HOW BELLEISLE MADE VISIT TO TEUTSCHLAND; AND THERE WAS NO FIT HENRY THE FOWLER TO WELCOME HIM.
It is very wrong to keep Enchanted Wiggeries sitting in this world, as if they were things still alive! By a species of "conservatism," which gets praised in our Time, but which is only a slothful cowardice, base indifference to truth, and hatred to trouble in comparison with lies that sit quiet, men now extensively practise this method of procedure;--little dreaming how bad and fatal it at all times is. When the brains are out, things really ought to die; --no matter what lovely things they were, and still affect to be, the brains being out, they actually ought in all cases to die, and with their best speed get buried. Men had noses, at one time; and smelt the horror of a deceased reality fallen putrid, of a once dear verity become mendacious, phantasmal; but they have, to an immense degree, lost that organ since, and are now living comfortably cheek-by-jowl with lies. Lies of that sad "conservative" kind,--and indeed of all kinds whatsoever: for that kind is a general mother; and BREEDS, with a fecundity that is appalling, did you heed it much!--
It was pity that the "Holy Romish Reich, Teutsch by Nation," had not got itself buried some ages before. Once it had brains and life, but now they were out. Under the sway of Barbarossa, under our old anti-chaotic friend Henry the Fowler, how different had it been! No field for a Belleisle to come and sow tares in; no rotten thatch for a French Sun-god to go sailing about in the middle of, and set fire to! Henry, when the Hungarian Pan-Slavonic Savagery came upon him, had got ready in the interim; and a mangy dog was the "tribute" he gave them; followed by the due extent of broken crowns, since they would not be content with that. That was the due of Belleisle too,--had there been a Henry to meet him with it, on his crossing the marches, in Trier Country, in Spring, 1741: "There, you anarchic Upholstery-Belus, fancying yourself God of the Sun; there is what Teutschland owes you. Go home with that; and mind your own business, which I am told is plentiful, if you had eye for it!"
But the sad truth is, for above Four Centuries now,--and especially for Three, since little Kaiser Karl IV. "gave away all the moneys of it," in his pressing occasions, this Holy Romish Reich, Teutsch by Nation, has been more and ever more becoming an imaginary quantity; the Kaisership of it not capable of being worn by anybody, except a Hapsburger who had resources otherwise his own. The fact is palpable. And Austria, and Anti-Reformation Entity, "conservative" in that bad sense, of slothfully abhorring trouble in comparison with lies, had not found the poison more mal-odorous in this particular than in many others. And had cherished its "Holy Romish Reich" grown UNholy, phantasmal, like so much else in Austrian things; and had held firm grip of it, these Three Hundred years; and found it a furthersome and suitable thing, though sensible it was more and more becoming an Enchanted Wiggery pure and simple. Nor have the consequences failed; they never do. Belleisle, Louis XIV., Henri II., Francois I.: it is long since the French have known this state of matters; and been in the habit of breaking in upon it, fomenting internal discontents, getting up unjust Wars,--with or without advantage to France, but with endless disadvantage to Germany. Schmalkaldic War; Thirty-Years War; Louis XIV.'s Wars, which brought Alsace and the other fine cuttings; late Polish-Election War, and its Lorraine; Austrian- Succession War: many are the wars kindled on poor Teutschland by neighbor France; and large is the sum of woes to Europe and to it, chargeable to that score. Which appears even yet not to be completed?--Perhaps not, even yet. For it is the penalty of being loyal to Enchanted Wiggeries; of living cheek-by-jowl with lies of a peaceable quality, and stuffing your nostrils, and searing your soul, against the accursed odor they all have!--For I can assure you the curse of Heaven does dwell in one and all of them; and the son of Adam cannot too soon get quit of their bad partnership, cost him what it may.
Belleisle's Journey as Sun-god began in March,--"end of March, 1741," no date of a day to be had for that memorable thing:--and he went gyrating about, through the German Courts, for almost a year afterwards; his course rather erratic, but always in a splendor as of Belus, with those hundred and thirty French Lords and Valets, and the glory of Most Christian King irradiating him. Very diligent for the first six months, till September or October next, which we may call his SEED-TIME; and by no means resting after nine or twelve months, while the harrowing and hoeing went on. In January, 1742, he had the great satisfaction to see a Bavarian Kaiser got, instead of an Austrian; and everywhere the fruit of his diligent husbandry begin to BEARD fairly above ground, into a crop of facts (like armed men from dragon's teeth), and "the pleasure of the"-- WHOM was it the pleasure of?--"prosper in his hands." Belleisle was a pretty man; but I doubt it was not "the Lord" he was doing the pleasure of, on this occasion, but a very Different Personage, disguised to resemble him in poor Belleisle's eyes!--
Austria was not dangerous to France in late times, and now least of all; how far from it,--humbled by the loss of Lorraine; and now as it were bankrupt, itself in danger from all the world. And France, so far as express Treaties could bind a Nation, was bound to maintain Austria in its present possessions. The bitter loss of Lorraine had been sweetened to the late Kaiser by that solitary drop of consolation;--as his Failure of a Life had been, poor man: "Failure the most of me has been; but I have got Pragmatic Sanction, thanks to Heaven, and even France has signed it!" Loss of Lorraine, loss of Elsass, loss of the Three Bishoprics; since Karl V.'s times, not to speak of earlier, there has been mere loss on loss:--and now is the time to consummate it, think Belleisle and France, in spite of Treaties.
Towards humbling or extinguishing Austria, Belleisle has two preliminary things to do: FIRST, Break the Pragmatic Sanction, and get everybody to break it; SECOND, Guide the KAISERWAHL (Election of a Kaiser), so that it issue, not in Grand-Duke Franz, Maria Theresa's Husband, as all expect it will, but in another party friendly to France:--say in Karl Albert of Bavaria, whose Family have long been good clients of ours, dependent on us for a living in the Political World. Belleisle, there is little doubt, had from the first cast his eye on this unlucky Karl Albert for Kaiser; but is uncertain as to carrying him. Belleisle will take another if he must; Kur-Sachsen, for example;--any other, and all others, only not the Grand-Duke: that is a point already fixed with Belleisle, though he keeps it well in the background, and is careful not to hint it till the time come.
In regard to Pragmatic Sanction, Belleisle and France found no difficulty,--or the difficulty only (which we hope must have been considerable) of eating their own Covenant in behalf of Pragmatic Sanction; and declaring, which they did without visible blush, That it was a Covenant including, if not expressly, then tacitly, as all human covenants do, this clause, "SALVO JURE TERTII (Saving the rights of Third Parties),"--that is, of Electors of Bavaria, and others who may object, against it! O soul of honor, O first Nation of the Universe, was there ever such a subterfuge? Here is a field of flowering corn, the biggest in the world, begirt with elaborate ring-fence, many miles of firm oak-paling pitched and buttressed; --the poor gentleman now dead gave you his Lorraine, and almost his life, for swearing to keep up said paling. And you do keep it up,-- all except six yards; through which the biggest team on the highway can drive freely, and the paltriest cadger's ass can step in for a bellyful!