“His majesty’s entrance into Frankfort,” writes M. Bielfeld, who accompanied him, “although very triumphant, was far from ostentatious. We passed like lightning before the eyes of the spectators, and were so covered with dust that it was difficult to distinguish the color of our coats and the features of our faces. We made some purchases at Frankfort, and the next day arrived safely in Berlin, where the king was received with the acclamations of his people.”68He then adds the philosophical reflection: “Bad is often better for princes than good. Instead of intoxicating them with presumption, it renders them circumspect and modest.”76
The next morning, in the intense cold of midwinter, Frederick set out several hours before daylight for the city of Prague, which the French and Bavarians had captured on the 25th of November. Declining all polite attentions, for business was urgent, he eagerly sought M. De Séchelles, the renowned head of the commissariat department, and made arrangements with him to perform the extremely difficult task of supplying the army with food in a winter’s campaign.Lord Hyndford here came to the rescue of his colleague, and said, meekly,
“The king thinks it scarcely worth while to mention his palaces and his gardens sacked and ruined, in contempt of the regard usually paid from one sovereign to another. Is there a man in all Europe who does not see in these terrible effects an implacable hatred and a destructive fury which all nations ought to concur in repressing?”149“I should not value the money,” the king added. “If money would content her I would give more.”
“Cüstrin, November 19, 1730.The army of Prince Charles was so utterly destroyed or dispersed by the battle of Leuthen that the morning after his terrible defeat he could rally around his banners, by count, but fifty thousand men. These were utterly disheartened. Stragglers were wandering all over the country. A few thousand of these again joined the ranks. Seventeen thousand men left in Breslau were soon captured. Prince Charles, abandoning guns and wagons,446 fled through rain, and mud, and sleet directly south toward K?niggr?tz, in Bohemia. The sufferings of the troops were awful. Several hundred sentinels, in one night, were frozen stiff at their posts. The dreadful retreat continued for ten days.
Though General Soltikof had lost an equal number of men, he was still at the head of nearly eighty thousand troops flushed with victory. He could summon to his standard any desirable re-enforcements. An unobstructed march of but sixty miles would lead his army into the streets of Berlin. The affairs of Frederick were indeed desperate. There was not a gleam of hope to cheer him. In preparation for his retirement from the army, from the throne, and from life, he that evening drew up the following paper, placing the fragments of the army which he was about to abandon in the hands of General Finck. By the death of the king, the orphan and infant child of his brother Augustus William (who had died but a few months before) would succeed to the throne. Frederick appointed his brother Henry generalissimo of the Prussian army.“The country people hardly knew such a thing as bread. Many had never tasted such a delicacy. Few villages possessed an oven. A weaving-loom was rare; a spinning-wheel unknown. The main article of furniture in this bare scene of squalor was a crucifix, and a vessel of holy water under it. It was a desolate land, without discipline, without law, without a master. On nine thousand English square miles lived five hundred thousand souls—not fifty-five to the square mile.”188On Wednesday, April 12, two days after the battle, Frederick wrote to his sister Wilhelmina from Ohlau as follows:
178 “Meanwhile Frederick the First died, and with him was buried all his false grandeur, which consisted only in a vain magnificence, and in the pompous display of frivolous ceremonies. My father, who succeeded him, compassionated the general misery. He visited the spot, and saw, with his own eyes, this vast country laid waste, and all the dreadful traces which a contagious malady, a famine, and the sordid avarice of a venal administration leave behind them. Twelve or fifteen towns depopulated, and four or five hundred villages uninhabited, presented themselves to his view. Far from being discouraged by such a sad spectacle, his compassion only became the more lively from it; and he resolved to restore population, plenty, and commerce to this land, which had even lost the appearance of an inhabited country.
“There is the forgiveness of enemies. Your majesty is bound to forgive all men. If you do not do this, how can you ask to be forgiven?”“It is impossible for you to imagine the horrible fatigues which we undergo. This campaign is worse than any of the others. I sometimes know not which way to turn. But why weary you with these details of my toils and miseries? My spirits have forsaken me. All my gayety is buried with those dear and noble ones to whom my heart was bound. The end of my life is melancholy and sad; but do not, therefore, my dear marquis, forget your old friend.”155
It was but sixty miles from Prague to Tabor. The march of Frederick’s division led through Kunraditz, across the Sazawa River, through Bistritz and Miltchin. It was not until the ninth332 day of their toilsome march that the steeples of Tabor were descried, in the distant horizon, on its high, scarped rock. Here both columns united. Half of the draught cattle had perished by the way, and half of the wagons had been abandoned.
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Days of Peace and Prosperity.—The Palace of Sans Souci.—Letter from Marshal Keith.—Domestic Habits of the King.—Frederick’s Snuff-boxes.—Anecdotes.—Severe Discipline of the Army.—Testimony of Baron Trenck.—The Review.—Death of the “Divine Emilie.”—The King’s Revenge.—Anecdote of the Poor Schoolmaster.—The Berlin Carousal.—Appearance of his Majesty.—Honors conferred upon Voltaire.355 “War is cruelty,” said General Sherman; “and you can not refine it.” “No man of refined Christian sensibilities,” said the Duke of Wellington, “should undertake the profession of a soldier.” The exigencies of war often require things to be done from which humanity revolts. “War,” said Napoleon I., “is the science of barbarians.” One of the principal objects of Frederick in this pursuit of the Austrians through Bohemia was to lay waste the country so utterly, destroying its roads and consuming its provisions, that no Austrian army could again pass through it for the invasion of Silesia. Who can imagine the amount of woe thus inflicted upon the innocent peasants of Bohemia? Both armies were reduced to the necessity of living mainly upon the resources of the country in which they were encamped. Their foraging parties were scattered in all directions. There were frequent attacks of outposts and bloody skirmishes, in which many were slain and many were crippled for life. Each death, each wound, sent tears, and often life-long woe, to some humble cottage.Soon after this, Colonel Hotham, having received a gross insult from the king, demanded his passports. The English embassador had presented the king with a document from his court. Frederick William angrily threw the paper upon the floor, exclaiming, “I have had enough of those things!” and, turning upon his heel, left the room. Colonel Hotham, a high-bred English gentleman, could not brook such an indignity, not only to himself, but to his sovereign. The passionate king had scarcely left the apartment before he perceived the impolicy of his conduct. He tried to make amends. But Colonel Hotham, justly regarding it as an insult to his court, persisted in demanding his passports, and returned to London. The Crown Prince in vain begged Colonel Hotham to remain. Very properly he replied that the incivility was addressed to his king, and that it was for him only to judge what satisfaction was due for the indignity offered.
BATTLE OF LOBOSITZ, OCT. 1, 1756.详情
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