Page:Lectures on Modern History.djvu/259

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Whilst England was traversing the revolutionary period on its arduous course towards free government, France completed, with universal applause, the structure of absolute monarchy. Neither Henry IV. nor Richelieu had done enough to secure the country against conspiracy, disorder, and invasion. There was a relapse into civil war during each minority, under Lewis XIII. and Lewis XIV.; the nobles and the magistrates turned against the crown, and a prince of the blood, Condé, commanded the Spaniards in a campaign on French soil against the royal army. With the aid of Turenne, Mazarin triumphed over every danger, and the young king was anointed in the Cathedral of Rheims.

In 1659, by the Peace of the Pyrenees, the cardinal terminated victoriously the long war with Spain, which began in the middle of the Thirty Years' War, and outlasted it, and established the supremacy of France over the Continent. The one desire of France was the concentration of power, that there might be safety abroad and order at home. To ensure this, more was required than the genius of even the most vigorous and astute ministers in the world. Neither Richelieu, who was a bishop, nor Mazarin, who was a foreigner, could be identified with the State. What was wanted had been wanting in France for half a century—the personality of the king, monarchy personified, with as much splendour, as much authority, as much ascendency, as would fill the national imagination and satisfy national pride. The