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Trenchard: a short History of Standing Armies in England. Anno 1698. - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. I 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; The First Volume. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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a short History of Standing Armies in England.
THERE is nothing in which the Generality of Mankind are so much mistaken as when they talk of Government. The different Effects of it are obvious to every one, but few can trace its Causes-Most Men having indigested Ideas of the Nature of it, attribute all public Miscarriages to the Corruption of Mankind. They think the whole Mass is infected, that it is impossible to make any Reformation, and so submit patiently to their Country’s Calamities, or else share in the Spoil: whereas Complaints of this Kind are as old as the World, and every Age has thought their own the worst. We have not only our own Experience, but the Example of all Times, to prove that Men in the same Circumstances will do thesame Things, call them what Names of Distinction you please. A Government is a mere Piece of Clockwork; and having such Springs and Wheels, must act after such a Manner: And therefore the Art is to constitute it so that it must move to the public Advantage. It is certain that every Man will act for his own Interest; and all wise Governments are founded upon that Principle: So that this whole Mystery is only to make the Interest of the Governors and Governed the same. In an absolute Monarchy, where the whole Power is in one Man, his Interest will be only regarded: In an Aristocracy the Interest of a few; and in a free Government the Interest of every one. This would be the Case of England if some Abuses that have lately crept into our Constitution were remov’d. The Freedom of this Kingdom depends upon the People’s chusing the House of Commons, who are a Part of the Legislature, and have the sole Power of giving Money. Were this a true Representative, and free from external Force or private Bribery, nothing could pass there but what they thought was for the public Advantage. For their own Interest is so interwoven with the People’s, that if they act for themselves (which every one of them will do as near as he can) they must act for the common Interest of England. And if a few among them should find it their Interest to abuse their Power, it will be the Interest of all the rest to punish them for it: and then our Governmene would act mechanically, and a Rogue will as naturally be hang’d as a Clock strike Twelve when the Hour is come. This is the Fountain-head from whence the People expect all their Happiness, and the Redress of their Grievances; and if we can preserve them free from Corruption, they will take Care to keep every Body else so. Our Constitution seems to have provided for it, by never suffering the King (till Charles the Second’s Reign) to have a Mercenary Army to frighten them into a Compliance, nor Places or Revenues great enough to bribe them into it. The Places in the King’s Gift were but few, and most of them Patent Places for Life, and the rest great Offices of State enjoy’d by single Persons, which seldom fell to the Share of the Commons, such as the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Privy-Seal, Lord High-Admiral, &c. and when these Offices were possess’d by the Lords, the Commons were severeInquisitors into their Actions. Thus the Government of England continu’d from the Time that the Romans quitted the Island, to the Time of Charles the First, who was the first I have read of that made an Opposition to himself in the House of Commons the Road to Preferment; of which the Earl of Strafford and Noy were the most remarkable Instances, who from great Patriots became the chief Assertors of Despotic Power. But this serv’d only to exasperate the rest; for he had not Places enough for all that expected them, nor Money enough to bribe them. ’Tis true, he rais’d great Sums of Money upon the People; but it being without Authority of Parliament, and having no Army to back him, it met with such Difficulties in he raising, that it did him little Good, and ended at last in his Ruin, though by means of a long and miserable War, which brought us from one Tyranny to another; for the Army had got all Things into their Power, and govern’d the Nation by a Council of War, whieh made all Parties join in calling in Charles the Second: So that he came in with the general Applause of the People, who in a kind Fit gave him a vast Revenue for Life. By this he was enabled to raise an Army, and bribe the Parliament, which he did to the Purpose: but being a luxurious Prince, he could not part with great Sums at once. He only fed them from Hand to Mouth: So that they found it as necessary to keep him in a constant Dependance upon them, as they had upon him. They knew he would give them ready Money no longer than he had absolute Necessity for them, and he had not Places enough in his Disposal to secure a Majority in the House; for in those early Days the Art was not found out of splitting and multiplying Places; as instead of a Lord Treasurer to have Five Lords of the Treasury; instead of a Lord Admiral, to have Seven Lords of the Admiralty; to have Seven Commissioners of the Customs, Nine of the Excise, Fourteen of the Navy Office, Ten of the Stamp Office, Eight of the Prize Office, Sixteen of the Commissioners of Trade, Two of the Post Office, Four of the Transports, Four for Hackney Coaches, Four for Wine-Licences, Four for the Victualling Office, Multitudes of other Offices which are endless to enumerate. I believe the Gentlemen who have the good Fortune to be in some of these Imployments, will think I complement them,if I should say they have not been better executed since they were in some Hands, than when in fewer: and I must confess, I see no Reason why they may not be made twice as many, and so ad infinitum, unless the Number be ascertain’d by Parliament; and what Danger this may be to our Constitution, I think of with Horror. For if in Ages to come they should be all given to Parliament Men, what will become of our so much boasted Liberty? What shall be done when the Criminal becomes the Judge, and the Malefactors are left to try themselves? We may be sure their common Danger will unite them, and they will all stand by one another. I do not speak this by Guess; for I have read of a Country where there was a constant Series of Mismanagement for many Years together, and yet no Body was punish’d: And even in our own Country I believe, some Men now alive can remember the Time, when if the King had but twenty more Places in his Disposal, or disposed of those he had to the best Advantage, the Liberty of England had been at an End. I would not be understood quite to exclude Parliament men from having Places; for a Man may serve his Country in two Capacities: but I would not have it to be a Qualification for a Place, because a poor Borough thinks a Man fit to represent them, that therefore he must be a Statesman, a Lawyer, a Soldier, an Admiral, and what not? If this Method should be taken in a future Reign, the People must not expect to see Men of Ability or Integrity in any Places, while they hold them by no other Tenure than the Disservice they do their Country in the House of Commons, and are sure to be turned out upon every prevalent Faction on the other Side. They must then never expect to see the House of Commons act vigorously for the Interest either of King or People; but some will servilely comply with the Court to keep their Places, others will oppose it as unreasonably to get them: And those Gentlemen whose Designs are for their Country’s Interest, will grow weary of the best Form of Government in the World, thinking by Mistake the Fault is in our Constitution. I have heard of a Country, where the Disputes about Offices to the Value of thirty thousand Pounds per Annum, have made six Millieus ineffectual; what by some Mens prostitute Compliance, and others openly clogging the Wheels, it has caus’d Want and Necessityin all Kinds of Men, Bribery, Treachery, Profaneness, Atheism, Prodigality, Luxury, and all the Vices that attend a remiss and corrupt Administration, and a universal Neglect of the Public. It is natural to run from one Extreme to another; and this Policy will at last turn upon any Court that uses it; for if they should be resolv’d to give all Offices to Parliament-men, the People will think themselves under a Necessity to obtain a Law that they should give none, which has been more than once attempted in our own Time. Indeed, though there may be no great Inconvenience in suffering a few that have Places to be in that House, such as come in naturally, without any indirect Means, yet it will be fatal to us to have many: For all wise Governments endeavour as much as possible to keep the Legislative and Executive Parts asunder, that they they may be a Check upon one another. Our Government trusts the King with no Part of the Legislative but a Negative Voice, which is absolutely necessary to preserve the Executive. One Part of the Duty of the House of Commons is to punish Offenders, and redress the Grievances occasion’d by the Executive Part of the Government; and how can that be done if they should happen to be the same Persons, unless they would be publick-spirited enough to hang or drown themselves?
But in my Opinion, in another Thing of no less Importance, we deviated in Charles the Second’s Time from our Constitution; for though we were in a Capacity of punishing Offenders, yet we did not know legally who they were. The Law has been always very tender of the Person of the King, and therefore has dispos’d the Executive Part of the Government in such proper Channels, that whatsoever lesser Excesses are committed, they are not imputed to him, but his Ministers are accountable for them: His Great Seal is kept by his Chancellor, his Revenue by his Treasurer, his Laws are executed by his Judges, his Fleet is manag’d by his Lord High Admiral, who are all accountable for their Misbehaviour. Formerly all Matters of State and Discretion were debated and resolv’d in the Privy Council, where every Man subscrib’d his Opinion, and was answerable for it. The late King Charles was the first who broke this most excellent Part of our Constitution, by settling a Cabal or Cabinet Council, where allMatters of Consequence debated and resolved, and then brought to the Privy Council to be confirmed. The first Footsteps we have of this Council in any European Government were in Charles the Ninth’s Time of France, when resolving to massacre the Protestants, he durst not trust his Council with it, but chose a few Men whom he call’d his Cabinet Council: And considering what a Genealogy it had, ’tis no Wonder it hath been so fatal both to King and People. To the King; for whereas our Constitution has provided Ministers in the several Parts of the Government to answer for Miscarriages, and to skreen him from the Hatred of the People; this on the contrary protects the Ministers, and exposes the King to all the Complaints of his Subjects. And ’tis as dangerous to the People; for whatever Miscarriages there are, no Body can be punish’d for them; for they justify themselves by a Sign Manual, or perhaps a private Direction from the King; and then we have run it so far, that we cannot follow it. The Consequence of this must be continual Heartburnings between King and People; and no one can ses the Event.
IF any Man doubts whether a Standing Army is Slavery, Popery, Mahometism, Paganism, Atheism, or any Thing which they please, let him read,
First, The Story of Matho and Spendius at Carthage, and the Mamalukes of Egypt.
Secondly, The Histories of Strada and Bentivolio, where he will find what Work nine thousand Spaniards made in the Seventeen Provinces, though the Country was full of fortified Towns, possessed by the Low Country Lords, and they had Assistance from Germany, England and France.
Thirdly, The History of Philip de Commines, where he will find that Lewis the 11th inslaved the vast Country of France with 25000 Men, and that the raising 500 Horse by Philip of Burgundy, sirnamed the Good, was the Ruin of those Provinces.
Fourthly, Ludlow’s Memoirs, where he will find that an Army raised to defend our Liberties, made Footballs of that Parliament, at whose Actions all Europe stood amazed, and in a few Years set up ten several Sorts of Government contrary to the Genius of the whole Nation, and the Opinion of Half their own Body: Such is the Influence of a General over an Army, that he can make them act like a Piece of Mechanism, whatever their private Opinions are.
Lastly, Let him read the Arguments against a Standing Army, the Discourse concerning Militias, the Militia Reform’d, and the Answers to them: But lest all this should not satisfy him, I will here give a Short History of Standing Armies in England, I will trace this Mystery of Iniquity from the Beginning, and show the several Steps by which it has crept upon us.
The first Footsteps I find of a Standing Army in England since the Romans left the Island, were in Richard the Second’s Time, who raised four thousand Archers in Cheshire, and suffered them to plunder, live upon Free Quarter, beat, wound, ravish and kill wherever they went; and afterwards he called a Parliament, encompassed them with his Archers, forced them to give up the whole Power of Parliaments, and make it Treason to endeavour to repeal any of the Arbitrary Constitutions that were then made; but being afterwards obliged to go to Ireland to suppress a Rebellion there, the People took Advantage of it, and dethron’d him.
The Nation had such a Specimen in this Reign of a Standing Army, that I do not find any King from him to Charles the First, that attempted keeping up any Forces in Time of Peace, except the Yeomen of the Guard, who were constituted by Henry the Seventh; and though there were several Armies raised in that Time for French, Scotch, Irish, other foreign and domestic Wars; yet they were constantly disbanded as soon as the Occasion was over. And in all the Wars of York and Lancaster, whatever Party prevailed, we do not find they ever attempted to keep up a Standing Army. Such was the virtue of those times, that they would rather run the hazard of forefeiting their Heads and Estates to the rage of the opposite Party, than certainly inslave their Country, tho’ they themselves were to be the Tyrants.
Nor would they suffer our Kings to keep up an Army in Ireland, tho’ there were frequent Rebellions there, and by that means their Subjection very precarious; as well knowing they would be in England when called for. In the first three hundred Years that the English had Possession of that Country, there were no Armies there but in times of War. The first Force that was establish’d was in the 14th of Edward the fourth, when 120 Archers on Horseback, 40 Horsemen, and 40 Pages were establish’d by Parliament there; which six Years after were reduc’d to 80 Archers, and 20 Spearmen on Horseback. Afterwards in Henry the Eighth’s time, in the Year 1535, the Army in Ireland was 300; and in 1543, they were increased to 380 Horse and 160 Foot, which was the Establishment then. I speak this of times of Peace: for when the Irish were in Rebellion, which was very frequent, the Armis were much more considerable. In Queen Mary’s time the Standing Forces were about 1200. In most of Queen Elizabeth’s Reign the Irish were in open Rebellion; but when they were all suppress’d, the Army establish’d was between 1500 and 2000: about which number they continued till the Army rais’d by Strafford, the 15th of Charles the 1st.
In the Year 1602 dy’d Queen Elizabeth, and with her all the Virtue of the Plantagenets, and the Tudors. She made the English Glory sound thro’ the whole Earth: She first taught her Country the Advantages of Trade; set bounds to the Ambition of France and Spain; assisted the Dutch, but would neither permit them or France to build any great Ships; kept the Keys of the Rivers Maes and Scheld in her own hands; and died with an uncontrol’d Dominion of the Seas, and Arbitress of Christendom. All this she did with a Revenue not exceeding 300000 pounds per Annum; and had but inconsiderable Taxes from her People.
No sooner was King James come to the Crown, but all the Reputation we had acquir’d in her glorious Reign was eclips’d, and we became the scorn of all Nations about us, contemned even by that State we had created, who insulted us at Sea, seiz’d Amboyna, Poleroon, Seran, and other Places in the East-Indies, by which they ingross’d that most profitable Trade of Spices; fish’d upon our Coasts without paying the customary Tribute, and at the same time prevail’d with the King to deliver up the Cautionary Towns of Brill, Ramekins, and Flushing, for a very small Consideration, tho’ there were near six Millions Arrears. He squandred the public Treasure, discountenanc’d all the great Men who were rais’d in the glorious Reign of his Predecessor, cut off Sir Walter Raleigh’s Head, advanced Favourites of his own, Men of no Merit, to the highest Preserment; and to maintain their Profuseness, he granted them Monopolies, infinite Projects, prostituted Honours for Money, rais’d Bevevolences and Loans without Authority of Parliament. And when these Grievances were complain’d of there, he committed many of the principal Members without Bail or Mainprise, as he did afterwards for presuming to address him against the Spanish Match. He pardon’d the Earl of Somerset and his Wife for Sir Thomas Overbury’s Murder, after he had imprecated all the Curses of Heaven upon himself and his Posterity; and it was generally thought because the Earl was Accessary to the poisoning Prince Henry. He permitted his Son-in-law to be ejected out of his Principalities, and the Protestant Interest to be run down in Germany and France, while he was bubbled nine Years together with the hopes of the Spanish Match, and a great Fortune. Aferwards he made a dishonourable Treaty of Marriage with France, giving the Papists Liberty of Conscience; and indeed, as he often declared, he was no otherwise an Enemy to Popery, than for their deposing of Kings, and King-killing Doctrine. In Ireland he gave them all the Incouragement he durst; which Policy has been follow’d by all his Successors since to this present Reign, and has serv’d ’em to two purposes: One is, by this they have had a pretence to keep up Standing Armies there to awe the Natives: and the other, that they might make use of the Natives against their English Subjects. In this Reign that ridiculous Doctrine of Kings being Jure Divino was coined, never before heard of even in the Eastern Tyrannies. The other Parts of his Government had such a mixture of Scharamuchi and Harlequin, that they ought not to be spoken of seriously; as Proclamations upon every Trifle, some against talking of News; Letters to the Parliament, telling them he was an old and wise King; that State Affairs were above their reach, therefore they must not meddle with them, and such like Trumpery. But our happiness was, that this Prince was a great Coward, and hated the sight of a Soldier; so that he could not do much against us by open force. At last he died (as many have believed) by Poison, to make room for his Son Charles the First.
This King was a great Bigot, which made him the Darling of the Clergy; but having no great reach of his own, and govern’d by the Priests (who have been always unfortunate when they have meddled with Politics) with a true Ecclesiastic Fury he drove on to the Destruction of all the Liberties of England. This King’s whole Reign was one continued Act against the Laws. He dissolved his first Parliament for presuming to inquire into his Father’s Death, tho’ he lost a great Sum of Money by it, which they had voted him: He entred at the same time into a War with France and Spain, upon the private Piques of Buckingham, who managed them to the eternal Dishonour and Reproach of the English Nation; witness the ridiculous Enterprizes upon Cadiz and the Isle of Rhee. He delivered Pennington’s Fleet into the French hands, betrayed the poor Rochellers, and suffered the Protestant Interest in France to be quite extirpated. He raised Loans, Excises, Coat and Conduct-mony, Tunnage and Poundage, Knight-hood and Ship-money, without Authority of Parliament; imposed new Oaths on the Subjects, to discover the value of theit Estates; imprisoned great numbers of the most considerable Gentry and Merchants for not paying his Arbitrary Taxes; some he sent beyond Sea, and the poorer sort he prest for Soldiers. He kept Soldiers upon free Quarter, and executed Martial Law upon them. He granted Monopolies without number, and broke the bounds of the Forests. He erected Arbitrary Courts, and enlarged others, as the High Commission-Court, the Star-Chamber, Court of Honour, Court of Requests, &c. and unspeakable Oppressions were committed in them, even to Men of the first Quality. He commanded the Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Lincoln not to come to Parliament; committed and prosecuted a great many of the most eminent Members of the House of Commons for what they did there, some for no cause at all, and would not let them have the benefit of Habeas Corpus; suspended and confin’d Arch-Bishop Abbot, because he would not license a Sermon that asserted Despotic Power, whatever other cause was pretended. He suspended the Bishop of Glocester, for refusing to swear never to consent to alter the Government of the Church; supported all his Arbitrary Ministers against the Parliament, telling them that he wondred at the foolish Impudence of any one to think he would part with the meanest of his Servants upon their account: and indeed in his Speeches, or rather Menaces, he treated them like his Footmen, calling them Undutiful, Seditious, and Vipers. He brought unheard of Innovations into the Church; preferred Men of Arbitrary Principles, and inclinable to Popery, especially those Firebrands, Laud, Mountage, and Manwaring, one of whom had been complained of in Parliament, another impeached for advancing Popery, and the third condemned in the House of Lords. He dispensed with the Laws against Papists, and both encouraged and preferred them. He called no Parliament for twelve years together, and in that time governed as arbitrarily as the Grand Seignior. He abetted the Irish Massacre, as appears by their producing a Commission under the Great Seal of Scotland, by the Letter of Charles the 2d in favour of the Marquess of Antrim, by his stopping the Succours that the Parliament sent to reduce Ireland six Months under the Walls of Chester, by his entring into a Treaty with the Rebels after he had engaged his Faith to the Parliament to the contrary, and bringing over many thousands of them to fight against his People. It is endless to enumerate all the Oppressions of his Reign; but having no Army to support him, his Tyranny was precarious, and at last his ruin. Tho’ he extorted great Sums from the People, yet it was with so much difficulty, that it did him little good. Besides, he spent so much in foolish Wars and Expeditions, that he was always behind-hand; yet he often attempted to raise an Army.
Upon pretence of the Spanish and French War he raised many thousand Men, who lived upon free Quarter, and robb’d and destroyed wherever they came. But being unsuccessful in his Wars abroad, and prest by the Clamours of the People at home, he was forced to dishand them. In 1627 he sent over 30000 l. to Holland to raise 3000 German Horse, to force his arbitrary Taxes; but this matter taking Wind, and being examined by the Parliament, Orders were sent to countermand them. In the 15th Year of his Reign he gave a Commission to Strafford to raise 8000 Irish to be brought into England: but before they could get hither, the Scots were in Arms for the like Oppressions, and marched into Northumberland, which forcing him to call a Parliament, prevented that design, and so that Army was disbanded. Soon after he raised an Army in England to oppose the Scots, and tampered with them to march to London, and dissolve the Parliament: But this Army being composed for the most part of the Militia, and the matter being communicated to the House, who immediately fell on the Officers that were Members, Ashburnham, Wilmot, Pollard, &c. the design came to nothing. After this there was a Pacification between the King and the Scots; and in pursuance of it both Armies were disbanded. Then he went to Scotland, and endeavoured to prevail with them to invade England; but that not doing, he sent a Message to the Parliament, desiring their concurrence in the raising 3000 Irish to be lent to the King of Spain; to which the the Parliament refused to consent, believing he would make another use of them. When he came back to London, he picked out 3 or 400 dissolute Fellows out of Taverns, gaming and brothel Houses, kept a Table for them; and with this goodly Guard all armed he entred the House of Commons, sat down in the Speaker’s Chair, demanding the delivery of 5 Members: But the Citizens coming down by Land and Water with Musquets upon their Shoulders to defend the Parliament, he attempted no further. This so enraged the House, that they chose a Guard to defend themselves against future Insults, and the King soon after left London. Some time before this began the Irish Rebellion, where the Irish pretended the King’s Authority, and shewed the Great Seal to justify themselves; which whether true, or false, raised such a jealousy in the People, that he was forced to consent to leave the Management of that War to the Parliament: Yet he afterwards sent a Message to them, telling them he would go to Ireland in Person; and acquainted them, that he had issued out Commissions for raising 2000 Foot and 200 Horse in Cheshire for his Guard, which they protested against, and prevented it. By this we may see what Force was thought sufficient in his Reign to enslave the Nation, and the frequent Attempts to get it.
Then the Civil Wars broke out between him and his People, in which many bloody Battels were fought; two of the most considerable were those of Newbury, both won by new Soldiers, the first by the London Militia, and the latter by an unexperienced Army, which the King used to call in derision the New Nodel. And some years after, the Battle of Worcester was in a great measure won by the Country Militia, for which Cromwel discharged them with anger and contempt, as knowing them Instruments unfit to promote his Tyrannical Designs. At last by the fate of the War the King became a Prisoner, and the Parliament treated with him while in that condition, and at the same time voted that some part of the Army should be disbanded, and others sent to Ireland to reduce that Kingdom; upon which the Army chose Agitators among themselves who presented a Petition to both Houses, that they would proceed to settle the Affairs of the Kingdom, and declare that no part of the Army should be disbanded till that was done. But finding their Petition resented, they sent and seized the King’s Person from the Parliaments Commissioners, drew up a Charge of High Treason against eleven principal Members for endeavouring to disband the Army, entred into a private Treaty with the King: But he not complying with their demands, they seized London; and notwithstanding the Parliament had voted the King’s concession a ground for a future Settlement, they resolved to put him to Death, and in order thereto purged the House, as they called it, that is, placed Guards upon them, and excluded all Members that were for agreeing with the King; and then cut off his Head.
After this they let the Parliament govern for five Years, who made their Name famous thro’ the whole Earth, conquered their Enemies in England, Scotland and Ireland; reduced the Kingdom of Portugal to their own Terms; recovered our Reputation at Sea; overcame the Dutch in several famous Battles; secured our Trade and managed the public Expences with so much frugality, that no Estates were gained by private Men upon the public Miseries; and at last were passing an Act for their own Dissolution, and settling the Nation in a free and impartial Commonwealth; of which the Army being afraid, thought it necessary to dissolve them, and accordingly Cromwel next Day called two Files of Musqueteers into the House, and pulled the Speaker out of the Chair, behaving himself like a Madman, vilifying the Members, and calling one a Whoremaster, another a Drunkard, bidding the Soldiers take away that Fool’s bauble the Mace; and so good-night to the Parliament.
When they had done this Act of violence, the Council of Officers set up a new form of Government, and chose a certain number of Persons out of every County and City of England, Scotland and Ireland: and these they invested with the Supreme Power, but soon after expelled them, and then Cromwel set up himself, and framed a new Instrument of Government by a Protector and a House of Commons, in pursuance of which he called a Parliament. But they not answering his Expectations, he excluded all that would not subscribe his Instrument; and those that remained, not proving for his Purpose neither, he dissolved them with a great deal of opprobrious Language. He then divided England into several Districts or Divisions, and placed Major Generals or Intendants over them, who governed like so many Bashaws, decimating the Cavaliers, and raising Taxes at their Pleasure. Then forsooth he had a mind to make himself King, and called another Parliament to that purpose, after his usual manner secluding such Members as he did not like. To this Assembly he offered another Instrument of Government, which was by a Representative of the People, a 2d House composed of 70 Members in the Nature of a House of Lords, and a single Person; and left a Blank for what name he should be called, which this worthy Assembly filled up with that of King, addressed to Cromwel that he would be pleased to accept it, and gave him power to nominate the Members of the Other House. This the great Officers of the Army resented, for it destroyed all their hopes of being Tyrants in their turn, and therefore addressed the Parliament against the Power and Government of a King, which made Cromwel decline that Title, and content himself with a greater Power under the name of Protector. Afterwards he named the Other House, as it was called, for the most part out of the Officers of the Army; but even this Parliament not pleasing him, he dissolved them in a fury, and governed the Nation without any Parliament at all till he died.
After his death the Army set up his Son Richard, who called a new Parliament; but their procceedings being not agreeable to the humour of the Soldiery they forced the Protector to dissolve them: then they deposed him, and took the Power into their own hands; but being unable to wield it, they restored the Commonwealth, and soon after expelled them again, because they would not settle the Military Sword independent of the Civil: Then they governed the Nation by a Council of War at Wallingford-House, and chose a Committee of Safety for the executive part of the Government; but that Whim lasted but a little time before they chose Conservators of Liberty; and that not doing neither, they agreed that every Regiment should choose two Representatives, and this worthy Council should settle the Nation; when they met, sometimes they were for calling a new Parliament, sometimes for restoring the old, which was at last done. By this means all things fell into Confusion, which gave Monk an opportunity of marching into England, where he acted his part so dexterously, that he restored the King with part of that Army which had cut off his Father’s Head.
This is a true and lively Example of a Government with an Army; an Army that was raised in the Cause, and for the sake of Liberty; composed for the most part of Men of Religion and Sobriety. If this Army could commit such violences upon a Parliament always successful, that had acquired so much Reputation both at home and abroad, at a time when the whole People were trained in Arms, and the Pulse of the Nation beat high for Liberty; what are we to expect if in a future Age an ambitious Prince should arise with a dissolute and debauched Army, a flattering Clergy, a prostitute Ministry, a Bankrupt House of L———ds, a Pensioner House of C———ns, and a slavish and corrupted Nation?
By this means came in Charles the Second, a luxurious effeminate Prince, a deep Dissembler, and if not a Papist himself, yet a great favourer of them: But the People had suffered so much from the Army, that he was received with the utmost Joy and Transport. The Parliament in the Honymoon passed what Laws he pleased, gave a vast Revenue for Life, being three times as much as any of his Predecessors ever enjoyed, and several Millions besides to be spent in his Pleasures. This made him conceive vaster hopes of Arbitrary Power than any that went before him; and in order to it he debauched and enervated the whole Kingdom: His Court was a scene of Adulteries, Drunkenness, and Irreligion, appearing more like Stews, or the Feasts of Bacchus, than the Family of a Chief Magistrate: And in a little time the Contagion spread thro’ the whole Nation, that it was out of the Fashion not to be leud, and scandalous not to be a public Enemy: Which has been the occasion of all the Miseries that have since happened, and I am afraid will not be extinguished but by our ruin. He was no sooner warm in his Seat but he rejected an advantageous Treaty of Commerce which Oliver made with France, as done by an Usurper; suffered the French to lay Impositions upon all our Goods, which amounted to a Prohibition, insomuch that they got a Million a Year from us in the overbalance of Trade. He sold that important Fortress of Dunkirk, let the French seize St. Christophers and other places in North America
He began a foolish and unjust War with the Dutch; and tho’ the Parliament gave him vast Sums to maintain it, yet he spent so much upon his Vices, that they got great advantages of us, and burnt our Fleet at Chatham. At last he made as dishonourable a Peace with them, as he had done a War; perpetual reproach to our Country, that our Reputation at Sea should be sunk to so low an ebb as to be baffled by that Nation, who but a few Years before had sent a blank Paper to the Parliament, to prescribe to them what Laws they pleased. During this War the City of London was fired, not without violent suspicions that the Fireballs were prepared at Whitehall. Soon after this he entred into the Triple Alliance to oppose the growing greatness of France, and received a great Sum from the Parliament to maintain it, which he made use of to break the same League; sent Mr. Coventry to Sweden to dissolve it; and entred into a strict Alliance with France, which was sealed with his Sister’s Blood. In Conjunction with them he made a new War upon Holland, to extirpate Liberty, and the Protestant Religion; but knowing the Parliament were averse to the War, and would not support him in it, he attempted before any War declared to seize their Smyrna Fleet, shut up the Exchequer, and became so mean as to be a Pensioner to France, from whence his Predecessors with Swords in their Hands had so often exacted Tribute. He not only suffered, but assisted them to arrive at that pitch of Greatness, which all Europe since hath sufficiently felt and lamented. He sent over ten thousand Men to assist in subduing Flanders and Germany, by whose help they did several considerable Actions. He sent them Timber, Seamen, Ship Carpenters, and Models, contrary to the Policy of all Nations; which raised their Naval Force to a degree almost equal to our own: And for their exercise, he suffered them to take multitudes of English Ships by their Privateers, without so much as demanding satisfaction.
During this War he issued out a Declaration suspending the Penal Laws, which appears to be designed in favour of the Papists, by his directing a Bill afterwards to be stolen away out of the House of Lords, for indulging Protestant Dissenters, whom he persecuted violently most of his Reign, while he both countenanced and preferred Papists broke the Act of Settlement in Ireland, restored them to their Estates, issued forth a Proclamation giving the Papists liberty to inhabit in Corporations, and married the Duke of York not only to a Papist, but one in the French Interest, notwithstanding the repeated Addresses of the Parliament to the contrary. It was in this Reign that that cursed and detestable Policy was much improved of bribing Parliaments, by distributing all the great Employments in England among them, and supplying the Want of Places with Grants of Lands and Money. No Man could be preferred to any Employment in Church or State, till he had declared himself an open Enemy to our Constitution, by asserting Despotic Power under that nonsensical Phrase of Passive Obedience, which was more preach’d up than all the Laws of God and Man. The Hellish Popish Plot was stifled, proved since too true by fatal Experience; and in the Room of it Protestant ones were forg’d, and Men trapann’d into others, as the Meal-Tub, Fitz Harris’s, the Rye-House, Newmarket, and Black-Heath Plots; and by these Pretences, and the Help of Packt Judges and Juries, they butchered some of the best Men in England, set immoderate Fines upon others, gave probable Suspicion of cutting the Lord Essex’s Throat; and to finish our Destruction, they took away the Charters, as fast as they were able, of all the Corporations in England, that would not choose the Members prescribed them.
But he durst not have dreamt of all these Violations if he had not had an Army to justify them. He had thoughts at first of keeping up the Parliament-Army, which was several times in Debate. But Chancellor Hyde prevailed upon him by this Argument, that they were a Body of Men that had cut off his Father’s Head; that they had set up and pulled down ten several Sorts of Government; and that it might be his own Turn next. So that his Fears prevailing over his Ambition, he consented to disband them; but soon found how vain and abortive a Thing Arbitrary Power would prove without an Army. He therefore try’d all ways to get one; and first he attempted it in Scotland, and by means of the Duke of Lauderdale, got an Act passed there, whereby the Kingdom of Scotland was obliged to raise 20000 Foot and 2000 Horse at his Majesty’s Call, to march into any Part of his Dominions; and this Law is in Being at this Day. Much about the same Time he raised Guards in England (a Thing unheard of before in our English Constitution) and by Degrees increas’d them, till they became a formidable Army; for first they were but very few, but by adding insensibly more Men to a Troop or Company, and then more Troops or Companies to a Regiment, before the second Dutch War he had multiplied them to near 5000 Men. He then began that War in Conjunction with France, and the Parliament gave him two Millions and a half to maintain it, with Part of which Money he rais’d about 12000 Men, which were called the Black-Heath Army (appointing Marshal Shomberg to be their General, and Fitz Gerald, an Irish Papist, their Lieutenant-General) and pretended he rais’d them to attack Holland; but instead of using them to that purpose, he kept them encamped upon Black-Heath, hovering over the City of London, which put both the Parliament and City in such Confusion, that the King was forced at last to disband them. But there were several Accidents contributed to it: First, the ill Success he had in the War with the Dutch, such Gallantries being not to be attempted but in the highest Raptures of Fortune: Next, the never to be forgotten Generosity of that great Man General Shomberg, whose mighty Genius scorn’d so ignoble an Action as to put Chains upon a free People; and last of all, the Army themselves mutinied for want of Pay; which added to the ill Humours that were then in the Nation, made the King willing to disband them. But at the same time, contrary to the Articles of Peace with the Dutch, he continu’d ten thousand Men in the French Service, for the most part under Popish Officers, to be season’d there in slavish Principles, that they might be ready to execute any Commands when they were sent for over. The Parliament never met, but they address’d the King to recall these Forces out of France, and disband them; and several times prepar’d Bills to that purpose, which the King always prevented by a Prorogation; but at last was prevail’d upon to issue forth a Proclamation to recall them, yet at the same time supplied them with Recruits, encourag’d some to go voluntarily into that Service, and press’d, imprison’d, and carried over others by main Force; besides, he only disbanded the new rais’d Regiments, and not all of them neither, for he kept up in England five thousand eight hundred and ninety private Men, besides Officers, which was his Establishment in 1673.
The King having two great designs to carry on together, viz. Popery and Arbitrary Power, thought this Force not enough to do his Business effectually; and therefore cast about how to get a new Army, and took the most plausible way, which was pretending to entet into a War with France; and to that purpose sent Mr. Thyn to Holland, who made a strict League with the States: And immediately upon it the King called the Parliament, who gave him 1200000 Pounds to enter into an actual War, with which Money he raised an Army of between twenty and thirty thousand Men within less than forty Days, and sent part of them to Flanders. At the same time he continued his Forces in France, and took a Sum of Money from that King to assist him in making a private Peace with Holland: So that instead of a War with France, the Parliament had given a great Sum to raise an Army to enslave themselves. But it happened about this time that the Popish Plot broke out, which put the Nation into such a Ferment, that there was no stemming the Tide: So that he was forced to call the Parliament which met the 23d of October 78, who immediately fell upon the Popish Plot and the Land Army. Besides there were discovered 57 Commissions granted to Papists to raise Men, countersigned J. Will———son; for which, and saying that the King might keep Guards if he could pay them, he was committed to the Tower. This so enrag’d the Parliament, that they immediately proceeded to the disbanding of the Army, and passed an Act that all raised since the 29th of September 77 should be disbanded, and gave the King 693388 pounds to pay off their Arrears, which he made use of to keep them up, and dissolved the Parliament; but soon after called another, which pursued the same Counsels, and passed a second Act to disband the Army, gave a new Sum for doing it, directed it to be paid into the Chamber of London, appointed Commissioners of their own, and passed a Vote, That the continuance of any Standing Forces in thisNation other than the Militia, was illegal, and a great Grievance and Vexation to the People; so that Army was disbanded. Besides this, they complain’d of the Forces that were in France, and addressed the King again to recall them, which had some Effect; for he sent over no more Recruits, but suffered them to wear out by degrees. The Establishment upon the Dissolution of this Army, which was in the Year 1679-80, were 5600 private Soldiers, besides Officers. From this time he never agreed with his People, but dissolved three Parliaments following for enquiring into the Popish Plot; and in the three last Years of his Reign called none at all. And to crown the work, Tangier is demolished, and the Garrison brought over, and placed in the most considerable Ports in England; which made the Establishment in 1683-4, 848z private Men, besides Officers. It is observable in this King’s Reign, that there was not one Sessions but his Guards were attacked, and never could get the least Countenance from Parliament; but to be even with them the Court as much discountenanced the Militia and never would suffer it to be made useful. Thus we see the King husbanded a few Guards so well, that in a small Number of Years they grew to a formidable Army, notwithstanding all the Endeavours of Parliament to the contrary; so difficult it is to prevent the growing of an Evil, that does not receive a check in the beginning.
He increased the Establishment in Ireland to 7700 Men, Officers included; whereas they never exceeded in any former Reign 2000, when there was more occasion for them: The Irish not long before having been entirely reduced by Cromwell, and could never have held up their Heads again without his Countenance. But the Truth of it was, his Army was to support the Irish, and the fear of the Irish was to support his Army.
Towards the latter end of this King’s Reign the Nation had so entirely lost all sense of Liberty, that they grew fond of their Chains; and if his Brother would have suffered him to have lived longer, or had followed his Example, by this time we had been as great Slaves as in France. But it was God’s great Mercy to us that he was made in another Mold, Imperious, Obstinate, and a Bigot, pushed on by the Counsels of France and Rome, and the violence of his own Nature; so that he quickly run himself out of breath. As soon as he came to the Crown, he seized the Customs and Excise without Authority of Parliament: He picked out the Scum and Scandals of the Law to make Judges upon the Bench; and turned out all that would not sacrifice their Oaths to his Ambition, by which he discharged the Lords out of the Tower, inflicted those barbarous Punishments on Dr. Oates, Mr. Johnson, &c. butchered many hundreds of Men in the West, after they had been trapanned into a Confession by promise of Pardon, murdered Cornish, got the Dispensing Power to be declared in Westminster-hall, turned the Fellows of Magdalen-college out of their Freeholds, to make way for a Seminary of Priests, and hanged Soldiers for running away from their Colours. He erected the ecclesiastical Commission, suspended the Bishop of London, because he would not inflict the same Punishment upon Dr. Sharp, for preaching against Popery. He closetted the Nobility and Gentry, turned all out of Employment that would not promise to repeal the Test, put in Popish Privy-Counsellors, Judges, Deputy Lieutenants, and Justices of Peace; and to get all this confirmed by the shew of Parliament, he prosecuted the Work his Brother had begun in taking away Charters, and new modelled the Corporations, by a sort of Vermin called Regulators. He received a Nuntio from Rome, and sent an Ambassador thither. He erected a Popish Seminary at the Savoy to pervert Youth, suffered the Priests to go about in their Habits, made Tyrconnel Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, turned all the Protestants out of the Army and most of the Civil Employments there, and made Fitton (a Papist, and one detected for Perjury) Chancellor of that Kingdom. He issued out a Proclamation in Scotland, wherein he asserted his Absolute Power, which all his Subjects were to obey without reserve; a Prerogative, I think, never claimed by the Great Turk, or the Mogul. He issued out a Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, ordered it to be read in all Churches, and imprisoned and tried the seven Bishops, because they humbly offered their Reasons in a Petition against it: And to consummate all, that we might have no Hopes of retrieving our Misfortunes, he imposed a counterfeit Prince of Wales upon the Nation.
Soon after he came to the Crown, the Duke of Monmouth landed, and in a few Weeks got together six or seven thousand Men: But they having neither Arms or Provisions, were easily defeated by not many more than 2000 of the King’s Troops. Which leaves a sad Prospect of the Consequence of a Standing Army: For here was a Prince, the Darling of the common People, fighting against a bigotted Papist, that was hated and abhored by them, and yet defeated by so small a Number of Men, and many of them too his Friends; such is the Force of Authority. King James took occasion from hence to increase his Army to between fifteen and sixteen thousand Men, and then unmasked himself, called his Parliament, and in a haughty Speech told them, He had increased his Army, put in Officers not qualified by the Test, and that he would not part with them. He asked a Supply, and let them know he expected their compliance. This was very unexpected to those Loyal Gentlemen, who had given him such a vast Revenue for Life, who refused to take any Security but his Majesty’s never-failing Word for the Protestant Religion, and indeed had done for him whatever he asked; which yet was not very extraordinary, since he had the choosing of most of them himself. But even this Parliament turned short upon an Army; which puts me in mind of a saying of Machiavel, viz. That it is as hard a matter for a Man to be perfectly bad as perfectly good; though if he had lived at this Time, I believe he had changed his Opinion. The Court laboured the matter very much; and to shew that good Wits jump, they told us that France was grown formidable, that the Dutch Forces were much increased, that we must be strong in proportion for the preservation of ourselves and Flanders, and that there was no Dependance upon the Militia. But this shallow Rhetoric would not pass upon them. They answered, that we had defended ourselves for above a thousand Years without an Army; that a King’s truest Strength is the Love of his People; that they would make the Militia useful, and ordered a Bill to be brought in to that Purpose. But all this served only to fulfil their Iniquity; for they had done their own Business before, and now he would keep an Army up in spite of them: So he prorogued them, and called no other Parliament during his reign; but to frighten the City of London, kept his Army encamped at Hounslowheath, when the Season would permit, which put not only them but the whole Nation into the utmost Terror and Confusion. Towards the latter End of his Reign he had increased his Army in England to above twenty thousand Men, and in Ireland to eight thousand seven hundred and odd.
This King committed two fatal Errors in his Politicks, The first was his falling out with his old Cronies the Priests, who brought him to the Crown in spite of his Religion, and would have supported him in Arbitrary Government to the utmost; nay, Popery (especially the worst Part of it, viz. the Domination of the Church) was not so formidable a Thing to them, but with a little Cookery it might have been rendered palatable. But he had Priests of another sort that were to rise upon their Ruins; and he thought to play an easier Game by caressing the Dissenters, employing them, and giving them Liberty of Conscience: Which Kindness looked so preposterous, that the wise and sober Men among them could never heartily believe it, and when the Prince of Orange landed, turned against him.
His second Error was the disobliging his own Army, by bring over Regiments from Ireland, and ordering every Company to take in so many Irish Papists; by which they plainly saw he was reforming his Army, and would cashire them all as fast as he could get Papists to supply their room. So that he violated the Rights of the People, fell out with the Church of England, made uncertain Friends of the Dissenters, and disobliged his own Army; by which means they all united against him, and invited the Prince of Orange to assist them: Which Invitation he accepted, and landed at Torbay the 5th of November, 1688, publishing a Declaration, which set forth all the Oppressions of the last Reign [but the keeping up a Standing Army] declared for a free Parliament, in which things were to be so settled that there should be no danger of falling again into Slavery, and promised to send back all his foreign Forces as soon as this was done.
When the News of his Landing was spread through England, he was welcomed by the universal Acclamations of the People. He had the Hands, the Hearts, and the Prayers of all honest Men in the Nation: Every one thought the long wished for time of their Deliverance was come. King James was deserted by his own Family, his Court, and his Army. The Ground he stood upon mouldred under him; so that he sent his Queen and Foundling to France before him, and himself followed soon after. When the Prince came to London, he disbanded most of those Regiments that were raised from the time he landed; and King James’s Army that were disbanded by Feversham, were ordered to repair all again to their Colours: Which was thought by some a false step, believing it would have been more our Interest to have kept those Regiments which came in upon the Principle on which this Revolution is founded, that Forces that were raised in violation of the Laws, and to support a tyrannical Government: Besides, the miserable Condition of Ireland required our speedy Assistance, and these Men might have been trusted to do that work.
Within a few days after he came to Town, he summoned the Lords, and no long after the Members of the three last Parliaments of King Charlis the Second, and was addressed to by both Houses to take upon him the Administration of the Government, to take into his particular care the then present Condition of Ireland, and to issue forth Circulatory Letters for the choosing a Convention of Estates. All this time Ireland lay bleeding, and Tyrconnel was raising an Army, disarming the Protestants, and dispossessing them of all the Places they held in Lanster, Munster and Connaught, which occasioned frequent Applications here for Relief, though it was to send them but one or two Regiments; and it that could not be done, to send them Arms and Commission, which in all probability would have made the Reduction of that Kingdom very easy. Yet though the Prince’s and King James’s Army were both in England, no relief was sent, by which means the Irish got possession of the whole Kingdom, but Londonderry and Inniskilling, the former of which Towns shut up its Gates the ninth of December, declaring for the Prince of Orange, and addressed for immediate Relief, yet could neither get Arms or Ammunition till the 20th of March; and the Forces that were sent with Cunningham and Richards arrived not there till the 15th of April, and immediately after deserted the Service, and came back again, bringing Lundy the Governor before appointed by his Majesty with them, and alledged for their Excuse, that it was impossible to defend the Town. But notwithstanding this Treachery, such was the resolution of the besieged, that they continued to defend themselves with the utmost Bravery, and sent again for Relief, which under Kirk came not to them till the 7th of June, nor were these poor Creatures actually relieved till the 30th of July, though there appears no reason why he might not have done it when he first came into the Harbour, which was more than seven Weeks before. Thus we see the Resolution of these poor Men wearied out all their Disappointments.
When the Convention met, they resolved upon twenty eight Articles, as the Preliminaries upon which they would dispose the Crown; but this Design dwindled into a Declaration of our Rights, which was in thirteen Articles, and the most considerable, viz, That the raising and keeping up a Standing Army in times of Peace is contrary to Law, had tagg’d to it these Words, without Authority of Parliament, as if the consent of the Parliament would not have made it legal without those words, or that their Consent would make it less dangerous. This made the Jacobites say in those early Days, that some evil Counsellors designed to play the same game again of a Standing Army, and attributed unjustly the neglect of Ireland to the same Cause, because by that omission it was made necessary to raise a greater Army to reduce it, with which the King acquainted the Parliament the 8th of March, when speaking of the deplorable Condition of Ireland, he declared he thought it not adviseable to attempt the reducing it with less than 20000 Horse and Foot. This was a bitter Pill to the Parliament, who thought they might have managed their Share of the War with France at Sea; but there was no Remedy, a greater Army must be raised, or Ireland lost; and to gild it, all the Courtiers ushered in their Speeches with this Declaration, that they would have been the first for disbanding them when the War was over; and this Declaration has been made as often as an Army has been debated since during the War, and I suppose punctually observ’d last Sessions. At last the Thing was consented to, and the King issu’d forth Commissions for the raising of Horse, Foot, and Dragoons. In this Army very few Gentlemen of Estates in Ireland could get Employments, though they were in a miserable Condition here, and made their utmost Application for them; it being a common Objection by some Colonels, that a Man had an Estate there, which in all likelihood wou’d have made him more vigorous in reducing the Kingdom. It was long after this Army was rais’d, before they could be ready to be transported; and even then it was commonly said, that Shomberg found many Things out of Order; and when they were at last transported, which was about the middle of August, they were not in a Condition to fight the Enemy, though lately baffled before Londonderry, especially their Carriages not coming to them till the 24th of September, when it was high time to go into Winter Quarters. By this means the Irish got Strength and Courage, and three fourths of our Army perish’d at the Camp at Dundalk.
But though our Army could do nothing, yet the Militia of the Country, almost without Arms or Cloaths, performed Miracles, witness that memorable Siege of Londonderry, the Defeat of General Mackarty, who was intrench’d in a Bog with ten thousand regular Troops, and attack’d by fifteen hundred Inniskilling Men, defeated, himself made a Prisoner, and three thousand of his Men kill’d; and a great many other gallant Actions they perform’d, for which they were dismissed by Kirk with Scorn and Ignominy, and most of their Officers left to starve. Thus the War in Ireland was nurs’d up either through Chance, Inadvertency, or the Necessity of our Affairs (for I am willing to think it was Design) till at last it was grown so big, that nothing less than his Majesty’s great Genius, and the usual Success that has always attended his Conduct, could have overcome it.
When the Parliament met that Winter, they fell upon the examination of the Irish Affairs; and finding Commissary Shales was the cause of a great part of the Miscarriages, they addressed his Majesty that he would be pleased to acquaint the House who it was that advised the imploying him, which his Majesty did not remember. They then addressed, that he would be pleased to order him to be taken into Custody, and it was done accordingly; upon which Shales sent a Letter to the Speaker, desiring he might be brought over to England, where he would vindicate himself, and justify what he had done. Then the House addressed his Majesty again, that he might be brought over with all convenient speed; and the King was pleased to answer, that he had given such Orders already. Then the House referred the matter to a private Committee; but before any Report made, or Shales could be brought to England, the Parliament was prorogued, and after dissolved; and soon after he fell sick and died.
The neglect of Ireland this Year made it necessary to raise more Forces, and increase our Establishment, which afterwards upon pretence of invading France was advanced to eighty seven thousand six hundred ninety eight Men. At last by our great Armies and Fleets, and the constant expence of maintaining them, we were too hard for the Oeconomy, Skill, and Policy of France; and notwithstanding all our Difficulties, brought them to Terms both Safe and Honourable.
It not being to the purpose of this Discourse, I shall omit giving any account of the Conduct of our Fleet during this War, how few Advantages we reaped by it, and how many Opportunities we lost in destroying the French. Only thus much I will observe, that tho’ a great part of it may be attributed to the Negligence, Ignorance, or Treachery of inferior Officers, yet it could not so universally happen thro’ the whole course of the War, and unpunished too, notwithstanding the clamours of the Merchants, and repeated complaints in Parliament, unless the cause had laid deeper: What that is, I shall not presume to enquire; but I am sure there has been a very ill Argument drawn from it, viz. That a Fleet is no security to us.
As soon as the Peace was made, his Majesty discharged a great part of the foreign Forces; and an Advertisement was published in the Gazette, that ten Regiments should be forthwith disbanded; and we were told, as soon as it was done, that more should follow their example. But these Resolutions, it seems, were altered, and the modish Language was, that we must keep up a Standing Army. Their Arguments were turned topsy turvy: For as during the War the People were prevailed upon to keep up the Army in hopes of a Peace; so now we must keep them up for fear of a War. The Condition of France, which they had been decrying for many Years, was now magnified: We are told, that it was doubtful whether the French King would deliver up any of the Towns; that he was preparing a valt Fleet upon the Lord knows what Design; that it was impossible to make a Militia useful; that the warlike King Jemmy had an Army of eighteen thousand Irish Heroes in France, who would be ready when called for; and that the King of Spain was dying. The Members of Parliament were discoursed with as they came to Town; ’twas whispered about, that the Whigs would be all turned out of Employments: A new Plot was said to be discovered for murdering the King, and searches were made at Midnight thro’ the whole City to the discovery of Plenty of Fornicators but no Traitors. The Placemongers consulted among themselves, and found by a wonderful Sympathy they were all of one Opinion; and if by any means they could get a few more to be of the same, the day was their own: So they were positive of success, and very sure they should carry it by above a hundred Voices.
The House had not sat a Week, but this matter came to be debated; and the Question in the Committee was, Whether all Forces raised since the Year 80 should be disbanded? Which was carried in the Affirmative, the Court being not able to bring it to a division; and the next Day when it was reported, they did not attempt to set aside the Vote, but to recommit it, upon pretence it tied the King to the old Tory Regiments, (tho’ by the way, none of those Regiments have been since disbanded) and some said they thought the Forces in 80 too many. I can safely say, tho’ I had frequent discourse with many of them, yet I never heard any one of them at that time pretend to be for a greater force than this Vote left the King: But let what will be their Reasons, it was carried against them by a Majority of 37, the Affirmatives being 185, and the Negatives 148. I will not here take Notice of what some People have said, viz. That of the 148 who were for recommitting the Vote, 116 had Places, because I doubt the fact; nor do I believe their Places would biass them.
This was a thorow Victory, and required great Skill and address to retrieve. The fears of France were again multiplied; ’twas said there was a private Article that King James was to leave France, which the French refused to perform; that Boufflers and the Earl of Portland had given one another the Life; that some of the latter’s Retinue had been killed; that the French Ambassador was stopped, the King of Spain dead, and abundance more to this purpose. The Club was set up at the R—, great Applications made, the Commission of the Excise was declared to be broke (by which nine Commissioners Places were to be disposed of, and above 40 Persons named for them) and many of the Country Gentlemen were gone home. Thus recruited, they were ready for a new Encounter: and since by the Rules of the House they could not set aside the former Vote directly, they would try to do it by a side Wind; which was by moving, that directions might be given to the Committee of Ways and Means to consider of a supply for Guards and Garisons: But the other side, to obviate this, offered these Words as an Amendment, viz. According to the Vote of the 11th of December. This matter was much laboured, and the Gentlemen that were against the Army explained themselves, and declared they were not for obliging the King to the Regiments in 80, but that they insisted only on the Number, and he might choose what Regiments he pleased. By this Means they carried it, but not without great opposition, (tho’ I presume from none of those Gentlemen who declared in all Places they were for recommitting the former Vote only for the Reasons before given) besides, they were forced to explain themselves out of a considerable part of it, for they allowed the King the Dutch Regiments, and the Tangeriners; which in my Opinion could not be well understood by the former Vote, the meaning of which seems to be that the King should have all the Forces that Charles the 2d had in 80 in England, and these were not then here; the Holland Regiments being paid by the States, and their Soldiers; and the others 500 Leagues off at Tangier. But all this advantage would not satisfy the Army-Gentlemen: For in the Committee they endeavoured again to set aside the Vote, by moving for a Sum of 500000 Pounds per Annum for Guards and Garrisons, without naming any certain Number (which would have maintained above 20000) but this could not be carried; therefore they came to a sort of Composition, to have but 10000, whereof a great number were to be Horse and Dragoons; and the Sum given to maintain them was 350000 Pounds; But notwithstanding this they moved afterwards for 3000 Marines (alledging that these were not a Land-Force, but a Water-Force) which was carried.
Here I will beg leave to observe one thing, that nothing would satisfy the Courtiers at the beginning of the Winter but to have the Forces established by the Parliament, and upon other Terms they would not accept them; and in all Companys said, that any Minister that advised the King to keep them up otherwise, or any Officers that continued his Commission ought to be attainted of High Treason: About which I shall not differ with these Gentlemen, nor do I arraign them for altering their Opinion; for perhaps they may conceive that a Vote to give 350000 Pounds for Guards and Garrisons, is a sufficient Authority against Law to quarter Soldiers in all parts of England, as well out of Garisons, as in them, and as well at a distance from the King’s Person, as about it.
Thus what our Courts for above a thousand Years together had never Effrontery enough to ask; what the Pensioner Parliament could not think of without Astonishment; what King James’s Parliament (that almost chosen by himself) could not hear debated with Patience, we are likely to have the honour of establishing in our own Age, even under a Deliverance.
Now we will examine how far they have complied with the Resolutions of the House of Commons. Having so far gained upon the first Vote by the means before related, ’twas not easy to be imagined but they would nicely perform the rest, without any art or evasion: But instead of this, they formed a certain number of Men out of every Troop and Company, and kept up all the Officers, who are the most essential and chargeable part of an Army, the private Soldiers being to be raised again in a few Days whenever they please. This is such a disbanding as every Officer would have made in his Company for his private advantage, and always did in Charles the 2d’s time, and even in this Reign when they were not in Action: So that all the effect of such a Reform is to hinder the Officers from false Musters, and save the pay of a few common Soldiers.
But this would not satisfy the People, and therefore they dishanded some Regiments of Horse, Foot and Dragoons, and thought of that profound Expedient of sending a great many more to Ireland; as if our grievance was not the fear of being enslaved by them, but lest they should spend their Money among us. I am sorry the Nation is grown so contemptible in these Gentlemens Opinions, as to think that they can remove our fears of a Standing Army by sending them threescore Miles off, from whence they may recall them upon a few Days notice. Nay an Army kept in Ireland, is more dangerous to us than at home: For here by perpetual converse with their Relations and Acquaintance, some few of them perhaps may warp towards their Country; whereas in Ireland they are kept as it were in a Garison, where they are shut up from the communication of their Countrymen, and may be nursed up in another Interest. This is true, that ’tis a common Policy among Arbitrary Princes often to shift their Soldiers Quarters, lest they should contract friendship among the Natives, and by degrees fall into their Interest.
It may be said perhaps, That the People of Ireland will pay them; which makes the matter so much the worse, for they are less likely to have any regard to their Country. Besides if we consider the Lords Justices Speech to that Parliament, wherein they are let know that his Majesty Expects that they will continue the Subsistence to the disbanded Officers, and support the present Establishment (which by the way is near three times as great as Charles the Second’s) and this without any other Ceremony or qualification of Time (with which his Majesty was pleased to express himself to his English and Scotch Parliaments) we may be convinced that they are not in a Condition to dispute this matter; especially at a time when they apprehend Hardships will be put upon them in relation to their Trade: And therefore we may be sure they will gratify the Court to the utmost of their Power, in hopes, if they cannot prevent the passing a Law against them, to obtain a connivance in the execution. We may add; by this means they will keep their Money in their own Country, a great part whereof came formerly to England, and have an opportunity of returning the Compliment we designed them last Year, if we don’t prevent it by dishanding the Army there, as Strafford’s Army in Ireland was formerly in the 15th of Charles the first, and lately another in 1678 by our English Parliaments.
I cannot avoid taking notice here, how different the modish Sentiments are in Ireland and England: For there the Language is, We must comply with the Court, in keeping up the Army, or otherwise the Woollen Manufacture is gone; and here the Men in fashion tell us, that an Army must be kept in Ireland to destroy the Woollen Manufacture, and execute the Laws we make against them; and in order to it the People of Ireland are to pay them.
This project of sending Men to Ireland was so transparent, that they durst not rely upon it; and therefore they told us, that as fast as Money could be got, they would disband more Regiments. The People were in great Expectation when it would be done, and several times it was taken notice of in Parliament; and the Courtiers always assured them that nothing hindred it but the want of Money to pay them off. ’Twas confidently said in all publick places, that eighteen Regiments more would be disbanded, and the Regiments were named; and I have heard it with great Assurance affirmed by the Agents and Officers themselves, that the King had signed it in Council. Thus the Session was worn out, till the House of Commons, tired with Expectation, addressed his Majesty, That he would be pleased to give order that a List be laid before the House of the Army disbanded, and intended to bedisbanded, and of the Officers Names who are to have half pay; and his Majesty was pleased to answer, That he would comply with the desires of the House, as soon as conveniently be could: But the Parliament sitting not above a Month afterwards, his Majesty sent them no farther answer.
At last the Parliament rose, and instead of disbanding they brought over a great many foreign Regiments, and sent them to Ireland, as well as three more English ones. But even all this would not bring their Army in England down to ten thousand Men; so that they made another Reform, and since have incorporated the Officers of the disbanded Regiments in Ireland into the Standing Troops, by which means they have got an Army of Officers: Whereas if these Gentlemen design their Army to defend us against a sudden Invasion, or to be in readiness against the King of Spain’s Death, in my poor Opinion they should have kept up the private Soldiers, and disbanded all the Officers but such as are just necessary to exercise them; for Officers will be always ready to accept good Employments, whereas the private Soldiers will be very difficulty listed again in a new War, though we all know they are easily to be got together, when they are only to insult their Countrymen.
One good effect of this Army has already appeared; for I presume every Body has heard how prevailing an Argument it was in the late Elections, That if we choose such a Man, we shall be free from Quarters: And I wish this Argument does not every day grow stronger. Nay, who knows but in another Reign the Corporations may be told that his Majesty expects they will choose the Officers of the Army, and the Parliament be told that he expects they will maintain them?
But to set this matter in a full view, I will here put down the Establishment of King Charles the Second in 88, which was the foundation of the Vote of the 11th of December, as also his present Majesty’s: And in this, as well as my other Computations, I do not pretend but I may be mistaken in many Particulars, though I have taken what care I could not to be so; nor is it material to my purpose, so that the variation from Truth is not considerable.
I shall also set down King William’s Establishment as the Regiments were before the Reform, because all the Officers still remain, and a great part of the private Soldiers, which I take to be in effect full Regiments; the rest being to be raised again in a few days, if they are designed for home Service, but, as I said before, the hardest to be got if they are designed for Spain or Flanders. But herein if any Man differs from me, he may make his own deductions.
The Establishment of Charles the Second in England in the Year Eighty.
King Charles the Second’s Establishment in Ireland in the Year Eighty.
I have not here put down the Garrison of Tangier which was about three thousand Men, because that Place is now lost, and consequently wants no Garrison.
I will now set down his present Majesty’s Establishment, and then compare them both together.
I will now compare both Establishments together.
So that his present Majesty in England and Ireland alone has above three times as many Troops and Companies as Charles the Second in the Year Eighty, almost five times as many Commission Officers, near four times as many Non-Commission Officers; and when the Commanders shall have Orders to recruit their Companies, will have more than three times the Number of common Soldiers, besides the disbanded Officers which are not incorporated into other Regiments; and upon the Establishment they now stand, are as much Creatures to the Court, as if their Regiments were in Being.
His Majesty’s Forces in Scotland, which in the Year Eighty consisted of 2806 Men.
These Forces are as they are now reduc’d and allowed by the Parliament of Scotland, for Reasons best known to themselves; which without doubt must be very good ones, and ’tis commonly said, that ten Privy Counsellors of that Kingdom, who appear’d against the Army, are turn’d out of the Council; which, if true, I presume will be a sufficient Warning to our Gentlemen at home.
However, there is this Use in the Scotch Army, that if the Parliament of England shall be prevail’d on to think any Forces necessary, a lesser Number will be sufficient.
Of these seven thousand, eight hundred, and seventy seven, are Foreigners, which is the first foreign Army that ever set Foot in England, but as Enemies.
Since the writing of this I am informed, that Brudenall’s Regiment is in Being, and that Eppinger’s Dragoons are in English Pay, which if true, will make the whole Army sixty odd thousand Men; but in this as well as many other Parts of the List I may be mistaken, for which I hope I shall be excused, when I acquaint the Reader that I was forced to pick it out from accidental Discourses with Officers, having applied to my Lord R—’s Office without Success, though I made such Interest for it as upon another Occasion would not have been refused.
If the Prince of Orange in his Declaration, instead of telling us that we should be settled upon such a Foundation that there should be no Danger of our falling again into Slavery, and that he would send back all his Forces as soon as that was done, had promis’d us that after an eight Years War (which should leave us in Debt near twenty Millions) we should have a Standing Army established, a great many of which should be Foreigners, I believe few Men would have thought such a Revolution worth the Hazard of their Lives and Estates; but his mighty Soul was above such abject thoughts as these; his Declaration was his own, these paltry Designs are our Undertakers, who would shelter their own Oppressions under his Sacred Name.
I would willingly know whether the late King James could have enslaved us but by an Army, and whether there is any way of securing us from falling again into Slavery but by disbanding them. It was in that sense I understood his Majesty’s Declaration, and therefore did early take up Arms for him, as I shall be always ready to do. It was this alone which made his assistance necessary to us, otherwise we had wanted none but the Hangman’s.
I will venture to say, that if this Army does not make us Slaves, we are the only People upon Earth in such Circumstances that ever escaped it, with the 4th part of their number. It is a greater force than Alexander conquered the East with, than Cæsar had in his Conquest of Gaul, or indeed the whole Roman Empire; double the number that any of our Ancestors ever invaded France with, Agesilaus the Persians, or Huniades and Scanderbeg the Turkish Empire; as many again as was in any battle between the Dutch and Spaniards in forty Years War, or betwixt the King and Parliament in England; four times as many as the Prince of Orange landed with in England; and in short, as many as have been on both sides in nine Battles of ten that were ever sought in the World. If this Army does not enslave us, it is barely because we have a virtuous Prince that will not attempt it; and it is a most miserable thing to have no other Security for our Liberty, than the Will of a Man, though the most just Man living: For that is not a free Government where there is a good Prince (for even the most arbitrary Governments have had sometimes a Relaxation of their Miseries) but where it is so constituted, that no one can be a Tyrant if he would. Cicero says, though a Master does not tyrannize, yet it is a lamentable consideration that it is in his Power to do so; and therefore such a Power is to be trusted to none, which if it does not find a Tyrant, commonly makes one; and if not him, to be sure a Successor.
If any one during the Reign of Charles the Second, when those that were called Whigs, with a noble Spirit of Liberty, both in the Parliament House and in private Companies, opposed a few Guards as Badges of Tyranny, a Destruction to our Constitution, and the Foundations of a Standing Army: I say, if any should have told them that a Deliverer should come and rescue them from the Oppressions under which they then laboured; that France by a tedious and consumptive War should be reduced to half the Power it then had; and even at that time they should not only be passive, but use their utmost Interest, and distort their Reason to find out Arguments for keeping up so vast an Army, and make the Abuses of which they had been all their lives complaining, Precedents to justify those Proceedings; whoever would have told them this, must have been very regardless of his Reputation, and been thought to have had a great deal of ill-nature, But the truth is, we have lived in an Age of Miracles, and there is nothing so extravagant that we may not expect to see, when surly Patriots grow servile Flatterers, old Commonwealthsmen declare for the Prerogative, and Admirals against the Fleet.
But I wonder what Arguments in Nature our Hirelings will think of for keeping up an Army this Year. Good Reasons lie within a narrow Compass, and might be guessed at; but nonsense is infinite. The Arguments they chiefly insisted upon last year were, That it was uncertain whether the French King would deliver up any of his Towns if we disbanded our Army; that King James had 18000 Men at his devotion kept by the King of France; that a great Fleet was preparing there upon some unknown Design; that the King of Spain was dying; that there was no Militia settled; and that they would keep them up only for a year to see how the World went. This with a few Lies about my Lord Portland’s and Bouffler’s quarrelling, and some Prophecies of our being invaded in six Months, was the substance of what was said or printed.
Now in fact the French King has delivered up Giron, Roses, Belver, Barcelona, and a great Part of the Province of Catalonia: The Town and Province of Luxemburg, and the County of Chiny; the Towns of Mons,Charleroy, Courtray, and Acth in the Spanish Provinces, to the King of Spain.
The Town of Dinant to the Bishop of Liege.
The Towns of Pignerol, Cazal, Susa, Montmelian, Nice, Villa Franca, all Savoy, and part of Piedmont to the Duke of Savoy.
The Cities of Treves, Germensheim, and the Palatinate; the County of Spanheim, Veldentz, and Dutchy of Deuxponts; the County of Mombelliand, and some Possessions of Burgundy; the Forts of Kiel, Fribourgh, St. Peterfort, Destoile, the Town of Philipsburgh, and most of Alsace, Eberenburg, and the Dutchy of Lorrain to the Empire: Has demolished Hunningen, Montroyal, and Kernburg.
He has delivered up the Principality of Orange to the King of England.
These are vast Countries, and contain in bigness as much ground as the Kingdom of England, and maintain’d the King of France above 100000 Men; besides he had laid out vast Sums in the Fortifications he delivered up and demolished. Add to this, his Kingdom is miserably impoverished and depopulated by this War; his Manufactures much impaired; great Numbers of Offices have been erected, which like Leeches draw away the People’s Blood; prodigious Debts contracted, and a most beneficial Trade with England lost. These things being considered, there can be little danger of their shewing overmuch wantonness, especially for some years; and yet still we must be bullied by the name of Frdnce, and the Fear of it must do what their Power could never yet effect: which is a little too gross, considering they were enslaved by the same means. For in Lewis the XIth’s Time, the French gave up their Liberties for fear of England, and now we must give up ours for fear of France.
Secondly, Most of King James’s English and Irish forces which we have been so often threatned with, are disbanded; and he is said to subsist upon his Majesty’s Charity, which will be a sufficient Caution for his good behavionr.
Thirdly, The French Fleet, which was another Bugbear, exceeded not this year 20 Sail, nor attempted any Thing, though we had no Fleet out to oppose them:
Fourthly, The King of Spain is not dead, nor in a more dangerous Condition than he has been for some years; and we are not without hopes that his Majesty by his extraordinary Prudence has taken such care as to prevent a new War, in case he should die.
Fifthly, As to the Militia, I suppose every Man is now satisfied that we must never expect to see it made useful till we have disbanded the Army. I would not be here understood to throw the whole Odium of that Matter upon the Court; for there are several other Parties in England, that are not over-zealous for a Militia. First, those who are for restoring King James’s trumpery, and would have the Army disbanded, and no Force settled in the room of it. Next, there are a mungrel sort of Men who are not direct Enemies to the King, yet because their fancied merit is not rewarded at their own price, they are so shagreen that they will not let him have the Reputation of so noble an Establishment. Besides these, there are others that having no Notion of any Militia but our own, and being utterly unacquainted with ancient and modern History, think it impracticable: And some wretched things are against it because of the Charge; whereas if their Mothers had taught them to cast accompts, they would have found out that 52000 Men for a Month, will be but the same charge to the Subject as four thousand for a year, supposing the pay to be the same; and reckoning it to be a third part greater, it will be equivalent to the charge of 6000: And if we should allow them to be out a fortnight longer than was designed by the last Bill for exercising in lesser Bodies, then the utmost Charge of such a Militia will be no more than to keep up 9000 Men the year round. None of the Parties I mentioned will openly oppose a Militia, though they would be all glad to drop it: And I believe nobody will be so hardy as to deny, but if the Court would shew as much Vigour in prosecuting it, as they did last year to keep up a Standing Army, that a Bill would pass; which they will certainly do if we disband the Army, and they think it necessary; and if they do not, we have no reason to think an Army so. When they tell us we may be invaded in the mean time, they are not in earnest; for we all know if the King of France has any Designs, they look another Way: Besides, he has provided no Transports, nor is in any readiness to make an Invasion; and if he was, we have a Fleet to hinder him; nay, even the Militia we have in London and some other Counties, are moderately exercis’d: and I believe those who speak most contemptibly of them will allow them to have natural Courage, and as good Limbs as other People; and if they will allow nothing else, then here is an Army of an hundred or six score thousand Men, ready listed, regimented, horsed and armed; and if there should be any Occasion, his Majesty can put what Officers he pleases of the old Army over them, and the Parliament will be sitting to give him what Powers shall be necessary. We may add to this, that the disbanded Soldiers in all probability will be part of this Body; and then what fear can there be of a scambling Invasion of a few Men?
I have avoided in this place discoursing of the Nature of Militia’s, that Subject having been so fully handled already; only thus much I will observe, that a Standing Army in Peace will grow more effeminate by living dissolutely in Quarters, than a Militia that for the most part will be exercised with hard labour. So that upon the whole matter, a Standing Army in Peace will be worse than a Militia; and in War a Militia will soon be come a disciplined Army.
Sixthly, the Army has been kept up for a Year; which is all was pretended to; and notwithstanding their Prophecies, we have had no Invasion, nor danger of one.
Lastly, the Earl of Portland and Marshal Boufflers were so far from quarrelling, that perhaps no English Ambassador was ever received in France with more Honour.
But further, there is a Crisis in all Affairs, which when once lost, is never to be retrieved. Several Accidents concur to make the disbanding the Army practicable now, which may not happen again. We have a new Parliament, uncorrupted by the Intrigues of the Courtiers: Besides, the Soldiers themselves hitherto have known little but the Fatigues of a War, and have been so paid since, that the private Men would be glad to be distanded; and the Officers would not be very uneasy at it, considering they are to have half Pay, which we must not expect them hereafter when they have lived in Riot and Luxury. Add to this, we have a good Prince, whose Inclinations as well as Circumstances will oblige him to comply with the reasonable Desires of his People. But let us not flatter ourselves, this will not be always so. If the Army should be continued a few Years, they will be accounted part of the Prerogative, and ’twill be thought as great a violation to attempt the disbanding them, as the Guards in Charles the Second’s time; it shall be interpreted a design to dethrone the King, and be made an Argument for the keeping them up.
But there are other Reasons yet: The public Necessities call upon us to contract our Charge, that we may be the sooner out of Debt and in a Condition to make a new War; and ’tis not the keeping great Armies on foot that will enable us to do so, but putting ourselves in a Capacity to pay them. We have had the experience of this in eight Years War; for we have not been successful against France in one Battle, and yet we have weighed it down by meer natural Strength, as I have seen a heavy Country Booby sometimes do a nimble Wrestler: And by the same Method (for our Policy, Oeconomy, or Conduct) we must encounter them hereafter, and in order to it should put ourselves in such Circumstances, that our Enemies may dread a new Quarrel, which can be no otherwise done, but by lessening our Expences, and paying off the public Engagements as fast as we are able. ’Tis a miserable thing to consider that we pay near 4000000 l. a Year upon the account of Funds, no part whereof can be applied to the public Service, un less they design to shut up the Exchequer; which would not be very prudent to own. I would therefore ask some of our Men of Management; suppose there should be a new War, how they propose to maintain it? For we all now know the End of our Line, we have nothing left but a Land Tax, a Poll, and some few Excises, if the Parliament can be prevailed upon to consent to them. And for once I will, suppose, that all together, with what will fall in a Twelvemonth, will amount to 3000000 l. and a half, which is not probable; and we will complement them, by supposing they shall not in case of a new War give above fourteen or fifteen per cent. for Premiums and Interest, then the Remainder will be 3000000 l. I believe I may venture to say, they will not be very fond of lessening the Civil List, and lose their Salaries and Pensions. Then if we deduct 700000 Pound per Annum, upon that account there will be 2300000 pound per Annum, for the use of the War, if the People pay the utmost Penny they are able; so that the Question will not be as in the last War, how we shall carry it on against France at large, but how 2300000 Pound shall be disposed of to the greatest advantage; which I presume every one will believe ought to be in a good Fleet.
This leads me to consider what will be the best, if not the only way of managing a new War in case the King of Spain’s Death, and a new Rupture with France; and I will suppose the Nation to be as perfectly free from all incumbrances as before the War. Most Men at this time of Day, I believe, will agree with me that ’tis not our business to throw Squibs in Flanders, send out vast Sums of Money to have our Men play at bopeep with the French, and at best to have their Brains beat out against stone Walls: But if a War is necessary there, ’tis our Interest to let the Dutch and Germans manage it, which is proper for their Situation, and let our Province be to undertake the Sea; yet if we have not Wit and honesty enough to make such a bargain with them, but that we bring ourselves again to a necessity of maintaining Armies there, we may hire Men from Germany for half the price we can raise them here, and they will be sooner ready than they can be transported from hence, that Country being full of Men, all Soldiers inured to Fatigue, and serving for much less pay than we give our own: Besides, we shall carry on the War at the expence of others Blood, and save our own People, which are the strength and riches of all Governments; we shall save the charge of providing for the Officers when the War is done, and not meet with such difficulties in dishanding them.
There are some Gentlemen that have started a new method of making War with France, and tell us it will be necessary to send Forces to Spain to hinder the French from possessing that Country; and therefore we must keep them up here to be ready for that Service: Which by the Way is acknowledging the Horse ought to be disbanded, since I presume they don’t design to send them to Spain. But to give this a full Answer, I believe it is every ones Opinion that there ought to be a strong Fleet kept up at Cales, or in the Mediterranean, superior to the French; and then ’twill be easier and cheaper to bring the Emperor’s Forces by the way of Final to Spain, than to send Men from hence; and they are more likely to be acceptable there, being of the same Religion, and Subjects to the House of Austria; whereas ’tis to be feared our Men would be in as much Danger from that begotted Nation as from the French: Besides, the King of Portugal is arming for his own defence, and a sum of Money well disposed there, will enable him to raise double the Forces upon the Spot as can be sent from hence with the same Charge.
But for once I will admit it necessary we should send Forces both to Flanders and Spain; yet ’tis no consequence that we must keep up a Standing Army in England till that Time comes. We may remember Charles the Second rais’d between 20 and 30000 Men to fight against France in less than forty Days; and the Regiments this King raised the first Year of his Reign were compleated in a very short Time; for my own part, I am of opinion, that a new Army may be raised, before Ships and Provisions will be ready for their Transportation, at least if the Management is no better than it was once upon a Time; and perhaps it may happen that the King of Spain may die in the Summer-time, and then we shall have the Winter before us. We may add to this, that the King of France has disbanded a great many Men, that his Country now lies open in a great many Places; that the Germans and Dutch keep great Numbers of Men in constant Pay; and in all probability there will be a Peace with the Turks: That Portugal and the Italian Princes must enter into the Confederacy in their own Defence; and that the French will lie under an equal Necessity to raise Forces with a much less Country than in the former War, to oppose such a mighty Union of Princes, who will attack him upon the first Attempt he makes upon Spain.
And after all, what’s the mighty Advantage we propose by keeping this Force? Why forsooth, having a small Number of Men more (for the Officers will always be ready, and now a great part of the private Soldiers are to be rais’d in case of a new War) ready six Weeks sooner to attack France. And I durst almost appeal to these Gentlemen themselves, whether so small a Balance against France is equivalent to the Hazard of our Liberties, Destruction of our Constitution, and the constant Expence of keeping them up, to expect when the King of Spain will be pleased to die.
If these Gentlemen are really afraid of a new War, and don’t use it as a Bugbear to fright us out of our Liberties, and to gain their little Party-Ends, the Way to bring the People into it heartily, is to shew them that all their Actions tend to the public Advantage, to lessen the national Expences, to manage the Revenue with the greatest Frugality, to postpone part of their Salaries, and not grow rich while their Country grows poor, to give their hearty Assistance for appropriating the Irish Lands gain’d by the People’s Blood and Sweat to the public Service, as was promis’d by his Majesty, and not to shew an unhappy Wit in punishing some Men, and excusing others for the same Fault, and spend three Months in Intrigues how to keep up a Standing Army to the Dread of the greatest Part of the Nation; for let them fancy what they please, the People will never consent to the raising a new Army till they are satisfied they shall be rid of them when the War is done; and there is no Way of convincing them of that, but the disbanding these with Willingness. When we see this done, we shall believe they are in earnest, and the People will join unanimously in a new War; otherwise there will always be a considerable Part of the Nation (whatever personal Honour they have for his Majesty, or Fears of France) that will lie upon the Wheels with all their Weight, and do them more harm than their Army will do them good.
To conclude, we have a wise and virtuous Prince, who has always endeavour’d to please his People by taking those Men into his Councils, which they have recommended to him by their own Choice; and when their Interest has declin’d, he has gratified the Nation by turning them out. I would therefore give this seasonable Advice to those who were once called Whigs, that the way to preserve their Interest with his Majesty is to keep it with the People; that their old Friends will not desert them till they desert their Country, which when they do, they will be left to their own proper Merits; and though I am not much given to believing Prophecies, yet I dare be a Prophet for once, and foretell that then they will meet with the Fate of King Physician and King Usher in the Rehearsal, Their new Masters will turn them off, and no Body else will take them.