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such an inconsistency of notions, such a confusion of particles, 'that rather puzzle than connect the sense, which in some places he seems to have aimed at, as I found upon my nearer perusal of it: nevertheless, as nobody writes a book without meaning something, though he may not have the faculty of writing consequentially, and expressing his meaning; I think I have, with a great deal of attention and difficulty, found out what this gentleman would say had he the gift of utterance. The system of his politics, when disembroiled and cleared of all those incoherences and independent matters that are woven into this motley piece, will be as follows. The conduct of the late ministry is considered first of all in respect to foreign affairs, and secondly, to domestic: as to the first, he tells us, that “the motives which engaged Britain in the present war, were both wise and generous ;' so that the ministry is cleared as to that particular. These motives, he tells us, were to restore the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria, and to regain a barrier for Holland. The last of these two motives,” he says, was effectually answered by the reduction of the Netherlands in the year 1706, or might have been so by the concessions which it is notorious that the enemy offered.” So that the ministry are here blamed for not contenting themselves with the barrier they had gained in the year 1706, nor with the concessions which the enemy then offered. The other motive of our entering into the war, viz. “The restoring the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria,” he tells us, “remained still in its full force; and we were told,” says he, “ that though the barrier of Holland was secured, the trade of Britain, and the balance of power in Europe, would be still precarious : Spain, therefore, must be conquered.” He then loses himself in matter foreign to his purpose ; but what he endeavours in the sequel of his discourse, is to show, that we have not taken the proper method to recover the Spanish monarchy; "that the whole stress of the war has been wantonly laid where France is best able to keep us at bay;' that the French king has made it impossible for himself to give up Spain, and that the duke of Anjou has made it as impossible for us to conquer it : : nay,
“ that instead of regaining Spain, we shall find the duke of Anjou in a condition to pay the debt of gratitude, and support the grandfather in his declining years, by whose arms, in the days of his infancy, he was upheld.” He then intimates to us, that the Dutch and the emperor will be so very well satisfied with what they have already conquered, that they may probably leave the house of Bourbon in the quiet possession of the Spanish monarchy.
This strange huddle of politics has been so fully answered by General Stanhope, that, if the author had delayed the publishing of his letter but a fortnight, the world would have been deprived of that elaborate production. Notwithstanding all that the French king or the duke of Anjou have been able to do, notwithstanding the feeble efforts we have made in Spain, notwithstanding “ the little care the emperor takes to support King Charles," notwithstanding the Dutch might have been contented “ with a larger and better country than their own, already conquered for them," that victorious general, at the head of English and Dutch forces, in conjunction with those of the emperor, has wrested Spain out of the hands of the house of Bourbon ; and added the conquest of Navarre, Arragon, and Castile, to those of Catalonia, Bavaria, Flanders, Mantua, Milan, Naples, Sicily, Majorca, Minorca, and Sardinia. Such a wonderful series of victories, and those astonishing returns of ingratitude which they have met with, appear both of them rather like dreams than realities; they puzzle and confound the present age, and it is to be hoped they will not be believed by posterity. Will the trifling author of this letter say, that the ministry did not apply themselves to the reduction of Spain, when the whole kingdom was twice conquered in their administration ? The letter-writer says, “ that the Dutch had gained a good barrier after the battle of Ramillies in the year 1706." But I would fain ask him, whether he thinks Antwerp and Brussels, Ghent and Bruges, could be thought a strong barrier, or that those important conquests did not want several towns and forts to cover them? But it seems our great general on that side has done more for us than we expected of him, and made the barrier too impregnable. But,” says the letter-writer, “the stress of the war was laid in the wrong place;” but if the laying the stress of the war in the Low Countries drew thither the whole strength of France; if it weakened Spain, and left it exposed to an equal force; if France, without being pressed on this side, could have assisted the duke of Anjou with a numerous army; and if, by the advantage of the situation, it could have sent and maintained in Spain ten regiments, with as little trouble and
expense as England could two regiments ; every impartial judge would think that the stress of the war has been laid in the right place.
The author, in this confused dissertation on foreign affairs, would fain make us believe that England has gained nothing by these conquests, and put us out of humour with our chief allies, the emperor and the Dutch. He tells us, “they hoped England would have been taken care of, after having secured a barrier for Holland :" as if England were not taken care of by this very securing a barrier for Holland; which has always been looked upon as our bulwark, or, as Mr. Waller expresses it, “our outguard on the continent;" and which, if it had fallen into the hands of the French, would have made France more strong by sea than all Europe besides. Has not England been taken care of, by gaining a new mart in Flanders, by opening our trade into the Levant, by securing ports for us in Gibraltar, Minorca, and Naples, and by that happy prospect we have of renewing that great branch of our commerce into Spain, which will be of more advantage to England than any conquest we can make of towns and provinces ? Not to mention the demolishing of Dunkirk, which we were in a fair way of obtaining during the last parliament, and which we never so much as proposed to ourselves at our first engaging in this war.
As for this author's aspersions of the Dutch and Germans, I have sometimes wondered that he has not been complained of for it to the secretary of state. Had not he been looked upon as an insignificant scribbler, he must have occasioned remonstrances and memorials ; such national injuries are not to be put up, but when the offender is below resentment. This puts me in mind of an honest Scotchman, who, as he was walking along the streets of London, heard one calling out after him, “Scot, Scot,” and casting forth, in a clamorous manner, a great deal of opprobrious language against that ancient nation ; Sawny turned about in a great passion, and found, to his surprise, that the person who abused him was à saucy parrot, that hung up not far from him in a cage; upon which he clapped his hand to his sword, and told him
were he a man as he was a green goose, he would have run him through the wemb.”
The next head our politician goes upon, relates to our domestic affairs; where I am extremely at a loss to know what he would be at: all that I can gather from him is, that “the queen had grieved her subjects" in making choice of such men for her ministers, as raised the nation to a greater pitch of glory than ever it was in the days of our forefathers, or than any other nation in these our days.
No. 5. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12.
Parere jam non scelus est. MARTIAL. We live in a nation where, at present, there is scarce a single head that does not teem with politics. The whole island is peopled with statesmen, and not unlike Trinculo's kingdom of viceroys. Every man has contrived a scheme of government for the benefit of his fellow-subjects, which they may follow and be safe.
After this short preface, by which, as an Englishman, I lay in my claim to be a politician, I shall enter on my discourse.
The chief point that has puzzled the freeholders of Great Britain, as well as all those that pay scot and lot, for about these six months last past, is this, " Whether they would rather be governed by a prince that is obliged by laws to be good and gracious, just and upright, a friend, father, and a defender of his people ; or by one who, if he pleases, may drive away or plunder, imprison or kill
, without opposition or resistance. This is the true state of the controversy relating to passive obedience and non-resistance. For I must observe, that the advocates for this doctrine have stated the case in the softest and most palatable terms that it will bear; and we very well know, that there is great art in moulding a question ; and that many a motion will pass with a nemine contradicente in some words, that would have been as unanimously rejected in others. Passive obedience, and non-resistance, are of a mild, gentle, and meek-spirited sound: they have respect but to one side of the relation between the sovereign and the subject, and are apt to fill the mind with no other ideas but those of peace, tranquillity, and resignation. To show this doctrine in those black and odious colours that are natural to it, we should consider it with regard to the prince, as well as to the people: the question will then take another turn, and it will not be debated, whether resistance may be lawful, or whether we may take
up. arms against our prince; but whether the English form of government be a tyranny or a limited monarchy? Whether our prince be obliged, by our constitution, to act according to law, or whether he be arbitrary and despotical.
It is impossible to state the measures of obedience without settling the extent of power; or to describe the subject, without defining the king. An arbitrary prince is, in justice and equity, the master of a non-resisting people; for where the power is uncircumscribed, the obedience ought to be unlimited. Passive obedience and non-resistance are the duties of Turks and Indians, who have no laws above the will of a Grand Signior or a Mogul. The same power
which those princes enjoy in their respective governments, belongs to the legislative body in our constitution; and that for the same reason ; because no body of men is subject to laws, or can be controlled by them, who have the authority of making, altering, or repealing whatever laws they shall think fit. Were our legislature vested in the person of our prince, he might, doubtless, wind and turn our constitution at his pleasure; he might shape our government to his fancy. In a word, he might oppress, persecute, or destroy, and no man say to him, what dost thou ? If
, therefore, we would rightly consider our form of government, we should discover the proper measures of our duty and obedience; which can never rise too high to our sovereign, whilst he maintains us in those rights and liberties we were born to. But to say that we bave rights which we ought not to vindicate and assert; that liberty and property are the birthright of the English nation, but that if a prince invades them by violent and illegal methods, we must upon no pretence resist, but remain altogether passive; nay, that in such a case we must all lose our lives unjustly, rather than defend them; this, I say, is to confound governments, and to join things together that are wholly repugnant in their natures; since it is plain, that such a passive subjection, such an unconditional obedience, can be only due to an arbitrary prince, or to a legislative body.
Were these smooth insnaring terms rightly explained to the people, and the controversy of non-resistance set in this just light, we should have wanted many thousands of hands to some late addresses. I would fain know what freeholder