The Kaiser's laudable zeal for commerce had to expend itself in his Adriatic Territories,--giving privileges to the Ports of Trieste and Fiume; [Hormayr,
Poor good Kaiser: they say he was a humane stately gentleman, stately though shortish; fond of pardoning criminals where he could; very polite to Muratori and the Antiquaries, even to English Rymer, in opening his Archives to them,--and made roads in the Dalmatian Hill-Country, which remain to this day. I do not wonder he grew more and more saturnine, and addicted to solid taciturn field-sports. His Political "Perforce-Hunt (PARFORCE JAGD)," with so many two-footed terriers, and legationary beagles, distressing all the world by their baying and their burrowing, had proved to be of Shadows; and melted into thin air, to a very singular degree!
THE SEVEN CRISES OR EUROPEAN TRAVAIL-THROES.
In process of this so terrific Duel with Elizabeth Farnese, and general combat of the Shadows, which then made Europe quake, at every new lunge and pass of it, and which now makes Europe yawn to hear the least mention of it, there came two sputterings of actual War. Byng's sea-victory at Messina, 1718; Spanish "Siege of Gibraltar," 1727, are the main phenomena of these two Wars,-- England, as its wont is, taking a shot in both, though it has now forgotten both. And, on the whole, there came, so far as I can count, Seven grand diplomatic Spasms or Crises,--desperate general European Treatyings hither and then thither, solemn Congresses two of them, with endless supplementary adhesions by the minor powers. Seven grand mother-treaties, not to mention the daughters, or supplementary adhesions they had; all Europe rising spasmodically seven times, and doing its very uttermost to quell this terrible incubus; all Europe changing color seven times, like a lobster boiling, for twenty years. Seven diplomatic Crises, we say, marked changings of color in the long-suffering lobster; and two so-called Wars,--before this enormous zero could be settled. Which high Treaties and Transactions, human nature, after much study of them, grudges to enumerate. Apanage for Baby Carlos, ghost of a Pragmatic Sanction; these were a pair of causes for mankind! Be no word spoken of them, except with regret and on evident compulsion.
For the reader's convenience we must note the salient points; but grudge to do it. Salient points, now mostly wrapt in Orcus, and terrestrially interesting only to the spiders,--except on an occasion of this kind, when part of them happens to stick to the history of a memorable man, To us they are mere bubblings-up of the general putrid fermentation of the then Political World; and are too unlovely to be dwelt on longer than indispensable. Triple Alliance, Quadruple Alliance, Congress of Cambrai, Congress of Soissons; Conference of Pardo, Treaty of Hanover, Treaty of Wusterhausen, what are they? Echo answers, What? Ripperda and the Queen of Spain, Kaiser Karl and his Pragmatic Sanction, are fallen dim to every mind. The Troubles of Thorn (sad enough Papist-Protestant tragedy in their time),--who now cares to know of them? It is much if we find a hearing for the poor Salzburg Emigrants when they get into Preussen itself. Afflicted human nature ought to be, at last, delivered from the palpably superfluous; and if a few things memorable are to be remembered, millions of things unmemorable must first be honestly buried and forgotten! But to our affair,--that of marking the chief bubblings-up in the above-said Universal Putrid Fermentation, so far as they concern us.
We already saw Byng sea fighting in the Straits of Messina; that was part of Crisis Second,--sequel, in powder-and-ball, of Crisis First, which had been in paper till then. The Powers had interfered, by Triple, by Quadruple Alliance, to quench the Spanish-Austrian Duel (about Apanage for Baby Carlos, and a quantity of other Shadows): "Triple Alliance" [4th January, 1717.] was, we may say, when France, England, Holland laboriously sorted out terms of agreement between Kaiser and Termagant: "Quadruple" [18th July, 1718.] was when Kaiser, after much coaxing, acceded, as fourth party; and said gloomily, "Yes, then." Byng's Sea-fight was when Termagant said, "No, by--the Plots of Alberoni! Never will I, for my part, accede to such terms!" and attacked the poor Kaiser in his Sicilies and elsewhere. Byng's Sea-fight, in aid of a suffering Kaiser and his Sicilies, in consequence. Furthermore, the French invaded Spain, till Messina were retaken; nay the English, by land too, made a dash at Spain, "Descent on Vigo" as they call it,--in reference to which take the following stray Note:--
"That same year [1719, year after Byng's Sea-fight, Messina just about recaptured], there took effect, planned by the vigorous Colonel Stanhope, our Minister at Madrid, who took personal share in the thing, a 'Descent on Vigo,' sudden swoop-down upon Town and shipping in those Gallician, north-west regions. Which was perfectly successful,--Lord Cobham leading;--and made much noise among mankind. Filled all Gazettes at that time;--but now, again, is all fallen silent for us,--except this one thrice-insignificant point, That there was in it, 'in Handyside's Regiment,' a Lieutenant of Foot, by name STERNE, who had left, with his poor Wife at Plymouth, a very remarkable Boy called Lorry, or LAWRENCE; known since that to all mankind. When Lorry in his LIFE writes, 'my Father went on the Vigo expedition,' readers may understand this was it. Strange enough: that poor Lieutenant of Foot is now pretty much all that is left of this sublime enterprise upon Vigo, in the memory of mankind;--hanging there, as if by a single hair, till poor TRISTRAM SHANDY be forgotten too." [
In short, the French and even the English invaded Spain; English Byng and others sank Spanish ships: Termagant was obliged to pack away her Alberoni, and give in. She had to accede to "Quadruple Alliance," after all; making it, so to speak, a Quintuple one; making Peace, in fact, [17th February, 1720.]-- general Congress to be held at Cambrai and settle the details.