“The Crown Prince begs his Britannic majesty not to reject the king’s proposals, whatever they may be, for his sister Wilhelmina’s sake. For, though the Crown Prince is determined to lose his life sooner than marry any body but the Princess Amelia, yet, if this negotiation were broken off, his father would go to extremities to force him and his sister into other engagements.”92 The royal yachts glided down the Main to the Rhine, and thence down the Rhine to Wesel. Probably a heavier heart than that of the prince never floated upon that world-renowned stream. Lost in painful musings, he had no eye to gaze upon the picturesque scenes of mountain, forest, castle, and ruins through which they were gliding. At Bonn he had an interview with Seckendorf, whose influence was great with his father, and whom he hoped to interest in his favor. To him he said,“Russia,” added Sir Thomas, with some stateliness of utterance, “is not the only power which has engagements with Austria, and which must keep them too; so that, however averse to a breach—
e. Austrian Infantry.It is not surprising that many persons, not familiar with the wild and wondrous events of the past, should judge that many of the honest narratives of history must be fictions—mere romances. But it is difficult for the imagination to invent scenes more wonderful than can be found in the annals of by-gone days. The novelist who should create such a character as that of Frederick William, or such a career as that of Frederick the Great, would be deemed guilty of great exaggeration, and yet the facts contained in this volume are beyond all contradiction.“Till now his majesty has been in especial good-humor. But in Dantzig his cheerfulness forsook him, and it never came back. He arrived about ten o’clock at night in that city, slept there, and was off again next morning at five. He drove only fifty miles this day; stopped in Luppow. From Luppow he went to a poor village near Belgard, and staid there overnight.
Poor Linsenbarth had a feather bed, a small chest of clothes, and a bag of books. He went to a humble inn, called the “White Swan,” utterly penniless. The landlord, seeing that he could levy upon his luggage in case of need, gave him food and a small room in the garret to sleep in. Here he remained in a state verging upon despair for eight weeks. Some of the simple neighbors advised him to go directly to the king, as every poor man could do at certain hours in the day. He wrote a brief statement of the facts, and started on foot for Potsdam. We give the result in the words of Linsenbarth:Frederick paid no regard to the remonstrance of the emperor. The bishop, in his distress, applied to the French for aid, and then to the Dutch, but all in vain. He then sent an embassy to Berlin, proposing to purchase Herstal. The king consented to sell upon the same terms his father had offered, adding to the sum the expenses of his military expedition and other little items, bringing the amount up to one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. The money was paid, and the Herstal difficulty was settled. This was Frederick’s first act of foreign diplomacy. Many severely censured him for the violent course he pursued with a power incapable of resistance. All admitted the energy and sagacity which he had developed in the affair.
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.
Baron Bielfeld gives the following account of the ordinary employments, and the tone of conversation of the prince: “All the employments and all the pleasures of the prince are those of a man of understanding. He is, at this time, actually engaged in refuting the dangerous political reveries of Machiavel. His conversation at table is charming. He talks much and excellently well. His mind seems to be equal to all sorts of subjects, and his imagination produces on each of them a number of new and just ideas. His genius resembles the fire of the vestals that was never extinct. A decent and polite contradiction is not disagreeable172 to him. He possesses the rare talent of displaying the wit of others, and of giving them opportunity to shine on those subjects in which they excel. He jests frequently, and sometimes rallies, but never with asperity; and an ingenious retort does not displease him.Deceptive Measures of Frederick.—Plans for the Invasion of Silesia.—Avowed Reasons for the Invasion.—The Ball in Berlin.—The March of the Army.—Hardships and Successes.—Letter to Voltaire.—Capture of Glogau.—Capture of Brieg.—Bombardment of Neisse.
“‘This that is on the table the king has ordered to be served for you. You are to eat your fill and mind nobody. I am to serve.’
“The whole of Lower Silesia; the River Neisse for the boundary; the city of Neisse for us, as also Glutz; on the other side of the Oder, the ancient boundary between the Duchies of Brieg and Oppeln. Namslau for us. The affairs of religion in statu quo. No dependence upon Bohemia. Cession eternal. In exchange we will go no farther. We will besiege Neisse for form. The commandant shall surrender and depart. We will quietly go into winter quarters; and they (the Austrians) can take their army where they will. Let all be finished in twelve days.”
Again he wrote D’Argens on the 26th of December, “What a pleasure to hear that you are coming. I have sent a party of light horse to conduct you. You can make short journeys. I have directed that horses be ordered for you, that your rooms be warmed every where, and good fowls ready on all roads. Your apartment in this house is carpeted, hermetically shut. You shall suffer nothing from draughts or from noise.”
It is perhaps not strange that Frederick should have imbibed a strong feeling of antipathy to Christianity. In his father’s life he had witnessed only its most repulsive caricature. While making the loudest protestations of piety, Frederick William, in his daily conduct, had manifested mainly only every thing that is hateful and of bad report. Still, it is quite evident that Frederick was not blind to the distinction between the principles of Christianity as taught by Jesus and developed in his life, and the conduct of those who, professing his name, trampled those principles beneath their feet. In one of his letters to Voltaire, dated Cirey, August 26, 1736, Frederick wrote:详情
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