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Nothing absolutely binding was said about the left, or west, bank of the Rhine, except that Austria recognized the "constitutional limits" of France, but reaffirmed the integrity of "The Empire." These were contradictory statements; for France had declared the Rhine to be her natural boundary, and the old "Empire" included Belgium, Trèves, and Luxemburg.

But there is no doubt at all that throughout this eventful spring he did his best to concentrate the whole attack on Luxemburg and the Meuse districts, and wished that the movements in the Milanese and in Provence should be considered merely a slight accessory, as not much more than a diversion to the chief design, while Villeroy and his friends chose to consider the Duke of Savoy as the chief element in the war.

He had reached Luxemburg, on the 18th of December of that year, in time, as we have seen, to participate, and, in fact, to take the lead in the signal victory of Gemblours. He had been struck with the fatal change which disappointment and anxiety had wrought upon the beautiful and haughty features of his illustrious kinsman.

The provinces, Namur and Luxemburg, with a part of Artois and of Hainault, had alone the good fortune to escape the contagion of those outrages. In the short period of four or five days four hundred cloisters were plundered in Brabant and Flanders alone. The northern Netherlands were soon seized with the same mania which had raged so violently through the southern.

Precautions were taken by the Prussian Government on the frontier to prevent such abuses occurring in the future, and as no violation of the neutrality of Luxemburg was committed by the Prussians, the neutral co-guarantors were satisfied with the Prussian attitude, and the subject dropped. At the end of the war, M. Thiers vainly attempted to obtain Luxemburg as compensation for the loss of Metz.

His relations with Prussia were indeed of the friendliest character, as is shown by the fact that secret negotiations were at this very time taking place for the cession to Prussia of his hereditary Nassau principalities of Dillenburg, Siegen, Dietz and Hadamar in exchange for the Duchy of Luxemburg.

What if the dockyards of Chatham should again be destroyed? What if the Tower itself should be bombarded? What if the vast wood of masts and yardarms below London Bridge should be in ablaze? Nor was this all. Evil tidings had just arrived from the Low Countries. The allied forces under Waldeck had, in the neighbourhood of Fleurus, encountered the French commanded by the Duke of Luxemburg.

It is necessary here to explain what took place in some detail, for this arbitrary wrenching of Luxemburg from its historical position as an integral part of the Netherlands was to have serious and disconcerting consequences in the near future.

Belgium was not directly interested in it, and, as on former occasions, served as the battleground of foreign armies. In spite of the series of victories won by the French general, the Marshal of Luxemburg, at Fleurus , Steenkerque and Neerwinden , William III always succeeded in reconstituting his army.

As the cost of the new armor and protection for the forts was very great, it was decided to declasser a number of fortresses, among which were Lille, Douai, Arras, Landrecies, Peronne, Vitry-le-Francois, and others. It had already been foreseen that the main German attack would some day be made through Luxemburg and Belgium.

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