« PreviousContinue »
quired were such only as he had reduced by his
wars, and were left in his poffeffion by the peace; ' he had conquered not above one third part of
Flanders, and confequently no more than onę: third part of the inhabitants of that province.
About 100 years ago the houses in that country were all numbered, and by a just computa. " tion the inhabitants of all sorts could not then exceed
750,000 fouls. And if any man will con" lider the defolation by almost perpetual wars, the numerous armies that have lived almost ever since
at discretion upon the people, and how much of " their cominerce has removed for more security to
other places, he will have little reason to imagine 'That their numbers have fince increased ; and • therefore with one third part of that province " that prince can have gained no more than one * third part of the inhabitants, or 250,000 new • subjects, even though it should be supposed they • were all contented to live still in their native country, and transfer their allegiance to a new master.
• The fertility of this province, its convenient fitu·ation for trade and commerce, its capacity for
furnishing employment and subsistence to great ' numbers, and the vast armics that have been • maintained here, inake it credible that the re• inaining two thirds of Flanders are equal to all • his other conquests; and confequently by all he · cannot have gained more than 750,000 new fub
jects, men, women and children, especially if, " deduction fall be niade of such as have retired from the conqueror to live under their old maf
" It is time now to set his lofs against his profit, • and to thew, for the new subjects he had acquired, many
old ones he had lost in the acquisition : I think that in his wars he has seldom brought less into the field in all places than 200,000 fighting men, besides whiat have been left in garrisons;
• and I think the common computation is, that of ' an army, at the end of a campaign, without fieges
or battles, scarce four fifths can be muftered of • those that came into the field at the beginning ' of the year. His wars at feveral times until the • last peace have held about 20 years; and if 40,000
yearly loft, or a fifth part of his armies, are to • be multiplied by 20, he cannot have loft less than • 800,000 of his old subjects, and all able-bo
died men; a greater number than the new fub. jects he had acquired.
• But this loss is not all :- Providence feems to • have equally divided the whole mass of mankind
into different fexes, that every woman may hase ' her husband, and that both may equally contri"bute to the continuance of the species. It fol
lows then, that for all the men that have been • loft, as many women must have lived single, and • it were but charity to believe they have not done
all the service they were capable of doing in their • generation. In so long a courle of years great
part of them must have died, and all the rest must
go off at last without leaving any representatives • behind. By this account he muft have loft not
only 800,000 subjects, but double that number, " and all the increase that was reasonably to be expected from it.
It is said in the last war there was a famine in · his kingdom, which swept away two millions of • his people. This is hardly credible : If the lofs was only of one fifth
of that fum, it was rery great. But it is no wonder there should be · famine, where so much of the people's substance ' is taken away for the king's use, that they have
not fufficient "left to provide againft accidents ; "where so many of the men are taken from the
plough to ferve the king in his wars, aod a great
part of the tillage is left to the weaker hands of 'fo, many women and children. Whatever was
• the loss, it must undoubtedly be placed to the account of his ambition.
And so must also the destruction or banishinent of 3.or-400,000 of his reformed subjects ; · he could have no other reasons for valuing those
lives so very cheap, but only to recommend himself to the bigotry of the Spanish nation.
• How should there be industry in a country · where all property is precarious ? What subject • will fow his land that his prince may reap the
whole harvest? Parfimony and frugality must be strangers to such a people ; for will any man fave to-day what he has reason to fear will be taken from him to-morrow? And where is the encouragement for marrying ? Will any man think of raising children, without any assurance of clothing for their backs, or fo much as food for their bellies ? And thus by his fatal ambition he must have leffened the number of his subjects not only by slaughter and destruction, but by preventing their very births, he has done as much as was poflible towards destroying pofterity itself.
• Is this then the great, the invincible Lewis? • This the immortal man, the tout-puissant, or the
almighty, as his flatterers have called him ? Is this the man that is so celebrated for his con
quests? For every subject he has acquired, has • he not lost three that were his inheritance ?
Are not his troops fewer, and those neither fo · well fed, or clothed, or paid, as they were for
merly, though he has now so much greater cause to exert himself ? And what can be the reason
of all this, but that his revenue is a great deal less, - his subjects are either poorer, or not so many, to ( be plundered by constant taxes for his use?
" It is well for him he had found out a way to fteal a kingdom; if he had gone on conquering as he did before, his ruin had been long fince finithed. This brings to my mind a faying of King
Pyrrhus, after he had a second time beat the Romans in a pitched battle, and was complimented
by his generals : Yes, say he, such another victory • and I am quite undone. And since I have men• tioned Pyrrhus, I will end with a very good, tho' • known story of this ambitious madman. When •'he had shewn the utmost fondness of his expedi• tion against the Romans, Cyneas his chief mini• fter asked him, what he proposed to himself by
this war? Why, says Pyrrhus, to conquer the
Romans, and reduce all Italy to my obedience. • What then ? says Cyneas. To pass over into Si'cily, says Pyrrhus, and then all the Sicilians must • be our subjects. And what does your Majesty ' intend pext? Why truly, says the King, to con
quer Carthage, and make myself master of all Africa. And what, Sir, says the minister is to • be the end of all your expeditions ? Why then, says • the King, for the rest of our lives we will fit • down to good wine. Họw, Sit, replied Cyneas,
to better than we have now before us? Have. we not already as much as we can drink?
· Riot and excess are not the becoming charac• ters of princes; but if Pyrrhus and Lewis had ..debauched like Vitellius, they had been lefs hurt.. · ful to their people.
* Your humble servant, T
NO 181. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27.
His lacrymis vitam damus, et miserefcimus ultro.
VIRG. Æn. ii. v. 145, Mov'd by these tears, we pity and protect. I AM more pleased with a letter that is filled with
touches of nature than of wit. The following one is of this kind.
A Mong all the distreffes which happen in fa.
milies, I do not remember that you have I touched upon the marriage of children without • the consent of their parents. I am one of these
unfortunate persons. I was about fifteen when ? I took the liberty to chuse for myself; and have
ever since languished under the displeasure of an inexorable father, who, though he fees me hap
py in the best of husbands, and blessed with very • fine children, can never be prevailed upon to for
give me. He was so kind to me before this un. happy accident, that indeed it makes my breach of duty, in fome measure, inexcufable, and at the same time creates in me such a tenderness to
wards him, that I love him above all things, and • would die to be reconciled to him. I have thrown
myself at his feet, and befought him with tears to pardon me; but he always pushes me away, and spurns me from him; I have written several let
ters to him, but he will neither open nor receive • them. About two years ago I sent my little boy
to him, dressed in a new apparel; but the child ' returned to me crying, because he faid his grand• father would not see him, and had ordered him
put out of his house. My mother is won
to my side, but dares not mention me to my father for fear of provoking him. About a ' month ago he lay fick upon his bed, and in great
danger of his life : I was pierced to the heart at • the news, and could not forbear going to enquire . after his health. My mother took this opportu
nity of fpeaking in my behalf: She told him with • abundance of tears, that I was come to see him, " that I could not speak to her for weeping, and • that I should certainly break my heart if he re( fused at that time to give me his bleffing, and be " reconciled to me. He was so far from relenting ' towards me, that he bid her speak no nyre of