544 “It is a pity for the human race, madam, that men never can be tranquil. But they never can be any where. Even the little town of Neufchatel has had its troubles. Your royal highness will be astonished to learn how. A parson there had set forth in a sermon that, considering the immense mercy of God, the pains of hell could not last forever. The synod shouted murder at such scandal, and has been struggling ever since to get the parson exterminated. The affair was of my jurisdiction, for your royal highness must know that I am pope in that country. Here is my decision:The general voice of history has severely condemned the Prussian king for this invasion of Silesia. Frederick probably217 owed his life to the interposition of the father of Maria Theresa, when the young prince was threatened with the scaffold by his own father. Prussia was bound by the most solemn guarantees to respect the integrity of the Austrian states. There was seemingly a great want of magnanimity in taking advantage of the extreme youth, inexperience, and delicate health of the young queen, who was also embarrassed by an empty treasury and a weakened and undisciplined army. Frederick had also made, in his Anti-Machiavel, loud protestations of his love of justice and magnanimity. Mr. Carlyle, while honestly stating these facts, still does not blame Frederick for seizing the opportunity which the death of the emperor presented for him to enlarge his dominions by plundering the domain of Maria Theresa.
“Formerly, my dear marquis, the affair of the 15th would have decided the campaign. At present it is but a scratch. A great battle must determine our fate. Such we shall soon have. Then, should the event prove favorable to us, you may, with good reason, rejoice. I thank you for your sympathy. It has cost much scheming, striving, and address to bring matters to this point. Do not speak to me of dangers. The last action cost me only a coat and a horse. That is buying victory cheap.151“The king’s procedure,” added the unhappy mother, “is not in accordance with that law. He is doing violence to my daughter’s inclinations, thus rendering her wretched for the remainder of her days. He wishes to give her for a husband a brutal debauchee, a younger brother, who is nothing but an officer in the army of the King of Poland; a landless man, without the means of living according to his rank. I will write to England. But, whatever the answer, I had rather a thousand times see my child in the grave than hopelessly miserable.”
b. Where Rothenburg met the Hussars.“He seemed embarrassed, and added, ‘But the universe is eternal.’“Ah! here you are. I am glad to see you.” Then, taking a light, he carefully examined her from head to foot. After a moment’s silence, he added, “How changed you are! I am sorry for you, on my word. You have not bread to eat, and but for me you might go a-begging. I am a poor man myself; not able to give you much; will do what I can. I will give you now and then twenty or thirty shillings, as my affairs permit. It will always be something to assuage your want. And you, madam,” turning to the queen, “will sometimes give her an old dress, for the poor child hasn’t a shift to her back.”
“But, after this avowal, allow me to entreat you to look back at what was the pitiable state of your enemy when you lay before Prague. It is the sudden whirl of fortune for both parties. The like can occur again when one is the least expecting it. C?sar was the slave of pirates, and yet he became master of the world. A great genius like yours finds resources even when all is lost.
The solid, compact army, with infantry, artillery, and cavalry in the best possible condition, advanced at the double-quick. Arriving at the gates of Maaseyk, not a moment was spent in parleying. “Open the gates instantly,” was the summons, “or we shall open them with the petard.”430 Frederick reached Leipsic on the 26th of October. The allied forces were rapidly concentrating in overwhelming numbers around him. On the 30th the king marched to the vicinity of Lutzen, where he encamped for the night. General Soubise, though in command of a force outnumbering that of the Prussians nearly three to one, retreated rapidly to the west before Frederick, and crossed the River Saale. Frederick followed, and effected the passage of the stream with but little opposition.
But, in the midst of these scenes of gayety, the king was contemplating the most complicated combinations of diplomacy. Europe was apparently thrown into a state of chaos. It was Frederick’s one predominant thought to see what advantages he could secure to Prussia from the general wreck and ruin. Lord Macaulay, speaking of these scenes, says:“Wilhelmina.
Frederick remained at Bunzelwitz a fortnight after the retreat of the Russians. In the mean time the French and English were fighting each other with varying success upon the banks of the Rhine. It is not necessary to enter into the details of their struggles. Frederick’s magazines at Schweidnitz were getting low. On the 26th of September he broke up his camp at Bunzelwitz, and in a three days’ march to the southeast reached Neisse. The Austrians did not venture to annoy him. Frederick had scarcely reached Neisse when he learned, to his amazement and horror, that General Loudon, with a panther-like spring, had captured Schweidnitz, with its garrison and all its supplies. It was a terrible blow to the king. The Austrians could now winter in Silesia. The anguish of Frederick must have been great. But he gave no utterance to his gloomy forebodings.
Precisely at midnight all were in silent, rapid motion. The march of half an hour brought them to their appointed stations. The soft and sandy soil was easily shoveled. Every man plied pick and spade with intensest energy. As the town clock of Brieg struck one, they had so far dug themselves in as to be quite sheltered from the fire of the hostile batteries, should the guns open upon them. Before the dawn of day they had two batteries, of twenty-five guns each, in position, and several mortars ready for action.A ROYAL EXECUTIONER.详情
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