BATTLE OF CHOTUSITZ.An extraordinary Interview.—Carlyle’s Sympathy.—Trifling Demeanor of Frederick.—Conspiracy in Breslau.—Guile of Frederick.—The successful Stratagem.—Crossing the Neisse.—The Co-operation of France.—Anguish of Maria Theresa.—Inflexible Will of Frederick.—Duplicity of the King.—The Surrender of Neisse.
Accordingly, he made proposals to the Marquise of Schwedt that Wilhelmina should marry her son. The lady replied, in terms very creditable both to her head and her heart, “Such a union, your majesty, would be in accordance with the supreme wish of my life. But how can I accept such happiness against the will of the princess herself? This I can positively never do.” Here she remained firm. The raging king returned to the bedside of his wife, as rough and determined as ever. He declared that the question was now settled that Wilhelmina was to marry the old Duke of Weissenfels.
The Encampment at Brieg.—Bombardment.—Diplomatic Intrigues.—Luxury of the Spanish Minister.—Rising Greatness of Frederick.—Frederick’s Interview with Lord Hyndford.—Plans of France.—Desperate Prospects of Maria Theresa.—Anecdote of Frederick.—Joint Action of England and Holland.—Heroic Character of Maria Theresa.—Coronation of the Queen of Hungary.“Each regiment shall take but one baggage-cart for a company. No officer, whoever he may be or whatever his title, shall take with him the least of silver plate, not even a silver spoon. Whoever wants to keep table, great or small, must manage the same with tin utensils, without exception, be he who he will.”
THE WINTER CAMP.“The queen’s intentions were always good,” Wilhelmina kindly urged. The king replied, “Let us not enter into that detail. What is past is past. I will try to forget it. You are the dearest to me of all the family. I am too sad of heart to take leave of you. Embrace your husband on my part. I am so overcome that I must not see him.”
“When your highness gets armies of your own, you will order them according to your mind. At present, it must be according to mine.”521 This letter was extensively circulated in England. It was greatly admired. It so happened that the court was then looking around for a bride for their young king. The result was that in the course of a few months Charlotte became Queen of England, as the wife of George III.
“My very dear Sister,—It would be impossible to leave this place without signifying, dearest sister, my lively gratitude for all the marks of favor you showed me in the House on the Lake. The highest of all that it was possible to do was that of procuring me the satisfaction of paying my court to you. I beg millions of pardons for so incommoding you, dearest sister, but I could not help it, for you know my sad circumstances well enough. I entreat you write me often about your health. Adieu, my incomparable and dear sister. I am always the same to you, and will remain so till my death.CHAPTER VI. THE MARRIAGE OF WILHELMINA.
Frederick was so busy cantoning his troops that he did not take possession of his head-quarters in Leipsic until the 8th of December. He occupied the Apel House, No. 16 Neumarkt Street, the same which he had occupied before the battle of Rossbach. The same mistress kept the house as before. Upon seeing the king, the good woman exclaimed, in astonishment, “How lean your majesty has grown!“I have at length seen Voltaire, whom I was so anxious to205 know. But, alas! I saw him when under the influence of my fever, and when my mind and my body were equally languid. With persons like him one ought not to be sick. On the contrary, one ought to be specially well. He has the eloquence of Cicero, the mildness of Pliny, and the wisdom of Agrippa. He unites, in a word, all the collected virtues and talents of the three greatest men of antiquity. His intellect is always at work. Every drop of ink that falls from his pen is transformed at once into wit. He declaimed his Mahomet to us, an admirable tragedy which he has composed. I could only admire in silence.”
Though Frederick, in his private correspondence, often spoke very contemptuously of Voltaire, it would seem, if any reliance can be placed on the testimony of Voltaire himself, that Frederick sedulously courted the author, whose pen was then so potential in Europe. By express invitation, Voltaire spent a week with Frederick at Aix la Chapelle early in September, 1742. He writes to a friend from Brussels under date of December 10:Strasbourg began to echo with the fame of this foreign count. But the next morning, Thursday, August 25, as Marshal Broglio was walking on the Esplanade, a soldier, who had formerly201 been in the regiment of the Crown Prince at Potsdam, and who knew the Crown Prince perfectly, having seen him hundreds of times, but who had deserted and entered the French service, came to the marshal, with much bowing and embarrassment, and assured him that Count Dufour was no less than the King of Prussia.492 The Russians did not attempt to march upon Berlin. About the middle of September General Soltikof gathered all his forces in hand, and commenced a march into Silesia to effect a junction with General Daun. Frederick followed, and, by a very rapid march, took possession of Sagan, on the Bober, where he was in direct communication with Henry. On the 24th of September the king wrote to his younger brother Ferdinand, in Berlin:
“Thus was Silesia reunited to the dominions of Prussia. Two years of war sufficed for the conquest of this important province. The treasure which the late king had left was nearly exhausted. But it is a cheap purchase, where whole provinces are bought for seven or eight millions of crowns. The union of circumstances at the moment peculiarly favored this enterprise. It was necessary for it that France should allow itself to be drawn into the war; that Russia should be attacked by Sweden; that, from timidity, the Hanoverians and Saxons should remain inactive; that the successes of the Prussians should be uninterrupted; and that the King of England, the enemy of Prussia, should become, in spite of himself, the instrument of its aggrandizement. What, however, contributed the most to this conquest was an army which had been formed for twenty-two years, by means of a discipline admirable in itself, and superior to the troops of the316 rest of Europe. Generals, also, who were true patriots, wise and incorruptible ministers, and, finally, a certain good fortune which often accompanies youth, and often deserts a more advanced age.”70“If you wish to come hither you can. I hear nothing of lawsuits, not even of yours. Since you have gained it I congratulate389 you, and I am glad that this scurvy affair is done.96 I hope you will have no more quarrels, either with the Old or the New Testament. Such contentions leave their mark upon a man. Even with the talents of the finest genius in France, you will not cover the stains which this conduct will fasten on your reputation in the long run. I write this letter with the rough common sense of a German, without employing equivocal terms which disfigure the truth. It is for you to profit by it.”
In the account which Frederick gave, some years after, of this campaign, in his Histoire de Mons Temps, he wrote:Du dernier jour mena?aient les humains.Again he wrote, a few months after, to the Duke of Choiseul: “He has been a bad man, this Luc. And now, if one were to bet by the law of probability, it would be three to one that Luc would go to pot [sera perdu], with his rhymings and his banterings, and his injustices and politics, all as bad as himself.”146详情
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