remain for ever involved in mystery. One of the letters

time:2023-12-01 05:16:35source:xsnedit:zop

The Spanish Majesty next applied at Brunswick Wolfenbuttel; no lack of Princesses there: Princesa Elizabeth, for instance; Protestant she too, but perhaps not so squeamish? Old Anton Ulrich, whom some readers know for the idle Books, long-winded Novels chiefly, which he wrote, was the Grandfather of this favored Princess; a good-natured old gentleman, of the idle ornamental species, in whose head most things, it is likely, were reduced to vocables, scribble and sentimentality; and only a steady internal gravitation towards praise and pudding was traceable as very real in him. Anton Ulrich, affronted more or less by the immense advancement of Gentleman Ernst and the Hanoverian or YOUNGER Brunswick Line, was extremely glad of the Imperial offer; and persuaded his timid Grand-daughter, ambitious too, but rather conscience-stricken, That the change from Protestant to Catholic, the essentials being so perfectly identical in both, was a mere trifle; that he himself, old as he was, would readily change along with her, so easy was it. Whereupon the young Lady made the big leap; abjured her religion; [1st May, 1707, at Bamberg.]--went to Spain as Queen (with sad injury to her complexion, but otherwise successfully more or less);--and sits now as Empress beside her Karl VI. in a grand enough, probably rather dull, but not singularly unhappy manner.

remain for ever involved in mystery. One of the letters

She, a Brunswick Princess, with Nephews and Nieces who may concern us, is Kaiserinn to Kaiser Karl: for aught I know of her, a kindly simple Wife, and unexceptionable Sovereign Majesty, of the sort wanted; whom let us remember, if we meet her again one day. I add only of this poor Lady, distinguished to me by a Daughter she had, that her mind still had some misgivings about the big leap she had made in the Protestant-Papist way. Finding Anton Ulrich still continue Protestant, she wrote to him out of Spain:--"Why, O honored Grandpapa, have you not done as you promised? Ah, there must be a taint of mortal sin in it, after all!" Upon which the absurdly situated old Gentleman did change his religion; and is marked as a Convert in all manner of Genealogies and Histories;-- truly an old literary gentleman ducal and serene, restored to the bosom of the Church in a somewhat peculiarly ridiculous manner. { Michaelis, i. 131.]--But to return.

remain for ever involved in mystery. One of the letters


remain for ever involved in mystery. One of the letters

Ever after the Peace of Utrecht, when England and Holland declined to bleed for him farther, especially ever since his own Peace of Rastadt made with Louis the year after Kaiser Karl had utterly lost hold of the Crown of Spain; and had not the least chance to clutch that bright substance again. But he held by the shadow of it, with a deadly Hapsburg tenacity; refused for twenty years, under all pressures, to part with the shadow: "The Spanish Hapsburg Branch is dead; whereupon do not I, of the Austrian Branch, sole representative of Kaiser Karl the Fifth, claim, by the law of Heaven, whatever he possessed in Spain, by law of ditto? Battles of Blenheim of Malplaquet, Court-intrigues of Mrs. Masham and the Duchess: these may bring Treaties of Utrecht, and what you are pleased to call laws of Earth;--but a Hapsburg Kaiser knows higher laws, if you would do a thousand Utrechts; and by these, Spain is his!"

Poor Kaiser Karl: he had a high thought in him really though a most misguided one. Titular King of Men; but much bewildered into mere indolent fatuity, inane solemnity, high sniffing pride grounded on nothing at all; a Kaiser much sunk in the sediments of his muddy Epoch. Sure enough, he was a proud lofty solemn Kaiser, infinitely the gentleman in air and humor; Spanish gravities, ceremonials, reticences;--and could, in a better scene, have distinguished himself by better than mere statuesque immovability of posture, dignified endurance of ennui, and Hapsburg tenacity in holding the grip. It was not till 1735, after tusslings and wrenchings beyond calculation, that he would consent to quit the Shadow of the Crown of Spain; and let Europe BE at peace on that score.

The essence of what is called the European History of this Period, such History as a Period sunk dead in spirit, and alive only in stomach, can have, turns all on Kaiser Karl, and these his clutchings at shadows. Which makes a very sad, surprising History indeed; more worthy to be called Phenomena of Putrid Fermentation, than Struggles of Human Heroism to vindicate itself in this Planet, which latter alone are worthy of recording as "History" by mankind.

On the throne of Spain, beside Philip V. the melancholic new Bourbon, Louis XIV.'s Grandson, sat Elizabeth Farnese, a termagant tenacious woman, whose ambitious cupidities were not inferior in obstinacy to Kaiser Karl's, and proved not quite so shadowy as his. Elizabeth also wanted several things: renunciation of your (Kaiser Karl's) shadowy claims; nay of sundry real usurpations you and your Treaties have made on the actual possessions of Spain,-- Kingdom of Sicily, for instance; Netherlands, for instance; Gibraltar, for instance. But there is one thing which, we observe, is indispensable throughout to Elizabeth Farnese: the future settlement of her dear Boy Carlos. Carlos, whom as Spanish Philip's second Wife she had given to Spain and the world, as Second or supplementary INFANT there,--a troublesome gift to Spain and others.

"This dear Boy, surely he must have his Italian Apanages, which, you have provided for him: Duchies of Parma and Piacenza, which will fall heirless soon. Security for these Italian Apanages, such as will satisfy a Mother: Let us introduce Spanish garrisons into Parma and Piacenza at once! How else can we be certain of getting those indispensable Apanages, when they fall vacant?" On this point Elizabeth Farnese was positive, maternally vehement; would take no subterfuge, denial or delay: "Let me perceive that I shall have these Duchies: that, first of all; or else not that only, but numerous other things will be demanded of you!"


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