“I therefore beg my dear papa to be gracious to me; and can here say that, after long reflection, my conscience has not accused me of any the least thing with which I could reproach myself. But if I have, against my will and knowledge, done any thing which has angered my dear papa, I herewith most submissively beg forgiveness, and hope my dear papa will lay aside that cruel hatred which I can not but notice in all his treatment of me. I54 could not otherwise suit myself to it, as I always thought I had a gracious papa, and now have to see the contrary. I take confidence, then, and hope that my dear papa will consider all this, and again be gracious to me. And in the mean while I assure him that I will never, all my days, fail with my will; and, notwithstanding his disfavor to me, remain my dear papa’s most faithful and obedient servant and son,But Frederick did not seem to think himself at all bound by his treaty obligations with France to refrain from entering into secret arrangements with the foe which would promote his interests, however antagonistic those arrangements might be to his assumed obligations. He was the ally of France in the attempt to wrest territory from the young Queen of Austria, and to weaken her power. His armies and those of France were acting in co-operation. Frederick now proposed to the common enemy that, if Silesia were surrendered to him, he would no longer act in co-operation with his ally; but, that France might not discover his perfidy, he would still pretend to make war. The Austrians were to amuse themselves in defending Neisse from a sham siege until the pleasant weeks of autumn were gone, and then they were to march, with all their guns and ammunition, south to Vienna, there to fight the French. Frederick, still assuming that he was the ally of France, was to avail himself of the excuse that the season of ice and snow was at hand, and withdraw into winter quarters. Such, in general, were the terms which Frederick authorized his minister, Goltz, to propose to Lord Hyndford, as the agent of England and Austria.“His Prussian majesty rides much about, often at a rapid rate, with a pleasant business aspect—humane, though imperative; handsome to look upon, though with a face perceptibly reddish. His age, now thirty-eight gone; a set appearance, as if already got into his forties; complexion florid; figure muscular, almost tending to be plump.”
“I know not what I have written. My heart is torn in pieces. I feel that by dint of disquietude and alarms I am losing my senses. Oh, my dear, adorable brother, have pity on me. The least thing that concerns you pierces me to the heart. Might I die a thousand deaths provided you lived and were happy! I can say no more. Grief chokes me. I can only repeat that your fate shall be mine; being, my dear brother, yourIf we can rely upon the testimony of Frederick, an incident occurred at this time which showed that the French court was as intriguing and unprincipled as was his Prussian majesty. It is quite evident that the Austrian court also was not animated by a very high sense of honor.
The shrewd foresight of Frederick, and his rapidly developing military ability, had kept his army in the highest state of discipline, while his magazines were abundantly stored with all needful supplies. It was written at the time:A stern military commission was, however, appointed to interrogate the prince from questions drawn up by the king. The examination took place the next day. The prince confessed that94 it was his intention to cross the Rhine at the nearest point, and to repair to Strasbourg, in France. There he intended to enlist incognito as a volunteer in the French army. He refused to tell how he obtained his money, or to make any revelations which would implicate his friends Katte and Keith.
The king, upon his return from Charlottenburg to Berlin, made no allusion whatever in his family to the matter. In the court, however, it was generally considered that the question, so far as Wilhelmina was concerned, was settled. Hotham held daily interviews with the king, and received frequent communications from the Prince of Wales, who appears to have been very eager for the consummation of the marriage. Many of these letters were shown to Wilhelmina. She was much gratified with the fervor they manifested on the part of a lover who had never yet seen her. In one of these letters the prince says: “I conjure you, my dear Hotham, get these negotiations finished. I am madly in love (amoureux comme un fou), and my impatience is unequaled.”By the most extraordinary exertions, which must have almost depopulated his realms of all the young men and those of middle age, Frederick succeeded in so filling up his depleted ranks as to have in the opening spring of 1759 two hundred thousand men in field and garrison. Indeed, regardless of all the laws of nations, he often compelled the soldiers and other men of conquered provinces to enlist in his armies. How he, in his poverty, obtained the pecuniary resources requisite to the carrying on of such a war, is to the present day a matter of amazement.
THE MARCH INTO SILESIA.
“You are greatly wanting to me here. In all these three hundred miles I have found no human creature comparable to the Swan of Padua. I would willingly give ten cubic leagues of ground for a genius similar to yours. But I perceive I was about entreating you to return fast, and join me again, while you are not yet arrived where your errand was. Make haste to arrive then, to execute your commission, and fly back to me. I wish you had a Fortunatus hat; it is the only thing defective in your outfit.338 Just at that time, when all hope seemed lost, it so happened that a cannon-ball crushed the foot of the Austrian commander. This disaster, together with the darkness and the torrents of rain, caused the fire of the enemy to cease. The next morning some Prussian re-enforcements came to the rescue of the king, and he escaped.
France was first in the field with a superb host of one hundred and ten thousand men. The other powers speedily followed. In four great armies of invasion these hosts pressed upon Prussia from the southeast and southwest, the northeast and northwest. The Russian battalions were one hundred thousand strong. The Austrian army was still more formidable.The Crown Prince Frederick had married the daughter of the Duke of Brunswick. She was a very beautiful, proud, high-spirited woman. Her husband was a worthless fellow, dissolute in the extreme. She, stung to madness, and unrestrained by Christian537 principle, retaliated in kind. A divorce was the result. The discarded princess retired to the castle of Stettin, where she lived in comparative seclusion, though surrounded with elegance.
“I must observe that hitherto the King of Prussia does, as it were, every thing himself; and that, excepting the finance minister, who preaches frugality, and finds for that doctrine uncommon acceptance, his majesty allows no counseling from any minister; so that the minister for foreign affairs has nothing to do but to expedite the orders he receives, his advice not being asked upon any matter. And so it is with the other ministers.”详情
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