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carry it on with great vigour, a grand alliance formed, wherein the ends, proposed to be obtained, are plainly and distinctly laid down, as I have already quoted them. It pleased God, in the course of this war, to bless the arms of the allies with remarkable successes; by which we were foon put into a condition of demanding and expecting such terms of peace, as we proposed to ourselves when we began the war. But, instead of this, our victories only served to lead us on to further visionary prospects; advantage was taken of the sanguine temper, which so many successes had wrought the nation up to; new romantic views were proposed; and the old, reasonable, fober design was forgot.
This was the artifice of those here, who were sure to grow richer, as the public became poorer ; and who, after the resolutions which the two houses were prevailed upon to make, might have carried on the war with safety to themselves, till malt and land were mortgaged, till a general excise was established, and the dixieme denier raised by collectors in red coats. And this was just the circumstance, which it suited their interests to be in. · The house of Austria approved this scheme, with reason ; fince, whatever would be obtained by the blood and treasure of others, was to accrue to that family; while they only lent their name to the cause. · The Dutch might perhaps have grown refly under their burthen; but care was likewise taken of that, by a barrier-treaty made with the States,
which deserveth such epithets as I care not to be- ftow; but may perhaps consider it, at a proper occasion, in a Discourse by itself. *
By this treaty, the condition of the war, with respect to the Dutch, was wisely altered; they fought no longer for security, but for grandeur ; and we, instead of labouring to make them fafe, must beggar ourselves to make them formidable. .
Will any one contend, that if, at the treaty of Gertruydenburgh, we could have been fatisfied with such terms of a peace as we proposed to ourselves by the grand alliance, the French would not have allowed them? It is plain they offered many more, and much greater, than ever we thought to insist on when the war began ; and they had reason to grant, as well as we to demand them ; since conditions of peace do certainly turn upon events of war. But, surely, there is some measure to be observed in this : those, who have defended the proceedings of our negotiators at the treaty of Gertruydenburgh, dwell very much upon their zeal and patience in endeavouring to work the French up to their demands; but say nothing to justify those demands, or the probability that France would ever accept them. Some of the articles in that treaty were so very extravagant, that, in all human probability, we could not have obtained them by a successful war of forty years. One of them was inconsistent with common reason ; wherein the confederates reserved to themselves full liberty of
demanding * Which Discourse follows next in this volume.
demanding what further conditions they should think fit; and in the mean time, France was to deliver up several of their strongest towns in a month. These articles were very gravely signed by our plenipotentiaries, and those of Holland; but not by the French, although it ought to have been done interchangeably ; nay, they were brought over by the fecretary of the embaffy; and the ministers here, prevailed on the Queen to execute a ratification of articles, which only one part had signed. This was an absurdity in form, as well as in reason; because the usual form of a ratification is with a preamble, fhewing; That whereas our minifters, and those of the allies, and of the enemy, have signed, &c. We ratify, &c. The person * who brought over the articles, said in all companies, (and perhaps believed) that it was a pity we had not demanded more; for the French were in a disposition to refuse us nothing we would ask. One of our plenipotentiaries affected to have the same concern; and particularly, that we had not obtained fome further security for the empire on the Upper Rhine.
What could be the design of all this grimace, but to amuse the people, and to raise stocks for their friends in the secret to sell to advantage? I have too great a respect for the abilities of those, who acted in this negotiation, to believe they hoped for any other issue from it, than that we found by the event. Give me leave to suppose, the continuance of the war was the thing at heart
among * Horatio Walpole, Secretary to that embaffy.
among those in power, both abroad and at home; and then I can easily shew the consistency of their proceedings, otherwise they are wholly unaccountable and abfurd. Did those, who infifted on such wild demands, ever sincerely intend a
peace ? Did they really think, that going on with f the war was more eligible for the country, than
the least abatement of those conditions ? Was the smallest of them worth six millions a year, and an hundred thousand mens lives? Was there no way to provide for the safety of Britain, or the security of its trade, but by the French king's turning his arms to beat his own grandson our of Spain? If these able statesmen were so truly concerned for our trade, which they made the pretence of the war's beginning, as well as conti
nuance; why did they so neglect it in those very E preliminaries, where the enemy made so many
concessions, and where all that related to the advantage of Holland, or the other confederates, was exprefly settled? But whatever concerned us was to be left to a general treaty; no tarif" agreed on with France or the Low-Countries; only the Scheld was to remain shut, which must have ruined our commerce with Antwerp. Our trade with Spain was referred the same way; but this, they will pretend to be of no confe. quence, because that kingdom was to be under the houfe of Austria, and we have already made a treaty with K. Charles. I have indeed heard of a treaty made by Mr. Stanhope with that prince, for settling our commerce with Spaint: but whatever it were, there was another between VOL. II.
lus us and Holland, which went hand in hand with it, I mean that of barrier, wherein a clause was inserted, by which all advantages proposed for Britain, are to be in common with Holland.
Another point, which, I doubt, those have not considered, who are against any peace without Spain, is, that the face of affairs in Christendom, fince the Emperor's death, hath been very much changed. By this accident, the views and interests ‘of several princes and states in the alliance, have taken a new turn; and I believe it will be found, that ours ought to do so too. We have sufficiently blundered once already, by changing our measures, with regard to a peace, while our affairs continued in the same posture; and it will be too much, in conscience, to blunder again, by not changing the first, when the others are so much altered.
To have a prince of the Austrian family on the throne of Spain, is undoubtedly more desireable than one of the house of Bourbon; but, to have the Empire and Spanish monarchy united in the same person, is a dreadful consideration, and directly opposite to that wise principle on which the eighth article of the alliance is founded.
To this, perhaps, it will be objected, that the indolent character of the Austrian princes, the wretched economy of that government, the want of a naval force, the remote distance of their several territories from each other, would never suffer an emperor, although, at the same time, king of Spain, to become formidable; on the contrary, that his dependence must continually be