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power, whose interest, as well as affection, engaged them to preserve the monarchy entire, rather than to oppose him in favour of another family, who must expect assistance from a number of confederates, whose principal members had already disposed of what did not belong to them, and by a previous treaty parcelled out the monarchy of Spain.
Thus the duke of Anjou got into the full possession of all the kingdoms and states belonging to that mơnarchy, as well in the old world as the new. And whatever the house of Austria pretended from their memorials to us and the States, it was at that time but too apparent, that the inclinations of the Spaniards were on the duke's side.
However, a war was resolved on; and, in order to carry it on with great vigour, a grand alliance formed, wherein the ends proposed to be obtained are plainly and distinctly laid down, as I have already quoted them. It pleased God, in the course of this war, to bless the arms of the allies with remarkable successes; by which we were soon put into a condition of demanding and expecting such terms of a peace, as we proposed to ourselves when we began the war. But instead of this, our victories only served to lead us on to farther visionary prospects; advantage was taken of the sanguine temper which so many snc cesses had wrought the nation up to; new romantick views were proposed, and the old, reasonable, sober design was forgot.
This was the artifice of those here, who were sore to grow richer, as the publick became poorer; and who, after the resolutions which the two houses were prevailed upon to make, might have carried on the war with safety to themselves, till malt and land were mortgaged, till a general excise was established, and the dixième denier raised by collectors in red coats. And this was just the circumstance, which it suited their interests to be in.
The house of Austria approved this scheme with reason; since, whatever would be obtained by the blood and treasure of others, was to accrue to that family, while they only lent their name to the cause.
The Dutch might perhaps have grown resty under their burden; but care was likewise taken of that, by a barrier-treaty made with the States, which deserves such epithets as I care not to bestow; but may perhaps consider it, at a proper occasion, in a discourse by itself*.
By this treaty, the condition of the war with respect to the Dutch was widely altered; they fought no longer for security, but for grandeur; and we, instead of labouring to make them safe, must beggar ourselves to make them formidable.
Will any one contend, that if, at the treaty of Gertruydenburg, we could have been satisfied with such terms of a peace, as we proposed to ourselves by the grand alliance, the French would not have allowed them? It is plain they offered many more, and much greater, than ever we thought to insist on when the war began; and they had reason to grant, as well as we to demand them, since conditions of peace do certainly turn upon events of war. But surely there is some measure to be observed in this; those who have defended the proceedings of our negotiators at the treaty of Gertruydenburg, dwell very much upon their zeal and patience in endeavouring to work the French up to their demands; but say nothing to justify those demands, or the probability that France would ever accept them. Some of the articles in that treaty were so extravagant, that in all human probability we could not have obtained them by a successful war of forty years. One of them was inconsistent with common reason; wherein the confederates reserved to themselves full liberty of demanding what farther conditions they should think
* Which Discourse begins the sixth volume. N,
fit; and in the mean time France was to deliver up several of their strongest towns in a month. These articles were very gravely signed by our plenipoten tiaries, and those of Holland; but not by the French, although it ought to have been done interchangeably; nay, they were brought over by the secretary of the embassy; and the ministers here prevailed on the queen, to execute a ratification of articles, which only one part had signed. This was an absurdity in form as well as in reason; because the usual form of a ratification is with a preamble, showing, that whereas, our ministers, and those of the allies, and of the enemy, have signed, &c. we ratify, &c. The person *who brought over the articles said in all companies (and perhaps believed) that it was a pity we had not demanded more; for the French were in a disposition to refuse us nothing we would ask. One of our plenipotentiaries affected to have the same concern; and particularly that we had not obtained some farther security for the empire on the Upper Rhine.
What could be the design of all this grimace but to amuse the people, and to raise stocks for their friends in the secret to sell to advantage? I have top great a respect for the abilities of those who noted in this negotiation, to believe they hoped for any other issue from it, than what we found by the event. Give me leave to suppose the continuance of the war was the thing at heart among those in power, both abroad and at home; and then I can easily show the consistency of their proceedings, otherwise they are wholly unaccountable and absurd. Did those who insisted on such wild demands ever intend a peace ? did they really think, that going on with the war was more eligible for their country than the least abatement of those conditions? was the sinallest of them worth six millions a year, and a hundred thou
* Horatio Walpole, secretary to that emb ssy. H.
gand men's lives? was there no way to provide for the safety of Britain, or the security of its trade, but by the French king turning his arms to beat his grandson out of Spain? If these able statesmen were so truly concerned for our trade, which they made the pretence of the war's beginning as well as continuance; why did they so neglect it in those very preliminaries, where the enemy made so many concessions, and where all that related to the advan tage of Holland, or the other confederates, was expressly settled? But whatever concerned us, was to be left to a general treaty; no tariff agreed on with France or the Low-countries, only the Schelde was to remain shut, which must have ruined our commerce with Antwerp. Our trade with Spain was referred the same way; but this they will pretend to be of no consequence, because that kingdom was to be under the house of Austria, and we had already made a treaty with king Charles. I have indeed heard of a treaty made by Mr. Stanhope with that prince, for settling our commerce with Spain: but, whatever it were, there was another between us and Holland, which went hand in hand with it, I mean that of barrier, wherein a clause was inserted, by which all advantages proposed for Britain, are to be in common with Holland.
Another point, which I doubt those have not considered who are against any peace without Spain, is, that the face of affairs in Christendom, since the emperor's death, has been very much changed. By this accident, the views and interests of several princes and states in the alliance have taken a new turn, and I believe it will be found that ours ought to do so too. We have sufficiently blundered once
This sentence is badly arranged, and may be thus amended -If these able statesmen were so truly concerned for our trade, which they made the pretence of the beginning, as well as con tinuance of the war, why did they,' &c. S.
already, by changing our measures with regard to a peace, while our affairs continued in the same posture; and it will be too much in conscience to blunder again, by not changing the first, when the others are so much altered.
To have a prince of the Austrian family on the throne of Spain, is undoubtedly more desirable than one of the house of Bourbon: but' to have the empire and Spanish monarchy united in the same person, is a dreadful consideration, and directly opposite to that wise principle on which the eighth article of the alliance is founded.
To this perhaps it will be objected, that the indolent character of the Austrian princes, the wretched economy of that government, the want of a naval force, the remote distances of their several territories from each other, would never suffer, an emperor, although at the same time king of Spain, to become formidable on the contrary, that his dependence must continually be on Great-Britain; and the advantages of trade, by a peace founded upon that con dition, would soon make us amends for all the expences of the war.
In answer to this, let us consider the circumstances we must be in, before such a peace could be obtained, if it were at all practicable. We must become not only poor for the present, but reduced by farther mortgages to a state of beggary for endless years to come. Compare such a weak condition as this, with so great an accession of strength to Austria; and then determine how much an emperor, in such a state of affairs, would either fear or need Britain.
Consider that the comparison is not formed between a prince of the house of Austria, emperor and king of Spain, and with a prince of the Bourbon family, king of France and Spain; but between a prince of the latter, only king of Spain, and one of the former, uniting both crowns in his own person.