The plan of his Prussian majesty was bold and sagacious. He supposed that he could easily take Olmütz. Availing himself of the vast magazines to be found there, he would summon450 his brother Henry to join him by a rapid march through Bohemia, and with their combined force of sixty thousand troops they would make a rush upon Vienna. The Austrian capital was distant but about one hundred miles, directly south. As the Austrian army was widely dispersed, there were but few impediments to be encountered. The success of this plan would compel the allies to withdraw their forces from the territories of the King of Prussia, if it did not enable Frederick to dictate peace in the palaces of Maria Theresa.
“Here his whole conversation consisted in quizzing whatever he saw, and repeating to me, above a hundred times over, the words ‘little prince,’ ‘little court.’ I was shocked, and could not understand how he had changed so suddenly toward me. The etiquette of all courts in the empire is, that nobody who has not at least the rank of captain can sit at a prince’s table. My brother put a lieutenant there who was in his suite, saying, ‘A king’s lieutenant is as good as a margraf’s minister.’ I swallowed this incivility, and showed no sign.
Still centuries elapsed, leaving little for history to record but war and woe. Fierce tribes swept in all directions. Battle was life’s great business. Man, ignorant, degraded, brutal, could have had but few if any joys. Perhaps, through his degradation, his woes were only such as beasts feel. By degrees, from this chaos, a certain kind of governmental order emerged. Small tribes became united under powerful chieftains. Kings arose. There were all varieties of political organizations, dukedoms, principalities,18 marquisates, and electorates. It is recorded that Adalbert, bishop of Prag, about the year 997, with two companions, as apostles of Christianity, first penetrated these wilds. Like Christian heroes they went, with staff and scrip, regardless of danger. The bishop was fifty years of age, and his gray hairs floated in the breeze. As he landed a stout savage struck him with the flat of his oar, and sent him headlong to the ground.It was the aim of Prince Charles to get between Frederick’s encampment at Chrudim and his French allies, under Marshal Broglio, at Prague. When discovered by Frederick, the Austrian army was on the rapid march along a line about fifteen miles nearly southwest of Chrudim. It thus threatened to cut Frederick’s communication with Prague, which was on the Moldau, about sixty miles west of the Prussian encampment. The310 forces now gathering for a decisive battle were nearly equal. The reader would not be interested in the description of the strategic and tactical movements of the next two days. The leaders of both parties, with great military sagacity, were accumulating and concentrating their forces for a conflict, which, under the circumstances, would doubtless prove ruinous to the one or the other. A battle upon that open plain, with equal forces, was of the nature of a duel, in which one or the other of the combatants must fall.
Nearly all of Silesia was again in the hands of Frederick. He seems to have paid no regard to the ordinary principles of honor in the accomplishment of his plans. Indeed, he seems to have had no delicate perceptions of right and wrong, no instinctive appreciation of what was honorable or dishonorable in human conduct. He coined adulterated money, which he compelled the people to take, but which he refused to receive in taxes. In his Military Instructions, drawn up by his own hand, he writes:“I do not love Luc; far from it. I never will pardon him his infamous procedure with my niece,145 nor the face he has to write me flattering things twice a month without having ever repaired his wrongs. I desire much his entire humiliation, the chastisement of the sinner; whether his eternal damnation I do not quite know.”The betrothal took place in the Berlin palace on Monday evening, March 10, 1732. Many distinguished guests from foreign courts were present. The palace was brilliantly illuminated. The Duke and Duchess of Bevern, with their son, had accompanied their daughter Elizabeth to Berlin. The youthful pair, who were now to be betrothed only, not married, stood in the centre of the grand saloon, surrounded by the brilliant assemblage. With punctilious observance of court etiquette, they exchanged rings, and plighted their mutual faith. The old king embraced the bride tenderly. The queen-mother, hoping that the marriage would never take place, saluted her with repulsive coldness. And, worst of all, the prince himself scarcely treated143 her with civility. The sufferings of this lovely princess must have been terrible. The testimony to her beauty, her virtues, her amiable character, is uncontradicted. The following well-merited tribute to her worth is from the pen of Lord Dover:
“But it is time to end this long, dreary letter. I have had some leisure, and have used it to open to you a heart filled with admiration and gratitude toward you. Yes, my adorable sister, if Providence troubled itself about human affairs, you ought to be the happiest person in the universe. Your not being such confirms me in the sentiments expressed in my epistle.”
After some man?uvring, the hostile forces met upon a wide, dreary, undulating plain, with here and there a hillock, in the vicinity of Rossbach. Frederick had twenty thousand men. The French general, Prince Soubise, had sixty thousand. The allies now felt sure of their prey. Their plan was to surround Frederick, destroy his army, and take him a prisoner. On the morning of the 5th of November the two hostile armies were nearly facing each other, a few miles west of the River Saale. A party of Austrians was sent by the general of the allies to destroy the bridges upon the river in the rear of the Prussians, that their retreat might be cut off. Frederick, from a house-top, eagerly watched the movement of his foes. To his surprise and great431 satisfaction, he soon saw the whole allied army commencing a circuitous march around his left to fall upon him in his rear.81 The object of Colonel Hotham’s mission was well known. The cordial reception he had met from the king indicated that his message was not an unwelcome one to his Prussian majesty. In the indecent hilarity of the hour, it was assumed that the marriage contract between Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales was settled. Brains addled with wine gave birth to stupid jokes upon the subject. “A German ducat was to be exchanged for an English half guinea.” At last, in the semi-delirium of their intoxication, one proposed as a toast, “To the health of Wilhelmina, Princess of Wales.” The sentiment was received with uproarious jollity. Though all the company were in the same state of silly inebriation, neither the king nor the British ministers, Hotham and Dubourgay, for a moment lost sight of their settled policy. The king remained firm in his silent resolve to consent only to the marriage of Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales. Hotham and Dubourgay could not swerve from the positive instructions which they had received, to insist upon both marriages or neither. Thus, notwithstanding this bacchanal jollification, neither party was disposed to swerve a hair’s breadth from its fixed resolve, and the question was no nearer a settlement than before.“As I could not get into the cabin, because it was all engaged, I staid with the other passengers in the steerage, and the weather being fine, came upon deck. After some time there stepped out of the cabin a man in cinnamon-colored coat with gold buttons; in black wig; face and coat considerably dusted with Spanish snuff. He looked at me fixedly for a while, and then said, without farther preface, ‘Who are you, sir?’ This cavalier tone from an unknown person, whose exterior indicated nothing very important, did not please me, and I declined satisfying his curiosity. He was silent. But some time after he assumed a more courteous tone, and said, ‘Come in here to me, sir. You will be better here than in the steerage amidst the tobacco-smoke.’
Some of our readers may think that the above narrative is quite incredible; that a young sovereign, who had just written the Anti-Machiavel, and who knew that the eyes of the world were upon him, could not be guilty of such perfidy. But, unhappily, there is no possible room for doubt. The documentary evidence is ample. There is no contradictory testimony.
“Munchberg, July 2, 1734.
125 Grumkow then goes on to relate, quite in detail, that the king took up the subject of theology. “He set forth the horrible results of that absolute decree notion which makes God the author of sin; and that Jesus Christ died only for some.” The prince declared that he had thoroughly renounced that heresy. The king then added:详情
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