It was but sixty miles from Prague to Tabor. The march of Frederick’s division led through Kunraditz, across the Sazawa River, through Bistritz and Miltchin. It was not until the ninth332 day of their toilsome march that the steeples of Tabor were descried, in the distant horizon, on its high, scarped rock. Here both columns united. Half of the draught cattle had perished by the way, and half of the wagons had been abandoned.Scarcely had the conflict upon the extreme left commenced ere it was evident that by the military sagacity of Frederick the442 doom of the Austrian army was sealed. With thirty thousand men he had attacked ninety thousand on the open field, and was utterly overwhelming them. An Austrian officer, Prince De Ligne, describing the battle, writes:
“The emperor has a frankness of manner which seems natural to him. In his amiable character, gayety and great vivacity are prominent features.”“He saw his ministers, saw all who had business with him, many who had little; and in the sore coil of bodily miseries, as569 Hertzberg observed with wonder, never was the king’s intellect clearer, or his judgment more just and decisive. Of his disease, except to the doctors, he spoke no word to any body.
“I know not what I have written. My heart is torn in pieces. I feel that by dint of disquietude and alarms I am losing my senses. Oh, my dear, adorable brother, have pity on me. The least thing that concerns you pierces me to the heart. Might I die a thousand deaths provided you lived and were happy! I can say no more. Grief chokes me. I can only repeat that your fate shall be mine; being, my dear brother, yourFrederick, finding that he could not rely upon the Saxons, sent to Silesia for re-enforcements of his own troops. Brünn could not be taken without siege artillery. He was capturing Moravia for the King of Poland. Frederick dispatched a courier to his Polish majesty at Dresden, requesting him immediately to forward the siege guns. The reply of the king, who was voluptuously lounging in his palaces, was, “I can not meet the expense of the carriage.” Frederick contemptuously remarked, “He has just purchased a green diamond which would have carried them thither and back again.” The Prussian king sent for siege artillery of his own, drew his lines close around Brünn, and urged Chevalier De Saxe, general of the Saxon horse, to co-operate with him energetically in battering the city into a surrender.305 The chevalier interposed one obstacle, and another, and another. At last he replied, showing his dispatches, “I have orders to retire from this business altogether, and join the French at Prague.”
“It is true that Schlubhut had no trial, but he certainly deserved his doom. He was a public thief, stealing the taxes he was sent to gather; insolently offering to repay, as if that were184 all the amends required; and saying that it was not good manners to hang a nobleman.”Two events occurred at this time highly characteristic of the king. There was a nobleman by the name of Schlubhut, occupying a high official position, who was found a defaulter to the amount of a sum equal to twenty-five thousand dollars. The supreme court sentenced him to three or four years’ imprisonment. The king was indignant at the mildness of the sentence. “What,” said he, “when the private thief is sent to the gallows, shall a nobleman and a magistrate escape with fine and imprisonment?” Schlubhut was immediately sent to prison. All night long he was disturbed with the noise of carpentering in the castle square in front of his cell. In the morning he saw directly before his window a huge gallows erected. Upon that126 gallows he was immediately hung, and his body was left to swing in the wind for several days, some say for weeks.FREDERICK CONCENTRATING HIS ARMY AT CHRUDIM.
The astounded Austrians bowed to the dust before him, escorted him to the best room, and, stealing out into the darkness, made their way as rapidly as possible to the bridge, which at the east end of the street crossed the Schweidnitz Water. At the farther end of the bridge Austrian cannon were planted to arrest the pursuit. The officers hurried across, and vanished in the gloom of night, followed by the river-guard. The Prussian cannoneers steadily pursued, and kept up through the night an incessant fire upon the rear of the foe.
At the close of these festivities at Mühlberg Frederick William and his suite took boat down the River Elbe to his hunting palace at Lichtenberg. Here they killed, in a grand hunting bout, a thousand animals, boars and deer. The Crown Prince, dishonored by insults which he could not revenge, and stung to the87 quick by innumerable humiliations, followed, dejected, like a guarded captive, in the train of his father. The unhappy prince had but just returned to his garrison at Potsdam, where spies ever kept their eyes vigilantly upon him, when his friend, Captain Guy Dickens, brought him the answer, returned from London, to the confidential communication of the Crown Prince to his uncle, the British king. The substance of the document was as follows:Three volunteered. It was so dark that the landlord of a little country inn walked with a lantern by the side of Frederick’s horse. Lissa was on the main road to Breslau. The landlord supposed that he was guiding one of Frederick’s generals, and was very communicative.
The Austrian general, flushed with victory, at the head of eighty thousand troops, encamped in strong positions a few miles east of Frederick, on the road to Neisse, in Silesia. Narrowly he watched the movements of his Prussian majesty, but he did not venture to molest him. Neisse was at that time closely besieged by the Austrians. It would inevitably soon fall into their hands unless Frederick could march to its succor. The great strategic object of the Austrian commander was so to block up the road as to prevent the advance of the Prussian troops. Frederick, despising the inactivity of his cautious foe, said to his brother,
“I embraced the Princess Royal,” Wilhelmina continues, “and gave her every assurance of my attachment. But she remained like a statue, not answering a word. Her people not being come, I arranged her hair and readjusted her dress a little, without the least sign of thanks or any answer to all my caressings. My brother got impatient at last, and said aloud,The attack was made about eight o’clock, with the whole concentrated force of the Prussians, upon the southwest wing of the quadrilateral. The carnage produced by the Prussian batteries, as their balls swept crosswise through the massed Russians, was terrible. One cannon-shot struck down forty-two men. For a moment the Prussians were thrown into confusion by the destructive fire returned by the foe, and seemed discomfited. The Russians plunged wildly forward, with loud huzzas. In the eagerness of their onset their lines were broken.
“My dear Voltaire,—Resist no longer the eagerness I have to see you. Do, in my favor, whatever your humanity allows. In the end of August I go to Wesel, and perhaps farther. Promise that you will come and join me, for I could not live happy nor die tranquil without having embraced you. Thousand compliments to the Marquise” (Madame Du Chatelet, the divine Emilie). “I am busy with both hands—working at the army with one hand, at the people and the fine arts with the other.”详情
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