The steep contrast between the league and the counter-league, between the systems of Philip and Mucio, and that of Elizabeth and Olden-Barneveld, ran through the whole world of thought, action, and life. But still the negociation between Holland and England was a strange one. Holland wished to give herself entirely, and England feared to accept.

The counter-league, which was to do battle so strenuously with the Holy Confederacy, was essentially a maritime league. "All the maritime heretics of the world, since heresy is best suited to navigators, will be banded together," said Champagny, "and then woe to the Spanish Indies, which England and Holland are already threatening."

During these attempts to draw all the Roman Catholic powers into the League, every exertion was made against the counter-league of the Protestants.

It is the counter-league which we must all unite to form, the natural union of the head with all its members."

It was unfortunate that she was not able to rise beyond the vile instincts of the age, and by a magnanimous and sublime toleration, to convert her secret enemies into loyal subjects. And now Henry of Valois was to choose between league and counter-league, between Henry of Guise and Henry of Navarre, between France and Spain.

Now, then, is the time for us, my Lords; while these obstacles are so great for our foes, now is the time for us to form and cement a counter-league between all the princes of Italy. To you, noble Stephen, I have come, as your rank demands, alone, of all the barons of Rome, to propose to you this honourable union. Observe what advantages it proffers to your house.

The great league of the Pope and Philip was steadily consolidating itself, and there were but gloomy prospects for the counter-league in Germany. There was no hope but in England and France. For the reasons already indicated, the Prince of Orange, taking counsel with the Estates, had resolved to try the French policy once more.

Spain and the Pope had trampled upon France, and the populace in her capital clapped their hands and jumped for joy. "Miserable country miserable King," sighed an illustrious patriot, "whom his own countrymen wish rather to survive, than to die to defend him! Let the name of Huguenot and of Papist be never heard of more. Let us think only of the counter-league.

It was unfortunate that she was not able to rise beyond the vile instincts of the age, and by a magnanimous and sublime toleration, to convert her secret enemies into loyal subjects. And now Henry of Valois was to choose between league and counter-league, between Henry of Guise and Henry of Navarre, between France and Spain.

The most formidable of these quarrels arose from a claim of Prussia to annex Saxony and that of Russia to annex Poland; but their union for this purpose was met by a counter-league of England and Austria with their old enemy, France, whose ambassador, Talleyrand, laboured vigorously to bring the question to an issue by force of arms.