The Last Argument of Kings
The only cannon held at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site is a bronze four-pounder (Canon de 4 de Vallière) named “La Perilleuse” (The Perilous) from an engraving on the gun, manufactured by Berenger, Strasbourg, France in 1758.
Some 200 4-pdrs of similar design were purchased from France during the Revolution, with most, if not all. passing through Springfield.
However, there is some debate, going back to the 1830s when it came to the site to stay, that La Perilleuse may have instead been captured by the British, presumably from the French in the Seven Years (French and Indian) War as it was produced during that era, then later captured from General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga by the Colonials. One argument to support this is that it was rebored to the standard English 6-pdr size.
La Perilleuse gun and its carriage (a substituted Civil War Parrot gun model) sat in front of Armory Administration Building (Bldg.# 19) for many years and had a thick coat of black paint removed in the 1940s.
Among the markings cast or engraved into the 1,265-pound gun is ‘Ultima ratio regum‘ – the last argument of kings.