A DISCOURSE OF SEA-PORTS; Principally of the Port and Haven of Dover: Written by Sir Walter Rawleigh, and Address'd to Queen Elizabeth.

With useful Remarks, &c. on that Subject, by Com­mand of his late Majesty K. Charles the Second.

Never before made Publick.

LONDON: Printed for and Sold by Iohn Nutt, near Stationers-Hall. 1700.

Price 6d.

To the Right Honourable THE Earl of Rumney, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, &c.

My Lord,

THe Publisher of this Discourse has no other motive of his Address to your Lordship, than that the Design may receive Protection from some Powerful Hand, by which being Shelter'd in its Infancy from the blasts of Malevolence (which will blow from more corners than one) it may have leave to strike Root and grow to strength e­nough to be able to stand alone. The Subject Matter seems to belong to your Lordship in Propriety as you are Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports; and the Patronage of so Noble and National a Project cou'd be claim'd no where so rightfully as from your Lordship, who being e­qually great by Birth, Power, the Favour of your Prince and the Love of your Country; I cou'd not withstand the Iustice of making this Oblation of my Duty and Good-wishes to your Lordship, by thus tendering it to your Election to be the Father and Protectour of so Needful and Magnificent a Work, abounding in Publick Honour, Safety and Emolument; whereby you may consign your Name to Posterity, by a Monument more durable and of greater dignity than the Records and Patents of your Ancestors or the Statues of Antiquity.

The Manuscript fell casually into my hands during the last Session of Parliament, which being relish'd by such Worthy Members of that Honourable Body as I had an Opportunity to impart it to; I thought I could not do a more Grateful Office to my Country, than to be the means of its Publication, for which freedom I ask the Authors pardon, as I do your Lordship's for the presumption of this Dedication: who am,

Your Lordship's most Humble and Dutiful Servant,

A MEMORIAL OF Sir Walter Raleigh to Q. Elizabeth Touching the Port of Dover.

A Brief Discourse, declaring how Honourable and Profi­table to your most Excellent Majesty, and how Necessary and Commodious for your Realm, the making of Dover Haven shall be, and in what sort, what least Charges in greatest Perfection the same may be Accomplish'd.

THere is no one thing, most renowned Soveraign, of grea­ter necessity to maintain the Honour and Safety of this your Majesty's Realm, than by all convenient means to encrease Navigation, Shipping and Mariners, these be­ing a strength in time of War; and in time of Peace, Members most Profitable and Commodious.

But this can neither be had, encreased, nor maintained, if First, sure Harbours he not provided, as Safe Receptacle to Re­ceive and guard them from Storms, Enemies, &c.

[Page 2] This hath moved that Industrious Nation of the low Coun­trys in Holland, Zealand and Flanders, where, by Reason of their Sandy Coast, tho' God hath scarcely in any Place allow'd them any good Havens Natural, yet seeing the Necessity and Commodity of Harbours, they have, without regard of any Charges or Travel, with Infinite Expences, made many Havens Artificial, even in such Places as Nature denyed them all the hopes of help; Whereby we see they have drawn such Intercourse and Traffick both of Foreign Nations for Merchandize, and also by their Industry for Fishing, that in few Years (almost in our Age) they have been able to Build a Number of most Sumptu­ous, Rich, and Beautiful Cities, furnish'd the Coast with a great Number of Ships and Mariners, and are become the most Populous and Rich Nation the Sun did ever shine on; And not only the Sea Coasts, but also the Inland Countreys, by quick vent of their Commodities, do Participate of the same Benefit and Felicity; And such their Charges on Havens and Harbours bestowed, do yeild them the Fruit of Riches, Wealth, and Com­modity most plentiful throughout their whole Dominion.

But contrary-wise, with us this last Parliament, lamentable Relation hath been made of the great Decay of Mariners and Fishermen, to the Number of many Hundred Sail upon our Coast of England, even in this Age, and within Memory; And also of the present Poverty, and Desolate Habitation of many Fronti­er Towns.

Whereby it plainly appeareth, That as the Excessive Expence of the Low Countreys bestow'd on Havens, hath not Impoverish'd, but the clean contrary, greatly Enrich'd them by Incomparable Wealth and Treasure, with Number of Rich, Fair and Populous Towns; So our Sparing Mind, or rather greedy Getting, Gain­ing, and Enriching Land from your Majesty's Havens and Navi­gable Channels, hath utterly Destroy'd and Spoiled many good Havens by Nature left us, and thereby wrought very Beggary, Misery and Desolation in these your Frontier Towns.

[Page 3] And if we Search the very cause of the Flourishing State of London, which almost alone in Quantity, People, and Wealth in this Age or Realm is so increas'd, and contrary-wise of the Po­verty or rather Beggary and Decay of Winchelsea, Rye, Rumney, Hide, Dover, and many other Poor Towns, we shall find the Decay of these Havens, and Preservation of the Thames, the only or chief Occasion.

Hereby sufficiently appeareth how Incomparable Jewells Ha­vens, and sure Harbours are for Gaining, Maintaining and En­creasing People, Wealth and Commodity in any Realm.

And no lesser Strength and Security do they bring in time of War, as well by the Multitude of Mariners (a most Serviceable People) and Shipping, which they Breed, as also the Inhabita­tion of the Frontiers.

But in the whole Circuit of this your Majesty's Famous Island, there is not any one either in Respect of Security and Defence, or of Traffick or Intercourse, more convenient, Needful, or rather of Necessity to be Regarded than this of Dover, Situate on a Pro­montory next Fronting a Puissant Foreign King, and in the very streight Passage and Intercourse of almost all the Shipping of Christendom.

And if that our Renowned King, your Majesty's Father, of Famous Memory, Henry the 8th in his time, found how Neces­sary it was to make a Haven at Dover (when Sandwich, Rey, Cam­ber and others were good Havens, and Cal [...]is also then in his Possession) and yet spared not to bestow of his own Treasure, so great a mass in building of that Pier, which then Secur'd a Pro­bable mean to perform thesame: How much more is the same now needful, or rather of Necessity (those good Havens being extream­ly decay'd) no safe Harbour being left in all the Coast almost be­tween Portsmouth and Yarmouth: Seeing the same also may be perform'd without the Expence of your Majesty's Private Trea­sure, the present Gift of Parliament consider'd, and their ready Wills so plainly discover'd, to supply whatsoever charge shall be needful, whensoever by your Gracious Providence they shall see the Realm arm'd with such a Sheild, and endow'd with so great a Jewel.

The Commodities that thereby both to Your Majesty and Realm shall ensue, are.

First, A Place of Refuge and Safeguard to all Merchants, your Majesty's Subjects, who Passing from London, and all other the East and North Parts of England to France, Spain, Barbary, the Levant, the Islands or other parts South, or West of the World, for want of Harbour at Dover, either going forth or re­turning, shall be enforc'd to Ride it out in open Road, to their great Peril, or in time of War, for want of such Succour, to Throw themselves on the contrary Coast into the Arms of their Enemies.

For all other Strangers, your Majesty's Friends, that pass the Sea from Hambrough, Danzick, Lubeck, Embden, Scotland, Den­mark or any parts of the Low Countreys, to any parts of the World, South, and South-West, (whereof there are daily great Numbers) or of Spain, Portugal, France or Italy, bound North­ward, either to London, or any of the Nothern Provinces, both passing and repassing, they must of necessity Touch, as it were, upon this Promontory, and upon any change of Wind, or Fear of Enemy, for sure Refuge, will most willingly and thankfully Em­brace so sweet and safe a Sanctuary.

No Promontory, Town or Haven of Christendom, is so plac'd by Nature and Situation, both to Gratifie Friends and Annoy E­nemies as this your Majesties Town of Dover.

No Place or Town of Christendom, is so setled to receive and de­liver Intelligence for all Matters and Actions in Europe from time to time.

No Town of all the Low Countrys, altho by their Industry they have a great Number, Excessive Populous, Fair and Rich, is by Nature so setled, either to Allure Intercourse by Sea, or to Train Inhabitants by Land, to make it Great, Fair, Rich and Populous.

For alluring Intercourse by Sea there is already sufficient said.

By Land, It hath better Air and Water, Two chief Elements, than all the Rich Towns in Holland and Zealand.

For Fire, The Countrey round about is far better Wooded than theirs, and the whole Shire wherein it standeth, and round [Page 5] about the Town it self the Soil is so well sorted for Arable and Pasture of all sorts; For Marish and Meadows sufficiently fur­nish'd, as Heart of Man cannot wish or desire it better.

A Quary of Stone at hand sufficient to Build both Town and Haven in most sufficient, large and Beautiful manner. There wanteth nothing by Land, Sea or Air that can be wish'd, And if those Industrious People of the Low Countrys had in all their Province such a Seat with like Commodities, they would make it a Spectacle to the World without Respect of Charge whatsoever.

There wanteth nothing but a Harbour, which when com­pass'd, all other parts of Peopling, Wealth and Strength will follow of it self.

A Marvellous Number of Poor People both by this Work, till the Haven is made, and after by the Shipping, Fishing, &c. will be Employ'd, who now for want of Work are Whip'd, Mark'd, and Hang'd.

The Quick uttering of Commodities, which always followeth by Increase of Intercourse, will cause all the Coast and Shire to be notably Manur'd and Peopled, not with Poor; Idle, But Painful, Industrious and Rich Persons, a great Ornament and Commodity in Peace, and sure defence in War, the same being the Frontier nearest Coast to a most Dangerous, Puissant, Active and Aspiring Neighbour.

The encrease of Navigation, Fishing and Traffick that here­by will grow, and the great Wealth and Commodity thereof ariseing will not be contain'd in one Shire alone, but pour'd forth into all parts of the Realm, to the great Relief of the Poor, and Contentation of all Degrees, Encreasing of Arts and Occupations, a Patern whereof we may behold even in our next Neighbours the Low Countrys; not Feign'd in Imagina­tion, but actually by them put in Execution, and great shame it were for us, to dispair attaining that, which we see others our Neighbours have Atcheiv'd before us.

As the whole Realm in General, So your Majesty also in Re­spect of your Particular Revenue, shall Reap great Profit by [Page 6] Encrease of Subsidies, which always will grow greater, together with the Wealth of the Land, besides the increase of Customs and such other Revenues as shall be there made of the Soil there gain'd from the Seas.

The Shire of Kent being within few Years grown marvellous Industrious in Tilling and Manuring their Grounds, when they shall see so convenient a Port to Vend their Superfluous Commo­dities, will not only increase in Wealth and People, but also Yield to your Majesty's Coffers for Transportation of their excise in Wheat, Barley and Beer, great Increase of Reveunes; And all other Shires taking Example by them, will likewise grow in La­bour, Industry, Wealth and People.

There can be no Pitch, Tar, Masts, Cables, or other Tackle for Shipping, pass from Danzick, Denmark or other Northern Parts to France, Spain or Italy, but your Majesty having a strong Hand of Shipping at Dover, may Command for Money the choice thereof before any King in Christendom in time of Peace; And so time of War, thereby also Disable Enemies and content Friends; Besides the Infinite Commodity that may happily grow to the whole Nation in General, and to your Majesty's Coffers also by a staple, that in time, with good Policy may be Erected there to serve both South and North Countryes with there Mutual Commodities.

In time of War how Dangerous attempt may be made with small Frigats of Fire, or other wise, to Endanger your Majesty's Navy where it now lieth, with hope sufficient to escape and Re­turn again before any Shipping can be made out of the Thames to Rescue or Revenge, the Expertest Souldiers, and Seamen best know: But this Harbour being made and furnish'd with good Shipping, as always it will be, no such attempt will ever be made, the Enemy being assur'd, however the Wind Blow, upon any Alarm either from London or Dover, to be surpriz'd, and no hope left to escape.

Your Majesty having shipping at Dover, may also upon all suddainness, with lesser Charge, set forth to Scour the Seas of Pirates, whereby your Nuvy of Merchants will Marvellously [Page 7] increase and Flourish, both in the great Strength and Wealth of the Realm, and to the great Increase of your Majesty's Customes

In like sort your Fishing Navies may be Maintain'd and Pro­tected from Pilfering Pyrates, or other Violence of Strangers, and thereby Reap the Benefit of your Seas, whereby our strength by Sea will Marvellously increase, and great Number of poor People be Employ'd as well on Land in Knitting Nets, and making and mending both Ships and Tackle, as also in getting of Fish, a Food greatly to Relieve the Poverty of the Realm, and excessively to increase your Majesty's Revenue, by Custom of such Commodities as shall be brought in abundantly for ex­changing of those our Fish.

The Fishing Navies being by this means both protected and greatly increas'd, all Laws for Punishment, and Taxes for Re­lieving Idle and poor People, will then Cease; for there shall be no Person for Age or Sickness, almost so Impotent but shall find hereby some Trade whereby to get their living, as by Ex­ample of the low Countrys we may plainly behold.

What greater Honour to your Majesty than like, as you are, (in Right of Inheritance) Lady of the Narrow Seas, so to be able indeed to Maintain that Seigniory, and to put the same in Exe­cution at all times, as far forth as your Highness shall find con­venient.

What greater Honour to your Majesty than to be the Foun­der of so Notable a Monument, lying in the Eye of almost all the Shipping of Europe, a thing to which your Majesty's Father Aspir'd, with the Fxpence of so great a Masse of his own Trea­sure.

What greater Honour than to be able in time of Peace or War to Protect Friends, and Offend Enemies more than any o­ther Prince of Europe.

Seeing then it hath pleas'd God to leave unto this Realm such a Situation for a Port, and Town as all Christendom hath not the like, and Endow'd the same with all Commodities by Land and Sea that can be wish'd to make the Harbour Allure Intercourse, and Maintain Inhabitants; And that the same once perform'd [Page 8] (in all probable Discourse of Reason) shall bring such increase of Commodity, not only for Augmentation of your Majesty's particular Revenues, but also of Welfare and Riches to the whole Realm in General; the same also being a thing so needful, or rather of necessity, as well for succouring and Protecting Friends, as Annoying and Offending Enemies both in War and Peace; And that it hath pleas'd God in his Providence to Re­serve the same as an Ornament of your time, to be now perform'd by your Majesty, and left as an Honourable Monument of your happy Reign to all Posterity, Methinks there remaineth no other Deliberation in this Case, but how most sufficiently and with greatest Perfection possible, most speedily, the same may be ac­complish'd

And in Discharge of some part of my bounded Duty to the Advancement of your Majesty's Service, having not only heard by the Examination of the most ancient and skilful Mariners and Inhabitants in Dover, the True Estate of all Alterations there, for these 40 Years pass'd, But also my self seen and sound­ed all the Channells, Shelves and Roads there, and set them down exactly in Plat; having also conferr'd the Sundry Opi­nions of strangers, and also of our own Nation, for the Repairing or making a New Haven there, and comparing the same with what my self have seen put in Execution in sundry places of the Low Countrys, for making Havens Artificial, I have in the End Resolv'd upon one Form of Plat, which of all others (as well for the use and Commodity, when it is finish'd, as for the possibility, or rather for the Facility in making, for the Proba­bility, or rather assur'd certainty of continuance, for avoid­ing great Waste of Timber, and saving a great Masse of Treasure) I find and Judge of most perfection. As albeit the Flemish Plat, in former conference of Commissioners, was adjudged of all others then Offer'd, the most probable, Yet upon due consi­deration, this Plat, I presume, will appear in all Respects more commodious, more feizable, more assur'd to continue; of far less cost in Maintenance, and at least 20000 l, lesser charge in making, as by the Articles of Explanation, and charges, more [Page 9] evidently may appear. This which I humbly present to your Majesty's Gracious Consideration, as a matter of great moment both in Peace and War, for your Highnes's Service, for the great comfort of all the Navy of your Realm, and a Monument most Honourable, and none of the least to all posterity of your Ma­jesty's most Gracious, Prosperous and Happy Reign.

The foregoing Discourse was part of a Memorial, drawn up either by Sir Walter Raleigh or Sir Dudley Diggs, which I found among the Rubbish of old papers while I had the Honour to serve in the Office of the Ordnance, and was Searching after Light into the Ancient History and Services of Dover, to which Curiosity I had divers motives, viz. I had made several Essays to awaken his late Majesty King Charles out of the Lethargie he seem'd to me to be under, upon the French King's so loudly Alarm­ing us by the Profuse Expence he had been at in Fortifying his Coast, making Artificial Ports, and sparing no Coast where he had the least Prospect of Compassing Harbour and Defence for Ship­ping, and Improving his Naval Strength and Projects; which to me appear'd as so many Commets, whose Malevolence was Calculated, and could not fail, one time or other to fall on us. I had in those days, frequent occasions of Privacy with the King in his Closet, where I improv'd every Opportunity to Warm his Jealousy of the Growing Naval Power of France; And al­beit he gave me many a Gracious Hearing, and seem'd to take Pleasure in my Discourse on that Subject, and would often him­self Reason with great Sagacity on Naval Matters; yet I grew at length convinc'd, that I Labour'd in Vain, and had been all the while Blowing a Dead Coal, as by this short following Ac­count may appear.

In the Year 1682 Waiting one day on the King in his Closet, after some General Discourse, his Majesty was pleas'd to tell me that I had often hinted to him how busy the French King was on his Coast, and what Vast Designs he had conceiv'd for the Impovement of his Naval Power, which was Visible by his [Page 10] Fortifying of Dunkirke, in a most expensive manner, and Pro­jecting Extraordinary Works there, making Peers, Channels, Basins, and every Provision that Art can Suggest, and Money Compass, to Render that Place easy of Access, and make it a safe, Capacious and Commodious Harbour for Shipping. I told his Majesty, that not only at Dunkirk, Brest, and other Pla­ces where nature and Situation had given them some Help and Encouragement to Prosecute their Maritim Projects; but even every where else upon his Coast, in every Creek, Cove, or Inlet, where they can make Depth of Water, and give the least Harbour and Retreat for Shipping, they are, and have been on that Article equally Industrious; which, as I had often told his Majesty, seemd to me to have a very Evil Aspect on all the Ma­ritin States of Europe, but more especially his Majesty. That nothing (humanly speaking) cou'd prevent and defeat the Mighty Purposes of that Ambitious Monarch, so much as his want of Natural Aid towards the Increase of his Naval Strength; his Coast not yeilding him one good Port on all that Frontier which Regards us, which he most Providently weighing, had from an Harbouriess. Inhospitable Shoar, by Art, Industry, and a most Lavish Expence of Treasure, in a very great Degree, Repair'd; Insomuch that there is hardly 5 Leagues of Distance upon that Line, of their Coast Fronting ours, that does not yeild marks of their Care and Application. Barrs, Rocks and Shelves are remov'd, and Channels Opened and Deepned, to give safe and easy En­trance to such small Ports as they have by Nature. And in other Places where Art cou'd be thought to avail▪ they have spar'd no pains or Treasure to compass; Artificial Havens, Peers and Provisions of Succour for Shipping. They have also Built. Fortresses; rais'd Batteries, and Planted Cannon. Innumerable, all along their Coast, and perform'd every wise and needful Work to­wards the attaining their Ends of becoming Formidable by Sea, and all this against the Grain, and as it were in Despight of Nature, which yeilds them little or no Encouragment. While we on our Coast, where Providence is so bountiful, have been so very little on our Guard, that tho' Navigation be the Prime [Page 11] Jewel of the Crown, and is the Fountain and Foundation of both our Wealth and Safety; and without which we shou'd be a Contemptible Nation; have not only omitted to Improve the Tenders which Nature makes us for the Increase and Cultivat­ing of our Naval Power; But have in this last Age consented to see many of our useful Ports, Run to Decay, and at length to Ruine, and to become totally lost to the Nation; which a very little Foresight, and as little charge might have prevented, while the Evil was Growing; which at a long Run becomes in­curable. Among which Ports I instanc'd Sandwich, Dover, Rye, Winchelsea, &c. which were reckon'd heretofore as so many Bullworks against our Ambitious Neighbour. The King here­upon Reply'd, that he Confess'd he laid a little to heart the loss of the Haven of Dover; because it has fallen to decay mostly in his Reign; had yeilded him good Service in the First Dutch War, and in that which was made by the Parliament with that Nati­on, he was well assur'd that we had a Squadron of Cruizers which sail'd out of that Place, where they Fitted, Clean'd and Victuall'd, which did the Enemy more Dammage than any in the whole Channel beside. That therefore (if he thought that Haven cou'd be recover'd by any Tolerable Charge) he was then more than ever dispos'd to ingage in such a Work, inasmuch as that he was well assur'd, that not only all that I had said was true, but that the French King (to whom tho' he had signify'd already by his Ambassador, That the great Bustle he had made upon the Coast had given Jealousy and Distaste to the Nation, and was not very pleafing to him) had nevertheless Engag'd very lately in a New Expensive Work of the same Nature, with those I had mention'd) in the Neighbourhood of Galais, where great Numbers of Men were then actually Employ'd in Fortify­ing the Coast, and making an Harbour, and Basin for Reception of Shipping, &c. Which being just under his Nose, he said he had so much the more Reason to Resent it, and which he cou'd not do in a better manner than by attempting the Recovery of Dover Haven, wherein ifhe Succeeded; as it wou'd give an oc­casion of Ease to the Peoples Jealousy, so it wou'd obviate in [Page 12] some Measure the Danger that Threatned us from so Restless and Projecting a Neighbour. I Reply'd to his Majesty, with great Joy, that I thought it wou'd be a most acceptable Instance to the Nation, of his Care for their safety, and a useful Proof to the Murmuring People of his Just Dislike and Suspicion of the French King's Proceedings, and that I was in no doubt whenever his Majesty shou'd appear to go in earnest, about so Laudable and Needful a Work, that the Parliament wou'd Frankly Assist him towards the Expence.

His Majesty hereupon Commanded me to make a Journey to Dover to Survey the Port, and Enable my self by the best means I cou'd, to give him a true State thereof in order to a Pro­ject for the Recovery of that Harbour; which order I carefully executed, and on my Return waited on his Majesty with my Report, together with a Plan and State of the present Peer; an History of the Services that Place had yeilded the Crown; how it has fallen to Decay, and how with least Charge it might be Repair'd and Render'd useful again. I told his Majesty that the bare Customes and Duties he had lost by the decay of that Port, which for want of Entrance there, as had been Customary (there being no other in many Leagues together on the Coast) and which were therefore now Smugled and totally lost) wou'd be by many Degrees more than enough when recover'd (and which wou'd most certainly accrue upon Restoring the Harbour) to Repay the utmost Charge he cou'd be at for it's Re­pair and Improvement, which single Encouragement I thought was Incitement enough to go about so Noble, Useful and Repu­table a Work.

I told his Majesty that the Port was at that time become in­tirely useless, the Peer within being Fill'd and Choak'd up with Sand and Mud, and the Depth of Water lost; That there was a Bank of Beach at the mouth of the Harbour of many Thousand Tuns, which Bar'd up the Entrance. That the Town (which was wont to abound in Shipping, Seamen, Commerce, People and Plen­ty of all things) was become Poor, desolate and Dispeopl'd which was Visible every where, by their Decay'd Buildings and Ha­bitations, [Page 13] where half the Houses at least throughout the whole Town had Bills on the Doors; All which cou'd be ascrib'd to no other Reason than the Decay of their Harbour: touching the true Cause whereof, or the cure, the Inhabitants (with whom I had frequent Conference) cou'd give me little or no Light.

In this Audience, I gave his Majesty an Extensive Account of all things Relating to the Subject about which he had sent me: I presented him with a Draught of the then State of the Port of Dover, wherein was express'd the manner of it's Decay, and the present Ruinous Condition in which it was. I Endeavour'd also to explain to him how this Damage had come to pass, and by what means it had grown to that Head, as to have Render'd the Haven now almost lost to the Publick. From the Causes of the Disease, I proceeded to my Proposals for the Remedy, wherein I had the good Fortune to explain every Point of my Project, with Evidence enough to oblige his Majesty at that time to say that he was so well satisfy'd, that he was Resolv'd he wou'd not Defer the Work a Day. That as I had made every thing plain and intelligible to him; So above all, he was pleas'd with two most useful and Encourageing Propositions therein contain'd, Namely, That whereas in most great Works of that kind, Princes were Generally Oblig'd to Prosecute and go through the whole Expence (which for the most part was very great) before they cou'd Reap the least Profit of their Design, or be assur'd of the Success; While this Work on the contrary was so order'd and contriv'd by me, That he was sure to Re­ceive a present Profit from every Sum (be it more or less) which he shou'd at any time think fit to lay out, and that the Benefit wou'd be presently seen, and Gather'd, in Proportion to the Charge he shou'd be at; which he might Limit or Respite as he pleas'd, without Danger of Damage to the Work that should be done, or of losing the Advantage that should be once gain'd in case of discontinuing the same.

The Second Point that pleas'd his Majesty was; That where­as all Artificial Ports that ever he had heard of (which is most true) were Subject to Choak, and fill up with Sand or Sullage, and to lose by degrees their Depth of Water, without great Care and a continual Charge to prevent it; and which was the [Page 14] Cause for the most part of the decay and loss of such Ports to the Publick: That he perceiv'd I had plainly obviated that Evil, and by a New and very Demonstrable Invention had evidently Secur'd the Depth of Water for ever, which no Neglect cou'd hinder, or towards which any Expence or Annual Charge was Necessary.

I concluded with this General Incitement to his Majesty, That Multiplicity of Ports in a Maritim Kingdom, (such as his) was above all things to be wish'd; which in times of Peace was a great Means of Encouragement to our Naval Intercourse, and Coasting Trade, whereby our Capital City, became better sup­ply'd, and at Cheaper Rates, with all things needful; that Sea­men were Proportionably Propagated, Shipping and all the Incident Professions of Shipwrightry and Navigation increas'd and improv'd, &c. That in time of War, Shelter, and De­fence against an Enemy was by that means more at Hand, whereby our Commerce was better Preserv'd, our Frontier so much the stronger, and Cruizers had more dispatch; and were bet­ter Spread and Dispos'd at Sea; because wheresoever there are Ports Commodiously Situate, and in the Road of our Com­merce, there of course will be Men of War appointed and Enter­tain'd in times of Hostility, where they can Clean, Victual and Refit, whereby great Expedition (which is the Life of Action) wou'd be obtain'd, and half the time gain'd that was spent in going to Remote Ports, as the Thames, Chatham, Portsmouth, &c. Where, if the Wind hangs out of the way, Ships lye long on Demorage, become Fowl by Staying for a Wind, and lose many Occasions of Service, which in Ports lying upon the Edge of our Channel, as Dover does, can never happen; where you need no Pylotage, and are no sooner out of the Haven but you are at Sea.

In a Word, I Ended my Discourse to his Majesty, with assu­ring him that Dover promis'd every thing he cou'd hope from such a Port; was Si [...]uate the nearest of all others to a Great, Dan­gerous and Aspiri [...]g Neighbour, who had given so many Instan­ces of Wisdom and Foresight in the charge he had been at on that Line of his Coast which confronts ours, and which whenever his Majesty shou'd Chance to have a War with that People, [Page 15] wou'd be found to turn every way both Offensively and Defen­sively to Marvellous Account.

That Dover stands on a Promontory which Survey's, and might be made to Command the greatest Thorough-Fare of Naviga­tion in the World, where no ship can pass unobserv'd, or escape the danger of being attack'd, when there shou'd be cause, and was of the same use by Sea as a Passe is by Land. And, that there was no Design his Majesty cou'd Entertain for it's Strength and Improvement, that was not Compassable by Art, and that did not promise a Plentiful Return of Profit and Honour, of any the Greatest Sum he could spare to lay out upon it.

I departed at that time from his Majesty full of hopes, that what I had done and said on this Subject, wou'd have produc'd the good Effect of some speedy Resolution; but taking the Li­berty some days after to remind him therein, I found him, to my great Disappointment, much calmer than I had left him, and receiv'd this short Answer, That it was a Noble Project in­deed, but that it was too big for his present Purse, and wou'd Keep Cold. Shortly after I was Dispatch'd to my Business in a remote Country, and from that time to this have neither said nor heard any thing of Dover.

Now the Remark I wou'd make on this Sudden and Sur­prizing Coldness of the King's, is namely this, That the long Audience I then had of his Majesty, chanc'd to be in a certain great Ladies Appartment in White-Hall, where I had no sooner began my Discourse, and produc'd my Papers, when Mons. Bar­rillon, the French Ambassador, came in; who I observ'd to Listen with great Attention to what was debated; asking the said Laay very earnestly many Questions about the Subject Matter of our Conference, who I perceiv'd to Interpret to him every thing that was said on that occasion, as did the King afterwards in my hearing; Explaining the whole Project, and the Contents of the several Designs; Expressing his great Approbation of the Re­port I had made him; whereupon making Reflection on this Occurrence, I was no longer in doubt touching the cause of my Disappointment; but that it was not the French Kings Inte­rest, and therefore not his Pleasure, that we shou'd proceed on this Work, and that so Noble a Project shou'd thus Die in the [Page 16] Birth, who wou'd have been contented (I make no Question) to have given ten times the amount of the Cost to defeat so Na­tional an undertaking, which look'd with so threatning an aspect on those great Scheams of Naval Power which he has since put in Execution, and is Prosecuting to this day; And I think it there­fore becomes every hearty English Man to Conclude that such an Incident as I have here produc'd, ought to superadd one new and So­lid Argument of Incitement to those that have been urg'd towards some solemn deriberation on so promising and Important a Sub­ject; and if our Forefathers, in those darker times of Queen Eliz. saw a Reason for their Speculations on this Article, then when their views were narrow, their motives less, and the means to at­tain their purpose hardly to be compass'd through the Limitted Fonds of Treasure in those days, and the insufficiency of Under­takers to conceive, design, and Prosecute Works of that sort, so Magnificent; So new and out of the way of the Worlds Practice; It may therefore be hop'd, that now, when our motives of Dan­ger, &c. are so visible, and so much Stronger; the means of ob­taining so Noble an end every way more within our reach; while we behold by what Arts and Means, and with what Profusion of Treasure, a Neighbouring Prince pursues his Maritim Projects, and since we have seen and felt with what Effect he has suc­ceeded in his Aims to Rival us by Sea, and in a word, while we know he must naturally ever be more than our Match by Land; and that nothing at this day can insure our safety, but a Demon­strable Superioriry of Naval Strength. What greater Wisdom and Precaution can we Manifest, or how can we more laudably pub­lish our Attention to the Publick Welfare, than by Seasonably obviating the Evils that seem to Threaten us by the growing Naval Power of France, towards which no one step we can make, promises better Fruit than this proposal of Recovering and Improving the Haven of Dover, which is by Nature Situate to our wish, and in my Humble Opinion is capable of being made by Art so useful to our selves and Friends, and so effectu­al to bridle, prevent and Annoy our Enemies; that were the Argument duly weigh'd, I am perswaded we shou'd think no Sum too great to be so Employ'd.


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