The king then hastened on to Schweidnitz, a few miles west from Breslau. This was a small town, strongly fortified, about equally distant from the three beleaguered fortresses—Neisse, Brieg, and Glogau. The young monarch was daily becoming more aware that he had embarked in an enterprise which threatened him with fearful peril. He had not only failed to secure a single ally, but there were indications that England and other powers were in secret deliberation to join against him. He soon learned that England had sent a gift or loan of a million of dollars—a large sum in those days—to replenish the exhausted treasury of Maria Theresa. His minister in Russia also transmitted to him an appalling rumor that a project was in contemplation by the King of England, the King of Poland, Anne, regent of Russia, and Maria Theresa, to unite, and so partition the Prussian kingdom as to render the ambitious Frederick powerless to disturb the peace of Europe. The general motives which239 influenced the great monarchies in the stupendous war which was soon evolved are sufficiently manifest. But these motives led to a complication of intrigues which it would be alike tedious and unprofitable to attempt to unravel.Soon after Frederick wrote to Voltaire upon this subject again, still more severely, but in verse. The following is almost a literal translation of this poetic epistle:
While these scenes were transpiring, the Crown Prince was at Cüstrin, upon probation, being not yet admitted to the presence of his father. He seems to have exerted himself to the utmost to please the king, applying himself diligently to become familiar with all the tedious routine and details of the administration of finance, police, and the public domains. Fritz was naturally very amiable. He was consequently popular in the little town in which he resided, all being ready to do every thing in their power to serve him. The income still allowed him by his father was so small that he would have suffered from poverty had not the gentry in the neighborhood, regardless of the prohibition to lend money to the prince, contributed secretly to replenish his purse.Some trifling unavailing efforts had been made for peace. In reply to a letter from Voltaire, alluding to this subject, Frederick wrote, under date of 2d July, 1759:
This signal achievement raised the military fame of Frederick higher than ever before. Still it did not perceptibly diminish the enormous difficulties with which he was environed. Army after army was marching upon him. Even by a series of successful battles his forces might be annihilated. But the renown of the great victory of Rossbach will ever reverberate through the halls of history.
“Partez, ma s?ur, partez; La Suède vous attend, la Suède vous désire.”The unhappy princess, distracted by these griefs, had grown thin and pale. It was soon rumored throughout the court that the king had written to Weissenfels, and that the duke was on his way to seize his reluctant bride. In this emergence, the queen’s friend, Baron Borck, suggested to her that, in order to get rid of the obnoxious Weissenfels, she should so far yield to the wishes of the king as to give up the English alliance, and propose a third party, who might be more acceptable to Wilhelmina. But who shall this substitute be?
“What was the sum of money your majesty then offered the Queen of Austria?” Lord Hyndford inquired.The king’s brother Henry was in command in Saxony, at the head of thirty thousand troops. Frederick wrote to him the characteristic and very judicious advice, “Do as energetically as possible whatever seems wisest to you. But hold no councils of war.”
“While the battle of Hohenfriedberg was raging,” writes an eye-witness, “as far as the cannon was heard all around, the353 Protestants fell on their knees praying for victory for the Prussians.” Indescribable was the exultation when the bugle peals of the Prussian trumpeters announced to them a Protestant victory. When Frederick approached, in his pursuit, the important town of Landshut, the following incident occurred, as described by the pen of his Prussian majesty:“The king,” writes Stille, “though fatigued, would not rest satisfied with reports or distant view. Personally he made the tour of the whole camp, to see that every thing was right, and posted the pickets himself before retiring.”
“Adieu! my adorable sister. I am so tired I can not stir, having left on Tuesday night, or rather Wednesday morning, at three o’clock, from a ball at Monbijou, and arrived here this Friday morning at four. I recommend myself to your gracious remembrance, and am, for my own part, till death, dearest sister, your“Adieu! my adorable sister. I am so tired I can not stir, having left on Tuesday night, or rather Wednesday morning, at three o’clock, from a ball at Monbijou, and arrived here this Friday morning at four. I recommend myself to your gracious remembrance, and am, for my own part, till death, dearest sister, yourThe Crown Prince Frederick had married the daughter of the Duke of Brunswick. She was a very beautiful, proud, high-spirited woman. Her husband was a worthless fellow, dissolute in the extreme. She, stung to madness, and unrestrained by Christian537 principle, retaliated in kind. A divorce was the result. The discarded princess retired to the castle of Stettin, where she lived in comparative seclusion, though surrounded with elegance.
“Yes,” the king replied. “I swear it to you, D’Arget. In a word, I want to have some good of my life. What are we, poor human atoms, to get up projects that cost so much blood!”“The emperor has a frankness of manner which seems natural to him. In his amiable character, gayety and great vivacity are prominent features.”
Frederick now entered upon a period of ten years of peace.详情
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