Montesquieu

The ene­mies of a great prince who rei­gned for so long have accu­sed him a thou­sand times – based rather on their fears, I think, than their rea­so­ning – of having crea­ted and imple­men­ted the pro­ject of uni­ver­sal monar­chy. If he had suc­cee­ded in that, nothing would have been more fatal to Europe, to his for­mer sub­jects, to him­self, and to his family. Heaven, which knows true advan­ta­ges, bet­ter ser­ved him through his defeats than it would have with vic­to­ries. Instead of making him the sole king of Europe, it favo­red him more by making him the most power­ful of all.

His peo­ple, who in foreign coun­tries are never moved except by what they have left behind ; who when they leave home regard glory as the highest good, and in dis­tant coun­tries as an obs­ta­cle to their return ; who put others off even with their good qua­li­ties, because they seem to add dis­dain to them ; who can bear wounds, perils and fati­gue, but not the loss of their plea­su­res ; who love nothing so much as their gaiety, and get over the loss of a bat­tle when they have sung the gene­ral’s praise, would never have made it to the com­ple­tion of an enter­prise that can­not fail in one coun­try without fai­ling in all the others, nor fail for one moment without fai­ling fore­ver.