“We, remembering his important services to our house in diverting for nine years long the late king our father, and doing the honors of our court through the now reign, can not refuse such request. We do hereby certify that the said Baron P?llnitz has never assassinated, robbed on the highway, poisoned, forcibly cut purses, or done other atrocity or legal crime at our court; but that he has always maintained gentlemanly behavior, making not more than honest use of the industry and talents he has been endowed with at birth; imitating the object of the drama—that is, correcting mankind by gentle quizzing—following in the matter of sobriety Boerhaave’s counsels, pushing Christian charity so far as often to make the rich understand that it is more blessed to give than to receive; possessing perfectly the anecdotes of our various mansions, especially of our worn-out furnitures, rendering himself by his merits necessary to those who know him, and, with a very bad head, having a very good heart.
“Let us deceive the fever, my dear Voltaire, and let me have at least the pleasure of embracing you. Make my best excuses to Madame the Marquise that I can not have the satisfaction of seeing her at Brussels. All that are about me know the intention I was in, which certainly nothing but the fever could make me change.THE SAUSAGE CAR.
The reader would not be interested in the details of the battle which ensued. It lasted for five hours. It was, as is every battle, an indescribable scene of tumult, uproar, and confusion. The result was long doubtful. Defeat to Frederick would have been utter ruin. It is wonderful how one determined man can infuse his spirit into a whole host. Every Prussian seemed to363 have the same desperate valor, and determination to conquer or to die, which animated his king.Frankfort is on the west side of the Oder. The Russian army was encamped on the eastern side of the river. The force collected there consisted of about seventy-eight thousand Russians and eighteen thousand Austrians. Frederick had, by great exertions, gathered fifty thousand troops to attack them. He was approaching Frankfort from the southwest. In a secret midnight march he crossed the river by bridges of boats some miles north of the city, near Cüstrin. At four o’clock in the morning of the 11th of August his troops had all accomplished the passage482 of the stream, and, to the surprise of the Russians, were marching down upon them from the north.“You know, my dear son, that when my children are obedient I love them much. So when you were at Berlin, I from my heart forgave you every thing; and from that Berlin time, since I saw you, have thought of nothing but of your well-being, and how to establish you; not in the army only, but also with a right step-daughter, and so see you married in my lifetime. You may be well persuaded I have had the Princesses of Germany taken survey of, so far as possible, and examined by trusty people what their conduct is, their education, and so on. And so a princess has been found, the eldest one of Bevern, who is well brought up, modest and retiring as a woman ought to be.
About thirty miles southeast of Breslau is the pleasant little town of Ohlau, situated in the delta formed by the junction of the Ohlau River with the Oder. It was a place of some strength, and the Austrian authorities had thrown into it a garrison of three hundred men. Frederick appeared before its gates on the morning of January the 9th. He immediately sent in the following summons to the garrison:There are sometimes great and glorious objects to be attained—objects which elevate and ennoble a nation or a race—which warrant the expenditure of almost any amount of temporary suffering. It is not the duty of the millions to suffer the proud and haughty hundreds to consign them to ignorance and trample them in the dust. In this wicked world, where kings and nobles have ever been so ready to doom the masses of the people to ignorance, servitude, and want, human rights have almost never made any advances but through the energies of the sword. Many illustrious generals, who, with saddened hearts, have led their armies over fields of blood, have been among the most devoted friends and ornaments of humanity. Their names have been enshrined in the affections of grateful millions.
The king kicked him, and struck him several heavy blows with his cane. He was hit repeatedly in the face, and blood gushed from the wounds. With his own hands the king tore from Katte’s breast the cross of the Order of Saint John. After this disgraceful scene the interrogatory commenced. Katte confessed all the circumstances of the prince’s intended escape, but denied that there had been any design against the king or the state. His own and the prince’s letters were examined, but nothing was found in them to criminate either. Katte was then100 remanded to prison. Wilhelmina, after receiving the grossest possible insults from her father, who accused her, in coarsest terms, of being the paramour of Lieutenant Katte, was ordered to her room. Two sentries were placed at her door, and directions were given that she should be fed only on prison fare.“Your majesty,” Sir Thomas rejoined, “by a little engineering art, could render Limburg impregnable to the French or any others.”65 “After this I went home, but had scarcely entered my apartment when a messenger returned me, by order of the ministers, the declaration, still sealed as I left it; and perceiving that I was not inclined to receive it, he laid it on my table, and immediately left the house.”
“Frederick was in very weak health in these months; still considered by the gazetteers to be dying. But it appears he is not yet too weak for taking, on the instant necessary, a world-important resolution; and of being on the road with it, to this issue or to that, at full speed before the day closed. ‘Desist, good neighbor, I beseech you. You must desist, and even you shall:’ this resolution was entirely his own, as were the equally prompt arrangements he contrived for executing it, should hard come to hard, and Austria prefer war to doing justice.”191The utter ruin of the town of Cüstrin, and the misery of its houseless and starving population, seemed to affect the king deeply. To the inhabitants, who clustered around him, he said, kindly,
“‘Were you ever in Germany?’ he now asked me.When Fritz was seven years of age, he was taken from the care of his female teachers and placed under tutors who had been carefully selected for him. They were all military officers who had won renown on fields of blood. The first of these was M. Duhan, a French gentleman of good birth and acquirements. He was but thirty years of age. By his accomplishments he won the esteem, and by his amiability the love, of his pupil. Count Finkenstein, the second, was a veteran general, sixty years old, who also secured the affections of little Fritz. Colonel Kalkstein was twenty-eight years of age. He was a thorough soldier and a man of honor. For forty years, until his death, he retained the regards of his pupil, who was ever accustomed to speak of him as “my master Kalkstein.” In the education of the young32 prince every thing was conducted in accordance with the most inflexible routine. From the minute directions given to the teachers in a document drawn up by the father, bunglingly expressed and wretchedly spelled, we cull out the following:
George II. was far from popular in England. There was but little in the man to win either affection or esteem. The Prince of Wales was also daily becoming more disliked. He was assuming haughty airs. He was very profligate, and his associates were mainly actresses and opera girls. The Prussian minister at London, who was opposed to any matrimonial connection whatever between the Prussian and the English court, watched the Prince of Wales very narrowly, and wrote home quite unfavorable reports respecting his character and conduct. He had searched out the fact that Fritz had written to his aunt, Queen Caroline, pledging to her his word “never to marry any body in the world except the Princess Amelia of England, happen what will.” This fact was reported to the king, greatly exciting his wrath.England was the hereditary foe of France. It was one of the leading objects in her diplomacy to circumvent that power. “Our great-grandfathers,” writes Carlyle, “lived in perpetual terror that they would be devoured by France; that French ambition would overset the Celestial Balance, and proceed next to eat the British nation.” Strengthening Austria was weakening France. Therefore the sympathies of England were strongly with Austria. In addition to this, personal feelings came in. The puerile little king, George II., hated implacably his nephew, Frederick of Prussia, which hatred Frederick returned with interest.
His energy inspired the whole kingdom, and paved the way25 for the achievements of his son. The father created the machine with which the son attained such wonderful results. He commuted the old feudal service into a fixed money payment. He goaded the whole realm into industry, compelling even the apple-women to knit at the stalls. The crown lands were carefully farmed out. He drained bogs, planted colonies, established manufactures, and in every way encouraged the use of Prussian products. He carried with him invariably a stout rattan cane. Upon the slightest provocation, like a madman, he would thrash those who displeased him. He was thoroughly an arbitrary king, ruling at his sovereign will, and disposing of the liberty, the property, and the lives of his subjects at his pleasure. Every year he was accumulating large masses of coin, which he deposited in barrels in the cellar of his palace. He had no powers of graceful speech, but spent his energetic, joyless life in grumbling and growling.
The prince retired to his chamber, to be presented to the royal family at the review the next day. Wilhelmina passed a miserable night. She could not sleep, and in the morning found herself so ill that she begged to be excused from the review. She also greatly dreaded encountering the coarse jests of her father. But she could not be released from the review. Both she and her mother were compelled to go. In an open carriage, the queen and princess, with attendant ladies of the court, passed before the line. The Marquis of Schwedt, whom the princess had so emphatically discarded, was at the head of his regiment. He seemed “swollen with rage,” and saluted the royal party with his eyes turned away. The royal carriages were then withdrawn to a little distance that the ladies might witness the spectacle.详情
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