Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 2 (London).djvu/168

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in perpetual alarms on that side, while she has ravaged the empire and the Low Countries on the other."*

If, after having seen the imbecility of Germany and Spain against the France of Louis XIV., we turn to the two only remaining European powers of any importance at that time, to England and to Holland, we find the position of our own country as to European politics, from 1660 to 1688, most painful to contemplate; nor is our external history during the last twelve years of the eighteenth century by any means satisfactory to national pride, though it is infinitely less shameful than that of the preceding twenty-eight years. From 1660 to 1668, "England by the return of the Stuarts was reduced to a nullity." The words are Michelet's,† and though severe, they are just. They are, in fact, not severe enough: for when England, under her restored dynasty of the Stuarts, did take any part in European politics, her conduct, or rather her king^s conduct, was almost invariably wicked and dishonourable.

Bolingbroke rightly says that, previous to the Revolution of 1688, during the whole progress that Louis XIV. made towards acquiring such exorbitant power, as gave him well grounded hopes

  • Bolingbroke, vol. ii. p. 397.

† "Histoire Moderne," vol. ii. p. 106.