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from the common appearance of things, without being in " the secrets of the Cabinet.
“ We can have no apprehenfions from our nearest neigh« bour France. For that Kingdom is engaged to us by many < strict Treaties; and I have heard the French bona fides, of “ late years, as much asserted and extolled in this House, as < I have formerly heard it ridiculed and exploded. Besides, “ we have a vigilant Minister at Paris, who, by his own skill “ and penetration in Politics, as well as by good advice and « assistance from hence, is not only promoting the British in« terests there, but influencing and directing the French 6 Councils.
66 Nor can we have any pretence to keep up those forces on « account of danger from Spain. For if that Monarchy should “ be indiscreet enough to entertain the least harsh remem“ bránce of any pretended ill usuage from Great-Britain; if " it should resent our glorious and seasonable conquest over " their fleet in the Mediterranean, for which we struck a Me“ dal with pompous inscriptions; if it should insist on a resti"tution of Gibraltar and Port Mahon, which, in my humble “ opinion, can never be surrendered without the highest in“ famy, as well as injury to England. I say, if any thing of " this kind should rernain in the breast of the Court of Spain, “ notwithstanding our Treaties, and daily Negociations there, " it is our comfort, that we need fear no invasion from their “ Armada : that the mutability of their Councils, their pre" tensions in Italy, their distance from Great-Britain, render “ it impracticable for them to annoy or distress us. And if “ King Philip's Resignation of the Crown was a good arga~ ment the last year for continuing the four thousand Augmen« tation Troops, then his Resumption of it now must be a “ good one for disbanding them this year.
“ The Emperor's personal obligations to Great-Britain are « such, that it is impossible for him to entertain any ill ins tentions against us, either on account of the Oftend EatiVOL. I.
" India Company, or of his Majesty's glorious endeavours to “ remove the religious grievances in Germany, and to pro“ mote the Protestant interest there, of which he is the great « Guardian.
“ The Dutch are our natural allies, and always ready to “ alift us. Nor is it their fault, that we have sometimes “ disputed amongst ourselves, concerning the expence of trans« porting their auxiliar forces. They are bound to us by “ antient ties of gratitude, for their original preservation, and “ by, what is yet a stronger cement, their own interest and - safety.
“ As to the two northern Crowns, Sweden and Denmark, 6. they have in their turns received our protection, and tasted “ of our bounty. We all remember the famous æra, when “ two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, as well as many “ smaller supplies since, were raised on that account. Besides, 56 we are to hope our expeditions into the Baltic, under the o conduct of a brave Officer here present, have been as effec« tual as they have been expensive, and that our fleet has not “ only awed them into a reconciliation betwixt themselves, but « into an absolute submission to Great-Britain.
" The Czar is stretching his conquests into remote parts of “ the world; and if what we hear of a late Treaty be true, that « it is made entirely in favour of Great-Britain, without any “ regard to foreign principalities, we can apprehend nothing “ from our new ally, who is otherwise so fully employed. " For however extensive our mediating care may be, I presume “s we are not engaged with him to oppofe the intended succession “ of the Crown of Poland, or to settle the balance of Empire “ in Perfia.'
56 If such then is our prosperous situation at home and abroad, 66 why should we be denied the promised happy consequences of 66 it? Why should we be afraid of reducing our land forces ? « Why should we not at least strike off the four thousand aug" mentation troops, in compaffion to a nation loaded, and al
ee most funk with debt? For should a storm arise after this “ calm, should any new event produce a rupture in Europe, “ it will be time enough, if we are either prompted by our own 6 heroic disposition, or bound by any inviolable Treaties, to “ enter into the quarrels of the Continent. I say, it will be 6 time enough, when the war shall be actually declared, to “ lend our assistance to those, who we voluntarily espouse, or “ to perform our engagements to our respecłive allies, if they “ should not be found romantic or impracticable. We have “ the opinion of a most eminent author in civil learning, That “ it is more grievous to any nation, to bear the least extra“ ordinary taxes in times of peace, than to endure the greatest “ impositions in times of war. Because a var may prove ad“ vantageous, may terminate in conquest and glorious acqui“ fitions. But a continuance of extraordinary taxes without “it, must inevitably end in poverty and ruin.
“Now I can never be so unjust to his Majesty's mild and “ gracious Government, as to ascribe our present tranquillity “ to the continuance of an extraordinary number of troops, “ any more than I can believe, it would cease at the reduction “ of part of them. This would be a dangerous, as well as an “ absurd doctrine, with relation to us at home. For should it « be admitted, that above eighteen thousand land forces, have “ not only procured our present tranquillity, but that they are « absolutely necessary for the security of the kingdom; then it “ will follow, that the same number will be always absolutely “ necessary; that a military power is the moft pacific form of " Government, and that an army will be a better preserver “ of peace and plenty, a better guardian of our civil and re“ ligious Rights, than the Law of the Land. This doctine " too, considered with regard to the respect and influence we “ may have abroad, is as absurd as ill grounded: for that re« spect and influence can never proceed from the number of “ land forces we may think fit to burthen ourselves with in “ time of peace, but it must proceed from the advantages of
« our « our natural situation, from our naval strength, from our exa 6 tended commerce, from our vast riches, which have enabled “ us to carry on long and expensive wars ;a to maintain, when “ our allies failed in their quotas, three great armies at once « in their different nations; and these advantages will ever 66 enable us to hold the balance of power in Europe, unless 66 worn out with unnecessary and insupportable taxes.
" But if not so much as the four thousand augmentation “ troops are to be parted with, if they are to be continued till “ the pretences of all the Princes of Europe shall be adjusted, “ till the different interests of different nations shall be recon« ciled, till the claim of Bremen and Verden shall be fully set« tled and acquiesced in, till the long expected form of a Con6 gress shall be compleated, I freely own, I am not without 6. my apprehensions, that our immense national debt, instead « of being annually reduced, will be daily increased : that our " present grievances, for grievances we have in the midst of - all our tranquillity, instead of being speedily removed, will “ become perpetual, and we may dream of blessings we shall “ never enjoy.”
Mr. Shippen, Nov. 22, 1724.
• My sentiments concerning a standing army, in time of peace, are well known here ; and it may seem unnecessary, perhaps be thought impertinent in me, to debate anew on a wornout and exhausted topic, when other Gentlemen, who entertain the same sentiments, are pleased to be filent. But surely the question before you is not become a Motion of course ; surely as long as the grievance is continued on one hand, so long there is a right of complaint on the other; and that complaint, I should think, may without offence be continued, till it can be proved that the British Government is in its nature military, or qught to be made so.
. I do not intend to trouble you with what I have formerly urged, or to use any argument drawn from the expence and
burthen, or from the terror and oppression which have been brought upon this and other nations, by raising and keeping up a greater number of forces, than were absolutely necessary in time of peace : not but that the gradations, by which armies, with all their inconveniencies, have been first introduced into free states, and afterwards imposed upon them, ought to be had in perpetual remembrance. We ought never to forget, that such steps have been usually taken, to gratify the views of ambitious Princes, to carry on the schemes of evil Ministers, to terrify Parliaments into obedience, and to make the Members of them dumb spectators of the miseries of their country.
I will not insist on these arguments, however just in them, selves, however proper on other occasions, because they would be unapplicable to the present situation of our affairs. For we have a Prince whose aim is to continue us the blessings of peace and plenty; we have a Ministry who have merits above my commendation; we have a Parliament, which acts with a spirit superior to all influences, and to all temptations. Befides, every year has its particular circumstances, and those particular circumstances ought to guide our resolutions, when we are marking our annual parliamentary provisions for the public service. I thought our circumstances both at home and abroad, were so prosperous the last Seslion, that we might withput hazard have disbanded at least the four thousand augmentation troops. But the Majority of the House was of another opinion. There was then indeed a Rendezvous, though not a formed Congress, of Plenipotentiaries, vyirg with each other in the splendor of their equipages and the magnificence of their entertainments at Cambray, which had for some time employed our speculations, and promised great events to the world. And it was thought good policy to show the negociating Powers, by continuing our army, that, if they would not acçept of his Majesty's plan for settling the balance of power, and for establishing the tranquillity of Europe, Great-Britain was ready to do her part toward compelling them to a com