In the mean time, on the 24th of January, Charles Albert, King of Bavaria, through the intrigues of the French minister and the diplomacy of Frederick, was chosen Emperor of Germany. This election Frederick regarded as a great triumph on his part. It was the signal defeat of Austria. Very few of the sons of Adam have passed a more joyless and dreary earthly pilgrimage than was the fortune of Charles Albert. At the time of his election he was forty-five years of age, of moderate stature, polished manners, and merely ordinary abilities. He was suffering from a complication of the most painful disorders. His previous life had been but a series of misfortunes, and during all the rest of his days he was assailed by the storms of adversity. In death alone he found refuge from a life almost without a joy.
“Write to me when you have nothing better to do. And don’t forget a poor philosopher who, perhaps to expiate his incredulity, is doomed to find his purgatory in this world.”
Louise Ulrique,Du dernier jour mena?aient les humains.
General Daun was soon informed of this energetic movement. He instantly placed himself at the head of sixty thousand troops, and also set out, at his highest possible speed, for Glatz.“For the event I can not answer. If I had more lives than one, I would sacrifice them all to my country. But, if this stroke fail, I think I am clear scores with her, and that it will be permissible to look a little to myself. There are limits to every490 thing. I support my misfortune. My courage is not abated by it. But I am well resolved, after this stroke, if it fail, to open an outgate to myself, and no longer be the sport of any chance.”140
“But this were nothing did we not feel the alternate insolence of either army as it happens to advance or retreat. It is impossible to express the confusion which even those create who call themselves our friends. Even those from whom we might expect redress oppress us with new calamities. From you, therefore, it is that we expect relief. To you even women and children may complain, for your humanity stoops to the most humble petition, and your power is capable of repressing the greatest injustice. I am, sire, etc.,
Thus the last fortress in Silesia fell into the hands of Frederick. There was no longer any foe left in the province to dispute his acquisition. He took possession of Neisse on the 1st of November, celebrating his victory with illuminations and all the approved demonstrations of public rejoicing.“Well, my children,” said Frederick, “how do you think that it will be with us now? The Austrians are twice as strong as we.”
The wife of George I., the mother of Sophie Dorothee, was the subject of one of the saddest of earthly tragedies. Her case is still involved in some obscurity. She was a beautiful, haughty, passionate princess of Zelle when she married her cousin George, Elector of Hanover. George became jealous of Count K?nigsmark, a very handsome courtier of commanding address. In an angry altercation with his wife, it is said that the infuriate husband boxed her ears. Suddenly, on the 1st of July, 1694, Count K?nigsmark disappeared. Mysteriously he vanished from earth, and was heard of no more. The unhappy wife, who had given birth to the daughter Sophie Dorothee, bearing her mother’s name, and to a son, afterward George II., almost frenzied with42 rage, was divorced from her husband, and was locked up in the gloomy castle of Ahlden, situated in the solitary moors of Luneburg heath. Here she was held in captivity for thirty years, until she died. In the mean time, George, ascending the throne of England, solaced himself in the society of female favorites, none of whom he honored with the title of wife. The raging captive of Ahlden, who seems never to have become submissive to her lot, could, of course, exert no influence in the marriage of her grandchildren.c. Prussian Infantry.
278 “That is your interpretation,” said Frederick. “But the French assert that it was an arrangement made in their favor.”As this magnificent army entered upon the smooth and beautiful fields of Southern Silesia they shook out their banners, and with peals of music gave expression to their confidence of victory. The Austrian officers pitched their tents on a hill near Hohenfriedberg, where they feasted and drank their wine, while, during the long and beautiful June afternoon, they watched the onward sweep of their glittering host. “The Austrian and Saxon army,” writes an eye-witness, “streamed out all the afternoon, each regiment or division taking the place appointed it; all the afternoon, till late in the night, submerging the country as in a deluge.”
The impetuous Frederick made no delay at Prague. The day after the capture, leaving five thousand men, under General Einsiedel, to garrison the city, he put his troops in motion, ascending the right bank of the Moldau. It would seem that he was about to march boldly upon Vienna. Wagons of meal, drawn by oxen, followed the army. The heavy artillery was left behind. The troops were forced along as rapidly as possible. They advanced in two columns. One was led by Frederick, and the other by young Leopold. The country through which they passed was dreary, desolate, barren in the extreme—a wild waste of precipitous rocks, and bogs, and tangled forest. The roads were wretched. No forage could be obtained. The starved oxen were continually dropping, exhausted, by the way; the path of the army was marked by their carcasses.“I forget how the conversation changed. But I know that it grew so free that, seeing somebody coming to join in it, the king warned him to take care, saying that it was not safe to converse with a man doomed by the theologians to everlasting fire. I felt as if he somewhat overdid this of his ‘being doomed,’ and that he boasted too much of it. Not to hint at the dishonesty of these free-thinking gentlemen, who very often are thoroughly afraid of the devil, it is at least bad taste to make display of such things. And it was with the people of bad taste whom he had about him, and some dull skeptics of his own academy, that he had acquired the habit of mocking at religion.”Secret Preparations for a Coalition.—Frederick’s Embarrassments.—The uncertain Support of England.—Causes of the War.—Commencement of Hostilities.—Letter from Frederick to his Sister Amelia.—Letter to his Brother.—The Invasion of Saxony.—Misfortunes of the Royal Family of Poland.—Battle of Lobositz.—Energetic Military Movements.—Prisoners of War compelled to enlist in the Prussian Service.—Dispatches from Frederick.—Battle of Prague.—Battle of Kolin.—Retreat of Frederick.—Death of Sophia Dorothea.
The king’s brother Henry was in command in Saxony, at the head of thirty thousand troops. Frederick wrote to him the characteristic and very judicious advice, “Do as energetically as possible whatever seems wisest to you. But hold no councils of war.”详情
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