But the principal cause of the long resistance of the Vendeans must be sought for in their moral character; they were most honourably distinguished by an inviolable attachment to their party, and unlimited and unshaken confidence in their chiefs; and an earnest, warm, but steady zeal, which supplied the place of discipline. Their invincible courage, both active and passive, was proof against every kind of danger, fatigue, and want. It has been well observed that “irregular and undisciplined wars are naturally far more prolific of extraordinary incidents, unexpected turns of fortune, and striking displays of individual talent, of vice and virtue, than the more solemn movements of national hostility, where every thing is in a great measure provided and foreseen; and where the inflexible subordination of rank, and the severe exactions of a limited duty not only take away the inducement, but the opportunity for those exaltations of personal feeling and adventure which produce the most lively interest, and lead to the most animating results. In the unconcerted proceedings of an insurgent population, all is experiment and all is passion. The heroic daring of a simple peasant lifts him at once to the rank of a leader, and kindles a general enthusiasm to which all things become possible”.
From the operation of these causes the Vendeans were enabled to send forth formidable armies: and such was the confidence of the chiefs in the troops, that they never would have been subdued if they had not lost their leaders in the various hard fought actions, or been deprived of their services by their mutual jealousy. Another circumstance proved equally fatal to them; after the fall of the gallant Lescure, they most imprudently quitted the strong country for the open plains on the left bank of the Loire.
RIVER LOIRE, FROM NANTES TO ANGERS.
The Loire is one of the finest rivers in France; and perhaps there is no river in the world, that equals that part of it, which flows from Angers to Nantes: the breadth of the stream; the islands of wood; the boldness, culture, and richness of its banks, all conspire to render it worthy of this character. As a useful river it is equally celebrated: its banks being bordered by rich and populous cities; and the benefits it renders to industry and commerce being incalculable.
Its stream is so rapid and strong, that in ascending it is generally necessary from Nantes to Angers, to track the barge: this mode of proceeding, though slow, has its advantages; as it gives greater time and opportunity for observing all the various beauties of scenery which present themselves at every turn of the river.