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Gordon: Considerations offered upon the approaching Peace, and upon the Importance of Gibraltar to the British Empire, being the Second Part of the Independant Whig. Anno 1720. - 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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Considerations offered upon the approaching Peace, and upon the Importance of Gibraltar to the British Empire, being the Second Part of the Independant Whig.
THE former Part of the Independent Whig appeared abroad about the Time the Peerage Bill made its Exit in the House of Commons: What were the secret Motivesfor that Bill, or what hopeful Ends were to have been served by it, I do not pretend to explain, nor indeed, for the Ease of my own Mind, do I care to guess; because it is a Case of Conscience with me, and a standing Maxim, to speak no Ill of the Deceased; I shall therefore only say with Mr. Dryden, De mortuis nil nisi bonum; Peace be with the Manes of the Bill.
I am willing to think there was no Intention to engage us in a Northern War, in order to serve Purposes directly in the Teeth of the Act of Settlement of the Crown; or if there was any such, I am persuaded it is now laid aside, and therefore I have also laid aside my Purpose of considering the Consequences of such a War, as I promised in my last.
The Age of killing Monsters is long since past and gone, and there lives now neither a Hercules nor a Theseus, to subdue Hydra’s and Dragons; and I should be sorry to see my Countrymen revive those Ages of Knight Errantry, and arrive at such a Degree of Quixotism, as to range over the World in quest of Adventures, and to become the Righters of Wrongs, and Redressers of Injuries, through the whole Universe.
It would indeed be a greater Piece of Romantick Gallantry, than any those fabulous Heroes ever undertook, for a Nation living at so great a Distance, to throw away an Advantageous Trade, and engage in an impracticable War against a Power guarded two Thirds of the Year with Ice and Snow, fortified with impregnable Towns, which will be covered with numerous Armies, and no ways to be attacked but with Troops marching from distant Countries, without Magazines, without Forage, and without Pay, unless WE supply them; and this too without any Prospect of Advantage accruing to ourselves, but only to serve the Interests of another State, and to preserve a Country of no Concern to us; the whole Value of which, if every Foot of Ground in it was to be sold, would probably not pay the Charge and Losses of one Year’s War.
As this is too wild a Thought to enter into the Mind of any English Man, so I conceive it unnecessary at present to say any more of it; and therefore I have in this Second Part considered a Question which is more the Object of our present Hopes and Fears, viz. What would be the Consequenceof delivering up Gibraltar upon any Consideration whatsoever.
I design to continue this Paper weekly, in a Half-Sheet, which will first appear on Wednesday, the 20th Day of this Month, in which I shall meddle with Politicks only occasionally, my principal Intention being to expose the Malignity and Danger of certain Principles, which prevail too much, and I wish I could not say, are too little discouraged.
I hope in this Undertaking I shall be suffered to build up with the same Impunity with which others are suffered to pull down.
I own there are Methods, which, if practised, would prove much more effectual than mine, and root out that Disease which I can only resist. In the mean time it shall be my Care to shew the Necessity of some such Methods, by shewing the Danger we are in while we want them. When Doctrines are avowedly spread, that strike at the Peace and Liberty of Mankind, it is the undoubted Right, and Duty of every Man, to guard himself and others against them; and it is as much the Duty of Governors to preserve their Subjects from the Contagion of such destructive Principles, as from Force and Invasions.
The Felicity of the People is the End of Magistrates; and all Arts and Practices that lessen that Felicity, call for their Correction and Cure. Now I defy the Wit of Man to reconcile the Happiness of the World to many of our High Flying Tenets; on the contrary, where-ever they prevail, I will undertake to shew, That the severest Misery, even brutish Ignorance, abject Slavery, Poverty and Wickedness, do also prevail. I never looked upon an armed Host to be half so terrible as an Army of aspiring Ecclesiasticks. The former may be repulsed by Strength and Bravery, which signify nothing against the latter, who make your own Heart conspire against you, by filling it with false Terrors. Dominion is the Word, Servitude the Duty, and Damnation the Penalty.
Till therefore our Superiors shall be at leisure to put a final Stop to the Growth of those Principles that infatuate the Multitude, and undermine our Constitution, I, who am so unfashionable a Man as to have more Concern for the Publick, than Consideration for myself stand up an Advocate for the Rights of Mankind, to expose those Claims that contradict Reason and the Gospel, and bring Contempt upon the Clergy.
I confess this Subject has been largely discussed by several Hands, who were equal to the Undertaking, and made Truth triumph over Falshood. Foremost in the List (or in any other that could be made on this Occasion) stands the Bishop of Bangor, a Champion for Truth, and a sore Adversary to all that have been hers. His Enemies have confessed their Impotence and Defeat in their Recourse to Invention and Calumny; and have attacked his Reasoning; and his Reputation, with equal ill Fortune and Malice. Notwithstanding which, they have gone on, and still go on, and neither Modesty, Remorse, Shame, nor the Reflection upon their own repeated Oaths and Subscriptions, can deter them from spreading their Poison every Day, in every Place, and upon every Occasion. So that they make it necessary to repeat the Antidote, otherwise they will call Silence Conviction, and interpret a Contempt of them and their wild Performances, to be an Acknowledgment of their wild Principles.
I am far from pretending to equal, much less mend, what his Lordship has done. But my Design is to start new Topicks, strike out new Tracts, and throw the same Subject into new Lights; in doing which, I shall frequently use a Freedom, and manner of Stile not common, perhaps not permitted to Men in Holy Orders.
I hope to give the Dispute a new Turn, and instead of a long Train of consequential Arguments, to reduce it to a few self-evident Propositions, which I shall endeavour occasionally to embellish with agreeable Incidents: The Reverend, Right Reverend, or most Reverend Doctor, shall wear a a Fool’s Cap if he deserves it, though it happens to be a Cardinal’s: Besides, many will read a Half-Sheet who will not read a Volume.
In this great Undertaking I hope to have Aid from some better Hands, and as the Subject is now pretty well understood, I expect, and shall be ready to receive any casual Assistance that may be sent me, reserving to myself the Liberty of altering (if it require Alteration) and adapting it to my own Design, of which I must be allowed to be the properestJudge. Whoever therefore would correspond with me, may direct to the Independent Whig, at Mr. Roberts’s the Publisher in Warwick-Lane.
As to the Propagation and Success of the Weekly Paper abovementioned, I can do no more than bestow upon it my chief Labour and Study; and for other Helps and Support, it must rely on those who like it.
I hope no one will think me so foolish as to expect Encouragement from those who ought to give it, and as I do not pretend to bear the Charge of Printing such a Paper myself, so the Continuance of it must depend upon the Encouragement it receives from Abroad.
AS the Dismission of Cardinal Alberoni from the Court and Councils of the King of Spain, and the Hopes of an approaching Peace, engage the Thoughts and Wishes of every Man in England, who has any Love for his Country, or laments the present State of our Debts and Taxes; so I esteem it not only the Right, but the Duty of every honest Man, to offer to his Superiors such Considerations as he conceives may render the Peace advantageous, and make us some Recompence for the Profusion of Wealth it has cost the Nation, at a Time too when we were loaded with so many Millions of Debts.
It will be a Sevice also to the present Ministry, by wiping off any malicious Charge, if any such there be, of their having run into an unadvised and foolish War. If the War was necessary (without which it is inexcusable, notwithstanding the great and surprizing Success which we have had in it) no doubt the Conditions of Peace will be suitable, and demonstrate, that without a War, we could not have had them. What we gain by the Peace will justify the Expences of the War; and we shall have new Advantages of Trade, and new Fortresses and Securities to defend those Advantages. If we have not Possession given us of some Ports in the West-Indies, the Island of Majorca ought at least to be added, for the Support of Port Mahon, and a competent Tract of Land ought to be annexed to Gibraltar, for the Convenience and Maintenance of the Garrison, as is usual in like Cases, and ought to have been done at first. At present they have not a Foot of Ground about it, either for Gardens or Pasture, but they are coop’d up within their Stone Walls, and left to make the best of their enclosed Rock.
Without such Conditions and Securities all Treaties signify nothing, and may, and probably will be broken as soon as made. Here we can expect no help from Allies and Guarantees, who will always emulate, and privately conspire against the great Naval Power, and growing Trade of England, which is the Envy and Terror of the World.
I would indeed be glad to know what Advantages, or even Performance of Articles England has ever received from her good Allies? ’Tis true they have often done us the Favour to accept of our Help when they wanted it; and I am told, some of them have threatened to accept it no more, unless we give it them upon their own Terms. But pray, how has the Favour been return’d to us? What has the Emperor done for us, in Recompence for all we have done, and are still doing for him? Unless in the Help he gave us last Year against the Pretender and his Madam. Or what Assistance have the Dutch afforded us in this Expensive, and as we are told, necessary War? Have they not eat the Bread of Quietness and Security, while we have been running into Perils and Battles for them and all Europe? They have lain still, easing their Country of publick Burthens, whilst we have been encreasing ours; they have grown Rich by the Trade which we have lost, and, ’tis said, have even supplied our Enemies with the Materials of War, to fight against us. And yet ’tis certain, that they are as much (if not more) interested in the Balance of Europe than we are, as they are nearer the Danger, and have not Seas to guard them. As to the Balance of Power in the North, they are much more concerned than we, not only as their Trade thither is vastly greater than ours, but as they have no other Source of Naval Stores; whereas very little Wit and Honesty would supply us with all we want from our own Plantations. Whilst we have been wasting our Strength, and our Substance, and losing our Traffick, they have lain still, and continue to lye still, accepting, and returning Compliments from, and to the Courts of Spain and of the Czar, and are just ready to receive all the Advantages of the Russian Trade (which at the Revolution they were in full Possession of) whenever we shall be mad or foolish enough to throw it away. And what Assistance these our kind Allies gave us in the first Rebellion against his present Majesty, and in the late terrible Spanish Invasion, we shall be better informed, when the Accounts relating to that Affair are fully stated and balanced.
Sure we shall not be always the Cullies of Britain! Our Allies must and will make us some Amends at last, for all which we have done for them; and they have now an Opportunity of doing it, by getting for us some of those Advantages which they have received from our Friendship.
It was an old Observation of Philip de Comines, concerning us Englishmen, That we have ever lost by our Heads what we have gained by our Hands, and have always given up by Treaty what we had won by the Sword. The Reason which he gives for this is a very good one. He says, That all our great Men were in Pension to the Kings of France. Monsieur de Witt does perhaps mean something like this, when he says, That our Court has been always the most thievish Court in Europe. However, I do not find but that whatever Bargains our Ministers made for, or rather of, their Country, they generally made very good ones for themselves, at least to the best of their Skill. Dunkirk was not delivered for nothing, nor, I dare say, the last Peace made without the Contrivers finding their own Account in it, whatever their Country suffered.
But these Things are pass’d and gone, and God has now sent us a Ministry who will mend all those Faults which they were the first to condemn. The Interest of the Publick is their Interest. They have no secret Purposes to serve by dark and shameful Treaties. They have no new Revolutions to bring about, nor can they disgust their own Party by acting freely and boldly for the Good of their Country, which is not the Case of the Heads of another Party. In fine, they have no desperate Game to play, to defend them from the Effects of desperate Measures, nor have they, like the others, been trapanned and outwitted by France, nor have ungenerous Advantages been taken of their Credulity, when they had engaged themselves and their Country beyond Retreat.
We may therefore well expect that our present Peace-Makers will, by the Advantages which they procure for us, reproach the Neglect, Ignorance, and Treachery of the last. There is nothing that the most sanguine Imagination can form, which we may not hope at the ensuing Treaty, from the singular Part which we have taken in this War. We struck the first Blow, and have ever since pursued it with great Ardor and Expence. We have beaten and destroyed the Enemies Fleets, insomuch that the poor Remains of their great naval Strength can, at present, do no more than skulk in their Ports, and hide themselves in Corners. We have procured noble Advantages, and even Kingdoms to our Allies. Add to this, that we entered single into the Strife and the Danger. The Regent indeed moved to our Aid a good while after, and the Dutch not at all, tho’, as has been before observed, more than equally engaged by all the Ties and Motives which could engage us, at least by all those which we have yet avowed.
How absurd therefore is it, for any one to surmise or fear, that we should receive the Conditions which we ought to give, purchase a Reconciliation at the Price of all our Victories, and buy a Peace when we may command it?
It is an undeniable Instance of the Innocence of our great Men, and of their Contempt of the poor Efforts of their Enemies Malice, that they took not the least notice of a Pamphlet published last Year with a pompous Title; it was called, The King of France’s Declaration of War, &c. which directly undertakes, in Pages the 29th and 34th, to procure from the King of England the Restitution of Gibraltar to Spain.
They knew very well that so wild a Calumny could make no Impression upon any judicious Man, and they laugh’d at the Simplicity and Malice of others, and gave them leave to play with their own Folly: They knew very well that a Fortress conquered by the Fleets and Armies, by the Blood and Treasure of England, and solemnly yielded up by Treaty made with England, became Part of the English Dominions, and subject to the Legislative Power of England, and could not be disannexed but by Act of Parliament; and consequently, any Agreement to deliver up such a Fort to an Enemy, is High Treason within the Statute of the 25th of Edward the Third; and to give it to any one else, is one of those High Treasons reserved by that Act for the Judgment of Parliament.
They knew too that no Pocket Agreement is of any Force in England; that we are bound by no Treaties but what are solemnly entered upon Record; and every one might satisfy himself that there was no such there.
However, as the bare mentioning of such a Thing, though without the least Ground, has Thunderstruck many honest, though timorous Men, I shall endeavour to undeceive them, by shewing, it is impossible that any virtuous and wise Ministry, as we all know ours are, can ever hereafter fall into any Measures so fatal to their Country; and this I shall do, by shewing, the Advantage and Importance of that Port to the Sovereignty of the Seas.
The Town of Gibraltar is built upon a Rock which reaches a League into the Sea, and was formerly called one of the Pillars, or the ne plus ultra of Hercules. It is joined to Spain by a small Neck of Land, which being narrow and plain, may be easily cut through and separated from the Continent, so as to form the whole into an Island; and it is undoubtedly true, that a Mole may be made at a moderate Expence, capable of holding Thirty large Men of War.
It lies within a few Leagues of Tangier, in Africa, and commands the Mouth of the Streights. It sees all Ships that sail from the Mediterranean to the Ocean, and thither, and consequently makes it impracticable for any other Nation to Trade there without our leave, but by the Protection of such Fleets and Convoys as will make any Trade unprofitable; at the same Time it protects our own Traffick, and furnishes Store-houses either for War or Commerce, and a convenient Place of Refreshment to our Ships in their Voyages to and from Africa,Italy, the Levant, and sometimes the East and West-Indies.
It gives us the Means of carrying on a private and advantageous Commerce with Spain, notwithstanding all the Prohibitions they can make, or Precautions they can use. It lies at Hand to intercept their East and West-India Fleets with the Spoil and Riches of both Worlds: It separates and divides Spain from itself, and hinders all Communication by Sea from the different Parts of their Dominions, and consequently must keep them in a perpetual Dependance, and put them under a Necessity to court our Friendship, as well as fear our Enmity: It gives us an Opportunity to pry into all their Measures, observe all their Motions, and, without the most stupid Remisness on our Parts, renders it impracticable for them to form any Projects, or carry on any Expeditions against us, or our Allies, without our having due Notice.
It destroys any Attempts to Naval Power in France, which can never be formidable at Sea, whilst Gibraltar remains in our Hands. It hinders the Communication between their Ports and Squadrons in the Ocean and the Mediterrancan: It makes it impossible for them to supply their Southern Harbours with Naval Stores either for Building or Repairing of Fleets; of which they were so sensible last War, that as soon as Sir George Rook had possessed himself of it, they saw themselves under a Necessity to lay aside their usual Caution, and dare him in open Battle, and not meeting the Success they hoped for, the very same Year, to the unspeakable Prejudice of their other Affairs, besieged it in Form, aud lost a French and Spanish Army before it, and never afterwards appeared with a Fleet upon the Seas again during the whole War, but suffered their great Ships to moulder and rot in their Harbours, for want of the Means to fit them out again.
It will give us Reputation and Figure in those Seas, which are always rewarded with Power and Riches. It will oblige all Nations who Trade in the Mediterranean, or have Empire there, to court our Friendship, and keep Measures with us. It will Awe even the Courts of Rome and Constantinople, and make them afraid to disturb or provoke us. It will intimidate the Piratical States, who when they see Vengeance so near at Hand, will not dare to disturb our Trade, whilst they are destroying that of all others. These Advantages are immense, and will give us all the Carriage Trade of the Mediterranean, whose Merchants must make use of our Ships when they find it not safe to venture in any other.
But we are told, the keeping it is a great Charge to us. Strange surprizing Instance of our new Frugality, and good Husbandry! That we, who for Thirty Years together have rioted in Millions, and ’till Heaven bless’d us with the present Ministry, never minded what we gave, nor to whom; we, who drain’d the Exchequer, and mortgaged the Nation, should now, from a Principle of Saving, sacrifice the sole Fruit of all our Expences to prevent a Charge, which is but equal to that of a few Useless Pensions! Thank Heaven, from lavishing Millions, we are grown Thrifty in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.
But how comes it to pass that this was not thought on before? We have been at a prodigious Expence in supplying it with Garrisons, with Military Stores, with Provisions, and in defending it against a vigorous Siege; All which might have been saved, and without doubt very many Advantages, and a round Sum (besides the Contractors licking their own Fingers) might have been stipulated for the Nation, if the least Hint had been given that it was to be disposed of.
However, I own good Husbandry never comes too late, and I hope it will go a little further, and that we shall contract the Publick Expences of all kinds, cut off and retrench unnecessary Offices, Salaries and Pensions, pay off, or lessen the publick Engagements, and rescue the People from the Oppressions of their rigorous Debts and Payments, which have near exhausted the Vitals of the Nation, and without a speedy Remedy, will soon bring it into an incurable Consumption.
It is alledged that Port Mahon will answer all the Purposes of Gibraltar, and therefore there can be no Use in keeping them both. The contrary to which must be evident to any one who but looks into the Map, for the Island Minorca lies many Hundred Miles further up towards the Gulph of Lyons, and in Truth, out of the Road of all Ships Trading to Sicily, the Adriatick, the Levant, or Africa. It is situated at such a distance from France and Spain, that the greatest Fleets can escape unobserved, unless we keep perpetually before their Ports to watch and pursue them, which is exceeding dangerous, if not impracticable in those Seas. We shall be out of the Way of all Intelligence, and if we should by chance have it, in all likelihood shall be too late to take Advantage of it; besides, I am told, there are but few Winds with which Ships can get in or out of Port Mahon, and, when they are once there, the Passage is so narrow that a very small Squadron can keep the greatest from sailing out.
But I think nothing is plainer, than that it will be exceeding difficult, if not impossible, to keep the Island of Minorca without the Possession of Gibraltar, at least it will be more expensive to us than both are now; especially if France and Spain should join again; which Event, I think, we ought to keep always in View, for then Gibraltar will be the only Resource we have to carry on any Trade in the Mediterranean, and to prevent the Union of the French and Spanish Fleets with themselves or each other.
All the Objections (and many more) which I have before made, against the facility of a Communication of the different Ports of France and Spain with one another, will be stronger against us; for they have others, near to Gibraltar, where Fleets may lie safe, and have a chance to escape us, by catching at favourable Opportunities, and the Advantage of Winds; whereas we must run all Hazards, and trust to our Strength alone, without any Harbour to retreat to, in case of Storms or other Accidents.
What Means have we of sending Naval Stores and Recruits to our Garrisons, and often Provisions for them, without a Port to protect us during a Thousand Leagues Sailing? Portugal will not be suffered to receive or relieve us, and then we must run the Gantlet by single Ships, with scarce a Chance to escape, or send Convoys upon the smallest Occasions, capable of fighting the united French and Spanish Power; which will be attended with such Difficulties as must be allowed unanswerable Arguments in the Mouths of a corrupt Ministry to sell that too, when a fair Chapman appears.
But it is not only my own Opinion, but that of much better Judges, that these Two important Posts might be kept with little Charge to England, even without ballancing the Advantages we receive by them: Methinks it should be worth the Thoughts and Leisure of a British Parliament to ask a few Questions concerning them, (viz.) Upon what Foundation they stand? What becomes of their Revenues? Whether applied to the Benefit of their Governors, or to the Publick? What Protection the People there meet with, and what Civil Government is established amongst them, and how the Military interferes with it? I doubt not but these Questions will be answered to Satisfaction, and the Directors of our Affairs, when the publick Occasions will give them leave to open their Schemes, have Proposals ready to lay before our Representatives, which will make those Towns, and the Island belonging to one of them, as useful to the Publick as they have been hitherto to their Governors, and some others. I am persuaded, if they were made Free Ports, where all Nations might find Encouragement and Security, they would soon grow so Rich and Powerful, as in a great Measure to pay for their own Protection. Gibraltar lies much more fortunately for Trade than Leghorn, which stands out of the Way, and in a Corner; and yet, I am told, the single Advantage of a Free Port renders that Town one of the greatest Articles in the Grand Duke’s Revenue.
This is the Circumstance, these the Advantages of our keeping the Possession of Gibraltar. Our Enemies, and our Allies too, know them, and, I doubt, dread them; and, I thank God, the Nation knows them. And that we could have had no tolerable Success in the last or present War without this Town, therefore I cannot suspect that so wise and honest a Ministry will take any such Step without the Advice of Parliament.
We ought not to be suprized if the Nations of Europe and Africa should wish it in Hands less potent at Sea, and who would consequently enjoy it more harmlesly to its Neighbours: It must be undoubtedly terrible to any People who would be our Rivals in Trade or Naval Power, or indeed to any State that aspires to Empire, which can never be accomplished without Fleets as well as Armies.
But sure we are not fallen into such Contempt with our Enemies, our Neighbours, or our Allies, nor can they have so mean an Opinion of our Sense and Discernment, and the Integrity of our Statesmen, as but to hint such a Thing to them.
If we part with Gibraltar, to what Purpose have we made War? To what Purpose bestowed great Sums, and gained great Victories? Have we beat the Enemy, and forced them to beg Peace, and yet must bribe them to accept of it? Have we conquered, and shall they give Terms, and get Towns by losing Battles? Or, if we do not part with Gibraltar for the sake of Peace, pray what Consideration are we to receive for the sake of Gibraltar? Sure we do not make War only for our Allies, and leave our Allies to make Peace for us; and Peace, and War, are not both made at our Costs and Charges.
We have given no Jealousy or Offence to our Allies, in applying any Part of our Force to the West Indies, or in seizing and planting Countries there, as the French have done, but have acted a faithful, expensive, and hazardous Part for our Allies; and while our Ships of War have been employed for them, our Merchant Ships have fallen by Scores into the Hands of Pirates, for want of sufficient Convoys. Our whole Guinea Trade has been lost this Year by that Means, there being, as I am told, not one Man of War to spare, from the Service of the Confederates, to defend it. Our Trade in every other Branch of it, suffers not a little from this Fidelity of ours to our Foreign Friends. I say nothing of the present State of our Manufactures, and of our Poor; it is too mournful and too manifest.
Has any English Ministry ever presumed to propose to the King to deliver up the Dutchies of Bremen and Verden in Order to procure a Peace in the North, to settle the so much desired Balance of Power there, and to prevent the Charge to England of sending out annual Fleets at a very great Expence? And yet, it is said, his Majesty, before the last Treaty with Sweden, pretended no Title to those Countries, but a Mortgage from a Prince, who had no other himself than Conquest. And dares any one to propose to a British King the delivering up to a baffled and subdued Enemy, the most important Place in the World to the Trade and Naval Empire of England, the Key of the Mediterranean, the Terror of our Enemies, and the best Pledge of new Friendships, and this too after we have undoubted Title to it, to which those Nations are Guarantees, who have the greatest Interest to wrest it out of our Hands?
But to whom shall this great and most important Concession be made? Not to a provoked, vanquished, and inveterate Enemy, to enable him to revenge the Affronts he has received: It cannot be in Compliment to the Emperor, for whom we are conquering Kingdoms and Provinces; nor to the Dutch, who would not move to our Assistance, but have laid still taking Advantage of our Misfortunes, and enjoying the Fruits of our Labour and Expences: Much less can we suppose it should be done in Favour of France.
I confess there are many Reasons why they should desire it; but they are unanswerable Reasons too why we should hear such a Proposition with Horror. Every true English Man must tremble at the growing Power of France, to see it, like the Phœnix, rise young, fresh, and vigorous, out of its own Ashes: ’Tis a terrible as amazing, to behold a despotick Government in a few Months possessed of the greatest Credit which ever appeared in the World, and to clear itself of an Hundred Millions of Debt, without paying one Penny; and this done too, not by any Act of Power, but by the Consent and Applause of the whole Kingdom. New Fleets are building, new Armies raising, new Countries planting, new Provinces conquering, whilst we have been loading the Publick with new Debts, Salaries, new Pensions, and no Method as yet proposed, (I will not say thought of) to ease our Burthens.
Sure these can’t be Reasons to take such a Thorn out of the Foot of France, and to remove such an Obstacle to their Greatness: The enterprizing Genius of that Nation is as well known, as it is formidable to all its Neighbours, but in particular to us. I would ask, in case of a new Rupture, what Resource we have but in our Fleets, and by the help of Gibraltar, to make it impracticable for their Squadrons in the Ocean and Mediterranean to join? We know by woful Experience, what Help we are to expect from our Allies, when we have no more Millions to give. We are not able to keep great Standing Armies at home, nor is it consistent with our Liberty to do so; and therefore we ought to take every Measure to encrease our Naval Strength, and to put new Bridles upon those who are, or may soon be, our Rivals.
The Nation in the World whose Power we have most Reason to guard against, is that of France, and yet I don’t know by what Fatality it has often so happened that we have been the unhappy Instruments of promoting it. Oliver Cromwel gave the first Rise to its Greatness at Land, and King Charles the Second at Sea: The late Queen, whose Heart was intirely English, by an ignominious Peace, restored it, when it was reduced to the lowest Extremity, and must have submitted to any Conditions she had thought fit to impose. But sure it will never be said that a Whig Ministry, the Patrons of Liberty, the constant and declared Enemies of those Proceedings, should act so far in Defiance of all their known Principles, as voluntarily, and unconstrained, in the midst of our Victories, to throw away any part of that national Security, which even the late Betrayers purchased at the Expence of their Country’s Honour (and I doubt was no otherwise to be had) and which are the only Rewards and Recompence of a tedious, successful, and glorious War, carried on at an immense Expence of Blood and Treasure, of which we and our Posterity shall long feel the severe Effects.