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safe and honourable terms: we, who bore the burden of the war, ought in reason to have the greatest share in making the peace.

If we do not hearken to a peace, others certainly will, and get the advantage of us there, as they have done in the war. We know the Dutch have perpetually threatened us that they would enter into separate measures of a peace; and by the strength of that argument, as well as by other powerful motives, prevailed on those who were then at the helm to comply with them on any terms, rather than put an end to a war which every year brought them such great accessions to their wealth and power.

Whoever falls off, a peace will follow, and then we must be content with such conditions as our allies, out of their great concern for our safety and interest, will please to choose. They have no farther occasion for fighting, they have gained their point, and they now tell us it is our war ; so that in common justice it ought to be our peace.

All we can propose by the desperate steps of pawning our land or malt tax, or erecting a general excise, is only to raise a fund of interest for running us annually four millions farther in debt, without any prospect of ending the war so well as we can do at present. And when we have sunk the only unengaged revenues we had left, our encumbrances must of necessity remain perpetual.

We have hitherto lived upon expedients which in time will certainly destroy any constitution, whether civil or natural; and there was no country in Christendom had less occasion for them than ours. We have dieted a healthy body into a consumption, by plying it with physic instead of food. Art will help us no longer; and if we cannot recover by letting the remains of nature work, we must inevitably die.

What arts have been used to possess the people with å strong delusion that Britain must infallibly be ruined without the recovery of Spain to the house of Austria : making the safety of a great and powerful kingdom, as ours was then, to depend upon an event which, after a war of miraculous successes, proves impracticable ! As if princes and great ministers could find no way of settling the public tranquillity without changing the possessions of kingdoms, and forcing sovereigns upon a people against their inclinations. Is there no security for the island of Britain unless a king of Spain be dethroned by the hands of his grandfather? Has the enemy no cautionary towns and seaports to give us for securing trade? Can he not deliver us possession of such places as would put him in a worse condition whenever he should perfidiously renew the war? The present king of France has but few years to live by the course of nature, and doubtless would desire to end his days in peace. Grandfathers, in private families, are not observed to have great influence on their grandsons, and I believe they have much less among princes; however, when the authority of a parent is gone, is it likely that Philip will be directed by a brother against his own interest and that of his subjects? Have not those two realms their separate maxims of policy, which must operate in the times of peace ? These at least are probabilities, and cheaper at least by six millions a-year than recovering Spain or continuing the war, both which seem absolutely impossible.

But the common question is, if we must now surrender Spain, what have we been fighting for all this

while ? The answer is ready : we have been fighting for the ruin of the public interest and the advancement of a private. We have been fighting to raise the wealth and grandeur of a particular family, to enrich usurers and stock-jobbers, and to cultivate the pernicious designs of a faction by destroying the landed interest. The nation begins now to think these blessings are not worth fighting for any longer, and therefore desires a peace.

But the advocates on the other side cry out that we might have had a better peace than is now in agitation, above two years ago. Supposing this to be true, I do assert that, by parity of reason, we must expect one just so much the worse about two years hence. If those in power could then have given us a better peace, more is their infamy and guilt that they did it not. Why did they insist upon conditions which they were certain would never be granted ? We allow it was in their power to have put a good end to the war, and left the nation in some hope of recovering itself. And this is what we charge them with, as answerable to God, their country, and posterity,—that the bleeding condition of their fellow subjects was a feather in the balance with their private ends.

A PROPOSAL FOR

CORRECTING, IMPROVING,
AND ASCERTAINING THE

ENGLISH TONGUE

IN A LETTER TO THE MOST HONOURABLE ROBERT EARL

OF OXFORD AND MORTIMER, LORD HIGH TREASURER

OF GREAT BRITAIN

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