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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 12 by Editor-In-Chief Rossiter Johnson

Part 3 out of 8

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the regiments of burgher guards, who were ten thousand in number, a portion
of the city to watch; took into their pay as soldiers all those inhabitants
whom the cessation of trade would throw out of employment; stationed
outlyers in the Y, Amstel, Zuyder Zee, and Pampus, and, cutting the dikes,
laid the country to a great distance round under water. They likewise
passed a resolution that, though all the rest of Holland should make terms
with the conqueror, they would sustain the siege single-handed till some
friendly power should afford them assistance.

The causes which combined to expose the United Provinces to these terrible
disasters by land had, happily, no influence on their affairs by sea. The
fleet, commanded by De Ruyter, an officer surpassed by none of any age
or nation in ability and courage, and of devoted fidelity to the present
government, had been increased to ninety-one ships and frigates of war,
fifty-four fire-ships, and twenty-three yachts. That of the allies,
commanded by the Duke of York, comprised after the junction of the French
squadron under the Count d'Etrées, one hundred forty-nine ships-of-war,
besides the smaller vessels. Sailing in quest of the enemy, De Ruyter
discovered them lying in Solebay, evidently unprepared for his approach. On
this occasion was felt the disadvantage of intrusting an officer with the
chief command without at the same time giving him sufficient authority to
insure its beneficial exercise. In consequence of the presence on board of
Cornelius de Witt, the deputy of the States, De Ruyter, instead of ordering
an immediate attack, was obliged to call a council of war, and thus gave
the English time to arrange themselves in order of battle, which they did
with astonishing celerity.

The Dutch advanced in three squadrons, nearly in a line with each other;
the Admiral Bankert on the left to the attack of the French; Van Gend on
the right, with the purpose of engaging the blue squadron commanded by
Montague, Earl of Sandwich; while De Ruyter in the middle directed his
course toward the red flag of the English, and, pointing with his finger to
the Duke of York's vessel, said to his pilot, "There is our man." The pilot
instantly steered the ship right down upon that of the Duke, and a terrific
broadside was returned with equal fury. After two hours' incessant firing,
the English admiral retreated, his ship being so damaged that he was
obliged to transfer his flag on board the London. At the same time Braakel,
a captain who had signalized himself in the burning of Chatham, with a
vessel of sixty-two guns, attacked the Royal James, of one hundred four
guns, the ship of the Earl of Sandwich, which he boarded and fired.
Montague, refusing to surrender, was drowned in the attempt to escape in a
boat. On the other hand, Van Gend, the admiral of the squadron engaged with
the Earl's, was killed in the beginning of the action. The contest was
maintained with the daring and steady valor characteristic of both nations,
from seven in the morning until nightfall. The French had received
instructions to keep aloof from the fight, and allow the two fleets to
destroy each other; and these they took care to carry out to the full.
Thus, the only assistance they afforded to the English was to prevent
the Dutch squadron engaged in watching their movements from acting, an
advantage more than counterbalanced by the discouragement their behavior
occasioned among their allies.

Though both parties claimed the victory, it undoubtedly inclined in favor
of the Dutch, who sustained a loss somewhat inferior to that of their
antagonists, and had the satisfaction, moreover, of preventing a descent
upon Zealand by the combined fleets, which was to have been the immediate
consequence of a defeat. This was, however, attempted about a month after,
when the disasters attending the arms of the States by land, having induced
them to diminish the number of their ships, De Ruyter received commands to
remain in the ports and avoid an engagement. The whole of the English fleet
appeared in the Texel provided with small craft for the purpose of landing.
But, by a singular coincidence, it happened that, on the very day fixed for
the attempt, the water continued, from some unknown cause, so low as to
render it impossible for the vessels to approach the shore, and to impress
the people with the idea that the ebb of the tide lasted for the space of
twelve hours. Immediately after, a violent storm arose, which drove the
enemy entirely away from the coasts.

The internal condition of the United Provinces was at this time such as to
incite the combined monarchs, no less than their own successes, to treat
them with insolence and oppression. They beheld the inhabitants, instead of
uniting with one generous sentiment of patriotism in a firm and strenuous
defence of their fatherland, torn by dissensions, and turning against each
other the rage which should have been directed against their enemies. The
divisions in every province and town were daily becoming wider and more
embittered. Though both parties had merited an equal share of blame for the
present miscarriages, the people imputed them exclusively to the government
of Jan de Witt and his adherents; who, they said, had betrayed and sold the
country to France; and this accusation to which their late pusillanimous
counsels gave but too strong a color of plausibility, the heads of the
Orange party, though well aware of its untruth, diligently sustained and
propagated. The ministers of the Church, always influential and always on
the alert, made the pulpits resound with declamations against the treachery
and incapacity of the present government as the cause of all the evils
under which they groaned; and emphatically pointed to the elevation of the
Prince of Orange to the dignities of his ancestors as the sole remedy now
left them. To this measure De Witt and his brother were now regarded as the
only obstacles; and, so perverted had the state of public feeling become
that the most atrocious crimes began to be looked upon as meritorious
actions, provided only they tended to the desired object of removing these
obnoxious ministers.

On one occasion, Jan de Witt, having been employed at the Chamber of the
States to a late hour of the night, was returning home attended by a single
servant, according to his custom, when he was attacked by four assassins.
He defended himself for a considerable time, till having received some
severe wounds he fell, and his assailants decamped, leaving him for dead.
One only, James van der Graaf, was arrested; the other three took refuge in
the camp, where, though the States of Holland earnestly enjoined the Prince
of Orange and the other generals to use diligent means for their discovery,
they remained unmolested till the danger was passed. Van der Graaf was
tried and condemned to death. The pensionary was strongly solicited by
his friends to gratify the people by interceding for the pardon of the
criminals; but he resolutely refused to adopt any such mode of gaining
popularity. Impunity, he said, would but increase the number and boldness
of such miscreants; nor would he attempt to appease the causeless hatred of
the people against him by an act which he considered would tend to endanger
the life of every member of the Government. The determination, however
just, was imprudent. The criminal, an account of whose last moments was
published by the minister who attended him, was regarded by the populace as
a victim to the vengeance of Jan de Witt, and a martyr to the good of his
country. On the same day a similar attempt was made on the life of his
brother, Cornelius de Witt, at Dordrecht, by a like number of assassins,
who endeavored to force their way into his house, but were prevented by the
interference of a detachment of the burgher guard.

Cornelius had already, on his return from the fleet in consequence of
impaired health, been greeted with the spectacle of his picture, which had
given such umbrage to the King of England, cut into strips and stuck about
the town, with the head hanging upon the gallows. These symptoms of tumult
rapidly increased in violence. A mob assembling, with loud cries of
"_Oranje boven! de Witten onder_!" ("Long live the Prince of Orange! down
with the De Witts!") surrounded the houses of the members of the council,
whom they forced to send for the Prince, and to pass an act, repealing the
"Perpetual Edict," declaring him stadtholder, and releasing him from the
oath he had taken not to accept that office while he was captain-general.
Having been signed by all the other members of the council, this act was
carried to the house of Cornelius de Witt, who was confined to his bed
by sickness, the populace at the same time surrounding the house and
threatening him with death in case of refusal. He long resisted, observing
that he had too many balls falling around him lately to fear death, which
he would rather suffer than sign that paper; but the prayers and tears of
his wife and her threats, that if he delayed compliance she would throw
herself and her children among the infuriated populace, in the end overcame
his resolution. He added to his signature the letters V.C. _(vi coactus_),
but the people, informed by a minister of their purport, obliged him to
erase them.

Similar commotions broke out at Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leyden, Amsterdam, and
in other towns, both of Holland and Zealand, where the populace constrained
the magistrates by menace and violence to the repeal of the edict.
Reluctant to have such a measure forced upon them by tumult and sedition,
the States of Holland and Zealand now unanimously passed an act revoking
the Perpetual Edict, and conferring on the Prince of Orange the dignity of
stadtholder, captain, and admiral-general of these provinces.

Soon afterward Cornelius de Witt was thrown into prison and put to the
torture on a false charge of planning the assassination of the Prince of
Orange. Jan de Witt visited his brother in his agony, and a mob, bursting
into the jail, seized upon both brothers as traitors and murdered them with
horrid brutality.

From this time the authority of William became almost uncontrolled in the
United Provinces. Most of the leaders of the Louvestein party, either
convinced of the necessity of his elevation to power in the present
emergency or unwilling to encounter the vexation of a fruitless opposition,
acquiesced in the present state of things; many were afterward employed by
him, and distinguished themselves by fidelity and zeal in his service. The
constant coöperation and participation in his views also of the pensionary,
Fagel, gave him an advantage which none of his predecessors had ever
enjoyed; the influence of the pensionaries of Holland having hitherto been
always opposed, and forming a counterpoise, to that of the stadtholder.

Unquestionably the Dutch, while thus parting with their liberties, reaped
in some degree the benefits usually attendant on such a sacrifice, in
the increased firmness and activity of a government conducted by a sole
responsible head. At the time of the embassy of Peter de Groot to solicit
peace from the King of France, the Prince had so far partaken of the
general dejection as to ask permission of the States to nominate a deputy
to treat of his particular interests; but no sooner was he created
stadtholder than he began to adopt bolder and more spirited resolutions
for the safety of a country to which he felt himself attached by new and
stronger ties. Being invited by the Assembly of the States to give his
opinion on the terms offered by the allied monarchs, he declared that their
acceptance would entail upon them certain ruin, and that the very listening
to such was pernicious in the highest degree to affairs, as tending to
disunite and dispirit the people.

He encouraged them to hope for speedy assistance from his allies; pointed
out the resources which yet existed for the support of the war; and
persuaded them rather to resolve, if they were driven to extremity, to
embark on board their vessels and found a new nation in the East Indies,
than accept the conditions. At the same time he spurned with indignation
the flattering proposals made him both by the Kings of France and England;
for--so singularly are men appointed to work out their own destiny--these
monarchs now vied with each other, and were in fact principally
instrumental, in exalting the power and dignity of a prince who ere long
was to hurl the brother of the one from the throne of his ancestors, and
prepare for the other an old age of vexation and disgrace, if not to lay
the first foundation of the ruin of his kingdom in the next century.

Louis, upon the appointment of the Prince to the office of stadtholder, was
liberal in offers of honor and advantages to his person and family, and
among the rest was one which he considered could scarcely fail of its
effect; that, namely, of making him sovereign of the provinces under the
protection of France and England. William, however, was found wholly
immovable on this point, declaring that he would rather retire to his
lands in Germany, and spend his life in hunting, than sell his country and
liberty to France. Nor were the dispiriting representations made by the
English ambassadors, that Holland was utterly lost unless he consented to
the terms proposed, at all more influential; "I have thought of a means,"
he replied, "to avoid beholding the ruin of my country--to die in the last

Neither, indeed, was the state of the country, though sufficiently
deplorable, such as to leave him no choice but to become the vassal of her
haughty enemies. The progress of the invader in Holland was effectually
arrested by the state of defence into which that province had been put.
Imitating the noble example set them by Amsterdam, the other towns readily
opened the sluices of the Lek, Meuse, Yssel, and Vecht, inundating by that
means the whole of the intervening tracts of land.

The Dutch army was stationed at the five principal posts of the provinces;
Prince Maurice John being placed at Muyden and Weesp; Field Marshal
Wurtz at Gorcum; the Count of Horn at the Goejanverwellen Sluys;
another detachment occupied Woerden; and the Prince himself took up his
head-quarters at Bodergrave and Nieuwerburg.

At length, finding his army increased by the addition of subsidies from
Spain to twenty-four thousand men, William determined to infuse new vigor
into the public mind by the commencement of offensive hostilities. He
first formed the design of surprising Naarden and Woerden, both of which
attempts, however, proved unsuccessful. He then marched toward Maestricht,
captured and demolished the fort of Valckenburg, by which that town was
straitened, and, with the view of diverting the force of the enemy
by carrying the war into his own territory, advanced to the siege of
Charleroi. But the middle of winter having already arrived before he
commenced the enterprise, he was soon after compelled, by the severity
of the weather, to abandon it and retire to Holland, which, during his
absence, had, from the same cause, been exposed to imminent danger.

The Duke of Luxemburg, who had been left in command of the forces in
Utrecht on the departure of the King of France, for Paris, finding that the
ice with which the land-water was covered, was sufficiently strong to bear
the passage of cavalry, marched with a strong body of troops to Zwammerdam,
and thence to Bodergrave, both of which were abandoned. The purpose of the
French commander was to advance directly upon The Hague, and to force the
States to acknowledge the sovereignty of the King of France; a measure
which would, he conceived, involve the immediate submission of the whole
of the provinces. But, happily, his project was defeated by a sudden thaw,
which obliged him to return to Utrecht; and had it not been that the fort
of Nieuwerburg, situated on the dike, which afforded the only passage
thither, was deserted by the commander, _Pain-et-Vin_, his retreat must
have been cut off, and his army exposed to almost certain destruction.
Before his departure, Luxemburg revenged himself on the luckless villages
he had captured, which he pillaged and burned to the ground.[1] Pain-et-Vin
was afterward tried for breach of duty and executed.

[Footnote 1: The accounts given by the Dutch historians of the revolting
outrages and barbarities exercised by the invaders on this expedition are
strenuously denied by the writers on the French side; their conduct in
Utrecht, however, which we shall have occasion hereafter to notice, affords
but too ample evidence that there was some truth in the accusations. On the
other hand, that the Dutch authors are guilty of exaggeration may be easily
believed, since one of them gravely puts into the mouth of the Duke of
Luxemburg the following address to his soldiers: "Go, my children, plunder,
murder, destroy, and if it be possible to commit yet greater cruelties, be
not negligent therein, that I may see I am not deceived in my choice of the
flower of the king's troops."]

Though it might well have been feared that the failure of all the
enterprises of the Prince of Orange would have renewed the discontents
lately prevalent in the United Provinces, such an effect was in no degree
produced. The very boldness of the designs, it seemed, had been the cause
of their ill-success, and argued a zeal and activity for the public good
which inspired unbounded confidence in his future measures. The appearance
of renovated vigor in the United Provinces, moreover, encouraged
surrounding states to make some demonstrations in their favor. They had
wished to see them humbled, but not destroyed. The Emperor and princes of
Germany, in especial, contemplated with dread the prospect of exchanging
the neighborhood of the inoffensive and industrious people, who rarely
appeared to them in any other light than as the dispensers of abundance,
wealth, and luxury, for that of an ambitious and unscrupulous monarch,
whose glory was in destruction, and from whose encroachments their
boundaries would be for not one moment safe.

Though deeply imbued with these sentiments, the Elector of Brandenburg had
hitherto been deterred from lending them any assistance, lest, should they
be forced to make a peace with the King of France, the whole power and
vengeance of that monarch might be directed against himself. He now induced
the Emperor Leopold to enter into an alliance with him, by virtue of which
he levied a force of twenty-four thousand men, to be joined with an equal
number furnished by himself, for the purpose of opposing the advances of
Louis. Though the secret treaty which the Emperor had made with France,
binding himself not to afford aid to any member of the Triple Alliance,
and of which the Elector was in ignorance, limited the employment of the
imperial army strictly to the protection of the empire, and consequently
prevented it from marching at once to the support of the provinces, its
movement was of considerable advantage to their affairs, in calling off
Turenne from Bois-le-Duc, to which he had laid siege, to the defence of the
places on the Rhine. The Bishops of Muenster and Cologne, also, whom the
brave defence of the garrison of Groningen had forced to raise the siege,
were under the necessity of abandoning both that province and Guelderland,
and hastening to the protection of their own territories.

Among the benefits which the Dutch anticipated with the utmost confidence
as the consequence of the elevation of the Prince of Orange to his paternal
dignities was the appeasing the hostility of his uncle, the King of
England. In this, however, they were wholly deceived. On the meeting of
Parliament in this year, the chancellor, Shaftesbury, addressed the two
Houses in a strain of hostile feeling to the Dutch nation, more bitter than
the court as yet ventured to express. He represented that, "besides the
personal indignities in the way of pictures, medals, and other public
affronts which the King received from the States, they came at last to
such a height of insolence as to deny him the honor of the flag, though an
undoubted jewel of the crown, and disputed the King's title to it in all
the courts of Europe, making great offers to the French King if he would
stand by them in this particular.

"But both kings, knowing their own interest, resolved to join against them,
who were the common enemies of all monarchies, but especially the English,
their only competitor in commerce and naval power, and the chief obstacle
to their attainment of the dominion they aimed at, a dominion as universal
as that of Rome; and so intoxicated were they with that vast ambition that
under all their present distress and danger they haughtily rejected every
overture for a treaty or a cessation of arms; that the war was a just and
necessary measure, advised by the Parliament itself from the conviction
that, at any rate, _Delenda est Carthago_--such a government'must be
destroyed; and that therefore the King may well say it was their war; which
had never been begun, but that the States refused him satisfaction because
they believed him to be in so great want of money that they must sit down
under any affronts."

But the Parliament, always disinclined to the war, had now begun to view it
with absolute aversion; and though moved, by the King's representations
of the embarrassed condition he should be reduced to if the supply were
refused, to yield a subsidy of seventy thousand pounds a month for eighteen
months, they forced him to pay a high price for their complaisance by
extorting his consent to the "Test Act." By the operation of this act, the
Duke of York, the inveterate enemy of the Dutch, and Sir Thomas Clifford,
the minister who had the most zealously pushed forward the business of the
war, were forced to resign their offices. With the funds granted him by
Parliament, Charles was enabled to complete the equipment of a fleet,
which, when joined to a squadron of French ships under D'Estrées, numbered
one hundred fifty sail.

The Prince of Orange had wisely continued De Ruyter in the command of
the fleet as lieutenant-admiral of the provinces, with almost unlimited
instructions, and suffered himself to be wholly guided by him in naval
affairs, interfering only so far as to reinstate Tromp in the office
of admiral under the College of Amsterdam, and to effect a perfect
reconciliation between him and De Ruyter--a matter which the placable and
magnanimous temper of the latter rendered of easy accomplishment. Having
failed in a scheme of blocking up the Thames by means of sinking vessels in
the bed of that river, De Ruyter stationed himself at Schooneveldt, with
the purpose of protecting the coast of Zealand against a meditated descent
of the enemy. While at anchor he descried the hostile fleet approaching;
but a calm, succeeded by rough weather, prevented them for some days from
coming to an engagement.

The Dutch were considerably inferior in strength to the allies, the number
of their vessels being no more than fifty-two men-of-war and twelve
frigates, of which, moreover, the equipages were, owing to the scarcity of
seamen, by no means complete. But this deficiency was more than compensated
by the spirit and conduct of their great commander. "The weaker our fleet
is," observed De Ruyter, in answer to some remark made to him on the
subject, "the more confidently I expect a victory, not from our own
strength, but from the arm of the Almighty." Under a favorable breeze, the
French and English ships bore down upon their unequal antagonists, in the
full expectation that they would avoid the encounter, by retiring behind
the sand-banks of Flushing. The Dutch, however, firmly awaited the shock,
commenced by the squadron of French ships, which on this occasion had
been placed in the van to avoid the imputation cast upon them in the last
battle. They engaged with that of Tromp, whose impetuous firing compelled
the French admiral to retire for a time; but quickly rallying, he returned
to the charge with such vigor that Tromp was obliged to remove his flag on
four different vessels successively.

De Ruyter, meanwhile, had engaged the red squadron, commanded by Prince
Rupert, which after a sharp contest he threw into some disorder, and
succeeded in cutting off a considerable number of ships from the remainder.
Instead, however, of pursuing his advantage, De Ruyter, becoming aware of
the danger of his rival, who was now entirely surrounded by the enemy,
hastened to his rescue. On seeing him approach, Tromp exclaimed: "Comrades,
here is our grandsire [a pet name given to De Ruyter among the sailors]
coming to help us; so long as I live I will never forsake him!" The
generous aid was no less effectual than well timed, since the enemy,
astonished at his unexpected appearance, fell back. "I am pleased to see,"
he said, "that our enemies still fear the Seven Provinces," the name of the
vessel which carried his flag. The fight was continued with unremitting
obstinacy till darkness separated the combatants, when the Dutch found that
they had gained about three miles upon their antagonists.

That the issue of such a contest should be doubtful was in itself
equivalent to a victory on the side of the Dutch; a victory of which they
reaped all the advantages, as well as the glory, since, besides delivering
their coasts from the intended invasion, their loss was so inconsiderable
that within a week the fleet was able to put to sea in its original numbers
and strength. Another engagement, fought with less of energy and resolution
on the side of the English than usually distinguished them, terminated in
their retreat toward the Thames, which, De Ruyter conceiving to be a feint
to draw the Dutch fleet off their coasts, he declined the pursuit. The
movement, however, had its origin in a far different cause. The English
sailors fully participated in the feelings entertained by the great body of
the nation, who viewed the aggrandizement of their ally with jealousy, and
the undeserved misfortunes of their enemy with pity, and considered every
advantage gained over the Dutch as a step toward the completion of the
sinister designs they suspected their own sovereign of harboring against
their religion and liberties. They accordingly made no concealment of their
reluctance to fight longer in such a quarrel.

It was now become evident to the Government that the only mode of
reconciling the people in any degree to the present state of things was the
execution of some brilliant achievement which should flatter their national
vanity and kindle their ambition or lead to the acquisition of spoil
sufficiently considerable to afford some sensible assistance in supporting
the war. A descent on Holland was therefore resolved on, or, if that were
found impracticable, it was proposed to intercept the Indian fleet, whose
arrival was hourly expected. With this view a formidable fleet of one
hundred fifty sail made its appearance in the Texel, and was met by De
Ruyter about five miles from the village of the Helder. The Dutch, though
far inferior in number, having only seventy-five vessels, convinced
that this struggle was to be the most desperate and the last, prepared
themselves for it as men who had everything at stake. After a short but
inspiring harangue, De Ruyter gave the signal for attack. As if with a
presentiment that long years would elapse before they should again try
the strength of each other's arm, the English and Dutch seemed mutually
determined to leave upon the minds of their foes an ineffaceable impression
of their skill and prowess.

All the resources which ability could suggest or valor execute were now
employed. Each admiral engaged with the antagonist against whom it had
before been his fortune to contend. De Ruyter attached himself to the
squadron of Prince Rupert; Tromp attacked Sprague, who commanded the blue
flag; while Bankert was opposed to the French; the latter, however, after
a short skirmish on the part of Rear Admiral Martel, who was unacquainted
with the secret orders given to the commander, D'Estrées, dropped off to a
distance; nor could all the signals made by Prince Rupert induce them to
take any further share in the fight. Bankert, therefore, joined De Ruyter,
who was engaged in a terrific contest with the squadron of Prince Rupert.
The firing was kept up for several hours without cessation; the discharges
from the cannon of the Dutch vessels being, it was said, as rapid as those
of musketry, and in proportion of three to one to those of the enemy.
Tromp, whose actions always reflected more honor on his courage than
conduct, separated himself, as was his custom, from the remainder of the
fleet, and pressed forward into the midst of the enemy.

He had sustained a continued cannonading from the vessel of Sprague for
upward of three hours, without a single one of his crew being wounded, when
De Ruyter, who had forced Prince Rupert to retire, came to his assistance.
The Prince, on the other side, joined Admiral Sprague, and the fight was
renewed with increased ardor. The vessel of Tromp was so damaged that he
was obliged to remove his flag on board of another; Sprague was reduced to
a similar necessity of quitting his ship, the Royal Prince, for the St.
George, which, ere long, was so much disabled that he was obliged to
proceed to a third; but the boat in which he was passing being struck by a
cannon-ball, sank, and himself and several others were drowned. Toward the
close of evening one English man-of-war was on fire, and two foundered. Not
a single ship-of-war was lost on the side of the Dutch, but both fleets
were so much damaged as to be unable to renew the engagement on the next
morning. Each side, as usual, returned thanks for the victory, to
which, however, the English failed to establish their claim, neither by
accomplishing the projected invasion or intercepting the East India fleet,
the whole of which, except one vessel, reached the ports in safety.

In the more distant quarters of the world the war was carried on with
various success. The French captured the ports of Trincomalee, in Ceylon,
and St. Thomas, on the coast of Coromandel--which were, however, recovered
in the next year--and made an unsuccessful attempt on Curajao. The English
possessed themselves of the island of Tobago and seized four merchantmen
returning from India. But, on the other hand, the States' admiral,
Evertson, made himself master of New York, and, attacking the Newfoundland
ships, took or destroyed no less than sixty-five, and returned to Holland
laden with booty.

The King of France, meanwhile, well satisfied to have secured at so easy
a rate a powerful diversion of the forces of Holland, and the mutual
enfeebling of the two most formidable maritime powers of Europe, cared
little how the affairs of his ally prospered, so that he had been enabled
to pursue the career of his conquests on land. Marching in person at the
head of his troops he laid siege to Maestricht, a town famous for its
gallant defence against the Duke of Parma in 1579, but which now,
notwithstanding several brisk and murderous sallies, capitulated in less
than a month. With this achievement the campaign of Louis ended. The
progress of his arms, and the development of his schemes of ambition had
now raised him up a phalanx of enemies, such as not even his presumption
could venture to despise. He had planned and executed his conquests in full
reliance on the cooperation or neutrality of the neighboring powers, and
found himself in no condition to retain them in defiance of their actual
hostility. He had, from the first, been strongly advised by Condé and
Turenne to destroy the fortifications of the less important towns,
retaining so many only of the larger as to insure the subjection of the
provinces. He had, however, deemed it more consonant to his "glory" to
follow the advice of Louvois in preserving all his conquests entire,
and had thus been obliged to disperse a large portion of his army into
garrisons, leaving the remainder, thinned, moreover, by sickness and
desertion, wholly insufficient to make head against the increasing number
of his opponents. He therefore came to the mortifying resolution of
abandoning the United Provinces, the possession of which he had anticipated
with so much pride.

This auspicious dawn of better fortunes to the provinces was followed by
the long and ardently desired peace with England. The circumstances of the
last battle, in which, as the English declared, "themselves, and the Dutch
had been made the gladiators for the French spectators," had more than
ever disgusted that nation with the alliance of an ambitious and selfish
monarch, who, they perceived, was but gratifying his own rapacity at the
expense of their blood and treasure. Spain had threatened a rupture with
England unless she would consent to a reasonable peace; and even Sweden
herself had declared, during the conferences at Cologne, that she should be
constrained to adopt a similar course if the King of France persisted in
extending his conquests. Should a war with these nations occur, the English
saw themselves deprived of the valuable commerce they carried on in their
ports, to be transferred, most probably, to the United Provinces; in
addition to which consideration, their navigation had already sustained
excessive injury from the privateering of the Zealanders, who had captured,
it is said, no less than twenty-seven hundred English merchant-ships.
These, and various other causes, had provoked the Parliament to use
expressions of the highest indignation at the measures of the court, and to
a peremptory refusal of further supplies for the war unless the Dutch, by
their obstinacy in rejecting terms of peace, should render its continuance

Aware of this disposition, the States had addressed a letter to the King,
which, with sufficient adroitness, they had contrived should arrive
precisely at the meeting of Parliament, offering the King restitution
of all the places they had gained during the war, and satisfaction with
respect to the flag, or "any other matter they had not already ordered
according to his wishes." This communication, received with feelings of
extreme irritation by the court, had all the effect intended on the House
of Commons. It was in vain that the King complained of the personal insults
offered him by the Dutch; in vain that the chancellor expatiated on their
obstinacy, arrogance, and enmity to the English; and that the court party
remonstrated against the imprudence of exposing England defenceless to
the power of her haughty enemy. The Parliament persisted in refusing the
solicited supply; voted the standing army a grievance; bitterly complained
of the French alliance, and resolved that his majesty should be advised to
proceed in a treaty with the States-General, in order to a speedy peace.

A few days sufficed to accomplish a treaty; the Dutch obviating the
principal difficulty by yielding the honor of the flag in the most ample
manner. They now agreed that all their ships should lower their topsails
and strike the flag upon meeting one or more English vessels bearing the
royal standard, within the compass of the four seas, from Cape Finisterre
to Staaten in Norway, and engaged to pay the King two million guilders for
the expenses of the war.

Shortly after, the Bishops of Muenster and Cologne, alarmed at the
probability of being abandoned by the French to the anger of the Emperor,
who had threatened them with the ban of the empire, consented to a treaty
with the United Provinces, in virtue of which they restored all the places
they had conquered.



A.D. 1673-1682


[Footnote 1: Translated by Andrew Bell.]

During the early colonization of New France, in the era of Count Frontenac,
a remarkable spirit of adventure and discovery manifested itself in Canada
among both clerics and laymen. This enterprise, in seeking to open up and
colonize the country, indeed, showed itself under each successive governor,
from the first settlement of Québec, in 1608, down to the fall, in 1759, of
the renowned capital on the St. Lawrence. In the entailed arduous labor,
full as it was of hazard and peril, the pathfinders of empire in the New
World, besides laymen, were largely the Jesuit missionaries.

This spirit of adventure specially began to show itself in the colony at
the period when M. Talon became intendant, when the government of New
France, at the time of Louis XIV's minister, Colbert, became vested
directly in the French crown. Through Talon's instrumentality the colony
revived, and by his large-minded policy its commerce, which had fallen into
the hands of a company of monopolists, was in time set free from many of
its restrictions.

Before Talon quitted the country, he took steps to extend the dominion of
France in the New World toward Hudson's Bay, and westward, in the direction
of the Great Lakes. In 1671 he despatched a royal commissioner to Sault
Ste. Marie, at the foot of Lake Superior, to assemble the Indians of the
region and induce them to place themselves under the protection, and aid
the commerce, of the French King.

While thus engaged, the commissioner heard of the Mississippi River from
the Indians; and Talon intrusted the task of tracking its waters to Father
Marquette and to M. Joliet, a merchant of Québec. With infinite toil these
two adventurous spirits reached the great river they were in search of, and
explored it as far south as the Arkansas. Here unfriendly Indian tribes
compelled them to return, without being permitted to trace the mighty
stream to its outlet. This, however, is supposed to have been accomplished,
in 1682, by Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, a daring young Frenchman,
who descended the Mississippi, it is currently believed, to the Gulf of
Mexico, naming the whole region Louisiana, in honor of Louis XIV.

Whether La Salle actually explored the great river to its mouth is, among
historians, still a moot point. It is supposed that early in his adventures
he retraced his steps and returned to Canada, where, as well as in France,
he had numerous detractors, among whom was De la Barre, the then Governor
of New France. It is known that he was soon again in Québec, to meet his
enemies, which he did successfully, after which he proceeded to France.
Here he was royally received by the King, and, as a proof of the monarch's
confidence in him, La Salle was intrusted with the command of a colonizing
expedition which was sent to Louisiana by sea.

This expedition never reached its destination, for differences with the
commander of the vessels (Beaujeu) interfered with the direction of the
expedition. The mouths of the Mississippi, it seems, were passed, and
the ships reached the coast of Texas. Disaster now dogged the leader's
footsteps, for Beaujeu ran one of the ships on the rocks, and then deserted
with another. La Salle and some of his more trusty followers were left to
their fate, which was a cruel one, for disease broke out in the ranks, and
famine and savage foes made havoc among the survivors. His colony being
reduced to forty persons, La Salle set out overland with sixteen men for
Canada to procure recruits. On the way his companions mutinied, put
La Salle to death, and but a handful of the party reached Canada, the
remainder perishing in the wilderness.

Were we to express in the briefest of terms the motives which induced the
leading European races of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who came
to the Americas, we should say that the Spaniards went thither in quest of
gold, the English for the sake of enjoying civil and religious freedom, the
French in view of propagating the Gospel among the aborigines. Accordingly,
we find, from the beginning, in the annals of New France, religious
interests overlying all others. The members of the Society of Jesus,
becoming discredited among the nations of Europe for their subserviency to
power--usually exalting the rights of kings, but at all times
inculcating submission, both by kings and their subjects, to the Roman
pontiffs--individual Jesuits, we say, whatever may have been their demerits
as members of the confraternity in Europe or in South America, did much to
redeem these by their apostolic labors in the wilderness of the northern
continent; cheerfully encountering, as they did, every form of suffering,
braving the cruelest tortures, and even welcoming death as the expected
seal of their martyrdom for the cause of Christ and for the advancement of
civilization among barbarous nations.

From Québec as a centre-point the missionary lines of the Jesuit fathers
radiated in all directions through every region inhabited by our savages,
from the Laurentian Valley to the Hudson's Bay territory, along the
great-lake countries, and down the valley of the Mississippi. Scantily
equipped, as it seemed to the worldly eye, with a breviary around the neck
and a crucifix in hand, the missionary set forth, and became a pioneer
for the most adventurous secular explorers of the desert. To such our
forefathers owed their best earliest knowledge of vast regions, to whose
savage inhabitants they imparted the glad tidings of the Gospel, and
smoothed the way for native alliances with their compatriots of the laity,
of the greatest after-import to the colony.

Such devotedness, at once heroic and humble, could not but confound worldly
philosophy, while it has gained for the members of the order the admiration
of many Protestants. Thus we have the candid testimony of Bancroft, the
able historian of the English plantations in this continent, that "The
annals of missionary labors are inseparably connected with the origin of
all the establishments of French America. Not a cape was doubled nor a
stream discovered that a Jesuit did not show the way."

On the other hand, there were instances where secular explorers, seeking
to illustrate their names by great discoveries or to enrich themselves by
traffic, opened a way for the after-labors of the missionary. The most
celebrated of such were Champlain, Nicolet, Perrot, Joliet, La Salle, and
La Verendrye.

In regions south of the St. Lawrence, Père Druillettes was the first
European who passed overland from that river to the eastern Atlantic
seaboard, ascending the Chaudifere and descending the Kennebec in 1646. He
did good service to the colony by preserving for it the amity of that brave
nation, the only one which the Iroquois were slow to attack.

In another direction, the traffickers and missionaries, constantly moving
onward toward the sources of the St. Lawrence, had reached the upper
extremity of Lake Huron. Pères Brébeuf, Daniel, Lalemant, Jogues, and
Raimbault founded in the regions around its waters the Christianized
settlements (_villages_) of St. Joseph, St. Michel, St. Ignace, and Ste.
Marie. The last-named, seated at the point where Lake Huron communicates
with Lake Erie, was long the central point of the northwestern missions.

In 1639 Jean Nicholet, following the course of a river flowing out of Lake
Michigan at Green Bay, was led within three days' navigation of "the
Great Water," such was the distinctive name the aborigines gave to the
Mississippi. In 1671 the relics of the Huron tribes, tired of wandering
from forest to forest, settled down in Michilimackinac, at the end of Lake
Superior, under the care of Père Marquette, who thus became the earliest
founder of a European settlement in Michigan. The natives of the vicinity
were of the Algonquin race; but the French called them _Sauteurs_, from
their being near to Sault Ste. Marie.

Between the years 1635 and 1647 communication with the region was little
attempted, the hostile feeling of the Iroquois making the navigation of
Lake Ontario perilous to adventurers, and obliging them to pass to and
from the western mission field by the valley of the Ottawa. The Neuters'
territory, visited by Champlain, and the southern lakeboard of Erie beyond
Buffalo, were as yet almost unknown.

The new impulse which had been given to Canada by Colbert and Talon began
to bear fruit. Commerce revived, immigration increased, and the aborigines,
dominated by the genius of civilization, feared and respected everywhere
the power of France. Perrot, a famous explorer, was the first European who
reached the end of Lake Michigan and the Miâmis country, where deputies
from all the native tribes of the regions irrigated by the head waters
of the Mississippi, the sources of the Red River and the St. Lawrence,
responded to his call to meet him at the Sault Ste. Marie, From one
discovery to another, as so many successive stages in a journey, the French
attained a certainty that "the Great Water" did exist, and they could, in
advance, trace its probable course. It appeared certain, from the recent
search made for it in northerly and eastern directions, that its waters, so
voluminous as the natives asserted, must at last find their sea-vent either
in the Bay of Mexico or in the Pacific Ocean. Talon, who took a strong
interest in the subject, during his intendancy recommended Captain Poulet,
a skilful mariner of Dieppe, to verify the passage from sea to sea, through
the Straits of Magellan.

He induced M. de Frontenac to send M. Joliet into the region where the
great stream, yet unseen, must take its rise; and follow its course, if
found, till its waters reached the sea. The person thus employed on a
mission which interested everyone at the time was a man of talent, educated
in the Jesuits' College of Québec, probably in view of entering the Church,
but who had gone into the peltry trade. He had travelled much in the
countries around Lake Superior and gained great experience of the natives,
especially those of the Ottawa tribes. M. Joliet and Père Marquette set out
together in the year 1673. The latter, who had lived among the Potowatami
Indians as a missionary, and gained their affections, was forewarned by
them of the perils, they alleged, which would beset his steps in so daring
an enterprise, admonishing him and his companion that the people of the
farther countries would allow no stranger to pass through them; that
travellers were always pillaged at the least; that the great river swarmed
with monsters who devoured men,[1] and that the climate was so hot that
human flesh could not endure it.

[Footnote 1: There was some foundation for this report, as alligators
abounded, at that time, in the lower waters of the river.]

Having progressed to the farthest horde, over the Fox River, where Père
Allouez was known, and the extremest point yet touched by any European,
the adventurers found the people of the divers tribes living together in
harmony; viz., the Kikapoos, Mascoutins, and Miâmis. They accorded the
strangers a kind reception and furnished guides to direct the party, which
was composed of nine persons in all--Joliet, Marquette, with five other
whites, and two natives. On June 10th they set out, bearing two light
canoes on their shoulders for crossing the narrow portage which separates
the Fox River from that of Wisconsin, where the latter, after following a
southerly, takes a western, course. Here their Indian guides left them,
fearing to go farther.

Arrived at the Lower Wisconsin they embarked and glided down the stream,
which led the travellers through a solitude; they remarking that the levels
around them presented an unbroken expanse of luxuriant herbage or forests
of lofty trees. Their progress was slow, for it was not till the tenth day
that they attained the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi. But the
goal was surely, if tardily, attained. They were now floating on the bosom
of the "Father of Waters," a fact they at once felt assured of, and fairly
committed themselves to the course of the doubled current. This event
constituted an epoch in American annals.

"The two canoes," says Bancroft, "with sails outspread under a new sky,
sped their way, impelled by favoring breezes, along the surface of the calm
and majestic ocean tributary. At one time the French adventurers glided
along sand-banks, the resting-places of innumerable aquatic birds; at
others they passed around wooded islands in midflood; and otherwhiles,
again, their course lay through the vast plains of Illinois and Iowa,
covered with magnificent woods or dotted with clumps of bush scattered
about limitless prairie lands."

It was not till the voyagers had descended sixty leagues of the great
stream that they discovered any signs of the presence of man; but at
length, observing on the right bank of the river a foot-track, they
followed it for six miles, and arrived at a horde _(bourgade),_ situated on
a river called by the natives Moingona, an appellation afterward corrupted
into "Rivière des Moines." Seeing no one, the visitors hollowed lustily,
and four old men answered the call, bearing in hand the calumet of peace.
"We are Illinois," said the Indians: "you are our fellow-men; we bid you
welcome." They had never before seen any whites, but had heard mention
of the French, and long wished to form an alliance with them against the
Iroquois, whose hostile excursions extended even to their country. They
were glad to hear from Joliet that the colonists had lately chastised those
whom no others could vanquish, and feasted the visitors, to manifest their
gratitude as well as respect. The chief of the tribe, with some hundreds of
his warriors, escorted the party to their canoes; and, as a mark of parting
esteem, he presented a calumet, ornamented with feathers of various colors;
a safe-conduct this, held inviolable among the aborigines.

The voyagers, again on their way, were forewarned of the confluence of the
Missouri with the main stream, by the noise of its discharging waters.
Forty leagues lower, they reached the influx of the Ohio, in the territory
of the Chouanows. By degrees the region they traversed changed its aspect.
Instead of vast prairies, the voyagers only saw thick forests around them,
inhabited by savages whose language was to them unknown. In quitting the
southern line of the Ohio, they left the Algonquin family of aborigines
behind, and had come upon a region of nomads, the Chickasaw nation being
here denizens of the forest. The Dacotas, or Sioux, frequented the riverain
lands, in the southern region watered by the great flood. Thus interpreters
were needed by the natives, who wished to parley from either bank of the
Mississippi, each speaking one of two mother-tongues, both distinct from
those of the Hurons and Algonquins, much of the latter being familiar to
Joliet and others of the party.

Continuing their descent, the confluence of the Arkansas with the
Mississippi was attained. The voyagers were now under the thirty-third
parallel of north latitude, at a point of the river-course reported to have
been previously reached, from the opposite direction, by the celebrated
Spanish mariner De Soto. Here the Illinois chief's present stood the party
in good stead, for on exhibiting his ornate calumet they were treated with
profuse kindness. Bread, made of maize, was offered by the chief of the
horde located at the mouth of the Arkansas River. Hatchet-heads of steel,
in use by the natives, gave intimation that they traded with Europeans, and
that the Spanish settlements on the Bay of Mexico were probably not far
off. The waxing summer heats, too, gave natural corroboration to the same
inferences. The party had now, in fact, attained to a region without a
winter, unless as such be reckoned that part of its year known as "the
rainy season."

It now became expedient to call a halt, for the stored provisions were
beginning to fail, and chance supplies could not be depended upon in such
a wilderness as the bold adventurers had already traversed; and they were
still more uncertain as to what treatment they might receive from savage
populations if they proceeded farther. One thing was made plain to their
perceptions: the Mississippi afforded no passage to the East Indian seas.
They rightly concluded, also, that it found its sea outlet in the Bay
of Mexico, not the Pacific Ocean. They had therefore now done enough to
entitle them to the grateful thanks of their compatriots, and for the
names of their two leaders to take a permanent place in the annals of
geographical discovery.

The task of ascending the great river must have been arduous, and the
return voyage protracted. Arrived at the point where it is joined by the
Illinois, they left it for that stream, which, ascending for a part of its
lower course, Père Marquette elected to remain with the natives of tribes
located near to its banks; while M. Joliet, with the rest of the party,
passed overland to Chicago. Thence he proceeded to Québec, and reported his
proceedings to the Governor, M. Talon at that time being in France. This
duty he had to perform orally, having lost all his papers when shooting the
rapids of the St. Lawrence, above Montreal. He afterward drew up a written
report, with a tracing of his route, from memory.

The encouragement the intendant procured for the enterprise fairly entitles
him to share its glory with those who so ably carried it out; for we cannot
attach too much honor to the memory of statesmen who turn to account their
opportunities of patronizing useful adventure. M. Joliet received in
property the island of Anticosti as a reward for his Western discoveries
and for an exploratory voyage he made to Hudson's Bay. He was also
nominated hydrographer-royal, and got enfeoffed in a seigniory near
Montreal. Expecting to reap great advantage from Anticosti as a fishing and
fur-trading station, he built a fort thereon; but after living some time on
the island with his family, he was obliged to abandon it. His patronymic
was adopted as the name of a mountain situated near the Rivère des Plaines,
a tributary of the Illinois; and Joliet is also the appellation, given in
his honor, of a town near Chicago.

Père Marquette proceeded to Green Bay by Lake Michigan, in 1673; but
he returned soon afterward and resumed his missionary labors among the
Illinois Indians. Being then at war with the Miâmis, they came to him
asking for gunpowder. "I have come among you," said the apostolic priest,
"not to aid you to destroy your enemies' bodies, but to help you to save
your own souls. Gunpowder I cannot give you, but my prayers you can have
for your conversion to that religion which gives glory to God in the
highest and on earth peace to all men." Upon one occasion he preached
before two thousand warriors of their nation, besides the women and
children present. His bodily powers, however, were now wellnigh exhausted.
He decided to return to Mackinac; but while coasting the lower shores of
Lake Michigan, feeling that his supreme hour was nigh, he caused the people
in his canoe to set him ashore. Having obtained for him the shelter of
a hut formed of branches, he there died the death of the righteous. His
companions interred his remains near the river which yet bears his name,
and set up a crucifix to mark the spot. Thus ended, amid the solitudes
of the Western wilderness, the valuable existence of one whose name, too
little known to his own age, will be remembered when hundreds of those
which, however loudly sounded in the present, shall have passed into utter

[Footnote 1: Guérin observes that, according to some authorities, La
Salle, some time between the years 1669 and 1671, descended the
Mississippi, as far as the Arkansas, by the river Ohio. There can be no
doubt that the story is a mere figment.]

The news of the discovery of the Mississippi made a great sensation
in Canada, and eclipsed for a time the interest attaching to other
explorations of the age, which were becoming more and more rife every year.
Every speculative mind was set to work, as was usual on such occasions,
to calculate the material advantages which might result, first to the
colonists, and next to their mother-country, from access being obtained to
a second gigantic waterway through the territories of New France; serving,
as it virtually might in times to come, as a complement, or completing
moiety for the former, enabling the colonists to have the command of two
seas. Still, as the Gulf of Mexico had not been reached by the adventurers
upon the present occasion, some persons had their doubts about the real
course of the lower flood. There was therefore still in store credit for
those who should succeed in clearing up whatever uncertainty there might be
about a matter so important.

"New France," says Raynal, "had among its people a Norman named Robert
Cavalier de la Salle, a man inspired with the double passion of amassing a
large fortune and gaining an illustrious name. This person had acquired,
under the training of the Jesuits, among whom his youth was
passed, activity, enthusiasm, firmness of character, and
high-heartedness--qualities which that celebrated confraternity knew so
well to discern and cultivate in promising natures committed to their care.
Their most audacious and enterprising pupil, La Salle, was especially
impatient to seize every occasion that chance presented for distinguishing
himself, and ready to create such opportunities if none occurred." He had
been resident some years in Canada when Joliet returned from his expedition
to the Mississippi. The effect of so promising a discovery, upon such a
mind as La Salle's, was of the most awakening kind. Joliet's report of what
he experienced, and his shrewd conjectures as to what he did not see but
which doubtless existed, well meditated upon by his fellow-genius, inspired
the latter to form a vast design of exploration and traffic conjoined, in
realizing which he determined to hazard both his fortunes and reputation.

Cavalier Sieur de la Salle was born in Rouen, and the son of respectable
parents. While yet a young man he came to Canada full of a project he had
conceived of seeking a road to Japan and China by a northern or western
passage, but did not bring with him the pecuniary means needful even to
make the attempt. He set about making friends for himself in the colony,
and succeeded in finding favor with the Count de Frontenac, who discerned
in him qualities somewhat akin to his own. With the aid of M. de Courcelles
and Talon he opened a factory for the fur traffic at Lachine, near
Montreal, a name which (_China_) he gave to the place in allusion to the
oriental goal toward which his hopes tended as an explorer.

In the way of trade he visited Lakes Ontario and Erie. While the Canadians
were yet excited about the discovery of the Mississippi, he imparted
his aspirations regarding it to the Governor-general. He said that, by
ascending, instead of descending, that great stream, a means might be
found for reaching the Pacific Ocean; but that the outlay attending the
enterprise could only be defrayed by combining with it an extended traffic
with the nations of the West; that he would gladly make the attempt himself
if a trading-post were erected for his use at the foot of Lake Ontario, as
a basis for his operations, with an exclusive license to traffic in the
Western countries. The Governor gave him the command of Fort Frontenac, to
begin with. Obtaining, also, his recommendations to the Court, La Salle
sailed for France in 1675, and gained all he wanted from the Marquis de
Seignelai, son and successor of the great Colbert as minister of marine.
The King bestowed on La Salle the seigniory of Cataraqui (Kingston) and
ennobled him. This seigniory included Fort Frontenac, of which he was made
the proprietor, as well as of Lake Ontario; conditioned, however, that he
was to reconstruct the fort in stone. His majesty also invested him with
all needful credentials for beginning and continuing his discoveries.

La Salle, on his return to Canada, actively set about aggrandizing his
new possession. Several colonists and some of the natives repaired to
the locality, and settled under protection of his fort. He built in its
vicinity three decked vessels--the first ever seen upon Lake Ontario. In
1677 he visited France again, in quest of aid to carry out his plans.
Colbert and Seignelai got him a royal commission as recognized explorer of
Northwest America, with permission to erect fortified posts therein at his
discretion. He found a potent protector, also, in the Prince de Conti.

La Salle, full of hope, sailed from La Rochelle in summer, 1678, with
thirty seamen and artisans, his vessel freighted with equipments for
his lake craft, and merchandise for barter with the aborigines. A brave
officer, Chevalier de Tonti, went with him, proposing to share his
fortunes. Arrived at Cataraqui, his energy put all his workpeople in
activity. On November 18th he set sail from Fort Frontenac in one of his
barks, loaded with goods and materials for constructing a second fort and a
brigantine at Niagara. When he reached the head of Lake Ontario, his vessel
excited the admiration of the savages; while the Falls of Niagara no less
raised the wonder of the French. Neither had before seen the former so
great a triumph of human art; nor the latter, so overpowering a spectacle
of nature.

La Salle set about founding his proposed stronghold at Niagara; but the
natives, as soon as the defensive works began to take shape, demurred to
their being continued. Not caring to dispute the matter with them, he gave
his erections the form of a palisaded storehouse merely. During winter
following, he laid the keel of a vessel on the stocks, at a place some six
miles above the Falls. His activity redoubled as his operations progressed.
He sent on his friend Tonti with the famous Récollet, Père Hennepin, to
seek out several men whom he had despatched as forerunners, in autumn
preceding, to open up a traffic he intended to carry on with the aborigines
of the West. In person he visited the Iroquois and several other nations,
with whom he wished to form trading relations. He has the honor of founding
the town of Niagara. The vessel he there built he called the Griffin,
because, said he, "the griffin has right of mastery over the ravens": an
allusion, as was said, to his hope of overcoming all his ill-willers, who
were numerous.[1] Be this as it may, the Griffin was launched in midsummer,
1679, under a salute of cannon, with a chanting of _Te Deum_ and shouts
from the colonists; the natives present setting up yells of wonder, hailing
the French as so many _Otkou_ (or "men of a contriving mind").

[Footnote 1: Some authors say that he named his vessel the Griffin in honor
of the Frontenacs, the supporters in whose family coat-of-arms were two
Griffins. Where all is so uncertain in an important matter, a third
suggestion may be as near the mark as the first two. As the Norse or Norman
sea-kings bore the raven for a standard, perhaps La Salle adopted the
raven's master-symbol, in right of a hoped-for sovereignty over the
American lakes.]

On August 7th the Griffin, equipped with seven guns and loaded with small
arms and goods, entered Lake Erie; when La Salle started for Detroit, which
he reached in safety after a few days' sail. He gave to the expansion of
the channel between Lakes Erie and Huron the name of Lake Ste. Claire,
traversing which, on August 23d he entered Lake Huron. Five days later he
reached Michilimackinac, after having encountered a violent storm, such as
are not unfrequent in that locality. The aborigines of the country were
not less moved than those of Niagara had been, at the appearance of the
Griffin; an apparition rendered terrible as well as puzzling when the sound
of her cannon boomed along the lake and reverberated from its shores.

On attaining to the chapel of the Ottawa tribe, at the mission station, he
landed and attended mass. Continuing his voyage, some time in September he
reached the Baie des Puants, on the western lake board of Michigan, where
he cast anchor. So far the first ship navigation of the great Canadian
lakes had been a triumph; but the end was not yet, and it proved to be
disastrous, for La Salle, hearing that his creditors had in his absence
confiscated his possessions, despatched the Griffin, loaded with peltry, to
Niagara, probably in view of redeeming them; but his vessel and goods were
totally lost on the way.

Meanwhile he started, with a trading-party of thirty men of different
callings, bearing arms and merchandise. Passing to St. Joseph's, at the
lower end of Lake Michigan, whither he had ordered that the Griffin should
proceed on her proposed second voyage from Niagara, he laid the foundations
of a fort on the crest of a steep height, washed on two sides by the river
of the Miâmis, and defended on another side by a deep ravine. He set
buoys at the entrance of the stream for the direction of the crew of
the anxiously expected vessel, upon whose safety depended in part the
continuation of his enterprises; sending on some skilful hands to
Michilimackinac to pilot her on the lake. The vessel not appearing, and
winter being near, he set out for the country of the Illinois Indians,
leaving a few men in charge of the fort, and taking with him the
missionaries Gabriel, Hennepin, and Zenobe, also some private men; Tonti,
who was likewise of the party, having rejoined his principal, but without
the men he was sent to seek, as he could not find them.

The expedition, thus constituted, arrived toward the close of December at a
deserted native village situated near the source of the Illinois River,
in the canton which still bears La Salle's name. Without stopping here
he descended that stream as far as Lake Peoria--called by Hennepin,
"Pimiteoui"--on the margin of which he found encamped a numerous body of
the Illinois. These Indians, though naturally gentle, yet turned unfriendly
regards at first on the party, but, soon recovering from surprise at the
appearance of the French, treated them with great hospitality; one of their
attentions to the supposed wants of the visitors being to rub their wearied
legs with bear's-grease and buffalo fat. These friendly people were glad to
learn that La Salle meant to form establishments in their country. Like the
Huron savages of Champlain's time, the Illinois, harassed as they were by
the Iroquois, trusted that the French would protect them in future. The
visitors remarked that the Illinois formed the sides of their huts with
mats of flat reeds, lined and sewed together. All those the party saw were
tall, robust in body, and dexterous with the bow. But the nation has been
stigmatized by some early reporters as cowardly, lazy, debauched, and
without respect for their chiefs.

La Salle's people, hearing no mention of his ship all this while, began
first to murmur, and then to leave him: six of them deserted in one night.
In other respects events occurred ominous of evil for the termination of
the enterprise. To occupy the attention of his companions, and prevent
them from brooding on apprehended ills, as well as to guard them against
a surprise by any hostile natives, he set them on erecting a fort upon an
eminence, at a place four days' journey distant from Lake Peoria; which,
when finished, he named Breakheart (_Crèvecoeur_), in allusion to the
mental sufferings he then endured. To put an end to an intolerable state
of suspense, in his own case he resolved to set out on foot for Frontenac,
four hundred or five hundred leagues distant--hoping there to obtain good
news about the Griffin; also in order to obtain equipments for a new bark,
then in course of construction at Crèvecoeur, in which he meant to embark
upon his return thither, intending to descend the Mississippi to its
embouchure. He charged Père Hennepin to trace the downward course of the
Illinois to its junction with the Mississippi, then to ascend the former as
high as possible and examine the territories through which its upper waters
flow. After making Tonti captain of the fort in his absence, he set out,
March 2, 1680, armed with a musket, and accompanied by three or four whites
and one Indian.[1]

[Footnote 1: Charlevoix, by following the relation attributed to Tonti, has
fallen into some obvious errors respecting La Salle's expedition to
the Illinois River. Hennepin, an ocular witness, is assuredly the best
authority, corroborated, as his narration is, by the relation and letters
of Père Zenobe Mambrè.]

Père Hennepin, who left two days before, descended the Illinois to the
Mississippi, made several excursions in the region around their confluence;
then ascended the latter to a point beyond the Sault St. Antony, where he
was detained for some months by Sioux Indians, who only let him go on his
promise to return to them next year. One of the chiefs traced on a scrap of
paper the route he desired to follow; and this rude but correct chart, says
Hennepin, "served us truly as a compass." By following the Wisconsin, which
falls into the Mississippi, and Fox River, when running in the opposite
direction, he reached Lake Michigan mission station, passing through,
intermediately, vast and interesting countries. Such was the famous
expedition of Hennepin; who, on his return, was not a little surprised to
find a company of fur-traders near the Wisconsin River, led by one De Luth,
who had probably preceded him in visiting that remote region.

While Hennepin was exploring the upper valley of the Mississippi, La
Salle's interests were getting from bad to worse at Crèvecoeur. But, for
rightly understanding the events which at last obliged him to abandon that
post, it is necessary to explain the state of his affairs in Canada, and to
advert to the jealousies which other traffickers cherished regarding his
monopolizing projects in the western regions of the continent. He came to
the colony, as we have seen, a fortuneless adventurer--highly recommended,
indeed; while the special protection he obtained from the Governor,
with the titular and more solid favors he obtained at court, made him a
competitor to all other commercialists, whom it was impossible to contend
with directly. Underhand means of opposition, therefore--and these not
always the fairest--were put in play to damage his interests and, if
possible, effect his ruin.

For instance, feuds were stirred up against him among the savage tribes,
and inducements held out to his own people to desert him. They even induced
the Iroquois and the Miâmis to take up arms against the Illinois, his
allies. Besides this hostility to him within New France, he had to face the
opposition of the Anglo-American colonists, who resisted the realization
of his projects, for nationally selfish reasons. Thus they encouraged the
Iroquois to attack La Salle's Indian allied connections of the Mississippi
Valley; a measure which greatly increased the difficulties of a position
already almost untenable. In a word, the odds against him became too great;
and he was constrained to retire from the high game he wished to play out,
which, indeed, was certainly to the disadvantage of individuals, if tending
to enhance the importance of the colony as a possession of France.

La Salle's ever-trusty lieutenant, the Chevalier de Tonti, meanwhile did
all he could, at Crèvecoeur, to engage the Illinois to stand firm to their
engagements with his principal. Having learned that the Miâmis intended to
join the Iroquois in opposition to them, he hastened to teach the use of
fire-arms to those who remained faithful, to put the latter on a footing
of equality with these two nations, who were now furnished with the like
implements of war. He also showed them how to fortify their hordes with
palisades. But while in the act of erecting Fort Louis, near the sources
of the river Illinois, most of the garrison at Crèvecoeur mutinied and
deserted, after pillaging the stores of provision and ammunition there laid

At this crisis of La Salle's affairs (1680) armed bands of the Iroquois
suddenly appeared in the Illinois territory and produced a panic among its
timid inhabitants. Tonti, acting with spirit and decision as their ally,
now intervened, and enforced upon the Iroquois a truce for the Illinois;
but the former, on ascertaining the paucity of his means, recommenced
hostilities. Attacking the fort, they murdered Père Gabriel, disinterred
the dead, and wasted the cultivated land of the French residents. The
Illinois dispersed in all directions, leaving the latter isolated among
their enemies. Tonti, who had at last but five men under his orders, also
fled the country.

While the Chevalier, in his passage from Crèvecoeur, was descending the
north side of Lake Michigan, La Salle was moving along its southern side
with a reënforcement of men, and rigging for the bark he left in course of
construction at the above-named post, where, having arrived, he had the
mortification to find it devastated and deserted. He made no attempt
to refound it, but passed the rest of the year in excursions over the
neighboring territories, in which he visited a great number of tribes;
among them the Outagamis and Miâmis, whom he persuaded to renounce an
alliance they had formed with the Iroquois. Soon afterward he returned to
Montreal, taking Frontenac on his way. Although his pecuniary losses had
been great, he was still able to compound with his creditors, to whom he
conceded his own sole rights of trade in the Western countries, they in
return advancing moneys to enable him to prosecute his future explorations.

Having got all things ready for the crowning expedition he had long
meditated, he set out with Tonti, Père Mambré, also some French and native
followers, and directed his course toward the Mississippi, which river he
reached February 6, 1682. The mildness of the climate in that latitude, and
the beauties of the country, which increased as he proceeded, seemed to
give new life to his hopes of finally obtaining profit and glory.[1]
In descending the majestic stream, he recognized the Arkansas and other
riverain tribes visited by Marquette; he traversed the territories of many
other native nations, including the Chickasaws, the Taensas, the Chactas,
and the Natchez--the last of these rendered so celebrated, in times near
our own, by the genius of Chateaubriand.

[Footnote 1: "A vessel loaded with merchandise belonging to La Salle,
valued at 22,000 livres, had just been lost in the Gulf of St. Lawrence;
several canoes, also loaded with his goods, were lost in the rapids of the
same river. On learning these new misfortunes [in addition to others, of
his enemies' procuring], he said it seemed to him that all Canada had risen
up against his enterprises, with the single individual exception of the
Governor-general. He asserted that the subordinates, whom he had brought
from France, had been tempted to quit his service by rival traders, and
that they had gone to the New Netherlands with the goods he had intrusted
to their care; and as for the Canadians in his hire, his enemies had found
means to detach them, also, from his interests."--Yet, "under the pressure
of all his misfortunes," says a missionary, "I have never remarked the
least change in him; no ill news seemed to disturb his usual equanimity:
they seemed rather to spur him on to fresh efforts to retrieve his
fortunes, and to make greater discoveries than he had yet effected."]

Halting often in his descent to note the outlets of the many streams
tributary to the all-absorbing Mississippi, among others the Missouri and
the Ohio--at the embouchure of the latter erecting a fort--he did not reach
the ocean mouths of the "Father of Waters" till April 5th, that brightest
day of his eventful life. With elated heart, he took formal possession of
the country--eminently in the name of the reigning sovereign of France; as
he gave to it, at the same time, the distinctive appellation of Louisiana.
Thus was completed the discovery and exploration of the Mississippi, from
the Sault St. Antony to the sea; a line more than six hundred leagues in


A.D. 1675


This was the most extensive and most important of the Indian wars of
the early European settlers in North America. It led to the practical
extermination of the red men in New England.

Various policies toward the natives were pursued by different colonists in
different parts of the country. In New England the first white settlers
found themselves in contact with several powerful tribes, chief among which
were the Mohegans, the Narragansetts, and the Pequots.

Some attempt was made to convert and civilize these savages, but it was not
long before the English colonists were at war with the Pequots, the most
dreaded of the tribes in southern New England. This contest(1636-1638) was
mainly carried on for the colonists by the settlers of Connecticut. It
resulted in the almost complete extermination of the Pequot tribe.

After the union of the New England colonies (1643), formed principally for
common defence against the natives, there was no considerable conflict
between whites and Indians until the outbreak of King Philip's War, here
described by Hildreth.

Except in the destruction of the Pequots, the native tribes of New England
had as yet undergone no very material diminution. The Pokanokets or
Wampanoags, though somewhat curtailed in their limits, still occupied the
eastern shore of Narragansett Bay. The Narragansetts still possessed the
western shore. There were several scattered tribes in various parts of
Connecticut; though, with the exception of some small reservations, they
had already ceded all their lands. Uncas, the Mohegan chief, was now an old
man. The Pawtucket or Pennacook confederacy continued to occupy the
falls of the Merrimac and the heads of the Piscataqua. Their old sachem,
Passaconaway, regarded the colonists with awe and veneration. In the
interior of Massachusetts and along the Connecticut were several other less
noted tribes. The Indians of Maine and the region eastward possessed their
ancient haunts undisturbed; but their intercourse was principally with the
French, to whom, since the late peace with France, Acadia had been again
yielded up. The New England Indians were occasionally annoyed by war
parties of Mohawks; but, by the intervention of Massachusetts, a peace had
recently been concluded.

Efforts for the conversion and civilization of the Indians were still
continued by Eliot and his coadjutors, supported by the funds of the
English society. In Massachusetts there were fourteen feeble villages of
these praying Indians, and a few more in Plymouth colony. The whole number
in New England was about thirty-six hundred, but of these near one-half
inhabited the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

A strict hand was held by Massachusetts over the Narragansetts and other
subject tribes, contracting their limits by repeated cessions, not always
entirely voluntary. The Wampanoags, within the jurisdiction of Plymouth,
experienced similar treatment. By successive sales of parts of their
territory, they were now shut up, as it were, in the necks or peninsulas
formed by the northern and eastern branches of Narragansett Bay, the same
territory now constituting the continental eastern portion of Rhode Island.
Though always at peace with the colonists, the Wampanoags had not always
escaped suspicion. The increase of the settlements around them, and the
progressive curtailment of their limits, aroused their jealousy. They were
galled, also, by the feudal superiority, similar to that of Massachusetts
over her dependent tribes, claimed by Plymouth on the strength of certain
alleged former submissions. None felt this assumption more keenly than
Pometacom, head chief of the Wampanoags, better known among the colonists
as King Philip of Mount Hope, nephew and successor of that Massasoit, who
had welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth. Suspected of hostile designs, he
had been compelled to deliver up his fire-arms and to enter into certain
stipulations. These stipulations he was accused of not fulfilling; and
nothing but the interposition of the Massachusetts magistrates, to whom
Philip appealed, prevented Plymouth from making war upon him. He was
sentenced instead to pay a heavy fine and to acknowledge the unconditional
supremacy of that colony.

A praying Indian, who had been educated at Cambridge and employed as a
teacher, upon some misdemeanor had fled to Philip, who took him into
service as a sort of secretary. Being persuaded to return again to his
former employment, this Indian accused Philip anew of being engaged in
a secret hostile plot. In accordance with Indian ideas, the treacherous
informer was waylaid and killed. Three of Philip's men, suspected of having
killed him, were arrested by the Plymouth authorities, and, in accordance
with English ideas, were tried for murder by a jury half English, half
Indians, convicted upon very slender evidence, and hanged. Philip
retaliated by plundering the houses nearest Mount Hope. Presently he
attacked Swanzey, and killed several of the inhabitants. Plymouth took
measures for raising a military force. The neighboring colonies were sent
to for assistance. Thus, by the impulse of suspicion on the one side and
passion on the other, New England became suddenly engaged in a war very
disastrous to the colonists and utterly ruinous to the native tribes. The
lust of gain, in spite of all laws to prevent it, had partially furnished
the Indians with fire-arms, and they were now far more formidable enemies
than they had been in the days of the Pequots. Of this the colonists hardly
seem to have thought. Now, as then, confident of their superiority, and
comparing themselves to the Lord's chosen people driving the heathen out of
the land, they rushed eagerly into the contest, without a single effort at
the preservation of peace. Indeed, their pretensions hardly admitted of it.
Philip was denounced as a rebel in arms against his lawful superiors, with
whom it would be folly and weakness to treat on any terms short of absolute

A body of volunteers, horse and foot, raised in Massachusetts, marched
under Major Savage, four days after the attack on Swanzey, to join the
Plymouth forces. After one or two slight skirmishes, they penetrated to the
Wampanoag villages at Mount Hope, but found them empty and deserted. Philip
and his warriors, conscious of their inferiority, had abandoned their
homes. If the Narragansetts, on the opposite side of the bay, did not
openly join the Wampanoags, they would, at least, be likely to afford
shelter to their women and children. The troops were therefore ordered into
the Narragansett country, accompanied by commissioners to demand assurances
of peaceful intentions, and a promise to deliver up all fugitive enemies of
the colonists--pledges which the Narragansetts felt themselves constrained
to give.

Arrived at Taunton on their return from the Narragansett country, news came
that Philip and his warriors had been discovered by Church, of Plymouth
colony, collected in a great swamp at Pocasset, now Tiverton, the southern
district of the Wampanoag country, whence small parties sallied forth to
burn and plunder the neighboring settlements. After a march of eighteen
miles, having reached the designated spot, the soldiers found there a
hundred wigwams lately built, but empty and deserted, the Indians having
retired deep into the swamp. The colonists followed; but the ground was
soft; the thicket was difficult to penetrate; the companies were soon
thrown into disorder. Each man fired at every bush he saw shake, thinking
an Indian might lay concealed behind it, and several were thus wounded by
their own friends. When night came on, the assailants retired with the loss
of sixteen men.

The swamp continued to be watched and guarded, but Philip broke through,
not without some loss, and escaped into the country of the Nipmucks, in the
interior of Massachusetts. That tribe had already commenced hostilities by
attacking Mendon. They waylaid and killed Captain Hutchinson, a son of the
famous Mrs. Hutchinson, and sixteen out of a party of twenty sent from
Boston to Brookfield to parley with them. Attacking Brookfield itself, they
burned it, except one fortified house. The inhabitants were saved by Major
Willard, who, on information of their danger, came with a troop of horse
from Lancaster, thirty miles through the woods, to their rescue. A body of
troops presently arrived from the eastward, and were stationed for some
time at Brookfield.

The colonists now found that by driving Philip to extremity they had roused
a host of unexpected enemies. The River Indians, anticipating an intended
attack upon them, joined the assailants. Deerfield and Northfield, the
northernmost towns on the Connecticut River, settled within a few years
past, were attacked, and several of the inhabitants killed and wounded.
Captain Beers, sent from Hadley to their relief with a convoy of
provisions, was surprised near Northfield and slain, with twenty of his
men. Northfield was abandoned, and burned by the Indians.

"The English at first," says Gookin, "thought easily to chastise the
insolent doings and murderous practice of the heathen; but it was found
another manner of thing than was expected; for our men could see no enemy
to shoot at, but yet felt their bullets out of the thick bushes where they
lay in ambush. The English wanted not courage or resolution, but could not
discover nor find an enemy to fight with, yet were galled by the enemy." In
the arts of ambush and surprise, with which the Indians were so familiar,
the colonists were without practice. It is to the want of this experience,
purchased at a very dear rate in the course of the war, that we must
ascribe the numerous surprises and defeats from which the colonists
suffered at its commencement.

Driven to the necessity of defensive warfare, those in command on the river
determined to establish a magazine and garrison at Hadley. Captain Lathrop,
who had been despatched from the eastward to the assistance of the river
towns, was sent with eighty men, the flower of the youth of Essex county,
to guard the wagons intended to convey to Hadley three thousand bushels of
unthreshed wheat, the produce of the fertile Deerfield meadows. Just before
arriving at Deerfield, near a small stream still known as Bloody Brook,
under the shadow of the abrupt conical Sugar Loaf, the southern termination
of the Deerfield Mountain, Lathrop fell into an ambush, and, after a brave
resistance, perished there with all his company. Captain Moseley, stationed
at Deerfield, marched to his assistance, but arrived too late to help him.
Deerfield was abandoned, and burned by the Indians. Springfield, about the
same time, was set on fire, but was partially saved by the arrival, with
troops from Connecticut, of Major Treat, successor to the lately deceased
Mason in the chief command of the Connecticut forces. An attack on Hatfield
was vigorously repelled by the garrison.

Meanwhile, hostilities were spreading; the Indians on the Merrimac began to
attack the towns in their vicinity; and the whole of Massachusetts was soon
in the utmost alarm. Except in the immediate neighborhood of Boston, the
country still remained an immense forest, dotted by a few openings. The
frontier settlements could not be defended against a foe familiar with
localities, scattered in small parties, skilful in concealment, and
watching with patience for some unguarded or favorable moment. Those
settlements were mostly broken up, and the inhabitants, retiring toward
Boston, spread everywhere dread and intense hatred of "the bloody heathen."

Even the praying Indians and the small dependent and tributary tribes
became objects of suspicion and terror. They had been employed at first as
scouts and auxiliaries, and to good advantage; but some few, less confirmed
in the faith, having deserted to the enemy, the whole body of them were
denounced as traitors. Eliot the apostle, and Gookin, superintendent of
the subject Indians, exposed themselves to insults, and even to danger,
by their efforts to stem this headlong fury, to which several of the
magistrates opposed but a feeble resistance. Troops were sent to break up
the praying villages at Mendon, Grafton, and others in that quarter.
The Natick Indians, "those poor despised sheep of Christ," as Gookin
affectionately calls them, were hurried off to Deer Island, in Boston
harbor, where they suffered excessively from a severe winter. A part of the
praying Indians of Plymouth colony were confined, in like manner, on the
islands in Plymouth harbor.

Not content with realities sufficiently frightful, superstition, as usual,
added bugbears of her own. Indian bows were seen in the sky, and scalps in
the moon. The northern lights became an object of terror. Phantom horsemen
careered among the clouds or were heard to gallop invisible through the
air. The howling of wolves was turned into a terrible omen. The war was
regarded as a special judgment in punishment of prevailing sins. Among
these sins the General Court of Massachusetts, after consultation with
the elders, enumerated: Neglect in the training of the children of church
members; pride, in men's wearing long and curled hair; excess in apparel;
naked breasts and arms, and superfluous ribbons; the toleration of Quakers;
hurry to leave meeting before blessing asked; profane cursing and swearing;
tippling-houses; want of respect for parents; idleness; extortion in
shopkeepers and mechanics; and the riding from town to town of unmarried
men and women, under pretence of attending lectures--"a sinful custom,
tending to lewdness."

Penalties were denounced against all these offences; and the persecution of
the Quakers was again renewed. A Quaker woman had recently frightened the
Old South congregation in Boston by entering that meeting-house clothed in
sackcloth, with ashes on her head, her feet bare, and her face blackened,
intending to personify the small-pox, with which she threatened the colony,
in punishment for its sins.

About the time of the first collision with Philip, the Tarenteens, or
Eastern Indians, had attacked the settlements in Maine and New Hampshire,
plundering and burning the houses, and massacring such of the inhabitants
as fell into their hands. This sudden diffusion of hostilities and vigor of
attack from opposite quarters made the colonists believe that Philip had
long been plotting and had gradually matured an extensive conspiracy, into
which most of the tribes had deliberately entered for the extermination of
the whites. This belief infuriated the colonists and suggested some very
questionable proceedings.

It seems, however, to have originated, like the war itself, from mere
suspicions. The same griefs pressed upon all the tribes; and the struggle
once commenced, the awe which the colonists inspired thrown off, the
greater part were ready to join in the contest. But there is no evidence
of any deliberate concert; nor, in fact, were the Indians united. Had they
been so, the war would have been far more serious. The Connecticut tribes
proved faithful, and that colony remained untouched. Uncas and Ninigret
continued friendly; even the Narragansetts, in spite of so many former
provocations, had not yet taken up arms. But they were strongly suspected
of intention to do so, and were accused by Uncas of giving, notwithstanding
their recent assurances, aid and shelter to the hostile tribes.

An attempt had lately been made to revive the union of the New England
colonies. At a meeting of commissioners, those from Plymouth presented a
narrative of the origin and progress of the present hostilities. Upon the
strength of this narrative the war was pronounced "just and necessary," and
a resolution was passed to carry it on at the joint expense, and to raise
for that purpose a thousand men, one-half to be mounted dragoons. If the
Narragansetts were not crushed during the winter, it was feared they might
break out openly hostile in the spring; and at a subsequent meeting a
thousand men were ordered to be levied to coöperate in an expedition
specially against them.

The winter was unfavorable to the Indians; the leafless woods no longer
concealed their lurking attacks. The frozen surface of the swamps made the
Indian fastnesses accessible to the colonists. The forces destined against
the Narragansetts--six companies from Massachusetts, under Major Appleton;
two from Plymouth, under Major Bradford; and five from Connecticut, under
Major Treat--were placed under the command of Josiah Winslow, Governor of
Plymouth since Prince's death--son of that Edward Winslow so conspicuous in
the earlier history of the colony. The Massachusetts and Plymouth forces
marched to Petasquamscot, on the west shore of Narragansett Bay, where they
made some forty prisoners.

Being joined by the troops from Connecticut, and guided by an Indian
deserter, after a march of fifteen miles through a deep snow they
approached a swamp in what is now the town of South Kingston, one of the
ancient strongholds of the Narragansetts. Driving the Indian scouts before
them, and penetrating the swamp, the colonial soldiers soon came in sight
of the Indian fort, built on a rising ground in the morass, a sort of
island of two or three acres, fortified by a palisade and surrounded by a
close hedge a rod thick. There was but one entrance, quite narrow, defended
by a tree thrown across it, with a block-house of logs in front and other
on the flank.

It was the "Lord's day," but that did not hinder the attack. As the
captains advanced at the heads of their companies the Indians opened a
galling fire, under which many fell. But the assailants pressed on and
forced the entrance. A desperate struggle ensued. The colonists were once
driven back, but they rallied and returned to the charge, and, after a
two-hours' fight, became masters of the fort. Fire was put to the wigwams,
near six hundred in number, and all the horrors of the Pequot massacre were
renewed. The corn and other winter stores of the Indians were consumed, and
not a few of the old men, women, and children perished in the flames. In
this bloody contest, long remembered as the "Swamp Fight," the colonial
loss was terribly severe. Six captains, with two hundred thirty men, were
killed or wounded; and at night, in the midst of a snow-storm, with a
fifteen-miles' march before them, the colonial soldiers abandoned the fort,
of which the Indians resumed possession. But their wigwams were burned;
their provisions destroyed; they had no supplies for the winter; their loss
was irreparable. Of those who survived the fight many perished of hunger.

Even as a question of policy this attack on the Narragansetts was more
than doubtful. The starving and infuriated warriors, scattered through
the woods, revenged themselves by attacks on the frontier settlements.
Lancaster was burned, and forty of the inhabitants killed or taken; among
the rest, Mrs. Rolandson, wife of the minister, the narrative of whose
captivity is still preserved. Groton, Chelmsford, and other towns in that
vicinity were repeatedly attacked. Medfield, twenty miles from Boston, was
furiously assaulted, and, though defended by three hundred men, half the
houses were burned. Weymouth, within eighteen miles of Boston, was attacked
a few days after. These were the nearest approaches which the Indians made
to that capital.

For a time the neighborhood of the Narragansett country was abandoned. The
Rhode Island towns, though they had no part in undertaking the war, yet
suffered the consequences of it. Warwick was burned and Providence was
partially destroyed. Most of the inhabitants sought refuge in the islands;
but the aged Roger Williams accepted a commission as captain for the
defence of the town he had founded. Walter Clarke was presently chosen
governor in Coddington's place, the times not suiting a Quaker chief

The whole colony of Plymouth was overrun. Houses were burned in almost
every town, but the inhabitants, for the most part, saved themselves in
their garrisons, a shelter with which all the towns now found it necessary
to be provided. Captain Pierce, with fifty men and some friendly Indians,
while endeavoring to cover the Plymouth towns, fell into an ambush and
was cut off. That same day, Marlborough was set on fire; two days after,
Rehoboth was burned. The Indians seemed to be everywhere. Captain
Wadsworth, marching to the relief of Sudbury, fell into an ambush and
perished with fifty men. The alarm and terror of the colonists reached
again a great height. But affairs were about to take a turn. The resources
of the Indians were exhausted; they were now making their last efforts.

A body of Connecticut volunteers, under Captain Denison, and of Mohegan and
other friendly Indians, Pequots and Niantics, swept the entire country of
the Narragansetts, who suffered, as spring advanced, the last extremities
of famine. Canochet, the chief sachem, said to have been a son of
Miantonomoh, but probably his nephew, had ventured to his old haunts
to procure seed corn with which to plant the rich intervals on the
Connecticut, abandoned by the colonists. Taken prisoner, he conducted
himself with all that haughty firmness esteemed by the Indians as the
height of magnanimity. Being offered his life on condition of bringing
about a peace he scorned the proposal. His tribe would perish to the last
man rather than become servants to the English. When ordered to prepare for
death he replied: "I like it well; I shall die before my heart is soft or I
shall have spoken anything unworthy of myself." Two Indians were appointed
to shoot him, and his head was cut off and sent to Hartford.

The colonists had suffered severely. Men, women, and children had perished
by the bullets of the Indians or fled naked through the wintry woods by the
light of their blazing houses, leaving their goods and cattle a spoil to
the assailants. Several settlements had been destroyed and many more had
been abandoned; but the oldest and wealthiest remained untouched. The
Indians, on the other hand, had neither provisions nor ammunition.
While attempting to plant corn and catch fish at Montague Falls, on the
Connecticut River, they were attacked with great slaughter by the garrison
of the lower towns, led by Captain Turner, a Boston Baptist, and at first
refused a commission on that account, but, as danger increased, pressed to
accept it.

Yet this enterprise was not without its drawbacks. As the troops returned,
Captain Turner fell into an ambush and was slain with thirty-eight men.
Hadley was attacked on a lecture-day, while the people were at meeting;
but the Indians were repulsed by the bravery of Goffe, one of the fugitive
regicides, long concealed in that town. Seeing this venerable unknown man
come to their rescue, and then suddenly disappear, the inhabitants took him
for an angel.

Major Church, at the head of a body of two hundred volunteers, English and
Indians, energetically hunted down the hostile bands in Plymouth colony.
The interior tribes about Mount Wachusett were invaded and subdued by a
force of six hundred men, raised for that purpose. Many fled to the north
to find refuge in Canada--guides and leaders, in after-years, of those
French and Indian war parties by which the frontiers of New England were so
terribly harassed. Just a year after the fast at the commencement of the
war, a thanksgiving was observed for success in it.

No longer sheltered by the River Indians, who now began to make their
peace, and even attacked by bands of the Mohawks, Philip returned to his
own country, about Mount Hope, where he was still faithfully supported by
his female confederate and relative, Witamo, squaw-sachem of Pocasset.
Punham, also, the Shawomet vassal of Massachusetts, still zealously carried
on the war, but was presently killed. Philip was watched and followed by
Church, who surprised his camp, killed upward of a hundred of his people,
and took prisoners his wife and boy.

The disposal of this child was a subject of much deliberation. Several of
the elders were urgent for putting him to death. It was finally resolved to
send him to Bermuda, to be sold into slavery--a fate to which many other of
the Indian captives were subjected. Witamo shared the disasters of Philip.
Most of her people were killed or taken. She herself was drowned while
crossing a river in her flight, but her body was recovered, and the head,
cut off, was stuck upon a pole at Taunton, amid the jeers and scoffs of the
colonial soldiers, and the tears and lamentations of the Indian prisoners.

Philip still lurked in the swamps, but was now reduced to extremity. Again
attacked by Church, he was killed by one of his own people, a deserter to
the colonists. His dead body was beheaded and quartered, the sentence of
the English law upon traitors. One of his hands was given to the Indian who
had shot him, and on the day appointed for a public thanksgiving his head
was carried in triumph to Plymouth.

The popular rage against the Indians was excessive. Death or slavery was
the penalty for all known or suspected to have been concerned in shedding
English blood. Merely having been present at the Swamp Fight was adjudged
by the authorities of Rhode Island sufficient foundation for sentence of
death, and that, too, notwithstanding they had intimated an opinion that
the origin of the war would not bear examination. The other captives
who fell into the hands of the colonists were distributed among them as
ten-year servants. Roger Williams received a boy for his share. Many chiefs
were executed at Boston and Plymouth on the charge of rebellion; among
others, Captain Tom, chief of the Christian Indians at Natick, and
Tispiquin, a noted warrior, reputed to be invulnerable, who had surrendered
to Church on an implied promise of safety.

A large body of Indians, assembled at Dover to treat of peace, were
treacherously made prisoners by Major Waldron, who commanded there. Some
two hundred of these Indians, claimed as fugitives from Massachusetts, were
sent by water to Boston, where some were hanged and the rest shipped off to
be sold as slaves. Some fishermen of Marblehead having been killed by
the Indians at the eastward, the women of that town, as they came out of
meeting on a Sunday, fell upon two Indian prisoners who had just been
brought in, and murdered them on the spot.

The same ferocious spirit of revenge which governed the contemporaneous
conduct of Berkeley in Virginia toward those concerned in Bacon's rebellion
swayed the authorities of New England in their treatment of the conquered
Indians. By the end of the year the contest was over in the South, upward
of two thousand Indians having been killed or taken. But some time elapsed
before a peace could be arranged with the Eastern tribes, whose haunts it
was not so easy to reach.

In this short war of hardly a year's duration the Wampanoags and
Narragansetts had suffered the fate of the Pequots. The Niantics alone,
under the guidance of their aged sachem Ninigret, had escaped destruction.
Philip's country was annexed to Plymouth, though sixty years afterward,
under a royal order in council, it was transferred to Rhode Island. The
Narragansett territory remained as before, under the name of King's
Province, a bone of contention between Connecticut, Rhode Island, the
Marquis of Hamilton, and the Atherton claimants. The Niantics still
retained their ancient seats along the southern shores of Narragansett Bay.
Most of the surviving Narragansetts, the Nipmucks, and the River Indians,
abandoned their country and migrated to the north and west. Such as
remained, along with the Mohegans and other subject tribes, became more
than ever abject and subservient.

The work of conversion was now again renewed, and, after such overwhelming
proofs of Christian superiority, with somewhat greater success. A second
edition of the Indian Old Testament, which seems to have been more in
demand than the New, was presently published, revised by Eliot, with the
assistance of John Cotton, son of the "Great Cotton," and minister of
Plymouth. But not an individual exists in our day by whom it can be
understood. The fragments of the subject tribes, broken in spirit, lost
the savage freedom and rude virtues of their fathers without acquiring
the laborious industry of the whites. Lands were assigned them in various
places, which they were prohibited by law from alienating. But this very
provision, though humanely intended, operated to perpetuate their indolence
and incapacity. Some sought a more congenial occupation in the whale
fishery, which presently began to be carried on from the islands of
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Many perished by enlisting in the military
expeditions undertaken in future years against Acadia and the West Indies.
The Indians intermarried with the blacks, and thus confirmed their
degradation by associating themselves with another oppressed and
unfortunate race. Gradually they dwindled away. A few hundred sailors and
petty farmers, of mixed blood, as much African as Indian, are now the sole
surviving representatives of the aboriginal possessors of Southern New

On the side of the colonists the contest had also been very disastrous.
Twelve or thirteen towns had been entirely ruined and many others partially
destroyed. Six hundred houses had been burned, near a tenth part of all in
New England. Twelve captains, and more than six hundred men in the prime of
life, had fallen in battle. There was hardly a family not in mourning. The
pecuniary losses and expenses of the war were estimated at near a million
of dollars.



A.D. 1675


It was the good-fortune of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, who
is known in history as the "Great Elector," to lay a firm foundation for
Prussian monarchy. Under his father, George William, the Tenth Elector,
Brandenburg had lost much of its former importance. When Frederick William
came into his inheritance in 1640 he found a weak and disunited state,
little more than a group of provinces, with foreign territories lying
between them, and governed by differing laws.

The great problem before the Elector was how to become actual ruler of his
ill-joined possessions, and his first aim was to weld them together, that
he might make himself absolute monarch. By forming an army of mercenaries
he established his authority. His whole life was occupied with warlike
affairs. He remained neutral during the last stages of the Thirty Years'
War, but was always prepared for action. He freed Prussia from Polish
control and drove the Swedes from Brandenburg.

This last was his most famous success. It was won by his victory over the
Swedes under Wrangel, at Fehrbellin. Carlyle's characteristic narrative and
commentary on this and other triumphs of the Great Elector place him before
the reader as one of the chief personages of the Hohenzollern race and a
leading actor in European history.

Brandenburg had sunk very low under the Tenth Elector, in the unutterable
troubles of the times, but it was gloriously raised up again by his Son
Friedrich Wilhelm, who succeeded in 1640. This is he whom they call the
"Great Elector" ("_Grosse Kurfuerst_"), of whom there is much writing and
celebrating in Prussian Books. As for the epithet, it is not uncommon among
petty German populations, and many times does not mean too much: thus Max
of Bavaria, with his Jesuit Lambkins and Hyacinths, is by Bavarians called
"Maximilian the Great." Friedrich Wilhelm, both by his intrinsic qualities
and the success he met with, deserves it better than most. His success, if
we look where he started and where he ended, was beyond that of any other
man in his day. He found Brandenburg annihilated, and he left Brandenburg
sound and flourishing--a great country, or already on the way toward
greatness: undoubtedly a most rapid, clear-eyed, active man. There was a
stroke in him swift as lightning, well aimed mostly, and of a respectable
weight withal, which shattered asunder a whole world of impediments for him
by assiduous repetition of it for fifty years.

There hardly ever came to sovereign power a young man of twenty under
more distressing, hopeless-looking circumstances. Political significance
Brandenburg had none--a mere Protestant appendage dragged about by a Papist
Kaiser. His Father's Prime Minister was in the interest of his enemies;
not Brandenburg's servant, but Austria's. The very Commandants of his
Fortresses, Commandant of Spandau more especially, refused to obey
Friedrich Wilhelm on his accession--"were bound to obey the Kaiser in the
first place." He had to proceed softly as well as swiftly, with the most
delicate hand, to get him of Spandau by the collar, and put him under lock
and key, as a warning to others.

For twenty years past Brandenburg had been scoured by hostile armies,
which, especially the Kaiser's part of which, committed outrages new in
human history. In a year or two hence Brandenburg became again the theatre
of business. Austrian Gallas, advancing thither again (1644) with intent
"to shut up Tortenson and his Swedes in Jutland," where they had been
chastising old Christian IV, now meddlesome again for the last time, and
never a good neighbor to Sweden, Gallas could by no means do what he
intended; on the contrary, he had to run from Tortenson what feet could
do, was hunted, he and his _Merode_-Bruder (beautiful inventors of the
"Marauding" Art), "till they pretty much all died (_crepirten_)," says
Kohler. No great loss to society, the death of these Artists, but we can
fancy what their life, and especially what the process of their dying, may
have cost poor Brandenburg again.

Friedrich Wilhelm's aim, in this as in other emergencies, was sun-clear
to himself, but for most part dim to everybody else. He had to walk very
warily, Sweden on one hand of him, suspicious Kaiser on the other; he had
to wear semblances, to be ready with evasive words and advance noiselessly
by many circuits. More delicate operation could not be imagined; but
advance he did, advance and arrive. With extraordinary talent, diligence,
and felicity, the young man wound himself out of this first fatal position;
got those foreign Armies pushed out of his country, and kept them out. His
first concern had been to find some vestige of revenue, to put that upon
a clear footing, and by loans or otherwise to scrape a little ready money
together, on the strength of which a small body of soldiers could be
collected about him, and drilled into real ability to fight and obey.
This as a basis; on this followed all manner of things, freedom from
Swedish-Austrian invasions as the first thing.

He was himself, as appeared by and by, a fighter of the first quality
when it came to that, but never was willing to fight if he could help it;
preferred rather to shift, manoeuvre, and negotiate, which he did in a most
vigilant, adroit, and masterly manner. But by degrees he had grown to have,
and could maintain it, an Army of twenty-four thousand men, among the best
troops then in being. With or without his will, he was in all the great
Wars of his time--the time of Louis XIV--who kindled Europe four times
over, thrice in our Kurfuerst's day. The Kurfuerst's Dominions, a long,
straggling country, reaching from Memel to Wesel, could hardly keep out
of the way of any war that might rise. He made himself available, never
against the good cause of Protestantism and German Freedom, yet always in
the place and way where his own best advantage was to be had. Louis XIV
had often much need of him; still oftener, and more pressingly, had Kaiser
Leopold, the little Gentleman "in scarlet stockings, with a red feather
in his hat," whom Mr. Savage used to see majestically walking about, with
Austrian lip that said nothing at all. His twenty-four thousand excellent
fighting-men, thrown in at the right time, were often a thing that could
turn the balance in great questions. They required to be allowed for at
a high rate, which he well knew how to adjust himself for exacting and
securing always.

When the Peace of Westphalia (1648) concluded that Thirty-Years'
Conflagration, and swept the ashes of it into order again, Friedrich
Wilhelm's right to Pommern was admitted by everybody, and well insisted on
by himself; but right had to yield to reason of state, and he could not get
it. The Swedes insisted on their expenses; the Swedes held Pommern, had all
along held it--in pawn, they said, for their expenses. Nothing for it but
to give the Swedes the better half of Pommern--_Fore_-Pommern so they call
it, ("Swedish Pomernia" thenceforth), which lies next the Sea; this, with
some Towns and cuttings over and above, was Sweden's share. Friedrich
Wilhelm had to put up with _Hinder_-Pommern, docked furthermore of the Town
of Stettin, and of other valuable cuttings, in favor of Sweden, much to
Friedrich Wilhelm's grief and just anger, could he have helped it.

They gave him Three secularized Bishoprics, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Minden
with other small remnants, for compensation, and he had to be content with
these for the present. But he never gave up the idea of Pommern. Much of
the effort of his life was spent upon recovering Fore-Pommern; thrice eager
upon that, whenever lawful opportunity offered. To no purpose, then; he
never could recover Swedish Pommern; only his late descendants, and that by
slowish degrees, could recover it all. Readers remember that Burgermeister
of Stettin, with the helmet and sword flung into the grave and picked out
again, and can judge whether Brandenburg got its good luck quite by lying
in bed.

Once, and once only, he had a voluntary purpose toward War, and it remained
a purpose only. Soon after the Peace of Westphalia, old Pfalz-Neuburg, the
same who got the slap on the face, went into tyrannous proceedings against
the Protestant part of his subjects in Juelic-Cleve, who called to
Friedrich Wilhelm for help. Friedrich Wilhelm, a zealous Protestant, made
remonstrances, retaliations; ere long the thought struck him, "Suppose,
backed by the Dutch, we threw out this fantastic old gentleman, his
Papistries, and pretended claims and self, clear out of it?" This was
Friedrich Wilhelm's thought, and he suddenly marched troops into the
Territory with that view. But Europe was in alarm; the Dutch grew faint.
Friedrich Wilhelm saw it would not do. He had a conference with old
Pfalz-Neuburg: "Young gentleman, we remember how your Grandfather made
free with us and our august countenance! Nevertheless, we--" In fine, the
"statistics of Treaties" was increased by One, and there the matter rested
till calmer times.

In 1666 an effective Partition of these litigated Territories was
accomplished; Prussia to have the Duchy of Cleve-Proper, the Counties of
Mark and Ravensberg, with other Patches and Pertinents; Neuburg, what was
the better share, to have Juelich Duchy and Berg Duchy. Furthermore, if
either of the Lines failed, in no sort was a collateral to be admitted; but
Brandenburg was to inherit Neuburg, or Neuburg Brandenburg, as the case
might be. A clear Bargain this at last, and in the times that had come it
proved executable so far; but if the reader fancies the Lawsuit was at last
out in this way, he will be a simple reader. In the days of our little
Fritz,[1] the Line of Pfalz-Neuburg was evidently ending; but that
Brandenburg, and not a collateral, should succeed it, there lay the quarrel
open still, as if it had never been shut, and we shall hear enough about

[Footnote 1: Frederick the Great]

Friedrich Wilhelm's first actual appearance in War, Polish-Swedish War
(1655-1660), was involuntary in the highest degree; forced upon him for the
sake of his Preussen, which bade fair to be lost or ruined without blame of
his or its. Nevertheless, here too he made his benefit of the affair. The
big King of Sweden had a standing quarrel, with his big cousin of Poland,
which broke out into hot War; little Preussen lay between them, and
was like to be crushed in the collision. Swedish King was Karl Gustav,
Christina's Cousin, Charles XII's Grandfather: a great and mighty man, lion
of the North in his time; Polish King was one John Casimir; chivalrous
enough, and with clouds of forward Polish chivalry about him, glittering
with barbaric gold. Friedrich III, Danish King for the first time being, he
also was much involved in the thing. Fain would Friedrich Wilhelm have kept
out of it, but he could not. Karl Gustav as good as forced him to join; he
joined; fought along with Karl Gustav an illustrious Battle, "Battle of
Warsaw," three days long (July 28-30, 1656), on the skirts of Warsaw;
crowds "looking from the upper windows" there; Polish chivalry, broken at
last, going like chaff upon the winds, and John Casimir nearly ruined.

Shortly after which, Friedrich Wilhelm, who had shone much in the Battle,
changed sides. An inconsistent, treacherous man? Perhaps not, O reader;
perhaps a man advancing "in circuits," the only way he has; spirally, face
now to east, now to west, with his own reasonable private aim sun-clear to
himself all the while.

John Casimir agreed to give up the "Homage of Preussen" for this service; a
grand prize for Friedrich Wilhelm. What the Teutsch Ritters strove for in
vain, and lost their existence in striving for, the shifty Kurfuerst has
now got: Ducal Prussia, which is also called East Prussia, is now a free
sovereignty, and will become as "Royal" as the other Polish part, or
perhaps even more so, in the course of time--Karl Gustav, in a high frame
of mind, informs the Kurfuerst that he has him on his books, and will pay
the debt one day.

A dangerous debtor in such matters, this Karl Gustav. In these same months,
busy with the Danish part of the Controversy, he was doing a feat of war
which set all Europe in astonishment. In January, 1658, Karl Gustav marches
his Army, horse, foot, and artillery, to the extent of Twenty thousand,
across the Baltic ice, and takes an island without shipping--Island of
Fuenen, across the Little Belt--three miles of ice, and a part of the sea
_open_, which has to be crossed on planks; nay, forward from Fuenen, when
once there, he achieves ten whole miles more of ice, and takes Zealand
itself, to the wonder of all mankind: an imperious, stern-browed,
swift-striking man, who had dreamed of a new Goth Empire: the mean
Hypocrites and Fribbles of the South to be coerced again by noble Norse
valor, and taught a new lesson; has been known to lay his hand on his
sword while apprising an Embassador (Dutch High Mightiness) what his royal
intentions were: "not the sale or purchase of groceries, observe you, Sir!
My aims go higher." Charles XII's Grandfather, and somewhat the same type
of man.

But Karl died short while after; left his big, wide-raging Northern
Controversy to collapse in what way it could. Sweden and the fighting
parties made their "Peace of Oliva" (Abbey of Oliva, near Dantzig, May 1,
1660), and this of Preussen was ratified, in all form, among other points.
No Homage more; nothing now above Ducal Prussia but the Heavens, and great
times coming for it. This was one of the successfulest strokes of business
ever done by Friedrich Wilhelm, who had been forced, by sheer compulsion,
to embark in that big game. "Royal Prussia," the Western _Polish_
Prussia--this too, as all Newspapers know, has in our times gone the same
road as the other, which probably after all, it may have had in Nature,
some tendency to do? Cut away, for reasons, by the Polish sword, in that
Battle of Tannenberg, long since, and then, also for reasons, cut back
again: that is the fact, not unexampled in human History.

Old Johann Casimir, not long after that Peace of Oliva, getting tired of
his unruly Polish chivalry and their ways, abdicated, retired to Paris,
and "lived much with Ninon de l'Enclos and her circle" for the rest of his
life. He used to complain of his Polish chivalry that there was no solidity
in them, nothing but outside glitter, with tumult and anarchic noise; fatal
want of one essential talent, the talent of Obeying; and has been heard to
prophesy that a glorious Republic, persisting in such courses, would arrive
at results which would surprise it.

Onward from this time Friedrich Wilhelm figures in the world, public men
watching his procedure, Kings anxious to secure him, Dutch Printsellers
sticking up his Portraits for a hero-worshipping Public. Fighting hero,
had the Public known it, was not his essential character, though he had
to fight a great deal. He was essentially an Industrial man; great in
organizing, regulating, in constraining chaotic heaps to become cosmic for
him. He drains bogs, settles colonies in the waste places of his Dominions,
cuts canals; unweariedly encourages trade and work. The Friedrich-Wilhelm's
Canal, which still carries tonnage from the Oder to the Spree, is a
monument of his zeal in this way; creditable, with the means he had. To
the poor French Protestants in the Edict-of-Nantes Affair, he was like an
empress Benefit of Heaven: one Helper appointed, to whom the help itself
was profitable. He munificently welcomed them to Brandenburg; showed really
a noble piety and human self-pity, as well as judgment; nor did Brandenburg
and he want their reward. Some twenty thousand nimble French souls,
evidently of the best French quality, found a home there; made "waste sands
about Berlin into pot-herb gardens"; and in the spiritual Brandenburg, too,
did something of horticulture, which is still noticeable.

Certainly this Elector was one of the shiftiest of men; not an unjust man
either; a pious, God-fearing man rather, stanch to his Protestantism and
his Bible; not unjust by any means, nor, on the other hand, by any means
thin-skinned in his interpretings of justice: Fairplay to myself always, or
occasionally even the Height of Fairplay. On the whole, by constant energy,
vigilance, adroit activity, by an ever-ready insight and audacity to seize
the passing fact by its right handle, he fought his way well in the world;
left Brandenburg a flourishing and greatly increased Country, and his own
name famous enough.

A thickset, stalwart figure, with brisk eyes, and high, strong,
irregularly-Roman nose. Good bronze Statue of him, by Schlueter, once a
famed man, still rides on the _Lange-Bruecke_ (Long Bridge) at Berlin; and
his Portrait, in huge frizzled Louis-Quatorze wig, is frequently met with
in German Galleries. Collectors of Dutch Prints, too, know him; here a
gallant, eagle-featured little gentleman, brisk in the smiles of youth,
with plumes, with truncheon, caprioling on his war-charger, view of tents
in the distance; there a sedate, ponderous wrinkly old man, eyes slightly
puckered (eyes _busier_ than mouth), a face well plowed by Time, and not
found unfruitful; one of the largest, most laborious potent faces (in an
ocean of circumambient periwig) to be met with in that Century. There are
many Histories about him, too, but they are not comfortable to read. He
also has wanted a sacred Poet, and found only a bewildering Dryasdust.

His two grand Feats that dwell in the Prussian memory are perhaps none
of his greatest, but were of a kind to strike the imagination. They both
relate to what was the central problem of his life--the recovery of Pommern
from the Swedes. Exploit First is the famed Battle of Fehrbellin (Ferry of
Belleen), fought on June 18, 1675. Fehrbellin is an inconsiderable Town
still standing in those peaty regions, some five-and-thirty miles northwest
of Berlin, and had for ages plied its poor Ferry over the oily-looking,
brown sluggish stream called Rhin, or Rhein in those parts, without the
least notice from mankind till this fell out. It is a place of pilgrimage
to patriotic Prussians ever since Friedrich Wilhelm's exploit there. The
matter went thus:

Friedrich Wilhelm was fighting, far south in Alsace, on Kaiser Leopold's
side, in the Louis XIV War--that second one, which ended in the Treaty of
Nimwegen. Doing his best there, when the Swedes, egged on by Louis XIV,
made war upon him; crossed the Pomeranian marshes, troop after troop, and
invaded his Brandenburg Territory with a force which at length amounted to
sixteen thousand men. No help for the moment; Friedrich Wilhelm could not
be spared from his post. The Swedes, who had at first professed well,
gradually went into plunder, roving, harrying at their own will; and a
melancholy time they made of it for Friedrich Wilhelm and his People. Lucky
if temporary harm were all the ill they were likely to do; lucky if----
He stood steady, however; in his solid manner finishing the thing in hand
first, since that was feasible. He then even retired into winter-quarters
to rest his men, and seemed to have left the Swedish sixteen thousand
autocrats of the situation, who accordingly went storming about at a great

Not so, however; very far, indeed, from so. Having rested his men for
certain months, Friedrich Wilhelm silently, in the first days of June,
1675, gets them under march again; marches his Cavalry and he as first
instalment, with best speed from Schweinfurt, which is on the River Mayn,
to Magdeburg, a distance of two hundred miles. At Magdeburg, where he rests
three days, waiting for the first handful of Foot and a field-piece or two,
he learns that the Swedes are in three parties wide asunder, the middle
party of them within forty miles of him. Probably stronger, even this
middle one, than his small body (of "Six thousand Horse, Twelve hundred
Foot, and three guns")--stronger, but capable, perhaps, of being surprised,
of being cut in pieces before the others can come up? Rathenau is the
nearest skirt of this middle party: thither goes the Kurfuerst, softly,
swiftly, in the June night (June 16-17, 1675); gets into Rathenau by brisk
stratagem; tumbles out the Swedish Horse regiment there, drives it back
toward Fehrbellin.

He himself follows hard; swift riding enough in the summer night through
those damp Havel lands, in the old Hohenzollern fashion; and, indeed, old
Freisack Castle, as it chances--Freisack, scene of Dietrich von Quitzow and
_Lazy Peg_ long since--is close by. Follows hard, we say; strikes in upon
this midmost party (nearly twice his number, but Infantry for most part);
and after fierce fight, done with good talent on both sides, cuts it into
utter ruin, as proposed; thereby he has left the Swedish Army as a mere
head and tail without body; has entirely demolished the Swedish Army. Same
feat intrinsically as that done by Cromwell on Hamilton and the Scots in
1648. It was, so to speak, the last visit Sweden paid to Brandenburg, or
the last of any consequence, and ended the domination of the Swedes in
those quarters--a thing justly to be forever remembered by Brandenburg; on
a smallish modern scale, the Bannockburn, Sempach, Marathon of Brandenburg.

Exploit Second was four years later--in some sort a corollary to this, and
a winding up of the Swedish business. The Swedes, in further prosecution of

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