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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 279



X.] MODERN STRUGGLES. 273 material power: and self-government made very little way in the world for at least fifteen years after the battle of Waterloo. When the world had rested, when politics began to move again, both these ideas came to the front: the nationality of Greece ; the independence of Belgium, a distinct nationality as regarded the state with which it had been bound up : these were the first notes of the triumph of one idea : the second French Revolution cannot be said to have opened the campaign of self-government, for the revolt of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies had done that; but it was an important contribution to the cause among the old countries of Europe: the German principalities had to hasten the gift of constitutional governments which had been long deferred, and were, even when granted, to a great extent illusory. An uneasy time of peace and repression were the seventeen years that followed : since 1848 the action of the drama has been exciting and unintermitting. France, dissatisfied with her government, threw Europe again into turmoil; again there was a cry of liberty and nationality, again force and legality were equal to the occasion, and society was saved. France sank under a military despotism which subsisted by keeping the world in arms. But the ideas were stronger at each revolution and each struggle. France went to war for the idea when she had nothing else to go to war for ; and, having bound liberty hand and foot at home, proclaimed herself again the apostle of liberty. It was liberty for your friends, humiliation for your enemies, as usual : but the result far outran the intention. After the Crimean War, of which I will not trust myself to speak further than to say that I believe it to have been a profound misunderstanding of the current of the world's progress, a mistake of legality, a miscalculation of force, a τ


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