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Protestant princes, which imperatively urge us to maintain the cause of those who are oppressed for their religion. The tyranny of the Government under which the Silesians have groaned is frightful, and the barbarity of the Catholics towards them is inexpressible. If these Protestants lose me, they have no longer any resource. If your Majesty wishes to secure for yourself an ally whose fidelity and firmness are inviolable, this is the time: our interests, our religion, our blood is the same; and it would be lamentable to see us opposed to each other still more so would it be if I should be obliged to concur in the ambitious designs of France-which I have no intention of doing
unless I am forced to it.
were not the thirty 24-pounders and the fifteen mortars which were ready to set out. fact they were very persuasive ones. Frederic laughed, and said that in another time he said, with quite a burst Bohemia to the elector of Bavaria. He's of confidence, "Look here! let us give such a fine fellow, and so fond of the house of France. But now, tell me honestly what you think of the intentions of your government; doesn't it know that I am its natural ally in Germany?" And again when Valori had conveyed a wish, on the part of Belle-Isle, to have some definite understanding with the king beIt is, however, certain, that notwith-fore the meeting of the Diet, to which he standing the very close and friendly negotiations which Frederic was carrying on with France, he would have preferred the alliance of England, not so much for his own sake, as because the popular feeling of Prussia was in favor of it. He thus wavered between the two in a perplexing manner, writing to Podewils such notes as, "The course we have to take is to agree with France, and arrange matters with her, for England will never consent to help us ; or again, "Do all you can to keep France amused, till we see if we cannot gain our end by means of mediation." Mr. Robinson was, in fact, hard at work trying to persuade the court of Vienna to accept the proposal of Count Gotter to lend two million thalers (300,000l.), as a pledge for which a part of Silesia was to remain in the hands of Prussia, with the understanding that neither money nor pledge was to be returned; in this way, it was argued, the principle of the Pragmatic Sanction would be maintained; a precedent for dividing the heritage of Charles VI. would not be established.
was appointed ambassador, Frederic replied, "Let him come here by all means. Besides the pleasure I shall have in making his acquaintance, it will be truly delicious to see a French general with a Prussian army in the heart of Silesia." The continued mocking tone and ambiguous replies were too much for Valori, who had no turn for humor or raillery, espe cially when he was the object of it. Irritation quickened his apprehension, and he wrote to Belle-Isle on February 7, transmitting indeed the invitation, but adding:—
The King of Prussia is not dealing with us in a straightforward manner. My opinion is that we should take the other side, so as not to be the dupe of a prince who carries on negotiations everywhere, and thinks he is mighty clever in concluding none. . . . .. As I am speaking frankly, I do not hesitate to say that fickleness, presumption, and pride are the
basis of this character.
Even if Belle-Isle or Fleury was convinced, it was too late for any such change of policy; and on February 22, Valori was instructed to give the king of Prussia all that he asked for; a promise to support the elector of Bavaria, or a guarantee of lower Silesia, taking in exchange the already offered renunciation of his claims on Juliers and Berg. He was, however, specially ordered not to leave any written evidence in the hands of a prince who might, without uncharitableness, be sup
Whilst this negotiation was going on at Vienna, Frederic himself, at Berlin, was feeling his way with Valori, anxious to obtain some distinct promise from Fleury. But Fleury, with eighty-seven years at his back, was not disposed to commit himself with undue haste; he had sent a vague project of a defensive alliance; Frederic wanted something more definite. Will the king, he asked, guar-posed capable of making a bad use of it. antee me the possession of lower Silesia and Breslau? Valori, unable to say that he would, suggested that he ought to give the king some excuse for it, by a statement of his pretensions. Oh," answered Frederic, "my titles are good, very good. If I have not yet made them clear, it is that, pending a reply from Vienna, I have reserved the best arguments for the last." On which Valori asked if those arguments
The negotiations between France and Prussia were in this advanced state when Austria positively and disdainfully refused the terms which had been proposed by Gotter and supported by Robinson. The grand duke had indeed inclined towards accepting them; but the queen would hear of nothing but the withdrawal of the Prussian troops from Silesia. She was reported to have said that she was willing
to forget, if the king of Prussia would ask | in favor of the elector of Bavaria, it is her pardon; and Bartenstein - who had only necessary to mark on the map with a always been bitterly opposed to the En- pencil what he is to have. I will almost glish and strongly in favor of the French answer with my head that he shall have alliance whom Robinson described as it." But at the same time he insisted on "French mad"- laid it down as a first the alliance being kept secret. Valori principle that the "attempt to rectify the agreed, and offered to quit the camp with king without ruffling him was as much the sullen air of a man discontented with lost trouble as washing a Moor white." his want of success. "Do so," cried Undoubtedly, at this time, the queen of Frederic, delighted; "do so, and take Hungary and a powerful section of her care that Brackel (the Russian minister) ministers still entertained a firm confi- knows of it." dence in the support of France. The undecided manner of Fleury was thus doubly fatal; had he spoken out at once, and pledged himself and France to maintain the Pragmatic Sanction, it is at least possible that Frederic might not have acted the part he did; or had he openly declared his intention of upholding the elector of Bavaria, the queen would have seen the necessity of buying off Frederic. As it was, Prussia and Austria were both encouraged; and the war which might never have occurred, or have been limited to the invasion of Silesia, was spread over all Europe, and indeed over all the known world. When too late, the letters from France gradually undeceived the Cabinet of Maria Theresa. "The king," Fleury wrote, "is faithful to his promises; but how can he sacrifice the rights of an other?" The queen claimed the support of France as a right, a thing which she and her husband had bought and paid for by the cession of Lorraine. "It is easy to believe," replied the cardinal, "that your dear husband felt some regret at parting with the heritage of his fathers; but in any case, he is amply recompensed for it by the happiness of possessing your Majesty."
By the time this was written, the war in Silesia had fairly begun, and the position of the Prussian army was critical. In front, the Austrians were advancing in force; in rear, the peasantry had formed armed bands which threatened the communications, and cut the throats of all stragglers; whilst on the flanks, the attitude of Saxony or of Poland was unsatisfactory, and might any day become dangerous. "Pandora's box is opened," said Podewils; "all the ills of life are coming out of it at once."
Frederic manfully bore up against the difficulties which crowded on him; but they acted as a sensible stimulus to the negotiations with France. "The king," he said to Valori on March II, 66 can count on having in me a grateful ally. "As soon as I understand his intentions
For the fact was that though the French alliance brought with it an immense accession of material and political strength, it was, in some respects, a source of moral weakness. It might suit the governments of the different German States, at enmity with each other, to cultivate friendly relations with the government of France; but by the great German people, Prussians, or Bavarians, or Austrians, the French were utterly detested. Wherever the German tongue was spoken the sanguinary excesses in the Palatinate were held in bitter memory; and every one who had been to Paris had some tale to tell of insult and contumely. The two causes worked towards the same result; and the one sentiment held in common by all Germans, of whatever State they were, was intense hatred of the French. The king of Prussia, who was, individually, quite above these vulgar feelings, and had his likes and dislikes, his loves and his hates, under the perfect control of political ex pedience, was nevertheless well aware of the wide-spread existence of this antipathy, and specially warned Valori that, in the minds of several of the German princes, the support of France would do the elector of Bavaria more harm than good.
Having started a candidate, however, France was determined that he should win; and pending the meeting of the Diet, the Comte de Belle-Isle was instructed to push the canvass in all possible quarters. He entered on this office in the middle of March, and addressed himself, in the first instance, to the three electoral bishops of Trèves, Cologne, and Mayence. These had each their own opposing interests; but by intrigue, judicious flattery, and unscrupulous bribery, they were brought to make common cause against the house of Austria. The beginning was of good omen, and Belle-Isle passed on to Dresden.
Frederic Augustus II., elector of Saxony and king of Poland, was the one legitimate son of Frederic Augustus I,
commonly distinguished as the Strong, elector of Bavaria, and to help in the spowhom the Duke de Broglie happily de- liation of the unfortunate queen of Hunscribes as "Lutheran by birth, Catholic gary. He was, however, too sluggish to by ambition, and Mussulman by morals; move easily or quickly; and whilst he was beginning life as a hero of romance, and making up his mind, Belle-Isle went on to ending it as a pasha in his seraglio." Breslau to arrange matters in a personal Neither in his virtues nor his vices did interview with Valori, who had, from the his son resemble him: a weak, amiable | first, been suspicious of Frederic's honprince, and a constant, perhaps rather a esty, and now found his aims considerably submissive husband, his principal care extended by the victory at Mollwitz. He was to ensure his peace in this world and insisted on additional guarantees, and rehis salvation in the next; and, to do this asserted his claims on the succession of with as little trouble as possible, he had Juliers and Berg, which he had already handed over the care of his kingdom to waived in favor of France. Count Brühl, a German Protestant, and the care of his soul to Father Guarini, an Italian Catholic. His wife, Maria Josepha, elder sister of the electress of Bavaria, was first cousin of Maria The resa, and might very well be considered to have, genealogically, a better title to the inheritance. He had at first been inclined to assert this claim; but indolence, and possibly some unusual sense of the meaning of an oath, had restrained him. What he would not do for himself he was not likely to do for the elector of Bavaria, or his wife's younger sister; and his minister, Brühl, was horrified at the territorial aggrandizement of the king of Prussia; whilst his confessor, Guarini, was equally averse to the displacement of the true religion by this aggressive Protestant.
All the influences which bore on Augustus were thus in favor of Maria Theresa, as opposed to the ambition of Bavaria, Prussia, and France; with, indeed, one notable exception, which proved sufficient to turn his unstable character. This was the persuasion of his illegitimate brother Maurice, Count de Saxe, whom Mr. Carlyle delighted to present to his readers as the eldest of the three hundred and fiftyfour royal bastards; a Saxon by birth, but French by habit and profession, and a general in the French army; a man of superb physique and splendid intellect; and even when shattered in health by long-continued excesses, still the rival, if not the superior, in military fame of the king of Prussia himself. Count de Saxe had no particular disposition in favor of Frederic; but his interest was essentially French, and his influence with his brother was thrown altogether into the scale in support of Belle-Isle's mission. Just as Belle-Isle arrived at Dresden, came the news of the battle of Mollwitz. Nothing, it is said, succeeds like success, and the elector of Saxony, already urged by his brother Maurice, was not disinclined to join the alliance, to give his vote to the
Valori's suspicions were not uncalled for. Two days after the battle the king had written to Podewils saying that, through the ambassador in London, he had accepted the proposition of the king of England as to the form of agreement with Austria. "Perhaps the signal victory gained the day before yesterday will give weight to this negotiation. As regards that with France, let it lag-only, not as if you meant it; and cajole Valori more than ever."* And the following day, "You know my intentions, and how important it is to protract the business, and to keep France skilfully in play until the arrival of Lord Hyndford. Meanwhile, continue to negotiate secretly with England and Russia, so that we may be able, according to circumstances, to take the side which suits us best." Ten days later, April 23, he wrote:
You will compliment M. de Belle-Isle, in my name, on his safe journey, and speak of the great desire I have to see him; but you must detain him at Breslau for two or three days longer. You may say that the roads are not safe, and that he must have an escort, which I will no doubt provide. Only you must be cautious that he does not suspect anything. When he comes on here, do you come too; you will cajole him admirably. And the next day he added:
shal de Belle-Isle has acted at Cologne, at From the way in which you tell me the MarMayence, and at Trèves, I conclude that he is imperious and absolute in his opinions. He will want to settle matters at once; whilst I, for my part, want to wait the arrival of the English charlatan before I decide. So, in any case, by flattering the Belle-Isle to the uttermost, and displaying the greatest possible dedefer doing it until we have seen how things sire to conclude the treaty, we must manage to go with the English.
It was not till the 26th that Belle-Isle
"En cajolant le de Valory," is a frequent recommendation, which sometimes appears as "Soli ihn cajo liren."
rather than design, the secrecy has been
was allowed to come on to the camp, I knew anything about it. By accident still near Mollwitz; and even then, although he travelled with a gallant escort, and was received with military honors by the king himself, great care was taken to prevent his speaking about the treaty. Frederic took his guest through the camp, passed the army in review before him, explained everything, talked incessantly, but would not let Belle-Isle slip in a word. Not till the evening did he get an opportunity, when he strongly urged the necessity of signing the treaty without delay. Frederic listened complacently; thanked him; assured him that it was his fixed purpose to ally himself with the king; that he was deeply sensible of the friendship which his Majesty had shown him when all the rest of the world was turning its back; that never, no, never in all his life, would he forget it, and said that, as it was getting late, he would say nothing more just then, but the next day, after dinner, would open his heart to him. This was a further delay of twenty-four hours, and the opening of his heart, when it came, was the enumeration of a list of grievances, which amounted to a complaint that France had promised much both for Bavaria and Prussia, but had he adds, "have their hands loose, and done nothing. To which Belle-Isle replied make use of their liberty for months to that this related to the negotiation, but come; nay, in some sort, all along, feelhad no further value after he had given ing how contingent it was," which is true, his word to Valori; that the word of a indeed, of the king of Prussia, but cergreat prince ought to be as inviolable as tainly not of both parties. For in sober a signed treaty; that the queen of Hun- truth the treaty was as sound and solid as gary would prefer ceding all Bohemia to treaty could be, and was fairly acted on the elector of Bavaria to yielding one by France, though not without misgivings village to him; and much more to the on the part of Fleury, who wrote to Bellesame purport; on which Frederic moder- Isle on June 17, speaking, indeed, of the ated his tone, and said that of course the elector of Bavaria in most favorable agreement was to hold, but the treaty terms, though lamenting that he was must not be signed yet, as the knowl-neither rich nor powerful, and expressing edge of it would raise a terrible storm his uneasiness at entering on the war on the part of England and Russia. A with no allies except some necessitous few days later, when Lord Hyndford, the princes; and going on:new English ambassador, had arrived, Frederic convinced himself that England would by no means guarantee what France had agreed to, the whole of lower Silesia. Hyndford proposed, as a compromise, one or two duchies, instead of the four which Frederic demanded; and the conviction that nothing more was to be got out of the English brought him to conclude matters with the French, and the treaty was finally signed on June 5.
In preparing, as in signing the treaty: the most absolute secrecy was observed; Podewils writing it with his own hand, so that not even the clerks in his office one of whom was in Hyndford's pay
a perverted imagination. "Both parties,"
The King of Prussia, who is not in this cateHis gory, disquiets me more than any other. mind is altogether ill-regulated; he listens to no advice, and resolves rashly, without having taken the measures necessary to ensure success. Good faith and sincerity are not his favorite virtues: he is false in everything, even in his caresses. I even doubt whether he is sure in his alliances, for he has no other principle than his own selfish interest. He wishes to govern and to arrange everything without reference to us. Europe. The portrait may perhaps appear to He is hated by the whole of
Amongst others, in Flassan, "Histoire de la Diplomatie française," v. 142; and in Ranke, "Neun Bücher preussischer Geschichte," ii. 274.
you somewhat exaggerated; and as you have seen him more nearly than I, I leave you to judge of it. But I cannot help fearing that if any one should make him an advantageous offer-if the Court of Vienna, or rather of England, should think it essential to detach him from us, he would not be scrupulous about devising a pretext for separating himself from our alliance. I open my heart to you. I pray you burn my letter.
After events showed that Fleury had formed a very mistaken estimate of Frederic's want of judgment and forethought, but for the rest his suspicions were thoroughly well grounded. The moral rule which the king of Prussia laid down for his own guidance was curtly expressed in a letter to Podewils of May 12: "If any. thing is to be gained by being honest men, we shall be so; and if it is necessary to cheat, let us be rogues;" and, true to the principle so enunciated, he had taken even excessive precautions to ensure the secrecy of his treaty with France, in order that he might be better able to continue the negotiations with England. The secret was, however, not so well kept but that the English government had pretty accurate information concerning it. So early as March 16 Lord Harrington wrote to Mr. Robinson that the king had intelligence, which might absolutely be depended on, that France was on the point of throwing off the mask, of acting openly against the queen of Hungary, and of supporting the elector of Bavaria with thirty thousand men; and also that she had a treaty on foot, and very far advanced, with the king of Prussia, the terms of which are correctly stated.
The knowledge of this gave a stimulus to the English efforts, and Robinson was instructed to impress on the court of Vienna "the absolute necessity which his Majesty apprehends there is for their endeavoring to make it up, if possible, and without the least loss of time, with the king of Prussia," and, for that purpose, even to cede to him the whole of lower Silesia. The queen of Hungary was, however, firm in her determination to yield nothing. She refused all terms, and Lord Harrington, enforcing the necessity of the position, wrote again on June 21: If your court continue under their infat uation, you must let them feel that his Majesty thinks it a very ill return to the many essential and expensive proofs he has given of his disposition to assist and support the house of Austria." Robinson accordingly put the case before the grand duke in very strong language, and, VOL. XLIII. 2194
as enforcing his arguments, told him "that England would, by its situation, be the last to suffer in the ruin which I saw his court was bringing upon its own head and that of all Europe." Yes," he anSwered, "that cursed ditch which separates you from the Continent. Would to God you were upon the latter; then you would feel like us.' "7 * After some days, however, the queen consented to a negotiation on the basis of paying to the king of Prussia two million thalers, in consideration of his evacuating the Austrian territory; and, in exchange for his claims on Silesia, ceding to him an equivalent in the Netherlands, as, for instance, in Gelderland. Robinson was deputed to carry the proposals to the Prussian camp, and, in concert with Lord Hyndford, to lay them before Frederic. Hyndford broached the subject beforehand, and Frederic slyly communicated his news to Valori. This," he said, "is a trap to embroil me with you; but to give the king time, I will ask to consider it, and will make such extravagant propositions that they will not be able to accept them." Then, chuckling over the idea of duping the English, he added, "Is it my fault if they are fools?"
The reception of Robinson took place in the camp at Strehlen on August 7. The story has often been told, and in fullest detail, though with much offensive coloring, by Mr. Carlyle, who is indignant and scurrilous because the two English ambassadors - one a ponderous Scotch lord of an edacious gloomy countenance - ventured to dispute, even diplomati cally, the right of the revered Frederic to rob his neighbor. The king, with every appearance of scorn, with "theatrical gesticulations," and marks of great anger, refused all that Robinson had to offer refused the money, refused Gelderland, and finally, as though unable to control his rage, "retired precipitately behind the curtain of the interior corner of his tent." Afterwards, as if recovering himself, he sent to ask the two ambassadors to dinner. They accordingly dined with him that day and the next, and having firmly declined a pressing invitation to stay in the camp for two or three days "to assist at some kind of military exercise," they were told by Podewils, "with great expressions of politeness," that Mr. Robin son might consider the second dinner as "an audience of leave." But," says Robinson, "what was most remarkable,
mistake, the Duke de Broglie has attributed this remark of the grand duke to Maria Theresa.
Robinson to Harrington, June 27, 1741. By some