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"Whereupon the Dutch Population turned round on its Governors, with a growl of indignation, spreading ever wider, waxing ever higher: 'Scandalous laggards, is this your mode of governing a free Republic? Freedom to let the State go to dry-rot, and become the laughing-stock of mankind. To provide for your own paltry kindred in the State-employments; to palaver grandly with all comers; and publish melodious Despatches of Van Hoey? Had not Britannic Majesty, for his dear Daughter's sake, come to the rescue in this crisis, where had we been? We demand a Stadtholder again; our glorious Nassau Orange, to keep some bridle on you!' And actually, in this way, Populus and Plebs, by general turning out into the streets, in a gloomily indignant manner, which threatens to become vociferous and dangerous,--cowed the Heads of the Republic into choosing the said Prince, with Princess and Family, as Stadtholder, High-Admiral, High-Everything and Supreme of the Republic. Hereditary, no less, and punctually perpetual; Princess and Family to share in it. In which happy state (ripened into Kingship latterly) they continue to this day. A result painfully surprising to Most Christian Majesty; gratifying to Britannic proportionately, or more;--and indeed beneficial towards abating dry-rot and melodious palaver in that poor Land of the Free. Consummated, by popular outbreak of vociferation, in the different Provinces, in about a week from April 23d, when those helpful Seventy-fours hove in sight. Stadtholdership had been in abeyance for forty-five years. [Since our Dutch William's death, 1702.] The new Stadtholder did his best; could not, in the short life granted him, do nearly enough.--Next year there was a SECOND Dutch outbreak, or general turning into the streets; of much more violent character; in regard to glaringly unjust Excises and Taxations, and to 'instant dismissal of your Excise-Farmers,' as the special first item. [Adelung, vi. 364 et seq.; Raumer, 182-193 ("March-September, 1748"); or, in
"JULY 19th, FATE OF CHEVALIER DE BELLEISLE. At the Fortress of Exilles, in one of those Passes of the Savoy Alps,--Pass of Col di Sieta, memorable to the French Soldier ever since,--there occurred a lamentable thing;" doubtless much talked of at Sceaux while Voltaire was there. "The Revolt of Genoa (popular outburst, and expulsion of our poor friend Botta and his Austrians, then a famous thing, and a rarer than now) having suddenly recalled the victorious General Browne from his Siege of Antibes and Invasion of Provence,--Marechal Duc de Belleisle, well reinforced and now become 'Army of Italy' in general, followed steadfastly for 'Defence of Genoa' against indignant Botta, Browne and Company. For defence of Genoa; nay for attack on Turin, which would have been 'defence' in Genoa and everywhere,--had the captious Spaniard consented to co-operate. Captious Spaniard would not; Couriers to Madrid, to Paris thereupon, and much time lost;--till, at the eleventh hour, came consent from Paris, 'Try it by yourself, then!' Belleisle tries it; at least his Brother does. His Brother, the Chevalier, is to force that Pass of Exilles; a terrible fiery business, but the backbone of the whole adventure: in which, if the Chevalier can succeed, he too is to be Marechal de France. Forward, therefore, climb the Alpine stairs again; snatch me that Fort of Exilles.
"And so, July 19th, 1747, the Chevalier comes in sight of the Place; scans a little the frowning buttresses, bristly with guns; the dumb Alps, to right and left, looking down on him and it. Chevalier de Belleisle judges that, however difficult, it can and must be possible to French valor; and storms in upon it, huge and furious (20,000, or if needful 30,000);--but is torn into mere wreck, and hideous recoil; rallies, snatches a standard, 'We must take it or die,'--and dies, does not take it; falls shot on the rampart, 'pulling at the palisades with his own hands,' nay some say 'with his teeth,' when the last moments came. Within one hour, he has lost 4,000 men; and himself and his Brother's Enterprise lie ended there. [Voltaire, xxv. 221 et seq. (SIECLE DE LOUIS QUINZE, c. 22); Adelung, vi 174.] Fancy his poor Brother's feelings, who much loved him! The discords about War-matters (TRACASSERIES DE L'ARMEE) were a topic at Sceaux lately, as De Staal intimated. 'Why starve our Italian Enterprises; heaping every resource upon the Netherlands and Saxe?' Diligent Defence of Genoa (chiefly by flourishing of swords on the part of France, for the Austrians were not yet ready) is henceforth all the Italian War there is; and this explosion at Exilles may fitly be finis to it here. Let us only say that Infant Philip did, when the Peace came, get a bit of Apanage (Parma and Piacenza or some such thing, contemptibly small to the Maternal heart), and that all things else lapsed to their pristine state, MINUS only the waste and ruin there had been."
JULY 12th-SEPTEMBER 18th: SIEGE OF THE CHIEF DUTCH FORTRESS. "Unexpected Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom; two months of intense excitement to the Dutch Patriots and Cause-of-Liberty Gazetteers, as indifferent and totally dead as it has now become. Marechal de Saxe, after his victory at Lauffeld, 2d July, did not besiege Maestricht, as had been the universal expectation; but shot off an efficient lieutenant of his, one Lowendahl, in due force, privately ready, to overwhelm Bergen-op-Zoom with sudden Siege, while he himself lay between the beaten enemy and it. Bergen is the heart, of Holland, key of the Scheld, and quite otherwise important than Maestricht. 'Coehorn's masterpiece!' exclaim the Gazetteers; 'Impregnable, you may depend!' 'We shall see,' answered Saxe, answered Lowendahl the Dane (who also became Marechal by this business); and after a great deal of furious assaulting and battering, took the Place September 18th, before daylight," by a kind of surprisal or quasi-storm;--"the Commandant, one Cronstrom, a brave old Swede, age towards ninety, not being of very wakeful nature! 'Did as well as could be expected of him,' said the Court- Martial sitting on his case, and forbore to shoot the poor old man. [Adelung, vi. 184, 206;--"for Cronstrom," if any one is curious, "see Schlotzer,
DECEMBER 25th, RUSSIANS IN BEHALF OF HUMAN LIBERTY. "March of 36,000 Russians from the City of Moscow, this day; on a very long journey, in the hoary Christmas weather! Most, Christian Majesty is ruinously short of money; Britannic Majesty has still credit, and a voting Parliament, but, owing to French influence on the Continent, can get no recruits to hire. Gradually driven upon Russia, in such stress, Britannic Majesty has this year hired for himself a 35,000 Russians; 30,000 regular foot; 4,000 ditto horse, and 1,000 Cossacks;--uncommonly cheap, only 150,000 pounds the lot, not, 4 pounds per head by the year. And, in spite of many difficulties and hagglings, they actually get on march, from Moscow, 25th December, 1747; and creep on, all Winter, through the frozen peats wildernesses, through Lithuania, Poland, towards Bohmen, Mahren: are to appear in the Rhine Countries, joined by certain Austrians; and astonish mankind next Spring. Their Captain is one Repnin, Prince Repnin, afterwards famous enough in those Polish Countries;" --which is now the one point interesting to us in the thing. "Their Captain WAS, first, to be Lacy, old Marshal Lacy; then, failing Lacy, 'Why not General Keith?'--but proves to be Repnin, after much hustling and intriguing:" Repnin, not Keith, that is the interesting point.
"Such march of the Russians, on behalf of Human Liberty, in pay of Britannic Majesty, is a surprising fact; and considerably discomposes the French. Who bestir themselves in Sweden and elsewhere against Russia and it: with no result,--except perhaps the incidental one, of getting our esteemed old friend Guy Dickens, now Sir Guy, dismissed from Stockholm, and we hope put on half-pay on his return home." [Adelung, vi. 250, 302:--Sir Guy, not yet invalided, "went to Russia," and other errands.]
MARSHAL KEITH COMES TO PRUSSIA (September, 1747).
"Much hustling and intriguing," it appears, in regard to the Captaincy of these Russians. Concerning which there is no word worthy to be said,--except for one reason only, That it finished off the connection of General Keith with Russia. That this of seeing Repnin, his junior and inferior, preferred to him, was, of many disgusts, the last drop which made the cup run over;--and led the said General to fling it from him, and seek new fields of employment. From Hamburg, having got so far, he addresses himself, 1st September, 1747, to Friedrich, with offer of service; who grasps eagerly at the offer: "Feldmarschall your rank; income, $1,200 a year; income, welcome, all suitable:"--and, October 28th, Feldmarschall Keith finishes, at Potsdam, a long Letter to his Brother Lord Marischal, in these words, worth giving, as those of a very clear-eyed sound observer of men and things:-- "I have now the honor, and, which is still more, the pleasure, of being with the King at Potsdam; where he ordered me to come," 17th current, "two days after he declared me Fieldmarshal: Where I have the honor to dine and sup with him almost every day. He has more wit than I have wit to tell you; speaks solidly and knowingly on all kinds of subjects; and I am much mistaken if, with the experience of Four Campaigns, he is not the best Officer of his Army. He has several persons," Rothenburg, Winterfeld, Swedish Rudenskjold (just about departing), not to speak of D'Argens and the French, "with whom he lives in almost the familiarity of a friend,--but has no favorite;--and shows a natural politeness for everybody who is about him. For one who has been four days about his person, you will say I pretend to know a great deal of his character: but what I tell you, you may depend upon. With more time, I shall know as much of him as he will let me know;--and all his Ministry knows no more." [Varnhagen van Ense,
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