The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783

By A. T. Mahan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
ENGLISH REVOLUTION. -- WAR OF THE LEAGUE OF AUGSBURG, 1688 1697. -- SEA BATTLES OF BEACHY HEAD AND LA HOUGUE.

T HE Peace of Nimeguen was followed by a period of ten years in which no extensive war broke out. They were, however, far from being years of political quiet. Louis XIV. was as intent upon pushing on his frontiers to the eastward in peace as in war, and grasped in quick succession fragments of territory which had not been given him by the peace. Claiming this and that in virtue of ancient feudal ties; this and that other as implicitly surrendered by the treaty, because dependent upon something else that had been explicitly surrendered; purchasing at one time, using bare force in other cases, and backing up all the so-called peaceful methods of obtaining his asserted rights by the presence of armed power, he carried on this process of extension between 1679 and 1682. The aggression most startling to Europe, and above all to the German Empire, was the seizure of the then imperial city of Strasburg on the 30th of September, 1681; and on the same day Casale, in Italy, was sold to him by the Duke of Mantua, showing that his ambitions were directed that way as well as to the north and east. Both of these were positions of great strategic importance, threatening, the one Germany, the other Italy, in case of war.

The excitement throughout Europe was very great; in every direction Louis, serenely trusting to his power, was making new enemies and alienating former friends. The king of Sweden, directly insulted, and injured in his duchy of Deux-Ponts, turned against him, as did the Italian States; and the Pope himself sided with the enemies of a king

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