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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

The Muscovite opens his mouth and says


The

house of Austria divided the house of Bourbon, by opposing to one another the two branches of France and Spain; the treaty of Vienna was concluded on the 1st of May, 1725. The two sovereigns renounced all pretensions to each other's dominions respectively, and proclaimed, on both sides, full amnesty for the respective partisans. The emperor recognized the hereditary rights of Don Carlos to the duchies of Tuscany, Parma, and Piacenza; he, at the same time, promised his good offices with England to obtain restitution of Gibraltar and Mahon. In spite of the negotiations already commenced with the Duke of Lorraine, hopes were even held out to the two sons of Elizabeth Farnese, Don Carlos and Don Philip, of obtaining the hands of the arch-duchesses, daughters of the emperor.

When the official treaty was published and the secret articles began to transpire, Europe was in commotion at the new situation in which it was placed. George I. repaired to his German dominions, in order to have a closer view of the emperor's movements. There the Count of Broglie soon joined him, in the name of France. The King of Prussia, Frederick William I., the King of England's son-in-law, was summoned to Hanover. Passionate and fantastic, tyrannical, addicted to the coarsest excesses, the King of Prussia had, nevertheless, managed to form an excellent army of sixty thousand men, at the same time amassing a military treasure amounting to twenty-eight millions; he joined,

not without hesitation, the treaty of Hanover, concluded on the 3d of September, 1725, between France and England. The Hollanders, in spite of their desire to ruin the Ostend Company, had not yet signed the convention; Frederick William was disturbed at their coming in. "Say, I declare against the emperor," said he in a letter which he communicated on the 5th of December to the ambassadors of France and England: "he will not fail to get the Muscovites and Poles to act against me. I ask whether their majesties will then keep my rear open? England, completely surrounded by sea, and France, happening to be covered by strong places, consider themselves pretty safe, whilst the greater part of my dominions are exposed to anything it shall seem good to attempt. By this last treaty, then, I engage in war for the benefit of Mr. Hollander and Co., that they may be able to sell their tea, coffee, cheese, and crockery dearer; those gentlemen will not do the least thing for me, and I am to do everything for them. Gentlemen, tell me, is it fair? If you deprive the emperor of his ships and ruin his Ostend trade, will he be a less emperor than he is at this moment? The pink of all (_le pot aux roses_) is to deprive the emperor of provinces, but which? And to whose share will they fall? Where are the troops? Where is the needful, wherewith to make war? Since it seems good to commence the dance, it must of course be commenced. After war comes peace. Shall I be forgotten? Shall I be the last of all? Shall I have to sign perforce?" The coarse common sense of the Vandal soon prevailed over family alliances; Frederick William broke with France and England in order to rally to the emperor's side. Russia, but lately so attentive to France, was making advances to Spain. "The czar's envoy is the most taciturn Muscovite that ever came from Siberia," wrote Marshal Tesse. "Goodman Don Miguel Guerra is the minister with whom he treats, and the effect of eight or ten apoplexies is, that he has to hold his head with his hands, else his mouth would infallibly twist round over his shoulder. During their audience they seat themselves opposite one another in arm-chairs, and, after a quarter of an hour's silence, the Muscovite opens his mouth and says, 'Sir, I have orders from the emperor, my master, to assure the Catholic King that he loves him very much.' 'And I,' replies Guerra, 'do assure you that the king my master loves your master the emperor very much.' After this laconic conversation they stare at one another for a quarter of an hour without saying anything, and the audience is over."


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