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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

De Choiseul found an echo in the soul of the King of Spain


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The parleys were prolonged, and M. de Choiseul seemed to be resigned to the bitterest pill of concession, when a new actor came upon the scene of negotiation; France no longer stood isolated face to face with triumphant England. The younger branch of the house of Bourbon cast into the scale the weight of its two crowns and the resources of its navy.

The King of Spain, Ferdinand VI., who died on the 10th of August, 1759, had not left any children. His brother, Charles III., King of Naples, had succeeded him. He brought to the throne of Spain a more lively intelligence than that of the deceased king, a great aversion for England, of which he had but lately had cause to complain, and the traditional attachment of his race to the interests and the glory of France. The Duke of Choiseul managed to take skilful advantage of this disposition. At the moment when Mr. Pitt was haughtily rejecting the modest ultimatum of the French minister, the treaty between France and Spain, known by the name of Family Pact, was signed at Paris (August 15, 1761).

Never had closer alliance been concluded between the two courts, even at the time when Louis XIV. placed his grandson upon the throne of Spain. It was that intimate union between all the branches of the house of Bourbon which had but lately been the great king's conception, and which had cost him so many efforts and so

much blood; for the first time it was becoming favorable to France; the noble and patriotic idea of M. de Choiseul found an echo in the soul of the King of Spain; the French navy, ruined and humiliated, the French colonies, threatened and all but lost, found faithful support in the forces of Spain, recruited as they were. by a long peace. The King of the Two Sicilies and the Infante Duke of Parma entered into the offensive and defensive alliance, but it was not open to any other power in Europe to be admitted to this family union, cemented by common interests more potent and more durable than the transitory combinations of policy. In all the ports of Spain ships were preparing to put to sea. Charles III. had undertaken to declare war against the English if peace were not concluded before the 1st of May, 1762. France promised in that case to cede to him the Island of Minorca.

All negotiations with England were broken off; on the 20th of September, Mr. Pitt recalled his ambassador; this was his last act of power and animosity; he at the same time proposed to the council of George III. to include Spain forthwith in the hostilities. Lord Bute opposed this; he was supported by the young king as well as by the majority of the ministers. Pitt at once sent in his resignation, which was accepted. Lord Bute and the Tories came into power. Though more moderate in their intentions, they were as yet urged forward by popular violence, and dared not suddenly alter the


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