might was waning. From the time when the races of middle and northern Europe first planted their standards in the New World they have stood toward the Spaniards and Spanish Americans as aggressors. Their blows had to be parried and returned; sometimes they have been returned with good effect, but as a whole the Spanish people have always been on the defensive, fearing, not threatening, conquest.
Yet, though the career of Spain as a conquering power was thus cut short, two pregnant centuries passed by before her children lost any considerable portion of the land which she held when the ships of the English colonists first sighted the shores of America. During the early part of the seventeenth century the Atlantic coast from Acadia to Florida became dotted with the settlements of half a dozen different European nations. At irregular intervals along this extended seaboard the French, the English, the Dutch, the Swedes, as well as the Spaniards, built little forts and established small trading-towns. When the English had fairly begun to take root in New England and Virginia, the Dutch still held the Hudson, and the Swedes the mouth of the Delaware; Acadia was still French, and Florida Spanish. It was altogether uncertain which one of these races would prove victor over the others, or whether any one would. There was at least a