“The slow fever,” he wrote, “which consumes me, has not thrown any disorder into my understanding. Condescend to listen to me, sire, now that I can not be suspected of any illusion or deceit. There is an end to the house of Prussia if you continue to brave all Europe confederated against you. You force all Europe to arm to repel your encroachments. The princes of Europe are leagued against your majesty by justice and by interest. Their subjects regard your ruin as essential to the re-establishment of peace and the safety of monarchical government. They read in your success the slavery of the human race, the annihilation of laws, the degradation of society.“Each of these ministers makes a most brilliant figure, and never have I seen one travel with more ease and convenience, more elegance and grandeur, than does the Marquis of Montijo. Wherever he stops to dine or sup, he finds a room hung with the richest tapestry, and the floor covered with Turkey carpets, with velvet chairs, and every other kind of convenience; a table sumptuously served, the choicest wines, and a dessert of fruit and confectionery that Paris itself could not excel. This kind of enchantment, this real miracle in Germany, is performed by means of three baggage-wagons, of which two always go before the embassador, and carry with them every thing necessary for his reception. When they arrive in some poor village, the domestics268 that accompany each wagon immediately clear and clean some chamber, fix the tapestry by rings to the walls, cover the floor with carpets, and furnish the kitchen and cellar with every kind of necessary.”54
The Marquis D’Argens, another of Frederick’s infidel companions, one whom Voltaire described as “the most frank atheist in Europe,” after a very ignoble life of sin and shame, having quarreled with the king, found himself aged, poor, friendless, and infirm. He then, experiencing need of different support from any which infidelity could give, became penitent and prayerful. Renouncing his unbelief, he became an openly avowed disciple of Jesus.99The ceremony of coronation was attended, near Presburg, on the 25th of June, with much semi-barbaric splendor, as the Iron Crown58 of St. Stephen was placed upon the pale, beautiful brow of the young wife and mother. All the renowned chivalry of Hungary were assembled upon that field. They came in gorgeous costume, with embroidered banners, and accompanied by imposing retinues. At the close of the ceremonies, the queen, who was distinguished as a bold rider, mounted a swift charger, and, followed by a long retinue of Magyar warriors, galloped to the top of a small eminence artificially constructed for the occasion, called the K?nigsburg, or King’s Hill, where she drew her sword, and, flourishing it toward the four quarters of the heavens, bade defiance to any adversary who should venture to question her claims. The knightly warriors who crowded the plain flashed their swords in the sunlight, as with one accord, with chivalric devotion, they vowed fidelity to their queen.
Soon after Frederick wrote to Voltaire upon this subject again, still more severely, but in verse. The following is almost a literal translation of this poetic epistle:These were his last words. He fainted, and, after a few gasps, died. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, the 31st of May, 1740. Thus the soul of Frederick William passed to the spirit land, in the fifty-first year of its sojourn here on earth.
While these sad scenes were transpiring, the Princess Wilhelmina was held in close captivity in her apartment at the palace in Berlin. The king had convened a council of eight clergymen, and had put to them the question whether a father had not a right to give his daughter in wedlock to whom he pleased. Much to the honor of these clergymen, they replied, with but one exception, in the negative.“Anne Amelia.
“‘That is not the question,’ I answered. ‘The question is, whether such a being as God can, or can not, give existence to what, as yet, has none.’As the king cast his eye over the blood-stained field, covered with the wounded and the dead, for a moment he seemed overcome with the aspect of misery, and exclaimed, “When, oh when will my woes cease?”
Still, on the whole, the siege progressed favorably. Large supplies of food and ammunition were indispensable to Frederick. Thirty thousand hungry men were to be fed. A constant bombardment rapidly exhausts even abundant stores of powder, shot, and shell.
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MAP OF THE CAMPAIGN OF ROSSBACH.552 “Frederick,” said Kaunitz, “is old and broken. He can not live long. Having suffered so much, he has an absolute horror of war. We need not fear that he will again put his armies in motion.”
Frederick paid but little regard to his allies save as he could make them subservient to the accomplishment of his purposes. He pushed his troops forward many leagues south into Moravia, and occupied the important posts of Troppau, Friedenthal, and Olmütz. These places were seized the latter part of December. The king hoped thus to be able, early in the spring, to carry the war to the gates of Vienna.详情
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