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cus enemy, who flattered and humoured his late majesty,* only to lull him asleep, that he might play his game without being disturbed or interrupted by him, who, whenever it shall please him to mind and be true to his own interest, will undoubtedly carry the greatest stroke in the . flairs of Europe.
It is therefore no wonder, that King Lewis the Fourteenth spared nothing that might supply the necessities or provide for the pleasures of the late King Charles the Second, as Monsieur Barillon and the Dutchess of Portsmouth can witness. But I must tell you, that the French king considers no-body, whether prince or private person, any further than as they may be serviceable to promote his own ends j yea virtue itself is not esteemed by him, except it go hand in hand with his interest. Do but consider what account he made of the princes and princesses of England in Cromwell's time: Were they not obliged to quit France, and to seek for entertainment elsewhere? And it is notorious, that he never contributed any thing towards the late king's restoration, till it was past his skill to hinder it.
So that, upon the whole, neither the resentment of the royal family, nor the interest of England, will allow of such strict alliances with France, as might tie up the king of England's hands, and make him an idle spectator, whilst Lewis the Great makes himself master of the Low-Countries; but, on the contrary, he must always be ready to oppose any the least attempt he shall make toward it, making use in the mean time of the six regiments he has in Holland, which the States will not deny him on that account, till he can send some other troops over to Flanders. I am persuaded that those six regiments will be able to make head against double the number of Frenchmen; and, when England shall thus be pleased but to shew its teeth, all Europe will thereby be safe. 'Resist the Devil, and he will fly from you; but, if you fear him, he will make you his slaves.' France has cut out work enough for King James the Second, and the business that he hath taken in hand is so great, that many people fear, and others hope, he will never compass it. It is not a time to alter old laws, when the enemy is at the gates; it is not always seasonable for a king to act the missionary,+ but much more requisite that he shew himself a brave soldier and good politician. All the world was in expectation of great things from his majesty; his courage put all Europe in hopes of an universal relief, and some respite for Spain; but how has he frustrated and befooled their hopes, whilst his sole study is to please the Jesuits, and to kindle a fire in his own king. dom, which probably he will never be able to quench, when he would, as long as he dares notconvene a free parliament.
As Spain became depopulated by the departure of the Moors, so is France greatly weakened and impoverished by the dragoon conversion, and flight of the protestants; and the French king would fain see England brought to the same pass. It is a presumption to rob God of his right, it is to him the honour of converting does belong, that work surpassing the power and activity of a creature.
♦ King Charles the Second. t To preach religion to his subjects.
So, leaving that care to God, the King of England ought to lay oat his endeavours about preserving his dominions from becoming a prey to that ambitious prince, by obliging him to keep within his own bounds, and not to incroach upon his neighbours territories; and, in so doing, the king will make good the hopes and expectation Europe has conceived of him.
The Designs of France against the United Provinces.
After the States of the United Provinces had, by their powerful arms, constrained Spain to acknowledge them a free state, who owed allegiance to none but God alone, they were, for a time, the object of their neighbours admiration and envy, every one endeavouring to court and make alliances with this growing state, which began to be looked upon as the umpire of Europe; but this high reputation of theirs has suffered a notable eclipse since the war of 1672, when France, having brought them to the very brink of destruction, pleased himself with the thoughts of seeing them tumble headlong into the pit he had digged for them; neither would he have been mistaken in his hopes, had not the people given a sudden and un. looked for turn to the face of affairs, by declaring the Prince of Orange Stadtholder; the providence of Almighty God, at the same time, concurring with their endeavours, to preserve that small spot of ground, by confounding and daunting their enemies, who, after the taking of Naerden, were struck with such a panick fear, that they ran away, none pursuing them.
Now, what contributed most to the mischiefs, they were involved in at that time, was, that, besides the treasonable correspondences which France held with some principal members of that government, they had neither any good troops, nor a commander in chief, and, relying on the peace and fair promises of France, they were well nigh lulled asleep by that fatal melody, whilst that king was hard at work to undermine the foundation of their dear-bought liberties and government. We find in time of peace the soldiers grow idle, as well as their arms rusty. Ease pleaseth and flatters us, and men are soon persuaded to lay aside the exercise of arms, to betake them, ■elves to a more gainful way of living; so that, when the enemy approaches, they are readier to embrace shame, when joined with profit and pleasure, than to strive for glory, surrounded with difli. culties and dangers.
France knew very well, that, so long as the United Provinces had no general, that soldiery could not be but in a very bad condition, and incapable of defending them from the attempts of a powerful enemy; wherefore he took special care, by cunning practices and false suggestions (exasperating the minds of the opposite party) to prevent the Prince of Orange's being advanced to those places of trust and dignity, his Royal Highness is now so deservedly possessed of.* By this means the States grew daily weaker and weaker, their
* What clearer memorial would the Dutch hate to bring them out of their present lethargy » when almost under the tame delusion i'
i were dissipated, their fortifications neglected, their strongest holds went to decay, their magazines were unfurnished, whilst France was raising troops under-hand, and making secret alliances with England, the Elector of Cologne, and Bishop of Munster, in order to their filial rain. Du Plessis is much in the right, when he says, 'That a state is not to be judged strong or weak, but with relation 'to the strength or weakness of its neighbours; and that it is upon
* that score, that wise princes endeavour to keep themselves, as
* much as they can, in equal poise with their neighbours, to the end, 'they continue in peace and amity together; for, as soon as this
* fails, all peace and good correspondence are dissolved, as being 4 only grounded upon a mutual fear or esteem for one another.' Which is so true, that a prudent prince is always jealous of the least advance or motion of his neighbour, though in a time of trace •r peace, and is continually upon his watch, endeavouring to be informed of his designs before they be brought forth; for, by this means, be puts him by his measures, and frustrates his purposes. In which point many princes and states, who are too saving, fail very oft; and this covetousness of theirs costs them and their people very dear, by occasioning a most expensive war, which, at the first, by precaution, might have been prevented with a small matter. France is so well informed of this truth, that they neglect nothing in such cases, and their ambassadors in all the courts of Europe are supplied with money for that very purpose, who, knowing they cannot please their master better, than by corrupting one or more of the ministers of the prince or state at whose court they reside, are day and night contriving for it, and spare nothing to bring it about. Yea, when it happens that they cannot prevail with the man himself they aim at, they endeavour to gain his wife, or, in case they chance to be so unhappy as to fail there also, they condescend to make their application to some of their children; nay, so humble are they, and such slaves to their master's ambition, that they will not stick to bribe their servants, and furnish them with money proportionable to the service they are able and willing to do them.
These are the maxims that speed their designs wonderfully well in inch states as are governed by many heads,as the United Provinces; which are a great bar to the French king in his aim of conquering the Spanish Netherlands, who very well knows, that, being master of the one, he cannot miss of the other. His great business there, fore is, to lull the States of the United Provinces asleep with a truce, which he will break, when he pleases, being in hopes that their forces will, in the mean time, be neglected, in laying out themselves wholly to propagate and encourage trade and navigation. For that king is well aware, that the States, being awake and standing on their guard, will never consent to his possessing himself of the Spanish Netherlands, at least they ought not to do it, since thatii the only bar and rampart which hinders France from overwhelming them, which they ought, therefore, by all means to endeavour to preserve whole and intire, as one would his, neighbour's' house from being set on fire.
What pains did not Count D'Avaux take to set one prervrnw against the other, and to sow divisions among the cities of Holland? How busy was he at Amsterdam? What proffers or premises did he spare to bring it about? Which is a thing so publickly known from that ambassador's frequent journies to that great city, that the very children were not ignorant of it. We must not imagine that Mombas was alone engaged in this* treason against the state, but rather that he, escaping into France, has left several behind him, that walk in the dark, and are not yet discovered. The best of it is, that Count D'Avaux begins to be known, and his insinuations not believed, he having but too long imposed upon the credulity and good nature of many, who, now perceiving the cheat, will scarcely suffer themselves to be decoyed a second time. And, as France was diligent to sow these divisions and jealousies amongst them at home, so was he no less industrious in fomenting differences between England and them, as knowing very well, that these neighbouring powers, when joined together, are able to give check to his pride, and set bounds to his ambition. How pleasing a sight is it to the French king to see them engaged one against each other, and pursuing his interest at so vast an expence of their own blood and treasure? The last war between those two states was some difference about matters of commerce, and, whilst the King of England wa» arming, the French king offered to engage in a treaty with Holland, on purpose to amuse and divert them from putting themselves in a posture of defence, as they soon after perceived; when France, instead of concluding the treaty, begun with them, and declared himself for England; and, whilst the latter attacked them by sea, he invaded their country with a puissant army; and, supposing the conquest of those provinces indubitable, they had before-hand divided them amongst themselves, England being to have for its share all the maritime places, and France all the rest; Amsterdam only proved a bone of contention, and occasioned some difference between them, both the one and the other desiring it for his share; though indeed they had no reason to be in a heat about it, seeing all this was but reckoning without their host, God preserving it from falling into either of their hands. Thus, a peace being, at last, concluded with England, the spirit of France was at work again to withdraw the states from their allies; and, finding that things were about to change face, and that the Dutch, being roused by a discovery of the artifices and treachery of France, began to look about them, and their troops, having a good general + at the head of them, bemme consi-derable and formidable, he thought fit, for a while, to dismiss the lion and act the fox, restoring Maestricht unto them, in order to obtain the peace of Nimeguen. Since which time that king has contented himself to bark afar off, and was so apprehensive of the States raising the last six-thousand men, that Count D'Avaux spared nothing to prevent it,} and will do so still, as often as the States shall go about to arm themselves, because that would stop the great Lewis in the full career of his conquests, and make his designs to prove abortive. I say again, that it is the great concern of Holland, not to suffer the Spanish Netherlands to be lost, except they desire, at the same time, to become a prey to the usurper. For, how easily will he find an occasion of quarrel with them? and, if all else fail, he will make out his pretensions and right to those provinces, for that they formerly belonged to Mary of Burgundy, Philip the First, Charles the Fifth, and afterwards to Philip the Second, who were, without contest, the lawful possessors thereof, and that, afterwards rebelling, they obtained, by force, an acknowledgment of their being a free state. He will proffer to maintain them in all their liberties and privileges, and the free exercise of their religion, in case they willingly submit to him; which, if they should hearken to, he will by little and little clip their franchises, and remove all protestants from places of trust, as he has done at home; and, if they yield not willingly, he will attack them with an armed hand, as he did in 1672, being sure the Roman Catholick Princes will not oppose him, because he has blinded their eyes with the false pretence of religion. But, if the house of Austria be not aware betimes of the snares he lays for them under these specious pretexts, they will find themselves deceived, when it is too late to recall their inadvertency.
• And whoever reads of the negotiation* of Mr. Belisle in Germany, and the intrigues of Mr. Chctardie or late in Muscov>, cannot think that these two ministers fall any wise shoir, in the .ii1 of lyi..g. treachery, corruption, and treason.
t William, Piincc of Orange. ;Did not Mr. Fenelon do tke same lately I
To return to the United Provinces, I say, they ought, next to God, not to rely upon any thing so much as their own forces; and having nothing so much to fear as France, they ought to provide and strengthen themselves against his power chiefly, who has, for this great while, been plotting and contriving their final overthrow, or, at least, the bringing of them so low, as to be forced to depend solely upon, and truckle under him. It has some time since been ob. served, that France has had a strong desire to make Holland listen to the proposal and treaty, which the wolf in the fable made with the sheep: ' Put away from you (said the wolf to those harmlesscreatures) your shepherd and dog, and we will make an alliance, and 'live in love and amity together.' In like manner, says Lewis the Great, ' Dismiss your general, and disband your old troops; for, 'to what purpose those unnecessary charges in a time of peace; es. 'pecially being so well assured of our friendship, by the truce I am * engaged in, and the word of a king, which you may safely rely on, 'that we will live in all amity and good correspondence with you?' But what says the Italian: ' Trust not, if thou would'st not be 'cheated.' So that it is still safest for Holland to rely wholly on its own strength, and to have always a good fleet at sea, to serve for convoy and cruising, besides a reserve in readiness to join them, in case of need. A good navy may well be called the right hand of that go. vernment, being of great use in dispelling many clouds and ill designs which France hatcheth against his neighbours. And, if ever the States should come to a resolution, continually to keep in pay a certain number of seamen, to be ready to be put a-board their men of war, at any time, this would produce a double effect. The first is, that the States would always have men ready at hand,