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Breeches-pocket MINUS most other requisites: alas, with such methods as you have, what can come of it? Royal Highness of Cumberland is a valiant man, knowing of War little more than the White Horse of Hanover does;--certain of ruin again, at the hands of Marechal de Saxe. So think many, and have their dismal misgivings. "Saxe having eaten Bergen-op-Zoom before our eyes, what can withstand the teeth of Saxe?" In fact, there remains only Maestricht, of considerable; and then Holland is as good as his! As for King Louis, glory, with funds running out, and the pot ceasing to boil, has lost its charm to an afflicted France and him. King Louis's wishes are known, this long while;--and Ligonier, generously dismissed by him after Lauffeld, has brought express word to that effect, and outline of the modest terms proposed in one's hour of victory, with pot ceasing to boil.
On a sudden, too, "March 18th,"--wintry blasts and hailstorms still raging,--Marechal de Saxe, regardless of Domestic Hunger, took the field, stronger than ever. Manoeuvred about; bewildering the mind of Royal Highness and the Stadtholder ("Will he besiege Breda? Will he do this, will he do that?")--poor Highness and poor Stadtholder; who "did not agree well together," and had not the half of their forces come in, not to speak of handling them when come! Bewilderment of these two once completed, Marechal de Saxe made "a beautiful march upon Maestricht; " and, April 15th, opened trenches, a very Vesuvius of artillery, before that place; Royal Highness gazing into it, in a doleful manner, from the adjacent steeple-tops. Royal Highness, valor's self, has to admit: "Such an outlook; not half of us got together! The 60,000 Austrians are but 30,000; the-- In fact, you will have to make Peace, what else?" [His Letters, in Coxe's
In a word, those 35,000 Russians are still far away under the horizon, when thoughts of a new Congress, "Congress of Aix-la- Chapelle," are busying the public mind: "Mere moonshine again?" "Something real this time?"--And on and from March 17th (Lord Sandwich first on the ground, and Robinson from Vienna coming to help), the actual Congress begins assembling there. April 24th, the Congress gets actually to business; very intent on doing it; at least the three main parties, France, England, Holland, are supremely so. Who, finding, for five diligent days, nothing but haggle and objection on the part of the others, did by themselves meet under cloud of night, "night of April 29th-30th;" and--bring the Preliminaries to perfection. And have them signed before daybreak; which is, in effect, signing, or at least fixing as certain, the Treaty itself; so that Armistice can ensue straightway, and the War essentially end.
A fixed thing; the Purseholders having signed. On the safe rear of which, your recipient Subsidiary Parties can argue and protest (as the Empress-Queen and her Kaunitz vehemently did, to great lengths), and gradually come in and finish. Which, in the course of the next six months, they all did, Empress-Queen and Excellency Kaunitz not excepted. And so, October 18th, 1748, all details being, in the interim, either got settled, or got flung into corners as unsettleable (mostly the latter),--Treaty itself was signed by everybody; and there was "Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle." Upon which, except to remark transiently how inconclusive a conclusion it was, mere end of war because your powder is run out, mere truce till you gather breath and gunpowder again, we will spend no word in this place. [Complete details in ADELUNG, vi. 225-409: "October, 1747," Ligonier returning, and first rumor of new Congress (226); "17th March, 1748," Sandwich come (323); "April 29th-30th," meet under cloud of night (326); Kaunitz protesting (339): "2d August," Russians to halt and turn (397); "are over into the Oberpfalz, magazines ahead at Nurnberg;" in September, get to Bohmen again, and winter there: "18th October, 1748," Treaty finished (398, 409); Treaty itself given (IB., Beylage, 44). See
"The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was done in a hurry and a huddle; greatly to Maria Theresa's disgust. 'Why not go on with your expenditures, ye Sea-Powers? Can money and life be spent better? I have yet conquered next to nothing for the Cause of Liberty and myself!' But the Sea-Powers were tired of it; the Dutch especially, who had been hoisted with such difficulty, tended strongly, New Stadtholder notwithstanding, to plump down again into stable equilibrium on the broad-bottom principle. Huddle up the matter; end it, well if you can; any way end it. The Treaty contained many Articles, now become forgettable to mankind. There is only One Article, and the Want of One, which shall concern us in this place. The One Article is: guarantee by all the European Powers to Friedrich's Treaty of Dresden. Punctually got as bargained for,-- French especially willing; Britannic Majesty perhaps a little languid, but his Ministers positive on the point; so that Friedrioh's Envoy had not much difficulty at Aix. And now, Friedrich's Ownership of Silesia recognized by all the Powers to be final and unquestionable, surely nothing more is wanted? Nothing,-- except keeping of this solemn stipulation by all the Powers. How it was kept by some of them; in what sense some of them are keeping it even now, we shall see by and by.
"The Want of an Article was, on the part of England, concerning JENKINS'S EAR. There is not the least conclusion arrived at on that important Spanish-English Question; blind beginning of all these conflagrations; and which, in its meaning to the somnambulant Nation, is so immense. No notice taken of it; huddled together, some hasty shovelful or two of diplomatic ashes cast on it, 'As good as extinct, you see!' Left smoking, when all the rest is quenched. Considerable feeling there was, on this point, in the heart of the poor somnambulant English Nation; much dumb or semi- articulate growling on such a Peace-Treaty: 'We have arrived nowhere, then, by all this fighting, and squandering, and perilous stumbling among the chimney-pots? Spain (on its own showing) owed us 95,000 pounds. Spain's debt to Hanover; yes, you take care of that; some old sixpenny matter, which nobody ever heard of before: and of Spain's huge debt to England you drop no hint; of the 95,000 pounds, clear money, due by Spain; or of one's liberty to navigate the High Seas, none!' [PROTEST OF ENGLISH MERCHANTS AGAINST, &c. ("May, 1748") given in ADELUNG, vi. 353-358.] A Peace the reverse of applauded in England; though the wiser Somnambulants, much more Pitt and Friends, who are broad awake on these German points, may well be thankful to see such a War end on any terms."
--Well, surely this old admitted 95,000 pounds should have been paid! And, to a moral certainty, Robinson and Sandwich must have made demand of it from the Spaniard. But there is no getting old Debts in, especially from that quarter. "King Friedrich [let me interrupt, for a moment, with this poor composite Note] is trying in Spain even now,--ever since 1746, when Termagant's Husband died, and a new King came,--for payment of old debt: Two old Debts; quite tolerably just both of them. King Friedrich keeps trying till 1749, three years in all: and, in the end, gets nothing whatever. Nothing,--except some Merino Rams in the interim," gift from the new King of Spain, I can suppose, which proved extremely useful in our Wool Industries; "and, from the same polite Ferdinand VI., a Porcelain Vase filled with Spanish Snuff." That was all!--
King Friedrich, let me note farther, is getting decidedly deep into snuff; holds by SPANIOL (a dry yellow pungency, analogous to Lundy- foot or Irish-Blackguard, known to snuffy readers); always by Spaniol, we say; and more especially "the kind used by her Majesty of Spain," the now Dowager Termagant: [Orders this kind, from his Ambassador in Paris, "30th September, 1743:" the earliest extant trace of his snuffing habits (Preuss, i. 409).--NOTE FARTHER (if interesting): "The Termagant still lasted as Dowager, consuming SPANIOL at least, for near twenty years (died 11th July, 1766); --the new King, Ferdinand VI., was her STEPson, not her son; he went mad, poor soul, and died (10th August, 1759): upon which, Carlos of Naples, our own 'Baby Carlos' that once was, succeeded in Spain, 'King Carlos III. of Spain;' leaving his Son, a young boy under tutelage, as King of the Two Sicilies (King 'Ferdinand IV.,' who did not die, but had his difficulties, till 1825). Don Philip, who had fought so in those Savoy Passes, and got the bit of Parmesan Country, died 1765, the year before Mamma."] which, also, is to be remembered. Dryasdust adds, in his sweetly consecutive way: "Friedrich was very expensive about his snuff-boxes; wore two big rich boxes in his pockets; five or six stood on tables about; and more than a hundred in store, coming out by turns for variety. The cheapest of them cost 300 pounds (2,000 thalers); he had them as high as 1,500 pounds. At his death, there were found 130 of various values: they were the substance of all the jewelry he had; besides these snuff-boxes, two gold watches only, and a very small modicum of rings. Had yearly for personal Expenditure 1,200,000 thalers [180,000 pounds of Civil List, as we should say]; SPENT 33,000 pounds of it, and yearly gave the rest away in Royal beneficences, aid of burnt Villages, inundated Provinces, and multifarious PATER-PATRIAE objects." [Preuss, i. 409, 410,]-- In regard to JENKINS'S EAR, my Constitutional Friend continues:--
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