note 8

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The morning of a hot August day dawned sultry, the wind breathing gently from the south. Bands of Cossacks hovered around upon the wings of the Prussian army, occasionally riding up to the infantry ranks and discharging their pistols at them. The Prussians were forbidden to make any reply. The infantry457 pours along like a plowman drawing his furrow, heedless of the circling crows. The Cossacks set fire to Zorndorf. In a few hours it was in ashes, while clouds of suffocating smoke were swept through the Russian lines.

Augustus, King of Poland, called Augustus the Strong, was a man of extraordinary physical vigor and muscular strength. It was said that he could break horseshoes with his hands, and crush half-crowns between his finger and thumb. He was an exceedingly profligate man, introducing to his palaces scenes of sin and shame which could scarcely have been exceeded in Rome in the most corrupt days of the C?sars. Though Frederick William, a stanch Protestant, was a crabbed, merciless man, drinking deeply and smoking excessively, he was irreproachable in morals, according to the ordinary standard. Augustus, nominally a Catholic, and zealously advocating political Catholicism, though a good-natured, rather agreeable man, recognized no other law of life than his own pleasure.On Friday, the 13th of October, the two hostile armies, separated merely by a brook and a ravine, were within half a mile of each other. Daun had manifested great timidity in not venturing from behind his intrenchments to attack the little band of Prussians. Frederick, emboldened by this cowardice on the part of his opponent, made his arrangements to assail the Austrians in a secret attack before the dawn of the morning of Saturday, the 14th. In the mean time, Daun, probably a little ashamed of being held at bay by so small a force, formed his plan to surround and destroy the whole Prussian army. It is generally conceded by military critics that the plan was admirably conceived, and would have been triumphantly executed but for the singular ability displayed by Frederick.The king was fond of children; he liked to have his grand-nephews about him. One day, while the king sat at work in his cabinet, the younger of the two, a boy of eight or nine, was playing ball about the room, and knocked it once and again into the kings writing operation, who twice or oftener flung it back to him, but next time put it in his pocket, and went on. Please your majesty, give it me back, begged the boy, and again begged: majesty took no notice; continued writing. Till at length came, in the tone of indignation, Will your majesty give me my ball, then? The king looked up; found the little Hohenzollern planted firm, hands on haunches, and wearing quite a peremptory562 air. Thou art a brave little fellow. They wont get Silesia out of thee? cried he, laughing, and flinging him his ball.194

Regulated differently the thing.For the event I can not answer. If I had more lives than one, I would sacrifice them all to my country. But, if this stroke fail, I think I am clear scores with her, and that it will be permissible to look a little to myself. There are limits to every490 thing. I support my misfortune. My courage is not abated by it. But I am well resolved, after this stroke, if it fail, to open an outgate to myself, and no longer be the sport of any chance.140Du dernier jour mena?aient les humains.

The King of Poland, who was also Elector of Saxony, had strong feelings of personal hostility to Frederick. His prime minister, Count Von Brühl, even surpassed his royal master in the bitter antagonism with which he regarded the Prussian monarch. Frederick, whose eagle eye was ever open, and whose restless mind was always on the alert, suspected that a coalition was about to be formed against him. He had false keys made to the royal archives at Dresden; bribed one of the officials there, M. Menzel, stealthily to enter the chamber of the archives, and copy for him such extracts as would throw any light upon the designs of the court. Among other items of intelligence, he found that Austria, Russia, and Poland were deliberating upon the terms of a coalition against him.The Battle of Chotusitz.Letter to Jordan.Results of the Battle.Secret Negotiations.The Treaty of Breslau.Entrance into Frankfort.Treachery of Louis XV.Results of the Silesian Campaigns.Panegyrics of Voltaire.Imperial Character of Maria Theresa.Her Grief over the Loss of Silesia.Anecdote of Senora Barbarina.Duplicity of both Frederick and Voltaire.Gayety in Berlin.Straitened Circumstances.Unamiability of Frederick.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.

The Crown Prince had for some time been inspired with an ever-increasing ambition for high intellectual culture. Gradually he was gathering around him, in his retreat at Reinsberg, men of high literary reputation, and was opening correspondence with the most distinguished men of letters in all the adjacent countries.

War has its jokes and merriment, but the comedies of war are often more dreadful than the tragedies of peace. Frederick, in his works, records the following incident, which he narrates as slight pleasantry, to relieve the readers mind:83The thought alone, he wrote, of your death, my dear Suhm, affords me an argument in proof of the immortality of the soul. For is it possible that the spirit which acts in you with so much clearness, brightness, and intelligence, which is so different from matter and from bodythat fine soul endowed with so many solid virtues and agreeable qualitiesis it possible that this should not be immortal? No! I would maintain in solid argument that, if the greatest part of the world were to be annihilated,426 you, Voltaire, Boileau, Newton, Wolfius, and some other geniuses of this order must be immortal.107

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Certainly, replied the king, in his most courteous tones; and if he had not come, how could I have paid back the M?hren business of last year?

You never can believe, my adorable sister, how concerned I am about your happiness. All my wishes centre there, and every moment of my life I form such wishes. You may see by this that I preserve still that sincere friendship which has united our hearts from our tenderest years. Recognize at least, my dear sister, that you did me a sensible wrong when you suspected me of fickleness toward you, and believed false reports of my listening to tale-bearersme, who love only you, and whom neither absence nor lying rumors could change in respect of you. At least, dont again believe such things on my score, and never mistrust me till you have had clear proof, or till God has forsaken me, or I have lost my wits.Berlin was almost defenseless. All Saxony was rising in arms behind Frederick. The invader of Silesia was in danger of having his own realms invaded and his own capital sacked. Frederick was thoroughly roused. But he never allowed himself to appear agitated or anxious. He ordered Leopold, the Old Dessauer, to march immediately, with all the troops he could rally, to the frontiers of Saxony. He even found it necessary to detach to the aid of Leopold some corps from his own enfeebled forces, now menaced by an Austrian army twice as large as he could oppose to them.At nine oclock Frederick received one of the general officers, and arranged with him all the military affairs of the day, usually dismissing him loaded with business. At ten oclock he reviewed some one of the regiments; and then, after attending parade, devoted himself to literary pursuits or private correspondence until dinner-time. This was the portion of the day he usually appropriated to authorship. He was accustomed to compose, both in prose and verse, while slowly traversing the graveled walks of his garden.


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