The treaty of Breda with Holland (21st of July 1667) removed the danger, but not the ignominy, and Charles showed the real baseness of his character when he joined in the popular outcry against Clarendon, the upright and devoted adherent of his father and himself during twenty-five years of misfortune, and drove him into poverty and exile in his old age, recalling ominously Charles I.'s betrayal of Strafford.
When he listened to, or himself took part in, trivial conversations, when he read or heard of human baseness or folly, he was not horrified as formerly, and did not ask himself why men struggled so about these things when all is so transient and incomprehensible--but he remembered her as he had last seen her, and all his doubts vanished--not because she had answered the questions that had haunted him, but because his conception of her transferred him instantly to another, a brighter, realm of spiritual activity in which no one could be justified or guilty--a realm of beauty and love which it was worth living for.
Men went from the west to the east killing their fellow men, and the event was accompanied by phrases about the glory of France, the baseness of England, and so on.
This was an ephemeral success, ill-prepared and obtained by taking a sudden advantage of national sentiment; it was soon followed by a check, owing to a Russian and German coalition and the baseness of Cardinal Fleury, who, in order to avoid intervening, pretended to tremble before an imaginary threat of reprisals on the part of England.
But suddenly instead of those chances and that genius which hitherto had so consistently led him by an uninterrupted series of successes to the predestined goal, an innumerable sequence of inverse chances occur--from the cold in his head at Borodino to the sparks which set Moscow on fire, and the frosts--and instead of genius, stupidity and immeasurable baseness become evident.
Even that final running away, described in ordinary language as the lowest depth of baseness which every child is taught to be ashamed of--even that act finds justification in the historians' language.
Bold, overbearing and unscrupulous, Sinan recoiled from no baseness to put a rival out of the way; while his insolence was not confined to foreign ambassadors, but was exercised towards his opponents in the sultan's presence.
Princess Mary stopped at the porch, still horrified by her spiritual baseness and trying to arrange her thoughts before going to her father.
But at the same time just this aim demands the greatest efforts of us; and so, led astray by pride, losing sight of this aim, we occupy ourselves either with the mystery which in our impurity we are unworthy to receive, or seek the reformation of the human race while ourselves setting an example of baseness and profligacy.
It was founded by plundering expeditions, and its subsequent existence was tainted by the baseness of this predatory origin.