On the 11th, Brieg was summoned to surrender. The prompt and resolute response was “No.” The place was found unexpectedly strong, and a gallant little garrison of sixteen hundred men had been assembled behind its walls. Frederick was much annoyed by the delay thus occasioned. He promptly invested the city so as to cut off all supplies, and dispatched an order to Glogau to have the field artillery sent, as speedily as possible, up the Oder to Brieg.THE RETREAT OF THE AUSTRIANS.
Lord Hyndford, who says that by this rude assailment he was put extremely upon his guard, rejoined:385 This good old man died in Berlin on the 24th of August, 1777, eighty-eight years of age.
While these coronation splendors were transpiring, Frederick was striving, with all his characteristic enthusiasm, to push forward his Moravian campaign to a successful issue. Inspired by as tireless energies as ever roused a human heart, he was annoyed beyond measure by the want of efficient co-operation on the part of his less zealous allies. Neither the Saxons nor the French could keep pace with his impetuosity. The princes who led the Saxon troops, the petted sons of kings and nobles, were loth to abandon the luxurious indulgences to which they had been accustomed. When they arrived at a capacious castle where they found warm fires, an abundant larder, and sparkling wines, they would linger there many days, decidedly preferring those comforts to campaigning through the blinding, smothering snowstorm, and bivouacking on the bleak and icy plains, swept by the gales of a northern winter. The French were equally averse to these terrible marches, far more to be dreaded than the battle-field.
Voltaire was, at this time, about forty years of age. His renown as a man of genius already filled Europe. He was residing,173 on terms of the closest intimacy, with Madame Du Chatelet, who had separated from her husband. With congenial tastes and ample wealth they occupied the chateau of Cirey, delightfully situated in a quiet valley in Champagne, and which they had rendered, as Madame testifies, a perfect Eden on earth. It is not always, in the divine government, that sentence against an evil work is “executed speedily.” Madame Du Chatelet, renowned in the writings of Voltaire as the “divine Emilie,” was graceful, beautiful, fascinating. Her conversational powers were remarkable, and she had written several treatises upon subjects connected with the pure sciences, which had given her much deserved celebrity.“Whereas the Baron De P?llnitz, born of honest parents, so far as we know, having served our grandfather as gentleman of the chamber, Madame D’Orleans in the same rank, the King of Spain as colonel, the deceased Emperor Charles VI. as captain of horse, the pope as chamberlain, the Duke of Brunswick as chamberlain, the Duke of Weimar as ensign, our father as chamberlain, and, in fine, us as grand master of ceremonies, has, notwithstanding such accumulation of honors, become disgusted with the world, and requests of us a parting testimony;
Regardless himself of comfort, insensible to fatigue, dead to affection, he created perhaps the most potent military machine earth has ever known. Prussia was an armed camp. The king prized his soldiers as a miser prizes his gold coin, and was as unwilling to expose them to any danger as the miser is to hazard his treasures. War would thin his regiments, soil his uniforms, destroy his materiel. He hated war. But his army caused Prussia to be respected. If needful, he could throw one hundred thousand of the best drilled and best furnished troops in Europe, like a thunderbolt, upon any point. Unprincipled monarchs would think twice before they would encroach upon a man thus armed.
Count Wallis, who was intrusted with the defense of the place, had a garrison of about a thousand men, with fifty-eight heavy guns and several mortars, and a large amount of ammunition. Glogau was in the latitude of fifty-two, nearly six degrees north245 of Quebec. It was a cold wintry night. The ground was covered with snow. Water had been thrown upon the glacis, so that it was slippery with ice. Prince Leopold in person led one of the columns. The sentinels upon the walls were not alarmed until three impetuous columns, like concentrating tornadoes, were sweeping down upon them. They shouted “To arms!” The soldiers, roused from sleep, rushed to their guns. Their lightning flashes were instantly followed by war’s deepest thunders, as discharge followed discharge in rapid succession.
The correspondence carried on between Frederick and Voltaire, and their mutual comments, very clearly reveal the relations existing between these remarkable men. Frederick was well aware that the eloquent pen of the great dramatist and historian could give him celebrity throughout Europe. Voltaire was keenly alive to the consideration that the friendship of a monarch could secure to him position and opulence. And yet each privately spoke of the other very contemptuously, while in the correspondence which passed between them they professed for each other the highest esteem and affection. Frederick wrote from Berlin as follows to Voltaire:
The Austrian cavalry made an impetuous charge upon the weaker Prussian cavalry on the right of the Prussian line. Frederick commanded here in person. The Prussian right wing was speedily routed, and driven in wild retreat over the plain. The king lost his presence of mind and fled ingloriously with the fugitives. General Schulenberg endeavored, in vain, to rally the disordered masses. He received a sabre slash across his face. Drenched in blood, he still struggled, unavailingly, to arrest the torrent, when a bullet struck him dead. The battle was now raging fiercely all along the lines.“‘Monsieur Keith,’ said the king to him, ‘I am sorry we had to spoil Madame’s fine shrubbery by our man?uvres; have the goodness to give her that, with my apologies,’ and handed him a pretty casket with key to it, and in the interior 10,000 crowns.
“You know, my dear son, that when my children are obedient I love them much. So when you were at Berlin, I from my heart forgave you every thing; and from that Berlin time, since I saw you, have thought of nothing but of your well-being, and how to establish you; not in the army only, but also with a right step-daughter, and so see you married in my lifetime. You may be well persuaded I have had the Princesses of Germany taken survey of, so far as possible, and examined by trusty people what their conduct is, their education, and so on. And so a princess has been found, the eldest one of Bevern, who is well brought up, modest and retiring as a woman ought to be.To add to the embarrassments of Frederick, the King of Poland, entirely under the control of his minister Brühl, who hated Frederick, entered into an alliance with Maria Theresa, and engaged to furnish her with thirty thousand troops, who were to be supported by the sea powers England and Holland, who were also in close alliance with Austria.April 10, 1741.详情
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