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treaty with Russia, and was named Ambassador to Petersburgh, in 1755. He returned to England in 1758, and died in 1759. The following letter was written on his first arrival at Dresden, and before any quarrel with Count Bruhl. Though addressed to a private friend, it seems nearly a duplicate of his public dispatch. It is no unfavourable specimen of his correspondence; but is, perhaps, less enlivened by anecdote, as well as less disfigured by indecencies, than many of his epistolary compositions from Germany
The short time that I have been abroad, would, in any other court, have hardly been sufficient to have formed a judgment, or given a description of it; but this, where I am, is so easy to be understood, that an understanding as mean as mine, may see into it as clearly in a month's time as in ten years.
The King's absolute and avowed hatred to all business, and his known love of idleness,
and low pleasures, such as Operas, Plays, Masquerades, Tilts, and Tournaments, Balls, Hunting, and Shooting, prevent both him and his country from making that figure in Europe, which this noble electorate ought to do, and often has done. As to the King himself, he is very polite and well bred, and his natural abilities far from bad ones. I have very often (much oftener than any minister here) the honour of conversing with him; and I must say, he talks better, and makes juster judgments on affairs, than any other person I have met with in this court; but he won't dwell long upon politics. It is visible that he soon grows uneasy, and then you must change the discourse to the last that he hunted, the last Opera that was acted, or the last picture that he has bought; then immediately you perceive, that his countenance clears up and he talks on with pleasure. From these subjects it is easy to lead him back to any other you please, always taking care to observe his countenance which is a very speak
ing one. He is seldom seen when at Dresden but at dinner. He always dines with company, and his buffoons make a great noise, and fight with one another during the whole repast, which is quite over by two o'clock; and then his Majesty retires to his own apartments, undresses totally, and then puts on his night-gown, in which he sits the rest of the day. Nobody must come to him at that time but Count Bruhl, Father Guerini, and the buffoon. He has had a great loss in the Electress of Bavaria being married, for she often came to him in the afternoon, and they have been surprised together in very indecent postures. The Queen knew this, and was furious about it. She complained of it to her confessor, but the good jesuit told her, that, since things were so, it was much better that the King's affections should remain in his own family, than be fixed upon a stranger, who might be a Lutheran and do prejudice to their holy religion; and thus the holy casuist appeased her angry Majesty.
The whole court is now gaping to see who will succeed the Electress; for his Majesty's Constitution requires somebody beside the Queen: the king is excessively fond of hunting, and it is reckoned that the game of all sorts (which is strictly preserved for him) do £.50,000 per annum of damage to this country. I have myself seen fifty stags feeding in one field, and to take care of all his game and forests, there are no less than 4,000 persons in constant pay. The expenses of this court, of every sort, are in proportion with that of the chase. After this, Sir, you will not be surprised when I tell you, that the debts of this electorate (all incurred since this King came into possession of it) are near four millions sterling, and that their credit is quite ruined; but the King will not hear of the expenses of the court being lessened. He has no idea of the state of his country; but as he finds himself easy, he thinks and wishes his people to be so too. He is not beloved or respected: his
never heading his army, and his precipitate flight from Dresden, at the King of Prussia's approach, did him more injury in the minds of Saxons, than he will ever be able to retrieve.
Her Majesty, the Queen, is very devout; but not a bit the better for her devotions. She does nothing but commit small sins, and beg forgiveness for them. She is ugly beyond painting, and malicious beyond expression. Her violent hatred to the Empress Queen, and her great love to all her enemies, make me rejoice that she has not the least influence at this court. She has much impotent aversion to Count Bruhl; he hates her Majesty in return; but then he makes her feel his power. She meddles much in the lowest things, such as disgracing or restoring a buffoon to favour; disposing the parts of an Opera, and giving the preference to such and such a dancer; and even this she never does by merit, but he or she that comes oftenest to Mass, has the best parts and the first rank. The Italians are much favoured