Page images
PDF
EPUB

eminent services, that ever were performed by a subject to his country; not to be equalled in history: and then, to be sure, some bitter stroke of detraction against Alexander and Cæsar, who never did us the least injury. Besides, the people, who read Plutarch, come upon us with parallels drawn from the Greeks and Romans, who ungratefully dealt with I know not how many of their most deserving generals : while the profounder politicians have seen pamphlets, where Tacitus ard Machiavel have been quoted to shew the danger of too resplendent a merit. If a stranger should hear these furious out-cries of ingratitude against our general, without knowing the particulars, he would be

apt to enquire, where was his tomb, or whether he were allowed christian burial ? not doubting but we had put him to some ignominious death. Or, hath he been tried for his life, and very narrowly efcaped; hath he been accused of high crimes and misdemeanors; hath the prince seized on his estate, and left him to starve; hath he been hooted at, as he passed the streets, by an ungrateful rabble; have

neither

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

D 2

neither honours, offices, nor grants been conferred on him or his family; have not he and they been barbarously stript of them all; have not he and his forces been ill paid abroad; and doth not the prince, by a scanty limited commission, hinder him from pursuing his own methods in the conduct of the war; hath he no power at all of disposing of commissions as he pleaseth; is he not severely used by the ministry or parliament, who yearly call him to a strict account; hath the senate ever thanked him for good success, and have they not always publickly censured him for the least miscarriage ? Will the accusers of the nation join issue upon any of these particulars: or, tell us in what point our damnable fin of ingratitude lies?—Why, it is plain and clear ; for while he is commanding abroad, the queen diffolves her parliament, and changes her ministry at home; in which universal calamity no less than two persons allied by marriage to the general have lost their places. Whence came this wonderful sympathy between the civil and military powers? Will the troops in Flanders

refuse

[ocr errors]

refuse to fight, unless the can have their own lord keeper, their own lord president of the council, their own chief governor of Ireland, and their own parliament? In a kingdom, where the people are free, how came they to be so fond of having their counsels under the influence of their army, or those that lead it? who, in all wellinstituted states, had no commerce with the civil power, farther than to receive their orders, and obey them without reserve.

When a general is not so popular, either in his army or at home, as one might expect from a long course of success; it may perhaps be ascribed to his wisdom, or perhaps to his complexion. The possession of some one quality, or a defect in some other, will extremely damp the people's favour, as well as the love of the soldiers. Besides, this is not an age to produce favourites of the people, while we live under a queen, who engrofseth all our love and all our veneration; and where the only way for a great general or minister to acquire any degree of subordinate affection from the publick must be by all marks

of the most entire submision and respeƐt to her sacred person and commands; otherwise no pretence of great services, either in the field or the cabinet, will be able to skreen them from universal hatred.

But the late ministry was closely joined to the general by friendship, interest, alliance, inclination, and opinion; which cannot be affirmed of the present: and the ingratitude of the nation lieth in the people's joining as one man to wish, that such a ministry should be changed. Is it not at the same time notorious to the whole kingdom, that nothing but a tender regard to the general was able to preserve that ministry fo long, until neither God nor man could suffer their continuance? Yet in the highest ferment of things we heard few or no reflections upon this great commander; but all seemed unanimous in wishing, he might still be at the head of the confederate forces; only at the same time, in case he were resolved to resign, they chose rather to turn their thoughts somewhere else than throw up all in despair. And this I cannot but add, in defence of the people with regard to

the

the person we are speaking of; that in the high station he hath been for many years past, his real defects (as nothing human is without them) have in a detracting age been very sparingly mentioned either in libels or conversation, and all his successes very freely and universally applauded.

There is an active and a passive ingratitude: applying both to this occasion, we may say, the first is, when a prince or people returns good services with cruelty or ill usage; the other is, when good services are not at all

, or very meanly rewarded. We have already spoken of the former; let us therefore in the second place examine, how the services of our general have been rewarded; and whether upon that article either prince or people have been guilty of ingratitude ?

Those are the most valuable rewards, which are given to us from the certain knowledge of the donor, that they fit our temper beft: I shall therefore say nothing of the title of duke, or the garter, which the

upon

the general in the beginning of her reign; but I shall come to more substantial instances, and

mention

queen bestowed

D 4

« PreviousContinue »