The Retreat ordered.—Awful Suffering.—Narrow Escape of the King.—The Flight from Prague.—Military Mistakes of the King.—Frederick returns to Berlin.—His wonderful administrative Ability.—Poland joins Austria.—The Austrians enter Silesia.—Unreasonable Demands of Frederick.—Humiliation of the King.—Prince Charles and his Bride.—Character of Leopold.—Death of the Emperor.—Bavaria turns against Frederick.—Anecdotes of Prince Leopold.—Peril of Frederick.—Battle of Hohenfriedberg.—Signal Victory of Frederick.“A miserable Bishop of Liege thought it a proud thing to insult the late king. Some subjects of Herstal, which belongs to Prussia, had revolted. The bishop gave them his protection. Colonel Kreutzen was sent to Liege to compose the thing by treaty, with credentials and full power. Imagine it; the bishop would not receive him! Three days, day after day, he saw this envoy apply at his palace, and always denied him entrance. These things had grown past endurance.”
The heroic General Einsiedel struggled along through the snow and over the pathless hills, pursued and pelted every hour by the indomitable foe. He was often compelled to abandon baggage-wagons and ambulances containing the sick, while the wounded and the exhausted sank freezing by the way. At one time he was so crowded by the enemy that he was compelled to continue his march through the long hours of a wintry night, by the light of pitch-pine torches. After this awful retreat of twenty days, an emaciate, ragged, frostbitten band crossed the frontier into Silesia, near Friedland. They were soon united with the other columns of the discomfited and almost ruined army.
In the mean time, Frederick, who kept himself thoroughly informed of all these events, signed secretly, on the 5th of June, a treaty of intimate alliance with France. Though he had not yet received the Joint Resolution of the English and Dutch courts, he was well aware of its existence, and the next day sent to his envoy, M. R?sfeld, at the Hague, the following dispatch:“With regard to the princess herself, I do not dislike her as much as I pretend. I affect not to be able to bear her, in order to make the more merit of my obedience to the king. She is pretty—a complexion of lily and rose. Her features are delicate, and her whole face is that of a beautiful person. She has no breeding, and dresses ill. But I flatter myself that when she comes here you will have the goodness to assist in forming her. I recommend her to you, my dear sister; and I hope you will take her under your protection.”
Poor Valori, the French embassador, was placed in a very embarrassing situation. The anger of the Prussian king vented itself upon him. He was in complete disgrace. It was his duty daily to wait upon Frederick. But the king would seldom speak to him, or even look upon him; and if he did favor him with a glance, it was with an expression of scorn.WILHELMINA IMPRISONED.
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.”But Wilhelmina evaded the oath upon the ground of religious115 scruples. Anxiety, confinement, and bad diet had so preyed upon her health that she was reduced almost to a skeleton. The following extract from her journal gives a graphic account of her painful condition:
“This is the homage you render the rising sun, though you know that the rule in the tobacco parliament is to rise to no one. You think I am dead. But I will teach you that I am yet living.”“The princess has an open countenance; her eyebrows are neat and regular; her nose is small and angular, but very elegantly defined; and her coral lips and well-turned neck are equally admirable. Goodness is strongly marked in her countenance; and we may say, from her whole figure, that the Graces have exerted themselves in forming a great princess. Her highness talks but little, especially at table, but all she says is sterling sense. She appears to have an uncommon genius, which she ornaments by the continual study of the best French authors.”
The alarm in Berlin was very great. The citizens were awake to the consciousness that there was danger; that the city itself would be assaulted. Great was the consternation in the capital when minute directions came from Frederick respecting the course to be pursued in the event of such a calamity, and the places of refuge to which the royal family should retreat.The tidings of the death of the king’s mother reached him on the 2d of July, 1757. Sir Andrew Mitchell, the English embassador in Berlin, gives the following account of an interview he had with Frederick on that occasion:
Frederick paid but little regard to his allies save as he could make them subservient to the accomplishment of his purposes. He pushed his troops forward many leagues south into Moravia, and occupied the important posts of Troppau, Friedenthal, and Olmütz. These places were seized the latter part of December. The king hoped thus to be able, early in the spring, to carry the war to the gates of Vienna.Wilhelmina.”
“Country, for two days back, was in new alarm by the Austrian garrison of Brieg, now left at liberty, who sallied out upon the villages about, and plundered black cattle, sheep, grain, and whatever they could come at. But this day in Mollwitz the whole Austrian army was upon us. First there went three hundred hussars through the village to Grüningen, who quartered themselves there, and rushed hither and thither into houses, robbing and plundering. From one they took his best horses; from another they took linen, clothes, and other furnitures and victual.But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the king’s chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, “I shall sleep right well there.” In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said,But Wilhelmina evaded the oath upon the ground of religious115 scruples. Anxiety, confinement, and bad diet had so preyed upon her health that she was reduced almost to a skeleton. The following extract from her journal gives a graphic account of her painful condition:详情
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