BATTLE OF ZORNDORF, AUGUST 25, 1758.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:
On Saturday morning, August 28, 1756, the Prussian army, over one hundred thousand strong, entered Saxony at three different points on the northern frontier. Frederick, with about sixty thousand troops, crossed the Elbe at Torgau, and seized upon Leipsic. Duke Ferdinand, of Hanover, led his columns405 across the frontier about eighty miles to the right. The Duke of Brunswick-Bevern crossed about the same distance to the left. Each column was stronger than the whole Saxon army. The appointed place of rendezvous for the three divisions was the city of Dresden, the capital of Saxony. By the route marked out, each column had a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles to traverse.The chivalry of Europe was in sympathy with the young and beautiful queen, who, inexperienced, afflicted by the death of her father, and about to pass through the perils of maternity, had been thus suddenly and rudely assailed by one who should have protected her with almost a brother’s love and care. Every court in Europe was familiar with the fact that the father of Maria Theresa had not only humanely interceded, in the most earnest terms, for the life of Frederick, but had interposed his imperial authority’ to rescue him from the scaffold, with which he was threatened by his unnatural parent. Frederick found that he stood quite alone, and that he had nothing to depend upon but his own energies and those of his compact, well-disciplined army.
MAKING A SOLDIER OF HIM.
The Austrian cavalry made an impetuous charge upon the weaker Prussian cavalry on the right of the Prussian line. Frederick commanded here in person. The Prussian right wing was speedily routed, and driven in wild retreat over the plain. The king lost his presence of mind and fled ingloriously with the fugitives. General Schulenberg endeavored, in vain, to rally the disordered masses. He received a sabre slash across his face. Drenched in blood, he still struggled, unavailingly, to arrest the torrent, when a bullet struck him dead. The battle was now raging fiercely all along the lines.“I am sure his excellency had no such meaning, sire. His excellency will advance nothing so very contrary to his instructions.”The king, who was devotedly attached to his sister, and who was very fond, on all occasions, of composing rhymes which he called poetry, wrote a very tender ode, bidding her adieu. It commenced with the words
In this frame of mind, the king began to talk seriously of abdicating in favor of Frederick, and of retiring from the cares of state to a life of religious seclusion in his country seat at Wusterhausen. He matured his plan quite to the details. Wilhelmina thus describes it:“My complaint increases so much that I no longer even hope to recover from it. I feel strongly, in the situation in which I at present find myself, the necessity of an enlightened religion arising from conviction. Without that, we are the beings on earth most to be pitied. Your majesty will, after my death, do me the justice to testify that if I have combated superstition with vehemence, I have always supported the interests of the Christian religion, though differing from the ideas of some theologians. As it is only possible when in danger to discover the169 necessity of bravery, so no one can really have the consoling advantage of religion except through sufferings.”DORIS RITTER’S PUNISHMENT.
The king exerted all his powers of fascination to gain the affections of the people. Though he dismissed all the Austrian public functionaries, and supplied their places by his own friends, he continued to the Catholics their ancient privileges, and paid marked attention to the bishop and his clergy. At the same time, he encouraged the Protestants with the expectation that he would prove their especial friend. At the assemblies which he gave each evening that he was in the city, he lavished his smiles upon the ladies who were distinguished either for exalted rank or for beauty. But there is no evidence that, during this campaign, he wrote one line to his absent, neglected wife, or that he expended one thought upon her.The Austrians, on the careless and self-confident march toward Parchwitz, had crossed the Schweidnitz River, or Water, as it438 was called, when they learned that Frederick, with a tiger-like spring, had leaped upon Neumarkt, an important town fourteen miles from Parchwitz. Here the Austrians had a bakery, protected by a guard of a thousand men. Seven hundred of the guard were instantly sabred or taken prisoners. The rest fled wildly. Frederick gathered up eighty thousand hot bread rations, with which he feasted his hungry troops.On the 4th of July the king rode out for the last time. Not long after, the horse was again brought to the door, but the king found himself too weak to mount. Still, while in this state of extreme debility and pain, he conducted the affairs of state with the most extraordinary energy and precision. The minutest questions received his attention, and every branch of business was prosecuted with as much care and perfection as in his best days.
“I find no fault with you; the blame is entirely my own in having appointed you to such a post.”The dying king strangely decided, at that late hour, to abdicate. All the officials were hurriedly summoned to his chamber. The poor old man, bandaged, with his night-cap on, and a mantle thrown over him, was wheeled into the anteroom where the company was assembled. As he saw P?llnitz he exclaimed, sadly, “It is all over.” Noticing one in tears, he said to him, kindly, “Nay, my friend, this is a debt we all have to pay.” The king then solemnly abdicated in favor of his “good son Frederick.” The deed was made out, signed, and sealed. But scarcely was it executed ere the king fainted, and was carried to his bed. Still the expiring lamp of life flickered in its socket. About eleven o’clock the clergyman, M. Cochius, was sent for. The king was in his bed, apparently speechless. He, however, revived a little, and was in great pain, often exclaiming, “Pray for me; pray for me; my trust is in the Savior.” He called for a mirror, and carefully examined his face for some moments, saying at intervals, “Not so worn out as I thought.” “An ugly face.” “As good as dead already.”31
On the 15th, after a restless night, he did not wake until eleven o’clock in the morning. For a short time he seemed confused. He then summoned his generals and secretaries, and gave his orders with all his wonted precision. He then called in his three clerks and dictated to them upon various subjects. His directions to an embassador, who was about leaving, filled four quarto pages.“My son must be impressed with love and fear of God, as the foundation of our temporal and eternal welfare. No false religions or sects of Atheist, Arian, Socinian, or whatever name the poisonous things have, which can so easily corrupt a young mind, are to be even named in his hearing. He is to be taught a proper abhorrence of papistry, and to be shown its baselessness and nonsensicality. Impress on him the true religion, which consists essentially in this, that Christ died for all men. He is to learn no Latin, but French and German, so as to speak and write with brevity and propriety.详情
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