“No threats, sir, if you please, no threats.“Your friendship seduces you, mon cher. I am but a paltry knave in comparison with Alexander, and not worthy to tie the shoe-latchets of C?sar. Necessity, who is the mother of industry, has made me act, and have recourse to desperate remedies in evils of a like nature.
Voltaire, in summing up a sketch of this campaign of 1757, writes in characteristic phrase:ASSASSINATION OF PETER III.
Fritz, however, had not his father’s strength to resist the allurements of this wicked court. He was but sixteen years of age. From childhood he had been kept secluded from the world, and had been reared under the sternest discipline. He was remarkably handsome, full of vivacity, which qualified him to shine52 in any society, and was heir to the Prussian monarchy. He was, consequently, greatly caressed, and every conceivable inducement was presented to him to lure him into the paths of guilty pleasure. He fell. From such a fall one never on earth recovers. Even though repentance and reformation come, a scar is left upon the soul which time can not efface.“The whole of Lower Silesia; the River Neisse for the boundary; the city of Neisse for us, as also Glutz; on the other side of the Oder, the ancient boundary between the Duchies of Brieg and Oppeln. Namslau for us. The affairs of religion in statu quo. No dependence upon Bohemia. Cession eternal. In exchange we will go no farther. We will besiege Neisse for form. The commandant shall surrender and depart. We will quietly go into winter quarters; and they (the Austrians) can take their army where they will. Let all be finished in twelve days.”
MARIA THERESA AT THE TOMB OF HER HUSBAND.“Now thank God, one and all, With heart, with voice, with hands, Who wonders great hath done To us and to all lands.”115
Frederick was rapidly awaking to the consciousness that Maria Theresa, whom he had despised as a woman, and a young wife and mother, and whose territory he thought he could dismember with impunity, was fully his equal, not only in ability to raise and direct armies, but also in diplomatic intrigue. About the middle of August he perceived from his camp in Chlum that Prince Charles was receiving large re-enforcements from the south. At the same time, he saw that corps after corps, principally of Saxon troops, were defiling away by circuitous roads to the north. It was soon evident that the heroic Maria Theresa was preparing to send an army into the very heart of Prussia to attack its capital. This was, indeed, changing the aspect of the war.
The entertainment was prolonged until a late hour of the night. The delighted guests, as they retired, urged their host to attend parade with them in the morning, offering to come in person to conduct him to the ground. The count, with pleasure, accepted the invitation. In the morning he was escorted to the parade-ground. His fame spread rapidly. Friends multiplied. He was invited to sup with the officers in the evening, and accepted the invitation. Marshal Broglio, a very stately gentleman of seventy years, was military governor at Strasbourg. The count and one of his companions, the distinguished philosopher Count Algarotti, were invited to dine with the marshal. The supper given in the evening by the officers was brilliant. They then repaired to the opera. A poor little girl came to the box with a couple of lottery tickets for sale. Frederick gave her four ducats (), and tore up the tickets.
Frederick affected great contempt for public opinion. He wrote to Voltaire:
The next morning, in the intense cold of midwinter, Frederick set out several hours before daylight for the city of Prague, which the French and Bavarians had captured on the 25th of November. Declining all polite attentions, for business was urgent, he eagerly sought M. De Séchelles, the renowned head of the commissariat department, and made arrangements with him to perform the extremely difficult task of supplying the army with food in a winter’s campaign.
“Done, that Sterbohol work; those foot-chargings, horse-chargings; that battery of Homoly Hill; and, hanging upon that, all manner of redoubts and batteries to the rightward and rearward; but how it was done no pen can describe, nor any intellect in clear sequence understand. An enormous mêlée there: new Prussian battalions charging, and ever new, irrepressible by case-shot, as they successively get up; Marshal Browne, too, sending for new battalions at double-quick from his left, disputing stiffly every inch of his ground, till at length (hour not given), a cannon shot tore away his foot, and he had to be carried into Prague, mortally wounded. Which probably was a most important circumstance, or the most important of all.”详情
Copyright © 2020