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men from the foreign yoke ; and that, military science. The Prussian disciin the act of vanquishing Soubise, he pline was rigorous even to cruelty. was, unintentionally, rousing the spirit The officers, while in the field, were which soon began to question the lite expected to practise an abstemiousness rary precedence of Boileau and Vol- and self-denial such as was hardly surtaire. So strangely do events confound passed by the most rigid monastic all the plans of man. A prince who orders. However noble their birth, read only French, who wrote only however high their rank in the service, French, who aspired to rank as a they were not permitted to eat from French classic, became, quite uncon- any thing better than pewter. It was sciously, the means of liberating half a high crime even in a count and fieldthe Continent from the dominion of marshal to have a single silver spoon that French criticism of which he was among his baggage. Gay young Enghimself, to the end of his life, a slave. lishmen of twenty thousand a year, acYet even the enthusiasm of Germany customed to liberty and to luxury, in favour of Frederic hardly equalled would not easily submit to these Sparthe enthusiasm of England. The birth- tan restraints. The King could not day of our ally was celebrated with venture to keep them in order as he as much enthusiasm as that of our kept his own subjects in order. Situated own sovereign; and at night the streets as he was with respect to England, he of London were in a blaze with illumi- could not well imprison or shoot renations. Portraits of the Hero of Ros fractory Howards and Cavendishes. bach, with his cocked hat and long On the other hand, the example of a pigtail, were in every house. An at- few fine gentlemen, attended by chatentive observer will, at this day, find | riots and livery servants, eating in in the parlours of old-fashioned inns, plate, and drinking champagne and and in the portfolios of print-sellers, Tokay, was enough to corrupt his twenty portraits of Frederic for one of whole army. He thought it best to George the Second. The sign-painters make a stand at first, and civilly rewere every where employed in touching fused to admit such dangerous comup Admiral Vernon into the King of panions among his troops. Prussia. This enthusiasm was strong The help of England was bestowed among religious people, and especially in a manner far more useful and more among the Methodists, who knew that acceptable. An annual subsidy of the French and Austrians were Papists, near seven hundred thousand pounds and supposed Frederic to be the Joshua enabled the King to add probably more or Gideon of the Reformed Faith. One than fifty thousand men to his army. of Whitfield's hearers, on the day on Pitt, now at the height of power and which thanks for the battle of Leuthen popularity, undertook the task of dewere returned at the Tabernacle, made fending Western Germany against the following exquisitely ludicrous en France, and asked Frederic only for try in a diary, part of which has come the loan of a general. The general down to us : “ The Lord stirred up the selected was Prince Ferdinand of . King of Prussia and his soldiers to Brunswick, who had attained high dispray. They kept three fast days, and tinction in the Prussian service. He spent about an hour praying and sing- was put at the head of an arıny, partly ing psalms before they engaged the English, partly Hanoverian, partly enemy. O! how good it is to pray composed of mercenaries hired from and fight !” Some young Englishmen the petty princes of the empire. He of rank proposed to visit Germany as soon vindicated the choice of the two volunteers, for the purpose of learning allied courts, and proved himself the the art of war under the greatest of second general of the age. commanders. This last proof of British Frederic passed the winter at Bresattachment and admiration, Frederic lau, in reading, writing, and preparing politely but firmly declined. His camp for the next campaign. The havoc was no place for amateur students of which the war had made among his
troops was rapidly repaired ; and in and Laudohn, the most inventive and the spring of 1758 he was again ready enterprising of her generals. These for the conflict. Prince Ferdinand two celebrated commanders agreed on kept the French in check. The King a scheme, in which the prudence of in the mean time, after attempting the one and the vigour of the other against the Austrians some operations seem to have been happily combined. which led to no very important result, At dead of night they surprised the marched to encounter the Russians, King in his camp at Hochkirchen. who, slaying, burning, and wasting His presence of mind saved his troops wherever they turned, had penetrated from destruction; but nothing could into the heart of his realm. He gave save them from defeat and severe loss. them battle at Zorndorf, near Frank- Marshal Keith was among the slain. fort on the Oder. The fight was long The first roar of the guns roused the and bloody. Quarter was neither given noble exile from his rest, and he was nor taken; for the Germans and Scy- instantly in the front of the battle. thians regarded each other with bitter He received a dangerous wound, but aversion, and the sight of the ravages refused to quit the field, and was in the committed by the half savage invaders act of rallying his broken troops, when had incensed the King and his army. an Austrian bullet terminated his cheThe Russians were overthrown with quered and eventful life. great slaughter ; and for a few months. The misfortune was serious. But of no further danger was to be apprehended all generals Frederic understood best from the east.
how to repair defeat, and Daun underA day of thanksgiving was pro- stood least how to improve victory. In claimed by the King, and was cele- a few days the Prussian army was as brated with pride and delight by his formidable as before the battle. The people. The rejoicings in England prospect was, however, gloomy. An were not less enthusiastic or less sin- Austrian army under General Harsch cere. This may be selected as the had invaded Silesia, and invested the point of time at which the military fortress of Neisse. Daun, after his glory of Frederic reached the zenith. success at Hochkirchen, had written to In the short space of three quarters of Harsch in very confident terms :-“Go a year he had won three great battles on with your operations against Neisse. over the armies of three mighty and Be quite at ease as to the King. I warlike monarchies, France, Austria, will give a good account of him.” In and Russia.
truth, the position of the Prussians was But it was decreed that the temper full of difficulties. Between them and of that strong mind should be tried by Silesia lay the victorious army of Daun. both extremes of fortune in rapid suc- It was not easy for them to reach Sicession. Close upon this series of lesia at all. If they did reach it, they triumphs came a series of disasters, left Saxony exposed to the Austrians. such as would have blighted the fame But the vigour and activity of Frederic and broken the heart of almost any surmounted every obstacle. He made other commander. Yet Frederic, in the a circuitous march of extraordinary midst of his calamities, was still an rapidity, passed Daun, hastened into object of admiration to his subjects, Silesia, raised the siege of Neisse, and his allies, and his enemies. Over- drove Harsch into Bohemia. Daun whelmed by adversity, sick of life, he availed himself of the King's absence still maintained the contest, greater in to attack Dresden. · The Prussians de. defeat, in flight, and in what seemed fended it desperately. The inhabitants hopeless ruin, than on the fields of his of that wealthy and polished capital proudest victories.
begged in vain for mercy from the garHaving vanquished the Russians, he rison within, and from the besiegers hastened into Saxony to oppose the without. The beautiful suburbs were troops of the Empress Queen, com-burned to the ground. It was clear manded by Daun, the most cautious, that the town, if won at all, would be won street by street by the bayonet. seul very wisely determined to encounAt this conjuncture came news, that ter Frederic at Frederic's own weapons, Frederic, having cleared Silesia of his and applied for assistance to Palissot, enemies, was returning by forced who had some skill as a versifier, and marches into Saxony. Daun retired some little talent for satire. Palissot from before Dresden, and fell back produced some very stinging lines on into the Austrian territories. The the moral and literary character of King, over heaps of ruins, made his Frederic, and these lines the Dake sent triumphant entry into the unhappy to Voltaire. This war of couplets, fol. metropolis, which had so cruelly ex- lowing close on the carnage of Zornpiated the weak and perfidious policy dorf and the conflagration of Dresden, of its sovereign. It was now the twen- illustrates well the strangely comtieth of November. The cold weather pounded character of the King of suspended military operations; and the Prussia. King again took up his winter quarters At this moment he was assailed by at Breslau.
a new enemy. Benedict the FourThe third of the seven terrible years teenth, the best and wisest of the two was over; and Frederic still stood his hundred and fifty successors of St. ground. He had been recently tried Peter, was no more. During the short by domestic as well as by military interval between his reign and that of disasters. On the fourteenth of Oc- his disciple Ganganelli, the chief seat tober, the day on which he was defeated in the Church of Rome was filled by at Hochkirchen, the day on the anni- Rezzonico, who took the name of versary of which, forty-eight years Clement the Thirteenth. This absurd later, a defeat far more tremendous priest determined to try what the laid the Prussian monarchy in the dust, weight of his authority could effect in died Wilhelmina, Margravine of Ba- favour of the orthodox Maria Theresa reuth. From the accounts which we against a heretic king. At the high have of her, by her own hand, and by mass on Christmas-day, a sword with the hands of the most discerning of a rich belt and scabbard, a hat of her contemporaries, we should pro- crimson velvet lined with ermine, and nounce her to have been coarse, indeli- a dove of pearls, the mystic symbol of cate, and a good hater, but not desti- the Divine Comforter, were solemnly tute of kind and generous feelings. blessed by the supreme pontiff, and Her mind, naturally strong and ob- were sent with great ceremony to Marservant, had been highly cultivated , shal Daun, the conqueror of Kolin and and she was, and deserved to be, Fre- Hochkirchen. This mark of favour deric's favourite sister. He felt the had more than once been bestowed by loss as much as it was in his iron the Popes on the great champions of nature to feel the loss of any thing but the faith. Similar honours had been a province or a battle.
paid, more than six centuries earlier, At Breslau, during the winter, he by Urban the Second to Godfrey of was indefatigable in his poetical la- Bouillon. Similar honours had been bours. The most spirited lines, per- conferred on Alba for destroying the haps, that he ever wrote, are to be liberties of the Low Countries, and on found in a bitter lampoon on Lewis John Sobiesky after the deliverance of and Madame de Pompadour, which Vienna. But the presents which were he composed at this time, and sent to received with profound reverence by Voltaire. The verses were, indeed, so the Baron of the Holy Sepulchre in good, that Voltaire was afraid that he the eleventh century, and which had might himself be suspected of having not wholly lost their value even in the written them, or at least of having cor- seventeenth century, appeared inexrected them; and partly from fright, pressibly ridiculous to a generation partly, we fear, from love of mischief, which read Montesquieu and Voltaire. sent them to the Duke of Choiseul, Frederic wrote sarcastic verses on the then prime minister of France. Choi-l gifts, the giver, and the receiver. But the public wanted no prompter ; and despatch very different from the first: an universal roar of laughter from “Let the royal family leave Berlin. Petersburg to Lisbon reminded the Send the archives to Potsdam. The Vatican that the age of crusades was town may make terms with the enemy.” over.
The defeat was, in truth, overwhelmThe fourth campaign, the most dis-ing. Of fifty thousand men who had astrous of all the campaigns of this that morning marched under the black fearful war, had now opened. The eagles, not three thousand remained Austrians filled Saxony and menaced together. The King bethought him Berlin. The Russians defeated the again of his corrosive sublimate, and King's generals on the Oder, threat- wrote to bid adieu to his friends, and ened Silesia, effected a junction with to give directions as to the measures Laudohn, and intrenched themselves to be taken in the event of his death:strongly at Kunersdorf. Frederic has-“ I have no resource left”-such is the tened to attack them. A great battle language of one of his letters—“ all is was fought. During the earlier part lost. I will not survive the ruin of my of the day every thing yielded to the country. Farewell for ever.” impetuosity of the Prussians, and to But the mutual jealousies of the conthe skill of their chief. The lines were federates prevented them from followforced. Half the Russian guns were ing up their victory. They lost a few taken. The King sent off a courier to days in loitering and squabbling; and Berlin with two lines, announcing a a few days, improved by Frederic, were complete victory. But, in the mean worth more than the years of other time, the stubborn Russians, defeated men. On the morning after the battle, yet unbroken, had taken up their stand he had got together eighteen thousand in an almost impregnable position, on of his troops. Very soon his force an eminence where the Jews of Frank- amounted to thirty thousand. Guns fort were wont to bury their dead. were procured from the neighbouring Here the battle recommenced. The fortresses; and there was again an Prussian infantry, exhausted by six army. Berlin was for the present safe; hours of hard fighting under å sun but calamities came pouring on the which equalled the tropical heat, were King in uninterrupted succession. One yet brought up repeatedly to the attack, of his generals, with a large body of but in vain. The King led three troops, was taken at Maxen; another charges in person. Two horses were was defeated at Meissen ; and when at killed under him. The officers of his length the campaign of 1759 closed, in staff fell all round him. His coat was the midst of a rigorous winter, the pierced by several bullets. All was in situation of Prussia appeared desperate. vain. His infantry was driven back The only consoling circumstance was, with frightful slaughter. Terror began that, in the West, Ferdinand of Brunsto spread fast from man to man. At wick had been more fortunate than his that moment, the fiery cavalry of Lau- master; and by a series of exploits, of dohn, still fresh, rushed on the waver- which the battle of Minden was the ing ranks. Then followed an universal most glorious, had removed all apprerout. Frederic himself was on the hension of danger on the side of France. point of falling into the hands of the The fifth year was now about to conquerors, and was with difficulty commence. It seemed impossible that saved by a gallant officer, who, at the the Prussian territories, repeatedly dehead of a handful of Hussars, made vastated by hundreds of thousands of good a diversion of a few minutes. invaders, could longer support the conShattered in body, shattered in mind, test. But the King carried on war as the King reached that night a village no European power has ever carried on which the Cossacks had plundered ; war, except the Committee of Public and there, in a ruined and deserted Safety during the great agony of the farm-house, flung himself on a heap of French Revolution. He governed his straw. He had sent to Berlin a second kingdom as he would have governed a besieged town, not caring to what ex- great battle was gained by the enemy; tent property was destroyed, or the but, in spite of the desperate bounds of pursuits of civil life suspended, so that the hunted tiger, the circle of pursuers he did but make head against the was fast closing round him. Laudohn enemy. As long as there was a man had surprised the important fortress of left in Prussia, that man might carry a Schweidnitz. With that fortress, half musket; as long as there was a horse of Silesia, and the command of the left, that horse might draw artillery. most important defiles throngh the The coin was debased, the civil func- mountains, had been transferred to the tionaries were left unpaid ; in some Austrians. The Russians had overprovinces civil government altogether powered the King's generals in Pomeceased to exist. But there were still rania. The country was so completely rye-bread and potatoes; there were desolated that he began, by his own still lead and gunpowder; and, while confession, to look round him with the means of sustaining and destroying blank despair, unable to imagine where life remained, Frederic was determined recruits, horses, or provisions were to to fight it out to the very last.
be found. - The earlier part of the campaign of Just at this time two great events 1760 was unfavourable to him. Berlin brought on a complete change in the was again occupied by the enemy. relations of almost all the powers of Great contributions were levied on the Europe. One of those events was the inhabitants, and the royal palace was retirement of Mr. Pitt from office; the plundered. But at length, after two other was the death of the Empress years of calamity, victory came back to Elizabeth of Russia. his arms. At Lignitz he gained a great. The retirement of Pitt seemed to be battle over Laudohn; at Torgau, after an omen of utter ruin to the House of a day of horrible carnage, he triumphed Brandenburg. His proud and veheover Daun. The fifth year closed, and ment nature was incapable of any thing still the event was in suspense. In the that looked like either fear or treachery. countries where the war had raged, the He had often declared that, while he misery and exhaustion were more ap- was in power, England should never palling than ever ; but still there were make a peace of Utrecht, should never, left men and beasts, arms and food, for any selfish object, abandon an ally and still Frederic fought on. In truth even in the last extremity of distress. he had now been baited into savage- The Continental war was his own war. ness. His heart was ulcerated with He had been bold enough, he who in hatred. The implacable resentment former times had attacked, with irrewith which his enemies persecuted him, sistible powers of oratory, the Hanovethough originally provoked by his own rian policy of Carteret, and the German unprincipled ambition, excited in him subsidies of Newcastle, to declare that a thirst for vengeance which he did not Hanover ought to be as dear to us as even attempt to conceal. “It is hard,” Hampshire, and that he would conquer he says in one of his letters, " for man America in Germany. He had fallen ; to bear what I bear. I begin to feel and the power which he had exercised, that, as the Italians say, revenge is a not always with discretion, but always pleasure for the gods. My philosophy with vigour and genius, had devolved is worn out by suffering. I am no saint, on a favourite who was the representalike those of whom we read in the le tive of the Tory party, of the party gends; and I will own that I should which had thwarted William, which die content if only I could first inflict a had persecuted Marlborough, and portion of the misery which I endure." which had given up the Catalans to
Borne up by such feelings, he strug- the vengeance of Philip of Anjou. To gled with various success, but constant make peace with France, to shake off, glory, through the campaign of 1761. with all, or more than all, the speed On the whole, the result of this cam- compatible with decency, every Contipaign was disastrous to Prussia. No nental connection, these were among