Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

fore will proceed to fhew what this gentleman was ignorant of, or what he concealed very unfairly, bccaufe it is decifive against him.

I think he could hardly be ignorant that the fecond article of the preliminaries, not only recalls the treaties of Utrecht and Baden, and the quadruple alliance, as he quotes the article, but likewife all treaties and conventions which preceded the year 1725; which latter words he does not quote. Perhaps, he judged them unncceffary. If he did fo, he was much mistaken; for by the fifth article of the treaty of 1721, between Great Britain and Spain, it it declared, "that all the pretenfions of "both fides, touching affairs not expofed in the "present treaty, and which pretenfions are not "comprehended in the fecond article of it," fhall be treated of in the future congrefs; which was at that time the congrefs at Cambray. Now let it be obferved, that the affair of Gibraltar is not one of the affairs exposed in this treaty. Let it be observed alfo, that the pretension of the Spaniards to Gibraltar, is not one of the pretenfions comprehended in the fecond article of it; and then let any man deny, if he can, that, in the intention of Spain, thefe words were relative to the pretenfion, which fhe acquired by the private engagement taken in the letter fo often quoted. If the letter gave her a right, as fhe infifts, it gave her a pretenfion certainly to claim that right, and this pretenfion is carefully preferved by the treaty of 1721. I do not fay among other pretenfions; for I think I may venture to fay, that all other pretenfions are specified in the treaty; even that relating to the free exercife of the Roman Catholic religion in Minorca: and therefore these words feem to have been fingly applied to the pretenfions of Spain on Gibraltar. Will not the Spaniards now infift, upon these foundations, that they enjoyed, in 1721, a right to demand the reftitution

of

of Gibraltar, by virtue of conventions then made; and that the fecond article of the preliminaries preferves entire, to all the contracting parties, whatever rights, as well as poffeffions, they had by virtue of any treaty or conventions, antecedent to the year 1725; and that therefore the first general words of the fecond preliminary preferve to them the right of demanding the reftitution of Gibraltar, as a right acquired by conventions made before the year 1725; whilft the laft general words of the fame preliminary article preferve this right as an alteration made in the treaty of Utrecht, and in the quadruple alliance?

How little weight foever the defender of the Enquiry may allow to thefe obfervations, which would I doubt have fome in a congrefs, yet he muft allow that they ought not to have efcaped him, or to have been concealed by him; ince they do certainly af fect the merits of the caufe on which he has fo pofitively pronounced judgment, without any regard to them. But I am almoft ready to afk your pardon, Mr. D'Anvers, for faying fo much on this point, when there is another more clear and more decifive 'ftill behind. Is it poffible our author fhould never have heard of a certain public inftrument, containing a declaration explanatory of the preliminaries made by the French minifter at the Pardo, on the fourth of March, 1728, and accepted and confirmed by himself, and by the Imperial, British, Spanish, and Dutch minifters on the fixth of the fame month? If this inftrument hath ever fallen into his hands, and it is in every body's elfe, did he never read thefe words in it that all pretenfions, "on all fides, fhall be produced, debated, and de"cided in the fame congrefs?" The difputes about contrabands, and other complaints made by the Spaniards concerning the fhip Prince Frederic, and the difputes about the reftitution of prizes, which articles

articles are taken notice of in the introduction to this inftrument, are, by particular claufes in it, referred to the difcuffion and decifion of the congrefs. To what purpose then were thefe general words inferted? To what purpose was it stipulated that all pretenfions whatfoever (among which the pretenfion of the Spaniards to the reftitution of Gibraltar must neceflarily be included; fince, whether ill or well founded, it is ftill a pretension on their fide) fhall likewife be referred to the congrefs; and that his "Britannic majefty fhall be obliged to stand to "what fhall be decided upon the whole?" But I forbear to prefs this matter any farther upon the gen tleman; fince it would be, in fome fort, like ftabbing him on the ground.

I proceed to the article of blocking up the gal leons; which is the lait upon which I am attacked in the Defence of the Enquiry. And here I must obferve again, that he is very far from entering into a refutation of the arguments advanced by me to prove, that feizing the galleons was a meafure liable to no objection, and in every refpect preferable to that of blocking them up. He obferves indeed, upon Mr Hofier's letter, that the treasure had been taken from on board the galleons, when our fquadron arrived before Porto Bello. Now, without making any reflections on the intelligence brought from on fhore to the admiral, and taking it for granted, that all this treafure was in time removed out of his reach, it will fill be true, that this circumfiance proves nothing in defence of the meafure taken to block up the galleons, and not to feize them; fince whether they would have the riches on board them or not, when Mr. Hofier fhould arrive, could not be known when his inftructions were drawn. If all thefe riches had been actually at Porto Bello, when he came thither, he would have had, in effect, nothing more to fay to the Spaniards, than what the orders they had received

ten

ten days before from old Spain imported; which was, that they should secure the money in the country.

The fingle point, infilted upon to justify this meafure, and which the writer pronounces to be fufficient, is that the contrary measure, that of feizing the galleons in port, with all their treasure on board, if it had been practicable, would "have put Eu66 rope into a flame, by putting all the proprietors of "thofe riches, whether French, Dutch or Spanish, "into the greatest uneafinels" At the fame time, he allows that taking these fhips, if they "had at"tempted, by force or stealth, to come out, had "been reafonable." Sure I am it is enough to fay in reply to this, that as to the uneafinefs which fuch a feizure might have given the Spanish proprietors, it deferved no confideration; that the French and Dutch proprietors would have believed, or ought to have believed, their effects as fecure in our hands, as in the hands of Spain; efpecially in a point of time, when they were, by treaty at leaft, engaged on our fide in oppofition to Spain; and, laftly, that the diftinction between feizing the galleons at fea, or blocking them up in port, as if one was, and the other was not an hoftility, is very manifeftly a diftinction without a difference; to prove which, I dare appeal to every man in Britain, whether he would not esteem the hoftility as great, and the infult greater, if a Spanish fquadron fhould block up Portsmouth, than if it fhould cruife in the channel, and take our fhips at fea. The gentleman cuts the difpute fhort, by referring us to the obfervations on the conduct of Great Britain; and I shall readily join iffue with him, by referring, on my fide, to the Craftsman Extraordinary, in which thefe obfervations are fully anfwered, and treated as they deferved to be.

Having mentioned the galleons, our author could not avoid taking fome notice of a question I asked,

in anfwering Publicola, and which he allows to be very material. His answers to it deferve a fhort reflection or two. "Since the galleons are coming "home, hath Spain renounced thofe defigns, "which our fleet was fent to the Weft-Indies to "prevent?" Thus he ftates the question; and his anfwer is, "Truly I can't tell; nor can any one "in the world, who is not in the fecrets of the court "of Spain." A little afterwards he asks the fame question? "Has the King of Spain renounced his

66

projects?" that is, thofe defigns which our fleet was fent to the Weft-Indies to prevent? His answer is, "Yes undoubtedly, as far as articles ratified by "him can bind; and as far as any contracting powers "can be bound by treaty to one another." Let us fee what is urged between the firft and the second afking of the fame queftion, to produce fuch a wide difference in the anfwers. The King of Spain hath ratified the preliminaries, in confequence of which the fiege of Gibraltar is raifed. Orders are sent to restore the South-fea fhip; and he has promised, that the effects of the galleons fhall be delivered. He hath therefore renounced his projects by treaty ; but whether he hath renounced them in his heart; "whether he will go on to act an open and honest part," that is more than our author can tell. It is more likewife than any one will defire, that he or thofe, for whom he is an apologist, fhould pretend to tell, or be anfwerable for. But let us fee what they are answerable for; what has been really done by treaty; what we have obtained to make us fome amends for the rotting of our fhips; for the lofs of fo many thousand lives, and for the depredations and hoftilities which this author founded fo high formerly; and which were carried on with redoubled vigor, during the pacific blockade of the galleons. The effects of the galleons are to be delivered. congratulate

<6

I

« EelmineJätka »