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[17] to make the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean its
chap. I.} 1763.
own close seas, allowed but four and thirty vessels, some of them small ones, to engage in voyages between itself and the Continent of America on the Atlantic side, and all along the Pacific; while but four others plied to and fro between Spain and the West India Isles. Having admirable harbors on every side, and a people on the coasts, especially in Biscay and Catalonia, suited to life at sea, all its fisheries, its coasting trade, its imports and exports, and all its colonies, scarcely employed sixteen thousand sailors. Such were the fruits of commercial monopoly, as illustrated by its greatest example.1

The political relations of Spain were analogous. From a consciousness of weakness it leaned on the alliance with France; and the deep veneration of the Catholic king for the blood of the Bourbons confirmed his attachment to the Family Compact. Besides, like France—and more than France—he had griefs against England. The English, in holding the Rock of Gibraltar, hurled at him a perpetual insult; England encroached on Central America; England encouraged Portugal to extend the bounds of Brazil; England demanded a ransom for the Manillas; England was always in the way, defying, subduing, overawing; sending its ships into forbidden waters; protecting its smugglers; ever ready to seize the Spanish colonies themselves. The court of Spain was so wrapt up in veneration of the kingly power, that by its creed such a monarch of such an empire ought to be invincible; it dreamed of a new and more successful Armada, and

1 From information obtained for the French Government, in the Archives des Affaires Étrangeres.

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