Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 2 (London).djvu/174

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166
BATTLE OF BLENHEIM.


fortified cities, which were given up to his troops under pretence of securing them for the young King of Spain. Whether the formal union of the two crowns was likely to take place speedily or not, it was evident that the resources of the whole Spanish monarchy were now virtually at the French king's disposal.

The peril that seemed to menace the Empire, England, Holland, and the other independent powers, is well summed up by Alison. "Spain had threatened the liberties of Europe in the end of the sixteenth century, France had all but over-thrown them in the close of the seventeenth. What hope was there of their being able to make head against them both, united under such a monarch as Louis XIV.?"*

Our knowledge of the decayed state into which the Spanish power had fallen, ought not to make us regard their alarms as chimerical. Spain possessed enormous resources, and her strength was capable of being regenerated by a vigorous ruler. We should remember what Alberoni effected even after the close of the War of Succession. By what that minister did in a few years, we may judge what Louis XIV. would have done in restoring the maritime and military power of that great country,

  • "Military History of the Duke of Marlborough," p. 32.