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fixed on the prospect of regaining something of the splendid position from which his grandfather, the superintendent, had fallen. In the Wars of the Spanish and Polish Successions, he distinguished himself, not only by his courage, but by his uniform desire to please, and his success in attaching those he was thrown amongst. He married a Mademoiselle de Bethune, the great niece of that Mademoiselle d'Arquien, who had followed Marie de Nevers into Poland, and herself afterward married King John Casimir Sobieski. By all these alliances, the Comte de Belleisle found himself, through an inferior position at Court, supported by perhaps the most extensive and powerful connection that any European subject could boast of. Apart from his kindred of the old French families, he was a blood relation of the Electors of Cologne and Bavaria; allied by marriage with some of the chief Polish nobility, and, through the Pretender's Queen, with the English Stuarts. His chances of rising higher were in a still greater degree owing to his own admirable discretion; to the skill with which he had steered through the troubled society of the Regency without making enemies or incurring dishonor, and to the loyalty with which the two brothers co-operated for the restoration of their House.
He now saw in the death of the Emperor Charles VI. a field for the military spirit we have spoken of,-a spirit which was no doubt encouraged by statesmen who had graver projects in view for reviving the designs of Richelieu and Louis XIV. Ever since the death of his infant heir in 1716, Charles VI. had occupied himself in bribing or frightening the European powers into a guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction, which, as we have already said, named Maria Theresa as sole heiress of the Austrian dominions. He succeeded at last in every one of these applications. But the aged Eugene in vain reminded him that his only real guarantee would be found in 30,000 bayonets. Charles accordingly was no sooner dead than Frederic of Prussia, confident that the other powers would sooner or later yield to the temptations which had prevailed with himself, put in his claims to the province of Silesia. The House of Bavaria was soon ready with a forged will in support of its claims to Austria Proper. In Italy and Spain, too, the tide was rising on the position of Maria Theresa, with equal rapidity; and Belleisle lost no time in taking it at the flood. In an elaborate memorial which he presented to the French cabinet,
he won the ear of Louis XV. by combining a scheme of daring aggression with a complete and lucid exposition of the details which were to effect it. A commanding intervention of France at the approaching Electoral Diet, the elevation of the Bavarian family to the Throne of the Cæsars, the aggrandizement of Prussia in the North, the cession of Moravia to Saxony, and the political annihilation of Germany consequent on her being thus broken into four kingdoms of the second class, such were the daring projects and brilliant results promised by Belleisle! Brilliant beyond precedent for the elevation of France into the permanent centre of the continent,-even should his plan have been curtailed of its expected complement for extending her geographical limits by the advance of her frontier to the Rhine, and the annexation of the Spiritual Electorates. Tosupport his scheme, he asked only for 150,000 men; 100,000 of whom were to cooperate with Bavaria, on the Danube, while 50,000 were to form an army of observation at home. The disposition of Northern Germany was to be left to the King of Prussia.
If this plan had ever a chance of success, it depended on its being heartily and warmly prosecuted; but Fleury had still influence enough to cripple, though he lacked courage to oppose it. While Belleisle was glittering at Munich and Francfort, outdazzling sovereign princes with his sumptuous retinues and fascinating Frederic at Berlin by the hardihood and rapidity of his strategic plans, Fleury contrived that the army of the Danube should be reduced to 40,000 men, and that France should preserve appearances by refusing to declare war upon Austria in her own name, and by affecting to act merely as the ally of Bavaria. The various pretenders to the inheritance of Maria Theresa were, nevertheless, soon formed into one compact body; and, by the spring of 1741, the House of Austria found itself opposed to the hereditary alliance of the French and Spanish Bourbons, backed by the subordinate courts of Sardinia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Prussia.
The long peace had already been broken, in 1739, by the war between Spain and England. The Jacobites, obedient to the same instinct which taught Stanhope and Walpole that the tranquillity of Europe was necessary to secure our throne to the House of Hanover, had concentrated all the malignity of their opposition on the task of driving us into a war. A heterogeneous party had, accordingly, been formed in Parliament; strengthened alike by deserters whom Walpole's
twenty years of patronage had alienated, and by younger and more ardent politicians, who revolted from the sordid accompaniments of his government. They had gathered round a large nucleus of the agricultural and ecclesiastical faction, which had triumphed for a moment with Sacheverel; and these latter brought to the alliance a valuable contingent of the narrowest provincialism and the vulgarest nationality. Bolingbroke, excluded from the House of Lords, but wielding, out of doors, an influence in kind perhaps unexampled in our history, was the moving spring of the combination. Skillfully keeping mooted questions in abeyance, offering in his own genius and in Sir William Wyndham's, parliamentary abilities, a full compensation for the incumbrance of the stupid and irritable party with which he was still connected, he steered them safely through the embarrassments necessarily produced by their discordant materials. Their only chance of national support lay in rousing the national antipathies in their favor: And at length, when Elizabeth of Parma (provoked, as it is said, by Walpole's refusal to interfere on the extinction of the House of Medici,) redoubled the severity with which the Spanish coast guard treated the contraband trade carried on with America in English vessels, the people, deceived and indignant, clamored loudly for war. Walpole yielded, against his judgment; and gained nothing by the tardy concession. The Opposition was determined not to trust him with the conduct of a war he had disapproved; nor, as it would seem, to leave a single chance of averting a general European conflagration. We find it actually charged against him as a high offence, that he still looked to the possibility of stopping the Spanish war, by Cardinal Fleury's mediation! But that resource was now withdrawn; and in 1741 (a year before Walpole's fall) England was engaged in a war with Spain on her own account; and was allied to the House of Austria, in opposition to Bavaria and France.
The campaign of 1741, like all in which France takes the leading part, opened brilliantly. The army of observation, under Marshal Maillebois, menaced the King of England's Electoral dominions; and speedily frightened the Government of Hanover into concluding a neutrality for itself. In the south, the grand army, under the nominal command of the King of Bavaria, rapidly passing through Austria, took Passau and Linz; forced Maria Theresa to retire with her court to Presburg, and, turning north
ward into Bohemia, invested Prague. At Linz Charles Albert of Bavaria was proclaimed Archduke of Austria; on the 23d of November he was crowned King of Bohemia; and, in the following February, Emperor of Germany. But on the very day of the latter solemnity, Munich, his hereditary capital, was stormed and sacked by Mentzel, the famous partisan chief, at the head of a halfcivilized horde from Hungary and the Tyrol; and all Bavaria then lay open to their ravages. In the meantime the French army was shut up in Prague, and kept in check by the Austrian forces. Maillebois, as the year 1742 advanced, descending from Hanover into Southern Germany, to relieve Belleisle, who had joined the invading army, was cramped by Fleury's positive injunctions not to risk a battle; and, at the close of the campaign, disgraced for having obeyed them. Finally, in the depth of winter, 1742-3, Belleisle left Prague, and accomplished a retreat which, we believe, holds a high place in military history; but it was accompanied by horrors which M. de Tocqueville compares to those of Napoleon's return from Moscow. On his arrival in Franconia, in the spring of 1743, the remnant of his army was broken up. Neither his former popularity, nor the skill with which he had extricated himself from his disastrous position, protected him from the fate of Maillebois. He was ordered to leave Versailles, and to assume the government of Metz. The Hanoverian and English troops, released from the army of observation, had also marched south, and, in May of the same year, defeated a third French army at Dettingen. The reverses of the French arms were followed by the defection of their allies: and the first example was set by Prussia and Sardinia.
There is a singular analogy between the history of these two states. It originates in their position; and has been continued in the points which most nearly redeem the errors of their rulers. Prussia and the Sardinian States, alike without natural or defensible frontiers, have been almost necessarily forced, by the instinct of self-preservation, into a policy of craft and violence. Alike pressed upon by France and Austria, they have scarcely ever taken a step permanently backward. Ever since Albert of Brandenburg declared his independence, the history of Prussia is a record of provinces forcibly torn from Poland, from Austria, and Sweden. The history of the House of Savoy again, has found its exponent in the Piedmontese proverb, that Lombardy is like an artichoke, and
must be eaten leaf by leaf. But, however this selfish policy may have been embraced, it is due to these states to recollect how with each of them it has been subordinated to an honorable sense of German and of Italian nationality. Always ready to purchase fresh provinces by supporting intruders, neither Prussia nor Sardinia have ever failed to arrest their progress, as soon as there seemed a danger of foreign influence overlaying the institutions and crushing the spirit of their common country. And this analogy has been again very curiously illustrated in the course of the last twelvemonth, when almost the same day brought intelligence of the bold grasp which, amid the crash of thrones and the abortion of constitutions, Prussia and Sardinia respectively made, at the chieftainship of the German and the Italian races. Alas for Prussia, should the resemblance in working out this last experiment also coincide!
In Italy the Spanish Bourbons had reluctantly acknowledged the Austrian supremacy; and it was still doubtful, whether the expulsion of the barbarians would convert Lombardy into a French Prefecture under Don Philip, or merge it into the Sardinian States and place Charles Emmanuel at its head as King of Upper Italy. Maria Theresa was plainly interested in allowing full scope for the development of these divergent interests; and it has been surmised that, in hopes of frightening the King of Sardinia into a peace, Admiral Haddock, who commanded the Mediterranean fleet, was ordered not to oppose the landing of the Spanish troops in the Bay of Spezzia. The result turned out as had been expected. The house of Savoy being already inclosed by Bourbon Princes, in France, in Naples, and in Parma, its eastern frontier was now to be menaced by a fourth establishment in Lombardy. Charles Emmanuel hastened to make peace at Turin; and in September, 1743, concluded the Treaty of Worms, by which he engaged to assist in defending Lombardy, in return for several additions to his northern and eastern frontier.
His allies thus falling off, and France stunned by her reverses, Charles Albert of Bavaria was prepared to acquiesce in the ruin of his brilliant expectations. In 1744, conferences were opened at Hanau, when he offered to renounce all his claims to the Austrian inheritance, in return for being acknowledged as emperor, and allowed a monthly subsidy from England. The English ministry, and especially Lord Carteret, were severely blamed for letting slip this opportunity of terminating the war: But Maria Theresa was inflexible. Her own spirit, and that of her Hungarian and Bohemian mountaineers, had communicated itself to her councils; and now, when the formidable coalition which had driven her from town to town was breaking up, she would not hear of peace, unless Bavaria united its forces to the Austrians, and joined her in a vigorous effort to wrest back Alsace and Lorraine from France. She reckoned on the failing courage and visible hesitation that now ruled the French Court. But France was on the eve of a crisis, tantamount to a change of ministry, which revived the half-extinguished embers of the quarrel.
Fleury, distrusted, like Walpole, by the promoters of a war in which he had reluctantly engaged, had sunk beneath the mortifications and anxiety consequent on Belleisle's retreat from Prague. He died in January, 1743; and with his last breath, forgetting how effectually he had crushed every generous impulse in his pupil's mind, he implored Louis XV. to have no more first ministers, but in future to govern for himself. Louis followed half his advice; and the sway of a first minister only gave place to that of a mistress. For the next thirty years, Madame de Chateauroux, Madame de Pompadour, and Madame du Barri, were the real prime ministers of France. Not only did these ladies enjoy the intimate confidence of the monarch, not only were their whims ostentatiously gratified, and their patronage assiduously sought, but they were formally recognized as constitutional authorities-if the In the meantime Frederic had also broken word is not a misnomer, when applied to any off from his allies. Dazzled as he was by functionaries in an oriental despotism. To Belleisle's genius, he had never agreed to the them the secretaries of state addressed regular scheme of erecting Louis XV. into the Lord reports, and under their inspection conducted Paramount of Germany. Silesia once se- public business. At first, indeed, the change cured, he co-operated lazily with the French was rather for the better; the few months armies in Bohemia; and at last, under Lord during which Louis XV. showed some regard Hyndfort's mediation, concluded the Peace for public duty were due to Madame de Chaof Breslau-an arrangement by which Eng-teauroux. But there is a tragic solemnity in land afterward guaranteed his peaceful pos- her dazzling rise and appalling end, which session of Silesia. transports us from the gaudy antechambers
of Versailles, to the broad shadows and lurid atmosphere of an old Greek legend.
Her story is given at length in the commonest French Histories; still it is difficult for any one not familiarized with the brutal callousness of the cotemporary memoirs, to credit or conceive it in the fullness of its splendid infamy. Henry, Marquis de Nesle, the head of an ancient House whose honors dated from the Crusades, was the father of five daughters-all of them the mistresses of Louis XV.! Louise, the eldest, in whom observers loved afterward to trace something of the gentle-heartedness and humility which had often redeemed the parallel frailties of La Vallière, was married at the age of sixteen to her cousin, M. de Mailly, and placed as a lady in waiting at the court of Queen Maria Leckzinska. Selected by Cardinal Fleury to be the King's mistress, she bore her scandalous honors so meekly, as to retain her position for several years, without exciting envy or dislike. But she seems to have been an exception to the genius of her kindred. One of her sisters, the future Madame de Vintimille, had formed in her convent of Port Royal, the daring vision of governing France as Madame de Maintenon had governed it before her. The French annals afforded inexhaustible precedents for ambition of this kind; and after Fleury, as we said above, had stooped to arbitrate in these quarrels, which revolt us in the mere allusion, we find Agnes Sorel presented as the chosen model of Madame Chateauroux, the third daughter of this family. There is a terrible, Semiramis-like grandeur in what we read of her; treading public opinion under her audacious feet, negotiating on equal terms with the King, sweeping aside in her stately march all the weaker, and at least less insolently guilty, appendages of the court. Incredible as it appears, it is certain that she demanded the public disgrace of her sister, Madame de Mailly, and her own recognized installation as Maitresse en titre. But it was her boast that she had not yielded to Louis, only to the King of France. She was bent on accompanying, like Madame de Montespan, her royal lover to the scenes of his victories; and on rousing into some show of energy the life which he had dragged on till the age of thirty-four, in aimless, tedious apathy.
The dissolving coalition soon felt her influence. A league with Spain had already been concluded at Fontainebleau in 1743, which was, in fact, an approach to the family compact of 1761. Providing ostensibly for the mutual guarantee of the Bourbon Houses, it in fact enrolled their younger
branches as subordinate members of a great French Empire. The king now announced his intention of taking the field in person; and Fleury's financial successors were severely tasked to provide for the due splendor of the campaign. The Pretender was brought from Rome; and, to the disgust of the Protestant states of Germany, preparations were set on foot for the Scotch expedition of 1745. Again the eyes of the French ministers were turned to Frederic of Prussia,-faithless as they knew him, and publicly discredited by his last desertion of their cause. It was remarked, that the Treaty of Breslau, by which he held Silesia, was the only recent convention not ratified by the late Treaty of Worms, between Maria Theresa and Charles Emmanuel of Savoy. On this occasion the French ministers made their well-known choice of Voltaire for ambassador to Berlin. As a professional diplomatist, his failure was of course inevitable; but it is not clear that the choice was absolutely unwise or fruitless. Voltaire's enmity was never to be despised; and his appointment was an easy salve for the affront he had just received in being rejected at the Academy, through the influence of Maurepas. On the other hand, if any conceivable bribe could have induced Frederic to forget his sole and paramount idea of self-aggradizement, it would have been his public recognition as the royal patron of French literature and infidelity. Voltaire, however, returned from Berlin in six weeks; and could only report at Versailles that Frederic made a declaration of war by France against England a necessary condition of his alliance. But early in the next year, through another and a more secret agent, the King of Prussia offered, by a descent on Bohemia, to divert the Austrians from the defence of the Low Countries. Chavigny was at once dispatched to the Diet on a mission similar to that of Belleisle in 1741, to represent the French cause as a guarantee of German liberty; and early in 1744, by a treaty known as the Union of Francfort, Prussia and Bavaria were again united with France against Austria.
The personal presence of a King of France never failed to swell the royal army with the strength of the provincial gentry, in addition to the courtly and official aristocracy. Escorting Madame de Chateauroux, Louis XV. set out at the head of a train as brilliant as that which had followed the great Condé in forcing the Rhine under the eyes of Louis XIV., or that more devoted noblesse which numbered no less than eight future Marshals of France, in supporting Villars at the des
perate struggle of Malplaquet. The fortresses on the Belgian frontier, which the Barrier Treaties authorized the Dutch to garrison, yielded to the advancing troops; when the news that Prince Charles of Lorraine had invaded Alsace, checked the King's progress, and concentrated all the forces then in France on the town of Metz. That wellknown illness of Louis XV. followed; and called out the last hearty enthusiasm France ever showed for her old Bourbon kings. The thrill of panic and sympathy which crowded the French churches and the very streets of Paris, with a throng as anxious for reports from Metz as their descendants were for the tremendous tidings of Jemappes or Waterloo, must have seemed to the next generation a singular instance of epidemic madness; and even to us, authentic and full as are the details that make up the picture, it has the look of some strange scene, erroneously transported into real history from a romance. While the King's danger lasted, Madame de Chateauroux fulfilled the severest duties, as she had most publicly usurped the privileges, of a Queen of France. But the imminence of a new reign combined all the waiters upon Providence with the graver circle, which, in sorrow and indignation at the abasement of royalty, had adhered to Maria Leckzinska and the Dauphin. The latter (father to Louis XVI.) had been studiously kept at a distance from the reveling and triumphant profligacies of the King's march. But he was now joined at Metz by the Duc de Chartres, grandson of the Regent, and son to the Jansenist Duke of Orleans. The same feeling of superstitious Catholicism which, while English emissaries were at this very time tampering with the Protestants of the South, prevented the restoration of the Edict of Nantes, would have been outraged, if Louis XV.'s death-bed had not been hallowed by public sacraments. But the expulsion of Madame de Chateauroux was a necessary condition of their administration. The Duc de Chartres and Richelieu drew their swords in the very bedchamber; meanwhile the horror which Louis XV. always showed at the approach of death, weakened the party of the favorite. She was ordered to leave the court; and d'Argenson, the foreign minister, prepared his own future disgrace by the unmanly harshness with which he delivered the royal orders. The King recovered; and Madame de Chateauroux was recalled. Her enemies were, in their turn, dismissed; d'Argenson was exiled, and laid down his office; she
was herself named to a high position in the Dauphin's household.
But the revulsion of her feelings had been too strong. She was taken ill with a suddenness that roused suspicions of poison; and in twenty-four hours she had died, imploring the pardon of Maria Leckzinska! By her side, at the death-bed, reappeared Louise de Mailly, that true and loving sister, whose tenderness her own guilt could never harden, nor her rival's insults alienate.
With Madame de Chateauroux passed away the animating principle of the revived coalition. The year after her death the energy she had communicated to Louis XV. still carried him on to Fontenoy. But after that, the ends proposed by war seemed further off than ever; and were brought no nearer even by Roucoux and Lawfeldt. Early in 1745 the Emperor Charles VII. closed his wretched career. The first act of his successor, the Elector Maximilian, was to make peace with Austria, and to acquiesce in the elevation of Maria Theresa's husband, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to the imperial throne. An attempt at an Italian confederation, of which the King of Sardinia would have been the most prominent member, and which would have largely recompensed France for her losses in the war, was broken off in the same year by the obstinate folly of the Spanish court. But in 1746 Philip V. died; and at once Elizabeth of Parma lost all her influence. The new king, Ferdinand VI., immediately recalled the Spanish troops, not choosing that they should be sacrificed in Italy to provide an appanage for his halfbrothers. Frederic again failed the French cause, and, in setting Austria free to act after the Peace of Dresden, verified the saying that he hurt his allies as much by making peace, as he hurt his enemies by making war. In India the quarrels of Dupleix and Labourdonnaye favored the English establishments, and consigned the latter great soldier and administrator to the Bastille. At sea, Anson's victories were destroying the French navy. Still France toiled on; and deserted and exhausted as she was, in 1747 she declared formal war with Holland. But the maritime powers and the House of Austria had yet another card to play, and by producing it decided this protracted game.
The position of Russia with regard to the older monarchies of Europe is one of the most curious features in the diplomatic history of the last century. Long before the reign of Peter the Great, in the days of the Livonian and Polish wars, her colossal power