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and security of all that we poffess; and all that we hold dear in the world? Our persons, our wives, our children, our liberty, and all our property, if it were not for the interference of government, would soon become a prey to the lawless and disobedient; and probably fome of those men, who are now moit diligent in telling us, that we are oppressed by government, a thing that we fhould never have suspectde, if they had not told us, would then become our plunderers, and oppreflors indeed. The time is not yet distant, when in many parts of our country, we were obliged to pay contributions to public robbers, who lived by spoil and rapine, for the safety of what they were pleased to leave us. And shall we think it an hirdfhip, to pay, at least, an equal proportion, fot the support of that government, under whose wings we dwell fafely, every one in quiet poffefsion of his paternal inheritance, or of the fruits of his own industry; or to express it in the language of the prophet, we dwell, eviry man under his vine, and under his fig tree, and none to make us afraid?
On the PRESENT War, and the STAGNATION
of CREDIT, as connected with it.
EVERY man who has either the reason or the feel
ings of humanity, will be convinced, without ments, that war is a bad thing: and ought to be avoided, as long as it can be avoided, without incurring a greater evil. Every Christian, in Britain, or in Europe, will earnestly desire a speedy termination of the present war, and pray for it. He will even look forward, with ardent longing, and with a lively hope, to that bleffed period, when nation will no more lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But it must be allowed, both by Christians and others, that there are some cases, when war is both lawful and necessary. And after all the outcry that is made against the prefent war, and all the fcurrilous abuse that has been poured out upon Government, for engaging in it, and for continuing it, I am persuaded, that if ever Britain, fince she became one nation, was engaged in any war, that could be justified, upon the principles of justice, of policy, of religion, or even of necessity, the prefent is that war.
This war was necessary, to maintain inviolate the public faith, and fulfil those treaties, by which the nation has been bound, for almost two centuries back. It has long been known to ail Europe, that by the treaty of 1609 whereby the Dutch were set free from the yoke of Spanish despotism, and acknowledged an independent state, the navigation of the Scheld and the Meuse, was given up to them. And this treaty was guaranteed, both by France and England. It is as well known, though it has not been known so long, that the French convention, on the 21st of Nov. 1792, sent an order to their general, enjoining him, to take every meafure, for opening a free navigation of the Scheldt and the Meuse; and that this order was executed, to the utmost of their power. If France, because the changed her government, thought herself free from those engagements, by which the nation had so long been bound, surely that was no sufficient reason, why Britain should violate her faith in the same manner.
If the treaties of nations are nor binding, individuals may likewise violate their obligations, afsoon as they have it in their
power: and then the foundations of all social intercourse are diffolved. Dur patriots acknowledge, that by this mea-. fure, the trade of Amsterdam would have been ruined; “ but,” say they, “the merchants of Amsterdam would “ have removed to Antwerp, and their trade would “ have followed them.” This is just as if the convention should also take poffeffion of the navigation of the Thames, and then tell us, “ We do you no injury: to “ be sure we ruin the trade of London; but what of « that? Your merchants have only to come over to Pa“ ris, and there they may find that trade, which they " can no longer carry on in their own country.”
“ But that antiquated treaty was inconsistent with
" the rights of man, and therefore, is not to be regard
Are not all rivers free? Has not every nation, " and every person an equal right to the element of wa“ 'ter, to use and occupy it as he pleases?” Perhaps it may appear co by the new philosophy; but mankind, hitherto, has never thought so: nor has the practice of nations been ever conformable to that doctrine. Rivers, while they continue within the territories of any state, have ever been considered as belonging to that state, and subject to that authority by which it is goverr:d, as much as the land on either side of them. Yea, ask any prid vate gentleman, through whose estate a river flows, and he will tell you, that he considers the filling on that river, as his property, in the same manner as the adjacent fields, unless barred by a previous contract. How would Britain take it, if the convention fhould tell her, that they have the same right as she has, to the navigation of the Forth or the Thames? Will the French allow 'to Holland an equal right with themselves, to navigate the Seine and the Loire? Are not narrow feas; as well as rivers, considered as subject to those dates, whose dominions ly on both fides of them? Does not the king of Denmark levy a toll on all thips that pass the Sound? Have ever any of the nations of Europe demanded it as their right, that th: Turks should open the navigation of the Straits of the Dardanelles ? And was it not after a long and bloody struggle, that Ruslia obtained a fare in the navigation of the Black Sea ? Why then should not the people of Holland have the same right to the navigation of their own rivers? And if Britain has engaged to defend that right, how could she see it invaded, and sit ftill?
« But,” say they “ the Dutch were not asking our " protection in that cause: and surely it was soon e
" nough, to enter into a war on their account, when
they applied to us for that purpose.” And, pray, who told you that they did not apply? Are all the secret negociations of the courts and cabinets of Europe to be found in the Edinburgh Gazetteer ? Supposing that they did not apply to us, that was no sufficient reason why we should not have given them alhistance. Should I, in pasling through the streets, come up to a puny repub.. lican, of four feet high, engaged with some brawny aristocrate, who held him by the throat with the one hand, and was ready to knock out his brains with the other; would it be my duty to pass on, without attempting to rescue him, on pretence that he did not call to me for assistance ? Should I do so, he would probably never call out more. This was precisely the case, between France and Holland. The Dutch, taken by surprize, and in a state of confusion among themselves, knew that they were no match for France. They protested against the invasion of their rights : but they durst do io more,, till they had a prospect of some effectual affistance. And if Britain had not stept in to her relief, it is probable, that Holland had been an 86th department of Frari. e, before she could have made a formal demand of the flipulated affiftance,
The war was proper, and necessary to preserve the balance of power in Europe. Was it ever considered as unwarrantable, for King William or Queen Anne, to make war upon France, with a view to restrain the ambition of Lewis XIV. and put a stop to the conquests he projected ? And was it not as dangerous to Europe, for a French convention to acquire universal dominion, as if it had been a French monarch? They said, indeed, they meant not conquest, but fraternity. But was not their fraternization a real conquest, whatever name