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1766. Innspruck, during the Marriage-festivities of his Second Son, Leopold (Duke of Florence, who afterwards, on Joseph's death, was Kaiser),-Kaiser Franz, sauntering about in the evening gala, “18th August, about 9 P.M.,' suddenly tottered, staggered as falling; fell into Son Joseph's arms; and was dead. Above a year before, this same Joseph, his Eldest Son, had been made King of the Romans : elected, 26th March; crowned, 3d April 1764;-Friedrich furthering it, wishful to be friendly with his late enemies. 37
On this Innspruck Tragedy, Joseph naturally became Kaiser, -Part-Kaiser; his Dowager-Mother, on whom alone it depends, having decided that way. The poor Lady was at first quite overwhelmed with her grief. She had the death-room of her Husband made into a Chapel; she founded furthermore a Monastery in Innspruck, ‘Twelve Canonesses to pray there for the repose of Franz;' was herself about to become Abbess there, and quit the secular world; but in the end was got persuaded to continue, and take Son Joseph as Coadjutor.38 In which capacity we shall meet the young man again.
37 Rödenbeck, ii. 234.
38 Hormayr, Oesterreichischer Plutarch (§ Maria Theresa), iv. (2tes Bändchen) 6-124; Maria Theresiens Leben, p. 30.
TROUBLES IN POLAND.
APRIL 11th, 1764, one year after his Seven-Years labour of Hercules, Friedrich made Treaty of Alliance with the new Czarina Catharine. England had deserted him; France was his enemy, especially Pompadour and Choiseul, and refused reconcilement, though privately solicited: he was without an Ally anywhere. The Russians had done him frightful damage in the last War, and were most of all to be dreaded in the case of
The Treaty was a matter of necessity as well as choice. Agreement for mutual good neighbourhood and friendly offices; guarantee of each other against intrusive third parties: should either get engaged in war with any neighbour, practical aid to the length of 12,000 men, or else money in lieu. Treaty was for eight years, from day of date.
As Friedrich did not get into war, and Catharine did, with the Turks and certain loose Polacks, the burden of fulfilment happened to fall wholly on Friedrich; and he was extremely punctual in performance, -eager now, and all his life after, to keep well with such a Country under such a Czarina. Which proved to be the whole rule of his policy on that Russian side. “Good that Country cannot bring me by any quarrel with it; evil it can, to a frightful extent, in case of my quarrelling with others! Be wary, be punctual, mag1763-1769. nanimously polite, with that grandiose Czarina and her huge territories and notions :” this was Friedrich's constant rule in public and in private. Nor is it thought his Correspondence with the Empress Catharine, when future generations see it in print, will disclose the least ground of offence to that highflying Female Potentate of the North. Nor will it ever be known what the silently observant Friedrich thought of her, except indeed what we already know, or as good as know, That he, if anybody did, saw her clearly enough for what she was; and found good to repress into absolute zero whatever had no bearing upon business, and might by possibility give offence in that quarter. For we are an old King, and have learned by bitter experiences! No more nicknames, biting verses, or words which a bird of the air could carry; though this poor Lady too has her liabilities, were not we old and prudent;—and is entirely as weak on certain points (deducting the devotions and the brandy-and-water) as some others were! The Treaty was renewed when necessary; and continued valid and vital in every particular, so long as Friedrich ruled.
By the end of the first eight years, by strictly following this passive rule, Friedrich, in counterbalance of his losses, unexpectedly found himself invested with a very singular bit of gain,—“unjust gain !" cried all men, making it of the nature of gain and loss to him,which is still practically his, and which has made, and makes to this day, an immense noise in the world. Everybody knows we mean West-Preussen; Partition of Poland; bloodiest picture in the Book of Time, Sarmatia's fall unwept without a crime;—and that we have come upon a very intricate part of our poor History.
No prudent man,-especially if to himself, as is my own poor case in regard to it, the subject have long been
1763-1769. altogether dead and indifferent, would wish to write of the Polish Question. For almost a hundred years the Polish Question has been very loud in the world; and ever and anon rises again into vocality among Able Editors, as a thing pretending not to be dead and buried, but capable of rising again, and setting itself right, by good effort at home and abroad. Not advisable, beyond the strict limits of compulsion, to write of it at present! The rather as the History of it, any History we have, is not an intelligible series of events, but a series of vociferous execrations, filling all Nature, with nothing left to the reader but darkness, and such remedies against despair as he himself can summon or contrive.
* Rulhière's on that subject, says a Note which I may cite, ' is the only articulate-speaking Book to which mankind as yet can apply;' and they will by no means find that a sufficient
Rulhière's Book has its considerable merits; but it absolutely wants those of a History; and can be recognised by no mind as an intelligible cosmic Portraiture of that chaotic Mass of Occurrences: chronology, topography, precision of detail by time and place; scene, and actors on scene, remain unintelli‘gible. Rulhière himself knew Poland, at least had looked on it from Warsaw outwards, year after year, and knew of it what an inquiring Secretary of Legation could pick up on those 'terms, which perhaps, after all, is not very much. His Narra“tive is drowned in beautiful seas of description and reflexion; has neither dates nor references; and advances at an intolerable rate of slowness; in fact, rather turns on its axis than advances; produces on you the effect of a melodious Sonata, not of a lucid and comfortably instructive History.
'I forget for how long Rulhière had been in Poland, as Am"bassador's Assistant: but the Country, the King, and leading
Personages were personally known to him, more or less; Events * with all details of them were known: “Why not write a His
Cl. Rulhière, Histoire de l'Anarchie de Pologne (Paris, 1807), 4 voll. 12mo.
1763-1769. tory of the Anarchy and Wreck they fell into ?” said the • Official people to him, on his return home: “For behoof of the Dauphin” (who is to be Louis XVI. shortly); “may not 'he perhaps draw profit from it? At the top of the Universe, experience is sometimes wanted. Here are the Archives, here 'is Salary, here are what appliances you like to name: Write !" • It is well known he was appointed, on a Pension of 2501.
a-year, with access to all archives, documents, and appliances ' in possession of the French Government, and express charge to delineate this subject for benefit of the Dauphin's young
mind. Nor can I wonder, considering everything, that the process on · Rulhière's part, being so full of difficulties, was extremely deliberate; that his Book did not grow so steadily or fast as the Dauphin did; and that in fact the poor Dauphin never got the least 'benefit from it,-being guillotined, he, in 1793, and the Book ' intended for him never coming to light for fourteen years after'wards, it too in a posthumous and still unfinished condition.
“Rulhière has heard the voices of rumour, knows an infinitude of events that were talked of; but has not discriminated which were the vital, which were the insignificant; treats the vital and the insignificant alike; seldom with satisfactory precision ; 'mournfully seldom giving any date, and by no chance any 'voucher or authority;—and instead of practical terrestrial scene of action, with distances, milestones, definite sequence of occurrences, and of causes and effects, paints us a rosy cloudland, which if true at all, as he well intends it to be, is little more than symbolically or allegorically so; and can satisfy no clearheaded Dauphin or man. Rulhière strives to be authentic, too; gives you no suspicion of his fairness. There is really fine highcoloured painting in Rulhière; and you hope always he will let you into the secret of the matter: but the sad fact is, he never does. He merely loses himself in picturesque details, philosophic eloquences, elegancies; takes you to a Castle of Choczim, 'a Monastery of Czenstochow, a Bay of Tschesme, and lets off
extensive fireworks that contain little or no shot; leads you on 'trackless marches, inroads or outroads, through the Lithuanian Peatbogs, on daring adventures and hairbreadth escapes of mere Pulawski, Potocki, and the like;—had not got to under