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It was now time for Frederick, while the Austrians were busy in Alsace and Flanders, to desert Maria Theresa and join the French. He invaded Bohemia and Moravia and took Prague. She turned once more to Hungary, raised an army of irregulars, with which Prince Charles of Lorraine drove the Prussians out of Bohemia with great loss.
In January, 1745, a Quadruple Alliance was formed between Great Britain, Austria, Holland and Saxony ; Saxony and other German states receiving subsidies. In the same month Charles VII., the Emperor, died, and his successor made a settlement with Maria Theresa by which her husband became Emperor. She set out to drive Frederick out of the stolen Silesia. But she was unsuccessful. Frederick had had time to consolidate his power in the land, and Pelham, who had become minister in 1743, now made a treaty with Frederick, guaranteeing him the stolen provinces. Thus deserted, Maria Theresa was forced to give Silesia by treaty to Frederick.
But the war still went on. In May, 1745, an attempt in Flanders to relieve Tournay, which was besieged by the French, brought on the battle of Fontenoy. Here the Allies were on the eve of success when they were checked and defeated by a brigade of Catholic Irish who had been driven from their own country by the persecutions of the Protestant minority. Forming the van of the French army, and shouting the cry of “Limerick and the Saxon faith," they turned the fortunes of the battle. The Duke of Cumberland, who commanded, did not use the artillery, because the contractors for the horsing of the guns ran off with the horses early in the day. After this, the French took Tournay, Ghent, Bruges, Oudenarde, Dendermond and Ostend.
In July, 1745, the attempt of Charles Edward to regain the throne, while showing his chivalrous and, must one say, impracticable character in the sharpest contrast to the Hanoverian, ended in April, 1746, in the barbarities of Culloden. This short campaign displayed the incapacity of the Hanoverian generals and the apathy of the English and Lowland Scots as to the winner. The victory was followed by the most appalling cruelties. Never, perhaps, says Mahon, did any insurgents meet a more ungenerous enemy than the butcher Cumberland. He had not forgotten Fontenoy. Parliament gave him £25,000 a year for himself and his heirs. He lived to exercise a most unfortunate influence later on our generals by his support of officers trained in the old formal Flanders warfare, which was being swept away by a new school of soldiers who had studied the campaigns of Frederick.
Charles Edward may have been an impossible king, but he and his loyal Highland followers were a pleasant contrast to the Hanoverians. In his proclamation he pointed out the foreign forces brought against him-Dutch, Danes, Hessian and Swiss. In General Wade's army out of ten battalions only three were English. Flora Macdonald, who helped him to escape, was imprisoned in London until released at the intercession of the Princess Frederick, the mother of George III. The terror which these barelegged Highlanders, speaking Gaelic, inspired in the commercial English, should be remembered when George III., escaping from the Whig oligarchy, employed Bute the Scot.
Meanwhile the French were overrunning Flanders and taking fortresses, and the Austrians were driving the French and Spaniards out of Italy. Thirty thousand Russians and some Danes, to be paid by Great Britain, were obtained to support the allies in Holland, and, says Fortescue, were landed in Holland without a grain of powder among them, and neither horses for artillery nor wagons for baggage.
After the New Englanders had captured Louisburg in 1744, Newcastle promised a large force from England to conquer Canada ; but the British were far too much occupied with affairs at home and on the continent to spare ships or troops for America.
Apart from her Hanoverian masters and their military followers, the British nation urgently desired peace. Her debt was enormous, her commerce injured, her gains negligible. Holland was desperately crippled and in danger from the French armies always. France was nearing bankruptcy, her commerce absolutely destroyed, her recent prosperity vanished. Spain, under a new king, had no wish for war. The only one who had benefited by the massacre and famine was Frederick, through whose shameless perfidy the war had occurred and lasted. He sat still, and held on to the territory which he had stolen, confirmed to him by the other guarantors of Maria Theresa's title. The condition of Germany and all Central Europe, after the drums and tramplings of these conquests, was unspeakably pitiable. Even Frederick had been compelled to evacuate territory by the want of sustenance for his men.
By a Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 a truce was negotiated, in which the questions of moment which were the certain seeds of future wars were left to one side. For the most part conquests were mutually restored, and, to please the Hanoverian, France drove out Charles Edward to his life wanderings in Europe. Otherwise the truce settled nothing. To the Seven Years' War was left the attempt of the rulers of Eastern and Central Europe to punish Frederick of Prussia, and the settlement of the boundaries of colonial empire between Britain and France in America, and to 1780 the dispute as to the right of the naval belligerent to search neutral ships.
The British, as usual, got little by the peace in comparison with the cost and losses of the war. It has always been so with France. "C'est qu'aux batailles qu'ils ont eues avec les Français toujours ou le plus souvent ils ont eu le gain,” says Philippe de Commines; “mais en tous traités qu'ils ont eus à conduire avec eux, ils y ont eu perte et dommage.” (Book 3, chap. viii.) “Our experiences with the French," writes General Allen, Commanding Officer of the American forces on the Rhine in 1918, “have too often shown that a compromise is not a settlement, but merely the attainment of a first objective to be utilized later in securing the final objective."
The lessons of the war of the Austrian Succession do not lie for us in the European military operations which, except for military writers, have interest only as an illustration of the evergreen contest between the military powers of France and Germany. The only connection of the islands with the great continental squabble was the possession of Hanover. Hanover lay at the mercy of Frederick of Prussia, or Louis of France, and whoever held Hanover controlled the German seaboard and the great rivers, Elbe, Weser and Ems. The British were not willing to fight anyone, France or Prussia, for Hanover; but when the truce of Aix-la-Chapelle expires and the Seven Years' War breaks out, tied by their king to the Electorate, they have to take measures to break the alliance against Austria of 1741 between France and Prussia so as to ensure the neutrality of the northern waters.
Our interests lay in quite other directions, in the Indies, East and West, and in our colonial possessions in America and Africa. From 1739 to the end of the century western European history is the story of a struggle between the powers for the possession of colonies and of markets in distant lands, colonies and markets carrying with them a monopoly of trade. British supremacy was built up under the monopoly secured by heavy protective tariffs, and not under free trade.
THE RIVALRY OF BRITAIN AND FRANCE
i. The French Colonial Empire.-Holland had ceased to be at the head of the world's trade as at the time of Colbert. The coming struggle for colonial empire, which was to begin formally in 1755, was between France and Britain. For an understanding of the French position we must go back once more to Law and his magnificent schemes. Colbert had founded a Council of Commerce, a mercantile code had been drawn up which held until 1807, an ordinance of marine which superseded the diverse customs of the sea, and later Chambers of Commerce.
Law, besides his bank, had proposed "a work which would surprise Europe by the changes which it would create in favour of France, greater changes than had been produced by the discovery of the Indies or by the introduction of credit." This was the creation of a vast company for maritime commerce, which should also collect taxes and so forth. It would sustain the value of the currency issued by the Bank by assuring it permanent employment.
In August, 1717, letters patent established the Company of the West, and gave to it for twenty-five years the full propriety of lands discovered or to be discovered in Louisiana, forts which the State had constructed, the right of choosing governors, officers and soldiers. The capital was one hundred million, divided into two hundred thousand shares of five hundred livres each, which would appear to have been sufficient. But Law,
in order to redeem the paper circulation which embarrassed his bank, declared that the shares should be paid in State notes, by which, as the notes lost about seventy-five per cent., the Company only collected some thirty millions. Law was supposed to remit these notes to the State, which would annul them, and would assure to the Company in compensation a rent of four millions for relief posts and tobacco.
In spite of the advantages they gave to subscribers of getting rid of the notes of State, the shares of the Company were very coldly received. Law obtained a revenue for the Company by contracting for the farm of tobacco for 4,020,000 livres, the amount of the rent due from the State. Then in 1718 the new Company bought up the Company of Senegal with its material and eleven vessels. In spite of the opposition of the Parlement Law obtained in May, 1718, a transfer of the Compagnie des Indes, the Compagnie d'Afrique, de San Domingo, and des Nègres de Guinée. By stockjobbing and fanciful advertisement of the resources of Louisiana he forced up the stock to fabulous prices.
In June and July he issued from the bank two hundred and ninety million of notes. He issued fifty thousand new shares of five hundred francs each at a premium of ten per cent. which were promptly pushed to a thousand. He went into heavy dealings to crush any other company, paying debts with the paper money. The principal shareholders declared a dividend of twelve per cent. He continued to make fresh issues at enormous premiums until the smash came. Then in 1722–23 the Compagnie des Indes recovered its liberty.
In the meantime the operations of the Company were very various. At the end of 1719 it possessed thirty ships, and bought twelve others in March, 1720. One of the fleets returned from the South Seas with a cargo of twelve million livres. Their entrepôts were at Belle Isle and at Lorient, where the ships were subject to minute inspections of customs. But in spite of penalties there was immense smuggling of the merchandise brought in the ships of the Company.
In February, 1720, the Company sent to Louisiana eight hundred families of colonists, offering each two hundred and eighty arpents of land. Then six thousand Germans were engaged for three years. Twelve thousand Indians were