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The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, Vol. X. by Jonathan Swift

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world of their good intentions to the established religion,[58] and that
their oppositions to the court wholly proceeded from their care of the
nation, and concern for its honour and safety.[59]

[Footnote 55: P. Fitzgerald says "factious." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 56: John Ker, Earl of Roxburgh, was created Earl of Kelso,
Marquess of Cessford and Beaumont, and Duke of Roxburgh in 1707.

[Footnote 57: P. Fitzgerald says "Whig." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 58: P. Fitzgerald says "established Church." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 59: Nottingham succeeded in carrying the bill against
Occasional Conformity on December 15th, 1711. See Swift's "Letter to a
Whig Lord," in vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

These preparations were public enough, and the ministers had sufficient
time to arm themselves; but they seem to have acted, in this juncture,
like men who trusted to the goodness of their cause, and the general
inclinations of the kingdom, rather than to those arts which our
corruptions have too often made necessary. Calculations were indeed
taken, by which it was computed, that there would be a majority of ten
upon the side of the court. I remember to have told my Lord Harcourt and
Mr. Prior, that a majority of ten was only a majority of five, because
if their adversaries could bring off five, the number would be equal:
and so it happened to prove; for the mistake lay in counting upon the
bare promises of those who were wholly in the interest of the old
ministry, and were only kept in awe by the fear of offending the crown,
and losing their subsistence, wherein the Duke of Somerset had given
them full satisfaction.

With these dispositions of both parties, and fears and hopes of the
event, the Parliament met upon the seventh of December, one thousand
seven hundred and eleven. The Queen's speech (excepting what related to
supplies) was chiefly taken up in telling both Houses what progress she
had made towards a general peace, and her hopes of bringing it to a
speedy conclusion. As soon as Her Majesty was withdrawn, the House of
Lords, in a committee, resolved upon an address of thanks; to which the
Earl of Nottingham proposed an addition of the following clause.

"And we do beg leave to represent it to Your Majesty, as the humble
opinion and advice of this House, that no peace can be safe or
honourable to Great Britain and Europe, if Spain and the West Indies are
to be allotted to any branch of the house of Bourbon."

He was seconded by the Earl of Scarborough; and, after a debate of
several hours, the question for the clause was carried, as I remember,
by not above two voices.[60] The next day the House agreed with the
committee. The depending lords, having taken fresh courage from their
principals, and some who professed themselves very humble servants to
the present ministry, and enemies to the former, went along with the
stream, pretending not to see the consequences that must visibly follow.
The address was presented on the eleventh, to which Her Majesty's answer
was short and dry. She distinguished their thanks from the rest of the
piece; and, in return to Lord Nottingham's clause, said, She should be
sorry that any body could think she would not do her utmost to recover
Spain and the West Indies from the house of Bourbon.

[Footnote 60: The previous question in favour of the Earl of
Nottingham's amendment was carried by a single vote, the main question
by a majority of no less than eight! [S.] But Bishop Burnet says "by
three voices" ("Hist. Own Time," ii. 584), and Coxe says "by a majority
of 64 to 52." [W.S.J.]]

Upon the fifteenth of December the Earl of Nottingham likewise brought
in the bill to prevent occasional conformity (although under a disguised
title), which met with no opposition; but was swallowed by those very
lords, who always appeared with the utmost violence against the least
advantage to the established Church.

But in the House of Commons there appeared a very different spirit; for
when one Mr. Robert Walpole offered a clause of the same nature with
that of the Earl of Nottingham, it was rejected with contempt by a very
great majority. Their address was in the most dutiful manner, approving
of what Her Majesty had done towards a peace, and trusting entirely to
her wisdom in the future management of it. This address was presented to
the Queen a day before that of the Lords, and received an answer
distinguishedly gracious. But the other party[61] was no ways
discouraged by either answer, which they looked upon as only matter of
course, and the sense of the ministry, contrary to that of the Queen.

[Footnote 61: P. Fitzgerald says "faction." [W.S.J.]]

The Parliament sat as long as the approaching festival would allow; and
upon the twenty-second, the land-tax and occasional bills having
received the royal assent, the House of Commons adjourned to the
fourteenth of January following: but the adjournment of the Lords was
only to the second, the prevailing party there being in haste to pursue
the consequences of the Earl of Nottingham's clause, which they hoped
would end in the ruin of the treasurer, and overthrow the ministry; and
therefore took the advantage of this interval, that they might not be
disturbed by the Commons.

When this address against any peace without Spain, &c. was carried in
the House of Lords, it is not easy to describe the effects it had upon
most men's passions. The partisans of the old ministry triumphed loudly,
and without any reserve, as if the game were their own. The Earl of
Wharton was observed in the House to smile, and put his hands to his
neck when any of the ministry was speaking, by which he would have it
understood that some heads were in danger. Parker, the chief justice,
began already with great zeal and officiousness to prosecute authors and
printers of weekly and other papers, writ in defence of the
administration: in short, joy and vengeance sat visible in every
countenance of that party.[62]

[Footnote 62: See "Journal to Stella," December 13th (vol. ii., p. 299
of present edition). [W.S.J.]]

On the other side, all well-wishers to the Queen, the Church, or the
peace, were equally dejected; and the treasurer stood the foremost mark
both of his enemies' fury, and the censure of his friends: among the
latter, some imputed this fatal miscarriage to his procrastinating
nature; others, to his unmeasurable public thrift: both parties agreed,
that a first minister, with very moderate skill in affairs, might easily
have governed the event: and some began to doubt, whether the great fame
of his abilities, acquired in other stations, were what he justly
deserved: all this he knew well enough, and heard it with great phlegm;
neither did it make any alteration in his countenance or humour. He told
Monsieur Buys, the Dutch envoy, two days before the Parliament sat, that
he was sorry for what was like to pass, because the States would be the
first sufferers, which he desired the envoy to remember: and to his
nearest friends, who appeared in pain about the public or themselves, he
only said that all would be well, and desired them not to be

[Footnote 63: See Swift's account of an interview with the lord
treasurer in his "Journal to Stella," December 8th (_ibid.,_ p. 296).

It was, I conceive, upon these motives, that the treasurer advised Her
Majesty to create twelve new lords,[64] and thereby disable the sting of
faction for the rest of her lifetime: this promotion was so ordered,
that a third part were of those on whom, or their posterity, the peerage
would naturally devolve; and the rest were such, whose merit, birth, and
fortune, could admit of no exception.

[Footnote 64: See note, vol. ii., p. 308, and note, vol. v., p. 446.

The adverse party, being thus driven down by open force, had nothing
left but to complain, which they loudly did; that it was a
pernicious[65] example set for ill princes to follow, who, by the same
rule, might make at any time an hundred as well as twelve, and by these
means become masters of the House of Lords whenever they pleased, which
would be dangerous to our liberties. To this it was answered, that ill
princes seldom trouble themselves to look for precedents; that men of
great estates will not be less fond of preserving their liberties when
they are created peers; that in such a government as this, where the
Prince holds the balance between two great powers, the nobility and
people, it is the very nature of his office to remove from one scale
into the other, or sometimes put his own weight in the lightest, so as
to bring both to an equilibrium; and lastly, that the other party had
been above twenty years corrupting the nobility with republican
principles, which nothing but the royal prerogative could hinder from
overspreading us.

[Footnote 65: P. Fitzgerald says "dangerous." [W.S.J.]]

The conformity bill above mentioned was prepared by the Earl of
Nottingham before the Parliament met, and brought in at the same time
with the clause against peace, according to the bargain made between him
and his new friends: this he hoped would not only save his credit with
the Church party, but bring them over to his politics, since they must
needs be convinced, that instead of changing his own principles, he had
prevailed on the greatest enemies to the established religion to be the
first movers in a law for the perpetual settlement of it. Here it was
worth observing, with what resignation the Junto Lords (as they were
then called) were submitted to by their adherents and followers; for it
is well known, that the chief among the dissenting teachers in town were
consulted upon this affair, and such arguments used, as had power to
convince them, that nothing could be of greater advantage to their cause
than the passing this bill. I did, indeed, see a letter at that time
from one of them to a great[66] man, complaining, that they were
betrayed and undone by their pretended friends; but they were in general
very well satisfied upon promises that this law should soon be repealed,
and others more in their favour enacted, as soon as their friends should
be re-established.

[Footnote 66: It was to the Treasurer himself. [ORIGINAL NOTE.] Scott
says that it was written by Mr. Shower on December 20th, and that the
writer complained that the Dissenters had "been shamefully abandoned,
sold, and sacrificed, by their professed friends." [W.S.J.]]

But nothing seemed more extraordinary than the event of this refined
management, by which the Earl of Nottingham was so far from bringing
over proselytes (wherein his abilities fell very short even of the Duke
of Somerset's); or preserving the reputation of a firm churchman, that
very few people did so much as imagine he had any such design; only when
he brought in the bill, they conceived it was some wonderful deep reach
of politics, which they could not comprehend: however, they liked the
thing, and without troubling themselves about the persons or motives
from whence it rose, it had a very speedy passage through both Houses.
It must be confessed, that some attempt of this nature was much more
necessary to the leaders of that party, than is generally thought. The
desire of power and revenge was common to them all; but several among
them were also conscious that they stood in need of protection, whose
safety was therefore concerned in the design of ruining the ministry, as
well as their ambition. The Duke of Marlborough foresaw those
examinations, which were afterwards made into some parts of his
management, and was apprehensive of a great deal more; that the
Parliament would perhaps enquire into the particulars of the negotiation
at The Hague in one thousand seven hundred and nine; for what ends, and
by whose advice the propositions of peace from France were rejected:
besides, he dreaded lest that mysterious policy might be laid open to
the world, of desiring the Queen to constitute him general for life,
which was a very tender point, and would admit of much proof. It is
true, indeed, that whilst the Duke's affair was under the consideration
of the House of Commons, one of his creatures[67] (whether by direction
or otherwise) assured the Speaker, with a very serious countenance, that
the world was mistaken in censuring his lord upon this article; for it
was the Queen who pressed the Duke to accept that commission; and upon
his humble refusal conceived her first displeasure against him. How such
a defence would have passed, if it had been offered in form, is easier
to be conceived, than how any person in his wits could have the
confidence to affirm it; which last it would indeed be hard to believe,
if there were any room left for doubt.

[Footnote 67: Craggs, father to the secretary. [ORIGINAL NOTE.]]

The Earl of Godolphin wanted protection, notwithstanding the act of
general pardon, which had been procured by his credit, and was
principally calculated for his own security. He knew that his long
neglect of compelling the accomptants to pass their accompts, might be
punished as a breach of trust. He had run the kingdom into immense
debts, by taking up stores for the navy upon a vast discount, without
parliamentary security; for which he could be able to plead neither law
nor necessity: and he had given way, at least, to some proceedings, not
very justifiable, in relation to remittances of money, whereby the
public had suffered considerable losses. The Barrier Treaty sat heavy
upon the Lord Townshend's spirits, because if it should be laid before
the House of Commons, whoever negotiated that affair, might be subject
to the most severe animadversions: and the Earl of Wharton's
administration in Ireland was looked upon as a sufficient ground to
impeach him, at least, for high crimes and misdemeanours.

The managers in Holland were sufficiently apprised of all this; and
Monsieur Buys, their minister here, took care to cultivate that good
correspondence between his masters and their English friends, which
became two confederates, pursuing the same end.

This man[68] had been formerly employed in England from that republic,
and understood a little of our language. His proficiency in learning has
been such, as to furnish now and then a Latin quotation, of which he is
as liberal as his stock will admit. His knowledge in government reaches
no farther than that of his own country, by which he forms and
cultivates matters of state for the rest of the world. His reasonings
upon politics are with great profusion at all meetings; and he leaves
the company with entire satisfaction that he hath fully convinced them.
He is well provided with that inferior sort of cunning, which is the
growth of his country, of a standard with the genius of the people, and
capable of being transferred into every condition of life among them,
from the boor to the burgomaster. He came into England with
instructions, authorizing him to accommodate all differences between Her
Majesty and the States; but having first advised with the confederate
lords, he assured the ministry he had powers to hear their proposals,
but none to conclude: and having represented to his masters what had
been told him by the adverse party, he prevailed with them to revoke his
powers. He found the interest of those who withstood the court, would
exactly fall in with the designs of the States, which were to carry on
the war as they could, at our expense, and to see themselves at the head
of a treaty of peace, whenever they were disposed to apply to France, or
to receive overtures from thence.[69]

[Footnote 68: P. Fitzgerald says "gentleman." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 69: Erasmus Lewis, in the letter already cited, refers to
Buys, and gives the opinion of the gentlemen who had read the "History,"
on this matter, as follows: "They think the transactions with Mr. Buys
might have been represented in a more advantageous light, and more to
the honour of that administration; and, undoubtedly they would have been
so by your pen, had you been master of all the facts." And yet the facts
as related by Swift in this and the last book of this "History" are
substantially the facts as disclosed in Bolingbroke's Political
Correspondence. [T.S.]]

The Emperor, upon many powerful reasons, was utterly averse from all
counsels which aimed at putting an end to the war, without delivering
him the whole dominion of Spain; nay, the Elector of Hanover himself,
although presumptive heir to the crown of England, and obliged by all
sorts of ties to cultivate Her Majesty's friendship, was so far deceived
by misrepresentations from hence, that he seemed to suffer Monsieur
Bothmar, his envoy here, to print and publish a Memorial in English,
directly disapproving all Her Majesty's proceedings; which Memorial, as
appeareth by the style and manner of it, was all drawn up, or at least
digested, by some party pen on this side of the water.[70]

[Footnote 70: See Swift's "Some Free Thoughts upon the Present State of
Affairs," and the note on p. 410 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

Cautious writers, in order to avoid offence or danger, and to preserve
the respect even[71] due to foreign princes, do usually charge the wrong
steps in a court altogether upon the persons employed; but I should have
taken a securer method, and have been wholly silent in this point, if I
had not then conceived some hope, that his Electoral Highness might
possibly have been a stranger[72] to the Memorial of his resident: for,
first, the manner of delivering it to the secretary of state was out of
all form, and almost as extraordinary as the thing itself. Monsieur
Bothmar having obtained an hour of Mr. Secretary St. John, talked much
to him upon the subject of which that Memorial consists; and upon going
away, desired he might leave a paper with the secretary, which he said
contained the substance of what he had been discoursing. This paper Mr.
St. John laid aside, among others of little consequence; and a few
days[73] saw a Memorial in print,[74] which he found upon comparing to
be the same with what Bothmar had left.

[Footnote 71: Edition of 1775 has "ever due." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 72: P. Fitzgerald says "If I had not very good reason to
believe that his Electoral Highness was altogether a stranger."

[Footnote 73: Edition of 1775 has "a few days after." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 74: This was published as a broadside, with the title: "The
Elector of Hanover's Memorial to the Queen of Great-Britain, relating to
the Peace with France." It was dated 28th of Nov/9th of Dec., 1711.

During this short recess of Parliament, and upon the fifth day of
January, Prince Eugene, of Savoy, landed in England. Before he left his
ship he asked a person who came to meet him, whether the new lords were
made, and what was their number? He was attended through the streets
with a mighty rabble of people to St. James's, where Mr. Secretary St.
John introduced him to the Queen, who received him with great civility.
His arrival had been long expected, and the project of his journey had
as long been formed here by the party leaders, in concert with Monsieur
Buys, and Monsieur Bothmar, the Dutch and Hanover envoys. This prince
brought over credentials from the Emperor, with offers to continue the
war upon a new foot, very advantageous to Britain; part of which, by Her
Majesty's commands, Mr. St. John soon after produced to the House of
Commons; where they were rejected, not without some indignation, by a
great majority. The Emperor's proposals, as far as they related to
Spain, were communicated to the House in the words following.

"His Imperial Majesty judges, that forty thousand men will be sufficient
for this service, and that the whole expense of the war in Spain, may
amount to four millions of crowns, towards which His Imperial Majesty
offers to make up the troops, which he has in that country, to thirty
thousand men, and to take one million of crowns upon himself".

On the other side the House of Commons voted a third part of those four
millions as a sufficient quota for Her Majesty toward that service, for
it was supposed the Emperor ought to bear the greatest proportion in a
point that so nearly concerned him, or at least, that Britain
contributing one third, the other two might be paid by his Imperial
Majesty and the States, as they could settle it between them.

The design of Prince Eugene's journey, was to raise a spirit in the
Parliament and people for continuing the war, for nothing was thought
impossible to a prince of such high reputation in arms, in great favour
with the Emperor, and empowered to make such proposals from his master,
as the ministry durst not reject. It appeared by an intercepted letter
from Count Gallas, (formerly the Emperor's envoy here) that the prince
was wholly left to his liberty of making what offers he pleased in the
Emperor's name, for if the Parliament could once be brought to raise
funds, and the war go on, the ministry here must be under a necessity of
applying and expending those funds, and the Emperor could afterwards
find twenty reasons and excuses, as he had hitherto done, for not
furnishing his quota; therefore Prince Eugene, for some time, kept
himself within generals, until being pressed to explain himself upon
that particular of the war in Spain, which the house of Austria
pretended to have most at heart, he made the offer above mentioned, as a
most extraordinary effort, and so it was, considering how little they
had ever done before, towards recovering that monarchy to themselves;
but shameful as these proposals were, few believed the Emperor would
observe them, or, indeed, that he ever intended to spare so many men, as
would make up an army of thirty thousand men, to be employed in Spain.

Prince Eugene's visit to his friends in England continued longer than
was expected; he was every day entertained magnificently by persons of
quality of both parties; he went frequently to the treasurer, and
sometimes affected to do it in private; he visited the other ministers
and great officers of the court, but on all occasions publicly owned the
character and appellation of a Whig; and in secret, held continual
meetings with the Duke of Marlborough, and the other discontented lords,
where M. Bothmar usually assisted. It is the great ambition of this
prince to be perpetually engaged in war, without considering the cause
or consequence; and to see himself at the head of an army, where only he
can make any considerable figure. He is not without a natural tincture
of that cruelty, sometimes charged upon the Italians; and being nursed
in arms, hath so far extinguished pity and remorse, that he will at any
time sacrifice a thousand men's lives, to a caprice of glory or revenge.
He had conceived an incurable hatred for the treasurer, as the person
who principally opposed this insatiable passion for war; said he had
hopes of others, but that the treasurer was _un mechant diable_, not to
be moved; therefore, since it was impossible for him or his friends to
compass their designs, while that minister continued at the head of
affairs, he proposed an expedient, often practised by those of his
country, that the treasurer (to use his own expression) should be taken
off, _a la negligence_; that this might easily be done, and pass for an
effect of chance, if it were preceded by encouraging some proper people
to commit small riots in the night: and in several parts of the town, a
crew of obscure ruffians were accordingly employed about that time, who
probably exceeded their commission; and mixing themselves with those
disorderly people that often infest the streets at midnight, acted
inhuman outrages on many persons, whom they cut and mangled in the face
and arms, and other parts of the body, without any provocation; but an
effectual stop was soon put to these enormities, which probably
prevented the execution of the main design.[75]

[Footnote 75: Erasmus Lewis, Lord Oxford, and the others who read the
MS., advised the elimination of this insinuation against Prince Eugene.
They thought there was truth in it, but "a matter of so high a nature,"
as Lewis expressed it to Swift, "ought not to be asserted without
exhibiting the proofs." The paragraph following the one in the text,
containing the imputation, seems as if it had been written after Swift
had received Lewis's strictures. [T.S.]]

I am very sensible, that such an imputation ought not to be charged upon
any person whatsoever, upon slight grounds or doubtful surmises; and
that those who think I am able to produce no better, will judge this
passage to be fitter for a libel than a history; but as the account was
given by more than one person who was at the meeting, so it was
confirmed past all contradiction by several intercepted letters and
papers: and it is most certain, that the rage of the defeated party,
upon their frequent disappointments, was so far inflamed, as to make
them capable of some counsels yet more violent and desperate than this,
which, however, by the vigilance of those near the person of Her
Majesty, were happily prevented.

On the thirtieth day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eleven,
the Duke of Marlborough was removed from all his employments: the Duke
of Ormonde succeeding him as general, both here and in Flanders. This
proceeding of the court (as far as it related to the Duke of
Marlborough) was much censured both at home and abroad, and by some who
did not wish ill to the present situation of affairs. There were few
examples of a commander being disgraced, after an uninterrupted course
of success for many years against a formidable enemy, and this before a
period was put to the war: those who had least esteem for his valour and
conduct, thought it not prudent to remove a general, whose troops were
perpetually victorious, while he was at their head; because this had
infused into his soldiers an opinion that they should always conquer,
and into the enemy that they should always be beaten; than which,
nothing is to be held of greater moment, either in the progress of a
war, or upon the day of battle; and I have good grounds to affirm, that
these reasons had sufficient weight with the Queen and ministry to have
kept the Duke of Marlborough in his post, if a way could have been found
out to have done it with any assurance of safety to the nation. It is
the misfortune of princes, that the effects of their displeasure make
usually much more noise than the causes: thus, the sound of the Duke's
fall was heard farther than many of the reasons which made it necessary;
whereof, though some were visible enough, yet others lay more in the
dark. Upon the Duke's last return from Flanders, he had fixed his
arrival to town (whether by accident or otherwise) upon the seventeenth
of November, called Queen Elizabeth's day, when great numbers of his
creatures and admirers had thought fit to revive an old ceremony among
the rabble, of burning the Pope in effigy; for the performance of which,
with more solemnity, they had made extraordinary preparations.[76] From
the several circumstances of the expense of this intended pageantry, and
of the persons who promoted it, the court, apprehensive of a design to
inflame the common people, thought fit to order, that the several
figures should be seized as popish trinkets; and guards were ordered to
patrol, for preventing any tumultuous assemblies. Whether this frolic
were only intended for an affront to the court, or whether it had a
deeper meaning, I must leave undetermined. The Duke, in his own nature,
is not much turned to be popular; and in his flourishing times, whenever
he came back to England upon the close of a campaign, he rather affected
to avoid any concourse of the _mobile_, if they had been disposed to
attend him; therefore, so very contrary a proceeding at this juncture,
made it suspected as if he had a design to have placed himself at their
head. "France," "Popery," "The Pretender," "Peace without Spain," were
the words to be given about at this mock parade; and if what was
confidently asserted be true, that a report was to have been spread at
the same time of the Queen's death, no man can tell what might have been
the event.

[Footnote 76: See Swift's "Journal to Stella," Letter xxxv. (vol. ii.,
pp. 283-84), and "A True Relation of the Intended Riot," printed in
Scott's edition, vol. v., pp. 399-413. [W.S.J.]

"The burning of a Pope in effigy," notes Scott--in his reprint of what
Swift called "the Grub Street account of the tumult"--"upon the 17th
November, the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, was a
favourite pastime with the mob of London, and often employed by their
superiors as a means of working upon their passions and prejudices." A
full account of this ceremony is given in his edition of Dryden's Works,
1808, vol. vi., p. 222. An account of the attempt "to revive an old
ceremony," referred to by Swift, was published also in "The Post Boy"
for November 20th, 1711. [T.S.]]

But this attempt, to whatever purposes intended, proving wholly abortive
by the vigilance of those in power, the Duke's arrival was without any
noise or consequence; and upon consulting with his friends, he soon fell
in with their new scheme for preventing the peace. It was believed by
many persons, that the ministers might, with little difficulty, have
brought him over, if they had pleased to make a trial; for as he would
probably have accepted any terms to continue in a station of such
prodigious[77] profit, so there was sufficient room to work upon his
fears, of which he is seldom unprovided[78] (I mean only in his
political capacity) and his infirmity very much increased by his
unmeasurable possessions, which have rendered him, _ipsique[79] onerique
timentem;_ but reason, as well as the event, proved this to be a
mistake: for the ministers being determined to bring the war to as
speedy an issue as the honour and safety of their country would permit,
could not possibly recompense the Duke for the mighty incomes he held by
the continuance of it. Then the other party had calculated their
numbers; and by the accession of the Earl of Nottingham, whose example
they hoped would have many followers, and the successful solicitations
of the Duke of Somerset, found they were sure of a majority in the House
of Lords: so that in this view of circumstances, the Duke of Marlborough
thought he acted with security, as well as advantage: he therefore
boldly fell, with his whole weight, into the design of ruining the
ministry, at the expense of his duty to his sovereign, and the welfare
of his country, after the mighty obligations he had received from both.
WHIG and TORY were now no longer the dispute, but THE QUEEN or THE DUKE
OF MARLBOROUGH: He was at the head of all the cabals and consults with
Bothmar, Buys, and the discontented lords. He forgot that government of
his passion, for which his admirers used to celebrate him, fell into all
the impotencies of anger and violence upon every party debate: so that
the Queen found herself under a necessity, either on the one side to
sacrifice those friends, who had ventured their lives in rescuing her
out of the power of some, whose former treatment she had little reason
to be fond of, to put an end[80] to the progress she had made towards a
peace, and dissolve her Parliament; or, on the other side, by removing
one person from so great a trust, to get clear of all her difficulties
at once: Her Majesty therefore determined upon the latter, as the
shorter and safer course; and during the recess at Christmas, sent the
Duke a letter, to tell him she had no farther occasion for his

[Footnote 77: P. Fitzgerald says "immense." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 78: P. Fitzgerald adds "being in his nature the most timorous
person alive." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 79: P. Fitzgerald says "sibique." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 80: P. Fitzgerald says "to complete." [W.S.J.]]

[Footnote 81: See the Duchess of Marlborough's narrative of this
transaction in the "Account of her Conduct," etc., pp. 264-269, where
his Grace's letter to the Queen, on his dismission from her service, is
printed. [N.]]

There hath not perhaps in the present age been a clearer instance to
shew the instability of greatness which is not founded upon virtue; and
it may be an instruction to princes, who are well in the hearts of their
people, that the overgrown power of any particular person, although
supported by exorbitant wealth, can by a little resolution be reduced in
a moment, without any dangerous consequences. This lord, who was, beyond
all comparison, the greatest subject in Christendom, found his power,
credit, and influence, crumble away on a sudden; and, except a few
friends or followers, by inclination, the rest dropped off in course.
From directing in some manner the affairs of Europe, he descended to be
a member of a faction, and with little distinction even there: that
virtue of subduing his resentments, for which he was so famed when he
had little or no occasion to exert it, having now wholly forsaken him
when he stood most in need of its assistance; and upon trial was found
unable to bear a reverse of fortune, giving way to rage, impatience,
envy, and discontent.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****




The House of Lords met upon the second day of January, according to
their adjournment; but before they could proceed to business, the twelve
new-created peers were, in the usual form, admitted to their seats in
that assembly, who, by their numbers, turned the balance on the side of
the court, and voted an adjournment to the same day with the Commons.
Upon the fourteenth of January the two Houses met; but the Queen, who
intended to be there in person, sent a message to inform them, that she
was prevented by a sudden return of the gout, and to desire they would
adjourn for three days longer, when Her Majesty hoped she should be able
to speak to them. However, her indisposition still continuing, Mr.
Secretary St. John brought another message to the House of Commons from
the Queen, containing the substance of what she intended to have spoken;
"That she could now tell them, her plenipotentiaries were arrived at
Utrecht; had begun, in pursuance of her instructions, to concert the
most proper ways of procuring a just satisfaction to all powers in
alliance with her, according to their several treaties, and particularly
with relation to Spain and the West Indies; that she promised to
communicate to them the conditions of peace, before the same should be
concluded; that the world would now see how groundless those reports
were, and without the least colour, that a separate peace had been
treated; that her ministers were directed to propose, that a day might
be fixed for the finishing, as was done for the commencement of this
treaty; and that, in the mean time, all preparations were hastening for
an early campaign," etc.

Her Majesty's endeavours towards this great work having been in such a
forwardness at the time that her message was sent, I shall here, as in
the most proper place, relate the several steps by which the intercourse
between the courts of France and Britain was begun and carried on.

The Marquis de Torcy,[1] sent by the Most Christian King to The Hague,
had there, in the year one thousand seven hundred and nine, made very
advantageous offers to the allies, in his master's name; which our
ministers, as well as those of the States, thought fit to refuse, and
advanced other proposals in their stead, but of such a nature as no
prince could digest, who did not lie at the immediate mercy of his
enemies. It was demanded, among other things, "That the French King
should employ his own troops, in conjunction with those of the allies,
to drive his grandson out of Spain." The proposers knew very well, that
the enemy would never consent to this; and if it were possible they
could at first have any such hopes, Mons. de Torcy assured them to the
contrary, in a manner which might well be believed; for then the British
and Dutch plenipotentiaries were drawing up their demands. They desired
that minister to assist them in the style and expression; which he very
readily did, and made use of the strongest words he could find to please
them. He then insisted to know their last resolution, whether these were
the lowest terms the allies would accept; and having received a
determinate answer in the affirmative, he spoke to this effect:

[Footnote 1: Jean Baptiste Colbert (1665-1746), Marquis de Torcy, was
nephew of the celebrated Colbert. [W.S.J.]]

"That he thanked them heartily for giving him the happiest day he had
ever seen in his life: that, in perfect obedience to his master, he had
made concessions, in his own opinion, highly derogatory to the King's
honour and interest: that he had not concealed the difficulties of his
court, or the discontents of his country, by a long and unsuccessful
war, which could only justify the large offers he had been empowered to
make: that the conditions of peace, now delivered into his hands by the
allies, would raise a new spirit in the nation, and remove the greatest
difficulty the court lay under, putting it in his master's power to
convince all his subjects how earnestly His Majesty desired to ease them
from the burthen of the war; but that his enemies would not accept of
any terms, which could consist either with their safety or his honour."
Mons. Torcy assured the pensionary, in the strongest manner, and bid him
count upon it, that the King his master would never sign those articles.

It soon appeared, that the Marquis de Torcy's predictions were true; for
upon delivering to his master the last resolutions of the allies, that
Prince took care to publish them all over his kingdom, as an appeal to
his subjects against the unreasonableness and injustice of his enemies:
which proceeding effectually answered the utmost he intended by it; for
the French nation, extremely jealous of their monarch's glory, made
universal offers of their lives and fortunes, rather than submit to such
ignominious terms; and the clergy, in particular, promised to give the
King their consecrated plate, towards continuing the war. Thus that
mighty kingdom, generally thought to be wholly exhausted of its wealth,
yet, when driven to a necessity by the imprudence of the allies, or by
the corruption of particular men, who influenced their councils,
recovered strength enough to support itself for three following
campaigns: and in the last, by the fatal blindness or obstinacy of the
Dutch (venturing to act without the assistance of Britain, which they
had shamefully abandoned), was an overmatch for the whole confederate

[Footnote 2: Alluding to the defeat at Denain (July 24th, 1712). [S.]]

Those who, in order to defend the proceedings of the allies, have given
an account of this negotiation, do wholly omit the circumstance I have
now related, and express the zeal of the British and Dutch ministers for
a peace, by informing us how frequently they sent after Mons. de Torcy,
and Mons. Rouille, for a farther conference. But in the mean time, Mr.
Horatio Walpole, secretary to the Queen's plenipotentiaries, was
dispatched over hither, to have those abortive articles signed and
ratified by Her Majesty at a venture, which was accordingly done. A
piece of management altogether absurd, and without example; contrived
only to deceive our people into a belief that a peace was intended, and
to shew what great things the ministry designed to do.

But this hope expiring, upon the news that France had refused to sign
those articles, all was solved by recourse to the old topic of the
French perfidiousness. We loaded them plentifully with ignominious
appellations; "they were a nation never to be trusted." The Parliament
cheerfully continued their supplies, and the war went on. The winter
following began the second and last session of the preceding Parliament,
noted for the trial of Dr. Sacheverell, and the occasions thereby given
to the people to discover and exert their dispositions, very opposite to
the designs of those who were then in power. In the summer of one
thousand seven hundred and ten, ensued a gradual change of the ministry;
and in the beginning of that winter the present Parliament was called.

The King of France, whose real interests made him sincerely desirous of
any tolerable peace, found it impossible to treat upon equal conditions
with either of the two maritime powers engaged against him, because of
the prevalency of factions in both, who acted in concert to their mutual
private advantage, although directly against the general dispositions of
the people in either, as well as against their several maxims of
government. But upon the great turn of affairs and councils here in
England, the new Parliament and ministers acting from other motives, and
upon other principles, that Prince hoped an opportunity might arise of
resuming his endeavours towards a peace.

There was at this time in England a French ecclesiastic, called the Abbe
Gaultier,[3] who had resided several years in London, under the
protection of some foreign ministers, in whose families he used, upon
occasion, to exercise his function of a priest. After the battle of
Blenheim, this gentleman went down to Nottingham, where several French
prisoners of quality were kept, to whom he rendered those offices of
civility suitable to persons in their condition, which, upon their
return to France, they reported to his advantage. Among the rest, the
Chevalier de Croissy told his brother, the Marquis de Torcy, that
whenever the French court would have a mind to make overtures of peace
with England, Mons. Gaultier might be very usefully employed in handing
them to the ministers here. This was no farther thought on at present.
In the mean time the war went on, and the conferences at The Hague and
Gertruydenberg miscarried, by the allies insisting upon such demands as
they neither expected, nor perhaps desired, should be granted.

[Footnote 3: See note prefixed to "A New Journey to Paris" in vol. v. of
present edition. Gaultier, although a priest, was nothing more than a
superior spy in the pay of the French Court. He had been chaplain to
Tallard and the disgraced Count Gallas, and was a sort of _protege_ of
the Earl of Jersey; but his character does not bear very close scrutiny.
The Duke of Berwick could not have had any high opinion either of the
man or his abilities, since in the "Memoires de Berwick" (vol. ii., p.
122, edit. 1780) he is thus referred to: "Sa naissance etoit toute des
plus ordinaires, et ses facultes a l'avenant, c'est a dire, tres
pauvre." St. John called Gaultier his "Mercury," and De Torcy styled him
"the Angel of Peace" (Torcy's "Memoires," vol. ii., p. 148, edition of
1828). [T.S.]]

Some time in July, one thousand seven hundred and ten, Mons. Gaultier
received a letter from the Marquis de Torcy, signifying, that a report
being spread of Her Majesty's intentions to change her ministry, to take
Mr. Harley into her councils, and to dissolve her Parliament, the Most
Christian King thought it might be now a favourable conjuncture to offer
new proposals of a treaty: Mons. Gaultier was therefore directed to
apply himself, in the Marquis's name, either to the Duke of Shrewsbury,
the Earl of Jersey, or Mr. Harley, and inform the French court how such
a proposition would be relished. Gaultier chose to deliver his message
to the second of those, who had been ambassador from the late king to
France; but the Earl excused himself from entering into particulars with
a stranger, and a private person, who had no authority for what he said,
more than a letter from Mons. de Torcy. Gaultier offered to procure
another from that minister to the Earl himself; and did so, in a month
after: but obtained no answer till December following, when the Queen
had made all necessary changes, and summoned a free Parliament to her
wishes. About the beginning of January, the abbe (after having procured
his dismission from Count Gallas, the emperor's envoy, at that time his
protector) was sent to Paris, to inform Mons. Torcy, that Her Majesty
would be willing his master should resume the treaty with Holland,
provided the demands of England might be previously granted. Gaultier
came back, after a short stay, with a return to his message, that the
Dutch had used the Most Christian King and his ministers in such a
manner, both at The Hague and Gertruydenberg, as made that Prince
resolve not to expose himself any more to the like treatment; that he
therefore chose to address himself to England, and was ready to make
whatever offers Her Majesty could reasonably expect, for the advantage
of her own kingdoms, and the satisfaction of her allies.

After this message had been duly considered by the Queen and her
ministers, Mons. Gaultier was dispatched a second time to France, about
the beginning of March, one thousand seven hundred and ten-eleven, with
an answer to the following purpose: "That since France had their
particular reasons for not beginning again to treat with Holland,
England was willing to remove that difficulty, and proposed it should be
done in this manner: That France should send over hither the
propositions for a treaty, which should be transmitted by England to
Holland, to be jointly treated on that side of the water; but it was to
be understood, that the same proposition formerly offered to Holland,
was to be made to England, or one not less advantageous to the allies;
for although England would enter most sincerely into such a treaty, and
shew, in the course of it, the clearness of their intentions; yet they
could not, with honour, entertain a less beneficial proposal than what
was offered to the States."

That Prince, as well as his minister, Mons. de Torcy, either felt, or
affected, so much resentment of the usage the latter had met at The
Hague and Gertruydenberg, that they appeared fully determined against
making any application to the States, where the same persons continued
still in power, of whose treatment they so heavily complained.[4]

[Footnote 4: There can be little doubt that De Torcy's resentment
against the Dutch, as expressed in the first of the propositions above
cited, was an affected one, since it is well known that the Dutch were,
at the very time these propositions were sent to England, and even for
some time previously, engaged in separate overtures with the French
Court. Indeed, according to Prior ("History of his Own Time"), they had
been so engaged ever since the breaking up of the Gertruydenberg
Conference; and when Prior arrived in France in August, 1711, he was
shown three letters written as from the Pensionary, but probably by
Petecum, promising Louis every advantage if the Conference so unhappily
broken off at Gertruydenberg were renewed. "The negotiations must be
secret and separate," reported Prior, "His Most Christian Majesty need
only name his own terms." Swift knew of the existence of at least one of
these letters, because he was very anxious to obtain it "to get some
particulars for my History," as he notes in his "Journal," "one letter
of Petecum's showing the roguery of the Dutch." See also "Portland
Manuscripts," vol. v., p. 34 _et seq_. [T.S.]]

They seemed altogether to distrust the inclination of that republic
towards a peace; but at the same time shewed a mighty complaisance to
the English nation, and a desire to have Her Majesty at the head of a
treaty. This appears by the first overture in form sent from that
kingdom, and signed by Mons. de Torcy, on the twenty-second of April,
N.S. one thousand seven hundred and eleven, to the following effect:

"That as it could not be doubted but the King was in a condition of
continuing the war with honour, so it could not be looked on as a mark
of weakness in His Majesty to break the silence he had kept since the
conferences at Gertruydenberg; and that, before the opening of the
campaign, he now gives farther proof of the desire he always had to
procure the repose of Europe. But after what he hath found, by
experience, of the sentiments of those persons who now govern the
republic of Holland, and of their industry in rendering all negotiations
without effect, His Majesty will, for the public good, offer to the
English nation those propositions, which he thinks fit to make for
terminating the war, and for settling the tranquillity of Europe upon a
solid foundation. It is with this view that he offers to enter into a
treaty of peace, founded on the following conditions.

"First, The English nation shall have real securities for carrying on
their trade in Spain, the Indies, and ports of the Mediterranean.

"Secondly, The King will consent to form a sufficient barrier in the Low
Countries, for the security of the republic of Holland; and this barrier
shall be such as England shall agree upon and approve; His Majesty
promising, at the same time, an entire liberty and security to the trade
of the Dutch.

"Thirdly, All reasonable methods shall be thought on, with sincerity and
truth, for giving satisfaction to the allies of England and Holland.

"Fourthly, Whereas the affairs of the King of Spain are in so good a
condition as to furnish new expedients for putting an end to the
disputes about that monarchy, and for settling it to the satisfaction of
the several parties concerned, all sincere endeavours shall be used for
surmounting the difficulties arisen upon this occasion; and the trade
and interest of all parties engaged in the present war shall be secured.

"Fifthly, The conferences, in order to treat of a peace upon these
conditions, shall be immediately opened; and the plenipotentiaries, whom
the King shall name to assist thereat, shall treat with those of England
and Holland, either alone, or in conjunction with those of their allies,
as England shall choose.

"Sixthly, His Majesty proposes the towns of Aix la Chapelle or Liege,
for the place where the plenipotentiaries shall assemble, leaving the
choice likewise to England of either of the said towns, wherein to treat
a general peace."

These overtures, although expressing much confidence in the ministry
here, great deference to the Queen, and displeasure against the Dutch,
were immediately transmitted by Her Majesty's command to her ambassador
in Holland, with orders, that they should be communicated to the
pensionary. The Abbe Gaultier was desired to signify this proceeding to
the Marquis de Torcy; at the same time to let that minister understand,
that some of the above articles ought to be explained. The Lord Raby,
now Earl of Stafford, was directed to tell the Pensionary, that Her
Majesty being resolved, in making peace as in making war, to act in
perfect concert with the States, would not lose a moment in transmitting
to him a paper of this importance: that the Queen earnestly desired,
that the secret might be kept among as few as possible; and that she
hoped the Pensionary would advise upon this occasion with no person
whatsoever, except such, as by the constitution of that government, are
unavoidably necessary: that the terms of the several propositions were
indeed too general; but, however, they contained an offer to treat: and
that, although there appeared an air of complaisance to England through
the whole paper, and the contrary to Holland, yet this could have no ill
consequences, as long as the Queen and the States took care to
understand each other, and to act with as little reserve as became two
powers, so nearly allied in interest; which rule, on the part of
Britain, should be inviolably observed. It was signified likewise to the
Pensionary, that the Duke of Marlborough had no communication of this
affair from England, and that it was supposed he would have none from
The Hague.

After these proposals had been considered in Holland, the ambassador was
directed to send back the opinion of the Dutch ministers upon them. The
court here was, indeed, apprehensive, that the Pensionary would be
alarmed at the whole frame of Monsieur de Torcy's paper, and
particularly at these expressions, "That the English shall have real
securities for their trade, &c." and "that the barrier for the
States-General shall be such as England shall agree upon and approve."
It was natural to think, that the fear which the Dutch would conceive of
our obtaining advantageous terms for Britain, might put them upon trying
underhand for themselves, and endeavouring to overreach us in the
management of the peace, as they had hitherto done in that of the war:
the ambassador was therefore cautioned to be very watchful in
discovering any workings, which might tend that way.

When the Lord Raby was first sent to The Hague, the Duke of Marlborough,
and Lord Townshend, had, for very obvious reasons, used their utmost
endeavours to involve him in as many difficulties as they could; upon
which, and other accounts, needless to mention, it was thought proper,
that his Grace, then in Flanders, should not be let into the secret of
this affair.

The proposal of Aix or Liege for a place of treaty, was only a farther
mark of their old discontent against Holland, to shew they would not
name any town which belonged to the States.

The Pensionary having consulted those who had been formerly employed in
the negotiations of peace, and enjoined them the utmost secrecy, to
avoid the jealousy of the foreign ministers there, desired the
ambassador to return Her Majesty thanks, for the obliging manner of
communicating the French overtures, for the confidence she placed in the
States, and for her promise of making no step towards a peace, but in
concert with them, assuring her of the like on their part: that although
the States endeavoured to hide it from the enemy, they were as weary of
the war as we, and very heartily desirous of a good and lasting peace,
as well as ready to join in any method, by which Her Majesty should
think proper to obtain it: that the States looked upon these
propositions as very dark and general; and they observed how the enemy
would create jealousies between the Queen, their republic, and the other
allies; but they were satisfied it would have no effect, and relied
entirely on the justness and prudence of Her Majesty, who they doubted
not, would make the French explain themselves more particularly in the
several points of their proposals, and send a plan of the particular
conditions whereupon they would make a peace: after which, the States
would be ready, either to join with Her Majesty, or to make their
objections, and were prepared to bring with them all the facility
imaginable, towards promoting so good a work.

This is the sum of the verbal answer made by the Pensionary, upon
communicating to him the French proposals; and I have chosen to set it
down, rather than transcribe the other given to the ambassador some days
after, which was more in form, and to the same purpose, but shorter, and
in my opinion not so well discovering the true disposition of the Dutch

For after the Queen had transmitted the French overtures to Holland, and
the States found Her Majesty was bent in earnest upon the thoughts of a
peace, they began to cast about how to get the negotiation into their
own hands. They knew that whatever power received the first proposals,
would be wise enough to stipulate something for themselves, as they had
done in their own case, both at The Hague and Gertruydenberg, where they
carved as they pleased, without any regard to the interests of their
nearest allies. For this reason, while they endeavoured to amuse the
British court with expostulations upon the several preliminaries sent
from France, Monsieur Petecum, a forward meddling agent of Holstein, who
had resided some years in Holland, negotiated with Heinsius, the Grand
Pensionary, as well as with Vanderdussen and Buys, about restoring the
conferences between France and that republic, broke off in
Gertruydenberg. Pursuant to which, about the end of May, N.S. one
thousand seven hundred and eleven, Petecum wrote to the Marquis de
Torcy, with the privity of the Pensionary, and probably of the other
two. The substance of his letter was to inform the Marquis, that things
might easily be disposed, so as to settle a correspondence between that
crown and the republic, in order to renew the treaty of peace. That this
could be done with the greater secrecy, because Monsieur Heinsius, by
virtue of his oath as Pensionary, might keep any affair private as long
as he thought necessary, and was not obliged to communicate it, until he
believed things were ripe; and as long as he concealed it from his
masters, he was not bound to discover it, either to the ministers of the
Emperor, or those of her British Majesty. That since England thought it
proper for King Charles to continue the whole campaign in Catalonia,
(though he should be chosen emperor) in order to support the war in
Spain, it was necessary for France to treat in the most secret manner
with the States, who were not now so violently, as formerly, against
having Philip on the Spanish throne, upon certain conditions for
securing their trade, but were jealous of England's design to fortify
some trading towns in Spain for themselves. That Heinsius, extremely
desired to get out of the war for some reasons, which he (Petecum) was
not permitted to tell; and that Vanderdussen and Buys were impatient to
have the negotiations with France once more set on foot, which, if
Monsieur Torcy thought fit to consent to, Petecum engaged that the
States would determine to settle the preliminaries, in the midway
between Paris and The Hague, with whatever ministers the Most Christian
King should please to employ. But Monsieur Torcy refused this overture,
and in his answer to Monsieur Petecum, assigned for the reason the
treatment his master's former proposals had met with at The Hague and
Gertruydenberg, from the ministers of Holland. Britain and Holland
seemed pretty well agreed, that those proposals were too loose and
imperfect to be a foundation for entering upon a general treaty; and
Monsieur Gaultier was desired to signify to the French court, that it
was expected they should explain themselves more particularly on the
several articles.

But in the mean time the Queen was firmly resolved, that the interests
of her own kingdoms should not be neglected at this juncture, as they
had formerly twice been, while the Dutch were principal managers of a
negotiation with France. Her Majesty had given frequent and early notice
to the States, of the general disposition of her people towards a peace,
of her own inability to continue the war upon the old foot, under the
disadvantage of unequal quotas, and the universal backwardness of her
allies. She had likewise informed them of several advances made to her
on the side of France, which she had refused to hearken to, till she had
consulted with those, her good friends and confederates, and heard their
opinion on that subject: but the Dutch, who apprehended nothing more
than to see Britain at the head of a treaty, were backward and sullen,
disliked all proposals by the Queen's intervention, and said it was a
piece of artifice of France to divide the allies; besides, they knew the
ministry was young, and the opposite faction had given them assurances,
that the people of England would never endure a peace without Spain, nor
the men in power dare to attempt it, after the resolutions of one House
of Parliament to the contrary. But, in the midst of this unwillingness
to receive any overtures from France by the Queen's hands, the Dutch
ministers were actually engaged in a correspondence with that court,
where they urged our inability to begin a treaty, by reason of those
factions which themselves had inflamed, and were ready to commence a
negotiation upon much easier terms than what they supposed we demanded.
For not to mention the Duke of Lorraine's interposition in behalf of
Holland, which France absolutely refused to accept; the letters sent
from the Dutch to that court, were shewn some months after to a British
minister there,[5] which gave much weight to Monsieur de Torcy's
insinuations; that he knew where to meet with more compliance, if the
necessity of affairs should force him to it, by our refusal. And the
violence of the States against our entertaining of that correspondence,
was only because they knew theirs would never be accepted, at least till
ours were thrown off.

[Footnote 5: Matthew Prior. See note, _ante_, p. 55. [T.S.]] The Queen,
sensible of all this, resolved to provide for her own kingdoms; and
having therefore prepared such demands for her principal allies, as
might be a ground for proceeding to a general treaty, without pretending
to adjust their several interests, she resolved to stipulate in a
particular manner the advantage of Britain: the following preliminary
demands were accordingly drawn up, in order to be transmitted to France.

"Great Britain will not enter into any negotiation of peace, otherwise
than upon these conditions, obtained beforehand.

"That the union of the two crowns of France and Spain shall be
prevented: that satisfaction shall be given to all the allies, and trade
settled and maintained.

"If France be disposed to treat upon this view, it is not to be doubted
that the following propositions will be found reasonable.

"A barrier shall be formed in the Low Countries for the States-General;
and their trade shall be secured.

"A barrier likewise shall be formed for the Empire.

"The pretensions of all the allies, founded upon former treaties, shall
be regulated and determined to their general satisfaction.

"In order to make a more equal balance of power in Italy, the dominions
and territories, which in the beginning of the present war belonged to
the Duke of Savoy, and are now in the possession of France, shall be
restored to his Royal Highness; and such other places in Italy shall be
yielded to him, as will be found necessary and agreeable to the sense of
former treaties made with this prince.

"As to Great Britain in particular, the succession to the crown of the
kingdoms, according to the present establishment, shall be acknowledged.

"A new treaty of commerce between Great Britain and France shall be
made, after the most just and reasonable manner.

"Dunkirk shall be demolished.

"Gibraltar and Port-Mahon shall remain in the hands of the present

"The English shall have the Assiento in the same manner the French now
enjoy it; and such places in the Spanish West Indies shall be assigned
to those concerned in this traffic, for the refreshment and sale of
their negroes, as shall be found necessary and convenient.

"All advantages, rights, and privileges already granted, and which may
hereafter be granted by Spain to the subjects of France, or to any other
nation whatsoever, shall be equally granted to the subjects of Great

"And for better securing the British trade in the Spanish West Indies,
certain places to be named in the treaty of peace, shall be put into
possession of the English.

"Newfoundland, with the Bay and Straits of Hudson, shall be entirely
restored to the English; and Great Britain and France shall severally
keep and possess all those countries and territories in North America,
which each of the said nations shall be in possession of at the time
when the ratification of this treaty shall be published in those parts
of the world.

"These demands, and all other proceedings between Great Britain and
France, shall be kept inviolably secret, until they are published by the
mutual consent of both parties."

The last article was not only intended for avoiding, if possible, the
jealousy of the Dutch, but to prevent the clamours of the abettors here
at home, who, under the pretended fears of our doing injustice to the
Dutch, by acting without the privity of that republic, in order to make
a separate peace, would be ready to drive on the worst designs against
the Queen and ministry, in order to recover the power they had lost.

In June, one thousand seven hundred and eleven, Mr. Prior, a person of
great distinction, not only on account of his wit, but for his abilities
in the management of affairs, and who had been formerly employed at the
French court, was dispatched thither by Her Majesty with the foregoing
demands. This gentleman was received at Versailles with great civility.
The King declared, that no proceeding, in order to a general treaty,
would be so agreeable to him as by the intervention of England; and that
His Majesty, being desirous to contribute with all his power towards the
repose of Europe, did answer to the demands which had been made,

"That he would consent freely and sincerely to all just and reasonable
methods, for hindering the crowns of France and Spain from being ever
united under the same prince; His Majesty being persuaded, that such an
excess of power would be as contrary to the general good and repose of
Europe, as it was opposite to the will of the late Catholic King Charles
the Second. He said his intention was, that all parties in the present
war should find their reasonable satisfaction in the intended treaty of
peace; and that trade should be settled and maintained for the future,
to the advantage of those nations which formerly possessed it.

"That as the King will exactly observe the conditions of peace, whenever
it shall be concluded, and as the object he proposeth to himself, is to
secure the frontiers of his own kingdom, without giving any sort of
disturbance to his neighbours, he promiseth to agree, that by the future
treaty of peace, the Dutch shall be put into possession of all such
fortified places as shall be specified in the said treaty to serve for a
barrier to that republic, against all attempts on the side of France. He
engages likewise to give all necessary securities, for removing the
jealousies raised among the German princes of His Majesty's designs.

"That when the conferences, in order to a general treaty, shall be
formed, all the pretensions of the several princes and states engaged in
the present war, shall be fairly and amicably discussed; nor shall any
thing be omitted, which may regulate and determine them to the
satisfaction of all parties.

"That, pursuant to the demands made by England, His Majesty promiseth to
restore to the Duke of Savoy these demesnes and territories, which
belonged to that prince at the beginning of this war, and which His
Majesty is now in possession of; and the King consents further, that
such other places in Italy shall be yielded to the Duke of Savoy, as
shall be found necessary, according to the sense of those treaties made
between the said Duke and his allies.

"That the King's sentiments of the present government of Great Britain,
the open declaration he had made in Holland of his resolution to treat
of peace, by applications to the English; the assurances he had given of
engaging the King of Spain to leave Gibraltar in their hands (all which
are convincing proofs of his perfect esteem for a nation still in war
with him); leave no room to doubt of His Majesty's inclination to give
England all securities and advantages for their trade, which they can
reasonably demand. But as His Majesty cannot persuade himself, that a
government, so clear-sighted as ours, will insist upon conditions which
must absolutely destroy the trade of France and Spain, as well as that
of all other nations of Europe, he thinks the demands made by Great
Britain may require a more particular discussion.

"That, upon this foundation, the King thought the best way of advancing
and perfecting a negotiation, the beginning of which he had seen with so
much satisfaction, would be to send into England a person instructed in
his intention, and authorized by him to agree upon securities for
settling the trade of the subjects of England; and those particular
advantages to be stipulated in their favour, without destroying the
trade of the French and Spaniards, or of other nations in Christendom.

"That therefore His Majesty had charged the person chosen for this
commission, to answer the other articles of the memorial given him by
Mr. Prior, the secret of which should be exactly observed."

Mons. de Torcy had, for some years past, used all his endeavours to
incline his master towards a peace, pursuant to the maxim of his uncle
Colbert, "That a long war was not for the interest of France." It was
for this reason the King made choice of him in the conferences at The
Hague; the bad success whereof, although it filled him with resentments
against the Dutch, did not alter his opinion: but he was violently
opposed by a party both in the court and kingdom, who pretended to fear
he would sacrifice the glory of the prince and country by too large
concessions; or perhaps would rather wish that the first offers should
have been still made to the Dutch, as a people more likely to be less
solicitous about the interest of Britain, than Her Majesty would
certainly be for theirs: and the particular design of Mr. Prior was to
find out, whether that minister had credit enough with his prince, and a
support from others in power, sufficient to overrule the faction against

Mr. Prior's journey[6] could not be kept a secret, as the court here at
first seemed to intend it. He was discovered at his return by an officer
of the port at Dover, where he landed, after six weeks absence; upon
which the Dutch Gazettes and English newspapers were full of

[Footnote 6: See Swift's "A New Journey to Paris" (vol. v. of this
edition, pp. 187-205). [W.S.J.]]

At the same time with Mr. Prior there arrived from France Mons.
Mesnager, knight of the order of St. Michael, and one of the council of
trade to the Most Christian King. His commission was, in general,
empowering him to treat with the minister of any prince engaged in the
war against his master. In his first conferences with the Queen's
ministers, he pretended orders to insist, that Her Majesty should enter
upon particular engagements in several articles, which did not depend
upon her, but concerned only the interest of the allies reciprocally
with those of the Most Christian King; whereas the negotiation had begun
upon this principle, that France should consent to adjust the interests
of Great Britain in the first place, whereby Her Majesty would be
afterwards enabled, by her good offices on all sides, to facilitate the
general peace. The Queen resolved never to depart from this principle;
but was absolutely determined to remit the particular interests of the
allies to general conferences, where she would do the utmost in her
power to procure the repose of Europe, and the satisfaction of all
parties. It was plain, France could run no hazard by this proceeding,
because the preliminary articles would have no force before a general
peace was signed: therefore it was not doubted but Mons. Mesnager would
have orders to waive this new pretension, and go on in treating upon
that foot which was at first proposed. In short, the ministers required
a positive and speedy answer to the articles in question, since they
contained only such advantages and securities as Her Majesty thought she
had a right to require from any prince whatsoever, to whom the dominions
of Spain should happen to fall.

The particular demands of Britain were formed into eight articles; to
which Mons. Mesnager, having transmitted them to his court and received
new powers from thence, had orders to give his master's consent, by way
of answers to the several points, to be obligatory only after a general
peace. These demands, together with the answers of the French King, were
drawn up and signed by Mons. Mesnager, and Her Majesty's two principal
secretaries of state; whereof I shall here present an extract to the

In the preamble the Most Christian King sets forth, "That being
particularly informed by the last memorial which the British ministers
delivered to Mons. Mesnager, of the dispositions of this crown to
facilitate a general peace, to the satisfaction of the several parties
concerned; and His Majesty finding, in effect, as the said memorial
declares, that he runs no hazard by engaging himself in the manner there
expressed, since the preliminary articles will be of no force, until the
signing of the general peace; and being sincerely desirous to advance,
to the utmost of his power, the repose of Europe, especially by a way so
agreeable as the interposition of a Princess, whom so many ties of blood
ought to unite to him, and whose sentiments for the public tranquillity
cannot be doubted; His Majesty, moved by these considerations, hath
ordered Mons. Mesnager, knight, &c. to give the following answers, in
writing, to the articles contained in the memorial transmitted to him,
intituled, 'Preliminary Demands for Great Britain in particular.'"

The articles were these that follow.

"First, The succession to the crown to be acknowledged, according to the
present establishment.

"Secondly, A new treaty of commerce between Great Britain and France to
be made, after the most just and reasonable manner.

"Thirdly, Dunkirk to be demolished.

"Fourthly, Gibraltar and Port-Mahon to continue in the hands of those
who now possess them.

"Fifthly, The Assiento (or liberty of selling negroes to the Spanish
West Indies) to be granted to the English, in as full a manner as the
French possess it at present; and such places in the said West Indies to
be assigned to the persons concerned in this trade, for the refreshment
and sale of their negroes, as shall be found necessary and convenient.

"Sixthly, Whatever advantages, privileges, and rights are already, or
may hereafter be, granted by Spain to the subjects of France, or any
other nation, shall be equally granted to the subjects of Great Britain.

"Seventhly, For better protecting their trade in the Spanish West
Indies, the English shall be put into possession of such places as shall
be named in the treaty of peace.

"Or, as an equivalent for this article, that the Assiento be granted to
Britain for the term of thirty years.

"That the isle of St. Christopher's be likewise secured to the English.

"That the advantages and exemption from duties, promised by Monsieur
Mesnager, which he affirms will amount to fifteen _per cent_. upon all
goods of the growth and manufacture of Great Britain, be effectually

"That whereas, on the side of the river of Plate, the English are not in
possession of any colony, a certain extent of territory be allowed them
on the said river, for refreshing and keeping their negroes, till they
are sold to the Spaniards; subject, nevertheless, to the inspection of
an officer appointed by Spain.

"Eighthly, Newfoundland and the Bay and Straits of Hudson, shall be
entirely restored to the English; and Great Britain and France shall
respectively keep whatever dominions in North America each of them shall
be in possession of, when the ratification of this treaty shall be
published in those parts of the world."

The six first articles were allowed without any difficulty, except that
about Dunkirk, where France was to have an equivalent, to be settled in
a general treaty.

Difficulty arising upon the seventh article, the proposed equivalent was
allowed instead thereof.

The last article was referred to the general treaty of peace, only the
French insisted to have the power of fishing for cod, and drying them on
the island of Newfoundland.

These articles were to be looked upon as conditions, which the Most
Christian King consented to allow; and whenever a general peace should
be signed, they were to be digested into the usual form of a treaty, to
the satisfaction of both crowns.

The Queen having thus provided for the security and advantage of her
kingdoms, whenever a peace should be made, and upon terms no way
interfering with the interest of her allies; the next thing in order,
was to procure from France such preliminary articles, as might be a
ground upon which to commence a general treaty. These were adjusted, and
signed the same day with the former; and having been delivered to the
several ministers residing here from the powers in alliance with
England, were quickly made public. But the various constructions and
censures which passed upon them, have made it necessary to give the
reader the following transcript:

"The King being willing to contribute all that is in his power, to the
re-establishing of the general peace. His Majesty declares,

"I. That he will acknowledge the Queen of Great Britain in that quality,
as also the succession of that crown, according to the settlement,

"II. That he will freely, and _bona fide_, consent to the taking all
just and reasonable measures, for hindering that the crowns of France
and Spain may ever be united on the head of the same prince; His Majesty
being persuaded, that this excess of power would be contrary to the good
and quiet of Europe.

"III. The King's intention is, that all the parties engaged in the
present war, without excepting any of them, may find their reasonable
satisfaction in the treaty of peace, which shall be made: That commerce
may be re-established and maintained for the future, to the advantage of
Great Britain, of Holland, and of the other nations, who have been
accustomed to exercise commerce.

"IV. As the King will likewise maintain exactly the observance of the
peace, when it shall be concluded, and the object, the King proposes to
himself, being to secure the frontiers of his kingdom, without
disturbing in any manner whatever the neighbouring states, he promises
to agree, by the treaty which shall be made, that the Dutch shall be put
in possession of the fortified places, which shall be mentioned, in the
Netherlands, to serve hereafter for a barrier; which may secure the
quiet of the republic of Holland against any enterprise from the part of

"V. The King consents likewise, that a secure and convenient barrier
should be formed for the empire, and for the house of Austria.

"VI. Notwithstanding Dunkirk cost the King very great sums, as well to
purchase it, as to fortify it; and that it is further necessary to be at
very considerable expense for razing the works. His Majesty is willing
however to engage to cause them to be demolished, immediately after the
conclusion of the peace, on condition, that, for the fortifications of
that place, a proper equivalent, that may content him, be given him:
And, as England cannot furnish that equivalent, the discussion of it
shall be referred to the conferences to be held for the negotiation of
the peace.

"VII. When the conferences for the negotiation of the peace shall be
formed, all the pretensions of the princes and states, engaged in the
present war, shall be therein discussed _bona fide_, and amicably: And
nothing shall be omitted to regulate and terminate them, to the
satisfaction of all the parties.


These overtures are founded upon the eighth article of the Grand
Alliance, made in one thousand seven hundred and one; wherein are
contained the conditions, without which a peace is not to be made; and
whoever compares both, will find the preliminaries to reach every point
proposed in that article, which those who censured them at home, if they
spoke their thoughts, did not understand: for nothing can be plainer,
than what the public hath often been told, that the recovery of Spain
from the house of Bourbon was a thing never imagined, when the war
began, but a just and reasonable satisfaction to the Emperor. Much less
ought such a condition to be held necessary at present, not only because
it is allowed on all hands to be impracticable, but likewise because, by
the changes in the Austrian and Bourbon families, it would not be safe:
neither did those, who were loudest in blaming the French preliminaries,
know any thing of the advantages privately stipulated for Britain, whose
interests, they assured us, were all made a sacrifice to the corruption
or folly of the managers; and therefore, because the opposers of peace
have been better informed by what they have since heard and seen, they
have changed their battery, and accused the ministers for betraying the

The Lord Raby, Her Majesty's ambassador at The Hague, having made a
short journey to England, where he was created Earl of Strafford, went
back to Holland about the beginning of October, one thousand seven
hundred and eleven, with the above preliminaries, in order to
communicate them to the Pensionary, and other ministers of the States.
The Earl was instructed to let them know, "That the Queen had, according
to their desire, returned an answer to the first propositions signed by
Mons. Torcy, signifying, that the French offers were thought, both by
Her Majesty and the States, neither so particular nor so full as they
ought to be; and insisting to have a distinct project formed, of such a
peace as the Most Christian King would be willing to conclude: that this
affair having been for some time transacted by papers, and thereby
subject to delays, Mons. Mesnager was at length sent over by France, and
had signed those preliminaries now communicated to them: that the
several articles did not, indeed, contain such particular concessions as
France must and will make in the course of a treaty; but that, however,
Her Majesty thought them a sufficient foundation whereon to open the
general conferences.

"That Her Majesty was unwilling to be charged with determining the
several interests of her allies, and therefore contented herself with
such general offers as might include all the particular demands, proper
to be made during the treaty; where the confederates must resolve to
adhere firmly together, in order to obtain from the enemy the utmost
that could be hoped for, in the present circumstances of affairs; which
rule, Her Majesty assured the States, she would, on her part, firmly

If the ministers of Holland should express any uneasiness, that Her
Majesty may have settled the interests of her own kingdoms, in a future
peace, by any private agreement, the ambassador was ordered to say,
"That the Queen had hitherto refused to have the treaty carried on in
her own kingdom, and would continue to do so, unless they (the Dutch)
constrained her to take another measure: That by these means the States,
and the rest of the allies, would have the opportunity of treating and
adjusting their different pretensions; which Her Majesty would promote
with all the zeal she had shewn for the common good, and the particular
advantage of that republic (as they must do her the justice to confess),
in the whole course of her reign: That the Queen had made no stipulation
for herself, which might clash with the interests of Holland; and that
the articles to be inserted in a future treaty, for the benefit of
Britain, were, for the most part, such as contained advantages, which
must either be continued to the enemy, or be obtained by Her Majesty;
but, however, that no concession should tempt her to hearken to a peace,
unless her good friends and allies the States General had all reasonable
satisfaction, as to their trade and barrier, as well as in all other

After these assurances given in the Queen's name, the Earl was to
insinuate, "That Her Majesty should have just reason to be offended, and
to think the proceeding between her and the States very unequal, if they
should pretend to have any further uneasiness upon this head: That being
determined to accept no advantages to herself, repugnant to their
interests, nor any peace, without their reasonable satisfaction, the
figure she had made during the whole course of the war, and the part she
had acted, superior to any of the allies, who were more concerned in
danger and interest, might justly entitle her to settle the concerns of
Great Britain, before she would consent to a general negotiation."

If the States should object the engagements the Queen was under, by
treaties, of making no peace but in concert with them, or the particular
obligations of the Barrier Treaty, the ambassador was to answer, "That,
as to the former, Her Majesty had not in any sort acted contrary
thereto; That she was so far from making a peace without their consent,
as to declare her firm resolution not to make it without their
satisfaction; and that what had passed between France and her, amounted
to no more than an introduction to a general treaty." As to the latter,
the Earl had orders to represent very earnestly, "How much it was even
for the interest of Holland itself, rather to compound the advantage of
the Barrier Treaty, than to insist upon the whole, which the house of
Austria, and several other allies, would never consent to: That nothing
could be more odious to the people of England than many parts of this
treaty; which would have raised universal indignation, if the utmost
care had not been taken to quiet the minds of those who were acquainted
with the terms of that guaranty, and to conceal them from those who were
not: That it was absolutely necessary to maintain a good harmony between
both nations, without which it would be impossible at any time to form a
strength for reducing an exorbitant power, or preserving the balance of
Europe: from whence it followed, that it could not be the true interest
of either country to insist upon any conditions, which might give just
apprehension to the other.

"That France had proposed Utrecht, Nimeguen, Aix, or Liege, wherein to
hold the general treaty; and Her Majesty was ready to send her
plenipotentiaries, to whichever of those towns the States should

If the imperial ministers, or those of the other allies, should object
against the preliminaries as no sufficient ground for opening the
conferences, and insist that France should consent to such articles as
were signed on the part of the allies in the year one thousand seven
hundred and nine, the Earl of Strafford was in answer directed to
insinuate, "That the French might have probably been brought to explain
themselves more particularly, had they not perceived the uneasiness,
impatience, and jealousy among the allies, during our transactions with
that court." However, he should declare to them, in the Queen's name,
"That if they were determined to accept of peace upon no terms inferior
to what was formerly demanded, Her Majesty was ready to concur with
them; but would no longer bear those disproportions of expense, yearly
increased upon her, nor the deficiency of the confederates in every part
of the war: That it was therefore incumbent upon them to furnish, for
the future, such quotas of ships and forces as they were now wanting in,
and to increase their expense, while Her Majesty reduced hers to a
reasonable and just proportion."

That if the ministers of Vienna and Holland should urge their inability
upon this head, the Queen insisted, "They ought to comply with her in
war or in peace; Her Majesty desiring nothing, as to the first, but what
they ought to perform, and what is absolutely necessary: and as to the
latter, that she had done, and would continue to do, the utmost in her
power towards obtaining such a peace as might be to the satisfaction of
all her allies."

Some days after the Earl of Stafford's departure to Holland, Mons. Buys,
pensionary of Amsterdam, arrived here from thence with instructions from
his masters, to treat upon the subject of the French preliminaries, and
the methods for carrying on the war. In his first conference with a
committee of council, he objected against all the articles, as too
general and uncertain; and against some of them, as prejudicial. He
said, "The French promising that trade should be re-established and
maintained for the future, was meant in order to deprive the Dutch of
their tariff of one thousand six hundred and sixty-four; for the
plenipotentiaries of that crown would certainly expound the word
_retablir_, to signify no more than restoring the trade of the States to
the condition it was in immediately before the commencement of the
present war." He said, "That in the article of Dunkirk, the destruction
of the harbour was not mentioned; and that the fortifications were only
to be razed upon condition of an equivalent, which might occasion a
difference between Her Majesty and the States, since Holland would think
it hard to have a town less in their barrier for the demolition of
Dunkirk; and England would complain to have this thorn continue in their
side, for the sake of giving one town more to the Dutch."

Lastly, he objected, "That where the French promised effectual methods
should be taken to prevent the union of France and Spain under the same
king, they offered nothing at all for the cession of Spain, which was
the most important point of the war.

"For these reasons, Mons. Buys hoped Her Majesty would alter her
measures, and demand specific articles, upon which the allies might
debate whether they would consent to a negotiation or no."

The Queen, who looked upon all these difficulties, raised about the
method of treating, as endeavours to wrest the negotiation out of her
hands, commanded the lords of the committee to let Mons. Buys know,
"That the experience she formerly had of proceeding by particular
preliminaries towards a general treaty, gave her no encouragement to
repeat the same method any more: That such a preliminary treaty must be
negotiated either by some particular allies, or by all. The first, Her
Majesty could never suffer, since she would neither take upon her to
settle the interests of others, nor submit that others should settle
those of her own kingdoms. As to the second, it was liable to Mons.
Buys's objection, because the ministers of France would have as fair an
opportunity of sowing division among the allies, when they were all
assembled upon a preliminary treaty, as when the conferences were open
for a negotiation of peace: That this method could therefore have no
other effect than to delay the treaty, without any advantage: That Her
Majesty was heartily disposed, both then and during the negotiation, to
insist on every thing necessary for securing the barrier and commerce of
the States; and therefore hoped the conferences might be opened, without
farther difficulties.

"That Her Majesty did not only consent, but desire to have a plan
settled for carrying on the war, as soon as the negotiation of peace
should begin; but expected to have the burthen more equally laid, and
more agreeable to treaties; and would join with the States in pressing
the allies to perform their parts, as she had endeavoured to animate
them by her example."

Mons. Buys seemed to know little of his masters' mind, and pretended he
had no power to conclude upon any thing.[1] Her Majesty's minister
proposed to him an alliance between the two nations, to subsist after a
peace. To this he hearkened very readily, and offered to take the matter
_ad referendum_, having authority to do no more. His intention was, that
he might appear to negotiate, in order to gain time to pick out, if
possible, the whole secret of the transactions between Britain and
France; to disclose nothing himself, nor bind his masters to any
conditions; to seek delays till the Parliament met, and then observe
what turn it took, and what would be the issue of those frequent cabals
between himself and some other foreign ministers, in conjunction with
the chief leaders of the discontented faction.

[Footnote 1: Buys's mission seemed to have been to act on behalf of the
States General for the purpose of preventing England obtaining any
commercial advantage which the States did not share, and for causing
delays. He certainly had no powers to treat definitely, and Swift's
remark is emphasized by the statement in the Bolingbroke Correspondence
(vol. ii. p. 25) about him, he could "only speak as Monsieur Buys."

The Dutch hoped, that the clamours raised against the proceedings of the
Queen's ministers towards a peace, would make the Parliament disapprove
what had been done; whereby the States would be at the head of the
negotiation, which the Queen did not think fit to have any more in their
hands, where it had miscarried twice already; although Prince Eugene
himself owned, "that France was then disposed to conclude a peace upon
such conditions, as it was not worth the life of a grenadier to refuse
them." As to insisting upon specific preliminaries, Her Majesty thought
her own method much better, for each ally, in the course of the
negotiation, to advance and manage his own pretensions, wherein she
would support and assist them, rather than for two ministers of one ally
to treat solely with the enemy, and report what they pleased to the
rest, as was practised by the Dutch at Gertruydenberg.

One part of Mons. Buys's instructions was to desire the Queen not to be
so far amused by a treaty of peace, as to neglect her preparation for
war against the next campaign. Her Majesty, who was firmly resolved
against submitting any longer to that unequal burthen of expense she had
hitherto lain under, commanded Mr. Secretary St. John to debate the
matter with that minister, who said he had no power to treat; only
insisted, that his masters had fully done their part, and that nothing
but exhortations could be used to prevail on the other allies to act
with greater vigour.

On the other side, the Queen refused to concert any plan for the
prosecution of the war, till the States would join with her in agreeing
to open the conferences of peace; which therefore, by Mons. Buys's
application to them, was accordingly done, by a resolution taken in
Holland upon the twenty first of November, one thousand seven hundred
and eleven, NS.

About this time the Count de Gallas[7] was forbid the court, by order
from the Queen, who sent him word, that she looked upon him no longer as
a public minister.

[Footnote 7: The Austrian ambassador [T.S.]]

This gentleman thought fit to act a very dishonourable part here in
England, altogether inconsistent with the character he bore of envoy
from the late and present emperors, two princes under the strictest ties
of gratitude to the Queen, especially the latter, who had then the title
of King of Spain. Count Gallas, about the end of August, one thousand
seven hundred and eleven, with the utmost privacy, dispatched an
Italian, one of his clerks, to Frankfort, where the Earl of Peterborough
was then expected. This man was instructed to pass for a Spaniard, and
insinuate himself into the Earl's service, which he accordingly did, and
gave constant information to the last emperor's secretary at Frankfort
of all he could gather up in his lordship's family, as well as copies of
several letters he had transcribed. It was likewise discovered that
Gallas had, in his dispatches to the present emperor, then in Spain,
represented the Queen and her ministers as not to be confided in, that
when Her Majesty had dismissed the Earl of Sunderland, she promised to
proceed no farther in the change of her servants, yet soon after turned
them all out, and thereby ruined the public credit, as well as abandoned
Spain, that the present ministers wanted the abilities and good
dispositions of the former, were persons of ill designs, and enemies to
the common cause, and he (Gallas) could not trust them. In his letters
to Count Zinzendorf[8] he said, "That Mr. Secretary St John complained
of the house of Austria's backwardness, only to make the King of Spain
odious to England, and the people here desirous of a peace, although it
were ever so bad one," to prevent which, Count Gallas drew up a memorial
which he intended to give the Queen, and transmitted a draught of it to
Zinzendorf for his advice and approbation. This memorial, among other
great promises to encourage the continuance of the war, proposed the
detaching a good body of troops from Hungary to serve in Italy or Spain,
as the Queen should think fit.

[Footnote 8: The Austrian envoy at The Hague, characterized by Mr Walter
Sichel as "a martyr to etiquette, and devoured by zeal for the Holy
Roman Empire" ("Bolingbroke and his Times," p 392) [T.S.]]

Zinzendorf thought this too bold a step, without consulting the Emperor:
to which Gallas replied, that his design was only to engage the Queen to
go on with the war; that Zinzendorf knew how earnestly the English and
Dutch had pressed to have these troops from Hungary, and therefore they
ought to be promised, in order to quiet those two nations, after which
several ways might be found to elude that promise; and, in the mean
time, the great point would be gained of bringing the English to declare
for continuing the war: that the Emperor might afterwards excuse
himself, by the apprehension of a war in Hungary, or of that between the
Turks and Muscovites: that if these excuses should be at an end, a
detachment of one or two regiments might be sent, and the rest deferred,
by pretending want of money; by which the Queen would probably be
brought to maintain some part of those troops, and perhaps the whole
body. He added, that this way of management was very common among the
allies; and gave for an example, the forces which the Dutch had promised
for the service of Spain, but were never sent; with several other
instances of the same kind, which he said might be produced.

Her Majesty, who had long suspected that Count Gallas was engaged in
these and the like practices, having at last received authentic proofs
of this whole intrigue, from original letters, and the voluntary
confession of those who were principally concerned in carrying it on,
thought it necessary to show her resentment, by refusing the count any
more access to her person or her court.

Although the Queen, as it hath been already observed, was resolved to
open the conferences upon the general preliminaries, yet she thought it
would very much forward the peace to know what were the utmost
concessions which France would make to the several allies, but
especially to the States General and the Duke of Savoy: therefore, while
Her Majesty was pressing the former to agree to a general treaty, the
Abbe Gaultier was sent to France with a memorial, to desire that the
Most Christian King would explain himself upon those preliminaries,
particularly with relation to Savoy and Holland, whose satisfaction the
Queen had most at heart, as well from her friendship to both these
powers, as because, if she might engage to them that their just
pretensions would be allowed, few difficulties would remain, of any
moment, to retard the general peace.

The French answer to this memorial contained several schemes and
proposals for the satisfaction of each ally, coming up very near to what
Her Majesty and her ministers thought reasonable. The greatest
difficulties seemed to be about the Elector of Bavaria, for whose
interests France appeared to be as much concerned, as the Queen was for
those of the Duke of Savoy: however, those were judged not very hard to
be surmounted.

The States having at length agreed to a general treaty, the following
particulars were concerted between Her Majesty and that republic:

"That the congress should be held at Utrecht.

"That the opening of the congress should be upon the twelfth of January,
N.S. one thousand seven hundred and eleven-twelve.

"That, for avoiding all inconveniences of ceremony, the ministers of the
Queen and States, during the treaty, should only have the characters of
plenipotentiaries, and not take that of ambassadors, till the day on
which the peace should be signed.

"Lastly, The Queen and States insisted, that the ministers of the Duke
of Anjou, and the late Electors of Bavaria and Cologne, should not
appear at the congress, until the points relating to their masters were
adjusted; and were firmly resolved not to send their passports for the
ministers of France, till the Most Christian King declared, that the
absence of the forementioned ministers should not delay the progress of
the negotiation."

Pursuant to the three former articles, Her Majesty wrote circular
letters to all the allies engaged with her in the present war: and
France had notice, that as soon as the King declared his compliance with
the last article, the blank passports should be filled up with the names
of the Marechal d'Uxelles,[9] the Abbe de Polignac, and Mons. Mesnager,
who were appointed plenipotentiaries for that crown.

[Footnote 9: In his "Letter to Sir William Windham," Bolingbroke thus
refers to M. d'Uxelles: "The minister who had the principal direction of
foreign affairs I lived in friendship with, and I must own to his
honour, that he never encouraged a design which he knew that his court
had no intention of supporting" (p. 141). This was written of the time
when Bolingbroke was in Paris, an adherent of the Pretender. [T.S.]]

From what I have hitherto deduced, the reader sees the plan which the
Queen thought the most effectual for advancing a peace. As the
conferences were to begin upon the general preliminaries, the Queen was
to be empowered by France to offer separately to the allies what might
be reasonable for each to accept; and her own interests being previously
settled, she was to act as a general mediator: a figure that became her
best, from the part she had in the war, and more useful to the great end
at which she aimed, of giving a safe and honourable peace to Europe.

Besides, it was absolutely necessary, for the interests of Britain, that
the Queen should be at the head of the negotiation, without which Her
Majesty could find no expedient to redress the injuries her kingdoms
were sure to suffer by the Barrier Treaty. In order to settle this point
with the States, the ministers here had a conference with Mons. Buys, a
few days before the Parliament met. He was told, how necessary it was,
by previous concert between the Emperor, the Queen, and the States, to
prevent any difference which might arise in the course of the treaty at
Utrecht: That, under pretence of a barrier for the States General, as
their security against France, infinite prejudice might arise to the
trade of Britain in the Spanish Netherlands; for, by the fifteenth
article of the Barrier Treaty, in consequence of what was stipulated by
that of Minister, the Queen was brought to engage that commerce shall
not be rendered more easy, in point of duties, by the sea-ports of
Flanders, than it is by the river Scheldt, and by the canals on the side
of the Seven Provinces, which, as things now stood, was very unjust;
for, while the towns in Flanders were in the hands of France or Spain,
the Dutch and we traded to them upon equal foot; but now, since by the
Barrier Treaty those towns were to be possessed by the States, that
republic might lay what duties they pleased upon British goods, after
passing by Ostend, and make their own custom-free, which would utterly
ruin our whole trade with Flanders.

Upon this, the lords told Mons. Buys very frankly, "That if the States
expected the Queen should support their barrier, as well as their
demands from France and the house of Austria upon that head, they ought
to agree, that the subjects of Britain should trade as freely to all the
countries and places, which, by virtue of any former or future treaty,
were to become the barrier of the States, as they did in the time of the
late King Charles the Second of Spain; or as the subjects of the States
General themselves shall do: and that it was hoped, their High
Mightinesses would never scruple to rectify a mistake so injurious to
that nation, without whose blood and treasure they would have had no
barrier at all." Mons. Buys had nothing to answer against these
objections, but said, he had already wrote to his masters for further

Greater difficulties occurred about settling what should be the barrier
to the States after a peace: the envoy insisting to have all the towns
that were named in the Treaty of Barrier and Succession; and the Queen's
ministers excepting those towns, which, if they continued in the hands
of the Dutch, would render the trade of Britain to Flanders precarious.
At length it was agreed in general, that the States ought to have what
is really essential to the security of their barrier against France; and
that some amicable expedient should be found, for removing the fears
both of Britain and Holland upon this point.

But at the same time Mons. Buys was told, "That although the Queen would
certainly insist to obtain all those points from France, in behalf of
her allies the States, yet she hoped his masters were too reasonable to
break off the treaty, rather than not obtain the very utmost of their
demands, which could not be settled here, unless he were fully
instructed to speak and conclude upon that subject: That Her Majesty
thought the best way of securing the common interest, and preventing the
division of the allies, by the artifices of France, in the course of a
long negotiation, would be to concert between the Queen's ministers and
those of the States, with a due regard to the other confederates, such a
plan as might amount to a safe and honourable peace." After which the
Abbe Polignac, who of the French plenipotentiaries was most in the
secret of his court, might be told, "That it was in vain to amuse each
other any longer; that on such terms the peace would be immediately
concluded; and that the conferences must cease, if those conditions were
not, without delay, and with expedition, granted."

A treaty between Her Majesty and the States, to subsist after a peace,
was now signed, Mons. Buys having received full powers to that purpose.
His masters were desirous to have a private article added, _sub spe
rati_, concerning those terms of peace; without the granting of which,
we should stipulate not to agree with the enemy. But neither the
character of Buys, nor the manner in which he was empowered to treat,
would allow the Queen to enter into such an engagement. The congress
likewise approaching, there was not time to settle a point of so great
importance. Neither, lastly, would Her Majesty be tied down by Holland,
without previous satisfaction upon several articles in the Barrier
Treaty, so inconsistent with her engagements to other powers in the
alliance, and so injurious to her own kingdoms.

The lord privy seal, and the Earl of Stafford, having, about the time
the Parliament met, been appointed Her Majesty's plenipotentiaries for
treating a general peace, I shall here break off the account of any
further progress made in that great affair, until I resume it in the
last book of this History.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****




The House of Commons seemed resolved, from the beginning of the session,
to inquire strictly not only into all abuses relating to the accounts of
the army, but likewise into the several treaties between us and our
allies, upon what articles and conditions they were first agreed to, and
how these had been since observed. In the first week of their sitting,
they sent an address to the Queen, to desire that the treaty, whereby
Her Majesty was obliged to furnish forty thousand men, to act in
conjunction with the forces of her allies in the Low Countries, might be
laid before the House. To which the secretary of state brought an
answer, "That search had been made, but no footsteps could be found of
any treaty or convention for that purpose." It was this unaccountable
neglect in the former ministry, which first gave a pretence to the
allies for lessening their quotas, so much to the disadvantage of Her
Majesty, her kingdoms, and the common cause, in the course of the war.
It had been stipulated by the Grand Alliance, between the Emperor,
Britain, and the States, that those three powers should assist each
other with their whole force, and that the several proportions should be
specified in a particular convention. But if any such convention were
made, it was never ratified; only the parties agreed, by common consent,
to take each a certain share of the burthen upon themselves, which the
late King William communicated to the House of Commons by his secretary
of state; and which afterwards the other two powers, observing the
mighty zeal in our ministry for prolonging the war, eluded as they

The commissioners for stating the public accounts of the kingdom, had,
in executing their office the preceding summer, discovered several
practices relating to the affairs of the army, which they drew up in a
report, and delivered to the House.

The Commons began their examination of the report with a member of their
own, Mr. Robert Walpole, already mentioned; who, during his being
secretary at war, had received five hundred guineas, and taken a note
for five hundred pounds more, on account of two contracts for forage of
the queen's troops quartered in Scotland. He endeavoured to excuse the
first contract; but had nothing to say about the second. The first
appeared so plain and so scandalous to the Commons, that they voted the
author of it guilty of a high breach of trust, and notorious corruption,
committed him prisoner to the Tower, where he continued to the end of
the session, and expelled him the House.[1] He was a person much
caressed by the opposers of the Queen and ministry, having been first
drawn into their party by his indifference to any principles, and
afterwards kept steady by the loss of his place. His bold, forward
countenance, altogether a stranger to that infirmity which makes men
bashful, joined to a readiness of speaking in public, hath justly
entitled him, among those of his faction, to be a sort of leader of the
second form. The reader must excuse me for being so particular about
one, who is otherwise altogether obscure.[2]

[Footnote 1: See "Part Hist," vi. 1071. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Walpole was not too obscure, however, to be then the object
of Bolingbroke's attack; and in 1726, when Bolingbroke had again
attacked Walpole, this time in a letter, the latter replied: "Whatever
contradictions these gentlemen may have observed in my character; there
is one which I'll venture to assure you, you will never discover, which
is my ever being alarmed at an opposition from one in the impotence of
disgrace, who could never terrify me in the zenith of his prosperity."
"An Answer to the Occasional Writer." [T.S.]]

Another part of the report concerned the Duke of Marlborough, who had
received large sums of money, by way of gratuity, from those who were
the undertakers for providing the army with bread.[3] This the Duke
excused, in a letter to the commissioners, from the like practice of
other generals: but that excuse appeared to be of little weight, and the
mischievous consequences of such a corruption were visible enough; since
the money given by these undertakers were but bribes for connivance at
their indirect dealings with the army. And as frauds, that begin at the
top, are apt to spread through all the subordinate ranks of those who
have any share in the management, and to increase as they circulate: so,
in this case, for every thousand pounds given to the general, the
soldiers at least suffered fourfold.

[Footnote 3: See "The Examiner," Nos. 17 and 28, in vol. ix. of this
edition. [W.S.J.]]

Another article of this report, relating to the Duke, was yet of more
importance. The greatest part of Her Majesty's forces in Flanders were
mercenary troops, hired from several princes of Europe. It was found
that the Queen's general subtracted two and a half _per cent_, out of
the pay of those troops, for his own use, which amounted to a great
annual sum. The Duke of Marlborough, in his letter already mentioned,
endeavouring to extenuate the matter, told the commissioners, "That this
deduction was a free gift from the foreign troops, which he had
negotiated with them by the late King's orders, and had obtained the
Queen's warrant for reserving and receiving it: That it was intended for
secret service, the ten thousand pounds a year given by Parliament not
proving sufficient, and had all been laid out that way." The
commissioners observed, in answer, "That the warrant was kept dormant
for nine years, as indeed no entry of it appeared in the secretary of
state's books, and the deduction of it concealed all that time from the
knowledge of Parliament: That, if it had been a free gift from the
foreign troops, it would not have been stipulated by agreement, as the
Duke's letter confessed, and as his warrant declared, which latter
affirmed this stoppage to be intended for defraying extraordinary
contingent expenses of the troops, and therefore should not have been
applied to secret services." They submitted to the House, whether the
warrant itself were legal, or duly countersigned. The commissioners
added, "That no receipt was ever given for this deducted money, nor was
it mentioned in any receipts from the foreign troops, which were always
taken in full. And lastly, That the whole sum, on computation, amounted
to near three hundred thousand pounds."

The House, after a long debate, resolved, "That the taking several sums
from the contractors for bread by the Duke of Marlborough, was
unwarrantable and illegal; and that the two and a half _per cent_,
deducted from the foreign troops, was public money, and ought to be
accounted for:" which resolutions were laid before the Queen by the
whole House, and Her Majesty promised to do her part in redressing what
was complained of. The Duke and his friends had, about the beginning of
the war, by their credit with the Queen, procured a warrant from Her
Majesty for this perquisite of two and a half _per cent_. The warrant
was directed to the Duke of Marlborough, and countersigned by Sir
Charles Hedges, then secretary of state; by virtue of which the
paymaster-general of the army was to pay the said deducted money to the
general, and take a receipt in full from the foreign troops.

It was observed, as very commendable and becoming the dignity of such an
assembly, that this debate was managed with great temper, and with few
personal reflections upon the Duke of Marlborough. They seemed only
desirous to come at the truth, without which they could not answer the
trust reposed in them by those whom they represented, and left the rest
to Her Majesty's prudence. The attorney-general was ordered to commence
an action against the Duke for the subtracted money, which would have
amounted to a great sum, enough to ruin any private person, except
himself. This process is still depending, although very moderately
pursued, either by the Queen's indulgence to one whom she had formerly
so much trusted, or perhaps to be revived or slackened, according to the
future demeanour of the defendant.[4]

[Footnote 4: Marlborough's defence of himself may be found in the
"Parliamentary History," vol. vi., 1079. Writing to the Earl of
Strafford, under date January 27, 1711, Bolingbroke speaking of this
debate on Marlborough says: "What passed on Thursday in the House of
Commons, will, I hope, show people abroad, as well as at home, that no
merit, no grandeur, no riches can excuse, or save any one, who sets
himself up in opposition to the Queen;" and, he might have added, to
Mrs. Masham. It is to be questioned if Marlborough would have had to
undergo the ordeal of this debate had it not been for the animosity
against him on the part of this lady and her royal mistress, so deftly
aroused by Harley. [T.S.]]

Some time after, Mr. Cardonnell,[5] a Member of Parliament, and
secretary to the general in Flanders, was expelled the House, for the
offence of receiving yearly bribes from those who had contracted to
furnish bread for the army; and met with no further punishment for a
practice, voted to be unwarrantable and corrupt.

These were all the censures of any moment which the Commons, under so
great a weight of business, thought fit to make, upon the reports of
their commissioners for inspecting the public accounts. But having
promised, in the beginning of this History, to examine the state of the
nation, with respect to its debts; by what negligence or corruption they
first began, and in process of time made such a prodigious increase;
and, lastly, what courses have been taken, under the present
administration, to find out funds for answering so many unprovided
incumbrances, as well as put a stop to new ones; I shall endeavour to
satisfy the reader upon this important article.

By all I have yet read of the history of our own country, it appears to
me, that the national debts, secured upon parliamentary funds of
interest, were things unknown in England before the last Revolution
under the Prince of Orange. It is true, that in the grand rebellion the
king's enemies borrowed money of particular persons, upon what they
called the public faith; but this was only for short periods, and the
sums no more than what they could pay at once, as they constantly did.
Some of our kings have been very profuse in peace and war, and are
blamed in history for their oppressions of the people by severe taxes,
and for borrowing money which they never paid:[6] but national debts was
a style, which, I doubt, would hardly then be understood. When the
Prince of Orange was raised to the throne, and a general war began in
these parts of Europe, the King and his counsellors thought it would be
ill policy to commence his reign with heavy taxes upon the people, who
had lived long in ease and plenty, and might be apt to think their
deliverance too dearly bought: wherefore one of the first actions of the
new government was to take off the tax upon chimneys, as a burthen very
ungrateful to the commonalty. But money being wanted to support the war
(which even the convention-parliament, that put the crown upon his head,
were very unwilling he should engage in), the present Bishop of
Salisbury[7] is said to have found out that expedient (which he had
learned in Holland) of raising money upon the security of taxes, that
were only sufficient to pay a large interest. The motives which
prevailed on people to fall in with this project were many, and
plausible; for supposing, as the ministers industriously gave out, that
the war could not last above one or two campaigns at most, it might be
carried on with very moderate taxes; and the debts accruing would, in
process of time, be easily cleared after a peace. Then the bait of large

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