Page images





Defender of the Faith, the Pious, the Auspicious, the August, Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Provinces, Commander-in-Chief of their Armies and Fleets, the Father of his Country.

D. C. Q.


WERE none permitted to approach your Majesty with any other address but what was adorned with elegance of language, and the beauties of rhetoric, or with such as Pliny the consul, lavishing all his eloquence, pleased the ears of Tra jan; a Dutchman, unaccustomed to familiar access to kings, and ashamed on the first opening of his mouth, who bewrays his ignorance of the world, and unacquainted with the methods of courts, might well despair of access, But as that God, to whose ministry I was so early devoted, is pleased, not so much with the accuracy of the address of his worshippers, as with the innocence and holiness of their lives, and has a greater regard for him who brings to his temple a pure and sincere heart, than with those, who present the most studied form of words; in like manner your Majesty, who is the most lively image of the supreme Being upon earth, most of all prefers to the gaudy pomp of the most elaborate speech, the candour of an ingenuous breast, recommending itself by no manner of arts.

The wisest of kings has taught us in his Proverbs, that there is a certain penetration in kings. This, if ever conspi

cuous in any king, since the beginning of the human race, does certainly in a peculiar manner, display itself in your Majesty ; who, with an incredible, nay, almost a divine sagacity, penetrates into the inmost recesses, and most secret springs of the human breast, as scarce to be imposed upon by any kind of flattery.

These considerations have greatly emboldened me to address your royal person, entirely relying on your goodness, that you will grant me the same favour now you are king, which formerly you did when you was prince. For though, in point of eloquence, I be inferior to many in the learned world, nay, in respect of merit, to many of my fellow citizens, especially those of my own rank, yet I know of none, either in Holland or your British dominions, to whom I ought to yield in point of duty, submission, and veneration for your Majesty. Believe me, Royal Sir, such is my attachment to every thing that concerns your person, that I think myself so interested in all your deliberations, designs, and actions, that in my public and private prayers, I duly recommend them all to God; being well assured, that all your desires and councils solely aim at the welfare of your country, whose guardian, and of the church, whose defender you are.

Wherever you fight for our security, commanding as a general, or acting as a soldier, you expose your person, not only to the wicked stratagems and treachery of your enemies, but also to their swords, and other weapons of war; yet thither, though perhaps a mean attendant, I follow you, not in body, but in mind, and trembling at every explosion of greater or smaller machines, as if close by your side, ardently pray, that heaven may propitiously avert every disaster from so valuable a life. And whenever I behold you returned in safety, from so many dangers, or rather deaths, I think words then fail me, fail the whole Protestant church, fail all Europe in confederacy, duly to celebrate that divine providence, which exposed you so often to such extraordinary perils, in order to display to the world your bravery, your constancy, your uninterrupted composure of mind, never ruffled by any storms of adversity; but which also so soon rescued you, in order to exchange our solicitude for your person, into joyful acclamations for your safety, and shew your very enemies, what a favourite of heaven you are.

Surely I shall never forget that day on which the river Boyne in Ireland had like to be distinguished by your fall, though, by the blessing of God, it was ennobled by your victory: for while, according to your wonted attention and care, you went

to take a nearer view of the enemy's camp, a cannon ball, level led at your person, happened to graze your shoulder; a wound, which gave matter of greater joy to your enemies, of appre hension to your own people, than of real harm to yourself; a wound, which taught us you was a man, but a man above the common rank of mankind, a man dear to heaven; a wound, in fine, which, however great, prevented not your performing all the parts of a brave general, nor suffered you to take repose to your own person till you had procured it for others O! the wisdom and goodness of propitious heaven! O! a day for ever memorable in our calendar! How near were your enemies to exult with solid joy, who now, deceived by the false reports of your death, made themselves ridiculous to the world by a theatrical and unmanly shew of indiscreet rejoicing? Great Prince, with these eyes I saw, in these hands I held, to these lips I applied that military tunick, whose wide rent testified the greatness of your wound. Those precious spoils I saw purpled with your blood, and I mixed my affectionate tears with the royal gore.

Lately again, your Majesty gave new matter to our anxiety in the battle of Landen. Being prevailed with by no entreaties of your British or British or Belgic nobility, to pay a greater regard to your valuable life, on which all our safety depends, nor satisfied to have done the part of a general, by drawing up your army in battle array, animating them to the fight, darting every where your watchful eyes, commending the brave, chiding the dastardly, calling back to the charge by promises, by threats, by example, those that gave ground; your Majesty set a pattern to all, and required nothing from your soldiers but what yourself performed before them; being well acquainted, how to blend the general and the fellow-soldier, without derogating from the dignity of the former. And then, where clouds of smoke intercepted not the view, they saw you rushing through fire and sword, and amidst the enemy, turning aside their sacrilegious points with your drawn sword from your sacred side. But further, that day gave us an illustrious proof of the divine favour towards your person: for while, lavish of your own safety, all your attention is employed in ours, or, (if I may be allowed to speak out; and why should I not, where every vir tuous liberty is allowable?) while, for our safety you ha zard your own life, by exposing yourself to the cannon of the enemy, it was not your prudence, in which, in other respects, you may vie with the Fabii and the Scipios; but, as others would say, your good fortune, or, what I reckon a more religious way of speaking, God's own hand, that interposed between your

« PreviousContinue »