The king then took the pen himself, and added with his own hand:“Monsieur,—Although I have not the satisfaction of knowing you personally, you are not the less known to me through your works. They are treasures of the mind, if I may so express myself; and they reveal to the reader new beauties at every perusal. I think I have recognized in them the character of their ingenious author, who does honor to our age and to human nature. If ever the dispute on the comparative merits of the moderns and the ancients should be revived, the modern great men174 will owe it to you, and to you only, that the scale is turned in their favor. With the excellent quality of poet you join innumerable others more or less related to it.
a a a. Russian Army. b b. Austrians, under Loudon. c c. Russian Abatis. d. Russian Wagenburg. e e. Position of Prussian Army Evening of 11th. f f. Vanguard, under Finck. g. Prussian Heavy Baggage. h. Attack of Prussian Grenadiers. i i. Prussian main Army. k k. Finck’s Line of Attack.
After the fifth charge, the Austrians, dispirited, and leaving the snow plain crimsoned with the blood and covered with the bodies of their slain, withdrew out of ball range. Torn and exhausted, they could not be driven by their officers forward to another assault. The battle had now lasted for five hours.262 Night was at hand, for the sun had already set. The repulsed Austrians were collected in scattered and confused bands. The experienced eye of General Schwerin saw that the hour for decisive action had come. He closed up his ranks, ordered every band to play its most spirited air, and gave the order “Forward.” An Austrian officer, writing the next week, describes the scene.Upon the ensuing day, having received the answer from Vienna, he wrote to his brother:
The king was by no means pleased with the costly luxuries with which his son was surrounding himself. But he had, in a very considerable degree, lost his control over the Crown Prince. Frederick was now twenty-one years of age. He had married the niece of the Emperor of Germany. The emperor had probably once saved his life, and was disposed particularly to befriend him, that he might secure his alliance when he should become King of Prussia. Frederick was now the rising sun, and his father the setting luminary. All the courts in Europe were interested in winning the regards of the Crown Prince.At half past three o’clock on Friday morning, Frederick, with his whole army, was again upon the march. He swept quite around the eastern end of the Russian square, and approached it from the south. By this sagacious movement he could, in case of disaster, retreat to Cüstrin.
The sun rose clear and cloudless over the plain, soon to be crimsoned with blood and darkened by the smoke of battle. The Prussians took position in accordance with very minute directions given to the young Prince Leopold by Frederick. It was manifest to the most unskilled observer that the storm of311 battle would rage over many miles, as the infantry charged to and fro; as squadrons of strongly-mounted cavalry swept the field; as bullets, balls, and shells were hurled in all directions from the potent enginery of war.
Indeed, it would seem that, at the time, Voltaire must have been very favorably impressed by the appearance of his royal host. The account he then gave of the interview was very different from that which, in his exasperation, he wrote twenty years afterward. In a letter to a friend, M. De Cideville, dated October 18th, 1740, Voltaire wrote:“I am, for the rest, your well-affectioned king,
Frederick therefore decided to march down the river twenty miles farther, to Lowen, where there was a good bridge. To favor the operation, Prince Leopold, with large divisions of the army and much of the baggage, was to cross the Neisse on pontoons at Michelau, a few miles above Lowen. Both passages were successfully accomplished, and the two columns effected a junction on the west side of the river on the 8th of April. The blockade of Brieg was abandoned, and its blockading force united with the general army.
His young daughter Louisa, bride of Victor Leopold, reigning Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg, lay dying of a decline. A few days before her death she said, “I wish I could see my father at the head of his regiment once again before I die.” The remark was reported to Leopold. He was then with his regiment at Halle, thirty miles distant. Immediately the troops were called out, and marched at rapid pace to Bernburg. With banners flying, music playing, and all customary display of military pomp, they entered the court-yard of the palace. The dying daughter, pale and emaciate, sat at the window. The war-worn father rose in his stirrups to salute his child, and then put his regiment through all its most interesting man?uvrings. The soldiers were then marched to the orphan-house, where the common men were treated with bread and beer, all the officers dining at the prince’s table. “All the officers except Leopold alone, who stole away out of the crowd, sat himself upon the Saale bridge, and wept into the river.”“That Frederick shall have six hundred and seventy thousand pounds (,350,000), payable in London to his order, in October, this year, which sum Frederick engages to spend wholly in the maintenance and increase of his army for behoof of the common object; neither party to dream of making the least shadow of peace or truce without the other.”“Would your majesty,” Lord Hyndford replied, “engage to stand by his excellency Gotter’s original offer at Vienna on your part? That is, would you agree, in consideration of the surrender to you of Lower Silesia and Breslau, to assist the Queen of Austria, with all your troops, for the maintenance of the Pragmatic Sanction, and to vote for the Grand-duke Francis as emperor?”详情
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