FRANCE AND THE BRITANNIC MAJESTY TRIM THE SHIP AGAIN: HOW FRIEDRICH WILHELM CAME INTO IT. TREATY OF HANOVER, 1725.
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?
Yes, surely;--and yet something more, on Friedrich Wilhelm's part. His rights on the Cleve-Julich Countries; reversion of Julich and Berg, once Karl Philip shall decease:--perhaps these high Powers, for a consideration, will guarantee one's undoubted rights there? It is understood they gave promises of this kind, not too specific. Nay we hear farther a curious thing: "France and England, looking for immediate war with the Kaiser, advised Friedrich Wilhelm to assert his rights on Silesia." Which would have been an important procedure! Friedrich Wilhelm, it is added, had actual thoughts of it; the Kaiser, in those matters of the RITTER-DIENST, of the HEIDELBERG PROTESTANTS, and wherever a chance was, had been unfriendly, little less than insulting, to Friedrich Wilhelm: "Give me one single Hanoverian brigade, to show that you go along with me!" said his Prussian Majesty;--but the Britannic never altogether would. [
For it is a state of the Balances little less than awful. Rumor goes that, by the Ripperda bargain, fatal to mankind, Don Carlos was to get the beautiful young Maria Theresa to wife: that would settle the Parma-Piacenza business and some others; that would be a compensation with a witness! Spain and Austria united, as in Karl V.'s time; or perhaps some Succession War, or worse, to fight over again!--
Fleury and George, as Duc de Bourbon and George had done, though both pacific gentlemen, brandished weapons at the Kaiser; strongly admonishing him to become less formidable, or it would be worse for him. Possible indeed, in such a shadow-hunting, shadow-hunted hour! Fleury and George stand looking with intense anxiety into a certain spectral something, which they call the Balance of Power; no end to their exorcisms in that matter. Truly, if each of the Royal Majesties and Serene Highnesses would attend to his own affairs,--doing his utmost to better his own land and people, in earthly and in heavenly respects, a little,--he would find it infinitely profitabler for himself and others. And the Balance of Power would settle, in that case, as the laws of gravity ordered: which is its one method of settling, after all diplomacy!--Fleury and George, by their manifestoing, still more by their levying of men, George I. shovelling out his English subsidies as usual, created deadly qualms in the Kaiser; who still found it unpleasant to "admit Spanish Garrisons in Parma;" but found likewise his Termagant Friend inexorably positive on that score; and knew not what would become of him, if he had to try fighting, and the Sea-Powers refused him cash to do it.
Hereby was the ship trimmed, and more; ship now lurching to the other side again. George I. goes subsidying Hessians, Danes; sounding manifestoes, beating drums, in an alarming manner: and the Kaiser, except it were in Russia, with the new Czarina Catherine I. (that brown little woman, now become Czarina [8th February, 1725. Treaty with Kaiser (6th August, 1726) went to nothing on her death, 11th May, 1727.]), finds no ally to speak of. An unlucky, spectre-hunting, spectre-hunted Kaiser; who, amid so many drums, manifestoes, menaces, is now rolling eyes that witness everywhere considerable dismay. This is the Fourth grand Crisis of Europe; crisis or travail-throe of Nature, bringing forth, and unable to do it, Baby Carlos's Apanage and the Pragmatic Sanction. Fourth conspicuous change of color to the universal lobster, getting itself boiled on those sad terms, for twenty years. For its sins, we need not doubt; for its own long-continued cowardices, sloths and greedy follies, as well as those of Kaiser Karl!--
At this Fourth change we will gladly leave the matter, for a time; much wishing it might be forever. Alas, as if that were possible to us! Meanwhile, let afflicted readers, looking before and after, readier to forget than to remember in such a case, accept this Note, or Summary of all the Seven together, by way of help:--