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performances was a refutation of the Principe prince could be about the efficacy of his army. of Machiavelli. Voltaire undertook to convey But this anxiety never degenerated into a mó it to the press. It was entitled the Anti-Machi- nomania, like that which led his father to day avel, and was an edifying homily against rapa- fancy-prices for giants. Frederic was as thrifty city, perfidy, arbitrary government, unjust war about money as any prince or any private man -in short, against almost every thing for which ought to be. But he did not conceive, like his its author is now remembered among men. father, that it was worth while to eat unwhole

The old king uttered now and then a fero- some cabbages for the sake of saving four or cious growl at the diversions of Rheinsberg. five rix-dollars in the year. Frederic was, we But his health was broken, his end was ap- fear, as malevolent as his father; but Fredeproaching, and his vigour was impaired. He ric's wit enabled him often to show his malehad only one pleasure left—that of seeing tall volence in ways more decent than those to soldiers. He could always be propitiated by a which his father resorted, and to inflict misery present of a grenadier of six feet eight or six and degradation by a taunt instead of a blow. feet nine; and such presents were from time Frederic, it is true, by no means relinquished to time judiciously offered by his son.

his hereditary privilege of kicking and cudgelEarly in the year 1740, Frederic William ling. His practice, however, as to that matter, met death with a firmness and dignity worthy differed in some important respects from his of a better and wiser man; and Frederic, who father's. To Frederic William, the mere cir. had just completed his twenty-eighth year, be- cumstance that any persons whatever, men, came King of Prussia. His character was women, or children, Prussians or foreigners, little understood. That he had good abilities, were within reach of his toes and of his cane, indeed, no person who had talked with him or appeared to be a sufficient reason for proceede corresponded with him could doubt. But the ing to belabour them. Frederic required pro easy Epicurean life which he had led, his love vocation as well as vicinity; nor was he ever of good cookery and good wine, of music, of known to inflict this paternal species of correcconversation, of light literature, led many to tion on any but his born subjects; though an regard him as a sensual and intellectual volup- one occasion M. Thiébault had reason, during Luary. His habit of canting about moderation, a few seconds, to anticipate the high honour peace, liberty, and the happiness which a good of being an exception to this general rule. mind derives from the happiness of others, had

The character of Frederic was still very iminposed on some who should have known perfectly understood either by his subjects or belter. Those who thought best of him, ex. by his neighbours, when events occurred which pected a Telemachus after Fénélon's pattern. exhibited it in a strong light. A few months Others predicted the approach of a Medicean after his accession died Charles VI., Emperor age-an age propitious to learning and art, and of Germany, the last descendant, in the male not uppropitious to pleasure. Nobody had the line, of the house of Austria. least suspicion that a tyrant of extraordinary Charles left no son, and had, long before his military and political talents, of industry more death, relinquished all hopes of male issue. extraordinary still, without fear, without faith, During the latter part of his life, his principal and without mercy, had ascended the throne. object had been to secure to his descendants in

The disappointment of Falstaff at his old the female line the many crowns of the house boon companion's coronation, was not more of Hapsburg. With this view, he had promul. biiter than that which awaited some of the gated a new law of succession, widely celeinmates of Rheinsberg. They had long looked brated throughout Europe under the name of forward to the accession of their patron, as to the “Pragmatic Sanction.” By virtue of this the day from which their own prosperity and decree, his daughter, the Archduchess Maria greatness was to date. They had at last reach-Theresa, wife of Francis of Lorraine, succeed. ed the promised land, the land which they had ed to the dominions of her ancestors. figured to themselves as flowing with milk and No sovereign has ever taken possession of honey, and they found it a desert. “No more a throne by a clearer title. All the politics of of these fooleries,” was the short, sharp admo- the Austrian cabinet had, during twenty years, nition given by Frederic to one of them. It been directed to one single end--the settlement soon became plain that, in the most important of the succession. From every person whose points, the new sovereign bore a strong family rights could be considered as injuriously af. likeness to his predecessor. There was a wide fected, renunciations in the most solemn form difference between the father and the son as had been obtained. The new law had been respected extent and vigour of intellect, specu- ratified by the Estates of all the kingdoms and lative opinions, amusements, studies, outward principalities which made up the great Ausdemeanour. But the groundwork of the cha- trian monarchy. England, France, Spain, Rusracter was the same in both. To both were sia, Poland, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, the common the love of order, the love of business, Germanic body, had bound themselves by treaty The military taste, the parsimony, the imperious to maintain the “Pragmatic Sanction.” Tha: spirit, the temper irritable even to ferocity, the instrument was placed under the protection of pleasure in the pain and humiliation of others. the public faith of the whole civilized world. But these propensities had in Frederic William Even if no positive stipulations on this subpartaken of the general unsoundness of his ject had existed, the arrangement was one inind, and wore a very different aspect when which no good man would have been willing found in company with the strong and culti- to disturb. It was a peaceable arrangeineni. vated understanding of his successor. Thus, It was an arrangement acceptable to the great for example, Frederic was as anxious as any population whose happiness was chiefly con

cerned. It was an arrangement which made | rantied the integrity of the Austrian res. Is no change in the distribution of power among it not perfectly clear that, if antiquated claims the states of Christendom. It was an arrange are to be set up against recent treaties and ment which could be set aside only by means long possession, the world can never be ai of a general war; and, if it were set aside, the peace for a day? The laws of all nations effect would be, that the equilibrium of Europe have wisely established a time of limitation, would be deranged, that the loyal and patriotic after which titles, however illegitimate in their feelings of millions would be cruelly outraged, origin, cannot be questioned. It is felt by and that great provinces, which had been everybody that lo eject a person from his united for centuries, would be torn from each estate on the ground of some injustice comother by main force.

mitted in the time of the Tudors, would proThe sovereigns of Europe were, therefore, duce all the evils which result from arbitrary bound by every obligation which those who confiscation, and would make all property in. are intrusted with power over their fellow- secure. It concerns the commonwealth-so creatures ought to hold most sacred, to respect runs the legal maxim--that there be an end and defend the rights of the Archduchess. Her of litigation. And surely this maxim is at situation and her personal qualities were such least equally applicable to the great commonas might be expected to move the mind of any wealth of states, for in that commonwealth litigenerous man to pity, admiration, and chival- gation means the devastation of provinces, the rous tenderness. She was in her twenty-fourth suspension of trade and industry, sieges like year. Her form was majestic, her features those of Badajoz and St. Sebastian, pitched beautiful, her countenance sweet and ani- fields like those of Eylau and Borodino. We mated, her voice musical, her deportment gra- hold that the transfer of Norway from Denmark cious and dignified. In all domestic relations to Sweden was an unjustifiable proceeding; but she was without reproach. She was married would the king of Denmark be therefore justi. to a husband whom she loved, and was on the fied in landing, without any new provocation, point of giving birth to a child when death de- in Norway, and commencing military operaprived her of her father. The loss of a parent tions there? The King of Holland thinks, no and the new cares of the empire were too doubt, that he was unjustly deprived of the much for her in the delicate state of her health. Belgian provinces. Grant that it were so. Her spirits were depressed, and her cheek lost would he, therefore, be justified in marching its bloom.

with an army on Brussels? The case against Yet it seemed that she had little cause for Frederic was still stronger, inasmuch as the anxiety. It seemed that justice, humanity, and injustice of which he complained had been the faith of treaties would have their due committed more than a century before. Nor weight, and that the settlement so solemnly must it be forgotten that he owed !he highest guarantied would be quietly carried into effect. personal obligations to the house of Austria. England, Russia, Poland, and Holland declared it may be doubted whether his life had not in form their intention to adhere to their en- been preserved by the intercession of the prince gagements. The French ministers made a whose daughter he was about to plunder. verbal declaration to the same effect. But To do the king justice, he pretended to no from no quarter did the young Queen of Hun- more virtue than he had. In manifestoes he gary receive stronger assurances of friendship might, for form's sake, insert some idle stories and support than from the King of Prussia. about his antiquated claim on Silesia; but in

Yet the King of Prussia, the “Anti-Machia his conversations and Memoirs he took a very vel,” had already fully determined to commit different tone. To quote his own words,-"Am the great crime of violating his plighted faith, bition, interest, the desire of making people talk of robbing the ally whom he was bound to de- about me, carried the day, and I decided for fend, and of plunging all Europe into a long, war. bloody, and desolating war, and all this for no Having resolved on his course, he acted with end whatever except that he might extend his ability and vigour. It was impossible wholly dominions and see his name in the gazettes. to conceal his preparations, for throughout the He determined to assemble a great army with Prussian territories regiments, guns, and bag. speed and secrecy to invade Silesia before gage were in motion, The Austrian envoy Maria Theresa should be apprized of his de- at Berlin apprized his court of these facts, and oign, and to add that rich province to his king- expressed a suspicion of Frederic's designs; dom.

but the ministers of Maria Theresa refused to We will not condescend to refute at length give credit to so Wack an imputation on a the pleas which the compiler of the Memoirs young prince who was known chietly by his hefore us has copied from Doctor Preuss. high professions of integrity and philanthropy, They amount to this—that the house of Bran- “We will not,”—they wrote“we cannot be.

denburg had some ancient pretensions to Sile- lieve it.” sia, and had in the previous century been com- In the mean time the Prussian forces had pelled, by hard usage on the part of the court been assembled. Without any declaration of of Vienna, to waive those pretensions. It is war, without any demand for reparation, in thu certain that, whoever might originally have very act of pouring forth compliments and as, been in the right, Prussia had submitted. surances of good-will, Frederic commenced Prince after prince the house of Branden- hostilities. Many thousands of his troops were burg had acquiesced in the existing arrange- actually in Silesia before the Queen of Hun. ment. Nay, the court of Berlin had recently gary knew that he had set up any claim 1. been allied with that of Vienna, and had gua any part of her territories. At length he sent

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her a message which could be regarded only | den. The evils produced by this wickedness as an insult. If she would but let him have were felt in lands where the name of Prussia Silesia, he would, he said, stand by her against was unknown; and, in order that he might rob any power which should try to deprive her of a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, her other dominions: as if he was not already black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, bound to stand by her, or as if his new promise and red men scalped each other by the great could be of more value than the old one! lakes of North America.

It was the depth of winter. The cold was Silesia had been occupied without a battle; severe, and the roads deep in mire. But the but the Austrian troops were advancing to the Prussians passed on. Resistance was impos- relief of the fortresses which still held out. In sible. The Austrian army was then neither the spring Frederic rejoined his army. He numerous nor efficient. The small portion of had seen little of war, and had never comthat army which lay in Silesia was unprepared manded any great body of men in the field. It for hostilities. Glogau was blockaded; Bres- is not, therefore, strange that his first military lau opened its gates; Ohlau was evacuated. operations showed little of that skill which, at A few scattered garrisons still held out; but a later period, was the admiration of Europe. the whole open country was subjugated: no What connoisseurs say of some pictures paini. enemy ventured to encounter the king in the ed by Raphael in his youth, may be said of this field; and, before the end of January, 1741, he campaign. It was in Frederic's early bad returned to receive the congratulations of his manner. Fortunately for him, the generals to subjects at Berlin.

whom he was opposed were men small caHad the Silesian question been merely a pacity. The discipline of his own troops, par. question between Frederic and Maria Theresa ticularly of the infantry, was unequalled in i: would be impossible to acquit the Prussian that age; and some able and experienced offiking of gross perfidy. But when we consider cers were at hand to assist him with their adthe effects which his policy produced, and vice. Of these, the most distinguished was could not fail to produce, on the whole com- Field-Marshal Schwerin-a brave adventurer munity of civilized nations, we are compelled of Pomeranian extraction, who had served half to pronounce a condemnation still more se- the governments in Europe, had borne the

Till he began the war it seemed pos- commissions of the States-General of Holland sible, even probable, that the peace of the world and of the Duke of Mecklenburg, and fought would be preserved. The plunder of the great under Marlborough at Blenheim, and had been Austrian heritage was indeed a strong tempta- with Charles the Twelfth at Bender. tion: and in more than one cabinet ambitious Frederic's first battle was fought at Molvitz, schemes were already meditated. But the trea- and never did the career of a great commander ties by which the “ Pragmatic Sauction” had open in a more inauspicious manner. His been guarantied were express and recent. To army was victorious. Not only, however, did throw all Europe into confusion for a purpose he not establish his title to the character of an clearly unjust was no light matter. England able general, but he was so unfortunate as te was true to her engagements. The voice of make it doubtful whether he possessed the Fleury had always been for peace. He had a vulgar courage of a soldier. The cavalry conscience. He was now in extreme old age, which he commanded in person, was put is and was unwilling, after a life which, when his flight. Unaccustomed to the tumult and car situation was considered, must be pronounced nage of a field of battle, he lost his self-posses singularly pure, to carry the fresh stain of a sion, and listened too readily to those who great crime before the tribunal of his God. urged him to save himself. His English gray Even the vain and unprincipled Belle-Isle, carried him many miles from thd field, while whose whole life was one wild daydream of Schwerin, though wounded in two places, man conquest and spoliation, felt that France, bound fully upheld the day. The skill of the old Field. as she was by solemn stipulations, could not Marshal and the steadiness of the Prussian ba. without disgrace make a direct attack on the talions prevailed; and the Austrian army was Austrian dominions. Charles, Elector of Ba- driven from the field with the loss of eighi varia, pretended that he had a right to a large thousand men. part of the inheritance which the Pragmatic The news was carried late at night to a mili Sanction" gave to the Queen of Hungary, but in which the king had taken shelter. It gave he was not sufficiently powerful to move with him a bitter pang. He was successful; but he out support. It might, therefore, not unreason- owed his success to dispositions which others ably be expected that, after a short period of had made, and to the valour of men who had restlessness, all the potentates of Christendom fought while he was flying. So unpromising would acquiesce in the arrangements made by was the first appearance of the greatest warrior the late emperor. But the selfish rapacity of of that age! the King of Prussia gave the signal to his The battle of Molwilz was the signa, for a neighbours. His example quieted their sense general explosion throughout Europe. Bavaria of sharue. His success led them to underrate took up arms. France, not yet declaring her the difficulty of dismembering the Austrian mo- self a principal in the war, look part in it as narchy. The whole world sprang to arms. On an ally of Bavaria. The two great statesmen the head of Frederic is all the blood which was to whom mankind had owed many years of sned in a war which raged during many years tranquillity, disappeared about this time from and in every quarter of the globe-the blood of the scene; but not till they had both been guilty ihe column of Fontenoy, the blood of the brave of the weakness of sacrificing their sense oi mountaineers who were slaughtered at Cullo- l justice and their love of peace in the vain hope



of preserving their power. Fleury, sinking France to supreme power on the contineni, ar

, was . His 2 the impetuosity of Belle-ísle. Walpole retired first object was, to rob the Queen of Hüngary. ( from the service of his ungrateful country to His second was, that, if possible, nobody should

his woods and paintings at Houghton; and his rob her but himself. He had entered into en. power devolved on the daring and eccentric gagements with the powers leagued against Carteret. As were the ministers, so were the Austria ; but these engagements were in his nations. Thirty years during which Europe estimation of no more force than the guarantee had, with few interruptions, enjoyed repose, formerly given to the “Pragmatic Sanction." had prepared the public mind for great mili- His game was now to secure his share of the tary efforts. A new generation had grown up, plunder by betraying his accomplices. Maria which could not remember the siege of Turin Theresa was little inclined to listen to any such or the slaughter of Malplaquet; which knew compromise; but the English government rewar by nothing but its trophies; and which, presented to her so strongly the necessity of while it looked with pride on the tapestries at buying off so formidable an enemy as Frederic, Blenheim, or the statue in the “Place of Vic. that she agreed to negotiate. The negotiation tories,” little thought by what privations, by would not, however, have ended in a treaty, what waste of private fortunes, by how many had not the arms of Frederic been crowned bitter tears, conquests must be purchased. with a second victory. Prince Charles of Lor.

For a time fortune seemed adverse to the raine, brother-in-law to Maria Theresa, a bold Queen of Hungary. Frederic invaded Moravia. and active, though unfortunate general, gave The French and Bavarians penetrated into battle to the Prussians at Chotusitz, and was Bohemia, and were there joined by the Saxons. defeated. The king was still only a learner of Prague was taken. The Elector of Bavaria the military art. He acknowledged, at a later was raised by the suffrages of his colleagues period, that his success on this occasion was to the Imperial throne-a throne which the to be attributed, not at all to his own generalpractice of centuries had almost entitled the ship, but solely to the valour and steadiness of house of Austria to regard as a hereditary his trcops. He completely effaced, however, possession.

by his courage and energy, the stain which Yet was the spirit of the haughty daughter Molwitz had left on his reputation. of the Cæsars unbroken. Hungary was still A peace, concluded under the English media hers by an unquestionable title; and although tion, was the fruit of this battle. Maria Theresa her ancestors had found Hungary the most ceded Silesia ; Frederic abandoned his allies : mutinous of all their kingdoms, she resolved Saxony followed his example; and the queen to trust herself to the fidelity of a people, rude was left at liberty to turn her whole force indeed, turbulent, and impatient of oppression, against France and Bavaria. She was every but brave, generous, and simple-hearted. In where triumphant. The French were com the midst of distress and peril she had given pelled to evacuate Bohemia, and with difficulty birth to a son, afterwards the Emperor Joseph eflected their escape. The whole line of their the Second. Scarcely had she risen from her retreat might be tracked by the corpses of couch, when she hastened to Presburg. There, thousands who died of cold, fatigue and hunger. in the sight of an innumerable multitude, she Many of those who reached their country car. was crowned with the crown and robed with ried with them seeds of death. Bavaria was the robe of St. Stephen. No spectator could overrun by bands of ferocious warriors from refrain his tears when the beautiful young that bloody" debatable land,” which lies on the mother, still weak from child-bearing, rode, frontier between Christendom and Islam. The after the fashion of her fathers, up the Mount terrible names of the Pandoor, the Croat, and of Defiance, unsheathed the ancient sword of the Hussar, then first became familiar to weststate, shook it towards north and south, eastern Europe. The unfortunate Charles of Ba. and west, and, with a glow on her pale face, varia, vanquished by Austria, betrayed by challenged the four corners of the world to dis- Prussia, driven from his hereditary staics, and pute her rights and those of her boy. At the neglected by his allies, was hurried by shame first sitting of the Diet she appeared clad in and remorse to an untimely end. An English deep mourning for her father, and in pathetic army appeared in the heart of Germany, and and dignified words implored her people to defeated the French at Dettingen. The Aus. support her just cause. Magnates and deputies trian captains already began to talk of com sprang up, hali drew their sabres, and with pleting the work of Marlborough and Eugene, eager voices vowed to stand by her with their and of compelling France to relinquish Alsace lives and fortunes. Till then, her firmness had and the Three Bishoprics. never once forsaken her before the public eye, The Court of Versailles, in this peril, looked but at that shoutshe sank down upon her throne, to Frederic for help. He had been guilty of and wept aloud. Still more touching was the two great treasons, perhaps he might be in. sight when, a few days later, she came before duced 10 commit a third." The Dutchess of the Estates of her realm, and held up before Chateauroux then held the chief influence over them the liitle Archduke in her arms. Then the feeble Louis. She determined to send an it was that the enthusiasm of Hungary broke agent to Berlin, and Voltaire was selected for forth into that war-cry which soon resounded the mission. He eagerly undertook the task, throughout Europe, “Let us die for our King, for, while his literary fame filled all Europe, he Maria Theresa !'

was troubled with a childish craving for politi. In the mean time, Frederic was meditating cal distinction. He was vain, and not withou: a change of policy. He had no wish to raise reason, of his address, and of his insinuating


eloquence; and he fiattered himself that he pos-, and in Flanders; and even England, after man, sessed boundless influence over the King of years of profound internal quiet, saw, for the Prussia. The truth was, that he knew, as yet, last time, hostile armies set in battle array only one corner of Frederic's character. He against each other. This year is memorable was well acquainted with all the petty vanities in the life of Frederic, as the date at which and affectations of the poetaster; but was not his noviciate in the art of war may be said to aware that these foibles were united with all have terminated. There have been great capthe talents and vices which lead to success in tains whose precocious and self-taught military active life; and that the unlucky versifier who skill resembled intuition. Condé, Clive, and bored him with reams of middling Alexan- Napoleon are examples. But Frederic was drians, was the most vigilant, suspicious, and not one of these brilliant portents. His profisevere of politicians.

ciency in military science was simply the proVoltaire was received with every mark of ficiency which a man of vigorous faculties respect and friendship, was lodged in the makes in any science to which he applies his palace, and had a seat daily at the royal table. mind with earnestness and industry. It was The negotiation was of an extraordinary de- at Hohenfreidberg that he first proved how scription. Nothing can be conceived more much he had profited by his errors, and by their whimsical than the conferences which took consequences. His victory on that day was place between the first literary man and the chiefly due to his skilful dispositions, and confirst practical man of the age, whom a strange vinced Europe that the prince who, a few years weakness had induced to exchange their parts. before, had stood aghast in the rout of Molwitz, The great poet would talk of nothing but trea- had attained in the military art a mastery ties and guarantees, and the great king of equalled by none of his contemporaries, or nothing but metaphors and rhymes. On one equalled by Saxe alone. The victory of Hooccasion Voltaire put into his Majesty's hand henfreidberg was speedily followed by that of a paper on the state of Europe, and received it Sorr.

+ back with verses scrawled on the margin. In In the mean time, the arms of France had secret they both laughed at each other. Vol- been victorious in the Low Countries. Fretaire did not spare the king's poems; and the deric had no longer reason to fear that Maria king has left on record his opinion of Voltaire's Theresa would be able to give law to Europe, diplomacy. “He had no credentials,” says and he began to meditate a fourth breach of Frederic," and the whole mission was a joke, his engagements.

The court of Versailles was a mere farce."

alarmed and mortified. A letter of earnest But what the influence of Voltaire could not expostulation, in the handwriting of Louis, effect, the rapid progress of the Austrian arms was sent to Berlin; but in vain. In the aueffected. If it should be in the power of Maria tumn of 1745, Frederic made peace with Eng. Theresa and George the Second to dictate land, and, before the close of the year, with terms of peace to France, what chance was Austria also. The pretensions of Charles of there that Prussia would long retain Silesia ? Bavaria could present no obstacle to an acFrederic's conscience told him that he had commodation. That unhappy prince was no acted perfidiously and inhumanly towards the more; and Francis of Lorraine, the husband Queen of Hungary. That her resentment was of Maria Theresa, was raised, with the general strong she had given ample proof; and of consent of the Germanic body, to the Imperial her respect for treaties he judged by his throne.

Guarantees, he said, were mere filigree, Prussia was again at peace; but the Eu. pretty to look at, but too brittle to bear the ropean war lasted till, in the year 1748, it was slightest pressure. He thought it his safest terminated by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. course to ally himself closely to France, and of all the powers that had taken part in it, the again to attack the Empress Queen. Accord-only gainer was Frederic. Not only had he ingly, in the autumn of 1744, without notice, added to his patrimony the fine province of without any decent pretext, he recommenced Silesia; he had, by his unprincipled dexterity, hostilities, marched through the electorate of succeeded so well in alternately depressing the Saxony without troubling himself about the scale of Austria and that of France, that he permission of the Elector, invaded Bohemia, was generally regarded as holding the balance took Prague, and even menaced Vienna. of Europe-a high dignity for one who ranked

It was now that, for the first time, he expe- lowest among kings, and whose great-grandrienced the inconstancy of fortune. An Austrian father had been no more than a margrave. By army under Charles of Lorraine threatened his the public, the King of Prussia was considered communications with Silesia. Saxony was all as a politician destitute alike of morality and in arms behind him. He found it necessary to decency, insatiably rapacious, and shamelesssave himself by a retreat. He afterwards ly false; nor was the public much in the wrong. owned that his failure was the natural effect of He was at the same time allowed to be a man his owr. blunders. No general, he said, had of parts,—a rising general, a shrewd negoever committed greater faults. It must be added, tiator and administrator. Those qualities that to the reverses of this campaign he always wherein he surpassed all mankind, were as ascribed his subsequent successes.

yet unknown to others or to himself; for they It was in the midst of difficulty and disgrace were qualities which shine out only on a dark that he caught the first clear glimpse of the ground. His career had hitherto, with little principles of the military art.

interruption, been prosperous; and it was only The memorable ycar of 1745 followed. The in adversity, in adversity which seemed withwar raged by sea and land, in Italy, in Germany, lout hope or resource, in adversity that would


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