At just twenty minutes past two o’clock the breathing ceased, the spirit took its flight, and the lifeless body alone remained. Life’s great battle was ended, and the soul of the monarch ascended to that dread tribunal where prince and peasant must alike answer for all the deeds done in the body. It was the 17th of August, 1786. The king had reigned forty-six years, and had lived seventy-six years, six months, and twenty-four days.
Frederick.”BATTLE OF ROSSBACH, NOVEMBER 5, 1757.
Grumkow gathered up his papers, and, with his associate officials, departed, probably meditating upon his own prospects should the Crown Prince ever become King of Prussia. The next day, September 5, the captive was taken from the castle of Mittenwalde, and sent to the fortress of Cüstrin, a small and quiet town about seventy miles from Berlin. The strong, dungeon-like room in which he was incarcerated consisted of bare walls, without any furniture, the light being admitted by a single aperture so high that the prince could not look out at it. He was divested of his uniform, of his sword, of every mark of dignity.They repaired to the carriage, which was immediately ordered. Not a word was spoken until they reached the palace. Wilhelmina did not venture to ask any questions. Fearing that her brother was dead, she was in terrible trepidation. Having arrived at the palace, Madam Sonsfeld informed her of the contents of the dispatch.
The next morning the princess received the following cruel epistle from her mother:“I should not value the money,” the king added. “If money would content her I would give more.”
One week after the reception of this letter the Crown Prince wrote to Baron Grumkow in the following flippant and revolting strain. He probably little imagined that the letter was to be read by all Europe and all America. But those whose paths through life lead over the eminences of rank and power can not conceal their words or deeds from the scrutiny of the world. Grumkow, a very shrewd man, had contrived to secure influence over both the father and the son. The prince’s letter was dated Cüstrin, February 11, 1732:The authorship of the article could not be concealed. Frederick was indignant. He angrily seized his pen, and wrote a reply, which, though anonymous, was known by all to have been written by the king. In this reply he accused the writer of the article, whom he well knew to be Voltaire, of being a “manifest retailer of lies,” “a concocter of stupid libels,” and as “guilty of conduct more malicious, more dastardly, more infamous” than he had ever known before.“May a miller,” he exclaimed, fiercely, “who has no water, and consequently can not grind, have his mill taken from him? Is that just? Here is a nobleman wishing to make a fish-pond. To get more water for his pond, he has a ditch dug to draw into it a small stream which drives a water-mill. Thereby the miller loses his water, and can not grind. Yet, in spite of this, it is pretended that the miller shall pay his rent, quite the same as at the time when he had full water for his mill. Of course he can not pay his rent. His incomings are gone.
“Guarantees!” exclaimed the king, scornfully. “Who minds or keeps guarantees in this age? Has not France guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction? Has not England? Why do you not all fly to the queen’s succor?”The Herstal Affair.—The Summons.—Voltaire’s Manifesto.—George II. visits Hanover.—The Visit of Wilhelmina to Berlin.—Unpopularity of the King.—Death of the Emperor Charles VI.
Poniatowski was elected King of Poland on the 7th of September, 1764, and crowned on the 25th of November. He was then thirty-two years of age, and the scarcely disguised agent of Catharine. Two or three years passed of wars and rebellions, and all the usual tumult of this tumultuous world. In August, 1765, the Emperor Francis died. He was at Innsprück, attending the marriage festivities of his second son Leopold. About nine o’clock in the evening of the 18th, while sauntering through the rooms in the midst of the brilliant gala, he was struck with apoplexy. He staggered for a moment, fell into the hands of his son Joseph, and instantly died.“‘The monarchic, if the king is just and enlightened.’“Happy, my dear sister, is the obscure man whose good sense, from youth upward, has renounced all sorts of glory; who, in his safe and humble place, has none to envy him, and whose fortune does not excite the cupidity of scoundrels. But these reflections are vain. We have to be what our birth, which decides, has made us in entering upon this world.
“October 7, 1743.详情
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