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Cüstrin, November 19, 1730.108I have begun to settle the figure of Prussia. The outline will be altogether regular; for the whole of Silesia is taken in except one miserable hamlet, which perhaps I shall have to keep blockaded until next spring. Up to this time the whole conquest has cost me only twenty men and two officers.

BATTLE OF KUNERSDORF, AUGUST 12, 1759.It will generally be admitted by military men that Frederick did not display much ability of generalship in this campaign. He was fearless, indomitable in energy, and tireless in the endurance of fatigue, but in generalship he was entirely eclipsed by his formidable rival. Indeed, Frederick could not be blind to this, and he had sufficient candor to confess it. Subsequently, giving an account of these transactions in his Works, he writes:MAP OF THE EAST.

All Europe was thrown into commotion by this bold and successful267 invasion of Silesia. France was delighted, for Prussia was weakening Austria. England was alarmed. The weakening of Austria was strengthening France, Englands dreaded rival. And Hanover was menaced by the Prussian army at G?tten, under the Old Dessauer. The British Parliament voted an additional subsidy of 300,000 to Maria Theresa. Two hundred thousand had already been granted her. This, in all, amounted to the sum of two million five hundred thousand dollars. Envoys from all the nations of Europe were sent to Fredericks encampment at Strehlen, in the vicinity of Brieg. Some were sent seeking his alliance, some with terms of compromise, and all to watch his proceedings. The young king was not only acquiring the territory which he sought, but seemed to be gaining that renown which he had so eagerly coveted. He did not feel strong enough to make an immediate attack upon the Austrian army, which General Neipperg held, in an almost impregnable position, behind the ramparts of Neisse. For two months he remained at Strehlen, making vigorous preparations for future movements, and his mind much engrossed with diplomatic intrigues. Strehlen is a pretty little town, nestled among the hills, about twenty-five miles west of Brieg, and thirty northwest of Neisse. The troops were mainly encamped in tents on the fields around. The embassadors from the great monarchies of Europe were generally sumptuously lodged in Strehlen, or in Breslau, which was a beautiful city about thirty miles north of Strehlen. Baron Bielfeld in the following terms describes the luxury in which the Spanish minister indulged:

511 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.

Judge, my dear general, if I have been much charmed with the description you give of the abominable object of my desires. For the love of God disabuse the king in regard to her. Let him remember that fools are commonly the most obstinate of creatures. Let the king remember that it is not for himself that he is marrying me, but for myself. Nay, he too will have a thousand chagrins to see two persons hating one another, and the most miserable marriage in the world; to hear their mutual complaints, which will be to him so many reproaches for having fashioned the instrument of our yoke. As a good Christian, let him consider if it is well done to wish to force people, to cause divorces, and to be the occasion of all the sins that an ill-assorted marriage leads us to commit. I am determined to front every thing in the world sooner. Since things are so, you may, in some good way, apprise the Duke of Bevern that, happen what may, I never will have her.Such a show for pomp and circumstance, Wilhelmina owns, as could not be equaled in the world; such wheeling, rhythmic coalescing and unfolding, accurate as clock-work, far and wide; swift, big column here hitting big column there at the appointed place and moment; with their volleyings and trumpetings, bright uniforms, and streamers, and field-music, in equipment and man?uvre perfect all, to the meanest drummer or black kettle-drummer; supreme drill sergeant playing on the thing as on his huge piano, several square miles in area.18Ah! yes, yes, he added, Im right. I know the gentlemen.

On the morning of the 17th of May Fredericks army was drawn out in battle array, facing south, near the village of Chotusitz, about fifteen miles west of Chrudim. Almost within cannon-shot of him, upon the same plain, near the village of Czaslau, facing north, was the army of Prince Charles. The field was like a rolling western prairie, with one or two sluggish streams running through it; and here and there marshes, which neither infantry nor cavalry could traverse. The accompanying map will give the reader an idea of the nature of the ground and the position of the hostile forces.

After the battle of Chotusitz, Frederick called upon General Pallant, an Austrian officer, who was wounded and a prisoner. In the course of the conversation, General Pallant stated that France was ready at any moment to betray his Prussian majesty, and that, if he would give him six days time, he would furnish him with documentary proof. A courier was instantly dispatched to Vienna. He soon returned with a letter from Cardinal Fleury, the prime minister of Louis XV., addressed to Maria Theresa, informing her that, if she would give up Bohemia to the emperor, France would guarantee to her Silesia. Frederick, though guilty of precisely the same treachery himself, read the document with indignation, and assumed to be as much amazed at the perfidy as he could have been had he been an honest man.DISCIPLINING THE JUDGES.



PREFACE.The fact was, that the diplomacy of Voltaire had probably not the slightest influence in guiding the action of the king. Frederick had become alarmed in view of the signal successes of the armies of Maria Theresa, under her brother-in-law, Prince Charles of Lorraine. Several Austrian generals, conspicuous among whom was Marshal Traun, were developing great military ability. The armies of Austria had conquered Bohemia and Bavaria. The French troops, discomfited in many battles, had been compelled to retreat to the western banks of the Rhine, vigorously pursued by Prince Charles. The impotent emperor Charles Albert, upon whom France had placed the imperial crown of Germany, was driven from his hereditary realm, and the heart-broken man, in poverty and powerlessness, was an emperor but in name. It was evident that Maria Theresa was gathering her strength to reconquer Silesia. She had issued a decree that the Elector of Bavaria was not legitimately chosen emperor. It was very manifest that her rapidly increasing influence would soon enable her to dethrone the unfortunate Charles Albert, and to place the imperial crown upon the brow of her husband.

It is probable that the suspicions of the king were excited, for suddenly he sent Lieutenant Keith to a garrison at Wesel, at a great distance from Berlin, in a small Prussian province far down the Rhine. The three had, however, concocted the following plan, to be subsequently executed. Immediately after the return from Mühlberg the king was to undertake a long journey to the Rhine. The Crown Prince, as usual, was to be dragged along with him. In this journey they would pass through Stuttgart, within a few miles of Strasbourg, which was on the French side of the river. From Stuttgart the prince was to escape in disguise, on fleetest horses, to Strasbourg, and thence proceed to London. Colonel Hotham, who had accompanied the Prussian king to the camp of Mühlberg, was apprised of all this by his secretary. He immediately dispatched the secretary, on the 16th of June, to convey the confidential intelligence to London.

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