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them; but, how to ensure peace, for any term of years, is difficult enough to apprehend. Will human nature ever cease to have the same pasfions, princes to entertain designs of interest or ambition, and occasions of quarrel to arise ? May not we ourselves, by the variety of events and incidents which happen in the world, be under a necessity of recovering towns' out of the very hands of those for whom we are now ruining our country to take them ? Neither can it be said, that those states, with whom we may probably differ, will be in as bad a condition as ourselves; for, by the circumstances of our fituation, and the impositions of our allies,, we are more exhausted than either they or the enemy; and, by the nature of our government, the corruption of our manners, and the opposition of factions, we shall be more flow in recovering.
It will, no doubt, be a mighty comfort to our grandchildren, when they see a few rags hung up in Westminster-hall, which cost an hundred millions, whereof they are paying the arrears, to boast, as bega gars do, that their grandfathers were rich and great.
I have often reflected on that mistaken notion of credit, so boasted of by the advocates of the late ministry: Was not all that credit built upon funds raised by the landed men, whom they now so much hate and despise ? Is not the greatest part of those funds raised from the growth and product of land ? Must not the whole debt be entirely paid, and our fleets and garrisons be maintained, by the land and malt-tax, after a peace? If they call it credit, to run ten millions
in debt, without parliamentary security, by which the public is defrauded of almost half; I must think such credit to be dangerous, illegal, and, perhaps, treasonable. Neither hath any thing gone further to ruin the nation, than their boasted credit. For my own part, when I saw this false credit fink, upon the change of the ministry, I was fingular enough to conceive it a good omen. It seemed as if the young extravagant heir had got a new steward, and was resolved to look into his estate, before things grow desperate ; which made the usurers forbear feeding him with money, as they ufed to do.
Since the monied men are so fond of war, I should be glad they would furnish out one campaign at their own charge; it is not above fix or seven millions; and I dare engage to make it out, that, when they have done this, instead of contributing equal to the landed men, they will have their full principal and interest at fix per cent., remaining of all the money they ever lent to the
government. Without this resource, or some other equally miraculous, it is impossible for us to continue the war upon the same foot. I have already obferv. ed, that the last funds of interest fell short above a million, although the persons most converfant in ways and means, employed their utmost invention ; so that, of neceffity, we must be still more defective next campaign. But, perhaps, our allies will make up this deficiency on our fide, by greater efforts on their own. Quite the contrary; both the Emperor and H
this year, in several articles ; and signified to us, fome time ago, that they cannot keep up to the fame proportions in the next. We have gained a noble barrier for the latter, and they have nothing more to demand or desire. The Emperor, however sanguine he may now affect to appear, will, I suppose, be satisfied with Naples, Sicily, Milan, and his other acquisitions, rather than engage in a long hopeless war, for the recovery of Spain, to which his allies, the Dutch, will neither give their assistance nor consent. So that, since we have done their business, since they have no further service for our arms, and we have no more money to give them; and, lastly, since we neither desire any recompense, nor expect any thanks, we ought, in pity, to be dismifred, and have leave to shift for ourselves. They are ripe for a peace, to enjoy and cultivate what we have conquered for them; and so are we, to recover, if possible, the effects of their hardships upon us. The first overtures from France, are made to England upon safe and honourable terms; we, who bore the burthen of the war, ought, in reason, to have the greatest share in making the peace. If we do not hearken to a peace, others certainly will, and get the advantage of us there, as they have done in
We know the Dutch have perpetually threatened us, that they would enter into separate measures of a peace; and, by the strength of that argument, as well as by other powerful motives, prevailed on those who were then at the helm, to comply with them on any terms, rather than put an end to the war, which, every year,
brought them such great accessions to their wealth
Whoever falls off, a peace will follow; and then we must be content with such conditions as our allies, out of their great concern for our safety and intereft, will please to chuse. They have no farther occasion for fighting, they have gained their point; and they now tell us, it is our war; so that, in common justice, it ought to be our peace.
All we can propose, by the defperate steps of pawning our land or malt tax, or erecting a general excise, is only to raise a fund of interest, for running us annually four millions further in debt, without any prospect of ending the war, fo well as we can do at present. And when we have funk the only unengaged revenues we had left, our incumbrances must, of necessity, remain perpetual.
We have hitherto lived upon expedients, which, in time, will certainly destroy any constitution, whether civil or natural; and there was no country in Christendom had lefs occasion for them than ours. We have dieted a healthy body into a consumption, by plying it with physic, instead of food. Art will help us no longer ; and if we cannot recover, by letting the remains of nature work, we must inevitably die.
What arts have been used, to possess the people with a strong delusion, that Britain must infallibly be ruined, without the recovery of Spain to the house of Austria ? Making the safety of a great and powerful kingdom, as ours was then, to depend upon an event, which, even after a war of a miraculous success, proves impracticable. As
if princes and great ministers could find no way of settling the public tranquillity, without changing the poffeffions of kingdoms, and forcing sovereigns upon a people against their inclinations. Is there no fecurity for the ifland of Britain, unless a king of Spain be dethroned by the hands of his grandfather ? Has the enemy no cautionary towns and fea-ports to give us for securing trade? Can he not deliver us poffeffion of such places as would put him in a worse condition, whenever he should perfidiously renew the war? The present king of France has but few years to live, by the course of nature, and, doubtless, would desire to end his days in peace. Grandfathers in private families, are not observed to have great influence on their grandfons; and, I believe, they have much less among princes; however, when the authority of a parent is gone, is it likely, that Philip will be directed by a brother, against his own intereft, and that of his fubjects? Have not those two realms their separate maxims of policy, which must operate in times of peace ? These, at least, are probabilities, and cheaper by fix millions a year, than recovering Spain, or continuing the war, both which seem absolutely impossible.
But the common question is, if we must now surrender Spain, what have we been fighting for all this while ? The answer is ready; we have been fighting for the ruin of the public interest, and the advancement of a private : we have been fighting to raise the wealth and grandeur of a particular family, to enrich usurers and stockjobbers, and to cultivate the pernicious designs of