At one moment the Russian horse dashed against this line and staggered it. Frederick immediately rushed into the vortex to rally the broken battalions. At the same instant the magnificent squadrons of Seidlitz, five thousand strong, flushed with victory, swept like the storm-wind upon the Russian dragoons. They were whirled back like autumn leaves before the gale. About four o’clock the firing ceased. The ammunition on both sides was nearly expended. For some time the Prussians had been using the cartridge-boxes of the dead Russians.
“I do not complain of your heart, but of your incapacity, and of the little judgment you have shown in making your decisions. A man who has but a few days to live need not dissemble. I wish you better fortune than mine has been, and that all the miseries and bad adventures you have had may teach you to treat important matters with greater care, sense, and resolution than you have hitherto done. The greatest part of the calamities which I now apprehend comes only from you. You and your children will suffer more from them than I shall. Be persuaded, nevertheless, that I have always loved you, and that with these sentiments I shall die.“The Prussians,” writes Carlyle, “tramp on with the usual grim-browed resolution, foot in front, horse in rear. But they have a terrible problem at that Kesselsdorf, with its retrenched batteries and numerous grenadiers fighting under cover. The very ground is sore against them; up-hill, and the trampled snow wearing into a slide, so that you sprawl and stagger sadly. Thirty-one big guns, and near nine thousand small, pouring out mere death on you from that knoll-head. The Prussians stagger; can not stand; bend to rightward to get out of shot range; can not manage it this bout. Rally, re-enforced; try it again. Again with a will; but again there is not a way. The Prussians are again repulsed; fall back down this slippery course in more disorder than the first time. Had the Saxons stood still, steadily handling arms, how, on such terms, could the Prussians have ever managed it?”90
Sir Thomas hastened back to Presburg in despair. Feeling the “game was up,” and that there was no more hope, he asked permission to return home. The British cabinet was in a state of consternation. France, the dreaded rival of England, was attaining almost sovereign power over the Continent of Europe. Frederick himself was uneasy. He had sufficient penetration to be fully aware that he was aiding to create a resistless power, which might, by-and-by, crush him. Sir Thomas, in a state of great agitation, which was manifest in his disordered style, wrote from Presburg to Lord Hyndford at Breslau as follows. The letter was dated September 8, 1741.“There has been a revolution in St. Petersburg. The Czar Peter III., your majesty’s devoted friend, has been deposed, and probably assassinated. The Czarina Catharine, influenced by the enemies of your majesty, and unwilling to become embroiled in a conflict with Austria and France, has ordered me to return instantly homeward with the twenty thousand troops under my command.”
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 reader will bear in mind that the camp at G?ttin, menacing Hanover, was acting in co-operation with Frederick’s ally, France, and that forty thousand men had been sent from France to the aid of those Prussian troops. Frederick now, entering into secret treaty with the enemy, while still feigning to be true to his ally, was perfidiously withdrawing his troops so as to leave the French unsupported. His treachery went even farther than this. In the presence of Lord Hyndford, the representative of England, he informed the Austrian general minutely how he could, to the greatest advantage, attack the French.
The king had made many efforts to force his son to surrender his rights of primogeniture, and to sign an act renouncing his claim to the succession of the Prussian throne in favor of his next brother. His only answer was, “Declare my birth illegitimate, and I will give up the throne.” But the king could never consent to fix such a stain upon the honor of his wife.A large portion of the train was utterly destroyed. The remainder was driven back to Troppau. The disaster was irreparable. The tidings were conveyed to Frederick the next day, July 1. They must have fallen upon him with crushing weight. It was the annihilation of all his hopes for the campaign, and454 rendered it necessary immediately to raise the siege and retreat. This extraordinary man did not allow himself to manifest the slightest despondency. He assembled his officers, and, with a smiling face, and hopeful, cheering words, announced his decision.F.”
Circumstances had already rendered Frederick one of the most important personages in Europe. He could ally himself with France, and humble Austria; or he could ally himself with England and Austria, and crush France. All the lesser lights in the Continental firmament circulated around these central luminaries. Consequently Frederick was enabled to take a conspicuous part in all the diplomatic intrigues which were then agitating the courts of Europe.详情
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