“by the death of the only officer on board, was, I should

time:2023-12-01 05:19:06source:androidedit:rna

A certain bright young Frenchman, Francois Arouet,--spoiled for a solid law-career, but whose OEDIPE we saw triumphing in the Theatres, and who will, under the new name of VOLTAIRE, become very memorable to us,--happened to be running towards Holland that way, one of his many journeys thitherward; and actually saw this Congress, then in the first year of its existence. Saw it, probably dined with it. A Letter of his still extant, not yet fallen to the spiders, as so much else has done, testifies to this fact. Let us read part of it, the less despicable part,--as a Piece supremely insignificant, yet now in a manner the one surviving Document of this extraordinary Congress; Congress's own works and history having all otherwise fallen to the spiders forever. The Letter is addressed to Cardinal Dubois;--for Dubois, "with the face like a goat," [Herzogin von Orleans, BRIEFE.] yet lived (first year of this Congress); and Regent d'Orleans lived, intensely interested here as third party:--and a goat-faced Cardinal, once pimp and lackey, ugliest of created souls, Archbishop of this same Cambrai "by Divine permission" and favor of Beelzebub, was capable of promoting a young fellow if he chose:--

“by the death of the only officer on board, was, I should

"TO HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL DUBOIS (from Arouet Junior).

“by the death of the only officer on board, was, I should

". . . We are just arrived in your City, Monseigneur; where, I think, all the Ambassadors and all the Cooks in Europe have given one another rendezvous. It seems as if all the Ministers of Germany had assembled here for the purpose of getting their Emperor's health drunk. As to Messieurs the Ambassadors of Spain, one of them hears two masses a day, and the other manages the troop of players. The English Ministers [a LORD POLWARTH and a LORD WHITWORTH] send many couriers to Champagne, and few to London. For the rest, nobody expects your Eminence here; it is not thought you will quit the Palais-Royal to visit the sheep of your flock in these parts [no!], it would be too bad for your Eminence and for us all. . . . Think sometimes, Monseigneur, of a man who [regards your goat-faced Eminence as a beautiful ingenious creature; and such a hand in conversation as never was). The one thing I will ask [of your goat-faced Eminence] at Paris will be, to have the goodness to talk to me." [ OEuvres de Voltaire, 97 vols. (Paris, l825-1834), lxviii. 95, 96.]

“by the death of the only officer on board, was, I should

Alas, alas!--The more despicable portions of this Letter we omit, as they are not history of the Congress, but of Arouet Junior on the shady side. So much will testify that this Congress did exist; that its wiggeries and it were not always, what they now are, part of a nightmare-vision in Human History.--

Elizabeth Farnese, seeing at what rate the Congress of Cambrai sped, lost all patience with it; and getting more and more exasperations there, at length employed one Ripperda, a surprising Dutch Black-Artist whom she now had for Minister, to pull the floor from beneath it (so to speak), and send it home in that manner. Which Ripperda did. An appropriate enough catastrophe, comfortable to the reader; upon which perhaps he will not grudge to read still another word?

CONGRESS OF CAMBRAI GETS THE FLOOR PULLED FROM UNDER IT.

Termagant Elizabeth had now one Ripperda for Minister; a surprising Dutch adventurer, once secretary of some Dutch embassy at Madrid; who, discerning how the land lay, had broken loose from that subaltern career, had changed his religion, insinuated himself into Elizabeth's royal favor; and was now "Duke de Ripperda," and a diplomatic bull-dog of the first quality, full of mighty schemes and hopes; in brief, a new Alberoni to the Termagant Queen. This Ripperda had persuaded her (the third year of our inane Congress now running out, to no purpose), That he, if he were sent direct to Vienna, could reconcile the Kaiser to her Majesty, and bring them to Treaty, independently of Congresses. He was sent accordingly, in all privacy; had reported himself as laboring there, with the best outlooks, for some while past; when, still early in 1725, there occurred on the part of France,-- where Regent d'Orleans was now dead, and new politics bad come in vogue,--that "sending back," of the poor little Spanish: Infanta, ["5th April, 1725, quitted Paris" (Barbier, Journal du Regne de Louis XV., i. 218).] and marrying of young Louis XV. elsewhere, which drove Elizabeth and the Court of Spain, not unnaturally, into a very delirium of indignation.

Why they sent the poor little Lady home on those shocking terms? It seems there was no particular reason, except that French Louis was now about fifteen, and little Spanish Theresa was only eight; and that, under Duc de Bourbon, the new Premier, and none of the wisest, there was, express or implicit, "an ardent wish to see royal progeny secured." For which, of course, a wife of eight years would not answer. So she was returned; and even in a blundering way, it is said,--the French Ambassador at Madrid having prefaced his communication, not with light adroit preludings of speech, but with a tempest of tears and howling lamentations, as if that were the way to conciliate King Philip and his Termagant Elizabeth. Transport of indignation was the natural consequence on their part; order to every Frenchman to be across the border within, say eight-and-forty hours; rejection forever of all French mediation at Cambrai or elsewhere; question to the English, "Will you mediate for us, then?" To which the answer being merely "Hm!" with looks of delay,--order by express to Ripperda, to make straightway a bargain with the Kaiser; almost any bargain, so it were made at once. Ripperda made a bargain: Treaty of Vienna, 30th April, 1725: [Scholl, ii. 201; Coxe, Walpole, i. 239-250.] "Titles and Shadows each of us shall keep for his own lifetime, then they shall drop. As to realities again, to Parma and Piacenza among the rest, let these be as in the Treaty of Utrecht; arrangeable in the lump;--and indeed, of Parma and Piacenza perhaps the less we say, the better at present." This was, in substance, Ripperda's Treaty; the Third great European travail-throe, or change of color in the long-suffering lobster. Whereby, of course, the Congress of Cambrai did straightway disappear, the floor miraculously vanishing under it; and sinks--far below human eye-reach by this time--towards the Bottomless Pool, ever since. Such was the beginning, such the end of that Congress, which Arouet LE JEUNE, in 1722, saw as a contemporary Fact, drinking champagne in Ramillies wigs, and arranging comedies for itself.

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