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Reign of George II page 16

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It must be remembered that Maria Theresa reigned contrary to the custom of the country, which had not hitherto admitted female sovereigns to the throne. She was queen by virtue of the Pragmatic Sanction, and therefore the loyal but proud Magyars still used the term "our king." The feeling kindled by this scene, representations of the beauty, spirit, and wrongs of the young queen, flew through the land, and the Hungarians flocked to her standards in thousands upon thousands. The English subsidy of three hundred thousand pounds served to equip them, and very soon a formidable host stood in arms for the cause of their queen.

The French and Bavarians, however, did not stop to waste time against the walls of Vienna. They suddenly diverged into Bohemia, which was almost destitute of troops, Prague, the capital, being defended by only three thousand men. The husband and brother of Maria Theresa hastened to secure Prague from the menaced attack; but the allies were too nimble for them, and made themselves masters of the ancient capital. The elector of Bavaria was crowned king of Bohemia, and then hastened to Frankfort to stand as candidate for the empire. He was there elected unanimously, for the elector of Hanover, almost the only ally of Austria, had bound himself, for the security of his own territory, not to vote in its favour. The Bavarian, now old and racked with the gout, did not long enjoy the imperial honours, for he was not crowned emperor till the following February, 1742, and survived that ceremony only four years.

Whilst this diversion was making in his favour, Frederick of Prussia was pushing his advantages in Silesia by arms or deceit, as suited him best. He had entered into league with the king of Bavaria as soon as that un-German prince had joined France. Breslau was obtained through the treachery of some Austrian aristocratic old women; and then the court of Vienna, having yielded to the recommendations of lord Hyndford - that it should give up part of Upper Silesia with the whole of Lower Silesia, and that count Neuperg should remove into Moravia, on condition that Frederick should attempt nothing more against Austria - that prince, so falsely called "the great," appeared to comply with the condition in order the more effectually to break it. The agreement was merely verbal, and Frederick confessed that this circumstance made the breach of it only too tempting.

He himself, therefore, returned to Berlin, and stopped the operations of his army. He kept the agreement literally, himself doing nothing; but he left orders with marshal Schwerin to surprise the Austrians when they had ceased to fear any attack. Suddenly, therefore, in the depth of winter, and amid a deep snow, Schwerin rushed forward into Moravia, besieged and took the town and fortress of Olmutz. Such was the faith of this great monarch; such the mean advantage he was ready to take because the agreement was not solemnly signed and sealed. Because his honour was relied on, he was in haste to show that he had none of that quality; and these are the heroes whom the world worships and styles "great!" The Hungarian levies were now, however, getting into action, and general Khevenholler, making a spirited raid into Bavaria, compelled the Bavarians to evacuate Bohemia in haste, in order to defend their own country; and the brave Khevenholler soon drove the French from Austria, and gave a new face to the war.

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