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to our security and strength, our peace and prosperity, it is our particular happiness to see a monarch on the throne who is sensible of the true interest of his kingdoms, and applies himself with so much success to the advancement of our national commerce.
The reader may see, in my last paper, the advantages which his majesty has gained for us in our Spanish trade. In this, I shall give a short account of those procured for us from the Austrian low-countries, by virtue of the twenty-sixth article of the barrier treaty, made at Antwerp the fifteenth of November last.
This branch of our trade was regulated by a tariff, or declaration of the duties of import and export, in the year 1670, which was superseded by another made in 1680, that continued till this last tariff, settled in 1715 with his present majesty. As for the two former, those who are at the pains of perusing them will find, the tariff of 1670 laid higher duties on several considerable branches of our trade, than that of 1680, but in many particulars was more favourable to us than the latter. Now by the present tariff of 1715, these duties are fixed and regulated for the future by those which were most favourable in either of the former tariffs, and all our products and manufactures (one only excepted, which I shall name by and by) settled upon rather an easier foot than ever.
Our woollen cloths, being the most profitable branch of our trade into these countries, have by this means gained a very considerable advantage. For the tariff of 1680, having laid higher duties upon the finer sorts, and lower duties on ordinary cloth, than what were settled in the tariff of 1670, his majesty has; by the present treaty, reduced the duties on the finer sorts to the tariff of 1670, and confirmed the duties on ordinary cloth according to the tariff of 1680. Insomuch that this present tariff of 1715, considered with relation to this valuable part of our trade, reduces the duties at least one sixth part, supposing the exporta
tion of all sorts to be equal. But as there is always a much greater exportation of the ordinary cloth than of the finer sorts, the reduction of these duties becomes still much more considerable.
We must farther observe, that there had been several innovations made to the detriment of the English merchant since the tariff of 1680; all which innovations are now entirely set aside upon every species of goods, except butter, which is here particularly mentioned, because we cannot be too minute and circumstantial in accounts of this nature. This article, however, is moderated, and is rated in proportion to what has been, and is still to be, paid by the Dutch.
As our commerce with the Netherlands is thus settled to the advantage of our British merchants, so it is much to their satisfaction: and if his majesty, in the several succeeding parts of his reign (which we hope may be many years prolonged) should advance our commerce in the same proportion as he has already done, we may expect to see it in a more flourishing condition, than under any of his royal ancestors. He seems to place his greatness in the riches and prosperity of his people; and what may we not hope from him in a time of quiet and tranquillity ? since, during the late distractions, he has done so much for the advantage of our trade, when we could not reasonably expect he should have been able to do any thing.
No. 43. FRIDAY, MAY 18.
Hoc fonte derivata clades
flurit. HOR. One would wonder how any person, endowed with the ordinary principles of prudence and humanity, should desire to be king of a country, in which the established religion is directly opposite to that which Vol. IV.
he himself professes. Were it possible for such a one to accomplish his designs, his own reason must tell him, there could not be a more uneasy prince, nor a more unhappy people. But how it can enter into the wishes of any private persons to be the subjects of a man, whose faith obliges him to use the most effectual means for extirpating their religion, is altogether incomprehensible, but upon the supposition, that whatever principles they seem to adhere to, their interest, ambition, or revenge, is much more active and predominant in their minds, than the love of their country, or of its national worship.
I have never heard of any one particular benefit, which either the Pretender himself, or the favourers of his cause, could promise to the British nation from the success of his pretensions; though the evils which would arise from it are numberless and evident. These men content themselves with one general assertion, which often appears in their writings, and in their discourse; that the kingdom will never be quiet till he is upon the throne. If by this position is meant; that those will never be quiet who would endeavour to place him there, it may possibly have some truth in it; though we hope even these will be reduced to their obedience by the care of their safety, if not by the sense of their duty. But, on the other side, how ineffectual would this strange expedient be, for establishing the public quiet and tranquillity, should it ever take place! for, by way of argument, we may suppose impossibilities. Would that party of men, which comprehends the most wealthy, and the most valiant of the kingdom, and which, were the cause put to a trial, would undoubtedly appear the most numerous, (for I am far from thinking all those who are distinguished by the name of Tories, to be favourers of the Pretender,) can we, I say, suppose these men would live quiet under a reign which they have hitherto opposed, and from which they apprehend such a manifest de struction to their country? Can we suppose our present royal family, who are so powerful in foreign dominions, so strong in their relations and alliances, and so universally supported by the Protestant interest of Europe, would continue quiet, and not make vigorous and repeated attempts for the recovery of their right, should it ever be wrested out of their hands? Can we imagine that our British clergy would be quiet under a prince, who is zealous for his religion, and obliged by it to subvert those doctrines, which it is their duty to defend and propagate? Nay, would any of those men themselves, who are the champions of this desperate cause, unless such of them as are professed Roman Catholics, or disposed to be so, live quiet under a government, which at the best would make use of all indirect methods in favour of a religion that is inconsistent with our laws and liberties, and would impose on us such a yoke, as neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? All the quiet that could be expected from such a reign, must be the result of absolute power on the one hand, and a despicable slavery on the other: and I believe every reasonable man will be of the Roman historian's opinion, that a disturbed liberty is better than a quiet servitude.
There is not indeed a greater absurdity than to imagine the quiet of a nation can arise from an establishment, in which the king would be of one communion and the people of another; especially when the religion of the sovereign carries in it the utmost malignity to that of the subject. If any of our English monarchs might have hoped to reign quietly under such circumstances, it would have been King Charles the Second, who was received with all the joy and good will that are natural to á people, newly rescued from a tyranny which had long oppressed them in several shapes. But this monarch was too wise to own himself a Roman Catholic, even in that juncture of time; or to imagine it practicable for an avowed Popish prince to govern a Protestant people. His brother tried the experiment, and every one knows the success of it.
As speculations are best supported by facts, I shall add to these domestic examples one or two parallel instances out of the Swedish history, which may be sufficient to show us, that a scheme of government is impracticable in which the head does not agree with the body, in that point which is of the greatest concern to reasonable creatures. Sweden is the only Protestant kingdom in Europe besides this of Great Britain, which has had the misfortune to see Popish princes upon the throne; and we find that they behaved themselves as we did, and as it is natural for men to do, upon the same occasion. Their king, Sigismond, having, contrary to the inclinations of his people, endeavoured, by several clandestine methods, to promote the Roman Catholic religion among his subjects, and shown several marks of favour to their priests and Jesuits, was, after a very short reign, deposed by the states of that kingdom, being represented as one who could neither be held by oaths nor promises, and overruled by the influence of his religion, which dispenses with the violation of the most sacred engagements that are opposite to its interests. The states, to show farther their apprehensions of popery, and how incompatible they thought the principles of the church of Rome in a sovereign were with those of the reformed religion in his subjects, agreed that his son should succeed to the throne, provided he were brought up a Protestant. This the father seemingly complied with; but afterwards, refusing to give him such an education, the son was likewise set aside, and for ever excluded from that succession. The famous Queen Christina, daughter to the great Gustavus, was so sensible of those troubles which would accrue both to herself and her people, should she avow the Roman Catholic religion while she was upon the throne of Sweden; that she did not make an open profession of that faith, till she had resigned her crown, and was actually upon her journey to Rome.
In short, if there be any political maxim, which may