We have now reached the year 1726. The Emperor of Germany declares that he can never give his consent to the double marriage with the English princes. Frederick William, who is not at all fond of his wife’s relatives, and is annoyed by the hesitancy which his father-in-law has manifested in reference to it, is also turning his obstinate will against the nuptial alliance. A more imperative and inflexible man never breathed. This year the unhappy wife of George I. died, unreconciled, wretched, exasperated, after thirty years’ captivity in the castle of Ahlden. Darker and darker seemed the gloom which enveloped the path of Sophie Dorothee. She still clung to the marriages as the dearest hope of her heart. It was with her an ever-present thought. But Frederick William was the most obdurate and obstinate of mortals.
“My son must be impressed with love and fear of God, as the foundation of our temporal and eternal welfare. No false religions or sects of Atheist, Arian, Socinian, or whatever name the poisonous things have, which can so easily corrupt a young mind, are to be even named in his hearing. He is to be taught a proper abhorrence of papistry, and to be shown its baselessness and nonsensicality. Impress on him the true religion, which consists essentially in this, that Christ died for all men. He is to learn no Latin, but French and German, so as to speak and write with brevity and propriety.Olmütz was an ancient, strongly fortified city of Moravia, pleasantly situated on the western banks of the Morawa River. It had been the capital of Moravia, and contained about ten thousand inhabitants. The place subsequently became renowned from the imprisonment of Lafayette in its citadel for many years. The city had become an arsenal, and one of the most important military store-houses of Austria.Though Wilhelmina was also a close prisoner in her apartment in the Berlin palace, and was fed upon the coarsest fare, she103 still had a comfortable room, her musical instruments, and the companionship of her governess, Madam Sonsfeld. It was rather a relief to the unhappy princess to be shut out from the presence of her father and from the sound of his voice. She occasionally obtained a smuggled letter from her mother, and even got one, in pencil, from her brother, full of expressions of tenderness.
The next day he remarked, “Daun has let us out of checkmate. The game is not lost yet. We will rest ourselves here for a few days, then we will go to Silesia and deliver Neisse. But where are all your guns?” he said, playfully, to an artilleryman, who stood, vacant, on parade.Knocking against the rocks,Frederick was a trig, slender young man of twenty-nine years. He was dressed in a closely-fitting blue coat, with buff breeches and high cavalry boots. He wore a plumed hat, which he courteously raised as the embassadors entered his tent. The scene276 which ensued was substantially as follows, omitting those passages which were of no permanent interest. After sundry preliminary remarks, Sir Thomas Robinson said,
“Be firm, my child. Trust in my management. Only swear to me, on your eternal salvation, that never, on any compulsion, will you marry another than the Prince of Wales. Give me that oath.”Early in October, the Crown Prince, not socially or morally improved by his campaigning, set out on his return to Berlin. He was by no means insensible to the fact that the crown of Prussia would soon rest upon his brow. On the 5th he called again upon his sister at Baireuth. She was sick and very sad. The following is Wilhelmina’s account of the interview:
“Had all our fatalities been limited to stoppages of speed on the journey, we should have taken patience. But after frightful roads we found lodgings still more frightful.”Still the order was given for the assault. The Prussians plunged into the dense ranks of their foes, regardless of being outnumbered nearly three to one. A terrible battle was fought. General Wedell was overpowered and beaten. He retreated across the Oder, having lost six thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The victorious Russians did not pursue him. They marched down the river to Frankfort, where they effected a junction with other troops, giving them an effective force of ninety-six thousand fighting men.“I have begun to settle the figure of Prussia. The outline will be altogether regular; for the whole of Silesia is taken in except one miserable hamlet, which perhaps I shall have to keep blockaded until next spring. Up to this time the whole conquest has cost me only twenty men and two officers.
As we have mentioned, the agents of the King of Prussia were45 eager to kidnap tall men, in whatever country they could find them. This greatly exasperated the rulers of the various realms of all sizes and conditions which surrounded the Prussian territory. Frederick William was always ready to apologize, and to aver that each individual act was done without his orders or knowledge. Still, there was no abatement of this nuisance. Several seizures had been made in Hanover, which was the hereditary domain of George I., King of England. George was very angry. He was increasingly obstinate in withholding his assent to the double marriage, and even, by way of reprisal, seized several of the subjects of Frederick William, whom he caught in Hanover.
“No,” the empress replied; “I could sleep, but I must not. Death is too near. He must not steal upon me. These fifteen years I have been making ready for him; I will meet him awake.”Again he wrote D’Argens on the 26th of December, “What a pleasure to hear that you are coming. I have sent a party of light horse to conduct you. You can make short journeys. I have directed that horses be ordered for you, that your rooms be warmed every where, and good fowls ready on all roads. Your apartment in this house is carpeted, hermetically shut. You shall suffer nothing from draughts or from noise.”
“I rely upon your zeal and hearty concurrence to support the King of Prussia and the rest of my allies, and to make ample517 provision for carrying on the war, as the only means of bringing our enemies to equitable terms of accommodation.THE RETREAT OF THE AUSTRIANS.
“And all that I have been relating to you is due to the king alone, who not only gave the orders, but himself saw that they were faithfully obeyed. He both conceived the designs and executed them. He spared neither care, nor trouble, nor vast treasures, nor promises, nor recompenses, in order to assure the existence and the comfort of half a million of rational beings, who owe to him alone their happiness. There is something in my mind so heroic in the generous and laborious manner in which the king has devoted himself to the restoring to this deserted country its population, fertility, and happiness, that I think you will see his conduct in the same light as I do when you are made acquainted with the circumstances.”
The next day, the 21st of August, he wrote to D’Argens to come and visit him, and bring his bed with him. “I will have you a little chamber ready.” But the next day he wrote,A court-martial was convened to pronounce sentence upon the105 Crown Prince and his confederates. The court was appointed by the king, and consisted of three major generals, three colonels, three lieutenant colonels, three majors, three captains, and three belonging to the civil courts, called auditors. The court, thus composed of eighteen members, met on the 20th of October, 1730, in the little town of Copenick, a few miles from Berlin. Grumkow, well aware that these proceedings would attract the attention of every court in Europe, had persuaded the king to submit to the formality of a court-martial.详情
Copyright © 2020