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that he thought nothing at all was done, while any thing remained undone. In short, we have been tugging a great while against the stream, and have almost weathered our point; a stretch or two more will do the work; but if, instead of that, we slacken our arms, and drop our oars, we shall be hurried back in a moment to the place from whence we first set out.
After having seen the necessity of an entire separation of the kingdoms of France and Spain, our subject naturally leads us into the consideration of the most proper means for effecting it.
We have a great while flattered ourselves with the prospect of reducing France to our own terms by the want of money among the people, and the exigencies of the public treasury; but have been still disappointed by the great sums imported from America, and the many new expedients which the court hath found out for its relief. A long consumptive war is more likely to break the grand alliance, than disable France from maintaining sufficient armies to oppose it. An arbitrary government will never want money, so long as the people have it; and so active a people will always have it, whilst they can send what merchandises they please to Mexico and Peru. The French, since their alliance with Spain, keep thirty ships in constant motion between the western ports of France and the south seas of America. The king himself is an adventurer in this traffic, and, besides the share that he receives out of the gains of his subjects, has immense sums that come directly from it into his own hands.
We may further consider, that the French, since their abandoning Bavaria and Italy, have very much retrenched the expense of the war, and lay out among themyselves all the money that is consumed in it.
Many are of opinion, that the most probable way of bringing France to reason, would be by the making an attempt upon the Spanish West-Indies, and by that means to cut off all communication with this great source of riches, or turn the current of it into our own country. This, I must confess, carries so promising an appearance, that I would by no means discourage the attempt: but, at the same time, I think it should be a collateral project, rather than our principal design. Such an undertaking (if well concerted, and put into good hands) would be of infinite advantage to the common cause : but certainly an enterprise, that carries in it the fate of Europe, should not turn upon the uncertainty of winds and waves, and be liable to all the accidents that may befal a naval expedition.
Others there are that have long deceived themselves with the hopes of an insurrection in France, and are therefore for laying out all our strength on a descent. These, I think, do not enough consider the natural love which the gross of mankind have for the constitution of their fathers. A man that is not enlightened by travel or reflection, grows as fond of arbitrary power, to which he hath been used from his infancy, as of cold climates or barren countries, in which he hath been born and bred. Besides, there is a kind of sluggish resignation, as well as poorness and degeneracy of spirit, in a state of slavery, that we meet with but very few who will be at the pains or danger of recovering themselves out of it; as we find in history instances of persons, who, after their prisons have been flung open, and their fetters struck off, have chosen rather to languish in their dungeons;
than stake their miserable lives and fortunes upon the success of a revolution, I need not instance the general fate of descents, the difficulty of supplying men and provisions by sea, against an enemy that hath both at hand, and without which it is impossible to secure those conquests that are often made in the first onset of an invasion. For these, and other reasons, I can never approve the nursing up commotions and insurrections, in the enemy's country, which, for want of the necessary support, are likely to end in the massacre of our friends and the ruin of their families.
The only means, therefore, for bringing France to our conditions, and what appears to me in all human probability, a sure and infallible expedient, is to throw in multitudes upon them, and overpower them with numbers. Would the confederacy exert itself, as much to annoy the enemy, as they themselves do for their defence, we might bear them down with the weight of our armies, and, in one summer, overset the whole power of France.
The French monarchy is already exhausted of its best and bravest subjects. The flower of the nation is consumed in its wars: the strength of their armies consists, at present, of such as have saved themselves by flight from some or other of the victorious confederates; and the only proper persons to recruit them are but the refuse of those who have been already picked out for the service. Mareschal de Vauban, though infinitely partial in his calculations of the power of France, reckons that the number of its inhabitants was two millions less at the peace of Ryswick than in the beginning of the war that was there concluded : and though that war continued nine years, and this hath as yet lasted but six, yet, consi
dering that their armies are more strong and numerous ; that there hath been much more action in the present war; and that their losses sustained in it have been very extraordinary; we may, by a moderate còmputation, suppose that the present war hath not been less prejudicial than the foregoing one, in the ravage which it has made among the people. There is in France so great a disproportion between the number of males and females ; and among the former, between those who are capable of bearing arms, and such as are too young, sickly, or decrepid for the service ; and at the same time such vast numbers of ecclesiastics, secular and religious, who live upon the labours of others, that when the several trades and professions are supplied, you will find most of those that are proper for war absolutely necessary for filling up the laborious part of life, and carrying on the underwork of the nation They have already contributed all their superfluous hands, and every new levy they make must be at the expense of their farms and vineyards, their manufactures and commerce.
On the contrary, the grand alliance have innumera. ble sources of recruits, not only in Britain and Ireland, the United Provinces, and Flanders; but in all the populous parts of Germany that have little trade or manufactures, in proportion to the number of their inhabitants. We may add, that the French have only Switzerland, besides their own country, to recruit in; and we know the difficulties they meet with in getting thence a single regiment: whereas the allies have not only the same resource, but may be supplied for money from Denmark and other neutral states. In short, the confederates may bring to the field what forces they please, if they will be at the charge of them : but France, let her wealth be what it will, must content herself with the product of her own country.
The French are still in greater straits for supplies of horse than men. The breed of their country is neither so good nor numerous as what are to be found in most of the countries of the allies. They had, last summer, about threescore thousand in their several armies, and could not perhaps bring into the field thirty thousand more, if they were disposed to make such an augmentation.
The French horse are not only few, but weak in comparison of ours. Their cavalry in the battle of Blenheim could not sustain the shock of the British horse. For this reason, our late way of attacking their troops, sword in hand, is very much to the advantage of our nation, as our men are more robust, and our horses of a stronger make than the French ; and in such attacks it is the weight of the forces, supposing equal courage and conduct, that will always carry it. The English strength turned very much to account in our wars against the French of old, when we used to gall them with our long bows, at a greater distance than they could shoot their arrows: this advantage we lost upon the invention of fire-arms, but, by the present method, our strength as well as bravery may again be of use to us in the day of battle.
We have very great encouragement to send what numbers we are able into the field, because our generals at present are such as are likely to make the best use of them, without throwing them away on any fresh attempts or ill-concerted projects. The confederate armies have the happiness of being commanded by persons who are esteemed the greatest leaders of the present age, and are perhaps equal to any that have preceded them. There is a sort of resemblance in