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Though the pay of the Prussian soldier was small, though every rixdollar of extraordinary charge was scrutinized by Frederic with a vigilance and suspicion such as Mr. Joseph Hume never brought to the examination of an army-estimate, the expense of such an establishment was, for the means of the country, enormous. In order that it might not be utterly ruinous, it was necessary that every other expense should be cut down to the lowest possible point. Accordingly, Frederic, though his dominions bordered on the sea, had no navy. He neither had nor wished to have colonies. His judges, his fiscal officers, were meanly paid. His ministers at foreign courts walked on foot, or drove shabby old carriages till the axletrees gave way. Even to his highest diplomatic agents, who resided at London and Paris, he allowed less than a thousand pounds sterling a year. The royal household was managed with a frugality unusual in the establishments of opulent subjects-unexampled in any other palace. The king loved good eating and drinking, and during great part of his life took pleasure in seeing his table surrounded by guests; yet the whole charge of his kitchen was brought within the sum of two thousand pounds sterling a year. He examined every extraordinary item with a care which might be thought to suit the mistress of a boarding-house better than a great prince. When more than four rixdollars were asked of him for a hundred oysters, he stormed as if he had heard that one of his generals had sold a fortress to the Empress Queen. Not a bottle of champagne was uncorked without his express order. The game of the royal parks and forests, a serious head of expenditure in most kingdoms, was to him a source of profit. The whole was farmed out; and though the farmers were almost ruined by their contract, the king would grant them no remission. His wardrobe consisted of one fine gala dress, which lasted him all his life; of two or three old coats fit for Monmouth street, of yellow waistcoats soiled with snuff, and of huge boots embrowned by time. One taste alone sometimes allured him beyond the limits of parsimony, nay, even beyond the limits of prudence-the taste for building. In all other things his economy was such as we might call by a harsher name, if we did not reflect that his funds were drawn from a heavily taxed people, and that it was impossibie for him, without excessive tyranny, to keep up at once a formidable army and a splendid court.

against himself. The placard had been posted up so high that it was not easy to read it Frederic ordered his attendants to take it down and put it lower. "My people and I," he said, "have come to an agreement which satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please." No person would have dared to publish in London satires on George II. approaching to the atrocity of those satires on Frederic which the book sellers at Berlin sold with impunity. One book seller sent to the palace a copy of the most stinging lampoon that perhaps was ever writ ten in the world, the "Memoirs of Voltaire,” published by Beaumarchais, and asked for his majesty's orders. “Do not advertise it I an offensive manner," said the king; "but sell it by ali means. I hope it will pay you well." Even among statesmen accustomed to the license of a free press such steadfastness of mind as this is not very common.

It is due also to the memory of Frederic to say, that he earnestly laboured to secure to his people the great blessing of cheap and speedy justice. He was one of the first rulers who abolished the cruel and absurd practice of tor ture. No sentence of death, pronounced by the ordinary tribunals, was executed without his sanction; and his sanction, except in cases of murder, was rarely given. Towards his troops he acted in a very different manner. Military offences were punished with such barbarous scourging, that to be shot was considered by the Prussian soldier as a secondary punishment. Indeed, the principle which pervaded Frederic's whole policy was this-that the more severely the army is governed, the safer it is to treat the rest of the community with lenity.

Religious persecution was unknown under his government-unless some foolish and un just restrictions which lay upon the Jews may be regarded as forming an exception. His policy with respect to the Catholics of Silesia presented an honourable contrast to the policy which, under very similar circumstances, Eng land long followed with respect to the Catholics of Ireland. Every form of religion and irreli gion found an asylum in his states. scoffer whom the Parliaments of France had sentenced to a cruel death, was consoled by a commission in the Prussian service. The Jesuit who could show his face nowhere elsewho in Britain was still subject to penal laws, who was proscribed by France, Spain, Portu gal, and Naples, who had been given up even by the Vatican-found safety and the means of subsistence in the Prussian dominions.


Considered as an administrator, Frederic had undoubtedly many titles to praise. Order was strictly maintained throughout his domi- Most of the vices of Frederic's administra nions. Property was secure. A great liberty tion resolve themselves into one vice-the of speaking and of writing was allowed. Con- spirit of meddling. The indefatigable activity fident in the irresistible strength derived from of his intellect, his dicta'orial temper, his mili a great army, the king iooked down on male- tary habits, all inclined him to this great fault contents and libellers with a wise disdain; and He drilled his people as he drilled his grena gave litte encouragement to spies and inform-diers. Capital and industry were diverted from ers. When he was told of the disaffection of their natural direction by a crowd of prepos one of his subjects, he merely asked, "How terous regulations. There was a monopoly of many thousand men can he bring into the coffee, a monopoly of tobacco, a monopoly of field?" He once saw a crowd staring at some- refined sugar. The public money, of which thing on a wall. He rede up, and found that the king was generally so sparing, was lavishly the object of curiosity was a scurrilous placard spent in ploughing bogs, in planting mulberr


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tree; amidst the sand, in bringing sheep from | government; and perhaps more light is thrown Spain to improve the Saxon wool, in bestowing on his character by what passed during his prizes for fine yarn, in building manufactories hours of relaxation than by his battles or his of porcelain, manufactories of carpets, manu- laws. factories of hardware, manufactories of lace. Neither the experience of other rulers, nor his own, could ever teach him that something more than an edict and a grant of public money is required to create a Lyons, a Brussels, or a Birmingham.

It was the just boast of Schiller, that in his country no Augustus, no Lorenzo, had watched over the infancy of art. The rich and energetic language of Luther, driven by the Latin from the schools of pedants, and by the French from the palaces of kings, had taken refuge among the people. Of the powers of that language Frederic had no notion. He generally spoke of it, and of those who used it, with the contempt of ignorance. His library consisted of French books; at his table nothing was heard but French conversation.

For his commercial policy, however, there 's some excuse. He had on his side illustrious examples and popular prejudice. Grievously as he erred, he erred in company with his age. In other departments his meddling was altogether without apology. He interfered with the course of justice as well as with the course of trade; and set up his own crude notions of equity against the law as expounded by the unanimous voice of the gravest magistrates. It never occurred to him that a body of men, whose lives were passed in adjudicating on questions of civil right, were more likely to form correct opinions on such questions than prince whose attention was divided between a thousand objects, and who had probably never read a law-book through. The resistance opposed to him by the tribunals inflamed him to fury. He reviled his Chancellor. He kicked the shins of his Judges. He did not, it is true, intend to act unjustly. He firmly believed that he was doing right, and defending the cause of the poor against the wealthy. Yet this well-meant meddling probably did far more | harm than all the explosions of his evil passions during the whole of his long reign. We could make shift to live under a debauchee or a tyrant; but to be ruled by a busy-body is more than human nature can bear.

money of the tourist was fixed by royal ordinances. A merchant might take with him two hundred and fifty rixdollars in gold, a noble was allowed to take four hundred; for it may be observed, in passing, that Frederic studiously kept up the old distinction between the nobies and the community. In speculation, he was a French philosopher; but in action, a German prince. He talked and wrote about the privileges of blood in the style of Sieyes; but in practice no chapter in the empire looked with a keener eye to genealogies and quarterings.

The same passion for directing and regulating appeared in every part of the king's policy. Every lad of a certain station in life was forced to go to certain schools within the Prussian dominions. If a young Prussian repaired, though but for a few weeks, to Leyden or Gottingen for the purpose of study, the offence was punished with civil disabilities, and sometimes with confiscation of property. Nobody was to travel without the royal permission.

Italy sent to the parties at Potsdam the ingenious and amiable Algarotti, and Bastiani, the most crafty, cautious, and servile of Abbés. But the greater part of the society which Fre

If the permission were granted, the pocket-deric had assembled round him, was drawn

Such was Frederic the Ruler. But there was another Frederic, the Frederic of Rheinsburg, the fiddler and flute-player, the poetaster and metaphysician. Amidst the cares of state the king had retained his passion for music, for reading, for writing, for literary society. To these amusements he devoted all the time be could snatch from the business of war and

VOL IV.-65

The associates of his hours of relaxation were, for the most part, foreigners. Britain furnished to the royal circle two distinguished men, born in the highest rank, and driven by civil dissensions from the land to which, under happier circumstances, their talents and vir tues might have been a source of strength and glory. George Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland, had taken arms for the house of Stuart in 1715, and his younger brother James, then only seventeen years old, had fought gallantly by his side. When all was lost they retired to the Continent, roved from country to country, served under many standards, and so bore themselves as to win the respect and good-will of many who had no love for the Jacobite cause. Their long wanderings terminated at Potsdam; nor had Frederic any associates who deserved or obtained so large a share of his esteem. They were not only accomplished men, but nobles and warriors, capable of serv ing him in war and diplomacy, as well as of amusing him at supper. Alone of all his companions they appear never to have had reason to complain of his demeanour towards them. Some of those who knew the palace best pronounced that the Lord Marischal was the only human being whom Frederic ever really loved.

from France. Maupertuis had acquired some celebrity by the journey which he made to Lapland, for the purpose of ascertaining, by actual measurement, the shape of our planet. He was placed in the chair of the Academy of Berlin, a humble imitation of the renowned academy of Paris. Baculard D'Arnaud, a young poet, who was thought to have given promise of great things, had been induced to quit his country, and to reside at the Prussian court. The Marquess D'Argens was among the king's favourite companions, on account, as it should seem, of the strong opposition be tween their characters. The parts of D'Argens were good, and his manners those of finished French gentleman; but his whole sout was dissolved in sloth, timidity, and self-indul gence. His was one of that abject class of minds which are superstitious without being religious. Hating Christianity with a rancour which made him incapable of rational inquiry

unable to see in the harmony and beauty of the universe the traces of divine power and wisdom, he was the slave of dreams and omens; -would not sit down to the table with thirteen in company; turned pale if the salt fell to wards him; begged his guests not to cross their knives and forks on their plates; and would not for the world commence a journey on Friday. His health was a subject of constant anxiety to him. Whenever his head ached, or his pulse beat quick, his dastardly fears and effeminate precautions were the jest of all Berlin. All this suited the king's purpose admirably. He wanted somebody by whom he might be amused, and whom he might despise. When he wished to pass half an hour in easy polished conversation, D'Argens was an excellent companion; when he wanted to vent his spleen and contempt, D'Argens was an excellent butt.

With these associates, and others of the same class, Frederic loved to spend the time which he could steal from public cares. He wished his supper-parties to be gay and easy; and invited his guests to lay aside all restraint, and to forget that he was at the head of a hundred and sixty thousand soldiers, and was absolute master of the life and liberty of all who sat at meat with him. There was, therefore, at these meetings the outward show of ease. The wit and learning of the company were ostentatiously displayed. The discussions on history and literature were often highly interesting. But the absurdity of all the religions known among men was the chief topic of conversation; and the audacity with which doctrines and names venerated throughout Christendom were treated on these occasions, startled even persons accustomed to the society of French and English free-thinkers. But real liberty, or real affection, was in this brilliant society not to be found. Absolute kings seldom have friends: and Frederic's faults were such as, even where perfect equality exists, make friendship exceedingly precarious. He had indeed many qualities, which, on a first acquaintance, were captivating. His conversation was lively; his manners to those whom he desired to please were even caressing. No man could flatter with more delicacy. No man succeeded more completely in inspiring those who approached him with vague Lopes of some great advantage from his kindness. But under this fair exterior he was a tyrant-suspicious, disdainful, and malevolent. He had one taste which may be pardoned in a boy, but which, when habitually and deliberately indulged in a man of mature age and strong understanding, is almost invariably the sign of a bad heart-a taste for severe practicai jokes. If a friend of the king was fond of dress, oil was flung over his richest suit. If he was fond of money, some prank was invented to make him disburse more than he could spare. If he was hypochondrical, he was made to believe he had the dropsy. If he particularly set his heart on visiting a place, a letter was forged to frighten him from going thither. These things, it may be said, are trifles. They are so; but they are indications, not to be mistaken, of a nature to which the sight of human suffering and human degradation is an agreeable excitement.

Frederic had a keen eye for the foibles of others, and loved to communicate his discoveries. He had some talent for sarcasm, and considerable skill in detecting the sore places where sarcasm would be most actually felt. His vanity, as well as his malignity, found gratification in the vexation and confusion of those who smarted under his caustic jests. Yet in truth his success on these occasions belonged quite as much to the king as to the wit. We read that Commodus descended, sword in hand, into the arena against a wretched gladiator, armed only with a foil of lead, and, after shedding the blood of the helpless victim, struck medals to commemorate the inglorious victory. The triumphs of Frederic in the war of repartee were much of the same kind. How to deal with him was the most puzzling of questions. To appear constrained in his presence was to disobey his commands, and to spoil his amusement. Yet if his asso ciates were enticed by his graciousness to indulge in the familiarity of a cordial intimacy, he was certain to make them repent of their presumption by some cruel humiliation. To resent his affronts was perilous; yet not to resent them was to deserve and to invite them. In his view, those who mutinied were insolent and ungrateful; those who submitted, were curs made to receive bones and kickings with the same fawning patience. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any thing short of the rage of hunger should have induced men to bear the misery of eing the associates of the Great King. It was no lucrative post. His majesty was as severe and economical in his friendships as in the other charges of his esta blishment, and as unlikely to give a rixdollar too much for his guests as for his dinners. The sum which he allowed to a poet or a phi losopher, was the very smallest sum for which such poet or philosopher could be induced to sell himself into slavery; and the bondsman might think himself fortunate, if what had been so grudgingly given was not, after years of suffering, rudely and arbitrarily withdrawn.

Potsdam was, in truth, what it was called by one of its most illustrious inmates, the Palace of Alcina. At the first glance it seemed to be a delightful spot, where every intellectual and physical enjoyment awaited the happy ad venturer. Every new comer was received with eager hospitality, intoxicated with flattery, encouraged to expect prosperity and greatness. It was in vain that a long succession of fa vourites who had entered that abode with de light and hope, and who, after a short term of delusive happiness, had been doomed to ex piate their folly by years of wretchedness and degradation, raised their voices to warn the aspirant who approached the charmed thresh old. Some had wisdom enough to discover the truth early, and spirit enough to fly without looking back; others lingered on to a cheerless and unhonoured old age. We have no hesi tation in saying that the poorest author of that time in London, sleeping on a bulk, dining in a cellar, with a cravat of paper, and a skewer for a shirt-pin, was a happier man than any of the literary inmates of Frederic's court. But of all who entered the enchanted garden

in the inebriation of delight and quitted it in agonies of rage and shame, the most remarkable was Voltaire. Many circumstances had made him desirous of finding a home at a distance from his country. His fame had raised him up enemies. His sensibility gave them a formidable advantage over him. They were, indeed, contemptible assailants. Of all that they wrote against him, nothing has survived except what he has himself preserved. But the constitution of his mind resembled the constitution of those bodies in which the slightest scratch of a bramble, or the bite of a gnat, never fails to fester. Though his reputation was rather raised than lowered by the abuse of such writers as Fréron and Desfontainesthough the vengeance which he took on Fréron and Desfontaines was such, that scourging, branding, pillorying, would have been a trifle to it-there is reason to believe that they gave him far more pain than he ever gave them. Though he enjoyed during his own lifetime the reputation of a classic-though he was extolled by his contemporaries above all poets, philosophers, and historians-though his works were read with as much delight and admiration at Moscow and Westminster, at Florence and Stockholm, as at Paris itself, he was yet tormented by that restless jealousy which should seem to belong only to minds burning with the desire of fame, and yet conscious of impotence. To men of letters who could by no possibility be his rivals, he was, if they behaved well to him, not merely just, not merely courteous, but often a hearty friend and a munificent benefactor. But to every writer who rose to a celebrity approaching his own, he became either a disguised or an avowed enemy. He slyly depreciated Montesquieu and Buffon. He publicly, and with violent outrage, made war on Jean Jacques. Nor had he the art of hiding his feelings under the semblance of good-humour or of contempt. With all his great talents, and all his long experience of the world, he had no more self-command than a petted child or an hysterical woman. Whenever he was mortified, he exhausted the whole rhetoric of anger and sorrow to express his mortification. His torrents of bitter words-his stamping and cursing-his grimaces and his tears of rage-were a rich feast to those abject natures, whose delight is in the agonies of powerful spirits and in the abasement of immortal names. These creatures had now found out a way of galling him to the very quick. In one walk, at least, it had been admitted by envy itself that he was without a living competitor. Since Racine had been laid among the great men whose dust made the holy precinct of Port-Royal holier, no tragic poet had appeared who could contest the palm with the author of Zaire, of Alzire, and of Merope. At length a rival was announced. Old Crébillon, who, many years before, had obtained some theatrical success, and who had long been forgotten, came forth frora his garret in one of the mean-d'Arnaud. His majesty even wrote some bad est lanes near the Rue St. Antoine, and was verses, of which the sense was, that Voltaire welcomed by the acclamations of envious men was a setting sun, and that Arnaud was rising of letters, and of a capricious populace. A Good-natured friends soon carried the lines to thing called Catiline, which he had written in Voltaire. He was in his bed. He jumped out his retirement, was acted with boundless ap-in his shirt, danced about the room with rage,

plause. Of this execrable piece it is sufficient to say, that the plot turns on a love affair, carried on in all the forms of Scudery, between Catiline, whose confidant is the Prætor Lentulus, and Tullia, the daughter of Cicero. The theatre resounded with acclamations. The king pensioned the successful poet; and the coffee-houses pronounced that Voltaire was a clever man, but that the real tragic inspiration, the celestial fire which glowed in Corneille and Racine was to be found in Crébillon alone.

The blow went to Voltaire's heart. Had his wisdom and fortitude been in proportion to the fertility of his intellect, and to the brilliancy of his wit, he would have seen that it was out of the power of all the puffers and detractors in Europe to put Catiline above Zaire; but he had none of the magnanimous patience with which Milton and Bentley left their claims to the unerring judgment of time. He eagerly engaged in an undignified competition with Crébillon, and produced a series of plays on the same subjects which his rival had treated. These pieces were coolly received. Angry with the court, angry with the capital, Voltaire began to find pleasure in the prospect of exile. His attachment for Madame de Châtelet long prevented him from executing his purpose Her death set him at liberty; and he determined to take refuge at Berlin.

To Berlin he was invited by a series of letters, couched in terms of the most enthusiastic friendship and admiration. For once the rigid parsimony of Frederic seemed to have relaxed. Orders, honourable offices, a liberal pension, a well-served table, stately apartments under a royal roof, were offered in return for the pleasure and honour which were expected from the society of the first wit of the age. A thousand louis were remitted for the charges of the journey. No ambassador setting out from Berlin for a court of the first rank, had ever been more amply supplied. But Voltaire was not satisfied. At a later period, when he possessed an ample fortune, he was one of the most liberal of men; but till his means had become equal to his wishes, his greediness for lucre was unrestrained either by justice or by shame. He had the effrontery to ask for a thousand louis more, in order to enable him to bring his niece, Madame Denis, the ugliest of coquettes, in his company. The indelicate rapacity of the poet produced its natural effect on the severe and frugal king. The answer was a dry refusal. "I did not," said his majesty, “solicit the honour of the lady's society." On this, Voltaire went off into a paroxysm of childish rage. "Was there ever such avarice! He has hundred of tubs full of dollars in his vaults, and haggles with me about a poor thousand louis." It seemed that the negotiation would be broken off; but Frederic, with great dexterity, affected indifference, and seemed inclined to transfer his idolatry to Baculard

and sent for his passport and his post-horses. It was not difficult to foresee the end of a connection which had such a beginning.

more humiliating fact, that Voltaire indemni fied himself by pocketing the wax-candles in the royal antechamber. Disputes about money, however, were not the most serious dis putes of these extraordinary associates. The sarcasms soon galled the sensitive temper of the poet. D'Arnaud and D'Argens, Guichard and La Métrie, might, for the sake of a morsel

It was in the year 1750 that Voltaire left the great capital, which he was not to see again till, after the lapse of nearly thirty years, he returned, bowed down by extreme old age, to die in the midst of a splendid and ghastly tri- | umph. His reception in Prussia was such as of bread, be willing to bear the insolence of might well have elated a less vain and excit-master; but Voltaire was of another order. able mind. He wrote to his friends at Paris, He knew that he was a potentate as well as that the kindness and the attention with which Frederic; that his European reputation, and he had been welcomed surpassed description his incomparable power of covering whatever -that the king was the most amiable of men- he hated with ridicule, made him an object of that Potsdam was the Paradise of philosophers. dread even to the leaders of armies and the He was created chamberlain, and received, to- rulers of nations. In truth, of all the intellec gether with his gold key, the cross of an order, tual weapons which have ever been wielded and a patent ensuring to him a pension of by man, the most terrible was the mockery of eight hundred pounds sterling a year for life. Voltaire. Bigots and tyrants, who had never A hundred and sixty pounds a year were pro- been moved by the wailing and cursing of mised to his niece if she survived him. The millions, turned pale at his name. Principles royal cooks and coachmen were put at his dis- unassailable by reason, principles which had posal. He was lodged in the same apartments withstood the fiercest attacks of power, the in which Saxe had lived, when, at the height most valuable truths, the most generous senuof power and glory, he visited Prussia. Fre-ments, the noblest and most graceful images, deric, indeed, stooped for a time even to use the purest reputations, the most august instituthe language of adulation. He pressed to histions, began to look mean and loathsome as lips the meager hand of the little grinning ske- soon as that withering smile was turned upon leton, whom he regarded as the dispenser of them. To every opponent, however strong in immortal renown. He would add, he said, to his cause and his talents, in his station and his the titles which he owed to his ancestors and character, who ventured to encounter the great his sword, another title, derived from his last scoffer, might be addressed the caution which and proudest acquisition. His style should was given of old to the Archangel:run thus:-Frederic, King of Prussia, Margrave of Brandenburg, Sovereign Duke of Silesia, Possessor of Voltaire. But even amidst the delights of the honey-moon, Voltaire's sensitive vanity began to take alarm. A few days after his arrival, he could not help telling his niece, that the amiable king had a trick of giving a sly scratch with one hand while pat-of ting and stroking with the other. Soon came hints not the less alarming because mysterious. "The supper parties are delicious. The king is the life of the company. But-I have operas and comedies, reviews and concerts, my studies and books. But-but-Berlin is fine, the princess charming, the maids of honour handsome. But"This eccentric friendship was fast cooling. Never had there met two persons so exquisitely fitted to plague each other. Each of them nad exactly the fault of which the other was most impatient; and they were, in different ways, the most impatient of mankind. Frederic was frugal, almost niggardly. When he had secured his plaything, he began to think that he had bought it too dear. Voltaire, on the other hand, was greedy, even to the extent of impudence and knavery; and conceived that the favourite of a monarch, who had barrels full of gold and silver laid up in cellars, ought to make a fortune which a receivergeneral might envy. They soon discovered each other's feelings. Both were angry, and a war began, in which Frederic stooped to the part of Harpagon, and Voltaire to that of Scapit.. It is humiliating to relate, that the great warrior and statesman gave orders that his guest's allowance of sugar and chocolate should be curtailed. It is, if possible, a still

"1 forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heavenly; for that fatal dint,
Save Him who reigns above, Done can resist."

We cannot pause to recount how often that rare talent was exercised against rivals worthy

esteem-how often it was used to crush and torture enemies worthy only of silent disdainhow often it was perverted to the more noxious purpose of destroying the last solace of earthly misery, and the last restraint on earthly power. Neitner can we pause to tell how often it was used to vindicate justice, humanity, and tolera tion-the principles of sound philosophy, the principles of free government. This is not the place for a full character of Voltaire.

Causes of quarrel multiplied fast. Voltaire, who, partly from love of money, and partly from love of excitement, was always fond of stockjobbing, became implicated in transac tions of at least a dubious character. The king was delighted at having such an oppor tunity to humble his guest; and bitter re proaches and complaints were exchanged. Voltaire, too, was soon at war with the other men of letters who surrounded the king; and this irritated Frederic, who, however, had him self chiefly to blame: for, from that love of tormenting which was in him a ruling passion, he perpetually lavished extravagant praises on small men and bad books, merely in order that he might enjoy the mortification and rage which on such occasions Voltaire took no pains to conceal. His majesty, however, soon had reason to regret the pains which he had taken to kindle jealousy among the members of his household. The whole palace was in a

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