“I am abandoned by all. Hostile invasion threatens the kingdom of Hungary, our person, our children, our crown. I have no resource but in your fidelity and valor. I invoke the ancient Hungarian virtue to rise swiftly and save me.”
“The darkest hour is often nearest the dawn.” The next day after Frederick had written the above letter he received news of the death of his most inveterate enemy, Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia. As we have mentioned, she was intensely exasperated against him in consequence of some sarcasms in which he had indulged in reference to her private life. Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter the Great, and had inherited many of her father’s imperial traits of character. She was a very formidable foe.
The French, advancing from the Rhine on the west, were sweeping all opposition before them. They had overrun Hanover, and compelled the Duke of Brunswick, brother of George II., to withdraw, with his Hanoverian troops, from the alliance with the King of Prussia. This was a terrible blow to Frederick. It left him entirely alone to encounter his swarming enemies.Destruction of the Army of Prince Charles.—Dismay in Vienna.—Testimony of Napoleon I.—Of Voltaire.—Wretchedness of the King.—Compromise rejected.—New Preparations for War.—Treaty between England and Prussia.—Plan of the Campaign.—Siege of Olmütz.—Death of Prince Augustus William.—The Baggage Train.—The irreparable Disaster.—Anxiety of Frederick for Wilhelmina.—The March against the Russians.—The Battle of Zorndorf.—Anecdotes of Frederick.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.
“My heart and my inclination excited in me, from the moment I mounted the throne, the desire of having you here, that you might put our Berlin Academy in the shape you alone are capable of giving it. Come then, come, and insert into this wild crab-tree the sciences, that it may bear fruit. You have shown the figure of the earth to mankind; show also to a king how sweet it is to possess such a man as you.
There was much man?uvring, in which Frederick displayed his usual skill, quite circumventing his foes. Daily he became less despairing. On the 25th of October he wrote to Fouquet:“‘Alive to it, he? Yes, with a witness, were there hope in the world!’ which threw G?rtz upon instant gallop toward Zweibrück Schloss in search of said heir, the young Duke August Christian; who, however, had left in the interim (summoned by his uncle, on Austrian urgency, to consent along with him), but whom G?rtz, by dexterity and intuition of symptoms, caught up by the road, with what a mutual joy! As had been expected, August Christian, on sight of G?rtz, with an armed Frederick looming in the distance, took at once into new courses and activities. From him no consent now; far other: treaty with Frederick; flat refusal ever to consent: application to the Reich, application even to France, and whatever a gallant young fellow could do.
“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.“I find no fault with you; the blame is entirely my own in having appointed you to such a post.The French, who, through their shrewd embassador, kept themselves informed of all that was transpiring, were quite alarmed in view of the approaching accommodation between Prussia and Austria. It is said that Frederick, on the 6th of June, in reply to the earnest remonstrances of the French minister, Marshal Belleisle, against his withdrawal from the alliance, frankly said to him,
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“On quitting me he said, ‘I hope, sir, you will leave me your name. I am very glad to have made your acquaintance. Perhaps we shall see one another again.’ I replied as was fitting to the compliment, and begged him to excuse me for having contradicted him a little. I then told him my name, and we parted.”“And then, grumbling and blaming, would alter the camp till it was all out of rule, and then say,About thirty miles southeast of Breslau is the pleasant little town of Ohlau, situated in the delta formed by the junction of the Ohlau River with the Oder. It was a place of some strength, and the Austrian authorities had thrown into it a garrison of three hundred men. Frederick appeared before its gates on the morning of January the 9th. He immediately sent in the following summons to the garrison:
539 Under the energetic administration of Frederick, Prussia began, very rapidly, to recover from the desolation which had overwhelmed it. The coin, in a little more than a year, was restored to its purity. In the course of two years Frederick rebuilt, in different parts of his realms, fourteen thousand five hundred houses. The army horses were distributed among the impoverished farmers for plow teams. Early in June, 1763, the king set out on a general tour of inspection.详情
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