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guarded and ill fortified; the troops of the empire are but few in number, and ill paid ; nor are there any public funds to supply these defects, as none are willing to contribute to them. The so much boasted liberty of the Germanic body is nothing more than the exercise of arbitrary power which a small number of men happen to enjoy, while the emperor is incapable of preventing them from oppressing the people; who are reckoned as nothing and used like slaves, although the force of a nation consists in these alone. Commerce is subject among them to continual exactions, from the multiplicity of rights which are claimed by every power through whose states the goods must be necessarily transported. This renders their fine and navigable rivers almost useless. The tribunals of justice have but small salaries, and even these ill paid; yet, still worse, the number of judges is insuffi. cient. In the Diets of the empire, their deliberations are carried on with the most insupportable tediousness, and render this government ridiculous to the nations around; to whom the dilatory proceedings of Germany are almost grown into a proverb. This slowness is sufficiently described in the following Latin lines, which, though rough, are however replete with meaning:
From this epitome we may see that the interests of the reigning emperor are very different from those of the electing states, and that the present house of Austria have views very different from the good of the electors on the Diet in general. Let us then consider the interests of this House, and we shall find them naturally fall under the following heads; in almost every one of which we shall find it at present acting contrary to its real interests, and laying a train which will, in the end, turn to its own destruction. Their first consideration should be, to preserve the imperial dignity in the family to which it is at present restored; as it is the interest of the princes and states of the empire, for preserving a bulwark against the infidels, a proper balance against the power of France, and the tranquillity of Germany, to place the imperial dignity in that family which shall regard the Turks with jealousy, France with envy, and the powers of Germany without any degree of envy. The house of Austria, therefore, should have ever conspired with the views of her associates in empire, should have endeavored to maintain the freedom and independence of the empire, together with the privileges and immunities of all its members. This conduct alone could secure to that house the support of the empire upon all occasions ; which, though from past experience politicians may possibly consider as a thing rather of show than of consequence, yet it might become of great efficacy and importance. For as the interests of the emperor and the empire in sound policy should be always the same, so if they were constantly and firmly united, it is very evident that the Germanic body would always be an equal, if not an overmatch for France, her natural foe, without the assistance of any other power whatever. A gentle and mild administration, therefore, without any formidable preparations that, by their nature, must seem intended only against the liberties of the constitution; an administration that might serve to conciliate the hearts of the German princes, so as to bring them to feel just and warm sentiments of their own interest, would have been a most easy and expeditious means of inducing them to confide in, and pay a proper respect and duty to, the head of the empire. This would have detached them from France, and from every other foreign power; none of which ever had, or ever can have, any influence over them, but from their real or imaginary appre
hensions of the power of the house of Austria, and its desire to reclaim privileges which time has confirmed others in the possession of. Had these precautions been observed, the emperor might in time become one of the greatest and most formidable powers of Europe ; that is, considered in a defensive light, if attacked without reason or just provocation, and would therefore be revered by his neighbors instead of being dependent upon them, and be capable of protecting his allies, without ever falling under the necessity of seeking beyond the limits of Germany for assistance. This opinion may be easily supported, if we consider that the emperor, by his prerogative, has many opportunities to benefit and oblige most of the princes and states of the empire, and can always defend and protect them. This power, therefore, wisely and seasonably exerted, might suffice to bring about all that I allege might have been expected from it: but if we consider the present conduct of the emperor in this light, in what despicable circumstances of prudence will he appear; his empire torn with factions; his inveterate enemy, by assisting one part weakening both, and consequently in political estimation, growing itself stronger; a part of the empire disgusted merely upon a religious account, and the balance of Europe grown an empty sound!
The next point that claims our regard is the interest of the house of Austria as a member of the Germanic body. As to this. it is apparent that her power was, at the beginning of the present war, sufficiently great to be compatible with the interest of the other
powers of the Germanic body, and that it cannot be for her advantage to endeavor to increase it at the expense of her neighbors; which is, indeed, the sole thing which has hitherto turned, or can at any time turn to ber prejudice. Had she remained satisfied with her possessions, and formed no designs upon the dominions of others, it is highly probable that she would have found her neighbors disposed to live with her upon terms of friendship, amity, and respect. The house of Austria misplaced her ambition in attempting to grow greater by war: the commerce of her dominions, the navigation of her rivers, and the cultivation of those immense barbarous countries that lie within her jurisdiction, would have given sufficient employment to any sovereign, and procured immense happiness to the people. Almost all her hereditary countries are capable of great improvement; the kingdom of Bohemia and the provinces that border on the Adriatic, more especially. Some of those nations that in the last and present war are famous for furnishing her armies with irregulars, are known to have a great turn for trade, and, if properly encouraged, might render her more effectual services by the arts of peace, than by their valor in war. But that spirit, this family, ever destined to be the tools of the designing and the bigots of ill-directed zeal, have taken all opportunities to suppress. Those brave people want religious liberty; for the house of Austria piques itself upon its attachment to the Popish faith, and has already persecuted those very inhab itants who, in her former wars, served as her strongest bulwark against the invasions of her enemies, and were the warmest friends in her cause, and the cause of liberty. And yet for all this attachment to the court of Rome, her returns have been very few; nay, she has, upon all occasions, shown a manifest attachment to the house of Bourbon Any relaxation in this kind arising from Christian charity, sound policy, or the gratitude of the court of Vienna, would have wonderful effects; for it would not fail of rendering all the countries under her obedience more populous, and consequently more rich and fruitful, than they are at present. Neither should this liberty of conscience have extended to the Lutherans and the reformed only, but also to the members of tho Greek church, to the Moravians, and to every denomination of Christians. This would have drawn multitudes out of the Turkish dominions into those of Austria, and contributed at once to strengthen the empress and weaken her enemies.
Our last consideration is the interest of the house of Austria with regard to the sovereignty of the Low Countries—a point of the greatest consequence to that family, as well as to the interest of Europe in general. It is by her being in possession of these provinces that she, in sound politics, should have continued the natural and perpetual ally of the maritime powers, who had never failed to show, upon all occasions, the utmost readiness to support her interest. By her being in possession of these countries, she was considered as a barrier between Holland and France, and might have been said to be placed there as guardian of the lib. erties of Europe. Had she inviolably preserved those countries, she could not fail of preserving the affection of ber neighbors, or at least they would not have the imprudence to avow their enmi. ty; those were pledges of her universal respect, and amounted almost to universal empire. She had fatal experience, by former distresses, of the dreadful consequences which followed the neglecting her frontiers on that side; and all people imagined she would avoid like mistakes for the future. But the giving up the port of Ostend to be garrisoned by the French, without any other deposit for its restitution but barely the promiso of his most Christian Majesty, was such a blunder in politics as cannot be well reconciled even to common sense.
Is it to be doubted that the French are so eager to place a garrison there from interested motives; or can a calm spectator think, that they who can find pretexts to cover the most flagrant injustice, will not be able to furnish enough to keep possession of a garrison which unlocks the liberties of mankind, and which, while possessed, must continue them truly formidable to all the powers of Europe? The giving up this port was not only injustice to the Germania