Still the conquerors had such dread of their foe that they dared not emerge from their ramparts to pursue him. Had they done so, they might easily have captured or slain his whole army. Frederick bore adversity with great apparent equanimity. He did not for a moment lose self-control, or manifest any agitation.416 With great skill he conducted his retreat. Immediately after the battle he wrote to his friend Lord Marischall:The probable object of the Austrian court in revealing the secret treaty of Schnellendorf was to set Frederick and France at variance. Frederick, much exasperated, not only denied the treaty, but professed increased devotion to the interests of Louis XV. The allies, consisting of France, Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony, now combined to wrest Moravia from Maria Theresa, and annex it to Saxony. This province, governed by a marquis, was a third larger than the State of Massachusetts, and contained a population of about a million and a half. Moravia bounded Silesia on the south. Frederick made a special treaty with the King of Saxony, that the southern boundary of Silesia should be a full German mile, which was between four and five English miles, beyond the line of the River Neisse. With Frederick’s usual promptitude, he insisted that commissioners should be immediately sent to put down the boundary stones. France was surprised that the King of Saxony should have consented to the surrender of so important a strip of his territory.“You will quickly write me your mind on this. I have purchased the Von Katsch house. The field marshal, as governor of Berlin, will get that to live in. His government house I will have made new for you, and furnish it all, and give you enough to keep house yourself there.
On the 11th it was announced that Frederick, with nearly the whole Prussian army, was within five days’ march of Berlin. The allies held him in such dread, when he had any thing like an equality of numbers with them, that they fled from him at the rate of thirty miles a day. But terrible were the ravages which they inflicted on the Prussian people during this retreat.“I know right well the value of tranquillity, the sweets of society, the charms of life. I love to be happy as much as any one whatever. But, much as I desire these blessings, I will not purchase them by baseness and infamies. Philosophy enjoins us to do our duty faithfully, to serve our country at the price of our blood, of our repose, and of every sacrifice which can be required of us.”130
“‘Let the parsons who make for themselves a cruel and barbarous God be eternally damned, as they desire and deserve; and let those parsons who conceive God gentle and merciful enjoy the plenitude of his mercy.’
Early in June, the cautious but ever-vigilant General Daun succeeded in throwing into Olmütz a re-enforcement of eleven hundred Austrian troops. They were guided by peasants through by-paths in the forests. Crossing the river some miles below Olmütz, they entered the city from the east.
“The queen was alone, in his majesty’s apartment, waiting for him as he approached. As soon as he saw her at the end of the suite of rooms, and long before he arrived in the one where she was, he cried out, ‘Your unworthy son has at last ended himself. You have done with him.’
Frederick, with his own pen, gives the following account of this family quarrel, which resulted in the divorce of the Crown Prince and Elizabeth:“A general discontent,” writes Wilhelmina, “reigned in the country. The love of his subjects was pretty much gone. People spoke of him in no measured terms. Some accused him of caring nothing about those who helped him as Prince Royal. Others complained of his avarice as surpassing that of the late king. He was accused of violence of temper, of a suspicious disposition, of distrust, haughtiness, dissimulation. I would have spoken to him about these had not my brother Augustus William and the queen regnant dissuaded me.”
The Dauphiness of France was daughter of the King of Poland. With tears she craved protection for her parents. The Duchess of Pompadour was anxious to show her gratitude to407 Maria Theresa, who had condescended to address her as a “cousin and a dear sister.” A French army of one hundred thousand men was soon on the march to aid Austria in the liberation of Saxony. At the same time, an Austrian army of sixty thousand men, under Marshal Browne, was advancing rapidly from Bohemia to penetrate the fastnesses of the mountains for the release of the Polish king.“Tantalus never suffered so much while standing in the river, the waters of which he could not drink, as I when, having received your package of the translation of Wolff, I was unable to read it. All the accidents and all the bores in the world were, I think, agreed to prevent me. A journey to Potsdam, daily reviews, and the arrival of my brother in company with Messrs. De Hacke and De Rittberg, have been my impediments. Imagine my horror, my dear Diaphanes,30 at seeing the arrival of this caravan without my having in the least expected them. They weigh upon my shoulders like a tremendous burden, and never quit my side, in order, I believe, to make me wish myself at the devil.”“My dear Voltaire,—France has been considered thus far as the asylum of unfortunate monarchs. I wish that my capital should become the temple of great men. Come to it, then, my dear Voltaire, and give whatever orders can tend to render a residence in it agreeable to you. My wish is to please you, and wishing this, my intention is to enter entirely into your views.
FREDERICK AND HIS DOGS.“It is in such moments that I have felt how small are those advantages of birth, those vapors of grandeur, with which vanity would solace us. They amount to little, properly to nothing. Ah! would glory but make use of me to crown your successes!
The Crown Prince did not fancy this connection at all. His first wish was to journey about, through the courts of Europe, to select him a wife. But that measure his father would not think of. Frederick professed a willingness to submit to marry Anna, Princess of Mecklenburg, or the Princess of Eisenach. Seckendorf, the embassador of the emperor, aided by Grumkow, who had been bribed, urged the marriage with Elizabeth. The king adopted their views. His decision was like a decree of fate. The following letter, written by the king to his son, dated Potsdam, February 4, 1732, very clearly expresses his views:
“The king was accustomed to pass his leisure moments in playing with them, and the room where he sat was strewed with leather balls with which they amused themselves. As they were all much indulged, though there was always one especial favorite, they used to tear the damask covers of the chairs in the king’s apartment, and gnaw and otherwise injure the furniture. This he permitted without rebuke, and used only to say,详情
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