In very rapid march, the troops advanced through Grünberg toward Glogau, about forty miles in the interior. Here there was a fortified town, which was considered the key of Northern Silesia. It was but feebly garrisoned, and was entirely unprepared for resistance. By great exertions, the Austrian governor of the province, Count Wallis, and his second in command, General Browne, succeeded in placing behind the works a little garrison of one thousand men. The whole population was summoned to work upon the ramparts. Count Wallis remained in Glogau. General Browne took command of the troops and garrisons abroad. But there was a division of sentiment within the walls. Quite a large portion of the population was Protestant, and would be glad to come under the protection of Protestant Prussia. The Catholics were zealous for the continued reign of Austria.Voltaire fell sick. He had already quarreled with many persons, and had constrained the king in many cases, very reluctantly, to take his part. He now wrote to Frederick, begging permission to join him in the quietude of Sans Souci. The following extracts from the reply of his majesty will be read with interest:Ringing violently for his servants, and deaf to all protestations and excuses, he had himself immediately rolled from the room. As the courtiers stood bewildered and gazing at each other in consternation, an officer came in with an order from the king that they should all leave the palace immediately, and come not back again. The next morning P?llnitz, who occupied a position somewhat similar to that of prime minister, applied for admission to his majesty’s apartment. But a gendarme seized him by the shoulder and turned him around, saying, “There is no admittance.” It was several days, and not till after repeated acts of humiliation, that the king would permit any member of the parliament again to enter his presence.
In the mean time, Wilhelmina, disappointed in not finding her brother, wrote to him the following account of her adventures:500 Frederick also seized money wherever he could find it, whether in the hands of friend or foe. His contributions levied upon the Saxons were terrible. The cold and dreary winter passed rapidly away. The spring was late in that northern clime. It was not until the middle of June that either party was prepared vigorously to take the field. It was generally considered by the European world that Frederick was irretrievably ruined. In the last campaign he had lost sixty thousand men. Universal gloom and discouragement pervaded his kingdom. Still Frederick, by his almost superhuman exertions, had marshaled another army of one hundred thousand men. But the allies had two hundred and eighty thousand to oppose to them. Though Frederick in public assumed a cheerful and self-confident air, as if assured of victory, his private correspondence proves that he was, in heart, despondent in the extreme, and that scarcely a ray of hope visited his mind. To his friend D’Argens he wrote:Frederick, being constrained by the approach of General Daun to raise the siege of Dresden, retired to his intrenched camp at Schlettau. Leaving fifteen thousand men to guard the camp, he, on the 1st of August, before the dawn, crossed the Elbe, and was again on the rapid march toward Silesia. His army consisted of thirty thousand men, and was accompanied by two thousand heavy baggage-wagons. In five days the king marched over one hundred miles, crossing five rivers. Armies of the allies, amounting504 to one hundred and seventy-five thousand Austrians and Russians, were around him—some in front, some in his rear, some on his flanks.150
“They then went away, often looking around to see if I kept my posture. I perceived well enough that they were making game of me; but I stood all the same like a wall, being full of fear. When the king turned round he gave a look at me like a flash of sunbeams glancing through you. He sent one of the gardeners to bring my papers. Taking them, he disappeared in one of the garden walks. In a few minutes he came back with my papers open in his hand, and waved with them for me to come nearer. I plucked up heart and went directly to him. Oh, how graciously this great monarch deigned to speak to me!
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.It would seem that Frederick was now disposed to compromise. He authorized the suggestion to be made to the court at Vienna by his minister, Count Gotter, that he was ready to withdraw238 from his enterprise, and to enter into alliance with Austria, if the queen would surrender to him the duchy of Glogau only, which was but a small part of Silesia. But to these terms the heroic young queen would not listen. She justly regarded them but as the proposition of the highway robber, who offers to leave one his watch if he will peaceably surrender his purse. Whatever regrets Frederick might have felt in view of the difficulties in which he found himself involved, not the slightest indication of them is to be seen in his correspondence. He had passed the Rubicon. And now he summoned all his energies—such energies as the world has seldom, if ever, witnessed before, to carry out the enterprise upon which he had so recklessly entered, and from which he could not without humiliation withdraw.
The Austrians took position upon the south, at the distance of about six miles. The Russians were at the same distance on the west, with their head-quarters at Hohenfriedberg.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.
The Emperor Joseph had been embarrassed in his ambitious plans by the conscientious scruples of his mother. He now entered into a secret alliance with the Czarina Catharine, by which he engaged to assist her in her advance to Constantinople, while she, in her turn, was to aid him in his encroachments and annexations to establish an empire in the West as magnificent as the czarina hoped to establish in the East.
In conclusion, he gives utterance to that gloomy creed of infidelity and atheism which he had adopted instead of the Christian faith. “Thus destiny with a deluge of torments fills the poisoned remnants of my days. The present is hideous to me, the future unknown. Do you say that I am the creature of a beneficent being? I see that all men are the sport of destiny. And if there do exist some gloomy and inexorable being who allows a despised herd of creatures to go on multiplying here, he values them as nothing. He looks down on our virtues, our misdeeds, on the horrors of war, and on all the cruel plagues which ravage earth, as a thing indifferent to him. Wherefore my sole refuge and only haven, loved sister, is in the arms of death.”106511 “After having sacrificed my youth to my father, and my maturer age to my country, I think that I have acquired the right to dispose of my old age as I please. I have told you, and I repeat it, my hand shall never sign a disgraceful peace. I shall continue this campaign with the resolution to dare all, and to try the most desperate things, either to succeed or to find a glorious end.
“Great God! my sister of Baireuth, my noble Wilhelmina, dead; died in the very hours while we were fighting here.”
“I, as well as many others, had hardly time to put on my clothes. As I was leading my wife, with a young child in her arms, and my other children and servants before me—who were almost naked, having, ever since the first fright, run about as they got out of bed—the bombs and red-hot balls fell round462 about us. The bombs, in their bursting, dashed the houses to pieces, and every thing that was in their way. Every body that could got out of the town as fast as possible. The crowd of naked and in the highest degree wretched people was vastly great.527 “P.S.—You may, in this occurrence, say what Francis I., after the battle of Pavia, wrote to his mother: ‘All is lost except honor.’ As I do not yet completely understand the affair, I forbear to judge of it, for it is altogether extraordinary.”“It is curious how old people’s habits agree. For four years past I have given up suppers as incompatible with the trade I am obliged to follow. On marching days my dinner consists of a cup of chocolate.详情
Copyright © 2020