Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/18

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THE HESSIANS.

At the time of the American Revolution, the Landgrave was living with his second wife. He was about sixty years old, and seems to have become comparatively steady in his habits. He was a good man of business. His troops, drilled on the Prussian system, and recruited in a measure among his own subjects by conscription, were good soldiers. His army in 1781 numbered twenty-two thousand, while the population of his territories was little above three hundred thousand souls; but many foreigners were enticed into the service, and a few of the regiments were not kept permanently under the banners, but spent the larger part of the year disbanded, and met only for a few weeks of drill.[1] Frederick took a personal interest in his army, and corresponded with his officers in America, making the hand and eye of the master usefully felt. He took pains with the internal affairs of his country, leaving, indeed, a full treasury at his death. He founded schools and museums, and, like all his family, loved costly buildings. When he sent twelve thousand men to America he diminished the taxes of his remaining subjects, and though these were sad and down-trodden, though they mourned their sons and brothers sent to fight in a strange quarrel beyond the sea, we may linger for a moment regretfully over Frederick of Hesse-Cassel, for he dealt in good wares, he showed some personal dignity, and he was one of the least disreputable of the princes who sent mercenaries to America.

William, the eldest son and heir apparent of Landgrave Frederick, governed at the time of the Revolu-

  1. "Briefe eines Reisenden."