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THE 


HISTORY   OF    FRANCE 


RELATED  FOR  THE   RISING  GENERATION. 


LONDON  : 

OILBBBT  AHD   KIVINOTON,  PUlNTBKi*, 

ST,  J0HN*8  8QUABF. 


PUBLISHERS'  ADVERTISEMENT. 

The  death  of  M,  Guizot  at  Val- Richer  took  place  whilst  he  was 
dictating  the  last  pages  of  VoL  IV,  of  his  Eistorif  of  France  to 
his  daughter^  Madame  de  Witt.  The  work  to  which  he  had  eon- 
secimted  the  last  yeara  of  hia  life  was  thus  left  in  complete*  M, 
Guizot  had  planned  his  fifth  and  last  volumcj  comprising  the 
mgn  of  Louis  XV-  and  that  of  Louis  XVL,  down  to  the  period 
of  the  meetiug  of  the  Constituent  Assembly  in  1789,  The  out- 
Ones  of  the  chapters  had  already  been  traced.  It  is  upon  the 
plan  thus  laid  down  by  M*  Guizot,  and  with  the  aid  of  his  direc- 
tions and  notes,  that  Madame  de  Witt  has  edited  this  Fifth 
Volume,  the  completion  of  which  tlie  author  entrusted  to  her  as 
being  the  one  most  intimately  acquainted  with  his  views.  It 
will  thus  be  seen  that^  though  not  coming  complete  from  his 
hands,  the  material  of  this  fifth  Yolume  is  the  work  of  the  great 
historian  himself,  whose  deeply  lamented  death  'alone  prevented 
his  putting  the  finishing  strokes  to  the  monument  which  he 
desired  to  raise  for  the  honour  and  instruction  of  the  country 
which  was  so  dear  to  him,  and  which  he  served  to  his  latest 
breath. 


Crown  BuHdingBj  Fleet  Stieett  Septembor,  1H76. 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Chapter       LI.  Louis  XV.,  the  Regency  and  Cardinal  Dubois  (1715—1723)  1 

„          LIL  Louis  XV.,  the  Ministry  of  Cardinal  Fleury  (1723—1748)  65 

„  LIIL  LouisXV.,  France  in  the  Colonies  (1746—1763)  .  .  132 
„         LIV.   Louis  XV.,  the  Seven  Years'  War — Ministry  of  the  Duke 

ofChoiseul  (1748—1774) 182 

„          LV.  Louis  XV.,  the  Philosopher 244 

LVL  Loub  XVI.,  the  Ministry  of  M.  Turgot  (1774—1776)  .  328 
„       LVII,  Louis  XVL,  F*ranoe  Abroad— United  States'  War  of  Inde- 

pendence  (1775— 1783) 353 

„     LVm.  Louis  XVI^  France  at  Home — Ministry  of  M.  Necker 

(1776—1781) 411 

„         LIX.  Louis  XVI.,  M.  de  Caloune  and  the  Assembly  of  Notables 

(1781—1787) 439 

„           LX.    LouisXVL,ConvocationoftheStates-General(l787— 1789)  481 

Ihdbx 541 


•>% 


LIST  OF  lU.USTMTIONS. 

PAGB 

M.  Gaizot Frontiepiece 

LoniaXVI xii 

Head-piece  to  Cbapter  LI 1 

The  Regent  Orleans 5 

La  Rue  Quincampoix 13 

John  Law 17 

The  Duke  of  Maine            24 

The  Duchess  of  Maine 25 

Cardinal  Dubois  .         .         .         .      ' .27 

Peter  the  Great  and  Little  Louis  XV 37 

Belzunce  amidst  the  Plague-stricken 49 

The  Boy  King  and  his  People .         •  59' 

Tail-piece  to  Chapter  LI 64 

Head-piece  to  Chapter  LII 65 

Louis  XV 75 

Mary  Leczinska 83 

Death  of  Plelo 87 

Moriamur  pro  Rege  nostro  ! 97 

Cardinal  Fleury 105 

Louis  XV.  and  the  Ambassador  of  Holland Ill 

Battle  of  Foutenoy 117 

Marshal  Saxe 123 

Arrest  of  Charles  Edward 130 

Head-piece  of  Chapter  LIII 132 

La  Bourdonnaia 137 

Death  of  the  Nabob  of  the  Carnatic 141 

Dupleix              145 

Lally  at  Pondichcrry 151 

Champlain 163 

Death  of  General  Braddock 17L 

Montcalm 177 

Tail-pieceof  Chapter  LIII.         .         .         .         *. 181 

Ilead-picceof  Chapter  LI  V .182 


X  LIST  OP  ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGK 

Louis  XV.  and  Damiens     .  .  .  .191 

Frederick  the  Great 195 

Death  of  Che  ralierD'Assas 203 

The  Duke  of  Choiseul 209 

The  Marchioness  of  Pampadour 213 

Louis  XV.  and  Madame  Dubarry 221 

Defeat  of  the  Corsicans  at  Golo 233 

Tail-piece  of  Chapter  LI V. 243* 

Head-piece  of  Chapter  LV 244 

Montesquieu 246 

Fontenelle 250 

TheRescueof  "La  Henriade" 259 

Arrest  of  Voltaire       . 273 

Voltaire .  ^85 

Diderot 293 

D'Alembert 297 

Diderot  and  Catherine  II 299 

Buffon * 309 

Rousseau  and  Madame  D*£pinay 317 

Tail-piece  of  Chapter  LV 327 

Head-piece  of  Chapter  LVI 328 

The  Church  of  St.  Genevieve 331 

Turgot's  Dismissal .  347 

Tail-piece  of  Chapter  LVI .         .352 

Head-pieceof  Chapter  LVI  I 353 

George  Washington 361 

Bunker's  Hill 365 

Benjamin  Franklin 373 

La  Fayette 377 

The  Belle  Poule  and  the  Arethusa 381 

Suffren 397 

Sea-fight  off  Gondelour 405 

Head-piece  of  Chapter  LVIII 411 

The  Reading  of  Paul  and  Virginia 415 

Necker  at  St.  Ouen '     .  433 

Publicgriefat  Necker's  Fall 437 

Head-piece  to  Chapter  LIX 439 

Marie  Antoinette 443 

Calonne 451 

Layobier 45o 

Beaumarchais 459 

Cardinal  Rohan's  Discomfitui'c 463 


LIST  OP  ILLUSTRATIONS.  xi 

PAGE 

The  Montgolfier  Balloon 479 

Head-piece  to  Chapter  LX 481 

Lomenie  de  Brieone 487 

Arrest  of  the  Members       ..........  495 

Abb6  Si^jes 507 

The  Manor-house  of  Trianon  .511 

Malouet 517 

Mirabeau  and  Dreux-Br^ze        .........  535 

Tail-piece  of  Chapter  LX 539 


i 


-^■-' 


■m'¥. 


Mi-1 


CHAPTER  LL 


LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDIAL  DUBOIS  (1715—1723). 


iT  the  very  moment  wlu?n  the  master's  hand  is  mLssed 
from  his  work  tlio  narrative  mates  a  surldeo  bound  out 
of  the  siinjilc  times  of  history.  Utidur  Henry  l\^,  undi3r 
KicheliL'iij  under  IjOuib  XIV.,  events  found  quite  mitunilly  their 
guiding  hand  and  their  centre ;  men  as  well  as  circumstances  formed 
a  group  around  the  head  of  the  natioE,  whether  king  or  minister, 
to  thence  unfold  themselves  quite  clearly  before  the  eyes  of  pos- 
terity. Starting  from  the  reign  of  Louis  XV.  the  nation  has  no 
longer  a  head,  history  no  longtT  a  centre;  at  the  same  time  with 
a  master  of  the  higlier  oixler,  great  servants  also  fail  the  French 
monarchy ;  it  all  at  once  collapses,  betraying  thus  the  exhaustion 
of  Louis  XIV/s  latter  years ;  decadence  is  no  longer  veiled  by  the 
remnants  of  the  splendour  which  was  still  reflected  from  the  great 
king  and  his  great  reign  ;  the  glory  of  olden  France  descends 
slowly  to  its  grave.  At  the  same  time,  and  in  a  future  as  yet 
obscured,  iDtellectual  progress  begins  to  dawn;  new  ideas  of 
justice,    of  humanity,    of   generous    equity   towards  the  masses 

VOL.   v.  B 


HISTORY  OF  PRANCE. 


[CaiF.  LI. 


germinate  sparsely  in  certain  minds;  it  ia  no  longer  Christianity 
alone  that  inspires  them,  though  the  honour  is  reflected  upon  it  in 
a  general  way  and  as  regaa:'ds  the  principles  with  which  it  has 
silently  permeated  modem  society,  but  they  who  contribute  to 
spread  them  refuse  with  indignation  to  acknowledge  the  source 
whence  they  have  drawn  them.  Intellectual  movement  no  longer 
appertains  exclusively  to  the  higher  classes j  to  the  ecclesiastics, 
or  to  the  members  of  the  parliaments ;  vaguely  as  yet^  and  retarded 
by  apathy  in  the  government  as  well  as  by  disorder  in  aSairs,  it 
propagates  and  extends  itself  imperceptibly  pending  that  signal 
and  terrible  explosion  of  good  and  evil  which  is  to  characterize  the 
close  of  the  eighteenth  century*  Becadence  and  progress  are 
going  on  confusedly  in  the  minds  as  well  as  in  the  material  con- 
dition of  the  nation.  They  must  be  distinguished  and  traced 
without  any  pretence  of  separating  them. 

There  wo  have  the  reign  of  Louis  XV.  in  its  entirety. 

The  regency  of  the  duke  of  Orleans  and  the  ministry  of  Cardinal 
Dubois  showed  certain  traits  of  the  general  tendencies  and  to  a 
certain  extent  felt  their  influence;  they  formed,  however^  a  dis- 
tinct epoch,  abounding  in  original  efforts  and  bold  attempts, 
which  remained  without  result  but  which  testified  to  the  lively 
reaction  in  men*s  minds  against  the  courses  and  fundamental 
principles  of  the  reign  which  had  just  ended. 

Louis  XIV.  had  made  no  mistake  about  the  respect  which  his 
last  wishes  were  destined  to  meet  with  after  his  death.  In  spite 
of  the  most  extreme  precautions^  the  secret  of  the  will  had  tran- 
spired, giving  occasion  for  some  days  past  to  secret  intrigues. 
Scarcely  had  the  king  breathed  his  last,  when  the  duke  of  Orleans 
was  urged  to  get  the  regency  conferred  upon  him  by  the  dukes 
and  peers,  simply  making  to  ParUament  an  announcement  of  what 
had  been  done.  The  duke  of  Orleans  was  a  better  judge  of  the 
moral  authority  belonging  to  that  important  body ;  and  it  was  to 
the  Palace  of  Justice  that  he  repaired  on  the  morning  of  Sep- 
tember 2,  1715*  The  crowd  there  was  immense;  the  young  king 
alone  was  not  there,  in  spite  of  his  great-grandfather's  express 
instructions.  The  day  was  a  decisive  one;  the  legitimatized 
princes  were  present,  **  tie  duke  of  Maine  bursting  with  joy/' 


Chap,  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,.THE  BEGBNCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.    3 

says  St.  Simon:  *^a  smiling,  satisfied  air  overrippled  that  of 
audacity,  of  confidence,  which  nevertheless  peeped  through,  and 
the  politeness  which  seemed  to  struggle  against  it.  He  bowed 
right  and  left,  piercing  every  one  with  his  looks.  Towards  the 
peers,  the  earnestness,  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  the  respectful* 
ness,  the  slowness,  the  profoimdness  of  hia  bow  was  eloquent. 
His  head  remained  lowered  even  on  recovering  himself."  The 
duke  of  Orleans  had  just  begun  to  speak ;  his  voice  was  not 
steady ;  he  repeated  the  terms  of  which  the  king  had  made  use, 
he  said,  for  the  purpose  of  confiding  the  dauphin  to  his  care :  "  To 
you  I  commend  him  ;  serve  him  faithfully  as  you  have  served  me, 
and  labour  to  preserve  to  him  his  kingdom ;  I  have  made  such 
dispositions  as  I  thought  wisest;  but  one  cannot  foresee  every- 
thing: if  there  is  anything  that  does  not  seem  good,  it  will  of 
course  be  altered." 

The  favour  of  the  assembly  was  plainly  with  him,  and  the 
prince's  accents  became  more  firm :  "  I  shall  never,"  said  he, 
"  have  any  other  purpose  but  to  relieve  the  people,  to  re-establish 
good  order  in  the  finances,  to  maintain  peace  at  home  and  abroad, 
and  to  restore  unity  and  tranquillity  to  the  church ;  therein  I  shall 
be  aided  by  the  wise  representations  of  this  august  assembly,  and 
I  hereby  ask  for  them  in  anticipation."  The  parliament  was  com- 
pletely  won ;  the  right  of  representation  (or  remonstrance)  was 
promised  them ;  the  will  of  Louis  XIV.  was  as  good  as  annulled ; 
it  was  opened,  it  was  read,  and  so  were  the  two  codicils.  All  the 
.authority  was  entrusted  to  a  council  of  regency  of  which  the  duke 
of  Orleans  was  to  be  the  head,  but  without  preponderating  voice 
and  without  power  to  supersede  any  of  the  members,  all  designated 
in  advance  by  Louis  XIV.  The  person  and  the  education  of  the 
young  king,  as  well  as  the  command  of  the  household  troops,  were 
entrusted  to  the  duke  of  Maine. 

"  It  was  listened  to  in  dead  silence  and  with  a  sort  of  indigna- 
tion which  expressed  itself  in  all  countenances,"  says  St.  Simon. 
"The  king,  no  doubt,  did  not  comprehend  the  force  of  what  he 
had  been  made  to  do,"  said  the  duke  of  Orleans ;  "  he  assured 
me  in  the  last  days  of  his  life  that  I  should  find  in  his  disposi- 
tions nothing  that  I  was  not  siu-e  to  be  pleased  with,  and  he 

B  2 


mSTOEY  OF  TRANCE. 


[Chap. 


himsetf  referred  the  miiiisters  to  mo  on  busmesg,'  ^tb  all  the  orders 
io  b©  given*"  He  asked,  therefore,  to  have  his  regency  declared 
such  as  it  ought  to  be,  "  full  and  independent,  with  free  forinatiori 
of  the  coimcil  of  regency,"  The  duke  of  Jfaine  wished  to  say  a 
word.  "You  shall  speak  in  your  turn,  sirj"  said  the  duke  of 
Orleans  in  a  dry  tone.  The  court  immediately  decided  in  bis  favous^ 
by  acclamation,  and  even  without  proceeding  in  the  regular  waj^^ 
to  vote.  There  remained  the  codicils,  which  annulled  in  fact  tho 
Regent's  authority,  A  discussion  began  between  the  duke  of 
Orleans  and  the  duke  of  Maine ;  it  was  causing  Philip  of  Orleans 
to  lose  the  advantage  he  had  just  won;  his  friends  succeeded  in 
making  him  perceive  this,  and  he  put  oflF  the  session  until  after 
dinner.  When  they  returned  to  the  Palace  of  Justice  the  codicils 
were  puffed  away  like  the  will  by  the  breath  of  popular  favour^l^ 
The  Duke  of  Maine,  despoiled  of  the  command  of  the  king's  house- 
hold,  declared  that,  under  such  conditions,  it  was  impossible  for 
him  to  be  answerable  for  tho  king's  person,  and  that  he  demanded 
to  be  relieved  of  that  duty/*  "  Most  willingly j  sir,"  replied  the 
Regent,  "your  services  are  no  longer  required ;''  and  he  forth- 
with explained  to  the  Parliament  his  intention  of  governing  affairs 
according  to  the  plan  which  had  been  found  among  the  papers  of 
the  duke  of  Burgundy.  '*  Those  gentry  know  little  or  nothing  of 
the  French  and  of  the  way  to  govern  them,*'  had  been  the  remark 
of  Louis  XIV.  on  reading  tho  schemes  of  Fenelon,  the  duko  of 
Beauvilliera  and  St,  Simon,  The  Parliament  applauded  the 
formation  of  the  six  councils  of  foreign  affairs,  of  finance,  of  war, 
of  the  marine^  of  home  or  the  interior,  o(  congcience  or  ecclesiastical 
affairs ;  the  Eegent  was  entrusted  with  the  free  disposal  of  graces ; 
**  I  want  to  be  free  for  good/'  said  he,  adroitly  repeating  a  phrase 
from  Telemaque,  "  I  consent  to  have  my  hands  tied  for  evil." 

The  victory  was  complete.  Not  a  shred  remained  of  Louis 
XIV*'s  will.  The  duke  of  Maine,  confounded  and  humiliated, 
retired  to  his  castle  of  Sc^aux,  there  to  endure  the  reproaches  of 
his  wife.  The  king's  affection  and  Madame  de  Main  tenon's  clever 
tactics  had  not  sufficed  to  found  his  power;  the  remaining 
vestiges  of  his  gi'eatness  were  themselves  about  to  vanish  before 
long  in  theii'  turn. 


/ 


Cmap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.    7 

On  the  12th  of  September,  the  little  king  held  a  bed  of  justice; 
his  governess,  Madame  de  Ventadoiir,  sat  alone  at  the  feet  of  the 
poor  orphan,  abandoned  on  the  pinnacle  of  power.  All  the 
decisions  of  September  2  were  ratified  in  the  child's  name.  Louis 
XIV.  had  just  descended  to  the  tomb  without  pomp  and  without 
regret.  The  joy  of  the  people  broke  out  indecently  as  the  funeral 
train  passed  by;  the  nation  had  forgotten  the  glory  of  the  great 
king,  it  remembered  only  the  evils  which  had  for  so  long  oppressed 
it  during  his  reign. 

The  new  councils  had  already  been  constituted,  when  it  was 
discovered  that  commerce  had  been  forgotten;  and  to  it  was 
assigned  a  seventh  body.  "  Three  sorts  of  men,  the  choice  of 
whom  was  dictated  by  propriety,  weakness  and  necessity,  filled 
the  lists :  in  the  first  place,  great  lords,  veterans  in  intrigue  but 
novices  in  affairs,  and  less  useful  from  their  influence  than  embar- 
rassing from  their  pride  and  their  pettinesses ;  next,  the  Regent's 
friends,  the  cream  of  the  roues^  possessed  with  the  spirit  of 
opposition  and  corruption,  ignorant  and  clever,  bold  and  lazy,  and 
far  better  calculated  to  harass  than  to  conduct  a  government; 
lastly,  below  them,  wore  pitch-forked  in,  pell-mell,  councillors  of 
State,  masters  of  requests,  members  of  parliament,  well  informed 
and  industrious  gentlemen,  fated  henceforth  to  crawl  about  at  the 
bottom  of  the  committees  and,  without  the  spur  of  glory  or 
emulation,  to  repair  the  blunders  which  must  be  expected 
from  the  incapacity  of  the  first  and  the  recklessness  of  the  second 
class  amongst  their  colleagues  "  [Lemon tey,  Histoirc  de  la  Begence^^ 
t.  i.  p.  67].  "  It  is  necessary,"  the  young  king  was  made  to  say 
in  the  preamble  to  the  ordinance  which  established  the  councils, 
"that  affairs  should  be  regulated  rather  by  unanimous  consent 
than  by  way  of  authority." 

How  singular  are  the  monstrosities  of  inexperience  I  At  the 
head  of  the  council  of  finance  a  place  was  found  for  the  duke  of 
Noailles,  active  in  mind  and  restless  in  character,  without  any 
fixed  principles,  an  adroit  and  a  shameless  courtier,  strict  in  all 
religious  observances  under  Louis  XIV.  and  a  notorious  debauchee 
under  the  Regency,  but  intelhgent,  insolent,  ambitious,  hungering 
and  thirsting  to  do  good  if  he  could,  but  evil  if  need  were  and  in 


8 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[CifAr.  LL 


order  to  arrive  at  his  ends.  His  uncle,  Cardinal  Noailles,  who  had 
been  but  lately  threatened  by  the  court  of  Rome  with  the  loss  of  his 
hat  and  who  had  Been  liiniself  forbidden  to  approach  the  dying 
king,  was  now  president  of  the  council  of  conscience.  Marshal 
d'Huxelles,  one  of  the  negotiators  who  had  managed  the  treaty  of 
Utrechtj  was  at  the  head  of  foreign  affiurs.  The  Eegent  had 
reserved  to  himself  one  single  department,  the  Academy  of 
sciences.  ''I  quite  intend/*  said  he  gaily,  "to  ask  the  king, 
on  his  majority,  to  let  me  still  be  secretary  of  State  of  the 
Academy." 

The  Regent's  predilection,  consolidating  the  work  of  Colbert, 
contributed  to  the  development  of  scientific  researches^  for  which 
the  neatness  and  clearness  of  French  thought  rendered  it  thence- 
forth so  singularly  well  adapted. 

The  gates  of  the  prison  were  meanwhile  being  thrown  open  to 
many  a  poor  creature ;  the  Jansenists  left  the  Bastille ;  others,  who 
had  been  for  a  long  time  past  in  confinement,  w*ere  still  ignorant 
of  the  grounds  for  their  captivity,  which  was  by  this  time  forgotten 
by  everybody.  A  wretclied  Italian,  who  had  been  arrested  the 
very  day  of  his  an'ival  in  Paris  thirty- five  years  before,  begged  to 
remain  in  prison ;  ho  had  no  longer  any  family,  or  relatives  or 
resources.  For  a  w^liilo  the  Protestants  thought  they  saw  their 
advantage  in  the  clemency  with  which  the  new  reign  appeared  to 
be  inaugurated,  and  began  to  meet  again  in  their  assemblies ;  the 
Regent  had  some  idea  of  doing  them  justice,  re-establishing  the 
edict  of  Nantes  and  reopening  to  the  exiles  the  doors  of  their 
country,  but  his  councillors  dissuaded  him,  the  more  virtuous,  like 
St*  Simon,  from  catholic  piety,  the  more  depraved  from  policy  and 
indifference.  However,  the  lot  of  the  Protestants  remained  under 
the  Regency  less  hard  than  it  had  been  under  Louis  XIV.  and 
than  it  became  under  the  duke  of  Bourbon. 

The  chancellor,  Voysin,  had  just  died.  To  tliis  post  the  Re* 
gent  summoned  the  attorney^goneral,  D'Aguesseau,  beloved  and 
esteemed  of  all,  learned,  eloquent,  virtuous,  but  too  exclusively  a 
man  of  parliament  for  the  functions  which  had  been  confided  to 
him.  "  He  would  have  made  a  sublime  premier  president/*  said 
St.  Simon,  who  did  not  like  him.     The  magistrate  was  attending 


CiTAP*  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCy  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.    9 

mass  at  St.  Andr^*des-Arta ;  he  was  not  ignorant  of  the  chan- 
cellor's death,  when  a  valet  came  in  great  baste  to  inform  him 

■  that  the  Regent  wanted  him  at  the  Palais-Royal.  D'Agnesseaii 
piously  heard  out  the  remainder  of  the  mass  before  obeying  the 
prince's  orders.  The  casket  containing  the  seals  was  already 
tipon  the  table.  The  duke  of  Orleans  took  the  attorney-general  by 
the  arm  and,  going  out  with  him  into  the  gallery  thronged  with 
courtiers,  said :  *'  Gentlemen,  here  is  your  new  and  most  worthy 
chancellor  I "  and  he  took  him  away  with  him  to  the  Tuileries  to 
pay  his  respects  to  the  little  king. 

K  On  returning  home,  still  all  in  a  whirlj  D*Aguesseau  went  up 
'to  the  room  of  his  brother,  '*  M.  de  Valjouan,  a  sort  of  Epicurean 
(^t^olujjtueux)  philosopher,  with  plenty  of  wit  and  learning,  but 
altogether  one  of  the  oddest  creatures."  He  found  him  in  his 
dressing*gown,  smoking  in  front  of  the  fire.  "Brother/*  said  he 
a3  he  entered,  "  I  have  come  to  tell  you  that  I  am  chancellor." 
**  Chancellor!"  said  the  other,  turning  round:  '*  and  what  have 
yon  done  with  the  other  one?"  "  He  died  suddenly  to-night." 
_*'  Oh!  very  well,  brother,  I'm  very  glad;  I  would  rather  it  were 

■  you  than  I:"  and  he  resumed  l]is  pipe.      Madame  d'Aguesseaxi 
Tvas  better  pleased.     Her  husband  has  eulogized  her  handsomely  : 

»*•  A  wife  like  mine,"  ha  said,  "  is  a  good  man's  highest  reward." 
The  new  system  of  government,  as  yet  untried  and  confided  to 
men  for  the  most  part  little  accustomed  to  affairs,  had  to  put  up 
%\nth  the  most  formidable  difficulties  and  to  struggle  against  the 
tncst  painful  position.     The  treasury  was  empty  and  the  country 
■ftrxhausted  ;  the  army  was  not  paid,  and  the  most  honourable  men, 
Biixch  as  the  duke  of  St.  Simon,  saw  no  other  remedy  for  the  evils 
m^^  the  State  but  a  total  bankruptcy  and  the  convocation  of  the 
^S tastes-general .     Both  expedients  were  equally  repugnant  to  the 
di^lce   of    Orleans.      The  duke  of  Noailles  had  entered  upon   a 
co^irse  of  severe  economy ;  the  king's  household  was  diminished, 
t^?%r€tity-five   thousand    men   were  struck  off  the  strength  of  the 
at^^Tiy,  exemption  from  talliage  for  six  years  was  promised  to  all 
s^ich  discharged  soldiers  as  should  restore  a  deserted  house  and 
^yt^mld  put  into  cultivation  the  fields  lying  waste.     At  the  same 
Itirrie  somt tiling  was  being  taken  off  the  crushing  weight  of  the 


1 


10 


HISTORY  OF  FBANCE. 


[OiiAP.  LL 


taxes  and  the  State  was  assuming  the  charge  of  recovering  them 
directly,  without  any  regard  for  the  real  or  supposed  advances  of  the 
receivers-general ;  their  accounts  were  subraitted  to  the  revision  of 
tbo  brothers  Paris,  sonB  of  an  innkeeper  in  the  Danphineso  Alp??, 
who  had  made  forturtea  by  military  contracts  and  were  all  four 
reputed  to  be  very  able  in  matterR  of  finance-  They  were  likewise 
commissioned  to  revtse  the  bills  circulating  in  the  name  of  tlic 
State,  in  other  words,  to  suppress  a  great  number  without  re-im- 
buraement  to  the  holder,  a  sort  of  bankruptcy  in  disguise,  which 
did  not  help  to  raise  the  public  credit.  At  the  same  time  also  a 
chamber  of  justice,  instituted  for  that  purpose,  was  prosecuting 
the  tax-farmers  {fraUants)^  as  Louis  XIV,  had  done  at  the  com- 
mencement  of  his  reign,  during  the  suit  against  Fouquet.  All 
were  obliged  to  account  for  their  acquisitions  and  the  state  of  their 
fortunes ;  the  notaries  were  compelled  to  bring  their  books  before 
the  court.  Several  tax-farmers  {traitmds)  killed  themselves  to 
escape  the  violence  and  severity  of  the  procedure.  The  Parlia* 
ment,  anything  but  favourable  to  the  speculators,  but  still  less 
disposed  to  suffer  its  judicial  privileges  t<>  be  encroached  upon, 
found  fault  with  the  decrees  of  the  Chamber.  The  Regent's 
friends  were  eager  to  profit  by  the  reaction  which  was  manifesting 
itself  in  the  public  mind ;  partly  from  compassion  j  partly  from 
shameful  cupidity,  all  the  courtiers  set  themselves  to  work  to 
obtain  grace  for  the  prosecuted  financiers.  The  finest  ladies  sold 
their  protection  with  brazen  faces  ;  the  Regent,  who  had  sworn  to 
show  no  favour  to  anybody,  yielded  to  the  solicitations  of  his 
friends,  to  the  great  disgust  of  M.  RouilM-Ducoudray,  member  of 
the  council  of  finance,  who  directed  the  operations  of  the  Chamber 
of  Justice  with  the  same  stern  frankness  which  had  made  him  not 
long  before  say  to  a  body  of  tax-farmers  {traiiants)  who  wanted  to 
put  at  his  disposal  a  certain  number  of  shares  in  their  enterprise, 
**  And  suppose  I  were  to  go  shares  with  you,  how  could  I  have  you 
hanged,  in  case  you  were  rogues  ?''  Nobody  was  really  hangedi 
although  torture  and  the  penalty  of  death  had  been  set  down  in 
tlio  list  of  punishments  to  which  the  guilty  were  liable ;  out  of 
four  thousand  five  hundred  amenable  cases  nearly  three  thousand 
had  been  exempt^^'d  from  the  tax,     **  The  corruption  is  so  wide* 


,  Chap.  U.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  EEGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  11 


I 


Spread,"  says  tlie  preamble  to  the  edict  of  Marcli,  17275  wliicB  sup- 
pressed tte  Chamber  of  Justicej  *'  tbat  nearly  all  conditions  have 
been  infected  by  it|  in  such  sort  that  the  most  righteous  severities 
eoiild  not  be  employed  to  punish  so  great  a  number  of  culprits 
without  causing  a  dangerous  interruption  to  commerce  and  a  kind 
of  general  shock  in  the  system  of  the  State."  The  resources 
derived  from  the  punishment  of  the  tax-farmers  {frattmits)^  as  well 
as  from  the  revision  of  the  State's  debts,  thus  remaining  very 
much  below  expectation,  the  deficit  went  on  continually  increasing, 
In  order  to  re-establish  the  fiuanceSj  the  duke  of  Noailles  demanded 
fifteen  years-  impracticable  economyj  as  chimerical  as  the  increment 
of  the  revenues  on  which  he  calculated ;  and  the  duke  of  Orleans 
finally  suflFered  himself  to  be  led  away  by  the  brilliant  prospect 
which  was  flashed  before  his  eyes  by  the  Scotsman,  Law,  who  had 
BOW  for  more  than  two  years  been  settled  in  France. 

Law,  born  at  Edinburgh  in  1671 ,  son  of  a  goldsmith,  had  for  a 
long  time  been  scouring  Burope,  seeking  in  a  clever  and  Bystematic 
course  of  gambling  a  source  of  fortune  for  himself  and  the  first 
foundation  of  the  great  enterprises  he  was  revolving  in  his  singu- 
larly inventive   and   daring  mind.     Passionately  devoted   to   the 
—  financial  theories  he  had  conceived,  Law  had  expounded  them  to 
W  aU  the  princes  of  Europe  in  succession.     *'  He  says  that  of  all  the 
persons  to  whom  he  has  spoken  about  his  system  he  has  found  but 
two  who  apprehended  it,  to  wit,  the  king  of  Sicily  and  my  son," 
wrote  Madame,  the  Regent's  mother,     Victor  Amadeo,  however, 
lad  rejected  Lawn's  proposals,     *'  I  am  not  powerful  enough  to 

I  ruin  myself,"  he  had  said.  Law  had  not  been  more  successful 
witii  Louis  XIV.  The  Regent  had  not  the  same  repugnance  for 
novelties  of  foreign  origin;  so  soon  aa  he  was  in  power,  he 
authorized  the  Scot  to  found  a  circulating  and  discount  bank 
{ynque  de  eirculation  et  d^escompte)^  which  at -once  had  very  great 
success  and  did  real  service.  Encouraged  by  this  first  step,  Law 
reiterated  to  the  Regent  that  the  credit  of  bankers  and  merchants 
t^ecupled  their  capital ;  if  the  State  became  the  universal  banker 
P  antl  centralized  all  the  values  in  circulation,  the  public  fortune 
would  naturally  be  decupled.  A  radically  false  system,  fated  to 
plunge  the  State  and  consequently  the  whole  nation  into  the  risks 


12 


HISTOBY  OP  FRANCE. 


[CjiAP*  LI. 


of  speculation  and  trading  withoiit  tlie  guarantee  of  that 'activityi 
zeal  :ind  prompt  resolution  wliich  able  men  of  business  can  import 
into  their  privatt*  enterprises.  The  system  was  not  as  yet  applied ; 
the  discreet  routine  of  the  French  financiers  was  scared  at  such 
risky  chances,  the  pride  of  the  great  lords  sitting  in  the  council 
was  shocked  at*  the  idea  of  seeing  the  State  turning  banker^ 
perhaps  even  trader.  St,  Simon  maintained  that  what  was  well 
enough  for  a  free  State  could  not  take  place  under  an  absolute 
government.  Law  went  on,  however;  to  his  bank  he  had  Just 
added  a  great  company.  The  king  ceded  to  him  Loiusiana,  which 
was  said  to  be  rich  in  gold  and  silver  mines  superior  to  those  of 
Mexico  and  Peru,  People  vaunted  the  fertility  of  the  soil,  th» 
facility  offered  for  trade  by  the  extensive  and  rapid  stream  of  the 
Mississippi ;  it  was  by  the  name  of  that  river  that  the  new  com^ 
pany  was  called  at  first,  though  it  soon  took  the  title  of  Compmjnie 
iVOccld^uiyvdx^n  it  had  obtained  the  privilege  of  trading  in  Senegal 
and  in  Guinea;  it  heQ2kTao  the  Comfagnie  de^  inde^,  on  forming  fi 
fusion  with  the  old  enterprises  which  worked  the  trade  of  thoEast* 
For  the  generahtyj  and  in  the  current  phraseology,  it  remained  the 
Mimlsitippf ;  and  that  is  the  name  it  has  left  in  history.  New 
Orleans  was  beginning  to  arise  at  the  mouth  of  that  river.  Law 
ha^i  bought  Belle-Isle-en-Mer  and  was  constructmg  the  port 
of  Lorient* 

The  Regent^s  councillors  were  seared  and  disquiet^;  thti 
chancellor  proclaimed  himself  loudly  against  the  dece])tion  or 
ilhusion  which  made  of  Louisiana  a  land  of  promise :  he  called  to 
mind  that  Crozat  had  been  ruined  iu  searching  for  mines  of 
the  precious  metals  there,  "The  worst  of  him  was  his  virtue/' 
said  Duclos,  The  Regent  made  a  last  efibrfe  to  convert  him  as 
well  as  the  duke  of  Noailles  to  the  projects  of  Law.  It  imi 
at  a  small  house  in  the  faubourg  St.  Antoine,  called  La  Roquelie^ 
belonging  to  the  last-named,  that  the  four  interlocutors  discussed 
the  new  system  thoroughly,  "With  the  use  of  very  sensible 
language  Law  had  the  gift  of  explaining  himself  so  clearly  an*! 
intelligibly  that  he  left  nothing  to  desire  aa  concerned  inakitig 
hinmelf  apprehended  and  comprehended.  The  duke  of  Orleana^ 
liked  him  and  relished  him.     He  regarded  him  and  all  he  did  as 


r 

I 


I 


I 
I 


Oblv.  LIJ  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  15 

work  of  Ilia  own  creation.  He  liked,  moreoverj  extraordinary  and 
out-of-the-way  methods,  and  he  embraced  them  the  more  readily 
in  that  he  saw  the  resources  which  had  become  so  necessary  for 
the  State  and  all  the  ordinary  operations  of  finance  vanishing  away. 
This  liking  of  the  Regent's  wounded  Noaillea  as  being  adopted  at 
his  expense-  He  wanted  to  be  sole  master  in  the  matter  of 
finance,  and  all  the  eloquence  of  Law  could  not  succeed  in 
convincing  him/'  The  chancellor  stood  firm;  the  Parliamentj 
which  ever  remained  identified  in  his  mind  with  his  country,  was 
in  the  same  way  opposed  to  Law*,  The  latter  declared  that 
the  obstacles  which  arrested  him  at  every  step  through  the 
ill"Vrill  of  the  Council  and  of  the  magistrates  were  ruining  all  the 
fruits  of  his  system.  The  representations  addressed  by  the 
Parliament  to  the  king,  on  the  20th  of  January,  touching  a 
re^coinage  of  aJl  moneys,  which  had  been  suggested  by  Law, 
dealt  the  last  blow  at  the  chancellor's  already  tottering  favour. 
On  the  morning  of  the  23rd  M.  de  La  Vrilliere  went  to  him 
on  behalf  of  the  Regent  and  demanded  the  return  of  the  seals. 

•  D' Aguesseau  was  a  little  affected  and  surprised,     "  Monseigneur," 
he  wrot-e  to  the  duke  of  Orleans,  "  you  gave  me  the  seals  without 
any  merit  on  my  part,  you  take  them  away  without  any  demerit/' 
Ho  had  received  orders  to  withdraw  to  his  estate  at  Tresnes :  the 
I  Regent  found  his  mere  presence  irksome*     D'Aguesseau  set  out 
at   once.      "He  had  taken  his  elevation  like  a  sage,"  says  Bt, 
Simon,  **  and  it  was  as  a  sage  too  that  he  fell/'     "  The  important 
point,"  wrote  the  disgraced  magistrate  to  his  sou,  "is  to  be  weU 
with  oneself," 

kThe  duke  of  Noailles  had  resigned  his  presidency  of  the  council 
of  finance;  but,  ever  adroit,  even  in  disgrace,  he  had  managed  to 
secure  himself  a  place  in  the  council  of  regency.     The  seals  were 
entrusted  to  M,  d'Argenson,  for  some  years  past  chief  of  police  at 
Paris.     **  With  a  forbidding  face,  w^hich  reminded  one  of  the  three 
judges  of  Hades,  he  made  fun  out  of  everything  with  excellence 
**f  ^it,  and  he  had  established  such  order  amongst  that  innumer- 
ably multitude  of   Paris,  that  there  was  no  single  inhabitant  of 
^bose  conduct  and  habits  he  was  not  cognizant  fi-om  day  to  day. 


I 


I 


16 


mSTORT  OF  FRANCE. 


[COAF.  LI* 


bear  on  every  matter  that  presented  itself,  erer  leaning  towards 
the  gentler  side,  with  the  art  of  making  the  most  innoceot  tremble 
before  him"  [St  Simon,  t.  xv.  p.  387].  Courageous,  bold, 
audacious  in  facing  riots>  and  thereby  master  of  the  people,  he 
was  at  the  same  time  endowed  with  prodigious  activity,  **  He 
was  seen  commencing  his  audiences  at  three  in  the  moming, 
dictating  to  four  secretaries  at  once  on  various  subjects,  and 
making  his  rounds  at  night  whilst  working  in  Ma  carriage  at 
a  desk  lighted  with  wax  candles.  For  the  rest,  without  any 
dr^d  of  parliament,  which  had  often  attacked  him,  ho  was  in  his 
nature  royal  and  fiscal ;  he  cut  knots,  he  was  a  foe  to  length  in  ess, 
to  useless  forms  or  such  as  might  be  skippedj  to  neutral  or  wavering 
conditions"  [Lemontey,  Uistoire  de  la  Betjenee,  t.  L  p.  77] >  The 
Regent  considered  that  ho  had  secured  to  himself  an  effective 
instrument  of  his  views :  acceptance  of  the  system  had  been  the 
condition  nne  qua  umh  of  M,  d'Argenson's  elevation. 

He,  however,  like  his  predecessors,  attempted  before  long  to 
hamper  the  march  of  the  audacious  foreigner;  but  the  die  bad 
been  cast  and  the  duke  of  Orleacs  outstripped  Law  himself 
in  the  application  of  his  theories.  A  company,  formed  secretly 
and  protected  by  the  new  keeper  of  the  seals,  had  bought  up  the 
general  farmings  (femies  gene  rales),  that  is  to  say,  all  tue  indirect 
taxes,  for  the  sum  of  forty-eight  million  fifty-two  thousand  livres  ; 
the  Cimipafjme  den  hides  re-purchased  them  for  fifty-two  millions  ; 
the  general  receipts  were  likewise  conceded  to  it,  and  Law's  bank 
was  proclaimed  a  Royal  Bank;  the  Company's  shares  ab^ady 
amounted  to  the  supposed  value  of  all  the  coin  circulating  in  the 
kingdom,  estimated  at  seven  or  eight  hundred  millions.  Law 
thought  he  might  risk  everything  in  the  intoxication  which  had 
seized  all  France,  capital  and  province*  He  created  some  fifteen 
hundred  millions  of  new  shares,  promising  his  shareholders  a 
dividend  of  12  per  cent*  From  all  parts  silver  and  gold  flowed 
into  his  hands ;  everywhere  the  paper  of  the  bank  was  substituted 
for  coin*  The  delirium  had  mastcTed  all  minds-  The  street  called 
Qttitt^amjjou',  for  a  long  time  past  devoted  to  the  operations  of 
bankers,  had  become  the  usual  meeting-place  of  the  greatest  lords 
&6  well  as  of  discreet  bin^gesses.    It  had  been  found  necessary 


CHAP,Lt]  LOUIS  XV.,  TEE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS,  17 

to  close  the  two  ends  of  the  street  with  gates,  open  from  sLx  a  an. 
to  nine  p.m, ;  every  huiHe  harlxiured  buainet^s  agents  by  the 
hundred  ;  the  smallest  room  wan  let  for  its  weight  in  gold*  The 
workmen  who  made  the  paper  for  the  barik-notert  conld  not  keep 
up  with  the  consumptioiu  The  most,  modest  fortunes  suddenly 
became  oolosial,  luequeysof  yest4?rday  were  millionaires  to-morrow  ; 
extravagance  followed  the  progress  of  this  outburst  of  riches^  and 
the  price  of   provisions  followed  the    progress  of  extravagance* 


JOMH  LAW. 


Euthusiasm  was  at  its  height  in  favour  of  the  able  author  of  so 
many  boneftts,  I  jaw  became  a  convert  to  Catholicism  and  was 
made  comptroller-general;  all  the  court  was  at  his  feet:  "My  flon 
was  looking  for  a  duchess  to  escort  my  granddaughter  to  Genoa," 
writes  Madame,  the  Regent*s  mother;  "*  Send  and  choose  one  at 
Madame  Law's/  said  I;  *you  will  find  them  all  sitting  in  her 
drawing-room/"  Law*s  triumph  wascompleto;  the  hour  of  his 
fall  was  about  to  strike, 

vou  V.  0 


18 .  ,  HISTORY  OP  PRANOB.  [Chap.  LI. 

At  the  pinnacle  of  his  power  and  success  the  new  comptroller* 
general  fell  into  no  illusion  as  to  the  danger  of  the  position.  **  He 
had  been  forced  to  raise  seven  stories  on  foundations  which  he 
had  laid  for  only  three,"  said  a  contemporary  as  clearsighted  as 
impartial.  Some  large  shareholders  were  already  beginning  to 
quietly  realize  their  profits.  The  warrants  of  the  Oompagnie  des 
Indes  had  been  assimilated  to  the  bank-notes ;  and  the  enormous 
quantity  of  paper  tended  to  lower  its  value.  First,  there  was  a 
prohibition  against  making  payments  in  silver  above  ten  fi^ancs, 
and  in  gold  above  three  hundred.  Soon  afterwards  money  was 
dislegalized  as  a  tender,  and  orders  were  issued  to  take  every  kind 
to  the  Bank  on  pain  of  confiscation,  half  to  go  to  the  informer. 
Informing  became  a  horrible  trade ;  a  son  denounced  his  father. 
The  Regent  openly  violated  law  and  had  this  miscreant  punished. 
The  prince  one  day  saw  President  Lambert  de  Vernon  coming 
to  visit  him.  "I  am  come,"  said  the  latter,  "to  denounce  to 
your  Royal  Highness  a  man  who  has  five  hundred  thousand  livres 
in  gold."  The  duke  of  Orleans  drew  back  a  step :  "  Ah !  Mr. 
President,"  he  cried:  "what  low  vocation  have  you  taken  to  ?" 
"  Monseigneur,"  rejoined  the  president,  "  I  am  obeying  the  law ; 
but  your  Royal  Highness  may  be  quite  easy,  it  is  myself  whom  I 
have  come  to  denounce,  in  hopes  of  retaining  at  least  a  part  of 
this  sura,  which  I  prefer  to  all  the  bank-notes."  "  My  money  is 
at  the  king's  service,"  was  the  proud  remark  of  Nicolai,  premier 
president  of  the  Exchequer-Chamber,  "  but  it  belongs  to  nobody." 
The  great  mass  of  the  nation  was  of  the  same  opinion  as  the  two 
presidents ;  forty-five  millions  only  found  their  way  to  the  Bank ; 
gold  and  silver  were  concealed  everywhere.  The  crisis  was 
becoming  imminent ;  Law  boldly  announced  that  the  value  of  the 
notes  was  reduced  by  a  half.  The  public  outcry  was  so  violent  that  the 
Regent  was  obliged  to  withdraw  the  edict,  as  to  which  the  council 
had  not  been  consulted.  "  Since  Law  became  comptroller-general, 
his  head  has  been  turned,"  said  the  prince.  That  same  evening 
Law  was  arrested  by  the  major  of  the  Swiss ;  it  was  believed  to 
be  all  over  with  him,  but  the  admirable  order  in  which  were  his 
books,  kept  by  double  entry  after  the  Italian  manner,  as  yet 
imknown  in  France^  and  the  ingenious  expedients  he  indicated  for 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  BEGBNOT  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  19 

restoring  credit,  gave  his  partisans  a  moment's  fresh  confidence* 
He  ceased  to  be  comptroller-general,  but  he  remained  director  of 
the  Bank.  The  death-blow,  however,  had  been  dealt  his  system,, 
for  a  panic  terror  had  succeeded  to  the  inseuBate  enthusiaoa  of 
the  early  days*  The  prince  of  Conti  had  set  the  example  of 
getting  back  the  value  of  his  notes;  four  waggons  had  been 
driven  up  to  his  house  laden  with  money.  It  was  suffocation  at 
the  doors  of  the  Bank,  changing  small  notes,  the  only  ones  now 
payable  in  specie.  Three  men  were  crushed  to  death  on  one  day 
in  the  crowd.  It  was  foimd  necessary  to  close  the  entrances  to 
Quincampoix  Street,  in  order  to  put  a  stop  to  the  feverish  tumult 
arising  from  desperate  speculation.  The  multitude  moved  to  the 
Place  Vendome ;  shops  and  booths  were  thrown  up  ;  there  was  a 
share- fair ;  this  ditty  was  everywhere  sung  in  the  streets  : — 

''  On  Mondaj  I  bought  share  on  share  ; 
Od  Tuesday  I  was  a  milliouairo ; 
Ou  Wednesday  took  a  graud  abode  ; 
On  Thursday  in  my  carriage  rode ; 
On  Friday  drove  to  the  Opera-ball ; 
On  Saturday  came  to  the  paupers'  hall." 

To  restore  confidence.  Law  conceived  the  idea  of  giving  the 
seals  back  to  D'Aguesseau ;  and  the  Regent  authorized  him  to  set 
out  for  Fresnes.  In  allusion  to  this  step,  so  honourable  for  the 
magistrate  who  was  the  object  of  it,  Law  afterwards  wrote  from 
Venice  to  the  Regent :  "  In  my  labours  I  desired  to  be  useful  to  a 
great  people,  as  the  chancellor  can  bear  me  witness.  ...  At  his 
return  I  offered  him  my  shares  which  were  then  worth  more  than 
a  hundred  millions,  to  be  distributed  by  him  amongst  those  who 
had  need  of  them."  The  chancellor  came  back,  though  his  in- 
fluence could  neither  stop  the  evil  nor  even  assuage  the  growing 
disagreement  between  the  duke  of  Orleans  and  the  Parhament. 
None  could  restore  the  public  sense  of  security,  none  could 
prevent  the  edifice  from  crumbling  to  pieces.  With  ruin  came 
crimes.  Count  Horn,  belonging  to  the  family  of  the  celebrated 
Count  Horn  who  was  beheaded  under  Philip  II.  in  company  with 
Count  Lamoral  d'Egmont,  murdered  at  an  inn  a  poor  jobber  whom 
he  had  inveigled  thither  on  purpose  to  steal  his  pocket-book.     In 

0  2 


20  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LI. 

spite  of  all  his'powerful  family's  entreaties,  Count  Horn  died  on  the 
wheel  together  with  one  of  his  accomplices.  It  was  represented 
to  the  Regent  that  the  count's  house  had  the  honour  of  being  con- 
nected with  his:  **Very  well,  gentlemen,'*  said  he,  "then  I  will 
share  the  shame  with  you,"  and  he  remained  inflexible. 

The  public  wrath  and  indignation  fastened  henceforth  upon 
Law,  the  author  and  director  of  a  system  which  had  given  rise  to 
so  many  hopes  and  had  been  the  cause  of  so  many  woes.  His 
carriage  was  knocked  to  pieces  in  the  streets.  President  de 
Mesmes  entered  the  Grand  Chamber  singing  with  quite  a  solemn 
air : — 

"  Sirs,  sirs,  great  news!     What  is  it?     It's — 
They've  smash'd  Law's  carriage  all  to  bits." 

The  whole  body  jumped  up,  more  regardful  of  their  hatred  than 
of  their  dignity ;  and  "  Is  Law  torn  in  pieces  ?"  wiis  the  cry.  Law 
had  taken  refuge  at  the  Palais-Royal.  One  day  he  appeared  at 
the  theatre  in  the  Regent's  box;  low  murmurs  recalled  to  the 
Regent's  mind  the  necessity  for  prudence  ;  in  the  end  ho  got  Law 
away  secretly  in  a  carriage  lent  him  by  the  duke  of  Bourbon. 

Law  had  brought  with  him  to  Franco  a  considerable  fortune ; 
he  had  scarcely  enough  to  live  upon  when  he  retired  to  Venice 
where  he  died  some  years  later  (1729),  convinced  to  the  last  of 
the  utility  of  his  system,  at  the  same  time  that  he  acknowledged 
the  errors  he  had  committed  in  its  application.  "  I  do  not  pretend 
that  I  did  not  make  mistakes,"  he  wrote  from  his  retreat,  "  I 
know  I  did  and  that  if  I  had  to  begin  again,  I  should  do  dif- 
ferently.  I  should  go  more  slowly  but  more  surely,  and  I  should 
not  expose  the  State  and  my  own  person  to  the  dangers  which 
may  attend  the  derangement  of  a  general  system."  "  There  was 
neither  avarice  nor  rascality  in  what  he  did,"  says  St  Simon ;  "  he 
was  A  gentle,  kind,  respectful  man,  whom  excess  of  credit  and  of 
fortune  had  not  spoilt,  and  whose  bearing,  equipage,  table  and 
furniture  could  not  offend  any  body.  He  bore  Avith  singular 
patience  and  evenness  the  obstructions  that  were  raised  against 
his  operations,  until  at  the  last,  finding  himself  short  of  means,  and 
nevertheless  seeking  for  them  and  wishing  to  present  a  front,  he 
became  crusty,  gave  way  to  temper,  and  his  repKes  were  frequently 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  BBGENCT  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  21 

ill-considered.  He  was  a  man  of  system,  calculation,  comparison, 
well  informed  and  profound  in  that  sort  of  tiling,  who  was  the  dupe 
of  his  Mississippi,  and  in  good  faith  believed  in  forming  great  and 
wealthy  establishments  in  America.  He  reasoned  Englishwise, 
and  did  not  know  how  opposed  to  those  kinds  of  establishments 
are  the  levity  of  our  nation  and  the  inconveniences  of  a  despotic 
government,  which  has  a  finger  in  everything,  and  under  which 
what  one  minister  does  is  always  destroyed  or  changed  by  his 
successor."  The  disasters  caused  by  Law's  system  have  recoiled 
upon  his  memory.  Forgotten  are  his  honesty,  his  charity,  his 
interest  in  useful  works ;  remembered  is  nothing  but  the  impru- 
dence of  his  chimerical  hopes  and  the  fatal  result  of  his  enter- 
prises, as  deplorable  in  their  effects  upon  the  moral  condition  of 
Prance,  as  upon  her  wealth  and  her  credit. 

The  Regent's  rash  infatuation  for  a  system  as  novel  as  it  was 
seductive  had  borne  its  fruits.  The  judgment  which  his  mother 
had  pronounced  upon  Philip  of  Orleans  was  justified  to  the  last : 
**•  The  fairies,"  said  Madame,  "  were  all  invited  to  the  birth  of  my 
son ;  and  each  endowed  him  with  some  happy  quality.  But  one 
wicked  fairy,  who  had  been  forgotten,  came  likewise,  leaning  upon 
her  slick,  and,  not  being  able  to  annul  her  sisters'  gifts,  declared 
that  the  prince  should  never  know  how  to  make  use  of  them." 

Throughout  the  successive  periods  of  intoxication  and  despair 
caused  by  the  necessary  and  logical  development  of  Law's  system, 
the  duke  of  Orleans  had  dealt  other  blows  and  directed  other 
affairs  of  importance.  Easy-going,  indolent,  often  absorbed  by  his 
pleasures,  the  Regent  found  no  great  difficulty  in  putting  up  with 
the  exaltation  of  the  legitimatized  princes ;  it  had  been  for  him 
sufficient  to  wrest  authority  from  the  duke  of  Maine,  he  let  him 
enjoy  the  privileges  of  a  prince  of  the  blood.  "I  kept  silence 
during  the  king's  lifetime,"  he  would  say ;  "  I  will  not  be  mean 
enough  to  break  it  now  he  is  dead."  But  the  duke  of  Bourbon, 
heir  of  the  House  of  Condd,  fierce  in  temper,  violent  in  his  hate, 
greedy  of  honours  as  well  as  of  money,  had  just  arrived  at  man's 
estate,  and  was  wroth  at  sight  of  the  bastards'  greatness.  He 
drew  after  him  the  count  of  Gharolais  his  brother  and  the  prince 
of  Conti  his  cousin ;  on  the  22nd  of  April,  171 G,  all  three  presented 


22 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Chap.  LI* 


to  the  king  a  request  for  the  revocation  of  Louis  XIV/s  edict 
declaring  his  legitimatized  sons  princes  of  the  blood  and  capable 
of  succeeding  to  the  throne.  The  dn chess  of  Maine,  generally 
speaking  very  indifferent  about  her  husband,  Tv^hora  she  treaUxl 
haughtily,  like  a  true  datighter  of  the  House  of  Conde,  flew  into  a 
violent  passion,  this  time,  at  her  cousins'  unexpected  attack ;  she 
was  for  putting  her  own  hand  to  the  work  of  drawing  up  the 
memorial  of  her  husband  and  of  her  brother-in-law,  the  count  of 
ToulousOp  **  The  greater  part  of  the  nights  was  employed  at  it," 
says  Madame  de  Staal,  at  that  time  MdUe,  de  Lp.unay,  a  person  of 
Tnuch  wit,  half  lady's  maid,  half  reader  to  the  duchess*  "  The 
huge  volumes,  heaped-up  on  her  bed  like  mountains  overwhelming 
her,  caused  her,"  she  used  to  say,  "  to  look^  making  due  allowances, 
like  Enceladus,  buried  under  Mount  Etna.  I  was  present  at  the 
work,  and  I  also  used  to  turn  over  the  leaves  of  old  chronicles  and 
of  ancient  and  modern  jurisconsults,  until  excess  of  fatigue 
disposed  the  princess  to  take  some  repose." 

All  this  toil  ended  in  the  following  declaration  on  the  part  of 
the  legitimatized  princes  :  "  The  affair,  being  one  of  State,  cannot 
be  decided  but  by  a  king  who  is  a  major  or  indeed  by  the  states- 
generaL"  At  the  same  time,  and  still  at  the  instigation  of  the 
duchess  of  Maine,  thirty-nine  noblemen  signed  a  petition,  modestly 
addressed  to  "  Our  lords  of  the  Parliament,"  demanding,  in  their 
turn,  that  the  affair  should  be  refen^ed  to  the  states-general,  who 
alone  were  competent,  when  it  was  a  question  of  the  succession  to 
the  throne. 

The  Regent  saw  the  necessity  of  firmness,  ''  It  is  a  maxim," 
he  declared,  "  that  the  king  is  always  a  major  as  regards  justice ; 
that  which  was  done  without  the  states-general  has  no  need  of 
their  intervention  to  bo  undone,"  The  decree  o!  the  council  of 
regency,  based  on  the  same  principles,  suppressed  the  right  of 
succession  to  the  crown,  and  cut  short  all  pretensions  on  the  part 
of  the  legitimatized  princes'  issue  to  the  rank  of  princes  of  the 
blood;  the  rights  thereto  were  maintained  in  the  case  of  the  duke 
of  Maine  and  the  count  of  Toulouse,  for  their  lives,  by  the  bounty 
of  the  Regent,  '*  which  did  not  prevent  the  duchess  of  Maine  from 
uttering  loud  shrieks,  like  a  maniac,"  says  St*  Simon,  '*or  the  duchess 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  BBGBNCT  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  23 

of  Orleans  from  weeping  night  and  day  and.  refusing  for  two 
months  to  see  anybody."  Of  the  thirty-nine  members  of  the 
nobility  who  had  signed  the  petition  to  Parliament, .  six  were 
detained  in  prison  for  a  month,  after  which  the  duke  of  Orleans 
pardoned  them.  "  You  know  me  well  enough  to  be  aware  that 
I  am  only  nasty  when  I  consider  myself  positively  obliged  to  be,'^ 
he. said  to  them.  The  patrons,  whose  cause  these  noblemen  had 
lightly  embraced,  were  not  yet  at  the  end  of  their  humiliations. 

The  duke  of  Bourbon  was  not  satisfied  with  their  exclusion  from 
the  succession  to  the  throne:  he  claimed  the  king's  education, 
which  belonged  of  right,  he  said,  to  the  first  prince  of  the  blood, 
being  a  major.  In  his  hatred,  then,  towards  the  legitimatized,  he 
accepted  with  alacrity  the  duke  of  St.  Simon's  proposal  to  simply 
reduce  them  to  their  rank  by  seniority  in  the  peerage,  with  the 
proviso  of  afterwards  restoring  the  privileges  of  a  prince  of  the 
blood  in  favour  of  the  count  of  Toulouse  alone,  as  a  reward  for  his 
services  in  the  navy.  The  blow  thus  dealt  gratified  all  the  passions 
of  the  House  of  Conde  and  the  wrath  of  Law,  as  well  as  thnt  of 
the  keeper  of  the  seals,  D'Argenson,  against  the  Parliament,  which 
for  three  months  past  had  refused  to  enregister  all  edicts.  On 
the  24th  of  August,  1718,  at  six  in  the  morning,  the  Parliament 
received  orders  to  repair  to  the  Tuileries,  where  the  king  was  to 
hold  a  bed  of  justice.  The  duke  of  Maine,  who  was  returning 
from  a  party,  was  notified,  as  colonel  of  the  Swiss,  to  have  his 
regiment  under  arms ;  at  eight  o'clock  the  council  of  regency  was 
already  assembled ;  the  duke  of  Maine  and  the  count  of  Toulouse 
arrived  in  peer's  robes.  The  Regent  had  flattered  himself  that 
they  would  not  come  to  the  bed  of  justice,  and  had  not  summoned 
them.  He  at  once  advanced  towards  the  count  of  Toulouse,  and 
said  out  loud  that  he  was  surprised  to  see  him  in  his  robes,  and 
that  he  had  not  thought  proper  to  notify  him  of  the  bed  of  justice, 
because  he  knew  that,  since  the  last  edict,  he  did  not  like  going  to 
the  Parliament.  The  count  of  Toulouse  replied  that  that  was 
quite  true,  but  that,  when  it  was  a  question  of  the  welfare  of  the 
State,  he  put  every  other  consideration  aside.  The  Regent  was 
disconcerted,  he  hesitated  a  moment,  then,  speaking  low  and  very 
earnestly  to  the  count  of  Toulouse,  he  returned  to  St.  Simon : 


24 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap,  LL 


'*  I  have  just  told  liiiu  all,"  said  he,  "  I  couldn't  help  it ;  he  is 
the  best  fellow  in  the  worlds  and  the  one  who  touches  my  heart 
tlie  most.  He  was  coming  to  me  on  behalf  of  his  brother,  who 
Iiad  a  shrewd  notion  that  there  was  something  in  the  wind  and 
that  he  did  not  stand  quite  well  with  me;  he  had  begged 
him  to  ask  me  wliether  I  wished  him  to  remain,  or  whether  he 
would  not  do  well  to  go  away.  I  confess  to  you  that  I  thought 
I  did  well  to  tell  him  that  his  brother  would  do  just  as  well  to  ga 


h 


:^ 


A^r 


TllK   DUK1!   OF   MAOfK. 


iiWaji  li&oe  he  asked  me  the  question  ;  that,  as  for  himself,  I 
might  safely  rcTnain,  because  he  was  to  continue  just  as  he  i     4 
without  iilterution;  but  that  souioihing  might  take  place  rath^^ 
dif^agreeahlt]!  for  M.  du  Maine,     AVIieretipoiij  he  asked  me  how 
could  remain,  when  there  was  to  b«f  an  attack  upon  Ivis  broth 
seeing  that  thoy  were  but  one^  both  in  point  of  honour  and 
brothers.     I  do  believe,  there  tliey  are  just  going  out,*'  added  tk^ 
Regent,  casting  a  glance  tuwards  the  door,  as  tho  members 
. .  _  i 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DDBOia  25 

the  council  were  beginning  to  take  tlioir  places  :  "  they  will  bo 
prudent;  the  count  of  Toulouse  promised  me  bo."  "But,  if  they 
wore  to  do  anything  foolish,  or  were  to  leave  Paris  ?  "  "  They  shall 
be  arrested,  I  give  you  my  word,"  replied  the  duke  of  Orleans  in  a 
firmer  tone  than  usual.  They  had  just  road  the  decree  reducing 
the  legitimatized  to  their  degree  in  the  peerage,  and  M,  le  due  had 
claimed  the  superintendence  of  the  king'is  education,  when  it  was 
imounced  tliat  ihe  Parliament  in  their  scarlet  robes  were  arriving 


ItH 


-!> 


\;l^ 


Tift  0Vrniss  or  maixr. 


^'\ 


f^V 


in  the  court  of  the  palace.  MarHlial  de  Villeroi  alone  dared  to 
protest-  "  Here,  then/*  said  he  with  a  sigh,  "  are  all  the  late 
king^s  dispn^itionB  upset;  I  cannot  see  it  without  sorrow*  M*  du 
Maine  m  very  unfortunate/*  *'  Sir,"  rejoined  the  Regent,  with 
animation:  "M.  du  Muiuu  is  my  brother-in-law,  but  1  prefer  an 
open  to  a  hidden  enemy," 

With  the  same  air  the  duke  of  Orleans  pasf?od  to  the  bed  of 
justice, "with  a  gentle  but  resolute  majesty,  which  was  quite  new 


2«  mSTOBT  OF  YILASCZ.  [Chap.  LL 

to  him  ;  eres  observant,  but  bearing  graye  and  easy ;  M.  le  due 
<ktaid^  circnmspect,  snrronnded  bv  a  sort  of  radiance  that  adorned  his 
whok  person,  and  under  perceptible  restraint ;  the  keeper  of  the 
Hif^hf  in  his  chair,  motionless,  gazing  askance  with  that  witfiil  fire 
which  flashed  from  his  eyes  and  which  seemed  to  pierce  all  bosoms, 
in  f/resence  of  that  Parliament  which  had  so  often  given  him  orders 
standing  at  its  bar  as  chief  of  police,  in  presence  of  that  premier 
prefrident,  so  superior  to  him,  so  haughty,  so  proud  of  his  duke  of 
Maine,  so  mightily  in  hopes  of  the  seals/'  After  his  speech  and  the 
reading  of  the  king's  decree,  the  premier  president  was  for  attempt- 
ing a  remonstrance:  D'Argenson  mounted  the  step,  approached 
the  young  king,  and  then,  without  taking  any  opinion,  said  in  a 
very  loud  voice,  "  The  king  desires  to  be  obeyed,  and  obeyed  at 
once."  There  was  nothing  further  for  it  but  to  enregister  the 
edict;  all  the  decrees  of  the  Parliament  were  quashed. 

Some  old  servants  of  Louis  XIY.,  friends  and  confidants  of  the 
duke  of  Maine,  alone  appeared  moved.  The  young  king  was 
laughing,  and  the  crowd  of  spectators  were  amusing  themselves 
with  the  scene,  without  any  sensible  interest  in  the  court  intrigues. 
The  duchess  of  Maine  made  her  husband  pay  for  his  humble 
behaviour  at  the  council ;  "  she  was,"  says  St.  Simon,  "  at  one 
time  motionless  with  grief,  at  another  boiling  with  rage,  and  her 
poor  husband  wept  daily  like  a  calf  at  the  biting  reproaches  and 
strange  insults  which  he  had  incessantly  to  pocket  in  her  fits  of 
anger  against  him." 

Jn  the  excess  of  her  indignation  and  wrath  the  duchess  of  Maine 
dotc»miine<l  not  to  confine  herself  to  reproaches.  She  had  passed 
her  life  in  elegant  entertainments,  in  sprightly  and  frivolous 
iiilelloctual  amusements ;  ever  bent  on  diverting  herself,  she  made 
up  hor  mind  to  taste  the  pleasure  of  vengeance,  and  set  on  foot  a 
conspiracy,  as  frivolous  as  her  diversions.  The  object,  however, 
was  nothing  less  than  to  overthrow  the  duke  of  Orleans,  and  to 
confer  the  regency  on  the  king  of  Spain,  Philip  V.,  with  a  council 
and  a  lieutenant,  who  was  to  be  the  duke  of  Maine.  "  When  one 
has  once  acquired,  no  matter  how,  the  rank  of  prince  of  the  blood 
and  the  capability  of  succeeding  to  the  throne,"  said  the  duchess, 
**  one  must  turn  the  State  upside  down  and  set  fire  to  the  four 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  29 

corners  of  the  kingdom  rather  than  let  them  be  wrested  from  one." 
The  schemes  for  attaining  this   great  result  were  various  and 
confused.     Philip  V.  had  never  admitted  that  his  renunciation  of 
the  crown  of  France  was  seriously  binding  upon  him ;  he  had  seen, 
by  the  precedent  of  the  war  of  devolution,  how  a  powerful  sovereign 
may  make  sport  of  such  acts ;   his  Italian  minister,  Alberoni,  an 
able  and  crafty  man,  who  had  set  the  crown  of  Spain  upon  the 
head  of  Elizabeth  Famese  and  had  continued  to  rule  her,  cau- 
tiously  egged  on  his  master  into  hostilities  against  Franco.     They 
counted  upon  the  Parliaments,  taking  example  from  that  of  Paris, 
on  the  whole  of  Brittany,  in  revolt  at  the  prolongation  of  the  tithe- 
tax,  on  all  the  old  court,  accustomed  to  the  yoke  of  the  bastards 
and  of  Madame  de  Maintonon,  on  Languedoc,  of  which  the  duke 
of  Maine  was  the  governor ;  they  talked  of  carrying  off  the  duke 
of  Orleans   and   taking  him  to   the  castle   of  Toledo ;    Alberoni 
promised  the  assistance  of  a  Spanish  army.     The  duchess  of  Maine 
had  fired  the  train,  without  the  knowledge,  she  said,  and  probably 
against  the  will,  too,  of  her  husband,  more  indolent  than  she  in  his 
perfidy.     Some   scatter-brains  of  great  houses  were  mixed  up  in 
the  affair:  MM.  de  Kichelieu,  de  Laval,  and  de  Pompadour;  there 
was  secret  coming  and  going  b(^tween  the  castle  of  Sceaux  and  the 
house  of  the  Spanish  ambassador,  the  prince  of  Cellaniare ;  M.  de 
Mal^zieux,  the  secretary  and  friend  of  the  duchess,  drew  up  a 
form  of  appeal  from  the  French  nobility  to  Philip  V.,  but  nobody 
had  signed  it  or  thought  of  doing  so.     They  got  pamphlets  written 
by  Abbe  Brigault,  whom  the  duchess   had  sent  to   Spain ;    the 
mystery  was  profound  and  all  the  conspirators  were  convinced  of 
the   importance  of   their  manoeuvres;    every  day,  however,  the 
Kegent  was  informed  of  them  by  his  most  influential  negotiator 
with  foreign  countries,    Ahh6  Dubois,   his   late    tutor  and    the 
most  depraved  of  all  those  who  were  about  him.     Able  and  vigilant 
as  he  was,  he  was  not  ignorant  of  any  single  detail  of  the  plot  and 
was  only  giving  the  conspirators  time  to  compromise  themselves. 
At  last,  just  as  a  young  abbe,  Porto  Carrero,  was  starting  for  Spain, 
carrying  important  papers,  he  was  arrested  at  Poitiers  and  his 
papers   were   seized.      Next   day,   Dec.    7,   1718,   the   prince   of 
€ellamare's  house  was   visited  and   the  streets  were  lined  with 


80  HISTORY-  OP  PRANCE. .  [Cbap. LT. 

troops.  Word  was  brought  in  all  haste  to  the  duchess  of  Maine. 
She  had  company,  and  dared  not  stir.  M.  de  Chatillon  came  in ; 
joking  commenced.  "  He  was  a  cold  creature,  who  never  thought 
of  talking/'  says  Madame  de  Staal  in  her  memoirs.  ^^  All  at 
once  he  said :  '  Really  there  is  some  very  amusing  news :  they 
have  arrested  and  put  in  the  Bastille,  for  this  affair  of  the  Spanish 
ambassador,  a  certain  Abbe  Bri .  . .  Bri  ....,'  he  could  not 
remember  the  name,  and  those  who  knew  it  had  no  inclination  to 
help  him.  At  last  he  finished,  and  added,  ^The  most  amusing 
part  is,  that  he  has  told  all,  and  so,  you  see,  there  are  some  folks 
in  a  great  fix.'  Thereupon  he  burst  out  laughing  for  the  first  time 
in  his  life.  The  duchess  of  Maine,  who  had  not  the  least  inclina- 
tion thereto,  said  :  '  Yes,  that  is  very  amusing.'  *  Oh  I  it  is  enough 
to  make  you  die  of  laughing,*  he  resumed :  *  fancy  those  folks  who 
thought  their  affair  was  quite  a  secret ;  here's  one  who  tells  more 
than  he  is  asked  and  names  everybody  by  name ' !  "  The  agony 
was  prolonged  for  some  days ;  jokos  were  beginning  to  be  made 
about  it  at  the  duchess  of  Maine's ;  she  kept  friends  with  her  to 
pass  the  night  in  her  room,  waiting  for  her  arrest  to  come. 
Madame  de  Staal  was  reading  Machiavelli's  conspiracies :  "  Make 
haste  and  take  away  that  piece  of  evidence  against  us,"  said 
Madame  du  Maine  laughingly,  "  it  would  be  one  of  the  strongest." 
The  arrest  came,  however  :  it  was  six  a.m.,  and  everybody  was 
asleep,  when  the  king's  men  entered  the  duke  of  Maine's  house. 
The  Regent  had  for  a  long  time  delayed  to  act,  as  if  he  wanted  to 
leave  everybody  time  to  get  away ;  but  the  conspirators  were  too 
scatter-brained  to  take  the  trouble.  The  duchess  was  removed  to 
Dijon,  within  the  government  and  into  the  very  house  of  the  duke 
of  Bourbon  her  nephew,  which  was  a  very  bitter  pill  for  her.  The 
duke  of  Maine,  who  protested  his  innocence  and  his  ignorance,  was 
detained  in  the  castle  of  Dourlans  in  Picardy.  Cellamare  received 
his  passports  and  quitted  France.  The  less  illustrious  conspirators 
were  all  put  in  the  Bastille ;  the  majority  did  not  remain  there 
long  and  purchased  their  liberty  by  confessions,  which  the  duchess 
of  Maine  ended  by  confirming.  "  Do  not  leave  Paris  until  you 
are  driven  thereto  by  force,"  Alberoni  had  written  to  the  prince  of 
Cellamare, "  and  do  not  start  before  you  have  fired  all  the  mines." 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,.  THE  HEGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  81 

Cellamare  started,  and  the  mines  did  not  burst  after  his  with- 
drawal ;  conspiracy  and  conspirators  were  covered  with  ridicule ; 
the  natural  clemency  of  the  Regent  had  been  useful ;  the  part  of 
the  duke  and  duchess  of  Maine  was  played  out. 

The  only  serious  result  of  Cellamare's  conspiracy  was  to  render 
imminent  a  rupture  with  Spain.  From  the  first  days  of  the  regency 
the  old  enmity  of  Philip  V.  towards  the  duke  of  Orleans  and  the 
secret  pretensions  of  both  of  them  to  the  crown  of  France,  in  case 
of  little  Louis  XV.'s  death,  rendered  the  relations  between  the  two 
courts  thorny  and  strained  at  bottom,  though  still  perfectly  smooth 
in  appearance.  It  was  from  England  that  Abbe  Dubois  urged  the 
Regent  to  seek  support.  Dubois,  born  in  the  very  lowest  position, 
and  endowed  with  a  soul  worthy  of  his  origin,  was  "  a  little,  lean 
man,  wire-drawn,  with  a  light-coloured  wig,  the  look  of  a  weasel,  a 
clever  expression,"  says  St.  Simon,  who  detested  him :  "  all  vices 
struggled  within  him  for  the  mastery  ;  they  kept  up  a  constant  hub- 
bub and  strife  together.  Avarice,  debauchery,  ambition  were  his 
gods ;  perfidy,  flattery,  slavishness  his  instruments ;  and  complete 
imbelief  his  comfort.  He  excelled  in  low  intrigues  ;  the  boldest  lie 
was  second  nature  to  him,  with  an  air  of  simplicity,  straightforward- 
ness, sincerity,  and  often  bashfulness."  In  spite  of  all  these  vices, 
and  the  depraving  influence  he  had  exercised  over  the  duke  of 
Orleans  from  his  earliest  youth,  Dubois  was  able,  often  far-sighted, 
and  sometimes  bold  ;  he  had  a  correct  and  tolerably  practical  mind. 
Madame,  who  was  afraid  of  him,  had  said  to  her  son  on  the  day  of 
his  elevation  to  power :  "  I  desire  only  the  welfare  of  the  State  and 
your  own  glory ;  I  have  but  one  request  to  make  for  your  honour's 
sake,  and  I  demand  your  word  for  it,  that  is,  never  to  employ  that 
scoundrel  of  an  Abb^  Dubois,  the  greatest  rascal  in  the  world,  and 
one  who  would  sacrifice  the  Statue  and  you  to  the  slightest  interest." 
The  Regent  promised ;  yet  a  few  months  later  and  Dubois  was 
Church-councillor  of  State,  and  his  growing  influence  with  the 
prince  placed  him,  at  first  secretly  and  before  long  openly,  at  the 
head  of  foreign  affairs. 

James  Stuart,  King  James  II. 's  son,  whom  his  friends  called 
James  III.  and  his  enemies  ChevaUer  St.  George,  had  just  unsuc- 
cessfully attempted  a  descent  upon  Scotland.     The  Jacobites  iad 


82  mSTORT  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LT. 

risen;  they  were  crying  aloud  for  their  prince  who  remained 
concealed  in  Lorraine,  when  at  last  he  resolved  to  set  out  and 
traverse  France  secretly.  Agents,  posted  by  the  English  ambas- 
sador, Lord  Stair,  were  within  an  ace  of  arresting  him,  perhaps  of 
murdering  him.  Saved  by  the  intelligence  and  devotion  of  the 
post-mistress  of  Nonancourt,  he  embarked  on  the  26th  of  December 
at  Dunkerque,  too  late  to  bring  even  moral  support  to  the  men 
who  were  fighting  and  dying  for  him.  Six  weeks  after  landing  at 
Peterhead,  in  Scotland,  he  started  back  again  without  having 
struck  a  blow,  without  having  set  eyes  upon  the  enemy,  leaving  to 
King  George  I.  the  easy  task  of  avenging  himself  by  sending  to 
death  upon  the  scafibld  the  noblest  victims.  The  duke  of  Orleans 
had  given  him  a  little  money,  had  known  of  and  had  encouraged 
his  passage  through  France,  but  had  accorded  him  no  effectual 
aid :  the  wrath  of  both  parties,  nevertheless,  fell  on  him. 

Inspired  by  Dubois,  weary  of  the  weakness  and  dastardly  incapa- 
city of  the  Pretender,  the  Regent  consented  to  make  overtures  to 
the  king  of  England.  The  Spanish  nation  was  favourable  to 
France,  but  the  king  was  hostile  to  the  Regent;  the  EngUsh 
loved  neither  France  nor  the  Regent,  but  their  king  had  an  interest 
in  severing  France  from  the  Pretender  for  ever.  Dubois  availed 
himself  ably  of  his  former  relations  with  Lord  Stanhope,  heretofore 
commander  of  the  English  troops  in  Spain,  for  commencing  a  secret 
negociation  which  soon  extended  to  Holland,  still  closely  knit  to 
England.  "  The  character  of  our  Regent,"  wrote  Dubois  on  the 
10th  of  March,  1716,  "  leaves  no  ground  for  fearing  lest  he  should 
pique  himself  upon  perpetuating  the  prejudices  and  the  procedure 
of  our  late  court,  and,  as  you  yourself  remark,  he  has  too  much  wits 
not  to  see  his  true  interest."  Dubois  was  the  bearer  to  the  Hague 
of  the  Regent's  proposals ;  King  George  was  to  cross  over  thither ; 
the  clever  negotiator  veiled  his  trip  under  the  pretext  of  purchasing 
rare  books ;  he  was  going,  he  said,  to  recover  from  the  hands  of 
the  Jews  Le  Poussin's  famous  pictures  of  the  Seven  Sacraments, 
not  long  ago  carried  off  from  Paris.  The  order  of  succession  to  the 
crowns  of  France  and  England,  conformably  to  the  peace  of 
Utrecht,  was  guaranteed  in  the  scheme  of  treaty ;  that  was  the 
only  important  advantage  to  the  Regent,  who  considered  himself 


Cbap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REaENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  35 

to  be  thus  nailing  tlie  renunciation  of  Philip  V. ;  in  other  respects 
all  the  concessions  came  fi'om  the  side  of  France ;  her  territory  was 

(forbidden  ground  to  the  Jacobites,  and  the  Pretender,  who  had 
taken  refuge  at  Avignon  on  papal  soil,  was  to  be  called  upon  to  cross 
the  Alps*  The  English  required  the  abandonment  of  the  works 
upon  the  canal  of  Mardyck^  intended  to  replace  the  harbour  of 
^  Dunkerque ;  the  Hollanders  claimed  commercial  advantages. 
m  Dubois  yielded  on  all  the  points,  defending  to  the  last  with 
fruitless  tenacity  the  title  of  king  of  France,  which  the  English 

I  still  disputed.      The  negotiations  came  to  an  end  at  length  on  the 
6th  of  January,  1717,  and  Dubois  wrote  in  triumph  to  the  Regent : 
"I  signed  at  midnight ;  so  there  are  you  quit  of  servitude  (your 
o^m  master),  and  here  am  I  quit  of  fear/'   The  treaty  of  the  triple 
alliance  brought  the  negotiator  belore  long  a  more  solid  advan* 
tago ;  he  was  appointed  secretary  of  state  for  foreign  affairs ;  it 
"wm  on  this  occasion  that  he  wrote  to  Mr,  Craggs,  King  George's 
niinister,  a  letter  which  was  worthy  of  his  character,  and  which 
contributed  a  great  deal  towards  gaining  credit  for  the  notion  that 
he  had  sold  himself  to  England :  "  If  I  were  to  foUow  only  the 
impulse  of  my  gratitude  and  were  not  restrained  by  respect,  I 
should  take  the  liberty  of  writing  to  H,  B.  Majesty  to  thank  liim 
f  oi*  the  place  with  which  my  lord  the  Regent  has  gratified  me, 
Jnasmuch  as  I  owe  it  to  nothing  but  to  the  desire  he  felt  not  to 
employ  in  affairs  common  to  Franco  and  England  anybody  who 
**^ight  not  be  agreeable  to  the  King  of  Great  Britain,'* 

At  the  moment  when  the  signature  was  being  put  to  the  treaty 
^f  tUe  triple  alliance,  the  sovereign  of  most  distinction  in  Europe 
Owing  to  the  eccentric  renown  b&longing  to  his  personal  merit, 
*^i©  czar  Peter  the  Great,  had  just  made  flattering  advances  to 
I'^ance*  He  had  some  time  before  wished  to  take  a  trip  to  Paris, 
^t  Louis  XIV.  was  old,  melancholy  and  vanquished,  and  had 
^  *^^Uned  the  czar's  visit.  The  Regent  could  not  do  the  same  thing, 
^^  hen,  being  at  the  Hague  in  1717,  Peter  I.  repeated  the  expression 
^^  bis  desire.  Marshal  Cosse  was  sent  to  meet  him,  and  the 
^^ours  due  to  the  king  himself  were  everywhere  paid  to  him  on 
■^  road,  A  singular  mbcture  of  military  and  barbai^ic  roughness 
^tU  the  natural  grandeur  of  a  conqueror  and  creator  of  an  empire, 


U  .: .   fflSTOEY  OP  FRANCE.  ;.  .    [Chap.  LL 

the  czar  mightily  e:iccited  the  curiosity  of  the  Parisians.     "  Some- 
times, feeling  bored  by  the  confluence  of  spectators/'  says  Duclos,. 
*^  but  never  disconcerted,  he  would  dismiss  them  with  a  word,  a 
gesture,  or  would  go  away  without  ceremony,  to  stroll  whither  his- 
fancy  impelled  him.      He  was  a  mighty  tall  man,  very  well  made,, 
rather  lean,  face  rather  round  in  shape,  a  high  forehead,  fine  eye- 
brows, complexion  reddish  and  brown,  fine  black  eyes,  large,  lively, 
piercing,  well-opened;  a  glance  majestic  and  gracious  when  he 
oared  for  it,  otherwise  stern  and  fierce,  with  a  tic  that  •did  not 
recur  often  but  that  affected  his  eyes  and  his  whole  countenance, 
and  struck  terror.     It  lasted  an  instant,  with  a  glance  wild  and 
terrible,  and  immediately  passed  away.      His  whole  air  indicated 
his   intellect,   his  reflection,  his   grandeur,  and   did  not  lack  a 
certain   grace.      In   all  his   visits   he   combined  a  majesty    the 
loftiest,   the   proudest,   the   most  delicate,   the    most    sustained, 
at  the  same    time    the  least    embarrassing  when   he   had   once 
established  it,  with  a  politeness  which  savoured  of  it,  always  and 
in  all  cases ;  masterlike  everywhere,  but  with  degrees  according  to 
persons.     He  had  a  sort  of  famiUarity  which  came  of  frankness, 
but  he  was  not  exempt  from  a  strong  impress  of  that  barbarism  of 
his  country  which  rendered  all  his  ways  prompt  and  sudden  and 
his    wishes   uncertain,    without    bearing  to   be    contradicted    in 
any,"     Eating   and   drinking  fi:'eely,   getting   drunk    sometimes, 
rushing  about  the  streets  in  hired  coach,  or  cab,  or  the  carriage  of 
people  who  came  to  see  him,  of  which  he  took  possession  uncere- 
moniously, he  testified  towards  the  Regent  a  familiar  good  grace 
mingled  with  a  certain  superiority ;    at  the  play,  to  which  they 
went  together,  the  czar  asked  for  beer ;    the  Regent  rose,  took 
the  goblet  which  was  brought  and  handed  it  to  Peter,  who  drank 
and,  without  moving,  put  the  glass  back  on  the  tray  which  the 
Regent  held  all  the  while,  with  a  slight  inclination  of  the  head 
which,  however,  surprised  the  public.      At  his  first  interview  with 
the  little  king,  he  took  up  the  child  in  his  arms  and  kissed  him 
over  and  over  again,  "  with  an  air  of  tenderness  and  politeness 
which  was  full  of  nature  and  nevertheless  intermixed  with  a  some- 
thing of  grandeur,  equality  of  rank  and,  slightly,  superiority  of 
3g6  J  for  all  that  was  distinctly  perceptible,'*     We  know  how  he 


Chap.  LI,]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  BEGENCY  AND  CARDIKAL  DUBOIS.  85 


went  to  see  Madame  de  Maintenon*     One  of  His  first  visits  was  to 
the  church  of  the  Sorbonne ;  when  he  caught  sight  of  Richelieu*s 
monument,  he  ran  up  to  it^  embraced  the  statue,  and  '*  Ah  I  great 
man/*  said  he,  **  if  thou  wert  still  alive,  I  would  give  thee  ona  half 
of  my  kingdom  to  teach  me  to  govern  the  other." 
B     The  czar  was  for  seeing  everj^^hing^  studying  everything ;  every- 
thing interested  him,  save  the  court  and  its  frivolities ;  he  did  not 
go  to  visit  the  princesses  of  the  blood,  and  confined  himself  to 
saluting  them  coldly,  whilst  passing  along  a  terrace ;  but  he  was 
present  at  a  sitting  of  the  Parliament  and  of  the  academies,  he 
^amined  the   organization   of  all  the  public  establishments,  he 
visited  the   shops  of  the   celebrated   workmen,  ha  handled  the 
coining-die  whilst  there  was  being  struck  in  his  honour  a  medal 
bearing  a  Fame  with  these  words  ;   Vires  acquiret  eundo  (Twill 

I  gather  strength  as  it  goes).  He  received  a  visit  from  the  doctors 
of  the  Sorbonne,  who  brought  him  a  memorial  touching  the 
reunion  of  the  Greek  and  Latin  Churches  ;  "  I  am  a  mere  soldier,'* 
said  he,  "but  I  will  gladly  have  an  examination  made  of  the 
memorial  you  present  to  me/'  Amidst  all  his  chatting,  studying, 
and  information-hunting,  Peter  the  Great  did  not  forget  the 
political  object  of  his  trip.  He  wanted  to  detach  France  from 
Sweden,  her  heretofore  faithful  ally,  still  recei^ang  a  subsidy  which 
the  czar  would  fain  have  appropriated  to  himself.  Together  with  his 
own  alliance  he  promised  that  of  Poland  and  of  Prussia,  -*  France 
^s  nothing  to  fear  from  the  emperor,"  he  said  :  as  for  King 
George,  whom  he  detested,  "  if  any  rupture  should  take  place 
between  him  and  the  Regent,  Russia  would  suflBce  to  fill  towards 
Pnnw  the  place  of  England  as  well  as  of  Sweden,*' 

Thanks  to  the  abihty  of  Dubois,  the  Regent  felt  himself  infeoffed 

*^  England  ;  he  gave  a  cool  reception  to  the  overtures  of  the  czar, 

^^0  proposed  a  treaty  of  alliance  and  commerce.     Prussia  had 

^^l^eady  concluded  secretly  with  France ;  Poland  was  distracted  by 

'^t-estine  struggles ;  matters  were  confined  to  the  establishment  of 

f  ^ieable  relations  ;  France  thenceforth  maintained  an  ambassador 

/*  ftussia,  and  the  czar  accepted  the  Regent's  mediation  between 

IP^'eden   and  himselL      *'  France    will  be  ruined  by  luxury   and 

^^^ititiness,"    said  Peter  the   Great,  at  his  departure,  more   im- 

D  2 


3$ 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[CSAF.  LL 


pressed  with  the  danger  run  by  the  nation  from  a  court  which 
was  elegant  even  to  effeminacy  than  by  the  irregularity  of  the 
morals,  to  which  elsewhere  he  was  personally  accustomed. 

Dubois,  however,  went  on  negotiating,  although  he  had  displayed 
no  sort  of  idacrity  towards  the  czar;  he  was  struggling  everywhere 
thi*oughout  Europe  against  the  influence  of  a  broader,   bolder, 
more  powerful  mind  than  his  own,  less  adroit  perhaps  in  intri 
but  equally  destitute  of  scruples  as  to  the  employment  of  uh 
Alberoni  had  restored  the  finances  and  reformed  the  admini^t  ra- 
tion of  Spain ;  he  was  preparing  an  army  and  a  fleet,  meditating, 
he  said,  to  bring  peace  to  the  world,  aud  beginning  that  great 
enterprise  by  manceuvres  which  tended  to  nothing  less  tlian  setting 
fire  to  the  four  comers  of  Europe,  in  the  name  of  an  enfeebled 
and  heavy-going  king,  and   of  a   queen   ambitious,    adi'oit,   and 
unpopular,   **  both  of  whom  he   had  put  under   lock   and   key, 
keeping  the  key  in  his  pocket,"  says  St.  Simon.    He  dreamed 
reviving  the  ascendancy  of  Spain  in  Italy,  of  oyerthrowing  tl 
protc^stant  king  of  England,  whilst  restoring  the  Stuarts  to 
throne,  and  of  raising  himself  to  tho  highest  dignities  in  Churc! 
and  State,     He  had  already  obtained  from  Pope  Clement  XL  the 
cartlinars  liat,  disguising  under  pretext  of  war  against  the  Turks 
the  preparations  ho  was  making  against  Italy;  be  had  formed  an 
alliance  between  Charles  XII.  and  the  czar,  intending  to  sustam 
by  their  united  forces  the  attempts  of  the  Jacobites  in  England*^ 
His  first  enterprise,  at  sea,  made  him  master  of  Sardinia  mtbin^ 
few  days  ;  the  Spanish  troops  landed  in  Sicily.     The  emperor  ai 
Victor  Amadco  were  in  commotion ;  the  pope,  overwhelmed 
reproaches  by  those  princes,  wept,  after  his  fashion,  saying 
he  had  damned  himself  by  raising  Alberoni  to  the  Roman  purpi 
Dubois  profited  by  the  disquietude  excited  in  Europe  by  the  beUi* 
coso  attitude  of  the  Spanish  minister  to  finally  draw  the  emj 
into  the  alliance  between  France  and  England.    He  was  to  renoi 
his  pretensions  to  Spain  and  the  Indies^  and  give  up  Sardinia 
vSavoy,  which  was  to  surrender  Sicily  to  biui.    The  succession  to 
duchies  of  Parma  and  Tuscany  waB  to  be  secured  to  the  cbildreo 
the  queen  of  Spain.      *'  Every  difiiculty  would  be  removed  if  there 
were  an  appearance  of  more  equality,'*  wrote  the  Regent  to  Dubois 


I 


Chap.  LI.]  LOmS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  39 

on  the  24th  of  January,  1718  :  "  I  am  quite  aware  that  my  personal 
interest  does  not  suffer  from  this  inequality,  and  that  it  is  a  species 
of  tojich-stone  for  discovering  my  friends  as  well  at  homo-  as 
abroad.  But  I  am  Regent  of  Franco,  and  I  ought  to  so  behave 
myself  that  none  may  be  able  to  reproach  me  with  having  thought 
of  nothing  but  myself.  I  also  owe  some  consideration  to  the 
Spaniards,  whom  I  should  completely  disgust  by  making  with  the 
emperor  an  unequal  arrangement,  about  which  their  glory  and  the 
honour  of  their  monarchy  would  render  them  very  sensitive.  I 
should  thereby  drive  them  to  union  with  Alberoni,  whereas,  if  a 
war  were  necessary  to  carry  our  point,  we  ought  to  be  able  to  say 
what  Count  Grammont  said  to  the  king :  At  the  time  when  we  sei^ved 
your  Majesty  against  Cardinal  Mazarin.  Then  the  Spaniards  them- 
selves would  help  us."  In  the  result,  France  and  England  left 
Holland  and  Savoy  free  to  accede  to  the  treaty ;  but,  if  Spain 
refused  to  do  so  voluntarily  within  a  specified  time,  the  allies 
engaged  to  force  her  thereto  by  arms. 

The  Hollanders  hesitated  :  the  Spanish  ambassador  at  the  Hague 
had  a  medal  struck  representing  the  quadruple  alliance  as  a  coach 
on  the  point  of  falling,  because  it  rested  on  only  three  wheels. 
Certain  advantages  secured  to  their  commerce  at  last  decided  the 
States-general.  Victor  Amadeo  regretfully  acceded  to  the  treaty 
which  robbed  him  of  Sicily  :  he  was  promised  one  of  the  Regent's 
daughters  for  his  son. 

Alberoni  refused  persistently  to  accede  to  the  great  coalition 
brought  about  by  Dubois.  Lord  Stanhope  proposed  to  go  over  to 
Spain  in  order  to  bring  him  round.  "  If  my  Lord  comes  as  a  law- 
giver," said  the  cardinal,  "  he  may  spare  himself  the  journey.  If 
he  comes  as  a  mediator  I  will  receive  him ;  ttut  in  any  case  I  warn 
him  that,  at  the  first  attack  upon  our  vessels  by  an  English 
squadron,  Spain  has  not  an  inch  of  ground  on  which  I  would 
answer  for  his  person."  Lord  Stanhope,  nevertheless,  set  out  for 
Spain^  and  had  the  good  fortune  to  leave  it  in  time,  though  without 
any  diplomatic  success.  Admiral  Byng,  at  the  head  of  the  English 
fleet,  had  destroyed  the  Spanish  squadron  before  Messina;  the 
troops  which  occupied  Palermo  found  themselves  blockaded  without 
hope  of  relief,  and  the  nascent  navy  of  Spain  was   strangled  at 


40  mSTOEY  OP  PEANCE.  [Chap.  LI. 

the  birth.  Alberoni  in  his  fury  had  the  persons  and  goods  seized 
of  English  residents  settled  in  Spain,  drove  out  the  consuls,  and 
orders  were  given  at  Madrid  that  no  tongue  should  wag  about  the 
affairs  of  Sicily.  The  hope  of  a  sudden  surprise  in  England,  on 
behalf  of  the  Jacobites,  had  been  destroyed  by  the  death  of  the 
king  of  Sweden,  Charles  XII.,  killed  on  the  12th  of  December, 
1718,  at  Freiderishalt,  in  Norway;  the  flotilla  equipped  by 
Alberoni  for  Chevalier  St.  George  had  been  dispersed  and  beaten 
by  the  elements ;  the  Pretender  henceforth  was  considered  to  cost 
Spain  too  dear;  be  had  just  been  sent  away  from  her  territory 
at  the  moment  when  the  conspiracy  of  Cellamare  failed  in  France ; 
in  spite  of  the  feverish  activity  of  his  mind  and  the  frequently 
chimerical  extent  of  his  machinations,  Alberoni  remained  isolated 
in  Europe,  without  ally  and  without  support. 

The  treaty  of  the  quadruple  alliance  had  at  last  come  to  be 
definitively  signed ;  Marshal  d'Huxelles,  head  of  the  council  of 
foreign  affairs,  an  enemy  to  Dubois,  and  displeased  at  not  having 
been  invited  to  take  part  in  the  negotiations,  at  first  refused  his 
signature  [Memoires  de  St.  Simony  t.  xix.  p.  365].  "At  the  first 
word  the  Regent  spoke  to  him,  he  received  nothing  but  bows,  and 
the  marshal  went  home  to  sulk ;  caresses,  excuses,  reasons,  it  was 
all  of  no  use ;  Huxelles  declared  to  the  marquis  of  Effiat,  who  had 
been  despatched  to  him,  that  he  would  have  his  hand  cut  off 
rather  than  sign.  The  duke  of  Orleans  grew  impatient  and  took 
a  resolution  very  foreign  to  his  usual  weakness  ;  he  sent  D'Antin 
to  Marshal  d'Huxelles  bidding  him  to  make  choice  of  this  :  either 
to  sign  or  lose  his  place,  of  which  the  Regent  would  immediately 
dispose  in  favour  of  somebody  who  would  not  be  so  intractable 
{farouche)  as  he.  Oh !  mighty  power  of  orvietan  (a  counterpoison) ! 
This  man  so  independent,  this  great  citizen,  this  courageous 
minister,  had  no  sooner  heard  the  threat  and  felt  that  it  would  be 
carried  into  effect  than  he  bowed  his  head  beneath  his  huge  hat, 
which  he  always  had  on,  and  signed  right  off,  without  a  word.  He 
even  read  the  treaty  to  the  council  of  regency  in  a  low  and  trem- 
bling voice,  and  when  the  Regent  asked  his  opinion,  *  the  opinion 
of  the  treaty,*  he  answered  between  his  teeth,  with  a  bow."  Some 
days  later  appeared,  almost  at  the  same  time — the  17th  of  Decern- 


Ceaf,  LIO  LOmS  XT.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS,  41 

ber,  1718,  and  the  9  th  of  January,  1719— the  manifestoes  of 
England  and  France,  proclaiming  the  resolution  of  making  war 
upon  Spain,  whilst  Philip  V,,  by  a  declaration  of  December  25  th, 
1718,  pronounced  all  renunciations  illusory,  and  proclaimed  his 
right  to  the  throne  of  France  in  case  of  the  death  of  Louis  XV. 
At  the  same  time  lie  made  an  appeal  to  an  assembly  of  the  states- 
general  against  the  tyranny  of  the  Regent,  "  who  was  making 
alliances,"  he  said,  ^'  with  the  enemies  of  the  two  crowns/* 

For  once  in  a -way  Alberoni  indulged  the  feelings  of  the  king  his 

masterj  and,  in  spite  of  the  good  will  felt  by  a  part  of  the  grandees 

towards  France,  Spain  was,  on  the  whole,  with  him ;  he  no  longer 

felt  himself  to  be  threatened,  as  he  had  been  a  few  months  before, 

^irlaen  the  king*s  illness  had  made  him  tremble  for  his  greatness 

^xid  perhaps  for  his  life*     He  kept  the  monarch  shut  up  in  his 

i^oom,   refusing  entrance  to  even    the  superior   officers   of    the 

palace  [^Memoires  de  SL  SlTnortt  L  xyS\.     "  The  marquis  of  Villena, 

^tci^or-domo  major,  having  presented  himself  there  one  afternoon, 

o^^x^  of  the  valets  inside  half  opened  the  door  and  told  him,  T\^th 

'^K^^ch  embarrassment,  that  he  was  forbidden  to  let  him  in :  '  You 

**-^t^e  insolent,   sir,*  replied  the    marquis ;    *  that  cannot  be.'     He 

l^^^ished  the  door  against  the  valet  and  went  in.     The  marquis, 

^licDugh  covered  with  glory,  being  very  weak  on  his  legs,  thus 

^^Tances  with  short  steps,  leaning  on  his  little  stick*     The  queen 

^*'  ^:i  d  the  cardinal  see  him  and  look  at  one  another.     The  king  was 

tocij  ill  to  take  notice  of  anything,  and  his  curtains  were  drawn* 

-'-'lie  cardinal,  seeing  the  marquis  approach,  went  up  to  him  and 

**^^  J^resented  to  him  that  the  king  wished  to  be  alone  and  begged 

**-^i3i  to  go  away.     *  That  is  not  true,'  said  the  marquis :  *  I  kept 

^y  eye  upon  you,  and  the  king  never  said  a  word  to  you/     The 

t^^dinal,  insisting,  took  him  by  the  arm  to  make  him  go  out ;  what 

bh  the  heat  of  the  moment  and  what  with  the  push,  the  marquis, 

^^^^ing  feeble,  fell  into  an  arm-chair  which  happened  to  bo  by*  Wroth 

^^  lis  fall,  he  raises  his  stick  and  brings  it  down  with  all  his  might, 

**^^-liimer  and  tongs,  about  the  cardinal's  ears,  calling  him  a  Httle 

*"^scal,  a  little  hound,  who  deserved  nothing  short  of  the  stirrup- 

^^^•thers.     When  he  did  at  last  go  out,  the  queen  had  looked  on 

**c>m  her  seat  at  this  adventure  aU  through,  without  moving  or 


42  HISTORY  OP  PBANCE,  '  JChap.  LI. 

saying  a  word,  and  so  had  the  few  who  were  in  the  room,  without 
daring  to  stir.  The  curious  thing  is  that  the  cardinal  mad  as  he 
was,  but  taken  completely  by  surprise  at  the  blows,  did  hot  defend 
himself  and  thought  of  nothing  but  getting  clear.  The  same 
evening  the  marquis  was  exiled  to  his  estates,  without  ever 
wanting  to  return  from  them,  until  the  fall  of  Alberoni."  Alberoni 
has  sometimes  been  compared  to  the  great  cardinals  who  had 
governed  Prance.  To  say  nothing  of  the  terror  with  which 
Eichelieu  inspired  the  grandees,  who  detested  him,  the  prince  of 
Conde  would  not  have  dared  to  touch  Cardinal  Mazarin  with  the 
tip  of  his  cane,  even  when  the  latter  "  kissed  his  boots "  in  the 
courtyard  of  the  castle  at  Havre. 

Alberoni  had  persuaded  his  master  that  the  French  were  merely 
awaiting  the  signal  to  rise  in  his  favour ;  the  most  odious  calunmies 
were  everywhere  circulating  against  the  Regent;  he  did  not 
generally  show  that  he  was  at  all  disturbed  or  offended  by  them ; 
however,  when  the  poem  of  the  Philippics  by  La  Grange  appeared, 
he  desired  to  see  it ;  the  duke  of  St.  Simon  took  it  to  him : 
"  *  Read  it  to  me,'  said  the  Regent.  *  That  I  will  never  do, 
Monseigneur,'  said  I.  He  then  took  it  and  read  it  quite  low, 
standing  up,  in  the  window  of  his  little  winter-closet,  where  we 
were.  All  at  once,  I  saw  him  change  countenance  and  tm'n 
towards  me,  tears  in  his  eyes  and  very  near  fainting :  *  Ah !  said 
he  to  me,  '  this  is  too  bad,  this  horrid  thing  is  too  much  for  me.' 
He  had  lit  upon  the  passage  where  the  scoundrel  had  represented 
the  duke  of  Orleans  purposing  to  poison  the  king  and  all  ready  to 
commit  his  crime.  I  have  never  seen  man  so  transfixed,  so 
deeply  moved,  so  overwhelmed  by  a  calumny  so  enormous  and  so 
continuous.  I  had  all  the  pains  in  the  world  to  bring  him 
round  a  little."  King  Louis  XV.,  who  had  no  love  and  scarcely 
any  remembrance,  preserved  all  his  life  some  affection  for  the 
Regent  and  sincere  gratitude  for  the  care  which  the  latter  had 
lavished  upon  him.  The  duke  of  Orleans  had  never  desired  the 
crown  for  himself,  and  the  attentions  full  of  tender  respect  which 
Jie  had  shown  the  little  king  had  made  upon  the  child  an  impression 
which  was  never  effaced. 

Tlie  preparations  for  war  with  Spain  meanwhile  continued ;  the 


CffAP,  LI.]  LOUIS  XY.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DIJBOIS..43 

prince  of  Gonti  was  nominallj  at  the  head  of  tlit*  ariiiy,  Marsbal 

Beinrick  was  entrust^l  witli  the  commantL    He  accepted  it,  in  spite 

of  his  old  cannexionH  with  Spain,  the  benefita  wljich  Philip  V-  had 

beaped  upoti  him,  and  the  presence  of  his  eldest  son,  the  duke  of 

Liria,  in  the    Spanish  ranks.     There  were  others  who  attached 

Lraore  importance  to   gratitude:    Berwick  thought  veiy  higUy  of 

1  Jieutcnant-general  Count  d'Asfehit  and  desired  to  have  him  in  his. 

army ;  the  duke  of  Orleans  spoke  to  him  about  it :  "  Monseigneur," 

answered  D'Asfeldt,  "  I  am  a  Frenchman,  I  owe  you  everything,  I 

iia-ve  nothing  to  expect  save  from  you,  but,"  taking  the  Fleece  in 

lii^  hand  and  showing  it,  *'  what  would  you  have  nie  do  with  this, 

T^liich  I  holdj  with  the  king's  permission,  fi'om  the  king  of  SpaiOj 

if      1  were  to  serve  against  Spain,  this  being  the  greatest  honour 

tln^t  I  could  have  received  ?"     He  phrased  his  repugnance  so  well 

a-i^<3  softened  it  down  by  so  many  expressions  of  attachment  to  the 

<ii^i.lve  of  Orleans  that  he  was  excused  from  serving  against  Spain, 

axi3.<3  he  contented  himself  with  superintending  at  Bordeaux  the 

sox-^ice  of  the  commissariat,     Tlio  French  army,  however,  crossed 

tlic^  frontier  in  the  month  of  March,  1719,     "  The  Regent  may 

s«:^xid  a  French  army  whenever  he  pleases,"  wrote  Alberoni  on  the 

*-  1  St  November,  1718  :  **  proclaim  publicly  that  there  will  not  be  a 

^  liot  fired  and  that  the  king  our  master  will  have  provisions  ready 

^^^    receive  them.'*     He  had  brought  the  king,  the  queen  and  the 

F***iiice  of  the  Asturias  into  the  camp ;  Philip  V-  fully  expected  the 

^*^^S€rtion  of  the  French  army  in   a  mass.     Not  a  soul  budged; 

^*^  trie  refugees  made  an  attempt  to  tamper  with  certain  officers  of 

*^€?ir  acquaintance;  their  messenger  was  hanged  in  the   middle 

*^*^    llarshal  Berwick's  camp.     Fontarabia,    St.  Sebastian  and  the 

*^^**stle  of  tJrgel  fell  before  long  into  the  power  of  the  French ; 

^"^*^ either  division  burnt,  at  the  port  of  Los  Pasages,  six  vessels  which 

*^  fc*^^nced  to  be  on  the  stocks;  an  English  squadron  destroyed  those 

^^    Centera  and  in  tlic  port  of  Vigo.     Everywhere  the  depots  were 

*^T:cimitted  to  the  flnmc=5 :  this  cruel  and  destructive  war  against 

*^     enemy  whose  best  troops  were  fighting  far  away  and  who  was 

^  *^^ble  to  offer  more  than  a  feeble  resistance,  gratified  the  passions 

^'■^f^  the  interests  of  England  rather  than  of  France.     '*It  was, 

'*     ^*ourse,  necessarr/*  said  Berwick, '' that  the  English  govern- 


U  raSTORT  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LI. 

ment  should  be  able  to  convince  tte  next  parliament  ttat  nothing 
had  been  spared  to  diminish  the  navy  of  Spain.'*  During  this 
tune  the  English  fleet  and  the  emperor's  troops  were  keeping  up 
an  attack  in  Sicily  upon  the  Spanish  troops,  who  made  a  heroic 
defence,  but  were  without  resources  or  reinforcements  and  were 
diminishing  consequently  every  day.  The  marquis  of  Leyden  no 
longer  held  anything  but  Palermo  and  the  region  around  Etna. 

Alberoni  had  attempted  to  create  a  diversion  by  hurling  into 
the  midst  of  France  the  brand  of  civil  war.  Brittany,  for  a  long 
time  past  discontented  with  its  governor,  the  Marquis  of  Montes- 
quiou,  and  lately  worked  upon  by  the  agents  of  the  duchess  of 
Maine,  was  ripe  for  revolt;  a  few  noblemen  took  up  arms  and 
called  upon  the  peasants  to  enter  the  forest  with  them,  that  is,  to 
take  the  field.  Philip  V.  had  promised  the  assistance  of  a  fleet  and 
had  supplied  some  money.  But  the  peasants  did  not  rise,  the 
Spanish  ships  were  slow  to  arrive,  the  enterprise  attempted 
against  the  Marquis  of  Montesquieu  failed,  the  conspirators  were 
surrounded  in  the  forest  of  Noe,  near  Rennes ;  a  great  number 
were  made  prisoners  and  taken  away  to  Nantes,  where  a  special 
chamber  inquired  into  the  case  against  them.  Three  noblemen 
and  one  priest  perished  on  the  scaffold. 

Insurrection,  as  well  as  desertion  and  political  opposition,  had 
been  a  failure ;  Philip  V.  was  beaten  at  home  as  well  as  in  Sicily. 
The  Regent  succeeded  in  introducing  to  the  presence  of  the  king 
of  Spain  an  unknown  agent,  who  managed  to  persuade  the 
monarch  that  the  cardinal  was  shirking  his  responsibility  before 
Europe,  asserting  that  the  king  and  queen  had  desired  the  war 
and  that  he  had  confined  himself  to  gratifying  their  passions. 
The  duke  of  Orleans  said,  at  the  same  time,  quite  openly,  that  he 
made  war  not  against  Philip  V.  or  against  Spain  but  against 
Alberoni  only.  Lord  Stanhope  declared,  in  the  name  of  England, 
that  no  peace  was  possible,  unless  its  preliminary  were  the 
dismissal  of  the  pernicious  minister. 

The  fall  of  Alberoni  was  almost  as  speedy  as  that  which  he  had 
but  lately  contrived  for  his  enemy  the  Princess  des  Ursins.  On 
the  4th  of  December,  1719,  he  received  orders  to  quit  Madrid 
within  eight  days  and  Spain  under  three  weeks.     He  did  not  see 


Chap.  LL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  45 

tlie  king  or  queen  again,  and  retired  first  to  Genoa,  going  by 
France,  and  then  finally  to  Borne.     Ho  took  with  him  an  immense 
fortune.     It  was  discovered,  after  his   departure,  that  he  had 
placed  amongst  the  number  of  his  treasures  the  authentic  will  of 
Charles  II.,  securing  the  throne  of  Spain  to  Philip  V.     He  was 
pursued,    his    luggage   ransacked    and    the    precious    document 
recovered*     Alberoni  had  restored  order  in  the  internal  adminis- 
tration of  Spain,  he  had  cleared  away  many  abuses ;  Italian  as  he 
was  he  had  resuscitated  Spanish  ambition.     "I  requickened  a 
corpse,'*  he  used  to  say.      His  views  were  extensive  and  daring, 
but  often  chimerical ;  he  had  reduced  to  a  nulUty  the  sovereign 
whom   he  governed  for  so  long,  keeping  him  shut  up  far  away 
from  the  world  in  a  solitude  which  he  was  himself  almost  the  only 
one  to  interrupt.     "The  queen  has  the  devil  in  her,"  he  used 
to  say,  "  if  she  finds  a  man  of  the  sword  who  has  some  mental 
resources  and  is  a  pretty  good  general,  she  will  make  a  racket  in 
France  and  in  Europe."     The  queen  did  not  find  a  general;  and 
on  the  17th  of  February,  1720,  peace  was  signed  at  the  Hague 
between  Spain  and  the  powers  in  coalition  against  her,   to  the 
common   satisfaction  of  France  and  Spain,  whom  so  many  ties 
already  united.    The  haughty  Elizabeth  Famese  looked  no  longer  to 
anybody  but  the  duke  of  Orleans  for  the  elevation  of  her  children. 
So  great  success  in  negotiation,  however  servile  had  been  his 
bearing,   had  little   by  little   increased  the   influence   of  Dubois 
over  his  master.       The    Regent    knew   and   despised  him,  but 
he  submitted  to  his  sway  and  yielded  to  his  desires,  sometimes  to 
his  fancies.     Dubois  had  for  a  long  while  comprehended  that  the 
higher  dignities  of  the   Church   could   alone  bring  him  to   the 
grandeur  of  which  he  was  ambitious ;  yet  everything  about  him 
seemed  to  keep  them  out  of  his  reach :  his  scandalous   life,  his 
perpetual  intrigues,   the  baseness  not   of  his   origin  but   of  his 
character  and  conduct ;  nevertheless,  the  see  of  Cambrai  having 
become  vacant  by  the  death  of  Cardinal  de  la  Tremoille,  Dubois 
conceived  the  hope  of  obtaining  it.      *'  Impudent  as  he  was,"  says 
St.  Simon, "  great  as  was  the  sway  he  had  acquired  over  his  master, 
he  foundhimself  very  much  embarrassed,  and  masked  his  effrontery 
by  ruse :  he  told  the  duke  of  Orleans  that  he  had  dreamt  a  funny 


ISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LL' 

ji 
di'eam  that  he  was  ai  chbishop  of  Cambrai,      The  Regent,  who  si^ 

what  he  was  driving  at,  answered  him  in  a  tone  of  contempt,  *  Thoti," 
archbishop  of  Cambrai !  thou  hast  no  thought  of  such  a  thing  ?** 
And  the  other  persisting^  he  bade  him  think  of  all  the  scandal  of 
Ins  life.  Dubois  had  gone  too  far  to  stop  on  so  fine  a  road,  and 
cjnoted  to  him  precedents,  of  which  there  were,  unfortunately^ 
only  too  many.  The  duke  of  Orleans,  less  moved  by  such  bad 
reasons  than  put  to  it  how  to  resist  the  suit  of  a  man  whom  he 
was  no  longer  wont  to  dai'o  gainsay  in  anything,  sought  to  get  out 
of  the  affair :  *  Why !  who  would  consecrate  thee  ?'  *  Ah  !  if  that*s 
all,*  replied  Dubois  cheerfully^  *the  thing  is  done,  I  know  well 
who  will  consecrate  me;  but  is  that  all,  once  more?'  *WeIl! 
who?*  asked  the  Regent.  *  Your  premier  almoner;  there  he  is 
outside,  he  will  ask  nothing  better/  And  he  embraces  the  legs  of 
the  duke  of  Orleans^who  remains  stuck  and  caught  without 
haring  the  power  to  refuse — goes  out,  draws  aside  the  bishop  of 
Nant-es,  tells  him  that  he  himself  has  got  Cambrai,  begs  him  to  con- 
secrate him — who  promises  immediately — comes  in  again,  capers, 
returns  thanks,  sings  praises,  expresses  wonder,  seals  the  matter 
more  and  more  surely  by  reckoning  it  done  and  persuading  the 
Regent  that  it  is  so,  who  never  dared  say  no.  That  is  how  Dub 
made  himself  archbishop  of  Cambrai," 

He  was  helped,  it  is   said,  by  a  strange  patron.     Destouchi 
charg^   d'aflTaires   in   London,   who    was   kept  well   informed  by 
Dubois,  went  to  see  George  I.,  requesting  him  to  %vrite  to  the 
Regent   recommending   to   him    the   negotiator  of   the   treaties. 
The  king  burst  out  laughing :    "  How  can  you  ask  a  protestant 
prince^'*  said  he,  **  to  mix  himself  up  with  the  making  of  an  arch- 
bishop in  France  ?     The  Regent  will  laugh  at  the  idea,  as  I  do,  and 
will  do  nothing  of  the  sort/*  **  Pardon  me,  sir,"  rejoined  Des touches, 
'•  he  will  laugh,  but  he  will  do  it,  first  out  of  regard  for  your 
Majesty,  and  theu  because  he  will  think  it  a  good  joke.     I  beseech 
your  Majesty  to  be  pleased  to  Bign  the  letter  I  have  here  all   i-eady^ 
written.*'     King  George  signed,  and  the  adroit  Dubois   becamti 
archbishop  of  Cambrai,      He  even  succeeded  in  being  consecrated^ 
not  only  by  the  bishop  of  Nantes  but  also  by  Cardinal  Rohan  and 
by  Massillon,  one  of  the  glories  of  the  French  episcopate,  a  timiJl 


Chap.  LI.l  LOUIS  XV.,.THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  47 

man  and  a  poor  one,  in  despite  of  his  pious  eloquence.  The 
Regent,  iis  well  as  the  whole  court,  was  present  at  the  ceremony, 
to  the  great  scandal  of  the  people  attached  to  religion.  Dubois^ 
received  all  the  orders  on  the  same  day ;  and,  when  he  wfis  joked 
about  it,  he  brazenfacedly  called  to  mind  the  precedent  of  St. 
Ambrose.  Dubois  henceforth  cast  his  eyes  upon  the  cardinal's 
hat,  and  his  negotiations  at  Rome  were  as  brisk  as  those  of 
Alberoni  had  but  lately  been  with  the  same  purpose. 

Amidst  so  much  defiance  of  decency  and  public  morality,  in  the 
presence  of  such  profound  abuse  of  sacred  things,  God  did  not, 
nevertheless,  remain  without  testimony,  and  his  omnipotent  justice 
had  spoken*  On  the  21st  of  July,  1719,  the  duchess  of  Berry, 
eldest  daughter  of  the  Regent,  had  died  at  the  Palais-Royal,  at 
barely  twenty-four  years  of  age ;  her  health,  her  beauty >  and  her 
wit  were  not  proof  against  the  irregular  life  she  had  led.  Ere 
long  a  more  terrible  cry  arose  from  one  of  the  chief  cities  of  the 
kingdom :  "  The  plague,"  they  said,  "  is  at  Marseilles,  brought, 
none  knows  how,  on  board  a  ship  from  the  East."  The  terrible 
malady  had  by  this  time  been  brooding  for  a  month  in  the  most 
populous  quarters  without  anybody's  daring  to  give  it  its  real 
name.  "  The  public  welfare  demands,"  said  Chancellor  d' Agues- 
seau,  ^*  that  the  people  should  be  persuaded  that  the  plague  is  not 
contagious,  and  that  the  ministry  should  behave  as  if  it  were  per- 
suaded of  the  contrary."  Meanwhile  emigration  was  commencing  at 
Marseilles  ;  the  rich  folks  had  all  taken  flight ;  the  majority  of  the 
public  functionaries,  unfaithful  to  their  duty,  had  imitated  them, 
when,  on  the  31st  of  July,  1720,  the  Parliament  of  Aix,  scared 
at  the  contagion,  drew  round  Marseilles  a  sanitary  line,  pro- 
claiming  the  penalty  of  death  against  all  who  should  dare  to  pass  it ; 
the  mayor  (viguiei^)  and  the  four  sheriffs  were  left  alone  and  with- 
out resources  to  confront  a  populace  bewildered  by  fear,  suffering 
and,  ere  long,  famine.  Then  shone  forth  that  grandeur  of  the 
human  soul,  which  displays  itself  in  the  hour  of  terror,  as  if  to 
testify  of  the  divine  image,  still  existing  amidst  the  wreck  of  us. 
Whilst  the  Parliament  was  flying  from  threatened  Aix  and  hurry- 
ing affrighted  from  town  to  town,  accompanied  or  pursued  in 
its  rout  by  the  commandant  of  the  proyince,  all  that  while  tlie 


48 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Catp.  LI, 


bishop  of  Marseilles,  Monseigneur  de  Bekuncej  the  sheriffs  Esteild 
and  Moustier,  and  a  simple  oflScer  of  health,  Chevalier  Roze,  sufficed 
in  the  depopulated  town  for  all  duties  and  all  acta  of  devotion* 

The  plague  showed  a  preference  for  attacking  robust  men, 
young  people,  and  women  in  the  flower  of  their  age ;  it  disdained  the 
old  and  the  sick :  there  was  none  to  care  for  the  dying,  none  to 
bury  the  dead.  The  doctors  of  Marseilles  had  fled,  or  dared  notj 
approach  the  dying  without  precautions  which  redoubled  the 
terror.  **  The  doctors  ought  to  be  abolished,"  wrote  Dubois  to 
the  archbishop  of  Aix^  "  or  ordered  to  show  more  ability  and  lesa 
cowardice,  for  it  is  a  great  calamity/* 

Some  young  doctors,  arriving  from  Montpellier,  raised  the  coura| 
of  their  desponding  brethren^  and  the  sick  no  longer  perished  with- 
out help.      Rallying  round  the  bishop,  the  priests,  assisted  by  the 
members  of  all  the  religious  orders,  flew  from  bedside  to  bedside, 
and  from  grave  to  grave,  without  being  able  to  suffice  for  tk 
duties  of  their  ministry.  '*  Look  at  Belzunce,"  writes  M.  Lemontey : 
'*all  he  possessed,  he  has  given;  all  who  served  him  are  dead; 
alone,  in  poverty,  afoot,  in  the   morning  he  penetrates  into  the" 
most  horiible  dens  of  misery,  and,  in  the  evening,  he  is  found 
again   in   the   midst   of   places   bescattered  with  the  dying;   hi 
quenches  their  thirst,  he  comforts  them  as  a  friend,  he  exhort 
them  as  an  apostle,  and  on  this  field  of  death  he  gleans  abandoned 
souls.     The  example  of  this  prelate,  who  seems  to  be  invulnerable, 
animates  with  courageous  emulation — not  the  clergy  of  lazy  and 
emasculated   dignitaries,   for  they  fled  at  the   first  approach   ofj 
danger,   but — the   parish-priests,  the   vicars,  and   the   religioui 
orders ;  not  one  deserts  his  colours,  not  one  puts  any  bound  to  hi 
fatigues  save  with  his  life.     Thus  perished  twenty-six  Recolleet 
and  eighteen  Jesuits  out  of  twonty-sis.     The  Capucius  summone 
their  brethren  from  the  other  provinces,  and  the  latter  rushed 
martyrdom  with  the  alacrity  of  the  ancient  Christians ;  out  of  fifh 
five  the  epidemic  slew  forty -three.  The  conduct  of  the  priests  of  tl 
Oratory  was,  if  possible,  more  magnanimous.     The  functions  of 
the  sacred  ministry  wero  foibidden  them  by  the  bishop,  a  fanatical 
liartisan  of  the  bull    Unigenitus;  they  refused  to  profit  by  their 
disqualification,  and  they  devoted  themselves  to  the  service  of  the 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  51 

sick  with  heroic  humility ;  nearly  all  succumbed,  and  there  were 
still  tears  in  the  city  for  the  Superior,  a  man  of  eminent 
piety.'* 

During  more  than  five  months  the  heroic  defenders  of  Marseilles 
struggled  against  the  scourge.  The  bishop  drew  the  populace  on 
to  follow  in  his  steps,  in  processions  or  in  the  churches,  invoking 
the  mercy  of  God  in  aid  of  a  city  which  terror  and  peril  seemed  to 
have  the  effect  of  plunging  into  the  most  awful  corruption.  Estelle, 
Moustier,  and  Chevalier  Roze,  heading  the  efforts  attempted  in  all 
directions  to  protect  the  living  and  render  the  last  oflSces  to  the 
dead,  themselves  put  their  hands  to  the  work,  aided  by  galley-men 
who  had  been  summoned  from  the  hulks.  Courage  was  enough  to 
establish  equality  between  all  ranks  and  all  degrees  of  virtue. 
Monseigneur  de  Belzunce  sat  upon  the  seat  of  the  tumbril  laden 
with  corpses,  driven  by  a  convict  stained  with  every  crime. 

Marseilles  had  lost  a  third  of  its  inhabitants ;  Aix,  Toulon, 
Aries,  the  C^vennes,  the  Gevaudan  were  attacked  by  the  con- 
tagion ;  fearful  was  the  want  in  the  decimated  towns  long  deprived 
of  every  resource.  The  Regent  had  forwarded  corn  and  money; 
the  pope  sent  out  three  ships  laden  with  provisions ;  one  of  the 
vessels  was  wrecked,  the  two  others  were  seized  by  Barbary 
pirates,  who  released  them  as  soon  as  they  knew  their  destination. 
The  cargo  was  deposited  on  a  desert  island  in  sight  of  Toulon. 
Thither  it  was  that  boats,  putting  off  from  Marseilles,  went  to 
fetch  the  alms  of  the  pope,  more  charitable  than  many  priests, 
accompanying  his  gifts  with  all  the  spiritual  consolations  and 
indulgences  of  liis  holy  oflSce.  The  time  had  not  come  for 
Marseilles  and  the  towns  of  Provence  to  understand  the  terrible 
teaching  of  God.  Scarcely  had  they  escaped  from  the  dreadful 
scourge  which  had  laid  them  waste,  when  they  plunged  into  excesses 
of  pleasure  and  debauchery,  as  if  to  fly  from  the  memories  that 
haunted  them.  Scarcely  was  a  thought  given  to  those  martyrs  to 
devotion  who  had  fallen  during  the  epidemic ;  those  who  survived 
received  no  recompense ;  the  Regent,  alone,  offered  Monseigneur 
de  Belzunce  the  bishopric  of  Laon,  the  premier  ecclesiastical 
peerage  in  the  kingdom ;  the  saintly  bishop  preferred  to  remain 
in  the  midst  of  the  flock  for  which  he  had  battled  against  despair 

£  2 


62  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LL 

and  deatlu  It  was  only  in  1802  that  the  city  of  Marseilles 
at  last  raised  a  monument  to  its  bishop  and  its  heroic  magis- 
trates. 

Dubois,  meanwhile,  was  nearing  the  goal  of  all  his  eflTorts.  In 
order  to  obtain  the  cardinars  hat,  he  had  embraced  the  cause  of 
the  Court  of  Rome,  and  was  pushing  forward  the  registration  by 
Parliament  of  the  Bull  TJnUjenitus.  The  long  opposition  of  the 
duke  of  Noailles  at  last  yielded  to  the  desire  of  restoring  peace  in 
the  Church.  In  his  wake  the  majority  of  the  bishops  and  commu- 
nities  who  had  made  appeal  to  the  contemplated  council  renounced, 
in  their  turn,  the  protests  so  often  renewed  within  the  last  few 
years.  The  Parliament  was  divided,  but  exiled  to  Pontoise,  as  a 
punishment  for  its  opposition  to  the  system  of  Law;  it  found 
itself  threatened  with  removal  to  Blois.  Chancellor  d'Aguesseau 
had  vainly  sought  to  interpose  his  authority ;  a  magistrate  of  the 
Grand  Chamber,  Perelle  by  name,  was  protesting  eloquently  against 
any  derogation  from  the  principles  of  liberty  of  the  Gallican  Church 
and  of  the  parliaments :  "  Where  did  you  find  such  maxims  lai( 
down?"  asked  the  chancellor  angrily.  "In  the  pleadings  of  th 
late  Chancellor  d'Aguesseau,"  answered  the  councillor  icily 
D'Aguesseau  gave  in  his  resignation  to  the  Regent,  the  Parh 
ment  did  not  leave  for  Blois ;  after  sitting  some  weeks  at  Po: 
toise,  it  enregistered  the  formal  declaration  of  the  Bull,  and 
last  returned  to  Paris  on  the  20th  of  December,  1720. 

Dubois  had  reconciled   France  with  the  court  of  Rome ;  tl 
latter  owed  him  recompense  for  so  much  labour.     Clement  X~ 
had  promised,  but  ho  could  not  make  up  his  mind  to  bring  do 
so  low  the  dignity  of  the  Sacred  College ;  he  died  without  havii 
conferred  the  hat  upon  Dubois.     During  the  conclave  intrigu« 
recommenced,    conducted  this   time  by   Cardinal    Rohan.     T 
Jesuit  Lafittcau,  who  had  become  bishop  of  Sisteron,  and  had 
a  long  while  been  the  secret  agent  of  Dubois  at  Rome,  kept 
acquainted   with   all  the  steps  taken  to  wrest   a   promise   fi 
Cardinal  Conti,  who  was  destined,  it  was  beUeved,  to  unite  t— 
m«gority  of  the  suffrages.     "  Do  not  be  surprised,"  he  adds, 
hear  mo  say  that  I  go  by  night  to  the  conclave,  for  I  have  fo 
out  the  secret  of  getting  the  key  of  it,  and  I  constantly 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  53 

through  five  or  six  guard-posts,  without  their  being  able  to  guess 
who  I  am." 

Cardinal  Conti  was  old  and  feeble ;  all  means  were  brought  to 
bear  upon  him.  Dubois  had  for  a  long  time  past  engaged  the 
services  of  Chevalier  St.  George;  when  the  new  pope  was  pro- 
claimed under  the  name  of  Innocent  XIII.,  he  had  signed  a  con- 
ditional promise  in  favour  of  Dubois.  The  Regent,  who  had  but 
lately  pressed  his  favourite's  desires  upon  Clement  XI.,  was  not 
afraid  to  write  to  the  new  pontiff : — 

"  Most  Holy  Father, 

"  Your  Holiness  is  informed  of  the  favour  which  the  late  pope 
had  gi'anted  me  on  behalf  of  the  archbishop  of  Cambrai,  of  which 
his  death  alone  prevented  the  fulfilment.  I  hope  that  Your 
Holiness  will  let  it  be  seen,  on  your  accession  to  the  throne  of 
St.  Peter,  that  services  rendered  to  the  Church  lose  nothing  by 
the  death  of  the  sovereign  pontiffs,  and  that  you  will  not  think 
it  unworthy  of  your  earliest  care  to  give  me  this  public  mark  of 
the  attention  paid  by  the  Holy  See  to  the  zeal  which  I  profess  for 
its  interests.  This  kindness  on  the  part  of  Your  Holiness  will 
crown  the  wishes  I  formed  for  your  exaltation,  will  fill  up  the 
measure  of  the  joy  which  it  has  caused  mo,  will  maintain  our 
kindly  relations  to  the  advantage  of  the  peace  of  the  Church 
and  the  authority  of  the  Holy  See,  and  will  fortify  the  zeal  of  the 
archbishop  of  Cambrai  in  the  execution  of  my  orders  to  the  glory 
of  the  Pontificate  and  of  Your  Holiness." 

On  the  16th  of  July,  1721,  Dubois  was  at  last  elected  cardinal : 
it  was  stated  that  his  elevation  had  cost  eight  millions  of  livres. 
The  frivolous  curiosity  of  the  court  was  concerned  with  the 
countenance  the  new  Eminence  would  make  in  his  visits  of 
ceremony,  especially  in  that  to  Madame^  his  declared  foe  at  all 
times.  "  He  had  nearly  two  months  to  prepare  for  it,"  says  St. 
Simon,  "  and  it  must  be  admitted  that  he  had  made  good  use  of 
them.  He  got  himself  up  for  his  part  and  appeared  before  Madame 
with  deep  respect  and  embarrassment.  He  prostrated  himself,  as 
she  advanced  to  greet  him,  sat  down  in  the  middle  of  the  circle, 
covered  his  head  for  a  moment  with  his  red  hat,  which  he 
removed  immediately,  and  made  his  compliments ;  he  began  with 


M  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LI. 

liis  own  surprise  at  finding  himself  in  such  a  position  in  presence 
of  Madame,  spoke  of  the  baseness  of  his  birth  and  his  first  employ- 
ments ;  employed  them  with  much  cleverness  and  in  very  choice 
terms  to  extol  so  much  the  more  the  kindness,  courage  and  power 
of  the  duke  of  Orleans  who  from  so  low  had  raised  him  to  where 
ho  found  himself;  gave  Madame  some  delicate  incense;  in  fine, 
dissolved  in  the  most  profound  respect  and  gratitude,  doing  it  so 
well  that  Madame  herself  could  not  help,  when  he  was  gone, 
praising  his  discourse  and  his  countenance,  at  the  same  time  adding 
that  she  was  mad  to  see  him  where  he  was." 

The  bearing  of  the  newly-elected  was  less  modest  at  the  council 
of  regency ;  he  got  himself  accompanied  thither  by  Cardinal 
Rohan  ;  their  rank  gave  the  two  ecclesiastics  precedence.  The 
duke  of  Noaillcs,  d'Aguesseau  and  some  other  gi'cat  lords  refused 
to  sit  with  Dubois.  "  This  day,  sir,  will  be  famous  in  history," 
said  the  duke  of  Noailles  to  the  new  cardinal :  *'  it  will  not  fail 
to  bo  remarked  therein  that  j^our  entrance  into  the  council  caused 
it  to  be  deserted  by  the  grandees  of  the  kingdom."  Noailles  wai 
exiled,  as  well  as  d'Aguesseau. 

The  great  lords  had  made  a  decided  failure  in  govemment-T 
Since  1718,  the  different  councils  had  been  abolished;  defend 
by  Abb6  St.  Pierre,  under  the  grotesque  title  of  Polysynodie,  the; 
had  earned  for  the  candid  preacher  of  universal  peace  his  exclusiorzi 
fi\)iu  the  Fivnch  Academy,  which  was  insisted  upon  by  th^^ 
i^omnants  of  the  old  court,  whom  he  had  mortally  offended  b^ 
styling  Louis  XIV.*s  governmental  system  a  viziershij).  Th 
Regent  had  heapeil  favours  upon  the  presidents  and  members 
the  councils,  but  he  had  placed  Dubois  at  the  head  of  foreig 
afTaii^s  and  Le  Blanc  over  the  war-department.  "I  do  nc 
imiuiro  into  the  theory  of  councils,"  said  the  able  Dubois 
the  Rogt^nt  by  the  mouth  oi  his  confidant  Chavigny :  "  it  was, 
you  know*  the  object  of  worship  to  the  shallow  pates  of  the  o^C 
Cvnirt.  Uunnliated  by  tboir  nonentity  at  the  end  of  the  last  reigr' 
they  l)egot  this  system  upon  the  reveries  of  il.  de  Gambrai.  B^^ 
1  think  of  you,  I  think  of  your  interests.  The  king  will  reach 
majority,  tbo  srrandtvs  of  the  kingdom  approach  the  monarque 
Tirtuo  of  their  birth :  if  to  this  privilege  they  unite  that  of  bei 


) 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  REGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  S6 

then  at  the  head  of  affairs,  there  is  reason  to  fear  that  they  may 
surpass  you  in  complaisance,  in  flattery,  may  represent  you  as 
a  useless  phantom,  and  establish  themselves  upon  the  ruin  of  you. 
Suppress,  then,  these  councils,  if  you  mean  to  continue  indis- 
pensable, and  haste  to  supersede  the  great  lords,  who  would 
become  your  rivals,  by  means  of  simple  secretaries  of  State,  who, 
without  standing  or  family,  will  perforce  remain  your  creatures.'* 

The  duke  of  Antin,  son  of  Madame  de  Montespan,  one  of  the 
most  adroit  courtiers  of  the  old  as  well  as  of  the  new  court, 
"honourless  and  passionless"  (sans  honneur  et  sans  hutneur)^  accord- 
ing to  the  Regent's  own  saying,  took  a  severer  view  than  Dubois 
of  the  arrangement  to  which  he  had  contributed  :  "  The  councils 
are  dissolved,'*  ho  wrote  in  his  memoirs  ;  "  the  nobility  will  never 
recover  from  it — to  my  great  regret,  I  must  confess.  The  kings 
who  hereafter  reign  will  see  that  Louis  XIV.,  one  of  the  greatest 
kings  in^the  world,  never  would  employ  people  of  rank  in  any  of 
his  business ;  that  the  Regent,  a  most  enlightened  prince,  had 
begun  by  putting  them  at  the  head  of  all  affairs,  and  was  obliged 
to  remove  them  at  the  end  of  three  years.  What  can  they  and 
must  they  conclude  therefrom  ?  That  people  of  this  condition  arc 
not  fitted  for  business,  and  that  they  are  good  for  nothing  but  to 
get  killed  in  war.  I  hope  I  am  wrong,  but  there  is  every  appear- 
ance that  the  masters  will  think  like  that,  and  there  will  not  be 
wanting  folks  who  will  confirm  them  in  that  opinion."  A  harsh 
criticism  on  the  French  nobility,  too  long  absorbed  by  war  or  the 
court,  living  apart  from  the  nation  and  from  affairs,  and  thereby 
become  incapable  of  governing,  put  down  once  for  all  by  the  iron 
hand  of  Richelieu,  without  ever  having  been  able  to  resimie  at  the 
head  of  the  country  the  rank  and  position  which  befitted  them. 

The  special  councils  were  dissolved,  the  council  of  regency 
diminished;  Dubois  became  premier  minister  in  name,  he  had 
long  been  so  in  fact. 

He  had  just  concluded  an  important  matter,  one  which  the 
Regent  had  much  at  heart,  the  marriage  of  the  king  with  the 
Infanta  of  Spain,  and  that  of  Mdlle.  de  Montpensier,  daughter  of 
the  duke  of  Orleans,  with  the  prince  of  the  Asturias.  The  duke 
of  St.  Simon  was  entrusted  with  the  official  demand.     Philip  V. 


56  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  .  [Chap.  LI. 

was  rejoiced  to  see  his  daughter's  elevation,  to  that  throne  which 
he  still  regarded  as  the  first  in  the  world;  he  purchased  it  by  the 
concession  made  to  the  Regent. 

The  age  of  the  Infanta  was  a  serious  obstacle ;  she  was  but 
three  years  old,  the  king  was  twelve.  When  the  duke  of  Orleans 
went  in  state  to  announce  to  Louis  XV.  the  negociation  which 
tarried  for  nothing  further  but  his  consent,  the  young  prince, 
takep  by  surprise,  was  tongue-tied,  seemed  to  have  his  heart  quite 
full,  and  his  eyes  grew  moist.  His  preceptor,  Fleury,  bishop  of 
Fr^jus,  who  had  just  refused  the  archbishopric  of  Rheims,  seeing 
that  ho  must  make  up  his  mind  t.o  please  the  Regent  or  estrange 
him,  supported  what  had  just  been  said.  "  Marshal  Villeroy, 
decided  by  the  bishop's  example,  said  to  the  king :  *  Come,  my 
dear  njiaster :  the  thing  must  be  done  with  a  good  grace.'  The 
Regent,  very  pujich  embarrassed,  the  duke,  mighty  taciturn,  and 
Dubois,  with  an  air  of  composure,  waited  for  the  king  to  break  a 
silence  which  lasted  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  whilst  the  bishop  never 
ceased,  whispering  to  the  king.  As  the  silence  continued,  and  the 
assembly  pf  all  the  council,  at  which  the  king  was  about  to  appear, 
could  not  but  •augment  his  timidity,  the  bishop  turned  to  the 
Regent  and  said  to  him  :  "  His  Majesty  will  go  to  the  council,  but 
he  wants  a  little  time  to  prepare  himself  for  it."  Thereupon  the 
Regent  replied  that  he  was  created  to  await  the  convenience  of  the 
king,  saluted  him  with  an  air  of  respect  and  affection,  went  out 
and  made  signs  to  the  rest  to  follow  liim.  A  quarter  of  an  hour 
later  the  king  entered  the  council,  with  his  eyes  still  red,  and  replied 
with  a  very  short  and  rather  low  ya^  to  the  Regent's  question, 
whether  he  thought  proper  that  the  news  of  his  marriage  should 
be  imparted  to  the  council."  "  It  was  the  assurance  of  peace  with 
Spain,  and  the  confirmation  of  the  recent  treaties ;  the  Regent's 
enemies  saw  in  it  the  climax  of  the  policy,  by  the  choice  of  an 
infant,  which  retarded  the  king's  marriage  "  [^temoires  secrets  dc 
Bahou^  t.  ii.  p.  163]. 

Accusations  of  greater  gravity  had  been  recently  ren#<ved 
against  the .  dukg  pf  Orleans.  The.  king  had  been  ill;  for  just  a 
moment  the  danger  had  appeared  serious ;  the  emotion  in  Fcancc 
was  general,  the  cabal  opposed  to  the. Regent  went  beyond  mere. 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  BEGENCY  AND  OAKDINAL  DUBOIS.  57 

anxiety:  "The  consternation  everywhere  was  great,"  says  St. 
Simon :  "  I  had  the  privileges  of  entry,  and  so  I  went  into  the 
king's  chamber.  I  found  it  very  empty ;  the  duke  of  Orieans 
seated  at  the  chimney-comer,  very  forlorn  and  very  sad.  I  went 
up  to  him  for  a  moment,  then  I  approached  the  king's  bed.  At  that 
moment,  Boulduc,  one  of  his  apothecaries,  was  giving  him  some- 
thing to  take.  The  duchess  of  la  Fertd  was  at  Boulduc' s  elbow, 
and,  having  turned  round  to  see  who  was  coming,  she  saw  me  and 
all  at  once  said  to  me  betwixt  loud  and  soft :  *  He  is  poisoned,  he 
is  poisoned.'  *  Hold  your  tongue,  do,'  said  I ;  '  that  is  awful  I ' 
She  went  on  again  so  much  and  so  loud  that  I  was  afraid  the 
king  would  hear  her.  Boulduc  and  I  looked  at  one  another  and  I 
immediately  withdrew  from  the  bed  and  from  that  madwoman, 
with  whom  I  was  on  no  sort  of  terras.  The  illness  was  not 
a  long  one,  and  the  convalescence  was  speedy,  which  restored 
tranquilhty  and  joy,  and  caused  .an  outburst  of  Te  Deums  and 
rejoicings.  On  St.  Louis'  day,  at  the  concert  held  every  year  on 
that  evening  at  the  Tuileries,  the  crowd  was  so  dense  that  a  pin 
would  not  have  fallen  to  the  ground  in  the  garden.  The  windows 
of  the  Tuileries  were  decorated  and  crammed  full,* and  all  the  roofs 
of  the  Carrousel  filled  with  all  that  could  hold  on  there,  as  well  as  .the 
square.  Marshal  Villeroy  revelled  in  this  concourse,  which  bored 
the  king,  who  kept  hiding  himself  every  moment  in  the  comers;  the 
marshal  pulled  him  out  by  the  arm  and  led  him  up  to  the  windows. 
Everybody  shouted  *  Hurrah!  for  the  king!'  and  the  marshal, 
detaining  the  king,  who  would  still  have  gone  and  hidden  himself, 
said,  "  Pray  look,  my  dear  master,  at  all  this  company,  all  this 
people,  it  is  all  yours,  it  all  belongs  to  you,  you  are  their  master, 
pray  give  them  a  look  or  two  just  to  satisfy  them  ! '  A  fine 
lesson  for  a  governor,  and  one  which  he  did  not  tire  of  impressing 
upon  him,  so  fearful  was  he  lest  he  should  forget  it ;  accordingly 
he  retained  it  very  perfectly." 

The  duke  of  Beauvilliers  and  Fenelon  taught  the  duke  of 
Burgundy  differently ;  the  duke  of  Montausier  and  Bossuet  him- 
self, in  spite  of  the  majestic  errors  of  his  political  conceptions,  had 
nqt  forgotten  in  the  education  of  the  grand-dauphin  the  lesson  of 
kings'  duties  towards  their  peoples. 


58 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LL 


Already,  over  tlio  very  infancy  of  Louis  XV,  was  passing  the 
breath  of  decay ;  little  by  little  that  people,  as  yet  so  attached  to 
their  young  sovereign,  was  about  to  lose  all  respect  and  sub- 
mission towards  its  masters,  a  tmit  long  characteristic  of  the 
French  nation. 

The  king's  majority  was  approaching,  the  Regent's  power 
seemed  on  the  point  of  slipping  from  him;  Marshal  VilleroVi 
aged,  witless  and  tactless,  irritated  at  the  elevation  of  Dubois, 
always  suspicious  of  the  Regent's  intentions  towards  the  yountj 
king,  burst  nut  violently  against  the  minister  and  displayed 
towards  the  Regent  an  offensive  distrust:  '*  Odg  morning,**  says 
Duclos,  "  when  the  latter  came  to  give  an  account  to  the  king  of 
the  nomination  to  certain  benefices,  he  begged  his  Majesty  to  be 
pleased  to  walk  into  his  closet,  where  he  had  a  word  to  say  to  hiin 
in  private*  The  governor  objected,  saying  that  he  knew  the  duties 
of  his  place,  that  the  king  could  have  no  secrets  from  his  governor, 
protested  that  he  would  not  lose  sight  of  him  for  an  instant,  and 
that  he  was  bound  to  answer  for  his  person*  The  Begent,  then 
taking  a  tone  of  superiority,  said  to  the  marshal,  ^you  forget  your- 
self, sir;  you  do  not  see  the  force  of  your  expressions;  it  is  only 
the  king's  presence  that  restrains  me  from  treating  you  as  yoii 
deserve,'  Having  so  said,  he  made  a  profound  bow  to  the  king 
and  went  out.  The  disconcerted  marshal  followed  the  Regent  to 
the  door,  and  would  have  entered  upon  a  justification ;  all  his  talk 
all  day  long  was  a  mixture  of  the  Roman's  haughtiness  and  the 
courtier's  meanness**  [Memo ires  de  SL  Simoii], 

*^Next  day,  at  noon,  Marshal  Villeroy  repaired  to  the  duke  of 
Orleans'  to  excuse  himself,  fancying  he  might  attempt  an  explana- 
tion as  equal  with  equal*     He  crosses  with  his  grand  airs,  in  the 
midst  of  the  whole  Court,  the  rooms  which  preceded  the  prince's 
closet ;  the  crowd  opens  and  makes  way  for  him  respectfidly.     He 
asks   in  a  loud  tone  where  the  duke  of  Orleans  is;  the  answer 
is  that  he  is  busy.      ^  I  must  see  him,  nevertheless,'  soys  ha^ 
*  annoimce  me  V     The  moment  ho  advances  towards  the  door, 
marquis  of  La  Fare,  captain  of  the  Kegent's  guards,  shows  himsi 
between  the  door  and  the  marshal,  arrests  him,  and  demands  his 
sword;  Le  Blanc  hands  him  the  order  from  the  king,  and  at  the 


Chap.  LI.]  LOUIS  XV., THE  REGBNCT  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS.  61 

same  instant  Count  d'ArtagnaHi  commandant  of  the  musketeers, 
blocks  him  on  the  opposite  side  to  La  Fare.  The  marshal  shouts, 
remonstrates ;  ho  is  pitched  into  a  chair,  shut  up  in  it,  and  passed 
out  by  one  of  the  windows  which  opens  door-wise  on  to  the 
garden;  at  the  bottom  of  the  steps  of  the  orangery  behold  a 
carriage  with  six  horses,  surrounded  by  twenty  musketeers.  The 
marshal,  furious,  storms,  threatens ;  he  is  carried  into  the  vehicle, 
the  carriage  starts,  and  in  less  than  three  hours  the  marshal  is  at 
Villeroi,  eight  or  nine  leagues  from  Versailles."  The  king  wept  a 
moment  or  two  without  saying  a  word ;  he  was  consoled  by  the 
return  of  the  bishop  of  Frejus,  with  whom  it  was  supposed  to  be 
all  over  but  who  was  simply  at  Bavillc,  at  President  Lamoignon's ; 
his  pupil  was  as  much  attached  to  him  as  he  was  capable  of  being ; 
Fleury  remained  alone  with  him,  and  Marshal  Villeroy  was  escorted 
to  Lyons,  of  which  he  was  governor ;  he  received  warning  not  to 
leave  it,  and  was  not  even  present  at  the  king's  coronation,  which 
took  place  at  Rheims  on  the  2oth  of  October,  1722.  Amidst  the 
^pyal  pomp  and  festivities,  a  significant  formality  was  for  the  first 
time  neglected :  that  was,  admitting  into  the  nave  of  the  church 
the  people,  burgesses  and  artisans,  who  were  wont  to  join  their 
voices  to  those  of  the  clergy  and  nobility  when,  before  the  anoint- 
ment of  the  king,  demand  was  made  in  a  loud  voice  for  the  consent 
of  the  assembly,  representing  the  nation.  Even  in  external  cere- 
monies, the  kingship  was  becoming  every  day  more  and  more 
severed  from  national  sentiment  and  national  movement. 

The  king's  majority,  declared  on  the  lOtli  of  February,  1723,  had 
made  no  change  in  the  course  of  the  government ;  the  young  prince 
had  left  Paris  and  resumed  possession  of  that  Palace  of  Versailles, 
still  full  of  mementoes  of  the  great  king.  The  Regent,  more  and 
more  absorbed  by  his  pleasures,  passed  a  great  deal  of  time  at 
Paris ;  Dubois  had  the  government  to  himself. 

His  reign  was  not  long  at  this  unparalleled  pinnacle  of  his 
greatness ;  he  had  been  summoned  to  preside  at  the  assembly  of 
the  clergy,  and  had  just  been  elected  to  the  French  Academy, 
where  he  was  received  by  Fontenelle,  when  a  sore  from  which  he 
had  long  suffered  reached  all  at  once  a  serious  crisis ;  an  operation 
was  indispensablei  but  he  set  himself  obstinately  against  it ;  the 


62  HISTOEY  OF  FEANCB.  [Chap.  LI. 

duke  of  Orleans  obliged  him  to  submit  to  it,  and  it  was  his  death- 
blow ;  the  wretched  cardinal  expired,  without  having  had  time  to 
receive  the  sacraments. 

The  elevation  and  power  of  Dubois  had  the  fatal  effect  of 
lowering  France  in  her  own  eyes;  she  had  felt  that  she  was 
governed  by  a  man  whom  she  despised  and  had  a  right  to  despise ; 
this  was  a  deep-seated  and  lasting  evil,  authority  never  recovered 
from  the  blow  thus  struck  at  its  moral  influence.  Dubois,  however, 
was  more  able  and  more  far-sighted  in  his  foreign  policy  than  the 
majority  of  his  predecessors  and  his  contemporaries  were ;  without 
definitively  losing  the  alliance  of  Spain,  reattached  to  the  interests 
of  France  by  the  double  treaty  of  marriage,  he  had  managed  to 
form  a  firm  connexion  with  England,  and  to  rally  round  France 
the  European  coalition  but  lately  in  arms  against  her.  He 
maintained  and  made  peace  ingloriously ;  he  obtained  it  some- 
times by  meannesses  in  bearing  and  modes  of  acting ;  he  enriched 
himself  by  his  intrigues,  abroad  as  well  as  at  home ;  his  policy 
none  the  less  was  steadfastly  French,  even  in  his  relations  with  thq 
court  of  Rome  and  in  spite  of  his  eager  desire  for  the  cardinal's 
hat.  He  died  sadly,  shamefully,  without  a  friend  and  Avithout 
regret,  even  on  the  part  of  the  Regent,  whom  he  had  governed  and 
kept  in  hand  by  active  and  adroit  assiduity,  by  a  hardihood  and 
an  effrontery  to  the  influence  of  which  that  prince  submitted,  all  the 
while  despising  it.  Dubois  had  raised  up  again,  to  place  himself 
upon  it,  that  throne  of  premier  minister  on  which  none  had  found 
a  seat  since  Richelieu  and  Mazarin ;  the  duke  of  Orleans  succeeded 
him  without  fuss,  without  parade,  without  even  appearing  to 
have  any  idea  of  the  humiliation  inflicted  upon  him  by  that 
valet,  lying  in  his  coflBn,  whom  he  had  raised  to-  power  and  whose 
place  he  was  about  to  fill  for  a  few  days. 

On  the  2nd  of  December,  1 723,  three  months  and  a  half  after 
the  death  of  Dubois,  the  duke  of  Orleans  succumbed  in  his  turn. 
Struck  down  by  a  sudden  attack  of  apoplexy,  whilst  he  was  chatting 
with  his  favourite  for  the  time,  the  duchess  of  Falarie,  he  expired 
without  having  recovered  consciousness.  Lethargized  by  the 
excesses  of  the  table  and  debauchery  of  all  kinds,  more  and  more 
incapable  of  application  and  work,  the  prince  did  not  preserve 


CfiAP-LL]  LOOTS  XV.,  THE  lEGENCY  AND  CARDINAL  DUBOIS,  63 


sufficient  energy  to  give  up  the  sort  of  life  which  had  rabied  him. 

I     For  a  long  while  the  physicians  had  been  threatening  him  with  a 
sadden  death :  "  It  is  all  I  can  desire,"  said  he.     Naturally  brave> 
intelligent,   amiable,   endowed   with   a   charm   of   manner  which 
recalled  Henry  IV,,  kind  and  merciful  like  him,  of  a  mind  that 
i^sts  inquiring,  fertile,  capable  of  applying  itself  to  the  details  of 
3flFaii's>  Philip  of  Orleans  was  dragged  down  by  depravity  of  morals 
to   the  same  in  soul  and  mind ;  his  judgment,  naturally  straight- 
fo r*ward  and  correct,  could  still  discern  between  good  and  evil,  but 
ix^    was  incapable  of  energetically   willing   the   one   and   firmly 
i*osisting  the  other ;  he  had  governed  equitably,  without  violence 
a.i3.cil  witliout  harshness,  he  had  attempted  new  and  daring  courses 
o.xi<3  he  had  managed  to  abandon  them  mthout  any  excesses  or 
so^-erities ;  like  Dubois,  he  had  inspired  France  with  a  contempt 
^^^liich  unfortunately  did  not  protect  her  from  contagion.     When 
At3-dame  died,  an  inscription  had  been  put  on  the  tomb  of  that 
lioxiest,   rude  and    haughty   German :    "  Here   lies   Lazybones  ** 
i^G£~giiVoigivete).     All  the  vices  thus  imputed  to  the  Regent  did 
^-^ot  perish  with  him,  when  he  succumbed  at  forty-nine  years  of 
^ge  under  their  fatal  effects.     "  The  evil  that  men  do  lives  after 
tliem,  the  good  is  oft  interred  with  their  bones ;"  the  Regency  was 
*^*lie  signal  for  an  Lrregularity  of  morals  which  went  on  increasing, 
'j^Jce  a  filthy  river,  up  to  the  end  of  the  reign  of  Louis  XV. ;  the 
^^^tal  seed  had  been  germinating  for  a  long  time  past  under  the 
^^rced  and  frequently  hypocritical  decency  of  the  old  court;  it 
*^urst  out  under  the  easy-going  regency  of  an  indolent  and  indul- 
S^iat  prince,  himself  wholly  given  to  the  hcentiousness  which  he 
^     ^^eused  and  authorized  by  his  own  example.     From  the  court  the 
^p  ^vil  soon  spread  to  the  nation  ;  religious  faith  still  struggled  with- 
^   ill  the  soul,  but  it  had  for  a  long  wliile  been  tossed  about  between 
Contrary  and  violent  opinions,  it  found  itself  disturbed,  attacked, 
^y  the  new  and  daring  ideas  which  were  beginning  to  dawn  in 
Politics  as   well    as  in   philosophy.     The   break-up   was   already 
li^comhig  manifest,  though  nobody  could  account  for  it,  though  no 
^ed  plan  was  conceived  in  men's  minds.     People  devoured  the 
^^moirs  of  Cardinal  Ret2  and  Madame  de  Motteville,  which  had 
J^^t  appeared;  people  formed  from  them  their  judgments  upon 


64 


HISTORY  OF  FEANCK 


[Chap.  LI. 


the  great  persons  and  great  events  whicli  they  bad  seen  and 
depicted,  The  University  of  Paris,  under  the  direction  of  RolUn, 
was  developing  the  intelligence  and  lively  powers  of  burgessdom  ; 
and  Monteaquien,  as  yet  full  young,  was  shooting  Lis  missiles  in 
tlie  Lettres  persanes  at  the  men  and  the  things  of  his  countiy  with 
an  almost  cynical  freedonij  which  was  as  it  were  the  alarum  and 
prelude  of  all  the  liberties  which  ho  scarcely  dared  to  claim,  but  of 
which  he  already  let  a  glimpse  be  seen.  Evil  and  good  were  grow- 
ing up  in  confusion,  like  the  tares  and  the  wheat.  For  more  than 
eighty  years  past  France  has  been  gathering  the  harvest  of  ages ; 
she  has  not  yet  separated  the  good  grain  from  the  rubbish  whicli 
too  often  conceals  it. 


,1 


i'A 


i!?v  7? 


ItM 


^^^"^ 


LOUIS  XV.,  Tin:  MINISTHY  of  CAUDINAI.  FLEUEY  (1723— I74»). 

;HE  riotous  and  frivolous  splendour  of  the  Rt-gency  had 
suffered  ixjlipne ;  before  their  timej  in  nil  their  vigour, 
through  disgrnce  or  by  death,  Law,  Dubois  and  the 
Regent,  had  suddenly  disappeared  from  the  stage  of  the  world. 
To  theBo  men,  a  striking  group  for  dilTert*iit  reaBons,  notwith- 
standing their  faults  and  their  viees,  was  about  t^  Buccced  a  discreet 
but  dull  and  limp  government,  the  reign  of  an  old  man  and, 
moreover,  a  priest.  The  bishop  of  Frejus,  who  had  but  lately 
the  modest  prece|)tor  of  the  king  and  was  quietly  ambitious 
and  greedy  of  |>ower*  but  without  regard  to  his  perBonal  interests, 
was  about  to  become  Cardinal  Fleury  and  to  govern  France  fur 
twenty  years;  in  172:}>  he  was  seventy  years  old. 

Whether  from  adroitness  or  prudence,  Fleury  did  not  all  at  once 
aspii-e  to  all-powerfulness.  Assured  in  bift  heart  of  his  sway  over 
the  as  yet  dormant  will  of  his  pupil,  he  suffert^d  tlie  ostablighmcnt 
of  the  duke  of  Bourbon'B  ministry ^  wlio  was  in  a  greater  liiirry  to 
grasp  the  power  he  had  ao  loug  coveted.  When  the  king  received  his 
vou  V-  F 


66  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  Lll. 

cousin,  head  of  the  House  of  Cond6,  who  had  but  lately  taken  the 
place  of  the  duke  of  Maine  near  his  person,  he  sought  in  his 
preceptor's  eyes  the  guidance  he  needed,  and  contented  himself 
with  sanctioning  by  an  inclination  of  the  head  the  elevation  of  the 
duke,  presented  by  Fleury.  The  new  duke  of  Orleans,  as  yet 
quite  a  youth,  hovering  between  debauchery  and  devotion,  obtained 
no  portion  of  his  father's  heritage ;  he  had  taken  away  from  him 
even  the  right  of  doing  business  with  the  king,  a  right  secured  to 
him  by  his  oflSce  of  colonel-general. 

The  bishop  of  Fr6jus  had  nursed  his  power  more  skilfully ;  he 
kept  the  hst  of  benefices,  and  he  alone,  it  was  said,  knew  how  to 
unloosen  the  king's  tongue ;  but  he  had  not  calculated  upon  the 
pernicious  and  all-powerful  influence  of  the  marchioness  of  Prie, 
favourite  "  by  appointment"  (attitree)  to  the  duke.  Clever,  adroit, 
depraved,  she  aspired  to  govern,  and  chose  for  her  minister  Paris- 
Duverney,  one  of  the  four  Dauphinese  brothers  who  had  been 
engaged  under  the  regency  in  the  business  of  the  visUy  and  the 
enemies  as  well  as  rivals  of  the  Scotsman  Law.  Whilst  the  king 
hunted,  and  Fleury  exercised  quietly  the  measure  of  power  which 
as  yet  contented  his  desires,  the  duke,  blinded  by  his  passion  for 
Madame  de  Prie,  slavishly  submissive  to  her  sUghtest  wishes, 
lavished,  according  to  his  favourite's  orders,  honours  and  graces 
in  which  she  managed  to  traffic,  enriching  herself  brazen-facedly. 
Under  Louis  XIV.  Madame  de  Maintenon  alone,  exalted  to  the 
rank  of  wife,  had  taken  part  in  State-affairs ;  amidst  the  irregu- 
larity of  his  life  the  Regent  had  never  accorded  women  any  political 
influence,  and  the  confusion  of  the  orgie  had  never  surprised  from 
his  lips  a  single  important  secret ;  Madame  de  Prie  was  the  first 
to  become  possessed  of  a  power  destined  to  frequently  fall,  after 
her,  into  hands  as  depraved  as  they  were  feeble. 

The  strictness  of  the  views  and  of  the  character  of  Paris- 
Duvemey  strove,  nevertheless,  in  the  home  department,  against 
the  insensate  lavishness  of  the  duke,  and  the  venal  irregularities 
of  his  favourite ;  imbued  with  the  maxims  of  order  and  regularity 
formerly  impressed  by  Colbert  upon  the  clerks  of  the  Treasury, 
and  not  yet  completely  effaced  by  a  long  interregnum,  he  laboured 
zealously  to  cut  down  expenses  and  useless  posts,  to  resuscitate  and 


Ca^^'  ^U]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  67 

"f-^gTjlate  commerce;  his  ardour,  systematic  and  wise  as  it  was, 
li  ixi'J^ied  liim  sometimes  into  strange  violence  and  improvidence ; 
^Iki  order  to  restore  to  their  proper  figure  values  and  goods  which 
still   felt  the  prodigious  rise  brought  about  by  the  Systetnt  Paris- 
DuTrerney  depreciated  the  coinage  and  put  a  tariff  on  merchandisse 
as  ^^^ell  as  wages.     The  commotion  amongst  the  people  was  great; 
tlie     workmen  rioted,  the  tradesmen  refused  to  accept  the  legal 
figiijre  for  their  goods ;  several  men  were  killed  in  the  streets,  and 
soirt©  shops  put  the  shutters  up.     The  misery,  wliich  the  adminis- 
tration had  meant  to  relieve,  went  on  increasing;  begging  was  pro- 
liibited ;  refuges  and  workshops  were  annexed  to  the  poor-houses; 
attenapts    were   made   to    collect   there    all    the    old,    infirm   and 
'^agrabond.     The  rigour  of  procedure,  as  well  as  the  insufficiency  of 
resources,  caused  the  failure  of  the  philanthropic  project.     Lightly 

I  conceived,  imprudently  earned  out,  the  new  law  filled  the  refuges 
^ith  an  immense  crowd,  taken  up  in  aD  quart-ers,  in  the  villages, 
and  on  the  high  roads ;  the  area  of  the  relieving-houses  became 
^iisnfficient.  *'  Bedded  on  straw^  and  fed  on  bread  and  water  as 
*^oy  ought  to  be,"  wrote  the  comptroller-general  Dodun,  *'  they 
^ill  take  up  less  room  and  be  less  expense/*  Everywhere  the 
poor  wretches  sought  to  fly  ;  they  were  branded  on  the  arm,  like 
^^itninals.  All  this  rigour  was  ineffectual;  the  useful  object  of 
H  "^i'is-Duvemey*s  decrees  was  not  attained. 

^  Other  outrages,  not  to  be  justified  by  any  public  advantage, 
^^xe  being  at  the  same  time  committed  against  other  poor 
*^^tures,  for  a  long  while  accustomed  to  severities  of  all  kinds, 
Without  freedom,  without  right  of  worship,  without  assemblies, 
tli^  Protestants  had,  nevertheless,  enjoyed  a  sort  of  truce  from 
ta^P  woes  during  the  easy-going  regency  of  the  duke  of  Orleans, 
^^rriongst  the  number  of  his  vices  Dubois  did  not  include 
'iypocrisy;  he  had  not  persecuted  the  remnants  of  French  Pro- 
I  t*^5stantism^  enfeebled,  dumb,  but  still  living  and  breathing.  The 
■  religious  enthusiasm  of  the  Camisards  had  become  little  by  little 
Wtiaguished ;  their  prophets  and  inspired  ones,  who  were  but 
i^t^ly  the  only  ministers  of  the  religion  in  the  midst  of  a  people 
f'^i^eibly  deprived  of  its  pastors,  had  given  place  to  new  servants  of 
^*^,  regularly  consecrated  to  His  work  and  ready  to  brave  for 

F  2 


68  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Ohap.LII 

His  sake  all  punishments.  The  Church  under  the  Gross^  as  the 
Protestants  of  Prance  then  called  themselves,  was  reviving  slowly, 
secretly,  in  the  desert,  but  it  was  reviving.  The  scattered 
members  of  the  flocks,  habituated  for  so  many  years  past  to  care- 
fully conceal  their  faith  in  order  to  preserve  it  intact  in  their  hearts, 
were  beginning  to  draw  near  to  one  another  once  more ;  discipline 
and  rule  were  once  more  entering  within  that  Church,  which  had 
been  battered  by  so  many  storms  and  the  total  destruction  of 
which  had  been  loudly  proclaimed.  In  its  origin,  this  immense 
work,  as  yet  silently  and  modestly  progressing,  had  been  owing  to 
one  single  man,  Antony  Court,  born,  in  1696,  of  a  poor  family,  at 
Villeneuve-de-Berg  in  the  Vivarais.  He  was  still  almost  a  child 
when  he  had  perceived  the  awakening  in  his  soul  of  an  ardent  desire 
to  rebuild  the  walls  of  holy  Sion;  without  classical  education, 
nurtured  only  upon  his  reading  of  the  Bible,  guided  by  strong 
common-sense  and  intrepid  courage,  combined  with  a  piety  as 
sincere  as  it  was  enlightened,  he  had  summoned  to  him  the 
preachers  of  the  C^vennes,  heirs  of  the  enthusiastic  Camisards. 
From  the  depths  of  caverns,  rocks  and  woods  had  come  forth 
these  rude  ministers,  fanatics  or  visionaries  as  they  may  have 
been,  eagerly  devoted  to  their  work  and  imbued  with  their  pious 
illusions;  Court  had  persuaded,  touched,  convinced  them;  some 
of  the  faithful  had  gathered  around  him,  and,  since  the  11th  of 
August,  1715,  at  the  first  of  those  synods  in  the  desert,  unknown 
to  the  great  king  whose  life  was  ebbing  away  at  Versailles,  the 
Protestant  Church  of  France  had  been  reconstituting  itself  upon 
bases  as  sound  as  they  were  strong ;  the  functions  of  the  aiidenU 
were  every  where  re-established ;  women  were  forbidden  to  hold 
forth  at  assembhes ;  the  Holy  Scriptures  were  proclaimed  as  the 
only  law  of  faith ;  pastoral  ordination  was  required  of  preacherfl 
and  ministers  of  the  religion ;  Corteis,  a  friend  of  Court's,  went 
to  Switzerland  to  receive  from  the  pastors  of  Zurich  the  imposition 
of  hands,  which  he  transmitted  afterwards  to  his  brethren.  Every- 
where the  new  Evangelical  ministry  was  being  recruited.  "  I  seek 
them  in  all  places,"  said  Court,  "  at  the  plough  or  behind  the 
counter,  everywhere  where  I  find  the  call  for  martyrdom.**  Of 
the  six  devoted  men  who  signed  the  statutes  of  the  first  synod, 


rCoAP.LII,]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OP  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  69 

foox*  were  destined  to  a  martyr's  death.     The  restorer  of  French 
mPi'O  test  autism  had  made  no  mistake  about  the  call  then  required 
^n^i-     the  holy  ministry.     The  synods  of  the  desert  became  every 
jea.i:'  more  numerous;  deputies  from  the  North,  from  the  West, 
hroi33  the  Centre,  began  to  join  those  of  the  South.     Persecution 
continued,  but  it  was  local,  more  often  prompted  by  the  fanatical 
zea.1     of  the  superintendents  than   by  the   sovereign   impulse   of 
g^overnment;  the  pastors  died  without  having  to  sorrow  for  the 
Clivurch,  up-risen  from  its  ruins,  when  a  vague  echo  of  this  revival 
eame  striking  upon  the  ears  of  the  duke  and  Madame  de  Prie, 
^TtiicJst  the  galas  of  Chantilly-     Their  silence  and  their  exhaustion 
Kad    for  some  time  protected  the  Protestants;  fanaticism  and  in- 
difference made  common  cause  once  more  to  crush  them  at  their 
■^■'©^awakening- 
Tbe  storm  had  now  been  brewing  for  some  years ;  the  bishop  of 
Mantes,  Lavergne  de  Tressan,  grand  almoner  to  the  Regentj  had 
attempted  some  time  before  to  wrest  from  him  a  rigorous  decree 
^®aiiist  the  Protestants ;  the  duke  of  Orleans,  as  well  as  Dubois, 
^^^3  rejected  his  overtures.     Scarcely  had  the  duke  (of  Bourbon) 
*^*>i3ie  into  power,  when  the  prelate  presented  his  project  anew ; 
*^*iclifferent  and  debauched,  a  holder  of  seventy-six  benefices,  M.  de 
Ti'cssan  dreamed  of  the  cardinal's  hat,  and  aspired  to  obtain  it 
^f*ciin  the   Court  of   Rome   at   the   cost   of   a  persecution.     The 
So^emment  was  at  that  time  drifting  about,  without  compass  or 
steersman,  from  the  hands  of  Madame  de  Prie  to  those  of  Paris^ 
I^Uvemey:   little    cared    they   for    the    fate   of  the    Reformers  • 
*T?hi3  cast*away  of  the  Regency,"  says  M.  Lemontey,  "  was  adopted 
^^itliout  memorial,  without  examination,  as  an  act  of  homage  to 
^lie  late  king,  and  a  simple  executive  formula-     The  ministers  of 
^onis  XVI.  afterwards  found  the   minute  of  the  declaration  of 
^  724,  without  any  preliminary  report,  and  simply  bearing  on  the 
^^^^rgin  the  date  of  the  old  edicts/'     For  aiming  the  thunderbolts 
^  Against  the  Protestants  Tressan  addressed  himself  to  their  most 
B^i^rible  executionerp     Lamoignon  de  Seville  was  still  alive ;  old 
■  ^tid  almost  at  death's  door  as  he  was,  he  devoted  the  last  days  of 
'      ^^B  life   to   drawing   up   for   the   superintendents    some   private 
H    ^^fetructions,  an  able  and  a  cruel  monument  of  his  past  oxpeiienco 


70  HISTORY  OF   FRANCE.  [OnAP.Iin. 

and  his  persistent  animosity.     He  died  with  the  pen  still  in  his 
hand. 

The  new  edict  turned  into  an  act  of  homage  to  Louis  XIV.  the 
rigours  of  Louis  XV.     "  Of  all  the  grand  designs  of  our  most 
honoured  lord  and  great-grandfather,  there  is  none  that  we  have 
more  at  heart  to  execute  than  that  which  he  conceived  of  entirely 
extinguishing  heresy  in  his  kingdom.    Arrived  at  majority,  our  first 
care  has  been  to  have  before  us  the  edicts  whereof  execution  has 
been  delayed,  especially  in  the  provinces  afflicted  with  the  con- 
tagion.    We  have  observed  that  the  chief  abuses  which  demand  a 
speedy  remedy  relate  to  illicit  assemblies,  the  education  of  children, 
the  obligation   of   public    functionaries   to   profess   the  catholic 
religion,  the  penalties  against  the  relapsed,  and  the  celebration  of 
marriage,  regarding  which  here  are  our  intentions  :  Shall  be  con- 
demned :  preachers  to  the  penalty  of  death,  their  accomplices  to 
the  galleys  for  life,  and  women  to  be  shaved  and  imprisoned  for 
life.     Confiscation    of   property.     Parents   who    shall  not   have 
baptism  administered  to  their  children  within  twenty-four  hours  and 
see  that  they  attend  regularly  the  catechism  and  the  schools,  to-fines 
and  such  sums  as  they  may  amount  to  together ;  even  to  greater 
penalties.    Midwives,  physicians,  surgeons,  apothecaries,  domestics, 
relatives,  who  shall  not  notify  the  parish-priests  of  births  or  ill- 
nesses,  to  fines.     Persons  who  shall  exhort  the  sick,  to  the  galleys 
or  imprisonment  for  life,  according  to  sex ;  confiscation  of  property. 
The  sick  who   shall  refuse  the  sacraments,  if  they  recover,  to 
banishment  for  life, — if  they  die,  to  be  dragged  on  a  hurdle. 
Desert-marriages  are  illegal ;  the  children  bom  of  them  are  incom- 
petent to  inherit.     Minors  whose   parents   are  expatriated  may 
marry  without  their  authority ;  but  parents  whose  children  are  on 
foreign  soil  shall  not  consent  to  their  marriage,  on  pain  of  the 
galleys  for  the  men  and  banishment  for  the  women.     Finally,  of 
all  fines  and  confiscations,  half  shall  be  employed  in  providing 
subsistence  for  the  new  converts." 

Just  as  the  last  edicts  of  Louis  XIV.,  the  edict  of  1724  rested 
upon  an  absolute  contradiction :  the  legislators  no  longer  admitted 
the  existence  of  any  reformers  in  the  kingdom,  and  yet  all  the 
battery  of  the  most  formidable  punishments  was  directed  against 


Chap.  LH.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  PLEURY.  71 

that  Protestant  Church  which  was  said  to  be  defunct.  The  same 
contradiction  was  seen  in  the  conduct  of  the  ecclesiastics :  Pro- 
testants could  not  be  admitted  to  any  position,  or  even  accomplish 
the  ordinary  duties  of  civil  life  without  externally  conforming  to 
Catholicism,  and,  to  so  conform,  there  was  required  of  them  not 
only  an  explicit  abjuration,  but  even  an  anathema  against  their 
deceased  parents.  **  It  is  necessary,"  said  Chancellor  d' Aguesscau, 
"  either  that  the  Church  should  relax  her  vigour  by  some  modifi- 
cation, or,  if  she  does  not  think  she  ought  to  do  so,  that  she  should 
cease  requesting  the  king  to  employ  his  authority  in  reducing  his 
subjects  to  the  impossible  by  commanding  them  to  fulfil  a  reli- 
gious duty  which  the  Church  does  not  permit  them  to  perform." 

At  this  point  is  revealed  a  progress  in  ideas  of  humanity  and 
justice:  the  edict  of  1724  equalled  in  rigour  the  most  severe  pro- 
clamations of  Louis  XIV. ;  it  placed  the  peace  and  often  the  life 
of  reformers  at  the  mercy  not  only  of  an  enemy's  denunciation, 
but  of  a  priest's  simple  deposition  ;  it  destroyed  all  the  bonds  of 
family  and  substituted  for  the  natural  duties  a  barbarous  and 
depraving  law,  but  general  sentiment  and  public  opinion  were  no 
longer  in  accord  with  the  royal  proclamations.  The  clergy  had 
not  solicited  the  edict,  the  work  of  an  ambitious  man  backed  up 
by  certain  fanatics ;  they  were  at  first  embarrassed  by  it ;  when 
the  old  hatreds  revived  and  the  dangerous  intoxications  of  power 
had  affected  the  souls  of  bishops  and  priests,  the  magistracy,  who 
had  formerly  been  more  severe  towards  the  reformers  than  even 
the  superintendents  of  the  provinces  had  been,  pronounced  on 
many  points  in  favour  of  the  persecuted ;  the  judges  were  timid, 
the  legislation,  becoming  more  and  more  oppressive,  tied  their 
hands,  but  the  bias  of  their  minds  was  modified,  it  tended  to 
extenuate  and  not  to  aggravate  the  effects  of  the  edict.  The  law 
was  barbarous  everywhere,  the  persecution  became  so  only  at 
certain  spots,  owing  to  the  zeal  of  the  superintendents  or  bishops ; 
as  usual,  the  South  of  France  was  the  first  to  undergo  all  the 
rigours  of  it.  Emigration  had  ceased  there  for  a  long  time  past ; 
whilst  the  Norman  or  Dauphinese  Reformers,  on  the  revival  of  per- 
secution, still  sought  refuge  on  foreign  soil,  whilst  Sweden,  wasted 
by   the   wars   of  Charles   XII.,  invited   the   French   Protestants 


72  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Ciiap.  LII. 

into  her  midst,  the  peasants  of  the  C^vennes  or  of  the  Vivarais, 
passionately  attached  to  the  soil  they  cultivated,  bowed  their 
heads,  with  a  groan,  to  the  storm,  took  refuge  in  their  rocks  and 
their  caverns,  leaving  the  cottages  deserted  and  the  harvests  to  be 
lost,  returning  to  their  houses  and  their  fields  as  soon  as  the 
soldiery  were  gone,  ever  faithful  to  the  proscribed  assemblies  in 
the  desert  and  praying  God  for  the  king,  to  whose  enemies  they 
refused  to  give  ear.  Alberoni,  and  after  him  England,  had  sought 
to  detach  the  persecuted  Protestants  from  their  allegiance;  the 
Court  was  troubled  at  this ;  they  had  not  forgotten  the  huguenot 
regiments  at  the  battle  of  the  Boyne.  From  the  depths  of  their 
hiding-places  the  pastors  answered  for  the  fidelity  of  their  flocks ; 
the  voice  of  the  illustrious  and  learned  Basnage,  for  a  long  while 
a  refugee  in  Holland,  encouraged  his  brethren  in  their  heroic 
submission.  As  fast  as  the  ministers  died  on  the  gallows,  new 
servants  of  God  came  forward  to  replace  them,  brought  up  in  the 
seminary  which  Antony  Court  had  founded  at  Lausanne  and 
managed  to  keep  up  by  means  of  alms  from  protestant  Europe. 
It  was  there  that  the  most  illustrious  of  the  pastors  of  the  desert, 
Paul  Rabaut,  abeady  married  and  father  of  one  child,  went  to  seek 
the  instruction  necessary  for  the  apostolic  vocation  which  he  was 
to  exercise  for  so  many  years  in  the  midst  of  so  many  and  such 
formidable  perils.  "  On  determining  to  exercise  the  ministry  in 
this  kingdom,"  he  wrote  in  1746  to  the  superintendent  of 
Languedoc,  Lenain  d'Asfeldt,  "  I  was  not  ignorant  of  what  I 
exposed  myself  to ;  so  I  regarded  myself  as  a  victim  doomed  to 
death.  I  thought  I  was  doing  the  greatest  good  of  whicb  I  was 
capable  in  devoting  myself  to  the  condition  of  a  pastor.  Pro- 
testants being  deprived  of  the  free  exercise  of  their  own  religion, 
not  seeing  their  way  to  taking  part  in  the  exercises  of  the  Roman 
religion,  not  being  able  to  get  the  books  they  would  require 
for  their  instruction,  consider,  my  lord,  what  might  be  their 
condition,  if  they  were  absolutely  deprived  of  pastors.  They 
would  be  ignorant  of  their  most  essential  duties,  and  would  fall 
either  into  fanaticism,  the  fi^uitful  source  of  extravagances  and 
irregularities,  or  into  indifference  and  contempt  for  all  religion." 
The  firm  moderation,  the  courageous  and  simple  devotion  breathed 


Chap.  LII.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OP  CARDINAL  PLEURY.  73 

by  this  letter,  were  the  distinctive  traits  of  the  career  of  Paul 
fiabaut,  as  well  as  of  Antony  Court ;  throughout  a  persecution 
which  lasted  nearly  forty  years,  with  alternations  of  severity  and 
clemency,  the  chiefs  of  French  Protestantism  managed  to  control 
the  often  recurring  desperation  of  their  flocks.  On  the  occasion  of 
a  temporary  rising  on  the  borders  of  the  Gardon,  Paul  Rabaut 
wrote  to  the  governor  of  Languedoc  : — "  When  I  desired  to  know 
whence  tliis  evil  proceeded,  it  was  reported  to  me  that  divers 
persons,  finding  themselves  liable  to  lose  their  goods  and  their 
liberty,  or  to  have  to  do  acts  contrary  to  their  conscience,  in 
respect  of  their  marriages  or  the  baptism  of  their  children,  and 
knowing  no  way  of  getting  out  of  the  kingdom  and  setting  their 
conscience  free,  abandoned  themselves  to  despair  and  attacked 
certain  priests,  because  they  regarded  them  as  the  primal  and 
principal  cause  of  the  vexations  done  to  them.  Once  more,  I 
blame  those  people,  but  I  thought  it  my  duty  to  explain  to  you 
the  cause  of  their  despair.  If  it  be  thought  that  my  ministry  is 
necessary  to  calm  the  ruffled  spirits,  I  shall  comply  with  pleasure. 
Above  all,  if  I  might  assure  the  Protestants  of  that  district  that 
they  shall  not  be  vexed  in  their  conscience,  I  would  pledge  myself 
to  bind  over  the  greater  number  to  stop  those  who  would  make  a 
disturbance,  supposing  that  there  should  be  any."  At  a  word  from 
Paul  Rabaut  calmness  returned  to  the  most  ruffled  spirits ;  some- 
times his  audience  was  composed  of  ten  or  twelve  thousand  of  the 
faithful;  his  voice  was  so  resonant  and  so  distinct,  that  in  the 
open  air  it  would  reach  the  most  remote.  He  prayed  with  a 
fervour  and  an  unction  which  penetrated  all  hearts,  and  disposed 
them  to  hear,  with  fruits  following,  the  word  of  God.  Simple, 
grave,  penetrating  rather  than  eloquent,  his  preaching,  like  his 
life,  bears  the  impress  of  his  character.  As  moderate  as  fervent,  as 
judicious  as  heroic  in  spirit,  Paul  Rabaut  preached  in  the  desert, 
at  the  peril  of  his  life,  sermons  which  he  had  composed  in  a 
cavern.  "During  more  than  thirty  years,"  says  one  of  his 
biographers,  "  he  had  no  dwelling-place  but  grots,  hovels  and 
cabins,  whither  men  went  to  draw  him  hke  a  ferocious  beast.  He 
lived  a  long  while  in  a  hiding-place,  which  one  of  his  faithful 
guides  had  contrived  for  him  under  a  heap  of  stones  and  blackberry- 


74  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIT. 

bushes.  It  was  discovered  by  a  shepherd,  and,  such  was  the 
wretchedness  of  his  condition,  that,  when  forced  to  abandon  it,  he 
regretted  that  asylum  more  fitted  for  wild  beasts  than  for  men.** 

The  hulks  were  still  full  of  the  audience  of  Paul  Rabaut,  and 
Protestant  women  were  still  languishing  in  the  unwholesome 
dungeon  of  tlie  tower  of  Constance,  when  the  execution  of  the 
unhappy  Calas,  accused  of  having  killed  his  son,  and  the  generous 
indignation  of  Voltaire  cast  a  momentary  gleam  of  light  within 
the  sombre  region  of  prisons  and  gibbets.  For  the  first  time 
public  opinion,  at  white  heat,  was  brought  to  bear  upon  the 
decision  of  the  perseputors.  Calas  was  dead,  but  the  decree  of 
the  Parliament  of  Toulouse  which  had  sentenced  him,  was  quashed 
by  act  of  the  council :  his  memory  was  cleared,  and  the  day  of 
toleration  for  French  Protestants  began  to  glimmer,  pending  the 
full  dawn  of  justice  and  liberty. 

We  have  gone  over  in  succession,  and  without  break,  the  last 
cruel  sufferings  of  the  French  Protestants ;  we  now  turn  away  our 
eyes  with  a  feeling  of  relief  mingled  with  respect  and  pride ;  we  leave 
the  free  air  of  the  desert  to  return  to  the  rakes  and  effeminates  of 
Louis  XV.'s  court.  Great  was  the  contrast  between  the  govern- 
ment which  persecuted  without  knowing  why  and  the  victims  who 
suffered  for  a  faith  incessantly  revived  in  their  souls  by  suffering. 
For  two  centuries  the  French  Reformation  had  not  experienced 
for  a  single  day  the  formidable  dangers  of  indifference  and  luke- 
warmness. 

The  young  king  was  growing  up,  still  a  stranger  to  affairs, 
solely  occupied  with  the  pleasures  of  the  chase,  handsome,  elegant, 
with  noble  and  regular  features,  a  cold  and  listless  expression.  In 
the  month  of  February  1725,  he  fell  ill;  for  two  days  there  was 
great  danger.  The  duke  thought  himself  to  be  threatened  with 
the  elevation  of  the  House  of  Orleans  to  the  throne.  "  I'll  not  be 
caught  so  again,"  he  muttered  between  his  teeth,  when  he  came 
one  night  to  inquire  how  the  king  was :  "  if  he  recovers,  FU  have 
him  married."  The  king  did  recover,  but  the  Infanta  was  only 
seven  years  old.  Philip  V.,  who  had  for  a  short  time  abdicated, 
retiring  with  the  queen  to  a  remote  castle  in  the  heart  of  the  forests, 
had  just  remounted  the  throne  after  the  death  of  his  eldest  son, 


Cbap.  LII.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  77 

Louis  I.  Small-pox  had  carried  off  the  young  monarch,  who  had 
reigned  but  eight  months.  Elizabeth  Farnese,  aided  by  the  pope's 
nuncio  and  some  monks  who  were  devoted  to  her,  had  triumphed 
over  her  husband's  religious  scruples  and  the  superstitious  counsels 
of  his  confessor ;  she  was  once  more  reigning  over  Spain,  when 
she  heard  that  the  little  Infanta-queen,  whose  betrothal  to  the 
king  of  France  had  but  lately  caused  so  much  joy,  was  about  to  be 
sent  away  from  the  court  of  her  royal  spouse.  "  The  Infanta 
must  be  started  off  and  by  coach  too,  to  get  it  over  sooner," 
exclaimed  Count  Morville,  who  had  been  ordered  by  Madame  de 
Prie  to  draw  up  a  list  of  the  marriageable  princesses  in  Europe. 
Their  number  amounted  to  ninety-nine;  twenty-five  Catholics, 
three  Anglicans,  thirteen  Calvinists,  fifty-five  Lutherans,  and  three 
Greeks.  The  Lifanta  had  already  started  for  Madrid ;  the 
Regent's  two  daughters,  the  young  widow  of  Louis  I.  and  Mdlle. 
de  Beaujolais,  promised  to  Don  Carlos,  were  on  their  way  back  to 
France ;  the  advisers  of  Louis  XV.  were  still  looking  out  for  a  wife 
for  him.  Spain  had  been  mortally  offended,  without  the  duke's 
having  yet  seen  his  way  to  forming  a  new  alliance  in  place  of  that 
which  he  had  just  broken  off.  Some  attempts  at  arrangement  with 
George  I.  had  failed ;  an  English  princess  could  not  abjure  Protes- 
tantism. Such  scruples  did  not  stop  Catherine  L,  widow  of  Peter 
the  Great,  who  had  taken  the  power  into  her  own  hands  to  the 
detriment  of  the  czar's  grandson ;  she  offered  the  duke  her  second 
<iaughter,  the  grand-duchess  Elizabeth,  for  King  Louis  XV.,  with 
a  promise  of  abjuration  on  the  part  of  the  princess,  and  of  a  treaty 
which  should  secure  the  support  of  all  the  Muscovite  forces  in  the 
interest  of  France.  At  the  same  time  the  same  negotiators  pro- 
posed to  the  duke  of  Bourbon  himself  the  hand  of  Mary  Leckzinska, 
daughter  of  Stanislaus,  the  dispossessed  king  of  Poland,  guaran- 
teeing to  him,  on  the  death  of  King  Augustus,  the  crown  of  that 
kingdom. 

The  proposals  of  Russia  were  rejected.  "  The  princess  of 
Muscovy,"  M.  de  Morville  had  lately  said,  "  is  the  daughter  of  a 
low-bom  mother  and  has  been  brought  up  amidst  a  still  barbarous 
people."  Every  groat  alliance  appeared  impossible;  the  duke 
and  Madame  de  Prie  were  looking  out  for  a  queen  who  would 


78  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [CflAP.  Lit; 

belong  to  them  and  would  secure  them  the  king's  heart.  Their 
choice  fell  upon  Mary  Leckzinska,  a  good,  gentle,  simple  creature, 
without  wit  or  beauty,  twenty-two  years  old  and  living  upon  the 
alms  of  France  with  her  parents,  exiles  and  refugees  at  an  old 
eommandery  of  the  Templars  at  Weissenburg.  Before  this  King 
Stanislaus  had  conceived  the  idea  of  marrying  his  daughter  to 
Count  d'Estr^es ;  the  marriage  had  failed  through  the  Regent's 
refusal  to  make  the  young  lord  a  duke  and  peer.  The  distress  of 
Stanislaus,  his  constant  begging- letters  to  the  Court  of  France 
were  warrant  for  the  modest  submissiveness  of  the  princess. 
"  Madame  de  Prie  has  engaged  a  queen,  as  I  might  engage  a  valet 
to-morrow,"  writes  Marquis  d'Argenson ;  "  it  is  a  pity." 

When  the  first  overtures  from  the  duke  arrived  at  Weissenburg, 
King  Stanislaus  entered  the  room  where  his  wife  and  daughter 
were  at  work,  and,  "  Fall  we  on  our  knees,  and  thank  God  ! "  he 
said.  "  My  dear  father,"  exclaimed  the  princess,  "  can  you  be 
recalled  to  the  throne  of  Poland  ?  "  "  God  has  done  us  a  more 
astounding  grace,"  replied  Stanislaus :  "  you  are  queen  of 
France !  " 

"  Never  shall  I  forget  the  horror  of  the  calamities  we  were 
enduring  in  France,  when  Queen  Mary  Leckzinska  arrived,"  says 
M.  d'Argenson.  "  A  continuance  of  rain  had  caused  famine,  and 
it  was  much  aggravated  by  the  bad  government  under  the  duke. 
That  government,  whatever  may  be  said  of  it,  was  even  more 
hurtful  through  bad  judgment  than  from  interested  views,  which 
had  not  so  much  to  do  with  it  as  was  said.  There  were  very 
costly  measures  taken  to  import  foreign  corn;  but  that  only 
augmented  the  alarm,  and,  consequently,  the  deamess. 

"  Fancy  the  unparalleled  misery  of  the  country-places  !  It  was 
just  the  time  when  everybody  was  thinking  of  harvests  and  ingather- 
ings of  all  sorts  of  things,  which  it  had  not  been  possible  to  get  in 
for  the  continual  rains ;  the  poor  farmer  was  watching  for  a  dry 
moment  to  get  them  in ;  meanwhile  all  the  district  was  beaten  with 
many  a  scourge.  The  peasants  had  been  sent  off  to  prepare  the 
roads  by  which  the  queen  was  to  pass,  and  they  were  only  the 
worse  for  it,  insomuch  that  Her  Majesty  was  often  within  a  thought 
of  drowning ;  they  pulled  her  from  her  carriage  by  the  strong  arm, 


Chap-LIL]  LOaiS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CAEDINAL  FLEUHY,  79 

as  best  they  might,  In  several  stopping-places  nhe  and  her  suite 
were  swimming  in  water  which  spread  everywhere,  and  that  in 
spite  of  the  unparalleled  pains  that  had  been  taken  by  a  tyrannical 

Imiuirtry/' 
It  was  under  such  sad  auspices  that  Mary  Leckziaska  arrived  at 
V^ersailles.  Fleury  had  made  no  objection  to  the  marriage, 
Louis  XV.  accepted  it,  just  as  he  had  allowed  the  breaking-off  of 
his  union  with  the  Infanta  and  tliat  of  France  with  Spain,  For  a 
T'rliile  the  duke  had  hopes  of  reaping  all  the  fruit  of  the  unequal 

»iiiarriage  he  had  just  concluded  for  the  king  of  France.    The  queen 
'WsLs  devoted  to  him  ;  he  enlisted  her  in  an  intrigue  against  Fleury, 
The  king  was  engaged  with  his  old  preceptor,  the  queen  sent  for 
hiin,  he  did  not  return.     Fleury  waited  a  long  while.     The  duke 
and  P4ris-Daverney  had  been  found  with  the  queen,  they  had  papers 
before  them,  the  king  had  set  to  work  with  them.     Whan  he  went 
biick,  at  length,  to  his  closet,  Louis  XV,  found  the  bishop  no  longer 
tliore ;  search  was  made  for  him ;  he  was  no  longer  in  the  palace, 
H        The  king  was  sorry  and  put  out ;  the  duke  of  Mortemart,  who 
"'^as  his  gentleman  of  the  bedchamber,  handed  him  a  letter  from 
Fleury*    The  latter  had  retired  to  Issy,  to  the  country-house  of  the 
Sulpicians ;  he  bade  the  king  farewell,  assuring  him  that  he  had 
B£or   a  long  while  been  resolved,  according  to  the  usage  of  his 
~  youth,  to  put  some  space  between  the  world  and  death.     Louis 
lK5gan  to  Bhed  tears  ;  Mortemart  proposed  to  go  and  fetch  Fleury, 
3^d  got  the  order  given  him  to  do  so.     The  duke  had  to  write  the 
letter  of  recall.    I^'ext  morning  the  bishop  was  at  Versailles,  gentle 

I^d  modest  as  ever,  and  exhibiting  neither  resentment  nor  surprise. 
Six  months  later,  however,  the  king  set  out  from  Versailles  to  go 
and  visit  the  count  and  countess  of  Toulouse  at  Rambouillct.     The 
1        duke  was  in  attendance  at  his  departure  ;  "  Do  not  make  us  wait 
^^pper,  cousin,"  said  the  young  monarch  graciously.     Scarcely  had 
L      l^is  equipages  disappeared,  when  a  letter  was  brought;  the  duke 
H    was  ordered  to  quit  the  court  and  retire  provisionally  to  Chautilly. 
H    i'^ame  de  Prie  was  exiled  to  her  estates  in  Normandy,  where  she 
^*^a  died  of  spite  and  anger.     The  head  of  the  House  of  Conde 

1*^ine  forth  no  more  from  the  political  obscurity  which  befitted  his 
^^nto.     At  length  Fleury  remained  sole  master. 


J 


80  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIL 

He  took  possession  of  it  without  fuss  or  any  external  manifesta- 
tion ;  caring  only  for  real  authority,  he  advised  Louis  XV.  not  to 
create  any  premier  minister  and  to  govern  by  himself,  like  his 
great-grandfather.  The  king  took  this  advice,  as  every  other,  and 
left  Fleury  to  govern.  This  was  just  what  the  bishop  intended ;  a 
sleepy  calm  succeeded  the  commotions  which  had  been  caused  by 
the  inconsistent  and  spasmodic  government  of  the  duke ;  galas  and 
silly  expenses  gave  place  to  a  wise  economy,  the  real  and  important 
blessing  of  Fleury's  administration.  Commerce  and  industry 
recovered  confidence  ;  business  was  developed ;  the  increase  of  the 
revenues  justified  a  diminution  of  taxation;  war,  which  was 
imminent  at  the  moment  of  the  duke's  fall,  seemed  to  be  escaped  ; 
the  bishop  of  Frejus  became  Cardinal  Fleury  ;  the  court  of  Rome 
paid  on  the  nail  for  the  service  rendered  it  by  the  new  minister  in 
freeing  the  clergy  fi:om  the  tax  of  tha  fiftieth  {impot  du  cinquanr 
tieme).  "  Consecrated  to  God  and  kept  aloof  fi'om  the  commerce 
of  men,"  had  been  Fleiu'y's  expression,  "  the  dues  of  the  Church  are 
irrevocable  and  cannot  be  subject  to  any  tax  whether  of  ratification 
or  any  other."  The  clergy  responded  to  this  pleasant  exposition 
of  principles  by  a  gratuitous  gift  of  five  millions.  Strife  ceased  in 
every  quarter;  France  found  herself  at  rest,  without  lustre  as 
well  as  without  prospect. 

It  was  not,  henceforth,  at  Versailles  that  the  destinies  of  Europe 
were  discussed  and  decided.  The  dismissal  of  the  Infanta  had 
struck  a  deadly  blow  at  the  frail  edifice  of  the  quadruple  alliance, 
fruit  of  the  intrigues  and  diplomatic  ability  of  Cardinal  Dubois. 
Philip  V.  and  EUzabeth  Farneso,  deeply  wounded  by  the  afiront 
put  upon  them,  had  hasted  to  give  the  Infanta  to  the  prince  of 
Brazil,  heir  to  the  throne  of  Portugal,  at  the  same  time  that  the 
prince  of  the  Asturias  espoused  a  daughter  of  John  V.  Under 
cover  of  this  alliance,  agreeable  as  it  was  to  England,  the  faithful 
patron  of  Portugal,  the  king  of  Spain  was  negotiating  elsewhere, 
with  the  emperor  Charles  VI.,  the  most  ancient  and  hitherto  the 
most  implacable  of  his  enemies.  This  prince  had  no  son,  and 
wished  to  secure  the  succession  to  his  eldest  daughter,  the  arch- 
duchess Maria  Theresa.  The  Pragmatic-Sanction  which  declared 
this  wish  awaited  the  assent  of  Europe ;  that  of  Spain  was  of 


Chap.  LII.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  81 

great  value ;  she  offered,  besides,  to  open  her  ports  to  the  Ostend 
Company,  lately  established  by  the  emperor  to  compete  against  the 
Dutch  trade. 

The  House  of  Austria  divided  the  House  of  Bourbon,  by 
opposing  to  one  another  the  two  branches  of  France  and  Spain ; 
the  treaty  of  Vienna  was  concluded  on  the  Ist  of  May,  1725.  The 
two  sovereigns  renounced  all  pretensions  to  each  other's  dominions 
respectively,  and  proclaimed,  on  both  sides,  full  amnesty  for  the 
respective  partisans.  The  emperor  recognized  the  hereditary 
rights  of  Don  Carlos  to  the  duchies  of  Tuscany,  Parma  and 
Fiacenza;  he,  at  the  same  time,  promised  his  good  offices  with 
England  to  obtain  restitution  of  Gibraltar  and  Mahon.  In  spite 
of  the  negotiations  already  commenced  with  the  duke  of  Lorraine, 
hopes  were  even  held  out  to  the  two  sons  of  Elizabeth  Farnese, 
Don  Carlos  and  Don  Philip,  of  obtaining  the  hands  of  the  arch- 
duchesses, daughters  of  the  emperor. 

When  the  official  treaty  was  published  and  the  secret  articles 
began  to  transpire,  Europe  was  in  commotion  at  the  new  situa- 
tion in  which  it  was  placed.  George  I.  repaired  to  his  German 
dominions,  in  order  to  have  a  closer  view  of  the  emperor's  move- 
ments. There  the  count  of  Broghe  soon  joined  liim,  in  the  name 
of  France.  The  king  of  Prussia,  Frederick  William  I.,  the  king  of 
England's  son-in-law,  was  summoned  to  Hanover.  Passionate 
and  fantastic,  tyrannical,  addicted  to  the  coarsest  excesses,  the 
king  of  Prussia  had,  nevertheless,  managed  to  form  an  excellent 
army  of  sixty  thousand  men,  at  the  same  time  amassing  a  military 
treasure  amounting  to  twenty-eight  millions ;  he  joined,  not  with- 
out hesitation,  the  treaty  of  Hanover,  concluded  on  the  3rd  of 
September,  1725,  between  France  and  England.  The  Hollanders, 
in  spite  of  their  desire  to  ruin  the  Ostend  Company,  had  not  yet 
signed  the  convention ;  Frederick  William  was  disturbed  at  their 
coming  in :  "  Say,  I  declare  against  the  emperor,"  said  he  in  a 
letter  which  he  communicated  on  the  5th  of  December  to  the 
ambassadors  of  France  and  England :  "  he  will  not  fail  to  get  the 
Muscovites  and  Poles  to  act  against  me.  I  ask  whether  their 
majesties  will  then  keep  my  rear  open?  England,  completely 
surrounded  by  sea,  and  France,  happening  to  be  covered  by  strong 

VOL.  V.  ^ 


82  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LII. 

places,  consider  themselves  pretty  safe,  whilst  the  greater  part  of 
my  dominions  are  exposed  to  anything  it  shall  seem  good  to 
attempt.  By  this  last  treaty,  then,  I  engage  in  war  for  the  benefit 
of  Mr.  Hollander  and  Co.,  that  they  may  be  able  to  sell  their  tea, 
coffee,  cheese  and  crockery  dearer ;  those  gentlemen  will  not  do 
the  le^st  thing  for  me,  and  I  am  to  do  everything  for  them. 
Gentlemen,  tell  me,  is  it  fair  ?  If  you  deprive  the  emperor  of  bis 
ships  and  ruin  his  Ostend  trade,  will  he  be  a  less  emperor  than  he 
is  at  this  moment  ?  The  pink  of  all  {le  pot  aux  roses)  is  to  deprive 
the  emperor  of  provinces,  but  which  ?  And  to  whose  share  will 
they  fall  ?  Where  are  the  troops  ?  Where  is  the  needful^  where- 
with to  make  war  ?  Since  it  seems  good  to  conunence  the  dance, 
it  must  of  course  be  commenced.  After  war  comes  peace.  Shall 
I  be  forgotten  ?  Shall  I  be  the  last  of  all  ?  Shall  I  have  to  sign 
perforce?"  The  coarse  common-sense  of  the  Vandal  soon  pre- 
vailed over  family  alliances ;  Frederick  William  broke  with  France 
and  England  in  order  to  rally  to  the  emperor's  side.  Russia,  but 
lately  so  attentive  to  France,  was  making  advances  to  Spain : 
"  The  Czar's  envoy  is  the  most  taciturn  Muscovite  that  ever  eame 
from  Siberia,"  wrote  Marshal  Tess6.  "  Goodman  Don  Miguel 
Guerra  is  the  minister  with  whom  he  treats,  and  the  effect  of 
eight  or  ten  apoplexies  is  that  he  has  to  hold  his  head  with  his 
hands,  else  his  mouth  would  infallibly  twist  round  over  his 
shoulder.  During  their  audience  they  seat  themselves  opposite 
one  another  in  arm-chairs,  and,  after  a  quarter  of  an  hour's  silence, 
the  Muscovite  opens  his  mouth  and  says :  *  Sir,  I  have  orders  from 
the  emperor,  my  master,  to  assure  the  Catholic  king  that  he  loves 
him  very  much.'  *  And  I,'  replies  Guerra,  *  do  assure  you  that  the 
king  my  master  loves  your  master  the  emperor  very  much.'  After 
this  laconic  conversation  they  stare  at  one  another  for  a  quarter  of 
an  hour  without  saying  anything,  and  the  audience  is  over." 

The  tradition  handed  down  by  Peter  the  Great  forbade  any 
alliance  with  England;  M.  de  Campredon,  French  ambassador  at 
Petersburg,  was  seeking  to  destroy  this  prejudice.  One  of  the 
empress's  ministers,  Jokosinski,  rushed  abruptly  from  the  con- 
ference ;  he  was  half  drunk,  and  he  ran  to  the  church  where  the 
remains  of  the  czar  were  lying.     "  0  my  dear  master !  "  he  cried 


miAT  LKC£tHflCl. 


hiiade  overtures  to  Spain*  Philip  V.  always  found  it  painful  to 
«^dure  family  dissensions;  lie  became  reconciled  mtli  his  nephew, 
*^d  accepted  the  intervention  of  Cardinal  Fleury  in  his  disagree- 
^^uu  with  England*     The  alliance,  signed  at  Seville  on  the  29th 

o  2 


84  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Gbmp.  IM, 

of  November,  1729,  secured  to  Spain,  in  return  for  eettdin  eom- 
mercial  advantages,  the  co-operation  of  England  in  Italy*  The 
duke  of  Parma  had  just  died ;  the  Infante  Don  Carlos,  supported 
by  an  English  fleet,  took  possession  of  his  dominions.  Elizabeth 
Farnese  had  at  last  set  foot  in  Italy.  She  no  longer  encountered 
there  the  able  and  ambitious  n^onarch  whose  diplomacy  had  for  so 
long  governed  the  affairs  of  the  peninsula ;  Victor  Amadeo  had 
just  abdicated.  Scarcely  a  year  had  passed  from  the  date  of  that 
resolution,  when,  suddenly,  from  fear  it  was  said  of  seeing  his 
father  resume  power,  the  young  kingi  Charles  Emmanuel,  had  him 
arrested  in  his  castle  of  Pontarlier.  "  It  will  be  a  fine  subject  for 
a  tragedy,  this  that  is  just  now  happfening  to  Victor,  king  of 
Sardinia,"  writes  M.  d*Argenson.  "  What  a  catastrophe  without 
a  death !  A  great  king,  who  plagued  Europe  with  his  virtues  and 
his  vices,  with  his  courage,  his  artifices  and  his  perfidies,  who  had 
formed  round  him  a  court  of  slaves,  who  had  rendered  his  dominion 
formidable  by  his  industry  and  his  labours;  indefatigable  in  his 
designs,  unresting  in  every  branch  of  government,  cherishing 
none  but  great  projects,  credited  in  every  matter  with  greater 
designs  than  he  had  yet  been  known  to  execlite,  this  king  abdicates 
unexpectedly,  and,  almost  inmiediately,  here  he  finds  himself 
arrested  by  his  son,  whose  benefactor  he  had  been  so  recently  and 
so  extraordinarily!  This  son  is  a  young  prince  without  merit, 
without  courage  and  without  capacity,  gentle  and  under  control. 
His  ministers  persuaded  him  to  be  ungrateful;  he  accomplishes 
the  height  of  crime,  without  having  crime  in  his  nature,  and  here 
is  his  &ther  shut  up  like  a  bear  in  a  prison,  guarded  at  sight  like 
a  maniac,  and  separated  from  the  wife  whom  he  had  chosen  for 
consolation  in  his  retirement ! "  Public  indignation,  however,  soon 
forced  the  hand  of  Charles  Emmanuers  minister  :  Victor  Amadeo 
was  released ;  his  wife,  detained  in  shameful  captivity,  was  restored 
to  him ;  he  died  soon  afterwards  in  that  same  castle  of  Pontarlier, 
whence  he  had  been  carried  off  without  a  voice  being  raised  in  his 
favour  by  the  princes  who  were  bound  to  him  by  the  closest  ties 
of  blood. 

The  efforts  made  in  common  by  Fleury  and  Robert  Walpole, 
prime  minister  of  the  king  of  England,  had  for  a  long  while  been 


CiiAP.LIL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CAKDIKAL  FLEURY,  85 

iuO06Ssfu1  in  maintaining  the  general  peace;  the  unforeseen  death 
of  Augustus  of  Saxony,  king  of  Poland,  suddenly  came  to  trouble 
it.  It  was,  thenceforth,  the  unhappy  fate  of  Poland  to  be  a  constant 
source  of  commotion  and  discord  in  Europe-  The  elector  oJ" 
Saxony,  son  of  Augustus  IL^  was  supported  by  Austria  and 
Russia ;  the  national  party  in  Poland  invited  Stanislaus  Leck^inski ; 
lie  was  elected  at  the  Diet  by  sixty  thousand  men  of  family,  and 
get  out  to  take  possession  of  the  throne,  reckoning  upon  the  pro- 
miaes  of  his  son-in-law,  and  on  the  military  spirit  which  was 
reviving  in  France,  The  young  men  burned  to  win  their  spurs ; 
the  old  generals  of  Louis  XIV.  were  tired  of  idleness. 

The  ardour  of  Cardinal  Fleury  did  not  respond  to  that  of  the 
friends  of  King  Stanislaus*  Russia  and  Austria  made  an  imposing 
display  of  force  in  favour  of  the  elector  of  Saxony ;  France  sent, 
tardily,  a  body  of  fifteen  hundred  men ;  this  ridiculous  reinforce- 
Qient  had  not  yet  arrived  when  StanisladSi  obliged  to  withdraw 
from  Warsaw,  had  already  shut  himself  up  in  Dantzic.  The 
Austrian  general  had  invested  the  place. 

News  of  the  bombardment  of  Dantzic  greeted  the  little  French 
corps  as  they  approached  the  fort  of  Wechselmunde,  Their  com- 
maader  saw  his  impotence  ;  instead  of  landing  his  troops,  he  mada 
sail  for  Copenhagen.  The  French  ambassador  at  that  court, 
Count  Plelo,  was  indignant  to  see  his  coiintrymen's  retreat,  and, 
hastily  collecting  a  hundred  volunteers,  he  summoned  to  him  the 
chiefs  of  the  ex|x^ditionary  corps,  **  How  could  you  resolve  upon 
^ot  fighting,  at  any  price?"  he  asked,  "  That  is  easy  to  say/* 
rejoined  one  of  the  officers  roughly,  "when  you're  safe  in  your 
doaet/'  "  I  shall  not  be  there  long ! "  exclaims  the  count,  and 
presses  them  to  return  with  him  to  Dantzic,  The  officer  in  con^ 
^ni  of  the  detachment,  M<  de  la  Peyrouse  Lamotte,  yields  to  his 
entreaties.  They  set  out  both  of  them,  persuaded  at  the  same 
time  of  the  uselessness  of  their  enterprise  and  of  the  necessity 
tliey  were  under,  for  the  honour  of  France,  to  attempt  it.  Before 
^sabarking  Count  Plelo  wrote  to  M.  de  Chauvelin,  the  then  keeper  of 
He  seals :  **  I  am  sure  not  to  return ;  I  commend  to  you  my  wife 
^tiil  children,"  Scarcely  had  the  gallant  little  band  touched  land 
'^L'ULath  the  fort  of  Wechselmunde,  when  they  marched  up  to  the 


I 


86 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap,  LFI 


Russian  lines,  opening  a  way  througli  tlie  pikes  and  muskets  in 
hopes  of  joining  tbe  besieged,  who  at  the  same  time  eflFected  a 
gaily.  Already  the  enemy  began  to  recoil  at  sight  of  such  audaeity» 
when  M.  de  Plelo  fell  mortally  wounded ;  the  enemy's  battalions  had 
hemmed  in  the  French*  La  Pey rouse  succeeded,  however,  in  effect- 
ing Ins  retreat,  and  brought  away  his  little  band  into  the  camp  they 
had  established  under  shelter  of  the  fort.  For  a  month  the  French 
kept  up  a  rivalry  in  courage  with  the  defenders  of  Dantzic; 
when  at  last  they  capitulated,  on  the  23rd  of  June,  General  Munich 
had  conceived  such  esteem  for  their  courage  that  he  granted  them 
leave  to  embark  with  arms  and  baggage.  A  few  days  later  King 
Stanislaus  escaped  alone  from  Dantzic,  which  was  at  length  obliged 
to  surrender  on  the  7th  of  July,  and  sought  refuge  in  the  dominions 
of  the  king  of  Prussia.  Some  Polish  lords  went  and  joined  him  at 
Konigsberg.  Partisan  wAr  continued  still,  but  the  arms  and 
influence  of  Austria  aild  Russia  had  carried  the  day ;  the  national 
party  was  beaten  in  Poland,  The  pope  released  the  Polish  gentry 
from  the  oath  they  had  made  never  to  entrust  the  crown  to  a 
foreigner,  Augustus  IIL,  recognised  by  the  mass  of  the  nation, 
became  the  docile  tool  of  Russia,  whilst  in  Germany  and  in  Italy 
the  Austrians  found  themselves  attacked  simultaneously  by  France, 
Spain,  and  Sardinia, 

Marshal  Berwick  had  taken  the  fort  of  Kehl  in  the  month  of 
December,  1733;  he  had  forced  the  lines  of  the  Austrians  at 
Erlingen  at  the  commencement  of  the  campaign  of  1734,  and  he 
had  just  opened  trenches  against  Philipsburg,  when  he  pushed 
forward  imprudently  in  a  reconnoissance  between  the  fires  of  tho 
besiegers  and  besieged;  a  ball  wounded  him  mortally,  and  he  expired 
immediately,  like  Marshal  Turenne;  he  was  sixty-three.  Tbe 
duke  of  Noailles,  who  at  once  received  the  marshal's  bAton, 
succeeded  him  in  the  commaud  of  the  army  by  agreement  with 
Marshal  d'Asfeldt,  Philipsburg  was  taken  after  forty-eight  days' 
open  trenches,  without  Prince  Eugene,  all  the  while  within  hail, 
making  any  attempt  to  relieve  the  town.  He  had  not  approved  of  J 
the  war:  "  Of  three  emperors  that  I  have  served,*'  he  would 
**  the  first,  Leopold,  was  my  father ;  the  emperor  Joseph  was 
brother;  this  one  is  ray  master.**     Eugene  was  old  and  worn  out; 


i 


CfiAP.  Ln,]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  m 

he  preserved  his  ability,  but  his  ardour  was  gone.  Marshal  Noailles 
and  D'Asfeldt  did  not  a^ee;  France  did  not  reap  her  advantages. 
The  campaign  of  1 735  hung  fire  in  Germany, 

It  was  not  more  splendid  in  Italy,  where  the  outset  of  the  war 
liad  been  brilliant.     Presumptuous  as  ever,  in  spite  of  his  eighty- 
two  years,  Villars  had  started  for  Italy,  saying  to  Cardinal  Fleury  : 
**  The  king  may  dispose  of  Italy,  I  am  going  to  conquer  it  for 
iiim,"     And,  indeed,  within  three  months,  nearly  the  whole  of 
Afilaness   was    reduced-      Cremona    and   Pizzighitone    had    sur- 
H  i-endered ;  but  already  King  Charles  Emmanuel  was  relaxing  his 
eflTorts  with  the  prudent  selfishness  customary  with  his  House* 

■  Tlie  Sardinian  contingents  did  not  arrive ;  the  Austrians  had  seized 
a  passage  over  the  Po ;  Villars,  however,  was  preparing  to  force  it, 
^^'Ixen  a  large  body  of  the  enemy  came  down  upon  him.  The  king 
of  Sardinia  was  urged  to  retire :  **  That  is  not  the  way  to  get 
out,  of  this,"  cried  the  Marshal,  and,  sword  in  hand,  he  charged 
si-t      the   head   of  the   body-guard;    Charles   EmmS^nuel   followed 

|l^i»  example;  the  Austrians  were  driven  in.  **  Sir,^*  said  Villars 
*<>  the  king  who  was  complimenting  him,  "these  are  the  last 
^pa^rks  of  my  life  ;  thus,  at  departing,  I  take  my  leave  of  it<" 
Death,  in  fact,  had  already  seized  his  prey ;  the  aged  marshal 
T>a.ci  not  time  to  return  to  France  to  yield  up  his  last  breath  there ; 
1*0  was  expiring  at  Turin,  when  he  heard  of  Marshal  Berwick's 
^ea,th  before  Philipsburg ;  **That  fellow  always  was  lucky,"  said 
He.     On  the  17th  of  June,   1734,   Villars  died,  in  his  turn,  by 

■  ^  strange  coincidence  in  the  very  room  in  which  he  had  been 
^OTTi  when  his  father  was  French  ambassador  at  the  court  of  the 
'luke  of  Savoy* 

■  Some   days   later  Marshals  Broglie   and  Coigny  defeated   the 
"    Austrians  before  Parma;  the  general-in-chief,  M.  de  Mercy,  had 

l^Qon  killed  on  the  19th  of  September;  the  prince  of  Wurtemberg, 
'^    his  turn,  succumbed  at  the  battle  of  Guastalla,  and  yet  these 

I**^oceBse8  on  the  part  of  the  French  produced  no  serious  result, 
^He  Spaniards  had  become  masters  of  the  kingdom  o£  Naples  and 
^t  nearly  all  Sicily ;  the  Austrians  had  fallen  back  on  the  Tyrol, 
^^^ping  a  garrison  at  Mantua  only.  The  duke  of  Noailles,  then 
the  head  of  the  army,  was  preparing  for  the  siege  of  the  place, 


90 


HISTORY   OP   FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LII, 


in  order  to  acMeve  that  deliverance  of  Italy  which  was  as  early  as 
then  the  dream  of  France,  bnt  the  king  of  Sardinia  and  the  queen 
of  Spain  were  already  disputing  for  Mantua ;  the  Sardinian  troops 
withdrew,  and  it  was  in  the  midst  of  his  forced  inactivity  that  the 
duke  of  Noailles  heard  of  the  armistice  signed  in  Germany,  Cardinal 
Fleuryj  weary  of  the  war  which  he  had  entered  upon  with  regret, 
disquieted  too  at  the  new  complications  which  he  foresaw  in  Europe, 
liad  already  commenced  negotiations;  the  preliminaries  were  signed 
at  Vienna  in  the  month  of  October,  1735.  fl 

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

The  negotiations  had  been  protract ed»  England,  stranger  as 
she  had  been  to  the  war,  had  taken  part  in  the  diplomatic  pro- 
posals. The  queen  of  Spain  had  wanted  to  keep  the  States  in  the 
north  of  Italy,  as  well  as  those  in  the  south  ;  "  Shall  I  not  have  a  new 
heir  given  me  by  and  by?"  said  the  duke  of  Tuscany,  John  Gaston 
de'  Medici,  last  and  unworthy  scion  of  that  illustrious  family,  wha 
dying  without   posterity :    '*  which  is  the   third   child 


was 


c^AP.  Ln,]  Loms  XV,,  the  ministry  op  cardinal  FLEURT,  91 

franco  and  the  Empire  mean  to  father  npon  me  ?"  The  king  of 
Sardinia  gained  only  No  vara  and  Tortona,  whilst  the  emperor 
recovered  Milaness,  France  renounced  all  her  conqiiests  in 
Gei^inany;  she  guaranteed  the  Pragmatic-Sanction.  Russia 
evaouated  Poland :  peace  seemed  to  be  firmly  established  in 
Eiix'Ope.  Cai*dinal  Fleury  hasted  to  consolidate  it^  by  removing 
froixi  power  the  ambitious  and  daring  politician  whose  influence 
he  <ireaded,  '*  Chauvehn  had  juggled  the  war  from  Fleury/'  said 
the  prince  of  Prussia,  afterwards  the  great  Frederick;  *'  Fleury  in 
tUTO  juggles  peace  and  the  ministry  from  him/' 

*'  It  must  be  admitted/'  wrote  M.  d^Argenaon,  "that  the 
situation  of  Cardinal  Fleury  and  the  keeper  of  the  seals  towards 
one  another  is  a  singular  one  just  now.  The  cardinal,  disinterested, 
sympathetic,  with  upright  views,  doing  nothing  save  from  excess 
of  importunity  and  measuring  his  compliance  by  the  number  and 
h   not    the   weight  of  the  said   importunities — the  minister,  I   say, 

■  oonsiders  himself  bound  to  fill  bis  place  as  long  as  he  is  in  this 
P    w^orld*     It  is  oiily  as  his  own  creature  that  he  has  given  so  much 

advancement  to  the  keeper  of  the  seals,  considering  him  wholly 
1^3,  good,  amiable  and  of  solid  merit,  without  the  aid  of  any 
intrigue ;  and  so  his  adjunction  to  the  premier  minister  has  made 
the  keeper  of  the  seals  a  butt  for  all  the  ministers.  He  has  taken 
^pon  himself  all  refusals  and  left  to  the  cardinal  the  honour  of  all 

I  benefits  and  graces ;  he  has  transported  himself  in  imagination  to 
^e  time  when  he  would  be  sole  governor,  and  he  would  have  had 
affairs  set,  in  advance,  upon  the  footing  on  which  he  calculated 
^Pon  placing  them.     It  must  be  admitted,  as  regards  that,  that  he 

■  *Aas  ideas  too  lofty  and  grand  for  the  State ;  he  would  like  to  set 
^vtrope  by  the  ears,  as  the  great  ministers  did;  he  is  accused  of 
^^Sembliog   M.  de   Louvois,  to  whom   he   is   related.     Now   the 

W  ^^^^'dinal  is  of  a  character  the  very  opposite  to  that  of  this  adjunct 
^^  his.  M,  Chauvehn  has  embarked  him  npon  many  great 
exiterprises,  upon  that  of  the  late  war  amongst  others  ;  but  scarcely 

1^   His   Eminence   embarked  by  means  of  some   passion  that  is 
forked  upon^  when  the  chill  returns  and  the  desire  of  getting  out 
-  ^^  the  business  becomes  another  passion  with  him.     Altogether,  I 
I  see  no  great  harm  in  the  keeper  of  the  seals  being  no  longer 
■ 


i 


92  HISTOBY  OP  PRANCE.  [Ohap.  UI. 

minister,  for  I  do  not  like  any  but  a  homely  (bou/rgeoise)  policy, 
whereby  one  lives  on  good  terms  with  one's  neighbours  and 
whereby  one  is  merely  their  arbiter,  for  the  sake  of  working  a 
good  long  while  and  continuously  at  the  task  of  perfecting  the 
home-affairs  of  the  kingdom  and  rendering  Frenchmen  happy." 

M.  d' Argenson  made  no  mistake ;  the  era  of  a  great  foreign 
policy  had  passed  away  for  France.  A  king,  who  was  firivolous 
and  indifferent  to  his  business  as  well  as  to  his  glory ;  a  minister 
aged,  economizing  and  timid  ;  an  ambitious  few,  with  views  more 
bold  than  discreet — such  were  henceforth  the  instruments  at  the 
disposal  of  France ;  the  resources  were  insuflicient  for  the  internal 
government ;  the  peace  of  Vienna  and  the  annexation  of  Lorraine 
were  the  la^t  important  successes  of  external  policy.  ChauveUn  had 
the  honour  of  connecting  his  name  therewith  before  disappearing 
for  ever  in  his  retreat  at  Grosbois,  to  expend  his  life  in  vain  r^rets 
for  lost  power  and  in  vain  attempts  to  recover  it. 

Peace  reigned  in  Europe,  and  Cardinal  Fleury  governed  France 
without  rival  and  without  opposition.  He  had  but  lately,  like 
Eichelieu,  to  whom,  however,  he  did  not  care  to  be  compared, 
triumphed  over  parliamentary  revolt.  Jealous  of  their  ancient, 
traditional  rights,  the  Parliament  claimed  to  share  with  the 
government  the  care  of  watching  over  the  conduct  of  the  clergy. 
It  was  on  that  ground  that  they  had  rejected  the  introduction  of 
the  Legend  of  Gregory  VII.,  recently  canonized  at  Rome,  and  had 
sought  to  mix  themselves  up  in  the  religious  disputes  excited  just 
then  by  the  pretended  miracles  wrought  at  the  tomb  of  Deacon 
Paris,  a  pious  arid  modest  Jansenist,  who  had  lately  died  in  the  odour 
of  sanctity  in  the  parish  of  St.  M^dard.  The  cardinal  had  ordered 
the  cemetery  to  be  closed,  in  order  to  cut  short  the  strange  spec- 
tacles presented  by  the  convulsionists ;  and,  to  break  down  the 
opposition  of  Parliament,  the  king  had  ordered,  at  a  bed  of  justice, 
the  registration  of  all  the  papal  bulls  succeeding  the  TJmgenitus.  In 
vain  had  D^Aguesseau,  reappointed  to  the  chancellorship,  exhorted 
the  Parliament  to  yield  :  he  had  fallen  in  pubUc  esteem.  Abb^ 
Pemelle,  ecclesiastical  councillor,  as  distinguished  for  his  talent  as 
for  his  courage,  proposed  a  solemn  declaration,  analogous,  at 
bottom,  to  the  rrumms  of  tine  Oallican  Church,  which  had  been 


CffAP.  lill.]  LOUIS  XV,,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  03 


dr^-wn  up  by  Bossuet,  in  tho  assembly  of  the  clergy  of  Fratiee. 

T'tK^  decieion   of  the   Parliament   was   quashed   by   the   couiiciL 

\  Atm.     order  from  the  king,  forbidding  discussion,  was  brought  to 

th^    court  by  Count  Maurepas ;   its  contents  were  divined,  and 

F^sM^liamDnt  refused  to  open  it.     The  king  iterated  his  injunctions. 

**    Xf  his  Majesty  were  at  the  Louvre,"   cried  Abbe  Pernelle,  '*  it 

w^ori^ld  be  the  Court's  duty  to  go  and  let  him  know  how  his  orders 

a.!*^    executed/'     **  Marly  is  not  so  very  far!"   shouted  a  young 

a-^  j^cal-court  councillor  (mix  e7iq;neies)  eagerly,     **  To  Marly  I    To 

lirls^r*ly  I"  at  once  repeated  the  whole  Chamber,     The  old  councillors 

tlx^raselves  murmured  between  their  teeth  *'  To  Marly  I  "     Four- 

i^^T^  cariages  conveyed  to  Marly  fifty  magistrates,  headed  by  the 

px-essidents.      The   king   refused   to   receive   them;    in    vain    the 

pi^^omier  president   insisted    upon   it,   to   Cardinal   Fleury  ;    the 

iKi.cji3arch  and  his  Parliament  remained  equally  obstinate*     '*  What 

a»    msxd  position  1 "    exclaimed  Abb6  Pernelle,  *'  not  to  be  able  to 

fvilfil  one*s  duties  without  falling  into  the  crime  of  disobedience! 

^^e  speak,  and  we  are  forbidden  a  word ;  we  deliberate,  and  we 

a^»"^    threatened.     What  remains  for  us,  then,  in  this  deplorable 

position,  but  to  represent  to  the  king  the  impossibility  of  existing 

^ntJerform  of  Parliament,  without  having  permission  to  speak; 

tno   impossibility,  by  consequence,  of  continuing  our  functions  ?  '^ 

-A.t>l^  PemeUe  was  carried  off  in  the  night  and  confined  in  the 

^l>l>cy  of  Corbigny,  in  Nivernaia,  of  which  he  was  titular  head. 

*J tlxer  councillors  were  arrested  ;  a  hundred  and  fifty  magistrates 

^^=^^*-i:nediately  gave  in  their  resignation.     Rising  in  the  middle  of  the 

smbly,  they  went  out  two  and  two,  dressed  in  their  long  scarlet 

^<=*l>css,  and  threaded  the  crowd  in  silence.     There  was  a  shout  as 

tti^fy   went :    **  There    go    true    Romans,   and   fathers   of    their 

^c^xx-Ql-py  ]  *»      tt  ^j   those   who    saw   this    procession,"    says   the 

^*^^*ocate   Barbier,   **  declare   that  it  was   something  august  and 

^^^Tpowering,**     The  government  did  not  accept  the  resignations  ; 

^^  struggle  continued,     A  hundred  and  thirty-nine  members  re- 

^^^  Ved  letters  under  the  king's  seal  (leUres  de  m^kei)^  exiling  them 

the  four  quarters  of  France,     The  Grand  Chamber  had  been 


fc^ 


^*^fc.red ;  the  old  councillors,  alone  remaining,  enregistered  purely 
*^^  simply  the  declarations  of  the  keeper  of  the  seals.    Once  more 


94  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  ML 

the  Parliament  was  subdued,  it  had  testified  its  complete  political 
impotence;  the  iron  hand  of  Richelieu,  the  perfect  address  of 
Mazarin,  were  no  longer  necessary  to  silence  it;  the  prudent 
moderation,  the  reserved  frigidity  of  Cardinal  Fleury  had  sufficed 
for  the  purpose.  "  The  minister,  victorious  over  the  Parliament, 
had  become  the  arbiter  of  Europe,"  said  Frederick  II.,  in  his 
History  of  my  Time.  The  standard  of  intelligences  and  of  wills 
had  everywhere  sunk  down  to  the  level  of  the  government  of 
France ;  unhappily  the  day  was  coming  when  the  thrones  of 
Europe  were  about  to  be  occupied  by  stronger  and  more  expanded 
minds,  whilst  France  was  passing  slowly  from  the  hands  of  a  more 
than  octogenarian  minister  into  those  of  a  voluptuous  monarch, 
governed  by  his  courtiers  and  his  favourites.  Frederick  11.,  Maria 
Theresa,  Lord  Chatham,  Catherine  II.,  were  about  to  appear  upon 
the  scene ;  the  French  had  none  to  oppose  them  but  Cardinal 
Fleury  with  one  foot  in  the  grave,  and,  after  him.  King  Louis  XV. 
and  Madame  de  Pompadour. 

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

Kept  for  a  long  while  by  his  father  in  cruel  captivity,  always 
carefully  held  aloof  from  affairs,  and,  to  pass  the  time,  obliged  to 
engage  in  literature  and  science,  Frederick  II.  had  ascended  the 
throne  in  August,  1740,  with  the  reputation  of  a  mind  cultivated, 
liberal  and  accessible  to  noble  ideas.  Voltaire,  with  whom  he  had 
become  connected,  had  trumpeted  his  praises  everywhere :    the 


Cj^^.LIL]  LOmS  XV,,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  95 


fif— ^t  act  of  the  new  king  revealed  qualities  of  which  Voltaire  had 

no     conception.     On  the  23rd  of  December,  after  leaving  a  masked 

bi^JLls  he  started  post-haste  for  the  frontier  of  Silesia,  where  he  had 

coXlected  thirty  thousand  men.     Without  preliminary  notice,  with- 

Ott-  ^fc-  declaration  of  war,  he  at  once  entered  the  Austrian  territory, 

^^IzM^ich  was  scantily  defended  by  three  thousand  men  and  a  few 

gauar^Tisons,     Before  the  end  of  January,  1741,  the  Prussians  were 

masters  of  Silesia-     **  I  am  going,  I  fancy,  to  play  your  game,^' 

Fr-^HJerick  had  said,  as  he  set  off,  to  the  French  ambassador :  **  if 

B  tb.^  aces  come  to  me  we  will  share." 

H  ^^leanwliile  France,  as  well  as  the  majority  of  the  other  nations, 
r  hard  recognized  the  young  Queen  of  Hungary,  She  had  been  pro- 
claimed at  Vienna  on  the  7th  of  November,  1740;  all  her  father's 
St-ates  had  sworn  alliance  and  homage  to  her.  She  had  consented 
to  take  to  the  Himgarians  the  old  oath  of  King  Andreas  II,, 
^^hich  had  been  constantly  refused  by  the  House  of  Hapsburg : 
**  if  I,  or  any  of  my  successors,  at  any  time  whatsoever,  would 
uafringe  your  piivileges,  be  it  permitted  you,  by  virtue  of  this 
pi^omise,  you  and  your  descendants,  to  defend  yourselves,  without 
L      toeing  liable  to  be  treated  as  rebels.'* 

^P        When  Frederick  II.,  encamped  in  the  midst  of  the  conquered 

P      Provinces,  made  a  proposal  to  Maria  Theresa  to  cede  him  Lower 

Silesia,   to  which  his  ancestors   had  always  raised  pretensions, 

assuring  her,  in  return,  of  his  amity  and  support,  the  young  queen, 

deeply  offended,  replied  haughtily  that  she  defended  her  subjects, 

l      a  he  did  not  sell  them.      At  the  same  time  an  Austrian  army  was 

■  ^^vancing  against  the  king  of  Prussia;  it  was  commanded  by 

I      tUc3toit  Neipperg.     The  encounter  took  place  at  Molwitz,  on  the 

fc^a-ulcs  of  the  Neiss.     For  one  instant  Frederick,  carried  along  by 

fc^ia    routed  cavalry,  thought  the  battle  was  lost  and  his  first  step 

1      *^^*^^^ards  glory  an  unlucky  business.     The  infantry,  formed  by  the 

I      ^SrecJ  prince  of  Anhalt  and  commanded  l>y  Marshal  Schwerin,  late 

^^^riQrade  of   Charles  XII.,   restored  the  fortune   of  battle;   the 

"^""^istrians   had   retired  in   disorder,     Europe   gave   the   king   of 

*'^*'^ssia  credit  for  this  first  success,  due  ^speciaDy  to  the  excellent 

*^**gmni2iation   of  his   father's    troops-      "  Each    battalion,"    says 

^"^derick,  "  was  a  walking  battery,  whose  quickness  in  loading 


06 


HISTORY  OP  PRANCE. 


[Chap.  Lit. 


tripled  their  fire,  which  gave  the  Prussians  the  advantage  of  three 
to  one." 

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

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

A  powerful  intrigue  was  urging  the  king  to  war.  Cardinal 
Fleury,  prudent,  economizing,  timid  as  he  was,  had  taken 
liking  for  a  man  of  adventurous  and  sometimes  chimerical  spirit- 
"  Count  Belle-Isle,  grandson  of  Fouquet,"  says  M.  d'Argensoo, 
"had  more  wit  than  judgment,  and  more  fire  than  force,  but  be 
aimed  very  high."  He  dreamed  of  revising  the  map  of  Europe 
and  of  .forming  a  zone  of  small  States  destined  to  protect  France 
against  the  designs  of  Austria.  Louis  XV.  pretended  to  nothing, 
demanded  nothing  for  the  price  of  his  assistance ;  but  France  had 
been  united  fi*om  time  immemorial  to  Bavaria :  she  was  bound 
raise  the  elector  to  the  imperial  throne.  If  it  happened  af terwaM 
in  the  dismemberment  of  the  Austrian  dominions,  that  the  JjOW 


CH^jiP.LII]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEUBY.  99 

I  Countries  fell  to  the  share  of  France,  it  was  the  natural  sequel  of 
p3.ist  conquests  of  Flanders,  Lorraine  and  the  Three  Bishoprics. 
Cotint  Belle^Isle  did  not  disturb  with  bis  dreams  the  calm  of  the 
ag'^d  cardinal ;  he  was  modest  in  his  military  aspirations.     The 
^Pr^^Bch  navy  was  rained,  the  king  had  hardly  twenty  vessels  to 
^be^x3.€{  to  sea;  that  mattered  little,  as  England  and  Holland  took  no 
^>ai*t  in  the  contest ;  Austria  was  not  a  maritime  power ;    Spain 
joixied   with   France  to   support   the   elector,     A   body   of  forty 
thousand  men   was   pnt   under   the  orders  of  that  prince,   who 
received  the  title  of  lieutenant-general  of  the  armies  of  the  king  of 
Fr-aiice.  Louis  XV,  acted  only  in  the  capacity  of  Bavaria's  ally  and 
atixiliary.     Meanwhile  Marshal  Belle- Isle,  the  king's  ambassador 
and    plenipotentiary  in  Germany*  had  just  signed  a  treaty  with 
Frederick  IL,  guaranteeing  to  that  monarcli  Lower  Silesia,     At 
tbe  same  time,  a  second  French  army  under  the  orders  of  Marshal 
Maillebois  entered  Germany;  Saxony  and  Poland  came  into  the 
coalition.      The  king  of  England,  George  IL,  faithful  to  the  Prag- 
niatic-Sanction,  hurrying  over-  to  Hanover  to  raise  troops  there, 
found  himself  threatened  by  Maillebois  and  signed  a  treaty  of 
neutrality.     The  elector  had  been  proclaimed,  at  Lintz,  archduke 
*^f  Austria :  nowhere  did  the  Franco-Bavarian  army  encounter  any 
*^bstacle*      The  king  of  Prussia  was  occupying  Moravia ;  Upper 
^iid  Lower  Austria  had  been  conquered  without  a  blow,  and  by  this 
time  the   forces  of  the  enemy  were  threatening  Vienna.      The 
®iiccess  of  the  invasion  was  like  a  dream,  but  the  elector  had  not  the 
^"it   to  profit  by  the  good  fortune  which  was   offered  him»     On 
*^be  point  of  entering  the  capital  abandoned  by  Maina  Theresa,  he 
*^ll  back  and  marched  towards  Bohemia;  the  gates  of  Prague  did 
^^t    open  like  those  of  Passau  or  of  Lintz,  it  had  to  be  besieged, 
^  lie  grand^duke  of  Tuscany  was  advancing  to  the  relief  of  the 
™^<>^*-^ ;  it  was  determined  to  deliver  the  assault, 
"      C?cunt  Maurice  of  Saxony,  natural  son  of  the  late  king  of  Poland, 
J^^    most  able  and  ere  long  the  most  illustrious  of  the  generals  in 
^^^     service  of  France,   had   opposed   the   retrograde    movement 
"^^ards  Bohemia,     In  fi  ont  of  Prague,  he  sent  for  Ch evert,  lieu* 
^^nt-colonel  of  the  regiment  of  Beauce,  of  humble  origin,  but 
^^tined  to  rise  by  his  courage  and  merit  to  the  highest  rank  in 

H  2 


100  ,  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE,  [Obap..UI^ 

the  army ;  the  two  ofecers  made  a  reconnoissance ;  the  mon^ent 
and  the  point  of  attack  were  chosen.  At  the  approach  of  night  on 
the  25th  of  November,  1741,  Chevqrt  called  up  a  grenadier: 
"  Thou  seest  yonder  sentry  ? "  said  Jie  to  the  soldier.  "  Yes, 
colonel."  "  He  will  shout  to  thee,  '  Whp  goes  there  ? ' "  "  Yes, 
colonel."  "  He  will  fire  upon  thee  and  miss  thee."  "  Yes,  colonel." 
"  Thou*lt  kill  him,  and  I  shall  be  at  thy  heels."  The. grenadier 
salutes  and  mounts  up  to  the  asjsault ;  the  body  of  the  sentry  had 
scarcely  begun  to  roll  over  the  rampart  when  Colonel  Chevert 
followed  the  soldier ;  the  eldest  son  of  Marshal  Broglie  was  behind 
him.  .  '       •   . 

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

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

The  palatines  scarcely  gave  the  queen  time  to  finish ;  already 
the  sabres  were  out  of  the  sheaths  and  flashing  above  their  h^ads,. 
Count  Bathyany  was  the  first  to  shout :  "  Moriamur  pro  rege 
nostro  Marid  Theresa  T^  The  same  shout  was  repeated  everyr 
where ;  Maria  Theresa,  restraining  her  tears,  thanked  her  defen- 
ders with  gesture  and  voice ;  she  was  expecting  a  second  child 
before  long :  "  I  know  not,"  she  wrote  to  her  mother-in-law  the 
duchess  of  Lorraine,  "  if  I  shall  have  a  town  left  to  be  confined  in." 
Hungary  rose,  like  one  man,  to  protect  her  sovereign  against,  the 
excess  of  her  misfortunes;  the  same  spirit  spread   before  long 


Chap.  LIL]  LOUIS  XV.,  tUE  MINISTRY  OP  CARDINAL  FLEURY,  lOI 


IthrH)ugli  tlie  Austrian  provinces;  bodies  of  irregulars,  savage  and 
criJtelj  formed  at  all  pointSj  attacking  and  massacring  the  French 
dofwchments  thej  encountered,  and  giving  to  the  war  a  character 
of*  ferocity  which  displayed  itself  with  special  excess  against 
B^^varia,  Count  Slgur,  besieged  in  Lintz,  was  obliged  to  capitu- 
fsat:^  on  the  2Gth  of  January,  and  the  day  after  the  elector  of 
Bii^v^aria  had  received  the  imperial  crown  at  Frankfurt— February 
1  S^  1 742 — the  Aiistrians,  under  the  orders  of  General  Khevenhuller, 
o%>t:£iined  possession  of  Munich,  which  was  given  up  to  pillage. 
X<:>lces  then  began  to  fly  about  in  Paris  at  the  expense  of  the  em- 
p^iror  who  had  just  been  made  after  an  interregnum  of  more  than 
^  year:  "  The  thing  in  the  world  which  it  is  perceived  that  one 
csi.13.  most  easily  do  without,"  said  Voltaire,  "  is  an  emperor/' 
*^  -A.S  Paris  is  always  crammed  with  a  number  of  Austrians  in  heart 
^  w^Ij^o  are  charmed  at  the  sad  events,*'  wiites  the  advocate  Barbier, 
^M^  tHeyhave  put  in  the  Bastille  some  indiscreet  individuals  who  said 
I  nx  open  c^e  that  the  emperor  was  John  LacMand  and  that  a  room 
I  w^oiild  have  to  be  fitted  up  for  him  at  Vincennes.  In  point  of  fact, 
I  k^  remains  at  Frankfurt,  and  it  would  be  very  hard  for  him  to  go 
I        elsewhere  in  safety/' 

I  Meanwhile  England  had  renounced  her  neutrality;  the  general 

feeling  of  the  nation  prevailed  over  the  prudent  and  far-sighted 
ability  of  Robert  Walpole;  he  succumbed,  after  Ms  long  ministry, 
ftxll  of  honours  and  riches;  the  government  had  passed  into  warHko 
''^^tids*     The  women  af  society,  headed  by  the  duchess  of  Marl- 
ooroiigh,  raised  a  subscription  of  100,000/.  which  they  offered 
^ttsticceasfully  to  the  haughty  Maria  Theresa.     Parliament  voted 
^ore  effectual  aid,  and  English  diplomacy  adroitly  detached  the 
^*^g  of  Sardinia  from  the  allies  whom  success  appeared  to  be 
*T>andoning.     The  king  of  Prussia  had  just  gained  at  Czezlaw  an 
^^^tiportant  victory ;  next  day,  he  was  negotiating  with  the  queen 
^^   Hungary,     On  the  11th  of  June  the  treaty  which  abandoned 
ile^ia  to  Frederick  II*  wag  secretly  concluded ;  when  the  signa- 
^^^*^s  were  exchanged  at  Berlin  in  the  following  month,  the  with- 
*  ^*B.wal  of  Prussia  was  everywhere  known  in  Europe :  "  This  is  the 
***^thod  introduced  and  accepted  amongst  the  allies :  to  separate 
^^    do  a  better  stroke  of  business  by  being  the  first  to  make 


102  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LIL 

terms,"  writes  M.  d'Argenson  on  30th  June :  "  it  used  not  to  be 
so.  The  English  were  the  first  to  separate  from  the  great  allianoe 
in  1711,  and  they  derive  great  advantages  from  it;  we  followed 
this  terrible  example  in  1 735  and  got  Lorraine  by  it ;  lastly,  here 
is  the  king  of  Prussia,  but  under  much  more  odious  circumstances, 
since  he  leaves  us  in  a  terrible  scrape,  our  armies,  in  the  middle  of 
Germany,  beaten  and  famine-stricken ;  the  emperor,  despoiled  of 
his  hereditary  dominions  and  his  estates  likewise  in  danger.  All  is 
at  the  mercy  of  the  maritime  powers,  who  have  pushjsd  things  to 
the  extremity  we  see ;  and  we,  France,  who  were  alone  capable  of 
resisting  such  a  torrent  at  this  date — ^here  be  we  exhausted  and 
not  in  a  condition  to  check  these  rogueries  and  this  power,  even 
by  uniting  ourselves  the  most  closely  with  Spain.  Let  be,  let  us 
meddle  no  more ;  it  is  the  greatest  service  we  can  render  at  this 
date  to  our  allies  of  Germany." 

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

For  sole  answer,  Maria  Theresa  had  the  cardinal's  letter  pub- 
lished. At  Utrecht,  after  the  unparalleled  disasters  which  were 
overwhelming  the  kingdom  and  in  spite  of  the  concessions  they 
had  been  ordered  to  offer,  the  tone  of  Louis  XIV.'s  plenipoten- 
tiaries was  more  dignified  and  prouder  than  that  of  the  enfeebled 
old  man  who  had  so  long  governed  France  by  dint  of  moderation, 
discretion  and  patient  inertness.  The  allies  of  France  were  dis- 
quieted and  her  foes  emboldened.     Marshal  Belle-Isle,  shut  up  in 


Chap,  LIL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  PLEUEY.  ]  03 

Prague,  and  Marshal  BrogHe,  encamped  near  the  town,  remained 
isolated  in  a  hostile  country,  hemmed  in  on  all  sides  by  a  savage 
£o€,  maintaining  order  with  difficulty  within  the  fortress  itself. 

*'  Marshal  Broglie  is  encamped  under  the  guns  of  Pragiiej*'  says 

Barbier's  journal :  **  his  camp  is  spoken  of  as  a  masterpiece*     As 

tbere  is  reason  to  be  shy  of  the  inhabitants,  who  are  for  the  queen 

€yf  Hungary,  a  battery  has  been  trained  upon  Prague^  the  garrison 

^^oamps  upon  the  ramparts,  and  Marshal  Belle-Isle  patrols  every  night* 

^P       JWarshal  MaiUebois  was  at  Dusseldorf,  commissioned  to  observe 

fcliie  Hollanders  and  protect  Westphalia;  he  received  orders  to  join 

Ara^rshals  Broghe  and  Belle^Isle.     **  It  is  the  army  of  redemption 

fox*  the  captives,"  was  the  saying  at  Paris.     At  the  same  time  that 

tlto  marshal  was  setting  out  for  Prague,  Cardinal  Fleury  sent  him 

tlxo    following  instructions :  *'  Engage  in  no  battle  of  which  the 

issixe  may  be  doubtful,*'     All  the  defiles  of  Bohemia  were  carefully 

guarded ;  Maillebois  first  retired  on  Bgra,  then  he  carried  his  arms 

ioto  Bavaria,  where  Marshal  Broglie  came  to  relieve  him  of  his 

oommand>     Marshal  Belle-Isle  remained  with  the  sole  charge  of 

tlie    defence   of    Prague ;    he   was    frequently    harassed    by    the 

.       A^ustrians;  his  troops  were  exhausted  with  cold  and  privation. 

I       t>uring  the  night  between  the  1 6th  and  17th  of  December,  1742, 

H    the  marshal  sallied  from  the  town,     "  I  stole  a  march  of  twenty- 

H    four  hours  good  on  Prince  Lobkowitz,  who  was  only  five  leagues 

H    rrotQ   me,"  wrote   Belle-Isle,  on  accomplishing   his   retreat;  "I 

H    pierced  his  quarters,  and  I  traversed  ten  leagues  of  plain,  having 

■    to  plod  along  with  eleven  thousand  foot  and  three  thousand  two 

B    '^'UDdred  and  fifty  worn-out  horses,  M.  de  Lobkowitz  having  eiglit 

thousand  good  horses  and  twelve  thousand  infantry.     I  made  such 

^^spatch  that  I  arrived  at  the  defiles  before  he  could  come  up  with 

^*^e.     I  concealed  from  him  the  road  I  had  resolved  to  take,  for  he 

^^d  ordered  the  occupation  of  all  the  defiles  and  the  destruction  of 

^U  the  bridges  there  are  on  the  two  main  roads  leading  from  Prague 

^^  Egra.     I  took  one  which  pierces  between  the  two  others,  where 

^   ^ound  no  obstacles  but  those  of  nature,  and,  at  last,  I  arrived  on 

*^^    t^nth  day,  without  a  check,  though  continually  harassed  by 

^^*^sars  in  front,  rear,  and  flank."     The  hospitals  at  Egra  were 

*^oke  full  of  sick  soldiers ;  twelve  nights   passed  on  the  snow 


](\i 


IliSTORY  OF    FRANC il 


[Cmap.uk 


without  blankets  or  cloaks  had  cost"  the  lives  of  many  men  ^9 
great  rm tuber  never  recovered  more  than  a  lingering  cJtistiinee^ 
AmqngBt  them  there  was,  in  the  king's  regiment  of  infautryt 
young  officer,  M.  de  Vauvenargues,  who  expired  at  tliirty-tfiro 
years  of  age,  soon  after  his  return  to  his  country,  leaving  amongst 
those  who  had  known  him  a  feeling  that  a  great  loss  had  been 
suflFered  by  Fmncc  and  human  intellect, 

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

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

Almost  at  the  very  moment  when  the  Austriana  were  occ^ipyil 
Prague  and  Bohemia,  Cardinal  Fleury  was  expiring^  at  VersaiHeSi 
at  the  age  of  ninety,     '^Madame  Marshal  Noailles,  mother  oft 
present  marshal,  who  is  at  least  eighty-seven  but  is  all  alive,  ruiu* 
about  Paris  and  writes  all  day>  «eut  to  inquire  after  hjm*    He  ^enl 


I 


Cm.  LIL]  LOUIS  XV,,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEUEY.  107 

answer  to  her,  *  that  she  was  cleverer  than  he — she  managed  to 

live;  a3  for  him,  he  was  ceasing  to  exist/     In  fact,  it  is  the  case 

a  candle  going  out,  and  being  a  long  while  abont  it.     Manj 

pie  are  awaiting  this  result,  and  all  the  court  will  be  starting 

his  very  ghost,  a  week  after  he  has  been  buried"'  [Journal  de 

iVr,  t,  ii.  p.  348]. 
Cardinal  Fleury  had  Hved  too  long:  the  trials  of  the  last  years 
of  his  life  had  been  beyond  the  bodily  and  mental  strength  of  an 
old   man  elevated  for  the  first  time  to  power  at  an  age  when  it 
is  generally  seen  slipping  from  the  hands  of  the  most  energetic. 
Naturally  gentle,  moderate,  discreet,  though  stubborn  and  perse- 
vering in  his  views,  he  had  not  an  idea  of  conceiving  and  prac- 
tising a  great  policy*     France  was  indebted   to   him   for  a  long 
period  of  mediocre  and  dull  prosperity,  which  was  preferable  to 
the  evils  that  had  for  so  long  oppressed  her,  but  as  for  which  she 
^asto  cherish  no  remembrance  and  no  gratitude,  when  new  mis- 
fortunes came  bursting  upon  her. 

Both  court  and  nation  hurled  the  same  reproach  at  Cardinal 
Fleury  :  he  alone  prevented  the  king  from  governing  and  turned 
bis  attention  from  affairs,  partly  from  jealousy  and  partly  from 
the  old  habit  acquired  as  a  preceptor,  who  can  never  see  a 
man  in  one  who  has  been  his  pupiK  When  the  old  man  died  at 
^i,  as  M.  d*  Argenson  cruelly  puts  it,  France  turned  her  eyes 
towanls  Louis  XV.  "  The  cardinal  is  dead :  hurrah !  for  the  king  I  " 
^w^as  the  cry  amongst  the  people.  The  monarch  himself  felt  as  if  he 
Were  emancipated.     *'  Gentlemen,  here  am  I — ^premier  minister!  " 

I  said  he  to  his  most  intimate  courtiers.    *'  When  MM.  de  Maurepas 
and  Amelot  went  to  announce  to  him  this  death,  it  is  said  that  he 
Was  at  first  overcome,  and  that  when  he  had  recovered  himself, 
liB  told  them  that  hitherto  he  had  availed  himself   of   Cardinal 
Pleury's  counsels ;  but  he  relied  upon  it  that  they  would  so  act 
tlut  they  would  not  need  to  plaoe  any  one  between  them  and  him, 
If  tills  answer  is  feithfully  reported,"  adds  the  advocate  Barbier, 
**  it  is  sufficiently  in  the  high  style  to  let  it  be  understood  that 
there  will  be  no  more  any  premier  minister,  or  at  ajiy  rate  any 
exercising  the  functions  thereof/' 
For  some  time  previously,  in  view  of  the  great  age  and  rapid 


» 


1 


108  .  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Chap.  Lit 

enfeeblement  of  Cardinal  Fleury,  Marshal  Noailles,  ever*  able  and 
far-sighted,  had  been  pressing  Louis  XV.  to  take  into  his  own 
hands  the  direction  of  his  affairs.     Having  the  command  on 'the 
frontier  of  the  Low  Countries,  he  had  adopted  the  practice  of 
writing  directly  to  the  king.     "  Until  it  may  please  Your  Majesty 
to  let  me  know  your  intentions  and  your  will,"  said  the  marshal 
at  the  outset  of  his  correspondence,  "  confining  myself  solely  to 
what  relates  to  the  frontier  on  which  you  have  given  me  the 
command,  I  shall  speak  with  frankness  and  freedom  about  the 
object  confided  to  my  care,  and  shall  hold  my  peace  as  regards  the 
rest.     If  you.  Sir,  desire  the  silence  to  be  broken,  it  is  for  you  to 
order  it."     For  the  first  time  Louis  XV.  seemed  to  awakei  from 
the  midst  of  that  life  of  intellectual  lethargy  ^nd  physical  activity 
which  he  allowed  to  glide  along,  without  a  thought,  between  the 
pleasures   of  the   chase   and   the   amusements   invented    by  his 
favourite ;  a  remembrance  of  Louis  XIV.  came  across  his  mind; 
naturally  acute  and  judicious  as  it  was.     "The  late  King,   my 
^eat-grandfather,"  he  writes  to  Marshal  Noailles  on  the  26th  of 
November,  1743,  "whom  I  desire  to  imitate  as  much  as- 1  can, 
recommended  me,  on  his  death-bed,  to  take  counsel  in  all  things; 
and  to  seek  out  the  best,  so  as  always  to  follow  it.     I  shall  hef 
charmed,  then,  if  you  will  give  me  some;  thus  do  I  open  your 
mouth,  as  the  pope  does  the  cardinals',  and  I  permit  you  to  say  to 
tno  what  your  zeal  and  your  afEection  for  me  .and  my  kingdom 
prompt  you."     The  first  fruit  of  this   correspondence    was   the 
entrance  of  Marshal  Noailles  into  the  Council. .    "  One  day  as  he 
was,  in  the  capacity  of  simple  courtier,  escorting  the  king  whe 
was  on  his  way  to  the  Council,  his  Majesty  said  to  him,  "  Marshal^* 
come  in ;  we  are  going  to  hold  a  council,"  and  pointed  to  a  place 
at   his  left.    Cardinal   Tencin    being  on  his   right.     "  This   new 
minister  does  not  please  our  secretaries  of  State."    He  is  a  trouble* 
some  inspector  set  over  them,  who  meddles  in  everything  though 
master  of  nothing."     The  renewal  of  active  hostilities  was  about 
tb  deliver  the  ministers  from  Marshal  Noailles. 

The  prudept  hesitation  and  backwardness  of  Holland  had  at  last 
yielded  to  the  pressure  of  England.  The  States-general  had  sent 
twenty  thousand  men  to  join  the  army  which  George  II.  had  just 


Guv.  LIL]  LOUIS  XY,/THE  MINISTRY  OF  CABDINAL  FLEURY,  109 

aent  into  Gar  many.  It  was  onlj  on  tbe  15th  of  March,  174t,  that 
I  Louis  XV*  fonnally  declared  war  against  the  king  of  England  and 
Maria  Theresaj  no  longer  as  an  auxiliary  of  the  emperorj  but  in 
Ui  own  name  and  on  behalf  of  France.  Charles  VII,,  a  ftigitive, 
driven  from  his  hereditary  dominions,  which  had  been  evacuated 
by  Marshal  Broglie,  had  transported  to  Frankfurt  his  ill  fortune 

I  and  his  empty  titles,  France  alone  supported  in  Germany  a 
quarrel  the  weight  of  which  she  had  imprudently  taken  upon 
herself,  ; 

The  eflfort  was  too  much  for  the  resources ;  the  king*s  coun- 
sellors felt  that  it  was ;  the  battle  of  DettingeUj  E^kilfully  com- 
menced on  the  27th  of  June^  1743,  by  Marshal  Noailles,  and  lost 

■  by  the  imprudence  of  his  nephew^  the  duke  of  Gramontj  had  com- 
B  pletely  shaken  the  confidence  of  the  armies ;   the  emperor  had 

ti*eated  with  the  Austrian  s  for  an  armistice,  establishing  the 
^^iitrality  of  his  troops,  as  belonging  to  the  empire.  Noailles 
^T^ote  to  the  king  on  the  8th  of  July,  "  It  is  necessary  to  uphold 
to  13  phantam,  in  order  tp  restrain  Germany,  which  would  league 

^^g^nst  us,  and  furnish  the  English  with  all  the  troops  therein,  the 

B**^cment  the  emperor  was  abandoned,"  It  was  necessary,  at  the^ 
^^nae  time,  to  look  out  elsewhere  for  more  effectual  support.  The 
i^itig  of  Prussia  had  been  resting  for  the  last  two  years,  a  curious 
^Tid  an  interested  spectator  of  the  contests  which  were  bathing 
E  uFope  in  blood,  and  which  answered  his  purpose  by  enfeebling 
'^is  rivals.     He  frankly  and  coolly  flaunted  his  selfishness,     **  In  a 

!  pi^evious  war  with  France,"  he  says  in  his  memoirs,  *'  I  abandoned 
tlie  French  at  Prague,  because  I  gained  Silesia  by  that  step.     If 

KE   liad  escorted  them  to  Vienna,  they  would  never  have  given  rao 

■  &o  much/*  In  turn,  the  successes  of  the  queen  of  Hungary  were 
F  bo^nning  to  disquiet  him ;  on  the  5th  of  June,  1 744,  he  signed  a 
I     new  treaty  with  France  ;  for  the  first  time  Louis  XV,  was  about 

■  io  quit  Versailles  and  place  himself  at  the  head  of  an  army,     "  If 

^''J^  Country  is  to  be  devoured,"  said  the  king,  with  a  levity  far 

ti'OeTent  from  the  solemn  tone  of  Louis  XI V.,  *f  it  will  be  very  hard 

^^    rne  to  see  it  swallowed  without  personally  doing  my  best  to 

P«-event  it," 

**Xe  had-    howev^er,   hesitated  a  long:  while   before  he  started.. 


110 


HISTORY   OF  FRAJ^CE. 


[Chap,  LIT. 


There  was  a  shortness  of  moiiej.  For  all  his  haying  been  head  of 
the  council  of  finance,  Noailles  had  not  been  able  to  rid  himself  of 
ideas  of  arbitrary  power,  "  When  the  late  king,  your  great-grand* 
father,  considered  any  outlay  necessary/'  he  wi*ote  to  Louis  XV, ^ 
**  the  funds  had  to  be  found,  because  it  was  his  will.  The  case  in 
question  is  one  in  which  yonr  Majesty  ought  to  speak  as  niastert 
and  lay  down  the  law  to  your  ministers*  Your  comptroller-general 
ought,  for  the  future,  to  be  obliged  to  furnish  the  needftil  funds 
without  daring  to  ask  the  reasons  for  which  they  are  demanded  of 
him,  and  still  less  to  decide  upon  them.  It  was  thus  that  the  late 
king  behaved  towards  M*  Colbert  and  all  who  succeeded  him 
that  office;  he  would  never  have  done  anything  great  in  the  whot 
course  of  his  reiorn*  if  he  had  behaved  otherwise/*  It  was  the 
king*s  common-sense  which  replied  to  this  counsel :  **  We  are  still 
pacing  all  those  debts  that  the  late  king  incurred  for  extraordinary 
occasions,  fifty  millions  a  year  and  more,  which  we  must  begin  by 
paying  off  first  of  alL"  Later  on^  he  adds  gaily :  "As  for  me,  I  can 
do  without  any  equipage,  and,  if  needful,  the  shoulder  of  mutton 
of  the  lieutenants  of  infantry  will  do  perfectly  well  for  me" 
'*  There  is  nothing  talked  off  here  but  the  doings  of  the  king,  wl 
is  in  extraordinary  spirits,"  writes  the  advocate  Barbier;  **  he 
visited  the  places  near  Valenciennes,  the  magazines,  the  hospit 
he  has  tasted  the  broth  of  the  sick,  and  the  soldiers'  bread.  The 
ambassador  of  Holland  came,  before  his  departure,  to  propose  a 
truce  in  order  to  put  us  off  yet  longer.  The  king,  when  he  w^ 
presented,  merely  said :  *  I  know  what  you  are  going  to  say 
me,  and  what  it  is  all  about,  I  will  give  you  my  answer 
Flanders/  This  answer  is  a  proud  one,  and  fit  for  a  king 
France,"  The  hopes  of  the  nation  were  aroused :  *'  Have 
then,  a  king?"  said  M,  d'Argenson.  Credit  was  given  to  HSP 
duchess  of  Chateauroux,  Louis  XV/s  new  favourite,  for  ha^-ing 
excit^l  tliis  warlike  ardour  in  the  king.  Ypres  and  Menin  hi 
already  surrendered  after  a  few  days'  open  trenohes ;  siege  had  ji 
been  laid  to  Furnes.  Marshal  Noailles  had  proposed  to  move 
the  king*s  household  troops  in  order  to  make  an  impression  uj 
the  enemy,  **  If  they  must  needs  be  marched  up,"  replied 
XV,,**  I  do  not  wish  to  separate  from  ray  household  r  verbum  mp^ 


Chap.  LII.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  1 13 

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

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

"The.  king's  danger  was  noised  abroad  throughout  Paris  in  the 
middle  of  the  night,'*  writes  Voltaire  [Slide  de  Louis  XK.,  p.  103]  : 
"everybody  gets  up,  runs  about,  in  confusion,  not  knowing 
whither  to  go.  The  churches  open  at  dead  of  night;  nobody 
takes  any  more  note  of  time,  bed-time,  or  day-time  or  meal- 
time. Paris  was  beside  itself;  all  the  houses  of  officials  were 
besieged  by  a  continual  crowd ;  knots  collected  at  all  the  cross- 
roads. The  people  cried,  *  If  he  should  die,  it  will  be  for  having 
marched  to  our  aid.'  People  accosted  one  another,  questioned 
one  another  in  the  churches,  without  being  the  least  acquainted. 
There  were  many  churches  where  the  priest  who  pronounced  the 
prayer  for  the  king's  health  interrupted  the  intoning  with  his  tears 
and  the  people  responded  with  nothing  but  sobs  and  cries.     The 

VOL.  v.  I 


114  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  UI. 

courier  who,  on  the  ]  9th,  brought  to  Paris  the  news  of  his  con- 
valescence was  embraced  and  almost  stifled  by  the  people ;  they 
kissed  his  horse,  they  escorted  him  in  triumph.  All  the  streets 
resounded  with  a  shout  of  joy:  *  The  king  is  welll'  When  the 
monarch  was  told  of  the  unparalleled  transports  of  joy  which  had 
succeeded  those  of  despair,  he  was  affected  to  tears,  and,  raising 
himself  up  in  a  thrill  of  emotion  which  gave  him  strength,  *  Ah ! ' 
he  exclaimed,  *  how  sweet  it  is  to  be  so  loved  !  What  have  I  done 
to  deserve  it  ?'  " 

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

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


Chap.LIL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  115 


k 


nave  a  doubt  about  his  doing  so,  after  stich  b  gracious  permis- 
sion;" 

Loiim  XV.  went  to  the  siege  of  Friburg,  which  was  a  long  and 
a  difficult  one.     He  returned  to  Paris  on  the  13th  of  November  to 
the  great  joy  of  the  people.     A  few  days  later.  Marshal  Belle-Isle, 
whilst  passing  through  Hanover  in  the  character  of  negotiator, 
wsLS  arrested  by  order  of  George  II-  and  carried  to  England  a 
prisoner  of  war,  in  defiance  of  the  law  of  nations  and  the  protests 
I  of    Prance.     The  moment  was  not  propitious  for  obtaining  the 
release  of  a  marshal  of  France  and  an  able  general.     The  emperor 
Cliarles   VII.,   who   had   but   lately   returned  to   his   hereditary 
dominions  and  recovered  possession  of  his  capital,  after  fifteen 
months  of  Austrian  occupation,  died    suddenly  on   the  20th  of 
January,  1745,  at  forty-seven  years  of  age.     The  face  of  affairs 
cKanged  all  at  once ;  the  honour  of  France  was  no  longer  con- 
cerned in  the  struggle ;  the  grand-duke  of  Tuscany  had  no  longer 
any  competitor  for  the  empire;  the  eldest  son  of  Charles  VII. 
was  only  seventeen;    the   queen  of  Hungary  was   disposed   for 
peace.     "  The  English  ministry,  which  laid  down  the  law  for  all, 
because  it  laid  down  the  money,  and  which  had  in  its  pay,  all  at 
one  time,  the  queen  of  Hungary,  the  king  of  Poland  and  the  king 
of  Sardinia,  considered  that  there  was  everythhig  to  lose  by  a 
treaty  with  France  and  everything  to  gain  by  arms.     War  con- 
tinued, because  it  had  commenced'*  [Voltaire,  Siecle  de  Louis  XV.  \. 
The  king  of  France  henceforth  maintained  it  almost  alone  by 
himself*     The  young  elector  of  Bavaria  had  already  found  himself 
'Iriven  out  of   Munich  and  forced  by  his  exhausted  subjects  to 
<lemand  peace  of  Maria  Theresa.     The  election  to  the  empire  was 
imminent;    MasimiLian-Joseph  promised  his  votes  to  the  grand- 
duke  of  Tuscany ;  at  that  price  he  was  re-estabhshed  in  his  here- 
ditary dominions.     The  king  of  Poland  had  rejected  the  advances 
<^f  Prance,  who  offered  hira  the  title  of  emperor,  beneath  which 
^'Imrles  VIL  had  succumbed.     Marshal  Saxe  bore  all  the  brunt  of 
tliewar.     A  foreigner  and  a  protestant,  for  a  long  while  under 
suspicion   with   Louis  XV.,  and  blackened  in  character    by  the 
French  generals,  Maurice  of  Saxony  had  won  authority  as  weU  as 
glory  by  the  splendoui'  of  his  bravery  and  of  his  military  genius. 

f  2 


116 


HISTOBY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  L| 


Combining  with  qui  to  a  rrtjocli  vivacity  the  far-sigliiedness  am^ 
the  perseveraoce  of  the  races  of  the  North,  he  had  been  toiling 
more  than  a  year  to  bring  about  amongst  his  army  a  spirit  | 
disci  pi  ine»  a  powerful  organization,  a  contempt  tor  fatigue  as 
as  for  danger,     **  At  Dettingen  the  success  of  the  allies  was  duo 
their  surprising  order^  fov  they  were  not  seaBoned  to  war,"  he  m 
to  say.     Order  did  not  as  yet  reign  in  the  army  of  Marshal  Sal 
In  1745,  the  situation  was  grave;  the  marshal  was  attacked 
dropsy  J  his  life  appeared  to  be  in  danger.     He  nevertheless  coD 
manded  his  preparations  to  be  made  for  the  campaign ,  and^  wl 
Voltaire,  who  was  one  of  his  friends,  was  ast-ounded  at  it,  *'  It  is 
questiDn  of  living,  but  of  setting  out,**  was  his  reply* 

The  king  was  preparing  to  set  out,  lilie  Mai'shal  Saxe ;  he 
just  married  the  dauphin  to  the  eldest  daughter  of  the  king  1 
Spain ;    the  young  prince  accompanied    his  father  to  the 
before  Toumai,  which  the  French  army  was  besieging*     On 
8th  of  May  Louis  XV,  visited  the  outskirts;  an  attack  from 
enemy  was  expected,  the  field  of  battle  was  known  beforoha 
The  village  of  Fontenoy  had  already  been   occupied  by  Marslj 
NoaOles,  who  had  asked  to  serve  as  aide-de-camp  to  Marshal 
to  whom  he  was  attached  by  sincere  friendship  and  whom  he 
very  much  contributed  to  advance  in  the  king's  good  graces, 

"  Never  did  Louis  XV,  show  more  gaiety  than  on  the  eve  of 
fight,"  says  Voltaire,     **  The  conversation  was  of  battles  at  wbil 
kings  had  been  present  in  person-     The  king  said  that  since 
battle  of  Poitiers  no  king  of  France  had  fought  with  his 
beside  him,  that  since  St.  Louis  none  had  gained  any  signal 
over  the  English,  and  that  he  hoped  to  be  the  first.     He  was 
first  up  on  the  day  of  action  ;  he  himself  at  four  o'elock  m 
Count  d'Argenson,  niinister  of  war,  who  on  the  instant  sent  to  i 
Marshal  Sase  for  his  final  orders.     The  marshal  was  found  ioj 
carriage  of  osier-work,  which  served  him  for  a  bed  and  in  which  j 
had  himself  drawn  about  when  his  exhausted  powers  no  Ion 
allowed  hbn  to  sit  his  hoi-se/*     The  king  and  the  dauphin  \m 
already  taken  up  their  poBitiuns  of  battle;    the  two  vilhige^ 
Fontenoy  and  Antoin,  and   the  wood  of  Barri,  were  occupiatl 
Frencli   troops-     Two   armies   of  fifty  thousand   men   each  m&m 


C»jkP.LIL]  LOUIS  XY,,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  119 

■  about  to  engage  in  the  lists  as  at  Dettiogen.  Austria  had  sent 
[iiLifc  eight  thoiisarid  soldiers,  tinder  the  orders  of  the  old  and  famous 
^P^xieral  Konigseck;  the  EDglish  and  the  HoUaTiders  were  about  to 
Bte^T  all  the  burthen  and  heat  of  the  day, 

■  It  was  not  five  in  the  morning,  and  already  there  was  a  thunder 
^f     cannon.     The  Hollanders  attacked  the  village  of  Antoin,  the 

Bnglish  that  of  Fontenoy.     The  two  posts   were   covered   by   a 

necioubt  which  belched  forth  flames;    the   Hollanders  refused  to 

deliver  the  assault.     An  attack  made  by  the  English  on  the  wood 

of    Barri  had  been  repulsed ;    "  Forward,  my  lord,  right  to  your 

f  r'omt/'  said  old  Konigseck  to  the  duke  of  Cuniberlandj  George  Il/a 

son,  who  commanded  the  English  ;  *'  the  ravine  in  front  of  Fontenoy 

ixLust  be  carried."    The  English  advanced  ;  they  formed  a  deep  and 

set-ried  column,  preceded  and  supported  by  artillery.     The  French 

ba^tteries  mowed  them  down  right  and  left,  whole  ranks  fell  dead : 

tliey  were  at  once  filled  up;  the  cannon  which  they  dragged  along 

by  hand,  pointed  towards  Fontenoy  and  the  redoubts,  replied  to 

the   French  artillery.     An  attempt  of  some  officers  of  the  French 

giiards  to  carry  off  the  cannon  of  the  English  was  unsuccessfuL 

The  two  corps  found  themselves  at  last  face  to  face. 

The  EngUsh  officers  took  off  their  bats ;  Count  Chabannes  and 

the  duke  of  Biron  who  had  moved  forward  returned  their  salute: 

**  Gentlemen  of  the  French  guard,  fire !  "  exclaimed  Loitl  Charles 

|i     Hay,     "  Fire    yourselves,    gentlemen   of   England,"   immediately 

L    **^plieti  Count  d'Auteroche,  "  we  never  fire  first."     [All  fiction,  it 

P^^  said,]     The  volley  of  the  English  laid  low  the  foremost  ranks  of 

^i^^  French  guards.     This  regiment  bad  been  effeminated  by  a  long 

^^idencta   in    Paris   and  at  Versailles;  its  colonel,   the   duke   of 

^lumont,  had  been  killed  in  the  morning,  at  the  commencement  of 

^lie  action ;  it  gave  way  and  the  English  cleared  the  ravine  which 

'iefended  Fontenoy-     They  advanced  as  if  on  parade ;  the  majors 

\j^  sergeant-majors],  small  cane  in  hand,  rested  it  Hghtly  on  the 

I  Soldiers*    muskets   to   direct   their   fire.      Several  regiments  sue- 
^lively  opposed  to  the  English  column  found  themselves  repulsed 
^nd  forced  to  beat  a  retreat;  the  English  still  advanced. 
Marshal  Saxe,  caiTied  about  everywhere  in  his  osier- litter,  saw 
lia  danger  with  a  calm  eye ;  he  sent  the  marquis  of  Meuse  to  the 


12m  HliTPOBT  OF  FEAXCE.  [CiwLr.  LH. 

kiiie :  "  I  beg  jo^ir  ilajestv/'  he  told  him  to  say,  "  to  go  back 
with  the  dauphin  over  th*?  bridge  of  Calonne;  I  will  do  what  I  can 
to  ruf-tore  the  battle."     "  Ah !  I  know  well  enough  that  he  will  do 

what  Ls  riecvr?j?ar\'/'  answf red  the  kine,  ••  but  I  star  where  I  am." 

•  -  —  ■  ■ 

Marshal  .Saxe  mouiited  his  horse. 

In  its  turn,  the  cavalrjr  had  been  repulsed  by  the  English;  their 
6re  swept  awav  rank  after  rank  of  the  regiment  of  VaisBeaux, 
which  would  not  be  denied.  "  How  is  it  that  sach  troops  are  not 
victorious  r "  cried  Marshal  Saxe,  who  was  moving  aboot  at  a 
foot's  pace  in  the  middle  of  the  fire,  without  his  cuirass,  which  his 
weakness  did  not  admit  of  his  wearing.  He  advanced  towu^ 
Fontenov ;  the  batteries  had  just  fallen  short  of  ball.  The  English 
column  had  ceased  marching ;  arrested  by  the  successive  efforts  of 
the  French  regiments,  it  remained  motionless,  and  seemed  to  receive 
no  more  orders,  but  it  preserved  a  proud  front,  and  appeared  to 
be  masters  of  the  field  of  battle.  Marshal  Saxe  was  preparing  for 
the  retreat  of  the  army  ;  he  had  relinquished  his  proposal  for  that 
of  the  king,  from  the  time  that  the  English  had  come  up  and 
pressed  him  closely  :  "  It  was  my  adnce,  before  the  danger  was  so 
great,"  he  said ;  "  now  there  Ls  no  falling  back." 

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

The  retreat  of  the  Hollanders  admitted  of  the  movement ;  the 
small  field-pieces,  as  yet  dragged  by  hand,  were  pointed  against  the 
English  column.  Marshal  Saxe,  with  diflSculty  keeping  his  seat 
upon  his  horse,  galloped  hastily  up  to  the  Irish  brigade,  com- 
manding all  the  troops  he  met  on  the  way  to  make  no  more  false 
attjicks  and  to  act  in  concert.     All  the  forces  of  the  French  army 


€haf-  LIL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THK  MINISTRY  OF  CAEDINMi  FLEURY.  121 


burst  simultaneoiiBly  upon  the  English.  The  Irish  regiments  in 
^^e  seryice  of  France,  nearly  all  composed  of  Jacobite  emigrants, 
fou|^lifc  with  fury.  Twice  the  brave  enemy  rallied,  but  the  oflScers 
fell  on  all  sides,  the  ranks  were  every  where  broken ;  at  last  they 
T*e tired,  without  disorder,  without  enfeeblement,  preserving  even 
Hi  defeat  the  honour  of  a  vigorous  resistance.  The  battle  was 
gained  at  the  moment  when  the  most  clear-sighted  had  considered 
't  lostp  Marshal  Saxe  had  still  strength  left  to  make  his  way  to 
too  king.  "I  hai^e  liyed  long  enough.  Sir,"  he  said,  "now  that 
I  1  have  seen  your  Majesty  victorious.     You  now  know  on  what  the 

foi^tune  of  battles  depends.'* 

L        The  victory  of  Fontenoyj  like  that  of   Denain,   restored   the 

^oixrage  and  changed  the  situation  of  France.     When  the  king  of 

-Piriagsia   heard   of  his   ally's   success,  he  exclaimed  with  a  grin: 

r^*  This  is  about  as  useful  to  ua  as  a  battle  gained  on  the  banks  of 

the  Scamander,"     His  selfish  absorption  in  his  personal  and  direct 

interests  obscured  the  judgment  of  Frederick  the  Great.      He, 

lio^we%^er,  did  justice  to  Marshal  Saxe :  "  There  was  a  discussion 

the  other  day  as  to  what  battle  had  reflected  most  honour  on  the 

g^neml  commanding,"  he  wrote  a  long  while  after  the  battle  of 

f  Potitenoy;  *'some   euggestt^d   that   of  Almanza,   others   that   of 

Turin  :    but  I  suggested — and  everybody   finally  agreed— that  it 

^as  undoubtedly,  that  in  which  the  general  had  been  at  death's 

door  when  it  was  delivered." 

1         The  fortress  of  Tournai  surrendered  on  the  22nd  of  May ;  the 

r  Citadel  capitulated  on  the  19th  of  June.     Ghent,  Bruges,  Oude- 

^^rde,  Dendermonde,  Ostend,  Nieuport,  yielded  one  after  another 

to  the  French  armies.     In  the  month  of  February,  1 746,  Marshal 

Sa^Xe  terminated  the  campaign  by  taking  Brussels.     By  the  1st  of 

^a^  previous  September  Louis  XV.  had  returned  in  triumph  to  Paris, 

Henceforth  he  remained  alone  confronting  Germany,  w^hich  was 

^^titral  or  had  rallied  round  the  restored  empire.     On  the  13th  of 

^^X^tember,   the   grand    duke   of  Tuscany    had   been   proclaimed 

^'^iperor   at  Frankfurt   under  the  name  of  Francis  I.     The  in- 

d^^niitable  resolution  of  the  queen  his  wife  had  triumphed ;  in  spite 

**^  the  checks  she  suffered  in  the  Low  Countries,  Maria  Theresa 

*^^l!  withstood,  at  all  points ^  the  pacific  advances  of  the  belligerents. 


122  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  Lll. 

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

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

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

Charles  Edward  had  followed  this  audacious  counsel.     Landing 


Chaf.  LIL]  LOUIS  XV,,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  125 

in     June,  1745,  in  the  Higb lands  of  Scotland,  he  had  soon  found 

tlio  clans  of  the  mountaineers  hurrying  to  join  his  standard.     At 

tbo  head  of  this  wild  army,  he  had  in  a  few  months  gained  over 

th^     whole   of    Scotland.     On    the   20th   of   September   he   was 

pr*oc:laimed  at  Edinburgh  regent  of  England,  France,  Scotland  and 

l¥*el»Dd   for   his   father   king   Jaraes   III.     George   11,   had    left 

fli^nover ;    the  duke  of   Cumberland,   returning  from  Germany, 

took  the  command  of  the  troops  assembled  to  oppose  the  invader. 

17 heir  success  in  the  battle  of  Preston-Pans  against  General  Cope 

k^MJ^  emboldened  the  Scots;  at  the  end  of  December,  1745,  Prince 

Clio^les  Edward  and  his  army  had  advanced  as  far  as  Derby* 

It  was  the  fate  of  the  Stuarts,  whether  heroes  or  dastards,  to 

ft^^    their  hopes  blasted  all  at  once  and  to  drag  down  in  their  fall 

tlxesir   most   zealous   and   devoted   partisans.     The  aid,  so  often 

pr^eixmised  by  France  and  Spain,  had  dwindled  down  to  the  private 

ex:  j>edition8  of  certain  brave  adventurers.     The  duke  of  Richelieu, 

it*      ^w^as   said,  was   to   put   himself   at   their   head.     "As   to   the 

e^abarkation  at  DunkerquCi"  writes  the  advocate  Barbier  at  the 

close  of  the  year  1745,  '*  there  is  great  anxiety  about  it,  for  we 

a^r^  at  the  end  of  December,  and  it  is  not  yet  done,  which  gives 

e^ery  one  occasion  to  make  up  news  according  to  his  fancy.     This 

^ttcertainty  discourages  the  Frenchman,  who  gives  out  that  our 

©^cpedition  will  not  take  place  or,  at  any  rate,  wiU  not  succeed/' 

Gli^^lgg    Edward    had    already   been    forced   to   fall   back   upon 

Sootland.     As  in  1651,  at  the  time  of  the  attempt  of  Charles  II., 

*^^  gland   remained   quite  cold    in   the   presence  of  the  Scottish 

^  Evasion  ;  the  duke  of  Cumberland  was  closely  pressing  the  army 

^^   the  mountaineers.     On  the  23rd  of  April,  1746,  the  foes  found 

^Hemselves  face  to  face  at  Cullodeu,  in  the  environs  of  Inverness, 

» Charles   Edward   wag   completely  beaten   and   the  army  of   the 
Highlanders  destroyed ;    the  prince  only  escaped  either  death  or 
^ptivity  by  the  det^^rmined  devotion  of  his  partisans,  whether 
^distinguished  or  obscure ;  a  hundred  persons  had  risked  their  lives 
■  lor  him,  when  he  finally  succeeded,  on  the   10th  of  October,  in 
touching  land,  in  Brittany,  near  St.  Pol  de  L^on.     His  friends  and 
Ik  defenders  were  meanwhile  dying  for  his  cause  on  scaffold  or 


126  HISTORY   OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LH- 

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

The  battle  of  October  11th  left  the  battle-field  in  the  hands  of 
the  victors,  the  sole  result  of  a  bloody  and  obstinate  engagement. 
Marshal  Saxe  went  to  rest  himself  at  Paris;  the  people's  enthusiasm 
rivalled  and  endorsed  the  favours  shown  to  him  by  the  king.  At 
the  opera,  the  whole  house  rose  at  the  entrance  of  the  valiant 
foreigner  who  had  dedicated  his  life  to  France ;  there  was  clapping 
of  hands,  and  the  actress  who  in  the  prologue  took  the  character 
of  Glory  leaned  over  towards  the  marshal  with  a  crown  of  laurel. 
"  The  marshal  was  surprised  and  refused  it  with  profound  bows. 
Glory  insisted,  and,  as  the  marshal  was  too  far  off  in  the  boxes  for 
her  to  hand  it  to  him,  the  duke  of  Biron  took  the  crown  from 
Glory's  hands  and  passed  it  under  Marshal  Saxe's  left  arm.  This 
striking  action  called  forth  fresh  acclamations :  '  Hurrah !  for 
Marshal  Saxe !'  and  great  clapping  of  hands.  The  king  has  given 
the  marshal  Chambord  for  life,  and  has  even  ordered  it  to  be 
furnished.  Independently  of  all  these  honours,  it  is  said  that  the 
marshal  is  extremely  rich  and  powerful  just  now,  solely  as  the 
result   of  his   safe-conducts,  which,  being   applicable   to    a    C5on- 


Cfm^.  hlL]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  127 

siderable  extent  of  country^  have  been  worth  immense  sums  to 
him."  The  second  mamage  of  the  dauphinj  who  had  ah'eady 
lo3t  the  Infantaj  with  the  princess  of  Saxony,  daughter  of  the 
king  of  Poland,  was  about  to  raise,  before  long,  the  fortune  and 
fsM.^^ronv  of  Marshal  Saxe  to  the  highest  pitch :  he  was  proclaimed 
j_ma.Tsbal-general  of  the  king's  armies. 

W       sSo  umek  luck  mid  so  viuch  glory  in  the  Low  Countries  covered, 
in   the  eyes  of  France  and  of  Europe,  the  checks  encountered  by 
tlio  king's  armies  in  Italy,     The  campaign  of  1745  had  been  very 
brilliant,     Parma,  Piacenza,  Montferrat,  nearly  all  Milaness,  with 
th©  exception  of  a  few  fortresses,  were  in  the  hands  of  the  Spanish 
and  French  forces.     The  king  of  Sardinia  had  recourse  to  nego- 
tiation ;  he  amused  the  marquis  of  Argenson,  at  that  time  Louis 
XV, *s  foreign  minister,  a  man  of  honest,  expansive,  but  chimerical 
views.     At  the  moment  when  the  king  and  the  marquis  behoved 
themselves  to  be  remodelHng  the  map  of  Europe  at  their  pleasure, 
they  heard  that  Charles  Emmanuel  had  resumed  the  offensive,     A 
French  corps  had  been  surprised  at  Asti,  on  the  5th  of  March ; 
tliiHy  thousand  Austrians  marched  down  from  the  Tyrol,  and  the 
f  Spaniards  evacuated  Milan.     A  series  of  checks  forced  Marshal 
Matllebois  to  effect  a  retreat ;  the  enemy's  armies  crossed  the  Var 
Ami  invaded  French  territory.      Marshal  Belle-Isle  fell  back  to 

■  **^get,  four  leagues  from  Toulon. 

'        The  Austrians  had  occupied  Genoa,  the  faithful  ally  of  France : 
their  vengefulness  and  their  severe  exactions  caused  them  to  lose 

■  the  fruits  of  their  victory.     The  grandees  were  ruined  by  war- 
I  l^nisitions;  the  populace  were  beside  themselves  at  the  insolence 

of  the  conquerors;  senators  and  artisans  made  common  cause. 
An  Austrian  captain  having  struck  a  workman,  the  passengers  in 
^lie  streets  threw  themselves  upon  him  and  upon  his  comrades 
^'hocame  to  his  assistance;  the  insurrection  spread  rapidly  in  all 
qiiarters  of  Genoa;  there  was  a  pillage  of  the  weapons  lying 
Wped  in  the  palace  of  the  Doges;  the  senators  put  themselves  at 
fthehead  of  the  movement ;  the  peasants  in  the  country  flew  to  arms. 
TW  marquis  of  Botta,  the  Austrian  commandant,  being  attacked 
on  all  sides  and  too  weak  to  resist,  sallied  from  the  town  with 
nine  regiments.     The  allies,  disquieted  and  dismayed,  threatened 


128  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chak  LIL 

Provence  and  laid  siege  to  Genoa.  Louis  XV.  felt  the  necessity 
of  not  abandoning  his  ally;  the  duke  of  Boufflers  and  six  thousand 
French  shut  themselves  up  in  the  place.  "  Show  me  the  danger," 
the  general  had  said  on  entering  the  town,  "it  is  my  duty  to 
ascertain  it ;  I  shall  make  all  my  glory  depend  upon  securing  you 
from  it."  The  resistance  of  Genoa  was  effectual ;  but  it  cost  the 
life  of  the  duke  of  Boufflers,  who  was  wounded  in  an  engagement 
and  died  three  days  before  the  retreat  of  the  Austrians,  on  the 
6th  of  July,  1747. 

On  the  19th  of  July,  Common  Sense  Belle-Isle  (Bon-Sensde  Belle- 
Isle),  as  the  Chevalier  was  called  at  court  to  distinguish  him  from 
his  brother  the  marshal,  nicknamed  Imagwation^  attacked  with  a 
considerable  body  of  troops  the  Piedmontese  intrenchments  at  the 
Assietta  Pass,  between  the  fortresses  of  Bxilles  and  Fenestrelles ;  at 
the  same  time.  Marshal  Belle-Isle  was  seeking  a  passage  over  the 
Stura  Pass,  and  the  Spanish  army  was  attacking  Piedmont  by  way 
of  the  Apennines.  The  engagement  at  the  heights  of  Assietta  was 
obstinate;  Chevalier  Belle-Isle,  wounded  in  both  arms,  threw  himself 
bodily  upon  the  palisades  to  tear  them  down  with  his  teeth  ;  he  was 
killed,  and  the  French  sustained  a  terrible  defeat ;  five  thousand 
men  were  left  on  the  battle-field.  The  campaign  of  Italy  was 
stopped.  The  king  of  Spain,  Philip  V.,  enfeebled  and  exhausted 
almost  in  infancy,  had  died  on  the  9th  of  July,  1746.  The  fidelity 
of  his  successor,  Ferdinand  VI.,  married  to  a  Portuguese  princess, 
appeared  doubtful ;  he  had  placed  at  the  head  of  his  forces  in  Italy 
the  marquis  of  Las  Minas,  with  orders  to  preserve  to  Spain  her 
only  army.  "  The  Spanish  soldiers  are  of  no  more  use  to  us  than 
if  they  were  so  much  cardboard,"  said  the  French  troops.  Europe 
was  tired  of  the  war.  England  avenged  herself  for  her  reverses 
upon  the  Continent  by  her  successes  at  sea ;  the  French  navy, 
neglected  systematically  by  Cardinal  Fleury,  did  not  even  suffice 
for  the  protection  of  commerce.  The  Hollanders,  who  had  for  a 
long  while  been  undecided  and  had  at  last  engaged  in  the  struggle 
against  France  without  any  declaration  of  war,  bore,  in  1747,  the 
burthen  of  the  hostilities.  Count  Lowendahl,  a  friend  of  Marshal 
Saxe's,  and,  like  him,  in  the  service  of  France,  had  taken  Sluys  and 
Sas-de-Gand ;  Bergen-op-Zoom  was  besieged ;  on  the  1st  of  July, 


CiiiP.LIL]  LOXnS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OF  CARDINAL  FLEURY.  129 

Marshal  Saxe  had  gained,  under  the  king's  own  eye,  the  battle  of 
Lawfeldt.  As  in  1672,  the  French  invasion  had  been  the  signal 
for  a  political  revolution  in  Holland ;  the  aristoeratical  burgessdom, 
.which  had  resumed  power,  succumbed  once  more  beneath  the 
efforts  of  the  popular  party,  directed  by  the  House  of  Nassau  and 
supported  by  England.  "  The  republic  has  need  of  a  chief  against 
an  ambitious  and  perfidious  neighbour  who  sports  with  the  faith  of 
treaties,"  said  a  deputy  of  the  Stat^s-general  on  the  day  of  the 
proclamation*  of  the  stadtholderate,  re-established  in  favour  of 
Wilham  IV.,  grand-nephew  of  the  great  William  III.,  and  son-in- 
law  of  the  king  of  England,  George  II.  Louis  XV.  did  not  let 
himself  be  put  out  by  this  outburst.  "  The  Hollanders  are  good 
folks,"  he  wrote  to  Marshal  Noailles :  "  it  is  said,  however,  that 
they  are  going  to  declare  war  against  us  :  they  will  lose  quite  as 
much  as  we  shall." 

Bergen-op-Zoom  was  taken  and  plundered  on  the  16th  of  Sep- 
tember.    Count  Lowendahl  was  made  a  marshal  of  France.  *'  Peace 
is  in  Maastricht,  Sir,"  was  Maurice  of  Saxony's  constant  remark  to 
the  king.    On  the  9th  of  April,  1748,  the  place  was  invested,  before 
the  thirty-five  thousand  Russians,  promised  to  England  by  the 
Czarina  Elizabeth,  had  found  time  to  make  their  appearance  on  the 
Rhine.     A  congress  was  already  assembled  at  Aix-la-Chapelle  to 
treat  for  peace.     The  Hollanders,  whom  the  marquis  of  Argenson 
before  his  disgrace  used  always  to  call  "  the  ambassadors  of  Eng- 
land," took  fright  at  the  spectacle  of  Maestricht  besieged;  from 
parleys  they  proceeded  to  the  most  vehement  urgency ;  and  Eng- 
land yielded.     The  preliminaries  of  peace  were  signed  on  the  30th 
of  April ;  it  was  not  long  before  Austria  and  Spain  gave  in  their 
adhesion.     On  the  18th  of  October  the  definitive  treaty  was  con- 
cluded at  Aix-la-Chapelle.     France   generously  restored   all   her 
conquests,  without  claiming  other  advantages  beyond  the  assurance 
of  the  duchies  of  Parma  and  Piacenza  to  the  Infante  Don  Philip, 
son-in-law .  of   Louis  XV.     England   surrendered   to  France  the 
island  of  Cape  Breton  and  the  colony  of  Louisbourg,  the  only 
territory  she  had  preserved  from  her  numerous  expeditions  against 
the  French  colonies  and  from  the  immense  losses  inflicted  upon 
Trench  commerce.     The  Great  Frederic  kept  Silesia ;  the  king  of 

VOL.   v.  K 


130 


HISTORY  OP  FRANCE. 


[ChakLI 


Sardinia  the  territoi'ies  already  ceded  by  Austria*  Only  Franc 
had  raade  great  conquests  ;  and  only  she  retained  no  increment  < 
teiTitory.  She  recognized  the  Pragmatic  Sanction  in  favour  < 
Austria  and  the  Protestant  succession  in  favour  of  George  I 
Prince  Charles  Edward,  a  refugee  in  Prance,  refused  to  quit  tl 
hospitable  soil  which  had  but  lately  offered  so  magnificent  s 
asylum  to  the  unfortunates  of  his  house ;  he  was,  howeveri  carri€ 


KJb^^ 


A^'%f- 


noV^  - 


^  1 


iKmsrr  av  cnAmxBS  ibwi^id. 


off,  whilst  at  the  Opera,  forced  into  a  carriage,  and  conveyed 
from  the  frontier.     **  As   stupid  as  the  peace ! "   was  the  bitt-- 
saying  in  the  streets  of  Paris, 

The  peace  of  Aix-la-ChapeUe  had  a  graver  defect  than  that  * 
feiiitlessness  ;  it  was  not  and  could  not  be  durable.  EnglMid  wl 
excited,  ambitious  of  that  complete  empire  of  the  sea  which  st 
had  begun  to  build  up  upon  the  ruins  of  the  French  navy  amd  til 
decay  of  Holland,  and  greedy  of  distant  conquests  over  wloaic 


Chap.  LH.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  MINISTRY  OP  CARDINAL  FLEURT.  131 

which  the  French  could  not  manage  to  defend.  In  proportion  as 
the  old  influence  of  Richelieu  and  of  Louis  XIV.  over  European 
policy  became  weaker  and  weaker,  English  influence,  founded  upon 
the  growing  power  of  a  free  country  and  a  free  government,  went 
on  increasing  in  strength.  Without  any  other  ally  but  Spain, 
herself  wavering  in  her  fidelity,  the  French  remained  exposed  to 
the  attempts  of  England,  henceforth  delivered  from  the  phantom 
of  the  Stuarts.  •^The  peace  concluded  between  England  and 
France  in  1748  was,  as  regards  Europe,  nothing  but  a  truce," 
says  Lord  Macaulay  :  "  it  was  not  even  a  truce  in  other  quarters 
of  the  globe."  The  mutual  rivalry  and  mistrust  between  the  two 
nations  began  to  show  themselves  everywhere,  in  the  East  as  well 
as  in  the  West,  in  India  as  well  as  in  America. 


K  2 


.*-'-- 


CHAPTER  LIII. 


LOUIS  XV.,  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES  (1745—1763). 

* 

i  RANGE  was  already  begiDTiing  to  perceive  her  sudden 
abasement  in  Europe ;  tbe  defaults  of  her  generals  as 
well  as  of  her  government  sometimes  struck  the  king 
himself;  he  threw  the  blame  of  it  on  tlie  barrenness  of  his  times : 
**  This  ago  is  not  fruitful  in  great  men/'  be  wrote  to  Marshal 
Noailles ;  "  you  know  that  we  miss  subjects  for  all  objects,  and 
you  have  one  before  your  eyes  in  the  case  of  the  army  which 
certainly  impresses  me  more  than  any  other.*'  Thus  spoke 
Louis  XV.  on  the  eve  of  the  battle  of  Fontenny ;  Marshal  Saxa 
was  about  to  confer  upon  the  French  arms  a  transitoiy  lustre;  but 
the  kingj  who  loaded  him  with  riches  and  honours,  never  forgot 
that  he  was  not  his  born  subject.  "  I  allow  that  Count  Saxe  is 
the  best  officer  to  command  that  we  have/*  he  would  say ;  **  but 
he  is  a  huguenot,  he  wants  to  be  supreme,  and  he  is  alw: 
that,  if  he  is  thwarted,  h©^ 
zeal  for  France?  I 
like  him/' 

The    king    [kissj 


kv     4  ti^t  L 


Cm^A^'  LIIL] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


133 


7\£^o  hidie^i   as    the   expression   then   was,   faithful   servants   of 

France,    passionately   zealous    for    her    glory,    "  aiming    high," 

amlitious   or   disinterested,   able    politicians   or   heroic   pioneers, 

IsH    ready  to  sacrifice  botli  property  and  life  for  the  honour  and 

'  po^irer  of  their  country  :  it  is  time  to  show  how  La  Bourdonnais, 

Diipleix,    Bussy,   Lally-Tolendal   were   treated    in    India;    what 

assistance,    what   guidance,  what   encouragement   the   Canadians 

and  their  illustrious  chiefs  received  from  France,  beginning  with 

Ghamplain,  one  of  the  founders  of  the  colony,  and  ending  with 

Kontoalm,  its    latest  defender.     It   is  a  painful  but  a  salutary 

spectacle  to  see  to  what  meannesses  a  sovereign  and  a  government 

may  find  themselves  reduced  through  a  weak  complaisance  towards 

the  foreigner,  in  the  feverish  desire  of  putting  an  end  to  a  war 

Mvolously  undertaken  and  feebly  conducted, 

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

More  than  a  hundred  years  previously,  at  the  outset  of 
Losiis  XIV/s  personal  reign  and  through  the  persevering  efforts 
^f  Colbert  marching  in  the  footsteps  of  Cardinal  RichelieUj  an 
India  Company  had  been  founded  for  the  purpose  of  developing 
Pitnch  commerce  in  those  distant  regions,  which  had  always  been 
shrouded  in  a  mysterious  halo  of  fancied  wealth  and  grandeur. 
S-ereraJ  times  the  Company  had  all  but  perished ;  it  had  revived 
^der  the  vigorous  impulse  communicated  by  Law  and  had  not 
succumbed  at  the  collapse  of  his  system.  It  gave  no  money 
ireholdcrs,  who  derived  their  benefits  only  from  a  partial 


13t  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LHI. 

concession  of  the  tobacco  revenues,  granted  by  the  king  to  the 
Company,  but  its  directors  lived  a  life  of  magnificence  in  the  East, 
where  they  were  authorized  to  trade  on  th,eir  own  account. 
Abler  and  bolder  than  all  his  colleagues,  Joseph  Dupleix, 
member  of  a  Gascon  family  and  son  of  the  comptroller-general 
of  Hainault,  had  dreamed  of  other  destinies  than  the  management 
of  a  counting-house ;  he  aspired  to  endow  France  with  th^  empire 
of  India.  Placed  at  a  very  early  age  at  the  head  of  the  French 
establishments  at  Chandernuggur,  he  had  improved  the  city  and 
constructed  a  fleet,  all  the  while  acquiring  for  himself  an  immense 
fortune ;  he  had  just  been  sent  to  Pondicherry  as  governor-general 
of  the  Company's  agencies,  when  the  war  of  succession  to  the 
empire  broke  out  in  1742.  For  a  long  time  past  Dupleix  and  his 
wife,  who  was  called  in  India  Princess  Jane^  had  been  silently 
forming  a  vast  network  of  communications  and  correspondence 
which  kept  them  acquainted  with  the  innumerable  intrigues  of  all 
the  petty  native  courts.  Madame  Dupleix,  a  Creole,  brought  up  in 
India,  understood  all  its  dialects.  Her  husband  had  been  the  first 
to  conceive  the  idea  of  that  policy  which  was  destined  before  long 
to  deliver  India  to  the  English,  his  imitators;  mingling  every- 
where in  the  incessant  revolutions  which  were  hatching  all  about 
him,  he  gave  the  support  of  France  at  one  time  to  one  pretender 
and  at  another  to  another,  relying  upon  the  discipline  of  the 
European  troops  and  upon  the  force  of  his  own  genius  for 
securing  the  ascendancy  to  his  protege  of  the  moment :  thus  in- 
creasing little  by  Kttle  French  influence  and  dominion  throughout 
all  the  Hindoo  territory.  Accustomed  to  dealing  with  the  native 
princes,  he  had  partially  adopted  their  ways  of  craft  and  violence ; 
more  concerned  for  his  object  than  about  the  means  of  obtaining 
it,  he  had  the  misfortune,  at  the  outset  of  the  contest,  to  clash 
with  another  who  was  ambitious  for  the  glory  of  France,  and  as 
courageous  but  less  able  a  politician  than  he ;  their  rivalry,  their 
love  of  power  and  their  inflexible  attachment  to  their  own  ideas, 
under  the  direction  of  a  feeble  government,  thenceforth  stamped 
upon  the  relations  of  the  two  great  European  nations  in  India  a 
regrettable  character  of  duplicity :  all  the  splendour  and  all  the 
efforts  of  Dupleix's  genius  could  never  efface  it. 


Chap.  LUL]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  135 

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


136  HISTORY  OF  FBANCE.  [Chip.  LIII; 

prosperous,  before  giving  over  the  place  to  the  Nabob.     Months 
rolled  by  and  the  French  remained  alone  at  Madras. 

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

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

Meanwhile  Dupleix  grew  greater  and  greater,  every  day  more 


Chap.  LIH.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES, 


137 


powerful  and  more  daring.  The  English  had  not  forgotten  the 
affair  of  Madras.  On  the  30th  of  August,  1748,  Admiral  Boscawen 
went  and  laid  siege  to  Pondicherry  ;  stopped  at  the  outset  by  the 
fort  of  Ariocapang,  of  the  existence  of  whic4i  they  were  ignorant, 
the  disembarked  troops  could  not  push  their  trenches  beyond  an 
impassable  morass  which  protected  the  town.  The  fire  of  the 
fliege-artillery  scarcely  reached  the  ramparts;    the  sallies  of  the 


^^ 


i'l 


W-M 


4.'  :^' 


l^fMf'-^:'^       "-' 


■f. 


LA    BOUBJ>0?(H4Ji. 


wsieged  intercepted  the  communications  between  the  camp  and 
''le  squadron  which,  on  its  side,  was  bombarding  the  walls  of 
I^MicheiTy  without  any  serious  result.  Dupleix  himself  com- 
'^tjded  the  French  batteries;  on  the  6th  of  October  he  was 
bounded,  and  his  place  on  the  ramparts  was  taken  by  Madame 
"opfeir,  seconded  by  her  future  son-in-laWj  M.  de  Bussy-Castelnau, 
^pleir*s  military  Ueutenant,  animated  by  the  same  zeal  for  the 


1S8 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LIIl. 


greatness  of  France,  The  fire  of  the  English  redoubled;  but 
there  was  laughter  in  Pondicherry,  for  the  balls  did  not  carry  so 
far ;  and  on  the  20th  of  October,  after  forty  days'  siege,  Admiral 
Boscawen  put  to  sea  again,  driven  far  away  from  the  coasts  by  the 
eame  tempests  which  two  years  before  had  compelled  La  Bour* 
donnais  to  quit  Madras-  Twice  had  Dupleix  been  served  in  his 
designs  by  the  winds  of  autumn.  The  peace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle 
came  to  put  an  end  to  open  war  between  the  Europeans ;  at  th& 
French  establishments  in  the  Indies  the  Te  Deum  was  sung ; 
Dupleix  alone  was  gloomy,  despite  the  riband  of  St,  Louis  and  the 
title  of  marquis  recently  granted  him  by  King  Louis  XV, :  he  had 
been  obliged  to  restore  Madras  to  the  English, 

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

These  small  armies  were  costly  and  diminished  to  a  considerable 
extent  the  profits  of  trade,  Dupleix  espied  the  possibility  of  a 
new  organization  which  should  secure  to  the  French  in  India  the 
preponderance,  and  ere  long  the  empire  even,  in  the  two  peninsulas. 
He  purposed  to  found  manufactures,  utilise  native  hand-labour  and 
develope  the  coasting-trade  or  hid  to  Ind  trade  as  the  expressioiu 
then  was ;  but  he  set  his  pretensions  still  higher  and  carried  bi^ 
views  still  further*  He  purposed  to  acquire  for  the  Company  and  ^ 
under  its  name,  for  France  territories  and  subjects  furnishini 
revenues  and  amply  sufficing  for  the  expenses  of  the  commerci»-l| 
establishments.  The  moment  was  propitious  ;  the  ancient  empir^^ 
of  the  Great  Mogul  tottering  to  its  base  was  distracted  by  revel «-  -^ 
tions,  all  the  chops  and  changes  whereof  ^  ere  attentively  followe^3i 


Chap,  LIIL]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.         ^^"        139 

bj  Madame  Dupleix;  two  contested  successions  opened  up  at 
once,  tlioso  of  the  vice-roy  or  soudhabar  of  the  Doccan  and  of  his 
Tassal  the  nabob  of  the  Carnatic,  The  Great  Mogul,  nominal 
sovereign  of  all  the  States  of  India^  confined  himself  to  selling  to 
aU  the  pretenders  decrees  of  investiture  without  taking  any  other 
part  in  the  contest.  Dupleix,  on  the  contraiy^  engaged  in  it 
a^dentl3^  He  took  sides  in  the  Deccan  for  Murzapha  Jung  and  in 
the  Carnatic  for  Tchunda  Sahib  against  their  rivals  supported  by 
the  Bnglish,  Versed  in  all  the  resources  of  Hindoo  pohoy,  he  had 
negotiated  an  alliance  between  his  two  prot^g^s ;  both  marched 
against  the  nabob  of  the  Carnatic.  He,  though  a  hundred  and 
seven  years  old,  was  at  the  head  of  his  army,  mounted  on  a 
magnificent  elephant.  He  espied  in  the  melley  his  enemy  Tchunda 
Bahib  and  would  have  darted  upon  him  ;  but,  whilst  his  slaves 
were  urging  on  the  huge  beast^  the  little  French  battalion  sent  by 
Dupleix  to  the  aid  of  his  allies  marched  upon  the  nabob,  a  ball 
struck  him  to  the  heart  and  he  fell.  The  same  evening  Murzapha 
Jung  was  proclaimed  soudhabar  of  the  Deccan  and  he  granted  the 
principality  of  the  Carnatic  to  Tchunda  Sahib,  at  the  same  time 
reserving  to  the  French  Company  a  vast  territory* 

Some  months  rolled  by,  full  of  vicissitudes  and  sudden  turns  of 

fortune.     Murzapha  Jung,  at  first  victorious  and  then  vanquished 

by  his  uncle  Nazir  Jung,  everywhere  dragged  at  his  heels  as  a 

hostage  and  a  trophy  of  his  triumph,  had  found  himself  delivered  by 

an  insurrection  of  the  Patanian  chiefs,  AfFghans  by  origin,  settled 

in  the  south  of  India.     The  head  of  Nazir  Jung  had  come  rolling 

at  Ids  feet.     For  a   while    besieged    in    Pondicherry,   but   still 

negotiating  and  everywhere  mingling  in  intrigues  and  conspiracies, 

Dupleix  was  now  triumphant  with  his  ally  ;  the  soudhabar  of  the 

Beccan  made  his  entry  in  state  upon  French  territory,    Pondicherry 

^as  in  holiday  trim  to   receive   him,     Dupleix,   dressed   in   the 

niagnificent  costume  of  the  Hindoo  princes,  had  gone  with  his 

troops  to  meet  him*     Both  entered  the  town  in  the  same  palanquin 

to  the  sound  of  native  cymbals  and  the  military  music  of  the 

French.     A  throne  awaited    the   soudhabar,  surrounded  by   the 

Affghan  chiefs  who   were   already  claiming  the  reward  of  their 

slices.     The  Hindoo  prince  needed  the  aid  of  France  ;  he  knew 


MO 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LUI. 


it,  he  prockmied  Dupleix  nabob  of  all  the  provinces  to  the  south 
of  the  river  Krischna.  Tchunda  Sahib,  but  lately  his  ally,  became 
his  vassal — "  the  vassal  of  Fraxice,"  murmured  Madame  Dupleix, 
when  she  heard  of  this  splendid  recompenso  for  so  many  public 
and  private  sendees.  The  ability  and  indomitable  bravery  of 
M.  de  Bussy  soon  extended  the  French  conquests  in  the  Deccan. 
Murzapha  Jung  had  just  been  assassinated  at  the  head  of  his  army ; 
Bussy  proclaimed  and  supported  a  new  soudhabar,  who  was 
friendly  to  the  French  and  who  ceded  to  them  five  provinces,  of 
which  the  large  town  of  Masulipatara^  already  in  French  hands, 
became  the  capital.  A  third  of  India  was  obedient  to  Dujileix ; 
the  Great  Mognl  sent  him  a  decree  of  investiture  and  demanded 
of  the  Princess  Jane  the  hand  of  her  youngest  daughter,  promised 
to  M.  de  Bussy.  Dupleix  well  knew  the  frailty  of  human  affairs 
and  the  dark  intrigues  of  Hindoo  courts ;  he  breathed  freely, 
however,  for  he  was  on  his  guard  and  the  dream  of  his  life  seemed 
to  be  accomplished*  "  The  empire  of  France  is  founded/'  he 
would  say* 

He  reckoned  without  Finance,  and  without  the  incompetent  or 

timid  men  who  governed  her*     The  successes  of  Dupleix  scared 

King  Louis  XV.  and  his  feeble  ministers  ;  they  angered  and  dis- 

comfited  England,  which  was  as  yet  tottering  in  India,  and  whoa 

afiairs  there  had  for  a  long  while  been  ill  managed,  but  whic 

remained   ever   vigorous,    active,    animated   by   the   iudomitabW 

ardour  of  a  free  people.     At  Versailles  attempts  were  made 

lessen  the  conquests  of  Dupleix,  prudence  was  recommended 

him,  delay  was  shown  in  sending  him  the  troops  he  demanded* 

In   India   England   had   at   last   found   a   man   still   young  and 

iinknown,  but  worthy  of  being  opposed  to  Dupleix,     Clive,  who 

had  almost  in  boyhood  entered  the  Company's  offices,  turned  out, 

after  the  turbulence  of  his  early  years,  a  heaven-born  general ; 

he   was  destined  to  continue   Dupleix's  work,  when  abandone 

by  France*  and  to  found  to  the  adv^antage  of  the  English  that! 

European   dominion  in  India  which   had   been   the   governor 

Pondicherry*s  dream.     The  war  still  continued  in  the  Carnati 

Mahomet  All,  Tchunda  Sahib's  rival,  had  for  the  last  six  months 

boon  besieged  in  TrichinopoU ;  the  English  had  several  times,  but 


CaAK  LIILl 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


148 


\m  vain,  attempted  to  effect  the  raising  of  the  siege;   Clive,  who 

|iad  recently  entered  the  Company's  army,  was  for  saving  the  last 

p^fuge  of  Mahomet  AH  by  a  bold  diversion  against  Arcot,  the 

; capital  of  the  Camatic,     To  liim  was  given  the  command  of  the 

[expedition  he  had  suggested.     In  the  month  of  September,  1751, 

he  made  himself  master  of  Arcot  by  a  surprise.     The   Hindoo 

'populations  left  to  themselves  passed  almost  without  resistance 

(from  one  master  to  another  ;  the  Europeans  did  not  signalize  by 

the  infliction  of  punishment  the  act  of  taking  possession*     Clive 

I  was  before  long  attacked  in  Arcot  by  Tchunda  Sahib,  who  was 

supported  by  a  French  detachment*     Ho  was  not  in  a  position  to 

;Jiold  the  town,  so  he  took  refuge  in  the  fort,  and  there,  for  fifty 

idays,  withstood  all  the  efforts  of  his   enemies*     Provisions   fell 

phort  ■  every  day  the  rations  were  becoming  more  insufficient ;  but 

fCHive  had  managed  to  implant  in  his  soldiers'  hearts  the  heroic 

■resolution  which  animated  him,     "Give  the  rice  to  the  Eno^lish  " 

said  the  sepoys  ;  **  we  will  be  content  with  the  water  in  which  it 

is  boiled/'     A  body  of  Mahrattas^  allies  of  the  Englishj  came  to 

I  raise  the  siege ;  Clive  pursued  the  French  on  their  retreat,  twice 

I  defeated  Tchunda  Sahib,  and,  at  last  effecting  a  junction  with  the 

govemor*general  Lawrence,  broke  the  investment  of  Trichinopoli, 

and  released  Mahomet  Ali.     Tchunda  Sahib,  in  his  turn  shut  up 

in  Tcheringham,  was  delivered  over  to  his  rival  by  a  Tanjore 

chieftain   in  whom  he  trusted ;  he  was  put  to  death  ;   and  the 

French   commandant,  a   nephew    of  Law's,   surrendered   to   the 

Eoglish.     Two  French  corps  had  already  been  destroyed  by  Clive, 

who  held  the  third  army  prisoners.     Bussy  was  carrying  on  war 

in  the  Deccan,  with  great  difficulty  making  head  against  overt 

I    hostilities  and  secret  intrigues.     The  report  of  Dupleix's  reverses 

'    OTiYed  in  France  in  the  month  of  September,  1752. 

The  dismay  at  Versailles  was  great,  and  prevailed  over  the 
astonishment.  There  had  never  been  any  confidence  in  Dupleix's 
pt^ectB,  there  had  been  scarcely  any  belief  in  his  conquests.  The 
>ft4earted  inertness  of  ministers  and  courtiers  was  almost  as 
nch  disgusted  at  the  successes  as  at  the  defeats  of  tlie  bold 
adventurers  who  were  attempting  and  risking  all  for  the  aggran- 
diiement  and  puissance  of  France  in  the  East.     Dupleix  secretly 


144  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LBtl. 

received  notice  to  demand  his  recall.  He  replied  by  proposing  to 
have  M.  de  Bussy  nominated  in  his  place.  "  Never  was  so  gprand 
a  fellow  as  this  Bussy  !"  he  wrote.  The  ministers  and  the  Com- 
pany cared  little  for  the  grandeur  of  Bussy  or  of  Dupleix ;  what 
they  sought  was  a  dastardly  security,  incessantly  troubled  by  the 
enterprises  of  the  politician  and  the  soldier.  The  tone  of  England 
was  more  haughty  than  ever,  in  consequence  of  Olive's  successes. 
The  recall  of  Dupleix  was  determined  upon. 

The  governor  of  Pondicherry  had  received  no  troops,  but  he 
had  managed  to  reorganize  an  army,  and  had  resumed  the  offen- 
sive in  the  Carnatic ;  Bussy,  set  free  at  last  as  to  his  movements 
in  the  Deccan,  was  preparing  to  rejoin  Dupleix.  Olive  was  ill  and 
had  just  set  out  for  England :  fortune  had  once  more  changed 
front.  The  open  conferences  held  with  Saunders,  English  governor 
of  Madras,  failed  in  the  month  of  January,  1754 ;  Dupleix  wished 
to  preserve  the  advantages  he  had.  won,  Saunders  refused  to  listen 
to  that ;  the  approach  of  a  French  squadron  wag  signalled.  The 
ships  appeared  to  be  numerous.  Dupleix  was  already  rejoicing  at 
the  arrival  of  unexpected  aid,  when,  instead  of  an  officer  com- 
manding the  twelve  hundred  soldiers  from  France,  he  saw  the 
apparition  of  M.  Godeheu,  one  of  the  directors  of  the  Oompany, 
and  but  lately  his  friend  and  correspondent.  "  I  come  to  super- 
sede you,  sir,"  said  the  now  arrival  without  any  circumstance; 
"  I  have  full  powers  from  the  Oompany  to  treat  with  the  English." 
The  cabinet  of  London  had  not  been  deceived  as  to  the  importance 
of  Dupleix  in  India ;  his  recall  had  been  made  the  absolute  con- 
dition of  a  cessation  of  hostilities.  Louis  XV.  and  his  ministers 
had  shown  no  opposition  ;  the  treaty  was  soon  concluded,  restoring 
the  possessions  of  the  two  Oompanies  within  the  limits  they  had 
occupied  before  the  war  of  the  Oarnatic,  with  the  exception  of "  the 
district  of  Masulipatam,  which  became  accessible  to  the  English. 
All  the  territories  ceded  by  the  Hindoo  princes  to  Dupleix  reverted 
to  their  former  masters ;  the  two  Oompanies  interdicted  one 
another  from  taking  any  part  in  the  interior  policy  of  India,  and 
at  the  same  time  forbade  their  agents  to  accept  from  the  Hindoo 
princes  any  charge,  honour  or  dignity ;  the  most  perfect  equality 
was  re-established  between  the  possessions  and  revenues  of  the 


Ceap.  LIII,] 


FBANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


1461 


two  groat  European  Dations,  rivaJd  ia  the  East  a^  well  as  in 
Europe;  England  gaye  up  some  petty  forts,  sooie  towns  of  no 
importance  J  France  ceded  the  empire  of  India*  Wlien  Godeheu 
fiigned  the  treaty,  Trichinopoli  was  at  last  on  the  point  of  giving 
in*  Bussy  was  furious j  and  would  have  quitted  the  Deecan,  which 
he  still  occupied,  but  Dupleix  constrained  him  to  remain  there; 
he  himself  embarked  for  France  with  his   wife  and   daughter, 


^^fei-    ;^Civat§^' 


leaving  in  India*  together  with  his  life's  work  destroyed  in  a  few 
days  by  the  poltroonery  of  his  couutiy's  government,  the  fortune 
he  had  acquired  during  his  great  enterprises,  .<pntirely  sunk  as  it 
was  in  the  service  of  France  ;  the  revenues  destined  to  cover  his 
advances  were  seized  by  Godeheu. 

France  seemed  to  comprehend  what  her  ministers  had  not  even 
an  idea  of ;  Dupleix*s  arrival  in  France  was  a  veritable  triumph. 
It  was  by  this  time  kuowTi  that  the  reverses  which  had  caused  so 

VOL,  V.  I* 


146  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIU. 

much  talk  had  been  half  repaired.  It  was  by  this  time  guessed 
how  infinite  were  the  resources  of  that  empire  of  India,  so  lightly 
and  mean-spiritedly  abandoned  to  the  English.  "  My  wife  and  1 
dare  not  appear  in  the  streets  of  Lorient,"  wrote  Dupleix,  "  because 
of  the  crowd  of  people  wanting  to  see  us  and  bless  us;"  the 
comptroller-general,  Herault  de  Sechelles,  as  well  as  the  king  and 
Madame  de  Pompadour,  then  and  for  a  long  while  the  reigning 
favourite,  gave  so  favourable  a  reception  to  the  hero  of  India  that 
Dupleix,  always  an  optimist,  conceived  fresh  hopes.  "  I  shall 
regain  my  property  here,"  he  would  say,  "  and  India  will  recover 
in  the  hands  of  Bussy." 

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

Despite  the  treaty  of  peace,  hostilities  had  never  really  ceased 
in  India.  Clive  had  returned  from  England;  freed  henceforth 
from  the  influence,  the  intrigues  and  the  indomitable  energy  of 


Chap,  LIII.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES, 


147 


Diipleix,  he  had  soon  made  himself  master  of  the  whole  of  Bengal, 

he  had  even  driven  the  French  from  Chandemuggiir ;  Bussy  had 

fieenimable  to  check  his  successes,  he  avenged  himself  by  wresting 

aivay  from  the  English  all  their  agencies  on  the  coast  of  Orissa, 

and  closing  against  them  the  road  between  the  Coromandel  coast 

aod  Bengal. 

Meanwhile  the  Seven  Years*  war  had  broken  out ;  the  whole 

of  Europe  had  joined  in  the  contest:  the  French  uavj,  still  feeble 

in  spite  of  the  efforts  that  had  been  made  to  restore  itj  underwent 

serious  reverses  on  every  sea.     Count  Lally^Tolendal,  descended 

from  an  Irish  family  which  took  refuge  in  France  with  James  II.j 

^w^ent  to  Count  d^Argenson,  still  minister  of  war,  with  a  proposition 

tci  go  and  humble  in  India  that  English  power  which  had  been 

iiiiprudently  left  to  grow  np  without  hindrance.     IL  de  Lally  had 

Served  with  renown  in  the  wars  of  Germany;  he  had  seconded 

r*rince  Charles  Edward  in  his  brave  and  yet  frivolous  attempt  upon 

England,     The  directors  of  the  India  Company  went  and  asked 

^X  d'ArgeTison  to   entrust   to  General    Lally   the   king's  troops 

J>Tomised  for  the  erpedition,     **  You  are  wrong,"  M,  d'Argenson 

^aid  to  them  :  "  I  know  M.  de  Lally,  he  is  a  friend  of  mine,  but  he 

is  violent,  passionate,  inflexible  as  to  discipline,  he  will  not  tolerate 

^i3j  disorder ;  you  will  be  setting  fire  to  your  warehouses,  if  you 

^^mi  him  thither***     The  directors,  however,  insisted,  and  M,  de 

l-ally  get  out  on  the  2nd  of  May,  1757,  with  four  ships  and  a  body 

<3f  troops.     Some  young  officers  belonging  to  the  greatest  houses 

of  France  served  on  his  staff, 

M.  de  Lally 's  passage  was  a  long  one;  the  English  reinforce- 
ments had  preceded  him  by  six  weeks.  On  arriving  in  India,  he 
iomi  the  arsenals  and  the  magazines  empty ;  the  establishment  of 
Pandicherry  alone  confessed  to  fourteen  millions  of  debt.  Mean- 
while the  enemy  was  pressing  at  all  points  upon  the  French  posses- 
sions*  Lally  marched  to  Gondelour  (Kaddalore),  which  he  carried 
on  the  sixth  day ;  he  shortly  afterwards  invested  Fort  St-  David, 
the  most  formidable  of  the  English  fortresses  in  India.  The  first 
assault  was  repulsed  ;  the  general  had  neither  cannon  nor  beasts 
of  burthen  to  draw  them.  He  hurried  off  to  Pondicherry  and  had 
the  natives  harnessed  to  the  artillery-trains,  taking  pell-mell  such 

h  2 


148  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  UII.^ 

men  as  fell  in  his  way  without  regard  for  rank  or  caste,  im^ 
prudently  wounding  the  prejudices  most  dear  to  the  country  he- 
had  come  to  govern.  Fort  St  David  was  taken  and  razed. 
Devicotah,  after  scarcely  the  ghost  of  a  siege,  opened  its  gates. 
Lally  had  been  hardly  a  month  in  India,  and  he  had  already  driven 
the  English  from  the  southern  coast  of  the  Coromandel.  **  All 
my  policy  is  in  these  five  words,  but  they  are  binding  as  an  oath  : 
no  English  in  the  peninsula,"  wrote  the  general.  He  had  sent. 
Bussy  orders  to  come  and  join  him  in  order  to  attack  Madras. 

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

Disorder  was  at  its  height  in  the  Company's  affairs ;  the  vast 
enterprises  commenced  by  Dupleix  required  success  and  conquests, 
but  they  had  been  abandoned  since  his  recall,  not  without  having 
engulphed  together  with  his  private  fortune  a  portion  of  the 
Company's  resources.  Lally  was  angered  at  being  every  moment 
shackled  for  want  of  money  :  he  attributed  it  not  only  to  the  ill- 
will  but  also  to  the  dishonesty  of  the  local  authorities.     He  wrote. 


I 


CnAP.LlII.] 


FRAI^CE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


149 


I 


io  1758,  to  M,  de  Lep^it,  governor  of  Pondicherrj:  **  Sir,  this 
letter  shall  be  an  eternal  secret  between  you  and  me,  if  you  furnish 
roe  with  the  means  of  terminating  my  enterprise,     I  left  you  a 
hundred  thousand  livres  of  my  owil  money  to  help  yon  to  meet 
the  expenditure  it  requires.     I   have   not  found  so   much   as   a 
hu  ndred  sous  in  your  purse  and  in  that  of  all  your  council^  you 
have  both  of  you  refused  to  let  me  employ  your  credit,     I,  how- 
ever, consider  you  to  be  all  of  you  under  more  obligation  to  the 
Company  than  I  am,  who  have  unfortunately  the  honour  of  no 
fai^her  acquaintance  with  it  than  to  the  extent  of  having  lost  half 
my  property  by  it  in  1720*     If  you  continue  to  leave  me  in  want 
oF  everything  and  exposed  to  the  necessity  of  presenting  a  front 
Io   the  general  discontent,  not  only  shall  I  inform  the  king  and 
the  Company  of  the  fine  zeal  testified  for  their  service  by  their 
employes  here,  but  I  shall  take  effectual  measures  for  not  being  at 
the  mercy,  during  the  short  stay  I  desire  to  make  in  this  country, 
of  the  party- spirit   and   personal   motives  by  which  I  see   that 
every  member  appears  to  be  actuated  to  the  risk  of  the  Company 
b  general/' 

In  the  midst  of  this  distress^  and  in  spite  of  this  ebullition, 
IL  de  Lajly  led  his  troops  up  in  front  of  Madras ;  he  made  himself 
coaster  of  the  Black  Town.     **  The  immense  plunder  taken  by  the 
*^toops,"  says  the  journal  of  an  officer  who  held  a  command^  under 
Count  Lally,  '*  had  introduced  abundance  amongst  them.     Huge 
stores  of  strong  hquors  led  to  drunkenness  and  all  the  evils  it 
generates-     The   situation   must  have  been  seen  to  be  believed, 
The  works  J  the  guards  in  the  trenches  were   aU   performed  by 
drunken  men.     The  regiment  of  Lorraine  alone  was  exempt  from 
this  plague,  but  the  other  corps  surpassed  one  another.     Hence 
scenes  of  the  most  shameful  kind  and  moat  destructive  of  subordi- 
nation  and  discipline,  the  details  of  which  confined  within  the 
Jimits  of  the  most  scrupulous  truthfulness  would  appear  a  monstrous 
exaggeration."     Lally  in  despair  wrote  to  his  friends  in  France: 
**  HeU  vomited  me  into  this  land  of  iniquities,  and  I  am  waiting 
like  Jonah  for  the  whale  that  shall  receive  me  in  its  belly/' 
The  attack  on  the  White  Town  and  on  Fort  St.   George  was 
-piiked ;  and  on  the  18th  of  February,  1759,  Lally  was  obliged  to 


150  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIIL 

raise  the  siege  of  Madras.  The  discord  which  reigned  in  the 
army  as  well  as  amongst  the  civil  functionaries  was  nowhere  nuM 
flagrant  than  between  Lally  and  Bussy.  The  latter  could  nok 
console  himself  for  having  been  forced  to  leave  the  Deccan  in  tbe 
feeble  hands  of  the  marquis  of  Oonflans.  An  expedition  attempted 
against  the  fortress  of  Wandiwash,  of  which  the  English  had 
obtained  possession,  was  followed  by  a  serious  defeat;  Colcniel 
Coote  was  master  of  Karikal.  Little  by  little  the  French  armj 
and  French  power  in  India  found  themselves  cooped  within  ,tli0 
immediate  territory  of  Pondicherry.  The  English  marched  agaiiut 
this  town.  Lally  shut  himself  up  there  in  the  month  of  Merely 
1760.  Bussy  had  been  made  prisoner,  and  Coote  had  sent  him  t9 
Europe.  "  At  the  head  of  the  French  army  Bussy  would  be  in  t 
position  by  himself  alone  to  prolong  the  war  for  ten  years," 
the  Hindoos.  On  the  27th  of  November,  the  siege  of  Pondicl 
was  transformed  into  an  investment. 

Lally  had  taken  all  the  precautions  of  a  good  generali  but  le 
had  taken  them  with  his  usual  harshness ;  he  had  driven  from  At 
city  all  the  useless  mouths  ;  1400  Hindoos,  old  men,  women.  flJJL, 
children,  wandered  for  a  week  between  the  English  camp  andl^^ 
ramparts  of  the  town,  dying  of  hunger  and  misery,  withojit  LiP|^ 
consenting  to  receive  them  back  into  the  place :  the  Englisk  -ti: 
last  allowed  them  to  pass.     The  most  severe  requisitions  had  beet 
ordered  to  be  made  on  all  the  houses  of  Pondicherry,  and  d|| 
irritation  was  extreme ;  the  hei'oic  despair  of  M.  de  Lallj  irH. 
continually  wringing  from  him  imprudent  expressions :  "  I  would 
rather  go  and   command  a  set  of  Caffres   than   remain   in  tinp- 
Sodom   which   the   English   fire,  in   default  of   Heaven's,  mod 
sooner  or  later  destroy,"  had  for  a  long  time  past  been  a  commai^ 
expression  of  the  general's,  whose  fate  was  henceforth  bound  vf 
with  that  of  Pondicherry. 

He  held  out  for  six  weeks,  in  spite  of  famine,  want  of  m( 
and  ever  increasing   dissensions.     A  tempest  had  caused 
havoc  to  the  English  squadron  which  was  out  at  sea ;  Lally 
waiting  and  waiting  for  the  arrival  of  M.  d'Ach^  with  the  1 
which  had  but  lately  sought  refuge  at  He  de  France  after  a  fresn 
reverse.     From  Paris,  on  the  report  of  an  attack  projected  by 


1 


CHAP.Lm.]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  138 

the  English  against  Bourbon  and  lie  de  France,  ministers  had 
given  orders  to  M.  d'Ach^  not  to  quit  those  waters.  Lally  and 
Pondicherry  waited  in  vain. 

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

Hatred  bears  bitterer  fruits  than  is  imagined  even  by  those  who 
provoke  it.  The  animosity  which  M.  de  Lally  had  excited  in 
India  was  everywhere  an  obstacle  to  the  defence;  and  it  was 
-destined  to  cost  him  his  life  and  imperil  his  honour.  Scarcely 
had  he  arrived  in  England,  ill,  exhausted  by  sufferings  and  fatigue, 
followed  even  in  his  captivity  by  the  reproaches  and  anger  of  his 
comrades  in  misfortune,  wlien  he  heard  of  the  outbreak  of  public 
opinion  against  him  in  France ;  he  was  accused  of  treason ;  and 
he  obtained  from  the  English  cabinet  permission  to  repair  to 
Paris.  "  I  bring  hither  my  head  and  my  innocence,"  he  wrote, 
on  disembarking,  to  the  minister  of  war,  and  he  went  voluntarily 
to  imprisonment  in  the  Bastille.  There  he  remained  nineteen 
months  without  being  examined.  When  the  trial  commenced  in 
December,  176^1,  the  heads  of  accusation  amounted  to  160,  the 
number  of  witnesses  to  nearly  200  ;  the  matter  lasted  a  year  and 
a  half,  conducted  with  violence  on  the  part  of  M.  de  Lally's 
numerous  enemies,  with  inveteracy  on  the  part  of  the  Parha- 
ment,  still  at  strife  with  the  government,  with  courage  and  firm- 
ness on  the  part  of  the  accused.     He  claimed  the  jurisdiction  of  a 


154  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIU. 

court-martial,  but  his  demand  was  rejected;  when  he  saw  him- 
self confronted  with  the  dock,  the  general  suddenly  uncovered  his 
whitened  head  and  his  breast  covered  with  scars,  exclaiming,  "  So 
this  is  the  reward  for  fifty  years'  service  1  '*  On  the  6th  of  May, 
1 766,  his  sentence  was  at  last  pronounced.  Lally  was  acquitted 
on  the  charges  of  high  treason  and  malversation ;  he  was  found 
"  guilty  of  violence,  abuse  of  authority,  vexations  and  exactions, 
as  well  as  of  having  betrayed  the  interests  of  the  king  and  of  the 
Company."  When  the  sentence  was  being  read  out  to  the  con- 
demned :  "  Cut  it  short,  sir,"  said  the  count  to  the  clerk,  "  come 
to  the  conclusions."  At  the  words  "  betrayed  the  interests  of  the 
king,"  Lally  drew  himself  up  to  his  full  height,  exclaiming, 
"  Never,  never  ! "  He  was  expending  his  wrath  in  insults  heaped 
upon  his  enemies,  when,  suddenly  drawing  from  his  pocket  a  pair 
of  mathematical  compasses,  he  struck  it  violently  against  his 
heart:  the  wound  did  not  go  deep  enough,  M.  de  Lally  was 
destined  to  drink  to  the  dregs  the  cup  of  man's  injustice. 

On  the  9th  of  May,  at  the  close  of  the  day,  the  valiant  general 
whose  heroic  resistance  had  astounded  all  India  mounted  the 
scaffold  on  the  Place  de  Greve,  nor  was  permission  granted  to  the 
few  friends  who  remained  faithful  to  him  to  accompany  him  to 
the  place  of  execution;  there  was  only  the  parish-priest  of  St. 
Louis  en  I'lle  at  his  side ;  as  apprehensions  were  felt  of  violence 
and  insult  on  the  part  of  the  condemned,  he  was  gagged  like  the 
lowest  criminal  when  he  resolutely  mounted  the  fatal  ladder;  he 
knelt  without  assistance  and  calmly  awaited  his  death-blow. 
"  Everybody,"  observed  D'Alembert,  expressing  by  that  cruel 
saying  the  violence  of  public  feeling  against  the  .condemned, 
*'  everybody,  except  the  hangman,  lias  a  right  to  kill  Lally." 
Voltaire's  judgment,  after  the  subsidence  of  passion  and  after 
the  light  thrown  by  subsequent  events  upon  the  state  of  French 
affairs  in  India  before  Lally's  campaigns,  is  more  just :  "  It  was  a 
murder  committed  witli  the  sword  of  justice."  King  Louis  XV. 
and  his  government  had  lost  India ;  the  rage  and  shame  blindly 
excited  amongst  the  nation  by  this  disaster  had  been  visited  upon 
the  head  of  the  unhappy  general  who  had  been  last  vanquished  in 
defending   the  remnants   of  French   power.     The  English  were 


I 


Cai^p.LIIIO  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  J  55 

iB^fc.^ters  for  ever  of  India  when  tJie  son  of  M,  de  Lally'Tollendal 
at  last  obtained^  in  1780,  the  rebabilitation  of  bis  father's  memory. 
Pua^lihc  opiniou  had  not  waited  till  tbeu  to  decide  the  case  between 
tt^^  condemned  and  his  accusers, 

"Whilst  the  French  power  in  India,  after  having  for  an  instant 
l]ar^3.  the  dominion  over  nearly  the  whole  peninsula,  was  dying  out 
bei3.eath  the  incapacity  and  feebleness  of  its  govemraent,  at  the 
nioment  when  the  heroic  efforts  of  La  Bourdonnais,  Dupleix  and 
i^lly  were  passing  into  the  domain  of  history,  a  people  decimated 
bjr  -^ar  and  famincj  exhausted  by  a  twenty  years*  unequal  struggle, 
^n^a^s  slowly  expiring,  pi^eserving  to  the  very  last  its  hopes  and  its 
patrx-iotic  devotion.  In  the  West  Indies  the  whole  Canadian  people 
w^^i^e  still  maintaining,  for  the  honour  of  France,  that  flag  which  had 

Ijiist  been  allowed  to  slip  from  the  desperate  hands  of  Lally  in  the 
•East.  In  this  case,  there  were  no  enchanting  prospects  of  power 
^mcl  riches  easily  acquired,  of  dominion  over  opulent  princes  and 
sxibmissive  slaves;  nothing  but  a  constant  struggle  against  nature, 
still  mistress  of  the  vast  solitudes,  against  vigilant  rivals  and  a 
Courageous  and  cruel  race  of  natives-  The  history  of  the  French 
csolonists  in  Canada  showed  traits  and  presented  characteristics 
I      T'a.re  in  French  annals  ;  the  ardour  of  the  French  nature  and  the 

■  suaTity  of  French  manners,  seemed  to  be  combined  with  the 
stronger  virtues  of  the  people  of  the  North;  everywhere,  amongst 
^be  bold  pioneers  of  civilization  in  the  new  world,  the  French 
^^ax*ched  in  the  first  rank  without  ever  permitting  themselves  to  be 

^    surpa.^sed  by  the  intrepidity  or  perseverance  of  the  Anglo- SaxonSj 

■  ^o^^m  to  the  day  when,  cooped  up  within  the  first  confines  of  their 
f   *^*^iiquests,  fighting  for  life  and  liberty,  the  Canadians  defended  foot 

*^  foot  the  honour  of  their  mother-country,  which  had  for  a  long 
^^Hile  neglected  them  and  at  last  abandoned  them,  under  the  pres- 
^Ui-^  of  a  disastrous  war  conducted  by  a  government  as  incapable 

1^^  it  was  corrupt. 
^or  a  long  time  past  the  French  had  directed  towards  America 
*-beir  ardent  spirit  of  enterprise ;  in  the  fifteenth  century,  on  the 
^o-rrow  of  the  discovery  of  the  new  world,  when  the  indomitable 
S^iiius  and  religious  faith  of  Christopher  Columbus  had  just  opened 
^  tiew  path  to  inquiring  minds  and  daring  spirits,  the  Basques,  the 


156  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LIIL 

Bretons  and  the  Normans  were  amongst  tte  first  to  follow  the 
road  he  had  marked  out ;  their  light  barques  and  their  intrepid 
navigators  were  soon  known  among  the  fisheries  of  Newfoundland 
and  the  Canadian  coast.  As  early  as  1506  a  chart  of  the  St, 
Lawrence  was  drawn  by  John  Denis,  who  came  from  Honfleur  in 
Normandy.  Before  long  the  fishers  began  to  approach  the  coasts, 
attracted  by  the  fur-trade ;  they  entered  into  relations  with  the 
native  tribes,  buying,  very  often  for  a  mere  song,  the  produce  of 
their  hunting,  and  introducing  to  them  together  with  the  first- 
fruits  of  civilization  ils  corruptions  and  its  dangers.  Before  long 
the  savages  of  America  became  acquainted  with  the  fire-water. 

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

A  first  expedition  had  failed,  after  an  attempt  on  the  coasts  of 
Brazil ;  in  1 562,  a  new  flotilla  set  out  from  Havre,  commanded  by 
John  Ribaut  of  Dieppe.  A  landing  was  effected  in  a  beautiful 
country,  sparkling  with  flowers  and  verdure;  the  century-old 
trees,  the  vast  forests,  the  unknown  birds,  the  game,  which 
appeared  at  the  entrance  of  the  glades  and  stood  still  fearlessly 
at  the  unwonted  apparition  of  man — this  spectacle,  familiar  and  at 
the  same  time  now,  presented  by  nature  at  the  commencement  of 
May,  caused  great  joy  and  profound  gratitude  amongst  the  French, 
who  had  come  so  far,  through  so  many  perils,  to  the  borders  of 
Florida;  they  knelt  down  piously  to  thank  God;  the  savages, 
flocking  together  upon  the  shore,  regarded  them  with  astonish- 
ment mingled  \vith  respect.  Ribaut  and  his  companions  took 
possession  of  the  country  in  the  name  of  France,  and  immediately 
began  to  construct  a  fort  which  they  called  Fort  Charles,  in 
honour  of  the  young  king,  Charles  IX.     Detachments  scoured  the 


Chap.  Lin.]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  157 

country  and  carried  to  a  distance  the  name  of  France :  during 
three  years,  through  a  course  of  continual  suffering  and  intestine 
strife  more  dangerous  than  the  hardships  of  nature  and  the 
ambushes  of  savages,  the  French  maintained  themselves  in  their 
new  settlement,  enlarged  from  time  to  time  by  new  emigrants. 
Unhappily  they  had  frequently  been  recruited  from  amongst  men 
of  no  character,  importing  the  contagion  of  their  vices  into  the 
little  colony  which  Coligny  had  intended  to  found  the  reformed 
church  in  the  new  world.  In  1565,  a  Spanish  expedition  landed 
in  Florida.  Pedro  Menendez  de  Aviles,  who  commanded  it,  had 
received  from  King  Philip  II.  the  title  of  adelantado  (governor)  of 
Florida ;  he  had  pledged  himself,  in  return,  to  conquer  for  Spain 
this  territory  impudently  filched  from  the  jurisdiction  which  His 
Catholic  Majesty  claimed  over  the  whole  of  America.  The  struggle 
lasted  but  a  few  days,  in  spite  of  the  despair  and  courage  of  the 
French  colonists;  a  great  number  were  massacred,  otliers  crowded 
on  to  the  little  vessels  still  at  their  disposal  and  carried  to  France 
the  news  of  the  disaster.  Menendez  took  possession  of  the  ruined 
forts,  of  the  scarcely  cleared  fields  strewn  with  the  corpses  of  the 
unhappy  colonists.  "Are  you  Catholics  or  Lutherans?"  he 
demanded  of  his  prisoners,  bound  two  and  two  before  him.  "  We 
all  belong  to  the  reformed  faith,"  replied  John  Ribaut,  and  he 
intoned  in  a  loud  voice  a  psalm  :  "  Dust  we  are  and  to  dust  we 
shall  return;  twenty  years  more  or  less  upon  this  earth  are  of 
small  account  ;"  and,  turning  towards  the  adelantado,  "  do  thy 
will,"  he  said.  All  were  put  to  death,  *'  As  I  judged  expedient  for 
the  service  of  God  and  of  your  Majesty,"  wrote  the  Spanish 
commander  to  Philip  II.,  **  and  I  consider  it  a  great  piece  of  luck 
that  this  John  Ribaut  hath  died  in  this  place,  for  the  king  of 
France  might  have  done  more  with  him  and  five  hundred  ducats 
than  with  another  man  and  five  thousand,  ho  having  been  the 
most  able  and  experienced  mariner  of  the  day  for  knowing  the 
navigation  of  the  coasts  of  India  and  Florida."  Above  the  heap 
of  corpses,  before  committing  them  to  the  flames,  Menendez  placed 
this  inscription  :  "  Not  as  Frenchmen,  but  as  heretics." 

Three  years  later,  on  the  same  spot  on  which  the  adelantado 
had  heaped  up  the  victims  of  his  cruelty  and  his  perfidy  lay  the 


158  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIH, 

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

For  a  long  while  expeditions  and  attempts  at  French  colo- 
nization had  been  directed  towards  Canada.  James  Cartier,  in 
1535,  had  taken  possession  of  its  coasts  under  the  name  of  New 
France.  M.  de  Roberval  had  taken  thither  colonists  agricultural 
and  mechanical ;  but  the  hard  cliniate,  famine  and  disease  had 
stifled  the  little  colony  in  the  bud ;  religious  and  political  dis- 
turbances in  the  mother-country  were  absorbing  all  thoughts;  it 
was  only  in  the  reign  of  Henry  IV.,  when  panting  France,  dis- 
tracted by  civil  discord,  began  to  repose  for  the  first  time  since 
more  than  a  century,  beneath  a  government  just,  able,  and  firm  at 
the  same  time,  that  zeal  for  distant  enterprises  at  last  attracted  to 
New  France  its  real  founder.  Samuel  de  Champlain  du  Brouage, 
born  in  1567,  a  faithful  soldier  of  the  king's  so  long  as  the  war 
lasted,  was  unable  to  endure  the  indolence  of  peace.  After  long 
and  perilous  voyages,  he  enlisted  in  the  company  which  M.  de 
Monts,  gentleman  of  the  bedchamber  in  ordinary  to  Henry  IV., 


Chap.  LIU.]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  159 

had  just  formed  for  the  trade  in  furs  on  the  northern  coast  of 
America ;  appointed  vice-roy  of  Acadia,  a  new  territory,  of  which 
the  imaginary  limits  would  extend  in  our  times  from  Philadelphia 
to  beyond  Montreal,  and  furnished  with  a  commercial  monopoly, 
M.  de  Monts  set  sail  on  the  7th  of  April,  1604,  taking  with  him, 
Calvinist  though  he  was.  Catholic  priests  as  well  as  Protestant 
pastors.  "  I  have  seen  our  priest  and  the  minister  come  to  a  fight 
over  questions  of  faith,"  writes  Champlain  in  his  journal ;  "  I  can't 
say  which  showed  the  more  courage,  or  struck  the  harder,  but 
I  know  that  the  minister  sometimes  complained  to  Sieur  de  Monts 
of  having  been  beaten."  This  was  the  prelude  to  the  conversion 
of  the  savages,  which  was  soon  to  become  the  sole  aim  or  the 
pious  standard  of  all  the  attempts  at  colonization  in  New  France. 

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

Never  was  colony  founded  under  more  pious  auspices ;  for  some 
time  past  the  Recollects  had  been  zealously  labouring  for  the  con- 
version of  unbelievers ;  seconded  by  the  Jesuits,  who  were  before 
long  to  remain  sole  masters  of  the  soil,  they  found  themselves 


1-60'  .     HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LUL 

sufBciently  powerful  to  forbid  the  protestant  sailors  certain 
favourite  exercises  of  their  worship :  "  At  last  it  was  agreed  that 
they  should  not  chant  the  psalms,"  says  Champlain,  "  but  that 
they  should  assemble  to  make  their  prayers."  A  hand  more 
powerful  than  that  of  Madame  de  Guercheville  or  of  the  Jesuits 
was  about  to  take  the  direction  of  the  affairs  of  the  colony  as  well 
as  of  France  :  Cardinal  Richelieu  had  become  premier  minister. 

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

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


Chap.  LHIJ  PRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  161 

had  a  seminary,  a  hospital  and  a  convent,  before  it  possessed  a 
population. 

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

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

On  the  16th  of  May,  1642,  the  new  colonists  had  scarcely 
disembarked  when  they  were  mustered  around  Father  Vimont,  a 
Jesuit,  clothed  in  his  pontifical  vestments.  The  priest,  having  first 
celebrated  mass,  turned  to  those  present :  "  You  are  only  a  grain 
of  mustard-seed,"  said  he,  "  but  you  will  grow  until  your  branches 
cover  the  whole  earth.  You  are  few  in  number,  but  your  work  is 
that  of  God.  His  eye  is  upon  you,  aYid  your  children  will  replenish 
the  earth."  "  You  say  that  the  enterprise  of  Montreal  is  of  a  cost 
more  suitable  for  a  king  than  for  a  few  private  persons  too  feeble 
to  sustain  it,"  wrote  the  associates  of  Montreal,  in  1643,  in  reply 
to  their  adversaries,  "  and  you  further  allege  the  perils  of  the 
navigation  and  the  shipwrecks  that  may  ruin  it.  You  have  made 
a  better  hit  than  you  supposed  in  saying  that  it  is  a  king's  work, 
for  the  King  of  kings  has  a  hand  in  it.  He  whom  the  winds  and 
the  sea  obey.  We,  therefore,  do  not  fear  shipwrecks ;  He  will  not 
cause  them  save  when  it  is  good  for  us,  and  when  it  is  for  His 
glory,  which  is  our  only  aim.  If  the  finger  of  God  be  not  in  the 
affair  of  Montreal,  if  it  bo  a  human  invention,  do  not  trouble 

VOL.  V.  M 


162  HISTORY  OF  FRAKCK  [Chap.  IJH. 

yourselves  about  it,  it  will  never  endure ;  but,  if  God  have  willed 
it,  who  are  you  that  you  should  gainsay  Him?" 

The  affair  of  Montreal  stood,  like  that  of  Quebec ;  New  France 
wai5  founded,  in  spite  of  the  sufferings  of  the  early  colonists, 
thanks  to  their  courage,  their  fervent  enthusiasm,  and  the  support 
afforded  them  by  the  religious  zeal  of  their  friends  in  Europe. 
The  Jesuit  missionaries  every  day  extended  their  explorations, 
sharing  with  M.  de  la  Salle  the  glory  of  the  great  discoveries  of 
the  West.  Champlain  had  before  this  dreamed  of  and  sought  for 
a  passage  across  the  continent,  leading  to  the  Southern  seas  and 
permitting  of  commerce  with  India  and  Japan.  La  Salle,  in  his 
intrepid  exj)editions,  discovered  Ohio  and  Illinois,  navigated  the 
great  lakes,  crossed  the  Mississippi,  which  the  Jesuits  had  been  the 
first  to  reach,  and  pushed  on  as  far  as  Texas.  Constructing  forts 
in  the  midst  of  the  savage  districts,  taking  possession  of  Louisiana 
in  the  name  of  King  Louis  XIV.,  abandoned  by  the  majority  of 
his  comrades  and  losing  the  most  faithful  of  them  by  death, 
attacked  by  savages,  betrayed  by  his  own  men,  thwarted  in  his  pro- 
jects by  his  enemies  and  his  rivals,  this  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, 
tho  footsteps  of  the  French,  either  travellers  or  missionaries, 
preceded  the  boldest  adventurers.  It  is  the  glory  and  the  mis- 
fortune of  France  to  always  lead  the  van  in  the  march  of  civiliza- 
tion, 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  neigh- 
bourhood of  New  France  that  the  power  of  England  was  rising, 
growing  rapidly  through  the  development  of  her  colonies,  usurping 


Chaf,  LIII.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


16^ 


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  theh*  fields  and  saw  their  population 
increasing  naturally  without  any  help  from  the  mother-country. 
The  governors  had   succeeded  in  adroitly  counterbalancing  the 


^r^K. 


CUi^MYLAtH. 


influence  of  the  EngHsh  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  every- 
where j^hackled  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 

M  2 


164  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  UIL 

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  government  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  1 745,  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  seven- 
teen ships,  M.  de  La  Jonquiere  had  but  six ;  he,  however,  fought 
desperately :    "  I   never   saw   anybody  behave   better    than    the 
French   commander,"   A^Tote    the    captain   of    the   English    ship 
Windsor;  "and,  to  tell  the  truth,  all  the  ofl5cers  of  that  nation 
showed  great  courage ;  not  one  of  them  struck  until  it  was  abso- 
lutely 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  Eng- 
land  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  u?ed  her  strength  to  despoil  the  French  for  ever  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 
ardour  of  concjuest  fired  the  English,  who  had  for  a  long  while 
coveted  the  valley  of  the  Ohio  and  its  fertile  territories.     The 


Ghap.  LIII.]  FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  165 

covert  hostility  wliich  often  betrayed  itself  by  acts  of  aggression 
was  destined  ere  long  to  lead  to  open  war.  An  important  emigra- 
tion began  amongst  the  Acadians ;  they  had  hitherto  claimed  the 
title  of  neutralsy  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  3000  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  not  know  what  is  the 
difference  between  the  king  of  France  and  the  Englishman?"  the 
Iroquois  were  asked  by  Marquis  Duquesne,  the  then  governor  of 
Canada.  "  Go  and  look  at  the  forts  which  the  king  has  set  up 
and  you  will  see  that  the  land  l)eneath  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  night." 

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  civihzation,  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  Contre- 
coBur,  was  occupied  with  preparations  for  defence,  when  he  learned 
that  a  considerable  body  of  EngUsh  troops  were  marching  against 
him  under  the  orders  of  Colonel  Washington.  He  immediately 
despatched  M.  de  Jumonville  with  thirty  men  to  summon  the 


166  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  Lilt. 

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  ho  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, 
reinforced  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  reinforcements  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  en- 
counter him  at  sea.  "  Most  certainly  the  English  will  not  com- 
mence hostilities,"  said  the  English  cabinet  to  calm  the  anxieties 
of  France. 

It  was  only  ofE  Newf oimdland  that  Admiral  Boscawen's  squadron 
encountered  some  French  vessels  detached  from  the  fleet  in  conse- 
quence of  the  bad  weather.  "  Captain  Hocquart.,  who  commanded 
the  Alcidej*^  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. 


Chap.  LIII.]  FRANCE  IN  TUE  COLONIES.  167 

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 
honour  that  Louis  XV.  had  just  adopted  the  resolution  of  defend- 
ing 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  settle- 
ments 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  abeady  labouring,  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 
whioh  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  sub- 
scription; 15,000  men  were  thus  raised  to  invade  the  French 
colonies. 

Canada  and  Louisiana  together  did  not  number  80,000  in- 
habitants, whilst  the  population  of  the  English  colonies  already 
amounted  to  1,200,000  souls;  to  the  2800  regular  troops  sent 
from  France  the  Canadian  militia  added  about  4000  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. 


168  HISTORY  OF  FRA14CB.  [Chap.  LTU; 

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 
oflScer  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  laiid^  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  extremdy 
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  i^ 
England ;  they  were  declared  guilty  of  having  violated  neutraUtf* 
For  the  most  part  the  accusation  Avas  unjust,  but  all  were  involved 
in  the  same  condemnation. 

On  the  5th  of  September,  1755,  four » hundred  and  eighteen 


0a:  AP.  LIII.l 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


169 


Iio^<l3  of  families  were  summoned  to  meet  in  the  church  of  Graod- 

I*r^-     The  same  order  had  been  given  throughout  all  the  towns  of 

^o^dia.     The  anxious  farmers  had  all  obeyed.     Colonel  Winslow^ 

Icoxxiinanding   the   Massachusetts   militia,    repaired    thither    with 

gT'e^st   array  :  *'  It  is  a  painful  duty  which  brings  me  here/'  he 

isaid :  **  I  have  orders  to  inform  you  that  your  lands,  your  houses 

U.xi^  your  crops  are  confiscated  to  the  profit  of  the  cro^ra ;  you 

Pca^Tx   carry  off  your  money  and  your  linen  on  your  deportation  from 

Itli^    proiince,'*     The  order  was  accompanied  by  no  explanation; 

nor  did  it  admit  of  any.     All  the  heads  of  families  were  at  once 

i  si^rrxjunded  by  the  soldiers.     By  tens  and  under  safe  escort,  they 

'  w^OT-e  permitted   to  visit   once   more   the   fields  which  they  had 

I  cultivated,  the  houses  in  which  they  had  seen  their  children  grow 

up*.      On  the  10th  they  embarked^  passing  on  their  way  to  the 

aliips  between  two  rows  of  women  and  children  in  tears.     The 

yoTxiig  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 

^^oast  the  poor  creatures  they  had  torn  away  from  all  that  was 

tiieirs ;  many  perished  of  want  whUst  seeking  from  town  to  town 

t^heir  families  removed  after  them  from   Acadia;    the   charity  of 

t^B   American  colonists  relieved  their  fir^st  wants.     Some  French 

P<*otestantS5  who  had  settled  in  Philadelphia  after  the  revocation 

*^f  the  edict  of  Nantes,  welcomed  them  as  brothers,  notwithstanding 

the  difference  of  their  creed ;  for  they  knew  all  the  heart-rending 

^^^la  of  exile. 

iluch   emotion   was  excited  in   France  by  the  woes   of    the 

adians.     In  spite  of  the  declaration  of  war,  Louis  XV,  made  a 

ntiest   to   the  English  cabinet  for   permission  to   send  vessels 

^^^ng  the  coasts  of  America  to  pick  up  those  unfortunates,    **  Our 

f^vigation   act   is   against  it,"   replied  Mr,  Grenyille:    "France 

i^Tinot  send  ships  amongst  our  colonies/'     A  few  Acadians,  never- 

eless,  reached  France :  they  settled  in  the  outskirts  of  Bordeaux, 

iiere  their  descendants  still  form  the  population  of  two  prosperous 

[*>mmunes.     Others  founded  in  Louisiana  settlements  which  bore 

fie  name  of  Acadia.     The  crime  was  conaummated  :  the  religious, 

^cific,   inoffensive    population,  which    but    lately  occupied   the 


I 


170  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LHL 

neutral  land,  had  completely  disappeared.     The  greedy  colonists 
who  envied  them  their  farms  and  pasturage  had  taken  possessiaa  < 
of  the  spoil ;  Acadia  was  for  ever  in  the  power  of  the  Anglo-S 
race,  which  was  at  the  same  moment  invading  the  valley  of  * 
Ohio. 

General  Braddock  had  mustered  his  troops  at  Wills  CSreek«  \ 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  Alleghany  mountains.     He  me 
surprising  Fort  Duquesne,  erected  but  a  short  time  previously  1 
the  French  on   the  banks   of   the   Ohio.     The  little  army 
advancing  slowly  across  the  mountains  and  the  forests  ;  Bradd 
divided  it    into   two   corps,   and,   placing  himself  with   Col 
Washington,  who  was  at  that  time  serving  on  his  staff,  at  the] 
of  twelve  hundred  men,  he  pushed  forward  rapidly :    "  N€ 
said  Washington  afterwards,  "  did  I  see  a  finer  sight  than 
departure  of  the  English  troops  on  the  9th  of  July,  1755 ;  all  i 
men  were  in  full  uniform,  marching  in  slow  time  and  in 
order ;  the  sun  was  reflected  from  their  glittering  arms ;  the 
rolled  its  waves  along  on  their  right,  and  on  their  left  the . 
forest  threw  over  them  its  mighty  shadows.     Officers  and  soU 
were  equally  joyous  and  confident  of  success." 

Twice  the  attacking  column  had  crossed  the  Monongaliala  > 
fording ;  it  was  leaving  the  plain  which  extended  to  some  dista 
from  Fort  Duqucsne  to  enter  the  woodpath,  when  the  advanc 
guard  \vas  all  at  once  brought  up  by  a  tremendous  discharge  ( 
artillery ;  a  second  discharge  came  almost  immediately  from 
right.     The  English  could  not   see  their  enemy;  they  were  ooiii' | 
fused  and  fell  back  upon  General  Braddock  and  the  main  body  < 
the  detachment,  who  were  coming  up  to  their  aid.     The  die 
soon  became  extreme.     The  regular  troops,  unaccustomed  to " 
kind  of  warfare,  refused  to  rally  in  spite  of  the  efforts  of  1 
general,  who  would  have  had  them  manoeuvre  as  in  the  plaina  i 
Flanders;    the  Virginian   militia   alone,   recurring  to   habits 
forest-warfare,  had  dispersed,  but  >vithout  flying,  hiding 
selves  behind  the  trees  and  replying  to  the  French   or  I»^ 
sharpshooters.     Before  long  General  Braddock  received  a  moi 
wound  ;  his  staff  had  fallen  almost  to  a  man  ;  Colonel  Washingto 
alone,  reserved  by  God  for  another  destiny,  still  sought  to  rally 


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t>KATH    OF    OK^ERAL   B HADDOCK, 

1 

Chap.  LHI.]  PRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES.  173 

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 

ftigitives  communicated  their  terror  to  the  detachment  of  Colonel 

Dunbar,  who  was  coming  to  join  them.     All  the  troops  disbanded, 

spiking  the  guns  and  burniug  the  munitions  and  baggage ;  in  their 

panic  the  soldiers  asked  no  question  save  whether  the  enemy  were 

pursuing  them.    "  We  have  been  beaten,  shamefully  beateu,"  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  200 

Canadians  and  600  Indians.     It  was  not  until  three  years  later,  in 

1758,  that  Fort  Duquesne,  laid  in  ruins  by  the  defenders  them- 

selves,  at  last  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  English,  who  gave  to  it, 

in  honour  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 
war ;  but  the  continuance  of  hostilities  betrayed  more  and  more 
every  day  the  inferiority  of  the  forces  and  the  insuflBciency  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  stiU 
further  dispeople  the  country.  What  will  become  of  the  colony  ? 
There  will  be  a  deficiency  of  everything,  especially  of  com ;  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 


174 


HISTOEY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LI 


died  of  fatigue  and  disease.  There  is  no  relying/'  added  i 
superintendent,  '*  on  the  savages  save  so  long  as  we  have  i 
superiority  and  so  long  as  all  tbeir  wants  are  supplied/'  T 
government  determined  to  send  reinforcements  to  Canada  un< 
the  orders  of  the  Marquis  of  Montcalm.  ^ 

The  new  general  had  thirty-five  years^  servicej  though  h™ 
not  yet  fifty  :  he  had  distinguished  himself  in  Germany  and  in  Ita 
He  was  brave,  amiable,  clever ;  by  turns  indolent  and  bol 
skilful  in  dealing  mth  the  IndianSj  whom  he  inspired  with  feelii 
of  great  admiration;  jealous  of  the  Canadians,  their  officers  a 
their  governor,  M,  de  Vaodreuil ;  convinced  beforehand  of  i 
nselessness  of  all  efforts  and  of  the  inevitable  result  of  the  striig 
he  maintained  with  indomitable  courage.  More  intelligent  tl 
his  predecessor.  General  Dieskau,  who,  like  Braddockj  had  fal 
through  the  error  of  conducting  the  war  in  the  European  fasM 
he,  nevertheless,  had  great  difficulty  in  wrenching  himself  fr 
the  military  traditions  of  his  whole  life-  An  expedition,  in  17J 
against  Fort  Oswego,  on  the  right  bank  of  Lake  Ontario,  w 
completely  successful;  General  Webb  had  no  time  to  relieve t 
garrison,  which  capitulated.  Bands  of  Canadians  and  Indin 
laid  waste  Pennsylvania,  Maryland  and  Virginia,  Man  teat 
wrote  to  the  minister  of  war,  Rouille :  "It  is  the  first  time  tha 
with  3000  men  and  less  artillery,  a  siege  has  been  maintmnt 
against  1800,  who  could  be  readily  relieved  by  2000,  and  wl 
could  oppose  our  landing,  having  the  naval  superiority  on  La 
Ontario,  The  success  has  been  beyond  all  expectation.  T 
conduct  I  adopted  on  this  occasion  and  the  arrangemeiita 
ordered  are  so  contrary  to  the  regular  rules,  that  the  boldiw 
displayed  in  this  enterprise  must  look  hke  rashness  in  Euroj 
Therefore,  I  do  beseech  you,  monseigneur,  as  the  only  favou; 
ask,  to  assure  His  Majesty  that,  if  ever  ho  shonld  be  pleased, 
I  hope,  to  employ  me  in  his  own  armies,  I  wiU  behave  differently 

The  same  success  everywhere  attended  the  arms  of  the  marq 
of  Montcalm.  In  1757,  he  made  himself  master  of  Fort  Willi; 
Henry,  which  commanded  the  lake  of  Saint-Sacrement;  in  17- 
he  repulsed  with  less  than  4000  men  the  attack  of  General  Ab 
crombie,  at  the  head  of  16,000  men,  on  Carillon,  and  furcedJ 


Cha^-  MH.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


173 


I 


I 


latter  to  relinquish   the   shores   of  Lake  Cham  plain.     This  was 
cufcting  the  enemy  off  once  more  from  the  road  to  Montreal ;  but 
Louifibourg,  protected  in  1757  by  the  fleet  of  Admiral  Dubois  de  la 
ilott^  and  now  abandoned  to  its  own  resourceSj  in  vain  supported 
an   unequal  siege;  the  fortifications  were  in  ruinsj  the  garrison 
was  insufficient  notwithstanding  its  courage  and  the  heroism  of 
the  governor,  M.  de  Diucourt.     Seconded  by  his  wife,  who  flitted 
about  the  ramparts,  cheering  and  tending  the  wounded,  he  ener- 
getically opposed  the  landing  of  the  English  and  maintained  him- 
self 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, 

th^  commissariat  demand  incessantly  reinforcements,  money,  pro- 

^lons :   no   help  came  from  France,     *^  We   keep   on   fighting, 

°*^^ertheless/'  wrote  Montcalm  to  the  minister  of  war,  **  and  we 

^^  bury  ourselves,  if  necessary,  under  the  ruins  of  the  colony." 

^^inine,   the   natural   result   of    neglecting    the    land,   went   on 

^<^^easing ;  the  Canadians,  hunters  and  soldiers  as  they  were,  had 

only  cleared  and  cultivated  their  fields  in  the  strict  ratio  of  their 

^ailj  wants,  there  w^as  a  lack  of  hands,  every  man  was  under 

^^'^s,    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; 

^   the  campaign  of  1758,  the  journals  of  the  Anglo-American 

clonics  put  their  land-forces  at  60,000  men*     **  England  has  at 

the    present  moment  more  troops  in   motion   on   this   continent 

^^an  Canada  contains  inhabitants,  including  old  men,  women  and 

^^nildren,"  said  a  letter  to  Paris  from  M.  Doreil,  war-commissioner, 

il**.  Pitt,  aftei^wards  Lord  Chatham,  who  had  lately  come  to  the 

^^ad  of  the  English  government,  resolved  to  strike  the  last  blow 

^t  the  French  power  in  America,     Three  armies  simultaneously 

iavaded  Canada ;  on  the  25th  of  June,  1759,  a  considerable  fleet 

brought  under  the  walls  of  Quebec  General  Wolfe^  a  young  and 


176  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Ohap.  LIIL 

hopeful  oflBcer  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  fortxme  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  pre- 
vailed 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  exemp- 
tion 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  oflBcer 
in  his  journal  of  the  expedition  on  the  St.  Lawrence.  The  bom- 
bardment  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  3000  men  came  and  attacked  them  in 
front  by  the  river  St.  Lawrence  and  in  flank  by  the  river  Mont- 
morency. 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.  Immoveable  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 


Cbap.  LIII.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES. 


177 


of  vexation,  oTerwhelmed  with  the  weight  of  his  responsibility, 
I  bave  only  a  choice  of  difficulties  left/'  he  wrote  to  the  English 
oabinet.     Aid  and  encouragement  did  not  fail  him. 

The  forts  of.  Carillon  ou  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  chil* 


f?  ,-2 


i'^ 


MOKTCAf.», 


dren*  '  In  the  night  between  the  12th  and  13th  of  September, 

General  Wolfe  made  a  sudden  dash  upon  the  banks  of  the  St. 
^LaA^Tcnce;  he  landed  at  the  creek  of  Foulon,  The  officers  had 
[replied  in  French  to  the  Qiii  vtve  {Who  goes  there  ?)  of  the  sentinels, 
■who  had  supposed  that  what  Ihey  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   nmrquis  of  Montcalm  was  dying  and 

Quebec  was  lost. 

VOL.  V*  N 


178 


IIISTOKY  OF  FEANCE. 


[Chap,  LITI. 


General  Wolfe  liad  not  been  granted  time  to  enjoy  his  victorj^^ 
Mortally  wounded  in  a  bayonet-cliarge  wliicli  he  liimself  headed^, 
ho  had  been  carried  to  the  rear.     The  surgeons  who  attended  to 
him   kept  watching   tbe    battle   froin    a   distance.     "They  fly/' 
exclaimed   one   of  them.     **Who?*'    asked   the   general,  raising* 
himself  painfully.     "The  French!"   was  the  answer*     **Theii  I 
am  content  to  die/'  he  murmured,  and  expired. 

Montcalm  had  fought  like  a  soldier  in  spite  of  his  wounds; 
when  he  fell  he  still  gave  orders  about  tlie  measures  to  be  taken 
and  the  attempts  to  be  made.  "All  is  not  lost/^  he  kept  repeat- 
ing, lie  was  buried  hi  a  liolc  pierced  by  a  cannon-ball  in  the 
middle  of  the  church  of  tlie  Ursulines ;  and  there  he  still  reate. 
In  1827,  when  all  bad  feeling  had  subsided.  Lord  Dalhouaie, 
the  then  English  governor  of  Canadai  ordered  the  erection  at 
Quebec  of  an  obelisk  in  marble  bearing  the  names  and  busts  of 
Wolfe  and  Montcalm  with  this  inscription :  Mortem  inrtuR  m^ 
munem,  fmnam  hidorm^  monnmenitmi  posterUas  dedU  [Valour, 
history,  tiud  posterity  assigned  fellowship  in  death,  fame  auJ 
memorial]. 

In  1 769,  the  news  of  the  death  of  the  two  generals  was  ac- 
cepted as  a  sign  of  the  coming  of  the  end.  Quebec  capitulated 
on  the  18th  of  Septemberi  notwithstanding  the  protests  of  tto 
population.     The  government  of  Canada  removed  to  Montreal 

The  joy  in  England  was  great,  aii  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  victonB 
of  the  marquis  of  Montcalm  had  caused  illusion  m  to  the  gradiml 
decay  of  resources.  The  English  Parliament  resolved  to  senJ 
three  armies  to  America  and  the  remains  of  General  Wolfe  irer& 
interred  at  Westminster  with  great  ceremony*  King  Louis  XVi 
and  his  ministers  sent  to  Canada  a  handful  of  men  and  a  Yes8t4 
which  suffered  capture  from  the  English;  the  governor*^  draft* 
were  not  paid  at  Paris,  The  financial  condition  of  France  &^ 
not  permit  her  to  any  longer  sustain  the  heroic  devotion  of  \0 
children, 

M.    do   Lally-Tollendal  was   still   struggling   single-handed  io 


J 


Cff^AJ".  Liri.] 


FRANCE  IN  THE  COLONIES, 


179 


t 


<3jb^  exposed  to  the  hatred  and  the  plots  of  his  fellow- country* 
iB©xi  as  well  as  of  the  Hindoos,  at  the    very  moment  when  the 
CaFxa-adians^  united  in  the  same  ideas  of  effort  and  sacrifice,  were 
trjriiig  their  last  chance  in  the  service  of  the  distant   mother- 
coo,  ntry  which  was  deserting  them.     The  command  had  passed 
fram  the  hands  of  Montcalm  into  those  of  the  general  who  was 
aftor wards  a  marshal  and  duke  of  Levns.    He  resolved,  in  the  spring 
o!  1  760,  to  make  an  attempt  to  recover  Qnebec, 

**  All  Enrt)pe/'  says  KaynaJ,  "  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  everytliingj  who 

seemed  forbidden   by  fortune  itself  to  harbour  any  hope,  would 

dare  to   dream  of  retarding  inevitable   fate/*     On   the   28th  of 

April,  the  army  of  General  de  Levis,  with  great  diflBculty  main* 

taincd  during  the  winter,  debouched  before  Quebec  on  those  plains 

of  Aiivaham  b\it  lately  so  fatal  to  Montcalm, 

Geoeral  Murray  at  once  sallied  from  the  place  in  order  to  engage 
fefore  the  French  should  have  had  time  to  pull  themselves  together. 
It  was  a  long  and  obstinate  struggle :  the  men  fought  hand  to 
liand,  with  impassioned  ardour,  without  the  cavalry  or  the  savages 
taking  any  part  in  the  action ;  at  nighttall  General  Murray  had 
been  obliged  to  re-enter  the  town  and  close  the  gates.  The 
French,  exhausted  but  triumphant,  returned  slowly  from  the 
pursait;  the  unhappy  fugitives  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Indians; 
General  de  L^vis  had  great  difficulty  in  putting  a  stop  to  the 
Carnage,     In  his  turn  he  tesieged  Quebec. 

One  single  idea  possessed  the  minds  of  both  armies ;  what  flag 
^onld  be  carried  by  the  vessels  which  were  expected  every  day  in 
the  St  Lawrence?  *'The  circumstances  were  such  on  our  side,'* 
s^ys  the  English  writer  Knox,  *'  that  if  the  French  fleet  had  been 
^he  first  to  enter  the  river,  the  place  would  have  fallen  again  into 
*h€  hands  of  its  former  masters/'  On  the  9th  of  May,  an  English 
frigate  entered  the  harbour,  A  week  afterwards,  it  was  followed 
^  two  other  vessels.  The  English  raised  shouts  of  joy  upon  the 
"^toparts,  the  cannon  of  the  place  saluted  the  arrivals.  Daring 
*^^e  night  between  the  16th  and  17th  of  May,  the  little  French 
*nny  raised  the  siege  of  Quebec,     On  the  6th  of  September,  the 

N  2 


180  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  MIL 

united  forces  of  Generals  Murray,  Amherst  and  Haviland  invested 
Montreal. 

A  little  wall  and  a  ditch,  intended  to  resist  the  attacks  of 
Indians,  a  few  pieces  of  cannon  eaten  up  with  rust,  and  3500 
troops — such  were  the  means  of  defending  Montreal.  The  rural 
population  yielded  at  last  to  the  good  fortune  of  the  English, 
who  burnt  on  their  march  the  recalcitrant  villages.  Despair  was 
in  every  heart :  M.  de  Vaudreuil  assembled  during  the  night  a 
council  of  war.  It  was  determined  to  capitulate  inlihe  name  of 
the  whole  colony.  The  English  generals  granted  alj  that  was 
asked  by  the  Canadian  population ;  to  its  defenders  they  refiised 
the  honours  of  war.  M.  de  L^vis  retired  to  the  island  of  Sainte- 
H^l^ne,  resolved  to  hold  oiit  to  the  last  extremity ;  it  was  only  at 
the  governor's  express  command  that  he  laid  down  arms.  No 
more  than  3000  soldiers  returned  to  France. 

The  capitulation  of  Monti*eal  was  signed  on  the  8th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1760;  on  the  10th  of  I^ebruary,  1763,  the  peace  concluded 
between  France,  Spaiuj  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  aban- 
doned to  the  English.  Canada  and  all  the  islands  of  the  St. 
Lawrence  shared  the  sanle  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 
honour  and  a  source  of  strength  to  France  that  she  acts  powerfully 
On  men  throilgh  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 


LOUIS  XV.— THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR-MmiSTUY  OF  THE  DUKE 
OF  CHOISEUL  (1748-^1774). 

\  T  was  not  only  in  tlie  coloniea  and  on  the  seas  that  tho 
peace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle  Imd  seemed   merely  a  truce 
destined    to   be   soon    broken:    hostilities   had  nevei* 
ceased  in  India  or  Canada ;  English  Teasels  scoured  the  world* 
capturing^  in  spit©  of  treatiesj  French  merchant^ships ;  in  Etyop^ 
and  on  the  continent,  all  the  sovereigns  were  silently  preparing  faf 
new  efforts;  only  the  government  of  King  Liouis  XV,,  intrenchtjd 
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,  ^ 
oblivions  as  the  government  but  less  careless  than  it,  because  th^/ 
had  borne  the  burthen  of  the  fault  committedi  were  applying  fo'" 
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  mi  th^ 
crushing  weight  of  the  imposts,  she  was  working  and  growing  rich; 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS^  WAR.  183 

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  suflBced  for  them ; 
Voltaire,  who  had  but  lately  been  still  moderate  and  almost  respect- 
ful, was  about  to  commence  with  his  friends  of  the  Encijclopedie  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  Steele  de  Louia  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  S^chelles,  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  kid- 
napping children  for  transportation  to  the  colonies.     The  people 


184  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

rose,  several  police-agents  were  massacjred;  the  king  avoided 
passing  through  the  capital  on  his  way  from  Versailles  to  the 
camp  at  Compi^gne :  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  Loiiis  XV.,  finding  every  pleasure  pall,  indifferent  to  or 
forgetful  of  business  from  indolence  and  disgust,  bored  by 
every  thing  and  on  every  occasion,  had  come  to  depend  solely 
on  those  who  could  still  manage  to  amuse  him.  Madame  de 
Pompadour  had  accepted  this  ungrateful  and  sometimes  shameful 
task.  Bom  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  favourite 
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  milUons  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  favourite ;  her  incessantly  renewed  caprices 
contributed  to  develope  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  sui*passed  by 
the  fancies  of  Madame  de  Pompadour.  Vigilant  in  attaching  the 
courtiers  to  herself,  she  sowed  broad-cast,  all  around  her,  fevours, 
pensions,  profitable  offices,  endowing  the  gentlemen  to  fistcilitate 
their  marriage,  turning  a  deaf  ear  to  the  complaints  of  the  people 
as  well  as  to  the  protests  of  the  States  or  Parliaments.     The 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS^  WAR.  185 

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  pringp,  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  aqd  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  heSfd  of  the  troops ;  the  command 
of  armies  henceforth  depended  on  the  favour  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,  Rouill^,  notified  to  the 
English  cabinet  "  that  His  Most  Christian  Majesty,  before 
giving  way  to  the  effects  of  his  resentment,  once  more  de- 
manded 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  ques- 
tion of  law,  but  refused  restitution.  On  the  23rd  of  January, 
an  embargo  was  laid  on   all  English  vessels   in   French   ports, 


186  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [CniiP.  LTV- 

and  war  was  oflBcially  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  successftil  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  Gralissonnifere,  left  Toulon  on 
the  lOth  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  Galissonnifere.  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  honour  of  mounting  the  breach,'*  said  Richelieu's 
general  order.     Before  long  he  resolved  to  attempt  the  assault. 

Fort  St.  PhiUp  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  day- 
break, three  of  the  forts  were  in  possession  of  the  French ;  the 
same  day  the  English  commandant  decided   upon   capitulation. 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  187' 

The  duke  of  Fronsac,  Marshal  Richeheu'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  con- 
sidered 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-honoured  ally  of  France.  Mistress  of  half  the  Mediterranean 
and  secure  of  the  neutrality  of  Holland,  France  could  have  con- 
centrated 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  forgetfiilness 
of  it. 

For  a  long  time  past,  under  the  influence  of  Count  Kaimitz,  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  favourite,  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  favourite'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 
ttnd  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. 


188  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

was  signing  mth  England  an  engagement  not  to  permit  tbe 
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  thee 
Empress  Maria  Theresa.  The  House  of  Bourbon  was  hole 
out  the  hand  to  the  House  of  Austria ;  the  work  gf  Henry  IV.  and 
of  Richelieu,  already  weakened  by  an  inconsistent  and  capriciou^BL,jg 
poKcy,  was  completely  crumbUng  to  pieces,  involving  in  its  ruii^rui 
the  military  fortunes  of  France. 

The  prudent  moderation   of  Abb6   de   Bemis,  then  in   greai^^^ 
favour  with  Madame  de  Pompadour  and  managing  the  negoti^a^^ 
tions  with  Austria,  had  removed  from  the  treaty  of  Versailles  ttr^e 
most  alarming  clauses.      The  empress  and  the  king  of  Fran^^i^o^ 
mutually  guaranteed  to  one  another  their  possessions  in  Europ^^^ 
"  eaoh  of  the  contracting  parties  promising  the  other,  in  case        of 
need,  the  assistance  of  twenty-rfour  thousand  men."     Russia  a"^:»id 
Saxony   were   soon   enlisted  in  the  same  alliance;    the   king       of 
Prussia's  pleasantries,  at  one  time  coarse  and  at  another  bitii: — ig, 
had  offended   the   czarina  Elizabeth  and  the  elector  of  Saxony      as 
well  as  Louis  XV.  and  Madame  ^e   Pqmpadour.     The  weat^st 
of  the  alUes  was  the  first  to  experience  the  miseries  of  that  v^ar 
so  frivolously  and  gratuitously  entered  upon,  from  covetousn^ss, 
rancour  or  weakness,  those  fertile  sourpes  of  the  bitterest  sorrows 
to  humanity. 

"  It  is  said  that  the  king  of  Prussia's  troops  are  on  the  marc^Ti/' 
wrote  the  duke  of  Luynes  in  his  journal  (September  3,  17^^)' 
**  it  is  not  said  whither."       Frederigk  II.  was  indeed  on  the  mafc-Tch 
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  Austrian s  to 
the  Saxons'  aid,  was  attacked  by  Frederick  on  the  1st  of  Octobe^f 
near  Lowositz ;  without  being  decisive,  the  battle  was,  neverthelesSi 
sufficient  to  hinder  the  allies  from  effecting  their  junction.     Th^ 
Saxons  attempted  to  cut  their  way  through ;  they  were  hemmed  i^ 
and  obliged  to  lay  down  their  arms ;  the  king  of  Prussia  establishe<> 
himself  at  Dresden,  levying  upon  Saxony  enormous  military  oou-' 


Dhap-  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV,,  THE  SEVEN  YEAHS'  WAR. 


189 


tributiona  and  otherwise  treating  it  as  a  conquered  countrj.      The 
unlucky  elector  bad  taken  refuge  in  Poland, 

Tbe  empress  had  not  waited  for  this  serious  reverse  to  claim  from 
France  the  promised  aid*  Bj  this  time  it  was  understood  bow 
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 
Bending  an  army  of  a  hundred  thousand  men  to  the  Lower  Hbine. 
Tlie  king  undertook,  besides,  to  pay  four  thousand  BaTarians  and 
six  thousand  Wurtemburgers  who  were  to  serve  in  the  Austrian 
army.  Marshal  d'Es trees,  grandson  of  Louvois,  was  placed  at  the 
head  of  the  army  already  formed.  He  was  not  one  of, the 
favourite's  particular  friends*  **  Marshal  d'Estr^es/'  she  wrote  to 
Count  Clermont,  **  is  one  of  my  acquaintances  in  society ;  I  have 

rer  been  in  a  position  to  make  him  an  intimate  friend,  but  were 
as  much  so  as  M,  de  Soubise,  I  should  not  take  upon  myself 
to  procure  bis  appointment,  for  fear  of  liaving  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'Estr^es  :  he  was  called  "  the  Temporiser,*'  and 
Was  equally  brave  and  prudent,  "  I  am  accustomed/*  said  the 
ting,  **  to  hear  from  him  all  ho  thinks/*  The  army  was  already 
on  the  march* 

Whilst   hostilities   were   thus    beginning    throughout    Europe, 

fest  negotiations  were  still  going  on  with  Vienna  touching  the 
nd  treaty  of  Versailles,  King  Louis  XV.,  as  he  was  descending 
the  staircase  of  the  marble  court  at  Versailles  on  the  5th  of 
January,  1767,  received  a  stab  in  the  side  froin  a  knife.  Withdraw- 
ing full  of  blood  the  hand  he  had  dapped  to  his  wound,  the  king 
exclaimed  :  "  There  is  the  man  who  wounded  me,  with  his  bat  on  ; 
ftrrest  him,  but  let  no  barm  be  done  him  I "  The  guards  were 
already  upon  the  murderer  and  were  torturing  hirn  pending  the 
question.    Tbe  king  bad  been  carried  away,  slightly  wounded 


190 


HISTORT  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  hWi 


by  a  deep  puncture  from  a  penknife.  In  the  soul  of  Louis  XV, 
apprehension  had  Bucceeded  to  the  first  instinctive  and  kinglj  im* 
pulse  of  courage :  he  feared  the  weapon  might  be  poisoned,  and 
hastily  sent  for  a  confessor.  The  crowd  of  courtiers  was  alreadjr 
thronging  to  the  dauphin's.  To  him  the  king  had  at  once  given 
up  the  direction  of  affairs. 

Justice,  meanwhile,  had  taken  the  wretched  murdereran  hand, 
Robert  Damieus  was  a  lacquey  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  animatad 
by  a  desire  to  avenge  the  wrongs  of  the  Parliament;  he  burst  otit 
against  the  archbishop  of  Paris,  Christopher  de  Beaumont,  a 
virtuous  prelate  of  narrow  mind  and  austere  character:  **Th6 
archbishop  of  Paris,*'  he  said,  "is  the  cause  of  aU  this  troubb 
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  criminalj  prompted  to  murder  by 
the  derangement  of  his  own  mind ;  he  died,  like  Ravaillac,  amidat 
fearful  tortures  which  wore  no  longer  in  accord  with  public  senti- 
ment 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  tensors  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  inarchioness  returned  in 
triumph  to  Versailles,  MAL  de  Machault  and  D'Argenson  wei 
exiled :  the  latter,  who  had  always  been  hostile  to  the  favourite 
was  dismissed  with  extreme  harshness*  The  king  had  hims^lj 
written  the  sealed  letter :  "  Your  services  are  no  longer  required. 
I  command  you  to  send  me  your  resignation  of  the  secretaryship 
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. 


CtrA^,LIVO     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS*  WAR. 


193 


'    The  war,  mean  while,  contijiued :  the  king  of  Prussiaj  who  had 

at     first  won  a  splendid  victory  over  the  Austrians  in  front   of 

Prague,  hail  been  beaten  at  Kolin  and  forced  to   fall  back  on 

Smxony,    Marshal  d'EstreeSj  slowly  occupying  Westphalia,  had  got 

tb.e  duke  of  Cumberland  into  a  corner  on  the  Woser. 

|k      On  the  morning  of  July  23,  1757,  the  marshal  summoned  all 

p  Mb  lieutenant-generals,     "Gentlemen,"   he  gaid  to  them,  *' I  do 

I  not  assemble  you  to-day  to  ask  whether  we  should  attack  M*  do 
Cumberland  and  invest  Hameln,  The  honour  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  t«  combine  with  your  assistance  the  means 
most  proper  for  attacking  with  advantage,"  A  day  or  two  after, 
July  26th,  the  duke  of  Cumberland,  who  had  fallen  back  on  the 
village  of  Hastenbeck,  had  his  intrench  men  ta  forced ;  he  suc- 
ceeded in  beating  a  retreat  without  being  pursued ;  an  able  move- 
ment of  Prince  Ferdinand  of  Brunswick,  and  a  perhaps  intentional 
mistake  on  the  part  of  iL  de  Maillebois  had  caused  a  momentary 
confusion  in  the  Frencli  army.  Marshal  d'Estrces,  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 
W8m11©8  to  supersede  him  in  his  command. 

The  conquest  of  Port  Mahon  had  thrown  around  Richelieu  a  halo 

of  glory;  in  Grermany,  he  reaped  the  fruits  of  Marslial  d'Estr*5os* 

tttcoesses ;  the  electorate  of  Hanover  was  entirely  occupied  ;  all  the 

^forng  opened  their  gates ;  Hesse  Cassel,  Brunswick,  the  duchies 

of  Verden  and  of  Bremen  met  with  the  same  fate.     The  marshal 

lofierl  on  all  the  conquered  countries  heavy  contributions,  of  which 

he  pocketed   a   considerable   portion.     His   soldiers    called   him 

**  F'ather  La  Maraude."     The  pavihon  of  Hanover  at  Paris  was 

built  out  of  the  spoils  of  Germany,      Meanwhile,  the   duke   of 

Camberland,  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 

jptember,   through  the  agency  of  Count  Lynar,  minister  of  the 

ing  of  Denmark,  the  duke  of  Cumberland  and  the  marshal  signed 

at  the  advanced  posts  of  the  French  army  the  famous  convention 

VOL.  v.  o 


194  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV 

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  neigh- 
bourhood 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  for  ever,  pray  ?  "  Many  Saxon  or 
Silesian  soldiers  secretly  left  the  army.  One  day  Frederick  him- 
self 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  sHghtest  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  : 

Threaten'd  with  shipwreck  tho'  I  be, 
T,  facing  storms  that  frown  on  me, 
Must  kinglike  think  and  live  and  die. 

Fortune,  moreover,  seemed  to  be  relaxing  her  severities.    Under 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  197 

the  influence  of  the  hereditary  grand-duke,  a  paBsionate  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  reinforcements  to  the  army  of 
the  prince  of  Soubise ;  it  was  for  this  latter  that  Madame  de  Pom- 
padour was  reserving  the  honour  of  crushing  the  Great  Frederick. 
More  occupied  in  pillage  than  in  vigorously  pushing  forward  the 
war,  the  marshal  tolerated  a  fatal  licence  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  f rom  Paris-Duvemey  to  the  marquis 
of  Cr^mille,  "  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  feed- 
ing the  insensate  extravagance  of  Richelieu  and  of  the  army, 
Frederick  II.  had  entered  Spxony,  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. 


198  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

offers  battle,  retires,  encamps  leisurely  and  loses  not  a  man.  What 
calculation,  what  audacity  in  this  fashion  of  covering  a  country  I" 
On  the  3rd  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  tlie  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  Avhose  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  stray'd  from  me  ? 
I'm  always  losing — head  and  all,  I  know : 
I^ut  wait  till  daylight,  twelve  o'clock  or  so! 
What  do  I  see  ?     Oh !  heav'ns,  my  heart's  aglow : 
Prodigious  luck  I     W^hy,  there  it  is,  it  is ! 
Eh  !  ventrebleu,  what  in  the  world  is  this? 
I  must  have  been  mit^taken — 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  Bevem  ;  the  king  of 


Cff^i-.LIV.]   LOUIS  XV,,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS^  WAR. 


199 


Lssia^s   lieutenants   were   displeased   and    disquieted    at    such 

aixdacity.     He  assembled  a  council  of  war,  and  then,  when  he  had 

expounded  his  plans,  "  Farewell,  gentlemen,*'  said  he,  "  we  shall 

fLoon  have  beaten  the  enemy  or  we  shall  have  looked  on  one  another 

for  the  last  time/'     On  the  3rd  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, 

H  but  lately  engaged,  to  their  sorrow,  against  him,  made  up  to  the 

I   conqueror;  admiration  for  him  permeated  even  the  French  army, 

I   *'  At  Paris,"  wrote  D'Alerabert  to  Yoltaire,  "  everybody's  head  is 

r     turned  about  the  king  of  Prussia;  five  months  ago  he  was  trailed 

kin  tliemire/' 
** Cabinet-generals/*    says    Duolos,    "greedy   of    money,   inex- 
poxneneed   and   presumptuous ;    ignorant,   jealous   or   ill-disposed 
ttii Bisters ;  subalterns  lavish  of  their  blood  on  the  battle-field  and 

■  cr:awltng  at  court  before  the  distributors  of  favours — such  are  the 

■  instruments  we  employed.     The  small  number  of  those  who  had 
P  not  approved  of  the  treaty  of  Versailles  declared  loudly  against  it; 

^fter  the  campaign  of  1757,  those  who  had  regarded  it  as  a 
nia.5ter-piece  of  policy  forgot  or  disavowed  their  eulogies,  and  the 
tttlk  of  the  public,  who  cannot  be  decided  by  anything  but 
tU^  event,  looked  upon  it  as  the  source  of  all  our  woes."  The 
counsels  of  Abbe  de  Bernis  had  for  some  time  past  been  pacific; 
fi^om  a  court-abbe^  elegant  and  glib,  he  had  become,  on  the  25th 
of  June,  minister  of  foreign  affairs.  But  Madame  de  Pompadour 
jreTnained  faithful  to  the  empress-  In  the  month  of  January,  1758, 
Count  Clermont  was  appointed  general-iu-chief  of  the  army  of 
[fr^^Tinany,  In  disregard  of  the  convention  of  Closter-Severn,  the 
lIa.Boverian  troops  had  just  taken  the  field  again  under  the 
oi^ciers  of  the  grand-duke  Ferdinand  of  Brunswick :  he  had 
alveiidy  recovered  possession  of  the  districts  of  Luneberg,  Zell, 
^  part  of  Brunswick  and  of  Bremen,  In  England,  Mr,  Pitt, 
af  tenvards  Lord  Chatham,  had  again  come  into  office ;  the  king 
^^t  Prussia  could  henceforth  rely  upon  the  firmest  support  from 
tJrtat  Britain, 

He  had  need  of  it.     A  fresh  invasion  of  Russians^  aided  by  the 
Mvage    hordes   of  the    Zaporoguian    Cossacks,    was   devastating 


200  HISTORY  OF  FBANCE.  [Obap.  hW. 

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.    Grermain-des-Pr^s,   "general    of   the    Benedictines/*   as  the 
soldiers   said,   had  brought    into    Germany,   together  with    the 
favour  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,  con- 
valescents,   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  canton- 
ments 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  oneself.     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  con- 
tinuing to  fall  back ;  a  general  outcry  arose  at  Paris  against  the 
general's  supineness.     On  the  23rd  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  Avell  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  head-quarters  of  Weschelen  at  one  o'clock,  that  he  had  lost 
the  battle  before  six,  arrived  at  Reuss  at  half-past  ten,  and  went  to 


Cff^^-LIVO  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEAES'  WAR. 


201 


lyocl   at  naidnight;  tliat  is  doing  a  great  deal  in  a  abort  time,"    The 

coixxit  of  Gisors,  son  of  Marshal  Belle-Iale,  a  young  officer  of  the 

gr^sitest  promise^  had  been  killed  at  Crevelt ;  Count  Clermont  was 

superseded  by  the  marquis  of  Contades,     The  army  murmured ; 

tliey  had  no   confidence   in   their   leaders.     At  Versailles,  Abb^ 

de  Bemisj  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 

the  received  a  letter  from  the  king,  sending  him  off  to  his  abbey  of 
St,  Medard  de  Soissons^  He  continued  the  conversation  without 
oliaiigiug  countenance,  and  then,  breaking  off  the  conversation 

tjust  as  the  ambassador  was  beginning  to  speak  of  business :  *'  It 
is  BO  longer  to  me,  sir,'^  he  said,  '*  that  you  must  explain  yourself 
OB  these  great  topics ;  I  have  just  received  my  dismissal  from  his 
Majesty/'     With   the   aarae   coolness  he   quitted   the  court   and 
'^turnedj  pending  his  embassy  to  Rome,  to  those  elegant  inteUectual 
pleasures  which  suited  him  better  than  the  crushing  weight  of  a 
L   Ministry  in   disastrous  times,  under  an  indolent  and  vain-minded 
P  Monarch,  who  was  governed  by  a  woman  as  headstrong  as  she  was 
ft'iTolous  and  depraved* 

lladame  de  Pompadour  had  just  procured  for  herself  a  support 
*^  her  obstinate  belHcosity:  Cardinal  Bemis  was  superseded  in 
^'^m  ministry  of  foreign  affairs  by  Count  Stainville,  who  was 
<^i*eated  duke  of  Choiseul,  After  the  death  of  Marshal  Belle-Isle 
^^  exchanged  the  office  for  that  of  minister  of  war ;  with  it  he 
^^ombined  the  ministry  of  the  marine.  The  foieign  affairs  were 
6*^ trusted  to  the  duke  of  Praslin,  his  cousin.  The  power  rested 
a-lrnost  entirely  in  the  hands  of  the  duke  of  Choiseuh  Of  high 
l^irtli,  clever,  bold,  ambitious,  he  had  but  lately  aspired  to  couple 
^'lie  splendour  of  successes  in  the  fashionable  world  with  the 
*eriou3  preoccupations  of  politics :  his  marriage  iinth  Mdlle. 
Crozat,  a  wealthy  heiress,  amiable  and  very  much  smitten  with 
^ini,  had  strengthened  his  position.  Elevated  to  the  ministry  by 
Madame  de  Pompadour  and  as  yet  promoting  her  views,  he  never- 
tteless  gave  signs  of  an  independent  spirit  and  a  proud  character 
^pablo  of  exercising  authority  firmly  in  the  presence  and  the  teeth 
of  all  obstacles.    France  hoped  to  find  once  more  in  M,  de  Choiseul 


202  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  UV. 

a  great  minister ;  nor  were  her  hopes  destined  to  be  completelj 
deceived. 

A  new  and  secret  treaty  had  just  rivetted  the  alliance  bnl  WMp. 
France  and  Austria.  M.  de  Choiseul  was  at  the  same  li||i||l; 
dreaming  of  attacking  England  in  her  own  very  home,  ^10 
dealing  her  the  most  formidable  of  blows.  The 
were  considerable :  M.  de  Soubise  was  recalled  from 
to  direct  the  army  of  invasion.  He  was  to  be  seconded 
command  by  the  duke  of  Aiguillon,  to  whom,  rightly  or 
was  attributed  the  honour  of  having  repulsed  in  the 
year  an  attempt  of  the  English  at  a  descent  upon  the 
Brittany.  The  expedition  was  ready,  there  was  nothing  to 
for  save  the  moment  to  go  out  of  port,  but  Admiral  Ha^ 
cruising  before  Brest;  it  was  only  in  the  month  of  No^ 
1750,  that  the  marquis  of  Conflans,  who  commanded  the 
could  put  to  sea  with  twenty-one  vessels.  Finding  himself  at 
pursued  by  the  English  squadron,  he  sought  shelter  in  the 
channels  at  the  mouth  of  the  Vilaine.  The  English  dashed. 
after  him.  A  partial  engagement,  Avhich  ensued,  was  unfw 
able ;  and  the  commander  of  the  French  rear-guard,  M.  St, 
du  Verger,  alloAved  himself  to  bo  knocked  to  pieces  by  AK 
enemy's  guns  in  order  to  cover  the  retreat.  The  admiral 
ashore  in  the  bay  of  Le  Croisic  and  burnt  his  own 
seven  shi])s  remained  blockaded  in  tlie  Vilaine.  Jlf.  de  Gi 
job,  as  the  sailors  called  it  at  the  time,  was  equivalent  to  a 
lost  without  tlie  cliances  and  the  honour  of  the  struggle. 
English  navy  was  triumphant  on  every  sea  and  even  in 
waters. 

The  commencement  of  the  cam])aign  of  1759  had  been 
in  Germany :   tlie  duke  of  Broglie  had  successfully  repulsed 
attack   made   by   Ferdinand   of   Brunswick   on  his   positions  J 
Bergen ;  the  prince  had  been  obliged  to  retire.     The  two 
united  under  M.  de  Contades,  invaded  Hesse  and  moved  upon 
Weser ;  tliey  were  occupying  Minden  when  Duke  Ferdinand 
himself  upon  them  on  the  1st  of  August.     The  action  of  thefei 
French  gen(?rals  Avas  badly  combined  and  the  rout  was  complete. 
It  Avas  th^»  moment  of  (Canada's  last  efforts,  and  the  echo  of  that 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOXHS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  205 

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  reinforcements.  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  consider- 
able ones  in  order  to  preserve  the  superiority  it  has  acquired  in 
that  part  of  the  continent.''  The  necessity  for  peace  was  begin- 
ning to  be  admitted  even  in  Madame  de  Pompadour's  little 
cabinets. 

Maria  Theresa,  however,  was  in  no  hurry  to  enter  into  negotia- 
tions; 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,  **  valour  and  perseverance."  Repeated  vic- 
tories, 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  foot-hold  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 ; 


206  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

lie  laid  siege  to  Wesel  whilst  the  English  were  prepariug  for 
a  descent  at  Antwerp.  Marshal  Broglie  detached  M.  de  Castries 
to  protect  the  city.  Tlio  French  corps  had  just  arrived,  it  was 
bivouacking.  On  the  night  between  the  15tli  and  16th  of 
October,  Chevaher  d'Assas,  captain  in  the  regiment  of  Auvergne, 
was  sent  to  reconnoitre^.  He  had  advanced'  some  distance  from 
his  men  and  liappened  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.  AVithout  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  re-cross  the 
Rhine.     The  French  divisions  maintained  their  positions. 

The  war  went  on  as  bloodily  as  monotonously  and  fruitlessly, 
but  the  face  of  Europe  had  lately  altered.  The  old  king  George  II., 
Avho  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  w^ho  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  Avithout  effort  and  ill- 
humour  :  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  whisp(?ring  pacific  counsels. destined  ere  long  to  bear  fruit. 
IMtt's  dominion  was  tottering  when  the  first  overtures  of  peace 
arrived  in  London.  The  duke  of  Choiseul  proposed  a  congress. 
Ho  at  the  same  time  negotiated  directly  with  England.  Whilst 
Pitt  kept  his  answer  Avaiting,  an  English  squadron  blockaded 
Helle-Tsle,  and  the  governor,  M.  de  Sainte-Croix,  left  without 
relief,   was  forced  to  cai)ituhite  after  a  heroic  resistance.     When 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  207 

the  conditions  demanded  by  Englanii  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  contjuests  of  England  in  both  hemisphei'es  ;  ho 
claimed,  besides,  the  demolition  of  Dunkerque  "  as  a  memorial  for 
ever  of  the  yoke  imposed  upon  France."  Completely  separating 
the  interests  of  England  from  thovse  of  the  (Jerman  allies,  he 
did  not  even  reply  to  the  proposals  of  M.  do  Choiseul  as  to  the 
evacuation  of  Hesse  and  Hanover.  Mistress  of  the  sea,  England 
intended  to  enjoy  alone  the  fruits  of  her  victories. 

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,  ('harles  III., 
king  of  Naples,  had  succeeded  him.  He  brought  to  the  throne  of 
Spain  a  more  lively  intelligence  than  that  of  the  dece^ased  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  gloiy  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  Famlhj  Pact,  was  signed  at  Paris  (August  15, 
1761). 

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 
favourable  to  France ;  the  noble  and  patriotic  idea  of  M.  do 
Choiseul  found  an  echo  in  the   soul   of  the  king  of  Spain;  the 


208 


HISTORY   OF  FRAl^CE, 


[Chap.  JAV. 


French  navy,  mined  and  humiliated,  the  French  colonies,  threat- 
ened 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  tlio  fields  offering  the  king  a  ship  of  war ;  their 
example  was  ev^ery where  followed ;  sixteen  ships,  first-rates,  wens 
before  long  in  course  of  construction,  a  donation  from  the  great  poll* 
tical  or  financial  bodies ;  there  were,  besides,  private  subscriptions 
amounting  to  thirteen  millions  ;  the  duke  of  Chuiseul  sought  out 
comraanders  even  amongst  the  mercantile  marine,  and  everywhere 
showed  himself  favourable  to  blue  officers,  as  the  appellation  then 
was  of  those  whose  birth  excluded  them  from  the  navy -corps  ;  the 
knowledge  of  the  nobly  bom  often  left  a  great  deal  to  be  desired^ 
whatever  may  have  been  their  courage  and  devotion.  This  waa  m 
last  generous  effort  on  behalf  of  the  shreds  of  France* s  periahiiig 
colonies.  The  English  government  did  not  give  it  time  to  bear 
fruit:   in  the  month  of  January,  1702,  it  declared  war  agaittst 


Cha?,  lit.]     LOUIS  XV,,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR, 


200 


Spain.  Before  tlie  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  a 
heroic  resistance.  Canada  and  India  had  at  last  succumbed* 
War    dragged   its   slow    length   along  in   Germany,     The   brief 


.m 


^^^. 


,-Si 


r/y. 


^      ^  — -' 


€.^^njA' 


Til  a   JJIKE   OF   CHOISHCL. 


\^> 


ele%'ation  of  the  young  C7.ar  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  J  negotiations  recommenced,  on  what  disastrous  conditions 
for  the  French  colonies  in  both  hemispheres  has  akeady  been 
remarked:  in  Germany  the  places  and  districts  occupied  by 
France  were  to  be  restored;    Lord   Bute,   like   his   great  rival, 

L  itKjuired  the  destruction  of  the  port  of  Duukerque. 

H      vul..  V.  I' 


21Q  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

This  was  not  enough  for  the  persistent  animosity  of  Pitt.  The 
preHminaries  of  peace  had  been  already  signed  at  Fontainebleau 
on  the  3rd  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 
ardour  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  navy." 

The  peace  was  signed,  however,  not  without  ill-humour  on  the 
part  of  England  but  with  a  secret  feeling  of  relief;  the  burthens 
which  weighed  upon  the  country  had  been  increasing  every  year. 
In  1762,  Lord  Bute  had  obtained  from  Parliament  450  millions 
(18,000,000/.)  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  de* 
stroyed  in  thirty  years  from  now."  The  king  was  a  better  jud^  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  bo  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 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEABS'  WAR.  211 

zeal  of  the  duke  of  Choiseul,  all  the  tardy  impulse  springing  from 
the  nation's  anxieties  could  not  suflBce  even  to  palliate  the  conse- 
quences of  so  many  years'  ignorance,  feebleness  and  incapacity  in 
succession. 

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  i^Test  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 
Bussia  a  new  policy,  equally  bold  and  astute,  liaving  for  its  sole 
aim,  unscrupulously  and  shamelessly  pursued,  the  aggrandisement 
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  hun- 
dred 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  for  ever ;  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  homo 

p  2 


212  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chaf.LIV. 

was  still  more  serious  and  the  deep-lying  source  of  all  the  reverses 
which  had  come  to  overwhelm  the  French.  Slowly  lessiBned  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; 
pubhc  opinion  was  no  longer  content  to  accuse  the  favourite  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  diarge 
of  the  benefice-list,  conceived  the  idea  of  stifling  these  dangeroiu 
symptoms  by  an  imprudent  recourse  to  the  spiritual  severities  80 
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  sura 
to  excite  public  feeling  and  revive  the  pretensions  of  the  parlia* 
ments  to  the  surveillance,  in  the  last  resort,  over  the  govemmeht 
of  the  Church ;  Jansenism,  fallen  and  persecuted  but  still  living 
in  the  depths  of  souls,  numbered  amongst  the  ranks  of  the  magis- 
tracy, 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  22nd  of 
February,  1753,  the  Parliament  of  Paris  received  orders  to  sus- 
pend 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  hun- 
dred and  fifty-eight  members  sitting  on  the  Court,  Parliament 
determined  to  give  up  all  service  until  the  kiug  should  be  pleased 
to  listen.     "  AVe  declare,"  said  the  representation,  "  that  our  zeal 


Chap.LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  Sl5 

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  parlia- 
ments. "  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  repub- 
licans  However,    things  will   last   my  time  at   any   rate." 

Severe  measures  aojainst  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  Poutoiso,  it  persisted  in 
its  refusal.  It  was  necessary  to  form  a  Kinffs  Ghamher,  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  conso- 
lation, 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 


216  HISTOEY  OF  FRANCE.  [Ohaf.  LI7^ 

its  wrath :  tlie  powerful  society  of  the  Jesuits  was  the  first  to  bear 
all  the  brunt  of  it. 

A  French  Jesuit,  Father  Laval ette,  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  con- 
tent 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 
jdriyen  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 
burnt  as  a  heretic  (Sept.  20,  1761). 

The  Portuguese  Jesuits  had  been  feebly  defended  by  the  gran* 
dees ;  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  jurisdic- 
tion of  the  grand  council,  to  which  they  had  a  right  as  all  eccle- 
siastical 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  philoso- 
phers had  borne  their  fruit  in  the  public  mind ;  the  olden  rancour 
of  the  Jansenists  imperceptibly  promoted  the  severe  inquiry  openly 
conducted  by  the  magistrates.  Madame  de  Pompadour  dreaded 
the  influence  of  the  Jesuits :  rehgious  fears  might  at  any  time  be 


p,  LIV,]     LOUIS  ST.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  217 

,x-ci»iised  again  in  the  soul  of  Louis  XV,     The  dauphin j  who  had 
►^^^11  COD stantl J  faithful  to  them,   sought  in  rain  to  plead  their 
pii,u.  se  with  the  king-     He  had  attacked  the  duke  of  Choiseul ;  the 
Bf»,fct>€r  so  far  forgot  himself,  it  is  asserted,  as  to  say  to  the  prince; 
C*    Sifj  I  may  have  the  misfortune  to  be  your  subject,  but  I  will  never 
ffp^  ^y our  seirvant."    The  minister  had  hitherto  maintained  a  prudent 
nre;  he  henceforth  joined  the  favoiurite  and  the  Parliament 
inst  the  Jesuits. 
On  the  6th  of  August,  1761,  the  Parliament  of  Paris  delivered  a 
d^<5X*ee  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 
k^sitated,  from  natural  indolence  and  from  remembrance  of  Car- 
dinal Fleury's  maxims  :  *'  The  Jesuits,"  the  old  minister  would  often 
*®^y »  "  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  favourable 
to  the  Jesuits  and  careless  of  the  old  Gallican  hberties*     On  their 
ad^Tice,  the  king  sent  a  proposal  to  Rome  for  certain  modifications 
iu    the  constitutions  of  the  order.     Father  Ricci,  general  of  the 
Jesuits,  answered  haughtily :  "  Let  them  be  as  they  are,  or  not  be  *' 
{^inl  ut  sunt^  ant  nofi  sint).     Their  enemies  in  France  accepted  the 
challenge.     On  the  6th  of  August,  1762,  a  decree  of  the  Parlia- 
ttient  of  Paris,  soon  confirmed  by  the  majority  of  the  sovereign 
<^Ourt8,  declared  that  there  was  danger  (abus)  in  the  buUs,  briefs 
^^d  constitutions  of  the  Society,  pronounced  its  dissolution,  forbade 
^ts  members  to  wear  the  dress  and  to  continue  living  in  common 
^^^der  the  sway  of  the  general  and  other  superiors.     Orders  were 
&iTeii  to  close  all  the  Jesuit  houses.     The  principle  of  religious 
^herty,  which  had  been  so  long  ignored  and  was  at  last  beginning 
to  dawn  on  men's  minds,  was  gaining  its  first  serious  victory  by 
^^spoiling  the  Jesuits  in  their  turn  of  that  liberty  for  the  long- 
^ontiuued  wrongs  whereof  they  were  called  to  account*    A  strange 
striking  re-action  in  human  affairs :  the  condemnation  of  the 
^uits  was  the  precursory  sign  of  the  violence  and  injustice  which 
as  soon  to  be  committed  in  the  name  of  the  most  sacred  righta 
^^d  libertieSi  long  violated  with  impunity  by  arbitrary  power. 


l^ndj 


218  HISTORY  OF  FEANCR  [Cbap.  LIV. 

Vaguely  and  without  taking  the  trouble  to  go  to  the  bottom  of 
his  impression,  Louis  XV.  felt  that  the  Parliaments  and  the  philo- 
sophers 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  inde- 
cision. "  There  is  a  hand  to  mouth  administration,"  said  an 
anonymous  letter  addressed  to  the  king  and  Madame  de  Pom- 
padour, **  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,  1 764,  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  P^russeau  turned  abb^,"  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  with.out 
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  17G7,  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 


1 

i 


CffAP-  LIT,]     LOUIR  XT.,  THE  REYEN  TEARS'  WAR. 


219 


Clii-istendoni  it  were  better  that  the  Order  should  disappear/*  The 
lasl3  houses  still  offering  shelter  to  the  Jesuits  were  closed ;  the  gene- 
ral ^  Bicci,  was  imprisoned  at  the  castle  of  St,  Angelo,  and  the  Society 
of  JesuSj  which  had  been  so  powerful  for  nearly  three  centuries,  took 
refuge  in  certain  distant  lands,  seeking  in  oblivion  and  silence 
fresh  strengfth  for  the  struggle  which  it  was  one  day  to  renew. 

The  Parliaments  were  tritimphant,  but  their  authority,  which 
see^raed  never  to  have  risen  so  high  or  penetrated  so  far  in  the 
g-o^v^emment  of  the  State,  was  already  tottering  to  its  base.     Once 
in  ore  the  strife  was  about  to  begin  between  the  kingly  power  and  the 
Tn^^gistracy,  whose  last  victory  was  destined  to  scarcely  precede  its 
ilo^^TifalL     Tbe  financial  embarrassments  of  the  State  were  growdng 
inor*e  serious  every  day  :  to  the  debts  left  by  the  Seven  Years'  war 
w^ax-e  added  the  new  wants  developed  by  the  necessities  of  com- 
inei'ce  and  by  the  progress  of  civilization.     The  Board  of  Works j 
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  labour  for  these  operations  fell  almost  exclu- 
siv^ely  on  the  peasantry.     The  Parliament  of  Normandy  was  one 
*^f  the  first  to  protest  against  "  the  impositions  of  forced  labovir, 
and   the   levies   of  money   which  took  place   in    the   district   on 
pretext  of  i*epairs  and  maint-qnance  of  roads,  without  legal  autho- 
rity."    ''France  is  a  land  which  devours  its  inhabitants,"  cried 
the   Parliament   of    Paris.     The    Parliament   of   Pan   refused    to 
^nregister   the   edicts;    the   Parliament   of    Brittany  joined   the 
Estates   in  protesting  against    the   duke   of  Aiguillon,   the  then 
Sovemor,  "  the  which  hath  made  upon  the  liberties  of  the  pro- 
^"iiice  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  Eennes  gave  in 
^heir  resignation  in  a  body.     Five  of  its  members  were  arrested  : 
^t  their    head   was  the    attorney-general,    iL    de   la    Chalotais, 
^T^thor  of  a  very  remarkable  paper  against  the  Jesuits,     It  was 
Necessary  to  form  at  St.  Malo  a  King' 6  Chamber  to  try  the  accused. 
M.  d©  Calonne,  an  ambitious  young  man,  the  declared  foe  of  M,  de 
laChalotais,  was  appointed  attorney-general  on  the  commission, 
pretended  to  have  discovered  grave  facts  against  the  accused ; 


1 


220 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chaf,  liv; 


he  was  suspected  of  having  invented  them.  Public  feeling  was  at 
its  height :  the  magistrates  loudly  proclaimed  the  theory  of  ClasuM, 
according  to  which  all  the  Parliaments  of  France,  respDnsible  one 
for  another,  formed  in  reahty  but  one  body,  distributed  by  dele- 
gation throughout  the  principal  towns  of  the  realm.  The  king  con* 
voked  a  bed  of  justice,  and,  on  the  2nd  of  March,  1766,  he  repaired 
to  the  Parliament  of  Paris,  "  What  has  passed  in  my  Parliameiita 
of  Pan  and  of  Rennes  has  nothing  to  do  with  ray  other  Parliaments," 
said  Louis  XV,  in  a  firm  tone  to  which  the  ears  of  the  Parlia- 
ment were  no  longer  accustomed ;  "  I  have  behaved  in  respect 
of  those  two  courts  as  comported  with  mj  authority,  and  I  am  not 
bound  t^  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 
obligationsj  nor  the  introduction  into  the  monarchy  of  an  imaginaiy 
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  alo!^ 
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  withoal 
partition.  My  people  is  but  one  with  me,  and  the  rights 
interests  of  the  nation  whereof  men  dare  to  make  a  body  seps 
from  the  monarch  are  necessarily  united  with  my  own  and 
only  in  my  hands/* 

This  haughty  affirmation  of  absolute  power,  a  faithful  echo 
Cardinal   EicheHeu's   grand   doctrines,  succeeded  for  a  while 
silencing  the  representations  of  the  Parliaments  ;  but  it  could  m 
modify  the  course  of  opinion,  passionately  excited  in  favour 
M.  de  La  Cbalotais,     On  the  24th  of  December,  1766,  after  havi 
thrice  changed  the  jurisdiction  and  the  judges,  the  king  anoull^ 
the  whole  procedure  by  an  act  of  his  supreme  authority*    **TQ| 
ahall  have  the  satisfaction,"  said  the  edict,  **  of  finding  m 
guilty,  and  nothing  will  remain  for  us  but  to  take  such  met 
as  shall  appear  best  adapted  to  completely  restore  and  maintala 
tranquilhty   in   a  province    from    which  we   have  on   so  many 


Chap.  LIVJ     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  223 

occasions  had  proofs  of  zeal  for  our  service."     M.  de  La  Clialotais 
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  honour  is  intact,"  the  king  declared.     A 
Parliament   was   imperfectly   re-constructed   at   Rennes ;    "  It   is 
D'Aiguillon's    bailiff-court,"    was    the    contemptuous   saying    in 
Brittany.     The  governor  had  to  be  changed.     Under  the  adminis- 
tration of  the  duke  of  Duras,  the  agitation  subsided  in  the  pro- 
vince; 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  Pai'liament  imme- 
diately 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  remon- 
strance; "they  are  innocent,  and  yet  you  punish  them!     It  is  a 
natural  right  that  nobody  should  be  punished  without  a  trial ;  wo 
have  property  in  our  honour,  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  honour,  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  favour,  disapproved  of  the  severities  employed 
against  the  magistracy.     All  the  blows  dealt  at  the  Parhaments 
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  base-minded  in  her 
calculating  easiness  of  virtue,  she  had  more  ambition  than  com- 
ported with  her  mental  calibre  or  her  force  of  character ;  she  had 


224  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LDT. 

taken  it  into  her  head  to  govern,  by  turns  promoting  and  over- 
throwing 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  favourite,  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  forihed  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  Aiguillon  and  the 
new  comptroller-general,  Ahh6  Terray,  a  man  of  capacity,  inven- 
tion  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  undis-s 
puted  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  keeping." 

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  honour  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: 


Chap.  LIV.]    LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  225 

she  declined  the  personal  favours  which  the  king  offered  her, 
setting  all  her  husband's  friends  the  example  of  a  fidelity  which 
was  equally  honourable  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.  "  Fmnce^''  she  was  always 
reiterating  to  the  king  with  vulgar  familiarity,  "  France,  thy 
Parliament  will  cut  off*  thy  head  too  I  " 

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  favour  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  ardour,  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 

VOL.  V.  Q 


226  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.LIV. 

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  banish* 
ment ;  their  offices  were  confiscated.  Those  members  df  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  23rd  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  attor- 
neys, 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 — them- 
selves— 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  magis* 
trates  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  favour  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 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR  227 

bodies  of  citizens,  perpetual  and  irremoveable,  avoit^ed  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 
mortar-cap  presidents  {presidents  a  mortierjj  the  gifted  president 
De  Brosses.  The  princes  were  banished;  the  provincial  parlia- 
ments, 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  saloability  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  conster- 
nation ;  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  Maupeo^t,  Parliament.  The 
chancellor  had  triumphed  and  remained  master :  all  the  old  juris- 
diotions  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,  Abb^  Terray,  had  recourse  shamelessly  to 
every  expedient  of  a  bold  imagination  to  till  the  royal  treasury  ;  it 
wms  necessary  to  satisfy  the  ruinous  demands  of  Madame  Dubarry 

Q  2 


228  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV.^ 

and  of  the  depraved  courtiers  Who  thronged  about  het.  Succes- 
sive 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 
rumour  of  this  famine-pact^  as  the  bitter  saying  was,  soon  spread 
amongst  the  mob.  Before  its  fall,  the  Parliament  of  Bouen  had 
audaciously  given  expression  to  these  dark  accusations:  it  bad 
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  bul- 
warks of  the  public  liberties,  were  digging  with  their  own  hands 
the  abyss  in  which  the  old  French  monarchy  was  about  to  be  soon 
engulfed. 

For  a  long  while  pious  souls  had  formed  griBat  hopes  of  the  dau- 
phin: 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 
daughter-in-law,  Mary  Josepha  of  Saxony,  though  the  daughter 
of  that  elect;Or  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 


CtLAP.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR. 


220 


I 


©Ittstarcles.  She  had  three  sons.  Mucli  reliance  was  placed  upon 
tlie  influence  she  had  managed  to  preserve  with  the  king,  and  on 
tlie  dominion  she  exercised  over  her  husband's  mind.  In  vain  had 
tW  dauphin^  distracted  at  the  woes  of  France,  over  and  over  again 
solicited  from  the  king  the  honour  of  serving  him  at  the  head  of 
the  army ;  the  jealous  anxiety  of  Madame  de  Pompadour  was  at  one 
^tli  the  cold  indifference  of  Louis  XV.  as  to  leaving  the  heir  to  the 
ttirooe  in  the  shade.  The  prince  felt  it  deeply,  in  spite  of  his 
pious  resignation,  *^A  dauphin,"  be  would  say,  '*  must  needs 
a-ppear  a  useless  body,  and  a  king  strive  to  be  everybody"  {un 

^Vhilst  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,  176o,  profoundly  regretted 

y  the  bulk  of  the  nation,  who  knew  his  virtues  without  troubling 

themselves,  like  the  court  and  the  philosophers,  about  the  stiflPness 

^f  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-fivo  and  a  dauphin  of  eleven  1  '* 

The  dauphinesa  and  Queen  Mary  Leczinska  soon   followed  the 

dauphin  to  the  tomb  (1767,  1768).     The  king,  thus  left  alone  and 

^ared  by  the  repeated  deaths  around  him,  appeared  for  a  while 

to  be  drawn  closer  to  his  daughters,  for  whom  he  always  retained 

®oine  sort  of  affection,  a  mixture  of  weakness  and  habit.     One  of 

tUein^  Madame  Louise,  who  was  deeply  pious,  left  him  to  enter  the 

*^oiivent  of  the  CarmeHtes ;  he  often  went  to  see  her,  and  granted  her 

^U  the  favours  she  asked.     But  by  this  time  Madame  Dubany  had 

Of^come  all-powerful ;  to  secure  to  her  the  honours  of  presentation 

^t  court  the  king  personally  solicited  the  Indies  with  whom  he  was 

^^tiinate  in  order  to  get  them  to  support  his  favourite  on  this  new 

^tage  ;  when  the  youthful  Marie  Antoinette,  archduchess  of  Austria 

^d  daughter  of  Maria  Theresa,   whose   marriage   the   duke  of 

^loiseul  had  negotiated,  anived  in  France,  in  1770,  to  espouse  the 

^uphin,  Madame  Dubarry  appeared  alone  with  the  royal  family  at 

Jle  banquet  given  at  La  Muctte  on  the  occasion  of  the  marriage. 

After  each  reaction  of  religious  fright  and  transitory  repentance, 


230  fflSTORT  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  UV: 

after  each  wariiiug  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  mach  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  Eqtitnoctial 
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  ardour  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  Ghoiseul.  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  recog* 
nition  of  their  republic,  offering  to  pay  the  tribute  but  lately  paid 
annually  to  their  tyrannical  protectress.  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 


C^Ai'-LlVJ  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAE. 


291 


k'  tlie  energetic  passioni?  of  his  com  patriots  whilst  TBomeiitarily 
pressing  their  intestine  qnan^els,  dreamed  of  an  ideal  constitu- 
tioTi  for  his  island ;  he  sent  to  ask  for  one  of  J,  J,  Rousseau,  who 
waa  still  in  Switzerland  and  whom  he  invited  to  Corsica.     The 
1  philosophical  chimeras  of  PaoH  soon  vanished  before  a  piece  of 
cnisliing  news.     The  Genoese,  weary  o£  struggling  unsnccessfollj 
against  the  obstinate  determination  of  the  CorsieanSjaud  unable  to 
clear  off  the  debts  which  they  had  but  lately  incurred  to  Louis  XY-, 
had  proposed  to  M,  de  Choiseul  to  cede  to  France  their  ancient 
nglits  over  Corsica,  as  security  for  their  liabilities*     A   treaty, 
BigTied  at  Versailles  on  the  15th  of  May,  1768,  authorized  the  king 
te  perform  all   acts   of  sovereignty   in   the   places   and   forts   of 
Coi^aca;  a  separate  article  accorded  to  Genoa  an  indemnity  of  two 
laiHions. 

-A  cry  arose  in  Corsica.  Paoli  resolved  to  defend  the  indepen- 
dence of  his  country  against  France,  as  he  had  defended  it  against 
M  TOizioa.  For  several  months  now  French  garrisons  had  occupied  the 
r  places  still  submitting  to  Genoa ;  when  they  would  have  extended 
themselves  into  the  interior,  Paoli  barred  their  passage  ;  he  bravely 
attEicked  M,  de  Chauvelin,  the  king's  lieutenant-general,  who  had 
J,  j^st  landed  with  a  proclamation  from  Louis  XV,  to  his  new  sub- 
■  )^*^ti5,  **  The  Corsican  nation  does  not  let  itself  be  bought  and  sold 
^^  a  flock  of  sheep  sent  to  market/'  said  the  protest  of  the 
J'eptiblic's  Supreme  Council,  Fresh  troops  from  France  had  to  be 
a*k:c?d  for;  under  the  orders  of  Count  Vaux  they  triumphed  with- 
^^t  diificulty  over  the  Corsican  patriots.  Mustering  at  the  bridge 
^t  Golo  for  a  last  effort,  they  made  a  rampart  of  their  dead ;  the 
vc>nnded  had  lain  down  amongst  the  corpses  to  give  the  survivors 
^ttie  to  effect  their  retreat.  The  town  of  Corte,  the  seat  of  the 
^publican  government,  capitulated  before  long.  England  had 
*^pplied  Paoli  with  munitions  and  arms ;  he  had  hoped  more  from 
^^^  promises  of  the  government  and  the  national  jealousy  against 
Prance,  "  The  ministry  is  too  weak  and  the  nation  too  wise  to 
^ke  war  on  account  of  Corsica/'  said  an  illustrious  Judge,  Lord 
Mansfield,  In  vain  did  Burke  exclaim :  **  Corsica,  as  a  province 
^f  France,  is  for  me  an  object  of  alarm  ! ''  The  House  of  Commons 
approved  of  the  government's  conduct,  and  England  contented 


1 


232  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.U?. 

herself  with  offering  to  the  vanquished  Paoli  a  sympathetic  bosfn* 
tality ;  he  left  Corsica  on  an  English  frigate,  accompanied  \}y  moA 
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  givto 
a  master  to  France  and  the  Revolution,  became  definitively  Fronok 
with  Napoleon. 

Corsica  was  to  be  the  last  conquest  of  the  old  French  monarcl^. 
Great  or  little,  magnificent  or  insignificant,  from  Richelieu  to  ill* 
duke  of  Choiseul,  France  had  managed  to  preserve  her  territorial 
acquisitions ;  in  America  and  in  Asia,  Louis  XV.  had  shamefbDj 
lost  Canada  and  the  Indies ;  in  Europe,  the  diplomacy  of  Ul 
ministers  had  given  to  the  kingdom  Lorraine  and  Corsica^  Thl 
day  of  insensate  conquests  ending  in  a  diminution  of  territory  bid.  3 
not  yet  come.  In  the  great  and  iniquitous  dismemberment  wbilfeJ 
was  coming,  Franco  was  to  have  no  share.  ^fB 

Profound  disquietude  was  beginning  to  agitate  Europe:  ifcr] 
king  of  Poland,  Augustus   III.,  had  died  in  1763,  leaving  tiit  j 
unhappy  country  over  which  he  had  reigned  a  prey  to  intenil 
anarchy  ever  increasing  and  systematically  fanned  by  the  a?idiljf 
or  jealousy  of  the  great  powers,  its  neighbours.     "  As  it  is  to  Ih.; 
interest  of  the  two  monarchs  of  Russia  and  Prussia  that  the  Po 
commonwealth  should   preserve   its   right  to   free  election  of;^ 
king,"  said  the  secret  treaty  concluded  in  1764  between  Fr 
II.  and  the  Empress  Catherine,  "  and  that  no  family  should 
itself  of  the  elective  throne  of  that  country,  the  two  und€ 
tioned  Majesties  engage  to  prevent,  by  all  means  in  their 
Poland  from  being  despoiled  of  its  right  of  election  and 
formed  into  an  hereditary  kingdom ;   they  mutually  prondM  fc>' 
oppose  in  concert  and,  if  necessary,  by  force  of  arms,  all  jtai 
and  designs  which  may  tend  thereto  as  soon  as  discovered." 

A  second  article  secured  to  the  dissidentsy  as  Protestants  and 
Greeks  were  called  in  Poland,  the  protection  of  the  king  of  PmsA 
and  of  the  empress,  **  who  will  make  every  effort  to  persuade,  bf 
strong  and  friendly  representations,  the  king  and  the  common- 
wealth of  Poland  to  restore  to  those  persons  the  rights,  privileges 


Chap.UV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEABS'  WAB.        235 

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  favourable  times  and  circum- 
stances, 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  dis- 
sensions, 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,  sought  for  a  long  while  to  pave  the  way  for  the 
election  of  the  prince  of  Conti  to  the  throne  of  Poland,  the 
influence  of  Russia  and  of  Prussia  carried  the  day.  Prince  Ponia- 
towski,  late  favourite  of  the  Empress  Catherine,  was  elected  by 
the  Polish  Diet;  in  discouragement  and  sadness,  four  thousand 
nobles  only  had  responded  to  the  letters  of  convocation.  The 
new  king,  Stanislaus  Augustus,  handsome,  intelligent,  amiable, 
cultivated,  but  feeble  in  character  and  fatally  pledged  to  Russia, 
sought  to  rally  round  him  the  different  parties  and  to  establish  at 
last,  in  the  midst  of  general  confusion,  a  regular  and  a  strong 
government.  He  was  supported  in  this  patriotic  task  by  the 
influence,  ever  potent  in  Poland,  of  the  Czartoriskis.  The  far- 
seeing  vigilance  of  Frederick  II.  did  not  give  them  time  to  act. 
"  Poland  must  be  left  in  her  lethargy,"  he  had  said  to  the  Russian 
ambassador  Saldem.  "  It  is  of  importance,"  he  wrote  to  Catherine, 
"  that  Her  Majesty  the  empress  who  knows  perfectly  well  her  own 
interests  and  those  of  her  friends  and  allies,  should  give  orders  of 
the  most  precise  kind  to  her  ambassador  at  Warsaw,  to  oppose 
any  novelty  in  the  form  of  government  and,  generally,  speaking, 
the  establishment  of  a  permanent  council,  the  preservation  of  the 
commissions  of  war  and  of  the  treasury,  the  power  of  the  king 


236  HISTOBT  OF  FRAXCE.  [Chaf.  LIT. 

and  the  unlimited  concession  on  the  prince's  part  of  abititv  to 
distribute  offices  according  to  his  sole  will."  The  nseiiil  reforms 
being  thus  abandoned  and  the  king's  feeble  power  radically  shaken, 
religious  discord  came  to  fill  up  the  cup  of  disorder  and  to  pave 
the  wav  for  the  dismemberment  as  well  as  definitive  ruin  of 
unhappv  Poland. 

Subjected  for  a  long  time  past  to  an  increasing  oppression, 
which  was  encouraged  by  a  fanatical  and  unenlightened  clergy, 
the  Polish  di^idents  had  conceived  great  hopes  on  the  accession 
of  Stanislaus  Augustus ;  they  claimed  not  only  liberty  of  con- 
science and  of  worship,  but  also  all  the  civil  and  political  rights 
of  which  they  were  deprived.  "  It  is  no  question  of  establishing 
the  free  exercise  of  different  religions  in  Poland,"  wrote  Frederick 
to  Catherine ;  "  it  is  necessary  to  reduce  the  question  to  its  true 
issue,  the  demand  of  the  dissident  noblesse,  and  obtain  for  them 
the  equality  they  demand  together  with  participation  in  all  acts  of 
sovereignty."  This  was  precisely  what  the  clergy  and  the  cathohc 
noblesse  were  resolved  never  to  grant.  In  spite  of  support  from 
the  empress  and  the  king  of  Prussia,  the  demand  of  the  dissidents 
was  formally  rejected  by  the  Diet  of  1766.  At  the  Diet  of  1767, 
Count  Repnin,  Catherine's  ambassador  and  the  real  head  of  the 
government  in  Poland,  had  foiu*  of  the  most  recalcitrant  senators 
carried  off  and  sent  into  exile  in  Russia.  The  Diet  terrified,  dis- 
organized, immediately  pronounced  in  favour  of  the  dissidents. 
By  the  modifications  recently  introduced  into  the  constitution  of 
their  coimtry  the  Polish  nobles  had  lost  their  libennn  veto; 
unanimity  of  sufirages  was  no  longer  necessary  in  the  Diet ;  the 
foreign  powers  were  able  to  insolently  impose  their  will  upon  it; 
the  privileges  of  the  noblesse  as  well  as  their  traditional  faith  were 
attacked  at  the  very  foundations  ;  religious  fanaticism  and  national 
independence  boiled  up  at  the  same  time  in  every  heart;  the 
discontent,  secretly  fanned  by  the  agents  of  Frederick,  burst  out, 
sooner  than  the  skilful  weavers  of  the  plot  could  have  desired, 
with  sufficient  intensity  and  violence  to  set  fire  to  the  four  comers 
of  Poland.  By  a  bold  surprise  the  confederates  gained  possession 
of  Cracow  and  of  the  fortress  of  Barr,  in  Podolia ;  there  it  was 
that  they  swore  to  die  for  the  sacred  cause  of  catholic  Poland. 


Ghap.LIV.]    LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  YEARS'  WAR.  287 

For  more  than  a  century,  in  the  face  of  many  mistakes  and  many 
misfortunes,  the  Poles  have  faithfully  kept  that  oath. 

The  bishop  of  Kaminck,  Kraminski,  had  gone  to  Versailles  to 
solicit  the  support  of  France.  The  duke  of  Choiseul,  at  first  far 
from  zealous  in  the  cause  of  the  Polish  insurrection,  had  never- 
theless sent  a  few  troops,  who  were  soon  reinforced.  The  Empress 
Catherine  had  responded  to  the  violence  of  the  confederates  of 
Barr  by  letting  loose  upon  the  Ukraine  the  hordes  of  Zaporoguian 
Cossacks,  speedily  followed  by  regular  troops.  The  Poles,  often 
beaten,  badly  led  by  chieftains  divided  amongst  themselves,  but 
ever  ardent,  ever  skilful  in  seizing  upon  the  smallest  advantages, 
were  sustained  by  the  pious  exhortations  of  the  clergy,  who 
regarded  the  war  as  a  crusade;  they  were  rejoiced  to  see  a 
diversion  preparing  in  their  favour  by  the  Sultan's  armaments. 
"I  will  raise  the  Turks  against  Russia  the  moment  you  think 
proper,"  was  the  assurance  given  to  the  duke  of  Choiseul  by  the 
count  of  Vergennes,  French  ambassador  at  Constantinople,  "  but  I 
warn  you  that  they  will  be  beaten."  Hostilities  broke  out  on  the 
30th  of  October,  1768;  a  Turkish  army  set  out  to  aid  the  Polish 
insurrection.  Absorbed  by  their  patriotic  passions,  the  catholic 
confederates  summoned  the  Mussulmans  to  their  assistance. 
Prince  Galitzin,  at  the  head  of  a  Russian  force  very  inferior  to  the 
Ottoman  invaders,  succeeded  in  barring  their  passage :  the  Turks 
fell  back,  invariably  beaten  by  the  Russian  generals.  Catherine  at 
the  same  time  summoned  to  liberty  the  oppressed  and  persecuted 
Greeks ;  she  sent  a  squadron  to  support  the  rising  which  she  had 
been  fomenting  for  some  months  past.  After  a  few  brilliant 
successes,  her  arms  were  less  fortunate  at  sea  than  on  land.  A 
French  officer,  of  Hungarian  origin,  Baron  Tott,  sent  by  the  duke 
of  Choiseul  to  help  the  Sublime  Porte,  had  fortified  the  straits  of 
the  Dardanelles :  the  Russians  were  repulsed ;  they  withdrew, 
leaving  the  Greeks  to  the  vengeance  of  their  oppressors.  The 
efforts  which  the  Empress  Catherine  was  making  in  Poland  against 
the  confederates  of  Barr  had  slackened  her  proceedings  against 
Turkey  ;  she  was  nevertheless  becoming  triumphant  on  the  borders 
0f  the  Vistula  as  well  as  on  the  banks  of  the  Danube,  when  the 
&r-8ighted  and  bold  policy  of  Frederick  II.  interfered  in  time  to 


238  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV' 

prevent  Russia  from  taking  possession  of  Poland  as  well  as  of  the 
Ottoman  empire. 

Secretly  favouring  the  confederates  of  Barr  whom  he  had  but 
lately  encouraged  in  their  uprising  and  whom  he  had  suffered  to 
make  purchases  of  arms  and  ammunition  in  Prussia,  Frederick  11. 
had  sought  in  Austria  a  natural  ally,  interested  like  himself  in 
stopping  the  advances  of  Russia.  The  emperor,  Maria  Theresa's 
husband,  had  died  in  1764;  his  son,  Joseph  II.,  who  succeeded  bim, 
had  conceived  for  the  king  of  Prussia  the  spontaneous  admiration 
of  a  young  and  ardent  spirit  for  the  most  illustrious  man  of  his 
times.  In  1769,  a  conference  which  took  place  at  Neisso  brought 
the  two  sovereigns  together.  "  The  emperor  is  a  man  eaten  up 
with  ambition,"  wrote  Frederick  after  the  interview ;  "  he  is  hatch- 
ing some  great  design.  At  present,  restrained  as  he  is  by  his 
mother,  he  ^is  beginning  to  chafe  at  the  yoke  he  bears,  and,  as 
soon  as  he  gets  elbow-room,  he  will  commence  with  some  startling 
stroke ;  it  was  impossible  for  me  to  discover  whether  his  views  were 
directed  towards  the  republic  of  Venice,  towards  Bavaria,  towards 
Silesia  or  towards  Lorraine  :  but  we  may  rely  upon  it  that  Europe 
will  be  all  on  fire  the  moment  he  is  master."  A"  second  interview, 
at  Neustadt  in  1770,  clinched  the  relations  already  contracted  at 
Neisse.  Common  danger  brought  together  old  enemies.  "  I  am 
not  going  to  have  the  Russians  for  neighbours,"  the  Empress 
Maria  Theresa  was  always  repeating.  The  devastating  flood  had 
to  be  directed  and  at  the  same  time  stemmed.  The  feeble  goodwill 
of  France  and  the  small  body  of  troops  commanded  by  Dumouriez 
were  still  supporting  the  Polish  insurrection,  but  the  duke  of 
Clioiseul  had  just  succumbed  to  intrigue  at  home.  There  was  no 
longer  any  foreign  policy  in  France.  It  was  without  fear  of 
intervention  from  her  that  the  German  powers  began  to  discuss 
between  them  the  partition  of  Poland. 

She  was  at  the  same  time  suffering  disseverment  at  her  own 
hands  through  her  intestine  divisions  and  the  mutual  jealousy  of 
her  chiefs.  In  Warsaw  the  confederates  had  attempted  to  carry 
off  King  Stanislaus  Augustus,  whom  they  accused  of  betraying  the 
cause  of  the  fatherland ;  they  had  declared  the  throne  vacant  and 
took  upon  themselves  to  found  an  hereditary  monarchy.     To  this 


Chap.LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  TEARS'  WAB.  289 

supreme  honour  every  great  lord  aspired,  every  small  army-corps 
acted  individually  and  without  concert  with  the  neighbouring 
leaders.  Only  a  detachment  of  French,  under  the  orders  of 
Brigadier  Choisi,  still  defended  the  fort  of  Cracow;  General 
Suwarrow,  who  was  investing  it,  forced  them  to  capitulate :  they 
obtained  all  the  honours  of  war,  but  in  vain  was  the  Empress 
Catherine  urged  by  D* Alembert  and  his  friends  the  philosophers  to 
restore  their  freedom  to  the  glorious  vanquished ;  she  replied  to 
them  with  pleasantries.  Ere  long  the  fate  of  Poland  was  about 
to  be  decided  without  the  impotent  efforts  of  France  in  her  favour 
weighing  for  an  instant  in  the  balance.  The  political  annihilation 
of  Louis  XV.  in  Europe  had  been  completed  by  the  dismissal  of 
the  duke  of  Choiseul. 

The  public  conscience  is  Kghtened  by  lights  which  ability,  even 
when  triumphant,  can  never  altogether  obscure.  The  Great 
Frederick  and  the  Empress  Catherine  have  to  answer  before  history 
for  the  crime  of  the  partition  of  Poland,  which  they  made  accept- 
able to  the  timorous  jealousy  of  Maria  Theresa  and  to  the  youthful 
ambition  of  her  son.  As  prudent  as  he  was  audacious,  Frederick 
had  been  for  a  long  time  paving  the  way  for  the  dismemberment 
of  the  coimtry  he  had  seemed  to  protect.  Negotiations  for  peace 
with  the  Turks  became  the  pretext  for  war-indemnities.  Poland, 
vanquished,  divided,  had  to  pay  the  whole  of  them.  "  I  shall  not 
enter  upon  the  portion  that  Russia  marks  out  for  herself,"  wrote 
Frederick  to  Count  Solms,  his  ambassador  at  St.  Petersburg  :  "  I 
have  expressly  left  all  that  blank  in  order  that  she  may  settle  it 
according  to  her  interests  and  her  own  good  pleasure.  When  the 
negotiations  for  peace  have  advanced  to  a  certain  stage  of  consistency, 
it  will  no  longer  depend  upon  the  Austrian  s  to  break  them  off  if 
we  declare  our  views  unanimously  as  to  Poland.  She  cannot  rely 
any  further  upon  France,  which  happens  to  be  in  such  a  fearful 
state  of  exhaustion  that  it  could  not  give  any  help  to  Spain  which 
was  on  the  point  of  declaring  war  against  England.  If  that  war 
do  not  take  place,  it  must  be  attributed  simply  to  the  smash  in  the 
finances  of  France.  I  guarantee,  then,  to  the  Russians  all  that  may 
happen  to  suit  them,  they  wUl  do  as  much  for  me,  and,  supposing 
that  the  Austrians  should  consider  their  share  of  Poland  too  paltry 


240  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LIV. 

in  comparison  with  ours  and  it  were  desirable  to  satisfy  them,  one 
would  only  have  to  offer  them  that  strip  of  the  Venetian  dominions 
which  cuts  them  off  from  Trieste  in  order  to  keep  them,  quiet; 
even  if  they  wore  to  turn  nasty,  I  will  answer  for  it  with  my  head 
that  our  union  with  Russia,  once  clearly  established,  will  tide  them 
over  all  that  we  desire.  They  have  to  do  with  two  powers  and 
they  have  not  a  single  ally  to  give  them  a  shoulder." 

Frederick  said  truly ;  his  sound  and  powerful  judgment  took  in 
the  position  of  Europe  :  France,  exhausted  by  the  lingering  decay 
of  her  government  and  in  travail  with  new  and  confused  elements 
which  had  as  yet  no  strength  but  to  shatter  and  destroy ;  Spain, 
lured  on  by  France  and  then  abandoned  by  her ;  England,  disturbed 
at  home  by  parliamentary  agitation,  favourably  disposed  to  the 
court  of  Russia  and  for  a  long  while  allied  to  Frederick ;  Sweden 
and  Denmark,  in  the  throes  of  serious  events ;  there  was  nothing 
to  oppose  the  iniquity  projected  and  prepared  for  with  so  much 
art  and  ability.  It  was  in  vain  that  the  king  of  Prussia  sought  to 
turn  into  a  joke  the  unscrupulous  manoeuvres  of  his  diplomacy 
when  he  wrote  to  D'Alembert  in  January,  1772  :  "  I  would  rather 
undertake  to  put  the  whole  history  of  the  Jews  into  madrigals 
than  to  cause  to  be  of  one  mind  three  sovereigns  amongst  whom 
must  be  numbered  two  women."  The  undertaking  was  already 
accomplished.  Three  months  later,  the  first  partition  of  Poland 
had  been  settled  between  Russia,  Prussia,  and  Austria,  and  on  the 
2nd  of  September,  1772,  the  treaty  was  made  known  at  Warsaw. 
The  manifesto  was  short :  "  It  is  a  general  rule  of  policy," 
Frederick  had  said,  "  that,  in  default  of  unanswerable  arguments, 
it  is  better  to  express  oneself  laconically  and  not  go  beating  about 
the  bush."  The  care  of  drawing  it  up  had  been  entrusted  to 
Prince  Kaunitz.  "  It  was  of  importance,"  said  the  document, 
"  to  establish  the  commonwealth  of  Poland  on  a  sohd  basis  whilst 
doing  justice  to  the  claims  of  the  three  powers  for  services 
rendered  against  the  insurrection."  The  king  and  the  senate 
protested.  The  troops  of  the  allies  surrounded  Warsaw,  and  the 
Diet,  being  convoked,  ratified  by  a  majority  of  two  voices  the 
convention  presented  by  the  spoilers  themselves.  Catherine 
assigned  to  herself  three  thousand  square  leagues  and  1,500,000 


Chap.  LIV.]     LOUIS  XV.,  THE  SEVEN  TEARS'  WAR.  241 

souls  in  Lithuania  and  Polish  Livonia;  Austria  took  possession 
of  two  thousand  five  hundred  square  leagues  and  more  than  two 
million  souls  in  Red  Russia  and  the  Polish  palatinates  on  the  left 
of  the  Vistula ;  the  instigator  and  plotter  of  the  whole  business 
had  been  the  most  modest  of  all :  the  treaty  of  partition  brought 
Prussia  only  nine  hundred  square  leagues  and  860,000  souls,  but 
he  found  himself  master  of  Prussian  Poland  and  of  a  henceforth 
compact  territory.  England  had  opposed,  in  Russia,  the  cession 
of  Dantzick  to  the  Great  Frederick.  "  The  ill-temper  of  France 
and  England  at  the  dismemberment  of  Poland  calls  for  serious 
reflections,"  wrote  the  king  of  Prussia  on  the  5th  of  August,  1772 : 
"  these  two  courts  are  already  moving  heaven  and  earth  to  detach 
the  court  of  Vienna  from  our  system ;  but  as  the  three  chief 
points  whence  their  support  should  come  are  altogether  to  seek  in 
France  and  there  are  neither  system,  nor  stability,  nor  money 
there,  her  projects  will  be.  given  up  with  the  same  facility  with 
which  they  were  conceived  and  broached.  They  appear  to  me, 
moreover,  like  the  projects  of  the  duke  of  Aiguillon,  ebullitions  of 
French  vivacity." 

France  did  not  do  anything  and  could  not  do  anything;  the 
king's  secret  negotiators,  as  well  as  the  minister  of  foreign  affairs, 
had  been  tricked  by  the  allied  powers.  "Ahl  if  Choiseul  had 
been  here!"  exclaimed  King  Louis  XV.,  it  is  said,  when  he  heard 
of  the  partition  of  Poland.  The  duke  of  Choiseul  would  no  doubt 
have  been  more  clear-sighted  and  better  informed  than  the  duke  of 
Aiguillon,  but  his  policy  could  have  done  no  good.  Frederick  II. 
knew  that.  "  France  plays  so  small  a  part  in  Europe,"  he  wrote  to 
Count  Solms,  "  that  I  merely  tell  you  about  the  impotent  efforts  of 
the  French  ministry's  envy  just  to  have  a  laugh  at  them  and  to  let 
you  see  in  what  visions  the  consciousness  of  its  own  weaknesses  is 
capable  of  leading  that  court  to  indulge."  "  Oh,  where  w  Poland  ?  " 
Madame  Dubarry  had  said  to  Count  Wicliolorsky,  King  Stanislaus 
Augustus'  charge  d'affaires,  who  was  trying  to  interest  her  in  the 
misfortunes  of  his  country. 

The  partition  of  Poland  was  barely  accomplished,  the  con- 
federates  of  Barr,  overwhelmed  by  the  Russian  troops,  were 
still  arriving  in  France  to  seek  refuge  there,  and  already  King 

VOL.  V.  K 


24£ 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LIV. 


Louis  XV*,  for  a  moment  roused  by  tlie  audacious  aggression 
of  the  German  courts^  had  sunk  back  into  the  abameful  lethargy 
of  his  life.  When  Madame  Louise,  the  pious  Carmelite  of 
St,  Denis,  succeeded  in  awakening  in  her  father's  soul  a  gleam  of 
religious  terror,  the  courtiers  in  charge  of  the  royal  pleasures  re- 
doubled their  efforts  to  distract  the  king  from  thoughts  so  perilous 
for  their  own  fortunes,  Louie  XV.,  fluctuating  between  remorse 
and  depravity,  ruled  by  Madame  Dubarr J,  bound  hand  and  foot  to 
the  triumvirate  of  Chancellor  Maupeou,  Abb^  Terray  and  the  duke 
of  Aiguillon,  who  were  conBuming  between  them  in  his  name 
the  last  remnants  of  absolute  power,  fell  suddenly  ill  of  small-pox. 
The  princesses,  his  daughterSs  had  never  had  that  terrible  disease, 
the  scourge  and  teiTor  of  all  classes  of  society,  yet  they  bravely 
shut  themselves  up  with  the  king,  lavishing  their  attentions  upon 
him  to  the  last  gasp.  Death,  triumphant,  had  vanquished  the 
favourite :  Madame  Dubarry  was  sent  away  as  soon  as  the  nature 
of  the  malady  had  declared  itself.  The  king  charged  his  grand 
almoner  to  ask  pardon  of  the  courtiers  for  the  scandal  he  had 
caused  them.  "  Kings  owe  no  account  of  their  conduct  save  to 
God  only,"  he  had  often  repeated  to  comfort  himself  for  the  shame 
of  his  life,  "  It  is  just  He  whom  I  fear/*  said  Maria  Theresa, 
pursued  by  remorse  for  the  partition  of  Poland. 

Louis  XV,  died  on  the  10th  of  May,  1774,  in  his  sixty-fourth 
year,  after  reigning  fifty-nine  years^  despised  by  the  people  who  had 
not  so  long  ago  given  him  the  name  of  Well-beloved,  and  whose 
attachment  he  had  worn  out  by  his  cold  indifference  about  affairs 
and  the  national  interests  as  much  as  by  the  iiTegularities  of  his  life* 
With  him  died  the  old  French  monarchy,  that  proud  power  which 
had  sometimes  ruled  Europe  whilst  always  holding  a  great  position 
therein.  Henceforth  France  was  marching  towards  the  unknown, 
tossed  about  as  she  was  by  divers  movements,  which  were  mostly 
hostile  to  the  old  state  of  things,  blindly  and  confusedly  as  yet,  but, 
under  the  direction  of  masters  as  inexperienced  as  they  were 
daring,  fuU  of  frequently  noble  though  nearly  always  extravagant 
and  reckless  hopes,  all  founded  on  a  thorough  reconstruction  of 
the  bases  of  society  and  of  its  ancient  props*  Far  more  even  than 
the  monarchy,  at  the  close  of  Louis  XV/s  reign,  did  religion  find 


JOWHERE  and  at  no  epoch  had  literature  shone  with 
so  vivid  a  lustre  as  in  the  reign  of  Louis  XIV.j  never 
has  it  been  in  a  greater  degree  the  occupation  and 
charm  of  mankind,  never  has  it  left  nobler  and  rarer  models 
behind  it  for  the  admiration  and  imitation  of  the  coming  race: 
the  writers  of  Louis  XV J e  age,  for  all  their  bnlHancj  and  all  their 
fertihty,  themselves  felt  their  inferiority  in  respect  of  their  prede* 
cessors-  Voltaire  confessed  as  ranch  with  a  modesty  which 
was  by  no  means  familiar  to  him.  Inimitable  in  their  genius, 
Corneille,  Bossuet,  Pascal,  Mohfire  left  their  imprint  upon  the 
generation  that  came  after  them;  it  had  judgment  enough  to  set 
them  by  acclamation  in  the  ranks  of  the  classics ;  in  their  casei 
greatness  displaced  time,  Voltaire  took  Racine  for  modal;  La 
Mo  the  imagined  that  he  could  imitate  La  Fontaine.  The  lUui- 
trious  company  of  great  minds  which  surrounded  the  throne  of 
Louis  XI  V<  and  had  so  much  to  clo  with  the  lasting  splendour  of 
his  reign  had  no  reason  to  complain  of  ingratitude  on  the  part  of 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  245 

its  successors ;  but,  from  the  pedestal  to  which  they  raised  it,  it 
exercised  no  potent  influence  upon  now  thought  and  new  passions. 
Enclosed  in  their  glory  as  in  a  sanctuary,  those  noble  spirits, 
discreet  and  orderly  even  in  their  audacities,  might  look  forth  on 
commotions  and  yearnings  they  had  never  known :  they  saw,  with 
astonishment  mingled  with  affright,  their  successors  launching 
without  fear  or  afterthought  upon  that  boundless  world  of  intellect, 
upon  which  the  rules  of  conscience  and  the  difficulties  of  practical 
life  do  not  come  in  anywhere  to  impose  limits.  They  saw  the 
field  everywhere  open  to  human  thought  and  they  saw  falUng  down 
on  all  sides  the  boundaries  which  they  had  considered  sacred. 
They  saw  pioneers,  as  bold  as  they  were  thoughtless,  marching 
through  the  mists  of  a  glorious  hope  towards  an  unknown  future, 
attacking  errors  and  abuses,  all  the  while  that  they  were  digging 
up  the  groundwork  of  society  in  order  to  lay  new  foundations,  and 
they  must  have  shuddered  even  in  their  everlasting  rest  to  see 
ideas  taking  the  place  of  creeds,  doubt  substituted  for  belief, 
generous  aspirations  after  liberty,  justice  and  humanity  mingled, 
amongst  the  masses,  with  low  passions  and  deep-seated  rancour. 
They  saw  respect  disappearing,  the  Church  as  well  as  the  kingly 
power  losing  prestige  every  day,  religious  faith  all  darkened  and 
dimmed  in  some  comer  of  men's  souls,  and,  amidst  all  this  general 
instability,  they  asked  themselves  with  awe,  "  Where  are  the 
guiding-reins  of  the  society  which  is  about  to  be  ?  What  will  be 
the  props  of  the  new  fabric  ?  The  foundations  are  overturned ; 
what  will  the  good  man  do  ?" 

^-  Good  men  had  themselves  sometimes  lent  a  hand  to  the  work, 
beyond  what  they  had  intended  or  foreseen,  perhaps ;  Montesquieu, 
despite  the  wise  moderation  of  his  great  and  strong  mind,  had  been 
the  first  to  awaken  that  yearning  for  novelty  and  reforms  which 
had  been  silently  brooding  at  the  bottom  of  men's  hearts.  Bom  in 
1689  at  the  castle  of  La  Brfede,  near  Bordeaux,  Montesquieu  really 
belonged,  in  point  of  age,  to  the  reign  of  Louis  XIV.,  of  which  he 
bears  the  powerful  imprint  even  amidst  the  boldness  of  his  thoughts 
and  expressions.  Grandeur  is  the  distinctive  characteristic  of 
Montesquieu's  ideas  as  it  is  of  the  seventeenth  century  altogether. 
He  was  already  councillor  in  the  parliament  of  Bordeaux  when 


246 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Char  LT, 


Louis  XIV.  died ;  next  year  (1716)  he  took  possession  of  a  mortar- 
cap-presideut's  (president  a  mortier)  office,  wliicli  bad  been  given  n[ 
to  him  by  one  of  his  nncles.     **  On  leaving  college/'  he  says,  *'  theral 
were  put  into  my  hands  some  law-books ;  I  examined  the  spirit  orj 
them."     Those  profound  researches,  which  were  to  last  as  long  as] 
his  life,  were  more  suited  to  bis  tastes  than  jurisprudence  properly  I 
so  called,     "  What  has  always  given  me  rather  a  low  opinion  of* 
myself,"  he  would  say,  **  is  that  there  are  very  few  positions  in  the 
commonwealth  for  which  I  should  be  really  fit.    As  for  my  office  of 


I" 


^^ 


•^*  // 


^\ 


president,  I  have  my  heart  in  the  right  place,  I  comprehended  suffi- 
ciently well  the  questions  in  themselves  ;  but  as  to  the  procedure  I 
did  not  understand  anytbiug  about  it*  I  paid  attention  to  it,  never- 
theless ;  but  what  disgusted  me  most  was  to  see  fools  with  that  very 
talent  which,  so  to  speak,  shunned  me."  He  resolved  to  deliver  him- 
self from  the  yoke  which  was  intolerable  to  Mm  and  resigned  hia 
office ;  but  by  this  time  the  world  knew  his  name,  in  spite  of  the  care| 
ne  bad  taken  at  first  to  conceal  it.  In  1721,  when  he  still  had  his 
seat  on  the  fleurs-de-lis,  he  bad  published  his  Leftres  persaneiit  an 
imagmary  trip  of  two  exiled  Parsees,  freely  criticizing  Paris  and 
Prance,     The  book  appeared  under  the  Regency,  and  bears  the 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHEBS.  U? 

imprint  of  it  in  the  licentiousness  of  the  descriptions  and  the  witty- 
irreverence  of  the  criticisms.  Sometimes,  however,  the  futm*e 
gravity  of  Montesquieu's  genius  reveals  itself  amidst  the  shrewd 
or  biting  judgments.  It  is  in  the  Lettres  persanes  that  he  seeks  to 
set  up  the  notion  of  justice  above  the  idea  of  God  himself. 
"  Though  there  were  no  Grod,"  he  says,  "  we  should  still  be  bound 
to  love  justice,  that  is  to  say,  make  every  effort  to  be  like  that 
Being  of  whom  we  have  so  grand  an  idea  and  who,  if  He  existed, 
would  of  necessity  be  just.'*  Holy  Scripture,  before  Montesquieu, 
had  affirmed  more  simply  and  more  powerfully  the  unchangeable 
idea  of  justice  in  every  soul  of  man :  "  He  who  is  judge  of  all  the 
earth,  shall  not  He  do  right  ?  "  Abraham  had  said  when  interceding 
with  God  for  the  righteous  shut  up  in  Sodom. 

The  success  of  the  Lettres  persanes  was  great ;  Montesquieu  had 
said  what  many  people  thought  without  daring  to  express  it ;  the 
doubt  which  was  nascent  in  his  mind,  and  which  he  could  only 
withstand  by  an  effort  of  will,  the  excessive  freedom  of  the  tone 
and  of  the  style  scared  the  authorities,  however ;  when  he  wanted 
to  get  into  the  French  Academy,  in  the  place  of  M.  de  Sacy, 
Cardinal  Fleury  opposed  it  formally.  It  was  only  on  the  24th 
of  January,  1728,  that  Montesquieu,  recently  elected,  delivered 
his  reception  speech.  He  at  once  set  out  on  some  long  travels  : 
he  went  through  Germany,  Hungary,  Italy,  Switzerland,  Holland, 
and  ended  by  settling  in  England  for  two  years.  The  sight  of  poli- 
tical liberty  had  charmed  him.  "Ambassadors  know  no  more 
about  England  than  a  six  months'  infant,"  he  wrote  in  his  journal : 
"  when  people  see  the  devil  to  pay  in  the  periodical  publications, 
they  believe  that  there  is  going  to  be  a  revolution  next  day ;  but 
all  that  is  required  is  to  remember  that  in  England  as  elsewhere, 
the  people  are  dissatisfied  with  the  ministers  and  write  what  is  only 
thought  elsewhere.  England  is  the  freest  country  in  the  world,  I  do 
not  except  any  republic."  He  returned  to  France  so  smitten  with 
the  parliamentary  or  moderate  form  of  government,  as  he  called  it, 
that  he  seemed  sometimes  to  forget  the  prudent  maxim  of  the  Lettres 
persanes :  "  It  is  true,"  said  the  Parsee  Usbeck,  "  that,  in  consequence 
of  a  whimsicality  {bizarrerie)  which  springs  rather  from  the  nature 
than  from  the  mind  of  man,  it  is  sometimes  necessary  to  change 


248  HISTOEY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV 

certain  laws ;  but  the  case  is  rare,  and,  when  it  occurs*,  it  should  not 
be  touched  save  with  a  trembling  hand." 

On  returning  to  his  castle  of  La  Brede  after  so  many  and  such 
long  travels,  Montesquieu  resolved  to  restore  his  tone  by  inter- 
course with  the  past.  "  I  confess  my  liking  for  the  ancients,"  he 
used  to  say ;  "  this  antiquity  enchants  me,  and  I  am  always  ready 
to  say  with  Pliny :  You  are  going  to  Athens ;  revere  the  gods." 
It  was  not,  however,  on  the  Greeks  that  he  concentrated  the  work- 
ing of  his  mind;  in  1734,  he  published  his  Considerations  sur  les 
causes  de  la  grandeur  et  de  la  decadence  des  Bomains.  Montesquieu 
did  not,  as  Bossuet  did,  seek  to  hit  upon  God's  plan  touching  the 
destinies  of  mankind  :  he  discovers  in  the  virtues  and  vices  of  the 
Romans  themselves  the  secret  of  their  triumphs  and  of  their 
reverses.  The  contemplation  of  antiquity  inspires  him  with  lan- 
guage often  worthy  of  Tacitus,  curt,  nervous,  powerful  in  its  grave 
simplicity :  "  It  seemed,"  he  says,  "  that  the  Komans  only  con- 
quered in  order  to  give ;  but  they  remained  so  positively  the 
masters  that,  when  they  made  war  on  any  prince,  they  crushed 
him,  so  to  speak,  with  the  weight  of  the  whole  universe." 

Montesquieu  thus  performed  the  prelude  to  the  great  work  of 
his  life :  he  had  been  working  for  twenty  years  at  the  Esprit  des 
/oi5,  when  he  published  it  in  1748.  "In  the  course  of  twenty 
years,"  he  says,  "  I  saw  my  work  begin,  grow,  progress  and  end." 
He  had  placed  as  the  motto  to  his  book  this  Latin  phrase,  which  at 
first  excited  the  curiosity  of  readers :  Prolem  sine  rnatre  creaiam 
(Offspring  begotten  ivithout  a  mother).  "  Young  man,"  said  Mon- 
tesquieu, by  this  time  advanced  in  years,  to  M.  Suard  (afterwards 
perpetual  secretary  to  the  French  Academy),  "  young  man,  when 
a  notable  book  is  written,  genius  is  its  father  and  liberty  its  mother ; 
that  is  why  I  wrote  upon  the  title-page  of  my  work :  Prolem  sine 
matre  creatam.^^ 

It  was  liberty  at  the  same  time  as  justice  that  Montesquieu 
sought  and  claimed  in  his  profound  researches  into  the  laws  which 
have  from  time  immemorial  governed  mankind ;  that  new  instinc- 
tive idea  of  natural  rights,  those  new  yearnings  which  were  begin- 
ning to  dawn  in  all  hearts,  remained  as  yet,  for  the  most  part,  upon 
the  surface  of  their  minds  and  of  their  lives ;  what  was  demanded 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  249 

at  that  time  in  Franco  was  liberty  to  speak  and  write  rather 
than  to  act  and  govern.  Montesquieu,  on  the  contrary,  went  to 
the  bottom  of  things,  and,  despite  the  natural  moderation  of  his 
mind,  he  propounded  theories  so  perilous  for  absolute  power  that 
he  dared  not  have  his  book  printed  at  Paris  and  brought  it  out  in 
Geneva ;  its  success  was  immense  :  before  his  death,  Montesquieu 
saw  twenty-one  French  editions  published  and  translations  in  all 
the  languages  of  Europe.  "  Mankind  had  lost  its  title-deeds," 
says  Voltaire :  "  Montesquieu  recovered  and  restored  them." 

The  intense  labour,  -the  immense  courses  of  reading,  to  which 
Montesquieu  had  devoted  himself,  had  exhausted  his  strength.  "  I 
am  overcome  with  weariness,"  he  wrote  in  1747  :  "  I  propose  to 
rest  myself  for  the  remainder  of  my  days."  ''  I  have  done,"  he 
said  to  M.  Suard :  "  I  have  burnt  all  my  powder,  all  my  candles 
have  gone  out."  "  I  had  conceived  the  design  of  giving  greater 
breadth  and  depth  to  certain  parts  of  my  Esyint ;  I  have  become 
incapable  of  it :  my  reading  has  weakened  my  eyes,  and  it  seems 
to  me  that  what  light  I  have  left  is  but  the  dawn  of  the  day  when 
they  will  close  for  ever." 

Montesquieu  was  at  Paris,  ill  and  sad  at  heart,  in  spite  of  his 
habitual  serenity ;  notwithstanding  the  scoffs  he  had  admitted  into 
his  Lettres  peraanesy  he  had  always  preserved  some  respect  for 
rehgion ;  he  considered  it  a  necessary  item  in  the  order  of  societies ; 
in  his  soul  and  on  his  own  private  account  he  hoped  and  desired 
rather  than  believed.  "  Though  the  immortality  of  the  soul  were 
an  error,"  he  had  said,  "  I  should  be  sorry  not  to  l^elieve  it ;  I 
confess  that  I  am  not  so  humble  as  the  atheists.  I  know  not  what 
they  think,  but  as  for  me  I  would  not  truck  the  notion  of  my 
immortality  for  that  of  an  ephemeral  happiness.  There  is  for  me 
a  charm  in  believing  myself  to  be  immortal  like  God  himself.  Inde- 
pendently of  revealed  ideas,  metaphysical  ideas  give  me,  as  regards 
my  eternal  happiness,  strong  hopes  which  I  should  not  like  to  give 
up."  As  he  approached  the  tomb,  his  views  of  religion  appeared  to 
become  clearer.  "  What  a  wonderful  thing !  "  he  would  say,  "  the 
Christian  religion,  which  seems  to  have  no  object  but  felicity  in  the 
next  world,  yet  forms  our  happiness  in  this."  He  had  never  looked 
to  life  for  any  very  keen  delights  ;  his  spirits  were  as  even  as  his 


250 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LV. 


mind  was  power! uL  **  Study  l^as  been  for  me  the  sovereign  remedy 
against  the  disagreeables  of  life/'  he  wrote,  "  never  having  had  any 
sorrow  that  an  hoor's  reading  did  not  dispel.  I  awake  in  the 
morning  with  a  secret  joy  at  beholding  the  light ;  I  gaze  upon  the 
light  with  a  sort  of  enchantment,  and  all  the  rest  of  the  day  I  am 
content.  I  pass  the  night  without  awaking,  and  in  the  evening, 
when  I  go  to  bed,  a  sort  of  entrancement  prevents  me  from  giving 
way  to  reflections/' 

Montesquieu  died  as  he  had  lived,  without  retracting  any  of  his 


ET-'N^ 


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POKTBBTllLB. 


ideas  or  of  his  writings*  The  priest  of  his  parish  brought  him  the 
sacraments,  and,  "  Sir/'  said  he,  "  you  know  how  gi^eat  God  is!** 
"  Yes/*  replied  the  dying  man,  "  and  how  little  men  are !  "  He 
expired  almost  immediately  on  the  10th  of  February,  1755,  at  tbe 
age  of  sixty-six.  He  died  at  the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  the 
philosophers,  whose  way  he  had  prepared  before  them  without 
hanng  ever  belonged  to  their  number.  Diderot  alone  followed  his 
bier*  Fontenelle,  nearly  a  hundred  years  old,  was  noon  to  follow 
him  to  the  tomb. 

Born  at  Rouen  in  February,  1667,  and  nephew  of  Comeille  oi 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  251 

the  mother's  side,  Fontenelle  had  not  received  from  nature  any 
of  the  unequal  and  sublime  endowments  which  have  fixed  the 
dramatic  crown  for  ever  upon  the  forehead  ot  Corneille ;  but  he 
had  inherited  the  wit,  and  indeed  the  brilliant  wit  {bel  esprit)^ 
which  the  great  tragedian  hid  beneath  the  splendours  of  his 
genius.  He  began  with  those  writings,  superfine  (precieux), 
dainty,  tricked  out  in  the  fashion  of  the  court  and  the  drawing- 
room,  which  suggested  La  Bruyfere's  piquant  portrait. 

"  Ascanius  is  a  statuary,  Hegio  a  metal-founder,  -ffischines  a 
fuller,  and  Cydias  a  brilliant  wit.  That  is  his  trade;  he  has  a 
sign,  a  workshop,  articles  made  to  order  and  apprentices  who 
work  under  him.  Prose,  verse,  what  d'ye  lack  ?  He  is  equally 
successful  in  both.  Give  him  an  order  for  letters  of  consolation^  or 
on  an  absence ;  he  will  undertake  them.  Take  them  ready  made, 
if  you  like,  and  enter  his  shop,  there  is  a  choice  assortment.  He 
has  a  friend  whose  only  duty  on  earth  is  to  puff  him  for  a  long 
while  in  certain  society  and  then  present  him  at  their  houses  as  a 
rare  bird  and  a  man  of  exquisite  conversation,  and  thereupon,  just 
as  the  musical  man  sings  and  the  player  on  the  lute  touches  his 
.ute  before  the  persons  to  whom  he  has  been  puflFed,  Cydias,  after 
coughing,  pulling  up  his  wristband,  extending  his  hand  and  open- 
ing  his  fingers,  gravely  spouts  his  quintessentiated  ideas  and  his 
sophisticated  arguments." 

Fontenelle  was  not  destined  to  stop  here  in  his  intellectual 
developments ;  when,  at  forty  years  of  age,  he  became  perpetual 
secretary  to  the  Academy  of  Sciences,  he  had  already  written  his 
book  on  the  Plurality  des  Mondesy  the  first  attempt  at  that  popula* 
rization  of  science  which  has  spread  so  since  then.  "  I  believe 
more  and  more,"  he  said,  "  that  there  is  a  certain  genius  which  has 
never  yet  been  out  of  our  Europe  or,  at  least,  has  not  gone  far  out 
of  it."  This  geniuSf  clear,  correct,  precise,  the  genius  of  method 
and  analysis,  the  genius  of  Descartes,  which  was  at  a  later  period 
that  of  Bufibn  and  of  Cuvier,  was  admirably  expounded  and 
developed  by  Fontenelle  for  the  use  of  the  ignorant.  He  wrote 
for  society  and  not  for  scholars,  of  whose  labours  and  discoveries 
he  gave  an  account  to  society.  His  extracts  from  the  labours  of 
the  Academy  of  Science  and  his  eulogies  of  the  Academicians  are 


252  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chip.  L\i^-^ 

models  of  lucidness  under  an  ingenious  and  subtle  form,  render^  ^ 
simple  and  strong  by  dint  of  wit.      "  There  is  only  truth  tK.^^^ 
persuades,"  he  used  to  say,  "  and  even  without  requiring  to  appc^^^^^ 
with  all  its  proofs.     It  makes  its  way  so  naturally  into  the  micici, 
that,  when  it  is  heard  for  the  first  time,  it  seems  as  if  one  wef--e 
merely  remembering." 

Equitable  and  moderate  in  mind,  prudent  and  cold  in  temper^^^ 
ment,  Fontenelle  passed  his  life  in  discussion  without  ever  stuic:::^'' 
bUng  into  disputes  :  "  I  am  no  theologian,  or  philosopher,  or  nu^.*-^^'' 
of  any  denomination,  of  any  sort  whatever ;  consequently  I  k^:::^^^^^^ 
not  at  all  bound  to  be  right,  and  I  can  with  honour  confess  that        -*" 
was  mistaken,  whenever  I  am  made  to  see  it."     "  How  did  yo       "^^ 
manage  to  keep  so  many  friends  without  making  one  enemy?"  h— ^-^ 
was   asked  in  his   old   age.     "  By   means   of  two   maxims,"  h— ^^ 
answered:    "Everything  is  possible;    everybody  may  be  right' 
(^out  le  monde  a  raison).     The  friends  of  Fontenelle  were  moderatr::^^^ 
like  himself ;  impressed  with  his  fine  qualities,  they  pardoned 
lack  of  warmth  in  his  aflFections.      "  He  never  laughed,"   sa; 
Madame  Geoffrin,  his  most  intimate  friend :  "  I  said  to  him  one  da; 
*  Did  you  ever  laugh,  M.  de  Fontenelle?'  *  No,'  he  answered;  *  I  nevi 
went  ha  I  hat  ha! '    That  was  his  idea  of  laughing :  he  just  smiled 
smart  things,  but  he  was  a  stranger  to  any  strong  feeling.  He  hi 
never  shed  tears,  he  had  never  been  in  a  rage,  he  had  never  ru 
and,  as  he  never  did  anything  from  sentiment,  he  did  not  cat 
impressions  from  others.     He  had  never  interrupted  anybody,  k^:^^-^ 
listened  to  the  end  without  losing  anything ;  he  was  in  no  hurry  — ^>^ 
speak,   and,  if  you  had  been   accusing   against  him,   he   woa  'T-* 
have  listened  all  day  without  saying  a  syllable." 

The  very  courage  and  trustiness  of  Fontenelle  bore  this  stan^^^^I 
of  discreet  moderation.     When  Abb^  St.  Pierre  was  excluded  fro^'  ^^ 
the  French  Academy  under  Louis  XV.  for  having  dared  to  critici-^  -^^^ 
the  government  of  Louis  XIV.,  one  single  ball  in  the  lurn  protest -^^^ 
against  the  unjust  pressure  exercised  by  Cardinal  Fleury  upon  i.^9^^ 
society.     They  all  asked  one  another  who  the  rebel  was;  ea-^^*^ 
defended  himself  against  having  voted  against  the  minister's  orde-** ' 
Fontenelle  alone   kept   silent ;    when   everybody   had   exculpaU^^ 
himself,  ^^  It  must  be  myself,  then,"  said  Fontenelle  half  aloud. 


i 


«AP.  L¥0 


LOUIS  XY.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


853 


So  much  cool  serenity  and  so  much  taste  for  noble  intellectual 
^^  or  Its  prolonged  the  existence  of  Fontenelle  beyond  the  ordinary 
lL33Gut8  ;  he  was  ninety-nine  and  not  yet  weary  of  life  :  **  If  I  might 
buit  reach  the  strawberry -season  once  morel"  he  had  said*  He 
di^d  at  Paris  on  the  9th  of  January,  1769;  with  hira  disappeared 
irlxat  renoained  of  the  spirit  and  traditions  of  Louis  XIV,'s  reign. 

ttontesquieu  and  Fontenelle  were  the  last  links  which  united  the 
^^v^ent^eenth  century  to  the  new  era.     In  a  degi^ee  as  different  as 
bc3    scope  of  their  minds  they  both  felt  respect  for  the  past  to 
wliicli  they  wei^  bound  by  numerous  ties,  and  the  bold ti ess  of 
tlxoir  thoughts  was  frequently   tempered  by  prudence.     Though 
naturally  moderate  and  prudent,  Voltaire  was  about  to  be  hurried 
^aloTig  by  the  ardour  of  strifej  by  the  weaknesses  of  his  character, 
^by    his  vanity  and  his  ambition  far  beyond  his  first  intentions 
aod   his  natural  instincts.     The  flood  of  free-thinking  had  spared 
JTontesquieu  and  Fontenelle,  it  was  about  to  carry  away  Voltaire 
k  almost  as  far  as  Diderot. 

Francois  Marie  Arouet  de  Voltaire  was  bom  at  Paris  on  the  21st 
I      of  November,  1694.    "  My  dear  father/'  said  a  letter  from  a  relative 
[      to  his  family  in  Poitou,  ^*  our  cousins  have  another  son,  bom  three 
days  ago;  Madame  Arouet  will  give  me  some  of  the  christening- 
sugarplums  for  you.     She  has  been  very  ill,  but  it  is  hoped  that 
she   is  going  on  better ;  the  infant  is  not  much  to  look  at,  having 
suffered  from   a  fall   which   his  mother   had."     M.  Arouet,  the 
father,  of  a  good  middle-class  family,  had  been  a  notary  at  the 
diut<?let,  and,  in  1701  became  paymaster  of  fees  (payeur  (Tipicen) 
t^    the  court  of  exchequer^  an  honourable  and  a  lucrative  post, 
w^hich  added  to  the  easy  circumstances  of  the  family*     Madame 
^ouet  was  dead  when  her  youngest  son  was  sent  to  the  college 
^^  IjOuis4e-Grand,  which  at  that  time  belonged  to  the  Jesuits,     As 
early  as  then  little  Arouet,  who  was  weak  and  in  delicate  health, 
'^Ut  Tvithal  of  a  very  lively  intelligence,  displayed  a  freedom  of 
^hoxigiji,  and  a  tendency  to  irreverence  which  already  disquieted 
^^d  angered  his  masters.     Father  Lejay  jumped  from  his  chair  and 
^^ok  the  boy  by  the  collar,  exclaiming,  "  Wretch,  thou  wilt  one  of 
^^ese  days   raise   the   standard  of  Deism   in  France ! "     Father 
*^^lIou,  his  confessor,  accustomed  to  read  the  heart,  said  as  he 


234  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV. 

shook    his    head,    *'This   child   is   devoured  with   a   thirst   for 
celebrity." 

Even  at  school  and  among  the  Jesuits,  that  passion  for  getting 
talked  about,  which  was  one  of  the  weaknesses    of  Yoltaire's 
character  as  well  as  one  of  the  sources  of  his  influence,  was 
already  to  a  certain  extent  gratified.     The  boy  was  so  ready  in 
making  verses,  that  his  masters  themselves  found  amusement  in 
practising  upon  his  youthful  talent.     Little  Arouet's  snuff-box  had 
been  confiscated  because  he    had  passed  it  along  from  hand  to 
hand  in  class ;  when  he  asked  for  it  back  from  Father  Por^e,  who 
was  always  indulgent  towards  him,  the  rector  required  an  applica- 
tion in  verse.     A  quarter  of  an  hour  later  the  boy  returned  with 
his  treasure  in  his  possession,  having  paid  its  ransom  thus  : — 
*'  Adieu,  adieu,  poor  snuff-box  mine, 
Adieu,  we  ne'er  shall  meet  again  : 
Nor  pains^  nor  tears,  nor  pray'rs  divine 
Will  win  thee  back,  my  efforts  are  in  vain  ! 
Adieu,  adieu,  poor  box  of  mine. 
Adieu,  my  sweet  crowns'- worth  of  bane ; 
Could  I  with  money  buy  thee  back  once  more, 
The  treasury  of  Plutus  I  would  drain,     . 
But  ah  !  not  he  the  god  I  must  implore  ; 
To  have  thee  back,  I  need  Apollo's  vein.  .  . . 
Twixt  thee  and  me  how  hard  a  barrier-line. 
To  ask  for  verse  !     Ah,  this  is  all  my  strain  ! 
Adieu,  adieu,  poor  box  of  mine. 
Adieu,  we  ne'er  shall  meet  again  !  '* 

Arouet  was  still  a  child  when  a  friend  of  his  family  took  him  to 
see  Mdlle.  Ninon  de  TEnclos,  as  celebrated  for  her  wit  as  for  the 
irregularity  of  her  life.  "  Abbe  Chateauneuf  took  me  to  see  her  in 
my  very  tender  youth,*'  says  Voltaire ;  "  I  had  done  some  verses 
which  were  worth  nothing,  but  which  seemed  very  good  for  my 
age.  She  was  then  eighty-five.  She  was  pleased  to  put  me  down 
in  her  will,  she  left  me  2000  francs  to  buy  books;  her  death 
followed  close  upon  my  visit  and  her  will." 

Young  Arouet  was  finishing  brilliantly  his  last  year  of  rhetoric 
when  John  Baptist  Rousseau,  already  famous,  saw  him  at  the 
distribution  of  prizes  at  the  college.  **  Later  on,"  wrote  Rousseau, 
in  the  thick  of  his  quarrels  with  Voltaire,  "  some  ladies  of  my 
acquaintance  had  taken  me  to  see  a  tragedy  at  the  Jesuits'  in 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  255 

August,  1710,  at  the  distribution  of  prizes  which  usually  took 
place  after  those  representations ;  I  observed  that  the  same  scholar 
was  called  up  twice.  I  asked  Father  Tarteron,  who  did  the 
honours  of  the  room  in  which  we  were,  who  the  young  man  was 
that  was  so  distinguished  amongst  his  comrades.  He  told  me  that 
it  was  a  little  lad  who  had  a  surprising  turn  for  poetry,  and 
proposed  to  introduce  him  to  me;  to  which  I  consented.  He 
went  to  fetch  him  to  me,  and  I  saw  him  returning  a  moment  after- 
wards with  a  young  scholar  who  appeared  to  me  to  be  about 
sixteen  or  seventeen,  with  an  ill-favoured  countenance  but  with  a 
bright  and  lively  expression,  and  who  came  and  shook  hands  with 
me  with  very  good  grace." 

Scarcely  had  Fran9ois  Arouet  left  college  when  he  was  called 
upon  to  choose  a  career.  "  I  do  not  care  for  any  but  that  of  a 
literary  man,"  exclaimed  the  young  fellow.  **  That,' '  said  his  father, 
**  is  the  condition  of  a  man  who  means  to  be  useless  to  society,  to 
be  a  charge  to  his  family  and  to  die  of  starvation."  The  study  of 
the  law,  to  which  he  was  obliged  to  devote  himself,  completely 
disgusted  the  poet,  already  courted  by  a  few  great  lords  who  were 
amused  at  his  satirical  vein ;  ho  led  an  indolent  and  disorderly  life, 
which  drove  his  father  distracted ;  the  latter  wanted  to  get  him 
a  place.  "  Tell  my  father,"  was  the  young  man's  reply  to  the 
relative  commissioned  to  make  the  proposal,  ^^  that  I  do  not  care 
for  a  position  which  can  be  bought ;  I  shall  find  a  way  of  getting 
myself  one  that  costs  nothing."  "  Having  but  little  property  when 
I  began  hfe,"  he  wrote  to  M.  d'Argenson,  his  sometime  fellow- 
pupil,  *'  I  had  the  insolence  to  think  that  I  should  have  got  a 
place  as  well  as  another,  if  it  were  to  be  obtained  by  hard  work  and 
good  will.  I  threw  myself  into  the  ranks  of  the  fine  arts,  which 
always  carry  with  them  a  certain  air  of  vilification,  seeing  that 
ihey  do  not  make  a  man  king's  counsellor  in  his  councils.  Tou 
may  become  a  master  of  requests  with  money ;  but  you  can't  make 
a  poem  with  money,  and  I  made  one." 

This  independent  behaviour  and  the  poem  on  the  Construction 
du  chceur  de  Notre-Daine  de  Paris,  the  subject  submitted  for  com- 
petition  by  the  French  Academy,  did  not  prevent  young  Arouet 
from  being  sent  by  his  father  to  Holland  in  the  train  of  the 


266  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap,  LV. 

marquis  of  CMteauneuf,  then  French  ambassador  to  the  States* 

general;   he  committed  so  many  follies   that   on  his  return  to 

France  M.  Arouet  forced  him  to  enter  a  sohcitor's  office.     It  was 

there  that  the  poet  acquired  that  knowledge  of  business  which 

was  useful  to  him  during  the  whole  course  of  his  long  life ;  he, 

however,  did  not  remain  there  long:  a  satire  upon  the  French 

Academy  which  had  refused  him  the  prize  for  poetry  and,  later  on, 

some  verses  as  biting  as  they  were  disrespectful  against  the  duke 

of  Orleans,  twice  obliged  their  author  to  quit  Paris.     Sent  into 

banishment  at   Sully-sur-Loire,    he    there   found  partisans  and 

admirers;  the  merry  life  that  was  led  at  the  Chevalier  Sully's 

mitigated  the  hardships  of  absence  from  Paris.     "Don't  you  go 

publishing  abroad,  I  beg,"  wrote  Arouet,  nevertheless,  to  one  of 

his  friends,  "  the  happiness  of  which  I  tell  you  in  confidence  :  for 

they  might  perhaps  leave  me  here  long  enough  for  me  to  become 

unhappy ;  I  know  my  own  capacity,  I  am  not  made  to  live  long 

in  the  same  place." 

A  beautiful  letter  addressed  to  the  Regent  and  disavowing  all 

the  satirical  writings  which  had  been  attributed  to  him,  brought 

Arouet  back  to  Paris  at  the  commencement  of  the  year  1717  ;  he 

had  been  enjoying  it  for  barely  a  few  months  when  a  new  satire, 

entitled  Tai  vu  {I  have  seen)  and  bitterly  criticizing  the  late  reign, 

engaged  the  attention  of  society  and  displeased  the  Regent  afresh. 

Arouet  defended  himself  with  just  cause  and  with  all  his  might 

against  the  charge  of  having  written  it.     The  duke  of  Orleans  one 

day  met  him  in   the   garden  of  the   Palais-Royal :    "  Monsieur 

Arouet,"  said  he,  "  I  bet  that  I  will  make  you  see  a  thing  you 

have  never  seen."    "  What,  pray,  monseigneur  ?  "    "  The  Bastille." 

"  Ah !  monseigneur,  I  will  consider  it   seen."     Two  days  later, 

voung  Arouet  was  shut  up  in  the  Bastille. 

I  needs  must  go  ;  I  jog  along  in  style, 

With  close-shut  carriage,  to  the  royal  pile 

Built  in  our  fathers'  days,  hard  by  St.  Paul, 

By  Charles  the  Fifth.     O  brethren,  good  men  all, 

In  no  such  quarters  may  your  lot  be  cast ! 

Up  to  tny  room  I  find  my  v&j  at  last : 

A  certain  rascal  with  a  smirking  face 

Exalts  the  beauties  of  my  new  retreat, 

So  comfortable,  so  compact,  so  neat. 


Chap.lv.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  257 

Says  he,  **  While  Pboebas  runs  his  daily  race. 

He  never  casts  one  ray  within  this  place. 

Look  at  the  walls,  some  ten  feet  thick  or  so, 

You'll  find  it  all  the  cooler  here,  you  know." 

Then,  bidding  me  admire  the  way  they  close 

The  triple  doors  and  triple  locks  on  those, 

With  gratings,  bolts  and  bars  on  every  side, 

"  It's  all  for  your  security,"  he  cried. 

At  stroke  of  noon  some  skilly  is  brought  in ; 

Such  fai-e  is  not  so  delicate  as  thin. 

I  am  not  tempted  by  this  splendid  food. 

But  what  they  tell  me  b  :  ''  'Twill  do  you  gooil : 

So  eat  in  peace  ;  no  one  will  hurry  you." 

Here  in  this  doleful  den  I  make  ado, 

Bastill'd,  imprisoned,  cabin'd,  cribb'd,  confined. 

Nor  sleeping,  drinking,  eating — to  my  mind  ; 

Betray'd  by  eveiy  one,  my  mistress  too  ! 

O  Marc  Ren6  !  [M.  d'Aigenson]  whom  Censor  Gate's  ghost 

Might  well  have  chosen  for  his  vacant  post, 

O  Marc  Rene !  through  whom  'tis  brought  about 

That  so  much  people  murmur  here  below  ; 

To  your  kind  word  my  durance  vile  I  owe  ; 

May  the  good  God  some  fine  day  pay  you  out  ! 

Young  Arouet  passed  eleven  months  in  the  Bastille ;  he  there 
wrote  the  first  part  of  the  poena  called  La  Henriade^  under  the  title 
of  La  Ligue;  when  he  at  last  obtained  his  release  in  April,  1718, 
he  at  the  same  time  received  orders  to  reside  at  Ch&tenay,  where 
his  father  had  a  country  house.  It  was  on  coming  out  of  the 
Bajstille  that  the  poet  took,  from  a  small  family-estate,  that  name  of 
Voltaire  which  he  was  to  render  so  famous.  "  I  have  been  too 
unfortunate  under  my  former  name,"  he  wrote  to  Mdlle.  du  Noyer, 
*•  I  mean  to  see  whether  this  will  suit  me  better.** 

The  players  were  at  that  time  rehearsing  the  tragedy  of  (Edipcy 
which  was  played  on  the  18th  of  November,  1718,  with  great 
success.  The  daring  flights  of  philosophy  introduced  by  the 
poet  into  this  profoundly  and  terribly  religious  subject  excited 
the  enthusiasm  of  the  roues;  Voltaire  was  well  received  by 
the  Regent,  who  granted  him  an  honorarium.  "  Monseigneur," 
said  Voltaire,  "I  should  consider  it  very  kind  if  his  Majesty 
would  be  pleased  to  provide  henceforth  for  my  board,  but  I  beseech 
your  Highness  to  provide  no  more  for  my  lodging."  Voltaire*s 
acts  of  imprudence  were  destined  more  than  once  to  force  him 

voii.  v.  8 


258 


HISTORY  OF  FBAHCE. 


[Chae  LT. 


into  leaving  Paris ;  he  all  hiB  life  preserved  such  a  horror  of  prison 
that  it  made  him  comxjrit  more  than  one  platitude.  *'  I  have 
a  mortal  aversion  for  prison,**  he  wrote  in  1734;  onoe  more,  how- 
ever, he  was  to  be  an  inmate  of  the  BastiTle. 

Launched  upon  the  most  brilliant  societyj  everywhere  courted 
and  flattered,  Voltaire  was  constantly  at  work,  displaying  the 
marvellous  suppleness  of  his  mind  by  shifting  from  the  tragedies 
of  ArtemisG  and  Maria^ne^  which  failed,  to  the  comedy  of  VlniU- 
eretj  to  numerous  charming  epistles,  and  lastly  to  the  poem  of  La 
Henrimie^  which  he  went  on  carefully  revising,  reading  fragments 
of  it  as  he  changed  his  quarters  from  castle  to  castle.  One  day, 
however,  some  criticisms  to  which  he  was  not  accustomed  angered 
lum  so  much  that  he  threw  into  the  fire  the  manuscript  he  beU 
in  his  hand.  '*It  is  only  worth  burning,  then/*  be  exclaimed 
in  a  rage.  President  Henault  dashed  at  the  papers,  "I  ran 
up  and  drew  it  out  of  the  flames,  saying  that  I  had  done  mow 
than  they  who  did  not  burn  the  Enekl  as  Virgil  had  recom* 
mended ;  1  had  drawn  out  of  the  fire  La  Hcnnade^  which  Voltaire 
was  going  to  burn  with  his  own  hands.  If  I  liked,  1  might 
ennoble  this  action  by  calling  to  mind  that  picture  of  Baphaet*! 
at  the  Vatican  which  represents  Augustus  preventing  Virgil 
from  burning  the  Eneid;  but  I  am  not  Augustus  and  Raphael 
is  no  more."  Wholly  indulgent  and  indifferent  as  might  be 
the  government  of  the  Regent  and  of  Dubois,  it  was  a  Utile 
scared  at  the  liberties  taken  by  Voltaire  with  the  Cathofe 
Church,  He  was  required  to  make  excisions  in  order  to  get 
permission  to  print  the  poem;  the  author  was  here,  there  md 
everywhere,  in  a  great  flutter  and  preoccupied  with  his  libewryt 
financial  and  fashionable  affairs.  In  receipt  of  a  pension  fro© 
the  queen  and  received  as  a  visitor  at  La  Source,  near  Orksfl^as, 
by  Lord  Bolingbroke  in  his  exOe,  every  day  becoming  mow 
brilliant  and  more  courted,  he  was  augmenting  his  fortune  by 
profitable  speculations  and  appeared  on  the  point  of  finding 
himself  well  off,  when  an  incident,  which  betrayed  the  reiuDaDt 
still  remaining  of  barbarous  manners,  occurred  to  envenom  for 
a  long  while  the  poet's  existence.  He  had  a  quarrel  at  tlie 
Opera  with  Chevalier  Kohan-Chabot,   a  coiu*t-libertine,  of  little 


Chap.  LV.] 


LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


261 


repute ;  the  scene  took  place  in  the  presence  of  Mdlle.  Adrienne 
Lecouvreur;  the  great  actress  fainted  ;  they  were  separated.  Two 
daja  ^terwards,  when  Yoltaire  was  dining  at  the  duke  of  Sully's, 
&  senrant  came  to  tell  him  that  he  was  wanted  at  the  door 
of  the  hotel;  the  poet  went  out  without  any  suspicion,  though 
he  had  already  been  the  victim  of  several  ambuscades.  A  coach 
was  standing  in  the  streeti  and  he  was  requested  to  get  in; 
at  that  instant  two  men^  throwing  themselves  upon  him  and 
holding  him  back  by  his  clothes,  showered  upon  him  a  hailstorm 
of  blows  writh  their  sticks.  The  Chevalier  de  Eohau,  prudently 
ensconced  in  a  second  vehicle  and  superintending  the  execution  of 
liifl  oowardly  vengeance,  shouted  to  his  servants,  "  Don't  hit  him 
on  the  head,  something  good  may  come  out  of  it/*  When  Voltaire 
at  last  succeeded  in  escaping  from  these  miscreants  to  take  refuge 
in  Sully's  house,  he  was  half  dead. 

Blows   with    a    stick   were    not   at   that   time   an   unheard-of 

procedure   in  social  relations,     "  Whatever  Tvould   become  of  us 

if  poets  had  no  shoulders  I  **  was  the  brutal  remark  of  the  bishop 

of  Blois,  M.  de  Cauraartin,    But  the  customs  of  society  did 

not  admit  a  poet  to  the  honour  of  obtaining  satisfaction  from 

whoever   insiulted   him.      The   great    lords,   friends   of  Voltaire, 

who   had  accustomed  him  to  attention  and  flattery,   abandoned 

him  pitilessly  in   his  quarrel  with  Chevalier  de  Rohan-     "Tho?e 

blows  were  well  gotten  and  ill  given,"  said  the  prince  of  Conti, 

That    was   all   the   satisfaction   Voltaire  obtained,      "  The    poor 

victim   shows  himself  as  much  as  possible  at  court,  in  the  city,'* 

savs  the  Marais  news,  "  but  nobody  pities  hira,  and  those  whom 

be  considered  his  friends  have  turned  their  backs  upon  him," 

Voltaire  was  not  of  a  heroic  nature^  but  excess  of  rage  and 

Pjujj^jiation  had  given  him  courage;    he  had  scarcely  ever  had 

a  g%vord   in  his    hand,  he  T:ushed  to   the  fencers'  and  practised 

from  morning  tiU  night  in  order  to  be  in  a  position  to  demand 

gatiBfaotion*      So    much   ardour   disquieted   Chevalier   de   Rohan 

and    his   femily;    his  uncle,  the  cardinal,  took  precautions-     The 

lieut-enanfc   of   police  wrote   to   the   officer   of  the   wateh:    **Sir, 

bis   Higbn^^ss  is  informed  that  Chevalier  de  Rohan  is  going  away 

to-day*    wid,  as  he  might  have  some  fresh  affair  with  Sieur  d© 


I 


262  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LTST. 

Voltaire,  or  the  latter   might  do  somethiDg  rash,  his   desire     is 
for  you  to  see  that  nothing  comes  of  it." 

Voltaire  anticipated  the  intentions  of  the  lieutenant  of  poKc^    - 
he  succeeded  in  sending  a  challenge  to  Chevalier  de  Rohan ;  tlm^  ^ 
latter  accepted  it  for  the  next  day,  he  even  chose  his  ground :  bi*-*' 
before  the   hour  fixed  Voltaire  was  arrested  and  taken  to  tlit-  ^ 
Bastille;  he  remained  there  a  month.     Public  opinion  was  begii^"--" 
ning  to  pity  him.     Marshal  Villars  writes  in  his  memoirs : — 

"  The  chevalier  was  very  much  inconvenienced  by  a  fall  whic  —fa^ 
did  not  admit  of  his  handling  a  sword.      He  took  the  courfi&-  ^ 
of  having  a  caning  administered  in  broad  day  to  Voltaire,  whc:z», 
instead  of  adopting  legal  proceedings,  thought  vengeance  by  amB.  s 
more  noble.     It  is  asserted  that  he  sought  it  diligently,  but  \xm^y 
indiscreetly.     Cardinal  Rohan  asked  M.  le  Due  to  have  him  put  L^mi 
the  Bastille ;  orders  to  that  effect  were  given  and  executed,  axB.  ^ 
the    poor    poet,   after  being  beaten,   was    imprisoned    into  thm^e 
bargain.     The  public,  whose  inclination  is  to  blame  everybodi-J' 
and  everything,  justly  considered,  in  this  case,  that  everybody  w^s 
in  the  wrong ;  Voltaire,  for  having  offended  Chevalier  de  Rohan ;  tli^e 
latter,  for  having  dared  to  commit  a  crime  worthy  of  death    io 
causing  a  citizen  to  bo  beaten;  the  government,  for  not  haviK^ 
punished  a  notorious  misdeed,  and  for  having  put  the  beatee       ^ 
the  Bastille  to  tranquillize  the  beater." 

Voltaire  left  the  Bastille  on  the  3rd  of  May,  1726,  and  t«--^ 
accompanied  by  an  exon  to  Calais,  having  asked  as  a  favour  to  ^ 
sent  to  England  ;  but  scarcely  had  he  set  foot  on  Engli  -^ 
territory,  scarcely  had  he  felt  himself  free,  when  the  recurrirm^ 
sense   of   outraged    honour    made    him   take   the  road  back  *^ 

France.     "  I  confess  to  you,  my  dear  Theriot,"  he  wrote  to  one        ^^ 
his  friends,  "  that  I  made  a  little  trip  to  Paris  a  short  time  a^gf^* 
As  I  did  not  call  upon  you,  you  will  easily  conclude  that  I  did  e=::3<>* 
call  upon  anybody.     I  was  in    search  of  one  man  only,  whom  !^Bw 
dastardly  instinct  kept  concealed  from  me,  as  if  he  guessed  tha  ^  I 
was  on  his  track.     At  last  the  fear  of  being  discovered  made  'M^^ 
depart  more  precipitately  than  I  had  come.     That  is  the  fact,  TJoy 
dear  Thcriot.     There  is  every  appearance  of  my  never  seeing  yo^ 
again.     I  have  but  two  things  to  do  with  my  life  :  to  hazard  it  witi 


Chap.  LV-]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  268 

honour,  as  soon  as  I  can,  and  to  end  it  in  the  obscurity  of  a  retreat 
which  suits  my  way  of  thinking,  my  misfortunes  and  the  knowledge 
I  have  of  men." 

Voltaire  passed  three  years  in  England,  engaged  in  learning 
English  and  finishing  La  Henriade^  which  he  pubhshed  by  sub- 
scription in  1727.  Touched  by  the  favour  shown  by  EngUsh 
society  to  the  author  and  the  poem,  he  dedicated  to  the  queen  of 
England  his  new  work,  which  was  entirely  consecrated  to  the 
glory  of  France ;  three  successive  editions  were  disposed  of  in  less 
than  three  weeks.  Lord  Bolingbroke,  having  returned  to  England 
and  been  restored  to  favour,  did  potent  service  to  his  old  friend,  who 
lived  in  the  midst  of  that  literary  society  in  which  Pope  and  Swift 
held  sway,  without,  however,  relaxing  his  reserve  with  its  impress 
of  melancholy.  "  I  live  the  life  of  a  Boskmciany^  he  wrote  to  his 
firiends,  "  always  on  the  move  and  always  in  hiding."  When,  in 
the  month  of  March,  1729,  Voltaire  at  last  obtained  permission 
to  revisit  France,  he  had  worked  much  without  bringing  out  any- 
thing. The  riches  he  had  thus  amassed  appeared  ere  long :  before 
the  ^nd  of  the  year  1731  he  put  Brutus  on  the  stage  and  began  his 
pubUcation  of  the  Histoire  de  Charles  XII. ;  he  was  at  the  same 
time  giving  the  finishing  touch  to  Sriphyle  and  La  Mort  de  Cesar. 
Zairej  written  in  a  few  weeks,  was  played  for  the  first  time  on  the 
13th  of  August,  1732;  he  had  dedicated  it  to  Mr.  Falkner,  an 
English  merchant  who  had  overwhelmed  him  with  attentions 
during  his  exile.  "  My  satisfaction  grows  as  I  write  to  tell  you  of 
it,"  he  writes  to  his  friend  Cideville  in  the  fulness  of  joy :  "  never 
was  a  piece  so  well  played  as  Zaire  at  the  fourth  appearance.  I 
very  much  wished  you  had  been  there ;  you  would  have  seen  that 
the  public  does  not  hate  your  friend.  I  appeared  in  a  box,  and  the 
whole  pit  clapped  their  hands  at  me.  I  blushed,  I  hid  myself;  but 
I  should  be  a  humbug,  if  I  did  not  confess  to  you  that  I  was 
sensibly  affected.  It  is  pleasant  not  to  be  dishonoured  in  one's 
own  country." 

Voltaire  had  just  inaugurated  the  great  national  tragedy  of  his 
country,  as  he  had  likewise  given  it  the  only  national  epopee 
attempted  in  France  since  the  Chansons  de  geste  ;  by  one  of  those 
equally  sudden  and  imprudent  reactions  to  which  he  was  always 


264  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LV, 

subject,  it  was  not  long  before  he  himself  damaged  his  own  sucoeas 
hy  the  publication  of  his  Lettres  philosophiques  sur  lea  Anglais. 

The  light  and  mocking  tone  of  these  letters,  the  constant  com- 
parison between  the  two  peoples,  with  many  a  gibe  at  the  English 
but  always  turning  to  their  advantage,  the  preference  given  to  the 
philosophical  system  of  Newton  over  that  of  Descartes,  lastly  the 
attacks   upon  religion  concealed  beneath  the  cloak  of  banter — 
all    this    was   more   than   enough   to    ruffle  the  tranquillity   of 
Cardinal  Fleury.      The  book  was  brought  before  Parliament :  Vol- 
taire was  disquieted.     "  There  is  but  one  letter  about  Mr.  Locke," 
he  wrote  to  M.  de  Cidevillo :    "  the  only  philosophical  matter  I 
have  treated  of  in  it  is  the  little  trifle  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul, 
but  the  thing  is  of  too  much  consequence  to  be  treated  seriously. 
It  had  to  be  mangled  so  as  not  to  come  into  direct  conflict  with 
our  lords  the  theologians,  gentry  who  so  clearly  see  the  spirituality 
of  the  soul  that,  if  they  could,  they  would  consign  to  the  flames  the 
bodies  of  those  who  have  a  doubt  about  it."     The  theologians 
confined  themselves  to  burning  the  book ;  the  decree  of  Parliament 
delivered  on  the  10th  of  June,  1734,  ordered  at  the  same  time  the 
arrest  of  the  author ;   the  bookseller  was  already  in  the  Bastille. 
Voltaire  was  in  the   country,  attending  the  duke  of  Richelieu's 
second  marriage ;  hearing  of  the  danger  that  threatened  him,  he 
took  fright  and  ran  for  refuge  to  Bale.     He  soon  left  it  to  return 
to  the  castle  of  Cirey,  to  the  marchioness  du  Ch&telet's,  a  woman 
as  learned  as  she  was  impassioned,  devoted  to  literature,  physics 
and  mathematics,  and  tenderly  attached  to  Voltaire,  whom  she 
enticed  along  with  her  into  the  paths  of  science.    For  fifteen  years 
Madame  du  Chatelet  and  Cirey  ruled  supreme  over  the  poet's 
life.     There    began    a  course   of  metaphysics,  tales,   tragedies; 
AhirCy  Merope^  Mahomet  were  composed  at  Cirey  and  played  with 
ever  increasing  success.     Pope  Benedict  XIV.  had  accepted  the 
dedication  of  Maliomet,  which  Voltaire  had  addressed  to  him  in  order 
to  cover  the  freedoms  of  his  piece.     Every  now  and  then,  terrified 
in  consequence  of  some  bit  of  antireligious  rashness,  he  took  flight, 
going  into  hiding  at  one  time  to  the  court  of  Lorraine  beneath  the 
wing  of  King  Stanislaus,  at  another  time  in  Holland,  at  a  palace 
belonging  to  the  king  of  Prussia,  the  Great  Frederick.     Madame 


Chap.lv.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHBRS.  265 

du  CMtelet,  as  unbelieviDg  as  he  at  bottom  but  more  reserved  in 
expression,  often  scolded  him  for  his  imprudence.  "  He  requires 
every  moment  to  be  saved  from  himself,"  she  would  say:  "I 
employ  more  policy  in  managing  him  than  the  whole  Vatican 
employs  to  keep  all  Christendom  in  its  fetters."  On  the  appear- 
ance of  danger,  Voltaire  ate  his  words  without  scruple ;  his  irre- 
ligious writings  were  usually  launched  under  cover  of  the 
anonymous.  At  every  step,  however,  he  was  advancing  further 
and  further  into  the  lists,  and  at  the  very  moment  when  he  wrote 
to  Father  La  Tour,  "  If  ever  anybody  has  printed  in  my  name  a 
single  page  which  could  scandalize  even  the  parish-beadle,  I  am 
ready  to  tear  it  up  before  his  eyes,"  all  Europe  regarded  him  as 
the  leader  of  the  open  or  secret  attacks  which  were  beginning  to 
burst  not  only  upon  the  catholic  Church  but  upon  the  fundamental 
verities  common  to  all  Christians. 

Madame  du  Ch&telet  died  on  the  4th  of  September,  1749,  at 
Lun^ville,  where  she  then  happened  to  be  with  Voltaire.  Their 
intimacy  had  experienced  many  storms,  yet  the  blow  was  a  cruel 
one  for  the  poet ;  in  losing  Madame  du  Chatelet  he  was  losing  the 
centre  and  the  guidance  of  his  life.  For  a  while  he  spoke  of 
burying  himself  with  Dom  Calmet  in  the  abbey  of  Senones;  then 
he  would  be  off  to  England :  he  ended  by  returning  to  Paris, 
sonmioning  to  his  side  a  widowed  niece,  Madame  Denis,  a  woman 
of  coarse  wit  and  fiill  of  devotion  to  him,  who  was  fond  of  the  drama 
and  played  her  uncle's  pieces  on  the  little  theatre  which  he  had  fitted 
up  in  his  rooms.  At  that  time  Oreste  was  being  played  at  the 
Gom^e-Fran9aise ;  its  success  did  not  answer  the  author's  expec- 
tations :  ^*  All  that  could  possibly  give  a  handle  to  criticism,"  says 
Marmontel,  who  was  present,  **  was  groaned  at  or  turned  into 
ridicule.  The  play  was  interrupted  by  it  every  instant.  Voltaire 
came  in,  and,  just  as  the  pit  were  turning  into  ridicule  a  stroke 
of  pathos,  he  jumped  up  and  shouted,  *  Oh  I  you  barbarians ;  that 
is  Sophocles ! '  Borne  Sauvee  was  played  on  the  stage  of  Sceaux, 
at  the  duchess  of  Maine's;  Voltaire  himself  took  the  part  of 
Cicero.  Lekain,  as  yet  quite  a  youth  and  making  his  first  appear- 
ance imder  the  auspices  of  Voltaire,  said  of  this  representation : 
'  I  do  not  think  it  possible  to  hear  anything  more  pathetic  and 


2^6 


HISTOEY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Cbap.  LV, 


real  than  M,  de  Voltaire:  it  was,  in  fact,  Cicero  himself  thunder' 
ing  at  the  bar,*  " 

Despite  the   lustre   of  that  fame   which  was  attested   by  th< 
frequent  attacks  of  his  enemies  as  much  as  by  the  admiration 
hia  friends,  Voltaire  was  displeased  with  his  sojourn  at  Paris,  anc 
weary  of  the  Court  and  the  men  of  letters.     The  king  had  alway 
exhibited  towards  him  a  coldness  which  the  poet's  adulation  hi 
not  been  able  to  overcome ;  he  had  offended  Madame  de  Pom 
dour,  who  had  but  lately  been  well  disposed  towards  him;  tl 
religious  circle,  ranged  around  the  queen  and  the  dauphin, 
of  course  hostile  to  him.     **  The  place  of  historiographer  to  tl^ 
king  was  but  an  empty  title,"'  he  says  himself;  "  I  wanted  to  mal^o 
it  a  reality  by  working  at  the  history  of  the  war  of  1741  ;  but,  m 
spite  of  my  work,  Moncrif  had  admittance  to  his  Majesty  and     I 
had  not/' 

In  tracing  the  tragic  episodes  of  the  war,  Voltaire,  set  as  Imis 
mind  was  on  the  royal  favour,  had  wanted  in  the  first  place  to  pcfcy 
homage  to  the  friends  he  had  lost.     It  was  in  the  '*  eulogium  of 
the  officers  who  fell  in  the  campaign  of  1741  "  that  he  touching^lj 
called  attention  to  the  memory  of  Vauvenargues.     He,  born  at  Aii 
on  the  6th  of  August,  1715,  died  of  his  wounds^  at  Paris,  in  1747* 
Poor  and  proud,  resigning  himself  with  a  sigh  to  idleness  and 
obscurity,  the  young  officer  had  written  merely  to  relieve  his  mind. 
His  friends  had  constrained  him  to  publish  a  little  book,  one  only,  t»Tt<J 
Introduction  a  la  connamance  de  I'esprit  kmnaiii^  suivie  de  rejle^€r^ 
et  de   mammes.      Its   success  justified   their   affectionate   hop^^- 
delicate  minds  took  keen  delight  in  the  first  essays  of   Vau^i^^- 
nargues.     Hesitating   between   religion    and   philosophy,   witk    * 
palpable  leaning  towards  the  latter,  ill  and  yet  bravely   beariuf 
the  disappointments  and  sufferings  of  his  life,  Vauvenargues  w^ 
already  expiring  at  thirty  years  of  age,  when   Provence  was  J^* 
vaded  by  the  enemy.     The  humiliation  of  his  country  and  the  pen' 
of  his  native  province  roused  hira  from  his  tranquil  melancholy:  **M 
Provence  is  in  arms,"  he  wrote  to  his  friend  Fauris  de  St  VinceDt? 
**and  here  am  I  quite  quietly  in  my  chimney-corner;  the  bad  stfite 
of  my  eyes  and  of  my  health  is  not  sufficient  excuse  for  me,  aijd  1 
ought  to  be  where  all  the  gentlemen  of  the  province  are.    S0fi 


Chap-  liV-] 


*tne 


LOUIS  XV,,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


267 


flight. 


se  ^w^ord  tlien,  I  bog,  iminediatelj  whether  there  is  still  any 
employment  to  he  had  in  our  newly  raised  levies  and  whether  I 
alioixld  be  sure  to  be  employed  if  I  were  to  go  to  ProTence/* 
Before  his  friend's  answer  had  reached  Vauvenargues,  the  Austrians 
and    the  Piedmontese  had  been  forced  to  evacuate  Provence ;  the 

I  dying  man  remained  in  his  chimney-corner,  where  he  soon  expired, 
leaving  amongst  the  public  and  still  more  amongst  those  who  had 
kncwn    him   personally   the  impression   of  great   promise   sadly 
extinguished.     '^  It  was  his  fate/'   says  his  faithful  biographer, 
M.   Gilbert,  "  to  be  always  opening  his  wings  and  to  be  unable  to 
take  flight/' 
^'^oltaire,  quite  on   the  contrary,   was  about   to   take   a  fresh 
After  several  rebuffs  and  long  opposition  on  the  part  of  the 
■     *^igtteen  ecclesiastics  who  at  that  time  had  seats  in  the  French 
H  Academy,  he  had  been  elected  to  it  in  1746,     In  1760,  he  ofEered 
timself  at  one  and  the  same  time  for  the  Academy  of  Sciences 
^nd  the  Academy  of  Inscriptions  ;  he  failed  in  both  candidatures, 
T^kiis  mishap  filled  the  cup  of  his  ilUhumour,     For  a  long  time 
past  Frederick  IL  had  been  offering  the  poet  favours  which  he  had 
l<>ng  refused.     The  disgust  he  experienced  at  Paris  through  his 
iiiBatiable  vanity  made  hira  determine  upon  seeking  another  arena  ; 
rfter  having  accepted  a  pension  and  a  place  from  the  king  of 
Prussia,  Voltaire  set  out  for  Berlin. 

But  lately  allied  to  France,  to  which  he  was  ere  long  to  deal 
^^ch  heavy  blows,  Frederick  II.  was  French  by  inclination,  in 
'*terature  and  in  philosophy ;  he  was  a  bad  German  scholar,  he 
^i^iPVays  wrote  and  spoke  in  French,  and  his  court  was  the  resort  of 
^^e  cultivated  French  wits  too  bold  in  their  views  to  live  in  peace 
^^  Paris.  Maupertuis,  La  Mettrie,  and  the  marquis  of  Argens  had 
I^^eceded  Voltaire  to  Berlin.  He  was  received  there  with  enthu^ 
^^%sra  and  as  sovereign  of  the  little  court  of  philosophers,  *'  A 
•^iindred  and  fifty  thousand  victorious  soldiers,"  be  wrote  in  a 
^tter  to  Paris,  '*  no  attorneys,  opera,  plays,  philosophy,  poetry,  a 
Hero  who  is  a  philosopher  and  a  poet,  grandeur  and  graces» 
S^pnatliers  and  muses,  trumpets  and  violins,  Plato*s  symposium, 
Society  and  freedom  I  Who  would  beheve  it  ?  It  is  all  true 
U   *  however !  "     Voltaire  found  his  duties  as  chamberlain  very  light. 


268  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [CHMr.hY. 

**  It  is  CaeBar,  it  is  Marcus  Aurelius,  it  is  Julian,  it  is  soznetiiiies 
Abbe  Chaulieu,  with  whom  I  sup;  there  is  the  charm  of  retire- 
ment, there  is  the  freedom  of  the  country,  with  all  those  little 
delights  of  life  which  a  lord  of  a  castle  who  is  a  king  can  procure 
for  his  very  obedient  humble  servants  and  guests.  Mj  own 
duties  are  to  do  nothing.  I  enjoy  my  leisure.  I  give  an  hour  a 
day  to  the  king  of  Prussia  to  touch  up  a  bit  his  works  in  prose 
and  verse  :  I  am  his  grammarian,  not  his  chamberlain.  The  rest 
of  the  day  is  my  own  and  the  evening  ends   with  a  pleasant 

supper Never  in  any  place  in  the  world  was  there  more 

freedom  of  speech  touching  the  superstitions  of  men  and  never  were 
they  treated  with  more  banter  and  contempt.  God  is  respected, 
but  all  they  who  have  cajoled  men  in  His  name  are  treated  unspar- 
ingly." The  coarseness  of  the  Germans  and  the  mocking  infi- 
delity of  the  French  vied  with  each  other  in  licence.  Sometimes 
Voltaire  felt  that  things  were  carried  rather  far.  "  Here  be  we, 
three  or  four  foreigners,  like  monks  in  an  abbey,"  he  wrote: 
*'  please  God  the  father  abbot  may  content  himself  with  making 
fun  of  us." 

Literary  or  philosophical  questions  already  gave  rise  sometimes 
to  disagreements.  "  I  am  at  present  correcting  the  second  edition 
which  the  kiug  of  Prussia  is  going  to  publish  of  the  history  of  his 
country,"  wrote  Voltaire ;  "  fancy  1  in  order  to  appear  more 
impartial,  he  falls  tooth  and  nail  on  his  grandfather.  I  have 
lightened  the  blows  as  much  as  I  could.  I  rather  like  this  grand- 
father, because  he  displayed  magnificence  and  has  left  some  fine 
monuments.  I  had  great  trouble  about  softening  down  the  terms 
in  which  the  grandson  reproaches  his  ancestor  for  his  vanity  in 
having  got  himself  made  a  king ;  it  is  a  vanity  from  which  his 
desceudants  derive  pretty  solid  advantages  and  the  title  is  not  at 
all  a  disagreeable  one.  At  last  I  said  to  him :  *  It  is  your  grand- 
father, it  is  not  mine ;  do  what  you  please  with  him,'  and  I  con- 
fined myself  to  weeding  the  expressions." 

Whilst  Voltaire  was  defending  the  Great  Elector  against  his 
successor,  a  certain  coldness  was  beginning  to  slide  into  his 
relations  with  Maupertuis,  president  of  the  Academy  founded  by 
the  king  at  Berlin.     '^Maupertuis  has  not  easy-going  springs,' 


Chap.lv.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHEES.  269 

the  poet  wrote  to  his  niece:  *'he  takes  my  dimensions  sternly 
with  his  quadrant.  It  is  said  that  a  little  envy  enters  into  his 
calculations."  Already  Voltaire's  touchy  vanity  was  shying  at 
the  rivals  he  encountered  in  the  king's  favour.  '*  So  it  is  known, 
then,  by  this  time  at  Paris,  my  dear  child,"  he  writes  to  his 
niece,  '*  that  we  have  played  the  Mort  de  Cesar  at  Potsdam,  that 
Prince  Henry  is  a  good  actor,  has  no  accent,  and  is  very  amiable, 
and  that  this  is  the  place  for  pleasure?  All  that  is  truQ  •  .  . 
but .  .  .  The  king's  supper-parties  are  delightful;  at  them  people 
talk  reason,  wit,  science;  freedom  prevails  thereat;  he  is  the 
soul  of  it  all ;  no  ill  temper,  no  clouds,  at  any  rate  no  storms  ;  my 
life  is  free  and  well  occupied  .  .  .  but .  .  .  Opera,  plays,  carousals, 
suppers  at  Sans-Souci,  military  manoeuvres,  concerts,  studies, 
readings  .  .  .  but  .  .  .  The  city  of  Berlin,  grand,  better  laid  out 
than  Paris ;  palaces,  play-houses,  affable  parish-priests,  charming 
princesses,  maids  of  honour  beautiful  and  well  made ;  the  mansion 
of  Madame  de  Tyrconnel  always  full  and  sometimes  too  much 
so  .  .  .  but  .  .  .  but.  .  .  .  My  dear  child,  the  weather  is  beginning 
to  settle  down  into  a  fine  frost." 

The  "  frost "  not  only  affected  Voltaire's  relations  with  his 
brethren  in  philosophy,  it  reached  even  to  the  king  himself.  A 
far  from  creditable  law-suit  with  a  Jew  completed  Frederic's 
irritation.  He  forbade  the  poet  to  appear  in  his  presence  before 
the  affair  was  ovier.  "Brother  Voltaire  is  doing  penance  here," 
wrote  the  latter  to  the  margravine  of  Baireuth,  the  king  of 
Prussia's  amiable  sister :  "  he  has  a  beast  of  a  lawsuit  with  a 
Jew,  and,  according  to  the  law  of  the  Old  Testament,  there  will 
be  something  more  to  pay  for  having  been  robbed  ...  ." 
Frederick,  on  his  side,  writes  to  his  sister :  "  You  ask  me  what 
the  lawsuit  is  in  which  Voltaire  is  involved  with  a  Jew.  It  is  a 
case  of  a  rogue  wanting  to  cheat  a  thief.  It  is  intolerable  that  a 
man  of  Voltaire's  intellect  should  make  so  unworthy  an  abuse  of 
it.  The  affair  is  in  the  hands  of  justice ;  and,  in  a  few  days,  we 
shall  know  from  the  sentence  which  is  the  greater  rogue  of  the 
two.  Voltaire  lost  his  temper,  flew  in  the  Jew's  face,  and,  in  fact, 
behaved  like  a  madman.  I  am  waiting  for  this  affair  to  be  over  to 
put  his  head  under  the  pump  (or  reprimand  him  severely — lui  laver 


270  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV. 

la  tete)  and  see  whether,  at  the  age  of  fifty-six,  one  cannot  make 
him,  if  not  reasonable,  at  any  rate  less  of  a  rogue." 

Voltaire  settled  matter  with  the  Jew,  at  the  same  time  asking 
the  king's  pardon  for  what  he  called  his  giddiness.     "  This  great 
poet  is  always  astride  of  Parnassus  and  Rue  Quincampoix,"  said 
the  marquis  of  Argenson.     Frederick  had  written  him  on  the  24th 
of  February,  1751,  a  severe  letter,  the  prelude  and  precursor  of  the 
storms  which  were  to  break  off  before  long  the  intimacy  between  the 
king  and  the  philosopher  :  "  I  was  very  glad  to  receive  you,"  said  the 
king :  "  I  esteemed  your  wit,  your  talents,  your  acquirements,  and 
I  was  bound  to  suppose  that  a  man  of  your  age,  tired  of  wrangling 
with  authors  and  exposing  himself  to  tempests,  was  coming  hither 
to  take  refuge  as  in  a  quiet  harbour  ;  but  you  at  the  very  first,  in  a 
rather  singular  fashion,  required  of  me  that  I  should  not  engage 
Fr^ron  to  write  me  news.     D'Amauld  did  you  some  injuries ;  a 
generous  man  would  have  pardoned  them ;  a  vindictive  man  perse- 
cutes  those  towards  whom   he   feels   hatred.      In   fine,    though 
D'Amauld  had  done  nothing  so  far  as  I  was  concerned,  on  your 
account  he  had  to  leave.     You  went  to   the  Russian  minister's 
to  speak  to  him  about  matters  you  had  no  business  to  meddle  with, 
and  it  was  supposed  that  I  had  given  you  instructions ;  you  meddled 
in  Madame  de  Bentinck's  affairs,  which  was  certainly  not  in  your 
province.      Then  you  have  the  most  ridiculous  squabble  in  the 
world  with  that  Jew.     You  created  a  fearful  i^roar  all  through 
the   city.     The   matter   of  the  Saxon  bills  is  so  well  known  in 
Saxony  that  grave  complaints  have  been  made  to  me  about  them. 
For  my  part,    I  kept  peace  in  my  household  until  your  arrival, 
and   I   warn   you  that,  if  you  are   fond  of  intrigue  and  cabal, 
you  have  come  to  the  wrong  place.     I  like  quiet  and  peaceable 
folks  who  do  not  introduce  into  their  behaviour  the  violent  pas- 
sions of  tragedy ;  in  case  you  can  make  up  your  mind  to  live  as  a 
philosopher,  I  shall  be  very  glad  to  see  you,  but,  if  you  give  way  to 
the  impetuosity  of  your  feelings  and  quarrel  with  everybody,  you 
will  do  me  no  pleasure  by  coming  hither,  and  you  may  just  as  weD 
remain  at  Berlin." 

Voltaire  was  not  proud,  he  readily  heaped  apology  upon  apologyi 
but  he  was  irritable  and  vain ;  his  ill-humour  against  Maupertuis 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  271 

came  out  in  a  pamphlet,  as  bitter  as  it  was  witty,  entitled,  La 
diatribe  da  docteur  Akahia  ;  copies  were  circulating  in  Berlin ;  the 
satire  was  already  printed  anonymously,  when  the  Great  Frederick 
suddenly  entered  the  lists.  He  wrote  to  Voltaire  :  "  Your  effron- 
tery astounds  me  after  that  which  you  have  just  done,  and  which  is 
as  clear  as  daylight.  Do  not  suppose  that  you  will  make  black  appear 
white ;  when  one  does  not  see,  it  is  because  one  does  not  want  to  see 
everything ;  but,  if  you  carry  matters  to  extremity,  I  will  have 
everything  printed,  and  it  will  then  be  seen  that  if  your  works 
deserve  that  statues  should  be  raised  to  you,  your  conduct 
deserves  handcuffs." 

Voltaire,  affrighted,  still  protesting  his  innocence,  at  last  gave 
up  the  whole  edition  of  the  diatribe,  which  was  burnt  before  his 
eyes  in  the  king's  own  closet.  According  to  the  poet's  wily  habit, 
some  copy  or  other  had  doubtless  escaped  the  flames.  Before  long 
Le  docteur  Alcahia  appeared  at  Berlin,  arriving  modestly  from 
Dresden  by  post ;  people  fought  for  the  pamphlet,  and  everybody 
laughed;  the  satire  was  spread  over  all  Europe.  In  vain  did 
Frederick  have  it  burnt  on  the  Place  d'Armes  by  the  hands  of  the 
common  hangman,  he  could  not  assuage  the  despair  of  Mauper- 
tuis.  "  To  speak  to  you  frankly,"  the  king  at  last  wrote  to  the 
disconsolate  president,  "  it  seems  to  me  that  you  take  too  much  to 
heart  both  for  an  invalid  and  a  philosopher  an  affair  which  you 
oiight  to  despise.  How  prevent  a  man  from  writing,  and  how  pre- 
vent him  from  denying  all  the  impertinences  he  has  uttered?  I 
made  investigations  to  find  out  whether  any  fresh  satires  had  been 
sold  at  Berlin,  but  I  heard  of  none;  as  for  what  is  sold  in 
Paris,  you  are  quite  aware  that  I  have  not  charge  of  the  police  of 
that  city,  and  that  I  am  not  master  of  it.  Voltaire  treats  you  more 
gently  than  I  am  treated  by  the  gazetteers  of  Cologne  and  Lubeck, 
and  yet  I  don't  trouble  myself  about  it." 

Voltaire  could  no  longer  live  at  Potsdam  or  at  Sans-Souci,  even 
Berlin  seemed  dangerous ;  in  a  fit  of  that  incurable  perturbation 
which  formed  the  basis  of  his  character  and  made  him  commit  so 
many  errors,  he  had  no  longer  any  wish  but  to  leave  Prussia,  only 
he  wanted  to  go  without  embroiling  himself  with  the  king.  "  I 
sent  the  Solomon  of  the  North,"  he  writes  to  Madame  Denis  on  the 


B72 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chaf.  LT. 


ISth  of  January,  1753,  "for  his  present^  the  cap  and  bells  he  ga?e 
me,  with  which  you  reproached  me  so  much-  I  wrote  him  a  very 
respectful  letter,  for  I  asked  him  for  leave  to  go»  What  do  you  think 
he  did  ?  He  sent  me  his  great  factotum  Federshoff,  who  brought 
me  back  my  toys  ;  he  wrote  me  a  letter  saying  that  he  would  rather 
have  me  to  Uvo  with  than  Maupertuis.  What  is  quite  certain  ia 
that  I  would  rather  not  live  with  either  one  or  the  othpr.*' 

Frederick  was  vexed  with  Voltaire ;  he  nevertheless  fotiudl 
difficult  to  give  up  the  dazzling  charm  of  his  conversation,  V< 
taire  was  hurt  and  disquieted ^  he  wanted  to  gat  away;  the  kingi 
however,  exercised  a  strong  attraction  over  him.  But  in  spiti?  of 
mutual  coquetting,  making  up>  and  protesting,  the  hour  of  sepura* 
tion  was  at  hand  j  the  poet  was  under  pressure  from  his  frieudd  in 
France ;  in  Berlin  he  had  never  completely  neglected  Paris.  He 
had  just  published  his  Steele  de  Louis  XIV.:  he  flattered  hi] 
with  the  hope  that  he  might  again  appear  at  court,  though  im* 
king  had  disposed  of  his  place  as  historiographer  in  favour  of 
Duclos.  Frederick  at  last  yielded  ;  he  was  on  the  parade,  Yoltaini 
appeared  there t  "Ah!  Monsieur  Voltaire,"  said  the  king,  **60 
you  really  intend  to  go  away?"  "  Sir^  urgent  private  affairs  aoi 
especially  my  health  leave  me  no  alternative,'*  "  Monsieur,  I  miA 
you  a  pleasant  journey/'  Voltaire  jumped  into  his  carriage, 
hurried  to  Leipsic ;  he  thought  himself  free  for  ever  from 
exaMioiis  and  tyraimies  of  the  king  of  Prussia, 

The  poet,  according  to  his  custom,  had  tarried  on  the  way.  He 
passed  more  than  a  month  atGotha^  being  overwhelmed  with 
tions  by  the  duke,  and  by  the  duchess,  for  whom  he  wrote  the  drf 
chronicle  entitled  Les  Amialss  de  V Empire,  He  arrived  at  Fraakfoit 
ontheSlst  of  May  only:  the  king's  orders  had  arrived bef on*  ktin# 

"  Here  is  how  this  fine  adventure  came  to  pass,"  says  Voltaire? 
**  There  was  at  Frankfort  one  Freytag,  who  had  been  banished  from 

Dresden  and  had  become  an  agent  for  the  king  of  Prussia 

He  notified  me   on  behalf  of  his  Majesty   that   I   was  Bol 
leave  Frankfort  till  I  had   restored  the  valuable  effects  I 
carrying  away  from  his  Majesty.      '  Alack !  sir,   I  am   caiT  t 
away  nothing  from  that   country,   if  you  please,   not  evti 
smallest  regret.     What,  pray>  are  those  jewels  of  the  Brondt'in 


CttAF.  LV.] 


LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


CTOwn  that  you  require  ? '  *  It  be,  air/  replied  Freytag,  *  the  work 
of  poBBhy  of  the  king,  my  gracious  master,'  *  Oh  I  I  will  give 
him  back  his  prose  and  verse  with  all  my  heart,*  replied  I,  *  though, 
after  all,  I  have  more  than  one  right  to  the  work.  Ha  made  me  a 
present  of  a  beautiful  copy  printed  at  his  expense.  Unfortunately 
this  copy  is  at  Leipsic  with  my  other  luggage/  Then  Freytag  pro- 
posed to  me  to  remain  at  Frankfort  until  the  treasure  which  was  at 
Leipsic  should  have  arrived;  and  he  signed  an  order  for  it." 

The  volume  which  Frederick  claimed  and  which  he  considered 

I  it  of  so  much  importance  to  preserve  from  Voltaire's  indiscretions 

contained  amongst  other  things  a  burlesque  and  licentious  poem, 

entitled  the  Palladium^  wherein  the  king  scoffed  at  everything  and 

I  everybody  in  terms  which  he  did  not  care  to  make  public.     He 

liknew  the  reckless  maUgnity  of  the  poet  who  was  leaving  him,  and 

lie  had  a  right  to  be  suspicious  of  it ;  but  nothing  can  excuse  the 

I  fieverity  of  his  express  orders  and  still  less  the  brutality  of  his  agents. 

The  package   had   arrived ;  Voltaire,   agitated,   anxious   and   ill, 

•  wanted  to  get  away  as  soon  as  possible,  accompanied  by  Madame 

snia  who  had  just  joined  him.     Freytag  had  no  orders,  and 

sed  to  let  him  go ;  the  prisoner  loses  his  head,  he  makes  up 

lis  mind  to  escape  at  any  price,  he  slips  from  the  hotel,  he  thinks 

I  he  is  free,  but  the  police  of  Frankfort  was  well  managed :  "  The 

[moment  I  was  off,  I  was  arrested,  I,  my  secretary  and  my  people  ; 

my  niece  is  arrested;  four  soldiers  drag  her  through  the  raud  to  a 

|cheesemonger's  named  Smith,  who  had  some  title  or  other  of  privy 

luncillor  to  the  king  of  Prussia  j  my  niece  had  a  passport  from 

[the  king  of  France  and,  what  is  more,  she  had  never  corrected  the 

[king   of  Prussia's  verses.     They  huddled   us   all  into  a  sort  of 

jliostelry,  at  the  door  of  which  were  posted  a  dozen  soldiers ;  we 

[were  for  twelve  days  prisoners   of  war,  and   we  had   to   pay  a 

[hundred  and  forty  crowns  a  day/' 

The  wrath  and  disquietude  of  Voltaire  no  longer  knew  any 

>iinds;  Madame  Denis  was  ill  or  feigned  to  be  ;  she  wrote  letter 

[iipon  letter  to  Voltaire's  friends  at  the  court  of  Prussia;  she  wrote 

the  king  himself.     The  strife  which  had   begun   between  the 

pioet  and  the  maladroit  agents  of  the  Great  Frederick  was  becoming 

iouj.     *'  Wo  would  have  risked  our  lives  rather  than  let  him  get 

f  2 


276 


STORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LV. 


away,"  said  Freytag;  "and  if  I,  holding  a  council  of  war  witii 
myself,  had  not  found  him  at  the  barrier  but  in  the  open  country, 
and  he  had  refused  to  jog  back,  I  don't  know  that  I  shouldn't  have 
lodged  a  bullet  in  his  head.  To  such  a  degree  had  I  at  heart  the 
letters  and  writings  o£  the  king/' 

-  Frej  tag's  zeal  received  a  cruel  rebuff:  orders  arrived  to  let  the 
poet  go.  "I  gave  you  no  orders  like  that,"  wrote  Frederick: 
"  you  should  never  make  more  noise  than  a  thing  deserves.  I 
wanted  Voltaire  to  give  up  to  you  the  key,  the  cross  and  the 
volume  of  poems  I  had  entrusted  to  him;  as  soon  as  all  that 
was  given  up  to  you  I  can't  see  what  earthly  reason  eoidd  have 
induced  you  to  make  this  uproar/'  At  last,  on  the  6th  of  July, 
*'  all  this  affair  of  Ostrogoths  and  Vandals  being  over,*'  Vollaire 
left  Frankfort  precipitately.  His  niece  had  taken  the  road  to 
Paris,  whence  she  soon  wrote  to  him :  **  There  is  nobody  in 
JVance,  I  say  nobody  without  exception^  who  has  not  condemned 
.this  violence  mingled  with  so  much  that  is  ridiculous  and  cruel ; 
it  makes  a  deeper  impression  than  you  would  believe.  Everybody 
says  that  you  could  not  do  otherwise  than  you  are  doing,  io 
resolving  to  meet  with  philosophy  things  so  unphilosophical.  We 
shall  do  very  well  to  hold  our  tongues ;  the  public  speaks  quite 
enough/' 

Voltaire  held  his  tongue,  according  to  his  idea  of  holding  \m 
tongue,  drawing  in  his  poem  of  La  Loi  uaturelk^  dedicated  at  firsi 
to  the  margravine  of  Baireuth  and  afterwards  to  the  duchess  of 
Saxe-Gotha,  a  portrait  of  Frederick,  which  was  truthful  and  at  tlm 
same  time  bitter : — 

''  Of  incoDgruitiee  a  tnotiBtrons  pHe, 
CuIUng  men  brothers,  crushing  tbem  the  while  ; 
With  air  htioiftne,  a  miBanthropJc  brute  ; 
Ofttimes  impulsive,  sometimes  over-'cute  i 
Weak  *mhht  his  chokr,  modest  in  his  pride  ; 
Yearning  for  virtue,  hist  pei-sonified  ; 
Statesman  and  author,  of  the  slippery  csrew  t 
My  patron,  pupil,  persecutor  too/* 

Voltaire's  intimacy  with  the  Great  Frederick  was  destrojed :  if 
liatl  for  II  while  done  honour  to  both  of  them,  it  had  ended  by 
betraying  the  pettinesses  and  the  meannesses  natural  t-o  the  kinp 


Char  LV.] 


LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


277 


I 
I 


as  well  as  to  the  poet,  Frederick  did  not  remain' without  anxiety  on 
the  score  of  Voltaire's  rancour ;  Voltaire  dreaded  nasty  diplomatic 
proceedings  on  the  part  of  the  king ;  he  had  been  threatened  with 
ag  much  by  Lord  Keith,  Milord  Marechal^  as  he  was  called  on 
the  Continent  from  the  hereditary  title  he  had  lost  in  his  own 
country  through  his  attachment  to  the  cause  of  the  Stuarts  :— 

**  Let  us  see  in  what  countries  M,  de  Voltaire  has  not  had  some 
squabble  or  made  himself  many  enemies,"  said  a  letter,  to  Madame 
Denis  from  the  great  Scotch  lord  when  he  had  entered  Frederick's 
Service:  "every  country  where  the  Inquisition  prevails  must  be 
mistrusted  by  him;  he  would  put  his  foot  in  it  sooner  or  later, 

I  The  Mussulmans  must  be  as  little  pleased  with  his  Mahomet  as 
good  Christians  were.  He  is  too  old  to  go  to  China  and  turn 
inandarin ;  in  a  word,  if  he  is  wise,  there  is  no  place  but 
Fratice  for  him-  He  has  friends  there,  and  you  will  have  him  with 
you  for  the  rest  of  his  days ;  do  not  let  him  shut  himself  out  from 
the  pleasure  of  returning  thither,  for  you  are  quite  aware  that,  if 
he  were  to  indulge  in  speech  and  epigrams  offensive  to  the  king 
tny  master,  a  word  which  the  latter  might  order  me  to  speak  to 
the  court  of  France  would  suffice  to  pi^event  M,  de  Voltaire  from 
returning,  and  he  would  be  sorry  for  it  when  it  was  too  late/' 

Voltaire  was  already  in  France,  but  he  dared  not  venture  to 

i^aris-      Mutilated,   clumsy  or  treacherous  issues  of  the  AbrSgS 

tfe  rHiMotre  muverselh  had  already  stirred  the  bile  of  the  clergy; 

there  were  to  be  seen  in  circulation  copies  of  La  Pticelle,  a  disgusting 

poem  which  the  author  had  been  keeping  back  and  bringing  out 

alternately  for  several  years  past*    Voltaire  fled  from  Colmar,  wher^ 

he  Jesuits  held  sway,  to  Lyons,  where  he  found  Marshal  Richelieu, 

but  lately  his  protector  and  always  his  friend,  who  was  repairing 

to  his  government  of  Languedoc,     Cardinal   Tencin  refused   to 

receive  the  poet,  who  regarded  this  sudden  severity  as  a  sign  o£ 

the  feelings  of  the  court  towards  him.    **  The  king  told  Madame  de 

ompadour  that  he  did  not  want  me  to  go  to  Paris ;  I  am  of  hi^ 

Majesty's  opinion,  1  don't  want  to  go  to  Paris/'  wrote  Voltaire  tq 

marquis  of  Paulmy.     He  took  fright  and   sought  refuge  in 

witzerland,  where  he  soon  settled  on  the  lake  of  Geneva,  pending 

14*  purchase  of  tho  estate  of  Ferney  in  the  district  of  Gex  and 


178 


HISTOET  OF  FEANCB, 


[Chap.  LV. 


that  of  Tourney  In  Burgundy,  He  waa  hencefortli  fixed,  free  to 
pass  from  France  to  Switzerland  and  from  Switzerland  to  France, 
"I  lean  tny  left  on  Mount  Jura,"  he  used  to  say,  "my  right 
on  the  Alps,  and  I  have  the  beautifid  lake  of  Geneva  in  front 
of  my  camp,  a  beautiful  castle  on  the  borders  of  France,  the 
hermitage  of  Delices  in  the  territory  of  Geneva,  a  good  house  at 
Lausanne  j  crawling  thus  from  one  burrow  to  another,  I  escape 
from  kings-  Philosophers  should  always  have  two  or  three  holes 
under  ground  against  the  hounds  that  run  them  down/* 

The  perturbation  of  Voltaire^s  soul  and  mind  was  never  stilled ; 
the  anarious  and  undignified  perturbation  of  his  outer  life  at 
last  subsided :  he  left  off  trembling,  and,  in  the  comparative 
security  which  he  thought  lie  possessed,  he  gave  scope  t^  all  his 
free-thinking,  which  had  but  lately  been  often  cloaked  according 
to  circumstances.  He  had  taken  the  communion  at  Colniar,  to 
soften  down  the  Jesuits;  he  had  conformed  to  the  ndes  of  the 
convent  of  Senones^  when  he  took  refuge  with  Dora  Calmet ;  at 
Delices  he  worked  at  the  JSneyclojjmdia  which  was  then  being 
commenced  by  D'Alembert  and  Diderot,  taking  upon  himself  in 
preference  the  religious  articles  and  not  sparing  the  creed  of  his 
neighbours,  the  pastors  of  Geneva,  any  more  than  that  of  the 
Catholic  Church.  **  I  assure  you  that  my  fi-iends  and  I  will  lead 
them  a  fine  dance;  they  shall  drink  the  cup  to  the  very  lees," 
wrote  Voltaire  to  D'Alembort,  In  the  great  campaign  against 
Christianity  undertaken  by  the  philosophers,  Voltaire,  so  long  a 
wavering  ally,  will  henceforth  fight  in  the  foremost  ranks ;  it  is 
he  who  shouts  to  Diderot,  "  Squelch  the  thing  {Mcrasez  rinfdnie)  1  '• 
The  masks  are  off,  and  the  fight  is  bare-faced ;  the  encyclopa^diara 
march  out  to  the  conquest  of  the  world  in  the  name  of  reason, 
humanity  and  free-thinking;  even  when  he  has  ceased  to  work  at 
the  Encyclopmclia^  Voltaire  marches  with  them. 

The  Essai  »ut  VHutoire  generah  et  Us  Mcmrs  was  one  of  the  first 
broadsides  of  this  new  anti- religious  crusade,  **  Voltaire  will  never 
write  a  good  history,"  Montesquieu  used  to  say  :  "  he  is  like  the 
monks,  who  do  not  write  for  the  subject  of  which  they  treat,  but  for 
the  glory  of  their  order:  Voltaire  writes  for  his  convent,*'  The  same 
intention  betrayed  itself  in  every  sort  of  work  that  issued  at  that 


Chap,  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  279 

time  from  the  hermitage  of  Ddlices,  the  poem  on  Le  Tremblement  de 
terre  de  Lisbonne^  the  drama  of  Socrate^  the  satire  of  the  Pauvre 
Diahle^  the  sad  storj  of  Candide^  led  the  way  to  a  series  of  pub- 
lications every  day  more  and  more  violent  against  the  Christian 
faith.  The  tragedy  of  VOrphelin  de  la  Chine  and  that  of  TtiTicrede^ 
the  quarrels  with  Fr^ron,  with  Lefranc  de  Pompignan,  and  lastly 
with  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau,  did  not  satiate  the  devouring  activity 
of  the  Patriarchy  as  he  was  called  by  the  knot  of  philosophers. 
Definitively  installed  at  Femey,  Voltaire  took  to  building,  planting, 
fiurming.  He  established  round  his  castle  a  small  industrial  colony, 
for  whose  produce  he  strove  to  get  a  market  everywhere.  "  Our 
design,"  he  used  to  say,  "  is  to  ruin  the  trade  of  Geneva  in  a  pious 
spirit."  Femey,  moreover,  held  grand  and  numerously  attended 
receptions ;  Madame  Denis  played  her  uncle's  pieces  on  a  stage 
which  the  latter  had  ordered  to  be  built  and  which  caused  as  much 
disquietude  to  the  austere  Genevese  as  to  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau. 
It  was  on  account  of  Voltaire's  theatrical  representations  that 
Rousseau  wrote  his  Lettre  contre  les  Spectacles.  *'  I  love  you  not, 
sir,"  wrote  Rousseau  to  Voltaire :  "  you  have  done  me  such  wrongs 
as  were  calculated  to  touch  me  most  deeply.  You  have  ruined 
Geneva  in  requital  of  the  asylum  you  have  found  there."  Geneva 
was  about  to  banish  Rousseau  before  long,  and  Voltaire  had  his 
own  share  of  responsibility  in  this  act  of  severity  so  opposed  to  his 
general  and  avowed  principles.  Voltaire  was  angry  with  Rousseau, 
whom  he  accused  of  having  betrayed  the  cause  of  philosophy ;  he 
was,  as  usual,  hurried  away  by  the  passion  of  the  moment,  when 
he  wrote,  speaking  of  the  exile :  "  I  give  you  my  word  that  if  this 
blackguard  (polisson)  of  a  Jean  Jacques  should  dream  of  coming  (to 
Geneva),  he  would  run  great  risk  of  mounting  a  ladder  which  would 
not  be  that  of  Fortime."  At  the  very  same  time  Rousseau  was 
saying :  "  What  have  I  done  to  bring  upon  myself  the  persecution 
of  M.  de  Voltaire  ?  And  what  worse  have  I  to  fear  from  him  ? 
Would  M.  de  Buffon  have  me  soften  this  tiger  thirsting  for  my 
blood  ?  He  knows  very  well  that  nothing  ever  appeases  or  softens 
tbe  fury  of  tigers;  if  I  were  to  crawl  upon  the  ground  before 
Voltaire,  he  would  triumph  thereat,  no  doubt,  but  he  would  rend 
me  none  the  less.     Basenesses  would  dishonour  me,  but  would  not 


280  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chip.LV. 

save  me.    Sir,  I  can  suffer,  I  hope  to  learn  how  to  die,  and  he  who 
knows  how  to  do  that  has  never  need  to  be  a  dastard." 

Rousseau  was  high-flown  and  tragic ;  Voltaire  was  cruel  in  his 
contemptuous  levity ;  but  the  contrast  between  the  two  philoso- 
phers was  even  greater  in  the  depths  of  them  than  on  the  surface. 
Rousseau  took  his  own  words  seriously,  even  when  he  was  mad 
and  his  conduct  was  sure  to  belie  them  before  long.  He  was 
the  precursor  of  an  impassioned  and  serious  age,  going  to  extremes 
in  idea  and  placing  deeds  after  words.  In  spite  of  occasional 
reticence  dictated  by  sound  sense,  Voltaire  had  abandoned  himself 
entirely  in  his  old  age  to  that  school  of  philosophy,  young,  ardent, 
full  of  hope  and  illusions,  which  would  fain  pull  down  everything 
before  it  knew  what  it  could  set  up,  and  the  actions  of  which  were 
not  always  in  accordance  with  principles.  "  The  men  were  inferior 
to  their  ideas."  President  De  Brosses  was  justified  in  writing  to 
Voltaire  :  "I  only  wish  you  had  in  your  heart  a  half -quarter  of  the 
morality  and  philosophy  contained  in  your  works."  Deprived  of 
the  counterpoise  of  political  liberty,  the  emancipation  of  thought 
in  the  reign  of  Louis  XV.  had  become  at  One  and  the  same  time 
a  danger  and  a  source  of  profound  illusions ;  people  thought  that 
they  did  what  they  said  and  that  they  meant  what  they  wrote, 
but  the  time  of  actions  and  consequences  had  not  yet  come; 
Voltaire  applauded  the  severities  against  Rousseau,  and  still  he  was 
quite  ready  to  offer  him  an  asylum  at  Ferney ;  he  wrote  to  D* Alem- 
bert,  "  I  am  engaged  in  sending  a  priest  to  the  galleys,"  at  the 
very  moment  when  he  was  bringing  eternal  honour  to  his  name  by 
the  generous  zeal  which  led  him  to  protect  the  memory  and  the 
family  of  the  unfortunate  people  named  Galas. 

The  glorious  and  bloody  annals  of  the  French  Reformation  had 
passed  through  various  phases;  liberty,  always  precarious,  even 
under  Henry  IV.  and  whilst  the  Edict  of  Nantes  was   in  force, 
and  legally  destroyed  by  its  revocation,  had  been  succeeded  br 
periods  of  assuagement  and  comparative  repose ;  in  the  latter  part 
of  Louis  XV.'s  reign,  about  1760,  fresh  severities  had  come  to 
overwhelm  the  Protestants.     Modestly  going  about  their  busiBess, 
silent  and  timid,  as  inviolably  attached  to  the  king  as  to  their 
hereditary  creed,  several  of  them  had  undergone  capital  punish- 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  281 

ment.  John  Calas,  accused  of  murdering  his  son,  had  been  broken 
on  the  wheel  at  Toulouse  ;  the  reformers  had  been  accustomed  to 
these  sombre  dramas,  but  the  spirit  of  the  times  had  marched 
onward  ;  ideas  of  justice,  humanity  and  liberty,  sown  broad-cast  by 
the  philosophers,  more  imbued  than  they  were  themselves  aware  of 
with  the  holy  influences  of  Christianity,  had  slowly  and  secretly 
acted  upon  men's  minds ;  executions  which  had  been  so  frequent  in 
the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries  caused  trouble  and  dismay 
in  the  eighteenth ;  in  vain  did  the  fanatical  passions  of  the  popu- 
lace of  Toulouse  find  an  echo  in  the  magistracy  of  that  city,  it  was 
no  longer  considered  a  matter  of  course  that  Protestants  should  be 
guilty  of  every  crime,  and  that  those  who  were  accused  should  not 
be  at  liberty  to  clear  themselves.  The  philosophers  had  at  first 
hesitated.  Voltaire  wrote  to  Cardinal  Bemis  :  "  Might  I  venture 
to  entreat  your  eminence  to  be  kind  enough  to  tell  me  what  I  am 
to  think  about  the  frightful  case  of  this  Calas,  broken  on  the  wheel 
at  Toulouse  on  a  charge  of  having  hanged  his  own  son  ?  The  fact 
is,  they  maintain  here  that  he  is  quite  innocent  and  that  he  called 

God  to  witness  it This  case  touches  me  to  the  heart,  it 

saddens  my  pleasures,  it  taints  them.  Either  the  parliament  of 
Toulouse  or  the  Protestants  must  be  regarded  with  eyes  of  horror." 
Being  soon  convinced  that  the  parliament  deserved  all  his  indig- 
nation Voltaire  did  not  grudge  time,  efforts  or  influence  in  order  to 
be  of  service  to  the  unfortunate  remnant  of  the  Calas  family.  "  I 
ought  to  look  upon  myself  as  in  some  sort  a  witness,"  he  writes : 
"  several  months  ago  Peter  Calas,  who  is  accused  of  having  assisted 
his  father  and  mother  in  a  murder,  was  in  my  neighbourhood  with 
another  of  his  brothers.  I  have  wavered  a  long  while  as  to  the 
innocence  of  this  family ;  I  could  not  believe  that  any  judges  would 
have  condemned  to  a  fearful  death  an  innocent  father  of  a  family. 
There  is  nothing  I  have  not  done  to  enlighten  myself  as  to  the 
truth.  I  dare  to  say  that  I  am  as  sure  of  the  innocence  of  this 
family  as  I  am  of  my  own  existence." 

For  three  years,  with  a  constancy  which  he  often  managed  to 
eonceal  beneath  an  appearance  of  levity,  Voltaire  prosecuted  the 
work  of  clearing  the  Calas.  "  It  is  Voltaire  who  is  writing  on 
|)ehalf  of  this  unfortunate  family,"  said  Diderot  to  Mdlle.  Voland : 


HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Oiup.LV. 

"  0  my  friend,  what  a  noble  work  for  genius  I  This  man  must 
needs  have  soul  and  sensibility;  injustice  must  revolt  him;  he 
must  feel  the  attraction  of  virtue.  Why,  what  are  the  Calas  to 
him  P  What  can  awaken  his  interest  in  them  P  What  reason  has 
he  to  suspend  the  labours  he  loves  in  order  to  take  up-  their 
defence  P"  From  the  borders  of  the  lake  of  Gteneva,  firom  his 
solitude  at  Genthod,  Charles  Bonnet,  far  from  favourable  generally 
to  Voltaire,  writes  to  Haller;  "Voltaire  has  done  a  work  on 
tolerance  which  is  said  to  be  good ;  he  will  not  publish  it  until 
after  the  affair  of  the  imfortunate  Calas  has  been  decided  by  the 
king's  council.  Voltaire's  zeal  for  these  unfortunates  might  cover 
a  multitude  of  sins ;  that  zeal  does  not  relax,  and,  if  they  obtain 
satisfaction,  it  will  be  principally  to  his  championship  that  they 
will  owe  it.  He  receives  much  commendation  for  this  business,  and 
he  deserves  it  fiilly." 

The  sentence  of  the  council  cleared  the  accused  and  the  memory 
of  John  Calas,  ordering  that  their  names  should  be  erased  and  effaced 
from  the  registers,  and  the  judgment  transcribed  upon  the  margin 
of  the  charge-sheet.  The  king  at  the  same  time  granted  Madame 
Calas  and  her  children  a  gratuity  of  thirty-six  thousand  livres,  a  tacit 
and  inadequate  compensation  for  the  expenses  and  losses  caused 
them  by  the  fanatical  injustice  of  the  parliament  of  Toulouse. 
Madame  Calas  asked  no  more.  "  To  prosecute  the  judges  and  the 
ringleaders,"  said  a  letter  to  Voltaire  from  the  generous  advocate 
of  the  Calas,  Elias  de  Beaumont,  "  requires  the  permission  of  the 
council,  and  there  is  great  reason  to  fear  that  these  petty 
plebeian  kings  appear  powerful  enough  to  cause  the  permission, 
through  a  weakness  honoured  by  the  name  of  policy,  to  be 
refused." 

Voltaire,  however,  was  triumphant.  "  You  were  at  Paris,"  he 
writes  to  M.  de  Cideville,  "  when  the  last  act  of  the  tragedy  finished 
so  happily.  The  piece  is  according  to  the  rules ;  it  is,  to  my  think- 
ing, the  finest  fifth  act  there  is  on  the  stage."  Henceforth  he  finds 
himself  transformed  into  the  defender  of  the  oppressed.  The 
Protestant  Chauraont,  at  the  galleys,  owed  to  him  his  liberation ; 
he  rushed  to  Ferney  to  thank  Voltaire.  The  pastor,  who  had  to 
introduce  him,  thus  described  the  interview  to  Paul  Rabaut:  "I 


Chap.lv.]  LOUIS  XV-,  THE  PHILOSOPHBRS.  288 

told  liixn  that  I  had  brought  him  a  little  fellow  who  had  come  to 
throw  himself  at  his  feet  to  thank  him  for  haviDg,  by  his 
intercession,  delivered  him  from  the  galleys,  that  it  was  Chaumont 
whom  I  had  left  in  his  antechamber,  and  whom  I  begged  him  to 
permit  me  to  bring  in.  At  the  name  of  Chaumont  M.  de  Voltaire 
showed  a  transport  of  joy  and  rang  at  once  to  have  him  brought 
in.  Never  did  any  scene  appear  to  me  more  amusing  and  refresh* 
ing :  *  What  I  *  said  he,  *  my  poor,  little,  good  fellow,  they  sent  you 
to  the  galleys !  What  did  they  mean  to  do  with  you  P  What  a 
conscience  they  must  have  to  put  in  fetters  and  chain  to  the  oar  a 
man  who  had  committed  no  crime  beyond  praying  to  God  in  bad 
French  I '  He  turned  several  times  to  me,  denouncing  persecution. 
He  summoned  into  his  room  some  persons  who  were  staying  with 
him,  that  they  might  share  the  joy  he  felt  at  seeing  poor  little 
Chaumont,  who,  though  perfectly  well  attired  for  his  condition, 
was  quite  astonished  to  find  himself  so  well  received.  There  was 
nobody,  down  to  an  ex-jesuit.  Father  Adam,  who  did  not  come 
forward  to  congratulate  him.'' 

Linate  love  of  justice  and  horror  of  fanaticism  had  inspired 
Voltaire  with  his  zeal  on  behalf  of  persecuted  Protestants ;  a  more 
personal  feeling,  a  more  profound  sympathy  caused  his  grief  and 
his  dread  when  Chevalier  de  la  Barre,  accused  of  having  mutilated 
a  crucifix,  was  condemned,  in  1766,  to  capital  punishment;  the 
scepticism  of  the  eighteenth  century  had  sudden  and  terrible 
reactions  towards  fanatical  violence,  as  a  protest  and  a  pitiable 
struggle  against  the  doubt  which  was  invading  it  on  all  sides ;  the 
chevalier  was  executed ;  he  was  not  twenty  years  old.  He  was  an 
infidel  and  a  libertine,  like  the  majority  of  the  young  men  of  his 
day  and  of  his  age ;  the  crime  he  expiated  so  cruelly  was  attri- 
buted  to  reading  bad  books,  which  had  corrupted  him.  '*  I  am 
told,''  writes  Voltaire  to  D'Alembert,  *^that  they  said  at  their 
examination  that  they  had  been  led  on  to  the  act  of  madness  they 
committed  by  the  works  of  the  encyclopaedists.  I  can  scarcely 
believe  it ;  these  madmen  don't  read ;  and  certainly  no  philosopher 
would  have  counselled  profanation.  The  matter  is  important ;  try 
to  get  to  the  bottom  of  so  odious  and  dangerous  a  report."  And, 
«t  another  titne,  to  Abbe  Morellet :  **  You  know  that  Councillor 


284  HISTORY  OP  FEANCE.  [Chap.LV. 

Pasquier  said  in  full  parliament  that  the  young  men  of  Abbeville 
who  were  put  to  death  had  imbibed  their  impiety  in  the  school 

and  the  works  of  the  modern  philosophers They  were 

mentioned  by  name,  it  is   a  formal    denunciation Wiise 

men,  under  such  terrible  circumstances,  should  keep  quiet  and 

wait " 

-  Whilst  keeping  quiet,  Voltaire  soon  grew  frightened;  he  fancied 
himself  arrested  even  on  the  foreign  soil  bn  which  he  had  sDiigh£ 
refuge.  "  My  heart  is  withered,"  he  exclaims,  "  I  im  prostrated^ 
I  am  tempted  to  go  and  die  in  some  land  where  men  are  less 
unjust."  He  wrote  to  the  Great  Frederick,  with  whom  he  had 
resumed  active  correspondence,  asking  him  for  ah  asyluifa  in  the 
town  of  Clfeves  where  he  might  find  refuge  together  •  with  the 
persecuted  philosophers.  His  imagination  was  going  wild.  .  **^I 
went  to  him,"  says  the  celebrated  physician,  Tronch^n,  an  old 
friend  of  his;  "aflber  I  had  pointed  out  to  him  the  absurdity  of 
his  fearing  that,  for  a  mere  piece  of  imprudence,  Francei  woidd 
come  and  seize  an  old  man  on  foreign  soil  to  shut  him  up  in  the 
Bastille,  I  ended  by  expressing  my  astonishment  that  a  h^ad  like 
his  should  be  deranged  to  the  extent  I  saw  it  wasl  *  CovOTing  hi{f 
eyes  with  his  clenched  hands  and  bursting  into  tears:  *^Ye8,  yes,- 
my  friend,  I  am  mad  I '  was  all  he  answered.  A  few  days  after- 
wards, when  reflection  had  driven  away  fear,  he  would  have  defied 
all  the  powers  of  malevolence." 

Voltaire  did  not  find  his  brethren  in  philosophy  so  frightened 
and  disquieted  by  ecclesiastical  persecution  as  to  fly  to  Cloves,  fiar 
from  "  the  home  of  society,"  as  he  had  himself  called  Paris.  In 
vain  he  wrote  to  Diderot :  "  A  man  like  you  cannot  look  save 
with  horror  upon  the  country  in  which  you  have  the  misfoHune  to 
live;  you  really  ought  to  come  away  into  a  country  where  you 
would  have  entire  liberty  not  only  to  express  what  yoii  pleased, 
but  to  preach  openly  against  superstitions  as  disgi^ceful  as  they 
are  sanguinary.  You  would  not  be  solitary  there ;  you  would 
have  companions  and  disciples ;  you  might  establish  a  chair  there, 
the  chair  of  truth.  Your  library  might  go  by  water,  and  there 
would  not  be  four  leagues'  journey  by  land.  In  fine,  you  would 
leave  slavery  for  freedom." 


Chap,  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  287 

All  these  inducements  having  failed  of  effect,  Voltaire  gave  up 
the  foundation  of  a  colony  at  Cl^es,  to  devote  all  his  energy  to 
that  at  Femey.  There  he  exercised  signorial  rights  with  an  active 
and  restless  guardianship  which  left  him  no  illusions  and  but  little 
sympathy  in  respect  of  that  people  whose  sacred  rights  he  had 
so  often  proclaimed.  "  The  people  will  always  be  sottish  and 
barbarous,"  he  wrote  to  M.  Bordes :  "  they  are  oxen  needing 
a  yoke,  a  goad,  and  a  bit  of  hay/'  That  was  the  sum  and 
substance  of  what  he  thought;  he  was  a  stem  judge  of  the 
French  character,  the  genuine  and  deep-lying  resources  of  which 
he  sounded  imperfectly,  but  the  infinite  varieties  of  which  he 
recognized.  "  I  always  find  it  difficult  to  conceive,"  he  wrote 
to  M.  de  Constant,  *'  how  so  agreeable  a  nation  can  at  the  same 
time  be  so  ferocious,  how  it  can  so  easily  pass  from  the  opera  to 
the  St.  Bartholomew,  be  at  one  time  made  up  of  dancing  apes  and 
at  another  of  howling  bears,  be  so  ingenious  and  so  idiotic  both 
together,  at  one  time  so  brave  and  at  another  so  dastardly." 
Voltaire  fancied  himself  at  a  comedy  still ;  the  hour  of  tragedy 
was  at  hand.  He  and  his  friends  were  day  by  day  weakening  the 
foundations  of  the  edifice;  for  eighty  years  past  the  greatest 
minds  and  the  noblest  souls  have  been  toiling  to  restore  it  on 
new  and  strong  bases ;  the  work  is  not  finished,  revolution  is  still 
agitating  the  depths  of  French  society,  which  has  not  yet  recovered 
the  only  proper  foundation-stones  for  greatness  and  order  amongst 
a  free  people. 

Henceforth  Voltaire  reigned  peacefrdly  over  his  little  empire  at 
Femey,  courted  from  afar  by  all  the  sovereigns  of  Europe  who 
made  any  profession  of  philosophy.  "  I  have  a  sequence  of  four 
kings"  {brelan  de  roi  quatrieme)^  he  would  say  with  a  laugh  when 
he  counted  his  letters  from  royal  personages.  The  empress  of 
Russia,  Catherine  II.,  had  dethroned,  in  his  mind,  the  Great 
Frederick.  Voltaire  had  not  lived  in  her  dominions  and  at  her 
court;  he  had  no  grievance  against  her ;  his  vanity  was  flattered 
by  the  eagerness  and  the  magnificent  attentions  of  the  Semiramis 
of  the  Northy  as  he  called  her.  He  even  forgave  her  the  most 
odious  features  of  resemblance  to  the  Assyrian  princess.  "  I  am 
her  knight  in  the  sight  and  in  the  teeth  of  everybody,"  he  wrote  to 


288  HISTORY  OF   FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV, 

Madame  du  Deffand :  **  I  am  quite  aware  that  people  bring  up 
against  her  a  few  trifles  on  the  score  of  her  husband ;  but  these 
are  family  matters  with  which  I  do  not  meddle,  and  besides  it  is 
not  a  bad  thing  to  have  a  fault  to  repair.  It  is  an  inducement  to 
make  great  efforts  in  order  to  force  the  public  to  esteem  and 
admiration,  and  certainly  her  knave  of  a  husband  would  never 
have  done  any  one  of  the  great  things  my  Catherine  does  every 
day."  The  portrait  of  the  empress,  worked  in  embroidery  by 
herself,  hung  in  Voltaire's  bedroom.  In  vain  had  he  but  lately  said 
to  Pastor  Bertrand :  "  My  dear  philosopher,  I  have,  thank  GUkI, 
cut  all  connexion  with  kings;"  instinct  and  natural  inclination 
were  constantly  re-asserting  themselves.  Banished  from  the 
court  of  Versailles  by  the  disfavour  of  Louis^  XV.,  he  turned  in 
despite  towards  the  foreign  sovereigns  who  courted  him.  "  Europe 
is  enough  for  me,"  he  writes ;  "  I  do  not  trouble  myself  much 
about  the  Paris  clique,  seeing  that  that  clique  is  frequently  guided 
by  envy,  cabal,  bad  taste,  and  a  thousand  petty  interests  which 
are  always  opposed  to  the  public  interest." 

Voltaire,  however,  returned  to  that  Paris  in  which  he  was  bom, 
in  which  he  had  lived  but  little  since  his  early  days,  to  which  he 
belonged  by  the  merits  as  well  as  the  defects  of  his  mind,  and  in 
which  he  was  destined  to  die.  In  spite  of  his  protests  about  his 
being  a  rustic  and  a  republican,  he  had  never  allowed  himself  to 
slacken  the  ties  which  united  him  to  his  Parisian  friends;  the 
letters  of  the  patriarch  of  Ferney  circulated  amongst  the  philo- 
sophical fraternity ;  they  were  repeated  in  the  correspondence  of 
Grimm  and  Diderot  with  foreign  princes  ;  from  his  splendid  retreat 
at  Ferney  he  cheered  and  excited  the  literary  zeal  and  often  the 
anti-religious  ardour  of  the  encyclopaedists.  He  had,  however, 
ceased  all  working  connexion  with  that  great  work  since  it  had 
been  suspended  and  afterwards  resumed  at  the  orders  and  with 
the  permission  of  Government.  The  more  and  more  avowed 
materialistic  theories  revolted  his  shrewd  and  sensible  mind; 
without  caring  to  go  to  the  bottom  of  his  thought  and  contemplate 
its  consequences,  he  clung  to  the  notion  of  Providence  as  to  a  waif 
in  the  great  shipwreck  of  positive  creeds ;  he  could  not  imagine — 

"  This  clock  without  a  maker  couUl  exist." 


Chaf.lv.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.        ^   "  289 

■#" 
it  is  his  common  sense,  and  not  the  religious  yearnings  tfl  his  soul, 

that  makes  him  write  in  the  poem  of  La  Lot  naturelle  : 

O  God,  wbom  men  ignore,  whom  everything  reveals, 

Hear  Thou  the  latest  words  of  him  who  now  appeals  ; 

'Tis  searching  out  Thy  law  that  hatli  bewilderM  me  ; 

My  heart  may  go  astray,  but  it  is  full  of  Thee.  *- 

When  he  was  old  and  suffering,  he  said  to  Madame  Necker}:'ih 
one  of  those  fits  of  melancholy  to  which  he  was  subject :  "^Tiie 
thinking  faculty  is  lost  just  like  the  eating,  drinking  and  d^esting 
faculties.  The  marionettes  of  Providence,  in  fact,  are  not  ^^e  to 
last  so  long  as  It."  In  his  dying  hour  Voltaire  was  seen  show^g 
more  concern  for  terrestrial  scandals  than  for  the  terrors  of  ow- 
science,  crying  aloud  for  a  priest  and,  with  his  mouth  full  of  the 
blood  he  spat,  still  repeating  in  a  half- whisper :  "  I  don't  want  to  be 
thrown  into  the  kennel."  A  sad  confession  of  the  insuflBciency  of 
his  convictions  and  of  the  inveterate  levity  of  his  thoughts  ;  he  was 
afraid  of  the  judgment  of  man  without  dreading  the  judgment  of 
God.  Thus  was  revealed  the  real  depth  of  an  infidelity  of  which 
Voltaire  himself  perhaps  had  not  calculated  the  extent  and  the 
fatal  influences. 

Voltaire  was  destined  to  die  at  Paris ;  there  he  found  the  last 
joys  of  his  life  and  there  he  shed  the  last  rays  of  his  glory.  For 
the  twenty- seven  years  during  which  he  had  been  away  from  it  he 
had  worked  much,  written  much,  done  much.  Whilst  almost 
invariably  disavowing  his  works,  he  had  furnished  philosophy 
with  pointed  and  poisoned  weapons  against  religion ;  he  had 
devoted  to  humanity  much  time  and  strength ;  one  of  the  last 
delights  he  had  tasted  was  the  news  of  the  decree  which  cleared 
the  memory  of  M.  de  Lally ;  he  had  received  into  his  house, 
educated  and  found  a  husband  for  the  grand-niece  of  the  great 
Comeille ;  he  had  applied  the  inexhaustible  resources  of  his  mind 
at  one  time  to  good  and  at  another  to  evil,  with  almost  equal 
ardour ;  he  was  old,  he  was  ill,  yet  this  same  ardour  still  possessed 
him  when  he  arrived  at  Paris  on  the  10th  of  February,  1778. 
The  excitement  caused  by  his  return  was  extraordinary.  "  This 
new  prodigy  has  stopped  all  other  interest  for  some  time,"  writes 
Grimm ;  "  it  has  put  an  end  to  rumours  of  war,  intrigues  in  civil 
VOL.  V.  ti 


290  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV. 

Kfe,  squabbles  at  court.  Encyclopsedic  pride  appeared  diminished 
by  half,  the  Sorbonne  shook  all  over,  the  Parliament  kept  silence ; 
all  the  literary  world  is  moved,  all  Paris  is  ready  to  fly  to  the 
idol's  feet."  So  much  attention  and  so  much  glory  had  been  too 
much  for  the  old  man.  Voltaire  was  dying ;  in  his  fright  he  had 
sent  for  a  priest  and  had  confessed ;  when  he  rose  from  his  bed  by 
a  last  effort  of  the  marvellous  elasticity  inherent  in  his  body  and 
his  mind,  he  resumed  for  awhile  the  course  of  his  triumphs. 
"  M.  de  Voltaire  has  appeared  for  the  first  time  at  the  Academy 
and  at  the  play ;  he  found  all  the  doors,  all  the  approaches  to  the 
Academy  besieged  by  a  multitude  which  only  opened  slowly  to  let 
him  pass  and  then  rushed  in  immediately  upon  his  footsteps  with 
repeated  plaudits  and  acclamations.  The  Academy  came  out  into 
the  first  room  to  meet  him,  an  honour  it  had  never  yet  paid  to  any 
of  its  members,  not  even  to  the  foreign  princes  who  had  deigned 
to  be  present  at  its  meetings.  The  homage  he  received  at  the 
Academy  was  merely  the  prelude  to  that  which  awaited  him  at  the 
National  theatre.  As  soon  as  his  carriage  was  seen  at  a  distance, 
there  arose  a  universal  shout  of  joy.  All  the  kerb-stones,  all  the 
barriers,  all  the  windows  were  crammed  with  spectators,  and^ 
scarcely  was  the  carriage  stopped,  when  people  were  already  on 
the  imperial  and  even  on  the  wheels  to  get  a  nearer  view  of  the 
divinity.  Scarcely  had  he  entered  the  house  when  Sieur  Brizard 
came  up  with  a  crown  of  laurels  which  Madame  de  Villette  placed 
upon  the  great  man's  head,  but  which  he  immediately  took  off, 
though  the  public  urged  him  to  keep  it  on  by  clapping  of  hands 
and  by  cheers  which  resounded  from  all  corners  of  the  house  with 
such  a  din  as  never  was  heard. 

"  All  the  women  stood  up.  I  saw  at  one  time  that  part  of  the 
pit  which  was  under  the  boxes  going  down  on  their  knees,  in  despair 
of  getting  a  sight  any  other  way.  The  whole  house  was  darkened 
with  the  dust  raised  by  the  ebb  and  flow  of  the  excited  multitude. 
It  was  not  without  diflBculty  that  the  players  managed  at  last  to 
begin  the  piece.  It  was  Irhie^  which  was  given  for  the  sixth  time. 
Never  had  this  tragedy  been  better  played,  never  less  listened  to, 
never  more  applauded.  The  illustrious  old  man  rose  to  thank  the 
public,  and,  the  moment  afterwards,  there  appeared  on  a  pedestal 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  291 

in  the  middle  of  the  stage  a  bust  of  this  great  man,  and  the 
actresses,  garlands  and  crowns  in  hand,  covered  it  with  laurels ; 
M.  de  Voltaire  seemed  to  be  sinking  beneath  the  burden  of  age 
and  of  the  homage  with  which  he  had  just  been  overwhelmed.  He 
appeared  deeply  affected,  his  eyes  still  sparkled  amidst  the  pallor 
of  his  face,  but  it  seemed  as  if  he  breathed  no  longer  save  with 
the  consciousness  of  his  glory.  The  people  shouted  :  '  Lights ! 
lights!  that  everybody  .may  see  him!*  The  coachman  was 
entreated  to  go  at  a  walk,  and  thus  he  was  accompanied  by 
cheering  and  the  crowd  as  far  as  Pont  Royal." 

Thus  is  described  in  the  words  of  an  eye-witness  the  last  triumph 
of  an  existence  that  had  been  one  of  ceaseless  iigitation,  owing  to 
Voltaire  himself  far  more  than  to  the  national  circumstances  and 
events  of  the  time  at  which  he  lived.  His  anxious  vanity  and  the 
inexhaustible  movement  of  his  mind  had  kept  him  constantly  fluc- 
tuating between  alternations  of  intoxication  and  despair ;  he  had  the 
good  fortune  to  die  at  the  very  pinnacle  of  success  and  renown,  the 
only  immortality  he  could  comprehend  or  desire,  at  the  outset  of  a 
new  and  hopeful  reign ;  he  did  not  see,  he  had  never  apprehended 
the  terrible  catastrophe  to  which  he  had  been  thoughtlessly  con- 
tributing for  sixty  years.  A  rare  piece  of  good  fortune  and  one 
which  might  be  considered  too  great,  if  the  limits  of  eternal 
justice  rested  upon  earth  and  were  to  be  measured  by  our  compass. 

Voltaire's  incessant  activity  bore  many  fruits  which  survived 
him ;  he  contributed  powerfully  to  the  triumph  of  those  notions 
of  humanity,  justice  and  freedom,  which,  superior  to  his  own  ideal, 
did  honour  to  the  eighteenth  century ;  he  became  the  model  of  a 
style,  clear,  neat,  brilliant,  the  natural  exponent  of  his  own  mind, 
far  more  than  of  the  as  yet  confused  hopes  and  aspirations  of  his 
age;  he  defended  the  rights  of  common  sense  and  sometimes 
withstood  the  anti-religious  passion  of  his  friends,  but  he  blasted 
both  minds  and  souls  with  his  sceptical  gibes ;  his  bitter  and  at 
the  same  time  temperate  banter  disturbed  consciences  which 
would  have  been  revolted  by  the  materialistic  doctrines  of  the 
Encyclopaedists  ;  the  circle  of  infidelity  widened  under  his  hands  ; 
his  disciples  were  able  to  go  beyond  him  on  the  fatal  path  he  had 
opened  to  them.     Voltaire  has  remained  the  true  representative 

u  2 


292  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  ItV. 

of  the  mocking  and  stone-flinging  phase  of  free-thinking,  knowing 
nothing  of  the  deep  yearnings  any  more  than  of  the  supreme 
wretchlessness  of  the  human  soul,  which  it  kept  imprisoned  within 
the  narrow  limits  of  earth  and  time.  At  the  outcome  from  the 
bloody  slough  of  the  French  Revolution  and  from  the  chaos  it 
caused  in  men's  souls,  it  was  the  infidelity  of  Voltaire  which 
remained  at  the  bottom  of  the  scepticism  and  moral  disorder  of 
the  France  of  our  day.  The  demon  which  torments  her  is  even 
more  Voltairian  than  materialistic. 

Other  influences,  more  sincere  and  at  the  same  time  more 
dangerous,  were  simultaneously  undermining  men's  minds.  The 
group  of  EncyclopaBdists,  less  prudent  and  less  temperate  than 
Voltaire,  flaunted  openly  the  flag  of  revolt.  At  the  head  marched 
Diderot,  the  most  daring  of  all,  the  most  genuinely  affected  by  his 
own  ardour,  without  perhaps  being  the  most  sure  of  his  ground  in 
his  negations.  He  was  an  original  and  exuberant  nature,  expan- 
sively open  to  all  new  impressions.  "  In  my  country,"  he  says, 
"we  pass  within  twenty -four  hours  from  cold  to  hot,  from  calm  to 
storm,  and  this  changeability  of  climate  extends  to  the  persons. 
Thus,  from  earUest  infancy  they  are  wont  to  shift  with  every  wind. 
The  head  of  a  Langrois  stands  on  his  shoulders  hke  a  weather- 
cock on  the  top  of  a  church-steeple ;  it  is  never  steady  at  one 
point,  and,  if  it  comes  round  again  to  that-  which  it  had  left,  it 
is  not  to  stop  there.  As  for  me,  I  am  of  my  country;  only 
residence  at  the  capital  and  constant  application  have  corrected 
me  a  little." 

Narrow  circumstances  had  their  share  in  the  versatility  of 
Diderot's  genius  as  well  as  in  the  variety  of  his  labours.  Son  of  a 
cutler  at  Langres,  a  strict  and  virtuous  man,  Denys  Diderot,  bom 
in  1715,  had  at  first  been  intended  by  his  father  for  the  church. 
He  was  educated  at  Harcourt  College,  and  he  entered  an  attorney's 
office.  The  young  man  worked  incessantly,  but  not  a  law-book 
did  he  open.  *'What  do  you  mean  to  be,  pray?"  the  lawyer 
asked  him  one  day:  **  do  you  think  of  being  an  attorney?" 
"  No."  "  A  barrister  ?  "  "  No."  "  A  doctor  ?  "  "  No  more- 
than  the  rest."  "  What  then  ?  "  **  Nothing  at  all.  I  like  study, 
I  am  very  happy,   very  contented,   I  ask  no  more."     Diderot's 


C^AP.  LV:]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  293 

father  stopped  the  allowance  he  had  been  making  his  son,  trusting 
thus  to  force  him  to  choose  a  profession.  But  the  young  man 
gave  lessons  for  a  liveUhood. 

"  I  know  a  pretty  good  number  of  things,'*  he  wrote  towards 
the  end  of  his  hfe,  "but  there  is  scarcely  a  man  who  doesn't 
know  his  own  thing  better  than  I  do.  This  mediocrity  in  every 
sort  is  the  consequence  of  insatiable  curiosity  and  of  means  so 
small  that  they  never  permitted  me  to  devotee  myself  to  one  single 
branch  of  human  knowledge.     I  have  been  forced  all  my  life  to 


■\V' 


/^t//// 


ti-P' 


follow  pursuits  for  which  I  was  not  adapted  and  to  leave  on  one 
side  those  for  which  I  had  a  call  from  inclination."  Before  he 
was  thirty  years  old,  and  without  any  resource  but  his  lessons  and 
the  work  of  every  sort  he  did  for  third  parties,  Diderot  married ; 
he  had  not  asked  the  consent  of  his  parents,  but  this  did  not 
prevent  him  from  saddling  them  before  long  with  his  wife  and 
child.  **  She  started  yesterday,"  he  writes  quite  simply  to  his 
father,  "  she  will  be  with  you  in  three  days  ;  you  can  say  anything 
you  like  to  her,  and  when  you  are  tired  of  her  you  can  send  her 
back."  Diderot  intended  to  be  free  at  any  price,  and  he  threw  off, 
one  after  another,  the  fetters  he  had  forged  for  himself,  not  with- 


294 


HISTORY  OF  FEANCE. 


[Chap-  LT. 


out  remorse  J  howeverj  and  not  without  acknowledg^ing  that  he  wa^ 
thus  wanting  to  all  natural  duties.  *'  What  can  you  expects"  ^ 
would  exclaim,  '*  of  a  man  who  has  neglected  wife  and  daughtei 
got  into  debtj  giyen  up  being  husband  and  father?*^ 

Diderot    never   neglected   liia    friends ;    amidst   his   pecuniai^y^ 
embarrassments,  when  he  was  reduced  t-o  coin  his  brain  for   ^ 
livelihood  J   his   labour   and  his   marvellous  facility   were   always* 
at  the  service  of  all.     It  was  to  satisfy  the  requirements  of  jm 
dangerous  fair  friend  that  he  wrote  his  Pennies  j)MIosaphiqtie$y  th^ 
sad  tale  of  the  Bijmtw  mdiscrets  and  the  Lettre  sur  les  Aveugk^w 
those  early  attacks  upon  religious  faith  which  sent  him  to  pass  ^ 
few  months  in  prison  at  the  castle  of  Vincennes.     It  was  to  oblige?^ 
Grimm  that  he  for  the  first  time  gave  his  mind  to   painting  ancl 
wrote   his    SalonSj  intended  to  amuse   and   instruct   the  foreigt* 
princes :    "  A  pleasure  which    is  only  for  myself  affects  me  bu^ 
slightly  and  lasts  but  a  short  time,"  he  used  to  say :  *'  it  is  for  s^» 
and  friends  that  I  read,  i^eflect,  write,  meditate,  hear,  look,  feel-- 
In  their  absence,  my  devotion  towards  them  refers  everything  ti^ 
them*     I  am  always  thinking  of  their  happiness.     Does  a  beautiful 
line  strike  me,  they  shall   know  it.     Have    I  stumbled  upon  m- 
beautiful  trait,  I  make  up  my  mind  to  communicate  it  tci  thein-^ 
Have  I  before  my  eyes  some  enchanting  scene;    unconsciously # 
I  meditate  an  account  of    it  for  them.     To  them  I  have  dedi^ 
cated  the  use  of  all  my  senses  and  of  all  ray  faculties,  and  tliati 
perhaps  is  the  reason  why  everything  is  exaggerated,  everything' 
is  embellished  a  little  in  my  imagination  and  in  my  talk :  and  thev 
Bometimes  reproach  me  with  this,  the  in  grates  I  '* 

It  was,  further,  in  conjunction  with  his  friends  and  in  communit/ 
of  ideas  that  Diderot  undertook  the  immense  labour  of  the  Enfydi^ 
pfudia.  Having,  in  the  first  instance,  received  a  commission  fronia 
publisher  to  translate  the  English  collection  of  [Ephraim]  Chambers. 
Diderot  was  impressed  with  a  desire  to  unite  in  one  and  the  i*aro^^ 
collection  all  the  efforts  and  all  the  talents  of  his  epoch,  §o  as  t*J 
render  joint  homage  to  the  rapid  progress  of  science.  Woo  ovEf 
by  his  enthusiasm,  D'Alombert  consented  to  share  the  task ;  mi^ 
wrote  the  beautiful  exposition  in  the  introduction.  VoUaire  W* 
his  articles  from  VeUcm,     The  Jesuits  had  proposed  to  tiikt^  up 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  295 

themselves  a  certain  number  of  questions,  but  their  co-operation 
was  declined  :  it  was  a  monument  to  philosophy  that  the  Encyclo- 
paedists aspired  to  raise  :  the  clergy  were  in  commotion  at  seeing 
the  hostile  army,  till  then  uncertain  and  unhanded,  rally  organized 
and  disciplined  around  this  vast  enterprise.  An  early  veto,  soon, 
however,  taken  off,  compelled  the  philosophers  to  a  certain 
moderation :  Voltaire  ceased  writing  for  the  Encyclopcedia^  it  was 
not  sufficiently  free-going  for  him :  "  You  admit  articles  worthy  of 
the  Tp^voux  journal,"  he  said  to  D'Alembert.  New  severities 
on  the  part  of  the  Parliament  and  the  grand  council  dealt  a  blow 
to  the  philosophers  before  long  :  the  editors'  privilege  was  revoked. 
Orders  were  given  to  seize  Diderot's  papers.  Lamoignon  de 
Malesherbes,  who  was  at  that  time  director  of  the  press,  and 
favourable  to  freedom  without  ever  having  abused  it  in  thought  or 
action,  sent  him  secret  warning.  Diderot  ran  home  in  consterna- 
tion. "  What's  to  be  done  ? "  he  cried :  "  how  move  all  my 
manuscripts  in  twenty-four  hours  ?  I  haven't  time  even  to  make 
a  selection.  And,  above  all,  where  find  people  who  would  and 
can  take  charge  of  them  safely  ? "  "  Send  them  all  to  me," 
replied  M.  de  Malesherbes :  "  nobody  will  come  thither  to  look 
for  them." 

Feeble  governments  are  ill  served  even  by  their  worthiest 
servants ;  the  severities  ordered  against  the  Encydopcedia  did  not 
stop  its  publication  ;  D' Alembert,  however,  weary  of  the  struggle, 
had  ceased  to  take  part  in  the  editorship.  Naturally  cool  and 
moderate,  when  it  was  nothing  to  do  with  Mdlle.  de  Lespinasse, 
the  great  affection  of  his  life,  the  illustrious  geometer,  was  content 
with  a  little :  "  Twelve  hundred  livres  a  year  are  enough  for  me," 
he  wrote  to  the  Great  Frederick  who  was  pressing  him  to  settle  in 
his  dominions :  "  I  will  not  go  and  reap  the  succession  to  Mauper- 
tuis  during  his  lifetime.  I  am  overlooked  by  government,  just  as 
so  many  others  by  Providence :  persecuted  as  much  as  anybody 
can  be,  if  some  day  I  have  to  fly  my  country,  I  will  simply  ask  Fre- 
derick's permission  to  go  and  die  in  his  dominions,  free  and  poor." 

Frederick  II.  gave  D' Alembert  a  pension  ;  it  had  but  lately  been 
Louis  XIV.  who  thus  lavished  kindnesses  on  foreign  scholars  :  he 
made  an  offer  to  the  BncyclopaBdists  to  go  and  finish  their  vast 


iW 


HISTORY  OF  FllANCK 


[Ctrip.  LI 


underLakiug  at  Berliu,  Catherine  II.  matle  the  same  offers,  askis 
D'Alembert,  besides,  to  take  charge  of  the  education  of  her  son: 
"  I  know  jour  honesty  too  well,"  she  wrote,  "  to  attributa  yo 
refusals  to  vanity,  I  know  that  the  cause  is  merely  love  of  re|>i 
in  order  to  cultivate  literature  and  friendship.  But  what  h  W 
prevent  your  coming  with  all  your  friends  ?  I  promise  you  and 
them  too  all  the  comforts  and  every  facility  that  may  depend  apoii 
me  ;  and  perchance  you  will  find  more  freedom  and  repose  than 
you  have  at  home.  You  do  not  yield  to  the  entreaties  of  the  king 
of  Prussia  and  to  the  gratitude  you  owe  him,  it  is  true,  but  i\m 
he  has  no  son.  I  confess  that  I  have  my  son*@  education  so  inucii 
at  heart  and  that  you  are  so  necessary  to  nie  that  perhaps  1  pms 
you  too  mucli.  Pai  don  my  indiscretion  for  the  reason's  sake^  mi^ 
i^st  assured  that  it  is  esteem  which  has  made  me  so  selfish,"      fl 

D'AIembert   declined   the   education   of  the   hereditary  Gmnl 
Duke,  just  as  he  had  declined  the  presideucy  of  the  Academy  at 
Berlin  ■  an  infidel  and  almost  a  materialist  by  the  geometer's  nJe, 
who  knows  no   power  but  the  laws  of  mathematics,  he  did  not    . 
carry  into  anti-religious  strife  the   bitterness  of  Voltaire,  or  the    ' 
violence  of  Diderot,     ''  Squelch  the  thing  1  you  are  always  repeat* 
ing  to  me,"  he  said  to  Voltaire  on  the  4th  of  May,  1762.   "  Ah !  mj 
good  friend,  let  it  go  to  juck  and  ruin  of  itself,  it  is  hurrying  thereto 
faster  than  you  suppose."   More  and  more  absorbed  by  pure  science, 
which  he  never  neglected  save  for  the  French  Academy,  whose  per- 
petual secretary  he  had  become,  D' Alembert  left  to  Diderot  aloii^ 
the  care  of  continuing  the  EmyyclopmHa.     When  he  died,  in  178^^ 
at  fifty-six  years  of  age,  the  woi^k  had  been  finished  nearly  twenty 
years.     In  spite  of  the   bad  faith  of  publishers,  who  mutilated    j 
articles  to  render  them  acceptable,  in  spite  of  the  condemnatioii  of    | 
the  clergy  and  the  severities  of  the  council,  the  last  volumes  of 
EncijclopmUa  had  appeared  in  1765. 

This  immense  work,  unequal  and  confused  as  it  was^  a  medley  uf 
various  and  often  ill-assorted  elements,  undertaken  for  and  diract^ 
to  the  fixed  end  of  an  aggressive  emancipation  of  thought,  hd 
not  sufficed  to  absorb  the  energy  and  powers  of  Diderot,  **  1  ^^ 
awaiting  with  impatience  the  reflections  of  Pantophile  DidercA 
Tmicredej*  wrote  Voltaire:  ** everything  is  within  the  sphere 


3iiAr.  LV,] 


hours  XV,,  TlIK  nilLOSOPIIKRS, 


297 


tctivitj  of  bis  genius :  he  passes  from  the  heights  of  metaphysics 
cj  the  weaver's  trade,  and  thence  he  comes  to  the  stage.'* 

The  stage,  indeed,  occupied  largely  the  attention  of  Diderot, 
rho  sought  to  introduce  reforms,  the  fruit  of  his  own  thought  as 
well  as  of  imitation  of  the  Germans,  which  he  had  not  perhaps 
lUflBciently  considered.  For  tlie  classic  tragedies,  the  heritage  of 
irhich  Voltaire  received  from  the  hands  of  Racinx?,  Diderot  aspired 
^  substitute  the  miturat  drama,  Uis  two  attempts  in  that  style, 
Le  Pere  de  Famille  and  Le  Fih  iiafurel^  liad  hut  little  success  in 


r^y^Ar 


/  /^9*S^At\& 


li'^lXKltB&ltT. 


yriaee,  and  contributed  to  develope  in  Germany  the  school  already 
foQDded  by  Lessing.  An  excess  of  false  sensibihty  and  an  in- 
flation of  expression  had  caused  certain  true  ideas  to  fall  flat  on 
the  French  stage.  **  You  have  the  inverse  of  dramatic  talent,*' 
^^id  Abbd  Arnauld  to  Diderot;  "  the  proper  thing  is  to  transform 
^tieaelf  into  all  the  characters,  and  yon  transform  all  the  characters 
into  yourself."  The  criticism  did  Diderot  wrong :  he  had  more 
^*ts  than  his  charactei-s,  and  he  was  worth  more  at  bottom  than 
whom  he  described.  Carried  away  by  the  richness  as  well 
the  unruliness  of  liis  mind,  destitute  as  he  was  of  definite  and 


298 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Cbat.  LI 


fixed  principles  J  lie  recognized  no  other  moral  law  than  the  natural 
impulse  of  the  sou] :  "  There  is  no  virtue  or  vice,"  he  used  to  saj, 
"  but  innate  goodness  or  badness.'*  Certain  religious  cravings^ 
neverthelesSj  sometimes  asserted  themselves  in  his  conscience :  he 
had  a  glimmering  perception  of  the  necessity  for  a  higher  rule  and 
law :  **  O  God,  I  know  not  whether  Thou  art/'  he  wrote  in 
his  Interpretation  de  la  Nature^  **  but  I  will  think  as  if  Thou  didst 
see  into  my  soul,  I  will  act  as  if  I  were  in  Thj  presence/* 

A  strange  Illusion  on  the  part  of  the  philosopher  about  the 
power  of  ideas  as  well  as  about  the  profundity  of  evil  in  the 
human  heart!  Diderot  fancied  he  could  regulate  his  life  by  a 
perchance^  and  he  was  conslantly  hurried  away  by  the  tormnt  of 
his  passion  into  a  violence  of  thought  and  language  foreign  to  his 
natural  benevolence.  It  was  around  his  name  that  the  philosophic 
strife  had  waxed  most  fierce :  the  active  campaign  undertaken  by 
his  friends  to  open  to  him  the  doors  of  the  French  Academy 
remained  unsuccessful :  "  He  has  too  many  enemies/*  said  Louii* 
XV.,  **  his  election  shall  not  be  sanctioned/'  Diderot  did  not  offer 
himself;  he  set  out  for  SL  Petersburg;  the  Empress  Catherim' 
had  loaded  him  with  kindnesses.  Hearing  of  the  poverty  of  tin? 
philosopher  who  was  trying  to  sell  his  library  to  obtain  a  dower 
for  his  daughter,  she  bought  the  books,  leaving  the  enjoyment  of 
them  to  Diderot,  whom  she  appointed  her  librarian,  and,  to  sectnv 
his  maintenance  in  advance,  she  had  a  sum  of  fifty  thousand  livreu 
remitted  to  him,  '^  So  here  I  am  obliged,  in  conscience,  to  Uvc 
fifty  years,"  said  Diderot. 

He  passed  some  months  in  Russia,  admitted  several  houm 
a  day  to  the  closet  of  the  empress,  cliatting  with  a  franknasg 
and  a  freedom  which  sometimes  went  to  the  extent  of  licetMX*. 
Catherine  IL  was  not  alarmed :  '-Go  on,"  she  would  ^jj^^fl 
*' amongst  men,  anything  is  allowable."  When  the  pliilosophi^* 
went  away,  he  shed  hot  tears,  and  "so  did  she,  ulmust,"  far 
declares.  He  refused  to  go  to  Berlin :  absolute  power  appeareil 
to  him  more  arbitmry  and  less  indulgent  in  the  hands  of  Frederict 
than  with  Catherine.  "  It  is  said  that  at  Petersburg  Diderot  ii 
considered  a  tiresome  reasoner,**  wrote  the  king  of  Prussia  t^ 
D'Alembert  in  January;  1774;   "lie  is  incessantly  hurping  on  the 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  801 

same  things.  All  I  know  is  that  I  couldn't  stand  the  reading  of 
his  books,  intrepid  reader  as  I  am ;  there  is  a  self-suflBcient  tone 
and  an  arrogance  in  them  which  revolts  my  sense  of  freedom." 
The  same  sense  of  freedom  which  the  king  claimed  for  himself 
whilst  refusing  it  to  the  philosopher,  the  philosopher,  in  his  turn, 
refused  to  Christians,  not  less  intolerant  than  he.  The  eighteenth 
century  did  not  practise  on  its  own  account  that  respect  for 
conscience  which  it,  nevertheless,  powerfully  and  to  its  glory 
promoted. 

Diderot  died  on  the  29th  of  July,  1784,  still  poor,  an  invalid  for 
some  time  past,  surrounded  to  the  end  by  his  friends,  who  rendered 
back  to  him  that  sincere  and  devoted  aflection  which  he  made  the 
pride  of  his  life.  Hearing  of  his  sufferings  from  Grimm,  the  Empress 
Catherine  had  hired  a  furnished  apartment  for  him ;  he  had  just 
installed  himself  in  it,  when  he  expired  ;  without  having  retracted 
any  one  of  his  works,  nearly  all  published  under  the  veil  of  the 
anonymous,  he  was,  nevertheless,  almost  reconciled  with  the 
Church,  and  was  interred  quietly  in  the  chapel  of  the  Virgin  at 
St.  Roch.  The  charm  of  his  character  had  often  caused  people  to 
forget  his  violence,  which  he  himself  no  longer  remembered  the 
next  day.  "  I  should  like  to  know  this  hot-headed  metaphysician,** 
was  the  remark  made  to  Buffon  by  President  De  Brosses,  who 
happened  to  be  then  at  Paris ;  and  he  afterwards  added  :  "  He  is 
a  nice  fellow,  very  pleasant,  very  amiable,  a  great  philosopher, 
a  mighty  arguer,  but  a  maker  of  perpetual  digressions.  Yesterday 
he  made  quite  five  and  twenty  between  nine  o'clock  and  one, 
during  which  time  he  remained  in  my  room.  Oh!  how  much 
more  lucid  is  BufFon  than  all  those  gentry !  " 

The  magistrate's  mind  understood  and  appreciated  the  great 
naturalist's  genius.  Diderot  felt  in  his  own  fashion  the  charm  of 
nature,  but,  as  was  said  by  Chevalier  Chastellux,  "  his  ideas  got 
drunk  and  set  to  work  chasing  one  another."  The  ideas  of 
BufFon,  on  the  other  hand,  came  out  in  the  majestic  order  of 
a  system  under  powerful  organization  and  informed  as  it  were 
with  the  very  secrets  of  the  Creator.  "  The  general  history  of  the 
world,"  he  says,  "ought  to  precede  the  special  history  of  its 
productions ;  and  the  details  of  singular  facts  touching  the  life 


302  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [ClUK  LV. 

and  habits  of  aDimals,  or  touching  the  culture  and  yegetation  of 
plants,  belong  perhaps  less  to  natural  history  than  do  the  general 
results  of  the  observations  which  have  been  made  on  the  different 
materials  which  compose  the  terrestrial  globe,  on  the  elevataons^ 
the  depressions  and  the  unevennesses  of  its  form,  on  the  movement 
of  the  seas,  on  the  trending  of  mountains,  on  the  position  of 
quarries,  on  the  rapidity  and  effects  of  the  currents  of  the  sea — 
this  is  nature  on  the  grand  scale." 

M.  Fleurens  truly  said :  "  Buffon  aggrandises  every  subject  he 
touches." 

Bom  at  Montbard  in  Burgundy  on  the  7th  of  September,  1707, 
Buffon  belonged  to  a  family  of  wealth  and  consideration  in  his 
province.  In  his  youth  he  travelled  over  Europe  with  his  friend 
the  duke  of  Kingston ;  on  returning  home,  he  applied  himself  at 
first  to  mathematics,  with  sufficient  success  to  be  appointed  at 
twenty -six  years  of  age,  in  1733,  adjunct  in  the  mechanical  class 
at  the  Academy  of  Sciences.  In  1739,  he  received  the  super- 
intendence of  the  Jardin  du  Roi,  not  long  since  enlarged  and 
endowed  by  Richelieu,  and  lovingly  looked  after  by  the  scholar 
Dufay,  who  had  just  died,  himself  designating  Buffon  as  his 
successor.  He  had  shifted  from  mechanics  to  botany,  "  not,"  he 
said,  "  that  he  was  very  fond  of  that  science,  which  he  had  learnt 
and  forgotten  three  times,"  but  he  was  aspiring  just  then  to  the 
Jardin  du  Roi ;  his  genius  was  yet  seeking  its  proper  direction. 
"  There  are  some  things  for  me,"  he  wrote  to  President  De  Brosses, 
"  but  there  are  some  against,  and  especially  my  age;  however,  if 
people  would  but  reflect,  they  would  see  that  the  superintendence 
of  the  Jardin  du  Roi  requires  an  active  young  man,  who  can  stand 
the  sun,  who  is  conversant  with  plants  and  knows  the  way  to 
make  them  multiply,  who  is  a  bit  of  a  connoisseur  in  all  the  sorts 
used  in  demonstration  there,  and  above  all  who  understands 
buildings,  in  such  sort  that,  in  my  own  heart,  it  appears  to  me 
that  I  should  be  exactly  made  for  them ;  but  I  have  not  as  yet  any 
great  hope." 

In  Buffon's  hands  the  Jardin  du  Roi  was  transformed;  in  pro- 
portion as  his  mind  developed,  the  requirements  of  the  study 
appeared  to  him  greater  and  greater ;  he  satisfied  them  fearlessly, 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  &03 

getting  together  collections  at  his  own  expense,  opening  new 
galleries,  constructing  hot-houses,  being  constantly  seconded  by 
the  good-will  of  Louis  XV.,  who  never  shrank  from  expenses 
demanded  by  Buffon's  projects.  The  great  naturalist  died  at  eighty 
years  of  age,  without  having  completed  his  work ;  but  he  had 
imprinted  upon  it  that  indisputable  stamp  of  greatness  which  was 
the  distinctive  feature  of  his  genius.  The  Jardin  du  Roi,  which 
became  the  Jardin  des  Plantes,  has  remained  unique  in  Europe. 

Fully  engaged  as  he  was  in  those  useful  labours,  from  the  age  of 
thirty,  Buffon  gave  up  living  at  Paris  for  the  greater  part  of  the 
year.  He  had  bought  the  ruins  of  the  castle  of  Montbard,  the 
ancient  residence  of  the  dukes  of  Burgundy,  overlooking  his  native 
town.  He  had  built  a  house  there  which  soon  became  dear  to  him, 
and  which  he  scarcely  ever  left  for  eight  months  in  the  year.  There 
it  was,  in  a  paviHon  which  overhung  the  garden  planted  in  ter- 
races, and  from  which  he  had  a  view  of  the  rich  plains  of  La  Brenne, 
that  the  great  naturalist,  carefully  dressed  by  five  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  meditated  the  vast  plan  of  his  works  as  he  walked  from 
end  to  end  and  side  to  side.  "  I  passed  delightful  hours  there," 
he  used  to  say.  When  he  summoned  his  secretary,  the  work  of 
composition  was  completed.  **  M.  de  BufFon  gives  reasons  for  the 
preference  he  shows  as  to  every  word  in  his  discourses,  without 
excluding  from  the  discussion  even  the  smallest  particles,  the  most 
insignificant  conjunctions,"  says  Madame  Necker :  "  he  never 
forgot  that  he  had  written  *  the  style  is  the  man.'  The  language 
could  not  be  allowed  to  derogate  from  the  majesty  of  the  sub- 
ject. *  I  made  it  a  rule,'  he  used  to  say,  *  to  always  fix  upon  the 
noblest  expressions.' " 

It  was  in  this  dignified  and  studious  retirement  that  Buffon 
quietly  passed  his  long  life.  "  I  dedicated,"  he  says,  "  twelve,  nay 
fourteen,  hours  to  study ;  it  was  my  whole  pleasure.  In  truth,  I 
devoted  myself  to  it  far  more  than  I  troubled  myself  about  fame  ; 
fame  comes  afterwards,  if  it  may,  and  it  nearly  always  does." 

Buffon  did  not  lack  fame  ;  on  the  appearance  of  the  first  three 
volumes  of  his  Histaire  naturelley  published  in  1749,  the  breadth 
of  his  views,  the  beauty  of  his  language  and  the  strength  of  his 
mind  excited  general  curiosity  and   admiration.     The   Sorbonne 


304  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Chaf.  LV. 

was  in  a  flutter  at  certain  bold  propositions ;  Buffon,  without  being 
disconcerted,   took  pains  to  avoid  condemnation.     "T  tock  tiie 
liberty,"  he   says  in  a  letter  to  M.  Leblant,  "  of  writing  to  the 
duke  of  Nivemais  (then  ambassador  at  Rome),  who  has  replied  to 
me  in  the  most  polite  and  most  obliging  way  in  the  world ;  I 
hope,  therefore,  that  my  book  will  not  be  put  in  the  Index,  and*  in 
truth,  I  have  done  all  I  could  not  to  deserve  it  and  to  avoid  theolo- 
gical squabbles,  which  I  fear  far  more  than  I  do  the  criticisms  of 
physicists  and  geometricians."     "  Out  of  a  hundred  and  twenty 
assembled  doctors,"  he  adds  before  long,  "  I  had  a  hundred  and 
fifteen,  and  their  resolution  even  contains  eulogies  which  I  did  not 
expect."     Despite  certain  boldnesses  which  had  caused  anxiety, 
the  Sorbonne  had  reason  to  compliment  the  great  naturahst.    The 
unity  of  the  human  race  as  well   as  its   superior   dignity  were 
already  vindicated  in  these  first  efforts  of  Buffon's  genius,  and  his 
mind  never  lost  sight  of   this   great   verity.     "  In  the   human 
species,"  he  says,  "  the  influence  of  climate  shows  it«elf  only  by 
slight  varieties,  because  this  species  is  one  and  is  very  distinctly 
separated  from  all  other  species  ;  man,  white  in  Europe,  black  in 
Africa,  yellow  in  Asia  and  red  in  America,  is  only  the  same  man 
tinged  with  the  hue  of  climate ;  as  he  is  made  to  reign  over  the 
earth,  as  the  whole  globe  is  his  domain,  it  seems  as  if  his  nature 
were  ready  prepared  for  all  situations ;  beneath  the  fires  of  the 
south,  amidst  the  frosts  of  the  north,  he  lives,  he  multiplies,  he 
is  found  to  be  so  spread  about  everywhere  from  time  immemorial 

that  he  appears  to  affect  no  climate  in  particular Whatever 

resemblance  there  may  be  between  the  Hottentot  and  the  monkev, 
the  interval  which  separates  them  is  immense,  since  internally  he 
is  garnished  with  mind  and  externally  with  speech." 

Buffon  continued  his  work,  adroitly  availing  himself  of  the  talent 
and  researches  of  the  numerous  co-operators  whom  he  had  managed 
to  gather  about  him,  directing  them  all  with  indefatigable  vigilance 
in  their  labours  and  their  observations.  "  Grenius  is  but  a  greater 
aptitude  for  perseverance,"  he  used  to  say,  himself  justifying  his  defi- 
nition by  the  assiduity  of  his  studies.  "  I  had  come  to  the  sixteenth 
volume  of  my  w^ork  on  natural  history,"  he  writes  with  bitter 
regret,  "  when  a  serious  and  long  illness  interrupted  for  nearly  two 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  805 

years  the  course  of  my  labours.  This  shortening  of  my  life,  already 
far  advanced,  caused  one  in  my  works.  I  might,  in  the  two  years 
I  have  lost,  have  produced  two  or  three  volumes  of  the  history  of 
birds,  without  abandoning  for  that  my  plan  of  a  history  of  minerals, 
on  which  I  have  been  engaged  for  several  years." 

In  1753  Buffon  had  been  nominated  a  member  of  the  French 
Academy.  He  had  begged  his  friends  to  vote  for  his  compatriot, 
Piron,  author  of  the  celebrated  comedy  Metromaniey  at  that -time 
an  old  man  and  still  poor.  "  I  can  wait,*'  said  Buffon.  ."  Two  days 
before  that  fixed  for  the  election,*'  writes  Grimm,  "  the  king  sent 
for  President  Montesquieu,  to  whose  lot  it  had  fallen  to  be  director 
of  the  Academy  on  that  occasion,  and  told  him  that,  understanding 
that  the  Academy  had  cast  their  eyes  upon  M.  Piron  and  knowing 
that  he  was  the  author  of  several  licentious  works,  he  desired  the 
Academy  to  choose  some  one  else  to  fill  the  vacant  place.  His 
Majesty  at  the  same  time  toid  him  that  he  would  not  have  any 
member  belonging  to  the  order  of  advocates." 

Buffon  was  elected,  and  on  the  25th  of  August,  1754,  St.  Louis' 
day,  he  was  formally  received  by  the  Academy ;  Grimm  describes 
the  session :  "  M.  de  Buffon  did  not  confine  himself  to  reminding 
us  that  Chancellor  Siguier  was  a  great  man,  that  Cardinal  Richelieu 
was  a  very  great  man,  that  Kings  Louis  XIV.  and  Louis  XV.  were 
very  great  men  too,  that  the  archbishop  of  Sens  (whom  he  succeeds) 
was  also  a  great  man,  and  finally  that  all  the  forty  were  great 
men;  this  celebrated  man,  disdaining  the  stale  and  heavy 
eulogies  which  are  generally  the  substance  of  this  sort  of  speech, 
thought  proper  to  treat  of  a  subject  worthy  of  his  pen  and 
worthy  of  the  Academy.  He  gave  us  his  ideas  on  style,  and 
it  was  said,  in  consequence,  that  the  Academy  had  engaged  a 
writing-master." 

"  Well-written  works  are  the  only  ones  which  will  go  down  to 
posterity,"  said  Buffon  in  his  speech ;  "  quantity  of  knowledge, 
singularity  of  facts,  even  novelty  in  discoveries  arc  not  certain 
guarantees  of  immortality ;  knowledge,  facts,  discoveries  are  easily 
abstracted  and  transferred.  Those  things  are  outside  the  man ; 
the  style  is  the  man  himself;  the  style,  then,  cannot  be  abstracted 
or  transferred  or  tampered  with  ;  if  it  be  elevated,  noble,  subUmo, 

VOIi.  V.  X 


306  HISTORY  OF  FRAXCE.  [Chaf.  LV. 

the  author  will  bo  equally  admired  at  b31  times,  for  it  is  only  tnitli 
that  i.s  durable  and  even  eternal." 

Never  did  the  great  scholar  who  has  been  called  "  the  painter 
of  nature "  relax  his  zeal  for  painstaking  as  a  writer.  **  I  am 
every  day  learning  to  write,"  he  would  still  say  at  seventy  years 
of  age. 

To  the  Theorie  de  la  TerrCj  the  Idees  yenerales  sur  les  Animaux 
and  the  Ilutoire  de  rUomme^  already  published  when  Buffon  was 
electerl  by  the  French  Academy,  succeeded  the  twelve  yolumes  of 
the  IHstoire  des  QuadrupedeSf  a  masterpiece  of  luminous  classifica* 
tions  and  incomparable  descriptions;  eight  volumes  on  Oiseaia 
appeared  subsequently, a  short  time  before  the  Histoire  desMineraux;' 
lastly,  a  few  years  before  his  death,  Buffon  gave  to  the  world  the 
Spoquen  de  la  Nature.  "  As  in  civil  history  one  consults  titles, 
hunts  up  medals,  deciphers  antique  inscriptions  to  determine  the 
epochs  of  revolutions  amongst  mankind,  and  to  fix  the  date  of 
events  in  the  moral  world,  so,  in  natural  history,  we  must  ransack 
tlio  archives  of  the  universe,  drag  from  the  entrails  of  the  earth 
the  oldon  monuments,  gather  together  their  ruins  and  collect  into 
a  l)ocly  of  proofs  all  the  indications  of  physical  changes  that  can 
guide;  us  back  to  the  different  ages  of  nature.  It  is  the  only  way  of 
fixin;^  certain  points  in  the  immensity  of  space  and  of  placing  a 
certain  number  of  memorial-stones  on  the  endless  road  of  time." 

"  This  is  what  I  perceive  with  my  mind's  eye,"  Buffon  would  say, 
'*  thus  forming  a  chain  which,  from  the  summit  of  Time's  ladder, 
dc.'scends  right  down  to  us."  "  This  man,"  exclaimed  Hume,  with 
an  admiration  which  surprised  him  out  of  his  scepticism,  "  this 
man  gives  to  things  which  no  human  eye  has  seen  a  probability 
almost  equal  to  evidence." 

Some  of  BuffoTi's  theories  have  been  disputed  by  his  successors' 
Kcienc(3 ;  as  D'Alembcrt  said  of  Descartes :  "  If  he  was  mistaken 
about  the  laws  of  motion,  he  was  the  first  to  divine  that  there 
must  bo  some."  Buffon  divined  the  epochs  of  nature,  and  by  the 
intuition  of  his  genius,  absolutely  unshackled  by  any  reh'gious 
prc»ju(lic(i,  ho  involuntarily  reverted  to  the  account  given  in 
Genesis :  "  Wc  are  persuaded,"  he  says,  "  independently  of  the 
authority  of  the  sacred  books,  that  man  was  created  last  and  that 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  307 

\te  only  came  to  wield  the  sceptre  of  the  earth  when  that  earth 
was  found  worthy  of  his  sway." 

It  has  often  been  repeated,  on  the  strength  of  some  expressions 
let  fall  by  Buffon  amongst  intimates,  that  the  panorama  of  nature 
had  shut  out  from  his  eyes  the  omnipotent  God,  creator  and 
preserver  of  the  physical  world  as  well  as  of  the  moral  law. 
Wrong  has  been  done  the  great  naturalist;  he  had  answered 
beforehand  these  incorrect  opinions  as  to  his  fundamental  ideas. 
"Nature  is  not  a  being,"  he  said;  "for  that  being  would  be 
God;"  and  he  adds :  "  Nature  is  the  system  of  the  laws  established 
by  the  Creator."  The'  supreme  notion  of  Providence  appears  to 
his  eyes  in  all  its  grandeur,  when  he  writes :  "  The  verities  of 
nature  were  destined  to  appear  only  in  course  of  time,  and  the 
Supreme  Being  kept  them  to  Himself  as  the  surest  means  of 
recalling  man  to  Him  when  his  faith,  declining  in  the  lapse  of 
figes,  should  become  weak ;  when,  remote  from  his  origin,  ho 
might  begin  to  forget  it;  when,  in  fine,  having  become  too  familiar 
with  the  spectacle  of  nature,  he  would  no  longer  be  moved  by  it 
and  would  come  to  ignore  the  Author.  It  was  necessary  to  con- 
firm  firom  time  to  time  and  even  to  enlarge  the  idea  of  God  in  the 
mind  and  heart  of  man.  Now  every  new  discovery  produces  this 
grand  effect,  every  new  step  that  we  make  in  nature  brings  us 
nearer  to  the  Creator.  A  new  verity  is  a  species  of  miracle ;  its 
effect  is  the  same  and  it  only  difiers  from  the  real  miracle  in  that 
the  latter  is  a  startling  stroke  which  God  strikes  instantaneously 
and  rarely  instead  of  making  use  of  man  to  discover  and  exhibit 
the  marvels  which  He  has  hidden  in  the  womb  of  Nature,  and 
in  that,  as  these  marvels  are  operating  every  instant,  as  they  are 
open  at  all  times  and  for  all  time  to  his  contemplation,  God  is 
constantly  recalling  him  to  Himself,  not  only  by  the  spectacle  of 
the  moment  but,  further,  by  the  successive  development  of  His 
works." 

Buffon  was  still  working  at  eighty  years  of  age ;  he  had  under- 
taken a  dissertation  on  style,  a  development  of  his  reception-speech 
at  the  French  Academy.  Great  sorrows  had  crossed  his  life; 
married  late  to  a  young  wife  whom  he  loved,  he  lost  her  early ; 
she  left  him  a  son,  brought  up  under  his  wing  and  the  object  of 

X  2 


308  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV. 

his  coDstant  solicitude.  Just  at  the  time  of  sending  him  to  school, 
he  wrote  to  Madame  Daubenton,  wife  of  his  able  and  learned  co- 
operator  :  "  I  expect  Buflfonet  on  Sunday ;  I  have  arranged  all  his 
little  matters :  he  will  have  a  private  room,  with  a  closet  for  his  man- 
servant ;  I  have  got  him  a  tutor  in  the  school-house  itself ,  and  a 
little  companion  of  his  own  age ;  I  do  not  think  that  lie  will  be  at 
all  unhappy."  And,  at  a  later  date,  when  he  is  expecting  this  son 
who  has  reached  man's  estate  and  has  been  travelling  in  Europe : 
"  My  son  has  just  arrived  ;  the  empress  and  the  grand  duke  have 
treated  him  very  well  and  we  shall  have  some  fine  minerals,  the 
collection  of  which  is  being  at  this  moment  completed.  I  confess 
that  anxiety  about  his  return  has  taken  away  my  sleep  and  the 
power  of  thinking." 

When  the  young  Count  de  Buffon,  an  officer  in  the  artillery  and 
at  first  warmly  favourable  to  the  noble  professions  of  the  Frendi 
Revolution,  had,  like  his  peers,  to  mount  the  scaffold  of  the  TerroTi 
he  damned  with  one  word  the  judges  who  profaned  in  his  person 
hiis  father's  glory.  "  Citizens,"  he  exclaimed  from  the  &tal  oar, 
"  my  name  is  Buffon."  With  less  respect  for  the  rights  of  genius 
than  was  shown  by  the  Algerian  pirates  who  let  pass,  without 
opening  them,  the  chests  directed  to  the  great  naturalist,  the 
executioner  of  the  Committee  of  public  safety  cut  oflF  his  son's 
head. 

This  last  drop  of  bitterness  and  the  cruel  spectacle  of  social 
disorder  Buffon  had  been  spared ;  he  had  died  at  the  Jardin  da 
Roi  on  the  14th  of  April,  1788,  preserving  at  eighty  years  of  age 
and  even  in  the  feebleness  of  ill  health  all  the  powers  of  his  intel- 
ligence and  the  calm  serenity  of  his  soul ;  his  last  lines  dictated  to 
his  son  were  addressed  to  Madame  Necker,  who  had  been  for  a 
long  time  past  on  the  most  intimate  terms  with  him.  Faithful  in 
death  to  the  instincts  of  order  and  regularity  which  had  always 
controlled  his  mind  even  in  his  boldest  flight,  he  requested  that  all 
the  ceremonies  of  religion  should  be  fulfilled  around  his  body. 
Ilis  son  had  it  removed  to  Montbard,  where  it  lies  between  his 
father  and  his  wife. 

Buffon  had  lived  long,  he  had  accomplished  in  peace  his  great 
work,  he  had  reaped  the  fruits  of  it ;  on  the  eve  of  the  terrible 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  311 

shocks  whereof  no  presage  disturbed  his  spirit,  "  directed  for  fifty 
years  towards  the  great  objects  of  nature/'  the  illustrious  scholar 
had  been  permitted  to  see  his  statue  placed  during  his  lifetime  in 
the  Jardin  du  Roi.  On  sending  to  the  Empress  Catherine  his  bust 
which  she  had  asked  him  for,  he  wrote  to  his  son  who  had  charge 
of  it :  "I  forgot  to  remark  to  you  whilst  talking  of  bust  and 
efiBgy  that,  by  the  king^s  order,  they  have  put  at  the  bottom  of  my 
statue  the  following  inscription :  Majestati  naturce  par  ingenium 
{Oenius  to  match  the  majesty  of  nature).  It  is  not  from  pride  that  I 
send  you  this,  but  perhaps  Her  Majesty  will  have  it  put  at  the 
bottom  of  the  bust." 

"  How  many  great  men  do  you  reckon  ?"  Buff  on  was  asked  one 
day.  "  Five,"  answered  he  at  once  :  "  Newton,  Bacon,  Leibnitz, 
Montesquieu  and  myself." 

This  self-appreciation,  fostered  by  the  homage  of  his  contem- 
poraries, which  showed  itself  in  Buffon  undisguisedly  with  an  air  of 
ingenuous  satisfaction,  had  poisoned  a  Ufe  already  extinguished  ten 
years  before  amidst  the  bitterest  agonies.  Taking  up  arms  against 
a  society  in  which  he  had  not  found  his  proper  place,  Jean  Jacques 
Rousseau  had  attacked  the  present  as  well  as  the  past,  the  Ency- 
clopaedists as  well  as  the  old  social  organization.  It  was  from  the 
first  his  distinctive  trait  to  voluntarily  create  a  desert  around  him. 
The  eighteenth  century  was  in  its  nature  easily  seduced ;  liberal, 
generous  and  open  to  allurements,  it  delighted  in  intellectual 
contentions,  even  the  most  dangerous  and  the  most  daring;  it 
welcomed  with  alacrity  all  those  who  thus  contributed  to  its 
pleasures.  The  charming  drawing-rooms  of  Madame  GeofErin,  of 
Madame  du  Deflfand,  of  Madlle.  Lespinasse,  belonged  of  right  to 
philosophy.  "  Being  men  of  the  world  as  well  as  of  letters,  the 
philosophers  of  the  eighteenth  century  had  passed  their  lives  in 
the  pleasantest  and  most  brilliant  regions  of  that  society  which 
was  so  much  attacked  by  them.  It  had  welcomed  them,  made 
them  famous ;  they  had  mingled  in  all  the  pleasures  of  its  elegant 
and  agreeable  existence ;  they  shared  in  all  its  tastes,  its  manners, 
all  the  refinements,  all  the  susceptibilities  of  a  civilization  at  the 
same  time  old  and  rejuvenated,  aristocratic  and  literary;  they 
were  of  that  old  regimen  which  was  demolished  by  their  hands. 


312  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [OUap.LV. 

The  philosophical  circle  was  everywhere,  amongst  the  people  of 
the  court,  of  the  church,  of  the  long  robe,  of  finance;  liaughty 
here,  complaisant  there,  at  one  time  indoctrinating,  at  another 
amusing  its  hosts,  but  everywhere  young,  active,  confident, 
recruiting  and  battling  everywhere,  penetrating  and  fascinating 
the  whole  of  society  "  [M.  Guizot,  Madume  la  comtesse  de  Bumfard]. 
Rousseau  never  took  his  place  in  this  circle ;  in  this  society,  he 
marched  in  front  like  a  pioneer  of  new  times,  attacking  tentatively 
all  that  he  encountered  on  his  way.  "  Nobody  was  ever  at  one 
and  the  same  time  more  factious  and  more  dictatorial,'*  is  the 
clever  dictum  of  M.  Saint  Marc  Girardin. 

Rousseau  was  not  a  Frenchman:  French  society  always  felt 
that,  in  consequence  of  certain  impressions  of  his  early  youth 
which  were  never  to  be  effaced.  Born  at  Geneva  on  the  28th  of 
June,  1712,  in  a  family  of  the  lower  middle  class,  and  brought  up 
in  the  first  instance  by  an  intelligent  and  a  pious  mother,  he 
was  placed,  like  Voltaire  and  Diderot,  in  an  attorney's  office. 
Dismissed  with  disgrace  "  as  good  for  nothing  but  to  ply  the  file," 
the  young  man  was  bound  apprentice  to  an  engraver,  "  a  clownish 
and  violent  fellow,"  says  Rousseau,  "  who  succeeded  very  shortly 
in  dulling  all  the  brightness  of  my  boyhood,  brutalizing  my  lively 
and  loving  character  and  reducing  me  in  spirit,  as  1  was  in 
fortune,  to  my  real  position  of  an  apprentice." 

Rousseau  was  barely  sixteen  when  he  began  that  roving 
existence,  which  is  so  attractive  to  young  people,  so  hateful  in 
ripe  age,  and  which  lasted  as  long  as  his  life.  Flying  from  his 
master  whose  brutality  he  dreaded,  and  taking  refiige  at 
Charmettes  in  Savoy  with  a  woman  whom  he  at  first  loved 
passionately,  only  to  leave  her  subsequently  with  disgust,  he  had 
reached  the  age  of  one  and  twenty  and  had  already  gone  through 
many  adventures  when  he  set  out,  heart-sore  and  depraved,  to  seek 
at  Paris  a  means  of  subsistence.  He  had  invented  a  new  system  of 
musical  notation ;  the  Academy  of  sciences,  which  had  lent  him 
a  favourable  ear,  did  not  consider  the  discovery  useful.  Some 
persons  had  taken  an  mterest  in  him,  but  Rousseau  could  never 
keep  his  friends;  and  he  had  many,  zealous  and  devoted.  He 
was    sent    to  Venice  as  secretary  to  the   French    ambassador 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  313 

M.  de  Montaigu.  He  soon  quarrelled  with  the  ambassador  and 
returned  to  Paris.  He  found  his  way  into  the  house  of  Madame 
Dupin,  wife  of  a  rich  farmer-general  (of  taxes).  He  was  considered 
clever;  he  wrote  little  plays,  which  he  set  to  music.  Enthu- 
siastically welcomed  by  the  friends  of  Madame  Dupin,  he  con- 
tributed to  their  amusements.  '*  We  began  with  the  Engagement 
temerairey'^  says  Madame  d'Epinay  in  her  Memoires  :  "it  is  a  new 
play  by  M.  Eousseau,  a  friend  of  M.  de  Francueil's,  who  introduced 
him  to  us.  The  author  played  a  part  in  his  piece.  Though  it  is 
only  a  society-play,  it  was  a  great  success.  I  doubt,  however, 
whether  it  would  be  successful  at  the  theatre,  but  it  is  the  work  of 
^  clever  man  and  no  ordinary  man.  I  do  not  quite  know,  though, 
whether  it  is  what  I  saw  of  the  author  or  of  the  piece  that  made 
me  think  so.  He  is  complimentary  without  being  polite  or  at 
least  without  having  the  air  of  it.  He  seems  to  be  ignorant  of  the 
usages  of  society,  but  it  is  easy  to  see  that  he  has  infinite  wit. 
He  has  a  brown  complexion,  and  eyes  full  of  fire  light  up  his  face. 
When  he  has  been  speaking  and  you  watch  him,  you  think  him 
good-looking ;  but,  when  you  recall  him  to  memory,  it  is  always 
as  a  plain  man.  He  is  said  to  be  in  bad  health ;  it  is  probably 
that  which  gives  him  from  time  to  time  a  wild  look." 

It  was  amidst  this  brilliant  intimacy,  humiliating  and  pleasant 
at  the  same  time,  that  Rousseau  published  his  Discours  sur  les 
Sciences  et  les  Arts.  It  has  been  disputed  whether  the  inspiration 
was  such  as  he  claimed  for  this  production,  the  first  great  work 
which  he  had  ever  undertaken  and  which  was  to  determine  the 
direction  of  his  thoughts.  "  I  was  going  to  see  Diderot  at 
Vincennes,"  he  says,  "  and,  as  I  walked,  I  was  turning  over  the 
leaves  of  the  Mercure  de  France,  when  I  stumbled  upon  this 
question  proposed  by  the  Academy  of  Dijon  :  Whether  the  advance 
of  sciences  and  arts  has  contrilmted  to  the  conniption  or  purification 
0/ morals.  All  at  once  I  felt  my  mind  dazzled  by  a  thousand 
lights,  crowds  of  ideas  presented  themselves  at  once  with  a  force 
and  a  confusion  which  threw  me  into  indescribable  bewilderment ; 
I  felt  my  head  seized  with  a  giddiness  like  intoxication,  a  violent 
palpitation  came  over  me,  my  bosom  began  to  heave.  Unable  to 
breathe  any  longer  as  I  walked,  I  flung  myself  down  under  one  of 


HISTOHY  OP  FRANCE, 


[CejirJiV. 


the  trees  in  the  avenue  and  there  spent  half  an  hour  in   sucli 
agitation  that,  on  rising  up,  I  found  all  the  front  of  my  waistcoat 
wet  with  tears  without  my  having  had  an  idea  that  I  had  shed 
any/'     Whether  it  were  by  natural   intuition   or   the   advice  of 
Diderot,  Jean  Jacques  had  found  his  weapons ;  poor  and  obscure 
as  he  was,  he  attacked  openly  the  brilliant  and  corrupt  society 
which  had  welcomed  him  for   its   amusement.     Spiritualistic  ^^ 
heart  and  nurtured  upon  Holy  Scripture  in  his  pious  childhood,  kt.* 
felt  a  sincere  repugnance  for  the  elegant  or  cynical  materidliai 
which  was  every  day  more  and  more  creeping  over  the  eighteenfcl 
century.     "  Sciences  and  arts  have  corrupted  the  world,"  he  saic3 
and  he  put  forward,  as  proof  of  it,  the  falsity  of  the  social  coAe 
the  immorahty  of  private  life,  the  frivolity  of  the  drawing^roort^  j 
into  which  he  had  been  admitted,     "  Suspicions,  heartburning"^, 
apprehensions,  coldness,  reserve,  hatred,  treason  lurk  incessantly 
beneath  that  uniform  and  perfidious  veil  of  politeness,  under  th.^* 
so  much  vaunted  urbanity  which  we  owe  to  the  enlightenment  of 


our  age; 


Rousseau  had  launched  his  paradox ;    the  frivolous  and  polit'e 
society  which  he  attacked  was  amused  at  it  mthont  being  trouble 
by  it :  it  was  a  new  field  of  battle  opened  for  brilliant  jousts    of 
wit ;  he  had  his  partisans  and  his  admirers,     In  the  discussion 
which  ensued,  Jean  Jacques  showed  himself  more  sensible  und 
moderate  than  he  had  been  in  the  first  exposition  of  his  idea;  he 
had  wanted  to  strike,  to  astonish  :  he  soon  modified  the  violeuc?^ 
of  his   assertions,     **  Let  us   guard   against  concluding  that  tt^ 
must  now  burn  all  libraries  and  pull  down  the  universities  au^ 
academies,"  he  wrote    to   King   Stanislaus :    **  we   should  only 
plunge  Europe  once  more  into  barbarismj  and  morals  would  gai^ 
nothing  by  it.     The  vices  would  remain  with  ns  and  we  slioid*^ 
have  ignorance  besides.     In  vain  would  you  aspire  to  destroy  tli^ 
sources  of  the  e^nl,  in  vain  would  you  remove  the  elements  of  vamtr^ 
indolence  and  luxury,  in  vain  would  you  even  bring  men  back  t^ 
that  primal  equalityj  the  preserver  of  innocence  and  the  source  o^ 
all  virtue :  their  hearts  once  spoilt  will  be  so  for  ever,     Tbcrf  i^ 
no  remedy  now,  save  some  great  revolution,  almost  as  much  tob^ 
feared  as  the  evil  which   it  might  cure,  and  one  which  it  *^ 


fblameable  to  desire  and  impossible  to  forecast,  Let  us,  tbeOj  leave 
the  sciences  and  artB  to  assuage,  in  some  degree,  the  ferocity  of 
the  men  tliey  have  corrupted  ,  •  .  -  The  enlightenment  of  the 
Trricked  is  at  any  rate  less  to  be  feared  than  his  brutal  stupidity." 
Rousseau  liere  showed  the  characteristic  which  invariably 
diatinguished    him   from   the   philosopherf>j  and  which  ended  by 

I  establishing  deep  enmity  between  them  and  him  ;  the  eighteenth 
century  e&pied  certain  evils,  certain  sores  in  the  social  and  political 
condition,  believed  in  a  cure  and  blindly  relied  on  the  power  of  its 
owm  theories.  Rousseau  >  more  earnest,  often  more  sincere,  made 
a  better  diagnosis  of  the  complaint,  he  described  its  homble 
clio^racter  and  the  dangerousness  of  it,  he  saw  no  remedy  and  he 
pointed  none  out.  Profound  and  grievous  impotence,  whose 
,    utmost  hope  is  an  impossible  recurrence  to  the  primitive  state  of 

■  ia^s^agery  !     "  In  the  private  opinion  of  our  adversaries/'  says  M. 
■Eoyer-CoUard  eloquently,  "  it  w*as  a  thoughtless  thing,  on  the  great 

da.jr  of  creation,  to  let  man  loose,  a  free  and  intelligent  agent,  into 

tbo  midst  of  the  universe ;  thence  the  mischief  and  the  mistake. 
^  A  liigher  wisdom  comes  forward  to  repair  the  error  of  Providence, 
P  to  T-es train  His  thoughtless  liberality  and  to  render  to  prudently 

ttivitilated  mankind  the  service  of  elevating  it  to  the  happy 
I     innocence  of  the  brute/' 

Sefore  Rousseau  and  better  than  he,  Cliristianity  had  recognized 

^ticl  proclaimed  the  evil;  but  it  had,  at  the  same  tirae^  announced 

to  the  world  a  remedy  and  a  Saviour. 
I!         Henceforth  Rousseau  had  chosen  his  own  X'oad :  giving  up  the 

dm  wing-rooms  and  the  habits  of  that  elegant  society  for  which  he 
B  was  not  bom  and  the  admiration  of  which  had  developed  his  pride, 

■  he  xnade  up  his  mind  to  live  independent,  copying  music  to  get  his 
P  brfe^<j^  j^Q^  a^nd  then   smitten  with  the  women  of  the  world  who 

sought  him  out  in  liis  retirement,  in  love  with  Madame  d'Epinay 
^^^  Madame  d'Houdetot,  anon  returning  to  the  coarse  servant- 
weiioh  whom  he  had  but  lately  made  his  wife  and  whose  children 
he  liad  put  in  the  foundling-hospital.  Music  at  that  time  absorbed 
^^  ^inds  :  Rousseau  brought  out  a  little  opera  entitled  Le  Deviu  de 
vdfQy^  (jT/te  Vilhiije  Wizard)^  which  had  a  great  success.  It  was 
P^^yed  at  Fontainebleau  before  the  king,     **  I  was  there  that  day,'* 


Chap.lv,]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


31S 


HISTORY  OF  FRAKCE. 


[Chap.LY. 


writes  Rousseau,  "  in  the  same  untidy  array  which  was  usual  with 
me  ;  a  great  deal  of  beard  and  wig  rather  badly  trimmed.     Taking 
this  want  of  decency  for  an  act  of  courage^  I  entered  in  this  state 
the  very  room  into  which  would  come,  a  short  time  afterwards,  the 
king,  the  queen^  the  royal  family  and  all  the  court  .  .  *  .  When  the 
lights  were  lit,  seeing  myself  in  this  array  in  the  midst  of  people 
all  extensively  got  ups  I  began  to  be  ill  at  ease ;  I  asked  myself  if 
I  were  in  ray  proper  place,  if  I  were  properly  dressed,  and,  after  & 
few  moments'  disquietude,  I  answered  yes,  with  an  intrepidity  which 
arose  perhaps  more  from  the  impossibility  of  getting  out  of  it  thiui 
from  the  force  of  my  arguments.     After  this  little  dialogue,  I 
plucked  up  so  much,  that  I  should  have  been  quite  intrepid  ifj 
there  had  been  any  need  of  it.     But,  whether  it  were  the  effect 
the  master's  presence  or  natural  kindness  of  heart,  I  obser7< 
nothing  but  what   was   obliging   and   civil  in   the   euriositj  of 
which  I  was  the  object,     I  was  steeled  against  all  their  gibes, 
but   their   caressing   air,   which    I   had   not   expected,  overcame 
me   so    completely   that    I   trembled    like   a  child  when  things 
began.     I   heard   all   about    me    a    whispering    of   women  wlio 
seemed  to  me  as  beautiful  as  angels  and  who  said  to  one  another 
below  their  breath  :  '  This  is  charming,  this  is  enchanting  :  there 
is  not  a  note  that  does  not  appeal  to  the  heart/     The  pleasuJpe  of 
causing  emotion  in  so  many  loveable  persons  moved  me  mysalf  ^ 
tears." 

The  emotions  of  the  eighteenth  century  were  vivid  and  miSif 
roused ;  fastening  upon  everything  without  any  earnest  purpode 
and  without  any  great  sense  of  responsibility  it  grew  as  hot  orer* 
musical   dispute  as  over   the   gravest   questions   of  morality  of 
philosophy,      Grimm    had    attacked    French    music,     Housiet** 
supported   his  thesis  by  a  Lettre   sur  la  Musique,     It  was  th^ 
moment  of  the  great  quarrel  between  the  Parliament   and  th^ 
Clergy,     **  When  my  letter  appeared,  there  was  no  more  excilenieJi^ 
save  against  me,"  says  Rousseau  i  *'  it  was  such  that  the  nation  bM 
never  recovered  from  it.     When  people  read  that  this  pampM*^^ 
probably  prevented  a  revolution  in  the  State,  they  will  fancy  t^ej 
must  be  dreaming,"     And  Grimm  adds   in  his  correspondeDC^ - 
*■  The  Italian  actors  who  have  been  playing  for  the  last  ten  moo^^* 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  319 

on  the  stage  of  the  Op^ra  de  Paris  and  who  are  called  here  houffons^ 
have  so  absorbed  the  attention  of  Paris  that  the  Pariiament,  in 
spite  of  all  its  measures  and  proceedings  which  should  have  earned 
it  celebrity,  could  not  but  fall  into  complete  oblivion.  A  wit  has 
said  that  the  arrival  of  Manelli  saved  us  from  a  civil  war,  and 
Jean  Jacques  Rousseau  of  Geneva,  whom  his  friends  have  dubbed 
the  citizen  of  citizens  (te  citoyen  par  excellence)^  that  eloquent  and 
bilious  foe  of  the  sciences,  has  just  set  fire  to  the  four  comers  of 
Paris  with  a  Lettre  sur  la  MuMquCj  in  which  he  proves  that  it  is 
impossible  to  set  French  words  to  music.  •  •  •  What  is  not  easy 
to  believe,  and  is  none  the  less  true  for  all  that,  is  that  M.  Rousseau 
was  afraid  of  being  banished  for  this  pamphlet.  It  would  have 
been  odd  to  see  Rousseau  banished  for  having  spoken  ill  of  French 
music,  after  having  with  impunity  dealt  witli  the  most  delicate 
political  matter." 

Rousseau  had  just  printed  his  Dlscours  snr  Vlnegalile  d<^  con^ 
ditionSj  a  new  and  violent  picture  of  the  corruptions  of  human 
society.  "  InequaUty  being  almost  nil  in  a  state  of  nature,"  he 
says,  "  it  derives  its  force  and  increment  from  the  development  of 
our  faculties  and  from  the  progress  of  the  human  mind  .... 
according  to  the  poet  it  is  gold  and  silver,  but  according  to  the 
philosopher  it  is  iron  and  corn  which  have  civilized  men  and 
ruined  the  human  race." 

The  singularity  of  his  paradox  had  worn  off;  Rousseau  no 
longer  astounded,  he  shocked  the  good  sense  as  well  as  the 
aspirations,  superficial  or  generous,  oE  the  eighteenth  century : 
the  Discours  'S^ir  Vlnegalite  des  conditions  was  not  a  success.  "  I 
have  received,  sir,  your  new  book  against  the  human  race,"  wrote 
Voltaire ;  "  I  thank  you  for  it.  You  will  please  men  to  whom 
you /tell  truths  about  them  and  you  will  not  make  them  any 
better.  Never  was  so  much  good  wit  expended  in  the  desire  to 
make  beasts  of  us ;  one  feels  disposed  to  walk  on  all  fours  when 
one  reads  your  work.  However,  as  it  is  more  than  sixty  years 
since  I  lost  the  knack,  I  unfortunately  find  it  impossible  to  recover 
it,  and  I  leave  that  natural  gait  to  those  who  are  better  fitted  for 
it  than  you  or  I.  No  more  can  I  embark  upon  a  visit  to  the 
savages  of  Canada,  first,  because  the  illnesses  to  which  I  am  subject 


320  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.LV^^ 

render  a  European  doctor  necessary  to  me,  secondly,  because  wi^-^ 
has  been  introduced  into  that  country,  and  because  the  examples  ^ 
of  our  nations  have  rendered  the  savages  almost  as  wicked 
ourselves.  I  shall  confine  myself  to  being  a  peaceable  savage 
the  solitude  I  have  selected  hard  by  your  own  country,  where  yo^a 
ought  to  be.'* 

Eousseau   had,   indeed,   thought   of  returning  and  settling  a.fc 
Geneva.     In  1754,  during  a  trip  he  made  thither,  he  renounc^cl 
the  Catholic  faith  which  he  had  embraced  at  sixteen  under  th^ 
influence  of  Madame  de  Warens  without  any  more  conviction  tba-xm 
he  carried  with  him  in  his  fresh  abjuration.     "  Ashamed,"  says  h&  9 
"  at  being  excluded  from  my  rights  of  citizenship  by  the  professio:*^ 
of  a  cult  other  than  that   of  my  fathers,  I  resolved  to  resuDL^B 
the  latter  openly.     I  considered  that  the  Gospel  was   the  sam.^ 
for  all  Christians,  and  that,  as  the  fundamental  difference  of  dogm  * 
arose  from  meddling  with   explanations   of  what  could  not 
understood,   it   appertained   in  every  country  to   the   sovereij 
alone  to  fix  both  the  cult  and  the  unintelligible  dogma,  and  tba^C» 
consequently,  it  was  the  duty  of  the  citizen  to  accept  the  dogm^-^ 
and  follow  the  cult  prescribed  by  law.*'     Strange  eccentricity  c^^ 
the  human  mind !     The  shackles  of  civilization  are  oppressive  t-^ 
Erousseau,  and  yet  he  would  impose  the  yoke  of  the  State  upo  ^ 
consciences.     The  natural  man   does   not  reflect,   and  does  nc^* 
discuss   his   religion;  whilst   seeking   to  recover  the   obliterat^^ 
ideal  of  nature,  the  philosopher  halts  on  the  road  at  the  principle ^ 
of  Louis  XIV.  touching  religious  liberties. 

Madame  d'Epinay  had  offered  Rousseau  a  retreat  in  her  little 
house,  the  Hermitage.     There  it  was  that  he  began  the  tale  ox 
La  Nouvelh  Heloise^   which  was  finished  at  Marshal   de  Mont- 
morency's, when  the  susceptible  and  cranky  temper  of  the  philo- 
sopher had  justified  the  malevolent  predictions  of  Grimm.    Th^ 
latter  had    but    lately    said   to  Madame  d' Jlpinay  :    "  I  see  in 
Rousseau   nothing   but  pride  concealed  everywhere   about  hini/ 
you  will  do  him  a  very  sorry  service  in  giving  him  a  home  at  Ih^ 
Hermitage,  but  you  will  do  yourself  a  still  more  sorry  one.     Soli- 
tude will  complete  the  blackening  of  his  imagination ;  he  will  fenc/ 
all  his  friends  unjust,  ungrateful,  and  you  first  of  all,  if  you  once 


Chap.  LV.]  LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS.  321 

refuse  to  be  at  his  beck  and  call ;  he  will  accuse  you  of  having 
bothered  him  to  live  under  your  roof  and  of  having  prevented 
him  from  yielding  to  the  wishes  of  his  country.  I  already  see  the 
germ  of  these  accusations  in  the  turn  of  the  letters  you  have 
shown  me." 

Rousseau  quarrelled  with  Madame  d'Epinay,  and  shortly  after- 
wards with  all  the  philosophical  circle:  Qrimm,  Helvetius, 
D'Holbach,  Diderot;  his  quarrels  with  the  last  were  already  of 
old  date,  they  had  made  some  noise.  "  Good  God  ! "  said  the 
duke  of  Castries  in  astonishment,  "  wherever  1  go  I  hear  of 
nothing  but  this  Rousseau  and  this  Diderot  1  Did  anybody  ever  ? 
Fellows  who  are  nobody,  fellows  who  have  no  house,  who  lodge  on 
a  third  floor !  Positively,  one  can't  stand  that  sort  of  thing !  " 
The  rupture  was  at  last  complete,  it  extended  to  Grimm  as  well 
as  to  Diderot.  "Nobody  can  put  himself  in  my  place,"  wrote 
Rousseau,  "  and  nobody  will  see  that  I  am  a  being  apart,  who 
has  not  the  character,  the  maxims,  the  resources  of  the  rest  of 
them,  and  who  must  not  be  judged  by  their  rules." 

Rousseau  was  right;  he  was  a  being  apart;  and  the  philo- 
sophers could  not  forgive  him  for  his  independence.  His  merits 
as  well  as  his  defects  annoyed  them  equally  :  his  Lettre  cofhtre  lea 
Spectacles  had  exasperated  Voltaire,  the  stage  at  Delices  was  in 
danger :  "  It  is  against  that  Jean  Jacques  of  yours  that  I  am  most 
enraged,"  he  writes  in  his  correspondence  with  D'Alembert :  "  he 
has  written  several  letters  against  the  scandal  to  deacons  of  the 
Church  of  Geneva,  to  my  ironmonger,  to  my  cobbler.  This  arch- 
maniac,  who  might  have  been  something  if  he  had  left  himself  in 
your  hands,  has  some  notion  of  standing  aloof ;  he  writes  against 
theatricals  after  having  done  a  bad  play  ;  he  writes  against  France 
which  is  a  mother  to  him ;  he  picks  up  four  or  five  rotten  old 
hoops  off*  Diogenes'  tub  and  gets  inside  tliem  to  bay ;  he  cuts  his 
friends ;  he  writes  to  me  myself  the  most  impertinent  letter  that 
ever  fanatic  scrawled.  He  writes  to  me  in  so  many  words  :  *  You 
have  corrupted  Geneva  in  requital  of  the  asylum  she  gave  you ;' 
as  if  I  cared  to  soften  the  manners  of  Geneva,  as  if  I  wanted  an 
asylum,  as  if  I  had  taken  any  in  that  city  of  Socinian  preachers,  as 
if  I  were  under  any  obligation  to  that  city  !  " 

VOL.  V.  Y 


322  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.LV. 

More  moderate  «aiid  more  equitable  than  Voltaire,  D'Alembert 
felt  the  danger  of  discord  amongst  the  philosophical  party.  In 
vain  he  wrote  to  the  irritated  poet :  "  I  come  to  Jean  Jacques,  not 
Jean  Jacques  Lefranc  de  Pompignan,  who  thinks  he  is  somebody, 
but  to  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau,  who  thinks  he  is  a  cynic  and  who 
is  only  inconsistent  and  ridiculous.  I  grant  that  he  has  written 
you  an  impertinent  letter,  I  grant  that  you  and  your  friends  have 
reason  to  complain  of  that ;  in  spite  of  all  this,  however,  I  do  not 
approve  of  your  declaring  openly  against  him,  as  you  are  doing, 
and,  thereanent,  I  need  only  quote  to  you  your  own  words: 
*  What  will  become  of  the  little  flock,  if  it  is  divided  and  scattered?' 
We  do  not  find  that  Plato,  or  Aristotle,  or  Sophocles,  or  Euripides 
wrote  against  Diogenes,  although  Diogenes  said  something  insulting 
to  them  all.  Jean  Jacques  is  a  sick  man  with  a  good  deal  of  wit, 
and  one  who  only  has  wit  when  he  has  fever ;  he  must  neither  be 
cured  nor  have  his  feelings  hurt."  Voltaire  replied  with  haughtj 
temper  to  these  wise  counsels,  and  the  philosophers  remained  far 
ever  embroiled  with  Rousseau. 

Isolated  henceforth  by  the  good  as  well  as  by  the  evil  tendencies 
of  his  nature,  Jean  Jacques  stood  alone  against  the  philosophic^ 
circle  which  he  had  dropped  as  well  as  against  the  protestant  or 
catholic  clergy  whose  creeds  he  often  offended.     He  had  just  pub- 
lished  Le    Gontrat   Social^   "  The  Gospel,'*   says  M.    Saint-Maro 
Girardin,  "  of  the  theory  as  to  the  sovereignty  of  the  State  repre- 
senting the  sovereignty  of  the  people."     The  governing  powers  of 
the  time  had  some  presentiment  of  its  danger ;  they  had  vaguely 
comprehended  what  weapons  might  be  sought  therein  by  revolu- 
tionary instincts  and  interests ;  their  anxiety  and  their  anger  as  yet 
brooded  silently ;  the  director  of  publications  {de  la  librairie),  M.  de 
Malesherbes,  was  one  of  the  friends  and  almost  one  of  the  disciples 
of  Rousseau  whom  he  shielded ;  he  himself  corrected  the  proofs  rf 
the  Emile  which  Rousseau  had  just  finished.    The  book  had  barely 
begun  to  appear,  when,  on  the  8th  of  June,  1762,  Rousseau  was 
awakened  by  a  message  from  la  Marechale  de  Luxembourg:  the 
Parliament    had    ordered  Smile   to    be   burned   and    its  author 
arrested.     Rousseau  took  flight,  reckoning  upon  finding  refuge  rt 
Geneva.     The  influence  of  the  French  government  pursued  him 


Chap.  liV.] 


LOUIS  XV.,  THE  PHILOSOPHERS. 


3SS 


I 

I 


thither;  the  grand  council  condemned  Stnile.  One  single  copy 
bad  arrived  at  Geneva  :  it  was  this  which  was  burned  by  the  hand 
of  the  common  hangman,  nine  days  after  the  burning  at  Paris  in 
the  Place  de  Greve,  *'  The  Contra t  Social  has  received  its  whip- 
ping on  the  back  of  Smile^^*  was  the  saying  at  Geneva,  "  At 
the  instigation  of  M.  de  Voltaire  they  have  avenged  upon  me  the 
cause  of  God/^  Jean  Jacques  declared. 

Rousseau  rashly  put  his  name  to  his  books ;  Voltaire  was  more 
jirudent*  One  day,  having  been  imprisoned  for  some  verses  which 
were  not  his,  he  bad  taken  the  resolution  to  impudently  repudiate  the 
paternity  of  his  own  works  :  "  You  must  never  publish  anything 
under  your  own  name/'  he  wrote  to  Helvetius ;  '*  La  Fueelle  was 
noxie  of  my  doing,  of  course.  Master  Joly  de  Fleury  will  make  a 
iine  thing  of  his  requisition,  I  shall  tell  him  that  he  is  a  calum- 

■  niator,  that  La  Pucelle  is  his  own  doing,  which  he  wants  to  put 
down  to  me  out  of  spite/^ 

•  Geneva  refused  asylum  to  the  proscribed  philosopher ;  he  was 
iramed  of  hostile  intentions  on  the  part  of  the  magnifie  sigmars  of 
Berne-  Neuchatel  and  the  king  of  Prussia's  protection  alone  were 
left  I  thither  he  went  for  refuge.  Received  with  open  arms  by  the 
■governor^  my  lord  Marshal  (Keith),  he  wrote  thence  to  the  premier 
syndic  Favre  a  letter  abdicating  his  rights  of  burghership  and  citi- 
zen ship  in  the  town  of  Geneva :  '*  I  have  neglected  nothing,'*  he 
taaid,  *'  to  gain  the  love  of  my  compatriots ;  nobody  could  have  had 
-worse  success.  I  desire  to  indulge  them  even  in  their  hate ;  the 
last  sacrifice  remaining  for  me  to  make  is  that  of  a  name  which 
\%'as  dear  to  me," 

Some  excitement,  nevertheless,  prevailed  at  Geneva;  Rousseau 
ad  partisans  there.     The  success  of  Emiie  had  been  immense  at 
Paris  and  was  destined  to  exercise  a  serious  influence  upon  the 
education  of  a  whole  generation*     **  It  is  good,'*  wrote  Voltaire, 
'**  that  the  brethren  should  know  that  yesterday  six  hundred  per- 
sons came,  for  the  third  time,  to  protest  on  behalf  of  Jean  Jacques 
against  the  Council  of  Geneva,  which  had  dared  to  condemn  the 
Vieaire  Bm^oijard.'*      The  Genevese  magistrates  thought  it  worth 
while  to  defend  their  acts;  the  LHtres  ecrit^^s  de  la  Campagnf,  pub- 
L  lii^hed  to  that  cnil,  were  the  work  of  the  attorney*general  Robert 

■  Y  2 


324  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  hY. 

Troncbin.  Rousseau  replied  to  them  in  the  Lettres  de  la  Montagiie, 
with  a  glowing  eloquence  having  a  spice  of  irony.  He  hurled  his 
missiles  at  Voltaire,  whom,  with  weakly  exaggeration,  he  accused 
of  being  the  author  of  all  bis  misfortunes :  "  Those  gentlemen  of  the 
Grand  Council,"  he  said,  "  see  M.  de  Voltaire  so  oflben,  how  is  it 
that  he  did  not  inspire  them  with  a  little  of  that  tolerance  which 
he  is  incessantly  preaching,  and  of  which  he  sometimes  has  need? 
If  they  had  consulted  him  a  little  on  this  matter,  it  appears  to  me 
that  he  might  have  addressed  them  pretty  nearly  thus  :  Gentlemen, 
it  is  not  the  arguers  who  do  harm ;  philosophy  can  gang  its  ain  gait 
without  risk;  the  people  either  do  not  hear  it  at  all  or  let  it 
babble  on,  and  pay  it  back  all  the  disdain  it  feels  for  them.  I  do 
not  argue  myself,  but  others  argue,  and  what  harm  comes  of  it  ? 
We  have  arranged  that  my  great  influence  in  the  court  and  my  pre- 
tended omnipotence  should  serve  you  as  a  pretext  for  allowing  a 
free,  peaceful  course  to  the  sportive  jests  of  my  advanced  years ;  that 
is  a  good  thing,  but  do  not,  for  all  that,  bum  graver  writings,  for  that 
would  be  too  shocking.  I  have  so  often  preached  tolerance  I  It 
must  not  be  always  required  of  others  and  never  displayed  towards 
them.  This  poor  creature  believes  in  God,  let  us  pass  over  that; 
he  will  not  make  a  sect.  He  is  a  bore,  all  arguers  are.  If  all  bores 
of  books  were  to  be  burnt,  the  whole  country  would  have  to  be  made 
into  one  great  fire-place.  Come,  come,  let  us  leave  those  to  argue 
who  leave  us  to  joke ;  let  us  burn  neither  people  nor  books  and 
remain  at  peace,  that  is  my  advice. — That,  in  my  opinion,  is  what 
might  have  been  said,  only  in  better  style,  by  M.  de  Voltaire,  and 
it  would  not  have  been,  as  it  seems  to  me,  the  worst  advice  he 
could  have  given." 

My  lord  Marshal  had  left  NeucMtel ;  Rousseau  no  longer  felt 
safe  there ;  he  made  up  his  mind  to  settle  in  the  island  of  St.  Pierre, 
in  the  middle  of  the  lake  of  Bienne.     Before  long  an  order  from 
the  Bernese  Senate  obliged  him  to  quit  it  "  within  four  and  twenty 
hours,  and  with  a  prohibition  against  ever  returning,  under  the 
heaviest  penalties."    Rousseau  went  through  Paris  and  took  refuge 
in  England,  whither  ho  was  invited  by  the  friendliness  of  the  his- 
torian Hume.     There  it  was  that  he  began  writing  his  Cor^emoHi* 

Already  the  reason  of  the  unhappy  philosopher,  clouded  as  it 


Chap.  LV.] 


LOmS  XV.,  THE  PHIIjOROPHERS. 


S2o 


ft 


had  sometiraes  been  by  the  violence  of  Ins  emotions,  was  beginning 
to  be  shaken  at  the  foundations ;  he  believed  himself  to  be  the 
victim  of  an  immense  conspiracy,  at  the  head  of  which  was  his 
friend  Hurae-  The  hitter  flew  into  a  raofo,  lie  wrote  to  Baron 
d'Holbach  ;  **  My  dear  Baron^  Rousseau  is  a  scoundrt^L"  Rousseau 
was  by  this  time  macL 

He  returned  to  France,  The  prince  of  Conti,  laithful  to  his 
philosophical  affections,  quartered  him  at  the  eastlo  of  Trye,  near 
Gisors.  Thence  he  returned  to  Paris,  still  persecuted,  he  said,  by 
invisible  enemies.  Retiringj  finally,  to  the  pavilion  of  Ermenon- 
vHle,  which  had  been  offered  to  him  by  M*  de  Girardin,  he  died 
there  at  tlie  age  of  sixty-six,  sinking  even  more  beneath  imaginary 
tsroes  than  under  the  real  sorrows  and  bitter  deceptions  of  hia  life. 
The  disproportion  between  his  intellect  and  his  character,  between 
the  boundless  pride  and  the  impassioned  weakness  of  his  spirit, 
had  little  by  little  estranged  his  friends  and  worn  out  the  admira- 
tion of  his  contemporaries.  By  his  writings  Rousseau  acted  more 
powerfully  upon  posterity  than  upon  his  own  times  :  his  personality 
had  ceased  to  do  his  genius  injustice. 

He  belonged  moreover  and  by  anticipation  to  a  new  era ;  from 
the  restless  working  of  his  mind,  as  well  as  from  his  moral  and 
pohtical  tendencies,  he  was  no  longer  of  the  eighteenth  century  pro- 
perly speaking,  though  the  majority  of  the  philosophers  out-lived 
him  ;  his  work  was  not  their  work,  their  world  was  never  his.  He 
had  attempted  a  noble  reaction » but  one  which  was  fundamentally  and 
in  reality  impossible.  The  impress  of  his  early  education  had  never 
been  thoroughly  effaced  :  he  believed  in  God,  he  had  been  nurtured 
upon  the  Gospel  in  childhood,  he  admired  the  morality  and  the  life 
of  Jesus  Christ;  but  he  stopped  at  the  boundaries  of  adoration  and 
submission.  *'  The  spirit  of  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau  inhabits  the 
moral  world,  but  not  that  other  which  is  above,"  M.  Joubert  has 
said  in  his  PemSes,  The  weapons  were  insufficient  and  the  cham* 
pion  was  too  feeble  for  the  contest ;  the  spirit  of  the  moral  world 
was  vanquished  as  a  foregone  conclusion-  Against  the  systematic 
infidelity  which  was  more  and  more  creeping  over  the  eighteenth 
century^  the  Christian  fiiith  alone,  with  all  its  forces,  could  fight 
and  triumph.     But  the  Cln-istian  faith  was  obscured  and  enfeebled, 


326  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LV. 

it  clung  to  the  vesseFs  rigging  instead  of  defending  its  powerful 
hull ;  the  flood  was  rising  meanwhile,  and  the  dikes  were  breaking 
one  after  another.  The  religious  belief  of  the  Savoyard  vicar, 
imperfect  and  inconsistent,  such  as  it  is  set  forth  in  Smile,  and 
that  sincere  love  of  nature  which  was  recovered  by  Rousseau  in  his 
solitude  remained  powerless  to  guide  the  soul  and  regulate  life. 

"  What  the  eighteenth  century  lacked  "  [M.  Guizot,  Melanges 
biographiques  {Madame  la  Comtesse  de  Bnmford)], "  what  there  was  of 
superficiality  in  its  ideas  and  of  decay  in  its  morals,  of  senselessness 
in  its  pretensions  and  of  futility  in  its  creative  power,  has  been 
strikingly  revealed  to  us  by  experience ;  we  have  learnt  it  to  our 
cost.     We  know,  we  feel  the  evil  bequeathed  to  us  by  that  memor- 
able epoch.     It  preached  doubt,  egotism,  materialism.     It  laid  for 
some  time  an  impure  and  blasting  hand  upon  noble  and  beautiful 
phases  of  human  Ufe.     But  if  the  eighteenth  century  had  done 
only  that,  if  such  had  been  merely  its  chief  characteristic,  can  any 
one  suppose  that  it  would  have  carried  in  its  wake  so  many  and  such 
important  matters,  that  it  would  have  so  moved  the  world  ?     It 
was  far  superior  to  all  its  sceptics,  to  all  its  cynics.     What  do  I 
say  ?     Superior  ?     Nay  it  was  essentially  opposed  to  them  and 
continually  gave  them  the  lie.     Despite  the  weakness  of  its  morals, 
the  frivolity  of  its  forms,  the  mere  dry  bones  of  such  and  such  of 
its  doctrines,  despite  its  critical  and  destructive  tendency,  it  was 
an   ardent  and   a  sincere  century,  a  century  of  faith   and    dis- 
interestedness.    It  had  faith  in  the  truth,  for  it  claimed  the  right 
thereof  to  reign  in  this  world.     It  had  faith  in  humanity,  for  it 
recognized  the  right  thereof  to  perfect  itself  and  would  have  had 
that  right  exercised  without  obstruction.     It  erred,  it  lost  itself 
amidst  this  twofold  confidence,  it  attempted  what  was  far  beyond 
its  right  and  power ;  it  misjudged  the  moral  nature  of  man  and  the 
conditions  of  the  social  state.     Its   ideas   as   well  as  its  works 
contracted  the  blemish  of  its  views.     But,  granted  so  much,  the 
original  idea,  dominant  in  the  eighteenth  century,  the  belief  that 
man,  truth  and  society  are  made  for  one  another,  worthy  of  one 
another  and  called  upon  to  form  a  union,  this  correct  and  salutary 
belief  rises  up  and  overtops  all  its  history.     That  beUef  it  was  the 
first  to  proclaim  and  would  fain  have  realized.   Hence  its  power  and 


Chap.  LV] 


LOXHR  XV„  THE  PHILOBOFHERS. 


337 


its  popularity  over  the  wliole  face  of  tijc  earth*  Hence  also,  to 
descend  from  great  things  to  small,  and  from  the  destiny  of  man 
to  that  of  the  drawing-room,  hence  the  seductiveness  of  that  epoch 
and  the  charm  it  scattered  over  social  life.  Never  before  were 
seen  all  the  conditions,  all  ,the  classes  that  form  the  flower  of  a 
great  people,  however  diverse  they  might  have  been  in  thfii* 
history  and  still  were  in  their  interests,  thus  forgetting  their  past, 
their  personality,  in  order  to  draw  near  to  one  another,  to  unite  in 
a  oommunion  of  the  sweetest  manners,  and  solely  occupied  in 
pleasing  one  another,  in  rejoicing  and  hoping  together  during  fifty 
years  which  were  to  end  in  the  most  terrible  conflicts  between 
them/' 

At  the  death  of  King  Louis  XV.,  in  1774,  the  easy-mannered 
joyance,  the  peaceful  and  brilliant  charm  of  fashionable  and 
philosophical  society  were  reaching  their  end  :  the  time  of  stern 
realities  was  approaching  with  long  strides. 


.^^^j: 


m. 


^''■^ 


■l'^ 


LOUIS  XVT— MINISTRY   OF   M.   TURCOT.     1774—1776. 

fOUIS  XV.  Vas  dead ;  France  breathed  once  moiie ;  dur 
was  weary  of  the  weakness  as  well  as  of  the  irregii* 
larities  of  the  king  who  had  untaught  her  her  respect 
for  liim^  and  she  turned  with  joyous  hope  towaixis  his  successor, 
barely  twenty  years  of  age,  but  already  loved  and   impatiently 
awaited  by  bis  people*     *'  He  must  be  called  Louis  le  Dt'sir^," 
was  the  saying  in  the  streets  before  the  death-rattle  of  Louis  XV, 
had   summoned   his   grandson    to   the  throne,      Tlie    feeling  of 
dread   which    had   seized   the   young   king   whs   more    prophetic 
than  the  natioii's  joy*     At  the  news  that  Louis  XV.   bad  juit 
heaved  his  last  sigh  in  the  arms  of  bis  pious  daughters,   Lewis 
XVI-  and  Marie   Antoinette   both   flung   themselves  upon   tbfir 
kneeS}  exclaiming,   **0   God,  protect  us,  direct  ua,  we  anr  too 
young." 

The  monarch's  youth  did  not  scare  the  country,  itself  evm- 
where  animated  and  excited  by  a  breath  of  youth.  There  wr^ 
cougratn  hit  ions  on  escaping  from  the  well-known  troubJes  of  a 


Chap.  LVT,]     LOUIS  XVL,  MINISTRY  OF  M.  TURGOT. 


329 


regency ;  the  king's  ingenuous  inexperience,  moreover,  opened  a 
vast  field  for  the  most  contradictory   hopes.     The  philosophers 

I  cMDUTited  upon  taking  possession  of  the  mind  of  a  good  young 
sovereign,  who  was  said  to  have  hie  heart  set  upon  his  people's 
happine.ss ;  the  clergy  and  the  Jesuits  themselves  expeeted  every 
tiling  from  the  young  prince's  pious  education  ;  the  old  parliaments, 
mutilated,  crushed    down,  began   to  raise  up  their  heads  again, 

}  %¥hilst  the  economists  were  already  preparing  their  most  ilariug 
projects.  Like  literature,  the  arts  had  got  the  start,  in  the  new 
jMi^tb,  of  the  politicians  and  the  magistratt^s.  M.  Turgot  and 
M  p  de  Malesherbes  had  not  yet  laid  their  enterprising  hands  upon  the 
olrl  fabric  of  French  administrations  and  already  painting,  sculpture, 
architecture,  and  music  had  shaken  off  the  shackles  of  the  past. 
The  conventional  graces  of  Vanloo,  of  Watteau,  of  Boucher,  of 
Fragonard,  had  given  place  to  a  severer  school.  Greuze  was 
putting  upon  canvas  the  characters  and  ideas  of  Diderot's  Drame 
nulitrel ;  but  Vien,  in  France,  was  seconding  the  efforts  of  Winkel- 
man  and  of  Raphael  Mengs  in  Italy;  he  led  his  pupils  back  to 
the  study  of  ancient  art;  he  had  tniined  Regnault,  Vincent, 
Menageotj  and  lastly  Louis  David,  destined  to  become  the  chief  of 
the  modern  school ;  Julien,  Houdon,  the  last  of  the  Coustous,  were 

[following  the  same  road  in  sculpture  :  Soufflot>  ^an  old  man  by  this 
time,   was   superintending  the   completion  of  the  church  of  St, 

I  Genevieve,  dedicated  by  Louis  XV,  to  the  commemoration  of  his 
recovery  at  Metz,  and  destined^  from  the  majestic  simplicity  of  its 
lines,  to  the  doubtful  honour  of  becoming  the  Pantheon  of  the  revolu- 
tion ;  Servandoni  had  died  a  short  time  since,  leaving  to  the  church 

\  of  St.  Sulplce  the  care  of  preserving  his  memory  ;  every^vhere  were 
rising  charming  mansions  imitated  from  the  palaces  of  Rome. 
The  painters,  the  sculptors  and  the  architects  of  France  were 
sufficient  for  her  glory ;  only  Gri^try  and  Monsigny  upheld  the 
honour  of  that  French  music  which  was  attacked  by  Grimm  and 
by  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau ;  btit  it  was  at  Paris  that  the  great 
quarrel  went  on  between  the  Italians  and  the  Germans  :  Piccini 
and  Gliick  divided  society,  wherein  their  rivalry  excited  violent 
passions.  Everywhere  and  on  all  questions,  intellectual  move- 
meut   was   liecoraing   animated   with  fresh  ardour ;    France  was 


UTSI^ORY  OP  FRANHE, 


[Ciur.  LVL 


marcliiag  to  wards  the  region  of  storms,  in  the  blindness  of  Wr 
confidence  and  joyance ;  the  atmosphere  seemed  purer  since 
Madame  Dubarry  had  been  sent  to  a  convent  bj  one  of  the  first 
orders  of  young  Louis  XVI, 

Abeady,  however,  farseeing  spirits  were  disquieted;  scareelj 
had  he  mounted  the  throne,  when  the  king  summoned  to  his  side, 
aa  his  minister,  M,  de  Maurepas,  but  lately  banished  by  Louis  XV^ 
in  1749,  on  a  charge  of  having  tolerated,  if  not  himself  writtaa, 
songs  disrespectful  towards  Madame  de  Pompadour.  "  The  first 
day,"  said  the  disgraced  minister,  ** I  was  nettled;  the  second,  I 
was  comforted/' 

M.  de  Maurepas,  gi'andson  of  Chancellor  Pontchartrain,  had 
been  provided  for,  at  fourteen  years  of  age,  by  Louis  XIV.  with 
the  reversion  of  the  ministry  of  marine,  which  had  been  held  by 
Ilia  father,  and  had  led  a  frivolous  and  pleasant  life ;  through  good 
fortune  and  evil  fortune  he  clung  to  the  court;  when  he  was 
recalled  thither,  at  the  age  of  sixty-three,  on  the  suggestion 
of  Madame  Adelaide,  the  queen's  aunt,  and  of  the  dukes  of 
Aiguillon  and  La  Vrilliere,  both  of  them  ministers  and  relationaof 
his,  he  made  up  his  mind  that  he  would  never  leave  it  again.  On 
arriving  at  Versailles,  he  used  the  expression,  *' premier  minis- 
ter;" "  Not  at  all,"  said  the  king  abruptly-  "Oh!  very  wfl 
replied  M.  de  Maurepas,  "  then  to  teach  your  Majesty  to  do  witho 
one."  Nobody,  however,  did  any  business  %vith  Louis  XVL  withofl 
his  being  present,  and  his  address  was  sufficient  to  keep  at  a 
tance  or  diminish  the  influence  of  the  princesses  as  well  as  of  the 
queen.  Marie  Antoinette  had  insisted  upon  the  recall  of  M,  de 
Choiseul,  who  had  arranged  her  marriage  and  who  had  ramaiui^ 
faithful  to  the  Austrian  alliance.  The  king  had  i^efused  angrilv. 
The  sinister  accusations  which  had  but  lately  been  current  m 
the  causes  of  the  dauphin's  deatli  had  never  been  forgotten  by  1 
son. 

An  able  man,  in  spite  of  his  incurable  levity,  M,  de  Mm 
soon  sacrificed  the  duke  of  Aiguillon  to  the  queen's  resentment; 
the  people  attached  to  the  old  court  accused  her  of  despidiiijt 
etiquette;  it  was  said  that  she  had  laughed  when  she  receivetl  tbf 
respectful   condolence   of  aged    dames  looking    Uke   beguint*^  m 


Chap.  LVI.]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OP  M.  TURGOT.  338 

their  coifs;   already  there  circulated  amongst  the  public  bitter 
ditties,  such  as, — 

My  little  queen,  not  twenty-one, 
Maltreat  the  folks,  as  youVe  begun, 
And  o*er  the  border  you  shall  run  .... 

The  duke  of  Aiguillon,  always  hostile  to  the  Choiseuls  and  the 
house  of  Austria,  had  lent  his  countenance  to  the  murmurs; 
Marie  Antoinette  was  annoyed,  and,  in  her  turn,  fostered  the 
distrust  felt  by  the  people  towards  the  late  ministers  of  Louis 
XV. ;  in  the  place  of  the  duke  of  Aiguillon,  who  had  the  ministry 
of  war  and  that  of  foreign  affairs  both  together,  the  count  of  Muy 
and  the  count  of  Vergennes  were  called  to  power.  Some  weeks 
later,  the  obscure  minister  of  marine,  M.  de  Boynes,  made  way 
for  the  superintendent  of  the  district  (genercUite)  of  Limoges, 
M.  Turgot. 

Anne  Robert  Jacques  Turgot,  bom  at  Paris  on  the  10th  of 
May,  1727,  was  already  known  and  everywhere  esteemed,  when 
M.  de  Maurepas,  at  the  instance,  it  is  said,  of  his  wife  whom  he 
consulted  on  all  occasions,  summoned  him  to  the  ministry.  He 
belonged  to  an  ancient  and  important  family  by  whom  he  had  been 
intended  for  the  Church.  When  a  pupil  at  Louis-le-Grand  college, 
he  spent  his  allowance  so  quickly  that  his  parents  became  alarmed ; 
they  learned  before  long  that  the  young  man  shared  all  he  received 
amongst  out-of-coUege  pupils  too  poor  to  buy  books. 

This  noble  concern  for  the  wants  of  others,  as  well  as  his  rare 
gifts  of  intellect,  had  gained  young  Turgot  devoted  friends.  He 
was  already  leaning  towards  philosophy,  and  he  announced  to  his 
fellow-pupils  his  intention  of  giving  up  his  ecclesiastical  status ; 
he  was  a  prior  of  Sorbonne;  the  majority  disapproved  of  it. 
•*  Thou'rt  but  a  younger  son  of  a  Norman  family,"  they  said, 
**and,  consequently,  poor.  Thou'rt  certain  to  get  excellent 
abbotries  and  to  be  a  bishop  early.  Then  thou'lt  be  able  to 
realize  thy  fine  dreams  of  administration  and  to  become  a  states- 
man at  thy  leisure,  whilst  doing  all  manner  of  good  in  thy  diocese. 
It  depends  on  thyself  alone  to  make  thyself  useful  to  thy  country, 
to  acquire  a  high  reputation,  perhaps  to  carve  thy  way  to  the 


334  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVI. 

ministry;  if  thou  enter  the  magistracy,  as  thou  desirest,  thou 
breakest  the  plank  which  is  under  thy  feet,  thou*lt  be  confined  to 
hearing  causes,  and  thou'lt  Avaste  thy  genius,  which  is  fitted  for 
the  most  important  public  affairs."  *'  I  am  very  fond  of  you,  my 
dear  friends,"  replied  M.  Turgot,  "  but  I  don*t  quite  understand 
what  you  are  made  of.  As  for  me,  it  would  be  impossible  for  me 
to  devote  myself  to  wearing  a  mask  all  my  life."  He  became 
councillor-substitute  to  the  attorney-general,  and  before  long 
councillor  in  the  Parliament,  on  the  30th  of  December,  1752. 
Master  of  requests  in  1753,  he  consented  to  sit  in  the  King's 
Chamber,  when  the  Parliament  suspended  the  administration  of 
justice.  "  The  Court,"  he  said,  "  is  exceeding  its  powers."  A 
sense  of  equity  thus  enlisted  him  in  the  service  of  absolute 
government.  He  dreaded,  moreover,  the  corporate  spirit,  which 
he  considered  narrow  and  intolerant.  "  When  you  say,  We^^  be 
would  often  repeat,  "  do  not  be  surprised  that  the  public  should 
answer,  You'* 

Intimately  connected  with  the  most  esteemed  magistrates  and 
economists,  such  as  MM.  Trudainc,  Quesnay,  and  Goumay,  at  the 
same  time  that  he  Avas  writing  in  the  EtuydopcBdia^  and  constantly 
occupied  in  useful  work,  Turgot  was  not  yet  five  and  thirty  when 
he   Avas   appointed    superintendent   of   the   district    of   Limoges. 
There,  the  rare  faculties  of  his  mind  and  his  sincere  love  of  good 
found  their  natural  field;   the  country  was  poor,  crushed  under 
imposts,  badly  intersected  by  roads  badly  kept,  inhabited  by  au 
ignorant   populace,  violently  hostile   to   the   recruitment   of  the 
militia.     He    encouraged    agriculture,    distributed    the     talliages 
more  equitably,  amended  the  old  roads  and  constructed  new  onee, 
abolished  forced  labour  {corveea)^  provided  for  the  wants  of  the 
the  poor  and  wretched  during  the  dearth  of  1770  and  177J,  and 
declined,  successively,  the  suporintendentship  of  Rouen,  of  Lyons, 
and  of  Bordeaux,  in  order  that  he  might  be  able  to  complete  the 
useful  tasks  he  had  begun  at  Limoges.     It  was  in  that  district, 
which  had  become  dear  to  him,  that  he  was  sought  out  by  the 
kindly  remembrance  of  Abbe  de  Very,  his  boyhood's  friend,  who 
was  intimate  with  Madame  de  Maurepas.     Scarcely  had  he  been 
installed  in  the  department  of  marine  and  begun  to  conceive  vast 


Chap.  LVL]     LOUIH  XVL,  lilNISTRY  OF  M.  TURGOT. 


385 


plaus,  when  the  late  ministers  of  Louis  XV.  succumbed  at  last 
beneath  the  popular  hatred;  in  the  place  of  Abbe  Terraj, 
il.  Turgot  became  comptroller-general, 

The  old  parliamentarians  were  triumphant ;  at  the  Bame  time 
as   Abbe   Terray^    Chancellor   Maupeou  was   disgraced,  and    the 
judicial  system  he  had  tounded  fell  with  hinn     Unpopular  from 
the  first,  the  Maupeou  Parliament  had  remained  in  the  nation* s 
keyes    the    image  of  absolute   power   corrupted   and   corrupting* 
The    suit  between    Beaumarchais   and    Councillor   Goessman   had 
contributed  to  decry  it,  thanks  to  the  uproar  the  able  pamph* 
leteer  had  managed  to  cause ;  the  families  of  the  former  magis^ 
trat€S  were  powerful^  numerous,  esteemed,  and  they  put  pressure 
upon    public   opinion ;    M,  de   Maurepas   determined   to   retract 
tlie  last  absolutist  attempt  of  Louis  XV.'s  reign;   his  first  care 
was  to  send  and  demand  of  Chancellor  Maupeou  the  surrender 
of  the  seals.     "  I  know  what  you  have  come  to  tell  me,"  said  the 
latter  to  the  Duke  of  La  Vrilliere,  who  was  usually  charged  with  this 
painful  mission,  "  but  I  am  and  shall  continue  to  be  chancellor 
uf  France,**  and  he  kept  his  seat  whilst  addressing  the  minister,  in 
accordance  with   his  official  privilege.     He  handed  to  the  duke 
the  casket  of  seals,   which  the  latter  was  to  take   straight  to 
M.  de  Miromesnih     "  I  had  gained  the  king  a  great  cause,"  said 
Maupeou  ;  "  he  is  pleased  to  re-open  a  cfuestion  which  was  decided  ; 
as   to  that,  he  is  master."     Imperturbable  and  haughty  as  ever, 
he  retired  to  his  estate  at  Thuit^  near  the  Andelys,  where  he  drew 
up  a  justificatory  memorandum  of  his  ministry,  which  he  had  put 
ill  to  the  king's  hands,  without  ever  attempting  to  enter  the  court 
I  or  Paris  again ;  he  died  in  the  coimtry,   at  the   outset   of  the 
revolutionary  storms,  on  the  2yth  of  July,  1 792,  just  as  he  had 
made  the  State  a  patriotic   present  of  800,000   livres.     At  the 
moment  when  the  populace  were   burning  him  in   effigy  in  the 
tsti'cets  of  Paris  together  with  Abb^  Terray,  when  he  saw  the  recall 
of  the  parhamentanans,  and  the  work  of  his  whole  life  destroyed, 
he  repeated  with  his  usual  coolness  :  "  If  the  king  is  pleased  to 
lose  his  kingdom— well,  he  is  master," 

Abbe   Terray   had    been   less   proud,   and   was   more   harshly 
tieated*     It  was  in  vain  that  he  sought  to  dazzle  the  yuung  king 


336  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVI. 

with  ably  prepared  memorials.  "  I  can  do  no  more,"  he  said, 
*^  to  add  to  the  receipts,  which  I  have  increased  by  sixty  millions ; 
I  can  do  no  more  to  keep  down  the  debts,  which  I  havp  reduced 
by  twenty  millions.  ...  It  is  for  you.  Sir,  to  reUeve  your  people 
by  reducing  the  expenses.  This  work,  which  is  worthy  of  your 
kind  heart,  was  reserved  for  you.*'  Abbe  Terray  had  to  refund 
nearly  900,000  livres  to  the  public  treasury.  Being  recognized 
by  the  mob  as  he  was  passing  over  the  Seine  in  a  ferry  boat,  be 
had  some  difficulty  in  escaping  from  the  hands  of  those  who 
would  have  hurled  him  into  the  river. 

The  contrast  was  great  between  the  crafty  and  unscrupuloiui 
abiUty   of  the   disgraced   comptroller-general  and  the    complete 
disinterestedness,  large  views,  and  noble  desire  of  good  which 
animated  his  successor.     After  his  first  interview  with  the  king, 
at  Compifegne,  M.  Turgot  wrote  to  Louis  XVI. : — "  Your  Majesty 
has  been  graciously  pleased  to  permit  me  to  place  before  your  eyes 
the  engagement  you  took  upon  yourself,  to  support  me  in  the 
execution  of  plans  of  economy  which  are  at  all  times,  and  nor 
more  than  ever,  indispensable.     I  confine  myself  for  the  moment, 
sir,  to  reminding  you  of  these  three  expressions : — 1"  No  bank- 
ruptcies;   2**   No   augmentation    of  imposts;    3**  No  loans.    No 
bankruptcy,  either  avowed  or  masked  by  forced  reductions.    No 
augmentation  of  imposts :  the  reason  for  that  lies  in  the  condition 
of  your  people,  and  still  more  in  your  Majesty's  own  heart     No 
loans ;    because    every   loan    always    diminishes    the    disposable 
revenue:   it   necessitates,   at   the   end   of  a  certain   time,  either 
bankruptcy  or  augmentation  of  imposts.  .  .  .  Your  Majesty  will 
not  forget  that,  when  I  accepted  the  office  of  comptroUer-generA 
I  perceived  all  the  preciousness  of  the  confidence  with  which  yott 
honour  me  .  .  .  but,  at  the  same  time  I  perceived  all  the  danger 
to  which  I  was  exposing  myself.     I  foresaw  that  I  should  have  tfl 
fight  single-handed  against  abuses  of  every  sort,  against  the  effort* 
of  such  as  gain  by  those  abuses,  against  the  host  of  the  prejudiced 
who  oppose  every  reform  and  who,  in  the  hands  of  interested  per* 
sons,  are  so  powerful  a  means  of  perpetuating  disorder.   I  shall  be 
feared,  shall  be  even  hated  by  the  greater  part  of  the  court,  by »" 
that  solicit  favours.  .  .  .  This  people  to  whom  I  shall  have  sacriBced 


Chap.  LVI.]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OP  M.  TURCOT.  337 

myself  is  so  easy  to  deceive,  that  I  shall  perhaps  incur  its  hatred 
through  the  very  measures  I  shall  take  to  defend  it  against 
harassment.  I  shall  be  calumniated,  and  perhaps  with  sufficient 
plausibility  to  rob  me  of  your  Majesty's  confidence.  .  .  .  You  will 
remember  that  it  is  on  the  strength  of  your  promises  that  I  under- 
take a  burthen  perhaps  beyond  my  strength;  that  it  is  to  you 
personally,  to  the  honest  man,  to  the  just  and  good  man,  rather 
than  to  the  king,  that  I  commit  myself." 

It  is  to  the  honour  of  Louis  XVI.  that  the  virtuous  men 
who  served  him,  often  with  sorrow  and  without  hoping  any- 
thing from  their  efforts,  always  preserved  their  confidence  in 
bis  intentions :  "  It  is  quite  encouraging,"  wrote  M.  Turgot  to 
one  of  his  friends,  '*  to  have  to  serve  a  king  who  is  realty  an 
honest  and  a  welUmeaning  man."  The  burthen  of  the  neces- 
sary reforms  was  beyond  the  strength  of  the  minister  as  well 
as  of  the  sovereign ;  the  violence  of  opposing  currents  was 
soon  about  to  paralyze  their  genuine  efforts  and  their  generous 
hopes. 

M.  Turgot  set  to  work  at  once.  Whilst  governing  his  district 
of  Limoges,  he  had  matured  numerous  plans  and  shaped  extensive 
theories.  He  belonged  to  his  times  and  to  the  school  of  the 
philosophers  as  regarded  his  contempt  for  tradition  and  history ; 
it  was  to  natural  rights  alone,  to  the  innate  and  primitive  require- 
ments of  mankind,  that  he  traced  back  his  principles  and  referred 
as  the  basis  for  all  his  attempts.  **  The  rights  of  associated  men 
are  not  founded  upon  their  history  but  upon  their  nature,"  says 
the  Meinaire  an  Jloi  sur  les  Mtinicijmlite^^  drawn  up  under  the  eye 
of  Turgot.  By  this  time  he  desired  no  more  to  reform  old 
France ;  he  wanted  a  new  France.  Before  ten  years  are  over,"  he 
would  say,  '*the  nation  will  not  be  recognizable,  thanks  to 
enlightenment.  This  chaos  will  have  assumed  a  distinct  form. 
Your  Majesty  will  have  quite  a  new  people,  and  the  first  of 
peoples."  A  profound  error,  which  was  that  of  the  whole  Revolu- 
tion, and  the  consequences  of  which  would  have  been  immediately 
fatal,  if  the  powerful  instinct  of  conservatism  and  of  natural 
respect  for  the  past  had  not  maintained  between  the  regimen 
which  was  crumbling  away  and  the  new  fabric  connexions  more 

VOL.  v.  2 


338  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVI.. 

powerful  and  more  numerous  than  tlieir  friends  as  well  as  their 
enemies  were  aware  of. 

Two  fundamental  principles  regulated  the  financial  system  of 
M.  Turgot,  economy  in  expenditure  and  freedom  in  trade ;  every- 
where he  ferreted  out  abuses,  abolishing  useless  offices  and  pay- 
ments, exacting  from  the  entire  administration  that  strict  probity 
of  which  he  set  the  example.  Louis  XVI.  supported  him  conscien- 
tiously at  that  time  in  all  his  reforms  ;  the  public  made  fun  of  it : 
"  The  king,*'  it  was  said,  "  when  he  considers  himself  an  abuse,  will 
be  one  no  longer."  At  the  same  time,  a  decree  of  September  13th, 
1774,  re-established  at  home  that  freedom  of  trade  in  grain  which 
had  been  suspended  by  Abbd  Terray,  and  the  edict  of  April,  1776, 
foun(J(Bd  freedom  of  trade  in  wine.  "  It  is  by  trade  alone,  and  by 
free  trade,  that  the  inequality  of  harvests  can  be  corrected,"  said 
the  minister  in  the  preamble  of  his  decree,  "  I  have  just  read 
M.  Turgot's  master ^piece,"  wrote  Voltaire  to  D'Alembert :  "  it 
seems  to  reveal  to  us  new  heavens  and  a  new  earth."  It  was  on 
account  of  his  financial  innovations  that  the  comptroller-general 
particularly  dreaded  the  return  of  the  old  Parliament,  with  which 
he  saw  himself  threatened  every  day.  "  I  fear  opposition  from 
the  Parliament,'.'  he  said  to  the  king.  "  Fear  nothing,"  replied 
the  king  warmly,  "I  will  stand  by  you;"  and,  passing  over  the 
objections  of  the  best  politician  amongst  his  ministers,  he  yielded 
to  M.  de  Maurepas,  who  yielded  to  public  opinion.  On  the  12th 
of  November,  1774,  the  old  Parliament  Avas  formally  restored. 

The  king  appeared  at  the  bed  of  justice,  the  princes,  the  dukes 
and  the  peers  were  present ;  the  magistrates  were  introduced : 
"  The  king  my  grandfather,"  said  Louis  XVI,,  "  compelled  by 
your  resistance  to  his  repeated  orders,  did  what  the  maintenance 
of  his  authority  and  the  obligation  of  rendering  justice  to  his 
people  required  of  his  wisdom.  To-day  I  recall  you  to  functions 
Avhich  you  never  ought  to  have  given  up.  Appreciate  all  the 
value  of  my  bounties,  and  do  not  forget  them."  At  the  same 
time  the  keeper  of  the  seals  read  out  an  edict  which  subjected  the 
restored  Parliament  to  the  same  jurisdiction  which  had  controlled 
tlie  Maupeou  Parliament.  The  latt-er  had  been  sent  to  Versailles 
to  form  a  gi*and  council  there. 


Chap.  LVI]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OF  M.  TURCOT.  339 

Stem  words  are  but  a  sorry  cloak  for  feeble  actions:  the 
restored  magistrates  grumbled  at  the  narrow  limits  imposed  upon 
their  authority;  the  duke  of  Orleans,  the  duke  of  Chartres,  the 
prince  of  Conti  supported  their  complaints;  it  was  in  vain 
that  the  king  for  some  time  met  them  with  refusals;  threats 
soon  gave  place  to  concessions ;  and  the  parliaments  everywhere 
reconstituted,  enfeebled  in  the  eyes  of  public  opinion,  but  more 
than  ever  obstinate  and  Fronde-like,  found  themselves  free  to 
harass,  without  doing  any  good,  the  march  of  an  administration 
becoming  every  day  more  difficult.  **  Your  Parliament  may  make 
barricades,"  Lord  Chesterfield  had  remarked  contemptuously  to 
Montesquieu,  •*  it  will  never  raise  barriers." 

M.  Turgot,  meanwhile,  was  continuing  his  labours,  preparing 
a  project  for  equitable  redistribution  of  the  talliage  and  his 
grand  system  of  a  graduated  scale  {hierarchie)  of  municipal 
assemblies,  commencing  with  the  parish,  to  culminate  in  a  general 
meeting  of  delegates  from  each  province ;  he  threatened,  in  the 
course  of  his  reforms,  the  privileges  of  the  noblesse  and  of  the 
clergy,  and  gave  his  mind  anxiously  to  the  instruction  of  the 
people,  whose  condition  and  welfare  he  wanted  to  simultaneously 
elevate  and  augment;  already  there  was  a  buzz  of  murmurs 
against  him,  confined  as  yet  to  the  courtiers,  when  the  dearness  of 
bread  and  the  distress  which  ensued  in  the  spring  of  1775 
furnished  his  adversaries  with  a  convenient  pretext.  Up  to  that 
time  the  attacks  had  been  cautious  and  purely  theoretical. 
M.  Necker,  an  able  banker  from  Geneva,  for  a  long  while  settled 
in  Paris,  liand  and  glove  with  the  philosophers,  and  keeping  up, 
moreover,  a  great  establishment,  had  brought  to  the  comptroller- 
general  a  work  which  he  had  just  finished  on  the  trade  in  grain ; 
on  many  points  he  did  not  share  M.  Turgot's  opinions.  "Be 
kind  enough  to  ascertain  for  yourself,"  said  the  banker  to  th© 
minister,  *^  whether  the  book  can  be  published  without  incon- 
venience to  the  government."  M.  Turgot  was  proud  and  some- 
times  rude :  "  Publidh,  sir,  publish,"  said  he,  without  offering  his 
hand  to  take  the  manuscript,  "  the  public  shall  decide."  M.  Necker, 
out  of  pique,  published  his  book ;  it  had  an  immense  sale ;  other 
pamphlets,  more  violent  and  less  solid,  had  already  appeared ;  at 

z  2 


340 


niSTOEY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Chaj*.  LTT. 


the  same  moment  a  riotj  which  seemed  to  have  been  planned  and 
to  be  under  certain  guidance,  broke  out  in  several  parts  of  France. 
Drunken  men  shouted  about  the  public  thoroughfares,  **  Bread  ! 
cheap  bread  T' 

Burgundy  had  always  beeu  restless  and  easily  excited.     It  was 
at  Dijon  that  the  insurreetiou  began  ;  on  the  20  th  of  April,  the 
peasantry  moved  upon  the  town  and  smashed  the  furniture  of  a 
councillor   in   the   Maupeou    Parliament,   who    was    accused    of 
monopoly;  they  were  already  overflowing  the  streets,  exasperate! 
by  the  cruel  answer  of  the  governorj  M.   de  la  Tour  du  Pin: 
**  You  want  something  to  eat  ?     Go  and  gra^se  ;  the  grass  is  just 
coming  ui*/'     The  burgesses  trembled  in  their  houses;  the  bishop 
threw  himself  in  the  madraen^s  way  and   succeeded  in  cahiiin:j 
them   with   his   exhortations.      The   disturbance   had    soread  Ui 
Pontoise ;  there  the  riot  broke  out  on  the  1st  of  May,  the  mnrkd 
was  pillaged  ;  on  the  2nd,  at  Versailles,  a  mob  collected  under  thu 
balcony  of  the  castle.     Everywhere  ruffians  of  sinister  appearance 
mingled  with  the  mob,  exciting   its    passions   and   urging   it  to 
acts  of  violence :  the  Banie  men,  such  as  are  only  seen  in  troublous 
days,  were  at  the  same  time  scouring  Brie,  Boissonnais,  Vexin  &nd 
Upper   Normandy ;    already   barns    had   been   burnt  and   wbtit 
thrown  into  the  river;  sacks  of  flour  were  ripped  to  pieces  htfon' 
the  king's  eyes,  at  Versailles,     In  his  excitement  and  dismay  k 
promised  the  mob  that  the  bread*rate  should  for  the  future  he 
fixed  at  two  sous ;  the  rioters  rushed  to  Paris, 

M.  Turgot  had  been  confined  to  his  bed  for  some  months  by  ai^ 
attack  of  gout;  the  Paris  bakers'  shops  had  already  been  pil- 
laged; the  rioters  had  entered  simultaneously  by  sevenil  !£^itA% 
badly  guarded ;  only  one  bakery  *  the  owner  of  which  hail  tikt" 
the  precaution  of  putting  over  the  door  a  notice  with  ^hop  b  M 
on  it,  had  escaped  the  madmen.  The  comptroller-genenil  hdi 
himself  put  into  his  carriage  and  driven  to  Versailles:  at  ^ 
advice  the  king  withdi^ew  his  rash  oancession ;  the  cunfui 
price  of  bread  was  maintained :  "  No  firing  upon  them/'  Loui* 
XVi*  insisted.  The  lieutenant  of  police,  Lenoir,  had  «ho*n 
weakness  and  inefficiency;  Marshal  Birou  was  entrusted  with  tk 
repression  of  the  riot.     He  occupied  all  the  main  thoroughijif^ 


Chap.LVL]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OP  M.  TURGOT.  341 

and  cross-roads ;  sentries  were  placed  at  the  bakers*  doors ;  those 
;who  had  hidden  themselves  were  compelled  to  bake.  The  octroi- 
dues  on  grain  were  at  the  same  time  suspended  at  all  the  markets ; 
wheat  was  already  going  down;  when  the  Parisians  went  out 
of  doors  to  see  the  riot,  they  couldn't  find  any.  "  Well  done, 
general  in  command  of  the  flour  (general  d^es  farines)^^^  said  the 
tremblers,  admiring  the  military  arrangements  of  Marshal  Biron. 

The  Parliament  had  caused  to  be  placarded  a  decree  against 
street-assemblies,  at  the  same  time  requesting  the  king  to  lower 
the  price  of  bread.  The  result  was  deplorable ;  the  severe  reso- 
lution of  the  council  was  placarded  beside  the  proclamation  of  the 
Parliament ;  the  magistrates  were  summoned  to  Versailles.  The 
prosecution  of  offenders  was  forbidden  them;  it  was  entrusted 
to  the  J)rovost's  department.  "  The  proceedings  of  the  brigands 
appear  to  be  combined,"  said  the  keeper  of  the  seals ;  "  their 
approach  is  announced;  public  rumours  indicate  the  day,  the 
hour,  the  places  at  which  they  are  to  commit  their  outrages.  It 
would  seem  as  if  there  were  a  plan  formed  to  lay  waste  the 
country-places,  intercept  navigation,  prevent  the  carriage  of  wheat 
on  the  high  roads,  in  order  to  starve  out  the  largj  towns,  and 
especially  the  city  of  Paris."  The  king  at  the  same  time  forbade 
any  "  remonstrance."  "  I  rely,"  said  he  on  dismissing  the  court, 
**upon  your  placing  no  obstacle  or  hindrance  in  the  way  of  the 
measures  I  have  taken,  in  order  that  no  similar  event  may  occur 
during  the  period  of  my  reign." 

The  troubles  were  everywhere  subsiding,  the  merchants  were 
recovering  their  spirits;  M.  Turgot  had  at  once  sent  fifty 
thousand  francs  to  a  trader  whom  the  rioters  had  robbed  of  a 
boat  full  of  wheat  which  they  had  flung  in  to  the  river ;  two  of 
the  insurgents  were  at  the  same  time  hanged  at  Paris  on  a  gallows 
forty  feet  high  and  a  notice  was  sent  to  the  parish-priests, 
which  they  were  to  read  from  the  pulpit  in  order  to  enlighten 
the  people  as  to  the  folly  of  such  outbreaks  and  as  to  the 
conditions  of  the  trade  in  grain :  "  My  people,  when  they*  know 
the  authors  of  the  trouble,  will  regard  them  with  horror,"  said 
the  royal  circular.  The  authors  of  the  trouble  have  remained 
unknown;  to  his  last  day,  M.  Turgot  believed  in  the  existence 


:U2  HISTORY  OF   FRANCE.  [Cup.LVI 

of  a  plot  concocta^l  bv  the  prince  of  Conti,  with  the  deaagt^  of 
overthrowing?  him. 

Severitieji  were  hateful  to  the  king;  he  had  mkjadged  his 
own  character,  when,  at  the  outset  of  hb  reign,  he  had  desired 
the  appellation  of  L'Vff^  l*>  .SV4v#v.  •*  Have  we  nothing  to 
r*rproach  ourselves  with  in  these  measures?"  he  was  inoesaanllj 
aiiking  M.  Turgot,  who  was  as  conseientioos  bat  more  resolute 
than  his  master.  An  amnesty  preceded  the  coronation,  which  was 
to  take  place  at  Rheims  on  the  11th  of  June,  1775. 

A  grave  question  presented  itself  as  regarded  the  king  s  oath : 
should  he  swear,  as  the  majority  of  his  predecessors  had  sworn,  to 
exterminate  heretics  ?  M.  Turgot  had  aroused  Louis  XVL's  scruples 
upon  this  subject ;  **  Tolerance  ought  to  appear  expedient  in  pomt 
of  policy  for  even  an  infidel  prince,"  he  said :  "  but  it  ought  to  he 
regarded  as  a  sacred  duty  for  a  religious  prince/*  His  opinion 
had  been  warmly  supported  by  M.  de  Malesherbes,  premier  presi* 
dent  of  the  Court  of  Aids.  The  king  in  his  perplexity  consulted 
M.  de  Maurepas.  "  M.  Turgot  is  right,"  said  the  minister,  "  but 
he  is  too  bold.  What  he  proposes  could  hardly  be  attempted  by  a 
prince  who  came  to  the  throne  at  a  ripe  age  and  in  tranqiul  times. 
That  is  not  your  position.  The  fanatics  are  more  to  be  dreaded 
than  the  heretics.  The  latter  are  accustomed  to  their  present  con- 
dition. It  will  always  be  easy  for  you  not  to  employ  persecution. 
Those  old  formulas,  of  which  nobody  takes  any  notice,  are  no 
longer  considered  to  be  binding."  The  king  yielded ;  he  made  no 
change  in  the  form  of  the  oath,  and  confined  himself  to  stam- 
mering out  a  few  incoherent  words.  At  the  coronation  of 
Louis  XV.  the  people,  heretofore  admitted  freely  to  the  cathedral, 
had  been  excluded ;  at  the  coronation  of  Louis  XVI.  the  officiator, 
who  was  the  coadjutor  of  Rheims,  omitted  the  usual  formula, 
addressed  to  the  whole  assembly,  "  Will  you  have  this  king  for 
your  king?"  This  insolent  neglect  was  soon  to  be  replied  to  by 
the  sinister  echo  of  the  sovereignty  of  the  people*  The  clergy, 
scared  by  M.  Turgot's  liberal  tendencies,  reiterated  their  appeals 
to  the  king  against  the  liberties  tacitly  accorded  to  Protestants. 
"  Finish,"  they  said  to  Louis  XV^I.,  "the  work  which  Louis  the 
Great  began  and  which  Louis  the  Well-beloved  continued."     The 


Chap.  LVI.]     LOUIS  XVL,  MINISTRY  OF  M.  TURGOT.  343 

king  answered  with  vague  assurances ;  already  MM.  Turgot  and 
de  Malesherbes  were  entertaiTiing  him  Avith  a  project  which 
conceded  to  IVot<>stants  the  civil  status. 

M.   de  Malesherbes,   indeed,  had  been  for  some  months  past 
seconding   his  friend  in  the  weighty  task  whicli   the  latter  had 
undertaken.  Born  at  Paris  on  the  6th  of  December,  1721 ,  son  of  the 
chancellor  William  de  Lamoignon,  and  for  the  last  twenty-three 
years  premier  president  in  the  Court  of  Aids,  Malesherbes  had 
invariably  fought  on  behalf  of  honest  right   and  sound  liberty ; 
popularity  had  followed  him  in  exile  ;  it  had  increased  continually 
since  the  accession  of  Loiiis  XVI.,  who  lost  no  time  in  recalling 
him ;  he  had  just  presented  to  the  king  a  remarkable  memorandum 
touching  the  reform  of  the  fiscal  regimen,  when  M.  Turgot  pro- 
posed to  the  king  to  call  him  to  the  ministry  in  the  place  of  the 
duke  of  La  Vrilliere.     M.  de  Maurepas  made  no  objection :  "  He 
will  be  the  link  of  the  ministry,"   he  said,  "  because  he  has  the 
eloquence  of  tongue  and  of  heart."     "  Rest  assured,"  wrote  Mdlle. 
de  Lespinasse,  "  that  what  is  well  will  be  done  and  will  be  done 
well.     Never,  no  never,  were  two  more  enlightened,  more  disin- 
terested, more  virtuous  men  more  powerfully  knit  together  in  a 
greater  and  a  higher  cause."     The  first  care  of  M.  de  Malesherbes 
was  to  protest  against  the  sealed  letters  {lettrcs  de  cachet — sum- 
mary arrest),  the  application  whereof  he  was  for  putting  in  the 
hands  of  a  special  tribunal ;  he  visited  the  Bastille,  releasing  the 
prisoners  confined  on  simple  suspicion.     He  had  already  dared  to 
advise   the   king   to  a  convocation   of  the   states-general.     **  In 
France,"  he  had  written  to  Louis  XVL,  "  the  nation  has  always 
had  a  deep  sense  of  its  rights  and  its  liberty.     Our  maxims  have 
been  more  than  once  recognized  by  our  kings ;  they  have  even 
gloried  in  being  the  sovereigns  of  a  free  people.     Meanwhile,  the 
articles  of  this  liberty  have  never  been  reduced  to  writing,  and  the 
real  power,  the  power  of  arms,  which,  under  a  feudal  government, 
was  in  the  hands  of  the  grandees,  has  been  completely  centred  in 
the  kingly  power  .  .  .  We  ought  not  to  hide  from  you,  sir,  that  the 
way  which  would  be  most  simple,  most  natural,  and  most  in  con- 
formity with  the  constitution  of  this  monarchy,  would  be  to  hear 
the  nation  itself  in  full  assembly,  and  nobody  should  have  the  pol- 


344 


HISTORY  OF  FEANCE, 


[Chap.  L\1 


troonery  to  use  any  other  language  to  you ;  nobody  should  leaire 
you  in  ignorance  that  the  unanimous  wish  of  the  nation  is  to  ohim  g 
states-general  or  at  the  least  states-provinciaL  *  -  .  Deign  to  co^H 
aider,  Sir,  that  on  the  day  you  grant  this  precious  liberty  to  your 
people  it  may  bo  said  that  a  treaty  has  been  concluded  between 
king  and  nation  against  ministers  and  magistrates :  against  tlie 
minist'erSj  if  there  be  any  perverted  enough  to  wish  to  caneeal 
from  you  the  truth;  against  tlio  magistratesj  if  there  ever  beany 
ambitious  enough  to  pretend  to  have  the  exclusive  right  of  telling 
you  it/' 

Almost  the  whole  ministry  was  in  the  hands  of  reformer^;* 
sincere  desire  to  do  good  impelled  the  king  towards  those  who 
promised  him  the  happiness  of  his  people.  Marshal  Muy  t^l 
succumbed  to  a  painful  operation :  **  Sir,"  he  had  said  to  Loaii* 
XVI.,  before  placing  himself  in  the  surgeons*  hands,  "in  a  fort- 
night I  shall  be  at  your  Majesty's  feet  or  with  your  august  fatkr/' 
He  had  succumbed.  M,  Turgot  spoke  to  M,  de  Maurepas  *>f 
the  duke  of  St.  Germain.  "Propose  him  to  the  king,'*  saidtk 
minister,  adding  his  favourite  phrase  :  *'  one  can  but  try/' 

In  the  case  of  government,  trials  are  often  a  dangerous  thing* 
M.  de  St.  Germain,  born  in  the  Jura  in  1707  and  entered  first  i^f 
all  amongst  the  Jesuits^  had  afterwards  devoted  himself  to  &^ 
career  of  arms  :  he  had  served  the  Elector  Palatine,  Maria  Tliarp^ 
and  the  Elector  of  Bavaria;  enrolled  finally  by  Marshal  Saie,  lit^ 
bad  distinguished  himself  under  his  orders ;  as  heut. -general  diirinat 
the  Seven  Years'  War,  he  had  brought  up  his  division  at  Bostocb 
more  quickly  than  his  colleagues  had  theirs,  he  had  fled  less  far 
than  the  others  before  the  enemy;  but  his  character  was  difficaltt 
suspicious,  exacting  ;  he  was  always  seeing  everywhere  plots  coW' 
cocted  to  ruin  him  :  "  I  am  persecuted  to  the  death,"  he  would  ^T- 
He  entered  the  service  of  Denmark ;  returning  to  France  and  ia 
poverty,  he  lived  in  Alsace  on  the  retired  list;  it  was  there  that 
the  king's  summons  came  to  find  him  out.  In  his  solitude  M.  A' 
St.  Germain  had  conceived  a  thousand  projects  of  reform ;  i*' 
wanted  to  apply  them  all  at  once.  He  made  no  sort  of  case  ef  tlit* 
picked  corps  and  suppressed  the  majority  of  them,  thus  trritatiiigi 
likewise^  all  the  privileged,    "  M*  de  St.  Germain,"  wrote  KrtHierick 


CffAP.  LVL]     LOUIS  XTI.,  MINISTRY  OF  M.  TURGOT.  345 

II,  to  Voltair*^,  *Miad  great  and  noble  plans  very  advantageous 
for  your  Welches ;  but  everybody  thwarted  him^  because  the 
reforms  he  proposed  would  have  entailed  a  strictness  which  was 
repugnant  to  them  on  ten  thousand  sluggards,  well  frogged,  well 
laced,"  The  enthusiasm  which  had  been  excited  by  the  new 
minister  of  war  had  disappeared  from  amongst  the  officers ;  he  loBt 
the  hearts  of  the  soldiers  by  wanting  to  establish  in  the  array  tlie 
corporal  punishments  in  use  amongst  the  German  armies  in  wliieli 
he  had  served.  The  feeling  was  so  strong,  that  the  attempt  was 
Itfjaodoned-  "  In  the  matter  of  sabres,*'  said  a  grenadier,  "  I  like 
only  the  edge."  Violent  and  weak  both  together,  in  spit©  of  his 
real  merit  and  his  genuine  worth,  often  givinpf  up  wise  resolutions 
out  of  sheer  embarrassment,  he  nearly  always  failed  in  what  he 
undertook ;  the  outcries  against  the  reformers  were  increased 
thereby;  the  faults  of  M,  de  St,  Germain  were  put  down  to  M, 
Turgot. 

It  was  against  the  latter  indeed,  that  the  courtiers'  anger  and 
M-  de  Maurepas*  gi^owing  jealousy  were  directed.  "  Once  upon  a 
time  there  was  in  France/'  said  a  pamphlet,  entitled  Le  Songe  de 
M*  de  MaurepfM^  attributed  to  Monsieur,  tlie  king's  brother,  "  there 
was  in  Franco  a  certain  man,  clumsy,  crass,  heavy,  born  with  more 
of  rudeness  tliau  of  character,  more  of  obstinacy  than  of  firmness, 
of  impetuosity  than  of  tact,  a  charlatan  In  administration  as  well 
as  in  virtue,  made  to  bring  the  one  into  disrepute  and  the  other 
into  disgust,  in  other  respects  shy  from  self-conceit,  timid  from 
pride,  as  unfamiliar  with  men,  whom  he  had  never  known,  as  with 
public  affairs,  which  he  had  always  seen  askew;  his  name  was 
Turgotp  He  was  one  of  those  half-thlnking  brains  which  adopt 
all  visions,  all  manias  of  a  gigantic  sort.  He  was  believed  to  bo 
deep,  he  was  really  shallow;  night  and  day  he  was  raving  of 
pkiiostq}hjf  lihcrhj^  eqmdity^  net  product"  "  He  is  too  much  {troj) 
fort)  for  me,*'  M.  de  Manrepas  would  often  say.  *'  A  man  must 
be  possessed  (or  inspired^ — ejirageY^  wi'ote Malesherbes,  "  to  force, 
at  one  and  the  same  time,  the  hand  of  the  king,  of  M.  do  Maurepas, 
of  the  whole  cornet  and  of  the  Parliament" 

Perhaps  the  task  was  above  human  strength ;  it  was  certainly 
beyond  that  of  M.  Turgot,     Ever  occupied  with  the  public  weal, 


Ui} 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap,  LVf^ 


he  turned  his  mind  to  every  subject,  issuing  a  multiplicity  of 
decrees  J  sometimes  with  ratlier  chimerical  hopes.  He  had  proposed 
to  the  king  six  edicts;  two  were  extremely  important ;  the  firiti 
aljolished  jurorships  {jarandes)  and  masterships  (inaitrises)  among 
the  workmeu  :  "  The  king/'  said  the  preamble,  **  wishes  to  sectire 
to  all  his  subjects  and  especially  to  the  humblest,  to  those  who 
have  no  property  but  their  labour  and  their  industry,  the  full  anil 
entire  enjoyment  of  their  riglitSj  and  to  reform ,  consequently,  tlie 
institutions  which  strike  at  those  rights,  and  which,  in  spite 
tlieir  antiquitjs  have  failed  to  be  legalized  by  time,  opinion  ai 
even  the  acts  of  authority,*'  The  second  substituted  for  forcL>d 
labour  on  roads  and  highways  an  impost  to  which  all  propnetors 
were  equally  liable. 

This  was  the  first  step  towards  equal  redistribution  of  taxcii ; 
great  was  the  explosion  of  disquietude  and  wrath  on  the  part  of 
the  privileged;  it  showed  itself  fi^rst  in  the  council,  by  the  moullt 
of  M.  do  Miromesnil ;  Turgot  sprang  up  with  animation*  *'  The 
keeper  of  the  seals,"  he  said,  "seems  to  adopt  the  principle  tlii 
l;y  the  constitution  of  the  State,  the  noblesse  ought  to  bo  exem 
from  all  taxation.  This  idea  will  appear  a  paradox  to  the  majorit 
of  the  nation-  The  commoners  {rotiirlers)  are  certainly  the  great 
number,  and  we  are  no  longer  in  the  days  when  their  voices  did 
not  count/'  The  king  hstened  to  the  discussion  in  silence, 
'*  Come,"  he  exclaimed  abruptly,  "I  see  that  there  are  on 
M,  Turgot  and  I  here  who  love  the  people,"  and  ho  m 
the  edicts. 

The  Parliament,  like  the  uoblesee,  had  taken  up  the  cudgels; 
they  made  repi'esentation  after  representation ;  **  The  populace 
France,"  said  the  court  boldly,  "  is  liable  to  talliage  and  forcfd 
labour  at  will,  and  that  is  a  part  of  the  constitution  which  the 
king  cannot  change."  Louis  XVI.  summoned  the  Parliament 
Versailles,  and  had  the  edicts  enregistered  at  a  bed  of  ju^ti 
"  It  is  a  bod  of  beneficence  I "  exclaimed  Voltaire,  a  passiomite 
admirer  of  Turgot. 

The  comptroller-general  was  triumphant;  but  hia  Tictoty 
but  the  prelude  to  his   fall*     Too  many  enemies  were  leagui 
against  him,  irritated  both  by  the  noblest  qualities  of  his  character 


tlie^ 


Chap.  LVI.]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OP  M.  TURCOT.  349 

and  at  the  same  time  by  the  natural  defects  of  his  manners. 
Possessed  of  love  "  for  a  beautiful  ideal,  of  a  rage  for  perfection," 
M.  Turgot  had  wanted  to  attempt  everything,  undertake  every- 
thing, reform  everything  at  one  blow.  He  fought  single-handed. 
M.  de  Malesherbes,  firm  as  a  rock  at  the  head  of  the  Court  of 
Aids,  supported  as  he  was  by  the  traditions  and  corporate  feeUng 
of  the  magistracy,  had  shown  weakness  as  a  minister.  "  I  could 
offer  the  king  only  uprightness  and  good-heartedness,"  he  said 
himself,  "two  qualities  insufficient  to  make  a  minister,  even  a 
mediocre  one."  The  courtiers,  in  fact,  called  him  "  good-heart " 
{honhomme).  "M.  de  Malesherbes  has  doubts  about  everything," 
wrote  Madame  du  Deffand,  "M.  Turgot  has  doubts  about 
nothing."  M.  de  Maurepas  having,  of  set  purpose,  got  up  rather 
a  serious  quarrel  with  him,  Malesherbes  sent  in  his  resignation 
to  the  king ;  the  latter  pressed  him  to  withdraw  it :  the  minister 
remained  inflexible.  "  You  are  better  off  than  I,"  said  Louis  XVI. 
at  last,  "  you  can  abdicate."  » 

For  a  long  while  the  king  had  remained  faithful  to  M.  Turgot. 
**  People  may  say  what  they  like,"  he  would  repeat,  with  sincere 
conviction,  " but  he  is  an  honest  man!"  Infamous  means  were 
employed,  it  is  said,  with  the  king ;  he  was  shown  forged  letters, 
purporting  to  come  from  M.  Turgot,  intercepted  at  the  post  and 
containing  opinions  calculated  to  wound  his  Majesty  himself. 
To  pacify  the  jealousy  of  M.  de  Maurepas,  Turgot  had  given 
up  his  privilege  of  working  alone  with  the  king.  Left  to  the 
adroit  manoeuvres  of  his  old  minister,  Louis  XVI.  fell  away 
by  degrees  from  the  troublesome  reformer  against  whom  were 
leagued  all  those  who  were  about  him.  The  queen  had  small 
liking  for  M.  Turgot,  whose  strict  economy  had  cut  down  the 
expenses  of  her  household;  contrary  to  their  usual  practice, 
her  most  trusted  servants  abetted  the  animosity  of  M.  de  Maure- 
pas. "  I  confess  that  I  am  not  sorry  for  these  departures," 
wrote  Marie  Antoinette  to  her  mother,  after  the  fall  of  M.  Turgot, 
"  but  I  have  had  nothing  to  do  with  them."  "  Sir,"  M.  Turgot 
had  written  to  Louis  XVI.,  "  monarcfas  governed  by  courtiers 
have  but  to  choose  between  the  fate  of  Charles  I.  and  that  of 
Charles  IX."     The  coolness  went  on  increasing  between  the  king 


350  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.-LVI. 

and  his  minister.  On  the  12th  of  May,  1776,  the  comptroller- 
general  entered  the  king's  closet;  he  had  come  to  speak  to 
him  about  a  new  project  for  an  edict ;  the  exposition  of  reasons 
was,  as  usual,  a  choice  morsel  of  political  philosophy.  "  Another 
commentary!"  said  the  king  with  temper.  He  listened  however. 
When  the  comptroller-general  had  finished,  **  Is  that  all?"  asked 
the  king.  "Yes,  sir."  "So  much  the  better,"  and  he  showed 
the  minister  out.  A  few  hours  later,  M.  Turgot  received  his 
dismissal. 

He  was  at  his  desk,  drawing  up  an  important  decree ;  he  laid 
down  his  pen,  saying  quietly,  "My  successor  will  finish;"  and, 
when  M.  de  Maurepas  hypocritically  expressed  his  regret :  "  I 
retire,"  said  M.  Turgot,  "without  having  to  reproach' my  self  with 
feebleness,  or  falseness,  or  dissimulation."  He  wrote  to  the  king: 
"  I  have  done,  sir,  what  I  believed  to  be  my  duty  in  setting  before 
you,  with  unreserved  and  unexampled  frankness  the  difficulty 
of  the  position  in  which  I  stood  and  what  I  thought  of  your 
own.  If  I  had  not  done  so,  I  should  have  considered  myself  to 
have  behaved  culpably  towards  you,  You,  no  doubt,  have  come 
to  a  different  conclusion,  since  you  have  withdrawn  your  confidence 
from  me ;  but,  even  if  I  were  mistaken,  you  cannot,  sir,  but  do 
justice  to  the  feeling  by  which  I  was  guided.  All  I  desire,  sir,  is 
that  you  may  always  be  able  to  believe  that  I  was  short-sighted 
and  that  I  pointed  out  to  you  merely  fanciful  dangers.  I  hope 
that  time  may  not  justify  me  and  that  your  reign  may  be  as  happy 
and  as  tranquil,  for  yourself  and  your  people,  as  they  flattered 
themselves  it  would  be,  in  accordance  with  your  principles  of 
justice  and  beneficence." 

Useless  wishes,  belied  in  advance  by  the  pi^evisionsof  M.  Turgot 
himself.  Ho  had  espied  the  danger  and  sounded  some  of  the 
chasms  just  yawning  beneath  the  feet  of  the  nation  as  well  as  of 
the  king;  he  committcKi  the  noble  error  of  believing  in  the 
instant  and  supreme  influence  of  justice  and  reason,  ^*  Sir,"  said 
he  to  Louis  XVI.,  "you  ought  to  govern,  like  God,  by  general 
laws."  Hud  he  been  longer  in  power,  M.  Turgot  would  still 
have  failed  in  his  designs.  The  life  of  one  man  was  too  short 
and   the  hand  of  one  man  too   weak  to    modify  the  course  of 


Chap.  LVI.]     LOUIS  XVI.,  MINISTRY  OF  M.  TURGOT.  851 

events,  fruit  slowly  ripened  during  so  many  centuries.  It  was 
to  the  honour  of  M.  Turgot  that  he  discerned  the  mischief 
and  would  fain  have  applied  the  proper  remedy.  He  was  often 
mistaken  about  the  means,  oftener  still  about  the  strength  he  had  at 
disposal.  He  had  the  good  fortune  to  die  early,  still  sad  and  anxious 
about  the  fate  of  his  country,  without  having  been  a  witness 
of  the  catastrophes  he  had  foreseen  and  of  the  sufferings  as  well  as 
wreckage  through  which  France  must  pass  before  touching  at  the 
haven  he  would  fain  have  opened  to  her. 

The  joy  of  the  courtiers  was  great,  at  Versailles,  when  the 
news  arrived  of  M.  Turgot's  fall;  the  public  regretted  it  but 
little :  the  inflexible  severity  of  his  principles  which  he  never 
veiled  by  grace  of  manners,  a  certain  disquietude  occasioned  by 
the  chimerical  views  which  were  attributed  to  him,  had  alienated 
many  people  from  him.  His  real  friends  were  in  consternation. 
"  I  was  but  lately  rejoicing,"  said  Abbe  Very,  "  at  the  idea  that 
the  work  was  going  on  of  coolly  repairing  a  fine  edifice  which  time 
had  damaged.  Henceforth,  the  most  that  will  be  done  will  be  to 
see  after  repairing  a  few  of  its  cracks.  I  no  longer  indulge  in 
hopes  of  its  restoration;  I  cannot  but  apprehend  its  downfall 
sooner  or  later."  "  Oh  1  what  news  I  hear!"  writes  Voltaire  to 
D' Alembert ;  "  France  would  have  been  too  fortunate.  What  will 
become  of  us  ?  I  am  quite  upset.  I  see  nothing  but  death  for 
me  to  look  forward  to,  now  that  M.  Turgot  is  out  of  oflSce. 
It  is  a  thunderbolt  fallen  upon  my  brain  and  upon  my  heart." 

A  few  months  later  M,  de  St.  Germain  retired  in  his  turn,  not 
to  Alsace  again,  but  to  the  Arsenal  with  forty  thousand  livres  for 
pension.  The  first,  the  grei^t  attempt  at  reform  had  failed. 
**M.  de  Malesherbes  lacked  will  to  remain  in  power,"  said 
Abbe  Very,  "M.  Turgot  conciliatoriness  (conciUabUite)^  and  M. 
de  Maurepas  soul  enough  to  follow  his  lights."  "M.  de  Males- 
herbes," wrote  Condorcet,  **  has,  either  from  inclination  or  from 
default  of  mental  rectitude,  a  bias  towards  eccentric  and  para- 
doxical ideas ;  he  discovers  in  his  mind  numberless  arguments  for 
and  against,  but  never  discovers  a  single  one  to  decide  him. 
In  his  private  capacity  he  had  employed  his  eloquence  in  proving 
to  the  king  and  the  ministers  that  the  good  of  the  nation  was  the 


352 


HISTORY  OP  FRANCE. 


[CflAF.  LVI. 


one  tlimg  needful  to  be  thought  of ;  when  he  became  minister^  he 
employed  it  in  proying  that  this  good  was  impossible."     "I  un- 
derstand  two  things  in  the  matter  of  war/*  said  M.  de  St,  Gerraaiii 
jnst  before  he  became  minister^  "  to  obey  and  to  command  ;  butp  if 
it  comes  to  advisingj  I  don't  know  anything  about  it/'     He  was^ 
indeed,  a  bad  adviBcr;  and  with  the  best  intentions  he  had  do  idea 
either  how  to  command  or  how  to  make  Iiimself  obeyed,    IL  Turgot 
had  correctly  estimated  the  disorder  of  affairs,  when  he  wroto  to 
the  king  on  the  30th  of  April,  a  fortnight  before  his  disgrace,  "  Sir, 
the  parliaments  are  already  in  better  heart,  more  audacioiis>  mow 
implicated  in  the  cabals  of  the  court  than  they  were  in  1770, 
after  twenty  years  of  enterprise  and  success,     Minds  are  a  thou- 
sand times   more   excited   upon    all   sorts  of  matters,  and  ynm 
ministry  is  almost  as  divided  and  as  feeble  as  that  of  j^oiir  pn*Jt?* 
coBsor,     Consider,  sir,  that,  in  the  course  of  nature,  you  have  fiftv 
years   to   reign,   and  reflect  what   progress   may  be   made  by  -i 
disorder  which,  in  twenty  years,  has  reached  the  pitcli  at  which  we 
see  it*" 

Turgot  and  Malegherbes  had  fallen ;  tliey  had  vainly  attempterf 
to  make  the  soundest  as  well  as  the  most  moderate  prificipb 
of  pure  philosophy  triumphant  in  the  government;  at  home  a  neff 
attempt,  bolder  and  at  the  same  time  more  pmctical,  wai*  mm 
about  to  resuscitate  for  a  while  the  hopes  of  liberal  minds;  abroi^i 
and  in  a  new  world  there  was  already  a  commencement  of  event^ 
which  were  about  to  bring  to  France  a  revival  of  gloi^and  to  sbc*' 
on  the  reign  of  Louis  XVL  a  moment's  legitiraatg  and  brilliant 
lustiv. 


'^ 


4^^^., 


CHAPTER  LVIL 

XVL  ^  FRANCE    ABROAD.  —  UNITED     STATES' 
INDEPENDENCE,-!  775- ITSa 


WAR    OF 


two  things,  great  and  difficult  as  they  may  be,  are  a 

tnan*s  duty  and  may  establish  his  fame.     To  support 

misfortune  and  be  sturdily  resigned  to  it;  to  believe 

in  the  good  and  trust  in  it  perseveringly  "  [M,  Guizot,  Washington'], 

*'  There  is  a  sight  as  fine  and  not  less  salutary  thau  that  of  a 

I  irirtuous  man  at  grips  with  adversity ;  it  is  the  sight  of  a  virtuous 

man  at  the  head  of  a  good  cause  and  securing  its  triumph, 

'*  If  ever  cause  were  just  and  had  a  right  to  success,  it  was  that 
of  the  English  colonies  which  rose  in  insurrection  to  become  the 
United  States  of  America. 

'*  Opposition,  in  their  case,  preceded  insurrection* 
Their  opposition  was  founded  on  historic  right  and  on  faets, 
on  rational  right  and  on  ideas. 

**  It  is  to  the  honour  of  England  that  she  had  deposited  in  the 
cradle  of  her  colonies  the  germ  of  their  liberty ;  almost  all,  at  their 


vol.. 


A  a 


354  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

foundation,  received  charters  which  conferred  upon  the  colonists 
the  franchises  of  the  mother-country. 

"  At  the  same  time  with  legal  rights,  the  colonists  had  creeds. 
It  was  not  only  as  Englishmen,  but  as  Christians,  that  they 
wanted  to  be  free,  and  they  had  their  faith  even  more  at  heart 
than  their  charters.  Their  rights  would  not  have  disappeared, 
even  had  they  lacked  their  charters.  By  the  mere  impulse  of 
their  souls,  with  the  assistance  of  divine  grace,  they  would  have 
derived  them  from  a  sublimer  source  and  one  inaccessible  to 
human  power,  for  they  cherished  feelings  that  soared  beyond 
even  the  institutions  of  which  they  showed  themselves  to  be 
so  jealous. 

'^  Such,  in  the  English  colonies,  was  the  happy  condition  of 
man  and  of  society,  when  England,  by  an  arrogant  piece  of 
aggression,  attempted  to  dispose,  without  their  consent,  of  their 
fortunes  and  their  destiny." 

The  uneasiness  in  the  relations  between  the  mother-country  and 
the  colonies  was  of  old  date ;  and  the  danger  which  England  ran 
of  seeing  her  great  settlements  beyond  the  sea  separating  from  her 
had  for  some  time  past  struck  the  more  clear-sighted.  **  Colonies 
are  like  fruits  which  remain  on  the  tree  only  until  they  are  ripe," 
said  M.  Turgot  in  1750:  *' when  they  have  become  self-sufficing, 
they  do  as  Carthage  did,  as  America  will  one  day  do."  It  was  in 
the  war  between  England  and  France  for  the  possession  of  Canada 
that  the  Americans  made  the  first  trial  of  their  strength. 

Alliance  was  concluded  between  the  different  colonies,  Virginia 
marched  in  tune  with  Massachusetts ;  the  pride  of  a  new  power, 
young  and  already  victorious,  animated  the  troops  which  marched 
to   the   conquest  of   Canada.     "  If  we   manage  to   remove  from 
Canada   these  turbulent   Gauls,"  exclaimed  John   Adams,  "our 
territory,   in   a   century,  will   be   more   populous   than   England 
herself.     Then  all   Europe  will  be   powerless  to   subjugate  us.'* 
"  I  am  astounded,"  said  the  duke   of   Choiseul  to   the   English 
negotiator  who  arrived  at  Paris  in  1761,  "I  am  astounded  that 
your  great  Pitt  should  attach  so  much  importance  to  the  acquisi- 
tion of  Canada,  a  territory  too  scantily  peopled  to  ever  become 
dangerous  for  you  and  one  which,  in  our  hands,  would  serve 


■Chap.  LVII.]  LOUIS  XVT.,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


355 


I 


to  keep  your  colonies  in  a  state  of  dependence  from  which  they 
will  not  fail  to  free  themselyes  the  moment  Canada  is  ceded  to 
jou."  A  pamphlet  attributed  to  Burke  proposed  to  leave  Canada 
to  France  mth  the  avowed  aim  of  maintaining  on  the  border  of 
the  American  provinces  an  object  of  anxiety  and  an  ever-threaten- 
ing enemy. 

America  protested  its  loyalty  and  rejected  with  indignation  all 
idea  of  separation,  '^  It  is  said  that  the  development  of  the 
strength  of  the  colonies  may  render  them  more  dangerous  and 
bring  them  to  declare  their  independence/'  wrote  Franklin  in 
1760:  "such  fears  are  chimericaL  So  many  causes  are  against 
tbeir  union,  that  1  do  not  hesitate  to  declare  it  not  only  im- 
probable but  impossible;  I  say  impossible — ^without  the  most 
provoking  tyranny  and  oppression^  As  long  as  the  government  is 
mild  and  jiist,  as  long  as  there  is  security  for  civil  and  religious 
interests,  the  Americans  will  be  respectful  and  submissive  subjects. 
The  waves  only  rise  when  the  wind  blows." 

In  England,  many  distinguished  minds  doubted  whether  the 
government  of  the  mother-country  would  manage  to  preserve  the 
discretion  and  moderation  claimed  by  Franklin,  "  Notwithstanding 
all  you  say  of  your  loyalty,  you  Americans,"  observed  Lord  Camden 
to  Franklin  himself,  "  I  know  that  some  day  you  will  shake  off  the 
ties  which  unite  you  to  us  and  you  will  raise  the  standard  of 
independence/'  '*  No  such  idea  exists  or  will  enter  into  the  heads 
of  the  Araericans,"  answered  Franklin,  *'  unless  you  maltreat  them 
quite  scandalously/*  ''  That  is  true,"  rejoined  the  other,  "and  it 
is  exactly  one  of  the  causes  which  I  foresee  and  which  will  bring 
on  the  event." 

The  Seven  Years*  War  was  ended  ^  shamefully  and  sadly  for 
p>ance;  M,  de  Choisenl,  who  had  concluded  peace  with  regret 
and  a  bitter  pang,  was  ardently  pursuing  every  means  of  taking 
his  revenge.  To  foment  disturbances  between  England  and 
her  colonies  appeared  to  him  an  efficacious  and  a  natural  way 
of  gratif)  ing  his  feelings.  "  There  is  great  difficulty  in  governing 
States  in  the  days  in  which  we  live,"  he  wrote  to  M.  Durand, 
at  that  time  French  minister  in  London ;  "  still  greater  difficulty 
in  governing  those  of  America;    and  the   difficulty  approaches 


356  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

impossibility  as  regards  those  of  Asia.    I  am  very  much  astonished 
that  England,  which  is  but  a  very  small  spot  in  Europe,  should 
hold  dominion  over  more  than  a  third  of  America  and  that  her 
dominion  should  have  no  other  object  but  that  of  trade.  ...  As 
long  as  the  vast  American  possessions  contribute  no  subsidies 
for  the  support  of  the  mother-country,  private  persons  in  England 
will  still   grow  rich  for  some   time  on  the  trade  with  America, 
but  the  State  will  be  undone  for  want  of  means  to  keep  together 
a  too  extended   power;    if,  on  the  contrary,  England   proposes 
to  establish  imposts  in  her  American   domains,  when  they  are 
more  extensive   and   perhaps  more   populous   than   the   mother- 
country,  when  they  have  fishing,  woods,  navigation,  com,  iron, 
they  will  easily  part  asunder  fi-om    her,   without  any   fear  of 
chastisement,  for    England  could  not  undertake  a  war   against 
them  to  chastise  them."     He  encouraged  his  agents  to  keep  him 
informed  as  to  the  state  of  feeling  in  America,  welcoming  and 
studying  all   projects,  even   the  most  fantastic,  that   might  be 
hostile  to  England. 

When  M.  de  Choiseul  was  thus  writing  to   M.  Durand,  the 
English  government  had  already  justified  the  fears  of  its  wisest  and 
most  sagacious  friends.     On  the  7th  of  March,  1765,  after  a  short 
and  unimportant  debate.  Parliament,  on  the  motion  of  Mr.  Greorge 
Grenville,  then  first  lord  of  the  treasury,  had  extended  to  the 
American  colonies  the  stamp-tax  everywhere  in  force  in  England. 
The  proposal  had  been  brought  forward  in  the  preceding  year,  but 
the  protests  of  the  colonists  had  for  some  time  retarded  its  discus- 
sion.   "  The  Americans  are  an  ungrateful  people,"  said  Townshend: 
"they  are  children  settled  in  life  by  our  care  and  nurtured  by 
our  indulgence."     Pitt  was  absent.    Colonel  Barr^  rose :  **  Settled 
by  your   care!"   he   exclaimed:    "nay,   it   was  your  oppression 
which  drove  them  to  America;    to   escape   from  your   tyranny, 
they  exposed  themselves  in  the  desert  to  all  the  ills  that  human 
nature  can  endure  !     Nurtured  by  your  indulgence  I     Nay,  they 
have  grown  by  reason  of  your  indifierence ;  and  do  not  forget 
that  these  people,  loyal  as  they  are,  are  as  jealous  as  they  were  at 
the  first  of  their  liberties  and  remain  animated  by  the  same  spirit 
that  caused  the  ^xile  of  their  ancestors."     This  was  the  onlr 


Chap,  LVII.]  LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABHOAD. 


357 


I 
I 


protest-     **  Nobody   voted   on   the   other   side   in   the   House   of 
Lords/'  said  George  Grenville  at  a  later  period. 

In  America  the  effect  was  terrible  and  the  dismay  profound* 
The  Virginia  House  was  in  session;  nobody  dared  to  speak 
against  a  measure  which  struck  at  all  the  privileges  of  the  colonies 
and  went  to  the  hearts  of  the  loyal  gentlemen  still  passionately 
attached  to  the  mother-country,  A  young  barrister,  Patrick 
Henry,  hardly  known  hitherto,  rose  at  last  and  in  an  unsteady 
voice  said :  **  I  propose  to  the  vote  of  the  Assembly  the  following 
resolutions ;  '  Only  the  general  Assembly  of  this  colony  has  the 
right  and  power  to  impose  taxes  on  the  inhabitants  of  this  colony; 
every  attempt  to  invest  with  this  power  any  person  or  body  what' 
ever  other  than  the  said  general  Assembly  has  a  manifest  ten- 
dency to  destroy  at  one  and  the  same  time  British  and  Ame- 
rican liberties/  "  Then  becoming  more  and  more  animated  and 
rising  to  eloquence  by  sheer  force  of  passion;  "Tarquiu  and 
Caesar,''  be  exckiimed,  "had  each  their  Brutus;  Charles  I*  had 
liis  Cromwell  J  and  George  IIL  .  ,  /*  **  Treason  !  treason  !  '*  was 
shouted  on  all  sides  .  .  •  "will  doubtless  profit  by  their  example," 
continued  Patrick  Henry  proudly,  without  allowing  himself  to  be 
moved  by  the  wrath  of  the  government's  friends.  His  resolutions 
were  voted  by  20  to  19, 

The  excitement  in  America  was  communicated  to  England ;  it 
served  the  political  purposes  and  passions  of  Mr,  Pitt;  he  boldly 
proposed  in  the  House  of  Commons  the  repeal  of  the  stamp- tax  : 
**  The  colonists,"  he  said  "  are  subjects  of  this  realm,  having,  like 
yourselves,  a  title  to  the  special  privileges  of  Englishmen ;  they 
are  bound  by  the  English  laws  and,  in  the  same  measure  as 
yourselves,  have  a  right  to  the  liberties  of  this  country.  The 
Americans  are  the  sons  and  not  the  bastards  of  England.  .  .  * 
When  in  this  House  we  grant  subsidies  to  his  Majesty,  we  dispose 
of  that  which  is  our  own  ;  but  the  Americans  are  not  represented 
here  :  when  we  impose  a  tax  upon  them,  what  m  it  we  do?  We, 
the  Commons  of  England,  give  what  to  his  Majesty  ?  Our  own 
personal  property?  No;  we  give  away  the  property  of  the 
Commons  of  America.     There  is  absurdity  in  the  very  terms/' 

The  bill  was  repealed  and  agitation  was  calmed  for  a  while  in 


358  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVli: 

America.  Biit,  ere  long,  Mr.  Pitt  resumed  oflBce  under  the  title 
of  Lord  Chatham,  and  with  oflBce  he  adopted  other  views  as  to  the 
taxes  to  be  imposed ;  in  vain  he  sought  to  disguise  them  under 
the  form  of  custom-house  duties :  the  taxes  on  tea,  glass,  paper, 
excited  in  America  the  same  indignation  as  the  stamp-tax.  Re- 
sistance was  everywhere  organized. 

"Between  1767  and  1774  patriotic  leagues  were  everjrwhere 
formed  against  the  consumption  of  English  merchandize  and  the 
exportation  of  American  produce ;  all  exchange   ceased   between 
the  mother-country  and  the  colonies ;  to  extinguish  the  source  of 
England's  riches  in  America  and  to  force  her  to  open  her  eyes  to 
her  madness   the   colonists    shrank    from  no    privation   and   no 
sacrifice :   luxury  had   vanished,  rich   and   poor  welcomed   ruin 
rather  than  give  up  their  political  rights  "  [M.  Corn^lis  de  Witt, 
HMoire  dft  Washingtoii],   "  I  expect  nothing  more  from  petitions  to 
the  king,"  said  Washington,  already  one  of  the  most  steadfast  cham- 
pions of  American  liberties, "  and  I  would  oppose  them  if  they  were 
calculated  to  suspend  the  execution  of  the  pact  of  non -importation. 
As  sure  as  I  live,  there  is  no  rehef  to  be  expected  for  us  but  from 
tho  straits  of  Great  Britain.     I  beUeve,  or  at  least  I  hope,  that 
thoiv  is  onough  public  virtue  still  remaining  among  us  to  make  us 
ilouy  otirsolvos  ovoryihing  but  the  bare  necessaries  of  life  in  order 
to  obtain  justice.     Tliis  wo  have  a  right  to  do  and  no  power  on 
t>arth  can  force  us  to  a  change  of  conduct  short  of  being  reduced 
to  the  most  abject   slavery.  .  .  ."     He  added  in  a  spirit  of  strict 
justice :  ''  As  to  the  pact  of  non-exportation,  that  is  another  thing; 
I  confess  that  I  have  doubts  of  its  being  legitimate.     We  owe 
considerable  sums  to  Great  Britain ;  we  can  only  pay  them  vni\i 
our  produce.     To  have  a  right  to  accuse  others  of  injustice,  we 
must  be  just  ourselves  ;  and  how  can  we  be  so  if  we  refiise  to  par 
our  debts  to  Great  Britain  r     That  is  what  I  cannot  make  out." 

The  opposition  was  as  yet  within  the  law  and  the  national  effort 
was  as  orderly  as  it  was  impassioned.  *'  There  is  agitation,  there 
are  meetings,  there  is  mutual  encouragement  to  the  struggle,  the 
provinces  concert  opposition  together,  the  wrath  against  Great 
Britain  grows  and  the  abyss  begins  to  yawn ;  but  such  are  the 
habits  of  order  amongst  this  jx^oplo,  that,   in  the  midst  of  thi.'' 


Chap.  LVn.]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 

immense  ferment  amongst  the  nation,  it  iH  scarcely  possible  to 
pick  out  even  a  few  acts  of  violence  here  and  there ;  np  to  the  day 
when  the  uprising  becomes  general,  the  government  of  George  IIL 
can  scarcely  find,  even  in  the  great  centres  of  opposition,  such  as 
Boston,  any  specious  pretexts  for  its  own  violence^'  [M,  Coni^lis 
de  Witt,  Histoire  de  Washmgtoii],  The  declaration  of  indepen- 
dence was  by  this  time  becoming  inevitable  when  Washington  and 
Jefferson  ware  still  writing  in  this  strain :  — 

Washmfftou  to  Cajif,  Mackenzie* 

**  You  are  taught  to  believe  that  the  people  of  Maasachusetta 
tire  a  people  of  rebels  in  revolt  for  independence,  and  what  not» 
Permit  me  to  tell  you,  my  good  friend,  that  you  are  mistaken, 
grossly  mistaken.  .  ,  .  I  can  testify,  as  a  fact,  that  independence 
is  neither  the  wish  nor  the  interest  of  this  colony  or  of  any  other 
on  the  continent,  separately  or  collectively.  But  at  the  same  time 
you  may  rely  upon  it  that  none  of  them  will  ever  submit  to  the 
loss  of  those  privileges,  of  those  precious  rights  which  are  essential 
to  the  happiness  of  every  free  State,  and  without  which  hberty, 
property,  life  itself,  are  devoid  of  any  security/* 

Jeferstm  to  Mr.  Rajidulph. 

**  Believe  me,  my  dear  sir,  there  is  not  in  the  whole  British 
erapire  a  man  who  cherishes  more  cordially  than  I  do  the  union 
with  Great  Britain*  But,  by  the  God  who  made  me,  I  would 
[cease  to  live  rather  than  accept  that  union  on  the  terms  proposed 
[by  Parliament-  We  lack  neither  motives  nor  power  to  declare 
and  maintain  our  separation.  It  is  the  will  alone  that  we  lack, 
and  that  is  growing  little  by  little  under  the  hand  of  our  king/' 

It  was  indeed  growing:  Lord  Chatham  had  been  but  a  short 
time  in  office ;  Lord  North,  on  becoming  prime  minister,  zealously 
[promoted  the  desires  of  George  IIL  in  Parliament  and  throughout 
the  country*  The  opposition,  headed  by  Lord  Chatham,  protested 
in  the  name  of  the  eternal  principles  of  justice  and  liberty  against 
the  measures  adopted  towards  tlie  colonies.  "  Liberty,"  said 
Lord  Chatham,  **  is  pledged  to  liberty,  they  are  indissolubly  allied 
in  this  great  cau^ic,  it  is  the  alliance  between  God  and  nature, 


fi60  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

immutable,  eternal,  a,s  the  light  in  the  firmament  of  heaven! 
Have  a  care;  foreign  war  is  suspended  over  your  heads  by  a 
thin  and  fragile  thread,  Spain  and  France  are  watching  over  your 
conduct,  waiting  for  the  fruit  of  your  blunders ;  they  keep  their 
eyes  fixed  on  America,  and  are  more  concerned  with  the  dis- 
positions of  your  colonies  than  with  their  own  afFairs,  whatever 
they  may  be.  I  repeat  to  you,  my  lords,  if  ministers  persist  in 
their  fatal  counsels,  I  do  not  say  that  they  may  alienate  the 
affections  of  its  subjects,  but  I  aflSrm  that  they  will  destroy  the 
greatness  of  the  crown;  I  do  not  say  that  the  king  will  be 
betrayed,  I  aflSrm  that  the  country  will  be  ruined  !  " 

Franklin  was  present  at  this  scene.  Sent  to  England  by  his 
fellow-countrymen  to  support  their  petitions  by  his  persuasive  and 
dexterous  eloquence,  he  watched  with  inteUigent  interest  the 
disposition  of  the  Continent  towards  his  country.  "  All  Europe 
seems  to  be  on  our  side,"  he  wrote,  "  but  Europe  has  its  own 
reasons.  It  considers  itself  threatened  by  the  power  of  England, 
and  it  would  like  to  see  her  divided  against  herself.  Our  prudence 
will  retard  for  a  long  time  yet,  I  hope,  the  satisfaction  which  our 

enemies  expect  from  our  dissensions Prudence,  pataenoe, 

discretion ;  when  the  catastrophe  arrives,  it  must  be  clear  to  all 
mankind  that  the  fault  is  not  on  our  side." 

The  catastrophe  was  becoming  imminent.  Already  a  riot  at 
Boston  had  led  to  throwing  into  the  sea  a  cargo  of  tea  which  had 
arrived  on  board  two  English  vessels,  and  which  the  governor 
had  refused  to  send  away  at  once  as  the  populace  desired; 
already,  on  the  summons  of  the  Virginia  Convention,  a  general 
Congress  of  all  the  provinces  bad  met  at  Philadelphia;  at  the 
head  of  the  legal  resistance  as  well  as  of  the  later  rebeUion  Id 
arms  marched  the  puritans  of  New  England  and  the  sons  of  the 
cavaliers  settled  in  Virginia;  the  opposition  tumultuous  and 
popular  in  the  North,  parliamentary  and  political  in  the  South, 
.vas  everywhere  animated  by  the  same  spirit  and  the  same  ze^ 
*'  I  do  not  pretend  to  indicate  precisely  what  line  must  be  drawn 
between  Great  Britain  and  the  colonies,"  wrote  Washington  to  one 
of  his  friends,  "  but  it  is  most  decidedly  my  opinion  that  one  must 
be  drawn,  and  our  rights  definitively  secured."     He  had  but  lately 


Chap.  LVIL]  LOUIS  XVI.,  PRANCE  ABROAD.  368 

said :  **  Nobody  ought  to  hesitate  a  moment  to  employ  arms  in 
defence  of  interests  so  precious,  so  sacred,  but  arms  ought  to  be 
our  last  resource.** 

The  day  had  come  when  this  was  the  only  resource  henceforth 
remaining  to  the  Americans.  Stubborn  and  irritated,  George  III. 
and  his  government  heaped  vexatious  measures  one  upon  another, 
feeling  sure  of  crushing  down  the  resistance  of  the  colonists  by 
the  ruin  of  their  commerce  as  well  as  of  their  liberties.  "  We 
must  fight,'*  exclaimed  Patrick  Henry  at  the  Virginia  Convention, 
"  I  repeat  it,  we  must  fight ;  an  appeal  to  arms  and  to  the  God  of 
Hosts,  that  is  all  we  have  left.**  Armed  resistance  was  already 
being  organized,  in  the  teeth  of  many  obstacles  and  notwith- 
standing active  or  tacit  opposition  on  the  part  of  a  considerable 
portion  of  the  people. 

It  was  time  to  act.  On  the  18th  of  April,  1775,  at  night,  a 
picked  body  of  the  English  garrison  of  Boston  left  the  town  by 
order  of  General  Gage,  governor  of  Massachusetts.  The  soldiers 
were  as  yet  in  ignorance  of  their  destination,  but  the  American 
patriots  had  divined  it.  The  governor  had  ordered  the  gates  to 
be  closed ;  some  of  the  inhabitants,  however,  having  found  means 
of  escaping,  had  spread  the  alarm  in  the  country ;  already  men 
were  repairing  in  silence  to  posts  assigned  in  anticipation  ;  when 
the  king's  troops,  on  approaching  Lexington,  expected  to  lay 
hands  upon  two  of  the  principal  movers,  Samuel  Adams  and 
John  Hancock,  they  came  into  collision,  in  the  night,  with  a  corps 
of  militia  blocking  the  way ;  the  Americans  taking  no  notice 
of  the  order  given  them  to  retire,  the  English  troops,  at  the 
instigation  of  their  oflScers,  fired ;  a  few  men  fell ;  war  was  begun 
between  England  and  America.  That  very  evening.  Colonel 
Smith,  whilst  proceeding  to  seize  the  animunition-dep6t  at  Con- 
cord, found  himself  successively  attacked  by  detachments  hastily 
formed  in  all  the  villages;  he  fell  back  in  disorder  beneath  the 
guns  of  Boston. 

Some  few  days  later  the  town  was  besieged  by  an  American 
army  and  the  Congress,  meeting  at  Philadelphia,  appointed  Wash- 
ington "to  be  general-in-chief  of  all  the  forces  of  the  united 
colonies,  of  all  that  had  been  or  should  be   levied,   and   of   all 


36V  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVH." 

others  that  should  voluntarily  offer  their  services  or  join  the  saii 
army  to  defend  American  liberty  and  to  repulse  every  attadt 
directed  against  it."  :  ■>] 

George  Washington  was  born  on  the  22nd  of  February,  1732|1 
on  the  banks  of  the  Potomac,  at  Bridge's  Creek,  in  the  county  of] 
Westmoreland   in   Virginia.     He    belonged   to  a  family  of  con-- 
sideration  among  the  planters  of  Virginia,  descended  from  that 
race  of  country-gentlemen  who  had  but  lately  eflFected  the  revolu- 
tion in  England.     He  lost  his  father  early  and  was  brought  up  by 
a  distinguished,  firm  and  judicious  mother,  for  whom  he  always 
preserved  equal  affection  and  respect.     Intended  for  the  life  of  a 
surveyor  of  the  still  uncleared  lands  of  Western  America,  he  had 
led,  from  his  youth  up,  a  life  of  freedom  and  hardship ;  at  nine*. 
teen,  durhig  the  Canadian   war,  he  had  taken  his   place   in  the 
militia  of  his  country,  and  we   have  seen  how    he   fought  with 
credit  at  the  side  of  General  Braddock.     On  returning  home  at 
the  end  of  the  war  and  settling  at  Mount  Vernon,  which  had  been 
bequeathed  to  him  by  his  eldest  brother,  he  had  become  a  great 
agriculturist  and  great  hunter,  esteemed  by  all,  loved  by  thcwe 
who  knew  him,  actively  engaged  in  his  own  business  as  well  as 
that  of  his  colony,  and  already  an  object  of  confidence  as  weB  as 
hope  to  his  fellow-citizens.     In  1774,  on  the  eve  of  the  great 
struggle,  Patrick  Henry,  on  leaving  tlie  first  Congress  formed  to 
prepare  for  it,  replied  to  those  who  asked  which  was  the  foremost 
man  in  the  Congress :  "  If  you  speak  of  eloquence,  Mr.  Rutledge 
of  South  Carolina  is  the  greatest  orator ;  but,  if  you  speak  of  soli 
knowledge  of  things  and  of  sound  judgment,  Colonel  Washing 
is  indisputably  the  greatest  man  in  the  Assembly.'*     ''-Capable! 
rising  to  the  highest  destinies,  he   could   have  ignored  hi 
without  a  struggle  and  found  in  the  culture  of  his  lands 
faction  for  those  powerful  faculties  which  were  to  suffice  for  i 
command  of  armies  and  for  the  foundation  of  a  government. 
when  the  occasion  offered,  when  the  need  came,  without  any 
on  his  own  part,  without  sui'prise  on  the  part  of  others,  the  saga-- 
cious  planter  turned  out  a  great  man  ;  he  had  in  a  superior  degree 
the  two  qualities  which  in  active  life  render  men  capable  of  great 
things  ;  he  could  believe  firmly  in  his  own  ide-iis  and  act  resolutelv 


I 


II 


CnAf*/LVrL]  LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABROAD.  mj 

jipon  thera,  witboiit  fearing  to  take  the  responsibility"  [M.  GuiEOt, 

He  was,  however,  deeply  moved  and  troubled  at  the  commence- 
ment of  a  contest  of  which  he  foresaw  the  difficulties  and  the  trials, 
without  fathoming  their  full  extent,  and  it  was  not  without  a  struggle 
that  he  accepted  the  power  confided  to  him  by  Congress.  "  Believe 
me,  my  dear  Patsy,"  he  wrote  to  his  wife,  **  I  have  done  all  I  could 
to  screen  myself  from  this  high  mark  of  honour,  not  only  because 
it  cost  me  much  to  separate  myself  from  you  and  from  my  family, 
but  also  because  I  felt  that  this  task  was  beyond  my  strength," 
When  the  new  general  arrived  before  Boston  to  take  command  of 
the  confused  and  undisciplined  masse-s  which  were  hurrying  up 
t-o  the  American  camp,  he  heard  that  an  eDgagement  had  taken 
place  on  the  16th  of  June  on  the  heights  of  Bunker's  Hill,  whicli 
commanded  the  town  ;  the  Americans  who  had  seized  the  positions 
had  defended  them  so  bravely  that  the  English  had  lost  nearly  a 
thousand  men  before  they  carried  the  batteries.  A  few  months 
later,  after  unheard  of  efforts  on  the  general's  part  to  constitute 
and  train  his  array,  he  had  taken  possession  of  all  the  environs  of 
the  place,  and  General  Howe,  who  had  superseded  General  Gage, 
evacuated  Boston  (March  17,  1776). 

Every  step  was  leading  to  the  declaration  of  independence. 
**  If  everybody  were  of  my  opinion,'*  wrote  Washington  in  the 
month  of  February,  1776,  **th6  English  Ministers  would  learn  in 
few  words  what  we  want  to  arrive  at,  I  should  set  forth  simply, 
and  without  periphrasis,  our  grievances  and  our  resolution  to 
have  justice.  I  should  tell  them  that  we  have  long  and  ardently 
desired  an  honourable  reconciliation,  and  that  it  has  been  refused. 
I  should  add  that  we  have  conducted  ourselves  as  faithful  subjects, 
that  the  feeling  of  liberty  is  too  strong  in  our  hearts  to  let  us  ever 
submit  to  slavery,  and  that  we  are  quite  determined  to  burst 
every  bond  with  an  unjust  and  unnatural  government,  if  our 
enslavement  alone  will  satisfy  a  tyrant  and  his  diabolical  ministry. 
And  I  should  tell  them  all  this  not  in  covert  terms,  but  in  language 
as  plain  as  the  light  of  the  sun  at  full  noon," 

Many  people  still  hesitated,  from  timidity,  from  foreseeing  the 
fiuffenngs  which   war  would  inevitably  entail  on   Ameiica,  from 


368  HISTORY  OF  FRANX'E.  [Chap.  LVII. 

hereditary,  faithful  attachment  to  the  mother-countrv.  **  Grentle- 
men,"  had  but  lately  been  obsei-ved  by  Mr.  Dickinson,  deputy  from 
Pennsylvania,  at  the  reading  of  the  scheme  of  a  solemn  declaration 
justifying  the  taking  up  of  arms,  "  there  is  but  one  word  in  this 
paper  of  which  I  disapprove  —  Congress.''  **And  as  for  me, 
Mr.  President,"  said  Mr.  Harrison,  rising,  "  there  is  but  one  word 
in  this  paper  of  which  I  approve — Congress.'' 

Deeds  had  b3come  bolder  than  words.  "We  have  hitherto 
made  war  by  halves,"  wrote  John  Adams  to  General  Gates, 
"  you  will  see  in  to-morrow's  papers  that  for  the  future  we  shall 
probably  venture  to  make  it  by  three-quarters.  The  continental 
navy,  the  provincial  navies,  have  been  authorized  to  cruise  against 
English  property  throughout  the  whole  extent  of  the  Ocean. 
Learn,  for  your  governance,  that  this  is  not  Independence.  Far 
from  it !  If  one  of  the  next  couriers  should  bring  you  word  of 
unlimited  freedom  of  commerce  with  all  nations,  take  good  care 
not  to  call  that  Independence.  Nothing  of  the  sort !  Inde- 
pendence is  a  spectre  of  such  awful  mien  that  the  mere  sight 
of  it  might  make  a  delicate  person  faint." 

Independence  was  not  yet  declared,  and  already,  at  the  end  of 
their  proclanuitions,  instead  of  the  time-honoured  formula,  God 
save  the  king!  the  Virginians  had  adopted  the  proudly  significant 
phrase,  God  sare  the  liberties  of  America  ! 

The  great  day  came,  however,  when  the  Congress  resolved  to 
give  its  true  name  to  the  war  which  the  colonies  had  been  for 
more  than  a  year  maintaining  against  the  mother-country.  After 
a  discussion  which  lasted  three  days,  the  scheme  drawn  up  by 
Jefferson,  for  the  declaration  of  Independence,  was  adopted  bj 
a  large  majority.  The  solemn  proclamation  of  it  was  determined 
upon  on  the  4th  of  July,  and  that  day  has  remained  the  national 
festival  of  the  Uniteil  States  of  America.  John  Adams  made  no 
mistake  when,  in  the  transport  of  his  patriotic  joy,  he  wrote  to  his 
wife: — **  I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  this  day  will  be  celebrated 
by  generations  to  come  as  the  great  anniversary  of  the  nation. 
It  should  be  kept  as  the  day  of  deliverance  by  solemn  thanks- 
gi\-ings  to  the  Almighty.  It  should  be  kept  with  pomp,  to  the 
sound   of  cannon  and  ol  bells,  with   games,  with   bonfires  and 


Chap.  LVIL]         LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD, 


S69 


■  illunimatioiis  from  one  end  of  the  continent  to  the  other,  for  ever. 
You  will  think  me  carried  away  by  my  enthusiasm  ;  but  no,  I  take 
into  account,  perfectly,  the  paina,  the  blood,  the  treasure  we  shall 

Ihwe  to  expend  to  maintain  this  declaration,  to  uphold  and  defend 
these  St^tes^  but  through  all  these  shadows  I  perceive  rays  of 
-ravislring  light  and  joy,  I  feel  that  the  end  is  worth  all  the  means 
and  far  more,  and  that  posterity  will  rtyoice  over  this  event  with 
songs  of  triimiphi  even  though  we  should  have  cause  to  repent 
of  it,  which  will  not  be,  I  trust  in  God." 
K  The  declaration  of  American  independence  was  solemn  and 
grave  ;  it  began  with  an  appeal  to  those  natural  rights  which  the 
eighteenth  century  had  everywhere  leamt  to  claim.  *'  We  hold 
as  seU-'evident  all  these  truths,"  said  the  Congress  of  united 
colonies  :  *'  All  men  are  created  equal,  they  ai'e  endowed  by  their 
Creator  with  certain  inalienable  rights ;  among  those  rights  are 
life,  liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness*  Governments  are 
established  amongst  men  to  guarantee  those  rights,  and  their  just 
power  emanates  from  the  consent  of  the  governed." 

To  this  declaration  of  the  inalienable  right  of  people  to  choose 
their  own  government  for  the  greatest  security  and  greatest  happiness 
of  the  governed,  succeeded  an  enumeration  of  the  grievances  which 
made  it  for  ever  impossible  for  the  American  colonists  to  render 
obedience  to  the  king  of  Great  Britain  ;  the  list  was  long  and  over- 
whelraing;  it  ended  with  this  declaration;  **  Wherefore  we,  the 
rtrpresentatives  of  the  United  States  of  America,  met  together  in 
general  Congress,  catling  the  Supreme  Judge  of  the  universe  to 
witness  the  uprightness  of  our  intentions,  do  solemnly  publish  and 
declare  in  the  name  of  the  good  people  of  these  colonies,  that  the 
United -colonies  are  and  have  a  right  to  be  free  and  independent 
States,  that  they  are  released  from  all  allegiance  to  the  crown  of 
Great  BritaiUj  and  that  every  political  tie  between  them  and  Great 

)  Britain  is  and  ought  to  be  entirely  dissolved.  .  -  .  Full  of  firm 
confidenco  in  the  protection  of  Divine  Providence,  we  pledge, 
mutually,  to  the  maintenance  of  this  declaration  om*  lives,  our 
fortunes,  and  our  most  sacred  possession,  our  honour." 

The   die  was  cast,  and  retreat  cut  off  tor  the  timid  and  the 
malcontent;  through  a  course  of  alternate  successes  and  reverses 
VOL.  V.  B  b 


370  fflSTORY  OF  FRANCE.  .  [Chap.  LVH. 

Washington  had  kept  up  hostilities  during  the  rough  camp^gn  of 
1776.  Many  a  time  he  had  'thought  the  game  lost,  and  he  had 
found  himself  under  the  necessity  of  abandoning  posts  he  had 
mastered  to  fall  back  upon  Philadelphia.  "  What  will  you  do  if 
Philadelphia  is  taken?"  he  was  asked.  "We  will  retire  beyond 
the  Susquehanna,  and  then,  if  necessary,  beyond  the  Alleghanies,'* 
answered  the  general  without  hesitation.  Unwavering  in  his 
patriotic  faith  and  resolution,  he  relied  upon  the  savage  resources 
and  the  vast  wildernesses  of  his  native  country  to  wear  out  at  last 
the  patience  and  courage  of  the  English  generals.  At  the  end  of 
the  campaign,  Washington,  suddenly  resuming  the  offensive,  had 
beaten  the  king's  troops  at  Trenton  and  at  Princeton  one  after 
the  other.  This  brilliant  action  had  restored  the  affairs  of  the 
Americans  and  was  a  preparatory  step  to  the  formation  of  a  new 
army.  On  the  30th  of  December,  1776,  Washington  was  invested 
by  Congress  with  the  full  powers  of  a  dictator. 

Europe,  meanwhile,  was  following  with  increasing  interest  the 
vicissitudes  of  a  struggle  which  at  a  distance  had  from  the  first 
appeared  to  the  most  experienced  an  unequal  one.  "  Let  us 
not  anticipate  events,  but  content  ourselves  with  learning  them 
when  they  occur,"  said  a  letter,  in  1775,  to  M.  de  Guines, 
ambassador  in  London,  from  Louis  XVI.*s  minister  for  foreign 
affairs,  M.  de  Vergennes  :  "  I  prefer  to  follow,  as  a  quiet  observer, 
the  course  of  events  rather  than  tiy  to  produce  them.'*  He  had 
but  lately  said  with  prophetic  anxiety  :  "  Far  from  seeking  to  profit 
by  the  embarrassment  in  which  England  finds  herself  on  account 
of  affairs  in  America,  we  should  rather  desire  to  extricate  her. 
The  spirit  of  revolt,  in  whatever  spot  it  breaks  out,  is  always  of 
dangerous  precedent ;  it  is  with  moral  as  with  physical  diseases, 
both  may  become  contagious.  This  consideration  should  induce 
us  to  take  care  that  the  spirit  of  independence,  which  is  causing  so 
terrible  an  explosion  in  North  America,  have  no  power  to  com- 
municate itself  to  points  interesting  to  us  in  this  hemisphere." 

For  a  moment  French  diplomats  had  been  seriously  disconcerted; 
remembrance  of  the  surprise  in  1755,  when  England  had  com- 
menced hostilities  without  declaring  war,  still  troubled  men's 
minds.     Count  de  Guines  wrote  to    M.  de  Vergennes:    "Lord 


I 


Chak  LVTI;]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD,  371 

Koch  ford  confidetl  to  me  yesterday  that  numbers  of  persons 
on  both  sides  were  perfectly  convinced  that  the  way  to  pnt  a 
stop  to  this  war  in  America  was  to  dechire  it  against  France  and 
that  he  saw  with  pain  that  opinion  gaining  ground*  I  assure  you^ 
sir,  that  all  which  is  said  for  is  very  extraordinary  and  far  from 
encouraging.  The  partisans  of  this  plan  argue  that  fear  of  a  war, 
disastrous  for  England,  which  might  end  hj  putting  France  once 
more  in  possession  of  Canada  would  be  the  most  certain  bug-bear 
for  America,  where  the  propinquity  of  our  religion  and  our  govern- 
ment is  excessively  apprehended;  they  say,  io  fact,  that  the 
Americans,  forced  by  a  war  to  give  up  their  project  of  liberty 
and  to  decide  Ijetween  us  and  them,  would  certainly  give  them  the 
preference/' 

The  question  of  Canada  was  always,  indeed,  an  anxious  one  for 
the  American  colonists ;  Washington  had  detached  in  that  direction  a 
body  of  troops  which  had  been  repidsed  with  loss,  M.  de  Vergennes 
had  determined  to  keep  in  the  United  States  a  semi-official  agent, 
M.  de  Bonvouloir,  commissioned  to  furnish  the  ministry  with 
information  as  to  the  state  of  affairs.  On  sending  Count  de 
Guinea  the  necessary  instructions,  the  minister  wrote  on  the 
7th  of  August,  1775:  "One  of  the  most  essential  objects  is 
to  reassure  the  Americans  on  the  score  of  the  dread  which  they 
are  no  doubt  taught  to  feel  of  us.  Canada  is  the  point  of  jealousy 
for  them;  they  must  be  made  to  understand  that  we  have  no 
thought  at  all  about  it  and  that,  so  far  from  grudging  them  the 
liberty  and  independence  they  are  labouring  to  secure,  we  admire, 
on  the  contrary,  the  grandeur  and  nobleness  of  their  efforts,  and 
that,  having  no  interest  in  injuring  them,  we  should  see  with 
pleasure  such  a  happy  conjunction  of  circumstances  as  would  set 
them  at  liberty  to  frequent  our  ports  ;  the  facilities  they  would 
find  for  their  commerce  would  soon  prove  to  them  all  the  esteem 
we  feel  for  them," 

Independence  was  not  yet  proclaimed  and  already  the  committee 
charged  by  Congress  "  to  correspond  with  friends  in  England, 
Ireland,  and  other  parts  of  the  world ^*'  had  made  inquiry  of  the 

BPr^iif«li  government,   by  roundabout  ways,  as  to   what  were  its 
ons  regarding  the  American  colonies,  and  was  soliciting  th# 
J3  b   2 


I 


I 


372 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Ceap,  LVn 


aid  of  Franc3e,  On  the  3rd  of  Marcli>  1776,  an  agent  of  the 
committee,  Mr.  Silas  Doane,  started  for  Fmnce ;  lie  had  orders 
to  put  the  same  question  point  blank  at  Versailles  ami  at 
Paris. 

The  ministry  was  divided  on  the  sul))ect  of  American  aflTairs; 
M-  Tiirgot  inclined  towards  neutrality,  "  Let  us  leave  the 
mhmirgents^^^  he  said,  *' at  full  liberty  to  make  their  purchases  in 
our  ports  and  to  provide  themselves  by  the  way  of  trade  with  the 
munitions,  and  even  the  money ,  of  which  they  have  need.  A 
refusal  to  sell  to  them  would  be  a  departure  from  neutrality. 
But  it  would  be  a  departure  likewise  to  furnish  them  with  secret 
aid  in  money,  and  this  step,  which  it  w*ould  bo  difficult  to  conceal, 
would  excite  just  complaints  on  the  part  of  the  English/^ 

This  jras,  however,  the  conduct  adopted  on  the  advice  of 
M,  de  Vergennes ;  he  had  been  powerfully  supported  by  the 
arguments  presented  in  a  memorandum  drawn  up  by  M,  de 
Rayneval,  senior  clerk  in  the  foreign  oflSce;  he  was  himself 
nrged  and  incited  by  the  most  intelligent,  the  most  restless 
and  the  most  passionate  amongst  the  partisans  of  the  American 
rebellion — Beaumarchais. 

Peter   August!  n    Caron   de   Beaumarchaie,   bom   at    Paris   on 
the  24ih   of  January,   1732,  son  of  a  clockmaker,   had  already 
acquired   a   certain    celebrity   by  his   lawsuit   against   Councillor 
Goezraan   before   the   parliament   of   Paris,     Accused   of  having 
defamed  the  w^ife  of  a  judge,  after  having  fruitlessly  attempted 
to   seduce    her,    Beaumarchais   succeeded    by   dint   of    courage, 
talent  and  wit  in  holding  his  own  against  the  whole  magistracj 
leagued  against  him.      He  boldly  appealed  to    public    opinion: 
**  I  am  a  citizen,"  he  said,  "  that  is  to  say,  I  am  not  a  courtier,  or 
an  abbe,  or  a  nobleman,  or  a  financier,  or  a  favourite,  nor  anything 
connected  with  what  is  called  influence  (pitmance)  nowadays,    I 
am  a  citizen ;  that   is   to   say,  something  quite   new,  iinknorBt 
tmheard  of  in  France,     I  am  a  citizen ;  that  is  to  say,  what  you 
ought  to  have  been  for  the  last  two  hundred  years,  what  yon  will 
be,  perliapg,  in  twenty  !*'     All  the  spirit  of  the  French  Revolutitin 
was  here,  in  those  most  legitimate  and  at  the  same  time  jno^t 
daring  aspirations  of  his. 


CharLVHO  LOUIS  XVI,,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


878 


Frenrh  a  I  ken  as  he  proclainied  liimself  to  be,  Beaumarcliais 
was  quite  Bmitten  with  the  American  citizens;  he  had  for  a 
long  while  bren  pleading  their  caiisej  sure,  he  said,  of  its 
ultiniate  triumph-  On  the  10th  of  January,  1776,  three  weeks 
before  the  declaration  of  independence,  M,  de  Vergennes  secretly 
remitted  a  million  to  M.  de  Beaumarchaia ;  two  months  latt  r  the 
Fame  sum  was  entrusted  to  him  in  the  name  of  the  king  of  Spain. 
Beaumarchais  alono  was  to  appear  in  the  affair  and  to  supply  the 
insurgent  Americans   with  arms  and    ammunition,     **  You   will 


C.fiOtfjAJ. 


.>10„J. 


BKXJIUIN   FM4^KLiJi. 


found,"  he  had* been  told,  "a  great  commercial  house,  and  you  will 
try  to  draw  into  it  the  money  of  private  individuals;  the  first 
outlay  being  now  provided,  we  shall  have  no  further  hand  in  it, 
the  affair  would  compromise  the  government  too  much  in  the  eyes 
of  the  English/'  It  was  under  the  style  and  title  of  Bodrigo 
Hortalez  and  Co^  that  the  first  instalment  of  supplies,  to  the 
extent  of  more  than  three  millions^  was  forwarded  to  the 
Americans;  and,  notwithstanding  the  hesitation  of  the  ministry 
and  the  rage  of  the  English^  other  instalments  soon  followed. 
Beanraarcliais  was   henceforth  personally  interested  in   the  enter- 


374  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [OHAr.  LVll. 

prise ;  lie  had  commenced  it  from  zeal  for  the  American  cause  and 
from  that  yearning  for  activity  and  initiative  which  characterized 
him  oven  in  old  age.  "  I  should  never  have  succeeded  in  fulGlliDg 
my  mission  here  without  the  indefatigable,  intelligent  and  generous 
efforts  of  M.  de  Beaumarchais,"  wrote  Silas  Deane  to  the  secret 
committee. of  Congress :  "  the  United  States  are  more  indebted  to 
him,  on  every  account,  than  to  any  other  person  on  this  side  of  the 
Ocean." 

Negotiations  were  proceeding  at  Paris;   Franklin   had  joined 
Silas  Deane  there.     His  great  scientific  reputation,  the  diplomatic 
renown  he  had  won  in  England,  his  able  and  prudent  devotion  to 
the  cause  of  his  country,  had  paved  the  way  for  the  new  n^o- 
tiator's  popularity  in  France  :  it  was  immense. "  Bom  at  Boston 
on  the  17th  of  January,  1706,  a  printer  before  he  came  out  as  a 
great  physician,  Franklin  was  seventy  years  old  when  he  arrived 
in  Paris.     His  sprightly  goodnature,  the  bold  subtlety  of  his  mind 
cloaked   beneath  external  simplicity,   his  moderation  in  religion 
and  the  breadth  of  his  philosophical  tolerance,  won  the  world  of 
fashion  as  well  as  the  great  public,  and  were  a  great  help  to  the 
success  of  his  diplomatic  negotiations.     Quartered  at  Passy,  at 
!Madame  Helvetius',  he  had  frequent  interviews  with  the  ministers 
under  a  veil  of  secrecy  and  precaution  which  was,  before  lonft 
skilfully  and  disci'eetly  removed  ;  from  roundabout  aid  accorded  to 
the  Americans,  at  Beaumarchais*  solicitations,  on  pretext  of  com* 
mercial  business,  the  French  Government  had  come  to  remitting 
money  straight  to  the  agents  of  the  United  States ;    everything 
tended    to  ivcognitiim  of  the  independence  of  the  colonies.    In 
England,   people   were   irritated   and   disturbed;    Lord  Chatham 
exclaimed  with  the  usual  exaggeration  of  his  powerful  and  impas- 
sioned genius  : — "  Yesterday  England  could  still  stand  against  the 
world,  to-day  there  is  none  so  poor  as  to  do  her  reverence.    I 
borrow  the  poet's  words,  my  lords,  but  what  his  verse  expresses  is 
no  fiction.     France  has  insulted  you,  she  has  encouraged  and  sup- 
ported America,  and,  be  America  right  or  wrong,  the  dignity  of  this 
nation  requires  that   we  should   thrust  aside  with  contempt  the 
officious  intervention  of  France  ;  ministers  and  ambassadors  firom 
those  whom  we  call  rebels  and  enemies  are  received  at  Paris,  there 


Chap.  LVU.] 


LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  AliROAD. 


375 


I 


I 
I 


they  treat  of  the  mutual  interests  of  France  and  America,  their 
countrymen  are  aided,  provided  with  miHtary  resources,  and  our 
ministers  suffer  it,  they  do  not  protest!  Is  ibis  TOaintainiug  the 
honour  of  a  great  kingdom,  of  that  England  which  but  lately  gave 
lawB  to  the  House  of  Bourbon  ?" 

The  hereditary  sentioionts  of  Louis  XVL  and  his  monarchical 
principles,  as  well  as  the  prudent  raoderation  of  M-  Turgot, 
retarded  at  Paris  the  negotiations  which  caused  so  much  ill- 
humour  among  the  Englisli ;  M,  de  Vere^ennes  still  preserved,  in  all 
diplomatic  relations,  an  apparent  neutrality.  "  It  is  7ny  line  {metier)^ 
you  see,  to  be  a  royalist,*'  the  Emperor  Joseph  II-  had  said  during 
a  \"isit  he  had  just  paid  to  Paris,  when  he  was  pressed  to  declare 
in  favour  of  the  American  insurgents ;  at  the  bottom  of  his  heart 
the  king  of  France  was  of  the  same  opinion ;  he  had  refused  the 
permission  to  serve  in  America  which  he  had  been  asked  for  by 
many  gentlemen  :  some  had  set  off  without  waiting  for  it ;  the 
most  important  as  well  as  the  most  illustrious  of  them  all^  tho 
marquis  of  La  Fayette,  was  not  twenty  years  old  when  he  slipped 
away  from  Paris,  leaving  behind  his  young  wife  close  to  her  confine- 
ment, to  go  and  embark  upon  a  vessel  which  he  had  boughts  and 
which,  laden  with  arms,  awaited  him  in  a  Spanish  port ;  arrested 
by  order  of  the  couil:,  he  evaded  the  vigilance  of  his  guards ;  in  the 
month  of  July,  1777,  he  disembarked  in  America. 

Washington  did  not  like  France,  he  did  not  share  the  hopes 
which  some  of  his  fellow-countrymen  founded  upon  her  aid;  he 
made  no  case  of  the  young  volunteers  who  came  to  enrol  them- 
selves amongst  the  defenders  of  independence  and  whom  Congress 
loaded  with  favours-  "  No  bond  but  interest  attaches  these  men 
to  Amenca,"  he  would  say,  *'  and,  as  for  France,  she  only  lets  us 
get  our  munitions  from  her  because  of  tho  benefit  her  commerce 
derives  from  it."  Prudent,  reser\'ed,  and  proud,  Washington 
looked  for  America*^  salvation  to  only  America  herself;  neither 
had  he  foreseen  nor  did  he  iinderstand  that  enthusiasm,  as 
generous  as  it  is  unreflecting,  which  easily  takes  possession  of  the 
French  nation,  and  of  which  the  United  States  were  just  then  the 
object,  M,  de  La  Fayette  was  the  first  who  managed  to  win 
^Uie  general's  aflection  and  esteem.     A  great  yearning  for  excite- 


876  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVIL 

ment  and  renown,  a  great  zeal  for  new  ideas  and  a  oertam 
political  perspicacity  had  impelled  M.  de  La  Fayette  to  America; 
he  showed  himself  courageous,  devoted,  more  judicious  and  more 
able  than  had  been  expected  from  his  youth  and  character. 
Washington  came  to  love  him  as  a  son. 

It  was  with  the  title  of  major-general  that  M.  de  La  Fayette 
piade  his  first  campaign;  Congress  had  passed  a  decree  con- 
ferring upon  liiih  this  grade,  rather  an  excess  of  honour  in 
Washington's  opinion;  the  latter  was  at  that  time  covering 
Philadelphia,  the  point  aimed  at  by  the  operations  of  General 
Howe.  Beaten  at  Brandywine  and  at  Grermantown,  the  Americans 
were  obliged  to  abandon  the  town  to  the  enemy  and  fall  back  on 
Valleyforge,  where  the  general  pitched  his  camp  for  wintering. 
The  English  had  been  beaten  on  the  frontiers  of  Canada  by  General 
Gates ;  General  Burgoyne,  invested  on  all  sides  by  the  insurgents^ 
had  found  himself  forced  to  capitulate  at  Saratoga.  The  humilia- 
tion and  wrath  of  the  public  in  England  were  great,  but  the 
resolution  of  the  politicians  was  beginning  to  waver ;  on  the  10th 
of  February,  1778,  Lord  North  had  presented  two  bills  whereby 
England  was  to  renounce  the  right  of  levying  taxes  in  the 
American  colonies,  and  was  to  recognize  the  legal  existence  of 
Congress.  Three  commissioners  were  to  be  sent  to  America  to 
treat  for  conditions  of  peace.  After  a  hot  discussion,  the  two  bills 
had  been  voted. 

This  was  a  small  matter  in  view  of  the  growing  anxiety  and 
the  political  manceuvrings  of  parties  ;  on  the  7th  of  April,  1 778, 
the  duke  of  Richmond  proposed  in  the  House  of  Lords  the  recall 
of  all  the  forces,  land  and  sea,  which  were  fighting  in  America. 
He  relied  upon  the  support  of  Lord  Chatham,  who  was  now  at 
death's  door,  but  who  had  always  expressed  himself  forcibly 
against  the  conduct  of  the  government  towards  the  colonists. 
The  great  orator  entered  the  House,  supported  by  two  of  his 
friends,  pale,  wasted,  swathed  in  flannel  beneath  his  embroidered 
robe.  He  with  difficulty  dragged  himself  to  his  place.  The 
peers,  overcome  at  the  sight  of  this  supreme  effort,  waited  in 
silence.  Lord  Chatham  rose,  leaning  on  his  crutch  and  still 
supported    by    his    friends.    -He    raised    one    hand   to  heaven. 


CaAP.LVII.]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  AB80AD- 


877 


**  I  thank  God,"  he  said,  **  that  1  have  been  enabled  to  come  hither 
to-day  to  fulfil  a  duty  and  say  what  has  been  weighing  so  heavily 
on  my  heart,  I  have  already  one  foot  in  the  grave,  I  shall  soon 
descend  into  it,  I  have  left  my  bed  to  sustain  my  country's  cause 
ID  this  House,  perhaps  for  the  last  time,  I  think  myself  happy, 
my  lords,  that  the  grave  has  not  yet  closed  over  me,  and  that  I  am 
fit  ill  alive  to  raise  ray  voice  against  the  dismemberment  of  this 
ancient  and  noble  monarchy !  My  lords.  His  Majesty  succeeded 
to  an  empire  as  vast  in  extent  as  proud  in  reputation.     Shall  wo 


^<^ 


'^fy^yr 


n  I  'W^ 


hk    F4Y«1TK* 


tarnish  its  lustre  by  a  shameful  abandonment  of  its  rights  an^ 
of  its  fairest  possessions  ?  Shall  this  great  kingdom,  which 
survived  in  its  entirety  the  descents  of  the  Danes,  the  incur- 
sions of  the  Scots,  the  conquest  of  the  NormanSi  which  stood 
firm  against  the  threatened  invasion  of  the  Spanisli  Armada,  now 
fall  before  the  House  of  Bourbon  ?  Surely,  my  lords,  we  are  not 
what  we  once  were  I  ,  <  .  In  God's  name,  if  it  be  absolutely 
necessary  to  choose  between  peace  and  war,  if  peace  cannot  be 
preseiTed  with  honour,  why  not  declare  war  without  hesitation? 


3^8  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chaf.  LVIL 

.  .  .  My  lords,  anything  is  better  than  despair,  let  us  at  least  make 
an  effort,  and,  if  we  must  fail,  let  us  fail  like  men !  '* 

He  dropped  back  into  his  seat,  exhausted,  gasping.  Soon  he 
strove  to  rise  and  reply  to  the  duke  of  Richmond,  but  his  strength 
>vas  traitor  to  his  courage,  ho  fainted ;  a  few  days  later  he  was 
dead  (May  11th,  1778) ;  the  resolution  of  the  duke  of  Richmond 
had  been  rejected. 

When  this  news  arrived  in  America,  Washington  was  seriously 
uneasy.     He  had  to  keep  up  an  incessant  struggle  against  the 
delays  and  the  jealousies  of  Congress ;  it  was  by  dint  of  unheard-of 
efforts   and   of  unwavering    perseverance   that   he  succeeded  in 
obtaining  the  necessary  supplies  for  his   army.     "  To  see  men 
without  clothes  to  cover  their  nakedness,"  he  exclaimed,  "  without 
blankets  to  lie  upon,  without  victuals  and  often  without  shoes 
(for  you  might  follow  their  track  by  the  blood  that  trickled  from 
their  feet),  advancing  through  ice  and  snow,  and  taking  up  their 
winter-quarters,  at  Christmas,  less  than  a  day's  march  jfrom  the 
enemy,  in  a  place  where  they  have  not  to  shelter   them  either 
houses  or  huts  but  such  as  they  have  thrown  up  themselves,  to 
see  these  men  doing  all  this  without  a  murmur,  is  an  exhibition 
of  patience  and  obedience  such  as  the  world  has  rarely  seen." 

As  a  set-oflF  against  the  impassioned  devotion  of  the  patriots, 
Washington  knew  that  the  loyalists  were  still  numerous  and 
powerful ;  the  burthen  of  war  was  beginning  to  press  heavily 
upon  the  whole  country,  he  feared  some  act  of  weakness.  "Let 
us  accept  nothing  short  of  Independence,"  he  wrote  at  once  to  his 
friends :  "  we  can  never  forget  the  outrages  to  which  Grt^at 
Britain  has  made  us  submit;  a  peace  on  any  other  conditions 
would  be  a  source  of  perpetual  disputes.  If  Great  Britain,  urged 
on  by  her  love  for  tyranny,  were  to  seek  once  more  to  bend  our 
necks  bei^eath  her  iron  yoke,  and  she  would  do  so,  you  may  be 
sure,  for  her  pride  and  her  ambition  are  indomitable,  what  nation 
would  believe  any  more  in  our  professions  of  faith  and  would  lend 
us  its  support  ?  It  is  to  be  feared,  however,  that  the  proj)08als  of 
England  will  produce  a  great  effect  in  this  country.  Men  are 
naturally  friends  of  peace,  and  there  is  more  than  one  symptom  to 
lead  me  to  believe  that  the  American  people  are  generally  weary 


3hak  LVIL]  LOUIB  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 

fif  the  war.  If  it  be  so,  nothing  can  be  more  politic  than  to  inspire 
|he  country  with  confidence  by  putting  the  army  on  an  imposing 
footing,  and  by  showing  greater  energy  in  our  negotiations  with 
European  powers.  I  think  that  by  now  France  must  have 
recognized  our  independence,  and  that  she  will  iraraediately  declare 
war  against  Great  Britain,  when  she  sees  that  we  have  made 
eerious  proposals  of  alliance  to  lier*  But  if,  influenced  by  a  false 
policy,  or  by  an  exaggerated  opinion  of  our  power,  she  were  to 
beaitate,  we  should  either  have  to  send  able  negotiators  at  once, 
pr  give  fresh  instructions  to  our  charges  d'affaires  to  obtain  a 
definitive  answer  from  her/' 

It  is  the  property  of  great  men,  even  when  they  share  the 
prejudices  of  their  time  and  of  their  country,  to  know  how  to  get 
free  from  them  and  how  to  rise  superior  to  their  natural  habits  of 
fought.  It  has  been  said  that,  as  a  matter  of  taste,  Washington 
^id  not  like  France  and  had  no  confidence  in  her,  but  his  great 
iind  strong  common-sense  had  enlightened  him  as  to  the  conditions 
jof  the  contest  he  had  entered  upon.  He  knew  it  was  a  desperate 
pne,  he  foresaw  that  it  would  be  a  long  one ;  better  than  anybody 

■te  knew  the  weaknesses  as  well  as  the  merits  of  the  instruments 
^which  he  had  at  disposal,  he  had  learned  to  desire  the  alliance 
mnd  the  aid  of  France,  She  did  not  belie  his  hopes;  at  the 
Teiy  moment  when  Congress  was  refusing  to  enter  into  nego- 
tiations with  Great  Britain  as  long  as  a  single  English  soldier 
jemained  on  American  soil,  rejoicings  and  thanksgivings  were 
everywhere  throughout  the  thirteen  colonies  greeting  the  news  of 

■Ho  recognition  by  France  of  the  Independence  of  the  United 
States;  the  treaties*  of  alliance,  a  triumph  of  diplomatic  ability  on 
the  part  of  Fmnklin,  had  been  signed  at  Paris  on  the  6th  of 
Februarv,  1778, 

**  Assure  the  English  government  of  the  king's  pacific  inten* 
tions,"  M.  de  Vergennes  had  written  to  the  marquis  of  Noailles, 
then  French  ambassador  in  England.  George  III,  replied  to  these 
mocking  assurances  by  recalling  his  ambassador, 

"Anticipate  your  euemieSj"  Franklin  had  said  to  the  ministers 
tof  Louis  XVL,  "act  towards  them  as  they  did  to  you  in  1755,  let 
your  ships  put  to  sea  before  any  declaration  of  war,  it  will  be  time 


^ 


380  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

to  speak  when  a  French  squadron  bars  the  passage  of 'Admii*al 
Howe  who  lias  ventured  to  ascend  the  Delaware."  The  king^s 
natural  straightforwardness  and  timidity  were  equally  opposed 
to  this  bold  project;  he  hesitated  a  long  w^hile;  when  Count 
d'Estaing  at  last,  on  the  13th  of  April,  went  out  of  Toulon  harbour 
to  sail  for  America  with  his  squadron,  it  was  too  late,  the  English 
were  on  their  guard. 

When  the  French  admiral  arrived  in  America,  hostilities  had 
commenced  between  Franco  and  England,  without  declaration  of 
war,  by  the  natural  pressure  of  circumstances  and  the  state  of 
feeling  in  the  two  countries.  England  fired  the  first  shot  on 
the  17th  of  June,  1778.  The  frigate  La  Belle  Pauley  commanded 
by  M.  Ghaudeau  de  la  Clochetterie,  was  cruising  in  the  Channel; 
she  Avas  surprised  by  tLe  squadron  of  Admiral  Keppel,  issuing 
from  Portsmouth;  the  Frenchman  saw  the  danger  in  time,  he 
crowded  sail;  but  an  English  frigate,  the  Arethusay  had  dashed 
forward  in  pursuit.  La  Clochetterie  waited  for  her  and  refused 
to  make  the  visit  demanded  by  the  English  captain :  a  cannon- 
shot  was  the  reply  to  this  refusal.  La  Belle  Pottle  delivered  her 
whole  broadside ;  when  the  Arethiisa  rejoined  Lord  Keppd's 
squadron,  she  was  dismasted  and  had  lost  many  men.  A  sudden 
calm  had  prevented  two  Englisli  vessels  from  taking  part  in  the 
engagement ;  La  Clochetterie  Avent  on  and  landed  a  few  leagues 
from  Brest.  The  fight  had  cost  the  lives  of  forty  of  his  cpeir, 
fifty-seven  had  been  wounded.  He  was  made  post-captain  {en^ 
iaiur  tie  vaissvav).  The  glory  of  this  small  affair  appeared  to  to 
of  good  augury ;  the  conscience  of  Louis  XVI.  was  soothed ;  to 
at  last  yielded  to  the  passionate  feeling  whicli  was  hurrying  ito 
nation  into  war,  partly  from  sympathy  towards  the  Americtfli 
partly  from  hatred  and  rancour  towards  England.  The  treafcf  of 
1 70-3  still  lay  lieavy  on  the  military  honour  of  France. 

From  the  day  when  the  duke  of  Choiseul  had  been  forced  to 
sign  that  humiliating  peace,  he  had  never  relaxed  in  his  efforts  to 
improve  the  Frencli  navy.  \\\  tlie  course  of  ministerial  alterna- 
tions, frefjuently  unfortunate  for  the  work  in  hand,  it  had  never- 
theless been  continued  by  his  successors.  A  numerous  flfti 
was  preparing  at  Brest ;  it  left  the  port  on  the  3rd  of  July,  uiul«'r 


TUi    BKLLl   FOULR   AWG    TBI   l^BTBUiA. 


I 


■d 


btiAP-  LVIL]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRA>TCE  ABROAD. 

^he  orders  of  Count  d^Orvilliers.     It  numbered  tliirty-two  men-of- 

irar  and  some  frigates.     Admiral  Keppel  came  to  the  encounter 

5|rith   thirty  ships,   mostly   superior   in   strength   to   the   French 

«ressels-    The  engagement  took  place  on  the  27th  at  thirty  leagues* 

distance  from  Wessant  and  about  the  same  from  the  Sorlingues 

islands^.     The  splendid  order  of  the  French  astounded  the  enemy, 

who   liad   not   forgotten  the   deplorable   Jourme   de  M,  de  Gon» 

.fians.     The  sky  was  murky,  and  the  manoeuvres  were  interfered 

with  from  the  difficulty  of  making  out  the  signals.     Lord  Keppel 

could  not  succeed  in  breaking  the  enemy's  line ;  Count  d*Orvilliers 

failed  in  a  like  attempt.     The  English   admiral  extinguished  hii^ 

fires  and  returned  to    Plymouth    harbour,  without  being  forced 

to  do  so  from  any  serious  reverse;    Couut  d*0rvilliers  fell  back 

upon  Brest  under  the  same  conditions.     The  English  regarded 

this  retreat  as  a  humiliation  to  wliich  they  were  unaccustomed. 

Xord  Keppel   had  to   appear  before  a  court-martial ;   in  France, 

after   the   first  burst  of  enthusiasm,   fault  was   found  %?ith    the 

inactivity  of  the  duke  of  Chartres,  who  commanded  the  rear-guard 

of  the  fleet,  under  the  direction  of  M,  de  La  Motte-Piquet ;  the 

prince  was  before   long  obliged  to  leave   the  navy,   he  became 

colonel-general  of  the  hussars,     A  fresh  sally  on  the  part  of  the 

Boet  did  not  suffice  to  protect  the  merchant-navy,  the  losses  of 

which  were  considerable.     The  EngHsh  vessels  everywhere  held 

the  seas. 

ConAt  d'Estaing  had  at  last  arrived  at  the  mouth  of  the  Dela- 
ware on  the  9th  of  July,  1778;  Admiral  Howe  had  not  awaited 
liira,  he  had  sailed  for  the  anchorage  of  Sandy-Hook.  The  heavy 
French  ships  could  not  cross  the  bar;  Philadelphia  had  been 
evacuated  by  the  English  as  soon  as  the  approach  of  Count  d*Estaing 
was  signalled,  '*  It  is  not  General  Howe  who  has  taken  Phila- 
delphia,'' said  Franklin ;  "  it  is  Philadelphia  that  has  taken 
Oeneral  Howe-"  The  English  commander  had  foreseen  the 
danger ;  on  falHng  back  upon  New  York  he  had  been  hotly 
pursued  by  Washington,  who  had,  at  Monmouth,  gained  a  serious 
advantage  over  him.  The  victory  of  the  Americans  would  have 
been  complete  but  for  the  jealous  disobedience  of  General  Lee* 
Washington    pitched   his    camp    thirty   miles   from   New   York- 


384 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[CiiAP.  LVII. 


"Aft«r  two  years'  marchiiig  and  counter-marching,"  he  wrote, 
"  after  vicissitudes  so  strange  that  never  perhaps  did  any  othor 
war  exhibit  the  like  since  the  beginning  of  the  world*  what 
a  subject  of  satisfaction  and  astonishment  for  us  to  see  the  two 
armies  back  again  at  the  point  from  which  they  started,  and  the 
assailants  reduced  in  self-defence  to  have  recourse  to  the  shovel 
and  the  axe  !  " 

The  combined  expedition  of  D*Estaing  and  General  SulUvan 
against  the  little  English  corps  which  occupied  Rhode  Island  had 
just  failed  ;  the  fleet  of  Admiral  Howe  had  suddenly  appeared  at 
the  entrance  of  the  roads,  the  French  squadron  had  gone  out  to 
meet  it,  an  unexpected  tempest  separated  the  combatants ;  Coimt 
d'Estaing,  more  concerned  for  the  fate  of  his  vessels  than  with  the 
clamours  of  the  Americans,  set  sail  for  Boston  to  repair  damages. 
The  campaign  was  lost,  cries  of  treason  were  already  heard,  A 
riot  was  the  welcome  which  awaited  the  French  admiral  at  Boston. 
All  Washington's  personal  efforts,  seconded  by  the  manjuis  of 
La  Fayette,  were  scarcely  sufficient  to  restore  harmony.  The 
English  had  just  made  a  descent  upon  the  coasts  of  Georgia  aod 
taken  possession  of  Savannah.  They  threatened  Carolina  and 
even  Yirgiuia. 

Scarcely  were  the  French  ships  in  trim  to  put  to  sea  when 
Count  d'Estaiug  made  sail  for  the  Antilles,  Zealous  and  brave, 
but  headstrong  and  passionate,  like  M.  de  Lally-Tollendal  under 
whom  he  had  served  in  India,  the  admiral  could  ill  brook  reverses 
and  ardently  sought  for  an  occasion  to  repair  them.  The  EnglJBb 
had  taken  St,  Pierre  and  Miquelon,  M.  de  Bouill^,  governor  of 
Iles-du-Vent,  had  almost  at  the  same  time  made  himself  master  of 
La  Dominique,  Four  thousand  English  had  just  landed  at  St* 
Lucie;  M.  d'Estaing,  recently  arrived  at  Martinique,  headetl 
thither  immediately  with  his  squadron,  without  success  however; 
it  was  during  the  absence  of  the  English  admiral,  Byi'on,  that  the 
Frencli  seamen  succeeded  in  taking  possession  first  of  St,  Vinceot 
and  soon  afterwards  of  Grenada,  The  fort  of  this  latter  islaud 
was  carried  after  a  brilliant  assault ;  the  admiral  had  divided  hu 
men  into  three  bodies ;  he  commanded  the  first>  the  sea^od 
marched  under  the  orders  of  Viscount  de  Noailles.  and  Arthin* 


Chap,  LVIL] 


LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


385 


LH lloQ,  at  the  head  of  the  Irish  in  the  service  of  France,  led  the 
■iiird.  The  cannon  on  the  ramparts  were  soon  directed  against 
Kbe  EngUsh  who  thought  to  arrive  in  time  to  relieve  Grenada, 
I  Count  d*Estaing  went  out  of  port  to  meet  the  Englisli  admiral ; 
as  he  was  sailing  towards  the  anemyj  the  admiral  made  out,  under 
French  colon fb^  a  splendid  ship  of  war,  Le  Fler^Iiodrigt^e^  which 
belonged  to  Beauraai  chais  and  was  convoying  ten  merchant- men, 
**  Seeing  the  wide  berth  kept  by  this  fine  ship  which  was  going 
proudly  before  the  wind/*  says  the  sprightly  and  sagacious 
biographer  of  Beaumarchais,  M.  de  Lomenie,  "Admiral  d'Estaing 
signalled  to  her  to  bear  down ;  learning  that  she  belonged  to  his 
majesty  Caron  de  Beaumarchais,  he  felt  that  it  would  be  a  pity 
not  to  take  advantage  of  it,  and,  seeing  the  exigency  of  the  case, 
he  appointed  her  her  place  of  battle  without  asking  her  pro- 
prietor's permission,  leaving  to  the  mercy  of  the  waves  and  of  the 
English  the  unhappy  merchant-ships  which  the  man-of-war  was 
convoying,  Le  Fier-Uodngiie  resigned  herself  bravely  to  her  fate, 
took  a  glorious  part  in  the  battle  off  Grenada^  contributed  in 
forcing  Admiral  Byron  to  retreat,  but  had  her  captain  killed  and 
was  riddled  with  bullets,**  Admiral  d'Estaing  wrote  the  same 
evening  to  Beaumarchais  ;  his  letter  reached  the  scholar-merchant 
through  the  medium  of  the  minister  of  marine.  To  the  latter 
Beaumarchais  at  once  replied :  "  Sir,  I  have  to  thank  you  for 
Jiaving  forwarded  to  me  the  letter  from  Count  d'Estaing,  It  is 
very  noble  in  him  at  the  moment  of  his  triumph  to  have  thought 
how  very  agreeable  it  would  be  to  me  to  have  a  word  in  his  hand- 
writing, I  take  the  liberty  of  sending  you  a  copy  of  his  short 
letter,  by  which  I  feel  honoured  as  the  good  Frenchman  I  am,  and 
at  which  I  rejoice  as  a  devoted  adherent  of  my  country  againsl 
that  proud  England,  The  brave  Montault  appears  to  have 
thought  that  he  could  not  better  prove  to  me  how  worthy  he  was 
of  the  post  with  which  he  was  honoured  than  by  getting  killed ; 
ijrhatever  may  be  the  result  as  regards  my  own  affairsj  my  poor 
triend  Montault  has  died  on  the  bed  of  honour,  and  I  feel  a  sort  of 
childish  joy  in  being  certain  that  those  English  who  have  cut  me 
papers  for  the  last  four  years  will  read  therein 
ake  from  them  the  most  fertile 


my  ships  has  helped 


VOL.  V. 


c  c 


38(5  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

of  their  possessions.  And  as  for  the  enemies  of  M.  d'Estaing  and 
especially  of  yourself,  sir,  I  see  them  biting  their  nails,  and  my 
heart  leaps  for  joy  !  " 

The  joy  of  Beaumarchais  as  well  as  that  of  France  was  a  litde 

excessive,   and   smacked   of   unfamiliarity   with   the   pleasure  of 

victory.     M.  d'Estaing  had  just  been  recalled  to  France;  before 

he  left,  he  would  fain  have  rendered  to  the  Americana  a  service 

pressingly  demanded  of  him  :  General  Lincoln  was  about  to  besiege 

Savannah ;  the  English  general.  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  a  more  able 

man  than  his  predecessor,  had  managed  to  profit  by  the  internal 

disputes  of  the  Union,  he  had  rallied  round  him  the  loyalists  in 

Georgia  and  the  Carolinas,  civil  war  prevailed  there  with  all  its 

horrors;  D'Estaing  bore  down  with  his  squadron  for  Savannah. 

Lincoln  was  already  on  the  coast  ready  to  facilitate  his  landing; 

the  French  admiral  was  under  pressure  of  the  orders  from  Paris, 

he  had  no  time  for  a  regular  siege.     The  trenches  had  already 

been  opened  twenty  days,  and  the  bombardment,  terrible  as  it 

was  for  the  American  town,  had  not  yet  damaged  the  works  of  the 

English.      On  the  9th  of  October,  D'Estaing  determined  to  deliver 

the   assault.      Americans   and   French   vied   with  each  other  in 

courage.     For  a  moment  the  flag  of  the  Union  floated  upon  the 

ramparts,  some  grenadiers  made  their  way  into  the    place,  the 

admiral   was  wounded;    meanwhile,  the   losses  were   great,  and 

perseverance  was  evidently  useless.     The  assault  was  repulsed. 

Count  D'Estaing  still  remained  nine  days  bef«)re  the  place  in  hopes 

of  finding  a  favourable  opportunity ;  he  was  obliged  to  make  sail 

for  France,  and  the  fleet  withdrew,  leaving  Savannah  in  the  hands 

of  the  English.     The  only  advantage  from  the  admiral's  expedition 

was    the    deliverance   of   Rhode   Island,   abandoned   by   General 

Clinton  who,  fearing   an  attack   from   the  French,    recalled  the 

garrison  to  New  York.       Washington  had  lately   made  himself 

master  of  the  fort  at  Stony-Point,   which  had  up  to  that  time 

enabled  the  English  to  command  the  navigation  of  the  Hudson. 

In  England  the  commotion  was  great :  France  and  America  in 
arms  against  her  had  just  been  joined  by  Spain.  A  government 
essentially  monarchical,  faithful  to  ancient  traditions,  the  Spaniards 
had  for  a  long  while  resisted  the  entreaties  of  M.  de  Vergennes, 


I 


Chap.  LVIL]  LOUIS  XVL,  PRANCE  ABROAD.  387 

wbo  availed  himself  of  the  stipulations  of  the  FcunUy  pad, 
Charles  111.  felt  no  sort  of  sympatby  for  a  nascent  republiCj  be 
[feared  the  eont^igioii  of  the  example  it  showed  to  the  Spanish 
colonies,  he  besitated  to  plunge  into  the  expenses  of  a  war.  His 
liereditary  hatred  against  England  prevailed  at  last  over  the  dic- 
tates of  prudence.  He  was  promised,  moreover,  the  assistance  of 
France  to  reconquer  Gibraltar  and  Minorca.  The  king  of  Spain  con- 
sented to  take  part  in  the  war,  without  however  recognising  the  in- 
dependence of  the  United  States  or  entering  into  alliance  with  tbem. 

The  situation  of  England  was  becoming  serious,  she  beUeved 
lierself  to  be  threatened  with  a  terrible  invasion.  As  in  the  days 
of  the  Great  Armada,  **  orders  wei'e  given  to  all  functionaries, 
civil  and  military,  in  case  of  a  descent  of  the  enemy,  to  see  to  the 
transportation  into  the  interior  and  into  a  place  of  safety  of  all 
horses,  cattle  and  flocks  that  niigbt  happen  to  be  on  the  coasts/' 
**  Sixty-six  alHed  ships  of  the  line  ploughed  the  Channel,  fifty tbou- 
aand  men,  mustered  in  Normandy,  were  preparing  to  burst  upan 
the  southern  counties,  A  simple  American  corsair,  Paul  Jones, 
ravaged  with  impunity  the  coasts  of  Scotland,  The  powers  of  the 
North,  united  with  Russia  and  Holland,  threatened  to  maintain, 
with  arms  in  hand,  the  rights  of  neutrals,  ignored  by  the  English 
admiralty -courts,  Ireland  awaited  only  the  signal  to  revolt ; 
religious  quarrels  were  distracting  Scotland  and  England;  the 
authority  of  Lord  North's  cabinet  was  shaken  in  Parliament 
as  well  as  throughout  the  country,  the  passions  of  the  mob 
held  sway  in  London,  and  amongst  the  sights  that  might  have 
been  witnessed  was  that  of  this  great  city  given  up  for  nearly  a 
week  to  the  populace,  without  anything  that  could  stay  its  excesses 
save  its  own  lassitude  and  its  own  feeling  of  shame  *'  [M,  Cornllis 
de  Witt,  Hidmre  de  WaBhingtoii\, 

So  many  and  such  imposing  preparations  were  destined  to 
produce  but  little  fruit :  the  two  fleets,  the  French  and  the 
Spanish,  had  effected  their  junction  off  Corunna,  under  the  orders 
of  Count  d*Orvilliers  ;  they  slowly  entered  the  Channel  on  the  31st 
of  August,  near  the  Sorlingues  (Scilly)  Islands  ;  they  sighted  the 
Engbsh  fleet,  with  a  strength  of  only  thirty-seven  vessels  ;  Count  de 
Guichen,  who  commanded  the  van-guard,  was  already  manceuvring 

0  0  2 


A 


^ 


388 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LVU. 


to  cut  off  the  enemy's  retreat ;  Admiral  Hardy  had  the  speed  of 
him  and  sought  refuge  in  Plymouth  Sound.      Some  eng^ements 
which  took  place  between  frigates  were  of  Uttle  importaBce,  but 
glorious  for  both  sides ;  on  the  6th  of  October^  the  Surveillanie^ 
commanded  by   Chevalier   du   CouediCj   had   a  tussle    with  the 
Qitehec;  the  broadsides  were  incessant^  a  hail  of  lead  fell  upon 
both  ships,  the  majority  of  the  officers  of  the  Surveillante  were 
killed  or  wounded.     Du  Couedic  had  been  struck  twice  on  the 
head.     A  fresh  wound  took  him  in  the  stomach ;  streaming  with 
blood,  he  remained  at  his  post  and  directed  the  fight.     The  thret? 
masts  of  the  SunmUante  had  just  fallen,  knocked  to  pieces  by 
balls,  the  whole  rigging  of  the  Quebec  at  the  same  moment  came 
down  with  a  run*     The  two  ships  could  no  longer  manceiivre,  the 
decimated  crews  were  preparing  to  board  when  a  thick  smoke 
shot  up  all  at  once  from  the  between- decks  of  the  Quehec ;  the 
fire  spread  with  unheard  of  rapidity,  the  SwrveiUante^  already  hooked 
on  to  her  enemy's  side,  was  on  the  point  of  becoming,  like  her,  a 
prey  to  the  flames,  but  her  commander,  gasping  as  he  was  and 
scarcely  alive,  got  her  loose  by  a  miracle  of  ability.     The  Quelec 
had  hardly  blown  up  when  the  crew  of  the  SuneiUatde  set  tc 
work  picking  up  the  glorious  wreck  of  their  adversaries;  a  few 
prisoners  were  brought  into  Brest  on  the  victorious  vessel,  whicli 
was  so  blackened  by  the  smoke  and  damaged  by  the  fight  that 
tugs  had  to  be  sent  to  her  assistance.   A  few  months  afterwards  Du 
Couedic  died  of  his  wounds,  carrying  to  the  grave  the  supreine 
honour  of  having  been  the  only  one  to  render  his  name  iUustrioiiM 
in  the  great  display  of  the  maritime  forces  of  France  and  Spaiu. 
Count  d'Orvilliers  made    no   attempt,  the  inhabitants   upon  tb 
English  coasts  ceased   to   tremble,    sickness   comncutted   ravagei 
amongst  the  crews.      After  a   hundred  and   four   days'   usele^^ 
cruising  in  the  Channel,  the  huge  fleet  returned  sorrowfully  t4> 
Brest ;  Admiral  d'OrviUiers  had  lost  his  son  in  a  partial  engage- 
ment, he  left  the  navy  and  retired  ere  long  to  a  convent.      Count 
de  Guichen  sailed  for  the  Antilles  with  a  portion  of  the  French  fleet 
and  maintained   with  glory  the  honour  of  his  flag  in  asmescf 
frequently   successful   affairs   against   Admiral   Rodney.     At  ih$ 
beginning  of  the  war,  the   latter,  a  great  scapegrace   and  oitt* 


I 


Chat,  LVIL]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD, 


whelmed  with  debt,   happened  to  be  at  Paris^   detained   by  the 
Btata  of  his  finances,     "  If  I  wei^  fi'ee,"  said  he  one  day  in  the 

■  presence    of    Marshal    Biron,   "  I    would    soon    destroy   all   the 
Spanish  and  French  fleet^J'     The  marshal  at  once  paid  his  debts: 

ft  '*  Go,  sir,'*   said  he  with  a  flourish  of  generosity  to  which   the 

■  eighteenth  century  was  a  Httle  prone,  **  the  French  have  no  desire 
_  to  gain  advantages  over  their  enemies  save  by  their  bravery.** 
f  Rodney's   first   exploit    was    to   revictual   Gibraltar!    which    the 

Spanish    and    French    armaments    had    invested    by  land   and 

I  sea. 
Everywhere  the  strength  of  the  belligerents  was  being  ex- 
hausted without  substantial  result  and  without  honour ;  for  more 
I  than  four  years  now  America  had  been  keeping  up  the  war, 
and  her  Southern  provinces  had  been  everywhere  laid  waste  by 
the  enemy ;  in  spite  of  the  heroism  which  was  displayed  by  the 
patriots  and  of  which  the  women  themselves  set  the  example, 
Greneral  Lincoln  had  just  been  forced  to  capitulate  at  Charlestown  ; 

I  Washington,  still  encamped  before  New  York,  saw  his  army 
decimated  by  hunger  and  cold,  deprived  of  all  resources,  and 
reduced  to  subsist  at  the  expense  of  the  people  in  the  neighbour- 
hood* AH  eyes  were  turned  towards  France ;  the  marquis  of 
I  La  Fayette  had  succeeded  in  obtaining  from  the  king  and  the 
Fi*ench  ministry  the  formation  of  an  auxiliary  corps;  the  troops 
were  already  on  their  way  under  the  orders  of  Count  de 
Rochambeau, 

Misfortune  and  disappointments  are  great  destroyers  of  some 
barriers,  prudent  tact  can  overthrow  others  ;  Washingt-on  and  the 

I  American  army  would  but  lately  have  seen  with  suspicion  the  aiTival 
of  foreign  auxiliaries;  in  1780,  transports  of  joy  greeted  the  news 
of  their  approach  ;  M,  de  La  Fayette,  moreover,  had  been  careful 
to  spare  the  American  general  all  paiufiU  friction.  Count  de 
Rochambeau  and  the  French  oflBcers  were  placed  under  the  orders 
ft  of  Wa^liingt^^  and  the  auxiliary  corps  entirely  at  his  disposal. 
The  delicate  generosity  and  the  disinterestedness  of  the  French 
government  had  sometimes  had  the  effect  of  making  it  neglect  the 
national  interests  in  its  relations  with  the  revolted  colonies;  but 
it  had  derived  therefrom  a  spirit  of  conduct  invariably  calculated 


I 


390 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chap.  LTli 


to  triumph  over  the  prejudices  as  well  as  the  jealous  pride  of  the 
Americans, 

**  The  history  of  the  War  of  Independence  is  a  history  of  hopes 
deceived,*'  said  Washingt<>B,  He  had  conceived  the  idea  of 
making  himself  master  of  New  York  with  the  aid  of  the  FreBcb* 
The  transport  of  the  troops  had  been  badlj  calculated ;  Bocham- 
beau  brought  to  Rhode  Island  only  the  first  division  of  his  army, 
five  thousand  men  aboutj  and  Count  de  Guichen^  whose  squadron 
had  been  relied  upon,  had  just  been  recalled  to  France. 
Washington  was  condemned  to  inaction^  "  Our  position  is  not 
sufficiently  brilliant,"  he  wrote  to  M,  de  La  Fayette,  "f^ 
justify  our  putting  pressure  upon  Count  de  Rochambeau ;  I  stall 
continue  our  arrangements,  however,  in  the  hope  of  more  fortunate 
circumstances."  The  American  army  was  slow  in  getting 
organized,  obliged  as  it  had  been  to  fight  incessantly  and  make 
head  against  constantly  recurring  difficulties;  it  was  getting 
organized,  however;  the  example  of  the  French,  the  discipline 
which  prevailed  in  the  auxiliary  corps,  the  good  understanding 
thenceforth  established  amongst  the  officers,  helped  Washington 
in  his  difficult  task-  From  the  first  the  superiority  of  the  general 
was  admitted  by  the  French  as  well  as  by  the  Americans; 
naturally  and  by  the  mere  fact  of  the  giflts  he  had  received  from 
God,  Washingtou  was  always  and  everywhere  chief  of  the  men 
placed  within  his  range  and  under  his  influence. 

This  natural  ascendancy,  which  usually  triumphed  over  the  baee 
jealousies  and  criminal  manoeuvres  into  which  the  rivals  of  Geneml 
Washington  had  sometimes  allowed  themselves  to  be  drawn,  had 
completely  failed  in  the  case  of  one  of  his  most  brilliant  lieutenants; 
in  spite  of  his  inveterate  and  well-known  vices,  Benedict  AmoW 
had  covered  himself  with  glory  by  daring  deeds  and  striking 
bravery  exhibited  in  a  score  of  fights,  from  the  day  when»  putting 
himself  at  the  head  of  the  first  bands  raised  in  Massachui^etts  he 
had  won  the  grade  of  general  during  his  expedition  to  CbubAb. 
Accused  of  malversation  and  lately  condemned  by  a  court-tnartial 
to  be  reprimanded  by  the  general-in -chief,  Arnold,  through  m 
excess  of  confidence  on  Washington's  part,  still  held  the  com- 
mand of  the  important  fort  of  Wcfet  Point;  he  abused  the  tni.^*^ 


Chap.  LVIT.] 


Washington,  on  returning  from  an  interview  with  Count  de 
Rochambeau,  went  out  of  his  way  to  visit  the  garrison  of  West 
Point:  the  commandant  was  absent.  Surprised  and  displeased, 
the  general  was  impatiently  waiting  for  his  return,  when  his  aide- 
de-camp  and  faithful  friend,  Colonel  Hamilton,  brought  him 
important  despatches.  Washington's  face  remained  impassible ; 
but  throughout  the  garrison  and  amongst  the  generars  staff  there 
had  already  spread  a  whisper  of  Arnold's  treachery ;  he  had 
promised,  it  was  said,  to  deliver  West  Point  to  the  enemy.  An 
English  oflScer,  acting  as  a  spy,  had  actually  been  arrested  within 
the  American  Hnes. 

It  was  true,  and  General  Arnold,  turning  traitor  to  his  country 
from  jealousy,  vengeance,  and  the  shameful  necessities  entailed  by 
a  disorderly  Ufe,  had  sought  refuge  at  New  York  with  Sir  Henry 
Clinton.     Major  Andr^   was   in   the    hands    of    the  Americans, 

|£aiing,  honourable,  brave,  endowed  with  talents,  and  of  elegant 
mnd  cultivated  tastes^  the  English  officer,  brought  up  with  a  view 
to  a  different  career  but  driven  into  the  army  from  a  disappoint- 
tuent  in  love,  had  accepted  the  dangerous  mission  of  bearing  to 
the  perfidious  commandant  of  West  Point  the  English  generars 
^latest  instructions.  Sir  Henry  Clinton  had  recommended  him  not 
to  quit  his  uniform ;  but,  yielding  to  the  insinuating  Arnold,  the 
unhappy  young  man  had  put  on  a  disguise;  he  had  been  made 
prisoner.  Recognized  and  treated  as  a  spy,  he  was  to  die  on  the 
gallows.  It  was  the  ignominy  alone  of  this  punishment  which 
perturbed  his  spirit.     **  Sir/*  he  wrote  to  Washington,  "  sustained 

Mgninst  fear  of  death  by  the  reflection  that  no  unworthy  action 
lias  sullied  a  life  devoted  to  honour,  I  feel  confident  that  in  this 
my  extremity  your  Excellency  will  not  be  deaf  to  a  prayer  the 
granting  of  which  will  soothe  my  last  moments.  Out  of  sympathy 
for  a  soldier,  your  Excellency  will,  I  am  sure,  consent  t^  adapt 
the  form  of  my  punishment  to  the  feelings  of  a  man  of  honour^ 
Permit  me  to  hope  that,  if  my  character  have  inspired  you  with 
any  respect,  if  I  am  in  your  eyes  sacrificed  to  policy  and  not  to 
vengeance,  I  shall  have  proof  that  those  sentiments  prevail  in 
your  heart  by  learning  that  1  am  not  to  die  on  the  gallows, '* 

With  a  harshness  of  which  there  is  no  other  example  in  his  life 


392  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

and  of  which  he  appeared  to  always  preserve  a  painful  recollection, 
Washington  remained  deaf  to  his  prisoner's  noble  appeal :  Major 
Andre  underwent  the  fate  of  a  spy.  "  You  are  a  witness  that 
I  die  like  a  man  of  honour,"  he  said  to  an  American  officer  whose 
duty  it  was  to  see  the  orders  carried  out.  The  general  did  him 
justice.  "  Andre,"  he  said,  "  paid  his  penalty  with  the  spirit  to 
be  expected  from  a  man  of  such  merit  and  so  brave  an  officer. 
As  to  Arnold,  he  has  no  heart.  .  .  .  Every  body  is  surprised  to 
see  that  he  is  not  yet  swinging  on  a  gibbet."  The  passionate 
endeavours  of  the  Americans  to  inflict  upon  the  traitor  the 
chastisement  he  deserved  remained  without  eflfect.  Constantly 
engaged,  as  an  English  general,  in  the  war,  with  all  the  violence 
bred  of  uneasy  hate,  Arnold  managed  to  escape  the  just  vengeance 
of  his  countrymen ;  he  died  twenty  years  later,  in  the  English 
possessions,  rich  and  despised.  "  What  would  you  have  done, 
if  you  had  succeeded  in  catching  me  ? "  he  asked  an  American 
prisoner  one  day.  "  We  would  have  severed  from  your  body  the 
leg  that  had  been  wounded  in  the  service  of  the  country,  and 
would  have  hanged  the  rest  on  a  gibbet,"  answered  the  militiaman 
quietly. 

The  excitement  caused  by  the  treachery  of  Arnold  had  not  yet 
subsided,  when  a  fresh  cup  of  bitterness  was  put  to  the  lips  of  the 
general-in-chief  and  disturbed  the  hopes  he  had  placed  on  the 
re-organization  of  his  army.  Successive  revolts  amongst  the 
troops  of  Pennsylvania,  which  threatened  to  spread  to  those  of 
New  Jersey,  had  convinced  him  that  America  had  come  to  the  end 
of  her  sacrifices.  "  The  country's  own  powers  are  exhausted," 
he  wrote  to  Colonel  Lawrence  in  a  letter  intended  to  be  com- 
municated to  Louis  XVI.,  "  single-handed  we  cannot  restore 
public  credit  and  supply  the  funds  necessary  for  continuing 
the  war.  The  patience  of  the  army  is  at  an  end,  the  people 
are  discontented;  without  money,  we  shall  make  but  a  feeble 
effort,  and  probably  the  last." 

The  insufficiency  of  the  miUtary  results  obtained  by  land  and 
sea,  in  comparison  with  the  expenses  and  the  exhibition  of  force, 
and  the  slowness  and  bad  management  of  the  operations  had  been 
attributed,  in  France  as  well  as  in  America,  to  the  incapacity 


CFfAr  LVIL] 


LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABROAD, 


30B 


of  the  mmisters  of  war  and  marine,  the  princo  of  Montbarrey  and 
M.  de  Sar tines.  The  finances  bad  up  to  that  time  sufficed  for 
the  enormous  charges  which  weighed  upon  the  treasury;  credit 
for  the  fact  was  most  justly  given  to  the  consummate  ability  and 
inexhaustible  resources  of  M,  Neckerj  who  was,  first  of  all,  made 
director  of  the  treasury  on  October  22,  1776,  and  then  director- 
general  of  finance  on  June  29,  1777.  By  his  advicOj  backed  bj 
the  favour  of  the  queen,  the  two  ministers  were  superseded  by 
M.  de  Scgur  and  the  marquis  of  Castries.  A  new  and  more 
energetic  impulse  before  long  restored  the  hopes  of  the  Americans. 
On  the  21st  of  March,  1 780,  a  fleet  left  under  the  orders  of  Count 
de  Grasse  ;  after  its  arrival  at  Martinique,  on  the  28th  of  April,  in 
spite  of  Admiral  Hood's  attempts  to  block  his  passage,  Count  de 
Grasse  took  from  the  English  the  island  of  Tobago,  on  the 
Ist  of  June;  on  the  3rd  of  September,  he  brought  Washington 
a  reinforcement  of  three  thousand  five  hundred  men  and  twelve 
hundred  thousand  li\Tes  in  specie.  In  a  few  months  King 
tx)uis  XVI.  bad  lent  to  the  United  States  or  procured  for  them 
on  his  security  sums  exceeding  sixteen  million  livres.  It  was  to 
Washington  personally  tliat  the  French  government  confided  its 
troops  as  well  as  its  subsidies-  **  The  king's  soldiers  are  to  be 
placed  exclusively  under  the  orders  of  the  general-in-chief,"  M, 
Girard^  the  French  minister  in  America  had  said,  on  the  arrival  of 
the  auxiliary  corps. 

After  so  many  and  such  painful  efforts,  the  day  of  triumph 
was  at  last  dawning  upon  General  Washington  and  his  country. 
Alternations  of  success  and  reverse  bad  signalized  the  commence- 
ment of  the  campaign  of  1781*  Lord  Comwallis,  who  commanded 
the  English  armies  in  the  South,  was  occupying  Virginia  with  a 
considerable  force,  when  Washington,  wdio  had  managed  to 
conceal  his  designs  from  8ir  Henry  Clinton,  shut  up  in  New 
York,  crossed  Philadelphia  on  the  4th  of  September  and  advanced 
by  forced  marches  against  the  enemy*  The  latter  had  been  for 
some  time  past  harassed  by  the  little  army  of  M.  de  La  Fayette, 
The  fleet  of  Admiral  de  Grasse  cut  off  the  retreat  of  the  English, 
Lord  Cornwallis  threw  himself  into  Yorktown ;  on  the  30th  of 
Meptomber  the  place  was  invested. 


394  HISTORY  OF  FRANCE.  [CHAP.LVn. 

It  was  but   slightly  and   badly  fortified,   the   English  troops 
were  fatigued  by  a  hard  campaign,  the  besiegers  were  animated  by 
a  zeal  further  stimulated  by  emulation;   French  and  Americans 
vied  with  one  another  in  ardour.     Batteries  sprang  up  rapidly,  the 
soldiers  refused  to  take  any  rest,  the  trenches  were  open  by  die 
6th  of  October.     On  the  10th,  the  cannon  began  to  batter  the 
town ;  on  the  14th  an  American  column,  commanded  by  M.  de  La 
Fayette,  Col.  Hamilton  and  Col.  Lawrence,  attacked  one  of  the 
redoubts  which  protected  the  approaches  to  the  town,  whilst  the 
French  dashed  forward  on  their  side  to  attack  the  second  redoubt, 
under  the  orders  of  Baron  de  Viom^nil,  Viscount  de  Noailles  and 
marquis  de  St.  Simon,  who,  ill  as  he  was,  had  insisted  on  being 
carried   at   the  head  of  his   regiment.     The   flag  of  the   Union 
floated  above  both  works  at  almost  the  same  instant ;  when  the 
attacking  columns  joined  again  on  the  other  side  of  the  outwork 
they  had  attacked,  the  French  had  made  five  hundred  prisoners. 
All  defence  became  impossible.    Lord  Cornwallis  in  vain  attempted 
to  escape ;  he  was  reduced,  on  the  1 7th  of  October,  to  signing  a 
capitulation   more    humiliating    than    that   of    Saratoga:    eight 
thousand  men  laid  down  their  arms,  the  vessels  which  happened 
to  be  lying  at  Yorktown  and  Gloucester  were  given  up  to  the 
victors.     Lord  Cornwallis  was  ill  of  grief  and  fatigue.     General 
O'Hara,  who  took    his  place,  tendered   his  sword  to  Count  de 
Rochambeau;  the  latter  stepped  back  and,  pointing  to  General 
Washington,  said  aloud,  "  I  am  only  an  auxiliary."     In  receiving 
the  English  general's  sword,  Washington  was  receiving  the  pledge 
of  his  country's  independence. 

England  felt  this.  "  Lord  North  received  the  news  of  the 
capitulation  like  a  bullet  in  his  breast,"  said  Ijord  George  Ger- 
maine,  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  "  he  threw  up  his  arms 
without  being  able  to  utter  a  word  beyond  *  My  God,  all's  lost!*" 
To  this  growing  conviction  on  the  part  of  his  ministers,  as  well  as 
of  the  nation,  George  III.  opposed  an  unwavering  persistency: 
"  None  of  the  members  of  my  cabinet,"  he  wrote  immediately, 
"  will  suppose,  I  am  quite  sure,  that  this  event  can  in  any  way 
modify  the  principles  which  have  guided  me  hitherto  and  which  will 
continue  to  regulate  my  conduct  during  the  rest  of  this  struggle." 


Chap.  LVIL] 


LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


395 


I 


I 

I 


Whilst  the  United  States  were  celebrating  tbeir  victory  ^nth 
thanksgivings  and  pnblic  festivities,  their  allies  were  triumphing 
at  all  the  different  points,  simnltaneonsly,  at  which  hostilities  had 
been  entered  upon*  Becoming  embroiled  with  Holland,  where 
the  republican  party  had  prevailed  against  the  stadtholder,  who 
was  devoted  to  them^  the  English  had  waged  war  upon  the  Dutch 
colonies.  Admiral  Rodney  had  taken  St,  Eustacbe,  the  centre  of 
an  immense  trade;  he  had  pillaged  the  warehouses  and  laden  his 
vessels  with  an  enormous  mass  of  merchandise;  the  convoy  which 
was  conveying  a  part  of  the  &poil  to  England  was  captured  by 
Admiral  La  Motte-Piquet ;  M.  Bonill^  surprised  the  English 
garrison  remaining  at  St.  Eustache  and  recovered  possession  of  the 
island »  which  was  restored  to  the  Dutch,  They  had  just  main- 
tained glorionslyj  at  Dogger  Bank,  their  old  maritime  renown: 
'*  Officers  and  men  all  fought  like  lions,"  said  Admiral  Zonttman, 
The  firing  had  not  commenced  until  the  two  fleets  were  within 
pistol-shot.  The  ships  on  both  sides  were  dismasted,  scarcely 
in  a  condition  to  keep  afloat ;  the  glory  and  the  losses  were  equal, 
huttlie  English  admiral,  Hyde  Parker >  was  irritated  and  displeased. 
George  IIL  went  to  see  him  on  board  his  vessel:  **I  wish  your 
Majesty  younger  seamen  and  better  ships,*'  said  the  old  sailor,  and 
he  insisted  on  resigning.  This  was  the  only  action  fought  by  the 
Dutch  during  the  war ;  they  left  to  Admiral  de  Kersaint  the  job 
of  recovering  from  the  English  their  colonies  of  Demerai'a, 
Essequibo  and  Berbice  on  the  coasts  of  Guiana, 

A  small  Franco-Spanish  army  was  at  the  same  time  besieging 
Minorca ;  the  fleet  was  considerable,  the  English  were  ill-prepared  ; 
they  were  soon  obliged  to  shut  themselves  up  in  Fort  St.  Philip, 
The  ramparts  were  as  solid,  the  position  was  as  impregnable 
as  in  the  time  of  Marshal  Richelieu ;  the  admirals  were  taiVJy  in 
bringing  up  the  fleet,  their  irresolution  caused  the  failure  of 
operations  that  had  been  ill-combined,*  the  squadrons  entered  port 
again ;  the  duke  of  Crillon,  who  commanded  the  besieging  force, 
weary  of  investing  the  fortress,  made  a  proposal  to  the  com- 
mandant to  give  the  place  up  to  him :  the  oflFers  were  magnificent, 
but  Colonel  Murray  answered  indignantly:  *' Sir,  when  the  king 
his  master  ordered   your  brave  ancestor  to  assassinate  the  duke  of 


396 


HISTORY   OF   FRANCE, 


[CeAr.  LVIL 


Guise,  he  replied  to  Henry  II L,  Ilonoar  JlrhuU !  You  ought  to 
have  made  the  same  answer  to  the  king  of  Spain  when  he  ordered 
you  to  assassinate  the  honour  of  a  man  as  well  born  as  the  duke 
of  Guise  or  yourself.  I  desire  to  have  no  communication  with  yoti 
but  by  way  of  arms/'  And  he  kept  up  the  defence  of  his  fortmivs 
continually  battered  by  the  besiegers'  cannon-balls.  Assault  suc- 
ceeded assault :  the  duke  of  Crilloii  himself  escaladed  the  ramparts 
to  capture  the  EugHsh  flag  which  floated  on  the  top  of  a  tower: 
he  was  slightly  wounded,  "  How  long  have  generals  done 
grenadiers'  work  ?"  said  the  officers  to  one  another.  The  general 
heard  them  :  ''  I  wanted  to  make  ray  Spaniards  thorough  Frencli/' 
he  said,  ''that  nobody  might  any  longer  perceive  that  there  are 
two  nationalities  here,"  Murray  at  last  capitulated  ou  the  4th  of 
February,  1 782 :  tlie  fortress  contained  but  a  handful  of  soldiers 
exhausted  with  fatigue  and  privation. 

Great  was  the  joy  at  Madrid  as  well  as  in  France,  and  deep  the 
digmay  in  London :  the  ministry  of  Lord  North  could  not  iitaod 
(igainst  this  last  blow.     So  many  efforts  and  so  many  sacrifices 
ending  in  so  many  disasters  were  irritating  and  wearing  out  the 
nation :  "  Great  God  !"  exclaimed  Burke,  *'  is  it  still  a  time  to  talk 
to  us  of  the  rights  we  are  upholding  in  this  war  !     Oh  !  esoclleot 
rights  I    Precious  they  should  be^  for  they  have  cost  us  dear.    Oh  I 
precious  rights,  which  have  cost  Great  Britain  thirteen  provinoes, 
four  islands  s  a  hundred  thousand  men,  and  more  than  ten  millioni 
sterling !     Oh !  wonderful  rights,  which  have  cost  Great  Britain 
her  empire  upon  the  Ocean  and  that  boasted  superiority  which 
made  all  nations  bend  before  her  1      Oh  1   inestimable  rights,  which 
have  taken  from  us  our  rank  amongst  the  nations,  our  importance 
abroad  and   our  happiness  at  home,   which   have  dBStroyed  our 
commerce  and  our  manufactures^  which  have  reduced  us  from  the 
most  flourislung  empire  in  the  world  to  a  kingdom  circumscribed 
and  grandeur-less  t     Precious  rights,  which  wUl,  no  doubt,  cost  us 
all  that  we  have  left!"     The  debate  was  growing  more  and  mon' 
bitter.     Lord  North  entered  the  House  with  his  usual  serenity: 
'*  This  discussion  is  a  loss  of  valuable  time  to  the  House,"  said  he: 
**  His  Majesty  has  just  accepted  the  resignation  of  his  ministem** 
The  Wliigs  came  into  power;    Lord    Rockingluun,   the  duke  c*f 


Ciut>.  LVIL] 


LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


:199 


Riclimond,  Mi\  Fox ;  tbe  era  of  concessions  was  at  hand*  An 
unsuccessful  battle  delivered  against  Hood  and  Rodney  by  Admiral 
de  Grasse  restored  for  a  while  the  pride  of  the  English*  A  good 
sailor,  brave  and  for  a  long  timo  successful  in  war.  Count  de  Grasse 
had  many  a  time  been  out-manoeuvred  by  tlie  English,  He  had  suf- 
fered himself  to  be  enticed  away  from  St*  Christopher^  which  he  was 
besieging,  and  which  the  marquis  of  Bouillt'  took  a  few  days  later; 
embarrassed  by  two  damaged  vessels,  he  would  not  abandon  them 
to  the  English  and  retarded  his  movements  to  protect  them.  The 
English  fleet  was  superior  to  the  French  in  vessels  and  weight  of 
metal ;  the  fight  lasted  ten  hours,  the  French  squadron  was  broken, 
disorder  ensued  in  the  manoeuvres,  the  captains  got  killed  one  after 
another,  nailing  their  colours  to  the  mast  or  letting  their  vessels 
sink  rather  than  strike  ;  the  flag-ship,  the  Ville  de  Pm'iift  was 
attacked  by  seven  of  the  enemies'  ships  at  once,  her  consorts  could 
not  get  at  her;  Count  de  Grasse,  maddened  with  gi*ief  and  rage, 
saw  aU  his  crew  falling  around  him  :  "  The  admiral  is  six  foot  every 
day/'  said  the  sailors,  "  on  a  fighting  day  he  is  six  foot  one,"  So 
much  courage  and  desperation  could  not  save  the  fleet,  the  count 
was  forced  to  strike ;  his  ship  had  received  such  damage  that  it 
sank  before  its  arrival  in  England ;  the  admiral  was  received  in 
London  with  great  honours  against  which  his  vanity  was  not  proof, 
to  the  loss  of  his  personal  dignity  and  his  reputation  in  Europe,  A 
national  subscription  in  France  reinforced  the  fleet  with  new  vessels  ; 
a  squadron,  commanded  by  M.  de  Suffren,  had  just  carried  into  the 
East  Indies  the  French  flag,  which  had  so  long  been  humiliated, 
and  which  his  victorious  hands  were  destined  to  hoist  aloft  again 
for  a  moment. 

As  early  as  1778,  even  before  the  maritime  war  had  burst  out  in 
Europe,  France  had  lost  all  that  remained  of  her  possessions  on  the 
Coromandel  coast,  Pondicherry,  scarcely  risen  from  its  ruins,  was 
besieged  by  the  English,  and  had  capitulated  on  the  17th  of  October, 
after  a  heroic  resistance  of  forty  days'  open  trenches.  Since  that 
day  a  Mussulman,  Hyder  AU,  conqueror  of  the  Carnatic,  bad 
struggled  alone  in  India  against  the  power  of  England :  it  was 
around  him  that  a  group  had  been  formed  by  tbe  old  soldiers  of 
Bussy  and  by  the  French  who  had  escaped  from  the  disaster  of 


400  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

Pondicherry.  It  was  with  their  aid  that  the  able  robber-chief,  the 
crafty  politician,  had  defended  and  consolidated  the  empire  he  had 
founded  against  that  foreign  dominion  which  threatened  the  inde- 
pendence of  his  country.  He  had  just  suffered  a  series  of  reverses, 
and  he  was  on  the  point  of  being  forced  to  evacuate  the  Camatic 
and  take  refuge  in  his  kingdom  of  Mysore  whon  he  heard,  in  the 
month  of  July,  1782,  of  the  arrival  of  a  French  fleet  commanded 
by  M.  de  Suffren.  Hyder  Ali  had  already  been  many  times  dis- 
appointed. The  preceding  year  Admiral  d'Orves  had  appeared  on 
the  Coromandel  coast  with  a  squadron,  the  Sultan  had  sent  to  meet 
him,  urging  him  to  land  and  attack  Madras,  left  defenceless ;  the 
admiral  refused  to  risk  a  single  vessel  or  land  a  single  man,  and  he 
returned  without  striking  a  blow  to  lle-de-France.  Ever  indomit- 
able  and  enterprising,  Hyder  Ali  hoped  better  things  of  the  new 
comers :  he  was  not  deceived. 

Bom  at  St.  Cannat  in  Provence  on  the  13th  of  July,  1726,  of  an 
old  and  a  notable  family  amongst  the  noblesse  of  his  province, 
Peter  Andrew  de  Suffren,  admitted  before  he  was  seventeen  into  the 
marine  guards,  had  procured  his  reception  into  the  order  of  Malta; 
he  had  already  distinguished  himself  in  many  engagements,  when  M. 
de  Castries  gave  him  the  command  of  the  squadron  commissioned 
to  convey  to  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  a  French  garrison  promised 
to  the  Dutch,  whose  colony  was  threatened.     The  English  had 
seized  Negapatam  and  Trincomalee ;  they  hoped  to  follow  up  this 
conquest  by  the  capture  of  Batavia  and  Ceylon.     Suffren  had 
accomplished  his  mission,  not  without  a  brush  with  the  EngUsh 
squadron,  commanded  by  Commodore  Johnston.    Leaving  the  Cape 
free  from  attack,  he  had  joined,  off*  lle-de-France,  Admiral  d'Orves, 
who  was  ill  and  at  death's  door.     The  vessels  of  the  commander 
(of  the  Maltese  order)  were  in  a  bad  state,  the  crews  were  weak, 
the  provisions  were  deficient ;  the  inexhaustible  zeal  and  the  ener- 
getic ardour  of  the  chief  sufficed  to  animate  both  non-combatants 
and  combatants.  When  he  put  to  sea  on  the  7th  of  December,  Count 
d'Orves  still  commanded  the  squadron ;  on  the  9th  of  February  h^ 
expired  out  at  sea,  having  handed  over  his  command  to  M.  de 
Sufiren.     All  feebleness  and  all  hesitation  disappeared  from  that 
moment  in  the  management  of  the  expedition ;  when  the  nabob 


I 


Chap.  LVII.] 


LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABROAD, 


401 


sent  a  French  officer  in  bis  service  to  compliment  M<  tie  Suffren 

I  and  proffer  alliancCj  the  commander  interrupted  the  envoy  :  *^  Wc 
will  begin,"  said  he,  "by  settling  the  conditions  of  this  alliance/' 
and  not  a  soldier  set  foot  on  land  before  the  independent  position 
of  the  French  force,  the  number  of  its  auxiliaries  aud  the  pay- 
ment for  its  services  had  been  settled  by  a  treaty,  Kyder  Ali 
consented  to  everything.  M.  de  Suffren  set  sail  to  go  in  search  of 
the  English* 
f  He  sought  them  for  three  months  without  any  decisive  result ; 
it  was  only  on  the  4th  of  July  in  the  morningj  at  the  moment  when 
Hyder  Ali  was  to  attack  Negapatam,  that  a  serious  engagement 
began  between  the  hostile  fleets.  The  two  squadrons  had  already 
suffered  severely^  a  change  of  wind  had  caused  disorder  in  the  Hues  : 
the  English  had  several  vessels  dismantled ;  one  single  French 
vessel,  the  Shere,  had  received  serious  damage;  her  captain,  with 

I  cowardly  want  of  spirit,  ordered  the  flag  to  be  hauled  down.  His 
lieutenants  protested ;  the  volunteers  to  w^hom  he  had  appealed 
refused  to  execute  his  orders.  By  this  time  the  report  was  spreading 
amongst  the  batteries  that  the  captain  was  giving  the  order  to 
cease  firing,  the  sailors  were  as  indignant  as  the  officers:  a  cry 
arose,  **  The  flag  is  down ! "  A  complaisant  subaltern  had  at  last 
obeyed  the  captain's  repeated  orders.  The  officers  jumped  upon 
^the  quarter-deck  :  "  You  are  master  of  your  flag,**  fiercely  cried  an 
officer  of  the  blue,  Lieut.  Dien,  ''but  w^o  aru  masters  as  to  fighting, 
and  the  ship  shall  not  surrender  !"  By  this  time  a  boat  from  the 
EBglish  ship,  the  Sulfan^  had  put  ofl*  to  board  the  SedTf\  which 
^vas  supposed  to  have  struck,  w^licn  a  fearful  broadside  from  all  the 
ship's  port-holes  struck  the  Snltan,  which  found  herself  obliged  to 
sheer  off,  Night  came;  without  waiting  for  the  admiral's  orders, 
the  English  went  and  cast  anchor  under  Negapatam. 

il.  de  Suffren  supposed  that  hostilities  would  be  resumed;  but, 

^'hen  the  English  did  not  appear,  ho  at  last  prepared  to  set  sail  for 

Gondelour  to  refit  his  vessels,  when  a  small  boat  of  the  enemy's 

^ove  in  sight ;  it  bore  a  flag  of  truce.     Admiral  Hughes  claimed 

^Ko  Severe^  which  had  for  an  instant  hauled  down  her  flag.     M,  de 

SuBVen  had  not  heard  anything  about  her  captain's  poltroonery ; 

the  flag  had  been  immediately  replaced ;  he  answered  that  none  of 

vor*.  V, 


402  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVII. 

the  French  vessels  had  suiTendered ;  "  However/'  he  added  with 
a  smile,  "  as  this  vessel  belongs  to  Sir  Edward  Hughes,  beg  him 
from  me  to  come  for  it  himself."  Suffren  arrived  without  hindrance 
at  Gondelour  (Kaddalore). 

Scarcely  was  he  there  when  Hyder  Ali  expressed  a  desire  to  see 
him,  and  set  out  for  that  purpose  without  waiting  for  his  answer. 
On  the  26th  of  July,  M.  de  Suffren  landed  with  certain  officers  of 
his  squadron ;  an  escort  of  cavalry  was  in  waiting  to  conduct  him 
to  the  camp  of  the  nabob,  who  came  out  to  meet  him :  "  Hereto- 
fore   I  thought  myself  a  great  man  and  a  great  general,"  said 
Hyder  Ali  to  the  admiral,  "  but  now  I  know  that  you  alone  are 
a  great  man."      Suffren  informed  the  nabob  that  M.  de  Bussy- 
Castelnau,  but  lately  the  faithful  lieutenant  of  Dupleix  and  the  con- 
tinner  of  his  victories,  had  just  been  sent  to  India  with  the  tide  of 
commander-in-chief;  he  was  already  at  lie  de  France,  and  was 
bringing  some  troops.     "  Provided  that  you  remain  with  us,  all 
will  go  well,"  said  the  nabob,  detaching  from  his  turban  an  aigrette 
of  diamonds  which  he  placed  on  M.  de  Suffren's  hat.     The  nabob's 
tent  was  reached ;  Suffren  was  fat,  he  had  great  difficulty  in  sitting 
upon  the  carpets ;  Hyder  Ali  perceived  this  and  ordered  cushions 
to  be  brought :  "  Sit  as  you  please,"  said  ho  to  the  commander, 
**  etiquette  was  not  made  for  such  as  you."     Next  day,  under  the 
nabob's  tent,  all  the  courses  of  the  banquet  offered  to  M.  de  Suffren 
were   prepared  in  European   style.     The   admiral   proposed  that 
Hyder  Ali  should  go  to  the  coast  and  see  all  the  fleet  dressed,  but, 
"  I  put  myself  out  to  see  you  only,"  said  the  nabob,  "  I  will  not  go 
any  farther."     The  two  great  warriors  were  never  to  meet  again. 
The  French  vessels  were  ready,  the  commander  had  more  than  once 
put  his  own  hand  to  the  work  in  order  to  encourage  the  workmen's 
zeal.     Carpentry-wood  was  wanted ;  he  had  ransacked  Gondelour 
(Kaddalore)  for  it,  sometimes  pulling  down  a  house  to  get  hold  of  a 
beam  which  suited  him.     His  officers  urged  him  to  go  to  Bourbon 
or  lle-de-Franco  for  the  necessary  supplies  and  for  a  good  port  to 
shelter  his  damaged  ships :  "  Until  I  have  conquered  one  in  India, 
I  will  have  no  port  but  the  sea,"  answered  Suffren.     He  bad  re- 
taken Trincomalee  before  the  English  could  come  to  it«  defence. 
The  battle  began.     As  bad  ah^eady  happened  more  than  once,  a 


CiiAr.  LVIL] 


LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD. 


403 


^art  of  tlio  French  forco  showed  weakness  in  the  tbick  of  the  action 
either  from  cowardice  or  treason ;  a  cabal  had  formed  against  the 
commander;  he  was  fighting  single-handed  against  five  or  six 
assailants ;  the  main^mast  and  the  flag  of  the  Heros^  which  he  was 
on^  fell  beneath  the  enemies*  cannon-balls,  Suffi'en,  standing  on 
the  quarter-deck,  shouted  beside  himself:  '*  Flags !  Set  white  flags 
all  round  the  Heros!'^  The  vessel,  all  bristling  with  flags,  replied 
so  valiantly  to  the  English  attacks,  that  the  rest  of  tlio  squadron 
had  time  to  re-form  around  it;  the  English  went  and  anchored 
before  Madras- 

Bussy  had  arrived,  but  aged,  a  victim  to  gout,  quite  a  stranger 
amidst  those  Indian  intrigues  with  which  he  had  but  lately  been 
so  well  acquainted.  Hyder  Ali  had  just  died  on  the  7th  of 
December,  1782,  leaving  to  his  son  Tippoo  Saliib  affairs  embroiled 
and  allies  enfeebled.  At  this  news  the  Mahrattas,  in  revolt  against 
England,  hastened  to  make  peace,  and  Tippoo  Sahib  who  had  just 
seized  Tanjore  was  obhged  to  abandon  his  conquest  and  go  to  the 
protection  of  Malabar.  Ten  thousand  men,  only,  remained  in  the 
Camatic  to  back  the  little  corps  of  French.  Bussy  allowed  himself 
to  be  driven  to  bay  by  General  Stuart  beneath  the  walls  of  Gonde- 
lour;  he  had  even  been  forced  to  shut  himself  up  in  the  town. 
M.  do  Suffren  went  to  his  roleasc.  The  action  was  hotly 
contested;  when  the  victor  landed,  M,  de  Bussy  was  awaiting 
liim  on  the  shore*  **  Here  is  our  saviour,*'  said  the  general  to  his 
oops,  and  the  soldiers  taking  up  in  their  arms  M,  de  Suffren, 
ho  had  been  lately  promoted  by  the  grand-master  of  the  order  of 
alta  to  the  rank  of  grand-cross  {batlli)^  carried  him  in  triumph 
to  the  tovm.  **  lie  pressed  M-  de  Bussy  every  day  to  attack  us," 
ijB  Sir  Thomas  Munro,  "  offering  to  land  the  greater  part  of  his 
ws  and  to  lead  them  himself  to  deliver  the  assault  upon  our 
mp-  Bussy  had,  in  fact,  resumed  the  offensive  and  was 
paring  to  make  fresh  sallies,  when  it  waa  known  at  Calcutta 
at  the  prclimiiiaries  of  peace  had  been  signed  at  Paris  on  the 
I  of  February.  The  Enghsh  immediately  proposed  an  armistice. 
be  Snrveillaute  shortly  afterwards  brought  tho  same  news,  with 
"era  for  Suffren  to  return  to  France.  India  was  definitively 
yen  up  to  the  Euglitih,  who  restored  to  the  French  Pondicherry, 

D  d  2 


I 


404 


mSTOKY  OF  FRANCE. 


[CuAf.  LVU, 


Cliandernuggiir,  Mahc  and  Karikalj  the  last  strips  remaining  of 
that  French    dominion   which   had  for  a  while  been  triumphant! 
throughout  tho  Ftninsula,     The  feebleness  and  the  vices  of  Lomil 
XV/s  government  weighed  heavily  upon  the  government  of  Lou 
XVI,  in  India  as  well  as  in  France,  and  at  Pans  itself* 

It  is  to  the  honour  of  mankind  and  their  consolation  uiide 
great  reverses  that  political  checks  and  the  inutility  of  tlioir  effort! 
do  not  obscure  tho  glory  of  great  men,  IL  de.  BufTren  had  jus 
arrived  at  Paris,  he  was  in  low  spirits;  IL  de  Castries  took  bin 
to  Versailles*  There  was  a  numerous  and  brilliant  court*  Oi 
entering  the  guards*  hall,  **  Gentlemen,"  said  the  minister  to  the 
officers  on  duty,  "this  is  M*  de  Suffren/'  Evorybody  rose, ; 
the  bodyguards  J  forming  an  escort  for  tho  admiral,  aceomj 
liim  to  the  king's  chamber.  His  career  was  over ;  the  last  of  tl 
great  sailors  of  tho  old  regimen  died  on  tho  8th  of  December,  Ilk 

Whilst  Hyder  Ali  and  M,  de  Suflfren  were  still   disputing  lojdil 
with  England,  that  power  bad  just  gained  in  Europe  an  imjior 
advantage  in  the  eyes  of  public  opinion  as  well  as  itt  respect 
her  supremacy  at  sea. 

For  close   upon   three  years  past  a   Spanish    ai^niy    had 
investing  by  land  the  town  and  fortress  of  Gibraltar  ;    a  st 
squadron  was  cruising  out  of  cannon-shot  of  the  place,  inces 
engaged    in    barring    the   passage   against   tho    Englmh 
Twice   already,    in    1780   by   Admiral    Rodney   and    in    1781 
Admiral  Darby,  the  vigiUmce  of  the  cruisers  had  been  eludedj 
reinforcements   of   troops,  provisions  and  ammunition   lia<l 
thrown  into  Gibraltar.     In  17S2  tho  town  had  been  lialf  dc*dt| 
by  an  incessantly  renewed  bombardment,  the  fortifications 
been   touched.     Every   morning,   when   he   awoke,    Cbirlea 
would  ask  anxiously,    "Have  wo   got   Gibraltar?"    and 
**  No  '*  w  as  answered  J  "  We  soon  shall,"  the  monarch  wo  aid 
imperturbably*     The  capture  of  Fort  Philip  had  eon  firmed  hk 
his  liopes;    he  considered  his  object  gained,   when  the  dako 
Crillon  with   a   corps    of    French   troops   came   and  joinc  ' 
besiegers ;  the  count  of  Artois,  brother  to  the  king,  m 
the  duke  of  Bourbon  had  come  with  him ;  the  camp  of  St.  B<»5^ 
was  tho  scene  of  continual  festivities,  sometimes  in  term  pied  bjr 


CffAP.  LVIL]  LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  ABROAD,  407 

the  sallies  of  the  besieged;  the  fights  did  not  interfere  witb 
mutual  good  oflBces ;  in  Iiis  protid  distress.  General  Eliot  still  kept 
up  an  intercbauge  of  rofresbmenta  witb  tbo  French  princesi  and 
the  dnke  of  Crillon ;  the  count  of  Artois  had  handed  oyer  to  the 
English  garrison  the  letters  and  correspondence  which  had  been 
captured  on  the  enemy's  ships  and  which  he  had  found  addressed 

■  t'O  tliem  on  his  way  through  Madrid. 
Preparations  were  being  made  for  a  grand  assault.  A  French 
engineer,  Chevalier  d'Arcon,  had  invented  some  enormous  floating 
batterieSj  fire-proof,  as  be  believed ;  a  hundred  and  fifty  pieces  of 
B  cannon  were  to  batter  the  place  all  at  once,  near  enough  to 
facilitate  the  assault,  Ou  the  13tb  of  September,  at  9  a,m»,  the 
Spaniards  opened  fire  :  all  the  artillery  in  the  fort  replied  at  once, 
the  surrounding  mountains  repeated  the  cannonade,  the  whole 
army  covered  the  shore  awaiting  witb  anxiety  the  result  of  the 
enterprise.  Already  the  fortifications  seemed  to  bo  beginning  to 
totter;  the  batteries  had  been  firing  for  five  hours  ;  all  at  once  the 
prince  of  Nassau  who  commanded  a  detachment  thought  he 
perceived    flames   mastering   bis   heav^y   vessel ;    the   fire   spread 

k  rapidly ;  one  after  another,  the  floating  batteries  found  themselves 
disarmed,     '*  At   seven   o'clock   we  had   lost  all  hope/'  said  an 
Italian  officer  who  had  taken  part  in  the  assault,  '*  we  fired  no 
more  and  our  signals  of  distress  remained  unnoticed.     The  red- 
hot  shot  of  the  besieged  rained  down  upon  us;    the  crews  were 
threatened  from  every  point/'     Timidly  and  by  weak  detachments, 
^  f  he  boats  of  the  two  fleets  crept  up  under  cover  of  the  batteries  in 
^  hopes  of  saving  some   of  the  poor  creatures  that  were  like  to 
perish ;  the  flames  which  burst  out  on  board  the  doomed  ships 
served  to  guide  the  fii*e  of  the  English  as  surely  as  in  broad  day- 
light.    At   the  bead  of  a  small  squadron  of  gunboats  Captain 
Curtis  barred  the  passage  of  the  salvors ;  the  conflagmtion  became 
general,  only  the  discharges  from  the  fort  replied  to  the  hissing  of 
L^-he  flames  and  to  the  Spaniards'  cries  of  despair*     The  fire  at  last 
B^^aelcened  ;  the  English  gun-boats  changed  their  part ;  at  the  peril 
^f  their  lives  the  brave  seamen  on  board  of  them  approached  the 
■  Wrning  ships,  trying  to  save  the  uofortunato  crews  ;  four  hundred 
H  ^m  owed  their  preservation  to  those  efibns.     A  month  after  this 


408  HISTORY  OP  FRANCE.  [Chap.  LVU. 

disastrous  affair,  Ijord  Howe,  favoured  by  the  accidents  of  wind 
and  weather,  revictualled  for  the  third  time,  and  almost  without 
any  fighting,  the  fortress  and  the  town  under  the  very  eyes  of  the 
alKed  fleets.     Gibraltar  remained  impregnable. 

Peace  was  at  hand,  however :  all  the  belligerents  were  tired  of 
the  strife,  the  marquis  of  Rockingham  was  dead ;  his  ministry, 
after  being  broken  up,  had  re-formed  with  less  lustre  under 
the  leadership  of  Lord  Shelburne ;  William  Pitt,  Lord  Chatham's 
second  son,  at  that  time  twenty-two  years  of  age,  had  a  seat  in 
the  cabinet.  Already  negotiations  for  a  general  peace  had  begun 
at  Paris,  but  Washington,  who  eagerly  desired  the  end  of  the  war, 
did  not  yet  feel  any  confidence.  "  The  old  infatuation,  the 
political  duplicity  and  perfidy  of  England  render  me,  I  confess, 
very  suspicious,  very  doubtful,"  he  wrote,  "  and  her  position  seems 
to  me  to  be  perfectly  summed  up  in  the  laconic  saying  of  Dr. 
Franklin :  *  They  are  incapable  of  continuing  the  war  and  too 
proud  to  make  peace.'  The  pacific  overtures  made  to  the 
different  belligerent  nations  have  probably  no  other  design  than  to 
detach  some  one  of  them  from  the  coalition.  At  any  rate,  what- 
ever be  the  enemy's  intentions,  our  watchfulness  and  our  efforts, 
so  far  from  languishing,  should  become  more  vigorous  than  evor. 
Too  much  trust  and  confidence  would  ruin  everything." 

America  was  the  first  to  make  peace,  without  however  detaching 
herself  officially  from  the  coalition  which  had  been  formed  to  main- 
tain her  quarrel  and  from  which  she  had  derived  so  many  advan- 
tages. On  the  30th  of  November,  1782,  in  disregard  of  the  treaties 
but  lately  concluded  between  Franco  and  the  revolted  colonies,  the 
American  negotiators  signed  with  stealthy  precipitation  the  pre- 
liminary articles  of  a  special  peace,  "  thus  abandoning  France  to 
the  dangers  of  being  isolated  in  negotiations  or  in  arms."  The 
votes  of  Congress  as  well  as  the  attitude  of  Washington  did  not 
justify  this  disloyal  and  ungrateful  eagerness.  "  The  articles  of 
the  treaty  between  Great  Britain  and  America,"  wrote  the  general 
to  Chevalier  de  La  Luzerne,  French  minister  at  Philadelphia,  "  are 
so  far  from  conclusive  as  regards  a  general  pacification  that  we 
must  preserve  a  hostile  attitude  and  remain  ready  for  any  contin* 
gency.  for  war  as  well  as  peace." 


I 

I 


Chap.  LVII,]  LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  ABROAD.  409 

On  tlie  5th  of  December,  at  the  opening  of  Parliament,  George 
III*  announced  in  the  speech  from  the  throne  that  he  had  offered 
to  recognize  the  independence  of  the  American  colonies.  "  In 
tliua  admitting  their  separation  from  the  crown  of  this  kingdom,  I 
have  sacrified  all  my  desires  to  the  wishes  and  opinion  of  my 
people,'^  said  the  king.  **  I  hnmbly  pray  Almighty  God  that  Great 
Britain  may  not  feel  the  evils  which  may  flow  from  so  important  a 
dismemberment  of  its  empire,  nnd  that  America  may  be  a  stranger 
to  the  calamities  which  liavc  before  now  proved  to  the  mother* 
country  that  monarchy  is  inseparable  from  the  benefits  of  consti- 
tntional  liberty.  Religion,  language,  interests,  affections  may  still 
form  a  bond  of  union  between  the  two  countries,  and  I  will  spare 
no  pains  or  attention  to  promote  it,"  "  I  was  the  last  man  in 
England  to  consent  to  the  independence  of  America,"  said  the 
king  to  John  Adams,  who  was  the  first  to  represent  the  new 
repnblic  at  tlie  Court  of  St,  James's ;  "  I  will  now  be  the  last  iu 
the  world  to  sanction  any  violation  of  it/'  Honest  and  sincere  in 
his  concessions  as  he  had  been  in  his  persistent  obstinacy,  the  king 
supported  his  ministers  against  the  violent  attacks  madenpou  them 
in  Parliament.  The  preliminaries  of  general  peace  had  been  signed 
at  Paris  on  the  20th  of  January,  1783, 

To  the  exchange  of  conquests  between  Prance  and  England  was 
added  the  cession  to  France  of  the  island  of  Tobago  and  of  the 
Senegal  river  with  its  dependencies.  The  territory  of  Pondi- 
cherry  and  Karikal  received  some  augmentation.  For  the  first 
time  for  more  than  a  hundred  years  the  English  renounced  the 
humiliating  conditions  so  often  demanded  on  the  subject  of  the 
harbonr  of  Dnnkerque.  Spain  saw  herself  confirmed  in  her  con- 
quest of  the  Floridas  and  of  the  island  of  Minorca.  Holland 
recovered  all  her  possessions,  except  Negapatam. 

Peace  was  made,  a  glorious  and  a  sweet  one  for  the  United 
States,  which,  according  to  Washington's  expression,  "  saw  open- 
ing before  them  a  career  that  might  lead  them  to  become  a  great 
people,  equally  happy  and  respected."  Desijite  all  the  mistakes  of 
the  people  and  the  defects  every  day  more  apparent  in  the  form  of 
its  government,  this  noble  and  healthy  ambition  has  always  been 
present  to  the  minds  of  the  American  nation  as  the  nltimate  aim 


1 


410  HISTORY  OP  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LVE. 

of  their  hopes  and  their  endeavours.  More  than  eighty  years 
after  the  war  of  independence  the  indomitable  energy  of  the  fathers 
re-appeared  in  tlie  children,  worthy  of  being  called  a  great 
people  even  when  the  agonies  of  a  civil  war  without  example 
denied  to  them  the  happiness  which  had  a  while  ago  been  hoped 
for  by  the  glorious  founder  of  their  liberties  as  well  as  of  their 
Constitution. 

France  came  out  exhausted  from  the  struggle  but  relieved  in  her 
own  eyes  as  well  as  those  of  Europe  from  the  humiliation  inflicted 
upon  her  by  the  disastrous  Seven  Years'  War  and  by  the  treaty  of 
1763.      She  saw  triumphant  the  cause  she  had  upheld  and  her 
enemies  sorrow-stricken  at  the  dismemberment  they  had  suffered. 
It  was  a  triumph  for  her  arms  and  for  the  generous  impulse  which 
had  prompted  her  to  support  a  legitimate  but  for  a  long  while 
doubtful  enterprise.     A  fresh  clement,  however,  had  come  to  add 
itself  to  the  germs  of  disturbance,  already  so  fruitful,  which  were 
hatching  within   her.      She   had   promoted  the  foundation  of  a 
Republic  based  upon  principles  of  absolute  right,  the  government 
had  given  way  to  the  ardent  sympathy  of  the  nation  for  a  people 
emancipated  from  a  long  yoke  by  its  deliberate  will  and  its  indo- 
mitable energy.     France  felt  her  heart  still  palpitating  from  tbe 
efforts  she  had  witnessed  and  shared  on  behalf  of  American  free- 
dom; the  unreflecting  hopes  of  a  blind  emulation  were  already 
agitating  many  a  mind.     "  In  all  states,"  said  Washington, "  tliero 
are  inflammable  materials  which  a  single  spark  may  kindle."    In 
1783,   on   the   morrow   of  the   American   war,   the   inflammable 
materials  everywhere  accumulated  in  France   were   already  pro- 
viding means  for  that  immense  conflagration  in  the  midst  of  wliicli 
tlio  country  well-nigh  perished. 


CHAPTER  LVIIL 

LOUrS  XVL~FBAKCE  AT  OOME.— MINISTIIT  OF  M.  NECKER.- 

1776— 178  L 


;E  Imve  followed  the  course  of  good  and  bad  fortiino; 
wo  have  exhibited  Franco  engaged  abroad  in  a  policy 
>3  at  the  same  time  bold  and  generous,  proceeding  from 
rancour  as  well  as  from  tlic  sympathetic  ciifcbusia!?m  of  the  nation ; 
W0  have  seen  the  war^  at  first  feebly  waged,  soon  extending  over 
every  sea  and  into  the  most  distant  colonies  of  the  belligerents, 
though  the  European  continent  was  not  attacked  at  any  point 
Rave  the  barren  rock  of  Gibraltar;  we  have  seen  tlie  just  cause  of 
the  United  States  triumphant  and  freedom  established  in  the  New 
World  :  it  is  time  to  inquire  what  new  shocks  had  been  undergone 
by  France  whilst  she  was  supporting  far  away  the  quarrel  of  tlie 
revolted  colonies  and  what  new  burthens  had  come  to  be  added  to 
the  load  of  difficulties  and  deceptions  which  she  had  seemed  to 
forget  whilst  she  was  fighting  England  at  so  many  different  points. 
It  was  not  without  great  efforts  that  France  bad  acquired  the 
gouerous  fame  of  securing  to  her  allies  blessings  wiiich  she  did 
not   herself  yet  possess  to  their  full   extent;    great  hopes,  and 


412 


mSTORY  OF  FRAJfCE, 


[Chap.  LVrn. 


powers  fresli  and  yoiitig  had  been  exhausted  in  the  struggle ;  at 
the  close  of  the  American  war  M,  Necker  was  played  out  politically 
as  well  as  M.  Tuvgot. 

It  was  not  to  supersede  the  great  minister  who  had  fallen  that 
the  Genevese  banker  had  been  called  to  office,  M.  do  Maurepas 
was  still  powerful,  still  up  and  doing;  he  loved  power,  in  spite  of 
his  real  levity  and  his  apparent  neglectfulness.  M.  Tiirgot  had 
often  galled  him,  had  sometimes  forced  his  hand  ;  M.  de  Clugny 
who  took  the  place  of  tlie  comptroller-general  iiad  no  passion  for 
reform  and  cared  for  nothing  but  leading,  at  the  treasury's 
expense,  a  magnificently  scandalous  life;  M.  de  Malesherbes  had 
been  succeeded  in  the  king's  household  by  Marquis  Ainelot.  **  At 
any  rate,*'  said  M.  de  Maurepas,  ''  nobody  will  accuse  me  of 
having  picked  him  out  for  his  wits/* 

Profoundly  shocked  at  the  irreligious  tendencies  of  the  philo- 
sophers, the  court  was,  nevertheless,  aweary  of  the  theoricians 
and  of  their  essays  in  reform;  it  welcomed  the  new  ministers  with 
delight ;  without  fuss  and  as  if  by  a  natural  recurrence  to  ancient 
usage,  the  edict  relative  to  forced  labour  was  suspended,  tht? 
anxieties  of  the  noblesse  and  of  the  clergy  subsided ;  the  peasantry 
knew  nothing  yet  of  M,  Turgot's  fall,  but  they  soon  found  out 
that  the  evils  from  which  they  had  imagined  they  were  delivered 
continued  to  press  upon  them  with  all  their  weight.  For  their 
only  consolation  Clugny  opened  to  them  the  fatal  and  disgraceful 
chances  of  the  lotterj',  which  became  a  royal  institution.  To 
avoid  the  remonstrances  of  Parliament,  the  comptroUer-genei-al 
established  the  new  enterprise  by  a  simple  decree  of  the  council : 
**  The  entries  being  voluntary,  the  lottery  is  no  tax  and  can 
dispense  with  enregistration,"  it  was  said.  It  was  only  seven ty-fiTe^J 
years  later,  in  1841,  under  the  government  of  King  Louis  Philippe^ 
and  the  ministry  of  M.  Humann,  that  the  lottery  was  abolished 
and  this  scandalous  source  of  revenue  forbidden  to  the  treasury* 

So  much  moral  weakness  and  political  changeablenessi  so  mucli 
poltroonery  or  indulgence  towards  evil  and  blind  passions  dis- 
quieted serious  minds,  and  profoundly  shook  tho  public  ciTtlit. 
The  Dutcli  refused  to  carry  out  the  loan  for  sixty  mi) lions  which 
they  had  negotiated  with  M.  Turgot ;  the  discotuit-fnnd   {cnU'^ 


CuAF.  LVni]       LOUIS  XVL,  FRANCE  AT  HOME.  413 

(Tescompte)  founded  by  him  brought  in  very  slowly  bub  a  moderate 
portion  of  the  assets  required  to  feed  it ;  the  king  alone  was 
ignorant  of  tho  prodigalities  and  irregularities  of  bis  minister. 
M,  do  Maurcpas  began  to  be  uneasy  at  the  publit!  discontent,  ho 
thought  of  superseding  the  comptroller-general  i  the  latter  had 
been  ill  for  some  timOj  on  the  22iid  of  October  he  died.  By  the 
advice  of  M.  de  Maurepas,  the  king  sent  for  SL  Necker* 

James  Necker  was  born  at  Geneva  in  1732,  Engaging  in 
business  without  any  parsonal  tasto  for  it  and  by  his  father's 
wish,  he  had  been  successful  in  his  enterprises ;  at  forty  be  was 
a  rich  man,  and  Ins  banking-houao  enjoyed  great  credit  when  he 
retired  from  business,  in  1772,  in  order  to  devote  himself  to 
occupations  more  in  accordance  with  his  natural  inclinations. 
He  was  ambitious  and  disinterested  •  Tho  great  operations  ia 
which  ho  had  been  concerned  had  made  his  name  known.  He 
had  propped  up  the  Coinpmjnie  de^^  hides  nearly  falling  to  pieces, 
and  his  financial  resources  had  often  ministered  to  the  necessities 
of  the  State.  **  We  entreat  your  assistance  in  the  day  of  need," 
wrote  Abbe  Terray  when  lie  was  comptroller- general,  "  deign  to 
come  to  our  assistance  with  a  sum  which  is  absolutely  necessary.'* 
On  ceasing  to  be  a  banker,  Necker  soon  gave  indications  of  the 
direction  in  which  his  thoughts  turned ;  he  wrote  an  indifferent 
fjiye  de  Colbert,  crowned  by  the  French  Academy,  in  1773,  He 
believed  that  he  was  destined  to  wear  the  mantle  of  Louis  XIV. 's 
great  minister. 

Society  and  public  opinion  exercised  an  ever- increasing  influence 
in  the  eighteenth  century;  M.  Necker  managed  to  turn  it  to 
account.  He  had  married,  in  1701,  Mdlle.  Suzanne  Curchod, 
a  Swiss  pastor's  daughter,  pretty,  well  informed  and  passionately 
devoted  to  her  husband,  his  successes  and  his  fame.  The 
respectable  talents,  the  liberality,  tho  large  scale  of  living  of 
JL  and  Jladame  Necker  attracted  round  them  the  literary  and 
philosophical  circle;  the  religious  principles,  the  somewhat  stiff 
propriety  of  Madame  Necker  maintained  in  her  drawing-room  an 
intelligent  and  becoming  gravity  which  was  in  strong  contrast 
with  the  licentious  and  irreligious  frivolity  of  the  conversations 
customary  amongst   the   philosophers  as  well   as   the   courtiers. 


414 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE. 


[Chaf,  LVIII. 


MaJamo  Necker  paid  continuous  and  laborious  attention  to  the 
duties  of  society.  She  was  not  a  Frenchwoman,  and  slia  was 
uncomfortably  conscious  of  it.  "  When  I  came  to  this  count ry/* 
she  wrote  to  one  of  her  fair  friends,  **  I  thought  that  literature 
was  the  key  to  everything,  that  a  man  cultivated  his  mind  with 
books  only  and  was  great  by  knowledge  only/*  Undeceived  Ijy 
the  very  fact  of  her  admiration  for  her  husband,  who  had  not 
found  leisure  to  give  himself  up  to  his  natural  taste  for  literature 
and  who  remained  rather  unfamiliar  with  it,  she  made  it  her  whole 
desire  to  be  of  good  service  to  him  in  the  society  in  which  she  had 
been  called  upon  to  live  with  him,  "  I  hadn't  a  word  to  say  in 
society,"  she  writes,  "  I  didn't  even  know  its  language.  Obliged, 
as  a  woman  I  to  captivate  people's  m^indsj  I  was  ignorant  how  many 
shades  there  are  of  self-love  and  I  offended  it  when  I  thought  I  was  I 
flattering  it.  Always  striking  wTong  notes  and  never  hitting  it 
offj  I  saw  that  my  old  ideas  wouUl  never  accord  with  those  I  waa 
obliged  to  acquire;  so  I  have  hid  my  little  capital  away,  ne^-er  to 
ee©  it  again,  and  set  about  w^orking  for  my  living  and  getting 
together  a  little  etock,  if  I  can*"  Wit  and  knowledge  thm 
painfully  achieved  are  usually  devoid  of  grace  and  charm, 
Madame  du  Deffand  made  this  a  reproach  against  M,  Necker  as « 
well  as  his  wife:  *'IIo  wants  one  quality,  that  which  is  mort 
conducive  to  agrccabiHty,  a  certain  readiness  which,  as  it  were, 
provides  wits  for  those  with  whom  one  talks;  he  doesn't  IipIji  to 
bring  out  what  one  thinks,  and  one  is  more  stupid  with  him  than 
one  is  all  alone  or  with  other  folks/'  People  of  tident>  never* 
theless,  thronged  about  M*  and  Madame  Necker.  Diderot  often 
went  to  see  them;  Galiani,  Raynul,  Abbe  Morellet,  M.  Sua«], 
quite  young  yet,  were  frequenters  of  the  house  ;  Condorcct  di<i  not 
sot  foot  in  it,  passionately  enlisted  as  he  was  amongst  the  di^cijilei 
of  M.  Turgot,  who  w^ere  hostile  to  Ms  successor ;  Bernard  in  de 
St.  Pierre  never  went  thither  again  from  the  day  when  the  reading 
of  Paul  mid  Virglma  had  sent  the  company  to  sleep,  '*  At  fiwt 
everybody  listens  in  silence,"  says  M.  Aim^  Martin ;  **  by  degi*ees 
attention  flags,  people  whisper,  people  yawn,  nobody  listens  any 
more;  M.  do  Bull  on  looks  at  his  watch  and  a^ks  for  his  carriage; 
the  nearest  to  the  door  slips  out,  Thomas  falls  asleep,  M.  Necker 


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CflAP,  LYIIL]       LOUIS  XVI,  FRANCE  AT  HOME.  417 

smiles  to  see  the  ladies  crying,  and  tlie  ladies  ashamed  of  their 
tears  dare  not  acknowledge  that  they  have  been  interested.'*  The 
persistent  admiration  of  the  general  public  and  fifty  imitations  of 
Paul  a7id  Virgmla  published  in  a  single  year  were  soon  to  avenge 
Bernard] n  de  St.  Pierre  for  the  disdainful  yawns  of  the  philoso- 
phers. It  is  pretty  certain  that  Madame  Necker's  daughter^  httle 
Germainej  if  she  were  present  at  the  reading,  did  not  fall  asleep 
as  M.  Thomas  did,  and  that  she  was  not  ashamed  of  her 
tears* 

Jfext  to  M.  Buffon,  to  whom  Madame  had  vowed  a  sort  of  cult, 
and  who  was  still  writing  to  this  faithful  friend  when  he  was  near 
his  last  gasp  J  M.  Thomas  had  more  right  than  anybody  to  fall 
asleep  at  her  house  if  he  thought  fit.  Marmontel  alone  shared 
with  him  the  really  intimate  friendship  of  M,  and  Madame  Necker; 
the  former  had  given  up  tragedies  and  moral  tales ;  a  pupil  of 
Voltaire'i3,  without  the  splendour  and  inexhaustible  vigour  of  his 
master,  he  was  less  prone  to  licence,  and  his  feehngs  were  more 
serious  ;  he  was  at  that  time  correcting  his  Elements  da  LittSrature, 
but  lately  published  in  the  Encydopedie^  and  commencing  the 
Me  moires  d*im  pere^  pour  servir  a  Vmstradlon  de  ses  enfantg, 
Thomas  was  editing  his  Mloge^^  sometimes  full  of  eloquence,  often 
subtle  and  delicate,  always  long,  unexceptionable  and  wearisome. 
His  noble  character  had  won  him  the  sincere  esteem  and  affection 
of  Madame  Neckerp  She,  laboriously  anxious  about  the  duties 
politeness  requires  from  the  mistress  of  a  house,  went  so  far  as  to 
write  down  in  her  tablets :  "  To  recompHment  M.  Thomas  more 
strongly  on  the  song  of  France  in  his  poem  of  Pierre  h  Grand" 
She  paid  him  more  precious  homage  when  she  wrote  to  him ; 
"  We  were  united  in  our  youth  in  every  honourable  way ;  let  us 
be  more  than  ever  united  now  when  ripe  age,  which  diminishes  the 
vivacity  of  impressions,  augments  the  force  of  habit,  and  let  us  be 
more  than  ever  necessary  to  one  another  when  we  live  no  longer 
save  in  the  past  and  in  the  future,  for^  as  regards  myself,  I,  in 
anticipation,  lay  no  store  by  the  approbation  of  the  circles  which 
will  surround  us  in  our  old  age,  aud  I  desire  nothing  amongst 
posterity  but  a  tomb  to  which  I  may  pi^ecede  M.  Necker  and  on 
which  you  will    wi'ite   the   epitaph,     >Such  resting-place  will  be 

VOL.  \\  E  c 


418  HISTORY  OF  PRANCE.  [Chap.  LVIII. 

dearer  to  me  than  that  aiiiotigst  the  poplars  which  cover  the  ashes 
of  Rousseau." 

It  was  desirable  to  show  what  sort  of  society,  cultivated  and 
virtuous,  lively  and  serious,  all  in  one,  the  new  minister  whom 
Louis  XVI.  had  just  called  to  his  side  had  managed  to  get  about 
him.     Though  friendly  with  the  philosophers,  ho  did  not  belong 
to  them,  and  his  wife's  piety  frequently  irked  them.     "  The  con- 
versation   was   a  little    constrained    through    the    strictness  of 
Madame  Necker,"  says  Abbd  Morellet,  "  many  subjects  could  not 
be  touched  upon  in  her  presence,  and  she  was  particularly  hurt 
by  freedom  in  religious  opinions."     Practical  acquaintance  with 
business  had  put  M.  Necker  on  his  guard  against  the  chimerical 
theories  of  the  economists.     Rousseau  had  exercised  more  influence 
over  liis  mind ;  the  philosopher's  wrath  against  civilization  seemed 
to  have  spread  to  the  banker,  when  the  latter  wrote  in  his  Traife 
.<?^n'  le  commeire  des  grains :  "  One  would  say  that  a  small  number 
of  men,  after  dividing  the  land  between  them,  had  made  laws  of 
imion  and  security  against  the  multitude,  just  as  they  would  have 
made  for  themselves  shelters  in  the  woods  against  the  wild  beasts. 
What   concern   of  ours   arc   your   laws   of  property?   the  mart 
numerous  class  of  citizens  might  say  :  we  possess  nothing.      Your 
laws  of  right  and  wrong  ?     We  have  nothing  to  defend.     Your 
laws  of  liberty  ?     If  wo  do  not  work  to-morrow,  we  shall  die." 

Public  opinion  was  favourable  to  M.  Necker,  his  promotion 
was  well  received ;  it  presented,  however,  great  diflSculties :  be 
had  been  a  banker,  and  hitherto  the  comptrollers-general  had  all 
belonged  to  the  class  of  magistrates  or  superintendents ;  he  was  a 
Protestant,  and,  as  such,  could  not  hold  any  office.  The  clergy 
were  in  commotion  ;  they  tried  certain  remonstrances.  "  We  will 
give  him  up  to  you,"  said  M.  de  Maurepas,  "  if  you  undertake  to 
pay  the  debts  of  the  State."  The  opposition  of  the  Church,  however, 
closed  to  the  new  minister  an  important  opening;  at  first  director 
of  the  treasury,  then  director-general  of  finance,  ^f.  Necker  never 
received  the  title  of  comptroller-general,  and  was  not  admitted  to 
the  council.  From  the  outset,  with  a  disinterestedness  not  devoi*l 
of  ostentation,  he  had  decHned  the  salary  attached  to  his  functions. 
The  courtiers  looked  at  one  another  in  astonishment :  "  It  is  easy 


Ciuf.  TiVIir.]       LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  AT  HOME. 


419 


I 


to  see  that  he  is  a  foreigner,  a  republican  and  a  Protestant,"  people 
said.  M.  de  Maurepas  laughed  :  "  M,  Necker/*  he  declared,  "  is 
n  maker  of  gold ;  he  has  introduced  the  philosophe/s  stone  into 
the  kingdom/' 

This  was  for  a  while  the  feeling  throughout  Franco.  "  No 
bankruptcies,  no  new  imposts,  no  loans/*  M.  Turgot  had  said,  and 
had  looked  to  economy  alone  for  the  resources  necessary  to  restore 
the  finances.  Bolder  and  less  scrupulous,  M.  Necker,  who  had  no 
idea  of  having  recourse  to  either  bankruptcy  or  imposts,  made 
unreserved  use  of  the  system  of  loans.     Dunng  the  five  years  tlmt 

rbis  ministry  lasted,  tlie  svicccssive  loans  he  contracted  amounted 
t4>  nearly  500  million  livres.  There  was  no  security  given  to  insure 
its  repayment  to  the  lenders.  The  mere  confidence  felt  in  the 
minister's  abihty  and  honesty  had  caused  the  money  to  flow  into 

Ithn  treasury, 
M»  Necker  did  not  stop  there;  a  foreigner  by  birth,  he  felt  no 
respect  for  the  great  tradition  of  French  administration ;  practised 
in  the  handling  of  fnnds,  he  had  conceived  as  to  the  internal 
government  of  the  finances  theories  opposed  to  the  old  system ;  the 
ft  superintendents  established  a  while  ago  by  Richelieu  had  become 
powerful  in  the  central  administration  as  well  as  in  the  provinces 
and  the  comptroller* general  was  in  the  habit  of  accounting  with 
them  ;  they  nearly  all  belonged  to  old  and  notable  families  ;  some  ol' 
them  liad  attracted  the  public  regard  and  esteem.    The  new  minister 

I  suppressed  several  offices  and  diminished  the  importance  of  some 
Others;  he  had  taken  away  from  M.  Trudaine,  administrator  of 
gabels  and  heavy  revenues  (grosscB  fennes)^  the  right  of  doing 
business  with  the  king;  M.  Trudaine  sent  in  his  resignation;  he 
was  much  respected,  and  this  reform  was  not  approval  of. 
**M.  Necker,"  people  said,  "wants  to  be  assisted  by  none  but 
)  removeable  slaves/*  At  the  same  time  the  treasurers-genera  1, 
numbering  forty-eight,  were  reduced  to  a  dozen,  and  the  twenty* 
seven  treasurers  of  marine  and  war  to  two ;  the  farmings-general 
(of  taxes)  were  renewed  wiih  an  advantage  to  the  treasury  of 
fifteen  millions,  The  posts  at  court  likewise  underwent  reform  :  the 
courtiers  saw  at  one  blow  the  improper  sources  of  tlieir  revenues 
in  the  financial  administration  cut  ofi'^  and  obsolete  and  ridiculous, 

E  c  2 


420 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Cbap.  LVIIL 


appointmeiitSj  to  t\  Lich  numerous  pensions  were  attached,  reduced, 
^*  Acquisitions  of  posts,  projects  of  marriage  or  education^  un- 
foreseen losses,  abortive  hopeSi  all  such  matters  had  become  an 
occasion  for  having  recourse  to  the  sovereign's  munificence," 
writes  M,  Necker.  '*  One  would  have  said  that  the  royal  treasury 
was  bound  to  do  all  the  wheedHugj  all  the  smooth  in  g-down,  all 
the  reparation 5  and  as  the  method  of  pensions,  though  pushed  to 
the  uttermost  (the  king  was  at  that  time  disbursing  in  that  way 
some  twenty -eight  millions  of  livres)  could  not  satisfy  all  claims 
or  sufficiently  gratify  shameful  cupidity,  other  de\'ice3  had  been 
hit  upon  and  would  have  gone  on  being  hit  upon  every  day; 
interests  in  the  collection  of  taxes,  in  the  customs,  in  army- 
supplies,  in  the  stores,  in  many  pay-oflSces,  in  markets  of  every 
kind,  and  even  in  the  furnishing  of  hospitals,  all  was  fair  game, 
all  was  worthy  of  the  attention  of  parsons  often,  from  their 
position,  the  most  above  any  business  of  the  kind." 

The  discontent  of  the  great  financiers  and  that  of  the  courtiers 
were  becoming  every  day  more  noisy,  without  as  yet  shaking  tW 
credit  of  M.  Nccker.     '*  M,  Necker  wants  to  govern  the  kingdom 
of  France  like  his  little  republic  of  Geneva/*  people  said  :    "  he  i^^ 
making  a  desert  round  the  king ;  each  loan  is  the  recompense  for 
something  destroyed/'     *'Just  so,"  answered  M*  da  Maurepas: 
*'  ha  gives  us  millions,  provided  that  we  allow  him  to  suppress 
certain  offices,*'     **  And  if  he  were  to  ask  permission  to  have  tho 
superintendents*   heads    cut  off?"     '* Perhaps  we  should  give  it 
him/*  said  the  veteran  minister  laughing*     *'Find  us  the  philo:^o- 
pher's  stone,  as  he  has  done,  and  1  promise  you  that  his  Majefity 
will  have  you  into  the  ministry  that  very  day/* 

M.  Necker  did  not  indulge  in  illusions,  he  owed  to  the  era* 
barrassments  of  the  government  and  to  the  new  burthens  created 
by  the  American  war  a  complaisance  which  his  bold  attcmpti 
w  ould  not  have  met  with  under  other  circumstances.  **  NobcKly 
will  ever  know,"  he  himself  said,  **the  steadfastness  I  found 
necessary ;  I  stiU  recaO  that  long  and  dark  staircase  of  M*  i^' 
Maurepas*  which  I  mounted  in  fear  and  saduessj  uncertain  ol 
succeeding  with  him  as  to  some  new  idea  which  I  had  in  my  miml 
iind  which  nimed  ninut  frequently  at  obtaining  an  increase  of  revenue 


CaAP.LVinO        LOUIS  XVI,,  FRANCE  AT  HOME.  42l 

by  some  just  but  severe  operation.  I  still  recall  that  upstairs 
closet,  beneath  the  roof  of  Versailles  but  oyer  tlio  rooms,  and, 
from  its  smalliiess  and  its  situation ,  seeming  to  be  really  a  super- 
fine extract  and  abstract  of  all  vanities  and  ambitions;  it  was 
there  that  reform  and  economy  had  to  be  discussed  with  a  minister 
grown  old  in  the  pomps  and  usages  of  the  court.  I  remember  all 
the  delicate  management  I  had  to  employ  to  succeeds  after  many  a 
rebuff.  At  last  I  would  obtain  some  indulgences  for  the  common- 
wealth, I  obtained  them,  I  could  easily  see,  as  recompense  for  the 
resources  I  had  found  during  the  war.  I  met  with  more  courage 
in  dealing  with  the  king.  Young  and  virtuous,  he  could  and 
would  hear  all.  The  queen,  too,  lent  me  a  favourable  ear,  but, 
all  around  their  Majesties,  in  court  and  city,  to  how  much  enmity 
and  hatred  did  I  not  expose  myself  ?  There  v.'^ere  all  kinds  of 
influence  and  power  which  I  had  to  oppose  with  firmness,  there 
were  all  sorts  of  interested  factions  with  which  I  had  to  fight  in 
this  perpetual  struggle." 

"  Alas ! "  Madame  Necker  would  say,  "  my  heart  and  my 
regrets  are  ever  yearning  for  a  world  in  which  beneficence  should 
bo  the  first  of  vu'tues.  What  reflections  do  I  not  make  on 
our  own  particular  case  !  I  thought  to  see  a  golden  age  under  so 
pure  an  administration ;  I  see  only  an  age  of  iron.  All  resolves 
itself  into  doing -as  little  harm  as  possible." 

O  the  grievous  bitterness  of  past  illusions !  Madame  Necker 
consoled  herself  for  the  enmity  of  the  court  and  for  the  impotence 
of  that  beneficence  which  had  been  her  dream  by  undertaking  on 
her  own  account  a  difficult  reform,  that  of  the  hospitals  of  Paris, 
scenes,  as  yet,  of  an  almost  savage  disorderhness.  The  sight 
of  sick,  dead,  and  dying  huddled  together  in  the  same  bed  had 
excited  the  horror  and  the  pity  of  Madame  Necker.  She  opened 
a  little  hospital,  supported  at  her  expense  and  under  her  own 
direction,  which  still  bears  the  name  of  Necker  Hospital  and 
which  served  as  a  model  for  the  reforms  attempted  in  the  great 
public  establishments.  M<  Necker  could  not  deny  himself  the 
pleasure  of  rendering  homage  to  his  wife's  efi*orts  in  a  report  to 
the  king ;  the  ridicule  thrown  upon  this  honest  but  injudicious 
gush  of  conjugal  pride  proved  the  truth  of  what  Madame  Necker 


422 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[CiiAT.  LVnL 


horsolf  said  ;    **  I   ilid   not   know   the  language  of  tbis  country* 
What  was  called  fivrnknees  in  Swit^ierlaud  became  egotism  at  Paris,** 

The  active  cliarity  ofMadame  Necker  had  won  her  the  esteem 
of  the  archbishop  of  Paris,  Christopher  de  Beaunaontj  a  virtuous, 
fanatical  priest ;  he  had  gained  a  great  law-suit  against  the  city  of 
Paris,  which  had  to  pay  him  a  sum  of  three  hundred   thousaud 
livres.     "  It  is  our  ^\ash,**  said  the  archbishop,  "  that  M*  Necker 
j>hould  dispose  of  these  funds  to  the  greatest  advantage  for  the 
State,  trustiiig  to  his  zeal,  his  lore  of  good  and  his  wisdom  for  tho 
most  useful  employment  of  the  said  funds  and  desiring  further  that 
no  account  be  required  ol  him,  as  to  such  employment,  by  any 
person  whatsoever."     The  prelate's  three  hundred  thousand  liva^^ 
were  devoted  to  the  internal  repairs  of  the  Hotel-Dieu-     "Ho\r  is 
itj"    people   asked  J    '*  that    the    archbishop   thinks   so  highly  of 
M<  Necker  and  even   dines  with  him?'*     "Oh!"    ansAvered  tlic 
wicked  wags  :  *'  it  is  because  M.  Necker  is  not  a  Jansenist,  he  ]s 
only  a  Protestant/' 

Notwithstanding  this  unusual  tolerance  on  the  part  of  Chris- 
topher de  Beaumont,  his  Protestantism  often  placed  M-  Nt*cker  in 
an  awkward  position,  "  The  title  of  liberator  of  your  ProteBtaiil 
lirethren  would  bo  a  flattering  one  for  you,"  said  one  of  tk 
pamphlets  of  the  day,  '^  and  it  Avould  be  yours  for  ever,  if  you  couU 
manage  to  obtain  for  them  a  civil  existence,  to  |jroeure  for  them  tlie 
privileges  of  a  citizen,  liberty  and  tolerance.  You  are  sure  of  a 
diminution  in  the  power  of  the  clergy.  Your  vigorous  edict 
regarding  hospitals  will  ])ave  the  way  for  the  ruin  of  their  eratit 
and  their  wealth;  you  have  opened  the  trenches  against  them,lW 
gi'eat  blow  has  been  struck-  All  else  will  not  fiiil  to  succumb;  you 
will  put  all  the  credit  of  the  State  and  all  the  money  of  Frana^  ii^ 
the  hands  of  Protestant  bankers,  Genevese,  English,  and  Dutch. 
Contempt  will  be  the  lot  of  the  clergy,  your  brethren  wiU  be  hS 
in  consideration.  These  points  of  view  are  fuU  of  genius,  you  will 
bring  giTat  address  to  bear  upon  them/*  IL  Necker  was  at  the  saiiH' 
time  accused  of  being  favourable  to  England.  '*M»  Necker  is  our 
best  and  our  last  friend  on  the  Continent,"  Burke  had  said  in  tli* 
House  of  Commons.  Knowing  better  than  anybody  the  burtlieiij^ 
which  the  war  imposed  upon  the  St*ite  and  which  h©  aloue  lui^ 


CHAr.LVIIL]        LOUIS  XVL,  PRANCE  AT  HOME, 


423 


inanaged  to  find  the  means  of  supporting^  JL  Necker  desired 
peace.  It  was  for  Catholics  and  pliilosophers  tliat  the  honour 
was  reserved  of  restoring  to  Protestants  tlie  first  right  of 
citizoESj  recognition  of  tlieir  marriages  and  a  civil  status  for  tlieir 
children*  The  courts  the  parliaments,  and  the  financiers  were 
leagued  against  M,  Necker.  **  Who,  pray,  is  this  adventurer," 
cried  the  fiery  Epremesnil,  "  who  is  this  cltarlatan  who  dares  to 
mete  out  the  patriotism  of  the  French  magistracy,  who  dares  to 
suppose  them  lukewarm  in  their  attachments  and  to  denounce 
them  to  a  young  king?''  The  assessment  of  the  twentieths 
(tax)  had  raised  great  storms  j  the  mass  of  citizens  were  taxed 
rigorously,  but  the  privileged  had  preserved  the  right  of  them- 
selves making  a  declaration  of  their  possessions ;  a  decree  of  the 
council  ordered  verification  of  the  income  from  properties.  The 
parliaments  burst  out  into  remonstrances :  "  Every  owner  of 
property  has  the  right  to  grant  subsidies  by  himself  or  by  his 
i*epresentatives,*^  said  the  Ptarliament  of  Paris ;  "  if  he  do  not 
exercise  this  right  as  a  member  of  a  national  body,  it  must  be 

K~  verted  to  indirectly,  otherwise  he  is  no  longer  master  of  his  own, 
t  is  no  longer  undisturbed  owner.  Confidence  in  personal  declara- 
tions, then,  is  the  only  indemnity  for  the  right,  which  the  nation 
hns  not  exercised  but  has  not  lost,  of  itself  granting  and  assess- 
ing the  twentieths/'  A  bold  principle,  even  in  a  free  State, 
and  one  on  which  the  Income-ttLe  rests  in  England,  but  an  untenable 
principle,  without  absolute  equality  on  the  part  of  all  citizens  and 
a  common  right  to  have  their  consent  asked  to  the  imposts  laid 
upon  them, 

,  M-  Necker  tlid  not  belong  to  the  courts  he  had  never  lived  there, 
'he  did  not  set  foot  therein  when  he  became  minister ^  a  while 
-ago  Colbert  and  Louvois  had  founded  families  and  taken  rank 
amongst  the  great  lords  who  were  jealous  of  their  power  and  their 
wealth;  under  Louis  XVI,,  the  court  itself  was  divided,  and  one 
of  the  queen's  particular  friends.  Baron  de  Besenval,  said  without 
I  mincing  the  matter  in  his  Me  moires:  *Vl  grant  that  the  depreda- 
tions of  the  great  lords  who  are  at  the  head  of  the  king's  house- 
are  enormous,  revolting Necker  has  on  his  side  the 

reciation  into  which  the  great  lords  have  fallen ;  it  is  such  that 


424 


HISTORY  OF  FRiNCE. 


ICmJ^.  LVm 


tliey  are  certainly  not  to  be  dreaded,  and  that  tbeii*  opiniou  does 
not  deserve  to  be  taken  into  consideration  in  any  political  specul^ 
tion/*  ~ 

M.  Necker  bad  a  regard  for  pnblic  opinion,  indeed  be  attacbed 
groat  importance  to  it,  but  be  took  its  influence  to  be  more  ext^ja^ 
give  and  its  autboritj  to  rest  on  a  broader  bottom  tban  the  court 
or  the  parliaments  would  allow.  **  The  social  spirit,  the  love  of 
regard  and  of  praise,"  said  he,  "  have  raised  up  in  France  a  tribunid 
at  which  all  men  who  di'aw  its  eyes  upon  them  are  obliged  to 
appear:  there  pnblic  opinion^  as  from  the  height  of  a  throne, 
decrees  prizes  and  crowns,  makes  and  unmakes  reputations.  A 
support  is  wanted  against  the  vacillations  of  ministers,  and  this 
important  support  is  only  to  be  expected  from  progress  in  tbe 
enlightenment  and  resisting  power  of  public  opinion*  Virtues  are 
more  tban  ever  in  want  of  a  stage,  and  it  becomes  essential  that 
public  opinion  should  rouse  the  actors ;  it  must  be  supported,  then, 
this  opinion,  it  must  be  enlightened,  it  must  be  summoned  to  tlie 
aid  of  ideas  which  concern  the  happiness  of  men." 

M.  Necker  thought  the  moment  had  come  for  giving  public 
opinion  the  summons  of  which  he  recognized  the  necessity ;  he  fell 
himself  shaken  at  court,  weakened  in  the  regard  of  M,  de  Manrepajs, 
who  was  still  puissant  in  spite  of  bis  great  age  and  jealous  of  him 
as  he  had  been  of  M.  Turgot ;  he  had  made  up  his  mind,  he  said,  to 
let  the  nation  know  bow  its  aSairs  bad  been  managed,  and  in  the 
early  days  of  the  year  1781  be  published  his  Compte  rendu  nu  roL 

It  was  a  bold  innovation;  hitherto  the  administration  of  the 
finances  had  been  carefully  concealed  from  the  eyes  of  the  public 
as  the  greatest  secret  in  the  affairs  of  State ;  for  the  first  time  the 
nation  was  called  upon  to  take  cognizance  of  the  position  of  tkc 
public  estate  and,  consequently,  pass  judgment  upon  its  adminis- 
tration. '*  The  principal  cause  of  the  financial  prosperity  of 
England,  in  the  very  midst  of  war/'  said  the  minister,  "  h  to!>e 
found  ui  the  confidence  with  which  the  English  regard  their 
administration  and  the  source  of  the  government's  credit/'  Tht' 
annual  pubhcation  of  a  financial  report  was,  M,  Necker  thought, 
likely  to  inspire  the  same  confidence  in  France.  It  was  paying  a 
gi-eat  compliment  to  public  opinion  to  attribute  to  it  the  power 


Ch*i>.  LVm.]        LOUIS  ZVI.,  FRANCE  AT  HOME. 


425 


I 


I 


derived  from  free  institutions  and  to  expect  from  satisfied  curiosity 
the  serious  results  of  a  control  as  active  as  it  was  minute. 

The  Report  to  the  king  was,  nioreover,  not  of  a  nature  to  stand 
the  investigation  of  a  parliamentary  committee.  In  publishing  it 
M,  Necker  had  a  double  end  in  view.     He  wanted,  by  an  able 

losition  of  the  condition  of  the  treasury,  to  steady  the  public 
credit  which  was  beginning  to  totter,  to  bring  in  fi'esh  subscribers 
for  the  loans  which  were  so  necessary  to  support  the  charges  of 
the  war;  he  wanted  at  the  same  time  to  call  to  mind  the  benefits 
and  successes  of  his  own  administration,  to  restore  the  courage  of 
his  friends  and  reduce  his  enemies  to  silence.  With  this  complica- 
tion of  intentions,  he  had  drawn  up  a  report  on  the  ordbiary  state 
of  expenditure  and  receipts,  designedly  omitting  the  immense 
sacrifices  demanded  by  the  land  and  sea  armaments  as  well  as  the 
advances  made  to  the  United  States,  He  thus  arrived,  by  a  pro- 
cess rather  ingenious  than  honest,  at  the  establishment  of  a  budget 
i^howing  a  surplus  of  ten  million  livres.  The  maliciousness  of 
M.  de  Maurepas  found  a  field  for  its  exercise  in  the  calculations 
which  he  had  officially  overhauled  in  counciL  The  Report  was  in 
a  cover  of  blue  marbled  paper.  **  Have  you  read  the  Conte  hicu  (a 
lying  story)?"  he  asked  everybody  who  went  to  see  him;  and> 
when  he  was  told  of  the  great  effect  which  M<  Necker's  work  was 
producing  on  the  public ;  '*  I  know,  I  know,"  said  the  veteran 
minister  shrugging  his  shoulders,  **  we  have  fallen  from  Turgo- 
inancy  into  Necromancy/* 

M.  Necker  had  boldly  defied  the  malevolence  of  his  enemies.  *'  I 
have  never,*'  said  he,  **  oflTered  sacrifice  to  influence  or  power.  I 
have  disdained  to  indulge  vanity,  I  have  renounced  the  sweetest 
of  private  pleasures,  that  of  serving  my  friends  or  winning  the 
gratitude  of  those  who  are  about  me.  If  anybody  owes  to 
my  mere  favour  a  place,  a  post,  let  us  have  the  name."  He 
enumerated  all  the  services  he  had  rendered  to  the  king,  to 
the  State,  to  the  nation,  with  that  somewhat  pompous  satisfaction 
which  was  afterwards  discernible  in  his  Memoires,  There  it 
was  that  he  wrote:  "Perhaps  he  who  contributed,  by  his 
energies,  to  keep  off  new  imposts  during  five  such  expensive 
years ;  he  who  was  able  to  devote  to  all  useful  works  the  funds 


1 


42G 


HISTORY  OP  FEANCK 


[Chat,  LVllI. 


which  had  been  employed  upon  them  in  the  most  tranquil  timc^; 
he  who  gratified  the  king's  heart  by  providing  him  with  the  means 
of   distributing  amongst  his  provinces  tlio  same  aids  as  duriug 
the  war,  and  even  greater ;  ho  whoj  at  the  same  time,  profferiHl 
to  the  monarch's  amiable  impatience  the  resources  uccessarj  m 
order  to  commence,  in  the  midst  of  war,  the  improvement  of  tliu 
prisons  and  tlic  hospitals  ;  he  who  indulged  his  generous  inclina* 
tions  by  inspiring  him  with  the  desire  of  extinguishing  the  rem- 
nants of  serfage;   he  who,  rendering  homage  to  the  monarcli'i 
character,  seconded  his  disposition  towards  order  and  economy ; 
he  who  pleaded  for  the  establishment  of  paternal  ad  minis  tratioit^ 
in  which  the  simplest  dwellers  in  the  country-places  njight  havi' 
some  share;    he   who,  by   manifold   eai^s,   by   manifold   details^ 
caused  the  prince's  name  to  be  blest  even  in  the  hovels  of  the 
-poor,  perhaps  such  a  servant  has  some  right  to  dare,  without 
blushing,  to  point  out,  as  one  of  the  first  rules  of  administratioiit 
love  and  care  for  the  people/' 

"On  the  whole,*'  says  M.  Droz,  with  much  justice^  in  his  exa?U 
lent  HisioiTC  du  rhjne  dc  Louis  XIT.,  **  the  Heport  was  a  vm 
ingenious  work,  which  appeared  to  prove  a  gi*eat  deal  and  prored 
nothing/'  IL  Neeker,  however,  had  made  no  mistake  about  Uie 
efi'ect  which  might  be  produced  by  this  confidence,  apparently  so 
Ijold,  as  to  the  condition  of  affairs :  in  a  single  year,  1781,  the 
loans  amounted  to  23 G  millions,  thus  exceeding  in  a  few  moathii 
the  figures  reached  in  the  four  previous  years,  A  chorus  of  prai^« 
arose  even  in  England,  reflected  from  the  minister  on  to  his 
sovereign  ;  '*lt  is  in  economy,'*  said  Mr.  Burke,  *'  that  Louis  XVI 
has  found  resources  sufficient  to  keep  up  the  war*  In  the  first  tiro 
years  of  this  ivar,  he  imposed  no  burthen  on  his  people.  The  thinl 
year  has  arrived,  there  lias  as  yet  been  no  question  of  any  impostj 
indeed  I  believe  that  those  which  are  a  matter  of  course  in  time  i»f 
war  ha%  e  not  yet  been  put  on*  I  apprehend  that  in  the  long-run  it 
will  no  doubt  bo  necessary  for  France  to  have  recourse  to  imposts, 
but  these  three  years  saved  will  scatter  their  beneficent  iulltiiii^ 
over  a  whole  century.  The  French  people  feel  the  blesitio^  <>' 
having  a  master  and  minister  devoted  to  economy;  coonoQjyhis 
induced  this  monarch  to  trench  upon  his  own  splendour  ratk«f 


Chap.  LVIU.]        LOUIS  XVI.,  FRANCE  AT  HOME.  427 

tliaii  upon  liis  people's  subsistence.  He  lias  found  in  the  suppress 
Bion  of  a  great  number  of  places  a  resouix^e  for  continuing  the  wai' 
without  increasing  his  expenses.  Ho  has  stripped  himself  of  the 
juagnificence  and  pomp  of  royalty,  but  he  has  manned  a  navy;  ho 
has  reduced  the  number  of  persons  in  his  private  servicCj  but  ho 
has  increased  that  of  his  vessels,  Louis  XVI.,  like  a  patriotic 
king,  has  shown  sufficient  firmness  to  protect  M.  Necker,  a 
foreigner,  uithout  support  or  connexion  at  court,  who  owes  his 
elevation  to  nothing  but  his  own  merit  and  the  discernment  of  the 
sovereign  who  had  sagacity  enough  to  discover  him,  and  to  his 
wisdom  which  can  appreciate  hira.  It  is  a  noblo  example  to  follow.: 
if  w"o  w^ould  conquer  France,  it  is  on  this  ground  and  with   her 

I  own  weapons  that  we  must  fight  her:  economy  and  reformSp" 
It  was  those  reforms,  for  which  the  English  orator  gave  credit 
to  M.  Necker  and  Louis  XVI,,  that  rendered  the  minister's  fall 
jiiore  imminent  every  day.     lie  had  driven  into  coalition  against 
liim  the  powerful  influences  of  the  courtiers,  of  the  old  families 
whose  hereditary  destination  was  office  in  the  administration,  and  of 
_  4he  Parliament  everywhere  irritated  and  anxious.     Ho  had  lessenod 
Hfthe  fortunes   and   position  of  the   two   former  classes,  and   his 
^Kmeasures  tended  to  strip  the  magisti'acy  of  the  authority  whereof 
they  were   so  jealous.      "  When   circumstances   require   it,"    M. 
Necker   had  said  in  the  Report,  *-the  augmontation  of   imposts 
is  in  the  hands  of  the  king,  for  it  is  the  power  to  order  them 
which  constitntos  sovereign  greatness;"  and,  in  a  secret  Memmre 
which   saw   publicity   by  perfidious   means:    "The   imposts   are 
at   their  height  and  minds  are  more  than  ever  turned  towards 
fcaduiinistrative  subjects.     The  result  is  a  restless  and  confused 
criticism  which  adds  constant  fuel  to  the  desire  felt  by  the  Parlia- 

Bments  to  iiave  a  hand  in  the  matter.  This  feeling  on  their  part 
l)ecoraes  more  and  more  manifest  and  they  set  to  work,  like  all 
those  bodies  that  wish  to  acquire  power,  by  speakhig  in  the  name 
of  the  people,  calling  themselves  defenders  of  the  nation's  rights ; 
Bthere  can  bo  no  doubt  but  that,  though  they  are  strong  neither  in 
knowledge  nor  in  pure  love  for  the  well-being  of  the  State,  they 
will  put  themselves  forwaid  on  all  occasions  as  long  as  they 
pbelieve  th  it  they  are  supported  by  public  opinion.    It  is  necessary. 


428 


HISTORY  OF  FRANCE, 


[Chap.  LVIIL 


therefore,  either  to  take  this  support  away  from  them  or  to 
pare  for  repeated  contests  which  will  disturb  the  tranquillity 
your  Majesty^s  reign  and  will  lead  su^cessiYely  either  to  a  degrada- 
tion of  authority  or  to  extreme  measuras  of  which  one  cannot 
exactly  estimate  the  consequences," 

lu  order  to  apply  a  remedy  to  the  evils  he  demonstrated  as  weD 
as  to  those  which   he  foresaw,  M,  Necker  had  borrowed  sorae 
shreds   from  the  great   system  of  local   assemblies   devised  by 
M.  Tiirgot;  he  had  proposed  to  the  king  and  already  organked 
in  Berry  the  formation  of  provincial  assemblies,  recruited  in  every 
district  (generalitS)  from  amongst  the  three  orders  of  the  noblessei 
Lhe  clergy  and  the  third  estate.     A  part  of  the  members  were  to 
be  chosen  by  the  king;   these  were  commissioned  to  elect  their 
colleagues,  and  the  assembly  was  afterwards  to  fill  up  its  own 
vacancies  as  they  occurred.     The   provincial  administration  was 
thus  confided  almost  entirely  to  the  assemblies.     That  of  Berry 
had  already  aboUshed  forced  labour  and  collected  two  hundred 
thousand  livres  by  voluntaiy  contribution  for  objects  of  public 
utility.     The  assembly  of  Haute-Guyenne  was  in  course  of  foram- 
tion.     The   districts    (geiteraUtes)   of   Grenoble,   Montauban   mi 
Moulins  claimed  the  same  privilege.     The  Parliaments  were  wrotii 
to  se