Page images
PDF
EPUB

likewise know the proceedings of that princess, that never to be forgotten, excellent queen, Elizabeth, whose name, without admiration, falls not into mention even with her enemies; you know how she advanced herself, and how she advanced the nation in glory and in state; how she depressed our enemies, and how she upheld her friends; how she enjoyed a full security, and made them our scorn, who now are made our terror!

Some of the principles she built on were these ; and if I mistake, let reason and our statesmen contradict me.

First, to maintain, in what she might, an unity in France, that the kingdom being at peace within itself, might be a bulwark to keep back the power of Spain by land.

Next, to preserve an amity and league between that state and us, that so we might come in aid of the Low Countries, and by that means receive their ships and help them by sea.

This treble cord, so working between France, the States, and England, might enable us, as occasion should require, to give assistance unto others; and by this means, the experience of that time doth tell us, that we were not only free from those fears that now possess and trouble us, but then our names were fearful to our enemies. See now what correspondency our actions had with this ; square our conduct by these rules; it did induce, as a necessary consequence, a division in France between the protestants and their king, of which there is too woeful and lamentable experience. It hath made an absolute breach between that state and us, and so entertains us against France, and France in preparation against us, that we have nothing to promise to our neighbours, nay, hardly to ourselves. Nay, observe the time in which it was attempted, and you shall find it not only varying from those principles, but directly contrary and opposite ex diametro to those ends, and such, as from the issue and success, rather might be thought a conception of Spain, than begotten here with us.

Here there was an interruption made by sir Humphry

May, (chancellor of the duchy, and one of the privy council,) expressing a dislike ; but the house ordered Sir John Eliott to go on ; whereupon he proceeded thus :

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry for this interruption, but much more. sorry if there hath been occasion ; wherein, as I shall submit myself wholly to your judgment, to receive what censure you should give me if I have offended, so, in the integrity of my intentions, and clear. ness of my thoughts, I must still retain this confidence, that no greatness shall deter me from the duties which I owe to the service of my king and country, but that, with a true English heart, I shall discharge myself as faithfully and as really, to the extent of my poor power, as any man whose honours or whose offices most strictly oblige him.

You know the dangers Denmark is in, and how much they concerned us ; what in respect of our alliance and the country ; what in the importance of the Sound ; what an advantage to our enemies the gain thereof would be ! what loss, what prejudice to us, by this disunion; we breaking upon France ; France en. raged by us ; and the Netherlands at amazement between both! neither could we intend to aid that luckless king, whose loss is our disaster.

Can those now, that express their troubles at the hearing of these things, and have so often told us, in this place, of their knowledge in the conjuctures and disjunctures of affairs, say, they advised in this ? was this an act of council, Mr. Speaker ? I have more charity than to think it, and unless they make a confession of it themselves, I cannot believe it.

For the next the insufficiency and unfaithfulness of our generals, (that great disorder abroad) what shall I say

? I wish there were not cause to mention it; and but out of the apprehension of the danger that is to come, if the like choice hereafter be not prevented, I could willingly be silent ; but my duty to my sovereign

;

[ocr errors]

my service to this house, and the safety and honour of my country, are above all respects; and what so nearly trenches to the prejudice of this, must not, shall not be forborn.

At Cadiz then, in that first expedition we made, when we arrived and found a conquest ready, the Spanish ships, I mean, fit for the satisfaction of a voyage, and of which some of the chiefest, then there themselves, have since assured me that the satisfaction would have been sufficient, either in point of honour or in point of profit: why was it neglected ? Why was it not atchieved, it being of all hands granted, how feasible it was ?

After, when with the destruction of some of our men, and with the exposition of some others, who (though their fortune since has not been such) by chance came off, when, I say, with the loss of our serviceable men, that unserviceable fort was gained, and the whole army landed, why was there nothing done ? Why was there nothing attempted ? if nothing was intended, wherefore did thy land ? if there was a service, wherefore were they shipped again ? Mr. Speaker, it satisfies me too much in this, when I think of their dry and hungry march into that drunken quarter, (for so the soldiers termed it) where was the period of their journey ; so that divers of our men, being left as a sa. crifice to the enemy, that labour was at an end.

For the next undertaking, at Rhee, I will not trouble you much, only this in short : was not that whole action carried against the judgment and opinion of those officers that were of the council ? was not the first, was not the last, was not all, in the landing, in the intrenching, in the continuance there, in the assault, in the retreat, without their assent ? Did any advice take place of such as were of the council ? If there should be made a particular inquisition thereof, these things will be manifest, and more. I will not instance the manifesto that was made for the reason of these arms ; nor by whom, nor in what manner, nor on what grounds it was

published, nor what effects it hath wrought, drawing, as it were, almost the whole world into league against us ; nor will I mention the leaving of the wines, the leaving of the salt, which were in our possession, and of a . value, as it is said, to answer much of our expence; nor that great wonder which no Alexander or Cæsar ever did, the enriching of the enemy by courtesies, when our soldiers wanted help; nor the private intercourse and parlies with the fort, which continually were held. What they intended may be read in the success; and upon due examination thereof, they would not want their proofs.

For the last voyage to Rochelle, there needs no observations, it is so fresh in memory ; nor will I make an inference or corollary on all. Your own knowlege shall judge what truth, or what sufficiency they express. For the next, the ignorance and corruption of our ministers, where can you miss of instances ? If you survey the court, if you survey the country ; if the church, if

, the city be examined ; if you observe the bar, if the bench, if the ports, if the shipping, if the land, if the seas; all these will render you variety of proofs, and that, in such measure and proportion, as shews the greatness of our disease to be such, that if there be not some speedy application for remedy, our case is almost desperate.

Mr. Speaker, I fear I have been too long in these particulars that are past, and am unwilling to offend you, therefore in the rest I shall be shorter ; and in that which concerns the impoverishing of the king, no other arguments will I use, than such as all men grant.

The exchequer, you know, is empty, and the reputation thereof gone; the ancient lands are sold; the jewels pawned ; the plate engaged; the debts still great ; almost all charges, both ordinary and extraordinary, borne up by projects : what poverty can be greater ? what necessity so great? what perfect English heart is not almost dissolved into sorrow for this th?

For the oppression of the subject, which, as I remember, is the next particular I proposed, it needs no

I demonstration; the whole kingdom is a proof; and for the exhausting of our treasures, that very oppression speaks it. What waste of our provisions, what consumption of our ships, what destruction of our men have been, witness that journey to Argiers-witness that with Mansfield--witness that to Cadiz-witness the next-witness that to Rhee-witness the last (I pray God we may never have more such witnesses ;) witness likewise the Palatinate-witness Denmark-witness the Turks-witness the Dunkirkers—witness all. What losses we have sustained ! how we are impaired in munition, in ships, in men!

It is beyond contradiction, that we were never so much weakened, nor ever had less hope how to be restored.

These, Mr. Speaker, are our dangers; these are they which do threaten us; and these are like the Trojan horse brought in cunningly to surprise us.

In these do lurk the strongest of our enemies, ready to issue on us, and if we do not speedily expel them, these are the signs, these the invitations to others ;-these will so prepare their entrance, that we shall have no means left of refuge or defence ; for if we have these enemies at home, how can we strive with those that are abroad ? if we be free from these, no other can impeach us: our ancient English virtue, like the old Spartan valour, clcared from these disorders, our being in sincerity of religion and once made friends with heaven ; having maturity of councils, sufficiency of generals, incorruption of officers, opulency in the king, liberty in the peo. ple, repletion in treasure, plenty of provisions, reparation of ships, preservation of men-our ancient English virtue, I say, thus rectified, will secure us; and unless there be a speedy reformation in these, I know not what hopes or expectations we can have.

These are the things, sir, I shall desire to have taken

« PreviousContinue »