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Parr her to reduce it lower when she pleased, if the II. should find occasion for it; and therefore thought

i t more prudent to lie by, after she had done 1741. this, till she might, by the emperor's death,

have opportunity to break the Austrian Succelfion, and avail herself of the assistance of the German princes to undertake that then, which she had no pretence to attempt during his life; and which must have inevitably drawn those very powers of Germany against her, till that event happened. Much more she could not have done without their assistance : she had sown, in all appearance, a lasting discontent between the Empire and the Maritime Powers, disuniting the only alliance that could confine her aspiring views; she had it in her power to join Lorrain to her own dominions, bringing her territories above 150 miles more forward into Germany, and adding two kingdoms to another branch of the house of Bourbon: completing at the same time, an entire influence over four Electors of the Empire, Palatine, Mentz, Triers, and Cologne; the effects of which were afterwards visibly seen, by the election of the Duke of Bavaria to the Imperial throne in the year . 1742. She was now enabled, at a much shorter warning, and with a much fuperior force to attack the Empire on the first favourable opportunity: and by declining any farther advantage for the present, she carried a fhew of moderation and voluntary abstinence, which she knew would effectually deceive those who abound and strengthen her party, by their credulity in every state of Europe. Therefore, after thus concluding a peace with the emperor in 1736, The lay diligently improving her time for the total subversion of the power of the house of Aul.

fria. The period was arrived, France beheld CHAP.
with an eye of pleasure, the present favourable III.
opportunity of obfcuring the lustre of the Aufn
trian line ; and advancing a poor and powerless 1741.
prince, of her own nomination, to the imperial
throne; as this would leave the Germanic body
unable to enter into any alliances with Great
Britain and Holland, to obstruct the aspiring
views of her unlimitted ambition.

The annihilation of the house of Austria,
was the strongest foundation France could fix on,
to raise her dazling superstructure of universal
monarchy; she had now the most favourable op-
portunity to accomplish her reviving hopes, and
was intently engaged to suppress the greatness
of her long and natural competitor. The most
potent princes of the Germanic system, had time
immemorially, founded pretensions on the feve-
ral parts of the Austrian dominions ; but as the
Imperial crown had been for ages, almost unin-
terruptedly, enjoyed by the house of Austria,
they were deterred from afferring their claims by
the too formidable power of that family: and
now excited by the policy, and insinuations, of
France, seized on the fatal period of avowing
their pretenfions, and dismembering the impe-
riał house of Austria of her molt considerable
poffeffions. The most natural allies of the house
of Austria, were certainly Great Britain and'
the States General; the union of these three
powers having always been the grand opposi-
tion against the pride and ambition of France ;
for which they had not only long preserved de-
fensive alliances, but in the safety and preserva-
tion of each other, they 'were, even abstractedly
from these alliances, as nearly and effentially
concerned as in their own : yet as Great Britain
- VOL. I.
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Part was engaged in a war with Spain, and the mini

II. stry of London retaining an unworthy timidity w of the force and menaces of France, the mini1741. stry of Versailles imagined the British govern

ment would be very parsimonious in their al-
sistance to the Queen of Hungary, and dreaded
little interruption in their aspiring projects, from
a ministry who had but lately given too declara-
tive proofs of their pacific administration. Nor
did they apprehend any greater danger from
the Dutch; for though this republic, by their al-
liances with the house of Austria, were obliged
to furnish not only a limitted succour, but also
their whole force in case of necefficy, and even
to declare war with her aggressor, yet the French
ministry knew the states were much embarrassed
with debts, and too intractable to be easily in-
duced to give them an increase. In this situa-
tion the Queen of Hungary lay exposed to the
envy and invidious artifices of France, for that
power to plume herself with the spoils of the
imperial eagle, and mount with the omnipotence
of ancient Rome, to the utmost sublimity of hu-
man ambition.

The French minister at Vienna, during the disturbances in Silesia, continued to give the queen the strongest assurances of the good intentions of his Most Christian majesty ; though at the same time the French ministry privately, in conjunction with the Elector of Bavaria, were undermining the noble column that supported the grandeur of the house of Austria.

For this purpose, Marshal Belleifle had projected a scheme, to advance the Elector of Bavaria into the Imperial throne, and to strip the house of Austria of her hereditary dominions : it gained the approbation of the French ministry, and

the the marshal set out for Paris, authorized with CHAP. full powers, and furnished with large sums of III. money, to combine the electors, and other princes of the empire, in the views of France, 1741, The marshal, having influenced the three spiritual Electors of Triers, Mentz, and Cologne, and the Elector Palatine, to the French interest, he arrived at Munich, and waiting on the Elector of Bavaria, at his Palace of Nymphenburgh, concluded a treaty there, between the French King and the elector; whereby his majesty engaged, “ To get the elector acknowledged emperor, « and to affift him in case of opposition with his « whole force. And in return, the elector fti" pulated, if he came to the Imperial throne, " that he would never attempt to recover any. “ of the Imperial towns or provinces conquered " by France, unless the king should be inclined " to restore them; and if so, the elector was to “ re-imburle his majesty forty-five millions of " livres, for his expences in supporting the elec" tion. The elector also promised to renounce " the barrier treaty, and agreed, that whatever “ conquests France should make in the Nether“ lands, she should irrevocably keep.” To this treaty the Kings of Prussia and Poland were to be invited to accede. On which the marshal repaired to Silesia, and congratulated his Prussian majesty on his successes; and as the king caused his army to pass in review before the marshal, and treated him with high marks of distinction, probably this interview drew his Pruflian majesty's inclinations to coincide with the projects of France. The marsha! afterwards visited the court of Dresden, and' biassed the Elector of Saxony to his scheme. But the court of Versailles, to cover their perfidy with something like Ee 2

a mask

ParT a mask of decency, did not disclose the French II. harpy all at once, they counselled, advised, and

mediated for peace fake, out of a pretended con1741. cern for her Hungarian majesty ; but their modest

proposals aimed at nothing less, than to portion
out the hereditary dominions of Austria as they
pleased ; a province to one, a province to an-
other, and to secure a proper reserve for them.
selves. Though the Queen of Hungary was def-
titute of power, she was not void of understand-
ing; therefore to be thus insulted under the pre-
tence of being served, could not fail of exciting
a proper indignation : but an impotent resent-
ment, could answer no other end, than to expose
herself to the inveteracy of a power, whose inya.
riable maxim it has been, for the sake of interest,
to sacrifice her most folemn engagements. But
the measure of her Hungarian majesty's calami.
ty was not yet full; the Queen of Spain, like,
another Semiramis in ambition, having appar,
ently resolved to be the mother of none but kings,
made it the business of her life to create new mo.
narchies, and bestow them upon her sons. To
this royal frenzy all confiderations gave way; the
repose of her husband, the wealth and safety of
her subjects, the softness of her lex, sense of fame,
the remonstrances of justice, the cries of com-
passion, and whatever else fhould be of weight
to restrain the extravagancies, and create the
grace and decorum, of human life. With a ma-
lignant transport, therefore, she saw the Imperial
family at the last extremity, and the empire it-
self without a head. It was the crisis she had im-
patiently waited for, and had pre-determined to
improve to the utmost: she longed to faften on
the Austrian dominions in Italy; a country in
itself desirable, cantoned out in little districts,

Tubject

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