“A general discontent,” writes Wilhelmina, “reigned in the country. The love of his subjects was pretty much gone. People spoke of him in no measured terms. Some accused him of caring nothing about those who helped him as Prince Royal. Others complained of his avarice as surpassing that of the late king. He was accused of violence of temper, of a suspicious disposition, of distrust, haughtiness, dissimulation. I would have spoken to him about these had not my brother Augustus William and the queen regnant dissuaded me.”
“I waver between hope and fear of paying my court to you. I hope it might still be at Berneck, if you could contrive a road into the Nürnberg highway again, avoiding Baireuth; otherwise I dare not go. The bearer, Captain Knobelsdorf, will apprise you of every particular. Let him settle something that may be possible. This is how I stand at present: instead of having to expect some favor from the king, I get nothing but chagrin. But what is more cruel upon me than all is that you are ill. God, in his grace, be pleased to help you, and restore that health which I so much wish for you.
The battle, thus commenced, continued to rage for four long312 hours, with all its demon energies, its blood, its wounds, its oaths, its shrieks, its death; on the right wing, on the left wing, in the centre; till some ten or twelve thousand, some accounts say more, of these poor peasant soldiers lay prostrate upon the plain, crushed by the hoof, torn by the bullet, gashed by the sabre. Many were dead. Many were dying. Many had received wounds which would cripple them until they should totter into their graves. At the close of these four hours of almost superhuman effort, the villages all around in flames, the Austrians slowly, sullenly retired from the contest. Prince Charles, having lost nearly seven thousand men, with his remaining forces breathless, exhausted, bleeding, retired through Czaslau, and vanished over the horizon to the southwest. Frederick, with his forces almost equally breathless, exhausted, and bleeding, and counting five thousand of his soldiers strewn over the plain, in death or wounds, remained master of the field. Such was the famous battle of Chotusitz.Olmütz was found very strongly fortified. It was so situated that, with the force Frederick had, it could not be entirely invested. Baron Marshal, a very brave and energetic old man, sixty-seven years of age, conducted the defense.Upon reaching the palace, he stood for a moment upon the grand stairway, and, surveying the thronging thousands, took off his hat and saluted them. This gave rise to a burst of applause louder and heartier than Berlin had ever heard before. The king disappeared within the palace. Where the poor neglected queen was at this time we are not informed. There are no indications that he gave her even a thought.
There were some gross vulgarities in Voltaire’s letter which we refrain from quoting. Both of these communications were printed and widely circulated, exciting throughout Europe contempt and derision. Voltaire had still the copy of the king’s private poems. Frederick, quite irritated, and not knowing what infamous use Voltaire might make of the volume, which contained some very severe satires against prominent persons, and particularly against his uncle, the King of England, determined, at all hazards, to recover the book. He knew it would be of no avail to write to Voltaire to return it.On the 19th of February, 1741, Frederick, having been at home but three weeks, again left Berlin with re-enforcements, increasing his army of invasion to sixty thousand men, to complete the conquest of Silesia by the capture of the three fortresses which still held out against him. On the 21st he reached Glogau. After carefully reconnoitring the works, he left directions with Prince Leopold of Dessau, who commanded the Prussian troops there, to press the siege with all possible vigor. He was fearful that Austrian troops might soon arrive to the relief of the place.
On the 25th of December, 1745, the peace of Dresden was signed. The demands of Frederick were acceded to. Augustus III. of Saxony, Maria Theresa of Austria, and George II. of England became parties to the treaty. The next day Frederick attended sermon in the Protestant church. Monday morning his army, by slow marches, commenced its return to Brandenburg. Frederick, highly elated by the wonderful and almost miraculous change in his affairs, entered his carriage in company with his two brothers, and drove rapidly toward Berlin. The next day,373 at two o’clock in the afternoon, they reached the heath of Britz, five miles out from the city. Here the king found an immense concourse of the citizens, who had come on horseback and in carriages to escort him to his palace. Frederick sat in an open phaeton, accompanied by the Prince of Prussia and Prince Henry. The throng was so great that the horses could only proceed at the slowest pace. The air resounded with shouts of “Long live Frederick the Great.” The king was especially gracious, saying to those who eagerly crowded around his carriage wheels,
Upon the reception of this letter, the prince, without replying to it, verbally asked leave, through one of his officers, to throw up his commission and retire to his family in Berlin. The king scornfully replied, “Let him go; he is fit for nothing else.” In the deepest dejection the prince returned to his home. Rapidly his health failed, and before the year had passed away, as we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, he sank into the grave, deploring his unhappy lot.
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A spy was sent to Saxony, who reported that there were but twenty thousand troops there. All necessary information was promptly and secretly obtained in reference to roads and fortresses. It required three weeks to receive an answer from Vienna.404 The reply was evasive, as Frederick knew that it would be. In the mean time, his Prussian majesty, with characteristic energy, had mustered on the frontier an army numbering in the aggregate nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men. These troops, in three divisions, with two thousand pieces of artillery, were to make a rush upon Saxony. Among the directions given by Frederick to the leaders of these divisions were the following:
“Yes,” the Crown Prince replied; “and I promise you that she will drive away your demon as well as mine.”详情
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