By a notable coincidence, precisely while those sword-flourishings go on at Presburg, Marechal Excellency Belleisle is making his Public Entry into Frankfurt-on-Mayn: [25th June, 1741 (Adelung, ii. 399).] Frankfurt too is in cheery emotion; streets populous with Sunday gazers, and critics of the sublime in spectacle! This is not Belleisle's first entrance; he himself has been here some time, settling his Household, and a good many things: but today he solemnly leads in his Countess and Appendages (over from Metz, where Madame and he officially reside in common times, "Governor of Metz," one of his many offices);--leads in Madame, in suitably resplendent manner; to kindle household fire, as it were; and indicate that here is his place, till he have got a Kaiser to his mind. Twin Phenomena, these two; going on 500 miles apart; unconscious of one another, or of what kinship they happen to have!--
EXCELLENCY ROBINSON BUSY IN THE VIENNA HOFRATH CIRCLES, TO PRODUCE A COMPLIANCE.
Britannic George, both for Pragmatic's sake and for dear Hanover's, desires much there were a bargain made with Friedrich: How is the Pragmatic to be saved at all, if Friedrich join France in its Belleisle machinations, thinks George? And already here is that Camp of Gottin, glittering in view like a drawn sword pointed at one's throat or at one's Hanover. Nay, in a month or two hence, as the Belleisle schemes got above ground in the shape of facts, this desire became passionate, and a bargain with Prussia seemed the one thing needful. For, alas, the reader will see there comes, about that time, a second sword (the Maillebois Army, namely), pointed at one's throat from the French side of things: so that a Paladin of the Pragmatic, and Hanoverian King of England, knows not which way to turn! George's sincerity of wish is perhaps underrated by Friedrich; who indeed knows well enough on which side George's wishes would fall, if they had liberty (which they have not), but much overrates "the astucity" of poor George and his English; ascribing, as is often done, to fine-spun attorneyism what is mere cunctation, ignorance, negligence, and other forms of a stupidity perhaps the most honest in the world! By degrees Friedrich understood better; but he never much liked the English ways of doing business. George's desire is abundantly sincere, not wholly resting on sublime grounds; and grows more and more intense every day; but could not be gratified for a good while yet.
Co-operating with Hyndford, from the Vienna side, is Excellency Robinson; who has a still harder job of it there. Pity poor Robinson, O English reader, if you can for indignation at the business he is in. Saving the Liberties of Europe! thinks Robinson confidently: Founding the English National Debt, answers Fact; and doing Bottom the Weaver, with long ears, in the miserablest Pickleherring Tragedy that ever was!--This is the same Robinson who immortalized himself, nine or ten years ago, by the First Treaty of Vienna; thrice-salutary Treaty, which DISJOINED Austria from Bourbon-Spanish Alliances, and brought her into the arms of the grateful Sea-Powers again. Imminent Downfall of the Universe was thus, glory to Robinson, arrested for that time. And now we have the same Robinson instructed to sharpen all his faculties to the cutting pitch, and do the impossible for this new and reverse face of matters. What a change from 1731 to 1741! Bugbear of dreadful Austrian-Spanish Alliance dissolves now into sunlit clouds, encircling a beautiful Austrian Andromeda, about to be devoured for us; and the Downfall of the Universe is again imminent, from Spain and others joining AGAINST Austria. Oh, ye wigs, and eximious wig- blocks, called right-honorable! If a man, sovereign or other, were to stay well at home, and mind his own visible affairs, trusting a good deal that the Universe would shift for itself, might it not be better for him? Robinson, who writes rather a heavy style, but is full of inextinguishable heavy zeal withal, will have a great deal to do in these coming years. Ancestor of certain valuable Earls that now are; author of immeasurable quantities of the Diplomatic cobwebs that then were.
To a modern English reader it is very strange, that Austrian scene of things in which poor Robinson is puffing and laboring. The ineffable pride, the obstinacy, impotency, ponderous pedantry and helplessness of that dull old Court and its Hofraths, is nearly inconceivable to modern readers. Stupid dilapidation is in all departments, and has long been; all things lazily crumbling downwards, sometimes stumbling down with great plunges. Cash is done; the world rising, all round, with plunderous intentions; and hungry Ruin, you would say, coming visibly on with seven-league boots: here is little room for carrying your head high among mankind. High nevertheless they do carry it, with a grandly mournful though stolid insolent air, as if born superior to this Earth and its wisdoms and successes and multiplication-tables and iron ramrods,--really with "a certain greatness," says somebody, "greatness as of great blockheadism" in themselves and their neighbors;--and, like some absurd old Hindoo Idol (crockery Idol of Somnauth, for instance, with the belly of him smashed by battle- axes, and the cart-load of gold coin all run out), persuade mankind that they are a god, though in dilapidated condition. That is our first impression of the thing.
But again, better seen into, there is not wantiug a certain worthily steadfast, conservative and broad-based high air (reminding you of "Kill our own mutton, Sir!" and the ancient English Tory species), solid and loyal, though stolid Ancient Austrian Tories, that definition will suffice for us;--and Toryism too, the reader may rely on it, is much patronized by the Upper Powers, and goes a long way in this world. Nay, without a good solid substratum of that, what thing, with never so many ballot- boxes, stump-orators, and liberties of the subject, is capable of going at all, except swiftly to perdition? These Austrians have taken a great deal of ruining, first and last! Their relation to the then Sea-Powers, especially to England embarked on the Cause of Liberty, fills one with amazement, by no means of an idolatrous nature; and is difficult to understand at all, or to be patient with at all.
Of disposition to comply with Prussia, Robinson finds, in spite of Mollwitz and the sad experiences, no trace at Vienna. The humor at Vienna is obstinately defiant; simply to regard Friedrich as a housebreaker or thief in the night; whom they will soon deal with, were they once on foot and implements in their hand: "Swift, ye Sea-Powers; where are the implements, the cash, that means implements?" The Young Hungarian Majesty herself is magnificently of that opinion, which is sanctioned by her Bartensteins and wisest Hofraths, with hardly a dissentient (old Sinzendorf almost alone in his contrary notion, and he soon dies). Robinson urges the dangers from France. No Hofrath here will allow himself to believe them; to believe them would be too horrible. "Depend upon it, France's intentions are not that way. And at the worst, if France do rise against us, it is but bargaining with France; better so than bargaining with Prussia, surely. France will be contentable with something in the Netherlands; what else can she want of us? Parings from that outskirt, what are these compared with Silesia, a horrid gash into the vital parts? And what is yielding to the King of France, compared with yielding to your Prussian King!"--
It is true they have no money, these blind dull people; but are not the Sea-Powers, England especially, there, created by Nature to supply money? What else is their purpose in Creation? By Nature's law, as the Sun mounts in the Ecliptic and then falls, these Sea- Powers, in the Cause of Liberty, will furnish us money. No surrender; talk not to me of Silesia or surrender; I will die defending my inheritances: what are the Sea-Powers about, that they do not furnish more money in a prompt manner? These are the things poor Robinson has to listen to: Robinson and England, it is self- evident at Vienna, have one duty, that of furnishing money. And in a prompt manner, if you please, Sir; why not prompt and abundant?