THE MANAGEMENT OF THE Present War AGAINST FRANCE CONSIDER'D. IN A LETTER TO A Noble Lord.

By a Person of Quality.

LONDON, Printed for R. Clavel, C. Wilkinson and J. Hindmarsh, and are to be sold by Randal Taylor near Stationers-Hall, 1690.

THE MANAGEMENT OF THE Present War against France CONSIDER'D.

YOU did me the great Favour, My Noblest Lord, to peruse my Observations upon the War of Hungary, some time before they were Printed. And You were pleased to give them your Ap­probation. Wherein, 'tis like, your Friendship and Candour might prevail much upon your Judgment. Your Lordship doth at present dispense with my Continuation of that Work, (which indeed I have but faintly, or rather have not promised): and You demand my Opinion of that which more neerly concerns us, namely, the present War of the Confederates against the French King.

Without making Excuses, to which I have too just a Ti­tle, I humbly return this Answer; that according to my weak apprehension of things, the grand Error of the Hun­garian War, hath now been acted over again by the Con­federates. I think I have shewed plainly in those Observa­tions, that the Christians did greatly mistake in falling upon Buda: thereby attacquing their Enemy in his Strength. by [Page 2]which they exposed themselves to great Hazards and Los­ses, brought infinite prejudice to their Affairs, and retard­ed their Conquests which might otherwise have been swift and easy. And the same may be said of the Sieges of Mentz and Bon: which have caused so great an Expence, of preti­ous Time, and Bloud, and Treasure.

At the beginning of the Campagne the Confederates were in a dreadful posture: having such a Force in the Field, as hath seldom been seen in Europe. Their several Armies were reckoned to make up a hundred and seventy thousand Men: and surely by the most moderate Computation, they must be above a hundred and forty thousand. There were above twenty thousand in the Duke of Bavaria's Army: the Imperial Troops under the Duke of Lorrain were about the same number: and those of Saxony, Hesse, and Lunen­bourg, could not be less than thirty thousand. These were in the upper Parts of the Rhine; and put together, made up seventy thousand Men. Then in the lower Parts, the Spanish Army, with the Troops of Liege and Munster added to it, was above twenty thousand: and the whole Dutch Force, with that of Brandenburg, were neer upon fifty thousand. So that the Total of these amounted to seventy thousand likewise.

Here now were two mighty Armies: which if they had march'd forward, would have made France to shake. Yet it is confess'd, that 'twas very possible they might have made no great progress or impression, if they had been opposed by an equal Force, or any thing neer equal. But the Matter was cleer otherwise. For the French, notwithstand­ing they had quitted so many Places beyond the Rhine, could get but a small Force in the Field this year. Their Generals in these Parts were Humieres and Duras. Under Humieres there might by thirty thousand Men: but we do not find that Duras, though joyn'd by the flying Ar­mies (or Parties) of Monclar, Montal, and Boufflers, could ever make twenty.

It may here be demanded, what became of their Men? for even those that were drawn out of the Towns they [Page 3]quitted, would have made a good Army. To this I an­swer; that their Men were bestowed in those strong Places they held upon the Rhine, to fill them with very strong Gar­risons. They plainly made this their Barrier against the mighty Force that threaten'd. By the great Resistance these Garrisons were like to make, in case they were attacqued, they might well hope to keep their Enemies at the armes End, and stave off the War from France. And it may truly be af­firm'd, that the chief strength of the French Monarchy lay now in these Garrisons.

The French Garrisons upon the Rhine, at the opening of the Campagne, were these that follow; Hunningen, Brisach, Strasburg with the dependencies, Fort Louis, Philipsburg, Mentz, Bon, Keyserwert, and Rhinberg. And these took up the whole length of that River from Swisserland to Holland: only the Germans had the great City of Collen between Keyser­wert and Bon, and Coblentz between Bon and Mentz. But moreover beyond the Rhine, or on the French side of it, the Germans had all Flanders at their devotion; with the Dutchy of Juliers, and the Diocess of Liege.

This being the Condition of Affairs, the great Question is, Whether it were better for the Confederates to attacque these very strong Places upon the Rhine, or to March straight into France. And it seems very evident, that the marching into France had been more advisable.

Let any man of reason consider, what were the Sentiments of the French King; when there was a mighty Force against him, which he was no way able to withstand. I say, let it be consider'd, which of these two things he most dreaded: whe­ther their Sitting down before some of his remote Garrisons, or their falling with the whole weight of the sevenscore thou­sand Men, into the Bowels of his Kingdom. I think there is no doubt, but that he most dreaded this later. For in the former he had his Wish: He saw his design succeeded: and things fell out just as he would have them. He had left those Garrisons there, for that very End and Purpose. He could [Page 4]not hope but that these Places would be taken at last: for he never so much as attempted their Relief. But his hopes were, that his Enemies would spend their Time and their Strength upon them. And I dare say he wishes with all his Soul, that they would do the like next year.

The Miseries of a defensive War (I mean where the Enemy is cleerly an Over-Match) are beyond Expression. David chose rather to submit to a Pestilence, then to fly before the Enemy for three Months: which is the Condition of those that are upon the defensive, against Enemies much stronger then themselves. And this must have been the Condition of France for the last whole Summer, and the whole Winter too, had the Confederates march'd forward.

The great and swift Conquerours in all Ages (such as the Cimbrians of old, and after them the Goths, Vandals, and Lom­bards) never lay pelting at Frontier Garrisons, but broke into the Countries; overwhelming and seizing whole Countries. And the Confederates might have done so now. You'll say the strength of modern Fortifications makes Conquests now more slow and difficult. Not at all. for Places were stronger in the old times, then they are at present: that is, they were harder to be taken. The Engines of Assailing being now so violent, that there is no Fence against them. No place is now impregnable (says a Man of Skill) unless it be inaccessible. Note: Rohan.

The Confederates were now cleerly Masters of the Field: which is a glorious Condition. To be Master of the Field is the Soldiers delight. He that is cleerly Master of the Field, if he understand his Business, will not want any thing. And he hath this very great advantage, that he may fall upon his Enemy where he is worst provided. But if he fall upon him where he is best provided, he loses and throws away that great advantage. And this the Confederates have done, by at­tacquing the strong Garrisons upon the Rhine, and particular­ly Mentz and Bon. Both which Places the French had been for­tifying all Winter, with extreme diligence: and had put seven [Page 5]or eight thousand Men into Bon, and into Mentz ten or twelve thousand. I know that, at the beginning of these Sieges, we had an account of far lesser numbers. But he that shall consi­der, how many marched out of those Places when they were surrender'd; and shall consider likewise, what loss of Men the Defendants must sustain, in Sieges of that length, carried on with so great Forces, and with so much Vigour and Violence; may reasonably conclude, that the Garrisons could not be less numerous at first, then I have made them.

But why don't I likewise find fault with the besieging of Rhinberg and Keyserwert? I answer, Because these Places were quickly and easily taken. You'll say, This is to judge of things by the Event. I own its but withall I add, that it is a good way of judging in matters of this nature. The be­sieging and taking of Towns is a thing wherein Men of Skill go upon Certainties, and wherein Fortune hath little or no share. So that if the design succeed, we may conclude that it was ad­visable. In the former Confederate War against the French, we might observe, that where ever the French attacqu'd any Town, they carried it with Ease and Speed. (Never speak of Mons, for that was only a Blockade.) But the Confederates were often repulsed; and what they got, was with extreme difficulty. From whence we may safely make a Judgment, that the French did manage their Affairs with greater Skill.

Where a Siege proves long and bloudy, either the Diffi­culties are unexpected, or they were foreseen. If they are unexpected, this shews that the Assailants did unskilfully mistake their measures. And surely a Workman that cannot take his measures aright, is of no value. But if they foresaw the difficulties of the Undertaking, and yet did wilfully engage in it; the Error is yet more inexcusable, and it shews a great­er want of Judgment.

In the Preface to my Observations I made a short (but ho­hourable) mention of the Prince of Baden. And your Lord­ship knows, that that Preface was both written and printed, before we heard of any of that Prince's Actions last Summer. [Page 6]But by what he had done before, I had great Confidence and Assurance (which also I expressed often) that he would do better then other Men. This brave Prince, if we will consider things aright, hath chiefly got his Glory by falling upon easy things, and by avoiding the difficult. The first time that he acted separately was after the Taking of Buda: when he sell into the Turks lower Hungary, late in the year, with part of the Army which had been so sorely harrased and maul'd at that Siege. The chief Fortress the Turks had in those Parts was Zigeth: and it lay fairly before him, but it was too strong for him. Had he attacqu'd it, it might have proved another Buda. he might perhaps have besieged it one year, and have taken it the year following. and in the mean time all other things must be left undone. Wherefore he wisely pass'd it by; and took other work in hand. And in a short space of time, he subdued all the rest of that Country.

The next year, after the Battel of Harsan, he was called away by some Occasions. and General Dunwalt did very well supply his place: by the same Methods, subduing most part of Slavonia with small Force. But the year after, while the main of the Christian Force was engaged against Belgrade, this Prince invaded Bosnia: where he made great Conquests, and took every place that he attacqued. But he did not think fit to attacque Seraio, the Capital City of the Province: which, if he had taken it, would have Crown'd all his Victories. But there was too great a Force within it. He therefore past by it; and took Zwornick, a place that lay further in: beside other Places. Last year he commanded the main Army: and Seraio being of so great importance, he might fairly have thrown away his Men and his Time upon it. But he chose rather to leave it behind him: and he run in as far as Nissa. at which Place, and at other Places about it, we know he made short work. Upon the whole, he made a Conquest this year of a great and large Country. And if Places were not fit to be kept, he presently slighted them; if they were fit, he made them better. For he fell hard to work where ever he came. And he hath made it appear; That a good General should take up the Motto of the [Page 7] Roman Emperour, (I think it was Pertinax), Laboremus. Thus we see, that this renowned Prince hath accomplisht with speed what ever he undertook; because he undertook nothing, but what he knew he could speedily accomplish.

I am well informed, that the Duke of Lorrain undertook this Siege of Mentz full sore against his Will, and at the In­stance of the other Confederates. And it was just so former­ly with the Emperour Charles the fifth. During the divisions of Germany the French had seized upon Metz: and the Germans, having made Peace, were mad to recover it. To which Ser­vice they went with an Army of a hundred thousand Men, under the Conduct of that Emperour. And the French were in no condition to make head against them: only Metz was then as well provided for defence, as Mentz was now. The wise Emperour, who was one of the greatest Captains of his Age, was cleerly for marching into France: where he knew he could easily make such Conquests, as would (at least) ob­lige the French to an Exchange. But nothing would content the Germans but the Siege of Metz. they must needs attacque their Enemy in his strength. And we know the ill Success of it.

There were other Persons now, and those no mean ones, to whom this Siege was as little pleasing as to the Duke of Lorrain. Duke Schomberg was here at the English Court, when the first Tidings came that the Siege of Mentz was resolved up­on. And I am well informed likewise, that both Duke Schomberg, and a greater Man then He, did utterly dislike the Resoluti­on. judging the March into France to be infinitely more advi­sable. And I dare say that the Prince of Baden was of the same Mind. Had He been at Coblentz (where the Confederates pass'd the Rhine), and might have had his way; he would have chosen much rather to march on to Paris, then to march back to Mentz. for from Coblentz to Mentz, by reason of the bend­ing of the River, is plainly backward: as any one may see, that will look upon the Map of those Countries. Did the Prince ever declare his Mind in this Matter? I do not say it. [Page 8]But we may safely presume, that he would have been for fal­ling in upon the French, in the same manner as he fell in upon the Turks. And he might well hope to have the like Success, and to make the like Impression, with a Power seven times as great.

In the time of the third Carthaginian War, when the War was carried on heavily by others, and Scipio had laid about him though in an inferiour Command; Cato was pleased to say, That Scipio only was a Man, and the rest were Shadows. So we may say now, that the Prince of Baden hath done great things; and the rest have done nothing, in comparison of what they might have done.

If the Confederates had engaged themselves before Mentz only, it had been tolerable. For they might nevertheless have had one mastering overbearing Army, which might have done great Matters. though it would have been much better if they had had two: since each would have found their work easier, the Enemy being distracted and confounded. But their at­tacquing of Bon at the same time, quite disabled them, and compleated the Mischief.

The Mischief of these two Sieges consisted, partly in the Advantages which thereby they lost, and partly in the Disad­vantages or Evils they fell under. By these Sieges they lost the grand Advantage, of carrying the War into the Enemies Country: which contains in it many Advantages. In this way they might have maintain'd their Armies at the Enemies Charge. which is no small matter though they could have done nothing else, and though they could have master'd no Places of importance. But many such Places must have fallen into their hands, if they had broke into the Country with an over­whelming Power. For it had been impossible in such a case, that all Places should be well provided for defence; and it had been their own great fault, if they had not fallen upon those that were worst provided. When they had once got past the Frontier, it must be a good Place that could have held out a [Page 9]Week against so great Force. Few Places within a Country are compleatly fortified: and those that were best fortified would have been an easie prey, unless they had been like­wise well manned: and thus to Man all Places had been infinite. Moreover they might have seized several weaker Places, but of commodious Situations, which if (by the ex­ample of the Prince of Baden) they had taken the pains to fortify, would have been Places of importance.

These things might have been done by the Confederates, in regard their Forces were so much superiour. But where the Forces of each side are equal, or near an equality, (as it was between the Dutch and Spaniards for many years); in this case he that will be the Assailant, if his Enemy be cautious, hath a hard Chapter: since he must get ground by Inches, and must always be doing difficult things. which is now excusable because it is necessary, there being no easy things to be done. For if in this case he should run into the Country, and leave the strong Frontier Places behind him, the Enemy would hamper him as a Spider doth a Fly. whereas if he had a mighty overbearing Force, the Enemy could do no more harm to him, then a Spider can to a Hornet. But since he hath it not, he must be content to attacque the Frontier Places, and to clear as he goes. And if he can get one or two of those Places in a Summer, it is a fortunate Campagne.

As it hath been already intimated, where there is an overbearing Force, the way to make short work is to break into the Country. Gustavus Adolphus judg'd it and found it easier to conquer Bavaria, then to take Ingolstat. if the Grand Visier, seven years ago, could have let alone Vienna, his subduing the rest of Austria had been inevitable. Nor could the Frontier Places he left behind him (as Raab, Vesprin and Serinswar) have been any hindrance. And some think that the High-born Elector, who lately took Belgrade with so much Gallantry, might in less time, and with much less difficulty, have over-run and subdued both Servia and [Page 10] Bulgaria, and have chased Yeghen Bassa over Mount Haemus. In like manner it may be here affirm'd; That the Confe­derates, in all humane Probability, might have made great Conquests in France, while they lay toyling before Mentz and Bon. Let me smite him to the Earth at once, said Abishai to David: I will not smite him a second time. Even so there was now an Opportunity to smite the French Monarch to the ground: he might have been laid so low, as never to rise more. We might, very probably, have seen an end of the War in one Summer.

It hath been said before, that the French were but weak in the Field this year. and a powerful Invasion would have made them yet weaker. This last may seem a Paradox: but we have a clear Experient of it in the former War of the Confederates. In one of those Campagnes, the Prince of Conde commanded about fifty thousand men in Flanders: where he was confronted by an Army of Dutch and Spaniards of near the same number. But after some time, the later were joyn'd by a matter of twenty thousand Germans. Whereupon the Prince was forced to send ten thousand of his Men, to renforce several Garrisons: which were now, by the Increase of the Enemies Force, in greater danger. The like would have befallen the Marshal of Humieres this last year, if the Duke of Brandenburg, after the taking of Keiserwert, had marched up to Prince Waldeck: with whom the Marshal had been tugging for some time, their Forces being near equal. Whereas now on the contrary, when Humieres found that the Duke was engaged before Bon, he drew great Numbers out of his Garrisons to renforce his Army. And by this means he became strong enough to carry the War into Flanders; where he kept his Army all the latter end of the year, obliging the Spaniards and the Dutch to draw thither likewise.

I might also shew by another late Experiment, That the actual Invasion and breaking in of an over-powering Enemy, doth weaken the Army of the Defendants, by putting them [Page 11]upon so strong a Guard of so many Places. When the Grand Visier above-mentioned marched against Austria, the Duke of Lorrain opposed him with Forces much Inferior. and he kept him off a while by the help of Raab River. But when the Visier had broke through that Impediment, and was got into the Country, the Duke was forced to divide his Army, thereby to Man some Garrisons (and they were but few) that were most important. So that his Force in the Field was vanish'd and gone. Thus we see, that even in these matters, Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away, even that he hath.

I THINK I have made it appear, that the Confederates have lost great Advantages, by engaging upon hard Sieges on the Rhine when they should have invaded France. I come now to shew, what Evils or Disadvantages they have fallen under. And surely the Evils are neither few nor small, which the Con­federates have suffered by these Sieges.

The first Evil I shall mention is their loss of Men. Which must needs be very great (whatever Accounts we have had of it) in such continued violent Attacques, finding such stout Resistance. And here we must observe, That in Approaches and raising of Batteries, and in Assaults and Sallies, we usually compute the Losses by the number of Men that were slain out right: not much regarding how many were wounded. When perhaps a great part of these might dy afterward of their Wounds, or be disabled from ever bearing Arms. Moreover we must bear in mind, that there was not only great loss at the very Places besieged; but by occasion of these Sieges, the Enemy having his free Range the while, many were cut off in other places. To pass by lesser matters, Duras (in one of his Courses) is said to have sent some thou­sands of the Bavarians, into whose Quarters he had fallen, Prisoners to Strasburg: having killed great numbers likewise. And it is confessed on all sides, that eight hundred Germans [Page 12](some say they were twelve hundred) being lodged in a small Town call'd Cochem; the Marquess of Boufflers storm'd the Place, and put them all to the Sword. We do not know the reasons, why they were thus exposed.

The second Evil of these hard Sieges was the infinite Ex­pence of Ammunition. Upon which I need not to enlarge, the matter being plain and evident of it self.

Thirdly, Whereas the Confederates might have carried the War into the Enemies Country, by engaging upon these Sieges they kept it in their own. By which means they have been forced to maintain their Armies as it were upon the peny, all at their own Charge and with their own Pro­visions. Whereas if their Armies had marched into France, they would have been there maintained. And that, not only during the Campagne, but also after it. It had been very hard fortune, if they could not in France have found or made Winter Quarters. But now, as matters have been order'd, they were forced (when the Campagne was over) to draw their Armies home, and there keep them all Winter.

Fourthly, It is owing to the Sieges of Mentz and Bon, that a great part of Germany now lies in ruines. The Germans themselves have been in effect the Authors of this Mischief. They that would engage their whole Force in difficult Sieges, and thereby give advantage to the Enemy to destroy whole Countries with Fire, may justly be accounted the chief In­cendiaries. Had they marched into France, they had been in a condition to retaliate: and this had obliged the Enemy to fair War. Whereas their not being in such a condition, emboldened the French to execute those Barbarities. But the French durst as well have eaten fire, as made those Fires in Germany, had the German Armies been then in France. Moreover if the Germans had been in France, no French Armies would have been in Germany: all must have been drawn back to defend their own. I shall not go about to compute the Damage, which the French have done by these Devastations. But by a part we may make some Guess at [Page 13]the whole. In one Course beyond the Rhine (the same that hath before been mention'd) we are told that Duras burnt twenty thousand Houses. And these being valued but at fifty pound a House one with another, come to a Million of pounds. which is a good deal more, then Mentz and Bon are worth.

Fifthly, Poor Flanders hath felt the dismal Effects of the long Sieges upon the Rhine. For it hath last Summer been made the Seat of War; which might have been carried into France, had it not been for those Sieges. All the beginning of the year Humieres lay encamped at Nivelle, between Mons and Brussels. And Prince Waldeck, with the Dutch Army, encamped likewise not far from him. At last Waldeck advanced (by exceeding slow Marches) and Humieres re­treated. And now the Dutch talk'd of falling into the French Quarters: but they never went above ten English Miles be­yond Charleroy, a Spanish Garrison upon the Frontier. Then Humieres takes heart from the Germans being engaged before Bon, and marches in again to the neighbourhood of Brussels: whither he drew Prince Waldeck after him, whom the Spanish Army now joyn'd. And here they lay, confronting each other, all the latter end of the Campagne. But Flanders groaned in the mean time under the burden of three Armies. Such another Campagne would bring it very low.

Sixthly, The other Confederates have also suffer'd much, by the War going on thus heavily. their mighty Force, which with much ado they had got together, and which seem'd sufficient to overturn Kingdoms and Empires, having spent it self in the Taking of two Towns. We see the Emperour knows not which way to turn himself between the French and the Turk. The other German Princes, with whom Money is scarce though they abound with Men, must be hard put, to it to maintain their old Troops all Winter, and raise new ones against Spring. The Dutch also must strain their utmost, in setting out their Fleets and Armies. Their Commerce is disturbed, and their Charges are exceeding great, and they [Page 14]find the burden of this lingring War doth press sore upon them. And even in England we feel the Incommodities of the slow Work abroad. The difficulties we meet with in reducing Ireland; our Losses of Ships, our great decay of Trade; the Fall of our Rents, and the heavy Taxes we ly under; all must be imputed to the Sieges of Mentz and Bon, and all might have been prevented by a powerful Invasion of France. which had put the French out of condition to contest it with us.

Lastly, By undertaking these Sieges, and omitting better things, the Confederates are forced to be all this Winter in a wretched defensive posture. All that they aim at, and employ their utmost Labour and Diligence upon, is only to save their own, and oppose the Insults of the Enemy. Whose Country in the mean time is out of their reach, and Them­selves in no condition to requite them.

I HAVE laid before your Lordship the Reasons which induce me to believe; that the Confederates had much better have fallen into France it self, then ly toyling a whole Summer about two Out-Garrisons. But there are some Ob­jections, which may seem very strong against the Invading Design: and which therefore ought to be well answered. And these arise, either from the Difficulties that must attend the Invasion, or from the Inconveniences that must follow upon it other ways.

The main Difficulty objected is the want of Victuals: with which they could not easily be supplied from home, when they were engaged far and deep in the Enemies Country. But to this I answer; that in all likelyhood they would not much need such Supplies, having the Enemies Country at their Command. And they that make this Objection would do well to give us an Example, where an overwhelming Army was ever distress'd for Victuals. They will have it, if it be above ground; there is no keeping it from them. Therefore we do not read, that the great and swift Con­querours [Page 15]before named were ever that way distress'd. And the like may be said of Tamerlan, and Attila the Hunne: who drew after them such numerous and devouring Armies. Also the Grand Visier who of late years broke into Austria, leaving divers strong Places behind him; hath given full and clear Evidence of this matter. He lay under divers parti­cular disadvantages in point of Victuals. For he engaged upon the hard and long Siege of Vienna, where he was tyed fast by the Leg: he had first with Fire and Sword destroyed all the Country near it, and consequently the Provisions: and the City standing on the Danube, and the Visier having no clear passage over it, his Army could range but on the one side the River to get Forrage and Victuals. Which things notwithstanding, he never wanted; and when the Christians forced his Camp, they found there Provisions in abundance. At the end of the last Confederate War, we know Crequi marched against the Duke of Brandenburg: to the farther parts of Germany, through several Countries, over several great Rivers. Which Expedition, as some think, was the most Heroick Enterprize in the kind, that hath been known since Hannibal marched into Italy. But what care did he take, and what Provision did he make, for Victuals; a thing so needful for his Voyage? Truly as far as we can learn, it was not much. It seems he made account, that his Army did carry Victuals, and all other Necessaries, upon the point of their Swords. And the Duke of Branden­burg was no way able to hinder their being supplied with those things. Otherwise he would never have submitted to the hard terms they imposed upon him.

But the Objection concerning this difficulty, that is, the want of Victuals, is enforced yet further. 'Tis true, they say, a Commanding Army will get it, if it be to be had. But it is not to be had, where the Defendants have them­selves destroyed it, by Wasting those parts of their Country in which the Enemy is expected. Which, they add, must so distress him, that he cannot possibly subsist.. Here now [Page 16]is a rare Receipt against all Invasions. For if these things hold good, no Conquest could be made: and the weakest People that are, might defend themselves against the most puissant Enemy. since even the weakest People can destroy their own Country. But if this device doth such Wonders, why did not the Duke of Brandenburg make use of it against Crequi, and the Emperour against the Grand Visier, and the Bavarian against the Swede? And why were not all the other great Conquerours, by this one way defeated and dis­appointed? But many things may be easily said, which are not so easily done. And surely I think we can hardly find, that ever this destroying Device proved effectual, against an overwhelming Power, such as the Confederates had now. The thing was strongly attempted in this France, when they made their brave and resolute defence against Caesar: but they were not able to go thorough with it. The same France was invaded by Attila: but the thing which then preserv'd it, was the opposing him with an equal Force. Had it not been for that, how could they have turn'd them­selves to this work of destroying, when He might have broke in upon them in several places, with four or five Armies at once, each of them consisting of above a hundred thousand? when also every Army might have divided into four or five parts, and every part had been a good Army.

Here we may be told, how Charles the fifth was driven out of Provence, and this King of Poland out of Moldavia, by destroying or cutting off their Forrage and Victuals. But their Forces were not to compare with the present Force of the Confederates: for which reason that Inconvenience might be easier put upon them. And they were closely waited on by Armies near as good as their own. the King by the swift and nimble Tartars; who infested him with great Skill, for such Barbarians, as well as Boldness and Activity. and the Emperour by the Power of France; which was grown strong at last, though at first it were much [Page 17]inferiour, the Invasion having been sudden and unexpected. Also the Emperor was got into a Nook or Corner of the Country; having the Sea on one side, and on another side the Rhosne. And he had likewise, unadvisedly, engaged be a difficult Siege, namely that of Marseilles. I think it may in truly affirmed, that he did not, in this Expedition, shew so good Conduct as at other times.

But to proceed; This destroying one part of a Country to preserve the other, (if we consider things aright) is a very sad and dismal Remedy. What will they do with the People of those parts that are thus destroyed? Will they cut their Throats? or will they leave them to be starved? or must they be maintain'd by the Countries that are untouch'd? which will be a heavy burden. So that it is no wonder, if this way be seldom practis'd. Moreover it is not a small de­struction that will serve the turn in this case: it must extend far and wide. so great a Tract of ground is to be wasted, that the Enemy may be distress'd for Victuals in marching through it, and before he can reach the Countries untouch'd. If there­fore it be but three or four days march, it will signifie nothing, nor distress the Enemy in any measure: since he may bring ten or twenty days Provision with him. I mean Provision for the Men: for as for the Horses, Forrage will be had for them, (in the Summer) even in a wasted Country. there being no way, that we know of, to destroy Grass upon the Ground.

I HAVE answered the grand Difficulty, which seems to attend the Invading Design; that is, the Want of Victuals. Another Difficulty is this. In case the Confederates here should make a large Conquest (which indeed is the thing aim'd at)▪ they would be obliged to Garrison a great many Places: and this taking up great numbers, would very much diminish their Marching Army, so that at length they would want Men. But this is a thing, which the Confederates needed not to fear: since they had Germany at hand, that great Magazine of Men, (to say nothing of all the North of Europe beside); [Page 18]which would have supplied them with People to any number, if they could find means to maintain them. And the Plunder of France had been a high Invitation. In all probability there had been such an Inundation of the Northern People, as hath not been seen of late Ages. Moreover a great number of Garrisons had been no way necessary. The Romans kept Countries under, by Armies and not by Garrisons. And a few Garrisons at forty or fifty miles distance, as they would over-spread a large Country, so they would throughly com­mand it. for it must be a weak Garrison, that cannot command twenty or thirty miles round.

There is another Difficulty, which hath some dependence upon this last: and that is, That when the Confederates had distracted their Force by large and remote Conquests, they might with the same speed lose all they had gotten. This might have some weight, if they had only laid hold upon a present Occasion to break in upon an Eremy, who afterwards might prove the stronger. But there was no such danger here. For in all humane probability, the French Monarchy had been broken to pieces. I confess the Prince of Baden broke in thus upon his Enemy, when he had no advantage over him, save in his own excelling Vertue. And perhaps it may prove diffi­cult to maintain his Conquests. But however he gave the Emperour an Opportunity to make a good Peace: which considering he was now engaged (or indeed had engaged him­self) in another great War, it was his Interest to do. At least it was the interest of his Confederates, and they should have obliged him to it. It seeming very unreasonable, that They should bear the brunt of the War against France, in His Quarrel, while He is making Conquests upon the Turk. We are told that the chief difference in the Treaty of Peace, was about Transylvania and Valachia. where the true question was, whether the Protestant Religion in those Countries should continue, by their remaining under the Turk; or should be rooted out, by their coming under the Emperour, and the Protestant Confederates must fight for this [...]ter [Page 19]Which seems to make good the Saying of the French Gazettier, that the Confederates fight for the Emperours Greatness.

I think I have made it appear, that if great Conquests could have been made in France, they might have been well main­tained. But there is still a Difficulty remaining, and that is, How they should be divided. Which is a thing of no small Consequence; and a disagreement in it might bring all to Con­fusion. The most natural way in this matter seems to be; That each Army should keep what they got; and They whose Forces compose it, should share according to their several Quota's. Or perhaps there may be other ways, that may be thought more convenient. But the Protestants need not trouble their heads with the Methods of dividing the Spoil; for they act, as if they were resolved to get nothing. I will not enlarge in this matter, though I can hardly forbear: and shall only add, That there are two things from which we might hope well in this business of Partition, in case a Con­quest had been made. The one is, that the Germans (being a sincere Nation and exact Performers of Bargains, and being also accustom'd to intermixt Dominions) would agree better then other People. The other is, that if there must be disagree­ment, yet they would hardly come to it, till after that the French Tyranny had received its fatal Blow. And then per­haps it might have fared with Them, as it did with the old Romans, Postquam remoto metu Punico Simultates exercere va­cuum fuit: which are the words of Salust.

I thought that by what hath been said, I had clear'd all Difficulties. But I find it is still the opinion of some Men, that for the Confederate Armies to have marched into France, leaving Mentz and Bon behind them, had been certain De­struction; and that they could not possibly have subsisted. But the great danger here must be from the want of Victuals. whereas I have shewed already, that this danger cannot befall a mastering and much over-matching Force, such as the Con­federates now had. Moreover the Confederates, passing the Rhine at Coblentz and Collen (which were theirs) and marching [Page 20]straight on towards France, had not left Mentz and Bon behind them, but beside them. For the Places behind them were Coblentz and Collen. And in their way to France there was the Dutchy of Juliers, which was in the Germans hands: and this brought them to the Land of Luxenburg, a French Conquest (tho now for the most part quitted and laid open) joyning upon France it self. Also a little beside Juliers is the Country of Liege, which is German likewise; and Flanders a little fur­ther. And here they had the River Maes at their Command quite up to Namur, which City lies close to the French Fron­tiers. So that to this Place they might have had all Necessa­ries convey'd by Water. A hundred Barks (and how easily could Holland furnish a far greater number?) would carry as much as two thousand Waggons, reckoning each Bark but at twenty Tun. And what hindrance or disturbance could Mentz or Bon have given, to the Execution of these things?

But I have made it out already, in my Observations, that an over-powering Army runs no great hazard, by leaving strong Garrisons behind it. The Grand Visier before mention'd left divers strong Places behind him: and they did him no harm. So the French left Mastricht behind them, when they fell upon Holland with so great Success: and they left Cambray behind them, all the while they were making their Conquests in Flanders: I think it was the last Place they took.

But that we may see yet more plainly, how little hurt there had been to the Invading Armies, by leaving Mentz and Bon; let us make a Supposition at home, where we better know the Places and Distances. Suppose then, that England were di­vided into two Warring Kingdoms; the one on the South of Thames, the other on the North. Upon which River the Northern men have London and Oxford, and the Southern men have Maidenhead and Crekelade: London and Crekelade being something bigger then the other two; and all of them exceeding strong, and very well mann'd and furnisht. Let us further suppose, that the Northern men have Kent also at their devotion: and that they have two mighty Armies, the one at [Page 21] London and the other at Oxford, ready to invade the South Parts. Here I would fain know, whether these strong Garrisons of Maidenhead and Crekelade, can hinder the Army at London (who have likewise Kent to befriend them) from falling into Surrey and Sussex; or can hinder the Oxford Army from marching to Newbury or Hunger­ford, and so into Hampshire or Wiltshire and whither else they please. And I would likewise know, whether it were now advisable for these mighty Armies, to spend a whole Summer in taking these two Garrisons, by chargeable, labo­rious, and bloudy Sieges; when as they might probably, in the same time, make an entire Conquest of the Country. No man of reason, I think, will here affirm; that these Garrisons (as the case is put) could be any hindrance, or that it was necessary or convenient to besiege them. I have, by this Supposition, truly represented the Affair of the Confederates in the lower parts of the Rhine. By the Northern Kingdom is meant Germany; by the Southern France; and by Kent, Flanders. And London, Maidenhead, Oxford, and Crekelade ly up the Thames; in the same order as Collen, Bon, Coblentz, and Mentz ly up the Rhine. Only the Distances upon the Rhine are greater. For Cob­lentz is near thirty miles distant from Bon, and more then thirty from Mentz; whereas from Oxford to Maidenhead is but twenty five, and to Crekelade but twenty.

I HAVE DONE at last with the Difficulties, that might have attended the Invasion of France by the Confederates: and am come to the Inconveniences they might have lain under, while their Forces were engaged in this Invasion. The chief of which Inconveniences are these two. First, the Incursions which they must suffer from the French Garrisons upon the Rhine. Secondly, the loss of the Trade and Navigation of that River.

As to the first, I confess the Incursion of those Garrisons is a great and sore Inconvenience. And what Remedy do I propose against it? Why the same Remedy that the Hungarians used against Newhausell, Agria and Caniza; while they were Turkish Garrisons, and in their full strength and Vigour. The same that the Flemmings did use against Mastricht, when the French held it, and do now use against Lisle and Tournay. And the same that the French used against Cambray and Landrecy, while they were in the Spaniards hands. The same also that the Germans have used these many years against Brisach, and for some years against Strasburg and Hunningen. In a word, the Remedy which all People make use of against Frontier Garrisons. And that is, that the Countries near them submit to Contri­bution. For there is no other Remedy in the case: there is no Medium between Contribution and Destruction.

'Tis natural for Garrisons to command the Countries about them. And he that would hinder them from it, would put a force upon Nature: he may as well endeavour to keep Fire from burning. Or 'tis like the checking of a Fever; which doth but enrage it, and make it more violent. A Garrison is a Disease, which will have its course. and there is no way to prevent or avoid it, but by curing the Disease, that is, by taking the Place. This therefore ought to be endeavour'd, if the thing may be done with ease and conve­nience. And for this reason the attacquing of Rhinberg and Keiserwert cannot be dislik'd, because these Places were easily reduced. But if the Work be of great difficulty, it seems the wisest course rather to aim at an Equivalent: that is, to endeavour to get something else (as good or better) upon the Enemy. And in the mean time, we must be con­tent to be under Contribution.

But the Contributions which these Garrisons exact, will perhaps be unreasonable and excessive. I answer, that it is not for their profit to be too hard upon People: thereby [Page 23]to drive them from their dwellings, and make a desola­tion. But the sure remedy for this Evil is the course men­tion'd just now; that is, to get some Places in the Enemies Country. For then, if They use Our People basely, We can use Theirs as bad. which thing will bring them to reason, if any thing will.

But what if it shall appear, that a powerful Invasion of France would be the readiest way to reduce these Places upon the Rhine? If you ask how this should be; the answer is, By obliging the Enemy to quit them. We have seen the time, when this Lewis the Great hath, upon the like occasion, quitted very important Places on the same River [...] It was, when the last great Confederacy was formed against him. At which time he took his last leave of Wesel and Burick, together with Rees, Emerik, Schenk­soonce, and Nimegen, all standing upon this River of Rhine: to say nothing of the Towns in Holland. In a word, he dis­gorged all his Conquests in these parts, Mastricht and Grave excepted. And this he was forced to do, that he might draw his Forces more close, to resist the terrible Storm that threaten'd him. If therefore he threw up so many good Places then, only for fear of an Invasion; how much more must he have done so now, had he been actually In­vaded? He must have laid aside the thoughts of keeping rampant Garrisons upon the Rhine, when Paris it self had been in danger: with his dear Palace of Versailles, the Domus aurea of the French Nero.

THUS I HAVE answer'd the Inconvenience first ob­jected; namely the Mischiefs which might have been done, by the French Garrisons upon the Rhine. But before I proceed to the second, I have something more to say in parti­cular, about Mentz and Bon; and something about Mentz only.

That which I say of Mentz and Bon is this; that it had been no hard matter, wholly to hinder their Incursions on the German side of the Rhine. I do still confess, as I have said before, that (ordinarily) there is no hindering of Gar­risons (save only by a close Blockade) from commanding the Countries about them. Or if the thing be possible, so great Forces are required to do it, as will devour the Countries in stead of defending them. But the Case of Mentz and Bon is extraordinary. They both do stand upon the Western or French side of the Rhine. and on the other side the River, Mentz hath the Suburb of Cassel, and Bon hath the Fort of Bueil. But Bueil was a thing of no [...]: being easily taken at the first Bombarding of the Town, and before the Siege was form'd, or so much as resolved on. And Cassel was quitted by the French, after they had laboured upon it all Winter. a sign of their great weakness and want of Men at that time. I say then, that if the Con­federates had well fortified and enlarged these Places, and put strong Garrisons in them; they had thereby secured all the Countries on the German side. By this means they had pinn'd up Mentz and Bon to their own side of the Rhine. For the truth is evident of what hath been said in my Obser­vations; That a Town which lies upon a great River, and hath no passage over it, is half block't up.

Having done with Mentz and Bon conjunctly, let us now consider Mentz by it self. This Place, by what hath been done to get it, may seem to be of so great importance, that nothing else might compare with it. But yet we shall find, that (to say nothing now of the general design of In­vasion, which gave way to this Siege), other Places in parti­cular, as the City of Treves for instan [...] had been full as good, and might have been had much easier. When the Imperial Army was pass'd the Rhine at Coblentz. these two Cities lay equally fair for them. They might have marched forty miles forward to Treves, or forty miles sideward (or [Page 25]rather backward to Mentz. but to measure more exactly, they had something above forty miles to Treves, and to Mentz. something less.

The first Question then will be; supposing these Places to be equally weak, or equally strong and capacious, which of them is better in respect of the Situation? the one stand­ing upon the utmost Frontier, and the other forty miles within the Enemies Country. for all those Countries to the West of Rhine were now become French. To this Question I give this Answer; that if the Places be equal in themselves, their Situation makes no inequality. For the one com­mands as much ground as the other: and to command the Countries is the chief End of Garrisons. We may well sup­pose; that each of these Places, with a Garrison of ten thou­sand Men, will command forty miles round. But that which Mentz Cemmands, is some of it on the one side the Rhine, and some on the other: that which Treves commands is wholly on the one side. the having of Mentz doth partly ease and cleer Germany, and partly annoy the French Quar­ters: the having of Treves clears nothing, and annoyes twice as much. So that upon the whole matter, and putting one thing against another; the Situation makes no inequality, if the Places were equal in themselves.

But there is a Consideration, from which one of these Places may justly be esteemed better then the other, though of themselves they were equal: and that is, the present po­sture of the War, and the strength or weakness of the Warring Parties. For if the Germans were weaker and upon the defensive, Mentz were more convenient for them, because by having it they might better defend themselves. But since they were now clearly the stronger, and upon the Invading hand, Treves was more convenient, because it would more advance their Conquests. And as I have said in my Obser­vations, They that are the stronger, should make it their business to push on; and need not fear (but should rather [Page 26]covet) to featter the War. Which Observations I cite, in regard the Arguments there used in another like occasion, may be applied to this.

Hitherto we have disputed, whether Mentz or Treves had been better to the Germans and more desirable, supposing them to be of equal Goodness in themselves. But the matter in fact was clean otherwise: for Mentz was very strong and well furnisht, whereas Treves was laid open and quitted. but then Mentz was held by a great Garrison of the Enemies. So that if the Germans will have Mentz, it must first be taken; if they will have Treves, (in the like condition), it must first be fortified. Here therefore ariseth another Question, which of these two things was easier to be done, the Taking of the one, or the Fortifying of the other.

The World knows, and the Confederates feel, what the Taking of Mentz hath cost them. It cost them the hard labour of a mighty Army for two Months, wholly main­tained the while at their own Charge, and fed with Provi­sions from home. It cost them a vast Quantity of Ammu­nition, the Lives of many thousands of their best Men, to­gether with the Destruction of a good part of Germany which the French effected during that Siege. Of which things, and of some other Particulars, I have spoken more largely before.

As for the Fortification of Treves, the great Expence would have been the labour of Men. And the whole Army that besieged Mentz, might in one Month have put them in such a Forwardness, that ten thousand Men left in Garrison might have finish'd them in a few Months more; and have defended the Place in the mean time, against all the Force that France could then bring against them. Also the very repairing of Mentz would have gone a great way in fortifying Treves. 'Tis true, the Confederates must have put in great Guns, and Ammunition. But the Ammunition that was spent, and the Guns that were spoil'd at Mentz, would plentifully have [Page 27]furnisht Treves with Guns and Ammunition, and all other Necessaries. But Treves would have been incommoded by Montroyal, which the Germans must have left behind them. I answer, Not so much as Montroyal would have been by Treves, the stronger Garrison: which the French must leave behind them, to come to Montroyal. Also we may remem­ber, how little Mastricht was incommoded, while the French held it, by Namur and other Places that lay between it and France; or the same Mastricht by Ruremond and Venlo, in former times, while there was War between Spain and Holland.

BUT BESIDE the Incursions of the French Garrisons upon the Rhine, there is another grand Inconvenience Ob­jected, which the Germans (in case they had invaded France) must in the mean time have undergone likewise; and that is, the want and loss of the Navigation of that River. In answer to this I must confess, that the Navigation of the Rhine is of mighty importance both to Holland and Germany: by reason of the great Trade carried on between those Coun­tries by that Conveyance. But though it be highly bene­ficial, yet it is not necessary; and those Countries can live without it. As they have done formerly for many a year, at such times as the Spaniards (being in War with Holland) were possess'd of Rhinberg, or Wesel, or some other Places upon the Rhine.

I know there are some that will affirm, that this Naviga­tion was absolutely necessary, at this time, to the German Armies: for supplying them with several things from Holland, which could not be brought them other wayes. But if these Armies had carried the War to the Mose, which was their own up as far as Namur, they would not have stood in much need of the Navigation of the Rhine. But if the Rhine must be cleared, a strong Invasion of France might have been the readiest way to do it. It being highly probable (as I [Page 28]have said before), that the French would thereby have been forced to abandon their Places upon the Rhine, the better to defend their own Country. Moreover though the Naviga­tion of this River were never so pretious a Commodity, yet it might be bought too dear. And surely the Confederates have had a hard bargain of it. It coming at the price of those long and difficult Sieges, which (according to what hath been shewed already) have brought so many and so great Evils upon them. I confess the clearing of the Rhine to Collen (which is almost the half of what hath been done) was a good and easie bargain: being effected by taking Rhinberg and Keiserwert, in a short time and with little loss. But that which was got by taking Mentz and Bon, was too dear of all Conscience.

THUS I HAVE shewed my Reasons for Invading France, and answer'd the Objections against it. I should now descend to other Particulars relating to this War. But these may be the Subject of another Letter: this is too long already. If I should go on, though I have equal Candor for all the Illu­strious Actors, yet 'tis like I may give my Opinion (freely, but sincerely) that some Men have done better then others. I confess, for those that perform gallant Actions, if I might have my Will, I would make their Names shine. So shall it be done to Him, whom the King delighteth to Honour: was said when Mordecai rid in pomp. And they that have Pens, though they be not Kings or Princes, yet they can bestow good words upon those whom they delight to honour. But I do not pre­tend to these things: I am not one of those Writers, who (as Barclay expresses it) Dividunt Mortalibus Famam. To me it is sufficient that I have the Honour to be

May it please your Lordship, Your Lordships thrice humble and truly devoted Servant
[Page 29]POSTSCRIPT.

I Beg leave of your Lordship to make a small Addition to what I have written. There are some that will argue yet further for these difficult Sieges. They will grant it to be very convenient, that the Confederates should carry the War into the Enemies Country. but all in good time. it was fit they should clear the Rhine this year, that they might with greater Force and Advantage invade France the next. But how did they know what the next year would bring forth? If there were nothing else, a League of so many Parts is subject to many Mischances, and is much easier broken then made. They had now an Opportunity of Conquering France: which was to be embraced with Readiness; I had almost said, with Greediness. Such an Opportunity they must not think to meet with every day. This next year, I doubt, they will not have it: when they are not like to be so strong, and the French much stronger. If they have it, it is to be wish'd that they would use it. But if they are still for hard Sieges, if they like that Sport; there are Things yet left which will find them Play; and (as Mr. Bayes doth phrase it) will rub their Gums. To instance in a few, there is Montroyal, and there is Philipsburg, with the other remaining Places upon the Rhine. And why should not the Upper Rhine be clear'd as well as the Lower? Also the City of Treves is now making fit for them. But the Elector Pala­tine will think himself undone for want of Philipsburg: and probably will use all his Interest, which is very great, to engage the rest upon it. So the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave carried it for the Siege of Mentz. they would not be in danger of that Garrison, though they were fair and far off. So likewise the Dutch took a great deal of pains, and were out a great deal of Money, to get the Duke of [Page 30] Brandenburg to take Bon for the Archbishop of Collen. The Dutch are not often mistaken: but now I think they were. For the Duke might have done both Himself and Them much better Service, by joyning Prince Waldeck, then by attacquing Bon. However we may see, that little particular Interests, whether true or fancied, do too often bear down the general. But away with these retailing Projects: a vi­gorous and powerful Invasion would do all at once.

FINIS.

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