Lafayette, Lord Cornwallis, and the Duke of York were his565 guests at the dinner-table that day. The king suffered from his exposure, was very feverish, and at an early hour went to bed. The next day he completed his review; and the next day “went—round by Neisse, inspection not to be omitted there, though it doubles the distance—to Brieg, a drive of eighty miles, inspection work included.”196The king’s intimate friend, Jordan, had accompanied him as far as Breslau. There he remained, anxiously awaiting the issue of the conflict. On the 11th, the day succeeding the battle, he wrote from Breslau to the king as follows:CAPTAIN OF THE GIANT GUARDS.
“Frederick.For a time Frederick and Voltaire seem to have lived very pleasantly together. Voltaire writes: “I was lodged under the king’s apartment, and never left my room except for supper. The king composed, above stairs, works of philosophy, history, poetry; and his favorite, below stairs, cultivated the same arts and the same talents. They communicated to one another their respective works. The Prussian monarch composed, at this time,387 his ‘History of Brandenburg;’ and the French author wrote his ‘Age of Louis XIV.,’ having brought with him all his materials.94 His days thus passed happily in a repose which was only animated by agreeable occupations. Nothing, indeed, could be more delightful than this way of life, or more honorable to philosophy and literature.”
“The king esteems his wife, and can not endure her. It was but a few days ago she handed him a letter petitioning for some things of which she had the most pressing want. Frederick took the letter with that most smiling, gracious air, which he assumes at pleasure, and, without breaking the seal, tore it up before her face, made her a profound bow, and turned his back on her.”Character of the Crown Prince.—Stratagem of the Emperor Joseph II.—Death of the Empress Catharine of Russia.—Matrimonial Alliance of Russia and Prussia.—Death of the King of Bavaria.—Attempt to Annex Bavaria to Austria.—Unexpected Energy of Frederick.—Court Intrigues.—Preparations for War.—Address to the Troops.—Declaration of War.—Terror in Vienna.—Irritability of Frederick.—Death of Voltaire.—Unjust Condemnation of the Judges.—Death of Maria Theresa.—Anecdote.—The King’s Fondness for Children.—His Fault-finding Spirit.—The King’s Appearance.—The Last Review.—Statement of Mirabeau.—Anecdote related by Dr. Moore.—Frederick’s Fondness for Dogs.—Increasing Weakness. —Unchanging Obduracy toward the Queen.—The Dying Scene.
In the mean time Frederick took positions which commanded the three gates on his, the southern, side of the river; constructed a bridge of boats; and sent four hundred men across the stream, and made preparations to force an entrance. At four o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, not a gun having yet been fired, a messenger brought the intelligence that the town would be surrendered. At eight o’clock the next morning, Tuesday, 3d of January, 1741, the city authorities came in their coaches, with much parade, to welcome their new sovereign. It was a bitter cold morning. The king had ridden away to reconnoitre the walls in their whole circuit. It was not until near noon that he was prepared to accompany the officials to the palace which was made ready for him. He then, on horseback, attended by his principal officers, and followed by an imposing retinue, in a grand entrance, proudly took possession of his easy conquest.230 He rode a very magnificent gray charger, and wore his usual cocked hat and a blue cloak, both of which were somewhat the worse for wear. Four footmen, gorgeously dressed in scarlet, trimmed with silver lace, walked by the side of his horse. The streets through which he passed were thronged, and the windows and balconies were crowded with spectators of both sexes. Though Frederick did not meet with an enthusiastic reception, he was very gracious, bowing to the people on each side of the street, and saluting with much courtesy those who seemed to be people of note.On the 2d of September, 1758, Frederick, advancing from the smouldering ruins of Cüstrin, pushed forward his columns by forced marches for the rescue of his brother, who was nearly surrounded by vastly outnumbering foes. While upon this rapid march an Austrian courier was captured, with the following dispatch, which he was bearing from General Daun to General Fermor, whose army of Russians had just been so terribly beaten by Frederick upon the field of Zorndorf, but of which fact the Austrian general had not yet been apprised:
CAMPAIGN OF HOCHKIRCH.One week after the reception of this letter the Crown Prince wrote to Baron Grumkow in the following flippant and revolting strain. He probably little imagined that the letter was to be read by all Europe and all America. But those whose paths through life lead over the eminences of rank and power can not conceal their words or deeds from the scrutiny of the world. Grumkow, a very shrewd man, had contrived to secure influence over both the father and the son. The prince’s letter was dated Cüstrin, February 11, 1732:“The king thinks it scarcely worth while to mention his palaces and his gardens sacked and ruined, in contempt of the regard usually paid from one sovereign to another. Is there a man in all Europe who does not see in these terrible effects an implacable hatred and a destructive fury which all nations ought to concur in repressing?”149
The Crown Prince had for some time been inspired with an ever-increasing ambition for high intellectual culture. Gradually he was gathering around him, in his retreat at Reinsberg, men of high literary reputation, and was opening correspondence with the most distinguished men of letters in all the adjacent countries.
In the mean time Dr. Villa reached England. In conference with the British cabinet, the members deemed it very desirable, at all events, to effect the marriage of the Prince of Wales with the Prussian princess. The main consideration was that it would tend to detach Prussia from Germany, and secure its alliance with England. It was also a good Protestant match, and would promote the interests of Protestantism. The king desired this marriage. But he was inflexible in his resolve that both marriages should take place or neither. The Prussian king was equally inflexible in his determination that, while he would consent to one marriage, he would not consent to both. Colonel Hotham, a man of good family and of some personal distinction, was accordingly sent, as envoy extraordinary, to Berlin, to make new efforts in favor of the double marriage.
“Tantalus never suffered so much while standing in the river, the waters of which he could not drink, as I when, having received your package of the translation of Wolff, I was unable to read it. All the accidents and all the bores in the world were, I think, agreed to prevent me. A journey to Potsdam, daily reviews, and the arrival of my brother in company with Messrs. De Hacke and De Rittberg, have been my impediments. Imagine my horror, my dear Diaphanes,30 at seeing the arrival of this caravan without my having in the least expected them. They weigh upon my shoulders like a tremendous burden, and never quit my side, in order, I believe, to make me wish myself at the devil.”“It would be better,” M. Roloff mildly suggested, “that your majesty should write at once.详情
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