BATTLE OF“My lord, there seems to be a contradiction in all this. The King of England, in his letter, tells me you are instructed as to every thing, and yet you pretend ignorance. But I am perfectly informed of all. And I should not be surprised if, after all these fine words, you should receive some strong letter or resolution for me.” Then, turning to his secretary, he added, sarcastically, “Write down that my lord would be surprised to receive such instruction.”The friendship of these two remarkable men must have been of a singular character. Voltaire thus maliciously wrote of the king:
“For a hundred miles around,” writes St. Germain, “the country434 is plundered and harried as if fire from heaven had fallen on it. Scarcely have our plunderers and marauders left the houses standing.”The Castle at Reinsberg.—Slender Purses of Fritz and Wilhelmina.—Liberality of Fritz.—The Ball at Monbijou.—Adventures of Fritz and Wilhelmina.—Letters.—The Interview.—Anecdote of the King.—Wilhelmina’s Account of her Brother.—Mental and Physical Maladies of the King.—Frederick’s cruel Neglect of his Wife.—Daily Habits of the young Prince.—The shameful Carousal.
Augustus, King of Poland, called “Augustus the Strong,” was a man of extraordinary physical vigor and muscular strength. It was said that he could break horseshoes with his hands, and crush half-crowns between his finger and thumb. He was an exceedingly profligate man, introducing to his palaces scenes of sin and shame which could scarcely have been exceeded in Rome in the most corrupt days of the C?sars. Though Frederick William, a stanch Protestant, was a crabbed, merciless man, drinking deeply and smoking excessively, he was irreproachable in morals, according to the ordinary standard. Augustus, nominally a Catholic, and zealously advocating political Catholicism, though a good-natured, rather agreeable man, recognized no other law of life than his own pleasure.
The Prussian minister condescended then so importunately to urge an audience, in view of the menacing state of affairs, that M. Hartoff returned to the council-chamber, and in seven minutes came back with an evasive answer, still refusing to grant an audience. The next day M. Kannegiesser called again at the council-chamber. “I let them know in the mildest terms,” he writes in his dispatch home, “that I desired to be admitted to speak with them, which was refused me a second time.” He then informed M. Hartoff that the Prussian court expected a definite answer to some propositions which had previously been sent to the council at Hanover; that he would remain two days to receive it; that, in case he did not receive it, he would call again, to remind them that an answer was desired.
“Whole provinces had been laid waste. Even in those which had not been thus destroyed, internal commerce and industry were almost at an end. A great part of Pomerania and Brandenburg was changed into a desert. There were provinces where hardly any men were to be found, and where the women were therefore obliged to guide the plow. In others women were as much wanting as men. The most fertile plains of Germany, on the banks of the Oder and the Wesel, presented only the arid and sterile appearance of a desert. An officer has stated that he had passed through seven villages without meeting a single person excepting a curate.”174156 Thus Wilhelmina, upon reaching Berneck, according to appointment, did not find her brother there, and could hear nothing from him. The prince, upon his arrival at Hof, wrote as follows to his sister“May you never be disgusted with the sciences by the quarrels of their cultivators; a race of men no better than courtiers; often enough as greedy, intriguing, false, and cruel as these.
“Old Leopold is hardly at home at Dessau,” writes Carlyle, “when the new Pandour tempests, tides of ravaging war, again come beating against the Giant Mountains, pouring through all passes, huge influx of wild riding hordes, each with some support of Austrian grenadiers, cannoniers, threatening to submerge Silesia. Precursors, Frederick need not doubt, of a strenuous, regular attempt that way. Hungarian majesty’s fixed intention,347 hope, and determination is to expel him straightway from Silesia.”81
“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, your“Thus,” writes Voltaire, “Frederick invaded Saxony under the pretense of friendship, and that he might make war upon Maria Theresa with the money of which he should rob the Saxons.详情
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