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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Had recognized the young Queen of Hungary


Meanwhile

France, as well as the majority of the other nations, had recognized the young Queen of Hungary. She had been proclaimed at Vienna on the 7th of November, 1740; all her father's states had sworn alliance and homage to her. She had consented to take to the Hungarians the old oath of King Andreas II., which had been constantly refused by the house of Hapsburg: "If I, or any of my successors, at any time whatsoever, would infringe your privileges, be it permitted you, by virtue of this promise, you and your descendants, to defend yourselves, without being liable to be treated as rebels."

When Frederick II., encamped in the midst of the conquered provinces, made a proposal to Maria Theresa to cede him Lower Silesia, to which his ancestors had always raised pretensions, assuring her, in return, of his amity and support, the young queen, deeply offended, replied haughtily that she defended her subjects, she did not sell them. At the same time an Austrian army was advancing against the King of Prussia; it was commanded by Count Neipperg. The encounter took place at Molwitz, on the banks of the Neiss. For one instant Frederick, carried along by his routed cavalry, thought the battle was lost, and his first step towards glory an unlucky business. The infantry, formed by the aged Prince of Anhalt, and commanded by Marshal Schwerin, late comrade of Charles XII., restored the fortune of battle; the Austrians had retired in disorder. Europe gave the

King of Prussia credit for this first success, due especially to the excellent organization of his father's troops. "Each battalion," says Frederick, "was a walking battery, whose quickness in loading tripled their fire, which gave the Prussians the advantage of three to one."

Meanwhile, in addition to the heritage of the house of Austria, thus attacked and encroached upon, there was the question of the Empire. Two claimants appeared: Duke Francis of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's husband, whom she had appointed regent of her dominions, and the Elector of Bavaria, grandson of Louis XIV.'s faithful ally, the only Catholic amongst the lay electors of the empire, who was only waiting for the signal from France to act, in his turn, against the Queen of Hungary.

Cardinal Fleury s intentions remained as yet vague and secret. Naturally and stubbornly pacific as he was, he felt himself bound by the confirmation of the Pragmatic-Sanction, lately renewed, at the time of the treaty of Vienna. The king affected indifference. "Whom are you for making emperor, Souvre?" he asked one of his courtiers. "Faith, sir," answered the marquis, "I trouble myself very little about it; but if your Majesty pleased, you might tell us more about it than anybody." "No," said the king; "I shall have nothing to do with it; I shall look on from Mont-Pagnotte" (a post of observation out of cannon-shot). "Ah, sir," replied Souvre, "your Majesty will be very cold there, and very ill lodged." " How so?" said the king. "Sir," replied Souvre, because your ancestors never had any house built there." "A very pretty answer," adds the advocate Barbier; "and as regards the question, nothing can be made of it, because the king is mighty close."


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