Item of the Day: The Age of Louis XIV (1780)

Full Title: The Age of Louis XIV. To which is added, AN Abstract of the Age of Louis XV. Translated from the Last Geneva Edition of M. De Voltaire, with notes, critical and explanatory, by R. Griffith, Esq. Vol. II. London: Printed for Fielding and Walker, Paternoster-Row. 1780.

Chap. XVII. The memorable war for the succession of the Monarchy of Spain. Conduct of the Ministers and Generals till the year 1703.

To William III succeeded the Princess Anne, daughter to King James by the daughter of Counsellor Hyde, afterward Chancellor, and one of the principal [sic] men of the kingdom. She was married to the Prince of Denmark, who ranked but as the first subject of the realm. As soon as she came to the crown, she adopted all the measures of King William, though she had been at open variance with him during his life. These measures were those of the nation. In other kingdoms, a Prince obliges his people to enter implicitly into all his schemes; but in England a King must enter into those of his people.

The dispositions made by England and Holland for placing if possible, the Archduke Charles, son to the Emperor, on the throne of Spain, or at least to oppose the the establishment of the Bourbon family, merits, perhaps, the attention of all ages.

The Dutch on their part were to keep an army of one hundred and two thousand men in pay, either in garrison or in the field. This was much more than the whole Spanish monarchy could furnish at that time. A province of merchants, who, thirty years before, had been almost totally subdued in the space of two months, could now do more than the matters of Spain, Naples, Flanders, Peru, and Mexico. England promised to furnish forty thousand men, besides its fleets. It happens in most alliances, that, in the continuance of them, the parties concerned fall short of their stipulations; but England, on the contrary, furnished fifty thousand men, the second year instead of forty; and, towards the latter part of the war, kept in pay, on the frontiers of France, in Spain, Italy, Ireland, America, and on board her fleet, near two hundred thousand fighting men, soldiers and sailors, partly her own troops, partly those of her allies; an expence [sic] almost incredible to those who reflect, that England, properly so called, is not above one third so large as France, and has not one-half of the current coin; but which will appear probable in the eyes of those who know what commerce and credit can do. The English always bore the greatest share of the burthen [sic] in this alliance, while the Dutch insensibly lessened theirs: for, after all, the Republic of the States-General is only an illustrious trading company; whereas England is a fertile country, a commercial and a warlike nation.

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Filed under 1780's, Commerce, England, Europe, France, History, Military, Posted by Matthew Williams

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