During this time, in May, the king wrote a very bitter and satirical ode against Louis XV.—“the plaything of the Pompadour,” “polluted with his amours,” “and disgracefully surrendering the government of his realms to chance.” The ode he sent to Voltaire. The unprincipled poet, apprehending that the ode might come to light, and that he might be implicated, treacherously sent it to the prime minister, the Duke De Choiseul, to be shown to the king. At the same time, he wrote to Frederick that he had burned the ode. In the account which Voltaire himself gives of this disgraceful transaction, he writes:
The Prussian army was so exhausted by its midnight march and its long day of battle that his majesty did not deem it wise to attempt to pursue the retreating foe. For this he has been severely, we think unjustly, censured by some military men. He immediately, that evening, wrote to his mother, saying, “So decisive a defeat has not been since Blenheim,” and assuring her that the two princes, her sons, who had accompanied him to the battle, were safe. Such was the battle of Hohenfriedberg, once of world-wide renown, now almost forgotten.
Still Wusterhausen was but a hunting-lodge, which was occupied by the king only during a few weeks in the autumn. Fritz had many playmates—his brothers and sisters, his cousins, and the children of General Finkenstein. To most boys, the streams, and groves, and ponds of Wusterhausen, abounding with fish and all kinds of game, with ponies to drive and boats to row, with picturesque walks and drives, would have been full of charms. But the tastes of Fritz did not lie in that direction. He does not seem to have become strongly attached to any of his young companions, except to his sister Wilhelmina. The affection and confidence which united their hearts were truly beautiful. They encountered together some of the severest of life’s trials, but heartfelt sympathy united them. The nickname which these children gave their unamiable father was Stumpy.A few days after this interview, the Dutch embassador, General Ginckel, arrived with the Resolution from the English and Dutch courts, demanding that the king should evacuate Silesia. Lord Hyndford was much embarrassed, apprehending that the presentation of the summons at that time would work only mischief. He persuaded General Ginckel to delay the presentation until he could send a courier to England for instructions. In a fortnight the courier returned with the order that the Resolution was immediately to be presented to his Prussian majesty.
Under these circumstances, the young queen, urged by her council and by the English court, very reluctantly consented to propose terms of compromise to Frederick. Sir Thomas Robinson, subsequently Earl of Grantham, was sent from Vienna to Breslau to confer with the British minister there, Lord Hyndford, and with him to visit Frederick, at his camp at Strehlen, in the attempt to adjust the difficulties. The curious interview which ensued has been minutely described by Sir Thomas Robinson. It took place under the royal canvas tent of his Prussian majesty at 11 o’clock A.M. of the 7th of August, 1741.
a a. Austrian Army. b. Prince Weissenfels. c c. Prussian Army. d. Dumoulin. e. Gesler’s Dragoons.There was a small garrison at Glatz, at Silesia, which, though closely besieged, still held out against the Austrians. Frederick thought that if he could by any stratagem draw General Daun from Dresden, he could, by a sudden rush, break down its walls and seize the city. He moved with celerity which completely deceived the Austrian commander. At two o’clock in the morning of Wednesday, July 2d, his whole army was almost on the run toward Silesia. They marched as troops never marched before.502 For twelve hours their speed was unintermitted. The next day, in utter exhaustion, they rested. But on Friday, as the village clocks were tolling the hour of midnight, all were again on the move, the king himself in front. Again it was a run rather than a march through a dreary realm of bogs, wild ravines, and tangled thickets. At three o’clock on Saturday morning the march was resumed.Never were the prospects of Frederick more gloomy. He had taken up his residence for the winter in a very humble cottage near the hamlet of Freiberg. He must have been very unhappy. Scenes of suffering were every where around him. It was terribly cold. His troops were poorly clothed, and fed, and housed.
The king, with a very complaisant smile, said, “Russia, my good sir—It is not proper for me to explain myself, but I have means to keep the Russians employed.”
“Never was there a place in the world where liberty of speech was so fully indulged, or where the various superstitions of men were treated with so much ridicule and contempt. God was respected. But those who, in His name, had imposed on mankind, were not spared. Neither women nor priests ever entered the palace. In a word, Frederick lived without a court, without a council, and without a religion.”
All Saturday night the bombardment was continued with increasing fury. In the mean time four thousand wagons were packed, and, long before the dawn of Sunday morning, were on the road. The retreat was so admirably conducted that General Daun did not venture even to attempt to harass the retiring columns. Instead of moving in a northerly direction to Silesia, Frederick directed his march to the northwest, into Bohemia. On the 8th of July his long column safely reached Leutomischel. He there seized quite an amount of military stores, which General Daun, in his haste and bewilderment, had not been able to remove or to destroy. Five more marches conducted him to K?niggr?tz.
On the 19th of February, 1741, Frederick, having been at home but three weeks, again left Berlin with re-enforcements, increasing his army of invasion to sixty thousand men, to complete the conquest of Silesia by the capture of the three fortresses which still held out against him. On the 21st he reached Glogau. After carefully reconnoitring the works, he left directions with Prince Leopold of Dessau, who commanded the Prussian troops there, to press the siege with all possible vigor. He was fearful that Austrian troops might soon arrive to the relief of the place.After a long series of intrigues, a narrative of which would not interest the reader, Frederick William was induced to enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the Emperor Charles VI. of Germany. This was renouncing the alliance with England, and threw an additional obstacle in the way of the double marriage. Sophie Dorothee was bitterly disappointed, and yet pertinaciously struggled on to accomplish her end.详情
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