Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 2 (London).djvu/172

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164
BATTLE OF BLENHEIM.


effect, and many casuists and jurists of the age even held them to be intrinsically void. As the time passed on, and the prospect of Charles II. of Spain dying without lineal heirs became more and more certain, so did the claims of the house of Bourbon to the Spanish crown after his death become matters of Urgent interest to French ambition on the one hand, and to the other powers of Europe on the other. At length the unhappy King of Spain died. By his will he appointed Philip, Duke of Anjou, one of Louis XIV.'s grandsons, to succeed him on the throne of Spain, and strictly forbade any partition of his dominions. Louis well knew that a general European war would follow if he accepted for his house the crown thus bequeathed. But he had been preparing for this crisis throughout his reign. He sent his grandson into Spain as King Philip V. of that country, addressing to him on his departure the memorable words, "There are no longer any Pyrenees."

The empire, which now received the grandson of Louis as its king, comprised, besides Spain itself, the strongest part of the Netherlands, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, the principality of Milan, and other possessions in Italy, the Philippines and Manilla islands in Asia, and, in the New World, besides California and Florida, the greatest part