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who ever enjoyed that honour. I have been assured that the Garter was in like manner warmly pressed upon Mr. Pitt by George the Third, but respectfully declined by the Minister, and that the King then insisted on transferring it to his brother, Lord Chatham.
It was with great difficulty that, in the foregoing year, the remonstrances of Townshend had withheld the King from returning to Hanover *; but scarcely had this Session ended, than he began his journey, accompanied as usual by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. The state of his foreign relations was now again becoming critical, and needed his utmost attention. Philip the Fifth at this time was once more King of Spain; he had, early in 1724, under the influence of a hypochondriac melancholy, resigned in favour of his son, Don Luis, and retired to St. Ildefonso; but the young Prince dying after a reign of only seven months, Philip was induced, by the ambition of his Queen, to re-ascend the throne. His differences with the Emperor were not yet finally adjusted. We have seen that the treaties at the fall of Alberoni being concluded in haste for the cessation of hostilities could not at once wholly reconcile so many jarring and complicated interests, and reserved some points (amongst others Gibraltar) for a future Congress at Cambray. That Congress, from various petty difficulties and delays, did not meet till January 1724, and even then its proceedings were languid and without result. In fact the Spanish Court had begun to think that a private and separate negotiation with the Emperor would best attain its objects; and with this hope it had despatched, as ambassador to Vienna, Baron Ripperda, an intriguing Dutch adventurer, who had been a tool of Alberoni, and who now, from the want of able statesmen, was considered so himself.
It is probable, however, that these slow negotiations might have lingered on for many months, or even years, had they not received an impulse from a new and unforeseen event. One chief inducement with Philip, in acceding to the Quadruple Alliance, had been a double mar
* Lord Townshend to the King, April, 1724. Coxe's Walpole. | See vol. i. p. 352.
riage between the branches of the House of Bourbon. His son, Don Luis, espoused a daughter of the Regent Duke of Orleans, while his daughter, the Infanta Mary Anne, was betrothed to the young King of France. In pursuance of this compact, the Infanta, then only four years
had been sent to Paris to be educated according to the French manners, and was treated as the future Queen, The French nation, however, viewed with much distaste an alliance which afforded only such distant hopes of issue; and when the Duke de Bourbon came to the helm of affairs, he had a peculiar motive for aversion to it. Should Louis the Fifteenth die childless, the next heir would be the son of the late Regent, the young Duke of Orleans, between whom and Bourbon there had sprung up a personal and rancorous hatred. Bourbon had, therefore, the strongest reason to dread the accession of that Prince; an illness of Louis, about this time, quickened his apprehensions *, and he determined, at all hazards, to dismiss the Infanta, and find the King another bride of maturer years.
At one time he thought of Princess Anne of England; but King George, when sounded on this subject, declared, much to his honour, that the obstacle of religion (for the bride must have become a Roman Catholic) was insuperable. The Duke de Bourbon and Madame de Prie next turned their eyes to Mary Leczinska, daughter of Stanislaus, the exiled King of Poland. The cradle of Mary had been rocked amidst the storms of civil war ; on one occasion, for example, when still a child in arms, she was forgotten and lost in a hurried retreat; and at length, after an anxious search, was found by her father lying in the trough of a village stable.f She was now twenty-one years of age, and not deficient in beauty or accomplishments ; while her state of exile and obscurity would, Madame de Prie expected, render her more grateful for her elevation, and more pliant to control.
This alliance being finally fixed, and the consent of Louis obtained, the Duke de Bourbon, in March, 1725, sent back the Infanta. Such an insult, which would
. Duclos, Mém. vol. ii. p. 299.
† Voltaire, Hist. de Charles XII. livre iii. He heard this anecdote from Stanislaus himself.
have been painful to any temper, was intolerable to the pride of Spain. Scarcely could the mob be restrained from a general massacre of the French at Madrid. The King and Queen expressed their resentment in most passionate terms *, declaring that they would never be reconciled till the Duke de Bourbon came to their Court and implored their pardon on his knees. To Mr. William Stanhope, the English Minister, they announced their intention to place, in future, their whole trust and confidence in his Master, and allow no mediation but his in their negotiations. But as soon as it appeared that King George refused on this account to break his connection with France, their Spanish Majesties turned their resentment against him also. They dissolved the Congress of Cambray by recalling their Plenipotentiaries, and instructed Ripperda to abandon all the contested points with the Court of Vienna, and form, if possible, a close alliance against France and England.
Nor was the Emperor disinclined to accept these overtures. He had thought himself wronged by the terms of the Quadruple Allies; and though he acquiesced in the first, had never forgiven the latter. Of France he was afraid; of Hanover, jealous ; and he had recently embroiled himself with England and Holland by establishing at Ostend an East India Company, which was considered as contrary to the treaty of Westphalia, and which, at all events, was keenly resented by the maritime powers. Under these impressions, Ripperda found few difficulties in his negotiations, and on the last of April and first of May, signed three treaties at Vienna, confirming the articles of the Quadruple Alliance, but proceeding to form a close concert of measures. By these the King of Spain sanctioned the Ostend Company, and allowed it the same privileges as to the most favoured nations.t He ceased
* The Queen exclaimed to the French Envoy, “ All the Bourbons are a race of devils !” then, suddenly recollecting that her husband was of that House, she turned to him and added, “except your “ Majesty ! ” — Account of Ripperda ; and Coxe's Memoirs of Spain, vol. iii. p. 111.
† Only a year before (April 26. 1724), the King had made a solemn representation against this Company. See Dumont, Suppl. Corps Diplom. vol. viii. part ii. p. 85.
to insist on a point he had long demanded — the exclusive mastership of the Golden Fleece. He no longer claimed that Spanish troops should garrison the fortresses of Tuscany. He acknowledged the Emperor's right to Naples, Sicily, the Milanese, and Netherlands; and guaranteed what was termed the Pragmatic Sanction, namely, the succession of the hereditary states of Austria in the female line. This was a point for which Charles was most solicitous, having only daughters in his family, and its guarantee was a vast concession on the part of Philip, who might otherwise on the Emperor's death have put forth a just, or at least a plausible, claim on his Flemish and Italian dominions. Both Sovereigns engaged to support each other, should either be attacked ; Charles to bring into the field 20,000 foot and 10,000 horse ; Philip, only 20,000 troops, but 15 ships of war.
The world beheld, with astonishment, two Princes, whose rival pretensions had for so many years distracted Europe with divisions and deluged it with blood, now suddenly bound together by the closest ties of alliance, and combining against those very powers which had hitherto befriended and aided one part or the other. But the large concessions made by Philip, ill compensated by a new renunciation of the Spanish Crown from Charles, raised an immediate suspicion that there must be other secret articles to the advantage of the Court of Madrid; and, in fact, hopes had been held out to it of a project most dangerous to the balance of power marriage between the young Archduchess, the heiress of the Austrian States, and one of the Infants of Spain. These were only hopes ; but it was speedily shown, by many concurrent proofs, and afterwards confirmed by the confession of Ripperda and others, that at the same time with the public treaty, a private agreement had been concluded, according to which the allies of Vienna were to demand first Gibraltar, and then Minorca, for Spain ; and, in case of refusal, to combine for the restitution of these by force, and for the enthronement of the Pretender in England. A motive of religion was also
* Dumont, Suppl. Corps Diplom. vol. viii. part ii. p. 114. The Emperor's contingent is augmented by 10,000 in Coxe's Walpole.
mingled in the latter project ; and either the accomplishment or the alarm of it might, as the Emperor hoped, obtain his great object at this time — the guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction by the French and English nations. In this case,” said Walpole, many years afterwards, “it was not his late Majesty's Ministers here who “ informed him; it was he that informed them of the “ transaction; he had his information at Hanover, and “it was so good that he could not be deceived; I know
as well, and am as certain that there were such articles, as those very persons who drew up the articles.”
Russia also showed a strong inclination to engage in the same confederacy. On the death of Peter the Great his widow, Catherine, had been acknowledged as Empress, and pursued his plans with scarcely an inferior spirit. She had inherited his rancour against England ; and having married her daughter to the Duke of Holstein, became eager to recover Sleswick, which Denmark had formerly wrested from that Duchy. “For myself," she said, “I could be content with clothes to keep me warm, and with bread to eat; but I am determined to
see justice done to my son-in-law; and, for his sake, I “would not scruple to put myself at the head of an “army; ”+- and accordingly she issued orders for soldiers and ships to be equipped. Large sums were transmitted from Madrid to St. Petersburg, larger still to Vienna ; in fact, it is said, that this last Court received no less than 1,300,000 pistoles in fourteen months.
Such formidable preparations called for a counterconfederacy on the part of England. Horace Walpole obtained the accession of France; Prussia was secured by Townshend, through a guarantee of its claims on Juliers; and, on the 3rd of September, was signed a defensive alliance between these three powers, called, from the place of its signature, the Treaty of Hanover. A separate article referred to some cruelties lately practis on the Protestants at Thorn in Polish Prussia, and engaged to obtain satisfaction for them. The second and
* Speech, March 29. 1734. Parl. Hist. vol. ix. p. 598.
† Mr. Poyntz to Lord Townshend, May 14. 1725. VOL. II.