4. KING OF POLAND.--The most ticklish card in Belleisle's game, and probably the greatest fool of these Anti-Pragmatic Dozen, was Kur-Sachsen, King of Poland. He, like Karl Albert Kur-Baiern, derives from Kaiser Ferdinand, though by a YOUNGER Daughter, and has a like claim on the Austrian Succession; claim nullified, however, by that small circumstance itself, but which he would fain mend by one makeshift or another; and thinks always it must surely be good for something. This is August III., this King of Poland, as readers know; son of August the Strong: Papa made him change to the Catholic religion so called,--for the sake of getting Poland, which proves a very poor possession to him. Who knows what damage the poor creature may have got by that sad operation;--which all Saxony sighed to the heart on hearing of; for it was always hoped he had some real religion, and would deliver them from that Babylonish Captivity again! He married Kaiser Joseph I.'s Daughter,--Maria Theresa's Cousin, and by an Elder Brother;--this, too, ought surely to be something in the Anti-Pragmatic line? It is true, Kur-Baiern has to Wife another Daughter of Kaiser Joseph's; but she is the younger: "I am senior THERE, at least! "thinks the foolish man.
Too true, he had finally, in past years, to sign Pragmatic Sanction; no help for it, no hope without it, in that Polish- Election time. He will have to eat his Covenant, therefore, as the first step in Anti-Pragmatism; and he is extremely in doubt as to the How, sometimes as to the Whether. And shifts and whirls, accordingly, at a great rate, in these months and years; now on Maria Theresa's side, deluded by shadows from Vienna, and getting into Russian Partition-Treaties; anon tickled by Belleisle into the reverse posture; then again reversing. An idle, easy-tempered, yet greedy creature, who, what with religious apostasy in early manhood, what with flaccid ambitions since, and idle gapings after shadows, has lost helm in this world; and will make a very bad voyage for self and country.
His Palinurus and chief Counsellor, at present and afterwards, is a Count von Bruhl, once page to August the Strong; now risen to such height: Bruhl of the three hundred and sixty-five suits of clothes; whom it has grown wearisome even to laugh at. A cunning little wretch, they say, and of deft tongue; but surely among the unwisest of all the Sons of Adam in that day, and such a Palinurus as seldom steered before. Kur-Sachsen, being Reichs-Vicar in the Northern Parts,--(Kur-Baiern and Kur-Pfalz, as friends and good Wittelsbacher Cousins surely ought, in a crisis like this, have agreed to be JOINT-Vicars in the Southern Parts, and no longer quarrel upon it),--Kur-Sachsen has a good deal to do in the Election preludings, formalities and prearrangements; and is capable, as Kur-Pfalz and Cousin always are, of serving as chisel to Belleisle's mallet, in such points, which will plentifully turn up.
5. KING OF SARDINIA.--Reichs-Vicar in the Italian Parts is Charles Amadeus King of Sardinia (tough old Victor's Son, whom we have heard of): an office mostly honorary; suitable to the important individual who keeps the Door of the Alps. Charles Amadeus had signed the Pragmatic Sanction; but eats his Covenant, like the others, on example of France;--having, as he now bethinks himself, claims on the Milanese. There are two claimants on the Milanese, then; the Spanish Termagant, and he? Yes; and they will have their difficulties, their extensive tusslings in Italian War and otherwise, to make an adjustment of it; and will give Belleisle (at least the Doorkeeper will) an immensity of trouble, in years coming.
In this way do the Pragmatic people eat their own Covenant, one after the other, and are not ashamed;--till all have eaten, or as good as eaten; and, almost within year and day, Pragmatic Sanction is a vanished quantity; and poor Kaiser Karl's life-labor is not worth the sheepskin and stationery it cost him. History reports in sum, That "nobody kept the Pragmatic Sanction; that the few [strictly speaking, the one] who acted by it, would have done precisely the same, though there had never been such a Document in existence." To George II., it is, was and will be, the Keystone of Nature, the true Anti-French palladium of mankind; and he, dragging the unwilling Dutch after him, will do great things for it: but nobody else does anything at all. Might we hope to bid adieu to it, in this manner, and never to mention it again!--
Document more futile there had not been in Nature, nor will be. Friedrich had not yet fought at Mollwitz in assertion of his Silesian claim, when the poor Pope--poor soul, who had no Covenant to eat, but took pattern by others--claimed, in solemn Allocution, Parma and Piacenza for the Holy See. [Adelung, ii. 376 (5th April, 1741)] All the world is claiming. Of the Court of Wurtemberg and its Protestings, and "extensive Deduction" about nothing at all, we do not speak; [Ib. ii. 195, 403.] nor of Montmorency claiming Luxemburg, of which he is Titular "Duke;" nor of Monsignore di Guastalla claiming Mantua; nor of--In brief, the fences are now down; a broad French gap in those miles of elaborate paling, which are good only as firewood henceforth, and any ass may rush in and claim a bellyful. Great are the works of Belleisle!--
CONCERNING THE IMPERIAL ELECTION (Kaiserwahl) THAT IS TO BE: CANDIDATES FOR KAISERSHIP.
At equal step with the ruining of Pragmatic Sanction goes on that spoiling of Grand-Duke Franz's Election to the Kaisership: these two operations run parallel; or rather, under different forms, they are one and the same operation. "To assist, as a Most Christian neighbor ought, in picking out the fit Kaiser," was Belleisle's ostensible mission; and indeed this does include virtually his whole errand. Till three months after Belleisle's appearance in the business, Grand-Duke Franz never doubted but he should be Kaiser; Friedrich's offers to, help him in it he had scorned, as the offer of a fifth wheel to his chariot, already rushing on with four. "Here is Kur-Bohmen, Austria's own vote," counts the Grand-Duke; "Kur-Sachsen, doing Prussian-Partition Treaties for us; Kur-Trier, our fat little Schonborn, Austrian to the bone; Kur-Mainz, important chairman, regulator of the Conclave; here are Four Electors for us: then also Kur-Pfalz, he surely, in return for the Berg-Julich service; finally, and liable to no question Kur-Hanover, little George of England with his endless guineas and resources, a little Jack-the-Giantkiller, greater than all Giants, Paladin of the Pragmatic and us: here are Six Electors of the Nine. Let Brandenburg and the Bavarian Couple, Kur-Baiern and Kur-Koln, do their pleasure!" This was Grand-Duke Franz's calculation.