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[219] and easily deceived, to introduce Russia as supervisor
chap. IX.} 1755
of the affairs of Germany. ‘Seize the opportunity,’ such was the substance of the instructions given1 by the British ministry to the British ambassador of that day, ‘seize the opportunity to convince the Russians, that they will remain only an Asiatic power, if they allow the king of Prussia to carry through his plans of aggrandizement;’ and full authority was given to effect an alliance with Russia to overawe Prussia, and control the politics of Germany. Yet at that time Frederic manifested no purpose of making conquests.

In this manner a treaty was concluded by which England, on the point of incurring the hostility of the Catholic princes, bound itself to pay to Russia at least half a million of dollars annually, and contingently two and a half million of dollars, in order to balance and paralyze the influence of the only considerable protestant monarchy on the continent. The English king was so eagerly bent on this shameful negotiation, that Bestuchef, the Russian minister, obtained a gratuity of fifty thousand dollars, and one or two others received payments in cash and annuities. ‘A little increase of the money to be paid,’ said Bestuchef, ‘would be extremely agreeable. Fifty thousand pounds for the private purse of the empress would put her and her court at his majesty's management.’2 So venal were the princes of that day, that the aid of the Russian empire was for sale; and the empress herself in the market at fifty thousand pounds.3 At the same time an extravagant treaty for subsidies was

1 Instructions from Lord Holdernesse to Sir Hanbury Williams, 11 April, 1755. Von Raumer's Beytrage, II. 286.

2 Sir Hanbury Williams to Holdernesse, 9 and 11 August, 1755.

3 Friedrich von Raumer's Konig Friedrich II. und seine Zeit, 294.

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