Sufferings of the Peasantry.—Renown and Peril of Frederick.—New Plan of Maria Theresa.—Despondency of Frederick.—Surprise and Rout of the Austrians.—The “Old Dessauer” enters Saxony.—Battle of Kesseldorf.—Singular Prayer of the Old Dessauer.—Signal Victory of the Prussians.—Elation of Frederick.—The Peace of Dresden.—Death of M. Duhan.“The unsuccessfulest negotiation well imaginable by a public man. Strehlen, Monday, 7th August, 1741—Frederick has vanished into the interior of his tent, and the two diplomatic gentlemen, the wind struck out of them in this manner, remain gazing at one another. Here, truly, is a young, royal gentleman that knows his own mind, while so many do not. Unspeakable imbroglio of negotiations, mostly insane, welters over all the earth; the Belleisles, the Aulic Councils, the British Georges, heaping coil upon coil; and here, notably in that now so extremely sordid murk of wiggeries, inane diplomacies, and solemn deliriums, dark now and obsolete to all creatures, steps forth one little human figure, with something of sanity in it, like a star, like a gleam of steel, sheering asunder your big balloons, and letting out their diplomatic hydrogen. Salutes with his hat, ‘Gentlemen, gentlemen, it is of no use!’ and vanishes into the interior of his tent.
Objections to the British Alliance.—Obstinacy of the King.—Wilhelmina’s Journal.—Policy of Frederick William and of George II.—Letter from Fritz.—The Camp of Mühlberg.—The Plan of Escape.—The Flight arrested.—Ungovernable Rage of the King.—Endeavors to kill his Son.—Arrest and Imprisonment of Fritz.—Terror of his Mother and Sister.—Wilhelmina imprisoned.
Meneval, private secretary of Napoleon I., records that, in one546 of the interviews of the emperor with Alexander, the czar offered to co-operate with Napoleon in all his plans if the emperor would consent that Russia should take Constantinople. The French emperor replied, after a moment’s hesitation,Weissenfels was a small duchy in Saxony. The duke, so called by courtesy, had visited Berlin before in the train of his sovereign, King Augustus, when his majesty returned the visit of Frederick William. He was then quite captivated by the beauty and vivacity of Wilhelmina. He was titular duke merely, his brother being the real duke; and he was then living on his pay as officer in the army, and was addicted to deep potations. Carlyle describes him as “a mere betitled, betasseled, elderly military gentleman of no special qualities, evil or good.” Sophie Dorothee, noticing his attentions to Wilhelmina, deemed it the extreme of impudence for so humble a man to aspire to the hand of her illustrious child. She reproved him so severely that he retired from the court in deep chagrin. He never would have presumed to renew the suit but for the encouragement given by Frederick William.The crowd heard what he said. With bursts of laughter they tore the caricature in pieces, scattered it to the winds, and greeted the king, as he rode away, with enthusiastic shouts of “Our Fritz forever.”
Torrents of water spread over the earth
In the following letter, which Frederick wrote at this time to his friend D’Argens, he unbosoms his sorrows with unusual frankness. The letter was dated Breslau, March 1, 1759:
“Adieu; go and amuse yourself with Horace, study Pausanias, and be gay over Anacreon. As to me, who for amusement have nothing but merlons, fascines, and gabions, I pray God to grant me soon a pleasanter and peacefuler occupation, and you health, satisfaction, and whatever your heart desires.”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,“And what aim has the king? If it is to assure himself of me, that is not the way. Madam of Eisenach might do it, but a fool not. On the contrary, it is morally impossible to love the cause of our misery. The king is reasonable, and I am persuaded he will understand this himself.
Maupertuis.”149 “The queen can not console herself for this reverse. She vents her despair in the abuse of that poor princess. She wanted me to refuse the marriage decidedly, and told me that she should not mind my quarreling again with the king provided I would only show firmness, in which case she would be well able to support me. I would not follow her advice, and declared to her plainly that I did not choose to incur the displeasure of my father, which had already caused me so much suffering.
My dearest Sister,—I am in despair that I can not satisfy158 my impatience and my duty, to throw myself at your feet this day. But, alas! dear sister, it does not depend upon me. We poor princes are obliged to wait here till our generals come up. We dare not go along without them. They broke a wheel in Gera. Hearing nothing of them since, we are absolutely forced to wait here. Judge in what a mood I am, and what sorrow must be mine. Express order not to go by Baireuth or Anspach. Forbear, dear sister, to torment me on things not depending on myself at all.A SLIGHT PLEASANTRY.详情
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