“Shall we order that to cease, your majesty?”“‘You have reason to curse your mother, for it is she who causes your being an ill-governed fellow. I had a preceptor,’ continued he, ‘who was an honest man. I remember always a story which he told me in his youth. There was a man at Carthage who had been condemned to die for many crimes he had committed. While they were leading him to execution he desired he might speak to his mother. They brought his mother. He came near, as if to whisper something to her, and bit away a piece of her ear. “I treat you thus,” said he, “to make you an example to all parents who take no heed to bring up their children in the practice of virtue.” Make the application,’ continued he, always addressing my brother; and, getting no answer57 from him, he again set to abusing us till he could speak no longer.Affairs were now assuming throughout Europe a very threatening aspect. The two French armies, of forty thousand each, had already crossed the Rhine to join their German allies in the war against Austria. One of these armies, to be commanded by Belleisle, had crossed the river about thirty miles below Strasbourg to unite with the Elector of Bavaria’s troops and march upon Vienna. The other army, under Maillebois, had crossed the Lower Rhine a few miles below Düsseldorf. Its mission was, as we have mentioned, to encamp upon the frontiers of Hanover, prepared to invade that province, in co-operation with the Prussian troops in the camp at G?ttin, should the King of England venture to raise a hand in behalf of Austria. It was also in position to attack and overwhelm Holland, England’s only ally, should that power manifest the slightest opposition to the designs of Prussia and France. At the same time, Sweden, on the 4th of August, had declared war against Russia, so that no help could come to Austria from that quarter. Great diplomatic ability had been displayed in guarding every point in these complicated measures. The French minister, Belleisle, was probably the prominent agent in these wide-spread combinations.60
“When godless fellows about you speak against your duties to God, the king, and your country, fall instantly on your knees and pray with your whole soul to Jesus Christ to deliver you from such wickedness, and lead you on better ways. And if it come in earnest from your heart, Jesus, who would have all men saved, will not leave you unheard.“He has done us all a great deal of ill. He has been king for his own country, but a trouble-feast for those about him—setting up to be the arbiter of Europe, always assailing his neighbors, and making them pay the expense. As daughters of Maria Theresa, it is impossible we can regret him; nor is it the court of France that will make his funeral oration.”197“‘You have reason to curse your mother, for it is she who causes your being an ill-governed fellow. I had a preceptor,’ continued he, ‘who was an honest man. I remember always a story which he told me in his youth. There was a man at Carthage who had been condemned to die for many crimes he had committed. While they were leading him to execution he desired he might speak to his mother. They brought his mother. He came near, as if to whisper something to her, and bit away a piece of her ear. “I treat you thus,” said he, “to make you an example to all parents who take no heed to bring up their children in the practice of virtue.” Make the application,’ continued he, always addressing my brother; and, getting no answer57 from him, he again set to abusing us till he could speak no longer.
81 The object of Colonel Hotham’s mission was well known. The cordial reception he had met from the king indicated that his message was not an unwelcome one to his Prussian majesty. In the indecent hilarity of the hour, it was assumed that the marriage contract between Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales was settled. Brains addled with wine gave birth to stupid jokes upon the subject. “A German ducat was to be exchanged for an English half guinea.” At last, in the semi-delirium of their intoxication, one proposed as a toast, “To the health of Wilhelmina, Princess of Wales.” The sentiment was received with uproarious jollity. Though all the company were in the same state of silly inebriation, neither the king nor the British ministers, Hotham and Dubourgay, for a moment lost sight of their settled policy. The king remained firm in his silent resolve to consent only to the marriage of Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales. Hotham and Dubourgay could not swerve from the positive instructions which they had received, to insist upon both marriages or neither. Thus, notwithstanding this bacchanal jollification, neither party was disposed to swerve a hair’s breadth from its fixed resolve, and the question was no nearer a settlement than before.527 “P.S.—You may, in this occurrence, say what Francis I., after the battle of Pavia, wrote to his mother: ‘All is lost except honor.’ As I do not yet completely understand the affair, I forbear to judge of it, for it is altogether extraordinary.”In the summer of 1738 the infirm old king undertook a journey to Holland, on a visit of diplomacy to the Prince of Orange. The Crown Prince accompanied him. It does not, however, appear that they had much intercourse with each other on the journey. They spent several days at the beautiful palace of176 Loo, in Geldern, occupied by the Prince of Orange and his English bride, a niece to his Prussian majesty. The palace was imposing in its architectural structure, containing many gorgeous saloons, and surrounded with beautiful gardens. In a letter which Frederick wrote from Loo to Voltaire, dated August 6th, we find the following sentiments:
The morning of a hot August day dawned sultry, the wind breathing gently from the south. Bands of Cossacks hovered around upon the wings of the Prussian army, occasionally riding up to the infantry ranks and discharging their pistols at them. The Prussians were forbidden to make any reply. “The infantry457 pours along like a plowman drawing his furrow, heedless of the circling crows.” The Cossacks set fire to Zorndorf. In a few hours it was in ashes, while clouds of suffocating smoke were swept through the Russian lines.It seemed to be the policy of Frederick to assume a very trifling, care-for-nothing air, as though he were engaged in very harmless child’s play. He threw out jokes, and wrote ludicrous letters to M. Jordan and M. Algarotti. But behind this exterior disguise it is manifest that all the energies of his soul were aroused, and that, with sleepless vigilance, he was watching every event, and providing for every possible emergence.
The English envoy, Sir Guy Dickens, being utterly baffled in all his endeavors to discover the enterprise upon which the king was about to embark, wrote to his court:
“We arrived at Berlin the end of October. My younger brothers, followed by the princes of the blood and by all the court, received us at the bottom of the stairs. I was led to my apartment, where I found the reigning queen, my sisters, and the princesses. I learned, with much chagrin, that the king was ill of tertian ague. He sent me word that, being in his fit, he could not see me, but that he depended on having that pleasure to-morrow. The queen-mother, to whom I went without delay, was in a dark condition. Her rooms were all hung in their lugubrious drapery. Every thing was as yet in the depth of mourning for my father. What a scene for me! Nature has her rights. I can say with truth I have almost never in my life been so moved as on this occasion. My interview with my mother was very touching.”
When the Reformation in the sixteenth century was presented to Europe, and was rejected by Italy, France, Austria, and Spain, it was accepted, though not unanimously, yet very generally, by the inhabitants of this wild region. In the year 1700 there was, in the midst of the realm of which we are about to write, and which is now called Prussia, a province then known as the Marquisate of Brandenburg. It embraced a little over fifteen thousand square miles, being about twice as large as the State of Massachusetts. It was one of the electorates of Germany, and the elector or marquis, Frederick, belonged to the renowned family of Hohenzollern. To the east of Brandenburg there was a duchy called Prussia. This duchy, in some of the political agitations of the times, had been transferred to the Marquis of Brandenburg. The Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick, an ambitious man, rejoicing in the extent of his domain, which was large for a marquisate, though small for a monarchy, obtained from the Emperor of Germany its recognition as a kingdom, and assumed the title of Frederick I. of Prussia. Many of19 the proud monarchies of Europe did not conceal the contempt with which they regarded this petty kingdom. They received the elector into their society very much as haughty nobles, proud of a long line of illustrious ancestry, would receive a successful merchant who had purchased a title. Frederick himself was greatly elated with the honor he had attained, and his subjects shared with him in his exultation.When near Augsburg, Fritz wrote a letter to Lieutenant Katte, stating that he should embrace the first opportunity to escape to the Hague; that there he should assume the name of the Count of Alberville. He wished Katte to join him there, and to bring with him the overcoat and the one thousand ducats which he had left in his hands. On Thursday, August 3d, the royal party reached the little hamlet of Steinfurth, not far from the Rhine. Here, as was not unfrequently the case, they slept in barns, carefully swept and prepared for them. The usual hour of starting was three o’clock in the morning.
“I do not complain of your heart, but of your incapacity, and of the little judgment you have shown in making your decisions. A man who has but a few days to live need not dissemble. I wish you better fortune than mine has been, and that all the miseries and bad adventures you have had may teach you to treat important matters with greater care, sense, and resolution than you have hitherto done. The greatest part of the calamities which I now apprehend comes only from you. You and your children will suffer more from them than I shall. Be persuaded, nevertheless, that I have always loved you, and that with these sentiments I shall die.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.
“The thought alone,” he wrote, “of your death, my dear Suhm, affords me an argument in proof of the immortality of the soul. For is it possible that the spirit which acts in you with so much clearness, brightness, and intelligence, which is so different from matter and from body—that fine soul endowed with so many solid virtues and agreeable qualities—is it possible that this should not be immortal? No! I would maintain in solid argument that, if the greatest part of the world were to be annihilated,426 you, Voltaire, Boileau, Newton, Wolfius, and some other geniuses of this order must be immortal.”107“I grant it, my dear D’Arget,” said the king, “but it is too372 dangerous a part to play. A reverse brings me to the edge of ruin. I know too well the mood of mind I was in the last time I left Berlin ever to expose myself to it again. If luck had been against me there, I saw myself a monarch without a throne. A bad game that. In fine, I wish to be at peace.Charles Albert, who took the title of “the Emperor Charles VII.,” was the son of Maximilian, King of Bavaria, who was ruined at Blenheim, and who, being placed under the ban of the empire, lived for many years a pensioner upon the charity of Louis XIV. Charles was then but seven years of age, a prince by birth, yet homeless, friendless, and in poverty. With varying fortunes, he subsequently married a daughter of the Emperor Joseph. She was a cousin of Maria Theresa. Upon the death of his father in 1726, Charles Albert became King of Bavaria; but he was involved in debt beyond all hope of extrication. The intrigues of Frederick placed upon his wan and wasted brow the imperial crown of Germany. The coronation festivities took place at Frankfort, with great splendor, on the 12th of February, 1742.详情
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