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them on the other.

The duke d'Harcourt, with a detachment from
Count de Saxe's troops, had already taken the little
town of Plan, on the western extremity of Bohemia,
and made therein four hundred prisoners of war.
Count de Saxe, after having evacuated Plan, and
taken another post called Elnbogen, joined the grand
army. They were soon after in sight of the Aus-
trians, and might have given them battle ; but it was
a hazardous step; for, had they been beaten, they
had neither retreat nor certainty of subsistence. The
minister had written twice in these terms to M. Mail-
lebois : " Avoid hazarding the honor of the king's
army, and come to no engagement, the success of
which can be in the least doubtful."

There was not only an impossibility of coming to
an action with absolute certainty of success, but also,

The War of 1 74 1- 87

the enemy having plundered a magazine, the diffi-
culty of obtaining subsistence daily increased. There
was an intention of opening a road toward Prague,
by the way of Caden, on the river Eger, and leaving
Eger and Elnbogen behind them : were they once
posted at Caden, the road to Prague seemed free, and
provisions might have been easily received from
Saxony. Moreover, Marshal Broglie had posted the
marquis d'Armentieres with some troops at Leut-
meritz. Leutmeritz is a small town, lying half way
between Caden and Prague; and here the Eger
falls into the Elbe. Everything depended upon the
post of Caden ; and at Paris this important military
operation exhausted all their conjectures and
remarks. Never was the conduct of generals cen-
sured with more precipitation and severity; and it
has ever since been questioned whether or no the
troops were ever at Caden.

I here present you with a detail of the fact, as it
has been incontestably declared by the general him-
self. It may, perhaps, be of little consequence to
posterity ; at present, however, it is interesting. On
October 22 Count Saxe detached some troops toward
Caden, to break down the bridge upon the Eger, over
which the enemy might have passed. One independ-
ent company had already entered the place, and
broken down the bridge ; the Austrians came up,
almost in the same instant, repaired the bridge, and
made themselves masters of the town. Thus was
all communication cut off between the armies of

88 The War of 1741.

Marshal Broglie and M. Maillebois. The latter could
receive no accounts from Leutmeritz; and the only
road to Caden led through a defile which it seemed
impossible to penetrate. Bohemia is surrounded by
a chain of craggy mountains, through which there
are only some narrow passes or defiles, in which a
hundred men may put a whole army to a stand.
They had only bread enough left to last till October
24 ; so that M. Maillebois was obliged to reduce the
soldiers to half allowance, by giving them only a
quarter of a pound of meat apiece. They attempted
to pass the defile of Caden ; but found it impracti-
cable to bring up the artillery. The wagoners
deserted : their places were supplied by soldiers, but
their progress was not in the least quickened. Dis-
content, want of discipline, misunderstanding, deser-
tion, everything conspired against their march.

A council of war was held on October 17, and all
the general officers declared for retreating: Count
d'Estrees, who was in Eger, sent his opinion in
writing. " For my part," said he, " we must either
assemble all our forces and fight, or else proceed no
farther : we have no alternative." The rest advised,
what had often been proposed before their march
into Bohemia, to turn off toward the Danube, and
thereby alarm Austria. Thus the army could hardly
set foot in Bohemia; but fatigued and diminished
by a long and painful march, they returned toward
Bavaria. It was, however, better for that electorate
to have these new troops, which, joined to those of

The War of 1 741. 89

Count Saxe, amounted to more than fifty thousand
fighting men. The count sent M. Broglie to com-
mand them.

This general passed through Saxony, with five
hundred horse, November 12 : he arrived at Nu-
remberg, and at Dengelfing in Bavaria, on the 22d,
where he took upon him the command of the army.
Marshal Belle-Isle remained at Prague, where he
engaged the close attention of the Austrians. The
auxiliary army, now of consequence, was superior
in Bavaria. Munich was a second time relieved, and
the emperor entered it again. That prince had still
between ten and twelve thousand men. They werq
masters of the Danube for upward of thirty leagues ;
that is to say, from Ulm almost to Passau. In
Bohemia they still kept Eger and Prague; and the
little circle of Leutmeritz, between Prague and Sax-
ony, was still in their hands. The affairs of the
emperor might have been re-established ; but Leut-
meritz was soon after taken, and Marshal Belle-Isle
found himself shut up in Prague, together with his
whole army, now reduced to about seventeen thou-
sand men, without money, subsistence, or hope of
succor: he had nothing to hope, but from himself,
and the good disposition of his officers, who none of
them fell short of what he expected. In a letter, dated
October 28, he says : " I cannot, on this occasion,
sufficiently praise the zeal of the dukes de Chevreuse
and Fleury, and the marquis de Surgeres, who sold
everything they had left to remount the dragoons."

90 The War of 1 741.

Marshal Belle-Isle, seconded by his brother,
brought provisions into Prague, opened the passes,
beat the enemy's parties, and kept them at least six
leagues' distance all around him : he established an
exact police in the town; and what was not the
smallest of his labors, caused an exact discipline to
be observed among his troops.

When we examine the memoirs of this siege, and
see the extremities to which they were reduced, the
loud and incessant complaints among the troops,
the series of disappointments, their want, and the
accumulated miseries whereby they were discour-
aged, it is astonishing how this general could draw
his resources. M. de Seychelles wanted money, and
yet he never let the hospitals want. In this place the
most immediate assistance was necessary: above
twenty soldiers died daily, one after another, during
the whole month of June. These and many other
losses presented themselves continually to the minds
of the soldiers, terrified with their present evils, and
a prospect of what were to come, which imagina-
tion never fails to heighten considerably.

They were thus cruelly situated in the month of
November, when the ministry ordered Marshal
Belle-Isle to attempt the evacuation of Prague, even
in sight of the army that blockaded it. The general
wrote that he had taken such measures as enabled
him to obey any orders that might be given him, and
he would undertake to hold out four months longer,
in case he were commanded to do so ; but if the min-

The War of 1741. gi

istry thought it more expedient that he should with-
draw with his troops out of Prague, he would con-
duct them in safety to Eger, in spite of the enemy's
army, and the extreme rigor of the season. The
court preferred the latter proceeding, and it was
accordingly carried into execution: during the
blockade this general had remounted his cavalry;
his dragoons were formed out of the artillery horses ;
he had covered wagons to carry provisions; he
wanted for no manner of convenience; but the
danger was extreme.

Prince Lobkowitz had distributed his army in such
a manner that they surrounded the town, the inhab-
itants of which were so many spies on the motions
of the French. In the meantime, the weather daily
grew colder, and became almost intolerable. There
were upward of two thousand soldiers sick in the
place, and the marshal himself had been a long
while in so bad a state of health that he could not
mount on horseback ; yet, in the midst of all these
conspiring obstacles, he fixed on the night of Dec.
16 or 17, 1742, to make his retreat. In order to
secure it more effectually, it was incumbent on him
not only to deceive Prince Lobkowitz, but also the
inhabitants of the place, and his own people ; to this
end he was continually sending detachments all
around him to bring in forage, which were always
accompanied with cannon and covered wagons ;
so that the surprise should be less when he chose to
evacuate the place, which must be done with such

92 The War of 1741.

an equipage. Two days before his retreat he laid
contributions payable in four months. The day of
his intended departure, the gates of the town were
kept shut ; and having caused a report to be spread
that he was to sally out and make an expedition on
such a quarter, he made his retreat by another road ;
whereby he gained upon Prince Lobkowitz a march
of twenty-four hours, keeping his people all the;
while in order of battle, and followed sometimes by
thirty pieces of cannon, according as the enemy
chanced to present themselves. He forced their
quarters, repulsed their cuirassiers, and opened for
himself, with a body of eleven thousand infantry and
two thousand five hundred horse, a passage through
the country that had been entirely unknown. The
retreat was continued for ten days through ice and
snow. The enemy's cavalry harassed them perpetu-
ally on their march, appearing always somewhere
either in front, rear, or flank, and were continually
repulsed: could they have possessed themselves of
the provisions, Belle-Isle's whole army had been

To prevent this misfortune his corps marched
in five divisions, each of which had under its care
its respective share of provisions and ammunition.
On the third day Prince Lobkowitz appeared at the
head of a body of cavalry, on the other side of a
plain where they might have come to an engagement.
He held a council of war, in which it was resolved
not to attack an army, who, if forced to it, must

The War of 1741. 93

certainly fight with that sort of despair that renders
courage invincible : he determined therefore to cut
off the retreat of the French by breaking down the
bridges on the Eger, over which they must neces-
sarily pass.

Marshal Belle-Isle chose, however, a road which
would have been, in any other season, impassable:
he marched his army across some frozen morasses.
The cold was his greatest enemy, for he lost by that
alone above eight hundred soldiers. One of the
hostages which he brought with him from Prague
expired in his coach. At length he arrived at Eger,
on December 26, having performed a journey of
thirty-eight leagues. That very day the troops that
remained behind in Prague made a glorious capitu-
lation. The same M. de Chevert who had been the
first in mounting the walls of the place, had been left
to command therein with a garrison of about three
thousand men, one-third of whom were sick. He
took hostages from the town, shut them up in his
own house, and lodged several tons of gunpowder
in his cellar, fully resolved to blow himself and
them together into the air in case the citizens should
offer him the least violence. This intrepid conduct
contributed not a little to those honorable conditions
which he obtained of Prince Lobkowitz. He was
allowed to march his garrison to Eger, with all the
honors of war, the sick excepted, who, not being able
to follow him, were obliged to submit to the hard
fate of becoming prisoners of war, though their

94 The War of 1741.

behavior merited a much better fate. Thus the town
of Prague, which had been taken by the French in
half an hour, was now happily evacuated after a
siege and blockade of five months. The French
being now left alone, without allies, could not pre-
serve Bohemia to the emperor; but they restored
him to the possession of Bavaria.






IN the space of two years, reckoning from the death
of the last Austrian emperor to the end of 1742, we
have seen Bohemia, Bavaria, and the Upper Palati-
nate taken and retaken ; Prussia and Saxony united
with France, until the Treaty of Breslau, made in
June the same year, and afterward becoming neu-
tral ; while the other princes of the empire remained
silent. In the same year also, George II., king of
England, elector of Hanover, began openly to break
the neutrality to which he had been forced to accede ;
end his troops in Flanders, to the amount of forty-
eight thousand men, though as yet in a state of inac-
tion, were, however, in readiness to act. The Aus-
trian army was in possession of all Bohemia, Eger

The War of 1741. 95

excepted. There were still fifty thousand French
in Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate, under Marshal
Broglie, against a like number of the enemy ; so that
it was yet doubtful whether the Bavarian emperor,
assisted by France, should conquer, or whether he
should preserve his patrimony, or even the imperial

It is to be remarked that since the month of
August, 1 74 1, France had sent to the emperor's assist-
ance, at different times, one hundred and fifty squad-
rons, without reckoning eleven independent com-
panies, eight troops of light horse, three thousand
Palatines, and three thousand Hessians; to which
may be added the Bavarians themselves, who were
paid by France, who likewise raised, about the year
1742, thirty thousand militia, deducted from the peo-
ple of different departments, in proportion to their
number. And here it is not amiss to observe that
the department of Paris furnishes only fourteen
hundred and ten men; while Normandy furnishes
three thousand and ninety; a proof that this prov-
ince is to be considered as the more populous.

France had also at the same time other resources \
for besides what she paid to the Hessians and Pala-
tines ; besides six millions yearly given to the
emperor ; she granted subsidies to the king of Den-
mark to prevent that crown from furnishing troops
to the king of England; she also still retained
Sweden in her pay, whom she had assisted in her war
against Russia; and had it not been for this war,

96 The War of 1741.

the court of St. Petersburg might have assisted the
Austrians, as she afterward did, with thirty thou-
sand men.

We see what efforts France was obliged to make
both at home and abroad : she was obliged to arm
one part of Europe, and to maintain the other.
Poland was far from cordially supporting the inter-
ests of her king, the elector of Saxony; and that
elector, since his peace with the queen, concerned
himself no further in the quarrel of the empire. The
grand seignior, standing in awe of Shah Nadir, who
had usurped the throne of Persia, and conquered part
of Asia, no longer disturbed the kingdom of Hun-
gary. Such was the state of affairs in the northern
and eastern parts of Europe, and in the southern
and western parts, in which latter I include France
and Italy.

Spain exhibited another scene, wherein England
was a principal actor, as well with regard to that
balance of power which she had always affected to
hold, as her commerce, in which was her more real
and sensible interest. We have already observed
that, after the happy conclusion of the Peace of
Utrecht, the English, who were left in possession of
Minorca, as well as of Gibraltar in Spain, had
obtained privileges from the court of Madrid which
had been denied to the French, her defenders. The
English merchants were permitted to supply the
Spanish colonies with negroes, whom they purchased
in Africa to make slaves of in the new world. This

The War of 1741. 97

trade of one species of mankind selling those of
another species, at the duty of thirty-three piastres a
head, paid by way of duty to the Spanish govern-
ment, was attended with considerable profit ; for the
English company had obtained this advantage, that
in the sale of four thousand eight hundred negroes,
the eight hundred were vended duty free. But the
greatest advantage which was granted to the Eng-
lish, exclusive of all other nations, was a permis-
sion given them in the year 1716, to send a vessel
annually to Porto Bello.

This vessel, which, by the first agreement, was to
be only five hundred tons burden, was by convention
in 1717, increased to eight hundred, which by abuse
and connivance was in reality swelled to a thousand ;
so that it was fit to contain two millions weight of
merchandise; these thousand tons were yet the
smallest part of the commerce which this company
carried on. The vessel was followed by a pinnace,
which went to and from her continually, under pre-
tence of supplying her with provisions. This pin-
nace took in constant loadings at the British colo-
nies, which she unburdened at the ship ; which being
thus constantly replenished, was as good as a whole
fleet. She was, besides, supplied by other vessels,
who landed on the American coasts such kind of
commodities as the people were in want of. This
was doing great injury to the Spanish government,
as well as to all the nations concerned in the com-
Vo 1 - 337

98 The War of 1741.

merce carried on between the ports of Spain and the
Gulf of Mexico.

The Spanish government in return treated the
English traders with severity ; and severity is always
carried to too great a length. The innocent were
sometimes confounded with the guilty : the debts
lawfully due to some people were detained, because
others had made unjust gains. There were violent
complaints on both sides. Many of the English
carried on a piratical trade with impunity : they
encountered some Spaniards on the coast of Florida,
who were fishing for the treasure of the wrecked
galleons, of which they had already recovered four
hundred thousand piastres. Part of these people
they killed, and carried off the money. The Span-
iards demanded satisfaction for this and other acts
of violence of the English governors in America.
These buccaneers used often, when they had seized
upon a Spanish ship, after having plundered it, to
sink it with the crew, that no testimony of their crime
might survive. At other times they were wont to
dispose of the Spaniards as slaves in their colonies ;
and when these unhappy people solicited the Eng-
lish government to do them justice, those who had
sold them were acquitted from punishment, because
they affirmed, that, misled by their swarthy conv-
plexions, they mistook the Spaniards for negroes.
The judges understood, and winked at the aggres-
sors, in whose plunder they shared, and who were
then said to have been tried by their peers.

The War of 1741. 99

The Spanish guarda-costas often avenged them-
selves of these cruel hostilities: they took several
English vessels, the crews of which they treated very
ill. A negotiation was carried on, both at Madrid
and London, for putting an end to those quarrels in
America. By the convention of Pardo, made Jan.
14, 1739, Spain having settled her account with the
English South Sea Company, promised to pay
thereto, in four months, ninety thousand pounds ;
first deducting therefrom what the company was in
other respects indebted to Spain. This deduction
furnished fresh matter for a broil ; and the settling
of the accounts of a commercial company was pro-
ductive of a war which cost each side a thousand
times more than what either demanded.

In 1739 the captain of a ship, named Jenkins, pre-
sented himself to the house of commons in England :
he was a plain open man, and had not, as it was
said, carried on any illicit commerce, but was met by
a Spanish guarda-costa within a certain boundary in
America, where the Spaniards would not permit the
English to navigate. The Spanish commandant,
having seized upon Jenkins's ship, put the crew in
irons, slit the captain's nose, and cut off his ears. In
this condition he appeared before the parliament, and
related his story with that simplicity which is natural
to his profession and character. " Gentlemen," said
he, " when they had mangled me thus, they threat-
ened me with death : it was what I expected ; I rec-
ommended my soul to God, and the avenging of my

ioo The War of 1741.

cause to my country." These words, pronounced
with a natural emphasis, excited sentiments of pity
and indignation in the whole assembly; and the
common people wrote upon the door of the parlia-
ment house, " A free sea, or a war."

It has been already observed that the minister
Walpole wanted to reconcile these differences ; his
enemies endeavored to augment them : never was
any subject handled with more real eloquence than
this was in the house of commons of England ; nay,
I doubt whether the studied orations formerly deliv-
ered in Athens and Rome upon occasions almost sim-
ilar, excelled the speeches now spoken extempore by
Sir William Wyndham, Lord Car^teret, Sir Robert
Walpole, Lord Chesterfield, and Mr. Pulteney, since
created earl of Bath. These discourses, which nat-
urally arise from the English government and spirit,
often amaze strangers, just as some commodities are
capitally prized abroad, which in the country that
produces them are but little valued : but these pro-
ductions must be cautiously perused, as the spirit of
party dictates the whole, and the true state of the
nation is almost always veiled. The ministerial party
paint the government as being in a very flourishing
condition ; the opposite faction represent the nation
to be in a ruined state. Exaggeration triumphs in
both. A member of parliament at that time wrote
thus : " Where are those days in which a secretary of
war declared that no power in Europe should dare

The War of 1 741. IO1

to fire a single cannon without permission being first
obtained from Great Britain ? "

At length the voice of the nation determined th^
resolution of the king and parliament. Letters oi
reprisal were granted to the merchants and priva-
teers. War was declared against Spain in form
about the latter end of the year 1739. The ocean
now became the theatre of a war in which the pri-
vateers of each nation were authorized, by letters-
patent, to attack the merchant ships both in Europe
and America ; thereby reciprocally ruining that com-
merce, for the preservation of which they were
supposed to fight. They soon proceeded to greater

In 1740 Admiral Vernon entered the Gulf of
Mexico, where he attacked, took, and razed to the
ground, Porto Bello, the staple of the treasures of
the new world; and thus did he open a channel by
which the English, sword in hand, carried on that
commerce, which had heretofore been pronounced
clandestine, and was the occasion of the rupture. The
English looked upon this expedition as one of the
greatest services that could be done to the nation.
The admiral was honored with the thanks of both
houses of parliament. They wrote to him in the
same terms as had been addressed to the duke of
Marlborough after the battle of Hochstadt. South
Sea stock rose after that action, notwithstanding
the immense expense of the nation. The English
now hoped for nothing less than the conquest of all

IO2 The War of 1741.

Spanish America : they supposed that nothing could
resist the arms of Vernon ; and shortly after, when
that admiral went to lay siege to Cartagena, they
anticipated the celebration of the taking of the place ;
insomuch that, at the very time in which he was
forced to raise the siege, a medal was struck in
London, on which were to be seen the harbor and
environs of Cartagena, with this inscription : " He
has taken Cartagena." The reverse exhibited
Admiral Vernon and this motto : " To the avenger
of his country." There have been many instances
of these premature medals, whereby posterity might
be deceived, if the errors were not removed by the
more faithful and more exact reports of history.

Although the French navy was very weak, it was,
however, sufficient to stop the progress of the Eng-
lish, and squadrons were sent by France to pro-
tect the vessels and coasts of Spain. It was con-
trary to the law of nations, should the English, as
they had not broken with France, have attacked
her flag; but they eluded this artifice with a new
kind of policy : they twice pretended to mistake the
French for Spanish ships. Six of their ships of war
attacked the chevalier d'Epinay off St. Domingo,
who had but four, each of which carried less metal
than any of the English ; but, finding themselves
very roughly handled, they drew off, pretending to
have found their mistake, and asking pardon. Fight-

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