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fff. Austrian Cavalry.England, while endeavoring to subsidize Russia against Frederick, entered secretly into a sort of alliance with Frederick, hoping thus to save Hanover. The Empress Elizabeth, of Russia, heartily united with Maria Theresa against Frederick, whom she personally disliked, and whose encroachments she dreaded. His Prussian majesty, proud of his powers of sarcasm, in his poems spared neither friend nor foe. He had written some very severe things against the Russian empress, which had reached her ears.100

“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.”Queen Sophie, who still clung pertinaciously to the idea of the English match, was, of course, bitterly hostile to the nuptial alliance with Elizabeth. Indeed, the queen still adhered to the idea of the double English marriage, and exhausted all the arts of diplomacy and intrigue in the endeavor to secure the Princess Amelia for the Crown Prince, and to unite the Prince of Wales to a younger sister of Wilhelmina. Very naturally she cherished feelings of strong antipathy toward Elizabeth, who seemed to be the cause, though the innocent cause, of the frustration of her plans. She consequently spoke of the princess in the most contemptuous manner, and did every thing in her power to induce her son to regard her with repugnance. But nothing could change the inexorable will of the king. Early in March the doomed Princess Elizabeth, a beautiful, artless child of seventeen years, who had seen but little of society, and was frightened in view of the scenes before her, was brought to Berlin to be betrothed to the Crown Prince, whom she had never seen, of whom she could not have heard any very favorable reports, and from142 whom she had never received one word of tenderness. The wreck of happiness of this young princess, which was borne so meekly and uncomplainingly, is one of the saddest which history records. Just before her arrival, Fritz wrote to his sister as follows. The letter was dated Berlin, March 6, 1732:

“I was sitting quiet in my apartment, busy with work, and some one reading to me, when the queen’s ladies rushed in, with a torrent of domestics in their rear, who all bawled out, putting one knee to the ground, that they were come to salute the Princess of Wales. I fairly believed these poor people had lost their wits. They would not cease overwhelming me with noise and tumult; their joy was so great they knew not what they did. When the farce had lasted some time, they told me what had occurred at the dinner.Thus his Prussian majesty and the Queen of Hungary met each other like two icebergs in a stormy sea. The allies were exasperated, not conquered, by the defeat of Sohr. Maria Theresa, notwithstanding the severity of winter’s cold, resolved immediately to send three armies to invade Prussia, and storm Berlin itself. She hoped to keep the design profoundly secret, so that Frederick might be taken at unawares. The Swedish envoy at Dresden spied out the plan, and gave the king warning. Marshal Grüne was to advance from the Rhine, and enter Brandenburg from the west. Prince Charles, skirting Western Silesia, was to march upon Brandenburg from the south. General Rutowski was to spring upon the Old Dessauer, who was encamped upon the frontiers of Saxony, overwhelm and crush his army with superior numbers, and then, forming a junction with Marshal Brüne, with their united force rush upon Berlin.

“These kind condescensions of his majesty,” writes M. D’Arget, “emboldened me to represent to him the brilliant position he now held, and how noble it would be, after being the hero of Germany, to become the pacificator of Europe.”It was well understood that a verdict was to be returned in accordance with the wishes of the king, and also that the king desired that no mercy should be shown to his son.15 After a session of six days the verdict of the court was rendered. The crime of the Crown Prince, in endeavoring to escape from the brutality of his father, was declared to be desertion, and the penalty was death. Lieutenant Keith was also declared to be a deserter, and doomed to die. But as he had escaped, and could not be recaptured, he was sentenced to be hanged in effigy, which effigy was then to be cut in four quarters and nailed to the gallows at Wesel. Lieutenant Katte, who certainly had not deserted, and whose only crime was that he had been a confidant of the Crown Prince in his plan to escape, was condemned to imprisonment in a fortress for two years, some say for life.

307 Elsewhere, Frederick, speaking of these two winter campaigns, says: “Winter campaigns are bad, and should always be avoided, except in cases of necessity. The best army in the world is liable to be ruined by them. I myself have made more winter campaigns than any general of this age. But there were reasons. In 1740 there were hardly above two Austrian regiments in Silesia, at the death of the Emperor Charles VI. Being determined to assert my right to that duchy, I had to try it at once, in winter, and carry the war, if possible, to the banks of the Neisse. Had I waited till spring, we must have begun the war between Crossen and Glogau. What was now to be gained by one march would then have cost us three or four campaigns. A sufficient reason, this, for campaigning in winter. If I did not succeed in the winter campaigns of 1742, a campaign which I made to deliver Moravia, then overrun by Austrians, it was because the French acted like fools, and the Saxons like traitors.”64

But no sooner did Frederick get an intimation that Austria was contemplating this enlargement of her domains than he roused himself to prevent it with all the vigor of his earlier years. It was a very delicate matter; for Charles Theodore, the elector, and his nephew August Christian, heir to the electorate, a young gentleman of very illustrious pedigree, but of a very slender purse, had both been bribed by Austria secretly to co-operate in the movement. The reader will be interested in Carlyle’s account, slightly abbreviated, of Frederick’s skill in diplomacy:The young prince had also become dissolute in life. The sacred110 volume denounced such a career as offensive to God, as sure to bring down upon the guilty prince the divine displeasure in this life, and, if unrepented of, in the life to come. No man who believes the Bible to be true can, with any comfort whatever, indulge in sin. The prince wished to indulge his passions without restraint. He therefore, thus living, found it to be a necessity to renounce that religion which arrayed against his sinful life all the terrors of the final judgment. A wicked life and true Christian faith can not live in peace together. The one or the other must be abandoned. Frederick chose to abandon Christian faith.

The young king, all unaccustomed to those horrors of war which he had evoked, was swept along with the inundation. The danger of his falling in the midst of the general carnage, or of his capture, which was, perhaps, still more to be dreaded, was imminent. His friends entreated him to escape for his life. Even Marshal Schwerin, the veteran soldier, assured him that the battle was lost, and that he probably could escape capture only by a precipitate flight.“My dear General,—While in Silesia I mentioned to you, and will now repeat in writing, that my army in Silesia was at no time so bad as at present. Were I to make shoemakers or tailors into generals, the regiments could not be worse. Regiment Thadden is not fit to be the most insignificant militia battalion of a Prussian army. Of the regiment Erlach, the men are so spoiled by smuggling they have no resemblance to soldiers; Keller is like a heap of undrilled boors; Hager has a miserable commander; and your own regiment is very mediocre. Only with Graf Von Anhalt, with Wendessen, and Markgraf Heinrich could I be content. See you, that is the state I found the regiments in, one after one. I will now speak of their man?uvring.

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“Sire,—Yesterday I was in terrible alarms. The sound of the cannon heard, the smoke of powder visible from the steeple-tops here, all led us to suspect that there was a battle going on. Glorious confirmation of it this morning. Nothing but rejoicing among all the Protestant inhabitants, who had begun to be in apprehension from the rumors which the other party took pleasure in spreading. Persons who were in the battle can not enough celebrate the coolness and bravery of your majesty. For myself, I am at the overflowing point. I have run about all day announcing this glorious news to the Berliners who are here. In my life I have never felt a more perfect satisfaction. One finds at the corner of every street an orator of the people celebrating the warlike feats of your majesty’s troops. I have often, in my idleness, assisted at these discourses; not artistic eloquence, it must be owned, but gushing full from the heart.”

FREDERICK AND WILHELMINA.

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