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THE DESIGNS OF FRANCE
Or, the Intrigues of that Crown, for the utter ruin of both those Nations laid open. With allowance *.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE READER.
These papers (which were intended to be published before this time, had the press been open for such truths) plainly discover the cunning intrigues, wicked designs, and unchristian practices of the French king, for the overthrow of England and Holland, and with them the Protestant religion. If this account be (as it is hoped) approved of, a further information may be expected from the same hand.
XXENRY the Eighth, king of England, did, in his time, cause a medal to be stamped with a hand stretched out of a cloud, holding a balance in equal poise, whereof both the scales represented Spain and France, with this motto. Cui adhcereo prteest, i. e. My alliance weighs it down. It seems, that prince well knew his own might; whereas now England may be compared to an ox, who, being insen. sible of his own strength, quietly submits himself to the yoke. Evident it is, that England has many advantages beyond other kingdoms, but especially this, that, being an island, it can easily secure itself against any foreign force; they, that intend an invasion against it, must be obliged to cross the seas, and struggle with the winds and waves, and all the hazards and dangers of that unstable element, besides a very potent fleet, which alone is sufficient to deter their hardiest enemy from any such design. Now, this being so, it is ma. nitest that the King of England (having peace, and a strict alliance, with Holland) can over-balance the party he designs against.
This is a truth, France is so fully convinced of, that, notwithstand. Ing the great antipathy there is between both nations, he has hitherto spared nothing, and is still turning every stone, to take off England from its true interest, and to engage it on his side, or, at least, to oblige it to stand neuter, and to be an idle, unconcerned spectator of the horrid tragedy the French King acts upon the theatre of Europe, because he well knows that England is better able to prevent it, and spoil his sport, than any other state or kingdom
• Supposed to he printed anno 16S5. Quarto, containing twelw. pafci.
whatsoever, and rescue Europe from the universal slavery he prepares for it.
Would the King of England only be pleased to open his eyes, fast closed with the inchanted slumbers of the French Dalilah, to take a view of his own strength, and true interest, he should soon find himself making another figure amongst the princes of Europe, than of late years he hath done, and with ease mount that high degree of power and glory, of being the professed umpire of the universe, the sovereign mediator and decider of controversies, and the giver of peace to all Europe, which France, in a vain bravado, pretends to, when indeed he is the sole troubler of it.
To arrive at this transcendent pitch of grandeur and authority, two things only (which the king of England may do when he pleases) are requisite. The first is, that his majesty do comport himself so, as to engage the love of his people, and keep a right understanding between him and his parliament. And the second, that he enter into a strict alliance with Holland, living in sincere amity, perfect union, and good correspondence with them, in order to their common defence and security. The former of these is very easy, and the king will do it, as soon as he shall resolve to desire nothing of his Parliament, but what is agreeable with the laws of the realm, which, by his coronation-oath, he is obliged to observe and maintain; and the latter will be found to be of absolute necessity, as soon as the King of England shall please to stop his ears to the false suggestions of France, and stifle those jealousies and resentments, which his emissaries daily buz into his head; there being nothing to fear for England from the States, whose desire is not to enlarge their dominions (as France does) by invading those of their neighbours, but only to keep what God has given them, and to maintain their subjects in the liberty they now enjoy.
This France so well knows, that he leaves no stone unturned to prevent it, and continually sends forth some crafty turbulent spirits to sow the seeds of division and misunderstanding between the king and his parliament. Thus the spirit of France was at work, to ex« asperate the episcopal party against the Presbyterians, and again the Presbyterians, and other nonconformists, against them, making them believe that the bishops favoured popery, and would not fail to prove turncoats, as soon as a favourable opportunity should be offered them, and that the king did incline the same way, with a thou. sand like suggestions; which so set the people against the king, and filled the parliament with such jealousies, that they often granted his then majesty but very little of what he demanded, and gave him so much work at home, that he had no leisure to consider what was doing abroad. It was France that first kindled the civil wars in the time of Charles the First, which cost England so much blood, the French ambassador, that was then at that court, boasting at his return from thence, That he had kindled a fire in England, which should not be quenched of a long time, and that the English, for twenty years to come, would not be in a condition to claim any thing of France.' To the kindling of this unhappy flame, one father Joseph, a Caps. chine friar, did much contribte under hand, by means of the papists, especially those that were in the parliament's army. But now, since the King * of England has thought good to change his religion, France also has altered his battery, and turned all his great gans a. gainst the church of England; and so far are the minds of men irritated against one another, that his British majesty will not, this good while, be in a condition to look any where else but at home, where he is like to meet with so many crossings and thwartings of the designs he is carrying on, that he will find it a hard matter to break through them, and accomplish the thing he aims at, and so zealously affects. And, whilst these heart-burnings continue between the king and his people, he will be forced to be continually upon his guard, and to keep his forces about him, and cast about his thoughts how to raise a fund to maintain them, and thereby give an opportunity to France to possess himself of the Low Countries, and of Spain+ too, in case that king should chance to die, which happy hour, France, with a great deal of impatience, looks for.
As for the second point, viz. a league with the United Provinces, and a right understanding and good correspondence between those two governments, to oppose all powers that would invade and trouble the peace of Christendom, it is certain that the States, for their parts, would most gladly embrace the proposal, if they saw any likelihood of engaging therein with safety, and being seconded upon occasion; of which, indeed, there is but little probability, as long as affairs shall continue, in the condition wherein they are at present. This indeed is the thing, which, of all others, France would be very loth to see, because the hearty union of these two governments would, in all probability, put a stop to the French king's undertakings, overturn all his designs, and put him into an utter incapacity of attempting any thing against the peace of Nimeguen, or the truce with the emperor. But France carries a watchful eye t ©prevent this capital inconvenience, and that by an assiduous fomenting and cherishing feuds, and animosities, between those two nations, and improving every occurrence to this purpose; of which we have a fresh instance in the business of Bantam, which had been long ago made up, but that France (who finds it best fishing in troubled waters) thinks it more for his interest, that it should remain undetermined; which is the very reason why it was never made an end of, but kept as a reserve for a quarrel upon occasion. That there can be nothing so evidently destructive of the French designs, as this union between England and Holland, is very apparent; England can, when it pleases, overturn the projects of France against the Spanish Netherlands; neither could that king ever have taken Lux. emburg, if the late king of England had had the least inclination to oppose him in that attempt; but the French king so well knew how to take him by the blind side, that he did not perceive the mischief till the city was taken. It was a capital error for England to part with Dunkirk, a place that opened a passage for them to France and ihe Low-Countries: but it would make the matter much worse, if all those countries should be fain to submit to the tyranny of Lewis the Great, and he, by this means, should join Newport and Ostend * to Dunkirk; for then would Flushing follow by consequence, and that king be put into a condition to dispute the sovereignty of the sea with his British majesty, and destroy the navigation and commerce of this flourishing kingdom. Having got thus far, he would proceed to an intire conquest of the United Provinces; which point being once gained by him, England would have but little reason to flatter itself with the hopes of a better lot. Renowned Queen Elisabeth, of happy memory, was so sensible of what is here alledged, that she told Monsieur de Sully, the French King's ambassador ather majesty's court, that neither France, nor England, nor any other prince, or state whatsoever, ought to lay any claim to the Low Countries, and that she would never suffer the king, his master, to make the least attempt that way. Upon which Monsieur de Sully sent word to his master, Henry the Fourth,' That, notwithstanding theopposite sentiments of the queen, his majesty might, by means of great forces, keep his friends within their own bounds, and possess himself of such territories and cities in the Low-Countries, as should be neces. sary to join France and the United Provinces wholly and inseparably together: which was, (said he) the only way to restore France to its primitive grandeur and glory, and pitch it above the rest of Christendom; for if, by any means, the provinces of Luxemburg, Juliers, Mark, Mons, Aix, and Cleves were once united to France, there was no doubt, but the rest of the country would be forced to follow their example, being deprived of all communication and correspondence with the rest of the world.' Sure it is France has always inclined this way, since they have observed, that they could not compass their design by Italy, as the Romans of old; which conquest, tho' it be the interest of all princes of Europe to prevent, as much as in them lies; yet it is evident that these two states, who are nearer at hand, and can better do it, are the most of all concerned to put a stop to the progress of the French in the Low-Countries, which would not fail to be attended with dismal consequences to them, as before mentioned. As for Spain, it is a body deprived of the use of its limbs, and to which nothing remains but that of its tongue, viz. To pray and intreat its good friends and allies not to forsake it. But none can do more than England, towards the preservation of the Low Countries; and, if his British majesty had not promised to stand still, Luxemburg would still be in the state wherein it was formerly, and a bone for France to pick. The French king is so well aware of this, that he takes all the care he can to keep the King of England on his side, or, at least, to remain neuter, in case he will not declare himself for him. To which purpose he spares nothing, neither presents, pensions, nor arts, to keep all safe on that side. But, alas! this money, and those presents of France, are like a snake hid under rose-leaves. This is a smiling VPj which hereafter will prove a deadly sting They are iron chains. gilded over to deceive the eyes of those who now admire what here* after they will have occasion to lament, if they do not betimes discover the cheat of him, who designs to inslave them. England subsists by balancing the crown of France and Spain, and keeping them in equal poise; wherefore it must needs be the interest of that kingdom, by all means possible to prevent the Low-Countries from becomii g an occasion to the over-weight of France, lest, by this means, it should be incapacitated to maintain the balance of Europe for time to come. For if ever, by ill fortune, the French king should make himself master of all the seventeen provinces, as it is his great aim, and may easily be brought to pass, if the States be not second'-d, what condition will England then be in? France will be stronger than they at sea, and in the Indies, and consequently interrupt their commerce and navigation, by keeping a great fleet abroad, especially in the channel, so that nothing shall be able to stir out of the English havens, but by their leave; and, upon the least occasion, the total conquest of England must needs ensue, and that without remedy, there being no-body in a condition to stave off their final ruin.
* King James the Second. t This came to pass in regard to Spain, as berrprophrsicd.
Moreover, the true interest of England is to keep France low, as well to preserve the dominion of the sea, as to find a favourable occasion to recover those ancient dominions the French king keeps from them, as are the dukedoms of Bretagne, Normandy, Poictou, Languedoc, nay France itself; for of the marriage of the King of England with Margaret, daughter to Philip the Fair, was born Henry the Fifth, King of England, who had the same right to France as the Dauphin has to Spain. The three sons of King Philip the Fair, viz. Lewis Hutin, Philip the Tall, and Charles the Fair, died all without issue male; and it was not till after this, when the King of England prosecuted his right to the kingdom of France, that the Salick law was made, upon a speech of the Bishop of Beauvais's in the assembly of the states, in which he endeavoured to make out from an allusion to that place of the gospel, ' the lillies spin not:' that the crown of France ought not to fall to the distaff. But that law could not prescribe to time past, but only to that which was to come, and consequently could not invalidate the King of England's pretensions. After this, Henry the Fifth, entering France with a powerful army, and having defeated the French in several battles, married Catharine, daughter to Charles the Sixth, and, in the year 1441, it was concluded, that Henry should be King of France. Isabella also, who was Queen of France, and mother to Catharine Queen of England, made her last will in favour of her son-in-law, declaring him therein the sole heir of all her estate and of the crown, which increases the just pretensions, and strengthens the rights of England to the kingdom of France.
Had the French king but half the pretensions to England, which the King of England has to France, the world would soon hear of nothing but manifesto's to prove them just, as he calls all he does.
So that the King of England ought upon all occasions, and in all jrrspectSj to suspect France, and to beware of him as a mpst danger.