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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

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no serious result. The Spaniards had become masters of the kingdom of
Naples and of nearly all Sicily; the Austrians had fallen back on the
Tyrol, keeping a garrison at Mantua only. The Duke of Noailles, then at
the head of the army, was preparing for the siege of the place, in order
to achieve that deliverance of Italy which was as early as then the dream
of France, but the King of Sardinia and the Queen of Spain were already
disputing for Mantua; the Sardinian troops withdrew, and it was in the
midst of his forced inactivity that the Duke of Noailles heard of the
armistice signed in Germany. Cardinal Fleury, weary of the war which he
had entered upon with regret, disquieted too at the new complications
which he foresaw in Europe, had already commenced negotiations; the
preliminaries were signed at Vienna in the month of October, 1735.

The conditions of the treaty astonished Europe. Cardinal Fleury had
renounced the ambitious idea suggested to him by Chauvelin; he no longer
aspired to impose upon the emperor the complete emancipation of Italy,
but he made such disposition as he pleased of the states there, and
reconstituted the territories according to his fancy. The kingdom of
Naples and the Two Sicilies were secured to Don Carlos, who renounced
Tuscany and the duchies of Parma and Piacenza. These three
principalities were to form the appanage of Duke Francis of Lorraine,
betrothed to the Archduchess Maria Theresa. There it was that France was
to find her share of the spoil; in exchange for the dominions formed for
him in Italy, Duke Francis ceded the duchies of Lorraine and Bar to King
Stanislaus; the latter formally renounced the throne of Poland, at the
same time preserving the title of king, and resuming possession of his
property; after him, Lorraine and the Barrois were to be united to the
crown of France, as dower and heritage of that queen who had been but
lately raised to the throne by a base intrigue, and who thus secured to
her new country a province so often taken and retaken, an object of so
many treaties and negotiations, and thenceforth so tenderly cherished by
France.

The negotiations had been protracted. England, stranger as she had been
to the war, had taken part in the diplomatic proposals. The Queen of
Spain had wanted to keep the states in the north of Italy, as well as
those in the south. "Shall I not have a new heir given me by and by? "
said the Duke of Tuscany, John Gaston de Medici, last and unworthy scion
of that illustrious family, who was dying without posterity. "Which is
the third child that France and the empire mean to father upon me?"
The King of Sardinia gained only Novara and Tortona, whilst the emperor
recovered Milaness. France renounced all her conquests in Germany; she
guaranteed the Pragmatic-Sanction. Russia evacuated Poland: peace seemed
to be firmly established in Europe. Cardinal Fleury hasted to
consolidate it, by removing from power the ambitious and daring
politician whose influence he dreaded. "Chauvelin had juggled the war
from Fleury," said the Prince of Prussia, afterwards the great Frederick;
"Fleury in turn juggles peace and the ministry from him."

"It must be admitted," wrote M. d'Argenson, "that the situation of
Cardinal Fleury and the keeper of the seals towards one another is a
singular one just now. The cardinal, disinterested, sympathetic, with
upright views, doing nothing save from excess of importunity, and
measuring his compliance by the number, and not the weight, of the said
importunities,--the minister, I say, considers himself bound to fill his
place as long as he is in this world. It is only as his own creature
that he has given so much advancement to the keeper of the seals,
considering him wholly his, good, amiable, and of solid merit, without
the aid of any intrigue; and so his adjunction to the premier minister
has made the keeper of the seals a butt for all the ministers. He has
taken upon himself all refusals, and left to the cardinal the honor of
all benefits and graces; he has, transported himself in imagination to
the time when he would be sole governor, and he would have had affairs
set, in advance, upon the footing on which he calculated upon placing
them. It must be admitted, as regards that, that he has ideas too lofty
and grand for the state; he would like to set Europe by the ears, as the
great ministers did; he is accused of resembling M. de Louvois, to whom
he is related. Now the cardinal is of a character the very opposite to
that of this adjunct of his. M. Chauvelin has embarked him upon many
great enterprises, upon that of the late war, amongst others; but
scarcely is his Eminence embarked, by means of some passion that is
worked upon, when the chill returns, and the desire of getting out of the
business becomes another passion with him. Altogether, I see no great
harm in the keeper of the seals being no longer minister, for I do not
like any but a homely (_bourgeoise_) policy, whereby one lives on good
terms with one's neighbors, and whereby one is merely their arbiter, for
the sake of working a good long while and continuously at the task of
perfecting the home affairs of the kingdom, and rendering Frenchmen
happy."

M. d'Argenson made no mistake; the era of a great foreign policy had
passed away for France. A king, who was frivolous and indifferent to his
business as well as to his glory; a minister aged, economizing, and
timid; an ambitious few, with views more bold than discreet,--such were
henceforth the instruments at the disposal of France; the resources were
insufficient for the internal government; the peace of Vienna and the
annexation of Lorraine were the last important successes of external
policy. Chauvelin had the honor of connecting his name therewith before
disappearing forever in his retreat at Grosbois, to expend his life in
vain regrets for lost power, and in vain attempts to recover it.

Peace reigned in Europe, and Cardinal Fleury governed France without
rival and without opposition. He had but lately, like Richelieu, to
whom, however, he did not care to be compared, triumphed over
parliamentary revolt. Jealous of their ancient, traditional rights, the
Parliament claimed to share with the government the care of watching over
the conduct of the clergy. It was on that ground that they had rejected
the introduction of the Legend of, Gregory VII., recently canonized at
Rome, and had sought to mix themselves up in the religious disputes
excited just then by the pretended miracles wrought at the tomb of Deacon
Paris, a pious and modest Jansenist, who had lately died in the odor of
sanctity in the parish of St. Medard. The cardinal had ordered the
cemetery to be closed, in order to cut short the strange spectacles
presented by the convulsionists; and, to break down the opposition of
Parliament, the king had ordered, at a bed of justice, the registration
of all the papal bulls succeeding the Unigenitus. In vain had
D'Aguesseau, reappointed to the chancellorship, exhorted the Parliament
to yield: he had fallen in public esteem. Abbe Pernelle, ecclesiastical
councillor, as distinguished for his talent as for his courage, proposed
a solemn declaration, analogous, at bottom, to the maxims of the Gallican
church, which had been drawn up by Bossuet, in the assembly of the clergy
of France. The decision of the Parliament was quashed by the council.
An order from the king, forbidding discussion, was brought to the court
by Count Maurepas; its contents were divined, and Parliament refused to
open it. The king iterated his injunctions. "If his Majesty were at the
Louvre," cried Abbe Pernelle, "it would be the court's duty to go and let
him know how his orders are executed." "Marly is not so very far!"
shouted a young appeal-court councillor (_aux enquetes_) eagerly. "To
Marly! To Marly!" at once repeated the whole chamber. The old
councillors themselves murmured between their teeth, "To Marly!"
Fourteen carriages conveyed to Marly fifty magistrates, headed by the
presidents. The king refused to receive them; in vain the premier
president insisted upon it, to Cardinal Fleury; the monarch and his
Parliament remained equally obstinate. "What a sad position!" exclaimed
Abbe Pernelle, "not to be able to fulfil one's duties without falling
into the crime of disobedience! We speak, and we are forbidden a word;
we deliberate, and we are threatened. What remains for us, then, in this
deplorable position, but to represent to the king the impossibility of
existing under form of Parliament, without having permission to speak;
the impossibility, by consequence, of continuing our functions?" Abbe
Pernelle was carried off in the night, and confined in the abbey of
Corbigny, in Nivernais, of which he was titular head. Other councillors
were arrested; a hundred and fifty magistrates immediately gave in their
resignation. Rising in the middle of the assembly, they went out two and
two, dressed in their long scarlet robes, and threaded the crowd in
silence. There was a shout as they went, "There go true Romans, and
fathers of their country!" "All those who saw this procession," says
the advocate Barbier, "declare that it was something august and
overpowering." The government did not accept the resignations; the
struggle continued. A hundred and thirty-nine members received letters
under the king's seal (_lettres de cachet_), exiling them to the four
quarters of France. The Grand Chamber had been spared; the old
councillors, alone remaining, enregistered purely and simply the
declarations of the keeper of the seals. Once more the Parliament was
subdued; it had testified its complete political impotence. The iron
hand of Richelieu, the perfect address of Mazarin, were no longer
necessary to silence it; the prudent moderation, the reserved frigidity,
of Cardinal Fleury had sufficed for the purpose. "The minister,
victorious over the Parliament, had become the arbiter of Europe," said
Frederick II., in his _History of my Time_. The standard of
intelligences and of wills had everywhere sunk down to the level of the
government of France. Unhappily, the day was coming when the thrones of
Europe were about to be occupied by stronger and more expanded minds,
whilst France was passing slowly from the hands of a more than
octogenarian minister into those of a voluptuous monarch, governed by his
courtiers and his favorites. Frederick II., Maria Theresa, Lord Chatham,
Catherine II., were about to appear upon the scene; the French had none
to oppose them but Cardinal Fleury with one foot in the grave, and, after
him, King Louis XV. and Madame de Pompadour.

It was amidst this state of things that the death of the Emperor Charles
VI., on the 20th of October, 1740, occurred, to throw Europe into a new
ferment of discord and war. Maria Theresa, the emperor's eldest
daughter, was twenty-three years old, beautiful, virtuous, and of a lofty
and resolute character; her rights to the paternal heritage had been
guaranteed by all Europe. Europe, however, soon rose, almost in its
entirety, to oppose them. The Elector of Bavaria claimed the domains of
the house of Austria, by virtue of a will of Ferdinand I., father of
Charles V. The King of Poland urged the rights of his wife, daughter of
the Emperor Joseph I. Spain put forth her claims to Hungary and Bohemia,
appanage of the elder branch of the house of Austria. Sardinia desired
her share in Italy. Prussia had a new sovereign, who spoke but little,
but was the first to act.

Kept for a long while by his father in cruel captivity, always carefully
held aloof from affairs, and, to pass the time, obliged to engage in
literature and science, Frederick II. had ascended the throne in August,
1740, with the reputation of a mind cultivated, liberal, and accessible
to noble ideas. Voltaire, with whom he had become connected, had
trumpeted his praises everywhere. The first act of the new king revealed
qualities of which Voltaire had no conception. On the 23d of December,
after leaving a masked ball, he started post-haste for the frontier
of Silesia, where he had collected thirty thousand men. Without
preliminary notice, without declaration of war, he at once entered the
Austrian territory, which was scantily defended by three thousand men and
a few garrisons. Before the end of January, 1741, the Prussians were
masters of Silesia. "I am going, I fancy, to play your game," Frederick
had said, as he set off, to the French ambassador: "if the aces come to
me we will share."

Meanwhile France, as well as the majority of the other nations, had
recognized the young Queen of Hungary. She had been proclaimed at Vienna
on the 7th of November, 1740; all her father's states had sworn alliance
and homage to her. She had consented to take to the Hungarians the old
oath of King Andreas II., which had been constantly refused by the house
of Hapsburg: "If I, or any of my successors, at any time whatsoever,
would infringe your privileges, be it permitted you, by virtue of this
promise, you and your descendants, to defend yourselves, without being
liable to be treated as rebels."

When Frederick II., encamped in the midst of the conquered provinces,
made a proposal to Maria Theresa to cede him Lower Silesia, to which his
ancestors had always raised pretensions, assuring her, in return, of his
amity and support, the young queen, deeply offended, replied haughtily
that she defended her subjects, she did not sell them. At the same time
an Austrian army was advancing against the King of Prussia; it was
commanded by Count Neipperg. The encounter took place at Molwitz, on the
banks of the Neiss. For one instant Frederick, carried along by his
routed cavalry, thought the battle was lost, and his first step towards
glory an unlucky business. The infantry, formed by the aged Prince of
Anhalt, and commanded by Marshal Schwerin, late comrade of Charles XII.,
restored the fortune of battle; the Austrians had retired in disorder.
Europe gave the King of Prussia credit for this first success, due
especially to the excellent organization of his father's troops. "Each
battalion," says Frederick, "was a walking battery, whose quickness in
loading tripled their fire, which gave the Prussians the advantage of
three to one."

Meanwhile, in addition to the heritage of the house of Austria, thus
attacked and encroached upon, there was the question of the Empire. Two
claimants appeared: Duke Francis of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's husband,
whom she had appointed regent of her dominions, and the Elector of
Bavaria, grandson of Louis XIV.'s faithful ally, the only Catholic
amongst the lay electors of the empire, who was only waiting for the
signal from France to act, in his turn, against the Queen of Hungary.

Cardinal Fleury s intentions remained as yet vague and secret. Naturally
and stubbornly pacific as he was, he felt himself bound by the
confirmation of the Pragmatic-Sanction, lately renewed, at the time of
the treaty of Vienna. The king affected indifference. "Whom are you for
making emperor, Souvre?" he asked one of his courtiers. "Faith, sir,"
answered the marquis, "I trouble myself very little about it; but if your
Majesty pleased, you might tell us more about it than anybody." "No,"
said the king; "I shall have nothing to do with it; I shall look on from
Mont-Pagnotte" (a post of observation out of cannon-shot). "Ah, sir,"
replied Souvre, "your Majesty will be very cold there, and very ill
lodged." " How so?" said the king. "Sir," replied Souvre, because your
ancestors never had any house built there." "A very pretty answer," adds
the advocate Barbier; "and as regards the question, nothing can be made
of it, because the king is mighty close."

A powerful intrigue was urging the king to war. Cardinal Fleury,
prudent, economizing, timid as he was, had taken a liking for a man of
adventurous, and sometimes chimerical spirit. "Count Belle-Isle,
grandson of Fouquet," says M. d'Argenson, "had more wit than judgment,
and more fire than force; but he aimed very high." He dreamed of
revising the map of Europe, and of forming a zone of small states,
destined to protect France against the designs of Austria. Louis XV.
pretended to nothing, demanded nothing for the price of his assistance;
but France had been united from time immemorial to Bavaria: she was bound
to raise the elector to the imperial throne. If it happened afterwards,
in the dismemberment of the Austrian dominions, that the Low Countries
fell to the share of France, it was the natural sequel of past conquests
of Flanders, Lorraine, and the Three Bishoprics. Count Belle-Isle did
not disturb with his dreams the calm of the aged cardinal; he was modest
in his military aspirations. The French navy was ruined, the king had
hardly twenty vessels to send to sea; that mattered little, as England
and Holland took no part in the contest; Austria was not a maritime
power; Spain joined with France to support the elector. A body of forty
thousand men was put under the orders of that prince, who received the
title of lieutenant-general of the armies of the King of France. Louis
XV. acted only in the capacity of Bavaria's ally and auxiliary.
Meanwhile Marshal Belle-Isle, the King's ambassador and plenipotentiary
in Germany, had just signed a treaty with Frederick II., guaranteeing to
that monarch Lower Silesia. At the same time, a second French army,
under the orders of Marshal Maillebois, entered Germany; Saxony and
Poland came into the coalition. The King of England, George II.,
faithful to the Pragmatic-Sanction, hurrying over to Hanover to raise
troops there, found himself threatened by Maillebois, and signed a treaty
of neutrality. The elector had been proclaimed, at Lintz, Archduke of
Austria nowhere did the Franco-Bavarian army encounter any obstacle. The
King of Prussia was occupying Moravia; Upper and Lower Austria had been
conquered without a blow, and by this time the forces of the enemy were
threatening Vienna. The success of the invasion was like a dream; but
the elector had not the wit to profit by the good fortune which was
offered him. On the point of entering the capital abandoned by Maria
Theresa, he fell back, and marched towards Bohemia; the gates of
Prague did not open like those of Passau or of Lintz; it had to be
besieged. The Grand-duke of Tuscany was advancing to the relief of the
town; it was determined to deliver the assault.

Count Maurice of Saxony, natural son of the late King of Poland, the most
able and ere long the most illustrious of the generals in the service of
France, had opposed the retrograde movement towards Bohemia. In front of
Prague, he sent for Chevert, lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of
Beauce, of humble origin, but destined to rise by his courage and merit
to the highest rank in the army; the two officers made a reconnoissance;
the moment and the point of attack were chosen. At the approach of night
on the 25th of November, 1741, Chevert called up a grenadier. "Thou
seest yonder sentry?" said he to the soldier. "Yes, colonel." "He will
shout to thee, 'Who goes there?'" "Yes, colonel." "He will fire upon
thee and miss thee." "Yes, colonel." "Thou'lt kill him, and I shall be
at thy heels." The grenadier salutes, and mounts up to the assault; the
body of the sentry had scarcely begun to roll over the rampart when
Colonel Chevert followed the soldier; the eldest son of Marshal Broglie
was behind him.

Fifty men had escaladed the wall before the alarm spread through the
town; a gate was soon burst to permit the entrance of Count Maurice with
a body of cavalry. Next day the elector was crowned as King of Bohemia;
on the 13th of January, 1742, he was proclaimed emperor, under the name
of Charles VII.

A few weeks had sufficed to crown the success; less time sufficed to undo
it. On flying from Vienna, Maria Theresa had sought refuge in Hungary;
the assembly of the Estates held a meeting at Presburg; there she
appeared, dressed in mourning, holding in her arms her son, scarce six
months old. Already she had known how to attach the magnates to her by
the confidence she had shown them; she held out to them her child; "I am
abandoned of my friends," said she in Latin, a language still in use in
Hungary amongst the upper classes; "I am pursued by my enemies, attacked
by my relatives; I have no hope but in your fidelity and courage; we--my
son and I--look to you for our safety."

The palatines scarcely gave the queen time to finish; already the sabres
were out of the sheaths and flashing above their heads. Count Bathyany
was the first to shout, "_Moriamur pro rege nostro Maria Theresa!" The
same shout was repeated everywhere; Maria Theresa, restraining her tears,
thanked her defenders with gesture and voice; she was expecting a second
child before long. "I know not," she wrote to her mother-in-law, the
Duchess of Lorraine, "if I shall have a town left to be confined in."

[Illustration: "Moriamur pro rege nostro."----142]

Hungary rose, like one man, to protect her sovereign against the excess
of her misfortunes; the same spirit spread before long through the
Austrian provinces; bodies of irregulars, savage and cruel, formed at
all points, attacking and massacring the French detachments they
encountered,--and giving to the war a character of ferocity which
displayed itself with special excess against Bavaria. Count Segur,
besieged in Lintz, was obliged to capitulate on the 26th of January, and
the day after the Elector of Bavaria had received the imperial crown at
Frankfurt, February 12, 1742--the Austrians, under the orders of General
Khevenhuller, obtained possession of Munich, which was given up to
pillage. Jokes then began to fly about in Paris at the expense of the
emperor who had just been made after an interregnum of more than a year.
"The thing in the world which it is perceived that one can most easily do
without," said Voltaire, "is an emperor." "As Paris is always crammed
with a number of Austrians in heart who are charmed at the sad events,"
writes the advocate Barbier, "they have put in the Bastille some
indiscreet individuals who said in open cafe that the emperor was John
Lackland, and that a room would have to be fitted up for him at
Vincennes. In point of fact, he remains at Frankfurt, and it would be
very hard for him to go elsewhere in safety."

Meanwhile England had renounced her neutrality; the general feeling of
the nation prevailed over the prudent and farsighted ability of Robert
Walpole; he succumbed, after his long ministry, full of honors and
riches; the government had passed into warlike hands. The women of
society, headed by the Duchess of Marlborough, raised a subscription of
one hundred thousand pounds, which they offered unsuccessfully to the
haughty Maria Theresa. Parliament voted more effectual aid, and English
diplomacy adroitly detached the King of Sardinia from the allies whom
success appeared to be abandoning. The King of Prussia had just gained
at Czezlaw an important victory; next day, he was negotiating with the
Queen of Hungary. On the 11th of June the treaty which abandoned Silesia
to Frederick II. was secretly concluded; when the signatures were
exchanged at Berlin in the following month, the withdrawal of Prussia was
everywhere known in Europe. "This is the method introduced and accepted
amongst the allies: to separate and do a better stroke of business by
being the first to make terms," writes M. d'Argenson on 30th June; "it
used not to be so. The English were the first to separate from the great
alliance in 1711, and they derive great advantages from it; we followed
this terrible example in 1735, and got Lorraine by it; lastly, here is
the King of Prussia, but under much more odious circumstances, since he
leaves us in a terrible scrape, our armies, in the middle of Germany,
beaten and famine-stricken; the emperor, despoiled of his hereditary
dominions and his estates likewise in danger. All is at the mercy of the
maritime powers, who have pushed things to the extremity we see; and we,
France, who were alone capable of resisting such a torrent at this date--
here be we exhausted, and not in a condition to check these rogueries and
this power, even by uniting ourselves the most closely with Spain. Let
be, let us meddle no more; it is the greatest service we can render at
this date to our allies of Germany."

Cardinal Fleury had not waited for confirmation of the King of Prussia's
defection to seek likewise to negotiate; Marshal Belle-Isle had been
intrusted with this business, and, at the same time with a letter
addressed by the cardinal--to Field-Marshal Konigseck. The minister was
old, timid, displeased, disquieted at the war which he had been surprised
into; he made his excuses to the Austrian negotiator and delivered his
plenipotentiary into his hands at the very outset. "Many people know,"
said he, "how opposed I was to the resolutions we adopted, and that I was
in some sort compelled to agree to them. Your Excellency is too well
informed of all that passes not to divine who it was who set everything
in motion for deciding the king to enter into a league which was so
contrary to my inclinations and to my principles."

For sole answer, Maria Theresa had the cardinal's letter published. At
Utrecht, after the unparalleled disasters which were overwhelming the
kingdom, and in spite of the concessions they had been ordered to offer,
the tone of Louis XIV.'s plenipotentiaries was more dignified and prouder
than that of the enfeebled old man who had so long governed France by
dint of moderation, discretion, and patient inertness. The allies of
France were disquieted and her foes emboldened. Marshal Belle-Isle, shut
up in Prague, and Marshal Broglie, encamped near the town, remaining
isolated in a hostile country, hemmed in on all sides by a savage foe,
maintaining order with difficulty within the fortress itself.

"Marshal Broglie is encamped under the guns of Prague," says Barbier's
journal: "his camp is spoken of as a masterpiece. As there is reason to
be shy of the inhabitants, who are for the Queen of Hungary, a battery
has been trained upon Prague, the garrison camps upon the ramparts, and
Marshal Belle-Isle patrols every night."

Marshal Maillebois was at Dusseldorf, commissioned to observe the
Hollanders and protect Westphalia; he received orders to join Marshals
Broglie and Belle-Isle. "It is the army of redemption for the captives,"
was the saying at Paris. At the same time that the marshal was setting
out for Prague, Cardinal Fleury sent him the following instructions:
"Engage in no battle of which the issue may be doubtful." All the
defiles of Bohemia were carefully guarded; Maillebois first retired on
Egra, then he carried his arms into Bavaria, where Marshal Broglie came
to relieve him of his command. Marshal Belle-Isle remained with the sole
charge of the defence of Prague; he was frequently harassed by the
Austrians; his troops were exhausted with cold and privation. During the
night between the 16th and 17th of December, 1742, the marshal sallied
from the town. "I stole a march of twenty-four hours good on Prince
Lobkowitz, who was only five leagues from me," wrote Belle-Isle, on
accomplishing his retreat; "I pierced his quarters, and I traversed ten
leagues of plain, having to plod along with eleven thousand foot and
three thousand two hundred and fifty worn-out horses, M. de Lobkowitz
having eight thousand good horses and twelve thousand infantry. I made
such despatch that I arrived at the defiles before he could come up with
me. I concealed from him the road I had resolved to take, for he had
ordered the occupation of all the defiles and the destruction of all the
bridges there are on the two main roads leading from Prague to Egra. I
took one which pierces between the two others, where I found no obstacles
but those of nature, and, at last, I arrived on the tenth day, without a
check, though continually harassed by hussars in front, rear, and flank."
The hospitals at Egra were choke full of sick soldiers; twelve nights
passed on the snow without blankets or cloaks had cost the lives of many
men; a great number never recovered more than a lingering existence.
Amongst them there was, in the king's regiment of infantry, a young
officer, M. de Vauvenargues, who expired at thirty-two years of age, soon
after his return to his country, leaving amongst those who had known him
a feeling that a great loss had been suffered by France and human
intellect.

Chevert still occupied Prague, with six thousand sick or wounded; the
Prince of Lorraine had invested the place and summoned it to surrender at
discretion. "Tell your general;" replied Chevert to the Austrian sent to
parley, "that, if he will not grant me the honors of war, I will fire the
four corners of Prague, and bury myself under its ruins." He obtained
what he asked for, and went to rejoin Marshal Belle-Isle at Egra. People
compared the retreat from Prague to the Retreat of the Ten Thousand; but
the truth came out for all the fictions of flattery and national pride.
A hundred thousand Frenchmen had entered Germany at the outset of the
war; at the commencement of the year 1743, thirty-five thousand soldiers,
mustered in Bavaria, were nearly all that remained to withstand the
increasing efforts of the Austrians.

Marshal Belle-Isle was coldly received at Paris. "He is much
inconvenienced by a sciatica," writes the advocate Barbier, "and cannot
walk but with the assistance of two men. He comes back with grand
decorations: prince of the empire, knight of the Golden Fleece, blue
riband, marshal of France, and duke. He is held accountable, however,
for all the misfortunes that have happened to us; it was spread about at
Paris that he was disgraced and even exiled to his estate at Vernon, near
Gisors. It is true, nevertheless, that he has several times done
business with the king, whether in M. Amelot's presence, on foreign
affairs, or M. d'Aguesseau's, on military; but this restless and
ambitious spirit is feared by the ministers."

Almost at the very moment when the Austrians were occupying Prague and
Bohemia, Cardinal Fleury was expiring, at Versailles, at the age of
ninety. Madame Marshal Noailles, mother of the present marshal, who is
at least eighty-seven, but is all alive, runs about Paris and writes all
day, sent to inquire after him. He sent answer to her, "that she was
cleverer than he--she managed to live; as for him, he was ceasing to
exist. In fact, it is the case of a candle going out, and being a long
while about it. Many people are awaiting this result, and all the court
will be starting at his very ghost, a week after he has been buried."
[_Journal de Barbier,_ t. ii. p. 348.]

Cardinal Fleury had lived too long: the trials of the last years of his
life had been beyond the bodily and mental strength of an old man
elevated for the first time to power at an age when it is generally seen
slipping from the hands of the most energetic. Naturally gentle,
moderate, discreet, though stubborn and persevering in his views, he had
not an idea of conceiving and practising a great policy. France was
indebted to him for a long period of mediocre and dull prosperity, which
was preferable to the evils that had for so long oppressed her, but as
for which she was to cherish no remembrance and no gratitude, when new
misfortunes came bursting upon her.

Both court and nation hurled the same reproach at Cardinal Fleury; he
alone prevented the king from governing, and turned his attention from
affairs, partly from jealousy, and partly from the old habit acquired as
a preceptor, who can never see a man in one who has been his pupil. When
the old man died at last, as M. d'Argenson cruelly puts it, France turned
her eyes towards Louis XV. "The cardinal is dead: hurrah! for the king!"
was the cry amongst the people. The monarch himself felt as if he were
emancipated. "Gentlemen, here am I--premier minister!" said he to his
most intimate courtiers. "When MM. de Maurepas and Amelot went to
announce to him this death, it is said that he was at first overcome, and
that when he had recovered himself, he told them that hitherto he had
availed himself of Cardinal Fleury's counsels; but he relied upon it that
they would so act, that they would not need to place any one between them
and him. If this answer is faithfully reported," adds the advocate
Barbier, "it is sufficiently in the high style to let it be understood
that there will be no more any premier minister, or at any rate any body
exercising the functions thereof."

For some time previously, in view of the great age and rapid enfeeblement
of Cardinal Fleury, Marshal Noailles, ever able and far-sighted, had been
pressing Louis XV. to take into his own hands the direction of his
affairs. Having the command on the frontier of the Low Countries, he had
adopted the practice of writing directly to the king. "Until it may
please your Majesty to let me know your intentions and your will," said
the marshal at the outset of his correspondence, "confining myself solely
to what relates to the frontier on which you have given me the command, I
shall speak with frankness and freedom about the object confided to my
care, and shall hold my peace as regards the rest. If you, Sir, desire
the silence to be broken, it is for you to order it." For the first time
Louis XV. seemed to awake from the midst of that life of intellectual
lethargy and physical activity which he allowed to glide along, without a
thought, between the pleasures of the chase and the amusements invented
by his favorite; a remembrance of Louis XIV. came across his mind,
naturally acute and judicious as it was. "The late king, my great-
grandfather," he writes to Marshal Noailles on the 26th of November,
1743, "whom I desire to imitate as much as I can, recommended me, on his
death-bed, to take counsel in all things, and to seek out the best, so as
always to follow it. I shall be charmed, then, if you will give me some;
thus do I open your mouth, as the pope does the cardinals, and I permit
you to say to me what your zeal and your affection for me and my kingdom
prompt you." The first fruit of this correspondence was the entrance of
Marshal Noailles into the Council.

[Illustration: Louis XV. and his Councillors----148]

"One day as he was, in the capacity of simple courtier, escorting the
king, who was on his way to the Council, his Majesty said to him,
"Marshal, come in; we are going to hold a council," and pointed to a
place at his left, Cardinal Tencin being on his right. "This new
minister does not please our secretaries of state. He is a troublesome
inspector set over them, who meddles in everything, though master of
nothing." The renewal of active hostilities was about to deliver the
ministers from Marshal Noailles.

The prudent hesitation and backwardness of Holland had at last yielded to
the pressure of England. The States-general had sent twenty thousand men
to join the army which George II. had just sent into Germany. It was
only on the 15th of March, 1744, that Louis XV. formally declared war
against the King of England and Maria Theresa, no longer as an auxiliary
of the 'emperor, but in his own name and on behalf of France. Charles
VII., a fugitive, driven from his hereditary dominions, which had been
evacuated by Marshal Broglie, had transported to Frankfurt his ill
fortune and his empty titles. France alone supported in Germany a
quarrel the weight of which she had imprudently taken upon herself.

The effort was too much for the resources; the king's counsellors felt
that it was; the battle of Dettingen, skilfully commenced on the 27th of
June, 1743, by Marshal Noailles, and lost by the imprudence of his
nephew, the Duke of Gramont, had completely shaken the confidence of the
armies; the emperor had treated with the Austrians for an armistice;
establishing the neutrality of his troops, as belonging to the empire.
Noailles wrote to the king on the 8th of July, "It is necessary to uphold
this phantom, in order to restrain Germany, which would league against
us, and furnish the English with all the troops therein, the moment the
emperor was abandoned." It was necessary, at the same time, to look out
elsewhere for more effectual support. The King of Prussia had been
resting for the last two years, a curious and an interested spectator of
the contests which were bathing Europe in blood, and which answered his
purpose by enfeebling his rivals. He frankly and coolly flaunted his
selfishness. "In a previous war with France," he says in his memoirs, "I
abandoned the French at Prague, because I gained Silesia by that step.
If I had escorted them to Vienna, they would never have given me so
much." In turn the successes of the Queen of Hungary were beginning to
disquiet him; on the 5th of June, 1744, he signed a new treaty with
France; for the first time Louis XV. was about to quit Versailles and
place himself at the head of an army. "If my country is to be devoured,"
said the king, with a levity far different from the solemn tone of Louis
XIV., "it will be very hard on me to see it swallowed without personally
doing my best to prevent it."

He had, however, hesitated a long while before he started. There was a
shortness of money. For all his having been head of the council of
finance, Noailles had not been able to rid himself of ideas of arbitrary
power. "When the late king, your great-grandfather, considered any
outlay necessary," he wrote to Louis XV., "the funds had to be found,
because it was his will. The case in question is one in which your
Majesty ought to speak as master, and lay down the law to your ministers.
Your comptroller-general ought, for the future, to be obliged to furnish
the needful funds without daring to ask the reasons for which they are
demanded of him, and still less to decide upon them. It was thus that
the late king behaved towards M. Colbert and all who succeeded him in
that office; he would never have done anything great in the whole course
of his reign, if he had behaved otherwise." It was the king's common
sense which replied to this counsel, "We are still paying all those debts
that the late king incurred for extraordinary occasions, fifty millions a
year and more, which we must begin by paying off first of all." Later
on, he adds, gayly, "As for me, I can do without any equipage, and, if
needful, the shoulder of mutton of the lieutenants of infantry will do
perfectly well for me." "There is nothing talked off here but the doings
of the king, who is in extraordinary spirits," writes the advocate
Barbier; "he has visited the places near Valenciennes, the magazines, the
hospitals; he has tasted the broth of the sick, and the soldiers' bread.
The ambassador of Holland came, before his departure, to propose a truce
in order to put us off yet longer. The king, when he was presented,
merely said, 'I know what you are going to say to me, and what it is all
about. I will give you my answer in Flanders.' This answer is a proud
one, and fit for a king of France."

[Illustration: Louis XV. and the Ambassador of Holland----151]

The hopes of the nation were aroused. "Have we, then, a king?" said
M. d'Argenson. Credit was given to the Duchess of Chateauroux, Louis
XV.'s new favorite, for having excited this warlike ardor in the king.
Ypres and Menin had already surrendered after a few days' open trenches;
siege had just been laid to Furnes. Marshal Noailles had proposed to
move up the king's household troops in order to make an impression upon
the enemy. "If they must needs be marched up," replied Louis XV., "I do
not wish to separate from my household: _verbum sap_."

[Illustration: YPRES----151]

The news which arrived from the army of Italy was equally encouraging;
the Prince of Conde, seconded by Chevert, had forced the passage of the
Alps. "There will come some occasion when we shall do as well as the
French have done," wrote Count Campo-Santo, who, under Don Philip,
commanded the Spanish detachment; "it is impossible to do better."

Madame de Chateauroux had just arrived at Lille; there were already
complaints in the army of the frequent absence of the king on his visits
to her, when alarming news came to cause forgetfulness of court intrigues
and dissatisfaction; the Austrians had effected the passage of the Rhine
by surprise near Philipsburg; Elsass was invaded. Marshal Coigny, who
was under orders to defend it, had been enticed in the direction of
Worms, by false moves on the part of Prince Charles of Lorraine, and had
found great difficulty in recrossing the frontier. "Here we are on the
eve of a great crisis," writes Louis XV. on the 7th of July. It was at
once decided that the king must move on Elsass to defend his threatened
provinces. The King of Prussia promised to enter Bohemia immediately
with twenty thousand men, as the diversion was sure to be useful to
France. Louis XV. had already arrived at Metz, and Marshal Noailles
pushed forward in order to unite all the corps. On the 8th of August the
king awoke in pain, prostrated by a violent headache; a few days later,
all France was in consternation; the king was said to have been given
over.

"The king's danger was noised abroad throughout Paris in the middle of
the night," writes Voltaire [_Siecle de Louis XV.,_ p. 103]: "everybody
gets up, runs about, in confusion, not knowing whither to go. The
churches open at dead of night; nobody takes any more note of time,
bed-time, or day-time, or meal-time. Paris was beside itself; all the
houses of officials were besieged by a continual crowd; knots collected,
at all the cross-roads. The people cried, 'If he should die, it will be
for having marched to our aid.' People accosted one another, questioned
one another in the churches, without being the least acquainted. There
were many churches where the priest who pronounced the prayer for the
king's health interrupted the intoning with his tears, and the people
responded with nothing but sobs and cries. The courier, who, on the
19th, brought to Paris the news of his convalescence, was embraced and
almost stifled by the people; they kissed his horse, they escorted him in
triumph. All the streets resounded with a shout of joy. 'The king is
well!' When the monarch was told of the unparalleled transports of joy
which had succeeded those of despair, he was affected to tears, and,
raising himself up in a thrill of emotion which gave him strength, 'Ah!'
he exclaimed, 'how sweet it is to be so loved! What have I done to
deserve it?'"

What had he done, indeed! And what was he destined to do? France had
just experienced the last gush of that monarchical passion and fidelity
which had so long distinguished her, and which were at last used up and
worn out through the faults of the princes as well as through the
blindness and errors of the nation itself.

Confronted with death, the king had once more felt the religious terrors
which were constantly intermingled with the irregularity of his life;
he had sent for the queen, and had dismissed the Duchess of Chateauroux.
On recovering his health, he found himself threatened by new perils,
aggravated by his illness and by the troubled state into which it had
thrown the public mind. After having ravaged and wasted Elsass, without
Marshals Coigny and Noailles having been able to prevent it, Prince
Charles had, without being harassed, struck again into the road towards
Bohemia, which was being threatened by the King of Prussia. "This
prince," wrote Marshal Belle-Isle on the 13th of September, "has written
a very strong letter to the king, complaining of the quiet way in which
Prince Charles was allowed to cross the Rhine; he attributes it all to
his Majesty's illness, and complains bitterly of Marshal Noailles." And,
on the 25th, to Count Clermont, "Here we are, decided at last; the king
is to start on Tuesday the 27th for Lundville, and on the 5th of October
will be at Strasbourg. Nobody knows as yet any further than that, and it
is a question whether he will go to Fribourg or not. The ministers are
off back to Paris. Marshal Noailles, who has sent for his equipage
hither, asked whether he should attend his Majesty, who replied, 'As you
please,' rather curtly. Your Highness cannot have a doubt about his
doing so, after such a gracious permission."

Louis XV. went to the siege of Fribourg, which was a long and a difficult
one. He returned to Paris on the 13th of November, to the great joy of
the people. A few days later, Marshal Belle-Isle, whilst passing through
Hanover in the character of negotiator, was arrested by order of George
II., and carried to England a prisoner of war, in defiance of the law of
nations and the protests of France. The moment was not propitious for
obtaining the release of a marshal of France and an able general. The
Emperor Charles VII., who but lately returned to his hereditary
dominions, and recovered possession of his capital, after fifteen months
of Austrian occupation, died suddenly on the 20th of January, 1745, at
forty-seven years of age. The face of affairs changed all at once; the
honor of France was no longer concerned in the struggle; the Grand-duke
of Tuscany had no longer any competitor for the empire; the eldest son of
Charles VII. was only seventeen; the Queen of Hungary was disposed for
peace. "The English ministry, which laid down the law for all, because
it laid down the money, and which had in its pay, all at one time, the
Queen of Hungary, the King of Poland, and the King of Sardinia,
considered that there was everything to lose by a treaty with France, and
everything to gain by arms. War continued, because it had commenced."
[Voltaire, _Siecle de Louis XV_.]

The King of France henceforth maintained it almost alone by himself. The
young Elector of Bavaria had already found himself driven out of Munich,
and forced by his exhausted subjects to demand peace of Maria Theresa.
The election to the empire was imminent; Maximilian-Joseph promised his
votes to the Grand-duke of Tuscany; at that price he was re-established
in his hereditary dominions. The King of Poland had rejected the
advances of France, who offered him the title of emperor, beneath which
Charles VII. had succumbed. Marshal Saxe bore all the brunt of the war.
A foreigner and a Protestant, for a long while under suspicion with Louis
XV., and blackened in character by the French generals, Maurice of Saxony
had won authority as well as glory by the splendor of his bravery and of
his military genius. Combining with quite a French vivacity the
far-sightedness and the perseverance of the races of the north, he had
been toiling for more than a year to bring about amongst his army a
spirit of discipline, a powerful organization, a contempt for fatigue as
well as for danger. "At Dettingen the success of the allies was due to
their surprising order, for they were not seasoned to war," he used to
say. Order did not as yet reign in the army of Marshal Saxe. In 1745,
the situation was grave; the marshal was attacked with dropsy; his life
appeared to be in danger. He nevertheless commanded his preparations to
be made for the campaign, and, when Voltaire, who was one of his friends,
was astounded at it, "It is no question of living, but of setting out,"
was his reply.

[Illustration: Marshal Saxe 154]

The king was preparing to set out, like Marshal Saxe; he had just married
the dauphin to the eldest daughter of the King of Spain; the young prince
accompanied his father to the front before Tournai, which the French army
was besieging. On the 8th of May Louis XV. visited the outskirts; an
attack from the enemy was expected, the field of battle was known
beforehand. The village of Fontenoy had already been occupied by Marshal
Noailles, who had asked to serve as aide-de-camp to Marshal Saxe, to whom
he was attached by sincere friendship, and whom he had very much
contributed to advance in the king's good graces.

"Never did Louis XV. show more gayety than on the eve of the fight," says
Voltaire. "The conversation was of battles at which kings had been
present in person. The king said that since the battle of Poitiers no
king of France had fought with his son beside him, that since St. Louis
none had gained any signal victory over the English, and that he hoped to
be the first. He was the first up on the day of action; he himself at
four o'clock awoke Count d'Argenson, minister of war, who on the instant
sent to ask Marshal Saxe for his final orders. The marshal was found in
a carriage of osier-work, which served him for a bed, and in which he had
himself drawn about when his exhausted powers no longer allowed him to
sit his horse." The king and the dauphin had already taken up their
positions of battle; the two villages of Fontenoy and Antoin, and the
wood of Barri, were occupied by French troops. Two armies of fifty
thousand men each were about to engage in the lists as at Dettingen.
Austria had sent but eight thousand soldiers, under the orders of the old
and famous General Konigseck; the English and the Hollanders were about
to bear all the burden and heat of the day.

It was not five in the morning, and already there was a thunder of
cannon. The Hollanders attacked the village of Antoin, the English that
of Fontenoy. The two posts were covered by a redoubt which belched forth
flames; the Hollanders refused to deliver the assault. An attack made by
the English on the wood of Barri had been repulsed. "Forward, my lord,
right to your front," said old Konigseck to the Duke of Cumberland,
George II.'s son, who commanded the English; "the ravine in front of
Fontenoy must be carried." The English advanced; they formed a deep and
serried column, preceded and supported by artillery. The French
batteries mowed them down right and left, whole ranks fell dead; they
were at once filled up; the cannon which they dragged along by hand,
pointed towards Fontenoy and the redoubts, replied to the French
artillery. An attempt of some officers of the French guards to carry off
the cannon of the English was unsuccessful. The two corps found
themselves at last face to face.

The English officers took off their hats; Count Chabannes and the Duke of
Biron, who had moved forward, returned their salute. "Gentlemen of the
French guard, fire!" exclaimed Lord Charles Hay. "Fire yourselves,
gentlemen of England," immediately replied Count d'Auteroche; "we never
fire first." [All fiction, it is said.] The volley of the English laid
low the foremost ranks of the French guards. This regiment had been
effeminated by a long residence in Paris and at Versailles; its colonel,
the Duke of Gramont, had been killed in the morning, at the commencement
of the action; it gave way, and the English cleared the ravine which
defended Fontenoy. They advanced as if on parade; the majors
[?sergeant-majors], small cane in hand, rested it lightly on the
soldiers' muskets to direct their fire. Several regiments successively
opposed to the English column found themselves repulsed and forced to
beat a retreat; the English still advanced.

Marshal Saxe, carried about everywhere in his osier-litter, saw the
danger with a calm eye; he sent the Marquis of Meuse to the king. "I beg
your Majesty," he told him to say, "to go back with the dauphin over the
bridge of Calonne; I will do what I can to restore the battle." "Ah! I
know well enough that he will do what is necessary," answered the king,
"but I stay where I am." Marshal Saxe mounted his horse.

[Illustration: Battle of Fontenoy----157]

In its turn, the cavalry had been repulsed by the English; their fire
swept away rank after rank of the regiment of Vaisseaux, which would not
be denied. "How is it that such troops are not victorious?" cried
Marshal Saxe, who was moving about at a foot's pace in the middle of the
fire, without his cuirass, which his weakness did not admit of his
wearing. He advanced towards Fontenoy; the batteries had just fallen
short of ball. The English column had ceased marching; arrested by the
successive efforts of the French regiments, it remained motionless, and
seemed to receive no more orders, but it preserved a proud front, and
appeared to be masters of the field of battle. Marshal Saxe was
preparing for the retreat of the army; he had relinquished his proposal
for that of the king, from the time that the English had come up and
pressed him closely. "It was my advice, before the danger was so great,"
he said; "now there is no falling back."

A disorderly council was being held around Louis XV. With the fine
judgment and sense which he often displayed when he took the trouble to
have an opinion on his affairs, the king had been wise enough to
encourage his troops by his presence without in any way interfering with
the orders of Marshal Saxe. The Duke of Richelieu vented an opinion more
worthy of the name he bore than had been his wont in his life of
courtiership and debauchery. "Throw forward the artillery against the
column," he said, "and let the king's household, with all the disposable
regiments, attack them at the same time; they must be fallen upon like so
many foragers."

The retreat of the Hollanders admitted of the movement; the small
field-pieces, as yet dragged by hand, were pointed against the English
column. Marshal Saxe, with difficulty keeping his seat upon his horse,
galloped hastily up to the Irish brigade, commanding all the troops he
met on the way to make no more false attacks, and to act in concert. All
the forces of the French army burst simultaneously upon the English. The
Irish regiments in the service of France, nearly all composed of Jacobite
emigrants, fought with fury. Twice the brave enemy rallied, but the
officers fell on all sides, the ranks were everywhere broken; at last
they retired, without disorder, without enfeeblement, preserving, even in
defeat, the honor of a vigorous resistance. The battle was gained at the
moment when the most clear-sighted had considered it lost. Marshal Saxe
had still strength left to make his way to the king. "I have lived long
enough, sir," he said, "now that I have seen your Majesty victorious.
You now know on what the fortune of battles depends."

The victory of Fontenoy, like that of Denain, restored the courage and
changed the situation of France. When the King of Prussia heard of his
ally's success, he exclaimed with a grin, "This is about as useful to us
as a battle gained on the banks of the Scamander." His selfish
absorption in his personal and direct interests obscured the judgment of
Frederick the Great. He, however, did justice to Marshal Saxe: "There
was a discussion the other day as to what battle had reflected most honor
on the general commanding," he wrote, a long while after the battle of
Fontenoy; "some suggested that of Almanza, others that of Turin; but I
suggested--and everybody finally agreed that it was undoubtedly that in
which the general had been at death's door when it was delivered."

The fortress of Tournai surrendered on the 22d of May; the citadel
capitulated on the 19th of June. Ghent, Bruges, Oudenarde, Dendermonde,
Ostend, Nienport, yielded, one after another, to the French armies. In
the month of February, 1746, Marshal Saxe terminated the campaign by
taking Brussels. By the 1st of the previous September Louis XV. had
returned in triumph to Paris.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS----159]

Henceforth he remained alone confronting Germany, which was neutral, or
had rallied round the restored empire. On the 13th of September, the
Grand-duke of Tuscany had been proclaimed emperor at Frankfurt, under the
name of Francis I. The indomitable resolution of the queen his wife had
triumphed. In spite of the checks she suffered in the Low Countries,
Maria Theresa still withstood, at all points, the pacific advances of the
belligerents.

On the 4th of June, the King of Prussia had gained a great victory at
Freilberg. "I have honored the bill of exchange your Majesty drew on me
at Fontenoy," he wrote to Louis XV. A series of successful fights had
opened the road to Saxony. Frederick headed thither rapidly; on the 18th
of December he occupied Dresden.

This time, the King of Poland, Elector of Saxony, forced the hand of the
new empress: "The Austrians and the Saxons have just sent ministers
hither to negotiate for peace," said a letter to France from the King of
Prussia; "so I have no course open but to sign. Would that I might be
fortunate enough to serve as the instrument of general pacification.
After discharging my duty towards the state I govern, and towards my
family, no object will be nearer to my heart than that of being able to
render myself of service to your Majesty's interests." Frederick the
Great returned to Berlin covered with glory, and definitively master of
Silesia. "Learn once for all," he said at a later period, in his
instructions to his successor, "that where a kingdom is concerned, you
take when you can, and that you are never wrong when you are not obliged
to hand over. An insolent and a cynical maxim of brute force, which
conquerors have put in practice at all times, without daring to set it up
as a principle.

Whilst Berlin was in gala trim to celebrate the return of her monarch in
triumph, Europe had her eyes fixed upon the unparalleled enterprise of a
young man, winning, courageous, and frivolous as he was, attempting to
recover by himself alone the throne of his fathers. For nearly three
years past, Charles Edward Stuart, son of Chevalier St. George, had been
awaiting in France the fulfilment of the promises and hopes which had
been flashed before his eyes. Weary of hope deferred, he had conceived
the idea of a bold stroke. "Why not attempt to cross in a vessel to the
north of Scotland?" had been the question put to him by Cardinal Tencin,
who had, some time before, owed his cardinal's hat to the dethroned King
of Great Britain. "Your presence will be enough to get you a party and
an army, and France will be obliged to give you aid."

Charles Edward had followed this audacious counsel. Landing, in June,
1745, in the Highlands of Scotland, he had soon found the clans of the
mountaineers hurrying to join his standard. At the head of this wild
army, he had in a few months gained over the whole of Scotland. On the
20th of September he was proclaimed at Edinburgh Regent of England,
France, Scotland, and Ireland, for his father, King James III. George
II. had left Hanover; the Duke of Cumberland, returning from Germany,
took the command of the troops assembled to oppose the invader. Their
success in the battle of Preston-Pans against General Cope had emboldened
the Scots; at the end of December, 1745, Prince Charles Edward and his
army had advanced as far as Derby.

It was the fate of the Stuarts, whether heroes or dastards, to see their
hopes blasted all at once, and to drag down in their fall their most
zealous and devoted partisans. The aid, so often promised by France and
Spain, had dwindled down to the private expeditions of certain brave
adventurers. The Duke of Richelieu, it was said, was to put himself at
their head. "As to the embarkation at Dunkerque," writes the advocate
Barbier, at the close of the year 1745, "there is great anxiety about it,
for we are at the end of December, and it is not yet done, which gives
every one occasion to make up news according to his fancy. This
uncertainty discourages the Frenchman, who gives out that our expedition
will not take place, or, at any rate, will not succeed." Charles Edward
had already been forced to fall back upon Scotland. As in 1651, at the
time of the attempt of Charles II., England remained quite cold in the
presence of the Scottish invasion. The Duke of Cumberland was closely
pressing the army of the mountaineers. On the 23d of April, 1746, the
foes found themselves face to face at Culloden, in the environs of
Inverness. Charles Edward was completely beaten, and the army of the
Highlanders destroyed; the prince only escaped either death or captivity
by the determined devotion of his partisans, whether distinguished or
obscure; a hundred persons had risked their lives for him, when he
finally succeeded, on the 10th of October, in touching land, in Brittany,
near St. Pol de Leon. His friends and his defenders were meanwhile dying
for his cause on scaffold or gallows.

The anger and severity displayed by the English government towards the
Jacobites were aggravated by the checks encountered upon the Continent by
the coalition. At the very moment when the Duke of Cumberland was
defeating Charles Edward at Culloden, Antwerp was surrendering to Louis
XV. in person: Mons, Namur, and Charleroi were not long before they fell.
Prince Charles of Lorraine was advancing to the relief of the besieged
places; Marshal Saxe left open to him the passage of the Meuse. The
French camp seemed to be absorbed in pleasures; the most famous actors
from Paris were ordered to amuse the general and the soldiers. On the
10th of October, in the evening, Madame Favart came forward on the stage.
"To-morrow," said she, "there will be no performance, on account of the
battle: the day after, we shall have the honor of giving you _Le Coq du
Village_." At the same time the marshal sent the following order to the
columns which were already forming on the road from St. Tron to Liege,
near the village of Raucoux: "Whether the attacks succeed or not, the
troops will remain in the position in which night finds them, in order to
recommence the assault upon the enemy."

[Illustration: BRUSSELS----159]

The battle of October 11 left the battle-field in the hands of the
victors, the sole result of a bloody and obstinate engagement. Marshal
Saxe went to rest himself at Paris; the people's enthusiasm rivalled and
indorsed the favors shown to him by the king. At the opera, the whole
house rose at the entrance of the valiant foreigner who had dedicated his
life to France; there was clapping of hands, and the actress who in the
prologue took the character of Glory leaned over towards the marshal with
a crown of laurel. "The marshal was surprised, and refused it with
profound bows. Glory insisted; and as the marshal was too far off in the
boxes for her to hand it to him, the Duke of Biron took the crown from
Glory's hands and passed it under Marshal Saxe's left arm. This striking
action called forth fresh acclamations, 'Hurrah! for Marshal Saxe!' and
great clapping of hands. The king has given the marshal Chambord for
life, and has even ordered it to be furnished. Independently of all
these honors, it is said that the marshal is extremely rich and powerful
just now, solely as the result of his safe-conducts, which, being
applicable to a considerable extent of country, have been worth immense
sums to him." The second marriage of the dauphin--who had already lost
the Infanta--with the Princess of Saxony, daughter of the King of Poland,
was about to raise, before long, the fortune and favor of Marshal Saxe to
the highest pitch: he was proclaimed marshal-general of the king's
armies.

So much luck and so much glory in the Low Countries covered, in the eyes
of France and of Europe, the checks encountered by the king's armies in
Italy. The campaign of 1745 had been very brilliant. Parma, Piacenza,
Montferrat, nearly all Milaness, with the exception of a few fortresses,
were in the hands of the Spanish and French forces. The King of Sardinia
had recourse to negotiation; he amused the Marquis of Argenson, at that
time Louis XV.'s foreign minister, a man of honest, expansive, but
chimerical views. At the moment when the king and the marquis believed
themselves to be remodelling the map of Europe at their pleasure, they
heard that Charles Emmanuel had resumed the offensive. A French corps
had been surprised at Asti, on the 5th of March; thirty thousand
Austrians marched down from the Tyrol, and the Spaniards evacuated Milan.
A series of checks forced Marshal Maillebois to effect a retreat; the
enemy's armies crossed the Var, and invaded French territory. Marshal
Belle-Isle fell back to Puget, four leagues from Toulon.

The Austrians had occupied Genoa, the faithful ally of France. Their
vengefulness and their severe exactions caused them to lose the fruits of
their victory. The grandees were ruined by war-requisitions; the
populace were beside themselves at the insolence of the conquerors;
senators and artisans made common cause. An Austrian captain having
struck a workman, the passengers in the streets threw themselves upon him
and upon his comrades who came to his assistance; the insurrection spread
rapidly in all quarters of Genoa; there was a pillage of the weapons
lying heaped in the palace of the Doges; the senators put themselves at
the head of the movement; the peasants in the country flew to arms. The
Marquis of Botta, the Austrian commandant, being attacked on all sides,
and too weak to resist, sallied from the town with nine regiments. The
allies, disquieted and dismayed, threatened Provence, and laid siege to
Genoa. Louis XV. felt the necessity of not abandoning his ally; the Duke
of Boufflers and six thousand French shut themselves up in the place.
"Show me the danger," the general had said on entering the town; "it is
my duty to ascertain it; I shall make all my glory depend upon securing
you from it." The resistance of Genoa was effectual; but it cost the
life of the Duke of Boufflers, who was wounded in an engagement, and died
three days before the retreat of the Austrians, on the 6th of July, 1747.

On the 19th of July, Common-Sense Belle-Isle (_Bon-Sens de Belle-Isle_),
as the Chevalier was called at court, to distinguish him from his brother
the marshal, nicknamed _Imagination,_ attacked, with a considerable body
of troops, the Piedmontese intrenchments at the Assietta Pass, between
the fortresses of Exilles and Fenestrelles; at the same time, Marshal
Belle-Isle was seeking a passage over the Stura Pass, and the Spanish
army was attacking Piedmont by the way of the Apennines. The engagement
at the heights of Assietta was obstinate; Chevalier Belle-Isle, wounded
in both arms, threw himself bodily upon the palisades, to tear them down
with his teeth; he was killed, and the French sustained a terrible
defeat;--five thousand men were left on the battle-field. The campaign
of Italy was stopped. The King of Spain, Philip V., enfeebled and
exhausted almost in infancy, had died on the 9th of July, 1746. The
fidelity of his successor, Ferdinand VI., married to a Portuguese
princess, appeared doubtful; he had placed at the head of his forces in
Italy the Marquis of Las Minas, with orders to preserve to Spain her only
army. "The Spanish soldiers are of no more use to us than if they were
so much cardboard," said the French troops. Europe was tired of the war.
England avenged herself for her reverses upon the Continent by her
successes at sea; the French navy, neglected systematically by Cardinal
Fleury, did not even suffice for the protection of commerce. The
Hollanders, who had for a long while been undecided, and had at last
engaged in the struggle against France without any declaration of war,
bore, in 1747, the burden of the hostilities. Count Lowendahl, a friend
of Marshal Saxe, and, like him, in the service of France, had taken Sluys
and Sas-de-Gand; Bergen-op-Zoom was besieged; on the 1st of July, Marshal
Saxe had gained, under the king's own eye, the battle of Lawfeldt. As in
1672, the French invasion had been the signal for a political revolution
in Holland; the aristocratical burgessdom, which had resumed power,
succumbed once more beneath the efforts of the popular party, directed by
the house of Nassau and supported by England. "The republic has need of
a chief against an ambitious and perfidious neighbor who sports with the
faith of treaties," said a deputy of the States-general on the day of the
proclamation of the stadtholderate, re-established in favor of William
IV., grand-nephew of the great William III., and son-in-law of the King
of England, George II. Louis XV. did not let himself be put out by this
outburst. "The Hollanders are good folks," he wrote to Marshal Noailles:
"it is said, however, that they are going to declare war against us; they
will lose quite as much as we shall."

Bergen-op-Zoom was taken and plundered on the 16th of September. Count
Lowendahl was made a marshal of France. "Peace is in Maestricht, Sir,"
was Maurice of Saxony's constant remark to the king. On the 9th of
April, 1748, the place was invested, before the thirty-five thousand
Russians, promised to England by the Czarina Elizabeth, had found time to
make their appearance on the Rhine. A congress was already assembled at
Aix-la-Chapelle to treat for peace. The Hollanders, whom the Marquis of
Argenson before his disgrace used always to call "the ambassadors of
England," took fright at the spectacle of Maestricht besieged; from
parleys they proceeded to the most vehement urgency; and England yielded.
The preliminaries of peace were signed on the 30th of April; it was not
long before Austria and Spain gave in their adhesion. On the 18th of
October the definitive treaty was concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle. France
generously restored all her conquests, without claiming other advantages
beyond the assurance of the duchies of Parma and Piacenza to the Infante
Don Philip, son-in-law of Louis XV. England surrendered to France the
Island of Cape Breton and the colony of Louisbourg, the only territory
she had preserved from her numerous expeditions against the French
colonies and from the immense losses inflicted upon French commerce.
The Great Frederic kept Silesia; the King of Sardinia the territories
already ceded by Austria. Only France had made great conquests; and
only she retained no increment of territory. She recognized the
Pragmatic-Sanction in favor of Austria and the Protestant succession in
favor of George II. Prince Charles Edward, a refugee in France, refused
to quit the hospitable soil which had but lately offered so magnificent
an asylum to the unfortunates of his house: he was, however, carried off,
whilst at the Opera, forced into a carriage, and conveyed far from the
frontier. "As stupid as the peace!" was the bitter saying in the streets
of Paris.

[Illustration: Arrest of Charles Edward----166]

The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle had a graver defect than that of
fruitlessness; it was not and could not be durable. England was excited,
ambitious of that complete empire of the sea which she had begun to build
up upon the ruins of the French navy and the decay of Holland, and greedy
of distant conquests over colonies which the French could not manage to
defend. In proportion as the old influence of Richelieu and of Louis
XIV. over European politics grew weaker and weaker, English influence,
founded upon the growing power of a free country and a free government,
went on increasing in strength. Without any other ally but Spain,
herself wavering in her fidelity, the French remained exposed to the
attempts of England, henceforth delivered from the phantom of the
Stuarts. "The peace concluded between England and France in 1748 was, as
regards Europe, nothing but a truce," says Lord Macaulay "it was not even
a truce in other quarters of the globe." The mutual rivalry and mistrust
between the two nations began to show themselves everywhere, in the East
as well as in the West, in India as well as in America.

CHAPTER LIII.----LOUIS XV., FRANCE IN THE COLONIES. 1745-1763.

France was already beginning to perceive her sudden abasement in Europe;
the defaults of her generals as well as of her government sometimes
struck the king himself; he threw the blame of it on the barrenness of
his times. "This age is not fruitful in great men," he wrote to Marshal
Noailles: "you know that we miss subjects for all objects, and you have
one before your eyes in the case of the army which certainly impresses me
more than any other." Thus spoke Louis XV. on the eve of the battle of
Fontenoy Marshal Saxe was about to confer upon the French arms a
transitory lustre; but the king, who loaded him with riches and honors,
never forgot that he was not his born subject. "I allow that Count Saxe
is the best officer to command that we have," he would say; "but he is a
Huguenot, he wants to be supreme, and he is always saying that, if he is
thwarted, he will enter some other service. Is that zeal for France?
I see, however, very few of ours who aim high like him."

The king possessed at a distance, in the colonies of the Two Indies, as
the expression then was, faithful servants of France, passionately
zealous for her glory, "aiming high," ambitious or disinterested, able
politicians or heroic pioneers, all ready to sacrifice both property and
life for the honor and power of their country: it is time to show how La
Bourdonnais, Dupleix, Bussy, Lally-Tollendal were treated in India; what
assistance, what guidance, what encouragement the Canadians and their
illustrious chiefs received from France, beginning with Champlain, one
of the founders of the colony, and ending with Montcalm, its latest
defender. It is a painful but a salutary spectacle to see to what
meannesses a sovereign and a government may find themselves reduced
through a weak complaisance towards the foreigner, in the feverish desire
of putting an end to a war frivolously undertaken and feebly conducted.

French power in India threw out more lustre, but was destined to
speedier, and perhaps more melancholy, extinction than in Canada.
Single-handed in the East the chiefs maintained the struggle against the
incapacity of the French government and the dexterous tenacity of the
enemy; in America the population of French extraction upheld to the
bitter end the name, the honor, and the flag of their country. "The fate
of France," says Voltaire, "has nearly always been that her enterprises,
and even her successes, beyond her own frontiers should become fatal to
her." The defaults of the government and the jealous passions of the
colonists themselves, in the eighteenth century, seriously aggravated the
military reverses which were to cost the French nearly all their
colonies.

More than a hundred years previously, at the outset of Louis XIV.'s
personal reign, and through the persevering efforts of Colbert marching
in the footsteps of Cardinal Richelieu, an India Company had been founded
for the purpose of developing French commerce in those distant regions,
which had always been shrouded in a mysterious halo of fancied wealth and
grandeur. Several times the Company had all but perished; it had revived
under the vigorous impulse communicated by Law, and had not succumbed at
the collapse of his system. It gave no money to its shareholders, who
derived their benefits only from a partial concession of the tobacco.
revenues, granted by the king to the Company, but its directors lived a
life of magnificence in the East, where they were authorized to trade on
their own account. Abler and bolder than all his colleagues, Joseph
Dupleix, member of a Gascon family and son of the comptroller-general of
Hainault, had dreamed of other destinies than the management of a
counting-house; he aspired to endow France with the empire of India.
Placed at a very early age at the head of the French establishments at
Chandernuggur, he had improved the city and constructed a fleet, all the
while acquiring for himself an immense fortune; he had just been sent to
Pondicherry as governor-general of the Company's agencies, when the war
of succession to the empire broke out in 1742. For a long time past
Dupleix and his wife, who was called in India Princess Jane, had been
silently forming a vast network of communications and correspondence
which kept them acquainted with the innumerable intrigues of all the
petty native courts. Madame Dupleix, a Creole, brought up in India,
understood all its dialects. Her husband had been the first to conceive
the idea of that policy which was destined before long to deliver India
to the English, his imitators; mingling everywhere in the incessant
revolutions which were hatching all about him, he gave the support of
France at one time to one pretender and at another to another, relying
upon the discipline of the European troops and upon the force of his own
genius for securing the ascendency to his protege of the moment: thus
increasing little by little French influence and dominion throughout all
the Hindoo territory. Accustomed to dealing with the native princes, he
had partially adopted their ways of craft and violence; more concerned
for his object than about the means of obtaining it, he had the
misfortune, at the outset of the contest, to clash with another who was
ambitious for the glory of France, and as courageous but less able a
politician than he; their rivalry, their love of power, and their
inflexible attachment to their own ideas, under the direction of a feeble
government, thenceforth stamped upon the relations of the two great
European nations in India a regrettable character of duplicity: all the
splendor and all the efforts of Dupleix's genius could never efface it.

[Illustration: Dupleix----168]

Concord as yet reigned between Dupleix and the governor of Bourbon and of
Ile de France, Bertrand Francis Mahe de La Bourdonnais, when, in the
month of September, 1746, the latter put in an appearance with a small
squadron in front of Madras, already one of the principal English
establishments. Commodore Peyton, who was cruising in Indian waters,
after having been twice beaten by La Bourdonnais, had removed to a
distance with his flotilla; the town was but feebly fortified; the
English, who had for a while counted upon the protection of the Nabob of
the Carnatic, did not receive the assistance they expected;,they
surrendered at the first shot, promising to pay a considerable sum for
the ransom of Madras, which the French were to retain as security until
the debt was completely paid. La Bourdonnais had received from France
this express order "You will not, keep any of the conquests you may make
in India." The chests containing the ransom of the place descended
slowly from the white town, which was occupied solely by Europeans and by
the English settlements, to the black town, inhabited by a mixed
population of natives and foreigners of various races, traders or
artisans. Already the vessels of La Bourdonnais, laden with these
precious spoils, had made sail for Pondicherry; the governor of Bourbon
was in a hurry to get back to his islands; autumn was coming on, tempests
were threatening his squadron, but Dupleix was still disputing the terms
of the treaty concluded with the English for the rendition of Madras; he
had instructions, he said, to raze the city and place it thus dismantled
in the hands of the Nabob of the Carnatic; the Hindoo prince had set
himself in motion to seize his prey; the English burst out into insults
and threats. La Bourdonnais, in a violent rage, on the point of finding
himself arrested by order of Dupleix, himself put in prison the governor-
general's envoys; the conflict of authority was aggravated by the
feebleness and duplicity of the instructions from France. All at once a
fearful tempest destroyed a part of the squadron in front of Madras; La
Bourdonnais, flinging himself into a boat, had great difficulty in
rejoining his ships; he departed, leaving his rival master of Madras, and
adroitly prolonging the negotiations, in order to ruin at least the black
city, which alone was rich and prosperous, before giving over the place
to the Nabob. Months rolled by, and the French remained alone at Madras.

[Illustration: La Bourdonnais----170]

A jealous love of power and absorption in political schemes had induced
Dupleix to violate a promise lightly given by La Bourdonnais in the name
of France; he had arbitrarily quashed a capitulation of which he had not
discussed the conditions. The report of this unhappy conflict, and the
color put upon it by the representations of Dupleix, were about to ruin
at Paris the rival whom he had vanquished in India.

On arriving at Ile de France, amidst that colony which he had found
exhausted, ruined, and had endowed with hospitals, arsenals, quays, and
fortifications, La Bourdonnais learned that a new governor was already
installed there. His dissensions with Dupleix had borne their fruits; he
had been accused of having exacted too paltry a ransom from Madras, and
of having accepted enormous presents; the Company had appointed a
successor in his place. Driven to desperation, anxious to go and defend
himself, La Bourdonnais set out for France with his wife and his four
children; a prosecution had already been commenced against him. He was
captured at sea by an English ship, and taken a prisoner to England.
The good faith of the conqueror of Madras was known in London; one of the
directors of the English Company offered his fortune as security for M.
de La Bourdonnais. Scarcely had he arrived in Paris when he was thrown
into the Bastille, and for two years kept in solitary confinement. When
his innocence was at last acknowledged and his liberty restored to him,
his health was destroyed, his fortune exhausted by the expenses of the
trial. La Bourdonnais died before long, employing the last remnants of
his life and of his strength in pouring forth his anger against Dupleix,
to whom he attributed all his woes. His indignation was excusable, and
some of his grievances were well grounded; but the germs of suspicion
thus sown by the unfortunate prisoner released from the Bastille were
destined before long to consign to perdition not only his enemy, but
also, together with him, that French dominion in India to which M. de La
Bourdonnais had dedicated his life.

Meanwhile Dupleix grew greater and greater, every day more powerful and
more daring. The English had not forgotten the affair of Madras. On the
30th of August, 1748, Admiral Boscawen went and laid siege to
Pondicherry; stopped at the outset by the fort of Ariocapang, of the
existence of which they were ignorant, the disembarked troops could not
push their trenches beyond an impassable morass which protected the town.
The fire of the siege-artillery scarcely reached the ramparts; the
sallies of the besieged intercepted the communications between the camp
and the squadron, which, on its side, was bombarding the walls of
Pondicherry without any serious result. Dupleix himself commanded the
French batteries; on the 6th of October he was wounded, and his place
on the ramparts was taken by Madame Dupleix, seconded by her future
son-in-law, M. de Bussy-Castelnau, Dupleix's military lieutenant,
animated by the same zeal for the greatness of France. The fire of the
English redoubled; but there was laughter in Pondicherry, for the balls
did not carry so far; and on the 20th of October, after forty days'
siege, Admiral Boscawen put to sea again, driven far away from the coasts
by the same tempests which, two years before, had compelled La
Bourdonnais to quit Madras. Twice had Dupleix been served in his designs
by the winds of autumn. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle came to put an end
to open war between the Europeans; at the French establishments in the
Indies the Te Deum was sung; Dupleix alone was gloomy, despite the riband
of St. Louis and the title of marquis, recently granted him by King Louis
XV: he had been obliged to restore Madras to the English.

War soon recommenced, in the name, and apparently to the profit, of the
Hindoo princes. France and England had made peace; the English and
French Companies in India had not laid down arms. Their power, as well
as the importance of their establishments was as yet in equipoise. At
Surat both Companies had places of business; on the coast of Malabar the
English had Bombay, and the French Mahe; on the coast of Coromandel the
former held Madras and Fort St. George, the latter Pondicherry and
Karikal. The principal factories, as well as the numerous little
establishments which were dependencies of them, were defended by a
certain number of European soldiers, and by Sepoys, native soldiers in
the pay of the Companies.

These small armies were costly, and diminished to a considerable extent
the profits of trade. Dupleix espied the possibility of a new
organization which should secure to the French in India the
preponderance, and ere long the empire even, in the two peninsulas. He
purposed to found manufactures, utilize native hand-labor, and develop
the coasting trade, or Ind to Ind trade, as the expression then was; but
he set his pretensions still higher, and carried his views still further.
He purposed to acquire for the Company, and, under its name, for France,
territories and subjects furnishing revenues, and amply sufficing for the
expenses of the commercial establishments. The moment was propitious;
the ancient empire of the Great Mogul, tottering to its base, was
distracted by revolutions, all the chops and changes whereof were
attentively followed by Madame Dupleix; two contested successions opened
up at once--those of the Viceroy or Soudhabar of the Deccan and of his
vassal, the Nabob of the Carnatic. The Great Mogul, nominal sovereign of
all the states of India, confined himself to selling to all the
pretenders decrees of investiture, without taking any other part in the
contest. Dupleix, on the contrary, engaged in it ardently. He took
sides in the Deccan for Murzapha Jung, and in the Carnatic for Tchunda
Sahib against their rivals supported by the English. Versed in all the
resources of Hindoo policy, he had negotiated an alliance between his two
proteges; both marched against the Nabob of the Carnatic. He, though a
hundred and seven years old, was at the head of his army, mounted on a
magnificent elephant. He espied in the melley his enemy Tchunda Sahib,
and would have darted upon him; but, whilst his slaves were urging on the
huge beast, the little French battalion sent by Dupleix to the aid of his
allies marched upon the nabob, a ball struck him to the heart, and he
fell. The same evening, Murzapha Jung was proclaimed Soudhabar of the
Deccan, and he granted the principality of the Carnatic to Tchunda Sahib,
at the same time reserving to the French Company a vast territory.

Some months rolled by, full of vicissitudes and sudden turns of fortune.
Murzapha Jung, at first victorious, and then vanquished by his uncle
Nazir Jung, everywhere dragged at his heels as a hostage and a trophy of
his triumph, had found himself delivered by an insurrection of the
Patanian chiefs, Affghans by origin, settled in the south of India. The
head of Nazir Jung had come rolling at his feet. For a while besieged in
Pondicherry, but still negotiating and everywhere mingling in intrigues
and conspiracies, Dupleix was now triumphant with his ally; the Soudhabar
of the Deccan made his entry in state upon French territory. Pondicherry
was in holiday trim to receive him. Dupleix, dressed in the magnificent
costume of, the Hindoo princes, had gone with his troops to meet him.
Both entered the town in the same palanquin to the sound of native
cymbals and the military music of the.French. A throne awaited the
soudhabar, surrounded by the Affghan chiefs, who were already claiming
the reward of their services. The Hindoo prince needed the aid of
France; he knew it. He proclaimed Dupleix nabob of all the provinces to
the south of the River Krischna. Tcbunda Sahib, but lately his ally,
became his vassal--"the vassal of France," murmured Madame Dupleix, when
she heard of this splendid recompense for so many public and private
services. The ability and indomitable bravery of M. de Bussy soon
extended the French conquests in the Deccan. Murzapha Jung had just been
assassinated at the head of his army; Bussy proclaimed and supported a
new soudhabar, who was friendly to the French, and who ceded to them five
provinces, of which the large town of Masulipatam, already in French
hands, became the capital. A third of India was obedient to Dupleix; the
Great Mogul sent him a decree of investiture, and demanded of the
Princess Jane the hand of her youngest daughter, promised to M. de Bussy.
Dupleix well know the frailty of human affairs, and the dark intrigues of
Hindoo courts; he breathed freely, however, for he was on his guard, and
the dream of his life seemed to be accomplished. "The empire of France
is founded," he would say.

[Illustration: Dupleix meeting the Soudhabar of the Deccan----174]

He reckoned without France, and without the incompetent or timid men who
governed her. The successes of Dupleix scared King Louis XV. and his
feeble ministers; they angered and discomfited England, which was as yet
tottering in India, and whose affairs there had for a long while been ill
managed, but which remained ever vigorous, active, animated by the
indomitable ardor of a free people. At Versailles attempts were made to
lessen the conquests of Dupleix, prudence was recommended to him, delay
was shown in sending him the troops he demanded. In India England had at
last found a man still young and unknown, but worthy of being opposed to
Dupleix. Clive, who had almost in boyhood entered the Company's offices,
turned out, after the turbulence of his early years, a heaven-born
general; he was destined to continue Dupleix's work, when abandoned by
France, and to found to the advantage of the English that European
dominion in India which had been the Governor of Pondicherry's dream.
The war still continued in the Carnatic: Mahomet Ali, Tchunda Sahib's
rival, had for the last six months been besieged in Trichinopoli; the
English had several times, but in vain, attempted to effect the raising
of the siege; Clive, who had recently entered the Company's army, was for
saving the last refuge of Mahomet Ali by a bold diversion against Arcot,
the capital of the Carnatic. To him was given the command of the
expedition he had suggested. In the month of September, 1751, he made
himself master of Arcot by a surprise. The Hindoo populations, left to
themselves, passed almost without resistance from one master to another.
The Europeans did not signalize by the infliction of punishment the act
of taking possession. Clive was before long attacked in Arcot by Tchunda
Sahib, who was supported by a French detachment. He was not in a
position to hold the town; so he took refuge in the fort, and there, for
fifty days, withstood all the efforts of his enemies. Provisions fell
short; every day the rations were becoming more insufficient; but Clive
had managed to implant in his soldiers' hearts the heroic resolution
which animated him. "Give the rice to the English," said the sepoys; "we
will be content with the water in which it is boiled." A body of
Mahrattas, allies of the English, came to raise the siege. Clive pursued
the French on their retreat, twice defeated Tchunda Sahib, and, at last
effecting a junction with the Governor-General Lawrence, broke the
investment of Trichinopoli, and released Mahomet Ali. Tchunda Sahib, in
his turn shut up in Tcheringham, was delivered over to his rival by a
Tanjore chieftain in whom he trusted; he was put to death; and the French
commandant, a nephew of Law's, surrendered to the English. Two French
corps had already been destroyed by Clive, who held the third army
prisoners. Bussy was carrying on war in the Deccan, with great
difficulty making head against overt hostilities and secret intrigues.
The report of Dupleix's reverses arrived in France in the month of
September, 1752.

[Illustration: Death of the Nabob of the Carnatic----174]

The dismay at Versailles was great, and prevailed over the astonishment.
There had never been any confidence in Dupleix's projects, there had been
scarcely any belief in his conquests. The soft-hearted inertness of
ministers and courtiers was almost as much disgusted at the successes as
at the defeats of the bold adventurers who were attempting and risking
all for the aggrandizement and puissance of France in the East. Dupleix
secretly received notice to demand his recall. He replied by proposing
to have M. de Bussy nominated in his place. "Never was so grand a fellow
as this Bussy," he wrote. The ministers and the Company cared little for
the grandeur of Bussy or of Dupleix; what they sought was a dastardly
security, incessantly troubled by the enterprises of the politician and
the soldier. The tone of England was more haughty than ever, in
consequence of Clive's successes. The recall of Dupleix was determined
upon.

The Governor of Pondicherry had received no troops, but he had managed to
reorganize an army, and had resumed the offensive in the Carnatic; Bussy,
set free at last as to his movements in the Deccan, was preparing to
rejoin Dupleix. Clive was ill, and had just set out for England: fortune
had once more changed front. The open conferences held with Saunders,
English Governor of Madras, failed in the month of January, 1754; Dupleix
wished to preserve the advantages he had won; Saunders refused to listen
to that. The approach of a French squadron was signalled; the ships
appeared to be numerous. Dupleix was already rejoicing at the arrival of
unexpected aid, when, instead of an officer commanding the twelve hundred
soldiers from France, he saw the apparition of M. Godeheu, one of the
directors of the Company, and but lately his friend and correspondent.
"I come to supersede you, sir," said the new arrival, without any
circumstance; "I have full powers from the Company to treat with the
English." The cabinet of London had not been deceived as to the
importance of Dupleix in India; his recall had been made the absolute
condition of a cessation of hostilities. Louis XV. and his ministers
had shown no opposition; the treaty was soon concluded, restoring the
possessions of the two Companies within the limits they had occupied
before the war of the Carnatic, with the exception of the district of
Masulipatam, which became accessible to the English. All the territories
ceded by the Hindoo princes to Dupleix reverted to their former masters;
the two Companies interdicted one another from taking any part in the
interior policy of India, and at the same time forbade their agents to
accept from the Hindoo princes any charge, honor, or dignity; the most
perfect equality was re-established between the possessions and revenues
of the two great European nations, rivals in the East as well as in
Europe; England gave up some petty forts, some towns of no importance,
France ceded the empire of India. When Godeheu signed the treaty,
Trichinopoli was at last on the point of giving in. Bussy was furious,
and would have quitted the Deccan, which he still occupied, but Dupleix
constrained him to remain there; he himself embarked for France with his
wife and daughter, leaving in India, together with his life's work
destroyed in a few days by the poltroonery of his country's government,
the fortune he had acquired during his great enterprises, entirely sunk
as it was in the service of France; the revenues destined to cover his
advances were seized by Godeheu.

France seemed to comprehend what her ministers had not even an idea of;
Dupleix's arrival in France was a veritable triumph. It was by this time
known that the reverses which had caused so much talk had been half
repaired. It was by this time guessed how infinite were the resources of
that empire of India, so lightly and mean-spiritedly abandoned to the
English. "My wife and I dare not appear in the streets of Lorient,"
wrote Dupleix, "because of the crowd of people wanting to see us and
bless us;" the comptroller-general, Herault de Sechelles, as well as the
king and Madame de Pompadour, then and for a long while the reigning
favorite, gave so favorable a reception to the hero of India that
Dupleix, always an optimist, conceived fresh hopes. "I shall regain my
property here," he would say, "and India will recover in the hands of
Bussy."

He was mistaken about the justice as he had been about the discernment
and the boldness of the French government; not a promise was
accomplished; not a hope was realized; after delay upon delay, excuse
upon excuse, Dupleix saw his wife expire at the end of two years, worn
out with suffering and driven to despair; like her, his daughter,
affianced for a long time past to Bussy, succumbed beneath the weight of
sorrow; in vain did Dupleix tire out the ministers with his views and his
projects for India; he saw even the action he was about to bring against
the Company vetoed by order of the king. Persecuted by his creditors,
overwhelmed with regret for the relatives and friends whom he had
involvedin his enterprises and in his ruin, he exclaimed a few months
before his death, "I have sacrificed youth, fortune, life, in order to
load with honor and riches those of my own nation in Asia. Unhappy
friends, too weakly credulous relatives, virtuous citizens, have
dedicated their property to promoting the success of my projects; they
are now in want. . . . I demand, like the humblest of creditors, that
which is my due; my services are all stuff, my demand is ridiculous, I am
treated like the vilest of men. The little I have left is seized, I have
been obliged to get execution stayed to prevent my being dragged to
prison!" Dupleix died at last on the 11th of November, 1763, the most
striking, without being the last or the most tragical, victim of the
great French enterprises in India.

Despite the treaty of peace, hostilities had never really ceased in
India. Clive had returned from England; freed henceforth from the
influence, the intrigues, and the indomitable energy of Dupleix, he had
soon made himself master of the whole of Bengal, he had even driven the
French from Chandernuggur; Bussy had been unable to check his successes;
he avenged himself by wresting away from the English all their agencies
on the coast of Orissa, and closing against them the road between the
Coromandel coast and Bengal.

Meanwhile the Seven Years' War had broken out; the whole of Europe had
joined in the contest; the French navy, still feeble in spite of the
efforts that had been made to restore it, underwent serious reverses on
every sea. Count Lally-Tollendal, descended from an Irish family which
took refuge in France with James II., went to Count d'Argenson, still
minister of war, with a proposition to go and humble in India that
English power which had been imprudently left to grow up without
hinderance. M. de Lally had served with renown in the wars of Germany;
he had seconded Prince Charles Edward in his brave and yet frivolous
attempt upon England. The directors of the India Company went and asked
M. d'Argenson to intrust to General Lally the king's troops promised for
the expedition. "You are wrong," M. d'Argenson said to them; "I know M.
de Lally; he is a friend of mine, but he is violent, passionate,
inflexible as to discipline; he will not tolerate any disorder; you will
be setting fire to your warehouses, if you send him thither." The
directors, however, insisted, and M. de Lally set out on the 2d of May,
1757, with four ships and a body of troops. Some young officers
belonging to the greatest houses of France served on his staff.

M. de Lally's passage was a long one; the English re-enforcements had
preceded, him by six weeks. On arriving in India, he found the arsenals
and the magazines empty; the establishment of Pondicherry alone confessed
to fourteen millions of debt. Meanwhile the enemy was pressing at all
points upon the French possessions. Lally marched to Gondelour
(_Kaddaloue_), which he carried on the sixth day; he, shortly afterwards,
invested Fort St. David, the most formidable of the English fortresses in
India. The first assault was repulsed; the general had neither cannon
nor beasts of burden to draw them. He hurried off to Pondicherry and had
the natives harnessed to the artillery trains, taking pellmell such men
as fell in his way, without regard for rank or caste, imprudently
wounding the prejudices most dear to the country he had come to govern.
Fort St. David was taken and razed. Devicotah, after scarcely the ghost
of a siege, opened its gates. Lally had been hardly a month in India,
and he had already driven the English from the southern coast of the
Coromandel. "All my policy is in these five words, but they are binding
as an oath--No English in the peninsula," wrote the general. He had sent
Bussy orders to come and join him in order to attack Madras.

The brilliant courage and heroic ardor of M. de Lally had triumphed over
the first obstacles; his recklessness, his severity, his passionateness
were about to lose him the fruits of his victories. "The commission I
hold," he wrote to the directors of the Company at Paris, "imports that I
shall be held in horror by all the people of the country." By his
personal defaults he aggravated his already critical position. The
supineness of the French government had made fatal progress amongst its
servants; Count d'Ache, who commanded the fleet, had refused to second
the attempt upon Madras; twice, whilst cruising in Indian waters, the
French admiral had been beaten by the English; he took the course back to
Ile de France, where he reckoned upon wintering. Pondicherry was
threatened, and Lally found himself in Tanjore, where he had hoped to
recover a considerable sum due to the Company; on his road he had
attacked a pagoda, thinking he would find there a great deal of treasure,
but the idols were hollow and of worthless material. The pagoda was in
flames, the disconsolate Brahmins were still wandering round about their
temple; the general took them for spies, and had them tied to the
cannons' mouths. The danger of Pondicherry forced M. de Lally to raise
the siege of Tanjore; the English fell back on Madras.

Disorder was at its height in the Company's affairs; the vast enterprises
commenced by Dupleix required success and conquests, but they had been
abandoned since his recall, not without having ingulfed, together with
his private fortune, a portion of the Company's resources. Lally was
angered at being every moment shackled for want of money; he attributed
it not only to the ill will, but also to the dishonesty, of the local
authorities. He wrote, in 1758, to M. de Leyrit, Governor of
Pondicherry, "Sir, this letter shall be an eternal secret between you and
me, if you furnish me with the means of terminating my enterprise. I
left you a hundred thousand livres of my own money to help you to meet
the expenditure it requires. I have not found so much as a hundred sous
in your purse and in that of all your council; you have both of you
refused to let me employ your credit. I, however, consider you to be
all of you under more obligation to the Company than I am, who have
unfortunately the honor of no further acquaintance with it than to the
extent of having lost half my property by it in 1720. If you continue to
leave me in want of everything and exposed to the necessity of presenting
a front to the general discontent, not only shall I inform the king and
the Company of the fine zeal testified for their service by their
employees here, but I shall take effectual measures for not being at the
mercy, during the short stay I desire to make in this country, of the
party spirit and personal motives by which I see that every member
appears to be actuated to the risk of the Company in general."

In the midst of this distress, and in spite of this ebullition, M. de
Lally led his troops up in front of Madras; he made himself master of the
Black Town. "The immense plunder taken by the troops," says the journal
of an officer who held a command under Count Lally, "had introduced
abundance amongst them. Huge stores of strong liquors led to drunkenness
and all the evils it generates. The situation must have been seen to be
believed. The works, the guards in the trenches were all performed by
drunken men. The regiment of Lorraine alone was exempt from this plague,
but the other corps surpassed one another. Hence scenes of the most
shameful kind and most destructive of subordination and discipline, the
details of which confined within the limits of the most scrupulous
truthfulness would appear a monstrous exaggeration." Lally in despair
wrote to his friends in France, "Hell vomited me into this land of
iniquities, and I am waiting, like Jonah, for the whale that shall
receive me in its belly."

The attack on the White Town and on Fort St. George was repulsed; and on
the 18th of February, 1759, Lally was obliged to raise the siege of
Madras. The discord which reigned in the army as well as amongst the
civil functionaries was nowhere more flagrant than between Lally and
Bussy. The latter could not console himself for having been forced to
leave the Deccan in the feeble bands of the Marquis of Conflans. An
expedition attempted against the fortress of Wandiwash, of which the
English had obtained possession, was followed by a serious defeat;
Colonel Coote was master of Karikal. Little by little the French army
and French power in India found themselves cooped within the immediate
territory of Pondicherry. The English marched against this town. Lally
shut himself up there in the month of March, 1760. Bussy had been made
prisoner, and Coote had sent him to Europe. "At the head of the French
army Bussy would be in a position by himself alone to prolong the war for
ten years," said the Hindoos. On the 27th of November, the siege of
Pondicherry was transformed into an investment. Lally had taken all the
precautions of a good general, but he had taken them with his usual
harshness; he had driven from the city all the useless mouths; fourteen
hundred Hindoos, old men, women, and children, wandered for a week
between the English camp and the ramparts of the town, dying of hunger
and misery, without Lally's consenting to receive them back into the
place; the English at last allowed them to pass. The most severe
requisitions had been ordered to be made on all the houses of
Pondicherry, and the irritation was extreme; the heroic despair of M. de
Lally was continually wringing from him imprudent expressions. "I would
rather go and command a set of Caffres than remain in this Sodom, which
the English fire, in default of Heaven's, must sooner or later destroy,"
had for a long time past been a common expression of the general's, whose
fate was henceforth bound up with that of Pondicherry.

He held out for six weeks, in spite of famine, want of money, and
ever-increasing dissensions. A tempest had caused great havoc to the
English squadron which was out at sea; Lally was waiting and waiting for
the arrival of M. d'Ache with the fleet which had but lately sought
refuge at Ile de France after a fresh reverse. From Paris, on the report
of an attack projected by the--English against Bourbon and Ile de France,
ministers had given orders to M. d'Ache not to quit those waters. Lally
and Pondicherry waited in vain.

It became necessary to surrender; the council of the Company called upon
the general to capitulate; Lally claimed the honors of war, but Coote
would have the town at discretion; the distress was extreme as well as
the irritation. Pondicherry was delivered up to the conquerors on the
16th of January, 1761; the fortifications and magazines were razed;
French power in India, long supported by the courage or ability of a few
men, was foundering, never to rise again. "Nobody can have a higher
opinion than I of M. de Lally," wrote Colonel Coote; "he struggled
against obstacles that I considered insurmountable, and triumphed over
them. There is not in India another man who could have so long kept an
army standing without pay and without resources in any direction."
"A convincing proof of his merits," said another English officer, "is his
long and vigorous resistance in a place in which he was universally
detested."

[Illustration: Lally at Pondicherry----184]

Hatred bears bitterer fruits than is imagined even by those who provoke
it. The animosity which M. de Lally had excited in India was everywhere
an obstacle to the defence; and it was destined to cost him his life and
imperil his honor. Scarcely had he arrived in England, ill, exhausted by
sufferings and fatigue, followed even in his captivity by the reproaches
and anger of his comrades in misfortune, when be heard of the outbreak of
public opinion against him in France; he was accused of treason; and he
obtained from the English cabinet permission to repair to Paris.
"I bring hither my head and my innocence," he wrote, on disembarking, to
the minister of war, and he went voluntarily to imprisonment in the
Bastille. There he remained nineteen months without being examined.
When the trial commenced in December, 1764, the heads of accusation
amounted to one hundred and sixty, the number of witnesses to nearly two
hundred; the matter lasted a year and a half, conducted with violence on
the part of M. de Lally's numerous enemies, with inveteracy on the part
of the Parliament, still at strife with the government, with courage and
firmness on the part of the accused. He claimed the jurisdiction of a
court-martial, but his demand was rejected; when he saw himself
confronted with the dock, the general suddenly uncovered his whitened
head and his breast covered with scars, exclaiming, "So this is the
reward for fifty years' service!" On the 6th of May, 1766, his sentence
was at last pronounced. Lally was acquitted on the charges of high
treason and malversation; he was found "guilty of violence, abuse of
authority, vexations and exactions, as well as of having betrayed the
interests of the king and of the Company." When the sentence was being
read out to the condemned, "Cut it short, sir," said the count to the
clerk come to the conclusions." At the words "betrayed the interests of
the king," Lally drew himself up to his full height, exclaiming, "Never,
never!" He was expending his wrath in insults heaped upon his enemies,
when, suddenly drawing from his pocket a pair of mathematical compasses,
he struck it violently against his heart; the wound did not go deep
enough; M. de Lally was destined to drink to the dregs the cup of man's
injustice.

On the 9th of May, at the close of the day, the valiant general whose
heroic resistance had astounded all India, mounted the scaffold on the
Place de Greve, nor was permission granted to the few friends who
remained faithful to him to accompany him to the place of execution;
there was only the parish priest of St. Louis en l'Ile at his side; as
apprehensions were felt of violence and insult on the part of the
condemned, he was gagged like the lowest criminal when he resolutely
mounted the fatal ladder; he knelt without assistance, and calmly awaited
his death-blow. "Everybody," observed D'Alembert, expressing by that
cruel saying the violence of public feeling against the condemned,
"everybody, except the hangman, has a right to kill Lally." Voltaire's
judgment, after the subsidence of passion and after the light thrown by
subsequent events upon the state of French affairs in India before
Lally's campaigns, is more just. "It was a murder committed with the
sword of justice." King Louis XV. and his government had lost India; the
rage and shame blindly excited amongst the nation by this disaster had
been visited upon the head of the unhappy general who had been last
vanquished in defending the remnants of French power. The English were
masters forever of India when the son of M. de Lally-Tollendal at last
obtained, in 1780, the rehabilitation of his father's memory. Public
opinion had not waited till then to decide the case between the condemned
and his accusers.

Whilst the French power in India, after having for an instant had the
dominion over nearly the whole peninsula, was dying out beneath the
incapacity and feebleness of its government, at the moment when the
heroic efforts of La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, and Lally were passing into
the domain of history, a people decimated by war and famine, exhausted by
a twenty years' unequal struggle, was slowly expiring, preserving to the
very last its hopes and its patriotic devotion. In the West Indies the
whole Canadian people were still maintaining, for the honor of France,
that flag which had just been allowed to slip from the desperate hands of
Lally in the East. In this case, there were no enchanting prospects of
power and riches easily acquired, of dominion over opulent princes and
submissive slaves; nothing but a constant struggle against nature, still
mistress of the vast solitudes, against vigilant rivals and a courageous
and cruel race of natives. The history of the French colonists in Canada
showed traits and presented characteristics rare in French annals; the
ardor of the French nature and the suavity of French manners seemed to be
combined with the stronger virtues of the people of the north;
everywhere, amongst the bold pioneers of civilization in the new world,
the French marched in the first rank without ever permitting themselves
to be surpassed by the intrepidity or perseverance of the Anglo-Saxons,
down to the day when, cooped up within the first confines of their
conquests, fighting for life and liberty, the Canadians defended foot to
foot the honor of their mother-country, which had for a long while
neglected them, and at last abandoned them, under the pressure of a
disastrous war conducted by a government as incapable as it was corrupt.

For a long time past the French had directed towards America their ardent
spirit of enterprise; in the fifteenth century, on the morrow of the
discovery of the new world, when the indomitable genius and religious
faith of Christopher Columbus had just opened a new path to inquiring
minds and daring spirits, the Basques, the Bretons, and the Normans were
amongst the first to follow the road he had marked out; their light barks
and their intrepid navigators were soon known among the fisheries of
Newfoundland and the Canadian coast. As early as 1506 a chart of the St.
Lawrence was drawn by John-Denis, who came from Honfleur in Normandy.
Before long the fishers began to approach the coasts, attracted by the
fur-trade; they entered into relations with the native tribes, buying,
very often for a mere song, the produce of their hunting, and ,
introducing to them, together with the first fruits of civilization, its
corruptions and its dangers. Before long the savages of America became
acquainted with the fire-water.

Policy was not slow to second the bold enterprises of the navigators.
France was at that time agitated by various earnest and mighty passions;
for a moment the Reformation, personified by the austere virtues and
grand spirit of Coligny, had seemed to dispute the empire of the Catholic
church. The forecasts of the admiral became more and more sombre every
day; he weighed the power and hatred of the Guises as well as of their
partisans; in his anxiety for his countrymen and his religion he
determined to secure for the persecuted Protestants a refuge, perhaps a
home, in the new world, after that defeat of which he already saw a
glimmer.

A first expedition had failed, after an attempt on the coasts of Brazil;
in 1562, a new flotilla set out from Havre, commanded by John Ribaut of
Dieppe. A landing was effected in a beautiful country, sparkling with
flowers and verdure; the century-old trees, the vast forests, the unknown
birds, the game, which appeared at the entrance of the glades and stood
still fearlessly at the unwonted apparition of man--this spectacle,
familiar and at the same time new, presented by nature at the
commencement of May, caused great joy and profound gratitude amongst the
French, who had come so far, through so many perils, to the borders of
Florida; they knelt down piously to thank God; the savages, flocking
together upon the shore, regarded them with astonishment mingled with
respect. Ribaut and his companions took possession of the country in the
name of France, and immediately began to construct a fort, which they
called Fort Charles, in honor of the young king, Charles IX. Detachments
scoured the country, and carried to a distance the name of France: during
three years, through a course of continual suffering and intestine strife
more dangerous than the hardships of nature and the ambushes of savages,
the French maintained themselves in their new settlement, enlarged from
time to time by new emigrants. Unhappily they had frequently been
recruited from amongst men of no character, importing the contagion of
their vices into the little colony which Coligny had intended to found
the Reformed church in the new world. In 1565 a Spanish expedition
landed in Florida. Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who commanded it, had
received from King Philip II. the title of _adelantado_ (governor) of
Florida; he had pledged himself, in return, to conquer for Spain this
territory impudently filched from the jurisdiction which His Catholic
Majesty claimed over the whole of America. The struggle lasted but a few
days, in spite of the despair and courage of the French colonists; a
great number were massacred, others crowded on to the little vessels
still at their disposal, and carried to France the news of the disaster.
Menendez took possession of the ruined forts, of the scarcely cleared
fields strewn with the corpses of the unhappy colonists. "Are you
Catholics or Lutherans?" he demanded of his prisoners, bound two and two
before him. "We all belong to the Reformed faith," replied John Ribaut;
and he intoned in a loud voice a psalm: "Dust we are, and to dust we
shall return; twenty years more or less upon this earth are of small
account;" and, turning towards the _adelantado,_ "Do thy will," he said.
All were put to death, "as I judged expedient for the service of God and
of your Majesty," wrote the Spanish commander to Philip II.," and I
consider it a great piece of luck that this John Ribaut hath died in this
place, for the King of France might have done more with him and five
hundred ducats than with another man and five thousand, he having been
the most able and experienced mariner of the day for knowing the
navigation of the coasts of India and Florida." Above the heap of
corpses, before committing them to the flames, Menendez placed this
inscription: "Not as Frenchmen, but as heretics."

Three years later, on the same spot on which the _adelantado_ had heaped
up the victims of his cruelty and his perfidy lay the bodies of the
Spanish garrison. A Gascon gentleman, Dominic de Gourgues, had sworn to
avenge the wrongs of France; he had sold his patrimony, borrowed money of
his friends, and, trusting to his long experience in navigation, put to
sea with three small vessels equipped at his expense. The Spaniards were
living unsuspectingly, as the French colonists had lately done; they had
founded their principal settlement at some distance from the first
landing-place, and had named it St. Augustine. De Gourgues attacked
unexpectedly the little fort of San-Mateo; a detachment surrounded in the
woods the Spaniards who had sought refuge there; all were killed or
taken; they were hanged on the same trees which had but lately served for
the execution of the French. "This I do not as to Spaniards, but as to
traitors, thieves, and murderers," was the inscription placed by De
Gourgues above their heads. When he again put to sea, there remained not
one stone upon another of the fort of San-Mateo. France was avenged.
"All that we have done was done for the service of the king and for the
honor of the country," exclaimed the bold Gascon as he re-boarded his
ship. Florida, nevertheless, remained in the hands of Spain; the French
adventurers went carrying elsewhither their ardent hopes and their
indomitable courage.

For a long while expeditious and attempts at French colonization had been
directed towards Canada. James Cartier, in 1535, had taken possession of
its coasts under the name of New France. M. de Roberval had taken
thither colonists agricultural and mechanical; but the hard climate,
famine, and disease had stifled the little colony in the bud; religious
and political disturbances in the mother-country were absorbing all
thoughts; it was only in the reign of Henry IV., when panting France,
distracted by civil discord, began to repose, for the first time since
more than a century, beneath a government just, able, and firm at the
same time, that zeal for distant enterprises at last attracted to New
France its real founder. Samuel de Champlain du Brouage, born in 1567, a
faithful soldier of the king's so long as the war lasted, was unable to
endure the indolence of peace. After long and perilous voyages, he
enlisted in the company which M. de Monts, gentleman of the bed-chamber
in ordinary to Henry IV., had just formed for the trade in furs on the
northern coast of America; appointed viceroy of Acadia, a new territory,
of which the imaginary limits would extend in our times from Philadelphia
to beyond Montreal, and furnished with a commercial monopoly, M. de Monts
set sail on the 7th of April, 1604, taking with him, Calvinist though he
was, Catholic priests as well as Protestant pastors. "I have seen our
priest and the minister come to a fight over questions of faith," writes
Champlain in his journal; "I can't say which showed the more courage, or
struck the harder, but I know that the minister sometimes complained to
Sieur de Monts of having been beaten." This was the prelude to the
conversion of the savages, which was soon to become the sole aim or the
pious standard of all the attempts at colonization in New France.

[Illustration: Champlain----190]

M. de Monts and his comrades had been for many years struggling against
the natural difficulties of their enterprise, and against the ill-will or
indifference which they encountered in the mother-country; religious zeal
was reviving in France; the edict of Nantes had put a stop to violent
strife; missionary ardor animated the powerful society of Jesuits
especially. At their instigation and under their direction a pious
woman, rich and of high rank, the Marchioness of Guercheville, profited
by the distress amongst the first founders of the French colony; she
purchased their rights, took possession of their territory, and, having
got the king to cede to her the sovereignty of New France, from the St.
Lawrence to Florida, she dedicated all her personal fortune to the holy
enterprise of a mission amongst the Indians of America. Beside the
adventurers, gentlemen or traders, attracted by the hope of gain or by
zeal for discovery, there set out a large number of Jesuits, resolved to
win a new empire for Jesus Christ. Champlain accompanied them. After
long and painful explorations in the forests and amongst the Indian
tribes, after frequent voyages to France on the service of the colony, he
became at last, in 1606, the first governor of the nascent town of
Quebec.

Never was colony founded under more pious auspices; for some time past
the Recollects had been zealously laboring for the conversion of
unbelievers; seconded by the Jesuits, who were before long to remain sole
masters of the soil, they found themselves sufficiently powerful to
forbid the Protestant sailors certain favorite exercises of their
worship: "At last it was agreed that they should not chant the psalms,"
says Champlain, "but that they should assemble to make their prayers." A
hand more powerful than that of Madame de Guercheville or of the Jesuits
was about to take the direction of the affairs of the colony as well as
of France: Cardinal Richelieu had become premier minister.

The blind gropings and intestine struggles of the rival possessors of
monopolies were soon succeeded by united action. Richelieu favored
commerce, and did not disdain to apply thereto the resources of his great
and fertile mind. In 1627 he put himself at the head of a company of a
hundred associates, on which the king conferred the possession as well as
the government of New France, together with the commercial monopoly and
freedom from all taxes for fifteen years. The colonists were to be
French and Catholics; Huguenots were excluded: they alone had till then
manifested any tendency towards emigration; the attempts at colonization
in America were due to their efforts: less liberal in New France than he
had lately been in Europe, the cardinal thus enlisted in the service of
the foreigner all the adventurous spirits and the bold explorers amongst
the French Protestants, at the very moment when the English Puritans,
driven from their country by the narrow and meddlesome policy of James
I., were dropping anchor at the foot of Plymouth Rock., and were
founding, in the name of religious liberty, a new Protestant England, the
rival ere long of that New France which was Catholic and absolutist.

Champlain had died at Quebec on Christmas Day, 1635, after twenty-seven
years' efforts and sufferings in the service of the nascent colony. Bold
and enterprising, endowed with indomitable perseverance and rare
practical faculties, an explorer of distant forests, an intrepid
negotiator with the savage tribes, a wise and patient administrator,
indulgent towards all, in spite of his ardent devotion, Samuel de
Champlain had presented the rare intermixture of the heroic qualities of
past times with the zeal for science and the practical talents of modern
ages; he was replaced in his government by a knight of Malta, M. de
Montmagny. Quebec had a seminary, a hospital, and a convent, before it
possessed a population.

The foundation of Montreal was still more exclusively religious. The
accounts of the Jesuits had inflamed pious souls with a noble emulation;
a Montreal association was formed, under the direction of M. Olier,
founder of St. Sulpice. The first expedition was placed under the
command of a valiant gentleman, Paul de Maisonneuve, and of a certain
Mademoiselle Mance, belonging to the middle class of Nogent-le-Roi, who
was not yet a nun, but who was destined to become the foundress of the
hospital-sisters of Ville-Marie, the name which the religious zeal of the
explorers intended for the new colony of Montreal.

It was not without jealousy that the governor of Quebec and the agents of
the hundred associates looked upon the enterprise of M. de Maisonneuve;
an attempt was made to persuade him to remain in the settlement already
founded. "I am not come here to deliberate, but to act," answered he;
"it is my duty, as well as an honor to me, to found a colony at Montreal,
and I shall go, though every tree were an Iroquois!"

On the 16th of May, 1642, the new colonists had scarcely disembarked when
they were mustered around Father Vimont, a Jesuit, clothed in his
pontifical vestments. The priest, having first celebrated mass, turned
to those present. "You are only a grain of mustard-seed," said he, "but
you will grow until your branches cover the whole earth. You are few in
number, but your work is that of God. His eye is upon you, and your
children will replenish the earth." "You say that the enterprise of
Montreal is of a cost more suitable for a king than for a few private
persons too feeble to sustain it," wrote the associates of Montreal, in
1643, in reply to their adversaries, "and you further allege the perils
of the navigation and the shipwrecks that may ruin it. You have made a
better hit than you supposed in saying that it is a king's work, for the
King of kings has a hand in it, He whom the winds and the sea obey. We,
therefore, do not fear shipwrecks; He will not cause them save when it is
good for us, and when it is for His glory, which is our only aim. If
the, finger of God be not in the affair of Montreal, if it be a human
invention, do not trouble yourselves about it; it will never endure; but,
if God have willed it, who are you, that you should gainsay Him?"

The affair of Montreal stood, like that of Quebec; New France was
founded, in spite of the sufferings of the early colonists, thanks to
their courage, their fervent enthusiasm, and the support afforded them by
the religious zeal of their friends in Europe. The Jesuit missionaries
every day extended their explorations, sharing with M. de La Salle the
glory of the great discoveries of the West. Champlain had before this
dreamed of and sought for a passage across the continent, leading to the
Southern seas and permitting of commerce with India and Japan. La Salle,
in his intrepid expeditions, discovered Ohio and Illinois, navigated the
great lakes, crossed the Mississippi, which the Jesuits had been the
first to reach, and pushed on as far as Texas. Constructing forts in the
midst of the savage districts, taking possession of Louisiana in the name
of King Louis XIV., abandoned by the majority of his comrades and losing
the most faithful of them by death, attacked by savages, betrayed by his
own men, thwarted in his projects by his enemies and his rivals, this

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