During the winter Russia and France interposed in behalf of peace. The belligerents agreed to submit the question to their decision. Austria was permitted to take a small slice of Bavaria, and for a time the horrors of war were averted.
“After having restored peace to my kingdom; after having conquered countries, raised a victorious army, and filled my treasury; after having established a good administration throughout my dominions; after having made my enemies tremble, I resign, without regret, this breath of life to Nature.”On the River Maas, a few miles north of the present city of Liege, there was a celebrated castle called Herstal. For many generations feudal lords had there displayed their pomp and power; and it had been the theatre not only of princely revelry, but of many scenes of violence and blood. A surrounding territory of a few thousand acres, cultivated by serfs, who were virtually slaves, was the hereditary domain of the petty lords of the castle. A few miles south of the castle there was a monastery called Liege, which was a dependency of the lords of Herstal.
L’airs émus par le bruyant tonnere.
“Your letter, my dear brother, has made me twenty years younger. Yesterday I was sixty, to-day hardly eighteen. I bless Heaven for preserving your health, and that things have passed so happily. It is a service so important rendered by you to the state that I can not enough express my gratitude, and will wait to do it in person.”
Peter III. had been left an orphan, and titular Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, when eleven years of age. His mother was a daughter of Peter the Great. His aunt, the Czarina Elizabeth, who had determined not to marry, adopted the child, and pronounced him to be her heir to the throne. Being at that time on friendly terms with Frederick, the Empress Elizabeth had consulted him in reference to a wife for the future czar. It will be remembered that the king effected a marriage between Peter and Sophia, the beautiful daughter of a Prussian general, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and at that time commandant of Stettin. His wife was sister to the heir-apparent of Sweden. Carlyle, speaking of this couple, says:“Yesterday I wrote to you to come; to-day I forbid it. Daun is marching upon Berlin. Fly these unhappy countries. This news obliges me again to attack the Russians between here and Frankfort. You may imagine if this is a desperate resolution. It is the sole hope that remains to me of not being cut off from Berlin on the one side or the other. I will give these discouraged troops brandy, but I promise myself nothing of success. My one consolation is that I shall die sword in hand.”
As the morning dawned it was manifest to Frederick that the battle was lost, and that there was no salvation for the remnant of his troops but in a precipitate retreat. He had lost a hundred pieces of cannon, nearly all of his tents and camp furniture, and over eight thousand of his brave troops were either dead or468 captive. Though the Austrians had lost about the same number of men, they had still over eighty thousand left.
Poland, ever in turmoil, was at this time choosing a king. The emperor advocated the claims of August of Saxony. France urged Stanislaus, a Polish noble, whose daughter had married the French dauphin. War ensued between France and Germany. Frederick William became the ally of the emperor. An army of ten thousand men, admirably equipped and organized, was upon the march for the Rhine, to act with the emperor against France. The Crown Prince was very eager to join the expedition, and obtained permission to do so.
“All is lost, my dear daughter. The king is determined, at all hazards, upon your marriage. I have sustained several dreadful contests on this subject, but neither my prayers nor my tears have had any effect. Eversman has orders to make the purchases necessary for your marriage. You must prepare yourself to lose Madam Sonsfeld. The king is determined to have her degraded with infamy if you do not obey him. Some one will be sent to persuade you. In God’s name consent to nothing, and God will support you in it. A prison is better than a bad marriage. Adieu, my dear daughter! I expect every thing from your firmness.”详情
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