“To facilitate the retaking of his ship,” said Fitz-Ullin,

time:2023-12-01 03:58:55source:androidedit:rna

This poor Congress---let the reader fancy it--spent two years in "arguments about precedencies," in mere beatings of the air; could not get seated at all, but wandered among the chairs, till "February, 1724." Nor did it manage to accomplish any work whatever, even then; the most inane of Human Congresses; and memorable on that account, if on no other. There, in old stagnant Cambrai, through the third year and into the fourth, were Delegates, Spanish, Austrian, English, Dutch, French, of solemn outfit, with a big tail to each,--"Lord Whitworth" whom I do not know, "Lord Polwarth" (Earl of Marchmont that will be, a friend of Pope's), were the English Principals: [Scholl, ii. 197.]--there, for about four years, were these poor fellow-creatures busied, baling out water with sieves. Seen through the Horn-Gate of Dreams, the figure of them rises almost grand on the mind.

“To facilitate the retaking of his ship,” said Fitz-Ullin,

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:--

“To facilitate the retaking of his ship,” said Fitz-Ullin,


“To facilitate the retaking of his ship,” said Fitz-Ullin,

". . . 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.]

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?


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.


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