With extraordinary energy and sagacity Frederick set about developing the resources of his new acquisition. Houses were built. Villages rose as by magic. Marshes were drained. Emigrants, in large numbers, mechanics and farmers, were transported to the new lands. Canals were dug. Roads were improved, and new ones opened. One hundred and eighty-seven school-550masters were sent into the country. Every where there was plowing, ditching, building.
In this frame of mind, the king began to talk seriously of abdicating in favor of Frederick, and of retiring from the cares of state to a life of religious seclusion in his country seat at Wusterhausen. He matured his plan quite to the details. Wilhelmina thus describes it:In the mean time, on the 24th of January, Charles Albert, King of Bavaria, through the intrigues of the French minister and the diplomacy of Frederick, was chosen Emperor of Germany. This election Frederick regarded as a great triumph on his part. It was the signal defeat of Austria. Very few of the sons of Adam have passed a more joyless and dreary earthly pilgrimage than was the fortune of Charles Albert. At the time of his election he was forty-five years of age, of moderate stature, polished manners, and merely ordinary abilities. He was suffering from a complication of the most painful disorders. His previous life had been but a series of misfortunes, and during all the rest of his days he was assailed by the storms of adversity. In death alone he found refuge from a life almost without a joy.220 “From all persons who return from Reinsberg the unanimous report is that the king works the whole day through with an assiduity which is unique, and then, in the evening, gives himself to the pleasures of society with a vivacity of mirth and sprightly humor, which makes those evening parties charming.
Sophie Dorothee tenderly loved her little Fritz, and, with a mother’s fondness, endeavored to shield him, in every way in her power, from his father’s brutality. Wilhelmina also clung to her brother with devotion which nothing could disturb. Thus both mother and daughter incurred in some degree the hatred with which the father regarded his son. It will be remembered that the mother of Fritz was daughter of George I. of England. Her brother subsequently became George II. He had a son, Fred, about the age of Wilhelmina, and a daughter, Amelia, six months older than Fritz. The mother, Sophie Dorothee, had set her heart upon a double marriage—of Wilhelmina with Fred,39 and of Fritz with Amelia. But many obstacles arose in the way of these nuptials.There were other abodes of the king, the Berlin and Potsdam palaces, which retained much of the splendor with which they had been embellished by the splendor-loving monarch, Frederick I. There were but few regal mansions in the world which then surpassed them. And though the king furnished his own apartments with Spartan simplicity and rudeness, there were other portions of these royal residences, as also their surroundings in general, which were magnificent in the highest degree. The health of little Fritz was rather frail, and at times he found it hard to devote himself to his sturdy tasks with the energy which his father required.
“When the Duke of Lorraine comes I will have thee come. I think the bride will be here then. Adieu; God be with you.”SOPHIA DOROTHEA.
“Indisputably enough to us, if not yet to Frederick, ‘Reinsberg and Life to the Muses’ are done. On a sudden, from the opposite side of the horizon, see miraculous Opportunity rushing hitherward; swift, terrible, clothed with lightning like a courser of the gods; dare you clutch him by the thunder-mane, and fling yourself upon him, and make for the Empyrean by that course rather? Be immediate about it, then; the time is now or never! No fair judge can blame the young man that he laid hold of the flaming Opportunity in this manner, and obeyed the new omen. To seize such an Opportunity and perilously mount upon it was the part of a young, magnanimous king, less sensible to the perils and more to the other considerations than one older would have been.”
“This is the homage you render the rising sun, though you know that the rule in the tobacco parliament is to rise to no one. You think I am dead. But I will teach you that I am yet living.”“We were scarcely seated at supper before he began by drinking a number of interesting healths, which there was a necessity of pledging. This first skirmish being over, it was followed by an incessant flow of sallies and repartees. The most contracted countenances became expanded. The gayety was general, even the ladies assisting in promoting our jollity.
Upon the reception of this letter, the prince, without replying to it, verbally asked leave, through one of his officers, to throw up his commission and retire to his family in Berlin. The king scornfully replied, “Let him go; he is fit for nothing else.” In the deepest dejection the prince returned to his home. Rapidly his health failed, and before the year had passed away, as we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, he sank into the grave, deploring his unhappy lot.
“Now are my wishes fulfilled,” said the emperor, “since I have the honor to embrace the greatest of kings and soldiers.”a a a. Russian Army. b b. Austrians, under Loudon. c c. Russian Abatis. d. Russian Wagenburg. e e. Position of Prussian Army Evening of 11th. f f. Vanguard, under Finck. g. Prussian Heavy Baggage. h. Attack of Prussian Grenadiers. i i. Prussian main Army. k k. Finck’s Line of Attack.
On the 29th of July the king joined his brother Henry at Sagan, on the Bober, about sixty miles above or south of Frankfort.480 The marches which had been effected by the king and his brother were the most rapid which had then ever been heard of. Greatly perplexed by the inexplicable movements of the Russians, the king pressed on till he effected a junction with the remnant of Wedell’s defeated army, near Müllrose, within twelve miles of Frankfort. He reached this place on the 3d of August. To Count Finckenstein he wrote:详情
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