Still the clergymen pressed upon him his sins, his many acts of oppression, his unrelenting and unforgiving spirit. Singularly enough, most of the members of the tobacco parliament were present at this strange interview; and some of them, courtier like, endeavored to defend the king against several of the charges brought against him. The king might emphatically be called a good hater; and he hated his brother-in-law, the King of England, perhaps with passion as implacable as ever took possession of a human heart. In allusion to this, one of the clergymen, M. Roloff, said,Here the young prince made the most solemn promises to try to regain his father’s favor. The king then asked: “Was it thou that temptedst Katte, or did Katte tempt thee?” Fritz promptly replied, “I tempted Katte.” “I am glad,” rejoined the king, “to hear the truth from you, at any rate.”
On the 30th of August Frederick commenced his march from Dresden. Great caution was requisite, and great military skill, in so bold an adventure. On the 13th of September he reached Erfurt. The Prince of Soubise, aware of the prowess of his antagonist, retired to the hills and intrenched himself, waiting until he could accumulate forces which would render victory certain. Frederick had now with him his second brother, Henry, who seems to have very fully secured his confidence. On the 16th of September the king wrote:Sir Thomas, who was not aware of the engagement into which the allies had entered to keep Russia busy by a war with Sweden, intimated that there were powers which might yet come to the rescue of the queen, and mentioned Russia as one.
CHAPTER XIV. THE DEFEAT AND FLIGHT OF FREDERICK.Frederick was accustomed to cover his deep designs of diplomacy322 by the promotion of the utmost gayety in his capital. Never did Berlin exhibit such spectacles of festivity and pleasure as during the winter of 1742 and 1743. There was a continued succession of operas, balls, fêtes, and sleigh-parties. Frederick’s two younger sisters were at that time brilliant ornaments of his court. They were both remarkably beautiful and vivacious. The Princess Louise Ulrique was in her twenty-third year. The following letter to Frederick from these two princesses will be keenly appreciated by many of our young lady readers whose expenses have exceeded their allowance. It shows very conclusively that there may be the same pecuniary annoyances in the palaces of kings as in more humble homes.George II. had always hated his nephew Frederick. His only object in sustaining the war was to protect his native electorate of Hanover and to abase France.161 The new sovereign, in his first speech to Parliament, said:
“The queen was alone, in his majesty’s apartment, waiting for him as he approached. As soon as he saw her at the end of the suite of rooms, and long before he arrived in the one where she was, he cried out, ‘Your unworthy son has at last ended himself. You have done with him.“I wished to escape,” the prince boldly replied, “because you did not treat me like a son, but like an abject slave.”
CHAPTER XV. THE WAR IN SILESIA.Origin of the Prussian Monarchy.—The Duchies of Brandenburg and Prussia.—The Elector crowned King Frederick I.—Frederick William.—His Childhood, Youth, and Marriage.—Birth of Fritz.—Death of Frederick I.—Eccentric Character of Frederick William.—His defective Education.—His Energy.—Curious Anecdotes.—Hatred of the French.—Education of Fritz.—The Father’s Plan of Instruction.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.
“I will not go into the praises of King Frederick, now my host. I will merely send you two traits of him, which will indicate his way of thinking and feeling. When I spoke to him of the glory which he had acquired, he answered, with the greatest simplicity,It is very evident, from the glimpses we catch of Fritz at this time, that he was a wild fellow, quite frivolous, and with but a feeble sense of moral obligation. General Schulenburg, an old soldier, of stern principles, visited him at Cüstrin, and sent an account of the interview to Baron Grumkow, under date of October 4th, 1731. From this letter we cull the following statement:“His Prussian majesty requires nothing for himself. He has taken up arms simply and solely with the view of restoring to the empire its freedom, to the emperor his imperial crown, and to all Europe the peace which is so desirable.”
On the 3d of July Frederick issued his declaration of war. On that very day his solid battalions, one hundred thousand556 strong, with menacing banners and defiant bugle-notes, crossed the border, and encamped on Bohemian ground. At the same moment, the king’s brother, Prince Henry, with another army of one hundred thousand men, commenced a march from the west to co-operate in an impetuous rush upon Vienna. These tidings caused the utmost consternation in the Austrian capital. An eye-witness writes:The queen remained bitterly unreconciled to the marriage of Wilhelmina with any one but the Prince of Wales. Stung by the sense of defeat, she did every thing in her power, by all sorts of intrigues, to break off the engagement with the Prince of Baireuth. When she found her efforts entirely unavailing, she even went so far as to take her daughter aside and entreat her, since the ceremony must take place, to refuse, after the marriage, to receive the Prince of Baireuth as her husband, that the queen might endeavor to obtain a divorce.
“Have I need of peace? Let those who need it give me what I want, or let them fight me again and be beaten again. Have they not given whole kingdoms to Spain? And to me they can not spare a few trifling principalities. If the queen do not now grant me all I require, I shall, in four weeks, demand four principalities more. I now demand the whole of Lower Silesia, Breslau included. With that answer you can return to Vienna.”“A few days ago I happened to take a very early walk about a mile from Potsdam, and seeing some soldiers under arms in a field at a small distance from the road, I went toward them. An officer on horseback, whom I took to be the major, for he gave the word of command, was uncommonly active, and often rode among the ranks to reprimand or instruct the common men. When I came nearer I was much surprised to find that this was the king himself.
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:Leopold, in early youth, fell deeply in love with a beautiful young lady, Mademoiselle Fos. She was the daughter of an apothecary. His aristocratic friends were shocked at the idea of so unequal a marriage. The sturdy will of Leopold was unyielding. They sent him away, under a French tutor, to take the grand tour of Europe. After an absence of fourteen months he returned. The first thing he did was to call upon Mademoiselle Fos. After that, he called upon his widowed mother. It was in vain to resist the will of such a man. In 1698 he married her, and soon, by his splendid military services, so ennobled his bride that all were ready to do her homage. For half a century she was his loved and honored spouse, attending him in all his campaigns.详情
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