When under the sovereignty of Austria, though the Protestants were not persecuted, very decided favor was shown to the Catholics. But the influence of Protestant Prussia was to place both parties on a perfect equality. This greatly annoyed the Catholics. Certain Catholic ladies of rank, with a few leading citizens, entered into a secret society, and kept the court of Vienna informed of every thing which transpired in Breslau. They also entered into intimate communication with General Neipperg, entreating him to come to their rescue. They assured him that if he would suddenly appear before their gates with his army, or with a strong detachment, the conspiring Catholics would open the gates, and he could rush in and take possession of the city.“Now thank God, one and all, With heart, with voice, with hands, Who wonders great hath done To us and to all lands.”115
“I intended to have escaped at Steinfurth. I can not endure the treatment which I receive from my father—his abuse and blows. I should have escaped long ago had it not been for the condition in which I should have thus left my mother and sister. I am so miserable that I care but little for my own life. My great anxiety is for those officers who have been my friends, and who are implicated in my attempts. If the king will promise to pardon them, I will make a full confession of every thing. If you can help me in these difficulties, I shall be forever grateful to you.
The fault-finding character of the king, and his intense devotion to perfecting his army, both increased with his advancing years. After one of his reviews of the troops in Silesia, in the year 1784, he wrote in the following severe strain to the commanding general:
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.
Though Frederick, in his private correspondence, often spoke very contemptuously of Voltaire, it would seem, if any reliance can be placed on the testimony of Voltaire himself, that Frederick sedulously courted the author, whose pen was then so potential in Europe. By express invitation, Voltaire spent a week with Frederick at Aix la Chapelle early in September, 1742. He writes to a friend from Brussels under date of December 10:Frederick.”
The great victory of Fontenoy, gained by the French on the Rhine, caused boundless exultation throughout France. “The French,” writes Carlyle, “made immense explosions of rejoicing over this victory; Voltaire celebrating it in prose and verse to an amazing degree; the whole nation blazing out over it into illuminations, arcs of triumph, and universal three times three; in short, I think nearly the heartiest national huzza, loud, deep, long-drawn, that the nation ever gave in like case.”“The King of Prussia is thought to be dying. I am weary of the political discussions on this subject as to what effects his death must produce. He is better at this moment, but so weak he can not resist long. Physique is gone. But his force and energy of soul, they say, have often supported him, and in desperate crises have even seemed to increase. Liking to him I never had. His ostentatious immorality has much hurt public virtue, and there have been related to me barbarities which excite horror.
From the schedule which Frederick has given of his resources, it seems impossible that he could have raised more than about fifteen million dollars annually, even counting his adulterated coin at the full value. How, with this sum, he could have successfully confronted all combined Europe, is a mystery which has never yet been solved. It was the great object of both parties in this terrible conflict to destroy every thing in the enemy’s country which could by any possibility add to military power. All the claims of humanity were ignored. The starvation of hundreds of thousands of peasants—men, women, and children—was a matter not to be taken into consideration. The French minister, in Paris, wrote to Marshal De Contades on the 5th of October, 1758,Frederick, with grim humor characteristic of him, sent back the courier with the following response, as if from the Russian general, signed Fermor, but in the king’s handwriting:
“As to the brave young Queen of Hungary, my admiration goes with that of all the world. Not in the language of flattery, but of evident fact, the royal qualities abound in that high274 young lady. Had they left the world, and grown to mere costume elsewhere, you might find certain of them again here. Most brave, high and pious minded; beautiful too, and radiant with good-nature, though of temper that will easily catch fire; there is, perhaps, no nobler woman then living. And she fronts the roaring elements in a truly grand, feminine manner, as if Heaven itself and the voice of Duty called her. ‘The inheritances which my fathers left me, we will not part with these. Death if it so must be, but not dishonor.’详情
Copyright © 2020