68Delighted with this plan, and sanguine in the hope of its successful accomplishment, the czarina named her next grandson Constantine. Austria and Russia thus became allied, with all their sympathies hostile to Frederick. Old age and infirmities were stealing upon the king apace. Among the well-authenticated561 anecdotes related of him, the following is given by Carlyle:“Heir is a gallant enough young gentleman. Frederick judges that he probably will have haggled to sign any Austrian convention for dismemberment of Baiern, and that he will start into life upon it so soon as he sees hope.
FREDERICK WILLIAM.Olmütz was ninety miles from Troppau, in Silesia, where Frederick had established his base of supplies. This was a long line of communication to protect. General Daun, with a numerous Austrian army, all whose movements were veiled by clouds of those fleet and shaggy horsemen called Pandours, was forty miles to the west, at Leutomischel. Cautious in the extreme, nothing could draw him into a general battle. But he watched his foe with an eagle eye, continually assailing his line of communication, and ever ready to strike his heaviest blows upon any exposed point.
THE LITTLE DRUMMER.
CONDEMNATION OF THE JUDGES.
After the fifth charge, the Austrians, dispirited, and leaving the snow plain crimsoned with the blood and covered with the bodies of their slain, withdrew out of ball range. Torn and exhausted, they could not be driven by their officers forward to another assault. The battle had now lasted for five hours.262 Night was at hand, for the sun had already set. The repulsed Austrians were collected in scattered and confused bands. The experienced eye of General Schwerin saw that the hour for decisive action had come. He closed up his ranks, ordered every band to play its most spirited air, and gave the order “Forward.” An Austrian officer, writing the next week, describes the scene.
The battle of Rossbach was fought on the 5th of November, 1757. Frederick had but little time to rejoice over his victory. The Austrians were overrunning Silesia. On the 14th of the month, the important fortress of Schweidnitz, with all its magazines, fell into their hands. Then Prince Charles, with sixty thousand Austrian troops, marched upon Breslau, the principal city of Silesia, situated on the Oder. The Prince of Bevern held the place with a little over twenty thousand Prussian troops. His army was strongly intrenched outside of the walls, under the guns of the city.“My brother arrived on the 5th of October. He seemed to me in ill humor. To break off conversation with me, he said that he had to write to the king and queen. I ordered him pen and162 paper. He wrote in my room, and spent more than a good hour in writing a couple of letters of a line or two each. He then had all the court, one after another, introduced to him; said nothing to any of them; looked merely with a mocking air at them; after which we went to dinner.
FREDERICK ASLEEP IN THE HUT AT OETSCHER.
The King of Poland, who was also Elector of Saxony, had strong feelings of personal hostility to Frederick. His prime minister, Count Von Brühl, even surpassed his royal master in the bitter antagonism with which he regarded the Prussian monarch. Frederick, whose eagle eye was ever open, and whose restless mind was always on the alert, suspected that a coalition was about to be formed against him. He had false keys made to the royal archives at Dresden; bribed one of the officials there, M. Menzel, stealthily to enter the chamber of the archives, and copy for him such extracts as would throw any light upon the designs of the court. Among other items of intelligence, he found that Austria, Russia, and Poland were deliberating upon the terms of a coalition against him.Et des paysans en postillons masqués,
“You will beforehand inform the high mightinesses in regard to that Advice of April 24th, which they determined on giving me, through his excellency General Ginckel, along with his excellency Lord Hyndford, that such advice can be considered by me only as a blind complaisance to the court of Vienna’s improper urgencies. That for certain I will not quit Silesia till my claims be satisfied. And the longer I am forced to continue warring for them here, the higher they will rise.
“Munchberg, July 2, 1734.In the presence of monarchs, of lords and ladies, of the highest dignitaries of Europe, the young heir apparent to the throne of Prussia, beautiful in person, high-spirited, and of superior genius, was treated by his father with studied contumely and insult. Every thing was done to expose him to contempt. He even openly flogged the prince with his rattan. It would seem that the father availed himself of this opportunity so to torture the sensibilities of his son as to drive him to suicide. Professor Ranke writes:详情
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