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as bad as himself.” [Ib. lxxx. 313 (“Chateau de Ferney, 13th July, 1761”).]


TO D’ALEMBERT (in the Rossbach-Leuthen interval: on the Battle of BRESLAU, 22d November, 1757; called by the Austrians “a Malplaquet,” and believed by Voltaire to be a Malplaquet and more). … “The Austrians do avenge us, and humble us [us, and our miserable Rossbachs], in a terrible manner. Thirteen attacks on the Prussian intrenchments, lasted six hours; never was Victory bloodier, or more horribly beautiful [in the brain of certain men]. We pretty French fellows, we are more expeditious, our job is done in five minutes. The King of Prussia is always writing me Verses, now like a desperado, now like a hero; and as for me, I try to live like a philosopher in my hermitage. He has obtained what he always wished: to beat the French, to be admired by them, to mock them; but the Austrians are mocking him in a very serious way. Our shame of November 5th has given him glory; and with such glory, which is but transient and dearly bought, he must content himself. He will lose his own Countries, with those he has seized, unless the French again discover [which they will] the secret of losing all their Armies, as they did in 1741.” [Ib. Lxxvii. 133, 134 (“Delices, 6th December, 1757,” day after Leuthen).]


TO CLAIRAUT, THE MATHEMATICIAN (Maupertuis lately dead). An excellent Treatise, this you have sent me, Monsieur! “Your war with the Geometers on the subject of this Comet appears to me like a war of the gods in Olympus, while on Earth there is going on a fight of dogs and cats. … Would to Heaven our friend Moreau-Maupertuis had cultivated his art like you! That he had predicted comets, instead of exalting his soul to predict the future; of dissecting the brains of giants to know the nature of the soul; of japanning people with pitch to cure them of every malady; of persecuting Konig; and of dying between Two Capuchins” (dead three weeks ago, on those terms, poor soul)! [ OEuvres de Voltaire, italic> lxxviii. 191 (“Delices, 19th August, 1759”).]

TO D’ALEMBERT (a week later). … “What say you of Maupertuis dying between Two Capuchins! He was ill, this long while, of a repletion of pride; but I had not reckoned him either a hypocrite or an imbecile. I don’t advise you ever to go and fill his place at Berlin; you would repent that. I am Astolpho warning Roger (Ruggiero) not to trust himself to the Enchantress Alcina; but Roger was unadvisable.” [Ib. lxxviii. 197 (“Delices, 25th August, 1759”).]

TO THE SAME (two years later: Luc, on certain grounds, may as well be saved). “With regard to Luc, though I have my just causes of anger against him, I own to you, in my quality of Frenchman and thinking being, I am glad that a certain most Orthodox House has not swallowed Germany, and that the Jesuits are not confessing in Berlin. Over towards the Danube superstition is very powerful. … The INFAME–You are well aware that I speak of superstition only; for as to the Christian religion, I respect and love it, like you. Courage, Brethren! Preach with force, and write with address: God will bless you.–Protect, you my Brother, the Widow Calas all you can! She is a poor weak-minded Huguenot, but her Husband was the victim of the WHITE PENITENTS. It is the concern of Human Nature that the Fanatics of Toulouse be confounded.” (The case of Calas, SECOND act of it, getting on the scene: a case still memorable to everybody. Stupendous bit of French judicature; and Voltaire’s noblest outburst, into mere transcendent blaze of pity, virtuous wrath, and determination to bring rescue and help against the whole world.) [ OEuvres de Voltaire,
lxxviii. 52, 53 (“Ferney, 28th November, 1762”).]


AT SCHMOTTSEIFEN, FIVE DAYS BEFORE ZULLICHAU, TEN DAYS BEFORE THAT HUNT OF LOUDON AND HADDICK (Voltaire, under rebuke for indiscretion, has been whimpering a little. My discreet Niece burnt those LAST verses, Sire; no danger there, at least! Truculent Bishop Something-AC tried to attack your Majesty; but was done for by a certain person). Friedrich answers: “In truth, you are a singular creature. When I think of scolding you, you say two words, and the reproach expires. Impossible to scold you, even when you deserve it. …

“As to your Niece, let her burn me or roast me, I care little. Nor are you to think me so sensitive to what your Bishops in IC or in AC may say of me. I have the lot of all actors who play in public; applauded by some, despised by others. One must prepare oneself for satires, for calumnies, for a multitude of lies, which will be sent abroad into currency against one: but need that trouble my tranquillity? I go my road; I do nothing against the interior voice of my conscience; and I concern myself very little in what way my actions paint themselves in the brain of beings, not always very thinking, with two legs and without feathers.” [“Schmottseifen, 18th July, 1759;” OEuvres de Frederic,
xxiii. 55, 56.]

AT WILSDRUF, JUST BEFORE MAXEN (an exultant exuberant curious Letter; too long for insertion,–part of it given above). … “For your Tragedy of SOCRATE, thanks. At Paris they are going to burn it, the wretched fools,–not aware that absurd fanaticism is their dominant vice. Better burn the dose of medicine, however, than the useful Doctor. I, can I join myself to that set? If I bite you, as you complain, it is without my knowledge. But I am surrounded with enemies, one hitting me, another pricking me, another daubing me with mud;–patience at last yields, and one flies abroad into a general rage, too indiscriminate perhaps.”

You talk of my Verses on Rossbach (my ADIEU TO THE HOOPERS on finding their Bridge burnt [Supra, p. 21.]). “This Campaign I have had no beatific vision, in the style of Moses. The barbarous Cossacks and Tartars, infamous to look at on any side, have burnt and ravaged countries, and committed atrocious inhumanities. This is all I saw of THEM. Such melancholy spectacles don’t tend to raise one’s spirits. [Breaks off into metre:] LA FORTUNE INCONSTANTE ET FIERE, Fortune inconstant and proud. Does not treat her suitors Always in an equal manner. Those fools called heroes, who run the country,

Ces fous nommes heros, et qui courent les champs, Couverts de sang et de poussiere,
Voltaire, n’ont pas tous les ans La faceur de voir le derriere
De leurs ennemis insolents.

Can’t expect that pleasure every year”! …

Maupertuis, say you? “Don’t trouble the ashes of the dead; let the grave at least put an end to your unjust hatreds. Reflect that even Kings make peace after long battling; cannot you ever make it? I think you would be capable, like Orpheus, of descending to Hell, not to soften Pluto and bring back your beautiful Emilie, but to pursue into that Abode of Woe an enemy whom your wrath has only too much persecuted in the world: for shame!” [ OEuvres de
Frederic, xxiii. 61-65 (“Wilsdruf, 17th November, 1759”).]–and rebukes him, more than once elsewhere, in very serious terms.

IN WINTER-QUARTERS, ON PEACE AND THE STOLEN EDITION. (Starts in verse, which we abridge:) With how many laurels you have covered yourself in all the fields of Literature! One laurel yet is wanting to the brow of Voltaire. If, as the crown of so many perfect works, he could by a skilful manoeuvre bring back Peace, I, and Europe with me, would think that his masterpiece! [Takes to prose:]

“This is my thought and all Europe’s. Virgil made as fine Verses as you; but he never made a Peace. It will be a distinction you will have over all your brethren of Parnassus, if you succeed.

“I know not who has betrayed me, and thought of printing [the EDITION;–not you, surely!] a pack of rhapsodies which were good enough to amuse myself, but were never meant for publication. After all, I am so used to treacheries and bad manoeuvres,”–what matters this insignificant one?

“I know not who the Bredow is [whom you speak of having met]; but he has told you true. The sword and death have made frightful ravages among us. And the worst is, we are not yet at the end of the tragedy. You may judge what effect these cruel shocks made on me. I wrap myself in my stoicism, the best I can. Flesh and blood revolt against such tyrannous command; but it must be followed. If you saw me, you would scarcely know me again: I am old, broken, gray-headed, wrinkled; I am losing my teeth and my gayety: if this go on, there will be nothing of me left, but the mania of making verses, and an inviolable attachment to my duties and to the few virtuous men whom I know.” [ OEuvres de Frederic, italic> xxiii. 69 (“Freyberg, 24th Feb. 1760”).]

IN WINTER-QUARTERS, A MONTH LATER (comes still on “Peace” again). … “I will have you paid that bit of debt [perhaps of postage or the like], that Louis of the Mill (Louis du Moulin,” at Fontenoy, who got upon a Windmill with his Dauphin, and caught that nickname from the common men) “may have wherewithal to make war on me. Add tenth-penny tax to your tax of twentieth-penny; impose new capitations, make titular offices to get money; do, in a word, whatever you like. In spite of all your efforts, you will not get a Peace signed by my hands, except on conditions honorable to my Nation. Your people, blown up with self-conceit and folly, may depend on these words. Adieu, live happy; and while you make all your efforts to destroy Prussia, think that nobody has less deserved it than I, either of you or of your French.” [Ib. xxiii. 72 (“Freyberg, 20th March, 1760”).]

STILL IN WINTER-QUARTERS (on “Peace” still; but begins with “Maupertuis,” which is all we will give). “What rage animates you against Maupertuis? You accuse HIM of having published that Furtive EDITION. Know that his Copy, well sealed by him, arrived here after his death, and that he was incapable of such an indiscretion. [Breaks into verse:]

Leave in peace the cold ashes of Maupertuis: Truth can defend him, and will.
His soul was faithful and noble: He pardoned you that scandalous Akakia (CE VIL LIBELLE QUE VOTRE FUREUR CRIMINELLE
PRIT SOIN CHEZ MOI DE GRIFFONER); he did:– And you? Shame on such delirium as Voltaire’s! What, this beautiful, what, this grand genius, Whom I admired with transport,
Soils himself with calumny, and is ferocious on the dead? Flocking together, in the air uttering cries of joy, Vile ravens pounce down upon sepulchres, And make their prey of corpses:”–

Blush, repent, alas!

These Specimens will suffice. “The King of Prussia?” Voltaire would sometimes say: “He is as potent and as malignant as the Devil; but he is also as unhappy, not knowing friendship,”–having such a chance, too, with some of us!


In the beginning of this Year, 1759, Earl Marischal had been called out of his Neufchatel stagnancy, and launched into the Diplomatic field again; sent on mission into Spain, namely. The case was this: Ferdinand VI. of Spain (he who would not pay Friedrich the old Spanish debt, but sent him merino rams, and a jar of Queen-Dowager snuff) had fallen into one of his gloomy fits, and was thought to be dying;–did, in fact, die, in a state nearly mad, on the 10th August following. By Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and by all manner of Treaties, Carlos of Naples, his Half-Brother (Termagant’s Baby Carlos, whom we all knew), was to succeed him in Spain; Don Philip, the next Brother, now of Parma and Piacenza, was to follow as King in Naples,–ceding those two litigious Duchies to Austria, after all. Friedrich, vividly awake to every chance, foresaw, in case of such disjunctures in Italy, good likelihood of quarrel there. And has despatched the experienced old Marischal to be on the ground, and have his eyes open. Marischal knows Spain very well; and has often said, “He left a dear old friend there, the Sun.” Marischal was under way, about New-year’s time; but lingered by the road, waiting how Ferdinand would turn,–and having withal an important business of his own, as he sauntered on. Did not arrive, I think, till Summer was at hand, and his dear Old Friend coming out in vigor.

August 10th, 1759, Ferdinand died; and the same day Carlos became King of Spain. But, instead of giving Naples to Don Philip, Carlos gave it to a junior Son of his own; and left poor Philip to content himself with Parma and Piacenza, as heretofore. Clear against the rights of Austria; Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is perfectly explicit on that point! Will not Austria vindicate its claim? Politicians say, Austria might have recovered not only Parma and Piacenza, but the kingdom of Naples itself,–no France at present able to hinder it, no Spain ever able. But Austria, contrary to expectation, would not: a Country tenacious enough of its rights, real and imaginary; greedy enough of Italy, but of Silesia much more! The matter was deliberated in Council at Vienna; but the result was magnanimously, No. “Finish this Friedrich first; finish this Silesia. Nothing else till that!”

The Marischal’s legationary function, therefore, proved a sinecure; no Carlos needing Anti-Austrian assistance from Friedrich or another; Austria magnanimously having let him alone. Doubtless a considerable disappointment to Friedrich. Industrious Friedrich had tried, on the other side of this affair, Whether the King of Sardinia, once an adventurous fighting kind of man, could not be stirred up, having interests involved? But no; he too, grown old, devotional, apprehensive, held by his rosaries, and answered, No. Here is again a hope reasonable to look at, but which proves fallacious.

Marischal continued in Spain, corresponding, sending news (the Prussian Archives alone know what), for nearly a couple of years. [Returned “April, 1762” (Friedrich’s Letter to him, “10th April, 1762:” in OEuvres de Frederic, xx. 285).]
His Embassy had one effect, which is of interest to us here. On his way out, he had gone by London, with a view of getting legal absolution for his Jacobitism,–so far, at least, as to be able to inherit the Earldom of Kintore, which is likely to fall vacant soon. By blood it is his, were the Jacobite incapacities withdrawn. Kintore is a cadet branch of the Keiths; “John, younger Son of William Sixth Lord Marischal,” was the first Kintore. William Sixth’s younger Son, yes;–and William’s Father, a man always venerable to me, had (A.D. 1593) founded Marischal College, Aberdeen,–where, for a few, in those stern granite Countries, the Diviner Pursuits are still possible (thank God and this Keith) on frugal oatmeal. MARISCHAL-COLLEGE Keith, or FIFTH Lord Marischal, was grandfather’s grandfather of our Potsdam Friend, who is tenth and last. [Douglas’s Scotch Peerage, pp. 448
et seq., 387 et seq.] Honor to the brave and noble, now fallen silent under foot NOT of the nobler! In a word, the fourth Kintore was about dying childless; and Marischal had come by London on that heritage business.

He carried, naturally, the best recommendations. Britannic Majesty, Pitt and everybody met him with welcome and furtherance; what he wished was done, and in such a style of promptness and cordiality, Pitt pushing it through, as quite gained the heart of old Marischal. And it is not doubted, though particulars have not been published, That he sent important Spanish notices to Pitt, in these years;-and especially informed him that King Carlos and the French Bourbon had signed a FAMILY COMPACT (15th August, 1761), or solemn covenant, to stand by one another as brothers. Which was thenceforth, to Pitt privately, an important fact, as perhaps we shall see; though to other men it was still only a painful rumor and dubiety. Whether the old Marischal informed him, That King Carlos hated the English; that he never had, in his royal mind, forgiven that insult of Commodore Martin’s (watch laid on the table, in the Bay of Naples, long ago), I do not know; but that also was a fact. A diligent, indignant kind of man, this Carlos, I am told; by no means an undeserving King of Spain, though his Portraits declare him an ugly: we will leave him in the discreet Marischal’s hands, with the dear Old Friend shining equally on both.

Singular to see how, in so veracious an intellect as Friedrich’s, so many fallacies of hope are constantly entertained. War in Italy, on quarrel with King Carlos; Peace with France and the Pompadour, by help of Edelsheim and the Bailli de Froulay; Peace with Russia and the INFAME CATIN, by help of English briberies (Friedrich sent an agent this winter with plenty of English guineas, but he got no farther than the Frontier, not allowed even to try): sometimes, as again this winter, it is hope of Denmark joining him (in alarm against the Russian views on Holstein; but that, too, comes to nothing); above all, there is perennially, budding out yearly, the brighter after every disappointment, a hope in the Grand Turk and his adherencies. Grand Turk, or failing him, the Cham of Tartary,– for certain, some of these will be got to fasten on the heels of Austria, of Russia; and create a favorable diversion? Friedrich took an immense deal of trouble about this latter hope. It is almost pathetic to see with what a fond tenacity he clings to it; and hopes it over again, every new Spring and Summer. [Preuss, ii. 121 et seq., 292 &c.; Schoning, ii. iii. PASSIM.]

The hope that an INFAME CATIN might die some day (for she is now deep in chaotic ailments, deepish even in brandy) seems never to have struck him; at least there is nowhere any articulate hint of it,–the eagle-flight of one’s imagination soaring far above such a pettiness! Hope is very beautiful; and even fallacious hope, in such a Friedrich. The one hope that did not deceive him, was hope in his own best exertion to the very death; and no fallacy ever for a moment slackened him in that. Stand to thyself: in the wide domain of Imagination, there is no other certainty of help. No other certainty;–and yet who knows through what pettinesses Heaven may send help!

Chapter IX.


It was April 25th before Friedrich quitted Freyberg, and took Camp; not till the middle of June that anything of serious Movement came. Much discouragement prevails in his Army, we hear: and indeed, it must be owned, the horoscope of these Campaigns grows yearly darker. Only Friedrich himself must not be discouraged! Nor is;– though there seldom lay ahead of any man a more dangerous-looking Year than this that is now dimly shaping itself to Friedrich. His fortune seems to have quitted him; his enemies are more confident than ever.

This Year, it seems, they have bethought them of a new device against him. “We have 90 million Population,” count they; “he has hardly 5; in the end, he must run out of men! Let us cease exchanging prisoners with him.” At Jagerndorf, in April, 1758 (just before our march to Olmutz), there had been exchange; not without haggles; but this was the last on Austria’s part. Cartel of the usual kind, values punctually settled: a Field-marshal is worth 3,000 common men, or 1,500 pounds; Colonel worth 130 men, or 65 pounds; common man is worth 10s. sterling, not a high figure. [Archenholtz, ii. 53.] The Russians haggled still more, no keeping of them to their word; but they tried it a second time, last year (October, 1759); and by careful urging and guiding, were got dragged through it, and the prisoners on both sides sent to their colors again. After which, it was a settled line of policy, “No more exchanging or cartelling; we will starve him out in that article!” And had Friedrich had nothing but his own 5 millions to go upon, though these contributed liberally, he had in truth been starved out. Nor could Saxony, with Mecklenburg, Anhalt, Erfurt, and their 10,000 men a year, have supplied him,–“had not there,” says Archenholtz (a man rather fond of superlatives),–

“Had not there risen a Recruiting system,” or Crimping system, “the like of which for kind and degree was never seen in the Earth before. Prisoners, captive soldiers, if at all likely fellows, were by every means persuaded, and even compelled, to take Prussian service. Compelled, cudgel in hand,” says Archenholtz (who is too indiscriminating, I can see,–for there were Pfalzers, Wurtembergers, Reichsfolk, who had FIRST been compelled the other way): “not asked if they wished to serve, but dragged to the Prussian colors, obliged to swear there, and fight against, their countrymen.” Say at least, against their countrymen’s Governors, contumacious Serene Highnesses of Wurtemberg, Mecklenburg and the like. Wurtemberg, we mentioned lately, had to shoot a good few of his first levy against the Protestant Champion, before they would march at all!–I am sorry for these poor men; and wish the Reich had been what it once was, a Veracity and Practical Reality, not an Imaginary Entity and hideously contemptible Wiggery, as it now is! Contemptible, and hideous as well;–setting itself up on that, fundamental mendacity; which is eternally tragical, though little regarded in these days, and which entails mendacities without end on parties concerned!–But, apart from all this, certain it is,

“The whole German Reich was deluged with secret Prussian Enlisters. The greater part of these were not actual Officers at all, but hungry Adventurers, who had been bargained with, and who, for their own profit, allowed themselves every imaginable art to pick up men. Head and centre of them was the Prussian Colonel Colignon,” one of the Free-Corps people; “a man formed by nature for this business [what a beautiful man!]–who gave all the others their directions, and taught them by his own example. Colignon himself,” in winter- time, “travelled about in all manner of costumes and characters; persuading hundreds of people into the Prussian service. He not only promised Commissions, but gave such,–nominating loose young fellows (LAFFEN), students, merchants’ clerks and the like, to Lieutenancies and Captaincies in the Prussian Army [about as likely as in the Seraphim and Cherubim, had they known it]: in the Infantry, in the Cuirassiers, in the Hussars,–it is all one, you have only to choose. The renown of the Prussian arms was so universal, and combined with the notion of rich booty, that Colignon’s Commission-manufactory was continually busy. No need to provide marching-money, hand-money [shillings for earnest]; Colignon’s recruits travelled mostly of will and at their own charge. In Franken, in Schwaben, in the Rhine Countries, a dissolute son would rob his father,–as shopmen their masters’ tills, and managers their cash-boxes,–and hie off to those magnanimous Prussian Officials, who gave away companies like kreutzers, and had a value for young fellows of spirit. They hastened to Magdeburg with their Commissions; where they were received as common recruits, and put by force into the regiments suitable. No use in resisting: the cudgel and the drill-sergeant,” –who doubts it?–“till complete submission. By this and other methods Colignon and his helpers are reckoned to have raised for the King, in the course of this War, about 60,000 recruits.” [Archenholtz, ii. 53.]

This Year, Daun, though his reputation is on the decline lately, is to have the chief command, as usual; the Grand Army, with Saxony for field of conquest, and the Reichsfolk to assist, is to be Daun’s. But, what is reckoned an important improvement, Loudon is to have a separate command, and Army of his own. Loudon, hot of temper, melancholic, shy, is not a man to recommend himself to Kriegshofrath people; but no doubt Imperial Majesty has had her own wise eye on him. His merits are so undeniable; the need of some Commander NOT of the Cunctator type is become so very pressing. “Army of Silesia, 50,000;” that is to be Loudon’s, with 40,000 Russians to co-operate and unite themselves with Loudon; and try actually for conquest of Silesia, this Year; while Daun, conquering Saxony, keeps the King busy.

At Petersburg, Versailles, Vienna, much planning there has been, and arduous consulting: first at Petersburg, in time and in importance, where Montalembert has again been very urgent in regard to those poor Swedish people, and the getting of them turned to some kind of use: “Stettin in conjunction with the Swedes; oh, listen to reason, and take Stettin!” “Would not Dantzig by ourselves be the advisable thing?” answers Soltikof: “Dantzig is an important Town, and the grand Baltic Haven; and would be so convenient for our Preussen, since we have determined to maintain that fine Conquest.” So thinks Czarish Majesty, as well as Soltikof, privately, though there are difficulties as to Dantzig; and, in fine, except Colberg over again, there can be nothing attempted of sieging thereabouts. A Siege of Colberg, however, there is actually to be: Second Siege,–if perhaps it will prove luckier than the First was, two years since? Naval Armament Swedish-Russian, specific Land Armament wholly Russian, are to do this Second Siege, at a favorable time; except by wishes, Soltikof will not be concerned in it; nor, it is to be hoped, shall we,–in such pressure of haste as is probably ahead for us.

“Silesia would be the place for sieges!” say the Vienna people always; and Imperial Majesty is very urgent; and tries all methods, –eloquence, flatteries, bribes,–to bring Petersburg to that view. Which is at last adopted; heartily by Czarish Majesty, ever ready for revenge on Friedrich, the more fatal and the more direct, the better. Heartily by her; not so heartily by Soltikof and her Army people, who know the Austriau habits; and privately decide on NOT picking chestnuts from the fire, while the other party’s paws keep idle, and only his jaws are ready.

Of Small-War there is nothing or little to be said; indeed there occurs almost none. Roving Cossack-Parties, under one Tottleben, whom we shall hear of otherwise, infest Pommern, bickering with the Prussian posts there; not ravaging as formerly, Tottleben being a civilized kind of man. One of these called at the Castle of Schwedt, one day; found Prince Eugen of Wurtemberg there (nearly recovered of his Kunersdorf wounds), who is a Son-in-law of the House, married to a Daughter of Schwedt;–ancestor of the now Russian Czars too, had anybody then known it. Him these Cossacks carried off with them, a march or two; then, taking his bond for a certain ransom, let him go. Bond and bondholder being soon after captured by the Prussians, Eugen paid no ransom; so that to us his adventure is without moment, though it then made some noise among the Gazetteers.

Two other little passages, and only two, we will mention; which have in themselves a kind of memorability. First, that of General Czetteritz and the MANUSCRIPT he lost. Of posts across the Elbe I find none mentionable here, and believe there is none, except only Czetteritz’s; who stands at Cosdorf, well up towards Torgau Country, as sentry over Torgau and the Towns there. On Czetteritz there was, in February, an attempt made by the active General Beck, whom Daun had detached for that object. Extremely successful, according to the Austrian Gazetteers; but in reality amounting to as good as nothing:–Surprisal of Czetteritz’s first vedette, in the dawn of a misty February morning (February 21st, 1760); non-surprisal of his second, which did give fire and alarm, whereupon debate; and Czetteritz springing into his saddle; retreat of his people to rearward, with loss of 7 Officers and 200 prisoners;–but ending in re-advance, with fresh force, a few hours after; [Seyfarth, ii. 655.]–in repulse of Beck, in recovery of Cosdorf, and a general state of AS-YOU-WERE in that part. A sputter of Post-War, not now worth mentioning at all,–except only for one small circumstance: That in the careering and swift ordering, such as there was, on the rear-guard especially, Major-General Czetteritz’s horse happened to fall; whereby not only was the General taken prisoner, but his quarters got plundered, and in his luggage,–what is the notable circumstance,–there was found a small Manuscript, MILITAIRISCHE INSTRUKZION FUR DIE GENERALE, such as every Prussian General has, and is bound to keep religiously secret.[Stands now in OEuvres de Frederic,
xxviii. 3 et. seq.; was finished (the revisal of it was), hy the King, “2d April, 1748:” see PREUSS, i. 478-480; and (
OEuvres de Frederic, xxviii. PREFACE, for endless indistinct details about the translations and editions of it. London Edition, 1818, calls itself the FIFTH.] This, carried to Daun’s head-quarters, was duly prized, copied; and in the course of a year came to print, in many shapes and places; was translated into English, under the Title, MILITARY INSTRUCTIONS BY THE KING OF PRUSSIA, in 1762 (and again, hardly so WELL, in 1797); and still languidly circulates among the studious of our soldiers. Not a little admired by some of them; and unfortunately nearly all they seem to know of this greatest of modern Soldiers. [See, for example, in Life of General Sir Charles Napier, by his Brother (London, 1857), iii. 365 and elsewhere,–one of the best judges in the world expressing his joy and admiration on discovery of Friedrich; discovery, if you read well, which amounts to these INSTRUCTIONS, and no more.]

Next, about a month after, we have something to report of Loudon from Silesia, or rather of the Enemies he meets there; for it is not a victorious thing. But it means a starting of the Campaign by an Austrian invasion of Silesia; long before sieging time, while all these Montalembert-Soltikof pleadings and counter-pleadings hang dubious at Petersburg, and Loudon’s “Silesian Army” is still only in a nascent or theoretic state, and only Loudon himself is in a practical one.

Friedrich has always Fouquet at Landshut, in charge of the Silesian Frontier; whose outposts, under Goltz as head of these, stretch, by Neisse, far eastward, through the Hills to utmost Mahren; Fouquet’s own head-quarter being generally Landshut, the main gate of the Country. Fouquet, long since, rooted himself rather firmly into that important post; has a beautiful ring of fortified Hills around Landshut; battery crossing battery, girdling it with sure destruction, under an expert Fouquet,–but would require 30,000 men to keep it, instead of 13,000, which is Fouquet’s allotment. Upon whom Loudon is fully intending a stroke this Year. Fouquet, as we know, has strenuously managed to keep ward there for a twelvemonth past; in spite, often enough, of new violent invadings and attemptings (violent, miscellaneous, but intermittent) by the Devilles and others;–and always under many difficulties of his own, and vicissitudes in his employment: a Fouquet coming and going, waxing and waning, according to the King’s necessities, and to the intermittency or constancy of pressures on Landshut. Under Loudon, this Year, Fouquet will have harder times than ever; –in the end, too hard! But will resist, judge how by the following small sample:–

“Besides Fouquet and his 13,000,” says my Note, “the Silesian Garrisons are all vigilant, are or ought to be; and there are far eastward of him, for guarding of the Jagerndorf-Troppau Border, some 4 or 6,000, scattered about, under Lieutenant-General Goltz, in various Hill Posts,–the chief Post of which, Goltz’s own, is the little Town of Neustadt, northward of Jagerndorf [where we have billeted in the old SileSian Wars]: Goltz’s Neustadt is the chief; and Leobschutz, southwestward of it, under ‘General Le Grand’ [once the Major GRANT of Kolin Battle, if readers remember him, “Your Majesty and I cannot take the Battery ourselves!”] is probably the second in importance. Loudon, cantoned along the Moravian side of the Border, perceives that he can assemble 32,000 foot and horse; that the Prussians are 13,000 PLUS 6,000; that Silesia can be invaded with advantage, were the weather come. And that, in any kind of weather, Goltz and his straggle of posts might be swept into the interior, perhaps picked up and pocketed altogether, if Loudon were sharp enough. Swept into the interior Goltz was; by no means pocketed altogether, as he ought to have been!

“MARCH 13th, 1760, Loudon orders general muster hereabouts for the 15th, everybody to have two days, bread and forage; and warns Goltz, as bound in honor: ‘Excellenz, to-morrow is March 14th; to-morrow our pleasant time of Truce is out,–the more the pity for both of us!’ ‘Yea, my esteemed neighbor Excellenz!’ answers Goltz, with the proper compliments; but judges that his esteemed neighbor is intending mischief almost immediately. Goltz instantly sends orders to all his posts: ‘You, Herr General Grant, you at Leobschutz, and all the rest of you, make your packages; march without delay; rendezvous at Steinau and Upper Glogau [far different from GREAT-Glogau], Neisse-ward; swift!’ And would have himself gone on the 14th, but could not,–his poor little Bakery not being here, nor wagons for his baggages quite to be collected in a moment,–and it was Saturday, 15th, 5 A.M., that Goltz appointed himself to march.

“The last time we saw General Goltz was on the Green of Bautzen, above two years ago,–when he delivered that hard message to the King’s Brother and his party, ‘You deserve to be tried by Court- martial, and have your heads cut off!’ He was of that sad Zittau business of the late Prince of Prussia’s,–Goltz, Winterfeld, Ziethen, Schmettau and others? Winterfeld and the Prince are both dead; Schmettau is fallen into disaster; Goltz is still in good esteem with the King. A stalwart, swift, flinty kind of man, to judge by the Portraits of him; considerable obstinacy, of a tacitly intelligent kind, in that steady eye, in that droop of the eyebrows towards the strong cheek-bones; plenty of sleeping fire in Lieutenant-General Goltz.

“His principal force, on this occasion, is one Infantry Regiment; REGIMENT MANTEUFFEL:–readers perhaps recollect that stout Pommern Regiment, Manteuffel of Foot, and the little Dialogue it had with the King himself, on the eve of Leuthen: ‘Good-night, then, Fritz! To-morrow all dead, or else the Enemy beaten.’ Their conduct, I have heard, was very shining at Leuthen, where everybody shone; and since then they have been plunging about through the death- element in their old rugged way,–and re-emerge here into definite view again, under Lieutenant-General Goltz, issuing from the north end of Neustadt, in the dim dawn of a cold spring morning, March 15th, 5 A.M.; weather latterly very wet, as I learn. They intend Neisse-way, with their considerable stock of baggage-wagons; a company of Dragoons is to help in escorting: party perhaps about 2,000 in all. Goltz will have his difficulties this day; and has calculated on them. And, indeed, at the first issuing, here they already are.

“Loudon, with about 5,000 horse,–four Regiments drawn up here, and by and by with a fifth (happily not with the grenadiers, as he had calculated, who are detained by broken bridges, waters all in flood from the rain),–is waiting for him, at the very environs of Neustadt. Loudon, by a trumpet, politely invites him to surrender, being so outnumbered; Goltz, politely thanking, disregards it, and marches on: Loudon escorting, in an ominous way; till, at Buchelsdorf, the fifth Regiment (best in the Austrian service) is seen drawn out across the highway, plainly intimating, No thoroughfare to Goltz and Pommern. Loudon sends a second trumpet: ‘Surrender prisoners; honorablest terms; keep all your baggage: refuse, and you are cut down every man.’ ‘You shall yourself hear the answer,’ said Goltz. Goltz leads this second trumpet to the front; and, in Pommern dialect, makes known what General Loudon’s proposal is. The Pommerners answer, as one man, a No of such emphasis as I have never heard; in terms which are intensely vernacular, it seems, and which do at this day astonish the foreign mind: ‘We will for him something, WIR WOLLEN IHM WAS–‘ But the powers of translation and even of typography fail; and feeble paraphrase must give it: ‘We will for him SOMETHING INEFFABLE CONCOCT,’ of a surprisingly contrary kind! ‘WIR WOLLEN IHM WAS’ (with ineffable dissyllabic verb governing it)! growled one indignant Pommerner; ‘and it ran like file-fire along the ranks,’ says Archenholtz; everybody growling it, and bellowing it, in fierce bass chorus, as the indubitable vote of Pommern in those circumstances.

“Loudon’s trumpet withdrew. Pommern formed square round its baggage; Loudon’s 5,000 came thundering in, fit to break adamant; but met such a storm of bullets from Pommern, they stopped about ten paces short, in considerable amazement, and wheeled back. Tried it again, still more amazement; the like a third time; every time in vain. After which, Pommern took the road again, with vanguard, rearguard; and had peace for certain miles,–Loudon gloomily following, for a new chance. How many times Loudon tried again, and ever again, at good places, I forget,–say six times in all. Between Siebenhufen and Steinau, in a dirty defile, the jewel of the road for Loudon, who tried his very best there, one of our wagons broke down; the few to rear of it, eighteen wagons and some country carts, had to be left standing. Nothing more of Pommern was left there or anywhere. Near Steinau there, Loudon gave it up as desperate, and went his way. His loss, they say, was 300 killed, 500 wounded; Pommern’s was 35 killed, and above 100 left wounded or prisoners. One of the stiffest day’s works I have known: some twelve miles of march, in every two an attack. Pommern has really concocted something surprising, and kept its promise to Loudon! ‘Thou knowest what the Pommerners can do,’ said they once to their own King. An obstinate, strong-boned, heavy-browed people; not so stupid as you think. More or less of Jutish or Anglish type; highly deficient in the graces of speech, and, I should judge, with little call to Parliamentary Eloquence.” [Preuss, ii. 241 (incorrect in some small points); Archenholtz, ii. 61; Seyfarth, ii. 640, and Beylagen, ii. 657-660;
Tempelhof, iv. 8-10; in ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG (iv. 68) the Austrian account.]

Friedrich is, this Year, considered by the generality of mankind, to be ruined: “Lost 60,000 men last Campaign; was beaten twice; his luck is done; what is to become of him?” say his enemies, and even the impartial Gazetteer, with joy or sorrow. Among his own people there is gloom or censure; hard commentaries on Maxen: “So self- willed, high, and deaf to counsel from Prince Henri!” Henri himself, they say, is sullen; threatening, as he often does, to resign “for want of health;” and as he quite did, for a while, in the end of this Campaign, or interval between this and next.

Friedrich has, with incredible diligence, got together his finance (copper in larger dose than ever, Jew Ephraim presiding as usual); and, as if by art-magic, has on their feet 100,000 men against his enemy’s 280,000. Some higher Officers are secretly in bad spirits; but the men know nothing of discouragement. Friedrich proclaims to them at marching, “For every cannon you capture, 100 ducats; for every flag, 50; for every standard (cavalry flag), 40;”–which sums, as they fell due, were accordingly paid thenceforth. [Stenzel, v. 236, 237; ib. 243.] But Friedrich, too, is abundantly gloomy, if that could help him; which he knows well it cannot, and strictly hides it from all but a few;–or all but D’Argens almost alone, to whom it can do no harm. Read carefully by the light of contemporary occurrences, not vaguely in the vacant haze, as the Editors give it, his correspondence with D’Argens becomes interesting almost to a painful degree: an unaffected picture of one of the bravest human souls weighed down with dispiriting labors and chagrins, such as were seldom laid on any man; almost beyond bearing, but incurable, and demanding to be borne. Wilhelmina is away, away; to D’Argens alone of mortals does he whisper of these things; and to him not wearisomely, or with the least prolixity, but in short sharp gusts, seldom now with any indignation, oftenest with a touch of humor in them, not soliciting any sympathy, nor expecting nearly as much as he will get from the faithful D’Argens.

“I am unfortunate and old, dear Marquis; that is why they persecute me: God knows what my future is to be this Year! I grieve to resemble Cassandra with my prophecies; but how augur well of the desperate situation we are in, and which goes on growing worse? I am so gloomy to-day, I will cut short. … Write to me when you have nothing better to do; and don’t forget a poor Philosopher who, perhaps to expiate his incredulity, is doomed to find his Purgatory in THIS world.” [ OEuvres de Frederic, xix.
138, 139 (“Freyberg, 20th March, 1760”).] … To another Friend, in the way of speech, he more deliberately says: “The difficulties I had, last Campaign, were almost infinite: such a multitude of enemies acting against me; Pommern, Brandenburg, Saxony, Frontiers of Silesia, alike in danger, often enough all at one time. If I escaped absolute destructiou, I must impute it chiefly to the misconduct of my enemies; who gained such advantages, but had not the sense to follow them up. Experience often corrects people of their blunders: I cannot expect to profit by anything of that kind; on their part, in the course of this Campaign:” judge if it will be a light one, MON CHER. [To Mitchell, one evening, “Camp of Schlettau, May 23d” (Mitchell, ii. 159).]

The symptoms we decipher in these Letters, and otherwise, are those of a man drenched in misery; but used to his black element, unaffectedly defiant of it, or not at the pains to defy it; occupied only to do his very utmost in it, with or without success, till the end come. Prometheus, chained on the Ocean-cliffs, with the New Ruling-Powers in the upper hand, and their vultures gradually eating him; dumb Time and dumb Space looking on, apparently with small sympathy: Prometheus and other Titans, now and then, have touched the soul of some AEschylus, and drawn tones of melodious sympathy, far heard among mankind. But with this new Titan it is not so: nor, upon the whole, with the proper Titan, in this world, is it usually so; the world being a–what shall we say?–a poorish kind of world, and its melodies and dissonances, its loves and its hatreds worth comparatively little in the long- run. Friedrich does wonderfully without sympathy from almost anybody; and the indifference with which he walks along, under such a cloud of sulky stupidities, of mendacities and misconceptions from the herd of mankind, is decidedly admirable to me.

But let us look into the Campaign itself. Perhaps–contrary to the world’s opinion, and to Friedrich’s own when, in ultra-lucid moments, he gazes into it in the light of cold arithmetic, and finds the aspect of it “frightful”–this Campaign will be a little luckier to him than the last? Unluckier it cannot well be:–or if so, it will at least be final to him!