“The hereditary prince came in while we were talking, and earnestly entreated my brother to get him away from Baireuth. They went to a window and talked a long time together. My brother told me he would write a letter to the margraf, and give him such reasons in favor of the campaign that he doubted not it would turn the scale. He promised to obtain the king’s express leave to stop at Baireuth on his return, after which he went away. It was the last time I saw him on the old footing with me. He has much changed since then. We returned to Baireuth, where I was so ill that for three days they did not think I should get over it.”“For a long time my heart had been swelling. I could not restrain my tears at hearing all these indignities. ‘Why do you cry?’ said he. ‘Ah! ah! I see that you are in low spirits. We must dissipate that dark humor. The music waits us. I will drive that fit out of you by an air or two on the flute.’ He gave me his hand and led me into the other room. I sat down to the harpsichord, which I inundated with my tears.”
The king, in his anger, ordered all the pamphlets in Berlin to be collected and burned by the common hangman, in front of Voltaire’s windows. Three months passed away, during which the parties remained in this deplorable state of antagonism. Voltaire was wretched, often confined to his bed, and looked like a skeleton. He was anxious to leave Berlin, but feared that the king would not grant him leave. He wrote to Frederick, stating that he was very sick, and wished to retire to the springs of Plombières for his health. The king curtly replied,Toasts were then drank with great enthusiasm to the health of “Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary,” to “the queen’s consort, Francis, Grand-duke of Lorraine;” and universal and cordial was the response of applause when the toast was proposed “to the brave Prince Charles.”It is perhaps not strange that Frederick should have imbibed a strong feeling of antipathy to Christianity. In his father’s life he had witnessed only its most repulsive caricature. While making the loudest protestations of piety, Frederick William, in his daily conduct, had manifested mainly only every thing that is hateful and of bad report. Still, it is quite evident that Frederick was not blind to the distinction between the principles of Christianity as taught by Jesus and developed in his life, and the conduct of those who, professing his name, trampled those principles beneath their feet. In one of his letters to Voltaire, dated Cirey, August 26, 1736, Frederick wrote:
Gravitant contre les rochers,The latter part of April Prince Charles had gathered a large force of Austrian regulars at Olmütz, with the manifest intention of again invading Silesia. The King of Poland had entered into cordial alliance with Austria, and was sending a large army of Saxon troops to co-operate in the enterprise. Frederick’s indignation was great, and his peril still greater. Encamped in the valley of the Neisse, assailed on every side, and menaced with still more formidable foes, he dispatched orders to the Old Dessauer immediately to establish an army of observation (thirty thousand strong) upon the frontiers of Saxony. He was to be prepared instantly, upon the Saxon troops leaving Saxony, to ravage the country with the most merciless plunderings of war.“From seven till nine Duhan takes him on history; at nine o’clock comes Noltenius” (a clergyman from Berlin) “with the Christian religion till a quarter to eleven. Then Fritz rapidly washes his face with water, his hands with soap and water; clean shirt; powders and puts on his coat. At eleven o’clock he comes to the king, dines with him at twelve, and stays till two.
The early governess of little Fritz was a French lady of much refinement and culture, Madame Racoule. She was in entire sympathy with her pupil. Their tastes were in harmony. Fritz became as familiar with the French language as if it were his mother tongue. Probably through her influence he acquired that fondness for French literature and that taste for French elegance which continued with him through life.Some trifling unavailing efforts had been made for peace. In reply to a letter from Voltaire, alluding to this subject, Frederick wrote, under date of 2d July, 1759:General Neipperg, in his account of the interview, writes, in reference to Frederick: “He is a very spirited young king. He will not stand contradiction; but a great deal may be made of him if you seem to adopt his ideas, and honor him in a delicate, dexterous way. He did not in the least hide his engagements with France, Bavaria, Saxony. But he would really, so far as I could judge, prefer friendship with Austria on the given terms. He seems to have a kind of pique at Saxony, and manifests no favor for the French and their plans.”
Voltaire.”“Inarticulate notions, fancies, transient aspirations, he might have, in the background of his mind. One day, sitting for a while out of doors, gazing into the sun, he was heard to murmur, ‘Perhaps I shall be nearer thee soon;’ and, indeed, nobody knows what his thoughts were in these final months. There is traceable only a complete superiority to fear and hope; in parts, too, are half glimpses of a great motionless interior lake of sorrow, sadder than any tears or complainings, which are altogether wanting to it.”The prince retired to his chamber, to be presented to the royal family at the review the next day. Wilhelmina passed a miserable night. She could not sleep, and in the morning found herself so ill that she begged to be excused from the review. She also greatly dreaded encountering the coarse jests of her father. But she could not be released from the review. Both she and her mother were compelled to go. In an open carriage, the queen and princess, with attendant ladies of the court, passed before the line. The Marquis of Schwedt, whom the princess had so emphatically discarded, was at the head of his regiment. He seemed “swollen with rage,” and saluted the royal party with his eyes turned away. The royal carriages were then withdrawn to a little distance that the ladies might witness the spectacle.
One night, about the middle of August, as the king was tossing restlessly upon his pillow, he sprang from his bed, exclaiming63 “Eureka! I now see what will bring a settlement.” Immediately a special messenger was dispatched, with terms of compromise, to Kannegiesser, the king’s embassador at Hanover. We do not know what the propositions were. But the king was exceedingly anxious to avoid war. He had, in many respects, a very stern sense of justice, and would not do that which he considered to be wrong. When he abused his family or others he did not admit that he was acting unjustly. He assumed, and with a sort of fanatical conscientiousness, detestable as it was, that he was doing right; that they deserved the treatment. And now he earnestly desired peace, and was disposed to present the most honorable terms to avert a war.
“And G?rtz senior is off on the instant, careering toward Weimar, where he finds G?rtz junior, and makes known his errand. G?rtz junior stares in the natural astonishment; but, after some intense brief deliberation, becomes affirmative, and in a minimum of time is ready and on the road.“Having been not quite well lately, my physician has advised me to take more exercise than I have hitherto done. This has obliged me to mount my horse and take a gallop every morning. But, in order not to be obliged on that account to change my ordinary way of life, I get up earlier, in order to regain on the one hand what I lose on the other.”详情
Copyright © 2020