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dows, to attend your majesty, in our name, in order to these matters, and to impart, propound, act, and negotiate such things as we have given him in charge to communicate to your majesty: and what credit you shall give to him in this his employment, we request your majesty to believe it given to ourselves. God Almighty grant your majesty a happy and joyful deliverance out of all your difficulties and afflicting troubles, under which you stand so undauntedly supported by your fortitude and magnanimity.
WILLIAM LENTHAL, Westminster,
Speaker of the Parliament of the May 15, 1659.
Commonwealth of England.
MANIFESTO OF THE LORD PROTECTOR
COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, IRELAND, &c.
PUBLISHED BY CONSENT AND ADVICE OF HIS COUNCIL.
WHEREIN IS SHOWN THE REASONABLENESS OF THE CAUSE OF THIS REPUBLIC
AGAINST THE DEPREDATIONS OF THE SPANIARDS.
(WRITTEN IN LATIN BY JOHN MILTON, AND FIRST PRINTED IN 1655:
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH IN 1738.)
That the motives whereby we have been lately induced to make an attack upon certain islands in the West Indies, which have been now for some time in the hands of the Spaniards, are exceeding just and reasonable, every one will easily see, who considers in what a hostile manner that king and his subjects have all along, in those parts of America, treated the English nation; which behaviour of theirs as it was very unjust at the beginning, so ever since with the same injustice they have persevered in it, in a direct contrariety to the common law of nations, and to particular articles of alliance made betwixt the two kingdoms.
It must indeed be acknowledged, the English for some years past have either patiently borne with these injuries, or only defended themselves; which may possibly give occasion to some to look upon that late expedition of our feet to the West Indies, as a war voluntarily begun by us, instead of considering that this war was first begun and raised by the Spaniards themselves, as in reality it will be found to be, and (though this republic have done all that lay in their power to establish peace and commerce in those parts) hitherto kept up and carried on by them with the greatest eagerness.
That the Spaniards themselves are the occasion of this war, will evidently appear to every one who considers how, as oft as they find opportunity, without any just cause, and without being provoked to it by any injury re
ceived, they are continually murdering, and sometimes even in cold blood butchering, any of our countrymen in America they think fit; while in the mean time they seize upon their goods and fortunes, demolish their houses and plantations, take any of their ships they happen to meet with in those seas, and treat the sailors as enemies, nay, even as pirates. For they give that opprobious name to all, except those of their own nation, who venture to sail in those seas. Nor do they pretend any other or better right for so doing, than a certain ridiculous gift of the pope on which they rely, and because they were the first discoverers of some parts of that western region: by virtue of which name and title, which they arrogate to themselves, they maintain that the whole power and government of that western world is lodged only in their hands. Of which very absurd title we shall have occasion to speak more fully, when we come to consider the causes assigned by the Spaniards for their thinking themselves at liberty to exercise all sorts of hostilities against our countrymen in America, to such a degree, that whoever are driven upon those coasts by stress of weather or shipwreck, or any other accident, are not only clapt in chains by them as prisoners, but are even made slaves; while they, notwithstanding all this, are so unreasonable as to think, that the peace is broken, and very much violated by the English ; and that even in Europe, if they attempt any thing against them in those parts, with a view to make reprisals, and to demand restitution of their goods.
But though the king of Spain's embassadors in our country, depending on a Spanish faction which had always a very considerable influence in the last king's council, as well as his father's, did not scruple to make a great many unreasonable complaints and ridiculous demands upon the most trivial accounts, whenever the English did any thing of this kind; yet those princes, though too much attached to the Spaniards, would by no means have the hands of their subjects bound up, when the Spaniards thought they should have the free use of theirs. On the contrary, they allowed their subjects to repel force by force, and to consider such of the Spaniards, as could not be brought at any rate to keep the peace in those parts, as enemies. So that about the year 1640, when this affair was debated in the last king's council, and when the Spanish embassador desired that some ships bound for America, lying in the mouth of the river, and just ready to weigh anchor, should be stopt, as being capable of doing mischief to the Spaniards in that part of the world; and when at the same time he refused the English, who asked it of him by some members of the council appointed for that purpose, the privilege of trading to the West Indies, it was nevertheless resolved upon, that these ships should pursue their intended voyage, which accordingly they did.
Thus far the aforesaid princes were not wanting to their subjects, when they made war in those places privately for their own interest, though, by reason of the power of the above-mentioned Spanish faction, they would not espouse their cause publicly, in the way they ought to have done, and in a manner suitable to the ancient glory of the English nation. And certainly, it would have been the most unbecoming and disgraceful thing in the world for us, who by the kind providence of God had in our possession so many ships equipped and furnished with every thing requisite to a war by sea, to have suffered these ships rather to have grown worm-eaten and Tot at home for want of use, than to have been employed in avenging the blood of the English, as well as that of the poor Indians, which in those places has been so unjustly, so cruelly, and so often shed by the hands of the Spaniards: since God has made of one blood all nations of men for ty VOL. II.
dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. And surely God will one time or other take vengeance on the Spaniards, who have shed so much innocent blood, who have made such terrible havoc among the poor Indians, slain so many thousands of them with the utmost barbarity, done them so many injuries, and harassed and persecuted them in such a miserable manner, whatever time that may happen, and by whose hand soever it may be executed.
But in order to justify our conduct, there is no need of having recourse to the common relation that men have to one another, which is no other than that of brethren, whereby all great and extraordinary wrongs done to particular persons ought to be considered as in a manner done to all the rest of the human race; since their having so often robbed and murdered our own countrymen was cause sufficient of itself, for our having undertaken that late 'expedition, and has given us abundant reason to avenge ourselves on that people; to pass by at present a great many other reasons, and to take into consideration our own safety for the future, and likewise that of our allies, especially those among them who are of the orthodox religion; and to omit several other causes, whereby we were prompted to this expedition, of which we have no need at present to give a particular enumeration, since, our principal design at this time is to declare and show to the world the justice and equity of the thing itself, and not to reckon up all the particular causes of it. ` And that we may do this with the greater perspicuity, and explain generals by particulars, we must cast our eyes back a little upon things that are past, and strictly examine all the transactions betwixt the English and Spaniards, consider what has been the state of affairs on both sides, so far as may respect the mutual relation of the two kingdoms, both since the first discovery of America, and since the reformation: which two great events, as they happened much about the same time, so they produced every where vast changes and revolutions, especially among the English and Spaniards, who since that tiine have conducted and managed their affairs in a very different, if not quite contrary, way to what they did formerly. For though the last king and his father, against the will of almost all their subjects, patched up any way two leagues with the Spaniards; yet the different turns of the two nations, proceeding from the difference of their religious principles, and the perpetual dissensions that were in the West Indies, together with the jealousies and suspicions which the Spaniards had all along of the English, (being always mightily afraid of losing their treasures in America,) have not only frustrated all the late attempts made by this commonwealth to obtain a peace upon reasonable and honourable terms, but were likewise the principal reasons why Philip II., in Queen Elizabeth's reign, broke that ancient league, that had subsisted so long, without any violation, betwixt this nation and his ancestors of the house of Burgundy and Castile ; and having made war upon that queen, proposed to subdue this whole nation : which very thing in the year 1588 he attempted with all his might, while in the mean time he was treating about the establishment of a peace; which certainly cannot but be still deeply rooted in the minds of the English, and will not easily be extirpated. And though after that there was some kind of peace and commerce in Europe, (and it was of such sort that no Englishman durst profess his own religion within any part of the Spanish dominions, or have the Holy Bible in his house, or even aboard a ship,) yet in the West Indies the Spaniard from that time has never allowed them either to enjoy peace, or to have the privilege of trading; contrary to what was expressly stipulated concerning
both these things in that league of the year 1542, concluded between Henry VIII. king of England, and the emperor Charles V., in which peace and free commerce were expressly established between these two princes and their people, through every part of their respective dominions, through all their ports and territories, without any exception of the West Indies, which was then subject to that emperor.
But as to that article, of a peace to be maintained on the part of both nations through all the countries of the world ; this is indeed plainly contained in all the treaties of peace that were ever betwixt them, nor is there any exception relating to commerce in any of these treaties, till that which was made in the year 1604, with which that in the year 1630 does perfectly agree. In which two last treaties it was resolved upon, that both nations should have a privilege of trading in every part of one another's dominions, in all those places, where, before the war between Philip II. king of Spain, and Elizabeth queen of England, there was any commerce, according to what was usual and customary in ancient alliances and treaties made before that time. These are the very individual words of those treaties, which do plainly leave the matter dubious and uncertain, and so King James was satisfied to make peace with Spain any how, since he only renewed the very same treaty which had been concluded a little before the death of Queen Elizabeth, who charged her deputies when it was in agitation, among other things, to insist warmly on having a privilege of trading to the West Indies.
But King James, who was mightily desirous of making peace with the Spaniards, was content to leave that clause so expressed, as both parties might explain it their own way, and as they judged would be most for their own advantage; though these words, “According to what is usual and customary in ancient alliances and treaties,” are so to be understood as it is reasonable they should, according to what in justice ought to be done, and not according to what has been done on the part of the Spaniards, to their manifest violation, (which has afforded perpetual matter of complaint to the English, and has been an occasion of continual quarrels betwixt the two nations,) it is most evident from the express words of ancient treaties, that the English had a privilege both of peace and commerce, through all the Spanish dominions.
Moreover, if the way of observing ancient treaties and agreements is to be taken from their manifest violation, the Spaniards have some pretence for explaining that clause, in the last treaties, as debarring the English from all manner of commerce in these parts. And for all that, during one half the time that intervened betwixt the foresaid treaty in the year 1542, and the beginning of the war betwixt Philip II, and Elizabeth, so far as we can judge from the manner in which things were carried on, it would appear that trading in these places was as much allowed as prohibited. But when the Spaniards would permit no commerce at all, they and the English came from the exchange of goods to that of blows and wounds; and this not only before the war broke out betwixt Philip and Elizabeth, but likewise after a peace was made in the year 1604 by King James, and another by his son in 1630, and yet so as not to stop the course of trade through Europe. However, the king of Spain, after this late interruption of our trade, has now judged that the contests in America may be extended to Europe itself.
But we neither insist on the interpretation of treaties, nor the right of commerce by virtue of these treaties, or on any other account, as if this contest of ours with Spain were necessarily to be founded on these. This is built on the clearest and most evident reasons in the world, as will presently
appear. Nevertheless, there are some things of such a nature, that though it be not so necessary to found a war upon them, yet they may very justly be obstacles to the establishing of a peace, or at least to the renewing of an alliance, in which these things are not granted, which have either been granted in former pactions, or may reasonably be requested. And this may serve as an answer to that question ; Why, since we have renewed the ancient treaties we had formerly made with all other nations, we have not done the same with Spain ? And inay serve to convince the world, that in the articles of alliance we have not, as is objected, demanded his right eye, far less both eyes, by our refusing to be liable to the cruel and bloody inquisition in those places where we have been allowed to traffic, but have only insisted upon having such a privilege of carrying on trade, as we were not to be deprived of, either by ancient treaties, or the law of nature. For though the king of Spain has assumed to himself a power of prescribing us the laws and bounds of commerce, by authority of a law made by the pope, whereby he discharges all traffic with Turks, Jews, and other infidels:* and though under this pretence, even in time of peace, his ships of war, in other places besides the West Indies, have taken and plundered our ships; and though by the same authority of the pope, and under pretence of a certain gift he has from him, he clains the Indians for his subjects, as if forsooth they also were subject unto him, who are neither under his authority nor protection : yet we maintain, that neither the pope nor the king of Spain is invested with any such power, as either to rob them of their liberty, or us of the privilege of conversing and trading with them, which we have by the law of nature and nations, but especially with those who, as we formerly observed, are not under the power and government of the king of Spain.
Another obstacle to our renewing an alliance with Spain is sufficiently manifest, and at the same time very remarkable ; which is this, that any of our embassadors and public ministers who are sent into that kingdon, either for the sake of cultivating a good understanding, or about any other business, betwixt the two commonwealths, are altogether uncertain of their lives, the king being tied down to such opinions, as hinder him from providing for their safety against murderers, so as they may not be always in the most imminent danger; whose privileges, in order to keep up and
preserve friendship between princes and commonwealths, have by the law of nations been always considered as inviolable, and as a thing much more sacred than those altars of refuge, whose privileges, built on the authority of the pope and the church of Rome, have been hitherto applied to elude the force of laws and justice, which we demanded should be put in execution against the murderers of Mr. Anthony Ascham, who was sent by this republic into Spain, to procure and establish friendship betwixt the two nations. For which barbarous murder there has never yet been any satisfaction made, nor punishment inflicted on the authors of it, nor could this ever be obtained, though it was demanded by the parliament;t and in their
* William Stephens of Bristol and some other London merchants, in the years 1606 and 1607, trading wiih those people who live on the coast of Morocco, with three vessels, some ships belonging to the king of Spain that were pirating along these coasts, having come upon them in the bay of Saffia and the harbour of Santa Cruz, while they were lying at anchor, plundered them, without giving any other reason for their doing it, than this, that the king their master would not allow of any commerce with infidels: and the loss these merchants sustained at that time was computed at more than £2000.
† This is evident from the perliament's letter, signed by the land of the Speaker, to the King of Spain, in the month of January, 1650, ihe words whereof are as follow“We demand of your majesty, and insist upon it, that public justice be at lengthı satisfier? for the barbarous murder of Anthony Ascham our resident at your court, and the rather,