HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH II OF PRUSSIA, Volume 14
FREDERICK THE GREAT
by Thomas Carlyle
Chapter I.—FRIEDRICH RESUMES HIS PEACEABLE PURSUITS.
OPENING OF THE OPERA-HOUSE AT BERLIN.
FRIEDRICH TAKES THE WATERS AT AACHEN, WHERE VOLTAIRE COMES TO SEE HIM.
HOW DUC D'HARCOURT, ADVANCING TO REINFORCE THE ORIFLAMME, HAD TO SPLIT HIMSELF IN TWO; AND BECOME AN "ARMY OF BAVARIA," TO LITTLE EFFECT.
HOW BELLEISLE, RETURNING FROM DRESDEN WITHOUT CO-OPERATION FOUND THE ATTACK HAD BEEN DONE,—IN A FATALLY REVERSE WAY. PRAG EXPECTING SIEGE. COLLOQUY WITH BROGLIO ON THAT INTERESTING POINT. PRAG BESIEGED.
CONCERNING THE ITALIAN WAR WHICH SIMULTANEOUSLY WENT ON, ALL ALONG.
SCENE, ROADS OF CADIZ, October, 1741: BY WHAT ASTONISHING ARTIFICE THIS ITALIAN WAR DID, AT LENGTH, GET BEGUN.
OTHER SCENE, BAY OF NAPLES, 19th-20th August, 1742: KING OF TWO SICILIES (BABY CARLOS THAT WAS), HAVING BEEN ASSISTING MAMMA, IS OBLIGED TO BECOME NEUTRAL IN THE ITALIAN WAR.
THE SIEGE OF PRAG CONTIMES. A GRAND SALLY THERE.
MAILLEBOIS MARCHES, WITH AN "ARMY OF REDEMPTION" OR "OF MATHURINS" (WITTILY SO CALLED), TO RELIEVE PRAG; REACHES THE BOHEMIAN FRONTIER, JOINED BY THE COMTE DE SAXE; ABOVE 50,000 STRONG (August 9th-September 19th).
PRINCE KARL AND THE GRAND-DUKE, HEARING OF MAILLEBOIS, GO TO MEET HIM (September 14th); AND THE SIEGE OF PRAG IS RAISED.
THE MAILLEBOIS ARMY OF REDEMPTION CANNOT REDEEM AT ALL;—HAS TO STAGGER SOUTHWARD AGAIN; AND BECOMES AN "ARMY OF BAVARIA," UNDER BROGLIO.
VOLTAIRE HAS BEEN ON VISIT AT AACHEN, IN THE INTERIM,—HIS THIRD VISIT TO KING FRIEDRICH.
THREE LETTERS OF VOLTAIRE, DATED BRUSSELS, 10th SEPT. 1742.
A GLANCE AT VIENNA, AND THEN AT BERLIN.
VOLTAIRE, AT PARIS, IS MADE IMMORTAL BY A KISS.
Chapter IV.—AUSTRIAN AFFAIRS MOUNT TO A DANGEROUS HEIGHT.
BRITANNIC MAJESTY, WITH SWORD ACTUALLY DRAWN, HAS MARCHED MEANWHILE TO THE FRANKFURT COUNTRIES, AS "PRAGMATIC ARMY;" READY FOR BATTLE AND TREATY ALIKE.
FRIEDRICH HAS OBJECTIONS TO THE PRAGMATIC ARMY; BUT IN VAIN. OF FRIEDRICH'S MANY ENDEAVORS TO QUENCH THIS WAR, BY "UNION OF INDEPENDENT GERMAN PRINCES," BY "MEDIATION OF THE REICH," AND OTHERWISE; ALL IN VAIN.
BRITANNIC MAJESTY HOLDS HIS CONFERENCES OF HANAU.
HUNGARIAN MAJESTY ANSWERS, IN THE DIET, THAT FRENCH DECLARATION, "MAKE PEACE, GOOD PEOPLE; I WISH TO BE OUT OF IT!"—IN AN OMINOUS MANNER.
BRITANNIC MAJESTY GOES HOME.
Chapter VII.—FRIEDRICH MAKES TREATY WITH FRANCE; AND SILENTLY GETS READY.
Chapter VIII.—PERFECT PEACE AT BERLIN, WAR ALL ROUND.
THE YOUNG DUKE OF WURTEMBERG GETS A VALEDICTORY ADVICE; AND POLLNITZ A DITTO TESTIMONIAL (February 6th; April 1st, 1744).
TWO CONQUESTS FOR PRUSSIA, A GASEOUS AND A SOLID: CONQUEST FIRST, BARBERINA THE DANCER.
CONQUEST SECOND IS OST-FRIESLAND, OF A SOLID NATURE.
BOOK XIV.—THE SURROUNDING EUROPEAN WAR DOES NOT END.—August, 1742-July, 1744.
Chapter I.—FRIEDRICH RESUMES HIS PEACEABLE PURSUITS.
Friedrich's own Peace being made on such terms, his wish and hope was, that it might soon be followed by a general European one; that, the live-coal, which had kindled this War, being quenched, the War itself might go out. Silesia is his; farther interest in the Controversy, except that it would end itself in some fair manner, he has none. "Silesia being settled," think many, thinks Friedrich for one, "what else of real and solid is there to settle?"
The European Public, or benevolent individuals of it everywhere, indulged also in this hope. "How glorious is my King, the youngest of the Kings and the grandest!" exclaims Voltaire (in his Letters to Friedrich, at this time), and re-exclaims, till Friedrich has to interfere, and politely stop it: "A King who carries in the one hand an all-conquering sword, but in the other a blessed olive-branch, and is the Arbiter of Europe for Peace or War!" "Friedrich the THIRD [so Voltaire calls him, counting ill, or misled by ignorance of German nomenclature], Friedrich the Third, I mean Friedrich the Great (FREDERIC LE GRAND)," will do this, and do that;—probably the first emergence of that epithet in human speech, as yet in a quite private hypothetic way. [Letters of Voltaire, in OEuvres de Frederic, xxii. 100, &c.: this last Letter is of date "July, 1742"—almost contemporary with the "Jauer Transparency" noticed above.] Opinions about Friedrich's conduct, about his talents, his moralities, there were many (all wide of the mark): but this seemed clear, That the weight of such a sword as his, thrown into either scale, would be decisive; and that he evidently now wished peace. An unquestionable fact, that latter! Wished it, yes, right heartily; and also strove to hope,—though with less confidence than the benevolent outside Public, as knowing the interior of the elements better.
These hopes, how fond they were, we now all know. True, my friends, the live-coal which kindled this incendiary whirlpool (ONE of the live-coals, first of them that spread actual flame in these European parts, and first of them all except Jenkins's Ear) is out, fairly withdrawn; but the fire, you perceive, rages not the less. The fire will not quench itself, I doubt, till the bitumen, sulphur and other angry fuel have run much lower! Austria has fighting men in abundance, England behind it has guineas; Austria has got injuries, then successes:—there is in Austria withal a dumb pride, quite equal in pretensions to the vocal vanity of France, and far more stubborn of humor. The First Nation of the Universe, rashly hurling its fine-throated hunting-pack, or Army of the Oriflamme, into Austria,—see what a sort of badgers, and gloomily indignant bears, it has awakened there! Friedrich had to take arms again; and an unwelcome task it was to him, and a sore and costly. We shall be obliged (what is our grand difficulty in this History) to note, in their order, the series of European occurrences; and, tedious as the matter now is, keep readers acquainted with the current of that big War; in which, except Friedrich broad awake, and the Ear of Jenkins in somnambulancy, there is now next to nothing to interest a human creature.
It is an error still prevalent in England, though long since exploded everywhere else, that Friedrich wanted new wars, "new successful robberies," as our Gazetteers called them; and did wilfully plunge into this War again, in the hope of again doing a stroke in that kind. English readers, on consulting the facts a little, will not hesitate to sweep that notion altogether away. Shadow of basis, except in their own angry uninformed imaginations, they will find it never had; and that precisely the reverse is manifest in Friedrich's History. A perfectly clear-sighted Friedrich; able to discriminate shine from substance; and gravitating always towards the solid, the actual. That of "GLOIRE," which he owns to at starting, we saw how soon it died out, choked in the dire realities. That of Conquering Hero, in the Macedonia's-madman style, was at all times far from him, if the reader knew it,—perhaps never farther from any King who had such allurements to it, such opportunities for it. This his First Expedition to Silesia—a rushing out to seize your own stolen horse, while the occasion answered—was a voluntary one; produced, we may say, by Friedrich's own thought and the Invisible Powers. But the rest were all purely compulsory,—to defend the horse he had seized. Clear necessities, and Powers very Visible, were the origin of all his other Expeditions and Warlike Struggles, which lasted to the end of his life.
That recent "Moravian Foray;" the joint-stock principle in War matters; and the terrible pass a man might reduce himself to, at that enormous gaming-table of the gods, if he lingered there: think what considerations these had been for him! So that "his look became FAROUCHE," in the sight of Valori; and the spectre of Ruin kept him company, and such hell-dogs were in chase of him;—till Czaslau, when the dice fell kind again! All this had been didactic on a young docile man. He was but thirty gone. And if readers mark such docility at those years, they will find considerable meaning in it. Here are prudence, moderation, clear discernment; very unusual VERACITY of intellect, as we define it,—which quality, indeed, is the summary and victorious outcome of all manner of good qualities, and faithful performances, in a man. "Given up to strong delusions," in the tragical way many are, Friedrich was not; and, in practical matters, very seldom indeed "believed a lie."
Certain it is, he now resumes his old Reinsberg Program of Life; probably with double relish, after such experiences the other way; and prosecutes it with the old ardor; hoping much that his History will be of halcyon pacific nature, after all. Would the mad War-whirlpool but quench itself; dangerous for singeing a near neighbor, who is only just got out of it! Fain would he be arbiter, and help to quench it; but it will not quench. For a space of Two Years or more (till August, 1744, Twenty-six Months in all), Friedrich, busy on his own affairs, with carefully neutral aspect towards this War, yet with sword ready for drawing in case of need, looks on with intense vigilance; using his wisest interference, not too often either, in that sense and in that only, "Be at Peace; oh, come to Peace!"—and finds that the benevolent Public and he have been mistaken in their hopes. For the next Two Years, we say:—for the first Year (or till about August, 1743), with hope not much abated, and little actual interference needed; for the latter Twelvemonth, with hope ever more abating; interference, warning, almost threatening ever more needed, and yet of no avail, as if they had been idle talking and gesticulation on his part:—till, in August, 1744, he had to—But the reader shall gradually see it, if by any method we can show it him, in something of its real sequence; and shall judge of it by his own light.
Friedrich's Domestic History was not of noisy nature, during this interval:—and indeed in the bewildered Records given of it, there is nothing visible, at first, but one wide vortex of simmering inanities; leading to the desperate conclusion that Friedrich had no domestic history at all. Which latter is by no means the fact! Your poor Prussian Dryasdust (without even an Index to help you) being at least authentic, if you look a long time intensely and on many sides, features do at last dawn out of those sad vortexes; and you find the old Reinsberg Program risen to activity again; and all manner of peaceable projects going on. Friedrich visits the Baths of Aachen (what we call Aix-la-Chapelle); has the usual Inspections, business activities, recreations, visits of friends. He opens his Opera-House, this first winter. He enters on Law-reform, strikes decisively into that grand problem; hoping to perfect it. What is still more significant, he in private begins writing his MEMOIRS. And furthermore, gradually determines on having a little Country House, place of escape from his big Potsdam Palace; and gets plans drawn for it,—place which became very famous, by the name of SANS-SOUCI, in times coming. His thoughts are wholly pacific; of Life to Minerva and the Arts, not to Bellona and the Battles:—and yet he knows well, this latter too is an inexorable element. About his Army, he is quietly busy; augmenting, improving it; the staff of life to Prussia and him.
Silesian Fortress-building, under ugly Walrave, goes on at a steadily swift rate. Much Silesian settlement goes on; fixing of the Prussian-Austrian Boundaries without; of the Catholic-Protestant limits within: rapid, not too rough, remodelling of the Province from Austrian into Prussian, in the Financial, Administrative and every other respect:—in all which important operations the success was noiseless, but is considered to have been perfect, or nearly so. Cannot we, from these enormous Paper-masses, carefully riddled, afford the reader a glimpse or two, to quicken his imagination of these things?
SETTLES THE SILESIAN BOUNDARIES, THE SILESIAN ARRANGEMENTS; WITH MANIFEST PROFIT TO SILESIA AND HIMSELF.
In regard to the Marches, Herr Nussler, as natural, was again the person employed. Nussler, shifty soul, wide-awake at all times, has already seen this Country; "noticed the Pass into Glatz with its block-house, and perceived that his Majesty would want it." From September 22d to December 12th, 1742, the actual Operation went on; ratified, completely set at rest, 16th January following. [Busching, Beitrage,? Nussler: and Busching's Magazin, b. x. (Halle, 1776); where, pp. 475-538, is a "GESCHICHTE DER &c. SHLESISCHEN GRANZSCHEIDUNG IM JAHR 1742," in great amplitude and authenticity.] Nussler serves on three thalers (nine shillings) a day. The Austrian Head-Commissioner has 5 pounds (thirty thalers) a day; but he is an elderly fat gentleman, pursy, scant of breath; cannot stand the rapid galloping about, and thousand-fold inspecting and detailing; leaves it all to Nussler; who goes like the wind. Thus, for example, Nussler dictates, at evening from his saddle, the mutual Protocol of the day's doings; Old Pursy sitting by, impatient for supper, and making no criticisms. Then at night, Nussler privately mounts again; privately, by moonlight, gallops over the ground they are to deal with next day, and takes notice of everything. No wonder the boundary-pillars, set up in such manner, which stand to this day, bear marks that Prussia here and there has had fair play!—Poor Nussler has no fixed appointment yet, except one of about 100 pounds a year: in all my travels I have seen no man of equal faculty at lower wages. Nor did he ever get any signal promotion, or the least exuberance of wages, this poor Nussler;—unless it be that he got trained to perfect veracity of workmanship, and to be a man without dry-rot in the soul of him; which indeed is incalculable wages. Income of 100 pounds a year, and no dry-rot in the soul of you anywhere; income of 100,000 pounds a year, and nothing but dry and wet rot in the soul of you (ugly appetites unveracities, blusterous conceits,—and probably, as symbol of all things, a pot-belly to your poor body itself): Oh, my friends!
In settling the Spiritual or internal Catholic-Protestant limits of Silesia, Friedrich did also a workmanlike thing. Perfect fairness between Protestant and Catholic; to that he is bound, and never needed binding. But it is withal his intention to be King in Catholic Silesia; and that no Holy Father, or other extraneous individual, shall intrude with inconvenient pretensions there. He accordingly nominates the now Bishop of Neisse and natural Primate of Silesia,—Cardinal von Sinzendorf, who has made submission for any late Austrian peccadilloes, and thoroughly reconciled himself,—nominates Sinzendorf "Vicar-General" of the Country; who is to relieve the Pope of Silesian trouble, and be himself Quasi-Supreme of the Catholic Church there. "No offence, Holy Papa of Christian Mankind! Your holy religion is, and shall be, intact in these parts; but the palliums, bulls and other holy wares and interferences are not needed here. On that footing, be pleased to rest content."
The Holy Father shrieked his loudest (which is now a quite calculable loudness, nothing like so loud as it once was); declared he would "himself join the Army of Martyrs sooner;" and summoned Sinzendorf to Rome: "What kind of HINGE are you, CARDINALIS of the Gates of"—Husht! Shrieked his loudest, we say; but, as nobody minded it, and as Sinzendorf would not come, had to let the matter take its course. [Adelung, iii. A. 197-200.] And, gradually noticing what correct observance of essentials there was, he even came quite round, into a high state of satisfaction with this Heretic King, in the course of a few years. Friedrich and the Pope were very polite to each other thenceforth; always ready to do little mutual favors. And it is to be remarked, Friedrich's management of his Clergy, Protestant and Catholic, was always excellent; true, in a considerable degree, to the real law of things; gentle, but strict, and without shadow of hypocrisy,—in which last fine particular he is singularly unique among Modern Sovereigns.
He recognizes honestly the uses of Religion, though he himself has little; takes a good deal of pains with his Preaching Clergy, from the Army-Chaplain upwards,—will suggest texts to them, with scheme of sermon, on occasion;—is always anxious to have, as Clerical Functionary, the right man in the important place; and for the rest, expects to be obeyed by them, as by his Sergeants and Corporals. Indeed, the reverend men feel themselves to be a body of Spiritual Sergeants, Corporals and Captains; to whom obedience is the rule, and discontent a thing not to be indulged in by any means. And it is worth noticing, how well they seem to thrive in this completely submissive posture; how much real Christian worth is traceable in their labors and them; and what a fund of piety and religious faith, in rugged effectual form, exists in the Armies and Populations of such a King. ["In 1780, at Berlin, the population being 140,000, there are of ECCLESIASTIC kind only 140; that is 1 to the 1,000;—at Munchen there are thirty times as many in proportion" (Mirabeau, Monarchie Prussienne, viii. 342; quoting NICOLAI).]...
By degrees the Munchows and Official Persons intrusted with Silesia got it wrought in all respects, financial, administrative, judicial, secular and spiritual, into the Prussian model: a long tough job; but one that proved well worth doing. [In Preuss (i. 197-200), the various steps (from 1740 to 1806).] In this state, counts one authority, it was worth to Prussia "about six times what it had been to Austria;"—from some other forgotten source, I have seen the computation "eight times." In money revenue, at the end of Friedrich's reign, it is a little more than twice; the "eight times" and the "six times," which are but loose multiples, refer, I suppose, to population, trade, increase of national wealth, of new regiments yielded by new cantons, and the like. [Westphalen, in Feldzuge des Herzogs Ferdinand (printed, Berlin, 1859, written 100 years before by that well-informed person), i. 65, says in the rough "six times:" Preuss, iv. 292, gives, very indistinctly, the ciphers of Revenue, in 1740 and SOME later Year: according to Friedrich himself (Oeuvres, ii. 102), the Silesian Revenue at first was "3,600,000 thalers" (540,000 pounds, little more than Half a Million); Population, a Million-and-Half.]
Six or eight times as useful to Prussia: and to the Inhabitants what multiple of usefulness shall we give? To be governed on principles fair and rational, that is to say, conformable to Nature's appointment in that respect; and to be governed on principles which contradict the very rules of Cocker, and with impious disbelief of the very Multiplication Table: the one is a perpetual Gospel of Cosmos and Heaven to every unit of the Population; the other a Gospel of Chaos and Beelzebub to every unit of them: there is no multiple to be found in Arithmetic which will express that!—Certain of these advantages, in the new Government, are seen at once; others, the still more valuable, do not appear, except gradually and after many days and years. With the one and the other, Schlesien appears to have been tolerably content. From that Year 1742 to this, Schlesien has expressed by word and symptom nothing but thankfulness for the Transfer it underwent; and there is, for the last Hundred Years, no part of the Prussian Dominion more loyal to the Hohenzollerns (who are the Authors of Prussia, without whom Prussia had never been), than this their latest acquisition, when once it too got moulded into their own image. [Preuss, i. 193, and ib. 200 (Note from Klein, a Silesian Jurist): "Favor not merit formerly;" "Magistracies a regular branch of TRADE;"—"highway robbers on a strangely familiar footing with the old Breslau magistrates;" &c. &c.]
OPENING OF THE OPERA-HOUSE AT BERLIN.
... December 7th, this Winter, Carnival being come or just coming, Friedrich opens his New Opera-House, for behoof of the cultivated Berlin classes; a fine Edifice, which had been diligently built by Knobelsdorf, while those Silesian battlings went on. "One of the largest and finest Opera-houses in the whole world; like a sumptuous Palace rather. Stands free on all sides, space for 1,000 Coaches round it; Five great Entrances, five persons can walk abreast through each; and inside—you should see, you should hear! Boxes more like rooms or boudoirs, free view and perfect hearing of the stage from every point: air pure and free everywhere; water aloft, not only for theatrical cascades, but to drown out any fire or risk of fire." [Seyfarth, i. 234; Nicolai, Beschreibung von Berlin, i. 169.] This is Seyfarth's account, still capable of confirmation by travelling readers of a musical turn. I have seen Operas with much more brilliancy of gas and gilding; but none nearly so convenient to the human mind and sense; or where the audience (not now a gratis one) attended to the music in so meritorious a way.
"Perhaps it will attract moneyed strangers to frequent our Capital?"—some guess, that was Friedrich's thought. "At all events, it is a handsome piece of equipage, for a musical King and People; not to be neglected in the circumstances. Thalia, in general,—let us not neglect Thalia, in such a dearth of worshipable objects." Nor did he neglect Thalia. The trouble Friedrich took with his Opera, with his Dancing-Apparatus, French Comedy, and the rest of that affair, was very great. Much greater, surely, than this Editor would have thought of taking; though, on reflection, he does not presume to blame. The world is dreadfully scant of worshipable objects: and if your Theatre is your own, to sweep away intrusive nonsense continually from the gates of it? Friedrich's Opera costs him heavy sums (surely I once knew approximately what, but the sibylline leaf is gone again upon the winds!)—and he admits gratis a select public, and that only. [Preuss, i. 277; and Preuss, Buch fur Jedermann, i. 100.] "This Winter, 1742-43, was unusually magnificent at Court: balls, WIRTHSCHAFTEN [kind of MIMIC FAIRS], sledge-parties, masquerades, and theatricals of all sorts;—and once even, December 2d, the new Golden Table-Service [cost of it 200,000 pounds] was in action, when the two Queens [Queen Regnant and Queen Mother] dined with his Majesty."
FRIEDRICH TAKES THE WATERS AT AACHEN, WHERE VOLTAIRE COMES TO SEE HIM.
Months before that of the Opera-House or those Silesian settlements, Friedrich, in the end of August, what is the first thing visible in his Domestic History, makes a visit, for health's sake, to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle so called), with a view to the waters there. Intends to try for a little improvement in health, as the basis of ulterior things. Health has naturally suffered a little in these War-hardships; and the Doctors recommend Aix. After Wesel, and the Westphalian Inspections, Friedrich, accordingly, proceeds to Aix; and for about a fortnight (23th August-9th September) drinks the waters in that old resting-place of Charlemagne;—particulars not given in the Books; except that "he lodged with Baege" (if any mortal now knew Baege), and did an Audience or so to select persons now unknown. He is not entirely incognito, but is without royal state; the "guard of twenty men, the escort of 160 men," being no men of his, but presumably mere Town-guard of Aix coming in an honorary way. Aix is proud to see him; he himself is intent on the waters here at old Aix:—
Aquisgranum, urbs regalis, Sedes Regni principalis:—
My friend, this was Charlemagne's high place; and his dust lies here, these thousand years last past. And there used to soar "a very large Gilt Eagle," ten feet wide or so, aloft on the Cathedral-steeple there; Eagle turned southward when the Kaiser was in Frankenland, eastward when he was in Teutsch or Teuton-land; in fact, pointing out the Kaiser's whereabouts to loyal mankind. [Kohler, Reichs-Historie.] Eagle which shines on me as a human fact; luminously gilt, through the dark Dryasdustic Ages, gone all spectral under Dryasdust's sad handling. Friedrich knows farther, that for many centuries after, the "Reich's INSIGNIA (REICHS-KLEINODIEN)" used to be here,—though Maria Theresa has them now, and will not give them up. The whole of which points are indifferent to him. The practical, not the sentimental, is Friedrich's interest;—not to say that WERTER and the sentimental were not yet born into our afflicted Earth. A King thoroughly practical;—yet an exquisite player on the flute withal, as we often notice; whose adagio could draw tears from you. For in himself, too, there were floods of tears (as when his Mother died); and he has been heard saying, not bragging but lamenting, what was truly the fact, that "he had more feeling than other men." But it was honest human feeling always; and was repressed, where not irrepressible;—as it behooved to be.
Friedrich's suite was not considerable, says the French spy at Aix on this occasion; pomp of Entrance,—a thing to be mute upon! "Came driving in with the common post-horses of the country; and such a set of carriages as your Lordship, intent on the sublime, has no idea of." [Spy-Letter, in Campagnes des Trois Marechaux, i. 222.] Rumor was, His Britannic Majesty was coming (also on pretext of the waters) to confer with him; other rumor is, If King George came in at one gate, King Friedrich would go out at the other. A dubious Friedrich, to the French spy, at this moment; nothing like so admirable as he once was!—
The French emotions (of which we say little), on Friedrich's making Peace for himself, had naturally been great. To the French Public it was unexpected, somewhat SUDDEN even to the Court; and, sure enough, it was of perilous importance in the circumstances. Few days ago, Broglio (by order given him) "could not spare a man," for the Common Cause;—and now the Common Cause has become entirely the Broglio one, and Broglio will have the full use of all his men! "Defection [plainly treasonous to your Liege Lord and Nation]! horrible to think of!" cried the French Public; the Court outwardly taking a lofty tragic-elegiac tone, with some air of hope that his Prussian Majesty would perhaps come round again, to the side of his afflicted France! Of which, except in the way of helping France and the other afflicted parties to a just Peace if he could, his Prussian Majesty had small thought at this time.
More affecting to Friedrich were the natural terrors of the poor Kaiser on this event. The Kaiser has already had his Messenger at Berlin, in consequence of it; with urgent inquiries, entreaties;—an expert Messenger, who knows Berlin well. So other than our old friend, the Ordnance-Master Seckendorf, now titular Feldmarschall,—whom one is more surprised than delighted to meet again! Being out with Austria (clamoring for great sums of "arrears," which they will not pay), he has been hanging about this new Kaiser, ever since Election-time; and is again getting into employment, Diplomatic, Strategic, for some years,—though we hope mostly to ignore him and it. Friedrich's own feeling at sight of him,—ask not about it, more than if there had been none! Friedrich gave him "a distinguished reception;" Friedrich's answer sent by him to the Kaiser was all kindness; emphatic assurance, "That, not 'hostility' by any means, that loyalty, friendship, and aid wherever possible within the limits, should always be his rule towards the now Kaiser, lawful Head of the Reich, in difficult circumstances." ["Audience, 30th July" (Adelung, iii. A, 217).] Which was some consolation to the poor man,—stript of his old revenues, old Bavarian Dominions, and unprovided with new; this sublime Headship of the Reich bring moneyless; and one's new "Kingdom of Bohemia" hanging in so uncertain a state, with nothing but a Pharsalia-Sahay to show for itself!—
Among Friedrich's "inconsiderable suite," at Aachen, was Prince Henri (his youngest Brother, age now sixteen, a small, sensitive, shivering creature, but of uncommon parts); and another young man, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, his Wife's youngest Brother; a soldier, as all the Brothers are; soldier in Friedrich's Army, this one; in whose fine inarticulate eupeptic character are excellent dispositions and capacities discernible. Ferdinand goes generally with the King; much about him in these years. All the Brothers follow soldiering; it is the one trade of German Princes. When at home, Friedrich is still occasionally with his Queen; who lives at Schonhausen, in the environs of Berlin, but goes with him to Charlottenburg, to old Reinsberg; and has her share of galas in his company, with the Queen Mother and cognate Highnesses.
Another small fact, still more memorable at present, is, That Voltaire now made him a Third Visit,—privately on Fleury's instance, as is evident this time. Of which Voltaire Visit readers shall know duly, by and by, what little is knowable. But, alas, there is first an immense arrear of War-matters to bring up; to which, still more than to Voltaire, the afflicted reader must address himself, if he would understand at all what Friedrich's Environment, or circumambient Life-element now was, and how Friedrich, well or ill, comported himself in the same. Brevity, this Editor knows, is extremely desirable, and that the scissors should be merciless on those sad Paper-Heaps, intolerable to the modern mind; but, unless the modern mind chance to prefer ease and darkness, what can an Editor do!
Chapter II.—AUSTRIAN AFFAIRS ARE ON THE MOUNTING HAND.
Austrian affairs are not now in their nadir-point; a long while now since they passed that. Austria, to all appearance dead, started up, and began to strike for herself, with some success, the instant Walpole's SOUP-ROYAL (that first 200,000 pounds, followed since by abundance more) got to her lips. Touched her poor pale lips; and went tingling through her, like life and fiery elasticity, out of death by inanition! Cardinal moment, which History knows, but can never date, except vaguely, some time in 1741; among the last acts of judicious Walpole.
Austria, thanks to its own Khevenhullers and its English guineas, was already rising in various quarters: and now when the Prussian Affair is settled, Austria springs up everywhere like an elastic body with the pressure taken from it; mounts steadily, month after month, in practical success, and in height of humor in a still higher ratio. And in the course of the next Two Years rises to a great height indeed. Here—snatched, who knows with what difficulty, from that shoreless bottomless slough of an Austrian-Succession War, deservedly forgotten, and avoided by extant mankind—are some of the more essential phenomena, which Friedrich had to witness in those months. To witness, to scan with such intense interest,—rightly, at his peril;—and to interpret as actual "Omens" for him, as monitions of a most indisputable nature! No Haruspex, I suppose, with or without "white beard, and long staff for cutting the Heavenly Vault into compartments from the zenith downwards," could, in Etruria or elsewhere, "watch the flight of birds, now into this compartment, now into that," with stricter scrutiny than, on the new terms, did this young King from his Potsdam Observatory.
WAR-PHENOMENA IN THE WESTERN PARTS: KING GEORGE TRIES, A SECOND TIME, TO DRAW HIS SWORD; TUGS AT IT VIOLENTLY, FOR SEVEN MONTHS (February-October, 1742).
"The first phenomenon, cheering to Austria, is that of the Britannic Majesty again clutching sword, with evident intent to draw it on her behalf. [Tindal, xx. 552; Old Newspapers; &c. &c.] Besides his potent soup-royal of Half-Millions annually, the Britannic Majesty has a considerable sword, say 40,000, of British and of subsidized;—sword which costs him a great deal of money to keep by his side; and a great deal of clamor and insolent gibing from the Gazetteer species, because he is forced to keep it strictly in the scabbard hitherto. This Year, we observe, he has determined again to draw it, in the Cause of Human Liberty, whatever follow. From early Spring there were symptoms: Camps on Lexden and other Heaths, much reviewing in Hyde-Park and elsewhere; from all corners a universal marching towards the Kent Coast; the aspects being favorable. 'We can besiege Dunkirk at any rate, cannot we, your High Mightinesses? Dunkirk, which, by all the Treaties in existence, ought to need no besieging; but which, in spite of treatyings innumerable, always does?' The High Mightinesses answer nothing articulate, languidly grumble something in OPTATIVE tone;—'meaning assent,' thinks the sanguine mind. 'Dutch hoistable, after all!' thinks he; 'Dutch will co-operate, if they saw example set!' And, in England, the work of embarking actually begins.
"Britannic Majesty's purpose, and even fixed resolve to this effect, had preceded the Prussian-Austrian Settlement. May 20th, ["9th" by the Old Newspapers; but we always TRANSLATE their o.s.] 'Two regiments of Foot,' first poor instalment of British Troops, had actually landed at Ostend;—news of the Battle of Chotusitz, much more, of the Austrian-Prussian Settlement, or Peace of Breslau, would meet them THERE. But after that latter auspicious event, things start into quick and double-quick time; and the Gazetteers get vocal, almost lyrical: About Howard's regiment, Ponsonby's regiment, all manner of regiments, off to Flanders, for a stroke of work; how 'Ligonier's Dragoons [a set of wild swearing fellows, whom Guildford is happy to be quit of] rode through Bromley with their kettle-drums going, and are this day at Gravesend to take ship;'"—or to give one other, more specific example:
"Yesterday [3d July, 1742] General Campbell's Regiment of Scotch Greys arrived in the Borough of Southwark, on their march to Dover, where they are to embark for Flanders. They are fine hardy fellows, that want no seasoning; and make an appearance agreeable to all but the innkeepers,"—who have such billeting to do, of late. [Daily Post, June 23d (o.s.), 1742.] "Grey Dragoons," or Royal Scots-Greys, is the title of this fine Regiment; and their Colonel is Lieutenant-General John Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyle (fourth Duke), Cousin of the great second Duke of Argyle that now is. [Douglas, Scotch Peerage (Edinburgh, 1764), p. 44.] Visibly billeting there, in Southwark, with such intentions:—and, by accident, this Editor knows Twenty of these fine fellows! Twenty or so, who had gone in one batch as Greys; sons of good Annandale yeomen, otherwise without a career open: some Two of whom did get back, and lived to be old men; the rumor of whom, and of their unheard-of adventures, was still lingering in the air, when this Editor began existence. Pardon, O reader!—
"But, all through those hot days, it is a universal drumming, kettle-drumming, coast-ward; preparation of transports at Gravesend, at the top of one's velocity. 'All the coopers in London are in requisition for water-casks, so that our very brewers have to pause astonished for want of tubs.' There is pumping in of water day and night, Sunday not excepted, then throwing of it out again [owing to new circumstances]: 250 saddle-horses, and 100 sumpter ditto, for his Majesty's own use,—these need a deal of water, never to speak of Ligonier and the Greys. 'For the honor of our Country, his Majesty will make a grander appearance this Campaign than any of his Predecessors ever did; and as to the magnificence of his equipage,'—besides the 350 quadrupeds, 'there are above 100 rich portmanteaus getting ready with all expedition.' [Daily Post, September 13th (I.E. 26th).] The Fat Boy too [Royal Highness Duke of Cumberland, one should say] is to go; a most brave-hearted, flaxen-florid, plump young creature; hopeful Son of Mars, could he once get experience, which, alas, he never could, though trying it for five-and-twenty years to come, under huge expense to this Nation! There are to be 16,000 troops, perhaps more; '1,000 sandbags' (empty as yet); demolition of Dunkirk the thing aimed at." If only the Dutch prove hoistable!—
"And so, from May on to September, it noisily proceeds, at multiplex rates? and often with more haste than speed: and in such five months (seven, strictly counted) of clangorous movement and dead-lift exertion, there were veritably got across, of Horse and Foot with their equipments, the surprising number of '16,334 men.' [Adelung, iii. A, 201.] May 20th it began,—that is, the embarking began; the noise and babble about it, which have been incessant ever since, had begun in February before;—and on September 26th, Ostend, now almost weary of huzzaing over British glory by instalment, had the joy of seeing our final portions of Artillery arrive: Such a Park of Siege-and-Field Artillery," exults the Gazetteer, "as"—as these poor creatures never dreamt of before.
"Magnanimous Lord Stair, already Plenipotentiary to the Dutch, is to be King's General-in-Chief of this fine Enterprise; Carteret, another Lord of some real brilliancy, and perhaps of still weightier metal, is head of the Cabinet; hearty, both of them, for these Anti-French intentions: and the Public cannot but think, Surely something will come of it this time? More especially now that Maillebois, about the middle of August, by a strange turn of fortune, is swept out of the way. Maillebois, lying over in Westphalia with his 30 or 40,000, on 'Check to your King' this year past, had, on sight of these Anti-Dunkirk movements, been ordered to look Dunkirk way, and at length to move thitherward, for protection of Dunkirk. So that Stair, before his Dunkirk business, will have to fight Maillebois; which Stair doubts not may be satisfactorily done. But behold, in August and earlier, come marvellous news from the Prag quarter, tragical to France; and Maillebois is off, at his best speed, in the reverse direction; on a far other errand!"—Of which readers shall soon hear enough.
"Dunkirk, therefore, is now open. With 16,000 British troops, Hanoverians to the like number, and Hessians 6,000, together near 40,000, not to speak of Dutch at all, surely one might manage Dunkirk, if not something still better? It is AFTER Maillebois's departure that these dreadful exertions, coopering of water-casks, pumping all Sunday, go on at Gravesend: 'Swift, oh, be swift, while time is!' And Generalissimo-Plenipotentiary Stair, who has run over beforehand, is ardent enough upon the Dutch; his eloquence fiery and incessant: 'Magnanimous High Mightinesses, was there, will there again be, such a chance? The Cause of Human Liberty may be secured forever! Dunkirk—or what is Dunkirk even? Between us and Paris, there is nothing, now that Maillebois is off on such an errand! Why should not we play Marlborongh again, and teach them a little what Invasion means? It is ourselves alone that can hinder it! Now, I say, or never!'
"Stair was a pupil of Marlborough's; is otherwise a shining kind of man; and has immense things in his eye, at this time. They say, what is not unlikely, he proposed an Interview with Friedrich now at Aachen; would come privately, to 'take the waters' for a day or two,—while Maillebois was on his new errand, and such a crisis had risen. But Friedrich, anxious to be neutral and give no offence, politely waived such honor. Lord Stair was thought to be something of a General, in fact as well as in costume;—and perhaps he was so. And had there been a proper COUNTESS of Stair, or new Sarah Jennings,—to cover gently, by art-magic, the Britannic Majesty and Fat Boy under a tub; and to put Britain, and British Parliament and resources, into Stair's hand for a few years,—who knows what Stair too might have done! A Marlborough in the War Arts,—perhaps still less in the Peace ones, if we knew the great Marlborough,—he could not have been. But there is in him a recognizable flash of magnanimity, of heroic enterprise and purpose; which is highly peculiar in that sordid element. And it can be said of him, as of lightning striking ineffectual on the Bog of Allen or the Stygian Fens, that his strength was never tried."—For the upshot of him we will wait; not very long.
These are fine prospects, if only the Dutch prove hoistable. But these are as nothing to what is passing, and has passed, in the Eastern Parts, in the Bohemian-Bavarian quarter, since we were there. Poor Kaiser Karl, what an outlook for him! His own real Bavaria, much more his imaginary "Upper Austria" and "Conquests on the Donau," after that Segur Adventure, are plunging headlong. As to his once "Kingdom of Bohemia," it has already plunged; nay, the Army of the Oriflamme is itself near plunging, in spite of that Pharsalia of a Sahay! Bavaria itself, we say, is mostly gone to Khevenhuller; Segur with his French on march homeward, and nothing but Bavarians left. The Belleisle-Broglio grand Budweis Expedition is gone totally heels over head; Belleisle and Broglio are getting, step by step, shut up in Prag and besieged there: while Maillebois—Let us try whether, by snatching out here a fragment and there a fragment, with chronological and other appliances, it be not possible to give readers some conceivable notion of what Friedrich was now looking at with such interest!—
HOW DUC D'HARCOURT, ADVANCING TO REINFORCE THE ORIFLAMME, HAD TO SPLIT HIMSELF IN TWO; AND BECOME AN "ARMY OF BAVARIA," TO LITTLE EFFECT.
The poor Kaiser, who at one time counted "30,000 Bavarians of his own," has all along been ill served by them and the bad Generals they had: two Generals; both of whom, Minuzzi, and old Feldmarschall Thorring (Prime Minister withal), came to a bad reputation in this War. Beaten nearly always; Thorring quite always,—"like a DRUM, that Thorring; never heard of except when beaten," said the wits! Of such let us not speak. Understand only, FIRST, that the French, reasonably soon after that Linz explosion, did, in such crisis, get reinforcements on the road; a Duc d'Harcourt with some 25,000 faring forward, in an intermittent manner, ever since "March 4th." And SECONDLY, that Khevenhuller has fast hold of Passau, the Austrian-Bavarian Key-City; is master of nearly all Bavaria (of Munchen, and all that lies south of the Donau); and is now across on the north shore, wrenching and tugging upon Kelheim and the Ingolstadt-Donauworth regions, with nothing but Thorring people and small French Garrisons to hinder him;—where it will be fatal if he quite prosper; Ingolstadt being our Place-of-Arms, and House on the Highway, both for Bavaria and Bohemia!
"For months past, there had been a gleam of hope for Kaiser Karl, and his new 'Kingdom of Bohemia,' and old Electorate of Bavaria, from the rumor of 'D'Harcourt's reinforcement,'—a 20 or 30,000 new Frenchmen marching into those parts, in a very detached intermittent manner; great in the Gazettes. But it proved a gleam only, and came to nothing effectual. Poor D'Harcourt, owing to cross orders [Groglio clamorously demanding that the new force should come to Prag; Karl Albert the Kaiser, nominally General-in-Chief, demanding that it should go down the Donau and sweep his Bavaria clear], was in difficulty. To do either of these cross orders might have brought some result; but to half-do both of them, as he was enjoined to attempt, was not wise! Some half of his force he did detach towards Broglio; which got to actual junction, partly before, partly after, that Pharsalia-Sahay Affair, and raised Broglio to a strength of 24,000,—still inadequate against Prince Karl. Which done, D'Harcourt himself went down the Donau, on his original scheme, with the remainder of his forces,—now likewise become inadequate. He is to join with Feldmarschall Thorring in the"—And does it, as we shall see presently!...
MUNCHEN, 5th MAY. "Rumor of D'Harcourt had somewhat cleared Bavaria of Austrians; but the reality of him, in a divided state, by no means corresponds. Thus Munchen City, in the last days of April,—D'Harcourt advancing, terrible as a rumor,—rejoiced exceedingly to see the Austrians march out, at their best pace. And the exultant populace even massacred a loitering Tolpatch or two; who well deserve it, think the populace, judging by their experience for the last three months, since Barenklau and Mentzel became King here.—'Rumor of D'Harcourt?' answers Khevenhuller from the Kelheim-Passau side of things: 'Let us wait for sight of him, at least!' And orders Munchen to be reoccupied. So that, alas, 'within a week,' on the 5th of May, Barenklau is back upon the poor City; exacts severe vengeance for the Tolpatch business; and will give them seven months more of his company, in spite of D'Harcourt, and 'the Army of Bavaria' as he now called himself:"—new "Army of Bavaria," when once arrived in those Countries, and joined with poor Thorring and the Kaiser's people there. Such an "Army of Bavaria," first and last, as—as Khevenhuller could have wished it! Under D'Harcourt, joined with old Feldmarschall Thorring (him whom men liken to a DRUM, "never heard of except when beaten"), this is literally the sum of what fighting it did:
"HILGARTSBERG (Deggendorf Donau-Country), MAY 28th. D'Harcourt and Thorring, after junction at Donauworth several weeks ago, and a good deal of futile marching up and down in those Donau Countries,—on the left bank, for most part; Khevenhuller holding stiffly, as usual, by the Inn, the Iser, and the rivers and countries on the right,—did at last, being now almost within sight of Passau and that important valley of the Inn across yonder, seriously decide to have a stroke at Passau, and to dislodge Khevenhuller, who is weak in force, though obstinate. They perceive that there is, on this left bank, a post in the woods, Castle of Hilgartsberg, none of the strongest Castles, rather a big Country Mansion than a Castle, which it will be necessary first to take. They go accordingly to take it (May 28th, having well laid their heads together the day before); march through intricate wet forest country, peat above all abundant; see the Castle of Hilgartsberg towering aloft, picturesque object in the Donau Valley, left bank;—are met by cannon-shot, case-shot, shot of every kind; likewise by Croats apparently innumerable, by cavalry sabrings and levelled bayonets; do not behave too well, being excessively astonished; and are glad to get off again, leaving one of their guns lodged in the mud, and about a hundred unfortunate men. [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 146-148, 136, &c.] This quite disgusted D'Harcourt with the Passau speculation and these grim Khevenhuller outposts. He straightway took to collecting Magazines; lodging himself in the attainable Towns thereabouts, Deggendorf the chief strength for him; and gave up fighting till perhaps better times might arrive." We will wish him good success in the victualling department, hope to hear no more of him in this History;—and shall say only that Comte de Saxe, before long, relieves him of this Bavarian Army;—and will be seen at the head of it, on a most important business that rises.
Kaiser Karl begins to have real thoughts of recalling this Thorring, who is grown so very AUDIBLE, altogether home; and of appointing Seckendorf instead. A course which Belleisle has been strongly recommending for some time. Seckendorf is at present "gathering meal in the Ober-Pfalz" (Upper Palatinate, road from Ingolstadt to Eger, to Bohmen generally), that is, forming Magazines, on the Kaiser's behalf there: "Surely a likelier man than your Thorring!" urges Belleisle always. With whom the Kaiser does finally comply; nominates Seckendorf commander,—recalls the invaluable Thorring! "to his services in our Cabinet Council, which more befit his great age." In which safe post poor Thorring, like a Drum NOT beaten upon, has thenceforth a silent life of it; Seckendorf fighting in his stead,—as we shall have to witness, more or less.
Khevenhuller's is a changed posture, since he stood in Vienna, eight or nine months ago; grimly resolute, drilling his "6,000 of garrison," with the wheelbarrows all busy!—But her Hungarian Majesty's chief success, which is now opening into outlooks of a quite triumphant nature, has been that over the New Oriflamme itself, the Belleisle-Broglio Army,—most sweet to her Majesty to triumph over! Shortly after Chotusitz, shortly after that Pharsalia of a Sahay, readers remember Belleisle's fine Project, "Conjoined attack on Budweis, and sweeping of Bohemia clear;"—readers saw Belleisle, in the Schloss of Maleschau, 5th June last, rushing out (with violence to his own wig, says rumor); hurrying off to Dresden for co-operation; equally in vain. "Co-operation, M. le Marechal; attack on Budweis?"—Here is another Fragment:—
HOW BELLEISLE, RETURNING FROM DRESDEN WITHOUT CO-OPERATION FOUND THE ATTACK HAD BEEN DONE,—IN A FATALLY REVERSE WAY. PRAG EXPECTING SIEGE. COLLOQUY WITH BROGLIO ON THAT INTERESTING POINT. PRAG BESIEGED.
BUDWEIS, JUNE 4th,-PRAG, JUNE 13th. "Broglio, ever since that Sahay [which had been fought so gloriously on Frauenberg's account], lay in the Castle of Frauenberg, in and around,—hither side of the Moldau river, with his Pisek thirty miles to rear, and judicious outposts all about. There lay Broglio, meditating the attack on Budweis [were co-operation once here],—when, contrariwise, altogether on the sudden, Budweis made attack on Broglio; tumbled him quite topsy-turvy, and sent him home to Prag, uncertain which end uppermost; rolling like a heap of mown stubble in the wind, rather than marching like an army!"... Take one glance at him:—
"JUNE 4th, 1742 [day BEFORE that of Belleisle's "Wig" at Maleschau, had Belleisle known it!]—Prince Karl, being now free of the Prussians, and ready for new work, issued suddenly from Budweis; suddenly stept across the Moldau,—by the Bridge of Moldau-Tein, sweeping away the French that lay there. Prince Karl swept away this first French Post, by the mere sight and sound of him; swept away, in like fashion, the second and all following posts; swept Broglio himself, almost without shot fired, and in huge flurry, home to Prag, double-quick, night and day,—with much loss of baggage, artillery, prisoners, and total loss of one's presence of mind. 'Poor man, he was born for surprises' [said Friedrich's Doggerel long ago]! Manoeuvred consummately [he asserts] at different points, behind rivers and the like; but nowhere could he call halt, and resolutely stand still. Which undoubtedly he could and should have done, say Valori and all judges;—nothing quite immediate being upon him, except the waste-howling tagraggery of Croats, whom it had been good to quench a little, before going farther. On the third night, June 7th, he arrived at Pisek; marched again before daybreak, leaving a garrison of 1,200,—who surrendered to Prince Karl next day, without shot fired. Broglio tumbling on ahead, double-quick, with the tagraggery of Croats continually worrying at his heels, baggage-wagons sticking fast, country people massacring all stragglers, panted home to Prag on the 13th; with 'the Gross of the Army saved, don't you observe!' And thinks it an excellent retreat, he if no one-else. [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 122, &c.; Campagnes, v. 167 (his own Despatch).]
"At Pisek, Prince Karl has ceased chasing with his regulars, the pace being so uncommonly swift. From Pisek, Prince Karl struck off towards Pilsen, there to intercept a residue of Harcourt reinforcements who were coming that way: from Broglio, who knew of it, but in such flurry could not mind it, he had no hindrance; and it was by good luck, not management of Broglio's, that these poor reinforcements did in part get through to him, and in part seek refuge in Eger again. Broglio has encamped under the walls of Prag; in a ruinous though still blusterous condition; his positions all gone; except Prag and Eger, nothing in Bohemia now his."
PRAG, 17th JUNE-17th AUGUST. "It is in this condition that Belleisle, returning from the Kuttenberg-Dresden mission (June 15th), finds his Broglio. Most disastrous, Belleisle thinks it; and nothing but a Siege in Prag lying ahead; though Broglio is of different opinion, or, blustering about his late miraculous retreat, and other high merits too little recognized, forms no opinion at all on such extraneous points.... From Versailles, they had answered Belleisle: 'Nothing to be made of Dresden either, say you? Then go you and take the command at Prag; send Broglio to command the Bavarian Army. See, you, what can be done by fighting.' On this errand Belleisle is come, the heavy-laden man, and Valori with him,—if, in this black crisis, Valori could do anything. Valori at least reports the colloquy the Two Marshals had [one bit of colloquy, for they had more than one, though as few as possible; Broglio being altogether blusterous, sulphurous, difficult to speak with on polite terms]. [Valori, i. 162-166; Campagnes, v. 170, 124, &c. &c.] 'Army of Bavaria?' answers Broglio; 'I will have those Ten Battalions of the D'Harcourt reinforcement, then. I tell you, Yes! Prag? Prag may go to the—What have I to do with Prag? The oldest Marechal of France, superseded, after such merits, and on the very heel of such a retreat! Nay, but where is YOUR commission to command in Prag, M. le Marechal?' Belleisle, in the haste there was, has no Commission rightly drawn out by the War-office; only an Order from Court. 'I have a regular commission, Monseigneur: I want a Sign-manual before laying it down!' The unreasonable Broglio.
"Belleisle, tormented with rheumatic nerves, and of violent temper at any rate, compresses the immense waste rage that is in him. His answers to Broglio are calm and low-voiced; admirable to Valori. One thing he wished to ascertain definitely: What M. de Broglio's intentions were; and whether he would, or would not, go to Bavaria and take charge there? If so, he shall have all the Cavalry for escort; Cavalry, unless it be dragoons, will only eat victual in case of siege.—No, Broglio will not go with Cavalry; must have those Ten Battalions, must have Sign-manual; won't, in short!"—Will stay, then, thinks Belleisle; and one must try to drive him, as men do pigs, covertly and by the rule of contraries, while Prag falls under Siege.
What an outlook for his Most Christian Majesty's service,—fatal altogether, had not Belleisle been a high man, and willing to undertake pig-driving!... "Discouragement in the Army is total, were it not for Belleisle; anger against Broglio very great. The Officers declare openly, 'We will quit, if Broglio continue General! Our commissions were made out in the name of Marechal de Belleisle [in the spring of last Year, when he had such levees, more crowded than the King's!]—we are not bound to serve another General!'—'You recognize ME for your General?' asks Belleisle. 'Yes!'—'Then, I bid you obey M. de Broglio, so long as he is here.' [Valori, i. 166.]...
"JUNE 27th. The Grand-Duke, Maria Theresa's Husband, come from Vienna to take command-in-chief, joins the Austrian main Army and his Brother Karl, this day: at Konigsaal, one march to the south of Prag. Friedrich being now off their hands, why should not they besiege Prag, capture Prag! Under Khevenhuller, with Barenklau, and the Mentzels, Trencks,—poor D'Harcourt merely storing victual,—Bavaria lies safe enough. And the Oriflamme caged in Prag:—Have at the Oriflamme!
"Prag is begirdled, straitened more and more, from this day. Formal Siege to begin, so soon [as the artillery can come up' which is not for seven weeks yet]. And so, in fine, 'AUGUST 17th, all at once,' furious bombardment bursts out, from 36 mortars and above 100 big guns, disposed in batteries around. [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 149, 170.] To which the French, Belleisle's high soul animating everything, as furiously responded; making continual sallies of a hot desperate nature; especially, on the fifth day of the siege, one sally [to be mentioned by and by] which was very famous at Prag and at Paris."...
CONCERNING THE ITALIAN WAR WHICH SIMULTANEOUSLY WENT ON, ALL ALONG.
War in Italy—the Spanish Termagant very high in her Anti-Pragmatic notions—there had been, for eight months past; and it went on, fiercely enough, doggedly enough, on both sides for Six Years more, till 1748, when the general Finis came. War of which we propose to say almost nothing; but must request the reader to imagine it, all along, as influential on our specific affairs.
The Spanish Termagant wished ardently to have the Milanese and pertinents, as an Apanage for her second Infant, Don Philip; a young gentleman who now needs to be provided for, as Don Carlos had once done. "Cannot get to be Pope this one, it appears," said the fond Mother (who at one time looked that way for her Infant,): "Well, here is the Milanese fallen loose!" Readers know her for a lady of many claims, of illimitable aspirations; and she went very high on the Pragmatic Question. "Headship of the Golden Fleece, Madam; YOU head of it? I say all Austria, German and Italian, is mine!"—though she has now magnanimously given up the German part to Kaiser Karl VII.; and will be content with the Italian, as an Apanage for Don Philip. And so there is War in Italy, and will be. To be imagined by us henceforth.
A War in which these Three Elements are noticeable as the chief. FIRST, the Sardinian Majesty, [Charles Emanuel, Victor Amadeus's Son (Hubner, t. 293): born 27th April, 1701; lived and reigned till 19th February, 1773 (OErtel, t. 77).] who is very anxious himself for Milanese parings and additaments; but, except by skilfully playing off-and-on between the French side and the Austrian, has no chance of getting any. For Spain he is able to fight; and also (on good British Subsidies) against Spain. Element SECOND is the British Navy, cruising always between Spain and the Seat of War; rendering supplies by sea impossible,—almost impossible. THIRD, the Passes of Savoy; wild Alpine chasms, stone-labyrinths; inexpugnable, with a Sardinian Majesty defending; which are the one remaining road, for Armies and Supplies, out of Spain or France.
The Savoy Passes are, in fact, the gist of the War; the insoluble problem for Don Philip and the French. By detours, by circuitous effort and happy accident, your troops may occasionally squeeze through: but without one secure road open behind them for supplies and recruitments, what good is it? Battles there are, behind the Alps, on what we may call the STAGE itself of this Italian War-theatre; but the grand steady battle is that of France and Don Philip, struggling spasmodically, year after year, to get a road through the COULISSES or side-scenes,—namely, those Savoy Passes. They try it by this Pass and by that; Pass of Demont, Pass of Villa-Franca or Montalban (glorious for France, but futile), Pass of Exilles or Col d'Assiette (again glorious, again futile and fatal); sometimes by the way of Nice itself, and rocky mule-tracks overhanging the sea-edge (British Naval-cannon playing on them);—and can by no way do it.
There were fine fightings, in the interior too, under Generals of mark; General Browne doing feats, excellent old General Feldmarschall Traun, of whom we shall hear; Maillebois, Belleisle the Younger, of whom we have heard. There was Battle of Campo-Santo, new battle there (Traun's); there was Battle of Rottofreddo; of Piacenza (doleful to Maillebois),—followed by Invasion of Provence, by Revolt of Genoa and other things: which all readers have now forgotten. [Two elaborate works on the subject are said to be instructive to military readers: Buonamici (who was in it, for a while). De Bello Italico Commentarii (in Works of Buonamici, Lyon, 1750); and Pezay, Campagnes de Maillebois (our Westphalian friend again) en Italie, 1745-1746 (Paris, 1775).] Readers are to imagine this Italian War, all along, as a fact very loud and real at that time, and continually pulsing over into our German Events (like half-audible thunder below the horizon, into raging thunder above), little as we can afford to say of it here. One small Scene from this Italian War;—one, or with difficulty two;—and if possible be silent about all the rest:
SCENE, ROADS OF CADIZ, October, 1741: BY WHAT ASTONISHING ARTIFICE THIS ITALIAN WAR DID, AT LENGTH, GET BEGUN.
... "The Spanish Court, that is, Termagant Elizabeth, who rules everybody there, being in this humor, was passionate to begin; and stood ready a good while, indignantly champing the bit, before the sad preliminary obstacles could be got over. At Barcelona she had, in the course of last summer, doubly busy ever since Mollwitz time, got into equipment some 15,000 men; but could not by any method get them across,—owing to the British Fleets, which hung blockading this place and that; blockading Cadiz especially, where lay her Transport-ships and War-ships, at this interesting juncture. Fleury's cunctations were disgusting to the ardent mind; and here now, still more insuperable, are the British Fleets; here—and a pest to him!—is your Admiral Haddock, blockading Cadiz, with his Seventy-fours!
"But again, on the other or Pragmatic side, there were cunctations. The Sardinian Majesty, Charles Emanuel of Savoy, holding the door of the Alps, was difficult to bargain with, in spite of British Subsidies;—stood out for higher door-fees, a larger slice of the Milanese than could be granted him; had always one ear open for France, too; in short, was tedious and capricious, and there seemed no bringing him to the point of drawing sword for her Hungarian Majesty. In the end, he was brought to it, by a stroke of British Art,—such to the admiring Gazetteer and Diplomatic mind it seemed;—equal to anything we have since heard of, on the part of perfidious Albion.
"One day, 'middle of October last,' the Seventy-fours of Haddock and perfidious Albion,—Spanish official persons, looking out from Cadiz Light-house, ask themselves, 'Where are they? Vanished from these waters; not a Seventy-four of them to be seen!'—Have got foul in the underworks, or otherwise some blunder has happened; and the blockading Fleet of perfidious Albion has had to quit its post, and run to Gibraltar to refit. That, I guess, was the Machiavellian stroke of Art they had done; without investigating Haddock and Company [as indignant Honorable Members did], I will wager, That and nothing more!
"In any case, the Termagant, finding no Seventy-fours there, and the wind good, despatches swiftly her Transports and War-ships to Barcelona; swiftly embarks there her 15,000, France cautiously assisting; and lands them complete, 'by the middle of December,' Haddock feebly opposing, on the Genoa coast: 'Have at the Milanese, my men!' Which obliges Charles Emanuel to end his cunctations, and rank at once in defence of that Country, [Adelung, ii. 535, 538 (who believes in the "stroke of art"): what kind of "art" it was, learn sufficiently in Gentleman's Magazine, &c. of those months.] lest he get no share of it whatever. And so the game began. Europe admired, with a shudder, the refined stroke of art; for in cunning they equal Beelzebub, those perfidious Islanders;—and are always at it; hence their greatness in the world. Imitate them, ye Peoples, if you also would grow great. That is our Gazetteer Evangel, in this late epoch of Man's History."...
OTHER SCENE, BAY OF NAPLES, 19th-20th August, 1742: KING OF TWO SICILIES (BABY CARLOS THAT WAS), HAVING BEEN ASSISTING MAMMA, IS OBLIGED TO BECOME NEUTRAL IN THE ITALIAN WAR.
Readers will transport themselves to the Bay of Naples, and beautiful Vesuvian scenery seen from sea. The English-Spanish War, it would appear, is not quite dead, nor carried on by Jenkins and the Wapping people alone. Here in this Bay it blazes out into something of memorability; and gives lively sign of its existence, among the other troubles of the world.
"SUNDAY, AUGUST 19th, Commodore Martin, who had arrived overnight, appears in the Bay, with due modicum of seventy-fours, 'dursley galleys,' bomb-vessels, on an errand from his Admiral [one Matthews] and the Britannic Majesty, much to the astonishment of Naples. Commodore Martin hovers about, all morning, and at 4 P.M. drops anchor,—within shot of the place, fearfully near;—and therefrom sends ashore a Message: 'That his Sicilian Majesty [Baby Carlos, our notable old friend, who is said to be a sovereign of merit otherwise], has not been neutral, in this Italian War, as his engagements bore; but has joined his force to that of the Spaniards, declared enemies of his Britannic Majesty; which rash step his Britannic Majesty hereby requires him to retract, if painful consequences are not at once to ensue!' That is Martin's message; to which he stands doggedly, without variation, in the extreme flutter and multifarious reasoning of the poor Court of Naples: 'Recall your 20,000 men, and keep them recalled,' persists Martin; and furthermore at last, as the reasoning threatens to get lengthy: 'Your answer is required within one hour,'—and lays his watch on the Cabin-table.
"The Court, thrown into transcendent tremor, with no resource but either to be burnt or comply, answers within the hour: 'Yes: in all points.' Some eight hours or so of reasoning: deep in the night of Sunday, it is all over; everything preparing to get signed and sealed; ships making ready to sail again;—and on Tuesday at sunrise, there is no Martin there. Martin, to the last top-gallant, has vanished clean over the horizon; never to be seen again, though long remembered. [Tindal's Rapin, xx. 572 (MISdates, and is altogether indistinct); Gentleman's Magazine, xii. 494:—CAME, "Sunday morning, 19th August, n.s.;" "anchored about 4 p.m.;" "2 a.m. of 20th" all agreed; King Carlos's LETTER is GOT, ships prepared for sailing;—sail that night, and to-morrow, 21st, are out of sight.] One wonders, Were Pipes and Hatchway perhaps there, in Martin's squadron? In what station Commodore Trunnion did then serve in the British Navy? Vanished ghosts of grim mute sea-kings, there is no record of them but what is itself a kind of ghost! Ghost, or symbolical phantasm, from the brain of that Tobias Smollett; an assistant Surgeon, who served in the body along with them, his singular value altogether unknown."—King Carlos's Neutrality, obtained in this manner, lasted for a year-and-half; a sensible alleviation to her Hungarian Majesty for the time. We here quit the Italian War; leaving it to the reader's fancy, on the above terms. .......
THE SIEGE OF PRAG CONTIMES. A GRAND SALLY THERE.
"PRAG, 22d AUGUST. In the same hours, while Martin lay coercing Naples, the Army of the Oriflamme in Prag City was engaged in 'furious sallies;'"—readers may divine what that means for Prag and the Oriflamme!
"Prag is begirdled, bombarded from all the Wischerads, Ziscabergs and Hill environments; every avenue blocked, 'above 60,000 Austrians round it, near 40,000 of them regulars:' a place difficult to defend; but with excellent arrangements for defence on Belleisle's part, and the garrison with its blood up. Garrison makes continual furious sallies,—which are eminently successful, say the French Newspapers; but which end, as all sallies do, in returning home again, without conquest, except of honor;—and on this Wednesday, 22d August, comes out with the greatest sally of all. [Campagnes, vi. 5; Guerre de Boheme, ii. 173.] While Commodore Martin, many a Pipes and Hatchway standing grimly on the watch unknown to us, is steering towards Matthews and the Toulon waters again. The equal sun looking down on all.
"It was about twelve o'clock, when this Prag sally, now all in order, broke out, several thousand strong, and all at the white heat, now a constant temperature. Sally almost equal to that Pharsalia of a Sahay, it would seem;—concerning which we can spend no word in this brief summary. Fierce fighting, fiery irresistible onslaught; but it went too far, lost all its captured cannon again; and returned only with laurels and a heavy account of killed and wounded,—the leader of it being himself carried home in a very bleeding state. 'Oh, the incomparable troops!' cried Paris;—cried Voltaire withal (as I gather), and in very high company, in that Visit at Aachen. A sally glorious, but useless.
"The Imperial Generals were just sitting down to dinner, when it broke out; had intended a Council of War, over their wine, in the Grand-Duke's tent: 'What, won't they let us have our dinner!' cried Prince Karl, in petulant humor, struggling to be mirthful. He rather likes his dinner, this Prince Karl, I am told, and does not object to his wine: otherwise a hearty, talky, free-and-easy Prince,—'black shallow-set eyes, face red, and much marked with small-pox.' Clapping on his hat, faculties sharpened by hunger and impatience, let him do his best, for several hours to come, till the sally abate and go its ways again. Leaving its cannon, and trophies. No sally could hope to rout 60,000 men; this furious sally, almost equal to Sahay, had to return home again, on the above terms. Upon which Prince Karl and the others got some snatch of dinner; and the inexorable pressure of Siege, tightening itself closer and closer, went on as before.
"The eyes of all Europe are turned towards Prag; a big crisis clearly preparing itself there.... France, or aid in France, is some 500 miles away. In D'Harcourt, merely gathering magazines, with his Khevenhuller near, is no help; help, not the question there! The garrison of Eger, 100 miles to west of us, across the Mountains, barely mans its own works. Other strong post, or support of any kind in these countries, we have now none. We are 24,000; and of available resource have the Magazines in Prag, and our own right hands.
"The flower of the young Nobility had marched in that Oriflamme;—now standing at bay, they and it, in Prag yonder: French honor itself seems shut up there! The thought of it agitates bitterly the days and nights of old Fleury, who is towards ninety now, and always disliked war. The French public too,—we can fancy what a public! The young Nobility in Prag has its spokes-men, and spokes-women, at Versailles, whose complaint waxes louder, shriller; the whole world, excited by rumor of those furious sallies, is getting shrill and loud. What can old Fleury do but order Maillebois: 'Leave Dunkirk to its own luck; march immediately for relief of Prag!' And Maillebois is already on march; his various divisions (August 9th-20th) crossing the Rhine, in Dusseldorf Country;"—of whom we shall hear.
... "Some time before the actual Bombardment, Fleury, seeing it inevitable, had ordered Belleisle to treat. Belleisle accordingly had an interview, almost two interviews, with Konigseck. [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 156 ("2d July" the actual interview); ib. 161 (the corollary to it, confirmatory of it, which passed by letters).] 'Liberty to march home, and equitable Peace-Negotiations in the rear?' proposed Belleisle. 'Absolute surrender; Prisoners of War!' answered Konigseck; 'such is her Hungarian Majesty's positive order and ultimatum.' The high Belleisle responded nothing unpolite; merely some, 'ALORS, MONSIEUR—!' And rode back to Prag, with a spirit all in white heat;—gradually heating all the 24,000 white, and keeping them so.
"In fact, Belleisle, a high-flown lion reduced to silence and now standing at bay, much distinguishes himself in this Siege; which, for his sake, is still worth a moment's memory from mankind. He gathers himself into iron stoicism, into concentration of endeavor; suffers all things, Broglio's domineering in the first place; as if his own thin skin were that of a rhinoceros; and is prepared to dare all things. Like an excellent soldier, like an excellent citizen. He contrives, arranges; leads, covertly drives the domineering Broglio, by rule of contraries or otherwise, according to the nature of the beast; animates all men by his laconic words; by his silences, which are still more emphatic.... Sechelles, provident of the future, has laid in immense supplies of indifferent biscuit; beef was not attainable: Belleisle dismounts his 4,000 cavalry, all but 400 dragoons; slaughters 160 horses per day, and boils the same by way of butcher's-meat, to keep the soldier in heart. It is his own fare, and Broglio's, to serve as example. At Broglio's quarter, there is a kind of ordinary of horse-flesh: Officers come in, silent speed looking through their eyes; cut a morsel of the boiled provender, break a bad biscuit, pour one glass of indifferent wine; and eat, hardly sitting the while, in such haste to be at the ramparts again. The 80,000 Townsfolk, except some Jews, are against them to a man. Belleisle cares for everything: there is strict charge on his soldiers to observe discipline, observe civility to the Townsfolk; there is occasional 'hanging of a Prag Butcher' or so, convicted of spyship, but the minimum of that, we will hope."
MAILLEBOIS MARCHES, WITH AN "ARMY OF REDEMPTION" OR "OF MATHURINS" (WITTILY SO CALLED), TO RELIEVE PRAG; REACHES THE BOHEMIAN FRONTIER, JOINED BY THE COMTE DE SAXE; ABOVE 50,000 STRONG (August 9th-September 19th).
Maillebois has some 40,000 men: ahead of him 600 miles of difficult way; rainy season come, days shortening; uncertain staff of bread ("Seckendorf's meal," and what other commissariat there may be): a difficult march, to Amberg Country and the top of the Ober-Pfalz. After which are Mountain-passes; Bohemian Forest: and the Event—? "Cannot be dubious!" thinks France, whatever Maillebois think. Witty Paris, loving its timely joke, calls him Army of Redemption, "L'ARMEE DES MATHURINS,"—a kind of Priests, whose business is commonly in Barbary, about Christian bondage:—how sprightly! And yet the enthusiasm was great: young Princes of the Blood longing to be off as volunteers, needing strict prohibition by the King;—upon which, Prince de Conti, gallant young fellow, leaving his wife, his mistress, and miraculously borrowing 2,500 pounds for equipments, rushed off furtively by post; and did join, and do his best. Was reprimanded, clapt in arrest for three days; but afterwards promoted; and came to some distinction in these Wars. [Barbier, ii. 326 (that of Conti, ib. 331); Adelung, &c.]
The March goes continually southeast; by Frankfurt, thence towards Nurnberg Country ("be at Furth, September 6th"), and the skirts of the Pine-Mountains (FICHTEL-GEBIRGE),—Anspach and Baireuth well to your left;—end, lastly, in the OBER-PFALZ (Upper Palatinate), Town of Amberg there. Before trying the Bohemian Passes, you shall have reinforcement. Best part of the "Bavarian Army," now under Comte de Saxe, not under D'Harcourt farther, is to cease collecting victual in the Donau-Iser Countries (Deggendorf, north bank of Donau, its head-quarter); and to get on march,—circling very wide, not northward, but by the Donan, and even by the SOUTH, bank of it mainly (to avoid the hungry Mountains and their Tolpatcheries),—and, at Amberg, is to join Maillebois. This is a wide-lying game.
The great Marlborough used to play such, and win; making the wide elements, the times and the spaces, hit with exactitude: but a Maillebois?"He is called by the Parisians, 'VIEUX PETIT-MAITRE (dandy of sixty,' so to speak); has a poor upturned nose, with baboon-face to match, which he even helps by paint."... Here is one Scene; at Frankfurt-on-Mayn; fact certain, day not given.
FRANKFURT, "LATTER END OF AUGUST," 1742. "At Frankfurt, his Army having got into the neighborhood,"—not into Frankfurt itself, which, as a REICHS-STADT, is sacred from Armies and their marchings,—"Marechal de Maillebois, as in duty bound, waited on the Kaiser to pay his compliments there: on which occasion, we regret to say, Marechal de Maillebois was not so reverent to the Imperial Majesty as he should have been. Angry belike at the Adventure now forced on him, and harassed with many things; seeing in the Imperial Majesty little but an unfortunate Play-actor Majesty, who lives in furnished lodgings paid for by France, and gives France and Maillebois an infinite deal of trouble to little purpose. Certain it is, he addressed the Imperial Majesty in the most free-and-easy manner; very much the reverse of being dashed by the sacred Presence: and his Officers in the ante-chamber, crowding about, all day, for presentation to the Imperial Majesty, made a noise, and kept up a babble of talk and laughter, as if it had been a mess-room, instead of the Forecourt of Imperial Majesty. So that Imperial Majesty, barely master of its temper and able to finish without explosion, signified to Maillebois on the morrow, That henceforth it would dispense with such visits, Poor Imperial Majesty; a human creature doing Play-actorisms of too high a flight. He had the finest Palace in Germany; a wonder to the Great Gustavus long ago: and now he has it not; mere Meutzels and horrent shaggy creatures rule in Munchen and it: and the Imperial quasi-furnished lodgings are respected in this manner!" [Van Loon, Kleine Schriften, ii. 271 (cited in Buchholz, ii. 71). CAMPAGNES is silent; usually suppressing scenes of that kind.]—The wits say of him, "He would be Kaiser or Nothing: see you, he is Kaiser and Nothing!" ["Aut nihil aut Caesar, Bavarus Dux esse volebat; Et nihil et Caesar factus utrumque simul." (Barbier, ii. 322.)]...
AUGUST 19th-SEPTEMBER 14th. "Comte de Saxe is on march, from Deggendorf; north bank of the Donau, by narrow mountain roads; then crosses the Donau to south bank, and a plain country;—making large circuit, keeping the River on his right,—to meet Maillebois at Amberg; his force, some 10 or 12,000 men. Seckendorf, now Bavarian Commander-in-chief, accompanies Saxe; with considerable Bavarian force, guess 20,000, 'marching always on the left.' Accompanies; but only to Regensburg, to Stadt-am-Hof, a Suburb of Regensburg, where they cross the Donau again."—SUBURB of Regensburg, mark that; Regensburg itself being a Reichs-Stadt, very particularly sacred from War;—the very Reichs-DIET commonly sitting here; though it has gone to Frankfurt lately, to be with its Kaiser, and out of these continual trumpetings and tumults close by. [Went 10th May, 1742,—after three months' arguing and protesting on the Austrian part (Adelung, iii. A, 102, 138).]—"At Regensburg, once across, Seckendorf with his Bavarians calls halt; plants himself down in Kelheim, Ingolstadt, and the safe Garrisons thereabouts,—calculates that, if Khevenhuller should be called away Prag-ward, there may be a stroke do-able in these parts. Saxe marches on; straight northward now, up the Valley of the Naab; obliged to be a good deal on his guard. Mischievous Tolpatcheries and Trencks, ever since he crossed the Donau again, have escorted him, to right, as close as they durst; dashing out sometimes on the magazines." One of the exploits they had done, take only one:—in their road TOWARDS Saxe, a few days ago:—
... "SEPTEMBER 7th, Trenck with his Tolpatcheries had appeared at Cham,—a fine trading Town on the hither or neutral side of the mountains [not in Bohmen, but in Ober-Pfalz, old Kur-Pfalz's country, whom the Austrians hate];—and summoning and assaulting Cham, over the throat of all law, had by fire and by massacre annihilated the same. [Adelung, iii A, 258; Guerre de Boheme; &c.] Fact horrible, nearly incredible; but true. The noise of which is now loud everywhere. Less lovely individual than this Trenck [Pandour Trenck, Cousin of the Prussian one,] there was not, since the days of Attila and Genghis, in any War. Blusters abominably, too; has written [save the mark!] an 'AUTOBIOGRAPHY,'—having happily afterwards, in Prison and even in Bedlam, time for such a Work;—which is stuffed with sanguinary lies and exaggerations: unbeautifulest of human souls. Has a face the color of indigo, too;—got it, plundering in an Apothecary's [in this same country, if I recollect]: 'ACH GOTT, your Grace, nothing of money here!' said the poor Apothecary, accompanying Colonel Trenck with a lighted candle over house and shop. Trenck, noticing one likely thing, snatched the candle, held it nearer:—likely thing proved gunpowder; and Trenck, till Doomsday, continues deep blue. [Guerre de Boheme.] Soul more worthy of damnation I have seldom known."
"SEPTEMBER 19th (five days after dropping Seckendorf), Saxe actually gets joined with Maillebois;—not quite at Amberg, but at Vohenstrauss, in that same Sulzbach Country, a forty miles to eastward, or Prag-ward, of Amberg. Maillebois and he conjoined are between 50 and 60,000. They are got now to the Bohemian Boundary, edge of the Bohemian Forest (big BOHMISCHE WALD, Mountainous woody Country, 70 miles long); they are within 60 miles of Pilsen, within 100 of Prag itself,—if they can cross the Forest. Which may be difficult."
PRINCE KARL AND THE GRAND-DUKE, HEARING OF MAILLEBOIS, GO TO MEET HIM (September 14th); AND THE SIEGE OF PRAG IS RAISED.
"SEPTEMBER llth, the Besieged at Prag notice that the Austrian fire slackens; that the Enemy seems to be taking away his guns. Villages and Farmsteads, far and wide all round, are going up in fire. A joyful symptom:—since August 13th, Belleisle has known of Maillebois's advent; guesses that the Austrians now know it.—SEPTEMBER 14th, their Firing has quite ceased. Grand-Duke and Prince Karl are off to meet this Maillebois, amid the intricate defiles, 'Better meet him there than here:'—and on this fourth morning, Belleisle, looking out, perceives that the Siege is raised. [Espagnac, i. 145; Campagnes, v. 348.]
"A blessed change indeed. No enemy here,—perhaps some Festititz, with his canaille of Tolpatches, still lingering about,—no enemy worth mention. Parties go out freely to investigate:—but as to forage? Alas, a Country burnt, Villages black and silent for ten miles round;—you pick up here and there a lean steer, welcome amid boiled horse-flesh; you bundle a load or two of neglected grass together, for what cavalry remains. The genius of Sechelles, and help from the Saxon side, will be much useful!
"Perhaps the undeniablest advantage of any is this, That Broglio, not now so proud of the situation Prag is in, or led by the rule of contraries, willingly quits Prag: Belleisle will not have to do his function by the medium of pig-driving, but in the direct manner henceforth. 'Give me 6 or 8,000 foot, and what of the cavalry have horses still uneaten,' proposes Broglio; 'I will push obliquely towards Eger,—which is towards Saxony withal, and opens our food-communications there:—I will stretch out a hand to Maillebois, across the Mountain Passes; and thus bring a victorious issue!' [Espagnac, i. 170.] Belleisle consents: 'Well, since my Broglio will have it so!'—glad to part with my Broglio at any rate,—'Adieu, then, M. le Marechal (and,' SOTTO VOCE, 'may it be long before we meet again in partnership)!' Broglio marches accordingly ('hand' beautifully held out to Maillebois, but NOT within grasping distance); gets northwestward some 60 miles, as far as Toplitz [sadly oblique for Eger],—never farther on that errand."
THE MAILLEBOIS ARMY OF REDEMPTION CANNOT REDEEM AT ALL;—HAS TO STAGGER SOUTHWARD AGAIN; AND BECOMES AN "ARMY OF BAVARIA," UNDER BROGLIO.
"SEPTEMBER 19th-OCTOBER 10th,,'—Scene is, the Eger-VohenStrauss Country, in and about that Bohemian Forest of seventy miles.—"For three weeks, Maillebois and the Comte de Saxe, trying their utmost, cannot, or cannot to purpose, get through that Bohemian Wood. Only Three practicable Passes in it; difficult each, and each conducting you towards more new difficulties, on the farther side;—not surmountable except by the determined mind. A gloomy business: a gloomy difficult region, solitary, hungry; nothing in it but shaggy chasms (and perhaps Tolpatchery lurking), wastes, mountain woodlands, dumb trees, damp brown leaves. Maillebois and Saxe, after survey, shoot leftwards to Eger; draw food and reinforcement from the Garrison there. They do get through the Forest, at one Pass, the Pass nearest Eger;—but find Prince Karl and the Grand-Duke ranked to receive them on the other side. 'Plunge home upon Prince Karl and the Grand-Duke; beat them, with your Broglio to help in the rear?' That possibly was Friedrich's thought as he watched [now home at Berlin again] the contemporaneous Theatre of War.
"But that was not the Maillebois-Broglio method;—nay, it is said Maillebois was privately forbidden 'to run risks.' Broglio, with his stretched-out hand (12,000 some count him, and indeed it is no matter), sits quiet at Toplitz, far too oblique: 'Come then, come, O Maillebois!' Maillebois,—manoeuvring Prince Karl aside, or Hunger doing it for him,—did once push forward Prag-ward, by the Pass of Caaden; which is very oblique to Toplitz. By the Pass of Caaden,—down the Eger River, through those Mountains of the Circle of Saatz, past a Castle of Ellenbogen, key of the same;—and 'Could have done it [he said always after], had it not been for Comte de Saxe!' Undeniable it is, Saxe, as vanguard, took that Castle of Ellenbogen; and, time being so precious, gave the Tolpatchery dismissal on parole. Undeniable, too, the Tolpatchery, careless of parole, beset Caaden Village thereupon, 4,000 strong; cut off our foreposts, at Caaden Village; and—In short, we had to retire from those parts; and prove an Army of Redemption that could not redeem at all!
"Maillebois and Saxe wend sulkily down the Naab Valley (having lost, say 15,000, not by fighting, but by mud and hardship); and the rapt European Public (shilling-gallery especially) says, with a sneer on its face, 'Pooh; ended, then!' Sulkily wending, Maillebois and Saxe (October 30th-November 7th) get across the Donau, safe on the southern bank again; march for the Iser Country and the D'Harcourt Magazines,—and become 'Grand Bavarian Army,' usual refuge of the unlucky."...
OF SECKENDORF IN THE INTERIM. "For Belleisle and relief of Prag, Maillebois in person had proved futile; but to Seckendorf, waiting with his Bavarians, the shadow and rumor of Maillebois had brought famous results,—famous for a few weeks. Khevenhuller being called north to help in those Anti-Maillebois operations, and only Barenklau with about 10,000 Austrians now remaining in Baiern, Seckendorf, clearly superior (not to speak of that remnant of D'Harcourt people, with their magazines), promptly bestirred himself, in the Kelheim-Ingolstadt Country; got on march; and drove the Austrians mostly out of Baiern. Out mostly, and without stroke of sword, merely by marching; out for the time. Munchen was evacuated, on rumor of Seckendorf (October 4th): a glad City to see Barenklau march off. Much was evacuated,—the Iser Valley, down partly to the Inn Valley,—much was cleared, by Seckendorf in these happy circumstances. Who sees himself victorious, for once; and has his fame in the Gazettes, if it would last. Pretty much without stroke of sword, we say, and merely by marching: in one place, having marched too close, the retreating Barenklau people turned on him, 'took 100 prisoners' before going; [Espagnac, i. 166.]—other fighting, in this line 'Reconquest of Bavaria,' I do not recollect. Winter come, he makes for Maillebois and the Iser Countries; cantons himself on the Upper Inn itself, well in advance of the French [Braunau his chief strong-place, if readers care to look on the Map]; and strives to expect a combined seizure of Passau, and considerable things, were Spring come."...
AND OF BROGLIO IN THE INTERIM. "As for Broglio, left alone at Toplitz, gazing after a futile Maillebois, he sends the better half of his Force back to Prag; other half he establishes at Leitmeritz: good halfway-house to Dresden. 'Will forward Saxon provender to you, M. de Belleisle!' (never did, and were all taken prisoners some weeks hence). Which settled, Broglio proceeded to the Saxon Court; who answered him: 'Provender? Alas, Monseigneur! We are (to confess it to you!) at Peace with Austria: [Treatying ever since "July 17th;" Treaty actually done, "11th September") (Adelung, iii. A, 201, 268).] not an ounce of provender possible; how dare we?'—but were otherwise politeness itself to the great Broglio. Great Broglio, after sumptuous entertainments there, takes the road for Baiern; circling grandly ('through Nurnberg with escort of 500 Horse') to Maillebois's new quarters;—takes command of the 'Bavarian Army' (may it be lucky for him!); and sends Maillebois home, in deep dudgeon, to the merciless criticisms of men. 'Could have done it,' persists the VIEUX PETIT-MAITRE always, 'had not'—one knows what, but cares not, at this date!—
"Broglio's quarters in the Iser Country, I am told, are fatally too crowded, men perishing at a frightful rate per day. [Espagnac, i. 182.] 'Things all awry here,—thanks to that Maillebois and others!' And Broglio's troubles and procedures, as is everywhere usual to Broglio, run to a great height in this Bavarian Command. And poor Seckendorf, in neighborhood of such a Broglio, has his adoes; eyes sparkling; face blushing slate-color; at times nearly driven out of his wits;—but strives to consume his own smoke, and to have hopes on Passau notwithstanding."—And of Belleisle in Prag, and his meditations on the Oriflamme?—Patience, reader.
Meantime, what a relief to Kaiser Karl, in such wreck of Bohemian Kingdoms and Castles in Spain, to have got his own Munchen and Country in hand again; with the prospect of quitting furnished-lodgings, and seeing the color of real money! April next, he actually goes to Munchen, where we catch a glimpse of him. ["17th April, 1743," Montijos &c. accompanying (Adelung, iii. B, 119, 120).] This same October, the Reich, after endless debatings on the question, "Help our Kaiser, or not help?" [Ib. iii A, 289.] has voted him fifty ROMER-MONATE ("Romish-months," still so termed, though there is NOT now any marching of the Kaiser to Rome on business); meaning fifty of the known QUOTAS, due from all and sundry in such case,—which would amount to about 300,000 pounds (could it, or the half of it, be collected from so wide a Parish), and would prove a sensible relief to the poor man.
VOLTAIRE HAS BEEN ON VISIT AT AACHEN, IN THE INTERIM,—HIS THIRD VISIT TO KING FRIEDRICH.
King Friedrich had come to the Baths of Aachen, August 25th; the Maillebois Army of Redemption being then, to the last man of it, five days across the Rhine on its high errand, which has since proved futile. Friedrich left Aachen, taking leave of his Voltaire, who had been lodging with him for a week by special invitation, September 9th; and witnessed the later struggles and final inability of Maillebois to redeem, not at Aix, but at Berlin, amid the ordinary course of his employments there. We promised something of Voltaire's new visit, his Third to Friedrich. Here is what little we have,—if the lively reader will exert his fancy on it.
Voltaire and his Du Chatelet had been to Cirey, and thence been at Paris through this Spring and Summer, 1742;—engaged in what to Voltaire and Paris was a great thing, though a pacific one: The getting of MAHOMET brought upon the boards. August 9th, precisely while the first vanguard of the Army of Redemption got across the Rhine at Dusseldorf, Voltaire's Tragedy of MAHOMET came on the stage.
August 9th, llth, 13th, Paris City was in transports of various kinds; never were such crowds of Audience, lifting a man to the immortal gods,—though a part too, majority by count of heads, were dragging him to Tartarus again. "Exquisite, unparalleled!" exclaimed good judges (as Fleury himself had anticipated, on examining the Piece):—"Infamous, irreligious, accursed!" vociferously exclaimed the bad judges; Reverend Desfontaines (of Sodom, so Voltaire persists to define him), Reverend Desfontaines and others giving cue; hugely vociferous, these latter, hugely in majority by count of heads. And there was such a bellowing and such a shrieking, judicious Fleury, or Maurepas under him, had to suggest, "Let an actor fall sick; let M. de Voltaire volunteer to withdraw his Piece; otherwise—!" And so it had to be: Actor fell sick on the 14th (Playbills sorry to retract their MAHOMET on the 14th); and—in fact, it was not for nine years coming, and after Dedication to the Pope, and other exquisite manoeuvres and unexpected turns of fate, that MAHOMET could be acted a fourth time in Paris, and thereafter AD LIBITUM down to this day. [OEuvres de Voltaire, ii. 137 n.; &c. &c.]
Such tempest in a teapot is not unexampled, nay rather is very frequent, in that Anarchic Republic called of Letters. Confess, reader, that you too would have needed some patience in M. de Voltaire's place; with such a Heaven's own Inspiration of a MAHOMET in your hands, and such a terrestrial Doggery at your heels. Suppose the bitterest of your barking curs were a Reverend Desfontaines of Sodom, whom you yourself had saved from the gibbet once, and again and again from starving? It is positively a great Anarchy, and Fountain of Anarchies, all that, if you will consider; and it will have results under the sun. You cannot help it, say you; there is no shutting up of a Reverend Desfontaines, which would be so salutary to himself and to us all? No:—and when human reverence (daily going, in such ways) is quite gone from the world; and your lowest blockhead and scoundrel (usually one entity) shall have perfect freedom to spit in the face of your highest sage and hero,—what a remarkably Free World shall we be!
Voltaire, keeping good silence as to all this, and minded for Brussels again, receives the King of Prussia's invitation; lays it at his Eminency Fleury's feet; will not accept, unless his Eminency and my own King of France (possibly to their advantage, if one might hint such a thing!) will permit it. [Ib. lxxii. 555 (Letter to Fleury, "Paris, Aug. 22d").] "By all means; go, and"—The rest is in dumb-show; meaning, "Try to pump him for us!" Under such omens, Voltaire and his divine Emilie return to their Honsbruck Lawsuit: "Silent Brussels, how preferable to Paris and its mad cries!" Voltaire, leaving the divine Emilie at Brussels, September 2d, sets out for Aix,—Aix attainable within the day. He is back at Brussels late in the evening, September 9th:—how he had fared, and what extent of pumping there was, learn from the following Excerpts, which are all dated the morrow after his return:—
THREE LETTERS OF VOLTAIRE, DATED BRUSSELS, 10th SEPT. 1742.
1. TO CIDEVILLE (the Rouen Advocate, who has sometimes troubled us).... "I have been to see the King of Prussia since I began this Letter [beginning of it dates September 1st]. I have courageously resisted his fine proposals. He offers me a beautiful House in Berlin, a pretty Estate; but I prefer my second-floor in Madame du Chatelet's here. He assures me of his favor, of the perfect freedom I should have;—and I am running to Paris [did not just yet run] to my slavery and persecution. I could fancy myself a small Athenian, refusing the bounties of the King of Persia. With this difference, however, one had liberty [not slavery] at Athens; and I am sure there were many Cidevilles there, instead of one,"—HELAS, my Cideville!
2. TO MARQUIS D'ARGENSON (worthy official Gentleman, not War-Minister now or afterwards; War-Minister's senior brother,—Voltaire's old school-fellows, both these brothers, in the College of Louis le Grand).... "I have just been to see the King of Prussia in these late days [in fact, quitted him only yesterday; both of us, after a week together, leaving Aix yesterday]: I have seen him as one seldom sees Kings,—much at my ease, in my own room, in the chimney-nook, whither the same man who has gained two Battles would come and talk familiarly, as Scipio did with Terence. You will tell me, I am not Terence; true, but neither is he altogether Scipio.
"I learned some extraordinary things,"—things not from Friedrich at all: mere dinner-table rumors; about the 16,000 English landing here ("18,000" he calls them, and farther on, "20,000") with the other 16,000 PLUS 6,000 of Hanoverian-Hessian sort, expecting 20,000 Dutch to join them,—who perhaps will not? "M. de Neipperg [Governor of Luxemburg now] is come hither to Brussels; but brings no Dutch troops with him, as he had hoped,"—Dutch perhaps won't rise, after all this flogging and hoisting?" Perhaps we may soon get a useful and glorious Peace, in spite of my Lord Stair, and of M. van Haren, the Tyrtaeus of the States-General [famed Van Haren, eyes in a fine Dutch frenzy rolling, whose Cause-of-Liberty verses let no man inquire after]: Stair prints Memoirs, Van Haren makes Odes; and with so much prose and so much verse, perhaps their High and Slow Mightinesses [Excellency Fenelon sleeplessly busy persuading them, and native Gravitation SLEEPILY ditto] will sit quiet. God grant it!
"The English want to attack us on our own soil [actually Stair's plan]; and we cannot pay them in that kind. The match is too unfair! If we kill the whole 20,000 of them, we merely send 20,000 Heretics to—What shall I say?—A L'ENFER, and gain nothing; if they kill us, they even feed at our expense in doing it. Better have no quarrels except on Locke and Newton! The quarrel I have on MAHOMET is happily only ridiculous."... Adieu, M. le Marquis.
3. TO THE CARDINAL DE FLEURY. "Monseigneur,... to give your Eminency, as I am bound, some account of my journey to Aix-la-Chapelle." Friedrich's guest there; let us hear, let us look.
"I could not get away from Brussels till the 2d of this month. On the road, I met a courier from the King of Prussia, coming to reiterate his Master's orders on me. The King had me lodged near his own Apartment; and he passed, for two consecutive days, four hours at a time in my room, with all that goodness and familiarity which forms, as you know, part of his character, and which does not lower the King's dignity, because one is duly careful not to abuse it [be careful!]. I had abundant time to speak, with a great deal of freedom, on what your Eminency had prescribed to me; and the King spoke to me with an equal frankness.
"First, he asked me, If it was true that the French Nation was so angered against him; if the King was, and if you were? I answered,"—mildly reprobatory, yet conciliative, "Hm, no, nothing permanent, nothing to speak of." "He then deigned to speak to me, at large, of the reasons which had induced him to be so hasty with the Peace." "Extremely remarkable reasons;" "dare not trust them to this Paper" (Broglio-Belleisle discrepancies, we guess, distracted Broglio procedures);—they have no concern with that Pallandt-Letter Story,—"they do not turn on the pretended Secret Negotiations at the Court of Vienna [which are not pretended at all, as I among others well know], in regard to which your Eminency has condescended to clear yourself [by denying the truth, poor Eminency; there was no help otherwise]. All I dare state is, that it seems to me easy to lead back the mind of this Sovereign, whom the situation of his Territories, his interest, and his taste would appear to mark as the natural ally of France."
"He said farther [what may be relied on as true by his Eminency Fleury, and my readers here], That he passionately wished to see Bohemia in the Emperor's hands [small chance for it, as things now go!]; that he renounced, with the best faith in the world, all claim whatever on Berg and Julich; and that, in spite of the advantageous proposals which Lord Stair was making him, he thought only of keeping Silesia. That he knew well enough the House of Austria would, one day, wish to recover that fine Province, but that he trusted he could keep his conquest; that he had at this time 130,000 soldiers always ready; that he would make of Neisse, Glogau, Brieg, fortresses as strong as Wesel [which he is now diligently doing, and will soon have done]; that besides he was well informed the Queen of Hungary already owed 80,000,000 German crowns, which is about 300 millions of our money [about 12 millions sterling]; that her Provinces, exhausted, and lying wide apart, would not be able to make long efforts; and that the Austrians, for a good while to come, could not of themselves be formidable." Of themselves, no: but with Britannic soup-royal in quantity?—
"My Lord Hyndford had spoken to him" as if France were entirely discouraged and done for: How false, Monseigneur! "And Lord Stair in his letters represented France, a month ago, as ready to give in. Lord Stair has not ceased to press his Majesty during this Aix Excursion even:" and, in spite of what your Eminency hears from the Hague, "there was, on the 30th of August, an Englishman at Aix on the part of Milord Stair; and he had speech with the King of Prussia [CROYEZ MOI!] in a little Village called Boschet [Burtscheid, where are hot wells], a quarter of a league from Aix. I have been assured, moreover, that the Englishman returned in much discontent. On the other hand, General Schmettau, who was with the King [elder Schmettau, Graf SAMUEL, who does a great deal of envoying for his Majesty], sent, at that very time, to Brussels, for Maps of the Moselle and of the Three Bishoprics, and purchased five copies,"—means to examine Milord Stair's proposed Seat of War, at any rate. (Here is a pleasant friend to have on visit to you, in the next apartment, with such an eye and such a nose!)...
"Monseigneur," finely insinuates Voltaire in conclusion, "is not there" a certain Frenchman, true to his Country, to his King, and to your Eminency, with perhaps peculiar facilities for being of use, in such delicate case?—"JE SUIS," much your Eminency's. [OEuvres, lxxii. p. 568 (to Cideville), p. 579 (D'Argenson), p. 574 (Fleury).]
Friedrich, on the day while Voltaire at Brussels sat so busy writing of him, was at Salzdahl, visiting his Brunswick kindred there, on the road home to his usual affairs. Old Fleury, age ninety gone, died 29th January, 1743,—five months and nineteen days after this Letter. War-Minister Breteuil had died January 1st. Here is room for new Ministers and Ministries; for the two D'Argensons,—if it could avail their old School-fellow, or France, or us; which it cannot much.
Chapter III.—CARNIVAL PHENOMENA IN WAR-TIME.
Readers were anticipating it, readers have no sympathy; but the sad fact is, Britannic Majesty has NOT got out his sword; this second paroxysm of his proves vain as the first did! Those laggard Dutch, dead to the Cause of Liberty, it is they again. Just as the hour was striking, they—plump down, in spite of magnanimous Stair, into their mud again; cannot be hoisted by engineering. And, after all that filling and emptying of water-casks, and pumping and puffing, and straining of every fibre for a twelvemonth past, Britannic Majesty had to sit down again, panting in an Olympian manner, with that expensive long sword of his still sticking in the scabbard.
Tongue cannot tell what his poor little Majesty has suffered from those Dutch,—checking one's noble rage, into mere zero, always; making of one's own glorious Army a mere expensive Phantasm! Hanoverian, Hessian, British: 40,000 fighters standing in harness, year after year, at such cost; and not the killing of a French turkey to be had of them in return. Patience, Olympian patience, withal! He cantons his troops in the Netherlands Towns; many of the British about Ghent (who consider the provisions, and customs, none of the best); [Letters of Officers, from Ghent (Westminster Journal, Oct. 23d, &c.).] his Hanoverians, Hessians, farther northward, Hanover way;—and, greatly daring, determines to try again, next Spring. Carteret himself shall go and flagitate the Dutch. Patience; whip and hoist!—What a conclusion, snorts the indignant British Public through its Gazetteers.
"Next year, yes, exclaims one indignant Editor: 'if talking will do business, we shall no doubt perform wonders; for we have had as much talking and puffing since February last, as during any ten years of the late Administration' [The Daily Post, December 31st (o.s.), 1742.] [under poor Walpole, whom you could not enough condemn]! The Dutch? exclaims another: 'If WE were a Free People [F— P— he puts it, joining caution with his rage], QUOERE, Whether Holland would not, at this juncture, come cap in hand, to sue for our protection and alliance; instead of making us dance attendance at the Hague?' Yes, indeed;—and then the CASE OF THE HANOVER FORCES (fear not, reader; I understand your terror of locked-jaw, and will never mention said CASE again); but it is singular to the Gazetteer mind, That these Hanover Forces are to be paid by England, as appears; Hanover, as if without interest in the matter, paying nothing! Upon which, in covert form of symbolic adumbration, of witty parable, what stinging commentaries, not the first, nor by many thousands the last (very sad reading in our day) on this paltry Hanover Connection altogether: What immensities it has cost poor England, and is like to cost, 'the Lord of the Manor' (great George our King) being the gentleman he is; and how England, or, as it is adumbratively called, 'the Manor of St. James's,' is become a mere 'fee-farm to Mumland.' Unendurable to think of. 'Bob Monopoly, the late Tallyman [adumbrative for Walpole, late Prime Minister], was much blamed on this account; and John the Carter [John Lord Carteret], Clerk of the Vestry and present favorite of his Lordship, is not behind Robin in his care for the Manor of MUMLAND' [In Westminster Journal (Feb. 12th, n.s., 1743), a long Apologue in this strain.] (that contemptible Country, where their very beer is called MUM),—and no remedy within view?"
RETREAT FROM PRAG; ARMY OF THE ORIFLAMME, BOHEMIAN SECTION BOHEMIAN SECTION OF IT, MAKES EXIT.
"And Belleisle in Prag, left solitary there, with his heroic remnant,—gone now to 17,000, the fourth man of them in hospital, with Festititz Tolpatchery hovering round, and Winter and Hunger drawing nigh,—what is to become of Belleisle? Prince Karl and the Grand-Duke had attended Maillebois to Bavaria; steadily to left of Maillebois between Austria and him; and are now busy in the Passau Country, bent on exploding those Seckendorf-Broglio operations and intentions, as the chief thing now. Meanwhile they have detached Prince Lobkowitz to girdle in Belleisle again; for which Lobkowitz (say, 20,000, with the Festititz Tolpatchery included) will be easily able. On the march thither he easily picked up (18th-25th November) that new French Post of Leitmeritz (Broglio's fine 'Half-way House to Saxony and Provender'), with its garrison of 2,000: the other posts and outposts, one and all, had to hurry home, in fear of a like fate. Beyond the circuit of Prag, isolated in ten miles of burnt country, Belleisle has no resource except what his own head may furnish. The black landscape is getting powdered with snow; one of the grimmest Winters, almost like that of 1740; Belleisle must see what he will do.
"Belleisle knows secretly what he will do. Belleisle has orders to come away from Prag; bring his Army off, and the chivalry of France home to their afflicted friends. [Campagnes, vi. 244-251; Espagnac, i. 168.] A thing that would have been so feasible two months ago, while Maillebois was still wriggling in the Pass of Caaden; but which now borders on impossibility, if not reaches into it. As a primary measure, Belleisle keeps those orders of his rigorously secret. Within the Garrison, or on the part of Lobkowitz, there is a far other theory of Belleisle's intentions. Lobkowitz, unable to exist in the black circuit, has retired beyond it, and taken the eastern side of the Moldau, as the least ruined; leaving the Tolpatchery, under one Festititz, to caracole round the black horizon on the west. Farther, as the Moldau is rolling ice, and Lobkowitz is afraid of his pontoons, he drags them out high and dry: 'Can be replaced in a day, when wanted.' In a day; yes, thinks Belleisle, but not in less than a day;—and proceeds now to the consummation. Detailed accounts exist, Belleisle's own Account (rapid, exact, loftily modest); here, compressing to the utmost, let us snatch hastily the main features.
"On the 15th December, 1742, Prag Gates are all shut: Enter if you like; but no outgate. Monseigneur le Marechal intends to have a grand foraging to-morrow, on the southwestern side of Prag. Lobkowitz heard of it, in spite of the shut gates; for all Prag is against Belleisle, and does spy-work for Lobkowitz. 'Let him forage,' thought Lobkowitz; 'he will not grow rich by what he gathers;' and sat still, leaving his pontoons high and dry. So that Belleisle, on the afternoon of December 16th,—between 12 and 14,000 men, near 4,000 of them cavalry, with cannon, with provision-wagons, baggage-wagons, goods and chattels in mass,—has issued through the two Southwestern Gates; and finds himself fairly out of Prag. On the Pilsen road; about nightfall of the short winter day: earth all snow and 'VERGLAS,' iron glazed; huge olive-colored curtains of the Dusk going down upon the Mountains ahead of him; shutting in a scene wholly grim for Belleisle. Brigadier Chevert, a distinguished and determined man, with some 4,000 sick, convalescent and half able, is left in Prag to man the works; the Marechal has taken hostages, twenty Notabilities of Prag; and neglected no precaution. He means towards Eger; has, at least, got one march ahead; and will do what is in him, he and every soul of those 14,000. The officers have given their horses for the baggage-wagons, made every sacrifice; the word Homewards kindles a strange fire in all hearts; and the troops, say my French authorities, are unsurpassable. The Marechal himself, victim of rheumatisms, cannot ride at all; but has his light sledge always harnessed; and, at a moment's notice, is present everywhere. Sleep, during these ten days and nights, he has little.
"Eger is 100 miles off, by the shortest Highway: there are two bad Highways, one by Pilsen southerly, one by Karlsbad northerly,—with their bridges all broken, infested by Hussars:—we strike into a middle combination of country roads, intricate parish lanes; and march zigzag across these frozen wildernesses: we must dodge these Festititz Hussar swarms; and cross the rivers near their springs. Forward! Perhaps some readers, for the high Belleisle's sake, will look out these localities subjoined in the Note, and reduced to spelling. [Tachlowitz, Lischon (near Rakonitz); Jechnitz (as if you were for the Pilsen road; then turn as if for the Karlsbad one); Steben (not discoverable, but a DESPATCH from it,—Campagnes, v. 280), Chisch, Luditz, Theysing (hereabouts you break off into smaller columns, separate parties and patches, cavalry all ahead, among the Hills): Schonthal AND Landeck (Belleisle passes Christmas-day at Landeck,— Campagnes, vii. 10); Einsiedel (AND by Petschau), Lauterbach, Konigswart, AND likewise by Topl, Sandau, Treunitz (that is, into Eger from two sides).] Resting-places in this grim wilderness of his: poor snow-clad Hamlets,—with their little hood of human smoke rising through the snow; silent all of them, except for the sound of here and there a flail, or crowing cock;—but have been awakened from their torpor by this transit of Belleisle. Happily the bogs themselves are iron; deepest bog will bear.
"Festititz tries us twice,—very anxious to get Belleisle's Army-chest, or money; we give him torrents of sharp shot instead. Festititz, these two chief times, we pepper rapidly into the Hills again; he is reduced to hang prancing on our flanks and rear. Men bivouac over fires of turf, amid snow, amid frost; tear down, how greedily, any wood-work for fire. Leave a trumpet to beg quarter for the frozen and speechless;—which is little respected: they are lugged in carts, stript by the savageries, and cruelly used. There were first extensive plains, then boggy passes, intricate mountains; bog and rock; snow and VERGLAS.—On the 26th, after indescribable endeavors, we got into Eger;—some 1,300 (about one in ten) left frozen in the wilderness; and half the Army falling ill at Eger, of swollen limbs, sore-throats, and other fataler diseases, fatal then, or soon after. Chevert, at Prag, refused summons from Prince Lobkowitz: 'No, MON PRINCE; not by any means! We will die, every man of us, first; and we will burn Prag withal!'—So that Lobkowitz had to consent to everything; and escort Chevert to Eger, with bag and baggage, Lobkowitz furnishing the wagons.
"Comparable to the Retreat of Xenophon! cry many. Every Retreat is compared to that. A valiant feat, after all exaggerations. A thing well done, say military men;—'nothing to object, except that the troops were so ruined;'—and the most unmilitary may see, it is the work of a high and gallant kind of man. One of the coldest expeditions ever known. There have been three expeditions or retreats of this kind which were very cold: that of those Swedes in the Great Elector's time (not to mention that of Karl XII.'s Army out of Norway, after poor Karl XII. got shot); that of Napoleon from Moscow; this of Belleisle, which is the only one brilliantly conducted, and not ending in rout and annihilation.
"The troops rest in Eger for a week or two; then homeward through the Ober-Pfalz:—'go all across the Rhine at Speyer' (5th February next); the Bohemian Section of the Oriflamme making exit in this manner. Not quite the eighth man of them left; five-eighths are dead: and there are about 12,000 prisoners, gone to Hungary,—who ran mostly to the Turks, such treatment had they, and were not heard of again." [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 221 (for this last fact). IB. 204, and Espagnac, i. 176 (for particulars of the Retreat); and still better, Belleisle's own Despatch and Private Letter (Eger, 2d January and 5th January, 1743), in Campagnes, vii. 1-21.]—Ah, Belleisle, Belleisle!
The Army of the Oriflamme gets home in this sad manner; Germany not cut in Four at all. "Implacable Austrian badgers," as we call them, "gloomily indignant bears," how have they served this fine French hunting-pack; and from hunted are become hunters, very dangerous to contemplate! At Frankfurt, Belleisle, for his own part, pauses; cannot, in this entirely down-broken state of body, serve his Majesty farther in the military business; will do some needful diplomatics with the Kaiser, and retire home to government of Metz, till his worn-out health recover itself a little.
A GLANCE AT VIENNA, AND THEN AT BERLIN.
Prince Karl had been busy upon Braunau (the BAVARIAN Braunau, not the BOHEMIAN or another, Seckendorf's chief post on the Inn); had furiously bombarded Braunau, with red-hot balls, for some days; [2d-10th December (Espagnac, i. 171).] intent to explode the Seckendorf-Broglio projects before winter quite came. Seckendorf, in a fine frenzy, calls to Broglio, "Help!" and again calls; both Kaiser and he, CRESCENDO to a high pitch, before Broglio will come. "Relieve Braunau? Well;—but no fighting farther, mark you!" answers Broglio. To the disgust of Kaiser and Seckendorf; who were eager for a combined movement, and hearty attack on Prince Karl, with perhaps capture of Passau itself. At sight of Broglio and Seckendorf combined, Prince Karl did at once withdraw from Braunau; but as to attacking him,—"NON; MILLE FOIS, NON!" answered Broglio disdainfully bellowing. First grand quarrel of Broglio and Seckendorf; by no means their last. Prince Karl put his men in winter-quarters, in those Passau regions; postponing the explosion of the Broglio-Seckendorf projects, till Spring; and returned to Vienna for the Winter gayeties and businesses there. How the high Maria Theresa is contented, I do not hear;—readers may take this Note, which is authentic, though vague, and straggling over wide spaces of time still future.
"Does her Majesty still think of 'taking the command of her Armies on herself,' high Amazon that she is!" Has not yet thought of that, I should guess. "At one time she did seriously think of it, says a good witness; which is noteworthy. [Podewils, Der Wiener Hof (Court of Vienna, in the years 1746, 1747 and 1748; a curious set of REPORTS for Friedrich's information, by Podewils, his Minister there); printed under that Title, "by the Imperial Academy of Sciences" (Wien, 1850);—may be worth alluding to again, if chance offer.] Her Husband has been with the Armies, once, twice; but never to much purpose (Brother Karl doing the work, if work were done);—and this is about the last time, or the last but one, this in Winter 1742. She loves her Husband thoroughly, all along; but gives him no share in business, finding he understands nothing except Banking. It is certain she chiefly was the reformer of her Army," in years coming; "she, athwart many impediments. An ardent rider, often on horseback, at paces furiously swift; her beautiful face tanned by the weather. Very devout too; honest to the bone, athwart all her prejudices. Since our own Elizabeth! no Woman, and hardly above one Man, is worth being named beside her as a Sovereign Ruler;—she is 'a living contradiction of the Salic Law,' say her admirers. Depends on England for money, All hearts and right hands in Austria are hers. The loss of Schlesien, pure highway robbery, thrice-doleful loss and disgrace, rankles incurable in the noble heart, pious to its Fathers withal, and to their Heritages in the world,—we shall see with what issues, for the next twenty years, to that 'BOSE MANN,' unpardonably 'wicked man' of Brandenburg. And indeed, to the end of her life, she never could get over it. To the last, they say, if a Stranger, getting audience, were graciously asked, 'From what Country, then?' and should answer, 'Schlesien, your Majesty!' she would burst into tears.—'Patience, high Madam!' urges the Britannic Majesty: 'Patience; may not there be compensation, if we hunt well?'" Austrian bears, implacable badgers, with Britannic mastiffs helping, now that the Belleisle Pack is down!—
At Berlin it was gay Carnival, while those tragedies went on: Friedrich was opening his Opera-House, enjoying the first ballets, while Belleisle filed out of Prag that gloomy evening. Our poor Kaiser will not "retain Bohemia," then; how far from it! The thing is not comfortable to Friedrich; but what help?
This is the gayest Carnival yet seen in Berlin, this immediately following the Peace; everybody saying to himself and others, "GAUDEAMUS, What a Season!" Not that, in the present hurry of affairs, I can dwell on operas, assemblies, balls, sledge-parties; or indeed have the least word to say on such matters, beyond suggesting them to the imagination of readers. The operas, the carnival gayeties, the intricate considerations and diplomacies of this Winter, at Berlin and elsewhere, may be figured: but here is one little speck, also from the Archives, which is worth saving. Princess Ulrique is in her twenty-third year, Princess Amelia in her twentieth; beautiful clever creatures, both; Ulrique the more staid of the two. "Never saw so gay a Carnival," said everybody; and in the height of it, with all manner of gayeties going on,—think where the dainty little shoes have been pinching!
PRINCESSES ULRIQUE AND AMELIA TO THE KING.
BERLIN, "1st March, 1743. "MY DEAREST BROTHER,—I know not if it is not too bold to trouble your Majesty on private affairs: but the great confidence which my Sister [Amelia] and I have in your kindness encourages us to lay before you a sincere avowal as to the state of our bits of finances (NOS PETITES FINANCES), which are a good deal deranged just now; the revenues having, for two years and a half past, been rather small; amounting to only 400 crowns (60 pounds) a year; which could not be made to cover all the little expenses required in the adjustments of ladies. This circumstance, added to our card-playing, though small, which we could not dispense with, has led us into debts. Mine amount to 225 pounds (1,500 crowns); my Sister's to 270 pounds (1,800 crowns).
"We have not spoken of it to the Queen-Mother, though we are well sure she would have tried to assist us; but as that could not have been done without some inconvenience to her, and she would have retrenched in some of her own little entertainments, I thought we should do better to apply direct to Your Majesty; being persuaded you would have taken it amiss, had we deprived the Queen of her smallest pleasure;—and especially, as we consider you, my dear Brother, the Father of the Family, and hope you will be so gracious as help us. We shall never forget the kind acts of Your Majesty; and we beg you to be persuaded of the perfect and tender attachment with which we are proud to be all our lives,—Your Majesty's most humble and most obedient Sisters and Servants,
"LOUISE-ULRIQUE; ANNE-AMELIE [which latter adds anxiously as Postscript, Ulrique having written hitherto],
"P.S. I most humbly beg Your Majesty not to speak of this to the Queen-Mother, as perhaps she would not approve of the step we are now taking." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxvii. i. 387.]
Poor little souls; bankruptcy just imminent! I have no doubt Friedrich came handsomely forward on this grave occasion, though Dryasdust has not the grace to give me the least information.—"Frederic Baron Trenck," loud-sounding Phantasm once famous in the world, now gone to the Nurseries as mythical, was of this Carnival 1742-43; and of the next, and NOT of the next again! A tall actuality in that time; swaggering about in sumptuous Life-guard uniform, in his mess-rooms and assembly-rooms; much in love with himself, the fool. And I rather think, in spite of his dog insinuations, neither Princess had heard of him till twenty years hence, in a very different phasis of his life! The empty, noisy, quasi-tragic fellow;—sounds throughout quasi-tragically, like an empty barrel; well-built, longing to be FILLED. And it is scandalously false, what loud Trenck insinuates, what stupid Thiebault (always stupid, incorrect, and the prey of stupidities) confirms, as to this matter,—fit only for the Nurseries, till it cease altogether.
VOLTAIRE, AT PARIS, IS MADE IMMORTAL BY A KISS.
Voltaire and the divine Emilie are home to Cirey again; that of Brussels, with the Royal Aachen Excursion, has been only an interlude. They returned, by slow stages, visit after visit, in October last,—some slake occurring, I suppose, in that interminable Honsbruck Lawsuit; and much business, not to speak of ennui, urging them back. They are now latterly in Paris itself, safe in their own "little palace (PETIT PALAIS) at the point of the Isle;" little jewel of a house on the Isle St. Louis, which they are warming again, after long absence in Brussels and the barbarous countries. They have returned hither, on sufferance, on good behavior; multitudes of small interests, small to us, great to them,—death of old Fleury, hopeful changes of Ministry, not to speak of theatricals and the like,—giving opportunity and invitation. Madame, we observe, is marrying her Daughter: the happy man a Duke of Montenero, ill-built Neapolitan, complexion rhubarb, and face consisting much of nose. [Letter of Voltaire, in OEuvres, lxxiii 24.] Madame never wants for business; business enough, were it only in the way of shopping, visiting, consulting lawyers, doing the Pure Sciences.
As to Voltaire, he has, as usual, Plays to get acted,—if he can. MAHOMET, no; MORT DE CESAR, yes OR no; for the Authorities are shy, in spite of the Public. One Play Voltaire did get acted, with a success,—think of it, reader! The exquisite Tragedy MEROPE, perhaps now hardly known to you; of which you shall hear anon.
But Plays are not all. Old Pleury being dead, there is again a Vacancy in the Academy; place among the sacred Forty,—vacant for Voltaire, if he can get it. Voltaire attaches endless importance to this place; beautiful as a feather in one's cap; useful also to the solitary Ishmael of Literature, who will now in a certain sense have Thirty-nine Comrades, and at least one fixed House-of-Call in this world. In fine, nothing can be more ardent than the wish of M. de Voltaire for these supreme felicities. To be of the Forty, to get his Plays acted,—oh, then were the Saturnian Kingdoms come; and a man might sing IO TRIUMPHE, and take his ease in the Creation, more or less! Stealthily, as if on shoes of felt,—as if on paws of velvet, with eyes luminous, tail bushy,—he walks warily, all energies compressively summoned, towards that high goal. Hush, steady! May you soon catch that bit of savory red-herring, then; worthiest of the human feline tribe!—As to the Play MEROPE, here is the notable passage:
"PARIS, WEDNESDAY, 20th FEBRUARY, 1743. First night of MEROPE; which raised the Paris Public into transports, so that they knew not what to do, to express their feelings. 'Author! M. de Voltaire! Author!' shouted they; summoning the Author, what is now so common, but was then an unheard-of originality. 'Author! Author!' Author, poor blushing creature, lay squatted somewhere, and durst not come; was ferreted out; produced in the Lady Villars's Box,—Dowager MARECHALE DE VILLARS, and her Son's Wife DUCHESSE DE VILLARS, being there; known friends of Voltaire's. Between these Two he stands ducking some kind of bow; uncertain, embarrassed what to do; with a Theatre all in rapturous delirium round him,—uncertain it too, but not embarrassed. 'Kiss him! MADAME LA DUCHESSE DE VILLARS, EMBRASSEZ VOLTAIRE!' Yes, kiss him, fair Duchess, in the name of France! shout all mortals;—and the younger Lady has to do it; does it with a charming grace; urged by Madame la Marechale her mother-in-law. [Duvernet (T. J. D. V.), Vie de Voltaire, p. 128; Voltaire himself, OEuvres, ii. 142; Barbier, ii. 358.] Ah, and Madame la Marechale was herself an old love of Voltaire's; who had been entirely unkind to him!
"Thus are you made immortal by a Kiss;—and have not your choice of the Kiss, Fate having chosen for you. The younger Lady was a Daughter of Marechal de Noailles [our fine old Marechal, gone to the Wars against his Britannic Majesty in those very weeks]: infinitely clever (INFINIMENT D'ESPRIT); beautiful too, I understand, though towards forty;—hangs to the human memory, slightly but indissolubly, ever since that Wednesday Night of 1743."
Old Marechal de Noailles is to the Wars, we said;—it is in a world all twinkling with watch-fires, and raked coals of War, that these fine Carnival things go on. Noailles is 70,000 strong; posted in the Rhine Countries, middle and upper Rhine; vigilantly patrolling about, to support those staggering Bavarian Affairs; especially to give account of his Britannic Majesty. Brittanic Majesty is thought to have got the Dutch hoisted, after all; to have his sword OUT;—and ere long does actually get on march; up the Rhine hitherward, as is too evident, to Noailles, to the Kaiser and everybody!
Chapter IV.—AUSTRIAN AFFAIRS MOUNT TO A DANGEROUS HEIGHT.
Led by fond hopes,—and driven also by that sad fear, of a Visit from his Britannic Majesty,—the poor Kaiser, in the rear of those late Seckendorf successes, quitted Frankfurt, April 17th; and the second day after, got to Munchen. Saw himself in Munchen again, after a space of more than two years; "all ranks of people crowding out to welcome him;" the joy of all people, for themselves and for him, being very great. Next day he drove out to Nymphenburg; saw the Pandour devastations there,—might have seen the window where the rugged old Unertl set up his ladder, "For God's sake, your Serenity, have nothing to do with those French!"—and did not want for sorrowful comparisons of past and present.
It was remarked, he quitted Munchen in a day or two; preferring Country Palaces still unruined,—for example, Wolnzach, a Schloss he has, some fifty miles off, down the Iser Valley, not far from the little Town of Mosburg; which, at any rate, is among the Broglio-Seckendorf posts, and convenient for business. Broglio and Seckendorf lie dotted all about, from Braunau up to Ingolstadt and farther; chiefly in the Iser and Inn Valleys, but on the north side of the Donau too; over an area, say of 2,000 square miles; Seckendorf preaching incessantly to Broglio, what is sun-clear to all eyes but Broglio's, "Let us concentrate, M. le Marechal; let us march and attack! If Prince Karl come upon us in this scattered posture, what are we to do?" Broglio continuing deaf; Broglio answering—in a way to drive one frantic.
The Kaiser himself takes Broglio in hand; has a scene with Broglio; which, to readers that study it, may be symbolical of much that is gone and that is coming. It fell "about the middle of May" (prior to May 17th, as readers will guess before long); and here, according to report, was the somewhat explosive finale it had. Prince Conti, the same who ran to join Maillebois, and has proved a gallant fellow and got command of a Division, attends Broglio in this important interview at Wolnzach:—
SCHLOSS OF WOLNZACH, MAY, 1743.... "The Kaiser pressed, in the most emphatic manner, That the Two Armies [French and Bavarian] should collect and unite for immediate action. To which Broglio declared he could by no means assent, not having any order from Paris of that tenor. The Kaiser thereupon: 'I give you my order for it; I, by the Most Christian King's appointment, am Commander-in-Chief of your Army, as of my own; and I now order you!'—taking out his Patent, and spreading it before Broglio with the sign-manual visible, Broglio knew the Patent very well; but answered, 'That he could not, for all that, follow the wish of his Imperial Majesty; that he, Broglio, had later orders, and must obey them!' Upon which the Imperial Majesty, nature irrepressibly asserting itself, towered into Olympian height; flung his Patent on the table, telling Conti and Broglio, 'You can send that back, then; Patents like that are of no service to me!' and quitted them in a blaze." [Adelung, iii. B, 150; cites ETTAT POLITIQUE (Annual Register of those times), xiii. 16. Nothing of this scene in Campagnes, which is officially careful to suppress the like of this.]
The indisputable fact is, Prince Karl is at the door; nay he has beaten in the door in a frightful manner; and has Braunau, key of the Inn, again under siege. Not we getting Passau; it is he getting Braunau! A week ago (9th May) his vanguard, on the sudden, cut to pieces our poor Bavarian 8,000, and their poor Minuzzi, who were covering Braunau, and has ended him and them;—Minuzzi himself prisoner, not to be heard of or beaten more;—and is battering Braunau ever since. That is the sad fact, whatever the theory may have been. Prince Karl is rolling in from the east; Lobkowitz (Prag now ended) is advancing from the northward, Khevenhuller from the Salzburg southern quarter: Is it in a sprinkle of disconnected fractions that you will wait Prince Karl? The question of uniting, and advancing, ought to be a simple one for Broglio. Take this other symbolic passage, of nearly the same date;—posterior, as we guessed, to that Interview at Wolnzach.
"DINGELFINGEN, 17th MAY, 1743. At Dingelfingen on the Iser, a strongish central post of the French, about fifty miles farther down than that Schloss of Wolnzach, there is a second argument,—much corroborative of the Kaiser's reasoning. About sunrise of the 17th, the Austrians, in sufficient force, chiefly of Pandours, appeared on the heights to the south: they had been foreseen the night before; but the French covering General, luckier than Minuzzi, did not wait for them; only warned Dingelfingen, and withdrew across the River, to wait there on the safe left bank. Leader of the Austrians was one Leopold Graf von Daun, active man of thirty-five, already of good rank, who will be much heard of afterwards; Commandant in Dingelfingen is a Brigadier du Chatelet, Marquis du Chatelet-Lamont; whom—after search (in the interest of some idle readers)—I discover to be no other than the Husband of a certain Algebraic Lady! Identity made out, mark what a pass he is at. Count Daun comes on in a tempest of furious fire; 'very heavy,' they say, from great guns and small; till close upon the place, when he summons Du Chatelet: 'No;' and thereupon attempts scalade. Cannot scalade, Du Chatelet and his people being mettlesome; takes then to flinging shells, to burning the suburbs; Town itself catches fire,—Town plainly indefensible. 'Truce for one hour' proposes Du Chatelet (wishful to consult the covering General across the River): 'No,' answers Daun. So that Du Chatelet has to jumble and wriggle himself out of the place; courageous to the last; but not in a very Parthian fashion,—great difficulty to get his bridge ruined (very partially ruined), behind him;—and joins the covering General, in a flustery singed condition! Were not pursued farther by Daun:—and Prince Conti, Head General in those parts, called it a fine defence, on examining." [Campagnes, viii. 239; Espagnac, i. 187; Hormayr, iv. 82, 85.] Espagnac continues:—
"On the 19th," after one rest-day, "Graf von Daun set out for Landau [still on the Iser, farther down; Baiern has ITS "Landau" too, and its "Landshut," both on this River], to seize Landau; which is another French place of strength. The Garrison defended themselves for some time; after which they retired over the River [left bank, or wrong side of the Iser, they too]; and set fire to the Bridge behind them. The fire of the Bridge caught the Town; Pandours helping it, as our people said; and Landau also was reduced to ashes."—Poor Landau, poor Dingelfingen, they cannot have the benefit of Louis XV.'s talent for governing Germany, quite gratis, it would appear!
But where are the divine Emilie and Voltaire, that morning, while the Brigadier is in such taking? Sitting safe in "that dainty little palace of Madame's (PETIT PALAIS) at the point of the Isle de St. Louis," intent on quite other adventures; disgusted with the slavish Forty and their methods of Election (of which by and by); and little thinking of M. le Brigadier and the dangers of war.—Prince de Conti praised the Brigadier's defence: but very soon, alas,—
DEGGENDORF, 27th MAY. "Prince de Conti, at Deggendorf [other or north bank of the Donau, Head-quarters of Conti, which was thought to be well secured by batteries and defences on the steep heights to landward], was himself suddenly attacked, the tenth day hence, 'May 27th, at daybreak,' in a still more furious manner; and was tumbled out of Deggendorf amid whirlwinds of fire, in very flamy condition indeed. The Austrians, playing on us from the uplands with their heavy artillery, made a breach in our outmost battery: 'Not tenable!' exclaimed the Captain there: 'This way, my men!'—and withdrew, like a shot, he and party; sliding down the steep face of the mountain [feet foremost, I hope], home to Deggendorf in this peculiar manner; leaving the AUSTRIANS to manage his guns. Our two lower batteries, ruled by this upper one, had now to be abandoned; and Conti ran, Bridge of the Town-ditch breaking under him; baggages, even to his own portmanteaus, all lost; and had a neck-and-neck race of it in getting to his Donau-Bridge, and across to the safe side. With loss of everything, we say,—personal baggage all included; which latter item, Prince Karl politely returned him next day." [Espagnac, p. 188.]
Broglio, with Prince Karl in his bowels going at such a rate, may judge now whether it was wise to lie in that loose posture, scattered over two thousand square miles, and snort on his judicious Seckendorf's advices and urgencies as he did! Readers anticipate the issue; and shall not be wearied farther with detail. There are, as we said, Three Austrian Armies pressing on this luckless Bavaria and its French Protectors: Khevenhuller, from Salzburg and the southern quarter, pushing in his Dauns; Lobkowitz, hanging over us from the Ober-Pfalz (Naab-River Country) on the north; and Prince Karl, on one or sometimes on both sides of the Donau, pricking sharply into the rear of us; saying, by bayonets, burnt bridges, bomb-shells, "Off; swift; it will be better for you!" And Broglio has lost head, a mere whirlwind of flaming gases; and your ablest Comte de Saxe in such position, what can he do? Broglio writes to Versailles, That there will be no continuing in Bavaria; that he recommends an order to march homewards;—much to the surprise of Versailles.
"The Court of Versailles was much astonished at the message it got from Broglio; Court of Versailles had always calculated that Broglio could keep Bavaria; and had gone into extensive measures for maintaining him there. Experienced old Marechal de Noailles has a new French Army, 70,000 or more, assembled in the Upper Rhine for that and the cognate objects [of whom, more specially, anon]: Noailles, by order from Court, has detached 12,000, who are now marching their best, to reinforce Broglio;—and indeed the Court 'had already appointed the Generals and Staff-Officers for Broglio's Bavarian Army,' and gratified many men by promotions, which now went to smoke! [Espagnac, i. 190.]
"Versailles, however, has to expedite the order: 'Come home, then.' Order or no order, Broglio's posts are all crackling off again, bursting aloft like a chain of powder-mines; Broglio is plunging head foremost, towards Donauworth, towards Ingolstadt, his place of arms; Seckendorf now welcome to join him, but unable to do anything when joined. Blustering Broglio has no steadfastness of mind; explodes like an inflammable body, in this crackling off of the posts, and becomes a mere whirlwind of flaming gases. Old snuffling Seckendorf, born to ill success in his old days, strong only in caution, how is he to quench or stay this crackling of the posts? Broglio blusters, reproaches, bullies; Seckendorf quarrels with him outright, as he may well do: 'JARNI-BLEU, such a delirious whirlwind of a Marechal; mere bickering flames and soot!'—and looks out chiefly to keep his own skin and that of his poor Bavarians whole.
"The unhappy Kaiser has run from Munchen again, to Augsburg for some brief shelter; cannot stay there either, in the circumstances. Will he have to hurry back to Frankfurt, to bankruptcy and furnished lodgings,—nay to the Britannic Majesty's tender mercies, whose Army is now actually there? Those indignant prophesyings to Broglio, at the Schloss of Wolnzach, have so soon come true! And Broglio and the French are—what a staff to lean upon! Enough, the poor Kaiser, after doleful 'Council of War held at Augsburg, June 25th,' does on the morrow make off for Frankfurt again:—whither else? Britannic Majesty's intentions, friends tell him, friend Wilhelm of Hessen tells him, are magnanimous; eager for Peace to Teutschland; hostile only to the French. Poor Karl took the road, June 26th;—and will find news on his arrival, or before it.
"On which same day, 26th of June, as it chances, Broglio too has made his packages; left a garrison in Ingolstadt, garrison in Eger; and is ferrying across at Donauworth,—will see the Marlborough Schellenberg as he passes,—in full speed for the Rhine Countries, and the finis of this bad Business. [Adelung, iii. B. 152.] On the road, I believe at Donauworth itself, Noailles's 12,000, little foreseeing these retrograde events, met Broglio: 'Right about, you too!' orders Broglio; and speeds Rhineward not the less. And the same day of that ferrying at Donauworth, and of the Kaiser's setting out for Frankfurt, Seckendorf,—at Nieder-Schonfeld [an old Monastery near the Town of Rain, in those parts], the Kaiser being now safe away,—is making terms for himself with Khevenhuller and Prince Karl: 'Will lie quiet as mere REICHS-Army, almost as Troops of the Swabian Circle, over at Wembdingen there, in said circle, and be strictly neutral, if we can but get lived at all!' [Ib. iii. B, 153.] Seckendorf concludes on the morrow, 27th June;—which is elsewhere a memorable Day of Battle, as will be seen.
"Broglio marched in Five Divisions [Du Chatelet in the Second Division, poor soul, which was led by Comte de Saxe]: [Espagnac, i. 198.] always in Five Divisions, swiftly, half a march apart; through the Wurtemberg Country;—lost much baggage, many stragglers; Tolpatcheries in multitude continually pricking at the skirts of him; Prince Karl following steadily, Rhine-wards also, a few marches behind. Here are omens to return with! 'But have you seen a retreat better managed?' thinks Broglio to himself:" that is one consoling circumstance.
In this manner, then, has the Problem of Bavaria solved itself. Hungarian Majesty, in these weeks, was getting crowned in Prag; "Queen of Bohemia, I, not you; in the sight of Heaven and of Earth!" [Crowned 12th May, 1743 (Adelung, iii. B, 128); "news of Prince Karl's having taken Braunau [incipiency of all these successes] had reached her that very morning."]—and was purifying her Bohemia: with some rigor (it is said), from foreign defacements, treasonous compliances and the like, which there had been. To see your Bavarian Kaiser, false King of Bohemia, your Broglio with his French, and the Bohemian-Bavarian Question in whole, all rolling Rhine-wards at their swiftest, with Prince Karl sticking in the skirts of them:—what a satisfaction to that high Lady!
BRITANNIC MAJESTY, WITH SWORD ACTUALLY DRAWN, HAS MARCHED MEANWHILE TO THE FRANKFURT COUNTRIES, AS "PRAGMATIC ARMY;" READY FOR BATTLE AND TREATY ALIKE.
Add to which fine set of results, simultaneously with them: His Britannic Majesty, third effort successful, has got his sword drawn, fairly out at last; and in the air is making horrid circles with it, ever since March last; nay does, he flatters himself, a very considerable slash with it, in this current month of June. Of which, though loath, we must now take some notice.
The fact is, though Stair could not hoist the Dutch, and our double-quick Britannic heroism had to drop dead in consequence, Carteret has done it: Carteret himself rushed over in that crisis, a fiery emphatic man and chief minister, [Arrived at the Hague "5th October, 1742" (Adelung, iii. A, 294).]—"eager to please his Master's humor!" said enemies. Yes, doubtless; but acting on his own turbid belief withal (says fact); and revolving big thoughts in his head, about bringing Friedrich over to the Cause of Liberty, giving French Ambition a lesson for once, and the like. Carteret strongly pulleying, "All hands, heave-oh!"—and, no doubt, those Maillebois-Broglio events from Prag assisting him,—did bring the High Mightinesses to their legs; still in a staggering splay-footed posture, but trying to steady themselves. That is to say, the High Mightinesses did agree to go with us in the Cause of Liberty; will now pay actual Subsidies to her Hungarian Majesty (at the rate of two for our three); and will add, so soon as humanly possible, 20,000 men to those wind-bound 40,000 of ours;—which latter shall now therefore, at once, as "Pragmatic Army" (that is the term fixed on), get on march, Frankfurt way; and strike home upon the French and other enemies of Pragmatic Sanction. This is what Noailles has been looking for, this good while, and diligently adjusting himself, in those Middle-Rhine Countries, to give account of.
Pragmatic Army lifted itself accordingly,—Stair, and the most of his English, from Ghent, where the wearisome Head-quarters had been; Hanoverians, Hessians, from we will forget where;—and in various streaks and streams, certain Austrians from Luxemburg (with our old friend Neipperg in company) having joined them, are flowing Rhine-ward ever since March 1st. ["February 18th," o.s. (Old Newspapers).] They cross the Rhine at three suitable points; whence, by the north bank, home upon Frankfurt Country, and the Noailles-Broglio operations in those parts. The English crossed "at Neuwied, in the end of April" (if anybody is curious); "Lord Stair in person superintending them." Lord Stair has been much about, and a most busy person; General-in-Chief of the Pragmatic Army till his Britannic Majesty arrive. Generalissimo Lord Stair; and there is General Clayton, General Ligonier, "General Heywood left with the Reserve at Brussels:"—and, from the ashes of the Old Newspapers, the main stages and particulars of this surprising Expedition (England marching as Pragmatic Army into distant parts) can be riddled out; though they require mostly to be flung in again. Shocking weather on the march, mere Boreas and icy tempests; snow in some places two feet deep; Rhine much swollen, when we come to it.
The Austrian Chief General—who lies about Wiesbaden, and consults with Stair, while the English are crossing—is Duke d'Ahremberg (Father of the Prince de Ligne, or "Prince of Coxcombs" as some call him): little or nothing of military skill in D'Ahremberg; but Neipperg is thought to have given much counsel, such as it was. With the Hessians there was some difficulty; hesitation on Landgraf Wilhelm's part; who pities the poor Kaiser, and would fain see him back at Frankfurt, and awaken the Britannic magnanimities for him. "To Frankfurt, say you? We cannot fight against the Kaiser!"—and they had to be left behind, for some time; but at length did come on, though late for business, as it chanced. General of these Hessians is Prince George of Hessen, worthy stout gentleman, whom Wilhelmina met at the Frankfurt Gayeties lately. George's elder Brother Wilhelm is Manager or Vice-Landgraf, this long while back; and in seven or eight years hence became, as had been expected, actual Landgraf (old King of Sweden dying childless);—of which Wilhelm we shall have to hear, at Hanau (a Town of his in those parts), and perhaps slightly elsewhere, in the course of this business. A fat, just man, he too; probably somewhat iracund; not without troubles in his House. His eldest Son, Heir-Apparent of Hessen, let me remind readers, has an English Princess to Wife; Princess Mary, King George's Daughter, wedded two years ago. That, added to the Subsidies, is surely a point of union;—though again there may such discrepancies rise! A good while after this, the eldest Son becoming Catholic (foolish wretch), to the horror of Papa,—there rose still other noises in the world, about Hessen and its Landgraves. Of good Prince George, who doubtless attended in War Councils, but probably said little, we hope to hear nothing more whatever.
From Neuwied to Frankfurt is but a few days' march for the Pragmatic Army; in a direct line, not sixty miles. Frankfurt itself, which is a REICHS-STADT (Imperial City), they must not enter: "Fear not, City or Country!" writes Stair to it: "We come as saviors, pacificators, hostile to your enemies and disturbers only; we understand discipline and the Laws of the Reich, and will pay for everything." [Letter itself, of brief magnanimous strain, in Campagnes de Noailles, i. 127; date "Neuwied, 26th April, 1743" (Adelung, iii. B, 114).] For the rest, they are in no hurry. They linger in that Frankfurt-Mainz region, all through the month of May; not unobservant of Noailles and his movements, if he made any; but occupied chiefly with gathering provisions; forming, with difficulty, a Magazine in Hanau. "What they intended: or intend, by coming hither?" asks the Public everywhere: "To go into the Donau Countries, and enclose Broglio between two fires?" That had been, and was still, Stair's fine idea; but D'Ahremberg had disapproved the methods. D'Ahremberg, it seems, is rather given to opposing Stair;—and there rise uncertainties, in this Pragmatic Army: certain only hitherto the Magazine in Hanau. And in secret, it afterwards appeared, the immediate real errand of this Pragmatic Army had lain—in the Chapter of Mainz Cathedral, and an Election that was going on there.
The old Kur-Mainz, namely, had just died; and there was a new "Chief Spiritual Kurfurst" to be elected by the Canons there. Kur-Mainz is Chairman of the Reich, an important personage, analogous to Speaker of the House of Commons; and ought to be,—by no means the Kaiser's young Brother, as the French and Kaiser are proposing; but a man with Austrian leanings;—say, Graf von Ostein, titular DOM-CUSTOS (Cathedral Keeper) here; lately Ambassador in London, and known in select society for what he is. Not much of an Archbishop, of a Spiritual or Chief Spiritual Herr hitherto; but capable of being made one,—were the Pragmatic Army at his elbow! It was on this errand that the Pragmatic Army had come hither, or come so early, and with their plans still unripe. And truly they succeeded; got their Ostein chosen to their mind: ["21st March, 1743," Mainz vacant; "22d April," Ostein elected (Adelung, iii. B, 113, 121).] a new Kur-Mainz,—whose leanings and procedures were very manifest in the sequel, and some of them important before long. This was always reckoned one result of his Britannic Majesty's Pragmatic Campaign;—and truly some think it was, in strict arithmetic, the only one, though that is far from his Majesty's own opinion.
FRIEDRICH HAS OBJECTIONS TO THE PRAGMATIC ARMY; BUT IN VAIN. OF FRIEDRICH'S MANY ENDEAVORS TO QUENCH THIS WAR, BY "UNION OF INDEPENDENT GERMAN PRINCES," BY "MEDIATION OF THE REICH," AND OTHERWISE; ALL IN VAIN.
Friedrich, at an early stage, had inquired of his Britannic Majesty, politely but with emphasis, "What in the world he meant, then, by invading the German Reich; leading foreign Armies into the Reich: in this unauthorized manner?" To which the Britannic Majesty had answered, with what vague argument of words we will not ask, but with a look that we can fancy,—look that would split a pitcher, as the Irish say! Friedrich persisted to call it an Invasion of the German Reich; and spoke, at first, of flatly opposing it by a Reich's Army (30,000, or even 50,000, for Brandenburg's contingent, in such case); but as the poor Reich took no notice, and the Britannic Majesty was positive, Friedrich had to content himself with protest for the present. [Friedrich's Remonstrance and George's Response are in Adelung, iii. B, 132 (date, "March, 1743"); date of Friedrich's first stirring in the matter is "January, 1743," and earlier (ib. p. 37, p. 8, &c.).]
The exertions of Friedrich to bring about a Peace, or at least to diminish, not increase, the disturbance, are forgotten now; wearisome to think of, as they did not produce the smallest result; but they have been incessant and zealous, as those of a man to quench the fire which is still raging in his street, and from which he himself is just saved. "Cannot the Reich be roused for settlement of this Bavarian-Austrian quarrel?" thought Friedrich always. And spent a great deal of earnest endeavor in that direction; wished a Reich's ARMY OF MEDIATION; "to which I will myself furnish 30,000; 50,000, if needed." Reich, alas! The Reich is a horse fallen down to die,—no use spurring at the Reich; it cannot, for many months, on Friedrich's Proposal (though the question was far from new, and "had been two years on hand"), come to the decision, "Well then, yes; the Reich WILL try to moderate and mediate:" and as for a Reich's Mediation-ARMY, or any practical step at all [The question had been started, "in August, 1741," by the Kaiser himself; "11th March, 1743," again urged by him, after Friedrich's offer; "10th May, 1743," "Yes, then, we will try; but—" and the result continued zero.]—!
"Is not Germany, are not all the German Princes, interested to have Peace?" thinks Friedrich. "A union of the independent German Princes to recommend Peace, and even with hand on sword-hilt to command it; that would be the method of producing Treaty of Peace!" thinks he always. And is greatly set on that method; which, we find, has been, and continues to be, the soul of his many efforts in this matter. A fact to be noted. Long poring in those mournful imbroglios of Dryasdust, where the fraction of living and important welters overwhelmed by wildernesses of the dead and nugatory, one at length disengages this fact; and readers may take it along with them, for it proves illuminative of Friedrich's procedures now and afterwards. A fixed notion of Friedrich's, this of German Princes "uniting," when the common dangers become flagrant; a very lively notion with him at present. He will himself cheerfully take the lead in such Union, but he must not venture alone. [See Adelung, iii. A and B, passim; Valori, i. 178; &c. &c.]
The Reich, when appealed to, with such degree of emphasis, in this matter,—we see how the Reich has responded! Later on, Friedrich tried "the Swabian Circle" (chief scene of these Austrian-Bavarian tusslings); which has, like the other Circles, a kind of parliament, and pretends to be a political unity of some sort. "Cannot the Swabian Circle, or Swabian and Frankish joined (to which one might declare oneself PROTECTOR, in such case), order their own Captains, with military force of their own, say 20,000 men, to rank on the Frontier; and to inform peremptorily all belligerents and tumultuous persons, French, Bavarian, English, Austrian: 'No thoroughfare; we tell you, No admittance here!'" Friedrich, disappointed of the Reich, had taken up that smaller notion: and he spent a good deal of endeavor on that too,—of which we may see some glimpse, as we proceed. But it proves all futile. The Swabian Circle too is a moribund horse; all these horses dead or moribund.
Friedrich, of course, has thought much what kind of Peace could be offered by a mediating party. The Kaiser has lost his Bavaria: yet he is the Kaiser, and must have a living granted him as such. Compensations, aspirations, claims of territory; these will be manifold! These are a world of floating vapor, of greed, of anger, idle pretension: but within all these there are the real necessities; what the case does require, if it is ever to be settled! Friedrich discerns this Austrian-Bavarian necessity of compensation; of new land to cut upon. And where is that to come from!
In January last, Friedrich, intensely meditating this business, had in private a bright-enough idea: That of secularizing those so-called Sovereign Bishoprics, Austrian-Bavarian by locality and nature, Passau, Salzburg, Regensburg, idle opulent territories, with functions absurd not useful;—and of therefrom cutting compensation to right and to left. This notion he, by obscure channels, put into the head of Baron von Haslang, Bavarian Ambassador at London; where it germinated rapidly, and came to fruit;—was officially submitted to Lord Carteret in his own house, in two highly artistic forms, one evening;—and sets the Diplomatic Heads all wagging upon it. [Adelung, iii. B, 84, 90, "January-March, 1743."] With great hope, at one time; till rumor of it got abroad into the Orthodox imagination, into the Gazetteer world; and raised such a clamor, in those months, as seldom was. "Secularize, Hah! One sees the devilish heathen spirit of you; and what kind of Kaiser, on the religious side, we now have the happiness of having!" So that Kaiser Karl had to deny utterly, "Never heard of such a thing!" Carteret himself had, in politeness, to deny; much more, and for dire cause, had Haslang himself, over the belly of facts, "Never in my dreams, I tell you!"—and to get ambiguous certificate from Carteret, which the simple could interpret to that effect. [Carteret's Letter (ibid. iii, B, 190).]
It was only in whispers that the name of Friedrich was connected with this fine scheme; and all parties were glad to get it soon buried again. A bright idea; but had come a century too soon. Of another Carteret Negotiation with Kaiser Karl, famed as "Conferences of Hanau," which had almost come to be a Treaty, but did not; and then, failing that, of a famous Carteret "Treaty of Worms," which did come to perfection, in these same localities shortly afterwards; and which were infinitely interesting to our Friedrich, both the Treaty and the Failure of the Treaty,—we propose to speak elsewhere, in due time.
As to Friedrich's own endeavors and industries, at Regensburg and elsewhere, for effective mediation of Peace; for the Reich to mediate, and have "Army of Mediation;" for a "Union of Swabian Circles" to do it; for this and then for that to do it;—as to Friedrich's own efforts and strugglings that way, in all likely and in some unlikely quarters,—they were, and continued to be, earnest, incessant; but without result. Like the spurring of horses really DEAD some time ago! Of which no reader wishes the details, though the fact has to be remembered. And so, with slight indication for Friedrich's sake,—being intent on the stage of events,—we must leave that shadowy hypothetic region, as a wood in the background; the much foliage and many twigs and boughs of which do authentically TAKE the trouble to be there, though we have to paint it in this summary manner.
Chapter V.—BRITANNIC MAJESTY FIGHTS HIS BATTLE OF DETTINGEN; AND BECOMES SUPREME JOVE OF GERMANY, IN A MANNER.
Brittanic Majesty with his Yarmouth, and martial Prince of Cumberland, arrived at Hanover May 15th; soon followed by Carteret from the Hague: [Biographia Britannica (Kippin's,? Carteret), iii. 277.] a Majesty prepared now for battle and for treaty alike; kind of earthly Jove, Arbiter of Nations, or victorious Hercules of the Pragmatic, the sublime little man. At Herrenhausen he has a fine time; grandly fugling about; negotiating with Wilhelm of Hessen and others; commanding his Pragmatic Army from the distance: and then at last, dashing off rather in haste, he—It is well known what enigmatic Exploit he did, at least the Name of it is well known! Here, from the Imbroglios, is a rough Account; parts of which are introducible for the sake of English readers.
BATTLE OF DETTINGEN.
"After some five leisurely weeks in Herrenhausen, George II. (now an old gentleman of sixty), with his martial Fat Boy the Duke of Cumberland, and Lord Carteret his Diplomatist-in-Chief, quitted that pleasant sojourn, rather on a sudden, for the actual Seat of War. By speedy journeys they got to Frankfurt Country; to Hanau, June 19th; whence, still up the Mayn, twenty or thirty miles farther up, to Aschaffenburg,—where the Pragmatic Army, after some dangerous manoeuvring on the opposite or south bank of the River, has lain encamped some days, and is in questionable posture. Whither his Majesty in person has hastened up. And truly, if his Majesty's head contain any good counsel, there is great need of it here just now.
"Captains and men were impatient of that long loitering, hanging idle about Frankfurt all through May; and they have at length started real business,—with more valor than discretion, it is feared. They are some 40 or 44,000 strong: English 16,000; Hanoverians the like number; and of Austrians [by theory 20,000], say, in effect, 12,000 or even 8,000: all paid by England. They have Hanau for Magazine; they have rearguard of 12,000 [the 6,000 Hessians, and 6,000 new Hanoverians], who at last are actually on march thither, near arriving there: 'Forward!' said the Captaincy [said Stair, chiefly, it was thought]: 'Shall the whole summer waste itself to no purpose?'—and are up the River thus far, not on the most considerate terms.
"What this Pragmatic Army means to do? That is, and has been, a great question for all the world; especially for Noailles and the French,—not to say, for the Pragmatic itself! 'Get into Lorraine?' think the French: 'Get into Alsace, and wrest it from us, for behoof of her Hungarian Majesty,'—plundered goods, which indeed belong to the Reich and her, in a sense! ELS-SASS (Alsace, OUTER-seat), with its ROAD-Fortress (STRASburg) plundered from the Holy Romish Reich by Louis XIV., in a way no one can forget; actually plundered, as if by highway robbery, or by highway robbery and attorneyism combined, on the part of that great Sovereign. 'To Strasburg? To Lorraine perhaps? Or to the Three Bishoprics'" (Metz, Toul, Verdun:—readers recollect that Siege of Metz, which broke the great heart of Karl V.? Who raged and fired as man seldom did, with 50,000 men, against Guise and the intrusive French, for six weeks; sound of his cannon heard at Strasburg on winter nights, 300 years ago: to no purpose; for his Captains of the Siege, after trial and second trial, solemnly shook their heads; and the great Kaiser, breaking into tears, had to raise the Siege of Metz; and went his way, never to smile more in this world: and Metz, and Toul, and Verdun, remain with the French ever since):—"To the Three Bishoprics, possibly enough!"
"'Or they may purpose for the Donau Countries, where Broglio is crackling off like trains of gunpowder; and lend hand to Prince Karl, thereby enclosing Broglio fires?' This, according to present aspects, is between two the likeliest. And perhaps, had provenders and arrangements been made beforehand for such a march, this had been the feasiblest: and, to my own notion, it was some wild hope of doing this without provenders or prearrangements that had brought the Pragmatic into its present quarters at Aschaffenburg, which are for the military mind a mystery to this day.
"Early in the Spring, the French Government had equipped Noailles with 70,000 men, to keep watch, and patrol about, in the Rhine-Mayn Countries, and look into those points. Which he has been vigilantly doing,—posted of late on the south or left bank of the Mayn;—and is especially vigilant, since June 14th, when the Pragmatic Army got on march, across the Mayn at Hochst; and took to offering him battle, on his own south side of the River. Noailles—though his Force [still 58,000, after that Broglio Detachment of 12,000] was greatly the stronger—would not fight; preferred cutting off the Enemy's supplies, capturing his river-boats, provision-convoys from Hanau, and settling him by hunger, as the cheaper method. Impetuous Stair was thwarted, by flat protest of his German colleagues, especially by D'Ahremberg, in FORCING battle on those rash terms: 'We Austrians absolutely will not!' said D'Ahremberg at last, and withdrew, or was withdrawing, he for his part, across the River again. So that Stair also was obliged to recross the River, in indignant humor; and now lies at Aschaffenburg, suffering the sad alternative, short diet namely, which will end in famine soon, if these counsels prevail.
"Stair and D'Ahremberg do not well accord in their opinions; nor, it seems, is anybody in particular absolute Chief; there are likewise heats and jealousies between the Hanoverian and the English troops ('Are not we come for all your goods?' 'Yes, damn you, and for all our chattels too!')—and withal it is frightfully uncertain whether a high degree of intellect presides over these 44,000 fighting men, which may lead them to something, or a low degree, which can only lead them to nothing!—The blame is all laid on Stair; 'too rash,' they say. Possibly enough, too rash. And possibly enough withal, even to a sound military judgment, in such unutterable puddle of jarring imbecilities, 'rashness,' headlong courage, offered the one chance there was of success? Who knows, had all the 44,000 been as rash as Stair and his English, but luck, and sheer hard fighting, might have favored him, as skill could not, in those sad circumstances! Stair's plan was, 'Beat Noailles, and you have done everything: provisions, opulent new regions, and all else shall be added to you!' Stair's plan might have answered,—had Stair been the master to execute it; which he was not. D'Ahremberg's also, who protested, 'Wait till your 12,000 join, and you have your provisions,' was the orthodox plan, and might have much to say for itself. But the two plans collapsing into one,—that was the clearly fatal method! Magnanimous Stair never made the least explanation, to an undiscerning Public or Parliament; wrapt himself in strict silence, and accepted in a grand way what had come to him. [His Papers, to voluminous extent, are still in the Family Archives;—not inaccessible, I think, were the right student of them (who would be a rare article among us!) to turn up.] Clear it is, the Pragmatic Army had come across again, at Aschaffenburg, Sunday, June 16th; and was found there by his Majesty on the Wednesday following, with its two internecine plans fallen into mutual death; a Pragmatic Army in truly dangerous circumstances.
"The English who were in and round Aschaffenburg itself, Hanoverians and Austrians encamping farther down, had put a battery on the Bridge of Aschaffenburg; hoping to be able to forage thereby on the other side of the Mayn. Whereupon Noailles had instantly clapt a redoubt, under due cover of a Wood, at his end of the Bridge, 'No passage this way, gentlemen, except into the cannon's throat!'—so that Marshal Stair, reconnoitring that way, 'had his hat shot off,' and rapidly drew back again. Nay, before long, Noailles, at the Village of Seligenstadt, some eight miles farther down, throws two wooden or pontoon bridges over; [Sketch of Plan at p. 257.] can bring his whole Army across at Seligenstadt; prohibits all manner of supply to us from Hanau or our Magazines by his arrangement there:"—(Notable little Seligenstadt, "City of the Blessed;" where Eginhart and Emma, ever since Charlemagne's time, lie waiting the Resurrection; that is the place of these Noailles contrivances!)—"Furthermore, we learn, Noailles has seized a post twenty miles farther up the river (Miltenberg the name of it); and will prevent supplies from coming down to us out of Branken or the Neckar Country. We had forgotten, or our COLLAPSE of plans had done it, that 'an army moves on its stomach' (as the King of Prussia says), and that we have nothing to live upon in these parts!
"Such has the unfortunate fact turned out to be, when Britannic Majesty arrives; and it can now be discovered clearly, by any eyes, however flat to the head. And a terrible fact it is. Discordant Generals accuse one another; hungry soldiers cannot be kept from plundering: for the horses there is unripe rye in quantity; but what is there for the men? My poor traditionary friends, of the Grey Dragoons, were wont (I have heard) to be heart-rending on this point, in after years! Famine being urgent, discipline is not possible, nor existence itself. For a week longer, George, rather in obstinate hope than with any reasonable plan or exertion, still tries it; finds, after repeated Councils of War, that he will have to give it up, and go back to Hanau where his living is. Wednesday night, 26th June, 1743, that is the final resolution, inevitably come upon, without argument: and about one on Thursday morning, the Army (in two columns, Austrians to vanward well away from the River, English as rear-guard close on it) gets in motion to execute said resolution,—if the Army can.
"If the Army can: but that is like to be a formidably difficult business; with a Noailles watching every step of you, to-day and for ten days back, in these sad circumstances. Eyes in him like a lynx, they say; and great skill in war, only too cautious. Hardly is the Army gone from Aschaffenburg, when Noailles, pushing across by the Bridge, seizes that post,—no retreat now for us thitherward. His Majesty, who marches in the rear division, has happily some artillery with him; repels the assaults from behind, which might have been more serious otherwise. As it is, there play cannon across the River upon him:—Why not bend to right, and get out of range, asks the reader? The Spessart Hills rise, high and woody, on the right; and there is in many places no marching except within range. Noailles has Five effective Batteries, at the various good points, on his side of the River:—and that is nothing to what he has got ready for us, were we once at Dettingen, within wind of his Two Bridges a little beyond! Noailles has us in a perfect mouse-trap, SOURICIERE as he felinely calls it; and calculates on having annihilation ready for us at Dettingen.
"Dettingen, short way above those Pontoons at Seligenstadt, is near eight miles westward [NORTHwestward, but let us use the briefer term] from Aschaffenburg: Dettingen is a poor peasant Village, of some size, close on the Mayn, and on our side of it. A Brook, coming down from the Spessart Mountains, falls into the Mayn there; having formed for itself, there and upwards, a considerable dell or hollow way; chiefly on the western or right bank of which stands the Village with its barnyards and piggeries: on both sides of the great High-road, which here crosses the Brook, and will lead you to Hanau twenty miles off,—or back to Aschaffenburg, and even to Nurnberg and the Donau Countries, if you persevere. Except that of the high-road, Dettingen Brook has no bridge. Above the Village, after coming from the Mountains, the banks of it are boggy; especially the western bank, which spreads out into a scrubby waste of moor, for some good space. In which scrubby moor, as elsewhere in this dell or hollow way itself, where the Village hangs, with its hedges, piggeries, colegarths,—there is like to be bad enough marching for a column of men! Noailles, as we said, has Two Bridges thrown across the Mayn, just below; and the last of his Five Batteries, from the other side, will command Dettingen. His plan of operation is this:—
"By these Bridges he has passed 24,000 horse and foot across the River, under his Nephew the chivalrous Duke of Grammont: these, with due artillery and equipment, are to occupy the Village; and to rank themselves in battle-order to leftward of it, on the moor just mentioned,—well behind that hollow way, with its brook and bogs;—and, one thing they must note well, Not to stir from that position, till the English columns have got fairly into said hollow way and brook of Dettingen, and are plunging more or less distractedly across the entanglements there. With cannon on their left flank, and such a gullet to pass through, one may hope they will be in rather an attackable condition. Across that gullet it is our intention they shall never get. How can they, if Grammont do his duty?
"This is Noailles's plan; one of the prettiest imaginable, say military men,—had the execution but corresponded. Noailles had seized Aschaffenburg, so soon as the English were out of it; Noailles, from his batteries beyond the River, salutes the English march with continuous shot and thunder, which is very discomposing: he sees confidently a really fair likelihood of capturing the Britannic Majesty and his Pragmatic Army, unless they prefer to die on the ground. Seldom, since that of the Caudine Forks, did any Army, by ill-luck and ill-guidance, get into such a pinfold,—death or flat surrender seemingly their one alternative.
"Thus march these English, that dewy morning, Thursday, June 27th, 1743, with cannon playing on their left flank; and such a fate ahead of them, had they known it;—very short of breakfast, too, for most part. But they have one fine quality, and Britannic George, like all his Welf race from Henry the Lion down to these days, has it in an eminent degree: they are not easily put into flurry, into fear. In all Welf Sovereigns, and generally in Teuton Populations, on that side of the Channel or on this, there is the requisite unconscious substratum of taciturn inexpugnability, with depths of potential rage almost unquenchable, to be found when you apply for it. Which quality will much stead them on the present occasion: and, indeed, it is perhaps strengthened by their 'stupidity' itself, what neighbors call their 'stupidity;'—want of idle imagining, idle flurrying, nay want even of knowing, is not one of the worst qualities just now! They tramp on, paying a minimum of attention to the cannon; ignorant of what is ahead; hoping only it may be breakfast, in some form, before the day quite terminate. The day is still young, hardly 8 o'clock, when their advanced parties find Dettingen beset; find a whole French Army drawn up, on the scrubby moor there; and come galloping back with this interesting bit of news! Pause hereupon; much consulting; in fact, endless hithering and thithering, the affair being knotty: 'Fight, YES, now at last! But how?' Impetuous Stair was not wanting to himself; Neipperg too, they say, was useful with advice; D'Ahremberg, I should imagine, good for little.
"Some six hours followed of thrice-intricate deploying, planting of field-pieces, counter-batteries; ranking, re-ranking, shuffling hither and then thither of horse and foot; Noailles's cannonade proceeding all the while; the English, still considerably exposed to it, and standing it like stones; chivalrous Grammont, and with better reason the English, much wishing these preliminaries were done. A difficult business, that of deploying here. The Pragmatic had no room, jammed so against the Spessart Hills, and obliged to lean FROM the River and Noailles's cannon; had to rank itself in six, some say in eight lines; horse behind foot, as well as on flank; unsatisfactory to the military mind: and I think had not done shuffling and re-shuffling at 2 P.M.,—when the Enemy came bursting on, with a peremptory finish to it, 'Enough of that, MESSIEUR'S LES ANGLAIS!' 'Too much of it, a great deal!' thought Messieurs grimly, in response. And there ensued a really furious clash of host against host; French chivalry (MAISON DU ROI, Black Mousquetaires, the Flower of their Horse regiments) dashing, in right Gallic frenzy, on their natural enemies,—on the English, that is; who, I find, were mainly on the left wing there, horse and foot; and had mainly (the Austrians and they, very mainly) the work to do;—and did, with an effort, and luck helping, manage to do it.
"'Grammont breaks orders! Thrice-blamable Grammont!' exclaim Noailles and others, sorrowfully wringing their hands. Even so! Grammont had waited seven mortal hours; one's courage burning all the while, courage perhaps rather burning down,—and not the least use coming of if. Grammont had, in natural impatience, gradually edged forward; and, in the end, was being cannonaded and pricked into by the Enemy;—and did at last, with his MAISON-DU-ROI, dash across that essential Hollow Way, and plunge in upon them on their own side of it. And 'the, English foot gave their volley too soon;' ad Grammont did, in effect, partly repulse and disorder the front ranks of them; and, blazing up uncontrollable, at sight of those first ranks in disorder, did press home upon them more and more; get wholly into the affair, bringing on his Infantry as well: 'Let us finish it wholly, now that our hand is in!'—and took one cannon from the Enemy; and did other feats.
"So furious was that first charge of his; 'MAISON-DU-ROI covering itself with glory,'—for a short while. MAISON-DU-ROI broke three lines of the Enemy [three, not "Five"]; did in some places actually break through; in others 'could not, but galloped along the front.' Three of their lines: but the fourth line would not break; much the contrary, it advanced (Austrians and English) with steady fire, hotter and hotter: upon this fourth line MAISON-DU-ROI had, itself, to break, pretty much altogether, and rush home again, in ruinous condition. 'Our front lines made lanes for them; terribly maltreating them with musketry on right and left, as they galloped through.' And this was the end of Grammont's successes, this charge of horse; for his infantry had no luck anywhere; and the essential crisis of the Battle had been here. It continued still a good while; plenty of cannonading, fusillading, but in sporadic detached form; a confused series of small shocks and knocks; which were mostly, or all, unfortunate for Grammont; and which at length knocked him quite off the field. 'He was now interlaced with the English,' moans Noailles; 'so that my cannon, not to shoot Grammont as well as the English, had to cease firing!' Well, yes, that is true, M. le Marechal; but that is not so important as you would have it. The English had stood nine hours in this fire of yours; by degrees, leaning well away from it; answering it with counter-batteries;—and were not yet ruined by it, when the Grammont crisis came! Noailles should have dashed fresh troops across his Bridges, and tried to handle them well. Noailles did not do that; or do anything but wring his hands.
"The Fight lasted four hours; ever hotter on the English part, ever less hot on the French [fire of anthracite-coal VERSUS flame of dry wood, which latter at last sinks ASHY!]—and ended in total defeat of the French. The French Infantry by no means behaved as their Cavalry had done. The GARDES FRANCAISES [fire burning ashy, after seven hours of flaming], when Grammont ordered them up to take the English in flank, would hardly come on at all, or stand one push. They threw away their arms, and plunged into the River, like a drove of swimmers; getting drowned in great numbers. So that their comrades nicknamed them 'CANARDS DU MEIN (Ducks of the Mayn):' and in English mess-rooms, there went afterwards a saying: 'The French had, in reality, Three Bridges; one of them NOT wooden, and carpeted with blue cloth!' Such the wit of military mankind.
"... The English, it appears, did something by mere shouting. Partial huzzas and counter-huzzas between the Infantries were going on at one time, when Stair happened to gallop up: 'Stop that,' said Stair; 'let us do it right. Silence; then, One and all, when I give you signal!' And Stair, at the right moment, lifting his hat, there burst out such a thunder-growl, edged with melodious ire in alt, as quite seemed to strike a damp into the French, says my authority, 'and they never shouted more.... Our ground in many parts was under rye,' hedgeless fields of rye, chief grain-crop of that sandy country. 'We had already wasted above 120,000 acres of it,' still in the unripe state, so hungry were we, man and horse, 'since crossing to Aschaffenburg;'—fighting for your Cause of Liberty, ye benighted ones!
"King Friedrich's private accounts, deformed by ridicule, are, That the Britannic Majesty, his respectable old Uncle, finding the French there barring his way to breakfast, understood simply that there must and should be fighting, of the toughest; but had no plan or counsel farther: that he did at first ride up, to see what was what with his own eyes; but that his horse ran away with him, frightened at the cannon; upon which he hastily got down; drew sword; put himself at the head of his Hanoverian Infantry [on the right wing], and stood,—left foot drawn back, sword pushed out, in the form of a fencing-master doing lunge,—steadily in that defensive attitude, inexpugnable like the rocks, till all was over, and victory gained. This is defaced by the spirit of ridicule, and not quite correct. Britannic Majesty's horse [one of those 500 fine animals] did, it is certain, at last dangerously run away with him; upon which he took to his feet and his Hanoverians. But he had been repeatedly on horseback, in the earlier stages; galloping about, to look with his own eyes, could they have availed him; and was heard encouraging his people, and speaking even in the English language, 'Steady, my boys; fire, my brave boys, give them fire; they will soon run!' [OEuvres de Frederic, (iii. 14): compare Anonymous, Life of the Duke of Cumberland (p. 64 n.); Henderson's LIFE of ditto; &c.] Latterly, there can be no doubt, he stands [and to our imagination, he may fitly stand throughout] in the above attitude of lunge; no fear in him, and no plan; 'SANS PEUR ET SANS AVIS,' as me might term it. Like a real Hanoverian Sovereign of England; like England itself, and its ways in those German Wars. A typical epitome of long sections of English History, that attitude of lunge!—
"The English Officers also, it is evident, behaved in their usual way:—without knowledge of war, without fear of death, or regard to utmost peril or difficulty; cheering their men, and keeping them steady upon the throats of the French, so far as might be. And always, after that first stumble with the French Horse was mended, they kept gaining ground, thrusting back the Enemy, not over the Dettingen Brook and Moor-ground only, but, knock after knock, out of his woody or other coverts, back and ever back, towards Welzheim, Kahl, and those Two Bridges of his. The flamy French [ligneous fire burning lower and lower, VERSUS anthracitic glowing brighter and brighter] found that they had a bad time of it;—found, in fact, that they could not stand it; and tumbled finally, in great torrents, across their Bridges on the Mayn, many leaping into the River, the English sitting dreadfully on the skirts of them. So that had the English had their Cavalry in readiness to pursue, Noailles's Army, in the humor it had sunk to, was ruined, and the Victory would have been conspicuously great. But they had, as too common, nothing ready. Impetuous Stair strove to get ready; "pushed out the Grey Dragoons" for one item. But the Authorities refused Stair's counsel, as rash again; and made no effectual pursuit at all;—too glad that they had brushed their Battle-field triumphantly clear, and got out of that fatal pinfold in an honorable manner.
MAP: BOOK XIV, Chap V, page 257 GOES HERE—————————————
"They stayed on the ground till 10 at night; settling, or trying to settle, many things. The Surgeons were busy as bees, but able for Officers only;—'Dress HIM first!' said the glorious Duke of Cumberland, pointing to a young Frenchman [Excellency Fenelon's Son, grand-nephew of TELEMAQUE] who was worse wounded than his Highness. Quite in the Philip-Sydney fashion; which was much taken notice of. 'All this while, we had next to nothing to eat' (says one informant).—Ten P.M.: after which, leaving a polite Letter to Noailles, 'That he would take care of our Wounded, and bury our Slain as well as his own,' we march [through a pour of rain] to Hanau, where our victuals are, and 12,000 new Hessians and Hanoverians by this time.
"Noailles politely bandaged the Wounded, buried the Dead. Noailles, gathering his scattered battalions, found that he had lost 2,659 men; no ruinous loss to him,—the Enemy's being at least equal, and all his Wounded fallen Prisoners of War. No ruinous loss to Noailles, had it not been the loss of Victory,—which was a sore blow to French feeling; and, adding itself to those Broglio disgraces, a new discouragement to Most Christian Majesty. Victory indisputably lost:—but is it not Grammont's blame altogether? Grammont bears it, as we saw; and it is heavily laid on him. But my own conjecture is, forty thousand enraged people, of English and other Platt-Teutsch type, would have been very difficult to pin up, into captivity or death instead of breakfast, in that manner: and it is possible if poor Grammont had not mistaken, some other would have done so, and the hungry Baresarks (their blood fairly up, as is evident) would have ended in getting through." [Espagnac, i. 193; Guerre de Boheme, i. 231.]—Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xiii. (for 1743), pp. 328-481;—containing Carteret's Despatch from the field; followed by many other Letters and indistinct Narrations from Officers present (p. 434, "Plan of the Battle," blotchy, indecipherable in parts, but essentially rather true),—is worth examining. See likewise Anonymous, Memoirs of the late Duke of Cumberland (Lond. 1767; the Author an ignorant, much-adoring military-man, who has made some study, and is not so stupid as he looks), pp. 56-78; and Henderson (ignorant he too, much-adoring, and not military), Life of the Duke of Cumberland (Lond. 1766), pp. 32-48. Noailles's Official Account (ingenuously at a loss what to say), in Campagnes, ii. B, 242-253, 306-310. OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 11-14 (incorrect in many of the DETAILS).
This was all the Fighting that King George got of his Pragmatic Army; the gain from conquest made by it was, That it victoriously struggled back to its bread-cupboard. Stair, about two months hence, in the mere loitering and higgling that there was, quitted the Pragmatic; magnanimously silent on his many wrongs and disgusts, desirous only of "returning to the plough," as he expressed himself. The lofty man; wanted several requisites for being a Marlborough; wanted a Sarah Jennings, as the preliminary of all!—We will not attend the lazy movements and procedures of the Pragmatic Army farther; which were of altogether futile character, even in the temporary Gazetteer estimate; and are to be valued at zero, and left charitably in oblivion by a pious posterity. Stair, the one brightish-looking man in it, being gone, there remain Majesty with his D'Ahrembergs, Neippergs, and the Martial Boy; Generals Cope, Hawley, Wade, and many of leaden character, remain:—let the leaden be wrapped in lead.
It was not a successful Army, this Pragmatic. Dettingen itself, in spite of the rumoring of Gazetteers and temporary persons, had no result,—except the extremely bad one, That it inflated to an alarming height the pride and belligerent humor of his Britannic, especially of her Hungarian Majesty; and made Peace more difficult than ever. That of getting Ostein, with his Austrian leanings, chosen Kur-Mainz,—that too turned out ill: and perhaps, in the course of the next few months, we shall judge that, had Ostein leant AGAINST Austria, it had been better for Austria and Ostein. Of the Pragmatic Army, silence henceforth, rather than speech!—
One thing we have to mark, his Britannic Majesty, commander of such an Army,—and of such a Purse, which is still more stupendous,—has risen, in the Gazetteer estimate and his own, to a high pitch of importance. To be Supreme Jove of Teutschland, in a manner; and acts, for the present Summer, in that sublime capacity. Two Diplomatic feats of his,—one a Treaty done and tumbled down again, the other a Treaty done and let stand ("Treaty of Worms," and "Conferences," or NON-Treaty "of Hanau"),—are of moment in this History and that of the then World. Of these two Transactions, due both of them to such an Army and such a Purse, we shall have to take some notice by and by; the rest shall belong to Night and her leaden sceptre—much good may they do her!
Some ten days after Dettingen, Broglio (who was crackling off from Donauwurth, in view of the Lines of Schellenberg, that very 27th of June) ended his retreat to the Rhine Countries; "glorious," though rather swift, and eaten into by the Tolpatcheries of Prince Karl. "July 8th, at Wimpfen" (in the Neckar Region, some way South of Dettingen), Broglio delivers his troops to Marechal de Noailles's care; and, next morning, rushes off towards Strasburg, and quiet Official life, as Governor there.
"The day after his arrival," says Friedrich, "he gave a grand ball in Strasburg:" [OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 10.] "Behold your conquering hero safe again, my friends!" An ungrateful Court judged otherwise of the hero. Took his Strasburg Government from him, gave it to Marechal de Coigny; ordered the hero to his Estates in the Country, Normandy, if I remember;—where he soon died of apoplexy, poor man; and will trouble none of us again. "A man born for surprises," said Friedrich long since, in the Strasburg Doggerel. Lost his indispensable garnitures, at the Ford of Secchia once; and now, in these last twelve months, is considered to have done a series of blustery explosions, derogatory to the glory of France, and ruinous to that sublime Belleisle Enterprise for oue thing.
A ruined Enterprise that, at any rate; seldom was Enterprise better ruined. Here, under Broglio, amid the titterings of mankind, has the tail of the Oriflamme gone the same bad road as its head did;—into zero and outer darkness; leaving the expenses to pay. Like a mad tavern-brawl of one's own raising, the biggest that ever was. Has cost already, I should guess, some 80,000 French drilled Men, paid down, on the nail, to the inexorable Fates: and of coined Millions,—how many? In subsidies, in equipments, in waste, in loss and wreck: Dryasdust could not have told me, had he tried. And then the breakages, damages still chargeable; the probable afterclap? For you cannot quite gratuitously tweak people by the nose, in your wanton humor, over your wine!—One willing man, or Most Christian Majesty, can at any time begin a quarrel; but there need always two or more to end it again.
Most Christian Majesty is not so sensible of this fact as he afterwards became; but what with Broglio and the extinct Oriflamme, what with Dettingen and the incipient Pragmatic, he is heartily disgusted and discouraged; and wishes he had not thought of cutting Germany in Four. July 26th, Most Christian Majesty applies to the German Diet; signifying "That he did indeed undertake to help the Kaiser, according to treaties; but was the farthest in the world from meaning to invade Germany, on his own score. That he had and has no quarrel, except with Austria as Kaiser's enemy; and is ready to be friends even with Austria. And now indeed intends to withdraw his troops wholly from the German territory. And can therefore hope that all unpleasantness will cease, between the German Nation and him; and that perhaps the Kaiser will be able to make peace with her Majesty of Hungary on softer terms than at one time seemed likely. If only the animosities of sovereign persons would assuage themselves, and each of us would look without passion at the issue really desirable for him!" [Espagnac, i. 200. Adelung, iii. B, 199 (26th July); Ib. 201 (the Answer to it, 16th August).]
That is now, 26th July, 1743, King Louis's story for himself to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, Teutsch by Nation, sitting at Frankfurt in rather disconsolate circumstances. The Diet naturally answered, "JA WOHL, JA WOHL," in intricate official language,—nobody need know what the Diet answered. But what the Hungarian Majesty answered, strong and high in such Britannic backing,—this was of such unexpected tone, that it fixed everybody's attention; and will very specially require to be noted by us, in the course of a week or two.
We said, her Hungarian Majesty was getting crowned in Bohemia, getting personally homaged in Upper Austria, about to get vice-homaged in Bavaria itself,—nothing but glorious pomp, but loyalty loudly vocal, in Prag, in Linz and the once-afflicted Countries; at her return to Vienna, she has met the news of Dettingen; and is ready to strike the stars with her sublime head. "My little Paladin become Supreme Jove, too: aha!"
BRITANNIC MAJESTY HOLDS HIS CONFERENCES OF HANAU.
Britannic Majesty stayed two whole months in Hanau, brushing himself up again after that fierce bout; and considering, with much dubitation, What is the next thing?"Go in upon Noailles [who is still hanging about here, with Broglio coming on in the exploded state]; wreck Broglio and him! Go in upon the French!" so urges Stair always: rash Stair, urgent to the edge of importunity; English Officers and Martial Boy urgently backing Stair; while the Hanoverian Officers and Martial Parent are steady to the other view. So that, in respect of War, the next thing, for two months coming, was absolutely nothing, and to the end of the Campaign was nothing worth a moment's notice from us. But on the Diplomatic side, there were two somethings, CONFERENCES AT HANAU with poor Kaiser Karl, and TREATY AT WORMS with the King of Sardinia; which—as minus quantities, or things less than nothing—turned out to be highly considerable for his Britannic Majesty and us.
HANAU, 7th July-1st AUGUST, 1743. "Poor Kaiser Karl had left Augsburg June 26th,—while his Broglio was ferrying at Donauworth, and his Seckendorf treatying for Armistice at Nieder-Schonfeld,—the very day before Dettingen. What a piece of news to him, that Dettingen, on his return to Frankfurt!
"A few days after Dettingen, July 3d, Noailles, who is still within call, came across to see this poor stepson of Fortune; gives piteous account of him, if any one were now curious on that head: How he bitterly complains of Broglio, of the no-subsidies sent, and is driven nearly desperate;—not a penny in his pocket, beyond all. Upon which latter clause Noailles munificently advanced him a $6,000. 'Draught of 40,000 crowns, in my own name; which doubtless the King, in his compassion, will see good to sanction.' [Campagnes de Noailles (Amsterdam, 1760: this is a Sequel, or rather VICE VERSA, to that which we have called DES TROIS MARECHAUX, being of the same Collection), i. 316-328.] His feelings on the loss of Dettingen may be pictured. But he had laid his account with such things;—prepared for the worst, since that Interview with Broglio and Conti; one plan now left, 'Peace, cost what it will!'
"The poor Kaiser had already, as we saw, got into hopes of bargaining with his Britannic Majesty; and now he instantly sets about it, while Hanau is victorious head-quarters. Britannic Majesty is not himself very forward; but Carteret, I rather judge, had taken up the notion; and on his Majesty's and Carteret's part, there is actually the wish and attempt to pacificate the Reich; to do something tolerable for the poor Kaiser, as well as satisfactory to the Hungarian Majesty,—satisfactory, or capable of being (by the Purse-holder) insisted on as such.
"And so the Landgraf of Hessen, excellent Wilhelm, King George's friend and gossip, is come over to that little Town of Hanau, which is his own, in the Schloss of which King George is lodged: and there, between Carteret and our Landgraf,—the King of Prussia's Ambassador (Herr Klinggraf), and one or two selectly zealous Official persons, assisting or watching,—we have 'Conferences of Hanau' going on; in a zealous fashion; all parties eager for Peace to Kaiser and Reich, and in good hope of bringing it about. The wish, ardent to a degree, had been the Kaiser's first of all. The scheme, I guess, was chiefly of Carteret's devising; who, in his magnificent mind, regardless of expense, thinks it may be possible, and discerns well what a stroke it will be for the Cause of Liberty, and how glorious for a Britannic Majesty's Adviser in such circumstances. July 7th, the Conferences began; and, so frank and loyal were the parties, in a week's time matters were advanced almost to completion, the fundamental outlines of a bargain settled, and almost ready for signing.
"'Give me my Bavaria again!' the Kaiser had always said: 'I am Head of the Reich, and have nothing to live upon!' On one preliminary, Carteret had always been inexorable: 'Have done with your French auxiliaries; send every soul of them home; the German soil once cleared of them, much will be possible; till then nothing.' KAISER: 'Well, give me back my Bavaria; my Bavaria, and something suitable to live upon, as Head of the Reich: some decent Annual Pension, till Bavaria come into paying condition,—cannot you, who are so wealthy? And Bavaria might be made a Kingdom, if you wished to do the handsome thing. I will renounce my Austrian Pretensions, quit utterly my French Alliances; consent to have her Hungarian Majesty's august Consort made King of the Romans [which means Kaiser after me], and in fact be very safe to the House of Austria and the Cause of Liberty.' To all this the thrice-unfortunate gentleman, titular Emperor of the World, and unable now to pay his milk-scores, is eager to consent. To continue crossing the Abysses on bridges of French rainbow? Nothing but French subsidies to subsist on; and these how paid,—Noailles's private pocket knows how! 'I consent,' said the Kaiser; 'will forgive and forget, and bygones shall be bygones all round!' 'Fair on his Imperial Majesty's part,' admits Carteret; 'we will try to be persuasive at Vienna. Difficult, but we will try.' In a meek matters had come to this point; and the morrow, July 15th, was appointed for signing. Most important of Protocols, foundation-stone of Peace to Teutschland; King Friedrich and the impartial Powers approving, with Britannic George and drawn sword presiding.
"King Friedrich approves heartily; and hopes it will do. Landgraf Wilhelm is proud to have saved his Kaiser,—who so glad as the Landgraf and his Kaiser? Carteret, too, is very glad; exulting, as he well may, to have composed these world-deliriums, or concentrated them upon peccant France, he with his single head, and to have got a value out of that absurd Pragmatic Army, after all. A man of magnificent ideas; who hopes 'to bring Friedrich over to his mind;' to unite poor Teutschland against such Oriflamme Invasions and intolerable interferences, and to settle the account of France for a long while. He is the only English Minister who speaks German, knows German situations, interests, ways; or has the least real understanding of this huge German Imbroglio in which England is voluntarily weltering. And truly, had Carteret been King of England, which he was not,—nay, had King Friedrich ever got to understand, instead of misunderstand, what Carteret WAS,—here might have been a considerable affair!
"But it now, at the eleventh hour, came upon magnificent Carteret, now seemingly for the first time in its full force, That he Carteret was not the master; that there was a bewildered Parliament at home, a poor peddling Duke of Newcastle leader of the same, with his Lords of the Regency, who could fatally put a negative on all this, unless they were first gained over. On the morrow, July 15th, Carteret, instead of signing, as expected, has to—purpose a fortnight's delay till he consult in England! Absolutely would not and could not sign, till a Courier to England went and returned. To Landgraf Wilhelm's, to Klinggraf's and the Kaiser's very great surprise, disappointment and suspicion. But Carteret was inflexible: 'will only take a fortnight,' said he; 'and I can hope all will yet be well!'
"The Courier came back punctually in a fortnight. His Message was presented at Hanau, August 1st,—and ran conclusively to the effect: 'No! We, Noodle of Newcastle, and my other Lords of Regency, do not consent; much less, will undertake to carry the thing through Parliament: By no manner of means!' So that Carteret's lately towering Affair had to collapse ignominiously, in that manner; poor Carteret protesting his sorrow, his unalterable individual wishes and future endeavors, not to speak of his Britannic Majesty's,—and politely pressing on the poor Kaiser a gift of 15,000 pounds (first weekly instalment of the 'Annual Pension' that HAD, in theory, been set apart for him); which the Kaiser, though indigent, declined. [Adelung, iii. B, 206, 209-212; see Coxe, Memoirs of Pelham (London, 1829), i. 75, 469.]'
"The disgust of Landgraf Wilhelm was infinite; who, honest man, saw in all this merely an artifice of Carteret's, To undo the Kaiser with his French Allies, to quirk him out of his poor help from the French, and have him at their mercy. 'Shame on it!' cried Landgraf Wilhelm aloud, and many others less aloud, Klinggraf and King Friedrich among them: 'What a Carteret!' The Landgraf turned away with indignation from perfidious England; and began forming quite opposite connections. 'You shall not even have my hired 6,000, you perfidious! Thing done with such dexterity of art, too!' thought the Landgraf,—and continued to think, till evidence turned up, after many months. [CARTERET PAPERS (in British Museum), Additional MSS. No. 22,529 (May, 1743-January, 1745); in No. 22,527 (January-September, 1742) are other Landgraf-Wilhelm pieces of Correspondence.] This was Friedrich's opinion too,—permanently, I believe;—and that of nearly all the world, till the thing and the Doer of the thing were contemptuously forgotten. A piece of Machiavelism on the part of Carteret and perfidious Albion,—equal in refined cunning to that of the Ships with foul bottom, which vanished from Cadiz two years ago, and were admired with a shudder by Continental mankind who could see into millstones!
"This is the second stroke of Machiavellian Art by those Islanders, in their truly vulpine method. Stroke of Art important for this History; and worth the attention of English readers,—being almost of pathetic nature, when one comes to understand it! Carteret, for this Hanau business, had clangor enough to undergo, poor man, from Germans and from English; which was wholly unjust. 'His trade,' say the English—(or used to say, till they forgot their considerable Carteret altogether)—'was that of rising in the world by feeding the mad German humors of little George; a miserable trade.' Yes, my friends;—but it was not quite Carteret's, if you will please to examine! And none say, Carteret did not do his trade, whatever it was, with a certain greatness,—at least till habits of drinking rather took him, Poor man: impatient, probably, of such fortune long continued! For he was thrown out, next Session of Parliament, by Noodle of Newcastle, on those strange terms; and never could get in again, and is now forgotten; and there succeeded him still more mournful phenomena,—said Noodle or the poor Pelhams, namely,—of whom, as of strange minus quantities set to manage our affairs, there is still some dreary remembrance in England. Well!"—
Carteret, though there had been no Duke of Newcastle to run athwart this fine scheme, would have had his difficulties in making her Hungarian Majesty comply. Her Majesty's great heart, incurably grieved about Silesia, is bent on having, if not restoration one day, which is a hope she never quits, at any rate some ample (cannot be too ample) equivalent elsewhere. On the Hanau scheme, united Teutschland, with England for soul to it, would have fallen vigorously on the throat of France, and made France disgorge: Lorraine, Elsass, the Three Bishoprics,—not to think of Burgundy, and earlier plunders from the Reich,—here would have been "cut and come again" for her Hungarian Majesty and everybody!—But Diana, in the shape of his Grace of Newcastle, intervenes; and all this has become chimerical and worse.
It was while Carteret's courier was gone to England and not come back, that King Louis made the above-mentioned mild, almost penitent, Declaration to the Reich, "Good people, let us have Peace; and all be as we were! I, for my share, wish to be out of it; I am for home!" And, in effect, was already home; every Frenchman in arms being, by this time, on his own side of the Rhine, as we shall presently observe.
For, the same day, July 26th, while that was going on at Frankfurt, and Carteret's return-courier was due in five days, his Britannic Majesty at Hanau had a splendid visit,—tending not towards Peace with France, but quite the opposite way. Visit from Prince Karl, with Khevenhuller and other dignitaries; doing us that honor "till the evening of the 28th." Quitting their Army,—which is now in these neighborhoods (Broglio well gone to air ahead of it; Noailles too, at the first sure sniff of it, having rushed double-quick across the Rhine),—these high Gentlemen have run over to us, for a couple of days, to "congratulate on Dettingen;" or, better still, to consult, face to face, about ulterior movements. "Follow Noailles; transfer the seat of war to France itself? These are my orders, your Majesty. Combined Invasion of Elsass: what a slash may be made into France [right handselling of your Carteret Scheme] this very year!" "Proper, in every case!" answers the Britannic Majesty; and engages to co-operate. Upon which Prince Karl—after the due reviewing, dinnering, ceremonial blaring, which was splendid to witness [Anonymous, Duke of Cumberland, pp. 65, 86.]—hastens back to his Army (now lying about Baden Durlach, 70,000 strong); and ought to be swift, while the chance lasts.
HUNGARIAN MAJESTY ANSWERS, IN THE DIET, THAT FRENCH DECLARATION, "MAKE PEACE, GOOD PEOPLE; I WISH TO BE OUT OF IT!"—IN AN OMINOUS MANNER.
These are fine prospects, in the French quarter, of an equivalent for Schlesien;—very fine, unless Diana intervene! Diana or not, French prospects or not, her Hungarian Majesty fastens on Bavaria with uncommon tightness of fist, now that Bavaria is swept clear; well resolved to keep Bavaria for equivalent, till better come. Exacts, by her deputy, Homage from the Population there; strict Oath of Fealty to HER; poor Kaiser protesting his uttermost, to no purpose; Kaiser's poor Printer (at Regensburg, which is in Bavaria) getting "tried and hanged" for printing such Protest! "She draughts forcibly the Bavarian militias into her Italian Army;" is high and merciless on all hands;—in a word, throttles poor Bavaria, as if to the choking of it outright. So that the very Gazetteers in foreign places gave voice, though Bavaria itself, such a grasp on the throat of it, was voiceless. Seckendorf's poor Bargain for neutrality as a Bavarian Reich-Army, her Hungarian Majesty disdains to confirm; to confirm, or even to reject; treats Seckendorf and his Bavarian Army little otherwise than as a stray dog which she has not yet shot. And truly the old Feldmarschall lies at Wembdingen, in most disconsolate moulting condition; little or nothing to live upon;—the English, generous creatures, had at one time flung him something, fancying the Armistice might be useful; but now it must be the French that do it, if anybody! [Adelung, iii. B, 204 ("22d August"), 206, &c.]
Hanau Conferences having failed, these things do not fail. Kaiser Karl is become tragical to think of. A spectacle of pity to Landgraf Wilhelm, to King Friedrich, and serious on-lookers;—and perhaps not of pity only, but of "pity and fear" to some of them!—sullen Austria taking its sweet revenges, in this fashion. Readers who will look through these small chinks, may guess what a world-welter this was; and how Friedrich, gazing into phase on phase of it, as into Oracles of Fate, which to him they were, had a History, in these months, that will now never be known.
August 16th came out her Hungarian Majesty's Response to that mild quasi-penitent Declaration of King Louis to the Reich; and much astonished King Louis and others, and the very Reich itself. "Out of it?" says her Hungarian Majesty (whom we with regret, for brevity's sake, translate from Official into vulgate): "His Most Christian Majesty wishes to be out of it:—Does not he, the (what shall I call him) Crowned Housebreaker taken in the fact? You shall get out of it, please Heaven, when you have made compensation for the damage done; and till then not, if it please Heaven!" And in this strain (lengthily Official, though indignant to a degree) enumerates the wanton unspeakable mischiefs and outrages which Austria, a kind of sacred entity guaranteed by Law of Nature and Eleven Signatures of Potentates, has suffered from the Most Christian Majesty,—and will have compensation for, Heaven now pointing the way! [IN EXTENSO in Adelung, iii. B, 201 et seqq.]
A most portentous Document; full of sombre emphasis, in sonorous snuffling tone of voice; enunciating, with inflexible purpose, a number of unexpected things: very portentous to his Prussian Majesty among others. Forms a turning-point or crisis both in the French War, and in his Prussian Majesty's History; and ought to be particularly noted and dated by the careful reader. It is here that we first publicly hear tell of Compensation, the necessity Austria will have of Compensation,—Austria does not say expressly for Silesia, but she says and means for loss of territory, and for all other losses whatsoever: "Compensation for the past, and security for the future; that is my full intention," snuffles she, in that slow metallic tone of hers, irrevocable except by the gods.
"Compensation for the past, Security for the future:" Compensation? what does her Hungarian Majesty mean? asked all the world; asked Friedrich, the now Proprietor of Silesia, with peculiar curiosity! It is the first time her Hungarian Majesty steps articulately forward with such extraordinary Claim of Damages, as if she alone had suffered damage;—but it is a fixed point at Vienna, and is an agitating topic to mankind in the coming months and years. Lorraine and the Three Bishoprics; there would be a fine compensation. Then again, what say you to Bavaria, in lieu of the Silesia lost? You have Bavaria by the throat; keep Bavaria, you. Give "Kur-Baiern, Kaiser as they call him," something in the Netherlands to live upon? Will be better out of Germany altogether, with his French leanings. Or, give him the Kingdom of Naples,—if once we had conquered it again? These were actual schemes, successive, simultaneous, much occupying Carteret and the high Heads at Vienna now and afterwards; which came all to nothing; but should were it not impossible, be held in some remembrance by readers.
Another still more unexpected point comes out here, in this singular Document, publicly for the first time: Austria's feelings in regard to the Imperial Election itself. Namely, That Austria, considers, and has all along considered, the said Election to be fatally vitiated by that Exclusion of the Bohemian Vote; to be in fact nullified thereby; and that, to her clear view, the present so-called Kaiser is an imaginary quantity, and a mere Kaiser of French shreds and patches! "DER SEYN-SOLLENDE KAISER," snuffles Austria in one passage, "Your Kaiser as you call him;" and in another passage, instead of "Kaiser," puts flatly "Kur-Baiern." This is a most extraordinary doctrine to an Electoral Romish Reich! Is the Holy Romish Reich to DECLARE itself an "Enchanted Wiggery," then, and do suicide, for behoof of Austria?—
"August 16th, this extraordinary Document was delivered to the Chancery of Mainz; and September 23d, it was, contrary to expectation, brought to DICTATUR by said Chancery,"—of which latter phrase, and phenomenon, here is the explanation to English readers.
Had the late Kur-Mainz (general Arch-Chairman, Speaker of the Diet) been still in office and existence, certainly so shocking a Document had never been allowed "to come to DICTATUR,"—to be dictated to the Reich's Clerks; to have a first reading, as we should call it; or even to lie on the table, with a theoretic chance that way. But Austria, thanks to our little George and his Pragmatic Armament, had got a new Kur-Mainz;—by whom, in open contempt of impartiality, and in open leaning for Austria with all his weight, it was duly forwarded to Dictature; brought before an astonished Diet (REICHSTAG), and endlessly argued of in Reichstag and Reich,—with small benefit to Austria, or the new Kur-Mainz. Wise kindness to Austria had been suppression of this Piece, not bringing of it to Dictature at all: but the new Kur-Mainz, called upon, and conscious of face sufficient, had not scrupled. "Shame on you, partial Arch-Chancellor!" exclaims all the world.—"Revoke such shamefully partial Dictature?" this was the next question brought before the Reich. In which, Kur-Hanover (Britannic George) was the one Elector that opined, No. Majority conclusive; though, as usual, no settlement attainable. This is the famous "DICTATUR-SACHE (Dictature Question)," which rages on us, for about eleven months to come, in those distracted old Books; and seems as if it would never end. Nor is there any saying when it would have ended;—had not, in August, 1744, something else ended, the King of Prussia's patience, namely; which enabled it to end, on the Kaiser's then order! [Adelung, iii. B, 201, iv. 198, &c.]
It must be owned, in general, the conduct of Maria Theresa to the Reich, ever since the Reich had ventured to reject her Husband as Kaiser, and prefer another, was all along of a high nature; till now it has grown into absolute contumacy, and a treating of the Reich's elected Kaiser as a merely chimerical personage. No law of the Reich had been violated against her Hungarian Majesty or Husband: "What law?" asked all judges. Vicarius Kur-Sachsen sat, in committee, hatching for many months that Question of the Kur-Bohmen Vote; and by the prescribed methods, brought it out in the negative,—every formality and regularity observed, and nobody but your Austrian Deputy protesting upon it, when requested to go home. But, the high Maria had a notion that the Reich belonged to her august Family and her; and that all Elections to the contrary were an inconclusive thing, fundamentally void every one of them.
Thus too, long before this, in regard to the REICHS-ARCHIV Question. The Archives and indispensablest Official Records and Papers of the Reich,—these had lain so long at Vienna, the high Maria could not think of giving them up. "So difficult to extricate what Papers are Austrian specially, from what are Austrian-Imperial;—must have time!" answered she always. And neither the Kaiser's more and more pressing demands, nor those of the late Kur-Mainz, backed by the Reich, and reiterated month after month and year after year, could avail in the matter. Mere angry correspondences, growing ever angrier;—the Archives of the Reich lay irrecoverable at Vienna, detained on this pretext and on that: nor were they ever given up; but lay there till the Reich itself had ended, much more the Kaiser Karl VII.! These are high procedures.
As if the Reich had been one's own chattel; as if a Non-Austrian Kaiser mere impossible, and the Reich and its laws had, even Officially, become phantasmal! That, in fact, was Maria Theresa's inarticulate inborn notion; and gradually, as her successes on the field rose higher, it became ever more articulate: till this of "the SEYN-SOLLENDE Kaiser" put a crown on it. Justifiable, if the Reich with its Laws were a chattel, or rebellious vassal, of Austria; not justifiable otherwise. "Hear ye?" answered almost all the Reich (eight Kurfursts, with the one exception of Kur-Hanover: as we observed): "Our solemnly elected Kaiser, Karl VII., is a thing of quirks and quiddities, of French shreds and patches; at present, it seems, the Reich has no Kaiser at all; and will go ever deeper into anarchies and unnamabilities, till it proceed anew to get one,—of the right Austrian type!"—The Reich is a talking entity: King Friedrich is bound rather to silence, so long as possible. His thoughts on these matters are not given; but sure enough they were continual, too intense they could hardly be. "Compensation;" "The Reich as good as mine:" Whither is all this tending? Walrave and those Silesian Fortifyings,—let Walrave mind his work, and get it perfected!
BRITANNIC MAJESTY GOES HOME.
The "Combined Invasion of Elsass"—let us say briefly, overstepping the order of date, and still for a moment leaving Friedrich—came to nothing, this year. Prince Karl was 70,000; Britannic George (when once those Dutch, crawling on all summer, had actually come up) was 66,000,—nay 70,000; Karl having lent him that beautiful cannibal gentleman, "Colonel Mentzel and 4,000 Tolpatches," by way of edge-trimming. Karl was to cross in Upper Elsass, in the Strasburg parts; Karl once across, Britannic Majesty was to cross about Mainz, and co-operate from Lower Elsass. And they should have been swift about it; and were not! All the world expected a severe slash to France; and France itself had the due apprehension of it: but France and all the world were mistaken, this time.
Prince Karl was slow with his preparations; Noailles and Coigny (Broglio's successor) were not slow; "raising batteries everywhere," raising lines, "10,000 Elsass Peasants," and what not;—so that, by the time Prince Karl was ready (middle of August), they lay intrenched and minatory at all passable points; and Karl could nowhere, in that Upper-Rhine Country, by any method, get across. Nothing got across; except once or twice for perhaps a day, Butcher Trenck and his loose kennel of Pandours; who went about, plundering and rioting, with loud rodomontade, to the admiration of the Gazetteers, if of no one else.
Nor was George's seconding of important nature; most dubitative, wholly passive, you would rather say, though the River, in his quarter, lay undefended. He did, at last, cross the Rhine about Mainz; went languidly to Worms,—did an ever-memorable TREATY OF WORMS there, if no fighting there or elsewhere. Went to Speyer, where the Dutch joined him (sadly short of numbers stipulated, had it been the least matter);—was at Germersheim, at what other places I forget; manoeuvring about in a languid and as if in an aimless manner, at least it was in a perfectly ineffectual one. Mentzel rode gloriously to Trarbach, into Lorraine; stuck up Proclamation, "Hungarian Majesty come, by God's help, for her own again," and the like;—of which Document, now fallen rare, we give textually the last line: "And if any of you DON'T [don't sit quiet at least], I will," to be brief, "first cut off your ears and noses, and then hang you out of hand." The singular Champion of Christendom, famous to the then Gazetteers! [In Adelung (iii. B, 193) the Proclamation at large. I have, or once had, a Life of Mentzel (Dublin, I think, 1744), "price twopence,"—dear at the money.] Nothing farther could George, with his Dutch now adjoined, do in those parts, but wriggle slightly to and fro without aim; or stand absolutely still, and eat provision (great uncertainty and discrepancy among the Generals, and Stair gone in a huff [Went, "August 27th, by Worms" (Henderson, Life of Cumberlund, p. 48), just while his Majesty was beginning to cross.]),—till at length the "Combined Pragmatic Troops" returned to Mainz (October 11th); and thence, dreadfully in ill-humor with each other, separated into their winter-quarters in the Netherlands and adjacent regions.
Prince Karl tried hard in several places; hardest at, Alt-Breisach, far up the River, with Swabian Freiburg for his place of arms;—an Austrian Country all that, "Hither Austria," Swabian Austria. There, at Alt-Breisach, lay Prince Karl (24th August-3d September), his left leaning on that venerable sugar-loaf Hill, with the towers and ramparts on the top of it; looking wistfully into Alsace, if there were no way of getting at it. He did get once half-way across the River, lodging himself in an Island called Rheinmark; but could get no farther, owing to the Noailles-Coigny preparations for him. Called a Council of War; decided that he had not Magazines, that it was too late in the season; and marched home again (October 12th) through the Schwabenland; leaving, besides the strong Garrison of Freiburg, only Trenck with 12,000 Pandours to keep the Country open for us, against next year. Britannic Majesty, as we observed, did then, almost simultaneously, in like manner march home; [Adelung, iii. B, 192, 215; Anonymous, Cumberland, p. 121.]—one goal is always clear when the day sinks: Make for your quarters, for your bed.
Prince Karl was gloriously wedded, this Winter, to her Hungarian Majesty's young Sister;—glorious meed of War; and, they say, a union of hearts withal;—Wife and he to have Brussels for residence, and be "Joint-Governors of the Netherlands" henceforth. Stout Khevenhuller, almost during the rejoicings, took fever, and suddenly died; to the great sorrow of her Majesty, for loss of such a soldier and man. [Maria Theresiens Leben, pp. 94, 45.] Britannic Majesty has not been successful with his Pragmatic Army. He did get his new Kur-Mainz, who has brought the Austrian Exorbitancy to a first reading, and into general view. He did get out of the Dettingen mouse-trap; and, to the admiration of the Gazetteer mind, and (we hope) envy of Most Christian Majesty, he has, regardless of expense, played Supreme Jove on the German boards for above three months running. But as to Settlement of the German Quarrel, he has done nothing at all, and even a good deal less! Let me commend to readers this little scrap of Note; headed, "METHODS OF PACIFICATING GERMANY:— 1. There is one ready method of pacificating Germany: That his Britannic Majesty should firmly button his breeches-pocket, 'Not one sixpence more, Madam!'—and go home to his bed, if he find no business waiting him at home. Has not he always the EAR-OF-JENKINS Question, and the Cause of Liberty in that succinct form. But, in Germany, sinews of war being cut, law of gravitation would at once act; and exorbitant Hungarian Majesty, tired France, and all else, would in a brief space of time lapse into equilibrium, probably of the more stable kind. 2. Or, if you want to save the Cause of Liberty on there are those HANAU CONFERENCES,—Carteret's magnificent scheme: A united Teutschland (England inspiring it), to rush on the throat of France, for 'Compensation,' for universal salving of sores. This second method, Diana having intervened, is gone to water, and even to poisoned water. So that, 3". There was nothing left for poor Carteret but a TR WORMS (concerning which, something more explicit by and by): A Teutschland (the English, doubly and trebly inspiring it, as surely they will now need!) to rush as aforesaid, in the DISunited and indeed nearly internecine state. Which third method—unless Carteret can conquer Naples for the Kaiser, stuff the Kaiser into some satisfactory 'Netherlands' or the like, and miraculously do the unfeasible (Fortune perhaps favoring the brave)—may be called the unlikely one! As poor Carteret probably guesses, or dreads;—had he now any choice left. But it was love's last shift! And, by aid of Diana and otherwise, that is the posture in which, at Mainz, 11th October, 1743, we leave the German Question."
"Compensation," from France in particular, is not to be had gratis, it appears. Somewhere or other it must be had! Complaining once, as she very often does, to her Supreme Jove, Hungarian Majesty had written: "Why, oh, why did you force me to give up Silesia!"—Supreme Jove answers (at what date I never knew, though Friedrich knows it, and "has copy of the Letter"): "Madam, what was good to give is good to take back (CC QUI EST BON A PRENDRE EST BON A RENDRE)!" [OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 27.]
Chapter VI.—VOLTAIRE VISITS FRIEDRICH FOR THE FOURTH TIME.
In the last days of August, there appears at Berlin M. de Voltaire, on his Fourth Visit:—thrice and four times welcome; though this time, privately, in a somewhat unexpected capacity. Come to try his hand in the diplomatic line; to sound Friedrich a little, on behalf of the distressed French Ministry. That, very privately indeed, is Voltaire's errand at present; and great hopes hang by it for Voltaire, if he prove adroit enough.
Poor man, it had turned out he could not get his Academy Diploma, after all,—owing again to intricacies and heterodoxies. King Louis was at first willing, indifferent; nay the Chateauroux was willing: but orthodox parties persuaded his Majesty; wicked Maurepas (the same who lasted till the Revolution time) set his face against it; Maurepas, and ANC. de Mirepoix (whom they wittily call "ANE" or Ass of Mirepoix, that sour opaque creature, lately monk), were industrious exceedingly; and put veto on Voltaire. A stupid Bishop was preferred to him for filling up the Forty. Two Bishops magnanimously refused; but one was found with ambitious stupidity enough: Voltaire, for the third time, failed in this small matter, to him great. Nay, in spite of that kiss in MEROPE, he could not get his MORT DE CESAR acted; cabals rising; ANCIEN de Mirepoix rising; Orthodoxy, sour Opacity prevailing again. To Madame and him (though finely caressed in the Parisian circles) these were provoking months;—enough to make a man forswear Literature, and try some other Jacob's-Ladder in this world. Which Voltaire had actual thoughts of, now and then. We may ask, Are these things of a nature to create love of the Hierarchy in M. de Voltaire? "Your Academy is going to be a Seminary of Priests," says Friedrich. The lynx-eyed animal,—anxiously asking itself, "Whitherward, then, out of such a mess?"—walks warily about, with its paws of velvet; but has, IN POSSE, claws under them, for certain individuals and fraternities.
Nor, alas, is the Du Chatelet relation itself so celestial as it once was. Madame has discovered, think only with what feelings, that this great man does not love her as formerly! The great man denies, ready to deny on the Gospels, to her and to himself; and yet, at bottom, if we read with the microscope, there are symptoms, and it is not deniable. How should it? Leafy May, hot June, by degrees comes October, sere, yellow; and at last, a quite leafless condition,—not Favonius, but gray Northeast, with its hail-storms (jealousies, barren cankered gusts), your main wind blowing. "EMILIE FAIT DE L'ALGEBRE," sneers he once, in an inadvertent moment, to some Lady-friend: "Emilie doing? Emilie is doing Algebra; that is Emilie's employment,—which will be of great use to her in the affairs of Life, and of great charm in Society." [Letter of Voltaire "To Madame Chambonin," end of 1742 (OEuvres, Edition in 40 vols., Paris, 1818, xxxii. 148);—is MISSED in the later Edition (97 vols., Paris, 1837), to which our habitual reference is.] Voltaire (if you read with the microscope) has, on this side also, thoughts of being off. "Off on this side?" Madame flies mad, becomes Megaera, at the mention or suspicion of it! A jealous, high-tempered Algebraic Lady. They have had to tell her of this secret Mission to Berlin; and she insists on being the conduit, all the papers to pass through her hands here at Paris, during the great man's absence. Fixed northeast; that is, to appearance, the domestic wind blowing! And I rather judge, the great man is glad to get away for a time.
This Quasi-Diplomatic Speculation, one perceives, is much more serious, on the part both of Voltaire and of the Ministry, than any of the former had been. And, on Voltaire's part, there glitter prospects now and then of something positively Diplomatic, of a real career in that kind, lying ahead for him. Fond hopes these! But among the new Ministers, since Fleury's death, are Amelot, the D'Argensons, personal friends, old school-fellows of the poor hunted man, who are willing he should have shelter from such a pack; and all French Ministers, clutching at every floating spar, in this their general shipwreck in Germany, are aware of the uses there might be in him, in such crisis. "Knows Friedrich; might perhaps have some power in persuading him,—power in spying him at any rate. Unless Friedrich do step forward again, what is to become of us!"—The mutual hintings, negotiatings, express interviews, bargainings and secret-instructions, dimly traceable in Voltaire's LETTERS, had been going on perhaps since May last, time of those ACADEMY failures, of those Broglio Despatches from the Donau Countries, "No staying here, your Majesty!"—and I think it was, in fact, about the time when Broglio blew up like gunpowder and tumbled home on the winds, that Voltaire set out on his mission. "Visit to Friedrich," they call it;—"invitation" from Friedrich there is, or can, on the first hint, at any point of the Journey be.
Voltaire has lingered long on the road; left Paris, middle of June; [His Letters (OEuvres, lxxiii. 42, 48).] but has been exceedingly exerting himself, in the Hague, at Brussels, and wherever else present, in the way of forwarding his errand, Spying, contriving, persuading; corresponding to right and left,—corresponding, especially much, with the King of Prussia himself, and then with "M. Amelot, Secretary of State," to report progress to the best advantage. There are curious elucidative sparks, in those Voltaire Letters, chaotic as they are; small sparks, elucidative, confirmatory of your dull History Books, and adding traits, here and there, to the Image you have formed from them. Yielding you a poor momentary comfort; like reading some riddle of no use; like light got incidentally, by rubbing dark upon dark (say Voltaire flint upon Dryasdust gritstone), in those labyrinthic catacombs, if you are doomed to travel there. A mere weariness, otherwise, to the outside reader, hurrying forward,—to the light French Editor, who can pass comfortably on wings or balloons! [OEuvres, lxxiii. pp. 40-138. Clogenson, a Dane (whose Notes, signed "Clog.," are in all tolerable recent Editions), has, alone among the Commentators of Voltaire's LETTERS, made some real attempt towards explaining the many passages that are fallen unintelligible. "Clog.," travelling on foot, with his eyes open, is—especially on German-History points—incomparable and unique, among his French comrades going by balloon; and drops a rational or half-rational hint now and then, which is meritoriously helpful. Unhappily he is by no means well-read in that German matter, by no means always exact; nor indeed ever quite to be trusted without trial had.] Voltaire's assiduous finessings with the Hague Diplomatist People, or with their Secretaries if bribable; nay, with the Dutch Government itself ("through channels which I have opened,"—with infinitesimally small result); his spyings ("young Podewils," Minister here, Nephew of the Podewils we have known, "young Podewils in intrigue with a Dutch Lady of rank:" think of that, your Excellency); his preparatory subtle correspondings with Friedrich: his exquisite manoeuvrings, and really great industries in the small way:—all this, and much else, we will omit. Impatient of these preludings, which have been many! Thus, at one point, Voltaire "took a FLUXION" (catarrhal, from the nose only), when Friedrich was quite ready; then, again, when Voltaire was ready, and the fluxion off, Friedrich had gone upon his Silesian Reviews: in short, there had been such cross-purposes, tedious delays, as are distressing to think of;—and we will say only, that M. de Voltaire did actually, after the conceivable adventures, alight in the Berlin Schloss (last day of August, as I count); welcomed, like no other man, by the Royal Landlord there;—and that this is the Fourth Visit; and has (in strict privacy) weightier intentions than any of the foregoing, on M. de Voltaire's part.
Voltaire had a glorious reception; apartment near the King's; King gliding in, at odd moments, in the beautifulest way; and for seven or eight days, there was, at Berlin and then at Potsdam, a fine awakening of the sphere-harmonies between them, with touches of practicality thrown in as suited. Of course it was not long till, on some touch of that latter kind, Friedrich discerned what the celestial messenger had come upon withal;—a dangerous moment for M. de Voltaire, "King visibly irritated," admits he, with the aquiline glance transfixing him!" Alas, your Majesty, mere excess of loyalty, submission, devotion, on my poor part! Deign to think, may not this too,—in the present state of my King, of my Two Kings, and of all Europe,—be itself a kind of spheral thing?" So that the aquiline lightning was but momentary; and abated to lambent twinklings, with something even of comic in them, as we shall gather. Voltaire had his difficulties with Valori, too; "What interloping fellow is this?" gloomed Valori, "A devoted secretary of your Excellency's; on his honor, nothing more!" answered Voltaire, bowing to the ground:—and strives to behave as such; giving Valori "these poor Reports of mine to put in cipher," and the like. Very slippery ice hereabouts for the adroit man! His reports to Amelot are of sanguine tone; but indicate, to the by-stander, small progress; ice slippery, and a twinkle of the comic. Many of them are lost (or lie hidden in the French Archives, and are not worth disinterring): but here is one, saved by Beaumarchais and published long afterwards, which will sufficiently bring home the old scene to us. In the Palace of Berlin or else of Potsdam (date must be, 6th-8th September, 1743), Voltaire from his Apartment hands in a "Memorial" to Friedrich; and gets it back with Marginalia,—as follows:
"Would your Majesty be pleased to have the kind condescension (ASSEZ DE BONTE) to put on the margin your reflections and orders."
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "1. Your Majesty is to know that the Sieur Bassecour [signifies BACKYARD], chief Burghermaster of Amsterdam, has come lately to beg M. de la Ville, French Minister there, to make Proposals of Peace. La Ville answered, If the Dutch had offers to make, the King his master could hear them.
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "1. This Bassecour, or Backyard, seems to be the gentleman that has charge of fattening the capons and turkeys for their High Mightinesses?
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "2. Is it not clear that the Peace Party will infallibly carry it, in Holland,—since Bassecour, one of the most determined for War, begins to speak of Peace? Is it not clear that France shows vigor and wisdom?
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "2. I admire the wisdom of France; but God preserve me from ever imitating it!
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "3. In these circumstances, if your Majesty took the tone of a Master, gave example to the Princes of the Empire in assembling an Army of Neutrality,—would not you snatch the sceptre of Europe from the hands of the English, who now brave you, and speak in an insolent revolting manner of your Majesty, as do, in Holland also, the party of the Bentincks, the Fagels, the Opdams? I have myself heard them, and am reporting nothing but what is very true.
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "3. This would be finer in an ode than in actual reality. I disturb myself very little about what the Dutch and English say, the rather as I understand nothing of those dialects (PATOIS) of theirs.
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "4. Do not you cover yourself with an immortal glory in declaring yourself, with effect, the protector of the Empire? And is it not of most pressing interest to your Majesty, to hinder the English from making your Enemy the Grand-Duke [Maria Theresa's Husband] King of the Romans?
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "4. France has more interest than Prussia to hinder that. Besides, on this point, dear Voltaire, you are ill informed. For there can be no Election of a King of the Romans without the unanimous consent of the Empire;—so you perceive, that always depends on me.
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "5. Whoever has spoken but a quarter of an hour to the Duke d'Ahremberg [who spilt Lord Stair's fine enterprises lately, and reduced them to a DETTINGEN, or a getting into the mouse-trap and a getting out], to the Count Harrach [important Austrian Official], Lord Stair, or any of the partisans of Austria, even for a quarter of an hour [as I have often done], has beard them say, That they burn with desire to open the campaign in Silesia again. Have you in that case, Sire, any ally but France? And, however potent you are, is an ally useless to you? You know the resources of the House of Austria, and how many Princes are united to it. But will they resist your power, joined to that of the House of Bourbon?
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "5. On les y recevra, Biribi, A la facon de Barbari, Mon ami. We will receive them, Twiddledee, In the mode of Barbary, Don't you see? [Form of Song, very fashionable at Paris (see Barbier soepius) in those years: "BIRIBI," I believe, is a kind of lottery-game.]
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "6. If you were but to march a body of troops to Cleves, do not you awaken terror and respect, without apprehension that any one dare make war on you? Is it not, on the contrary, the one method of forcing the Dutch to concur, under your orders, in the pacification of the Empire, and re-establishment of the Emperor, who will thus a second time he indebted to you for his throne, and will aid in the splendor of yours?
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "6. Vous voulez qu'en vrai dieu de la machine, "You will have me as theatre-god, then, "J'arrive pour te denouement? "Swoop in, and produce the catastrophe? "Qu'aux Anglais, aux Pandours, a ce peuple insolent, "J'aille donner la discipline?— "Tame to sobriety those English, those Pandours, and obstreperous people? "Mais examinez mieux ma mine; "Examine the look of me better; "Je ne suis pas assez mechant! "I have not surliness euough.
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "7. Whatever resolution may be come to, will your Majesty deign to confide it to me, and impart the result,—to your servant, to him who desires to pass his life at your Court? May I have the honor to accompany your Majesty to Baireuth; and if your goodness go so far, would you please to declare it, that I may have time to prepare for the journey? One favorable word written to me in the Letter on that occasion [word favorable to France, ostensible to M. Amelot and the most Christian Majesty], one word would suffice to procure me the happiness I have, for six years, been aspiring to, of living beside you." Oh, send it!
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "7. If you like to come to Baireuth, I shall be glad to see you there, provided the journey don't derange your health. It will depend on yourself, then, to take what measures you please. [And about the ostensible WORD,—Nothing!]
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "8. During the short stay I am now to make, if I could be made the bearer of some news agreeable to my Court, I would supplicate your Majesty to honor me with such a commission. [This does not want for impudence, Monsieur! Friedrich answers, from aloft!]
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "8. I am not in any connection with France; I have nothing to fear nor to hope from France. If you would like, I will make a Panegyric on Louis XV. without a word of truth in it: but as to political business, there is, at present, none to bring us together; and neither is it I that am to speak first. When they put a question to me, it will be time to reply: but you, who are so much a man of sense, you see well what a ridiculous business it would be if, without ground given me, I set to prescribing projects of policy to France, and even put them on paper with my own hand!
MEMORIAL BY VOLTAIRE. "9. Do whatsoever you may please, I shall always love your Majesty with my whole heart."
MARGINALIA BY FRIEDRICH. "9. I love you with all my heart; I esteem you: I will do all to have you, except follies, and things which would make me forever ridiculous over Europe, and at bottom would be contrary to my interests and my glory. The only commission I can give you for France, is to advise them to behave with more wisdom than they have done hitherto. That Monarchy is a body with much strength, but without, soul or energy (NERF)."
And so you may give it to Valori to put in cipher, my illustrious Messenger from the Spheres. [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii. 101-105 (see Ib. ii. 55); OEuvres de Frederic, xxii. 141-144.]
Worth reading, this, rather well. Very kingly, and characteristic of the young Friedrich. Saved by Beaumarchais, who did not give it in his famous Kehl Edition of VOLTAIRE, but "had it in Autograph ever after, and printed it in his DECADE PHILOSOPHIQUE, 10 Messidor, An vii. [Summer, 1799]: Beaumarchais had several other Pieces of the same sort;" which, as bits of contemporary photographing, one would have liked to see.
FRIEDRICH VISITS BAIREUTH: ON A PARTICULAR ERRAND;—VOLTAIRE ATTENDING, AND PRIVATELY REPORTING.
This "BIRIBI" Document, I suppose to have been delivered perhaps on the 7th; and that Friedrich HAD it, but had not yet answered it, when he wrote the following Letter:—
"POTSDAM, 8th SEPTEMBER, 1743 [Friedrich to Voltaire].—I dare not speak to a son of Apollo about horses and carriages, relays and such things; these are details with which the gods do not concern themselves, and which we mortals take upon us. You will set out on Monday afternoon, if you like the journey, for Baireuth, and you will dine with me in passing, if you please [at Potsdam here].
"The rest of my MEMOIRE [Paper before given?] is so blurred and in so bad a state, I cannot yet send it you.—I am getting Cantos 8 and 9 of LA PUCELLE copied; I at present have Cantos 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 9: I keep them under three keys, that the eye of mortal may not see them.
"I hear you supped yesternight in good company [great gathering in some high house, gone all asunder now];
"The finest wits of the Canton All collected in your name, People all who could not but be pleased with you, All devout believers in Voltaire, Unanimously took you For the god of their Paradise.
"'Paradise,' that you may not be scandalized, is taken here in a general sense for a place of pleasure and joy. See the 'remark' on the last verse of the MONDAIN." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxii. 144; Voltaire, lxxiii. 100] (scandalously MISdated in Edition 1818, xxxix. 466). As to MONDAIN, and "remark" upon it,—the ghost of what was once a sparkle of successful coterie-speech and epistolary allusion,—take this: "In the MONDAIN Voltaire had written, 'LE PARADIS TERRESTRE EST OU JE SUIS;' and as the Priests made outcry, had with airs of orthodoxy explained the phrase away,"—as Friedrich now affects to do; obliquely quizzing, in the Friedrich manner.
Voltaire is to go upon the Baireuth Journey, then, according to prayer. Whether Voltaire ever got that all-important "word which he could show," I cannot say: though there is some appearance that Friedrich may have dashed off for him the Panegyric of Louis, in these very hours, to serve his turn, and have done with him. Under date 7th September, day before the Letter just read, here are snatches from another to the same address:—
"POTSDAM, 7th SEPTEMBER, 1743 [Friedrich to Voltaire].—You tell me so much good of France and of its King, it were to be wished all Sovereigns had subjects like you, and all Commonwealths such citizens,—[you can show that, I suppose?] What a pity France and Sweden had not had Military Chiefs of your way of thinking! But it is very certain, say what you will, that the feebleness of their Generals, and the timidity of their counsels, have almost ruined in public repute two Nations which, not half a century ago, inspired terror over Europe."—... "Scandalous Peace, that of Fleury, in 1735; abandoning King Stanislaus, cheating Spain, cheating Sardinia, to get Lorraine! And now this manner of abandoning the Emperor [respectable Karl VII. of your making]; sacrificing Bavaria; and reducing that worthy Prince to the lowest poverty,—poverty, I say not, of a Prince, but into the frightfulest state for a private man!" Ah, Monsieur.
"And yet your France is the most charming of Nations; and if it is not feared, it deserves well to be loved. A King worthy to command it, who governs sagely, and acquires for himself the esteem of all Europe,—[there, won't that do!] may restore its ancient splendor, which the Broglios, and so many others even more inept, have a little eclipsed. That is assuredly a work worthy of a Prince endowed with such gifts! To reverse the sad posture of affairs, nobly repairing what others have spoiled; to defend his country against furious enemies, reducing them to beg Peace, instead of scornfully rejecting it when offered: never was more glory acquirable by any King! I shall admire whatsoever this great man [CE GRAND HOMME, Louis XV., not yet visibly tending to the dung-heap, let us hope better things!] may achieve in that way; and of all the Sovereigns of Europe none will be less jealous of his success than I:"—there, my spheral friend, show that! [OEuvres de Frederic, xxii. 139: see, for what followed, OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii. 129 (report to Amelot, 27th October).]
Which the spheral friend does. Nor was it "irony," as the new Commentators think; not at all; sincere enough, what you call sincere;—Voltaire himself had a nose for "irony"! This was what you call sincere Panegyric in liberal measure; why be stingy with your measure? It costs half an hour: it will end Voltaire's importunities; and so may, if anything, oil the business-wheels withal. For Friedrich foresees business enough with Louis and the French Ministries, though he will not enter on it with Voltaire. This Journey to Baireuth and Anspach, for example, this is not for a visit to his Sisters, as Friedrich labels it; but has extensive purposes hidden under that title,—meetings with Franconian Potentates, earnest survey, earnest consultation on a state of things altogether grave for Germany and Friedrich; though he understands whom to treat with about it, whom to answer with a "BIRIBIRI, MON AMI." That Austrian Exorbitancy of a message to the Diet has come out (August 16th, and is struggling to DICTATUR); the Austrian procedures in Baiern are in their full flagrancy: Friedrich intends trying once more, Whether, in such crisis, there be absolutely no "Union of German Princes" possible; nor even of any two or three of them, in the "Swabian and Franconian Circles," which he always thought the likeliest?
The Journey took effect, Tuesday, 10th September [Rodenbeck, i. 93.] (not the day before, as Friedrich had been projecting); went by Halle, straight upon Baireuth; and ended there on Thursday. As usual, Prince August Wilhelm, and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, were of it; Voltaire failed not to accompany. What the complexion of it was, especially what Friedrich had meant by it, and how ill he succeeded, will perhaps be most directly visible through the following compressed Excerpts from Voltaire's long LETTER to Secretary Amelot on the subject,—if readers will be diligent with them. Friedrich, after four days, ran across to Anspach on important business; came back with mere failure, and was provokingly quite silent on it; stayed at Baireuth some three days more; thence home by Gotha (still on "Union" business, still mere failure), by Leipzig, and arrived at Potsdam, September 25th;—leaving Voltaire in Wilhelmina's charmed circle (of which unhappily there is not a word said), for about a week more. Voltaire, directly on getting back to Berlin, "resumes the thread of his journal" to Secretary Amelot; that is, writes him another long Letter:—
VOLTAIRE (from Berlin, 3d October, 1743) TO SECRETARY AMELOT.
"... The King of Prussia told me at Baireuth, on the 13th or 14th of last month, He was glad our King had sent the Kaiser money;"—useful that, at any rate; Noailles's 6,000 pounds would not go far. "That he thought M. le Marechal de Noailles's explanation [of a certain small rumor, to the disadvantage of Noailles in reference to the Kaiser] was satisfactory: 'but,' added he, 'it results from all your secret motions that you are begging Peace from everybody, and there may have been something in this rumor, after all.'
"He then told me he was going over to Anspach, to see what could be done for the Common Cause [Kaiser's and Ours]; that he expected to meet the Bishop of Wurzburg there; and would try to stir the Frankish and Swabian Circles into some kind of Union. And, at setting off [from Baireuth, September 16th, on this errand], he promised his Brother-in-law the Margraf, He would return with great schemes afoot, and even with great success;" which proved otherwise, to a disappointing degree.
"... The Margraf of Anspach did say he would join a Union of Princes in favor of the Kaiser, if Prussia gave example. But that was all. The Bishop of Wurzburg," a feeble old creature, "never appeared at Anspach, nor even sent an apology; and Seckendorf, with the Imperial Army"—Seckendorf, caged up at Wembdingen (whom Friedrich drove off from Anspach, twenty miles, to see and consult), was in a disconsolate moulting condition, and could promise or advise nothing satisfactory, during the dinner one took with him. [September 19th, "under a shady tree, after muster of the troops" (Rodenbeck, p. 93).] Four days running about on those errands had yielded his Prussian Majesty nothing. "Whilst he (Prussian Majesty) was on this Anspach excursion, the Margraf of Baireuth, who is lately made Field-marshal of his Circle, spoke much to me of present affairs: a young Prince, full of worth and courage, who loves the French, hates the Austrians,"—and would fain make himself generally useful. "To whom I suggested this and that" (does your Lordship observe?), if it could ever come to anything.
"The King of Prussia, on returning to Baireuth [guess, 20th September], did not speak the least word of business to the Margraf: which much surprised the latter! He surprised him still more by indicating some intention to retain forcibly at Berlin the young Duke of Wurtemberg, under pretext, 'that Madam his Mother intended to have him taken to Vienna,' for education. To anger this young Duke, and drive his Mother to despair, was not the method for acquiring credit in the Circle of Swabia, and getting the Princes brought to unite!
"The Duchess of Wurtemberg, who was there at Baireuth, by appointment, to confer with the King of Prussia, sent to seek me. I found her all dissolved in tears. 'Ah!' said she,—[But why is our dear Wilhelmina left saying nothing; invisible, behind the curtains of envious Chance, and only a skirt of them lifted to show us this Improper Duchess once more!]—'Ah!' said she (the Improper Duchess, at sight of me), 'will the King of Prussia be a tyrant, then? To pay me for intrusting my Boys to him, and giving him two Regiments [for money down], will he force me to implore justice against him from the whole world? I must have my Child! He shall not go to Vienna; it is in his own Country that I will have him brought up beside me. To put my Son in Austrian hands? [unless, indeed, your Highness were driven into Financial or other straits?] You know if I love France;—if my design is not to pass the rest of my days there, so soon as my Son comes to majority!' Ohone, ohoo!
"In fine, the quarrel was appeased. The King of Prussia told me he would be gentler with the Mother; would restore the Son if they absolutely wished it; but that he hoped the young Prince would of himself like better to stay where he was."...—"I trust your Lordship will allow me to draw for those 300 ducats, for a new carriage. I have spent all I had, running about these four months. I leave this for Brunswick and homewards, on the evening of the 12th." [Voltaire, lxxiii. 105-109.]...
And so the curtain drops on the Baireuth Journey, on the Berlin Visit; and indeed, if that were anything, on Voltaire's Diplomatic career altogether. The insignificant Accidents, the dull Powers that be, say No. Curious to reflect, had they happened to say Yes:—"Go into the Diplomatic line, then, you sharp climbing creature, and become great by that method; WRITE no more, you; write only Despatches and Spy-Letters henceforth!"—how different a world for us, and for all mortals that read and that do not read, there had now been!
Voltaire fancies he has done his Diplomacy well, not without fruit; and, at Brunswick,—cheered by the grand welcome he found there,—has delightful outlooks (might I dare to suggest them, Monseigneur?) of touring about in the German Courts, with some Circular HORTATORIUM, or sublime Begging-Letter from the Kaiser, in his hand; and, by witchery of tongue, urging Wurtemberg, Brunswick, Baireuth, Anspach, Berlin, to compliance with the Imperial Majesty and France. [Ib. lxxiii. 133.] Would not that be sublime! But that, like the rest, in spite of one's talent, came to nothing. Talent? Success? Madame de Chateauroux had, in the interim, taken a dislike to M. Amelot; "could not bear his stammering," the fastidious Improper Female; flung Amelot overboard,—Amelot, and his luggage after him, Voltaire's diplomatic hopes included; and there was an end.
How ravishing the thing had been while it lasted, judge by these other stray symptoms; hastily picked up, partly at Berlin, partly at Brunswick; which show us the bright meridian, and also the blaze, almost still more radiant, which proved to be sunset. Readers have heard of Voltaire's Madrigals to certain Princesses; and must read these Three again,—which are really incomparable in their kind; not equalled in graceful felicity even by Goethe, and by him alone of Poets approached in that respect. At Berlin, Autumn 1743, Three consummate Madrigals:—
1. TO PRINCESS ULRIQUE. "Souvent un peu de verite Se mele au plus grossier mensonge: Cette nuit, dans l'erreur d'un songe, Au rang des rois j'etais monte. Je vous aimais, Princesse, et j'osais vous le dire! Les dieux a mon reveil ne m'ont pas tout ote, Je n'ai perdu que mon empire." 2. TO PRINCESSES ULRIQUE AND AMELIA. "Si Paris venait sur la terre Pour juger entre vos beaux yeux, Il couperait la pomme en deux, Et ne produirait pas de guerre." 3. TO PRINCESSES ULRIQUE, AMELIA AND WILHELMINA. "Pardon, charmante Ulrique; pardon, belle Amelie; J'ai cru n'aimer que vous la reste de ma vie, Et ne servir que sous vos lois; Mais enfin j'entends et je vois Cette adorable Soeur dont l'Amour suit les traces: Ah, ce n'est pas outrager les Trois Graces Que de les aimer toutes trois!"
[1. "A grain of truth is often mingled with the stupidest delusion. Yesternight, in the error of a dream, I had risen to the rank of king; I loved you, Princess, and had the audacity to say so! The gods, at my awakening, did not strip me wholly; my kingdom was all they took from me." 2. "If Paris [of Troy] came back to decide on the charms of you Two, he would halve the Apple, and produce no War." 3. "Pardon, charming Ulrique; beautiful Amelia, pardon: I thought I should love only you for the rest of my life, and serve under your laws only: but at last I hear and see this adorable Sister, whom Love follows as Page:—Ah, it is not offending the Three Graces to love them all three!" —In Oeuvres de Voltaire, xviii.: No. 1 is, p. 292 (in OEuvres de Frederic, xiv. 90-92, the ANSWERS to it); No. 2 is, p. 320; No. 3, p. 321.]
BRUNSWICK, 16th October (blazing sunset, as it proved, but brighter almost than meridian), a LETTER FROM VOLTAIRE TO MAUPERTUIS (still in France since that horrible Mollwitz-Pandour Business).
"In my wanderings I received the Letter where my dear Flattener of this Globe deigns to remember me with so much friendship. Is it possible that—... I made your compliments to all your friends at Berlin; that is, to all the Court." "Saw Dr. Eller decomposing water into elastic air [or thinking he did so, 1743]; saw the Opera of TITUS, which is a masterpiece of music [by Friedrich himself, with the important aid of Graun]: it was, without vanity, a treat the King gave me, or rather gave himself; he wished I should see him in his glory.
"His Opera-House is the finest in Europe. Charlottenburg is a delicious abode: Friedrich does the honors there, the King knowing nothing of it.... One lives at Potsdam as in the Chateau of a French Seigneur who had culture and genius,—in spite of that big Battalion of Guards, which seems to me the terriblest Battalion in this world.
"Jordan is still the same,—BON GARCON ET DISCRET; has his oddities, his 1,600 crowns (240 pounds) of pension. D'Argens is Chamberlain, with a gold key at his breast-pocket, and 100 louis inside, payable monthly. Chasot [whom readers made acquaintance with at Philipsburg long since], instead of cursing his destiny, must have taken to bless it: he is Major of Horse, with income enough. And he has well earned it, having saved the King's Baggage at the last Battle of Chotusitz,"—what we did not notice, in the horse-charges and grand tumults of that scene.
"I passed some days [a fortnight in all] at Baireuth. Her Royal Highness, of course, spoke to me of you. Baireuth is a delightful retreat, where one enjoys whatever there is agreeable in a Court, without the bother of grandeur. Brunswick, where I am, has another species of charm. 'Tis a celestial Voyage this of mine, where I pass from Planet to Planet,"—to tumultuous Paris; and, I do hope, to my unique Maupertuis awaiting me there at last. [Voltaire, lxxiii. 122-125.]'
We have only to remark farther, that Friedrich had again pressed Voltaire to come and live with him, and choose his own terms; and that Voltaire (as a second string to his bow, should this fine Diplomatic one fail) had provisionally accepted. Provisionally; and with one most remarkable clause: that of leaving out Madame,—"imagining it would be less agreeable to you if I came with others (AVEC D'AUTRES); and I own, that belonging to your Majesty alone, I should have my mind more at ease:" [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii. 112,116 (Proposal and Response, both of them "7th October," five days before leaving Berlin).]—whew! And then to add a third thing: That Madame, driven half delirious, by these delays, and gyratings from Planet to Planet, especially by that last Fortnight at Baireuth, had rushed off from Paris, to seek her vagabond, and see into him with her own eyes: "Could n't help it, my angels!" writes she to the D'Argentals (excellent guardian angels, Monsieur and Madame; and, I am sure, PATIENT both of them, as only MONSIEUR Job was, in the old case): "A whole fortnight [perhaps with madrigals to Princesses], and only four lines to me!"—and is now in bed, or lately was, at Lille, ill of slow fever (PETITE FIEVRE); panting to be upon the road again. [Lettres inedites de Madame du Chastelet a M. le Comte d'Argental (Paris, 1806) p. 253. A curiously elucidative Letter this ("Brussels, 15th October, 1743"); a curious little Book altogether.]
Fancy what a greeting for M. de Voltaire, from those eyes HAGARDES ET LOUCHES; and whether he mentioned that pretty little clause of going to Berlin "WITHOUT others," or durst for the life of him whisper of going at all! After pause in the Brussels region, they came back to Paris "in December;" resigned, I hope, to inexorable Fate,—though with such Diplomatic and other fine prospects flung to the fishes, and little but GREDINS and confusions waiting you, as formerly.
Chapter VII.—FRIEDRICH MAKES TREATY WITH FRANCE; AND SILENTLY GETS READY.
Though Friedrich went upon the bantering tone with Voltaire, his private thoughts in regard to the surrounding scene of things were extremely serious; and already it had begun to be apparent, from those Britannic-Austrian procedures, that some new alliance with France might well lie ahead for him. During Voltaire's visit, that extraordinary Paper from Vienna, that the Kaiser was no Kaiser, and that there must be "compensation" and satisfactory "assurance," had come into full glare of first-reading; and the DICTATUR-SACHE, and denunciation of an evidently partial Kur-Mainz, was awakening everywhere. Voltaire had not gone, when,—through Podewils Junior (probably with help of the improper Dutch female of rank),—Friedrich got to wit of another thing, not less momentous to him; and throwing fearful light on that of "compensation" and "assurance." This was the Treaty of Worms,—done by Carteret and George, September 13th, during those languid Rhine operations; Treaty itself not languid, but a very lively thing, to Friedrich and to all the world! Concerning which a few words now.
We have said, according to promise, and will say, next to nothing of Maria Theresa's Italian War; but hope always the reader keeps it in mind. Big war-clouds waltzing hither and thither, occasionally clashing into bloody conflict; Sardinian Majesty and Infant Philip both personally in the field, fierce men both: Traun, Browne, Lobkowitz, Lichtenstein, Austrians of mark, successively distinguishing themselves; Spain, too, and France very diligent;—Conti off thither, then in their turns Maillebois, Noailles:—high military figures, but remote; shadowy, thundering INaudibly on this side and that; whom we must not mention farther.
"The notable figure to us," says one of my Notes, "is Charles Emanuel, second King of Sardinia; who is at the old trade of his Family, and shifts from side to side, making the war-balance vibrate at a great rate, now this scale now that kicking the beam. For he holds the door of the Alps, Bully Bourbon on one side of it, Bully Hapsburg on the other; and inquires sharply, "You, what will you give me? And you?" To Maria Theresa's affairs he has been superlatively useful, for these Two Years past; and truly she is not too punctual in the returns covenanted for. It appears to Charles Emanuel that the Queen of Hungary, elated in her high thought, under-rates his services, of late; that she practically means to give him very little of those promised slices from the Lombard parts; and that, in the mean while, much too big a share of the War has fallen upon his poor hands, who should be doorholder only.
"Accordingly he grumbles, threatens: he has been listening to France, 'Bourbon, how much will you give me, then?' and the answer is such that he informs the Queen of Hungary and the Britannic Majesty, of his intention to close with Bourbon, since they on their side will do nothing considerable. George and his Carteret, not to mention the Hungarian Majesty at all, are thunder-struck at such a prospect; bend all their energies towards this essential point of retaining Charles Emanuel, which is more urgent even than getting Elsass. 'Madam,' they say to her Majesty, (we cannot save Italy for you on other terms: Vigevanesco, Finale [which is Genoa's], part of Piacenza [when once got]: there must be some slice of the Lombard parts to this Charles Emanuel justly angry!) Whereat the high Queen storms, and in her high manner scolds little George, as if he were the blamable party,—pretending friendship, and yet abetting mere highway robbery or little better. And his cash paid Madam, and his Dettingen mouse-trap fought? 'Well, he has plenty of cash:—is it my Cause, then, or his Majesty's and Liberty's?' Posterity, in modern England, vainly endeavors to conceive this phenomenon; yet sees it to be undeniable.
"And so there is a Treaty of Worms got concocted, after infinite effort on the part of Carteret, Robinson too laboring and steaming in Vienna with boilers like to burst; and George gets it signed 13th September [already signed while Friedrich was looking into Seckendorf and Wembdingen, if Friedrich had known it]: to this effect, That Charles Emanuel should have annually, down on the nail, a handsome increase of Subsidy (200,000 pounds instead of 150,000 pounds) from England, and ultimately beyond doubt some thinnish specified slices from the Lombard parts; and shall proceed fighting for, not against; English Fleet co-operating, English Purse ditto, regardless of expense; with other fit particulars, as formerly. [Scholl, ii. 330-335; Adelung, iii. B, 222-226; Coxe, iii. 296.] Maria Theresa, very angry, looks upon herself as a martyr, nobly complying to suffer for the whim of England; and Robinson has had such labors and endurances, a steam-engine on the point of bursting is but an emblem of him. It was a necessary Treaty for the Cause of Liberty, as George and Carteret, and all English Ministries and Ministers (Diana of Newcastle very specially, in spite of Pitt and a junior Opposition Party) viewed Liberty. It was Love's last shift,—Diana having intervened upon those magnificent 'Conferences of Hanau' lately! Nevertheless Carteret was thrown out, next year, on account of it. And Posterity is unable to conceive it; and asks always of little George, What, in the name of wonder, had he to do there, fighting for or against, and hiring everybody he met to fight against everybody? A King with eyes somewhat A FLEUR-DE-TETE: yes; and let us say, his Nation, too,—which has sat down quietly, for almost a century back, under mountains of nonsense, inwardly nothing but dim Scepticism [except in the stomachic regions], and outwardly such a Trinacria of Hypocrisy [unconscious, for most part] as never lay on an honest giant Nation before, was itself grown much of a fool, and could expect no other kind of Kings.
"But the point intensely interesting to Friedrich in this Treaty of Worms was, That, in enumerating punctually the other Treaties, old and recent, which it is to guarantee, and stand upon the basis of, there is nowhere the least mention of Friedrich's BRESLAU-AND-BERLIN TREATY; thrice-important Treaty with her Hungarian Majesty on the Silesian matter! In settling all manner of adjoining and preceding matters, there is nothing said of Silesia at all. Singular indeed. Treaties enough, from that of Utrecht downward, are wearisomely mentioned here; but of the Berlin Treaty, Breslau Treaty, or any Treaty settling Silesia,—much less, of any Westminster Treaty, guaranteeing it to the King of Prussia,—there is not the faintest mention! Silesia, then, is not considered settled, by the high contracting parties? Little George himself, who guaranteed it, in the hour of need, little more than a year ago, considers it fallen loose again in the new whirl of contingencies? 'Patience, Madam: what was good to give is good to take!' On what precise day or month Friedrich got notice of this expressive silence in the Treaty of Worms, we do not know; but from that day—!"
Friedrich recollects another thing, one of many others: that of those "ulterior mountains," which Austria had bargained for as Boundary to Schlesien. Wild bare mountains; good for what? For invading Schlesien from the Austrian side; if for nothing else conceivable! The small riddle reads itself to him so, with a painful flash of light. [OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 34.] Looking intensely into this matter, and putting things together, Friedrich gets more and more the alarming assurance of the fate intended him; and that he will verily have to draw sword again, and fight for Silesia, and as if for life. From about the end of 1743 (as I strive to compute), there was in Friedrich himself no doubt left of it; though his Ministers, when he consulted them a good while afterwards, were quite incredulous, and spent all their strength in dissuading a new War; now when the only question was, How to do said War? "How to do it, to make ready for doing it? We must silently select the ways, the methods: silent, wary,—then at last swift; and the more like a lion-spring, like a bolt from the blue, it will be the better!" That is Friedrich's fixed thought.
The Problem was complicated, almost beyond example. The Reich, with a Kaiser reduced to such a pass, has its potentialities of help or of hindrance,—its thousand-fold formulas, inane mostly, yet not inane wholly, which interlace this matter everywhere, as with real threads, and with gossamer or apparent threads,—which it is essential to attend to. Wise head, that could discriminate the dead Formulas of such an imbroglio, from the not-dead; and plant himself upon the Living Facts that do lie in the centre there! "We cannot have a Reichs Mediation-Army, then? Nor a Swabian-Franconian Army, to defend their own frontier?" No; it is evident, none. "And there is no Union of Princes possible; no Party, anywhere, that will rise to support the Kaiser whom all Germany elected; whom Austria and foreign England have insulted, ruined and officially designated as non-extant?" Well, not quite No, none; YES perhaps, in some small degree,—if Prussia will step out, with drawn sword, and give signal. The Reich has its potentialities, its formulas not quite dead; but is a sad imbroglio.
Definite facts again are mainly twofold, and of a much more central nature. Fact FIRST: A France which sees itself lamentably trodden into the mud by such disappointments and disgraces; which, on proposing peace, has met insult and invasion;—France will be under the necessity of getting to its feet, and striking for itself; and indeed is visibly rising into something of determination to do it:—there, if Prussia and the Kaiser are to be helped at all, there lies the one real help. Fact SECOND: Friedrich's feelings for the poor Kaiser and the poor insulted Reich, of which Friedrich is a member. Feelings, these, which are not "feigned" (as the English say), but real, and even indignant; and about these he can speak and plead freely. For himself and his Silesia, THROUGH the Kaiser, Friedrich's feelings are pungently real;—and they are withal completely adjunct to the other set of feelings, and go wholly to intensifying of them; the evident truth being, That neither he nor his Silesia would be in danger, were the Kaiser safe.
Friedrich's abstruse diplomacies, and delicate motions and handlings with the Reich, that is to say, with the Kaiser and the Kaiser's few friends in the Reich, and then again with the French,—which lasted for eight or nine months before closure (October, 1743 to June, 1744),—are considered to have been a fine piece of steering in difficult waters; but would only weary the reader, who is impatient for results and arrivals. Ingenious Herr Professor Ranke,—whose HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH consists mainly of such matter excellently done, and offers mankind a wondrously distilled "ASTRAL SPIRIT," or ghost-like fac-simile (elegant gray ghost, with stars dim-twinkling through), of Friedrich's and other people's Diplomatizings in this World,—will satisfy the strongest diplomatic appetite; and to him we refer such as are given that way. [Ranke, Neun Bucher Preussischer Geschichte, iii. 74-137.]' "France and oneself, as SUBSTANCE of help; but, for many reasons, give it carefully a legal German FORM or coat:" that is Friedrich's method as to finding help. And he diligently prosecutes it;—and, what is still luckier, strives to be himself at all points ready, and capable of doing with a minimum of help from others.
Before the Year 1743 was out, Friedrich had got into serious Diplomatic Colloquy with France; suggesting, urging, proposing, hypothetically promising. "February 21st, 1744," he secretly despatched Rothenburg to Paris; who, in a shining manner, consults not only with the Amelots, Belleisles, but with the Chateauroux herself (who always liked Friedrich), and with Louis XV. in person: and triumphantly brings matters to a bearing. Ready here, on the French side; so soon as your Reich Interests are made the most of; so soon as your Patriotic "Union of Reich's Princes" is ready! In March, 1744, the Reich side of the Affair was likewise getting well forward ("we keep it mostly secret from the poor Kaiser, who is apt to blab"):—and on May 22d, 1744, Friedrich, with the Kaiser and Two other well-affected Parties (only two as yet, but we hope for more, and invite all and sundry), sign solemnly their "UNION OF FRANKFURT;" famous little Fourfold outcome of so much diplomatizing. [Ranke, ubi supra (Treaty is in Adelung, iv. 103-105).] For the well-affected Parties, besides Friedrich, and the Kaiser himself, were as yet Two only: Landgraf Wilhelm of Hessen-Cassel, disgusted with the late Carteret astucities at Hanau, he is one (and hires, by and by, his poor 6,000 Hessians to the French and Kaiser, instead of to the English; which is all the help HE can give); Landgraf Wilhelm, and for sole second to him the new Kur-Pfalz, who also has men to hire. New Kur-Pfalz: our poor OLD friend is dead; but here is a new one, Karl Philip Theodor by name, of whom we shall hear again long afterwards; who was wedded (in the Frankfurt-Coronation time, as readers might have noted) to a Grand-daughter of the old, and who is, like the old, a Hereditary Cousin of the Kaiser's, and already helps him all he can.
Only these Two as yet, though the whole Reich is invited to join; these, along with Friedrich and the Kaiser himself, do now, in their general Patriotic "Union," which as yet consists only of Four, covenant, in Six Articles, To,—in brief, to support Teutschland's oppressed Kaiser in his just rights and dignities; and to do, with the House of Austria, "all imaginable good offices" (not the least whisper of fighting) towards inducing said high House to restore to the Kaiser his Reichs-Archives, his Hereditary Countries, his necessary Imperial Furnishings, called for by every law human and divine:—in which endeavor, or innocently otherwise, if any of the contracting parties be attacked, the others will guarantee him, and strenuously help. "All imaginable good offices;" nothing about fighting anywhere,—still less is there the least mention of France; total silence on that head, by Friedrich's express desire. But in a Secret Article (to which France, you may be sure, will accede), it is intimated, "That the way of good offices having some unlikelihoods, it MAY become necessary to take arms. In which tragic case, they will, besides Hereditary Baiern (which is INalienable, fixed as the rocks, by Reichs-Law), endeavor to conquer, to reconquer for the Kaiser, his Kingdom of Bohmen withal, as a proper Outfit for Teutschland's Chief: and that, if so, his Prussian Majesty (who will have to do said conquest) shall, in addition to his Schlesien, have from it the Circles of Konigsgratz, Bunzlau and Leitmeritz for his trouble." This is the Treaty of Union, Secret-Article and all; done at Frankfurt-on-Mayn, 22d May, 1744.
Done then and there; but no part of it made public, till August following, ["22d August 1744, by the Kaiser" (Adelung, iv. 154.)] (when the upshot had come); and the Secret Bohemian Article NOT then made public, nor ever afterwards,—much the contrary; though it was true enough, but inconvenient to confess, especially as it came to nothing. "A hypothetical thing, that," says Friedrich carelessly; "wages moderate enough, and proper to be settled beforehand, though the work was never done." To reach down quite over the Mountains, and have the Elbe for Silesian Frontier: this, as an occasional vague thought, or day-dream in high moments, was probably not new to Friedrich; and would have been very welcome to him,—had it proved realizable, which it did not. That this was "Friedrich's real end in going to War again," was at one time the opinion loudly current in England and other uninformed quarters; "but it is not now credible to anybody," says Herr Ranke; nor indeed worth talking of, except as a memento of the angry eclipses, and temporary dust-clouds, which rise between Nations, in an irritated uninformed condition.
Rapidly progressive in the rear of all this, which was its legalizing German COAT, the French Treaty, which was the interior SUBSTANCE, or muscular tissue, perfected itself under Rothenburg; and was signed June 5th, 1774 (anniversary, by accident, of that First Treaty of all, "June 5th, 1741");—sanctioning, by France, that Bohemian Adventure, if needful; minutely setting forth How, and under what contingencies, what efforts made and what successes arrived at, on the part of France, his Prussian Majesty shall take the field; and try Austria, not "with all imaginable good offices" longer, but with harder medicine. Of which Treaty we shall only say farther, commiserating our poor readers, That Friedrich considerably MORE than kept his side of it; and France very considerably LESS than hers. So that, had not there been punctual preparation at all points, and good self-help in Friedrich, Friedrich had come out of this new Adventure worse than he did!
Long months ago, the French—as preliminary and rigorous SINE QUA NON to these Friedrich Negotiations—had actually started work, by "declaring War on Austria, and declaring War on England:"—Not yet at War, then, after so much killing? Oh no, reader; mere "Allies" of Belligerents, hitherto. These "Declarations" the French had made; [War on England, 15th March, 1744; on Austria, 27th April (Adelung, iv. 78, 90).] and the French were really pushing forward, in an attitude of indignant energy, to execute the same. As shall be noticed by and by. And through Rothenburg, through Schmettau, by many channels, Friedrich is assiduously in communication with them; encouraging, advising, urging; their affairs being in a sort his, ever since the signing of those mutual Engagements, May 22d, June 5th. And now enough of that hypothetic Diplomatic stuff.
War lies ahead, inevitable to Friedrich. He has gradually increased his Army by 18,000; inspection more minute and diligent than ever, has been quietly customary of late; Walrave's fortification works, impregnable or nearly so, the work at Neisse most of all, Friedrich had resolved to SEE completed,—before that French Treaty were signed. A cautious young man, though a rapid; vividly awake on all sides. And so the French-Austrian, French-English game shall go on; the big bowls bounding and rolling (with velocities, on courses, partly computable to a quick eye);—and at the right instant, and juncture of hits, not till that nor after that, a quick hand shall bowl in; with effect, as he ventures to hope. He knows well, it is a terrible game. But it is a necessary one, not to be despaired of; it is to be waited for with closed lips, and played to one's utmost!—
Chapter VIII.—PERFECT PEACE AT BERLIN, WAR ALL ROUND.
Friedrich, with the Spectre of inevitable War daily advancing on him, to him privately evident and certain if as yet to him only, neglects in no sort the Arts and business of Peace, but is present, always with vivid activity, in the common movement, serious or gay and festive, as the day brings it. During these Winter months of 1743, and still more through Summer 1744, there are important War-movements going on,—the French vehemently active again, the Austrians nothing behindhand,—which will require some slight notice from us soon. But in Berlin, alongside of all this, it is mere common business, diligent as ever, alternating with Carnival gayeties, with marryings, givings in marriage; in Berlin there goes on, under halcyon weather, the peaceable tide of things, sometimes in a high fashion, as if Berlin and its King had no concern with the foreign War.
The Plauen Canal, an important navigation-work, canal of some thirty miles, joining Havel to Elbe in a convenient manner, or even joining Oder to Elbe, is at its busiest:—"it was begun June 1st, 1743 [all hands diligently digging there, June 27th, while some others of us were employed at Dettingen,—think of it!], and was finished June 5th, 1745." [Busching, Erdbeschreibung, vi. 2192.] This is one of several such works now afoot. Take another miscellaneous item or two.
January, 1744, Friedrich appoints, and briefly informs all his People of it, That any Prussian subject who thinks himself aggrieved, may come and tell his story to the King's own self: ["January, 1744" (Rodenbeck, i. 98).]—better have his story in firm succinct state, I should imagine, and such that it will hold water, in telling it to the King! But the King is ready to hear him; heartily eager to get justice done him. A suitable boon, such Permission, till Law-Reform take effect. And after Law-Reform had finished, it was a thing found suitable; and continued to the end,—curious to a British reader to consider!
Again: on Friedrich's birthday, 24th January, 1744, the new Academy of Sciences had, in the Schloss of Berlin, its first Session. But of this,—in the absence of Maupertuis, Flattener of the Earth, who is still in France, since that Mollwitz adventure; by and for behoof of whom, when he did return, and become "Perpetual First President," many changes were made,—I will not speak at present. Nor indeed afterwards, except on good chance rising;—the new Academy, with its Perpetual First President, being nothing like so sublime an object now, to readers and me, as it then was to itself and Perpetual President and Royal Patron! Vapid Formey is Perpetual Secretary; more power to him, as the Irish say. Poor Goldstick Pollnitz is an Honorary Member;—absent at this time in Baireuth, where those giggling Marwitzes of Wilhelmina's have been contriving a marriage for the old fool. Of which another word soon: if we have time. Time cannot be spent on those dim small objects: but there are two Marriages of a high order, of purport somewhat Historical; there is Barberina the Dancer, throwing a flash through the Operatic and some other provinces: let us restrict ourselves to these, and the like of these, and be brief upon them.
THE SUCCESSION IN RUSSIA, AND ALSO IN SWEDEN, SHALL NOT BE HOSTILE TO US: TWO ROYAL MARRIAGES, A RUSSIAN AND A SWEDISH, ARE ACCOMPLISHED AT BERLIN, WITH SUCH VIEW.
Marriage First, of an eminently Historical nature, is altogether Russian, or German become Russian, though Friedrich is much concerned in it. We heard of the mad Swedish-Russian War; and how Czarina Elizabeth was kind enough to choose a Successor to the old childless Swedish King,—Landgraf of Hessen-Cassel by nature; who has had a sorry time in Sweden, but kept merry and did not mind it much, poor old soul. Czarina Elizabeth's one care was, That the Prince of Denmark should not be chosen to succeed, as there was talk of his being: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, all grasped in one firm hand (as in the old "Union-of-Calmar" times, only with better management), might be dangerous to Russia. "Don't choose him of Denmark!" said Elizabeth, the victorious Czarina; and made it a condition of granting Peace, and mostly restoring Finland, to the infatuated Swedes. The person they did choose,—satisfactory to the Czarina, and who ultimately did become King of Sweden,—was one Adolf Friedrich; a Holstein-Gottorp Prince, come of Royal kin, and cousinry to Karl XII.: he is "Bishop of Lubeck" or of Eutin, so styled; now in his thirty-third year; and at least drawing the revenues of that See, though I think, not ecclesiastically given, but living oftener in Hamburg, the then fashionable resort of those Northern Grandees. On the whole, a likely young gentleman; accepted by parties concerned;—and surely good enough for the Office as it now is. Of whom, for a reason coming, let readers take note, in this place.
Above a year before this time, Czarina Elizabeth, a provident female, and determined not to wed, had pitched upon her own Successor: [7th November, 1742 (Michaelis, ii. 627).] one Karl Peter Ulrich; who was also of the same Holstein-Gottorp set, though with Russian blood in him. His Grandfather was full cousin, and chosen comrade, to Karl XII.; got killed in Karl's Russian Wars; and left a poor Son dependent on Russian Peter the Great,—who gave him one of his Daughters; whence this Karl Peter Ulrich, an orphan, dear to his Aunt the Czarina. A Karl Peter Ulrich, who became tragically famous as Czar Peter Federowitz, or Czar Peter III., in the course of twenty years! His Father and Mother are both dead; loving Aunt has snatched the poor boy out of Holstein-Gottorp, which is a narrow sphere, into Russia, which is wide enough; she has had him converted to the Greek Church, named him Peter Federowitz, Heir and Successor;—and now, wishing to see him married, has earnestly consulted Friedrich upon it.
Friedrich is decidedly interested; would grudge much to see an Anti-Prussian Princess, for instance a Saxon Princess (one of whom is said to Be trying), put into this important station! After a little thought, he fixes,—does the reader know upon whom? Readers perhaps, here and there, have some recollection of a Prussian General, who is Titular Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst on his own score; and is actual Commandant of Stettin in Friedrich's service, and has done a great deal of good fortification there and other good work. Instead of Titular, he has now lately, by decease of an Elder Brother, become Actual or Semi-Actual (a Brother joined with him in the poor Heirship); lives occasionally in the Schloss of Zerbst; but is glad to retain Stettin as a solid supplement. His Wife, let the reader note farther, is Sister to the above-mentioned Adolf Friedrich, "Bishop of Lubeck," now Heir-Apparent to Sweden,—in whom, as will soon appear, we are otherwise interested. Wife seems to me an airy flighty kind of lady, high-paced, not too sure-paced,—weak evidently in French grammar, and perhaps in human sense withal:—but they have a Daughter, Sophie-Frederike, now near fifteen, and very forward for her age; comely to look upon, wise to listen to: "Is not she the suitable one?" thinks Friedrich, in regard to this matter. "Her kindred is of the oldest, old as Albert the Bear; she has been frugally brought up, Spartan-like, though as a Princess by birth: let her cease skipping ropes on the ramparts yonder, with her young Stettin playmates; and prepare for being a Czarina of the Russias," thinks he. And communicates his mind to the Czarina; who answers, "Excellent! How did I never think of that myself?"
And so, on or about New-year's day, 1744, while the Commandant of Stettin and his airy Spouse are doing Christmas at their old Schloss of Zerbst, there suddenly come Estafettes; Expresses from Petersburg, heralded by Express from Friedrich:—with the astonishing proposal, "Czarina wishing the honor of a visit from Madam and Daughter; no doubt, with such and such intentions in the rear." [Friedrich's Letters to Madam of Zerbst (date of the first of them, 30th December, 1743), in OEuvres, xxv. 579-589.] Madam, nor Daughter, is nothing loath;—the old Commandant grumbles in his beard, not positively forbidding: and in this manner, after a Letter or two in imperfect grammar, Madam and Daughter appear in Carnival society at Berlin, charming objects both; but do not stay long; in fact, stay only till their moneys and arrangements are furnished them. Upon which, in all silence, they make for Petersburg, for Moscow; travel rapidly, arrive successfully, in spite of the grim season. ["At Moscow, 7th (18th) February, 1744."] Conversion to the Greek Religion, change of name from Sophie-Frederike to Catherine-Alexiewna ("Let it be Catherine," said Elizabeth, "my dear mother's name!"—little brown Czarina's, whom we have seen):—all this was completed by the 12th of July following. And, in fine, next year (September 1st, 1745), Peter Federowitz and this same Catherine-Alexiewna, second-cousins by blood, were vouchsafed the Nuptial Benediction, and, with invocation of the Russian Heaven and Russian Earth, were declared to be one flesh, [Ranke, iii. 129; Memoires de Catherine II. (Catherine's own very curious bit of Autobiography;—published by Mr. Herzen, London, 1859), pp. 7-46.]—though at last they turned out to be TWO FLESHES, as my reader well knows! Some eighteen or nineteen years hence, we may look in upon them again, if there be a moment to spare. This is Marriage first; a purely Russian one; built together and launched on its course, so to say, by Friedrich at Berlin, who had his own interest in it.
Marriage Second, done at Berlin in the same months, was of still more interesting sort to Friedrich and us: that of Princess Ulrique to the above-named Adolf Friedrich, future King of Sweden. Marriage which went on preparing itself by the side of the other; and was of twin importance with it in regard to the Russian Question. The Swedish Marriage was not heard of, except in important whispers, during the Carnival time; but a Swedish Minister had already come to Berlin on it, and was busy first in a silent and examining, then in a speaking and proposing way. It seems, the Czarina herself had suggested the thing, as a counter-politeness to Friedrich; so content with him at this time. A thing welcome to Friedrich. And, in due course ("June, 1744"), there comes express Swedish Embassy, some Rodenskjold or Tessin, with a very shining train of Swedes, "To demand Princess Ulrique in marriage for our Future King."
To which there is assent, by no means denial, in the proper quarter. Whereupon, after the wide-spread necessary fuglings and preliminaries, there occurs (all by Procuration, Brother August Wilhelm doing the Bridegroom's part), "July 17th, 1744," the Marriage itself: all done, this last act, and the foregoing ones and the following, with a grandeur and a splendor—unspeakable, we may say, in short. [Helden-Geschichte, ii. 1045-1051.] Fantastic Bielfeld taxes his poor rouged Muse to the utmost, on this occasion; and becomes positively wearisome, chanting the upholsteries of life;—foolish fellow, spoiling his bits of facts withal, by misrecollections, and even by express fictions thrown in as garnish. So that, beyond the general impression, given in a high-rouged state, there is nothing to be depended on. One Scene out of his many, which represents to us on those terms the finale, or actual Departure of Princess Ulrique, we shall offer,—with corrections (a few, not ALL);—having nothing better or other on the subject:—
"But, in fine, the day of departure did arrive,"—eve of it did: 25th July, 1744; hour of starting to be 2 A.M. to-morrow. "The King had nominated Grand-Marshal Graf van Gotter [same Gotter whom we saw at Vienna once: King had appointed Gotter and two others; not to say that two of the Princess's Brothers, with her Sister the Margravine of Schwedt, were to accompany as far as Schwedt: six in all; though one's poor memory fails one on some occasions!]—to escort the Princess to Stralsund, where two Swedish Senators and different high Lords and Ladies awaited her. Her Majesty the Queen-Mother, judging by the movements of her own heart that the moment of separation would produce a scene difficult to bear, had ordered an Opera to divert our chagrin; and, instead of supper, a superb collation EN AMBIGU [kind of supper-breakfast, I suppose], in the great Hall of the Palace. Her Majesty's plan was, The Princess, on coming from the Opera, should, almost on flight, taste a morsel; take her travelling equipment, embrace her kinsfolk, dash into her carriage, and go off like lightning. Herr Graf von Gotter was charged with executing this design, and with hurrying the departure.
"But all these precautions were vain. The incomparable Ulrique was too dear to her Family and to her Country, to be parted with forever, without her meed of tears from them in those cruel instants. On entering the Opera-Hall, I noticed everywhere prevalent an air of sorrow, of sombre melancholy. The Princess appeared in Amazon-dress [riding-habit, say], of rose-color trimmed with silver; the little vest, turned up with green-blue (CELADON), and collar of the same; a little bonnet, English fashion, of black velvet, with a white plume to it; her hair floating, and tied with a rose-colored ribbon. She was beautiful as Love: but this dress, so elegant, and so well setting off her charms, only the more sensibly awakened our regrets to lose her; and announced that the hour was come, in which all this appeared among us for the last time. At the second act, young Prince Ferdinand [Youngest Brother, Father of the JENA Ferdinand] entered the Royal Box; and flinging himself on the Princess's neck with a burst of tears, said, 'Ah, my dear Ulrique, it is over, then; and I shall never see you more!' These words were a signal given to the grief which was shut in all hearts, to burst forth with the greatest vehemence. The Princess replied only with sobs; holding her Brother in her arms. The Two Queens could not restrain their tears; the Princes and Princesses followed the example: grief is epidemical; it gained directly all the Boxes of the first rank, where the Court and Nobility were. Each had his own causes of regret, and each melted into tears. Nobody paid the least attention farther to the Opera; and for my own share, I was glad to see it end.
"An involuntary movement took me towards the Palace. I entered the King's Apartments, and found the Royal Family and part of the Court assembled. Grief had reached its height; everybody had his handkerchief out; and I witnessed emotions quite otherwise affecting than those that Theatric Art can produce. The King had composed an Ode on the Princess's departure; bidding her his last adieus in the most tender and touching manner. It begins with these words:—
'Partez, ma Soeur, partez; La Suede vous attend, la Suede vous desire,' 'Go, my Sister, go; Sweden waits you, Sweden wishes you. [Does not now exist (see OEuvres de Frederic, xiv. 88, and ib. PREFACE p. xv).]
His Majesty gave it her at the moment when she was about to take leave of the Two Queens. [No, Monsieur, not then; it came to her hand the second evening hence, at Schwedt; [Her own Letter to Friedrich (OEuvres de Frederic, xxvii. 372; "Schwedt, 28th July, 1744").] most likely not yet written at the time you fabulously give;—you foolish fantast, and "artist" of the SHAM-kind!]—The Princess threw her eyes on it, and fell into a faint [No, you Sham, not for IT]: the King had almost done the like. His tears flowed abundantly. The Princes and Princesses were overcome with sorrow. At last, Gotter judged it time to put an end to this tragic scene. He entered the Hall, almost like Boreas in the Ballet of THE ROSE; that is to say, with a crash. He made one or two whirlwinds; clove the press, and snatched away the Princess from the arms of the Queen-Mother, took her in his own, and whisked her out of the Hall. All the world followed; the carriages were waiting in the court; and the Princess in a moment found herself in hers. I was in such a state, I know not how we got down stairs; I remember only that it was in a concert of lamentable sobbings. Madam the Margrafin von Schwedt, who had been named to attend the Princess to Stralsund [read Schwedt] on the Swedish frontier, this high Lady and the two Dames d'Atours who were for Sweden itself, having sprung into the same carriage, the door of it was shut with a slam; the postillions cracked, the carriage shot away,—and hid the adorable Ulrique from the eyes of King and Court, who remained motionless for some minutes, overcome by their feelings." [Bielfeld, ii. 107-110.]
We said this Marriage was like the other, important for Public Affairs. In fact, security on the Russian and Swedish side is always an object with Friedrich when undertaking war. "That the French bring about, help me to bring about, a Triple Alliance of Prussia, Russia, Sweden:" this was a thing Friedrich had bargained to see done, before joining in the War ahead: but by these Two Espousals Friedrich hopes he has himself as good as done it. Of poor Princess Ulrique and her glorious reception in Sweden (after near miss of shipwreck, in the Swedish Frigate from Stralsund), we shall say nothing more at present: except that her glories, all along, were much dashed by chagrins, and dangerous imminencies of shipwreck,—which latter did not quite overtake HER, but did her sons and grandsons, being inevitable or nearly so, in that element, in the course of time.
Sister Amelia, whom some thought disappointed, as perhaps, in her foolish thought, she might a little be, was made Abbess of Quedlinburg, which opulent benefice had fallen vacant; and, there or at Berlin, lived a respectable Spinster-life, doubtless on easier terms than Ulrique's. Always much loved by her Brother, and loving him (and "taking care of his shirts," in the final times); noted in society, for her sharp tongue and ways. Concerning whom Thiebault and his Trenck romances are worth no notice,—if it be not with horsewhips on opportunity. SCANDALUM MAGNATUM, where your Magnates are NOT fallen quite counterfeit, was and is always (though few now reflect on it) a most punishable crime.
GLANCE AT THE BELLIGERENT POWERS; BRITANNIC MAJESTY NARROWLY MISSES AN INVASION THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN DANGEROUS
Princess Ulrique was hardly yet home in Sweden, when her Brother had actually gone forth upon the Wars again! So different is outside from interior, now and then. "While the dancing and the marriage-festivities went on at Court, we, in private, were busily completing the preparations for a Campaign," dreamed of by no mortal, "which was on the point of being opened." [OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 41.] July 2d, three weeks before Princess Ulrique left, a certain Adventure of Prince Karl's in the Rhine Countries had accomplished itself (of which in the following Book); and Friedrich could discern clearly that the moment drew rapidly nigh.
On the French side of the War, there has been visible—since those high attempts of Britannic George and the Hungarian Majesty, contumeliously spurning the Peace offered them, and grasping evidently at one's Lorraines, Alsaces, and Three Bishoprics—a marked change; comfortable to look at from Friedrich's side. Most Christian Majesty, from the sad bent attitude of insulted repentance, has started up into the perpendicular one of indignation: "Come on, then!"—and really makes efforts, this Year, quite beyond expectation. "Oriflamme enterprises, private intentions of cutting Germany in Four; well, have not I smarted for them; as good as owned they were rather mad? But to have my apology spit upon; but to be myself publicly cut in pieces for them?"
March 15th, 1744, Most Christian Majesty did, as we saw, duly declare War against England; against Austria, April 26th: "England," he says, "broke its Convention of Neutrality (signed 27th September, 1741); broke said Convention [as was very natural, no term being set] directly after Maillebois was gone; England, by its Mediterranean Admirals and the like, has, to a degree beyond enduring, insulted the French coasts, harbors and royal Navy: We declare War on England." And then, six weeks hence, in regard to Austria: "Austria, refusing to make Peace with a virtuous Kaiser, whom we, for the sake of peace, had magnanimously helped, and then magnanimously ceased to help;—Austria refuses peace with him or us; on the contrary, Austria attempts, and has attempted, to invade France itself: We therefore, on and from this 26th of April, 1744, let the world note it, are at War with Austria." [In Adelung, iv. 78, 90, the two Manifestoes given.] Both these promises to Friedrich are punctually performed.
Nor, what is far more important, have the necessary preparations been neglected; but are on a quite unheard-of scale. Such taxing and financiering there has been, last Winter:—tax on your street-lamp, on your fire-wood, increased excise on meat and eatables of all kinds: Be patient, ye poor; consider GLOIRE, and an ORIFLAMME so trampled on by the Austrian Heathen! Eatables, street-lamps, do I say? There is 36,000 pounds, raised by a tax on—well, on GARDEROBES (not translated)! A small help, but a help: NON OLET, NON OLEAT. To what depths has Oriflamme come down!—The result is, this Spring of 1744, indignant France does, by land, and even by sea, make an appearance calculated to astonish Gazetteers and men. Land-forces 160,000 actually on foot: 80,000 (grows at last into 100,000, for a little while) as "Army of the Netherlands,"—to prick into Austria, and astonish England and the Dutch Barrier, in that quarter. Of the rest, 20,000 under Conti are for Italy; 60,000 (by degrees 40,000) under Coigny for defence of the Rhine Countries, should Prince Karl, as is surmisable, make new attempts there. [Adelung, iv. 78; Espagnac, ii. 3.]
And besides all this, there are Two strong Fleets, got actually launched, not yet into the deep sea, but ready for it: one in Toulon Harbor, to avenge those Mediterranean insults; and burst out, in concert with an impatient Spanish Fleet (which has lain blockaded here for a year past), on the insolent blockading English: which was in some sort done. ["19th February, 1744," French and Spanish Fleets run out; 22d Feb. are attacked by Matthews and Lestock; are rather beaten, not beaten nearly enough (Matthews and Lestock blaming one another, Spaniards and French ditto, ditto: Adelung, iv. 32-35); with the endless janglings, correspondings, court-martialings that ensue (Beatson, Naval and Military Memoirs, i. 197 et seqq.; Gentleman's Magazine, and Old Newspapers, for 1744; &c. &c.).] The other strong Fleet, twenty sail of the line, under Admiral Roquefeuille, is in Brest Harbor,—intended for a still more delicate operation; of which anon. Surely King Friedrich ought to admit that these are fine symptoms? King Friedrich has freely done so, all along; intending to strike in at the right moment. Let us see, a little, how things have gone; and how the right moment has been advancing in late months.
JANUARY 17th, 1744, There landed at Antibes on French soil a young gentleman, by name "Conte di Spinelli," direct from Genoa, from Rome; young gentleman seemingly of small importance, but intrinsically of considerable; who hastened off for Paris, and there disappeared. Disappeared into subterranean consultations with the highest Official people; intending reappearance with emphasis at Dunkirk, a few weeks hence, in much more emphatic posture. And all through February there is observable a brisk diligence of War-preparation, at Dunkirk: transport-ships in quantity, finally four war-ships; 15,000 chosen troops, gradually marching in; nearly all on board, with their equipments, by the end of the month.
Clearly an Invading Army intended somewhither, England judges too well whither. Anti-English Armament; to be led by, whom thinks the reader? That same "Conte di Spinelli," who is Charles Edward the Young Pretender,—Comte de Saxe commanding under him! This is no fable; it is a fact, somewhat formidable; brought about, they say, by one Cardinal Tencin, an Official Person of celebrity in the then Versailles world; who owes his red hat (whatever such debt really be) to old Jacobite influence, exerted for him at Rome; and takes this method of paying his debt and his court at once. Gets, namely, his proposal, of a Charles-Edward Invasion of England, to dovetail in with the other wide artilleries now bent on little George in the way we see. Had not little George better have stayed at home out of these Pragmatic Wars? Fifteen thousand, aided by the native Jacobite hosts, under command of Saxe,—a Saxe against a Wade is fearful odds,—may make some figure in England! We hope always they will not be able to land. Imagination may conceive the flurry, if not of Britannic mankind, at least of Britannic Majesty and his Official People, and what a stir and din they made:—of which this is the compressed upshot.
"SATURDAY, 1st MARCH, 1744. For nearly a week past, there has been seen hanging about in the Channel, and dangerously hovering to and fro [had entered by the Land's-End, was first noticed on Sunday last "nigh the Eddistone"] a considerable French Fleet, sixteen great ships; with four or five more, probably belonging to it, which now lie off Dunkirk: the intention of which is too well known in high quarters. This is the grand Brest Fleet, Admiral Roquefeuille's; which believes it can command the Channel, in present circumstances, the English Channel-Fleets being in a disjoined condition,—till Comte de Saxe, with his Charles-Edward and 15,000, do ship themselves across! Great alarm in consequence; our War-forces, 40,000 of them, all in Germany; not the least preparation to receive an Invasive Armament. Comte de Saxe is veritably at Dunkirk, since Saturday, March 1st: busy shipping his 15,000; equipments mostly shipped, and about 10,000 of the men: all is activity there; Roquefeuille hanging about Dungeness, with four of his twenty great ships detached for more immediate protection of Saxe and those Dunkirk industries. To meet which, old Admiral Norris, off and on towards the Nore and the Forelands, has been doing his best to rally force about him; hopes he will now be match for Roquefeuille:—but if he should not?
"THURSDAY, 6th MARCH. Afternoon of March 5th, old Admiral Norris, hoping he was at length in something like equality, 'tided it round the South Foreland;' saw Roquefeuille hanging, in full tale, within few miles;—and at once plunged into him? No, reader; not at once, nor indeed at all. A great sea-fight was expected; but our old Norris thought it late in the day;—and, in effect, no fight proved needful. Daylight was not yet sunk, when there rose from the north-eastward a heavy gale; blew all night, and by six next morning was a raging storm; had blown Roquefeuille quite away out of those waters (fractions of him upon the rocks of Guernsey); had tumbled Comte de Saxe's Transports bottom uppermost (so to speak), in Dunkirk Roads;—and, in fact, had blown the Enterprise over the horizon, and relieved the Official Britannic mind in the usual miraculous manner.
"M. le Comte de Saxe—who had, by superhuman activity, saved nearly all his men, in that hideous topsy-turvy of the Transports and munitions—returned straightway, and much more M. le Comte de Spinelli with him, to Paris. Comte de Saxe was directly thereupon made Marechal de France; appointed to be Colleague of Noailles in the ensuing Netherlands Campaign. 'Comte de Spinelli went to lodge with his Uncle, the Cardinal Grand-Almoner Fitz-James' [a zealous gentleman, of influence with the Holy Father], and there in privacy to wait other chances that might rise. 'The 1,500 silver medals, that had been struck for distribution in Great Britain,' fell, for this time, into the melting-pot again. [Tindal, xxi. 22 (mostly a puddle of inaccuracies, as usual); Espagnac, i. 213; Gentleman's Magazine, xiv. 106, &c.; Barbier, ii. 382, 385, 388.]
"Great stir, in British Parliament and Public, there had latterly been on this matter: Arrestment of suspected persons, banishment of all Catholics ten miles from London; likewise registering of horses (to gallop with cannon whither wanted); likewise improvising of cavalry regiments by persons of condition, 'Set our plush people on our coach-horses; there!' [Yes, THERE will be a Cavalry,—inferior to General Ziethen's!]; and were actually drilling them in several places, when that fortunate blast of storm (March 6th) blew everything to quiet again. Field-marshal Earl of Stair, in regard to the Scottish populations, had shown a noble magnanimity; which was recognized: and a General Sir John Cope rode off, post-haste, to take the chief command in that Country;—where, in about eighteen months hence, he made a very shining thing of it!"—Take this other Cutting from the Old Newspapers:—
"FRIDAY, 31st (20th) MARCH, 1744, A general press began for recruiting his Majesty's regiments, and manning the Fleet; when upwards of 1,000 men were secured in the jails of London and Westminster; being allowed sixpence a head per diem, by the Commissioners of the Land-tax, who examine them, and send those away that are found fit for his Majesty's service. The same method was taken in each County." Press ceases; enough being got,—press no more till farther order: 5th (16th) June. [Gentleman's Magazine for 1744, pp. 226, 333.]
Britannic Majesty shaken by such omens, does not in person visit Germany at all this Year; nor, by his Deputies, at all shine on the fields of War as lately. He, his English and he, did indeed come down with their cash in a prompt and manful manner, but showed little other activity this year. Their troops were already in the Netherlands, since Winter last; led now by a Field-marshal Wade, of whom one has heard; to whom joined themselves certain Austrians, under Duc d'Ahremberg, and certain Dutch, under some other man in cocked-hat: the whole of whom, under Marshal Wade's chief guidance, did as good as nothing whatever. "Inferior in force!" cried Marshal Wade; an indolent incompetent old gentleman, frightful to see in command of troops: "inferior in force!" cried he, which was not at first quite the case. And when, by additions to himself, and deductions (of a most unexpected nature) from his Enemy, he had become nearly double in force, it was all the same: Marshal Wade (against whom indeed was Marechal de Saxe, now in sole command, as we shall see) took shelter in safe places, witnessing therefrom the swift destruction of the Netherlands, and would attempt nothing. Which indeed was perhaps prudent on the Marshal's part. Much money was spent, and men enough did puddle themselves to death on the clay roads, or bivouacking in the safe swamps; but not the least stroke of battle was got out of them under this old Marshal. Had perhaps "a divided command, though nominal Chief," poor old gentleman;—yes, and a head that understood nothing of his business withal. One of those same astonishing "Generals" of the English, now becoming known in Natural History; the like of whom, till within these hundred and fifty years, were not heard of among sane Nations. Saxe VERSUS Wade is fearful odds. To judge by the way Saxe has of handling Wade, may not we thank Heaven that it was not HERE in England the trial came on! Lift up both your hands, and bless—not General Wade, quite yet.
THE YOUNG DUKE OF WURTEMBERG GETS A VALEDICTORY ADVICE; AND POLLNITZ A DITTO TESTIMONIAL (February 6th; April 1st, 1744).
February 7th, 1744, Karl Eugen, the young Duke of Wurtemberg,—Friedrich having got, from the Kaiser, due Dispensation (VENIA AETATIS) for the young gentleman, and had him declared Duke Regnant, though only sixteen,—quitted Berlin with great pomp, for his own Country, on that errand. Friedrich had hoped hereby to settle the Wurtemberg matters on a good footing, and be sure of a friend in Wurtemberg to the Kaiser and himself. Which hope, like everybody's hopes about this young gentleman, was entirely disappointed; said young gentleman having got into perverse, haughty, sulky, ill-conditioned ways, and made a bad Life and Reign of it,—better to lie mostly hidden from us henceforth, at least for many years to come. The excellent Parting Letter which Friedrich gave him got abroad into the world; was christened the MIRROR OF PRINCES, and greatly admired by mankind. It is indeed an almost faultless Piece of its kind; comprising, in a flowing yet precise way, with admirable frankness, sincerity, sagacity, succinctness, a Whole Duty of Regnant Man; [In OEuvres de Frederic, ix. 4-7.]—but I fear it would only weary the reader; perfect ADVICE having become so plentiful in our Epoch, with little but "pavement" to a certain Locality the consequence!—There is, of the same months, a TESTIMONIAL TO POLLNITZ, which also got abroad and had its celebrity: this, as specimen of Friedrich on the comic side, will perhaps be less afflicting; and it will rid us of Pollnitz, poor soul, on handsome terms.
Goldstick Pollnitz is at Baireuth in these months; fallen quite disconsolate since we last heard of him. His fine marriage went awry,—rich lady, very wisely, drawing back;—and the foolish old creature has decided on REchanging his religion; which he has changed already thrice or so, in his vagabond straits; for the purpose of "retiring to a convent" this time. Friedrich, in candid brief manner, rough but wise, and not without some kindness for an old dog one is used to, has answered, "Nonsense; that will never do!" But Pollnitz persisting; formally demanding leave to demit, and lay down the goldstick, with that view,—Friedrich does at length send him Certificate of Leave; "which is drawn out with all the forms, and was despatched through Eichel to the proper Board;" but which bears date APRIL FIRST, and though officially valid, is of quizzical nature:—-perhaps already known to some readers; having got into the Newspapers, and widely abroad, at a subsequent time. As authentic sample of Friedrich in that kind, here it accurately is, with only one or two slight abridgments, which are indicated:—
"Whereas the Baron de Pollnitz, born at Berlin [at Koln, if it made any matter], of honest parents so far as We know,—after having served Our Grandfather as Gentleman of the Chamber, Madam d'Orleans [wicked Regent's Mother, a famed German Lady] in the same rank, the King of Spain in quality of Colonel, the deceased Kaiser in that of Captain of Horse, the Pope as Chamberlain, the Duke of Brunswick as Chamberlain, Duke of Weimar as Ensign, our Father as Chamberlain, and, in fine, Us as Grand Master of the Ceremonies,"—has, in spite of such accumulation of honors, become disgusted with the world; and requests a Parting Testimony, to support his good reputation,—
"We, remembering his important services to the House, in diverting for nine years long the late King our Father, and doing the honors of our Court during the now Reign, cannot refuse such request; but do hereby certify, That the said Baron has never assassinated, robbed on the highway, poisoned, forcibly cut purses, or done other atrocity or legal crime at our Court; but has always maintained gentlemanly behavior, making not more than honest use of the industry and talents he has been endowed with at birth; imitating the object of the Drama, that is, correcting mankind by gentle quizzing; following, in the matter of sobriety, Boerhaave's counsels; pushing Christian charity so far as often to make the rich understand that it is more blessed to give than to receive;—possessing perfectly the anecdotes of our various Mansions, especially of our worn-out Furnitures; rendering himself, by his merits, necessary to those who know him; and, with a very bad head, having a very good heart.
"Our anger the said Baron never kindled but once,"—in atrociously violating the grave of an Ancestress (or Step Ancestress) of ours. [Step-Ancestress was Dorothea, the Great Elector's second Wife; of whom Pollnitz, in his Memoirs and Letters, repeats the rumor that once she, perhaps, tried to poison her Stepson Friedrich, First King. (See supra, vol. v. p. 47).] "But as the loveliest countries have their barren spots, the beautifulest forms their imperfections, pictures by the greatest masters their faults, We are willing to cover with the veil of oblivion those of the said Baron; do hereby grant him, with regret, the Congee he requires;—and abolish his Office altogether, to blot it from men's memory, not judging that anybody after the said Baron can be worthy to fill it." "Done at Potsdam, this 1st of April, 1744. FREDERIC." [OEuvres, xv. 193.]
The Office of Grand Master of the Ceremonies was, accordingly, abolished altogether. But Pollnitz, left loose in this manner, did not gallop direct, or go at all, into monkhood, as he had expected; but, in fact, by degrees, crept home to Berlin again; took the subaltern post of Chamberlain; and there, in the old fashion (straitened in finance, making loans, retailing anecdotes, not witty but the cause of wit), wore out life's gray evening; till, about thirty years hence, he died; "died as he had lived, swindling the very night before his decease," writes Friedrich; [Letter to Voltaire, 13th August, 1775 (OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 344). See Preuss, v. 241 (URKUNDENBUCH), the Letters of Friedrich to Pollnitz.] who was always rather kind to the poor old dog, though bantering him a good deal.
TWO CONQUESTS FOR PRUSSIA, A GASEOUS AND A SOLID: CONQUEST FIRST, BARBERINA THE DANCER.
Early in May, the Berlin public first saw its Barberina dance, and wrote ecstatic Latin Epigrams about that miracle of nature and art; [Rodenbeck, pp. 111, 190.]—miracle, alas, not entirely omissible by us. Here is her Story, as the Books give it; slightly mythical, I judge, in some of its non-essential parts; but good enough for the subject:—
Barberina the Dancer had cost Friedrich some trouble; the pains he took with her elegant pirouettings and poussettings, and the heavy salary he gave her, are an unexpected item in his history. He wished to favor the Arts, yes; but did he reckon Opera-dancing a chief one among them? He had indeed built an Opera-House, and gave free admissions, supporting the cost himself; and among his other governings, governed the dancer and singer troops of that establishment. Took no little trouble about his Opera:—yet perhaps he privately knew its place, after all. "Wished to encourage strangers of opulent condition to visit his Capital," say the cunning ones. It may be so; and, at any rate, he probably wished to act the King in such matters, and not grudge a little money. He really loved music, even opera music, and knew that his people loved it; to the rough natural man, all rhythm, even of a Barberina's feet, may be didactic, beneficial: do not higgle, let us do what is to be done in a liberal style. His agent at Venice—for he has agents everywhere on the outlook for him—reports that here is a Female Dancer of the first quality, who has shone in London, Paris and the Capital Cities, and might answer well, but whose terms will probably be dear. "Engage her," answers Friedrich. And she is engaged on pretty terms; she will be free in a month or two, and then start. [Zimmermann, Fragmente uber Friedrich den Grossen (Leipzig, 1790), i. 88-92; Collini, ubi infra; Denina; &c.: compare Rodenbeck, p. 191.]
Well;—but Barberina had, as is usual, subsidiary trades to her dancing: in particular, a young English Gentleman had followed her up and down, says Zimmermann, and was still here in Venice passionately attached to her. Which fact, especially which young English gentleman, should have been extremely indifferent to me, but for a circumstance soon to be mentioned. The young English gentleman, clear against Barberina's Prussian scheme, passionately opposes the same, passionately renews his own offers;—induces Barberina to inform the Prussian agent that she renounces her engagement in that quarter. Prussian agent answers that it is not renounceable; that he has legal writing on it, and that it must be kept. Barberina rises into contumacy, will laugh at all writing and compulsion. Prussian agent applies to Doge and Senate on the subject, in his King's name; who answer politely, but do nothing: "How happy to oblige so great a King; but—" And so it lasts for certain months; Barberina and the young English gentleman contumacious in Venice, and Doge and Senate merely wishing we may get her.
Meanwhile a Venetian Ambassador happens to be passing through Berlin, in his way to or from some Hyperborean State; arrives at some hotel, in Berlin;—finds, on the morrow, that his luggage is arrested by Royal Order; that he, or at least IT, cannot get farther, neither advance nor return, till Barberina do come. "Impossible, Signor: a bargain is a bargain; and States ought to have law-courts that enforce contracts entered into in their territories." The Venetian Doge and Senate do now lay hold of Barberina; pack her into post-chaises, off towards Berlin, under the charge of armed men, with the proper transit-papers,—as it were under the address, "For his Majesty of Prussia, this side uppermost,"—and thus she actually is conveyed, date or month uncertain, by Innspruck or the Splugen, I cannot say which, over mountain, over valley, from country to country, and from stage to stage, till she arrives at Berlin; Ambassador with baggage having been let go, so soon as the affair was seen to be safe.
As for the young English gentleman passionately attached, he followed, it is understood; faithful, constant as shadow to the sun, always a stage behind; arrived in Berlin two hours after his Barberina, still passionately attached; and now, as the rumor goes, was threatening even to marry her, and so save the matter. Supremely indifferent to my readers and me. But here now is the circumstance that makes it mentionable. The young English is properly a young Scotch gentleman; James Mackenzie the name of him,—a grandson of the celebrated Advocate, Sir George Mackenzie; and younger Brother of a personage who, as Earl of Bute, became extremely conspicuous in this Kingdom in after years. That makes it mentionable,—if only in the shape of MYTH. For Friedrich, according to rumor, being still like to lose his Dancer in that manner, warned the young gentleman's friends; and had him peremptorily summoned home, and the light fantastic toe left free in that respect. Which procedure the indignant young gentleman (thinks my Author) never forgave; continuing a hater of Friedrich all his days; and instilling the same sentiment into the Earl of Bute at a period which was very critical, as we shall see. This is my Author's, the often fallacious though not mendacious Dr. Zimmermann's, rather deliberate account; a man not given to mendacity, though filled with much vague wind, which renders him fallacious in historical points.
Readers of Walpole's George the Third know enough of this Mackenzie, "Earl's Brother, MACKINSY," and the sorrowful difficulties about his Scotch law-office or benefice; in which matter "Mackinsy" behaves always in a high way, and only the Ministerial Outs and Inns higgle pedler-like, vigilant of the Liberties of England, as they call them. In the end, Mackinsy kept his law-office or got it restored to him; 3,000 pounds a year without excess of work; a man much the gentleman, according to the rule then current: in contemplative rare moments, the man, looking back through the dim posterns of the mind, might see afar off a certain pirouetting Figure, once far from indifferent, and not yet quite melted into cheerless gray smoke, as so much of the rest is—to Mr. Mackinsy and us. I have made, in the Scotch Mackenzie circles, what inquiry was due; find no evidence, but various likelihoods, that this of the Barberina and him is fact, and a piece of his biography. As to the inference deduced from it, in regard to Friedrich and the Earl of Bute, on a critical occasion,—that rests entirely with Zimmermann; and the candid mind inclines to admit that, probably, it is but rumor and conjecture; street-dust sticking to the Doctor's shoes, and demanding merely to be well swept out again. Heigho!—
Barberina, though a dancer, did not want for more essential graces. Very sprightly, very pretty and intelligent; not without piquancy and pungency: the King himself has been known to take tea with her in mixed society, though nothing more; and with passionate young gentlemen she was very successful. Not long after her coming to Berlin, she made conquest of Cocceji, the celebrated Chancellor's Son; who finding no other resource, at length privately married her. Voltaire's Collini, when he came to Berlin, in 1750, recommended by a Signora Sister of the Barberina's, found the Barberina and her Mother dining daily with this Cocceji as their guest: [Collini, Mon Sejour aupres de Voltaire (a Paris, 1807), pp. 13-19.] Signora Barberina privately informed Collini how the matter was; Signorina still dancing all the same,—though she had money in the English funds withal; and Friedrich had been so generous as give her the fixing of her own salary, when she came to him, this-side-uppermost, in the way we described. She had fixed, too modestly thinks Collini, on 5,000 thalers (about 750 pounds) a year; having heart and head as well as heels, poor little soul. Perhaps her notablest feat in History, after all, was her leading this Collini, as she now did, into the service of Voltaire, to be Voltaire's Secretary. As will be seen. Whereby we have obtained a loyal little Book, more credible than most others, about that notable man.
At a subsequent period, Barberina decided on declaring her marriage with Cocceji; she drew her money from the English funds, purchased a fine mansion, and went to live with the said Cocceji there, giving up the Opera and public pirouettes. But this did not answer either. Cocceji's Mother scorned irreconcilably the Opera alliance; Friedrich, who did not himself like it in his Chancellor's Son, promoted the young man to some higher post in the distant Silesian region. But there, alas, they themselves quarrelled; divorced one another; and rumor again was busy. "You, Cocceji yourself, are but a schoolmaster's grandson [Barberina, one easily supposes, might have a temper withal]; and it is I, if you will recollect, that drew money from the English funds!" Barberina married again; and to a nobleman of sixteen quarters this time, and with whom at least there was no divorce. Successful with passionate gentlemen; having money from the English funds. Her last name was Grafinn—I really know not what. Her descendants probably still live, with sixteen quarters, in those parts. It was thus she did her life-journey, waltzing and walking; successfully holding her own against the world. History declares itself ashamed of spending so many words on such a subject. But the Dancer of Friedrich, and the authoress, prime or proximate, of Collini's Voltaire, claims a passing remembrance. Let us, if we can easily help it, never speak of her more.
CONQUEST SECOND IS OST-FRIESLAND, OF A SOLID NATURE.
May 25th, 1744, just while Barberina began her pirouettings at Berlin, poor Karl Edzard, Prince of East Friesland, long a weak malingering creature, died, rather suddenly; childless, and the last of his House, which had endured there about 300 years. Our clever Wilhelmina at Baireuth, though readers have forgotten the small circumstance, had married a superfluous Sister-in-law of hers to this Karl Edward; and, they say, it was some fond hope of progeny, suddenly dashed into nothingness, that finished the poor man, that night of May 25th. In any case, his Territory falls to Prussia, by Reich's Settlement of long standing (1683-1694); which had been confirmed anew to the late King, Friedrich Wilhelm:—we remember how he returned with it, honest man, from that KLADRUP JOURNEY in 1732, and was sniffed at for bringing nothing better. And in the interim, his royal Hanover Cousins, coveting East Friesland, had clapt up an ERBVERBRUDERUNG with the poor Prince there (Father, I think, of the one just dead): "A thing ULTRA VIRES," argued Lawyers; "private, quasi-clandestine; and posterior (in a sense) to Reich's CONCLUSUM, 1694."
On which ground, however, George II. now sued Fricdrich at Reich's Law,—Friedrich, we need not say, having instantly taken possession of Ost-Friesland. And there ensued arguing enough between them, for years coming; very great expenditure of parchment, and of mutual barking at the moon (done always by proxy, and easy to do); which doubtless increased the mutual ill-feeling, but had no other effect. Friedrich, who had been well awake to Ost-Friesland for some time back, and had given his Official people (Cocceji his Minister of Justice, Chancellor by and by, and one or two subordinates) their precise Instructions, laid hold of it, with a maximum of promptitude; thereby quashing a great deal of much more dangerous litigation than Uncle George's.
"In all Germany, not excepting even Mecklenburg, there had been no more anarchic spot than Ost-Friesland for the last sixty or seventy years. A Country with parliamentary-life in extraordinary vivacity (rising indeed to the suicidal or internecine pitch, in two or three directions), and next to no regent-life at all. A Country that had loved Freedom, not wisely but too well! Ritter Party, Prince's Party, Towns' Party;—always two or more internecine Parties: 'False Parliament you: traitors!' 'We? False YOU, traitors!'—The Parish Constable, by general consent, kept walking; but for Government there was this of the Parliamentary Eloquences (three at once), and Freedom's battle, fancy it, bequeathed from sire to son! 'The late Karl Edzard never once was in Embden, his chief Town, though he lived within a dozen miles of it.'—And then, still more questionable, all these energetic little Parties had applied to the Neighboring Governments, and had each its small Foreign Battalion, 'To protect US and our just franchises!' Imperial Reich's-Safeguard Battalion, Dutch Battalion, Danish Battalion,—Prussian, it first of all was (year 1683, Town of Embden inviting the Great Elector), but it is not so now. The Prussians had needed to be quietly swift, on that 25th day of May, 1744.
"And truly they were so; Cocceji having all things ready; leading party-men already secured to him, troops within call, and the like. The Prussians—Embden Town-Councils inviting their astonished Dutch Battalion not to be at home—marched quietly into Embden 'next day,' and took possession of the guns. Marched to Aurich (official metropolis), Danes and Imperial Safeguard saying nothing; and, in short, within a week had, in their usual exact fashion, got firm hold of chaotic Ost-Friesland. And proceeded to manage it, in like sort,—with effects soon sensible, and steadily continuing. Their Parliamentary-life Friedrich left in its full vigor: 'Tax yourselves; what revenue you like; and see to the outlay of it yourselves. Allow me, as LANDES-HERR, some trifle of overplus: how much, then? Furthermore a few recruits,—or recruit-money in lieu, if you like better!' And it was astonishing how the Parliamentary vitality, not shortened of its least franchise, or coerced in any particular, but merely stroked the right way of the hair, by a gently formidable hand, with good head guiding, sank almost straightway into dove-life, and never gave Friedrich any trouble, whatever else it might do. The management was good; the opportunity also was good. 'In one sitting, the Prussian Agent, arbitrating between Embden and the Ritters, settled their controversy, which had lasted fifty years.' The poor Country felt grateful, which it might well do; as if for the laying of goblins, for the ending of long-continued local typhoon! Friedrich's first Visit, in 1751, was welcomed with universal jubilation; and poor Ost-Friesland thanked him in still more solid ways, when occasion rose. [Ranke, iii. 370-382.]
"It is not an important Country:—only about the size of Cheshire; wet like it, and much inferior to it in cheese, in resources for leather and live-stock, though it perhaps excels, again, in clover-seeds, rape-seeds, Flanders horses, and the flax products. The 'clear overplus' it yielded to Friedrich, as Sovereign Administrator and Defender, was only 3,200 pounds; for recruit-MONEY, 6,000 pounds (no recruits in CORPORE); in all, little more than 9,000 pounds a year. But it had its uses too. Embden, bigger than Chester, and with a better harbor, was a place of good trade; and brought Friedrich into contact with sea-matters; in which, as we shall find, he did make some creditable incipiencies, raising expectations in the world; and might have carried it farther, had not new Wars, far worse than this now at hand, interrupted him."
Friedrich was at Pyrmont, taking the waters, while this of Friesland fell out; he had gone thither May 20th; was just arrived there, four days before the death of Karl Edzard. [Rodenbeck, p. 102.] His Officials, well pre-instructed, managed the Ost-Friesland Question mainly themselves. Friedrich was taking the waters; ostensibly nothing more. But he was withal, and still more earnestly, consulting with a French Excellency (who also had felt a need of the waters), about the French Campaign for this Season: Whether Coigny was strong enough in the Middle-Rhine Countries; how their Grand Army of the Netherlands shaped to prosper; and other the like interesting points. [Ranke, iii. 165, 166.] Frankfurt Union is just signed (May 22d). Most Christian Majesty is himself under way to the Netherlands, himself going to command there, as we shall see. "Good!" answers Friedrich: "But don't weaken Coigny, think of Prince Karl on that side; don't detach from Coigny, and reduce his 60,000 to 40,000!"
Plenty of mutual consulting, as they walk in the woods there. And how profoundly obscure, to certain Official parties much concerned, judge from the following small Document, preserved by accident:—
LYTTELTON (our old Soissons Friend, now an Official in Prince Fred's Household, friend of Pitt, and much else) TO HIS FATHER AT HAGLEY.
ARGYLE STREET, LONDON, "May 5th [16th], 1744. "DEAR SIR,—Mr. West [Gilbert West, of whom there is still some memory] comes with us to Hagley; and, if you give me leave, I will bring our friend Thomson too"—oh Jamie Thamson, Jamie Thamson, oh! "His SEASONS will be published in about a week's time, and a most noble work they will be.
"I have no public news to tell you, which you have not had in the Gazettes, except what is said in Private Letters from Germany, of the King of Prussia's having drunk himself into direct madness, and being confined on that account; which, if true, may have a great effect upon the fate of Europe at this critical time." Yes indeed, if true. "Those Letters say, that, at a review, he caused two men to be taken out of the line, and shot, without any cause assigned for it, and ordered a third to be murdered in the same manner; but the Major of the regiment venturing to intercede for him, his Majesty drew his sword, and would have killed the Officer too, if he, perceiving his madness, had not taken the liberty to save himself, by disarming the King; who was immediately shut up; and the Queen, his Mother, has taken the Regency upon herself till his recovery." PAPAE! I do not give you this news for certain; but it is generally believed in town. Lord Chesterfield says, 'He is only thought to be MAD in Germany, because he has MORE WIT than other Germans.'
"The King of Sardinia's Retreat from his lines at Villa Franca, and the loss of that Town [20th April, one of those furious tussles, French and Spaniard VERSUS Sardinian Majesty, in the COULISSES or side-scenes of the Italian War-Theatre, neither stage nor side-scenes of which shall concern us in this place], certainly bear a very ill aspect; but it is not considered as"—anything to speak of; nor was it. "We expect with impatience to know what will be the effect of the Dutch Ambassador to Paris,—[to Valenciennes, as it turns out, King Louis, on his high errand to the Netherlands, being got so far; and the "effect" was no effect at all, except good words on his part, and persistence in the battering down of Menin and the Dutch Barrier, of which we shall hear ere long].
"I pray God the Summer may be happy to us, by being more easy than usual to you,"—dear Father, much suffering by incurable ailments. "It is the only thing wanting to make Hagley Park a Paradise.
"Poor Pope is, I am afraid, going to resign all that can die of him to death;"—did actually die, 30th May (10th June): a world-tragedy that too, though in small compass, and acting itself next door, at Twickenham, without noise; a star of the firmament going out;—twin-star, Swift (Carteret's old friend), likewise going out, sunk in the socket, "a driveller and a show."... "I am, with the truest respect and affection, dear Sir, your most dutiful Son,—
"GEORGE LYTTELTON." [Ayscough, Lord Lyttelton's Miscellaneous Works, (Lond., 1776), iii. 318.]
Friedrich returned from Pyrmont, 11th June; saw, with a grief of his own, with many thoughts well hidden, his Sister Ulrique whirled away from him, 26th July, in the gray of the summer dawn. In Berlin, in Prussia, nobody but one is aware of worse just coming. And now the War-drums suddenly awaken again; and poor readers—not to speak of poor Prussia and its King!—must return to that uncomfortable sphere, till things mend.