“The Prussians,” writes Carlyle, “tramp on with the usual grim-browed resolution, foot in front, horse in rear. But they have a terrible problem at that Kesselsdorf, with its retrenched batteries and numerous grenadiers fighting under cover. The very ground is sore against them; up-hill, and the trampled snow wearing into a slide, so that you sprawl and stagger sadly. Thirty-one big guns, and near nine thousand small, pouring out mere death on you from that knoll-head. The Prussians stagger; can not stand; bend to rightward to get out of shot range; can not manage it this bout. Rally, re-enforced; try it again. Again with a will; but again there is not a way. The Prussians are again repulsed; fall back down this slippery course in more disorder than the first time. Had the Saxons stood still, steadily handling arms, how, on such terms, could the Prussians have ever managed it?”90To the summons which Frederick sent to Maria Theresa, demanding the surrender of Silesia, no response could be returned, consistent with the dignity of the crown, but a peremptory refusal. The reply was unanswerable in its logic. Though it was, in general, couched in courteous terms, one sentence crept into it of rather scornful defiance.
The king was at first much incensed by these attempts at interference. It was not safe for him to bid defiance to the opinions of the civilized world. Emotions of anger and mortification struggled in the bosom of the king. Captain Guy Dickens, secretary of Dubourgay, writes:On the evening of the 29th of June, 1734, there was a grand ball at the little palace of Monbijou. At three o’clock in the morning the Crown Prince changed his ball-dress for a military suit, and with his staff set out at full speed for the seat of war. They traveled in carriages, by post, night and day, hastening to take part in the siege of Philipsburg. A little after midnight on the morning of the 2d of July, they reached Hof, having traveled two hundred miles, and having two hundred miles still farther to go. At Hof the prince was within thirty-five miles of Baireuth, to which place Wilhelmina had some time before returned. He was very anxious to see her. But his father had strictly prohibited his going through Baireuth, under the assumption that it would occasion loss of time. Frederick made arrangements with Wilhelmina, who was in a very delicate state of health, to meet him at Berneck, about twelve miles from Baireuth. But, unfortunately, one of the carriages which conveyed the Crown Prince and his companions lost a wheel, which detained them several hours. The commands of the king were explicit that the Crown Prince should not be separated from the rest of the company.
On the 29th of December, the Old Dessauer, with thirty-five thousand men, crossed the frontiers and entered Saxony. He marched rapidly upon Leipsic, and seized the town, from which a division of Rutowski’s army precipitately fled. Leopold found here quite a supply of commissary and ordnance stores. He also replenished his empty army-chest by levying a contribution of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the inhabitants.368 Then, by a rapid march northeast to Torgo, on the Elbe, he captured another imperial magazine. Turning south, he pressed his troops along up the river to Myssen, which was within two days’ easy march of Dresden. Here there was a bridge across the Oder. Frederick was pushing his troops, by forced marches, from Hennersdorf, to effect a junction with Leopold at Myssen. Unitedly they were to fall upon Grüne and Rutowski at Dresden. In the mean time, also, Prince Charles, a despondent man, crushed by domestic woe and humiliating defeats, was moving, by not very energetic steps, to re-enforce the allied troops at Dresden.“It is true that Schlubhut had no trial, but he certainly deserved his doom. He was a public thief, stealing the taxes he was sent to gather; insolently offering to repay, as if that were184 all the amends required; and saying that it was not good manners to hang a nobleman.”
“Their king” (Wilhelmina’s grandfather) “was of extreme gravity, and hardly spoke a word to any body. He saluted Madam Sonsfeld, my governess, very coldly, and asked if I was always so serious, and if my humor was of a melancholy turn. ‘Any thing but that, sire,’ answered Madam Sonsfeld; ‘but the respect she has for your majesty prevents her from being as sprightly as she commonly is.’ He shook his head and said nothing. The reception he had given me, and this question, gave me such a chill that I never had the courage to speak to him.”“Elizabeth Christina, who became the wife of Frederick the Great, was a princess adorned with all the virtues which most dignify human nature; religious, benevolent, charitable, affectionate,144 of the strictest and most irreproachable conduct herself, yet indulgent and forgiving for the faults of others. Her whole life was passed in fulfilling the circle of her duties, and, above all, in striving without ceasing to act in the way she thought would be most pleasing to her husband, whom she respected, admired, and even loved, in spite of his constant neglect of her.”
“Great God! my sister of Baireuth, my noble Wilhelmina, dead; died in the very hours while we were fighting here.”“About nine this morning,” was the reply, “the prince got to horse. Not long after three he came back again with a swarm of officers, all going full speed for Lissa. They were full of bragging when they came; now they were off wrong side foremost! I saw how it was. Close following after him the flood of them ran. The high road was not broad enough. It was an hour and more before it ended. Such a pell-mell, such a welter! cavalry and infantry all jumbled together. Our king must have given them a terrible flogging.”
“I was in such a state I know not how we got down stairs. I remember only that it was in a concert of lamentable sobbings. Madame, the Marchioness of Schwedt, who had been named to attend the princess to Stralsund, on the Swedish frontier, this high lady, and the two dames D’Atours, who were for Sweden itself, having sprung into the same carriage, the door of it was shut with a slam, the postillions cracked, the carriage shot away, and disappeared from our eyes. In a moment the king and court lost sight of the beloved Ulrique forever.”73“If you then find the prince contrite and humble, you will engage him to fall on his knees with you, to ask pardon of God with tears of penitence. But you must proceed with prudence and circumspection, for the prince is cunning. You will represent to him also, in a proper manner, the error he labors under in believing that some are predestinated to one thing and some to another; and that thus he who is predestinated to evil can do nothing but evil, and he who is predestinated to good can do nothing but good, and that, consequently, we can change nothing of what is to happen—a dreadful error, especially in what regards our salvation.“The public affairs in France,” writes Voltaire, “continued in as bad a state after the death of Cardinal De Fleury as during the last two years of his administration. The house of Austria rose again from its ashes. France was cruelly pressed upon by that power and by England. No other resource remained to us but the chance of regaining the King of Prussia, who, having drawn us into the war, had abandoned us as soon as it was convenient to himself so to do. It was thought advisable, under these circumstances, that I should be sent to that monarch to sound his intentions, and, if possible, persuade him to avert the storm which, after it had first fallen on us, would be sure, sooner or later, to fall from Vienna upon him. We also wished to secure from him the loan of a hundred thousand men, with the assurance that he could thus better secure to himself Silesia.
481 With the utmost exertions, inspired by terror, thirty thousand dollars were at length raised. The Russian general, Soltikof, naturally a humane man, seeing, at the close of a week of frantic exertions on the part of the magistrates of Frankfort, the impossibility of extorting the required sum, took the thirty thousand dollars, and kept his barbarian hordes encamped outside the gates.Some of our readers may think that the above narrative is quite incredible; that a young sovereign, who had just written the Anti-Machiavel, and who knew that the eyes of the world were upon him, could not be guilty of such perfidy. But, unhappily, there is no possible room for doubt. The documentary evidence is ample. There is no contradictory testimony.“We have been unfortunate, my dear marquis, but not by my fault. The victory was ours, and would even have been a complete one, when our infantry lost patience, and at the wrong moment abandoned the field of battle. The Russian infantry is almost totally destroyed. Of my own wrecks, all that I have been able to assemble amounts to thirty-two thousand men. With these I am pushing on to throw myself across the enemy’s road, and either perish or save the capital. This is not what you will call a deficiency of resolution.
“I beg a thousand pardons, my dear sister. In these three long pages I talk to you of nothing but my troubles and affairs. A strange abuse it would be of any other person’s friendship. But yours, my dear sister, is known to me; and I am persuaded that you are not impatient when I open to you my heart—a heart which is yours altogether, being filled with sentiments of the tenderest esteem, with which I am, my dearest sister, your详情
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