THE method for raising Men in France for the Land-Service, was the last Instance, of the Absolute Dominion of the King, and a Proof of its being Adapted, and particularly Useful to the promoting the Greatness of his Power and his Conquests abroad.
For the Sea, his Methods are equally Absolute, and as positively Obey’d, when first he Resolv’d to make himself Great at Sea; and if Fame belies not our Politick Managers of that day, receiv’d Helps and Instructions from England for that Purpose; I mean, for Building Ships of War; the Great Defect, which he found almost Insuperable, and an Obstruction which wou’d have Discouraged any Prince in the World but himself, was his want of Sea-men; and so far was he from being in a Condition to Supply himself by Ordinary Methods, that if I am rightly inform’d, upon a most Exact Scrutiny, in all the Ports of his Kingdom, he found, that if all the Ships belonging to his Subjects where wholly laid up, and Trade laid by, all the Seamen in his Dominions would not Man his Navy; that is, such a Navy as he then had designed to Build.
Measures were then immediately taken to Increase the Number of Seamen, and the Building of his Ships went on with the usual Success of all his Undertakings: The first Method for Encrease of Sea-men, was to Compel every Merchant’s Ship, Fishing-Boat and other Vessel in his Kingdom, to take on Board, over and above their usual Compliment, so many Men on the King’s Account, to whom the King allow’d Certain Wages, and the Merchant or Master, Victuals and Drink. This Project being begun in a Time of Peace, when France was full of Men; the Men crowded on Board the Vessels as a Favour, Happy was he could get to be Nam’d; and thus in 7 Years time, the King made above 20000 Sailors; by this time his Ships Encreas’d, and he always kept a Squadron at Sea, let there be Occasion or no; and if he had no Service ready, he often thought fit to make little Sea-Wars, to introduce his Men, to shew them some Action, and raise the Credit of his Sea Affairs: Such was the two or three Bombardments of Algiers, and one at Genoa, Convoys to Constantinople, Insulting Tunis, and the like; this was about the Year 1678, when these Additions were made, and his Sea-men from that time began so to Encrease, that in the Year ’91, we found them able to Man a Fleet of 80 Sail in the Line of Battle, and  Challenge both English and Dutch, to an Engagement at our own doors.
The next Article of Absolute Power, is the raising of Money; What may not that Monarch do, who has the Bodies of the Poor, the Purses of the Rich, and the Hands of his Nobility at his Absolute Command?
We find the Revenues of France, tho’ vastly Great, not equal to the more vast Designs of this Growing Monarch; we find, that at a Time, when we all thought he had enough to do, to find Money to Defray his prodigious Expences, he yet undertook the Regulation and Support of the Needy Craving Monarchy of Spain; but when it comes to the Test, we find also, if it be in the Nation, he will never want it. If half the Stories we have been told, of the Poverty, Ruin, Depopulation, &c. of France, were true, how could it be possible the King cou’d raise such immense Summs Yearly, and almost every Year Increasing, as we find he does. Continue reading Saturday, April 15. 1704.