Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

patriots, in all, but raising an army, and loving the impeached lords, Let those two things alone, and they will come in with you ; they will seem as vigorous as any; they will address as often as you please; they will pretend to pay the national debts; they will part with their privileges; they will desire the king to make alliances ; they will declare the Electress next heir to the three crowns; or, if their minds are altered, and you are willing to relinquish her highness, and chuse the Czar, the Sophy, the Sultan, or Prester John, with all their hearts; they will oblige you in any thing but an army. An army! No, no, my masters; an army might effect the aforementioned matters in good earnest. Do you think they will save the nation. That is what those rogues, the Earl of O. the Lord S. the Lord H. and the Whigs, would do, if they could but discover how. Now let us see into what circumstances this one policy of France has reduced us, and, if possible, to find a means to disengage ourselves. It is to our divisions that we owe the peace of Reswick, not to mention any thing before; it was division exposed us naked, impeached our friends, and left unpaid the debts of the nation ; it was that maxim, improved to the height in England, which made France himself break the treaty of partition; it made the Elector of Bavaria, and Prince Vaudemont, declare for France; it brought Cologne, Bavaria, and Portugal, into his alliance, and it set up all the neutralities in Italy, and in the empire. Division has set us on the edge of destruction, and we must exert our utmost verlue to recover ourselves; we must shake off the lethargy which has seized us, and we must resolve to sacrifice mutual injuries to the common safety of ourselves in particular, and of Europe in general. Providence has pointed out means for rejoining and recovering our former grandeur, a chain of blessings is let down to us, to which we may add the link of our own security. The late King's death bas given a fair opportunity to drop the invidious name of Jacobite; many, who thought themselves tied by oaths, or personal obligations, to that unfortunate prince, are, by his death, at liberty, and they must have some respect for a government, which has used them moderately, though known enemies to it. But if any are so stupid, or inveterate, to persist in the interests of a supposed part of his family, which the nation has renounced, they ought to be treated as monsters of ingratitude, and traitors to their king and country.

The division between our greatest merchants is reconciled, by the marriage of the two East-India companies ; and our unfortunate heats, in the last parliament, have no reason to be revived, since we have a new one; we have a true noble House of Lords, and, at the head of all these, we have a brave and wise King. These are great steps to the reconciling of England, and we have the most compendious and generous way to do this, which is mutually and sincerely to sink at once all injuries. Then, and not till then, shall we meet friends, and then we shall abolish all the damned names and distinctions of parties, and factions, in this great and glorious one, a party for the Protestant religion in all its branches,

and for the liberty of Europe. Now, and only now, is the time for this great agreement, which will, and nothing else can, effectually reduce this exorbitant power of France. It is in our hands to repel that voracious monarchy into its ancient boundaries; and we have the good fortune to be sure of our allies, from those undeniable principles, their interests; the Emperor firm, in the vindication of his honour, and the rights of his family ; the States-General resolved to have a barrier to their commonwealth (and I contemplate their beating down the fort, near Sas van Ghent, was more to convince our Parliament, of the steadiness of their resolution, than to insult the French); the King of Prussia will, to the utmost, oppose that Boutefeu, amongst the states and princes, that have scrupled to own him as king; the Elector of Hanover, the Duke of Zell, and the Elector Palatine, have those notorious reasons to be stifly against France, that I think it superfluous to name them. On the other side, the disadvantages the French have met with in Italy, and the charges of the war, are so excessively great, that, though the most Christian court assumes their grandest airs, it lies heavy at their hearts, they find themselves surrounded with necessities at the beginning of a war; their constitution is languishing, and nothing, but the cordial of money, can revive it; each new dose must be increased, and, if the cordial is never so little abated, the crazy carcase of the absolute French Monarch must give up the ghost. Whereas our allies have had success beyond expectation, and they are invigorated with the hopes, that England will fall, with its whole weight, into the scales against France. The neutral princes and states are waiting to see what we shall do. And if the terror of our fleet was so great in a perfect peace, what new measures must an avowed war influence Portugal to take? That proud King Lewis, who formerly declared, he warred on Holland for his glory, and made that the base excuse for his barbarous invasion of the United Provinces, is now reduced to those necessities, that he is forced to stifle his anger and resentments against the Dutch. Is it not extraordinary to see that haughty and ambitious prince, whose long reign has been a continual distraction to his neighbours, whose pride and malice sacrificed whoever dared to oppose him, that he could by private villainy, or open force, come at, on a sudden, grow the humblest creature, and the best-natured soul in the world? He thinks the beating down his fort, and insulting his incroachments, are not sufficient reasons to break with his good friends the States-General. He, quiet prince, is willinger to enter into negotiations to preserve the peace, than to take those just revenges, which the goodness of his cause and the bravery of his troops would give him. But he was of another mind, the beginning of last spring, when he seized the towns in Flanders, which were mortgaged to the Hollanders, and, instead of paying the debt, confined their troops, and kept them prisoners during pleasure. When his army hovered near their frontiers, and built forts under the cannon of their town; he knew they were then weak, and dared not oppose bim; he then apprehended none of those cross accidents in Italy, which have mortified him since; he seems now quiet and humble minded, and troth I believe him:

Pauper videri Cinna vult, & cst pauper.

He is certainly humbled at present, and must be so for ever, if we do not give him opportunities to forget his humility, and resume his ambition. This seeming moderation of his bas given bis friends a dainty occasion to declare against war. What, break with a king, who puts up the greatest insults, rather than break the peace? A king that has no inclination for war, and would rather grant any terms, than disturb the world, and himself, the few days he has to live? This is a specious pretence, but the truth is, France is brought to his last efforts, and cannot support the additional weight of Spain, two years longer, if we fall upon him. But if we can be so far imposed on, as to let him get a peace for but three years, France will then be able once more to make war for his glory.

As we have these great advantages, so let us set against them our visible disadvantages. For though France has squeesed the last drops into his exchequer, yet with that money which he has barbarously wrung from his poor slaves, he is finishing our ruin. It is that money has carried his troops into the Electorate of Cologne, and has opened him a way into the bowels of the Empire. It is that money which carries the recruit of twenty-thousand men, with an additional strength of twenty-thousand fresh men more into Italy. It is that by which he hopes to discover the measures of his enemies this winter, and the designed operations of the next campaign. Wherefore if we do not now oppose him with our utmost strength, but fall into divisions and delays, the heart of the confederacy will be dead, the Emperor must take what equivalent France will give him, the glory of the last campaign in Italy will pass as a dream, the unparalleled preparations the Dutch have made in defence of our common liberty must come to nothing, and those brave states must compound and come under France, as a maritime province of their new empire.

Thus in all human appearances the fate of Europe depends on the results of this parliament. If they are united, we are free : But should they be so unhappy as to be wheedled into a peace, or resolve but on a defensive war, both which God forefend, I can then think of nothing better for the interest of poor England, than by an early submission to gain the best terms we can, and get as easy a slavery as is possible from our new master Lewis the Great.

POLITICAL REMARKS

ON THE

LIFE AND REIGN OF KING WILLIAM III.

FIRST,

From his Birth to the Abdication of King James II.

SECONDLY,
From his Accession to the Crown of England to his Death.

First. THOUGH fortune might seem a step-mother to this prince, by TH

depriving him of a father, before scarce a human soul had been breathed into the infant, yet she abundantly made amends for that unkindness, by the prudence and indulgency of his mother, eldest daughter of King Charles the First, who, by means of the blood from whence she sprung, not only conveyed to bim a prospect of attaining to three kingdoms, but also, by the care she took of his education, she formed his soul worthy of the crowns he was destined by Providence to wear.

We read a story of Sempronius, that he caught two snakes ingendering, and that, being surprised at the novelty, he consulted the oracle. what the unlucky omen meant: The priests returned an answer, · That either himself or his wife must die; and that it was at his election, whether he would submit to death himself, or doom the partner of his bed to that misfortune: That, upon his killing the male snake, it was his turn to die; and that, upon the death of the female, his wife must undergo the same destiny. This generous Roman, unterrified with the apprehensions of another world, caused the snake to die, whose fate was twisted with his, confiding in the known piety and prudence of his lady, and believing her life more necessary to the common good of his family than his own. The oracle and his uxurious confidence were just; he died according to the prediction of the first, and his family, by the conduct of his widow, found themselves little prejudiced in the loss of so eminent an example of tenderness.

I shall not insist upon the truth of this story, we have some good authors to vouch it; but certainly, if the Prince of Orange, father to the late King William, had been permitted such an unhappy choice, he might, without a blemish to his character, have followed the steps of that illustrious Roman, and spared his lady, whose wisdom, courage, and civility laid the first foundation of that grandeur, which her warlike son, in succeeding ages, attained to.

The States of the Seven Provinces stood his godfathers; nor did VOL. X.

Nn

his mother, though so nearly allied to the crown of England, think it beneath her quality to implore the protection of persons meanly born, in comparison of her illustrious offspring, nor were the methods she undertook unagreeable to sound policy. The princely widow understood her interest very well, and the godson of those High and Mighty Potentates received, both in his own person, and in the respect was paid his mother, the greatest arguments of their sincere friendship and esteem.

No blasing star preceded his birth, and, with its prophetick beams, presaged his future grandeur. The Dutch astrologers could not see so clearly as the English, who affirmed, that a star of such a nature was seen just before the nativity of King Charles the Second. In this his country-men acted unhandsomely, in depriving his birth of so glorious and remarkable an accident.

And it must be acknowledged, as more reasonable in itself, if those celestial luminaries attend our actions here below, that the brightest of them should rather have waited on the nativity of King William, who restored the glory of the English, than upon King Charles the Second, who, by the supineness of his conduct, had near lost the reputation of his country, and the balance of Europe.

This humility of the Princess of Orange was as much commended by some as censured by others ; but whoever weighs it, must acknowlege it a piece of refined policy, and that her consideration was both just and rational. By this step, and others of the like nature, sbe intirely rooted out those ideas, and that umbrage, the States had conceived at the greatness of the house of Orange, and shewed herself rather a grand-daughter of King James the First, than a sister of King James the Second.

His education was consistent with the manners of the country where he was educated; the methods, prescribed him by those that had the honour of his tuition, were solid and severe ; nothing gay or glittering was seen in his court, or the conversation of those per. sons who were intrusted with the management of his tender years. His mind adjusted itself to the admonitions of his tutors, and produced a temper serious and thoughtful, quite averse from the usual gallantries practised in the more refined and polite courts, as they stiled themselves, of Europe.

He was never a mighty scholar himself, nor did he much affect learning, or the charms of a witty conversation. Such, as were masters of those happy qualities, were seldom employed by him, unless some of the first in the affairs of the church ; and if ever he made use of persons, so distinguished, in bis secular concerns, it was rather to please others than himself, and to acquire a reputation to his councils, more than for any pleasure he took in their harangues or conversation ; and this may be truly said of him, without injustice to his memory, That he was a much greater king, but nothing so fine a gentleman as his uncle.

Though he was no great friend to polite learning, yet he took

« ForrigeFortsæt »