“The wide, overarching sky,” writes Carlyle, “looks down on49 no more inflexible sovereign man than him, in the red-collared blue coat and white leggins, with the bamboo in his hand; a peaceable, capacious, not ill-given sovereign man, if you will let him have his way; but to bar his way, to tweak the nose of his sovereign royalty, and ignominiously force him into another way, that is an enterprise no man or devil, or body of men or devils, need attempt. The first step in such an attempt will require to be the assassination of Frederick Wilhelm, for you may depend upon it, royal Sophie, so long as he is alive the feat can not be done.”
On the 8th of June the English and Dutch ministers, not yet aware of the alliance into which Frederick had entered with France, presented the joint resolution of their two courts, exhorting Frederick to withdraw his army from Silesia. Lord Hyndford, who was somewhat annoyed by the apparent impolicy of the measure just at that time, solicited and obtained a private audience with the king, hoping by apologies and explanations to make the summons a little less unpalatable to his majesty. In the brief interview which ensued Lord Hyndford appealed to the magnanimity of the king, declaring that it would be generous and noble for him to accept moderate terms from Austria. The king angrily interrupted him, saying,
On the 7th of January, 1742, Frederick’s eldest brother, William Augustus, was married to Louisa Amelia, a younger sister of the king’s neglected wife, Elizabeth. The king himself graced297 the festival, in gorgeous attire, and very successfully plied all his wonderful arts of fascination. “He appeared,” says Bielfeld, “so young, so gay, so graceful, that I could not have refrained from loving him, even if he had been a stranger.”MAP OF THE CAMPAIGN OF ROSSBACH.
“I was so little moved by it that I answered, going on with my work, ‘Is that all?’ which greatly surprised them. A while82 after, my sisters and several ladies came to congratulate me. I was much loved, and I felt more delighted at the proofs each gave me of that than at what had occasioned their congratulations. In the evening I went to the queen’s. You may readily conceive her joy. On my first entrance she called me her dear Princess of Wales, and addressed Madam De Sonsfeld as ‘Miladi.’ This latter took the liberty of hinting to her that it would be better to keep quiet; that the king, having yet given no notice of this business, might be provoked at such demonstration, and that the least trifle could still ruin all her hopes.”
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.After half an hour of rapid and terrific fire, the Prussian troops were ordered to advance and storm the works of the foe on the Mühlberg Hill. Like wolves in the chase, these men of iron nerves rushed forward through torrents of grape-shot and musket-shot, which covered their path with the dead. In ten minutes they were in possession of the hill-top, with all its batteries. The left wing of the Russian army was thrown into a maelstrom whirl of disorder and destruction. One hundred and eighty of the artillery pieces of the enemy fell into the hands of the victors.
“Berlin,” she writes, “had become as odious to me as it once was dear. I flattered myself that, renouncing grandeurs, I might lead a soft and tranquil life in my new home, and begin a happier year than the one which had just ended.”“I answered that my regard for him had never been of an interested nature; that I would never ask any thing of him but the continuance of his friendship; and that I did not wish for one penny if it would in the least inconvenience him.
“Sire,—Yesterday I was in terrible alarms. The sound of the cannon heard, the smoke of powder visible from the steeple-tops here, all led us to suspect that there was a battle going on. Glorious confirmation of it this morning. Nothing but rejoicing among all the Protestant inhabitants, who had begun to be in apprehension from the rumors which the other party took pleasure in spreading. Persons who were in the battle can not enough celebrate the coolness and bravery of your majesty. For myself, I am at the overflowing point. I have run about all day announcing this glorious news to the Berliners who are here. In my life I have never felt a more perfect satisfaction. One finds at the corner of every street an orator of the people celebrating the warlike feats of your majesty’s troops. I have often, in my idleness, assisted at these discourses; not artistic eloquence, it must be owned, but gushing full from the heart.”
It would seem that Frederick was not very willing to receive, as his guest, the divine Emilie, who occupied so questionable a position in the household of Voltaire; for he wrote again, on the 5th of August, in reply to a letter from Voltaire, saying,The Queen of Hungary had purchased the co-operation of the Polish king by offering to surrender to him a generous portion of Silesia after the province should have been reconquered. Indeed, there was a great cause of apprehension that the allied army would make a rush upon Berlin itself. The aspect of his Prussian majesty’s affairs was now gloomy in the extreme.
“Surrender to me peaceably,” was the substance of this demand, “the province of Silesia, and I will be the ally of your majesty in maintaining your right to the throne, and in defending the integrity of all the rest of your realms. I will exert my influence to have the Grand-duke Francis41 chosen Emperor of Germany, and will also immediately pay one million of dollars into the Austrian treasury.”“Nürnberg, July 3, 1734.详情
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