Saturday, March 11. 1704.
’TIS strange that we cannot bear to hear the Truth, if the Fact it self does not please us; That we should be willing rather to feel than hear of the Greatness of our Enemies.
Methinks having the true Picture of our Adversary should be useful to instruct us in our needful Preparations. The French are generally full of Boasts and Rhodomontades, to make the World believe them greater than they are; our People full of Banter and Lampoon, to make them seem less than they are.
Those are two Cheats equally hurtful to us; the First to Terrifie us; the Last to make us too Easie, and consequently too Secure: ’Tis equally Dangerous for us to be terrified into Despair, and Bully’d into more Terror of our Enemies than we need, or to be so Exalted in Conceit of  our own Force, as to Undervalue and Contemn the Power which we cannot Reduce.
’Tis an allow’d Maxim in War, Never to Contemn the meanest Adversary; and it must pass with me for a Maxim in Politicks, Not to Contemn the Power that is so far from Mean, that ’tis a Match for half the World.
On this account, I think my Endeavour to set them in a true light, must be a piece of Service to the whole Nation. If any shall pretend to say, I make them appear too Formidable, I return, I am too sorry the Truth is too Terrible to be told; I am sorry ’tis too True, that the French Power is as great as I have Represented it.
This Paper had never been begun, if we had not resolv’d to go thorow with every needful Part of History, and tell every needful Truth, whether the Reader will be pleased or no; for those People who don’t like the Truth, we must be Content they don’t like this Undertaking.
We might spend a great deal of Time in Exposing the unhappy Temper of the English, and Exploding the Weakness of that common Practice, which so much prevails, That People do not love to believe, nor to hear, the Truth which does not please them. But as the Distemper seems too hard to Cure, the Attempt is too fruitless for this Work, in which, if possible, we resolve to keep up to the first Design. Not to trouble the World with any thing which is not worth their while to hear.
We cannot therefore quit the Design of giving the World a true Map of the Greatness of the French Power. Wise Men will make a good use of it, Knaves may do their worst; and as for Fools ’tis no Matter what they say or do in this Case, or any other.
We are next to view them in Flanders. Here they plaid with the Confederates the last Year, and sacrifiz’d the Campaign to their greater Designs on the Banks of the Danube; and as they had laught at the little Progress the Dutch Armies could possibly make, they stood and look’d on while these took a few small Towns, as being far short of an Equivalent for what they knew they should have Opportunity to do in Germany.
Yet, even in Flanders, they now Talk big, and threaten to have a more numerous Army there than the Confederates, and to open the Campaign before them; I do not say I believe the first, but the last is likely enough to be true, and has been the general Practice of the French, and by which they have always had the Advantage of the Confederates.
In order to this, they have chang’d their Generals, and the Mareschal de Villars, a Politick and Enterprizing Man, is join’d there in the room of M. de Boufflers, to signify to the World, that something Extraordinary is expected on that Side.
The French and Flemish Army on this Side, cannot be so little as 120000 Men, if we include the numerous Garrisons which they are obliged to keep in the many strong Towns which they have to Defend on the Frontiers; and this is apparent in that if we allow a competent number of Men for the Towns of Dunkirk, Newport, Oestend, the Forts about Sluys, and Sans Van Ghent, Antwerp, Namure, Charleroy, Dinant, Luxemburg, &c. they cannot bring above 70000 Men into the Field.
That all these Towns must have Continual and Considerable Garrisons, is known to all Men that know any thing of their Situation; and abundance of other Places must have smaller Numbers; from whence I generally reckon, that near half the Army, the Foot especially, are always obliged to remain in Garrison.
This is a strange Demonstration of the Number and Strength of the French Power, and I wish the Confederates, who by the exact Management of the Dutch, are here in the best Posture, do not suffer by some suddain Erruption, before they can take the Field, and so have a Summers Work cut out to their Hands before they begin the Campaign.
From this side of the World let us View their Sea Preparations; these we are now told are to be very Considerable, and the French King has Issued 18 Millions of Livers for his Marine Service.
I confess my self loth to enter into our Sea Conduct, having no Design to make this Paper a Satyr upon the Management of the English Fleet; But whence is it that we being every where Masters of the Sea, are yet not able to prevent the French carrying their Arms into the remotest Parts of America?
Indeed I reserve this Head to a Digression I purposed to make, with Relation to the American Empire of the Spaniards, but I cannot omit it here, that it is a most unaccountable Error in the Conduct of some People in the World, that either French or Spaniards have any manner of Trade in those Parts; that the Communication between them and Europe is not wholly Interrupted, and their Commerce entirely Destroy’d.
The Reason why the French are resolv’d to appear with a great Fleet this Summer, contrary to the late Practices of that Nation, seems to me very plain.
The Conjunction of the Germans with the Duke of Savoy in Italy, has made it next to impossible for the French to Recruit their Army in the Millaneze otherwise than by Sea, and as he sees plainly the Influence the Confederate Fleet had on the Italian Princes, was too Considerable to be slighted; and that had they staid any Time in the Mediterranean, it would, in all probability, have alter’d the Face of Affairs there; so his having a Royal Navy in those Seas must be of exceeding use to him.
First, as it will Continue and Secure the Recruiting his Army, which is of the last Consequence.
Thirdly, As it may be a Means to keep the Confederate Fleet out of the Mediterranean; since if the French Unite all their Naval Force in the Streights, ’tis question’d, while the Affair of Portugal is in hand, whether we can venture to part with Ships enough to Engage a French Fleet of Ships and Gallies so large as they now talk of.
The French may be allow’d to talk of a little more than they’ll do, and therefore we will take the Account a little to pieces.
In short, such a Fleet of French in the Mediterranean will keep all that part of the World in Awe; the Governours of the Spanish Islands will be absolutely Curb’d, the People Supprest, Naples Secur’d from Revolts, and Sicily from Innovation, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Byass’d, the Genoese Aw’d, and the Venetians Ruin’d.
The French Power at Sea so near their own Door, has vast Advantage of Ours which is remote; ’tis Dangerous to be brought thither, Difficult to be Maintain’d, and if it should meet with a Brush, next to impossible to be Repair’d.
Under these Advantages the French appear at Sea in the Mediterranean, and if he has thought it worth his while to Disburse Eighteen Millions for this Service, he has doubtless the Prospect of those Things in his View, and I wish I may be in the Wrong when I Express my self Anxious about the Success.
But as these Sheets have no Concern in the Issue of these Matters, so the present Inference is most exactly pointed at the Argument before us; the Greatness of the Enemy is too Conspicous, that has Eighteen Millions of Livers at any time ready, when his Designs are so laid as to make it Needful, that has it only to consider what he is to do, and never wanting of the Means.
ADVICE from the Scandalous CLUB:
A Weekly History of Nonsense, Impertinence,
Vice and Debauchery.
THE Proceedings of the Society with the News-writers of the Town, having been too long to be Included in our last, we proceed to give you a further Account of them according to Promise.
The Author of the London Post was the next in Order to be Examin’d; and the first Thing Charg’d upon him was, That in the Paper of February 15 1703. he tells the World,
The Club ask’d the Author what Place this Italy was? He told them he did not well know, but he suppos’d ’twas a Garrison Town near the Frontiers about Namure, or that side of the Country — . This Answer being mark’d down, the Clerk read on.
Feb. 18. They write from Parma, by way of the Neutral Countries, That the Dutchess of Burgundy is very ill of a great Belly- – – -.
This being transpos’d to England, ’twas resolv’d by the Society that it appear’d to be something like this that follows. They write from Tunbridge, by the way of Edinburgh, that the Duke of Ormond was safe arrived at Dublin.
There were several other Charges of this Nature lay against this Author; but upon his humble Acknowledgment of his own Ignorance, and promising the Club that he would Dismiss his Writer, and put it into a better Hand, the Matter was Adjourn’d; and Reformation being the End of the Society, he was Excus’d and Dismist upon Parol for fourteen Days Probation.
The Post Boy and his crowd of Originals came next in Order.
Post Boy Feb. 17. This Clause appear’d to be Printed.
The Charge struck them all Dumb, but Honest — and He, being a little Dogmatic, told them, ’twas Right enough; and there was such a Council at Sevile, and he’d prove it.
His Authorities were produc’d, and being Examin’d, it appear’d he was a little Out; that there was such a thing as the Chamber of the Contractation of Sevil; but as for Contradiction it was not to be found but in himself; so he was Entred in the Book B—ds, Number 52.
The next Charge upon them was in the same Paper, where the World is told, A Courier Arriv’d at Bagnols in France, with a Pacquet for the Mayor of the Town.
Upon this they were ask’d, If they knew there was any such thing as a Mayor in any Town in France, or any Magistrate call’d by that Name?
Being thus Silenc’d again, they were Noted in the Book of Ignorance, Fol. 2: and Order’d the next time, in a like Case, to say, To the Principal Magistrate of the Town.
As to this they were ask’d, where the Duke began his Journey; this they readily Answer’d was from Versailles, where he took his leave of the King.
Then they were ask’d, If Lyons lay in the Road from Paris to Bayonne? And they readily Answer’d, They suppos’d it might. But being shown the Maps, that Lyons was in the  Road from Paris to Bayonne just as much as York is in the Road from London to Plymouth, They had not one Word to say; so they were Recorded in the Roll of Impertinence, Fin’d 100 Ream of Wast-paper, and bound to stand two Hours gazing at the next Old Woman that happens to stand in the Pillory.
The further Proceedings of the Society are referr’d to our next.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T.
UNion to the Church of England, freely Offer’d and earnestly Recommended to the Dissenters from it, of all Perswasions; But particularly the Occasional Conformists. By a Minister of the Church of England. Printed for George Sawbridge in Little Britain, and Sold by John Nutt near Stationers-hall. 1704. Price Bound 2s.
THE New Association of those called Moderate-Church-Men, with Modern Whigs and Fanaticks, to Undermine and Blow-up the present Church and Government. Occasion’d by a late Pamphlet, Entituled, The Danger of Priest-Craft, &c. With a Supplement on Occasion of the New Scotch Presbyterian Covenant. By a True Church-Man.
Farther Improvements. As another and later Scots Presbyterian Covenant, besides that mentioned in the former Part. And the Proceedings of that Party since. An Answer to some Objections in the pretended D. Foe’s Explication, in the Reflections upon the Shortest-Way. With Remarks upon both, &c. Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster.
Printed for the Booksellers of London and Westminster. 1704.