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

Part 7 out of 8

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greater advantage, and to accept the inheritance. This naturally roused all
the antipathies entertained by other nations against France, and England
and Holland went over to the side of Austria. The opposition which these
two powers had offered to the erection of a new throne was now silenced,
and they beheld a common interest in the elevation of the house of

Frederick had, moreover, already come to an understanding with the King of
Poland, though not with the Republic; so that, thus supported, and with
the consent of all his old allies, he could now celebrate the splendid
coronation for which his heart had so long panted.

We will not describe here the ceremonial of January 18,1701; to our taste
it seems overcharged when we read the account of it. But there is a certain
grandeur in the idea of the sovereign's grasping the crown with his own
hand; and the performance of the ceremony of anointing after, instead
of before, the crowning, by two priests promoted to bishoprics for the
occasion, was a protest against the dependence of the temporal on the
spiritual power, such as perhaps never was made at any other coronation
either before or since. The spiritual element showed itself in the only
attitude of authority left to it in Protestant states: that of teaching
and exhortation. The provost of Berlin demonstrated, from the examples of
Christ and of David, that the government of kings must be carried on to
the glory of God and the good of their people. He lays down as the first
principle that all rulers should bear in mind, they have come into the
world for the sake of their subjects, and not their subjects for the sake
of them. Finally, he exhorts all his hearers to pray to God that he will
deeply impress this conviction upon the hearts of all sovereign princes.

The institution of the order of the Black Eagle, which immediately preceded
the coronation, was likewise symbolical of the duties of royalty. The words
"_Suum cuique_," on the insignia of the order, according to Lamberty, who
suggested them, contain the definition of a good government, under which
all men alike, good as well as bad, are rewarded according to their several
deserts. The laurel and the lightning denote reward and punishment. The
conception at least is truly royal. Leibnitz, who was at that time closely
connected with the court, and who busied himself very much with this
affair, justly observes that nothing is complete without a name, and that,
although the Elector did already possess every royal attribute, he became
truly a king only by being called so.

Although the new dignity rested only on the possession of Prussia, all the
other provinces were included in the rank and title; those belonging to the
German empire were thus in a manner chosen out from among the other German
states, and united into a new whole, though, at the same time, care was
taken in other respects to keep up the ancient connection with the empire.
Thus we see that the elevation of the Elector to a royal title was an
important, nay, even a necessary, impulse to the progress of Prussia, which
we cannot even in thought separate from the whole combination of events.

The name of Prussia now became inseparable from an idea of military power
and glory, which was increased by splendid feats of arms, such as those
which we have already enumerated.


A.D. 1703


[Footnote 1: Translated from the Russian by Lady Mary Loyd.]

So radical and so vigorous were the changes made by Peter the Great in
Russia that they roused the opposition of almost the entire nation. Moscow,
the ancient capital, was the chief seat of this protesting conservatism;
and Peter, resolved to teach his opponents how determined he was in his
course and how helpless they were against his absolute power, formed the
tremendous project of building a wholly new capital, one where no voice
could be raised against him, where no traditions should environ him. He
chose an icy desert plain looking out toward the waters which led to that
Western Europe which he meant to imitate, if not to conquer.

No other man--one is almost tempted to say, no sane man--would have
ventured to erect a capital city in such an impossible place and on the
very frontier of his dominions. That Peter not only dared, but succeeded,
though at an almost immeasurable cost, makes the creation of the great
metropolis, St. Petersburg, one of the most remarkable events of history.

It was the chances of the great northern war that led Peter to St.
Petersburg. When he first threw down the gauntlet to Sweden he turned his
eyes on Livonia--on Narva and Riga. But Livonia was so well defended that
he was driven northward, toward Ingria. He moved thither grudgingly,
sending, in the first instance, Apraxin, who turned the easily conquered
province into a desert. It was not for some time, and gropingly, as it
were, that the young sovereign began to see his way, and finally turned
his attention and his longings to the mouth of the Neva. In former years
Gustavus Adolphus had realized the strategical importance of a position
which his successor, Charles XII, did not deem worthy of consideration,
and had himself studied all its approaches. Peter not only took it to be
valuable from the military and commercial point of view: he also found it
most attractive, and would fain have never left it. He was more at home
there than anywhere else, and the historical legends, according to which
it was true Russian ground, filled him with emotion. No one knows what
inspired this fondness on his part. It may have been the vague resemblance
of the marshy flats to the lowlands of Holland; it may have been the
stirring of some ancestral instinct. According to a legend, accepted by
Nestor, it was by the mouth of the Neva that the earliest Norman conquerors
of the country passed on their journeys across the Varegian Sea--_their own
sea_--and so to Rome.

Peter would seem to have desired to take up the thread of that tradition,
nine centuries old; and the story of his own foundation of the town has
become legendary and epic. One popular description represents him as
snatching a halberd from one of his soldiers, cutting two strips of turf,
and laying them crosswise with the words "Here there shall be a town!"
Foundation-stones were evidently lacking, and sods had to take their
place. Then, dropping the halberd, he seized a spade, and began the first
embankment. At that moment an eagle appeared, hovering over the Czar's
head. It was struck by a shot from a musket. Peter took the wounded bird,
set it on his wrist, and departed in a boat to inspect the neighborhood.
This occurred on May 16, 1703.

History adds that the Swedish prisoners employed on the work died in
thousands. The most indispensable tools were lacking. There were no
wheelbarrows, and the earth was carried in the corners of men's clothing.
A wooden fort was first built on the island bearing the Finnish name of
Ianni-Saari (Hare Island). This was the future citadel of St. Peter and St.
Paul. Then came a wooden church, and the modest cottage which was to be
Peter's first palace. Near these, the following year, there rose a Lutheran
church, ultimately removed to the left bank of the river, into the
Liteinaia quarter, and also a tavern, the famous inn of the Four Frigates,
which did duty as a town hall for a long time before it became a place of
diplomatic meeting. Then the cluster of modest buildings was augmented by
the erection of a bazaar. The Czar's collaborators gathered round him, in
cottages much like his own, and the existence of St. Petersburg became an
accomplished fact.

But, up to the time of the battle of Poltava, Peter never thought of making
St. Petersburg his capital. It was enough for him to feel he had a
fortress and a port. He was not sufficiently sure of his mastery over the
neighboring countries, not certain enough of being able to retain his
conquest, to desire to make it the centre of his government and his own
permanent residence. This idea was not definitely accepted till after his
great victory. His final decision has been bitterly criticised, especially
by foreign historians; it has been severely judged and remorselessly
condemned. Before expressing any opinion of my own on the subject, I should
like to sum up the considerations which have been put forward to support
this unfavorable verdict.

The great victory, we are told, diminished the strategic importance of St.
Petersburg, and almost entirely extinguished its value as a port; while
its erection into the capital city of the empire was never anything but
madness. Peter, being now the indisputable master of the Baltic shores, had
nothing to fear from any Swedish attack in the Gulf of Finland. Before any
attempt in that direction, the Swedes were certain to try to recover Narva
or Riga. If in later years they turned their eyes to St. Petersburg, it
was only because that town had acquired undue and unmerited political
importance. It was easy of attack and difficult to defend. There was no
possibility of concentrating any large number of troops there, for the
whole country, forty leagues round, was a barren desert. In 1788 Catharine
II complained that her capital was too near the Swedish frontier, and too
much exposed to sudden movements, such as that which Gustavus III very
nearly succeeded in carrying out. Here we have the military side of the

From the commercial point of view St. Petersburg, we are assured, did
command a valuable system of river communication; but that commanded by
Riga was far superior. The Livonian, Esthonian, and Courland ports of Riga,
Libau, and Revel, all at an equal distance from St. Petersburg and Moscow,
and far less removed from the great German commercial centres, enjoyed
a superior climate, and were, subsequent to the conquest of the
above-mentioned provinces, the natural points of contact between Russia and
the West. An eloquent proof of this fact may be observed nowadays in the
constant increase of their commerce, and the corresponding decrease of that
of St. Petersburg, which has been artificially developed and fostered.

Besides this, the port of St. Petersburg, during the lifetime of its
founder, never was anything but a mere project. Peter's ships were moved
from Kronslot to Kronstadt. Between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt the Neva
was not, in those days, more than eight feet deep, and Manstein tells us
that all ships built at Petersburg had to be dragged, by means of machines
fitted with cables, to Kronstadt, where they received their guns. Once
these had been taken on board, the vessels could not get upstream again.
The port of Kronstadt was closed by ice for six months out of the twelve,
and lay in such a position that no sailing-ship could leave it unless the
wind blew from the east. There was so little salt in its waters that the
ship timbers rotted in a very short time, and, besides, there were no oaks
in the surrounding forests, and all such timber had to be brought from
Kasan. Peter was so well aware of all these drawbacks that he sought and
found a more convenient spot for his shipbuilding yards at Rogerwick,
in Esthonia, four leagues from Revel. But here he found difficulty in
protecting the anchorage from the effects of hurricanes and from the
insults of his enemies. He hoped to insure this by means of two piers,
built on wooden caissons filled with stones. He thinned the forests of
Livonia and Esthonia to construct it, and finally, the winds and the waves
having carried everything away twice over, the work was utterly abandoned.

On the other hand, and from the very outset, the commercial activity of St.
Petersburg was hampered by the fact that it was the Czar's capital. The
presence of the court made living dear, and the consequent expense of labor
was a heavy drawback to the export trade, which, by its nature, called
for a good deal of manual exertion. According to a Dutch resident of that
period, a wooden cottage, very inferior to that inhabited by a peasant in
the Low Countries, cost from eight hundred to one thousand florins a year
at St. Petersburg. A shopkeeper at Archangel could live comfortably on a
quarter of that sum. The cost of transport, which amounted to between nine
and ten copecks a pood (36.07 pounds), between Moscow and Archangel, five
to six between Yaroslaff and Archangel, and three or four between Vologda
and Archangel, came to eighteen, twenty, and thirty copecks a pood in the
case of merchandise sent from any of these places to St. Petersburg. This
accounts for the opposition of the foreign merchants at Archangel to the
request that they should remove to St. Petersburg. Peter settled the matter
in characteristic fashion, by forbidding any trade in hemp, flax, leather,
or corn to pass through Archangel. This rule, though somewhat slackened, in
1714, at the request of the States-General of Holland, remained in force
during the great Czar's reign. In 1718 hemp and some other articles of
commerce were allowed free entrance into the port of Archangel, but only on
condition that two-thirds of all exports should be sent to St. Petersburg.
This puts the case from the maritime and commercial point of view.

As a capital city, St. Petersburg, we are told again, was ill-placed on the
banks of the Neva, not only for the reasons already given, but for others,
geographical, ethnical, and climatic, which exist even in the present day,
and which make its selection an outrage on common-sense. Was it not, we
are asked, a most extraordinary whim which induced a Russian to found the
capital of his Slavonic empire among the Finns, against the Swedes--to
centralize the administration of a huge extent of country in its remotest
corner--to retire from Poland and Germany on the plea of drawing nearer to
Europe, and to force everyone about him, officials, court, and diplomatic
corps, to inhabit one of the most inhospitable spots, under one of the
least clement skies, he could possibly have discovered? The whole place was
a marsh--the Finnish word neva means "mud"; the sole inhabitants of the
neighboring forests were packs of wolves. In 1714, during a winter night,
two sentries, posted before the cannon-foundry, were devoured. Even
nowadays, the traveller, once outside the town, plunges into a desert. Far
away in every direction the great plain stretches; not a steeple, not a
tree, not a head of cattle, not a sign of life, whether human or animal.
There is no pasturage, no possibility of cultivation--fruit, vegetables,
and even corn, are all brought from a distance. The ground is in a sort of
intermediate condition between the sea and _terra firma_.

Up to Catharine's reign inundations were chronic in their occurrence.
On September 11, 1706, Peter drew from his pocket the measure he always
carried about him, and convinced himself that there were twenty-one inches
of water above the floors of his cottage. In all directions he saw men,
women, and children clinging to the wreckage of buildings, which was
being carried down the river. He described his impressions in a letter to
Menshikoff, dated from "Paradise," and declared it was "extremely amusing."
It may be doubted whether he found many persons to share his delight.
Communications with the town, now rendered easy by railways, were in those
days not only difficult, but dangerous. Campredon, when he went from Moscow
to St. Petersburg, in April, 1723, spent twelve hundred rubles. He lost
part of his luggage, eight of his horses were drowned, and after having
travelled for four weeks he reached his destination, very ill. Peter
himself, who arrived before the French diplomat, had been obliged to ride
part of the way, and to swim his horse across the rivers!

But in spite of all these considerations, the importance of which I am far
from denying, I am inclined to think Peter's choice a wise one. Nobody can
wonder that the idea of retaining Moscow as his capital was most repugnant
to him. The existence of his work in those hostile surroundings--in a place
which to this day has remained obstinately reactionary--could never have
been anything but precarious and uncertain. It must, after his death at
least, if not during his life, have been at the mercy of those popular
insurrections before which the sovereign power, as established in the
Kremlin, had already so frequently bowed. When Peter carried Muscovy out of
her former existence, and beyond her ancient frontiers, he was logically
forced to treat the seat of his government in the same manner. His new
undertaking resembled, both in aspect and character, a marching and
fighting formation, directed toward the west. The leader's place, and that
of his chief residence, was naturally indicated at the head of his column.
This once granted, and the principle of the translation of the capital to
the western extremity of the Czar's newly acquired possessions admitted,
the advantages offered by Ingria would appear to me to outweigh all the
drawbacks previously referred to.

The province was, at that period, virgin soil sparsely inhabited by a
Finnish population possessing neither cohesion nor historical consistency,
and, consequently, docile and easily assimilated. Everywhere else--all
along the Baltic coast, in Esthonia, in Carelia, and in Courland--though
the Swedes might be driven out, the Germans still remained firmly settled;
the neighborhood of their native country and of the springs of Teutonic
culture enduing them with an invincible power of resistance. Riga in
the present day, after nearly two centuries of Russian government, is a
thoroughly German town. In St. Petersburg, Russia, as a country, became
European and cosmopolitan, but the city itself is essentially Russian, and
the Finnish element in its neighborhood counts for nothing.

In this matter, though Peter may not have clearly felt and thought it out,
he was actuated by the mighty and unerring instinct of his genius. I am
willing to admit that here, as in everything else, there was a certain
amount of whim, and perhaps some childish desire to ape Amsterdam. I will
even go further, and acknowledge that the manner in which he carried out
his plan was anything but reasonable. Two hundred thousand laborers, we are
told, died during the construction of the new city, and the Russian nobles
ruined themselves to build palaces which soon fell out of occupation. But
an abyss was opened between the past the reformer had doomed and the future
on which he had set his heart, and the national life, thus violently forced
into a new channel, was stamped, superficially at first, but more and more
deeply by degrees, with the Western and European character he desired to

Moscow, down to the present day, has preserved a religious, almost a
monastic air; at every street corner chapels attract the passers-by, and
the local population, even at its busiest, crosses itself and bends as it
passes before the sacred pictures which rouse its devotion at every turn.
St. Petersburg, from the very earliest days, presented a different and
quite a secular appearance. At Moscow no public performance of profane
music was permitted. At St. Petersburg the Czar's German musicians played
every day on the balcony of his tavern. Toward the middle of the eighteenth
century the new city boasted a French theatre and an Italian opera, and
Schloezer noted that divine service was performed in fourteen languages!
Modern Russia, governed, educated to a certain extent, intellectually
speaking emancipated, and relatively liberal, could not have come into
existence nor grown in stature elsewhere.

And to conclude: Peter was able to effect this singular change without
doing too great violence to the historical traditions of his country. From
the earliest days of Russian history, the capital had been removed from
place to place--from Novgorod to Kiev, from Kiev to Vladimir, from Vladimir
to Moscow. This phenomenon was the consequence of the immense area of the
national territory, and the want of consistency in the elements of the
national life. From the beginning to the end of an evolution which lasted
centuries the centre of gravity of the disjointed, scattered, and floating
forces of ancient Russia perpetually changed its place. Thus the creation
of St. Petersburg was nothing but the working out of a problem in dynamics.
The struggle with Sweden, the conquest of the Baltic provinces, and the
yet more important conquest of a position in the European world naturally
turned the whole current of the national energies and life in that
direction. Peter desired to perpetuate this course. I am inclined to think
he acted wisely.



A.D. 1704


Among the decisive battles of the world, that of Blenheim is regarded by
historians as one of the most far-reaching in results. "The decisive blow
struck at Blenheim," says Alison, "resounded through every part of Europe.
It at once destroyed the vast fabric of power which it had taken Louis XIV
so long to construct." And Creasy himself elsewhere declares: "Had it not
been for Blenheim, all Europe might at this day suffer under the effect of
French conquests resembling those of Alexander in extent and those of the
Romans in durability."

It was the first great battle in the War of the Spanish Succession
(1701-1714), which was carried on mainly in Italy, the Netherlands, and
Germany. This war followed closely upon the War of the Palatinate, which
ended with the Treaty of Ryswick, in 1697. To this peace Louis XIV of
France--the most powerful monarch in Europe, who, in spite of his brutal
conduct of the war, had really been a loser by it--gave his consent. Among
the concessions made by him was his recognition--much against his own
interest--of William III as the rightful King of England.

Louis gave his consent to the Treaty of Ryswick partly because of his
interest in the question of the Spanish succession. Charles II of
Spain--last of the Hapsburg line in that country--was childless, and there
were three claimants for the throne; namely, Philip of Anjou, grandson of
Louis XIV; the Electoral Prince of Bavaria; and Charles, son of Leopold
I of Germany, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The real stake was the
"balance of power" in Europe. At last, after much wrangling and intrigue
among the courts, Charles II bequeathed his throne to the Bavarian Prince,
whose death, in 1699, left Europe still divided over the succession.

Finally, Louis XIV completely won Charles II to his side, and Philip of
Anjou was named in Charles' will as his heir. Louis accepted for Philip,
who was crowned at Madrid, in 1701, as Philip V, and Europe was stirred to
wrath by the greed of the already too powerful French King. Turning now
upon England, Louis, in violation of the Treaty of Ryswick, declared the
son of the exiled James II rightful king of that country. The result of
Louis' acts was the Grand Alliance of The Hague against France, formed
between England, Holland, Prussia, the Holy Roman Empire, Portugal, and

On the side of the allies in the war that followed, the great generals
were the English Duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugene of Savoy, and Hensius,
Pensioner of Holland. France had lost her best generals by death, and Louis
was compelled to rely upon inferior men as leaders of his army. War was
formally declared against France by the allies May 4, 1702. The early
operations were carried on in Flanders, in Germany--on the Upper Rhine--and
in Northern Italy.

Marlborough headed the allied troops in Flanders during the first two
years of the war, and took some towns from the enemy, but nothing decisive
occurred. Nor did any actions of importance take place during this period
between the rival armies in Italy. But in the centre of that line from
north to south, from the mouth of the Schelde to the mouth of the Po, along
which the war was carried on, the generals of Louis XIV acquired advantages
in 1703 which threatened one chief member of the Grand Alliance with utter

France had obtained the important assistance of Bavaria as her confederate
in the war. The Elector of this powerful German state made himself master
of the strong fortress of Ulm, and opened a communication with the French
armies on the Upper Rhine. By this junction the troops of Louis were
enabled to assail the Emperor in the very heart of Germany. In the autumn
of 1703 the combined armies of the Elector and French King completely
defeated the Imperialists in Bavaria; and in the following winter they
made themselves masters of the important cities of Augsburg and Passau.
Meanwhile the French army of the Upper Rhine and Moselle had beaten the
allied armies opposed to them, and taken Treves and Landau. At the same
time the discontents in Hungary with Austria again broke out into open
insurrection, so as to distract the attention and complete the terror of
the Emperor and his council at Vienna.

Louis XIV ordered the next campaign to be commenced by his troops on a
scale of grandeur and with a boldness of enterprise such as even Napoleon's
military schemes have seldom equalled. On the extreme left of the line of
the war, in the Netherlands, the French armies were to act only on the
defensive. The fortresses in the hands of the French there were so many and
30 strong that no serious impression seemed likely to be made by the allies
on the French frontier in that quarter during one campaign, and that one
campaign was to give France such triumphs elsewhere as would, it was hoped,
determine the war. Large detachments were therefore to be made from the
French force in Flanders, and they were to be led by Marshal Villeroy to
the Moselle and Upper Rhine.

The French army already in the neighborhood of those rivers was to march
under Marshal Tallard through the Black Forest, and join the Elector of
Bavaria, and the French troops that were already with the Elector under
Marshal Marsin. Meanwhile the French army of Italy was to advance through
the Tyrol into Austria, and the whole forces were to combine between the
Danube and the Inn. A strong body of troops was to be despatched into
Hungary, to assist and organize the insurgents in that kingdom; and the
French grand army of the Danube was then in collected and irresistible
might to march upon Vienna and dictate terms of peace to the Emperor. High
military genius was shown in the formation of this plan, but it was met and
baffled by a genius higher still.

Marlborough had watched with the deepest anxiety the progress of the French
arms on the Rhine and in Bavaria, and he saw the futility of carrying on a
war of posts and sieges in Flanders, while death-blows to the empire were
being dealt on the Danube. He resolved, therefore, to let the war in
Flanders languish for a year, while he moved with all the disposable forces
that he could collect to the central scenes of decisive operations. Such a
march was in itself difficult; but Marlborough had, in the first instance,
to overcome the still greater difficulty of obtaining the consent and
cheerful cooperation of the allies, especially of the Dutch, whose frontier
it was proposed thus to deprive of the larger part of the force which had
hitherto been its protection.

Fortunately, among the many slothful, the many foolish, the many timid,
and the not few treacherous rulers, statesmen, and generals of different
nations with whom he had to deal, there were two men, eminent both in
ability and integrity, who entered fully into Marlborough's projects and
who, from the stations which they occupied, were enabled materially to
forward them. One of these was the Dutch statesman Heinsius, who had been
the cordial supporter of King William, and who now, with equal zeal and
good faith, supported Marlborough in the councils of the allies; the other
was the celebrated general, Prince Eugene, whom the Austrian cabinet had
recalled from the Italian frontier to take the command of one of the
Emperor's armies in Germany. To these two great men, and a few more,
Marlborough communicated his plan freely and unreservedly; but to the
general councils of his allies he only disclosed part of his daring scheme.

He proposed to the Dutch that he should march from Flanders to the
Upper Rhine and Moselle with the British troops and part of the foreign
auxiliaries, and commence vigorous operations against the French armies in
that quarter, while General Auverquerque, with the Dutch and the remainder
of the auxiliaries, maintained a defensive war in the Netherlands. Having
with difficulty obtained the consent of the Dutch to this portion of his
project, he exercised the same diplomatic zeal, with the same success, in
urging the King of Prussia and other princes of the empire to increase
the number of the troops which they supplied, and to post them in places
convenient for his own intended movements.

Marlborough commenced his celebrated march on May 10th. The army which
he was to lead had been assembled by his brother, General Churchill,
at Bedburg, not far from Maestricht, on the Meuse; it included sixteen
thousand English troops, and consisted of fifty-one battalions of foot, and
ninety-two squadrons of horse. Marlborough was to collect and join with him
on his march the troops of Prussia, Luneburg, and Hesse, quartered on the
Rhine, and eleven Dutch battalions that were stationed at Rothweil. He had
only marched a single day when the series of interruptions, complaints, and
requisitions from the other leaders of the allies began, to which he seemed
subjected throughout his enterprise, and which would have caused its
failure in the hands of anyone not gifted with the firmness and the
exquisite temper of Marlborough.

One specimen of these annoyances and of Marlborough's mode of dealing with
them may suffice. On his encamping at Kupen on the 20th, he received an
express from Auverquerque pressing him to halt, because Villeroy, who
commanded the French army in Flanders, had quitted the lines which he had
been occupying, and crossed the Meuse at Namur with thirty-six battalions
and forty-five squadrons, and was threatening the town of Huy. At the same
time Marlborough received letters from the Margrave of Baden and Count
Wratislaw, who commanded the Imperialist forces at Stollhoffen, near the
left bank of the Rhine, stating that Tallard had made a movement, as if
intending to cross the Rhine, and urging him to hasten his march toward the
lines of Stollhoffen. Marlborough was not diverted by these applications
from the prosecution of his grand design.

Conscious that the army of Villeroy would be too much reduced to undertake
offensive operations, by the detachments which had already been made toward
the Rhine, and those which must follow his own march, he halted only a
day to quiet the alarms of Auverquerque. To satisfy also the Margrave, he
ordered the troops of Hompesch and Buelow to draw toward Philippsburg,
though with private injunctions not to proceed beyond a certain distance.
He even exacted a promise to the same effect from Count Wratislaw, who at
this juncture arrived at the camp to attend him during the whole campaign.

Marlborough reached the Rhine at Coblenz, where he crossed that river, and
then marched along its left bank to Broubach and Mainz. His march,
though rapid, was admirably conducted, so as to save the troops from all
unnecessary fatigue; ample supplies of provisions were ready, and the most
perfect discipline was maintained. By degrees Marlborough obtained more
reinforcements from the Dutch and the other confederates, and he also was
left more at liberty by them to follow his own course. Indeed, before
even a blow was struck, his enterprise had paralyzed the enemy and had
materially relieved Austria from the pressure of the war. Villeroy, with
his detachments from the French Flemish army, was completely bewildered
by Marlborough's movements, and, unable to divine where it was that the
English general meant to strike his blow, wasted away the early part of the
summer between Flanders and the Moselle without effecting anything.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Marshal Villeroy," says Voltaire, "who had wished to follow
Marlborough on his first marches, suddenly lost sight of him altogether,
and only learned where he really was on hearing of his victory at

Marshal Tallard, who commanded forty-five thousand French at Strasburg, and
who had been destined by Louis to march early in the year into Bavaria,
thought that Marlborough's march along the Rhine was preliminary to an
attack upon Alsace; and the marshal therefore kept his forty-five thousand
men back in order to protect France in that quarter. Marlborough skilfully
encouraged his apprehensions by causing a bridge to be constructed across
the Rhine at Philippsburg, and by making the Landgrave of Hesse advance his
artillery at Mannheim, as if for a siege of Landau.

Meanwhile the Elector of Bavaria and Marshal Marsin, suspecting that
Marlborough's design might be what it really proved to be, forbore to press
upon the Austrians opposed to them or to send troops into Hungary; and they
kept back so as to secure their communications with France. Thus, when
Marlborough, at the beginning of June, left the Rhine and marched for the
Danube, the numerous hostile armies were uncombined and unable to check

"With such skill and science," says Coxe, "had this enterprise been
concerted that at the very moment when it assumed a specific direction the
enemy was no longer enabled to render it abortive. As the march was now to
be bent toward the Danube, notice was given for the Prussians, Palatines,
and Hessians, who were stationed on the Rhine, to order their march so as
to join the main body in its progress. At the same time directions were
sent to accelerate the advance of the Danish auxiliaries, who were marching
from the Netherlands."

Crossing the river Neckar, Marlborough marched in a southeastern direction
to Mundelshene, where he had his first personal interview with Prince
Eugene, who was destined to be his colleague on so many glorious fields.
Thence, through a difficult and dangerous country, Marlborough continued
his march against the Bavarians, whom he encountered on July 2d on the
heights of the Schullenberg, near Donauwoerth. Marlborough stormed their
intrenched camp, crossed the Danube, took several strong places in Bavaria,
and made himself completely master of the Elector's dominions except the
fortified cities of Munich and Augsburg. But the Elector's army, though
defeated at Donauwoerth, was still numerous and strong; and at last Marshal
Tallard, when thoroughly apprised of the real nature of Marlborough's
movements, crossed the Rhine; and being suffered, through the supineness of
the German general at Stollhoffen, to march without loss through the Black
Forest, he united his powerful army at Biberach, near Augsburg, with
that of the Elector and the French troops under Marshal Marsin, who had
previously been cooperating with the Bavarians.

On the other hand, Marlborough recrossed the Danube, and on August 11th
united his army with the Imperialist forces under Prince Eugene. The
combined armies occupied a position near Hoechstaedt,[1] a little higher up
the left bank of the Danube than Donauwoerth, the scene of Marlborough's
recent victory, and almost exactly on the ground where Marshal Villars and
the Elector had defeated an Austrian army in the preceding year. The French
marshals and the Elector were now in position a little further to the east,
between Blenheim and Lützingen, and with the little stream of the Nebel
between them and the troops of Marlborough and Eugene. The Gallo-Bavarian
army consisted of about sixty thousand men, and they had sixty-one pieces
of artillery. The army of the allies was about fifty-six thousand strong,
with fifty-two guns.

[Footnote 1: The Battle of Blenheim is called by the Germans and the French
the battle of Hoechstaedt.--ED.]

Although the French army of Italy had been unable to penetrate into
Austria, and although the masterly strategy of Marlborough had hitherto
warded off the destruction with which the cause of the allies seemed
menaced at the beginning of the campaign, the peril was still most serious.
It was absolutely necessary for Marlborough to attack the enemy before
Villeroy should be roused into action. There was nothing to stop that
general and his army from marching into Franconia, whence the allies drew
their principal supplies; and besides thus distressing them, he might, by
marching on and joining his army to those of Tallard and the Elector, form
a mass which would overwhelm the force under Marlborough and Eugene. On
the other hand, the chances of a battle seemed perilous, and the fatal
consequences of a defeat were certain. The disadvantage of the allies in
point of number was not very great, but still it was not to be disregarded;
and the advantage which the enemy seemed to have in the composition of
their troops was striking.

Tallard and Marsin had forty-five thousand Frenchmen under them, all
veterans and all trained to act together; the Elector's own troops also
were good soldiers. Marlborough, like Wellington at Waterloo, headed an
army of which the larger proportion consisted, not of English, but of men
of many different nations and many different languages. He was also obliged
to be the assailant in the action, and thus to expose his troops to
comparatively heavy loss at the commencement of the battle, while the enemy
would fight under the protection of the villages and lines which they were
actively engaged in strengthening. The consequences of a defeat of the
confederated army must have broken up the Grand Alliance, and realized
the proudest hopes of the French King. Alison, in his admirable military
history of the Duke of Marlborough, has truly stated the effects which
would have taken place if France had been successful in the war; and when
the position of the confederates at the time when Blenheim was fought is
remembered--when we recollect the exhaustion of Austria, the menacing
insurrection of Hungary, the feuds and jealousies of the German princes,
the strength and activity of the Jacobite party in England, and the
imbecility of nearly all the Dutch statesmen of the time, and the weakness
of Holland if deprived of her allies--we may adopt his words in speculating
on what would have ensued if France had been victorious in the battle,
and "if a power, animated by the ambition, guided by the fanaticism, and
directed by the ability of that of Louis XIV, had gained the ascendency in

"Beyond all question, a universal despotic dominion would have been
established over the bodies, a cruel spiritual thraldom over the minds, of
men. France and Spain, united under Bourbon princes and in a close family
alliance--the empire of Charlemagne with that of Charles V--the power
which revoked the Edict of Nantes and perpetrated the massacre of St.
Bartholomew, with that which banished the Moriscoes and established
the Inquisition, would have proved irresistible, and, beyond example,
destructive to the best interests of mankind.

"The Protestants might have been driven, like the pagan heathens of old by
the son of Pépin, beyond the Elbe; the Stuart race, and with them Romish
ascendency, might have been reestablished in England; the fire lighted by
Latimer and Ridley might have been extinguished in blood; and the energy
breathed by religious freedom into the Anglo-Saxon race might have expired.
The destinies of the world would have been changed. Europe, instead of a
variety of independent states, whose mutual hostility kept alive courage,
while their national rivalry stimulated talent, would have sunk into the
slumber attendant on universal dominion. The colonial empire of England
would have withered away and perished, as that of Spain has done in the
grasp of the Inquisition. The Anglo-Saxon race would have been arrested
in its mission to overspread the earth and subdue it. The centralized
despotism of the Roman Empire would have been renewed on Continental
Europe; the chains of Romish tyranny, and with them the general infidelity
of France before the Revolution, would have extinguished or perverted
thought in the British Islands."

Marlborough's words at the council of war, when a battle was resolved on,
are remarkable, and they deserve recording. We know them on the authority
of his chaplain, Mr. (afterward Bishop) Hare, who accompanied him
throughout the campaign, and in whose journal the biographers of
Marlborough have found many of their best materials. Marlborough's words to
the officers who remonstrated with him on the seeming temerity of attacking
the enemy in their position were: "I know the danger, yet a battle is
absolutely necessary, and I rely on the bravery and discipline of the
troops, which will make amends for our disadvantages." In the evening
orders were issued for a general engagement, and were received by the army
with an alacrity which justified his confidence.

The French and Bavarians were posted behind the little stream called the
Nebel, which runs almost from north to south into the Danube immediately in
front of the village of Blenheim. The Nebel flows along a little valley,
and the French occupied the rising ground to the west of it. The village
of Blenheim was the extreme right of their position, and the village of
Luetzingen, about three miles north of Blenheim, formed their left. Beyond
Luetzingen are the rugged high grounds of the Godd Berg and Eich Berg,
on the skirts of which some detachments were posted, so as to secure the
Gallo-Bavarian position from being turned on the left flank. The Danube
secured their right flank; and it was only in front that they could be
attacked. The villages of Blenheim and Luetzingen had been strongly
palisaded and intrenched; Marshal Tallard, who held the chief command, took
his station at Blenheim; the Elector and Marshal Marsin commanded on the

Tallard garrisoned Blenheim with twenty-six battalions of French infantry
and twelve squadrons of French cavalry. Marsin and the Elector had
twenty-two battalions of infantry and thirty-six squadrons of cavalry in
front of the village of Luetzingen. The centre was occupied by fourteen
battalions of infantry, including the celebrated Irish brigade. These were
posted in the little hamlet of Oberglau, which lies somewhat nearer
to Luetzingen than to Blenheim. Eighty squadrons of cavalry and seven
battalions of foot were ranged between Oberglau and Blenheim. Thus the
French position was very strong at each extremity, but was comparatively
weak in the centre. Tallard seems to have relied on the swampy state of
the part of the valley that reaches from below Oberglau to Blenheim for
preventing any serious attack on this part of his line.

The army of the allies was formed into two great divisions, the largest
being commanded by the Duke in person, and being destined to act against
Tallard, while Prince Eugene led the other division, which consisted
chiefly of cavalry, and was intended to oppose the enemy under Marsin and
the Elector. As they approached the enemy, Marlborough's troops formed the
left and the centre, while Eugene's formed the right of the entire army.
Early in the morning of August 13th the allies left their own camp and
marched toward the enemy. A thick haze covered the ground, and it was not
until the allied right and centre had advanced nearly within cannon-shot
of the enemy that Tallard was aware of their approach. He made his
preparations with what haste he could, and about eight o'clock a heavy fire
of artillery was opened from the French right on the advancing left wing of
the British. Marlborough ordered up some of his batteries to reply to
it, and while the columns that were to form the allied left and centre
deployed, and took up their proper stations in the line, a warm cannonade
was kept up by the guns on both sides.

The ground which Eugene's columns Jiad to traverse was peculiarly
difficult, especially for the passage of the artillery, and it was nearly
mid-day before he could get his troops into line opposite to Luetzingen.
During this interval Marlborough ordered divine service to be performed by
the chaplains at the head of each regiment, and then rode along the
lines, and found both officers and men in the highest spirits and waiting
impatiently for the signal for the attack. At length an aide-de-camp
galloped up from the right with the welcome news that Eugene was ready.
Marlborough instantly sent Lord Cutts, with a strong brigade of infantry to
assault the village of Blenheim, while he himself led the main body down
the eastward slope of the valley of the Nebel, and prepared to effect the
passage of the stream.

The assault on Blenheim, though bravely made, was repulsed with severe
loss, and Marlborough, finding how strongly that village was garrisoned,
desisted from any further attempts to carry it, and bent all his energies
to breaking the enemy's line between Blenheim and Oberglau. Some temporary
bridges had been prepared, and planks and fascines had been collected; and
by the aid of these, and a little stone bridge which crossed the Nebel
near a hamlet called Unterglau, that lay in the centre of the valley,
Marlborough succeeded in getting several squadrons across the Nebel, though
it was divided into several branches, and the ground between them was soft,
and, in places, little better than a mere marsh.

But the French artillery was not idle. The cannon-balls plunged incessantly
among the advancing squadrons of the allies, and bodies of French cavalry
rode frequently down from the western ridge, to charge them before they had
time to form on the firm ground. It was only by supporting his men by fresh
troops, and by bringing up infantry, who checked the advance of the enemy's
horse by their steady fire, that Marlborough was able to save his army in
this quarter from a repulse, which, succeeding the failure of the attack
upon Blenheim, would probably have been fatal to the allies. By degrees,
his cavalry struggled over the bloodstained streams; the infantry were
also now brought across, so as to keep in check the French troops who held
Blenheim, and who, when no longer assailed in front, had begun to attack
the allies on their left with considerable effect.

Marlborough had thus at length succeeded in drawing up the whole left wing
of his army beyond the Nebel, and was about to press forward with it, when
he was called away to another part of the field by a disaster that
had befallen his centre. The Prince of Holstein Beck had, with eleven
Hanoverian battalions, passed the Nebel opposite to Oberglau, when he was
charged and utterly routed by the Irish brigade which held that village.
The Irish drove the Hanoverians back with heavy slaughter, broke completely
through the line of the allies, and nearly achieved a success as brilliant
as that which the same brigade afterward gained at Fontenoy.

But at Blenheim their ardor in pursuit led them too far. Marlborough came
up in person, and dashed in upon the exposed flank of the brigade with some
squadrons of British cavalry. The Irish reeled back, and as they strove to
regain the height of Oberglau their column was raked through and through by
the fire of three battalions of the allies, which Marlborough had summoned
up from the reserve. Marlborough having reestablished the order and
communications of the allies in this quarter, now, as he returned to his
own left wing, sent to learn how his colleague fared against Marsin and the
Elector, and to inform Eugene of his own success.

Eugene had hitherto not been equally fortunate. He had made three attacks
on the enemy opposed to him, and had been thrice driven back. It was only
by his own desperate personal exertions, and the remarkable steadiness of
the regiments of Prussian infantry, which were under him, that he was able
to save his wing from being totally defeated. But it was on the southern
part of the battle-field, on the ground which Marlborough had won beyond
the Nebel with such difficulty, that the crisis of the battle was to be

Like Hannibal, Marlborough relied principally on his cavalry for achieving
his decisive successes, and it was by his cavalry that Blenheim, the
greatest of his victories, was won. The battle had lasted till five in the
afternoon. Marlborough had now eight thousand horsemen drawn up in two
lines, and in the most perfect order for a general attack on the enemy's
line along the space between Blenheim and Oberglau. The infantry was drawn
up in battalions in their rear, so as to support them if repulsed, and
to keep in check the large masses of the French that still occupied the
village of Blenheim. Tallard now interlaced his squadrons of cavalry with
battalions of infantry, and Marlborough, by a corresponding movement,
brought several regiments of infantry and some pieces of artillery to his
front line at intervals between the bodies of horse.

A little after five Marlborough commenced the decisive movement, and the
allied cavalry, strengthened and supported by foot and guns, advanced
slowly from the lower ground near the Nebel up the slope to where the
French cavalry, ten thousand strong, awaited them. On riding over the
summit of the acclivity, the allies were received with so hot a fire from
the French artillery and small arms that at first the cavalry recoiled, but
without abandoning the high ground. The guns and the infantry which they
had brought with them maintained the contest with spirit and effect. The
French fire seemed to slacken. Marlborough instantly ordered a charge along
the line. The allied cavalry galloped forward at the enemy's squadrons, and
the hearts of the French horsemen failed them. Discharging their carbines
at an idle distance, they wheeled round and spurred from the field, leaving
the nine infantry battalions of their comrades to be ridden down by the
torrent of the allied cavalry.

The battle was now won. Tallard and Marsin, severed from each other,
thought only of retreat. Tallard drew up the squadrons of horse that he had
left, in a line extended toward Blenheim, and sent orders to the infantry
in that village to leave it and join him without delay. But long ere his
orders could be obeyed the conquering squadrons of Marlborough had wheeled
to the left and thundered down on the feeble array of the French marshal.
Part of the force which Tallard had drawn up for this last effort was
driven into the Danube; part fled with their general to the village of
Sonderheim, where they were soon surrounded by the victorious allies and
compelled to surrender. Meanwhile Eugene had renewed his attack upon the
Gallo-Bavarian left, and Marsin, finding his colleague utterly routed, and
his own right flank uncovered, prepared to retreat. He and the Elector
succeeded in withdrawing a considerable part of their troops in tolerable
order to Dillingen; but the krge body of French who garrisoned Blenheim
were left exposed to certain destruction.

Marlborough speedily occupied all the outlets from the village with
his victorious troops, and then, collecting his artillery round it, he
commenced a cannonade that speedily would have destroyed Blenheim itself
and all who were in it. After several gallant but unsuccessful attempts to
cut their way through the allies, the French in Blenheim were at length
compelled to surrender at discretion; and twenty-four battalions and twelve
squadrons, with all their officers, laid down their arms and became the
captives of Marlborough.

"Such," says Voltaire, "was the celebrated battle which the French called
the battle of Hoechstaedt, the Germans Blindheim, and the English Blenheim.
The conquerors had about five thousand killed and eight thousand wounded,
the greater part being on the side of Prince Eugene. The French army was
almost entirely destroyed: of sixty thousand men, so long victorious,
there never reassembled more than twenty thousand effective. About twelve
thousand killed, fourteen thousand prisoners, all the cannon, a prodigious
number of colors and standards, all the tents and equipages, the general of
the army, and one thousand two hundred officers of mark in the power of the
conqueror, signalized that day!"

Ulm, Landau, Treves, and Traerbach surrendered to the allies before the
close of the year. Bavaria submitted to the Emperor, and the Hungarians
laid down their arms. Germany was completely delivered from France, and the
military ascendency of the arms of the allies was completely established.
Throughout the rest of the war Louis fought only in defence. Blenheim had
dissipated forever his once proud visions of almost universal conquest.


A.D. 1707


Although not one of the longest, the reign of Queen Anne was one of the
most glorious, in English history. Not only was it signalized by the
victorious deeds of Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession, but
also by the union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, one of the
principal events in British annals.

Before the union England and Scotland had no political partnership save
that derived through the person of the sovereign by inheritance of both
crowns. From the completion of the union in 1707 both countries have been
not only under one royal head, but also represented in a single Parliament.
At the beginning of Anne's reign the attitude of Scotland toward England
was hostile, old antagonisms surviving in memory to intensify fresh
irritations. Although William III, predecessor of Anne, had urged a union
of the kingdoms, all negotiations to that end had failed. In 1703, and
again in 1704, the Scottish Parliament had passed an act of security
declaring in favor of the abrogation of the union of the crowns which had
existed for a century. The English Parliament resorted to retaliatory

By this time, however, the wiser statesmen in both countries saw that open
hostilities could be averted only by a complete political union of the two
kingdoms, and they used all their influence to bring it about. How this
great historic reconciliation was accomplished, Burton, the eminent
Scottish historian and jurist, shows with equal learning and impartiality.

The English statute, responding by precautions and threats to the Scots Act
of Security, contained clauses for furthering an incorporating union as the
only conclusive settlement of accumulating difficulties. It provided that
commissioners for England appointed by the Queen under the great seal shall
have power "to treat and consult" with commissioners for the same purpose
"authorized by authority of the Parliament of Scotland." The statute of the
Parliament of Scotland completing the adjustment, with the short title "Act
for a treaty with England," authorizes such persons "as shall be nominated
and appointed by her majesty under the great seal of this kingdom" to treat
and consult with "the commissioners for England."

The next great step was the appointment of the two commissions, thirty-one
on either side. On the English were the two archbishops; for Scotland there
was no clerical element. It was noticed that for England all the members
not official were from the peerage, while in Scotland there seemed to be a
desire to represent the peerage, the landed commoners, and the burgesses
or city interest, in just proportions. At an early stage in the daily
business, the English brought up a proposition about the reception of which
they had considerable apprehension: that there should be "the same customs,
excise, and all other taxes" throughout the United Kingdom--virtually a
resolution that Scotland should be taxed on the English scale. This was
easily passed by means of a solvent--due, no doubt, to the financial
genius of Godolphin--that, on an accounting and proof of local or personal
hardships arising from the adoption of uniformity, compensation in money
should be made from the English treasury. But a more critical point was
reached when, on April 24th, the chancellor of Scotland brought forward,
among certain preliminary articles, one "that there be free communication,
and intercourse of trade and navigation, between the two kingdoms and
plantations thereunto belonging, under such regulations as in the progress
of this treaty shall be found most for the advantage of both kingdoms."
This was frankly accepted on the part of England, and faithfully adjusted
in detail. It was felt to be a mighty sacrifice made to exercise indefinite
but formidable calamities in another shape.

At this point in the progress of the union all interest resting on the
excitements of political victory and defeat, or the chances of a bitter
war, came to an end. There were a few small incidents in Scotland; but
England was placidly indifferent. She had cheerfully paid a heavy stake as
loser in the great game, and it would trouble her no more. The statesmen
of the two countries knew that the union must pass unless the Jacobites of
Scotland were joined by an invading French army; and that was not a likely
casualty while Marlborough was hovering on the frontiers of France. There
was a touch of the native haughtiness in this placid indifference of
England. No doubt it helped in clearing the way to the great conclusion;
but for many years after the fusing of the two nations into one, disturbing
events showed that it had been better had the English known something about
the national institutions and the temper of the people who had now a right
to call themselves their fellow-countrymen.

It was expected that Scotland would be quietly absorbed into
England--absorptions much more difficult in the first aspect were in
continuous progress in Asia and America. The Englishman had great
difficulty in reconciling himself to political and social conditions not
his own, and his pride prompted him to demand that, if he left England, any
part of the world honored by his presence should make an England for his
reception. When expecting this on the other side of the border, he forgot
that the Scot had too much of his own independence and obstinacy. True, the
Scot, among the sweet uses of adversity, had imbibed more of the vagrant,
and could adapt himself more easily to the usages and temper of other
nations. But on the question of yielding up his own national usages and
prejudices in his own country he was as obstinate as his mighty partner.

There was stills world of business to be transacted in details of the
unattractive kind that belong to accountants' reports. These may be objects
of vital and intense interest--as in the realizing of the assets in
bankruptcies, where persons immediately interested in frantic excitement
hunt out the array of small figures--two, three, four, or five--that tells
them whether they are safe or ruined. But the interest is not of a kind to
hold its intensity through after generations. On some items of the present
accounting, however, there was, in the principle adopted, a fund of
personal and political interest. The heavy debts of England had to be
considered--and here, as in all pecuniary arrangements, England was
freehanded. The Scots made an effort to retain their African Company, but
they fortunately offered the alternative of purchasing the stock from the
holders. On the alternative of retention the English commissioners were
resolute in refusal and resistance, but they were ready to entertain the
other; and they accepted it in a literal shape. To have bought the stock at
its market value would have been a farce, after the ruin that had overcome
the company. But if it could not be even said that England had ruined
the company, the sacrifice had been made in the prevalence of English
interests, and while there was yet a hold on England it should be kept.
There was no difficulty in coming to a settlement satisfactory to the
Scots, and willingly offered by the English. It was substantially payment
of the loss on each share, as calculated from an examination of the
company's books.

The adjustment of the several pecuniary claims thus created in favor of
Scotland was simply the collective summation of the losses incurred by all
the stockholders; and when the summation was completed the total was passed
into a capital sum, called the "Equivalent." This sum total of the various
items, with all their fractions, making up a fractional sum less than four
hundred thousand pounds, might be otherwise described as a capital stock
held by the shareholders of the old company trading to Africa and the
Indies, each to the extent of his loss. Odious suspicions were, down to
the present generation, propagated about an item or group of items in the
Equivalent. A sum amounting to twenty thousand five hundred forty pounds
seventeen shillings sevenpence had been made over by the English treasury,
to be paid to influential Scotsmen as the price of their votes or influence
in favor of England.

Fortunately this affair was closely investigated by the celebrated
committee of inquiry that brought on Marlborough's dismissal and Walpole's
imprisonment. It was found that the Scots treasury had been drained; and
the crisis of the union was not a suitable time either for levying money
or for leaving debts--the salaries of public offices especially--unpaid.
England, therefore, lent money to clear away this difficulty. The
transaction was irregular, and had not passed through the proper treasury
forms. It was ascertained, however, that the money so lent had been repaid.
In discussions of the affair, before those concerned were fully cleared
of the odium of bribery, taunting remarks had been made on the oddity and
sordid specialties of the items of payment. Thus the allowance to the Lord
Banff was, in sterling money, eleven pounds two shillings. It would have
had a richer sound, and perhaps resolved itself into round numbers, in
Scots money; but as it is, there is no more to be said against it than
that, as a debt in some way due to the Lord Banff, the exact English
book-keeper had entered it down to its fraction.

There remained a few matters of adjustment of uniformities between the two
countries for the advantage of both--such as a fixed standard for rating
money in account. The Scots grumbled, rather than complained, about the
English standard being always made the rule, and no reciprocity being
offered. But the Scots were left considerable facilities for the use of
their own customs for home purposes in pecuniary matters, and in weights
and measures. If, for the general convenience of commerce and taxation,
any uniformity was necessary, and the practice of the greater nation was a
suitable standard for the other, it was the smaller sacrifice, and to both
parties the easier arrangement, that those who were only an eighth part of
the inhabitants of the island should yield to the overwhelming majority.

It was in keeping with the wisdom and tolerance prevailing throughout on
the English side of the treaty that it should be first discussed in the
Parliament of Scotland. If this was felt as a courtesy to Scotland it was
an expediency for England. All opposition would be in Scotland, and it was
well to know it at once, that disputes might be cleared off and a simple
affirmative or negative presented to the Parliament of Scotland.

The Parliament of England has ever restrained vague oratory by a rule that
there must always be a question of yes or no, fitted for a division as the
text of a debate. In Scotland on this occasion, as on many others, there
was at first a discussion of the general question; and when this, along
with other sources of information, had given the servants of the Crown
some assurance of the fate of the measure, there was a separate debate
and division on the first article, understood on all hands to be a final
decision. The debate was decorated by a work of oratorical art long admired
in Scotland, and indeed worthy of admiration anywhere for its brilliancy
and power. It was a great philippic--taking that term in its usual
acceptation--as expressing a vehement torrent of bitter epigram and
denunciatory climax.

The speech of John Hamilton, Lord Belhaven, "On the subject-matter of a
union betwixt the two kingdoms of England and Scotland," was so amply
dispersed in its day that if a collector of pamphlets on the union buys
them in volumes he will generally find this speech in each volume. It is,
no doubt, an effort of genius; but what will confer more interest on the
following specimens selected from it is that it was an attempt to rouse the
nation to action at this perilous and momentous crisis, and succeeded only
in drawing attention and admiration as a fine specimen of rhetorical art:

"I think I see the present peers of Scotland, whose noble ancestors
conquered provinces, overran countries, reduced and subjected towns and
fortified places, exacted tribute through the greater part of England, now
walking in the court of requests like so many English attorneys, laying
aside their walking-swords when in company with the English peers, lest
their self-defence should be found murder.

"I think I see the royal state of boroughs walking their desolate streets,
hanging down their heads under disappointments, wormed out of all the
branches of their old trade, uncertain what hand to turn to, necessitate
to become 'prentices to their unkind neighbors, and yet after all finding
their trade so fortified by companies and secured by prescriptions that
they despair of any success therein. But above all, my lord, I think I see
our ancient mother, Caledonia, like Caesar, sitting in the midst of our
senate, ruefully looking round her, covering herself with her royal
garment, attending the fatal blow, and breathing out her last with a _'et
tu quoque mi fili,'_"

The great remedy for all is an end of rancorous feuds and hatreds dividing
Scotland; and this calls from him a glowing picture of the land that by
union and industry has made itself too powerful to be a safe partner for
humiliated Scotland:

"They are not under the afflicting hand of Providence as we are; their
circumstances are great and glorious; their treaties are prudently managed
both at home and abroad; their generals brave and valorous; their armies
successful and victorious; their trophies and laurels memorable and
surprising; their enemies subdued and routed. Their royal navy is the
terror of Europe; their trade and commerce extended through the universe,
encircling the whole world, and rendering their own capital city the
emporium for the whole inhabitants of the earth."

The speech was for the country, not for the House. The great points about
trade and virtual independence had been conceded by England, and a union
was looked to rather as a refuge and a gain than as oppression and plunder.
It has even been said that there was some inclination to receive the speech
with irony; and Defoe, who seems to have been present on the occasion,
gives this account of what followed:

"Mr. Seton, who made the first speech, stood up to answer the Lord
Belhaven; but as he had already spoken, the order of the House--viz., 'that
the same member could not speak twice in the same cause'--was urged against
his speaking, and the Earl of Marchmont standing up at the same time, the
lord chancellor gave place to him, who indeed made a short return to so
long a speech, and which answer occasioned some laughter in the House. The
Earl of Marchmont's speech was to this purpose, viz.: He had heard a long
speech, and a very terrible one; but he was of opinion it required a short
answer, which he gave in these terms: 'Behold he dreamed, but, lo! when
he awoke, he found it was a dream.' This answer, some said, was as
satisfactory to the members, who understood the design of that speech as if
it had been answered vision by vision."

In the debates on the union, some Scots statesmen found a tactic,
infinitely valuable to them in the united Parliament, of voting in a group.
They were called the "New party," and nicknamed the "_Squadrone volante_."
In the correspondence already referred to, it was good news at St.
Stephen's when it was announced that the New party had adopted the union.
On the critical division the numbers stood one hundred eighteen for the
article and eighty-three against it. The remainder of the clauses passed
without division, a ready acceptance being given to amendments, that were
virtually improvements, in giving effect to the spirit of details in the
treaty; as where it was adjusted that, for trading purposes, vessels bought
abroad for trade from the Scots harbors should be counted equivalent to
vessels of Scottish build.

There was a considerable noisy excitement through the country, the
Jacobites ever striving to rouse the people in the great towns to riot
and sedition, and, when they found that impossible, spreading exaggerated
accounts of the effects of their efforts. A mob was raised in Edinburgh,
but it was appeased without the loss of life and with no other casualty
save the frightening of the provost's wife. There were some eccentric
movements among the Cameronians, rendered all the more grotesque by the
Jacobites taking the leadership in them; and some of the more vehement
clergy betook themselves to their own special weapons in the holding of a
day of humiliation and prayer.

Ere the whole came to a conclusion, a point was yielded to the Presbyterian
Church of Scotland. It was passed as a separate act before the Act of Union
was passed--the separate act stipulating its repetition in any act adopting
the Treaty of Union. It provided for the preservation of the discipline,
worship, and ecclesiastical government of the establishment. It was further
provided that every sovereign of the United Kingdom, on accession to the
throne, should make oath in terms of this act. Hence it happens that this
oath is taken immediately on the accession, the other oaths, including
that for the protection of the Church of England, being postponed till the
ceremony of the coronation. On October 16, 1706, there came a vote on the
passing of the "Act ratifying and approving the Treaty of Union." This was
carried in the Scots Parliament by one hundred ten to sixty-nine.

It was the determination of the Queen's ministers for England to carry the
treaty as it came from Scotland, word for word; and they employed all their
strength to do so. It was the policy of the English government and their
supporters in the matter of the union, to avoid a Parliamentary debate upon
it clause by clause at St. Stephen's.

To this end there was an endeavor to give it, as much as in the peculiar
conditions could be given, the character of a treaty between two
independent powers, each acting through its executive, that executive
acknowledging the full power of Parliament to examine, criticise, and
virtually judge the act done as a whole, but not admitting Parliamentary
interference with the progress of the details. If there were an
illogicality in the essence of a treaty where the executive--the Queen--was
the common sovereign of both realms, the difficulty could be discarded as
a pedantry, in a constitutional community where the sovereign acts through
responsible advisers. Some slight touches of apprehension were felt in
England when it was seen that the Scots Estates were not only voting the
separate articles, but in some measure remodelling them.

The Estates were taking the privilege naturally claimed by the weaker party
to a bargain in protecting themselves while it was yet time. When all was
adjusted, England, as the vast majority, could correct whatever had been
done amiss in the preliminary adjustment of her interests, but poor
Scotland would be entirely helpless. There was another reason for
tolerating the alterations, in their being directed to the safety and
completeness of the legal institutions left in the hands of Scotland
untouched, as matters of entire indifference to England; still it weakened
the hands of those who desired to evade a Parliamentary discussion on the
several articles in England that this had been permitted in Scotland, and
had become effective in the shape of amendments. John Johnston, who had
been for some time secretary of state for Scotland--a son of the celebrated
covenanting hero Archibald Johnston of Warriston--was then in London
carefully looking at the signs of the times. He wrote to Scotland, saying:
"You may, I think, depend on it that the alterations you have hitherto
made will not break the union; but if you go on altering, it's like your
alterations will be altered here, which will make a new session with you
necessary, and in that case no man knows what may happen." All is well as
yet (January 4th), and if there be no more serious alterations the English
ministers will be able to give effect to their resolution "to pass the
union here without making any alterations at all."

By what had been usually called a message from the throne, the attention of
Parliament was directed to the treaty as it had come from Scotland, but the
matter being of supreme importance the Queen was her own messenger. From
the Commons she had to ask for a supply to meet the equivalent. To both
Houses she said: "You have now an opportunity before you of putting the
last hand to a happy union of the two kingdoms, which I hope will be a
lasting blessing to the whole island, a great addition to its wealth and
power, and a firm security to the Protestant religion. The advantages that
will accrue to us all from a union are so apparent that I will add no more,
but that I shall look upon it as a particular happiness if this great
work, which has been so often attempted without success, can be brought to
perfection in my reign."

The opportunity was taken to imitate the Scots in a separate preliminary
act "for securing the Church of England as by law established." There was a
desultory discussion in both Houses, with a result showing the overwhelming
strength of the supporters of the union. In the House of Lords there were
some divisions, and among these the largest number of votes mustered by
the opposition was twenty-three, bringing out a majority of forty-seven by
seventy votes for the ministry. The conclusion of the discussion was a vote
of approval by each House.

The opposition, however, did not adopt their defeat. They were preparing to
fight the battle over again, clause by clause, when a bill was brought in
to convert the Articles of Union into an act of Parliament. The English
House of Commons has always been supremely tolerant to troublesome and
even mischievous members, so long as they adhere to the forms of the
House--forms to be zealously guarded, since they were framed for averting
hasty legislation and the possible domination of an intolerant majority. It
was determined, however, that the impracticals and impedimenters should not
have their swing on this occasion, when the descent of a French army to
gather to its centre the Jacobitism still lingering in the country darkened
the political horizon. Both Houses had a full opportunity for discussing
the merits of every word in the treaty, and the risk of national ruin was
not to be encountered because they had not expended all their loquacity,
having expected another opportunity.

The tactic for evading the danger was credited to the ingenuity of Sir
Simon Harcourt, the attorney-general. The two acts of ecclesiastical
security and the articles of the treaty were all recited in the preamble of
the bill under the command of the mighty "Whereas," the enacting part
of the act was dropped into a single sentence, shorter than statutory
sentences usually are. The opposition might throw out the measure, and
the ministry with it, if they had strength to do so; but there had been
sufficient discussion on the clauses, and there should be no more. In the
descriptive words of Burnet: "This put those in great difficulties who had
resolved to object to several articles, and to insist on demanding several
alterations in them, for they could not come at any debate about them; they
could not object to the recital, it being mere matter of fact; and they had
not strength enough to oppose the general enacting clause; nor was it easy
to come at particulars and offer provisos relating to them. The matter
was carried on with such zeal that it passed through the House of Commons
before those who intended to oppose it had recovered out of the surprise
under which the form it was drawn in had put them."

There was thus but one question, that the bill do pass, and the opposition
had not reaped encouragement to resist so great an issue. The Lords had, in
their usual manner of dignified repose, managed to discuss the clauses, but
it was rather a conversation, to see that all was in right order, and that
no accident had happened to a measure of so vital moment, than a debate.

On March 6, 1707, the Queen came to the House of Lords, and in a graceful
speech gave the royal assent to the act.



A.D. 1709


[Footnote 1: Translated from the Russian by Lady Mary Loyd.]

The battle of Poltava was selected by Sir Edward Creasy as one of the
fifteen great decisive contests which have altered the fate of nations. His
able narrative of the battle has been superseded in scholars' eyes by the
more modern work of the great Russian authority, Waliszewski; but the
importance of the event remains. It reversed the positions of Sweden and
Russia in European politics, and placed Russia among the great countries of
the modern world; Sweden among the little ones.

Before 1709 Sweden still held the rank to which Gustavus Adolphus had
raised her in the Thirty Years' War. Her prestige had been a little dimmed
by the victories of the "Great Elector" of Prussia; but her ally Louis XIV
had saved her from any considerable diminution of the extensive territories
which she held on the mainland to the south and east of the Baltic Sea.
About 1700 the young and gallant warrior, Charles XII, the "Madman of the
North," reasserted her prowess, made her once more the dictator of Northern
Europe, one of the five great powers of the world.

Meanwhile Peter the Great was progressing but slowly with his
transformation of Russia. His people had little confidence in him; his
armies were half-barbaric hordes. When he ventured into war against Sweden
Europe conceived but one possible result: these undisciplined barbarians
would be annihilated. At first the expected occurred. Again and again large
Russian armies were defeated by small bodies of Swedes; but with splendid
tenacity Peter persisted in the face of revolt at home and defeat abroad.
"The Swedes shall teach us to beat them" was his famous saying, and at
Poltava he achieved his aim. From that time forward Russia's antagonism to
her leader disappeared. His people followed him eagerly along the path to

It would appear that it was not till Peter's visit to Vienna, in 1698, that
he conceived the idea of attacking Sweden. Up till that time his warlike
impulse had rather been directed southward, and the Turk had been the sole
object of his enmity. But at Vienna he perceived that the Emperor, whose
help he had counted on, had failed him, and forthwith the mobile mind of
the young Czar turned to the right-about. A war he must have of some kind,
it little mattered where, to give work to his young army. The warlike
instincts and the greed of his predecessors, tempted sometimes by the Black
Sea, sometimes by the Baltic and the border provinces of Poland, had,
indeed, always swung and turned back and forward between the south and the
north. These alternate impulses, natural enough in a nation so full of
youth and strength, have, since those days, been most unnecessarily
idealized, erected into a doctrine, and dignified as a work of unification.
It must be acknowledged that every nation has at one time or the other
thus claimed the right to resume the national patrimony at the expense
of neighboring peoples, and Peter, by some lucky fate, remained in this
respect within certain bounds of justice, of logic, and of truth. Absorbed
and almost exhausted, as he soon became, by the desperate effort demanded
by his war in the North, he forgot or imperilled much that the conquering
ambition of his predecessors had left him in the South and West. He clung
to the territory already acquired on the Polish side, retired from the
Turkish border, and claimed what he had most right, relatively speaking, to
claim in the matter of resumption, on his northwestern frontier.

On that frontier the coast country between the mouth of the Narva, or
Narova, and that of the Siestra, watered by the Voksa, the Neva, the
Igora, and the Louga, was really an integral part of the original Russian
patrimony. It was one of the five districts (_piatiny_) of the Novgorod
territory, and was still full of towns bearing Slavonic names, such as
Korela, Ojeshek, Ladoga, Koporie, Iamy, and Ivangrod. It was not till 1616
that the Czar Michael Feodorovitch, during his struggle with Gustavus
Adolphus, finally abandoned the seacoast for the sake of keeping his hold
on Novgorod. But so strong was the hope of recovering the lost territory,
in the hearts of his descendants, that, after the failure of an attempt on
Livonia, in Alexis' reign, a boyar named Ordin-Nashtchokin set to work to
build a number of warships at Kokenhausen, on the Dvina, which vessels were
intended for the conquest of Riga. Peter had an impression, confused it may
be, but yet powerful, of these historic traditions. This is proved by the
direction in which he caused his armies to march after he had thrown down
the gauntlet to Sweden. He strayed off the path, swayed, as he often was,
by sudden impulses, but he always came back to the traditional aim of his
forefathers--access to the sea, a Baltic port, "a window open upon Europe."

His interview with Augustus II at Rawa definitely settled his wavering
mind. The _pacta conventa_, signed by the King of Poland when he ascended
his throne, bound him to claim from the King of Sweden the territories
which had formerly belonged to the republic of Poland. For this end the
help of Denmark could be reckoned on. The Treaty of Roeskilde (1658), which
had been forced on Frederick III, weighed heavily on his successors, and
the eager glances fixed by the neighboring states on Holstein, after the
death of Christian Albert, in 1694, threatened to end in quarrel. There
were fair hopes, too, of the help of Brandenburg. When Sweden made alliance
with Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, that country abandoned its historic
position in Germany to Prussia. But Sweden still kept some footing, and was
looked on as a rival.

Further, Augustus had a personal charm for Peter sufficient in itself to
prove how much simplicity, inexperience, and boyish thoughtlessness still
existed in that half-polished mind. The Polish Sovereign, tall, strong,
and handsome, an adept in all physical exercises, a great hunter, a hard
drinker, and an indefatigable admirer of the fair sex, in whose person
debauch of every kind took royal proportions, delighted the Czar and
somewhat overawed him. He was more than inclined to think him a genius, and
was quite ready to bind up his fortunes with his friend's. At the end of
four days of uninterrupted feasting, they had agreed on the division of the
spoils of Sweden, and had made a preliminary exchange of arms and clothing.
The Czar appeared at Moscow a few weeks later wearing the King of Poland's
waistcoat and belted with his sword.

In the beginning of 1700 Augustus and Frederick of Denmark attacked Sweden;
but Peter, though bound by treaty to follow their example, neither moved
nor stirred. Frederick was beaten, his very capital was threatened. So much
the worse for him! Augustus seized on Dunamunde, but utterly failed before
Riga. All the better for the Russians; Riga was left for them! Another
envoy came hurrying to Moscow. The Czar listened coolly to his reproaches,
and replied that he would act as soon as news from Constantinople permitted
it. Negotiations there were proceeding satisfactorily, and he hoped shortly
to fulfil his promise, and to attack the Swedes in the neighborhood of
Pskof. This was a point on which the allies had laid great stress, and
Peter had studiously avoided contradicting them. It was quite understood
between them that the Czar was not to lay a finger on Livonia. At last on
August 8, 1700, a courier arrived with the longed-for dispatch. Peace with
Turkey was signed at last, and that very day the Russian troops received
their marching orders. But they were not sent toward Pskof. They marched on
Narva, in the very heart of the Livonian country.

The army destined to lay siege to Narva consisted of three divisions of
novel formation, under the orders of three generals--Golovin, Weyde, and
Repnin--with 10,500 Cossacks, and some irregular troops--63,520 men in all.
Repnin's division, numbering 10,834 men, and the Little Russian Cossacks,
stopped on the way, so that the actual force at disposal was reduced to
about 40,000 men. But Charles XII, the new King of Sweden, could not bring
more than 5300 infantry and 3130 cavalry to the relief of the town. And,
being obliged, when he neared Wesemburg, to throw himself in flying
column across a country which was already completely devastated, and,
consequently, to carry all his supplies with him, his troops arrived in
presence of an enemy five times as numerous as themselves, worn out, and
completely exhausted by a succession of forced marches.

Peter never dreamed that he would find the King of Sweden in Livonia. He
believed his hands were more than full enough elsewhere with the King of
Denmark; he was quite unaware that the Peace of Travendal, which had been
signed on the very day of the departure of the Russian troops, had been
already forced upon his ally. He started off gayly at the head of his
bombardier company, full of expectation of an easy victory. When he
arrived before the town, on September 23d, he was astounded to find any
preparations for serious defence. A regular siege had to be undertaken, and
when, after a month of preparations, the Russian batteries at last opened
fire, they made no impression whatever. The artillery was bad, and yet more
badly served. A second month passed, during which Peter waited and hoped
for some piece of luck, either for an offer to capitulate or for the
arrival of Repnin's force. What did happen was that on the night of
November 17th news came that within twenty-four hours the King of Sweden
would be at Narva. That very night Peter fled from his camp, leaving the
command to the Prince de Croy.

None of the arguments brought forward by the sovereign and his apologists
in justification of this step appears to me to hold water. The necessity
pleaded for an interview with the Duke of Poland, the Czar's desire to
hasten on Repnin's march, are mere pitiful excuses. Langen and Hallart, the
generals sent by Augustus to observe the military operations in Livonia,
gravely reported that the Czar had been obliged to go to Moscow to receive
a Turkish envoy--who was not expected for four months! The Emperor's envoy,
Pleyer, is nearer the mark when he says the sovereign obeyed the entreaties
of his advisers, who considered the danger too great for him to be
permitted to remain. And Hallart himself, speaking of these same
counsellors, whether ministers or generals, does not hesitate to declare,
in his rough soldierly language, that "they have about as much courage as
a frog has hair on his belly." The Russian army, disconcerted by the
unexpected resistance of the Swedes, ill-prepared for resistance,
ill-commanded, ill-lodged, and ill-fed, was already demoralized to the last
extent. The arrival of Charles caused a panic, and from that panic Peter,
the most impressionable of men, was the first to suffer.

The startling rapidity with which Charles had rid himself of the weakest of
his three adversaries, under the very walls of Copenhagen, would have been
less astonishing to Peter if the young sovereign had better realized the
conditions under which he and his allies had begun a struggle in which, at
first sight, their superiority appeared so disproportionate. King Frederick
had reckoned without the powers which had guaranteed the recent Treaty of
Altona, by which the safety of Holstein was insured; without the Hanoverian
troops, and those of Luneburg, which at once brought succor to Toeningen;
without the Anglo-Dutch fleet, which forced his to seek shelter under the
walls of Copenhagen, and thus permitted the King of Sweden to cross
the Sound unmolested, and land quietly in Zealand; and finally, he
reckoned--and for this he may well be excused--without that which was
soon to fill all Europe with terror and amazement: the lucky star and the
military genius of Charles XII.

This monarch, born in 1682, who had slain bears when he was sixteen, and at
eighteen was a finished soldier, greedy for glory and battle and blood, was
the last representative of that race of men who, between the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, held all Central Europe in their iron grip; fierce
warriors who steeped Germany and Italy in fire and blood, fought their way
from town to town, and hamlet to hamlet; giving no truce and showing no
mercy; who lived for war and by war; grew old and died in harness in a very
atmosphere of carnage, with bodies riddled with wounds, with hands stained
with abominable crimes, but with spirits calm and unflinching to the last.
Standing on the threshold of the new period he was the superb and colossal
incarnation of that former one, which, happily for mankind, was to
disappear in his person.

Count Guiscard, who as envoy from the King of France accompanied him on his
first campaign, describes him thus: "The King of Sweden is of tall stature;
taller than myself by almost a head; he is very handsome, he has fine eyes
and a good complexion, his face is long, his speech a little thick. He
wears a small wig tied behind in a bag, a plain stock, without cravat, a
very tight jerkin of plain cloth, with sleeves as narrow as our waistcoat
sleeves, a narrow belt above his jerkin, with a sword of extraordinary
length and thickness, and almost perfectly flat-soled shoes--a very strange
style of dress for a prince of his age."

In order to reach Narva with his eight thousand men, Charles, after
having crossed a tract of desert country, was obliged, at a place called
Pyhaioggi, to cross a narrow valley divided by a stream, which, if it had
been fortified, must have stopped him short. The idea occurred to Gordon,
but Peter would not listen to him, and it was not till the very last moment
that he sent Sheremetief, who found the Swedes just debouching into the
valley, received several volleys of grape-shot and retired in disorder.
The mad venture had succeeded. But Charles' farther advance involved the
playing of a risky game. His men were worn out, his horses had not been fed
for two whole days. Still he went on; he reached Narva, formed his Swedes
into several attacking columns, led one himself, and favored by a sudden
hurricane which drove showers of blinding snow into his adversaries' faces,
threw himself into their camp and mastered the place in half an hour. The
only resistance he met was offered by the two regiments of the guard. All
the rest fled or surrendered. A few Russians were drowned in the Narva. "If
the river had been frozen," said Charles discontentedly, "I do not know
that we should have contrived to kill a single man."

It was a total breakdown; the army had disappeared, and the artillery. The
very sovereign was gone, and with him the country's honor. That had sunk
out of sight amid the scornful laughter with which Europe hailed this
undignified defeat. The Czar was in full flight. All Peter's plans of
conquest, his dreams of European expansion and of navigating the northern
seas, his hopes of glory, his faith in his civilizing mission, had utterly
faded. And he himself had collapsed upon their heaped-up ruins. Onward
he fled, feeling the Swedish soldiers on his heels. He wept, he sued for
peace, vowing he would treat at once and submit to any sacrifice; he sent
imploring appeals to the States-General of Holland, to England and to the
Emperor, praying for mediation.

But swiftly he recovered possession of his faculties. Then, raising his
head--through the golden haze with which his insufficient education, the
infatuation inherent to his semi-oriental origin, and his inexperience, had
filled his eyes, through the rent of that mighty catastrophe and that cruel
lesson--he saw and touched the truth at last! He realized what he must set
himself to do if he was to become that which he fain would be. There must
be no more playing at soldiers and sailors; no more of that farce of power
and glory, in which, till now, he had been the chief actor; no more aimless
adventure, undertaken in utter scorn of time and place. He must toil now
in downright earnest; he must go forward, step by step; measure each day's
effort, calculate each morrow's task, let each fruit ripen ere he essayed
to pluck it; learn patience and dogged perseverance. He did it all. He
found means within him and about him to carry out his task. The strong,
long-enduring, long-suffering race of which he came endowed him with the
necessary qualities, and gave him its own inexhaustible and never-changing
devotion and self-sacrifice.

Ten armies may be destroyed, he will bring up ten others to replace them,
no matter what the price. His people will follow him and die beside him to
the last man, to the last morsel of bread snatched from its starving
jaws. A month hence, the fugitive from Narva will belong to a vanished,
forgotten, almost improbable past; the future victor of Poltava will have
taken his place.

Of the Russian army, as it had originally taken the field, about
twenty-three thousand men remained--a certain number of troops--the cavalry
under Sheremetief's command, and Repnin's division. The Czar ordered fresh
levies. He melted the church-bells into cannon. In vain the clergy raised
the cry of sacrilege; he never faltered for a moment. He went hither and
thither giving orders and active help; rating some, encouraging others,
inspiring everyone with some of his own energy--that energy which his
misfortune had spurred and strengthened. Yet, Byzantine as he was by
nature, he could not resist the temptation to endeavor to mislead public
opinion. Matvieief was given orders to draw up his own special description
of the battle of Narva and its consequences, for the benefit of the
readers of the _Gazette de Hollande_ and of the memoranda which he himself
addressed to the States-General.

The Swedes, according to this account, had been surrounded by a superior
force within the Russian camp, and had there been forced to capitulate;
after which event, certain Russian officers, who had desired to pay their
respects to the King of Sweden, had been treacherously seized by
his orders. Europe only laughed, but in later years this pretended
capitulation, and the supposed Swedish violation of it, were to serve
Peter as a pretext for violating others, to which he himself had willingly
consented. At Vienna, too, Count Kaunitz listened with a smile while Prince
Galitzin explained that the Czar "needed no victories to prove his military
glory." Yet, when the vice-chancellor inquired what conditions the Czar
hoped to obtain from his victorious adversary, the Russian diplomat calmly
claimed the greater part of Livonia, with Narva, Ivangrod, Kolyvan,
Koporie, and Derpt--and future events were to prove that he had not asked
too much.

Before long this boldness began to reap its own reward. To begin with,
Charles XII made no immediate attempt to pursue his advantage on Russian
soil; Peter had the joy of seeing him plunge into the depths of the Polish
plains. The King of Sweden's decision, which, we are told, did not tally
with his generals' opinion, has been severely criticised. Guiscard thought
it perfectly justifiable, so long as the King had not rid himself of
Augustus, by means of the peace which this Prince appeared more than
willing to negotiate, through the mediation of Guiscard himself.
But Charles turned a deaf ear to the French diplomat's prayers and
remonstrances. He feared, declared Guiscard, "he might run short of
enemies," and as he could not advance on Russia and leave the Saxons and
Poles in his rear, he desired--and here doubtless he was right--first of
all to insure his line of communication, and of possible retreat. Thus, by
his own deed, he strengthened and cemented an alliance which had already
been shaken by common defeat.

Augustus, repulsed by the Swedish King, threw himself into Peter's arms,
and in February, 1701, the common destinies of the Czar and the King of
Poland were once more bound together. A fresh treaty was signed at the
Castle of Birze, close to Dunaburg.

The year 1701 was a hard one for Peter. The junction between the army,
which he had contrived after some fashion to put on a war footing, and
the Saxon troops of Augustus, only resulted in the complete defeat of the
allied forces under the walls of Riga, on July 3d. In the month of June
the Moscow Kremlin caught fire; the state offices (_prikaz_) with their
archives, the provision-stores, and palaces, were all devoured by the
flames. The bells fell from the tower of Ivan the Great, and the heaviest,
which weighed over a hundred tons, was broken in the fall. But in midwinter
Sheremetief contrived to surprise Schlippenbach with a superior force, and
defeated him at Erestfer, December 29th.

Peter's delight, and his wild manifestations of triumph, may easily be
imagined. He did not content himself with exhibiting the few Swedish
prisoners who had fallen into his hands at Moscow, in a sort of imitation
Roman triumph; his practical mind incited him to make use of them in
another way, and Cornelius von Bruyn, who had lived long enough in the
country to be thoroughly acquainted with its customs, calmly reports that
the price of war captives, which had originally been three or four florins
a head, rose as high as twenty and thirty florins. Even foreigners now
ventured to purchase them, and entered into competition in the open market.

On July 18, 1702, Sheremetief won a fresh victory over
Schlippenbach--30,000 Russians defeated 8000 Swedes. According to Peter's
official account of the battle, 5000 of his enemies were left dead on the
field, while Sheremetief lost only 400 men. This report made Europe smile,
but the Livonians found it no laughing matter. Volmar and Marienburg fell
into the hands of the victor, who ravaged the country in the most frightful
fashion. The Russians had not as yet learned any other form of warfare,
and, as we may suppose, the idea that he might ever possess these
territories had not yet occurred to Peter. His mind, indeed, was absorbed
elsewhere. His old fancies and whims were strong upon him, and he left
Apraxin to rage on the banks of the Neva, in Ingria, on the very spot where
his future capital was to stand, while he himself gave all his time and
strength to the building of a few wretched ships at Archangel. It was not
till September, when the ice had driven him out of the northern port, that
he returned to the west and took up his former course. He reached the Lake
of Ladoga, sent for Sheremetief, and the end he was to pursue for many a
long year seems at last to have taken firm root in his hitherto unstable
mind. He laid siege to Noteburg, where he found a garrison of only four
hundred fifty men, and on December 11, 1702, he rechristened the little
fortress he had captured, by a new and symbolic name, "Schluesselburg" (Key
of the Sea).

Next came the capture of Nienschantz, at the very mouth of the Neva, in
April, 1703, a personal success for the captain of Bombardiers, Peter
Mikhailoff, who there brought his batteries into play. A month later the
artilleryman had become a sailor, and had won Russia's first naval victory.
Two regiments of the guard manned thirty boats, surrounded two small
Swedish vessels, which, in their ignorance of the capture of Nienschantz,
had ventured close to the town, took possession of them, and murdered their
crews. The victor's letters to his friends are full of the wildest and most
childish delight, and there was, we must admit, some reason for this joy.
He had reconquered the historic estuary, through which, in the ninth
century, the first Varegs had passed southward, toward Grecian skies. On
the 16th of the following May wooden houses began to rise on one of the
neighboring islets. These houses were to multiply, to grow into palaces,
and finally to be known as St. Petersburg.

Peter's conquests and newly founded cities disturbed Charles XII but
little. "Let him build towns; there will be all the more for us to take!"
Peter and his army had so far, where Charles was concerned, had to do only
with small detachments of troops, scattered apart and thus foredoomed to
destruction. The Russians took advantage of this fact to pursue their
successes, strengthening and intrenching themselves both in Ingria and
Livonia. In July, 1704, Peter was present at the taking of Derpt. In August
he had his revenge for his disaster at Narva, and carried the town after
a murderous assault. Already in November, 1703, a longed-for guest had
appeared in the mouth of the Neva, a foreign trading-vessel laden with
brandy and salt. Menshikoff, the Governor of _Piterburg_, entertained the
captain at a banquet, and presented him with five hundred florins for
himself, and thirty crowns for each of his sailors.

Meanwhile Charles XII tarried in Poland, where Augustus' affairs were going
from bad to worse. A diet convened at Warsaw in February, 1704, proclaimed
his downfall. After the disappearance of James Sobieski, whose candidature
was put a stop to by an ambuscade, into which the dethroned King lured the
son of the deliverer of Vienna, Charles, who was all-powerful, put forward
that of Stanislaus Lesczynski. Though he gave little thought just then to
Russia and to the Russian sovereign, the Czar was beginning to be alarmed
as to the consequences which the Swedish King's position in Poland and in
Saxony might entail on himself. Charles was sure to end by retracing
his steps, and an encounter between Sheremetief and Loewenhaupt, at
Hemauerthorf in Courland (July 15, 1705), clearly proved that the Russian
army, unless in the case of disproportionate numerical superiority over the
enemy, was not yet capable of resisting well-commanded Swedish troops. On
this occasion Sheremetief lost all his infantry and was himself severely

What then was Peter to do? He must work on, increase his resources, and add
to his experience. If Sheremetief and his likes proved unequal to their
task, he must find foreign generals and instructors, technical and other;
he must keep patience, he must avoid all perilous encounters, he must
negotiate, and try to obtain peace, even at the price of parting with some
of the territory he had conquered. The years between 1705 and 1707 were
busy ones for him.

A treaty of peace among his enemies took him by surprise and found him
quite unprepared. He soon made good his mistakes, took a swift decision,
and adopted the course which was infallibly to bring him final victory. He
evacuated Poland, retired backward, and, pushing forward the preparations
which Charles' long stay in Saxony had permitted him to carry on with great
activity, he resolved that the battle should be fought on his ground, and
at his chosen time. He took fresh patience, he resolved to wait, to wear
out his adversary, to draw back steadily and leave nothing but a void
behind him. Thus he would force the enemy to advance across the desert
plains he had deliberately devastated, and run the terrible risk, which had
always driven back the ancient foes of his country, whether Turks, Tartars,
or Poles--a winter sojourn in the heart of Russia. This was to be the final
round of the great fight. The Czar, as he expressed it, was to set ten
Russians against every Swede, and time and space and cold and hunger were
to be his backers.

Charles, the most taciturn general who ever lived, never revealed the
secret inspiration which drove him to play his adversary's game, by
marching afresh on Grodno. During 1707 he seemed to give the law to Europe,
from his camp in Saxony. France, which had been vanquished at Blenheim
and Ramillies, turned a pleading glance toward him, and the leader of the
victorious allies, Marlborough himself, solicited his help.

Charles may have had an idea of making Grodno his base for a spring attack
on the Czar's new conquests in the North. This supposition would seem to
have been the one accepted by Peter, if we may judge by the orders
given, just at this time, to insure the safety of Livonia and Ingria, by
completing their devastation; and these very orders may have induced the
King of Sweden to abandon his original design, in favor of another, the
wisdom of which is still contested by experts, but which, it cannot be
denied, was of noble proportions. Charles, too, had found an ally to set
against those natural ones with which Russia had furnished the Czar, and he
had found him within the borders of the Czar's country. The name of this
ally was Mazeppa.

The stormy career of the famous hetman, so dramatic, both from the historic
and domestic point of view--from that adventure with the _pan_ Falbowski,
so naively related by Pasek, down to the romance with Matrena Kotchoubey,
which colored the last and tragic incidents of his existence--is so well
known that I will not narrate it here, even in the concisest form. Little
Russia was then passing through a painful crisis--the consequence of
Shmielnicki's efforts at emancipation, which had been warped and perverted
by Russian intervention. The Polish lords, who formerly oppressed the
country, had been replaced by the Cossacks, who not only ground down the
native population, but railed at and quarrelled with their own chief. The
hetmans and the irregular troops were at open war, the first striving
to increase their authority and make their power hereditary, the others
defending their ancient democratic constitution.

The Swedish war increased Mazeppa's difficulties. He found himself taken
at a disadvantage between the claims of the Czar, who would fain have his
Cossacks on every battle-field in Poland, Russia, and Livonia, and the
resistance of the Cossacks themselves, who desired to remain in their own
country. Being himself of noble Polish birth, brought up by the Jesuits,
having served King John Casimir of Poland, and sworn allegiance to the
Sultan, he saw no reason for sacrificing his interests, much less his life,
for Peter's benefit. The approach of Charles XII made him fear he might,
like his predecessor Nalevaiko, be deserted by his own followers, and given
up to the Poles.

The appearance of Charles on the Russian frontier forced him to a definite
resolution, and, in the spring of 1708, his emissaries appeared at
Radoshkovitse, southeast of Grodno, where Charles had established his
head-quarters. The King of Sweden's idea, at that decisive moment, would
seem to have been to take advantage of the hetman's friendly inclination,
to find his way into the heart of Russia, using the rich Southern Provinces
as his base, to stir up, with Mazeppa's help, the Don Cossacks, the
Astrakhan Tartars, and, it may have been, the Turks themselves, and thus
attack the Muscovite power in the rear. Then Peter would have been forced
back upon his last intrenchments, at Moscow or elsewhere, while General
Luebecker, who was in Finland with fourteen thousand men, fell on Ingria
and on St. Petersburg, and Leszcynski's Polish partisans, with General
Krassow's Swedes, held Poland.

It was a mighty plan, indeed, but at the very outset it was sharply
checked. Mazeppa insisted on certain conditions, and these conditions
Charles thought too heavy. The hetman agreed that Poland should take the
Ukraine and White Russia, and that the Swedes should have the fortresses of
Mglin, Starodoub, and Novgorod-Sievierski, but he himself insisted on being
apportioned Polotsk, Vitebsk, and the whole of Courland, to be held in
fief. Thus the negotiations were delayed. Meanwhile Charles, perceiving
that he was not strong enough to make a forward movement, made up his mind
to send for Loewenhaupt, who was in Livonia, and who was to bring him
sixteen thousand men and various stores. But the Swedish hero had not
reckoned fairly with distance and with time. Many precious days, the best
of the season, fled by before his orders could be obeyed. And, for the
first time, he showed signs of uncertainty and irresolution which were
all too quickly communicated to those under his command. Loewenhaupt grew
slower than usual. Luebecker slackened his activity, and Mazeppa began to
play his double game again: prudently preparing his Cossacks to revolt,
in the name of the ancient customs, national privileges, and church laws,
which Peter's reforms had infringed; fortifying his own residence at
Batourin, and accumulating immense stores there, but still continuing to
pay court to the Czar, wearing the German dress, flattering the sovereign's
despotic taste by suggesting plans which would have annihilated the last
vestiges of local independence, and accepting gifts sent him by Menshikoff.

And so the summer passed away. A winter campaign became inevitable, and the
abyss which Peter's unerring eye had scanned began to gape.

It was not till June that Charles XII left Radoshkovitse, and marched
eastward to Borisov, where he crossed the Berezina. Menshikoff and
Sheremetief made an attempt to stop him, on July 3d, as he was crossing a
small river called the Bibitch, near Holovtchin. A night manoeuvre, and
a wild bayonet charge, led by the King himself, carried him once more to
victory. The town of Mohilef opened its gates to the Swedes, but there
Charles was forced to stay, and lose more time yet waiting for Loewenhaupt.
He marched again, early in August, in a southerly direction, and his
soldiers soon found themselves in the grip of one of Peter's allies. They
were driven to support themselves by gathering ears of corn, which they
ground between two stones. Sickness began to thin their ranks. Their three
doctors, so the fierce troopers said, were "brandy, garlic, and death"!
Loewenhaupt had reached Shklof, and was separated from the invading army by
two streams, the Soja and the Dnieper, between which Peter had taken up
his position. The Swedish general, after having successfully passed the
Dnieper, was met at Liesna, on October 9th, by a force three times as large
as his own, and Peter was able, on the following day, to report a complete
victory to his friends: "8500 men dead on the field, without mentioning
those the Kalmucks have hunted into the forest, and 700 prisoners!"
According to this reckoning, Loewenhaupt, who could not have brought more
than 11,000 troops into action, should have been left without a man; as a
matter of fact, he reached Charles with 6700, after a flank march which all
military experts consider a marvel. But, not being able to find a bridge
across the Soja, he was forced to abandon his artillery and all his
baggage, and he led his starving troops into a famine-stricken camp.

There was bad news, too, from Ingria, where Luebecker had also been
defeated, losing all his baggage and three thousand first-class troops.
Charles grew so disconcerted that he is reported to have confessed to
Gyllenkrook, his quartermaster-general, that he was all at sea, and no
longer had any definite plan. On October 22d he reached Mokoshin on the
Desna, on the borders of the Ukraine, where he had expected to meet
Mazeppa. But the old leader broke his appointment. He still desired to
temporize and was loath to take any decisive resolution. He was driven to
take one at last, by the Cossacks about him, who were alarmed at the idea
of the Russians following the Swedes into the Ukraine. It would be far
better, so they thought, to join the latter against the former. One of
these Cossacks, Voinarovski, who had been sent by the hetman to Menshikoff,
had returned with most terrifying news. He had overheard the German
officers on the favorite's staff, speaking of Mazeppa and his followers,
say: "God pity those poor wretches; to-morrow they will all be in chains!"
Mazeppa, when he heard this report, "raged like a whirlwind," hurried to
Batourin to give the alarm, and then crossed the Desna and joined the
Swedish army.

It was too late. The popular sentiment, on which both he and Charles
had reckoned to promote an insurrectionary movement, confused by the
tergiversations and the ambiguous actions of the hetman, had quite gone
astray and lost all consistency. All Mazeppa could reckon upon was a body
of two thousand faithful troops; not enough even to defend Batourin, which
Menshikoff snatched from him a few days later--thus depriving the Swedish
army of its last chance of revictualling. When the fortresses of Starodoub
and Novgorod-Sievierski closed their gates against him, the whole of the
Ukraine slipped from the grasp of the turncoat chief and his new allies.
His effigy was first hung and then dragged through the streets of Glouhof
in Peter's presence; another hetman, Skoropadski, was appointed in his
place, and then came winter--a cruel winter, during which the very birds
died of cold.

By the beginning of 1709 Charles' effective strength had dwindled to nearly
twenty thousand men. The Russians did not dare to attack him as yet, but
they gathered round him in an ever-narrowing circle. They carried his
advanced posts, they cut his lines of communication. The King of Sweden, to
get himself mere elbow-room, was driven to begin his campaign in the month
of January. He lost one thousand men and forty-eight officers in taking the
paltry town of Wespjik (January 6th). By this time the game, in Mazeppa's
view, was already lost, and he made an attempt to turn his coat again;
offering to betray Charles into Peter's hands if Peter would restore him
his office. The bargain was struck, but a letter from the old traitor,
addressed to Leszcynski, chanced to fall into the Czar's hands, and made
him draw back, in the conviction that Mazeppa was utterly unreliable.

In March, the near approach of the Swedish army, then advancing on Poltava,
induced the Zaporoje Cossacks to join it. But the movement was a very
partial one, and Peter soon put it down, by means of a series of military
executions, mercilessly carried out by Menshikoff, and of various
manifestoes against the foreign heretics, "who deny the doctrines of the
true religion, and spit on the picture of the Blessed Virgin." The capture
of Poltava thus became the last hope of Charles and his army. If they could
not seize the town, they must all die of hunger.

The fortifications of the place were weak, but the besieging army was
sorely changed from that which had fought under the walls of Narva. It had
spent too long a time in fat quarters, in Saxony and Poland, to be fit
to endure this terrible campaign. Like the Russian army at Narva, it
was sapped by demoralization before it was called on to do any serious
fighting. Even among the Swedish staff, and in the King's intimate circle,
all confidence in his genius and his lucky star had disappeared.

His best generals, Rehnskold and Gyllenkrook, his chancellor Piper, and
Mazeppa himself were against any prolongation of the siege, which promised
to be a long one. "If God were to send down one of his angels," he said,
"to induce me to follow your advice, I would not listen to him!" An
ineradicable illusion, the fruit of the too easy victories of his early
career, prompted him to undervalue the forces opposed to him. He knew,
and would acknowledge, nothing of that new Russia, the mighty upstanding
colossus, which Peter had at last succeeded in raising up in his path.
According to some authorities, Mazeppa, in his desire to replace Batourin
by Poltava, as his own personal appanage, encouraged him in this fatal
resolution. But it may well have been that retreat had already become

It was long before Peter made up his mind to intervene; he was still
distrustful of himself, desperately eager to increase his own resources,
and with them his chances of victory. On his enemy's side, everything
contributed to this result. By the end of June all the Swedish ammunition
was exhausted, the invaders could use none of their artillery and hardly
any of their fire-arms, and were reduced to fighting with cold steel. On
the very eve of the decisive struggle, they were left without a leader.
During a reconnaissance on the banks of the Vorskla, which ran between
the hostile armies, Charles, always rash and apt to expose himself
unnecessarily, was struck by a bullet. "It is only in the foot," he said,
smiling, and continued his examination of the ground. But, when he returned
to camp he fainted, and Peter, reckoning on the moral effect of the
accident, at once resolved to cross the river. A report, as a matter
of fact, ran through the Swedish camp that the King, convinced of the
hopelessness of the situation, had deliberately sought death.

Yet ten more days passed by, in the expectation of an attack which the
Russians did not dare to make. It was Charles who took action at last,
informing his generals, on June 26th (July 7th) that he would give battle
on the following morning. He himself was still in a very suffering
condition, and made over the command to Rehnskold, a valiant soldier but
a doubtful leader, for he did not possess the army's confidence, and,
according to Lundblad, "hid his lack of knowledge and strategical powers
under gloomy looks and a fierce expression." After the event, as was so
commonly the case with vanquished generals, he was accused of treachery.

The truth would seem to be that Charles' obstinate reserve, and habit of
never confiding his plans and military arrangements to any third person,
had ended by gradually depriving his lieutenants of all power of
independent action. In his presence they were bereft of speech and almost
of ideas. All Rehnskold did was to rage and swear at everyone. Peter,
meanwhile, neglected nothing likely to insure success. He even went so far
as to dress the Novgorod regiment--one of his best--in the coarse cloth
_(siermiaga)_ generally reserved for newly joined recruits, in the hope of
thus deceiving the enemy. This stratagem, however, completely failed. In
the very beginning of the battle, Rehnskold fell on the regiment, and cut
it to pieces.

The Russian centre was confided to Sheremetief, the right wing to General
Ronne, the left to Menshikoff. Bruce commanded the artillery, and the Czar,
as usual, retired modestly to the head of a single regiment. But this was a
mere disguise; in real fact, he was everywhere, going hither and thither,
in the forefront of the battle, and lavishing effort in every direction. A
bullet passed through his hat, another is said to have struck him full
on the breast. It was miraculously stopped by a golden cross, set with
precious stones, given by the monks on Mount Athos to the Czar Feodor, and
which his successor habitually wore. This cross, which certainly bears the
mark of some projectile, is still preserved in the Ouspienski monastery, at

The heroism and sovereign contempt of death betrayed by Charles were worthy
of himself. Unable to sit a horse, he caused himself to be carried on a
litter, which, when it was shattered by bullets, was replaced by another
made of crossed lances. But he was nothing but a living standard, useless,
though sublime. The once mighty military leader had utterly disappeared.
The battle was but a wild conflict, in which the glorious remnants of one
of the most splendid armies that had ever been brought together; unable to
use its arms, leaderless, hopeless of victory, and soon overwhelmed and
crushed by superior numbers, struggled for a space, with the sole object
of remaining faithful to its king. At the end of two hours Charles himself
left the field of battle. He had been lifted onto the back of an old horse
which his father had formerly ridden, and which was called _Brandklepper_
("Run to the Fire"), because he was always saddled when a fire broke out in
the city.

This charger followed the vanquished hero into Turkey, was taken by the
Turks at Bender, sent back to the King, taken again at Stralsund in 1715,
returned to its owner once more, and died in 1718--the same year as his
master--at the age of forty-two. Poniatowski, the father of the future
King of Poland, who was following the campaign as a volunteer--Charles had
refused to take any Polish troops with him on account of their want of
discipline--rallied one of Colonel Horn's squadrons to escort the King, and
received seventeen bullets through his leather kaftan while covering the
royal retreat. Field Marshal Rehnskold, Piper the chancellor, with all his
subordinates, over one hundred fifty officers, and two thousand soldiers
fell into the victor's hands.

The Russians' joy was so extreme that they forgot to pursue the retreating
enemy. Their first impulse was to sit down and banquet. Peter invited the
more important prisoners to his own table, and toasted the health of his
"masters in the art of war." The Swedes, who still numbered thirteen
thousand men, had time to pause for a moment in their own camp, where
Charles summoned Loewenhaupt, and, for the first time in his life, was
heard to ask for advice--"What was to be done?" The general counselled him
to burn all wagons, mount his infantry soldiers on the draught-horses and
beat a retreat toward the Dnieper. On June 30th the Russians came up with
the Swedish army at Perevolotchna, on the banks of the river, and, the
soldiers refusing to fight again, Loewenhaupt capitulated; but the King
had time to cross to the other side. Two boats lashed together carried his
carriage, a few officers, and the war-chests which he had filled in Saxony.
Mazeppa contrived to find a boat for himself, and loaded it with two
barrels of gold.

At Kiev, whither Peter proceeded from Poltava, a solemn thanksgiving was
offered up in the church of St. Sophia, and a Little Russia monk, Feofan
Prokopovitch, celebrated the recent victory in a fine flight of eloquence:
"When our neighbors hear of what has happened, they will say it was
not into a foreign country that the Swedish army and the Swedish power
ventured, but rather into some mighty sea! They have fallen in and
disappeared, even as lead is swallowed up in water!"

The Sweden of Gustavus Adolphus had indeed disappeared. Charles XII was ere
long to be a mere knight-errant at Bender. The Cossack independence, too,
was a thing of the past. Its last and all too untrustworthy representative
was to die in Turkey before many months were out--of despair, according to
Russian testimony--of poison voluntarily swallowed, according to Swedish
historians. The poison story has a touch of likelihood about it, for Peter
certainly proposed to exchange Mazeppa's person for that of the chancellor
Piper. The cause of the Leszcynski, too, was dead. It was to be put
forward again by France, but for the benefit of France alone; and with the
Leszcynski cause, Poland itself had passed away and lay a lifeless corpse
on which the vultures were soon to settle.

Out of all these ruins rose the Russian power, its northern hegemony, and
its new European position, which henceforth were daily to increase and
reach immense, immoderate proportions. Europe played a special part in the
festivities which graced the return of the victors to Moscow, a few months
later. European ideas, traditions, and forms appeared in the triumphal
procession, and served as trappings for the trophies of victory. Peter,
playing the part of Hercules, and conquering a Swedish Juno, in a _cortčge_
in which Mars figured, attended by furies and by fauns, was a fit symbol of
the alliance of Russia with the Graeco-Latin civilization of the West. Old
Muscovy--Eastern and Asiatic--was numbered with the dead.



A.D. 1710


[Footnote 1: From Duncan Campbell's _History of Canada_.]

Each time that England and France quarrelled in Europe their colonies
became engaged in strife. In 1690, when William III fought Louis XIV the
able Governor of Canada, Frontenac, despatched his Indian allies to ravage
New England, while with rare military skill he defended himself and his
province. He could not, however, prevent the capture of Port Royal (now
Annapolis) in Nova Scotia. This great fortress, the pride of Louis XIV, was
attacked by the New England colonists under Sir William Phips, the Governor
of Massachusetts, and was captured by a most dashing attack. When England
and France made peace, Port Royal was restored to the French, much to the
dissatisfaction of the English colonists, who saw clearly that as soon as
another war arose they would have to make the assault again.

During the era of Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) French and Indian forays and
incursions were frequent on the borders of Acadia and New England. Britain,
meanwhile, was desirous of limiting the growth of France in the New World,
and, with the provocation that had been given the New England colonies by
the murderous raids of the French and Abenaquis Indians on her towns and
border settlements, the English colonists retaliated by attempting, in 1704
and 1707, to recapture Acadia. They finally succeeded in 1710 under
General Nicholson. The story of this expedition will be found appended
in Campbell's narrative, as well as the account given of the disastrous

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