Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 2 (London).djvu/162

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154
BATTLE OF BLENHEIM.


if Charlemagne had survived to be defeated by the Northmen, and to witness the misery and shame that actually fell to the lot of his descendants.

Still, Louis XIV. had forty years of success; and from the permanence of their fruits we may judge what the results would have been if the last fifteen years of his reign had been equally fortunate. Had it not been for Blenheim, all Europe might at this day suffer under the effect of French conquests resembling those of Alexander in extent, and those of the Romans in durability.

When Louis XIV. began to govern he found all the materials for a strong government ready to his hand. Richelieu had completely tamed the turbulent spirit of the French nobility, and had subverted the "imperium in imperio" of the Huguenots. The faction of the Frondeurs in Mazarin's time had had the effect of making the Parisian parliament utterly hateful and contemptible in the eyes of the nation. The Assemblies of the States-General were obsolete. The royal authority alone remained. The King was the State. Louis knew his position. He fearlessly avowed it, and he fearlessly acted up to it.*

  • "Quand Louis XIV. dit, *L'Etat, c'est moi:' il n'y eut

dans cette parole ni enflure, ni vanterie, mais la simple enonciation d'un fait."—Michelett, Histoire Moderne, vol. ii. p. 106.