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THE

ANNUAL REGISTER,

For the YEAR 1780.

THE

H I S T O R Y

O F

E U R O P E.

CHAP. I.

Retrospective view of the affairs tf Europe in tie year 1777. State es the b.'.ligerant powers in Germany. Event of the late campaign, induces a disposition favourable to tit pac'fic views of the Empress-Queen; vihich are further seconded by the mediation of Rujfia and France. A fufptnfion of arms published, and the Congrejs for negotiating a peace affimbles at Tefchen. Treaty of peace concludid. Differences bet-ween Russia and the Porte, threaten a new war. Negociation conducted, and a new convention concluded, under the mediation of the French minster. Naval preparations by Spain. Opens the war with the siege if Gibraltar. France. Consequences' of the appointment of M. Necker to the government of the French finances. Successful expedition to the cocft rf Africa. Ineffectual attempt upon the i/lmd of jersey. Threat of an invasion, and great preparations apparently for that purpose. French fleet sails from Brest, and proceeds to the C'jajl of Spain. Combined sleets of France and Spain enter the Briti/h channrl, and apptat in great force before Plymouth. Enemy quit the chaincl, return again; mt length finally quit the Britijb ciajls, and proceed to Brejl.

THE little effect produced by if not entirely sufficie it to pro

tfae contention of the great- duce an actual desire o peace on

est leaden, and of the greatest both sides, could not, however,

armies in the world, during the fail to induce a kind of languor

campaign of 1778. in Bohemia, and wearisomeness, and in some

Vol. XXIII. [A\ , considerable

considerable degree to wear away that quick relish, and keen appetite for war, ■ which great ;*nd untried force and talents, acting 'under the sanguine hopes of yet unfoiled ambition, are so eminently calculated to excite.

We have heretofore (hewni that this was not so much a war of choice, as of prudence, foresight, and political necessity, on the side, of the King of Prussia. He made no claims; he had no immediate object of enlarging his , dominions in view; nor if he had, was the present state of public affairs in any degree favourable to such a design. Neither his time of life, his great experience in ' war, nor the full knowledge be had of the power and ability of his adversary, were at all calculated to excite a spirit of enterprise. On the contrary, the desire of settling, improving, and consolidating with his antient people and dominions, the new subjects and acquisitions he had gained on the side of Poland, together, with that still stronger with, of transmitting a peaceable possession, and undiminished force, to his successor, were objects which tended powerfully to dispose him to the preservation, so far as it could be properly and wisely done, of the public tianqu:llity.

But no motives, however cogent, could justify to him, in a political view, the admitting of any considerable addition of strength and dominion, to the power of the house of Austria; more especially, when this addition was to establish a precedent of innovation and dismemberment, which might ia time be equally

extended to all the other states that compose the Germanic body. Upon the whole it would almost seem, as if fortune, who had so often wonderfully befriended that hero, and whose apparent desertions of him in cafes of great danger, (which were no less conspicuous than her favours) always tended ultimately to the increase of his fame, was now anxious to affix a new stamp to the renown of her old favourite; and of closing his great military actions by a war, in which he was to appear, rather as the generous protector of the rights and liberties of the Germanic body at large, than as acting at all under the influence of any partial policy.

On the other side, the past campaign had afforded a full conviction to the emperor, (a prince prepared for war beyond almost any other, by the sine state of his armies, and the resources of his own indefatigable and resolute spirit) of the immense difficulty, of making any successful impression upon such an adversary at the King of Prussia. With so vast a force, and assisted by such consummate' commanders, he could only act upon the defensive; and could not prevent his own dominions from being rendered the theatre, and being consequently subjected to all the calamities of war. It was true in* deed, and no small matter os boast in such a contest, that he had suffered neither defeat nor disgrace; that the enemy had been obliged to abandon Bohemia, notwithstanding their utmost endeavours to establish a secure footing there during the winter; and likewise,' that the losses on both sides were 1 .. pretty

pretty equally balanced. But then it was obvious, that the season was the immediate cause which compelled the enemy to retreat .from Bohemia; however, the good dispositions made by the emperor, which equally baffled all the efforts made by the King of Prussia, for gaining his favourite point of a general action, and defeated his views of obtaining any sure hold in the, country, tended more remotely to that effect. Such a view of the circumstsnces of the campaign, could afford no great encouragement to an. obstinate perseverance' in the contest. A defensive war, however ably conducted, or however abounding with negative success, could by no means, whether in point of honour or effect, answer the purposes for which it was undertaken; and the prospects of changing its nature were con6ned indeed.

However numerous or cogent the causes and motives we have aŒgned, cr others of a similar nature, might have been on either side, for the discontinuance of an unprofitable war, they would have been sound unable to subdue the strong passions by which they were opposed, if another, of greater power than the whole taken together, had not, happily for Germany, and perhaps for no small part of the rest of Europe, supervened in restoring the public tranquillity. The late illustrious Maria Theresa, along with her other eminent virtues and great qualities, possessed at all times, however counteracted by the operation of a high and powerful ambition, a mind strongly impressed with an aweful

sense of religion. This disposition, which naturally increased with years, was farther strengthened by the melancholy arising frorft the early loss of a husband whom she tenderly loved; and was latterly finally confirmed by the happy settlement of her numerous offspring, which freeing the mind from care and solicitude, tended equally to wean it from the affairs of the world.

The event of the late struggle with the King of Prussia, notwithstanding the immense asiistance she then received, and which she could not hope now to receive, must have added great force to these m6tives. She could not wisti to end her life in the midst of such a war. It was, accordingly, much' against the inclination of that great princess that the present war was undertaken; and she is said to have submitted with the greatest reluctance to the opinion of her council, and the desire of the emperor on that point. For, although that prince could only derive his means of action through the power of his mother; yet it would have been a matter of exceeding difficulty to her, directly to thwart the opinion and inclinations of a son, who was in the highest degree deservedly dear to her, who was to be her sole and immediate successor, and who scarcely stood higher in her affection than in her esteem. It was probably this reluctance to the war, on the side of the EmpressQueen, which produced those various appearances, of fluctuation in the councils, or of irresolution and indecision in the conduct of the court of Vienna, of

[A] 2 which which we have formerly taken notice.

[graphic]

The ineffectiveness of the campaign, the equal fortune of the war, and the cessation of action occasioned by the winter, served, all together, to produce a state of temper and disposition, which was far more favourable to. the pacific views and wishes of the empress, than that which had hitherto prevailed. She perceived, and seized the opportunity; and immediately applying her powerful influence to remove the obstacles which stood in the way of an accommodation on the one side, had soon the satisfaction of discovering that her views were well seconded, by the temperate disposition which prevailed on the other.

It is however to be observed, that the mediation of the court of Versailles, and the powerful interposition of the court of Petersburg, contributed essentially to further the work of peace. France was bound by the treaty of 1756, to assist the court of Vienna with a considerable body of forces, in cafe of a war in Germany, and she had been called upon early in the present contest to fulfil that engagement. The court of Versailles was likewise disposed to wish well to the house of Austria from private motives; as well as to cultivate and cement the new friendship and alliance from public. But France being likewise a guarantee of the treaty of Westphalia, her old »ngagements militated totally with her new in the present instance; she being thereby bound to resist all such infractions and invasions of the rights of the Germanic body, as those which she was now called

upon by the court of Vienna to support; She must therefore, in any situation, in which she was not disposed to become an absolute party in the contest, wish to be relieved from this dilemma. But her war with England, and her views with respect to America, operated more forcibly upon her conduct on this occasion, than any German treaties or connections. In the contemplation and pursuit of these grand and capital objects, the necessity of keeping her force whole, her attention undivided, and of restoring peac« upon the continent, were all equal-' ly obvious, and were all mutually dependent. No wisdom could foresee, or venture to prescribe, what unexpected connections and alliances might spring up, and what new collisions of interests might take place, under a further progress of the war. France could not recollect the ruin brought upon her in the late war, without shuddering at the thoughts of Germany. It is not then to be wondered, that she was equally sincere and zealous in her endeavours to restore tranquillity on the continent.

The court of Petersburg had from the beginning shewn and expressed the strongest disapprobation of the conduct, and paid no favourable attention to the claims, of that of Vienna; and had early avowed a full intention of effectually supporting the rights of the Germanic body ; at the fame time that preparations were actually made, for the march of a large body of Russian troops. Her powerful interposition, through the medium of her minister Prince Repnin, had no small effect in

sacili

facilitating the negotiations for peace.

Under such circumstances, and the offices of such mediators, little doubt was to be entertained of the evtnt. Whether it proceeded from a view of giving weight to their claims in the expected treaty, or from any jealousy in point of arms or honour, which might have lain behind from the preceding campaign, however it was, the Austrians attacked with extraordinary vigour, and with no small degree of success, several of the Prussian posts on the side of Silesia and the county of Glatz, soon after the commencement of the year. The liveliness of these insults did not induce the king to any eagerness of retaliation. Points of honour of that nature weighed but little with him. He foresaw that an accommodation would take place; and he knew that no advantages which could now be gained would tell in the account upon -{hat settlement; whilst a number of brave men would b: idly lost without

March ,oth. °bJcct °r equivalent An armistice on all '•"' sides was, however,

published, before the season could have admitted the doing of any thing essential, if such had even been the intention.

The Congress which was to preserve Germany, from the most alarming and dangerous war to which it could have been exposed, was held at Teschen in Austrian Silesia; a town and district, which the emperor had generously consented to constitute into a Duchy, under the title of Saxc-Teschen, in favour of Prince Albert of Saxony, upon his marriage with an Aicb-Duchels in 1765. At that

place, the garrison being previously withdrawn, the Imperial and Prussian miniliers, with those of all the princes engaged or interested in the present contest, as well as of the two mediating power*, were assembled, immediately after the publication of the armistice. And so happy were the dispositions which now prevailed among the contending parties, and so efficacious the endeavours of the mediators, that the peace w ,

was finally concluded in MaJr,3*« two months.

By this treaty, the late convention between the court of Vienna and the Elector Palatine was totally annulled; and the former restored all the places and districts which had been seized in Bavaria, excepting only the territory appertaining to the regency of Berghausen, which was ceded to the house of Austria, as an equivalent cr indemnification for her claims and pretensions. That court likewise gave up to the Elector Palatine, all the Fiefs which had been possessed by the late Elector of Bavaria; and agreed. also to pay to the court of Saxony, as an indemnification for the allodial estates, and other claims on that side, the sum of six mi lions of florins (amounting to something near 600,000 pounds sterling), to be paid in the course of twelve years, without interest, by stipulated half-yearly payments. Some cessions were likewile made by the elector, in favour of the house of Saxony; and some equivalent satisfaction promised by the emperor to the Duke of Deux Fonts, on his succession to the double electorate. All former treaties between the court of

[4] 3 Vienna

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