« VorigeDoorgaan »
I shall not here presume to mention the illustrious passages of your life, which are celebrated by the whole age, and have been the subject of the most sublime pens; but if I could convey you to posterity in your private character, and describe the stature, the behaviour, and aspect, of the duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the reader with more agreeable images, and give him a more delightful entertainment than what can be found in the following or any other book.
One cannot indeed without offence to yourself
called to the privy-council; and appointed, June 19, 1698, governor to the duke of Gloucester, with this extraordinary compliment from the king: My lord, make him but what you are, and my nephew will be all I wish to see him.' He was three times one of the lords justices in the king's absence; and, in 1701, commander in chief of the English forces in Holland, and ambassador extraordinary to the States General. King William having warmly recommended him to the princess Anne, he was, about a week after her majesty's accession, elected knight of the garter; and, soon after, appointed captain-general of all the forces, and ambassador to the States. In 1702, he commanded the army in Flanders; and at his return was created, Dec. 22, marquis of Blandford and duke of Marlborough. In 1704, in consequence of the memorable victory at Hocksted, he was appointed a prince of the Empire; and had Mindelheim assigned for his principality Nov. 12, 1705. On the 19th of January 1710–11, finding the queen's prepossession against his duchess could not be overcome, he carried a surrender of all her places to her majesty; and was himself dismissed Dec. 30, 1711. Upon the earl of Goldolphin's death, resolving to quit this kingdom, he embarked at Dover Nov. 14, 1712; and the duchess followed him in February. On the accession of king George I. he returned to London Aug. 4, 1714; and was again, Sept. 24, appointed captain-general of the land forces, master-general of the ordnance, and colonel of the first regiment of foot guards. He died at Windsor-lodge June 16, 1722, in the 720 year of his age, and was buried with great solemnity in Westminsterabbey.-See another letter from our author to the duke of Marlborough in Steele's Epistolary Correspondence, 1787, vol. ii. p. 322.
observe, that you excel the rest of mankind in the least, as well as the greatest endowments. Nor were it a circumstance to be mentioned, if the graces and attractions of your person were not the only pre-eminence you have above others, which is left almost unobserved by greater writers.
Yet how pleasing would it be to those who shall read the surprising revolutions in your story, to be made acquainted with your ordinary life and deportment! How pleasing would it be to hear that the same man, who carried fire and sword into the countries of all that had opposed the cause of liberty, and struck a terror into the armies of France, had, in the midst of his high station, a behaviour as gentle as is usual in the first steps towards greatness! And if it were possible to express that easy grandeur, which did at once persuade and command; it would appear as clearly to those to come, as it does to his contemporaries, that all the great events which were brought to pass under the conduct of so well-governed a spirit, were the blessings of Heaven upon wisdom and valour; and all which seem adverse fell out by divine permission, which we are not to search into.
You have passed that year of life wherein the most able and fortunate captain, before your time, declared he had lived enough both to nature and to glory; and your grace may make that reflection with much more justice. He spoke it after he had arrived at empire by an usurpation upon those
whom he had enslaved; but the prince of Mindelheim may rejoice in a sovereignty which was the gift of him whose dominions he had preserved.
Glory, established upon the uninterrupted success of honourable designs and actions, is not subject to diminution ; nor can any attempts prevail against it, but in the proportion which the narrow circuit of rumour bears to the unlimited extent of fame.
We may congratulate your grace not only upon your high achievements, but likewise upon the happy expiration of your command, by which your glory is put out of the power of fortune: and when your person shall be so too, that. the Author and Disposer of all things may place you in that higher mansion of bliss and immortality which is prepared for good princes, law-givers, and heroes, when he in his due time removes them from the envy of mankind, is the hearty prayer of,
No. 200. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1711.
Vincit amor patriæ--
VIRG. Æn. Vi 828.
The ambition of princes is many times as hurtful to themselves as their people. This cannot be doubted of such as prove unfortunate in their wars, but it is often true too of those who are celebrated for their successes. If a severe view were to be taken of their conduct, if the profit and loss by their wars could be justly balanced, it would be rarely found that the conquest is sufficient to repay the cost.
As I was the other day looking over the letters of my correspondents, I took this hint from that of Philarithmus ;' which has turned my present thoughts upon political arithmetic, an art of greater use than entertainment. My friend has offered an Essay towards proving that Lewis XIV. with all his acquisitions is not master of more people than at the beginning of his wars; nay, that for every subject he had acquired, he had lost three that were his inhe
" See No. 180.—The letter there signed Philarithmus was written by the author of this speculation. The writer speaks of it in this manner, probably to conceal himself. Mr. Henry Martyn was famous for his skill in political arithmetic. See Guard. No. 55, and Spect. No. 555, note on Mr. Martyn.
ritance. If Philarithmus is not mistaken in his calculations, Lewis must have been impoverished by his ambition.
The prince for the public good has a sovereign property in every private person's estate; and consequently his riches must increase or decrease in proportion to the number and riches of his subjects. For example; if sword or pestilence should destroy all the people of this metropolis (God forbid there should be room for such a supposition! but if this should be the case), the queen must needs lose a great part of her revenue, or at least, what is charged upon the city must increase the burden upon the rest of her subjects. Perhaps the inhabitants here are not above a tenth part of the whole; yet as they are better fed, and clothed, and lodged, than her other subjects, the customs and exercises upon their consumption, the imposts upon their houses, and other taxes, do very probably make a fifth part of the whole revenue of the crown. But this is not all; the consumption of the city takes off a great part of the fruits of the whole island; and as it pays such a proportion of the rent or yearly value of the lands in the country, so it is the cause of paying such a proportion of taxes upon those lands. The loss then of such a people must needs be sensible to the prince, and visible to the whole kingdom.
On the other hand, if it should please God to drop from heaven a new people equal in number and riches to the city, I should be ready to think their excises, customs, and house-rent would raise as great a revenue to the crown as would be lost in the former case. And as the consumption of this new body would be a new market for the fruits of the