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History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 5 by Thomas Carlyle

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Prepared by D.R. Thompson

Carlyle's "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"



Chapter I.


We saw George I. at Berlin in October, 1723, looking out upon his
little Grandson drilling the Cadets there; but we did not mention
what important errand had brought his Majesty thither.

Visits between Hanover and Berlin had been frequent for a long
time back; the young Queen of Prussia, sometimes with her husband,
sometimes without, running often over to see her Father; who, even
after his accession to the English crown, was generally for some
months every year to be met with in those favorite regions of his.
He himself did not much visit, being of taciturn splenetic nature:
but this once he had agreed to return a visit they had lately made
him,--where a certain weighty Business had been agreed upon,
withal; which his Britannic Majesty was to consummate formally, by
treaty, when the meeting in Berlin took effect. His Britannic
Majesty, accordingly, is come; the business in hand is no other
than that thrice-famous "Double-Marriage" of Prussia with England;
which once had such a sound in the ear of Rumor, and still bulks
so big in the archives of the Eighteenth Century; which worked
such woe to all parties concerned in it; and is, in fact, a
first-rate nuisance in the History of that poor Century, as
written hitherto. Nuisance demanding urgently to be abated;--
were that well possible at present. Which, alas, it is not, to any
great degree; there being an important young Friedrich
inextricably wrapt up in it, to whom it was of such vital or
almost fatal importance! Without a Friedrich, the affair could be
reduced to something like its real size, and recorded in a few
pages; or might even, with advantage, be forgotten altogether, and
become zero. More gigantic instance of much ado about nothing has
seldom occurred in human annals;--had not there been a Friedrich
in the heart of it.

Crown-Prince Friedrich is still very young for
marriage-speculations on his score: but Mamma has thought good to
take matters in time. And so we shall, in the next ensuing parts
of this poor History, have to hear almost as much about Marriage
as in the foolishest Three-volume Novel, and almost to still less
purpose. For indeed, in that particular, Friedrich's young Life
may be called a ROMANCE FLUNG HELLS-OVER-HEAD;--Marriage being the
one event there, round which all events turn,--but turn in the
inverse or reverse way (as if the Devil were in them); not only
towards no happy goal for him or Mamma, or us, but at last towards
hardly any goal at all for anybody! So mad did the affair grow;--
and is so madly recorded in those inextricable, dateless, chaotic
Books. We have now come to regions of Narrative, which seem to
consist of murky Nothingness put on boil; not land, or water, or
air, or fire, but a tumultuously whirling commixture of all the
four;--of immense extent too. Which must be got crossed, in some
human manner. Courage, patience, good reader!


Already, for a dozen years, this matter has been treated of.
Queen Sophie Dorothee, ever since the birth of her Wilhelmina, has
had the notion of it; and, on her first visit afterwards to
Hanover, proposed it to "Princess Caroline,"--Queen Caroline of
England who was to be, and who in due course was;--an excellent
accomplished Brandenburg-Anspach Lady, familiar from of old in the
Prussian Court: "You, Caroline, Cousin dear, have a little Prince,
Fritz, or let us call him FRED, since he is to be English; little
Fred, who will one day, if all go right, be King of England. He is
two years older than my little Wilhelmina: why should not they
wed, and the two chief Protestant Houses, and Nations, thereby be
united?" Princess Caroline was very willing; so was Electress
Sophie, the Great-Grandmother of both the parties; so were the
Georges, Father and Grandfather of Fred: little Fred himself was
highly charmed, when told of it; even little Wilhelmina, with her
dolls, looked pleasantly demure on the occasion. So it remained
settled in fact, though not in form; and little Fred (a florid
milk-faced foolish kind of Boy, I guess) made presents to his
little Prussian Cousin, wrote bits of love-letters to her; and all
along afterwards fancied himself, and at length ardently enough
became, her little lover and intended,--always rather a little
fellow:--to which sentiments Wilhelmina signifies that she
responded with the due maidenly indifference, but not in an
offensive manner.

After our Prussian Fritz's birth, the matter took a still closer
form: "You, dear Princess Caroline, you have now two little
Princesses again, either of whom might suit my little Fritzchen;
let us take Amelia, the second of them, who is nearest his age?"
"Agreed!" answered Princess Caroline again. "Agreed!" answered all
the parties interested: and so it was settled, that the Marriage
of Prussia to England should be a Double one, Fred of Hanover and
England to Wilhelmina, Fritz of Prussia to Amelia; and children
and parents lived thenceforth in the constant understanding that
such, in due course of years, was to be the case, though nothing
yet was formally concluded by treaty upon it. [Pollnitz,
Memoiren, ii. 193.]

Queen Sophie Dorothee of Prussia was always eager enough for
treaty, and conclusion to her scheme. True to it, she, as needle
to the pole in all weathers; sometimes in the wildest weather,
poor lady. Nor did the Hanover Serene Highnesses, at any time,
draw back or falter: but having very soon got wafted across to
England, into new more complex conditions, and wider anxieties in
that new country, they were not so impressively eager as Queen
Sophie, on this interesting point. Electress Sophie, judicious
Great-Grandmother, was not now there: Electress Sophie had died
about a month before Queen Anne; and never saw the English Canaan,
much as she had longed for it. George I., her son, a taciturn,
rather splenetic elderly Gentleman, very foreign in England, and
oftenest rather sulky there and elsewhere, was not in a humor to
be forward in that particular business.

George I. had got into quarrel with his Prince of Wales, Fred's
Father,--him who is one day to be George II., always a rather
foolish little Prince, though his Wife Caroline was Wisdom's self
in a manner:--George I. had other much more urgent cares than that
of marrying his disobedient foolish little Prince of Wales's
offspring; and he always pleaded difficulties, Acts of Parliament
that would be needed, and the like, whenever Sophie Dorothee came
to visit him at Hanover, and urge this matter. The taciturn,
inarticulately thoughtful, rather sulky old Gentleman, he had
weighty burdens lying on him; felt fretted and galled, in many
ways; and had found life, Electoral and even Royal, a deceptive
sumptuosity, little better than a more or less extensive "feast of
SHELLS," next to no real meat or drink left in it to the hungry
heart of man. Wife sitting half-frantic in the Castle of Ahlden,
waxing more and more into a gray-haired Megaera (with whom Sophie
Dorothee under seven seals of secrecy corresponds a little, and
even the Prince of Wales is suspected of wishing to correspond);
a foolish disobedient Prince of Wales; Jacobite Pretender people
with their Mar Rebellions, with their Alberoni combinations;
an English Parliament jangling and debating unmelodiously, whose
very language is a mystery to us, nothing but Walpole in dog-latin
to help us through it: truly it is not a Heaven-on-Earth
altogether, much as Mother Sophie and her foolish favorite, our
disobedient Prince of Wales, might long for it! And the Hanover
Tail, the Robethons, Bernstorfs, Fabrices, even the Blackamoor
Porters,--they are not beautiful either, to a taciturn Majesty of
some sense, if he cared about their doings or them. Voracious,
plunderous, all of them; like hounds, long hungry, got into a rich
house which has no master, or a mere imaginary one. "MENTERIS
IMPUDENTISSIME," said Walpole in his dog-latin once, in our Royal
presence, to one of these official plunderous gentlemen, "You tell
an impudent lie!"--at which we only laughed. [Horace Walpole,
Reminiscences of George I. and George II.
(London, 1786.)]

His Britannic Majesty by no means wanted sense, had not his
situation been incurably absurd. In his young time he had served
creditably enough against the Turks; twice commanded the
REICHS-Army in the Marlborough Wars, and did at least testify his
indignation at the inefficient state of it. His Foreign Politics,
so called, were not madder than those of others. Bremen and Verden
he had bought a bargain; and it was natural to protect them by
such resources as he had, English or other. Then there was the
World-Spectre of the Pretender, stretching huge over Creation,
like the Brocken-Spectre in hazy weather;--against whom how
protect yourself, except by cannonading for the Kaiser at Messina;
by rushing into every brabble that rose, and hiring the parties
with money to fight it out well? It was the established method in
that matter; method not of George's inventing, nor did it cease
with George. As to Domestic Politics, except it were to keep
quiet, and eat what the gods had provided, one does not find that
he had any.--The sage Leibnitz would very fain have followed him
to England; but, for reasons indifferently good, could never be
allowed. If the truth must be told, the sage Leibnitz had a wisdom
which now looks dreadfully like that of a wiseacre! In Mathematics
even,--he did invent the Differential Calculus, but it is certain
also he never could believe in Newton's System of the Universe,
nor would read the PRINCIPIA at all. For the rest, he was in
quarrel about Newton with the Royal Society here; ill seen, it is
probable, by this sage and the other. To the Hanover Official
Gentlemen devouring their English dead-horse, it did not appear
that his presence could be useful in these parts. [Guhrauer,
Gottfried Freiherr von Leibnitz, eine Biographie italic> (Breslau, 1842); Ker of Kersland, Memoirs of
Secret Transactions (London, 1727).

Nor are the Hanover womankind his Majesty has about him,
quasi-wives or not, of a soul-entrancing character; far indeed
from that. Two in chief there are, a fat and a lean: the lean,
called "Maypole" by the English populace, is "Duchess of Kendal,"
with excellent pension, in the English Peeragy; Schulenburg the
former German name of her; decidedly a quasi-wife (influential,
against her will, in that sad Konigsmark Tragedy, at Hanover long
since), who is fallen thin and old. "Maypole,"--or bare Hop-pole,
with the leaves all stript; lean, long, hard;--though she once had
her summer verdures too; and still, as an old quasi-wife, or were
it only as an old article of furniture, has her worth to the royal
mind, Schulenburgs, kindred of hers, are high in the military
line; some of whom we may meet.

Then besides this lean one, there is a fat; of whom Walpole
(Horace, who had seen her in boyhood) gives description.
Big staring black eyes, with rim of circular eyebrow, like a
coach-wheel round its nave, very black the eyebrows also; vast red
face; cheeks running into neck, neck blending indistinguishably
with stomach,--a mere cataract of fluid tallow, skinned over and
curiously dizened, according to Walpole's portraiture.
This charming creature, Kielmannsegge by German name, was called
"Countess of Darlington" in this country--with excellent pension,
as was natural. They all had pensions: even Queen Sophie Dorothee,
I have noticed in our State-Paper Office, has her small pension,
"800 pounds a year on the Irish Establishment:" Irish
Establishment will never miss such a pittance for our poor Child,
and it may be useful over yonder!--This Kielmannsegge, Countess of
Darlington was, and is, believed by the gossiping English to have
been a second simultaneous Mistress of his Majesty's; but seems,
after all, to have been his Half-Sister and nothing more.
Half-Sister (due to Gentleman Ernst and a Countess Platen of bad
Hanover fame); grown dreadfully fat; but not without shrewdness,
perhaps affection; and worth something in this dull foreign
country, mere cataract of animal oils as she has become. These Two
are the amount of his Britannic Majesty's resources in that
matter; resources surely not extensive, after all!--

His Britannic Majesty's day, in St. James's, is not of an
interesting sort to him; and every evening he comes precisely at a
certain hour to drink beer, seasoned with a little tobacco, and
the company of these two women. Drinks diligently in a sipping
way, says Horace; and smokes, with such dull speech as there may
be,--not till he is drunk, but only perceptibly drunkish; raised
into a kind of cloudy narcotic Olympus, and opaquely superior to
the ills of life; in which state he walks uncomplainingly to bed.
Government, when it can by any art be avoided, he rarely meddles
with; shows a rugged sagacity, where he does and must meddle:
consigns it to Walpole in dog-latin,--laughs at his "MENTIRIS."
This is the First George; first triumph of the Constitutional
Principle, which has since gone to such sublime heights among us,
--heights which we at last begin to suspect might be depths,
leading down, all men now ask: Whitherwards? A much-admired
invention in its time, that of letting go the rudder, or setting a
wooden figure expensively dressed to take charge of it, and
discerning that the ship would sail of itself so much more easily!
Which it will, if a peculiarly good seaboat, in certain kinds of
sea,--for a time. Till the Sinbad "Magnetic Mountains" begin to be
felt pulling, or the circles of Charybdis get you in their sweep;
and then what an invention it was!--This, we say, is the new
Sovereign Man, whom the English People, being in some perplexity
about the Pope aud other points, have called in from Hanover, to
walk before them in the ways of heroism, and by command and by
example guide Heavenwards their affairs and them. And they hope
that he will do it? Or perhaps that their affairs will go thither
of their own accord? Always a singular People!--

Poor George, careless of these ulterior issues, has always trouble
enough with the mere daily details, Parliamentary insolences,
Jacobite plottings, South-Sea Bubbles; and wishes to hunt, when he
gets over to Hanover, rather than to make Marriage-Treaties.
Besides, as Wilhelmina tells us, they have filled him with lies,
these Hanover Women and their emissaries: "Your Princess
Wilhelmina is a monster of ill-temper, crooked in the back and
what not," say they. If there is to be a Marriage, double or
single, these Improper Females must first be persuaded to consent.
[ Memoires de Bareith. ] Difficulties enough.
And there is none to help; Friedrich Wilhelm cares little about
the matter, though he has given his Yes,--Yes, since you will.

But Sophie Dorothee is diligent and urgent, by all opportunities;
--and, at length, in 1723, the conjuncture is propitious.
Domestic Jacobitism, in the shape of Bishop Atterbury, has got,
itself well banished; Alberoni and his big schemes, years ago they
are blown into outer darkness; Charles XII. is well dead, and of
our Bremen and Verden no question henceforth; even the Kaiser's
Spectre-Hunt, or Spanish Duel, is at rest for the present, and the
Congress of Cambrai is sitting, or trying all it can to sit:
at home or abroad, there is nothing, not even Wood's Irish
Halfpence, as yet making noise. And on the other hand, Czar Peter
is rumored (not without foundation) to be coming westward, with
some huge armament; which, whether "intended for Sweden" or not,
renders a Prussian alliance doubly valuable.

And so now at last, in this favorable aspect of the stars, King
George, over at Herrenhausen, was by much management of his
Daughter Sophie's, and after many hitches, brought to the mark.
And Friedrich Wilhelm came over too; ostensibly to bring home his
Queen, but in reality to hear his Father-in-law's compliance to
the Double-Marriage,--for which his Prussian Majesty is willing
enough, if others are willing. Praised be Heaven, King George has
agreed to everything; consents, one propitious day (Autumn 1723,
day not otherwise dated),--Czar Peter's Armament, and the
questionable aspects in France, perhaps quickening his volitions a
little. Upon which Friedrich Wilhelm and Queen Sophie have
returned home, content in that matter; and expect shortly his
Britannic Majesty's counter-visit, to perfect the details, and
make a Treaty of it.

His Britannic Majesty, we say, has in substance agreed to
everything. And now, in the silence of Nature, the brown leaves of
October still hanging to the trees in a picturesque manner, and
Wood's Halfpence not yet begun to jingle in the Drapier's Letters
of Dean Swift,--his Britannic Majesty is expected at Berlin.
At Berlin; properly at Charlottenburg a pleasant rural or suburban
Palace (built by his Britannic Majesty's late noble Sister, Sophie
Charlotte, "the Republican Queen," and named after her, as was
once mentioned), a mile or two Southwest of that City. There they
await King George's counter-visit.

Poor Wilhelmina is in much trepidation about it; and imparts her
poor little feelings, her anticipations and experiences, in
readable terms:--

"There came, in those weeks, one of the Duke of Gloucester's
gentlemen to Berlin,"--DUKE OF GLOUCESTER is Fred our intended,
not yet Prince of Wales, and if the reader should ever hear of a
DUKE OF EDINBURGH, that too is Fred,--"Duke of Gloucester's
gentlemen to Berlin," says Wilhelmina: "the Queen had Soiree
(APPARTEMENT); he was presented to her as well as to me. He made
me a very obliging compliment on his Master's part; I blushed, and
answered only by a courtesy. The Queen, who had her eye on me, was
very angry I had answered the Duke's compliments in mere silence;
and rated me sharply (ME LAVA LA TETE D'IMPORTANCE) for it; and
ordered me, under pain of her indignation, to repair that fault
to-morrow. I retired, all in tears, to my room; exasperated
against the Queen and against the Duke; I swore I would never
marry him, would throw myself at the feet--" And so on, as young
ladies of vivacious temper, in extreme circumstances, are wont:
--did speak, however, next day, to my Hanover gentleman about his
Duke, a little, though in an embarrassed manner. Alas, I am yet
but fourteen, gone the 3d of July last: tremulous as aspen-leaves;
or say, as sheet-lightning bottled in one of the thinnest human
skins; and have no experience of foolish Dukes and affairs!--

"Meanwhile," continues Wilhelmina, "the King of England's time of
arrival was drawing nigh. We repaired, on the 6th of October, to
Charlottenburg to receive him. The heart of me kept beating, and I
was in cruel agitations. King George [my Grandfather, and Grand
Uncle] arrived on the 8th, about seven in the evening;"--dusky
shades already sinking over Nature everywhere, and all paths
growing dim. Abundant flunkies, of course, rush out with torches
or what is needful. "The King of Prussia, the Queen and all their
Suite received him in the Court of the Palace, the 'Apartments'
being on the ground-floor. So soon as he had saluted the King and
Queen, I was presented to him. He embraced me; and turning to the
Queen said to her, 'Your daughter is very big of her age!' He gave
the Queen his hand, and led her into her apartment, whither
everybody followed them. As soon as I came in, he took a light
from the table, and surveyed me from head to foot. I stood
motionless as a statue, and was much put out of countenance.
All this went on without his uttering the least word. Having thus
passed me in review, he addressed himself to my Brother, whom he
caressed much, and amused himself with, for a good while."
Pretty little Grandson this, your Majesty;--any future of history
in this one, think you? "I," says Wilhelmina, "took the
opportunity of slipping out;"--hopeful to get away; but could not,
the Queen having noticed.

"The Queen made me a sign to follow her; and passed into a
neighboring apartment, where she had the English and Germans of
King George's Suite successively presented to her. After some talk
with these gentlemen, she withdrew; leaving me to entertain them,
and saying: 'Speak English to my Daughter; you will find she
speaks it very well.' I felt much less embarrassed, once the Queen
was gone; and picking up a little courage, I entered into
conversation with these English. As I spoke their language like my
mother-tongue, I got pretty well out of the affair, and everybody
seemed charmed with me. They made my eulogy to the Queen; told her
I had quite the English air, and was made to be their Sovereign
one day. It was saying a great deal on their part: for these
English think themselves so much above all other people, that they
imagine they are paying a high compliment when they tell any one
he has got English manners.

"Their King [my Grandpapa] had got Spanish manners, I should say:
he was of an extreme gravity, and hardly spoke a word to anybody.
He saluted Madam Sonsfeld [my invaluable thrice-dear Governess]
very coldly; and asked her 'If I was always so serious, and if my
humor was of the melancholy turn?' 'Anything but that, Sire,'
answered the other: 'but the respect she has for your Majesty
prevents her from being as sprightly as she commonly is.'
He wagged his head, and answered nothing. The reception he had
given me, and this question, of which I heard, gave me such a
chill, that I never had the courage to speak to him,"--was merely
looked at with a candle by Grandpapa.

"We were summoned to supper at last, where this grave Sovereign
still remained dumb. Perhaps he was right, perhaps he was wrong;
but I think he followed the proverb, which says, Better hold your
tongue than speak badly. At the end of the repast he felt
indisposed. The Queen would have persuaded him to quit table;
they bandied compliments a good while on the point; but at last
she threw down her napkin, and rose. The King of England naturally
rose too; but began to stagger; the King of Prussia ran up to help
him, all the company ran bustling about him; but it was to no
purpose: he sank on his knees; his peruke falling on one side,
and his hat [or at least his head, Madam!] on the other.
They stretched him softly on the floor; where he remained a good
hour without consciousness. The pains they took with him brought
back his senses, by degrees, at last. The Queen and the King [of
Prussia] were in despair all this while. Many have thought this
attack was a herald of the stroke of apoplexy which came by and
by,"--within four years from this date, and carried off his
Majesty in a very gloomy manner.

"They passionately entreated him to retire now," continues
Wilhelmina; "but he would not by any means. He led out the Queen,
and did the other ceremonies, according to rule; had a very bad
night, as we learned underhand;" but persisted stoically
nevertheless, being a crowned Majesty, and bound to it.
He stoically underwent four or three other days, of festival,
sight-seeing, "pleasure" so called;--among other sights, saw
little Fritz drilling his Cadets at Berlin;--and on the fourth
day (12th October, 1723, so thinks Wilhelmina) fairly "signed the
Treaty of the Double-Marriage," English Townshend and the Prussian
Ministry having settled all things. [Wilhelmina, Memoires
de Bareith, i. 83, 87,--In Coxe ( Memoirs of
Sir Robert Walpole, London, 1798), ii. 266, 272, 273,
are some faint hints, from Townshend, of this Berlin journey.]

"Signed the Treaty," thinks Wilhelmina, "all things being
settled." Which is an error on the part of Wilhelmina.
Settled many or all things were by Townshend and the others:
but before signing, there was Parliament to be apprised, there
were formalities, expenditure of time; between the cup and the
lip, such things to intervene;--and the sad fact is, the
Double-Marriage Treaty never was signed at all!--However, all
things being now settled ready for signing, his Britannic Majesty,
next morning, set off for the GOHRDE again, to try if there were
any hunting possible.

This authentic glimpse, one of the few that are attainable, of
their first Constitutional King, let English readers make the most
of. The act done proved dreadfully momentous to our little Friend,
his Grandson; and will much concern us!

Thus, at any rate, was the Treaty of the Double-Marriage settled,
to the point of signing,--thought to be as good as signed. It was
at the time when Czar Peter was making armaments to burn Sweden;
when Wood's Halfpence (on behalf of her Improper Grace of Kendal,
the lean Quasi-Wife, "Maypole" or Hop-pole, who had run short of
money, as she often did) were about beginning to jingle in
Ireland; [Coxe (i. 216, 217, and SUPPLY the dates); Walpole to
Townshend, 13th October, 1723 (ib. ii. 275): "The
Drapier's Letters" are of 1724.] when Law's Bubble
"System" had fallen, well flaccid, into Chaos again; when Dubois
the unutterable Cardinal had at length died, and d'Orleans the
unutterable Regent was unexpectedly about to do so,--in a most
surprising Sodom-and-Gomorrah manner. [2d December, 1723:
Barbier, Journal Historique du Regne de Louis XV. italic> (Paris, l847), i. 192, 196; Lacretelle, Histoire
de France, 18me siecle; &c.] Not to mention other
dull and vile phenomena of putrid fermentation, which were
transpiring, or sluttishly bubbling up, in poor benighted rotten
Europe here or there;--since these are sufficient to date the
Transaction for us; and what does not stick to our Fritz and his
affairs it is more pleasant to us to forget than to remember, of
such an epoch.

Hereby, for the present, is a great load rolled from Queen Sophie
Dorothee's heart. One, and, that the highest, of her abstruse
negotiations, cherished, labored in, these fourteen years, she has
brought to a victorious issue,--has she not? Her poor Mother, once
so radiant, now so dim and angry, shut in the Castle of Ahlden,
does not approve this Double-Marriage; not she for her part;--as
indeed evil to all Hanoverian interests is now chiefly her good,
poor Lady; and she is growing more and more of a Megaera every
day. With whom Sophie Dorothee has her own difficulties and
abstruse practices; but struggles always to maintain, under
seven-fold secrecy, some thread of correspondence and pious
filial ministration wherever possible; that the poor exasperated
Mother, wretchedest and angriest of women, be not quite cut off
from the kinship of the living, but that some soft breath of pity
may cool her burning heart now and then. [In Memoirs of
Sophia Dorothea (London, 1845), ii. 385, 393, are
certain fractions of this Correspondence, "edited" in an amazing
manner.] A dark tragedy of Sophie's, this; the Bluebeard Chamber
of her mind, into which no eye but her own must ever look.


In reference to Queen Sophie, and chronologically if not otherwise
connected with this Double-Marriage Treaty, I will mention one
other thing. Her Majesty had been in fluctuating health, all
summer; unaccountable symptoms turning up in her Majesty's
constitution, languors, qualms, especially a tendency to swelling
or increase of size, which had puzzled and alarmed her Doctors and
her. Friedrich Wilhelm, on conclusion of the Marriage-Treaty, had
been appointed to join his Father-in-law, Britannic George, at the
Gohrde, in some three weeks' time, and have a bout of hunting.
On the 8th of November, bedtime being come, he kissed his
Wilhelmina and the rest, by way of good-by; intending to start
very early on the morrow:--long journey (150 miles or so), to be
done all in one day. In the dead of the night, Queen Sophie was
seized with dreadful colics,--pangs of colic or who knows what;--
Friedrich Wilhelm is summoned; rises in the highest alarm;
none but the maids and he at hand to help; and the colic, or
whatever it may be, gets more and more dreadful.

Colic? O poor Sophie, it is travail, and no colic; and a clever
young Princess is suddenly the result! None but Friedrich Wilhelm
and the maid for midwives; mother and infant, nevertheless, doing
perfectly well. Friedrich Wilhelm did not go on the morrow, but
next day; laughed, ever and anon in loud hahas, at the part he had
been playing; and was very glad and merry. How the experienced
Sophie, whose twelfth child this is, came to commit such an
oversight is unaccountable; but the fact is certain, and made a
merry noise in Court circles. [Pollnitz, ii. 199; Wilhelmina,
i. 87, 88.]

The clever little Princess, now born in this manner, is known
by name to idle readers. She was christened AMELIA; and we shall
hear of her in time coming. But there was, as the Circulating
Libraries still intimate, a certain loud-spoken braggart of the
histrionic-heroic sort, called Baron Trenck, windy, rash, and not
without mendacity, who has endeavored to associate her with his
own transcendent and not undeserved ill-luck; hinting the poor
Princess into a sad fame in that way. For which, it would now
appear, there was no basis whatever! Most condemnable Trenck;--
whom, however, Robespierre guillotined finally, and so settled
that account and others.

Of Sophie Dorothee's twelve children, including this Amelia, there
are now eight living, two boys, six girls; and after Amelia, two
others, boys, are successively to come: ten in all, who grew to be
men and women. Of whom perhaps I had better subjoin a List;
now that the eldest Boy and Girl are about to get settled in life;
and therewith close this Chapter.


Marriage to Sophie Dorothee, 28th November, 1706.

A little Prince, born 23d November, 1707, died in six months.
Then came,
l. FREDERIKA SOPHIE WILHELMINA, ultimately Margravine of
Baireuth, after strange adventures in the marriage-treaty way.
Wrote her Memoires there, about 1744.
Of whom we shall hear much. Left a Daughter, her one child;
Daughter badly married, to "Karl reigning Duke of Wurtemberg"
(Poet Schiller's famous Serene Highness there), from whom she had
to separate, &c., with anger enough, by and by.

After Wilhelmina in the Family series came a second Prince, who
died in the eleventh month. Then, 24th January, 1712,

After whom (1713) a little Princess, who died in few months.
And then,
3. FREDERIKA LOUISA, born 28th September, 1714; age now about
nine. Margravine of Anspach, 30th May, 1729; Widow 1757.
Her one Son, born 1736, was the LADY-CRAVEN'S Anspach.
Frederika Louisa died 4th February, 1734.
4. PHILIPPINA CHARLOTTE, born 13th of March, 1716; became
Duchess of Brunswick (her Husband was Eldest Brother of the
"Prince Ferdinand" so famous in England in the Seven-Years War);
her Son was the Duke who invaded France in 1792, and was
tragically hurled to ruin in the Battle of Jena, 1806. The Mother
lived till 1801; Widow since 1780.

After whom, in 1717, again a little Prince, who died within two
years (our Fritz then seven,--probably the first time Death ever
came before him, practically into his little thoughts in this
world): then,
5. SOPHIE DOROTHEE MARIA, born 25th January, 1719; Margravine of
Schwedt, 1734 (eldest Magraf of Schwedt, mentioned above as a
comrade of the Crown-Prince). Her life not very happy; she died
1765. Left no son (Brother-in-law succeeded, last of the Schwedt
MARGRAVES): her Daughter, wedded to Prince Friedrich Eugen, a
Prussian Officer, Cadet of Wurtemberg and ultimately Heir there,
is Ancestress of the Wurtemberg Sovereignties that now are, and
also (by one of HER daughters married to Paul of Russia) of all
the Czar kindred of our time. [Preuss, iv. 278; Erman,
Vie de Sophie Charlotte, p. 2722.]
6. LOUISA ULRIQUE, born 24th July, 1720; married Adolf
Friedrich, Heir-Apparent, subsequemly King of Sweden, 17th July,
1744; Queen (he having acceded) 6th April, 1751; Widow 1771;
died, at Stockholm, 16th July, 1782. Mother of the subsequent
Kings; her Grandson the DEPOSED> [OErtel, p. 83; Hubner,
tt. 91, 227.]
7. AUGUST WILHELM, born 9th August, 1722; Heir-Apparent after
Friedrich (so declared by Friedrich, 30th June, 1744); Father of
the Kings who have since followed. He himself died, in sad
circumstances, as we shall see, 12th June, 1758.
8. ANNA AMELIA, born 9th November, 1723,--on the terms we
have seen.
9. FRIEDRICH HEINRICH LUDWIG, born l8th January, 1726;--the
famed Prince Henri, of whom we shall hear.
10. AUGUST FERDINAND, born 23d May, 1730: a brilliant enough
little soldier under his Brother, full of spirit and talent, but
liable to weak health;--was Father of the "Prince Louis
Ferdinand," a tragic Failure of something considerable, who went
off in Liberalism, wit, in high sentiment, expenditure and
debauchery, greatly to the admiration of some persons; and at
length rushed desperate upon the Frenoh, and found his quietus
(10th October, 1806), four days before the Battle of Jena.

Chapter II.


Treaty of Double-Marriage is ready for signing, once the needful
Parliamentary preludings are gone through; Treaty is signed,
thinks Wilhelmina,--forgetting the distance between cup and lip!--
As to signing, or even to burning, and giving up the thought of
signing, alas, how far are we yet from that! Imperial
spectre-huntings and the politics of most European Cabinets will
connect themselves with that; and send it wandering wide enough,--
lost in such a jungle of intrigues, pettifoggings, treacheries,
diplomacies domestic and foreign, as the course of true-love never
got entangled in before.

The whole of which extensive Cabinet operations, covering square
miles of paper at this moment,--having nevertheless, after ten
years of effort, ended in absolute zero,--were of no worth even to
the managers of them; and are of less than none to any mortal now
or henceforth. So that the method of treating them becomes a
problem to History. To pitch them utterly out of window, and out
of memory, never to be mentioned in human speech again: this is
the manifest prompting of Nature;--and this, were not our poor
Crown-Prince and one or two others involved in them, would be our
ready and thrice-joyful course. Surely the so-called "Politics of
Europe" in that day are a thing this Editor would otherwise with
his whole soul, forget to all eternity! "Putrid fermentation,"
ending, after the endurance of much mal-odor, in mere zero to you
and to every one, even to the rotting bodies themselves:--is there
any wise Editor that would connect himself with that? These are
the fields of History which are to be, so soon as humanly
possible, SUPPRESSED; which only Mephistopheles, or the bad Genius
of Mankind, can contemplate with pleasure.

Let us strive to touch lightly the chief summits, here and there,
of that intricate, most empty, mournful Business,--which was
really once a Fact in practical Europe, not the mere nightmare of
an Attorney's Dream;--and indicate, so far as indispensable, how
the young Friedrich, Friedrich's Sister, Father, Mother, were
tribulated, almost heart-broken and done to death, by means of it.


Kaiser Karl VI., head of the Holy Romish Empire at this time, was
a handsome man to look upon; whose life, full of expense,
vicissitude, futile labor and adventure, did not prove of much use
to the world. Describable as a laborious futility rather. He was
second son of that little Leopold, the solemn little Herr in red
stockings, who had such troubles, frights, and runnings to and fro
with the sieging Turks, liberative Sobieskis, acquisitive Louis
Fourteenths; and who at length ended in a sea of futile labor,
which they call the Spanish Succession War.

This Karl, second son, had been appointed "King of Spain" in that
futile business; and with much sublimity, though internally in an
impoverished condition, he proceeded towards Spain, landing in
England to get cash for the outfit;--arrived in Spain; and roved
about there as Titular-King for some years, with the fighting
Peterboroughs, Galways, Stahrembergs; but did no good there,
neither he nor his Peterboroughs. At length, his Brother Joseph,
Father Leopold's successor, having died, [17th April, 1711.] Karl
came home from Spain to be Kaiser. At which point, Karl would have
been wise to give up his Titular Kingship in Spain; for he never
got, nor will get, anything but futile labor from hanging to it.
He did hang to it nevertheless; and still, at this date of
George's visit and long afterwards, hangs,--with notable
obstinacy. To the woe of men and nations: punishment doubtless of
his sins and theirs!--

Kaiser Karl shrieked mere amazement and indignation, when the
English tired of fighting for him and it. When the English said to
their great Marlborough: "Enough, you sorry Marlborough! You have
beaten Louis XIV. to the suppleness of wash-leather, at our
bidding; that is true, and that may have had its difficulties:
but, after all, we prefer to have the thing precisely as it would
have been without any fighting. You, therefore, what is the good
of you? You are a--person whom we fling out like sweepings, now
that our eyesight returns, and accuse of common stealing.
Go and be--!"

Nothing ever had so disgusted and astonished Kaiser Karl as this
treatment,--not of Marlborough, whom he regarded only as he would
have done a pair of military boots or a holster-pistol of superior
excellence, for the uses that were in him,--but of the Kaiser Karl
his own sublime self, the heart and focus of Political Nature;
left in this manner, now when the sordid English and Dutch
declined spending blood and money for him farther. "Ungrateful,
sordid, inconceivable souls," answered Karl, "was there ever,
since the early Christian times, such a martyr as you have now
made of me!" So answered Karl, in diplomatic groans and shrieks,
to all ends of Europe. But the sulky English and Allies,
thoroughly tired of paying and bleeding, did not heed him;
made their Peace of Utrecht [Peace of Utrecht, 11th April, 1713;
Peace of Rastadt (following upon the Preliminaries of Baden),
6th March, 1714.] with Louis XIV., who was now beaten supple;
and Karl, after a year of indignant protests and futile attempts
to fight Louis on his own score, was obliged to do the like.
He has lost the Spanish crown; but still holds by the shadow of
it; will not quit that, if he can help it. He hunts much, digests
well; is a sublime Kaiser, though internally rather poor, carrying
his head high; and seems to himself, on some sides of his life, a
martyred much-enduring man.


Kaiser Karl, soon after the time of going to Spain had decided
that a Wife would be necessary. He applied to Caroline of Anspach,
now English Princess of Wales, but at that time an orphaned
Brandenburg-Anspach Princess, very Beautiful, graceful, gifted,
and altogether unprovided for; living at Berlin under the
guardianship of Friedrich the first King. Her young Mother had
married again,--high enough match (to Kur-Sachsen, elder Brother
of August the Strong, August at that time without prospects of the
Electorate);--but it lasted short while: Caroline's Mother and
Saxon Stepfather were both now, long since, dead. So she lived at
Berlin brilliant though unportioned;--with the rough cub Friedrich
Wilhelm much following her about, and passionately loyal to her,
as the Beast was to Beauty; whom she did not mind except as a cub
loyal to her; being five years older than he. [Forster, i. 107.]
Indigent bright Caroline, a young lady of fine aquiline features
and spirit, was applied for to be Queen of Spain; wooer a handsome
man, who might even be Kaiser by and by. Indigent bright Caroline
at once answered, No. She was never very orthodox in Protestant
theology; but could not think of taking up Papistry for
lucre's and ambition's sake: be that always remembered on
Caroline's behalf.

The Spanish Majesty next applied at Brunswick Wolfenbuttel;
no lack of Princesses there: Princesa Elizabeth, for instance;
Protestant she too, but perhaps not so squeamish? Old Anton
Ulrich, whom some readers know for the idle Books, long-winded
Novels chiefly, which he wrote, was the Grandfather of this
favored Princess; a good-natured old gentleman, of the idle
ornamental species, in whose head most things, it is likely, were
reduced to vocables, scribble and sentimentality; and only a
steady internal gravitation towards praise and pudding was
traceable as very real in him. Anton Ulrich, affronted more or
less by the immense advancement of Gentleman Ernst and the
Hanoverian or YOUNGER Brunswick Line, was extremely glad of the
Imperial offer; and persuaded his timid Grand-daughter, ambitious
too, but rather conscience-stricken, That the change from
Protestant to Catholic, the essentials being so perfectly
identical in both, was a mere trifle; that he himself, old as he
was, would readily change along with her, so easy was it.
Whereupon the young Lady made the big leap; abjured her religion;
[1st May, 1707, at Bamberg.]--went to Spain as Queen (with sad
injury to her complexion, but otherwise successfully more or
less);--and sits now as Empress beside her Karl VI. in a grand
enough, probably rather dull, but not singularly unhappy manner.

She, a Brunswick Princess, with Nephews and Nieces who may concern
us, is Kaiserinn to Kaiser Karl: for aught I know of her, a kindly
simple Wife, and unexceptionable Sovereign Majesty, of the sort
wanted; whom let us remember, if we meet her again one day. I add
only of this poor Lady, distinguished to me by a Daughter she had,
that her mind still had some misgivings about the big leap she had
made in the Protestant-Papist way. Finding Anton Ulrich still
continue Protestant, she wrote to him out of Spain:--"Why, O
honored Grandpapa, have you not done as you promised? Ah, there
must be a taint of mortal sin in it, after all!" Upon which the
absurdly situated old Gentleman did change his religion; and is
marked as a Convert in all manner of Genealogies and Histories;--
truly an old literary gentleman ducal and serene, restored to the
bosom of the Church in a somewhat peculiarly ridiculous manner.
{Michaelis, i. 131.]--But to return.


Ever after the Peace of Utrecht, when England and Holland declined
to bleed for him farther, especially ever since his own Peace of
Rastadt made with Louis the year after Kaiser Karl had utterly
lost hold of the Crown of Spain; and had not the least chance to
clutch that bright substance again. But he held by the shadow of
it, with a deadly Hapsburg tenacity; refused for twenty years,
under all pressures, to part with the shadow: "The Spanish
Hapsburg Branch is dead; whereupon do not I, of the Austrian
Branch, sole representative of Kaiser Karl the Fifth, claim, by
the law of Heaven, whatever he possessed in Spain, by law of
ditto? Battles of Blenheim of Malplaquet, Court-intrigues of Mrs.
Masham and the Duchess: these may bring Treaties of Utrecht, and
what you are pleased to call laws of Earth;--but a Hapsburg Kaiser
knows higher laws, if you would do a thousand Utrechts; and by
these, Spain is his!"

Poor Kaiser Karl: he had a high thought in him really though a
most misguided one. Titular King of Men; but much bewildered into
mere indolent fatuity, inane solemnity, high sniffing pride
grounded on nothing at all; a Kaiser much sunk in the sediments of
his muddy Epoch. Sure enough, he was a proud lofty solemn Kaiser,
infinitely the gentleman in air and humor; Spanish gravities,
ceremonials, reticences;--and could, in a better scene, have
distinguished himself by better than mere statuesque immovability
of posture, dignified endurance of ennui, and Hapsburg tenacity in
holding the grip. It was not till 1735, after tusslings and
wrenchings beyond calculation, that he would consent to quit
the Shadow of the Crown of Spain; and let Europe BE at peace
on that score.

The essence of what is called the European History of this Period,
such History as a Period sunk dead in spirit, and alive only in
stomach, can have, turns all on Kaiser Karl, and these his
clutchings at shadows. Which makes a very sad, surprising History
indeed; more worthy to be called Phenomena of Putrid Fermentation,
than Struggles of Human Heroism to vindicate itself in this
Planet, which latter alone are worthy of recording as "History"
by mankind.

On the throne of Spain, beside Philip V. the melancholic new
Bourbon, Louis XIV.'s Grandson, sat Elizabeth Farnese, a termagant
tenacious woman, whose ambitious cupidities were not inferior in
obstinacy to Kaiser Karl's, and proved not quite so shadowy as
his. Elizabeth also wanted several things: renunciation of your
(Kaiser Karl's) shadowy claims; nay of sundry real usurpations you
and your Treaties have made on the actual possessions of Spain,--
Kingdom of Sicily, for instance; Netherlands, for instance;
Gibraltar, for instance. But there is one thing which, we observe,
is indispensable throughout to Elizabeth Farnese: the future
settlement of her dear Boy Carlos. Carlos, whom as Spanish
Philip's second Wife she had given to Spain and the world, as
Second or supplementary INFANT there,--a troublesome gift to Spain
and others.

"This dear Boy, surely he must have his Italian Apanages, which,
you have provided for him: Duchies of Parma and Piacenza, which
will fall heirless soon. Security for these Italian Apanages, such
as will satisfy a Mother: Let us introduce Spanish garrisons into
Parma and Piacenza at once! How else can we be certain of getting
those indispensable Apanages, when they fall vacant?" On this
point Elizabeth Farnese was positive, maternally vehement;
would take no subterfuge, denial or delay: "Let me perceive that
I shall have these Duchies: that, first of all; or else not that
only, but numerous other things will be demanded of you!"

Upon which point the Kaiser too, who loved his Duchies, and hoped
yet to keep them by some turn of the game, never could decide to
comply. Whereupon Elizabeth grew more and more termagant; listened
to wild counsels; took up an Alberoni, a Ripperda, any wandering
diplomatic bull-dog that offered; and let them loose upon the
Kaiser and her other gainsayers. To the terror of mankind, lest
universal war should supervene. She held the Kaiser well at bay,
mankind well in panic; and continually there came on all Europe,
for about twenty years, a terror that war was just about to break
out, and the whole world to take fire. The History so called of
Europe went canting from side to side; heeling at a huge rate,
according to the passes and lunges these two giant figures,
Imperial Majesty and the Termagant of Spain, made at one another,
--for a twenty years or more, till once the duel was decided
between them.

There came next to no war, after all; sputterings of war twice
over,--1718, Byng at Messina, as we saw; and then, in 1727, a
second sputter, as we are to see:--but the neighbors always ran
with buckets, and got it quenched. No war to speak of; but such
negotiating, diplomatizing, universal hope, universal fear, and
infinite ado about nothing, as were seldom heard of before.
For except Friedrich Wilhelm drilling his 50,000 soldiers (80,000
gradually, and gradually even twice that number), I see no Crowned
Head in Europe that is not, with immeasurable apparatus, simply
doing ZERO. Alas, in an age of universal infidelity to Heaven,
where the Heavenly Sun has SUNK, there occur strange
Spectre-huntings. Which is a fact worth laying to heart.--Duel of
Twenty Years with Elizabeth Farnese, about the eventualities of
Parma and Piacensa, and the Shadow of the lost Crown of Spain;
this was the first grand Spectrality of Kaiser Karl's existence;
but this was not the whole of them.


Kaiser Karl meanwhile was rather short of heirs; which formed
another of his real troubles, and involved him in much
shadow-hunting. His Wife, the Serene Brunswick Empress whom we
spoke of above, did at length bring him children, brought him a
boy even; but the boy died within the year; and, on the whole,
there remained nothing but two Daughters; Maria Theresa the elder
of them, born 1717,--the prettiest little maiden in the world;--
no son to inherit Kaiser Karl. Under which circumstances Kaiser
Karl produced now, in the Year 1724, a Document which he had
executed privately as long ago as 1713, only his Privy Councillors
and other Official witnesses knowing of it then; [19th April, 1713
(Stenzel, iii. 5222).] and solemnly publishes it to the world, as
a thing all men are to take notice of. All men had notice enough
of this Imperial bit of Sheepskin, before they got done with it,
five-and-twenty years hence. [Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748.]
A very famous Pragmatic Sanction; now published for the
world's comfort!

By which Document, Kaiser Karl had formally settled, and fixed
according to the power he has, in the shape of what they call a
Pragmatic Sanction, or unalterable Ordinance in his Imperial
House, "That, failing Heirs-male, his Daughters, his Eldest
Daughter, should succeed him; failing Daughters, his Nieces;
and in short, that Heirs-female ranking from their kinship to
Kaiser Karl, and not to any prior Kaiser, should be as good as
Heirs-male of Karl's body would have been." A Pragmatic Sanction
is the high name he gives this document, or the Act it represents;
"Pragmatic Sanction" being, in the Imperial Chancery and some
others, the received title for Ordinances of a very irrevocable
nature, which a sovereign makes, in affairs that belong wholly to
himself, or what he reckons his own rights. [A rare kind of Deed,
it would seem; and all the more solemn. In 1438, Charles VI. of
France, conceding the Gallican Church its Liberties, does, it by
"SANCTION PRAGMATIQUE;" Carlos III. of Spain (in 1759, "settling
the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on his third son") does the like,
--which is the last instance of "PRAGMATIC SANCTION" in
this world.]

This Pragmatic Sanction of Kaiser Karl's, executed 19th April,
1713, was promulgated, "gradually," now here now there, from 1720
to 1724, {Stenzel, pp. 522, 523.]--in which later year it became
universally public; and was transmitted to all Courts and
Sovereignties, as an unalterable law of Things Imperial.
Thereby the good man hopes his beautiful little Theresa, now seven
years old, may succeed him, all as a son would have done, in the
Austrian States and Dignities; and incalculable damages, wars, and
chances of war, be prevented, for his House and for all the world.

The world, incredulous of to-morrow, in its lazy way, was not
sufficiently attentive to this new law of things. Some who were
personally interested, as the Saxon Sovereignty, and the Bavarian,
denied that it was just: reminded Kaiser-Karl that he was not the
Noah or Adam of Kaisers; and that the case of Heirs-female was not
quite a new idea on sheepskin. No; there are older Pragmatic
Sanctions and settlements, by prior Kaisers of blessed memory;
under which, if Daughters are to come in, we, descended from
Imperial Daughters of older standing, shall have a word to say!--
To this Kaiser Karl answers steadily, with endless argument, That
every Kaiser is a Patriarch, and First Man, in such matters;
and that so it has been pragmatically sanctioned by him, and that
so it shall and must irrevocably be. To the other Powers, and
indolent impartial Sovereigns of the world, he was lavish in
embassies; in ardent representations; and spared no pains in
convincing them that to-morrow would surely come, and that then it
would be a blessedness to have accepted this Pragmatic Sanction,
and see it lying for you as a Law of Nature to go by, and avoid
incalculable controversies.

This was another vast Shadow, or confused high-piled continent of
shadows, to which our poor Kaiser held with his customary
tenacity. To procure adherences and assurances to this dear
Pragmatic Sanction, was, even more than the shadow of the Spanish
Crown, and above all after he had quitted that, the one grand
business of his Life henceforth. With which he kept all Europe in
perpetual travail and diplomacy; raying out ambassadors, and less
ostensible agents, with bribes, and with entreaties and proposals,
into every high Sovereign Court and every low; negotiating
unweariedly by all methods, with all men. For it was his
evening-song and his morning-prayer; the grand meaning of Life to
him, till Life ended. You would have said, the first question he
asks of every creature is, "Will you covenant for my Pragmatic
Sanction with me? Oh, agree to it; accept that new Law of
Nature: when the morrow comes, it will be salutary for you!"

Most of the Foreign Potentates idly accepted the thing,--as things
of a distant contingent kind are accepted;--made Treaty on it,
since the Kaiser seemed so extremely anxious. Only Bavaria, having
heritable claims, never would. Saxony too (August the Strong),
being in the like case, or a better, flatly refused for a long
time; would not, at all,--except for a consideration.
Bright little Prince Eugene, who dictated square miles of Letters
and DIplomacies on the subject (Letters of a steady depth of
dulness, which at last grows almost sublime), was wont to tell his
Majesty: "Treatying, your Majesty? A well-trained Army and a full
Treasury; that is the only Treaty that will make this Pragmatic
Sanction valid!" But his Majesty never would believe. So the
bright old Eugene dictated,--or, we hope and guess, he only gave
his clerks some key-word, and signed his name (in three languages,
"Eugenio von Savoye") to these square miles of dull epistolary
matter,--probably taking Spanish snuff when he had done. For he
wears it in both waistcoat-pockets;--has (as his Portraits still
tell us) given up breathing by the nose. The bright little soul,
with a flash in him as of Heaven's own lightning; but now growing
very old and snuffy.

Shadow of Pragmatic Sanction, shadow of the Spanish Crown,--it was
such shadow-huntings of the Kaiser in Vienna, it was this of the
Pragmatic Sanction most of all, that thwarted our Prussian
Double-Marriage, which lay so far away from it. This it was that
pretty nearly broke the hearts of Friedrich, Wilhelmina, and their
Mother and Father. For there never was such negotiating; not for
admittance to the Kingdom of Heaven, in the pious times. And the
open goings-forth of it, still more the secret minings and
mole-courses of it, were into all places. Above ground and below,
no Sovereign mortal could say he was safe from it, let him agree
or not. Friedrich Wilhelm had cheerfully, and with all his heart,
agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction; this above ground, in sight of
the sun; and rashly fancied he had then done with it. Till, to his
horror, he found the Imperial moles, by way of keeping assurance
doubly sure, had been under the foundations of his very house for
long years past, and had all but brought it down about him in the
most hideous manner!--


Another object which Kaiser Karl pursued with some diligence in
these times, and which likewise proved a shadow, much disturbance
as it gave mankind, was his "Ostend East-India Company."
The Kaiser had seen impoverished Spain, rich England, rich
Holland; he had taken up a creditable notion about commerce and
its advantages. He said to himself, Why should not my Netherlands
trade to the East, as well as these English and Dutch, and grow
opulent like them? He instituted (OCTROYA) an "Ostend East-India
Company," under due Patents and Imperial Sheepskins, of date 17th
December, 1722, [Buchholz, i. 88; Pfeffel, Abrege
Chronologique de l'Histoire d'Allemagne (Park, 1776),
ii. 522.] gave it what freedom he could to trade to the East.
"Impossible!" answered the Dutch, with distraction in their
aspect; "Impossible, we say; contrary to Treaty of Westphalia, to
Utrecht, to Barrier Treaty; and destructive to the best interests
of mankind, especially to us and our trade-profits! We shall have
to capture your ships, if you ever send any."

To which the Kaiser counterpleaded, earnestly, diligently, for the
space of seven years,--to no effect. "We will capture your ships
if you ever send any," answered the Dutch and English. What ships
ever could have been sent from Ostend to the East, or what ill
they could have done there, remains a mystery, owing to the
monopolizing Maritime Powers.

The Kaiser's laudable zeal for commerce had to expend itself in
his Adriatic Territories,--giving privileges to the Ports of
Trieste and Fiume; [Hormayr, OEsterreichischer Plutarch,
x. 101.] making roads through the Dalmatian
Hill-Countries, which are useful to this day;--but could not
operate on the Netherlands in the way proposed. The Kaiser's
Imperial Ostend East-India Company, which convulsed the Diplomatic
mind for seven years to come, and made Europe lurch from side to
side in a terrific manner, proved a mere paper Company; never sent
any ships, only produced Diplomacies, and "had the honor to be."
This was the third grand Shadow which the Kaiser chased, shaking
all the world, poor crank world, as he strode after it; and this
also ended in zero, and several tons of diplomatic correspondence,
carried once by breathless estaffettes, and now silent,
gravitating towards Acheron all of them, and interesting to the
spiders only.

Poor good Kaiser: they say he was a humane stately gentleman,
stately though shortish; fond of pardoning criminals where he
could; very polite to Muratori and the Antiquaries, even to
English Rymer, in opening his Archives to them,--and made roads in
the Dalmatian Hill-Country, which remain to this day. I do not
wonder he grew more and more saturnine, and addicted to solid
taciturn field-sports. His Political "Perforce-Hunt (PARFORCE
JAGD)," with so many two-footed terriers, and legationary beagles,
distressing all the world by their baying and their burrowing, had
proved to be of Shadows; and melted into thin air, to a very
singular degree!

Chapter III.


In process of this so terrific Duel with Elizabeth Farnese, and
general combat of the Shadows, which then made Europe quake, at
every new lunge and pass of it, and which now makes Europe yawn to
hear the least mention of it, there came two sputterings of actual
War. Byng's sea-victory at Messina, 1718; Spanish "Siege of
Gibraltar," 1727, are the main phenomena of these two Wars,--
England, as its wont is, taking a shot in both, though it has now
forgotten both. And, on the whole, there came, so far as I can
count, Seven grand diplomatic Spasms or Crises,--desperate general
European Treatyings hither and then thither, solemn Congresses two
of them, with endless supplementary adhesions by the minor powers.
Seven grand mother-treaties, not to mention the daughters, or
supplementary adhesions they had; all Europe rising spasmodically
seven times, and doing its very uttermost to quell this terrible
incubus; all Europe changing color seven times, like a lobster
boiling, for twenty years. Seven diplomatic Crises, we say, marked
changings of color in the long-suffering lobster; and two
so-called Wars,--before this enormous zero could be settled.
Which high Treaties and Transactions, human nature, after much
study of them, grudges to enumerate. Apanage for Baby Carlos,
ghost of a Pragmatic Sanction; these were a pair of causes for
mankind! Be no word spoken of them, except with regret and on
evident compulsion.

For the reader's convenience we must note the salient points;
but grudge to do it. Salient points, now mostly wrapt in Orcus,
and terrestrially interesting only to the spiders,--except on an
occasion of this kind, when part of them happens to stick to the
history of a memorable man, To us they are mere bubblings-up of
the general putrid fermentation of the then Political World;
and are too unlovely to be dwelt on longer than indispensable.
Triple Alliance, Quadruple Alliance, Congress of Cambrai, Congress
of Soissons; Conference of Pardo, Treaty of Hanover, Treaty of
Wusterhausen, what are they? Echo answers, What? Ripperda and the
Queen of Spain, Kaiser Karl and his Pragmatic Sanction, are fallen
dim to every mind. The Troubles of Thorn (sad enough
Papist-Protestant tragedy in their time),--who now cares to know
of them? It is much if we find a hearing for the poor Salzburg
Emigrants when they get into Preussen itself. Afflicted human
nature ought to be, at last, delivered from the palpably
superfluous; and if a few things memorable are to be remembered,
millions of things unmemorable must first be honestly buried and
forgotten! But to our affair,--that of marking the chief
bubblings-up in the above-said Universal Putrid Fermentation, so
far as they concern us.


We already saw Byng sea fighting in the Straits of Messina;
that was part of Crisis Second,--sequel, in powder-and-ball, of
Crisis First, which had been in paper till then. The Powers had
interfered, by Triple, by Quadruple Alliance, to quench the
Spanish-Austrian Duel (about Apanage for Baby Carlos, and a
quantity of other Shadows): "Triple Alliance" [4th January, 1717.]
was, we may say, when France, England, Holland laboriously sorted
out terms of agreement between Kaiser and Termagant: "Quadruple"
[18th July, 1718.] was when Kaiser, after much coaxing, acceded,
as fourth party; and said gloomily, "Yes, then." Byng's Sea-fight
was when Termagant said, "No, by--the Plots of Alberoni!
Never will I, for my part, accede to such terms!" and attacked the
poor Kaiser in his Sicilies and elsewhere. Byng's Sea-fight, in
aid of a suffering Kaiser and his Sicilies, in consequence.
Furthermore, the French invaded Spain, till Messina were retaken;
nay the English, by land too, made a dash at Spain, "Descent on
Vigo" as they call it,--in reference to which take the following
stray Note:--

"That same year [1719, year after Byng's Sea-fight, Messina just
about recaptured], there took effect, planned by the vigorous
Colonel Stanhope, our Minister at Madrid, who took personal share
in the thing, a 'Descent on Vigo,' sudden swoop-down upon Town and
shipping in those Gallician, north-west regions. Which was
perfectly successful,--Lord Cobham leading;--and made much noise
among mankind. Filled all Gazettes at that time;--but now, again,
is all fallen silent for us,--except this one thrice-insignificant
point, That there was in it, 'in Handyside's Regiment,' a
Lieutenant of Foot, by name STERNE, who had left, with his poor
Wife at Plymouth, a very remarkable Boy called Lorry, or LAWRENCE;
known since that to all mankind. When Lorry in his LIFE writes,
'my Father went on the Vigo expedition,' readers may understand
this was it. Strange enough: that poor Lieutenant of Foot is now
pretty much all that is left of this sublime enterprise upon Vigo,
in the memory of mankind;--hanging there, as if by a single hair,
till poor TRISTRAM SHANDY be forgotten too." [ Memoirs of
Laurence Sterne, written by himself for his Daughter (see Annual
Register, Year 1775, pp. 50-52).]

In short, the French and even the English invaded Spain;
English Byng and others sank Spanish ships: Termagant was obliged
to pack away her Alberoni, and give in. She had to accede to
"Quadruple Alliance," after all; making it, so to speak, a
Quintuple one; making Peace, in fact, [17th February, 1720.]--
general Congress to be held at Cambrai and settle the details.

Congress of Cambrai met accordingly; in 1722,--"in the course of
the year," Delegates slowly raining in,--date not fixable to a day
or month. Congress was "sat," as we said,--or, alas, was only
still endeavoring to get seated, and wandering about among the
chairs,--when George I. came to Charlottenburg that evening,
October, 1723, and surveyed Wilhelmina with a candle. More inane
Congress never met in this world, nor will meet. Settlement proved
so difficult; all the more, as neither of the quarrelling parties
wished it. Kaiser and Termagant, fallen as if exhausted, had not
the least disposition to agree; lay diplomatically gnashing their
teeth at one another, ready to fight again should strength return.
Difficult for third parties to settle on behalf of such a pair.
Nay at length the Kaiser's Ostend Company came to light: what will
third parties, Dutch and English especially, make of that?

This poor Congress---let the reader fancy it--spent two years in
"arguments about precedencies," in mere beatings of the air;
could not get seated at all, but wandered among the chairs, till
"February, 1724." Nor did it manage to accomplish any work
whatever, even then; the most inane of Human Congresses;
and memorable on that account, if on no other. There, in old
stagnant Cambrai, through the third year and into the fourth, were
Delegates, Spanish, Austrian, English, Dutch, French, of solemn
outfit, with a big tail to each,--"Lord Whitworth" whom I do not
know, "Lord Polwarth" (Earl of Marchmont that will be, a friend of
Pope's), were the English Principals: [Scholl, ii. 197.]--there,
for about four years, were these poor fellow-creatures busied,
baling out water with sieves. Seen through the Horn-Gate of
Dreams, the figure of them rises almost grand on the mind.

A certain bright young Frenchman, Francois Arouet,--spoiled for a
solid law-career, but whose OEDIPE we saw triumphing in the
Theatres, and who will, under the new name of VOLTAIRE, become
very memorable to us,--happened to be running towards Holland that
way, one of his many journeys thitherward; and actually saw this
Congress, then in the first year of its existence. Saw it,
probably dined with it. A Letter of his still extant, not yet
fallen to the spiders, as so much else has done, testifies to this
fact. Let us read part of it, the less despicable part,--as a
Piece supremely insignificant, yet now in a manner the one
surviving Document of this extraordinary Congress; Congress's own
works and history having all otherwise fallen to the spiders
forever. The Letter is addressed to Cardinal Dubois;--for Dubois,
"with the face like a goat," [Herzogin von Orleans, BRIEFE.] yet
lived (first year of this Congress); and Regent d'Orleans lived,
intensely interested here as third party:--and a goat-faced
Cardinal, once pimp and lackey, ugliest of created souls,
Archbishop of this same Cambrai "by Divine permission" and
favor of Beelzebub, was capable of promoting a young fellow if
he chose:--


"CAMBRAI, July, 1722.

". . . We are just arrived in your City, Monseigneur; where, I
think, all the Ambassadors and all the Cooks in Europe have given
one another rendezvous. It seems as if all the Ministers of
Germany had assembled here for the purpose of getting their
Emperor's health drunk. As to Messieurs the Ambassadors of Spain,
one of them hears two masses a day, and the other manages the
troop of players. The English Ministers [a LORD POLWARTH and a
LORD WHITWORTH] send many couriers to Champagne, and few to
London. For the rest, nobody expects your Eminence here; it is not
thought you will quit the Palais-Royal to visit the sheep of your
flock in these parts [no!], it would be too bad for your Eminence
and for us all. . . . Think sometimes, Monseigneur, of a man who
[regards your goat-faced Eminence as a beautiful ingenious
creature; and such a hand in conversation as never was).
The one thing I will ask [of your goat-faced Eminence] at Paris
will be, to have the goodness to talk to me." [ OEuvres
de Voltaire, 97 vols. (Paris, l825-1834),
lxviii. 95, 96.]

Alas, alas!--The more despicable portions of this Letter we omit,
as they are not history of the Congress, but of Arouet Junior on
the shady side. So much will testify that this Congress did exist;
that its wiggeries and it were not always, what they now are, part
of a nightmare-vision in Human History.--

Elizabeth Farnese, seeing at what rate the Congress of Cambrai
sped, lost all patience with it; and getting more and more
exasperations there, at length employed one Ripperda, a surprising
Dutch Black-Artist whom she now had for Minister, to pull the
floor from beneath it (so to speak), and send it home in that
manner. Which Ripperda did. An appropriate enough catastrophe,
comfortable to the reader; upon which perhaps he will not grudge
to read still another word?


Termagant Elizabeth had now one Ripperda for Minister;
a surprising Dutch adventurer, once secretary of some Dutch
embassy at Madrid; who, discerning how the land lay, had broken
loose from that subaltern career, had changed his religion,
insinuated himself into Elizabeth's royal favor; and was now "Duke
de Ripperda," and a diplomatic bull-dog of the first quality, full
of mighty schemes and hopes; in brief, a new Alberoni to the
Termagant Queen. This Ripperda had persuaded her (the third year
of our inane Congress now running out, to no purpose), That he, if
he were sent direct to Vienna, could reconcile the Kaiser to her
Majesty, and bring them to Treaty, independently of Congresses.
He was sent accordingly, in all privacy; had reported himself as
laboring there, with the best outlooks, for some while past;
when, still early in 1725, there occurred on the part of France,--
where Regent d'Orleans was now dead, and new politics bad come in
vogue,--that "sending back," of the poor little Spanish:
Infanta, ["5th April, 1725, quitted Paris" (Barbier,
Journal du Regne de Louis XV., i. 218).] and marrying
of young Louis XV. elsewhere, which drove Elizabeth and the Court
of Spain, not unnaturally, into a very delirium of indignation.

Why they sent the poor little Lady home on those shocking terms?
It seems there was no particular reason, except that French Louis
was now about fifteen, and little Spanish Theresa was only eight;
and that, under Duc de Bourbon, the new Premier, and none of the
wisest, there was, express or implicit, "an ardent wish to see
royal progeny secured." For which, of course, a wife of eight
years would not answer. So she was returned; and even in a
blundering way, it is said,--the French Ambassador at Madrid
having prefaced his communication, not with light adroit
preludings of speech, but with a tempest of tears and howling
lamentations, as if that were the way to conciliate King Philip
and his Termagant Elizabeth. Transport of indignation was the
natural consequence on their part; order to every Frenchman to be
across the border within, say eight-and-forty hours; rejection
forever of all French mediation at Cambrai or elsewhere;
question to the English, "Will you mediate for us, then?" To which
the answer being merely "Hm!" with looks of delay,--order by
express to Ripperda, to make straightway a bargain with the
Kaiser; almost any bargain, so it were made at once. Ripperda made
a bargain: Treaty of Vienna, 30th April, 1725: [Scholl, ii. 201;
Coxe, Walpole, i. 239-250.] "Titles and
Shadows each of us shall keep for his own lifetime, then they
shall drop. As to realities again, to Parma and Piacenza among the
rest, let these be as in the Treaty of Utrecht; arrangeable in the
lump;--and indeed, of Parma and Piacenza perhaps the less we say,
the better at present." This was, in substance, Ripperda's Treaty;
the Third great European travail-throe, or change of color in the
long-suffering lobster. Whereby, of course, the Congress of
Cambrai did straightway disappear, the floor miraculously
vanishing under it; and sinks--far below human eye-reach by this
time--towards the Bottomless Pool, ever since. Such was the
beginning, such the end of that Congress, which Arouet LE JEUNE,
in 1722, saw as a contemporary Fact, drinking champagne in
Ramillies wigs, and arranging comedies for itself.


The publication of this Treaty of Vienna (30th April, 1725),--
miraculous disappearance of the Congress of Cambrai by withdrawal
of the floor from under it, and close union of the Courts of Spain
and Vienna as the outcome of its slow labors,--filled Europe, and
chiefly the late mediating Powers, with amazement, anger, terror.
Made Europe lurch suddenly to the other side, as we phrased it,--
other gunwale now under water. Wherefore, in Heaven's name, trim
your ship again, if possible, ye high mediating Powers. This the
mediating Powers were laudably alert to do. Duc de Bourbon, and
his young King about to marry, were of pacific tendencies;
anxious for the Balance: still more was Fleury, who succeeded
Duc de Bourbon. Cardinal Fleury (with his pupil Louis XV. under
him, producing royal progeny and nothing worse or better as yet)
began, next year, his long supremacy in France; an aged reverend
gentleman, of sly, delicately cunning ways, and disliking war, as
George I. did, unless when forced on him: now and henceforth, no
mediating power more anxious than France to have the ship in trim.

George and Bourbon laid their heads together, deeply pondering
this little less than awful state of the Terrestrial Balance;
and in about six months they, in their quiet way, suddenly came
out with a Fourth Crisis on the astonished populations, so as to
right the ship's trim again, and more. "Treaty of Hanover," this
was their unexpected manoeuvre; done quietly at Herrenhausen, when
his Majesty next went across for the Hanover hunting-season.
Mere hunting:--but the diplomatists, as well as the beagles, were
all in readiness there. Even Friedrich Wilhelm, ostensibly intent
on hunting, was come over thither, his abstruse Ilgens, with their
inkhorns, escorting him: Friedrich Wilhelm, hunting in unexpected
sort, was persuaded to sign this Treaty; which makes it unusually
interesting to us. An exceptional procedure on the part of
Friedrich Wilhelm, who beyond all Sovereigns stays well at home,
careless of affairs that are not his:--procedure betokening
cordiality at Hanover; and of good omen for the Double-Marriage?

Yes, surely;--and yet something more, on Friedrich Wilhelm's part.
His rights on the Cleve-Julich Countries; reversion of Julich and
Berg, once Karl Philip shall decease:--perhaps these high Powers,
for a consideration, will guarantee one's undoubted rights there?
It is understood they gave promises of this kind, not too
specific. Nay we hear farther a curious thing: "France and
England, looking for immediate war with the Kaiser, advised
Friedrich Wilhelm to assert his rights on Silesia." Which would
have been an important procedure! Friedrich Wilhelm, it is added,
had actual thoughts of it; the Kaiser, in those matters of the
chance was, had been unfriendly, little less than insulting, to
Friedrich Wilhelm: "Give me one single Hanoverian brigade, to show
that you go along with me!" said his Prussian Majesty;--but the
Britannic never altogether would. [ OEuvres de Frederic,
i. 153.] Certain it is, Friedrich Wilhelm signed:
a man with such Fighting-Apparatus as to be important in a Hanover
Treaty. "Balance of Power, they tell me, is in a dreadful way:
certainly if one can help the Balance a little, why not?
But Julich and Berg, one's own outlook of reversion there, that
is the point to be attended to:--Balance, I believe, will somehow
shift for itself!" On these principles, Friedrich Wilhelm signed,
while ostensibly hunting. [Fassmann, p. 368; Forster,
Urkundenbuch, p. 67.] Treaty of Hanover, which was to
trim the ship again, or even to make it heel the other way, dates
itself 3d September, 1725, and is of this purport: "We three,
France, England, Prussia to stand by each other as one man, in
case any of us is attacked,--will invite Holland, Denmark, Sweden
and every pacific Sovereignty to join us in such convention,"--
as they all gradually did, had Friedrich Wilhelm but stood firm.

For it is a state of the Balances little less than awful.
Rumor goes that, by the Ripperda bargain, fatal to mankind, Don
Carlos was to get the beautiful young Maria Theresa to wife:
that would settle the Parma-Piacenza business and some others;
that would be a compensation with a witness! Spain and Austria
united, as in Karl V.'s time; or perhaps some Succession War, or
worse, to fight over again!--

Fleury and George, as Duc de Bourbon and George had done, though
both pacific gentlemen, brandished weapons at the Kaiser; strongly
admonishing him to become less formidable, or it would be worse
for him. Possible indeed, in such a shadow-hunting, shadow-hunted
hour! Fleury and George stand looking with intense anxiety into a
certain spectral something, which they call the Balance of Power;
no end to their exorcisms in that matter. Truly, if each of the
Royal Majesties and Serene Highnesses would attend to his own
affairs,--doing his utmost to better his own land and people, in
earthly and in heavenly respects, a little,--he would find it
infinitely profitabler for himself and others. And the Balance of
Power would settle, in that case, as the laws of gravity ordered:
which is its one method of settling, after all diplomacy!--Fleury
and George, by their manifestoing, still more by their levying of
men, George I. shovelling out his English subsidies as usual,
created deadly qualms in the Kaiser; who still found it unpleasant
to "admit Spanish Garrisons in Parma;" but found likewise his
Termagant Friend inexorably positive on that score; and knew not
what would become of him, if he had to try fighting, and the
Sea-Powers refused him cash to do it.

Hereby was the ship trimmed, and more; ship now lurching to the
other side again. George I. goes subsidying Hessians, Danes;
sounding manifestoes, beating drums, in an alarming manner:
and the Kaiser, except it were in Russia, with the new Czarina
Catherine I. (that brown little woman, now become Czarina [8th
February, 1725. Treaty with Kaiser (6th August, 1726) went to
nothing on her death, 11th May, 1727.]), finds no ally to speak
of. An unlucky, spectre-hunting, spectre-hunted Kaiser; who, amid
so many drums, manifestoes, menaces, is now rolling eyes that
witness everywhere considerable dismay. This is the Fourth grand
Crisis of Europe; crisis or travail-throe of Nature, bringing
forth, and unable to do it, Baby Carlos's Apanage and the
Pragmatic Sanction. Fourth conspicuous change of color to the
universal lobster, getting itself boiled on those sad terms, for
twenty years. For its sins, we need not doubt; for its own
long-continued cowardices, sloths and greedy follies, as well as
those of Kaiser Karl!--

At this Fourth change we will gladly leave the matter, for a time;
much wishing it might be forever. Alas, as if that were possible
to us! Meanwhile, let afflicted readers, looking before and after,
readier to forget than to remember in such a case, accept this
Note, or Summary of all the Seven together, by way of help:--


l. Triple Alliance, English, Dutch, French (4th January, 1717),
saying, "Peace, then! No Alberoni-plotting; no Duel-fighting
permitted!" Same Powers, next year, proposing Terms of Agreement;
Kaiser gloomily accepting them; which makes it Quadruple Alliance
(18th July, 1718); Termagant indignantly refusing,--with attack on
the Kaiser's Sicilies.
2. First Sputter of War; Byng's Sea-fight, and the other
pressures, compelling Termagant: Peace (26th January, 1720);
Congress of Cambrai to settle the Apanage and other points.
3. Congress of Cambrai, a weariness to gods and men, gets the
floor pulled from under it (Ripperda's feat, 30th April, 1725);
so that Kaiser and Termagant stand ranked together, Apanage wrapt
in mystery,--to the terror of mankind.
4. Treaty of Hanover (France, England, Prussia, 3d September,
1725) restores the Balances, and more. War imminent.
Prussia privately falls off,--as we shall see.

[These first Four lie behind us, at this point; but there are
Three others still ahead, which we cannot hope to escape
altogether; namely:]

5. Second Sputter of War: Termagant besieges Gibraltar (4th
March, 1727--6th March, 1728): Peace at that latter date;--
Congress of Soissons to settle the Apanage and other points, as
6. Congress of Soissons (14th June, 1728--9th November, 1729),
as formerly, cannot in the least: Termagaut whispers England;--
there is Treaty of Seville (9th November, 1729), France and
England undertaking for the Apanage. Congress vanishes; Kaiser is
left solitary, with the shadow of Pragmatic Sanction, in the night
of things. Pause of an awful nature:--but Fleury does not hasten
with the Apanage, as promised. Whereupon, at length,
7. Treaty of Vienna (16th March, 1731): Sea-Powers, leading
Termagant by the hand, Sea-Powers and no France, unite with Kaiser
again, according to the old laws of Nature;--and Baby Carlos gets
his Apanage, in due course;--but does not rest content with it,
Mamma nor he, very long!

Huge spectres and absurd bugaboos, stalking through the brain of
dull thoughtless pusillanimous mankind, do, to a terrible extent,
tumble hither and thither, and cause to lurch from side to side,
their ship of state, and all that is embarked there,
BREAKFAST-TABLE, among other things. Nevertheless, if they were
only bugaboos, and mere Shadows caused by Imperial hand-lanterns
in the general Night of the world,--ought they to be spoken of in
the family, when avoidable?

Chapter IV.


Hitherto the world-tides, and ebbs and flows of external Politics,
had, by accident, rather forwarded, than hindered the
Double-Marriage. In the rear of such a Treaty of Hanover,
triumphantly righting the European Balances by help of Friedrich
Wilhelm, one might have hoped this little domestic Treaty would,
at last, get itself signed. Queen Sophie did hasten off to
Hanover, directly after her husband had left it under those
favorable aspects: but Papa again proved unmanageable; the Treaty
could not be achieved.

Alas, and why not? Parents and Children, on both sides, being
really desirous of it, what reason is there but it should in due
time come to perfection, and, without annihilating Time and Space,
make four lovers happy? No reason. Rubs doubtless had arisen since
that Visit of George I., discordant procedures, chiefly about
Friedrich Wilhelm's recruiting operations in the Hanover
territory, as shall be noted by and by: but these the ever-wakeful
enthusiasm of Queen Sophie, who had set her whole heart with a
female fixity on this Double-Marriage Project, had smoothed down
again: and now, Papa and Husband being so blessedly united in
their World Politics, why not sign the Marriage-Treaty?
Honored Majesty-Papa, why not!--"Tush, child, you do not
understand. In these tremendous circumstances, the celestial Sign
of the BALANCE just about canting, and the Obliquity of the
Ecliptic like to alter, how can one think of little marriages?
Wait till the Obliquity of the Ecliptic come steadily to its
old pitch!"--

Truth is, George was in general of a slow, solemn, Spanish turn of
manners; "intolerably proud, too, since he got that English
dignity," says Wilhelmina: he seemed always tacitly to look down
on Friedrich Wilhelm, as if the Prussian Majesty were a kind of
inferior clownish King in comparison. It is certain he showed no
eagerness to get the Treaty perfected. Again and again, when
specially applied to by Queen Sophie, on Friedrich Wilhelm's
order, he intimated only: "It was a fixed thing, but not to be
hurried,--English Parliaments were concerned in it, the parties
were still young," and so on;--after which brief answer he would
take you to the window, and ask, "If you did not think the
Herrenhausen Gardens and their Leibnitz waterworks, and
clipped-beech walls were rather fine?" [Pollnitz,
Memoiren, ii. 226, 228, &c.]

In fact, the English Parliaments, from whom money was so often
demanded for our fat Improper Darlingtons, lean Improper Kendals
and other royal occasions, would naturally have to make a
marriage-revenue for this fine Grandson of ours;--Grandson Fred,
who is now a young lout of, eighteen; leading an extremely
dissolute life, they say, at Hanover; and by no means the most
beautiful of mortals, either he or the foolish little Father of
him, to our old sad heart. They can wait, they can wait! said
George always.

But undoubtedly he did intend that both Marriages should take
effect: only he was slow; and the more you hurried him, perhaps
the slower. He would have perfected the Treaty "next year," say
the Authorities; meant to do so, if well let alone: but Townshend
whispered withal, "Better not urge him." Surly George was always a
man of his word; no treachery intended by him, towards Friedrich
Wilhelm or any man. It is very clear, moreover, that Friedrich
Wilhelm, in this Autumn 1725, was, and was like to be, of high
importance to King George; a man not to be angered by dishonorable
treatment, had such otherwise been likely on George's part.
Nevertheless George did not sign the Treaty "next year" either,--
such things having intervened;--nor the next year after that, for
reasons tragically good on the latter occasion!

These delays about the Double-Marriage Treaty are not a pleasing
feature of it to Friedrich Wilhelm; who is very capable of being
hurt by slights; who, at any rate, dislikes to have loose thrums
flying about, or that the business of to-day should be shoved over
upon to-morrow. And so Queen Sophie has her own sore difficulties;
driven thus between the Barbarians (that is, her Husband), and the
deep Sea (that is, her Father), to and fro. Nevertheless, since
all parties to the matter wished it, Sophie and the younger
parties getting even enthusiastic about it; and since the matter
itself was good, agreeable so far to Prussia and England, to
Protestant Germany and to Heaven and Earth,--might not Sophie
confidently hope to vanquish these and other difficulties; and so
bring all things to a happy close?

Had it not been for the Imperial Shadow-huntings, and this rickety
condition of the celestial Balance! Alas, the outer elements
interfered with Queen Sophie in a singular manner. Huge foreign
world-movements, springing from Vienna and a spectre-haunted
Kaiser, and spreading like an avalanche over all the Earth,
snatched up this little Double-Marriage question; tore it along
with them, reeling over precipices, one knew not whitherward, at
such a rate as was seldom seen before. Scarcely in the Minerva
Press is there record of such surprising, infinite and
inextricable obstructions to a wedding or a double-wedding.
Time and space, which cannot be annihilated to make two lovers
happy, were here turned topsy-turvy, as it were, to make four
lovers,--four, or at the very least three, for Wilhelmina will not
admit she was ever the least in love, not she, poor soul, either
with loose Fred or his English outlooks,--four young creatures,
and one or more elderly persons, superlatively wretched;
and even, literally enough, to do all but kill some of them.

What is noteworthy too, it proved wholly inane, this huge
world-ocean of Intrigues and Imperial Necromancy; ran dry at last
into absolute nothing even for the Kaiser, and might as well not
have been. And Mother and Father, on the Prussian side, were
driven to despair and pretty nearly to delirium by it; and our
poor young Fritz got tormented, scourged, and throttled in body
and in soul by it, till he grew to loathe the light of the sun,
and in fact looked soon to have quitted said light at one stage of
the business.

We are now approaching Act Second of the Double-Marriage, where
Imperial Ordnance-Master Graf von Seckendorf, a Black-Artist of
supreme quality, despatched from Vienna on secret errand, "crosses
the Palace Esplanade at Berlin on a summer evening of the year
1726;" and evokes all the demons on our little Crown-Prince and
those dear to him. We must first say something of an important
step, shortly antecedent thereto, which occurred in the
Crown-Prince's educational course.

Chapter V.


Amid such commotion of the foreign elements and the domestic, an
important change occurs in the Crown-Prince's course of schooling.
It is decided that, whatever be his progress in the speculative
branches, it is time he should go into the Army, and practically
learn soldiering. In his fourteenth year, 3d May, 1725, [Preuss,
i. 26; 106; and Buch fur Jedermann (a minor
book of his, on the same subject, Berlin, 1837), ii. 13.] not long
before the Treaty of Hanover, he was formally named Captain, by
Papa in War-council. Grenadier Guards, Potsdam Lifeguards, to be
the regiment; and next year he is nominated Major, and, a vacancy
occurring, appointed to begin actual duty. It is on the "20th of
August, 1726, that he flrat leads out his battalion to the
muster," on those terms. His age is not yet fifteen by four
months;--a very tiny Major among those Potsdam giants; but by
rank, we observe, he rides; and his horse is doubtless of the due
height. And so the tiny Cadet-drillinga have ended; long Files of
Giants, splendent in gold-lace and grenadier-caps, have succeeded;
and earnest work instead of mimic, in that matter, has begun.

However it may have fared with his other school-lessons, here now
is a school-form he is advanced to, in which there will be no
resource but learning. Bad spelling might be overlooked by those
that had charge of it; bad drilling is not permissible on any
terms. We need not doubt the Crown-Prince did his soldier-duty
faithfully, and learned in every point the conduct of an officer:
penalty as of Rhadamanthus waited upon all failure there. That he
liked it is by no means said; he much disliked it, and his
disgusts were many. An airy young creature:--and it was in this
time to give one instance, that that shearing of his locks
occurred: which was spoken of above, where the Court-Chirurgus
proved so merciful. To clog the winged Psyche in ever-returning
parade-routine and military pipe-clay,--it seems very cruel.
But it is not to be altered: in spite of one's disgusts, the dull
work, to the last item of it, has daily to be done. Which proved
infinitely beneficial to the Crown-Prince, after all. Hereby, to
his Athenian-French elegancies, and airy promptitudes and
brilliancies, there shall lie as basis an adamantine Spartanism
and Stoicism; very rare, but very indispensable, for such a
superstructure. Well exemplified, through after life, in
this Crown-Prince.


His regiment was the Potsdam Grenadier Guard; that unique
giant-regiment, of which the world has heard so much in a vague
half-mythical way. The giant-regiment was not a Myth, however, but
a big-boned expensive Fact, tramping very hard upon the earth at
one time, though now gone all to the ghostly state. As it was a
CLASS-BOOK, so to speak, of our Friedrich's,--Class-Book (printed
in huge type) for a certain branch of his schooling, the details
of which are so dim, though the general outcome of it proved so
unforgettable,--readers, apart from their curiosity otherwise, may
as well take a glimpse of it on this occasion. Vanished now,
and grown a Giant Phantom, the like of it hardly again to be in
this world; and by accident, the very smallest Figure ever ranked
in it makes it memorable there!--

With a wise instinct, Friedrich Wilhelm had discerned that all
things in Prussia must point towards his Army; that his Army was
the heart and pith; the State being the tree, every branch and
leaf bound, after its sort, to be nutritive and productive for the
Army's behoof. That, probably for any Nation in the long-run, and
certainly for the Prussian Nation straightway, life or death
depends on the Army: Friedrich Wilhelm's head, in an inarticulate
manner, was full of this just notion; and all his life was spent
in organizing it to a practical fact. The more of potential
battle, the more of life is in us: a MAXIMUM of potential battle,
therefore; and let it be the OPTIMUM in quality! How Friedrich
Wilhelm cared, day and night, with all his heart and all his soul,
to bring his Army to the supreme pitch, we have often heard;
and the more we look into his ways, the more we are impressed with
that fact. It was the central thing for him; all other things
circulating towards it, deriving from it: no labor too great, and
none too little, to be undergone for such an object. He watched
over it like an Argus, with eyes that reached everywhere.
Discipline shall be as exact as Euclid;--short of perfection we do
not stop! Discipline and ever better discipline; enforcement of
the rule in all points, improvement of the rule itself where
possible, were the great Drill-sergeant's continual care.
Daily had some loop fallen, which might have gone ravelling far
enough; but daily was he there to pick it up again, and keep the
web unrent and solidly progressive.

We said, it was the "poetic ideal" of Friedrich Wilhelm; who is a
dumb poet in several particulars,--and requires the privileges of
genius from those that READ his dumb poem. It must be owned he
rises into the fantastic here and there; and has crotchets of
ultraperfection for his Army, which are not rational at all.
Crotchets that grew ever madder, the farther he followed them.
This Lifeguard Regiment of foot, for instance, in which the
Crown-Prince now is,--Friedrich Wilhelm got it in his Father's
time, no doubt a regiment then of fair qualities; and he has kept
drilling it, improving it, as poets polish stanzas, unweariedly
ever since:--and see now what it has grown to! A Potsdam Giant
Regiment, such as the world never saw, before or since.
Three Battalions of them,--two always here at Potsdam doing formal
lifeguard duty, the third at Brandenburg on drill; 800 to the
Battalion,--2,400 sons of Anak in all. Sublime enough, hugely
perfect to the royal eye, such a mass of shining giants, in their
long-drawn regularities and mathematical manoeuvrings,--like some
streak of Promethean lightning, realized here at last, in the
vulgar dusk of things!

Truly they are men supreme in discipline, in beauty of equipment;
and the shortest man of them rises, I think, towards seven feet,
some are nearly nine feet high. Men from all countries; a hundred
and odd come annually, as we saw, from Russia,--a very precious
windfall: the rest have been collected, crimped, purchased out of
every European country, at enormous expense, not to speak of other
trouble to his Majesty. James Kirkman, an Irish recruit of good
inches, cost him 1,200 pounds before he could be got inveigled,
shipped and brought safe to hand. The documents are yet in
existence; [Forster, Handbuch der Geschichte, Geographie
und Statistik des Preussischen Reichs (Berlin, 1820),
iv. 130, 132;--not in a very lucid state.] and the Portrait of
this Irish fellow-citizen himself, who is by no means a beautiful
man. Indeed, they are all portrayed; all the privates of this
distinguished Regiment are, if anybody cared to look at them--
Redivanoff from Moscow" seems of far better bone than Kirkman,
though still more stolid of aspect. One Hohmann, a born Prussian,
was so tall, you could not, though yourself tall, touch his bare
crown with your hand; August the Strong of Poland tried, on one
occasion, and could not. Before Hohmann turned up, there had been
"Jonas the Norwegian Blacksmith,", also a dreadfully tall monster.
Giant "Macdoll,"--who was to be married, no consent asked on
EITHER side, to the tall young woman, which latter turned out to
be a decrepit OLD woman (all Jest-Books know the myth),--he also
was an Irish Giant; his name probably M'Dowal. [Forster,
Preussens Helden im Krieg und Frieden (Berlin, l848),
i. 531; no date to the story, no evidence what grain of truth may
be in it.] This Hohmann was now FLUGELMANN ("fugleman" as we have
named it, leader of the file), the Tallest of the Regiment, a very
mountain of pipe-clayed flesh and bone.

Here, in reference to one other of those poor Giants, is an
Anecdote from Fassmann (who is very full on this subject of the
Giants; abstruse Historical Fassmann, often painfully cited by
us): a most small Anecdote, but then an indisputably certain one;
--which brings back to us, in a strange way, the vanished Time and
its populations; as the poorest authentic wooden lucifer may do,
kindling suddenly, and' peopling the void Night for moments, to
the seeing eye!--

Fassmann, a very dark German literary man, in obsolete costume and
garniture, how living or what doing we cannot guess, found himself
at Paris, gazing about, in the year 1713; where, among other
things, the Fair of St. Germain was going on. Loud, large Fair of
St. Germain, "which lasts from Candlemas to the Monday before
Easter;" and Fassmann one day took a walk of contemplation through
the same. Much noise, gesticulation, little meaning. Show-booths,
temporary theatres, merry-andrews, sleight-of-hand men; and a vast
public, drinking, dancing, gambling, flirting, as its wont is.
Nothing new for us there; new only that it all lies five
generations from us now. Did "the Old Pretender," who was then in
his expectant period, in this same village of St. Germain, see it
too, as Fassmann did? And Louis XIV., he is at Versailles;
drooping fast, very dull to his Maintenon. And our little Fritz in
Berlin is a child in arms;--and the world is all awake as usual,
while Fassmann strolls through this noisy inanity of show-booths,
in the year 1713.

Strolling along, Fassmann came upon a certain booth with an
enormous Picture hung aloft in front of it: "Picture of a very
tall man, in HEYDUC livery, coat reaching to his ankles, in grand
peruke, cap and big heron-plume, with these words, 'LE GEANT
ALLEMAND (German Giant),' written underneath. Partly from
curiosity, partly "for country's sake," Fassmann expended
twopence; viewed the gigantic fellow-creature; admits he had never
seen one so tall; though "Bentenrieder, the Imperial Diplomatist,"
thought by some to be the tallest of men, had come athwart him
once. This giant's name was Muller; birthplace the neighborhood of
Weissenfels;--"a Saxon like myself. He had a small German Wife,
not half his size. He made money readily, showing himself about,
in France, England, Holland;"--and Fassmann went his way, thinking
no more of the fellow.--But now, continues Fassmann:--

"Coming to Potsdam, thirteen years after, in the spring of 1726,
by his Majesty's order, to"--in fact, to read the Newspapers to
his Majesty, and be generally useful, chiefly in the
Tobacco-College, as we shall discover,--"what was my surprise to
find this same 'GEANT ALLEMAND' of St. Germain ranked among the
King's Grenadiers! No doubt of the identity: I renewed
acquaintance with the man; his little German Wife was dead;
but he had got an English one instead, an uncommonly shifty
creature. They had a neat little dwelling-house [as most of the
married giants had], near the Palace: here the Wife sold beer
[brandy not permissible on any terms], and lodged travellers;--
I myself have lodged there on occasion. In the course of some
years, the man took swelling in the legs; good for nothing as a
grenadier; and was like to fall heavy on society. But no, his
little Wife snatched him up, easily getting his discharge;
carried him over with her to England, where he again became a
show-giant, and they were doing very well, when last heard of,"--
in the Country-Wakes of George II.'s early time. And that is the
real Biography of one Potsdam Giant, by a literary gentleman who
had lodged with him on occasion. [Fassmann, pp. 723-730.]

The pay of these sublime Footguards is greatly higher than common;
they have distinguished privileges and treatment: on the other
hand, their discipline is nonpareil, and discharge is never to be
dreamt of, while strength lasts. Poor Kirkman, does he sometimes
think of the Hill of Howth, and that he will never see it more?
Kirkman, I judge, is not given to thought;--considers that he has
tobacco here, and privileges and perquisites; and that Howth, and
Heaven itself, is inaccessible to many a man.


Tall men, not for this regiment only, had become a necessary of
life to Friedrich Wilhelm. Indispensable to him almost as his
daily bread, To his heart there is no road so ready as that of
presenting a tall man or two. Friedrich Wilhelm's regiments are
now, by his exact new regulations, levied and recruited each in
its own Canton, or specific district: there all males as soon as
born are enrolled; liable to serve, when they have grown to years
and strength. All grown men (under certain exceptions, as of a
widow's eldest son, or of the like evidently ruinous cases) are
liable to serve; Captain of the Regiment and AMTMANN of the Canton
settle between them which grown man it shall be. Better for you
not to be tall! In fact it is almost a kindness of Heaven to be
gifted with some safe impediment of body, slightly crooked back or
the like, if you much dislike the career of honor under Friedrich
Wilhelm. A general shadow of unquiet apprehension we can well
fancy hanging over those rural populations, and much unpleasant
haggling now and then;--nothing but the King's justice that can be
appealed to. King's justice, very great indeed, but heavily
checked by the King's value for handsome soldiers.

Happily his value for industrial laborers and increase of
population is likewise great. Townsfolk, skilful workmen as the
theory supposes, are exempt; the more ingenious classes,
generally, his Majesty exempts in this respect, to encourage them
in others. For, on the whole, he is not less a Captain of Work, to
his Nation, than of other things. What he did for Prussia in the
way of industries, improvements, new manufactures, new methods;
in settling "colonies," tearing up drowned bogs and subduing them
into dry cornfields; in building, draining, digging, and
encouraging or forcing others to do so, would take a long chapter.
He is the enemy of Chaos, not the friend of it, wherever you meet
with him.

For example, Potsdam itself. Potsdam, now a pleasant, grassy,
leafy place, branching out extensively in fine stone architecture,
with swept pavements; where, as in other places, the traveller
finds land and water separated into two firmaments,--Friedrich
Wilhelm found much of it a quagmire, land and water still
weltering in one. In these very years, his cuttings, embankments,
buildings, pile-drivings there, are enormous; and his perseverance
needs to be invincible. For instance, looking out, one morning
after heavy rain, upon some extensive anti-quagmire operations and
strong pile-drivings, he finds half a furlong of his latest heavy
piling clean gone. What in the world has become of it? Pooh, the
swollen lake has burst it topsy-turvy; and it floats yonder,
bottom uppermost, a half-furlong of distracted liquid-peat.
Whereat his Majesty gave a loud laugh, says Bielfeld, [Baron de
Bielfeld, Lettres Familieres (second
edition, a Leide, 1767), i. 31.] and commenced anew. The piles now
stand firm enough, like the rest of the Earth's crust, and carry
strong ashlar houses and umbrageous trees for mankind; and trivial
mankind can walk in clean pumps there, shuddering or sniggering at
Friedrich Wilhelm, as their humor may be.

No danger of this "Canton-system" of recruitment to the more
ingenious classes, who could do better than learn drill. Nor, to
say truth, does the poor clayey peasant suffer from it, according
to his apprehensions. Often perhaps, could he count profit and
loss, he might find himself a gainer: the career of honor turns
out to be, at least, a career of practical Stoicism and
Spartanism; useful to any peasant or to any prince. Cleanliness,
of person and even of mind; fixed rigor of method, sobriety,
frugality, these are virtues worth acquiring. Sobriety in the
matter of drink is much attended to here: his Majesty permits no
distillation of strong-waters in Potsdam, or within so many miles;
[Fassmann, p. 728.] nor is sale of such allowed, except in the
most intensely select manner. The soldier's pay is in the highest
degree exiguous; not above three halfpence a day, for a common
foot-soldier, in addition to what rations he has:--but it is found
adequate to its purpose, too; supports the soldier in sound
health, vigorously fit for his work; into which points his Majesty
looks with his own eyes, and will admit no dubiety. Often, too, if
not already OFTENEST (as it ultimately grew to be), the
peasant-soldier gets home for many months of the year, a
soldier-ploughman; and labors for his living in the old way.
His Captain (it is one of the Captain's perquisites, who is
generally a veteran of fifty, with a long Spartan training, before
he gets so high) pockets the pay of all these furloughs,
supernumerary to the real work of the regiment;--and has certain
important furnishings to yield in return.

At any rate, enrolment, in time of peace, cannot fall on many:
three or four recruits in the year, to replace vacancies, will
carry the Canton through its crisis. For we are to note withal,
the third part of every regiment can, and should by rule, consist
of "foreigners,"--men not born Prussians. These are generally men
levied in the Imperial Free-towns; "in the REICH" or Empire, as
they term it; that is to say, or is mainly to say, in the
countries of Germany that are not Austrian or Prussian. For this
foreign third-part too, the recruits must be got; excuses not
admissible for Captain or Colonel; nothing but recruits of the due
inches will do. Captain and Colonel (supporting their enterprise
on frugal adequate "perquisites," hinted of above) have to be on
the outlook; vigilantly, eagerly; and must contrive to get them.
Nay, we can take supernumerary recruits; and have in fact always
on hand, attached to each regiment, a stock of such. Any number of
recruits, that stand well on their legs, are welcome; and for a
tall man there is joyin Potsdam, almost as if he were a wise man
or a good man.

The consequence is, all countries, especially all German
countries, are infested with a new species of predatory
two-legged animals: Prussian recruiters. They glide about, under
disguise if necessary; lynx-eyed, eager almost as the Jesuit
hounds are; not hunting the souls of men, as the spiritual Jesuits
do, but their bodies in a merciless carnivorous manner. Better not
to be too tall, in any country, at present! Irish Kirkman could
not be protected by the aegis of the British Constitution itself.
In general, however, the Prussian recruiter, on British ground,
reports, That the people are too well off, that there is little to
be done in those parts. A tall British sailor, if we pick him up
strolling about Memel or the Baltic ports, is inexorably claimed
by the Diplomatists; no business do-able till after restoration of
him; and he proves a mere loss to us. [Despatches in the
State-Paper Office.] Germany, Holland, Switzerland, the
Netherlands, these are the fruitful fields for us, and there we do
hunt with some vigor.

For example, in the town of Julich there lived and worked a tall
young carpenter: one day a well-dressed positive-looking gentleman
("Baron von Hompesch," the records name him) enters the shop;
wants "a stout chest, with lock on it, for household purposes;
must be of such and such dimensions, six feet six in length
especially, and that is an indispensable point,--in fact it will
be longer than yourself, I think, Herr Zimmermann: what is the
cost; when can it be ready?" Cost, time, and the rest are settled.
"A right stout chest, then; and see you don't forget the size;
if too short, it will be of no use to me: mind;"--"JA WOHL!
GEWISS!" And the positive-looking, well-clad gentleman goes his
ways. At the appointed day he reappears; the chest is ready;--
we hope, an unexceptionable article? "Too short, as I dreaded!"
says the positive gentleman. "Nay, your honor," says the
carpenter, "I am certain it is six feet six!" and takes out his
foot-rule.--"Pshaw, it was to be longer than yourself." "Well, it
is."--"No it isn't!" The carpenter, to end the matter, gets into
his chest; and will convince any and all mortals. No sooner is he
in, rightly flat, than the positive gentleman, a Prussian
recruiting officer in disguise, slams down the lid upon him;
locks it; whistles in three stout fellows, who pick up the chest,
gravely walk through the streets with it, open it in a safe place;
and find-horrible to relate--the poor carpenter dead; choked by
want of air in this frightful middle-passage of his. [Forster,
ii. 305, 306; Pollnitz, ii. 518, 519.] Name of the Town is given,
Julich as above; date not. And if the thing had been only a
popular Myth, is it not a significant one? But it is too true;
the tall carpenter lay dead, and Hompesch got "imprisoned for
life" by the business.

Burgermeisters of small towns have been carried off; in one case,
"a rich merchant in Magdeburg," whom it cost a large sum to get
free again. [Stenzel, iii. 356.] Prussian recruiters hover about
barracks, parade-grounds, in Foreign Countries; and if they see a
tall soldier (the Dutch have had instances, and are indignant at
them), will persuade him to desert,--to make for the country where
soldier-merit is understood, and a tall fellow of parts will get
his pair of colors in no-time.

But the highest stretch of their art was probably that done on the
Austrian Ambassador,--tall Herr von Bentenrieder; tallest of
Diplomatists; whom Fassmann, till the Fair of St. Germain, had
considered the tallest of men. Bentenrieder was on his road as
Kaiser's Ambassador to George I., in those Congress-of-Cambrai
times; serenely journeying on; when, near by Halberstadt, his
carriage broke. Carriage takes some time in mending; the tall
Diplomatic Herr walks on, will stretch his long legs, catch a
glimpse of the Town withal, till they get it ready again. And now,
at some Guard-house of the place, a Prussian Officer inquires, not
too reverently of a nobleman without carriage, "Who are you?"
"Well," answered he smiling, "I am BOTSCHAFTER (Message-bearer)
from his Imperial Majesty. And who may you be that ask?"--"To the
Guard-house with us!" Whither he is marched accordingly. "Kaiser's
messenger, why not?" Being a most tall handsome man, this Kaiser's
BOTSCHAFTER, striding along on foot here, the Guard-house
Officials have decided to keep him, to teach him Prussian
drill-exercise;--and are thrown into a singular quandary, when his
valets and suite come up, full of alarm dissolving into joy, and
call him "Excellenz!" [Pollnitz, ii. 207-209.]

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