The Prince De Ligne, in a long letter to Stanislaus, King of Poland, gives an interesting account of several conversations which ensued. In this narrative he writes:
Soon after this, Frederick again wrote to his sister a letter which throws so much light upon his character that we give it almost entire:
On one occasion the king himself narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. One of his officers, General Trenck, gives the following graphic narrative of the incident:
Immediately he sent a polite note to Count Wallis, assuring him that the attack, if attack were necessary, should be made on the other side of the city, so that no military advantage could be taken of the church. This popular act resounded widely not225 only through the Protestant community of Silesia, but throughout Europe.
Soon after this Frederick dispatched a young and impetuous479 officer, General Wedell, invested with dictatorial powers, at the head of twenty-six thousand men, to attack the Russian army, at every hazard, and arrest its march. The heroic little band of Prussians met the Russians at Züllichau. One of General Wedell’s officers remonstrated against the attack.
“When your highness gets armies of your own, you will order them according to your mind. At present, it must be according to mine.”From the schedule which Frederick has given of his resources, it seems impossible that he could have raised more than about fifteen million dollars annually, even counting his adulterated coin at the full value. How, with this sum, he could have successfully confronted all combined Europe, is a mystery which has never yet been solved. It was the great object of both parties in this terrible conflict to destroy every thing in the enemy’s country which could by any possibility add to military power. All the claims of humanity were ignored. The starvation of hundreds of thousands of peasants—men, women, and children—was a matter not to be taken into consideration. The French minister, in Paris, wrote to Marshal De Contades on the 5th of October, 1758,
To the summons which Frederick sent to Maria Theresa, demanding the surrender of Silesia, no response could be returned, consistent with the dignity of the crown, but a peremptory refusal. The reply was unanswerable in its logic. Though it was, in general, couched in courteous terms, one sentence crept into it of rather scornful defiance.“The difficulties I had last campaign were almost infinite, there were such a multitude of enemies acting against me. Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony, frontiers of Silesia, were alike in danger, and often all at one time. If I escaped absolute destruction, I must impute it chiefly to the misconduct of my enemies, who gained such advantages, but had not the sense to follow them up. Experience often corrects people of their blunders. I can not expect to profit by any thing of that kind on their part in the course of this campaign.”148
“If it had depended upon me, I would willingly have devoted myself to that death which those maladies sooner or later bring upon one, in order to save and prolong the life of her whose eyes are now closed. I beseech you never to forget her. Collect all your powers to raise a monument to her honor. You need only do her justice. Without any way abandoning the truth, she will afford you an ample and beautiful subject. I wish you more repose and happiness than falls to my lot.
The great victory of Fontenoy, gained by the French on the Rhine, caused boundless exultation throughout France. “The French,” writes Carlyle, “made immense explosions of rejoicing over this victory; Voltaire celebrating it in prose and verse to an amazing degree; the whole nation blazing out over it into illuminations, arcs of triumph, and universal three times three; in short, I think nearly the heartiest national huzza, loud, deep, long-drawn, that the nation ever gave in like case.详情
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