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had been propelled with convulsive move in the decision by which the court of France ments toward the South and West. Since was allowed to head the coalition of 1741. his death, in each of the three European When the one object of expelling Walpole wars that followed the peace of Utrecht-in was attained, the very pretence of any pubthe war of the Polish Succession, in that of lic interest had been so completely thrown the Austrian Succession, and in the Seven aside, that the treaties of Aix la Chapelle Years' War-Russia attempted to take part never once made mention of the right of in the contest; she was, however, invariably search, nor contained any provision for reguand systematically excluded from a share in lating the contraband trade—though these the final treaties which reunited the recog- alone had been the assigned causes of the nized members of the international common- It was not till Sir Benjamin Keene's wealth. Her assistance, indeed, was eagerly Convention of 1750 that the chance of fudesired by all parties : but our ancestors re- ture embarrassments was obviated, by the garded it with much the same jealousy and abrogation of their fruitful—and, we may discredit which they would have attached to well add, shameless-parent, the Assiento a league with the Turk against Christian Contract of 1713. powers, or with which an English govern- France was, if possible, still more entirely ment would have sought help from Abdel- without excuse for her share in the struggle; Kader against France. It was not till the and she never recovered the wounds she rewars of the Bavarian Succession, in 1779, ceived in it. By the party which supported that Frederic the Great, sinning grievously Belleisle in clamoring for war, the attack on against German interests, introduced Russian Maria Theresa had been proclaimed the natdiplomatists as guarantees of the Peace of ural consummation of the policy of Henry Teschen—treaties, renewing those of West- | IV. and Richelieu. But there was never a phalia, with the guarantee of which, Russia more signal instance of the short-sighted has in consequence considered herself charg- haste which is incapable of distinguishing beed. In the present instance, ever since the tween the letter of a principle and its spirit death of Charles VI., the French and Eng- and application. When the House of Auslish ambassadors at Petersburgh had been tria was threatening to crush the developstruggling against each other's influence. ment of every weaker state in Christendom, At last, through the help of the Grand Chan- and was supported by the whole force of cellor Bestufcheff, the latter prevailed ; and spiritual despotism, Henry IV.'s resistance agreeably to the Subsidy Treaties of 1747, to its usurpations was the cause, not of 67,000 Russians were ready to act against France only, but of Europe. Farther on, if France
the Rhine. It would have been we except the advance of the French fronimpossible for the latter power to resist the tier and the extension of dynastic alliances, accession of strength which this contingent as reasonable objects for a wise ruler to purwould have given to Maria Theresa. But sue, the vaulting ambition of Louis XIV. tendthe presence of these dangerous allies quick-ed to aims which were strictly practical, and ened, perhaps on both sides, the negotiations it was ratified by the enthusiastic applause of Aix la Chapelle; and this tedious war of the whole nation. But, after the peace finally closed in 1748, without the accom- of Utrecht, the House of Austria had beplishment of any one of the objects for which come forever incapable of giving serious ofit had been begun.
fence ; her richest provinces had been annexEngland, indeed, lost little in this contest, ed to France, and the ties which bound up except by the waste of troops and money, with them the inviolate unity of the Holy and from the discredit of having originally Roman Empire had been rudely broken. engaged in the Spanish War in obedience to The Austrian finances were exhausted; the an ignorant and interested clamor. Against remnant of Eugene's heroic life was passed our support of Maria Theresa nothing can in struggles with Charles II.'s ambitious flatbe said. When no single continental court terers, and the solemn triflers of the Aulic was found honest enough to refuse a share Council ; the various leagues and alliances of in the plunder of the House of Austria, Eng- the Rhine had abased the head of the empire land alone acted honorably up to her en- to be the president of a rebellious and disorgagements. But the party which precipita- ganized confederacy; and with the empire, ted the original war with Spain is not there the national spirit of Germany, so formidable fore absolved from legitimate blame. It is to France, and so much dreaded by her, had impossible to doubt that our subsisting broil lost all its terrors. Without some extraorwith that country was an important element / dinary impulse to force them back upon
themselves and startle them into independent | affiliation) from that unjust war of the Ausaction, it seemed as if the nations between i trian Succession. the Rhine and the Vistula would scarcely re- Internally the consequences to France quire even a passing notice from the vigilant were as deplorable, and far more immedidiplomacy of France. Frederic William of ately disastrous. The national expenditure, Prussia (though in many respects a most un- which Fleury had succeeded in equalizing doubted and honorable exception to his with the income, rose above it, never to be brother kings) was absorbed in his passion reduced. The royal navy, which, on the infor playing at soldiers. Saxony was involved terruption of Fleury's conventions with Walin the endless squabbles of the Polish Diet. pole, Maurepas had labored to revive, was Hanover, after plundering Mecklenburgh, un- so absolutely destroyed, that M. de Tocqueder pretence of pacifying it, was quarreling ville assures us, at the peace* of Aix la Chawith Prussia over the booty.
pelle, France only possessed two ships of But to French statesmen the House of war! In the collisions between the French Austria continued to be the same bugbear- and English colonists were sown the seeds of as if Tilly and Wallenstein still headed her the misunderstanding which, in the war of armies; as if the imperial race still drew 1756, deprived France of Canada, and prestrength from Alsace and Franche Comté ; pared the ruin of her flourishing establishas if its younger branches still ruled in ments in Hindostan. Spain, and the Sicilies, and Milan, and Peru. We have now sketched the two first of the To weaken this vanishing phantom, France three periods into which we divide the diploplunged madly into the war, the diplomatic matic history of France during the reign of character of which we have briefly traced. Louis XV. The third period commences She was rewarded by the creation of a new with the Peace of Aix la Chapelle, and the kingdom, which was destined to take the Austrian Alliance that followed. But the lead in Germany; and which may even yet attitude which Europe then assumed was be found the fittest element to regenerate the preserved, with some modifications, long affallen empire. Frederic owed Silesia and | ter the death of Louis XV., and down to the Glatz to the co-operation of France, and to her Congress of Reichenbach, in 1790. It inability to cope with his great capacity. would be impossible for us (consistently with The appearance of another first-class power reasonable limits) now to give the events of in the European lists; the strength which these years, even in the merest outline. We carried Prussia through her subsequent strug: can only hope that we may soon have an opgle with Austria; the intense enthusiasm of portunity of doing so, by the appearance of German nationality which hailed the tri- a history of this later period, as candid and umphs of Minden and Rosbach; the self-re- intelligent as M. de Tocqueville's “ History lying vigor which this nationality has since of the Reign of Louis XÙ.” communicated to German society and German literature; the movement of the whole Mondes contains a very able paper on the French
* The April supplement of the Revue des Deux German race in the War of Independence; Marine of 1849;" and annexed to it is a table of the the growth of that doctrinaire school of maritime armaments of France from 1675 to 1743 ; modern Germany, whose most rooted preju- by which it appears that in 1717 (two years after dice is an antipathy to the very name of the death of Louis XIV.) the maritime forces of
France only numbered four vessels and 460 men. France—all these effects have followed (and There are considerable fluctuations. But in 1736 we believe may be deduced by no indirect the vessels were only 5; the men 280.
TO A LARK.
Soar and sing, soar and sing,
In the bosom of yon cloud,
With a light and rosy shroud:
Soar, and sing thy morning hymn!
Would my soul, like thee, could rise,
Crown'd with an immortal wreath,
Might my soul its fervor breathe -
From Hogg's Instrucior.
BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
The flight of our human hours, not really proachful as the representative of so many more rapid at any one moment than another, others, uncounted pearls, that have already yet oftentimes to our feelings seems more been swallowed up irrecoverably whilst she rapid, and this flight startles us like guilty was yet sleeping, and of many besides that things with a more affecting sense of its ra- must follow, before any remedy can be appidity, when a distant church-clock strikes plied to what we may call this jewelly hæin the night-time, or when, upon some solemn morrhage. A constant hæmorrhage of the summer evening, the sun's disk, after settling same kind is wasting our jewelly hours. A for a minute with farewell horizontal rays, day has perished from our brief calendar of suddenly drops out of sight. The record days: and that we could endure ; but this of our loss in such a case seems to us the day is no more than the reiteration of many first intimation of its possibility; as if we other days, days counted by thousands, that could not be made sensible that the hours have perished to the same extent and by the were perishable until it is announced to us same unhappy means, viz., the evil usages of that already they have perished. We feel a the world made effectual and ratified by our perplexity of distress when that which seems own lacheté. Bitter is the upbraiding which to us the cruelest of injuries, a robbery com- we seem to hear from a secret monitormitted upon our dearest possession by the “My friend, you make very free with your conspiracy of the world outside, seems also days : pray, how many do you expect to as in part a robbery sanctioned by our own have ? What is your rental, as regards the collusion. The world, and the customs of the total harvest of days which this life is likely world, never cease to levy taxes upon our to yield ?" Let us consider. Threescore time: that is true, and so far the blame is years and ten produce a total sum of 25,550 not ours; but the particular degree in which days; to say nothing of some seventeen or we suffer by this robbery depends much upon eighteen more that will be payable to you as the weakness with which we ourselves be- a bonus on account of leap years. Now, out come parties to the wrong, or the energy of this total, one-third must be deducted at with which we resist it. Resisting or not, a blow for a single item, viz., sleep. Next, however, we are doomed to suffer a bitter on account of illness, of recreation, and the pang as often as the irrecoverable flight of serious occupations spread over the surface our time is brought home with keenness to of life, it will be little enough to deduct anoour hearts. The spectacle of a lady floating ther third. Recollect also that twenty years over the sea in a boat, and waking suddenly will have gone from the earlier end of your from sleep to find her magnificent ropes of life (viz., above 7000 days) before you can pearl-necklace, by some accident, detached at have attained any skill or system, or any one end from its fastenings, the loose string definite purpose in the distribution of your hanging down into the water, and pearl after time. Lastly, for that single item which, pearl slipping off for ever into the abyss, amongst the Roman armies, was indicated brings before us the sadness of the case. by the technical phrase
' corpus curare,” That particular pearl, which at the very mo- tendance on the animal necessities, viz., eatment is rolling off into the unsearchable ing, drinking, washing, bathing and exercise, deeps, carries its own separate reproach to deduct the smallest allowance consistent with the lady's heart. But it is more deeply re- propriety, and, upon summing up all these appropriations, you will not find so much as advantages belong to conversation for the four thousand days left disposable for direct effectual promotion of intellectual culture. intellectual culture. Four thousand, or forty Social discussion supplies the natural intehundreds, will be a hundred forties; that is, gration for the deficiencies of private and according to the lax Hebrew method of in- sequestered study. Simply to rehearse, dicating six weeks by the phrase of " forty simply to express in words amongst familiar days," you will have a hundred bills or drafts friends, one's own intellectual perplexities, on Father Time, value six weeks each, as the is oftentimes to clear them up. It is well whole period available for intellectual labor. known that the best means of learning is by A solid block of about eleven and a half teaching ; the effort that is made for others continuous years is all that a long life will is made eventually for ourselves; and the furnish for the development of what is most readiest method of illuminating obscure conaugust in man's nature. After that, the night ceptions, or maturing such as are crude, lies comes when no man can work; brain and arm in an earnest effort to make them apprewill be alike unserviceable; or, if the life hensible by others. Even this is but one should be unusually extended, the vital amongst the functions fulfilled by conversapowers will be drooping as regards all mo- tion. Each separate individual in a company tions in advance.
is likely to see any problem or idea under Limited thus severely in his direct ap- some difference of angle. Each may have proaches to knowledge, and in his approaches some difference of views to contribute, deto that which is a thousand times more im-rived either from a different course of readportant than knowledge, viz., the conducting, or a different tenor of reflection, or perand discipline of the knowing faculty, the haps a different train of experience. The more clamorous is the necessity that a wise advantages of colloquial discussion are not man should turn to account any INDIRECT only often commensurate in degree to those and supplementary means toward the same of study, but they recommend themselves ends; and amongst these means a chief one also as being different in kind; they are by right and potentially is CONVERSATION. special and sui generis. It must, therefore, Even the primary means, books, study, and be important that so great an organ of inmeditation, through errors from without and tellectual development should not be neuerrors from within, are not that which they tralized by mismanagement, as generally it might be made. Too constantly, when re- is, or neglected through insensibility to its viewing his own efforts for improvement, a latent capacities. The importance of the man has reason to say (indignantly, as one subject should be measured by its relation injured by others ; penitentially, as contrib- to the interests of the intellect; and on this uting to this injury himself), *Much of my principle we do not scruple to think that, in studies have been thrown away; many books reviewing our own experience of the causes which were useless, or worse than useless, I most commonly at war with the free movehave read; many books which ought to have ment of conversation as it ought to be, we been read, I have left unread; such is the are in effect contributing hints for a new sad necessity under the absence of all pre- chapter in any future “Essay on the Imconceived plan ; and the proper road is first provement of the Mind.” Watts's book ascertained when the journey is drawing to under that title is really of little practical its close.” In a wilderness so vast as that use, nor would it ever have been thought so of books, to go astray often and widely is had it not been patronized, in a spirit of parpardonable, because it is inevitable; and in tisanship, by a particular section of religious proportion as the errors on this primary field | dissenters. Wherever that happens, the forof study have been great, it is important to tune of a book is made ; for the sectarian have reaped some compensatory benefits on impulse creates a sensible current in favor of the secondary field of conversation. Books the book ; and the general or neutral reader teach by one machinery, conversation by yields passively to the motion of the current, another; and, if these resources were trained without knowing or caring to know whence into correspondence to their own separate it is derived. ideals, they might become reciprocally the Our remarks must of necessity be cursory complements of each other. The false se- here, so that they will not need or permit lection of books, for instance, might often be much preparation; but one distinction, which rectified at once by the frank collation of ex- is likely to strike on some minds, as to the periences which takes place in miscellaneous two different purposes of conversation, ought colloquial intercourse. But other and greater | to be noticed, since otherwise it will seem doubtful whether we have not confounded, we have heard much of what was reputed them ; or, secondly, if we have not confound to be the select conversation of the day, and ed them, which of the two it is that our we have heard many of those who figured remarks contemplate. In speaking above at the moment as effective talkers ; yet in of conversation, we have fixed our view on mere sincerity, and without a vestige of those uses of conversation which are minis- misanthropic retrospect, we must say,
that terial to intellectual culture; but, in relation never once has it happened to us to come to the majority of men, conversation is far away from any display of that nature withless valuable as an organ of intellectual cul- out intense disappointment; and it always ture than of social enjoyment. For one man appeared to us that this failure (which soon interested in conversation as a means of ad- ceased to be a disappointment) was inevitable vancing his studies, there are fifty men by a necessity of the case. For here lay the whose interest in conversation points exclu- stress of the difficulty: almost all depends, sively to convivial pleasure. This, as being in most trials of skill, upon the parity of a more extensive function of conversation, is those who are matched against each other. . so far the more dignified function; whilst, on An ignorant person supposes that, to an able the other hand, such a purpose as direct disputant, it must be an advantage to have a mental improvement seems by its superior feeble opponent; whereas, on the contrary, gravity to challenge the higher rank. Yet, it is ruin to him ; for he cannot display his in fact, even here the more general purpose own powers but through something of a corof conversation takes precedency; for when responding power in the resistance of his dedicated to the objects of festal delight, antagonist. A brilliant fencer is lost and conversation rises by its tendency to the confounded in playing with a novice; and rank of a fine art. It is true that not one the same thing takes place in playing at man in a million rises to any distinction in ball; or battledore, or in dancing, where a this art ; nor, whatever France may conceit powerless partner does not enable you to of herself, has any one nation, amongst other shine the more, but reduces you to mere nations, a real precedency in this art. The helplessness, and takes the wind altogether artists are rare indeed ; but still the art, as out of your sails. Now, if by some rare distinguished from the artist, may, by its good luck the great talker—the protagonist difficulties, by the quality of its graces, and of the evening has been provided with a by the range of its possible brilliances, take commensurate second, it is just possible that rank as a fine art; or, at all events, accord- something like a brilliant “passage of arms” ing to its powers of execution, it tends to may be the result, though much, even in that rank; whereas the best order of con- that case, will depend on the chances of the versation that is simply ministerial to a pur- moment for furnishing a fortunate theme; pose of use, cannot pretend to a higher and even then, amongst the superior part of name than that of a mechanic art. But these the company, a feeling of deep vulgarity and distinctions, though they would form the of mountebank display is inseparable from grounds of a separate treatment in a regular such an ostentatious duel of wit. On the treatise on conversation, may be practically other hand, supposing your great talker to neglected on this occasion, because the hints be received like any other visitor, and turned offered, by the generality of the terms in loose upon the company, then he must do which they express themselves, may be ap- one of two things : either he will talk upon plied indifferently to either class of conver- outré subjects specially tabooed to his own sation. The main diseases, indeed, which private use, in which case the great man has obstruct the healthy movement of conversa- the air of a quack-doctor addressing a mob tion, recur everywhere; and alike whether from a street stage; or else he will talk like the object be pleasure or profit in the free ordinary people upon popular topics; in interchange of thought, almost universally which case the company, out of natural that free interchange is obstructed in the very politeness, that they may not seem to be same way, by the very same defect of any staring at him as a lion, will hasten to meet controlling principle for sustaining the general him in the same style; the conversation will rights and interests of the company, and by become general ; the great man will seem the same vices of self-indulgent indolence, or reasonable and well-bred; but at the same of callous selfishness, or of insolent vanity, in time, we grieve to say it, the great man will the individual talkers.
have been extinguished by being drawn off Let us fall back on the recollections of our from his exclusive ground. The dilemma, own experience. In the course of our life in short, is this: if the great talker attempts