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Of Dec. 12. 1730.

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On a very interesting Subject relative to


To which is prefixed,
The 'CRAFTSM A N itself.


C R A F T S M A N.

No. 232.


SATURDAY, Dec. 12, 1730,
HE following article, which hath

lately appeared in the news-papers,
deserveth our immediate consideration, viz.

They write from Dublin, that an “ officer from every regiment in the French service is arrived there, in order “ to raise recruits for their respective

corps; which is not to be done in a © clandestine manner, as formerly, (when

“ severa!

“ Feveral perfons suffered death for it) but "publickly. These gentlemen are to

disperse themselves into the several « counties, where they have the best in« tereft; and a field officer is to reside “ constantly, at Dublin, to hear all com“ plaints, which may be made by any of çe the recruits against their officers; and “ also to prepare for sending them off. “ Count BROGLIO hath been solliciting an

order to this purpose, these two years."

When I first read this account in the publick prints, I looked upon it as a common piece of false intelligence, and was in full expectation of seeing it contradicted in the next day's papers, according to frequent custom; but having since heard it confidently affirmed to be true, (although I can hardly yet believe it; especially, as to every part) the duty which I owe my country, and my zeal for the prefent establishment, oblige me to take fome notice of an affair, which I apprehend to be of very great importance to both.

It will be necessary, in the first place, to give the reader a short account of the nature of these troops, as they are now established in France.


They consist, as we have been informed, of one regiment of horse, and five regiments of foot, all doubly or trebly officered; so that they are, of themselves, a very considerable body of men.

But their number is the least point to be considered in this affair. There are other circumstances, which render these troops infinitely more formidable to Great Britain. They are not only all Roman-Catholicks, but the most danger, ous of that communion, with respect to us, I mean Roman-Catholick subjects of our own dominions; many of whom have been obliged to fly their native country on account of rebellions and conspiracies, in which they have been engaged; and all of them devoted by inclination, by interest, by conscience, by every motive human and divine, to the service of the Pretender, in opposition to the protestant succession in his majesty's royal family.

To this we may add, that they are generally esteemed 'the best forces in the


French service; that they have always behaved themselves as such in the late wars; and are commanded by officers of approved courage, as well as great skill and experience in military affairs.

It is said likewise, that the serjeants, corporals, and private men are so well seasoned to danger, and expert in their duty, that, by a gradual promotion they could furnish officers for a very formidable army, in case of any sudden invasion or insurrection.

In the next place, it will not be improper to examine this affair with regard to our laws.

It is made felony, by act of parliament in Ireland, for any subject of that kingdom to inlist himself, or to inlist others, in the service of any foreign state; and it is well known that multitudes of

poor wretches have suffered death upon that


We know it may be said, that a power is reserved to his majesty, by a clause in that act, to dispense with it, by granting any foreign prince a licence to raise forces

in his dominions, and indemnifying his subjects from the penalties of the law.

Although it is far from my intention to dispute any of his majesty's legal prerogatives, or to call the wisdom of the legislature in question, yet I must take the liberty to observe, that such powers have been sometimes granted out of complaisance to the crown, that the prince's hands may not be absolutely tyed up, and in full confidence that they will never be exerted but for the benefit of this nation, or possibly of some protestant ally, upon great emergencies of state. The exercise of the prerogative, in these cases, is therefore merely a prudential part, which is left to the discretion of the prince and his ministers, who ought always to be supposed the best judges of these affairs; and therefore how ridiculous would it be to send to the attorney-general for his opinion in such a case, who can be a competent judge of nothing but the legality of it, and whether the affair be actionable or not; but ministers ought to regulate their conduct, in these respects, according to the situation of affairs, and the exigencies of government.

I must

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