His sister Amelia and several other friends visited him at Breslau. Among others was his reader, Henry de Catt.It is pleasant to record another incident more creditable to Frederick. In the year 1750 there was a poor and aged schoolmaster, by the name of Linsenbarth, a very worthy man, a veritable Dominie Sampson, residing in the obscure village of Hemmleben. He had been educated as a clergyman, had considerable book learning, was then out of employment, and was in extreme destitution. The pastor of the village church died, leaving a vacant pulpit, and a salary amounting to about one hundred dollars a year. The great man of the place, a feudal lord named Von Werthern, offered the situation to Linsenbarth upon condition that he would marry his lady’s termagant waiting-maid. Linsenbarth, who had no fancy for the haughty shrew, declined the offer. The lord and lady were much offended, and in various381 ways rendered the situation of the poor schoolmaster so uncomfortable that he gathered up his slender means, amounting to about three hundred dollars, all in the deteriorated coin of the province, and went to Berlin. His money was in a bag containing nearly nine thousand very small pieces of coin, called batzen.
“As you pass through Neisse, please present my compliments to Marshal Neipperg; and you can say, your excellency, that I hope to have the pleasure of calling upon him one of these days.“Judge, my dear general, if I have been much charmed with the description you give of the abominable object of my desires. For the love of God disabuse the king in regard to her. Let him remember that fools are commonly the most obstinate of creatures. Let the king remember that it is not for himself that he is marrying me, but for myself. Nay, he too will have a thousand chagrins to see two persons hating one another, and the most miserable marriage in the world; to hear their mutual complaints, which will be to him so many reproaches for having fashioned the instrument of our yoke. As a good Christian, let him consider if it is well done to wish to force people, to cause divorces, and to be the occasion of all the sins that an ill-assorted marriage leads us to commit. I am determined to front every thing in the world sooner. Since things are so, you may, in some good way, apprise the Duke of Bevern that, happen what may, I never will have her.BATTLE OF HOHENFRIEDBERG, JUNE 4, 1745.
It was two o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, December 12, when the banners of the Old Dessauer appeared before Myssen. The Saxon commander there broke down the bridge, and in the darkness of the night stole away with his garrison to Dresden. Leopold vigorously but cautiously pursued. As the allied army was near, and in greater force than Leopold’s command, it was necessary for him to move with much discretion. His march was along the west bank of the river. The ground was frozen and white with snow.
Early in the morning Frederick’s whole army was on the rapid march for Breslau, which was scarcely twenty miles distant from the battle-field. The Austrians had collected immense military stores in the city. Prince Charles, as he fled through the place with the wreck of his army, left a garrison of seventeen thousand men for its defense. In a siege of twelve days, during which there was an incessant bombardment and continual assaults, the city was carried. A few days after this, Liegnitz, which the Austrians had strongly fortified, was also surrendered to the victor. Frederick had thus reconquered the whole of Silesia excepting the single fortress of Schweidnitz.“The poor courtier,” Wilhelmina adds, “obliged to become possessor of this miserable performance, and to pay so dear for it, determined for the future to be more circumspect in his admiration.”
On the 26th of June this vast train commenced its movement from Troppau. A convoy of about seven thousand infantry and eleven hundred cavalry guarded the wagons. They were in three bodies, on the front, in the centre, and on the rear. The king also sent forward about six thousand horse and foot from Olmütz to meet the train.
“After a long search, I at length found him in a tower of a church, with a telescope in his hand. Never had I seen him in so much perplexity and anxiety as at this moment. The order he gave me was, ‘You must get out of this scrape as well as you can.’ I had hardly got back to my post when his adjutant337 followed me with a new order to cross the town, and to remain on horseback with my squadron in the opposite suburb.“Directly at two he goes back to his room. Duhan is then ready; takes him upon maps and geography from two to three o’clock, giving account of all the European kingdoms, their strength and weakness; the size, riches, and poverty of their towns. From three o’clock till four Duhan shall treat of morality; from four till five shall write German letters with him, and see that he gets a good style. About five o’clock Fritz shall wash his hands and go to the king; ride out, and divert himself in the air, and not in his room, and do what he likes if it is not against God.”
The Herstal Affair.—The Summons.—Voltaire’s Manifesto.—George II. visits Hanover.—The Visit of Wilhelmina to Berlin.—Unpopularity of the King.—Death of the Emperor Charles VI.“Mais le ciel, qui de tout dispose,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:
It was all in vain. On Sunday evening, September 5th, as the condemned young man was sitting alone in his prison cell, sadly awaiting his doom, yet clinging to hopes of mercy, an officer entered with the startling intelligence that the carriage was at the door to convey him to the fortress of Cüstrin, at a few leagues distance, where he was to be executed. For a moment he was greatly agitated. He soon, however, regained his equanimity. It must indeed have been a fearful communication to one in the107 vigor of health, in the prime of youth, and surrounded by every thing which could render life desirable. Two brother-officers and the chaplain accompanied him upon this dismal midnight ride. Silence, pious conversation, prayers, and occasional devotional hymns occupied the hours. The dawn of a cold winter’s morning was just appearing as they reached the fortress.Frederick made several unavailing efforts during the winter to secure peace. He was weary of a war which threatened his utter destruction. The French were also weary of a struggle in which they encountered but losses and disgraces. England had but little to hope for from the conflict, and would gladly see the exhaustive struggle brought to a close.
“Monsieur,—I believe that it is of the last importance that I should write to you, and I am very sad to have things to say which I ought to conceal from all the earth. But one must take that bad leap, and, reckoning you among my friends, I the more easily resolve to open myself to you.“You are now,” said Frederick, “by consent of the allies, King of Moravia. Now is the time, now or never, to become so in fact. Push forward your Saxon troops. The Austrian forces are weak in that country. At Iglau, just over the border from Austria, there is a large magazine of military stores, which can299 easily be seized. Urge forward your troops. The French will contribute strong divisions. I will join you with twenty thousand men. We can at once take possession of Moravia, and perhaps march directly on to Vienna.”
The apartments prepared for the Princess Royal were also very magnificent. Her parlor was twenty feet high. It had six windows, three opening in the main front toward the town, and the other three opening toward the interior court. The spaces between the windows were covered with immense mirrors, so arranged as to display the ceiling, beautifully painted by one of the finest artists of the day. The artist had spread his colors with such delicacy and skill, so exquisitely blending light and shade, that the illusion was almost perfect. The spectator felt that the real sky, with its fleecy clouds and infinite depth of blue, overarched him.详情
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