But the accession of the Stadtholder,1
to the throne of England
was fatal to the political weight of the Netherlands.
From the rival of England
they became her ally, and almost her subordinate; and guided by her policy, they exhausted their means in land forces and barriers against France
, leaving their navy to decline, and their fleets to disappear from the ocean.
Hence arose the factions by which their counsels were distracted and their strength paralysed.
The friends of the Stadtholder, who in 1763 was a boy of fifteen, sided with England
, desired the increase of the army, were averse to expenditures for the navy, and forfeiting the popular favor which they once enjoyed, inclined more and more towards monarchical interests.
The Patriots saw in their weakness at sea a state of dependence on Great Britain
; they cherished a deep sense of the wrongs unatoned for and unavenged, which England
, in the pride of strength, and unmindful of treaties, had in the last war inflicted on their carrying-trade and their flag; they grew less jealous of France
; they opposed the increase of the army—longed to restore the maritime greatness of their country; and including much of the old aristocratic party among the merchants, they were fervid lovers of their country and almost republicans.
The kingdom from which the United Provinces had separated, which Philip the Second had made the citadel of Catholicism—in which Loyola had organized his Society of Jesus as a spiritual army against