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After a visit to Paris, Dumouriez arrived at[407] Valenciennes on the 27th of October, and prepared to follow the Austrian commander, Saxe-Teschen, who had been in vain bombarding Lille. On the 5th of November he overtook Saxe-Teschen at Jemappes. The Austrians were strongly posted, but were only about fifteen thousand men opposed to the sixty thousand French; yet they made a vigorous resistance. The battle raged from early in the morning till two in the afternoon, when the Austrians gave way. They retired, however, in good order; and Dumouriez, who had led his forces into the field singing the Marseillaise hymn, did not make much pursuit. Upwards of two thousand men are said to have fallen on each side. The battle placed all Flanders at the mercy of the French; Tournay opened its gates to Labourdonnais, and Courtrai, Menin, and Bruges sent deputies to welcome Dumouriez. Other towns rapidly followed their example. The country had been already Jacobinised, and now fancied it was going to enjoy liberty and equality in alliance with the French. The people were soon undeceived. The French had no intention of anything but, under those pretences, of subduing and preying on the surrounding nations. Flanders had speedy proofs of what every country where the French came had to expect. Jacobin Commissioners arrived from the Convention to levy contributions for the maintenance of the army, as if they were a conquered people. Dumouriez issued an order on entering Mons for the clergy to advance one year's income for the same purpose. Saxe-Teschen and old Marshal Bender evacuated Brussels, and on the 14th Dumouriez entered and took up his headquarters there. He there made heavy forced loans, and soon after arrived what was styled a Committee of Purchases from Paris, headed by Bidermann, the banker, and partner of Clavière, Minister of Finance. This Committee, on which were several Jews, made all the bargains for the army, and paid for them—not in gold but in the worthless assignats of France. The Belgians remonstrated and resisted, but in vain. Dumouriez advanced to Mechlin, having dispatched Labourdonnais to lay siege to Antwerp and Valence, and to reduce Namur. At Mechlin he found a great store of arms and ammunition, which enabled him to equip whole flocks of volunteers who came after him from France. On the 22nd, at Tirlemont, he again overtook Saxe-Teschen, who made another stout resistance, and then retired to Liége, where the Austrians made another stand on the 27th. They were repulsed, but with heavy loss on both sides; and soon afterwards, Antwerp and Valence having surrendered, all the Austrian Netherlands, except Luxembourg, were in the hands of France within a single month. Dumouriez sent forward Miranda, a Peruvian, who had superseded Labourdonnais at Antwerp, to reduce Roermond, and to enter Holland by the seizure of Maestricht; but the Convention were not yet prepared for this invasion of Holland, and Dumouriez pushed on to Aix-la-Chapelle, where he again defeated the Austrians on the 7th of December, and levying heavy contributions there, took up his winter quarters in the ancient city of Charlemagne, and within little more than a day's march of the Rhine.
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