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cerned. It was an arrangement which made | rantied the integrity of the Austrian es. 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 at 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 to 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 produce all the evils which result from arbitrary
The sovereigns of Europe were, therefore, bound by every obligation which those who confiscation, and would make all property inare 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 justito 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 prived her of her father. The loss of a parent and the new cares of the empire were too much for her in the delicate state of her health. Her spirits were depressed, and her cheek lost its bloom.
Yet it seemed that she had little cause for anxiety. It seemed that justice, humanity, and the faith of treaties would have their due weight, and that the settlement so solemnly guarantied would be quietly carried into effect. England, Russia, Poland, and Holland declared in form their intention to adhere to their engagements. The French ministers made a verbal declaration to the same effect. But from no quarter did the young Queen of Hungary receive stronger assurances of friendship and support than from the King of Prussia.
Yet the King of Prussia, the "Anti-Machia- | vel," had already fully determined to commit the great crime of violating his plighted faith, of robbing the ally whom he was bound to defend, and of plunging all Europe into a long, bloody, and desolating war, and all this for no end whatever except that he might extend his dominions and see his name in the gazettes. He determined to assemble a great army with speed and secrecy to invade Silesia before Maria Theresa should be apprized of his design, and to add that rich province to his kingdom.
Norway, and commencing military operations there? The King of Holland thinks, no doubt, that he was unjustly deprived of the Belgian provinces. Grant that it were so. Would he, therefore, be justified in marching with an army on Brussels? The case against Frederic was still stronger, inasmuch as the injustice of which he complained had been committed more than a century before. Nor must it be forgotten that he owed the highest personal obligations to the house of Austria. It may be doubted whether his life had not been preserved by the intercession of the prince whose daughter he was about to plunder.
To do the king justice, he pretended to no more virtue than he had. In manifestoes he might, for form's sake, insert some idle stories about his antiquated claim on Silesia; but in his conversations and Memoirs he took a very different tone. To quote his own words,-"Am bition, interest, the desire of making people talk about me, carried the day and I decided for war."
Having resolved on his course, he acted with ability and vigour. It was impossible wholly to conceal his preparations, for throughout the Prussian territories regiments, guns, and bag. gage were in motion, The Austrian envoy at Berlin apprized his court of these facts, and expressed a suspicion of Frederic's designs; but the ministers of Maria Theresa refused to give credit to so Wack an imputation on a young prince who was known chiefly by his high professions of integrity and philanthropy. "We will not,"-they wrote-"we cannot be lieve it."
We will not condescend to refute at length the pleas which the compiler of the Memoirs before us has copied from Doctor Preuss. They amount to this-that the house of Brandenburg had some ancient pretensions to Silesia, and had in the previous century been compelled, by hard usage on the part of the court of Vienna, to waive those pretensions. It is certain that, whoever might originally have been in the right, Prussia had submitted. Prince after prince of 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 to been allied with that of Vienna, and had gua- any part of her territories. At length he sent
In the mean time the Prussian forces had been assembled. Without any declaration of war, without any demand for reparation, in the very act of pouring forth compliments and assurances of good-will, Frederic commenced
her a message which could be regarded only as an insult. If she would but let him have Silesia, he would, he said, stand by her against any power which should try to deprive her of her other dominions: as if he was not already bound to stand by her, or as if his new promise could be of more value than the old one!
den. The evils produced by this wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown; and, in order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the great 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 paint 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 of small capacity. The discipline of his own troops, particularly of the infantry, was unequalled in that age; and some able and experienced offi cers were at hand to assist him with their ad vice. Of these, the most distinguished was Field-Marshal Schwerin-a brave adventurer of Pomeranian extraction, who had served half the governments in Europe, had borne the commissions of the States-General of Holland and of the Duke of Mecklenburg, and fought under Marlborough at Blenheim, and had been with Charles the Twelfth at Bender.
Had the Silesian question been merely a question between Frederic and Maria Theresa it would be impossible to acquit the Prussian | king of gross perfidy. But when we consider the effects which his policy produced, and could not fail to produce, on the whole community of civilized nations, we are compelled to pronounce a condemnation still more severe. Till he began the war it seemed possible, even probable, that the peace of the world would be preserved. The plunder of the great Austrian heritage was indeed a strong temptation: and in more than one cabinet ambitious schemes were already meditated. But the treaties by which the Pragmatic Sanction" had been guarantied were express and recent. To throw all Europe into confusion for a purpose clearly unjust was no light matter. England was true to her engagements. The voice of Fleury had always been for peace. He had a conscience. He was now in extreme old age, and was unwilling, after a life which, when his situation was considered, must be pronounced singularly pure, to carry the fresh stain of a great crime before the tribunal of his God. Even the vain and unprincipled Belle-Isle, whose whole life was one wild daydream of conquest and spoliation, felt that France, bound as she was by solemn stipulations, could not without disgrace make a direct attack on the Austrian dominions. Charles, Elector of Bavaria, pretended that he had a right to a large part of the inheritance which the "Pragmatic Sanction" gave to the Queen of Hungary, but he was not sufficiently powerful to move with out support. It might, therefore, not unreasonably be expected that, after a short period of restlessness, all the potentates of Christendom would acquiesce in the arrangements made by the late emperor. But the selfish rapacity of the King of Prussia gave the signal to his neighbours. His example quieted their sense of shame. His success led them to underrate the difficulty of dismembering the Austrian monarchy. The whole world sprang to arms. On the head of Frederic is all the blood which was sned in a war which raged during many years and in every quarter of the globe-the blood of the column of Fontenoy, the blood of the brave mountaineers who were slaughtered at Cullo
Frederic's first battle was fought at Molwitz, and never did the career of a great commander open in a more inauspicious manner. H army was victorious. Not only, however, did he not establish his title to the character of as able general, but he was so unfortunate as to make it doubtful whether he possessed the vulgar courage of a soldier. The cavalry which he commanded in person, was put i flight. Unaccustomed to the tumult and car nage of a field of battle, he lost his self-posses sion, and listened too readily to those who
rged him to save himself. His English gray carried him many miles from the field, whils Schwerin, though wounded in two places, man fully upheld the day. The skill of the old Field Marshal and the steadiness of the Prussian ba talions prevailed; and the Austrian army was driven from the field with the loss of eight thousand men.
The news was carried late at night to a mill in which the king had taken shelter. It gave him a bitter pang. He was successful; but he owed his success to dispositions which others had made, and to the valour of men who had fought while he was flying. So unpromising was the first appearance of the greatest warrior of that age!
The battle of Molwitz was the signa. for a general explosion throughout Europe. Bavaria took up arms. France, not yet declaring her self a principal in the war, took part in it as an ally of Bavaria. The two great statesmen to whom mankind had owed many years of tranquillity, disappeared about this time from the scene; but not till they had both been guilty of the weakness of sacrificing their sense of justice and their love of peace in the vain hope
Fleury, sinking | France to supreme power on the continent, at the expense of the house of Hapsburg. His first object was, to rob the Queen of Hungary. His second was, that, if possible, nobody should rob her but himself. He had entered into engagements with the powers leagued against Austria; but these engagements were in his estimation of no more force than the guarantee formerly given to the "Pragmatic Sauction." His game was now to secure his share of the plunder by betraying his accomplices. Maria Theresa was little inclined to listen to any such compromise; but the English government represented to her so strongly the necessity of buying off so formidable an enemy as Frederic, that she agreed to negotiate. The negotiation would not, however, have ended in a treaty, had not the arms of Frederic been crowned with a second victory. Prince Charles of Lorraine, brother-in-law to Maria Theresa, a bold and active, though unfortunate general, gave battle to the Prussians at Chotusitz, and was defeated. The king was still only a learner of the military art. He acknowledged, at a later period, that his success on this occasion was to be attributed, not at all to his own general ship, but solely to the valour and steadiness of his troops. He completely effaced, however, by his courage and energy, the stain which Molwitz had left on his reputation.
Yet was the spirit of the haughty daughter 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 kingdonas, 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 effected their escape. The whole line of theit 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 withried 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 terribie names of the Pandoor, the Croat, and of Defi.ince, 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 states, 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, half 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, but at that shout she sank down upon her throne, and wept aloud. Still more touching was the sight when, a few days later, she came before the Estates of her realin, and held up before them the little Archduke in her arms. Then it was that the enthusiasm of Hungary broke forth into that war-cry which soon resounded throughout Europe, "Let us die for our King, Maria Theresa!"
of preserving their power.
For a time fortune seemed adverse to the Queen of Hungary. Frederic invaded Moravia. The French and Bavarians penetrated into Bohemia, and were there joined by the Saxons. Prague was taken. The Elector of Bavaria was raised by the suffrages of his colleagues to the Imperial throne-a throne which the practice of centuries had almost entitled the house of Austria to regard as a hereditary possession.
In the mean time, Frederic was meditating change of policy. He had no wish to raise
The Court of Versailles, in this peril, looked to Frederic for help. He had been guilty of two great treasons, perhaps he might be n duced to commit a third. The Dutchess of Chateauroux then held the chief influence over the feeble Louis. She determined to send an agent to Berlin, and Voltaire was selected for the mission. He eagerly undertook the task; for, while his literary fame filled all Europe, he was troubled with a childish craving for politi cal distinction. He was vain, and not withou reason, of his address, and of his insinuating
eloquence; and he fiattered himself that he possessed boundless influence over the King of Prussia. The truth was, that he knew, as yet, caly one corner of Frederic's character. He was well acquainted with all the petty vanities and affectations of the poetaster; but was not aware that these foibles were united with all the talents and vices which lead to success in active life; and that the unlucky versifier who bored him with reams of middling Alexandrians, was the most vigilant, suspicious, and severe of politicians.
and in Flanders; and even England, after man, years of profound internal quiet, saw, for the last time, hostile armies set in battle array against each other. This year is memorable in the life of Frederic, as the date at which his noviciate in the art of war may be said to have terminated. There have been great cap tains whose precocious and self-taught military skill resembled intuition. Condé, Clive, and Napoleon are examples. But Frederic was not one of these brilliant portents. His profi ciency in military science was simply the proficiency which a man of vigorous faculues makes in any science to which he applies his mind with earnestness and industry. It was
scription. Nothing can be conceived more whimsical than the conferences which took place between the first literary man and the first practical man of the age, whom a strange weakness had induced to exchange their parts. The great poet would talk of nothing but treaties and guarantees, and the great king of nothing but metaphors and rhymes. On one occasion Voltaire put into his Majesty's hand a paper on the state of Europe, and received it back with verses scrawled on the margin, In secret they both laughed at each other. Voltaire did not spare the king's poems; and the king has left on record his opinion of Voltaire's diplomacy. "He had no credentials," says Frederic," and the whole mission was a joke, a mere farce."
Voltaire was received with every mark of respect and friendship, was lodged in the palace, and had a seat daily at the royal table. The negotiation was of an extraordinary de-at Hohenfreidberg that he first proved how much he had profited by his errors, and by their consequences. His victory on that day was chiefly due to his skilful dispositions, and con vinced Europe that the prince who, a few years before, had stood aghast in the rout of Molwitz, had attained in the military art a mastery equalled by none of his contemporaries, or equalled by Saxe alone. The victory of Hohenfreidberg was speedily followed by that of Sorr.
But what the influence of Voltaire could not effect, the rapid progress of the Austrian arms effected. If it should be in the power of Maria Theresa and George the Second to dictate terms of peace to France, what chance was there that Prussia would long retain Silesia? Frederic's conscience told him that he had acted perfidiously and inhumanly towards the Queen of Hungary. That her resentment was strong she had given ample proof; and of her respect for treaties he judged by his own. Guarantees, he said, were mere filigree, pretty to look at, but too brittle to bear the slightest pressure. He thought it his safest course to ally himself closely to France, and again to attack the Empress Queen. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1744, without notice, without any decent pretext, he recommenced hostilities, marched through the electorate of Saxony without troubling himself about the permission of the Elector, invaded Bohemia, took Prague, and even menaced Vienna.
It was now that, for the first time, he experienced the inconstancy of fortune. An Austrian army under Charles of Lorraine threatened his communications with Silesia. Saxony was all in arms behind him. He found it necessary to save himself by a retreat. He afterwards owned that his failure was the natural effect of his own blunders. No general, he said, had ever committed greater faults. It must be added, that to the reverses of this campaign he always ascribed his subsequent successes.
It was in the midst of difficulty and disgrace that he caught the first clear glimpse of the principles of the military art.
The memorable year of 1745 followed. The var raged by sea and land, in Italy, in Germany,
In the mean time, the arms of France had been victorious in the Low Countries. Fre deric had no longer reason to fear that Maria Theresa would be able to give law to Europe, and he began to meditate a fourth breach of his engagements. The court of Versailles was alarmed and mortified. A letter of earnest expostulation, in the handwriting of Louis, was sent to Berlin; but in vain. In the autumn of 1745, Frederic made peace with Eng land, and, before the close of the year, with Austria also. The pretensions of Charles of Bavaria could present no obstacle to an ac commodation. That unhappy prince was no more; and Francis of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa, was raised, with the general consent of the Germanic body, to the Imperial throne.
Prussia was again at peace; but the Eu ropean war lasted till, in the year 1748, it was terminated by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Of all the powers that had taken part in it, the only gainer was Frederic. Not only had he added to his patrimony the fine province of Silesia; he had, by his unprincipled dexterity, succeeded so well in alternately depressing the scale of Austria and that of France, that he was generally regarded as holding the balance of Europe-a high dignity for one who ranked lowest among kings, and whose great-grandfather had been no more than a margrave. By the public, the King of Prussia was considered as a politician destitute alike of morality and decency, insatiably rapacious, and shameless ly false; nor was the public much in the wrong He was at the same time allowed to be a man of parts,-a rising general, a shrewd nego tiator and administrator. Those qualities wherein he surpassed all mankind, were as yet unknown to others or to himself; for they were qualities which shine out only on a dark ground. His career had hitherto, with little interruption, been prosperous; and it was only in adversity, in adversity which seemed with out hope or resource, in adversity that would
have overwhelmed even men celebrated for strength of mind, that his real greatness could be shown.
some fraud might be practised on him. Then he read the letters, divided them into several packets, and signified his pleasure, generally He had from the commencement of his reign by a mark, often by two or three words, now applied himself to public business after a fashion and then by some cutting epigram. By eight unknown among kings. Louis XIV., indeed, he had generally finished this part of his task. had been his own prime minister, and had ex- The adjutant-general was then in attendance, ercised a general superintendence over all the and received instructions for the day as to all departments of the government; but this was the military arrangements of the kingdom. not sufficient for Frederic. He was not con- Then the king went to review his guards, not tent with being his own prime minister-he as kings ordinarily review their guards, but would be his own sole minister. Under him with the minute attention and severity of an there was no room, not merely for a Richelieu old drill-sergeant. In the mean time the four or a Mazarin, but for a Colbert, a Louvois, or cabinet secretaries had been employed in ana Torcy. A love of labour for its own sake, a swering the letters on which the king had that restless and insatiable longing to dictate, to morning signified his will. These unhappy intermeddle, to make his power felt, a profound men were forced to work all the year round scorn and distrust of his fellow-creatures, in-like negro slaves in the time of the sugar-crop. disposed him to ask counsel, to confide import- They never had a holiday. They never knew ant secrets, to delegate ample powers. The what it was to dine. It was necessary that, highest functionaries under his government before they stirred, they should finish the whole were mere clerks, and were not so much of their work. The king, always on his guard trusted by him as valuable clerks are often against treachery, took from the heap a handtrusted by the heads of departments. He was ful at random, and looked into them to see his own treasurer, his own commander-in- whether his instructions had been exactly chief, his own intendant of public works; his followed. This was no bad security against own minister for trade and justice, for home foul play on the part of the secretaries; for if affairs and foreign affairs; his own master of one of them were detected in a trick, he might the horse, steward and chamberlain. Matters think himself fortunate if he escaped with five of which no chief of an office in any other years imprisonment in a dungeon. Frederic government would ever hear, were, in this sin- then signed the replies, and all were sent off gular monarchy, decided by the king in person. the same evening. If a traveller wished for a good place to see a The general principles on which this strange review, he had to write to Frederic, and re- government was conducted, deserve attention. ceived next day, from a royal messenger, Fre- The policy of Frederic was essentially the same deric's answer signed by Frederic's own hand. as his father's; but Frederic, while he carried This was an extravagant, a morbid activity. that policy to lengths to which his father never The public business would assuredly have thought of carrying it, cleared it at the same been better done if each department had been time from the absurdities with which his father put under a man of talents and integrity, and had encumbered it. The king's first object if the king had contented himself with a gene- was to have a great, efficient, and well-trained ral control. In this manner the advantages army. He had a kingdom which in extent which belong to unity of design, and the ad- and population was hardly in the second rank vantages which belong to the division of labour, of European powers; and yet he aspired to a would have been to a great extent combined. place not inferior to that of the sovereigns of But such a system would not have suited the England, France, and Austria. For that end peculiar temper of Frederic. He could tole- it was necessary that Prussia should be all rate no will, no reason in the state, save his sting. Louis XV., with five times as many own. He wished for no abler assistance than subjects as Frederic, and more than five times that of penmen who had just understanding as large a revenue, had not a more formidable enough to translate, to transcribe, to make out army. The proportion which the soldiers in his scrawls, and to put his concise Yes and No Prussia bore to the people, seems hardly creinto an official form. Of the higher intellec-dible. Of the males in the vigour of life, a tual faculties, there is as much in a copying seventh part were probably under arms; and machine, or a lithographic press, as he required this great force had, by drilling, by reviewing, from a secretary of the cabinet. and by the unsparing use of cane and scourge, His own exertions were such as were hard-been taught to perform all evolutions with a ly to be expected from a human body, or a rapidity and a precision which would have human mind. At Potsdam, his ordinary resi- astonished Villars or Eugene. The elevated dence, he rose at three in summer and four in feelings which are necessary to the best kind winter. A page soon appeared, with a large of army were then wanting to the Prussian basketful of all the letters which had arrived service. In those ranks were not found the for the king by the last courier-despatches religious and political enthusiasm which infrom ambassadors, reports from officers of spired the pikemen of Cromwell-the patriotic revenue, plans of buildings, proposals for ardour, the thirst of glory, the devotion to a draining marshes, complaints from persons great leader, which inflamed the Old Guard of who thought themselves aggrieved, applica- Napoleon. But in all the mechanical par's tions from persons who wanted titles, military of the military cailing, the Prussians were as commissions, and civil situations. He ex- superior to the English and French troops of amined the seals with a keen eye; for he was that day, as the English and French troops to bever for a moment free from the suspicion that a rustic militia.