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b85. REVOCATION OF THE EDICT OF NANTES. 105
At length, in the year 1685, appeared the famous ordonnance, very vaguely and incorrectly styled the revocation of the edict of Nantes. This latter edict has been before censured as untenable, as organizing anarchy, and establishing one empire within another. But all these objectionable or anarchic regulations were destroyed and annulled by Richelieu. Nothing of it remained to repeal but tolerance of the religion, and even that confined to certain towns and districts. The ordonnance of 1685 revoked this tolerance; forbade all assemblies or exercise of the reformed religion; banished all their ecclesiastics from the kingdom in fifteen days; offered to such of them as would recant, their pensions, augmented by a third, which was to be continued to their wives; compelled the baptism of all infants in the Catholic church; and condemned to the galleys all except the pastors who should attempt to expatriate themselves. This, instead of being. merely the revocation of an edict, was an enactment of new and unheard-of severity; and, as usual, it induced amplifications still more severe. In 1686, a Protestant pastor, French or foreign, was punished with death if taken. Men who assisted or harbored them were to be sent to the galleys; women, to be shaved and confined: 5500 livres reward was set upon each of their heads. Death was the penalty for a Protestant taken in an assembly or act of public worship. All these details are from Catholic writers, justly touched with horror at their enormity. “Twenty of the religionists were put to death at this time,” say the memoirs of Noailles. “The fugitives who assembled on the mountains were pursued. A premium was offered to each parish that would give up twelve; and three or four pistoles to each soldier that brought in one. Battues were made through the country by the troops, just in the manner of chasing wild beasts.” * ,
It is supposed that 50,000 families emigrated from France at this time, in despite of the sanguinary prohibition... They were the most industrious part of the population, proved by the circumstance of their thriving in every land that received them, and enriching it as the price of their welcome. England received an immense number, principally silk manufacturers. The north of Germany profited by the same act of expatriation. The bigotry of Louis gave a greater blow to the industry and wealth of his kingdom, than all the unlimited expenses of his pride and his ambition.
From the time that Louis XIV. became a religious persecutor, his power and prosperity began to decline; but this can be accounted for on ther than superstitious or providential grounds. T 'ere are two kinds of wars: one purely and
merely ambitious or interested, undertaken to gain or defend a province, acquire a frontier, or win commercial advantages; the other is a war of principle, where a love or hatred of certain, political or religious dogmas is the actuating motive. The former runs into the latter, and partakes of it, when the independence of a nation is threatened; but in general they are distinct, and differ essentially. A war for material inter ests, interests not vital, is languid, a thing of art or combat, in which are emulation, and honor, and courage, but no greater passions. A war of principle is animated by altogether another spirit. It is rancofous, bitter, merciless, and bloody. ‘Jivil wars are generally of this kind. The past conquests of Louis were wars for aggrandizement merely. They awoke the jealousy and enmity of Europe, but not its passions. Henceforth he had to endure a war partaking much of principle. His cruelties to the Protestants had roused the hearts of Germans, Dutch, and English against him. The prince of Orange became the soul and the leader of this association, united in sympathy and feeling. A league was concluded at Augsburg, betwixt the German princes, Pngland, and Holland, against Louis. Spain joined, excited by jealousy of a domineering neighbor; the emperor also, who had seen the important town of Strasburg acquired by the gold of the French king in full peace. Louis anticipated his enemies, and was the first in the field; sending an army to the Rhine in 1688. It was commanded by the dauphin, who laid siege to Philipsburg. The prince of Orange was then meditating an important enterprise that momentarily distracted his attention from the continent. This was his invasion of England. The reader must be well acquainted with the circumstances of this event, which struck France a more decisive blow than if William had penetrated to the walls of Paris. Louis received with princely generosity the monarch whom his bigotry and pusillanimity had exiled, assigned him a palace and a revenue, fitting out at the same time a fleet and an army which in the same year transported James II. to Ireland. In the mean time the dauphin had taken Philipsburg, and the king's orders obliged his son to commence the war by an unequalled piece of barbarity. “Some one had persuaded Louis,” said Villars, “that the safety of the state consisted in putting a desert between our frontiers and the armies of the enemy. From this idea, against our own interests and the reasons of war, he ordered the great towns of Treves, Worms, Spire, and Heidelberg to be destroyed.” The elector's ancient palace, together with the cottages of his meanest subject, per
1689. PROGRESS OF THE WAR. 107
shed in the flames. “The very cellars were blown up, nor was a church spared.” The king's increased piety seemed to have taken from him the quality of mercy. This barbarous scheme failed to serve the French. On the contrary, fortune turned against their arms. The young duke of Lorraine drove them beyond the Rhine, took Bonn and Mayence, and gave promises of generalship, when he was cut off by disease. The mareschal d'Humieres was equally unsuccessful in Flanders against the prince of Waldeck, who had under him an auxiliary army of English commanded by lord Churchill. Despite of the six armies and 450,000 men kept on foot by Louis, the French had the worst of this first campaign. Louis rightly attributed his defeats to the inferiority of his generals. The enmity of Louvois had deprived thermareschal de Luxembourg of command. He was now placed at the head of the army in Flanders, independent of Louvois, and corresponding directly with the king. Catinat, chosen with equal sagacity, was sent to Italy. Luxembourg was a general of the school of Condé, of a quick eye, decisive and skilful in the moment of action, though too indolent and light for the whole conduct of a campaign. It was now incumbent on him to support his character. He advanced to cross the Sambre and attack Waldeck, about the very same time that king William was drawing near to his competitor at the Boyne. The prince of Waldeck was encamped on the plains of Fleurus, not far from Namur, watching the course of the Sambre. Learning, however, that Luxembourg was inferior in force, he allowed him to pass the river, and found his mistake too late; the mareschal, by a temporary reinforcement, being pretty much his equal. Luxembourg won the battle by a successful manoeuvre. His right as he advanced being hidden by a rising ground neglected by Waldeck, the marshal threw all his disposable force on this side, by which he was enabled to attack the Dutch left in front and flank. The German horse was broken; but the Dutch infantry made a most valiant resistance, only equalled by the celebrated Spanish phalanx when hemmed in at Rocroi. Yet these Dutch were the very soldiers who had fled before Louis XIV. in the last war without striking a blow. So stubborn was their valor that, although the French were victorious, the loss on both sides was considered as nearly equal. Catinat in the same campaign gained a victory still more glorious over the duke of Savoy at Saluces, but productive of not more real advantage. The French armies were no less brave, and no less ably conducted than of old, but their enemies had acquired equal confidence, qual skill, and were buoyed up by religious hate. The Protestants of Savoy were found useful by the duke in repelling the French. The spirit bf the Dutch was awakened by the same cause. It was on the ocean that the chief trophies of the French were this year won. Tourville, with an immense fleet of upwards of seventy sail, encountered the combined squadrons of England and Holland, amounting to no more than fifty-six, off Beachy Head. The Dutch began the action, but were for a long time weakly seconded by Torrington, the English admiral. The Dutch were thus defeated ere the action became general: they lost two admirals, and six of their best ships. The loss of the English was proportioned to their honor on this occasion. Torrington fled into the Thames; and the French admiral proceeded to insult the coast of England. They even made a descent, and burned the town of Teignmouth. The following year, Louis commenced by the siege of Mons, which surrendered in a few days. The king of England, who had resumed the command in Flanders, in vain endeavored to relieve it. There was a sharp combat towards the close of the season betwixt Waldeck and Luxembourg, but nothing decisive. On the side of Spain, however, the French, under the mareschal de Noailles, made progress: Urgel was taken, and Barcelona bombarded. The minister Louvois died this year, in time to avoid dismissal. He had opposed the king's marriage with madame de Maintenon; and this lost him the king's confidence. The cruel measures of Louis, especially his ravaging the Palatinate, and his new plan of bombardments, were attributed to this minister. Jouis, however, was unable to find a successor of his talents; and, as from the death of Colbert dated the decline of the finances, victories ceased soon after the loss of Louvois. His son Barbesieux succeeded to his office, and soon proved himself inept. Could talents be made hereditary, like wealth, much of the embarrassment of kingly rule would be removed. It seemed to be part of court etiquette that the monarch should besiege and take a fortress each spring. In 1692, he invested Namur; whilst Luxembourg, with an army, occupied the course of the Mehaigne, and kept the enemy from advancing to its succor. Vauban commanded the attack; Cohorn, a rival engineer, managed the defence. Namur succumbed. During the progress of this siege, a naval action was fought off Cape la Hogue, that for ever decided the fate »f the Stuarts. Tourville commanded the French, no longer so numerous, a portion of their fleet being in the Mediterranean. He was preparing to convey James, with a fresh army, to Ireland, when he was attacked by admiral Russel,
1693 BATTLE OF STEINKIRK, 109
and defeated; the English pursuing the French ships to shore, and burning them. James, as he viewed the ruin of his hopes, could not but admire the gallantry of his countrymen. He then retired to his little court of St. Germain's, where he died in the last year of the century. The loss of Namur, a fortress important from its situation at the confluence of the Meuse and the Sambre, as well as for its strength, angered king William. In the first days of August the armies lay near Steinkirk, separated from each other by hills and defiles, little apt for a general engagement. Luxembourg, naturally indolent, and at the moment indisposed, suffered himself to be deceived by the information of a spy, who had been discovered by William, and compelled to write what was dictated to him. The mareschal being lulled by this false intelligence, the English king was enabled to surprise him and rout a body of his troops, ere the mareschal was aware of the attack. The French rallied however; and a valiant troop of nobles, headed by the princes of the blood, the duc de Chartres, the duke, and the grand prior of Vendóme. The princes of Condé and Conti charged with such constancy and fury as to drive back the Dutch and to defeat king William. Steinkirk did great honor to the young French noblesse. Young Turenne was killed there. The duc de Chartres, son of the king's brother, duke of Orleans, was wounded in this engagement, as well as in the ensuing one of Neerwinden. He will be afterwards known to the reader as the regent duke of Orleans. It was in this year that the king, in order to reward the prowess or excite the emulation of his officers, instituted the order of St. Louis. The French monarch and his court appeared for the last time, in 1693, at the head of armies. With very superior forces he pressed king William near Louvain, and must have defeated him had an attack been ordered; but, from some unaccountable weakness or whim, Louis resolved to quit the army and return to Versailles. Some attribute this to madame de Maintenon, and her fears of the monarch's person and health; others to his jealousy of his brother, who was scattering money to the peasantry of the kingdom, then oppressed by famine. The mareschals and general officers were indignant, and supplicated: Louis was peremptory, and left the seat of war for Versailles with the ladies of the court. It was not until several weeks had passed that the mareschal de Luxembourg could repair this blunder, and make use of his superior forces against king William. The latter was surprised in no very advantageous post by the celerity and manoeuvres of his enemy, who threatened Liege as a feint.