“We arrived at Berlin the end of October. My younger brothers, followed by the princes of the blood and by all the court, received us at the bottom of the stairs. I was led to my apartment, where I found the reigning queen, my sisters, and the princesses. I learned, with much chagrin, that the king was ill of tertian ague. He sent me word that, being in his fit, he could not see me, but that he depended on having that pleasure to-morrow. The queen-mother, to whom I went without delay, was in a dark condition. Her rooms were all hung in their lugubrious drapery. Every thing was as yet in the depth of mourning for my father. What a scene for me! Nature has her rights. I can say with truth I have almost never in my life been so moved as on this occasion. My interview with my mother was very touching.”
“Say not alas,” added the king. “But how do you know?”At the same time that the tidings of the death of Augustus William were communicated to the king, he received also the tidings, which to him were truly heart-rending, that Wilhelmina, worn down with care and sorrow, was fast sinking into the grave.
Schweidnitz was strictly blockaded during the winter. On the 15th of March, the weather being still cold, wet, and stormy, Frederick marched from Breslau to attack the place. His siege artillery was soon in position. With his accustomed impetuosity he commenced the assault, and, after a terrific bombardment of many days, on the night of the 15th of April took the works by storm. The garrison, which had dwindled from eight thousand to four thousand five hundred, was all captured, with fifty-one guns, thirty-five thousand dollars of money, and a large quantity of stores. Thus the whole of Silesia was again in the hands of Frederick.A week after the arrival of the prince the Prussian king entered the camp. As it was expected that some remarkable feats of war would be exhibited in the presence of the king, under the leadership of the renowned Prince Eugene, a very large assemblage of princes and other distinguished personages was collected on the field. The king remained for a month, dwelling in a161 tent among his own troops, and sharing all their hardships. He, with his son, attended all the councils of war. Still no attempt was made to relieve Philipsburg. The third day after the king’s arrival the city surrendered to the French. The campaign continued for some time, with unavailing man?uvring on both sides of the Rhine; but the Crown Prince saw but little active service. About the middle of August the king left the camp to return home. His health was seriously impaired, and alarming symptoms indicated that he had not long to live. His journey was slow and painful. Gout tortured him. Dropsy threatened to strangle him. He did not reach home until the middle of September. The alarming state of the king’s health added very much to the importance of the Crown Prince. It was evident that ere long he must come into power. The following characteristic anecdote is related of the king during this illness:
Quatre bons jours en pénitence
The freezing gales of winter soon came, when neither army could keep the open field. Frederick established his winter quarters at Breslau. General Loudon, with his Austrians, was about thirty miles southwest of him at Kunzendorf. Thus ended the sixth campaign.“General Neipperg halted here at Mollwitz with the whole254 army before the village, in mind to quarter. And quarter was settled, so that a plow-farmer got four to five companies to lodge, and a spade-farmer two or three hundred cavalry. The houses were full of officers, and the fields full of horsemen and baggage; and all around you saw nothing but fires burning. The wooden railings were instantly torn down for firewood. The hay, straw, barley were eaten away, and brought to nothing. Every thing from the barns was carried out. As the whole army could not lodge itself with us, eleven hundred infantry quartered at Laugwitz. B?rzdorf got four hundred cavalry; and this day nobody knew what would come of it.”Lord Hyndford, evidently embarrassed, for the facts were strongly against him, endeavored, in some additional remarks, to assume ignorance of any unfriendly action on the part of the British government. The king again, in a loud and angry tone, replied,
346 With a tender heart, Leopold was one of the most stern and rugged of men. Spending his whole life amidst the storms of battle, he seemed ever insensible to fatigue, and regardless of all physical comforts. And yet there was a vein of truly feminine gentleness and tenderness in his heart, which made him one of the most loving of husbands and fathers.“Daily for five hours the universality of his conversation completed my enchantment at his powers. The arts, war, medicine, literature, religion, philosophy, morality, history, and legislation passed in review by turns. The great times of Augustus and Louis XIV.; the good society among the Romans, the Greeks, and the French; the chivalry of Francis I.; the valor of Henry IV.; the revival of letters, and their changes since Leo X.; anecdotes of men of talent of former days, and their errors; the eccentricities of Voltaire; the sensitive vanity of Maupertuis; the agreeableness of Algarotti; the wit of Jordan; the hypochondriacism of the Marquis D’Argens, whom the king used to induce to keep his bed for four-and-twenty hours by merely telling him he looked ill—and what not besides? All that could be said of the most varied and agreeable kind was what came from him, in a gentle tone of voice, rather low, and very agreeable from his manner of moving his lips, which possessed an inexpressible grace.”198
“Our campaign is over. And there is nothing come of it on the one side or the other but the loss of a great many worthy people, the misery of a great many poor soldiers crippled forever,473 the ruin of some provinces, and the ravage, pillage, and conflagration of some flourishing towns. These are exploits which make humanity suffer; sad fruits of the wickedness and ambition of certain people in power, who sacrifice every thing to their unbridled passions. I wish you, mon cher milord, nothing that has the least resemblance to my destiny, and every thing that is wanting to it.There still remained to Frederick twenty-three years of life. He now engaged very vigorously in the endeavor to repair the terrible ravages of war by encouraging agriculture, commerce, and all useful arts. He invited the distinguished French philosophers Helvetius and D’Alembert to visit his court, and endeavored, though unavailingly, to induce them to take up their residence in Berlin. They were both in sympathy with the king in their renunciation of Christianity.
“My dialogue with the king was very lively; but the king was in such suffering, and so straitened for breath, I was myself anxious to shorten it. That same evening I traveled on.”The garrison retired to avoid capture. Berlin surrendered on the morning of October 9th. For three days the enemy held the city. The semi-barbaric soldiers committed fearful outrages. The soldiers sacked the king’s palaces at Potsdam and Charlottenburg, smashing furniture, doors, windows, mirrors, statuary, cutting the pictures, and maltreating the inmates.
346 With a tender heart, Leopold was one of the most stern and rugged of men. Spending his whole life amidst the storms of battle, he seemed ever insensible to fatigue, and regardless of all physical comforts. And yet there was a vein of truly feminine gentleness and tenderness in his heart, which made him one of the most loving of husbands and fathers.“It is the common rumor now,” Sir Thomas replied, “that your majesty, after the 12th of August, will join the French. Sire, I venture to hope not. Austria prefers your friendship; but if your majesty disdain Austria’s advances, what is it to do? Austria must throw itself entirely into the hands of France, and endeavor to outbid your majesty.”详情
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