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LET TER VIII.
The same subje&t continued from
the year one thousand fix hundred eighty eight.
OUR lordship will find, that the
objects proposed by the alliance of one thousand fix hundred eighty nine between the emperor and the states, to which England acceded, and which was the foundation of the whole confederacy then formed, were no less than to restore all things to the terms of the Westphalian and Pyrenean treaties, by the war; and to preserve them in that state after the war, by a defensive alliance and guarranty of the same confederate powers against France. The particular as well as general meaning of this engagement was plain enough : and if it had VOL. II.
not been so, the sense of it would have been fufficiently determined, by that separate article, in which England and Holland obliged themselves to assist the
house of Austria, in taking and keeping poffeffion of the Spanish monarchy, ' whenever the case should happen of the
death of CHARLES the second, without lawful heirs. This engagement was double, and thereby relative to the whole political system of Europe, alike affected by the power and pretensions of France. Hitherto the power of France had been alone regarded, and her pretensions seemed to have been forgot: or to what purpose should they have been remembered, whilst Europe was so unhappily constituted, that the states at whose expence she increased her power, and their friends and allies, thought that they did enough upon every occasion if they made some tolerable composition with her ? They who were not in circumstances to refuse confirming present, were little likely to take effectual measures against future, usurpations. But now as the alarm was greater than ever, by the outrages that France had committed, and the intrigues she had carried on ; by the little regard she had shewn to public faith, and by the airs of authority she had assumed twenty years together : so was the spirit against her raised to an higher pitch, and the means of reducing her power, or at least of checking it, were increased. The princes and states who had neglected or favoured the growth of this power, which all of them had done in their turns, saw their
saw the necessity of repairing it, and saw that unless they could check the power of France, by uniting a power superior to her's, it would be impossible to hinder her from fucceeding in her great designs on the Spanish succession. The court of England had submitted not many years before to abet her usurpations, and the king of England had stooped to be her
pensioner. But the crime was not national. On the contrary, the nation had cried out loudly against it, even whilst it was committing : and as soon as ever the abdication of king James, and the elevation of the prince of ORANGE to the throne of England happened, the nation engaged with all imaginable zeal in the common cause of Europe, to reduce the exorbitant power of France, to prevent her future and to revenge her past attempts; for even a spirit of revenge prevailed, and the war was a war of anger as well as of interest.
UNHAPPILY this zeal was neither well conducted, nor well seconded. It was zeal without success, in the first of the two wars that followed the year one thousand fix hundred eighty eight ; and zeal without knowledge, in both of them. I enter into no detail concerning the events of these two wars. This only I observe on the first of them, that the 2
treaties of Ryswic were far from answering the ends proposed and the engagements taken by the first grand alliance. The power of France, with respect to extent of dominions and strength of barrier, was not reduced to the terms of the Pyrenean treaty, no not to those of the treaty of Nimeghen. Lorrain was restored indeed with
confiderable reserves, and the places taken or usurped on the other side of the Rhine: but then Strasbourg was yielded up
absolutely to France by the emperor, and by the empire. The concessions to Spain were great, but fo were the conquests and the encroachments made upon her by France, since the treaty of Nimeghen; and she got little at Rýswic, I believe nothing more than she had faved at Nimeghen before. All these concessions however, as well as the acknowledge- ment of king WILLIAM; and others made by Lewis the fourteenth after he had taken Ath and Barcelona, even during