There was no end to the panegyrics which Voltaire, in his correspondence with Frederick, now lavished upon him. He greeted him with the title of Frederick the Great.Lord Hyndford, evidently embarrassed, for the facts were strongly against him, endeavored, in some additional remarks, to assume ignorance of any unfriendly action on the part of the British government. The king again, in a loud and angry tone, replied,
But General Neipperg, the Austrian commander-in-chief, proved as watchful, enterprising, and energetic as Frederick.248 His scouting bands swarmed in all directions. The Prussian foraging parties were cut off, their reconnoitrers were driven back, and all the movements of the main body of the Austrian army were veiled from their view. General Neipperg, hearing of the fall of Glogau, decided, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather and the snow, to march immediately, with thirty thousand men, to the relief of Neisse. His path led through mountain defiles, over whose steep and icy roads his heavy guns and lumbering ammunition-wagons were with difficulty drawn.On the night of the 14th Frederick had stationed his lines with the greatest care to guard against surprise. At midnight, wrapped in his cloak, and seated on a drum by a watch-fire, he had just fallen asleep. An Irish officer, a deserter from the Austrians, came blustering and fuming into the camp with the announcement that General Lacy’s army was on the march to attack Frederick by surprise. Frederick sprang to his horse. His perfectly drilled troops were instantly in motion. By a rapid movement his troops were speedily placed in battle array upon the heights of the Wolfsberg. They would thus intercept the enemy’s line of march, would take him by surprise, and were in the most admirable position to encounter superior numbers. To deceive the foe, all the Prussian camp-fires were left burning. General Loudon had resorted to the same stratagem to deceive Frederick.
Affairs were now assuming throughout Europe a very threatening aspect. The two French armies, of forty thousand each, had already crossed the Rhine to join their German allies in the war against Austria. One of these armies, to be commanded by Belleisle, had crossed the river about thirty miles below Strasbourg to unite with the Elector of Bavaria’s troops and march upon Vienna. The other army, under Maillebois, had crossed the Lower Rhine a few miles below Düsseldorf. Its mission was, as we have mentioned, to encamp upon the frontiers of Hanover, prepared to invade that province, in co-operation with the Prussian troops in the camp at G?ttin, should the King of England venture to raise a hand in behalf of Austria. It was also in position to attack and overwhelm Holland, England’s only ally, should that power manifest the slightest opposition to the designs of Prussia and France. At the same time, Sweden, on the 4th of August, had declared war against Russia, so that no help could come to Austria from that quarter. Great diplomatic ability had been displayed in guarding every point in these complicated measures. The French minister, Belleisle, was probably the prominent agent in these wide-spread combinations.60After this address to the assembled generals Frederick rode out to the camp, and addressed each regiment in the most familiar and fatherly, yet by no means exultant terms. It was night. The glare of torches shed a lurid light upon the scene. The first regiment the king approached was composed of the cuirassiers of the Life Guard.The day in which the treaty was signed Frederick wrote to the Marquis D’Argens as follows: “The best thing I have now to tell you of, my dear marquis, is the peace. And it is right that the good citizens and the public should rejoice at it. For me, poor old man that I am, I return to a town where I know nothing but the walls, where I find no longer any of my friends, where great and laborious duties await me, and where I shall soon lay my old bones in an asylum which can neither be troubled by war, by calamities, nor by the wickedness of men.”
Berlin was the capital of Brandenburg. K?nigsberg, an important sea-port on the Baltic, nearly five hundred miles east of Berlin, was the capital of the Prussian duchy. The ceremony20 of coronation took place at K?nigsberg. The road, for most of the distance, was through a very wild, uncultivated country. Eighteen hundred carriages, with thirty thousand post-horses, were provided to convey the court to the scene of coronation. Such a cavalcade was never beheld in those parts before. The carriages moved like an army, in three divisions of six hundred each. Volumes have been written descriptive of the pageant. It is said that the diamond buttons on the king’s coat cost seven thousand five hundred dollars each. The streets were not only tapestried with the richest cloth of the most gorgeous colors, but many of them were softly carpeted for the feet of the high-born men and proud dames who contributed, by their picturesque costume, to the brilliance of the spectacle. Frederick, with his own hands, placed the crown upon his brow. Thus was the kingdom of Prussia, ushered into being at the close of the year 1700.
To add to the embarrassments of Frederick, the King of Poland, entirely under the control of his minister Brühl, who hated Frederick, entered into an alliance with Maria Theresa, and engaged to furnish her with thirty thousand troops, who were to be supported by the sea powers England and Holland, who were also in close alliance with Austria.
“If you wish to come hither you can. I hear nothing of lawsuits, not even of yours. Since you have gained it I congratulate389 you, and I am glad that this scurvy affair is done.96 I hope you will have no more quarrels, either with the Old or the New Testament. Such contentions leave their mark upon a man. Even with the talents of the finest genius in France, you will not cover the stains which this conduct will fasten on your reputation in the long run. I write this letter with the rough common sense of a German, without employing equivocal terms which disfigure the truth. It is for you to profit by it.”
Upon reaching the palace, he stood for a moment upon the grand stairway, and, surveying the thronging thousands, took off his hat and saluted them. This gave rise to a burst of applause louder and heartier than Berlin had ever heard before. The king disappeared within the palace. Where the poor neglected queen was at this time we are not informed. There are no indications that he gave her even a thought.
At an early hour on the morning of the 3d Frederick broke up his camp south of the foe, and, by a circuitous route of fourteen513 miles, came down upon the Austrians from the north. General Ziethen marched in almost a straight line for Torgau, to cut off the retreat. It was two o’clock in the afternoon when Frederick, emerging from the forest, ordered his men to charge. The assault was as impetuous and reckless as mortal men could possibly make. Instantly four hundred pieces of artillery opened fire upon them.
Prince Bevern, aware that the battle would be renewed upon the morrow, and conscious that he could not sustain another435 such struggle, withdrew with his Prussian troops in the night, through the silent streets of Breslau, to the other side of the Oder, leaving eighty cannon behind him. The next morning, in visiting one of the outposts, he was surprised by a party of the Austrians and taken prisoner. It was reported that, fearing the wrath of the king, he had voluntarily allowed himself to be captured. General Kyau, the next in rank, took the command. He rapidly retreated. Breslau, thus left to its fate, surrendered, with its garrison of four thousand men, ninety-eight pieces of cannon, and vast magazines filled with stores of war. The next day was Sunday. Te Deums were chanted by the triumphant Austrians in the Catholic churches in Breslau, and thanks were offered to God that Maria Theresa had reconquered Silesia, and that “our ancient sovereigns are restored to us.”
In October, 1723, when the prince was eleven years of age, his grandfather, George I., came to Berlin to visit his daughter and his son-in-law, the mother and father of Fritz. From the windows of his apartment he looked out with much interest upon Fritz, drilling his cadet company upon the esplanade in front of the palace. The clock-work precision of the movements of the boy soldiers greatly surprised him.As soon as Hotham had left Berlin the Crown Prince held a secret midnight interview with Captain Dickens and Lieutenant Katte, to devise some new plan of escape during the journey to the Rhine, which was to commence in a few days. He made arrangements to leave all his private papers with Katte, provided himself with a large gray overcoat as a partial disguise, and, with much difficulty, obtained about a thousand ducats to defray his expenses. Lieutenant Keith was at Wesel. He was written to with the utmost secrecy, as he might be able to render efficient aid, could the Crown Prince reach him.详情
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