Page images
PDF
EPUB

short continuance. For Lewis being angry with the Dutch, determined to take a severe revenge; and, in concert with Charles, pro

upon the point of marching to the frontier; and that at the same time that you was setting forth the queen's right to the States: that your majesty had often assured M. Van Beuningen, that you would undertake nothing without their participation; and yet, without so much as giving them time to examine the validity of your pretensions, you execute your designs at the same time that you acquaint the States with them, which is contrary to the opinion the States had that your majesty would act in this particular with greater confidence towards them, allowing them a reasonable time between the advice and execution: that he hoped your majesty would have explained yourself, either to the States or to him, what places or countries you. would be contented with, that a stop might be put to the flame that is breaking out in all parts of Christendom: that he had offered before, and is still ready, to use his interest with the Spaniards to perswade them to an accommodation; and he was in hopes of succeeding, if he had time to manage the towns, and obviate the jealousies they are under of your majesty's entry into the Low-Countries during the treaty of peace, which convinces all the world that your majesty is agreed underhand with the English:” to which he added, “ They have long observed your majesty's affection to the States to be grown cooler, and that every thing has been practic'd in France that could contribute to the ruin of their trade, by imposing heavy customs upon all Dutch manufactures, and by trying all ways to entice their workmen into France, from

jected the conquest of the United Provinces. This brought on “o a second war with Hol

whence however several of them have returned without finding the encouragement they expected .”These remonstrances had no effect. The king marched in person, in a short time after, at the head of an army of 35,000 men, commanded by Turenne; besides two other bodies, under the conduct of D'Aumont and Crequi. His progress was rapid. All places fell be fore him : nor were the Spaniards capable of making any considerable resistance. The neighbouring states took the alarm: nothing was heard but execrations op the French king. His perfidy; his ambition; and the danger all near him were in, from his daring acts of violence; were become the talk of most nations. The Triple League between England, Sweden, and Holland, was now formed; which saved Flanders, in some measure, for a time, by inducing the French to agree with Spain, and restore part of their conquests, by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, May 2, 1668. Thus did Charles, with honour to himself, with satisfaction to his people, and the applause of his allies , in soine measure, atone for his impolitic steps in commencing and conducting the Dutch war; whereby the two con tending nations were weakened, and France had an opportunity of meditating, and, in part, executing those mighty schemes of ambition which since have proved so fatal to herself and her neighbours. How long his majesty continued thus to act, will be seen in the following note.

30 The second Dutch war, engaged in by Charles,

[ocr errors]

Letters and Negotiations, vol. III. p. 156. 8vo. Lond. 1711. Temple’s Letters, Jan. 28, 29, July 22. 1668.

land, which was like to have terminated in

went near to ruin that republic, and the liberties of Europe.] It appears from D'Estrades, that the Triple League gave great offence to the French: and that though, for the present, they said little publicly; they harboured thoughts of revenge against Holland, which 80 unexpectedly and suddenly had united with their common enemy,—“ As for the ill proceedings of these people here,” says he, “there is sufficient ground to make them doubly and certainly feel their effects when the

peace is made. I know their weakness as well as any man, and on what side they are to be taken when the king pleases: but this is not the time.”—M. . de Lionne, in his letter to D’Estrades, dated March 2, 1668, tells him, “that he had two hours discourse with Van Beuningen [the Dutch ambassador): that he had told him only as his private opinion, without any order from the king to say it to him, that he would have engaged his head for it, that the peace would infallibly have been concluded on the conditions of one of the two alternatives, if the league at the Hague had not been made; but that this league having given the world a prospect which might make it judge that all that the king had done only from his own inclination, and to acquire the glory of moderation, which at present is the only thing which remains to be gotten, he would at present do it, as it were by force, for fear of the said league ; which appeared,” continues he, "So hard to a prince of the king's humoạr, who prefers his glory to all other considerations, that I could not say any thing more of it. And, indeed, I cannot be sufficiently surprized, considering the prudence of those engaged in this negotiation, that they did not, as it

* Letters and Negotiations, vol. III. p. 525. 8vo. Lond. 1711.

the destruction of that republic, and the

were, bury in the secret articles, as well as the third of the said articles, all that might seem imperiously to. prescribe a law to the king, or the conduct he is to chuse, that if he will not, that they will make him do it by force; as is expressed in the place where it is said, that his majesty shall not any longer use his arms in Flanders, nor even receive the places which would surrender tu hima."-We may well enough therefore believe Voltaire, when he tells us, “ that Lewis XIV, , was filled with indignation to behold such a little state as Holland forming designs to set bounds to his conquests, and be the arbiter of kings: and his indignation was increased, when he found that this little state was able to do this. Such an enterprise of the United Provinces was an outrage he could not bear, though he affected to disregard it: and from that time he meditated revenge 6"."--Agreeably hereunto lord Halifax, who was well acquainted with the affairs of this reign, observes, “that the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was a forc'd put; and though France wisely dissembled their inward dissatisfaction, yet from the very moment they resolved to unty the triple knot whatever it cost them. For his Christian majesty, after his conquering meals, ever rises with a stomach : and he liked the pattern so well, that it gave him a longing desire to have the whole piece. Amongst the other means for the attaining this end, the sending over the duchess of Orleans was not the least powerful. She was a very welcome guest bere; and her own charms and dexterity, joined with other advantages that might help her perswasions, gave her such an ascendant that she could hardly fail

b Age

· Letters and Negotiations, vol. IIl. p. 548. 8vo. Lond. 1711. of Lewis XIV. vol. I. p. 116.

liberties of Europe.

The nation, here

of success. One of the preliminaries of her treaty, though a trivial thing in itself, yet was considerable in the consequence : as very often small circumstances are, in relation to the government of the world, About this time a general humour, in opposition to France, had made us throw off their fashion, and put on vests, that we might look more like a distinct people, and not be under the servility of imitation, which ever pays a greater deference to the original than is consistent with the equality all independent nations should pretend to. France did not like this small beginning of ill humours, at least of emulation; and wisely considering that it is a natural introduction first to make the world their apes, that they may be afterwards their slaves; it was thought that one of the instructions inadam brought along with her, was to laugh us out of these vests : which she performed so effeetually, that in a moment, like so many footmen who had quitted their masters livery, we all took it again, and returned to our old service. So that the very time of doing it gave a very critical advantage to France, since it looked like an evidence of our returning to their interest as well as to their fashion; and would give such a distrust of us to our new allies, that it might facilitate the dissolution of the knot, which tied them so within their bounds that they were very impatient till they were freed from the restraint. But the lady had a more extended commission than this; and, without doubt, she double-laid the foundation of a new strict alliance, quite contrary to the other in which we had been so lately engaged. And of this there were such early appearances, that the world began to look upon us as falling into apostacy from the com

« PreviousContinue »