John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

History of Frederick the Second online

. (page 48 of 52)
Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottHistory of Frederick the Second → online text (page 48 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


moved. But what followed convinces me that he possesses the art of
composing his countenance, and that the emotion passed within; for he
rose soon after, sent for M. Von Eichel, secretary of the cabinet,
and commanded him to write to Marshal Schwerin and M. Von Podewils,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, and order them to come immediately to
Reinsberg. These gentlemen arrived forthwith. They daily held long and
very secret conferences with his majesty. They say that sovereigns have
sometimes authority even over their infirmities. The fever has shown
itself docile to the will of the monarch, for after two slight attacks
it has entirely left him.” - _Letters_, vol. iv., p. 18.

[37] Macaulay, speaking of the claims of Frederick to Silesia,
says: “They amount to this, that the house of Brandenburg had some
ancient pretensions to Silesia, and had, in the previous century,
been compelled, by hard usage on the part of the court of Vienna, to
waive those pretensions. It is certain that, whoever might have been
originally in the right, Prussia had submitted. Prince after prince of
the house of Brandenburg had acquiesced in the existing arrangement.
Nay, the court of Berlin had recently been allied with that of Vienna,
and had guaranteed the integrity of the Austrian states. Is it not
perfectly clear that, if antiquated claims are to be set up against
recent treaties and long possession, the world can never be at peace
for a day?” - _Life of Frederick the Great_, by MACAULAY, p. 62.

[38] “The King of Prussia, the _Anti-Machiavel_, had already fully
determined to commit the great crime of violating his plighted faith,
of robbing the ally whom he was bound to defend, and of plunging all
Europe into a long, bloody, and desolating war, and all this for no
other end whatever except that he might extend his dominions and see
his name in the gazettes. He determined to assemble a great army
with speed and secrecy to invade Silesia before Maria Theresa should
be apprised of his design, and to add that rich province to his
kingdom.” - _Life of Frederick the Great_, by MACAULAY, p. 61.

[39]

No, notwithstanding your virtues, notwithstanding your attractions,
My soul is not satisfied.
No, you are but a coquette;
You subjugate the hearts of others, and do not give your own.

[40] In this wicked world power seldom respects weakness. No sooner
was the emperor dead than four claimants sprang up to wrest from Maria
Theresa a part or the whole of the kingdoms she had inherited from
her father; and this, notwithstanding nearly all the powers of Europe
had guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction. The Elector of Bavaria claimed
Bohemia, from an article in the will of the Emperor Ferdinand I., made
two centuries before. The King of Poland demanded the whole Austrian
succession, in virtue of the right of his wife, who was the eldest
daughter of the Emperor Joseph, elder brother of Charles VI. The King
of Spain claimed all the Austrian possessions, in consequence of his
descent from the wife of Philip II., who was daughter of the Emperor
Maximilian. The King of Sardinia hunted up an obsolete claim to the
duchy of Milan. But for the embarrassment into which these claims
plunged Maria Theresa, Frederick would hardly have ventured to invade
the province of Silesia. The woes which, in consequence, desolated the
nations of Europe, no mind but that of the omniscient God can gauge.

[41] The husband of Maria Theresa.

[42] Voltaire’s _Age of Louis XV._, vol. i., p. 54.

[43] Id.

[44] _Military Instructions_, p. 171.

[45] The army with which Frederick invaded Silesia consisted of a
general force of 28,000 men, which was followed by a rear-guard of
12,000. He had, in all, about 12,000 cavalry. The remainder were
foot soldiers. The artillery consisted of 20 three-pounders, 4
twelve-pounders, 4 howitzers, and 4 large mortars of fifty-pounds
calibre. His artillerymen numbered 166.

[46]

Straverunt alii nobis, nos posteritati:
Omnibus at Christus stravit ad astra viam.

[47] Charles Etienne Jordan was thirty-six years of age. He was the son
of wealthy parents in Berlin, and had been a preacher. The death of a
beloved wife, leaving him with an only daughter, had plunged him into
the profoundest melancholy. Frederick, when Crown Prince, took a great
fancy to him, making him nominally his reader, giving him charge of
his library. He is represented as a man of small figure, genial, and
affectionate, of remarkable vivacity, very courteous, and one who was
ever careful never, by word or action, to give pain to others.

[48] His next younger brother, Augustus William, who had accompanied
him on the expedition.

[49] Colonel Keyserling was a Courlander of good family. He had been
officially named as “Companion” of the Crown Prince in his youthful
days. Frederick entitled him _Cæsarion_, and ever regarded him as one
of the choicest of his friends. He was a man of very eccentric manners,
but warm-hearted and exceedingly companionable.

[50] Algarotti was a Venetian gentleman of much elegance of manners
and dress. He was very fervent in his utterance, and could talk
fluently upon every subject. He was just of the age of Frederick.
Being the son of wealthy parents, he had enjoyed great advantages of
study and travel, had already published several works, and was quite
distinguished as a universal genius, a logician, a poet, a philosopher,
and a connoisseur in all the arts. He was a great favorite of
Frederick, and accompanied him to Strasbourg and on this expedition to
Silesia. Wilhelmina describes him as “one of the first _beaux esprits_
of the age,” and “as one who does the expenses of the conversation.”

[51] Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau was one of the most extraordinary men of
any age. His life was but a constant whirlwind of battle, almost from
his birth in 1676, to his death in 1747. His face was of the “color of
gunpowder,” and his fearless, tumultuous soul was in conformity with
the rugged body in which it was incased. The whole character of the
man may be inferred from the following prayer, which it is said he was
accustomed to offer before entering battle: “O God! assist our side. At
least, avoid assisting the enemy, and leave the result to me.” Leopold,
called the _Old Dessauer_, and his son, the _Young Leopold_, were of
essential service to Frederick in his wars. Pages might be filled
illustrative of the character of this eccentric man.

[52] _Military Instructions_, p. 113.

[53] It was the day before. But it is not surprising that the
bewildered young king should have been somewhat confused in his dates.

[54] Monsieur le Baron Bielfeld, _Lettres Familières et Autres_, tome
i., p. 3.

[55] “Some men,” says a quaint writer, “have a God to swear by, though
they have none to pray to.”

[56] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xi., p. 90.

[57] “Valori was one night with him, and, on rising to take leave, the
fat hand, sticking probably in the big waistcoat pocket, twitched out a
little diplomatic-looking Note, which Frederick, with gentle adroitness
(permissible in such circumstances), set his foot upon, till Valori had
bowed himself out.” - CARLYLE, vol. iii., p. 330.

[58] _The Iron Crown._ It was so called because there was entwined,
amidst its priceless gems and exquisitely wrought frosted gold, some
iron wire, said to be drawn from one of the spikes which had been
driven through one of the hands of our Savior.

[59] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, vol. ii., p. 84.

[60] “Sure enough, the Sea Powers are checkmated now. Let them make
the least attempt in favor of the queen if they dare. Holland can
be overrun from Osnabrück quarter at a day’s warning. Little George
has his Hanoverians, his subsidized Hessians, Danes, in Hanover; his
English on Lexden Heath. Let him come one step over the marches,
Maillebois and the Old Dessauer swallow him. It is a surprising stroke
of theatrical-practical Art, brought about, to old Fleury’s sorrow, by
the genius of Belleisle, and they say of Madame Châteauroux; enough
to strike certain Governing Persons breathless for some time, and
denotes that the Universal Hurricane, or World Tornado has broken
out.” - CARLYLE, vol. iii., p. 357.

[61] Count Brühl was for many years the first minister of the king. He
was a weak, extravagant man, reveling in voluptuousness. His decisions
could always be controlled by an ample bribe. His sole object seemed to
be his own personal luxurious indulgence. “Public affairs,” he said,
“will carry themselves on, provided we do not trouble ourselves about
them.”

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, in his letters from Dresden, writes:
“Now, as every thing of every kind, from the highest affairs of the
state down to operas and hunting, are all in Count Brühl’s immediate
care, I leave you to judge how his post is executed. His expenses
are immense. He keeps three hundred servants and as many horses. It
is said, and I believe it, that he takes money for every thing the
king disposes of in Poland, where they frequently have very great
employments to bestow.”

[62] _Histoire de mon Temps._

[63] _Campagnes de le Roi de Prusse_, p. 5.

[64] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, xvii., p. 196.

[65] _Campaigns of the King of Prussia_, p. 57.

[66] _Correspondance de Frédéric II._

[67] “Huge huzzaing, herald-trumpeting, bob-major-ing, burst forth from
all Prussian towns, especially from all Silesian ones, in those June
days, as the drums beat homeward; elaborate illuminations in the short
nights, with bonfires, with transparencies; transparency inscribed
‘Frederico Magno (To Frederick _the Great_),’ in one small instance,
still of premature nature.” - CARLYLE.

[68] Bielfeld, 251.

[69] _Histoire de mon Temps._

[70] Bielfeld, p. 251.

[71] It would seem that Voltaire was sent to Frederick as the secret
agent and spy of the French minister. “Voltaire,” writes Macaulay, “was
received with every mark of respect and friendship. The negotiation
was of an extraordinary description. Nothing can be conceived more
whimsical than the conferences which took place between the first
literary man and the first practical man of the age, whom a strange
weakness had induced to change their parts. The great poet would
talk of nothing but treaties and guarantees, and the king of nothing
but metaphors and rhymes. On one occasion Voltaire put into his
majesty’s hand a paper on the state of Europe, and received it back
with verses scrawled on the margin. In secret they both laughed at
each other. Voltaire did not spare the king’s poems, and the king has
left on record his opinion of Voltaire’s diplomacy, saying, ‘He had no
credentials, and the whole mission was a mere farce.’”

As a specimen of the character of the document above alluded to, we
give the following. Voltaire, in what he deemed a very important state
paper, had remarked,

“The partisans of Austria burn with the desire to open the campaign
in Silesia again. Have you, in that case, any ally but France? And,
however potent you are, is an ally useless to you?”

The king scribbled on the margin,

“Mon ami,
Don’t you see
We will receive them
A la Barbari!”

[72] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, XXVII., vol. i., p. 387.

[73] Letters of Bielfeld, vol. i., p. 188.

[74] In Pöllnitz’s memoirs and letters he repeated the rumor that the
great elector’s second wife, an ancestor of Frederick, had attempted to
poison her step-son.

[75] Voltaire is proverbially inaccurate in details. It was the king’s
invariable custom to rise at _four_ in summer and six in winter.

[76] “In his retreat Frederick is reported to have lost above thirty
thousand men, together with most of his heavy baggage and artillery,
and many wagons laden with provisions and plunder.” - TOWER’S _Life and
Reign of Frederick_, vol. i., p. 209.

[77] Carlyle, vol. iv., p. 50.

[78] Carlyle, vol. iv., p. 76.

[79] Carlyle, vol. iv., p. 54.

[80] Carlyle, vol. i., p. 302.

[81] Carlyle, vol. iv., p. 80.

[82] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. ii., p. 218.

[83] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. iii., p. 123.

[84] Scamander, a small stream in Asia Minor, celebrated in the songs
of Homer.

[85] Robinson’s Dispatch, August 4, 1745.

[86] _Histoire de mon Temps._

[87] In this, as in most other similar cases, there is considerable
diversity of statement as to the precise number of troops engaged
on either side. But there is no question that the Austrians were in
numbers far superior to the Prussians.

[88] Müller, _Tableaux des guerres de Frédéric le Grand_.

[89] _Mémoires de Frédéric, Baron de Trenck._

[90] Carlyle, vol. iv., p. 171.

[91] Id. ibid.

[92] Voltaire, speaking of this action, says: “It was the famous old
Prince of Anhalt who gained this decisive victory. He had been a
warrior fifty years, and was the first who had entered into the lines
of the French army at Turin in 1707. For conducting the infantry he was
esteemed the most experienced officer in Europe. This great battle was
the last that filled up the measure of his military glory - the only
glory which he had enjoyed, for fighting was his only province.” - _Age
of Louis XV._, chap. xvii.

[93] “About three pounds ten shillings, I think - better than ten
pounds in our day to a common man, and better than one hundred pounds
to a Linsenbarth.” - CARLYLE.

[94] _Commentaire Historique sur les Œuvres de l’Auteur de la Henriade._

[95] _Supplément aux Œuvres Posthumes de Frédéric_, ii.

[96] Voltaire boasted that he had gained the cause, because the Jew was
fined thirty shillings. But he knew full well, as did every one else,
that the result of the suit covered him with dishonor.

[97] This was a private letter which reflected severely upon the
character of Maupertuis.

[98] Thiebault, _Souvenirs de Vingt Ans de Séjour à Berlin_.

[99] _Biographie Universelle._

[100] In a letter which the Prince of Prussia, Augustus William, wrote
to the king, remonstrating against those encroachments which were
arraying all Europe against him, he says: “Russia is persuaded that
your designs upon her occasioned the applications which you have made
to the court of Vienna to substitute a truce of two years in room of
a solemn treaty of peace. She believes that you wanted to tie up the
hands of the empress queen so as to put it out of her power to succor
her ally; that a war against Russia was the principal object of your
intrigues in Sweden; that you have designs upon Courland; that Polish
Prussia and Pomerania would be very convenient to you; and that you
find Russia the greatest obstacle to this rounding of your dominions.
In short, she believes that she has the same interest in your abasement
as the house of Austria.” - _Vie de Frédéric II., Roi de Prusse_, t.
ii., p. 318.

[101] Age of Louis XV., chapter xxxii.

[102] Archenholtz, _Histoire de la Guerre de cet Homme_.

[103] An uncle of the great Mirabeau.

[104] The Duchess of Pompadour.

[105] In the years 1508–1509 the celebrated league of Cambrai was
formed by Louis XII. of France, Maximilian, Emperor of Germany,
Ferdinand, King of Spain, and Pope Julius II., against Venice. The
league was called _Holy_ because the pope took part in it.

[106]

“Ainsi mon seul asile en mon unique port
Se trouve, chère sœur, dans les bràs de la mort.”

[107] _Correspondance Familière et Amicale_, tome i., p. 31.

[108] “Heaven!” This was probably a slip of the pen. Frederick would
have been perplexed to explain who or what he meant by “Heaven.” It
would, however, subsequently appear that he used the word as synonymous
with _fate_ or _destiny_.

[109] The atheistic pen of Frederick will sometimes slip.

[110] _Memoires pour servir à la Vie de M. De Voltaire._

[111] Carlyle, vol. v., p. 168.

[112] Archenholtz, vol. i., p. 209.

[113]

“Gieb dass ich thu’ mit Fleiss was mir zu thun gebühret,
Wozu mich dein Befehl in meinem Stande führet,
Gieb dass ich’s thue bald, zu der Zeit da ich’s soll;
Und wenn ich’s thu’, so gieb dass es gerathe wohl.”

[114] “Indeed, there is in him, in those grim days, a tone as of
trust in the Eternal, as of real religious piety and faith, scarcely
noticeable elsewhere in his history. His religion, and he had, in
withered forms, a good deal of it, if we will look well, being almost
always in a strictly voiceless state - nay, ultra voiceless, or voiced
the wrong way, as is too well known!” - CARLYLE.

[115]

“Nun danket alle Gott
Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen,
Der grosse Dinge thut,
An uns und allen Enden.”

[116] _Vie de Frédéric II., Roi de Prusse, Strasbourg_, 1788, t. ii.,
p. 317.

[117] Carlyle.

[118] The son of the late Prince of Prussia. He was now heir to the
crown.

[119] Carlyle.

[120] London Magazine, vol. xxvii., p. 670.

[121] This confession of the king is worthy of notice. His _philosophy_
afforded him no consolation in these hours of anguish. It is faith in
Christ alone which can “take from death its sting, and from the grave
its victory.”

[122] _Correspondance de Voltaire avec le Roi de Prusse._

[123] Archenholtz, _Histoire de la Guerre de Sept Ans_.

[124] _Histoire de la Guerre de Sept Ans, par Frédéric II._

[125] “The loss of his Wilhelmina, had there been no other grief, has
darkened all his life to Frederick. Readers are not prepared for the
details of grief we could give, and the settled gloom of mind they
indicate. A loss irreparable and immeasurable; the light of life, the
one heart that loved him, gone. All winter he dwells internally on the
sad matter, though soon falling silent on it to others.” - CARLYLE,
vol. v., p. 318.

[126] Carlyle, vol. v., p. 314.

[127] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xix., p. 56.

[128] _Mémoires pour servir à la Vie de M. De Voltaire, Ecrit par
Lui-même._

[129] The Duchess of Pompadour.

[130] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xxiii., p. 53.

[131] _Histoire de la Guerre de Sept Ans, par Frédéric II._

[132] General Haddick was in command of an Austrian force marching to
join the Russians. Frederick had surprised one of his detachments.

[133] General Finck, one of the most efficient of Frederick’s generals,
to whom we shall often hereafter refer.

[134] This was a mistake. Frederick had probably been misinformed.

[135] There were three horses shot under Frederick; but from the third
the king dismounted before he fell.

[136] Haddick and Loudon were two of the most able generals in the army
of Soltikof.

[137] Prince Henry.

[138] This was a slip of the pen. The battle of Kunersdorf was on the
12th.

[139] “I pray God!” Even the heart of the atheist in hours of calamity
yearns for a God.

[140] The king here undoubtedly refers to the vial of poison which he
invariably carried in his waistcoat pocket.

[141] “Of the 14,000 men who had made the expedition with him, only
3000 remained unwounded at the time of the capitulation.” - _Life of
Frederick II._, by LORD DOVER, vol. ii., p. 134.

[142] Carlyle, vol. v., p. 469.

[143] _Biographie Universelle._

[144] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xxii., p. 61.

[145] Voltaire’s niece, Madame Denis, was with him when he was arrested
at Frankfort, and she was terribly frightened.

[146] _Œuvres de Voltaire_, t. lxxx., p. 313.

[147] Archenholtz, vol. ii., p. 53.

[148] “The symptoms we decipher in these letters, and otherwise, are
those of a man drenched in misery; but used to his black element,
unaffectedly defiant of it, or not at the pains to defy it; occupied
only to do his very utmost in it, with or without success, till the end
come.” - CARLYLE.

[149] Annual Register, vol. iii., p. 209.

[150] Life of Frederick II., by Lord Dover, vol. ii., p. 152.

[151] The king had a coat torn from him by a rebounding cannon-ball,
and a horse shot under him.

[152] _Œuvres Posthumes de Frédéric II._

[153] “No human intellect in our day could busy itself with
understanding these thousandfold marchings, manœuvrings, assaults,
surprisals, sudden facings about (retreat changed to advance);
nor could the powerfulest human memory, not exclusively devoted
to study the art military under Frederick, remember them when
understood.” - CARLYLE, vol. vi., p. 59.

[154] Great in small things, small in great things.

[155] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xix., p. 139.

[156]

When one has lost every thing, when one has no longer hope,
Life is a disgrace, and death a duty.

[157] Carlyle.

[158] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xix., p. 204.

[159] _Correspondance Familière et Amicale de Frédéric, Roi de Prusse_,
t. ii., p. 140.

[160] Carlyle.

[161] Life of Frederick II., by Lord Dover, vol. ii., p. 170.

[162] Walpole’s Letters to Sir Horace Mann, vol. i., p. 6, 7.

[163] Maria Theresa of Austria, Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, and the
Marchioness of Pompadour, who was virtually Queen of France.

[164] _Vie de Frédéric II., Roi de Prusse_, t. ii., p. 141.

[165] _Prusse_, t. ii., p. 282.

[166] Küster, _Charakterzüge des General Lieutenant v. Saldern_, p. 40

[167] Carlyle.

[168] Archenholtz, vol. ii., p. 262.

[169] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xix., p. 281.

[170] Carlyle.

[171] Carlyle.

[172] Carlyle.

[173] Military Instructions, written by the King of Prussia, p. 176.

[174] Archenholtz, _Histoire de la Guerre de Sept Ans_.

[175] “Northern tourists, Wraxall and others, passing that way, speak
of this princess down to recent times as a phenomenon of the place.
Apparently a high and peremptory kind of lady, disdaining to be bowed
too low by her disgraces. She survived all her generation, and the next
and the next, and, indeed, into our own. Died 18th February, 1840, at
the age of ninety-six.” - CARLYLE.

[176] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. vi., p. 23.

[177] _Œuvres Posthumes de D’Alembert_, t. i., p. 197, cited by
Carlyle, vol. vi., p. 283.

[178] _Histoire ou Anecdotes sur la Révolution de Russie en l’année
1762, par M. Rulhière._

[179] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. vi., p. 26.

[180] _Correspondance avec l’Electrice Marie-Antoine._

[181] Pezzl, _Vie de Loudon_, vol. ii., p. 29.

[182] “Kaunitz,” writes Frederick, “had a clear intellect, greatly
twisted by perversities of temper, especially by a self-conceit and
arrogance which were boundless. He did not talk, but preach. At the
smallest interruption he would stop short in indignant surprise. It has
happened that at the council-board in Schönbrunn, when her imperial
majesty has asked some explanation of a word or thing not understood by
her, Kaunitz made his bow and quitted the room.”

[183] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xxvi., p. 30.

[184] Schnitzler, vol. ii., p. 247.

[185] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. xxvi., p. 345.

[186] Hormayr, _Taschenbuch_, 1831, S. 66, cited by Dr. J. D. E.
Preuss, Historiographer of Brandenburg, in his life of _Friedrich der
Grosse_, vol. iv., p. 38.

[187] Preuss, vol. iv., p. 39.

[188] G. Freytag, _Neue Bilder aus dem Leben des deutschen Volkes_,
cited by Carlyle, vol. vi., p. 378.

[189] Freytag, p. 397.

[190] _Œuvres de Frédéric_, t. vi., p. 124.

[191] Carlyle, vol. vi., p. 446–449.

[192] Schmettau, vol. xxv., p. 30.

[193] Preuss, t. iv., p. 187.

[194] Fischer, vol. ii., p. 445, as cited by Carlyle.

[195] Carlyle, vol. vi., p. 529.

[196] Carlyle.

[197] _Correspondance Inédite de Marie Antoinette_, p. 137.

[198] _Mémoires et Mélanges Historiques et Littéraires, par le Prince
de Ligny._

[199] Dr. Moore, View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland,
and Germany.

[200] Carlyle, vol. vi., p. 535.

[201] Rödenbeck, vol. iii., p. 365.




INDEX.


A.

Abdication of Frederick William contemplated, 50.

Absolutism of Frederick William (_note_), 43.

Academy of Sciences established in Berlin, 191;
Frederick’s interest in the, 390.

Adelbert, Bishop of Prag, his missionary spirit, 18.

Adolph Frederick of Sweden marries Frederick’s sister Ulrique, 323.

Alarm of the monarchies of Europe at the successes of Frederick the
Great, 267;
of the British Cabinet, 286.

Alembert, D’, a French Philosopher and friend of Frederick, 540.

Algarotti, Count, Italian, at Reinsberg, 171;
_Note_, 233;
describes a Review of the Guards, 379.

Alliance of European Powers against Frederick threatened, 238.

Amelia, Princess, of England, her constancy to Frederick, 150.



Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottHistory of Frederick the Second → online text (page 48 of 52)