“On reaching Berlin I went at once to the custom-house, and handed them my royal order. The head man opened the seal. In reading, he changed color—went from pale to red; said nothing, and gave it to the second man to read. The second put on his spectacles, read, and gave it to the third. However, the head man rallied himself at last. I was to come forward and be so good as to write a receipt that I had received for my four hundred thalers, all in batzen, the same sum in Brandenburg coin, ready down, without the least deduction. My cash was at once accurately paid, and thereupon the steward was ordered to go with me to the ‘White Swan,’ and pay what I owed there, whatever my score was. That was what the king had meant when he said ‘you shall have your money back, and interest too.’”On Sunday, April 5, 1778, Frederick reviewed these troops, and addressed his officers in a speech, which was published in the newspapers to inform Austria what she had to expect. Eager as Frederick was to enlarge his own dominions, he was by no means disposed to grant the same privilege to other and rival nations. The address of Frederick to his officers was in reality a declaration to the Austrian court.
“I am at the head of an army which has already vanquished the enemy, and which is ready to meet the enemy again. The country which alone I desire is already conquered and securely held. This is all I want. I now have it. I will and must keep it. Shall I be bought out of this country? Never! I will sooner perish in it with all my troops. With what face shall I meet my ancestors if I abandon my right which they have transmitted to me? My first enterprise, and to be given up lightly?“Here, take that order to General Lossow, and tell him that he is not to take it ill that I trouble him, as I have none in my suite that can do any thing.” It often seemed to give Frederick pleasure, and never pain, to wound the feelings of others.
Grumkow gathered up his papers, and, with his associate officials, departed, probably meditating upon his own prospects should the Crown Prince ever become King of Prussia. The next day, September 5, the captive was taken from the castle of Mittenwalde, and sent to the fortress of Cüstrin, a small and quiet town about seventy miles from Berlin. The strong, dungeon-like room in which he was incarcerated consisted of bare walls, without any furniture, the light being admitted by a single aperture so high that the prince could not look out at it. He was divested of his uniform, of his sword, of every mark of dignity.The French, advancing from the Rhine on the west, were sweeping all opposition before them. They had overrun Hanover, and compelled the Duke of Brunswick, brother of George II., to withdraw, with his Hanoverian troops, from the alliance with the King of Prussia. This was a terrible blow to Frederick. It left him entirely alone to encounter his swarming enemies.
It was on the 11th of November, 1741, that Frederick, elated with his conquest of Silesia, had returned to Berlin. In commencing the enterprise he had said, “Ambition, interest, and the desire to make the world speak of me, vanquished all, and war was determined on.” He had, indeed, succeeded in making the “world speak” of him. He had suddenly become the most prominent man in Europe. Some extolled his exploits. Some expressed amazement at his perfidy. Many, recognizing his sagacity296 and his tremendous energy, sought his alliance. Embassadors from the various courts of Europe crowded his capital. Fourteen sovereign princes, with many foreigners of the highest rank, were counted among the number. The king was in high spirits. While studiously maturing his plans for the future, he assumed the air of a thoughtless man of fashion, and dazzled the eyes and bewildered the minds of his guests with feasts and pageants.In June, 1730, Augustus, King of Poland, had one of the most magnificent military reviews of which history gives any record. The camp of Mühlberg, as it was called, was established upon an undulating field, twelve miles square, on the right bank of the Elbe, a few leagues below Dresden. It is hardly too much to say that all the beauty and chivalry of Europe were gathered upon that field. Fabulous amounts of money and of labor were expended to invest the scene with the utmost sublimity of splendor. A military review had great charms for Frederick William. He attended as one of the most distinguished of the invited guests. The Crown Prince accompanied the king, as his father dared not leave him behind. But Fritz was exposed to every mortification and every species of ignominy which the ingenuity of this monster parent could heap upon him.
dd. Prussian Cavalry.Still the order was given for the assault. The Prussians plunged into the dense ranks of their foes, regardless of being outnumbered nearly three to one. A terrible battle was fought. General Wedell was overpowered and beaten. He retreated across the Oder, having lost six thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The victorious Russians did not pursue him. They marched down the river to Frankfort, where they effected a junction with other troops, giving them an effective force of ninety-six thousand fighting men.
About three weeks after this sad betrothal, Fritz wrote to his sister Wilhelmina, under date of Berlin, March 24, 1732, as follows:Frederick speedily concentrated all his strength at Bautzen, and strove to draw the Austrians into a battle; but in vain. The heights upon which they were intrenched, bristling with cannon, he could not venture to assail. After three weeks of impatient man?uvring, Frederick gathered his force of fifty thousand424 men close in hand, and made a sudden rush upon Bernstadt, about fifty miles to the east of Bautzen. Here he surprised an Austrian division, scattered it to the winds, seized all its baggage, and took a number of prisoners. He also captured the field equipage, coach, horses, etc., of General Nadasti, who narrowly escaped.
The next day M. Hartoff called at the residence of M. Kannegiesser, and informed him “that the ministers, understanding that he designed to ask an audience to-morrow to remind them64 of the answer which he demanded, wished to say that such applications were not customary among sovereign princes; that they dared not treat farther in that affair with him; that, as soon as they received instructions from his Britannic majesty, they would communicate to him the result.”“How is it possible, my lord, to believe things so contradictory? It is mighty fine, all this that you now tell me, on the part of the King of England. But how does it correspond with his last speech in Parliament, and with the doings of his ministers at Petersburg and at the Hague, to stir up allies against me? I have reason to doubt the sincerity of the King of England. Perhaps he means to amuse me. But” (with an oath55)269 “he is mistaken. I will risk every thing rather than abate the least of my pretensions.”详情
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