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had been in the camp at Pirna were half compelled, half persuaded, to enlist under their conqueror. Thus, within a few weeks from the commencement of hostilities, one of the confederates had been disarmed, and his weapons pointed against the rest.
own dominions. Seventeen thousand men who | Greek superstition still retained its influence, would be held sacred to Nemesis-a day on which the two greatest princes and soldiers of modern times were taught, by a terrible expe rience, that neither skill nor valour can fix the inconstancy of fortune. The battle began before noon; and part of the Prussian army maintained the contest till after the midsummer sun had gone down. But at length the king found that his troops, having been repeatedly driven back with frightful carnage, could no longer be led to the charge. He was with difficulty persuaded to quit the field. The officers of his personal staff were under the necessity of expostulating with him, and one of them took the "Does your majesty mean to liberty to say, storm the batteries alone?" Thirteen thousand of his bravest followers had perished. Nothing remained for him but to retreat in good order, to raise the siege of Prague, and to hurry his army by different routes out of Bohemia.
This stroke seemed to be final. Frederic's situation had at best been such, that only an uninterrupted run of good-luck could save him, as it seemed, from ruin. And now, almost in the outset of the contest, he had met with a Early in 1757 the Prussian army in Saxony check which, even in a war between equal began to move. Through four defiles in the powers, would have been felt as serious. He mountains they came pouring into Bohemia. had owed much to the opinion which all Prague was his first mark; but the ulterior ob- Europe entertained of his army. Since his ac At Prague lay cession, his soldiers had in many successive ject was probably Vienna. Marshal Brown with one great army. Daun, battles been victorious over the Austrians. the most cautious and fortunate of the Austrian But the glory had departed from his arms. All captains, was advancing with another. Fre- whom his malevolent sarcasms had wounded deric determined to overwhelm Brown before made haste to avenge themselves by scoffing Daun should arrive. On the sixth of May was at the scoffer. His soldiers had ceased to con In every part of his camp his fought, under those walls which, a hundred and fide in his star. thirty years before, had witnessed the victory dispositions were severely criticised. Even in of the Catholic league and the flight of the un- his own family he had detractors. His next happy Palatine, a battle more bloody than any brother William, heir-presumptive, or rather, which Europe saw during the long interval be- in truth, heir-apparent to the throne, and great. tween Malplaquet and Eylau. The king and grandfather of the present king, could not re Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick were distin-frain from lamenting his own fate and that of guished on that day by their valour and exer- the house of Hohenzollern, once so great and tions. But the chief glory was with Schwerin. so prosperous, but now, by the rash ambition When the Prussian infantry wavered, the stout of its chief, made a byword to all nations. old marshal snatched the colours from an en- These complaints, and some blunders which sign, and, waving them in the air, led back his William committed during the retreat from regiment to the charge. Thus at seventy-two Bohemia, called forth the bitter displeasure of years of age, he fell in the thickest battle, still the inexorable king. The prince's heart was grasping the standard which bears the black broken by the cutting reproaches of his brother; eagle on the field argent. The victory remain- he quitted the army, retired to a country seat, ed with the king. But it had been dearly pur- and in a short time died of shame and vexa. chased. Whole columns of his bravest war- tion. riors had fallen. He admitted that he had lost eighteen thousand men. Of the enemy, twentyfour thousand had been killed, wounded, or taken.
The winter put a stop to military operations. All had hitherto gone well. But the real tug of war was still to come. It was easy to foresee that the year 1757 would be a memorable era in the history of Europe.
The scheme for the campaign was simple, beld, and judicious. The Duke of Cumberland with an English and Hanoverian army was in Western Germany, and might be able to prevent the French troops from attacking Prussia. The Russians, confined by their snows, would probably not stir till the spring was far advanced. Saxony was prostrated. Sweden could do nothing very important. During a few months Frederic would have to deal with Austria alone. Even thus the odds were against him. But ability and courage have often triumphed against odds still more formidable.
Part of the defeated army was shut up in Prague. Part fled to join the troops which, under the command of Daun, were now close at hand. Frederic determined to play over the same game which had succeeded at Lowositz. He left a large force to besiege Prague, and at the head of thirty thousand men he marched against Daun. The cautious marshal, though he had a great superiority in numbers, would risk nothing. He occupied at Kolin a position almost impregnable, and awaited the attack of the king.
It was the 18th of June-a day which, if the
It seemed that the king's distress could Yet at this moment hardly be increased. another blow not less terrible than that of Kolin fell upon him. The French under Mar shal D'Estrées had invaded Germany. The Duke of Cumberland had given them battle at Hastembeck, and had been defeated. In order to save the Electorate of Hanover from entire subjugation, he had made, at Clostern Severn, an arrangement with the French generals, which left them at liberty to turn their arms against the Prussian dominions.
That nothing might be wanting to Frederic's distress, he lost his mother just at this time; and he appears to have felt the loss more than was to be expected from the hardness and se verity of his character. In truth, his misfor
tunes had now cut to the quick. The mocker, strange beings after they had exchanged for the tyrant, the most rigorous, the most imperi-giveness. Both felt that the quarrel had lowerous, the most cynical of men, was very un- ed them in the public estimation. They ad happy. His face was so haggard and his form mired each other. They stood in need of each so thin, that when on his return from Bohemia other. The great king wished to be handed he passed through Leipsic, the people hardly down to posterity by the great writer. The great knew him again. His sleep was broken; the writer felt himself exalted by the homage of the tears, in spite of himself, often started into his great king. Yet the wounds which they had eyes; and the grave began to present itself to inflicted on each other were too deep to be his agitated mind as the best refuge from effaced, or even perfectly healed. Not only did misery and dishonour. His resolution was the scars remain; the sore places often festered fixed never to be taken alive, and never to and bled afresh. make peace on condition of descending from his place among the powers of Europe. He saw nothing left for him except to die; and he deliberately chose his mode of death. He always carried about with him a sure and speedy poison in a small glass case; and to the few in whom he placed confidence, he made no mystery of his resolution.
The letters consisted for the most part of compliments, thanks, offers of service, assu rances of attachment. But if any thing brought back to Frederic's recollection the cunning and mischievous pranks by which Voltaire had provoked him, some expression of contempt and displeasure broke forth in the midst of his eulogy. It was much worse when any But we should very imperfectly describe the thing recalled to the mind of Voltaire the outstate of Frederic's mind, if we left out of view rages which he and his kinswoman had sufthe laughable peculiarities which contrasted so fered at Frankfort. All at once his flowing singularly with the gravity, energy, and harsh- panegyric is turned into invective. "Rememness of his character. It is difficult to say ber how you behaved to me. For your sake I whether the tragic or the comic predominated have lost the favour of my king. For your in the strange scene which was then acted. In sake I am an exile from my country. I loved the midst of all the great king's calamities, his you. I trusted myself to you. I had no wish passion for writing indifferent poetry grew but to end my life in your service. And what stronger and stronger. Enemies all around was my reward? Stripped of all you had be him, despair in his heart, pills of corrosive stowed on me, the key, the order, the pension, sublimate hidden in his clothes, he poured forth I was forced to fly from your territories. I was hundreds upon hundreds of lines, hateful to hunted as if I had been a deserter from your gods and men-the insipid dregs of Voltaire's grenadiers. I was arrested, insulted, plundered. Hippocrene-the faint echo of the lyre of My niece was dragged in the mud of Frankfort Chaulieu. It is amusing to compare what he by your soldiers as if she had been some wretchdid during the last months of 1757, with what ed follower of your camp. You have great tahe wrote during the same time. It may be lents. You have good qualities. But you have doubted whether any equal portion of the life one odious vice. You delight in the abasement of Hannibal, of Cæsar, or of Napoleon, will of your fellow-creatures. You have brought bear a comparison with that short period, the disgrace on the name of philosopher. You most brilliant in the history of Prussia and of have given some colour to the slanders of the Frederic. Yet at this very time the scanty lei- bigots who say that no confidence can be sure of the illustrious warrior was employed placed in the justice or humanity of those who in producing odes and epistles, a little better reject the Christian faith." Then the king anthan Cibber's, and a little worse than Hayley's.swers with less heat, but with equal severityHere and there a manly sentiment which de- "You know that you behaved shamefully in serves to be in prose, makes it appearance in Prussia. It is well for you that you had to company with Prometheus and Orpheus, Ely- deal with a man so indulgent to the infirmities sium and Acheron, the plaintive Philomel, the of genius as I am. You richly deserved to see poppies of Morpheus, and all the other frippery the inside of a dungeon. Your talents are not which, like a robe tossed by a proud beauty to more widely known than your faithlessness her waiting-women, has long been contemptu- and your malevolence. The grave itself is no ously abandoned by genius to mediocrity. We asylum from your spite. Maupertuis is dead; hardly know any instance of the strength and but you still go on calumniating and deriding weakness of human nature so striking, and so him, as if you had not made him miserable grotesque, as the character of this haughty, enough while he was living. Let us have no vigilant, resolute, sagacious blue-stocking, more of this. And, above all, let me hear no half Mithridates and half Trissotin, bearing up more of your niece. I am sick to death of her against a world in arms, with an ounce of name. I can bear with your faults for the sake poison in one pocket and a quire of bad verses of your merits; but she has not written Maho in the other. met or Merope."
An explosion of this kind, it might be sup posed, would necessarily put an end to all ami. cable communication. But it was not so. After every outbreak of ill humour this extraordinary pair became more loving than before, and ex changed compliments and assurances of mus tual regard with a wonderful air of sincerity.
It may well be supposed that men who wrote thus to each other were not very guarded in
Frederic had some time before made advances towards a reconciliation with Voltaire, and some civil letters had passed between them. After the battle of Kolin their epistolary intercourse became, at least in seeming, friendly and confidential. We do not know any collection of letters which throw so much light on the darkest and most intricate parts of human nature as the correspondence of these
what they said of each other. The English anbassador, Mitchell, who knew that the King of Prussia was constantly writing to Voltaire with the greatest freedom on the most important subjects, was amazed to hear his majesty designate this highly favoured correspondent as a bad-hearted fellow, the greatest rascal on the face of the earth. And the language which the poet held about the king was not much more respectful.
But it was to very different means that Frederic was to owe his deliverance. At the be ginning of November, the net seemed to have closed completely round him. The Russians were in the field, and were spreading devastation through his eastern provinces. Silesia
It would probably have puzzled Voltaire himself to say what was his real feeling towards Frederic. It was compounded of all sentiments, from enmity to friendship, and from scorn to admiration; and the proportions in which these elements were mixed changed every moment. The old patriarch resembled the spoiled child who screams, stamps, cuffs, laughs, kisses, and cuddles within one quarter of an hour. His resentment was not extin-was overrun by the Austrians. A great French guished; yet he was not without sympathy for army was advancing from the west under the his old friend. As a Frenchman, he wished command of Marshal Soubise, a prince of the success to the arms of his country. As a phi-great Armorican house of Rohan. Berlin itlosopher, he was anxious for the stability of a self had been taken and plundered by the throne on which a philosopher sat. He longed Croatians. Such was the situation from which both to save and to humble Frederic. There Frederic extricated himself, with dazzling was one way, and only one, in which all his glory, in the short space of thirty days. conflicting feelings could at once be gratified. If Frederic were preserved by the interference
He marched first against Soubise. On the fifth of November the armies met at Rosbach.
of France, if it were known that for that inter-The French were two to one; but they were ference he was indebted to the mediation of ill-disciplined, and their general was a dunce Voltaire, this would indeed be delicious re- The tactics of Frederic, and the well-regulated venge; this would indeed be to heap coals valour of the Prussian troops, obtained a com of fire on that haughty head. Nor did the vain plete victory. Seven thousand of the invaders and restless poet think it impossible that he were made prisoners. Their guns, their comight, from his hermitage near the Alps, dic- lours, their baggage, fell into the hands of the tate peace to Europe. D'Estrées had quitted conquerors. Those who escaped fled as conHanover, and the command of the French fusedly as a mob scattered by cavalry. Vietoarmy had been intrusted to the Duke of Riche-rious in the west, the king turned his arms lieu, a man whose chief distinction was derived towards Silesia. In that quarter every thing from his success in gallantry. Richelieu was, seemed to be lost. Breslau had fallen; and in truth, the most eminent of that race of se- Charles of Lorraine, with a mighty power, ducers by profession who furnished Crébillon held the whole province. On the fifth of De the younger and La Clos with models for their cember, exactly one month after the battle of heroes. In his earlier days the royal house Rosbach, Frederic, with forty thousand men, itself had not been secure from his presumptu- and Prince Charles, at the head of not less ous love. He was believed to have carried his. than sixty thousand, met at Leuthen, hard by conquests into the family of Orleans; and some Breslau. The king, who was, in general, suspected that he was not unconcerned in the perhaps too much inclined to consider the mysterious remorse which imbittered the last common soldier as a mere machine, resorted, hours of the charming mother of Louis the Fif- on this great day, to means resembling those teenth. But the duke was now fifty years old. which Bonaparte afterwards employed with With a heart deeply corrupted by vice, a head such signal success for the purpose of stimulong accustomed to think only on trifles, an im-lating military enthusiasm. The principal paired constitution, an impaired fortune, and, officers were convoked. Frederic addressed worst of all, a very red nose, he was entering them with great force and pathos; and directed on a dull, frivolous, and unrespected old age. them to speak to their men as he had spoken Without one qualification for military com- to them. When the armies were set in battle mand except that personal courage which was array, the Prussian troops were in a state of common to him and the whole nobility of fierce excitement; but their excitement showed France, he had been placed at the head of the itself after the fashion of a grave people. The army of Hanover; and in that situation he did columns advanced to the attack chanting, to his best to repair, by extortion and corruption, the sound of drums and fifes, the rude hymns the injury which he had done to his property of the old Saxon Herhholds. They had never by a life of dissolute profusion. fought so well; nor had the genius of their chief ever been so conspicuous. "That bat tle," said Napoleon, "was a masterpiece. Of itself it is sufficient to entitle Frederic to a place in the first rank among generals." The victory was complete. Twenty-seven thousand Austrians were killed, wounded, or taken,
The Duke of Richelieu to the end of his life hated the philosophers as a sect-not for those parts of their system which a good and wise man would have condemned-but for their virtues, for their spirit of free inquiry, and for Lieir hatred of those social abuses of which he
was himself the personification. But he, like many of those who thought with him, excepted Voltaire from the list of proscribed writers He frequently sent flattering letters to Ferney. He did the patriarch the honour to borrow money of him, and even carried his conde scending friendship so far as to forget to pay interest. Voltaire thought that it might be in his power to bring the duke and the King of Prussia into communication with each other. He wrote earnestly to both; and he so far sueceeded that a correspondence between them was commenced.
fifty stand of colours, a hundred guns, four thousand wagons, fell into the hands of the Prussians. Breslau opened its gates; Silesia was reconquered; Charles of Lorraine retired to hide his shame and sorrow at Brussels; and Frederic allowed his troops to take some repose in winter quarters, after a campaign, to the vicissitudes of which it will be difficult to find any parallel in ancient or modern history. The king's fame filled all the world. He had, during the last year, maintained a contest, on terms of advantage, against three powers, the weakest of which had more than three times his resources. He had fought four great pitched battles against superior forces. Three of these battles he had gained; and the defeat of Kolin, repaired as it had been, rather raised than lowered his military renown. The victory of Leuthen is, to this day, the proudest on the roll of Prussian fame. Leipsic, indeed, and Waterloo, produced consequences more important to mankind. But the glory of Leipsic must be shared by the Prussians with the Austrians and Russians; and at Waterloo the British infantry bore the burden and heat of the day. The victory of Rosbach was, in a military point of view, less honourable than that of Leuthen, for it was gained over an incapable general and a disorganized army. But the moral effect which it produced was immense. All the preceding triumphs of Frederic had been triumphs over Germans, and could excite no emotions of natural pride among the German people. It was impossible that a Hessian or a Hanoverian could feel any patriotic exultation at hearing that Pomeranians slaughtered Moravians, or that Saxon banners had been hung in the churches of Berlin. Indeed, though the military character of the Germans justly stood high throughout the world, they could boast of no great day which belonged to them as a people;-of no Agincourt, of no Bannockburn. Most of their victories had been gained over each other; and their most splendid exploits against foreigners had been achieved under the command of Eugene, who was himself a foreigner.
The news of the battle of Rosbach stirred the blood of the whole of the mighty population from the Alps to the Baltic, and from the borders of Courtland to those of Lorraine. Westphalia and Lower Saxony had been deluged by a great host of strangers, whose speech was unintelligible, and whose petulant and licentious manners had excited the strongest feelings of disgust and hatred. That great host had been put to flight by a small band of German warriors, led by a prince of German blood on the side of father and mother, and marked by the fair hair and the clear blue eye of Germany. Never since the dissolution of the empire of Charlemagne, had the Teutonic race won such a field against the French. The tidings called forth a general burst of delight and pride from the whole of the great family which spoke the various dialects of the ancient language of Arminius. The fame of Frederic began to supply, in some degree, the place of a common government and of a common capital. It became a rallying point for all true Germans-a subject of mutual congratulation
to the Bavarian and the Westphalian, to the citizen of Frankfort and the citizen of Nurem berg. Then first it was manifest that the Germans were truly a nation. Then first was discernible that patriotic spirit which, in 1813, achieved the great deliverance of central Europe, and which still guards, and long will guard against foreign ambition, the old freedom of the Rhine.
Nor were the effects produced by that cele brated day merely political. The greatest masters of German poetry and eloquence have admitted that, though the great king neither valued nor understood his native language, though he looked on France as the only seat of taste and philosophy; yet, in his own despite, he did much to emancipate the genius of his countrymen from the foreign yoke; and that, in the act of vanquishing Soubise, he was, unintentionally, rousing the spirit which soon began to question the literary precedence of Boileau and Voltaire. So strangely do events confound all the plans of man! A prince who read only French, who wrote only French, who ranked as a French classic, became, quite unconsciously, the means of liberating half the Continent from the dominion of that French criticism of which he was himself, to the end of his life, a slave. Yet even the enthusiasm of Germany in favour of Frederic, hardly equalled the enthusiasm of England. The Firth-day of our ally was celebrated with as much enthusiasm as that of our own sovereign, and at night the streets of London were in a blaze with illuminations. Portraits of the Hero of Rosbach, with his cocked hat and long pig. tail, were in every house. An attentive observer will, at this day, find in the parlours of oldfashioned inns, and in the portfolios of printsel lers, twenty portraits of Frederic for one of George II. The sign-painters were everywhere employed in touching up Admiral Vernon into the King of Prussia. Some young Englishmen of rank proposed to visit Germany as volunteers, for the purpose of learning the art of war under the greatest of commanders. This last proof of British attachment and admiration, Frederic politely but firmly declined. His camp was no place for amateur students of military science. The Prussian discipline was rigorous even to cruelty. The officers, while in the field, were expected to practise an abstemiousness and self-denial such as was hardly surpassed by the most rigid monastic orders. However noble their birth, however high their rank in the service, they were not permitted to eat from any thing better than pewter. It was a high crime even in a count and field-marshal to have a single silver spoon among his bag. gage. Gay young Englishmen of twenty thou sand a year, accustomed to liberty and to luxury, would not easily submit to these Spartan restraints. The king could not venture to keep them in order as he kept his own subjects in order. Situated as he was with respect to England, he could not well imprison or shoot refractory Howards and Cavendishes. On the other hand, the example of a few fine gentic men, attended by chariots and livery servants, eating in plate, and drinking champagne and tokay, was enough to corrupt his whole army
He thought it best to make a stand at first, and | in which the prudence of the one and the vigour civilly refused to admit such dangerous companions among his troops.
The help of England was bestowed in a manner far more useful and more acceptable. An annual subsidy of near seven hundred thousand pounds enabled the king to add probably more than fifty thousand men to his army. Pitt, now at the height of power and popularity, undertook the task of defending Western Germany against France, and asked Frederic only for the loan of a general. The general selected was Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, who had attained high distinction in the Prussian service. He was put at the head of an army, partly English, partly Hanoverian, partly composed of mercenaries hired from the petty princes of the empire. He soon vindicated the choice of the two allied courts, and proved himself the second general of the age.
of the other seem to have happily combined. At dead of night they surprised the king in his camp at Hochkirchen. His presence of mind saved his troops from destruction, but nothing could save them from defeat and severe loss Marshal Keith was among the slain. The first roar of the guns roused the noble exile from his rest, and he was instantly in the front of the battle. He received a dangerous wound, bu: refused to quit the field, and was in the act of rallying his broken troops, when an Austrian bullet terminated his checkered and eventful life.
The misfortune was serious. But, of all generals, Frederic understood best how to repair defeat, and Daun understood least how to improve victory. In a few days the Prussian army was as formidable as before the battle. The prospect was, however, gloomy. An AusFrederic passed the winter at Breslau, in trian army under General Harsch had invaded reading, writing, and preparing for the next Silesia, and invested the fortress of Neisse. campaign. The havoc which the war had Daun, after his success at Hochkirchen, had made among his troops was rapidly repaired, written to Harsch in very confident terms:and in the spring of 1758 he was again ready “Go on with your operations against Neisse. for the conflict. Prince Ferdinand kept the Be quite at ease as to the king. I will give French in check. The king, in the mean time, you a good account of him." In truth, the after attempting against the Austrians some position of the Prussians was full of difficulties. operations which led to no very important Between them and Silesia lay the victorious result, marched to encounter the Russians, who, army of Daun. It was not easy for them to slaying, burning, and wasting wherever they reach Silesia at all. If they did reach it, they turned, had penetrated into the heart of his left Saxony exposed to the Austrians. But the realm. He gave them battle at Zorndorf, near vigour and activity of Frederic surmounted Frankfort on the Oder. The fight was long every obstacie. He made a circuitous march and bloody. Quarter was neither given nor of extraordinary rapidity, passed Daun, hastentaken; for the Germans and Scythians regard-ed into Silesia, raised the seige of Neisse, and ed each other with bitter aversion, and the sight drove Harsch into Bohemia. Daun availed of the ravages committed by the half-savage himself of the king's absence to attack Dres invaders had incensed the king and his army. den. The Prussians defended it desperately. The Russians were overthrown with great The inhabitants of that wealthy and polished slaughter, and for a few months no further capital begged in vain for mercy from the gardanger was to be apprehended from the east. rison within, and from the besiegers without The beautiful suburbs were burned to the ground. It was clear that the town, if won at all, would be won street by street by the bay. onet. At this conjuncture came news that Frederic, having cleared Silesia of his enemies, was returning by forced marches into Saxony. Daun retired from before Dresden, and fell back into the Austrian territories. The king, over heaps of ruins, made his triumphant entry into the unhappy metropolis, which had so cruelly expiated the weak and perfidious policy of its sovereign. It was now the 20th of November. The cold weather suspended military operations, and the king again took up his winter-quarters at Breslau.
A day of thanksgiving was proclaimed by the king, and was celebrated with pride and delight by his people. The rejoicings in England were not less enthusiastic or less sincere. This may be selected as the point of time at which the military glory of Frederic reached the zenith. In the short space of three-quarters of a year he had won three great battles over the armies of three mighty and warlike monarchies-France, Austria, and Russia.
But it was decreed that the temper of that strong mind should be tried by both extremes of fortune in rapid succession. Close upon this bright series of triumphs came a series of disasters, such as would have blighted the fame and broken the heart of almost any other commander. Yet Frederic, in the midst of his calamities, was still an object of admiration to his subjects, his allies, and his enemies. Overwhelmed by adversit,, sick of life, he still maintained the contest, greater in defeat, in flight, and in what seemed hopeless ruin, than on the fields of his proudest victories.
Having van uished the Russians, he hastened into Saxony to oppose the troops of the Empress-Queen, commanded by Daun, the most cautious, and Laudohn, the most inventive and enterprising of her generals. These wo celebrated commanders agreed on a scheme,
The third of the seven terrible years was over; and Frederic still stood his ground. He had been recently tried by domestic as well as by military disasters. On the 14th of October, the day on which he was defeated at Hochkir. chen, the day on the anniversary of which, forty-eight years later, a defeat far more tremendous laid the Prussian monarchy in the dust, died Wilhelmina, Margravine of Bareuth. From the portraits which we have of her, by her own hand, and by the hands of the most discerning of her contemporaries, we should pronounce her to have been coarse, indelicate, and a good hater, but not destitute of kind and