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much respect from the German princes, except that, upon some objections made by the queen to the validity of his election, the king of Prussia declared himself determined to support him in the imperial dignity with all his power.
This may be considered as a token of no great affection to the queen of Hungary, but it seems not to have raised much alarm. The German princes were afraid of new broils. To contest the election of an emperor once invested and acknowledged, would be to overthrow the whole Germanic constitution. Perhaps no election by plurality of suffrages was ever made among human beings, to which it might not be objected that voices were procured by illicit influence.
Some suspicions, however, were raised by the king's declaration, which he endeavoured to obviate by ordering his ministers to declare at London and at Vienna, that he was resolved not to violate the treaty of Breslaw. This declaration was sufficiently ambiguous, and could not satisfy those whom it might silence. But this was not a time for nice disquisitions : to distrust the king of Prussia might have provoked him, and it was most convenient to consider him as a friend, till he appeared openly as an enemy.
About the middle of the year 1744, he raised new alarms by collecting his troops and putting them in motion. The earl of Hindford about this time demanded the troops stipulated for the protection of Hanover, not perhaps because they were thought necessary, but that the king's designs might be guessed from his answer, which
was, that troops were not granted for the defence of any country till that country was in danger, and that he could not believe the elector of Hanover to be in much dread of an invasion, since he had withdrawn the native troops, and put them into the pay of England.
He had, undoubtedly, now formed designs which made it necessary that his troops should be kept together, and the time soon came when the scene was to be opened. Prince Charles of Lorrain, having chased the French out of Bavaria, lay for some months encamped on the Rhine, endeavouring to gain a passage into Alsace. His attempts had long been evaded by the skill and vigilance of the French general, till at last, June 21, 1744, he executed his design, and lodged his army in the French dominions, to the surprise and joy of a great part of Europe. It was now expected that the territories of France would in their turn feel the miseries of war; and the nation, which so long kept the world in alarm, be taught at last the value of
peace. The king of Prussia now saw the Austrian troops at a great distance from him, engaged in a foreign country against the most powerful of all their enemies. Now, therefore, was the time to discover that he had lately made a treaty at Francfort with the emperor, by which he had engaged, “ that as the court of Vienna and its allies appeared backward to re-establish the tranquillity of the empire, and more cogent methods appeared necessary; he, being animated with a desire of co-operating towards the pacification of Germany, should make Silesia ;
an expedition for the conquest of Bohemia, and to put it into the possession of the emperor, his heirs and successors, for ever; in gratitude for which, the emperor should resign to him and his successors a certain number of lordships, which are now part of the kingdom of Bohemia. His imperial majesty likewise guaranties to the king of Prussia the perpetual possession of Upper
and the king guaranties to the emperor the perpetual possession of Upper Austria, as he shall have occupied it by conquest.
It is easy to discover that the king began the war upon other motives than zeal for peace; and that, whatever respect he was willing to show to the emperor, he did not purpose to assist him without reward. In prosecution of this treaty he put his troops in motion; and, according to his promise, while the Austrians were invading France, he invaded Bohemia.
Princes have this remaining of humanity, that they think themselves obliged not to make war without a reason. Their reasons are indeed not always very satisfactory. Louis the Fourteenth seemed to think his own glory a sufficient motive for the invasion of Holland. The czar attacked Charles of Sweden, because he had not been treated with sufficient respect when he made a journey in disguise. The king of Prussia, having an opportunity of attacking his neighbour, was not long without his reasons. On July 30th, he published his declaration, in which he declares;
That he can no longer stand an idle spectator of the troubles in Germany, but finds himself
obliged to make use of force to restore the power of the laws, and the authority of the emperour.
That the queen of Hungary has treated the emperour's hereditary dominions with inexpressible cruelty.
That Germany has been overrun with foreign troops, which have marched through neutral countries without the customary requisitions.
That the emperour's troops have been attacked under neutral fortresses, and obliged to abandon the empire, of which their master is the head.
That the imperial dignity has been treated with indecency by the Hungarian troops.
The queen declaring the election of the emperour void, and the diet of Frankfort illegal, had not only violated the imperial dignity, but injured all the princes who have the right of election.
That he has no particular quarrel with the queen of Hungary; and that he desires nothing for himself, and only enters as an auxiliary into a war for the liberties of Germany.
That the emperour had offered to quit his pretension to the dominions of Austria, on condition that his hereditary countries be restored to him.
That this proposal had been made to the king of England at Hanau, and rejected in such a manner as showed that the king of England had no intention to restore peace, but rather to make his advantage of the troubles.
That the mediation of the Dutch had been desired; but that thay declined to interpose, knowing the inflexibility of the English and Austrian courts.
That the same terms were again offered at Vienna, and again rejected: that therefore the queen must impute it to her own council that her enemies find new allies.
That he is not fighting for any interest of his own, that he demands nothing for himself; but is determined to exert all his powers in defence of the emperour, in vindication of the right of election, and in support of the liberties of Germany, which the queen of Hungary would enslave.
When this declaration was sent to the Prussian minister in England, it was accompanied with a remonstrance to the king, in which many of the foregoing positions were repeated ; the emperour's candour and disinterestedness were magnified; the dangerous designs of the Austrians were displayed; it was imputed to them as the most flagrant violation of the Germanick constitution, that they had driven the emperour's troops out of the empire ; the publick spirit and generosity of his Prussian majesty were again heartily declared ; and it was said that this quarrel having no connexion with English interests, the English ought not to interpose.
Austria and all her allies were put into amazement by this declaration, which at once dismounted them from the summit of success, and obliged them to fight through the war a second time. What succours, or what promises, Prussia received from France was never publickly known; but it is not to be doubted that a prince so watchful of opportunity sold assistance, when it was so much wanted, at the highest rate; nor can it be supposed that he exposed himself to so much hazard