They had, indeed, continued the time-honoured traditions of Dutch foreign policy which, for generations had guided it, quite irrespective of the political partv
,app6ïe, .t0,be in the majority. Those traditions included. whilst keeping the country, strategicallv speaking, in as good a state of defence against invasion as was compatible with sound finance and with the innaai- a.v"sloIJ °f the Hollanders against militarism, the Mimstry of Foreign Affairs was to avoid all causes of fnction abroad, to surround itself by as high a wall of mystery as Parliamentary government allowed, and above all to avoid joining any of the Great Powers, or their coalitions, irrespective of whether they called themselves alhances or otherwise.
This policy, carried through for generations, had inspired so much confidence, that M. de Beaufort, when he was Mmister for Foreign Affairs, succeeded in obtainine for The Hague the honour of being the seat of the first Peace Conference of 1899, which led to that of 1907 and to the establishment of the International Court of Arbitration; and thus The Hague gradually became a very important centre of diplomacy.
THE PERIOD OF SECURITY.
Whilst in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries Holland had played a role in the world which was out of all proportion to its size or population, and which ultimately landed her in the disasters of the days of Napoleon, from which it took her three full generations to repover, Holland, in the Nineteenth and present centuries had to be, and, indeed, was, quite satisfied with a position to which the device „ne trop hault, ne trop bas" would be truly applicable. To have grasped the broad fact that great aspirations would as surely lead to disaster as before, and that no alliance could possibly shield the country against aggression from the opposite camp, is the merit of the level-headed and clear-headed men who guided the destinies of their country ever since 1830.
From that time until long after the Franco-German War, indeed, Holland's position in Europe did not appear to be fraught with any serious difficulties, for although Prussian ambitions may occasionally have eau-