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In Tib er i Jiabit. Casus Mediciisve levdrit
"IT/" E are at last come to the several Resolutions, which I send you inclosed, about settling the Succession to the Crown; a Point of the utmost Importance to these Kingdoms, and of no small Moment even to the most considerable Powers in Europe. France, Spain, the Empire and Holland are most particularly attentive to this critical Step; for I believe it is by -this Time well understood that the two late Kings were duped into the Measures of France, and had no Concern to preserve the Balance of Power in Europe. The Duchess of Savoy is as importunate to have her Birth-right considered at this Juncture, as the Duke's Minister was sulsome in his Compliment upon the Revolution; yet surely they must have then foreseen their Pretensions would be prejudiced by that grand Event. We have thrown the Popish Pedigrees out of the Question: You see we do not meddle with the Prince's Birth; if it could be proved supposititious, that would not remove our Dissiculties: We insist on the Security of our Religion as well as our Laws; we have seen how weak the Bonds of Duty, of Promises, and of Oaths, are upon a Popish Prince, and therefore we cannot scruple to exclude a Multitude of the Descendants of King Charles the First, in FaVour of his Sister's Children. dren. It is, indeed, a Wonder that this Work was not begun and perfected many Years ago, for the Occasion was little less than at present, except the Chance of the Duke of Gloucester's Life.
I sear you will observe some Cobweb-Nets, or Ropes of Sand in our Restrictions upon the Successors: We fay he shall not go out of the Kingdom without Consent of Parliament. If he mould not meet with Parliaments kind enough to consent Gratis, and his Inclinations be very strong for a Tour abroad, he may learn to buy Leave perhaps, once for all, by getting the Clause repealed: And (which is worse!) Corruption of all kinds are in their Effects very like Fornication; it frequently happens, that Women fin the sirst Time without a Design to make a Practice of it; their Desires draw them in only (as they imagine) to gratify themselves pro ilia vice; but the like Appetite recurs on fresh Occasions; frequent Acts grow into a Habit; and the fame Person who felt a quick Compunction for the first Fault, now thinks it a Fault no longer, and is insensible of Remorse and Shame. And, indeed, I think that Restriction a very idle one. Is it to be feared, that the Elector of Hanover (to put the Case stronger than that of the Dowager Duchess) could attempt to make his Electorate the Seat of the Britijh Empire; could he think himself safe in the Possession of the Crown, if he were to fall upon so ridiculous a Project? A Prince of Common Sense has no Occasion for this Restriction; and if we had a Fool so absurd, it were no Matter what became of him. A brave, a wise, a good King may have Occasions to go abroad, highly beneficial" in their Consequences to this Kingdom; and I think we may believe, without taking any Security for it, that England wiM . - continue continue the Seat of Empire till it falls under the Sway of a Sovereign who has another Dominion at least equal to it. .
But that Article which seems of most Importance in Favour of England (and which would be truly valuable, if it were possible duly to sulfil and observe it) will be found either unjust or impossible in the Execution. It is that which provides—* We shall not involve ohrselves in the Quarrels or Defence of the Dominions on the Continent, which may belong to the Successor. With all due Loyalty to his Majesty, and Deference to the Princess Anne and her Hopes of Issue; let us suppose an Elector of Hanover on the Throne of Great-Britain, and that he may have Occasion to quarrel for the Rights of these Kingdoms with any of his great Neighbours on the Continent; as, suppose the Swede, the Dane, the Pole, the Prussian, the Saxon, or the Austrian; Will they take a Bull by the Horns? Will they attack him where he is strongest, and chuse to fit out Fleets to dispute it with England on the Seas, where they are certain to be worsted? Will they not rather with Fifty Thousand Men come against his Ten Thousand, and overwhelm Brunswick as a Reprizal on the King of Great-Britain? If this should at any Time be the Case, would it be generous, would it be just and honest to suffer it? Would not our Coolness on such an Occasion, tempt or provoke even a righteous Prince to make Treaties, not quite so much to our Advantage as they ought to he, for Fear of causing his innocent Dominion on the Continent to bear our Iniquities, to be the Scape-Goat of his Island-Empire?
I believe nobody can doubt, that the fine Webs of Politicks may be so intricately woven, and the
Affairs Affairs of Europe so much embarassed, that private Gentlemen will prove but very indifferent Judges to determine this Question, viz. Whether it be only Knight-Errantry, or necessary Justice in this Kingdom at such or such a Time to be at the Expence of protecting the Electorate? or to know what is the true Foundation of the present Quarrel?
We should remember that notwithstanding all our Precautions on this Head, the Power of makeing War and Peace will still reside in the Crown. It is true the Right of giving Money is in the Commons, and they may resuse to provide for the Wantonness of Ambition. I shall not presume to call the Separation of these Powers, of raising Armies and of raising Money, a Solecism in our Constitution; nor say where I would have them reside, if to be reposed in one Constituent-part of the Legislature; but thus much I may observe (because Charles II. tho' an indolent Prince, gave us a flagrant Proof of it in the Dutch Fleet at Chatham) that if our King makes War without Money; not he, but we are to be the Sufferers, and shall
then find this Truth, delirant Reges plecluntur
Achivi. I must make one surther Observation of an Hardship the Electorate might endure for the Sake of Great-Britain. Contrary to the Decisions of all the Schoolmen and Casuists, it is settled as a Principle in the Law of Nations by the Practice of modern Politicians and their Masters; that, if your Neighbour is too powersul, it is a just Cause of making War upon him. Now perhaps there is hardly at this Day a little Prince in 'all Germany, who would not exert himself in Defence of the Electorate as it stands alone: But for the Reason given, the Question would be widely
different different if the same Territory were only a small Part of the Dominions of an Englijh King; they would then perhaps consider the Balance of Power in a new Light; and the more jealous our Neighbours were grown of the Conjunction, the more should we be concerned in Honour and common Sense to defend so near an Ally, and to supply the Want of all other Confederates.
I would not be understood on the whole to far, that England would be the happier for such an Access of Dominion on the Continent under the fame Prince. I think quite otherwise; and heartily wish that we would, in Time, attempt the only Means to obviate all Dissiculties. We might try to get it established by a Law in the Empire, and certainly make it Part of the Act of Succession here, that this Crown devolving on the Duke of Brunswick, his Duchy and Electorate should, ca injiante, divest out of him in Favour of some Protestant of his Family. I am not at all apprehensive of his rejecting the Crown on these Terms; but if they be not previously made a Condition of the Succession, it will be idle and unreasonable to expect a Compliment of that Importance afterwards. Now is our Time while we have in our own Hands a Value abundantly more than equivalent to give for it. It will be too late to make Bargains aster we have made a Present of that Equivalent.
But perhaps the Mistakes of this Age may be cured by Design or Chance in some suture Generation. A Prince may leave only Female Issue to inherit the Throne, and then the German Dominion would go to collateral Males, or it may be conquered: And in the then subsequent Generation this Kingdom will regret the Loss of it, as little