Frederick did not pursue the Austrians after this victory. Nine acres of ground were required to bury the dead. He rented this land from the proprietor for twenty-five years. His alienation from his allies was such that, without regard to them, he was disposed to make peace with Austria upon the best terms he could for himself. England also, alarmed in view of the increasing supremacy of France, was so anxious to detach Frederick, with his invincible troops, from the French alliance, that the British cabinet urged Maria Theresa to make any sacrifice whatever that might be necessary to secure peace with Prussia. Frederick,313 influenced by such considerations, buried the illustrious Austrian dead with the highest marks of military honor, and treated with marked consideration his distinguished prisoners of war.
“My dearest Brother,—Death and a thousand torments could not equal the frightful state I am in. There run reports that make me shudder. Some say that you are wounded, others that you are dangerously ill. In vain have I tormented myself to have news of you. I can get none. Oh, my dear brother, come what may, I will not survive you. If I am to continue in this frightful uncertainty, I can not stand it. In the name of God, bid some one write to me.Voltaire had, as a pet, a very vicious ape, treacherous, spiteful, who pelted passers-by with stones, and, when provoked, would bite terribly. The name of this hateful beast was Luc. Voltaire gave his friend Frederick the nickname of Luc. He corresponded freely with the enemies of his Prussian majesty. A few extracts will reveal the character of the friendship of the philosopher. Some days after the battle of Kunersdorf Voltaire wrote to D’Argental:“Your excellency does not know that wily enemy, the King of Prussia, as well as I do. By no means get into a battle with him. Cautiously man?uvre about. Detain him there till I have got my stroke in Saxony done. Don’t try fighting him.
Regulated differently the thing.“By all the devils,” exclaimed the king, “I shall not till we have taken Dresden. Then I will provide for you to your heart’s content.”(But Heaven, which of all disposes,
The plan of his Prussian majesty was bold and sagacious. He supposed that he could easily take Olmütz. Availing himself of the vast magazines to be found there, he would summon450 his brother Henry to join him by a rapid march through Bohemia, and with their combined force of sixty thousand troops they would make a rush upon Vienna. The Austrian capital was distant but about one hundred miles, directly south. As the Austrian army was widely dispersed, there were but few impediments to be encountered. The success of this plan would compel the allies to withdraw their forces from the territories of the King of Prussia, if it did not enable Frederick to dictate peace in the palaces of Maria Theresa.“Moravia, which is a very bad country, could not be held, owing to want of provisions. The town of Brünn could not be taken because the Saxons had no cannon. When you wish to enter a town, you must first make a hole to get in by. Besides, the country has been reduced to such a state that the enemy can not subsist in it, and you will soon see him leave it. There is your little military lesson. I would not have you at a loss what to think of our operations, or what to say, should other people talk of them in your presence.”
“Waters all out, bridges down,” writes Carlyle; “the country one wide lake of eddying mud; up to the knee for many miles together; up to the middle for long spaces; sometimes even to the chin or deeper, where your bridge was washed away. The Prussians marched through it as if they had been slate or iron. Rank and file—nobody quitted his rank, nobody looked sour in the face—they took the pouring of the skies and the red seas of terrestrial liquid as matters that must be; cheered one another with jocosities, with choral snatches, and swashed unweariedly forward. Ten hours some of them were out, their march being twenty or twenty-five miles.”
355 “War is cruelty,” said General Sherman; “and you can not refine it.” “No man of refined Christian sensibilities,” said the Duke of Wellington, “should undertake the profession of a soldier.” The exigencies of war often require things to be done from which humanity revolts. “War,” said Napoleon I., “is the science of barbarians.” One of the principal objects of Frederick in this pursuit of the Austrians through Bohemia was to lay waste the country so utterly, destroying its roads and consuming its provisions, that no Austrian army could again pass through it for the invasion of Silesia. Who can imagine the amount of woe thus inflicted upon the innocent peasants of Bohemia? Both armies were reduced to the necessity of living mainly upon the resources of the country in which they were encamped. Their foraging parties were scattered in all directions. There were frequent attacks of outposts and bloody skirmishes, in which many were slain and many were crippled for life. Each death, each wound, sent tears, and often life-long woe, to some humble cottage.“Unless one day the tumult of business and the wickedness of men alter so divine a character, you will be worshiped by your people and loved by the whole world. Philosophers, worthy of the name, will flock to your states. The illustrious Queen Christina quitted her kingdom to go in search of the arts. Reign you, Monseigneur, and the arts will come to seek you.
The next day, the 21st of August, he wrote to D’Argens to come and visit him, and bring his bed with him. “I will have you a little chamber ready.” But the next day he wrote,
Prince Charles, as he was leading the main body of his army to the assault, sent a squadron of his fleet-footed cavalry to burn the Prussian camp, and to assail the foe in their rear. But the troops found the camp so rich in treasure that they could not resist the temptation of stopping to plunder. Thus they did not make the attack which had been ordered, and which would probably have resulted in the destruction of the Prussian army. It is said that when Frederick, in the heat of the battle, was informed that the Pandours were sacking his camp, he coolly replied, “So much the better; they will not then interrupt us.”“Frederick bethinks him that in a late visit to Weimar he had noticed, for his fine qualities, a young gentleman named G?rtz, late tutor to the young Duke Karl August, a wise, firm, adroit-looking young gentleman, who was farther interesting as brother to Lieutenant General Von G?rtz, a respectable soldier of Frederick’s. Ex-tutor at Weimar, we say, and idle for the moment; hanging about court there, till he should find a new function.
While matters were in this extremity, the British minister, Dubourgay, and Baron Knyphausen, a distinguished Prussian official, dispatched Rev. Dr. Villa, a scholarly man, who had been Wilhelmina’s teacher of English, on a secret mission to the court of England, to communicate the true state of affairs, and to endeavor to secure some disentanglement of the perplexities. Dr. Villa was a warm friend of Wilhelmina, and, in sympathy with her sorrows, wept as he bade her adieu. The king was in such ill humor that his daughter dared not appear in his presence. If Fritz came within reach of his father’s arm he was pretty sure to receive a blow from his rattan.“Well,” the king replied, kindly, “try it one day more. If we do not mend matters, you and I will both desert together.”
Frederick was so busy cantoning his troops that he did not take possession of his head-quarters in Leipsic until the 8th of December. He occupied the Apel House, No. 16 Neumarkt Street, the same which he had occupied before the battle of Rossbach. The same mistress kept the house as before. Upon seeing the king, the good woman exclaimed, in astonishment, “How lean your majesty has grown!”详情
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