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stand the matter himself, you perceive: how hopeless to make 'you understand it !
English readers, however, have no other shift; the rest of the Books I have seen,-Histoire des Révolutions de Pologne ;Histoire des Trois Démembremens de la Pologne ;3 Letters on Poland, and many more,—are not worth mentioning at all. Comfortable in the mad dance of these is Hermann's recent dull volume ;5—commonplace, dull, but steady and faithful; yielding us at least dates, and an immunity from noise. By help of Hermann and the others, distilled to caput mortuum, a few dated facts (cardinal we dare not call them) may be extracted ;-dimly out of these, to the meditating mind, some outline of the phenomenon may begin to become conceivable.
King of Poland dies ; and there ensue huge
Anarchies in that Country.
old King of Poland, -whom we saw, on that fall of the curtain at Pirna seven years ago, rush off for Warsaw with his Brühl, with expressive speed and expressive silence, and who has been waiting there ever since, sublimely confident that his powerful terrestrial friends, Austria, Russia, France, not to speak of Heaven's justice at all, would exact due penalty, of signal and tremendous nature, on the Prussian Aggressor, -has again been disappointed. The poor old Gentleman got no compensation for his manifold losses and
· 1778 (à Warsovie, et se trouve à Paris), 2 voll. 8vo.
: Anonymous (by one Ferrand, otherwise unknown to me), Paris, 1820, 3 voll. 8vo.
• Anonymous (by a ‘Reverend Mr. Lindsey,' it would seem), Letters concerning the Present State of Poland, together with &c. (London, 1773 ; 1 vol. 8vo): of these Letters, or at least of Reverend Lindsey, Author of them, “Tutor to King Stanislaus's Nephew,' and a man of painfully loud loose tongue, there may perhaps be mention afterwards.
s Hermann, Geschichte des Russischen Staats, vol. v. (already cited in regard to the Peter-Catharine tragedy); seems to be compiled mainly from the Saxon Archives, from Despatches written on the spot, and at the time.
1763-1769. woes at Pirna or elsewhere; not the least mention of such a thing, on the final winding-up of that War of Seven Years, in which his share had been so tragical; no alleviation was provided for him in this world. His sorrows in Poland had been manifold; nothing but anarchies, confusions and contradictions had been his Royal portion there: in about Forty different Diets he had tried to get some business done,-no use asking what; for the Diets, one and all, exploded in Nie pozwalam ; and could do no business, good, bad, or indifferent, for him or anybody. An unwise, most idle Country; following as chief employment perpetual discrepancy with its idle unwise King and self; Russia the virtual head of it this long while, so far as it has any
head. February-August 1763, just while the Treaty of Hubertsburg was blessing everybody with the return of Peace, and for long months after Peace had returned to everybody, Polish Majesty was in sore trouble. Trouble in regard to Courland, to his poor Son Karl, who fancied himself elected, under favour and permission of the late Czarina our gracious Protectress and Ally, to the difficult post of Duke in Courland; and had proceeded, three or four years ago, to take possession,--but was now interrupted by Russian encroachments and violences. Not at all well disposed to him, these new Peters, new Catharines. They have recalled their Bieren from Siberia; declare that old Bieren is again Duke, or at least that young Bieren is, and not Saxon Karl at all; and have proceeded, Czarina Catharine has, to instal him forcibly with Russian soldiers. Karl declares, “You shall kill me before you or he get into this Palace of Mietau!”-and by Domestics merely, and armed private Gentlemen, he does maintain himself in said Palatial Mansion; valiantly indignant, for about six months; the Russian Battalions 1763-1769. girdling him on all sides, minatory more and more, but loth to begin actual bloodshed. A transaction very famed in those parts, and still giving loud voice in the Polish Books, which indeed get ever noisier from this point onward, till they end in inarticulate shrieks, as we shall too well hear.
Empress Catharine, after the lapse of six months, sends an Ambassador to Warsaw (Kayserling by name), who declares, in tone altogether imperative, that Czarish Majesty feels herself weary of such contumacy, weary generally of Polish Majesty's and Polish Republic's multifarious contumacies; and, in fine, cruellest of all, that she has troops on the Frontier; that Courland is not the only place where she has troops. What a stab to the poor old man! "Contumacies?' Has not he been Russia's patient stepping-stone, all along; his anarchic Poland and he accordant in that, if in nothing else? “Let us to Saxony," decides he passionately, “and leave all this.” In Saxony his poor old Queen is dead long since; much is dead: Saxony and Life generally, what a Golgotha! He immediately sends word to Karl: “Give up Courland; I am going home!"--and did hastily make his packages, and bid adieu to Warsaw, and, in a few weeks after, to this anarchic world altogether. Died at Dresden, 5th October 1763.
Polish Majesty had been elected, 5th October 1733; died, you observe, 5th October 1763;—was King of Poland (“King,” save the mark!) for 30 years to a day. Was elected—do readers still remember how? Leaves a ruined Saxony lying round him; a ruined life mutely asking him, “Couldst thou have done no better, then ?” Wretched Brühl followed him in four or five weeks. Nay, in about two months, his Son and Successor,
• Rulhière, ii. (Livre v.) 81 et antea ; Hermann, v. 348 et seq.
1763-1769. “Friedrich Christian” (with whom we dined at Moritzburg), had followed him; leaving a small Boy, age 13, as new Kurfürst, “ Friedrich August” the name of him, with guardians to manage the Minority; especially with his Mother as chief guardian, of whom, for two reasons, we are now to say something. Reason first is, That she is really a rather brilliant, distinguished creature, distinguished more especially in Friedrich's world; whose Letters to her are numerous, and, in their kind, among the notablest he wrote;—of which we would gladly give some specimen, better or worse: and reason second, That in so doing, we may contrive to look, for a moment or two, into the preliminary Polish Anarchies at first hand; and, transiently and far off, see something of them as if with our own eyes.
Marie-Antoine, or Marie-Antoinette, Electress of Saxony, is still a bright Lady, and among the busiest living; now in her 36th year: born 17th July 1724; second child of Kaiser Karl VII.';—a living memento to us of those old times of trouble. Papa, when she came to him, was in his 27th year; this was his second daughter; three years afterwards, he had a son (born, 1727; died, 1777), who made the “ Peace of Füssen," to Friedrich's disgust, in 1745, if readers recollect;and who, dying childless, will give rise to another War (the “Potato War" so-called), for Friedrich's behoof and ours. This little creature would be in her teens during that fatal Kaisership (1742-1745, her age then 18-21), -during these triumphs, flights, and furnished-lodging intricacies. Her Mamma, whom we have seen, a little fat bullet given to devotion, was four years younger than Papa. Mamma died, '11th December 1756,' Germany
· Prince died, 17th December (Brühl, 18th November) 1763.
1763-1769. all blazing out in War again ; she had been a Widow eleven years.
Marie-Antoine was wedded to Friedrich Christian, Saxon Kurprinz, “20th June 1747;' her age 23, his 25:
-Chronology itself is something, if one will attend to it, in the absence of all else! The young pair were Cousins, their Mothers being Sisters; Polish Majesty one's Uncle, age now 51,—who was very fond of us, poor indolent soul, and glad of our company on an afternoon, “ being always in his dressing-gown by 2 o'clock.' Concerning which the tongue of Court scandal was not entirely idle,-Hanbury chronicling, as we once noticed. All which I believe to be mere lying wind. The young Princess was beautiful; extremely clever, graceful and lively, we can still see for ourselves: no wonder
poor Polish Majesty, always in his dressing-gown by 2, was charmed to have her company,—the rather as I hope she permitted him a little smoking withal.
Her Husband was crook-backed; and, except those slight, always perfectly polite little passages, in Schmettau's Siege (1759), in the Hubertsburg Treaty affair, in the dinner at Moritzburg, I never heard much history of him. He became Elector, 5th October 1763; but enjoyed the dignity little more than two months. Our Princess had borne him seven children,--three boys, four girls,—the eldest about 13, a Boy, who succeeded; the youngest a girl, hardly 3. The Boy is he who sent Gellert the caparisoned Horse, and had estafettes on the road while Gellert lay dying. This Boy lived to be 77, and saw strange things in the world; had seen Napoleon and the French Revolution; was the first “King of Saxony” so-called; saw Jena, retreat of Moscow; saw the “Battle of the Nations" (Leipzig, 15th-18th October 1813), and his great Napoleon terminate in bankruptcy.