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:
In October, 1723, when the prince was eleven years of age, his grandfather, George I., came to Berlin to visit his daughter and his son-in-law, the mother and father of Fritz. From the windows of his apartment he looked out with much interest upon Fritz, drilling his cadet company upon the esplanade in front of the palace. The clock-work precision of the movements of the boy soldiers greatly surprised him.
Thus originated with the Empress Catharine, one hundred years ago, the idea of driving the Turks out of Europe, and of annexing Constantinople to her majestic empire. From that time until now the question has been increasingly agitating the courts of Europe. Every day, now, the “Eastern Question” is assuming greater importance. The following map very clearly shows the commanding position of Constantinople, and the immense strength, both in a military and a commercial point of view, it would give to the Russian empire.Frederick William was very anxious that little Fritz should be trained to warlike tastes and habits; that, like himself, he should scorn all effeminacy; that, wearing homespun clothes, eating frugal food, despising all pursuits of pleasure and all literary tastes, he should be every inch a soldier. But, to the bitter disappointment of the father, the child manifested no taste for soldiering. He was gentle, affectionate, fond of books and music,4 and with an almost feminine love clung to his sister. The29 stern old king was not only disappointed, but angered. These were qualities which he deemed unmanly, and which he thoroughly despised.
“The Crown Prince begs his Britannic majesty not to reject the king’s proposals, whatever they may be, for his sister Wilhelmina’s sake. For, though the Crown Prince is determined to lose his life sooner than marry any body but the Princess Amelia, yet, if this negotiation were broken off, his father would go to extremities to force him and his sister into other engagements.”
“And how sad for mankind that the very interpreters of Heaven’s commandments—the theologians, I mean—are sometimes the most dangerous of all! professed messengers of the Divinity, yet men sometimes of obscure ideas and pernicious behavior, their soul blown out with mere darkness, full of gall and pride in proportion as it is empty of truths. Every thinking being who is not of their opinion is an atheist; and every king who does not favor them will be damned. Dangerous to the very throne, and yet intrinsically insignificant.
Then addressing Grumkow, she said, in tones deliberate and76 intense, “For you, sir, who are the author of my misfortunes, may my curse fall upon you and your house. You have this day killed me. But I doubt not that Heaven will hear my prayer and avenge my wrongs.”详情
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