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

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indefatigable explorer fell at last beneath the blows of a few mutineers,
in 1687, just as he was trying to get back to New France; he left the
field open after him to the innumerable travellers of every nation and
every language who were one day to leave their mark on those measureless
tracts. Everywhere, in the western regions of the American continent,
the footsteps of the French, either travellers or missionaries, preceded
the boldest adventurers. It is the glory and the misfortune of France to
always lead the van in the march of civilization, without having the wit
to profit by the discoveries and the sagacious boldness of her children.
On the unknown roads which she has opened to the human mind and to human
enterprise she has often left the fruits to be gathered by nations less
inventive and less able than she, but more persevering and less perturbed
by a confusion of desires and an incessant renewal of hopes.

The treaty of Utrecht had taken out of French hands the gates of Canada,
Acadia, and Newfoundland. It was now in the neighborhood of New France
that the power of England was rising, growing rapidly through the
development of her colonies, usurping little by little the empire of the
seas. Canada was prospering, however; during the long wars which the
condition of Europe had kept up in America, the Canadians had supplied
the king's armies with their best soldiers. Returning to their homes,
and resuming without an effort the peaceful habits which characterized
them, they skilfully cultivated their fields, and saw their population
increasing naturally, without any help from the mother-country. The
governors had succeeded in adroitly counterbalancing the influence of the
English over the Indian tribes. The Iroquois, but lately implacable foes
of France, had accepted a position of neutrality. Agricultural
development secured to the country comparative prosperity, but money was
scarce, the instinct of the population was not in the direction of
commerce; it was everywhere shackled by monopolies. The English were
rich, free, and bold; for them the transmission and the exchange of
commodities were easy. The commercial rivalry which set in between the
two nations was fatal to the French; when the hour of the final struggle
came, the Canadians, though brave, resolute, passionately attached to
France, and ready for any sacrifice, were few in number compared with
their enemies. Scattered over a vast territory, they possessed but poor
pecuniary resources, and could expect from the mother country only
irregular assistance, subject to variations of gov ernment and fortune as
well as to the chances of maritime warfare and engagements at sea, always
perilous for the French ships, which were inferior in build and in
number, whatever might be the courage and skill of their commanders.
The capture of Louisbourg and of the Island of Cape Breton by the English
colonists, in 1745, profoundly disquieted the Canadians. They pressed
the government to make an attempt upon Acadia. "The population has
remained French," they said; "we are ready to fight for our relatives and
friends who have passed under the yoke of the foreigner." The ministry
sent the Duke of Anville with a considerable fleet; storms and disease
destroyed vessels and crews before it had been possible to attack. A
fresh squadron, commanded by the Marquis of La Jonquiere, encountered the
English off Cape Finisterre in Spain. Admiral Anson had seventeen ships,
M. de La Jonquiere had but six; he, however, fought desperately. "I
never saw anybody behave better than the French commander," wrote the
captain of the English ship Windsor; "and, to tell the truth, all the
officers of that nation showed great courage; not one of them struck
until it was absolutely impossible to manoeuvre." The remnants of the
French navy, neglected as it had been through the unreflecting economy of
Cardinal Fleury, were almost completely destroyed, and England reckoned
more than two hundred and fifty ships of war. Neither the successes in
the Low Countries and in Germany nor the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle put a
serious end to the maritime war; England used her strength to despoil the
French forever of the colonies which she envied them. The frontiers of
Canada and Acadia had not been clearly defined by the treaties of peace.
Distrust and disquiet reigned amongst the French colonists; the ardor of
conquest fired the English, who had for a long while coveted the valley
of the Ohio and its fertile territories. The covert hostility which
often betrayed itself by acts of aggression was destined ere long to lead
to open war. An important emigration began amongst the Acadians; they
had hitherto claimed the title of neutrals, in spite of the annexation of
their territory by England, in order to escape the test oath and to
remain faithful to the Catholic faith; the priests and the French agents
urged them to do more; more than three thousand Acadians left their
fields and their cottages to settle on the French coasts, along the Bay
of Fundy. Every effort of the French governors who succeeded one another
only too rapidly in Canada was directed towards maintaining the natural
or factitious barriers between the two territories. The savages, excited
and flattered by both sides, loudly proclaimed their independence and
their primitive rights over the country which the Europeans were
disputing between themselves. "We have not ceded our lands to anybody,"
they said; "and we have no mind to obey any king." "Do you know what is
the difference between the King of France and the Englishman?" the
Iroquois was asked by Marquis Duquesne, the then governor of Canada.
"Go and look at the forts which the king had set up, and you will see
that the land beneath his walls is still a hunting-ground, he having
chosen the spots frequented by you simply to serve your need. The
Englishman, on the other hand, is no sooner in possession of land than
the game is forced to quit, the woods are felled, the soil is uncovered,
and you can scarcely find the wherewithal to shelter yourselves at

The governor of Canada was not mistaken. Where France established mere
military posts, and as it were landmarks of her political dominion, the
English colonists, cultivators and traders, brought with them practical
civilization, the natural and powerful enemy of savage life. Already war
was in preparation without regard to the claims of these humble allies,
who were destined ere long to die out before might and the presence of a
superior race. The French commander in the valley of the Ohio, M. de
Contrecoeur, was occupied with preparations for defence, when he learned
that a considerable body of English troops were marching against him
under the orders of Colonel Washington. He immediately despatched M. de
Jumonville with thirty men to summon the English to retire and to
evacuate French territory. At break of day on the 18th of May, 1754,
Washington's men surprised Jumonville's little encampment. The attack
was unexpected; it is not known whether the French envoy had time to
convey the summons with which he had been charged; he was killed,
together with nine men of his troops. The irritation caused by this
event precipitated the commencement of hostilities. A corps of
Canadians, re-enforced by a few savages, marched at once against
Washington; he was intrenched in the plain; he had to be attacked with
artillery. The future hero of American independence was obliged to
capitulate; the English retired with such precipitation that they
abandoned even their flag.

Negotiations were still going on between London and Versailles, and
meanwhile the governors of the English colonies had met together to form
a sort of confederation against French power in the new world. They were
raising militia everywhere. On the 20th of January, 1755, General
Braddock with a corps of regulars landed at Williamsburg, in Virginia.
Two months later, or not until the end of April, in fact, Admiral Dubois
de la Motte quitted Brest with re-enforcements and munitions of war for
Canada. After him and almost in his wake went Admiral Boscawen from
Plymouth, on the 27th of April, seeking to encounter him at sea. "Most
certainly the English will not commence hostilities," said the English
cabinet to calm the anxieties of France.

It was only off Newfoundland that Admiral Boscawen's squadron encountered
some French vessels detached from the fleet in consequence of the bad
weather. "Captain Hocquart, who commanded the _Alcide,_" says the
account of M. de Choiseul, "finding himself within hail of the
_Dunkerque,_ had this question put in English: 'Are we at peace or war?'
The English captain appearing not to understand, the question was
repeated in French. 'Peace! peace!' shouted the English. Almost at the
same moment the _Dunkerque_ poured in a broadside, riddling the _Alcide_
with balls." The two French ships were taken; and a few days afterwards,
three hundred merchant vessels, peaceably pursuing their course, were
seized by the English navy. The loss was immense, as well as the
disgrace. France at last decided upon declaring war, which had already
been commenced in fact for more than two years.

It was regretfully, and as if compelled by a remnant of national honor,
that Louis XV. had just adopted the resolution of defending his colonies;
he had, and the nation had as well, the feeling that the French were
hopelessly weak at sea. "What use to us will be hosts of troops and
plenty of money," wrote the advocate Barbier, "if we have only to fight
the English at sea? They will take all our ships one after another, they
will seize all our settlements in America, and will get all the trade.
We must hope for some division amongst the English nation itself, for the
king personally does not desire war."

The English nation was not divided. The ministers and the Parliament, as
well as the American colonies, were for war. "There is no hope of repose
for our thirteen colonies, as long as the French are masters of Canada,"
said Benjamin Franklin, on his arrival in London in 1754. He was already
laboring, without knowing it, at that great work of American independence
which was to be his glory and that of his generation; the common efforts
and the common interest of the thirteen American colonies in the war
against France were the first step towards that great coalition which
founded the United States of America.

The union with the mother-country was as yet close and potent: at the
instigation of Mr. Fox, soon afterwards Lord Holland, and at the time
Prime Minister of England, Parliament voted twenty-five millions for the
American war. The bounty given to the soldiers and marines who enlisted
was doubled by private subscription; fifteen thousand men were thus
raised to invade the French colonies.

Canada and Louisiana together did not number eighty thousand inhabitants,
whilst the population of the English colonies already amounted to twelve
hundred thousand souls; to the twenty-eight hundred regular troops sent
from France, the Canadian militia added about four thousand men, less
experienced but quite as determined as the most intrepid veterans of the
campaigns in Europe. During more than twenty years the courage and
devotion of the Canadians never faltered for a single day.

Then began an unequal, but an obstinate struggle, of which the issue,
easy to foresee, never cowed or appeased the actors in it. The able
tactics of M. de Vaudreuil, governor of the colony, had forced the
English to scatter their forces and their attacks over an immense
territory, far away from the most important settlements; the forts which
they besieged were scarcely defended. "A large enclosure, with a
palisade round it, in which there were but one officer and nineteen
soldiers," wrote the Marquis of Montcalm at a later period, "could not be
considered as a fort adapted to sustain a siege." In the first campaign,
the settlements formed by the Acadian emigrants on the borders of the Bay
of Fundy were completely destroyed: the French garrisons were obliged to
evacuate their positions.

This withdrawal left Acadia, or neutral land, at the mercy of the
Anglo-Americans. Before Longfellow had immortalized, in the poem of
Evangeline, the peaceful habits and the misfortunes of the Acadians,
Raynal had already pleaded their cause before history. "A simple and a
kindly people," he said, "who had no liking for blood, agriculture was
their occupation.

They had been settled in the low grounds, forcing back, by dint of dikes,
the sea and rivers wherewith those plains were covered. The drained
marshes produced wheat, rye, oats, barley, and maize. Immense prairies
were alive with numerous flocks; as many as sixty thousand horned cattle
were counted there. The habitations, nearly all built of wood, were very
commodious, and furnished with the neatness sometimes found amongst our
European farmers in the easiest circumstances. Their manners were
extremely simple; the little differences which might from time to time
arise between the colonists were always amicably settled by the elders.
It was a band of brothers, all equally ready to give or receive that
which they considered common to all men."

War and its horrors broke in upon this peaceful idyl.

The Acadians had constantly refused to take the oath to England; they
were declared guilty of having violated neutrality. For the most part
the accusation was unjust; but all were involved in the same

On the 5th of September, 1755, four hundred and eighteen heads of
families were summoned to meet in the church of Grand Pre. The same
order had been given throughout all the towns of Acadia. The anxious
farmers had all obeyed. Colonel Winslow, commanding the Massachusetts
militia, repaired thither with great array. "It is a painful duty which
brings me here," he said. "I have orders to inform you that your lands,
your houses, and your crops are confiscated to the profit of the crown;
you can carry off your money and your linen on your deportation from the
province." The order was accompanied by no explanation; nor did it admit
of any. All the heads of families were at once surrounded by the
soldiers. By tens, and under safe escort, they were permitted to visit
once more the fields which they had cultivated, the houses in which they
had seen their children grow up. On the 10th they embarked, passing, on
their way to the ships, between two rows of women and children in tears.
The young people had shown a disposition to resist, demanding leave to
depart with their families: the soldiers crossed their bayonets. The
vessels set sail for the English colonies, dispersing over the coast the
poor creatures they had torn away from all that was theirs. Many
perished of want while seeking from town to town their families, removed
after them from Acadia; the charity of the American colonists relieved
their first wants. Some French Protestants, who had settled in
Philadelphia after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, welcomed them
as brothers, notwithstanding the difference of their creed; for they knew
all the heart-rending evils of exile.

Much emotion was excited in France by the woes of the Acadians. In spite
of the declaration of war, Louis XV. made a request to the English
cabinet for permission to send vessels along the coasts of America, to
pick up those unfortunates. "Our navigation act is against it," replied
Mr. Grenville; "France cannot send ships amongst our colonies." A few
Acadians, nevertheless, reached France; they settled in the outskirts of
Bordeaux, where their descendants still form the population of two
prosperous communes. Others founded in Louisiana settlements which bore
the name of Acadia. The crime was consummated: the religious, pacific,
inoffensive population, which but lately occupied the neutral land, had
completely disappeared. The greedy colonists, who envied them their
farms and pasturage, had taken possession of the spoil; Acadia was
forever in the power of the Anglo-Saxon race, which was at the same
moment invading the valley of the Ohio.

General Braddock had mustered his troops at Wills Creek, in the
neighborhood of the Alleghany Mountains. He meditated surprising Fort
Duquesne, erected but a short time previously by the French on the banks
of the Ohio. The little army was advancing slowly across the mountains
and the forests; Braddock divided it into two corps, and placing himself
with Colonel Washington, who was at that time serving on his staff at the
head of twelve hundred men, he pushed forward rapidly. "Never," said
Washington afterwards, "did I see a finer sight than the departure of the
English troops on the 9th of July, 1755; all the men were in full
uniform, marching in slow time and in perfect order; the sun was
reflected from their glittering arms; the river rolled its waves along on
their right, and on their left the vast forest threw over them its mighty
shadows. Officers and soldiers were equally joyous and confident of

Twice the attacking column had crossed the Monongahela by fording; it was
leaving the plain which extended to some distance from Fort Duquesne, to
enter the wood-path, when the advance-guard was all at once brought up by
a tremendous discharge of artillery; a second discharge came almost
immediately from the right. The English could not see their enemy; they
were confused, and fell back upon General Braddock and the main body of
the detachment who were coming up to their aid. The disorder soon became
extreme. The regular troops, unaccustomed to this kind of warfare,
refused to rally, in spite of the efforts of their general, who would
have had them manoeuvre as in the plains of Flanders; the Virginia
militia alone, recurring to habits of forest warfare, had dispersed, but
without flying, hiding themselves behind the trees, and replying to the
French or Indian sharpshooters.

[Illustration: Death of General Braddock----203]

Before long General Braddock received a mortal wound; his staff had
fallen almost to a man; Colonel Washington alone, reserved by God for
another destiny, still sought to rally his men. "I have been protected
by the almighty intervention of Providence beyond every human
probability," he wrote to his brother after the action. "I received four
balls in my clothes, and I had two horses killed under me; nevertheless I
came out of it safe and sound, whilst death was sweeping down my comrades
around me." The small English corps was destroyed; the fugitives
communicated their terror to the detachment of Colonel Dunbar, who was
coming to join them. All the troops disbanded, spiking the guns and
burning the munitions and baggage; in their panic the soldiers asked no
question save whether the enemy were pursuing them. "We have been
beaten, shamefully beaten," wrote Washington, "by a handful of French
whose only idea was to hamper our march. A few moments before the action
we thought our forces almost a match for all those of Canada; and yet,
against every probability, we have been completely defeated and have lost
everything." The small French corps, which sallied from Fort Duquesne
under the orders of M. de Beaujeu, numbered only two hundred Canadians
and six hundred Indians. It was not until three years later, in 1758,
that Fort Duquesne, laid in ruins by the defenders themselves, at last
fell into the hands of the English, who gave to it, in honor of the great
English minister, the name of Pittsburg, which is borne to this day by a
flourishing town.

The courage of the Canadians and the able use they had the wits to make
of their savage allies still balanced the fortunes of the war; but the
continuance of hostilities betrayed more and more every day the
inferiority of the forces and the insufficiency of the resources of the
colony. "The colonists employed in the army, of which they form the
greater part, no longer till the lands they had formerly cleared, far
from clearing new ones," wrote the superintendent of Canada; "the levies
about to be made will still further dispeople the country. What will
become of the colony? There will be a deficiency of everything,
especially of corn; up to the present the intention had been not to raise
the levies until the work of spring was over. That indulgence can no
longer be accorded, since the war will go on during the winter, and the
armies must be mustered as early as the month of April. Besides, the
Canadians are decreasing fast; a great number have died of fatigue and
disease. There is no, relying," added the superintendent, "on the
savages save so long as we have the superiority, and so long as all their
wants are supplied." The government determined to send re-enforcements
to Canada under the orders of the Marquis of Montcalm.

The new general had had thirty-five years' service, though he was not yet
fifty; he had distinguished himself in Germany and in Italy. He was
brave, amiable, clever; by turns indolent and bold; skilful in dealing
with the Indians, whom he inspired with feelings of great admiration;
jealous of the Canadians, their officers and their governor, M. de
Vaudreuil; convinced beforehand of the uselessness of all efforts and of
the inevitable result of the struggle he maintained with indomitable
courage. More intelligent than his predecessor, General Dieskau, who,
like Braddock, had fallen through the error of conducting the war in the
European fashion, he, nevertheless, had great difficulty in wrenching
himself from the military traditions of his whole life. An expedition,
in 1756, against Fort Oswego, on the right bank of Lake Ontario, was
completely successful; General Webb had no time to relieve the garrison,
which capitulated. Bands of Canadians and Indians laid waste
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Montcalm wrote to the minister of
war, Rouille, "It is the first time that, with three thousand men and
less artillery, a siege has been maintained against eighteen hundred, who
could be readily relieved by two thousand, and who could oppose our
landing, having the naval superiority on Lake Ontario. The success has
been beyond all expectation. The conduct I adopted on this occasion and
the arrangements I ordered are so contrary to the regular rules, that the
boldness displayed in this enterprise must look like rashness in Europe.
Therefore, I do beseech you, monseigneur, as the only favor I ask, to
assure his Majesty that, if ever he should be pleased, as I hope, to
employ me in his own armies, I will behave differently."

The same success everywhere attended the arms of the Marquis of Montcalm.
In 1757 he made himself master of Fort William Henry, which commanded the
lake of Saint-Sacrement; in 1758 he repulsed with less than four thousand
men the attack of General Abercrombie, at the head of sixteen thousand
men, on Carillon, and forced the latter to relinquish the shores of Lake
Champlain. This was cutting the enemy off once more from the road to
Montreal; but Louisbourg, protected in 1757 by the fleet of Admiral
Dubois de la Motte, and now abandoned to its own resources, in vain
supported an unequal siege; the fortifications were in ruins, the
garrison was insufficient notwithstanding its courage and the heroism of
the governor, M. de Drucourt. Seconded by his wife, who flitted about
the ramparts, cheering and tending the wounded, he energetically opposed
the landing of the English, and maintained himself for two months in an
almost open place. When he was at last obliged to surrender, on the 26th
of July, Louisbourg was nothing but a heap of ruins; all the inhabitants
of the islands of St. John and Cape Breton were transported by the
victors to France.

Canada had by this time cost France dear; and she silently left it to its
miserable fate. In vain did the governor, the general, the commissariat
demand incessantly re-enforcements, money, provisions; no help came from
France. "We keep on fighting, nevertheless," wrote Montcalm to the
minister of war, "and we will bury ourselves, if necessary, under the
ruins of the colony." Famine, the natural result of neglecting the land,
went on increasing: the Canadians, hunters and soldiers as they were, had
only cleared and cultivated their fields in the strict ratio of their
daily wants; there was a lack of hands; every man was under arms;
destitution prevailed everywhere; the inhabitants of Quebec were reduced
to siege-rations; the troops complained and threatened to mutiny; the
enemy had renewed their efforts: in the campaign of 1758, the journals of
the Anglo-American colonies put their land forces at sixty thousand men.
"England has at the present moment more troops in motion on this
continent than Canada contains inhabitants, including old men, women,
and children," said a letter to Paris from M. Doreil, war commissioner.
Mr. Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, who had lately, come to the head of
the English government, resolved to strike the last blow at the French
power in America. Three armies simultaneously invaded Canada; on the
25th of June, 1759, a considerable fleet brought under the walls of
Quebec General Wolfe, a young and hopeful officer who had attracted
notice at the siege of Louisbourg. "If General Montcalm succeeds again
this year in frustrating our hopes," said Wolfe, "he may be considered an
able man; either the colony has resources that nobody knows of, or our
generals are worse than usual."

Quebec was not fortified; the loss of it involved that of all Canada; it
was determined to protect the place by an outlying camp; appeal was made
to the Indian tribes, lately zealous in the service of France, but now
detached from it by ill fortune and diminution of the advantages offered
them, and already for the most part won over by the English. The
Canadian colonists, exhausted by war and famine, rose in mass to defend
their capital. The different encampments which surrounded Quebec
contained about thirteen thousand soldiers. "So strong a force had not
been reckoned upon," says an eye-witness, "because nobody had expected to
have so large a number of Canadians; but there prevailed so much
emulation among this people that there were seen coming into the camp old
men of eighty and children of from twelve to thirteen, who would not hear
of profiting by the exemption accorded to their age." The poor
cultivators, turned soldiers, brought to the camp their slender
resources; the enemy was already devastating the surrounding country.
"It will take them half a century to repair the damage," wrote an
American officer in his journal of the expedition on the St. Lawrence.
The bombardment of Quebec was commencing at the same moment.

For more than a month the town had stood the enemy's fire; all the
buildings were reduced to ruins, and the French had not yet budged from
their camp of Ange-Gardien. On the 31st of July, General Wolfe, with
three thousand men, came and attacked them in front by the River
St. Lawrence, and in flank by the River Montmorency. He was repulsed by
the firm bravery of the Canadians, whose French impetuosity seemed to
have become modified by contact with the rough climates of the north.
Immovable in their trenches, they waited until the enemy was within
range; and, when at length they fired, the skill of the practised hunters
made fearful havoc in the English ranks. Everywhere repulsed, General
Wolfe in despair was obliged to retreat. He all but died of vexation,
overwhelmed with the weight of his responsibility. "I have only a choice
of difficulties left," he wrote to the English cabinet. Aid and
encouragement did not fail him.

The forts of Carillon on Lake Champlain and of Niagara on Lake Ontario
were both in the hands of the English. A portion of the Canadians had
left the camp to try and gather in the meagre crops which had been
cultivated by the women and children. In the night between the 12th and
13th of September, General Wolfe made a sudden dash upon the banks of the
St. Lawrence; he landed at the creek of Foulon. The officers had replied
in French to the _Qui vive_ ( Who goes there?) of the sentinels, who had
supposed that what they saw passing was a long-expected convoy of
provisions; at daybreak the English army was ranged in order of battle on
the Plains of Abraham; by evening, the French were routed, the Marquis of
Montcalm was dying, and Quebec was lost.

General Wolfe had not been granted time to enjoy his victory. Mortally
wounded in a bayonet charge which he himself headed, he had been carried
to the rear. The surgeons who attended to him kept watching the battle
from a distance. "They fly," exclaimed one of them. "Who?" asked
the general, raising himself painfully. "The French!" was the answer.
"Then I am content to die." he murmured, and expired.

[Illustration: Death of Wolfe----209]

Montcalm had fought like a soldier in spite of his wounds; when he fell
he still gave orders about the measures to be taken and the attempts to
be made. "All is not lost," he kept repeating. He was buried in a hole
pierced by a cannonball in the middle of the church of the Ursulines; and
there he still rests. In 1827, when all bad feeling had subsided, Lord
Dalhousie, the then English governor of Canada, ordered the erection at
Quebec of an obelisk in marble bearing the names and busts of Wolfe and
Montcalm, with this inscription: _Mortem virtus communem, famam historia,
monumentum posteritas dedit_ [Valor, history, and posterity assigned
fellowship in death, fame, and memorial].

In 1759, the news of the death of the two generals was accepted as a sign
of the coming of the end. Quebec capitulated on the 18th of September,
notwithstanding the protests of the population. The government of Canada
removed to Montreal.

The joy in England was great, as was the consternation in France. The
government had for a long while been aware of the state to which the army
and the brave Canadian people had been reduced, the nation knew nothing
about it; the repeated victories of the Marquis of Montcalm had caused
illusion as to the gradual decay of resources. The English Parliament
resolved to send three armies to America, and the remains of General
Wolfe were interred at Westminster with great ceremony. King Louis XV.
and his ministers sent to Canada a handful of men and a vessel which
suffered capture from the English; the governor's drafts were not paid at
Paris. The financial condition of France did not permit her to any
longer sustain the heroic devotion of her children.

M. de Lally-Tollendal was still struggling single-handed in India,
exposed to the hatred and the plots of his fellow-countrymen as well as
of the Hindoos, at the very moment when the Canadians, united in the same
ideas of effort and sacrifice, were trying their last chance in the
service of the distant mother-country, which was deserting them. The
command had passed from the hands of Montcalm into those of the general
who was afterwards a marshal and Duke of Levis. He resolved, in the
spring of 1760, to make an attempt to recover Quebec.

"All Europe," says Raynal, "supposed that the capture of the capital was
an end to the great quarrel in North America. Nobody supposed that a
handful of French who lacked everything, who seemed forbidden by fortune
itself to harbor any hope, would dare to dream of retarding inevitable
fate." On the 28th of April, the army of General de Levis, with great
difficulty maintained during the winter, debouched before Quebec on those
Plains of Abraham but lately so fatal to Montcalm.

General Murray at once sallied from the place in order to engage before
the French should have had time to pull themselves together. It was a
long and obstinate struggle; the men fought hand to hand, with
impassioned ardor, without the cavalry or the savages taking any part in
the action; at nightfall General Murray had been obliged to re-enter the
town and close the gates. The French, exhausted but triumphant, returned
slowly from the pursuit; the unhappy fugitives fell into the hands of the
Indians; General de Levis had great difficulty in putting a stop to the
carnage. In his turn he besieged Quebec.

One single idea possessed the minds of both armies; what flag would be
carried by the vessels which were expected every day in the St.
Lawrence? "The circumstances were such on our side," says the English
writer Knox, "that if the French fleet had been the first to enter the
river, the place would have fallen again into the hands of its former

On the 9th of May, an English frigate entered the harbor. A week
afterwards, it was followed by two other vessels. The English raised
shouts of joy upon the ramparts, the cannon of the place saluted the
arrivals. During the night between the 16th and 17th of May, the little
French army raised the siege of Quebec. On the 6th of September, the
united forces of Generals Murray, Amherst, and Haviland invested

A little wall and a ditch, intended to resist the attacks of Indians, a
few pieces of cannon eaten up with rust, and three thousand five hundred
troops--such were the means of defending Montreal. The rural population
yielded at last to the good fortune of the English, who burned on their
marsh the recalcitrant villages. Despair was in every heart; M. de
Vaudreuil assembled during the night a council of war. It was determined
to capitulate in the name of the whole colony. The English generals
granted all that was asked by the Canadian population; to its defenders
they refused the honors of war. M. de Levis retired to the Island of
Sainte-Helene, resolved to hold out to the last extremity; it was only at
the governor's express command that he laid down arms. No more than
three thousand soldiers returned to France.

The capitulation of Montreal was signed on the 8th of September, 1760;
on the 10th of February, 1763, the peace concluded between France, Spain,
and England completed without hope of recovery the loss of all the French
possessions in America; Louisiana had taken no part in the war; it was
not conquered; France ceded it to Spain in exchange for Florida, which
was abandoned to the English. Canada and all the islands of the St.
Lawrence shared the same fate. Only the little islands of St. Pierre and
Miquelon were preserved for the French fisheries. One single stipulation
guaranteed to the Canadians the free exercise of the Catholic religion.
The principal inhabitants of the colony went into exile on purpose to
remain French. The weak hands of King Louis XV. and of his government
had let slip the fairest colonies of France,

Canada and Louisiana had ceased to belong to her; yet attachment to
France subsisted there a long while, and her influence left numerous
traces there. It is an honor and a source of strength to France that she
acts powerfully on men through the charm and suavity of her intercourse;
they who have belonged to France can never forget her.

The struggle was over. King Louis XV. had lost his American colonies,
the nascent empire of India, and the settlements of Senegal. He
recovered Guadaloupe and Martinique, but lately conquered by the English,
Chandernuggur and the ruins of Pondicherry. The humiliation was deep and
the losses were irreparable. All the fruits of the courage, of the
ability, and of the passionate devotion of the French in India and in
America were falling into the hands of England. Her government had
committed many faults; but the strong action of a free people had always
managed to repair them. The day was coming when the haughty passions of
the mother-country and the proud independence of her colonies would
engage in that supreme struggle which has given to the world the United
States of America.

CHOISEUL. 1748-1774.

It was not only in the colonies and on the seas that the peace of Aix-la-
Chapelle had seemed merely a truce destined to be soon broken;
hostilities had never ceased in India or Canada; English vessels scoured
the world, capturing, in spite of treaties, French merchant-ships; in
Europe and on the continent, all the sovereigns were silently preparing
for new efforts; only the government of King Louis XV., intrenched behind
its disinterestedness in the negotiations, and ignoring the fatal
influences of weakness and vanity, believed itself henceforth beyond the
reach of a fresh war. The nation, as oblivious as the government, but
less careless than it, because they had borne the burden of the fault
committed, were applying for the purpose of their material recovery that
power of revival which, through a course of so many errors and reverses,
has always saved France; in spite of the disorder in the finances and the
crushing weight of the imposts, she was working and growing rich;
intellectual development was following the rise in material resources;
the court was corrupt and inert, like the king, but a new life,
dangerously free and bold, was beginning to course through men's minds
the wise, reforming instincts, the grave reflections of the dying
Montesquieu no longer sufficed for them; Voltaire, who had but lately
been still moderate and almost respectful, was about to commence with his
friends of the _L'Encyclopedie_ that campaign against the Christian faith
which was to pave the way for the materialism of our own days. "Never
was Europe more happy than during the years which rolled by between 1750
and 1758," he has said in his _Tableau du Siecle de Louis XV._ The evil,
however, was hatching beneath the embers, and the last supports of the
old French society were cracking up noiselessly. The Parliaments were
about to disappear, the Catholic church was becoming separated more and
more widely every day from the people of whom it claimed to be the sole
instructress and directress. The natural heads of the nation, the
priests and the great lords, thought no longer and lived no longer as it.
The public voice was raised simultaneously against the authority or
insensate prodigality of Madame de Pompadour, and against the refusal,
ordered by the Archbishop of Paris, of the sacraments. "The public, the
public!" wrote M. d'Argenson; "its animosity, its encouragements, its
pasquinades, its insolence--that is what I fear above everything." The
state of the royal treasury and the measures to which recourse was had to
enable the state to make both ends meet, aggravated the dissension and
disseminated discontent amongst all classes of society. Comptrollers-
general came one after another, all armed with new expedients; MM. de
Machault, Moreau de Sechelles, de Moras, excited, successively, the wrath
and the hatred of the people crushed by imposts in peace as well as war;
the clergy refused to pay the twentieth, still claiming their right of
giving only a free gift; the states-districts, Languedoc and Brittany at
the head, resisted, in the name of their ancient privileges, the
collection of taxes to which they had not consented; riots went on
multiplying; they even extended to Paris, where the government was
accused of kidnapping children for transportation to the colonies. The
people rose, several police-agents were massacred; the king avoided
passing through the capital on his way from Versailles to the camp at
Compiegne; the path he took in the Bois de Boulogne received the name of
Revolt Road. "I have seen in my days," says D'Argenson, "a decrease in
the respect and love of the people for the kingship."

Decadence went on swiftly, and no wonder. At forty years of age Louis
XV., finding every pleasure pall, indifferent to or forgetful of business
from indolence and disgust, bored by everything and on every occasion,
had come to depend solely on those who could still manage to amuse him.

[Illustration: Madame de Pompadour----215]

Madame de Pompadour had accepted this ungrateful and sometimes shameful
task. Born in the ranks of the middle class, married young to a rich
financier, M. Lenormant d'Etioles, Mdlle. Poisson, created Marchioness
of Pompadour, was careful to mix up more serious matters with the royal
pleasures. The precarious lot of a favorite was not sufficient for her
ambition. Pretty, clever, ingenious in devising for the king new
amusements and objects of interest, she played comedy before him in her
small apartments and travelled with him from castle to castle; she thus
obtained from his easy prodigality enormous sums to build pleasaunces
which she amused herself by embellishing; Bellevue, Babiole, the
marchioness' house at Paris, cost millions out of the exhausted treasury.
Madame de Pompadour was fond of porcelain; she conceived the idea of
imitating in France the china-work of Saxony, and founded first at
Vincennes and then at Sevres the manufacture of porcelain, which the king
took under his protection, requiring the courtiers to purchase the
proceeds of it at high prices. Everybody was anxious to please the
favorite; her incessantly renewed caprices contributed to develop certain
branches of the trade in luxuries. The expenses of the royal household
went on increasing daily; the magnificent prodigalities of King Louis
XIV. were surpassed by the fancies of Madame de Pompadour. Vigilant in
attaching the courtiers to herself, she sowed broadcast, all around her,
favors, pensions, profitable offices, endowing the gentlemen to
facilitate their marriage, turning a deaf ear to the complaints of the
people as well as to the protests of the States or Parliaments. The
greedy and frivolous crowd that thronged at her feet well deserved the
severe judgment pronounced by Montesquieu on courtiers and courts.
"Ambition amidst indolence, baseness amidst pride, the desire to grow
rich without toil, aversion from truth, flattery, treason, perfidy,
neglect of all engagements, contempt for the duties of a citizen, fear of
virtue in the prince, hope in his weaknesses, and more than all that, the
ridicule constantly thrown upon virtue, form, I trow, the characteristics
of the greatest number of courtiers, distinctive in all places and at all
times." The majesty of Louis XIV. and the long lustre of his reign had
been potent enough to create illusions as to the dangers and the
corruptions of the court; the remnants of military glory were about to
fade out round Louis XV.; the court still swarmed with brave officers,
ready to march to death at the head of the troops; the command of armies
henceforth depended on the favor of Madame the Marchioness of Pompadour.

The day had come when the fortune of war was about to show itself fatal
to France. Marshal Saxe had died at Chambord, still young and worn out
by excesses rather than by fatigue; this foreigner, this Huguenot, as he
was called by Louis XV., had been the last to maintain and continue the
grand tradition of French generals. War, however, was inevitable; five
months of public or private negotiation, carried on by the ambassadors or
personal agents of the king, could not obtain from England any reparation
for her frequent violation of the law of nations; the maritime trade of
France was destroyed; the vessels of the royal navy were themselves no
longer safe at sea. On the 21st of December, 1755, the minister of
foreign affairs, Rouille, notified to the English cabinet, "that His Most
Christian Majesty, before giving way to the effects of his resentment,
once more demanded from the King of England satisfaction for all the
seizures made by the English navy, as well as restitution of all vessels,
whether war-ships or merchant-ships, taken from the French, declaring
that he should regard any refusal that might be made as an authentic
declaration of war." England eluded the question of law, but refused
restitution. On the 23d of January, an embargo was laid on all English
vessels in French ports, and war was officially proclaimed. It had
existed in fact for two years past.

A striking incident signalized the commencement of hostilities. Rather a
man of pleasure and a courtier than an able soldier, Marshal Richelieu
had, nevertheless, the good fortune to connect his name with the only
successful event of the Seven Years' War that was destined to remain
impressed upon the mind of posterity. Under his orders, a body of twelve
thousand men, on board of a squadron, commanded by M. de la
Galissonniere, left Toulon on the 10th of April, 1756, at the moment when
England was excited by expectation of a coming descent upon her coasts.
On the 17th, the French attacked the Island of Minorca, an important
point whence the English threatened Toulon, and commanded the western
basin of the Mediterranean. Some few days later, the English troops,
driven out of Ciudadela and Mahon, had taken refuge in Fort St. Philip,
and the French cannon were battering the ramparts of the vast citadel.

On the 10th of May an English fleet, commanded by Admiral Byng, appeared
in the waters of Port Mahon; it at once attacked M. de la Galissonniere.
The latter succeeded in preventing the English from approaching land.
After an obstinate struggle, Admiral Byng, afraid of losing his fleet,
fell back on Gibraltar. The garrison of Fort St. Philip waited in vain
for the return of the squadron; left to its own devices, it nevertheless
held out; the fortifications seemed to be impregnable; the siege-works
proceeded slowly; the soldiers were disgusted, and began to indulge to
excess in the wine of Spain. "No one who gets drunk shall have the honor
of mounting the breach," said Richelieu's general order. Before long he
resolved to attempt the assault.

[Illustration: Attack on Fort St. Philip----218]

Fort St. Philip towered up proudly on an enormous mass of rock; the
French regiments flung themselves into the fosses, setting against the
ramparts ladders that were too short; the soldiers mounted upon one
another's shoulders, digging their bayonets into the interstices between
the stones; the boldest were already at the top of the bastions. On the
28th of June, at daybreak, three of the forts were in possession of the
French; the same day the English commandant decided upon capitulation.
The Duke of Fronsac, Marshal Richelieu's son, hurried to Versailles to
announce the good news. There was great joy at court and amongst the
French nation; the French army and navy considered themselves avenged of
England's insults. In London Admiral Byng was brought to trial; he was
held responsible for the reverse, and was shot, notwithstanding the
protests of Voltaire and of Richelieu himself. At the same time the
king's troops were occupying Corsica in the name of the city of Genoa,
the time-honored ally of France. Mistress of half the Mediterranean, and
secure of the neutrality of Holland, France could have concentrated her
efforts upon the sea, and have maintained a glorious struggle with
England, on the sole condition of keeping peace on the Continent. The
policy was simple, and the national interest palpable; King Louis XV.
and some of his ministers understood this; but they allowed themselves to
drift into forgetfulness of it.

For a long time past, under the influence of Count Kaunitz, a young
diplomat equally bold and shrewd, "frivolous in his tastes and profound
in his views," Maria Theresa was inclining to change the whole system of
her alliances in Europe; she had made advances to France. Count Kaunitz
had found means of pleasing Madame de Pompadour; the empress put the
crowning touch to the conquest by writing herself to the favorite, whom
she called "My cousin." The Great Frederick, on the contrary, all the
time that he was seeking to renew with the king his former offensive and
defensive relations, could not manage to restrain the flow of his bitter
irony. Louis XV. had felt hurt, on his own account and on his
favorite's; he still sought to hold the balance steady between the two
great German sovereigns, but he was already beginning to lean towards the
empress. A proposal was made to Maria Theresa for a treaty of guarantee
between France, Austria, and Prussia; the existing war between England
and France was excepted from the defensive pact; France reserved to
herself the right of invading Hanover. The same conditions had been
offered to the King of Prussia; he was not contented with them. Whilst
Maria Theresa was insisting at Paris upon obtaining an offensive as well
as defensive alliance, Frederick II. was signing with England an
engagement not to permit the entrance into Germany of any foreign troops.
"I only wish to preserve Germany from war," wrote the King of Prussia to
Louis XV. On the 1st of May, 1756, at Versailles, Louis XV. replied to
the Anglo-Prussian treaty by his alliance with the Empress Maria Theresa.
The house of Bourbon was holding out the hand to the house of Austria;
the work of Henry IV. and of Richelieu, already weakened by an
inconsistent and capricious policy, was completely crumbling to pieces,
involving in its ruin the military fortunes of France.

The prudent moderation of Abbe de Bernis, then in great favor with Madame
de Pompadour, and managing the negotiations with Austria, had removed
from the treaty of Versailles the most alarming clauses. The empress and
the King of France mutually guaranteed to one another their possessions
in Europe, "each of the contracting parties promising the other, in case
of need, the assistance of twenty-four thousand men." Russia and Saxony
were soon enlisted in the same alliance; the King of Prussia's
pleasantries, at one time coarse and at another biting, had offended the
Czarina Elizabeth and the Elector of Saxony as well as Louis XV. and
Madame de Pompadour. The weakest of the allies was the first to
experience the miseries of that war so frivolously and gratuitously
entered upon, from covetousness, rancor, or weakness, those fertile
sources of the bitterest sorrows to humanity.

"It is said that the King of Prussia's troops are on the march," wrote
the Duke of Luynes in his journal (September 3, 1756); "it is not said
whither." Frederick II. was indeed on the march with his usual
promptitude; a few days later, Saxony was invaded, Dresden occupied, and
the Elector-king of Poland invested in the camp of Pirna. General Braun,
hurrying up with the Austrians to the Saxons' aid, was attacked by
Frederick on the 1st of October, near Lowositz; without being decisive,
the battle was, nevertheless, sufficient to hinder the allies from
effecting their junction. The Saxons attempted to cut their way through;
they were hemmed in and obliged to lay down their arms; the King of
Prussia established himself at Dresden, levying upon Saxony enormous
military contributions and otherwise treating it as a conquered country.
The unlucky elector had taken refuge in Poland.

The empress had not waited for this serious reverse to claim from France
the promised aid. By this time it was understood how insufficient would
be a body of twenty-four thousand men for a distant and hazardous war.
Recently called to the council by King Louis XV., Marshal Belle-Isle,
still full of daring in spite of his age, loudly declared that, "since
war had come, it must be made on a large scale if it were to be made to
any purpose, and speedily." Some weeks later, preparations were
commenced for sending an army of a hundred thousand men to the Lower
Rhine. The king undertook, besides, to pay four thousand Bavarians and
six thousand Wurtemburgers, who were to serve in the Austrian army.
Marshal d'Estrees, grandson of Louvois, was placed at the head of the
army already formed. He was not one of the favorite's particular
friends. a Marshal d'Estrees," she wrote to Count Clermont, "is one of
my acquaintances in society; I have never been in a position to make him
an intimate friend, but were he as much so as M. de Soubise, I should not
take upon myself to procure his appointment, for fear of having to
reproach myself with the results." Madame de Pompadour did not continue
to be always so reserved, and M. de Soubise was destined before long to
have his turn. M. de Belle-Isle had insisted strongly on the choice of
Marshal d'Estrees; he was called "the Temporizer," and was equally brave
and prudent. "I am accustomed," said the king, "to hear from him all he
thinks." The army was already on the march.

Whilst hostilities were thus beginning throughout Europe, whilst
negotiations were still going on with Vienna touching the second treaty
of Versailles, King Louis XV., as he was descending the staircase of the
marble court at Versailles on the 5th of January, 1757, received a stab
in the side from a knife. Withdrawing full of blood the hand he had
clapped to his wound, the king exclaimed, "There is the man who wounded
me, with his hat-on; arrest him, but let no harm be done him!" The
guards were already upon the murderer and were torturing him pending the
legal question. The king had been carried away, slightly wounded by a
deep puncture from a penknife. In the soul of Louis XV. apprehension had
succeeded to the first instinctive and kingly impulse of courage; he
feared the weapon might be poisoned, and hastily sent for a confessor.
The crowd of courtiers was already thronging to the dauphin's. To him
the king had at once given up the direction of affairs.

[Illustration: Assassination of Louis XV. by Damiens----221]

Justice, meanwhile, had taken the wretched murderer in hand. Robert
Damiens was a lackey out of place, a native of Artois, of weak mind, and
sometimes appearing to be deranged. In his vague and frequently
incoherent depositions, he appeared animated by a desire to avenge the
wrongs of the Parliament; he burst out against the Archbishop of Paris,
Christopher de Beaumont, a virtuous prelate of narrow mind and austere
character. "The Archbishop of Paris," he said, "is the cause of all this
trouble through ordering refusal of the sacraments." No investigation
could discover any conspiracy or accomplices; with less coolness and
fanatical resolution than Ravaillac, Damiens, like the assassin of Henry
IV., was an isolated criminal, prompted to murder by the derangement of
his own mind; he died, like Ravaillac, amidst fearful tortures which were
no longer in accord with public sentiment and caused more horror than
awe. France had ceased to tremble for the life of King Louis XV.

For one instant the power of Madame de Pompadour had appeared to be
shaken; the king, in his terror, would not see her; M. de Machault, but
lately her protege, had even brought her orders to quit the palace.
Together with the salutary terrors of death, Louis XV.'s repentance soon
disappeared; the queen and the dauphin went back again to the modest and
pious retirement in which they passed their life; the marchioness
returned in triumph to Versailles. MM. de Machault and D'Argenson were
exiled; the latter, who had always been hostile to the favorite, was
dismissed with extreme harshness. The king had himself written the
sealed letter "Your services are no longer required. I command you to
send me your resignation of the secretaryship of state for war, and of
all that appertains to the posts connected therewith, and to retire to
your estate of Ormes." Madame de Pompadour was avenged.

The war, meanwhile, continued; the King of Prussia, who had at first won
a splendid victory over the Austrians in front of Prague, had been beaten
at Kolin, and forced to fall back on Saxony. Marshal d'Estrees, slowly
occupying Westphalia, had got the Duke of Cumberland into a corner on the

On the morning of July 23, 1757, the marshal summoned all his
lieutenant-generals. "Gentlemen," he said to them, "I do not assemble
you to-day to ask whether we should attack M. de Cumberland and invest
Hameln. The honor of the king's arms, his wishes, his express orders,
the interest of the common cause, all call for the strongest measures. I
only seek, therefore, to profit by your lights, and to combine with your
assistance the means most proper for attacking with advantage." A day or
two after, July 26, the Duke of Cumberland, who had fallen back on the
village of Hastenbeck, had his intrenchments forced; he succeeded in
beating a retreat without being pursued; an able movement of Prince
Ferdinand of Brunswick, and a perhaps intentional mistake on the part of
M. de Maillebois had caused a momentary confusion in the French army.
Marshal d'Estrees, however, was not destined to enjoy for long the
pleasure of his victory. Even before he had given battle the Duke of
Richelieu had set out from Versailles to supersede him in his command.

The conquest of Port Mahon had thrown around Richelieu a halo of glory;
in Germany, he reaped the fruits of Marshal d'Estrees' successes; the
Electorate of Hanover was entirely occupied; all the towns opened their
gates; Hesse Cassel, Brunswick, the duchies of Verden and of Bremen met
with the same fate. The marshal levied on all the conquered countries
heavy contributions, of which he pocketed a considerable portion. His
soldiers called him "Father La Maraude." The pavilion of Hanover at
Paris was built out of the spoils of Germany. Meanwhile, the Duke of
Cumberland, who had taken refuge in the marshes at the mouth of the Elbe,
under the protection of English vessels, was demanding to capitulate; his
offers were lightly accepted. On the 8th of September, through the
agency of Count Lynar, minister of the King of Denmark, the Duke of
Cumberland and the marshal signed at the advanced posts of the French
army the famous convention of Closter-Severn. The king's troops kept all
the conquered country; those of Hesse, Brunswick, and Saxe-Gotha returned
to their homes; the Hanoverians were to be cantoned in the neighborhood
of Stade. The marshal had not taken the precaution of disarming them.

Incomplete as the convention was, it nevertheless excited great emotion
in Europe. The Duke of Cumberland had lost the military reputation
acquired at Fontenoy; the King of Prussia remained alone on the
Continent, exposed to all the efforts of the allies; every day fresh
reverses came down upon him; the Russian army had invaded the Prussian
provinces and beaten Marshal Schwald near Memel; twenty-five thousand
Swedes had just landed in Pomerania. Desertion prevailed amongst the
troops of Frederick, recruited as they often were from amongst the
vanquished; it was in vain that the king, in his despair, shouted out on
the battle-field of Kolin, "D'ye expect to live forever, pray?" Many
Saxon or Silesian soldiers secretly left the army. One day Frederick
himself kept his eye on a grenadier whom he had seen skulking to the rear
of the camp. "Whither goest thou?" he cried. "Faith, sir," was the
answer, "I am deserting; I'm getting tired of being always beaten." "
Stay once more," replied the king, without showing the slightest anger;
"I promise that, if we are beaten, we will both desert together." In the
ensuing battle the grenadier got himself killed.

For a moment, indeed, Frederick had conceived the idea of deserting
simultaneously from the field of battle and from life. "My dear sister,"
he wrote to the Margravine of Baireuth, "there is no port or asylum for
me any more save in the arms of death." A letter in verse to the Marquis
of Argens pointed clearly to the notion of suicide. A firmer purpose,
before long, animated that soul, that strange mixture of heroism and
corruption. The King of Prussia wrote to Voltaire,--

"Threatened with shipwreck though I be,
I, facing storms that frown on me,
Must king-like think, and live, and die."

Fortune, moreover, seemed to be relaxing her severities. Under the
influence of the hereditary grand-duke, a passionate admirer of Frederick
II., the Russians had omitted to profit by their victories; they were by
this time wintering in Poland, which was abandoned to all their
exactions. The Swedes had been repulsed in the Island of Rugen, Marshal
Richelieu received from Versailles orders to remain at Halberstadt, and
to send re-enforcements to the army of the Prince of Soubise; it was for
this latter that Madame de Pompadour was reserving the honor of crushing
the Great Frederick. More occupied in pillage than in vigorously pushing
forward the war, the marshal tolerated a fatal license amongst his
troops. "Brigandage is more prevalent in the hearts of the superior
officers than in the conduct of the private soldier, who is full of good
will to go and get shot, but not at all to submit to discipline. I'm
afraid that they do not see at court the alarming state of things to
their full extent," says a letter from Paris-Duverney to the Marquis of
Cremille, "but I have heard so much of it, and perhaps seen so much since
I have been within eyeshot of this army, that I cannot give a glance at
the future without being transfixed with grief and dread. I dare to say
that I am not scared more than another at sight of abuses and disorder,
but it is time to apply to an evil which is at its height other remedies
than palliatives, which, for the most part, merely aggravate it and
render it incurable as long as war lasts. I have not seen and do not see
here anything but what overwhelms me, and I feel still more wretched for
having been the witness of it."

Whilst the plunder of Hanover was serving the purpose of feeding the
insensate extravagance of Richelieu and of the army, Frederick II. had
entered Saxony, hurling back into Thuringia the troops of Soubise and of
the Prince of Hildburghausen. By this time the allies had endured
several reverses; the boldness of the King of Prussia's movements
bewildered and disquieted officers as well as soldiers. "Might I ask
your Highness what you think of his Prussian majesty's manoeuvring?"
says a letter to Count Clermont, from an officer serving in the army of
Germany; "this prince, with eighteen or twenty thousand men at most,
marches upon an army of fifty thousand men, forces it to recross a river,
cuts off its rear guard, crosses this same river before its very eyes,
offers battle, retires, encamps leisurely, and loses not a man. What
calculation, what audacity in this fashion of covering a country!" On
the 3d of November the Prussian army was all in order of battle on the
left bank of the Saale, near Rosbach.

Soubise hesitated to attack; being a man of honesty and sense, he took
into account the disposition of his army, as well as the bad composition
of the allied forces, very superior in number to the French contingent.
The command belonged to the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, who had no doubt
of success. Orders were given to turn the little Prussian army, so as to
cut off its retreat. All at once, as the allied troops were effecting
their movement to scale the heights, the King of Prussia, suddenly
changing front by one of those rapid evolutions to which he had
accustomed his men, unexpectedly attacked the French in flank, without
giving them time to form in order of battle. The batteries placed on the
hills were at the same time unmasked, and mowed down the infantry. The
German troops at once broke up. Soubise sought to restore the battle by
cavalry charges, but he was crushed in his turn. The rout became
general; the French did not rally till they reached Erfurt; they had left
eight thousand prisoners and three thousand dead on the field.

The news of the defeat at Rosbach came bursting on France like a clap of
thunder; the wrath, which first of all blazed out against Soubise, at
whose expense all the rhymesters were busy, was reflected upon the king
and Madame de Pompadour.

"With lamp in hand, Soubise is heard to say
'Why, where the devil can my army be?
I saw it hereabouts but yesterday:
Has it been taken? has it strayed from me?
I'm always losing-head and all, I know:
But wait till daylight, twelve o'clock or so!
What do I see? O, heavens, my heart's aglow:
Prodigious luck ! Why, there it is, it is!
Eh! _ventrebleu,_ what in the world is this?
I must have been mistaken--it's the foe.'"

Frederick II. had renovated affairs and spirits in Germany; the day after
Rosbach, he led his troops into Silesia against Prince Charles of
Lorraine, who had just beaten the Duke of Bevern; the King of Prussia's
lieutenants were displeased and disquieted at such audacity. He
assembled a council of war, and then, when he had expounded his plans,
"Farewell, gentlemen," said be; "we shall soon have beaten the enemy,
or we shall have looked on one another for the last time." On the 3d of
December the Austrians were beaten at Lissa, as the French had been at
Rosbach, and Frederick II. became the national hero of Germany; the
Protestant powers, but lately engaged, to their sorrow, against him, made
up to the conqueror; admiration for him permeated even the French army.
"At Paris," wrote D'Alembert to Voltaire, "everybody's head is turned
about the King of Prussia; five months ago he was trailed in the mire."

"Cabinet-generals," says Duclos, "greedy of money, inexperienced and
presumptuous; ignorant, jealous, or ill-disposed ministers; subalterns
lavish of their blood on the battle-field and crawling at court before
the distributors of favors--such are the instruments we employed. The
small number of those who had not approved of the treaty of Versailles
declared loudly against it; after the campaign of 1757, those who had
regarded it as a masterpiece of policy, forgot or disavowed their
eulogies, and the bulk of the public, who cannot be decided by anything
but the event, looked upon it as the source of all our woes." The
counsels of Abbe de Bernis had for some time past been pacific; from a
court-abbe, elegant and glib, he had become, on the 25th of June,
minister of foreign affairs. But Madame de Pompadour remained faithful
to the empress. In the month of January, 1758, Count Clermont was
appointed general-in-chief of the army of Germany. In disregard of the
convention of Closter-Severn, the Hanoverian troops had just taken the
field again under the orders of the Grand-Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick; he
had already recovered possession of the districts of Luneberg, Zell, a
part of Brunswick and of Bremen. In England, Mr. Pitt, afterwards Lord
Chatham, had again come into office; the King of Prussia could henceforth
rely upon the firmest support from Great Britain.

He had need of it. A fresh invasion of Russians, aided by the savage
hordes of the Zaporoguian Cossacks, was devastating Prussia; the
sanguinary battle of Zorndorf, forcing them to fall back on Poland,
permitted Frederick to hurry into Saxony, which was attacked by the
Austrians. General Daun surprised and defeated him at Hochkirch; in
spite of his inflexible resolution, the King of Prussia was obliged to
abandon Saxony. His ally and rival, Ferdinand of Brunswick, had just
beaten Count Clermont at Crevelt.

The new commander-in-chief of the king's armies, prince of the blood,
brother of the late Monsieur le Duc, abbot commendatory of St. Germain-
des-Pres, "general of the Benedictines,", as the soldiers said, had
brought into Germany, together with the favor of Madame de Pompadour,
upright intentions, a sincere desire to restore discipline, and some
great illusions about himself. "I am very impatient, I do assure you,
to be on the other side of the Rhine," wrote Count Clermont to Marshal
Belle-Isle; "all the country about here is infested by runaway soldiers,
convalescents, camp-followers, all sorts of understrappers, who commit
fearful crimes. Not a single officer does his duty; they are the first
to pillage; all the army ought to be put under escort and in detachments,
and then there would have to be escorts for those escorts. I hang, I
imprison; but, as we march by cantonments and the regimental
(particuliers) officers are the first to show a bad example, the
punishments are neither sufficiently known nor sufficiently seen.
Everything smacks of indiscipline, of disgust at the king's service,
and of asperity towards one's self. I see with pain that it will be
indispensable to put in practice the most violent and the harshest
measures." The king's army, meanwhile, was continuing to fall back; a
general outcry arose at Paris against the general's supineness. On the
23d of June he was surprised by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in the strong
position of Crevelt, which he had occupied for two days past; the
reserves did not advance in time, orders to retreat were given too soon,
the battle was lost without disaster and without any rout; the general
was lost as well as the battle. "It is certain," says the Marquis of
Vogel, in his narrative of the affair, "that Count Clermont was at table
in his headquarters of Weschelen at one o'clock, that he had lost the
battle before six, arrived at Reuss at half past ten, and went to bed at
midnight; that is doing a great deal in a short time." The Count of
Gisors, son of Marshal Belle-Isle, a young officer of the greatest
promise, had been killed at Crevelt; Count Clermont was superseded by the
Marquis of Contades. The army murmured; they had no confidence in their
leaders. At Versailles, Abbe de Bernis, who had lately become a
cardinal, paid by his disgrace for the persistency he had shown in
advising peace. He was chatting with M. de Stahrenberg, the Austrian
ambassador, when he received a letter from the king, sending him off to
his abbey of St. Medard de Soissons. He continued the conversation
without changing countenance, and then, breaking off the conversation
just as the ambassador was beginning to speak of business. "It is no
longer to me, sir," he said, "that you must explain yourself on these
great topics; I have just received my dismissal from his Majesty." With
the same coolness he quitted the court and returned, pending his embassy
to Rome, to those elegant intellectual pleasures which suited him better
than the crushing weight of a ministry in disastrous times, under an
indolent and vain-minded monarch, who was governed by a woman as
headstrong as she was frivolous and depraved.

Madame de Pompadour had just procured for herself a support in her
obstinate bellicosity. Cardinal Bernis was superseded in the ministry of
foreign affairs by Count Stainville, who was created Duke of Choiseul.
After the death of Marshal Belle-Isle he exchanged the office for that of
minister of war; with it he combined the ministry of the marine. The
foreign affairs were intrusted to the Duke of Praslin, his cousin. The
power rested almost entirely in the hands of the Duke of Choiseul. Of
high birth, clever, bold, ambitious, he had but lately aspired to couple
the splendor of successes in the fashionable world with the serious
preoccupations of politics; his marriage with Mdlle. Crozat, a wealthy
heiress, amiable and very much smitten with him, had strengthened his
position. Elevated to the ministry by Madame de Pompadour, and as yet
promoting her views, he nevertheless gave signs of an independent spirit
and a proud character, capable of exercising authority firmly in the
presence and the teeth of all obstacles. France hoped to find once more
in M. de Choiseul a great minister; nor were her hopes destined to be
completely deceived.

A new and secret treaty had just riveted the alliance between France and
Austria. M. de Choiseul was at the same time dreaming of attacking
England in her own very home, thus dealing her the most formidable of
blows. The preparations were considerable. M. de Soubise was recalled
from Germany to direct the army of invasion. He was to be seconded in
his command by the Duke of Aiguillon, to whom, rightly or wrongly, was
attributed the honor of having repulsed in the preceding year an attempt
of the English at a descent upon the coasts of Brittany. The expedition
was ready, there was nothing to wait for save the moment to go out of
port, but Admiral Hawke was cruising before Brest; it was only in the
month of November, 1759, that the marquis of Conflans, who commanded the
fleet, could put to sea with twenty-one vessels. Finding himself at once
pursued by the English squadron, he sought shelter in the difficult
channels at the mouth of the Vilaine. The English dashed in after him.
A partial engagement, which ensued, was unfavorable; and the commander of
the French rear-guard, M. St. Andre du Verger, allowed himself to be
knocked to pieces by the enemy's guns in order to cover the retreat. The
admiral ran ashore in the Bay of Le Croisic and burned his own vessel;
seven ships remained blockaded in the Vilaine. M. de Conflans' job, as
the sailors called it at the time, was equivalent to a battle lost
without the chances and the honor of the struggle. The English navy was
triumphant on every sea, and even in French waters.

The commencement of the campaign of 1759 had been brilliant in Germany;
the Duke of Broglie had successfully repulsed the attack made by
Ferdinand of Brunswick on his positions at Bergen; the prince had been
obliged to retire. The two armies, united under M. de Contades, invaded
Hesse and moved upon the Weser; they were occupying Minden when Duke
Ferdinand threw himself upon them on the 1st of August. The action of
the two French generals was badly combined, and the rout was complete.
It was the moment of Canada's last efforts, and the echo of that glorious
death-rattle reached even to Versailles. The Duke of Choiseul had, on
the 19th of February, replied to a desperate appeal from Montcalm,
"I am very sorry to have to send you word that you must not expect any
re-enforcements. To say nothing of their increasing the dearth of
provisions of which you have had only too much experience hitherto, there
would be great fear of their being intercepted by the English on the
passage, and, as the king could never send you aid proportionate to the
forces which the English are in a position to oppose to you, the efforts
made here to procure it for you would have no other effect than to rouse
the ministry in London to make still more considerable ones in order to
preserve the superiority it has acquired in that part of the continent."
The necessity for peace was, beginning to be admitted even, in Madame de
Pompadour's little cabinets.

Maria Theresa, however, was in no hurry to enter into negotiations;
her enemy seemed to be bending at last beneath the weight of the double
Austrian and Russian attack. At one time Frederick had thought that he
saw all Germany rallying round him; now, beaten and cantoned in Saxony,
with the Austrians in front of him, during the winter of 1760, he was
everywhere seeking alliances and finding himself everywhere rejected.
"I have but two allies left," he would say, "valor and perseverance."
Repeated victories, gained at the sword's point, by dint of boldness and
in the extremity of peril, could not even protect Berlin. The capital of
Prussia found itself constrained to open its gates to the enemy, on the
sole condition that the regiments of Cossacks should not pass the line of
enclosure. When the regular troops withdrew, the generals had not been
able to prevent the city from being pillaged. The heroic efforts of the
King of Prussia ended merely in preserving to him a foothold in Saxony.
The Russians occupied Poland.

Marshal Broglie, on becoming general-in-chief of the French army, had
succeeded in holding his own in Hesse; he frequently made Hanover
anxious. To turn his attention elsewhither and in hopes of deciding the
French to quit Germany, the hereditary Prince of Brunswick attempted a
diversion on the Lower Rhine; he laid siege to Wesel, whilst the English
were preparing for a descent at Antwerp. Marshal Broglie detached M. de
Castries to protect the city. The French corps had just arrived; it was
bivouacking. On the night between the 15th and 16th of October,
Chevalier d'Assas, captain in the regiment of Auvergne, was sent to
reconnoitre. He had advanced some distance from his men, and happened to
stumble upon a large force of the enemy. The Prince of Brunswick was
preparing to attack. All the muskets covered the young captain. "Stir,
and thou'rt a dead man," muttered threatening voices. Without replying,
M. d'Assas collected all his strength and shouted, "Auvergne! Here are
the foe!" At the same instant he fell pierced by twenty balls.
[Accounts differ; but this is the tradition of the Assas family.] The
action thus begun was a glorious one. The hereditary prince was obliged
to abandon the siege of Wesel and to recross the Rhine. The French
divisions maintained their positions.

[Illustration: Death of Chevalier D'Assas----233]

The war went on as bloodily as monotonously and fruitlessly, but the face
of Europe had lately altered. The old King George II., who died on the
25th of September, 1760, had been succeeded on the throne of England by
his grandson, George III., aged twenty-two, the first really native
sovereign who had been called to reign over England since the fall of the
Stuarts. George I. and George II. were Germans, in their feelings and
their manners as well as their language; the politic wisdom of the
English people had put up with them, but not without effort and
ill-humor; the accession of the young king was greeted with transport.
Pitt still reigned over Parliament and over England, governing a free
country sovereign-masterlike. His haughty prejudice against France still
ruled all the decisions of the English government, but Lord Bute, the
young monarch's adviser, was already whispering pacific counsels destined
ere long to bear fruit. Pitt's dominion was tottering when the first
overtures of peace arrived in London. The Duke of Choiseul proposed a
congress. He at the same time negotiated directly with England. Whilst
Pitt kept his answer waiting, an English squadron blockaded Belle-Isle,
and the governor, M. de Sainte-Croix, left without relief, was forced to
capitulate after an heroic resistance. When the conditions demanded by
England were at last transmitted to Versailles, the English flag was
floating over the citadel of Belle-Isle, the mouth of the Loire and of
the Vilaine was blockaded. The arrogant pretensions of Mr. Pitt stopped
at nothing short of preserving the conquests of England in both
hemispheres; he claimed, besides, the demolition of Dunkerque "as a
memorial forever of the yoke imposed upon France." Completely separating
the interests of England from those of the German allies, he did not even
reply to the proposals of M. de Choiseul as to the evacuation of Hesse
and Hanover. Mistress of the sea, England intended to enjoy alone the
fruits of her victories.

[Illustration: ANTWERP----233]

The parleys were prolonged, and M. de Choiseul seemed to be resigned to
the bitterest pill of concession, when a new actor came upon the scene of
negotiation; France no longer stood isolated face to face with triumphant
England. The younger branch of the house of Bourbon cast into the scale
the weight of its two crowns and the resources of its navy.

The King of Spain, Ferdinand VI., who died on the 10th of August, 1759,
had not left any children. His brother, Charles III., King of Naples,
had succeeded him. He brought to the throne of Spain a more lively
intelligence than that of the deceased king, a great aversion for
England, of which he had but lately had cause to complain, and the
traditional attachment of his race to the interests and the glory of
France. The Duke of Choiseul managed to take skilful advantage of this
disposition. At the moment when Mr. Pitt was haughtily rejecting the
modest ultimatum of the French minister, the treaty between France and
Spain, known by the name of Family Pact, was signed at Paris (August 15,

Never had closer alliance been concluded between the two courts, even at
the time when Louis XIV. placed his grandson upon the throne of Spain.
It was that intimate union between all the branches of the house of
Bourbon which had but lately been the great king's conception, and which
had cost him so many efforts and so much blood; for the first time it was
becoming favorable to France; the noble and patriotic idea of M. de
Choiseul found an echo in the soul of the King of Spain; the French navy,
ruined and humiliated, the French colonies, threatened and all but lost,
found faithful support in the forces of Spain, recruited as they were.
by a long peace. The King of the Two Sicilies and the Infante Duke of
Parma entered into the offensive and defensive alliance, but it was not
open to any other power in Europe to be admitted to this family union,
cemented by common interests more potent and more durable than the
transitory combinations of policy. In all the ports of Spain ships were
preparing to put to sea. Charles III. had undertaken to declare war
against the English if peace were not concluded before the 1st of May,
1762. France promised in that case to cede to him the Island of Minorca.

All negotiations with England were broken off; on the 20th of September,
Mr. Pitt recalled his ambassador; this was his last act of power and
animosity; he at the same time proposed to the council of George III.
to include Spain forthwith in the hostilities. Lord Bute opposed this;
he was supported by the young king as well as by the majority of the
ministers. Pitt at once sent in his resignation, which was accepted.
Lord Bute and the Tories came into power. Though more moderate in their
intentions, they were as yet urged forward by popular violence, and dared
not suddenly alter the line of conduct. The family pact had raised the
hopes--always an easy task--of France, the national impulse inclined
towards the amelioration of the navy; the estates of Languedoc were the
first in the field, offering the king a ship of war; their example was
everywhere followed; sixteen ships, first-rates, were before long in
course of construction, a donation from the great political or financial
bodies; there were, besides, private subscriptions amounting to thirteen
millions; the Duke of Choiseul sought out commanders even amongst the
mercantile marine, and everywhere showed himself favorable to blue
officers, as the appellation then was of those whose birth excluded them
from the navy corps; the knowledge of the nobly born often left a great
deal to be desired, whatever may have been their courage and devotion.
This was a last generous effort on behalf of the shreds of France's
perishing colonies. The English government did not give it time to bear
fruit; in the month of January, 1762, it declared war against Spain.
Before the year had rolled by, Cuba was in the hands of the English, the
Philippines were ravaged and the galleons laden with Spanish gold
captured by British ships. The unhappy fate of France had involved her
generous ally. The campaign attempted against Portugal, always hand in
hand with England, had not been attended with any result. Martinique had
shared the lot of Guadaloupe, lately conquered by the English after an
heroic resistance. Canada and India had at last succumbed. War dragged
its slow length along in Germany. The brief elevation of the young czar,
Peter III., a passionate admirer of the great Frederick, had delivered
the King of Prussia from a dangerous enemy, and promised to give him an
ally equally trusty and potent. France was exhausted, Spain discontented
and angry; negotiations recommenced, on what disastrous conditions for
the French colonies in both hemispheres has already been remarked; in
Germany the places and districts occupied by France were to be restored;
Lord Bute, like his great rival, required the destruction of the port of

This was not enough for the persistent animosity of Pitt. The
preliminaries of peace had been already signed at Fontainebleau on the 3d
of November, 1762: when they were communicated to Parliament, the fallen
minister, still the nation's idol and the real head of the people, had
himself carried to the House of Commons. He was ill, suffering from a
violent attack of gout; two of his friends led him with difficulty to his
place, and supported him during his long speech; being exhausted, he sat
down towards the end, contrary to all the usages of the House, without,
however, having once faltered in his attacks upon a peace too easily
made, of which it was due to him that England was able to dictate the
conditions. "It is as a maritime power," he exclaimed, "that France is
chiefly if not exclusively formidable to us;" and the ardor of his spirit
restored to his enfeebled voice the dread tones which Parliament and the
nation had been wont to hear "what we gain in this respect is doubly
precious from the loss that results to her. America, sir, was conquered
in Germany. Now you are leaving to France a possibility of restoring her

The peace was signed, however, not without ill humor on the part of
England, but with a secret feeling of relief; the burdens which weighed
upon the country had been increasing every year. In 1762, Lord Bute had
obtained from Parliament four hundred and fifty millions (eighteen
million pounds) to keep up the war. "I wanted the peace to be a serious
and a durable one," said the English minister in reply to Pitt's attacks;
"if we had increased our demands, it would have been neither the one nor
the other."

M. de Choiseul submitted in despair to the consequences of the
long-continued errors committed by the government of Louis XV. "Were I
master," said he, "we would be to the English what Spain was to the
Moors; if this course were taken, England would be destroyed in thirty
years from now." The king was a better judge of his weakness and of the
general exhaustion. "The peace we have just made is neither a good one
nor a glorious one; nobody sees that better than I," he said in his
private correspondence; "but, under such unhappy circumstances, it could
not be better, and I answer for it that if we had continued the war, we
should have made, a still worse one next year." All the patriotic
courage and zeal of the Duke of Choiseul, all the tardy impulse springing
from the nation's anxieties, could not suffice even to palliate the
consequences of so many years' ignorance, feebleness, and incapacity in

Prussia and Austria henceforth were left to confront one another, the
only actors really interested in the original struggle, the last to quit
the battle-field on to which they had dragged their allies. By an
unexpected turn of luck, Frederick II. had for a moment seen Russia
becoming his ally; a fresh blow came to wrest from him this powerful
support. The Czarina Catherine II., Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst and wife
of the Czar Peter III., being on bad terms with her husband and in dread
of his wrath, had managed to take advantage of the young czar's
imprudence in order to excite a mutiny amongst the soldiers; he had been
deposed, and died before long in prison. Catherine was proclaimed in his
place. With her accession to the throne there commenced for Russia a new
policy, equally bold and astute, having for its sole aim, unscrupulously
and shamelessly pursued, the aggrandizement and consolidation of the
imperial power; Russia became neutral in the strife between Prussia and
Austria. The two sovereigns, left without allies and with their
dominions drained of men and money, agreed to a mutual exchange of their
conquests; the boundaries of their territories once more became as they
had been before the Seven Years' War. Frederick calculated at more than
eight hundred thousand men the losses caused to the belligerents by this
obstinate and resultless struggle, the fruit of wicked ambition or
culpable weaknesses on the part of governments. Thanks to the
indomitable energy and the equally zealous and unscrupulous ability of
the man who had directed her counsels during the greater part of the war,
England alone came triumphant out of the strife. She had won India
forever; and, for some years at least, civilized America, almost in its
entirety, obeyed her laws. She had won what France had lost, not by
superiority of arms, or even of generals, but by the natural and proper
force of a free people, ably and liberally governed.

The position of France abroad, at the end of the Seven Years' War, was
as painful as it was humiliating; her position at home was still more
serious, and the deep-lying source of all the reverses which had come to
overwhelm the French. Slowly lessened by the faults and misfortunes of
King Louis XIV.'s later years, the kingly authority, which had fallen,
under Louis XV., into hands as feeble as they were corrupt, was ceasing
to inspire the nation with the respect necessary for the working of
personal power: public opinion was no longer content to accuse the
favorite and the ministers; it was beginning to make the king responsible
for the evils suffered and apprehended. People waited in vain for a
decision of the crown to put a stop to the incessantly renewed struggles
between the Parliament and the clergy. Disquieted at one and the same
time by the philosophical tendencies which were beginning to spread in
men's minds, and by the comptroller-general Machault's projects for
exacting payment of the imposts upon ecclesiastical revenues, the
Archbishop of Paris, Christopher de Beaumont, and the Bishop of Mirepoix,
Boyer, who was in charge of the benefice-list, conceived the idea of
stifling these dangerous symptoms by an imprudent recourse to the
spiritual severities so much dreaded but lately by the people. Several
times over, the last sacraments were denied to the dying who had declined
to subscribe to the bull Unigenitus, a clumsy measure, which was sure to
excite public feeling and revive the pretensions of the Parliaments to
the surveillance, in the last resort, over the government of the church;
Jansenism, fallen and persecuted, but still living in the depths of
souls, numbered amongst the ranks of the magistracy, as well as in the
University of Paris, many secret partisans; several parish-priests had
writs of personal seizure issued against them, and their goods were
confiscated. Decrees succeeded decrees; in spite of the king's feeble
opposition the struggle was extending and reaching to the whole of
France. On the 22d of February, 1753, the Parliament of Paris received
orders to suspend all the proceedings they had commenced on the ground of
refusals of the sacraments; the king did not consent even to receive the
representations. By the unanimous vote of the hundred and fifty-eight
members sitting on the Court, Parliament determined to give up all
service until the king should be pleased to listen. "We declare," said
the representation, "that our zeal is boundless, and that we feel
sufficient courage to fall victims to our fidelity. The Court could not
serve without being wanting to their duties and betraying their oaths."

Indolent and indifferent as he was, King Louis XV. acted as seldom and as
slowly as he could; he did not like strife, and gladly saw the
belligerents exhausting against one another their strength and their
wrath; on principle, however, and from youthful tradition, he had never
felt any liking for the Parliaments. "The long robes and the clergy are
always at daggers drawn," he would say to Madame de Pompadour "they drive
me distracted with their quarrels, but I detest the long robes by far the
most. My clergy, at bottom, are attached to me and faithful to me; the
others would like to put me in tutelage. . . . They will end by ruining
the state; they are a pack of republicans. . . . However, things will
last my time, at any rate." Severe measures against the Parliament were
decided upon in council. Four magistrates were arrested and sent to
fortresses; all the presidents, councillors of inquests and of requests,
were exiled; the grand chamber, which alone was spared, refused to
administer justice. Being transferred to Pontoise, it persisted in its
refusal. It was necessary to form a King's Chamber, installed at the
Louvre; all the inferior jurisdictions refused to accept its decrees.
After a year's strife, the Parliament returned in triumph to Paris in the
month of August, 1754; the clergy received orders not to require from the
dying any theological adhesion. Next year, the Archbishop of Paris, who
had paid no attention to the prohibition, was exiled in his turn.

Thus, by mutually weakening each other, the great powers and the great
influences in the state were wasting away; the reverses of the French
arms, the loss of their colonies, and the humiliating peace of Paris
aggravated the discontent. In default of good government the people are
often satisfied with glory. This consolation, to which the French nation
had but lately been accustomed, failed it all at once; mental irritation,
for a long time silently brooding, cantoned in the writings of
philosophers and in the quatrains of rhymesters, was beginning to spread
and show itself amongst the nation; it sought throughout the state an
object for its wrath; the powerful society of the Jesuits was the first
to bear all the brunt of it.

A French Jesuit, Father Lavalette, had founded a commercial house at
Martinique. Ruined by the war, he had become bankrupt to the extent of
three millions; the order having refused to pay, it was condemned by the
Parliament to do so. The responsibility was declared to extend to all
the members of the Institute, and public opinion triumphed over the
condemnation with a " quasi-indecent " joy, says the advocate Barbier.
Nor was it content with this legitimate satisfaction. One of the courts
which had until lately been most devoted to the Society of Jesus had just
set an example of severity. In 1759, the Jesuits had been driven from
Portugal by the Marquis of Pombal, King Joseph I.'s all-powerful
minister; their goods had been confiscated, and their principal,
Malagrida, handed over to the Inquisition, had just been burned as a
heretic (Sept. 20, 1761).

The Portuguese Jesuits had been feebly defended by the grandees; the
clergy were hostile to them. In France, their enemies showed themselves
bolder than their defenders. Proudly convinced of the justice of their
cause, the Fathers had declined the jurisdiction of the grand council,
to which they had a right, as all ecclesiastical bodies had, and they had
consented to hand over to the Parliament the registers of their
constitutions, up to that time carefully concealed from the eyes of the
profane. The skilful and clear-sighted hostility of the magistrates was
employed upon the articles of this code, so stringently framed of yore by
enthusiastic souls and powerful minds, forgetful or disdainful of the
sacred rights of human liberty. All the services rendered by the Jesuits
to the cause of religion and civilization appeared effaced; forgotten
were their great missionary enterprises, their founders and their
martyrs, in order to set forth simply their insatiable ambition, their
thirst after power, their easy compromises with evil passions condemned
by the Christian faith. The assaults of the philosophers had borne their
fruit in the public mind; the olden rancor of the Jansenists
imperceptibly promoted the severe inquiry openly conducted by the
magistrates. Madame de Pompadour dreaded the influence of the Jesuits;
religious fears might at any time be aroused again in the soul of
Louis XV. The dauphin, who had been constantly faithful to them, sought
in vain to plead their cause with the king. He had attacked the Duke of
Choiseul; the latter so far forgot himself, it is asserted, as to say to
the prince, "Sir, I may have the misfortune to be your subject, but I
will never be your servant." The minister had hitherto maintained a
prudent reserve; he henceforth joined the favorite and the Parliament
against the Jesuits.

On the 6th of August, 1761, the Parliament of Paris delivered a decree
ordering the Jesuits to appear at the end of a year for the definite
judgment upon their constitutions; pending the judicial decision, all
their colleges were closed. King Louis XV. still hesitated, from natural
indolence and from remembrance of Cardinal Fleury's maxims. "The
Jesuits," the old minister would often say, "are bad masters, but you can
make them useful tools." An ecclesiastical commission was convoked; with
the exception of the Bishop of Soissons, the prelates all showed
themselves favorable to the Jesuits and careless of the old Gallican
liberties. On their advice, the king sent a proposal to Rome for certain
modifications in the constitutions of the order. Father Ricci, general
of the Jesuits, answered haughtily, "Let them be as they are, or not be"
(_Sint ut sunt, aut non sint_). Their enemies in France accepted the
challenge. On the 6th of August, 1762, a decree of the Parliament of
Paris, soon confirmed by the majority of the sovereign courts, declared
that there was danger (_abus_) in the bulls, briefs, and constitutions of
the Society, pronounced its dissolution, forbade its members to wear the
dress and to continue living in common under the sway of the general and
other superiors. Orders were given to close all the Jesuit houses. The
principle of religious liberty, which had been so long ignored, and was
at last beginning to dawn on men's minds, was gaining its first serious
victory by despoiling the Jesuits in their turn of that liberty for the
long-continued wrongs whereof they were called to account. A strange and
striking reaction in human affairs; the condemnation of the Jesuits was
the precursory sign of the violence and injustice which were soon to be
committed in the name of the most sacred rights and liberties, long
violated with impunity by arbitrary power.

Vaguely and without taking the trouble to go to the bottom of his
impression, Louis XV. felt that the Parliaments and the philosophers were
dealing him a mortal blow whilst appearing to strike the Jesuits; he
stood out a long while, leaving the quarrel to become embittered and
public opinion to wax wroth at his indecision. "There is a hand to mouth
administration," said an anonymous letter addressed to the king and
Madame de Pompadour, "but there is no longer any hope of government. A
time will come when the people's eyes will be opened, and peradventure
that time is approaching."

The persistency of the Duke of Choiseul carried the day at last; an edict
of December, 1764, declared that "the Society no longer existed in
France, that it would merely be permitted to those who composed it to
live privately in the king's dominions, under the spiritual authority of
the local ordinaries, whilst conforming to the laws of the realm." Four
thousand Jesuits found themselves affected by this decree; some left
France, others remained still in their families, assuming the secular
dress. "It will be great fun to see Father Perusseau turned abbe," said
Louis XV. as he signed the fatal edict. "The Parliaments fancy they are
serving religion by this measure," wrote D'Alembert to Voltaire, "but
they are serving reason without any notion of it; they are the,
executioners on behalf of philosophy, whose orders they are executing
without knowing it." The destruction of the Jesuits served neither
religion nor reason, for it was contrary to justice as well as to
liberty; it was the wages and the bitter fruit of a long series of wrongs
and iniquities committed but lately, in the name of religion, against
justice and liberty.

Three years later, in 1767, the King of Spain, Charles III., less
moderate than the government of Louis XV., expelled with violence all the
members of the Society of Jesus from his territory, thus exciting the
Parliament of Paris to fresh severities against the French Jesuits, and,
on the 20th of July, 1773, the court of Rome itself, yielding at last to
pressure from nearly all the sovereigns of Europe, solemnly pronounced
the dissolution of the Order. "Recognizing that the members of this
Society have not a little troubled the Christian commonwealth, and that
for the welfare of Christendom it were better that the Order should
disappear." The last houses still offering shelter to the Jesuits were
closed; the general, Ricci, was imprisoned at the castle of St. Angelo,
and the Society of Jesus, which had been so powerful for nearly three
centuries, took refuge in certain distant lands, seeking in oblivion and
silence fresh strength for the struggle which it was one day to renew.

The Parliaments were triumphant, but their authority, which seemed never
to have risen so high or penetrated so far in the government of the
state, was already tottering to its base. Once more the strife was about
to begin between the kingly power and the magistracy, whose last victory
was destined to scarcely precede its downfall. The financial
embarrassments of the state were growing more serious every day; to the
debts left by the Seven Years' War were added the new wants developed by
the necessities of commerce and by the progress of civilization. The
Board of Works, a useful institution founded by Louis XV., was everywhere
seeing to the construction of new roads, at the same time repairing the
old ones; the forced labor for these operations fell almost exclusively
on the peasantry. The Parliament of Normandy was one of the first to
protest against "the impositions of forced labor, and the levies of money
which took place in the district on pretext of repairs and maintenance of
roads, without legal authority." "France is a land which devours its
inhabitants," cried the Parliament of Paris. The Parliament of Pau
refused to enregister the edicts; the Parliament of Brittany joined the
Estates in protesting against the Duke of Aiguillon, the then governor,
"the which hath made upon the liberties of the province one of those
assaults which are not possible save when the crown believes itself to be
secure of impunity." The noblesse having yielded in the states, the
Parliament of Rennes gave in their resignation in a body. Five of its
members were arrested; at their head was the attorney-general, M. de la
Chalotais, author of a very remarkable paper against the Jesuits. It was
necessary to form at St. Malo a King's Chamber to try the accused. M. de
Calonne, an ambitious young man, the declared foe of M. de la Chalotais,
was appointed attorney-general on the commission. He pretended to have
discovered grave facts against the accused; he was suspected of having
invented them. Public feeling was at its height; the magistrates loudly
proclaimed the theory of Classes, according to which all the Parliaments
of France, responsible one for another, formed in reality but one body,
distributed by delegation throughout the principal towns of the realm.
The king convoked a bed of justice, and, on the 2d of March, 1766, he
repaired to the Parliament of Paris. "What has passed in my Parliaments
of Pau and of Rennes has nothing to do with my other Parliaments," said
Louis XV. in a firm tone, to which the ears of the Parliament were no
longer accustomed. "I have behaved in respect of those two courts as
comported with my authority, and I am not bound to account to anybody. I
will not permit the formation in my kingdom of an association which might
reduce to a confederacy of opposition the natural bond of identical
duties and common obligations, nor the introduction into the monarchy of
an imaginary body which could not but disturb its harmony. The
magistracy does not form a body or order separate from the three orders
of the kingdom; the magistrates are my officers. In my person alone
resides the sovereign power, of which the special characteristic is the
spirit of counsel, justice, and reason; it is from me alone that my
courts have their existence and authority. It is to me alone that the
legislative power belongs, without dependence and without partition. My
people is but one with me, and the rights and interests of the nation
whereof men dare to make a body separate from the monarch are necessarily
united with my own, and rest only in my hands."

This haughty affirmation of absolute power, a faithful echo of Cardinal
Richelieu's grand doctrines, succeeded for a while in silencing the
representations of the Parliaments; but it could not modify the course of
opinion, passionately excited in favor of M. de la Chalotais. On the
24th of December, 1766, after having thrice changed the jurisdiction and
the judges, the king annulled the whole procedure by an act of his
supreme authority. "We shall have the satisfaction," said the edict, "of
finding nobody guilty, and nothing will remain for us but to take such
measures as shall appear best adapted to completely restore and maintain
tranquillity in a province from which we have on so many occasions had
proofs of zeal for our service." M. de la Chalotais and his comrades
were exiled to Saintes. They demanded a trial and a legal justification,
which were refused. "It is enough for them to know that their honor is
intact," the king declared. A Parliament was imperfectly reconstructed
at Rennes. "It is D'Aiguillon's bailiff-court," was the contemptuous
saying in Brittany. The governor had to be changed. Under the
administration of the Duke of Duras, the agitation subsided in the
province; the magistrates who had resigned resumed their seats; M. de la
Chalotais and his son, M. de Caradeuc, alone remained excluded by order
of the king. The restored Parliament immediately made a claim on their
behalf, accompanying the request with a formal accusation against the
Duke of Aiguillon. The states supported the Parliament. "What! sir,"
said the remonstrance; "they are innocent, and yet you punish them! It
is a natural right that nobody should be' punished without a trial; we
have property in our honor, our lives, and our liberty, just as you have
property in your crown. We would spill our blood to preserve your
rights; but, on your side, preserve us ours. Sir, the province on its
knees before you asks you for justice." A royal ordinance forbade any
proceedings against the Duke of Aiguillon, and enjoined silence on the
parties. Parliament having persisted, and declaring that the accusations
against the Duke of Aiguillon attached (_entachaient_) his honor, Louis
XV., egged on by the chancellor, M. de Maupeou, an ambitious, bold, bad
man, repaired in person to the office, and had all the papers relating to
the procedure removed before his eyes. The strife was becoming violent;
the Duke of Choiseul, still premier--minister but sadly shaken in the
royal favor, disapproved of the severities employed against the
magistracy. All the blows dealt at the Parliaments recoiled upon him.

King Louis XV. had taken a fresh step in the shameful irregularity of his
life; on the 15th of April, 1764, Madame de Pompadour had died, at the
age of forty-two, of heart disease. As frivolous as she was deeply
depraved and baseminded in her calculating easiness of virtue, she had
more ambition than comported with her mental calibre or her force of
character; she had taken it into her head to govern, by turns promoting
and overthrowing the ministers, herself proffering advice to the king,
sometimes to good purpose, but more often still with a levity as fatal as
her obstinacy. Less clever, less ambitious, but more potent than Madame
de Pompadour over the faded passions of a monarch aged before his time,
the new favorite, Madame Dubarry, made the least scrupulous blush at the
lowness of her origin and the irregularity of her life. It was,
nevertheless, in her circle that the plot was formed against the Duke of
Choiseul. Bold, ambitious, restless, presumptuous sometimes in his views
and his hopes, the minister had his heart too nearly in the right place
and too proper a spirit to submit to either the yoke of Madame Dubarry or
that of the shameless courtiers who made use of her influence.
Chancellor Maupeou, the Duke of Aiguillou, and the new comptroller-
general, Abbe Terray, a man of capacity, invention, and no scruple at
all, at last succeeded in triumphing over the force of habit, the only
thing that had any real effect upon the king's listless mind. After
twelve years' for a long while undisputed power, after having held in his
hands the whole government of France and the peace of Europe, M. de
Choiseul received from the king on the 24th of December, 1770, a letter
in these terms:--

"Cousin, the dissatisfaction caused me by your services forces me to
banish you to Chanteloup, whither you will repair within twenty-four
hours. I should have sent you much further off, but for the particular
regard I have for Madame de Choiseul, in whose health I feel great
interest. Take care your conduct does not force me to alter my mind.
Whereupon I pray God, cousin, to have you in His holy and worthy

The thunderbolt which came striking the Duke of Choiseul called forth a
fresh sign of the times. The fallen minister was surrounded in his
disgrace with marks of esteem and affection on the part of the whole
court. The princes themselves and the greatest lords felt it an honor to
pay him a visit at his castle of Chanteloup. He there displayed a
magnificence which ended by swallowing up his wife's immense fortune,
already much encroached upon during his term of power. Nothing was too
much for the proud devotion and passionate affection of the Duchess of
Choiseul: she declined the personal favors which the king offered her,
setting all her husband's friends the example of a fidelity which was
equally honorable to them and to him. Acute observers read a tale of the
growing weakness of absolute power in the crowd which still flocked to a
minister in disgrace; the Duke of Choiseul remained a power even during a
banishment which was to last as long as his life.

With M. de Choiseul disappeared the sturdiest prop of the Parliaments.
In vain had the king ordered the magistrates to resume their functions
and administer justice. "There is nothing left for your Parliament,"
replied the premier president, "but to perish with the laws, since the
fate of the magistrates should go with that of the state." Madame
Dubarry, on a hint from her able advisers, had caused to be placed in her
apartments a fine portrait of Charles I. by Van Dyck. "France," she was
always reiterating to the king with vulgar familiarity, "France, thy
Parliament will cut off thy head too!"

[Illustration: "France, thy Parliament will cut off thy Head too!"--249]

A piece of ignorant confusion, due even more to analogy of name than to
the generous but vain efforts often attempted by the French magistracy in
favor of sound doctrines of government. The Parliament of Paris fell
sitting upon curule chairs, like the old senators of Rome during the
invasion of the Gauls; the political spirit, the collected and combative
ardor, the indomitable resolution of the English Parliament, freely
elected representatives of a free people, were unknown to the French
magistracy. Despite the courage and moral, elevation it had so often
shown, its strength had been wasted in a constantly useless strife; it
had withstood Richelieu and Mazarin; already reduced to submission by
Cardinal Fleury, it was about to fall beneath the equally bold and
skilful blows of Chancellor Maupeou. Notwithstanding the little natural
liking and the usual distrust he felt for Parliaments, the king still
hesitated. Madame Dubarry managed to inspire him with fears for his
person; and he yielded.

During the night between the 19th and 20th of January, 1771, musketeers
knocked at the doors of all the magistrates; they were awakened in the
king's name, at the same time being ordered to say whether they would
consent to resume their service. No equivocation possible! No margin
for those developments of their ideas which are so dear to parliamentary
minds! It was a matter of signing yes or no. Surprised in their
slumbers, but still firm in their resolution of resistance, the majority
of the magistrates signed no. They were immediately sent into
banishment; their offices were confiscated. Those members of the
Parliament from whom weakness or astonishment had surprised a yes
retracted as soon as they were assembled, and underwent the same fate as
their colleagues. On the 23d of January, members delegated by the grand
council, charged with the provisional administration of justice, were
installed in the Palace by the chancellor himself. The registrar-in-
chief, the ushers, the attorneys, declined or eluded the exercise of
their functions; the advocates did not come forward to plead. The Court
of Aids, headed by Lamoignon de Malesherbes, protested against the attack
made on the great bodies of the state. "Ask the nation themselves, sir,"
said the president, "to mark your displeasure with the Parliament of
Paris, it is proposed to rob them--themselves--of the essential rights of
a free people." The Court of Aids was suppressed like the Parliament;
six superior councils, in the towns of Arras, Blois, Chalons-sur-Marne,
Lyon, Clermont, and Poitiers parcelled out amongst them the immense
jurisdiction of Paris; the members of the grand council, assisted by
certain magistrates of small esteem, definitively took the places of the
banished, to whom compensation was made for their offices. The king
appeared in person on the 13th of April, 1771, at the new Parliament;
the chancellor read out the edicts. "You have just heard my intentions,"
said Louis XV.; "I desire that they may be conformed to. I order you to
commence your duties. I forbid any deliberation contrary to my wishes
and any representations in favor of my former Parliament, for I shall
never change."

One single prince of the blood, the Count of La Marche, son of the Prince
of Conti, had been present at the bed of justice. All had protested
against the suppression of the Parliament. "It is one of the most useful
boons for monarchs and of those most precious to Frenchmen," said the
protest of the princes, "to have bodies of citizens, perpetual and
irremovable, avowed at all times by the kings and the nation, who, in
whatever form and under whatever denomination they may have existed,
concentrate in themselves the general right of all subjects to invoke the
law." "Sir, by the law you are king, and you cannot reign but by it,"
said the Parliament of Dijon's declaration, drawn up by one of the
mortarcap presidents (_presidents a mortier_), the gifted president De
Brosses. The princes were banished; the provincial Parliaments,
mutilated like that of Paris or suppressed like that of Rouen, which was
replaced by two superior councils, ceased to furnish a centre for
critical and legal opposition. Amidst the rapid decay of absolute power,
the transformation and abasement of the Parliaments by Chancellor Maupeou
were a skilful and bold attempt to restore some sort of force and unity
to the kingly authority. It was thus that certain legitimate claims had
been satisfied, the extent of jurisdictions had been curtailed, the
salability of offices had been put down, the expenses of justice had been
lessened. Voltaire had for a long time past been demanding these
reforms, and he was satisfied with them. "Have not the Parliaments often
been persecuting and barbarous?" he wrote; "I wonder that the _Welches_
[i. e., Barbarians, as Voltaire playfully called the French] should take
the part of those insolent and intractable cits." He added, however,
"Nearly all the kingdom is in a boil and consternation; the ferment is as
great in the provinces as in Paris itself."

The ferment subsided without having reached the mass of the nation; the
majority of the princes made it up with the court, the dispossessed
magistrates returned one after another to Paris, astonished and mortified
to see justice administered without them and advocates pleading before
the Maupeou Parliament. The chancellor had triumphed, and remained
master; all the old jurisdictions were broken up, public opinion was
already forgetting them; it was occupied with a question more important
still than the administration of justice. The ever-increasing disorder
in the finances was no longer checked by the enregistering of edicts; the
comptroller-general, Abbe Terray, had recourse shamelessly to every
expedient of a bold imagination to fill the royal treasury; it was
necessary to satisfy the ruinous demands of Madame Dubarry and of the
depraved courtiers who thronged about her. Successive bad harvests and
the high price of bread still further aggravated the position. It was
known that the king had a taste for private speculation; he was accused
of trading in grain and of buying up the stores required for feeding the
people. The odious rumor of this famine pact, as the bitter saying was,
soon spread amongst the mob. Before its fall, the Parliament of Rouen
had audaciously given expression to these dark accusations; it had
ordered proceedings to be taken against the monopolists. A royal
injunction put a veto upon the prosecutions. "This prohibition from the
crown changes our doubts to certainty," wrote the Parliament to the king
himself; "when we said that the monopoly existed and was protected, God
forbid, sir, that we should have had your Majesty in our eye, but
possibly we had some of those to whom you distribute your authority."
Silence was imposed upon the Parliaments, but without producing any
serious effect upon public opinion, which attributed to the king the
principal interest in a great private concern bound to keep up a certain
parity in the price of grain. Contempt grew more and more profound; the
king and Madame Dubarry by their shameful lives, Maupeou and Abbe Terray
by destroying the last bulwarks of the public liberties, were digging
with their own hands the abyss in which the old French monarchy was about
to be soon ingulfed.

For a long while pious souls had formed great hopes of the dauphin;
honest, scrupulous, sincerely virtuous, without the austerity and
extensive views of the Duke of Burgundy, he had managed to live aloof,
without intrigue and without open opposition, preserving towards the king
an attitude of often sorrowful respect, and all the while remaining the
support of the clergy and their partisans in their attempts and their
aspirations. The Queen, Mary Leczinska, a timid and proudly modest
woman, resigned to her painful situation, lived in the closest intimacy
with her son, and still more with her daughterin-law, Mary Josepha of
Saxony, though the daughter of that elector who had but lately been
elevated to the throne of Poland, and had vanquished King Stanislaus.
The sweetness, the tact, the rare faculties of the dauphiness had
triumphed over all obstacles. She had three sons. Much reliance was
placed upon the influence she had managed to preserve with the king, and
on the dominion she exercised over her husband's mind. In vain had the
dauphin, distracted at the woes of France, over and over again solicited
from the king the honor of serving him at the head of the army; the
jealous anxiety of Madame de Pompadour was at one with the cold
indifference of Louis XV. as to leaving the heir to the throne in the
shade. The prince felt it deeply, in spite of his pious resignation.
"A dauphin," he would say, "must needs appear a useless body, and a king
strive to be everybody" (_un homme universel_).

Whilst trying to beguile his tedium at the camp of Compiegne, the
dauphin, it is said, overtaxed his strength, and died at the age of
thirty-six on the 20th of December, 1765, profoundly regretted by the
bulk of the nation, who knew his virtues without troubling themselves,
like the court and the philosophers, about the stiffness of his manners
and his complete devotion to the cause of the clergy. The new dauphin,
who would one day be Louis XVI., was still a child; the king had him
brought into his closet. "Poor France!" he said sadly, "a king of
fifty-five and a dauphin of eleven!" The dauphiness and Queen Mary
Leczinska soon followed the dauphin to the tomb (1767-1768). The king,
thus left alone and scared by the repeated deaths around him, appeared
for a while to be drawn closer to his daughters, for whom he always
retained some sort of affection, a mixture of weakness and habit. One of
them, Madame Louise, who was deeply pious, left him to enter the convent
of the Carmelites; he often went to see her, and granted her all the
favors she asked. But by this time Madame Dubarry had become all-
powerful; to secure to her the honors of presentation at court, the king
personally solicited the ladies with whom he was intimate in order to get
them to support his favorite on this new stage; when the youthful Marie
Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, and daughter of Maria Theresa, whose
marriage the Duke of Choiseul had negotiated, arrived in France, in 1770,
to espouse the dauphin, Madame Dubarry appeared alone with the royal
family at the banquet given at La Muette on the occasion of the marriage.
After each reaction of religious fright and transitory repentance, after
each warning from God that snatched him for an instant from the depravity
of his life, the king plunged more deeply than before into shame. Madame
Dubarry was to reign as much as Louis XV.

Before his fall the Duke of Choiseul had made a last effort to revive
abroad that fortune of France which he saw sinking at home without his
being able to apply any effective remedy. He had vainly attempted to
give colonies once more to France by founding in French Guiana
settlements which had been unsuccessfully attempted by a Rouennese
Company as early as 1634. The enterprise was badly managed; the numerous
colonists, of very diverse origin and worth, were cast without resources
upon a territory as unhealthy as fertile. No preparations had been made
to receive them; the majority died of disease and want; New France
henceforth belonged to the English, and the great hopes which had been
raised of replacing it in Equinoctial France, as Guiana was named, soon
vanished never to return. An attempt made about the same epoch at St.
Lucie was attended with the same result. The great ardor and the rare
aptitude for distant enterprises which had so often manifested themselves
in France from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century seemed to be
henceforth extinguished. Only the colonies of the Antilles, which had
escaped from the misfortunes of war, and were by this time recovered from
their disasters, offered any encouragement to the patriotic efforts of
the Duke of Choiseul. He had been more fortunate in Europe than in the
colonies: henceforth Corsica belonged to France.

In spite of the French occupations, from 1708 to 1756, in spite of the
refusals with which Cardinal Fleury had but lately met their appeals, the
Corsicans, newly risen against the oppression of Genoa, had sent a
deputation to Versailles to demand the recognition of their republic,
offering to pay the tribute but lately paid annually to their tyrannical

The hero of Corsican independence, Pascal Paoli, secretly supported by
England, had succeeded for several years past not only in defending his
country's liberty, but also in governing and at the same time civilizing
it. This patriotic soul and powerful mind, who had managed to profit by
the energetic passions of his compatriots whilst momentarily repressing
their intestine quarrels, dreamed of an ideal constitution for his
island; he sent to ask for one of J. J. Rousseau, who was still in
Switzerland, and whom he invited to Corsica. The philosophical chimeras
of Paoli soon vanished before a piece of crushing news. The Genoese,
weary of struggling unsuccessfully against the obstinate determination of
the Corsicans, and unable to clear off the debts which they had but
lately incurred to Louis XV., had proposed to M. de Choiseul to cede to
France their ancient rights over Corsica, as security for their
liabilities. A treaty, signed at Versailles on the 15th of May, 1768,
authorized the king to perform all acts of sovereignty in the places and
forts of Corsica; a separate article accorded to Genoa an indemnity of
two millions.

A cry arose in Corsica. Paoli resolved to defend the independence of his
country against France, as he had defended it against Genoa. For several
months now French garrisons had occupied the places still submitting to
Genoa; when they would have extended themselves into the interior, Paoli
barred their passage; he bravely attacked M. de Chauvelin, the king's
lieutenant-general, who had just landed with a proclamation from Louis
XV. to his new subjects. "The Corsican nation does not let itself be
bought and sold like a flock of sheep sent to market," said the protest
of the republic's Supreme Council. Fresh troops from France had to be
asked for; under the orders of Count Vaux they triumphed without
difficulty over the Corsican patriots. Mustering at the bridge of Golo
for a last effort, they made a rampart of their dead; the wounded had
lain down amongst the corpses to give the survivors time to effect their
retreat. The town of Corte, the seat of republican government,
capitulated before long. England had supplied Paoli with munitions and
arms; he had hoped more from the promises of the government and the
national jealousy against France. "The ministry is too weak and the
nation too wise to make war on account of Corsica," said an illustrious
judge, Lord Mansfield. In vain did Burke exclaim, "Corsica, as a
province of France, is for me an object of alarm!" The House of Commons
approved of the government's conduct, and England contented herself with
offering to the vanquished Paoli a sympathetic hospitality; he left
Corsica on an English frigate, accompanied by most of his friends, and it
is in Westminster Abbey that he lies, after the numerous vicissitudes of
his life, which fluctuated throughout the revolutions of his native land,
from England to France and from France to England, to the day when
Corsica, proud of having given a master to France and the Revolution,
became definitively French with Napoleon.

[Illustration: Defeat of the Corsicans at Golo----256]

Corsica was to be the last conquest of the old French monarchy. Great or
little, magnificent or insignificant, from Richelieu to the Duke of
Choiseul, France had managed to preserve her territorial acquisitions; in
America and in Asia, Louis XV. had shamefully lost Canada and the Indies;
in Europe, the diplomacy of his ministers had given to the kingdom
Lorraine and Corsica. The day of insensate conquests ending in a
diminution of territory had not yet come. In the great and iniquitous
dismemberment which was coming, France was to have no share.

Profound disquietude was beginning to agitate Europe: the King of Poland,
Augustus III., had died in 1763, leaving the unhappy country over which
he had reigned a prey to internal anarchy ever increasing and
systematically fanned by the avidity or jealousy of the great powers, its
neighbors. "As it is to the interest of the two monarchs of Russia and
Prussia that the Polish commonwealth should preserve its right to free
election of a king," said the secret treaty concluded in 1764 between
Frederick II. and the Empress Catherine, "and that no family should
possess itself of the elective throne of that country, the two
undermentioned Majesties engage to prevent, by all means in their power,
Poland from being despoiled of its right of election and transformed into
an hereditary kingdom; they mutually promise to oppose in concert, and,
if necessary, by force of arms, all plans and designs which may tend
thereto as soon as discovered."

A second article secured to the dissidents, as Protestants and Greeks
were called in Poland, the protection of the King of Prussia and of the
empress, "who will make every effort to persuade, by strong and friendly
representations, the king and the commonwealth of Poland to restore to
those persons the rights, privileges, and prerogatives they have acquired
there, and which have been accorded them in the past, as well in
ecclesiastical as in civil matters, but have since been, for the most
part, circumscribed or unjustly taken away. But, should it be impossible
to attain that end at once, the contracting parties will content
themselves with seeing that, whilst waiting for more favorable times and
circumstances, the aforesaid persons are put beyond reach of the wrongs
and oppression under which they are at present groaning." In order to
remain masters of Poland and to prevent it from escaping the dissolution
with which it was threatened by its internal dissensions, Frederick and
Catherine, who were secretly pursuing different and often contrary
courses, united to impose on the Diet a native prince. "I and my ally
the Empress of Russia," said the King of Prussia, "have agreed to promote
the selection of a Piast (Pole), which would be useful and at the same
time glorious for the nation." In vain had Louis XV. by secret policy

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