Sir Thomas, deeply chagrined, hastened back to Presburg. Acting in behalf of the English cabinet, he trembled in view of the preponderance of the French court and of the loss of Hanover. With the most impassioned earnestness he entreated the queen to yield to the demands of Frederick, and thus secure his alliance.“Prosperity, my dear lord, often inspires a dangerous confidence. Twenty-three battalions were not sufficient to drive sixty thousand men from their intrenchments. Another time we will take our precautions better. Fortune has this day turned her back upon me. I ought to have expected it. She is a female, and I am not gallant. What say you to this league against the Margrave of Brandenburg? How great would be the astonishment of the great elector if he could see his great-grandson at war at the same time with the Russians, the Austrians, almost all Germany, and one hundred thousand French auxiliaries! I do not know whether it will be disgraceful in me to be overcome, but I am sure there will be no great glory in vanquishing me.”102
But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the king’s chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, “I shall sleep right well there.” In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said,Deceptive Measures of Frederick.—Plans for the Invasion of Silesia.—Avowed Reasons for the Invasion.—The Ball in Berlin.—The March of the Army.—Hardships and Successes.—Letter to Voltaire.—Capture of Glogau.—Capture of Brieg.—Bombardment of Neisse.Et des paysans en postillons masqués,
Neither the king nor the Crown Prince appeared at the supper. With a select circle, to which neither Wilhelmina nor her mother were admitted, they supped in a private apartment. At the report that the king was treating the Crown Prince with great friendliness, the queen could not conceal her secret pique. “In fact,” says Wilhelmina, “she did not love her children except as they served her ambitious views.” She was jealous of134 Wilhelmina because she, and not her mother, had been the means of the release of Fritz. After supper the dancing was resumed, and Wilhelmina embraced an opportunity to ask her brother why he was so changed, and why he treated her so coldly. He assured her that he was not changed; that his reserve was external only; that he had reasons for his conduct. Still he did not explain his reasons, and Wilhelmina remained wounded and bewildered.
General Daun, in command of the Austrian forces, rapidly concentrated his troops around Leutomischel, where he had extensive magazines. But Frederick, leaving Leutomischel far away on his right, pressed forward in a southerly direction, and on the 12th of May appeared before Olmütz. His march had been rapidly and admirably conducted, dividing his troops into columns for the convenience of road and subsistence.At ten o’clock at night on the 9th of September, the Russian camp went up in flame. The next morning not a Russian was526 to be seen. The whole army had disappeared over the hills far away to the north. Frederick immediately dispatched eight thousand men under General Platen to attack the flank of the retreating foe, and destroy his baggage-wagons. The feat was brilliantly accomplished. On the 15th of September, before the dawn of the morning, General Platen fell upon the long train, took nearly two thousand prisoners, seven cannon, and destroyed five thousand heavily-laden wagons.
This letter was addressed to the “reverend, well-beloved, and faithful Müller,” and was signed “your affectionate king.” Though the king had not yet announced any intention of sparing the life of his son, and probably was fully resolved upon his execution, he was manifestly disturbed by the outcry against his proceedings raised in all the courts of Europe. Three days before the king wrote the above letter, the Emperor of Germany, Charles VI., had written to him, with his own hand, earnestly interceding for the Crown Prince. In addition to the letter, the emperor, through his minister Seckendorf, had presented a very firm remonstrance. He announced to Frederick William that112 Prince Frederick was a prince of the empire, and that he was entitled to the protection of the laws of the Germanic body; that the heir-apparent of the Prussian monarchy was under the safeguard of the Germanic empire, and that the king was bound to surrender to this tribunal the accused, and the documents relative to this trial.Frederick, while equally complimentary, while lavishing gifts and smiles upon his guest, to whom he had written that as there “could be but one God, so there could be but one Voltaire,” wrote from Ruppin to M. Jordan, on the 28th of November, just before Voltaire took his leave.
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.“My children, I could not come to you sooner, or this calamity should not have happened. Have a little patience, and I will cause every thing to be rebuilt.
The king hesitated, as though he had forgotten. But his secretary answered, “Three million florins (,500,000).”
There was much man?uvring, in which Frederick displayed his usual skill, quite circumventing his foes. Daily he became less despairing. On the 25th of October he wrote to Fouquet:详情
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