France would hardly object, since she was exhausted with long wars. England was busy in the struggle with her North American colonies. Russia was at war with the Turks. There was no power to be feared but Prussia.When the Reformation in the sixteenth century was presented to Europe, and was rejected by Italy, France, Austria, and Spain, it was accepted, though not unanimously, yet very generally, by the inhabitants of this wild region. In the year 1700 there was, in the midst of the realm of which we are about to write, and which is now called Prussia, a province then known as the Marquisate of Brandenburg. It embraced a little over fifteen thousand square miles, being about twice as large as the State of Massachusetts. It was one of the electorates of Germany, and the elector or marquis, Frederick, belonged to the renowned family of Hohenzollern. To the east of Brandenburg there was a duchy called Prussia. This duchy, in some of the political agitations of the times, had been transferred to the Marquis of Brandenburg. The Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick, an ambitious man, rejoicing in the extent of his domain, which was large for a marquisate, though small for a monarchy, obtained from the Emperor of Germany its recognition as a kingdom, and assumed the title of Frederick I. of Prussia. Many of19 the proud monarchies of Europe did not conceal the contempt with which they regarded this petty kingdom. They received the elector into their society very much as haughty nobles, proud of a long line of illustrious ancestry, would receive a successful merchant who had purchased a title. Frederick himself was greatly elated with the honor he had attained, and his subjects shared with him in his exultation.
“These engagements,” said Sir Thomas, “are good as against the French, your majesty. But the Barrier treaty, confirmed at Utrecht, was for our benefit and that of Holland.
“Do you think so?” inquired the king.FREDERICK AND THE BRITISH MINISTERS.
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.
“His Prussian majesty requires nothing for himself. He has taken up arms simply and solely with the view of restoring to the empire its freedom, to the emperor his imperial crown, and to all Europe the peace which is so desirable.D’Argens spent the winter with the king at Leipsic. He gives the following incident: “One day I entered the king’s apartment, and found him sitting on the floor with a platter of fried meat, from which he was feeding his dogs. He had a little rod, with which he kept order among them, and shoved the best bits to his favorites.”
“It was a beautiful sight,” writes Tempelhof. “The heads of the columns were constantly on the same level, and at the distance necessary for forming. All flowed on exact as if in a review. And you could read in the eyes of our brave troops the temper they were in.”“I am also permitted, sire,” said Sir Thomas, “to add the Duchy of Limburg. It is a duchy of great wealth and resources, so valuable that the Elector Palatine was willing to give in exchange for it the whole Duchy of Berg.”
At ten o’clock at night on the 9th of September, the Russian camp went up in flame. The next morning not a Russian was526 to be seen. The whole army had disappeared over the hills far away to the north. Frederick immediately dispatched eight thousand men under General Platen to attack the flank of the retreating foe, and destroy his baggage-wagons. The feat was brilliantly accomplished. On the 15th of September, before the dawn of the morning, General Platen fell upon the long train, took nearly two thousand prisoners, seven cannon, and destroyed five thousand heavily-laden wagons.On the southeast frontier of Prussia, between that kingdom, and Poland, and Hungary, there was an Austrian realm called Silesia. The country embraced a territory of twenty thousand square miles, being about twice as large as the State of Vermont.215 The population was about two millions. For more than a century Silesia had been a portion of the Austrian kingdom. Time, and the assent of Europe, had sanctioned the title.
Sir Thomas Robinson added, “Sire, I am not talking of what this power or that means to do, but of what will come of itself.279 To prophesy is not to threaten, sire. It is my zeal for the public good which brought me here, and—”Spain was at war with England, and was ready to enter into an alliance with any power which would aid her in her struggle with that formidable despot of the seas.详情
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