“As I could not get into the cabin, because it was all engaged, I staid with the other passengers in the steerage, and the weather being fine, came upon deck. After some time there stepped out of the cabin a man in cinnamon-colored coat with gold buttons; in black wig; face and coat considerably dusted with Spanish snuff. He looked at me fixedly for a while, and then said, without farther preface, ‘Who are you, sir?’ This cavalier tone from an unknown person, whose exterior indicated nothing very important, did not please me, and I declined satisfying his curiosity. He was silent. But some time after he assumed a more courteous tone, and said, ‘Come in here to me, sir. You will be better here than in the steerage amidst the tobacco-smoke.’
The king smiled, and immediately entered very vigorously upon business. It was not possible, under these circumstances, for him deeply to mourn over the death of so tyrannical a father. Frederick was twenty-eight years of age. He is described as a handsome young man, five feet seven inches in stature, and of graceful presence. The funeral ceremonies of the deceased monarch were conducted essentially according to the programme already given. The body of the king mouldered to dust in the sepulchre of his fathers. His spirit returned to the God who gave it.Berlin was almost defenseless. All Saxony was rising in arms behind Frederick. The invader of Silesia was in danger of having his own realms invaded and his own capital sacked. Frederick was thoroughly roused. But he never allowed himself to appear agitated or anxious. He ordered Leopold, the Old Dessauer, to march immediately, with all the troops he could rally, to the frontiers of Saxony. He even found it necessary to detach to the aid of Leopold some corps from his own enfeebled forces, now menaced by an Austrian army twice as large as he could oppose to them.
France had no fear of Prussia. Even with the addition of Silesia, it would be comparatively a feeble realm. But France did fear the supremacy of Austria over Europe. It was for the apparent interest of the court of Versailles that Austria should be weakened, and, consequently, that the husband of the queen should not be chosen Emperor of Germany. Therefore France was coming into sympathy with Frederick, and was disposed to aid him in his warfare against Austria.“Potsdam, September 7, 1784.
THE ASSAULT ON GLOGAU.
Fully conscious that the respect which would be paid to him as a European sovereign greatly depended upon the number of men he could bring into the field of battle, Frederick William devoted untiring energies to the creation of an army. By the most severe economy, watching with an eagle eye every expenditure, and bringing his cudgel down mercilessly upon the shoulders26 of every loiterer, he succeeded in raising and maintaining an army of one hundred thousand men; seventy-two thousand being field troops, and thirty thousand in garrison.2 He drilled these troops as troops were never drilled before.
“October 7, 1743.
On Wednesday morning General Borck was sent toward the gates of the city, accompanied by a trumpeter, who, with bugle blasts, was to summon General Roth to a parley. General Borck was instructed to inform the Austrian commander that if he surrendered immediately he should be treated with great leniency, but that if he persisted in his defense the most terrible severity should be his doom. To the people of Neisse it was a matter of but very little moment whether they were under Austrian or235 Prussian domination. They would gladly accede to any terms which would deliver them from the dreadful bombardment. General Roth, therefore, would not allow what we should call the flag of truce to approach the gates. He opened fire upon General Borck so as not to wound him, but as a warning that he must approach no nearer. The king was greatly angered by this result.
“I was glad to receive you in my house. I esteemed your genius, your talents, and your acquirements. I had reason to think that a man of your age, weary of fencing against authors, and exposing himself to the storm, came hither to take refuge, as in a safe harbor.”“You have had the most villainous affair with a Jew. It has made a frightful scandal all over town. For my own part, I have preserved peace in my house until your arrival; and I warn you that, if you have the passion of intriguing and cabaling, you have applied to the wrong person. I like peaceable, quiet people, who do not put into their conduct the violent passions of tragedy. In case you can resolve to live like a philosopher, I shall be glad to see you. But if you abandon yourself to all the violence of your passions, and get into quarrels with all the world, you will do me no good by coming hither, and you may as well stay in Berlin.”
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.Even Wilhelmina had accepted the Prince of Baireuth, whom she had never seen, only to avoid being sacrificed to men whom she utterly loathed. Fortunately for the princess, her affections were not otherwise engaged, and when introduced to her intended she became quite reconciled to the idea of accepting him as her husband.On the evening of the 5th his Prussian majesty gave a grand ball. All the nobility, high and low, were invited. The provident king arranged that the expenses, which he was to defray, should not exceed half a guinea for each guest. Early hours were fashionable in those days. Frederick entered the assembly-rooms at six o’clock, and opened the ball with a Silesian lady. He was very complaisant, and walked through the rooms with a smile upon his countenance, conversing freely with the most distinguished of his guests. About ten o’clock he silently withdrew, but the dancing and feasting continued until a late hour.
Along the eastern edge of this vast wilderness the army of Frederick marched for two days. But Hungarian Pandours in swarms, savage men on their fleet and shaggy horses, were continually emerging from the paths of the forest, with gleaming sabres and shrill war-cries, assailing the flank of the Prussian line wherever there was the slightest exposure. In the vicinity of the little village of Sohr the king encamped for two days. The halt seemed necessary to refresh his horses, and to send out foraging parties to replenish his stores. But the light horsemen of the foe were so thick around him, so vigilant, and so bold,362 that no baggage train could enter his camp unless protected by eight thousand foot and three thousand horse.The queen remained bitterly unreconciled to the marriage of Wilhelmina with any one but the Prince of Wales. Stung by the sense of defeat, she did every thing in her power, by all sorts of intrigues, to break off the engagement with the Prince of Baireuth. When she found her efforts entirely unavailing, she even went so far as to take her daughter aside and entreat her, since the ceremony must take place, to refuse, after the marriage, to receive the Prince of Baireuth as her husband, that the queen might endeavor to obtain a divorce.详情
Copyright © 2020