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promises, he spent a great deal of time, and all his money, to no purpose. Meeting with so many disappointments, and really wanting necessaries, and reflecting on the usage he bad met withal, and dreading the poverty he saw approaching, he had fallen into despair, but that he had still the happiness to carry in his mind the thoughts of futurity, from which he resolved as much as possible to be content; and, to strengthen him in his acquaintance and resignation to a Supreme Will, he often went to church; but, one day going into St. Martin's, though early, the surly clark refused him admittance into a pew, which so mightily concerned him, that he went to his lodging, and, whilst the thought continued, he wrote the following verses.
To what extremities am I driven,
Blessings, for which they thought I'd never pay. Having long racked his brains, and spent his money and time in vain, his peery landlord, by a writ, secured him a safe place in the Marshalsea, durante vita, unless a compassionate parliament release him by an act of grace.
Fed up with hope by such, his money's spent,
How thousands may be got,
If, if they draw the lot;
THE APPARENT DANGER OF AN INVASION,
BRIEFLY REPRESENTED IN A LETTER TO A MINISTER OF STATE.
BY A KENTISH GENTLEMAN. MDCCI.
aspect upon the liberties of Europe in general, that France will have no reason to wonder, if all the princes and states of Europe, which are its neighbours, should take the alarum at her late conduct since the treaty of Reswick *. I am sure it would be a very great wonder with me, and posterity too, if, after so late and notorious a violation of a solemn treaty, we should take her word again, and trust to her engagements, unless we can oblige her to perform them t.
She bas, undoubtedly, her envoys and her instruments in all countries , especially here, who, with great artifice and subtle insinuations, will tempt the easy and the ignorant by colours and pretences of her good meaning, that she has no farther design than maintaining the Duke of Anjou's succession ş, and all her neighbours, that will own him, shall be, if they please, her dear friends and confederates.
But what wise man can be found ? Nay, one may venture to say, where can you shew me that blockhead that has brains little enough to believe her? And yet a Frenchman has so much confidence in the folly of all other nations, and in his own dexterity to play the knave, that with very great assurance he obtrudes his flattery, and expresses his friendship and esteem for you, when his own conscience gives him the lye, and he is carrying on a design at the same time to cut your throat.
Every body knows it was but in October last, that all the courts of Europe were, in show at least, earnestly sollicited to enter into the treaty of partition; and all the huffing and sneaking arguments were used by your Guis-ds and your
Amelts, for two or three months together, to prevail upon the Italians and Germans ll, great and little; but, in the midst of all this banter and grimace, arrives an express with the king of Spain's death and Anjou's
• The same may justly be remarked of the French behaviour since the treaty of Utrecht.
+ By first reducing her to so low a condition, as to oblige her to an honourable peace, and so to watch her intrigues, and check her illegal aspirings in time of peace, as to prevent her capacity ever to become troublesome to the liberties of her neigt bours any more.
See Vol. I. p. 23, 24. * To the crown of Spain, by which union France promised herself to gain a power to give laws to all Europe, 'as her attempts from that time will prove.
✓ was not this the very method taken by France, to deprive the empire of its liber. ties, and to ruin the house of Austria, before this war broke out?
succession, and what part does my little Franculus esuriens * act upon so sudden a change?
Why, out he sets as briskly as can be with a new memorial, fawns and bectors, en bon Francoise, desires your patience a little, while his master, like a true son of old Eunius, steals away half a dozen kingdoms and dukedoms; and then promises (believe him if you dare) to be a very good Musselman, till the next opportunity t.
There is a certain very worthy gentleman I, and true Englishman too, who was aware of this, and gave us his advice, in very honest terms, in the year 98, but Thrift and Distrust, two wary Devils, opposed his design; and what the force of foreigners, in ten years war, could never do, the folly of a few true-born Englishmen effected in a trice; viz, subdued the hero, and ridiculed the politician.
We chose, at that time, rather to trust our good neighbour with a standing force of 150,000 foreigners, than, at the end of the war, suffer 10 or 20,000 swords and musquets to continue in the hands of our own countrymen, for fear, I
That Englishmen should Englishmen subdue.
I confess they have a pretty good hand at betraying their country, but, for my part, I was for trusting them at that time, and ever shall, before any foreigners.
ş. But our fleet was disarmed, and our land forces reduced, from 84 to 7000 men, that is full 115. And when we had stripped ourselves thus naked, and invited the Assyrians into our land, you will ask me, how it came to pass, that we have not had a second invasion from Normandy or Picardy, and that the French have not, before this, taken up their quarters within the weekly bills, and with our friends at Rochester and Sittingborn. Why truly, I must tell you, not for want of good will, and good opportunity too (we thank our masters) but they had other game in chace; the lingering sickness of the late King of Spain put Versailles in a constant alarum every post; for Spain and the Indies, ever since 1660, were decreed for usurpation $; and if your Montaltoe's and Portocarrero's had failed of their treason, the ratio ultima regum was at hand; viz. a good train of artillery, and an 100,000 men. When this morsel was swallowed, it would be time enough to look after England, and the out skirts of Europe : who, in the mean time, are to be bushed, if possible, with specious proposals and golden mountains, till my little master || is well settled at Madrid. And then ber highness the Duchess of Burgundy will put in her claim to the crown of England, and we may defend the Protestant heir or possessor if we can, when her grandfather has over-run Italy and the Netherlands, and taken possession of all the ports in Holland. He has already made such quick approaches towards that unfortunate country, that the people are in the highest consternation; and, if we suffer them to be devoured, the next step he takes will be for England.
• Hungry Frenchman, who grasps at all power.
q The King of Frande.
And he has so many and so considerable reasons to invade us at this very juncture, that some mysteries of state, undiscoverable at present, or a mighty infatuation alone can hinder him. The people on our coasts are so sensible of their defenceless condition, especially since the French troops entered so unexpectedly, and all at one moment, into all the frontier towns in the Spanish Flanders, that they expect every morning to hear they have put garrisons into Dover, Rye, and Shoreham, and it is almost as easy and quick a passage from Calais and Dunkirk, to Harwich, Dunwich, and Yarmouth. The passage between us and them is so short, that five or six hours is time enough to execute such a design in any part of Kent.
.Julius Cæsar, who had but indifferent pilots, and vessels that were ill sailors, came over in a night: and William the Conqueror crossed a wider part of the Channel, viz. from Bologn to Pevensey, in a few hours, and both of them succeeded so well by the folly and divisions of our ancestors, that it is our good luck if our enemies do not take the advantage of our present circumstances, to make a trial of our boasted English valour, and see, how many of the fourteen hundred thousand names, contained in the Associations lodged in the Tower of London, dare shew their faces in the field against the Marshal de Bouffleurs at the head of twenty or thirty thousand veterans.
I pretend not to the skill of a marshal, and you do not mistake me, I am sure, for a conjurer in affairs of state ; and yet I will venture to affirm, upon the little experience I have had in a military station, and a pretty long acquaintance with the humour of a people under a panick fear, that, were I of the interest and religion, and in pay of Monsieur at Versailles, I should no more question the success of invading England, at this time, till about a month or six weeks hence, than I do my meeting with you next year at Tunbridge Wells in the season.
And, upon peril of my head, I would undertake, as old as I am, to land with about twenty thousand foot, and two thousand dragoons on next Monday morning in any part of Kent, or Sussex, from Dover to Chichester, and with little or no opposition continue my march towards your populous city, and quarter my troops in London, Westminster, and Southwark, by Saturday next, so as to hear high mass on Sunday morning, at St. Paul's, and dissolve your Parliament the Monday following.
This you may think a little unlikely, and I wish it were morally impossible; but, I think, I can make it appear a very feasible enterprise. I will suppose then the Marshal de Boufflers at Dunkirk, or Calais, this very Saturday night, embarking his men, and setting sail at one or two in the morning, with a fresh gale at east,
what shall binder him from crossing the Channel in five or six hours, but a tempest, or a fleet, in that very place. The first we cannot expect, and the latter we have not ready, so thal, land he will in spite of our barks and our fishermen of Kent. When his troops are debarqued, we will suppose they rest them one day, and, by that time, it may be, another reinforcement arrives; what now will binder hin from bending his march directly for London, and coming thither in the time before mentioned, but a sufficient body of men to meet him by the way? And nothing but an equal force will do, for the battle of Cressy is long since forgotten, and the name of an Englishman, I will assure you, is no such bugbear to a Frenchman at this time of day.
But where are the forces we shall draw together? As for the Dutch, Hannibal is at their gates, and they cannot spare a single battalion, and, if they could twenty, Monsieur Boufflers may march to York, before they can all embark, for they do not lie ready quartered in their ports, as the French do in theirs. And for our handful of 7000 standing forces, if you fill all the northern and western garrisons with our militia, it will be a fortnight, at least, before they can meet in a body on Hounslow Heath, which will be too late. And then for our militia of London and Westminster, which may make a body of ten or twelve thousand men, and can soonest assemble themselves; do you imagine, they will march towards Dover, and with the assistance of a little mob, venture to give battle to disciplined troops? If they should have so much courage, and so little discretion, I expect little more from such an attempt, than what was done by eight or ten thousand club-men, who rose in the late civil war in the counties of Wilts, Somerset, and Dorset, and were dispersed by half a dozen troops of the Parliament horse. The City militia, I believe, is our best ; but what discipline can men have, who appear in arms but once a year, march into the Artillery-ground, and there wisely spend the day in eating, drinking, and smoaking; in storming half a score sir-loins of beef and venison-pasties; and, having given their officers a volley or two, and, like so many idle boys with snow-balls, fooled away a little gunpowder, return home again as ignorant as they went out, and as fit to fight the French at Blackheath, as one of our little yatchts is to engage the Britannia.
And, besides this, which I have not represented to the worst disadvantage, there are other prodigious difficulties that would perplex us upon such an invasion. We have so many Cataline’s and Portocarrero’s amongst us, that would not fail to betray us; so many religious bigols that are bewitched with a tender conscience for the right of old Pharaoh * ; so many hardy villains, and desperate miscreants, that are for plunder, and a prevailing power t; and so many lukewarm heartless coxcombs, that will stand still to
• The family of the Stewarts. + It is a general observation in all rebellions, that the mobile take part with a powerful invader, because they have nothing to lose, and hope to better their con. dition upon the rain of those that maintain their religion and laws. VOL, X.