Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 3, January - March 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Monday, February 21,1658–9.
This day the Lord Fairfax preferred a petition in behalf of the Duke of Buckingham, for his enlargement. (fn. 1)
Mr. Onslow. I move that he be at liberty, not upon the terms that Lord Fairfax moved, but upon the principles of common justice, and that he be released upon his security. He that has been trusted with three nations, we may well trust him with a single person. He offers his security.
Colonel Clark and Colonel Mildmay. Refer it to a Committee, before you remit him. It may be dangerous to give such a precedent.
Mr. Scot. I move for his release, upon Lord Fairfax's security.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. One person cannot do you so much harm by his liberty. It is no ill precedent of liberty. While we have an eye of punishment upon delinquents, let us not wound ourselves, by leaving arbitrary precedents.
I have not so much as a correspondence with this person, or any of that name. Let it not be thought, whatever is in our hearts, that we shall have ingratitude to that person that offered the petition. The care that Lord Fairfax will have of him, in his family, will be beyond all security you can care for. You may well trust him.
Sir John Northcote. Say, in your vote, that it is upon Lord Fairfax's security; to save your time of another debate.
Sir Henry Vane. By what I understand by your debate, it is no more than what is agreeable to your justice. Your discharge is but conditional. You cannot be too jealous. Consider the ground you are going upon, to leave the difference between family and family. (fn. 2) Others, at liberty, are as dan gerous as he; the Marquis of Worcester (fn. 3) and others. But to discharge him, upon this way you take, is but agreeable to your justice. You cannot imprison him but you must imprison his lady.
Mr. Reynolds. If you leave it without agreeing the security, you may spend another day. Therefore, agree of two indifferent persons of 20,000l. security, leaving out this lord. Let him also be engaged himself upon his honour. You cannot be too wary at this time.
Mr. Trevor. No security can be so great as that noble lord's security. I pray that he may give security, as he himself has offered it.
Captain Hatsell. I move that he be discharged, and to leave out the words, "notwithstanding his delinquency."
Mr. Chaloner. I hear that the King of Scots (fn. 4) has no power of this person, nor has not had these four or five years. I would have you release him upon security, and his own honour.
Mr. Solicitor-general. I think when that noble Lord says he will engage himself, it is more than 20,000l. I am ready to take that noble lord's engagement, that he shall be answerable to justice, rather than any thing else that is offered.
Mr. Attorney-general agreed with the last motion.
Mr. Disbrowe. I move that the question be put, if the question shall be put.
Colonel Whitehead. If I saw all persons in his condition in prison, I should take more notice of it; but when I see Papists in arms, as Colonel Touchett here, at your bar, (fn. 5) and divers other persons in Westminster Hall walking at liberty, (fn. 6) I think what is now offered to you is not against your justice, nor unreasonable.
Mr. Attorney-general. I move to have added, "the enemies of the Protector of this Commonwealth."
Lord Fairfax. When I engage my estate, I know what I do; but when I engage his honour, I engage what is not in my power.
Mr. Serjeant Seys. You ought first, to enquire into the causes of bis imprisonment. It may be, you will not require so great a security of him.
Colonel Fothergil. I second that motion, and to have a Committee appointed to attend the Council, to know the cause of his imprisonment. It may be less then delinquency.
Resolved, that George Duke of Buckingham, now a prisoner at Windsor Castle, upon his engagement upon his honour at the bar of this House, and upon the engagement of the Lord Fairfax in 20,000l. that the said Duke shall peaceably demean himself for the future, and shall not join with or abet, or have any correspondence with any of the enemies of the Lord Protector, and of this Commonwealth, in any the parts beyond the seas, or within this Commonwealth; shall be discharged of his imprisonment and restraint; (fn. 7) and that the Governor of Windsor Castle be required to bring the Duke of Buckingham to the bar of this House, on Wednesday next, to engage his honour accordingly.
Ordered, that the security of 20,000l. to be given by the Lord Fairfax, on the behalf of the Duke of Buckingham, be taken in the name of his Highness the Lord Protector. (fn. 8)
The order of the day was read, and it was that an account be given touching the war between Denmark and Sweden.
Mr. Secretary. I am here, by order of his Highness, ready to give you that account; and to ripen it, we must look a little back, to the beginning of those troubles, to see where we now are.
It is not amiss, to speak a tittle in general. 1. Of the parts, princes, and states engaged in that war; and 2. Where the seat of that war is.
You know, the war in those parts first began between Sweden and Poland, (fn. 9) afterwards between Sweden and Denmark; (fn. 10) those are the principal parties, but others have since fallen in, by way of aid. Poland is aided by the German Empire, Denmark by Brandenburgh; (fn. 11) and the States General at sea. Sweden is alone. All these against him, and he against all these.
The seat of the war between Poland and Sweden is Prussia, where are Marienburg, Dantzic, and many other great cities, where the English have had trade. The seat of the other war is Denmark, Zealand, and the territories of the Danish king. There are two sects in Denmark, (fn. 12) Holstein and Jutland, and considerable sects on the Baltic Sea, by which it will appear that the interest of this nation seems very much concerned in the success of this war. I shall go by steps in it:—
1. Whilst the war was only between Sweden and Poland, there were great hopes that the Swede might have carried on his arms against the Emperor, and the Protestant cause have been thereby much advanced. The success of the Swede in Poland at first gave hopes of this. (fn. 13)
2. The Emperor, then King of Hungary, (fn. 14) sent an army against the Swede in aid of the Pole, which gave Sweden a good ground of war.
3. There was thus a great engagement upon the Protestant party to have assisted this war, and there were great hopes that they would have joined against the Emperor.
4. The Duke of Holstein and the Prince of Transylvania, Protestants and Calvinists, (fn. 15) joined with the Swede. He had our good wishes in it. We assisted to our power, and the Protector's interest was engaged.
It is true a treaty with the States General did not succeed. They apprehended jealousies of that work, and of the growing greatness of the King of Sweden, and sent forty sail of ships against the Swede to strengthen Dantzic. The general of that fleet was to make a treaty of peace between the Swede and Denmark, in which their interest of trade might be secured; but that peace was never ratified. (fn. 16) Afterwards, a renewing the league was projected on all hands; but, in fine, it was concluded only between the Dane and Holland, in order to a former league made in 49.
This league changed the state of affairs, and brought the war upon a new footing. Here was a total embroiling of the Protestant party. The wars by this means were drawn out of the bowels of the Romish party into the bowels of the Protestant, between the Dutch and Sweden. Thus the seat of war was diverted. The Dutch were engaged against the Swede, and the Elector of Brandenburgh drawn in to that side.
His Highness, the late Protector, according to that manner by which he guided all his foreign affairs, kept himself indifferent and equal between his Protestant friends, as an arbitrator. He sent messengers to offer his mediation, in making peace between them. He sent, also, to the United Provinces to dispose them to fall in with our neighbours upon the like occasion, but it did not succeed.
It being more happy for a successful prince to turn his arms into the right channel, than to employ them against friends, to their own destruction, the two kings accepted the mediation. After six months there was a peace concluded, in February 57; so that war was then seemingly ended: the Swede having the advantage. But that war, whilst it lasted, discomposed affairs so much, as they could never be composed again.
The peace thus made did not last. There fell out other difficulties, and another division. The Prince of Transylvania was forced to quit his interest with the Swede, and is since made useless.
The Elector of Brandenburgh was disposed first to a neutrality, and is since engaged farther with the Emperor. His Highness sent to him, to advise in this affair, and for a time suspended his resolution; and he sent ambassadors to the Swede, to prosecute a league, but they returned re infecitâ. Then they made a league, offensive and defensive, with the Emperor.
Besides all this new differences did arise between the Dane and the Swede, about the peace made in February 57; and in August last, a new war broke out between these two kings. I do not yet know the justice nor the grounds of it, but all their neighbours found themselves concerned in this difference, and, as their interest served, did mingle themselves with the interest oh one side or other.
The Emperor, Brandenburgh, and the Pole, joined their forces, and marched to the assistance of the Dane into Holstein and Jutland; all commanded by Brandenburgh as general.
The Emperor had 8000 foot, and 4000 horse. Brandenburgh — (fn. 17) foot, and 6000 horse.
They marched to the coast of the Baltic Sea, to be transported for Zealand, to raise the siege before Copenhagen, retake Cronenburgh Castle, which commanded Copenhagen, and recover what was lost there.
The States-general, they thought themselves bound, and according to their treaty, sent aid to the King of Denmark.
There were thirty or forty men of war, with all manner of provision, besides 4000 foot, with directions to relieve Copenhagen, to favour the transporting of Brandenburgh, and to fight the Swede's fleet, which was all done accordingly. The Dutch fleet also engaged in the Sound. (fn. 18) I shall not mention what happened between the. fleets.
This was the state of things in October last. His Highness, that now is, took these considerations:—
1. The continuance of a war in these parts would infinitely hinder our trade, and be of very great prejudice to this nation; many of our manufactures being transported and vended thither, and many of our materials for shipping and navigation being carried from thence, hither.
2. Considering what the issue of this war might be, that the Sound was likely to be put into the hands of those that would exclude the English, or put us in such a condition, as we should be as bad as excluded; the consequence of which would be the ruin of our shipping; hemp, pitch, tar, cordage and mast, coming all from thence, and an obstruction there, would endanger our safety.
We had experience of this in our war with the Dutch, (fn. 19) when the Dane did prohibit our access thither, which put us to great distress, having none of those commodities, but what came from our enemies at double rates.
3. His Highness considered that the Emperor was likely to arrive at the design of the House of Austria, to command the Baltic, and the eastern seas, as the Spaniard already hath the command of the western seas. Thus, they would command all the trade of the world. Of this the Dutch were so sensible before, as they engaged the Swede to come to hinder the progress of the Emperor, who is now fairer in hopes of it than ever he was in the world, they having greater possession there than formerly, as two or three principal places in Holstein, by the delivery of Denmark, are already garrisoned by the Emperor's forces.
And I think the King of Denmark is in more danger from those that are allied with him, than from his open enemies.
4. He considered that when the Emperor had done his business there, he and his confederates would next pour themselves into Flanders, and from thence hither into this Commonwealth, where they intend to bring in another government, when they are ready for it. Such counsels, we know, are on foot, de facto, already.
5. The great danger of overthrowing the Protestant interest, in general, which we have so much reason to preserve and promote.
His Highness, considering these mischiefs, thought himself concerned to obviate them as far as he could. We are yet in friendship with all these princes, and have no enmity with the Emperor; nor would his Highness have it otherwise. He therefore thought fit to interpose upon the account of amity.
You should make it your first step to endeavour to reconcile those two fighting kings, thinking it to be our interest rather to preserve both, than to suffer either to be destroyed; and that France and you would join to take off the Dutch and Braudenburgh, and if possible to reconcile the Pole and Sweden.
To promote the success of this mediation, and bring all parties to a reconciliation, not excluding the House of Austria, too, his Highness thought fit and meet to send a fleet into those parts of twenty ships, to the intent to make a peace between the two kings, and of this he acquainted the States General.
The Dutch sent twelve sail of ships, and 4000 men, to the Dane. His Highness desired them not to send farther succours. They said they desired to reconcile the two kings, and declared that it was not to engage in hostility with Sweden; but for the assistance of their ally, the King of Denmark. Whereupon they unshipped their men.
It is true, our fleet did not proceed by reason of the unseasonable frost, but they had this advantage, as that things do stand now as. fairly as they stood in October last. Thus far as to what is past. Now as to what is before you.
Spring is a time of action. There are great preparations for it on all hands. The States General endeavour a peace, but think it not safe to trust the success to a treaty barely, but will have a good navy to attend it. They have, therefore, resolved to set forth one hundred sail of men-of-war, besides the continuation of thirty ships in the Sound, already, with Opdam.
They are building of eighteen ships more, and three of one hundred and thirty feet long, all which will be ready in a short time. They carry 4000 foot soldiers more, to the assistance of the King of Denmark, besides furnishing fifteen or sixteen ships of the King of Denmark's own, which are very strong.
So as, the truth is, the Dutch manage this business with a great deal of vigour and resolution, laying great taxes for the carrying on this work, which they never do but upon great concernments for the country.
His Highness, in these affairs, thinks our concernment as great as the Dutch, and that the same reasons hold in every thing with us; our nation being, indeed, as much or more concerned in that business than theirs; for they are upon the continent, and we, an island.
He, therefore, thinks, that unless he hath considerable fleets, as well as the Dutch, his bare interposition as to peace, will signify little or nothing.
When neighbours do prepare in such extraordinary ways and proportions, we, in prudence, must do so too.
Therefore, in order to that, and to keep peace between our neighbours, his Highness hath thought fit to prepare ships, in order to these affairs and emergencies. The preparation is well onward, only he thought it fit and necessary that this House should be acquainted with it, that we, knowing of it, may advise as we shall think fit in this case. (fn. 22)
Altum silentium for a good while.
Sir Henry Vane. Upon this great and weighty information, the consequence is much to be thought upon in your wisdom. I desire in one particular a little farther light, it having been but shortly touched upon, and it would give much satisfaction, in reference to what is to be thought upon by the House. That is, concerning the second war, which the Swede entered upon with the Dane after the mediation. We understand not where the fault, of that breach lay, which began that second war. I would that we understood how the peace came so suddenly to be broken off, and Copenhagen besieged. (fn. 23)
Mr. Secretary. I did omit to say somewhat, which if I had said, this noble person would have had no reason to ask for that satisfaction.
What the ground of raising that second war was, I am not well able to state; for though we have heard what they have both said, yet his Highness is still in the dark. But, as to the matter in hand, his meaning is, not to espouse either interest in the quarrel, just or not just, or to meddle with the state of that war, in which we have no concern, but only in relation to the good of this nation and of our trade. His Highness thinks himself concerned to look to the state and interest of ourselves, and that we should not stand stall to look on, while two princes are thus fighting, and drawing on the engagement of all their neighbours on either hand.
Mr. Trevor. The considerations of war and peace are fit considerations for this House. I think there will be little debate of what has been in his Highness's thoughts, to make that preparation. I hope nobody will except against that. And if you shall desire his Highness to take care of the interest of the nation in this affair, in this great juncture, it will be but what it is fit for you to do. I move that it be referred to his Highness.
Mr. Noell. It is not the interest of states to look into the cause of war, but their own concern in it. I can say nothing in this case as to matter of state. I can only speak to matter of fact.
I think the interest of the nation was never more concerned than now. All the Protestant interest here, all the Protestant interest in the world, lies now at stake. If Sweden were now overrun, you might then as well conclude all the Protestants shall be overrun; and when you are not able to protect them, I doubt their interest will be very low.
But I shall only speak to trade. If the interest of trade come into the hands of those that bid fair for it; if they get it, you need build no ships. If the power of the Sound were once in the hands of those that now look for it, that is, the Dutch, you will be so far from protecting your merchants, that they will serve you as we served the King of France in Queen Elizabeth's time. We forbade him to build ships in his harbours, because we would take care to keep the seas ourselves. (fn. 24)
They have already forbid us going into Bantam, (fn. 25) because they say it is an enemy to them; and in time we shall not be able to trade, especially there. Nay, they will forbid all the trade of England.
I know not what you can do for timber, for ammunition, for ships, and for other common uses, if you shall be forbid that trade. (fn. 26) When the war between you and Holland was, yon were kept from that. You shall have but what they will give you.
Consider generally what you will do in it. I know what will be the consequence of it, as well as I know the sun is in the meridian. I have no end in it. A day, an hour, is precious in a matter of this nature. It will be that which will strengthen you, and make you considerable in the world. Put it into such hands as will answer your ends.
I move to have the management of this business committed to the Protector.
Mr. Neville. The account is very satisfactory and accurate. Here hath been something offered of interest of state, of trade, and of religion. For this last it is certain, that the Protestant cause or the Protestant religion are different things. When a war is begun upon account that the Protestant religion is in persecution, as in France and Spain formerly, there is a great concernment, and it ought to move us before all things else. There is no such war now, as I take it.
But I call that a Protestant interest or cause, when several particulars agree and league together for maintaining their respective dominions.
As to this quarrel, I can see nothing of religion or Protestant religion. There are Calvinists and Lutherans on both sides. Brandenburgh, Holland, Denmark, are all Protestants; and as good, if not better than the Swede; (fn. 27) and therefore I cannot see how the Protestant religion is particularly concerned in this.
England, indeed, cannot subsist without trade, and interests of state may, peradventure, far engage us. I know not how it comes, unless it is because of your interest against Spain, that the Emperor is in alliance with Spain. It is told you, the interest of the Baltic Sea is material to your trade. Therefore, our question will be:—
How far forth our engaging now, by intermeddling with the business of the Sound, can advance our interest, either for the strength or for the trade of this nation? And it seems to me to be for our service to preserve it in Denmark's hands, where it hath been this long time; your friend's, whose right it is, and where it was and will be well enough, if we please ourselves. The King of Denmark hath but the door into the Sound. But what if we should help to put it into the hands of Sweden, that hath both the door and house too? Consider whether thus to trust them be for your service.
Your recommending it, may include peace or war; to decree which is our work. The management, indeed, may be elsewhere, but we must well consider the inconveniences we may be engaged in, if we undertake a war, and therefore you must resolve what you mean to do by setting forth our ships. It is one thing to maintain a fleet at home, another thing to maintain a war abroad. Contending for that trade, we are like two rivals, that go a wooing to one woman.
It grieves my heart to think what hath been the event of the breaking of the peace with Spain. (fn. 28) We had a war with Holland. I am ashamed to say upon what terms the peace was made.
I cannot give a rational account of it, unless it were to establish the Government over us, which was set after on foot, so that England was conquered, instead of conquering Holland. For if the Hollander had come into conditions with us, as was fairly offered, (fn. 29) that Government would never have expected any place in this nation: but the abrupt war with Spain, and the dishonourable peace with the Dutch, (fn. 30) gave opportunity to what after followed. I am afraid, if you engage now against Holland, they will be too hard for you. We are exhausted for money It is not for a hierarchy to maintain that war.
If we put the Sound into the Swede's hand, we must, for ever after, trade but at his courtesy; for he will have not only all the dominion of the Sound, but all the Baltic in his own hands, and the territories adjoining to it in his power. Thus Sweden is able to maintain that trade himself. Denmark is not able to maintain that trade himself. I know not that it is fit to trust Sweden with it. Why may we not assist Denmark ?
I suppose the danger from the Emperor is not considerable. He is not like to sit down by the Sound. His dominions lie far off. He hath enough to do to defend himself against the Turk; and though he hath sent forces into Flanders, yet I presume you may have terms of security, at least of neutrality from him.
Besides all this, I apprehend it will be no easy matter to get monies to carry on this war. I would have it our first business, that by peace we may remain umpire, rather than engage upon such a hard service in a war. Therefore, I shall move for a further day to be appointed, that gentlemen may consider of this; that we bethink ourselves what to offer in this business; unless you think fit, now, to send ambassadors for a mediation.
Colonel Birch. I cannot blame those gentlemen that are unwilling to hear me, knowing my uufitness to contribute to this great debate.
I must differ from the gentleman that spoke last. The Protestant cause is deeply concerned in this business, and so is this Commonwealth in particular. If the Emperor get footing in the Baltic Sea, it will concern the Protestant cause. If those conjoined forces should get a footing in those parts, the King of Spain would have as great a strength in the south as he hath already in the west.
It will undo us, either to put it off to another day, or to send an ambassador. The effect is plain, if we engage not in this way as it is offered.
It will be difficult into what hands to put the Sound. The King of Denmark—he is so low, and so much in the power of the Dutch, as that it will not be for your service to put it into the hands of the Danes. If it be in the hands of him that hath the door and the house too, that may be dangerous; but Sweden can never be able to maintain either door or house without your assistance.
Though it cost you never so dear, I would contribute my all. This business may beget us a long peace, though a great charge follow in the settlement. It looks to me like a way open to a great work. Not that I am for fighting, but for treating with sword in hand, and to do it upon the place. Upon the whole, I think it best to refer it wholly to the Protector back again, to take present care of the Sound, and to send such force as may enter the Baltic Sea.
Mr. Lloyd. This concerns not only our well-being, but our very being. But by this care, no materials can you have for shipping. We are islanders, and our life and soul is traffic. Your cloth trade will be lost.
Denmark borrowed not long since a great sum of money of the Hollanders, and gave them the Sound for security, and they had it many years. They that know affairs well in those parts, say they have security of it again.
Take time by the forelock. A wise man sees things afar off. This is the spring, defer it not. The Hollanders now furnish our enemies of Spain with shipping, and better an open than a close enemy. Our war with Spain has destroyed all our trade. This we have upon us already. We cannot long hold in this way.
For my part I would no sooner trust Sweden than the Dane; but I hope you will secure your own interest. The Swede cannot keep it without your ships, no more than the Dane can do without Holland. Make good conditions upon the place. Trust hot compliment. I shall not speak of the interest of religion; but this nation has ever been looked upon as the head of the Protestant interest. I would have you take speedy care of the Sound.
Mr. Scot. You are not yet come to the bellum religionis, but your cards are ill sorted at present, if it be so. I am sorry to hear of combinations, against, and amongst Protestants. Here is one Protestant against two or three, and the Brandenburgh is more of that religion than the Swede; though I like not his company. Therefore it cannot be bellum religiosum. Nor do I understand it to be bellum mercatorium, but it concerns you to understand where your interest lies.
Whether the King of Sweden, or the House of Austria have the Sound, it is to me, as to that, indifferent. Our in terest certainly lies in the Danish hands, which, for aught I hear, is no more than what the Dutch intend. I am not for sending ambassadors, neither, without a strength to back them. Ambassadors, to be waited upon with a good navy, may do some good; but I think you are not yet so forward, at least not to put the power of war into any man's hands, or to recommend it to him.
There is a game, it seems, a playing, and stakes to be kept, abroad; but we have a game, and of greater concernment to us, that is now playing at home. The militia at home is first to be settled. Now you have recommitted it, do it deliberately, ex consulto. We must not make too many steps at once. Let us have time to consider what is to be done. I do not think that resolutions of this nature should be too precipitate. If it can bear six months, before a Parliament be called, it may well bear some hours consideration, that we may deliberate. You should be made somewhat more than purse-bearers, and to tell the Protector, "If you will make the war, we will find purses." Henry acquainted the Parliament before war with France; (fn. 33) always before he went to try his title there.
Are the Commons so little concerned, as not to have so much as two of their members of the council ? (fn. 34)
I do think this business will at length resolve into a war with Holland. You know who it was, that, when time was, made war with Spain, and peace with Holland. (fn. 35) How destructive the peace hath been, lately made, and the war also, you yourselves can best judge. I am afraid to say it. It is now come to be your unhappiness, that you must begin that war again, where it was left by us in 1653. I believe it is an irreconcileable quarrel between us. We are rivals for the fairest mistress in all Christendom, trade. You need not be their enemies, directly or designedly. They began the quarrel for a flag. (fn. 36) I am of opinion, that you should make preparations, previously, in order to that design. If they get the Sound, that is cause of quarrel. If they get it not, will they lay down their ships ? I think, if peace be made with Sweden, they will turn, upon you, and never leave you until they be masters over you.
I would have you not to delay for a minute, but command the Commissioners of the Army and Navy to go forward vigorously with the business, as it doth by your direction; but leave not any body to sweep the stakes. Keep yourself in your chair as long as you can, and be you yourself the great disposer of peace and war. This will otherwise determine the dispute of the militia.
Mr. Knightley. What necessity requires, must be done; What honour and safety require, must be done; but, I doubt, in referring this business to the single person, you determine the controversy. The Dutch are heavy enemies, and covetous.
I would have it referred back to his Highness and Council to manage the business, because of secrecy, with a salvo, not to prejudice us in the great business of the militia; and that it may not extend to give up the liberties of the people, nor be brought into precedent to that purpose.
Mr. Bulkeley. I understand not, that by sending this fleet you are entering into a war; but, because, your neighbours make such transcendant preparations, yours ought to be suitable to theirs: not to make this or that nation your enemies, but to be there to make terms for yourselves.
They deserve the esteem and respect of this House, that have made this preparation. If it were to do now, it would be too late.
I cannot say that this will at all touch the great dispute of the militia, which I suppose will mostly be contended for.
I would have it speedily recommended to the care of such persons as may stand by, and make terms for yourselves. I question whether it be not prudential to interpose. It is not a making peace or war, but to assist what is twisted in your interest.
The Emperor would resign Hungary to have the Baltic, as more consistent with the interest of the House of Austria: What Protestant soever joins with Austria, must expect what Ulysses had from Polyphemus.
I second Mr. Knightley's motion. I would not have the House caught in any thing.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. This concerns Englishmen's blood, and Englishmen's flesh and purse. It is offered that we must send a fleet to stand by, and, if the Dutch fight on one side to assist Denmark, we must fight on the other against the Dutch.
We were kept out, when we wanted war, at Jamaica, and see what became of it. It hath been told us we have not lost all our men, nor all our money; we have a good tenure in Flanders. War with Flanders cost 20,000 Englishmen's blood; more precious, Sir, than many such tenures: nothing so precious. It is plain you will bring on a war with Holland.
How will your army be paid ? Many millions are spent, and many millions will be required to carry on this business.
If you engage suddenly in a war with Holland, I think all England will be lost. When our forces are gone to the Sound, an army may be landed here, and Charles Stuart (fn. 37) to head them. I would have time to consider of this business.
The business of the navy is already under consideration, and so likewise that of the army beyond the seas. By them you will understand all things.
Let us not engage too suddenly, before it be well weighed and considered. I move for a farther time to consider, and that a business so destructive should not suddenly be resolved upon.
Colonel White. It was not reported to you by way of a war, but by way of a wise foresight. The Dutch gp not to fight, but only to mediate for their interest. Why may not you do so for yours ?
I would have you give directions to your Commissioners of the Army and Navy, to go on with the preparations; but as to the conduct and management of the design, that may be a farther consideration.
It is here represented to yon as if you had the power of making peace and war. I would have you name no persons nor places, but only move that the preparations may go on, vigorously, in order to your trade in the Baltic Sea.
Colonel Clark. His Highness and his Council gave orders to the Commissioners to provide a fleet for such purposes as they should afterward employ them.
This affair stands you highly upon, to take care of this great business. What hath been offered, hath been exceedingly well for the occasion. I stand not upon the justice of the war, or the injustice of it. You have a vigilant and curious neighbour, that looks on all your proceedings abroad, especially at sea. It will be your wisdom to prevent those dangers which may happen to you. The Sound, that is now at stake, is the gate of your trade, and will you see it cast out and given away, and not look about you, till too late ?
If you give them this opportunity of getting the Sound, they will be too strong for you. Yourselves will be the next morsel. Let them get this step, and they get all.
The great charge is often objected; but it is considerable whether it will not be a greater charge hereafter to recover what you may now secure. All your naval materials come thence.
I know not but the Dutch navy may be out within this week. They have wrought night and day. Is it for nothing ? If they get the mastery in this, they will easily have it in your shipping, or any other matter.
There hath been as vigorous a preparation of the fleet as may be. If you countenance it, it may be out as soon as theirs; but if you shall do otherwise, it will be discouraged. Therefore, I think some seasonable resolution should be, concerning it. I pray, think it worthy of a speedy resolution. I have heard that there are the greatest endeavours to put some obstruction in this business. Dutch and Dane are not wanting to lay stumbling-blocks. If they can give you the go-by in it, the issue is obvious. They will have advantage enough over you.
Some do infer that a war must follow. I am not discouraged at it, neither do I think that England is undone in case it should so happen; but I do not think a war will necessarily follow. Yet, if the Dutch will fight with you, it is not for your honour to sit still. If they will begin, you will defend.
If you do send a fleet now, you will be able to balance your interests, at least you will have a share in what happens. I would not have it fall into the Dutch hands. Every member ought to be tender how he lets any such thing fall as discouragement. I would not have the Sound divided, and you not have a share. If the Dutch do go with one hundred sail, and dispossess the Brandenburgh, and beat the Swede, where will the Sound fall ? Who else can have it but the Hollander, if you interpose not ?
Referring this to his Highness and council, will not determine the question about the militia.
Mr. Onslow. I shall begin where that gentleman ended, that this business deserves a vigorous prosecution. But it being a business primæ impressionis, you cannot too soberly consider it; nor can you delay it long. Yet the delay of a day or two can make no great obstruction; and I know not what motion drives on this great wheel now, so much faster than it was wont to be.
It is said, preparations are ready. It is fit, first, the whole state of the matter should be farther represented to this House. The interest of religion is here much divided. I am not prepared to give my vote. I am not so quick as other men.
The great stress is laid upon our danger from the Hollander. The person who opened the matter did not so open lit. He laid it upon the German Emperor, and his design for getting possession of the Baltic Sea; and if so, there is nothing of difference between us and the Dutch. Besides, I have observed that it is not yet directly insisted upon that we shall engage at all. His Highness and the Council have declined that hitherto. It is not Christian, when our neighbour's house is on fire, to run to partake of the spoil.
I therefore move, to adjourn this debate till Wednesday or Thursday morning next.
Mr. Raleigh. (fn. 38) I am for a speedy dispatch of this business. He that is master of the Sound, is master of all the trade of Europe. I conceive not that we are about to engage in a war: but the Dane cannot keep the Sound without help of the Hollander, and if the Hollander hath it, the House of Austria shall have it: and if the Swede hath it, he cannot keep it without us. By this we may guess how far our in terest is concerned in it. I would have you resolve, before you rise, to refer it back to his Highness.
Lord Lambert. I am for proceeding vigorously in this business. I will not judge whether this be a Protestant war or no, but that which concerns you is a war which interests yourselves. The interest of England is, or ought to be, the great care in this business.
How we shall manage this affair, that the Sound may be in such hands as may best suit with our interest, is difficult to judge.
Some think it most dangerous to fall into the Dutch hands, others to the Emperor's, others to the Swede: and indeed, for my part, I am of opinion it is best in his hands that, it seems, is least able to keep it.
The Dutch are the only people that are able to engage us at sea, and to cope with us in trade; and if it be taken for granted that they must have the Sound, certainly it will very much concern our trade.
For the Swede, if he be master at land, he will soon be master at sea, and not suffer his commodities to come down to the coast; and if he continues his conquests, he will grow very considerable. Besides, his navigation and his trade begin of late to grow very great. We have a wolf by the ears. Sweden is likely to be as potent in navigation as Holland.
If Denmark be not already too much in the Dutch bottom, I think a friendly assistance would do well there.
That our fleet is in good forwardness, I am very glad; but designs of this kind are not in one fleet, but in reserves. Therefore, I think it requisite you should countenance it all along.
Look principally, upon the interest at home. Stand by, and fall on the victors. Have a main regard to that interest of yours, the militia.
Engage some particulars from yourselves to take care of this business.
I am of opinion you should declare, that it is the interest of England and of the world, that the power of the Sound should not be put into any one hand whatever, without naming the Dutch or any other particular.
Sir Henry Vane. I am yet perplexed in my thoughts. Therefore, I shall only mind you of the old order in Parliament. Upon such reports as this, or letters, or messages from the King, we never looked upon them the same day; but had a jealousy and suspicion of some court-design in them, to engage us in such rash designs, before we knew where we were.
I do not say there is any such thing now; but it looks like some such thing. I told you, at first, that I feared matter of money was our chief concern. I fear still, the same thing is now intended, in that we must not have leave to sleep so much as one night upon it. We must give a million of money by a side-wind. Sure, we must find out this money, and yet we must not sleep upon it. I dare not think of the sad consequence of this, unless your wisdoms will disintricate you in it.
It hath been the great wisdom of princes, that heretofore have had to do with the House of Commons, who see not at first the sad consequences of things, to make a war; and then presently to make a peace, and then put up the money that was given them towards the pretended war. I do not say such things are now; but I desire we may sleep upon this, at least forty-eight hours.
I perceive many things are taken for granted, of which I am not yet fully satisfied.
1. That the King of Denmark must be dispossessed.
2. That we must fit ourselves to take possession of some part of it, like birds of prey.
3. That Holland is your enemy already.
If it be our interest that Sweden should be emperor of the Baltic Seas, I should be very glad to understand how?
France may, perhaps, be willing to engage us in this quarrel; and when we are engaged, he will be as fit to bridge over somebody else (fn. 39) as any other.
I move for Thursday or Friday.
Mr. Bampfield. I agree that it is one of the greatest matters in debate, since this assembly met, and may carry with it the greatest good or the greatest evil.
I do remember when that of the war with Spain was offered to us, without any consideration we approved it; (fn. 40) but the consequences of that war have been the decay of our trade in all parts; and in this little war, we have not only lost our trade, (fn. 41) but they have set up our manufactures; and in three years, we have lost 1500 ships.
And whether this expedition will be for our good or hurt I will not dispute; but only advise you to consider well before you enter into this war.
It is certain, that before this war, Elsineur and Elsenburgh, belonged to Denmark. Since the first war, one belonged to the Dane, the other to the Swede; (fn. 42) but now they are both the Swede's.
The Swedes, indeed, are Protestants, but the Danes are Calvinists; so I think the Protestant cause not concerned.
To declare that these two shall not be in the hands of one, is to declare against the Swede.
If we forward the preparations, what do we say other than that we will defray the charge of these preparations, which are very chargeable? If we approve it so far, and that it is more than probable that it will produce a war with Holland; whilst we go about to engage in that, how shall we secure our interest?
The very being of the Hollander is founded upon the rivers of some of the Spanish monarchy, therefore, their interest will lead them always against it; and though their affairs lead them, at present, to unite with some members of that family, yet if we shall engage in a war with Holland, so the Protestant cause can be safe, where is there one foot of Protestant ground that will be at peace? Suppose also, that marriage and consequential peace should hold between France and Spain, (fn. 43) where shall then a Protestant find one foot of ground in the whole world, to set his foot in quiet ?
Therefore, it seems to me of vast concernment, in one day to launch into a war which hath so much weight in the consequences of it.
At length, this debate was adjourned until Wednesday. (fn. 44)