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From this time the queen of Hungary proceeded with an uninterupted torrent of success. The Freach, driven from Itation to station, and deprived of fortress after fortress, were at last enclosed with their two generals, Bellisle and Broglio, in the walls of Prague, which they had stored with all provisions neceffary to a town besieged, and where they defended themselves three months before any prospect appeared of relief.
The Austrians, having been engaged chiefly in the field, and in sudden and tumultuary excurfions rather than a regular war, had no great degree of kill in ac. tacking or defending towns. They likewise would naturally consider all the mischiefs done to the city as falling ultimately on themselves, and therefore were willing to gain it by time rather than by force.
It was apparent that, how long soever Prague might be defended, it must be yielded at last, and therefore all arts were tried to obtain an honourable capitulation. The messengers from the city were sent back sometimes unheard, but always with this answer, “ that no “ terms would be allowed, but that they should yield “ themselves prisoners of war.”
The condition of the garrison was in the eyes of all Europe desperate; but the French, to whom the praise of spirit and activity cannot be denied, refolved to make an effort for the honour of their arms. Maillebois was at that time encamped with his army in Westphalia. Orders were sent him to relieve Prague. The enterprize was considered as romantic. Maillebois was a march of forty days distant from Bohemia, the passes were narrow, and the ways foul; and it was likely that Prague would be taken before he could reach it. The march was, however, begun: the army, being joined by that of count Saxe, consisted of fifty thousand men,
who, notwithstanding all the difficulties which two Austrian armies could put in their way, at last entered Bohemia. The siege of Prague, though not raised, was remitted, and a communication was now opened to it with the country. But the Austrians, by perpetual intervention, hindered the garrison from joining their friends. The officers of Maillebois incited him to a battle, because the army was hourly lefsening by the want of provisions; but, instead of pressing on to Prague, he retired into Bavaria, and completed the ruin of the emperor's territories.
The court of France, disappointed and offended, conferred the chief command upon Broglio, who escaped from the besiegers with very little difficulty, and kept the Austrians employed till Bellifle by a sudden fally quitted Prague, and without any great loss joined the main army. Broglio then retired over the Rhine into the French dominions, wasting in his retreat the country which he had undertaken to protect, and burning towns, and destroying magazines of corn, with such wantonness, as gave reason to believe that he expected commendation from his court for any mischiefs done, by whatever means.
The Austrians pursued their advantages, recovered all their strong places, in some of which French garrifons had been left, and made themselves masters of Bavaria, by taking not only Munich the capital, but Ingolstadt the strongest fortification in the elector's dominions, where they found a great number of cannon and quantity of ammunition intended in clie dreams of projected greatness for the fiege of Vienna, all the archives of the state, the plate and ornaments of the electoral palace, and what had been considered as most worOO 2
thy of preservation. Nothing but the warlike stores were taken away. An oath of allegiance to the queen was required of the Bavarians, but without any explanation whether temporary or perpetual.
The emperor lived at Francfort in the security that was allowed to neutral places, but without much refpect from the German princes, except that, upon some objections made by the queen to the validity of his election, the king of Prussia declared himfelf determined to support him in the imperial dignity with all
This may be considered as a token of no great affection to the queen of Hungary, but it seems not to have raised much alarm. The German princes were afraid of new broils. To contest the election of an emperor once invested and acknowledged, would be to overthrow the whole Gerinanic constitution. Perhaps no election by plurality of suffrages was ever made among human beings, to which it might not be objected that voices were procured by illicit influence.
Some suspicions, however, were raised by the king's declaration, which he endeavoured to obviate by ordering his ministers to declare at London and at Vienna, that he was resolved not to violate the treaty of Breflaw. This declaration was sufficiently ambiguous, and could not satisfy those whom it might filence. But this was not a time for nice disquisitions: to diftrust the king of Prussia might have provoked him, and it was inost convenient to consider him as a friend, till he appeared openly as an enemy.
About the middle of the year 1744, he raised new alarms by collecting his troops and putting them in motion. The earl of Hindford about this time de
manded the troops ftipulated for the protection of Hanover, not perhaps because they were thought necessary, but that the king's designs might be guessed from his answer, which was, that troops were not granted for the defence of any country till that country was in danger, and that he could not believe the elector of Hanover to be in much dread of an invasion, since he had withdrawn the native troops, and put them into the pay of England.
He had, undoubtedly, now formed designs which made it neceflary that his troops should be kept together, and the time soon came when the scene was to be opened. Prince Charles of Lorrain, having chased the French out of Bavaria, lay for some months encamped on the Rhine, endeavouring to gain a passage into Alface. His attempts had long been eyaded by the skill and vigilance of the French general, till at last, June 21, 1744, he executed his design, and lodged his army in the French dominions, to the surprise and joy of a great part of Europe. It was now expected that the territories of France would in their turn feel the miseries of war; and the nation, which so long kept the world in alarm, be taught at last the value of peace.
The king of Prussia now saw the Austrian troops at a great distance from him, engaged in a foreign country against the most powerful of all their enemies. Now, therefore, was the time to discover that he had lately made a treaty at Francfort with the emperor, by which he had engaged, “ that as the court of Vienna “ and its allies appeared backward to re-establish the “ tranquillity of the empire, and more cogent methods “ appeared neceffary ; he, being animated with a de
“ fire of co-operating towards the pacification of Ger
many, should make an expedition for the conquest “ of Bohemia, and to put it into the poffeffion of the
emperor, his heirs and succeffors, for ever; in gra“ titude for which, the emperor should resign to him " and his successors a certain number of lordships, “ which are now part of the kingdom of Bohemia. His “ Imperial majesty likewise guaranties to the king of “ Prussia the perpetual possession of Upper Silesia ; and " the king guaranties to the emperor the perpetual “ poffeffion of Upper Austria, as he shall have occupied “ it by conquest.”
It is easy to discover that the king began the war upon
other motives than zeal for peace; and that, whatever respect he was willing to shew to the emperor, he did not purpose to assist him without reward. In profecution of this treaty he
in motion; and according to his promise, while the Austrians were invading France, he invaded Bohemia.
Princes have this remaining of humanity, that they think themselves obliged not to make war without a reason. Their reasons are indeed not always very satisfactory. Lewis the Fourteenth feemed to think his own glory a sufficient motive for the invasion of Holland. The Czar attacked Charles of Sweden, because he had not been treated with sufficient respect when he made a journey in disguise. The king of Prussia, hav. ing an opportunity of attacking his neighbour, was not long without his reasons. On July 30, he published his declaration, in which he declares ;
That he can no longer stand an idle spectator of the troubles in Germany, but finds himself obliged to inake