Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re

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Author: Maria Theresa

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Briefwechsel (as above, No. 108), pp. 201 sqq. World History

111.

Maria Theresa on the European Situation in 1777

VIENNA, February 3, 1777

. . . As I desire nothing else in this worm but the good of our holy religion, the happiness of my dear, and more than dear, children, the welfare of our states, and the felicity of our peoples, whom I love just as sincerely as my children, so I long to see not only our houses and our interests bound together closely and indissolubly, as indeed they already are, but a cordial personal friendship as well, which will bear every test and which no minister or other envious power shall ever be able to change or diminish. The emperor and the king are both so young, and both have such good and generous hearts, that I believe my hopes to be well founded if only they can learn to know each other and establish that mutual confidence which will be so useful and so necessary to them in their political careers, for their own happiness and that of their countries,—indeed, for all Europe.

These reflections of a doting old mother and sovereign have led me to send off new instructions to Mercy, directing him to furnish you with information and arrange with you as to the policy to be adopted toward your ministers. There are matters of the highest importance which I can only touch upon in passing. The quarrels between the Turks and the Russians and between Spain and Portugal, as well as the war in America, may well bring about a general conflagration into which I shall be drawn in spite of myself; particularly as it is necessary to act with the greatest caution on account of our bad neighbor,1 whose persistent enmity toward us is greatly increased since we have ventured to oppose his unjust designs in Poland and elsewhere. He is performing the impossible in the effort to frustrate, or at least to weaken, our influence in all the courts of Europe; he sticks at no calumny, and especially in France, and it is this that makes me doubly regret that the interview between Joseph II and Louis XVI has not taken place. The delight of the king of Prussia is a sure sign of the importance he attached to it, and should serve to unite us all the closer, for united neither he nor any one dare molest us.

I cannot conceal from you that scandal has not spared you personally, and I have mentioned to Mercy several darts of slander that have long disquieted me in regard to your amusements, games, excursions; that you were on bad terms with the king,—that you no longer share his bed, but want to sit up all night playing cards, which the king does not like; that you were alarmed at the prospect of your brother’s visit, that you did not in the least desire it, and that you are now delighted to be left free to pursue your pleasures. Such are the tales that are sent out from Berlin to Saxony, Poland, everywhere; and I confess that for several months they have caused me increasing dismay. My only consolation is, that as atrocious slanders are promulgated about the emperor and myself, it must be the same with you; but, my dear daughter, the newspapers but confirm these accounts of the various amusements in which my dear queen joins without her sisters-in-law or the king, and they give me many sad hours. I love you so tenderly that I cannot but look ahead into the future, and I entreat yon to do the same.

1 Namely, Frederick the Great of Prussia.

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Chicago: Maria Theresa, "Maria Theresa on the European Situation in 1777," Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, ed. James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1908), 240–241. Original Sources, accessed August 16, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UFDJP5TUXRG8WM.

MLA: Theresa, Maria. "Maria Theresa on the European Situation in 1777." Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, edited by James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1908, pp. 240–241. Original Sources. 16 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UFDJP5TUXRG8WM.

Harvard: Theresa, M, 'Maria Theresa on the European Situation in 1777' in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re. cited in 1908, Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.240–241. Original Sources, retrieved 16 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UFDJP5TUXRG8WM.