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Our Conftitution is the main Point ever to be regarded; which, God be praised, hath been preserved through so many Ages: For though there have been fome Men often found, and of great parts too, who, for ibeir private ad-. vantages, are aiding, sometimes the Monarch, and sometimes the Party that would be a Commonwealth, un. der Specious Pretences for the Publick Good, to exceed the Limits the Constitution hath prescribed in this Country; yet the Nation still finds, in all Ages, fome truly, Publick Spirits, that preserve it from being long, imposed upon.
There is a craft, and a perpetual subtilty, that Men of Private
Interest muft work with to support their own defigns : But the true Interest of the Kingdom is the plainest thing in the World: It is what every Body in England finds and feels, and knows to be Right, and they are not long a finding it neither. This is that Interest, that is supported Non tam fama, quam sua vi it's own weight still keeps it fteddy against all the Storms, that can be brought io beat upon it, either from the Ignorance of Strangers to our Conftitution, or the Violence of any, that proječt to themselves wild Notions of appealing to the People out of Parliament ( a Parliament fitting ) as it were to a fourth Estate of the Realm; and calling upon them
to come and take ibeir share in the direction of the Publick, and most Important Consultations. This We conceive to be another way of undermining the Arcient and true Constitution, but not like to be more effectual than some others, that have been tried before ; since we have the experience that no violence, nor almost ruin, bath, hitherto, binder'd it from settling again upon its old foundation.
There bath been, within the compass of few years, much Talk, and, God knows, too many ill effects too, of Factions in this Kingdom ; and We have lived, in our days, to see the Two great Parties, of late known by the Names of Whig and Tory, directly change their ground; and those, wbo were formerly the Anti-Courtiers, become as pliant and obsequious, as ever. They were who had been the mot found fault with on that score.
But We are humbly of opinion , that, at this time of day, neither of those Parties have the Game in their hands, as they have formerly perhaps fancied to themselves. But they who fall be so honest, and so wife, constantly to prefer the true Interest of England to that of any other Country or People, preserve the Religion and the Laws, protect and promote the Trade of the Nation, thriftily and providently adminifter the publick Treasure, and study to maintain the Soveraignty of our Seas, so naturally, fo anciently, and fo justly the true defence of this Kingdom; thai Body, whomsoever it shall be consposed of, Joall have the Weight of England on it's fide ; and if there can be any of another frame, they must, in the end, prove so many miserable rotten Reeds.
Well may other Princes and States, whose Situation requires it for their own Security, find it their Interest, for the preservation of their Credit and Reputation ulmongst their Neighbours, to keep confiantly in pay great Numbers of Land Forces; in which they are still vying
one with the other, and boasting who can raise bis T box i lands, and who his ten Thousands : but they will be
found but Toung States-men for Our Governinent, who can think it advisable, that ihe Strength of this Ifand Should be measured by Proportions so unsuitable to it's true Glory, and Greatness. As well might David bave thought it requisite, when he was to encounter the great Giant of the Philistines, that He likewise must have had a Staff to bis Spear like a Weavers Beam. But that Man after Gods own heart thought it more expedient to bis advantage over the Enemy he was to contend with, to come against him with Arms that he had tried, and that he could weild. When Saul arm'd bim with his own Armour, and put an Helmet of Brass on his head: and armd him with a Coat of Mail, David bimself Says , He could not go with these, for he had not proved them. Which makes us a little refle&t on the circumstances of our own Nation, That whereas the Fleet of England bath been Renown'd, through so many Ages, for the Honour and Security of this Kingdom, in
these these latter days, by an unaccountable improvidence, our care has been more industriously applied to the railing great Numbers of Land Forces, than in Maintaining and Supporting the glorious Ancient Bulwarks of our Country; and when we have to do with an Enemy, whom We so far excel in strength at Sea, that, with a little more than ordinary application, We might hope to restrain his Exorbitant Power by our Naval Expeditions, We have imploy'd our greatest Industry, and a vast Expence, to attack him by Land in that part, where, by the strength of his numerous Garrisons, he must be, for many years, at least, invulnerable.
But it is to be hoped the Great Allies themselves; to whom, We doubt not, the English Nation wishes all Happiness and Prosperity, as being bound up with them in the same Interest, will at last be sensible, that this Kingdom cannot be useful to the Common Caule in any orber way, so much as at Sea. The Situation of this Country adapts it for Advantages by Sea: The Trade of it enables it to go on with a War by Sea : And neither of them can long bear a great Expence of a War in a Forreign Land: The experience of former Successes at Sea makes the Nation ever fond of imploying it's Vigour There : and the perpetual jealousy ihat, some time or other, Endeavours may be used, by the encrease of Land Forces, to advance another Greatness, and another Interest, will fix the Genius of the Nation still to depend on it's Greatness, and it's Security by Sea.
Suadere Principi quod oporteat, magni laboris; assentatio erga Principem quemcunque fine affe&tu peragitur, was a saying of Tacitus, and one of those that is perpetually verified. For We see, in all times, how Compliance and Flattery gets the better of Honesty, and plain Dealing All Men indeed love 'best those that difpute not with them; a Misfortune, whilft it is an mong St private Persons, that is not so much taken notice of; but it becomes remarkable, and grows a publick Ca lamity, when this uncomely obsequiousness is practised towards great Princes, who are apt to mistake it for
Duty, and to prefer it before such Advice as is really good for their Service; at least till the folly, and vanity of Jucb proceeding's comes to be seen through; and then the reward of their unseasonable Courtship. frequently over takes the miserable Authors , though the discovery come to late to preserve from ruin' the Master, who hash been deluded.
An Eminent Poet of our own Nation calls this Flattery the Food of Fools; and yet it is a Plant so guarded and fenced about, fo cherished and preserved in all Courts, that it never fails of bringing forth much wretched fruit; and will ever do jó, till God Almighty Mall send
such a discerning Spirit into the hearts of Prices, as may enable them to distinguish between those, that serve to obtain their own Ends, and those, who have only in their View the true Interest, and Honour of their Masters; and to punish, instead of encouraging, those bold Corrupters of all right Judgement, Justice, Honefly, and Trutb.
If at any time it might be hoped this dangerous Generation of Men fould be discountenanced, one might be allowed to look for it in an Age, when a Revolution hath been thought necesary to make a Reformation : For where the Foundations of the Earth were taken to be out of Course, more steddiness, a strieter Virtue, and a more unblameable Administration will be expected to come in the Room of it.
If Princes would bear it, it would be an Advantage to Them, as well as Happiness to their Subjects, to hear plain and bold Truths, when delivered with Duty, and Decency, and Privacy, from their faithful Servants, in their own life time ; whilst they might yet redress, and correet any mistakes of their Judgement, or Will. But because they generally defend themselves from those Approaches by their Greatness, and the Awe they usually Atrike on those that come near them, the next best way to incline them to reflet duly upon themselves, is to get them to read the Memorials of Times past : Where
They will see how those who have once Govern'd the World, are treated, when they are dead and gone ; and that it is the Privilege, and Practice of all present Ages, to speak without restraint of those that are past: As, We may be confident, ihe next that comes after this Wé live in, will not forget to put their Stamp, and their. Cenfure, on what they shall judge good, or bad, in any part. of it. And this truth will be allowed in all times, that a great King, who is known to Govern in his own PerJon, who is not managed by his Ministers, but does HimJelf give the direction, the life, and determination to all his Commands, as be ought to have the Glory, and the Merit of bis Conduct and Skill, brought to his own. Account without a Rival, lo be will bave the Misfortune of having the errors of his Reign, if any there be, imputed likewise to Hiinself.
We have been led, from one step to another, farther than the scope of a Preface to this Hiftory might properly have drawn Us, were it not that the observatiori of the miscarriages in former Times , continued down by degrees, as we conceive, from the like mistake, and the like rcot of animosity and discontent, bad engaged us to make Some Remarks on ihe most eminent of them, and to lay them together in one view, for every Man's calm Judgément and Animadversion, as the best means , in our Opie nion, to prevent any such for the future. Which makes Us hope ibe Reader will not be offended with some Excursions, upon publishing such a Work, that hath so much of Information and Instruction in it, that it must furnish to every one great variety of Reflections; and, arr.ong ft others, the observation of this particular, and almojt continual Misfortune to all Princes, who are apo to think that, out of the great Numbers of their Súbjefts, and the Crowd of their Courtiers and Flatterers, they can never want a supply of just and faithful Servants; which znakes them to little value, and so often throw away their best and ablest Ministers; whereas there is in tiuih nothing to difficult for a Prince, as to