Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

History of Friedrich II of Prussia V

Part 1 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.




Chapter I.


Friedrich has now climbed the heights, and sees himself on the
upper table-land of Victory and Success; his desperate life-and-
death struggles triumphantly ended. What may be ahead, nobody
knows; but here is fair outlook that his enemies and Austria itself
have had enough of him. No wringing of his Silesia from this "bad
Man." Not to be overset, this one, by never such exertions;
oversets US, on the contrary, plunges us heels-over-head into the
ditch, so often as we like to apply to him; nothing but heavy
beatings, disastrous breaking of crowns, to be had on trying there!
"Five Victories!" as Voltaire keeps counting on his fingers, with
upturned eyes,--Mollwitz, Chotusitz, Striegau, Sohr, Kesselsdorf
(the last done by Anhalt; but omitting Hennersdorf, and that sudden
slitting of the big Saxon-Austrian Projects into a cloud of
feathers, as fine a feat as any),--"Five Victories!" counts
Voltaire; calling on everybody (or everybody but Friedrich himself,
who is easily sated with that kind of thing) to admire. In the
world are many opinions about Friedrich. In Austria, for instance,
what an opinion; sinister, gloomy in the extreme: or in England,
which derives from Austria,--only with additional dimness, and with
gloomy new provocations of its own before long! Many opinions about
Friedrich, all dim enough: but this, that he is a very demon for
fighting, and the stoutest King walking the Earth just now, may
well be a universal one. A man better not be meddled with, if he
will be at peace, as he professes to wish being.

Friedrich accordingly is not meddled with, or not openly meddled
with; and has, for the Ten or Eleven Years coming, a time of
perfect external Peace. He himself is decided "not to fight with a
cat," if he can get the peace kept; and for about eight years hopes
confidently that this, by good management, will continue possible;
--till, in the last three years, electric symptoms did again
disclose themselves, and such hope more and more died away. It is
well known there lay in the fates a Third Silesian War for him,
worse than both the others; which is now the main segment of his
History still lying ahead for us, were this Halcyon Period done.
Halcyon Period counts from Christmas-day, Dresden, 1745,--"from
this day, Peace to the end of my life!" had been Friedrich's fond
hope. But on the 9th day of September, 1756, Friedrich was again
entering Dresden (Saxony some twelve days before); and the Crowning
Struggle of his Life was, beyond all expectation, found to be still
lying ahead for him, awfully dubious for Seven Years thereafter!--

Friedrich's History during this intervening Halcyon or Peace Period
must, in some way, be made known to readers: but for a great many
reasons, especially at present, it behooves to be given in
compressed form; riddled down, to an immense extent, out of those
sad Prussian Repositories, where the grain of perennial, of
significant and still memorable, lies overwhelmed under rubbish-
mountains of the fairly extinct, the poisonously dusty and
forgettable;--ACH HIMMEL! Which indispensable preliminary process,
how can an English Editor, at this time, do it; no Prussian, at any
time, having thought of trying it! From a painful Predecessor of
mine, I collect, rummaging among his dismal Paper-masses, the
following Three Fragments, worth reading here:--

1. "Friedrich was as busy, in those Years, as in the generality of
his life; and his actions, and salutary conquests over
difficulties, were many, profitable to Prussia and to himself.
Very well worth keeping in mind. But not fit for History; or at
least only fit in the summary form; to be delineated in little,
with large generic strokes,--if we had the means;--such details
belonging to the Prussian Antiquary, rather than to the English
Historian of Friedrich in our day. A happy Ten Years of time.
Perhaps the time for Montesquieu's aphorism, 'Happy the People
whose Annals are blank in History-Books!' The Prussian Antiquary,
had he once got any image formed to himself of Friedrich, and of
Friedrich's History in its human lineaments and organic sequences,
will glean many memorabilia in those Years: which his readers then
(and not till then) will be able to intercalate in their places,
and get human good of. But alas, while there is no intelligible
human image, nothing of lineaments or organic sequences, or other
than a jumbled mass of Historical Marine-Stores, presided over by
Dryasdust and Human Stupor (unsorted, unlabelled, tied up in blind
sacks), the very Antiquary will have uphill work of it, and his
readers will often turn round on him with a gloomy expression
of countenance!"

2. "Friedrich's Life--little as he expected it, that day when he
started up from his ague-fit at Reinsberg, and grasped the fiery
Opportunity that was shooting past--is a Life of War. The chief
memory that will remain of him is that of a King and man who fought
consummately well. Not Peace and the Muses; no, that is denied him,
--though he was so unwilling, always, to think it denied! But his
Life-Task turned out to be a Battle for Silesia. It consists of
Three grand Struggles of War. And not for Silesia only;--
unconsciously, for what far greater things to his Nation and
to him!

"Deeply unconscious of it, they were passing their 'Trials,' his
Nation and he, in the great Civil-Service-Examination Hall of this
Universe: 'Are you able to defend yourselves, then; and to hang
together coherent, against the whole world and its incoherencies
and rages?' A question which has to be asked of Nations, before
they can be recognized as such, and be baptized into the general
commonwealth; they are mere Hordes or accidental Aggregates, till
that Question come. Question which this Nation had long been
getting ready for; which now, under this King, it answered to the
satisfaction of gods and men: 'Yes, Heaven assisting, we can stand
on our defence; and in the long-run (as with air when you try to
annihilate it, or crush it to NOTHING) there is even an infinite
force in us; and the whole world does not succeed in annihilating
us!' Upon which has followed what we term National Baptism;--or
rather this was the National Baptism, this furious one in torrent
whirlwinds of fire; done three times over, till in gods or men
there was no doubt left. That was Friedrich's function in the
world; and a great and memorable one;--not to his own Prussian
Nation only, but to Teutschland at large, forever memorable.

"'Is Teutschland a Nation; is there in Teutschland still a Nation?'
Austria, not dishonestly, but much sunk in superstitions and
involuntary mendacities, and liable to sink much farther, answers
always, in gloomy proud tone, 'Yes, I am the Nation of
Teutschland!'--but is mistaken, as turns out. For it is not
mendacities, conscious or other, but veracities, that the Divine
Powers will patronize, or even in the end will put up with at all.
Which you ought to understand better than you do, my friend.
For, on the great scale and on the small, and in all seasons,
circumstances, scenes and situations where a Son of Adam finds
himself, that is true, and even a sovereign truth. And whoever does
not know it,--human charity to him (were such always possible)
would be, that HE were furnished with handcuffs as a part of his
outfit in this world, and put under guidance of those who do.
Yes; to him, I should say, a private pair of handcuffs were much
usefuler than a ballot-box,--were the times once settled again,
which they are far from being!" ...

"So that, if there be only Austria for Nation, Teutschland is in
ominous case. Truly so. But there is in Teutschland withal, very
irrecognizable to Teutschland, yet authentically present, a Man of
the properly unconquerable type; there is also a select Population
drilled for him: these two together will prove to you that there is
a Nation. Conquest of Silesia, Three Silesian Wars; labors and
valors as of Alcides, in vindication of oneself and one's Silesia:
--secretly, how unconsciously, that other and higher Question of
Teutschland, and of its having in it a Nation, was Friedrich's sore
task and his Prussia's at that time. As Teutschland may be perhaps
now, in our day, beginning to recognize; with hope, with
astonishment, poor Teutschland!" ...

3. "And in fine, leaving all that, there is one thing undeniable:
In all human Narrative, it is the battle only, and not the victory,
that can be dwelt upon with advantage. Friedrich has now, by his
Second Silesian War, achieved Greatness: 'Friedrich the Great;'
expressly so denominated, by his People and others. The struggle
upwards is the Romance; your hero once wedded,--to GLORY, or
whoever the Bride may be,--the Romance ends. Precise critics do
object, That there may still lie difficulties, new perils and
adventures ahead:--which proves conspicuously true in this case of
ours. And accordingly, our Book not being a Romance but a History,
let us, with all fidelity, look out what these are, and how they
modify our Royal Gentleman who has got his wedding done. With all
fidelity; but with all brevity, no less. For, inasmuch as"--

Well, brevity in most cases is desirable. And, privately, it must
be owned there is another consideration of no small weight:
That, our Prussian resources falling altogether into bankruptcy
during Peace-Periods, Nature herself has so ordered it, in this
instance! Partly it is our Books (the Prussian Dryasdust reaching
his acme on those occasions), but in part too it is the Events
themselves, that are small and want importance; that have fallen
dead to us, in the huge new Time and its uproars. Events not of
flagrant notability (like battles or war-passages), to bridle
Dryasdust, and guide him in some small measure. Events rather
which, except as characteristic of one memorable Man and King, are
mostly now of no memorability whatever. Crowd all these
indiscriminately into sacks, and shake them out pell-mell on us:
that is Dryasdust's sweet way. As if the largest Marine-Stores
Establishment in all the world had suddenly, on hest of some
Necromancer or maleficent person, taken wing upon you; and were
dancing, in boundless mad whirl, round your devoted head;--
simmering and dancing, very much at its ease; no-whither;
asking YOU cheerfully, "What is your candid opinion, then?"
"Opinion," Heavens!--

You have to retire many yards, and gaze with a desperate
steadiness; assuring yourself: "Well, it does, right indisputably,
shadow forth SOMEthing. This was a Thing Alive, and did at one time
stick together, as an organic Fact on the Earth, though it now
dances in Dryasdust at such a rate!" It is only by self-help of
this sort, and long survey, with rigorous selection, and extremely
extensive exclusion and oblivion, that you gain the least light in
such an element. "Brevity"--little said, when little has been got
to be known--is an evident rule! Courage, reader; by good eyesight,
you will still catch some features of Friedrich as we go along.
To SAY our little in a not unintelligible manner, and keep the rest
well hidden, it is all we can do for you!--


Friedrich's Journey to Pyrmont is the first thing recorded of him
by the Newspapers. Gone to take the waters; as he did after his
former War. Here is what I had noted of that small Occurrence, and
of one or two others contiguous in date, which prove to be of
significance in Friedrich's History.

"MAY 12-17th, 1746," say the old Books, "his Majesty sets out for
Pyrmont, taking Brunswick by the way; arrives at Pyrmont May 17th;
stays till June 8th;" three weeks good. "Is busy corresponding with
the King of France about a General Peace; but, owing to the
embitterment of both parties, it was not possible at this time."
Taking the waters at least, and amusing himself. From Brunswick, in
passing, he had brought with him his Brother-in-law the reigning
Duke; Rothenburg was there, and Brother Henri; D'Arget expressly;
Flute-player Quanz withal, and various musical people: "in all, a
train of above sixty persons." I notice also that Prince Wilhelm of
Hessen was in Pyrmont at the time. With whom, one fancies, what
speculations there might be: About the late and present War-
passages, about the poor Peace Prospects; your Hessian "Siege" so
called "of Blair in Athol" (CULLODEN now comfortably done), and
other cognate topics. That is the Pyrmont Journey.

It is no surprise to us to hear, in these months, of new and
continual attention to Army matters, to Husbandry matters; and to
making good, on all sides, the ruins left by War. Of rebuilding (at
the royal expense) "the town of Schmiedeberg, which had been
burnt;" of rebuilding, and repairing from their damage, all
Silesian villages and dwellings; and still more satisfactory, How,
"in May, 1746, there was, in every Circle of the Country, by exact
liquidation of Accounts [so rapidly got done], exact payment made
to the individuals concerned, 1. of all the hay, straw and corn
that had been delivered to his Majesty's Armies; 2. of all the
horses that had perished in the King's work; 3. of all the horses
stolen by the Enemy, and of all the money-contributions exacted by
the Enemy: payment in ready cash, and according to the rules of
justice (BAAR UND BILLIGMASSIG), by his Majesty." [Seyfarth, ii.
22, 23.]

It was from Pyrmont, May, 1746,--or more definitely, it was "at
Potsdam early in the morning, 15th September," following,--that
Friedrich launched, or shot forth from its moorings, after much
previous attempting and preparing, a very great Enterprise;
which he has never lost sight of since the day he began reigning,
nor will till his reign and life end: the actual Reform of Law in
Prussia. "May 12th, 1746," Friedrich, on the road to Pyrmont,
answers his Chief Law-Minister Cocceji's REPORT OF PRACTICAL PLAN
on this matter: "Yes; looks very hopeful!"--and took it with him to
consider at Pyrmont, during his leisure. Much considering of it,
then and afterwards, there was. And finally, September 15th, early
in the morning, Cocceji had an Interview with Friedrich; and the
decisive fiat was given: "Yes; start on it, in God's name!
Pommern, which they call the PROVINCIA LITIGIOSA; try it there
first!" [Ranke, ii. 392.] And Cocceji, a vigorous old man of sixty-
seven, one of the most learned of Lawyers, and a very Hercules in
cleaning Law-Stables, has, on Friedrich's urgencies,--which have
been repeated on every breathing-time of Peace there has been, and
even sometimes in the middle of War (last January, 1745, for
example; and again, express Order, January, 1746, a fortnight after
Peace was signed),--actually got himself girt for this salutary
work. "Wash me out that horror of accumulation, let us see the old
Pavements of the place again. Every Lawsuit to be finished within
the Year!"

Cocceji, who had been meditating such matters for a great while,
["1st March, 1738," Friedrich Wilhelm's "Edict" on Law Reform:
Cocceji ready, at that time;--but his then Majesty forbore.] and
was himself eager to proceed, in spite of considerable wigged
oppositions and secret reluctances that there were, did now, on
that fiat of September 15th, get his Select Commission of Six
riddled together and adjoined to him,--the likeliest Six that
Prussia, in her different Provinces, could yield;--and got the
STANDE of Pommern, after due committeeing and deliberating, to
consent and promise help. December 31st, 1746, was the day the
STANDE consented: and January 10th, 1747, Cocceji and his Six set
out for Pommern. On a longish Enterprise, in that Province and the
others;--of which we shall have to take notice, and give at least
the dates as they occur.

To sweep out pettifogging Attorneys, cancel improper Advocates, to
regulate Fees; to war, in a calm but deadly manner, against
pedantries, circumlocutions and the multiplied forms of stupidity,
cupidity and human owlery in this department;--and, on the whole,
to realize from every Court, now and onwards, "A decision to all
Lawsuits within a Year after their beginning." This latter result,
Friedrich thinks, will itself be highly beneficial; and be the sign
of all manner of improvements. And Cocceji, scanning it with those
potent law-eyes of his, ventures to assure him that it will be
possible. As, in fact, it proved;--honor to Cocceji and his King,
and King's Father withal. "Samuel von Cocceji [says an old Note],
son of a Law Professor, and himself once such,--was picked up by
Friedrich Wilhelm, for the Official career, many years ago. A man
of wholesome, by no means weakly aspect,--to judge by his Portrait,
which is the chief 'Biography' I have of him. Potent eyes and
eyebrows, ditto blunt nose; honest, almost careless lips, and deep
chin well dewlapped: extensive penetrative face, not pincered
together, but potently fallen closed;--comfortable to see, in a wig
of such magnitude. Friedrich, a judge of men, calls him 'a man of
sterling character (CARACTERE INTEGRE ET DROIT), whose qualities
would have suited the noble times of the Roman Republic.'"
[ OEuvres, iv. 2.] He has his Herculean
battle, his Master and he have, with the Owleries and the vulturous
Law-Pedantries,--which I always love Friedrich for detesting as he
does:--and, during the next five years, the world will hear often
of Cocceji, and of this Prussian Law-Reform by Friedrich and him.

His Majesty's exertions to make Peace were not successful;
what does lie in his power is, to keep out of the quarrel himself.
It appears great hopes were entertained, by some in England, of
gaining Friedrich over; of making him Supreme Captain to the Cause
of Liberty. And prospects were held out to him, quasi-offers made,
of a really magnificent nature,--undeniable, though obscure.
Herr Ranke has been among the Archives again; and comes out with
fractional snatches of a very strange "Paper from England;"
capriciously hiding all details about it, all intelligible
explanation: so that you in vain ask, "Where, When, How, By whom?"
--and can only guess to yourself that Carteret was somehow at the
bottom of the thing; AUT CARTERETUS AUT DIABOLUS. "What would your
Majesty think to be elected Stadtholder of Holland? Without a
Stadtholder, these Dutch are worth nothing; not hoistable, nor of
use when hoisted, all palavering and pulling different ways.
Must have a Stadtholder; and one that stands firm on some basis of
his own. Stadtholder of Holland, King of Prussia,--you then, in
such position, take the reins of this poor floundering English-
Dutch Germanic Anti-French War, you; and drive it in the style you
have. Conquer back the Netherlands to us; French Netherlands as
well. French and Austrian Netherlands together, yours in
perpetuity; Dutch Stadtholderate as good as ditto: this, with
Prussia and its fighting capabilities, will be a pleasant
Protestant thing. Austria cares little about the Netherlands, in
comparison. Austria, getting back its Lorraine and Alsace, will be
content, will be strong on its feet. What if it should even lose
Italy? France, Spain, Sardinia, the Italian Petty Principalities
and Anarchies: suppose they tug and tussle, and collapse there as
they can? But let France try to look across the Rhine again; and to
threaten Teutschland, England, and the Cause of Human Liberty
temporal or spiritual!"

This is authentically the purport of Herr Ranke's extraordinary
Document; [Ranke, iii. 359.] guessable as due to CARTERETUS or
DIABOLUS. Here is an outlook; here is a career as Conquering Hero,
if that were one's line! A very magnificent ground-plan; hung up to
kindle the fancy of a young King,--who is far too prudent to go
into it at all. More definite quasi-official offers, it seems, were
made him from the same quarter: Subsidies to begin with, such
subsidies as nobody ever had before; say 1,000,000 pounds sterling
by the Year. To which Friedrich answered, "Subsidies, your
Excellency?" (Are We a Hackney-Coachman, then?)--and, with much
contempt, turned his back on that offer. No fighting to be had, by
purchase or seduction, out of this young man. Will not play the
Conquering Hero at all, nor the Hackney-Coachman at all;
has decided "not to fight a cat" if let alone; but to do and
endeavor a quite other set of things, for the rest of his life.

Friedrich, readers can observe, is not uplifted with his greatness.
He has been too much beaten and bruised to be anything but modestly
thankful for getting out of such a deadly clash of chaotic swords.
Seems to have little pride even in his "Five Victories;" or hides
it well. Talks not overmuch about these things; talks of them, so
far as we can hear, with his old comrades only, in praise of THEIR
prowesses; as a simple human being, not as a supreme of captains;
and at times acknowledges, in a fine sincere way, the omnipotence
of Luck in matters of War.

One of the most characteristic traits, extensively symbolical of
Friedrich's intentions and outlooks at this Epoch, is his
installing of himself in the little Dwelling-House, which has since
become so celebrated under the name of Sans-Souci. The plan of
Sans-Souci--an elegant commodious little "Country Box," quite of
modest pretensions, one story high; on the pleasant Hill-top near
Potsdam, with other little green Hills, and pleasant views of land
and water, all round--had been sketched in part by Friedrich
himself; and the diggings and terracings of the Hill-side were just
beginning, when he quitted for the Last War. "April 14th, 1745,"
while he lay in those perilous enigmatic circumstances at Neisse
with Pandours and devouring bugbears round him, "the foundation-
stone was laid" (Knobelsdorf being architect, once more, as in the
old Reinsberg case): and the work, which had been steadily
proceeding while the Master struggled in those dangerous battles
and adventures far away from it, was in good forwardness at his
return. An object of cheerful interest to him; prophetic of calmer
years ahead.

It was not till May, 1747, that the formal occupation took place:
"Mayday, 1747," he had a grand House-heating, or "First Dinner, of
200 covers: and May 19th-20th was the first night of his sleeping
there." For the next Forty Years, especially as years advanced, he
spent the most of his days and nights in this little Mansion;
which became more and more his favorite retreat, whenever the
noises and scenic etiquettes were not inexorable. "SANS-SOUCI;"
which we may translate "No-Bother." A busy place this too, but of
the quiet kind; and more a home to him than any of the Three fine
Palaces (ultimately Four), which lay always waiting for him in the
neighborhood. Berlin and Charlottenburg are about twenty miles off;
Potsdam, which, like the other two, is rather consummate among
Palaces, lies leftwise in front of him within a short mile. And at
length, to RIGHT hand, in a similar distance and direction, came
the "NEUE SCHLOSS" (New Palace of Potsdam), called also the "PALACE
of Sans-Souci," in distinction from the Dwelling-House, or as it
were Garden-House, which made that name so famous.

Certainly it is a significant feature of Friedrich; and discloses
the inborn proclivity he had to retirement, to study and
reflection, as the chosen element of human life. Why he fell upon
so ambitious a title for his Royal Cottage? "No-Bother" was not
practically a thing he, of all men, could consider possible in this
world: at the utmost perhaps, by good care, "LESS-Bother"!
The name, it appears, came by accident. He had prepared his Tomb,
and various Tombs, in the skirts of this new Cottage: looking at
these, as the building of them went on, he was heard to say, one
day (Spring 1746), D'Argens strolling beside him: "OUI, ALORS JE
SERAI SANS SOUCI (Once THERE, one will be out of bother)!" A saying
which was rumored of, and repeated in society, being by such a man.
Out of which rumor in society, and the evident aim of the Cottage
Royal, there was gradually born, as Venus from the froth of the
sea, this name, "Sans-Souci;"--which Friedrich adopted; and, before
the Year was out, had put upon his lintel in gold letters. So that,
by "Mayday, 1747," the name was in all men's memories; and has
continued ever since. [Preuss, i. 268, &c.; Nicolai, iii. 1200.]
Tourists know this Cottage Royal: Friedrich's "Three Rooms in it;
one of them a Library; in another, a little Alcove with an iron
Bed" (iron, without curtains; old softened HAT the usual royal
nightcap)--altogether a soldier's lodging:--all this still stands
as it did. Cheerfully looking down on its garden-terraces, stairs,
Greek statues, and against the free sky:--perhaps we may visit it
in time coming, and take a more special view. In the Years now on
hand, Friedrich, I think, did not much practically live there, only
shifted thither now and then. His chief residence is still Potsdam
Palace; and in Carnival time, that of Berlin; with Charlottenburg
for occasional festivities, especially in summer, the gardens there
being fine.

This of Sans-Souci is but portion of a wider Tendency, wider set of
endeavors on Friedrich's part, which returns upon him now that
Peace has returned: That of improving his own Domesticities, while
he labors at so many public improvements. Gazing long on that
simmering "Typhoon of Marine-stores" above mentioned, we do trace
Three great Heads of Endeavor in this Peace Period. FIRST, the
Reform of Law; which, as above hinted, is now earnestly pushed
forward again, and was brought to what was thought completion
before long. With much rumor of applause from contemporary mankind.
Concerning which we are to give some indications, were it only
dates in their order: though, as the affair turned out not to be
completed, but had to be taken up again long after, and is an
affair lying wide of British ken,--there need not, and indeed
cannot, be much said of it just now. SECONDLY, there is eager
Furthering of the Husbandries, the Commerces, Practical Arts,--
especially at present, that of Foreign Commerce, and Shipping from
the Port of Embden. Which shall have due notice. And THIRDLY, what
must be our main topic here, there is that of Improving the
Domesticities, the Household Enjoyments such as they were;--
especially definable as Renewal of the old Reinsberg Program;
attempt more strenuous than ever to realize that beautiful ideal.
Which, and the total failure of which, and the consequent quasi-
abandonment of it for time coming, are still, intrinsically and by
accident, of considerable interest to modern readers.

Curious, and in some sort touching, to observe how that old
original Life-Program still re-emerges on this King: "Something of
melodious possible in one's poor life, is not there? A Life to the
Practical Duties, yes; but to the Muses as well!"--Of Friedrich's
success in his Law-Reforms, in his Husbandries, Commerces and
Furtherances, conspicuously great as it was, there is no
possibility of making careless readers cognizant at this day.
Only by the great results--a "Prussia QUADRUPLED" in his time, and
the like--can studious readers convince themselves, in a cold and
merely statistic way. But in respect of Life to the Muses, we have
happily the means of showing that in actual vitality; in practical
struggle towards fulfillment,--and how extremely disappointing the
result was. In a word, Voltaire pays his Fifth and final Visit in
this Period; the Voltaire matter comes to its consummation. To
that, as to one of the few things which are perfectly knowable in
this Period of TEN-YEARS PEACE, and in which mankind still take
interest, we purpose mostly to devote ourselves here.

Ten years of a great King's life, ten busy years too; and nothing
visible in them, of main significance, but a crash of Author's
Quarrels, and the Crowning Visit of Voltaire? Truly yes, reader;
so it has been ordered. Innumerable high-dressed gentlemen, gods of
this lower world, are gone all to inorganic powder, no comfortable
or profitable memory to be held of them more; and this poor
Voltaire, without implement except the tongue and brain of him,--he
is still a shining object to all the populations; and they say and
symbol to me, "Tell us of him! He is the man!" Very strange indeed.
Changed times since, for dogs barking at the heels of him, and
lions roaring ahead,--for Asses of Mirepoix, for foul creatures in
high dizenment, and foul creatures who were hungry valets of the
same,--this man could hardly get the highways walked! And indeed
had to keep his eyes well open, and always have covert within
reach,--under pain of being torn to pieces, while he went about in
the flesh, or rather in the bones, poor lean being. Changed times;
within the Century last past! For indeed there was in that man what
far transcends all dizenment, and temporary potency over valets,
over legions, treasure-vaults and dim millions mostly blockhead:
a spark of Heaven's own lucency, a gleam from the Eternities (in
small measure);--which becomes extremely noticeable when the Dance
is over, when your tallow-dips and wax-lights are burnt out, and
the brawl of the night is gone to bed.

Chapter II.


Public European affairs require little remembrance; the War burning
well to leeward of us henceforth. A huge world of smoky chaos; the
special fires of it, if there be anything of fire, are all the more
clear far in the distance. Of which sort, and of which only, the
reader is to have notice. Marechal de Saxe--King Louis oftenest
personally there, to give his name and countenance to things done
--is very glorious in the Netherlands; captures, sometimes by
surprisal, place after place (beautiful surprisal of Brussels last
winter); with sieges of Antwerp, Mons, Charleroi, victoriously
following upon Brussels: and, before the end of 1746, he is close
upon Holland itself; intent on having Namur and Maestricht;
for which the poor Sea-Powers, with a handful of Austrians, fight
two Battles, and are again beaten both times. [1. Battle of
Roucoux, 11th October, 1746; Prince Karl commanding, English taking
mainly the stress of fight;--Saxe having already outwitted poor
Karl, and got Namur. 2. Battle of Lawfelt, or Lauffeld, called also
of VAL, 2d July, 1747; Royal Highness of Cumberland commanding (and
taking most of the stress; Ligonier made prisoner, &c.),--Dutch
fighting ill, and Bathyani and his Austrians hardly in the fire at
all.] A glorious, ever-victorious Marechal; and has an Army very
"high-toned," in more than one sense: indeed, I think, one of the
loudest-toned Armies ever on the field before. Loud not with well-
served Artillery alone, but with play-actor Thunder-barrels (always
an itinerant Theatre attends), with gasconading talk, with orgies,
debaucheries,--busy service of the Devil, AND pleasant
consciousness that we are Heaven's masterpiece, and are in perfect
readiness to die at any moment;--our ELASTICITY and agility ("ELAN"
as we call it) well kept up, in that manner, for the time being.

Hungarian Majesty, contrary to hope, neglects the Netherlands,
"Holland and England, for their own sake, will manage there!"--and
directs all her resources, and her lately Anti-Prussian Armies
(General Browne leading them) upon Italy, as upon the grand
interest now. Little to the comfort of the Sea-Powers.
But Hungarian Majesty is decided to cut in upon the French and
Spaniards, in that fine Country,--who had been triumphing too much
of late; Maillebois and Senor de Gages doing their mutual exploits
(though given to quarrel); Don Philip wintering in Milan even
(1745-1746); and the King of Sardinia getting into French
courses again.

Strong cuts her Hungarian Majesty does inflict, on the Italian
side; tumbles Infant Philip out of Milan and his Carnival gayeties,
in plenty of hurry; besieges Genoa, Marquis Botta d'Adorno (our old
acquaintance Botta) her siege-captain, a native of this region;
brings back the wavering Sardinian Majesty; captures Genoa, and
much else. Captures Genoa, we say,--had not Botta been too rigorous
on his countrymen, and provoked a revolt again, Revolt of Genoa,
which proved difficult to settle. In fine, Hungarian Majesty has,
in the course of this year 1746, with aid of the reconfirmed
Sardinian Majesty, satisfactorily beaten the French and Spaniards.
Has--after two murderous Battles gained over the Maillebois-Gages
people--driven both French and Spaniards into corners, Maillebois
altogether home again across the Var;--nay has descended in actual
Invasion upon France itself. And, before New-year's day, 1747,
General Browne is busy besieging Antibes, aided by English Seventy-
fours; so that "sixty French Battalions" have to hurry home, from
winter-quarters, towards those Provencal Countries; and Marechal de
Belleisle, who commands there, has his hands full. Triumphant
enough her Hungarian Majesty, in Italy; while in the Netherlands,
the poor Sea-Powers have met with no encouragement from the Fates
or her. ["Battle of Piacenza" (Prince Lichtenstein, with whom is
Browne, VERSUS Gages and Maillebois), 16th June, 1746 (ADELUNG,
v. 427); "Battle of Rottofreddo" (Botta chief Austrian there, and
our old friend Barenklau getting killed there), 12th August, 1746
(IB. 462); whereupon, 7th SEPTEMBER, Genoa (which had declared
itself Anti-Austrian latterly, not without cause, and brought the
tug of War into those parts) is coerced by Botta to open its gates,
on grievous terms (IB. 484-489); so that, NOVEMBER 30th, Browne, no
Bourbon Army now on the field, enters Provence (crosses the Var,
that day), and tries Antibes: 5th-11th DECEMBER, Popular Revolt in
Genoa, and Expulsion of proud Botta and his Austrians
(IB. 518-523); upon which surprising event (which could not be
mended during the remainder of the War), Browne's enterprise became
impossible. See Buonamici, Histoire de la derniere
Revolution de Genes; Adelung, v. 516; vi. 31, &c. &c.]
All which the reader may keep imagining at his convenience;--but
will be glad rather, for the present, to go with us for an actual
look at M. de Voltaire and the divine Emilie, whom we have not seen
for a long time. Not much has happened in the interim; one or two
things only which it can concern us to know;--scattered fragments
of memorial, on the way thus far:--

1. M. DE VOLTAIRE HAS, IN 1745, MADE WAY AT COURT. Divine Emilie
picked up her Voltaire from that fine Diplomatic course, and went
home with him out of our sight, in the end of 1743; the Diplomatic
career gradually declaring itself barred to him thenceforth.
Since which, nevertheless, he has had his successes otherwise,
especially in his old Literary course: on the whole, brighter
sunshine than usual, though never without tempestuous clouds
attending. Goes about, with his divine Emilie, now wearing browner
and leaner, both of them; and takes the good and evil of life,
mostly in a quiet manner; sensible that afternoon is come.

The thrice-famous Pompadour, who had been known to him in the
Chrysalis state, did not forget him on becoming Head-Butterfly of
the Universe. By her help, one long wish of his soul was gratified,
and did not hunger or thirst any more. Some uncertain footing at
Court, namely, was at length vouchsafed him:--uncertain; for the
Most Christian Majesty always rather shuddered under those
carbuncle eyes, under that voice "sombre and majestious," with such
turns lying in it:--some uncertain footing at Court; and from the
beginning of 1745, his luck, in the Court spheres, began to mount
in a wonderful and world-evident manner. On grounds tragically
silly, as he thought them. On the Dauphin's Wedding,--a Termagant's
Infanta coming hither as Dauphiness, at this time,--there needed to
be Court-shows, Dramaticules, Transparencies, Feasts of Lanterns,
or I know not what. Voltaire was the chosen man; Voltaire and
Rameau (readers have heard of RAMEAU'S NEPHEW, and musical readers
still esteem Rameau) did their feat; we may think with what
perfection, with what splendor of reward. Alas, and the feat done
was, to one of the parties, so unspeakably contemptible!
Voltaire pensively surveying Life, brushes the sounding strings;
and hums to himself, the carbuncle eyes carrying in them almost
something of wet:--
"MON Henri Quatre ET MA Zaire,
["My HENRI QUATRE, my ZAIRE, my ALZIRE [high works very many],
could never purchase me a single glance of the King; I had
multitudes of enemies, and very little fame:--honors and riches
rain on me, at last, for a Farce of the Fair" ( OEuvres,
ii. 151).
The "Farce" (which by no means CALLED itself such) was PRINCESSE DE
NAVARRE ( OEuvres, lxxiii. 251): first acted
23d February, 1745, Day of the Wedding. Gentlemanship of the
Chamber thereupon (which Voltaire, by permission, sold, shortly
after, for 2,500 pounds, with titles retained), and appointment as
Historiographer Royal. Poor Dauphiness did not live long; Louis
XVI.'s Mother was a SECOND Wife, Saxon-Polish Majesty's Daughter.]
Yes, my friend; it is a considerable ass, this world; by no means
the Perfectly Wise put at the top of it (as one could wish), and
the Perfectly Foolish at the bottom. Witness--nay, witness Psyche
Pompadour herself, is not she an emblem! Take your luck without
criticism; luck good and bad visits all.

Academy itself, Pompadour favoring, is made willing; Voltaire sees
himself among the Forty: soul, on that side too, be at ease, and
hunger not nor thirst anymore. ["May 9th, 1746, Voltaire is
received at the Academy; and makes a very fine Discourse" (BARBIER,
ii. 488). OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii. 355,
385, and i. 97.] This highest of felicities could not be achieved
without an ugly accompaniment from the surrounding Populace.
Desfontaines is dead, safe down in Sodom; but wants not for a
successor, for a whole Doggery of such. Who are all awake, and
giving tongue on this occasion. There is M. Roi the "Poet," as he
was then reckoned; jingling Roi, who concocts satirical calumnies;
who collects old ones, reprints the same,--and sends Travenol, an
Opera-Fiddler, to vend them. From which sprang a Lawsuit, PROCES-
TRAVENOL, of famous melancholy sort. As Voltaire had rather the
habit of such sad melancholy Lawsuits, we will pause on this of
Travenol for a moment:--

3. SUMMARY OF TRAVENOL LAWSUIT. "Monday, 9th May, 1746, was the Day
or reception at the Academy; reception and fruition, thrice-savory
to Voltaire. But what an explosion of the Doggeries, before, during
and after that event! Voltaire had tried to be prudent, too. He had
been corresponding with Popes, with Cardinals; and, in a fine
frank-looking way, capturing their suffrages:--not by lying, which
in general he wishes to avoid, but by speaking half the truth;
in short, by advancing, in a dexterous, diplomatic way, the
uncloven foot, in those Vatican precincts. And had got the Holy
Father's own suffrage for MAHOMET (think of that, you Ass of
Mirepoix!), among other cases that might rise. When this seat among
the Forty fell vacant, his very first measure--mark it, Orthodox
reader--was a Letter to the Chief Jesuit, Father Latour, Head of
one's old College of Louis le Grand. A Letter of fine filial tenor:
'My excellent old Schoolmasters, to whom I owe everything;
the representatives of learning, of decorum, of frugality and
modest human virtue:--in what contrast to the obscure Doggeries
poaching about in the street-gutters, and flying at the peaceable
passenger!' [In Voltairiana, ou Eloges Amphigouriques,
&c. (Paris, 1748), i. 150-160, the LETTER itself,
"Paris, 7th February, 1746;" omitted (without need or real cause on
any side) in the common Collections of OEuvres de
Voltaire. ] Which captivated Father Latour; and made
matters smooth on that side; so that even the ANCIEN DE MIREPOIX
said nothing, this time: What could he say? No cloven foot visible,
and the Authorities strong.

"Voltaire had started as Candidate with these judicious
preliminaries. Voltaire was elected, as we saw; fine Discourse,
9th May; and on the Official side all things comfortable. But, in
the mean while, the Doggeries, as natural, seeing the thing now
likely, had risen to a never-imagined pitch; and had filled Paris,
and, to Voltaire's excruciated sense, the Universe, with their
howlings and their hyena-laughter, with their pasquils, satires,
old and new. So that Voltaire could not stand it; and, in evil
hour, rushed downstairs upon them; seized one poor dog, Travenol,
unknown to him as Fiddler or otherwise; pinioned Dog Travenol, with
pincers, by the ears, him for one;--proper Police-pincers, for we
are now well at Court;--and had a momentary joy! And, alas, this
was not the right dog; this, we say, was Travenol a Fiddler at the
Opera, who, except the street-noises, knew nothing of Voltaire;
much less had the least pique at him; but had taken to hawking
certain Pasquils (Jingler Roi's COLLECTION, it appears), to turn a
desirable penny by them.

"And mistakes were made in the Affair Travenol,--old FATHER
Travenol haled to prison, instead of Son,--by the Lieutenant of
Police and his people. And Voltaire took the high-hand method
(being well at Court):--and thereupon hungry Advocates took up Dog
Travenol and his pincered ears: 'Serene Judges of the Chatelet,
Most Christian Populace of Paris, did you ever see a Dog so
pincered by an Academical Gentleman before, merely for being
hungry?' And Voltaire, getting madder and madder, appealed to the
Academy (which would not interfere); filed Criminal Informations;
appealed to the Chatelet, to the Courts above and to the Courts
below; and, for almost a year, there went on the 'PROCES-TRAVENOL:'
[About Mayday, 1746, Seizure of Travenol; Pleadings are in vigor
August, 1746; not done April, 1747. In Voltairiana, italic> ii. 141-206, Pleadings, &c., copiously given; and most of
the original Libels, in different parts of that sad Book (compiled
by Travenol's Advocate, a very sad fellow himself): see also
OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii. 355 n., 385 n.;
IB. i. 97; BARBIER, ii. 487. All in a very jumbled, dateless, vague
and incorrect condition.] Olympian Jove in distressed circumstances
VERSUS a hungry Dog who had eaten dirty puddings. Paris, in all its
Saloons and Literary Coffee-houses (figure the ANTRE DE PROCOPE, on
Publication nights!), had, monthly or so, the exquisite malign
banquet; and grinned over the Law Pleadings: what Magazine Serial
of our day can be so interesting to the emptiest mind!

"Lasted, I find, for above a year. From Spring, 1746, till towards
Autumn, 1747: Voltaire's feelings being--Haha, so exquisite, all
the while!--Well, reader, I can judge how amusing it was to high
and low. And yet Phoebus Apollo going about as mere Cowherd of
Admetus, and exposed to amuse the populace by his duels with dogs
that have bitten him? It is certain Voltaire was a fool, not to be
more cautious of getting into gutter-quarrels; not to have a
thicker skin, in fact."

PROCES-TRAVENOL escorting one's Triumphal Entry; what an adjunct!
Always so: always in your utmost radiance of sunshine a shadow;
and in your softest outburst of Lydian or Spheral symphonies
something of eating Care! Then too, in the Court-circle itself, "is
Trajan pleased," or are all things well? Readers have heard of that
"TRAJAN EST-IL CONTENT?" It occurred Winter, 1745 (27th November,
1745, a date worth marking), while things were still in the flush
of early hope. That evening, our TEMPLE DE LA GLOIRE (Temple of
Glory) had just been acted for the first time, in honor of him we
may call "Trajan," returning from a "Fontenoy and Seven Cities
captured:" [Seven of them; or even eight of a kind: Tournay, Ghent,
Bruges, Nieuport, Dendermond, Ath, Ostend; and nothing lost but
Cape Breton and one's Codfishery.]--

"Reviens, divin Trajan, vainqueur doux et terrible;
Le monde est mon rival, tous les coeurs sont a toi;
Mais est-il un coeur plus sensible,
Et qui t'adore plus que moi?"
[TEMPLE DE LA GLOIRE, Acte iv. ( OEuvres,
xii. 328).]
"Return, divine Trajan, conqueror sweet and terrible;
The world is my rival, all hearts are thine;
But is there a heart more loving,
Or that adores thee more than I?"

An allegoric Dramatic Piece; naturally very admirable at
Versailles. Issuing radiant from Fall of the Curtain, Voltaire had
the farther honor to see his Majesty pass out; Majesty escorted by
Richelieu, one's old friend in a sense: "Is Trajan pleased?"
whispered Voltaire to his Richelieu; overheard by Trajan,--who
answered in words nothing, but in a visible glance of the eyes did
answer, "Impertinent Lackey!"--Trajan being a man unready with
speech; and disliking trouble with the people whom he paid for
keeping his boots in polish. O my winged Voltaire, to what dunghill
Bubbly-Jocks (COQS D'INDE) you do stoop with homage, constrained by
their appearance of mere size!--

Evidently no perfect footing at Court, after all. And then the
Pompadour, could she, Head-Butterfly of the Universe, be an anchor
that would hold, if gales rose? Rather she is herself somewhat of a
gale, of a continual liability to gales; unstable as the wind!
Voltaire did his best to be useful, as Court Poet, as director of
Private Theatricals;--above all, to soothe, to flatter Pompadour;
and never neglected this evident duty. But, by degrees, the envious
Lackey-people made cabals; turned the Divine Butterfly into
comparative indifference for Voltaire; into preference of a
Crebillon's poor faded Pieces: "Suitabler these, Madame, for the
Private Theatricals of a Most Christian Majesty." Think what a
stab; crueler than daggers through one's heart: "Crebillon?"
M. de Voltaire said nothing; looked nothing, in those sacred
circles; and never ceased outwardly his worship, and assiduous
tuning, of the Pompadour: but he felt--as only Phoebus Apollo in
the like case can! "Away!" growled he to himself, when this
atrocity had culminated. And, in effect, is, since the end of 1746
or so, pretty much withdrawn from the Versailles Olympus; and has
set, privately in the distance (now at Cirey, now at Paris, in our
PETIT PALAIS there), with his whole will and fire, to do
Crebillon's dead Dramas into living oues of his own. Dead CATILINA
of Crebillon into ROME SAUVEE of Voltaire, and the other samples of
dead into living,--that stupid old Crebillon himself and the whole
Universe may judge, and even Pompadour feel a remorse!--Readers
shall fancy these things; and that the world is coming back to its
old poor drab color with M. de Voltaire; his divine Emilie and he
rubbing along on the old confused terms. One face-to-face peep of
them readers shall now have; and that is to be enough, or more
than enough:--


About the middle of August, 1747, King Friedrich, I find, was at
home;--not in his new SANS-SOUCI by any means, but running to and
fro; busy with his Musterings, "grand review, and mimic attack on
Bornstadt, near Berlin;" INVALIDEN-HAUS (Military Hospital) getting
built; Silesian Reviews just ahead; and, for the present, much
festivity and moving about, to Charlottenburg, to Berlin and the
different Palaces; Wilhelmina, "August 15th," having come to see
him; of which fine visit, especially of Wilhelmina's thoughts on
it,--why have the envious Fates left us nothing!

While all this is astir in Berlin and neighborhood, there is, among
the innumerable other visits in this world, one going on near
Paris, in the Mansion or Palace of Sceaux, which has by chance
become memorable. A visit by Voltaire and his divine Emilie, direct
from Paris, I suppose, and rather on the sudden. Which has had the
luck to have a LETTER written on it, by one of those rare
creatures, a seeing Witness, who can make others see and believe.
The seeing Witness is little Madame de Staal (by no means Necker's
Daughter, but a much cleverer), known as one of the sharpest female
heads; she from the spot reports it to Madame du Deffand, who also
is known to readers. There is such a glimpse afforded here into the
actuality of old things and remarkable human creatures, that
Friedrich himself would be happy to read the Letter.

Duchesse du Maine, Lady of Sceaux, is a sublime old personage, with
whom and with whose high ways and magnificent hospitalities at
Sceaux, at Anet and elsewhere, Voltaire had been familiar for long
years past. [In OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxiii.
434 n, x. 8, &c., "Clog." and others represent THIS Visit as having
been to Anet,--though the record otherwise is express.]
This Duchess, grand-daughter of the great Conde, now a dowager for
ten years, and herself turned of seventy, has been a notable figure
in French History this great while: a living fragment of Louis le
Grand, as it were. Was wedded to Louis's "Legitimated"
Illegitimate, the Duc du Maine; was in trouble with the Regent
d'Orleans about Alberoni-Cellamare conspiracies (1718), Regent
having stript her lmsband of his high legitimatures and dignities,
with little ceremony; which led her to conspire a good deal, at one
time. [DUC DU MAINE with COMTE DE TOULOUSE were products of Louis
XIV. and Madame de Montespan:--"legitimated" by Papa's fiat in
1673, while still only young children; DISlegitimated again by
Regent d'Orleans, autumn, 1718; grand scene, "guards drawn out" and
the like, on this occasion (BARBIER, i. 8-11, ii. 181); futile
Conspiracies with Alberoni thereupon; arrest of Duchess and Duke
(29th December, 1718), and closure of that poor business. Duc du
Maine died 1736; Toulouse next year; ages, each about sixty-five.
"Duc de Penthievre," Egalite's father-in-law, was Toulouse's son;
Maine has left a famous Dowager, whom we see. Nothing more of
notable about the one or the other.] She was never very beautiful;
but had a world of grace and witty intelligence; and knew a
Voltaire when she saw him. Was the soul of courtesy and benignity,
though proud enough, and carrying her head at its due height;
and was always very charming, in her lofty gracious way, to
mankind. Interesting to all, were it only as a living fragment of
the Grand Epoch,--kind of French Fulness of Time, when the world
was at length blessed with a Louis Quatorze, and Ne-plus-ultra of a
Gentleman determined to do the handsome thing in this world. She is
much frequented by high people, especially if of a Literary or
Historical turn. President Henault (of the ABREGE CHRONOLOGIQUE,
the well-frilled, accurately powdered, most correct old legal
gentleman) is one of her adherents; Voltaire is another, that may
stand for many: there is an old Marquis de St. Aulaire, whom she
calls "MON VIEUX BERGER (my old shepherd," that is to say,
sweetheart or flame of love); [BARBIER, ii. 87; see ib. (i. 8-11;
ii. 181, 436; &c.) for many notices of her affairs and her.] there
is a most learned President de Mesmes, and others we have heard of,
but do not wish to know. Little De Staal was at one time this fine
Duchess's maid; but has far outgrown all that, a favorite guest of
the Duchess's instead; holds now mainly by Madame du Deffand (not
yet fallen blind),--and is well turned of fifty, and known for one
of the shrewdest little souls in the world, at the time she writes.
Her Letter is addressed "TO MADAME DU DEFFAND, at Paris;" most
free-flowing female Letter; of many pages, runs on, day after day,
for a fortnight or so;--only Excerpts of it introducible here:--

"SCEAUX, TUESDAY, 15th AUGUST, 1747. ... Madame du Chatelet and
Voltaire, who had announced themselves as for to-day, and whom
nobody had heard of otherwise, made their appearance yesternight,
near midnight; like two Spectres, with an odor of embalmment about
them, as if just out of their tombs. We were rising from table;
the Spectres, however, were hungry ones: they needed supper;
and what is more, beds, which were not ready. The Housekeeper
(CONCIERGE), who had gone to bed, rose in great haste.
Gaya [amiable gentleman, conceivable, not known], who had offered
his apartment for pressing cases, was obliged to yield it in this
emergency: he flitted with as much precipitation and displeasure as
an army surprised in its camp; leaving a part of his baggage in the
enemy's hands. Voltaire thought the lodging excellent, but that did
not at all console Gaya.

"As to the Lady, her bed turns out not to have been well made;
they have had to put her in a new place to-day. Observe, she made
that bed herself, no servants being up, and had found a blemish or
DEFAUT of"--word wanting: who knows what?--"in the mattresses;
which I believe hurt her exact mind, more than her not very
delicate body. She has got, in the interim, an apartment promised
to somebody else; and she will have to leave it again on Friday or
Saturday, and go into that of Marechal de Maillebois, who leaves at
that time."

--Yes; Maillebois in the body, O reader. This is he, with the old
ape-face renewed by paint, whom we once saw marching with an "Army
of Redemption," haggling in the Passes about Eger, unable to redeem
Belleisle; marching and haggling, more lately, with a "Middle-Rhine
Army," and the like non-effect; since which, fighting his best in
Italy,--pushed home last winter, with Browne's bayonets in his
back; Belleisle succeeding him in dealing with Browne.
Belleisle, and the "Revolt of Genoa" (fatal to Browne's Invasion of
us), and the Defence of Genoa and the mutual worryings thereabout,
are going on at a great rate,--and there is terrible news out of
those Savoy Passes, while Maillebois is here. Concerning which by
and by. He is grandson of the renowned Colbert, this Maillebois.
A Field-Marshal evidently extant, you perceive, in those vanished
times: is to make room for Madame on Friday, says our little De
Staal; and take leave of us,--if for good, so much the better!

"He came at the time we did, with his daughter and grand-daughter:
the one is pretty, the other ugly and dreary [l'UNE, L'AUTRE;
no saying which, in such important case! Madame la Marechale, the
mother and grandmother, I think must be dead. Not beautiful she,
nor very benignant, "UNE TRES-MECHANTE FEMME, very cat-witted
woman," says Barbier; "shrieked like a devil, at Court, upon the
Cardinal," about that old ARMY-OF-REDEMPTION business; but all her
noise did nothing]. [Barbier, ii, 332 ("November, 1742").]--
M. le Marechal has hunted here with his dogs, in these fine autumn
woods and glades; chased a bit of a stag, and caught a poor doe's
fawn: that was all that could be got there.

"Our new Guests will make better sport: they are going to have
their Comedy acted again [Comedy of THE EXCHANGE, much an
entertainment with them]: Vanture [conceivable, not known] is to do
the Count de Boursoufle (DE BLISTER or DE WINDBAG); you will not
say this is a hit, any more than Madame du Chatelet's doing the
Hon. Miss Piggery (LA COCHONNIERE), who ought to be fat and short."
[L'ECHANGE, The Exchange, or WHEN SHALL I GET NARRIED? Farce in
three acts: OEuvres, x. 167-222; used to be played at
Cirey and elsewhere (see plenty of details upon it, exact or not
quite so, IB. 7-9).]--Little De Staal then abruptly breaks off, to
ask about her Correspondent's health, and her Correspondent's
friend old President Henault's health; touches on those "grumblings
and discords in the Army (TRACASSERIES DE L'ARMEE)," which are
making such astir; how M. d'Argenson, our fine War-Minister, man of
talent amid blockheads, will manage them; and suddenly exclaims:
"O my queen, what curious animals men and women are! I laugh at
their manoeuvres, the days when I have slept well; if I have missed
sleep, I could kill them. These changes of temper prove that I do
not break off kind. Let us mock other people, and let other people
mock us; it is well done on both sides.--[Poor little De Staal:
to what a posture have things come with you, in that fast-rotting
Epoch, of Hypocrisies becoming all insolvent!]

"WEDNESDAY, 16th. Our Ghosts do not show themselves by daylight.
They appeared yesterday at ten in the evening; I do not think we
shall see them sooner to-day: the one is engaged in writing high
feats [SIECLE DE LOUIS XV., or what at last became such]; the other
in commenting Newton. They will neither play nor walk: they are, in
fact, equivalent to ZEROS in a society where their learned writings
are of no significance.--[Pauses, without notice given: for some
hours, perhaps days; then resuming:] Nay, worse still:
their apparition to-night has produced a vehement declamation on
one of our little social diversions here, the game of CAVAGNOLE:
["Kind of BIRIBI," it would appear; in the height of fashion then.]
it was continued and maintained," on the part of Madame du
Chatelet, you guess, "in a tone which is altogether unheard of in
this place; and was endured," on the part of Serene Highness, "with
a moderation not less surprising. But what is unendurable is my
babble"-- And herewith our nimble little woman hops off again into
the general field of things; and gossips largely, How are you, my
queen, Whither are you going, Whither we; That the Maillebois
people are away, and also the Villeneuves, if anybody knew them
now; then how the Estillacs, to the number of four, are coming
to-morrow; and Cousin Soquence, for all his hunting, can catch
nothing; and it is a continual coming and going; and how Boursoufle
is to be played, and a Dame Dufour is just come, who will do a
character. Rubrics, vanished Shadows, nearly all those high Dames
and Gentlemen; LA PAUVRE Saint-Pierre, "eaten with gout," who is
she? "Still drags herself about, as well as she can; but not with
me, for I never go by land, and she seems to have the hydrophobia,
when I take to the water. [Thread of date is gone! I almost think
we must have got to Saturday by this time:--or perhaps it is only
Thursday, and Maillebois off prematurely, to be out of the way of
the Farce? Little De Staal takes no notice; but continues
gossiping rapidly:]

"Yesterday Madame du Chatelet got into her third lodging: she could
not any longer endure the one she had chosen. There was noise in
it, smoke without fire:--privately meseems, a little the emblem of
herself! As to noise, it was not by night that it incommoded her,
she told me, but by day, when she was in the thick of her work:
it deranges her ideas. She is busy reviewing her PRINCIPLES"--
NEWTON'S PRINCIPIA, no doubt, but De Staal will understand it only
as PRINCIPES, Principles in general:--"it is an exercise she
repeats every year, without which the Principles might get away,
and perhaps go so far she would never find them again [You
satirical little gypsy!]. Her head, like enough, is a kind of
lock-up for them, rather than a birthplace, or natural home:
and that is a case for watching carefully lest they get away.
She prefers the high air of this occupation to every kind of
amusement, and persists in not showing herself till after dark.
Voltaire has produced some gallant verses [unknown to Editors]
which help off a little the bad effect of such unusual behavior.

"SUNDAY, 27th. I told you on Thursday [no, you did n't; you only
meant to tell] that our Spectres were going on the morrow, and that
the Piece was to be played that evening: all this has been done.
I cannot give you much of Boursoufle [done by one Vanture].
Mademoiselle Piggery [DE LA COCHONNIERE, Madame du Chatelet
herself] executed so perfectly the extravagance of her part, that I
own it gave me real pleasure. But Vanture only put his own fatuity
into the character of Boursoufle, which wanted more: he played
naturally in a Piece where all requires to be forced, like the
subject of it."--What a pity none of us has read this fine Farce!
"One Paris did the part of MUSCADIN (Little Coxcomb), which name
represents his character: in short, it can be said the Farce was
well given. The Author ennobled it by a Prologue for the Occasion;
which he acted very well, along with Madame Dufour as BARBE
(Governess Barbara),--who, but for this brilliant action, could not
have put up with merely being Governess to Piggery. And, in fact,
she disdained the simplicity of dress which her part required;--as
did the chief actress," Du Chatelet herself (age now forty-one);
"who, in playing PIGGERY, preferred the interests of her own face
to those of the Piece, and made her entry in all the splendor and
elegant equipments of a Court Lady,"--her "PRINCIPLES," though the
key is turned upon them, not unlike jumping out of window, one
would say! "She had a crow to pluck [MAILLE A PARTIR, "clasp to
open," which is better] with Voltaire on this point: but she is
sovereign, and he is slave. I am very sorry at their going, though
I was worn out with doing her multifarious errands all the time she
was here.

"WEDNESDAY, 30th. M. le President [Henault] has been asked hither;
and he is to bring you, my Queen! Tried all I could to hinder;
but they would not be put off. If your health and disposition do
suit, it will be charming. In any case, I have got you a good
apartment: it is the one that Madame du Chatelet had seized upon,
after an exact review of all the Mansion. There will be a little
less furniture than she had put in it; Madame had pillaged all her
previous apartments to equip this one. We found about seven tables
in it, for one item: she needs them of all sizes; immense, to
spread out her papers upon; solid, to support her NECESSAIRE;
slighter, for her nicknacks (POMPONS), for her jewels. And this
fine arrangement did not save her from an accident like that of
Philip II., when, after spending all the night in writing, he got
his despatches drowned by the oversetting of an ink-bottle.
The Lady did not pretend to imitate the moderation of that Prince;
at any rate, he was only writing on affairs of state; and the thing
they blotted, on this occasion, was Algebra, much more difficult to
clean up again.

"This subject ought to be exhausted: one word more, and then it
does end. The day after their departure, I receive a Letter of four
pages, and a Note enclosed, which announces dreadful burly-burly:
M. de Voltaire has mislaid his Farce, forgotten to get back the
parts, and lost his Prologue: I am to find all that again
[excessively tremulous about his Manuscripts, M. de Voltaire;
of such value are they, of such danger to him; there is LA PUCELLE,
for example,--enough to hang a man, were it surreptitiously
launched forth in print!]--I am to send him the Prologue instantly,
not by post, because they would copy it; to keep the parts for fear
of the same accident, and to lock up the Piece 'under a hundred
keys.' I should have thought one padlock sufficient for this
treasure! I have duly executed his orders." [ Madame de
Graffigny (Paris, 1820), pp. 283-291.]

And herewith EXPLICIT DE STAAL. Scene closes: EXEUNT OMNES; are off
to Paris or Versailles again; to Luneville and the Court of
Stanislaus again,--where also adventures await them, which will be
heard of!

"Figure to yourself," says some other Eye-witness, "a lean Lady,
with big arms and long legs; small head, and countenance losing
itself in a cloudery of head-dress; cocked nose [RETROUSSE, say
you? Very slightly, then; quite an unobjectionable nose!] and pair
of small greenish eyes; complexion tawny, and mouth too big:
this was the divine Emilie, whom Voltaire celebrates to the stars.
Loaded to extravagance with ribbons, laces, face-patches, jewels
and female ornaments; determined to be sumptuous in spite of
Economics, and pretty in spite of Nature:" Pooh, it is an enemy's
hand that paints! "And then by her side," continues he, "the thin
long figure of Voltaire, that Anatomy of an Apollo, affecting
worship of her," [From Rodenbeck (quoting somebody, whom I have
surely seen in French; whom Rodenbeck tries to name, as he could
have done, but curiously without success), i. 179.]--yes, that thin
long Gentleman, with high red-heeled shoes, and the daintiest
polite attitudes and paces; in superfine coat, laced hat under arm;
nose and under-lip ever more like coalescing (owing to decay of
teeth), but two eyes shining on you like carbuncles; and in the
ringing voice, such touches of speech when you apply for it!
Thus they at Sceaux and elsewhere; walking their Life-minuet,
making their entrances and exits.

One thing is lamentable: the relation with Madame is not now a
flourishing one, or capable again of being: "Does not love me as he
did, the wretch!" thinks Madame always;--yet sticks by him, were it
but in the form of blister. They had been to Luneville, Spring,
1747; happy dull place, within reach of Cirey; far from Versailles
and its cabals. They went again, 1748, in a kind of permanent way;
Titular Stanislaus, an opulent dawdling creature, much liking to
have them; and Father Menou, his Jesuit,--who is always in quarrel
with the Titular Mistress,--thinking to displace HER (as you,
gradually discover), and promote the Du Chatelet to that improper
dignity! In which he had not the least success, says Voltaire;
but got "two women on his ears instead of one." It was not to be
Stanislaus's mistress; nor a TITULAR one at all, but a real, that
Madame was fated in this dull happy place! Idle readers know the
story only too well;--concerning which, admit this other Fraction
and no more:--

"Stanislaus, as a Titular King, cannot do without some kind of
Titular Army,--were it only to blare about as Life-guard, and beat
kettle-drums on occasion. A certain tall high-sniffing M. de St.
Lambert, a young Lorrainer of long pedigree and light purse, had
just taken refuge in this Life-guard [Summer 1748, or so], I know
not whether as Captain or Lieutenant, just come from the
Netherlands Wars: of grave stiff manners; for the rest, a good-
looking young fellow; thought to have some poetic genius, even;--
who is precious, surely, in such an out-of-the-way place.
Welcome to Voltaire, to Madame still more. Alas, readers know the
History,--on which we must not dwell. Madame, a brown geometric
Lady, age now forty-two, with a Great Man who has scandalously
ceased to love her, casts her eye upon St. Lambert: 'Yes, you would
be the shoeing-horn, Monsieur, if one had time, you fine florid
fellow, hardly yet into your thirties--' And tries him with a
little coquetry; I always think, perhaps in this view chiefly?
And then, at any rate, as he responded, the thing itself became so
interesting: 'Our Ulysses-bow, we can still bend it, then, aha!
'And is not that a pretty stag withal, worth bringing down;
florid, just entering his thirties, and with the susceptibilities
of genius! Voltaire was not blind, could he have helped it,--had he
been tremulously alive to help it. 'Your Verses to her, my St.
Lambert,--ah, Tibullus never did the like of them. Yes, to you are
the roses, my fine young friend, to me are the thorns:' thus sings
Voltaire in response; [ OEuvres, xvii. 223
(EPITRE A M. DE ST. LAMBERT, 1749); &c. &c. In Memoires
sur Voltaire par Longchamp et Wagniere (Paris, 1826),
ii. 229 et seq., details enough and more.] perhaps not thinking it
would go so far. And it went,--alas, it went to all lengths,
mentionable and not mentionable: and M. le Marquis had to be coaxed
home in the Spring of 1749,--still earlier it had been suitabler;--
and in September ensuing, M. de St. Lambert looking his demurest,
there is an important lying-in to be transacted! Newton's PRINCIPIA
is, by that time, drawing diligently to its close;--complicated by
such far abstruser Problems, not of the geometric sort! Poor little
lean brown woman, what a Life, after all; what an End of a Life!"--


The War, since Friedrich got out of it, does not abate in
animosity, nor want for bloodshed, battle and sieging; but offers
little now memorable. March 18th, 1747, a ghastly Phantasm of a
Congress, "Congress of Breda," which had for some months been
attempting Peace, and was never able to get into conference, or
sit in its chairs except for moments, flew away altogether;
[In September, 1746, had got together; but would not take life, on
trying and again trying, and fell forgotten: February, 1747, again
gleams up into hope: March 18th and the following days, vanishes
for good (ADELUNG, v. 50; vi. 6, 62).] and left the War perhaps
angrier than ever, more hopelessly stupid than ever.
Except, indeed, that resources are failing; money running low in
France, Parlements beginning to murmur, and among the Population
generally a feeling that glory is excellent, but will not make the
national pot boil. Perhaps all this will be more effective than
Congresses of Breda? Here are the few Notes worth giving:

SUDDENLY, A STADTHOLDER THERE. "After Fontenoy there has been much
sieging and capturing in that Netherlands Country, a series of
successes gloriously delightful to Marechal de Saxe and the French
Nation: likewise (in bar of said sieging, in futile attempt to bar
it) a Battle of Roucoux, October, 1746; with victory, or quasi-
victory, to Saxe, at least with prostration to the opposite part.
And farther on, there is a Battle of Lauffeld coming, 2d July,
1747; with similar results; frustration evident, retreat evident,
victory not much to speak of. And in this gloriously delightful
manner Saxe and the French Nation have proceeded, till in fact the
Netherlands Territory with all strongholds, except Maestricht
alone, was theirs,--and they decided on attacking the Dutch
Republic itself. And (17th April, 1747) actually broke in upon the
frontier Fortresses of Zealand; found the same dry-rotten
everywhere; and took them, Fortress after Fortress, at the rate of
a cannon salvo each: 'Ye magnanimous Dutch, see what you have got
by not sitting still, as recommended!' To the horror and terror of
the poor Zealanders and general Dutch Population. Who shrieked to
England for help;--and were, on the very instant, furnished with a
modicum of Seventy-fours (Dutch Courier returning by the same);
which landed the Courier April 23d, and put Walcheren in a state of
security. [Adelung, vi. 105, 125-134.]

"Whereupon the Dutch Population turned round on its Governors, with
a growl of indignation, spreading ever wider, waxing ever higher:
'Scandalous laggards, is this your mode of governing a free
Republic? Freedom to let the State go to dry-rot, and become the
laughing-stock of mankind. To provide for your own paltry kindred
in the State-employments; to palaver grandly with all comers;
and publish melodious Despatches of Van Hoey? Had not Britannic
Majesty, for his dear Daughter's sake, come to the rescue in this
crisis, where had we been? We demand a Stadtholder again; our
glorious Nassau Orange, to keep some bridle on you!' And actually,
in this way, Populus and Plebs, by general turning out into the
streets, in a gloomily indignant manner, which threatens to become
vociferous and dangerous,--cowed the Heads of the Republic into
choosing the said Prince, with Princess and Family, as Stadtholder,
High-Admiral, High-Everything and Supreme of the Republic.
Hereditary, no less, and punctually perpetual; Princess and Family
to share in it. In which happy state (ripened into Kingship
latterly) they continue to this day. A result painfully surprising
to Most Christian Majesty; gratifying to Britannic proportionately,
or more;--and indeed beneficial towards abating dry-rot and
melodious palaver in that poor Land of the Free. Consummated, by
popular outbreak of vociferation, in the different Provinces, in
about a week from April 23d, when those helpful Seventy-fours hove
in sight. Stadtholdership had been in abeyance for forty-five
years. [Since our Dutch William's death, 1702.] The new Stadtholder
did his best; could not, in the short life granted him, do nearly
enough.--Next year there was a SECOND Dutch outbreak, or general
turning into the streets; of much more violent character; in regard
to glaringly unjust Excises and Taxations, and to 'instant
dismissal of your Excise-Farmers,' as the special first item.
[Adelung, vi. 364 et seq.; Raumer, 182-193 ("March-September,
1748"); or, in Chesterfield's Works,
Dayrolles's Letters to Chesterfield: somewhat unintelligent and
unintelligible, both Raumer and he.] Which salutary object being
accomplished (new Stadtholder well aiding, in a valiant and
judicious manner), there has no third dose of that dangerous remedy
been needed since.

Exilles, in one of those Passes of the Savoy Alps,--Pass of Col di
Sieta, memorable to the French Soldier ever since,--there occurred
a lamentable thing;" doubtless much talked of at Sceaux while
Voltaire was there. "The Revolt of Genoa (popular outburst, and
expulsion of our poor friend Botta and his Austrians, then a famous
thing, and a rarer than now) having suddenly recalled the
victorious General Browne from his Siege of Antibes and Invasion of
Provence,--Marechal Duc de Belleisle, well reinforced and now
become 'Army of Italy' in general, followed steadfastly for
'Defence of Genoa' against indignant Botta, Browne and Company.
For defence of Genoa; nay for attack on Turin, which would have
been 'defence' in Genoa and everywhere,--had the captious Spaniard
consented to co-operate. Captious Spaniard would not; Couriers to
Madrid, to Paris thereupon, and much time lost;--till, at the
eleventh hour, came consent from Paris, 'Try it by yourself, then!'
Belleisle tries it; at least his Brother does. His Brother, the
Chevalier, is to force that Pass of Exilles; a terrible fiery
business, but the backbone of the whole adventure: in which, if the
Chevalier can succeed, he too is to be Marechal de France.
Forward, therefore, climb the Alpine stairs again; snatch me that
Fort of Exilles.

"And so, July 19th, 1747, the Chevalier comes in sight of the
Place; scans a little the frowning buttresses, bristly with guns;
the dumb Alps, to right and left, looking down on him and it.
Chevalier de Belleisle judges that, however difficult, it can and
must be possible to French valor; and storms in upon it, huge and
furious (20,000, or if needful 30,000);--but is torn into mere
wreck, and hideous recoil; rallies, snatches a standard, 'We must
take it or die,'--and dies, does not take it; falls shot on the
rampart, 'pulling at the palisades with his own hands,' nay some
say 'with his teeth,' when the last moments came. Within one hour,
he has lost 4,000 men; and himself and his Brother's Enterprise lie
ended there. [Voltaire, xxv. 221 et seq. (SIECLE DE LOUIS QUINZE,
c. 22); Adelung, vi 174.] Fancy his poor Brother's feelings, who
much loved him! The discords about War-matters (TRACASSERIES DE
L'ARMEE) were a topic at Sceaux lately, as De Staal intimated.
'Why starve our Italian Enterprises; heaping every resource upon
the Netherlands and Saxe?' Diligent Defence of Genoa (chiefly by
flourishing of swords on the part of France, for the Austrians were
not yet ready) is henceforth all the Italian War there is; and this
explosion at Exilles may fitly be finis to it here. Let us only say
that Infant Philip did, when the Peace came, get a bit of Apanage
(Parma and Piacenza or some such thing, contemptibly small to the
Maternal heart), and that all things else lapsed to their pristine
state, MINUS only the waste and ruin there had been."

"Unexpected Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom; two months of intense
excitement to the Dutch Patriots and Cause-of-Liberty Gazetteers,
as indifferent and totally dead as it has now become. Marechal de
Saxe, after his victory at Lauffeld, 2d July, did not besiege
Maestricht, as had been the universal expectation; but shot off an
efficient lieutenant of his, one Lowendahl, in due force, privately
ready, to overwhelm Bergen-op-Zoom with sudden Siege, while he
himself lay between the beaten enemy and it. Bergen is the heart,
of Holland, key of the Scheld, and quite otherwise important than
Maestricht. 'Coehorn's masterpiece!' exclaim the Gazetteers;
'Impregnable, you may depend!' 'We shall see,' answered Saxe,
answered Lowendahl the Dane (who also became Marechal by this
business); and after a great deal of furious assaulting and
battering, took the Place September 18th, before daylight," by a
kind of surprisal or quasi-storm;--"the Commandant, one Cronstrom,
a brave old Swede, age towards ninety, not being of very wakeful
nature! 'Did as well as could be expected of him,' said the Court-
Martial sitting on his case, and forbore to shoot the poor old man.
[Adelung, vi. 184, 206;--"for Cronstrom," if any one is curious,
"see Schlotzer, Schwedische Biographie,
ii. 252 (in voce)."] A sore stroke, this of Bergen, to Britannic
Majesty and the Friends of Liberty; who nevertheless refuse to
be discouraged."

36,000 Russians from the City of Moscow, this day; on a very long
journey, in the hoary Christmas weather! Most, Christian Majesty is
ruinously short of money; Britannic Majesty has still credit, and a
voting Parliament, but, owing to French influence on the Continent,
can get no recruits to hire. Gradually driven upon Russia, in such
stress, Britannic Majesty has this year hired for himself a 35,000
Russians; 30,000 regular foot; 4,000 ditto horse, and 1,000
Cossacks;--uncommonly cheap, only 150,000 pounds the lot, not, 4
pounds per head by the year. And, in spite of many difficulties and
hagglings, they actually get on march, from Moscow, 25th December,
1747; and creep on, all Winter, through the frozen peats
wildernesses, through Lithuania, Poland, towards Bohmen, Mahren:
are to appear in the Rhine Countries, joined by certain Austrians;
and astonish mankind next Spring. Their Captain is one Repnin,
Prince Repnin, afterwards famous enough in those Polish Countries;"
--which is now the one point interesting to us in the thing.
"Their Captain WAS, first, to be Lacy, old Marshal Lacy;
then, failing Lacy, 'Why not General Keith?'--but proves to be
Repnin, after much hustling and intriguing:" Repnin, not Keith,
that is the interesting point.

"Such march of the Russians, on behalf of Human Liberty, in pay of
Britannic Majesty, is a surprising fact; and considerably
discomposes the French. Who bestir themselves in Sweden and
elsewhere against Russia and it: with no result,--except perhaps
the incidental one, of getting our esteemed old friend Guy Dickens,
now Sir Guy, dismissed from Stockholm, and we hope put on half-pay
on his return home." [Adelung, vi. 250, 302:--Sir Guy, not yet
invalided, "went to Russia," and other errands.]


"Much hustling and intriguing," it appears, in regard to the
Captaincy of these Russians. Concerning which there is no word
worthy to be said,--except for one reason only, That it finished
off the connection of General Keith with Russia. That this of
seeing Repnin, his junior and inferior, preferred to him, was, of
many disgusts, the last drop which made the cup run over;--and led
the said General to fling it from him, and seek new fields of
employment. From Hamburg, having got so far, he addresses himself,
1st September, 1747, to Friedrich, with offer of service; who
grasps eagerly at the offer: "Feldmarschall your rank; income,
$1,200 a year; income, welcome, all suitable:"--and, October 28th,
Feldmarschall Keith finishes, at Potsdam, a long Letter to his
Brother Lord Marischal, in these words, worth giving, as those of a
very clear-eyed sound observer of men and things:--

"I have now the honor, and, which is still more, the pleasure, of
being with the King at Potsdam; where he ordered me to come," 17th
current, "two days after he declared me Fieldmarshal: Where I have
the honor to dine and sup with him almost every day. He has more
wit than I have wit to tell you; speaks solidly and knowingly on
all kinds of subjects; and I am much mistaken if, with the
experience of Four Campaigns, he is not the best Officer of his
Army. He has several persons," Rothenburg, Winterfeld, Swedish
Rudenskjold (just about departing), not to speak of D'Argens and
the French, "with whom he lives in almost the familiarity of a
friend,--but has no favorite;--and shows a natural politeness for
everybody who is about him. For one who has been four days about
his person, you will say I pretend to know a great deal of his
character: but what I tell you, you may depend upon. With more
time, I shall know as much of him as he will let me know;--and all
his Ministry knows no more." [Varnhagen van Ense, Leben
des Feldmarschalls Jakob Keith (Berlin, 1844,) p. 100;
Adelung, vi. 244.]

A notable acquisition to Friedrich;--and to the two Keiths withal;
for Friedrich attached both of them to his Court and service, after
their unlucky wanderings; and took to them both, in no common
degree. As will abundantly appear.

While that Russia Corps was marching out of Moscow, Cocceji and his
Commissions report from Pommern, that the Pomeranian Law-stables
are completely clear; that the New Courts have, for many months
back, been in work, and are now, at the end of the Year, fairly
abreast with it, according to program;--have "decided of Old-
Pending Lawsuits 2,400, all that there were (one of them 200 years
old, and filling seventy Volumes); and of the 994 New ones, 772;
not one Lawsuit remaining over from the previous Year." A highly
gratifying bit of news to his Majesty; who answers emphatically,
EUGE! and directs that the Law Hercules proceed now to the other
Provinces,--to the Kur-Mark, now, and Berlin itself,--with his
salutary industries. Naming him "Grand Chancellor," moreover;
that is to say, under a new title, Head of Prussian Law,--old
Arnim, "Minister of Justice," having shown himself disaffected to
Law-Reform, and got rebuked in consequence, and sulkily gone into
private life. [Stenzel, iv. 321; Ranke, iii. 389.]

In February of this Year, 1747, Friedrich had something like a
stroke of apoplexy; "sank suddenly motionless, one day," and sat
insensible, perhaps for half an hour: to the terror and horror of
those about him. Hemiplegia, he calls it; rush of blood to the
head;--probably indigestion, or gouty humors, exasperated by over-
fatigue. Which occasioned great rumor in the world; and at Paris,
to Voltaire's horror, reports of his death. He himself made light
of the matter: [To Voltaire, 22d February, 1747 ( OEuvres
de Frederic, xxii. 164); see IB. 164 n.] and it did
not prove to have been important; was never followed by anything
similar through his long life; and produced no change in his often-
wavering health, or in his habits, which were always steady. He is
writing MEMOIRS; settling "Colonies" (on his waste moors);
improving Harbors. Waiting when this European War will end;
politely deaf to the offers of Britannic Majesty as to taking the
least personal share in it.

Chapter III.


The preparations for Campaign 1748 were on a larger scale than
ever. Britannic Subsidies, a New Parliament being of willing mind,
are opulent to a degree; 192,000 men, 60,000 Austrians for one
item, shall be in the Netherlands;--coupled with this remarkable
new clause, "And they are to be there in fact, and not on paper
only," and with a tare-and-tret of 30 or 40 per cent, as too often
heretofore! Holland, under its new Stadtholder, is stanch of
purpose, if of nothing else. The 35,000 Russians, tramping along,
are actually dawning over the horizon, towards Teutschland,--King
Friedrich standing to arms along his Silesian Border, vigilant
"Cordon of Troops all the way," in watch of such questionable
transit. [In ADELUNG, vi. 110, 143, 167, 399 ("April, 1747-August,
1748"), account of the more and more visible ill-will of the
Czarina: "jealousy" about Sweden, about Dantzig, Poland, &c. &c.]
Britannic Majesty and Parliament seem resolute to try, once more,
to the utmost, the power of the breeches-pocket in defending this
sacred Cause of Liberty so called.

Breeches-pocket MINUS most other requisites: alas, with such
methods as you have, what can come of it? Royal Highness of
Cumberland is a valiant man, knowing of War little more than the
White Horse of Hanover does;--certain of ruin again, at the hands
of Marechal de Saxe. So think many, and have their dismal
misgivings. "Saxe having eaten Bergen-op-Zoom before our eyes, what
can withstand the teeth of Saxe?" In fact, there remains only
Maestricht, of considerable; and then Holland is as good as his!
As for King Louis, glory, with funds running out, and the pot
ceasing to boil, has lost its charm to an afflicted France and him.
King Louis's wishes are known, this long while;--and Ligonier,
generously dismissed by him after Lauffeld, has brought express
word to that effect, and outline of the modest terms proposed in
one's hour of victory, with pot ceasing to boil.

On a sudden, too, "March 18th,"--wintry blasts and hailstorms still
raging,--Marechal de Saxe, regardless of Domestic Hunger, took the
field, stronger than ever. Manoeuvred about; bewildering the mind
of Royal Highness and the Stadtholder ("Will he besiege Breda?
Will he do this, will he do that?")--poor Highness and poor
Stadtholder; who "did not agree well together," and had not the
half of their forces come in, not to speak of handling them when
come! Bewilderment of these two once completed, Marechal de Saxe
made "a beautiful march upon Maestricht; " and, April 15th, opened
trenches, a very Vesuvius of artillery, before that place;
Royal Highness gazing into it, in a doleful manner, from the
adjacent steeple-tops. Royal Highness, valor's self, has to admit:
"Such an outlook; not half of us got together! The 60,000 Austrians
are but 30,000; the-- In fact, you will have to make Peace, what
else?" [His Letters, in Coxe's Pelham
("March 29th-April 2d, 1748"), i. 405-410.] Nothing else, as has
been evident to practical Official People (especially to frugal
Pelham, Chesterfield and other leading heads) for these two months
last past.

In a word, those 35,000 Russians are still far away under the
horizon, when thoughts of a new Congress, "Congress of Aix-la-
Chapelle," are busying the public mind: "Mere moonshine again?"
"Something real this time?"--And on and from March 17th (Lord
Sandwich first on the ground, and Robinson from Vienna coming to
help), the actual Congress begins assembling there. April 24th, the
Congress gets actually to business; very intent on doing it;
at least the three main parties, France, England, Holland, are
supremely so. Who, finding, for five diligent days, nothing but
haggle and objection on the part of the others, did by themselves
meet under cloud of night, "night of April 29th-30th;" and--bring
the Preliminaries to perfection. And have them signed before
daybreak; which is, in effect, signing, or at least fixing as
certain, the Treaty itself; so that Armistice can ensue
straightway, and the War essentially end.

A fixed thing; the Purseholders having signed. On the safe rear of
which, your recipient Subsidiary Parties can argue and protest (as
the Empress-Queen and her Kaunitz vehemently did, to great
lengths), and gradually come in and finish. Which, in the course of
the next six months, they all did, Empress-Queen and Excellency
Kaunitz not excepted. And so, October 18th, 1748, all details
being, in the interim, either got settled, or got flung into
corners as unsettleable (mostly the latter),--Treaty itself was
signed by everybody; and there was "Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle."
Upon which, except to remark transiently how inconclusive a
conclusion it was, mere end of war because your powder is run out,
mere truce till you gather breath and gunpowder again, we will
spend no word in this place. [Complete details in ADELUNG, vi.
225-409: "October, 1747," Ligonier returning, and first rumor of
new Congress (226); "17th March, 1748," Sandwich come (323);
"April 29th-30th," meet under cloud of night (326); Kaunitz
protesting (339): "2d August," Russians to halt and turn (397);
"are over into the Oberpfalz, magazines ahead at Nurnberg;" in
September, get to Bohmen again, and winter there: "18th October,
1748," Treaty finished (398, 409); Treaty itself given (IB.,
Beylage, 44). See Gentleman's Magazine, and
OLD NEWSPAPERS of 1748; Coxe's Pelham, ii.
7-41, i. 366-416.]

"The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was done in a hurry and a huddle;
greatly to Maria Theresa's disgust. 'Why not go on with your
expenditures, ye Sea-Powers? Can money and life be spent better?
I have yet conquered next to nothing for the Cause of Liberty and
myself!' But the Sea-Powers were tired of it; the Dutch especially,
who had been hoisted with such difficulty, tended strongly, New
Stadtholder notwithstanding, to plump down again into stable
equilibrium on the broad-bottom principle. Huddle up the matter;
end it, well if you can; any way end it. The Treaty contained many
Articles, now become forgettable to mankind. There is only One
Article, and the Want of One, which shall concern us in this place.
The One Article is: guarantee by all the European Powers to
Friedrich's Treaty of Dresden. Punctually got as bargained for,--
French especially willing; Britannic Majesty perhaps a little
languid, but his Ministers positive on the point; so that
Friedrioh's Envoy had not much difficulty at Aix. And now,
Friedrich's Ownership of Silesia recognized by all the Powers to be
final and unquestionable, surely nothing more is wanted? Nothing,--
except keeping of this solemn stipulation by all the Powers. How it
was kept by some of them; in what sense some of them are keeping it
even now, we shall see by and by.

"The Want of an Article was, on the part of England, concerning
JENKINS'S EAR. There is not the least conclusion arrived at on that
important Spanish-English Question; blind beginning of all these
conflagrations; and which, in its meaning to the somnambulant
Nation, is so immense. No notice taken of it; huddled together,
some hasty shovelful or two of diplomatic ashes cast on it, 'As
good as extinct, you see!' Left smoking, when all the rest is
quenched. Considerable feeling there was, on this point, in the
heart of the poor somnambulant English Nation; much dumb or semi-
articulate growling on such a Peace-Treaty: 'We have arrived
nowhere, then, by all this fighting, and squandering, and perilous
stumbling among the chimney-pots? Spain (on its own showing) owed
us 95,000 pounds. Spain's debt to Hanover; yes, you take care of
that; some old sixpenny matter, which nobody ever heard of before:
and of Spain's huge debt to England you drop no hint; of the 95,000
pounds, clear money, due by Spain; or of one's liberty to navigate
("May, 1748") given in ADELUNG, vi. 353-358.] A Peace the reverse
of applauded in England; though the wiser Somnambulants, much more
Pitt and Friends, who are broad awake on these German points, may
well be thankful to see such a War end on any terms."

--Well, surely this old admitted 95,000 pounds should have been
paid! And, to a moral certainty, Robinson and Sandwich must have
made demand of it from the Spaniard. But there is no getting old
Debts in, especially from that quarter. "King Friedrich [let me
interrupt, for a moment, with this poor composite Note] is trying
in Spain even now,--ever since 1746, when Termagant's Husband died,
and a new King came,--for payment of old debt: Two old Debts; quite
tolerably just both of them. King Friedrich keeps trying till 1749,
three years in all: and, in the end, gets nothing whatever.
Nothing,--except some Merino Rams in the interim," gift from the
new King of Spain, I can suppose, which proved extremely useful in
our Wool Industries; "and, from the same polite Ferdinand VI., a
Porcelain Vase filled with Spanish Snuff." That was all!--

King Friedrich, let me note farther, is getting decidedly deep into
snuff; holds by SPANIOL (a dry yellow pungency, analogous to Lundy-
foot or Irish-Blackguard, known to snuffy readers); always by
Spaniol, we say; and more especially "the kind used by her Majesty
of Spain," the now Dowager Termagant: [Orders this kind, from his
Ambassador in Paris, "30th September, 1743:" the earliest extant
trace of his snuffing habits (Preuss, i. 409).--NOTE FARTHER (if
interesting): "The Termagant still lasted as Dowager, consuming
SPANIOL at least, for near twenty years (died 11th July, 1766);
--the new King, Ferdinand VI., was her STEPson, not her son;
he went mad, poor soul, and died (10th August, 1759): upon which,
Carlos of Naples, our own 'Baby Carlos' that once was, succeeded in
Spain, 'King Carlos III. of Spain;' leaving his Son, a young boy
under tutelage, as King of the Two Sicilies (King 'Ferdinand IV.,'
who did not die, but had his difficulties, till 1825). Don Philip,
who had fought so in those Savoy Passes, and got the bit of
Parmesan Country, died 1765, the year before Mamma."] which, also,
is to be remembered. Dryasdust adds, in his sweetly consecutive
way: "Friedrich was very expensive about his snuff-boxes; wore two
big rich boxes in his pockets; five or six stood on tables about;
and more than a hundred in store, coming out by turns for variety.
The cheapest of them cost 300 pounds (2,000 thalers); he had them
as high as 1,500 pounds. At his death, there were found 130 of
various values: they were the substance of all the jewelry he had;
besides these snuff-boxes, two gold watches only, and a very small
modicum of rings. Had yearly for personal Expenditure 1,200,000
thalers [180,000 pounds of Civil List, as we should say];
SPENT 33,000 pounds of it, and yearly gave the rest away in Royal
beneficences, aid of burnt Villages, inundated Provinces, and
multifarious PATER-PATRIAE objects." [Preuss, i. 409, 410,]--
In regard to JENKINS'S EAR, my Constitutional Friend continues:--

"SILESIA and JENKINS'S EAR, we often say, were the two bits of
realities in this enormous hurly-burly of imaginations, insane
ambitions, and zeros and negative quantities. Negative Belleisle
goes home, not with Germany cut in Four and put under guidance of
the First Nation of the Universe (so extremely fit for guiding self
and neighbors), but with the First Nation itself reduced almost to
wallet and staff; bankrupt, beggared-- 'Yes,' it answers, 'in all
but glory! Have not we gained Fontenoy, Roucoux, Lauffeld;
and strong-places innumerable [mostly in a state of dry-rot]?
Did men ever fight as we Frenchmen; combining it with theatrical
entertainments, too! Sublime France, First Nation of the Universe,
will try another flight (ESSOR), were she breathed a little!'

"Yes, a new ESSOR ere long, and perhaps surprise herself and
mankind! The losses of men, money and resource, under this mad
empty Enterprise of Belleisle's, were enormous, palpable to France
and all mortals: but perhaps these were trifling to the replacement
of them by such GLOIRE as there had been. A GLOIRE of plunging into
War on no cause at all; and with an issue consisting only of foul
gases of extreme levity. Messieurs are of confessed promptitude to
fight; and their talent for it, in some kinds, is very great
indeed. But this treating of battle and slaughter, of death,
judgment and eternity, as light play-house matters; this of rising
into such transcendency of valor, as to snap your fingers in the
face of the Almighty Maker; this, Messieurs, give me leave to say
so, is a thing that will conduct you and your PREMIERE NATION to
the Devil, if you do not alter it. Inevitable, I tell you!
Your road lies that way, then? Good morning, Messieurs; let me
still hope, Not!"

Diplomatist Kaunitz gained his first glories in this Congress of
Aix; which are still great in the eyes of some. Age now thirty-
seven; a native of these Western parts; but henceforth, by degrees
ever more, the shining star and guide of Austrian Policies down
almost to our own New Epoch. As, unluckily, he will concern us not
a little, in time coming, let us read this Note, as foreshadow of
the man and his doings:--

"The glory of Count, ultimately Prince, von Kaunitz-Rietberg, is
great in Diplomatic Circles of the past Century. 'The greatest of
Diplomatists,' they all say;--and surely it is reckoned something
to become the greatest in your line. Farther than this, to the
readers of these times, Kaunitz-Rietberg's glory does not go.
A great character, great wisdom, lasting great results to his
Country, readers do not trace in Kaunitz's diplomacies,--only
temporary great results, or what he and the by-standers thought
such, to Kaunitz himself. He was the Supreme Jove, we perceive, in
that extinct Olympus; and regards with sublime pity, not unallied
to contempt, all other diplomatic beings. A man sparing of words,
sparing even of looks; will hardly lift his eyelids for your sake,
--will lift perhaps his chin, in slight monosyllabic fashion, and
stalk superlatively through the other door. King of the vanished
Shadows. A determined hater of Fresh Air; rode under glass cover,
on the finest day; made the very Empress shut her windows when he
came to audience; fed, cautiously daring, on boiled capons: more I
remember not,--except also that he would suffer no mention of the
word Death by any mortal. [Hormayr, OEsterreichischer
Plutarch, iv. (3tes), 231-283.] A most high-sniffing,
fantastic, slightly insolent shadow-king;--ruled, in his time, the
now vanished Olympus; and had the difficult glory (defective only
in result) of uniting France and Austria AGAINST the poor old Sea-
Power milk-cows, for the purpose of recovering Silesia from
Friedrich, a few years hence!"--These are wondrous results;
hidden under the horizon, not very far either; and will astonish
Britannic Majesty and all readers, in a few years.


In Summer, 1749, Marechal de Saxe, the other shiny figure of this
mad Business of the Netherlands, paid Friedrich a visit; had the
honor to be entertained by him three days (July 13th-16th, 1749),
in his Royal Cottage of Sans-Souci seemingly, in his choicest
manner. Curiosity, which is now nothing like so vivid as it then
was, would be glad to listen a little, in this meeting of two Suns,
or of one Sun and one immense Tar-Barrel, or Atmospheric Meteor
really of shining nature, and taken for a Sun. But the Books are
silent; not the least detail, or hint, or feature granted us.
Only Fancy;--and this of Smelfungus, by way of long farewell to one
of the parties:--

... "It was at Tongres, or in head-quarters near it, 10th October,
1746,--Battle expected on the morrow [Battle of ROUCOUX, over
towards Herstal, which we used to know],- that M. Favart, Saxe's
Playwright and Theatre-Director, gave out in cheerful doggerel on
fall of the Curtain, the announcement:--

'Demain nous donnerons relache,
Quoique le Directeur s'en fache,
Vous voir combleroit nos desirs:

'To-morrow is no Play,
To the Manager's regret,
Whose sole study is to keep you happy:

On doit ceder tout a la gloire;
Vous ne songes qu'a la victoire,
Nous ne songeons qu'a vos plaisires'
[ Biographic Universelle, xiv. 209, ? Favart;
Espagnac, ii. 162.]
But, you being bent upon victory,
What can he do?--
Day after to-morrow,'--

'Day after to-morrow,' added he, taking the o5cial tone, (in honor
of your laurels [gained already, since you resolve on gaining
them], we will have the honor of presenting'--such and such a gay
Farce, to as many of you as remain alive! which was received with
gay clapping of hands: admirable to the Universe, at least to the
Parisian UNIVERS and oneself. Such a prodigality of light daring is
in these French gentlemen, skilfully tickled by the Marechal;
who uses this Playwright, among other implements, for keeping them
at the proper pitch. Was there ever seen such radiancy of valor?
Very radiant indeed;--yet, it seems to me, gone somewhat into the
phosphorescent kind; shining in the dark, as fish will do when
rotten! War has actually its serious character; nor is Death a
farcical transaction, however high your genius may go. But what
then? it is the Marechal's trade to keep these poor people at the
cutting pitch, on any terms that will hold for the moment.

"I know not which was the most dissolute Army ever seen in the
world; but this of Saxe's was very dissolute. Playwright Favart had
withal a beautiful clever Wife,--upon whom the courtships,
munificent blandishments, threatenings and utmost endeavors of
Marechal de Saxe (in his character of goat-footed Satyr) could not
produce the least impression. For a whole year, not the least.
Whereupon the Goat-footed had to get LETTRE DE CACHET for her;
had to--in fact, produce the brutalest Adventure that is known of
him, even in this brutal kind. Poor Favart, rushing about in
despair, not permitted to run him through the belly, and die with
his Wife undishonored, had to console himself, he and she; and do
agreeable theatricalities for a living as heretofore. Let us not
speak of it!

"Of Saxe's Generalship, which is now a thing fallen pretty much
into oblivion, I have no authority to speak. He had much wild
natural ingenuity in him; cunning rapid whirls of contrivance;
and gained Three Battles and very many Sieges, amid the loudest
clapping of hands that could well be. He had perfect intrepidity;
not to be flurried by any amount of peril or confusion; looked on
that English Column, advancing at Fontenoy with its FUE INFERNAL,
steadily through his perspective; chewing his leaden bullet:
'Going to beat me, then? Well--!' Nobody needed to be braver.
He had great good-nature too, though of hot temper and so full of
multifarious veracities; a substratum of inarticulate good sense
withal, and much magnanimity run wild, or run to seed. A big-
limbed, swashing, perpendicular kind of fellow; haughty of face,
but jolly too; with a big, not ugly strut;--captivating to the
French Nation, and fit God of War (fitter than 'Dalhousie,' I am
sure!) for that susceptive People. Understood their Army also, what
it was then and there; and how, by theatricals and otherwise, to
get a great deal of fire out of it. Great deal of fire;--whether by
gradual conflagration or not, on the road to ruin or not; how, he
did not care. In respect of military 'fame' so called, he had the
great advantage of fighting always against bad Generals, sometimes
against the very worst. To his fame an advantage; to himself and
his real worth, far the reverse. Had he fallen in with a Friedrich,
even with a Browne or a Traun, there might have been different news
got. Friedrich (who was never stingy in such matters, except to his
own Generals, where it might do hurt) is profuse in his eulogies,
in his admirations of Saxe; amiable to see, and not insincere;
but which, perhaps, practically do not mean very much.

"It is certain the French Army reaped no profit from its experience
of Marechal de Saxe, and the high theatricalities, ornamental
blackguardisms, and ridicule of death and life. In the long-run a
graver face would have been of better augury. King Friedrich's
soldiers, one observes, on the eve of battle, settle their bits of
worldly business; and wind up, many of them, with a hoarse whisper
of prayer. Oliver Cromwell's soldiers did so, Gustaf Adolf's; in
fact, I think all good soldiers: Roucoux with a Prince Karl,
Lauffeld with a Duke of Cumberland; you gain your Roucoux, your
Lauffeld, Human Stupidity permitting: but one day you fall in with
Human Intelligence, in an extremely grave form;--aud your 'ELAN,'
elastic outburst, the quickest in Nature, what becomes of it?
Wait but another decade; we shall see what an Army this has grown.
Cupidity, dishonesty, floundering stupidity, indiscipline,
mistrust; and an elastic outspurt (ELAN) turned often enough iuto
the form of SAUVE-QUI-PEUT!

"M. le Marechal survived Aix-la-Chapelle little more than two
years. Lived at Chambord, on the Loire, an Ex-Royal Palace; in such
splendor as never was. Went down in a rose-pink cloud, as if of
perfect felicity; of glory that would last forever,--which it has
by no means done. He made despatch; escaped, in this world, the
Nemesis, which often waits on what they call 'fame.' By diligent
service of the Devil, in ways not worth specifying, he saw himself,
November 21st, 1750, flung prostrate suddenly: 'Putrid fever!'
gloom the doctors ominously to one another: and, November 30th, the
Devil (I am afraid it was he, though clad in roseate effulgence,
and melodious exceedingly) carried him home on those kind terms, as
from a Universe all of Opera. 'Wait till 1759,--till 1789!'
murmured the Devil to himself."


About two months after those Saxe-Friedrich hospitalities at
Sans-Souci, Voltaire, writing, late at night, from the hospitable
Palace of Titular Stanislaus, has these words, to his trusted

LUNEVILLE, 4th SEPTEMBER, 1749. ... "Madame du Chatelet, this
night, while scribbling over her NEWTON, felt a little twinge;
she called a waiting-maid, who had only time to hold out her apron,
and catch a little Girl, whom they carried to its cradle.
The Mother arranged her papers, went to bed; and the whole of that
(TOUT CELA) is sleeping like a dormouse, at the hour I write to
you." My guardian angels, "poor I sha'n't have so easy a delivery
of my CATILINA" (my ROME SAVED, for the confusion of old Crebillon
and the cabals)! [ OEuvres, lxxiv. 57
(Voltaire to D'Argental).] ...

And then, six clays later, hear another Witness present there:--

LUNEVILLE PALACE, 10th SEPTEMBER. "For the first three or four
days, the health of the Mother appeared excellent; denoting nothing
but the weakness inseparable from her situation. The weather was
very warm. Milk-fever came, which made the heat worse. In spite of
remonstrances, she would have some iced barley-water; drank a big
glass of it;--and, some instants after, had great pain in her head;
followed by other bad symptoms." Which brought the Doctor in again,
several Doctors, hastily summoned; who, after difficulties, thought
again that all was comiug right. And so, on the sixth night, 10th
September, inquiring friends had left the sick-room hopefully, and
gone down to supper, "the rather as Madame seemed inclined to
sleep. There remained none with her but M. de St. Lambert, one of
her maids and I. M. de St. Lambert, as soon as the strangers were
gone, went forward and spoke some moments to her; but seeing her
sleepy, drew back, and sat chatting with us two. Eight or ten
minutes after, we heard a kind of rattle in the throat, intermixed
with hiccoughs: we ran to the bed; found her, senseless; raised her
to a sitting posture, tried vinaigrettes, rubbed her feet, knocked
into the palms of her hands;--all in vain; she was dead!

"Of course the supper-party burst up into her room; M. le Marquis
de Chatelet, M. de Voltaire, and the others. Profound
consternation: to tears, to cries succeeded a mournful silence.
Voltaire and St. Lambert remained the last about her bed. At length
Voltaire quitted the room; got out by the Grand Entrance, hardly
knowing which way he went. At the foot of the Outer Stairs, near a
sentry's box, he fell full length on the pavement. His lackey, who
was a step or two behind, rushed forward to raise him. At that
moment came M. de St. Lambert; who had taken the same road, and who
now hastened to help. M. de Voltaire, once on his feet again, and
recognizing who it was, said, through his tears and with the most
pathetic accent, 'AH, MON AMI, it is you that have killed her to
me!'--and then suddenly, as if starting awake, with the tone of
reproach and despair, 'EH, MON DIEU, MONSIEUR, DE QUOI VOUS
into your head to-- to--)!'" [Longchamp et Wagniere,
Memoires sur Voltaire, ii. 250, 251;--Longchamp

Poor M. de Voltaire; suddenly become widower, and flung out upon
his shifts again, at his time of life! May now wander, Ishmael-
like, whither he will, in this hard lonesome world. His grief is
overwhelming, mixed with other sharp feelings clue on the matter;
but does not last very long, in that poignant form. He will turn up
on us, in his new capacity of single-man, again brilliant enough,
within year and day.

Last Autumn, September, 1748, Wilhelmina's one Daughter, one child,
was wedded; to that young Durchlaucht of Wurtemberg, whom we saw
gallanting the little girl, to Wilhelmina's amusement, some years
ago. About the wedding, nothing; nor about the wedded life, what
would have been more curious:--no Wilhelmina now to tell us
anything; not even whether Mamma the Improper Duchess was there.
From Berlin, the Two youngest Princes, Henri and Ferdinand,
attended at Baireuth;--Mannstein, our old Russian friend, now
Prussian again, escorting them. [Seyfarth, ii. 76.] The King, too
busy, I suppose, with Silesian Reviews and the like, sends his best
wishes,--for indeed the Match was of his sanctioning and advising;
--though his wishes proved mere disappointment in the sequel.
Friedrich got no "furtherance in the Swabian-Franconian Circles,"
or favor anywhere, by means of this Durchlaucht; in the end, far
the reverse!--In a word, the happy couple rolled away to Wurtemberg
(September 26th, 1748); he twenty, she sixteen, poor young
creatures; and in years following became unhappy to a degree.

There was but one child, and it soon died. The young Serene Lady
was of airy high spirit; graceful, clever, good too, they said;
perhaps a thought too proud:--but as for her Reigning Duke, there
was seldom seen so lurid a Serenity; and it was difficult to live
beside him. A most arbitrary Herr, with glooms and whims; dim-eyed,
ambitious, voracious, and the temper of an angry mule,--very fit to
have been haltered, in a judicious manner, instead of being set to
halter others! Enough, in six or seven years time, the bright Pair
found itself grown thunderous, opaque beyond description; and (in
1759) had to split asunder for good. "Owing to the reigning Duke's
behavior," said everybody. "Has behaved so, I would run him through
the body, if we met!" said his own Brother once:--Brother Friedrich
Eugen, a Prussian General by that time, whom we shall hear of.
[Preuss, iv. 149; Michaelis, iii. 451.] What thoughts for our dear
Wilhelmina, in her latter weak years;--lapped in eternal silence,
as so much else is.

Chapter IV.


In these years, Friedrich goes on victoriously with his Law-Reform;
Herculean Cocceji with Assistants, backed by Friedrich,
beneficently conquering Province after Province to him;--Kur-Mark,
Neu-Mark, Cleve (all easy, in comparison, after Pommern), and
finally Preussen itself;--to the joy and profit of the same.
Cocceji's method, so far as the Foreign on-looker can discern
across much haze, seems to be three-fold:--

1. Extirpation (painless, were it possible) of the Petti-fogger
Species; indeed, of the Attorney Species altogether: "Seek other
employments; disappear, all of you, from these precincts, under
penalty!" The Advocate himself takes charge of the suit, from
first birth of it; and sees it ended,--he knows within what limit
of time.

2. Sifting out of all incompetent Advocates, "Follow that Attorney-
Company, you; away!"--sifting out all these, and retaining in each
Court, with fees accurately settled, with character stamped sound,
or at least SOUNDEST, the number actually needed. In a milder way,
but still more strictly, Judges stupid or otherwise incompetent are
riddled out; able Judges appointed, and their salaries raised.

3. What seems to be Friedrich's own invention, what in outcome he
thinks will be the summary of all good Law-Procedure: A final
Sentence (three "instances" you can have, but the third ends it for
you) within the Year. Good, surely. A justice that intends to be
exact must front the complicacies in a resolute piercing manner,
and will not be tedious. Nay a justice that is not moderately
swift,--human hearts waiting for it, the while, in a cancerous
state, instead of hopefully following their work,--what,
comparatively, is the use of its being never so exact!--

Simple enough methods; rough and ready. Needing, in the execution,
clear human eyesight, clear human honesty,--which happen to be
present here, and without which no "method" whatever can be
executed that will really profit.

In the course of 1748, Friedrich, judging by Pommern and the other
symptoms that his enterprise was safe, struck a victorious Medal
upon it: "FRIDERICUS BORUSSORUM REX," pressing with his sceptre the
oblique Balance to a level posture; with Epigraph, "EMENDATO JURE."
[Letter to Cocceji, accompanying Copy of the Medal in Gold, "24th
June, 1748" (Seyfarth, ii. 67 n.).] And by New-year's day, 1750,
the matter was in effect completed; and "justice cheap,
expeditious, certain," a fact in all Prussian Lands.

Nay, in 1749-1751, to complete the matter, Cocceji's "Project of a
forth in print: [Halle, 2 vols. folio (Preuss, i. 316; see IB. 315
n., as to the LAW-PROCEDURE, $c. now settled by Cocceji).] to the
admiration of mankind, at home and abroad; "the First Code
attempted since Justinian's time," say they. PROJECT translated
into all languages, and read in all countries. A poor mildewed copy
of this CODEX FRIDERICIANUS--done at Edinburgh, 1761, not said by
whom; evidently bought at least TWICE, and mostly never yet read
(nor like being read)--is known to me, for years past, in a ghastly
manner! Without the least profit to this present, or to any other
Enterprise;--though persons of name in Jurisprudence call it
meritorious in their Science; the first real attempt at a Code in
Modern times. But the truth is, this Cocceji CODEX remained a
PROJECT merely, never enacted anywhere. It was not till 1773, that
Friedrich made actual attempt to build a Law-Code and did build one
(the foundation-story of one, for his share, completed since), in
which this of Cocceji had little part. In 1773, the thing must
again be mentioned; the "Second Law-Reform," as they call it.
What we practically know from this time is, That Prussian Lawsuits,
through Friedrich's Reign, do all terminate, or push at their
utmost for terminating, within one year from birth; and that
Friedrich's fame, as a beneficent Justinian, rose high in all
Countries (strange, in Countries that had thought him a War-scourge
and Conquering Hero); strange, but undeniable; [See
Gentleman's Magazine, xx. 215-218 ("May, 1750"):
eloquent, enthusiastic LETTER, given there, "of Baron de Spon to
Chancellor D'Aguessan," on these inimitable Law Achievements.] and
that his own People, if more silently, yet in practice very gladly
indeed, welcomed his Law-Reform; and, from day to day, enjoyed the
same,--no doubt with occasional remembrance who the Donor was.

Of Friedrich's Literary works, nobody, not even Friedrich himself,
will think it necessary that we say much. But the fact is, he is
doing a great many things that way: in Prose, the MEMOIRS OF
BRANDENBURG, coming out as Papers in the Academy from time to time;

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest