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the importance of the hero's actions. The victories of Hoche, and the enterprises planned by him, entitle him to the gratitude of republican France, and to the execration of her enemies. The present biographer has laconically dedicated his work to the Eternal Republic; and we have of course a panegyric.
: In commencing his subject, the author says, “I knew little of the person of general Hoche when death struck him; but I well knew his exalted virtues, and I partook of the inconsolable regret of his friends. Even when my mind was less under the dominion of grief, the lofs of general Hoche appeared to me moft great and irreparable. But, when my mind recovered the power of contemplating that death in its different aspects, 1 perceived that it had not taken away every thing from my country, becaufe it could not take away the useful example of the noble actions of the defunct. Then I felt that all of Hoché had not pea rished; and I conceived the project of re-animating his nobler part. The advice of many republicans encouraged me in this design. The information which I could collect at Paris was insufficient. It was necessary, not only to treat my subject with truth, but to give my conscience the security of truth, to certify by the evidence of my own eyes much of the intelligence which I had received. It was necessary that I should see the great theatre upon which Hoche had appeared most in action. I transported myself to the armies which he had commanded, to behold the vestiges of public affliction, to collect the tears and hear the sighs of his comrades, to see the field of his triumphs, and to visit the cottages, in which (though his victories for a moment terrificd the inhabitants) he left happiness. I enquired every where ; I investigated the character of the man; I considered nothing as too minute which tended to develope it. I thought that domestic habits, words, even geftures fometimes unperceived by the vulgar, were often the lighe of history and its clue. I fought, among those who were nearest to Hoche, the recollections that he had left in their minds ; I engaged myself, if I may so fpeak, in the pursuit of his life; and I followed the trace even into the hearts of his enemies.'
From this extract it will appear, whatever we may think of the style of M. Rousselin, that he possesses the proper industry of a biographer, and the names of Chcrin, Grigny, Ney, Hedouville, Leveneur, &c. the friends and fellow foldiers of Hoche, whom he thanks for their assistance, give fome degree of authority to the work.
Lazarus Hoche was born in 1768, at Montreuil, near Versailles. His father was keeper of the dog-kennel of
Louis XV. He was born in the lap of poverty, says Rousselin ; and what is the fable of Hercules attacked by ferpents in his cradle, but the allegory of a great man Thackled in his childhood by the bonds of adversity? His father could give him no education ; but his aunt, a greengrocer at Versailles, was fond of the boy, and sent him to [chool. He afterwards became one of the supernumerary grooms of the royal stables.
Finding opportunities of reading some parts of the works. of Rousseau, he was roused to a spirit of exertion ; and several novels which fell into his hands contributed to the same effect. He now offered himself as a soldier for the EastIndies; but he was deceived, and found himself by a trick enlisted in the Gardes Françaises. As his figure was. graceful and portly, and as he was distinguished by his quickness and intelligence, the grenadiers of the Rue de Babylone wished to have him for their comrade.' They pointed him out to their commander ; and he was admitted into their regiment. The generality of his new companions were superior to him in knowledge ; and the future hero of the republic was not formed to be contented in inferiority, He was in want of books, and had not the means of purchafing any, as his father was poor, and his pay small ; his own labour, therefore, was his resource. He rose early, and spent the day in working for the gardeners in the neighbourhood of Paris : part of the night he employed in embroidering waistcoats and bonnets de police. The decency, of his appearance interested many persons in his favour'; and his little traffic prospered. The money thus acquired was allotted to three weekly uses--the payment of the Loldier who did duty for him, the amusements of which he partook with his comrades, and the hire of books.
In the amusements and parties of his fellow-foldiers, he was always the most cheerful of the company; but amidst his gaiety he set the example of decorum and sobriety. In the regiment, his friends were chosen among the bravest : • The bravest (he would say) are the best.'
There was a romantic fidelity in his friendships. One of his friends having been killed in a quarrel between the townsmen and the foldiers, he thought revenge his duty, and led on a party to sack the house where the soldier had fallen. For this of fence he was punished with imprisonment; and when, upon his release, he returned to the barracks, he was without shirt or stockings. His friends joyfully received him, and des nounced vengeance against the informer : It will only be an evil the more, he replied: have I not told you a hundred times, that mankind are good for very little!" The man who had been instrumental in his punishment
was afterwards under his command; and he loaded him with favours : but it is said that he feldom mentioned without tears the wretchedness to which his confinement had reduced him.
In this instance, however laudable he might have thought it to revenge the murder of his friend, his punishment was assuredly deferved; but he fome:ines suffered under the idle tyranny of military power. As he was a strict observer of discipline, it was his pride to do his duty; and, as he knew his conduct to be irreproachable, his spirit revolted against the vexatious authority which he felt to be unjuft. In these cases, he always obeyed with a proud and contemptuous silence; and, when sentenced to confinement, would take the keys with sang-froid, and open the prison-door himself.
Great pains were taken in 1788 to prevent the soldiers from imbibing the general and increasing discontent. It was thought prudent to employ them incessantly, that they might have no leisure to reflect upon what was passing With this view, a change of tactics was intro. duced. Hoche learned so rapidly, that he was soon appointed to teach, and was promoted to the rank of corporal,
The scenes of royalism (says M. Rousselin) which in the beginning of the revolution passed at the king's theatre, will long be remembered. The players then, rejecting the qualities of men and of citize is to which philosophy had newly elevated them, and degrading themselves even below the nothing from which they had been raised, would have made the nation stoop to the level of their own meannefs, would have corrupted the public mind by their eternal bowings, and would perpctually have led the spectators to the feet of royalty, that they might offer the adoration of Nayes. At one of these scenes Legendre was present, who was then a member of the district of 'the Cordeliers, and afterwards deputy for Paris. We may imagine what uncomfortable feelings he must have experienced, when he fat in the pit amidst the repeated cries of Vive le Roi. The royalists, not contented with infulting the patriots by their shouts, wilhed to make them repeat the choruses of their songs; and, not being able to make the voices of their adversaries join in these counter-revolutionary strains, they attempted to make them at least take off their bats. The patriots resisting, the rufians hired by the royalifts rushed, upon the spectators who would not become their accomplices. The latter defended themselves with courage.
A great tụmult arose : every one seifed his enemy;
many blows were given and received. Hoche was then upon guard at the theatre: and he endeavoured to restore tranquiłlity; Among those who resisted, Legendre made him,
i What are
self remarkable by his boldness, and by the vigour and
Danton succeeded; and those who intended to fight separated in friendship. Legendre became eminent in the convention, Hoche in the army: Legendre had forgotten Hoche ; but the general had not forgotten Legendre; and, whenever he sent an aide-de-camp to Paris, he expressly charged him with some remembrance to his former enemy. It was nog before they met at the house of Tallien on the anniversary of the gth of Thermidor (27th of July) that Legendre'knew to what circumstance he was indebted for these attentions from the general, and ręcollected in him the foldier of the French guards.
The abilities of Hoche did not long remain in obscurity. His conduct at a review recommended him to Servan, then minister of war, who gave him a lieutenant's commission in the regiment of Rouergue; and, in June 1792, he left Paris to join his regiment at Thionville. He was soon removed to the army of the Ardennes, which Leveneus commanded during the absence of Valence. That force and the army of the north were under the orders of Miranda, while Valence and Dumouriez were intriguing at Paris, Miranda left the troops without provifions, and Leveneur, while he was besieging Maestricht, was thus exposed to want. Hoche had been noticed by him for his talents; and
he was charged to procure subsistence for the soldiers. As he honourably distinguished himself in this and other fervices, Leveneur appointed him his aide-de-camp; and, when Dumouriez avowed his treason, Hoche was the bearer. of the intelligence to Paris. He was now advanced to the rank of adjutant-general; but he did not assume the title on his return to the army. He loved Leveneur, and called him his father; and, when that officer was arrested by order of the commissioner Levasseur de la Sarthe, Hoche exa claimed aloud, "Do Pitt and Cobourg then govern France ?" A soldier accused him of saying, that Pitt and Cobourg should soon govern France ; and he was delivered over to a revolutionary tribunal then fitting at Douay: but he had the fatisfaction of being acquitted.
In the defence of Dunkirk, his services merited farther promotion ; and he was nominated chief of brigade. Here he conceived the project of invading England or Ireland; it employed his mind when illness confined him to his bed and he communicated the idea to one of the members of the committee of public safety. Being now appointed general of brigade, he attacked Nieuport, and was repulsed; but he was one of those men who profit by misfortune: he wrote to the committee, and suggested that plan of attacking en masse, to the adoption of which the republic is indebted for her glory, and perhaps for her existence.
The rise of Hoche had been rapid; but his talents justia fied those who had promoted him. The stable-boy of Vera sailles became the commander of an army, and the princes of France and of Germany Aled before him. Landau was relieved ; the lines of Weissembourg were forced ; and Hoche was diitinguished among the preservers of his country.
Let us now consider him as a lover. A girl of Thionville had attracted his notice; and he commiffioned one of his friends, who knew her family, to demand her in mare riage. The citizen Dechaux her father (says our author), astonished, and even confounded, at the thought of the honour which so great a general would do him, went to see his future fon-in-law. Hoche embraced him ; and the fol. lowing short conversation is all the history of his marriage.
Dechaux. The honour which you intend for our family is beyond what I and my wife could hope. Our daughter is not calculated to be the wife of a general ; she is destined for a volunteer, a lieutenant, or, at most, a captain.
Hoche. Though I am now a republican general, I was once a ferjeant.
Dechaux. The respectable manner in which we live may perhaps make you believe that we have more wealth than we really posseis.