oticed, a fact, and a cardinal fact, that since the fifteenth century British ambitions have not been directed to extending empire over the continent of Europe. On the contrary, we have resisted by arms every attempt made by other Powers in that direction. That is what we have meant by maintaining the "balance of power." We have acted, no doubt, in our own interest, or in what we thought to be such; but in doing so we have made ourselves the champions of those European nations that have been threatened by the excessive power of their neighbours. British imperialism has thus, for four centuries, not endangered but guaranteed the independence of the European States. Further, our Empire is so large that we can hardly extend it without danger of being unable to administer and protect it. We claim, therefore, that we have neither the need nor the desire to wage wars of conquest. But we ought not to be surprised if this attitude is not accepted without reserve by other nations. For during the last half-century we h
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