Frederick soon followed the Austrians with his whole army, hoping to bring them to a decisive battle. But General Neipperg was conscious that he was unable to cope with the Prussian army in the open field. For a week there was man?uvring and counter-man?uvring with great skill on both sides, General Neipperg baffling all the endeavors of Frederick to bring him to a general action.Frederick, having obtained all that, for the present, he could hope to obtain, deemed it for his interest to attempt to promote the peace of Europe. His realms needed consolidating, his army recruiting, his treasury replenishing. But he found it much easier to stir up the elements of strife than to allay them.
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.“Your excellency does not know that wily enemy, the King of Prussia, as well as I do. By no means get into a battle with him. Cautiously man?uvre about. Detain him there till I have got my stroke in Saxony done. Don’t try fighting him.
“Gentlemen, I do not look upon you as my subjects, but as my friends. The troops of Brandenburg have always signalized222 themselves by their courage, and given, on different occasions, the fullest evidences of their bravery. I shall be an eye-witness to all your exploits. You will always fight in my presence. I will recompense those who shall distinguish themselves for their zeal in my service rather as a father than as a sovereign.”“There was, after all,” says Valori, “at times a kind of devout feeling in this prince, who possessed such a combination of qualities, good and bad, that I know not which preponderates.”
Thus affairs continued through the winter. There were two frostbitten armies facing each other on the bleak plains. With apparently not much to be gained in presenting this front of defiance,496 each party breasted the storms and the freezing gales, alike refusing to yield one inch of ground.
CHARGE OF GENERAL SEIDLITZ AT ZORNDORF.Very vigorous measures were immediately adopted to establish an Academy of Sciences. The celebrated French philosopher Maupertuis, who had just obtained great renown from measuring a degree of the meridian at the polar circle, was invited to organize this very important institute. The letter to the philosopher, written by the king but a few days after his accession, was as follows:gg. Retreat of Austrians.
“Frederick bethinks him that in a late visit to Weimar he had noticed, for his fine qualities, a young gentleman named G?rtz, late tutor to the young Duke Karl August, a wise, firm, adroit-looking young gentleman, who was farther interesting as brother to Lieutenant General Von G?rtz, a respectable soldier of Frederick’s. Ex-tutor at Weimar, we say, and idle for the moment; hanging about court there, till he should find a new function.“My gentleman admitted this, and led the conversation on to the Dutch government. He criticised it—probably to bring me to speak. I did speak, and gave him frankly to know that he was not perfectly instructed in the thing he was criticising.
“I forewarn you of this, that, if we should meet again in flesh and bone, you might not feel yourself too violently shocked by my appearance. There remains nothing to me unaltered but my heart, which, as long as I breathe, will retain sentiments of esteem and tender friendship for my good mamma. Adieu.”159Frederick, as Crown Prince, had been quite methodical in the distribution of his time, and had cultivated rigid habits of industry. Now, fully conscious of the immense duties and cares which would devolve upon him as king, he entered into a very systematic arrangement of the employments of each hour, to which he rigidly adhered during nearly the whole of his reign of forty-six years. He ordered his servants to wake him at four o’clock every morning. Being naturally inclined to sleep, he found it hard to shake off his lethargy. The attendants were therefore directed, every morning, to place upon his forehead a towel dipped in cold water. He thus continued to rise at four o’clock, summer and winter, until an advanced age.Origin of the Prussian Monarchy.—The Duchies of Brandenburg and Prussia.—The Elector crowned King Frederick I.—Frederick William.—His Childhood, Youth, and Marriage.—Birth of Fritz.—Death of Frederick I.—Eccentric Character of Frederick William.—His defective Education.—His Energy.—Curious Anecdotes.—Hatred of the French.—Education of Fritz.—The Father’s Plan of Instruction.详情
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