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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/233

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ination had been established under two forms, Victory and Commerce. On the 10th of August, 1653, the man of thirty-three victories,—the old Admiral who called himself the sailors' grandfather, Martin Happertz Tromp, who had beaten the Spanish,—was defeated by the English fleet. The Atlantic had been cleared of the Spanish navy, the Pacific of the Dutch, the Mediterranean of the Venetian; and by the Navigation Act, England had taken possession of the sea-coast of the world. Through the ocean she commanded the world. At sea the Dutch flag humbly saluted the British flag; France, in the person of the Ambassador Mancini, bent the knee to Oliver Cromwell; and Cromwell played with Calais and Dunkirk as with two shuttlecocks on a battledore. The continent had been taught to tremble, peace had been dictated, war declared, the British Ensign raised on every pinnacle. A single regiment of the Protector's. Ironsides excited as much terror in Europe as an entire army. Cromwell used to say, "I mean the Republic of England to be respected, as the Republic of Rome was respected." Delusions were no longer held sacred; speech was free, the press was free. In the public street men said what they listed; they printed what they pleased without control or censorship. The equilibrium of thrones had been destroyed. The whole order of European monarchy, of which the Stuarts formed a link, had been overturned.

But at last England had escaped from this odious order of things, and had won forgiveness for it. The indulgent Charles II. had issued the proclamation of Breda; he had kindly consented to ignore the period of English history in which the son of the Huntingdon brewer placed his foot on the neck of Louis XIV. England said its meâ culpâ, and breathed again. The cup of joy was, as we have just said, full; gibbets for the regi-