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of his intention to drive the Protestant line from the English throne. Russia, after the death of Peter, was governed by Catherine, who, being still irritated with England on account of the policy of Hanover, and especially anxious to obtain Sleswig for her son-in-law, the Duke of Holstein, favoured, and soon joined, the new alliance. The King and Townshend, contrary to the first wishes of Walpole, concluded a rival confederation of England, France, and Prussia,' at Hanover, in September 1725; but in the following year Prussia, which had acceded to the alliance only on the condition of England recognising her claims to Juliers and Berg, changed sides. Holland, Sweden, and Denmark were afterwards ranged with England, and as the probabilities of war became more imminent, an army of about 44,000 Swedes, Danes, and Hessians was subsidised. England and France both contributed to the expense, but 12,000 Hessians were taken into the exclusive pay of England. Nearly all Europe was preparing for war. George I., as Elector of Hanover, increased his troops from 16,000 to 22,000 men, and as King of England from 18,000 to 26,000. The Spaniards, relying on the conditional promise which George I. had vainly made as an inducement to Spain to abstain from hostilities in 1715, and on the letter which he had written to the King of Spain in 1721, expressing his willingness to restore Gibraltar with the consent of Parliament, demanded the restitution of that fortress. Lord Townshend valued it little more than Stanhope2 had done, but public opinion in England would make any attempt

1 See, on Walpole's strong objection to the Treaty of Hanover, Lord Hervey's Memoirs, i. 110-111. This is said to have been the beginning of the difference between Walpole and Townshend, and the first occasion in which the former meddled very actively with foreign affairs.

"In a letter to Stephen Poyntz (June 3, 1728) he said: What you propose in relation to Gibraltar is certainly very reasonable, and is exactly conformable to the opinion which you know I have always entertained concerning that

place. But you cannot but be sensible of the violent and almost superstitious zeal which has of late prevailed among all parties in this kingdom against any scheme for the restitution of Gibraltar upon any conditions whatsoever. And I am afraid that the bare mention of a proposal which carried the most distant appearance of laying England under any obligation of ever parting with that place would be sufficient to put the whole nation in a flame.'-Coxe's Walpole, ii. 631.

at concession wholly impossible, and in February 1726-27 the Spaniards began hostilities by besieging Gibraltar. The Emperor prepared to invade Holland. The Russian forces, by sea and land, were rapidly organised. France massed her troops on the frontiers of Germany. An English squadron had already sailed to the Baltic. Another threatened the Spanish coast, while a third prevented the departure of the Spanish galleons from the Indies.

The Treaty of Hanover was for more than a generation bitterly assailed in England. Its justification rests upon the reality of the secret articles of the Treaty of Vienna, and although the evidence in the possession of the Government appears to have been very sufficient,' it was not of a kind that could be publicly produced. The existence of these articles was announced in the King's speech in January 1726-27,2 but it was officially, and in very angry terms, denied by the Austrian minister. In England the Treaty of Hanover was denounced as intended only to protect the German dominions of the King, as strengthening, by our alliance, the Power on the Continent we had most reason to fear, as placing us unnecessarily in hostility to the Emperor, who was the main obstacle to French ambition. It was, however, a defensive measure elicited by a grave danger, and it was inevitable that a war with the Emperor should centre chiefly in Germany. Walpole disapproved of some of its provisions, and especially of the extravagance of the subsidy to Sweden, and he made it a main object. of his policy to moderate the demands of his colleagues and of the King, and to delay, restrict, and if possible avert, the war. His conduct, however, during the tangled events that followed was not, I think, marked by much sagacity, and in his dealings with Spain, at least, he showed a want of resolution that verged upon pusillanimity. He refused with much wisdom to listen to a plan of Townshend for the conquest and partition of the

1 See the intercepted letters given in Coxe's Walpole, ii. p. 498-515, and the full account of the secret articles afterwards given by Ripperda him

self. Benjamin Keene to the Duke of Newcastle. Coxe's Walpole, ii. 606-607.

2 Parl. Hist. viii. 524.

Austrian Netherlands, or to allow himself to be hurried into hostilities by the very arrogant terms of a memorial in which the Austrian ambassador contradicted the assertions of the King's speech relating to the secret articles of the treaty of 1725. He sent Admiral Hosier to the West Indies to blockade the Spanish galleons in Porto Bello, though peace was still subsisting between the two countries, but he bound him by strict instructions not to attack the Spaniards unless they came out. The history of this expedition was a very tragic one. A prize of inestimable value lay within the grasp of the English sailors, who were forbidden to seize it, while the deadly fever of the country swept them away by hundreds. The fleet rotted in inaction, and the admiral is said to have died of a broken heart. His fate, commemorated in a noble ballad by Glover, afterwards moved the English people to the highest point of pity and indignation, and the subsequent conduct of Walpole in refraining from declaring war against the Spaniards when they attacked Gibraltar was very reasonably censured. His object was to prevent, if possible, a European war, and that object was accomplished. Ripperda, who had contributed so largely to the complication, had been disgraced as early as May 1726. A month later the Duke of Bourbon was replaced by Cardinal Fleury, and that eminently wise, virtuous, and pacific minister, during many years, co-operated cordially with the peace policy of Walpole. In the May of the following year the death of the Czarina withdrew Russia from the hostile league. The Emperor, finding perplexities and difficulties multiplying about him, receded from his engagements, left the Spanish forces to waste away in a hopeless enterprise against Gibraltar, and on the last day of May 1727 he signed the preliminaries of a peace with England, France, and Holland. An armistice was concluded, and the Ostend Company suspended for seven years, with the secret understanding that it was not to be revived; the chief questions at issue were referred to a future congress, and a war which threatened to be general shrank into the smallest dimensions. The Spanish position seemed hopeless, and the

Spanish ambassador at Vienna accepted the preliminaries of peace, and engaged that the siege of Gibraltar should at once be raised, and that a ship belonging to the South Sea Company which the Spaniards had captured should be restored.

Philip, however, for a time refused to ratify these preliminaries. George I. died suddenly in Germany on June 11, 1727, and some expectations appear to have been entertained at the Spanish Court of a Jacobite restoration, of a period of disturbance and impotence, or at least of a great change in English policy, arising from the violent hostility of the new King to the ministers of his father. But these expectations were disappointed. After a few days of suspense, Walpole was fully confirmed in his previous power, and the substitution of a king who at least knew the language of his country, for one who never ceased to be a complete foreigner, somewhat strengthened the new establishment without perceptibly altering its policy. The refusal of Philip, however, to ratify the preliminaries threatened a renewal of danger; the Emperor showed some signs of fresh activity, and, as a measure of precaution, a new German treaty was made in November, securing the assistance of the Duke of Brunswick Wolfenbuttel, in the event of an attack upon Hanover. At last, in March 1728, the long negotiation was brought a stage further by the signature of a convention at the Pardo; a congress was held at Soissons, which led to no definite results; but, by the combined influence of Fleury and Walpole, a treaty was concluded at Seville in March 1729, by which the Spanish Queen succeeded in avenging herself for the desertion of the Emperor and taking a new step towards the attainment of one of the favourite objects of her life. To secure the succession of her son in Tuscany and Parma, it was agreed that those provinces should be at once garrisoned, not, as the Quadruple Alliance had promised, by neutral troops, but by 6,000 Spanish soldiers. Gibraltar was not mentioned in the treaty, and this silence was regarded as a renunciation of the claims of Spain. The commercial privileges conceded to the Emperor by the Treaty of Vienna, which had been so obnoxious to Eng

land, were revoked. The commerce of the English and French with the Spanish dominions was re-established on the same footing as before 1725, injuries done to English ships or interests were to be compensated, and a close defensive alliance was established between France, Spain, and England.

The Treaty of Seville has been justly regarded as one of the great triumphs of French diplomacy. It closed the breach which had long divided the courts of France and of Spain, and at the same time it detached both England and Spain from the Emperor, and left him isolated in Europe. He resented it bitterly, protested against the introduction of Spanish troops into Italy as a violation of the Quadruple Alliance, threatened to resist it by force, and delayed the execution of this part of the treaty during the whole of 1730. In the meantime the condition of Europe had become very dangerous. Spain was much exasperated at the delay, and there was much danger that England would find herself forced, in conjunction with France and Spain, into a war which would most probably ultimately extend to the Austrian Netherlands, and might result in acquisitions by France very dangerous to England. The resignation of Townshend had by this time made Walpole more prominent in foreign affairs, and he opened a secret negotiation with the Emperor in order to avert war. England undertook to guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, by which the Emperor was endeavouring to secure for his daughter the inheritance of his hereditary dominions, and on this condition he consented to the admission of the Spanish troops. The new Treaty of Vienna was signed without the participation or assent of France, in March 1731; the danger of a European war was again for a time averted, and on October 17, a fleet of sixteen British menof-war escorted the Spanish troops to Italy.

The policy of England during all these tortuous negotiations was not always wise, consistent, or even strictly honourable, but its first object was the maintenance of European peace, and it shows how widely the Whig party under Walpole had in this respect departed from the traditions of William III. and of

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