Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
24
THE HESSIANS.


Later he writes: “The treaty which we have just made is much more favorable than we could have expected, especially when you think that the offer came from us, and that the royal arms have hitherto had such great success in America. The matter will naturally be looked on in the most unfavorable light possible by people who do not understand how to see an affair of state as a whole, and with its proper motives. But as soon as such people see foreign money flowing into our poor country, as soon as they see us paying its debts with the means which come pouring in, they and the whole world will be enchanted, and will acknowledge that the troops, whose business is to fight the enemies of the state, have conquered our worst enemy — viz., our debts. Even the lowest soldier shipped to America, well paid and provided with what is most necessary, will come back with his savings and be proud to have worked for his country and for his own advantage. . . . I am, in general, a declared enemy of such dealings in men; but there are cases in which the evil changes into a comparative benefit, and such, if I am not mistaken, is ours.”[1]

Frederick the Great, in a letter to Voltaire (June 18, 1776), expressed his contempt for the men-selling princes, and found occasion at a somewhat later time to throw impediments in their way. “Had the Landgrave come out of my school,” he writes, “he would not have sold his subjects to the English as one sells cattle to be dragged to the shambles. This is an unbecoming trait in the character of a prince who sets himself up as a teacher of rulers. Such conduct is

  1. Kapp's “Soldatenhandel,” 2d ed. pp. 108, 123, 124.