类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-31 01:24:58


Frederick had left Grüssau on the 18th of April for his Moravian455 campaign. He returned on the 8th of August, after an absence of sixteen weeks. The campaign had proved an entire failure. A Russian army, fifty thousand strong, under General Fermor, had invaded Brandenburg, just beyond the extreme northern frontier of Silesia. These semi-barbarian soldiers had burned the town of Cüstrin, on the Oder, were besieging the small garrison in its citadel, and were committing the most horrid outrages upon the community around, not only plundering and burning, but even consigning captives to the flames.

This visit to Dresden, so fatal to Fritz, was closed on the 12th of February. The dissipation of those four weeks introduced the Crown Prince to habits which have left an indelible stain upon his reputation, and which poisoned his days. Upon his return to Potsdam he was seized with a fit of sickness, and for many years his health remained feeble. But he had entered upon the downward course. His chosen companions were those who were in sympathy with his newly-formed tastes. The career of dissipation into which the young prince had plunged could not be concealed from his eagle-eyed father. The kings previous dislike to his son was converted into contempt and hatred, which feelings were at times developed in almost insane ebullitions of rage.Against this unprincipled declaration General Schulenburg remonstrated, declaring it to be unchristian and dishonorable. But the prince seemed to regard such suggestions very contemptuously. I can perceive, the general adds, that if he marries, it will only be that he may have more liberty than now. It is certain that if he had his elbows free he would strike out. He said to me several times, I am young; I want to profit by my youth.

While Frederick William was confined to his room, tormented by the gout, he endeavored to beguile the hours in painting in oil. Some of these paintings still exist, with the epigraph, Painted by Frederick William in his torments. Wilhelmina writes:Marshal Browne skillfully and successfully performed his part of the adventure. But there was no efficient co-operation by the Saxons. The men were weak, emaciate, and perishing from hunger. Their sinews of exertion were paralyzed. The skeleton horses could not draw the wagons or the guns. To add to their embarrassment, a raging storm of wind and rain burst upon the camp. The roads were converted into quagmires. The night was pitch-dark as the Saxons, about fourteen thousand in number, drenched with rain and groping through the mud, abandoned their camp and endeavored to steal their way across the river. The watchful Prussians detected the movement. A scene of confusion, terror, slaughter ensued, which it is in vain to endeavor to describe. The weeping skies and moaning winds indicated natures sympathy with these scenes of woe. Still the unhappy Saxons struggled on heroically. After seventy hours of toilsome marching and despairing conflict, these unhappy peasant-lads, the victims of kingly pride, were compelled to surrender at discretion. Marshal Browne, finding the enterprise an utter failure, rapidly returned to the main body of his army.On the other hand, Frederick himself was in the very prime of manhood. He was ambitious of military renown. He had a compact army of one hundred thousand men, in better drill and more amply provided with all the apparatus of war than any other troops in Europe. The frugality of his father had left him with a treasury full to overflowing. To take military possession of Silesia would be a very easy thing. There was nothing to obstruct the rush of his troops across the frontiers. There were no strongly garrisoned fortresses, and not above three thousand soldiers in the whole realm. No one even suspected that Frederick would lay any claim to the territory, or that there was the slightest danger of invasion. The complicated claim which he finally presented, in official manifestoes, was founded upon transactions which had taken place a hundred years before. In conversation with his friends he did not lay much stress upon any legitimate title he had to the territory. He frankly admitted, to quote his own words, that ambition, interest, the desire of making people talk about me, carried the day, and I decided for war.37

In the presence of monarchs, of lords and ladies, of the highest dignitaries of Europe, the young heir apparent to the throne of Prussia, beautiful in person, high-spirited, and of superior genius, was treated by his father with studied contumely and insult. Every thing was done to expose him to contempt. He even openly flogged the prince with his rattan. It would seem that the father availed himself of this opportunity so to torture the sensibilities of his son as to drive him to suicide. Professor Ranke writes:While on this march he wrote from Madlitz, under date of August 16th, to Marquis DArgens, at Berlin:

In carrying out these measures of partition, which the world has usually regarded as one of the most atrocious acts of robbery on record, resort was had both to bribery and force. The King of Poland was the obsequious servant of Catharine. A common fund was raised by the three powers to bribe the members of the Polish diet. Each of the confederate powers also sent an army to the Polish frontiers, ready to unite and crush the distracted people should there be any forcible resistance. Thus the deed was accomplished.

We can not afford the least narrative of G?rtz and his courses: imagination, from a few traits, will sufficiently conceive them. He had gone first to Karl Theodors minister: Dead to it, I fear; has already signed? Alas! yes. Upon which to Zweibrück, the heirs minister, whom his master had distinctly ordered to sign,554 but who, at his own peril, gallant man, delayed, remonstrated, had not yet done it; and was able to answer:

The Saxons, much irritated, were rather more disposed to thwart his plans than to co-operate in them. The Austrian horsemen were vigilant, pouncing upon every unprotected detachment. Frederick marched for the capture of Brünn, the strongest fortress in Moravia. It had a garrison of seven thousand men, under the valiant leader Roth. To arrest the march of Frederick, and leave him shelterless on the plains, the Austrian general laid sixteen villages in ashes. The poor peasantsmen, women, and childrenfoodless and shelterless, were thus cast loose upon the drifted fields. Who can gauge such woes?In this tremor of my heart, writes Linsenbarth, there came a valet out of the palace and asked, Where is the man that was with my king in the garden? I answered, Here. He led me into the palace to a large room, where pages, lackeys, and soldier valets were about. My valet took me to a little table excellently furnished with soup, beef; likewise carp, dressed with garden salad; likewise game, with cucumber salad; bread, knife, fork, plate, spoon were all there. My valet set me a chair, and said,



The result was a congress of three persons, two Prussians and one Austrian, which congress met at Berlin on the 24th of May, 1778. For two months they deliberated. The Austrians improved the delay in making very vigorous preparations for war. Frederick really wished to avoid the war, for he had seen enough of the woes of battle. They could come to no agreement.Another adventurer, by the name of Fassman, who had written books, and who made much literary pretension, had come to Berlin and also got introduced to the Tabagie. He was in character very like Gundling, and the two could never agree. Fassman could be very sarcastic and bitter in his speech. One evening, as the king and his smoking cabinet were sitting enveloped in the clouds which they were breathing forth, and were all muddled with tobacco and beerfor the king himself was a hard drinkerFassman so enraged Gundling by some cutting48 remarks, that the latter seized his pan of burning peat and red-hot sand and dashed it into the face of his antagonist. Fassman, who was much the more powerful of the two, was seriously burned. He instantly grasped his antagonist, dragged him down, and beat him savagely with his hot pan, amidst roars of laughter from the beer-stupefied bacchanals.

Do you see the man in the garden yonder, sitting, smoking his pipe? said he to me. That man, you may depend upon it, is not happy.199 Frederick was very desirous of visiting France, whose literature, science, and distinguished men he so greatly admired. Early Monday morning, the 15th of August, the king left Potsdam to visit his sister Wilhelmina, intending then to continue his journey incognito into France, and, if circumstances favored, as far as Paris. The king assumed the name of the Count Dufour. His next younger brother, William, eighteen years of age, accompanied him, also under an assumed name. William was now Crown Prince, to inherit the throne should Frederick leave no children. Six other gentlemen composed the party. They traveled in two coaches, with but few attendants, and avoided all unnecessary display.Was it not your intention to go to England?



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