Madame De Maintenon
Mary The Mother Of Washington
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
A. D. 1717-1780
"THE MOTHER OF GERMANY "
The indulgent or studious reader who has followed this volume from its beginning, as we have come down the ages and passed across the nations, is now advised that we have reached the career of a woman who, in many great regards, can be compared only with Isabella; and each person who contemplates the life-work of the two monarchs should be left to decide which one of the twain is entitled to the primacy among all the illustrious characters depicted in this book.
To bring the main facts of the biography of Maria Theresa intelligently before the student and juror in this comparison, we must convey an approximate idea of the regions over which her ancestors held sway. In maps a little anterior to her time, a confederation of perhaps 300 states east of France, stretching from the North Sea to the Adriatic from Brussels to Venice will be found marked with the sounding style and title of "Holy Roman Empire." In this confederation the Archduchy of Austria had long held a preponderating influence, and reckoned the Kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia as its appanages. The Holy Roman Empire, by the votes of certain of its reigning Princes, conferred the title of Emperor of Germany on one of their number, and an almost unbroken custom had exalted the Austrian Archduke to be Emperor. Maria Theresa's father was Charles VI (Karl), Emperor of this Germany, or Holy Roman Empire.
Inasmuch as Maria Theresa had before her Isabella's grand example of patriotism, it might be well also to trace the line of royal blood down from the Castilian Queen, which runs thus : Isabella, then Joan, daughter of Isabella; then Emperor Ferdinand I, son of Joan; then Emperor Maximilian II, son of Ferdinand I; next his son, Archduke Charles; next his son, Emperor Ferdinand II; next his son, Emperor Ferdinand III; next his son, Emperor Leopold I; next his son, Emperor Charles VI; next his daughter, Maria Theresa, an eldest child. Women were not eligible to command over the Holy Roman Empire. Maria Theresa was the ninth generation away from her great ancestor, Isabella.
But we are by no means as yet sufficiently prepared to deal with the geography of Maria Theresa, and it cannot be amiss to outline the Austro-Hungarian Empire of to-day for the purpose of getting a better hold of our own subject. This Austro-Hungarian Empire is composed of a huge bund of realms called (in English) Austria-Hungary. His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, the sovereign, is Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary and Bohemia. He has no title of Emperor of Austria-Hungary. It is a dual empire, each part in turn being a confederation of many tribes and states. Each little state has its Parliament, which was called in Maria Theresa's time the Estates. Each of the two great halves has its great Parliament. Each great half, again, sends a Delegation to Vienna, and the Delegations compose the real ultimate Imperial Parliament. To show the vast nature of the realms, let us name the principal factors : The Austrian Empire Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, four Coast Districts, the Tyrol and Vorarlberg, Kingdom of Bohemia (Prague is the capital), Moravia, Silesia, Galicia, Bukowina, Dalmatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. The Hungarian Kingdom (empire) Kingdom of Hungary (Buda-Pesth is the capital, a wonderful city), Transylvania, Fiume, Croatia, and Slavonia.
Now let the reader imagine that his Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty of to-day, were elected Emperor of Germany, or to the titular command of the ancient Holy Roman Empire of Maria's time, in which Austria-Hungary would be one item, and the proper idea of our true situation and geography will not be seriously disturbed. The imperial honor, however, had grown to be nearly a phantom. Nine Electors conferred. the title the sovereigns of Austria, Bohemia, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, being the leading ones. Let it be understood, there was then no "Emperor" in all Western Europe, save the Arch-duke, King, or Elector who might be chosen for life as sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire. Feudalism survived in Middle Europe. This title of Austrian ruler, too, ought not to go to a woman time and again, women had been put to one side, following the Salic law. For instance, Maria Theresa's own father, Emperor Charles VI, had succeeded his brother, Emperor Joseph I, while Joseph I had a daughter who, it would seem, had a right to rule, if women were not to be forever debarred from the Austrian throne.
Once again to the geography of Maria Theresa. Her father, Emperor Charles VI, had made a bad reign of it, and had lost territory on nearly every side, but, even if he had not been elected Emperor, he would have been sovereign in his own right at the start over the following states: The Kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia; the Archduchies of Upper and Lower Austria, Milan, Parma, Placentia, the Low Countries, Carinthia, Carniola, Burgau. Bresgau, Suabia, Silesia, Styria, Friuli, and the Tyrol.
These countries, stretching from sea to sea, were usually denominated "the Austrian possessions." There is one other territorial feature of great interest to be noted Lorraine. We have seen the importance of the Lorraines in the time of Catherine de' Medici. The father of Maria Theresa had reasons for desiring to marry her to Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, but this would dismember France, taking away the Duchy of Lorraine. Maria Theresa would marry nobody else, and the young man gave up Lorraine, and was made heir to the Grand Dukedom of Tuscany instead. But, of course, Maria Theresa's marriage to any landed prince whatever outside the Austrian possessions would have been a matter of serious import in disturbing the "balance" in Europe.
These necessary preliminaries stated, we are measurably prepared to enter on the life of the disputed heir of "the Austrian possessions," a woman who was to do fifteen years of battle with Frederick the Great, the foremost captain of his age, and one of the leading generals of all ages.
Walpurgia Amelia Christina Maria Theresa was born at Vienna, May 13, 1717. Her father, the sixth Charles of the Holy Roman Empire, was a man who was an amiable father and an incapable King. He was a stickler for etiquette, and a renowned boar-hunter. He led an imperial orchestra, and his two daughters danced in the ballet. He was a silent man, who seldom smiled, and, following the record of Philip II of Spain, laughed but once in his life. His wife was Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick, a woman with sweet and gracious manners. The imperial couple lived in perfect amity, and the court was famous for its good morals.
Maria Theresa and Maria Anne, the two Archduchesses, were the only children. They were brought up in seclusion by their mother. Both daughters were beautiful, but Maria Theresa, the elder, was the superior in intellect. They were tenderly attached to each other. Maria Theresa learned music well. She studied Italian, because it was necessary. She got in the habit of spending many hours a day at her devotions, and kept this up all her life. She carefully studied the geography of her country, which was second in size only to Russia, and, with a tinge of the Castilian pride that had come down to her from Isabella, she soon came to believe that no one on earth was quite her born equal. This highly undesirable quality she cultivated, and, while at one time it stood her in good stead in place of armies, she transmitted it to a daughter, Marie Antoinette, whose downfall on account of it was commensurably awful.
At the age of fourteen, Maria Theresa was admitted to it silent at the meetings of the Emperor's Council, but her father never spoke to her on affairs of state, nor did she receive instruction in the forms of business as then carried on. She considered the privilege of attendance a boon, and always stayed to the end, however prolonged the session. She soon was regarded in the court as a person of influence, and, because she brought so many petitions, she elicited from her father the protest : "You seem to think a sovereign has nothing to do but grant favors !" "I see nothing else that can make a crown supportable !" retorted his daughter.
But while the Emperor was not talking overmuch to Maria Theresa, he was no less busy in the midst of his misfortunes (losing Parma and Placentia to Spain and eastern territory to the Mohammedans), to secure the succession of his own crowns to his female issue. When Maria Theresa was only seven years old, he made his will, one of the celebrated Pragmatic Sanctions of history. The word "pragmatic" means "pertaining to secular business," "the King's own business," etc. Carlyle defines it : "Unalterable ordinance in the Kaiser's imperial house." The Emperor published a document, "that failing heirs-male, the Emperor's daughters, or females ranking from their kinship to him, and not to any previous Emperor, should be as good as heirs-male of Charles would have been." This was to cut out the female heirs of his deceased elder brother, whose rights would seem to have been better. This document was ratified by the Diet or Parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, and was accepted as satisfactory by many other nations. Yet the probabilities in favor of peace on the basis of the Pragmatic Sanction were few, and Prince Eugene of Savoy told Charles VI that on such a point "a hundred thousand soldiers would be worth a hundred thousand treaties." Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria, thought he was next male heir to the crown of Bohemia. The wife of August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, was the eldest daughter of the former Emperor, a deceased brother of Charles; her claim was like Maria Theresa's, and covered the entire Austrian possessions. Maximilian II's daughter had been left out the same way, and the King of Spain was her heir. The King of Sardinia claimed Milan. Louis XV was the only male heir of the eldest male branch of the House of Austria. To all these, Charles VI had only the answer, where was their Pragmatic Sanction, their civil service law? When boys say "Trade forever !" that is a Pragmatic Sanction. Nobody else had made a Pragmatic Sanction. Charles thought his case was clear. The King of England told him to hold to it. Still the Emperor, while he was boar-hunting, worried. He could not sleep. His physician died, and the surviving healers could not tell what ailed the afflicted monarch, unless it were Pragmatic Sancfion.
Meantime he narrowly escaped new wars when the Duke of Lorraine was proposed for the hand of Maria Theresa; but, in 1735, young Lorraine was ousted from the Rhine and recognized as future Grand Duke of Tuscany (Florence, the capital). The next year the lovers were married, and the strong-willed girl of nineteen had her way, cost what it might. The next year Gian Gastone, last of the Medicis, died, and the pair had a realm over which to rule, with Francis the husband, an Elector in the Holy Roman Empire, which had by this time become little more than a moral Kingdom. They took up their ducal residence in Florence, and Maria Theresa's eldest child, a daughter, was born. In time, the wife bore no less than sixteen children, ten of whom survived her. Frederick's terrible father was on the throne of Prussia, and was very kind to Francis when that Grand Duke visited Berlin. The Grand Duke was an amiable young gentleman whom Frederick (Crown Prince, then) liked very well. The grandmother of Francis was the eldest sister of the Emperor, so he was his wife's cousin. They had played together from childhood. He could scarcely read or write, but he was handsome, brave, and accomplished in all the courtly exercises of the day. He was exactly the man Maria Theresa wanted, and she seems to have been more thoroughly attached to him than Isabella was to Ferdinand; on his part, too, he made her a much better husband, and endured fully as many expressions of his wife's determination to have her own way rather than his. The pair were naturally mated.
The year 1740 was deadly to monarchs. There died Pope Clement XII; Frederick's kingly father; the Empress Anne of Russia; the Queen Dowager of Spain, and on the 13th of October, the Emperor himself fell ill at the Favorita Palace in Vienna. He was sure he would die.
The doctors annoyed him with their professional encouragements. "Look me in the eyes, pack of fools ! You will have to dissect me. Then you can tell me. If Gasseli were here, I should know now." The Grand Duke Francis assiduously attended the sick man, and talked long on the future. Maria Theresa would have a son soon (Emperor Joseph II). She was ill in bed, and her father would not allow her to enter the death-room. A few days later, October 20, the Emperor died, thus closing the 500 years' record of the males of the House of Hapsburg.
At dawn Maria Theresa was proclaimed by her heralds all over Vienna, by virtue of Pragmatic Sanction, Arch-duchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, etc., etc. At 7 the generals and judges took the oath, the Queen bathed in tears. There soon arrived a protest from the Elector of Bavaria, declaring that he would contest the titles now assumed by Maria Theresa. France was behind him. There was in the treasury only the sum of $50,000. Almost instantly, young Frederick of Prussia marched his splendid army into Maria Theresa's province of Silesia, and Europe was set on fire.
In a word, Maria Theresa tried for fifteen years to get that fine duchy back. Frederick became Frederick the Great because he kept Silesia at last, against all Europe armed, and he only with Spartan Prussia at his back.
Maria Theresa hastened into Hungary and took the oath according to the Hungarian desire, which many a haughty Archduke had refused to do. She swore she would respect the rights and privileges of the Hungarians, and, if not, they should not be adjudged rebels if they rose. She received the homage of the Italians. She had help from England not by money privately subscribed, as erroneously written in many histories, but voted by Parliament at London. She set out to get King George of England and Empress Anne of Russia to partition Prussia. She said she would fight the devil with fire. But Frederick and the French were also very clever. The cry of "Distaff" was raised, as we heard it in Spain. Although eleven great Powers had signed the Pragmatic Sanction, all fell away save England, and on Frederick's first victory, the battle of Mollwitz, the way was made easy for the Elector of Bavaria, Charles Albert, to be declared Emperor of "the Holy Romish Reich Teutsch by Nation" as Charles VII, and thus he goes into the record. It was a grievous-blow to the pride of Austria, and the most pompous title that Maria Theresa could now obtain was Queen of Hungary. The French came on with an army. The Queen had been sadly defeated at Mollwitz. Now the allies marched rapidly toward Vienna. The ministry, accustomed to the idle policies of the deceased Emperor, expected to surrender and throw themselves on the mercy of Europe. But Maria Theresa, with her little son Joseph (Emperor) retreated to Presburg, capital of Hungary, and there a very great scene was enacted, which the iconoclasts, though they have long charged upon its truth, have not deprived of its essential details. A young and beautiful mother, with a male heir in her arms, appeared on the throne before the brave knights of Hungary in their Parliament. She spoke in Latin, the common language. She was afire with her wrongs. A robber on the north a miscreant whom her own father had saved when his own father was about to kill him this robber had most ungratefully stolen her finest duchy and now offered her peace if she would indorse his theft. The other nations on the west, whose people Hungary had long protected from the brave Mohammedans, basely purposed to dismember the possessions of the House of Austria, because, till this little boy could come of age, there would be no male heir, and a young woman could easily be robbed by aged and experienced thieves. She would soon give birth to another royal prince, and, as her enemies gained and multiplied on every side, she would not have a city left in which to bear her child. She stood before them seeking their protection like a hunted doe, panting from the chase. She was young; her figure was tall and formed with perfect elegance; her march was graceful and majestic; her features were regular; her gray eyes flashed with the fires of royal indignation or filled with tears, as waves of pride or humiliation would sweep over her; her mouth and smile were beautiful; her complexion was transparent; she had a profusion of fine hair; her voice was musical, pleading and moving. She was as beautiful as Cleopatra; she was as noble as Isabella; she was as eloquent as Joan of Arc. Her robes of mourning spoke forth her filial piety. Scarce could those nobles wait to hear her pleas. Her beauty and her distress her great wrongs and her courageous posture set them, as well, on fire. They clashed their swords with furious clamor they shouted, with one accord, in Latin : "We will die for our King, Maria Theresa ! Our swords and our blood for your Majesty!" She burst into passionate tears. The nobles rushed out of the great hall to vote supplies of men and money, and at last took to their hearts an Austrian ruler. The great iron crown of St. Stephen, that founder of 400 abbeys whose order once ruled Europe, was placed upon her small head; the saint's tattered robe was thrown over her; a scimitar was girded at her side. Seated on a superb charger she rode up the royal hill, called the Mount of Defiance, and, following the rites of antiquity, cut the air in the four quarters and gladly swore to defend the crown. This heavy diadem had been lined with cushions to accommodate so small a head, and, when she sat down to the feast, it seemed desirable to lay aside the burden. As it was removed from her brow, her hair escaping from its meshes, fell in abundance about her neck and shoulders, completing a picture of womanly loveliness so rare and felicitous that chivalrous Hungary set up a shout of admiration and applause. With this story of her popularity spreading to the utmost con-fines of the polyglot nation, the Hussars, tribes of Croats, Pandours, Sclavonians, Tolpatches, Warasdins both Huns and Aryans terrible men who needed no tents and despised personal comfort poured northward to punish the invaders. The Hungarians made Francis co-Regent, and the young man surprised Europe by showing that an affectionate husband could exhibit heroic instincts in time of imminent danger. Vienna was spared. The Queen soon had 100,000 men on the march. But though Vienna were rescued, Prague fell, and the usurping Bavarian Emperor was also crowned King of Bohemia. Here his for-tune ended. The Queen's forces retook Upper Austria, entered Bavaria, captured his capital, Munich, and the Emperor was without an empire. Frederick, after a quick campaign, made a treacherous peace with Maria Theresa, she giving up Silesia, and the Elector of Saxony withdrew his claims on Bohemia. The betrayed French were shut up in Prague. France sent a rescuing army, which was turned back. The French army escaped from Prague and made a safe march into Alsace. But Maria Theresa had war, also, in the south, and held Spain and France in check, the King of England keeping every engagement with astonishing fidelity to the Pragmatic Sanction. She pressed the "Emperor" so hard, and threatened so earnestly to indemnify herself for Silesia with Bavaria, that Frederick, in 1744, feeling he would lose Silesia if he did not see the Woman defeated, "sent an army to aid the Kaiser," pretending that he was only doing what all nine of the Electors must do. This was a sore disappointment to the victorious Queen. She had reckoned on an addition (from France) of Alsace to the Empire, with Francis, her husband, to be elected Emperor; Lorraine for the twain. She cried that the northern robber, who had made her give up Silesia, was the evil genius of her house. She prayed her five hours a day. She went again to the loyal castle at Presburg, in Hungary. There the proud captains again cried in Latin : "Live, Maria ! To arms ! To arms !" There was more tumult of war than ever before, and Maria Theresa retrieved Prague and Bohemia without a battle, and to her infinite delight marched on to Silesia, her stolen province. On the 20th of January, the unfortunate Emperor Charles VII, who had so fatuously seized a lofty title, died of grief at Munich, his own city, which he would not be able to hold against Maria Theresa.
England, at this, wanted peace. So did Frederick. The English Ambassador told the Queen the money was out at London six million dollars they had sent to her. "Give me only till October!" she pleaded. "Bon Dieu ! Give me only till October !" "A battle, madam, will not get back Silesia." "Had Ito agree with him (Frederick) tomorrow, I would fight him a battle this evening," she expostulated.
Carlyle says of this: "Much of this Austrian obstinacy, think impartial persons, was of female nature." Yet Frederick was merely Frederick to the original owner of Silesia. Why should she wish peace in victory, when she was still a victim of robbery? Frederick is Frederick the Great to us, only because he hung to his pelf against the odds she finally arrayed on her side.
September 13, 1745, the Grand Duke Francis Stephen of Tuscany co-Regent of Bohemia, Maria Theresa's husband, was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as Francis I, by seven Electors, Prussia and Pfalz only protesting. His proud wife came on to Frankfurt, determined that, at last, the man who had given up Lorraine for her should have a magnificent coronation. Her Prussian enemies declare that at this time the High Lady was too high. Not only was she overbearing toward the princes who had done her will, but she trod heavily, and mentioned her own personal power too often, like Napoleon after Tilsit. She clapped a protesting herald into jail. She at once assumed the title of Empress-Queen. She spoke of Frederick as a good captain she was willing to say it but a bad character, a heretic or worse, a neighbor dreadful to have, indeed, "ein böser Mann," and that term can mean merely wicked or absolutely infernal. But her Pandours, meanwhile, were driving Frederick to thoughts of suicide. Europe broke out into universal war, with France and England particularly desirous for battle. There was fighting from Genoa to Flanders. Just when the sky was brightest for Maria Theresa, her generals lost enough battles to alarm the continent, and Frederick went home in peace with Silesia as his trophy. The rest of the nations kept at war for two years more, when the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle ended what is called the War of the Austrian Succession, and the Pragmatic Sanction, clipped of Silesia and the Italian duchies, was signed by all the nations. The Queen's father had lost the provinces in Italy, so the only King who profited by the war was the one who had acted dishonestly Frederick. More than 500,000 men had been killed.
One of Macaulay's famous tirades applies at this moment : "The evils produced by Frederick's wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown; and in order that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of North America."
Maria Theresa was now Empress-Queen in Genoa, Venice, Florence, Milan, Vienna, Buda-Pesth, Prague, Brussels, and many other proud cities, a continuous line across Europe from north to south. She had an army of 108,000 men. She had annual revenues $6,000,000 larger than her father. She was already the mother of eight children. Her husband was beloved in court and family; there he was foremost. He was contented to see his wife, consort, and sovereign shine through Europe. She had long been the toast of English people. "Queen of Hungary" was a magic name to give to vendable goods, and her portrait on signboards drew custom the world over, except in Prussia, which had made its foray on her. She was busy nearly every moment in her cabinet, or at prayer, and thus could spare scarcely any attention to her babies. "The only time I lose," she said, "is when I sleep." The court physician, Van Sweitar, waited on her each morning at her levee, and brought her a minute report of the health of the children. If one of them was indisposed, the mother, laying aside all other cares, went to their apartment. As the Princes and Princesses grew up, they were taught Italian, but it cannot be said that their education was enthusiastically pursued, or that Maria Theresa had a good opinion of learning. Fighting was better. The young ones were committed to the care of governesses who were directed to stamp out all indications of pride or personal caprice; to drill the scholars sedulously in "The Lives of the Saints," and in all the rites and ceremonies which the lay devotee of the Catholic Church is permitted to celebrate or perform. It is certain that the ten surviving Archdukes and Archduchesses were successfully impresse« with family pride and devotion to the house of Lorraine-Austria. Their ruling passion was a loyalty to their mother, the Empress, as the head of that house. But as to the rest of their education, even including the pious moralities that were deemed all essential by Maria Theresa, the mother secured as governess no bigot sufficiently beyond the reach of ulterior financial motives to carry out her orders, and instead of preparing for a future life by five diurnal hours of prayer, religion was greatly and education altogether neglected, except that the scholars could speak French well and write it with the average skill of the upper classes. The drawings that were represented as Marie Antoinette's, Maria Theresa's daughter's, were in no case hers, according to Madam Campan. These children went abroad as incurable Austrians, and several of them were on this account but ill-received, at least, in foreign lands, whither they had been at first invited with acclamation.
Maria Theresa lived in her private apartments with simplicity. She breakfasted on a cup of milk coffee; then dressed and heard a long mass. On every Tuesday she received the ministers of the various departments. Other days were set apart for foreigners and strangers. There were stated days when the public was admitted indiscriminately, save that each subject, however poor or mean, must have business with her Majesty. They might whisper to her or see her alone if their matter was important. She was sure of her own popularity, and felt secure in the protection which the love of her people threw around her. She read memorials herself, dictated dispatches, and signed letters. Her dinner was brought in, and she ate alone, to save time. After dinner she returned to desk-work until 6. After supper her children were expected to join her in evening prayer. If any were absent she called the physician to inquire if there was illness. If not, the child would receive a severe reprimand next morning.
What was she doing in her cabinet, to which her spies from St. Petersburg, Rome, Madrid, Versailles, Berlin, and London were hourly entering? She was planning, plotting, to get back her rich Silesia. She hated that Frederick so, with his impish Voltaire. They had said such foul and cruel things of her, personally, too, and both, she thought, were more beasts than men. They were atheists. Her Catholic Silesia had been given to the atheist. Ought she not to urge a holy war? Let this wretched insane man, the son of an insane father, write his scoffing verses about her and, better yet, about women in general all the better ! He would now have three women on his heels. A woman, Elizabeth, ruled in Russia. A good woman, Maria Theresa, ruled at Vienna. A woman ruled at Versailles ah ! let us see about that ! Hard, indeed, but let us consider it. Pompadour, the daughter of the butcher Poisson; the wife of the tavern-keeper d'Étioles; "the kidnapper of young girls for the Park aux Cerfs of the bad old King" this Pompadour was ruler of France whatever she said should be done was law and precedent. Had any consort-Empress of the Holy Roman Empire in half a millennium acknowledged such a friend? Ah no! But Frederick was emptying his bitter verses on her Frederick said, truly, that France was "hag-ridden" the hag would like revenge; and Maria Theresa would get Silesia back. But was not this Pompadour also a wicked enemy of that noble monarch, the King of England, who, all alone, and because he was a German, had upheld Pragmatic Sanction against the Lutheran inclinations of his subjects? Yes, yes, it was all hard. Yet Kaunitz, Maria Theresa's prime minister, that man running all over Europe, the most dreadful of Frederick's foes Kaunitz thought it could be done. France and Austria could be brought together if, at this crisis of Frederick's verse writing and scoffing at priests if now Maria Theresa would only write "Dear Cousin" to Pompadour then three irate great women could come at him together and show him. Maria Theresa could cede territory to France in Belgium; she could be indemnified in Prussia; her Belgian bankers would lend her money. What would England do? Well, wait and see. The "Dear Cousin" is written, and Pompadour, titular mistress of Louis XV, at last is one of the great monarchs of the world. France now moves toward Hanover. The good King of England applies at Vienna for an army to aid him. Pussy wants a corner; go to the next neighbor; he goes to Russia, where he hires an army, with Viennese satisfaction. Now the plot is well laid. The world, save England, will go against Frederick, and all will divide. Russia, Sweden, Poland and Saxony, the Holy Roman Empire, France the great circle of foes and circle of armies of foes will close in on the bad man, and where then will he be with his Voltaire, his scoffs, and his pelf ? This matter was all arranged when Frederick sent word to Maria Theresa, demanding ipso facto that she state her intention not to attack him either this year (1756) or next. To this she gave no sufficient reply, and Frederick, joining with England, whom Maria Theresa had now betrayed, marched for Dresden, there seizing papers which would show the true plans of Maria Theresa.
Thus we are to begin the Seven Years' War, with tables turned. The French foe is now a friend; the noble English friend is now justly a foe. The Protestant Englishmen are now ready to pray for Frederick's battles against "the Papists." The issue is more logical, except that to Frederick all religions are alike. His subjects, however, are Lutherans. The Seven Years' War this bad Frederick, the rat in Maria Theresa's trap ! Battle on battle, yet never to catch and kill that bad man !—these her thoughts. The reader must pass across the most hideous fields of blood Lowositz, Prague (girls still playing it on our pianos), Kolin, Hastenbeck, Rosbach, Leuthen, Zorndorf, Hochkirchen, Züllichau, Kunersdorf, Maxen, Meissen, Minden, Liegnitz, Torgau, Schweidnitz (four times), Buckersdorf is it not a fearful catalogue of carnage ? She can kill all those glorious German generals that she heard her father praise, but she cannot kill Frederick. She has him, has his Berlin give her always a month longer; but at last her Russian woman-friend is dead, and Frederick's fate is changed. He still has her Silesia, and is he not truly Frederick the Great ?
Yet it is not wise to compress these seven years into a paragraph. Her hatred was too intense; her grief in defeat too frantic; her exultation in victory too striking. She lived a thousand lives, like Frederick. Had she herself commanded somewhere in place of her dear Francis, and her Traun, Braun, Daun, Frederick could not have escaped. This is why Carlyle blames her. He thinks she should have given up Silesia more easily, so it would have cost less blood.
When Frederick's officers burst in on Dresden (Saxony) in August, 1756, they found the Queen of Poland sitting on top the very trunk that contained the papers of Maria Theresa's plan. She stated the lady on the trunk that she was a Queen, the daughter of an Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the mother-in-law of the French Crown Prince. But they lifted her off the trunk as respectfully as the disturbed conditions of polite society would permit, and got the papers, so that Frederick went into the war with a published statement of the facts, and this helped his case. He took Saxony at the battle of Lowositz, where he defeated Marshal Braun (Brown), and at once made Prussians out of the poor Saxons, Seventeen thousand of them had to turn around and fight Maria Theresa. Thus the Seven Years' War started with bad fortunes for Austria.
In 1757, Frederick marched his Saxon army into Bohemia. May 6, the battle of Prague was fought, and the great Prussian Schwerin fell. Frederick won. He lost 18,000 men. Maria Theresa lost 24,000 men under Marshal Braun, who retreated into Prague. Frederick went on against Marshal Daun, the Queen's best man, at Kolin. There the Prussian was frightfully defeated, losing 13,000 men, and had to flee out of Bohemia. At nearly the same time the French, entering Hanover, had defeated the English at Hastenbeck, and were free to advance on Prussia. Maria Theresa was once more in Silesia. Her Croats pushed into Berlin and plundered it. The French were marching southeastward, and reached Rosbach. There, on November 5, France met a complete defeat. Now Frederick threw himself eastward again to contest Silesia, and at Leuthen, near Breslau, with 40,000 men, met Prince Charles of Lorraine with 6o,000 of Maria Theresa's soldiers. Frederick in this battle inflicted on the Queen a loss of 27,000 men, and retrieved Silesia at the two blows. It was the chief of all his victories. The Methodists and Presbyterians of Great Britain saluted Frederick as Joshua or Gideon. Whitefield, the revivalist, gave thanks at the London Tabernacle. "The Lord stirred up the King of Prussia and his soldiers to pray," wrote an English diary-keeper. "They kept three fast-days, and spent about an hour praying and singing psalms before they engaged the enemy. 0 how good it is to pray and fight." Thus the English tax-payers were well pleased to fight against their once-honored Queen of Hungary.
Of course, after Kolin, all was joy at Vienna. The chief military order of Austria the Order of Maria Theresa was instituted, with Daun its first chief. Te Deums sounded in every cathedral, and the swift contrast to Rosbach and Leuthen, with Silesia lost a second time, was, indeed, a strange reply to Maria Theresa's devotional acts, and all in favor of an atheist. It is hinted that she even thought of peace, which Frederick of course sued for, but Pompadour said "Double or quits it is only a little ill-luck." Elizabeth, too, in Russia, was angry with her generals, and now started them in earnest over the snows.
For the year 1758, Frederick had 145,000 soldiers, fully one-third of them Maria Theresa's men turned against her. January 22, Russia took Königsberg and "annexed" East Prussia. The Prussians were made to swear fealty to Russia. On this, Frederick put the Saxons in the same plight, to the horror of Maria Theresa. The Russians pushed on to Zorndorf, and at that battle, giving little or no quarter, the Russians were totally defeated. This was late in August. It was the bloodiest battle Frederick fought. Maria Theresa celebrated it for a victory, and chanted Te Deums. At any rate, the Prussians were thinning out. Frederick hastened with his army into Saxony again, when Marshals Daun and Laudohn pounced on him at dead of night in his camp at Hochkirchen and defeated him completely. Frederick was utterly lost could Daun have been changed suddenly into a slightly adventurous commander. But the Austrians marched homeward, and Frederick, who had been ready to give up Dresden, was saved and went into cantonment. Yet as Maria Theresa saw her enemy go into winter quarters at Breslau, she saw also cantonments of his enemies stretching from Russia to the mouth of the Rhine, with Sweden and Russia ready to pounce in and avenge Zorndorf. Three hundred thousand soldiers watched each other, and Maria Theresa could hope for 150,000 more men in the spring. The coming year (1759) was not to disappoint her entirely. The Pope, Clement XIII, at high mass on Christmas Day solemnly blessed a sword, a hat of crimson velvet lined with ermine, and a dove of pearls, the mystic symbol of the Divine Comforter, and sent them with great ceremony to Marshal Daun as a champion of the faith. This was on the principle of the London Tabernacle, that it was a holy war, and while Frederick and Voltaire set hard to work to turn the act to ridicule, it was still a holy war, and it cannot be said that the Catholic Church first raised the issue.
The year 1759 finally opened with many minor engagements along the vast line of cantonments. The Russians under Soltikoff again came in out of the hyperborean regions, got a clear advantage over the Prussian, Wedel, at the battle of Züilichau on the Oder River in July, and fought a great battle with Frederick at Kunersdorf in August, having joined Maria Theresa's Marshal, Laudohn. The engagement took place August 12. Frederick had 6,000 soldiers killed, and lost 19,000 in all. The Russians and Austrians lost 18,000. Here Frederick was again lost, but the Austrians would. not move forward. Soltikoff felt he had done enough now let the German Queen do something; and old Daun thought those Russians ate as if they had never seen provisions before. While Frederick was ordering his archives out of Berlin, he lost a small army at Maxen, and another was defeated at Meissen. He had lost Dresden. His general, Ferdinand, how-ever, had completely defeated the French over on the west at Minden. Maria Theresa was upholding Daun and his papal hat, but the public was beginning to think that so many armies and so many nations ought to throttle Frederick unless someone were sleeping on guard. A little later the mob of Vienna threw nightcaps into poor Madam Daun's carriage. So at last, this winter of 1759-60, while Marshal Daun has the chief command, as the person best fitted to stand against the quick movements of Frederick, Marshal Laudohn has been given command of a separate army, and is to act with the Russians. Maria Theresa is called the High Mother. The Russians are important, the Swedes utterly useless, the French less and less helpful. Imagine the comings and goings from the cabinet of Maria Theresa through these years particularly, the difficulty of getting those Russians to fight in Silesia instead of fighting at Dantzic, where it could do her no territorial good. But this winter she has him (Frederick)give her but a moment longer. He lost 6o,000 men in 1759. She will not exchange prisoners with him. He cannot hold Berlin, and soon he will give up Silesia he must, the böser robber ! Babies, too, thick and fast, sixteen of them now in all. Always a desire of the officials about her to get her power away from her, but she determined to have back Silesia.
Yet, on the other side, she also has the iron well into her enemy's soul. Think with what pleasure she would read extracts from his (Frederick's) letters, where he said —he who wantonly stole her Silesia : "It is hard for man to bear what I bear. I begin to feel that, as the Italians say, revenge is a pleasure for the gods. My philosophy is worn out by suffering. I am no saint, like those we read of in the legends; and I will own that I should die con-tent if only I could first inflict a portion of the misery which I endure."
"Well, then," was Maria Theresa's comment, "why does he not give up Silesia ?" But, of course, by this time, to give up Silesia meant, also, to pay the cost of taking it to Russia and France leaving to Frederick only Brandenburg.
In 1760 Frederick marched all over Prussia. "How lean you have grown !" cried the woman at Rosbach. "Lean ! Ought I not to be lean, with three Women hanging at my throat!" was his angry reply. Frederick tried to get back Dresden, failed, and marched off for Silesia. At Liegnitz he fought a great battle with Marshal Laudohn in August, taking 6,000 prisoners. In November at Torgau he completely defeated Marshal Daun, who lost 20,000 men in a bloody battle, nearly his last. The champion with the papal hat journeyed to Vienna, to heal his wounds. Maria Theresa went out of the city to meet her defeated but ever-honored Daun, and to inquire solicitously regarding his health, so important to the state. A point here for the reader, where her steadfastness cannot be called mere female obstinacy a bright, glorious moment in the trying life of Maria Theresa nowhere in history shall we find a more noble exposition of royal philosophy and magnanimity.
Now, in 1761 and 1762, the circle once more closed in on Frederick. Marshal Daun surprised the fortress of Schweidnitz, and recaptured the half of Silesia, and Pitt, of England, went out of office, which deprived Frederick of his only foreign friend. The Russians wintered in Frederick's country. Just, therefore, as the patient Queen might expect to catch Frederick, just as she had his Berlin, and her Croats and Hussars have pillaged $100,000,000 of his goods and treasure and devastated all of Prussia, one of the three Women died Elizabeth. Her successor, Peter III of Russia, was an adorer of Frederick, and put Russia at Prussia's service. On this Frederick stormed and defeated Daun at Buckersdorf's Heights, retook Schweidnitz this fortress was taken four times in all, and again controlled Silesia. Then France and England came to terms, and agreed to let the war east of the Rhine go on as it might, with both nations neutral to it. Then Peter III was murdered by Catherine II, and Russia was declared to be neutral, or nearly so. Catherine merely wanted to do the best she could for Russia. She was no friend of Maria Theresa, like Empress Elizabeth. Now Frederick might overflow into Bohemia, into the Holy Roman Empire generally. There was no beating him. He had Silesia. He might get more. So said Daun, and who else could stay him when Daun could not? Europe was tired and sick of war. Perhaps Pompadour thought Maria Theresa had too much to win at least, France was utterly ruined, and now awaited the Great Revolution. On all sides, admiration for Frederick rose too high he was in the place of fame and sympathy which the young Queen held when she held up her baby to the Hungarians and wept with anger. "Look," said Europe to Maria Theresa, "830,000 actual fighters actually killed in this one war for you ! Frederick has slaughtered i 8o,000 of his bravest Prussians as a price for a little piece of your vast fatherland. Make peace, as we have done."
And peace she made at Hubertsberg in 1763. She still wanted Silesia, but Daun did not, Francis did not, Vienna did not. The Seven Years' War was over. There has been nothing like it, except Napoleon's campaigns. Boundaries of all kinds were exactly as they were when it began. It would have been much better had she not written that letter to "her dear cousin," the hag who rode France into the bottomless pit of revolution.
What had been lacking to this Isabella of the East? A fighting husband, like Ferdinand of Aragon, that is clear. Francis fought well, but nobody thought of him in comparison with slow old Daun, nor did he share in the government at home to anything like the extent practised by Ferdinand in Spain. Perhaps he would have been more capable if Maria Theresa had been more ambitious for his advancement in real power. She was worsted in a combat where she had all the advantages, because she could notherself get out of her palace with her sixteen babies, and she could inspire nobody else except Kaunitz with the con-tempt of Frederick which she so long felt. The big war that made Frederick's ambition virtue was but two years over when her dear Francis, who after all was her ideal of a husband, died on the 18th of August, 1765, at Innspruck. She set the model for Victoria, and mourned for him the rest of her life. She extended her daily prayers, always long, to five hours. The fatal 18th of every month was consecrated to the memory of her husband. The month of August each year was spent in retirement, in penance, and in celebrating masses and requiems for the repose of his soul. She with her own needle wrought her wedding gown into a mass-robe and sent it to the Cathedral of St. Vitus, at Prague. She went on pilgrimages to Our Lady of Heren-haltz; she prayed and told her beads at the coffin of her husband, for that purpose descending every day into the crypt of the Capuchin Church —in fact, following St. Stephen, she was like a great abbess, and she was in a region where the Catholic Church, defeated by Satan on the north, as it believed, was held in all the greater veneration by tribes that spoke many tongues, but clung alike to the rock of St. Peter. The household and devotional virtues of Maria Theresa, with her loyalty to the memory of her worthy mate, brought into splendid relief her detestation of Frederick and her desire to hand down Fatherland unbroken by heretics or atheists, gleaming with as many swords on the walls of as many fortresses as when her father died. Her fame as the High Mother, the Apostolic Daughter of the Church, spread from Islam to Lisbon, and has been carried by a vast Teutonic migration westward to the very shores of the Pacific Seas.
In 1770, amid great public manifestations of good will, her daughter, Marie Antoinette, at the age of fifteen, started for Paris to marry the Bourbon Prince who was to become Louis XVI. To this unfortunate Princess history gives a long and unhappy chapter, which will be reviewed anon in this volume.
Madame Campan says that Marie Antoinette told her that after-the death of Francis, three of Maria Theresa's ministers made a compact to try and ensnare the affections of the widow, who was still good-looking. All should try together, and the one who was successful should swear eternal friendship for the other two. Spies brought this affair to the widow. One day after council was over, the sovereign grew very confidential, and told the three suit-ors that, though she hoped to guard herself against the weaknesses of the heart, she might go the way of the world; but she would demand of the man who loved her that he should fling away ambition, and, if he held any important office, he should resign it, and forever lay aside power, as a proof that it was the woman and not the Queen whom he adored. For her, he must become the butt of public jests, and lose all influence with the people. The ministers looked at each other in amazement, and dissolved their tender league forthwith. Thus she kept about her three very useful advisers.
While the luster of her arms was wholly dimmed by Frederick's valor, and her military fame must shrink beside Isabella's, yet, equally devout as she was, two centuries of growing intellectual light had made her less bigoted. In 1768, to the Board of Public Economy, she made a re-script of the principle that "everything which is not of divine institution is subject to the supreme legislative authority of the state." Following this rule, she sup-pressed the pensions charged at Rome upon benefices; she forbade the alienation of landed property in favor of ecclesiastical bodies; she ordered all the property of the clergy to be registered; she placed the temporal affairs of the convents under the authority of the civil magistrates, and put those houses each under its own Bishop.
She even advanced on the Holy Office of the Inquisition itself, which existed in her Italian states. She took from its hands the press censorship, and appointed for the purpose a board of civil judges. In Tuscany, which fell to her second son, Leopold, now a child, she ordered that la-y judges should sit with ecclesiastics in all prosecutions for heresy. She put under her own orders the Sbirri, or armed force with which the Italian Inquisitors had carried on their work.
In 1776 she abolished the torture in all her hereditary states. In 1777 she abolished some of the rural and personal services which the peasants of Bohemia owed to their lords, and commuted others for a sum of money. She established copyright on writings. She built or finished the palaces and gardens of Schönbrunn and Luxemburg.
Her great school system, for which she is justly lauded, was put in practical operation with the full powers of the Empire between 1774 and 1778. In every province she started and maintained a "normal" or model school as a standard for the other schools of the whole province, under a Director. In the large towns "principal schools" under a magistrate were opened. In the small towns and villages "communal schools" under the parish priest or an assessor (sitter-in) in the Communal Council. Over the province was a Central Commission of Studies, to read annual reports and examine candidates for masterships or magistracies. She added manual labor to the instruction of the communal schools. Those teachers whose wives taught the girls sewing, knitting, spinning, and mending, received extra wages. Little girls were also enabled to earn half a florin a day. This idea of manual training has spread over the world, and is the truest, most illustrious Order of Maria Theresa.
In Lombardy and at Milan, she made a more equitable land-tax; she established a regular annual budget, so that subjects might know when taxation was over for the year. She took the tax-farming away from subjects and collected the taxes herself. She freed the peasants from manorial rights. She made the navigable canal of Paderno, joining two rivers. She gave prizes to those who excelled in agriculture, geometry, mining, smelting, and spinning. She struck a medal in honor of agriculture, with the legend, "The Art Which Nourishes All Arts." She gave bounties to the peasants who raised the largest crops. The churches and convents were no longer recognized as asylums for escaping criminals. She nearly doubled the population of that garden-like country, despite the bloody wars. Her minister at Milan, Firmain, protected scholars. Pietro Verri was in the treasury; Beccaria was given a professorship; Carli was put at the head of commerce. She carried to Milan her unvarying habits of administration. "Lombardy," says one of their writers,* "was never so happy as under her reign. She wished to be informed of every act of the administration. She gave to the humble and poor, as well as the rich and noble, free access to her presence. She listened benignantly to all, either granting their petitions, or, if she denied them, giving reasons for her refusal, without illusory promises or vague circumlocutions. She declared that if anything reprehensible had been done in her name, it was certainly without her knowledge, as she had always wished the welfare of her subjects. She showed a love of justice and truth, and stated as a principle of her conduct, that it was only the pleasure of alleviating distress and doing good to the people that could render the weight of a crown supportable to the wearer."
Her rule in the countries on the northern sea was equally just and progressive, and it was the had management of her son, the Emperor Joseph II, that afterward detached those provinces from the Austrian Crown.
When Emperor Francis I died, his son Joseph II was crowned Emperor, and bis mother elevated him to considerable honors beside her, but it was not till after her death that the real powers of administration reached his hands. Two of her sons were Emperors of Germany. Her grandson was the last Kaiser, as the German word goes. Napoleon, with the sun of Austerlitz, put an end to the "Holy Romish Reich, Teutsch by Nation."
A typical story of her administration is told in the annals of the city of Prague. The farmers had no bread. They came up to the great city, and were inclined to take what they needed. The Empress sent General Dalton with enough regiments to hang the rioters. He, marching into the city, and turning all the cannons of the ram-parts inward, had the rioters in his grasp. He counseled them to yield, be still. They begged him cooly to slaughter them and end the pains they were enduring and those greater ones they saw in store. The general wept at their miseries. He told them he knew his Queen had not heard of it. They cheered him, trusted him, and dispersed. He sent dispatches to Maria Theresa that melted her at once to tears. "Good God !" cried she, "what have my poor people been suffering without my knowledge ! To what cruel miseries have they been exposed, through the ignorance I was in of their deplorable situation ! How greatly am I indebted to the moderation and humanity of Count Dalton, who has saved me from the guilt of being the butcher of my poor starving subjects, and who has painted in such moving colors those distresses which others, whose duty it was to make them known to me, carefully concealed from my knowledge, representing the rising of the people as the effect of a seditious disposition." She dispatched Soo wagons, loaded with wheat, to Prague, and sent an autograph letter of thanks to General Dalton for his noble behavior on a critical occasion.
Her son, the Emperor Joseph, she made chief of the military department, and he made a tour of the awful battlefields of the Seven Years' War. He sent her flattering accounts of Frederick, and Frederick worked hard to gain his good will. At last, we find Maria Theresa on some kind of terms with her terrible enemy. Frederick in public kissed the dispatch she had written to him, as he handed it to the young Emperor. The young man, held in tightly by old Kaunitz, Maria Theresa's Prime Minister, now as of yore, complained of his mother's great fondness for devotional exercises. This Kaunitz, "coachman of Europe," who, while he loved a tight room, had to travel always, was as active in diplomacy as Frederick in war. It was his power to move that gave to Maria Theresa such a celebrity as the head of a court that was the cleverest in the world.
Now with this old Kaunitz fop, dressed in Parisian style, virulent in his hatred of Prussia for chief lieutenant, let us see why the crown bore so heavily on the brow of Maria Theresa. Why did she speak so sorrowfully of her duties ? It was because, among all her ideals in youth, she lived to make real only one the character of a good wife and mother. One after another, all the rest were immolated on the altar of the State. She cried out against the robbery of Silesia; how could a Prince be so wicked a brother of the Reich or Empire? A noble King of England alone aided her, and she made peace with Frederick and deserted that noble King went to war with him. She despised the court of France on moral grounds; yet Kaunitz at last carried her letter of "Dear Cousin" to the aged Pompadour. She read of the Mohammedans with a feeling of profanation, and marveled that God did not purge Europe of their mosques and minarets; yet now, in her old age, rather than see Catherine II sitting at Constantinople, she joined the Asiatics in war on Russia; and where her sex bade her love Catherine, time saw her hatred of Frederick transferred to the Empress at St. Peters-burg. The Turks begged Frederick to make peace for them; Kaunitz, with nose high in the air, found he could not get all of Poland, and Maria Theresa, accepted the second largest portion ; ancient Sarmatia was divided among Russia, Austria and Prussia, and the land of Kosciusko was no more. Remember that it had been only a century since the heroic John Sobieski, King of Poland, had hurried to the city of Vienna, then beseiged by confident Turks, and saved the Holy Roman Empire from turning its face to the East in praise of Mohammed as the true prophet of God. When, at last, the old Queen reached out to take her share of this inconceivable pelf, she wrote, for posterity, this letter to Prince Kaunitz. It may be dated at Vienna, in February, 1772: "When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not where in the world I should find a place to be brought to bed in, I relied on my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, where not only public law cries to heaven against us, but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must confess never in my life to have been in such trouble and am ashamed to show my face. Let the Prince (Kaunitz) consider what an example we are giving to the world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, or of Moldavia or Wallachia, we throw our honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I am alone, and no more in vigor; therefore I must, though to my very great sorrow, let things take their course."
The young Kaiser was, of course, on the side of Kaunitz, and eager to make good the loss of Silesia with the gain of Poland. He urged his mother to stand out of the way. At last she wrote her official assent : "Placet. Since so many great and learned men will have it so. But long after I am dead, it will be known what this violation of all that was hitherto held sacred gave rise to."
The Abbe Fromageot, in his Annals of the Reign of Maria Theresa, suppresses the entire episode, evidently being hopeless of accomplishing the task of apology. A Bishop of Saint Brieux, in a funeral oration upon Maria Theresa, says Chamfort, "got over the partition of Poland very easily. 'France,' said he, 'having taken no notice of the partition in question, I will do as France did, and be silent about it likewise.' "
It is clear that Maria Theresa, before the partition of Poland, hearing that Catherine II demanded harsh terms of peace from the Mohammedans, moved into the valuable lordship of Zips in Poland, which she held with an armed force. It is true, too, that her views of Austria's portion, now that she had Zips, were so arrogant that they astonished Frederick, who had planned the robbery, and compelled him to take a sorry territorial share, though in the finest region. It is also true that, after the partition, the young Kaiser and Frederick did not associate. They were two robbers who had lost respect for each other. Now, therefore, the three pillaging nations, in the name of peace, raised a vast fund for bribery, went through the legislative forms, in the Polish Diet, of ratifying the partition, and at last Maria Theresa owned a wider domain than that into which she was born.
All her life she was a Jew-baiter, and in 1745, when she was newly on the throne, commanded every Jew to leave her kingdoms. This may have been one good reason why she lost Silesia, as her supplies of money were always weak, while England's waxed greater with each year of war.
In the old age of the Mother, only two years before her death, the Elector of Bavaria died childless. Austria made a claim to the crown, and hoped to add the great country of Munich to its possessions. Frederick instantly marched with his armies to the frontier. Catherine II and the Court of France warned Maria Theresa that she was too old to engage in another war, and altogether too greedy for territory. The realms of the Empire outside of Prussia and Austria trembled and feared they were to be swallowed by the two great powers, just as Poland had been partitioned. (This is what has happened in our time.) Just as things looked their darkest, the great powers of Europe laid hold and ended the trouble by the treaty of Teschen, May 13, 1779. Maria Theresa, despite her warlike son absurd imitator of Frederick could sink to the grave in the peace which she needed. This treaty she considered fortunate, because it was ratified on her birthday.
We may now enter the palace of this High Mother in her last days. On all sides there was veneration for her, and infinite Austrian and Hungarian pride that the royal house had been virtuous and decent in an age of woman's rule, when Anne, Elizabeth and Catherine, in Russia on the one side, and Pompadour in France on the other side, had nearly overwhelmed the fame of female sovereigns in deepest obloquy.
The infirmities of Maria Theresa had caused her body to grow to great size in her closing years. Still her manner, as she sat in her chair, was graceful and dignified, and her countenance benign. She who had once been so beautiful was now an aged invalid, habited in the deepest mourning, with gray hair slightly powdered, and turned back under a cap of black crape.
As the year 178o wore on, and her end approached, she was determined to die like the great Queen she was, and summoned all her fortitude for the agonies that her disease rendered inevitable. In November, when ten days of this fatal battle had been fought, she said : "God grant that these sufferings may soon terminate, for otherwise I know not how much longer I can endure them bravely." After receiving the last sacraments of the church, whose most dutiful daughter she had ever been, she summoned all her great family to her presence, with Joseph, the Emperor, at their head : "My son," said she, "as you are the heir to all my worldly possessions, I cannot dispose of them. They are yours of right. But my children are still, as they have ever been, my own. I bequeath them to you;' be to them a father. I shall die contented if you take that office upon you." She then turned to her son Maximilian and her daughters, blessed them individually in the tenderest terms, and exhorted them to obey and honor their elder brother as their father and sovereign.
With this she entered deeper into the valley of the shadow of death, and, hoping that she might endure, she did endure to the end; and even died in a serenity and a patience that were the marvel of her times. It was the 29th of November, 178o, and she was in her 64th year. There fell over the populous cities that we have named from sea to sea a pall of gloom, deepened in the universal hangings of black cloth that draped the land. But castles, senates, temples, palaces, thus showing their sorrow, did not alone bear the burden of grief put on her nations. Under the thatch of the lowliest cottage, high up in the mountains or low down on the plains, when it was pro-claimed that the High Mother was at last no more, while there might be gratitude to God that her terrible agonies were over, there was., for many days, a lonesomeness in humble breasts that made them feel heart-broken. On such tender recollections of the maternal sovereign the peasant-mother fed her brood, and the fame of Maria Theresa, the High Mother of Germany, went richly forth to the ages.