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      [See larger version]When, in the summer of 1658, the young Vicomte dArgenson came to assume the thankless task of governing the colony, the Iroquois war was at its height. On the day after his arrival, he was washing his hands before seating himself at dinner in the hall of the Chateau St. Louis, when cries of alarm were heard, and he was told that the Iroquois were close at hand. In fact, they were so near that their war-whoops and the screams of their victims could plainly be heard. Argenson left his guests, and, with such a following as he could muster at the moment, hastened to the rescue; but the assailants were too nimble for him. The forests, which grew at that time around Quebec, favored them both in attack and in retreat. After a year or two of experience, he wrote urgently to the court for troops. He adds that, what with the demands of the harvest, and the unmilitary character of many of the settlers, the colony could not furnish more than a hundred men for offensive operations. A vigorous aggressive war, he insists, is absolutely necessary, and this not only to save the colony, but to save the only true faith; for, to borrow his own words, it is this colony alone which has the honor to be in the communion of the Holy Church. Everywhere else reigns the doctrine of England or Holland, to which I can give no other name, because there are as many creeds as there are subjects who embrace them. They do not care in the least whether the Iroquois and the other savages of this country have or have not a knowledge of the true God, or else they are so malicious as to inject the venom of their errors into souls incapable of distinguishing the truth of the gospel from the falsehoods of heresy; and hence it is plain that religion has its sole support in the French colony, and that, if this colony is in danger, religion is equally in danger. *

      These extracts may, perhaps, give an unjust impression of Argenson, who, from the general tenor of his letters, appears to have been a temperate and reasonable person. His patience and his nervous system seem, however, to have been taxed to the utmost. His pay could not support him. The costs of living here are horrible, he writes. I have only two thousand crowns a year for all my expenses, and I have already been forced to

      THE COUNT DE MIRABEAU. There is a general theorem which is most useful for calculating the certainty of a fact, as, for instance, the force of the proofs in the case of a given crime:

      ** Instruction pour M. Bouteroue, 1668.The first great battle was destined to be fought on the very ground where Gustavus Adolphus fell, 1632. Buonaparte marched upon Leipsic, expecting to find the Allies posted there; but he was suddenly brought to a stand by them at Lützen. The Allies, who were on the left bank of the Elster, crossed to the right, and impetuously attacked the French, whose centre was at the village of Kaya, under the command of Ney, supported by the Imperial Guard, and their fine artillery drawn up in front of the town of Lützen; the right wing, commanded by Marmont, extending as far as the defile of Poserna, and the left stretching from Kaya to the Elster. Napoleon did not expect to have met the Allies on that side of Leipsic, and was pressing briskly forward when the attack commenced. Ney was first stopped at Gross-G?rschen. Had Wittgenstein made a decided charge with his whole column, instead of attacking by small brigades, he would assuredly have broken the French lines. But Buonaparte rode up, and galloped from place to place to throw fresh troops on the point of attack, and to wheel up both of his wings so as to enclose, if possible, both flanks of the Allies. The conflict lasted some[65] hours, during which it was uncertain whether the Allies would break the centre of the French, or the French would be able to outflank the Allies. Blucher was late on the field; the officer who was sent overnight to him with orders from Wittgenstein is said to have put them under his pillow and slept on them till roused by the cannon. At length, after a desperate attack by Napoleon to recover the village of Kaya, out of which he had been driven, the Allies observing that the firing of Macdonald and Bertrand, who commanded the two wings, was fast extending along their flanks, skilfully extricated themselves from the combat, and led back their columns so as to escape being outflanked by the French. Yet they did not even then give up the struggle for the day. The Allied cavalry made a general attack in the dark, but it failed from the mighty masses of the French on which they had to act. The Allies captured some cannon, the French none. The loss of the Allies was twenty thousand men, killed and wounded: that of the French was equally severe. Seven or eight French generals were killed or wounded. On the side of the Allies fell General Scharnhorstan irreparable loss, for no man had done more to organise the Prussian landwehr and volunteers. The Prince Leopold of Hesse-Homburg and the Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, both allied to the royal family of England, were slain, and Blucher himself was wounded; but he had his wounds dressed on the field, and would not quit it till the last moment.

      On the 4th of May, 1789, Versailles was crowded by immense masses of people from Paris and the country round, to see the grand procession of the deputies of the three Orders advancing from the church of Notre Dame to that of St. Louis. The whole of the costumes, the order of march, and the spectacle had been carefully studied by the Court, so as to impress deeply the distinctions of the three Orders, and to humiliate the Tiers tat. The evening before, the deputies had waited on the king, and even then he had greatly incensed those of the Tiers tat who came most favourably disposed to him. Even whilst he[359] hoped to obtain essential advantages from the people against the presumption of the privileged orders, Louis or his advisers could not refrain from humiliating the Third Estate. Instead of receiving the deputies in one body, they had been carefully separated; the clergy were received first, the nobles next, and then, not till after a considerable pause, the Tiers tat. Now, on the great morning, all Paris and the vicinitythousands from distant townswas astir. The streets of Versailles were lined with French and Swiss guards and made gay with garlands of flowers, and from the windows hung rich tapestries. The balconies and windows were crowded with spectators of all ages and both sexesthe handsomest ladies gorgeously attired. The deputies, instead of one thousand, amounted to one thousand two hundred. First marched the members of the Tiers tat, six hundred in number, all clad in plain black mantles, white cravats, and slouched hats. Next went the nobles in black coats, but the other garments of cloth of gold, silk cloak, lace cravat, plumed hat turned up la Henry IV.; then the clergy, in surplice, with mantle, and square cap; the bishops in their purple robes, with their rochets. Last came the Court, all ablaze with jewels and splendid robes; the king in good spirits, the queen anxious, and dimly conscious even then of the miseries that were to follow. Her eldest son, the Dauphin, was lying at the point of death in the palace, and her reputation was being daily murdered by atrocious calumnies. Yet still Marie Antoinette, the daughter of the great Maria Theresa, the once light-hearted, always kind and amiable woman, was the perfect queen in her stately beauty. Two things were remarkedthe absence of Siys, and the presence of Mirabeau, two men who had already become popular leaders. Siys had not yet arrived; Mirabeau drew all eyes. His immense head of hair; his lion-like appearance, marked by an ugliness quite startling, almost terrifying; the spectators seemed fascinated by his look. He marched on visibly a man; the rest, compared with him, were mere shadows.

      THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW. (After the Picture by Meissonier.) * A detailed account of the experiences of Queylus at


      ** I have carefully read about two thousand pages of these


      In the meantime, General Gage landed at Boston on the 13th of May. The Port Bill had preceded him a few days, and the tone of the other colonies rendered the Bostonians firmer in their temper than ever. On the 25th of May General Gage announced to the Assembly at Boston the unpleasant fact, that he was bound to remove, on the 1st of June, the Assembly, the courts of justice, and all the public offices, to Salem, in conformity with the late Act. As they petitioned him to set apart a day for fasting, he declined that, and, to prevent further trouble, adjourned them to the 7th of June, to meet at Salem. *** Denonville au Ministre, 20 Ao?t, 1686


      Notwithstanding the real outbreak of the war, Congress yet professed to entertain hopes of ultimate reconciliation. When the reinforcements had arrived from England, and it was supposed that part of them were destined for New York, it issued orders that, so long as the forces remained quiet in their barracks, they should not be molested; but if they attempted to raise fortifications, or to cut off the town from the country, they should be stoutly opposed. When the news of the surprise of the forts on the Lake Champlain arrived, Congress endeavoured to excuse so direct a breach of the peace by feigning a belief in a design of an invasion of the colonies from Canada, of which there was notoriously no intention, and they gave orders that an exact inventory of the cannon and military stores there captured should be made, in order to their restoration, "when the former harmony between Great Britain and her colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, should render it consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation." After the battle of Bunker's Hill, Congress still maintained this tone. On the 8th of July they signed a petition to the king, drawn up by John Dickinson, in the mildest terms, who, when to his own surprise the petition was adopted by the Congress, rose, and said that there was not a word in the whole petition that he did not approve of, except the word "Congress." This, however, was far from the feeling of many members; and Benjamin Harrison immediately rose and declared that there was but one word in the whole petition that he did approve of, and that was the word "Congress." The petition to the king expressed an earnest desire for a speedy and permanent reconciliation, declaring that, notwithstanding their sufferings, they retained in their hearts "too tender a regard for the kingdom from which they derived their origin to request such a reconciliation as might be inconsistent with her dignity or welfare." At the[220] same time, they resolved that this appeal, which they called "The Olive Branch," should, if unsuccessful, be their last. They could hardly have expected it to be successful. **** Ibid.. I. 402.