VOL.II - cont.
CHAPTER XXXII - THE AGE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.
AMONG the many diverse events which make a period memorable in history none is more striking than the rise of a state to equality or supremacy among the powers of the world. Preceded almost invariably by a long period of slow development; precipitated by the advent of some extraordinary circumstance, or the ambition and ability of some individual; and culminating, for the most part, in a great convulsion, a final arbitrament of arms with its vast expenditure of energy, treasure, and blood, and the relative decline and readjustment of the other powers of the polity into which the new force thrusts its way, this recurrent phenomenon of history appears at once the chief motive of progress and of destruction in the drama of politics. In the two hundred and fifty years which had elapsed since the discovery of the seaways east and west, and the expulsion of Asiatic influences from western Europe, various nations had undergone this great experience. Spain and Portugal, England, Holland, Sweden, and France, in turn, had found their way to the forefront of affairs; while the house of Hapsburg had maintained a precarious primacy in central Europe. As the seventeenth century had worn to a close, two other powers, Russia and Brandenburg, had appeared above the horizon of continental politics, aspiring to like eminence, while Europe shaped itself from mediæval chaos to the semblance of the modern unity in diversity of a system of nations.
The Rise and Fall of States
Of these various states some, like England, had found sufficient energy and resources to maintain the position of firstrate powers. Some, like Sweden, had sunk to second place. Some, like Holland, had fallen still lower in the political scale. Others still, like Prussia, building on their own develop-
The dynastic interest
ment or on the weakness of their neighbors, had risen from insignificance to well-defined importance in the European system. At the same time an increasingly complex dynastic interest which in the preceding centuries had spread its network over the continent had given to certain families a position wholly out of proportion to the importance of their original possessions or even the ability of their members. In such fashion, beside the ascendancy of Hapsburg and Bourbon at opposite ends of Europe, the minor princely houses of Germany, in particular, improved their fortunes until the eighteenth century saw Germans on more than half the thrones of Europe. A Hanoverian won the English crown; a Saxon that of Poland. Two German princesses in succession occupied the Russian throne. A duke of HolsteinGottorp took the place of the Vasas in Sweden; and these, with marriages innumerable, made Germany then, as now, "the breeding ground of royalty" for the continent. At the same time the house of Bourbon, whose younger branch now held the Spanish throne, divided the greater part of Italy with the Hapsburgs; while the house of Lorraine, uniting its fortunes with the latter by the marriage of its head to Maria Theresa, replaced the Medici as rulers of Tuscany.
Lorraine was not alone in its rise. During the War of the Spanish Succession, the house of Savoy, pursuing its policy of "well-timed treacheries," had finally taken advantage of its position to extend its boundaries by the possession of the island of Sardinia, and to increase its dignity by assuming the title of king from this new territory. Almost simultaneously the head of the German house of Hohenzollern had exchanged his title of Elector for that of King of Prussia, derived from his ducal possession outside the borders of the Empire.
His policy, like that of Savoy, was not merely symbolic of the times in which he lived. Far more than that of the Italian principality, it was prophetic of the immediate future. Yet beyond his title and his policy there was but little in the history of his house portending the part it was about to play.
Founded some seven centuries before, like Austria itself, as an outpost against peoples chiefly of Slavic blood on Germany's eastern frontier, Brandenburg's history, in Hohenzollern hands, had been a record of slow expansion. Unlike its Suabian neighbors, the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollerns had thus far played a minor part even in German history. They had never achieved the imperial dignity, their conquests had been neither so extensive nor so profitable, their alliances had not brought them the wide territories nor the royal dignities their rivals had enjoyed. From the title of counts of Zollern they had advanced to that of Burggrafs of Nuremberg; from that, in the fifteenth century, to Markgrafs or border counts of Brandenburg; and to the dignity of Elector. The Reformation put in their hands the duchy of Prussia as a lay fief. The Thirty Years' War gave them four bishoprics in western Germany. The long conflict with Sweden secured to them the Baltic lands of Pomerania, and, at the Great Elector's death, the Hohenzollerns held throughout northern Germany scattered possessions almost from the Rhine to the Vistula.
These, with their Brandenburg homeland along the lower Oder, and a group of claims upon their neighbors' territories, formed an extraordinary state, consisting, it has been aptly said, of frontiers to be filled in as opportunity presented itself. The country was, for the most part, barren and poor. The policy of its rulers, in particular the Great Elector, had been directed toward its improvement in material resource, no less than to expansion. Especially in the seventeenth century it had been reinforced by Protestant immigrants fleeing from persecution in France and Germany; its marshes drained, its barrens populated and tilled; its industries strengthened. Still it was poor, and its importance lay chiefly in an army out of proportion to its resources, which made it a formidable foe, and in the shrewd, none too scrupulous policy of its ruling house. Such was the power now equipped with a long hoarded treasure, a warlike people, and a powerful army, which came into the hands of its new ruler,
Nothing in that young man's early career gave promise of his real character or aims. A youth spent in pursuit of music and literature was varied by bitter quarrels with his martinet father, after the custom of his house. The composition of bad poetry, the doctrines embodied in his essay, AntiMachiavel, seemed to presage an era of Prussian renaissance. Still less did the accession of the Hapsburg princess, Maria Theresa, young, charming, inexperienced, premonish war; while Russia, disturbed by faction and conspiracy, till the Czarina Elizabeth came to the throne, seemed as impotent for offense or defense as France, subject to the caprice of royal mistresses. Moreover, the old Emperor had secured Europe's assent to the Pragmatic Sanction which guaranteed the peaceful succession of his daughter to the throne, and seemed to insure a new lease of life to the great house now extinct in the male line.
Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa 1740
Never was the appearance of affairs more deceiving than at the outset of this fifth decade of the eighteenth century; and never did man more deceive himself than the Emperor Charles VI. Scarcely was he in his grave when, taking advantage of the apparent weakness of his house, three claimants to the Austrian inheritance appeared, the Elector of Saxony, the King of Spain, and the Elector of Bavaria. Each based his claim upon heredity; but each relied upon the inability of the archduchess to defend herself. And, as if this were not enough, the frivolous court of France, eager to share the triumph and the spoil, entered the lists against its old antagonists, and the last of the great dynastic conflicts of Europe, the War of the Austrian Succession, began its long and bloody course.
The War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48
But before arrangements were made between France and Austria's other enemies, before the allies could put their forces in the field, a sudden and unexpected blow from a far different quarter at once deprived the Hapsburg power of a great province and altered the complexion of the war. Advancing a claim to part of Silesia, which lay contiguous to his Brandenburg possessions, the dilettante king of Prussia threw off the mask which had concealed his true character,
The Silesian project 1740
pushed his armies into the rich valleys of the upper Oder; and, by the time the allies had made their way into Bohemia, the Prussians had overrun and held Silesia. Such were the circumstances under which this new, ambitious power now thrust itself into the European polity. Such was the "Silesian Project, which fulfilled all his political views--a means of acquiring reputation, of increasing the power of his state, and terminating the long-litigated question of the Cleves-Jülich succession." Such were the reasons advanced for his entry into the war by the young king himself. Behind them lay the opportunity, the weakness of the Austrian court, its bankruptcy, the inexperience of its princess, threatened on every side, the nearness and desirability of the territory, and Russia's momentary impotence. Not even Louis XIV, at the height of his power, proffered so cynical an excuse for his aggressions, since even the Grand Monarque had conceded his Chambers of Reunion to such public European sentiment on international law and morality as then existed.
Yet, daring and unscrupulous as it was, the Prussian king's exploit seemed likely to succeed, and so to justify itself to that school of thought which Frederick had himself attacked in his Anti-Machiavel, a school which recognizes no touchstone but material success, and no morality but that of might. The situation of the young archduchess seemed desperate. While the Prussians had gained Silesia at a blow, French and Bavarians invaded Bohemia and pressed forward into Austria itself. The Saxons captured Prague; Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony signed a treaty for the partition of the Hapsburg possessions; and the Elector of Bavaria was not merely proclaimed Archduke of Austria, but, with the aid of his allies, was elected Emperor. Meanwhile, Sweden declared war on Russia and Spanish troops, in pursuance of their ruler's designs on Italy, landed in Tuscany, which was then virtually a part of the Austrian territories. Turn where she would, Maria Theresa found her lands invaded and her allies impotent.
The first Silesian War
But if the invasion of Silesia had revealed the true character of the Prussian king, the desperate situation of the
The revival of Austria
Hapsburg power threw the heroic character of the Austrian archduchess into high relief. While her armies made what headway they could against their numerous enemies, the young princess appealed in person to the Hungarian nobility; and their mythical reply, "Let us die for our king, Maria Theresa," became the rallying-cry for the Empire. England listened to her appeal for aid, and an English squadron compelled Spain to forego her dreams of a Spanish kingdom of Lombardy. A palace intrigue in Russia drove the pro-Prussian minister, Münnich, from power; and the ensuing revolution set on the throne the Czarina Elizabeth, opposed at every point to Frederick's ambitious plans. To the standards of the archduchess were summoned not merely the forces of her own domains but those of the German states who still adhered to their allegiance from honor or from fear. And, on the very day that the Elector of Bavaria was chosen Emperor, the Austrian city of Linz, where he had been proclaimed archduke six months before, was wrested from his grasp. With that the tide began to turn. Within a month the wild Croatian cavalry which formed the Austrian vanguard were in Munich. The Prussians lost Moravia and Olmütz; and though they were victorious at Chotusitz, it was apparent that the limit of their great adventure had been reached. As quickly and as easily as he had made and broken his earlier engagements, Frederick changed sides. By the Peace of Breslau and Berlin he abandoned his allies; Silesia remained in his hands as the price of his withdrawal from the conflict; and the first Silesian War between Prussia and Austria came to an end. Augustus III of Saxony and Poland followed Frederick's example and made peace with Austria, and, within ten days, the king of Sardinia followed suit.
12 Feb. 1742
The Peace of Berlin 1742 June-July
This was, indeed, far from concluding the great European conflict; for, relieved from pressure on the north, Maria Theresa was able to turn her full strength against her other foes. Here she was aided by other forces, as the negotiations of the diplomats brought readjustment of the European powers. Sweden gained peace from Russia at the price of southern Finland; Sardinia secured from Austria concessions in Italy for her support; while, on Fleury's death, France allied herself with Spain and declared war upon Sardinia.
With this the course of England became clear. She was then carrying on a war with Spain; her king, George II, was Elector of Hanover; and, in the face of the Franco-Spanish alliance, and French advance in Germany, she signed a treaty with Prussia to defend the electorate, despatched an army to the continent, and granted a subsidy to Austria. Meanwhile, the allies had been driven from Austrian territories. The French were beaten at Dettingen, the last battle at which an English sovereign fought in person. Bavaria was conquered, and its Elector-Emperor found himself a fugitive. Thus, fifteen months after Maria Theresa had been compelled to yield Silesia to Frederick, the Hapsburg power had risen from disaster which threatened to overwhelm it to a position whence it threatened, in turn, to become, in fact and name, mistress of Germany.
It was small wonder that Frederick was alarmed. Fearful of a contingency which threatened not merely his newly won province but his very existence as an independent king, he strained every nerve to avert the impending danger. He tried, without success, to unite the princes of the Empire against the Hapsburg power. But he was able to secure the Union of Frankfort, in which the fugitive Emperor, the Elector Palatine, and Hesse-Cassel joined Prussia to demand that Austria restore Bavaria to Charles, the constitution to the Empire, and peace to Europe. Such a concession the Austrian court naturally refused, and Frederick, anticipating that contingency, turned again to arms, and so entered upon the second Silesian War.
The second Silesian War
His desertion of his engagement with Austria and his reentry into the conflict which had gone on in his absence between Hapsburg, Bourbon, and Hanover-England, brought further readjustment of alliances. Russia and Austria again grew friendly; Prussia and France joined hands against England and Austria; and, after the brief success of Frederick's surprise attack which carried his arms through Saxony and Bohemia, another kaleidoscopic change altered the face of Europe's alliances. The sudden death of the ElectorEmperor, Charles Albert of Bavaria, gave Austria opportunity to withdraw Bavaria from Franco-Prussian influence. The title of the late emperor was recognized, his son restored to his electoral title and domains; while he, in turn, allied himself with Austria, promising his vote to the Grand Duke
The new alliances
Francis, Maria Theresa's husband, as Emperor, and his assent to the Pragmatic Sanction. Thus France and Prussia with Spain and Hesse-Cassel confronted an alliance of more than half the continent, England and Holland, Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, Sardinia, with lesser German states.
Yet the contest was not as unequal as it seemed; for the allies developed no such commanders as the French Maréchal de Saxe, the Spaniard Gages, and Frederick himself. The Austro-Saxon treaty to partition Prussia was ineffective ere the ink was dry. In Germany the Prussian king counted three victories against the Austrians in six months; at Fontenoy, de Saxe defeated the English as the first incident of a great campaign. In Italy the Franco-Spanish troops, at the same time, conquered Lombardy; while Charles Emmanuel of Sardinia tried to make terms with France. In this crisis the Austrian court repeated its old tactics; and, by the Treaty of Dresden, confirmed Silesia to Frederick, and was again relieved from his attack. So ended the second Silesian War.
The Treaty of Dresden Dec. 25 1745
Meanwhile for three years more the conflict went on among Spain, France, Sardinia, and Austria in Italy; France, Austria, England, and Holland in the Netherlands; and France and England in the world outside. Despite the victories of Saxe in the Low Countries the tide turned against the French confronted by such powerful enemies. The Austrians and Sardinians reconquered Lombardy and invaded Provence; the efforts of the Young Pretender, Charles Edward, to raise rebellion in England failed; and when the Russians entered the war upon the side of Austria, the French position, save for their conquest of the Austrian Netherlands, seemed desperate. Negotiations begun at Breda were concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle, and brought to a close eight years of constant war, with inconclusive peace. The Prusso-Swedish treaty of mutual defense was finally confirmed, with Frederick's possession of Silesia. The Spanish heir received Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla in Italy; Francis was recognized as Emperor; and, for the rest, all conquests were restored.
The Peace of Aix-la Chapelle 1748
Such were the circumstances under which Frederick the Great, as he came to be known, set Prussia among the firstrate European powers; and this, in the last resort, remained the chief result of this long, bloody war. From it Austria emerged far stronger than before; and France weaker. With its conclusion there began a series of administrative reforms in Prussia and especially in the Hapsburg domains. And with it, too, began the great design of Austria's new minister, Kaunitz, looking toward the recovery of Silesia and Frederick's humiliation, which made the years of peace only a truce between two periods of conflict.
Yet there were many other circumstances and results of the entry of Frederick of Prussia into the European polity. Far beyond the boundaries of Europe itself the war had spread to the remotest confines of European influence; and while the continental powers had made the lands between the Vistula and the Rhine a battleground, the farthest bounds of their respective spheres of influence had felt the shock of arms. While Prussia and Austria were at grips only in Germany, English and French had fought across the world; and beside the emergence of the Prussian kingdom into Europe's affairs, may well be set the emergence of the British Empire into world politics. In particular those lands whose fortunes were destined to be so closely intertwined through the ensuing generation, India and North America, challenged the eminence even of Silesia as the center of future importance in Europe's affairs.
The war beyond the sea
This was the more true in that the circumstances of the great Indian peninsula at this moment offered a fertile field for the extension of European influence. The effects of the break-up of the Mogul Empire at the death of Aurungzebe a generation earlier had now had time to make themselves fully felt. Its viceroys had not only consolidated their power and established a group of virtually independent Mohammedan states, but about them had sprung up a circle of bitterly hostile Hindu principalities. Of the four great geographical divisions into which India, exclusive of the narrow coast regions and the Himalayas, may be said to fall--
India--the Mohammedan states
the valley of the Ganges on the northeast, that of the Indus on the northwest, the huge triangular plateau of the Deccan on the south, and the hill districts between--the Mogul Empire had ruled the greater part. Far up the Ganges valley, on its tributary, the Jumna, stood its capital, Delhi. To the east, along the upper Ganges, lay the rich lands of the Nawab of Oudh, below them the fertile fields and the teeming population of the Nawab of Bengal, whose territories enveloped the English post of Calcutta; and far to the south, in the midst of the Deccan, the Nizam of Hyderabad maintained himself.
Such were the chief Mohammedan powers of the peninsula. But those of the Hindus were no less in number and importance. The lower reaches of the Indus were held by the principality of Scinde, which, from its position as a viceroyalty of the Mogul Empire, had now come to be a tributary of the rising power of the Persian Nadir Shah; while the upper region of the Punjab, or Five Rivers, whose junction formed the Indus, was becoming independent under a religious association, the so-called Sikhs. South of them, between Delhi and Scinde, lay the Rajputs, three strong and warlike tribes; and beyond them still, up and down the central part of northern India, were the Mahrattas owning the so-called Peishwa of Poona as the titular head of their loose federation. Beside their lands and those of Hyderabad, the northern Deccan held the smaller principalities of Orissa and Behar, while the lower third of that district was comprised in the state of Mysore, bounded on the east by the so-called Carnatic, under the Nawab of Arcot, whose lands surrounded the English post of Madras and the French at Pondicherry, and whose allegiance lay to the ruler of Mysore.
--the Hindu states
It was inevitable that among so many states, most of them but lately emerged from Mogul suzerainty, and ruled by ambitious and unscrupulous military leaders, the contest for supremacy or for extension of frontiers should be continuous and acute. It was no less inevitable that, with the outbreak of the wars of the Austrian Succession in Europe, the energies of French and English alike should be directed toward the exploitation of such a situation for their own benefit. In this the English, with far more at stake than the French, were slow to enter, content to maintain, as best they might amid the confusion of the peninsula, the territory and the trade which they possessed.
But two circumstances soon made their passive position untenable. The first was the invasion of the Persians under Nadir Shah; which, in the year that England had come to blows with Spain, swept across northern India and sacked Delhi. The second was the appointment of Joseph Dupleix as governor-general in Pondicherry. If the one circumstance clearly revealed the collapse of the Mogul state and heralded the impending conquest of India by another great power, the other revealed the danger that this power might be France. To English eyes the advent of this capable antagonist presaged far more danger than the Persian hosts. Thus far there had been no question of the supremacy of the English company over the French. The one, having weathered the storms of the seventeenth century, had developed greatly in the preceding forty years; it had become, in a small way, a territorial and a military power. It had loaned money to the English government; while its rival, ill-supported and under-capitalized, had barely managed to maintain itself.
Dupleix 1697-1763 1739
But with the advent of a new French minister of finance, and of a governor who, through twenty years of experience in India, as member of the council and superintendent of Chandernagore, was wholly conversant with the affairs of the peninsula, all was changed. When the great European warcloud burst, Dupleix, foreseeing the inevitable conflict and fired by the opportunity to extend French influence and his own, had hastened to fortify Pondicherry and negotiate with native princes. At the same time, feeling the necessity for forces to support his policy, he revived and extended the old plan of using native troops. An army was raised, drilled, organized, equipped, and officered by Europeans, and stiffened by French contingents, and these Sepoys, as they were known, thenceforth proved themselves a powerful factor in eastern affairs.
Nor was the East alone in preparation for the great conflict then about to involve the whole European world. In two other quarters the struggle which centered in Germany had begun before the outbreak of hostilities on the continent, and it was now about to involve still another region in its bloody course. Even before Frederick had fallen on Silesia, England and Portugal had been at war with Spain. While the Prussians had pushed southward along the Oder, while French and Bavarians invaded Bohemia, Brazil and Argentine had contended for Uruguay, and English and Spanish colonists between Georgia and Florida had come to blows. The progress of the first Silesian War had been accompanied by Vernon's attacks on Porto Bello and Cartagena, and Anson's exploits in the Pacific. While Dupleix prepared his stroke against the English in India, Brazil had set the fortress of Rio Grande do Sul against Spanish aggression from the Argentine, and at the St. Lawrence mouth the frowning walls of Louisburg had been strengthened against the day when France and England should strive for mastery of the Atlantic coast. Thus, throughout the world, were laid the foundations for a tremendous conflict. And, as the second Silesian War drew to a close, two events, occurring almost simultaneously on opposite sides of the globe, brought into sharp relief the world-wide character of the Franco-English war, which began in the fourth year of the War of the Austrian Succession.
The first occurred in India. There, while the first phase of the European war was being developed, the designs of the French governor of the Isles of France and Bourbon, Labourdonnais, attracted the attention of the English government. An English fleet appeared off the Coromandel coast to destroy the French settlements in India; and only the support of the Carnatic ruler, the Nawab of Arcot, saved Pondicherry and Dupleix's designs from destruction. Four years later the fortress of Louisburg, which, strengthened through the years by French engineering skill and an expense of twenty million francs, threatened English supremacy on the Atlantic
The war in India and America 1741
coast, became the object of colonial attack. To its reduction England lent a fleet; the colonies contributed four thousand men; and a vigorous six weeks' siege gave Louisburg into English and colonial hands, in the same summer that Frederick's victories confirmed to him Silesia for the second time.
Such were the opening events of the world-war which paralleled the last three years of the War of the Austrian Succession, and, in a sense, formed part of the European conflict. Encouraged by the fall of Louisburg, the English colonists projected the reduction of all Canada. To counteract English naval supremacy in the East, the capable and ambitious Labourdonnais directed a French squadron to the Coromandel coast; while to avenge the fall of Louisburg, the French government despatched a fleet under D'Anville. From this last the English colonies were saved by storm and pestilence to which its leader fell victim; but they gave up their design of conquering Canada. Their countrymen in India were not so fortunate. There the Nawab, failing to get from the Madras authorities the presents with which Dupleix had gained his favor, refused the protection he had granted to Pondicherry. Madras fell into French hands. Its English inhabitants, save a few brave spirits who found refuge in Fort St. David, twenty miles away, were taken prisoner, and the single fort which sheltered their more daring companions, remained the sole English post in southern India. Even that foothold was precarious. The French refused to give up Madras to the Nawab, beat off his force, and pushed forward to besiege Fort St. David. There only a quarrel between their leaders, with the arrival of an English fleet and Major Lawrence with four thousand troops, relieved the garrison from the fate of Madras.
To the conflict whose fortunes varied so widely at the extremities of empire, the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle gave pause. Madras was exchanged for Louisburg, and the fate of India, as that of Canada, was reserved for the future. Yet despite the inconclusive character of this phase of the war, the lines of later conflict were laid down. In India the English were awakened to the fact that the peninsula was
The Peace of Aix-laChapelle 1748
ripe for a new conqueror. The French activities had not merely shown the strength of a great European power, backed by a fleet and Sepoy troops, and exercising its diplomacy among native princes; but the necessity of following the same course if English status in the East was to be preserved. And if the landing of an army in India marked an epoch in her eastern affairs, the activity of her colonists in the West portended a new era in world politics. However negligible they appeared to European eyes, such events as the co-operation of colonial and English troops was an affair of no less consequence than the appearance of Russian forces on the Rhine; and the division of spheres of influence in North and South America was an event quite comparable to the concurrent rise of Prussia in the European scale.
But while events at the extremity of the European world were thus unconsciously re-shaping the destinies of the powers involved, there was preparing in Europe itself a readjustment of alliances which was to revolutionize the political situation of the entire continent. Seldom has the history of international affairs revealed so remarkable a phenomenon as that series of treaties which established two great leagues preparing to plunge the world again into conflict. It had begun simply enough. Before the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, Maria Theresa concluded a treaty with Russia which brought the forces of Elizabeth into the war. England joined in; and Frederick, in reply, had come to an agreement with Sweden. After the peace this process was continued. The diplomacy of Kaunitz, seconded by the open contempt of Frederick for women in politics, drew the French king's mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, to look with favor upon Austria. With this was perfected a scheme which, to Austrian eyes, promised to heal the long Hapsburg-Bourbon enmity, and enable Austria to avenge herself upon the Prussian king. Nor was this Diplomatic Revolution, as it was called, less remarkable for the circumstance that it was the alliance of three women against a man who despised them all.
The Diplomatic Revolution 1748-56
But the fine-wrought schemes of European diplomats were scarcely in train before the action of men far beyond their
The third Silesian War ken brought them to naught. The Russian treaty was hardly signed when French and English were at war again in India and contending for supremacy in North America. The logic of facts was irrefutable. Whatever George II's anxiety for his Hanoverian possessions, the fear of England for her position in North America and India was greater still. It was no longer possible, as it had been even a century before, for Europe to ignore colonial rivalries. These had become a part of the European system; and disturbance in the remotest regions now reacted decisively on the center of affairs. George II hastened to conclude a neutral agreement with Prussia; Kaunitz took advantage of the indignation at Versailles to sign a defensive treaty with France; and, in the final resolution of alliances, England and Prussia, with four lesser German powers, stood opposed to Austria, Russia, France, and the remaining states of the Empire. Such were the antagonists in the conflict which was to determine finally the possession of Silesia and the position of Prussia in Europe.
It was, indeed, to determine much more; for it was, in effect, a twofold duel. In Europe it was a struggle between Hapsburg and Hohenzollern to establish not merely the ownership of Silesia but their respective positions in Germany. In India and America the supremacy of France or England was now at stake.
One may not say that "black men fought each other on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America" that Frederick "might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to defend"; nor yet that England was to try to "conquer America in Germany." Had England and France had no concern with the relations of Prussia and Austria, the Silesian question would none the less have plunged Germany into war. Had Frederick and Maria Theresa remained friends, the French and English in the Carnatic and the Ohio valley would still have drawn their governments into conflict. And it is a striking commentary on the altered importance of colonial affairs that a littleknown governor of Pondicherry, Dupleix, an obscure clerk of the East India Company, Robert Clive, and an unheard-of Virginian, George Washington, should at this juncture have become figures of no less importance in European destinies than the rulers who reckoned themselves the sole arbiters of those fortunes.
The events which finally determined the status of England and France in the approaching conflict, almost in spite of themselves, were widely separated in distance and character. First in time, if not in importance, was the situation of affairs in India. There in the year of the Peace of Aix-laChapelle the death of the Nizam ul Mulk, Subadhar or viceroy of the Deccan, had precipitated the first of those questions of disputed succession which were to form the entering wedge of European interference in Indian politics. Dupleix was quick to seize the opportunity, the more so in that a similar situation arose at the same moment in the Carnatic. Espousing the cause of the two pretenders, he supplied them with troops and a capable commander; and with this aid the Nawab of the Carnatic was defeated and killed and his capital occupied by his enemies. Despite English support, the rightful heir maintained himself with difficulty in Trichinopoly while the French candidate seized the royal power. In the following year the same policy compassed the death of the viceroy of the Deccan and the elevation of the French candidate to his place. In return Dupleix secured the government of a territory along the Coromandel coast but little smaller than France, the sole right of coinage in the Carnatic, and virtual dictation over the Nizam's policy. At once he directed all his strength against Trichinopoly, whose fall would give into his hands the rightful heir of the Carnatic, and enable him to throw all the power thus gained against the English.
England and France in India 1748
From the apparent destruction which awaited it the Company was preserved by an extraordinary character. In the year that the war between England and France had begun there had arrived in Madras an English boy of nineteen. one Robert Clive, as a clerk or writer. Thence a year later, when the place was taken by the French, he had fled with
his fellows to Fort St. David, where, disgusted with the civil service, he became an ensign of foot, and gained some small distinction. Re-entering the civil department on the conclusion of the peace, he found, on his return from a visit to Bengal, that war had again broken out and that the French were besieging Trichinopoly. Putting himself at the head oil five hundred men he threw himself into Arcot, and there held out for fifty days against ten thousand natives and French, until he was relieved by a Mahratta chief, employed to, aid the heir to the Carnatic. Pursuing his besiegers, with the aid of Lawrence he relieved Trichinopoly. The French thereupon recognized the English candidate and the English claims in the Carnatic; and Dupleix, defeated in the ambitions which had so nearly given him preponderance in India, returned to France to die in poverty and disgrace.
Such was the first stage in the conflict for Indian supremacy; and had these circumstances alone filled the years of the Diplomatic Revolution, Anglo-French relations, however strained, might not have been broken. But what the Carnatic was to India, the Ohio valley had meanwhile become to America. Though the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle had restored Acadia to France, it had left a heritage of dispute over the boundaries of French and English possessions, which, within five years, brought the colonists again to blows. If the French claimed the Ohio region by virtue of discovery, the English regarded the territory as theirs by virtue of the original grants; and each side prepared for the maintenance of its claims in characteristic fashion. As the conflict in India wore to a close, France despatched a new governor, the Marquis Duquesne de Menneville, to Canada, with instructions to secure the communications between the St. Lawrence settlements and those on the lower Mississippi, by way of the Ohio. At the same time the chain of forts up the St. Lawrence from Quebec and Montreal to the Great Lakes was strengthened, and, on Duquesne's arrival, he hastened to anticipate the danger of an English advance by a line of fortified posts from Niagara to the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.
England and France in America
1752 On their part the English continued their old policy, in sharp distinction from that of France. Scarcely was the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle signed and Louisburg returned to France, when there arrived in Nova Scotia more than two thousand emigrants, discharged soldiers and sailors, with workmen and their families to establish a new settlement; and there, at Chebucto, now re-named Halifax, was begun a town and a fortress to challenge the supremacy of Louisburg. At the same time the Virginia colonists had hastened to organize a corporation to exploit the chief potential source of wealth in the new world, the great forest tracts stretching westward from the Alleghenies. This so-called Ohio Company, whose establishment gave no less offense to the French than the foundation of Georgia had given to the Spaniards a dozen years before, now began to extend its operations into the lands debatable. The conflict arising from the Anglo-French rivalry was not long delayed. The governor of Virginia despatched a young planter who had had experience in the field, George Washington, to protest against the French advance; and, finding his mission unsuccessful, sent him with two hundred frontiersmen to occupy the French objective, the forks of the Ohio. A sharp clash ensued between the French vanguard and Washington's command. The latter were victorious, but the advance of the main body of the French made their position untenable; and, at the moment that a French emissary landed in Coromandel to complete the negotiations between his government and the English authorities in India, the French secured the coveted strategic point by the construction of Fort Duquesne.
With this obscure skirmish in the wilds of the Ohio, which began the most far-reaching war the world had yet seen, and introduced to European eyes the man who twenty years later was to become a commanding figure in the European world, the English were roused to action. A conference of colonial representatives was held at Albany to confer with the Six Nations, and to concert measures of defense against the French peril. Upon the suggestion of a member from Pennsylvania of much fame thereafter, one Benjamin Franklin, the Albany congress further signalized the occasion by drawing up a tentative, though, as it proved, an abortive plan of union. At the same time the English government despatched General Braddock with two regiments of regulars to Virginia to co-operate with the colonists. France countered this move by sending out a like force under General Dieskau, with the new governor Vaudreuil, and thus equipped, each side began active hostilities.
In America the English planned a triple attack. To Braddock was intrusted the reduction of Fort Duquesne; to the Indian commissioner in New York, Johnson, the seizure of Crown Point on Lake Champlain; to the governor of Massachusetts, Shirley, the capture of Fort Niagara; while a combined fleet and land force was to operate against Acadia and Louisburg. But Braddock, unaccustomed to border war, was ambushed, defeated, and killed in his attempt against Duquesne, and his force was preserved from destruction only by the abilities and exertiens of Washington and his frontiersmen. On the other hand, Johnson drove back Dieskau, and the English quickly overran Acadia and deported its inhabitants. The new French commander, Montcalm, captured Fort George and Fort Oswego, and parried the English blow, secured his front and saved Niagara and Crown Point for the time being from his enemies. Immediately each side began to fortify. The French strengthened Crown Point and began a new fortress at Ticonderoga on Lake George; while to oppose them, the English built forts William and Henry to protect New England and New York along that important line of communication which had become one of the strategic points of the world. Not content with this, each extended its lines westward, the English in Georgia and Carolina as far as Tennessee, the French as far as Illinois, and the whole eastern portion of North America thus became a field of conflict.
In January, 1756, England concluded a treaty of neutrality with Prussia which broke her Russian engagements. In May, France signed with Austria the defensive alliance which grew from this reversal of English policy. In June,
The Seven Years' War 1756-63
England and France were at war in Europe; and in August, Frederick, advised of his antagonists' designs, invaded Saxony, took Dresden, and poured his troops across the Bohemian frontier to strike at Austria before the coalitions formed to crush him could unite their forces. In those same months the Earl of Loudon had been despatched to the command of English armies in America; and the Marquis de Montcalm to lead the French in Canada. At the same moment that the Prussian king invaded Saxony, and Montcalm had captured the English fort of Oswego which guarded Lake Ontario, in India, news reached Madras that Suraj ud Dowlah, Nawab of Bengal, had seized Calcuttta, crowded a hundred and forty English, whom he found there, into a single dungeon, the Black Hole of Calcutta, whence the next morning scarce twenty emerged alive; garrisoned the city with his troops, and decreed that no Englishman thenceforth should enter his domains. In such wise began the Seven Years' War, greatest and last of the dynastic-colonial conflicts in which Europe was engaged.
Meanwhile, the struggle was extended to the sea and India. The French capture of Minorca was balanced by English success against Dominica. Clive, who had been hurriedly despatched by the English government as lieutenant-colonel, co-operated with Admiral Watson's fleet, engaged in suppressing piracy in the Indian seas, to retake Calcutta. They drove the French from their Bengalese post of Chandernagore; thus securing English power in the Ganges delta.
-- India 1756
At the same time France, Russia, Austria, Sweden, and the Empire threw themselves on Prussia, England, and their German allies, at first with every prospect of success. The second twelvemonth of the great war increased that confidence. Frederick's invasion of Bohemia, despite initial victory, was turned to a retreat by Austrian advance. On the one side the Russians crushed his army at Gross Jägerndorf; on the other, the French defeated his allies at Hastenbeck; and only his victory over the Imperialists and his repulse of the Austrians held his enemies in check. Abroad, Montcalm took Forts William and Henry and opened the way to
the Hudson; while a French fleet, aided by dissensions between the colonists and their governors, paralyzed Anglo colonial activities.
Only in India, the English cause, sustained by Clive's genius, maintained itself. There a conspiracy against Suraj ud Dowlah, the Nawab of Bengal, led to his betrayal and defeat in the decisive battle of Plassey. This was followed by his capture and execution; his place was filled by the English candidate, Mir Jafir; the Company was granted huge concessions by the puppet viceroy, including the so-called zemindar or landlord rights over the rich Ganges delta from Calcutta to the sea. Clive gained corresponding honors and rewards; and English dominion in Bengal was finally assured. Thus, after two years of war, save for Indian success, the scale still balanced against the Anglo-Prussian alliance.
But at this moment a new force appeared in European politics, with the accession of the English secretary of state, William Pitt, to full power in the conduct of the war. Grandson of a famous early governor of Madras, educated partly at Eton and Oxford, partly by travel on the continent, serving for a time as cornet of horse, he had entered Parliament, married an heiress of the great Whig family of Grenville, and, joining the opponents of Walpole, had come into office on the fall of that minister. His eloquence, his courage, his genius for popular appeal, his extraordinary self-confidence, his ability to conceive wide plans of conquest and to choose able commanders to form and carry out farreaching combinations, were soon evident as determining factors in the great conflict. "I am convinced," he said, "that I can save England and that no one else can."" England has labored long," wrote Frederick the Great, "but she has at last brought forth a man."
The Prussian king had reason to rejoice. Scarcely was Pitt in control when England granted him an annual subsidy which enabled his country to recruit her far-spent forces; while he was relieved from the task of defending western Germany against the French by the formation of an AngloHanoverian army. At the same time Clive was appointed
The fall of New France
governor of Bengal and steps were taken to oppose the French advance in North America. The colonies were called upon for twenty thousand men and were reinforced by twelve thousand troops and a fleet from England. The effect was soon apparent. Though Montcalm.was able to repulse the English from Ticonderoga, Fort Frontenac fell into their hands and with it the control of the Lakes. Forbes captured Fort Duquesne, re-named Pittsburg. Finally, after two months of resistance, the great fortress of Louisburg succumbed again to the joint attack of English and colonial forces, and with its fall the control of the Canadian maritime provinces, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island passed into English hands. Meanwhile, upon the continent, defeating the Russians and in turn defeated by the Austrians, the Prussian king maintained himself in Saxony and Silesia.
Such was the first result of the revivified Anglo-Prussian activities. More was to come. Following up their success in America, the English captured, almost at the same moment, Fort Niagara, last of the French strongholds on the eastern great lakes, and Ticonderoga, which dominated the road along Lake George and Lake Champlain. French power was now hemmed in its strongholds of Montreal and Quebec. Against the latter, Major General Wolfe directed his attack, and, finding his way by night up the steep cliff on which the city stands, a final engagement on the Plains of Abraham beat down the last resistance of the French. His death at the moment of the victory was more than balanced by the fall of his great antagonist, for with Montcalm's departure French resistance collapsed. Quebec surrendered, and, within a year all Canada, including Montreal, came into English hands. Scarcely had the news from Quebec reached England when Hawke's naval victory of Quiberon Bay rendered France all but helpless on the sea.
There was one further triumph of the year of victories. With the defeat of the Dutch allies of the French in India, the English turned against their greater antagonist. What Montcalm was to French North America, Lally de Tollendal was to
English success in India
French India. Despatched to Pondicherry, he had revived the energies of Dupleix's old system, reorganized its troops, and hastened to besiege Trichinopoly. Against him Clive's chief subordinate, Colonel Coote, hastened from Madras, and took Wandewash, which Lally hurried to besiege. There, four months after the fall of Quebec, the English, sallying from the town, drove Lally's army from its intrenchments, and sealed the fate of France in India. The resulting capture of Arcot, and the siege and capture of Pondicherry within a twelvemonth completed their destruction. Thus, at the same moment that Canada passed to British hands, the English became the dominant European power in the Indian peninsula.
Meanwhile, the struggle on the continent had continued with varying fortunes. On the west, at the same moment that the outer lines of French resistance in America were being forced, the Anglo-German army overthrew the French at Minden, while within a fortnight Frederick himself suffered his heaviest reverse at Kunersdorf from Austro-Russian troops. The following year, while England was busy securing her authority in Canada and in India, the victories of Liegnitz and Torgau once more turned the balance in favor of Frederick despite the Russian occupation of his capital.
The war in Europe
But at this juncture another change in English politics altered the fortunes of the combatants. At the moment the Russians occupied Berlin, George II died and was succeeded by his grandson, George III. With that began a revolution in English affairs. Supporting and supported by the Whigs, George II had favored the Prussian alliance and the war. His son, opposed at nearly every point to his father, had died, and the young prince who now came to the throne, influenced by the family feud, had been brought up under the domination of the rival Tory school. His strong if narrow intelligence, trained in the doctrines of royal supremacy, reinforced by his own skill in politics and the slow-rising antagonism to a war which England, with all her victories, had found a huge burden on her resources, turned naturally to peace. In this he was supported by the more powerful
George III 1760-1820
of the Whig nobility who now controlled the cabinet, and Pitt's eloquence and determination beat in vain upon the resolution of the interests determined to conclude the long conflict. The Prussian subsidy was stopped, the war languished, till a twelvemonth saw no more activity than the capture of two fortresses by Frederick's enemies.
The situation of the Prussian king was now all but desperate. His armies were reduced by incessant conflict, the national morale depressed by the loss of the capital, the finances disorganized by failure of the English subsidy; and, deprived of support on nearly every side, Frederick was saved from destruction only by another turn of fortune's wheel. The death of the Czarina Elizabeth, at the beginning of the sixth year of the war, brought to the head of Russian affairs Peter III, an admirer of Frederick. Almost at once, he signed a truce which was transformed into the Treaty of St. Petersburg. Peace with Sweden followed, and, though the deposition of Peter placed Catherine II on the Russian throne, and deprived Prussia of the assistance Peter III had given, Russia virtually retired from the war, and Frederick, thus relieved of pressure from that side, was able again to defeat the Austrians.
The Treaty of St. Petersburg 1762
Meanwhile, England and France had slowly come to terms. Pitt, driven from office by the cabinet's refusal to enter war with Spain, found his policy justified by a secret agreement between the branches of the Bourbon house which now brought Spain into the war. But she entered only into a heritage of disaster. Relieved of French antagonism in the east and west, flushed with her recent victories, and strong in the power and the prestige which success had brought, the onward rush of England's power was not to be denied. The capture of Canada had been followed by the occupation of the French West Indies. Anglo-colonial troops took Martinique, Granada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the smaller islands. Turning thence against the Spanish power, within six months Havana was in their hands and, on the other side of the world, four months later, Manila was taken by a British fleet. Before the news of that crowning success
The Peace of Hubertsburg and Paris 1763
reached Europe, the preliminaries of peace had been agreed upon between England and France at Fontainebleau; and six months later, the Peace of Paris brought the AngloFrench-Spanish conflict to an end. In the same week the treaties of Hubertsburg closed the long war between the eastern powers, and the European world found itself again at peace.
Seldom has any war produced more far-reaching effect on European affairs. On the continent itself, the territorial changes were not remarkable, if one considers the magnitude of the struggle and the number of interests involved. Minorca was exchanged for Belle Isle, and Silesia remained in Frederick's iron grasp, whence seven years of conflict had been unable to wrest it. But if that conquered province was of no great extent when measured beside the forces involved in its possession, its value to Prussia was not to be estimated in terms of area or population. It did more than add to Frederick's kingdom the upper reaches of the Oder; it became a symbol of Prussia's title to be ranked among the first-rate powers of the continent. The most that the house of Hapsburg could set against its loss was Frederick's vote for the Archduke Joseph for the title of King of Rome, which was the stepping-stone to that of Emperor; and to offset this shadowy honor, Austria was forced to recognize a rival in the leadership of Germany.
Its results --in Europe
But the changing ownership of Silesia, even the recognition of Prussia's position in European polity, paled before the changes wrought in colonial affairs by the peace which forms one of the great landmarks in the history of the extra-European world. To the followers of Pitt, indeed, the treaties into which England entered seemed no less humiliating than the Treaty of Utrecht half a century before. whether they considered the conquests she had made, the territory she then held, or her capacity to maintain the position she had won. There was on the face of affairs, indeed, some basis for such a feeling. In return for the cession of Florida, England restored Havana and Manila to Spain; in Africa, for Senegal she gave up Goree to France; in India, she handed
back her conquests with virtually no conditions; in the West Indies, which lay at her mercy, she retained only Tobago, Dominica, St. Vincent, and Grenada.
But despite what Pitt and his party regarded as criminal weakness, England secured her two great objects in the war. The first was her supremacy in India, the second was undisputed possession of the eastern part of North America. France regained, indeed, her scattered Indian posts, but it was a barren gift. Shorn at once of their prestige and power, Pondicherry and its dependencies sank to the status of Goa and Diu, and French authority in the peninsula thenceforth rivaled in impotence that of Portugal. Whatever the future of Indian empire, England was prepared to bid for the domination of the peninsula.
The position of England
Nor was her position in America less firmly established by the peace. To Spain, in recompense for her loss of Florida, France ceded Louisiana--that huge territory which, stretching from New Orleans to the unknown headwaters of the Missouri and its confluents, embraced the greater part of the vast plains between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, an empire a fourth as large as Europe. Joined to her other possessions, Spain thus obtained all but undisputed possession of western North America, from Mexico to the Arctic, from the Mississippi to the Pacific.
But if Spain now held title to two-thirds of the continent, the remaining third which fell into English hands comprised the land then the most valuable in all the world for European settlement. From Key West to Hudson's Bay, England now held the coast line. From the Atlantic to the Mississippi, the great valleys of the St. Lawrence and the Ohio, and the lands about the Great Lakes, added to the possesssion of her own colonies, gave her command of all but unlimited areas for colonization. Thence she could draw those products of forests, farms, and fisheries, invaluable to any island nation like that of the English, dependent for its growth on raw products for its expanding manufactures, on food for its people, and on markets for its goods. What was, perhaps, still more important was the triumph of the British West Indian sugar- planting interest in this great settlement, which was not inaptly called the Sugar Peace. By it their monopoly was virtually secured within the British Empire and their control of the North American market assured. The northern colonists were thus restricted to the British West Indies for sugar, as they were to India for tea, and to England for manufactured articles. The exchange of Canada for Great Britain's conquests in the West Indies had obvious advantages. It eliminated the dangers which had long threatened the northern frontier from French and Indian attack; it opened a vast territory and trade to British enterprise; it deprived the natives of their chief support against English advance to the west. At the same time it confirmed the West Indian planters in their monopoly, which would have been seriously impaired by the introduction of competition from the other islands or the extension of the sugar industry to wider areas. But the limitations thus placed upon the northern colonies planted the seeds of deep and bitter discontent. and it is questionable whether it would not have been wiser for England to keep her West Indian gains and antagonize the planting interest. It is perhaps too much to say that the disturbances which soon broke out in the thirteen original English colonies in North America are directly traceable to the Peace of Paris. Yet it is unquestionably true that the limitations then imposed upon the northern colonists by the selfish policy of the planters helped to fan that discontent with British administration which found more forcible expression in the later trouble over tea. Sugar played but little part in the future discussions, but it deserves its place beside tea in any account of the disagreements which arose out of the great plan of a self-contained and self-supporting empire which now took form in English policy. But with all this, great as were England's concessions, her gains were greater still; and loud were the clamors for continuance of the war. The fullness of conquest, the interruption of trade, and, above all, the huge and growing burden of expense, drowned the clamor. The fall of Pitt, indeed, deprived her of the services of a great minister; but, as events were to prove, his work was
done. For the great problems of readjustment and reorganization his genius was ill-suited; and the hero who had ridden the whirlwind and directed the storm found in his popularity only the means to embarrass a government unable to replace him with a peace minister of equal gifts.
THE AGE OF VOLTAIRE AND THE PHILOSOPHERS
THE two decades of world war which resulted from the ambitions of Frederick the Great are memorable in history for more than the far-spreading conflict which began with his attack upon the Hapsburg dominions. In the career and character of the Prussian king, as in the activities of Louis XIV, appeared the apotheosis of royal and dynastic interest, which, associating itself with the principle of nationality, had found in that deeper and more enduring force the support necessary to achieve its aims. There was, indeed, as the future was to prove, no necessary connection between these two great elements; nor were the peoples which were thus enlisted in the cause of ruling houses through the appeal to their national aspirations, to remain forever bound to the fortunes of those families which had seized upon the national spirit to achieve their own aggrandizement. Even at the moment that the Prussian king planned and executed his great designs against the peace and the balance of power on the continent, there was prepared in the hands of the so-called philosophers a movement which was destined to be the principal antagonist of the spirit and practices of which Frederick was the greatest exponent. And even while he, his allies, and his enemies fought for the domination of the European world, there was being developed in lands beyond the sea a society which was, within a brief generation, to upset the whole system of political theory and practice so carefully prepared.
Had the peoples of Europe during the Age of Frederick the Great had no other concern than armed conflict, the years which saw Prussia attain the rank of a first-rate power, and
England secure the primacy of the colonial world, would remain one of the great epochs of European history. But this was far from the fact. At the same time that the political balance of the world was thus readjusted, an advance along new lines of thought and practice in nearly every department of human activity proclaimed the middle decades of the eighteenth century the dawn of a new era in human affairs. If empire-builders like Clive and Pitt laid the foundations for world-wide English dominion, if a monarch like Frederick the Great altered the balance of European polity, thinkers and writers like Montesquieu and Rousseau prepared a new basis for men's conceptions of society and government. Diderot and his associates of the Encyclopédie established new canons of knowledge and taste. Quesnay and the French Physiocrats introduced a new economy; and a long list of inventors, discoverers, and scientists pushed back the bounds thus far set to man's knowledge. If this was the Age of Frederick the Great, it was no less the Age of Voltaire; and beside the victories of Anglo-Prussian arms may well be set those triumphs of the mind through which even the changes in political boundaries scarcely kept pace with the emancipation of the intellect.
At the moment that Europe signed the Peace of Aix-laChapelle, two events, destined to be of far greater effect than the treaty which then absorbed the men of politics, took place within the world of letters. The first was the appearance of a work entitled L'Esprit des Lois, from the pen of Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Bride et Montesquieu, by which last name he is most generally known. Inspired and informed by long experience and wide reading, its brilliant style gave to this exposition of government and law a wide audience and still wider influence. Basing himself on the doctrine that government and law should accord with the character and circumstances of the people which they rule, he declared that the "conjunction of wills of individuals constitutes a state." However modified and disguised, this new expression of that political philosophy which was a development of. Locke's theories, inevitably strengthened doc-
trines of popular sovereignty against the absolutist school. A rational reformer, moderate even to timidity, his conclusions based on reason and investigation as against authority, Montesquieu became one of the founders of modern political science, and, as it was to prove, despite his own disclaimer, the prophet of a new order.
At the same time the allied field of economic thought felt a fresh impulse. Against the mercantilist school which held, that a nation's wealth depended on its store of precious metals and a balance of trade in its favor, the Physiocrats, headed by Cantillon, Quesnay, and Vincent, laid stress on agriculture and the freedom of commerce. "Laissez faire" took its place among the shibboleths of the rising science of political economy, with Quesnay's dictum that every man should be free to cultivate whatever his interest, means, and circumstances made most profitable. Such was the economic protest against authority, reverting, like that of Montesquieu, to the "order of nature" in its attack upon restriction and privilege. With all its fallacies it was a powerful weapon against the restrictive doctrines of mercantilism. For it emphasized the "productive" labors which added to the store of raw materials, and so tended to elevate agriculture; and while it depreciated the "sterile" activities of commerce and manufacturing, it pleaded for that "jus naturæ" which should emancipate industry from the bonds which had so long hampered its progress.
What Montesquieu was to law and government, what the I Physiocrats were to political economy, the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau were to society. In the decade preceding the Peace of Paris, this strange, wandering genius formulated his philosophy in a series of extraordinary books which ranged from the Confessions of his ill-regulated life, through disquisitions on the Inequality of Men, and tractates on education, to his crowning work, the Contrat Social. Through all his writing ran the strain that was inspiring men in other fields, "return to nature." Man, born free, he saw about him everywhere in chains, to custom, to convention, above all, to government; and he protested against all the artificialities
by which men were constrained, in home life as in artistic taste, in education as in government. Seeking the cause of this enslavement to authority, he strove to reconstruct the origins of society and the state with his theory of a primitive social control, "which, hardening with time, had ceased to be a compact among individuals but had become a tyranny which crushed out liberty and equality." Wild, sentimental, and extravagant, his doctrines touched a class but little moved by the more serious philosophies. Influenced by his rhetoric, children were released from the absurd conventions which made them old before their time; court and royalty played at shepherd's life; painters, like gardeners, took nature as their model; and life, like education, felt the quickening impulse of a genius which, ignorant of government and society alike, managed to revolutionize them both.
Such were the three great forces in this period which strove against intrenched formal authority. To them were added two more of no less consequence. At the same time that the new knowledge and spirit discovered fresh fields for exercise of man's intelligence, another influence was busy mapping and organizing the conquest. This was the famous Encyclopédie of Diderot and his associates. Projected in the year which saw the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle and the appearance of the Spirit of the Laws, volume by volume through two decades, this monumental work brought to men's hands the principal results of the intellectual progress of the times. To his assistance Diderot summoned the leaders of French thought, the ablest of her administrators, Turgot, the mathematician, d'Alembert, the physiocrat, Quesnay, and the socalled philosophers, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. His fwork was opposed by the clergy, especially the Jesuits. It was officially repressed by the authorities, who privately, none the less, protected its promoters and connived at its appearance; and it became, in consequence, the most important publication of its kind in history, no less remarkable in the political than in the literary world. Striving to create and guide opinion as well as to impart knowledge, it based its whole existence on reason and investigation. Its pages echoed
Diderot and the Encylopedists
the great conflict of ideas then convulsing the European world; and, translated into nearly every European tongue, it carried everywhere the doctrines of that school whose thought made Paris the intellectual capital of the continent.
Nor was this all of this great renaissance in social and political thought. At the same time that Diderot, with his wide range of learning and his profound interest in the individual man, instructed and illuminated Europe no less by his reflective and critical essays than by the direction of the work of his colleagues on the Encyclopédie, the star of Voltaire was rising to the zenith of its ascendancy. For him the tide of fortune had now turned. He was chosen to the French Academy, given a post at court, and summoned to be the guest of Frederick the Great at Berlin. He finally took up his residence in Switzerland and devoted himself wholly to literature. There, on his estate of Ferney, as a citizen of Europe he was visited by half the notables of the continent, seeking advice, inspiration, or the gratification of their curiosity. Remaining a prodigy he became a sage; and grew to a stature whch made him "less a man than a movement like the Renaissance or Reformation," as his penetrating satire and his destructive criticism prepared the way for the constructive work of his great contemporaries and successors.
The triumph of Voltaire 1748-78
Such were the principal influences which remodeled European thought during the momentous years of continental and colonial wars. Nor were the achievements of French intellect, which rose to eminence as the political power of the state declined, confined to literature and politics. In the same twelvemonth which saw the appearance of the Spirit of the Laws and the prospectus of the Encyclopédie, was published the first volume of the Natural History of George Leclerc , Comte de Buffon. This, completed more than fifty years later, filled the same place in the realm of natural science as Diderot's encyclopedia in the world of letters and affairs. Too vast to be in all parts accurate, hasty in generalization, not seldom ornate to the point of turgidity in style, his work was of profound importance in two ways. It in-
spired a widespread attention to nature, and it laid down the proper principle of investigation, pointing out that "the condition of the globe is the result of a succession of changes." With this premise he drew attention to "the phenomena by which these changes can be unraveled." In this he not merely laid the foundations for that doctrine of evolution which later generations were to erect into the chief principle of their scientific creed, but began the serious study of geology. Here Buffon was but the most conspicuous of a great school then busied in exploring the secrets of the universe. The mathematical and physical researches of d'Alembert revealed new laws governing solid and liquid bodies, and simplified the solution of dynamic problems by establishing the principle which still perpetuates his name among physicists. His study of the air in motion led to his theory of wind. His solution of the mystery of the precession of the equinoxes and of planetary perturbations, no less than his contributions to the history of science and to its philosophy, spread his fame throughout the continent. And however little his name may be remembered by a generation which owes so much to his talents, it is significant of the interest of his time in such matters that he was invited by Frederick the Great to settle in Berlin, and by Catherine of Russia to become the tutor to her son.
But if in d'Alembert many divergent streams of European science, politics, and even theology were joined, to these the career of the American Franklin added another element, that of the contribution of the extra-European world to the progress of society and knowledge. With the appearance in the English Gentleman's Magazine of the so-called "Philadelphia experiments," by which the identity of lightning and electricity was confirmed, there was brought to European notice not merely a tremendous and far-reaching contribution to its knowledge, but the extraordinary and characteristic figure of the colonial scientist-publicist. In his native land he had already achieved a conspicuous position as printer, postmaster, diplomat, and public benefactor. He was presently to rise to world-wide eminence in fields widely different from
the experiments which first brought him an invitation to the court of France. For his long efforts to unite the English colonies in opposition to the mother country led to political activities which were to bring him again into European view as the greatest of diplomats yet bred outside of Europe.
Beside these more conspicuous figures now taking their place among the leaders of the world of thought, labored a host of other investigators in whose hands the foundations of knowledge, and presently of practice, were wholly revolutionized. Linnæus, with his establishment of systematic botany; Condillac, the founder of the modern school of logic and psychology,--as opposed to the so-called "innate ideas" of Descartes and Spinoza--and a contributor to the young science of economics; Hunter, who from his practice as a surgeon in London set medical education on a new plane; Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Réaumur, who first established "degrees " of heat on the thermometer, were but a few of the names which illuminated the eighteenth century scientific renaissance. Yet a mere catalogue of names and achievements, however long, but feebly represents the progress of Europe in this period. More powerful than any personality were the movements and the institutions to which these men of genius gave rise.
It is impossible to estimate the force of the principles of rationalism vitalized by Voltaire and his followers; the influence of Montesquieu on politics and administration, of Diderot on taste and knowledge, of Rousseau on society, of the Physiocrats on economic thought and practice. It is only possible to say that these revolutionized continental thought and laid the foundations for still more revolutionary practice. But we may trace the tendency of the times concretely in the establishment of institutions. In London the government founded the British Museum on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane; while under the inspiration of Hunter, the London School of Surgery closely followed the beginning of a like school in Paris. In Dresden the splendid picturegallery of Augustus I was increased and became the basis of an Academy of Arts, which, with the development of
Galleries, museums, and academies
Munich along the same lines, made Saxony and Bavaria the artistic centers of Germany.
These activities were not confined to the west. Under Linnæus's inspiration the Stockholm Academy came into existence. The Prussian king pensioned d'Alembert and induced a visit of Voltaire to Berlin which begat a quarrel that amused all Europe. Above all, in Russia, the patronage of the Czarina Elizabeth enabled her "minister of literature and the arts" to found the first Russian university at Moscow, and the St. Petersburg Academy of the Fine Arts. At the same time the erection of the Winter Palace, the Russian Versailles, typified the rising power of her empire and its introduction into the European circle of intellectual and artistic as well as political interests. To these were added an invitation to Diderot, who, for a time, adorned the Russian capital with his genius; and the foundation of the picture gallery of the Hermitage, which sheltered some of the greatest triumphs of European painters, and further cemented the connection between the culture of Russia and that of her western neighbors. 1741
In no small degree the development of so many intellectual forces had its effect upon education. That department of human activity had suffered as well as gained from the Renaissance and the Reformation. The former had made a cult of classicism and produced a scholastic humanism. The latter, though it had led to the foundation of many institutions of learning, and, by its reflex action, produced the best schoolmasters in Europe, the Jesuits, had not lessened the tendency to make the school a part of the theological propaganda. It had destroyed many of the older seats of learning, and the wars which accompanied and followed it had aided in the destruction. It was not till toward the close of the seventeenth century that the reviving influence of science began to make head against these many obstacles, the chief of which was neither poverty nor doctrine but the idea that these institutions were cisterns in which learning was stored and whence it could be drawn, not fountains whence new streams of knowledge took their rise. The rise of the acade-
mies testified to the desire for such institutions as would devote their efforts to the increase of human acquirements; but it was not until the work of Newton at Cambridge and the foundation of Halle and Göttingen at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century that this idea began to penetrate the educational world. Moreover, such education as there was had tended to remain an aristocratic monopoly. It had created schools for gentlemen like the German Ritterschule rather than provided educational facilities for the poor. But this now began to change, and though it was another century before popular education in the modern sense began to make headway, though even the French philosophers aimed only at the education of the few, there was already stirring that attention to the common man which considered, among other things, the possibility of his having a mind capable and worthy of cultivation.
Perhaps no single circumstance more fully illustrates this widening interest in the finer aspects of civilization than the advance of that art which stands midway between the artistic and the utilitarian--the manufacture of china. Inspired by the success of the Meissen factory in Saxony in working the newly discovered fields of kaolin, most of the famous potteries of Europe were established during this quarter of a century, under royal patronage or private enterprise. Sèvres and Orleans, Chelsea, Derby, Worcester, Munich, Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg developed hard porcelain comparable or superior to the product of China and Japan; and thus, in another field, brought Europe abreast of the highest achievements of non-European arts and crafts. China
While the development in art, literature, philosophy, and in the borderland between art and utility was so remarkable in this period, the attention to more strictly utilitarian activities had meanwhile given promise of still further service to the world. Lying between the age of hand-labor and the use of steam, this was the era which saw the application of scientific knowledge to the extension of man's mastery over nature and her resources which marked the beginning of that peculiar characteristic of the modern world. Frank-
lin's lightning-rod offered protection against one of man's most dreaded foes. The extraction of gas from coal, though its wide practical application was long delayed, ushered in a series of discoveries of great future value to theoretical as well as applied science. The application of the principle of Newcomen's steam pumping-engine to the propulsion of vessels, however crude its earliest results, was prophetic of a great future. The invention of plated-ware evidenced another and useful extension of theory into practice; while the improvements in knitting machinery revealed the dawn of a new age of industry. At the same time the problem of transportation was attacked. For the labors of the great English engineer, Brindley, and his patron, the Earl of Bridgewater, in the construction of canals, though they represented no novel principle, gave tremendous impetus to the solution of the most pressing problem of an increasing industry--the question of freer access to markets and to sources of supply. With the extension to other parts of Europe of this mode of conveyance long familiar to Holland and France, another element was added to the widening resources of commerce.
But the talents of European peoples were by no means limited to the development of the newer arts and crafts. While the activities of the scientists and inventors had busied themselves with the application of their lately acquired knowledge to problems of industry, the oldest of civilized activities, the cultivation of the soil and the breeding of domestic animals, had begun to experience the same tendencies toward improvement and innovation as the other forms of social activity exhibited. In France the progress of the doctrines of the Physiocrats turned men's attention more and more to the land as the ultimate source of wealth; and, with the introduction of new principles of political economy, they transferred to that field the spirit of the "return to nature" which had been evident in letters and in art. Such movements always characterize periods of excessive refinement or formalism in any age of the world, as a protest against the complexity and artificiality of a too highly organized or too minutely ordered society.
The influence of the Physiocrats extended far beyond letters and political economy; it had a practical influence on the development of French agriculture. But it was in England that this movement took on its chief characteristics and achieved its greatest success. It was associated at first with the development of root crops and their use as food for cattle and sheep. It was continued with the introduction of a new system of cultivation, the so-called "horse-hoeing husbandry." This is associated with the name of the great agricultural innovator, Jethro Tull, who advocated that method of sowing seed in rows and cultivating by "horse hoes," which has become the established practice of modern farming. With it came attention' to the use of fertilizers and the rotation of crops, long recognized but now first studied and improved. To these were added experiments in tho breeding and the care of cattle and of sheep, and the development of a crude system of seed selection, to improve the stock.
The Agricultural Revolution
Beside the movements in the domain of letters and politics, even in those of science and the arts, the progress of this elemental occupation of society lacks much of the attractive qualities which make for general interest. Yet in the last resort it yields nothing to any subject in importance to the race; nor did it prove unattractive to many minds, however slowly it found its way into the most conservative of industries. It soon produced a literature of its own, and the Age of Louis XIV is notable for the first agricultural periodical, as the Age of Frederick the Great is remarkable for this Agricultural Revolution, as it came to be called. It enlisted the interest of the great landlord class, among whom Lord "Turnip" Townshend, as he was nicknamed, was conspicuous. It produced the agricultural societies, which thenceforth played an increasing part in rural life. It led to the foundation of cattle-breeders' associations, of no less importance, and, as a natural result, it enormously increased the production of food. Crops grew in number and variety; the weight of cattle and sheep doubled in a century, and their numbers increased in like proportion. England improved the condition of her own people and became a great exporting country; France, though in a less degree, followed the same course; and Europe generally began a new age of agricultural prosperity. When, within another generation, the improved farming finally established itself, it led to other and more far-reaching social changes; and, among the ultimate results of the Agricultural Revolution, must be reckoned that process of building up those great estates which were to become a characteristic of modern England.
If England led the way in most of this activity as the leading industrial and agricultural society of Europe, it was not to be supposed that, as the principal carrying and commercial agency of the world, her people should not extend their energy into the field of navigation. Nor was this the case, for her advance upon her "other element" was no less marked by her devotion to the interests of navigation. With the general use of Hadley's quadrant, which replaced all other forms, marine surveying and navigation made a great advance. To this Colson New Mariners' Kalendar and Harrison's chronometers contributed no less; and these three most important contributions to the art of seamanship virtually introduced a new age of maritime achievement. The government stimulated the skill of individuals by its prizes for the chronometer, and the offer of a great reward for the discovery of a northwest passage.
England and naval progress
Finally, with the appearance of Maskelyne Nautical Almanac, and the perfection of the ship-chronometer, the whole art of seamanship prepared for further change. For, with the invention of copper sheathing, and the development of processes of distilling water on shipboard, no less than the art of determining distances sailed and calculation of latitude and longitude more accurately, was ushered in another era of navigation. These were reflected in the achievements of the seacaptains; for the voyages of Middleton in the Polar regions, and the great exploit of Anson, in addition to the constantly growing traffic throughout the world, evidenced at once the services of science and the spirit of the new race of seamen.
Vessels, meanwhile, increased in tonnage no less than in numbers. Ships of two thousand tons were no longer curiosities. Guns increased in size and range in like proportion, and the various classes or "rates" of vessels, headed by the so-called "seventy-four," began to take their place in admiralty calculations.
This was especially important to a nation which controlled the greater part of the commerce to North America and India. From the time when, in the preceding century, the English East India Company had begun to build a new type of ship, the so-called East Indiamen, through the eighteenth century, that vessel had been the model for long-distance commerce. It had replaced the older carrack and galleon, and found no rival for its peculiar purposes till the clipper and the steamships of the nineteenth century.
Yet in wider human interest even these yielded to the achievements of the French during this period. They found their chief expression in the exploits of the sons of the great explorer, la Vérendrye, who, following the route already marked to the upper Missouri in North America, penetrated nearly if not quite to the main chain of the Rocky Mountains. Through them and their successors, Lake Winnipeg and the Saskatchewan were reached, and forts erected to secure that rich fur region for France. To meet this threatened competition the Hudson's Bay Company bestirred itself. From York factory its agent, Hendry, journeyed far to the southwest, exploring that region later known as the Northwest Provinces of Canada, and so made his way to "the land of buffalo." Meanwhile, the Russian explorations, begun by Bering, had brought in their train hunters and trappers who pressed southward from the strait which bears the great explorer's name toward the region which in another generation was to be known from its English discoverer as Vancouver. To meet them in this distant quarter of the world came the Spaniards up the California coast and along those fertile valleys which still echo the names of Spanish saints and still preserve the missionary posts by which the southern power established its faith and civilization among the native tribes. Thus everywhere throughout the world, from the re-
The explorers 1742-63
mote Andes where French scientists sought to determine the figure of the earth by geodetic observations, and the Jesuits pushed their way along the upper Amazon and Orinoco, to this newest of the battlegrounds of commerce, these middecades of the eighteenth century saw science and trade unite with religion and colonization to Europeanize the earth.
Such were the lines of human activity which at once undermined the old order and laid foundations for the new, while the political fortunes of Europe were being altered. It was but natural that these events should chiefly affect the people among whom they took their rise, and that the old world should reap the chief reward of its expanding energies. Yet it was inevitable that the colonies, which had become a part of Europe in political affairs, should be stirred into ever greater activity, as widening ripples from the center of the European system spread to the extremities of the earth. In the far-flung empires of Portugal and Spain, relatively removed from the great currents of eighteenth-century thought by distance and the still more insurmountable barriers of their reactionary home governments and faith, these movements, like that of the Reformation, had found small response. But growing emigration, induced by the religious disturbances of the preceding centuries and by the great religiouscolonial wars which had ensued, profoundly affected even these regions and their people by the introduction of new elements into the extra-European world. For they had done much to bring the old and new world in closer touch as European population grew beyond the sea. Now, with the entry of colonial peoples into world war between their various governments, a powerful impulse was given toward closer union with the stream of European progress.
Upon the remnants of the Portuguese empire that influence was insignificant; but Spain was in a different case. Her colonists had aided in the Anglo-Spanish struggle for Caribbean supremacy. Her government had been recompensed for loss of Florida by Louisiana; and, while she had consolidated her North American empire, she had at last been brought into direction relations with the Anglo-Saxon power.
Along the Mississippi, about Vancouver, and in the lands around the Gulf of Mexico her colonists were now matched with the advancing pioneers of English blood. They treated and traded and inevitably absorbed something of the ideas agitating that society. At the same time closer alliance with French interests brought them in touch with the spirit pervading the new school of thought. A slender, growing stream of youth, sent to Europe to be educated, recruited the increasing class of merchants and professional men, forming seed-plots of liberal thought destined in time to spread new doctrines throughout the Empire.
Meanwhile Spain's empire, after a century or more of an existence divided between internal growth and defending itself against its European enemies, gave signs of change. Nor was this due alone to the wars which transferred Florida to England and gave Spain what was to prove a transient occupation of Louisiana. More important still was the economic development within. The gradual exhaustion of the richer lodes and surface deposits of precious metals in the mining provinces did more than reduce the income of the government; it turned men's energies into other fields. About the Paraguay and Parana, along the upper reaches of the Orinoco, fresh grazing lands were opened, soon covered with ever-increasing flocks and herds. The long ascendancy of miner and planter was challenged by gaucho and llanero, as the herders were called. Wool, hides, and animal products took their place beside gold and silver, cocoa, sugar, and coffee, as leading exports; and new sources of wealth brought new classes into prominence. 1763
This, joined to the effects of the war, produced another important change in government. With the colonies more exposed to foreign attack, as evidenced by the spoil that Anson took in his Pacific venture, it became apparent that civil governors were no longer adequate, and in New Spain, as in Peru, a long succession of army and navy officers held the viceroyalties. It was no less evident that even the construction of new strongholds, like San Juan de Ulloa, which now took its place among Spanish-American fortresses, was not
Reorganization of Spanish imperial policy
sufficient to withstand attack; while the growing wealth and population of the Caribbean and Argentine provinces made it increasingly difficult to govern them from Lima. As a result, a new viceroyalty was erected, which from its capital of Bogotá administered the old presidency of Quito and the captain-generalcy of Venezuela. 1739
This was the first step in the reorganization of the Spanish empire. The second was more important still. Whatever the other results of the war, one was conspicuous; it was the declining authority of the home government. Not merely had Spanish and Portuguese colonists entered a war upon their own account over the Argentine-Brazilian boundary, which was then virtually determined; but, in the demoralization of commerce which the conflict with England had involved, they came more and more to take trade into their own hands. The government was powerless to prevent. The oldest Spanish commercial enterprise, the galleon trade, or convoy fleets, was given up. And, as trade restrictions were relaxed, colonists conspired with smugglers to establish a commerce outside official cognizance, which flourished despite the government's attempt at suppression and its encouragement of regulated companies. Finally, among the many readjustments which flowed from the Anglo-Spanish war, the loss of the Asiento, or right to supply slaves, which had been held by England since the Treaty of Utrecht, was another notable instance of the changes then coming over the Colonial World.
Yet, with all the spread of new doctrines into the once impenetrable Spanish preserves and with the beginnings of an untrammeled trade which was to shatter the old order, it was less in South America than in the north that the developments of the mid-eighteenth century were important. The northern continent was not only a principal seat of war and its vast reaches of forest and plain one of the chief prizes of victory. Spanish and Portuguese America witnessed at best only the late and hampered efforts of a feeble society to throw off the shackles of the past. But North America, and in particular the English colonies, revealed a new and vigorous society in the making, absorbed not merely in the conflict against its French and Spanish neighbors for room to expand, but in laying more solid bases for a real national existence.
While the empires of Spain and Portugal remained largely an aristocracy among servile native or African population; while the French in North America formed scarcely more than a garrison; the English, though partaking of these characteristics in their plantation colonies and pioneer settlements, added to them a much more powerful element. Their population in North America alone had doubled and doubled again since the beginning of the century, and, increased by immigration no less than from its own loins, numbered before the end of the war a million and more of European blood. The largest, most compact, and homogeneous body of Europeans outside of the old world, they surpassed their neighbors to the south no less in numbers than in varied resources, and outnumbered their French antagonists twenty to one. Capable of putting more than twenty thousand men into the field, they had become a determining factor in the war just closed.
Their resources were equal to their numbers. Beside their plantation islands in the West Indies, which rivaled the possessions of the French and far exceeded those of the other powers; beside their rice and tobacco fields on the mainland, their pioneers, traders, and trappers who competed with the French in the interior, and the great farming population which had slowly occupied the land from coast to mountains, they had developed other sources of strength. Already there were signs that industrial life had gone beyond the stage in which each family made what it used, wove cloth for its garments, wrought its own iron and lumber, made its own fiats and shoes, and raised its own food. The efforts of Parliament, inspired by English commercial interests, to check wider production, failed to suppress a varied industry. From the smelters of the middle colonies some thousands of tons of iron every year found its way to English manufacturers. From the New England distilleries more than a million gallons of rum annually poured into the channels of commerce. Made from West Indian molasses taken in exchange for lumber, fish, and food, it formed in turn a staple of barter
for slaves in Africa and furs in North America. At the same time colonial fleets brought from the Newfoundland Banks increasing wealth of cod, and their whalers, exhausting the rich field along the coast which laid foundations for their industry, pursued their quarry in remoter seas, whence their cargoes of whalebone and of oil still more enriched New England's commerce.
To carry on these enterprises the shipbuilders, with unlimited supplies of timber to draw on, flourished as more and larger vessels were required for longer and more profitable voyages. Little by little the merchant owner-employercapitalist developed as enterprises grew in magnitude. From year to year the circle widened. Vessels for Africa exchanged their northern products for slaves, which in turn, exchanged for molasses and sugar, brought great profits from their long voyages. Others again made way to the West Indies, thence to England, and were sold, cargo and ship alike, or again exchanged tropical products for English goods. Still others plied between the northern and southern ports, or back and forth across the Atlantic, as this widening commerce grew.
Beside all this, from the mainland plantations poured an evergrowing stream of rice and tobacco; from the West Indies molasses and sugar; while from the forests everywhere, lumber and pitch and potash swelled the commerce of this trade-empire. At the same time that empire rapidly increased. Seeking refuge from persecution or from poverty, or driven out by politics, a great flood of immigrants poured in. To the English, Germans, and Huguenots was added another group as the disturbances in the British Isles during the eighteenth century drove other elements to seek refuge in the new world. Irish and Scotch and Scotch-Irish scattered through the colonies. Scotch and Scotch-Irish, in particular, found their way to the frontiers from Pennsylvania south, and, reinforcing native pioneers, pushed forward rapidly the widening boundaries of new settlement.
Under such impetus in the year of the Peace of Aix-laChapelle, the first English post beyond the mountains, was Their expansion founded on the Kanawha River. At the same moment land projectors, following the trail of traders and hunters, set up claims to tracts in the transmontane regions known from their rivers as Kentucky and Tennessee. Within a twelvemonth a Virginian group had formed the Ohio Company to exploit these western lands. Such was the flood of English colonists whose oncoming tide the French prepared to stem. But not all their gallantry, nor all their forts, still less their claims which they inscribed on leaden plates and planted here and there to attest their rights of sovereignty, could long avail against this powerful and vigorous society which sought new outlets for its numbers and its energy.
Although it was naturally more concerned with farms and factories, with ships and trading--and now with war for territory--than with the less material side of European progress, it was inevitable that intellectual development, art, literature, science, philosophy, should find some welcome in a society so largely European and so closely bound to the old world by ties of language, politics, and trade. Already America had produced one figure of European eminence, Benjamin Franklin. He was a characteristic product of his generation. In local matters, in general provincial affairs, in his relations with the English government and the French court, no less in his proposals to unite the colonies than in his philosophical experiments in electricity, he represented the highest intellectual achievement of Europe beyond the seas. He was one among many. The years of war saw not merely an increase in colonial wealth and population, but no small gain in the first elements of intellectual advance. To the three educational institutions then existing, Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale, the period accompanying the war saw five more added, Princeton, Pennsylvania, King's College, Rhode Island College, and Dartmouth, till every northern colony could boast a college. Under Franklin's inspiration the Philadelphia Academy came into being. In Boston, the British officers introduced Freemasonry among the colonists; in Philadelphia the first colonial hospital was established; in Savannah was founded the first orphan
Their intellectual and economic progress
asylum; and from his evangelical labors in the South, the eloquent apostle of the new Methodist sect, Whitefield, carried his message through the colonies and laid foundations for a new communion. Against his emotional appeal, socalled Revivalism, New England produced a champion of that stern, unbending school of Calvinistic thought, Jonathan Edwards, the greatest of American theologians. Deriving his conclusions with unfaltering logic from his premise of the sovereignty of God and man's depravity, he epitomized the grimmest features of a belief already at variance with every impulse of the newer thought, and gave to Presbyterianism that rigidity of intellectual conviction which it was slow to lose. Far different was the influence of Bishop Berkeley, who, for some years, made his home in Rhode Island, and there, as in England, developed that system of metaphysics which, in distinction from the materialism to which Descartes and Locke tended, lifted the problems of philosophy to higher levels and paved the way for men like Hume. He introduced the idea of subjective as opposed to merely objective reality; of causation; of a deep spirituality underlying intellectual processes. And this, taken in connection with his humanity and philanthropic character, made this sojourner in the colonies one of the master-spirits of his time.
Colonial politics 1739-63
Yet with all their interest in trade, settlement, and war, their very real concern with questions of theology, and their slighter achievements in literature and science, the chief intellectual interest of the American colonists lay in the field of politics. The theories of the origin of government, then making way upon the continent, had a peculiar charm for men who felt themselves, however dimly, the founders of a new nation. The doctrine of natural rights strongly attracted those perpetually at war with the restrictions which the mother country imposed, and with the officials sent to administer her laws. Far more than Locke's metaphysics, which inspired Edwards and Berkeley and colonial theologians generally, the colonists laid stress on that philosopher's treatise on government. Nor was this mere theory with them; for each event in their expanding history gave opportunity to test these doctrines in their own experience.
The outbreak of hostilities had been accompanied by Franklin's proposal to unite the colonies. The crisis of the war developed quarrels between royal governors and provincial assemblies in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania over the right to tax and to quarter troops; and, as earlier, the efforts to press men for the navy had led to popular risings in Boston. The spirit of controversy was aroused, fed no less by European theory than by colonial practice; and the whole was crowned by the quarrel which the efforts of England to restrict commerce and regulate colonial affairs now brought to a culmination. Following the Molasses Act of the preceding generation, opposition to British colonial policy was increased by the limitations set on manufacturing, especially of hats and ironware, the prosecution of slave trade despite the opposition of Virginia and Carolina, and the issuance of so-called Writs of Assistance to enable customs officers to check the evasion of customs so generally practised. And, at the moment England triumphed over her continental enemies, her government found itself confronted by colonial resistance to its measures. That resistance, centering in Boston, spread through her American provinces the doctrine of no taxation without representation, couched in the phrases of the most advanced political theorists and supported by a powerful element in colonial affairs.
With this, the circle of these two eventful decades ended as it began, within the colonies. By them and for them in large part, war had been waged. Their economic development had been conditioned by like progress at home. From their frontiers the boundaries of European knowledge and influence had been pushed forward; and now, through them, the newer doctrines of politics were to be tested in practice. Not even the rise of Prussia nor the decline of France upon the continent were of such importance to the next generation as the development of this new society beyond the sea. From a position of outlying frontier provinces, they had won a place in European circles; and, however little recognized by
Europe and the colonies
those whose eyes still turned only to Europe, North America was in no long time to take the center of the stage. With its entry into affairs, and the corresponding rise of new political doctrines and industrial conditions, the European world was on the eve of change worthy to rank beside the greatest convulsions of its eventful past.
For, as they had earlier been connected with religion, as they had been later associated with politics, and were at all times bound up with economic development, so now the colonies came into touch with the great intellectual movement of the time, which made for liberty. From their situation no less than from their inclination, this chiefly appealed to them on its political side. It was not long before they endeavored to translate theory into practice; and in that effort, which was ultimately to prove successful throughout the western hemisphere, they were destined to inaugurate a new era of history on both sides of the sea.
CHAPTER XXXIV - THE EUROPEAN EMPIRE. 1763-1768
WHEN in February, 1763, the treaties of Paris and Hubertsburg were signed and the long wars of the Austrian Succession came to an end, it was apparent that Europe had reached another great turning-point in her career. For more than twenty years she had scarcely known peace within her own borders, while the most distant peoples of the earth had been drawn into her quarrels, whose settlement had altered the aspect not of Europe alone but of the world. Nor did the changes end with conclusion of the war. The treaties which brought it to a close were followed by a period of transformation which filled the ensuing decade with movements and events of as far-reaching influence and of even more profound importance than those of the war itself, and due only in part to that conflict. In large measure they arose from causes lying deep in the heart of the times, and were the expression of an inquiring skepticism, which, rejecting mere authority, sought a basis of life and thought through reason and investigation. This force now prepared to carry the scientific method far beyond the regions to which it had originally been confined, and uniting with it the historical spirit and method to inquire into the foundations of authority itself.
The results of the Peace of Paris
"The first step toward philosophy," wrote Diderot, "is incredulity"; and in almost every field of human thought, in science and invention, in literature and art, in religion and philosophy, in economics, as in politics, administration, and law, the spirit he thus expressed made its way. Relieved from the long burden of the war, men turned with greater eagerness to the new activities opened to intellect. Under Voltaire's ascendancy skepticism contended for the first time on equal terms with superstition. The Encyclopédie of Diderot and his colleagues, then completed, diffused knowledge and ideas of the new crusade wherever it penetrated. Rousseau Contrat Social, which appeared in the year of the peace, attacked the citadel of a society organized on the basis of aristocratic privilege. The foundations of that edifice had long since been undermined by such books as Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws, supporting and supported by the earlier arguments and theories of English political philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke. Influenced by these more famous works or by the currents of the time, a crowd of lesser writers brought the new doctrines home to thousands untouched by profounder thinkers. Thus the works of Italian poets and philosophers--Beccaria's study of Crimes and Punishments, the political teachings of Burlamaqui, the dramas of Alfieri--were reinforced by the open defense of democracy from the pens of obscure forerunners of revolution. And these found readers and believers not alone in Europe but throughout her colonies, preparing the way for wide acceptance of the theory of "natural" rights and popular government.
While the fetters of human thought were being loosed, new ways were being opened for it to tread. In France the Physiocrats pleaded for the emancipation of industry, the freedom and improvement of the land; and liberal administrators like Turgot began to put their principles into practice. In England, Adam Smith was formulating the doctrines of his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Such work was to alter all economic thought, loosen the bonds which hampered commerce, and extend to the province of government the methods and ideas which made possible a further advance in other departments of intellectual activity. There, too, while enlightened individuals were interesting themselves in that scientific study of agriculture and cattle-raising which was to multiply the resources of mankind, inventors, like Arkwright and Hargreaves, with their spinning machinery, and Watt, with his improved steam-engine; Brindley with his canals; the road builders, the potters, the ironworkers; revolutionized the industry and the communications of the people which was even then beginning to take the lead in the impending material revolution of the world.
Pure science made no less advance, for in those same years were laid the foundations of the study of gases, of electricity, and of heat, which gave fresh impulse to the study of physics and of chemistry. Literature reflected the spirit of the times. The revival of criticism, the rise of a natural and a romantic school, opposed to the classic and formal canons of the passing age, were no less symptomatic of the altering tastes and standards of the age than the "return to nature," evidenced simultaneously in fields so widely different as art and political philosophy. "Everything I see," wrote Voltaire in the year following the peace, "is scattering the seeds of a revolution, which will come inevitably. Light has so spread from neighbor to neighbor that on the first occasion it will kindle and burst forth. Happy the young for their eyes shall see it!"
It was but natural that an era of political reorganization should follow the peace. It was no less natural that, in the face of the movement in other fields, this should be affected in greater or less degree by the prevailing spirit of the times. As a result, throughout the continent a new race of rulers arose--the enlightened despots. These, converted by the current scientific and social ideas to the belief that their power brought with it duties and responsibilities as well as privileges, undertook to repair not only the ravages of war but those long-standing abuses of administration which had weakened the resources of their states. They endeavored no less to improve the material welfare of their subjects, as prudent landlords of vast estates might have cared for their tenants. The great Frederick, turning to the arts of peace, revised the laws, reformed the courts, encouraged immigration and agriculture, with an energy and ability no less considerable than he had shown in war and diplomacy--and with results certainly more beneficial to mankind and at least as valuable to his subjects as his conquests. His old antagonist, Maria Theresa, and still more her son, the future Emperor Joseph II, entered on the field of legal and administrative
The enlightened despots
reform with no less zeal. And in like kind, if varying degree, the rulers of nearly all the greater autocratic states throughout the, continent, followed the lead thus set, as an era of better institutions and more intelligent administration began to dawn.
Its most conspicuous expression was in the east. There Russia, under her great, bad Empress Catherine, revised her laws and reformed her administration after the most approved fashion of enlightened despotism. At her court the liberal notions of western Europe presented a curious contrast to the imperfectly civilized masses of a great part of her possessions. The admirer of Voltaire, the friend of Diderot, Catherine secularized the property of the church while with cynical toleration she allowed the Jesuits to settle at one end of her dominions and the Tartars to build mosques at the other. Science she favored more sincerely, and while the children of Louis XV and Charles III died of smallpox, the Russian empress became the first subject in her empire of the newly discovered treatment by vaccination. Like Frederick the Great, she brought the persecuted of Germany to people her unoccupied lands. The vast steppes of the Volga and the Ukraine, the Cossack hetmanates of Little Russia, the Zaporogian "setcha," were invaded by the settlers from the west; and colonization pushed eastward the limits of actual European settlement till the land was dotted with two hundred new towns which owed their beginnings to her farsighted policy.
Catherine and Russia 1762-96
Yet this peaceful and beneficent progress was eclipsed in the eyes of the world outside by the expansion of her political power with which it was accompanied. In that field, at least, Russia, like Prussia and Austria, showed that the most advanced ideas of the eighteenth century renaissance were quite compatible with the most selfish diplomacy. On her western border lay the ancient kingdom of Poland, anarchic in its constitution, mediæval in its conception of religion and of war. Its monarchy was elective. Political authority, such as there was, rested for the most part in the hands of a proud and intractable nobility controlling a Diet, where by a triumph Poland of fatuous imbecility, one vote could block all action. The Polish population, divided between lords and serfs, Greek and Roman Catholics, Poles and Lithuanians, lacked the steadying influence of a middle class, and offered a fertile field for intestine feud.
Amid such confusion the liberal element strove to alter the constitution, give the king more power, and abolish the liberum veto which paralyzed the action of the Diet. Had it succeeded. Poland might still have a part in European councils. But Russia took advantage of the situation thus created to form a party in the state, which, under guise of preserving the old constitution, fomented the quarrel it professed to check. Its candidate, Stanislaus Poniatowski, was elected king. Religious and political discord increased; and, within three years, the Roman Catholics formed the Confederacy of Bar against their fellow-countrymen of the Eastern Church, backed by the Russian power. When the inevitable civil war broke out, Russia, Austria, and Prussia intervened. The French minister, Choiseul, almost alone among European statesmen, strove to save Poland from her fate, and strove in vain. Only the Turks responded to a call for aid, and they soon felt the weight of Russian arms. For five years the unequal conflict went on, but the end was determined from the first. Polish power was overthrown, and ten years after the great peace, the Polish Diet was compelled to accept a treaty which robbed Poland of a great part of her territory and sealed her fate as a nation. Austria took Galicia and the south. Prussia united the Polish lands from which her king took his title to her Brandenburg electorate; and Russia, advancing her borders to the Dwina, absorbed old Lithuania. A year later the war with the Turks came to a triumphant close. The Treaty of Kutschuk Kainardji brought the Tartars of Crimea and Kouban under the Russian rule, which now stretched from the Dnieper on the west to the Caucasus on the south, and embraced the long coveted northern shore of the Black Sea and the navigation of its waters, with the protectorate of the Danubian principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia.
The first partition of Poland
Yet, great as were the changes wrought in the boundaries and the administration of Europe during the decade which followed the Peace of Paris, it was but natural that the alterations in those states which held lands beyond the sea, and the effect upon those extra-European lands, should be greater still.
Results of the peace on the colonies
For to all the colonial powers save one, that period was peculiarly significant. Holland alone, having taken no part in the war, had no voice in the peace. Sunk in commercial lethargy, she remained relatively insensible to the political changes then taking place about her. Neither in her internal nor in her colonial affairs did she alter her course to suit the current of the times; and, though still the refuge of the intellectually and politically oppressed, she shared but little in the movements in those fields which were absorbing the interest of her contemporaries.
Far different was the case of Portugal. There her greatest minister in modern times, Sebastian de Carvalho, later and better known as Marquis of Pombal, had striven for many years and with no small measure of success to raise the state to something of its former eminence. He had checked the power of the Inquisition and reorganized finance, re-established the navy, and founded a police. Seeking new springs of wealth and enterprise abroad, he set up trading companies to exploit the riches of Brazil, and moved the capital from Bahia to Rio Janeiro. Nor were the indirect results of his activities of less importance than their immediate effect. In pursuance of his projects he freed the slaves in a great part of the colony and negotiated the transfer of the Jesuit "reductions" in Paraguay from Spain to Portugal. This led him into conflict with that powerful society; and to curb its strength, thrown against him and the king, he expelled the Jesuit confessors from the court. A "visitor," appointed by the Pope, checked their activities in trade; and, finally, following an attack upon the king, in which they were suspected of a share, the order was driven from Portugal and her colonies.
Portugal --Pombal 1750-77
Scarcely was the Peace of Paris signed when the attack upon the Jesuits was taken up by France. There Choiseul, laboring to repair the results of his own restless diplomacy and restore his country's lost prestige, was busy reorganizing affairs at home and gathering up the remnants of power abroad. In the face of debts which drove her financiers to desperation, of royal extravagance and official maladministration which sapped the foundations of the state, he still dreamed of future greatness and revenge. His emissaries strove, and not without success, to maintain the ascendancy of French diplomacy in European courts. Punitive expeditions against the pirates of Tunis and Biserta, the strengthening of French influence in Egypt and the Levant, the renewal of friendly relations with the Turks, revived the dreams of a French Mediterranean; and these were magnified by the purchase of Corsica, which was in revolt against her suzerain, Genoa. Meanwhile, he planned commercial conquest in the west. The Family Compact which gave to France trading concessions in the Spanish colonies, the islands which remained, and a new settlement of Kouron in French Guiana-now re-named Equinoctial France--on which he spent thousands of lives and millions of francs, were made the basis for a project of a new colonial empire to replace the one just lost.
The fall of the Jesuits --Choiseul 1758-70
Here, like Pombal, he trenched upon the Jesuits. The failure of their factor in Martinique, and the repudiation of his debts by the society, with the consequent losses to merchants in the south of France, led to an attack which drove the society from French soil. The other Bourbon powers followed the lead thus given, and Spain, Naples, and Parma, in turn, expelled it from their borders. For a time the Papacy held firm, but when it gave way the order which would not bend was broken. To the appeals for reform, the haughty answer of its general, "Sint ut sunt, aut non sint," "Let them be as they are or cease to be," became a classic of conservatism. The retort was swift and decisive. Ten years after the peace, Clement XIV in a famous bull, Dominus ac Redemptor, decreed the dissolution of the great
organization, which, though it was to continue in different hands and under various names, thenceforth no longer filled the place in the world's affairs which it had occupied for two eventful centuries.
Nothing was more symbolic of the period upon which Europe was entering than the suppression of the Jesuits. For two hundred years they had been a power throughout the European world. A bulwark against the Protestant Revolt, their schools had covered the continent. The pioneers of the faith, their missions had reached the farthest corners of the earth. In face of fearful persecution and tremendous obstacles their undaunted agents had preached the doctrines of the church through crowded centers of the East, as through the trackless plains and forests of the West, with equal devotion and success. Their schoolmasters and missionaries were alike the admiration and despair of their rivals; and, had the order been content with spiritual triumphs, it might well have kept its place.
Character of the Jesuits
But the Jesuits had developed a system of casuistry reckoned dangerous to society, no less inside the church than out. They had entered politics. Their confessors had gained the ear of kings. Their emissaries had embarked in temporal affairs, entered trade, founded a state; and had become so all-pervasive and so powerful that the most Catholic of governments, even the church itself, came to regard them as a menace. It was the irony of changing circumstance that the order should receive its first reverse at the hand of that power under whose auspices its first missionary had sailed upon his first crusade. It was even more significant that its downfall came through its commercial enterprise. The charges of asceticism, obscurantism, formalism, absolutism, leveled against it by the newer schools of thought, had proved as impotent as in Pascal's time to break its power. These the Jesuits had endured with equanimity for two centuries; their competition in trade ruined them in a generation.
The causes of their dissolution
Upon no state did the combined effect of war and the expulsion of the Jesuits fall with greater force than on Spain, and it was fortunate for her at this crucial time that
she had an enlightened king and a great minister. Charles III had long since embarked on a liberal career; but his path had been beset with difficulties of no ordinary sort, for he had been hampered by the past and by the church. Yet even in his backward land the influence of each was weakening. When he called the Count d'Aranda to the ministry to check disturbances following the war, he found in him an able and adroit lieutenant at whose hands the whole Spanish world was inspired with unusual activity. At first, indeed, the situation seemed precarious. By the acquisition of Louisiana, which she had received in compensation for her loss of Florida, Spain had apparently been strengthened in territory, wealth, and imperial possibilities. But her new French subjects were far from being reconciled to this change of masters, while the severity of their first governor so antagonized them that within five years they had rebelled and set up a republic of their own, from which they were only recovered by stress of force. 1769
Bad as this was, the commercial situation created or aggravated by the war was still more serious. While the English had held Havana, its harbor had been crowded with their ships. The peace which legalized their cutting of mahogany in Honduras, kept open by that concession the door for smuggling into Mexico, which had long been used by them. There, as elsewhere, the slight trade which Spain had hitherto maintained with difficulty in competition with foreign contraband seemed now about to disappear. The king, who had already tried to lift those outworn restrictions so long and zealously enforced by his people, so long and so successfully evaded by their enemies, had been defeated in his plans by the threatened bankruptcy of Cadiz, which still enjoyed her old monopoly. But this new crisis left no choice, and his wise policy was now revived.
Reorganization of her colonial system
Beginning with the least valued districts like Cuba, restrictions were slowly and grudgingly removed. New ports in Spain were opened to colonial trade; and, starting with New Orleans, commercial privileges were gradually extended to the other ports in the New World. The ban on intercolonial traffic was removed, until within ten years Spain's trade with her colonies, despite the failure of the companies formed to handle it, began to rival that in smuggled merchandise for the first time in at least two hundred years. The great revival did not end with this. New methods for extracting precious metals, and new mines increased the wealth derived from that source. New territories were occupied, as at either extremity of empire, Texas and Patagonia, settlements were begun; and, still beyond, steps were taken to occupy the Falkland Islands. No less were measures put into effect to spread Spain's civilization with her power. Orders were issued to enforce her language throughout New Spain, to unify its divergent elements and link them more closely to each other and to the government. Amid such varied activities a more liberal régime began for Portugal and Spain in the New World as in the old; and, had it not been for circumstances outside the sphere of their own influence, these measures might have not merely revived but perpetuated their authority indefinitely.
Such were the dominant forces at work accomplishing the revolution in affairs which accompanied and followed the Peace of Paris. At the moment, indeed, the dramatic circumstances of war and diplomacy, the removal of French power from India and America, the fall of the Jesuits, and the partition of Poland, filled the public mind to the exclusion of less spectacular developments. Yet beneath the shadow of these great catastrophes lay still more pregnant forces, as science, invention, and philosophy combined to shift the weight of industry and thought to an unstable equilibrium, where a touch would be sufficient to overthrow the old establishment which seemed so secure. No order arose to take the place of the proscribed society, no new state sprang from the ruins of Poland. But as the new thought made its way into the minds of men, as the vigorous despotism of imperial Russia replaced Polish anarchy and Turkish autocracy, and European boundaries of intellect and politics broadened, it was apparent that forces were at work more formidable by far than the systems they replaced. Men still spoke, indeed, the language of the old régime, but they were preparing to translate it into the doctrines and the actions of a rapidly altering society. And among the infinite, scarcely perceptible signs of coming change, none was more evident, to all but those most interested, than the situation in that power, which, for the moment, seemed most prosperous and secure,--the British Empire.
The British Empire
If the great peace, amid its losses and its gains, brought grave problems to almost every continental state, its heaviest burdens fell upon the nation which reaped its greatest benefits; and its affairs became, in consequence, of paramount importance in world politics. From the war England emerged the dominant colonial power of the world. Not in extent, perhaps, nor in mere numbers, was she pre-eminent, for the huge Spanish domain, stretching along the Pacific from the Antarctic to the Arctic zone and half across two continents, rivaled her in both area and population and exceeded her possessions in immediate wealth. But in the deeper sources of imperial strength; the mastery of the sea, the widest lands available for European settlement, the richest trade, the largest group of European colonists, and possibilities of development, she stood almost alone. In India the French regained their factories; but power and prestige remained in England's hands, and she became the heir-presumptive to that huge peninsula. In Africa she gave up Goree for Senegal; in Europe, Belle Isle for Minorca, strengthening her position in each case. Even in the West Indies, where she had made extraordinary, and as it seemed to many, unnecessary concessions for the sake of peace, she remained only second in importance to Spain. In North America, despite Spanish territorial preponderance, the vast areas east of the Mississippi and north of the Great Lakes offered sufficient field for even English ambitions. When, three years before, Pitt, to whom her victories were so largely due, brought to the young Prince George the news of his accession to the throne, he might well have echoed Cortez' proud boast that he gave the new sovereign more kingdoms than his father left him provinces. But that moment had marked the height
Its extent in 1763
of England's power; though the peace had registered, it had not increased her gains, and almost before it was ratified her position had begun to change.
That it altered so suddenly was due to her domestic politics. Differing in so many ways from her European neighbors, England's variation from the continental type was never more pronounced than at this time. Many of the movements which slowly revolutionized their thought through the first half of the eighteenth century had met small response from her. Nor was this remarkable. The doctrines of Voltaire and of Rousseau found the less welcome at her hands since the conditions they attacked played such small part in her affairs. However defective her political system appears to modern eyes, accustomed to broader and more uniform rights, England had gone so far along the path of personal liberty and representative government that preachers of change abroad found texts for their homilies in her institutions. No small number of the ideas then afloat in liberal circles on the continent owed their origin to English thought. No small number of the reforms demanded by them had long been the commonplaces of English practice. England had, indeed, a king, but arbitrary power had long since fallen from his hands. She had an aristocracy, but no well-nigh insuperable barriers, as abroad, divided it from the lower orders of society. Its ranks were open to talent, its younger sons were reckoned commoners, and it lacked at once the personal privilege and the feudal rights still recognized on the continent. English political power was vested in a Parliament whose lower and elective House controlled the purse, with all that such control implied. Though by this arrangement the nation lost in efficiency something of what it gained in liberty, the gain was reckoned greater than the loss; and when, as during the late war, the parts of its system worked in harmony or were dominated by a master spirit, its weakness nowhere appeared.
England's political character and situation
Yet, with all this, England was almost as far from democracy as from tyranny. Her system and ideals were those of an aristocracy. Her close and illogical borough representation, which controlled the lower House, rigid, unequal, and corrupt, reflected the spirit and practice of an earlier age. Land still remained the touchstone of social and political privilege, and the wealth of trade found its admission into society and politics only through the narrow gate of a connection with the ruling influences. The artisan and farm laborer, sailor and shopkeeper, the great majority of Englishmen in fact, found small part or none in public life, for political power was still monopolized by the upper classes none the less because it was clothed in popular forms.
One feature above all others marked a further difference between England and her more arbitrary contemporaries. Her government, like her success in war, was largely dependent on a favoring balance of forces and the coincidence or their strength, no less in her imperial than in her domestic concerns. At no time was this more evident than now, for her political organization, as well as her far-reaching conquests, made the problem which confronted her not merely greater than that of her rivals, but infinitely more complex. Different as Mexico, the West Indies, and the Philippines were from each other, the issues and methods of their government were not unlike. But England ruled a trading company's territories in East India, the newly won and disaffected French of Canada, West Indian planters, widely scattered fortresses and posts throughout the world, huge savage areas, above all a group of self-governing colonies of European blood--a vast inheritance of divergent interests, for which, unlike the continental states, she had no centralized administrative machinery. To a colonial council as to unlimited royal power she was as much a stranger as to great standing armies and religious persecution. In India a decadent company, and in the rest an authority divided between crown, ministers, Parliament, and a somnolent Board of Trade and Plantations, alternately aided and embarassed by active and jealous provincial assemblies in many of her American colonies, made up an administrative complex unparalleled in history.
Government of the colonies
In some degree this lack of centralized control had long been partially supplied, partly concealed, by the supremacy
The Whigs 1688-1760
of a political association within the state. Seventy years earlier the Whigs had driven James II from the throne, and since that time the chief thread of continuity in English politics had been the Whig ascendancy. Supported by the Hanoverian house which they had called to the throne, their power rested on a Parliament which they had made supreme, even over the crown itself; since the practice of choosing ministers from the party holding a majority in the lower House, and the withdrawal of the sovereign from the ministerial council or cabinet, made it the real executive. Their practices no less than their policy gave them control of this majority. Their widespread, ably administered political organization, headed by a close-knit oligarchy of high nobility, was constantly recruited by popular leaders chosen for political ability from the ambitious talent of the nation, which saw in Whig favor the only open way to high preferment. Below these stood a great array of placemen and pensioners, officers and officials, which royal aid and parliamentary control enabled them to nominate. The narrow, unequal, often corrupt electoral system which they maintained in all its outworn form with great tenacity, offered a fertile field for the political manipulation which contributed to their hold on Parliament.
For popular support, beyond these elements, they relied chiefly on the commercial, Nonconformist interest, attracted by their principles and their policy. Their principles were, indeed, their chief claim to greatness. Devotion to a parliamentary and a Protestant supremacy, freedom from royal and military dominance, virtual religious tolerance, and those private rights expressed in jury trial and free speech, habeas corpus, and an independent judiciary, made them the most enlightened party of their time. Their narrow and selfish economic policy differed from that of the continent chiefly in its superior measure of success, due to England's naval supremacy. Restricting British sea-borne trade to British ships, and manufacturing to British soil, confining colonial production to raw materials or those ill-suited to the British climate, it partook of that most stringent form of high pro-
tection known as the mercantile system. On the political side, Whig imperial policy was far more liberal. Subject to supervision of the home government and to the law-making power of Parliament, it allowed the English colonists the right to legislate upon their own affairs, and freed them from imperial taxation, save for customs on certain articles--imposed for the purpose of regulating trade, and not for revenue--in return for supplementing English power with money and troops required in time of colonial wars.
By such means the Whigs strove to make England not merely the legislator and defender of the Empire, but its factory, its market-place, its nursery for seamen, and, above all, perhaps, its treasury--a reservoir of wealth and power, easily accessible to taxation, which would have been difficult and might have been impossible to impose directly on distant colonies and dependencies. To this imperial policy their diplomacy contributed its share. Under their rule no war was fought, no peace was signed, without some gain to British trade, if not to territory. With the triumphs of the Seven Years' War this party, whose parallel Europe had scarcely seen, save for the Venetian Council of Ten, to which they were sometimes compared, reached the grand climacteric of its long career.
It is small wonder that when, three years before the peace, the young king, George III, came to the throne, Whig domination seemed to him the chief problem of politics. He had been estranged from his grandfather, the Whig George II; and the doctrines of Bolingbroke's Patriot King, the lectures of the great jurist, Blackstone, combined with the teachings of his mother and those around him to instil his mind with Tory principles. In the spirit of enlightened despotism as applied to English conditions, he conceived a king ruling through Parliament, forming a party there to support ministers chosen by the crown, and governing by the same means which had kept the Whig oligarchy in power. Well educated, with strong if narrow intelligence, an unusual aptitude for politics, conscientious, industrious, virtuous, with the stub-
born courage of his house, he set himself to replace Whig supremacy with that of the crown.
In the situation of affairs the struggle between the king and the oligarchy became an event of more than English, more even than European significance. It was not merely a conflict between two parties and two theories of government. Events were soon to prove that it involved the destinies of the whole European world. To its conduct the king brought certain advantages. Unlike his predecessors he was English born. He adopted Whig policies. Save for the question of the position of the crown, he was aided at once by the considerable element in the nation opposed to Whig domination, and by the factions which too long continuance in power had bred in the ranks of the ruling party itself. He chose his position, moreover, with skill, and, avoiding the issue of principle, attacked the oligarchy on its weakest side, its practices. As the European war dragged to a close, the English monarch resumed the royal patronage, replaced Whig placemen with his own followers, built up a party in Parliament, disputed control of the electorate, and fomented dissension among the Whigs. Pitt was driven from office by the "silken barons" of the oligarchy, with whom he had long been at feud. The king forced their leader, the Duke of Newcastle, to resign by depriving him of his political patronage; and called his own tutor and favorite, the Tory Bute, to take his place. This done, he enlisted the chief Whig manipulator, Fox, and combined his forces with such effect that the Commons, which had followed Pitt to war, now, in the face of his fiery eloquence, voted five to one to bring the conflict to an end. Such was the first European result of the struggle between the English crown and the Whig Party.
George III and the Whigs 1760-3
This was not the only effect of the first years of George III's activity. Under the pressure of the crown and the disintegrating forces in its own ranks came the disruption of that great political connection which had so long directed the destinies of England. Party gave way to groups. Pitt, Grenville, Bedford, Rockingham, Grafton, led followings, hating each other no less than the common enemy; while,
The fall of the Whig Party 1760- 1770
with a composite following from the rival camps, the king was enabled to divide and rule by the same means the oligarchs had employed. Bute was driven from place by his unpopularity. The Whig George Grenville became prime minister; and his administration, following the peace, began a new era of English politics. It was far more than a change of ministry. Upon this state where power still hung undetermined in an unstable equilibrium of shifting groups there fell the burden of remodeling an empire, already stirring in a vague unrest.
Between Grenville's uninspiring talent for finance and Pitt's more dazzling gifts there lay a gulf which typified the altered situation of world politics, as armed conflict gave way to payment of the debts it had incurred and organization of the territories which had changed hands. The situation of the new minister was difficult in the extreme. Without Aranda's or Pombal's authority; without the genius of the highest statesmanship or an inspiring eloquence; hampered by the exigencies of domestic politics,--where a mishandled controversy with the adventurer Wilkes grew to a quarrel over popular liberties,--in full accord neither with his own party nor the king, this first of English imperial financiers addressed his thankless task. His earliest duty was to the newly conquered lands, and even before the peace was signed a royal proclamation organized the new territories in America; where four governments, Quebec, East and West Florida, and Grenada, were set up with royal officials. To Nova Scotia were annexed the adjacent islands and mainland; to Grenada the unorganized islands of the West Indian archipelago. The Georgia line was carried south to Florida; and, in apparent contradiction of the older colonies' chartered rights, the lands west of the Alleghanies were erected into an Indian reservation, and white settlement forbidden there for the time being. New officials were named for colonial offices, and England embarked upon a policy which looked toward greater imperial unity.
Scarcely was it in train when at both extremities of the empire the eternal question of defense was raised in its acutest form. In North America an Algonquin chief, Pontiac, inspired by the hope of aiding his old friends the French, and checking the English occupation of the west, formed a confederacy of the western tribes, seized the outlying posts, raided the border, and laid siege to Detroit. At the same moment war broke out in India. There Mir Cossim, the Nawab of Bengal, failing to meet the demands of the Company, to which he owed his throne, rebelled against its authority. For months both situations remained dangerous. In North America troops hurried to the front. The influence of the great Indian agent, Sir William Johnson, held the Six Nations to their allegiance. The posts were retaken. Detroit, after the longest siege in border history, was relieved. Pontiac was compelled to take refuge with tribes farther west; and the frontier resumed uneasy peace. At the same time in India, Mir Cossim was deposed, defeated by the forces of the Company, and deprived of all his fortresses save Patna. Putting to death his English prisoners there, he fled to Oudh, whose nawab, Sujah Dowlah, had already joined forces with the Mogul Emperor, Shah Alam II. The three rulers, marching against the English, were overwhelmingly defeated at Baxar, the Emperor sought protection in the English camp, and Oudh was overrun by the Company's troops. Thus, at the very moment of her triumph over France, the problem of guarding her far-flung frontier was thrust violently on England's attention.
The problem of imperial defense 1763
With it were bound up other interests, growing largely out of that conflict. Pitt had made war regardless of expense, with such effect that England's national debt had doubled in five years, its interest charges alone equaling the whole cost of government not many years before. Despite her territorial expansion, the increase of her potential strength, and her immediate commercial prosperity, England's available resources had not multiplied proportionately to the new demands; and her eight million people who endured this fresh burden were weary of its weight. That feeling had contributed no small part to the majority against continuance of the glorious but extravagant war which pro-
duced it. In relation to their numbers it was as heavy as that of France, now staggering on to national bankruptcy. It was not lightened by the new problems of administration and defense; and beside these two perplexing questions, it forced on the embarrassed ministry a third, and even more pressing exigency, that of taxation.
It is small wonder that in this crisis their eyes turned to the American colonies. There the triple problem of empire was revealed in its most concrete form. There lay a population of a million and a half, with half a million slaves, possessed of vast natural resources, enjoying most of the benefits of the imperial bond, with few or none of its burdens or responsibilities, its taxes scarce a fiftieth of those levied on Englishmen at home. Colonial frontiers and commerce were guarded by British arms. Imperial markets were open to their goods; and their sole contribution to the support of the imperial establishment lay in paying their own judges and governors, in the indirect profits of their trade, and in the money and men which their own interest no less than that of the mother country impelled them to lend to colonial wars. They were singularly privileged to conduct their own political affairs, with a minimum of interference from the sovereign power, as compared with other European dependencies. At the same time no small part of their wealth, especially that of the New England provinces, was derived from almost open violation of the laws which professed to regulate imperial commerce; and, economically, no less than politically, they were the freest of European colonies.
Such was the situation as it appeared to English eyes. Was it too much to ask, in this emergency, that the colonists, like Englishmen, should contribute to imperial defense within their borders, and obey their country's laws? To the ministers, and to most Englishmen beside, the question seemed one of administration and finance, of mutual obligations and responsibilities, of laws and charters, to be arranged, as such matters had always been, by Parliament. Only here and there an unregarded prophet foresaw that this apparently simple question touched the very heart of things, and brought to an issue of legislation what might better have been allowed to rest undetermined. The attempt to define what was in the nature of things undefinable, was but too apt to rouse the long-repressed rivalry of two great societies. And, viewed in another light, this extension of administrative reorganization to America, however consonant it was to the spirit of enlightened despotism then making way upon the continent, seemed to American minds to savor rather more of despotism than of enlightenment.
For the American colonies were no longer what they had been even two generations earlier, and what most Englishmen doubtless still conceived them to be. Strengthened in numbers by immigration and the naturally rapid increase of a pioneer society; favored by nature and the salutary neglect of successive ministries, which had left them free to exercise their abilities in nearly every direction, the feeble frontier settlements had developed into a powerful community, well on its way to nationality. They still lacked, indeed, many characteristics of the European world; its greater social and industrial complexity; its powerful aristocratic and financial interests; but even here they had made beginnings. Still more they lacked the old world's literature and art, its music and drama, its educational facilities, its science and invention, though these, too, were not wholly wanting. The pioneer still held large place in their affairs; the soil was still their principal source of wealth. Greater equality of opportunity with greater freedom in society, the simpler means and manners of a new community in a state of rapid development, made them like and yet different from the society whence they sprung. Though far removed from the conditions of the tropical dependencies of the European powers, and with their various elements and possibilities not yet welded into a homogeneous whole, they were a people but not yet a nation, much less a state.
Strength and character of the English colonies
Yet many of the differences between the old-world order and the new were already fast disappearing in the longer settled colonies. There, on every hand, was rising an aristocracy of wealth from land and trade, not unlike that which had established itself in England. Statelier houses, finer furnishings and clothes, books, pictures, evidences of taste, among the northern merchants and southern planters, revealed growing resemblances to the older society and increasing inequalities in the new. These were but reflections of progress in the economic field. Shipyards and little factories; mines and metal works; with handicrafts of many sorts, proclaimed an emergence from the pioneer and agricultural to the industrial stage. Newspapers and lawyers' offices, schools and colleges, in increasing numbers sprang up to meet the demands of altering circumstances in a community continually recruited by a steady stream of immigrants, reinforcing at once its numbers and variety, and strengthening its resources with the chief necessity of a new land--stout hearts and willing hands.
Already it was rising rapidly to a consciousness of its strength. The war which freed it from fear of the French and relieved it from the consequent close dependence on English rule, had contributed much both to its growth and its self-confidence. Its commerce flourished as it never had before. Its troops fought side by side with English regulars on not unequal terms. Their officers gained distinction and experience; and the colonists rightly regarded Havana and Louisburg as their triumphs no less than England's. Most of all, American spirit lost something of its provincialism in the struggle. Almost for the first time the men of different colonies were brought together in a common cause, and an impulse was given to new ambitions of more than provincial scope. Broader fields than their local assemblies afforded had not been altogether wanting hitherto. Some colonists had sat on governors' councils; some had held crown offices; a few were even now rising to governorships; even more had found employment abroad. Many had known the hard schooling of popular politics, where leaders fought their way to place and power by means still rare in England and unknown on the continent. To all, the war had opened wider vistas in the prospect of intercolonial activities, which not all the efforts of statesmen hitherto had been able to effect. Finally the association of the colonists against the common enemy, through actual co-operation and the personal contact of men from different colonies, became a powerful force in the ensuing development, at the same time that the failure and incapacity of expeditions like that of Braddock diminished the respect of the colonials for British military efficiency.
The situation held another element. Despite what seemed to European eyes the simple and more equal conditions of a "natural" society, equality was more apparent than real in most of the colonies; for there was no open way for the talents in American politics. No insurmountable barriers, indeed, divided class from class, no pocket-borough system, no vested interest of crown or aristocracy prevailed, save in the appointment of royal officials. Yet the colonies were, none the less, far from pure democracy, and distinctions based on religion or on property were the rule rather than the exception in their electorates. Beside the oligarchy centering about the governor in nearly every colony, and the popular party which found its opportunity in the assemblies, each province held an unenfranchised class. Popular leaders, ambitious to control the whole machinery of government, came into conflict with the entrenched authority of those who held office from the crown. And it was no long step to oppose the authority which made their rivals' position invulnerable, and enlist in their cause the unprivileged classes by invoking the vague and powerful watchword of liberty, which then, as at all times, meant all things to all men. Every colony held a discontented element, social, political, economic; and it needed only a common cause to unite them against vested authority in whatever form.
Aristocracy and democracy in the colonies
Such was the condition of the community whose resources the English ministry sought to enlist, and over which it planned to strengthen its hold. The policy was not new, and the results of a century of experiment should have warned the English of its danger. But prudence was not Grenville's chief characteristic. Before the peace was signed, steps had been taken to tighten the reins. To check smuggling the revenue forces had been strengthened and the navy enlisted in their aid. The duties on molasses and sugar, which, as the raw materials for the New England rum distilleries, were the chief source of contention, were lowered so as to increase revenue and make illicit trade unprofitable. To make royal
Reorganization of the English colonial system 1760-3
officials independent of assembly grants, a permanent civil list had been proposed; to guard the frontiers a standing army was planned. Finally, to defray the cost of this establishment, a stamp tax on legal documents and newspapers was suggested for America.
Already colonial protests against England's policy had been heard. In Boston, James Otis had vainly attacked the validity of the writs of assistance which enabled the civil authorities to call for naval and military aid in searching for smuggled goods. In Virginia, another lawyer, Patrick Henry, maintained the popular cause against the clergy who attempted to enforce their legal salary rights. When, following the peace, smuggling felt the pressure of the new measures, and quartering acts were passed to secure provision for the troops, not even the trade concessions which accompanied them, nor memory of recent appeals for help against Pontiac, softened colonial resentment. Though colonial agents, after a year's deliberation, offered no alternative save voluntary grants from the assemblies, which had already proved unsatisfactory; though the ill-fated measure was passed with "no more interest than a turnpike bill"; though opposition leaders like Pitt and Burke voiced no protest and few men thought it inexpedient or unjust; the dullest of politicians was soon undeceived. For the Stamp Act supplied what the dissatisfied elements in America had lacked, a common ground of opposition to the home government and a tangible instance of "tyranny."
Colonial opposition 1760-3
The Stamp Act 1765
From the first New York and Boston had led in protest against the new policy; and scarcely had the Stamp Act become a law when the assemblies of Massachusetts and Virginia passed vigorous resolutions against it. The vocal elements of society--the lawyers and the press, on whom the new tax fell--were roused to fury. The interests attacked by the customs regulation joined in; clergy and debtors lent their voices with those of more unselfish patriots in opposition. In vain the ministers pointed out that the new revenue was to be spent within and for the colonies, adduced the powers of Parliament, the law and custom of colonial rule, the press-
ing exigency of imperial finance. Against them the American party of protest appealed to the law of nature and of God, to statute and common law, to charters and the inherent right of Englishmen not to be taxed without their own consent, hinting not indirectly at home rule. More ominous still, they began to organize. Almost alone among the opposition orators, Colonel Barré had protested in debate upon the act; hailing the colonists as Sons of Liberty. The phrase crossed the Atlantic and spread like wildfire through the colonies. Under that name the radical clubs and "caucuses" began to coalesce into a national society, reinforced by Masonic lodges, fire-companies, groups not hitherto formally organized, even by congregations here and there. At once committees were appointed to correspond with one another, concert joint action, and, in brief, to mold resistance. As they organized effective protest they became a power in general politics, provided popular leaders a wider field of influence, drew to themselves the discontented in every colony, and proceeded to the control of local, then of provincial government, thus forming the nucleus of a revolutionary force.
Under such circumstances and in such hands words passed to deeds. The stamp distributors were driven to resign. Stamps were destroyed or kept from circulation. Riots broke out and property was destroyed; while town after town saw a new emblem rise on its central green, the liberty tree or pole, where radical eloquence coined a new language of resistance to tyranny in speeches against English oppression. Measures were taken to check the use of English goods; and, more important still, before the year was out, a congress of representatives, for the most part Sons of Liberty, met in New York to devise fresh means of opposition to the act. In the face of this storm the government seemed powerless; the act became inoperative; outrages went unchecked; and for the time English authority was at a stand.
The Stamp Act Riots 1765
This impotence was not wholly due to the American radicals. Coincident with the Stamp Act disturbances the ministry faced a series of difficulties at home and abroad, of which the chief was the situation in India demanding imme-
diate attention, and thus preserving the radicals in part from the more serious consequences of their acts. The recent gains had brought to the East India Company neither wisdom nor power competent to cope with the problems raised by the results of the war. Corruption and maladministration were the first fruits of victory; discord and jealousies weakened its counsels. The divided power of the three Indian presidencies aggravated by quarrels of Directors and Proprietors at home; the extortion of its agents in India joined to the increase of its dividends in the face of a declining revenue, had thrown its affairs into politics and finally brought them into Parliament for regulation. This was the more imperative in that the native princes were meanwhile roused to fresh activities. Sujah Dowlah gathered fresh forces. The rulers of Berar and Poona widened their boundaries and their pretensions; and though Mahratta and Rohilla raids were checked, these abetted by the ablest of Indian adventurers, Hyder Ali of Mysore, threatened the English supremacy on every side.
Even so the Directors were with difficulty compelled to consent to the despatch of Clive as governor of Bengal to save the empire he had won. His brief administration coincided with the Stamp Act disturbances and was scarcely less important in imperial affairs. The mere terror of his name brought the Nawab to terms and the emperor to seek his protection. As a result, Oudh was secured to Sujah Dowlah on payment of indemnity, and to the Emperor, Shah Alam, in return for a concession of authority, was confirmed a pension and a principality; while the possession of his person, still sacred to millions, strengthened the Company's prestige. Meanwhile, the disaffected officers were overawed, the civil and military establishments reformed, salaries raised, presents and private trade prohibited. Most important of all, the Company secured the dewanee or financial rights in Bengal, Orissa, and Behar, and jurisdiction in the north Circars under imperial suzerainty; and thus, permitting the native rulers to retain their empty titles and dignities, the English laid the foundations of their actual sovereignty in the right
to tax. With the adoption of this policy, in the days when America seemed slipping from English grasp, was India preserved by its old conqueror.
It had been well for England if American affairs, or even domestic politics, could have enlisted such talents as those of Clive. But he returned to find a state from which strength seemed to have departed. Amid the struggle for supremacy between the crown and Whigs, the nation lacked at once a leader, a party, and a policy able to save the situation. All eyes turned naturally to Pitt, whom the king urged to form a ministry. But the great days of the great commoner were past. Hampered by circumstances alien to his genius, the coil of personal politics, and the defects of his own character, his efforts and his plans were vain. Still a popular idol, he had become an impracticable public man. His pride and self-sufficiency declined before disease into intolerable egotism. His occasional utterances, though they breathed a lofty spirit of imperial destinies, did little to solve imperial problems, less to heal domestic differences, least of all to conciliate the colonies. The eloquence which painted a glittering bow of promise across the stormy sky did as little to dispel its clouds as the projects of the financiers had done to find the pot of gold at the political rainbow's end. With no responsibilities he harassed those who would have carried out the policies he had himself earlier approved, drew difficult distinctions between the right to legislate and the right to tax, between external and internal revenue, and in every way encouraged the colonists to resist. Thus, within five years after the signature of a peace which made her the dominant power of the colonial world, England found herself confronted by a combination of political impotence at home and resistance abroad, which threatened at once the efficiency of her administration and the integrity of her Empire.
CHAPTER XXXV - THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 1768-1783
THE focus of the great revolutionary movement which was sweeping through every department of European life in the seventh decade of the eighteenth century was the British Empire. There, for the moment, was every element of the forces then altering the world to be found in its most significant form. There the Industrial Revolution had begun; and the Agricultural Revolution been largely accomplished. There the rationalists had established themselves, and the new reformation among the Protestant sects found full expression. There Adam Smith had commenced those labors which were to alter the whole progress of economic thought in a nation already set far on the way toward popular government by the upheavals of the seventeenth century and the writings of the school of Locke. There, above all, the old school of absolutism, in new guise, stood face to face with the advancing power of the people, who, beyond the sea, had set up self-governing communities. And there, as a result of the activities of George III, the antagonism between the old and new had now become acute.
With the collapse of the attempt to impose a stamp tax on America, and the disorganization of the Whigs under the attack of the crown, there had come a moment of political anarchy. Ministry dissolved into ministry, like the swift changes of a kaleidoscope. Grenville, tormenting his sovereign by his well-deserved but unpalatable homilies, antagonizing the nation by unpopular taxes and his pursuit of Wilkes, gave way to Rockingham. The Stamp Act was repealed; and jubilant America ignored the accompanying Declaratory Act, which reaffirmed the right to tax the colonies, and celebrated its victory over the mother country.
Repeal of the Stamp Act 1765-6
When Grafton followed Rockingham, with Pitt as the chief figure in the ministry, the American agitation gradually died out, and it seemed that all might yet be well. The radicals were correspondingly depressed, the ministry encouraged. But Pitt became a peer; his eloquence fell on dull ears among the Lords. His health grew worse. First virtually, then actually, he withdrew from politics; and the old practices revived. The fatal eloquence of an inexperienced Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend, moved the Commons to lay duties on wines and paper, painters' colors, glass, and tea, a pitiful sum at best, to meet the charges of colonial establishment. Writs of assistance were revived; revenue cases transferred from provincial courts, where conviction was all but impossible, to admiralty jurisdiction; and customs' commissioners appointed for America. "A policy," said Napoleon, "may lead to a catastrophe without any real crime being committed"; and this was the case of America.
Changes in the ministry 1767
The Townshend Act 1767
With the Townshend Acts the hopes of colonial opposition revived. New York, under radical influence, refused provision for troops quartered there; Massachusetts petitioned against the Townshend measures and sent an appeal to the other colonies for aid. And even men like Washington, who had deprecated the Stamp Act disturbances, now declared that no man should hesitate to "maintain liberty with arms." So far had colonial opinion moved. Assemblies were suspended or dissolved in vain; while non-importation agreements were renewed in stronger terms, and enforced by the radical organization more rigorously than before. In turn the English government resorted to more extreme measures to compel obedience and suppress disturbances. Parliament passed resolutions looking toward the transfer of treason trials from colonial to English courts. The Boston revenue officers seized the sloop Liberty, owned by John Hancock, a rich merchant, friend and follower of the chief radical agitator, Samuel Adams, and long identified with illicit trade. Riots ensued, the officers were defied, and when troops were finally despatched from Halifax to enforce order, the town denied them quarters. The assembly, refusing to meet under
Colonial resistance 1768-70
threat of force, moved to Cambridge, and the crisis became acute.
The Grafton ministry at the same moment found itself equally unable to advance or retreat. The London mob had taken up Wilkes' cause, and was held down only by force. That ambitious Indian adventurer, Hyder Ali, threatened Madras and Bombay, reducing the Company's revenue and power in England and India. The inextricable quarrels in domestic politics made the situation impossible; and Grafton, in despair, resigned. Chatham endeavored vainly to form a ministry; and, as a last resort, the king summoned his friend and follower, Frederick, Lord North, to take the difficult and thankless post of prime minister.
Lord North 1770-82
Seldom has any man been brought to power less willingly or under less favorable auspices. Royal assumption of political leadership, the perennial Wilkes imbroglio, America and India, all presented difficulties of the first magnitude. The parliamentary situation was precarious; the popular discontent was great; financial questions pressed for solution; even the foreign horizon was far from clear. To deal with these the minister's following in the House was a heterogeneous company. Tories, King's friends, placemen, and pensioners, the Bedford Whigs, the old Newcastle following, and, presently, on George Grenville's death, his adherents, made up a restless and ill-assorted majority. Save for North himself, his ministry contained scarcely a man who had not once been a Whig,--and even North had served in a Whig government. This was not the least significant feature of the times. From his long struggle with the oligarchs the king had now emerged not merely victorious. The Whig organization no longer existed. Only a handful of Chathamites and Rockinghams opposed Lord North's ascendancy. The rest, in large measure, were absorbed in the new Tory Party which the king had created, and to which he had ensured a lease of power as long as that which the old Whigs had enjoyed.
Among his motley ministry the new leader stood almost alone in his disinterested honesty and ability, perhaps wholly alone in the personal attachment to his sovereign which impelled him to accept and remain in office, and which was at once his weakness and his strength. Ablest of living English financiers, skilled in debate and parliamentary management, sensible, sympathetic, humorous, he was both efficient and beloved by the majority of Englishmen, of whose interests and opinions for the time he was perhaps the best representative. Like them he was committed to the colonial policy of the government which he had helped to frame, the regulation of imperial affairs, enforcement of the laws at home and abroad, defense of the frontiers, the reformation of colonial civil service and the East India Company, and the supremacy of Parliament and the crown.
It was peculiarly unfortunate for any man holding these doctrines that he should come to power at the moment that the Americans discovered a formidable element opposed at almost every point to such a program, and encouraged by their previous success, prepared as never before to make their opposition effective. In the preceding decade this element had made scarcely less headway than the home government in formulating its first vague principles into a settled program; and in evolving organization and leadership it had accomplished much more. While English administration had been disorganized by political dissensions, the colonial "Whigs" or "patriots," as they called themselves, increased in numbers, unity, and influence, till, though probably at all times a minority, their energy and determination made them the dominating factor in American politics. Having gained the upper hand in nearly every provincial assembly, they had made their partisans colonial agents, and compelled governors and judges to recognize their power. In every district their agents and correspondents, spokesmen and newspapers enlisted support or silenced opposition by argument or force. From legal and constitutional precedent they appealed to a higher law, the origin and basis of society itself, and in particular, of their own society. Abandoning their earlier battle-cry, "no taxation without representation," they repudiated plans for admitting colonial delegates to Parliament,
The colonial radicals 1760-70
and claimed for their assemblies equal rights with it under the crown. Thus they advanced from the older doctrine of parliamentary supremacy across a theory of personal union, like that which Scotland enjoyed during the seventeenth century, toward independence of all effective control.
On their side were the doctrines of the rights of man, the power of the appeal to liberty, the spirit of the age, constitutional arguments, the instincts of a new society, the circumstances of the time. Of these last none was more important than the character of English politics and the men who had directed them in the preceding decade, and were now in control. Of all the disadvantages under which England labored at the moment, the greatest was the lack of men of high statesmanship. It may be doubted whether in the state of the colonial mind at the accession of Lord North, any concession short of virtual independence would have satisfied the great majority of the radicals, as it is tolerably certain that anything that the mother country did would have been used as capital by the most advanced of their leaders at almost any time previous. But there were not many men in England, and no man in power there, who would have ventured to propose the abandonment of authority in America. The opinion of the Parliament, which, whatever else it did, and however it was composed, represented the English people's opinions in the great controversy, testified to England's determination to retain her authority over the colonies. Chatham and Burke thundered in vain, Fox blunted the keen edge of his eloquence on an unyielding majority; the opposition could muster more votes on almost any other question in politics than on America. Wilkes regained his seat in the House against the opposition of the court. In the face of its reactionary policy, reforms were instituted in many directions; but so long as there was any hope at all, England maintained what any nation so situated would have demanded--predominance over its possessions.
Meanwhile, from the pages of Locke and of his follower, Dr. Price, the Boston agitator, Adams, drew the inspiration of his utterances. The great pamphleteer of the middle colo-
nies, Dickinson, attacked the "innovations" of the ministries in terms that echoed the Puritan protest against the rule of the early Stuart kings. And, in Virginia, Henry invoked Cromwell, and Jefferson searched Puritan revolutionary records for language and precedent to embody the new revolutionary spirit. Nor was it only from England's armory that weapons were drawn against her. Montesquieu, Beccaria, Burlamaqui, and lesser continental prophets, lent their aid to Rousseau in the conflict of argument. The natural sentiments of a new, self-made, and largely pioneer community scarcely needed this stimulant to its own interests and ambitions. "An innate spirit of freedom," wrote Washington, "first told me that the measures are repugnant to every principle of natural justice."
But it could hardly be supposed that any nation would acquiesce in the destruction of long unquestioned legal rights of sovereignty by vague appeals to natural law and liberty, or would submit peacefully to the overthrow of its supremacy in its most valued possessions. Almost the first act of the new ministry had been to assert the English claim to the remote and useless Falkland Islands, seized for Spain by a too zealous governor of Buenos Ayres; and the national approbation of that act revealed an honest if jealous pride of sovereignty which was not likely to brook a challenge from its own dependencies. Scarcely was North in power when one of several such unlucky incidents revealed the elements with which he had to deal. A Boston mob, threatening an English guard, was fired upon and three men killed. Though the authorities disavowed the act and gave up the officer in command to trial; though he was defended by local lawyers and set free by local courts; the Boston Massacre, as it was promptly christened, embittered relations already too strained. Trumpeted through the colonies by the radicals, made the subject of a provocative print by one of their number, it did much to neutralize the repeal of the Townshend Acts, save for the tea duty, by which the ministry signalized its entry into power as an earnest of its conciliatory attitude toward the colonies. For it was evident that there was now
The Boston Massacre
an element in America advancing from a demand for " liberty" to that of independence, real or virtual; and whose demands were absolutely inadmissible to the majority of the English people. Thenceforth any spark was almost certain to produce an explosion.
In the excitement fomented by the radicals, concession was ignored and the impost on tea was emphasized, and this became the next, and, as it was to prove, the deciding issue between the mother country and the colonies. To the English mind that tax was wholly defensible. It was retained first as an expression of Parliamentary supremacy. But it was more than that, for it was bound up with the ever-present problem of the East India Company, which had suddenly become again a leading issue of English and imperial politics. In the half dozen years since his return Clive's settlement had already broken do. The Company had increased its dividends while it defaulted its obligations to the government; and, with declining powers and revenues, it faced administrative and financial bankruptcy. The ablest of Indian administrators, Warren Hastings, was therefore hurried out as governor of Bengal, and with him began a new era of English authority in India. Reforming the civil service, he removed the Company's treasury to Calcutta, where he built the strongest of European fortresses in Asia, Fort William, to secure English authority. To the Nawab of Oudh he lent troops to help collect tribute from the Rohillas, in return for territory and a sum sufficient it was hoped to save the Company's credit.
The tea duty and India
Meanwhile the question came to Parliament, which, under North, had embarked on a career of constructive legislation to which that body had long been a stranger. It had already passed the Grenville Act, correcting the worst evils of election disputes. It was preparing to settle the government of Canada; and it now determined the question of the East India Company by the Regulating Act. Replacing the divided authority of the three presidencies by the appointment of the governor of Bengal as governor-general of India, and the establishment of a supreme court, it checked the reckless
dividend policy of the Company, remitted its debt to the government, and tided over its embarrassment with a short term loan. Finally, to relieve its immediate necessities, a drawback of three-fifths of the duty on tea destined for America was allowed, in the belief that, by disposing of its huge surplus its burdens would be lightened, and that the smuggling trade, by which the Dutch supplied the colonists, would be made unprofitable and so checked, since the Americans would get cheaper tea. Thus were the two great currents of imperial policy--the commercial and the political-joined, as it was hoped for mutual benefit; and thus they came into touch with the movement of European thought as expressed in the transatlantic colonies.
Never was a political device which seemed so beneficial and so reasonable destined to worse fate. A series of irritating circumstances combined, or devised, to check accommodation, was crowned meanwhile by the destruction of the revenue boat Gaspee by some of the inhabitants of the great smuggling center, Providence, whom royal officials attempted in vain to convict of the deed. Though moderate men desired compromise, the drawback on tea was hailed by the radicals as an insidious attempt to secure by bribery the recognition of the right to tax. The tea was sent, but Philadelphia and New York refused their cargoes. Charleston stored the chests in cellars, where the contents spoiled; and at Boston a group of radical members of a Masonic lodge boarded the tea ships and threw their cargoes into the sea. This act of defiance was accompanied by an attack on Governor Hutchinson. His removal was demanded by the assembly; his letters to the ministry were stolen. And, coming into the hands of Franklin, the agent for Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, they were published in America to fan the flame of discontent, since they counseled the strengthening of English authority, and described unflatteringly the Boston radical leaders as they appeared to their most eminent fellow-townsman.
The tea duty and America 1772
The ministry and the English people generally were naturally roused to action by these events, and bills were hurried
The Boston Port Bill 1774
through Parliament, by great majorities, closing the port of Boston, annulling the Massachusetts charter, and enabling the government to try those accused of capital crimes outside the colony where the deeds were done. General Gage, commander of the forces in America, was despatched from Halifax to supersede Hutchinson, troops were hurried to the scene of conflict, and Boston was put under martial law. At the same time the government of Canada was settled by the 1774 Quebec Act, establishing a governor and council there and confirming the Catholic establishment in its ancient rights. The able and popular Carleton was appointed governor, and the French colonists conciliated.
In their turn the American radicals roused to fresh activity. Their local organizations took on the form of committees of public safety, whose committees of correspondence revived their chain of communications with new vigor. The same principle was extended to the provincial assemblies now largely controlled by the same element. Through such influences the Bostonians who had done so much to keep this spirit and organization alive, sought and found support. Salem opened its warehouses to the Boston merchants; resolutions of sympathy and promises of support came in from every side, and every Massachusetts county held a convention of protest. That of Suffolk County, in which Boston was situated, voiced the opinion of Adams and his party in declaring that no obedience was due the measures framed by a wicked administration to enslave America, and called for a congress of the colonies. The whole radical organization echoed the demand, and in September, 1774, the first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia.
The organization of colonial resistance
With it the development of opposition to the English policy reached its last pacific stage. From scattered local opposition to vested authority, through the consolidation effected by the Stamp Act to concerted control of provincial politics, came delegates from the committees of safety of the Sons of Liberty to form, in effect, a continental executive committee of safety, a central assembly of the radical party. Formulating the doctrines and policy which had evolved
The First Continental Congress 1774
through a decade of controversy into a program, their declarations and resolves denounced England's attempt to raise revenue in America, to establish an independent civil service, to take colonists abroad for trial, or to dissolve provincial assemblies. They asserted their rights as Englishmen to legislate for themselves since adequate representation in Parliament was impossible, to assemble and petition, to be free from standing armies in time of peace, from royal councils at all times, and, above all, from taxes laid by Parliament. They declared the revenue acts, the coercive measures, even the Quebec Act, since it legalized Catholicism, to be unconstitutional and unjust. They prepared addresses to the crown and the English people, to Florida, to Georgia, which had sent no delegates, to the West Indian colonies, even to the Canadians, whose religion they had just denounced, asking for support. Finally, to give their principles force, they founded an association to sever commercial relations with Great Britain until their grievances were redressed. Under its authority the committees of public safety were directed to observe the conduct of all persons toward the association, inspect entries, and enforce the embargo by all means within their power.
The revolutionary organization was now complete. It had set up a central authority, supported by a widespread and powerful system of local committees. It had passed a legislative act which was a declaration of economic war in defiance of English constituted authority. It had called on its members to execute its orders; and it had, within the imperial boundaries, attempted a kind of diplomatic negotiation with the other colonies, inciting them to similar resistance. Almost immediately to these activities was added another of even more significance. The Massachusetts assembly, dissolved by Gage as a seditious body, met as a provincial congress, and took steps to resist his authority. Acting under the same influences which inspired it and the Continental Congress, a similar spirit became manifest in the other colonies; and before the end of the year it was evident that, unless some unforeseen circumstance intervened,
The appeal to arms
the preparations then under way must lead to an appeal to arms.
It was in vain that efforts were made to stem or avert the tide of the oncoming war; all attempts to localize or evade the issue failed. The colonists did not, indeed, lack allies in the mother country. The Irish, looking forward to home rule, favored their cause; merchants fearful for their trade favored anything which would secure its continuance; Chatham, Burke, and Fox led a forlorn hope of anti-Imperialists in Parliament. But the bitterness of the attack upon the government was only equaled by its futility. Though Wilkes succeeded in having the resolution against him expunged from the Commons' records; though crown influence was openly and successfully attacked; though two general elections offered an opportunity to overthrow the ministry; the English people, if united on nothing else, followed the king and minister to the bitter end on this issue. Such widely different spirits as Edward Gibbon, John Wesley, and Samuel Johnson, with scarcely any other common ground, found themselves in accord with each other and their countrymen in this. "We are," said North, "no longer to dispute between legislation and taxation but to consider only whether or not we have any authority in the colonies." And to this there could scarcely be but one reply.
While, then, the ministry made some effort to conciliate, it none the less prepared for war. Such colonies as agreed to contribute to their own defense and government were promised exemption from duty or tax save those that regulated trade. More troops were hurried to Boston. The town was fortified; and a bill restraining New England's commerce was passed by large majorities. As the war spirit spread through America, the prohibition was extended to the other colonies. Promise and threat alike were vain. In April, 1775, troops sent by Gage to seize provincial military stores were met by local levies called to arms by Boston revolutionary leaders, and armed conflict began in earnest.
The battle of Lexington and Concord 1775
The fight at Lexington and Concord Bridge was no mere clash of British regulars with an enraged countryside, as it appeared to unobservant eyes. Behind the "embattled farmers" stood an organization and a policy less complete, indeed, than that of England, yet far from despicable either in numbers, discipline, or armament. For it had not rested with the establishment of civil authority and the declaration of economic and legislative independence; as the controversy deepened it had prepared a military force. Existing colonial militia had been recruited and drilled; arms and ammunition had been bought abroad and smuggled in, despite the English efforts to prevent, by vessels long accustomed to that trade, or through Canada and Florida. Months before the first engagement, forts guarding harbors like Portsmouth had been seized and their armament and stores secured.
So smoothly and rapidly did the plans of rebellion work that three weeks after the fight at Lexington, the fortresses of Crown Point and Ticonderoga were in revolutionary hands, a rapidly increasing army was encamped near Boston, and a second Continental Congress was in session at Philadelphia. Two months after the first shot was fired, the Americans seized and fortified Bunker Hill commanding Boston, and with the attack and capture of that strategic point by the British the war began in form. And it was not the least significant feature of that hard-fought engagement that the drums which had beat at Louisburg now led the colonists at Bunker Hill, while the great captain who now assumed the leadership of the revolutionary army had commanded the party which, twenty-three years before, fired the first shot of the Seven Years' War in the remote wilderness about the frontier post then known as Fort Duquesne.
The conflict then begun was not, as we see now, the desperate, unanimous rising of an oppressed continent driven to rebellion by unbridled and unbearable tyranny, as patriotic historians, following the lead of revolutionary orators, long pictured it. Still less, perhaps, was it the first step in the conscious, deliberate attempt of a despotic king bent on the destruction of English liberties, and beginning his maleficent design with the subjugation of America, as the Whigs declared. The liberties of England, which had survived the
Character of the war
Stuart rule, were no such weakly growths as that view implies; the American grievances were far from the insupportable miseries which have driven other peoples to like courses. The Revolution was the translation into arms of thoughts and interests long tending consciously and unconsciously to rupture, the culmination of antagonisms, old and new, perhaps inevitable, between two powerful forces of society, and two conflicting doctrines of government. Though no one was then conscious of the fact, it was but the first blow in a world-wide struggle against existing order, social no less than political. For nearly sixty years this was to convulse three continents in almost constant war, involving the whole European world, and finally altering not merely the political destinies of both hemispheres, but the whole fabric of European society. It was no mere conflict between a mother country and her colonies; behind their rivalry lay the antagonism of great classes and interests in every state, which soon or late were to contend for power.
Nothing could have been more typical of this than the conduct of the ensuing war. Neither England nor the colonies were well prepared, much less desirous for a long conflict; neither anticipated such a contingency. The one counted on the speedy suppression of ill-organized resistance; the other on the recognition of its claims before the threat of arms. Both were destined to disappointment. Under the most favorable auspices the complete subjection of a united America would have been as hopeless as the attainment of complete independence without some outside aid by a community so divided as America. Though the contest seemed unequal, its inequality was not as great as it appeared. Of all the great European powers England was the least prepared for war. If the preceding decade of her politics had checked constructive legislation, it had well-nigh paralyzed her fighting arm. Lack of continuity in policy, wasteful retrenchment, corruption, and sheer neglect, were emphasized by the baneful intrusion of social rank and political partisanship into every department of public service. These were crowned by the antagonism of many of her officers
Resources of the combatants
to the government which they served and to the policies they were set to carry out.
England was incapable of supplying troops enough for the American enterprise by enlistment or from her own establishment without greatly weakening her garrisons throughout the world. She therefore resorted to her usual practice and engaged from petty German states the necessary complements, known generically as Hessians. These, with the irregular levies furnished by her Indian allies, provided the revolutionaries fresh ground of grievance; and in that they helped to make the quarrel irreconcilable, they weakened England's moral position more than they aided her military power. Nor was she more fortunate in her commanders. Able administrators were scarcely to be expected under existing conditions in the world of politics. Her navy revealed a wealth of mediocrity, and worse; while the bitter epigram attributed to Walpole, and not unnaturally reattributed to North, measured the zeal and capacity of her chief army officers. "I do not know," he said, "whether my generals will frighten the Americans, but they certainly frighten me."
Under such circumstances the successful conduct of any war would have been difficult. In the present instance it was all but impossible, for such a war as this the world had never seen. Separated by three thousand miles of sea from its theater, operating through a thousand miles of wilderness or sparsely settled land, almost devoid of roads, against men accustomed to arms and the guerilla tactics of the woods, experienced officers from the first regarded the whole adventure as an "ugly business." In no long time it developed into "the grave of reputations." Had English strategy been based, like Pitt's campaigns, upon the sea, as able men advised; had ports been blocked, the more violent districts occupied, and the crisis allowed to work itself out, the result might well have been different. But invasion, and especially the later policy of plundering expeditions, served only to rouse successive neighborhoods to resist the foreign enemy, and gradually to unite opinion and arms against the mother country, depriving her of the support of thousands who were
Difficulties and mistakes of English strategy
anxious to befriend her cause. Many more who were indifferent to whatever constitutional question was involved, took arms to drive out the troops which threatened their own homes. The unorganized loyalists, or "Tories," were either compelled to join the invaders, suppress their own opinions, or suffer the bitterest of persecutions, that of their own neighbors. Thousands were driven to emigration. Their property confiscated and their homes destroyed, they settled for the most part in lands provided for them in Canada. Thousands more entered the British ranks. But neither their presence there nor in the neighboring colony compensated the mother country for the destruction of a great part of the best element in the revolting colonies, while the economic and social loss to the community from which they were driven was incalculable. That loss was not without its compensation on the political side. It seems hardly probable that, had the loyalists remained, America could have developed quickly or easily a real democracy--at least such a democracy as she has created. And, if that be reckoned as a gain, it must go far toward justifying the expulsion of the loyalists.
Measured by later standards, the military operations of the ensuing war are not imposing. The issues at stake, the circumstance that small forces at the extremity of empire produce results out of proportion to their size, above all, the later development of the United States, make the American Revolution bulk large in the eyes of later generations. Nor was its ultimate success due in any considerable degree to those agitators who roused the opposition to the English rule. Without them it would, perhaps, never have occurred, but had it depended on their efforts alone it would have ended as it began, in words. To the more dangerous, enduring temper of the fighting men, to their valor and skill, the cause owed what strength it possessed. In particular to the commander, without whom its ultimate success would have been inconceivable, and to the allies whose hatred of England enlisted them on the side of America, was due the strength of the colonial cause.
Among the many events reckoned the turning-points of the struggle, one stands pre-eminent. Two days before the battle of Bunker Hill, George Washington of Virginia was commissioned commander-in-chief of the army, and three weeks later he took up his duties. Of planter ancestry, trained in the hard school of frontier war, the wealthiest and most distinguished figure in America, brave, patient, resolute in a desperate cause, great as were his abilities, his character was greater still. The typical product of his time and circumstance, he was superior to both. The highest representative of a new form of European stock since known as "colonial," he was not merely the greatest figure which the war produced, he was the greatest European yet born outside of Europe.
The cause for which he fought had need of him. Whatever the capacity of popular leaders to bring on the war, they all but exhausted their mandate with that achievement. The Congress, which now became their chief authority, found its strength taxed to maintain its own existence. It had not merely to provide for defense, it had to erect a government, create and enforce its authority at home and gain recognition abroad, while its very life depended on circumstances over which it had small control or none. It lacked experience in great affairs, as well as in the conduct of regular administration. It had to deal with state governments which had risen on the ruins of provincial establishments and were little disposed to subordinate local to general interest. Without foreign support or credit, without money or power to tax, its chief concern was diplomacy, finance, and war, and only in the first did it achieve any considerable success. It could summon forces for such exploits as the siege of Boston, since threatened states or neighborhoods would rally to resist invasion; but the troops, ill armed, worse disciplined, needed nearly all the qualities which distinguish an army from a mob. To organize, equip, and maintain a permanent force, establish discipline, hold it together, in the face of defeat, privation, and discouragement, and make it fight, was beyond Congress' power. This was the task of Washington.
Amid difficulties of every sort, he and his officers, during the nine months' siege of Boston which followed the battle of Bunker Hill, strove to mold an army from the material at their command, while Congress found means to carry on the war. Before the outgeneraled British troops were finally forced to evacuate the town and sail for Halifax, both were in some degree achieved. The expeditions of the colonists against Canada failed to capture its strongholds or seduce the French Canadians from their new allegiance. Meanwhile, too, England had made her preparations, and when the Howes appeared with thirty thousand men and a convoying fleet off Long Island, swept Washington's inferior force aside, and occupied New York, it seemed that the power which had but lately humbled France would crush colonial resistance with even greater ease.
The war 1776
Yet in the face of the threatened collapse of its fortunes by the destruction of the army on which its life depended, Congress took the final step. It projected a constitution, as a result of a vote to suppress royal authority in the various provinces, and of resolutions looking toward absolving themselves from allegiance to the crown. And on July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia read and Congress adopted a Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence
It was a momentous document. Conceived in the spirit of Rousseau, whose doctrine of natural rights infused its preamble; formed on the model of the Grand Remonstrance which a hundred years before had voiced England's grievances against Charles I; this able and adroit pronunciamento, at once a statement of principles and the subtlest of appeals to American sentiment and prejudice, was much the most important state paper which the colonial world had yet produced. It was couched in language which breathed the loftiest sentiments of humanity, and appealed to every emotion of justice and liberty against despotic tyranny. It arraigned the English king for all the crimes committed by Parliament in stifling colonial development and endeavoring to destroy its inalienable rights. It summoned all those touched in their principles or interests to resist, and the sonorous splendor of its phraseology, no less than its immortal sentiments, shedding their magic over perverted history and partisan statement of the existing situation till they were transformed into rhetorical fact, make it a model of all such appeals. Not England itself had ever given birth to such a powerful instrument of rebellion. However vague its political philosophy, however weak its historical basis, however distorted its charges of fact, it became the inspiration of the conflict which produced it and remains a far-sounding trumpet-blast of liberty.
Yet, had the English commander been capable and determined, its summons would have been vain, for its defiance was accompanied by disaster to the arms of the cause it so ably voiced. Deprived of their control of Lake Champlain, driven from their position on the Hudson, the main revolutionary army under Washington was compelled to retire southward before Howe's superior forces, and only a daring surprise of the enemy's winter quarters encouraged the colonists to go on. Had Howe persisted in his pursuit, had he not held his hand when the Americans were within his grasp, the single barrier which stood between the revolutionary cause and destruction would have been forced. But the English commander delayed, procrastinated, wasted time and opportunity, till both were gone beyond recall. While he tarried, what the English Parliament or even the revolutionary agitators could not do, had been accomplished by wanton and fruitless invasion, as district after district was roused by the appearance of a hostile force.
Meanwhile, congressional agents had been busy abroad. There was one power from which help might reasonably have been expected, and to that power application was early made. France, humiliated, bankrupt in credit and colonies, her prestige impaired, her pride touched, could not, indeed, hope to regain the territory which she had lost a dozen years before. But her statesmen, especially the able and adroit Choiseul, had kept in sight the prospect of revenge. His plans had been continued under Vergennes, and France was hopeful of the present crisis. Yet the prospect so long fore-
seen was still so dubious and uncertain that when it came her ministers at first hesitated to embark upon so unpromising an enterprise. What they had not ventured openly they did not scruple to do by stealth. Under the transparent guise of a private company the French politician-dramatist, Beaumarchais, and the Connecticut promoter-diplomat, Deane, professing to deal with Bermuda, shipped small arms, cannon, and supplies, despite the protests of the English, and so kept the colonial resistance alive. 1774-6
To this traffic events soon gave a more serious and important turn. The most astute of all Americans, Franklin, won the sympathy of the French public; the young Marquis de Lafayette, with other noblemen, selected from a host of volunteers, embarked for America at their own expense. Experienced soldiers were enlisted--the French Baron de Kalb, the Pole Pulaski, the German Steuben--to organize, drill, and marshal the American levies into a force able to contend with British regulars on equal terms, and the New Model of the colonists, under such auspices, gradually took on more dangerous form.
European volunteers 1777
Finally, the events in America brought these activities to the test. Howe, having failed to crush or capture Washington, a campaign was planned to hold New York and Philadelphia, and at the same time cut off New England from the other colonies by an expedition from Montreal, which, making its way along the Richelieu, Lakes Champlain and George, should join hands with like expeditions from New York and from the west along the Mohawk. The first part of the program offered few obstacles. Washington's weak forces were still no match for Howe, and, easily defeated, they were forced to abandon Philadelphia. They lost the forts commanding the Delaware, failed to surprise the British again, and, as Howe took up his winter quarters in the American capital, whence Congress had fled, Washington led his dispirited and suffering troops to the hardships of a winter in the huts of Valley Forge.
Howe And Washington 1777
Never had the American cause appeared more hopeless, yet the tide had already turned. While Burgoyne's army of British and Hessians made its triumphant way past the forts
The Burygoyne expidition 1777
guarding the route to the Hudson, which surrendered or were abandoned at his approach, and St. Leger with his motley Indian and English force advanced from the west, the Americans had retired on Saratoga. But no aid came from the British commander in New York. A raid on Bennington to recruit his failing supplies roused the Vermonters to inflict defeat and loss upon the Hessians. The Indian allies began to withdraw, while from every side reinforcements flocked to join the colonial army under Schuyler and Gates. In such circumstances Burgoyne, abandoned by those on whom he had relied, was forced to fight under adverse conditions of every sort, and twice defeated, was finally compelled to surrender his entire force.
It was a fatal blow. Scarcely had the news of this reverse to English arms reached France when Vergennes hurried forward the treaties which brought French power to aid the Americans. Spain held back for a time, but presently entered the conflict; and when Washington's army emerged from the sufferings of Valley Forge, it found the whole status of the cause for which it fought had altered. Already conciliatory proposals had been introduced in Parliament by North. Commissioners had been despatched to offer the Americans the repeal of the coercive acts, a general amnesty, and every right short of entire independence. But conciliation and commissioners alike came too late. Neither received a hearing, and England, failing in her tardy attempt to divide her enemies and preserve her colonies at the expense of her sovereignty, made ready with a heavy heart to face again a world of enemies. Though refusing to ally herself with the United States, Spain presently declared war in concert with France. Holland, which had aided the Americans from the first by throwing open her West Indian ports to the exchange of tobacco and other colonial products for munitions of war, followed suit; and, to crown England's misfortunes, the states of northern Europe took advantage of her embarrassment to injure her by forming a league of Armed Neutrality against her pretensions on the sea.
The French treaty 1778
Spain and Holland 1779-80
These circumstances, with the decline of her credit in the face of new demands on her resources, put her on the defensive. None the less, from necessity as from choice, she pursued the war. A new commander, Rodney, was appointed to command the fleet; Clinton replaced Howe at the head of the army; and the old plan of seizing the French West Indies was revived with a new plan of land campaign. Philadelphia, the Capua of the Revolution, was abandoned; and Washington's attack on the retiring English troops was the last engagement fought in the north. Thereafter, three other circumstances combined to change the character of the war. The first was the despatch of a French force under Count Rochambeau. Its arrival at Newport, with the operations of d'Estaing's fleet, which returned from its conquests in the West Indies, cleared New England of English troops, at the same time that Philadelphia was lost to them. The second was the concurrent loss of the western posts, save Detroit, to the Americans under George Rogers Clark. The third was the progress of the adoption of those Articles of Confederation, which Congress had drawn up immediately following the Declaration of Independence, as the basis of union and constitutional government.
The Articles of Confederation 1776-80
Loose as was the bond, feeble as were the powers of the proposed central authority, the particularist spirit of the old colonial divisions was so strong that not even the pressure of the war had greatly prevailed on the separatists in the various states to consent to any curtailment of local powers. Thus the necessary ratification by the separate states had dragged its slow way with small success and little interest. Now, however, the recognition of independence by foreign powers and the prospect of their aid gave impetus to union. And, though this was long delayed by provincial jealousies over conflicting claims to western lands, the closing years of the war saw the ratification of the Articles and the consequent establishment of a central government.
Meanwhile, the conflict proceeded to its final phase. The English hold on New England and the middle colonies had now been broken, the Hudson lost, and Georgia overrun by the Americans. Their plundering expeditions from New York
The last phase-the surrender of Cornwallis 1780-1
accomplished little but the destruction of property and the exasperation of the colonists; their own coasts were terrified by the exploits of the American naval commander, Paul Jones; and at the solicitation of the southern loyalists, the British turned to that quarter of the continent. Charleston was occupied, and from there Cornwallis, with his lieutenant, Tarleton, despite occasional reverses, drove the Americans before them. Marching north from the Carolinas to join hands with the other British forces in Virginia, the brilliant campaign was brought to a sudden and untimely end. The French fleet outmanœuvered the British admiral and forestalled the arrival of Clinton's too long delayed reinforcements from New York, on whose assistance Cornwallis had relied. The Chesapeake was blockaded. Washington and Lafayette, eluding Clinton's relaxed vigilance, hurried their forces to co-operate with the French fleet. Cornwallis found 4 himself abandoned and entrapped; and, after attempting in vain to defend himself on the peninsula of Yorktown, was compelled to surrender his army to the allies.
Oct. 19 1781
It was the crowning blow. The drum-major who ordered his men to play a popular air, "The World turned upside down," as the British defiled from their entrenchments, was a true prophet of the great event. Though two years were still to intervene before the treaties were signed which recognized the independent existence of the United States of America, now added to the nations of the earth, Cornwallis' surrender determined the result. And not that alone: North's ministry, long tottering to its fall, was overthrown; and the confusion of the successive coalition governments paralyzed the state until the accession of the younger Pitt brought order out of chaos with the rise of the new Tory Party to a long lease of power. Before that was achieved, Ireland had taken advantage of English embarrassments to organize a force of volunteers, nominally to protect herself against threatened invasion. With that force she was able to extort recognition of parliamentary independence from the English government, and a species of home rule which endured two decades. 1782
At the same time, England had lost most of her gains in the West Indies to the French. In India, Hyder Ali, who had already occupied the Carnatic, was reinforced by Suffren in command of a French squadron. And though Gibraltar, which had long been besieged by Spain, was relieved by Rodney's victory over the Spanish fleet and saved by Elliot's splendid defense; though England regained command of the Channel, which had meanwhile almost slipped from her grasp; almost simultaneously she lost Minorca on the one side of the Atlantic and Florida and the Bahamas on the other. With this, however, the tide turned, and as she was relieved from the pressure of the American war, and thus enabled to throw her strength against her European enemies, she regained something of her old position and power. The defeat of de Grasse's fleet by Rodney preserved her greater West Indian possessions from capture. The death of Hyder Ali removed her most dangerous enemy in India; and when the Peace of Paris and Versailles was signed she lost, indeed, her American colonies, but she was able to retain more of her old possessions than two years before would have seemed possible.
The Peace of Paris and Versailles 1783
With it came new alignment of frontiers. Spain kept Florida and Minorca; France recovered her East Indian posts, with St. Lucia and Tobago in the West Indies, Senegal and Goree in Africa; and the United States secured the rights of fishery, and the western lands as far as the Mississippi and Florida, with privilege of navigation to the Gulf. For the rest, the British Empire remained as before; and, however fallen in territory, credit, and prestige from the proud state which twenty years before emerged triumphant from the Seven Years' War, England was still the leading colonial power of the world, and, in the interval of peace, she turned to adjust domestic and imperial concerns in which the crisis of recent events had shown the fundamental necessity of reform. In such fashion was concluded the war of the American Revolution, which, as Frederick the Great declared, was the most important European event of its time!
[ Continue to Vol.2 - Ch.XXXVI ]