“My dear Voltaire,—France has been considered thus far as the asylum of unfortunate monarchs. I wish that my capital should become the temple of great men. Come to it, then, my dear Voltaire, and give whatever orders can tend to render a residence in it agreeable to you. My wish is to please you, and wishing this, my intention is to enter entirely into your views.
“I replied, ‘You are in such a humor I know not what to make of it.’“‘That is not the question,’ I answered. ‘The question is, whether such a being as God can, or can not, give existence to what, as yet, has none.’
On the southeast frontier of Prussia, between that kingdom, and Poland, and Hungary, there was an Austrian realm called Silesia. The country embraced a territory of twenty thousand square miles, being about twice as large as the State of Vermont.215 The population was about two millions. For more than a century Silesia had been a portion of the Austrian kingdom. Time, and the assent of Europe, had sanctioned the title.Frederick.”
“There is the forgiveness of enemies. Your majesty is bound to forgive all men. If you do not do this, how can you ask to be forgiven?”“Then hear what the consequences would have been. Your mother would have got into the greatest misery. I could not but have suspected she was the author of the business. Your sister I would have cast for life into a place where she would never have seen sun or moon again. Then on with my army to Hanover, and burn and ravage—yes, if it had cost me life, land, and people. Your thoughtless and godless conduct, see what it was leading to. I intended to employ you in all manner of business, civil and military. But how, after such action, could I show your face to my officers?”
Frederick immediately sent an announcement of the victory to his friend Voltaire. It does not appear that he alluded to his own adventures. Voltaire received the note when in the theatre at Lisle, while listening to the first performance of his tragedy of Mahomet. He read the account to the audience between the acts. It was received with great applause. “You will see,” said Voltaire, “that this piece of Mollwitz will secure the success of mine.” Vous verrez que cette piece de Mollwitz fera réussir la miene.The marriage took place in the Grand Saloon. The moment the benediction was pronounced, a triple discharge of cannon announced the event to the inhabitants of Berlin. Then the newly-married pair, seated under a gorgeous canopy, received the congratulations of the court. A ball followed, succeeded by a supper. After supper there came, according to the old German custom, what was called the dance of torches. This consisted of the whole company marching to music in procession through the rooms, each holding a lighted torch. The marriage festivities were continued for several days, with a succession of balls each night. Wilhelmina had not yet been permitted to see her brother since his arrest. But the king had promised Wilhelmina, as her reward for giving up the wretched Prince of Wales, that he132 would recall her brother and restore him to favor. On Friday evening, the 23d, three days after the wedding, there was a brilliant ball in the Grand Apartment. Wilhelmina thus describes the event which then took place:
Knocking against the rocks,
“Think you there is any pleasure in living this dog’s life, in seeing and causing the butchery of people you know nothing of, in losing daily those you do know and love, in seeing perpetually your reputation exposed to the caprices of chance, passing year after year in disquietudes and apprehensions, in risking without end your life and your fortune?“When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not where in the world to be brought to bed in, I relied on my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, where not only public law cries to Heaven against us, but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must confess never in my life to have been in such trouble, and I am ashamed to show my face. Let the prince (Kaunitz) consider what an example we are giving to all the world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, or of Moldavia, or Wallachia, we throw our honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I am alone, and no more in vigor. Therefore I must, though to my very great sorrow, let things take their course.”186
On the 26th of June this vast train commenced its movement from Troppau. A convoy of about seven thousand infantry and eleven hundred cavalry guarded the wagons. They were in three bodies, on the front, in the centre, and on the rear. The king also sent forward about six thousand horse and foot from Olmütz to meet the train.At that time the family consisted of nine children. Next to Wilhelmina and Fritz came Frederica, thirteen; Charlotte, eleven; Sophie Dorothee, eight; Ulrique, seven; August Wilhelm, five; Amelia, four; and Henry, a babe in arms.“Yes,” the prince replied.
a a. Prussian Army about to cross the Mützel. b b b. Russian Army ranked for Battle. c. Russian Baggage. d d. Prussian Infantry. e e. Prussian Cavalry. f. Prussian Baggage.Late in the fall of 1739 the health of Frederick William was so rapidly failing that it became manifest to all that his days on earth would soon be ended. He sat joylessly in his palace, listening to the moaning of the wind, the rustle of the falling leaves, and the pattering of the rain. His gloomy spirit was in accord with the melancholy days. More dreary storms darkened his turbid soul than those which wrecked the autumnal sky.Regardless himself of comfort, insensible to fatigue, dead to affection, he created perhaps the most potent military machine earth has ever known. Prussia was an armed camp. The king prized his soldiers as a miser prizes his gold coin, and was as unwilling to expose them to any danger as the miser is to hazard his treasures. War would thin his regiments, soil his uniforms, destroy his materiel. He hated war. But his army caused Prussia to be respected. If needful, he could throw one hundred thousand of the best drilled and best furnished troops in Europe, like a thunderbolt, upon any point. Unprincipled monarchs would think twice before they would encroach upon a man thus armed.
“But behold the caprice of Fortune. After a hundred preferences of my rivals, she smiles upon me, and packs off the hero of the hat and sword, whom the pope had blessed, and who had gone on pilgrimages. He skulks out of Saxony, panting like a dog whom the cook has flogged out of the kitchen.”The secret was now out. The tidings flew in all directions that the King of Prussia was in Strasbourg incognito. The king, not yet aware of the detection, called upon the marshal. A crowd of officers gathered eagerly around. The marshal was much embarrassed in his desire to respect the incognito, and also to manifest the consideration due to a sovereign. No one yet ventured to address him as king, though there were many indications that his rank was beginning to be known. Frederick therefore decided to get out of the city as soon as possible. To conceal his design, he made arrangements to attend the theatre with the marshal in the evening. The marshal went to the theatre with all his officers. The building was crowded with the multitude hoping to see the king. Bonfires began to blaze in the streets, and shouts were heard of “Long live the King of Prussia.” Frederick hastily collected his companions, paid his enormous bill at the Raven, “shot off like lightning,” and was seen in Strasbourg no more.详情
Copyright © 2020