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only for the freedom of Germany, and a few petty districts in Bohemia.
The French, who, from ravaging the empire at discretion, and wasting whatever they found either among enemies or friends, were now driven into their own dominions, and in their own dominions were insulted and pursued, were on a sudden by this new auxiliary restored to their former superiority, at least were disburthened of their invaders, and delivered from their terrours. And all the enemies of the house of Bourbon saw with indignation and amazement the recovery of that power which they had with so much cost and bloodshed brought low, and which their animosity and elation had disposed them to imagine yet lower than
The queen of Hungary still retained her firmness. The Prussian declaration was not long without an answer, which was transmitted to the European princes with some observations on the Prussian minister's remonstrance to the court of Vienna, which he was ordered by his master to read to the Austrian council, but not to deliver. The same caution was practised before when the Prussians, after the emperour's death, invaded Silesia. This artifice of political debate may, perhaps, be numbered by the admirers of greatness among the refinements of conduct; but, as it is a method of proceeding not very difficult to be contrived or practised, as it can be of very rare use to honesty or wisdom, and as it has been long known to that class of men whose safety depends upon secresy, though hitherto applied chiefly in petty cheats and slight transactions; I do not see that it can much
advance the reputation of regal understanding, or indeed that it can add more to the safety, than it takes away from the honour of him that shall adopt it.
The queen in her answer, after charging the king of Prussia with breach of the treaty of Breslaw, and observing how much her enemies will exult to see the peace now the third time broken by him, declares,
That she had no intention to injure the rights of the electors, and that she calls in question not the event but the manner of the election.
That she had spared the emperour's troops with great tenderness, and that they were driven out of the empire only because they were in the service of France.
That she is so far from disturbing the peace of the empire, that the only commotions now raised in it are the effect of the armaments of the king of Prussia.
Nothing is more tedious than publick records, when they relate to affairs which by distance of time or place lose their power to interest the reader. Every thing grows little as it grows remote; and of things thus diminished, it is sufficient to survey the aggregate without a minute examination of the parts.
It is easy to perceive, that, if the king of Prussia's reasons be sufficient, ambition or animosity can never want a plea for violence and invasion. What he charges upon the queen of Hungary, the waste of countries, the expulsion of the Bavarians, and the employment of foreign troops, is the unavoidable consequence of a war inflamed on either side to the utmost violence. All these grievances subsisted when he made the peace, and therefore they could very little justify its breach.
It is true, that every prince of the empire is obliged to support the imperial dignity, and assist the emperour when his rights are violated. And every subsequent contract must be understood in a sense consistent with former obligations. Nor had the king power to make a peace on terms contrary to that constitution by which he held a place among the Germanick electors. But he could have easily discovered that not the emperour but the duke of Bavaria was the queen's enemy, not the administrator of the imperial power, but the claimant of the Austrian dominions. Nor did his allegiance to the emperour, supposing the emperour injured, oblige him to more than a succour of ten thousand men. But ten thousand men could not conquer Bohemia, and without the conquest of Bohemia he could receive no reward for the zeal and fidelity which he so loudly professed.
The success of this enterprise he had taken all possible precaution to secure. He was to invade a country guarded only by the faith of treaties, and therefore left unarmed, and unprovided of all defence. He had engaged the French to attack prince Charles, before he should repass the Rhine, by which the Austrians would at least have been hindered from a speedy march into Bohemia: they were likewise to yield him such other assistance as he might want.
Relying therefore upon the promises of the French, he resolved to attempt the ruin of the house of Austria, and in August, 1744, broke into Bohemia at the head of a hundred and four thou. sand men. When he entered the country, he published a proclamation, promising that his army should observe the strictest discipline, and that those who made no resistance should be suffered to remain at quiet in their habitations. He required that all arms, in the custody of whomsoever they might be placed, should be given up, and put into the hands of publick officers. He still declared himself to act only as an auxiliary to the emperour, and with no other design than to establish peace and tranquillity throughout Germany, his dear country.
In this proclamation there is one paragraph of which I do not remember any precedent. He threatens, that, if any peasant should be found with arms, he shall be hanged without further inquiry; and that, if any lord shall connive at his vassals keeping arms in their custody, his village shall be reduced to ashes.
It is hard to find upon what pretence the king of Prussia could treat the Bohemians as criminals, for preparing to defend their native country, or maintain their allegiance to their lawful sovereign against an invader, whether he appears principal or auxiliary, whether he professes to intend tranquillity or confusion.
His progress was such as gave great hopes to the enemies of Austria : like Cæsar, he conquered as he advanced, and met with no opposition till he reached the walls of Prague. The indignation and resentment of the queen of Hungary may be easily conceived; the alliance of Frankfort was now laid open to all Europe ; and the partition of
the Austrian dominions was again publickly projected. They were to be shared among the emperour, the king of Prussia, the elector palatine, and the landgrave of Hesse. All the powers of Europe who had dreamed of controlling France were awakened to their former terrours; all that had been done was now to be done again; and every court, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Frozen Sea, was filled with exultation or terrour, with schemes of conquest or precautions for defence.
The king, delighted with his progress, and expecting like other mortals, elated with success, that his prosperity could not be interrupted, continued his march, and began in the latter end of September the siege of Prague. He had gained several of the outer posts, when he was informed that the convoy which attended his artillery was attacked by an unexpected party of the Austrians. The king went immediately to their assistance with the third part of his army, and found his troops put to flight, and the Austrians hasting away with his cannons : such a loss would have disabled him at once. He fell upon the Austrians, whose number, would not enable them to withstand him, recovered his artillery, and having also defeated Bathiani, raised his batteries; and there being no artillery to be placed against him, he destroyed a great part of the city. He then ordered four attacks to be made at once, and reduced the besieged to such extremities, that in fourteen days the governour was obliged to yield the place.
At the attack commanded by Schwerin, a grenadier is reported to have mounted the bastion alone, and to have defended himself for some time with