“Had all our fatalities been limited to stoppages of speed on the journey, we should have taken patience. But after frightful roads we found lodgings still more frightful.
The king then questioned him very closely respecting the place where he had studied, during what years, under what teachers, and to what branches he had devoted special attention. While thus conversing the clock struck twelve. This was the dinner-hour of his majesty. “Now I must go,” said the king. “They wait for their soup.”“Ah!” said the king, gayly, “we must have them back from him again.”
George II. had always hated his nephew Frederick. His only object in sustaining the war was to protect his native electorate of Hanover and to abase France.161 The new sovereign, in his first speech to Parliament, said:
Adolph Frederick was the heir to the throne of Sweden. Successful diplomacy brought a magnificent embassy from Stockholm to Berlin, to demand Princess Ulrique as the bride of Sweden’s future king. The course of love, whether true or false, certainly did in this case run smooth. The marriage ceremony was attended in Berlin with such splendor as the Prussian capital had never witnessed before. The beautiful Ulrique was very much beloved. She was married by proxy, her brother Augustus William standing in the place of the bridegroom.Frederick, ever regardless of fatigue and exposure for himself, never spared his followers. It was after midnight of the 28th when the weary column, frostbitten, hungry, and exhausted, reached Olmütz. The king was hospitably entertained in the fine palace of the Catholic bishop, “a little, gouty man,” writes Stille, “about fifty-two years of age, with a countenance open and full of candor.”
The prospects of Maria Theresa seemed now quite desperate. We know not that history records a more inglorious act than that Europe should have thus combined to take advantage of the youth and inexperience of this young queen, weeping over the grave of her father, and trembling in view of her own approaching hour of anguish, by wresting from her the inheritance which had descended to her from her ancestors. France and272 Germany, inspired by the most intense motives of selfish ambition, were to fall upon her, while the most effectual precautions were adopted to prevent Russia and England from coming to her aid.
The battle of Rossbach was fought on the 5th of November, 1757. Frederick had but little time to rejoice over his victory. The Austrians were overrunning Silesia. On the 14th of the month, the important fortress of Schweidnitz, with all its magazines, fell into their hands. Then Prince Charles, with sixty thousand Austrian troops, marched upon Breslau, the principal city of Silesia, situated on the Oder. The Prince of Bevern held the place with a little over twenty thousand Prussian troops. His army was strongly intrenched outside of the walls, under the guns of the city.“Friedrich Wilhelm.The plan of France, as conceived and pushed resolutely forward by the Count of Belleisle, the renowned minister of Louis XV., was to divide Germany into four small kingdoms of about equal power, Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia, and Austria. The King of Bavaria, as one of the protégés of France, was to be chosen Emperor of Germany. To accomplish this, Austria was to be reduced to a second-rate power by despoiling the young queen, Maria Theresa, of large portions of her territory, and annexing271 the provinces wrested from her to the petty states of Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony, thus sinking Austria to an equality with them. France, the grand nation, would then be indisputably the leading power in Europe. By bribery, intimidation, and inciting one kingdom against another, the court of Versailles could control the policy of the whole Continent. Magnificent as was this plan, many circumstances seemed then combining to render it feasible. The King of Prussia, inspired simply by the desire of enlarging his kingdom by making war against Austria, and striving to wrest Silesia from the realms of Maria Theresa, was co-operating, in the most effectual way possible, to further the designs of France. And it had now also become a matter of great moment to Frederick that he should secure the alliance of the court of Versailles.
“And all that I have been relating to you is due to the king alone, who not only gave the orders, but himself saw that they were faithfully obeyed. He both conceived the designs and executed them. He spared neither care, nor trouble, nor vast treasures, nor promises, nor recompenses, in order to assure the existence and the comfort of half a million of rational beings, who owe to him alone their happiness. There is something in my mind so heroic in the generous and laborious manner in which the king has devoted himself to the restoring to this deserted country its population, fertility, and happiness, that I think you will see his conduct in the same light as I do when you are made acquainted with the circumstances.”
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“Tell your unworthy daughter,” said the king to the queen, “that her room is to be her prison. I shall give orders to have the guard there doubled. I shall have her examined in the most rigorous manner, and will afterward have her removed to some fit place, where she may repent of her crimes.”“Prosperity, my dear lord, often inspires a dangerous confidence. Twenty-three battalions were not sufficient to drive sixty thousand men from their intrenchments. Another time we will take our precautions better. Fortune has this day turned her back upon me. I ought to have expected it. She is a female, and I am not gallant. What say you to this league against the Margrave of Brandenburg? How great would be the astonishment of the great elector if he could see his great-grandson at war at the same time with the Russians, the Austrians, almost all Germany, and one hundred thousand French auxiliaries! I do not know whether it will be disgraceful in me to be overcome, but I am sure there will be no great glory in vanquishing me.”102
“Never mind,” said the king; “it is a cheap price to pay for escaping an attack from Pandours in the rear, while such a battle was raging in front.”详情
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