478 The latter part of June, an army of a hundred thousand Russians, having crossed the Vistula, was concentrated, under General Soltikof, at Posen, on the River Warta, in Poland. They were marching from the northeast to attack the Prussian forces near Landshut in their rear. General Daun, with a still larger force of Austrians, was confronting Frederick on the southwest. The plan of the allies was to crush their foe between these two armies. Frederick had lost the ablest of his generals. The young men who were filling their places were untried.The next morning, at an early hour, he again dashed off to the east, toward Glatz, a hundred miles distant, where a portion of the Prussian troops were in cantonments, under the young Prince Leopold. Within a week he had ridden over seven hundred miles, commencing his journey every morning as early as four o’clock, and doing a vast amount of business by the way.CHAPTER XXVIII. DOMESTIC GRIEFS AND MILITARY REVERSES.
a a. Stages of the Prussian March. b. Daun’s Encampment. c. Prussian Batteries and Intrenchments. d d d. Prussian Camps. e e. Loudon’s March against Mosel’s Convoy. f f. Mosel’s resting Quarters. g. Convoy attacked and ruined.
To obviate the difficulty of the Crown Prince becoming the head of a party in Berlin antagonistic to the king, the plan was suggested of having him appointed, with his English princess, vice-regent of Hanover. But this plan failed. Hotham now84 became quite discouraged. He wrote home, on the 22d of April, that he had that day dined with the king; that the Crown Prince was present, but dreadfully dejected, and that great sympathy was excited in his behalf, as he was so engaging and so universally popular. He evidently perceived some indications of superiority in the Crown Prince, for he added, “If I am not much mistaken, this young prince will one day make a very considerable figure.”Speaking of Frederick at this time, Bielfeld says: “Notwithstanding all the fatigues of war, the king is in perfect health, and more gay and pleasant than ever. All who approach his majesty meet with a most gracious reception. In the midst of his camp, and at the head of sixty thousand Prussians, our monarch appears to me with a new and superior air of greatness.”
The apartments prepared for the Princess Royal were also very magnificent. Her parlor was twenty feet high. It had six windows, three opening in the main front toward the town, and the other three opening toward the interior court. The spaces between the windows were covered with immense mirrors, so arranged as to display the ceiling, beautifully painted by one of the finest artists of the day. The artist had spread his colors with such delicacy and skill, so exquisitely blending light and shade, that the illusion was almost perfect. The spectator felt that the real sky, with its fleecy clouds and infinite depth of blue, overarched him.The king coolly replied, “We must hope that they are more afraid of us than even of the gallows.”
The army of General Daun, with its re-enforcements, amounted to one hundred thousand men. The Prussian garrison in the city numbered but ten thousand. The Prussian officer then in472 command, General Schmettau, emboldened by the approach of Frederick, repelled all proposals for capitulation.
At this time the whole disposable force of his Prussian majesty did not exceed eighty thousand men. There were marching against him combined armies of not less, in the aggregate, than four hundred thousand. A part of the Prussian army, about thirty thousand strong, under the king’s eldest brother, Augustus William, Prince of Prussia, was sent north, especially to protect Zittau, a very fine town of about ten thousand inhabitants, where Frederick had gathered his chief magazines. Prince Charles, with seventy thousand Austrians, pursued this division. He outgeneraled the Prince of Prussia, drove him into wild country roads, took many prisoners, captured important fortresses, and, opening a fire of red-hot shot upon Zittau, laid the whole place, with its magazines, in ashes. The Prince of422 Prussia, who witnessed the conflagration which he could not prevent, retreated precipitately toward Lobau, and thence to Bautzen, with his army in a deplorable condition of exhaustion and destitution.“And how sad for mankind that the very interpreters of Heaven’s commandments—the theologians, I mean—are sometimes the most dangerous of all! professed messengers of the Divinity, yet men sometimes of obscure ideas and pernicious behavior, their soul blown out with mere darkness, full of gall and pride in proportion as it is empty of truths. Every thinking being who is not of their opinion is an atheist; and every king who does not favor them will be damned. Dangerous to the very throne, and yet intrinsically insignificant.
Maria Theresa was more and more unreconciled to the loss of Silesia. Never for an hour did she relinquish the idea of eventually398 regaining the province. The various treaties into which she had been compelled to enter she regarded as merely temporary arrangements. Between the years 1752 and 1755 the energetic and persistent queen was making secret arrangements for the renewal of the Silesian war.“He seemed embarrassed, and added, ‘But the universe is eternal.’
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In truth, when General Daun approached, and Frederick saw that there was no possibility of his taking the city, he, in the wantonness of his rage, set fire to upward of a hundred houses in the suburbs which had hitherto escaped the flames. Three hundred and fifty houses were destroyed within the walls. More than that number were half destroyed, shattered by bombs, and scorched with flames. These were terrible calamities falling upon a city already exhausted by four years of the most desolating war. The King of Poland closed his appeal by saying,This signal achievement raised the military fame of Frederick higher than ever before. Still it did not perceptibly diminish the enormous difficulties with which he was environed. Army after army was marching upon him. Even by a series of successful battles his forces might be annihilated. But the renown of the great victory of Rossbach will ever reverberate through the halls of history.But the good sense of the utterance, so rare in those dark days, electrified thousands of minds. It drew the attention of Europe to Frederick, and gave him wide-spread renown.
“You are quite right,” responded the king. “We will manage Daun. What I lament is the number of brave men who have died this morning.”详情
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