Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/19

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7
THE PRINCES.


tion the independent county of Hanau, which lay a few miles to the eastward of the city of Frankfort. William was his father's inferior in dignity and his equal in cupidity. As early as August, 1775, when the news of the battle of Bunker Hill must have been very fresh in Germany, the hereditary prince hastened to offer a regiment to George III., “without making the smallest condition.” In spite of his protestations of disinterested devotion, he obtained in the end a larger price per man furnished than any one of his competitors, except his most serene father.

The courts of Cassel and of Hanau were not on good terms. The Landgrave, since his change of religion, had quarrelled with his wife and his heirs. But the mode of life of his eldest son was not very different from his own. When William had a natural child to provide for, he added a kreutzer (about one cent) to the price of every bag of salt which his subjects brought from the salt-mines, and gave the revenue thus obtained to the infant. As his left-handed children numbered seventy-four, the poorer of his subjects must have learned to be sparing of their salt. One of his bastards was that General von Haynau who, in the service of Austria, committed terrible cruelties in Italy in 1849, causing women to be whipped in Brescia, and who was afterwards mobbed in London. William's mistress for years was a Fraulein von Schlotheim, who at first ran away from him, but was sent back to him by her own parents. In the words of a lady of Cassel, “The Hessian nobility could not spare this advantage.” Though the prince received some £12,000 a year as subsidy for sending troops to America, he is believed by Kapp to