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.
In process of this so terrific Duel with Elizabeth Farnese, and general combat of the Shadows, which then made Europe quake, at every new lunge and pass of it, and which now makes Europe yawn to hear the least mention of it, there came two sputterings of actual War. Byng's sea-victory at Messina, 1718; Spanish "Siege of Gibraltar," 1727, are the main phenomena of these two Wars,-- England, as its wont is, taking a shot in both, though it has now forgotten both. And, on the whole, there came, so far as I can count, Seven grand diplomatic Spasms or Crises,--desperate general European Treatyings hither and then thither, solemn Congresses two of them, with endless supplementary adhesions by the minor powers. Seven grand mother-treaties, not to mention the daughters, or supplementary adhesions they had; all Europe rising spasmodically seven times, and doing its very uttermost to quell this terrible incubus; all Europe changing color seven times, like a lobster boiling, for twenty years. Seven diplomatic Crises, we say, marked changings of color in the long-suffering lobster; and two so-called Wars,--before this enormous zero could be settled. Which high Treaties and Transactions, human nature, after much study of them, grudges to enumerate. Apanage for Baby Carlos, ghost of a Pragmatic Sanction; these were a pair of causes for mankind! Be no word spoken of them, except with regret and on evident compulsion.