“Salzdahlum, Noon, June 12, 1733.“Meanwhile the King of England’s time of arrival was drawing nigh. We repaired on the 6th of October to Charlottenburg to receive him. My heart kept beating. I was in cruel agitations. King George arrived on the 8th about seven in the evening. The King of Prussia, the queen, and all their suite received him in the court of the palace, the apartments being on the ground floor. So soon as he had saluted the king and queen I was presented to him. He embraced me, and, turning to the queen, said, ‘Your daughter is very large of her age.’ He gave the queen his hand and led her into her apartment, whither every body followed them. As soon as I came in he took a light from the table and surveyed me from head to foot. I stood motionless as a statue, and was much put out of countenance. All41 this went on without his uttering the least word. Having thus passed me in review, he addressed himself to my brother, whom he caressed much and amused himself with for a good while.Prince Bevern, aware that the battle would be renewed upon the morrow, and conscious that he could not sustain another435 such struggle, withdrew with his Prussian troops in the night, through the silent streets of Breslau, to the other side of the Oder, leaving eighty cannon behind him. The next morning, in visiting one of the outposts, he was surprised by a party of the Austrians and taken prisoner. It was reported that, fearing the wrath of the king, he had voluntarily allowed himself to be captured. General Kyau, the next in rank, took the command. He rapidly retreated. Breslau, thus left to its fate, surrendered, with its garrison of four thousand men, ninety-eight pieces of cannon, and vast magazines filled with stores of war. The next day was Sunday. Te Deums were chanted by the triumphant Austrians in the Catholic churches in Breslau, and thanks were offered to God that Maria Theresa had reconquered Silesia, and that “our ancient sovereigns are restored to us.”
“The poor courtier,” Wilhelmina adds, “obliged to become possessor of this miserable performance, and to pay so dear for it, determined for the future to be more circumspect in his admiration.
“I am just arrived here after cruel and frightful marchings. There is nothing desperate in all that. I believe the noise and disquietude this hurly-burly has caused will be the worst of it. Show this letter to every body, that it may be known that the state is not undefended. I have made about one thousand prisoners from Haddick.132 All his meal-wagons have been taken. Finck,133 I believe, will keep an eye on him. This is all I can say. To-morrow I march to within two leagues of Frankfort. Katte must instantly send me two hundred tons of meal and one hundred bakers. I am very tired. For six nights I have not closed an eye. Farewell.
“High madam,” he said, fervently, “at this crisis, alliance with Frederick is salvation to Austria. His continued hostility is utter ruin. England can not help your majesty. The slightest endeavor would cause the loss of Hanover.”
Frederick now entered upon a period of ten years of peace.BATTLE OF MAXEN, NOVEMBER 20, 1759.“Your most humble brother and servant,
“The evenings are devoted to music. The prince has a concert in his saloon, where no one enters who is not invited, and such invitation is regarded as an extraordinary favor. The prince has commonly performed a sonata and a concert for the flute, on which he plays in the greatest perfection. He fills the flute admirably well, has great agility with the fingers, and a vast fund of music. He composes himself sonatas. I have had the honor of standing behind him more than once while he was playing, and was charmed with his taste, especially in the adagio. He has a continual creation of new ideas.”The months rolled rapidly on, and Fritz, having entered his fourteenth year, was appointed by his father, in May, 1725, captain in the Potsdam Grenadier Guard. This giant regiment has attained world-wide renown, solely from the peculiarity of its organization. Such a body of men never existed before, never will again. It was one of the singular freaks of the Prussian king to form a grenadier guard of men of gigantic stature. In the prosecution of this senseless aim not only his own realms were ransacked, but Europe and even Asia was explored in search of giants. The army was with Frederick William the great object of life, and the giant guard was the soul of the army. This guard consisted of three battalions, 800 in each, 2400 in all. The shortest of the men were nearly seven feet high. The tallest were almost nine feet in height. They had been gathered, at an enormous expense, out of every country where they could be found. No greater favor could be conferred upon the king than to obtain for him a giant. Many amusing anecdotes are related of the stratagems to which the king resorted to obtain these mammoth soldiers. Portraits were painted of all of them. Frederick William paid very little regard to individual rights or to the law of nations if any chance presented itself by which he could seize upon one of these monster men. Reigning in absolutism, compared with which the despotism of Turkey is mild, if he found in his domains any young woman of remarkable stature, he would compel her to marry one of his giants. It does not, however, appear that he thus succeeded in perpetuating a gigantic race.
After briefly alluding to the many quarrels in which Voltaire had been involved, the king adds:
338 Just at that time, when all hope seemed lost, it so happened that a cannon-ball crushed the foot of the Austrian commander. This disaster, together with the darkness and the torrents of rain, caused the fire of the enemy to cease. The next morning some Prussian re-enforcements came to the rescue of the king, and he escaped.Maria Theresa was developing character which attracted the admiration of Europe. She seriously contemplated taking command of her armies herself. She loved Duke Francis, her husband, treated him very tenderly, and was anxious to confer upon him honor; but by nature vastly his superior, instinctively she assumed the command. She led; he followed. She was a magnificent rider. Her form was the perfection of grace. Her beautiful, pensive, thoughtful face was tanned by the weather. All hearts throbbed as, on a spirited charger, she sometimes swept before the ranks of the army, with her gorgeous retinue, appearing and disappearing like a meteor. She was as devout as she317 was brave, winning the homage of all Catholic hearts. We know not where, in the long list of sovereigns, to point to man or woman of more imperial energies, of more exalted worth.
“God give his blessing to it, and bless you and your posterity, and keep you as a good Christian. And have God always before your eyes, and don’t believe that damnable predestination tenet; and be obedient and faithful. So shall it here in time, and there in eternity, go well with thee. And whosoever wishes that from the heart, let him say Amen.
534 On the 24th of November the belligerents entered into an armistice until the 1st of March. All were exhausted. It was manifest that peace would soon be declared. Commissioners to arrange the terms of peace met at the castle of Hubertsburg, near Dresden. On the 15th of February, 1763, peace was concluded. Frederick retained Silesia. That was the result of the war.As we have stated, Frederick had declared that if any rumor should be spread abroad of the fact that he had entered into a secret treaty with Austria, he would deny it, and would no longer pay any regard to its stipulations. He had adopted the precaution not to affix his signature to any paper. By this ignoble stratagem he had obtained Neisse and Silesia. The rumor of the secret treaty had gone abroad. He had denied it. And now, in accordance with the principles of his peculiar code of honor, he felt himself at liberty to pursue any course which policy might dictate.详情
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