It was a dreary winter to Frederick in Breslau. Sad, silent, and often despairing, he was ever inflexibly resolved to struggle till the last possible moment, and, if need be, to bury himself beneath the ruins of his kingdom. All his tireless energies he devoted to the Herculean work before him. No longer did he affect gayety or seek recreations. Secluded, solitary, sombre, he took counsel of no one. In the possession of absolute power, he issued his commands as with the authority of a god.
a a. Austrian Army, b b. Prussian Army. c. Ziethen’s Hussars. d. Nadasti’s Hussars. e. The Oak Wood.“Oh, Phiekin, my Phiekin!” said he, “thou must rise and help me what thou canst. This day I am going to die. Thou must be with me this day.”In the above letter the king alludes to the “mania of making verses.” Strange as it may seem, he this winter, when apparently almost crushed beneath the weight of cares and sorrows, when every energy of mind and body seemed called into requisition in preparation for a new campaign, published an edition of his poems.
“My dear Voltaire,—You wish to know what I have been about since leaving Berlin. Annexed you will find a description of it.“‘This that is on the table the king has ordered to be served for you. You are to eat your fill and mind nobody. I am to serve.’“All-serenest and All-graciousest Father,—To your royal majesty, my all-graciousest Father, I have, by my disobedience as Their subject and soldier, not less than by my undutifulness as Their son, given occasion to a just wrath and aversion against me. With the all-obedientest respect I submit myself wholly to the grace of my most All-gracious Father, and beg him most All-graciously to pardon me, as it is not so much the withdrawal of my liberty, in a sad arrest, as my own thoughts of the fault I have committed that have brought me to reason, who, with all-obedientest respect and submission, continue till my end my All-graciousest king’s and Father’s faithfully-obedientest servant and son,
“Retire from Silesia!” exclaimed the king, vehemently. “And277 for money? Do you take me for a beggar? Retire from Silesia, in the conquest of which I have expended so much blood and treasure! No, sir, no. That is not to be thought of. If you have no better proposals to suggest, it is not worth while talking.”“‘There is a furious discount to be deducted from said glory. Chance came in for almost the whole of it. I would far rather have written Racine’s Athalie than have performed all the achievements of this war.’
“It is of no use. I impute nothing of crime to you. But after such a mishap it would be dangerous to trust you with any post or command.
The loss of Silesia she regarded as an act of pure highway robbery. It rankled in her noble heart as the great humiliation and disgrace of her reign. Frederick was to her but as a hated and successful bandit, who had wrenched from her crown one of318 its brightest jewels. To the last day of her life she never ceased to deplore the loss. It is said that if any stranger, obtaining an audience, was announced as from Silesia, the eyes of the queen would instantly flood with tears. But the fortunes of war had now triumphantly turned in her favor. Aided by the armies and the gold of England, she was on the high career of conquest. Her troops had overrun Bohemia and Bavaria. She was disposed to hold those territories in compensation for Silesia, which she had lost.Maria Theresa was much encouraged by the subsidy she had received from England. She was not yet informed of the formidable alliance into which France, with a portion of Germany, had entered for her destruction. About the 20th of June she left Vienna for Presburg, in Hungary, a drive of about fifty miles. Here, on the 25th of June, 1741, she was crowned Queen of Hungary. She was a very beautiful woman in person, devout in spirit, and those who admire manly developments in the female character must regard her as presenting the highest type of womanhood. She merits the following beautiful tribute to her worth from the pen of Carlyle:
In July of this year the Crown Prince took another journey with his father through extensive portions of the Prussian territory. The following extract from one of his letters to Voltaire reflects pleasing light upon the heart of Frederick, and upon the administrative ability of his father:a a. Austrian Army. b b. Position of Saxon Forepost, under Nostitz. c c. Advance of Prussian Army. d. Lucchesi’s Cavalry, re-enforced by Daun. e. Left Wing, under Nadasti. f. Frederick’s Hill of Observation. g g. Prussian Army about to attack. h. Ziethen’s Cavalry. i i i. Retreat of Austrians.
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