Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/229

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OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


ing troops against you, instead of withdrawing those which were already in the country, as you did not submit at once you must have inevitably ended by winning sooner or later. You gained experience and discipline in the indecisive engagements which were fought, and the scholars were bound to finish by becoming as clever as their masters. Look, for instance, at the Swedes under Charles XII, and the Russians under Peter the Great." "You are right, no doubt," he replied, "but their second fault was to give the two brothers Howe each a command. The general undertook scarcely anything by land in order to allow his brother, the admiral, the chance to distinguish himself at sea. All that the English need have done was to blockade our ports with twenty-five frigates and ten ships of the line. But, thank God, they did nothing of the sort."

Thank God, indeed," I said, "for I believe that America would have come to terms with the mother country. I am the more inclined to believe this, as I notice