“Think you there is any pleasure in living this dog’s life, in seeing and causing the butchery of people you know nothing of, in losing daily those you do know and love, in seeing perpetually your reputation exposed to the caprices of chance, passing year after year in disquietudes and apprehensions, in risking without end your life and your fortune?
Frederick caught eagerly at the suggestion, as the remark was reported to him by his brother. He drew up a new plan of partition, which he urged with all his powers of address upon both Russia and Austria. The conscience of Maria Theresa was strongly opposed to the deed. Catharine and Kaunitz were very greedy in their demands. Circumstances assumed such an aspect that it was very difficult for Maria Theresa to oppose the measure. At length, through the extraordinary efforts of Frederick, on the 5th of August, 1772, the following agreement was adopted:
BATTLE OF TORGAU, NOVEMBER 3, 1760.
A spy was sent to Saxony, who reported that there were but twenty thousand troops there. All necessary information was promptly and secretly obtained in reference to roads and fortresses. It required three weeks to receive an answer from Vienna.404 The reply was evasive, as Frederick knew that it would be. In the mean time, his Prussian majesty, with characteristic energy, had mustered on the frontier an army numbering in the aggregate nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men. These troops, in three divisions, with two thousand pieces of artillery, were to make a rush upon Saxony. Among the directions given by Frederick to the leaders of these divisions were the following:
“Gentlemen,” said Frederick, “I have assembled you here for a555 public object. Most of you, like myself, have often been in arms with one another, and are grown gray in the service of our country. To all of us is well known in what dangers, toils, and renown we have been fellow-sharers. I doubt not in the least that all of you, as myself, have a horror of bloodshed; but the danger which now threatens our countries not only renders it a duty, but puts us in the absolute necessity, to adopt the quickest and most effectual means for dissipating at the right time the storm which threatens to break out upon us.The king approved of the first two sentences of the court. The mildness of the last roused his indignation. “Katte,” he exclaimed, “is guilty of high treason. He shall die by the sword of the headsman. It is better that he should die than that justice depart out of the world.” His doom was thus fixed as irreversible as fate.
491 The rumor that Daun was marching upon Berlin proved a false alarm. On the 4th of September the king again wrote D’Argens from his encampment at Waldau, a few leagues south of his last position, just over the border in Saxony:
466 General Keith, as he looked upon the long and compact lines of General Daun, and saw how apparently easy it would be for him, from his commanding position, to annihilate the Prussian army, said to the king, sadly,Butors de race impertinente,
Here the king interrupted him, and with scornful gesture, “laying his finger on his nose,” and in loud tones, exclaimed,“It was but a few years ago,” she wrote, “that this territory wore the most pleasing appearance. The country was cultivated. The peasants looked cheerful. The towns abounded with riches and festivity. What an alteration at present from such a charming scene! I am not expert at description, neither can my fancy add any horrors to the picture. But sure even conquerors themselves would weep at the hideous prospect now before me.“I respect metaphysical ideas. Rays of lightning they are in the midst of deep night. More, I think, is not to be hoped from metaphysics. It does not seem likely that the first principles of things will ever be known. The mice that nestle in some little holes of an immense building know not whether it is eternal, or who the architect, or why he built it. Such mice are we. And the divine architect has never, that I know of, told his secret to one of us.”
In the mean time a Venetian embassador, on his way to one of the northern courts, passed a night at a hotel in Berlin. He was immediately arrested, with his luggage, by a royal order. A dispatch was transmitted to Venice, stating that the embassador would be held as a hostage till Barberina was sent to Prussia. “A bargain,” says Frederick, in his emphatic utterance, “is a bargain. A state should have law courts to enforce contracts entered into in their territories.”In the court of the czarina there was a very handsome young Pole, Stanislaus Poniatowski, who had been an acknowledged lover of Catharine. Though Catharine had laid him aside for other favorites, she still regarded him with tender feelings. He was just the man to do her bidding. By skillful diplomacy she542 caused him to be elected King of Poland. That kingdom was now entirely in her hands, so far as it was in the power of its monarch to place it there.详情
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