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possesses more resources than your majesty. If we continue successful, notwithstanding the change which is preparing in England, after you have made peace, do not begin again; and never threaten any power, till you are ready to strike. A young and ambitious monarch at the head of that, would conquer the world. Fortunately, when Louis XIV. was young, he speedily returned to Versailles, to dance l'amiable vainqueur, and to hear an opera by his panegyrist, Quinault; and, at present, he has not long to live.” Though Joseph was not a bigot, like his successour, he would never have deceived the share holders of the company of Ostend; and, with his magnanimous character, he would not have crouched, like him, to the maritime powers. He, one day, said to me: “Had I been in my father's place, I should not have run away to Lintz, when you entered into our service. I would not have suffered myself to be shut up in Vienna; but would have acted as aid de camp to the duke of Lorraine, at the battle of Vienna. I know what courtiers are. I saw enough of them at the siege of Landau. They pretend to tremble for us; and it is for them. selves they tremble all the while.” The severe and frigid Leopold was not fond of Joseph. He was more partial to Charles, his younger brother, who was less petulent, and more of a Spaniard in every respect, and could not forgive his love of pleasure, and his bursts of passion. It is true, he was once guilty of great indecorum, in beating, in his presence, and that of a large company, at a publick entertainment, one of his people, who did not pay proper attention to him. 1724—I applied myself a good deal to internal affairs. I said to the ministers: “Cannot you disband this host of underlings, who prevent the money from reaching the pocket of the sovereign : Contrive a tax, proportionate to the income or earnings
of each individual; provide habitations for paupers, and set them to work; consult the English, the Dutch, the bankers, for a good system of finance and manufactures; invite Flemings, to improve our agriculture; bring our heaths into cultivation, by means of the monks or the soldiers, for whom villages might be built on them; borrow of the clergy, at two per cent, dig a bed for the river Wien, to carry off the filth of the esplanade, which infects the city, and construct a fine quay, planted with four alleys of plantain trees, or acacias; join the rivers by canals; cause the roads to be repaired by the proprietors of the adjacent lands, without ruining the government by constructing them; double our population by the Huguenots of France, and the emigrants from the empire, who are ill used by their petty tyrants of sovereigns? I said to our generals: “Cannot you, to spare the emperour's subjects, raise regiments of Turks, Poles, Prussians, Saxons, and Italians, by inducing them to desert, and enlisting deserters; raise a Hungarian, Austrian, Bohemian, and Walloon army, with none but officers of their respective nations, ta keep alive emulation? Give furloughs to native subjects; keep up strong garrisons at Vienna, Presburgh, Olmutz, Gratz, Lintz, Brussels, Luxemburgh, and Milan; form an intrenched camp on each frontier, since fortresses are too expensive; and encourage the breeding of horses, that money may not be carried out of the country?” Report has given a mistress to Charles VI. as to any other person; the Spanish Altheim, though she
was no more his mistress, than the
Italian lady was mine formerly, or than Bathiany is now. But, as his friend, I said to her: “Cannot you persuade the emperour to gain the love of the electors and first princes of the empire; to draw them to Wienna by magnificent fetes; to give them the order of the fleece, or some other to their ministers, or colours to their bastards, and pensions, or handsome recruiting officers, to their mistresses * To the emperour, I said: “Prevent the Prussians, sire, from rising; the Russians, from forming and acquainting themselves with our affairs; and the French, from gaining the preponderance. Your monarchy is rather straggling; but, for that very reason, it adjoins the north, the south, and the east. It is, moreover, in the centre of Europe, to which your majesty ought to give law.” 1726–After having been a soldier, minister, grand vizier, financier, postilion, negotiator, I was at last made a merchant. I established the Ostend company, which the gold and jealousy of the maritime powers, caused afterwards to be suppressed; and another at Vienna, to traffick, export, and/o-navigate, upon the Danube and Adriatick sea, where I converted Trieste into a port, capable of containing two squadrons of men of war, to escort and protect the merchant vessels. I directed other small ports, or at least shelters, to be formed in the gulph of Venice, the advantages of which were acknowledged by the whole monarchy. 1727.-I spent the whole year in consulting merchants, bankers, and men of business; in drawing them over from foreign countries; in writing to England and Holland, for the purpose of establishing good commercial houses at Ostend and Antwerp; and to Spain, Italy, and even Turkey, with a view to establish others at Trieste and Vienna. This interested, amused, and occupied me exceedingly. I frustrated the miserable plans of our ministers of finance, who had never studied or travelled. I occasioned the settlement among us of consuls, a kind of people, to whom we, alone,
were before strangers. I formed studs in Hungary and Bohemia, for breeding horses, that money might, not be sent out of the country. And I can affirm, that the emperour's affairs never went on so well, and perhaps never will again, as they did during these ten years. 1729—To complete my work (at Trieste) I had to battle a good deal with the too-righteous catholicks and large wigs of this country. The jesuits are indulgent, when you know how to manage them. They were very useful to me, in procuring a cessation of the persecutions practised upon the protestants in my fleet, who were forbidden the exercise of their religion. The only sailors left me, were those who had none at all, or hypocrites. This was still worse; for how could I trust these two classes of people, who had no fear of God, but only feared the emperour ! The honest Swedish, Danish, Hamburgh, and Lubeck sailors, and merchants, returned or remained. Thanks to a couple of protestant ministers, whom I kept on board of our ships. 1730.-At length I enjoyed the pleasure of having the first fair at Trieste; and, after some labour upon the finances, to find money enough to raise 36,000 men, with whom the emperour resolved to augment his army. He was right to hold himself in readiness for all events. 'Tis the way to preserve peace. But I thought I could perceive, that certain intriguers, for their own private interest, or certain zealous, but shallow persons, would not be displeased to produce a rupture, on the first opportunity. The French are clever in discovering what passes; and, by these means, are always in a better condition than others. 1732.-The court of Versailles, for example, was not duped by the journey to Carlsbad, whither I accompanied the emperour, who gave out, that he was going for the benefit of the waters. It is obvious, that some interview was in contemplation. The king of Prussia was waiting for us at Prague; and the moment I had dressed myself, to pay my respects to him, who should enter but his majesty. “No ceremony,” said he to me, “I am come to chat with my master.” He was a Charles XII. of peace; he dreamt of nothing but military matters; , but these were only parades, exercises, short coats, little hats, and tall men. I was obliged to hear him talk on all these subjects, of the fine order of his troops, and of his economy. Here I took him up, and advised him to amass plenty of money, and plenty of men, to defend us, if we were attacked; for my system, as may be perceived, was not to make war, but to create a barrier against France, in order to take from her all inclination to attack us. Preferring friends to allies, who are often troublesome, and a kind of tutors, I only engaged him not to declare against us; knowing his avarice, I was apprehensive, lest we should not prevail so far. I persuaded Charles VI., to descend a step from his Spanish haughtiness, and, at least, to give him a friendly reception. He gave him a handsome entertainment, which cost a good deal of money. I prevailed upon all the Bohemian nobility to pay the highest honour and respect to the king. He would have preferred a review to a ball, but that was not our forte. I was so well satisfied with the higher tacticks, as to care nothing about wheeling to the right and left, and the handling of arms. The contrast of the dignity and magnificence of our emperour, in a mantle of gold, with his royal corporal, was very amusing. He returned to Potzdam, and we to Vienna. 1733.−It was about this time that I clearly perceived the diminution of my influence. The king of Poland died in the month of February. Russia proposed to assist us, in securing the election of his son, Augus
At length, it was asserted, that the so-called honour of the state was compromised, if we did not go to war. “I recognise it not,” said I to the ministers, “except when it is supported by powerful means: those of France never were so strong as at present. Her finances are in the best possible state, in consequence of twenty years of peace. We have had scarcely ten, since the peace of Westphalia; that is to say, for a period of near eighty years. Her administration is wise.” I would not roundly declarc that ours was not; but I hinted as much. “What have we to do with a war, so foreign to the Germanick body, which will make this reflection, and send us no assistance : The Russians are too distant to afford any; and, before they arrive, the empire and Italy will be overrun. Recollect the versatility of England, in my better days. She is ever ready to begin again. A mercantile policy is always to be heard at the doors of parliament. The Englishman, just, noble, upright, and generous, on his private account, is the contrary in behalf of his country. 'Tis a land of contradiction, whose constitution the ocean alone supports; as bad faith in speeches, and a desire to shine, support the opposition. “The haughtiness and unskilfulness often manifested by the emperour's envoys at foreign courts, frequently cause them to slip away from him, and render it impossible to reckon upon any thing; and, notwithstanding my conversations with Liria and Robinson, I would lay a wager, that Spain will declare for France, and England will remain neuter.” Good as were the reasons which I alleged, to prove that France would be very glad to find a pretext for a war with us, and bad as were those that were employed to refute them, the latter, nevertheless, prevailed. It was, perhaps, supposed, that I should refuse the command of the army, which was offered me out of compliment; but this was a mistake, for I accepted it. For my own part, individually, I am fond of war; and, in this, I wished to meet the fate of Turenne. Before I had time to assemble the army, the command of which, till my arrival, was given to the duke of Bevern; and, while I was making all my arrangements with the council of war, what I had foreseen, happened. On the 28th October, the French had taken the fortress of Kehl, levied contributions throughout the whole empire, and overrun the Milanese. Sardinia and Spain had declared against us. In vain I represented to the empire, till I was tired, that the aggression of France ought to make it declare in our favour. Three electors protested against such declaration, alleging, that this invasion concerned only the head of the empire; that it was only a passage through, for the purpose of attacking Austria, and that France had promised to restore all she had taken, as soon as the emperour should dissolve his connexion with the elector of Saxony. 1734.—I arrived on the 25th of
April at Heilbron. On the 27th I reviewed the army a few leagues from Philipsburg. I still shed tears of joy, tenderness, and gratitude, whenever I recollect how I was received with repeated shouts of “ long live our father l’” and thousands of hats thrown into the air. The old"companions of my campaigns in Hungary, Italy, Flanders, and Bavaria, crowded to embrace the tops of my boots; they surrounded me, embraced my horse, and even pulled me down with their caresses. This moment was certainly the most delicious of my life; but it was embittered by the reflection that I had only 35,000 men, that the enemy had 80,000, and announced his determination to march to Vienna. I conducted them into the lines of Ettlingen; but these were calculated for 100,000 men, and I had no inclination to repeat the affair of Denain. I abandoned them, but I made so many marches and countermarches, and played off so many stratagems, that I prevented Berwick from penetrating into the interiour of the country. He had nothing else to do than to lay siege to Philipsburg. This was what I wanted, in order to gain time. His head was there carried off by a cannon-ball, eight days after the opening of the trenches. I was envious on this occasion, and it was for the first time in my life. I was disappointed in this plan, as well as in that of attacking the French in their lines. I thought I had discovered a place badly fortified, and with a small quantity of artillery; they had neglected it because it was covered by a morass which I had been told was passable, but which I found it impossible to get across, for I went myself to reconnoitre it: one cannot implicitly rely on any report. This has been my practice all my life; I have found the benefit of it, as well as of constantly having a pencil in my pocket, to write down, in an officer's tablets, the order which I give him to carry. I had received some Hessian, Hanoverian, and Prussian reenforcements: among whom I distinguished the prince royal," who appeared a young man of infinite promiseD’Asfeld has surpassed himself. Never did I see any thing so strong; for instance, his ditches, or trous des Iousis, were conical, and superiour to those of Condé at Arras: it was from this reconnoitering that I formed my opinion of the young prince whom I have just mentioned. When I resolved to fight, I never assembled a council of war; but this time I was sure that every one would be of my opinion. I determined to cross the Rhine, and to recross it higher up to attack D’Asfeld. For this service I had destined 3000 cavalry and 10,000 Swiss. This devil of a fellow had all his wits about him, and at length took Philipsburg, in spite of my cannonade of his camp, in which I acted the grand vizier of Belgrade, for my batteries and parapets were elevated to fire down upon it, and the water, besides, was still more terrible than the fire. I relied more upon the effect of the one than of the other. ‘But what a nations, capable of every thing. Richelieu, whom I had known a Sybarite so delicate and voluptuous, the young courtiers, the Duras, and the La Vallieres, were metamorphosed. They only want a leader. D'Asfeld was a rigid Spartan, and set a good example; and before him Berwick held them in awe. They threw up trenches in boats, and endured every hardship with unequalled patience. I never had any, for my part, under mental sufferings. The first that had attacked the other would have been beaten, and had that been my lot, the French might have gone to Vienna, for there was no fortified place on the way, or upon the flanks; and the elector of Bavaria, who had subject of complaint, only waited for this to delare against Austria, whose
haughtiness or awkwardness made it .
friends no where. We should have lost the few we had. There was no Sobieski to save the capital; I should have retired within the lines which I constructed in 1705; but meanwhile Te Deum would have been sung at Versailles, and in the chapels of some of my enemies at Vienna. People there at length became sensible of the justice of my reasons against the war, for they then perceived the inferiority of our means with which the barkers and firebrands of society sannot be acquainted. Philipsburg being taken, I retired to my old camp at Bruchsal. D’Asfeld would have laid siege to Mentz, but this intention I obliged him to relinquish, for I hastened to cover that place. My marches, to prevent the French from penetrating into Swabia by the Black Forest, have, it seems, been sufficiently extolled. I covered Wirtemberg, and they found me every where except in a field of battle: for really I could not fight. More fatigued than we, but able to refresh themselves whenever they pleased, they entered into winter-quarters; and I, innocent in my own eyes, deserving neither the praise nor the censure with which I am honoured, satisfied with a kind of petty, passive glory, set out for Vienna. I had left my nephew, the only remaining shoot of my branch of Savoy, sick at Mannheim: he died of a fever, as I have been told; but I suspect of something else.”Tis a pity; he possessed understanding and courage. Though only twenty years of age, he was a major-general, but too much of a libertine. I allow a man to be a little disposed that way. I love the indiscreet, and detest Catos; they scarcely ever stand fire well: but my little Eugene was fond of bad company and bad friends; and these are enough to ruin any body. At the end of April I set off for
* Afterwards the great Frederick.