Here is a strange confession for a man like La Salle. Without doubt, the timidity of which he accuses himself had some of its roots in pride; but not the less was his pride vexed and humbled by it. It is surprising that, being what he was, he could have brought himself to such an avowal under any circumstances or any pressure of distress. Shyness; a morbid fear of committing himself; and incapacity to express, and much more to simulate, feeling,a trait sometimes seen in those with whom feeling is most deep,are strange ingredients in the character of a man who had grappled so dauntlessly with life on its harshest and rudest side. They were deplorable defects for one in his position. He lacked that sympathetic power, the inestimable gift of the true leader of men, in which lies the difference between a willing and a constrained obedience. This solitary being, hiding his shyness under a cold reserve, could rouse no enthusiasm in his followers. He lived in the purpose which he had made a part of himself, nursed his plans in secret, and seldom asked or accepted advice. He trusted himself, and learned more and more to trust no others. One may fairly infer that distrust was natural to him; but the [Pg 341] inference may possibly be wrong. Bitter experience had schooled him to it; for he lived among snares, pitfalls, and intriguing enemies. He began to doubt even the associates who, under representations he had made them in perfect good faith, had staked their money on his enterprise, and lost it, or were likely to lose it. They pursued him with advice and complaint, and half believed that he was what his maligners called him,a visionary or a madman. It galled him that they had suffered for their trust in him, and that they had repented their trust. His lonely and shadowed nature needed the mellowing sunshine of success, and his whole life was a fight with adversity.V1 a black three-cornered hat, and gaiters, generally black, from the foot to the knee. The subaltern officers in the French service were very numerous, and were drawn chiefly from the class of lesser nobles. A well-informed French writer calls them "a generation of petits-ma?tres, dissolute, frivolous, heedless, light-witted; but brave always, and ready to die with their soldiers, though not to suffer with them." [373] In fact the course of the war was to show plainly that in Europe the regiments of France were no longer what they had once been. It was not so with those who fought in America. Here, for enduring gallantry, officers and men alike deserve nothing but praise.Hinweise, Ideen & Beteiligungsprojekte unter


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