“Berlin, 1st of March, 1743.
THE LAST REVIEW.
On the 28th of June, 1729, the population of Bühlitz, a Hanoverian border village, sallied forth with carts, escorted by a troop of horse, and, with demonstrations both defiant and exultant, raked up and carried off all the hay. The King of Prussia happened to be at that time about one hundred miles distant from Bühlitz, at Magdeburg, reviewing his troops. He was thrown into a towering passion. Sophie Dorothee, Wilhelmina, Fritz, all felt the effects of his rage. Dubourgay writes, under date of July 30, 1729:Thus was commenced the Seven Years’ War. It proved one of the most bloody and cruel strifes which man has ever waged against his brother man. Through its terrible scenes of conflagration, blood, and despair, Frederick obtained the renown of being one of the ablest generals who ever marshaled armies upon fields of blood.“The packet had been opened. The king would think I was guilty of high treason, and I should be in disgrace with Madame De Pompadour. I was obliged, in order to prevent my ruin, to make known to the court the character and conduct of their enemy.
“Yes, I knew it. Not one of you will forsake me. I rely upon your help and upon victory as sure. The cavalry regiment that does not, on the instant, on order given, dash full plunge into the enemy, I will directly after the battle unhorse, and make it a garrison regiment. The infantry battalion which, meet with what it may, shows the least sign of hesitating, loses its colors and its sabres, and I cut the trimmings from its uniform.
The battle soon began, with its tumult, its thunder-roar of artillery and musketry, its gushing blood, its cries of agony, its death convulsions. Both parties fought with the reckless courage, the desperation with which trained soldiers, of whatever nationality, almost always fight.
“I think Berlin is now in safety. You may return thither. The barbarians are in the Lausitz. I keep by the side of them, between them and Berlin, so that there is nothing to fear for the capital. The imminency of danger is passed. But there will be still many bad moments to get through before reaching the end of the campaign. These, however, only regard myself. Never mind these. My martyrdom will last two months yet. Then the snows and the ices will end it.”
“Frederick.”516 “This is, I swear to you, such a dog’s life [chienne de vie] as no one but Don Quixote ever led before me. All this tumbling, toiling, bother, and confusion have made me such an old fellow that you would scarcely know me again. The hair on the right side of my head has grown quite gray. My teeth break and fall out. My face is as full of wrinkles as the furbelow of a petticoat. My back is bent like a fiddle-bow, and my spirit is sad and downcast, like a monk of La Trappe.On Wednesday, April 12, two days after the battle, Frederick wrote to his sister Wilhelmina from Ohlau as follows:
“Now, as I hope that his present situation, and the execution which has just taken place before his eyes, will touch and soften his heart, and will lead him to better sentiments, I charge you, as you value your conscience, to do all that is humanly possible to represent forcibly to the prince these things; and particularly, in what relates to predestination, to convince him by means of passages from the Scriptures which satisfactorily prove what I wish you to advance.”
“I embraced the Princess Royal,” Wilhelmina continues, “and gave her every assurance of my attachment. But she remained like a statue, not answering a word. Her people not being come, I arranged her hair and readjusted her dress a little, without the least sign of thanks or any answer to all my caressings. My brother got impatient at last, and said aloud,
On the 11th, Brieg was summoned to surrender. The prompt and resolute response was “No.” The place was found unexpectedly strong, and a gallant little garrison of sixteen hundred men had been assembled behind its walls. Frederick was much annoyed by the delay thus occasioned. He promptly invested the city so as to cut off all supplies, and dispatched an order to Glogau to have the field artillery sent, as speedily as possible, up the Oder to Brieg.详情
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