“‘No,’ I answered; ‘but I should like to make that journey. I am very curious to see the Prussian states and their king, of whom one hears so much.’ And now I began to launch out on Frederick’s actions.At parting, the king bore magnanimous testimony to the fidelity of his spiritual advisers. He said to M. Roloff, who had been the principal speaker, “You do not spare me. It is right. You do your duty like an honest Christian man.”One of this smoking cabinet was a celebrated adventurer named Gundling, endowed with wonderful encyclopedian knowledge, and an incorrigible drunkard. He had been every where, seen every thing, and remembered all which he had either heard or seen. Frederick William had accidentally picked him up, and, taking a fancy to him, had clothed him, pensioned him, and introduced him to his Tabagie, where his peculiar character often made him the butt of ridicule. He was excessively vain, wore a scarlet coat, and all manner of pranks were cut up by these boon companions, in the midst of their cups, at his expense.
“My brother overwhelmed me with caresses, but found me in so pitiable a state that he could not restrain his tears. I was not able to stand on my limbs, and felt like to faint every moment, so weak was I. He told me that the king was very angry at the margraf for not letting his son make the campaign. I told him all the margraf’s reasons, and added surely they were good, in respect of my dear husband.CHAPTER XXV. COMMENCEMENT OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.There was to be a grand review on the parade-ground just out from Berlin, at which the French embassy was to be present. The king caused a party equal in number, composed of the lowest of the people, to be dressed in an enormous exaggeration of the French costume. Their cocked hats were nearly a yard in diameter. Immense wigs reached to their heels; and all other parts of the French court costume were caricatured in the most grotesque manner possible. As soon as the French embassy appeared, there was a great sound of trumpets and martial bands from another part of the field, and these harlequins were brought forward to the gaze of every eye, and conspicuously to the view of Count Rothenburg and his companions. Military discipline prevented any outburst of derisive laughter. Perfect silence reigned. The king sat upon his horse as stolid and grim as fate. Count Rothenburg yielded to this gross discourtesy of the king, and ever after, while he remained in Berlin, wore a plain German costume.
Notwithstanding these sentiments, the king sent throughout Silesia a supply of sixty Protestant preachers, ordained especially243 for the work. Though Frederick himself did not wish to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, it is very evident that he did not fear the influence of that Gospel upon his Silesian subjects. Very wisely the Protestant preachers were directed carefully to avoid giving any offense to the Catholics. They were to preach in barns and town-halls in places where there was no Protestant church. The salary of each was one hundred and fifty dollars a year, probably with rations. They were all placed under the general superintendence of one of the army chaplains.
“The princess has an open countenance; her eyebrows are neat and regular; her nose is small and angular, but very elegantly defined; and her coral lips and well-turned neck are equally admirable. Goodness is strongly marked in her countenance; and we may say, from her whole figure, that the Graces have exerted themselves in forming a great princess. Her highness talks but little, especially at table, but all she says is sterling sense. She appears to have an uncommon genius, which she ornaments by the continual study of the best French authors.”
“Surrender to me peaceably,” was the substance of this demand, “the province of Silesia, and I will be the ally of your majesty in maintaining your right to the throne, and in defending the integrity of all the rest of your realms. I will exert my influence to have the Grand-duke Francis41 chosen Emperor of Germany, and will also immediately pay one million of dollars into the Austrian treasury.”“You are a cowardly deserter,” the father exclaimed, “devoid of all feelings of honor.”
“As soon as the car shall begin to move, the drums shall beat the dead march, and the hautboys shall play the well-known anthem, ‘O blessed head, covered with blood and wounds!’ The car will stop at the iron gate. The regiment will defile before it. My two sons, Augustus William and Henry, will remain with the regiment. You, as my eldest son, with little Ferdinand, my youngest son, will walk in uniform behind the car.a a. First Position of Combined Army. b b. First Position of Prussian Camp. c c. Advance of Prussian Army. d d. Second Position of Combined Army. e e. Prussians retire to Rossbach. f. French Cavalry, under St. Germain. g g. March of Combined Army to attack Prussian Rear. h. Prussian Attack led by Seidlitz. i. Position of Prussian Guns.
In the mean time, Frederick, who kept himself thoroughly informed of all these events, signed secretly, on the 5th of June, a treaty of intimate alliance with France. Though he had not yet received the Joint Resolution of the English and Dutch courts, he was well aware of its existence, and the next day sent to his envoy, M. R?sfeld, at the Hague, the following dispatch:
“God give his blessing to it, and bless you and your posterity, and keep you as a good Christian. And have God always before your eyes, and don’t believe that damnable predestination tenet; and be obedient and faithful. So shall it here in time, and there in eternity, go well with thee. And whosoever wishes that from the heart, let him say Amen.
256 It was now about noon. The sun shone brightly on the glistening snow. There was no wind. Twenty thousand peasants, armed and drilled as soldiers, were facing each other upon either side, to engage in mutual slaughter, with no animosity between them—no cause of quarrel. It is one of the unrevealed mysteries of Providence that any one man should thus have it in his power to create such wide-spread death and misery. The Austrians had a splendid body of cavalry, eight thousand six hundred in number. Frederick had but about half as many horsemen. The Prussians had sixty pieces of artillery, the Austrians but eighteen.Most of our readers will pronounce this to be as unwarrantable an act of perfidy as history has recorded. But, in justice to Frederick, we ought to state that there are those who, while admitting all these facts, do not condemn him for his course. It is surprising to see how different are the opinions which intelligent men can form upon the same actions. Mr. Carlyle writes, in reference to these events:
“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.”186In carrying forward these intrigues at the camp of Frederick, the Count of Belleisle had an associate minister in the embassy, M. De Valori. A slight incident occurred in connection with this minister which would indicate, in the view of most persons, that Frederick did not cherish a very high sense of honor. M. Valori was admitted to an audience with his Prussian majesty. During the interview, as the French minister drew his hand from his pocket, he accidentally dropped a note upon the floor. Frederick, perceiving it, slyly placed his foot upon it. As soon as the minister had bowed himself out, Frederick eagerly seized the273 note and read it. It contained some secret instructions to M. Valori from the French court, directing him not to give Glatz to his Prussian majesty if it could possibly be avoided. Frederick did not perceive any thing ignoble in this act of his, for he records it himself;56 neither does Mr. Carlyle condemn him.57 Most readers will probably regard it as highly dishonorable.详情
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