Most of the Foreign Potentates idly accepted the thing,--as things of a distant contingent kind are accepted;--made Treaty on it, since the Kaiser seemed so extremely anxious. Only Bavaria, having heritable claims, never would. Saxony too (August the Strong), being in the like case, or a better, flatly refused for a long time; would not, at all,--except for a consideration. Bright little Prince Eugene, who dictated square miles of Letters and DIplomacies on the subject (Letters of a steady depth of dulness, which at last grows almost sublime), was wont to tell his Majesty: "Treatying, your Majesty? A well-trained Army and a full Treasury; that is the only Treaty that will make this Pragmatic Sanction valid!" But his Majesty never would believe. So the bright old Eugene dictated,--or, we hope and guess, he only gave his clerks some key-word, and signed his name (in three languages, "Eugenio von Savoye") to these square miles of dull epistolary matter,--probably taking Spanish snuff when he had done. For he wears it in both waistcoat-pockets;--has (as his Portraits still tell us) given up breathing by the nose. The bright little soul, with a flash in him as of Heaven's own lightning; but now growing very old and snuffy.
Shadow of Pragmatic Sanction, shadow of the Spanish Crown,--it was such shadow-huntings of the Kaiser in Vienna, it was this of the Pragmatic Sanction most of all, that thwarted our Prussian Double-Marriage, which lay so far away from it. This it was that pretty nearly broke the hearts of Friedrich, Wilhelmina, and their Mother and Father. For there never was such negotiating; not for admittance to the Kingdom of Heaven, in the pious times. And the open goings-forth of it, still more the secret minings and mole-courses of it, were into all places. Above ground and below, no Sovereign mortal could say he was safe from it, let him agree or not. Friedrich Wilhelm had cheerfully, and with all his heart, agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction; this above ground, in sight of the sun; and rashly fancied he had then done with it. Till, to his horror, he found the Imperial moles, by way of keeping assurance doubly sure, had been under the foundations of his very house for long years past, and had all but brought it down about him in the most hideous manner!--
THIRD SHADOW: IMPERIAL MAJESTY'S OSTEND COMPANY.
Another object which Kaiser Karl pursued with some diligence in these times, and which likewise proved a shadow, much disturbance as it gave mankind, was his "Ostend East-India Company." The Kaiser had seen impoverished Spain, rich England, rich Holland; he had taken up a creditable notion about commerce and its advantages. He said to himself, Why should not my Netherlands trade to the East, as well as these English and Dutch, and grow opulent like them? He instituted (OCTROYA) an "Ostend East-India Company," under due Patents and Imperial Sheepskins, of date 17th December, 1722, [Buchholz, i. 88; Pfeffel,
To which the Kaiser counterpleaded, earnestly, diligently, for the space of seven years,--to no effect. "We will capture your ships if you ever send any," answered the Dutch and English. What ships ever could have been sent from Ostend to the East, or what ill they could have done there, remains a mystery, owing to the monopolizing Maritime Powers.
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.