On the 19th of February, 1741, Frederick, having been at home but three weeks, again left Berlin with re-enforcements, increasing his army of invasion to sixty thousand men, to complete the conquest of Silesia by the capture of the three fortresses which still held out against him. On the 21st he reached Glogau. After carefully reconnoitring the works, he left directions with Prince Leopold of Dessau, who commanded the Prussian troops there, to press the siege with all possible vigor. He was fearful that Austrian troops might soon arrive to the relief of the place.
On Wednesday, April 12, two days after the battle, Frederick wrote to his sister Wilhelmina from Ohlau as follows:For some unexplained reason, soon after this, the king partially relented, and invited Voltaire to Potsdam. He allowed him to retain his cross and key, and said nothing about the return of the volume of poetry. This was a volume of which twelve copies only had been printed. On the 25th of March, 1753, Voltaire left Potsdam for Dresden.The Russians marched to Poland. The Austrians returned to Saxony. As soon as Frederick heard of their retreat, instead of continuing his march to Berlin, he also turned his columns southward. On the 27th of October he crossed the Elbe, about sixty miles above Dresden, and found himself in the vicinity of General Daun, whose army outnumbered that of Frederick two to510 one. The situation of Frederick was extremely critical. Under these circumstances, he wrote to D’Argens on the 28th:
“Old Leopold, quick as thought, noticing the thing, hurls cavalry on these victorious, down-plunging grenadiers; slashes them asunder into mere recoiling whirlpools of ruin, so that few of them got back unwounded; and the Prussians, storming in along with them, aided by ever new Prussians, the place was at length carried.”91
How soon Henry learned that he had been conversing with the King of Prussia we do not know. It is evident that Frederick was pleased with the interview. He soon after invited Henry de Catt to his court, and appointed him reader to the king. In this capacity he served his Prussian majesty for about twenty years. He left a note-book in the royal archives of Berlin from which the above extracts are taken.For seven weeks the siege of Olmütz was prosecuted with great vigor. With much skill Frederick protected his baggage trains in their long and exposed route of ninety miles through forests and mountain defiles. General Keith was intrusted with the details of the siege facing the town toward the east; Frederick, with a vigilant corps of horse and foot, was about twenty miles to the west, watching every movement of General Daun, so far as he was able through the thick cloud of Pandours, behind which the Austrian commander endeavored to conceal all his man?uvres.
Thus pressed by England, and with equal earnestness by her own Aulic Council, the queen again yielded, though almost frantic with grief, and consented to surrender the whole of Lower Silesia to Frederick if he would become her ally. As Frederick had offered these terms, it was supposed, of course, that he would accept them. Sir Thomas was again dispatched, at the top of his speed, to convey them to the camp of Frederick. But the286 repulse of the king was peremptory and decisive. To Lord Hyndford, soliciting an audience for the envoy, he replied,
In reference to this event, the prince wrote to his mother from Potsdam, “I am in the utmost despair. What I had always apprehended has at last come on me. The king has entirely forgotten that I am his son. This morning I came into his room as usual. At the first sight of me he sprang forward, seized me by the collar, and struck me a shower of blows with his rattan. I tried in vain to screen myself, he was in so terrible a rage, almost out of himself. It was only weariness that made him give up. I am driven to extremity. I have too much honor to endure such treatment, and I am resolved to put an end to it in one way or another.”
Two Silesian barons called upon him, and presented a protest from the authorities they represented against his meditated invasion, the design of which was now manifest to all. The king received them very courteously, tossed the protest to a secretary223 to file away or to cast into the waste-paper basket, and invited the two gentlemen to dine with him.On the evening of the 5th his Prussian majesty gave a grand ball. All the nobility, high and low, were invited. The provident king arranged that the expenses, which he was to defray, should not exceed half a guinea for each guest. Early hours were fashionable in those days. Frederick entered the assembly-rooms at six o’clock, and opened the ball with a Silesian lady. He was very complaisant, and walked through the rooms with a smile upon his countenance, conversing freely with the most distinguished of his guests. About ten o’clock he silently withdrew, but the dancing and feasting continued until a late hour.“After about two hours I stepped out for a moment into the vestibule. I had placed before me a large glass of water, which the princess, opposite to whom I had the honor to sit, in a vein of mischievous pleasantry, had ordered to be emptied, and had filled it with Sellery wine, which was as clear as rock water. Having already lost my taste, I mixed my wine with wine. Thinking to refresh myself, I became joyous, but it was a kind of joy that leaned toward intoxication.
Maria Theresa was much encouraged by the subsidy she had received from England. She was not yet informed of the formidable alliance into which France, with a portion of Germany, had entered for her destruction. About the 20th of June she left Vienna for Presburg, in Hungary, a drive of about fifty miles. Here, on the 25th of June, 1741, she was crowned Queen of Hungary. She was a very beautiful woman in person, devout in spirit, and those who admire manly developments in the female character must regard her as presenting the highest type of womanhood. She merits the following beautiful tribute to her worth from the pen of Carlyle:
Frederick, finding that he could not rely upon the Saxons, sent to Silesia for re-enforcements of his own troops. Brünn could not be taken without siege artillery. He was capturing Moravia for the King of Poland. Frederick dispatched a courier to his Polish majesty at Dresden, requesting him immediately to forward the siege guns. The reply of the king, who was voluptuously lounging in his palaces, was, “I can not meet the expense of the carriage.” Frederick contemptuously remarked, “He has just purchased a green diamond which would have carried them thither and back again.” The Prussian king sent for siege artillery of his own, drew his lines close around Brünn, and urged Chevalier De Saxe, general of the Saxon horse, to co-operate with him energetically in battering the city into a surrender.305 The chevalier interposed one obstacle, and another, and another. At last he replied, showing his dispatches, “I have orders to retire from this business altogether, and join the French at Prague.”“Yesterday I joined the army, and Daun decamped. I have493 followed him thus far, and will continue it to the frontiers of Bohemia. Our measures are so taken that he will not get out of Saxony without considerable loss.”详情
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