Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 8 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

therein nothing gloomy for him. What does he lack? He dies in the
meridian of his fame. Sometimes, by living on, the star pales. It is
safer to cut to the quick, especially in the case of heroes whose actions
are all so watched. M. de Turenne did not feel death: count you that for
nothing?" Turenne was sixty-four; he had become a convert to Catholicism
in 1668, seriously and sincerely, as he did everything. For him Bossuet
had written his Exposition of faith. Heroic souls are rare, and those
that are heroic and modest are rarer still: that was the distinctive
feature of M. de Turenne. "When a man boasts that he has never made
mistakes in war, he convinces me that he has not been long at it," he
would say. At his death, France considered herself lost. "The premier-
president of the court of aids has an estate in Champagne, and the farmer
of it came the other day to demand to have the contract dissolved; he was
asked why: he answered that in M. de Turenne's time one could gather in
with safety, and count upon the lands in that district, but that, since
his death, everybody was going away, believing that the enemy was about
to enter Champagne." [_Lettres de Madame de Sevigne_.] "I should very
much like to have only two hours' talk with the shade of M. de Turenne,"
said the Prince of Conde, on setting out to take command of the army of
the Rhine, after a check received by Marshal Crequi. "I would take the
consequences of his plans if I could only get at his views, and make
myself master of the knowledge he had of the country, and of
Montecuculli's tricks of feint." "God preserves you for the sake of
France, my lord," people said to him; but the prince made no reply beyond
a shrug of the shoulders.

[Illustration: TURENNE.----444]

It was his last campaign. The king had made eight marshals, "change for
a Turenne." Crequi began by getting beaten before Treves, which
surrendered to the enemy. "Why did--the marshal give battle?" asked a
courtier. The king turned round quickly. "I have heard," said he, "that
the Duke of Weimar, after the death of the great Gustavus, commanded the
Swedish allies of France; one Parabere, an old blue ribbon, said to him,
speaking of the last battle, which he had lost, 'Sir, why did you give
it?' 'Sir,' answered Weimar, 'because I thought I should win it.' Then,
leaning over towards somebody else, he asked, 'Who is that fool with the
blue ribbon?'" The Germans retired. Conde returned to Chantilly once
more, never to go out of it again. Montecuculli, old and ill, refused to
serve any longer. "A man who has had the honor of fighting against
Mahomet Coprogli, against the prince, and against M. de Turenne, ought
not to compromise his glory against people who are only just beginning to
command armies," said the, veteran general to the emperor on taking his
retirement. The chiefs were disappearing from the scene, the heroic
period of the war was over.

Europe demanded a general peace; England and Holland desired it
passionately. "I am as anxious as you for an end to be put to the war,"
said the Prince of Orange to the deputies from the Estates, "provided
that I get out of it with honor." He refused obstinately to separate
from his allies. "It is not astonishing that the Prince of Orange does
not at once give way even to things which he considers reasonable," said
Charles II., "he is the son of a father and mother whose obstinacy was
carried to extremes; and he resembles them in that." Meanwhile, William
had just married (November 15, 1677), the Princess Mary, eldest daughter
of the Duke of York and Anne Hyde. An alliance offensive and defensive
between England and Holland was the price of this union, which struck
Louis XIV. an unexpected blow. He had lately made a proposal to the
Prince of Orange to marry one of his natural daughters. "The first
notice I had of the marriage," wrote the king, "was through the bonfires
lighted in London." "The loss of a decisive battle could not have scared
the King of France more," said the English ambassador, Lord Montagu. For
more than a year past negotiations had been going on at Nimeguen; Louis
XIV. resolved to deal one more great blow.

[Illustration: An Exploit of John Bart's----446]

The campaign of 1676 had been insignificant, save at sea. John Bart, a
corsair of Dunkerque, scoured the seas and made foreign commerce tremble;
he took ships by boarding, and killed with his own hands the Dutch
captain of the Neptune, who offered resistance. Messina, in revolt
against the Spaniards, had given herself up to France; the Duke of
Vivonne, brother of Madame de Montespan, who had been sent thither as
governor, had extended his conquests; Duquesne, quite young still, had
triumphantly maintained the glory of France against the great Ruyter, who
had been mortally wounded off Catana; on the 21st of April. But already
the possession of Sicily was becoming precarious, and these distant
successes had paled before the brilliant campaign of 1677; the capture of
Valenciennes, Cambrai, and St. Omer, the defence of Lorraine, the
victory of Cassel, gained over the Prince of Orange, had confirmed the
king in his intentions. "We have done all that we were able and bound to
do," wrote William of Orange to the Estates, on the 13th of April, 1677,
"and we are very sorry to be obliged to tell your High Mightinesses that
it has not pleased God to bless on this occasion the arms of the state
under our guidance."

[Illustration: Duquesne victorious over Ruyter---446a]

"I was all impatience," says Louis XIV. in his Memoires, "to commence
the campaign of 1678, and greatly desirous of doing something therein as
glorious as, and more useful than, what had already been done; but it was
no easy matter to come by it, and to surpass the lustre conferred by the
capture of three large places and the winning of a battle. I examined
what was feasible, and Ghent being the most important of all I could
attack, I fixed upon it to besiege." The place was invested on the 1st
of March, and capitulated on the 11th; Ypres, in its turn, succumbed on
the 25th, after a vigorous resistance. On the 7th of April the king
returned to St. Germain, "pretty content with what I had done," he says,
"and purposing to do better in the future, if the promise I had given not
to undertake anything for two months were not followed by the conclusion
of peace." Louis XIV. sent his ultimatum to Nimeguen.

Holland had weight in congress as well as in war, and her influence was
now enlisted on the side of peace. "Not only is it desired," said the
grand pensionary Fagel, "but it is absolutely indispensable, and I would
not answer for it that the States General, if driven to extremity by the
sluggishness of their allies, will not make a separate peace with France.
I know nobody in Holland who is not of the same opinion." The Prince of
Orange flew out at such language. "Well, then, I know somebody," said
he, "and that is myself; I will oppose it to the best of my ability;
but," he added more slowly, upon reflection, "if I were not here, I know
quite well that peace would be concluded within twenty-four hours."

One man alone, though it were the Prince of Orange, cannot long withstand
the wishes of a free people. The republican party, for a while cast down
by the death of John van Witt, had taken courage again, and Louis XIV.
secretly encouraged it. William of Orange had let out his desire of
becoming Duke of Gueldres and Count of Zutphen: these foreshadowings of
sovereignty had scared the province of Holland, which refused its
consent; the influence of the stadtholder was weakened thereby; the
Estates pronounced for peace, spite of the entreaties of the Prince of
Orange. "I am always ready to obey the orders of the state," said he,
"but do not require me to give my assent to a peace which appears to me
not only ruinous, but shameful as well." Two deputies from the United
Provinces set out for Brussels.

"It is better to throw one's self out of the window than from the top of
the roof," said the Spanish plenipotentiary to the nuncio, when he had
cognizance of the French proposals, and he accepted the treaty offered
him. "The Duke of Villa Hermosa says that he will accept the conditions;
for ourselves, we will do the same," said the Prince of Orange, bitterly,
"and so here is peace made, if France continues to desire it on this
footing, which I very much doubt."

At one moment, in fact, Louis XIV. raised fresh pretensions. He wished
to keep the places on the Meuse, until the Swedes, almost invariably
unfortunate in their hostilities with Denmark and Brandenburg, should
have been enabled to win back what they had lost. This was to postpone
peace indefinitely. The English Parliament and Holland were disgusted,
and concluded a new alliance. The Spaniards were preparing to take up
arms again. The king, who had returned to the army, all at once cut the
knot. "The day I arrived at the camp," writes Louis XIV., I received
news from London apprising mee that the King of England would bind
himself to join me in forcing my enemies to make peace, if I consented to
add something to the conditions he had already proposed. I had a battle
over this proposal, but the public good, joined to the glory of gaining a
victory over myself, prevailed over the advantage I might have hoped for
from war. I replied to the King of England that I was quite willing to
make the treaty he proposed to me, and, at the same time, I wrote to the
States General a letter, stronger than the first, being convinced that,
since they were wavering, they ought not to have time given them to take
counsel upon the subject of peace with their allies, who did not want
it." Beverninck went to visit the king at Ghent; and he showed so much
ability that the special peace concluded by his pains received, in
Holland, the name of Beverninck's peace. "I settled more business in an
hour with M. de Beverninck than the plenipotentiaries would have been
able to conclude in several days," said Louis XIV.; "the care I had taken
to detach the allies one from another, overwhelmed them to such an
extent, that they were constrained to submit to the conditions of which I
had declared myself in favor at the commencement of my negotiations. I
had resolved to make peace, but I wished to conclude one that would be
glorious for me and advantageous for my kingdom. I wished to recompense
myself, by means of the places that were essential, for the probable
conquests I was losing, and to console myself for the conclusion of a war
which I was carrying on with pleasure and success. Amidst such turmoil,
then, I was quite tranquil, and saw nothing but advantage for myself,
whether the war went on or peace were made."

All difficulties were smoothed away Sweden had given up all stipulations
for her advantage; the firm will of France had triumphed over the
vacillations of Charles II. and the allies. "The behavior of the French
in all this was admirable," says Sir W. Temple, an experienced
diplomatist, long versed in all the affairs of Europe, "whilst our own
counsels and behavior resembled those floating islands which winds and
tide drive from one side to the other."

On the 10th of August, in the evening, the special peace between Holland
and France was signed after twenty-four hours' conference. The Prince of
Orange had concentrated all his forces near Mons, confronting Marshal
Luxembourg, who occupied the plateau of Casteau; he had no official news
as yet from Nimeguen, and on the 14th he began the engagement outside the
abbey of St. Denis. The affair was a very murderous one, and remained
indecisive: it did more honor to the military skill of the Prince of
Orange than to his loyalty. Holland had not lost an inch of her
territory during this war; so long, so desperate, and notoriously
undertaken in order to destroy her; she had spent much money, she had
lost many men, she had shaken the confidence of her allies by treating
alone and being the first to treat, but she had furnished a chief to the
European coalition, and she had shown an example of indomitable
resistance; the States General and the Prince of Orange alone, besides
Louis XIV., came the greater out of the struggle. The King of England
had lost all consideration both at home and abroad, and Spain paid all
the expenses of the war.

Peace was concluded on the 17th of September, thanks to the energetic
intervention of the Hollanders. The king restored Courtray, Audenarde,
Ath, and Charleroi, which had been given him by the treaty of Aix-la-
Chapelle, Ghent, Linmburg, and St. Ghislain; but he kept by definitive
right St. Omer, Cassel, Aire, Ypres, Cambray, Bouchain, Valenciennes, and
all Franche-Comte; henceforth he possessed in the north of France a line
of places extending from Dunkerque to the Meuse; the Spanish monarchy was

It still required a successful campaign under Marshal Crequi to bring the
emperor and the German princes over to peace; exchanges of territory and
indemnities re-established the treaty of Westphalia on all essential
points. The Duke of Lorraine refused the conditions on which the king
proposed to restore to him his duchy; so Louis XIV. kept Lorraine.

The King of France was at the pinnacle of his greatness and power.
"Singly against all," as Louvois said, he had maintained the struggle
against Europe, and he came out of it victorious; everywhere, with good
reason, was displayed his proud device, _Nec pluribus impar_. "My will
alone," says Louis XIV. in his Memoires, "concluded this peace, so much
desired by those on whom it did not depend; for, as to my enemies, they
feared it as much as the public good made me desire it, and that
prevailed on this occasion over the gain and personal glory I was likely
to find in the continuation of the war. . . . I was in full enjoyment
of my good fortune and the fruits of my good conduct, which had caused me
to profit by all the occasions I had met with for extending the borders
of my kingdom at the expense of my enemies."

"Here is peace made," wrote Madame de Sevigne to the Count of Bussy.
"The king thought it handsomer to grant it this year to Spain and Holland
than to take the rest of Flanders; he is keeping that for another time."

The Prince of Orange thought as Madame de Seigne: he regarded the peace
of Nimeguen as a truce, and a truce fraught with danger to Europe. For
that reason did he soon seek to form alliances in order to secure the
repose of the world against the insatiable ambition of King Louis XIV.
Intoxicated by his successes and the adulation of his court, the King of
France no longer brooked any objections to his will or any limits to his
desires. The poison of absolute power had done its work. Louis XIV.
considered the "office of king" grand, noble, delightful, "for he felt
himself worthy of acquitting himself well in all matters in which he
engaged." "The ardor we feel for glory," he used to say, "is not one of
those feeble passions which grow dull by possession; its favors, which
are never to be obtained without effort, never, on the other hand, cause
disgust, and whoever can do without longing for fresh ones is unworthy of
all he has received."

Standing at the king's side and exciting his pride and ambition, Louvois
had little by little absorbed all the functions of prime minister without
bearing the title. Colbert alone resisted him, and he, weary of the
struggle, was about to succumb before long (1683), driven to desperation
by the burdens that the wars and the king's luxury caused to weigh
heavily upon France. Peace had not yet led to disarmament; an army of a
hundred and forty thousand men remained standing, ever ready to uphold
the rights of France during the long discussions over the regulation of
the frontiers. In old papers ancient titles were found, and by degrees
the villages, Burghs, and even principalities, claimed by King Louis XIV.
were re-united quietly to France; King Charles XI. was thus alienated, in
consequence of the seizure of the countship of Deux-Ponts, to which
Sweden laid claim. Strasburg was taken by a surprise. This free city
had several times violated neutrality during the war; Louvois had kept up
communications inside the place; suddenly he had the approaches and the
passage over the Rhine occupied by thirty-five thousand men on the night
between the 16th and 17th of September, 1681; the burgesses sent up to
ask aid from the emperor, but the messengers were arrested; on the 30th
Strasburg capitulated, and Louis XIV. made his triumphant entry there on
the 24th of October. "Nobody," says a letter of the day, "can recover
from the consternation caused by the fact that the French have taken
Strasburg without firing a single shot; everybody says it is one of the
wheels of the chariot to be used for a drive into the empire, and that
the door of Elsass is shut from this moment."

The very day of the surrender of Strasburg (September 30, 1681), Catinat,
with a corps of French troops, entered Casale, sold to Louis XIV. by the
Duke of Mantua. The king thought to make sure of Piedmont by marrying
his niece, Monsieur's daughter, to the Duke of Savoy, Victor-Amadeo,
quite a boy, delicate and taciturn, at loggerheads with his mother and
with her favorites. Marie Louise d'Orleans, elder sister of the young
Duchess of Savoy, had married the King of Spain, Charles II., a sickly
creature of weak intellect. Louis XIV. felt the necessity of forming new
alliances; the old supports of France had all gone over to the enemy.
Sweden and Holland were already allied to the empire; the German princes
joined the coalition. The Prince of Orange, with an ever-vigilant eye on
the frequent infractions of the treaties which France permitted herself
to commit, was quietly negotiating with his allies, and ready to take up
arms to meet the common danger. "He was," says Massillon, "a prince
profound in his views, skilful in forming leagues and banding spirits
together, more successful in exciting wars than on the battle-field, more
to be feared in the privacy of the closet than at the head of armies, a
prince and an enemy whom hatred of the French name rendered capable of
conceiving great things and of executing them, one of those geniuses who
seem born to move at their will both peoples and sovereigns." French
diplomacy was not in a condition to struggle with the Prince of Orange.
M. de Pomponne had succeeded Lionne; he was disgraced in 1679. "I order
his recall," said the king, "because all that passes through his hands
loses the grandeur and force which ought to be shown in executing the
orders of a king who is no poor creature." Colbert de Croissy, the
minister's brother, was from that time employed to manage with foreign
countries all the business which Louvois did not reserve to himself.

Duquesne had bombarded Algiers in 1682; in 1684, he destroyed several
districts of Genoa, which was accused of having failed in neutrality
between France and Spain; and at the same time Marshals Humieres and
Crequi occupied Audenarde, Courtray, and Dixmude, and made themselves
masters of Luxemburg; the king reproached Spain with its delays in the
regulation of the frontiers, and claimed to occupy the Low Countries
pacifically; the diet of Ratisbonne intervened; the emperor, with the aid
of Sobieski, King of Poland, was occupied in repelling the invasions of
the Turks; a truce was concluded for twenty-four years; the empire and
Spain acquiesced in the king's new conquests. "It seemed to be
established," said the Marquis de la Fare, "that the empire of France was
an evil not to be avoided by other nations." Nobody was more convinced
of this than King Louis XIV.

He was himself about to deal his own kingdom a blow more fatal than all
those of foreign wars and of the European coalition. Intoxicated by so
much success and so many victories, he fancied that consciences were to
be bent like states, and he set about bringing all his subjects back to
the Catholic faith. Himself returning to a regular life, under the
influence of age and of Madame de Maintenon, he thought it a fine thing
to establish in his kingdom that unity of religion which Henry IV. and
Richelieu had not been able to bring about. He set at nought all the
rights consecrated by edicts, and the long patience of those Protestants
whom Mazarin called "the faithful flock;" in vain had persecution been
tried for several years past; tyranny interfered, and the edict of Nantes
was revoked on the 13th of October, 1685. Some years later, the
Reformers, by hundreds of thousands, carried into foreign lands their
industries, their wealth, and their bitter resentments. Protestant
Europe, indignant, opened her doors to these martyrs to conscience,
living witnesses of the injustice and arbitrary power of Louis XIV.
All the princes felt themselves at the same time insulted and threatened
in respect of their faith as well as of their puissance. In the early
months of 1686, the league of Augsburg united all the German princes,
Holland, and Sweden; Spain and the Duke of Savoy were not slow to join
it. In 1687, the diet of Ratisbonne refused to convert the twenty years'
truce into a definitive peace. By his haughty pretensions the king gave
to the coalition the support of Pope Innocent XI.; Louis XIV. was once
more single-handed against all, when he invaded the electorate of Cologne
in the month of August, 1686. Philipsburg, lost by France in 1676, was
recovered on the 29th of October; at the end of the campaign, the king's
armies were masters of the Palatinate. In the month of January, 1689,
war was officially declared against Holland, the emperor, and the empire.
The commander-in-chief of the French forces was intrusted to the dauphin,
then twenty-six years of age. "I give you an opportunity of making your
merit known," said Louis XIV. to his son: "exhibit it to all Europe, so
that when I come to die it shall not be perceived that the king is dead."

The dauphin was already tasting the pleasures of conquest, and the
coalition had not stirred. They were awaiting their chief; William of
Orange was fighting for them in the very act of taking possession of the
kingdom of England. Weary of the narrow-minded and cruel tyranny of
their king, James II., disquieted at his blind zeal for the Catholic
religion, the English nation had summoned to their aid the champion of
Protestantism; it was in the name of the political liberties and the
religious creed of England that the Prince of Orange set sail on the 11th
of November, 1688; on the flags of his vessels was inscribed the proud
device of his house, I will maintain; below were the words, _Pro
libertate et Protestante religione._ William landed without obstacle at
Torbay, on the 15th of November; on the 4th of January, King James,
abandoned by everybody, arrived in France, whither he had been preceded
by his wife, Mary of Modena, and the little Prince of Wales; the
convention of the two Houses in England proclaimed William and Mary
_kings_ (rois--? king and queen); the Prince of Orange had declined the
modest part of mere husband of the queen. "I will never be tied to a
woman's apron-strings," he had said.

By his personal qualities as well as by the defects and errors of his
mind Louis XIV. was a predestined acquisition to the cause of James II.;
he regarded the revolution in England as an insolent attack by the people
upon the kingly majesty, and William of Orange was the most dangerous
enemy of the crown of France. The king gave the fallen monarch a
magnificent reception. "The king acts towards these majesties of England
quite divinely," writes Madame de Sevigne, on the 10th of January, 1689:
"for is it not to be the image of the Almighty to support a king
out-driven, betrayed, abandoned as he is? The king's noble soul is
delighted to play such a part as this. He went to meet the Queen of
England with all his household and a hundred six-horse carriages; he
escorted her to St. Germain, where she found herself supplied, like the
queen, with all sorts of knick-knacks, amongst which was a very rich
casket with six thousand louis d'or. The next day the King of England
arrived late at St. Germain; the king was there waiting for him, and went
to the end of the Guards' hall to meet him; the King of England bent down
very low, as if he meant to embrace his knees; the king prevented him,
and embraced him three or four times over, very cordially. At parting,
his Majesty would not be escorted back, but said to the King of England,
'This is your house; when I come hither you shall do me the honors of it,
as I will do you when you come to Versailles.' The king subsequently
sent the King of England ten thousand louis. The latter looked aged and
worn, the queen thin and with eyes that have wept, but beautiful black
ones; a fine complexion, rather pale, a large mouth, fine teeth, a fine
figure and plenty of wits; all that makes up a very pleasing person. All
she says is quite just and full of good sense. Her husband is not the
same; he has plenty of spirit, but a common mind which relates all that
has passed in England with a want of feeling which causes the same
towards him. It is so extraordinary to have this court here that it is
the subject of conversation incessantly. Attempts are being made to
regulate ranks and prepare for permanently living with people so far from
their restoration."

In his pride and his kingly illusions, Louis XIV. had undertaken a burden
which was to weigh heavily upon him to the very end of his reign.

Catholic Ireland had not acquiesced in the elevation of William of Orange
to the throne of England; she invited over King James. Personally brave,
and blinded by his hopes, he set out from St. Germain on the 25th of
February, 1689. "Brother," said the king to him on taking leave, "the
best I can wish you is not to see you back." He took with him a corps of
French troops commanded by M. de Rosen, and the Count of Avaux as
adviser. "It will be no easy matter to keep any secret with the King of
England," wrote Avaux to Louis XIV.; "he has said before the sailors of
the St. Michael what he ought to have reserved for his greatest
confidants. Another thing which may cause us trouble is his indecision,
for he has frequent changes of opinion, and does not always determine
upon the best. He lays great stress on little things, over which he
spends all his time, and passes lightly by the most essential. Besides,
he listens to everybody, and as much time has to be spent in destroying
the impressions which bad advice has produced upon him as in inspiring
him with good. It is said here that the Protestants of the north will
intrench themselves in Londonderry, which is a pretty strong town for
Ireland, and that it is a business which will probably last some days."

The siege of Londonderry lasted a hundred and five days; most of the
French officers fell there; the place had to be abandoned; the English
army had just landed at Carrickfergus (August 25), under the orders of
Marshal Schomberg. Like their leader, a portion of Schomberg's men were
French Protestants who had left their native country after the revocation
of the edict of Nantes; they fought to the bitter end against the French
regiments of Rosen. The Irish Parliament was beginning to have doubts
about James II. "Too English," it was said, "to render full justice to
Ireland." There was disorder everywhere, in the government as well as in
the military operations; Schomberg held the Irish and French in check; at
last William III. appeared.

He landed on the 14th of June, and at once took the road to Belfast; the
Protestant opposition was cantoned in the province of Ulster, peopled to
a great extent by Cromwell's Scotch colonists; three parts of Ireland
were still in the hands of the Catholics and King James. "I haven't come
hither to let the grass grow under my feet," said William to those who
counselled prudence. He had brought with him his old Dutch and German
regiments, and numbered under his orders thirty-five thousand men;
representatives from all the Protestant churches of Europe were there
in arms against the enemies of their liberties.

The forces of King James were scarcely inferior to those of his
son-in-law; Louis XIV. had sent him a re-enforcement of eight thousand
men under the orders of the Duke of Lauzun. On the 1st of July the two
armies met on the banks of the Boyne, near the town of Drogheda.
William had been slightly wounded in the shoulder the evening before
during a reconnaissance. "There's no harm done," said he at once to his
terrified friends, "but, as it was, the ball struck quite high enough."
He was on horseback at the head of his troops; at daybreak the whole
army plunged into the river; Marshal Schomberg commanded a division; he
saw that the Huguenot regiments were staggered by the death of their
leader, M. de Caillemotte, younger brother of the Marquis of Ruvigny.
He rushed his horse into the river, shouting, "Forward, gentlemen;
yonder are your persecutors." He was killed, in his turn, as he touched
the bank. King William himself had just entered the Boyne; his horse
had taken to swimming, and he had difficulty in guiding it with his
wounded arm; a ball struck his boot, another came and hit against the
butt of his pistol; the Irish infantry, ignorant and undisciplined,
everywhere took flight. "We were not beaten," said a letter to Louvois
from M. de la Hoguette, a French officer, "but the enemy drove the Irish
troops, like sheep, before them, without their having attempted to fire
a single musket-shot." All the burden of the contest fell upon the
troops of Louis XIV. and upon the Irish gentlemen, who fought furiously;
William rallied around him the Protestants of Enniskillen, and led them
back to the charge; the Irish gave way on all sides; King James had
prudently remained at a distance, watching the battle from afar; he
turned bridle, and hastily took the road back to Dublin. On the 3d of
July he embarked at Waterford, himself carrying to St. Germain the news
of his defeat. "Those who love the King of England must be very glad to
see him in safety," wrote Marshal Luxembourg to Louvois; "but those who
love his glory have good reason to deplore the figure he made." "I was
in trouble to know what had become of the king my father," wrote Queen
Mary to William III.; "I dared not ask anybody but Lord Nottingham, and
I had the satisfaction of learning that he was safe and sound. I know
that I need not beg you to spare him, but to your tenderness add this,
that for my sake the world may know that you would not have any harm
happen to him. You will forgive me this." The rumor had spread at Paris
that King William was dead; the populace lighted bonfires in the
streets; and the governor of the Bastille fired a salute. The anger and
hatred of a people are perspicacious.

The insensate pride of king and nation was to be put to other trials; the
campaign of 1689 had been without advantage or honor to the king's arms.
Disembarrassed of the great Conde, of Turenne, and even of Marshal
Luxembourg, who was compromised in some distressing law proceedings,
Louvois exercised undisputed command over generals and armies; his harsh
and violent genius encountered no more obstacles. He had planned a
defensive war which was to tire out the allies, all the while ravaging
their territories. The Palatinate underwent all its horrors. Manheim,
Heidelberg, Spires, Worms, Bingen, were destroyed and burned. "I don't
think," wrote the Count of Tesse to Louvois, "that for a week past my
heart has been in its usual place. I take the liberty of speaking to you
naturally, but I did not foresee that it would cost so much to personally
look to the burning of a town with a population, in proportion, like that
of Orleans. You may rely upon it that nothing at all remains of the
superb castle of Heidelberg. There were yesterday at noon, besides the
castle, four hundred and thirty-two houses burned; and the fire was still
going on. I merely caused to be set apart the family pictures of the
Palatine House; that is, the fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and
relatives of Madame; intending, if you order me or advise me so, to make
her a present of them, and have them sent to her when she is somewhat
distracted from the desolation of her native country; for, except
herself, who can take any interest in them? Of the whole lot there is
not a single copy worth a dozen livres." The poor Princess Palatine,
Monsieur's second wife, was not yet distracted from her native country,
and she wrote in March, 1689, "Should it cost me my life, it is
impossible for me not to regret, not to deplore, having been, so to
speak, the pretext for the destruction of my country. I cannot look on
in cold blood and see the ruin at a single blow, in poor Manheim, of all
that cost so much pains and trouble to the late prince-elector, my
father. When I think of all the explosions that have taken place, I am
so full of horror that every night, the moment I begin to go to sleep, I
fancy myself at Heidelberg or Manheim, and an eye-witness of the ravages
committed. I picture to myself how it all was in my time, and to what
condition it has been reduced now, and I cannot refrain from weeping hot
tears. What distresses me above all is, that the king waited to reveal
his orders until the very moment of my intercession in favor of
Heidelberg and Manheim. And yet it is thought bad taste for me to be

The Elector of Bavaria, an able prince and a good soldier, had roused
Germany to avenge his wrongs; France had just been placed under the ban
of the empire; and the grand alliance was forming. All the German
princes joined it; the United Provinces, England, and Spain combined for
the restoration of the treaties of Westphalia and of the Pyrenees.
Europe had mistaken hopes of forcing Louis XIV. to give up all his
conquests. Twenty years of wars and reverses were not to suffice for
that. Fortune, however, was tiring of being favorable to France;
Marshals Duras and Humieres were unable to hamper the movements of the
Duke of Lorraine, Charles V., and of the Elector of Bavaria; the French
garrisons of Mayence and of Bonn were obliged to capitulate after an
heroic defence their munitions failed. The king recalled Marshal
Luxembourg to the head of his armies. The able courtier had managed to
get reconciled with Louvois. "You know, sir," he wrote to him on the 9th
of May, 1690, "with what pleasure I shall seek after such things as will
possibly find favor with the king and give you satisfaction. I am too
well aware how far my small authority extends to suppose that I can
withdraw any man from any place without having written to you previously.
It is with some repugnance that I resolve to put before you what comes
into my head, knowing well that all that is good can come only from you,
and looking upon anything I conceive as merely simple ideas produced by
the indolence in which we are living here."

[Illustration: Marshal Luxembourg---461]

The wary indolence and the observations of Luxembourg were not long in
giving place to activity. The marshal crossed the Sambre on the 29th of
June, entered Charleroi and Namur, and on the 2d of July attacked the
Prince of Waldeck near the rivulet of Fleurus. A considerable body of
troops had made a forced march of seven leagues during the night, and
came up to take the enemy in the rear; it was a complete success, but
devoid of result, like the victory of Stafarde, gained by Catinat over
the Duke of Savoy, Victor-Amadeo, who had openly joined the coalition.
The triumphant naval battle delivered by Tourville to the English and
Dutch fleets off Beachy Head was a great humiliation for the maritime
powers. "I cannot express to you," wrote William III. to the grand
pensionary Heinsius, holding in his absence the government of the United
Provinces, "how distressed I am at the disasters of the fleet; I am so
much the more deeply affected as I have been informed that my ships did
not properly support those of the Estates, and left them in the lurch."

[Illustration: Heinsius----461]

William had said, when he left Holland, "The republic must lead off the
dance." The moment had come when England was going to take her part in

In the month of January, 1691, William III. arrived in Holland. "I am
languishing for that moment," he wrote six months before to Heinsius.
All the allies had sent their ambassadors thither. "It is no longer the
time for deliberation, but for action," said the King of England to the
congress "the King of France has made himself master of all the
fortresses which bordered on his kingdom; if he be not opposed, he will
take all the rest. The interest of each is bound up in the general
interest of all. It is with the sword that we must wrest from his grasp
the liberties of Europe, which he aims at stifling, or we must submit
forever to the yoke of servitude. As for me, I will spare for that
purpose neither my influence, nor my forces, nor my person, and in the
spring I will come, at the head of my troops, to conquer or die with my

The spring had not yet come, and already (March 15) Mons was invested by
the French army. The secret had been carefully kept. On the 21st, the
king arrived in person with the dauphin; William of Orange collected his
troops in all haste, but he did not come up in time: Mons capitulated on
the 8th of April; five days later, Nice, besieged by Catinat, surrendered
like Mons; Louis XIV. returned to Versailles, according to his custom
after a brilliant stroke. Louvois was pushing on the war furiously; the
naturally fierce temper of the minister was soured by excess of work and
by his decline in the king's favor; he felt his position towards the king
shaken by the influence of Madame de Maintenon; venting his wrath on the
enemy, he was giving orders everywhere for conflagration and bombardment,
when on the 17th of July, 1691, after working with the king, Louvois
complained of pain; Louis XIV. sent him to his rooms; on reaching his
chamber he fell down fainting; the people ran to fetch his third son, M.
de Barbezieux; Madame do Louvois was not at Versailles, and his two elder
sons were in the field; he arrived too late; his father was dead.

"So he is dead, this great minister, this man of such importance, whose
egotism (_le moi_), as M. Nicole says, was so extensive, who was the
centre of so many things! What business, what designs, what projects,
what secrets, what interests to unfold, what wars begun, what intrigues,
what beautiful moves-in-check to make and to superintend! Ah! my God,
grant me a little while; I would fain give check to the Duke of Savoy and
mate to the Prince of Orange! No, no, thou shalt not have one, one
single moment!" Thus wrote Madame do Sevigne to her daughter Madame de
Grignan. Louis XIV., in whose service Louvois had spent his life, was
less troubled at his death. "Tell the King of England that I have lost a
good minister," was the answer he sent to the complimentary condolence of
King James, "but that his affairs and mine will go on none the worse."

In his secret heart, and beneath the veil of his majestic observance of
the proprieties, the king thought that his business, as well as the
agreeableness of his life, would probably gain from being no longer
subject to the tempers and the roughnesses of Louvois. The Grand
Monarque considered that he had trained (_instruit_) his minister, but he
felt that the pupil had got away from him. He appointed Barbezieux
secretary for war. "I will form you," said he. No human hand had formed
Louvois, not even that of his father, the able and prudent Michael le
Tellier; he had received straight from God the strong qualities,
resolution, indomitable will, ardor for work, the instinct of
organization and command, which had made of him a minister without equal
for the warlike and ambitious purposes of his master. Power had spoiled
him, his faults had prevailed over his other qualities without destroying
them; violent, fierce, without principle and without scruple in the
execution of his designs, he had egged the king on to incessant wars,
treating with disdain the internal miseries of the kingdom as well as any
idea of pity for the vanquished; he had desired to do everything, order
everything, grasp everything, and he died at fifty-three, dreaded by all,
hated by a great many, and leaving in the government of the country a
void which the king felt, all the time that he was angrily seeking to
fill it up.

Louvois was no more; negotiations were beginning to be whispered about,
but the war continued by land and sea; the campaign of 1691 had
completely destroyed the hopes of James II. in Ireland; it was decided to
attempt a descent upon England; a plot was being hatched to support the
invasion. Tourville was commissioned to cover the landing. He received
orders to fight, whatever might be the numbers of the enemy. The wind
prevented his departure from Brest; the Dutch fleet had found time to
join the English. Tourville wanted to wait for the squadrons of Estrees
and Rochefort; Pontchartrain had been minister of finance and marine
since the death of Seignelay, Colbert's son, in 1690; he replied from
Versailles to the experienced sailor, familiar with battle from the age
of fourteen, "It is not for you to discuss the king's orders; it is for
you to execute them and enter the Channel; if you are not ready to do it,
the king will put in your place somebody more obedient and less discreet
than you." Tourville went out and encountered the enemy's squadrons
between the headlands of La Hogue and Barfleur; he had forty-four vessels
against ninety-nine, the number of English and Dutch together. Tourville
assembled his council of war, and all the officers were for withdrawing;
but the king's orders were peremptory, and the admiral joined battle.
After three days' desperate resistance, backed up by the most skilful
manoeuvres, Tourville was obliged to withdraw beneath the forts of La
Hogue in hopes of running his ships ashore; but in this King James and
Marshal Bellefonds opposed him.

[Illustration: Battle of St. Vincent 465a]

Tourville remained at sea, and lost a dozen vessels. The consternation
in France was profound; the nation had grown accustomed to victory; on
the 20th of June the capture of Namur raised their hopes again; this time
again William III. had been unable to succor his allies; he determined
to--revenge himself on Luxembourg, whom he surprised on the 31st of
August, between Enghaep and Steinkirk; the ground was narrow and uneven,
and the King of England counted upon thus paralyzing the brilliant French
cavalry. M. de Luxembourg, ill of fever as he was, would fain have
dismounted to lead to the charge the brigades of the French guards and of
the Swiss, but he was prevented; the Duke of Bourbon, the Prince of
Conti, the Duke of Chartres, and the Duke of Vendome, placed themselves
at the head of the infantry, and, sword in hand, led it against the
enemy; a fortunate movement on the part of Marshal Boufflers resulted in
rendering the victory decisive. Next year at Neerwinden (29th of July,
1693) the success of the day was likewise due to the infantry. On that
day the French guards had exhausted their ammunition; putting the bayonet
at the end of their pieces they broke the enemy's battalions; this was
the first charge of the kind in the French armies. The king's household
troops had remained motionless for four hours under the fire of the
allies: William III. thought for a moment that his gunners made bad
practice; he ran up to the batteries; the French squadrons did not move
except to close up the ranks as the files were carried off; the King of
England could not help an exclamation of anger and admiration. "Insolent
nation!" he cried.

[Illustration: The Battle of Neerwinden----465]

The victory of Neerwinden ended in nothing but the capture of Charleroi;
the successes of Catinat at Marsaglia, in Piedmont, had washed out the
shame of the Duke of Savoy's incursion into Dauphiny in 1692. Tourville
had remained with the advantage in several maritime engagements off Cape
St. Vincent, and burned the English vessels in the very roads of Cadiz.
On every sea the corsairs of St. Malo and Dunkerque, John Bart and
Duguay-Trouin, now enrolled in the king's navy, towed at their sterns
numerous prizes; the king and France, for a long time carried away by a
common passion, had arrived at that point at which victories no longer
suffice in the place of solid and definitive success. The nation was at
last tiring of its glory. "People were dying of want to the sound of the
Te Deum," says Voltaire in the Siecle de Louis XIV.; everywhere there was
weariness equal to the suffering. Madame de Maintenon and some of her
friends at that time, sincerely devoted to the public good, rather
Christians than warriors, Fenelon, the Dukes of Beauvilliers and
Chevreuse, were laboring to bring, the king over to pacific views; he saw
generals as well as ministers falling one after another; Marshal
Luxembourg, exhausted by the fatigues of war and the pleasures of the
court, died on the 4th of January, 1695, at sixty-seven years of age. An
able general, a worthy pupil of the great Conde, a courtier of much wits
and no shame, he was more corrupt than his age, and his private life was
injurious to his fame; he died, however, as people did die in his time,
turning to God at the last day. "I haven't lived like M. de Luxembourg,"
said Bourdaloue, "but I should like to die like him." History has
forgotten Marshal Luxembourg's death and remembered his life.

Louis XIV. had lost Conde and Turenne, Luxembourg, Colbert, Louvois, and
Seignelay; with the exception of Vauban, he had exhausted the first rank;
Catinat alone remained in the second; the king was about to be reduced to
the third: sad fruits of a long reign, of an incessant and devouring
activity, which had speedily used up men and was beginning to tire out
fortune; grievous result of mistakes long hidden by glory, but glaring
out at last before the eyes most blinded by prejudice! "The whole of
France is no longer anything but one vast hospital," wrote Fenelon to the
king under the veil of the anonymous. "The people who so loved you are
beginning to lose affection, confidence, and even respect; the allies
prefer carrying on war with loss to concluding a peace which would not be
observed. Even those who have not dared to declare openly against you
are nevertheless impatiently desiring your enfeeblement and your
humiliation as the only resource for liberty and for the repose of all
Christian nations. Everybody knows it, and none dares tell you so.
Whilst you in some fierce conflict are taking the battle-field and the
cannon of the enemy, whilst you are storming strong places, you do not
reflect that you are fighting on ground which is sinking beneath your
feet, and that you are about to have a fall in spite of your victories.
It is time to humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God; you must
ask peace, and by that shame expiate all the glory of which you have made
your idol; finally you must give up, the soonest possible, to your
enemies, in order to save the state, conquests that you cannot retain
without injustice. For a long time past God has had His arm raised over
you; but He is slow to smite you because He has pity upon a prince who
has all his life been beset by flatterers." Noble and strong language,
the cruel truth of which the king did not as yet comprehend, misled as he
was by his pride, by the splendor of his successes, and by the concert of
praises which his people as well as his court had so long made to
reverberate in his ears.

Louis XIV. had led France on to the brink of a precipice, and he had in
his turn been led on by her; king and people had given themselves up
unreservedly to the passion for glory and to the intoxication of success;
the day of awakening was at hand.

Louis XIV. was not so blind as Fenelon supposed; he saw the danger at the
very moment when his kingly pride refused to admit it. The King of
England had just retaken Namur, without Villeroi, who had succeeded
Marshal Luxembourg, having been able to relieve the place. Louis XIV.
had already let out that he "should not pretend to avail himself of any
special conventions until the Prince of Orange was satisfied as regarded
his person and the crown of England." This was a great step towards that
humiliation recommended by Fenelon.

The secret negotiations with the Duke of Savoy were not less significant.
After William III., Victor-Amadeo was the most active and most devoted as
well as the most able and most stubborn of the allied princes. In the
month of June, 1696, the treaty was officially declared. Victor-Amadeo
would recover Savoy, Suza, the countship of Nice and Pignerol dismantled;
his eldest daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide, was to marry the Duke of
Burgundy, eldest son of the dauphin, and the ambassadors of Piedmont
henceforth took rank with those of crowned heads. In return for so many
concessions, Victor-Amadeo guaranteed to the king the neutrality of
Italy, and promised to close the entry of his dominions against the
Protestants of Dauphiny who came thither for refuge. If Italy refused
her neutrality, the Duke of Savoy was to unite his forces to those of the
king and command the combined army.

Victory would not have been more advantageous for Victor-Amadeo than his
constant defeats were; but, by detaching him from the coalition, Louis
XIV. had struck a fatal blow at the great alliance: the campaign of 1696
in Germany and in Flanders had resolved itself into mere observations and
insignificant engagements; Holland and England were exhausted, and their
commerce was ruined; in vain did Parliament vote fresh and enormous
supplies. "I should want ready money," wrote William III. to Heinsius,
"and my poverty is really incredible."

There was no less cruel want in France. "I calculate that in these
latter days more than a tenth part of the people," said Vauban, "are
reduced to beggary, and in fact beg." Sweden had for a long time been
proffering mediation: conferences began on the 9th of May, 1697, at
Nieuburg, a castle belonging to William III., near the village of
Ryswick. These great halls opened one into another; the French and the
plenipotentiaries of the coalition of princes occupied the two wings, the
mediators sat in the centre. Before arriving at Ryswick, the most
important points of the treaty between France and William III. were
already settled.

Louis XIV. had at last consented to recognize the king that England had
adopted; William demanded the expulsion of James II. from France; Louis
XIV. formally refused his consent. "I will engage not to support the
enemies of King William directly or indirectly," said he: "it would not
comport with my honor to have the name of King James mentioned in the
treaty." William contented himself with the concession, and merely
desired that it should be reciprocal. "All Europe has sufficient
confidence in the obedience and submission of my people," said Louis
XIV., "and, when it is my pleasure to prevent my subjects from assisting
the King of England, there are no grounds for fearing lest he should find
any assistance in my kingdom. There can be no occasion for reciprocity;
I have neither sedition nor faction to fear." Language too haughty for a
king who had passed his infancy in the midst of the troubles of the
Fronde, but language explained by the patience and fidelity of the nation
towards the sovereign who had so long lavished upon it the intoxicating
pleasures of success.

France offered restitution of Strasburg, Luxembourg, Mons, Charleroi, and
Dinant, restoration of the house of Lorraine, with the conditions
proposed at Nimeguen, and recognition of the King of England. "We have
no equivalent to claim," said the French plenipotentiaries haughtily;
"your masters have never taken anything from ours."

On the 27th of July a preliminary deed was signed between Marshal
Boufflers and Bentinck, Earl of Portland, the intimate friend of King
William; the latter left the army and retired to his castle of Loo; there
it was that he heard of the capture of Barcelona by the Duke of Vendime;
Spain, which had hitherto refused to take part in the negotiations, lost
all courage, and loudly demanded peace; but France withdrew her
concessions on the subject of Strasburg, and proposed to give as
equivalent Friburg in Brisgau and Brisach. William III. did not
hesitate. Heinsius signed the peace in the name of the States General
on the 20th of September at midnight; the English and Spanish
plenipotentiaries did the same; the emperor and the empire were alone in
still holding out: the Emperor Leopold made pretensions to regulate in
advance the Spanish succession, and the Protestant princes refused to
accept the maintenance of the Catholic worship in all the places in which
Louis XIV. had restored it.

Here again the will of William III. prevailed over the irresolution of
his allies. "The Prince of Orange is sole arbiter of Europe," Pope
Innocent XII. had said to Lord Perth, who had a commission to him from
James II; "peoples and kings are his slaves; they will do nothing which
might displease him."

"I ask," said William, "where anybody can see a probability of making
France give up a succession for which she would maintain, at need, a
twenty years' war; and God knows if we are in a position to dictate laws
to France." The emperor yielded, despite the ill humor of the Protestant
princes. For the ease of their consciences they joined England and
Holland in making a move on behalf of the French Reformers. Louis XIV.
refused to discuss the matter, saying, "It is my business, which concerns
none but me." Up to this day the refugees had preserved some hope,
henceforth their country was lost to them; many got themselves
naturalized in the countries which had given them asylum.

The revolution of 1789 alone was to re-open to their children the gates
of France.

For the first time since Cardinal Richelieu, France moved back her
frontiers by the signature of a treaty. She had gained the important
place of Strasburg, but she lost nearly all she had won by the treaty of
Nimeguen in the Low Countries and in Germany; she kept Franche-Comte, but
she gave up Lothringen. Louis XIV. had wanted to aggrandize himself at
any price and at any risk; he was now obliged to precipitately break up
the grand alliance, for King Charles II. was slowly dying at Madrid, and
the Spanish Succession was about to open. Ignorant of the supreme evils
and sorrows which awaited him on this fatal path, the King of France
began to forget, in this distant prospect of fresh aggrandizement and
war, the checks that his glory and his policy had just met with.


France was breathing again after nine years of a desperate war, but she
was breathing uneasily, and as it were in expectation of fresh efforts.
Everywhere the memorials of the superintendents repeated the same
complaints. "War, the mortality of 1693, the, constant quarterings and
movements of soldiery, military service, the heavy dues, and the
withdrawal of the Huguenots have ruined the country." "The people," said
the superintendent of Rouen, "are reduced to a state of want which moves
compassion. Out of seven hundred and fifty thousand souls of which the
public is composed, if this number remain, it may be taken for certain
that there are not fifty thousand who have bread to eat when they want
it, and anything to lie upon but straw." Agriculture suffered for lack
of money and hands; commerce was ruined; the manufactures established by
Colbert no longer existed; the population had diminished more than a
quarter since the palmy days of the king's reign; Pontchartrain,
secretary of finance, was reduced to all sorts of expedients for raising
money; he was anxious to rid himself of this heavy burden, and became
chancellor in 1699; the king took for his substitute Chamillard, already
comptroller of finance, honest and hard-working, incapable and docile;
Louis XIV. counted upon the inexhaustible resources of France, and closed
his ears to the grievances of the financiers. "What is not spoken of is
supposed to be put an end to," said Madame de Maintenon. The camp at
Compiegne, in 1698, surpassed in splendor all that had till then been
seen; the enemies of Louis XIV. in Europe called him "the king of

Meanwhile the King of Spain, Charles II., dying as he was, was regularly
besieged at Madrid by the queen, his second wife, Mary Anne of Neuburg,
sister of the empress, as well as by his minister, Cardinal
Porto-Carrero. The competitors for the succession were numerous; the
King of France and the emperor claimed their rights in the name of their
mothers and wives, daughters of Philip III. and Philip IV.; the Elector
of Bavaria put up the claims of his son by right of his mother, Mary
Antoinette of Austria, daughter of the emperor; for a short time Charles
II. had adopted this young prince; the child died suddenly at Madrid in
1699. For a long time past King Louis XIV. had been secretly
negotiating for the partition of the King of Spain's dominions, not--with
the emperor, who still hoped to obtain from Charles II. a will in favor
of his second son, the Archduke Charles, but with England and Holland,
deeply interested as they were in maintaining the equilibrium between the
two kingly houses which divided Europe. William III. considered himself
certain to obtain the acceptance by the emperor of the conditions
subscribed by his allies. On the 13th and 15th of May, 1700, after long
hesitation and a stubborn resistance on the part of the city of
Amsterdam, the treaty of partition was signed in London and at the Hague.
"King William is honorable in all this business," said a letter to the
king from his ambassador, Count de Tallard; "his conduct is sincere; he
is proud--none can be more so than he; but he has a modest manner, though
none can be more jealous in all that concerns his rank."

The treaty of partition secured to the dauphin all the possessions of
Spain in Italy, save Milaness, which was to indemnify the Duke of
Lorraine, whose duchy passed to France; Spain, the Indies, and the Low
Countries were to belong to Archduke Charles. Great was the wrath at
Vienna when it was known that the treaty was signed. "Happily," said the
minister, Von Kaunitz, to the Marquis of Villars, ambassador of France,
"there is One on high who will work for us in these partitions." "That
One," replied M. de Villars, "will approve of their justice." "It is
something new, however, for the King of England and for Holland to
partition the monarchy of Spain," continued the count. "Allow me,"
replied M. de Villars, "to excuse them in your eyes; those two powers
have quite recently come out of a war which cost them a great deal, and
the emperor nothing; for, in fact, you have been at no expense but
against the Turks. You had some troops in Italy, and in the empire two
regiments only of hussars which were not on its pay-list; England and
Holland alone bore all the burden." William III. was still negotiating
with the emperor and the German princes to make them accept the treaty of
partition, when it all at once became known in Europe that Charles II.
had breathed his last at Madrid on the 1st of November, 1700, and that,
by a will dated October 2, he disposed of the Spanish monarchy in favor
of the Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV.

This will was the work of the council of Spain, at the head of which sat
Cardinal Porto-Carrero. "The national party," says M. Mignet in his
"Introduction aux Documents relatifs de la Succession d'Espagne,_
"detested the Austrians because they had been so long in Spain; it liked
the French because they were no longer there. The former had been there
time enough to weary by their dominion, whilst the latter were served by
the mere fact of their removal." Singlehanded, Louis XIV. appeared
powerful enough to maintain the integrity of the Spanish monarchy before
the face and in the teeth of all the competitors. "The King of Spain was
beginning to see the, things of this world by the light alone of that
awful torch which is lighted to lighten the dying." [_Memoires de St.
Simon,_ t. iii. p. 16]; wavering, irresolute, distracted within himself,
he asked the advice of Pope Innocent XII., who was favorable to France.
The hopes of Louis XIV. had not soared so high; on the 9th of November,
1700, he heard at one and the same time of Charles II.'s death and the
contents of his will.

It was a solemn situation. The acceptance by France of the King of
Spain's will meant war; the refusal did not make peace certain; in
default of a French prince the crown was to go to Archduke Charles;
neither Spain nor Austria would hear of dismemberment; could they be
forced to accept the treaty of partition which they had hitherto rejected
angrily? The king's council was divided; Louis XIV. listened in silence
to the arguments of the dauphin and of the ministers; for a moment the
resolution was taken of holding by the treaty of partition; next day the
king again assembled his council without as yet making known his
decision; on Tuesday, November 16, the whole court thronged into the
galleries of Versailles; it was known that several couriers had arrived
from Madrid; the king sent for the Spanish ambassador into his closet.
"The Duke of Anjou had repaired thither by the back way," says the Duke
of St. Simon in his Memoires; the king, introducing him to him, told him
he might salute him as his king. The instant afterwards the king,
contrary to all custom, had the folding-doors thrown open, and ordered
everybody who was there--and there was a crowd--to come in; then, casting
his eyes majestically over the numerous company, "Gentlemen," he said,
introducing the Duke of Anjou, "here is the King of Spain. His birth
called him to that crown; the last king gave it him by his will; the
grandees desired him, and have demanded him of me urgently; it is the
will of Heaven, and I have yielded with pleasure." And, turning to his
grandson, "Be a good Spaniard," he said; "that is from this moment your
first duty; but remember that you are French born in order to keep up the
union between the two nations; that is the way to render them happy and
to preserve the peace of Europe." Three weeks later the young king was
on the road to Spain. There are no longer any Pyrenees," said Louis
XIV., as he embraced his grandson. The rights of Philip V. to the crown
of France had been carefully reserved by a formal act of the king's.

[Illustration: "Here is the King of Spain."----475]

Great were the surprise and wrath in Europe; William III. felt himself
personally affronted. "I have no doubt," he wrote to Heinsius, "that
this unheard-of proceeding on the part of France has caused you as much
surprise as it has me; I never had much confidence in engagements
contracted with France, but I confess I never could have supposed that
that court would have gone so far as to break, in the face of Europe,
so solemn a treaty before it had even received the finishing stroke.
Granted that we have been dupes; but when, beforehand, you are resolved
to hold your word of no account, it is not very difficult to overreach
your mail. I shall be blamed perhaps for having relied upon France, I
who ought to have known by the experience of the past that no treaty has
ever bound her! Would to God I might be quit for the blame, but I have
only too many grounds for fearing that the fatal consequences of it will
make themselves felt shortly. I groan in the very depths of my spirit to
see that in this country the majority rejoice to find the will preferred
by France to the maintenance of the treaty of partition, and that too on
the ground that the will is more advantageous for England and Europe.
This opinion is founded partly on the youth of the Duke of Anjou. 'He is
a child,' they say; 'he will be brought up in Spain; he will be
indoctrinated with the principles of that monarchy, and hee will be
governed by the council of Spain;' but these are surmises which it is
impossible for me to entertain, and I fear that we shall before long find
out how erroneous they are. Would it not seem as if this profound
indifference with which, in this country, they look upon everything that
takes place outside of this island, were a punishment from Heaven?
Meanwhile, are not our causes for apprehension and our interests the same
as those of the peoples of the continent?"

William III. was a more far-sighted politician than his subjects either
in England or Holland. The States General took the same view as the
English. "Public funds and shares have undergone a rise at Amsterdam,"
wrote Heinsius to the King of Englaiid; "and although this rests on
nothing solid, your Majesty is aware how much influence such a fact has."

Louis XIV. had lost no time in explaining to the powers the grounds of
his acceptance. "The King of Spain's will," he said in his manifesto,
"establishes the peace of Europe on solid bases." "Tallard did not utter
a single word on handing me his sovereign's letter, the contents of which
are the same as of that which the states have received," wrote William to
Heinsius. "I said to him that perhaps I had testified too eager a desire
for the preservation of peace, but that, nevertheless, my inclination in
that respect had not changed. Whereupon he replied, 'The king my master,
by accepting the will, considers that he gives a similar proof of his
desire to maintain peace.' Thereupon he made me a bow and withdrew."

William of Orange had not deceived himself in thinking that Louis XIV.
would govern Spain in his grandson's name. Nowhere are the old king's
experience and judgment more strikingly displayed than in his letters to
Philip V. "I very much wish," he wrote to him, "that you were as sure of
your own subjects as you ought to be of mine in the posts in which they
may be employed; but do not be astounded at the disorder you find amongst
your troops, and at the little confidence you are able to place in them;
it needs a long reign and great pains to restore order and secure the
fidelity of different peoples accustomed to obey a house hostile to
yours. If you thought it would be very easy and very pleasant to be a
king, you were very much mistaken." A sad confession for that powerful
monarch, who in his youth found "the vocation of king beautiful, noble,
and delightful."

"The eighteenth century opened with a fulness of glory and unheard-of
prosperity; "but Louis XIV. did not suffer himself to be lulled to sleep
by the apparent indifference with which Europe, the empire excepted,
received the elevation of Philip V. to the throne of Spain. On the 6th
of February, 1701, the seven barrier towns of the Spanish Low Countries,
which were occupied by Dutch garrisons in virtue of the peace of Ryswick,
opened their gates to the French on an order from the King of Spain.
"The instructions which the Elector of Bavaria, governor of the Low
Countries, had given to the various governors of the places, were so well
executed," says M. de Vault in his account of the campaign in Flanders,
"that we entered without any hinderance. Some of the officers of the
Dutch troops grumbled, and would have complained, but the French general
officers who had led the troops pacified them, declaring that they did
not come as enemies, and that all they wanted was to live in good
understanding with them."

The twenty-two Dutch battalions took the road back before long to their
own country, and became the nucleus of the army which William of Orange
was quietly getting ready in Holland as well as in England; his peoples
were beginning to open their eyes; the States General, deprived of the
barrier towns, had opened the dikes; the meadows were flooded. On the
7th of September, 1701, England and Holland signed for the second time
with the emperor a Grand Alliance, engaging not to lay down arms until
they had reduced the possessions of King Philip V. to Spain and the
Indies, restored the barrier of Holland, and secured an indemnity to
Austria, and the definitive severance of the two crowns of France and
Spain. In the month of June the Austrian army had entered Italy under
the orders of Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignano, son of the Count of
Soissons and Olympia Mancini, conqueror of the Turks and revolted
Hungarians, and passionately hostile to Louis XIV., who, in his youth,
had refused to employ him. He had already crossed the Adige and the
Mincio, driving the French back behind the Oglio. Marshal Catinat, a man
of prudence and far-sightedness, but discouraged by the bad condition of
his troops, coldly looked upon at court, and disquieted by the aspect of
things in Italy, was acting supinely; the king sent Marshal Villeroi to
supersede him; Catinat, as modest as he was warmly devoted to the glory
of his country, finished the campaign as a simple volunteer.

The King of France and the emperor were looking up allies. The princes
of the north were absorbed by the war which was being waged against his
neighbors of Russia and Poland by the young King of Sweden, Charles XII.,
a hero of eighteen, as irresistible as Gustavus Adolphus in his impetuous
bravery, without possessing the rare qualities of authority and judgment
which had distinguished the Lion of the North. He joined the Grand
Alliance, as did Denmark and Poland, whose new king, the Elector of
Saxony, had been supported by the emperor in his candidature and in his
abjuration of Protestantism. The Elector of Brandenburg, recently
recognized as King of Prussia under the name of Frederic I., and the new
Elector of Hanover were eager to serve Leopold, who had aided them in
their elevation. In Germany, only Maximilian, Elector of Bavaria,
governor of the Low Countries, and his brother, the Elector of Cologne,
embraced the side of France. The Duke of Savoy, generalissimo of the
king's forces in Italy, had taken the command of the army. "But in that
country," wrote the Count of Tesse, "there is no reliance to be placed on
places, or troops, or officers, or people. I have had another interview
with this incomprehensible prince, who received me with every
manifestation of kindness, of outward sincerity, and, if he were capable
of it, I would say of friendship for him of whom his Majesty made use but
lately in the work of peace in Italy. 'The king is master of my person,
of my dominions,' he said to me, 'he has only to give his commands; but I
suppose that he still desires my welfare and my aggrandizement.' 'As for
your aggrandizement, Monseigneur,' said I, 'in truth I do not see much
material for it just at present; as for your welfare, we must be allowed
to see your intentions a little more clearly first, and take the liberty
of repeating to you that my prescience does not extend so far. I do him
the justice to believe that he really feels the greater part of all that
he expresses for your Majesty; but that horrid habit of indecision and
putting off till to-morrow what he might do to-day is not eradicated, and
never will be.'"

The Duke of Savoy was not so undecided as M. de Tess supposed; he managed
to turn to good account the mystery which hung habitually over all his
resolutions. A year had not rolled by, and he was openly engaged in the
Grand Alliance, pursuing, against France, the cause of that
aggrandizement which he had but lately hoped to obtain from her, and
which, by the treaty of Utrecht, was worth the title of king to him.

Pending the time to declare himself he had married his second daughter,
Princess Marie Louise Gabrielle, to the young King of Spain, Philip V.

"Never had the tranquillity of Europe been so unstable as it was at the
commencement of 1702," says the correspondence of Chamillard, published
by General Pelet; "it was but a phantom of peace that was enjoyed, and it
was clear, from whatever side matters were regarded, that we were on the
eve of a war which could not but be of long duration, unless, by some
unforeseen accident, the houses of Bourbon and Austria should come to an
arrangement which would allow them to set themselves in accord touching
the Spanish succession; but there was no appearance of conciliation."

Louis XIV. had just done a deed which destroyed the last faint hopes of
peace. King James II. was dying at St. Germain, and the king went to see
him. The sick man opened his eyes for a moment when he was told that the
king was there [_Memoires de Dangeau,_ t. viii. p. 192], and closed them
again immediately. The king told him that he had come to assure him that
he might die in peace as regarded the Prince of Wales, and that he would
recognize him as King of England, Ireland, and Scotland. All the English
who were in the room fell upon their knees, and cried, "God save the
king!" James II. expired a week later, on the 16th of September, 1701,
saying to his son, as his last advice, "I am about to leave this world,
which has been to me nothing but a sea of tempests and storms. The
Omnipotent has thought right to visit me with great afflictions; serve
Him with all your heart, and never place the crown of England in the
balance with your eternal salvation." James II. was justified in giving
his son this supreme advice the solitary ray of greatness in his life and
in his soul had proceeded from his religious faith, and his unwavering
resolution to remain loyal to it at any price and at any risk.

"On returning to Marly," says St. Simon, "the king told the whole court
what he had just done. There was nothing but acclamations and praises.
It was a fine field for them: but reflections, too, were not less prompt,
if they were less public. The king still flattered himself that he would
hinder Holland and England, the former of which was so completely
dependent, from breaking with him in favor of the house of Austria; he
relied upon that to terminate before long the war in Italy, as well as
the whole affair of the succession in Spain and its vast dependencies,
which the emperor could not dispute with his own forces only, or even
with those of the empire. Nothing, therefore, could be more incompatible
with this position, and with the solemn recognition he had given, at the
peace of Ryswick, of the Prince of Orange as King of England. It was to
hurt him personally in the most sensitive spot, all England with him and
Holland into the bargain, without giving the Prince of Wales, by
recognition, any solid support in his own case."

[Illustration: News for William III.----481]

William III. was at table in his castle of Dieren, in Holland, when he
received this news. He did not utter a word, but he colored, crushed his
hat over his head, and could not command his countenance. The Earl of
Manchester, English ambassador, left Paris without taking leave of the
king, otherwise than by this note to M. de Torcy:--

"Sir: The king my master, being informed that his Most Christian.
Majesty has recognized another King of Great Britain, does not consider
that his dignity and his service will permit him to any longer keep an
ambassador at the court of the king your master, and he has sent me
orders to withdraw at once, of which I do myself the honor to advertise
you by this note."

"All the English," says Torcy, in his Memoires, "unanimously regard it
as a mortal affront on the part of France, that she should pretend to
arrogate to herself the right of giving them a king, to the prejudice of
him whom they had themselves invited and recognized for many years past."

Voltaire declares, in the "Siecle de Louis XIV.,_ that M. de Torcy
attributed the recognition of the Prince of Wales by Louis XIV. to the
influence of Madame de Maintenon, who was touched by the tears of the
queen, Mary of Modena. "He had not," he said, "inserted the fact in his
Memoires, because he did not think it to his master's honor that two
women should have made him change a resolution to the contrary taken in
his council." Perhaps the deplorable state of William III.'s health, and
the inclination supposed to be felt by Princess Anne of Denmark to
restore the Stuarts to the throne, since she herself had lost the Duke of
Gloucester, the last survivor of her seventeen children, might have
influenced the unfortunate resolution of Louis XIV. His kingly
magnanimity and illusions might have bound him to support James II.,
dethroned and fugitive; but no obligation of that sort existed in the
case of a prince who had left England at his nurse's, breast, and who had
grown up in exile. In the _Athalie_ of Racine, Joad (Jehoiada) invokes
upon the impious queen:

"That spirit of infatuation and error
The fatal avant-courier of the fall of kings."

The recognition of the Prince of Wales as King of England was, in the
case of Louis XIV., the most indisputable token of that fatal blindness.

William III. had paid dear for the honor of being called to the throne
of England. More than once he had been on the point of abandonhig the
ungrateful nation which so ill requited his great services; he had
thought of returning to live in the midst of his Hollanders,
affectionately attached to his family as well as to his person. The
insult of the King of France restored to his already dying adversary all
the popularity he had lost. When William returned from Holland to open a
new Parliament, on the 10th of January, 1702, manifestations of sympathy
were lavished upon him on all sides of the house. "I have no doubt,"
said he, "that the late proceedings of his Most Christian Majesty and the
dangers which threaten all the powers of Europe have excited your most
lively resentment. All the world have their eyes fixed upon England;
there is still time, she may save her religion and her liberty, but let
her profit by every moment, let her arm by land and sea, let her lend her
allies all the assistance in her power, and swear to show her enemies,
the foes of her religion, her liberty, her government, and the king of
her choice, all the hatred they deserve."

This speech, more impassioned than the utterances of William III.
generally were, met with an eager echo from his people; the houses voted
a levy of forty thousand sailors and fifty thousand soldiers; Holland had
promised ninety thousand men; but the health of the King of England went
on declining; he had fallen from his horse on the 4th of March, and
broken his collarbone; this accident hastened the progress of the malady
which was pulling him down; when his friend Keppel, whom he had made Earl
of Albemarle, returned, on the 18th of March, from Holland, William
received him with these words: "I am drawing towards my end."

He had received the consolations of religion from the bishops, and had
communicated with great self-possession; he scarcely spoke now, and
breathed with difficulty. "Can this last long?" he asked the physician,
who made a sign in the negative. He had sent for the Earl of Portland,
Bentinek, his oldest and most faithful friend; when he arrived, the king
took his hand and held it between both his own, upon his heart. Thus he
remained for a few moments; then he yielded up his great spirit to God,
on the 19th (8th) of March, 1702, at eight in the morning. He was not
yet fifty-two.

In a greater degree perhaps than any other period, the eighteenth century
was rich in men of the first order. But never did more of the spirit of
policy, never did loftier and broader views, never did steadier courage
animate and sustain a weaker body than in the case of William of Orange.
Savior of Holland at the age of twenty-two in the war against Louis XIV.,
protector of the liberties of England against the tyranny of James II.,
defender of the independence of the European states against the unbridled
ambition of the King of France, he became the head of Europe by the
proper and free ascendency of his genius; cold and reserved, more capable
of feeling than of testifying sympathy, often ill, always unfortunate in
war, he managed to make his will triumph, in England despite Jacobite
plots and the jealous suspicions of the English Parliaments, in Holland
despite the constant efforts of the republican and aristocratic party,
in Europe despite envy and the waverings of the allied sovereigns.
Intrepid, spite of his bad health, to the extent of being ready, if need
were, to die in the last ditch, of indomitable obstinacy in his
resolutions, and of rare ability in the manipulation of affairs, he was
one of those who are born masters of men, no matter what may at the
outset be their condition and their destiny. In vain had Cromwell
required of Holland the abolition of the stadtholderate in the house of
Nassau, in vain had John van Witt obtained the voting of the perpetual
edict, William of Orange lived and died stadtholder of Holland and king
of that England which had wanted to close against him forever the
approaches to the throne in his own native countiy. When God has created
a man to play a part and hold a place in this world, all efforts and all
counsels to the contrary are but so many stalks of straw under his feet.
William of Orange at his death had accomplished his work: Europe had
risen against Louis XIV.

The campaigns of 1702 and 1703 presented an alternation of successes and
reverses favorable, on the whole, to France. Marshal Villeroi had failed
in Italy against Prince Eugene. He was superseded by the Duke of
Vendome, grandson of Henry IV. and captor of Barcelona, indolent,
debauched, free in tone and in conduct, but able, bold, beloved by the
soldiers, and strongly supported at court. Catinat had returned to
France, and went to Versailles at the commencement of the year 1702.
"M. de Chamillard had told him the day before, from the king, that his
Majesty had resolved to give him the command of the army in Germany; he
excused himself for some time from accepting this employment; the king
ended by saying, 'Now we are in a position for you to explain to me, and
open your heart about all that took place in Italy during the last
campaign.' The marshal answered, 'Sir, those things are all past; the
details I could give you thereof would be of no good to the service of
your Majesty, and would serve merely, perhaps, to keep up eternal
heart-burnings; and so I entreat you to be pleased to let me preserve a
profound silence as to all that. I will only justify myself, sir, by
thinking how I may serve you still better, if I can, in Germany than I
did in Italy.'" Worn out and disgusted, Catinat failed in Germany as he
had in Italy; he took his retirement, and never left his castle of St.
Gratien any more: it was the Marquis of Villars, lately ambassador at
Vienna, who defeated the imperialists at Friedlingen, on the 14th of
August, 1702; a month later Tallard retook the town of Landau. The
perfidious manoeuvres of the Duke of Savoy had just come to light. The
king ordered Vendome to disarm the five thousand Piedmontese who were
serving in his army. That operation effected, the prince sent Victor-
Amadeo this note, written by Louis XIV.'s own hand:--

"Sir: As religion, honor, and your own signature count for nothing
between us, I send my cousin, the Duke of Vendome, to, explain to you my
wishes. He will give you twenty-four hours to decide."

The mind of the Duke of Savoy was made up, from this day forth the father
of the Duchess of Burgundy and of the Queen of Spain took rank amongst
the declared enemies of France and Spain.

Whilst Louis XIV. was facing Europe, in coalition against him, with
generals of the second and third order, the allies were discovering in
the Duke of Marlborough a worthy rival of Prince Eugene. A covetous and
able courtier, openly disgraced by William III. in consequence of his
perfidious intrigues with the court of St. Germain, he had found his
fortunes suddenly retrieved by the accession of Queen Anne, over whom his
wife had for a long time held the sway of a haughty and powerful
favorite. The campaigns of 1702 and 1703 had shown him to be a prudent
and a bold soldier, fertile in resources and novel conceptions; and those
had earned him the thanks of Parliament and the title of duke. The
campaign of 1704 established his glory upon the misfortunes of France.
Marshals Tallard and Marsin were commanding in Germany together with the
Elector of Bavaria; the emperor, threatened with a fresh insurrection in
Hungary, recalled Prince Eugene from Italy; Marlborough effected a
junction with him by a rapid march, which Marshal Villeroi would fain
have hindered, but to no purpose; on the 13th of August, 1704, the
hostile armies met between Blenheim and Hochstett, near the Danube; the
forces were about equal, but on the French side the counsels were
divided, the various corps acted independently. Tallard sustained
single-handed the attack of the English and the Dutch, commanded by
Marlborough; he was made prisoner, his son was killed at his side; the
cavalry, having lost their leader and being pressed by the enemy, took to
flight in the direction of the Danube; many officers and soldiers
perished in the river; the slaughter was awful. Marsin and the elector,
who had repulsed five successive charges of Prince Eugene, succeeded in
effecting their retreat; but the electorates of Bavaria and Cologne were
lost, Landau was recovered by the allies after a siege of two months, the
French army recrossed the Rhine, Elsass was uncovered, and Germany
evacuated. In Spain the English had just made themselves masters of
Gibraltar. "This shows clearly, sir," wrote Tallard to Chamillard after
the defeat, "what is the effect of such diversity of counsel, which makes
public all that one intends to do, and it is a severe lesson never to
have more than one man at the head of an army. It is a great misfortune
to have to deal with a prince of such a temper as the Elector of
Bavaria." Villars was of the same opinion; it had been his fate, in the
campaign of 1703, to come to open loggerheads with the elector. "The
king's army will march to-morrow, as I have had the honor to tell your
Highness," he had declared. "At these words," says Villars, the blood
mounted to his face; he threw his hat and wig on the table in a rage.
'I commanded,' said he, 'the emperor's army in conjunction with the Duke
of Lorraine; he was a tolerably great general, and he never treated me in
this manner.' 'The Duke of Lorraine,' answered I, 'was a great prince
and a great general; but, for myself, I am responsible to the king for
his army, and I will not expose it to destruction through the evil
counsels so obstinately persisted in.' Thereupon I went out of the
room." Complete swaggerer as he was, Villars had more wits and
resolution than the majority of the generals left to Louis XIV., but in
1704 he was occupied in putting down the insurrection of the Camisards in
the south of France: neither Tallard nor Marsin had been able to impose
their will upon the elector. In 1705 Villars succeeded in checking the
movement of Marlborough on Lothringen and Champagne. "He flattered
himself he would swallow me like a grain of salt," wrote the marshal.
The English fell back, hampered in their adventurous plans by the
prudence of the Hollanders, controlled from a distance by the grand
pensionary Heinsius. The imperialists were threatening Elsass; the
weather was fearful; letters had been written to Chamillard to say that
the inundations alone would be enough to prevent the enemy from investing
Fort Louis. "There is nothing so nice as a map," replied Villars; "with
a little green and blue one puts under water all that one wishes but a
general who goes and examines it, as I have done, finds in divers places
distances of a mile where these little rivers, which are supposed to
inundate the country, are quite snug in their natural bed, larger than
usual, but not enough to hinder the enemy in any way in the world from
making bridges." Fort Louis was surrounded, and Villars found himself
obliged to retire upon Strasburg, whence he protected Elsass during the
whole campaign of 1706.

The defeat of Hochstett, in 1704, had been the first step down the
ladder; the defeat of Ramillies, on the 23d of May, 1706, was the second
and the fatal rung. The king's personal attachment to Marshal Villeroi
blinded him as to his military talents. Beaten in Italy by Prince
Eugene, Villeroi, as presumptuous as he was incapable, hoped to retrieve
himself against Marlborough. "The whole army breathed nothing but
battle; I know it was your Majesty's own feeling," wrote Villeroi to the
king, after the defeat: "could I help committing myself to a course which
I considered expedient?" The marshal had deceived himself as regarded
his advantages, as well as the confidence of his troops; there had been
eight hours' fighting at Hochstett, inflicting much damage upon the
enemy; at Ramillies, the Bavarians took to their heels at the end of an
hour; the French, who felt that they were badly commanded, followed their
example; the rout was terrible, and the disorder inexpressible. Villeroi
kept recoiling before the enemy, Marlborough kept advancing; two thirds
of Belgium and sixteen strong places were lost, when Louis XIV. sent
Chamillard into the Low Countries; it was no longer the time when Louvois
made armies spring from the very soil, and when Vauban prepared the
defence of Dunkerque. The king recalled Villeroi, showing him to the
last unwavering kindness. "There is no more luck at our age, marshal,"
was all he said to Villeroi, on his arrival at Versailles. "He was
nothing more than an old wrinkled balloon, out of which all the gas that
inflated it has gone," says St. Simon: "he went off to Paris and to
Villeroi, having lost all the varnish that made him glitter, and having
nothing more to show but the under-stratum."

The king summoned Vendome, to place him at the head of the army of
Flanders, "in hopes of restoring to it the spirit of vigor and audacity
natural to the French nation," as he himself says. For two years past,
amidst a great deal of ill-success, Vendome had managed to keep in check
Victor-Amadeo and Prince Eugene, in spite of the embarrassment caused him
by his brother the grand prior, the Duke of La Feuillade, Chamillard's
son-in-law, and the orders which reached him directly from the king; he
had gained during his two campaigns the name of taker of towns, and had
just beaten the Austrians in the battle of Cascinato. Prince Eugene had,
however, crossed the Adige and the Po when Vendome left Italy.

"Everybody here is ready to take off his hat when Marlborough's name is
mentioned," he wrote to Chamillard, on arriving in Flanders. The English
and Dutch army occupied all the country from Ostend to Maestricht.

The Duke of Orleans, nephew of the king, had succeeded the Duke of
Vendome. He found the army in great disorder, the generals divided and
insubordinate, Turin besieged according to the plans of La Feuillade,
against the advice of Vauban, who had offered "to put his marshal's baton
behind the door, and confine himself to giving his counsels for the
direction of the siege;" the prince, in his irritation, resigned his
powers into the hands of Marshal Marsin; Prince Eugene, who had effected
his junction with Victor-Amadeo, encountered the French army between the
Rivers Doria and Stora. The soldiers remembered the Duke of Orleans at
Steinkirk and Neerwinden; they asked him if he would grudge them his
sword. He yielded, and was severely wounded at the battle of Turin, on
the 7th of September, 1706; Marsin was killed, discouragement spread
amongst the generals and the troops, and the siege of Turin was raised;
before the end of the year, nearly all the places were lost, and Dauphiny
was threatened. Victor-Amadeo refused to listen to a special peace: in
the month of March, 1707, the Prince of Vaudemont, governor of Milaness
for the King of Spain, signed a capitulation, at Mantua, and led back to
France the troops which still remained to him. The imperialists were
masters of Naples. Spain no longer had any possessions in Italy.

Philip V. had been threatened with the loss of Spain as well as of Italy.
For two years past Archduke Charles, under the title of Charles III.,
had, with the support of England and Portugal, been disputing the crown
with the young king. Philip V. had lost Catalonia, and had just failed
in his attempt to retake Barcelona; the road to Madrid was cut off, the
army was obliged to make its way by Roussillon and Warn to resume the
campaign; the king threw himself in person into his capital, whither he
was escorted by Marshal Berwick, a natural son of James II., a Frenchman
by choice, full of courage and resolution, "but a great stick of an
Englishman, who hadn't a word to say," and who was distasteful to the
young queen, Marie-Louise. Philip V. could not remain at Madrid, which
was threatened by the enemy: he removed to Burgos; the English entered
the capital, and there proclaimed Charles III.

This was too, much; Spain could not let herself submit to have an
Austrian king imposed upon her by heretics and Portuguese; the old
military energy appeared again amongst that people besotted by priests
and ceremonials; war broke out all at once at every point; the foreign
soldiers were everywhere attacked openly or secretly murdered; the towns
rose; a few horsemen sufficed for Berwick to recover possession of
Madrid; the king entered it once more, on the 4th of October, amidst the
cheers of his people, whilst Berwick was pursuing the enemy, whom he had
cornered (_rencogne_), he says, in the mountains of Valencia. Charles
III. had no longer anything left in Spain but Aragon and Catalonia. The
French garrisons, set free by the evacuation of Italy, went to the aid of
the Spaniards. "Your enemies ought not to hope for success," wrote Louis
XIV. to his grandson, "since their progress has served only to bring out
the courage and fidelity of a nation always equally brave and firmly
attached to its masters. I am told that your people cannot be
distinguished from regular troops. We have not been fortunate in
Flanders, but we must submit to the judgment of God." He had already let
his grandson understand that a great sacrifice would be necessary to
obtain peace, which he considered himself bound to procure before long
for his people. The Hollanders refused their mediation. "The three men
who rule in Europe, to wit, the grand pensionary Heinsius, the Duke of
Marlborough, and Prince Eugene, desire war for their own interests," was
the saying in France. The campaign of 1707 was signalized in Spain by
the victory of Almanza, gained on the 13th of April by Marshal Berwick
over the Anglo-Portuguese army, and by the capture of Lerida, which
capitulated on the 11th of November into the hands of the Duke of
Orleans. In Germany, Villars drove back the enemy from the banks of the
Rhine, advanced into Suabia, and ravaged the Palatinate, crushing the
country with requisitions, of which he openly reserved a portion for
himself. "Marshal Villars is doing very well for himself," said
somebody, one day, to the king. "Yes," answered his Majesty, "and for me
too." "I wrote to the king that I really must fat my calf," said

The inexhaustible elasticity and marvellous resources of France were
enough to restore some hope in 1707. The invasion of Provence by Victor-
Amadeo and Prince Eugene, their check before Toulon, and their retreat,
precipitated by the rising of the peasants, had irritated the allies; the
attempts at negotiation which the king had entered upon at the Hague
remained without result; the Duke of Burgundy took the command of the
armies of Flanders, with Vendome for his second; it was hoped that the
lieutenant's boldness, his geniality towards the troops, and his
consummate knowledge of war, would counterbalance the excessive gravity,
austerity, and inexperience of the young prince so virtuous and capable,
but reserved, cold, and unaccustomed to command; discord arose amongst
the courtiers; on the 5th of July Ghent was surprised; Vendome had
intelligence inside the place, the Belgians were weary of their new
masters. "The States have dealt so badly with this country," said
Marlborough, "that all the towns are ready to play us the same trick as
Ghent, the moment they have the opportunity." Bruges opened its gates to
the French. Prince Eugene advanced to second Marlborough, but he was
late in starting; the troops of the Elector of Bavaria harassed his
march. "I shouldn't like to say a word against Prince Eugene," said
Marlborough, "but he will arrive at the appointed spot on the Moselle ten
days too late." The English were by themselves when they encountered the
French army in front of Audernarde. The engagement began. Vendome, who
commanded the right wing, sent word to the Duke of Burgundy. The latter
hesitated and delayed; the generals about him did not approve of
Vendome's movement. He fought single-handed, and was beaten. The excess
of confidence of one leader, and the inertness of the other, caused
failure in all the operations of the campaign; Prince Eugene and the Duke
of Marlborough laid siege to Lille, which was defended by old Marshal
Boufflers, the bravest and the most respected of all the king's servants.
Lille was not relieved, and fell on the 25th of October; the citadel held
out until the 9th of December; the king heaped rewards on Marshal
Bouffers: at the march out from Lille, Prince Eugene had ordered all his
army to pay him the same honors as to himself. Ghent and Bruges were
abandoned to the imperialists. "We had made blunder upon blunder in this
campaign," says Marshal Berwick, in his Memoires, "and, in spite of all
that if somebody had not made the last in giving up Ghent and Bruges,
there would have been a fine game the year after." The Low Countries
were lost, and the French frontier was encroached upon by the capture of
Lille. For the first time, in a letter addressed to Marshal Berwick,
Marlborough let a glimpse be seen of a desire to make peace; the king
still hoped for the mediation of Holland, and he neglected the overtures
of Marlborough: "the army of the allies is, without doubt, in evil
plight," said Chamillard.

The campaign in Spain had not been successful; the Duke of Orleans, weary
of his powerlessness, and under suspicion at the court of Philip V., had
given up the command of the troops; the English admiral, Leake, had taken
possession of Sardinia, of the Island of Minorca, and of Port Mahon; the
archduke was master of the isles and of the sea. The destitution in
France was fearful, and the winter so severe that the poor were in want
of everything; riots multiplied in the towns; the king sent his plate to
the mint, and put his jewels in pawn; he likewise took a resolution which
cost him even more; he determined to ask for peace.

"Although his courage appeared at every trial," says the Marquis of
Torcy, "he felt within him just sorrow for a war whereof the weight
overwhelmed his subjects. More concerned for their woes than for his own
glory, he employed, to terminate them, means which might have induced
France to submit to the hardest conditions before obtaining a peace that
had become necessary, if God, protecting the king, had not, after
humiliating him, struck his foes with blindness."

There are regions to which superior minds alone ascend, and which are not
attained by the men, however distinguished, who succeed them. William
III. was no longer at the head of affairs in Europe; and the triumvirate
of Heinsius, Marlborough, and Prince Eugene did not view the aggregate of
things from a sufficiently calm height to free themselves from the
hatreds and, bitternesses of the strife, when the proposals of Louis XIV.
arrived at the Hague. "Amidst the sufferings caused to commerce by the
war, there was room to hope," says Torcy, "that the grand pensionary,
thinking chiefly of his country's interest, would desire the end of a war
of which he felt all the burdensomeness. Clothed with authority in his
own republic, he had no reason to fear either secret design or cabals to
displace him from a post which he filled to the satisfaction of his
masters, and in which he conducted himself with moderation. Up to that
time the United Provinces had borne the principal burden of the war. The
emperor alone reaped the fruit of it. One would have said that the
Hollanders kept the temple of peace, and that they had the keys of it in
their hands."

The king offered the Hollanders a very extended barrier in the Low
Countries, and all the facilities they had long been asking for their
commerce. He accepted the abandonment of Spain to the archduke, and
merely claimed to reserve to his grandson Naples, Sardinia, and Sicily.
This was what was secured to him by the second treaty of partition lately
concluded between England, tine United Provinces, and France; he did not
even demand Lothringen. President Rouille, formerly French envoy to
Lisbon, arrived disguised in Holland; conferences were opened secretly at

The treaties of partition negotiated by William of Orange, as well as
the wars which he had sustained against Louis XIV. with such persistent
obstinacy, had but one sole end, the maintenance of the European
equilibrium between the houses of Bourbon and Austria, which were alone
powerful enough to serve as mutual counterpoise. To despoil one to the
profit of the other, to throw, all at once, into the balance on the side
of the empire all the weight of the Spanish succession, was to destroy
the work of William III.'s far-sighted wisdom. Heinsius did not see it;
but led on by his fidelity to the allies, distrustful and suspicious as
regarded France, burning to avenge the wrongs put upon the republic, he,
in concert with Marlborough and Prince Eugene, required conditions so
hard that the French agent scarcely dared transmit them to Versailles.
What was demanded was the abdication, pure and simple, of Philip V.:
Holland merely promised her good offices to obtain in his favor Naples
and Sicily; England claimed Dunkerque; Germany wanted Strasburg and the
renewal of the peace of Westphalia; Victor-Amadeo aspired to recover Nice
and Savoy; to the Dutch barrier stipulated for at Ryswick were to be
added Lille, Conde, and Tournay. In vain was the matter discussed
article by article; Rouille for some time believed that he had gained
Lille. "You misinterpreted our intentions," said the deputies of the
States General; "we let you believe what you pleased; at the commencement
of April. Lille was still in a bad condition; we had reason to fear that
the French had a design of taking advantage of that; it was a matter of
prudence to let you believe that it would be restored to you by the
peace. Lille is at the present moment in a state of security; do not
count any longer on its restitution." "Probably," said the States'
delegate to Marlborough, "the king will break off negotiations rather
than entertain such hard conditions." "So much the worse for France,"
rejoined the English general; "for when the campaign is once begun,
things will go farther than the king thinks. The allies will never unsay
their preliminary demands." And he set out for England without even
waiting for a favorable wind to cross.

Louis XIV. assembled his council, the same which, in 1700, had decided
upon acceptance of the crown of Spain. "The king felt all these
calamities so much the more keenly," says Torcy, "in that he had
experienced nothing of the sort ever since he had taken into his own
hands the government of a flourishing kingdom. It was a terrible
humiliation for a monarch accustomed to conquer, belauded for his
victories, his triumphs, his moderation when he granted peace and
prescribed its laws, to see himself now obliged to ask it of his enemies,
to offer them to no purpose, in order to obtain it, the restitution of a
portion of his conquests, the monarchy of Spain, the abandonment of his
allies, and forced, in order to get such offers accepted, to apply to
that same republic whose principal provinces he had conquered in the year
1692, and whose submission he had rejected when she entreated him to
grant her peace on such terms as he should be pleased to dictate. The
king bore so sensible a change with the firmness of a hero, and with a
Christian's complete submission to the decrees of Providence, being less
affected by his own inward pangs than by the suffering of his people, and
being ever concerned about the means of relieving it, and terminating the
war. It was scarcely perceived that he did himself some violence in
order to conceal his own feelings from the public; indeed; they were so
little known that it was pretty generally believed that, thinking more of
his own glory than of the woes of his kingdom, he preferred to the
blessing of peace the keeping of certain places he had taken in person.
This unjust opinion had crept in even amongst the council."

The reading of the Dutch proposals tore away every veil; "the necessity
of obtaining peace, whatever price it might cost, was felt so much the
more." The king gave orders to Rouille to resume the conferences,
demanding clear and precise explanations. "If the worst comes to the
worst," said he, "I will give up Lille to the Hollanders, Strasburg
dismantled to the Empire, and I will content myself with Naples without
Sicily for my grandson. You will be astounded at the orders contained in
this despatch, so different from those that I have given you hitherto,
and that I considered, as it was, too liberal, but I have always
submitted to the divine will, and the evils with which He is pleased to
afflict my kingdom do not permit me any longer to doubt of the sacrifice
He requires me to make to Him of all that might touch me most nearly. I
waive, therefore, my glory." The Marquis of Torcy, secretary of state
for foreign affairs, followed close after the despatch; he had offered
the king to go and treat personally with Heinsius.

"The grand pensionary appeared surprised when he heard that his Majesty
was sending one of his ministers to Holland. He had been placed at that
post by the Prince of Orange, who put entire confidence in him. Heinsius
had not long before been sent to France to confer with Louvois, and, in
the discharge of that commission, he had experienced the bad temper of a
minister more accustomed to speak harshly to military officers than to
treat with foreigners; he had not forgotten that the minister had
threatened to have him put in the Bastille. Consummate master of
affairs, of which he had a long experience, he was the soul of the league
with Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough; but the pensionary was
not accused either of being so much in love with the importance given him
by continuance of the war as to desire its prolongation or of any
personally interested view. His externals were simple, there was no
ostentation in his household; his address was cold without any sort of
rudeness, his conversation was polished, he rarely grew warm in
discussion." Torcy could not obtain anything from Heinsius, any more
than from Marlborough and Prince Eugene, who had both arrived at the
Hague: the prince remained cold and stern; he had not forgotten the
king's behavior towards his house. "That's a splendid post in France,
that of colonel general," said he one day; "my father held it; at his
death we hoped that my brother might get it; the king thought it better
to give it to one of his, natural sons. He is master, but all the same
is one not sorry sometimes to find one's self in a position to make
slights repented of." "Marlborough displayed courtesy, insisting upon
seeing in the affairs of the coalition the finger of God, who had
permitted eight nations to think and act like one man." The concessions
extorted from France were no longer sufficient: M. de Torcy gave up
Sicily, and then Naples; a demand was made for Elsass, and certain places
in Dauphiny and Provence; lastly, the allies required that the conditions
of peace should be carried out at short notice, during the two months'
truce it was agreed to grant, and that Louis XIV. should forthwith put
into the hands of the Hollanders three places by way of guarantee, in
case Philip V. should refuse to abdicate. This was to despoil himself
prematurely and gratuitously, for it was impossible to execute the
definitive treaty of peace at the time fixed. "The king did not hesitate
about the only course there was for him to take, not only for his own
glory, but for the welfare of his kingdom," says Torcy; he recalled his
envoys, and wrote to the governors of the provinces and towns,--

"Sir: The hope of an imminent peace was so generally diffused throughout
my kingdom, that I consider it due to the fidelity which my people have
shown during the course of my reign to give them the consolation of
informing them of the reasons which still prevent them from enjoying the
repose I had intended to procure for them. I would, to restore it, have
accepted conditions much opposed to the security of my frontier
provinces; but the more readiness and desire I displayed to dissipate the
suspicions which my enemies affect to retain of my power and my designs,
the more did they multiply their pretensions, refusing to enter into any
undertaking beyond putting a stop to all acts of hostility until the
first of the month of August, reserving to themselves the liberty of then
acting by way of arms if the King of Spain, my grandson, persisted in his
resolution to defend the crown which God has given him; such a suspension
was more dangerous than war for my people, for it secured to the enemy
more important advantages than they could hope for from their troops. As
I place my trust in the protection of God, and hope that the purity of my
intentions will bring down His blessing on my arms, I wish my people to
know that they would enjoy peace if it had depended only on my will to
procure them a boon which they reasonably, desire, but which must be won
by fresh efforts, since the immense conditions I would have granted are
useless for the restoration of the public peace.

"Signed: Louis."

In spite of all the mistakes due to his past arrogance, the king had a
right to make use of such language. In their short-sighted resentment
the allies had overstepped reason. The young King of Spain felt this
when he wrote to his grandfather, "I am transfixed at the chimerical and
insolent pretensions of the English and Dutch regarding the preliminaries
of peace; never were seen the like. I am beside myself at the idea that
anybody could have so much as supposed that I should be forced to leave
Spain as long as I have a drop of blood in my veins. I will use all my
efforts to maintain myself upon a throne on which God has placed me, and
on which you, after Him, have set me, and nothing but death shall wrench
me from it or make me yield it." War re-commenced on all sides. The
king had just consented at last to give Chamillard his discharge. "Sir,
I shall die over the job," had for a long time been the complaint of the
minister worn out with fatigue. "Ah! well, we will die together," had
been the king's rejoinder.

France was dying, and Chamillard was by no means a stranger to the cause.
Louis XIV. put in his place Voysin, former superintendent of Hainault,
entirely devoted to Madame de Maintenon. He loaded with benefits the
minister from whom he was parting, the only one whom he had really loved.
The troops were destitute of everything. On assuming the command of the
army of the Low Countries, Villars wrote in despair, "Imagine the horror
of seeing an army without bread! There was none delivered to-day until
the evening, and very late. Yesterday, to have bread to serve out to the
brigades I had ordered to march, I made those fast that remained behind.
On these occasions I pass along the ranks, I coax the soldier, I speak to
him in such a way as to make him have patience, and I have had the
consolation of hearing several of them say, 'The marshal is quite right;
we must suffer sometimes.' '_Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie_'
(give us this day our daily bread), the men say to me as I go through the
ranks; it is a miracle how we subsist, and it is a marvel to see the
steadiness and fortitude of the soldier in enduring hunger; habit is
everything; I fancy, however, that the habit of not eating is not easy
to acquire."

In spite of such privations and sufferings, Villars found the army in
excellent spirits, and urged the king to permit him to give battle.
"M. de Turenne used to say that he who means to altogether avoid battle
gives up his country to him who appears to seek it," the marshal assured
him; the king was afraid of losing his last army; the Dukes of Harcourt
and Berwick were covering the Rhine and the Alps; Marlborough and Prince
Eugene, who had just made themselves masters of Tournay, marched against
Villars, whom they encountered on the 11th of September, 1709, near the
hamlet of Malplaquet. Marshal Boufflers had just reached the army to
serve as a volunteer. Villars had intrenched himself in front of the
woods; his men were so anxious to get under fire, that they threw away
the rations of bread just served out; the allies looked sulkily at the
works. "We are going to fight moles again," they said.

There was a thick fog, as at Lutzen; the fighting went on from seven in
the morning till midday. Villars had yielded the right wing, by way of
respect, to Bouffiers as his senior, says the allies' account, but the
general command nevertheless devolved entirely upon him. "At the hottest
of the engagement, the marshal galloped furiously to the centre attacked
by Prince Eugene. It was a sort of jaws of hell, a pit of fire, sulphur,
and saltpetre, which it seemed impossible to approach and live. One shot
and my horse fell," says Villars. "I jumped up, and a second broke my
knee; I had it bandaged on the spot, and myself placed in a chair to
continue giving my orders, but the pain caused a fainting-fit which
lasted long enough for me to be carried off without consciousness to
Quesnoy." The Prince of Hesse, with the imperial cavalry, had just
turned the intrenchments, which the Dutch infantry had attacked to no
purpose; Marshal Boufflers was obliged to order a retreat, which was
executed as on parade. "The allies had lost more than twenty thousand
men," according to their official account. "It was too much for this
victory, which did not entail the advantage of entirely defeating the
enemy, and the whole fruits of which were to end with the taking of
Mons." Always a braggart, in spite of his real courage and indisputable
military talent, Villars wrote from his bed to the king, on sending him
the flags taken from the enemy, "If God give us grace to lose such
another battle, your Majesty may reckon that your enemies are
annihilated." Boufflers was more proud, and at the same time more
modest, when he said, "The series of disasters that have for some years
past befallen your Majesty's arms, had so humiliated the French nation
that one scarcer dared avow one's self a Frenchman. I dare assure you,
sir, that the French name was never in so great esteem, and was never
perhaps more feared, than it is at present in the army of the allies."

[Illustration: Bivouac of Louis XIV.----503]

Louis XIV. was no longer in a position to delude himself, and to
celebrate a defeat, even a glorious one, as a victory. Negotiations
recommenced. Heinsius had held to his last proposals. It was on this
sorry basis that Marshal d'Huxelles and Abbe de Polignac began the
parleys, at Gertruydenberg, a small fortress of Mardyk. They lasted from
March 9 to July 25, 1710; the king consented to give some fortresses as
guarantee, and promised to recommend his grandson to abdicate; in case of
refusal, he engaged not only to support him no longer, but to furnish the
allies, into the bargain, with a monthly subsidy of a million, whilst
granting a passage through French territory; he accepted the cession of
Elsass to Lothringen, the return of the three bishoprics to the empire;
the, Hollanders, commissioned to negotiate in the name of the coalition,
were not yet satisfied. "The desire of the allies," they said, "is, that
the king should undertake, himself alone and by his own forces, either to
persuade or to oblige the King of Spain to give up all his monarchy.
Neither money nor the co-operation of the French troops suit their
purpose; if the preliminary articles be not complied with in the space of
two months, the truce is broken off, war will recommence, even though on
the part of the king the other conditions should have been wholly
fulfilled. The sole means of obtaining peace is to receive from the
king's hands Spain and the Indies."

The French plenipotentiaries had been recommended to have patience.
Marshal d'Huxelles was a courtier as smooth as he was clever; Abbe de
Polignac was shrewd and supple, yet he could not contain his indignation.
"It is evident that you have not been accustomed to conquer!" said he
haughtily to the Dutch delegates. When the allies' ultimatum reached the
king, the pride of the sovereign and the affection of the father rose up
at last in revolt. "Since war there must be," said he, "I would rather
wage it against my enemies than against my grandson;" and he withdrew all
the concessions which had reduced Philip V. to despair. The allies had
already invaded Artois; at the end of the campaign they were masters of
Douai, St. Venant, Bethune, and Aire; France was threatened everywhere,
the king could no longer protect the King of Spain; he confined himself
to sending him Vendome. Philip V., sustained by the indomitable courage
of his young wife, refused absolutely to abdicate. "Whatever misfortunes
may await me," he wrote to the king, "I still prefer the course of
submission to whatever it may please God to decide for me by fighting to
that of deciding for myself by consenting to an arrangement which would
force me to abandon the people on whom my reverses have hitherto produced
no other effect than to increase their zeal and affection for me."

It was, therefore, with none but the forces of Spain that Philip V., at
the outset of the campaign of 1710, found himself confronting the English
and Portuguese armies. The Emperor Joseph, brother of Archduke Charles,
had sent him a body of troops commanded by a distinguished general, Count
von Stahrenberg. Going from defeat to defeat, the young king found
himself forced, as in 1706, to abandon his capital; he removed the seat
of government to Valladolid, and departed, accompanied by more than
thirty thousand persons of every rank, resolved to share his fortunes.
The archduke entered Madrid. "I have orders from Queen Anne and the
allies to escort King Charles to Madrid," said the English general, Lord
Stanhope; when he is once there, God or the devil keep him in or turn him
out; it matters little to me; that is no affair of mine."

Stanhope was in the right not to pledge himself; the hostility of the
population of Madrid did not permit the archduke to reside there long;
after running the risk of being carried off in his palace on the Prado,
he removed to Toledo; Vendome blocked the road against the Portuguese;
the archduke left the town, and withdrew into Catalonia; Stahrenberg
followed him on the 22d of November, harassed on his march by the Spanish
guerrillas rising everywhere upon his route; every straggler, every
wounded man, was infallibly murdered by the peasants; Stanhope, who
commanded the rearguard, found himself invested by Vendome in the town of
Brihuega; the Spaniards scarcely gave the artillery time to open a
breach, the town was taken by assault, and the English made prisoners.
Stahrenberg retraced his steps; on the 10th of December fighting began
near Villaviciosa; the advantage was for a long time undecided and
disputed; night came; the Austrian general spiked his guns and retreated
by forced marches; the Spaniards bivouacked on the battle-field, the king
slept on a bed made of the enemy's flags; the allies had taken refuge in
Catalonia; Spain had won back her independence and her king. There was
great joy at Versailles, greater than in the kingdom; the sole aspiration
was for peace.

An unexpected assistance was at hand. Queen Anne, wearied with the
cupidity and haughtiness of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, had
given them notice to quit; the friends of the duke had shared his fall,
and the Tories succeeded the Whigs in power. The chancellor of the
exchequer, Harley, soon afterwards Earl of Oxford, and the secretary of
state, St. John, who became Lord Bolingbroke, were inclined to peace.
Advances were made to France. A French priest, Abbe Gautier, living in
obscurity in England, arrived in Paris during January, 1711; he went to
see M. de Torcy at Versailles. "Do you want peace?" said he. "I have
come to bring you the means of treating for it, and concluding
independently of the Hollanders, unworthy of the king's kindnesses and of
the honor he has so often done them of applying to them to pacificate
Europe." "To ask just then one of his Majesty's ministers if he desired
peace," says Torcy, "was to ask a sick man suffering from a long and
dangerous disease if he wants to be cured." Negotiations were secretly
opened with the English cabinet. The Emperor Joseph had just died (April
17, 1711). He left none but daughters. From that moment Archduke
Charles inherited the domains of the house of Austria, and aspired to the
imperial crown; by giving him Spain, Europe re-established the monarchy
of Charles V.; she saw the dangers into which she was being drawn by the
resentments or short-sighted ambition of the triumvirate; she fell back
upon the wise projects of William III. Holland had abandoned them; to
England fell the honor of making them triumphant. She has often made war
upon the Continent with indomitable obstinacy and perseverance; but at
bottom and by the very force of circumstances England remains, as regards
the affairs of Europe, an essentially pacific power. War brings her no
advantage; she cannot pretend to any territorial aggrandizement in
Europe; it is the equilibrium between the continental powers that makes
her strength, and her first interest was always to maintain it.

The campaign of 1711 was everywhere insignificant. Negotiations were
still going on with England, secretly and through subordinate agents:
Manager, member of the Board of Trade, for France; and, for England, the
poet Prior, strongly attached to Harley. On the 29th of January, 1712,
the general conferences were opened at Utrecht. The French had been
anxious to avoid the Hague, dreading the obstinacy of Heinsius in favor
of his former proposals. Preliminary points were already settled with
England; enormous advantages were secured in America to English commerce,
to which was ceded Newfoundland and all that France still possessed in
Acadia; the general proposals had been accepted by Queen Anne and her
ministers. In vain had the Hollanders and Prince Eugene made great
efforts to modify them; St. John had dryly remarked that England had
borne the greatest part in the burden of the war, and it was but just
that she should direct the negotiations for peace. For five years past
the United Provinces, exhausted by the length of hostilities, had
constantly been defaulters in their engagements; it was proved to Prince
Eugene that the imperial army had not been increased by two regiments in
consequence of the war the emperor's ambassador, M. de Galas, displayed
impertinence: he was forbidden to come to the court; in spite of the
reserve imposed upon the English ministers by the strife of parties in a
free country, their desire for peace was evident. The queen had just
ordered the creation of new peers in order to secure a majority of the
upper house in favor of a pacific policy.

[Illustration: The Grand Dauphin----505]

The bolts of Heaven were falling one after another upon the royal family
of France. On the 14th of April, 1711, Louis XIV. had lost by small-pox
his son, the grand dauphin, a mediocre and submissive creature, ever the
most humble subject of the king, at just fifty years of age. His eldest
son, the Duke of Burgundy, devout, austere, and capable, the hope of good
men and the terror of intriguers, had taken the rank of dauphin, and was
seriously commencing his apprenticeship in government, when he was
carried off on the 18th of February, 1712, by spotted fever (_rougeole
pourpree_), six days after his wife, the charming Mary Adelaide of Savoy,
the idol of the whole court, supremely beloved by the king, and by Madame
de Maintenon, who had brought her up; their son, the Duke of Brittany,
four years old, died on the 8th of March; a child in the cradle, weakly
and ill, the little Duke of Anjou, remained the only shoot of the elder
branch of the Bourbons. Dismay seized upon all France; poison was spoken
of; the Duke of Orleans was accused; it was necessary to have a post
mortem examination; only the hand of God had left its traces. Europe in
its turn was excited. If the little Duke of Anjou were to die, the crown
of France reverted to Philip V. The Hollanders and the ambassadors of
the Emperor Charles VI. recently crowned at Frankfurt, insisted on the
necessity of a formal renunciation. In accord with the English
ministers, Louis XIV. wrote to his grandson,--

"You will be told what England proposes, that you should renounce your
birthright, retaining the monarchy of Spain and the Indies, or renounce
the monarchy of Spain, retaining your rights to the succession in France,
and receiving in exchange for the crown of Spain the kingdoms of Sicily
and Naples, the states of the Duke of Savoy, Montferrat, and the Mantuan,
the said Duke of Savoy succeeding you in Spain; I confess to you that,
notwithstanding the disproportion in the dominions, I have been sensibly
affected by the thought that you would continue to reign, that I might
still regard you as my successor, sure, if the dauphin lives, of a regent
accustomed to command, capable of maintaining order in my kingdom and
stifling its cabals. If this child were to die, as his weakly complexion
gives too much reason to suppose, you would enjoy the succession to me
following the order of your birth, and I should have the consolation of
leaving to my people a virtuous king, capable of commanding them, and one
who, on succeeding me, would unite to the crown states so considerable as
Naples, Savoy, Piedmont, and Montferrat. If gratitude and affection
towards your subjects are to you pressing reasons for remaining with
them, I may say that you owe me the same sentiments; you owe them to your
own house, to your own country, before Spain. All that I can do for you
is to leave you once more the choice, the necessity for concluding peace
becoming every day more urgent."

The choice of Philip V. was made; he had already written to his
grandfather to say that he would renounce all his rights of succession
to the throne of France rather than give up the crown of Spain. This
decision was solemnly enregistered by the Cortes. The English required
that the Dukes of Berry and Orleans should, likewise make renunciation of
their rights to the crown of Spain. Negotiations began again, but war
began again at the same time as the negotiations.

The king had given Villars the command of the army of Flanders. The
marshal went to Marly to receive his last orders. "You see my plight,
marshal," said Louis XIV. "There are few examples of what is my fate--to
lose in the same week a grandson, a grandson's wife and their son, all of
very great promise and very tenderly beloved. God is punishing me; I
have well deserved it. But suspend we my griefs at my own domestic woes,
and look we to what may be done to prevent those of the kingdom. If
anything were to happen to the army you command, what would be your idea
of the course I should adopt as regards my person?" The marshal
hesitated. The king resumed: "This is what I think; you shall tell me
your opinion afterwards. I know the courtiers' line of argument; they
nearly all wish me to retire to Blois, and not wait for the enemy's army
to approach Paris, as it might do if mine were beaten. For my part, I am
aware that armies so considerable are never defeated to such an extent as
to prevent the greater part of mine from retiring upon the Somme. I know
that river; it is very difficult to cross; there are forts, too, which
could be made strong. I should count upon getting to Peronne or St.
Quentin, and there massing all the troops I had, making a last effort
with you, and falling together or saving the kingdom; I will never
consent to let the enemy approach my capital. [_Memoires de Villars,
t. ii. p. 362.]"

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest