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[270] nor more to be feared for the principal pow-

Chap. XL.} 1769. April.
ers of Europe than the success of the arms and the ambitious projects of Russia. Far from seeking, on such a supposition, the alliance and the friendship of the Empress, it would become their most essential interest to unite to diminish her strength and destroy her preponderance. If the balance of power, that unmeaning word, invented by William the Third, on becoming King of England, to raise all Europe against France, could have a just application, and if this pretended balance of power could be annihilated, it would be by the prodigious increase of the material and moral strength of Russia. She is now laboring to enslave the North; and she will next encroach on the liberty of the South; unless an effective check is seasonably put to her inordinate passion of despotism.

Instead of contributing to the aggrandizement of Russia, the principal courts ought jointly to restrain her ambition and her cupidity, which may in some respects realize the chimerical idea, once attributed to France, of aiming at universal Monarchy.

Choiseul to Du Chatelet, 16 April, 1769.

Thus the rivalry of England and France met at every point; yet how changed were their relations! The Cabinet of France desired to loosen the bonds that shackled trade; that of England to hold them close. France aspired to protect the liberties of Europe against danger from the Russian Monarchy; England encouraged Russia in her conquests, and invited her to become the arbiter for Europe and the world. France desired the independence of all

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