The unhappy Crown Prince was in an agony of despair. Again and again he frantically exclaimed, “In the name of God, I beg you to stop the execution till I write to the king! I am ready to renounce all my rights to the crown if he will pardon Katte!” As the condemned was led by the window to ascend the scaffold, Fritz cried out to him, in anguish as intense as a generous heart can endure, “Pardon me, my dear Katte, pardon me! Oh that this should be what I have done for you!”The return mail brought back, under date of May 22, the stereotype British answer: “Both marriages or none.” Just before the reception of this reply, as Colonel Hotham was upon the eve of leaving Berlin, the Crown Prince addressed to him, from Potsdam, the following interesting letter:
The queen was radiantly beautiful in form and features. Her eyes were filled with tears. The scene and the words roused the zeal of these wild Magyar warriors to the highest pitch. They drew their sabres, flourished them over their heads, and with united voice shouted Moriamur pro nostro rege, Maria Theresa—“Let us die for our king, Maria Theresa.” “They always,” writes Voltaire, “give the title of king to their queen. In fact, no princess ever better deserved that title.”
Not a soldier appeared to oppose the invaders. The Prussians seized, in an unobstructed march, all the most important Saxon towns and fortresses. The King of Poland and his court, with less than twenty thousand troops, had fled from the capital up the river, which here runs from the south to Pirna, where they concentrated their feeble army, which numbered but eighteen thousand men. Frederick, with his resistless column, entered Dresden on the 9th of September. The queen had remained in the palace. The keys of the archives were demanded of her. She refused to surrender them. The officers proceeded to break open the door. The queen placed herself before the door. The officers, shrinking from using personal violence, sent to Frederick for instructions. He ordered them to force the archives, whatever opposition the queen, in person, might present. The queen,406 to avoid a rude assault, withdrew. The door was forced, and the archives seized.“If these terms are not accepted within a fortnight, I will not be bound by them.”
“As Frederick’s seven years’ struggle of war may be called superhuman, so was there also, in his present labor of peace, something enormous, which appeared to his contemporaries almost preternatural, at times inhuman. It was grand, but also terrible, that the success of the whole was to him, at all moments, the one thing to be striven after. The comfort of the individual was of no concern at all.”189CHAPTER V. IMPRISONMENT OF FRITZ AND WILHELMINA.
And, in addition to all this, the more effectually to hoodwink the eagle eyes of the French minister in the Prussian camp, M. Valori, the following stratagem was arranged. The king was to invite M. Valori to dine with him. While at the table, merry over their wine, a courier was to arrive, and with trumpet blast announce dispatches for the king. They were to be delivered to the king at the table. He was to open them before Valori, to find that they consisted of a bitter complaint and remonstrance, on the part of the British minister, that the king was inflexible in repelling all advances toward an amicable adjustment of their difficulties, that unrelentingly he persisted in co-operating with France in her warfare against Austria. All this farce took place according to the programme. M. Valori was effectually deceived.“‘Devil’s in the blockhead! Thank my sister, then?’
Early in the spring of 1757, France, Russia, Austria, Poland, and Sweden were combined against Frederick. These countries represented a population of one hundred millions. Frederick’s domains contained but five millions. His annual revenue was but about ten million dollars. He had an army in the field of one hundred and fifty thousand of the best troops in the world. His fortresses were garrisoned by about fifty thousand of inferior quality. The armies of the allies numbered four hundred and thirty thousand. Frederick was regarded as an outlaw. The design of the allies was to crush him, and to divide his territory between them. Austria was to retake Silesia. France was to have the Wesel-Cleve country. Russia was to annex to her domains Prussen, K?nigsberg, etc. Poland, having regained Saxony, was to add to her territory Magdeburg and Halle. Sweden was to have Pomerania. Never before had there appeared such a combination against any man. The situation of Frederick seemed desperate.But Frederick did not seem to think himself at all bound by his treaty obligations with France to refrain from entering into secret arrangements with the foe which would promote his interests, however antagonistic those arrangements might be to his assumed obligations. He was the ally of France in the attempt to wrest territory from the young Queen of Austria, and to weaken her power. His armies and those of France were acting in co-operation. Frederick now proposed to the common enemy that, if Silesia were surrendered to him, he would no longer act in co-operation with his ally; but, that France might not discover his perfidy, he would still pretend to make war. The Austrians were to amuse themselves in defending Neisse from a sham siege until the pleasant weeks of autumn were gone, and then they were to march, with all their guns and ammunition, south to Vienna, there to fight the French. Frederick, still assuming that he was the ally of France, was to avail himself of the excuse that the season of ice and snow was at hand, and withdraw into winter quarters. Such, in general, were the terms which Frederick authorized his minister, Goltz, to propose to Lord Hyndford, as the agent of England and Austria.
Old Prince Leopold of Dessau, whom he had left in command of the army in Silesia, was one of the most extraordinary men of any age. He invented the iron ramrod, and also all modern military tactics. “The soldiery of every civilized country still receives from this man, on the parade-fields and battle-fields, its word of command. Out of his rough head proceeded the essential of all that the innumerable drill-sergeants in various languages repeat and enforce.”80He then requested to be shown the cup in which his heart would be placed after that operation. His daughter, Maria Theresa, who had married the Grand-duke Francis, was in a delicate state of health. The death of her father would place the weighty crown upon her youthful brow. Grief and agitation threw her helpless upon her bed. So important was her life to the world that the emperor was unwilling that, in her214 then condition, she should enter the death-chamber. “Tell my Theresa,” said he, in faint and dying accents, “that I bless her, notwithstanding her absence.”“My dear Jordan,—We are going to fight to-morrow. Thou knowest the chances of war. The life of kings is not more regarded than that of private people. I know not what will happen to me.
It appears, moreover, that Fritz devoted himself very assiduously to his military duties, earnestly studying the art of war, and making himself familiar with the achievements of the most renowned commanders. His frugal father allowed him but a very meagre income for a prince—not above four thousand five hundred dollars a year. With this sum it was scarcely possible to keep up even the appearance of such an establishment as belonged to his rank. Such glimpses as we get of his moral and social developments during this period are not favorable. He paid no respect to the claims of religion, and was prone to revile Christianity and its advocates. He was particularly annoyed if the chaplain uttered, in his sermons, any sentiments which the prince thought had a bearing against the sensual indulgences and the wild amusements of himself and his companions. On one occasion the chaplain said in his sermon, “There was Herod, who had Herodias to dance before him, and he gave her John the Baptist’s head for her pains.”
In very rapid march, the troops advanced through Grünberg toward Glogau, about forty miles in the interior. Here there was a fortified town, which was considered the key of Northern Silesia. It was but feebly garrisoned, and was entirely unprepared for resistance. By great exertions, the Austrian governor of the province, Count Wallis, and his second in command, General Browne, succeeded in placing behind the works a little garrison of one thousand men. The whole population was summoned to work upon the ramparts. Count Wallis remained in Glogau. General Browne took command of the troops and garrisons abroad. But there was a division of sentiment within the walls. Quite a large portion of the population was Protestant, and would be glad to come under the protection of Protestant Prussia. The Catholics were zealous for the continued reign of Austria.The Palace of Wusterhausen.—Wilhelmina and Fritz.—Education of the Crown Prince.—Rising Dislike of the Father for his Son.—The Mother’s Sympathy.—The double Marriage.—Character of George I.—The King of England visits Berlin.—Wilhelmina’s Account of the Interview.—Sad Fate of the Wife of George I.—The Giant Guard.—Despotism of Frederick William.—The Tobacco Parliament.—A brutal Scene.—Death of George I.—The Royal Family of Prussia.—Augustus, King of Poland.—Corruption of his Court.—Cruel Treatment of Fritz.—Insane Conduct of the King.
And thus the king passed from regiment to regiment. Perhaps no commander, excepting Napoleon, has ever secured to an equal degree the love of his soldiers. It is said that a deserter was brought before him.“This finished, his domestics and preceptor, Duhan, shall come in and perform family worship. Prayer on their knees. Duhan to read a chapter of the Bible, and sing some proper psalm or hymn. All the domestics then withdraw, and Duhan reads my son the Gospel of the Sunday, expounds it a little, adducing the main points of Christianity, and questioning him from Noltenius’s Catechism. It will then be nine o’clock.“‘I know not,’ I answered; ‘but it seems to me, until one knows a man, and is completely acquainted with his situation and his way of thought, one can not possibly determine whether he is happy or unhappy.’详情
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