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centre and north of Europe, the “Rôles d'Oléron,” the “Guidon de la Mer,” the “ Laws of Wisbuy,” the “ Ordinances of the Hanseatic League,” etc., extended further and further the laws and policy of the Mediterranean. And as intercourse became enlarged, both by land and sea, more especially by the discovery of America in 1492, and, the opening of a sea route to India in 1497, the anti-social spirit once prevailing gradually gave place to more peaceful and mutually helpful relations.
Important events, however, succeeded those magnificent discoveries. From that time dates the extension of the Colonial system, in which Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Great Britain won so many laurels. Soon after came the revolution of the Netherlands, and their rebellion from Spain, with the wars and alliances which their action called forth. And then came, too, the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, which convulsed Europe to its very centre. The Peace of Prague of 1635 had been acceded to by the Elector of Brandenburg and other German Princes, but Sweden rejected it, and it was only after, in conjunction with France, she obtained a victory against the Emperor Ferdinand, that the Peace of Westphalia became possible. By that time the Holy Roman Empire, already on the wane, was infested by the incursion of the Turks in the south, and by insubordination in the north, an insubordination which not even the Golden Bull granted by the Emperor Charles
IV. had succeeded in quelling. England, then suffering under the reign of the Stuarts, was sending forth the Pilgrim Fathers to secure in the American soil that freedom of conscience which was denied to them at home. And France under Louis XIV., and Spain under Philip IV., were alike the seats of intolerance and despotism.
The Peace of Westphalia of 1648, including the Treaty of Münster, the Treaty of Osnabrück, and the Convention of Nuremberg, enlarged the basis of the political system of Europe, by the introduction for the first time of the Northern element in its affairs, by the recognition of the right of every State in Germany to be either Catholic or Protestant, as it might choose, and by the affirmation of the principle of equality among States, whether great or small, before International Law—a provision afterward rendered the more visible by the introduction of permanent embassies. But who were the signatories of these important Treaties ? They were the Emperor of Austria, the Kings of France and Sweden, a number of Electors and Bishops, and the representatives of several free towns. England was no party to them. She had no voice in the political settlement of Europe in the seventeenth century. Russia did not then exist as a political power. Prussia figured only in her embryo condition as the Duchy of Brandenburg. Tested by results, the subversion of the unity of Germany, under the influence of religious animosities, proved a source of weakness, not
of strength to Europe. The cession of Alsace to France * healed only for a time the sore between the two contiguous States, and only partially quelled the feuds which had existed between them ever since the Treaty of Verdun in 843.
8 2. FROM THE PEACE OF WESTPHALIA TO THE
TREATY OF VIENNA, 1815.
After the Treaty of Westphalia, new interests were created, as well as new combinations, and new complications in politics. The aim of France, under the dexterous guidance of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, being to rival if not to excel in political influence the House of Austria, she found in the pretension of a right of succession to the Spanish Kingdom a chance of extending her territorial possessions. That there should be no Pyrenneés was the aim of Louis XIV. in advancing the claim of Philip, Duke of Anjou, his Grandson, to the throne of Spain. But the aggrandizement of a Sovereign so absolute and intolerant could not fail to be regarded with jealousy by
* See" Acte de cession des trois évêchés de Lorraine, de Alsace, de Brisac, et de Pignerol, délivré à la France par l'Empereur et par l’Empire à Munster, le 24 Octobre, 1648;” “Acte de cession de la ville de Brisac, du Langraviat d'Alsace, et de la préfecture des dix villes impériale d'Alsace délivré à la France par l'Empereur et la maison d'Autriche.” These districts included Metz, Toul, Verdun, as well as Strasburg and Bâle. “ Traités, etc., la France et les puis. sances Étrangères, par Chr. Koch,” 1802.
England, which was just emerging from the revolution of 1688; by Holland, which knew what Spanish terrorism had been to herself; by Prussia, which claimed to be the champion of Protestantism; and by Austria, which objected to any extension of French power. A League of these States was thus formed against France, and a war of thirteen years' duration ensued, which ended by the Treaty of Utrecht * of 1713.
The principle asserted by both the Treaties of Westphalia and Utrecht was the balance of power, or the maintenance of a kind of equipoise between States, with a view of resisting an inordinate increase of territory in the hands of any one State, and the uniting together of all States for their common interest in any measures necessary for preventing the
But the very attempt to maintain such a balance of power produced greater evils than it intended to remove.
Nor could it eliminate all the circumstances which might lead to the acquisition by any State of additional territories; for though the Treaty of Utrecht so far deterred the Sovereigns of Europe from attempting, by their own acts, to enlarge
* The Treaty of Utrecht was written in Latin and English, and was concluded by Princess Anne, Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and Prince Louis XIV., the Most Christian King, ander date
March of Utrecht, 11
1713. It contains Letters Patent by
April' the King admitting the renunciation of the King of Spain to the Crown of France, and those of M. the Duke of Berry and of M. the Duke of Orleans to the Crown of Spain. The Treaty is signed by a Public Notary and Writer and by other witnesses.
their sovereignty beyond the limits of their own States, it could not prevent their obtaining accessions of territories from bona fide hereditary rights. Thus, after the death of Charles VI. of Austria, several States claimed, as by right, certain territories, which were alleged to have been bequeathed to Maria Theresa, and that gave rise to another war of succession, settled by the Treaty of Tetschen * of May 13, 1779.
Experience also taught that, limit as we may the right of succession, it will not prevent treaties of alliance being concluded between contiguous States, whereby physical boundaries may be set at nought. In 1761, regardless of all that had been done to establish such a balance of power, a pacte de famille † was concluded between Louis XV. in France and Charles XII. of Spain, uniting all the members of the House of Bourbon in a bond for their mutual protection. Hence, when war arose between Great Britain and France respecting the boundaries of their respective colonies in North America, England found to her surprise that her antagonist was not only France, but Spain also; Charles VII. having, under that pacte de famille, agreed to treat as enemy any Power which should declare war against France, and also to guaran
* At the Congress of Tetschen, Austria was represented by Count de Cobenzell, Prussia by Baron de Riedésel, France as mediating power by Baron de Breteuil, and Russia by Prince de Repnin.
+ Pacte de famille-a treaty of friendship and union between the Kings of France and Spain, signed at Paris, August 15, 1761.