Reluctant Revolutionary

“No court, perhaps, followed more assiduously or more closely, in outward show at least, in the path of the [eighteenth century] French court than that of the Landgraves of Hesse-Cassel. The expense of all these buildings and gardens was enormous, but there was generally money in the treasury. Yet the land was a poor land. The three or four hundred thousand inhabitants lived chiefly by the plough, but the Landgraves were in business. It was a profitable trade that they carried on, selling or letting out wares which were much in demand in that century, as in all centuries, for the Landgraves of Hesse-Cassel were dealers in men; thus it came to pass that Landgrave Frederick II and his subjects played a part in American history, and that “Hessian” became a household word, though not a title of honor, in the United States.”

Edward J. Lowell published those words in 1884, opening his work discussing the introduction of the German soldiers we call “Hessians” onto the stage of American history.

My great (times five) grand father was one of those Hessians. I hope to discover the history of him and his fellows and perhaps put it to paper.

My first task–well, my second as my brother has already located many biographical details of my forefather’s life–will be to read the three hundred plus pages of this weighty tome, as the scholarly style of over a century ago sounds Teutonic.

I’ll keep you informed.

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