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As our duty to our Sovereign makes it neceffary for us to : return some fort of Address by way of answer to his Majesty's Speech from the Throne, at the opening of a Session, and as this practice has been established by immemorial custom, I shall be excufed if I introduce my Motion with my sentiments upon that surprizing turn which has been lately given to the affairs of Europe, by his Majesty's wisdom and conduct.
In order to do this, Sir, I must begin with observing, the dismal prospect we had of the affairs of Europe about eighteen or nineteen months ago. I think there is no maxim in politics more certain than this, that it is inconsistent with the liberties of Europe, to allow France to increase her own power, or to divide the power of Europe into so many branches, as to make it impoffible for any one Prince or State, to think of opposing her in any of her ambitious schemes; for it is very certain, that, as soon as the thoughts of Opposition end, those of Dependence begin; and consequently, if France could once effect this purpose, all the Princes and States of Europe would become dependent upon her; and most of them would, at all times, think of preserving their insignificant shadow of fovereignty only by being obedient to her commands, and affisting her against those who should bravely dare to rebel. We should then be in the same circumstance as Europe, or, I may say, the world was, when the grandeur of the Romans was at its greatest height. Some of the Princes and States of Europe, might be dignified with the deceitful title of Socii Gallici Imperii ; but if ever any one of them should ever dare to behave otherwise than as the most ahject flaves, even that empty title they would be stript of, and their territory would be converted into a province of the French empire. Our Royal Family, like that of Macedon, might, for some time, be left in poffefsion of their throne; but if any one of our future princes should endeavour to shake off his dependency, a powerful invasion would be the certain consequence; and if France were the fole mistress of the Continent of Europe, or
had it entirely at her command, our natural barrier would prove ineffectual : the would then come up against us with such a power as we could not oppofe either by sea or land: our Royal Family would be cut off; our noble and great families would be all carried captives into France, and Britain would, from thenceforth, be divided and governed by French Intendants or Lieutenants, as Macedonia was by Roman Prætors or Pro. confuls.
This consequence was foreseen, Sir : this consequence all Europe was sensible of in the last age: I wish I could say the fame of the present: but, by what fatality I know not, the present age seemed, a few months ago, to be struck with fuck a blindness as prevented their seeing this danger, though it was never more apparent. Several of the Princes of Europe, governed by a selfish private intereft, had actually joined witli France in pulling down the House of Austria, though that was the only power, on the Continent of Europe, that could, by itself, pretend to limit or set bounds to the ambitious Court of France. By this means the Queen of Hungary was environed by such numerous hostile armies, that it was impofliblo for her to refift for any long time; and the confederacy againft her was fo powerful, that no counter-confederacy equal to it could be formed. This, I shall grant, was, in some meafure, owing to her own unfeasonable obftinacy, as well as to the felfith views of some of her enemies; for however unjust spé might think her pretensions, in common prudence she should, upon the death of her father, have yielded to those that were the most moderate, in order to enable her to resist those who were so immoderate as to aim at the total overthrow of her House.
This was, Sir, from the beginning of the present troubles, his Majesty's advice to her ; but this prudent advice. The would not, for a long time, give the least ear to; and this not only united her enemies amongst themselves, but increased the views and demands of each; which reduced his Majesty to the fatal
necessity necessity of waiting till her obftinacy should be softened, and the eyes of some of her enemies be opened, by time and future accidents. This he was obliged to do before he could openly declare in her favour, or assist her in any other shape than by granting her sums of money ; but this he did with a steady design to take advantage of every accident that should happen: : and the behaviour of the French in Germany, especially about the time of the battle of Cretzka, was such as furnished him with an opportunity which he wisely took care to lay hold of, and to make the best use of it he could, whereby he prevailed upon both the kings of Prussia and Poland to withdraw themselves from the French alliance, and to make peace with the Queen of Hungary, upon terms which she readily agreed to.
By this prudent conduct of his Majesty, it became now poflible to form such a confederacy in Europe as might, with some hopes of success, endeavour to oppose the ambitious defigns of the Court of France; and to give courage to the other Powers of Europe to enter into such a confederacy, he resolved to send a body of his British troops to Flanders, in order to have a numerous army formed there; which, before the end of the campaign, raised such terrors in France, as prevented their sending sufficient reinforcements to their troops already in Germany, and likewise prevented their join. ing the Spaniards with such armies as might have overwhelmed the king of Sardinia, or compelled him to desert the alliance he had before, by his Majesty's interposition, entered into with the Queen of Hungary. At the same time, proper orders were given to his Majesty's Admirals in the Mediterranean, to prevent the Spaniards from sending any reinforcements or provisions by sea to their army in Italy; and our squadron there was reinforced and instructed, so as to enable it to execute these orders, against whosoever should dare to abet the Spaniards in any such attempt.
By these means, Sir, the Queen of Hungary was, before the end of the campaign, restored to the possession of Bohemia,
Westphalia was freed from the burden and terror of a French army, and the Spaniards were, during the whole campaign, defeated in every attempt they made against Italy: but there were two things still remaining to be done ; which were to drive the French entirely out of Germany; and to establish, upon a more-solid basis, the alliance of the King of Sardinia, in order to drive the Spaniards entirely out of Italy, for which purpose it was requisite to obtain the hearty concurrence of the Dutch. These things were to be the work of the next campaign, and therefore as early as the season would permit, the army which had been formed in Flanders marched into Germany; and his Majesty not only joined it with a confide. rable body of his electoral troops, but went in person to command the army; and by his valour and conduct, chiefly, the glorious battle of Dettingen was obtained, which compelled the French to evacuate Germany, and not only put the Queen of Hungary in poffeffion of all Bavaria, but opened a free palsage for her armies to the Rhine; so that France, from being the invader of the dominions of others, had now enough to do to defend her own.
Whilst his Majesty was thus triumphing over the arms of France in the field, he equally triumphed over her councils in the Cabinet; for, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of France to the contrary, he prevailed with the Dutch to send a body of 20,000 men to the asistance of the Queen of Hungary; and
a definitive treaty of alliance was concluded at Worms, be. tween his Majesty, the Queen of Hungary, and the King of
Sardinia, by which, alliance, and assistance of that Prince was established upon a firm basis: and experience has already shewn the great use it may be of to us, in defeating the designs of our eneniies the Spaniards in Italy; which will convince that haughty nation of its being necessary for them to cultivate a good correspondence with Great-Britain, if they have a mind to be quiet in their own possessions, or to disturb the possessions of any of their neighbours.
- These great and unexpected events, Sir, have been allbrought about by the wisdom and vigour of his Majesty's Councils, and therefore we cannot in gratitude omit taking notice of them upon this occasion. I was very fenfible, that there were many Gentlemen in this House, who could have fet them in a clearer light, and recommended them to your confideration with greater energy than I can; but I knew your affection and duty to your Sovereign, and the lustre of those events, was in itself fo refulgent, that I thought it required no high degree of eloquence to excite your grateful acknowledgments; therefore I ventured to undertake the task, and hope I shall be forgiven my arrogating to myself the honour.
Honourable Edward Coke, Dec. 1, 1743.