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The Life and Adventures of Baron Trenck - Volume 1 by Baron Trenck

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A wicked man had maliciously and falsely accused me; Colonel
Jaschinsky had made him suspect me for a traitor, and it was
impossible he should read my heart. The first act of injustice had
been hastily committed; I had been condemned unheard, unjudged; and
the injustice that had been done me was known too late; Frederic the
Great found he was not infallible. Pardon I would not ask, for I
had committed no offence; and the King would not probably own, by a
reverse of conduct, he had been guilty of injustice. My resolution
increased his obstinacy: but, in the discussion of the cause, our
power was very unequal.

The monarch once really loved me; he meant my punishment should only
be temporary, and as a trial of my fidelity. That I had been
condemned to no more than a year's imprisonment had never been told
me, and was a fact I did not learn till long after.

Major Doo, who, as I have said, was the creature of Fouquet, a mean
and covetous man, knowing I had money, had always acted the part of
a protector as he pretended to me, and continually told me I was
condemned for life. He perpetually turned the conversation on the
great credit of his general with the King, and his own great credit
with the general. For the present of a horse, on which I rode to
Glatz, he gave me freedom of walking about the fortress; and for
another, worth a hundred ducats, I rescued Ensign Reitz from death,
who had been betrayed when endeavouring to effect our escape. I
have been assured that on that very day on which I snatched his
sword from his side, desperately passed through the garrison, and
leaped the walls of the rampart, he was expressly come to tell me,
after some prefatory threats, that by his general's intercession, my
punishment was only to be a year's imprisonment, and that
consequently I should be released in a few days.

How vile were means like these to wrest money from the unfortunate!
The King, after this my mad flight, certainly was never informed of
the major's base cunning; he could only be told that, rather than
wait a few days, I had chosen, in this desperate manner, to make my
escape, and go over to the enemy.

Thus deceived and strengthened in his suspicion, must he not imagine
my desire to forsake my country, and desert to the enemy, was
unbounded? How could he do otherwise than imprison a subject who
thus endeavoured to injure him and aid his foes? Thus, by the
calumnies of wicked men, did my cruel destiny daily become more
severe; and at length render the deceived monarch irreconcilable and

Yet how could it be supposed that I would not willingly have
remained three weeks longer in prison, to have been honourably
restored to liberty, to have prevented the confiscation of my
estate, and to have once more returned to my beloved mistress at

And now was I in Bohemia, a fugitive stranger without money,
protector, or friend, and only twenty years of age.

In the campaign of 1744 I had been quartered at Braunau with a
weaver, whom I advised and assisted to bury his effects, and
preserve them from being plundered. The worthy man received us with
joy and gratitude. I had lived in this same house but two years
before as absolute master of him and his fate. I had then nine
horses and five servants, with the highest and most favourable hopes
of futurity; but now I came a fugitive, seeking protection, and
having lost all a youth like me had to lose.

I had but a single louis-d'or in my purse, and Schell forty
kreutzers, or some three shillings; with this small sum, in a
strange country, we had to cure his sprain, and provide for all our

I was determined not to go to my cousin Trenck at Vienna, fearful
this should seem a justification of all my imputed treasons; I
rather wished to embark for the East Indies, than to have recourse
to this expedient. The greater my delicacy was the greater became
my distress. I wrote to my mistress at Berlin, but received no
answer; possibly because I could not indicate any certain mode of
conveyance. My mother believed me guilty, and abandoned me; my
brothers were still minors, and my friend at Schweidnitz could not
aid me, being gone to Konigsberg.

After three weeks' abode at Braunau, my friend recovered of his
lameness. We had been obliged to sell my watch, with his scarf and
gorget, to supply our necessities, and had only four florins

From the public papers I learned my cousin, the Austrian Trenck, was
at this time closely confined, and under criminal prosecution. It
will easily be imagined what effect this news had upon me.

Never till now had I felt any inconvenience from poverty; my wants
had all been amply supplied, and I had ever lived among, and been
highly loved and esteemed by, the first people of the land. I was
destitute, without aid, and undetermined how to seek employment, or
obtain fame.

At length I determined to travel on foot to Prussia to my mother,
and obtain money from her, and afterwards enter into the Russian
service. Schell, whose destiny was linked to mine, would not
forsake me. We assumed false names: I called myself Knert, and
Schell, Lesch; then, obtaining passports, like common deserters, we
left Braunau on the 21st of January, in the evening, unseen of any
person, and proceeded towards Bielitz in Poland. A friend I had at
Neurode gave me a pair of pocket pistols, a musket, and three
ducats; the money was spent at Braunau. Here let me take occasion
to remark I had lent this friend, in urgent necessity, a hundred
ducats, which he still owed me; and when I sent to request payment,
he returned me three, as if I had asked charity.

Though a circumstantial description of our travels alone would fill
a volume, I shall only relate the most singular accidents which
happened to us; I shall also insert the journal of our route, which
Schell had preserved, and gave me in 1776, when he came to see me at
Aix-la-Chapelle, after an absence of thirty years.

This may be called the first scene in which I appeared as an
adventurer, and perhaps my good fortune may even have overbalanced
the bad, since I have escaped death full thirty times when the
chances were a hundred to one against me; certain it is I undertook
many things in which I seemed to have owed my preservation to the
very rashness of the action, and in which others equally brave would
have found death.


From Braunau, in Bohemia, through Bielitz, in Poland, to Meseritsch,
and from Meseritsch, by Thorn, to Ebling; in the whole 169 miles,
{3} performed without begging or stealing.

January 18th, 1747.--From Braunau, by Politz, to Nachod, three
miles, we having three florins forty-five kreutzers in our purse.

Jan. 19.--To Neustadt. Here Schell bartered his uniform for an old
coat, and a Jew gave him two florins fifteen kreutzers in exchange;
from hence we went to Reichenau; in all, three miles.

Jan. 20.--We went to Leitomischl, five miles. Here I bought a loaf
hot out of the oven, which eating greedily, had nearly caused my
death. This obliged us to rest a day, and the extravagant charge of
the landlord almost emptied our purse.

Jan. 22.--From Trubau, to Zwittau, in Moravia, four miles.

Jan. 23.--To Sternberg, six miles. This day's journey excessively
fatigued poor Schell, his sprained ankle being still extremely weak.

Jan. 24.--To Leipnik, four miles, in a deep snow, and with empty
stomachs. Here I sold my stock-buckle for four florins.

Jan. 25.--To Freiberg, by Weiskirch, to Drahotusch, five miles.
Early in the morning we found a violin and case on the road; the
innkeeper in Weiskirch gave us two florins for it, on condition that
he should return it to the owner on proving his right, it being
worth at least twenty.

Jan. 26.--To Friedek, in Upper Silesia, two miles.

Jan. 27.--To a village, four miles and a half.

Jan. 28.--Through Skotschau, to Bielitz, three miles. This was the
last Austrian town on the frontiers of Poland, and Captain Capi, of
the regiment of Marischall, who commanded the garrison, demanded our
passports. We had false names, and called ourselves common Prussian
deserters; but a drummer, who had deserted from Glatz, knew us, and
betrayed us to the captain, who immediately arrested us very rudely,
and sent us on foot to Teschin (refusing us a hearing), four miles

Here we found Lieut.-Colonel Baron Schwarzer, a perfectly worthy
man, who was highly interested in our behalf, and who blamed the
irregular arbitrary conduct of Captain Capi. I frankly related my
adventures, and he used every possible argument to persuade me,
instead of continuing my journey through Poland to go to Vienna, but
in vain; my good genius, this time, preserved me--would to God it
ever had! How many miseries had I then avoided, and how easily
might I have escaped the snares spread for me by the powerful, who
have seized on my property, and in order to secure it, have hitherto
rendered me useless to the state by depriving me of all post or

I returned, therefore, a second time to Beilitz, travelling these
four miles once more. Schwarzer lent us his own horse and four
ducats, which I have since repaid, but which I shall never forget,
as they were of signal service to me, and procured me a pair of new

Irritated against Captain Capi, we passed through Beilitz without
stopping, went immediately to Biala, the first town in Poland, and
from thence sent Capi a challenge to fight me, with sword or pistol,
but received no answer; and his non-appearance has ever confirmed
him in my opinion a rascal.

And here suffer me to take a retrospective view of what was my then
situation. By the orders of Capi I was sent prisoner as a
contemptible common deserter, and was unable to call him to account.
In Poland, indeed, I had that power, but was despised as a vagabond
because of my poverty. What, alas! are the advantages which the
love of honour, science, courage, or desire of fame can bestow,
wanting the means that should introduce us to, and bid us walk erect
in the presence of our equals? Youth depressed by poverty, is
robbed of the society of those who best can afford example and
instruction. I had lived familiar with the great, men of genius had
formed and enlightened me; I had been enumerated among the
favourites of a court; and now was I a stranger, unknown,
unesteemed, nay, condemned, obliged to endure the extremes of cold,
hunger, and thirst; to wander many a weary mile, suffering both in
body and mind, while every step led me farther from her whom most I
loved, and dearest; yet had I no fixed plan, no certain knowledge in
what these my labours and sufferings should end.

I was too proud to discover myself; and, indeed, to whom could I
discover myself in a strange land? My name might have availed me in
Austria, but in Austria, where this name was known, would I not
remain; rather than seek my fortune there, I was determined to shun
whatever might tend to render me suspicious in the eyes of my
country. How liable was a temper so ardent as mine, in the midst of
difficulties, fatigues, and disappointments, hard to endure, to
betray me into all those errors of which rash youth, unaccustomed to
hardship, impatient of contrariety, are so often guilty! But I had
taken my resolution, and my faithful Schell, to whom hunger or ease,
contempt or fame, for my sake, were become indifferent, did whatever
I desired.

Once more to my journal.

Feb. 1.--We proceeded four miles from Biala to Oswintzen, I having
determined to ask aid from my sister, who had married Waldow, and
lived much at her case on a fine estate at Hanmer, in Brandenburg,
between Lansberg, on the Warta and Meseritsch, a frontier town of
Poland. For this reason we continued our route all along the
Silesian confines to Meseritsch.

Feb. 2.--To Bobrek and Elkusch, five miles. We suffered much this
day because of the snow, and that the lightness of our dress was ill
suited to such severe weather. Schell, negligently, lost our purse,
in which were nine florins. I had still, however, nineteen grosch
in my pocket (about half-a-crown).

Feb. 3.--To Crumelew, three miles; and

Feb. 4.--To Wladowiegud Joreck, three miles more; and from thence,

Feb. 5.--To Czenstochowa, where there is a magnificent convent,
concerning which, had I room, I might write many remarkable things,
much to the disgrace of its inhabitants.

We slept at an inn kept by a very worthy man, whose name was Lazar.
He had been a lieutenant in the Austrian service, where he had
suffered much, and was now become a poor innkeeper in Poland. We
had not a penny in our purse, and requested a bit of bread. The
generous man had compassion on us, and desired us to sit down and
eat with himself. I then told him who we were, and trusted him with
the motives of our journey. Scarcely had we supped, before a
carriage arrived with three people. They had their own horses, a
servant and a coachman.

This is a remarkable incident, and I must relate it
circumstantially, though as briefly as possible.

We had before met this carriage at Elkusch, and one of these people
had asked Schell where we were going; he had replied, to
Czenstochowa; we therefore had not the least suspicion of them,
notwithstanding the danger we ran.

They lay at the inn, saluted us, but with indifference, not seeming
to notice us, and spoke little. We had not been long in bed, before
our host came to awaken us, and told us with surprise, these
pretended merchants were sent to arrest us from Prussia; that they
had offered, first, fifty, afterwards, a hundred ducats, if he would
permit them to take us in his house, and carry us into Silesia:
that he had firmly rejected the proposal, though they had increased
their promises: and that at last they had given him six ducats to
engage his silence.

We clearly saw these were an officer and under-officers sent by
General Fouquet, to recover us. We conjectured by what means they
had discovered our route, and imagined the information they had
received could only come from one Lieutenant Molinie, of the
garrison of Habelschwert, who had come to visit Schell, as a friend,
during our stay at Braunau. He had remained with us two days, and
had asked many questions concerning the road we should take, and he
was the only one who knew it. He was probably the spy of Fouquet,
and the cause of what happened afterwards, which, however, ended in
the defeat of our enemies.

The moment I heard of this infamous treachery, I was for entering
with my pistols primed, into the enemy's chamber, but was prevented
by Schell and Lazar: the latter entreated me, in the strongest
manner, to remain at his house till I should receive a supply from
my mother, that I might be enabled to continue my journey with more
ease and less danger: but his entreaties were ineffectual; I was
determined to see her, uncertain as I was of what effect my letter
had produced. Lazar assured me, we should, most infallibly, be
attacked on the road. "So much the better," retorted I; "that will
give me an opportunity of despatching them, sending them to the
other world, and shooting them as I would highwayman." They
departed at break of day, and took the road to Warsaw.

We would have been gone, likewise, but Lazar, in some sort, forcibly
detained us, and gave us the six ducats he had received from the
Prussians, with which we bought us each a shirt, another pair of
pocket pistols, and other urgent necessaries; then took an
affectionate leave of our host, who directed us on our way, and we
testified our gratitude for the great services done us.

Feb. 6.--From Czenstochowa to Dankow, two miles. Here we expected
an attack. Lazar had told us our enemies had one musket: I also
had a musket, and an excellent sabre, and each of us was provided
with a pair of pistols. They knew not we were so well armed, which
perhaps was the cause of their panic, when they came to engage.

Feb. 7.--We took the road to Parsemechi: we had not been an hour on
the road, before we saw a carriage; as we drew near, we knew it to
be that of our enemies, who pretended it was set in the snow. They
were round it, and when they saw us approach, began to call for
help. This, we guessed, was an artifice to entrap us. Schell was
not strong; they would all have fallen upon me, and we should easily
have been carried off, for they wanted to take us alive.

We left the causeway about thirty paces, answering--"we had not time
to give them help;" at which they all ran to their carriage, drew
out their pistols, and returning full speed after us, called, "Stop,
rascals!" We began to run, but I suddenly turning round, presented
my piece, and shot the nearest dead on the spot. Schell fired his
pistols; our oppressors did the same, and Schell received a ball in
the neck at this discharge. It was now my turn; I took out my
pistols, one of the assailants fled, and I enraged, pursued him
three hundred paces, overtook him, and as he was defending himself
with his sword, perceiving he bled, and made a feeble resistance,
pressed upon him, and gave him a stroke that brought him down. I
instantly returned to Schell, whom I found in the power of two
others that were dragging him towards the carriage, but when they
saw me at their heels, they fled over the fields. The coachman,
perceiving which way the battle went, leaped on his box, and drove
off full speed.

Schell, though delivered, was wounded with a ball in the neck, and
by a cut in the right hand, which had made him drop his sword,
though he affirmed he had run one of his adversaries through.

I took a silver watch from the man I had killed, and was going to
make free with his purse, when Schell called, and showed me a coach
and six coming down a hill. To stay would have exposed us to have
been imprisoned as highwaymen; for the two fugitives who had escaped
us would certainly have borne witness against us. Safety could only
be found in flight. I, however, seized the musket and hat of him I
had first killed, and we then gained the copse, and after that the
forest. The road was round about, and it was night before we
reached Parsemechi.

Schell was besmeared with blood; I had bound up his wound the best I
could; but in Polish villages no surgeons are to be found: and he
performed his journey with great difficulty. We met with two Saxon
under-officers here, who were recruiting for the regiment of guards
at Dresden. My six feet height and person pleased them, and they
immediately made themselves acquainted with me. I found them
intelligent, and entrusted them with our secret, told them who we
were, related the battle we had that day had with our pursuers, and
I had not reason to repent of my confidence in them. Schell had his
wounds dressed, and we remained seven days with these good Saxons,
who faithfully kept us company.

I learned, meantime, that of the four men by whom we had been
assaulted, one only, and the coachman, returned to Glatz. The name
of the officer who undertook this vile business was Gersdorf; he had
a hundred and fifty ducats in his pocket when found dead. How great
would our good fortune have been, had not that cursed coach and six,
by its appearance, made us take to flight; since the booty would
have been most just! Fortune, this time, did not favour the
innocent; and though treacherously attacked, I was obliged to escape
like a guilty wretch. We sold the watch to a Jew for four ducats,
the hat for three florins and a half, and the musket for a ducat,
Schell being unable to carry it farther. We left most of this money
behind us at Parsemechi. A Jew surgeon sold us some dear plaisters,
which we took with us and departed.

Feb. 15.--From Parsemechi, through Vielum, to Biala, four miles.

Feb. 16.--Through Jerischow to Misorcen, four miles and a half.

Feb. 17.--To Osterkow and Schwarzwald, three miles.

Feb. 18.--To Sdune, four miles.

Feb. 19.--To Goblin two miles.

Here we arrived wholly destitute of money. I sold my coat to a Jew,
who gave me four florins and a coarse waggoner's frock, in exchange,
which I did not think I should long need, as we now drew nearer to
where my sister lived, and where I hoped I should be better
equipped. Schell, however, grew weaker and weaker; his wounds
healed slowly, and were expensive; the cold was also injurious to
him, and, as he was not by nature cleanly in his person, his body
soon became the harbour of every species of vermin to be picked up
in Poland. We often arrived wet and weary, to our smoky, reeking
stove-room. Often were we obliged to lie on straw, or bare boards;
and the various hardships we suffered are almost incredible.
Wandering as we did, in the midst of winter, through Poland, where
humanity, hospitality, and gentle pity, are scarcely so much as
known by name; where merciless Jews deny the poor traveller a bed,
and where we disconsolately strayed, without bread, and almost
naked: these were sufferings, the full extent of which he only can
conceive by whom they have been felt. My musket now and then
procured us an occasional meal of tame geese, and cocks and hens,
when these were to be had; otherwise, we never took or touched
anything that was not our own. We met with Saxon and Prussian
recruiters at various places; all of whom, on account of my youth
and stature, were eager to inveigle me. I was highly diverted to
hear them enumerate all the possibilities of future greatness, and
how liable I was hereafter to become a corporal: nor was I less
merry with their mead, ale, and brandy, given with an intent to make
me drunk. Thus we had many artifices to guard against; but thus had
we likewise, very luckily for us, many a good meal gratis.

Feb. 21.--We went from Goblin to Pugnitz, three miles and a half.

Feb. 22.--Through Storchnest to Schmiegel, four miles.

Here happened a singular adventure. The peasants at this place were
dancing to a vile scraper on the violin: I took the instrument
myself, and played while they continued their hilarity. They were
much pleased with my playing: but when I was tired, and desired to
have done, they obliged me, first by importunities, and afterwards
by threats, to play on all night. I was so fatigued, I thought I
should have fainted; at length they quarrelled among themselves.
Schell was sleeping on a bench, and some of them fell upon his
wounded hand: he rose furious: I seized our arms, began to lay
about me, and while all was in confusion, we escaped, without
further ill-treatment.

What ample subject of meditation on the various turns of fate did
this night afford! But two years before I danced at Berlin with the
daughters and sisters of kings: and here was I, in a Polish hut, a
ragged, almost naked musician, playing for the sport of ignorant
rustics, whom I was at last obliged to fight.

I was myself the cause of the trifling misfortune that befell me on
this occasion. Had not my vanity led me to show these poor peasants
I was a musician, I might have slept in peace and safety. The same
vain desire of proving I knew more than other men, made me through
life the continued victim of envy and slander. Had nature, too,
bestowed on me a weaker or a deformed body, I had been less
observed, less courted, less sought, and my adventures and mishaps
had been fewer. Thus the merits of the man often become his
miseries; and thus the bear, having learned to dance, must live and
die in chains.

This ardour, this vanity, or, if you please, this emulation, has,
however, taught me to vanquish a thousand difficulties, under which
others of cooler passions and more temperate desires would have
sunk. May my example remain a warning; and thus may my sufferings
become somewhat profitable to the world, cruel as they have been to
myself! Cruel they were, and cruel they must continue; for the
wounds I have received are not, will not, cannot be healed.

Feb. 23.--From Schmiegel to Rakonitz, and from thence to Karger
Holland, four miles and a half. Here we sold, to prevent dying of
hunger, a shirt and Schell's waistcoat for eighteen grosch, or nine
schostacks. I had shot a pullet the day before, which necessity
obliged us to eat raw. I also killed a crow, which I devoured
alone, Schell refusing to taste. Youth and hard travelling created
a voracious appetite, and our eighteen grosch were soon expended.

Feb. 24.--We came through Benzen to Lettel, four miles. Here we
halted a day, to learn the road to Hammer, in Brandenburg, where my
sister lived. I happened luckily to meet with the wife of a
Prussian soldier who lived at Lettel, and belonged to Kolschen,
where she was born a vassal of my sister's husband. I told her who
I was, and she became our guide.

Feb. 26.--To Kurschen and Falkenwalde.

Feb. 27.--Through Neuendorf and Oost, and afterwards through a
pathless wood, five miles and a half to Hammer, and here I knocked
at my sister's door at nine o'clock in the evening.


A maidservant came to the door, whom I knew; her name was Mary, and
she had been born and brought up in my father's house. She was
terrified at seeing a sturdy fellow in a beggar's dress; which
perceiving, I asked, "Molly, do not you know me?" She answered,
"No;" and I then discovered myself to her. I asked whether my
brother-in-law was at home. Mary replied, "Yes; but he is sick in
bed." "Tell my sister, then," said I, "that I am here." She showed
me into a room, and my sister presently came.

She was alarmed at seeing me, not knowing that I had escaped from
Glatz, and ran to inform her husband, but did not return.

A quarter of an hour after the good Mary came weeping, and told us
her master commanded us to quit the premises instantly, or he should
be obliged to have us arrested, and delivered up as prisoners. My
sister's husband forcibly detained her, and I saw her no more.

What my feelings must be, at such a moment, let the reader imagine.
I was too proud, too enraged, to ask money; I furiously left the
house, uttering a thousand menaces against its inhabitants, while
the kind-hearted Mary, still weeping, slipped three ducats into my
hand, which I accepted.

And, now behold us once more in the wood, which was not above a
hundred paces from the house, half dead with hunger and fatigue, not
daring to enter any habitation, while in the states of Brandenburg,
and dragging our weary steps all night through snow and rain, until
our guide at length brought us back, at daybreak, once again to the
town of Lettel.

She herself wept in pity at our fate, and I could only give her two
ducats for the danger she had run; but I bade her hope more in
future; and I afterwards sent for her to Vienna, in 1751, where I
took great care of her. She was about fifty years of age, and died
my servant in Hungary, some weeks before my unfortunate journey to
Dantzic, where I fell into my enemies' hands, and remained ten years
a prisoner at Magdeburg.

We had scarcely reached the wood, before, in the anguish of my
heart, I exclaimed to Schell, "Does not such a sister, my friend,
deserve I should fire her house over her head?" The wisdom of
moderation, and calm forbearance, was in Schell a virtue of the
highest order; he was my continual mentor; my guide, whenever my
choleric temperament was disposed to violence. I therefore honour
his ashes; he deserved a better fate.

"Friend," said he, on this occasion, "reflect that your sister may
be innocent, may be withheld by her husband; besides, should the
King discover we had entered her doors, and she had not delivered us
again into his power, she might become as miserable as we were. Be
more noble minded, and think that even should your sister be wrong,
the time may come when her children may stand in need of your
assistance, and you may have the indescribable pleasure of returning
good for evil."

I never shall forget this excellent advice, which in reality was a
prophecy. My rich brother-in-law died, and, during the Russian war,
his lands and houses were laid desolate and in ruins; and, nineteen
years afterwards, when released from my imprisonment at Magdeburg, I
had an opportunity of serving the children of my sister. Such are
the turns of fate; and thus do improbabilities become facts.

My sister justified her conduct; Schell had conjectured the truth;
for ten years after I was thus expelled her house, she showed,
during my imprisonment, she was really a sister. She was shamefully
betrayed by Weingarten, secretary to the Austrian ambassador at
Berlin; lost a part of her property, and at length her life fell an
innocent sacrifice to her brother.

This event, which is interwoven with my tragical history, will be
related hereafter: my heart bleeds, my very soul shudders, when I
recollect this dreadful scene.

I have not the means fully to recompense her children; and
Weingarten, the just object of vengeance, is long since in the
grave; for did he exist, the earth should not hide him from my

I shall now continue my journal: deceived in the aid I expected, I
was obliged to change my plan, and go to my mother, who lived in
Prussia, nine miles beyond Konigsberg.

Feb. 28.--We continued, tired, anxious, and distressed, at Lettel.

March 1.--We went three miles to Pleese, and on the 2nd, a mile and
a half farther to Meseritz.

March 3.--Through Wersebaum to Birnbaum, three miles.

March 4.--Through Zircke, Wruneck, Obestchow, to Stubnitz, seven
miles, in one day, three of which we had the good fortune to ride.

March 5.--Three miles to Rogosen, where we arrived without so much
as a heller to pay our lodgings. The Jew innkeeper drove us out of
his house; we were obliged to wander all night, and at break of day
found we had strayed two miles out of the road.

We entered a peasant's cottage, where an old woman was drawing bread
hot out of the oven. We had no money to offer, and I felt, at this
moment, the possibility even of committing murder, for a morsel of
bread, to satisfy the intolerable cravings of hunger. Shuddering,
with torment inexpressible, at the thought, I hastened out of the
door, and we walked on two miles more to Wongrofze.

Here I sold my musket for a ducat, which had procured us many a
meal: such was the extremity of our distress. We then satiated our
appetites, after having been forty hours without food or sleep, and
having travelled ten miles in sleet and snow.

March 6.--We rested, and came, on the 7th, through Genin, to a
village in the forest, four miles.

Here we fell in with a gang of gipsies (or rather banditti)
amounting to four hundred men, who dragged me to their camp. They
were mostly French and Prussian deserters, and thinking me their
equal, would force me to become one of their hand. But, venturing
to tell my story to their leader, he presented me with a crown, gave
us a small provision of bread and meat, and suffered us to depart in
peace, after having been four and twenty hours in their company.

March 9.--We proceeded to Lapuschin, three miles and a half; and the
10th to Thorn, four miles.

A new incident here happened, which showed I was destined, by
fortune, to a variety of adventures, and continually to struggle
with new difficulties.

There was a fair held at Thorn on the day of our arrival.
Suspicions might well arise, among the crowd, on seeing a strong
tall young man, wretchedly clothed, with a large sabre by his side,
and a pair of pistols in his girdle, accompanied by another as
poorly apparelled as himself, with his hand and neck bound up, and
armed likewise with pistols, so that altogether he more resembled a
spectre than a man.

We went to an inn, but were refused entertainment: I then asked for
the Jesuits' college, where I inquired for the father rector. They
supposed at first I was a thief, come to seek an asylum. After long
waiting and much entreaty his jesuitical highness at length made his
appearance, and received me as the Grand Mogul would his slave. My
case certainly was pitiable: I related all the events of my life,
and the purport of my journey; conjured him to save Schell, who was
unable to proceed further, and whose wounds grew daily worse; and
prayed him to entertain him at the convent till I should have been
to my mother, have obtained money, and returned to Thorn, when I
would certainly repay him whatever expense he might have been at,
with thanks and gratitude.

Never shall I forget the haughty insolence of this priest. Scarcely
would he listen to my humble request; thou'd and interrupted me
continually, to tell me, "Be brief, I have more pressing affairs
than thine." In fine, I was turned away without obtaining the least
aid; and here I was first taught jesuitical pride; God help the poor
and honest man who shall need the assistance of Jesuits! They, like
all other monks, are seared to every sentiment of human pity, and
commiserate the distressed by taunts and irony.

Four times in my life I have sought assistance and advice from
convents, and am convinced it is the duty of every honest man to aid
in erasing them from the face of the earth.

They succour rascals and murderers, that their power may be idolised
by the ignorant, and ostentatiously exert itself to impede the
course of law and justice; but in vain do the poor and needy
virtuous apply to them for help.

The reader will pardon my native hatred of hypocrisy and falsehood,
especially when he hears I have to thank the Jesuits for the loss of
all my great Hungarian estates. Father Kampmuller, the bosom friend
of the Count Grashalkowitz, was confessor to the court of Vienna,
and there was no possible kind of persecution I did not suffer from
priestcraft. Far from being useful members of society, they take
advantage of the prejudices of superstition, exist for themselves
alone, and sacrifice every duty to the support of their own
hierarchy, and found a power, on error and ignorance, which is
destructive of all moral virtue.

Let us proceed. Mournful and angry, I left the college, and went to
my lodging-house, where I found a Prussian recruiting-officer
waiting for me, who used all his arts to engage me to enlist;
offering me five hundred dollars, and to make me a corporal, if I
could write. I pretended I was a Livonian, who had deserted from
the Austrians, to return home, and claim an inheritance left me by
my father. After much persuasion, he at length told me in
confidence, it was very well known in the town that I was a robber;
that I should soon be taken before a magistrate, but that if I would
enlist he would ensure my safety.

This language was new to me; my passion rose instantaneously; I
remembered my name was Trenck, I struck him, and drew my sword; but,
instead of defending himself, he sprang out of the chamber, charging
the host not to let me quit the house. I knew the town of Thorn had
agreed with the King of Prussia, secretly, to deliver up deserters,
and began to fear the consequences. Looking through the window, I
presently saw two under Prussian officers enter the house. Schell
and I instantly flew to our arms, and met the Prussians at the
chamber door. "Make way," cried I, presenting my pistols. The
Prussian soldiers drew their swords, but retired with fear. Going
out of the house, I saw a Prussian lieutenant, in the street, with
the town-guard. These I overawed, likewise, by the same means, and
no one durst oppose me, though every one cried, "Stop thief!" I
came safely, however, to the Jesuits' convent; but poor Schell was
taken, and dragged to prison like a malefactor.

Half mad at not being able to rescue him, I imagined he must soon be
delivered up to the Prussians. My reception was much better at the
convent than it had been before, for they no longer doubted but I
was really a thief, who sought an asylum. I addressed myself to one
of the fathers, who appeared to be a good kind of a man, relating
briefly what had happened, and entreated he would endeavour to
discover why they sought to molest us.

He went out, and returning in an hour after, told me, "Nobody knows
you: a considerable theft was yesterday committed at the fair: all
suspicious persons are seized; you entered the town accoutred like
banditti. The man where you put up is employed as a Prussian
enlister, and has announced you as suspicious people. The Prussian
lieutenant therefore laid complaint against you, and it was thought
necessary to secure your persons."

My joy, at hearing this, was great. Our Moravian passport, and the
journal of our route, which I had in my pocket, were full proofs of
our innocence. I requested they would send and inquire at the town
where we lay the night before. I soon convinced the Jesuit I spoke
truth; he went, and presently returned with one of the syndics, to
whom I gave a more full account of myself. The syndic examined
Schell, and found his story and mine agreed; besides which, our
papers that they had seized, declared who we were. I passed the
night in the convent without closing my eyes, revolving in my mind
all the rigours of my fate. I was still more disturbed for Schell,
who knew not where I was, but remained firmly persuaded we should be
conducted to Berlin; and, if so, determined to put a period to his

My doubts were all ended at ten in the morning when my good Jesuit
arrived, and was followed by my friend Schell. The judges, he said,
had found us innocent, and declared us free to go where we pleased;
adding, however, that he advised us to be upon our guard, we being
watched by the Prussian enlisters; that the lieutenant had hoped, by
having us committed as thieves, to oblige me to enter, and that he
would account for all that had happened.

I gave Schell a most affectionate welcome, who had been very ill-
used when led to prison, because he endeavoured to defend himself
with his left hand, and follow me. The people had thrown mud at
him, and called him a rascal that would soon be hanged. Schell was
little able to travel farther. The father-rector sent us a ducat,
but did not see us; and the chief magistrate gave each of us a
crown, by way of indemnification for false imprisonment. Thus sent
away, we returned to our lodging, took our bundles, and immediately
prepared to leave Thorn.

As we went, I reflected that, on the road to Elbing, we must pass
through several Prussian villages, and inquired for a shop where we
might purchase a map. We were directed to an old woman who sat at
the door across the way, and were told she had a good assortment,
for that her son was a scholar. I addressed myself to her, and my
question pleased her, I having added we were unfortunate travellers,
who wished to find, by the map, the road to Russia. She showed us
into a chamber, laid an atlas on the table, and placed herself
opposite me, while I examined the map, and endeavoured to hide a bit
of a ragged ruffle that had made its appearance. After steadfastly
looking at me, she at length exclaimed, with a sad and mournful
tone--"Good God! who knows what is now become of my poor son! I can
see, sir, you too are of a good family. My son would go and seek
his fortune, and for these eight years have I had no tidings of him.
He must now be in the Austrian cavalry." I asked in what regiment.
"The regiment of Hohenhem; you are his very picture." "Is he not of
my height?" "Yes, nearly." "Has he not light hair?" "Yes, like
yours, sir." "What is his name?" "His name is William." "No, my
dear mother," cried I, "William is not dead; he was my best friend
when I was with the regiment." Here the poor woman could not
contain her joy. She threw herself round my neck, called me her
good angel who brought her happy tidings: asked me a thousand
questions which I easily contrived to make her answer herself, and
thus, forced by imperious necessity, bereft of all other means, did
I act the deceiver.

The story I made was nearly as follows: --I told her I was a soldier
in the regiment of Hohenhem, that I had a furlough to go and see my
father, and that I should return in a month, would then take her
letters, and undertake that, if she wished it, her son should
purchase his discharge, and once more come and live with his mother.
I added that I should be for ever and infinitely obliged to her, if
she would suffer my comrade, meantime, to live at her house, he
being wounded by the Prussian recruiters, and unable to pursue his
journey; that I would send him money to come to me, or would myself
come back and fetch him, thankfully paying every expense. She
joyfully consented, told me her second husband, father-in-law to her
dear William, had driven him from home, that he might give what
substance they had to the younger son; and that the eldest had gone
to Magdeburg. She determined Schell should live at the house of a
friend, that her husband might know nothing of the matter; and, not
satisfied with this kindness, she made me eat with her, gave me a
new shirt, stockings, sufficient provisions for three days, and six
Lunenburg florins. I left Thorn, and my faithful Schell, the same
night, with the consolation that he was well taken care of; and
having parted from him with regret, went on the 13th two miles
further to Burglow.

I cannot describe what my sensations were, or the despondence of my
mind, when I thus saw myself wandering alone, and leaving,
forsaking, as it were, the dearest of friends. These may certainly
be numbered among the bitterest moments of my life. Often was I
ready to return, and drag him along with me, though at last reason
conquered sensibility. I drew near the end of my journey, and was
impelled forward by hope.

March 14.--I went to Schwetz, and

March 15.--To Neuburg and Mowe. In these two days I travelled
thirteen miles. I lay at Mowe, on some straw, among a number of
carters, and, when I awoke, perceived they had taken my pistols, and
what little money I had left, even to my last penny. The gentlemen,
however, were all gone.

What could I do? The innkeeper perhaps was privy to the theft. My
reckoning amounted to eighteen Polish grosch. The surly landlord
pretended to believe I had no money when I entered his house, and I
was obliged to give him the only spare shirt I had, with a silk
handkerchief, which the good woman of Thorn had made me a present
of, and to depart without a single holler.

March 16.--I set off for Marienburg, but it was impossible I should
reach this place, and not fall into the hands of the Prussians, if I
did not cross the Vistula, and, unfortunately, I had no money to pay
the ferry, which would cost two Polish schellings.

Full of anxiety, not knowing how to act, I saw two fishermen in a
boat, went to them, drew my sabre, and obliged them to land me on
the other side; when there, I took the oars from these timid people,
jumped out of the boat, pushed it off the shore, and left it to
drive with the stream.

To what dangers does not poverty expose man! These two Polish
schellings were not worth more than half a kreutzer, or some
halfpenny, yet was I driven by necessity to commit violence on two
poor men, who, had they been as desperate in their defence as I was
obliged to be in my attack, blood must have been spilled and lives
lost; hence it is evident that the degrees of guilt ought to be
strictly and minutely inquired into, and the degree of punishment
proportioned. Had I hewn them down with my sabre, I should surely
have been a murderer; but I should likewise surely have been one of
the most innocent of murderers. Thus we see the value of money is
not to be estimated by any specific sum, small or great, but
according to its necessity and use. How little did I imagine when
at Berlin, and money was treated by me with luxurious neglect, I may
say, with contempt, I should be driven to the hard necessity, for a
sum so apparently despicable, of committing a violence which might
have had consequences so dreadful, and have led to the commission of
an act so atrocious!

I found Saxon and Prussian recruiters at Marion-burgh, with whom,
having no money, I ate, drank, listened to their proposals, gave
them hopes for the morrow, and departed by daybreak.

March 17.--To Elbing, four miles.

Here I met with my former worthy tutor, Brodowsky, who was become a
captain and auditor in the Polish regiment of Golz. He met me just
as I entered the town. I followed triumphantly to his quarters; and
here at length ended the painful, long, and adventurous journey I
had been obliged to perform.

This good and kind gentleman, after providing me with immediate
necessaries, wrote so affectionately to my mother, that she came to
Elbing in a week, and gave me every aid of which I stood in need.

The pleasure I had in meeting once more this tender mother, whose
qualities of heart and mind were equally excellent, was
inexpressible. She found a certain mode of conveying a letter to my
dear mistress at Berlin, who a short time after sent me a bill of
exchange for four hundred ducats upon Dantzic. To this my mother
added a thousand rix-dollars, and a diamond cross worth nearly half
as much, remained a fortnight with me, and persisted, in spite of
all remonstrance, in advising me to go to Vienna. My determination
had been fixed for Petersburg; all my fears and apprehensions being
awakened at the thought of Vienna, and which indeed afterwards
became the source of all my cruel sufferings and sorrows. She would
not yield in opinion, and promised her future assistance only in
case of my obedience; it was my duty not to continue obstinate.
Here she left me, and I have never seen her since. She died in
1751, and I have ever held her memory in veneration. It was a
happiness for this affectionate mother that she did not hive to be a
witness of my afflictions in the year 1754.

An adventure, resembling that of Joseph in Egypt, happened to me in
Elbing. The wife of the worthy Brodowsky, a woman of infinite
personal attraction, grew partial to me; but I durst not act
ungratefully by my benefactor. Never to see me more was too painful
to her, and she even proposed to follow me, secretly, to Vienna. I
felt the danger of my situation, and doubted whether Potiphar's wife
offered temptations so strong as Madame Brodowsky. I owned I had an
affection for this lady, but my passions were overawed. She
preferred me to her husband, who was in years, and very ordinary in
person. Had I yielded to the slightest degree of guilt, that of the
present enjoyment, a few days of pleasure must have been followed by
years of bitter repentance.

Having once more assumed my proper name and character, and made
presents of acknowledgment to the worthy tutor of my youth, I became
eager to return to Thorn.

How great was my joy at again meeting my honest Schell! The kind
old woman had treated him like a mother. She was surprised, and
half terrified, at seeing me enter in an officer's uniform, and
accompanied by two servants. I gratefully and rapturously kissed
her hand, repaid, with thankfulness, every expense (for Schell had
been nurtured with truly maternal kindness), told her who I was,
acknowledged the deceit I had put upon her concerning her son, but
faithfully promised to give a true, and not fictitious account of
him, immediately on my arrival at Vienna. Schell was ready in three
days, and we left Thorn, came to Warsaw, and passed thence, through
Crakow, to Vienna.

I inquired for Captain Capi, at Bilitz, who had before given me so
kind a reception, and refused me satisfaction; but he was gone, and
I did not meet with him till some years after, when the cunning
Italian made me the most humble apologies for his conduct. So goes
the world.

My journey from Dantzic to Vienna would not furnish me with an
interesting page, though my travels on foot thither would have
afforded thrice as much as I have written, had I not been fearful of
trifling with the reader's patience.

In poverty one misfortune follows another. The foot-passenger sees
the world, becomes acquainted with it, converses with men of every
class. The lord luxuriously lolls and slumbers in his carriage,
while his servants pay innkeepers and postillions, and passes
rapidly over a kingdom, in which he sees some dozen houses, called
inns; and this he calls travelling. I met with more adventures in
this my journey of 169 miles, than afterwards in almost as many
thousand, when travelling at ease, in a carriage.

Here, then, ends my journal, in which, from the hardships therein
related, and numerous others omitted, I seem a kind of second
Robinson Crusoe, and to have been prepared, by a gradual increase
and repetition of sufferings, to endure the load of affliction which
I was afterwards destined to bear.

Arrived at Vienna in the month of April, 1747.

And now another act of the tragedy is going to begin.


After having defrayed the expenses of travelling for me and my
friend Schell, for whose remarkable history I will endeavour to find
a few pages in due course, I divided the three hundred ducats which
remained with him, and, having stayed a month at Vienna, he went to
join the regiment of Pallavicini, in which he had obtained a
lieutenant-colonel's commission, and which was then in Italy.

Here I found my cousin, Baron Francis Trenck, the famous partisan
and colonel of pandours, imprisoned at the arsenal, and involved in
a most perplexing prosecution.

This Trenck was my father's brother's son. His father had been a
colonel and governor of Leitschau, and had possessed considerable
lordships in Sclavonia, those of Pleternitz, Prestowacz, and
Pakratz. After the siege of Vienna, in 1683, he had left the
Prussian service for that of Austria, in which he remained sixty

That I may not here interrupt my story, I shall give some account of
the life of my cousin Baron Francis Trenck, so renowned in the war
of 1741, in another part, and who fell, at last, the shameful
sacrifice of envy and avarice, and received the reward of all his
great and faithful services in the prison of the Spielberg.

The vindication of the family of the Trencks requires I should speak
of him; nor will I, in this, suffer restraint from the fear of any
man, however powerful. Those indeed who sacrificed a man most
ardent in his country's service to their own private and selfish
views, are now in their graves.

I shall insert no more of his history here than what is interwoven
with my own, and relate the rest in its proper place.

A revision of his suit was at this time instituted. Scarcely was I
arrived in Vienna before his confidential agent, M. Leber, presented
me to Prince Charles and the Emperor; both knew the services of
Trenck, and the malice of his enemies; therefore, permission for me
to visit him in his prison, and procure him such assistance as he
might need, was readily granted. On my second audience, the Emperor
spoke so much in my persecuted cousin's favour that I became highly
interested; he commanded me to have recourse to him on all
occasions; and, moreover, owned the president of the council of war
was a man of a very wicked character, and a declared enemy of
Trenck. This president was the Count of Lowenwalde, who, with his
associates, had been purposely selected as men proper to oppress the
best of subjects.

The suit soon took another face; the good Empress Queen, who had
been deceived, was soon better informed, and Trenck's innocence
appeared, on the revision of the process most evidently. The trial,
which had cost them twenty-seven thousand florins, and the sentence
which followed, were proved to have been partial and unjust; and
that sixteen of Trenck's officers, who most of them had been broken
for different offences, had perjured themselves to insure his

It is a most remarkable circumstance that public notice was given,
in the Vienna Gazette, to the following purport.

"All those who have any complaints to make against Trenck, let them
appear, and they shall receive a ducat per day, so long as the
prosecution continues."

It will readily be imagined how fast his accusers would increase,
and what kind of people they were. The pay of these witnesses alone
amounted to fifteen thousand florins. I now began the labour in
concurrence with Doctor Gerhauer, and the cause soon took another
turn; but such was the state of things, it would have been necessary
to have broken all the members of the council of war, as well as
counsellor Weber, a man of great power. Thus, unfortunately,
politics began to interfere with the course of justice.

The Empress Queen gave Trenck to understand she required he should
ask her pardon; and on that condition all proceedings should be
stopped, and he immediately set at liberty. Prince Charles, who
knew the court of Vienna, advised me also to persuade my cousin to
comply; but nothing could shake his resolution. Feeling his right
and innocence, he demanded strict justice; and this made ruin more

I soon learned Trenck must fall a sacrifice--he was rich--his
enemies already had divided among them more than eighty thousand
florins of his property, which was all sequestered, and in their
hands. They had treated him too cruelly, and knew him too well, not
to dread his vengeance the moment he should recover his freedom.

I was moved to the soul at his sufferings, and as he had vented
public threats, at the prospect of approaching victory over his
enemies, they gained over the Court Confessor: and, dreading him as
they did, put every wily art in practice to insure his destruction.
I therefore, in the fulness of my heart, made him the brotherly
proposition of escaping, and, having obtained his liberty, to prove
his innocence to the Empress Queen. I told him my plan, which might
easily have been put in execution, and which he seemed perfectly
decided to follow.

Some days after, I was ordered to wait on field-marshal Count
Konigseck, governor of Vienna. This respectable old gentleman,
whose memory I shall ever revere, behaved to me like a father and
the friend of humanity, advised me to abandon my cousin, who he gave
me clearly to understand had betrayed me by having revealed my
proposed plan of escape, willing to sacrifice me to his ambition in
order to justify the purity of his intentions to the court, and show
that, instead of wishing to escape, he only desired justice.

Confounded at the cowardly action of one for whom I would willingly
have sacrificed my life, and whom I only sought to deliver, I
resolved to leave him to his fate, and thought myself exceedingly
happy that the worthy field-marshal would, after a fatherly
admonition, smother all farther inquiry into this affair.

I related this black trait of ingratitude to Prince Charles of
Lorraine, who prevailed on me to again see my cousin, without
letting him know I knew what had passed, and still to render him
every service in my power.

Before I proceed I will here give the reader a per-'trait of this

He was a man of superior talents and unbounded ambition; devoted,
even fanatically, to his sovereign; his boldness approached
temerity; he was artful of mind, wicked of heart, vindictive and
unfeeling. His cupidity equalled the utmost excess of avarice, even
in his thirty-third year, in which he died. He was too proud to
receive favours or obligations from any man, and was capable of
ridding himself of his best friend if he thought he had any claims
on his gratitude or could get possession of his fortune.

He knew I had rendered him very important services, supposed his
cause already won, having bribed the judges, who were to revise the
sentence, with thirty thousand florins, which money I received from
his friend Baron Lopresti, and conveyed to these honest counsellors.
I knew all his secrets, and nothing more was necessary to prompt his
suspicious and bad heart to seek my destruction.

Scarcely had a fortnight elapsed, after his having first betrayed
me, before the following remarkable event happened.

I left him one evening to return home, taking under my coat a bag
with papers and documents relating to the prosecution, which I had
been examining for him, and transcribing. There were at this time
about five-and-twenty officers in Vienna who had laid complaints
against him, and who considered me as their greatest enemy because I
had laboured earnestly in his defence. I was therefore obliged, on
all occasions, to be upon my guard. A report had been propagated
through Vienna that I was secretly sent by the King of Prussia to
free my cousin from imprisonment; he, however, constantly denied, to
the hour of his death, his ever having written to me at Berlin;
hence also it will follow the letter I received had been forged by

Leaving the Arsenal, I crossed the court, and perceived I was
closely followed by two men in grey roquelaures, who, pressing upon
my heels, held loud and insolent conversation concerning the runaway
Prussian Trenck. I found they sought a quarrel, which was a thing
of no great difficulty at that moment, for a man is never more
disposed to duelling than when he has nothing to lose, and is
discontented with his condition. I supposed they were two of the
accusing officers broken by Trenck, and endeavoured to avoid them,
and gain the Jew's place.

Scarcely had I turned down the street that leads thither before they
quickened their pace. I turned round, and in a moment received a
thrust with a sword in the left side, where I had put my bag of
papers, which accident alone saved my life; the sword pierced
through the papers and slightly grazed the skin. I instantly drew,
and the heroes ran. I pursued, one of them tripped and fell. I
seized him; the guard came up: he declared he was an officer of the
regiment of Kollowrat, showed his uniform, was released, and I was
taken to prison. The Town Major came the next day, and told me I
had intentionally sought a quarrel with two officers, Lieutenants F-
g and K-n. These kind gentlemen did not reveal their humane
intention of sending me to the other world.

I was alone, could produce no witness, they were two. I must
necessarily be in the wrong, and I remained six days in prison. No
sooner was I released, than these my good friends sent to demand
satisfaction for the said pretended insult. The proposal was
accepted, and I promised to be at the Scotch gate, the place
appointed by them, within an hour. Having heard their names, I
presently knew them to be two famous swaggerers, who were daily
exercising themselves in fencing at the Arsenal, and where they
often visited Trenck. I went to my cousin to ask his assistance,
related what had happened, and, as the consequences of this duel
might be very serious, desired him to give me a hundred ducats, that
I might be able to fly if either of them should fall.

Hitherto I had expended my own money on his account, and had asked
no reimbursement; but what was my astonishment when this wicked man
said to me, with a sneer, "Since, good cousin, you have got into a
quarrel without consulting me, you will also get out of it without
my aid!" As I left him, he called me back to tell me, "I will take
care and pay your undertaker;" for he certainly believed I should
never return alive.

I ran now, half-despairing, to Baron Lopresti, who gave me fifty
ducats and a pair of pistols, provided with which I cheerfully
repaired to the field of battle.

Here I found half a dozen officers of the garrison. As I had few
acquaintances in Vienna, I had no second, except an old Spanish
invalid captain, named Pereyra, who met me going in all haste, and,
having learned whither, would not leave me.

Lieutenant K-n was the first with whom I fought, and who received
satisfaction by a deep wound in the right arm. Hereupon I desired
the spectators to prevent farther mischief; for my own part I had
nothing more to demand. Lieutenant F-g next entered the lists, with
threats, which were soon quieted by a lunge in the belly. Hereupon
Lieutenant M-f, second to the first wounded man, told me very
angrily--"Had I been your man, you would have found a very different
reception." My old Spaniard of eighty proudly and immediately
advanced, with his long whiskers and tottering frame, and cried--
"Hold! Trenck has proved himself a brave fellow, and if any man
thinks proper to assault him further, he must first take a breathing
with me." Everybody laughed at this bravado from a man who scarcely
could stand or hold a sword. I replied--"Friend, I am safe, unhurt,
and want not aid; should I be disabled, you then, if you think
proper, may take my place; but, as long as I can hold a sword, I
shall take pleasure in satisfying all these gentlemen one after
another." I would have rested myself a moment, but the haughty M-f,
enraged at the defeat of his friend, would not give me time, but
furiously attacked me, and, having been wounded twice, once in the
hand and again in the groin, he wanted to close and sink me to the
grave with himself, but I disarmed and threw him.

None of the others had any desire to renew the contest. My three
enemies were sent bleeding to town; and, as M-f appeared to be
mortally wounded, and the Jesuits and Capuchins of Vienna refused me
an asylum, I fled to the convent of Keltenberg.

I wrote from the convent to Colonel Baron Lopresti, who came to me.
I told him all that had passed, and by his good offices had liberty,
in a week, to appear once more at Vienna.

The blood of Lieutenant F-g was in a corrupt state, and his wound,
though not in itself dangerous, made his life doubtful. He sent to
entreat I would visit him, and, when I went, having first requested
I would pardon him, gave me to understand I ought to beware of my
cousin. I afterwards learned the traitorous Trenck had promised
Lieutenant F-g a company and a thousand ducats if he would find
means to quarrel with me and rid the world of me. He was deeply in
debt, and sought the assistance of Lieutenant K-n; and had not the
papers luckily preserved me, I had undoubtedly been despatched by
his first lunge. To clear themselves of the infamy of such an act,
these two worthy gentlemen had pretended I had assaulted them in the

I could no more resolve to see my ungrateful and dangerous kinsman,
who wished to have me murdered because I knew all his secrets, and
thought he should be able to gain his cause without obligation to me
or my assistance. Notwithstanding all his great qualities, his
marked characteristic certainly was that of sacrificing everything
to his private views, and especially to his covetousness, which was
so great that, even at his time of life, though his fortune amounted
to a million and a half, he did not spend per day more than thirty

No sooner was it known that I had forsaken Trenck than General Count
Lowenwalde, his most ardent enemy, and president of the first
council of war, by which he had been condemned, desired to speak to
me, promised every sort of good fortune and protection, if I would
discover what means had secretly been employed in the revision of
the process; and went so far as to offer me four thousand florins if
I would aid the prosecution against my cousin. Here I learned the
influence of villains in power, and the injustice of judges at
Vienna. The proposal I rejected with disdain, and rather determined
to seek my fortune in the East Indies than continue in a country
where, under the best of Queens, the most loyal of subjects, and
first of soldiers, might be rendered miserable by interested, angry,
and corrupt courtiers. Certain it is, as I now can prove, though
the bitterest of my enemies, and whose conduct towards me merited my
whole resentment, he was the best soldier in the Austrian army, had
been liberal of his blood and fortune in the Imperial service, and
would still so have continued had not his wealth, and his contempt
for Weber and Lowenwalde put him in the power of those wretches who
were the avowed enemies of courage and patriotism, and who only
could maintain their authority, and sate their thirst of gain, by
the base and wicked arts of courts. Had my cousin shared the
plunder of the war among these men, he had not fallen the martyr of
their intrigues, and died in the Spielberg. His accusers were,
generally, unprincipled men of ruined fortunes, and so insufficient
were their accusations that a useful member of society ought not,
for any or all of them, to have suffered an hour's imprisonment.
Being fully informed, both of all the circumstances of the
prosecution and the inmost secrets of his heart, justice requires I
should thus publicly declare this truth and vindicate his memory.
While living he was my bitterest enemy, and even though dead, was
the cause of all my future sufferings; therefore the account I shall
give of him will certainly be the less liable to suspicion, where I
shall show that he, as well as myself, deserved better of Austria.

I was resolved forever to forsake Vienna. The friends of Trenck all
became distrustful of him because of his ingratitude to me. Prince
Charles still endeavoured to persuade me to a reconciliation, and
gave me a letter of recommendation to General Brown, who then
commanded the Imperial army in Italy. But more anxious of going to
India, I left Vienna in August, 1748, desirous of owing no
obligation to that city or its inhabitants, and went for Holland.
Meantime, the enemies of Trenck found no one to oppose their
iniquitous proceedings, and obtained a sentence of imprisonment, in
the Spielberg, where he too late repented having betrayed his
faithful adviser, and prudent friend. I pitied him, and his judges
certainly deserved the punishment they inflicted: yet to his last
moments he showed his hatred towards me was rooted, and, even in the
grave, strove by his will to involve me in misfortune, as will
hereafter be seen.

I fled from Vienna, would to God it had been for ever; but fate by
strange ways, and unknown means, brought me back where Providence
thought proper I should become a vessel of wrath and persecution: I
was to enact my part in Europe, and not in Asia. At Nuremberg I met
with a body of Russians, commanded by General Lieuwen, my mother's
relation, who were marching to the Netherlands, and were the peace-
makers of Europe. Major Buschkow, whom I had known when Russian
resident at Vienna, prevailed on me to visit him, and presented me
to the General. I pleased him, and may say, with truth, he behaved
to me like a friend and a father. He advised me to enter into the
Russian service, and gave me a company of dragoons, in the regiment
of Tobolski, on condition I should not leave him, but employ myself
in his cabinet: and his confidence and esteem for me were

Peace followed; the army returned to Moravia, without firing a
musket, and the head-quarters were fixed at Prosnitz.

In this town a public entertainment was given, by General Lieuwen,
on the coronation day of the Empress Elizabeth; and here an
adventure happened to me, which I shall ever remember, as a warning
to myself, and insert as a memento to others.

The army physician, on this day, kept a Faro bank for the
entertainment of the guests. My stock of money consisted of two and
twenty ducats. Thirst of gain, or perhaps example, induced me to
venture two of these, which I immediately lost, and very soon, by
venturing again to regain them, the whole two and twenty. Chagrined
at my folly, I returned home: I had nothing but a pair of pistols
left, for which, because of their workmanship, General Woyekow had
offered me twenty ducats. These I took, intending by their aid to
attempt to retrieve my loss. Firing of guns and pistols was heard
throughout the town, because of the festival, and I, in imitation of
the rest, went to the window and fired mine. After a few
discharges, one of my pistols burst, and endangered my own hand, and
wounded my servant. I felt a momentary despondency, stronger than I
ever remember to have experienced before; insomuch that I was half
induced, with the remaining pistol, to shoot myself through the
head. I however, recovered my spirits, asked my servant what money
he had, and received from him three ducats. With these I repaired,
like a desperate gamester, once more to the Faro table, at the
General's, again began to play, and so extraordinary was my run of
luck, I won at every venture. Having recovered my principal, I
played on upon my winnings, till at last I had absolutely broke the
Doctor's bank: a new bank was set up, and I won the greatest part
of this likewise, so that I brought home about six hundred ducats.

Rejoiced at my good fortune, but recollecting my danger, I had the
prudence to make a solemn resolution never more to play at any game
of chance, to which I have ever strictly adhered.

It were to be wished young men would reflect upon the effects of
gaming, remembering that the love of play has made the most
promising and virtuous, miserable; the honest, knaves; and the
sincere, deceivers and liars. Officers, having first lost all their
own money, being entrusted with the soldiers' pay, have next lost
that also; and thus been cashiered, and eternally disgraced. I
might, at Prosnitz, have been equally rash and culpable. The first
venture, whether the gamester wins or loses, ensures a second; and,
with that, too often destruction. My good fortune was almost
miraculous, and my subsequent resolution very uncommon; and I
entreat and conjure my children, when I shall no longer be living to
advise and watch for their welfare, most determinedly to avoid play.
I seemed preserved by Providence from this evil but to endure much

General Lieuwen, my kind patron, sent me, from Crakow, to conduct a
hundred and forty sick men down the Vistula to Dantzic, where there
were Russian vessels to receive and transport them to Riga.

I requested permission of the General to proceed forward and visit
my mother and sister, whom I was very desirous to see: at Elbing,
therefore, I resigned the command to Lieutenant Platen, and,
attended by a servant, rode to the bishopric of Ermeland, where I
appointed an interview with them in a frontier village.

Here an incident happened that had nearly cost me my life. The
Prussians, some days before, had carried off a peasant's son from
this village, as a recruit. The people were all in commotion. I
wore leathern breeches, and the blue uniform of the Russian cavalry.
They took me for a Prussian, at the door, and fell upon me with
every kind of weapon. A chasseur, who happened to be there, and the
landlord, came to my assistance, while I, battling with the
peasants, had thrown two of them down. I was delivered, but not
till I had received two violent bruises, one on the left arm, and
another which broke the bridge of my nose. The landlord advised me
to escape as fast as possible, or that the village would rise and
certainly murder me; my servant, therefore, who had retired for
defence, with a pair of pistols, into the oven, got ready the horses
and we rode off.

I had my bruises dressed at the next village; my hand and eyes were
exceedingly swelled, but I was obliged to ride two miles farther, to
the town of Ressel, before I could find an able surgeon, and here I
so far recovered in a week, that I was able to return to Dantzic.
My brother visited me while at Ressel, but my good mother had the
misfortune, as she was coming to me, to be thrown out of her
carriage, by which her arm was broken, so that she and my sister
were obliged to return, and I never saw her more.

I was now at Dantzic, with my sick convoy, where another most
remarkable event happened, which I, with good reason, shall ever

I became acquainted with a Prussian officer, whose name I shall
conceal out of respect to his very worthy family; he visited me
daily, and we often rode out together in the neighbourhood of

My faithful servant became acquainted with his, and my astonishment
was indeed great when he one day said to me, with anxiety, "Beware,
sir, of a snare laid for you by Lieutenant N-; he means to entice
you out of town and deliver you up to the Prussians." I asked him
where he learned this. "From the lieutenant's servant," answered
he, "who is my friend, and wishes to save me from misfortune."

I now, with the aid of a couple of ducats, discovered the whole
affair, and learned it was agreed, between the Prussian resident,
Reimer, and the lieutenant, that the latter should entice me into
the suburb of Langfuhr, where there was an inn on the Prussian
territories. Here eight recruiting under-officers were to wait
concealed, and seize me the moment I entered the house, hurry me
into a carriage, and drive away for Lauenberg in Pomerania. Two
under-officers were to escort me, on horseback, as far as the
frontiers, and the remainder to hold and prevent me from calling for
help, so long as we should remain on the territories of Dantzic.

I farther learned my enemies were only to be armed with sabres, and
that they were to wait behind the door. The two officers on
horseback were to secure my servant, and prevent him from riding off
and raising an alarm.

These preparations might easily have been rendered fruitless, by my
refusing to accept the proposal of the lieutenant, but vanity gave
me other advice, and resentment made me desirous of avenging myself
for such detestable treachery.

Lieutenant N- came, about noon, to dine with me as usual, was more
pensive and serious than I had ever observed him before, and left me
at four in the afternoon, after having made a promise to ride early
next day with him as far as Langfuhr. I observed my consent gave
him great pleasure, and my heart then pronounced sentence on the
traitor. The moment he had left me I went to the Russian resident,
M. Scheerer, an honest Swiss, related the whole conspiracy, and
asked whether I might not take six of the men under my command for
my own personal defence. I told him my plan, which he at first
opposed; but seeing me obstinate, he answered at last, "Do as you
please; I must know nothing of the matter, nor will I make myself

I immediately joined my soldiers, selected six men, and took them,
while it was dark, opposite the Prussian inn, hid them in the corn,
with an order to run to my help with their firelocks loaded the
first discharge they should hear, to seize all who should fall into
their power, and only to fire in case of resistance. I provided
them with fire-arms, by concealing them in the carriage which
brought them to their hiding-place.

Notwithstanding all these precautions, I still thought it necessary
to prevent surprise, by informing myself what were the proceedings
of my enemies, lest my intelligence should have been false; and I
learned from my spies that, at four in the morning, the Prussian
resident, Reimer, had left the city with post horses.

I loaded mine and my servant's horse and pocket pistols, prepared my
Turkish sabre, and, in gratitude to the lieutenant's man, promised
to take him into my service, being convinced of his honesty.

The lieutenant cheerfully entered about six in the morning,
expatiated on the fineness of the weather, and jocosely told me I
should be very kindly received by the handsome landlady of Langfuhr.

I was soon ready; we mounted, and left the town, attended by our
servants. Some three hundred paces from the inn, my worthy friend
proposed that we should alight and let our servants lead the horses,
that we might enjoy the beauty of the morning. I consented, and
having dismounted, observed his treacherous eyes sparkle with

The resident, Reimer, was at the window of the inn, and called out,
as soon as he saw me, "Good-morrow, captain, good-morrow; come, come
in, your breakfast is waiting." I, sneering, smiled, and told him I
had not time at present. So saying, I continued my walk, but my
companion would absolutely force me to enter, took me by the arm,
and partly struggled with me, on which, losing all patience, I gave
him a blow which almost knocked him down, and ran to my horses as if
I meant to fly.

The Prussians instantly rushed from behind their door, with clamour,
to attack me. I fired at the first; my Russians sprang from their
hiding-place, presented their pieces, and called, Stuy, stuy,

The terror of the poor Prussians may well be supposed. All began to
run. I had taken care to make sure of my lieutenant, and was next
running to seize the resident, but he had escaped out of the back
door, with the loss only of his white periwig. The Russians had
taken four prisoners, and I commanded them to bestow fifty strokes
upon each of them in the open street. An ensign, named Casseburg,
having told me his name, and that he had been my brother's
schoolfellow, begged remission, and excused himself on the necessity
which he was under to obey his superiors. I admitted his excuses
and suffered him to go. I then drew my sword and bade the
lieutenant defend himself; but he was so confused, that, after
drawing his sword, he asked my pardon, laid the whole blame upon the
resident, and had not the power to put himself on his guard. I
twice jerked his sword out of his hand, and, at last, taking the
Russian corporal's cane, I exhausted my strength with beating him,
without his offering the least resistance. Such is the meanness of
detected treachery. I left him kneeling, saying to him, "Go,
rascal, now, and tell your comrades the manner in which Trenck
punishes robbers on the highway."

The people had assembled round us during the action, to whom I
related the affair, and the attack having happened on the
territories of Dantzic, the Prussians were in danger of being stoned
by the populace. I and my Russians marched off victorious,
proceeded to the harbour, embarked, and three or four days after,
set sail for Riga.

It is remarkable that none of the public papers took any notice of
this affair; no satisfaction was required. The Prussians, no doubt,
were ashamed of being defeated in an attempt so perfidious.

I since have learnt that Frederic, no doubt by the false
representations of Reimer, was highly irritated, and what afterwards
happened proves his anger pursued me through every corner of the
earth, till at last I fell into his power at Dantzic, and suffered a
martyrdom most unmerited and unexampled.

The Prussian envoy, Goltz, indeed, made complaints to Count
Bestuchef, concerning this Dantzic skirmish, but received no
satisfaction. My conduct was justified in Russia, I having defended
myself against assassins, as a Russian captain ought.

Some dispassionate readers may blame me for not having avoided this
rencontre, and demanded personal satisfaction of Lieutenant N -.
But I have through life rather sought than avoided danger. My
vanity and revenge were both roused. I was everywhere persecuted by
the Prussians, and I was therefore determined to show that, far from
fearing, I was able to defend myself.

I hired the servant of the lieutenant, whom I found honest and
faithful, and whom I comfortably settled in marriage, at Vienna, in
1753. After my ten years' imprisonment, I found him poor, and again
took him into my service, in which he died, at Zwerbach, in 1779.


And now behold me at sea, on my voyage to Riga. I had eaten
heartily before I went on board; a storm came on; I worked half the
night, to aid the crew, but at length became sea-sick, and went to
lie down. Scarcely had I closed my eyes before the master came with
the joyful tidings, as he thought, that we were running for the port
of Pillau. Far from pleasing, this, to me, was dreadful
intelligence. I ran on deck, saw the harbour right before me, and a
pilot coming off. The sea must now be either kept in a storm, or I
fall into the hands of the Prussians; for I was known to the whole
garrison of Pillau.

I desired the captain to tack about and keep the sea, but he would
not listen to me. Perceiving this, I flew to my cabin, snatched my
pistols, returned, seized the helm, and threatened the captain with
instant death if he did not obey. My Russians began to murmur; they
were averse to encountering the dangers of the storm, but luckily
they were still more averse to meet my anger, overawed, as they
were, by my pistols, and my two servants, who stood by me

Half an hour after, the storm began to subside, and we fortunately
arrived the next day in the harbour of Riga. The captain, however,
could not be appeased, but accused me before the old and honourable
Marshal Lacy, then governor of Riga. I was obliged to appear, and
reply to the charge by relating the truth. The governor answered,
my obstinacy might have occasioned the death of a hundred and sixty
persons; I, smiling, retorted, "I have brought them all safe to
port, please your Excellency; and, for my part, my fate would have
been much more merciful by falling into the hands of my God than
into the hands of my enemies. My danger was so great that I forgot
the danger of others; besides, sir, I knew my comrades were
soldiers, and feared death as little as I do." My answer pleased
the fine grey-headed general, and he gave me a recommendation to the
chancellor Bestuchef at Moscow.

General Lieuwen had marched from Moravia, for Russia, with the army,
and was then at Riga. I went to pay him my respects; he kindly
received me, and took me to one of his seats, named Annaburg, four
miles from Riga. Here I remained some days, and he gave me every
recommendation to Moscow, where the court then was. It was intended
I should endeavour to obtain a company in the regiment of
cuirassiers, the captains of which then ranked as majors, and he
advised me to throw up my commission in the Siberian regiment of
Tobolski dragoons. Peace be to the names and the memory of this
worthy man! May God reward this benevolence! From Riga I departed,
in company with M. Oettinger, lieutenant-colonel of engineers, and
Lieutenant Weismann, for Moscow. This is the same Weismann who
rendered so many important services to Russia, during the last war
with the Turks.

On my arrival, after delivering in my letters of recommendation, I
was particularly well received by Count Bestuchef. Oettinger, whose
friendship I had gained, was exceedingly intimate with the
chancellor, and my interest was thereby promoted.

I had not been long at Moscow before I met Count Hamilton, my former
friend during my abode at Vienna. He was a captain of cavalry, in
the regiment of General Bernes, who had been sent as imperial
ambassador to Russia.

Bernes had been ambassador at Berlin in 1743, where he had
consequently known me during the height of my favour at the court of
Frederic. Hamilton presented me to him, and I had the good fortune
so far to gain his friendship, that, after a few visits, he
endeavoured to detach me from the Russian service, offering me the
strongest recommendations to Vienna, and a company in his own
regiment. My cousin's misfortunes, however, had left too deep an
impression on my mind to follow his advice. The Indies would then
have been preferred by me to Austria.

Bernes invited me to dine with him in company with his bosom friend,
Lord Hyndford, the English ambassador. How great was the pleasure I
that day received! This eminent statesman had known me at Berlin,
and was present when Frederic had honoured me with saying, C'est un
matador de ma jeunesse. He was well read in men, conceived a good
opinion of my abilities, and became a friend and father to me. He
seated me by his side at table, and asked me, "Why came you here,
Trenck?" "In search of bread and honour, my lord," answered I,
"having unmeritedly lost them both in my own country." He further
inquired the state of my finances; I told him my whole store might
be some thirty ducats.

"Take my counsel," said he; "you have the necessary qualifications
to succeed in Russia, but the people here despise poverty, judge
from the exterior only, and do not include services or talents in
the estimate; you must have the appearance of being wealthy. I and
Bernes will introduce you into the best families, and will supply
you with the necessary means of support. Splendid liveries, led
horses, diamond rings, deep play, a bold front, undaunted freedom
with statesmen, and gallantry among the ladies, are the means by
which foreigners must make their way in this country. Avail
yourself of them, and leave the rest to us." This lesson lasted
some time. Bernes entered in the interim, and they determined
mutually to contribute towards my promotion.

Few of the young men who seek their fortune in foreign countries
meet incidents so favourable. Fortune for a moment seemed willing
to recompense my past sufferings, and again to raise me to the
height from which I had fallen. These ambassadors, here again by
accident met, had before been witnesses of my prosperity when at
Berlin. The talents I possessed, and the favour I then enjoyed,
attracted the notice of all foreign ministers. They were bosom
friends, equally well read in the human heart, and equally
benevolent and noble-minded; their recommendation at court was
decisive; the nations they represented were in alliance with Russia,
and the confidence Bestuchef placed in them was unbounded.

I was now introduced into all companies, not as a foreigner who came
to entreat employment, but as the heir of the house of Trenck, and
its rich Hungarian possessions, and as the former favourite of the
Prussian monarch.

I was also admitted to the society of the first literati, and wrote
a poem on the anniversary of the coronation of the Empress
Elizabeth. Hyndford took care she should see it, and, in
conjunction with the chancellor, presented me to the sovereign. My
reception was most gracious. She herself recommended me to the
chancellor, and presented me with a gold-hilted sword, worth a
thousand roubles. This raised me highly in the esteem of all the
houses of the Bestuchef party.

Manners were at that time so rude in Russia, that every foreigner
who gave a dinner, or a ball, must send notice to the chancellor
Bestuchef, that he might return a list of the guests allowed to be
invited. Faction governed everything; and wherever Bestuchef was,
no friend of Woranzow durst appear. I was the intimate of the
Austrian and English ambassadors; consequently, was caressed and
esteemed in all companies. I soon became the favourite of the
chancellor's lady, as I shall hereafter notice; and nothing more was
wanting to obtain all I could wish.

I was well acquainted with architectural design, had free access to
the house and cabinet of the chancellor, where I drew in company
with Colonel Oettinger, who was then the head architect of Russia,
and made the perspective view of the new palace, which the
chancellor intended to build at Moscow, by which I acquired
universal honour. I had gained more acquaintance in, and knowledge
of, Russia in one month, than others, wanting my means, have done in

As I was one day relating my progress to Lord Hyndford, he, like a
friend, grown grey in courts, kindly took the trouble to advise me.
From him I obtained a perfect knowledge of Russia; he was acquainted
with all the intrigues of European courts, their families, party
cabals, the foibles of the monarchs, the principles of their
government, the plots of the great Peter, and had also made the
peace of Breslau. Thus, having been the confidential friend of
Frederic, he was intimately acquainted with his heart, as well as
the sources of his power. Hyndford was penetrating, noble-minded,
had the greatness of the Briton, without his haughtiness; and the
principles, by which he combined the past, the present, and the
future, were so clear, that I, his scholar, by adhering to them,
have been enabled to foretell all the most remarkable revolutions
that have happened, during the space of six-and-thirty years, in
Europe. By these I knew, when any minister was disgraced, who
should be his successor. I daily passed some hours improving by his
kind conversation; and to him I am indebted for most of that
knowledge of the world I happen to possess.

He took various opportunities of cautioning me against the effects
of an ardent, sanguine temper; and my hatred of arbitrary power
warned me to beware of the determined persecution of Frederic, of
his irreconcilable anger, his intrigues and influence in the various
courts of Europe, which he would certainly exert to prevent my
promotion, lest I should impede his own projects, and lamented my
future sufferings, which he plainly foresaw. "Despots," said he,
"always are suspicious, and abhor those who have a consciousness of
their own worth, of the rights of mankind, and hold the lash in
detestation. The enlightened are by them called the restless
spirits, turbulent and dangerous; and virtue there, where virtue is
unnecessary for the humbling and trampling upon the suffering
subject, is accounted a crime, of all others the most to be

Hyndford taught me to know, and highly to value freedom: to despise
tyrants, to endure the worst of miseries, to emulate true greatness
of mind, to despise danger, and to honour only those whose elevation
of soul had taught them equally to oppose bigotry and despotism.

Bernes was a philosopher; but with the penetration of an Italian,
more cautious than Hyndford, yet equally honest and worthy. His
friendship for me was unbounded, and the time passed in their
company was esteemed by me most precious. The liberality of my
sentiments, thirst after knowledge and scientific acquirements
gained their favour; our topics of conversation were inexhaustible,
and I acquired more real information at Moscow than at Berlin, under
the tuition of La Metri, Maupertuis, and Voltaire.


Scarcely had I been six weeks in this city before I had an adventure
which I shall here relate; for, myself excepted, all the persons
concerned in it are now dead. Intrigues properly belong to novels.
This book is intended for a more serious purpose, and they are
therefore here usually suppressed. It cannot be supposed I was a
woman-hater. Most of the good or bad fortune I experienced
originated in love. I was not by nature inconstant, and was
incapable of deceit even in amours. In the very ardour of youth I
always shunned mere sensual pleasures. I loved for more exalted
reasons, and for such sought to be beloved again. Love and
friendship were with me always united; and these I was capable of
inciting, maintaining, and deserving. The most difficult of access,
the noblest, and the fairest, were ever my choice: and my
veneration for these always deterred me from grosser gratifications.
By woman I was formed; by the faith of woman supported under
misfortunes; in the company of woman enjoyed the few hours of
delight my life of sorrows has experienced. Woman, beautiful and
well instructed, even now, lightens the burden of age, the world's
tediousness and its woes; and, when these are ended, I would rather
wish mine eyes might be closed by fair and virgin hands, than, when
expiring, fixed on a hypocritical priest.

My adventures with women would amply furnish a romance: but enough
of this, I should not relate the present, were it not necessary to
my story.

Dining one public day with Lord Hyndford, I was seated beside a
charming young lady of one of the best families in Russia, who had
been promised in marriage, though only seventeen, to an old invalid
minister. Her eyes soon told me she thought me preferable to her
intended bridegroom. I understood them, lamented her hard fate, and
was surprised to hear her exclaim, "Oh, heavens! that it were
possible you could deliver me from my misfortune: I would engage to
do whatever you would direct."

The impression such an appeal must make on a man of four and twenty,
of a temperament like mine, may easily be supposed. The lady was
ravishingly beautiful; her soul was candour itself, and her rank
that of a princess; but the court commands had already been given in
favour of the marriage; and flight, with all its inseparable
dangers, was the only expedient. A public table was no place for
long explanations. Our hearts were already one. I requested an
interview, and the next day was appointed, the place the Trotzer
garden, where I passed three rapturous hours in her company: thanks
to her woman, who was a Georgian.

To escape, however, from Moscow, was impossible. The distance
thence to any foreign country was too great. The court was not to
remove to Petersburg till the next spring, and her marriage was
fixed for the first of August. The misfortune was not to be
remedied, and nothing was left us but patience perforce. We could
only resolve to fly from Petersburg when there, the soonest
possible, and to take refuge in some corner of the earth, where we
might remain unknown of all. The marriage, therefore, was
celebrated with pomp, though I, in despite of forms, was the true
husband of the princess. Such was the state of the husband imposed
upon her, that to describe it, and not give disgust, were

The princess gave me her jewels, and several thousand roubles, which
she had received as a nuptial present, that I might purchase every
thing necessary for flight; my evil destiny, however, had otherwise
determined. I was playing at ombre with her, one night, at the
house of the Countess of Bestuchef, when she complained of a violent
headache, appointed me to meet her on the morrow, in the Trotzer
gardens, clasped my hand with inexpressible emotion, and departed.
Alas! I never beheld her more, till stretched upon the bier!

She grew delirious that very night, and so continued till her death,
which happened on the sixth day, when the small-pox began to appear.
During her delirium she discovered our love, and incessantly called
on me to deliver her from her tyrant. Thus, in the flower of her
age, perished one of the most lovely women I ever knew, and with her
fled all I held most dear.

All my plans were now to be newly arranged. Lord Hyndford alone was
in the secret, for I hid no secrets from him: he strengthened me in
my first resolution, and owned that he himself, for such a mistress,
might perhaps have been weak enough to have acted as I had done.
Almost as much moved as myself, he sympathised with me as a friend,
and his advice deterred me from ending my miseries, and descending
with her, whom I have loved and lost, to the grave. This was the
severest trial I had ever felt. Our affection was unbounded, and
such only as noble hearts can feel. She being gone, the whole world
became a desert. There is not a man on earth, whose life affords
more various turns of fate than mine. Swiftly raised to the highest
pinnacle of hope, as suddenly was I cast headlong down, and so
remarkable were these revolutions that he who has read my history
will at last find it difficult to say whether he envies or pities me
most. And yet these were, in reality, but preparatory to the evils
that hovered over my devoted head. Had not the remembrance of past
joys soothed and supported me under my sufferings, I certainly
should not have endured the ten years' torture of the Magdeburg
dungeon, with a fortitude that might have been worthy even of

Enough of this. My blood again courses swifter through my veins as
I write! Rest, gentle maiden, noble and lovely as thou wert! For
thee ought Heaven to have united a form so fair, animated as it was,
by a soul so pure, to ever-blooming youth and immortality.

My love for this lady became well-known in Moscow; yet her corpulent
overgrown husband had not understanding enough to suppose there was
any meaning in her rhapsodies during her delirium.

Her gifts to me amounted in value to about seven thousand ducats.
Lord Hyndford and Count Bernes both adjudged them legally mine, and
well am I assured her heart had bequeathed me much more.

To this event succeeded another, by which my fortune was greatly
influenced. The Countess of Bestuchef was then the most amiable and
witty woman at Court. Her husband, cunning, selfish, and shallow,
had the name of minister, while she, in reality, governed with a
genius, at once daring and comprehensive. The too pliant Elizabeth
carelessly left the most important things to the direction of
others. Thus the Countess was the first person of the Empire, and
on whom the attention of the foreign ministers was fixed.

Haughty and majestic in her demeanour, she was supposed to be the
only woman at court who continued faithful to her husband; which
supposition probably originated in her art and education, she being
a German born: for I afterwards found her virtue was only pride,
and a knowledge of the national character. The Russian lover rules
despotic over his mistress: requires money, submission, and should
he meet opposition, threatens her with blows, and the discovery of
her secret.

During Elizabeth's reign foreigners could neither appear at court,
nor in the best company, without the introduction of Bestuchef. I
and Sievers, gentlemen of the chamber, were at that time the only
Germans who had free egress and regress in all houses of fashion; my
being protected by the English and Austrian ambassadors gave me very
peculiar advantages, and made my company everywhere courted.

Bestuchef had been resident, during the late reign, at Hamburg, in
which inferior station he married the countess, at that time, though
young and handsome, only the widow of the merchant Boettger. Under
Elizabeth, Bestuchef rose to the summit of rank and power, and the
widow Boettger became the first lady of the empire. When I knew her
she was eight and thirty, consequently no beauty, though a woman
highly endowed in mind and manners, of keen discernment, disliking
the Russians, protecting the Prussians, and at whose aversions all

Her carriage towards the Russians was, what it must be in her
situation, lofty, cautious, and ironical, rather than kind. To me
she showed the utmost esteem on all occasions, welcomed me at her
table, and often admitted me to drink coffee in company with herself
alone and Colonel Oettinger. The countess never failed giving me to
understand she had perceived my love for the princess N- ; and,
though I constantly denied the fact, she related circumstances which
she could have known, as I thought, only from my mistress herself;
my silence pleased her; for the Russians, when a lady had a
partiality for them, never fail to vaunt of their good fortune. She
wished to persuade me she had observed us in company, had read the
language of our eyes, and had long penetrated our secret. I was
ignorant at that time that she had then, and long before,
entertained the maid of my mistress as a spy in her pay.

About a week after the death of the princess, the countess invited
me to take coffee with her, in her chamber; lamented my loss, and
the violence of that passion which had deprived me of all my
customary vivacity, and altered my very appearance. She seemed so
interested in my behalf, and expressed so many wishes, and so ardent
to better my fate, that I could no longer doubt. Another
opportunity soon happened, which confirmed these my suspicions: her
mouth confessed her sentiments. Discretion, secrecy, and fidelity,
were the laws she imposed, and never did I experience a more ardent
passion from woman. Such was her understanding and penetration, she
knew how to rivet my affections.

Caution was the thing most necessary. She contrived, however, to
make opportunity. The chancellor valued, confided in me, and
employed me in his cabinet; so that I remained whole days in his
house. My captainship of cavalry was now no longer thought of: I
was destined to political employment. My first was to be gentleman
of the chamber, which in Russia is an office of importance, and the
prospect of futurity became to me most resplendent. Lord Hyndford,
ever the repository of my secrets, counselled me, formed plans for
my conduct, rejoiced at my success, and refused to be reimbursed the
expense he had been at, though now my circumstances were prosperous.

The degree of credit I enjoyed was soon noticed: foreign ministers
began to pay their court to me: Goltz, the Prussian minister, made
every effort to win me, but found me incorruptible.

The Russian alliance was at this time highly courted by foreign
powers; the humbling of Prussia was the thing generally wished and
planned: and nobody was better informed than myself of ministerial
and family factions at this court.

My mistress, a year after my acquaintance with her, fell into her
enemies' power, and with her husband, was delivered over to the
executioner. Chancellor Bestuchef, in the year 1756, was forced to
confession by the knout. Apraxin, minister of war, had a similar
fate. The wife of his brother, then envoy in Poland, was, by the
treachery of a certain Lieutenant Berger, with three others of the
first ladies of the court, knouted, branded, and had their tongues
cut out. This happened in the year 1741, when Elizabeth ascended
the throne. Her husband, however, faithfully served: I knew him as
Russian envoy, at Vienna, 1751. This may indeed be called the love
of our country, and thus does it happen to the first men of the
state: what then can a foreigner hope for, if persecuted, and in
the power of those in authority?

No man, in so short a space of time, had greater opportunities than
I, to discover the secrets of state; especially when guided by
Hyndford and Bernes, under the reign of a well-meaning but short-
sighted Empress, whose first minister was a weak man, directed by
the will of an able and ambitious wife, and which wife loved me, a
stranger, an acquaintance of only a few months, so passionately that
to this passion she would have sacrificed every other object. She
might, in fact, be considered as Empress of Russia, disposing of
peace or war, and had I been more prudent or less sincere, I might
in such a situation, have amassed treasures, and deposited them in
full security. Her generosity was boundless; and, though obliged to
pay above a hundred thousand roubles, in one year, to discharge her
son's debts, yet might I have saved a still larger sum; but half of
the gifts she obliged me to receive, I lent to this son, and lost.
So far was I from selfish, and so negligent of wealth, that by
supplying the wants of others, I often, on a reverse of fortune,
suffered want myself.

This my splendid success in Russia displeased the great Frederic,
whose persecution everywhere attended me, and who supposed his
interest injured by my success in Russia. The incident I am going
to relate was, at the time it happened, well known to, and caused
much agitation among all the foreign ambassadors.

Lord Hyndford desired I would make him a fair copy of a plan of
Cronstadt, for which he furnished the materials, with three
additional drawings of the various ships in the harbour, and their
names. There was neither danger nor suspicion attending this; the
plan of Cronstadt being no secret, but publicly sold in the shops of
Petersburg. England was likewise then in the closest alliance with
Russia. Hyndford showed the drawing to Funk, the Saxon envoy, his
intimate friend, who asked his permission to copy it himself.
Hyndford gave him the plan signed with my name; and after Funk had
been some days employed copying it, the Prussian minister, Goltz,
who lived in his neighbourhood, came in, as he frequently paid him
friendly visits. Funk, unsuspectingly, showed him my drawing, and
both lamented that Frederic had lost so useful a subject. Goltz
asked to borrow it for a couple of days, in order to correct his
own; and Funk, one of the worthiest, most honest, and least
suspicious of men, who loved me like a brother, accordingly lent the

No sooner was Goltz in possession of it than he hurried to the
chancellor, with whose weakness he was well acquainted, told him his
intent in coming was to prove that a man, who had once been
unfaithful to his king and country, where he had been loaded with
favours, would certainly betray, for his own private interest, every
state where he was trusted. He continued his preface, by speaking
of the rapid progress I had made in Russia, and the free entrance I
had found in the chancellor's house, where I was received as a son,
and initiated in the secrets of the cabinet.

The chancellor defended me: Goltz then endeavoured to incite his
jealousy, and told him my private interviews with his wife,
especially in the palace-garden, were publicly spoken of. This he
had learned from his spies, he having endeavoured, by the snares he
laid, to make my destruction certain.

He likewise led Bestuchef to suspect his secretary, S-n, was a party
in the intrigue; till at last the chancellor became very angry;
Goltz then took my plan of Cronstadt from his pocket, and added,
"Your excellency is nourishing a serpent in your bosom. This
drawing have I received from Trenck, copied from your cabinet
designs, for two hundred ducats." He knew I was employed there
sometimes with Oettinger, whose office it was to inspect the
buildings and repairs of the Russian fortifications. Bestuchef was
astonished; his anger became violent, and Goltz added fuel to the
flame, by insinuating, I should not be so powerfully protected by
Bernes, the Austrian ambassador, were it not to favour the views of
his own court. Bestuchef mentioned prosecution and the knout; Goltz
replied my friends were too powerful, my pardon would be procured,
and the evil this way increased. They therefore determined to have
me secretly secured, and privately conveyed to Siberia.

Thus, while I unsuspectingly dreamed of nothing but happiness, the
gathering storm threatened destruction, which only was averted by
accident, or God's good providence.

Goltz had scarcely left the place triumphant, when the chancellor
entered, with bitterness and rancour in his heart, into his lady's
apartment, reproached her with my conduct, and while she endeavoured
to soothe him, related all that had passed. Her penetration was
much deeper than her husband's: she perceived there was a plot
against me: she indeed knew my heart better than any other, and
particularly that I was not in want of a poor two hundred ducats.
She could not, however, appease him, and my arrest was determined.
She therefore instantly wrote me a line to the following purport.

"You are threatened, dear friend, by a very imminent danger. Do not
sleep to-night at home, but secure yourself at Lord Hyndford's till
you hear farther from me."

Secretary S-n, her confidant (the same who, not long since, was
Russian envoy at Ratisbon) was sent with the note. He found me,
after dinner, at the English ambassador's, and called me aside. I
read the billet, was astonished at its contents, and showed it Lord
Hyndford. My conscience was void of reproach, except that we
suspected my secret with the countess had been betrayed to the
chancellor, and fearing his jealousy, Hyndford commanded me to
remain in his house till we should make further discovery.

We placed spies round the house where I lived; I was inquired for
after midnight, and the lieutenant of the police came himself and
searched the house.

Lord Hyndford went, about ten in the morning, to visit the

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