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ENGLISH ²¨¶àÒ°½áÒÂ·¬ºÅGifFrederick was endowed with brilliant powers of conversation. He was fond of society, where he could exercise and display these gifts and accomplishments. Frequent suppers were given at Sans Souci, which lasted from half past eight till midnight. Gentlemen onlylearned menwere invited to these entertainments. Frederick was not an amiable man. He took pleasure in inflicting the keenest pain possible with his satirical tongue. No friend was spared. The more deeply he could strike the lash into the quivering nerves of sensibility, the better he seemed pleased with himself.On the 13th of September the German Diet met at Frankfort for the election of emperor. Frederick had determined that the Grand-duke Francis, husband of the Hungarian queen, should not be elected. Maria Theresa had outgeneraled him. Francis was elected. He had seven out of nine of the electoral votes. Frederick, thus baffled, could only protest. Maria Theresa was conscious of her triumph. Though the imperial crown was placed upon the brow of Francis, all Europe knew that the sceptre was in the hands of his far more able and efficient wife. Maria Theresa was at Frankfort at the time of the election. She could not conceal her exultation. She seemed very willing to have it understood that her amiable husband was but the instrument of her will. She took the title of empress queen, and assumed a very lofty carriage toward the princes of the empire. Alluding to Frederick, she said, in a very imperial tone, for she deemed him now virtually vanquished,
On the 9th of August he wrote from Grüssau to Wilhelmina herself: Oh, you, the dearest of my family, you whom I have most at heart of all in this world, for the sake of whatever is most precious to you, preserve yourself, and let me have at least the consolation of shedding my tears in your bosom!The great victory of Fontenoy, gained by the French on the Rhine, caused boundless exultation throughout France. The French, writes Carlyle, made immense explosions of rejoicing over this victory; Voltaire celebrating it in prose and verse to an amazing degree; the whole nation blazing out over it into illuminations, arcs of triumph, and universal three times three; in short, I think nearly the heartiest national huzza, loud, deep, long-drawn, that the nation ever gave in like case.
As we have stated, Frederick had declared that if any rumor should be spread abroad of the fact that he had entered into a secret treaty with Austria, he would deny it, and would no longer pay any regard to its stipulations. He had adopted the precaution not to affix his signature to any paper. By this ignoble stratagem he had obtained Neisse and Silesia. The rumor of the secret treaty had gone abroad. He had denied it. And now, in accordance with the principles of his peculiar code of honor, he felt himself at liberty to pursue any course which policy might dictate.
Leopold, in early youth, fell deeply in love with a beautiful young lady, Mademoiselle Fos. She was the daughter of an apothecary. His aristocratic friends were shocked at the idea of so unequal a marriage. The sturdy will of Leopold was unyielding. They sent him away, under a French tutor, to take the grand tour of Europe. After an absence of fourteen months he returned. The first thing he did was to call upon Mademoiselle Fos. After that, he called upon his widowed mother. It was in vain to resist the will of such a man. In 1698 he married her, and soon, by his splendid military services, so ennobled his bride that all were ready to do her homage. For half a century she was his loved and honored spouse, attending him in all his campaigns.Should you have known me? the king inquired of De Catt.Frederick remained upon the field of battle four hours gathering up the spoils. The dead were left unburied. The wounded were placed in empty meal-wagons. General Loudon fled precipitately across the Katzbach River. To deceive the Austrians in reference to his movements, Frederick wrote a false dispatch to his brother Henry, which he placed in the hands of a trusty peasant. The peasant was directed to allow himself to be taken. The plan worked to a charm. The other portions of the allied army, deceived by the dispatch, retreated as Frederick wished to have them. He soon formed a junction with his brother Henry, and being astonished himself at his almost miraculous506 escape, marched to the strong fortress of Breslau, which was still held by a small Prussian garrison, and where he had large magazines.
Under these circumstances, Frederick made indirect but vigorous exertions to bring the war to a close. I am ready and desirous now, he said, as at all times, for peace. I will immediately sheathe the sword if I can be guaranteed the possession of Silesia.
It was on the 11th of November, 1741, that Frederick, elated with his conquest of Silesia, had returned to Berlin. In commencing the enterprise he had said, Ambition, interest, and the desire to make the world speak of me, vanquished all, and war was determined on. He had, indeed, succeeded in making the world speak of him. He had suddenly become the most prominent man in Europe. Some extolled his exploits. Some expressed amazement at his perfidy. Many, recognizing his sagacity296 and his tremendous energy, sought his alliance. Embassadors from the various courts of Europe crowded his capital. Fourteen sovereign princes, with many foreigners of the highest rank, were counted among the number. The king was in high spirits. While studiously maturing his plans for the future, he assumed the air of a thoughtless man of fashion, and dazzled the eyes and bewildered the minds of his guests with feasts and pageants.
The latter part of May, Frederick, in his head-quarters at Frankenstein, learned that an Austrian army under Prince Charles, and a Saxon army under the Duke of Weissenfels, in columns, by strict count seventy-five thousand strong, had defiled through the passes of the Giant Mountains, and entered Silesia near Landshut. Day after day he ascended an eminence, and, with his glass, anxiously scanned the horizon, to detect signs of the approach of the foe. On Thursday morning, June 3, an immense cloud of dust in the distance indicated that the decisive hour was at hand.Early in the spring of 1757, France, Russia, Austria, Poland, and Sweden were combined against Frederick. These countries represented a population of one hundred millions. Fredericks domains contained but five millions. His annual revenue was but about ten million dollars. He had an army in the field of one hundred and fifty thousand of the best troops in the world. His fortresses were garrisoned by about fifty thousand of inferior quality. The armies of the allies numbered four hundred and thirty thousand. Frederick was regarded as an outlaw. The design of the allies was to crush him, and to divide his territory between them. Austria was to retake Silesia. France was to have the Wesel-Cleve country. Russia was to annex to her domains Prussen, K?nigsberg, etc. Poland, having regained Saxony, was to add to her territory Magdeburg and Halle. Sweden was to have Pomerania. Never before had there appeared such a combination against any man. The situation of Frederick seemed desperate.
Thus ended in clouds, darkness, and woe the third campaign of the Seven Years War. The winter was employed by both parties in preparing for a renewal of the struggle. As the spring opened the allies had in the field such a military array as Europe had never seen before. Three hundred thousand men extended in a cordon of posts from the Giant Mountains, near the borders of Silesia, to the ocean. In the north, also, Russia had accumulated her vast armies for vigorous co-operation with the southern troops. All the leading Continental powersFrance, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and the states of the German Empirewere combined against Prussia. England alone was the inefficient ally of Frederick. Small sums of money were loaned him from the British cabinet; and the court of St. James, hostile in heart to the Prussian king, co-operated with him only so far as was deemed essential for the promotion of British interests.Guarantee me the possession of Silesia, and pay me seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the expenses of this campaign, and I will withdraw my army.
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