Belgium is neither a series of essays nor a systematic text-book. Chronological sequence is preserved, and practically all important events are recorded in their appointed time, but special stress has been laid on some characteristic features of Belgian civilization and national development which are of general interest and bear on the history of Europe as a whole.
as struggling valiantly all the time against foreign oppression. They laid great stress on Cæsar's words: "Of all the Gauls the Belgians are the bravest," and pictured the popular risings of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in the same light as the 1830 revolution. If we are to believe them, the Belgian people must have been conscious from their origin of their unity. They considered national princes, such as the Burgundian Dukes, in the same light as Philip II or the Austrian Emperors, and, instead of clearing the air, added to the confusion. Their interpretation of history according to the principles of national liberty of the Romantic period could not be taken seriously, and the idea prevailed that, if the Belgian nation was not merely a creation of European diplomacy, its existence could only be confirmed by the future, and rested on but frail foundations in the past.
This idea was strengthened by the knowledge that the country possessed neither strong natural frontiers, like Great Brit