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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
Louis XV., France In The Colonies. 1745-1763.
by Guizot, M.

France was already beginning to perceive her sudden abasement in Europe; the defaults of her generals as well as of her government sometimes struck the king himself; he threw the blame of it on the barrenness of his times. "This age is not fruitful in great men," he 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 Fontenoy Marshal Saxe was about to confer upon the French arms a transitory lustre; but the king, who loaded him with riches and honors, 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 always saying that, if he is thwarted, he will enter some other service. Is that zeal for France? I see, however, very few of ours who aim high like him."

The king possessed at a distance, in the colonies of the Two Indies, as the expression then was, faithful servants of France, passionately zealous for her glory, "aiming high," ambitious or disinterested, able politicians or heroic pioneers, all ready to sacrifice both property and life for the honor and power of their country: it is time to show how La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, Bussy, Lally-Tollendal were treated in India; what assistance, what guidance, what encouragement the Canadians and their illustrious chiefs received from France, beginning with Champlain, one of the founders of the colony, and ending with Montcalm, 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 frivolously undertaken and feebly conducted.

French power in India threw out more lustre, but was destined to speedier, and perhaps more melancholy, extinction than in Canada. Single-handed in the East the chiefs maintained the struggle against the incapacity of the French government and the dexterous tenacity of the enemy; in America the population of French extraction upheld to the bitter end the name, the honor, 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 her." The defaults of the government and the jealous passions of the colonists themselves, in the eighteenth century, seriously aggravated the military reverses which were to cost the French nearly all their colonies.

More than a hundred years previously, at the outset of Louis XIV.'s personal reign, and through the persevering efforts of Colbert marching in the footsteps of Cardinal Richelieu, an India Company had been founded for the purpose of developing French commerce in those distant regions, which had always been shrouded in a mysterious halo of fancied wealth and grandeur. Several times the Company had all but perished; it had revived under the vigorous impulse communicated by Law, and had not succumbed at the collapse of his system. It gave no money to its shareholders, who derived their benefits only from a partial 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 their 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 the 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 everywhere 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 ascendency to his protege of the moment: thus increasing little by little 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 splendor and all the efforts of Dupleix's genius could never efface it.

Concord as yet reigned between Dupleix and the governor of Bourbon and of Ile de France, Bertrand Francis Mahe de La Bourdonnais, 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 English 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 Carnatic, 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 town, which was occupied solely by Europeans and by the English settlements, to the black town, 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 raze 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 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 Bourdonnais in the name of France; he had arbitrarily quashed a capitulation of which he had not discussed the conditions. The report of this unhappy conflict, and the color put upon it by the representations of Dupleix, were about to ruin at Paris the rival whom he had vanquished in India.

On arriving at Ile 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 Company 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 his woes. His indignation was excusable, and some of his grievances were well grounded; but the germs of suspicion thus sown by the unfortunate 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 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 which they were ignorant, the disembarked troops could not push their trenches beyond an impassable morass which protected the town. The fire of the siege-artillery scarcely reached the ramparts; the sallies of the besieged intercepted the communications between the camp and the squadron, which, on its side, was bombarding the walls of Pondicherry without any serious result. Dupleix himself commanded the French batteries; on the 6th of October he was wounded, and his place on the ramparts was taken by Madame Dupleix, seconded by her future son-in-law, M. de Bussy-Castelnau, Dupleix's military lieutenant, animated by the same zeal for the 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 same tempests which, two years before, had compelled La Bourdonnais 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 the 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 princes. 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 Mahe; on the coast of Coromandel the former held Madras and Fort St. George, the latter Pondicherry and Karikal. The principal factories, as well as the numerous little establishments which were dependencies of them, were defended by a certain number of European soldiers, and by Sepoys, 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, utilize native hand-labor, and develop the coasting trade, or Ind to Ind trade, as the expression then was; but he set his pretensions still higher, and carried his views still further. He purposed to acquire for the Company, and, under its name, for France, territories and subjects furnishing revenues, and amply sufficing for the expenses of the commercial establishments. The moment was propitious; the ancient empire of the Great Mogul, tottering to its base, was distracted by revolutions, all the chops and changes whereof were attentively followed by Madame Dupleix; two contested successions opened up at once—those of the Viceroy or Soudhabar of the Deccan and of his vassal, the Nabob of the Carnatic. The Great Mogul, nominal sovereign of all the states of India, confined himself to selling to all the pretenders decrees of investiture, without taking any other part in the contest. Dupleix, on the contrary, engaged in it ardently. He took sides in the Deccan for Murzapha Jung, and in the Carnatic for Tchunda Sahib against their rivals supported by the English. Versed in all the resources of Hindoo policy, he had negotiated an alliance between his two proteges; 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 Sahib, 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 his 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 Deccan made his entry in state upon French territory. Pondicherry was in holiday trim to receive him. Dupleix, dressed in the magnificent 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 services. The Hindoo prince needed the aid of France; he knew it. He proclaimed Dupleix nabob of all the provinces to the south of the River Krischna. Tebunda Sahib, but lately his ally, became his vassal—"the vassal of France," murmured Madame Dupleix, when she heard of this splendid recompense for so many public and private services. 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 Masulipatam, already in French hands, became the capital. A third of India was obedient to Dupleix; the Great Mogul 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 know 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 France, 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 discomfited England, which was as yet tottering in India, and whose affairs there had for a long while been ill managed, but which remained ever vigorous, active, animated by the indomitable ardor of a free people. At Versailles attempts were made to lessen the conquests of Dupleix, prudence was recommended to him, delay was shown in sending him the troops he demanded. In India England had at last found a man still young and unknown, 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 abandoned by France, and to found to the advantage of the English that European dominion in India which had been the Governor of Pondicherry's dream. The war still continued in the Carnatic: Mahomet Ali, Tchunda Sahib's rival, had for the last six months been besieged in Trichinopoli; the English had several times, but in vain, attempted to effect the raising of the siege; Clive, who had recently entered the Company's army, was for saving the last refuge of Mahomet Ali by a bold diversion against Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic. To him 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 was before long attacked in Arcot by Tchunda Sahib, who was supported by a French detachment. He was not in a position to hold the town; so he took refuge in the fort, and there, for fifty days, withstood all the efforts of his enemies. Provisions fell short; every day the rations were becoming more insufficient; but Clive had managed to implant in his soldiers' hearts the heroic resolution which animated him. "Give the rice to the English," said the sepoys; "we will be content with the water in which it is boiled." A body of Mahrattas, allies of the English, came to raise the siege. Clive pursued the French on their retreat, twice defeated Tchunda Sahib, and, at last effecting a junction with the Governor-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 English. 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 hostilities and secret intrigues. The report of Dupleix's reverses arrived 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 projects, there had been scarcely any belief in his conquests. The soft-hearted inertness of ministers and courtiers was almost as much disgusted at the successes as at the defeats of the bold adventurers who were attempting and risking all for the aggrandizement and puissance of France in the East. Dupleix secretly received notice to demand his recall. He replied by proposing to have M. de Bussy nominated in his place. "Never was so grand a fellow as this Bussy," he wrote. The ministers and the Company 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 Clive'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 offensive in the Carnatic; Bussy, set free at last as to his movements in the Deccan, was preparing to rejoin Dupleix. Clive 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 was signalled; the ships appeared to be numerous. Dupleix was already rejoicing at the arrival of unexpected aid, when, instead of an officer commanding the twelve hundred soldiers from France, he saw the apparition of M. Godeheu, one of the directors of the Company, and but lately his friend and correspondent. "I come to supersede you, sir," said the new arrival, without any circumstance; "I have full powers from the Company 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 condition 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 Companies within the limits they had occupied before the war of the Carnatic, 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 Companies 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, honor, or dignity; the most perfect equality was re-established between the possessions and revenues of the two great European nations, rivals in the East as well as in Europe; England gave up some petty forts, some towns of no importance, France ceded the empire of India. When Godeheu signed the treaty, Trichinopoli was at last on the point of giving in. Bussy was furious, and would have quitted the Deccan, which he still occupied, but Dupleix constrained him to remain there; he himself embarked for France with his wife and daughter, leaving in India, together with his life's work destroyed in a few days by the poltroonery of his country's government, the fortune he had acquired during his great enterprises, entirely 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 known that the reverses which had caused so 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 I 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 favorite, gave so favorable 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, affianced 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 order of the king. Persecuted by his creditors, overwhelmed with regret for the relatives and friends whom he had involved in his enterprises and in his ruin, he exclaimed a few months before his death, "I have sacrificed youth, fortune, life, in order to load with honor 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 Dupleix, he had soon made himself master of the whole of Bengal, he had even driven the French from Chandernuggur; Bussy had been unable to check his successes; he avenged himself by wresting away from the English all their agencies on the coast of Orissa, and closing against them the road between the Coromandel coast and Bengal.

Meanwhile the Seven Years' War had broken out; the whole of Europe had joined in the contest; the French navy, still feeble in spite of the efforts that had been made to restore it, underwent serious reverses on every sea. Count Lally-Tollendal, descended from an Irish family which took refuge in France with James II., went to Count d'Argenson, still minister of war, with a proposition to go and humble in India that English power which had been imprudently left to grow up without hinderance. M. de Lally had served with renown in the wars of Germany; he had seconded Prince Charles Edward in his brave and yet frivolous attempt upon England. The directors of the India Company went and asked M. d'Argenson to intrust to General Lally the king's troops promised for the expedition. "You are wrong," M. d'Argenson said 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 any disorder; you will be setting fire to your warehouses, if you send him thither." The directors, however, insisted, and M. de Lally set out on the 2d of May, 1757, with four ships and a body of 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 re-enforcements had preceded, him by six weeks. On arriving in India, he found the arsenals and the magazines empty; the establishment of Pondicherry alone confessed to fourteen millions of debt. Meanwhile the enemy was pressing at all points upon the French possessions. Lally marched to Gondelour (Kaddaloue), 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 burden to draw them. He hurried off to Pondicherry and had the natives harnessed to the artillery trains, taking pellmell such men as fell in his way, without regard for rank or caste, imprudently 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 ardor 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'Ache, 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 Ile 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 his road he had attacked a pagoda, thinking he would 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 ingulfed, 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, in 1758, to M. de Leyrit, Governor of Pondicherry, "Sir, this letter shall be an eternal secret between you and me, if you furnish me with the means of terminating my enterprise. I left you a hundred thousand livres of my own money to help you to meet the expenditure it requires. I have not found so much as a hundred sous in your purse and in that of all your council; you have both of you refused to let me employ your credit. I, however, consider you to be all of you under more obligation to the Company than I am, who have unfortunately the honor of no further 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 to the general discontent, not only shall I inform the king and the Company of the fine zeal testified for their service by their employees 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 in general."

In the midst of this distress, and in spite of this ebullition, M. de Lally led his troops up in front of Madras; he made himself master of the Black Town. "The immense plunder taken by the troops," says the journal of an officer who held a command under Count Lally, "had introduced abundance amongst them. Huge stores of strong liquors led to drunkenness and all the evils it generates. The situation must have been seen to be believed. The works, the guards in the trenches were all 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 most destructive of subordination and discipline, the details of which confined within the limits of the most scrupulous truthfulness would appear a monstrous exaggeration." Lally in despair wrote to his friends in France, "Hell 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 repulsed; and on the 18th of February, 1759, Lally was obliged to raise the siege of Madras. The discord which reigned in the army as well as amongst the civil functionaries was nowhere more flagrant than between Lally and Bussy. The latter could not console himself for having been forced to leave the Deccan in the feeble bands of the Marquis of Conflans. An expedition attempted against the fortress of Wandiwash, of which the English had obtained possession, was followed by a serious defeat; Colonel Coote was master of Karikal. Little by little the French army and French power in India found themselves cooped within the immediate territory of Pondicherry. The English marched against this town. Lally shut himself up there in the month of March, 1760. Bussy had been made prisoner, and Coote had sent him to Europe. "At the head of the French army Bussy would be in a position by himself alone to prolong the war for ten years," said the Hindoos. On the 27th of November, the siege of Pondicherry was transformed into an investment. Lally had taken all the precautions of a good general, but he had taken them with his usual harshness; he had driven from the city all the useless mouths; fourteen hundred Hindoos, old men, women, and children, wandered for a week between the English camp and the ramparts of the town, dying of hunger and misery, without Lally's consenting to receive them back into the place; the English at last allowed them to pass. The most severe requisitions had been ordered to be made on all the houses of Pondicherry, and the irritation was extreme; the heroic despair of M. de Lally was continually wringing from him imprudent expressions. "I would rather go and command a set of Caffres than remain in this Sodom, which the English fire, in default of Heaven's, must sooner or later destroy," had for a long time past been a common expression of the general's, whose fate was henceforth bound up with that of Pondicherry.

He held out for six weeks, in spite of famine, want of money, and ever-increasing dissensions. A tempest had caused great havoc to the English squadron which was out at sea; Lally was waiting and waiting for the arrival of M. d'Ache with the fleet which had but lately sought refuge at Ile de France after a fresh reverse. From Paris, on the report of an attack projected by the—English against Bourbon and Ile de France, ministers had given orders to M. d'Ache 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 honors 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 fortifications 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 honor. 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, when be 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, 1764, the heads of accusation amounted to one hundred and sixty, the number of witnesses to nearly two hundred; 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 Parliament, still at strife with the government, with courage and firmness on the part of the accused. He claimed the jurisdiction of a court-martial, but his demand was rejected; when he saw himself 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!" On the 6th of May, 1766, 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 condemned, "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 l'Ile 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, has 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 with 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 masters forever of India when the son of M. de Lally-Tollendal at last obtained, in 1780, the rehabilitation of his father's memory. Public opinion had not waited till then to decide the case between the condemned and his accusers.

Whilst the French power in India, after having for an instant had the dominion over nearly the whole peninsula, was dying out beneath the incapacity and feebleness of its government, at the moment when the heroic efforts of La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, and Lally were passing into the domain of history, a people decimated by war and famine, exhausted by a twenty years' unequal struggle, was slowly expiring, preserving to the very last its hopes and its patriotic devotion. In the West Indies the whole Canadian people were still maintaining, for the honor of France, that flag which had just been allowed to slip from the desperate hands of Lally in the East. In this case, there were no enchanting prospects of power and riches easily acquired, of dominion over opulent princes and submissive 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 colonists in Canada showed traits and presented characteristics rare in French annals; the ardor of the French nature and the suavity of French manners seemed to be combined with the stronger virtues of the people of the north; everywhere, amongst the bold pioneers of civilization in the new world, the French marched in the first rank without ever permitting themselves to be surpassed by the intrepidity or perseverance of the Anglo-Saxons, down to the day when, cooped up within the first confines of their conquests, fighting for life and liberty, the Canadians defended foot to foot the honor of their mother-country, which had for a long while neglected them, and at last abandoned them, under the pressure of a disastrous war conducted by a government as incapable as it was corrupt.

For a long time past the French had directed towards America their ardent spirit of enterprise; in the fifteenth century, on the morrow of the discovery of the new world, when the indomitable genius and religious faith of Christopher Columbus had just opened a new path to inquiring minds and daring spirits, the Basques, the Bretons, and the Normans were amongst the first to follow the road he had marked out; their light barks 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, its 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 navigators. 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 glimmer.

A first expedition had failed, after an attempt on the coasts of Brazil; in 1562, 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 new, 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 astonishment mingled with 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 honor of the young king, Charles IX. Detachments scoured the 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, others 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, he 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 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. Augustine. De 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 honor 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 expeditious and attempts at French colonization 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 climate, famine, and disease had stifled the little colony in the bud; religious and political disturbances in the mother-country were absorbing all thoughts; it was only in the reign of Henry IV., when panting France, distracted 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 bed-chamber in ordinary to Henry IV., had just formed for the trade in furs on the northern coast of America; appointed viceroy 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 difficulties 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 ardor 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. Champlain 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 laboring for the conversion of unbelievers; seconded by the Jesuits, who were before long to remain sole masters of the soil, they found themselves sufficiently powerful to forbid the Protestant sailors certain favorite 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 blind gropings and intestine struggles of the rival possessors of monopolies were soon succeeded by united action. Richelieu favored commerce, and did not disdain to apply thereto the resources of his great and fertile 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 Catholic and absolutist.

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 intermixture 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 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 direction 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 deliberate, but to act," answered he; "it is my duty, as well as an honor 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, and 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 be a human invention, do not trouble 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 was 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 expeditions, 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 projects 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, the footsteps of the French, either travellers or missionaries, preceded the boldest adventurers. It is the glory and the misfortune of France to always lead the van in the march of civilization, without having the wit to profit by the discoveries and the sagacious boldness of her children. On the unknown roads which she has opened to the human mind and to human enterprise she has often left the fruits to be gathered by nations less inventive and less able than she, but more persevering and less perturbed by a confusion of desires and an incessant renewal of hopes.

The treaty of Utrecht had taken out of French hands the gates of Canada, Acadia, and Newfoundland. It was now in the neighborhood of New France that the power of England was rising, growing rapidly through the development of her colonies, usurping little by little the empire of the seas. Canada was prospering, however; during the long wars which the condition of Europe had kept up in America, the Canadians had supplied the king's armies with their best soldiers. Returning to their homes, and resuming without an effort the peaceful habits which characterized them, they skilfully cultivated their fields, and saw their population increasing naturally, without any help from the mother-country. The governors had succeeded in adroitly counterbalancing the influence of the English over the Indian tribes. The Iroquois, but lately implacable foes of France, had accepted a position of neutrality. Agricultural development secured to the country comparative prosperity, but money was scarce, the instinct of the population was not in the direction of commerce; it was everywhere shackled by monopolies. The English were rich, free, and bold; for them the transmission and the exchange of commodities were easy. The commercial rivalry which set in between the two nations was fatal to the French; when the hour of the final struggle came, the Canadians, though brave, resolute, passionately attached to France, and ready for any sacrifice, were few in number compared with their enemies. Scattered over a vast territory, they possessed but poor pecuniary resources, and could expect from the mother country only irregular assistance, subject to variations of 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 1745, profoundly disquieted the Canadians. They pressed the government to make an attempt upon Acadia. "The population has remained French," they said; "we are ready to fight for our relatives and friends who have passed under the yoke of the foreigner." The ministry sent the Duke of Anville with a considerable fleet; storms and disease destroyed vessels and crews before it had been possible to attack. A fresh squadron, commanded by the Marquis of La Jonquiere, encountered the English off Cape Finisterre in Spain. Admiral Anson had seventeen ships, M. de La Jonquiere had but six; he, however, fought desperately. "I never saw anybody behave better than the French commander," wrote the captain of the English ship Windsor; "and, to tell the truth, all the officers of that nation showed great courage; not one of them struck until it was absolutely impossible to manoeuvre." The remnants of the French navy, neglected as it had been through the unreflecting economy of Cardinal Fleury, were almost completely destroyed, and England reckoned more than two hundred and fifty ships of war. Neither the successes in the Low Countries and in Germany nor the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle put a serious end to the maritime war; England used her strength to despoil the French forever of the colonies which she envied them. The frontiers of Canada and Acadia had not been clearly defined by the treaties of peace. Distrust and disquiet reigned amongst the French colonists; the ardor of conquest fired the English, who had for a long while coveted the valley of the Ohio and its fertile territories. The covert hostility which often betrayed itself by acts of aggression was destined ere long to lead to open war. An important emigration began amongst the Acadians; they had hitherto claimed the title of neutrals, in spite of the annexation of their territory by England, in order to escape the test oath and to remain faithful to the Catholic faith; the priests and the French agents urged them to do more; more than three thousand Acadians left their fields and their cottages to settle on the French coasts, along the Bay of Fundy. Every effort of the French governors who succeeded one another only too rapidly in Canada was directed towards maintaining the natural or factitious barriers between the two territories. The savages, excited and flattered by both sides, loudly proclaimed their independence and their primitive rights over the country which the Europeans were disputing between themselves. "We have not ceded our lands to anybody," they said; "and we have no mind to obey any king." "Do you know what is the difference between the King of France and the Englishman?" the Iroquois was asked by Marquis Duquesne, the then governor of Canada. "Go and look at the forts which the king had set up, and you will see that the land beneath his walls is still a hunting-ground, he having chosen the spots frequented by you simply to serve your need. The Englishman, on the other hand, is no sooner in possession of land than the game is forced to quit, the woods are felled, the soil is uncovered, and you can scarcely find the wherewithal to shelter yourselves at 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 civilization, the natural and powerful enemy of savage life. Already war was in preparation without regard to the claims of these humble allies, who were destined ere long to die out before might and the presence of a superior race. The French commander in the valley of the Ohio, M. de Contrecoeur, was occupied with preparations for defence, when he learned that a considerable body of English troops were marching against him under the orders of Colonel Washington. He immediately despatched M. de Jumonville with thirty men to summon the English to retire and to evacuate French territory. At break of day on the 18th of May, 1754, Washington's men surprised Jumonville's little encampment. The attack was unexpected; it is not known whether the French envoy had time to convey the summons with which he had been charged; he was killed, together with nine men of his troops. The irritation caused by this event precipitated the commencement of hostilities. A corps of Canadians, re-enforced by a few savages, marched at once against Washington; he was intrenched in the plain; he had to be attacked with artillery. The future hero of American independence was obliged to capitulate; the English retired with such precipitation that they abandoned even their flag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This withdrawal left Acadia, or neutral land, at the mercy of the Anglo-Americans. Before Longfellow had immortalized, in the poem of Evangeline, the peaceful habits and the misfortunes of the Acadians, Raynal had already pleaded their cause before history. "A simple and a kindly people," he said, "who had no liking for blood, agriculture was their occupation. They had been settled in the low grounds, forcing back, by dint of dikes, the sea and rivers wherewith those plains were covered. The drained marshes produced wheat, rye, oats, barley, and maize. Immense prairies were alive with numerous flocks; as many as sixty thousand horned cattle were counted there. The habitations, nearly all built of wood, were very commodious, and furnished with the neatness sometimes found amongst our European farmers in the easiest circumstances. Their manners were extremely simple; the little differences which might from time to time arise between the colonists were always amicably settled by the elders. It was a band of brothers, all equally ready to give or receive that which they considered common to all men."

War and its horrors broke in upon this peaceful idyll.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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