For a time Frederick and Voltaire seem to have lived very pleasantly together. Voltaire writes: “I was lodged under the king’s apartment, and never left my room except for supper. The king composed, above stairs, works of philosophy, history, poetry; and his favorite, below stairs, cultivated the same arts and the same talents. They communicated to one another their respective works. The Prussian monarch composed, at this time,387 his ‘History of Brandenburg;’ and the French author wrote his ‘Age of Louis XIV.,’ having brought with him all his materials.94 His days thus passed happily in a repose which was only animated by agreeable occupations. Nothing, indeed, could be more delightful than this way of life, or more honorable to philosophy and literature.”“I march to-morrow for Breslau, and shall be there in four days. You Berliners have a spirit of prophecy which goes beyond me. In fine, I go my road; and you will shortly see Silesia ranked in the list of our provinces. Adieu! this is all I have time to tell you. Religion and our brave soldiers will do the rest.”
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.Frederick had hardly reached Berlin ere he was astonished to learn, from dispatches from the Old Dessauer, that the Austrians, not content with driving him out of Bohemia, had actually invaded Silesia. Amazed, or affecting amazement, at such audacity, he sent reiterated and impatient orders to his veteran general to fall immediately upon the insolent foe and crush him.
“He appeared,” she writes, “quite discountenanced at this last part of my narrative. He returned thanks for the obligations I have laid on him, with some caressings which evidently did not proceed from the heart. To break this conversation he started some indifferent topic, and, under pretense of seeing my apartment, moved into the next room, where the prince, my husband, was. Him he surveyed with his eyes from head to foot for some time; then, after some constrained civilities to him, he went his way.”“All-serenest and All-graciousest Father,—To your royal majesty, my all-graciousest Father, I have, by my disobedience as Their subject and soldier, not less than by my undutifulness as Their son, given occasion to a just wrath and aversion against me. With the all-obedientest respect I submit myself wholly to the grace of my most All-gracious Father, and beg him most All-graciously to pardon me, as it is not so much the withdrawal of my liberty, in a sad arrest, as my own thoughts of the fault I have committed that have brought me to reason, who, with all-obedientest respect and submission, continue till my end my All-graciousest king’s and Father’s faithfully-obedientest servant and son,The next Sunday, June 3d, the betrothal took place with great magnificence. The ceremony was attended by a large concourse of distinguished guests. Lord Dover says that the very evening of the day of the betrothing a courier arrived from England with dispatches announcing that the English court had yielded to all the stipulations demanded by the King of Prussia in reference to the marriage of Wilhelmina to the Prince of Wales. It was now too late to retract. Probably both the king and Wilhelmina were gratified in being able to decline the offer. But the chagrin of the queen was terrible. She fell into a violent fever, and came near dying, reproaching her daughter with having killed her.
“It is true, sire,” Bielfeld replied, “but I know very well what you have gained in getting a kingdom. Your loss is great, but your motives for consolation are very powerful.”
It is worthy of notice that there is no indication that the king sent any word of affectionate remembrance to his neglected wife. It is a remarkable feature in the character of the Emperor Napoleon253 I. that in his busiest campaigns rarely did a day pass in which he did not write to Josephine. He often wrote to her twice a day.The king paused. A general murmur of applause indicated the united resolve to conquer or to die. Frederick immediately added:
“Among the women were many of distinction, who had neither shoes nor stockings, nor hardly any thing else on, thinking only of saving their lives. When I had seen my family in the open field, I endeavored to return and save something, if possible, but in vain. I could not force my way through the multitude of people thronging out at the gate, some few with horses and carriages, and others with the sick and bedridden on their backs. The bombs and red-hot balls fell so thick that all thought themselves happy if they could but escape with their lives.“Your most humble brother and servant,
The Prussian army was so exhausted by its midnight march and its long day of battle that his majesty did not deem it wise to attempt to pursue the retreating foe. For this he has been severely, we think unjustly, censured by some military men. He immediately, that evening, wrote to his mother, saying, “So decisive a defeat has not been since Blenheim,” and assuring her that the two princes, her sons, who had accompanied him to the battle, were safe. Such was the battle of Hohenfriedberg, once of world-wide renown, now almost forgotten.
But the assailants were already so near the walls that the shot passed harmlessly over their heads. Without firing a gun or uttering a sound, these well-drilled soldiers of Frederick William hewed down the palisades, tore out the chevaux-de-frise, and clambered over the glacis. With axe and petard they burst open the gates and surged into the city.572 His feet and legs became cold. Death was stealing its way toward the vitals. About nine o’clock Wednesday evening a painful cough commenced, with difficulty of breathing, and an ominous rattle in the throat. One of his dogs sat by his bedside, and shivered with cold; the king made a sign for them to throw a quilt over it.
In 1747 Marshal Saxe visited Potsdam. He witnessed a review of the guards. In the account of this review given by Algarotti, he says, “The squadron of guards, which at one time, drawn up close, exhibited the appearance of a rock, at another resembled a cloud scattered along the plain. In the charge on full gallop one horse’s head was not a foot beyond another. The line was so exactly straight that Euclid himself could not have found fault with it.”
Under these circumstances, it was evidently impossible for Frederick to retain Silesia unless he could again rally France and other powers to his aid. It was always easy to rouse France against England, its hereditary foe. Thus influenced, Frederick, early in the spring of 1744, entered into a new alliance with France and the Emperor Charles Albert against Maria Theresa. The two marriages which he had so adroitly consummated constrained330 Russia and Sweden to neutrality. While France, by the new treaty, was engaged to assail with the utmost energy, under the leadership of Louis XV. himself, the triumphant Austrian columns upon the Rhine, Frederick, at the head of one hundred thousand troops, was to drive the Austrians out of Bohemia, and reseat Charles Albert upon his hereditary throne. For this service Frederick was to receive from the Bohemian king three important principalities, with their central fortresses near upon the borders of Silesia.At six o’clock in the evening the whole city was illuminated. Frederick entered his carriage, and, attended by his two brothers, the Prince of Prussia and Prince Henry, rode out to take the circuit of the streets. But the king had received information that one of his former preceptors, M. Duhan, lay at the point of death. He ordered his carriage to be at once driven to the residence of the dying man. The house of M. Duhan was situated in a court, blazing with the glow of thousands of lamps.Maximilian Joseph, son of the emperor, was at the time of his father’s death but seventeen years of age. He was titular Elector of Bavaria; but Austrian armies had overrun the electorate, and he was a fugitive from his dominions. At the entreaty of his mother, he entered into a treaty of alliance with the Queen of Hungary. She agreed to restore to him his realms, and to recognize his mother as empress dowager. He, on the other hand, agreed to support the Pragmatic Sanction, and to give his vote for the Grand-duke Francis as Emperor of Germany.详情
Copyright © 2020