“And so from right wing to left,” writes Carlyle, “miles long there is now universal storm of volleying, bayonet charging, thunder of artillery, case-shot, cartridge-shot, and sulphurous devouring whirlwind; the wrestle very tough and furious, especially on the assaulting side. Here, as at Prague, the Prussian troops were one and all in the fire, each doing strenuously his utmost. There is no reserve left. All is gone up into one combustion. To fan the fire, to be here, there, fanning the fire where need shows, this is now Frederick’s function. This death-wrestle lasted, perhaps, four hours; till seven, or perhaps eight o’clock, of a June evening.”
On the 15th, after a restless night, he did not wake until eleven o’clock in the morning. For a short time he seemed confused. He then summoned his generals and secretaries, and gave his orders with all his wonted precision. He then called in his three clerks and dictated to them upon various subjects. His directions to an embassador, who was about leaving, filled four quarto pages.The region thus annexed to Prussia was in a deplorable state of destitution and wretchedness. Most of the towns were in ruins. War had so desolated the land that thousands of the people were living in the cellars of their demolished houses.
CHAPTER XXXI. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUED.The camp was so utterly destroyed that Frederick could not even obtain pen and ink. He was obliged to write with a pencil. Not a loaf of bread nor a cup of wine was left for the exhausted king. The hungry soldiers, after a conflict of five hours, having had neither breakfast nor dinner, found no refreshments awaiting them; yet, without a murmur, they smoked their pipes, drank some spring water, and rejoiced in their great victory.188 He then summoned his physician, M. Pitsch, and said, “Feel my pulse. Tell me how long this will last.”
“This battle is a masterpiece of movements, of man?uvres, and of resolution. It is enough to immortalize Frederick, and to rank him among the greatest generals. It develops, in the highest degree, both his moral and his military qualities.”“‘I skip over it,’ he replied, laughing; and then began to talk of other things. He inquired,The region thus annexed to Prussia was in a deplorable state of destitution and wretchedness. Most of the towns were in ruins. War had so desolated the land that thousands of the people were living in the cellars of their demolished houses.
France was first in the field with a superb host of one hundred and ten thousand men. The other powers speedily followed. In four great armies of invasion these hosts pressed upon Prussia from the southeast and southwest, the northeast and northwest. The Russian battalions were one hundred thousand strong. The Austrian army was still more formidable.
“I do not complain of your heart, but of your incapacity, and of the little judgment you have shown in making your decisions. A man who has but a few days to live need not dissemble. I wish you better fortune than mine has been, and that all the miseries and bad adventures you have had may teach you to treat important matters with greater care, sense, and resolution than you have hitherto done. The greatest part of the calamities which I now apprehend comes only from you. You and your children will suffer more from them than I shall. Be persuaded, nevertheless, that I have always loved you, and that with these sentiments I shall die.
The Prussian minister, Baron P?llnitz, in a letter from Berlin dated June 6, 1729, writes: “The king’s prime minister is the king himself, who is informed of every thing, and is desirous to know every thing. He gives great application to business, but does it with extraordinary ease; and nothing escapes his penetration nor his memory, which is a very happy one. No sovereign in the world is of more easy access, his subjects being actually permitted to write to him without any other formality than superscribing the letter To the King. By writing underneath, To be delivered into his Majesty’s own hands, one may be sure that the king receives and reads it, and that the next post he will answer it, either with his own hands or by his secretary. These answers are short, but peremptory. There is no town in all the King of Prussia’s dominions, except Neufchatel, where he has not been; no province which he does not know full well; nor a court of justice but he is acquainted with its chief members.”“Order me, your majesty,” said General Saldern, “to attack the enemy and his batteries, and I will cheerfully, on the instant, obey; but I can not, I dare not, act against honor, oath, and duty. For this commission your majesty will easily find another person in my stead.”
“I arrived at last about one in the morning. I instantly threw myself on a bed. I was like to die of weariness, and in mortal terror that something had happened to my brother or the hereditary prince. The latter relieved me on his own score. He arrived at last about four o’clock; had still no news of my brother. I was beginning to doze a little, when they came to inform me that M. von Knobelsdorf wished to speak to me from the Prince Royal. I darted out of bed and ran to him.117 A deputation of four ministers, headed by Baron Grumkow, the next day presented themselves to the princess. To overawe Wilhelmina, they approached her with all the solemnity of state. Grumkow opened the conference:
In May the King of Poland returned the visit of Frederick William. He came with a numerous retinue and in great splendor. During the past year his unhappy wife had died; and he, then fifty-five years of age, was seeking to bargain for the hand of Wilhelmina, hoping, by an alliance with Prussia, to promote53 some of his political schemes. The wicked old Polish king was much broken by age and his “terrible debaucheries.” He had recently suffered the amputation of two toes from an ulcerated foot, which no medical skill could cure. He was brought into the palace at Berlin in a sedan, covered with red velvet embroidered with gold. Wilhelmina had no suspicion of the object of his visit, and was somewhat surprised by the intensity of his gaze and his glowing compliments. Diplomatic obstacles arose which silenced the question of the marriage before Wilhelmina knew that it had been contemplated.CHAPTER III. THE SUFFERINGS OF FRITZ AND WILHELMINA.“Mr. Guy Dickens may give to the prince the assurance of the deep compassion which the king feels in view of the sad condition in which the prince finds himself, and of the sincere desire of his majesty to aid, by all the means in his power, to extricate him. While waiting the result of some negotiations now on foot, his majesty is of the opinion that it would be best for the prince to defer for a time his present design; that the present critical state of affairs in Europe do not present a favorable opportunity for the execution of the contemplated plan; that the idea of retiring to France demands very careful deliberation; and that there is not time now to ascertain how such a step would be regarded by the French court, which his majesty would think to be essential before he advise a prince so dear to him to withdraw to that country.”详情
Copyright © 2020