General Daun directed the energies of his ninety thousand troops upon the right wing of the Prussians, which could not number more than twenty thousand men. As soon as it was dark on Friday night, the 13th, he sent thirty thousand men, under guides familiar with every rod of the country, by a circuitous route, south of the Prussian lines, through forest roads, to take position on the west of the Prussian right wing, just in its rear. General Daun himself accompanied this band of picked men.Frederick was now in imminent danger of being assailed by a coalition of Austria, Russia, Poland, and England. Indeed, it was by no means certain that France might not also join the alliance. All this was the result of Frederick’s great crime in wresting Silesia from Austria. Such was the posture of affairs when, in the summer of 1755, Frederick decided to take a trip into Holland incognito. He disguised himself with a black wig, and assumed the character of a musician of the King of Poland. At Amsterdam he embarked for Utrecht in the common passage-boat. The king mingled with the other passengers without any one suspecting his rank. There chanced to be in the boat a young Swiss gentleman, Henry de Catt, twenty-seven years of age. He was a teacher, taking a short tour for recreation. He gives the following account of his interview with the king, whom, at the time, he had no reason to suppose was other than an ordinary passenger. We give the narrative in his own words:Establishment of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.—Religious Toleration.—A Free Press.—Sternness of the young King.—Domestic Habits of the King.—Provision for the Queen-mother.—Absolutism of the King.—Journey to Strasbourg.—First Interview with Voltaire.
“When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not where in the world to be brought to bed in, I relied on my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, where not only public law cries to Heaven against us, but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must confess never in my life to have been in such trouble, and I am ashamed to show my face. Let the prince (Kaunitz) consider what an example we are giving to all the world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, or of Moldavia, or Wallachia, we throw our honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I am alone, and no more in vigor. Therefore I must, though to my very great sorrow, let things take their course.”186The Crown Prince met the masons by agreement at “Korn’s Hotel.” On the night of Tuesday, August 14th, 1738, the king having that evening continued his journey, Frederick, after adopting177 extreme precautions to prevent any publicity of the act, fearing probably only lest it should reach his father’s ears, passed through the mysterious rites of initiation. It does not, however, appear that subsequently he took any special interest in the society.28
Her sisters were now permitted occasionally to visit her, and her situation became somewhat ameliorated. On the 10th of May Wilhelmina received a letter from her mother which caused her to wring her hands in anguish. It informed her that the next day a deputation was to call upon her from the king, to insist upon her giving her consent to marry the Prince of Baireuth.
dd. Prussian Cavalry.
“Heir is a gallant enough young gentleman. Frederick judges that he probably will have haggled to sign any Austrian convention for dismemberment of Baiern, and that he will start into life upon it so soon as he sees hope.During the previous summer, the philosopher Maupertuis, after weary wanderings in the languor of consumption, and in great dejection of spirits, had been stricken by convulsions while in his carriage at Basel. He had lost favor with the king, and was poor, friendless, and dying. His latter years had been imbittered by the venomous assaults of Voltaire.
“Fearful tugging, swagging, and swaying is conceivable in this Sterbohol problem! And, after long scanning, I rather judge that it was in the wake of that first repulse that the veteran Schwerin himself got his death. No one times it for us; but the fact is unforgetable; and in the dim whirl of sequences dimly places itself there. Very certain it is ‘at sight of his own regiment in retreat,’ Field-marshal Schwerin seized the colors, as did other generals, who are not named, that day. Seizes the colors, fiery old man: ‘This way, my sons!’ and rides ahead along the straight dam again; his ‘sons’ all turning, and with hot repentance following. ‘On, my children, this way!’ Five bits of grape-shot, deadly each of them, at once hit the old man; dead he sinks there on his flag; and will never fight more.In very rapid march, the troops advanced through Grünberg toward Glogau, about forty miles in the interior. Here there was a fortified town, which was considered the key of Northern Silesia. It was but feebly garrisoned, and was entirely unprepared for resistance. By great exertions, the Austrian governor of the province, Count Wallis, and his second in command, General Browne, succeeded in placing behind the works a little garrison of one thousand men. The whole population was summoned to work upon the ramparts. Count Wallis remained in Glogau. General Browne took command of the troops and garrisons abroad. But there was a division of sentiment within the walls. Quite a large portion of the population was Protestant, and would be glad to come under the protection of Protestant Prussia. The Catholics were zealous for the continued reign of Austria.“When the king, after the Seven Years’ War, now and then in carnival season dined with the queen in her apartments, he usually said not a word to her. He merely, on entering, on sitting down at table, and leaving it, made the customary bows, and sat opposite to her. Once the queen was ill of gout. The table was in her apartments, but she was not there. She sat in an easy-chair in the drawing-room. On this occasion the king stepped up to the queen and inquired about her health. The circumstance occasioned among the company present, and all over the town, as the news spread, great wonder and sympathy. This is probably the last time he ever spoke to her.”193
Some of our readers may think that the above narrative is quite incredible; that a young sovereign, who had just written the Anti-Machiavel, and who knew that the eyes of the world were upon him, could not be guilty of such perfidy. But, unhappily, there is no possible room for doubt. The documentary evidence is ample. There is no contradictory testimony.In the mean time Frederick took positions which commanded the three gates on his, the southern, side of the river; constructed a bridge of boats; and sent four hundred men across the stream, and made preparations to force an entrance. At four o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, not a gun having yet been fired, a messenger brought the intelligence that the town would be surrendered. At eight o’clock the next morning, Tuesday, 3d of January, 1741, the city authorities came in their coaches, with much parade, to welcome their new sovereign. It was a bitter cold morning. The king had ridden away to reconnoitre the walls in their whole circuit. It was not until near noon that he was prepared to accompany the officials to the palace which was made ready for him. He then, on horseback, attended by his principal officers, and followed by an imposing retinue, in a grand entrance, proudly took possession of his easy conquest.230 He rode a very magnificent gray charger, and wore his usual cocked hat and a blue cloak, both of which were somewhat the worse for wear. Four footmen, gorgeously dressed in scarlet, trimmed with silver lace, walked by the side of his horse. The streets through which he passed were thronged, and the windows and balconies were crowded with spectators of both sexes. Though Frederick did not meet with an enthusiastic reception, he was very gracious, bowing to the people on each side of the street, and saluting with much courtesy those who seemed to be people of note.
“If my destiny refuse me the happiness of being able to possess you, may I at least hope one day to see the man whom I have admired so long now from afar, and to assure you, by word of mouth, that I am, with all the esteem and consideration due those who, following the torch of truth for guide, consecrate their labors to the public, Monsieur, your affectionate friend,
Upon reaching the palace, he stood for a moment upon the grand stairway, and, surveying the thronging thousands, took off his hat and saluted them. This gave rise to a burst of applause louder and heartier than Berlin had ever heard before. The king disappeared within the palace. Where the poor neglected queen was at this time we are not informed. There are no indications that he gave her even a thought.
These tidings struck the Austrian council with consternation. The French armies were declared to be the finest that had ever taken the field. The Prussian army, in stolid bravery and perfection285 of discipline, had never been surpassed. Germany was to be cut into four equal parts, and France was to be the sovereign power on the Continent.“Berlin, 1st of March, 1743.详情
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