It was during one of her proud and prosperous eras that France began her task of creating an empire beyond the Atlantic. At no time, indeed, was she better equipped for the work. No power of Western Europe since the days of Roman glory had possessed such facilities for conquering and governing new lands. If ever there was a land able and ready to take up the white man's burden it was the France of the seventeenth century.
earing away some vivid and altogether wholesome impressions concerning the essential humanity of this great mediaeval institution. It shares with the Christian Church the honour of having made life worth living in days when all else combined to make it intolerable. It brought at least a semblance of social, economic, and political order out of helpless and hopeless disorganization. It helped Europe slowly to recover from the greatest catastrophe in all her history.
But our little systems have their day, as the poet assures us. They have their day and cease to be. Feudalism had its day, from dawn to twilight a day of picturesque memory. But it did not cease to exist when its day of service was done. Long after the necessity for mutual service and protection had passed away; long after the growth of firm monarchies with powerful standing armies had established the reign of law, the feudal system kept its hold upon the social order in France and elsewhere. The obligation of military service, when no longer ne
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