“His obstinate perverse disposition which does not love his father; for when one does every thing, and really loves one’s father, one does what the father requires, not while he is there to see it, but when his back is turned too. For the rest he knows very well that I can endure no effeminate fellow who has no human inclination in him; who puts himself to shame, can not ride or shoot; and, withal, is dirty in his person, frizzles his hair like a fool, and does not cut it off. And all this I have a thousand times reprimanded, but all in vain, and no improvement in nothing. For the rest, haughty; proud as a churl; speaks to nobody but some few, and is not popular and affable; and cuts grimaces with his face as if he were a fool; and does my will in nothing but following his own whims; no use to him in any thing else. This is the answer.Sir Thomas, deeply chagrined, hastened back to Presburg. Acting in behalf of the English cabinet, he trembled in view of the preponderance of the French court and of the loss of Hanover. With the most impassioned earnestness he entreated the queen to yield to the demands of Frederick, and thus secure his alliance.
FREDERICK THE GREAT.
Frederick regarded the Academy as his pet institution, and was very jealous of the illustrious philosopher, whom he had invited to Berlin to preside over its deliberations. Voltaire, knowing this very well, and fully aware that to strike the Academy391 in the person of its president was to strike Frederick, wrote an anonymous communication to a review published in Paris, in which he accused M. Maupertuis—first, of plagiarism, in appropriating to himself a discovery made by another; secondly, of a ridiculous blunder in assuming that said discovery was a philosophical principle, and not an absurdity; and thirdly, that he had abused his position as president of the Academy in suppressing free discussion, by expelling from the institution a member merely for not agreeing with him in opinion. These statements were probably true, and on that account the more damaging.
These tidings struck the Austrian council with consternation. The French armies were declared to be the finest that had ever taken the field. The Prussian army, in stolid bravery and perfection285 of discipline, had never been surpassed. Germany was to be cut into four equal parts, and France was to be the sovereign power on the Continent.
“‘Oh dear me!’ I exclaimed; ‘do let me have enough of dancing this one new time. It may be long before it comes again.’Winter Encampment.—Death of Maupertuis.—Infamous Conduct of Voltaire.—Reproof by the King.—Voltaire’s Insincerity.—Correspondence.—The King publishes his Poems.—Dishonorable Conduct of the King.—New Encampment near Dresden.—Destruction of Frederick’s Army in Silesia.—Atrocities perpetrated by the Austrians.—Astonishing March.—The Austrians outwitted.—Dresden bombarded and almost destroyed by Frederick.—Battle of Liegnitz.—Utter Rout of the Austrians.—Undiminished Peril of Frederick.—Letter to D’Argens.
FREDERICK AND WILHELMINA.On the 7th of January, 1742, Frederick’s eldest brother, William Augustus, was married to Louisa Amelia, a younger sister of the king’s neglected wife, Elizabeth. The king himself graced297 the festival, in gorgeous attire, and very successfully plied all his wonderful arts of fascination. “He appeared,” says Bielfeld, “so young, so gay, so graceful, that I could not have refrained from loving him, even if he had been a stranger.”
But that he was fully awake to his perils, and keenly felt his sufferings, is manifest from the following extract from another of his letters:
“As God often, by wondrous guidance, strange paths, and thorny steps, will bring men into the kingdom of Christ, so may our divine Redeemer help that this prodigal son be brought into his communion; that his godless heart be beaten until it is softened and changed, and so he be snatched from the claws of Satan. This grant us, the Almighty God and Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ and his passion and death’s sake. Amen.Sieges, skirmishes, battles innumerable ensued. The Russians and the Austrians, in superior numbers and with able leaders, were unwearied in their endeavors to annihilate their formidable foe. The conflict was somewhat analogous to that which takes place between the lion at bay in the jungle and a pack of dogs. The details could scarcely be made intelligible to the reader, and would certainly prove tedious.15321 Sophie Dorothee was a very pretty child. The plan was probably already contemplated by the parents that the two should be married in due time. Soon after this Frederick William lost his mother, and with her all of a mother’s care and gentle influences. Her place was taken by a step-mother, whose peevishness and irritability soon developed into maniacal insanity. When Frederick William was eighteen years of age he was allowed to choose between three princesses for his wife. He took his pretty cousin, Sophie Dorothee. They were married with great pomp on the 28th of November, 1706.详情
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