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a faction, by destroying the landed interest. The nation begins now to think, these blefings are not worth fighting for any longer, and therefore defires a peace.
But the advocates on the other side cry out, that we might have had a better peace, than is now in agitation, above two years ago. Supposing this to be true, I do assert, that, by parity of reason, we must expect one just so much the worse, about two years hence. If those in power could then have given us a better peace, more is their infamy and guilt, that they did it not. Why did they insist upon conditions, which they were certain would never be granted ? We allow, it was in their power to have put a good end to the war, and left the nation in some hope of recovering itself. And this is what we charge their with, as answerable to God, their country, and posterity; that the bleeding condition of their fellow-subjects, was a feather in the balance with their private ends.
When we offer to lament the heavy debts and poverty of the nation, it is pleasant to hear some men answer all that can be said, by crying up the power of England, the courage of England, the inexhaustible riches of England. I have heard a man * very sanguine upon this subject, with a good employment for life, and a hundred thousand pounds in the funds, bidding us take courage, and warranting, that all would go well. This is the style of men at ease, who lay heavy burthens upon others, which they would not touch with one of VOL. II.
- their * The late Lord Halifax.
their fingers. I have known fome people such ill computers, as to imagine the many millions in flocks and annuities, are so much real wealth in the nation; whereas, every farthing of it is entirely lost to us, scattered in Holland, Germany, and Spain ; and the landed men, who now pay the intereft, must at last pay the principal.
Fourthly, Those, who are against any peace without Spain, have, I doubt, been ill informed as to the low condition of France, and the mighty consequences of our successes. As to the first, it must be confessed, that after the battle of Ramillies, the French were so discouraged with their frequent losses, and so impatient for a peace, that their king was resolved to comply upon any rea.fonable terms. But, when his subjects were informed of our exorbitant demands, they grew jealous of his honour, and were unanimous to affist him, in continuing the war at any hazard, rather than submit. This fully restored his authority; and the supplies he hath received from the Spanish West Indies, which in all are computed, fince the war, to amount to four hundred millions of livres, and all in specie, have enabled him to pay his troops. Besides, the money is spent in his own country; and he hath since waged war in the most thrifty manner, by acting on the defensive; compounding with us every campaign for a town, which costs us fifty times more than its worth, either as to its value, or the consequences. Then he is at no charge for a fleet, further than providing privateers, wherewith his fubjects carry on a pyratical war at their own ex
pence, and he shares in the profit; which hath been very considerable to France, and of infinite disadvantage to us, not only by the perpetual lof. fes we have suffered, to an immense value, but by the general discouragement to trade, on which we so much depend. All this considered, with the circumstances of that government, where the prince is master of the lives and fortunes of fo mighty a kingdom, shews that monarch not to be so funk in his affairs as we have imagined, and have long flattered ourselves with the hopes of.
Those who are against any peace without Spain, seem likewise to have been mistaken, in judging our victories, and other successes, to have been of greater consequence than they really were.
When our armies take a town in Flanders, the Dutch are immediately put into possession, and we at home make bonefires. I have sometimes pitied the deluded people, to see them squandering away their fuel to so little purpose. For example: what is it to us that Bouchain is taken, about which the warlike politicians of the coffee house make such a clutter? What though the garrison surrendered prisoners of war, and in sight of the enemy? We are not now in a condition to be fed with points of honour. What advantage have we, but that of spending three or four millions more, to get another town for the States, which may open them a new country for contributions, and encrease the perquisites of the General ?
In that war of ten years, under the late king, when our commanders and soldiers were raw and
unexperienced, in comparison with what they are at present, we lost battles and towns, as well as we gained them of late, fince those gentlemen have better learned their trade; yet we bore up then, as the French do now : nor was there any thing decisive in their succefles; they grew weary as well as we, and at last consented to a peace, under which we might have been happy enough, if it had not been followed by that wise treaty of partition, which revived the flame that hath lasted ever since. I see nothing else in the modern way of making war, but that the side, which can hold out longest, will end it with most advantage. In such a close country as Flanders, where it is carried on by sieges, the army that acts offensively, is at a much greater expence of men and money; and there is hardly a town taken in the.common forms, where the besiegers have not the worse of the bargain. I never yet knew a soldier, who would not affirm, that any town might be taken, if you were content to be at the charge. If you will count upon facrificing fo much blood and treasure, the rest is all a regular, established methed, which cannot fail. When the king of France, in the times of his grandeur, sat down before a town, his generals and engineers would often fix the day when it should surrender : the enemy, fenfible of all this, hath, for some years paft, avoided a battle, where he hath fo il succeeda ed, and taken a surer way to consume us, by leta ting our courage evaporate against stones and rubbish, and sacrificing a single town to a.cam
paign, which he can so much better afford to lose, than we to take.
Lastly, Those who are so violently against any peace, without Spain being restored to the house of Auftria, have not, I believe, cast their eye upon a cloud gathering in the north, which we have helped to raise, and may quickly break in a storm upon our heads.
The northern war hath been on foot almost ever since our breach with France. The success of it is various; but one effect to be apprehended was always the same, that sooner or latter, it would involve us in its consequences; and that, whenever this happened, let our success be never so -great against France, from that moment France would have the advantage.
By our guarantee of the treaty of Travendall, we were obliged to hinder the king of Denmark. from engaging in a war with Sweden. It was ar 1.hat time understood by all parties, and fo declared, even by the British ministers, that this engagement specially regarded Denmark’s not aflifting king Auguftus. But, however, if this had not been fo; yet our obligation to Sweden stood in force, by virtue of former treaties with that crown, which were all revived and confirmed by (a subsequent one, concluded at the Hague, by Sir
Jofeph Williamson, and Monsieur Lilienroot, a-bout the latter end of the King's reign.
However, the war in the north proceeded; anci our not aslifting Sweden, was at least as well excused by the war which we were entangled in, Nn3