Henry’s having no knowledge to whom the privateer belonged,

time:2023-12-01 05:38:38source:rnaedit:ios

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.--

Henry’s having no knowledge to whom the privateer belonged,

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?

Henry’s having no knowledge to whom the privateer belonged,


Henry’s having no knowledge to whom the privateer belonged,

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.


The publication of this Treaty of Vienna (30th April, 1725),-- miraculous disappearance of the Congress of Cambrai by withdrawal of the floor from under it, and close union of the Courts of Spain and Vienna as the outcome of its slow labors,--filled Europe, and chiefly the late mediating Powers, with amazement, anger, terror. Made Europe lurch suddenly to the other side, as we phrased it,-- other gunwale now under water. Wherefore, in Heaven's name, trim your ship again, if possible, ye high mediating Powers. This the mediating Powers were laudably alert to do. Duc de Bourbon, and his young King about to marry, were of pacific tendencies; anxious for the Balance: still more was Fleury, who succeeded Duc de Bourbon. Cardinal Fleury (with his pupil Louis XV. under him, producing royal progeny and nothing worse or better as yet) began, next year, his long supremacy in France; an aged reverend gentleman, of sly, delicately cunning ways, and disliking war, as George I. did, unless when forced on him: now and henceforth, no mediating power more anxious than France to have the ship in trim.

George and Bourbon laid their heads together, deeply pondering this little less than awful state of the Terrestrial Balance; and in about six months they, in their quiet way, suddenly came out with a Fourth Crisis on the astonished populations, so as to right the ship's trim again, and more. "Treaty of Hanover," this was their unexpected manoeuvre; done quietly at Herrenhausen, when his Majesty next went across for the Hanover hunting-season. Mere hunting:--but the diplomatists, as well as the beagles, were all in readiness there. Even Friedrich Wilhelm, ostensibly intent on hunting, was come over thither, his abstruse Ilgens, with their inkhorns, escorting him: Friedrich Wilhelm, hunting in unexpected sort, was persuaded to sign this Treaty; which makes it unusually interesting to us. An exceptional procedure on the part of Friedrich Wilhelm, who beyond all Sovereigns stays well at home, careless of affairs that are not his:--procedure betokening cordiality at Hanover; and of good omen for the Double-Marriage?


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