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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/283

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QUEEN ANNE.

The equestrian statue, reserved for kings alone, is an excellent figure of royalty: the horse is the people. Only, the horse becomes transfigured by degrees. It begins as an ass; it ends as a lion. Then it throws its rider; and you have 1642 in England and 1789 in France. Sometimes it devours him; and you have 1649 in England, and 1793 in France. That the lion should relapse into the donkey is astonishing; but it is so. This was occurring in England. It had resumed the pack-saddle; namely, idolatry of the crown.

Queen Anne, as we have just observed, was popular. What was she doing to make herself so? Nothing. Nothing!—that is all that is asked of the sovereign of England. He receives for that nothing £1,250,000 a year. In 1705, England, which had had but thirteen men-of-war under Elizabeth and thirty-six under James I., counted a hundred and fifty in her fleet. The English had three armies,—five thousand men in Catalonia, ten thousand in Portugal, fifty thousand in Flanders; and besides, was paying £1,666,666 a year to monarchical and diplomatic Europe,—a sort of prostitute which the English people has always had in keeping. Parliament having voted a patriotic loan of thirty-four million francs of annuities, there had been a rush to the exchequer to subscribe it. England was sending a squadron to the East Indies, and a squadron to the West of Spain under Admiral Leake, without mentioning the reserve of four hundred sail under Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovel. England had lately annexed Scotland. It was the interval between Hochstadt and Ramillies, and the first of these victories was foretelling the second. England, in its cast of the net at Hochstadt, had made prisoners of twenty-seven battalions and four regiments of dragoons, and deprived France of one hundred leagues of country,—France, who was drawing back dismayed