Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/561

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The improvement of industry and tillage had very favourable effects on the commerce of the country. There was each year a larger and larger available surplus which could be exported. The export of English cloth came to be entirely in the hands of English shippers; and, when the opportunity at length occurred for England to plant colonies beyond the seas, she was able to meet their immediate necessities without any strain upon her internal condition. Partly through the force of circumstances, but partly also through the wisdom of the government, there was a development of the manufacture of native products, which reacted in a healthy and natural manner on the improvement of agriculture and the increase of trade. The admirable picture given in Hales' Discourse of the Common Weal, of the condition of affairs under Edward VI shows us the evils of the transition at a time when both the Crown and the people felt the pressure of poverty. This was in some ways more apparent than real, and was partly due to the debased condition of the coinage. When with the restoration of the currency England began to receive her share of the treasure of the New World, improvement proceeded rapidly. At the close of Elizabeth's reign the people were wonderfully prosperous, and the pauperism of earlier years had ceased to be a serious problem. The political future of England was largely affected by the fact that the industrial population was becoming wealthy while the Crown was relatively poor.

The rapidity with which countries may recover from the ravages of war has been often remarked upon; in no case was it more strikingly exemplified than by the marvellous growth of material prosperity in France, so soon as Henry IV was complete master of the realm. This can hardly be ascribed, however, to a natural recuperation after the removal of the disturbing causes; it was really due to the view which Henry and his advisers took of the duty of government, and the excellent manner in which they discharged their task. It was to the interest of the French monarchy, with its large income drawn from taxation, that measures should be taken to advance internal trade, to plant industries, and to improve agriculture, so that the people might be prosperous and able to contribute their quota to the revenue. Henry IV set himself consciously and deliberately to develop the material resources of France, and his schemes were so well devised that the foundations of the magnificent and powerful monarchy of Louis XIV were successfully laid. The King was admirably assisted by Sully, and profited from the suggestions of Laffemas and Olivier de Serres, who were respectively experts in the organisation of industry and in promoting agriculture; and he possessed, moreover, the means for carrying out the schemes that met his approval. The revival of France was brought about on royal initiative, by royal administrators, and to a large extent by drawing on royal wealth for the necessary capital.