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30th Dec. 1777.
impossible all, and far from the meaning of a Time big with French Revolution, and with quite other things than world-greatness to Austria, and rejuvenescence on such or on any terms to the poor old Holy Roman Reich, which has been a wiggery so long. Nobody could guess of what it was that France or the world might be with child: nobody, till the birth in 1789, and even for a generation afterwards. France is weakly and unwieldy, has strange enough longings for chalky, inky, visionary, foolish substances, and may be in the familyway for aught we know.
To Kaunitz it is pretty clear that France will not stand in his path in this fine little Bavarian business; which is all he cares for at present. England in war with its Colonies; Russia attentive to its Turk; foreign Nations, what can they do but talk; remonstrate more or less, as they did in the case of Poland; and permit the thing with protest? Only from one Sovereign Person, and from him I should guess not much, does Kaunitz expect serious opposition: from Friedrich of Prussia; to whom no enlargement of Austria can be matter of indifference. “But cannot we perhaps make it worth his while ?" thinks Kaunitz : “Tush, he is old and broken ; thought to be dying ; has an absolute horror
He too will sit quiet; or we must make it worth his while." In this calculation Kaunitz deceived himself; we are now shortly to see how.
· Kaunitz's Case, when he brings it before the Reich, and general Public of mankind and its Gazetteers, will by no means prove to be a strong one. His Law " title” is this:
· Archduke Albert V. of Austria, subsequently Kaiser Al'bert II., had married Elizabeth, only Daughter of Kaiser
Sigismund Super-Grammaticam: Albert is he who got three • crowns in one year, Hungary, Bohemia, Romish Reich; and
30th Dec. 1777.
we hope a fourth,” say the Old Historians, “ which was a “ heavenly and eternal one,"-died, in short (1439, age forty). From him come the now Kaisers.
'In 1426, thirteen years before this event of the Crowns, Sigismund Grammaticam had infeoffed him in a thing still of shadowy nature,—the Expectancy of a Straubingen Princedom; pleasant extensive District, only not yet fallen, or like falling I vacant: “You shall inherit, you and yours (who are also my own), so soon as this present line of Wittelsbachers die!” said Kaiser Sigismund, solemnly, in two solemn sheepskins. “Not ' a whit of it,” would the Wittelsbachers have answered, had they 'known of the affair. “When we die out, there is another Line of * Wittelsbachers, plenty of other lines; and House-treaties many
and old, settling all that, without help of you and Albert of the * Three Crowns!” And accordingly there had never come the least fruit, or attempt at fruit, from these two Sigismund Sheepskins; which were still lying in the Vienna Archives, where they had lain since the creation of them, known to an Antiquary or two, but not even by them thought worthy of mention in this busy world. This was literally all the claim that Austria had; and every bystander admitted it to be, in itself, not worth
“In itself perhaps not,” thought Kaunitz; “but the free consent of Karl Theodor the Heir, will not that be a Title in full? One would hope so; in the present state of Europe: France, England, Russia, every Nation weltering overhead in its own troubles and affairs, little at leisure for ours!” And it is with Karl Theodor, to make out a full Title for himself there, that Kaunitz has been secretly busy this long time back, especially in the late critical days of poor Kurfürst Max.
· Karl Theodor of the Pfalz, now fallen Heir to Baiern, is a poor idle creature, of purely egoistic, ornamental, dilettante nature; sunk in theatricals, bastard children, and the like ; much praised by Voltaire, who sometimes used to visit him; and by Collini, to whom 30th Dec, 1777. he is a kind master. Karl Theodor cares little for the integrity of Baiern, much for that of his own skin. Very long ago, in 1742, in poor Kaiser Karl's Coronation time, we saw him wedded, him and another, to two fair Sister Sulzbach Princesses, Granddaughters of old Karl Philip, the then Kur-Pfalz, whom he has inherited. It was the last act of that never-resting old Karl Philip, of whom we used to hear so much: “Karl Theodor to have one of my inestimable Granddaughters; Duke Clement, younger Brother of our blessed new Kaiser, to have another; thereby we unite the kindred branches of the Pfalz-Baiern Families, and make the assurance of the Heritages doubly sure!” said old Karl Philip; and died happy, or the happiest he could.
Readers no doubt have forgotten this circumstance; and, in their total lack of interest in Karl Theodor and his paltry affairs, may as well be reminded of it;-and, furthermore, that these brilliant young Wives, “Duchess Clement” especially, called on Wilhelmina during the Frankfurt Gaieties, and were a charm to Kaiser Karl Albert, striving to look forward across clouds into a glittering future for his House. Theodor's Princess brought him no children; she and her Sister are both still living ; a lone woman the latter (Duke Clement dead these seven years),-a still more lone the former, with such a Husband yet living! Lone women both, well forward in the fifties; active souls, I should guess, at least to judge by Duchess Clement, who being a Dowager, and mistress of her movements, is emphatic in denouncing such disaster and disgrace; and plays a great part, at München, in the agitating scenes now on hand. Comes out “like a noble Amazon,” say the admiring bystanders, on this occasion; stirs whatever
· Suprà, iii. 529.
30th Dec. 1777. faculty she has, especially her tongue; and goes on urging, pushing and contriving, all she can, regardless of risks in such an imminency.
Karl Theodor finds his Heritages indisputable; but he has no Legitimate Son to leave them to; and has many Illegitimate, whom Austria can provide for,-and richly will. His Heir is a Nephew, Karl August Christian, of Zweibrück; whom perhaps it would not be painful to him to disappoint a little of his high expectations. On the whole, Peace; plentiful provision, titular and other, for his Illegitimates; and a comfortable sum of ready-money over, to enliven the Theatricals, Düsseldorf Picture Galleries and Dilettante operations and Collections,--how much welcomer to Theodor than a Baiern never so religiously saved entire at the expense of quarrel, which cannot but be tedious, troublesome and dangerous! Honour, indeed—but what, to an old stager in the dilettante line, is honour? Old stagers there are who will own to you, like Balzac's Englishman in a case of conflagration, when honour called on all men to take their buckets, “ Mais je n'ai point d'honneur !" To whom, unluckily, you cannot answer as in that case, “C'est égal, 'Tis all one; do as if you had some !" Karl Theodor scandalously left Baiern to its fate.
Karl Theodor's Heir, poor August Christian of Zweibrück, had of course his own gloomy thoughts on this parcelling of his Bavarian reversion: but what power has he? None, he thinks, but to take the inevitable patiently. Nor generally in the Princes of the Reich, though one would have thought them personally concerned, were it only for danger of a like mistreatment, was there any emotion publicly expressed, or the least hope of help. “Perhaps Prussia will quarrel about it?" think they: “ Austria, Prussia, in any of their quarrels 30th Dec. 1777. we get only crushed; better to keep out of it. We well out of it, the more they quarrel and fight, the better for us!” England, in the shape of Hanover, would perhaps have made some effort to interfere, provided France did: on either side, I incline to think,—that is to say, on the side opposite to France. But
poor England is engaged with its melancholy American War; France on the point of breaking out into Alliance with the Insurrection there. Neither France nor England did interfere. France is sinking into bankruptcy; intent to have a Navy before most things; to assist the Cause of Human Liberty over seas withal, and become a sublime spectacle, and a ruin to England, -not as in the PittChoiseul time, but by that improved method. Russia, again involved in Turk business, looks on, with now and then a big word thrown out on the one side and the other.- München, in the interval, we can fancy what an agitated City! One Note says:
“Kurfürst Max Joseph being dead (30th December 1777), · Privy Councillor Johann Euchar von Obermayr, favourite
and factotum Minister of the Deceased, opened the Chatoulle? (Princely Safe, or Case of Preciosities); 'took from it the Act,
which already lay prepared, for Homaging and solemn Instal'ment of Karl Theodor Kur-Pfalz, as Heir of Baiern ; with immediate intent to execute the same. Euchar orders strict closure of the Town-gates; the Soldiery to draw out, and beset all streets,—especially that street where Imperial Majesty's Am“bassador lives: “Rank close with your backs to that House,” “ orders Euchar; “and the instant anybody stirs to come out, sound your drums, and, at the same instant, let the rearmost “ rank of you, without looking round” (for one would not give
offence, unless imperative), “smite the butts of their muskets to “the ground” (ready for firing, if imperative). Nobody, I think, stirred out from that Austrian Excellency's House; in any case, Obermayr completed his Act without the least protest