building stables, find. ing fire and candle for the soldiers, with other incident charges. The Queen" readily agreed to furnish her share of the first article, that of the forage, which only belonged to her: but the States infifting, that her Majesty should likewise come into a proportion of the other articles, which, in justice, belonged totally to them; she agreed even to that, rather than a design of this importance fhould fail. And yet we know it hath failed, and that the Dutch refused their consent, till the time was past for putting it in execution, even in the opinion of those who proposed it. Perhaps a certain article in the treaties of contributions, submitted to by such of the French dominions as pay them to the States, was the principal cause of defeating this project ; since one great advantage to have been gained by it, was, as is before mentioned, to have hindered the enemy from erecting their magazines : and one article in those treaties of contributions, is, that the product of those countries shall pass free and unmolested. So that the question was reduced to this short ifľue : whether the Dutch should lose this paltry benefit, or the common cause an advantage of such mighty importance ?
The sea being the element where we might, most probably, carry on the war with any advantage to ourselves, it was agreed, that we should bear five eighths of the charge in that service, and the Dutch the other three ; and, by the grand alliance, whatever we, or Holland, should conquer in the Spanish Weft-Indies, was to accrue to the conquerors. It might, therefore, have been hoped, that this maritime ally of ours, would have made up in their fleet, what they fell short in their army; but, quite otherwise, they never once furnished their quota, either of thips or men; or, if some few of their fleet now and then appeared, it was no more than appearing; for they immediately separated, to look to their merchants, and protect their trade. And we may remember very well, when these guarantees of our succession, after having not one ship, for many months together, in the Mediterranean, fent that part of their quota thither, and furnished nothing to us, at the same time that they alarmed us with the rumour of an invafion. And last year, when Sir James Wishart was dispatched into Holland to expoftulate with the States, and to desire they would make good their agreements in so important a part of the service; he met with such a reception, as ill became a republic to give, that were under fo many great obligations to us; in short, such an one, as those only deserve, who are content to take it.
It hath likewise been no small inconvenience to us, that the Dutch are always slow in paying their fubfidies; by which means, the weight and pressure of the payment lies upon the Queen, as well as the blame, if her Majesty be not very exact. Nor will even this always content our allies : for, in July 1711, the King of Spain was paid all his subsidies to the ist of January next : nevertheless, he hath since complained for want of money ; and his secretary threatened, that if we would not further supply his Majesty, he could not answer for what might happen ; although King Charles
had not at that time one third of the troops for which he was paid; and even those he had, were neither paid nor clothed.
I cannot forbear mentioning, here, another palsage concerning subsidies, to thew what opinion foreigners have of our easiness, and how much they reckon themselves masters of our money, whenever they think fit to call for it. The Queen was, by agreement, to pay two hundred thousand crowns a year to the Prussian troops ; the States one hundred thousand; and the Emperor only thirty thousand, for recruiting; which his Imperial Majesty never paid. Prince Eugene happening to pass by Berlin, the ministers of that court applied to him for redress in this particular; and his Highness very frankly promised them, that, in consideration of this deficiency, Britain and the States should increase their subsidies to seventy thousand crowns more between them 3 and that the Emperor should be punctual for the time to come. This was done by that Prince, without any orders or power whatsoever. The Dutch, very reasonably, refused consenting to it; but the Pruffian minister here, making his applia cations at our court, prevailed on us to agree to our proportion, before we could hear what refolution would be taken in Holland. It is, therefore, to be hoped, that his Pruffian Majesty, at the end of this war, will not have the fame cause of complaint which he had at the close of the last; that his military chest was emptier by twenty thousand crowns, than at the time that war began. VOL. II. Kk