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History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 11 by Thomas Carlyle

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aldermanic exertions on the matter, been accurately taken, one
doubts if Porto-Bello sold, without shot fired, to the highest
bidder, at its floweriest, would have covered such a sum. For they
are a singular Nation, if stirred up from their stagnancy; and are
much in earnest about this Spanish War.

It is said there is now another far grander Expedition on the
stocks: military this time as well as naval, intended for the
Spanish Main;--but of that, for the present, we will defer
speaking. Enough, the Spanish War is a most serious and most
furious business to those old English; and, to us, after forced
study of it, shines out like far-off conflagration, with a certain
lurid significance in the then night of things. Night otherwise
fallen dark and somniferous to modern mankind. As Britannic
Majesty and his Walpoles have, from the first, been dead against
this Spanish War, the problem is all the more ominous, and the
dreadful corollaries that may hang by it the more distressing to
the royal mind.

For example, there is known, or as good as known, to be virtually
some Family Compact, or covenanted Brotherhood of Bourbonism,
French and Spanish: political people quake to ask themselves, "How
will the French keep out of this War, if it continue any length of
time? And in that case, how will Austria, Europe at large?
Jenkins's Ear will have kindled the Universe, not the Spanish Main
only, and we shall be at a fine pass!" The Britannic Majesty
reflects that if France take to fighting him, the first stab given
will probably be in the accessiblest quarter and the intensely
most sensitive,--our own Electoral Dominions where no Parliament
plagues us, our dear native country, Hanover. Extremely
interesting to know what Friedrich of Prussia will do in
such contingency?

Well, truly it might have been King George's best bargain to close
with Friedrich; to guarantee Julich and Berg, and get Fredrich to
stand between the French and Hanover; while George, with an
England behind him, in such humor, went wholly into that Spanish
Business, the one thing needful to them at present. Truly;
but then again, there are considerations: "What is this Friedrich,
just come out upon the world? What real fighting power has he,
after all that ridiculous drilling and recruiting Friedrich
Wilhelm made? Will he be faithful in bargain; is not, perhaps,
from of old, his bias always toward France rather? And the Kaiser,
what will the Kaiser say to it?" These are questions for a
Britannic Majesty! Seldom was seen such an insoluble imbroglio of
potentialities; dangerous to touch, dangerous to leave lying;--and
his Britannic Majesty's procedures upon it are of a very slow
intricate sort; and will grow still more so, year after year, in
the new intricacies that are coming, and be a weariness to my
readers and me. For observe the simultaneous fact. All this while,
Robinson at Vienna is dunning the Imperial Majesty to remember old
Marlborough days and the Laws of Nature; and declare for us
against France, in case of the worst. What an attempt!
Imperial Majesty has no money; Imperial Majesty remembers recent
days rather, and his own last quarrel with France (on the Polish-
Election score), in which you Sea-Powers cruelly stood neuter!
One comfort, and pretty much one only, is left to a nearly
bankrupt Imperial heart; that France does at any rate ratify
Pragmatic Sanction, and instead of enemy to that inestimable
Document has become friend,--if only she be well let alone.
"Let well alone," says the sad Kaiser, bankrupt of heart as well
as purse: "I have saved the Pragmatic, got Fleury to guarantee it;
I will hunt wild swine and not shadows any more: ask me not!"
And now this Herstal business; the Imperial Dehortatoriums,
perhaps of a high nature, that are like to come? More hopeless
proposition the Britannic Majesty never made than this to the
Kaiser. But he persists in it, orders Robinson to persist;
knocks at the Austrian door with one hand, at the Prussian or
Anti-Austrian with the other; and gazes, with those proud fish-
eyes, into perils and potentialities and a sea of troubles.
Wearisome to think of, were not one bound to it! Here, from a
singular CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND, not yet got into
print, are two Excerpts; which I will request the reader to
try if he can take along with him, in view of much that
is Coming:--

1. A JUST WAR.--"This War, which posterity scoffs at as the WAR OF
JENKINS'S EAR, was, if we examine it, a quite indispensable one;
the dim much-bewildered English, driven into it by their deepest
instincts, were, in a chaotic inarticulate way, right and not
wrong in taking it as the Commandment of Heaven. For such, in a
sense, it was; as shall by and by appear. Not perhaps since the
grand Reformation Controversy, under Oliver Cromwell and
Elizabeth, had there, to this poor English People (who are
essentially dumb, inarticulate, from the weight of meaning they
have, notwithstanding the palaver one hears from them in certain
epochs), been a more authentic cause of War. And, what was the
fatal and yet foolish circumstance, their Constitutional Captains,
especially their King, would never and could never regard it as
such; but had to be forced into it by the public rage, there being
no other method left in the case.

"I say, a most necessary War, though of a most stupid appearance;
such the fatality of it:--begun, carried on, ended, as if by a
People in a state of somnambulism! More confused operation never
was. A solid placid People, heavily asleep (and snoring much,
shall we say, and inarticulately grunting and struggling under
indigestions, Constitutional and other? Do but listen to the hum
of those extinct Pamphlets and Parliamentary Oratories of
theirs!),--yet an honestly intending People; and keenly alive to
any commandment from Heaven, that could pierce through the thick
skin of them into their big obstinate heart. Such a commandment,
then and there, was that monition about Jenkins's Ear. Upon which,
so pungent was it to them, they started violently out of bed, into
painful sleep-walking; and went, for twenty years and more,
clambering and sprawling about, far and wide, on the giddy edge of
precipices, over house-tops and frightful cornices and parapets;
in a dim fulfilment of the said Heaven's command. I reckon that
this War, though there were intervals, Treaties of Peace more than
one, and the War had various names,--did not end till 1763.
And then, by degrees, the poor English Nation found that (at, say,
a thousand times the necessary expense, and with imminent peril to
its poor head, and all the bones of its body) it had actually
succeeded,--by dreadful exertions in its sleep! This will be more
apparent by and by; and may be a kind of comfort to the sad
English reader, drearily surveying such somnambulisms on the part
of his poor ancestors."

2. TWO DIFFICULTIES.--"There are Two grand Difficulties in this
Farce-Tragedy of a war; of which only one, and that not the worst
of the Pair, is in the least surmised by the English hitherto.
Difficulty First, which is even worse than the other, and will
surprisingly attend the English in all their Wars now coming, is:
That their fighting-apparatus, though made of excellent material,
cannot fight,--being in disorganic condition; one branch of it,
especially the 'Military' one as they are pleased to call it,
being as good as totally chaotic, and this in a quiet habitual
manner, this long while back. With the Naval branch it is
otherwise; which also is habitual there. The English almost as if
by nature can sail, and fight, in ships; cannot well help doing
it. Sailors innumerable are bred to them; they are planted in the
Ocean, opulent stormy Neptune clipping them in all his moods
forever: and then by nature, being a dumb, much-enduring, much-
reflecting, stout, veracious and valiant kind of People, they
shine in that way of life, which specially requires such.
Without much forethought, they have sailors innumerable, and of
the best quality. The English have among them also, strange as it
may seem to the cursory observer, a great gift of organizing;
witness their Arkwrights and others: and this gift they may often,
in matters Naval more than elsewhere, get the chance of
exercising. For a Ship's Crew, or even a Fleet, unlike a land
Army, is of itself a unity, its fortunes disjoined, dependent on
its own management; and it falls, moreover, as no land army can,
to the undivided guidance of one man,--who (by hypothesis, being
English) has now and then, from of old, chanced to be an
organizing man; and who is always much interested to know and
practise what has been well organized. For you are in contact with
verities, to an unexampled degree, when you get upon the Ocean,
with intent to sail on it, much more to fight on it;--bottomless
destruction raging beneath you and on all hands of you, if you
neglect, for any reason, the methods of keeping it down, and
making it float you to your aim!

The English Navy is in tolerable order at that period. But as to
the English Army,--we may say it is, in a wrong sense, the wonder
of the world, and continues so throughout the whole of this
History and farther! Never before, among the rational sons of
Adam, were Armies sent out on such terms,--namely without a
General, or with no General understanding the least of his
business. The English have a notion that Generalship is not
wanted; that War is not an Art, as playing Chess is, as finding
the Longitude, and doing the Differential Calculus are (and a much
deeper Art than any of these); that War is taught by Nature, as
eating is; that courageous soldiers, led on by a courageous Wooden
Pole with Cocked-hat on it, will do very well. In the world I have
not found opacity of platitude go deeper among any People. This is
Difficulty First, not yet suspected by an English People, capable
of great opacity on some subjects.

"Difficulty Second is, That their Ministry, whom they had to force
into this War, perhaps do not go zealously upon it. And perhaps
even, in the above circumstances, they totally want knowledge how
to go upon it, were they never so zealous; Difficulty Second might
be much helped, were it not for Difficulty First. But the
administering of War is a thing also that does not come to a man
like eating.--This Second Difficulty, suspicion that Walpole and
perhaps still higher heads want zeal, gives his Britannic Majesty
infinite trouble; and"--

--And so, in short, he stands there, with the Garter-leg advanced,
looking loftily into a considerable sea of troubles,--that day
when Friedrich drove past him, Friday, 16th September, 1740, and
never came so near him again.

The next business for Friedrich was a Visit at Brunswick, to the
Affinities and Kindred, in passing; where also was an important
little act to be done: Betrothal of the young Prince, August
Wilhelm, Heir-Presumptive whom we saw in Strasburg, to a Princess
of that House, Louisa Amelia, younger Sister of Friedrich's own
Queen. A modest promising arrangement; which turned out well
enough,--though the young Prince, Father to the Kings that since
are, was not supremely fortunate otherwise. [Betrothal was 20th
September, 1740; Marriage, 5th January, 1742 (Buchholz, i. 207).]
After which, the review at Magdeburg; and home on the 24th, there
to "be busy as a Turk or as a M. Jordan,"--according to what we
read long since.

Chapter VII.


By this Herstal token, which is now blazing abroad, now and for a
month to come, it can be judged that the young King of Prussia
intends to stand on his own footing, quite peremptorily if need
be; and will by no means have himself led about in Imperial
harness, as his late Father was. So that a dull Public
(Herrenhausen very specially), and Gazetteer Owls of Minerva
everywhere, may expect events. All the more indubitably, when that
spade-work comes to light in the Wesel Country. It is privately
certain (the Gazetteers not yet sure about it, till they see the
actual spades going), this new King does fully intend to assert
his rights on Berg-Julich; and will appear there with his iron
ramrods, the instant old Kur-Pfalz shall decease, let France and
the Kaiser say No to it or say Yes. There are, in fact, at a fit
place, "Buderich in the neighborhood of Wesel," certain rampart-
works, beginnings as of an Entrenched Camp, going on;--"for Review
purposes merely," say the Gazetteers, IN ITALICS. Here, it
privately is Friedrich's resolution, shall a Prussian Army, of
the due strength (could be well-nigh 100,000 strong if needful),
make its appearance, directly on old Kur-Pfalz's decease, if one
live to see such event. [Stenzel, iv. 61.] France and the Kaiser
will probably take good survey of that Buderich phenomenon
before meddling.

To do his work like a King, and shun no peril and no toil in the
course of what his work may be, is Friedrich's rule and intention.
Nevertheless it is clear he expects to approve himself magnanimous
rather in the Peaceable operations than in the Warlike; and his
outlooks are, of all places and pursuits, towards Reinsberg and
the Fine Arts, for the time being. His Public activity meanwhile
they describe as "prodigious," though the ague still clings to
him; such building, instituting, managing: Opera-House, French
Theatre, Palace for his Mother;--day by day, many things to be
recorded by Editor Formey, though the rule about them here is
silence except on cause.

No doubt the ague is itself privately a point of moment. Such a
vexatious paltry little thing, in this bright whirl of Activities,
Public and other, which he continues managing in spite of it;
impatient to be rid of it. But it will not go: there IT reappears
always, punctual to its "fourth day,"--like a snarling street-dog,
in the high Ball-room and Work-room. "He is drinking Pyrmont
water;" has himself proposed Quinquina, a remedy just come up, but
the Doctors shook their heads; has tried snatches of Reinsberg,
too short; he intends soon to be out there for a right spell of
country, there to be "happy," and get quit of his ague. The ague
went,--and by a remedy which surprised the whole world, as will
be seen!


Monday, 17th October, came the Baireuth Visitors; Wilhelmina all
in a flutter, and tremor of joy and sorrow, to see her Brother
again, her old kindred and the altered scene of things. Poor Lady,
she is perceptibly more tremulous than usual; and her Narrative,
not in dates only, but in more memorable points, dances about at a
sad rate; interior agitations and tremulous shrill feelings
shivering her this way and that, and throwing things topsy-turvy
in one's recollection. Like the magnetic needle, shaky but
steadfast (AGITEE MAI CONSTANTE). Truer nothing can be, points
forever to the Pole; but also what obliquities it makes;
will shiver aside in mad escapades, if you hold the paltriest bit
of old iron near it,--paltriest clack of gossip about this loved
Brother of mine! Brother, we will hope, silently continues to be
Pole, so that the needle always comes back again; otherwise all
would go to wreck. Here, in abridged and partly rectified form,
are the phenomena witnessed:--

"We arrived at Berlin the end of October [Monday, 17th, as
above said]. My younger Brothers, followed by the Princes of the
Blood and by all the Court, received us at the bottom of the
stairs. I was led to my apartment, where I found the Reigning
Queen, my Sisters [Ulrique, Amelia], and the Princesses [of the
Blood, as above, Schwedt and the rest]. I learned with much
chagrin that the King was ill of tertian ague [quartan; but that
is no matter]. He sent me word that, being in his fit, he could
not see me; but that he depended on having that pleasure
to-morrow. The Queen Mother, to whom I went without delay, was in
a dark condition; rooms all hung with their lugubrious drapery;
everything yet in the depth of mourning for my Father. What a
scene for me! Nature has her rights; I can say with truth, I have
almost never in my life been so moved as on this occasion."
Interview with Mamma--we can fancy it--"was of the most touching."
Wilhelmina had been absent eight years. She scarcely knows the
young ones again, all so grown;--finds change on change: and that
Time, as he always is, has been busy. That night the Supper-Party
was exclusively a Family one.

Her Brother's welcome to her on the morrow, though ardent enough,
she found deficient in sincerity, deficient in several points;
as indeed a Brother up to the neck in business, and just come out
of an ague-fit, does not appear to the best advantage.
Wilhelmina noticed how ill he looked, so lean and broken-down
(MAIGRE ET DEFAIT) within the last two months; but seems to have
taken no account of it farther, in striking her balances with
Friedrich. And indeed in her Narrative of this Visit, not, we will
hope, in the Visit itself, she must have been in a high state of
magnetic deflection,--pretty nearly her maximum of such,
discoverable in those famous MEMOIRS,--such a tumult is there in
her statements, all gone to ground-and-lofty tumbling in this
place; so discrepant are the still ascertainable facts from this
topsy-turvy picture of them, sketched by her four years hence (in
1744). The truest of magnetic needles; but so sensitive, if you
bring foreign iron near it!

Wilhelmina was loaded with honors by an impartial Berlin Public
that is Court Public; "but, all being in mourning, the Court was
not brilliant. The Queen Mother saw little company, and was sunk
in sorrow;--had not the least influence in affairs, so jealous was
the new King of his Authority,--to the Queen Mother's surprise,"
says Wilhelmina. For the rest, here is a King "becoming truly
unpopular [or, we fancy so, in our deflected state, and judging by
the rumor of cliques]; a general discontent reigning in the
Country, love of his subjects pretty much gone; people speaking of
him in no measured terms [in certain cliques]. Cares nothing about
those who helped him as Prince Royal, say some; others complain of
his avarice [meaning steady vigilance in outlay] as surpassing the
late King's; this one complained of his violences of temper
(EMPORTEMENS); that one of his suspicions, of his distrust, his
haughtinesses, his dissimulation" (meaning polite impenetrability
when he saw good). Several circumstances, known to Wilhelmina's
own experience, compel Wilhelmina's assent on those points.
"I would have spoken to him about them, if my Brother of Prussia
[young August Wilhelm, betrothed the other day] and the Queen
Regnant had not dissuaded me. Farther on I will give the
explanation of all this,"--never did it anywhere. "I beg those who
may one day read these MEMOIRS, to suspend their judgment on the
character of this great Prince till I have developed it."
[Wilhelmina, ii. 326.] O my Princess, you are true and bright, but
you are shrill; and I admire the effect of atmospheric
electricity, not to say, of any neighboring marine-store shop, or
miserable bit of broken pan, on one of the finest magnetic needles
ever made and set trembling!

Wilhelmina is incapable of deliberate falsehood; and this her
impression or reminiscence, with all its exaggeration, is entitled
to be heard in evidence so far. From this, and from other sources,
readers will assure themselves that discontents were not wanting;
that King Friedrich was not amiable to everybody at this time,--
which indeed he never grew to be at any other time. He had to be a
King; that was the trade he followed, not the quite different one
of being amiable all round. Amiability is good, my Princess;
but the question rises, "To whom?-for example, to the young
gentleman who shot himself in Lobegun?" There are young gentlemen
and old sometimes in considerable quantities, to whom, if you were
in your duty, as a King of men (or even as a "King of one man and
his affairs," if that is all your kingdom), you should have been
hateful instead of amiable! That is a stern truth; too much
forgotten by Wilhelmina and others. Again, what a deadening and
killing circumstance is it in the career of amiability, that you
are bound not to be communicative of your inner man, but
perpetually and strictly the reverse! It may be doubted if a good
King can be amiable; certainly he cannot in any but the noblest
ages, and then only to a select few. I should guess Friedrich was
at no time fairly loved, not by those nearest to him. He was
rapid, decisive; of wiry compact nature; had nothing of his
Father's amplitudes, simplicities; nothing to sport with and
fondle, far from it. Tremulous sensibilities, ardent affections;
these we clearly discover in him, in extraordinary vivacity; but
he wears them under his polished panoply, and is outwardly a
radiant but metallic object to mankind. Let us carry this along
with us in studying him; and thank Wilhelmina for giving us hint
of it in her oblique way.--Wilhelmima's love for her Brother rose
to quite heroic pitch in coming years, and was at its highest when
she died. That continuation of her MEMOIRS in which she is to
develop her Brother's character, was never written: it has been
sought for in modern times; and a few insignificant pages, with
evidence that there is not, and was not, any more, are all that
has turned up. [Pertz, Ueber die Denkwurdigkeiten der
Markgrafin van Bayreuth (Paper read in the
Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin,
25th April, 1850).

Incapable of falsity prepense, we say; but the known facts, which
stand abundantly on record if you care to search them out, are
merely as follows: Friedrich, with such sincerity as there might
be, did welcome Wilhelmina on the morrow of her arrival; spoke of
Reinsberg, and of air and rest, and how pleasant it would be;
rolled off next morning, having at last gathered up his
businesses, and got them well in hand, to Reinsberg accordingly;
whither Wilhelmina, with the Queen Regnant and others of agreeable
quality, followed in two days; intending a long and pleasant spell
of country out there. Which hope was tolerably fulfilled, even for
Wilhelmina, though there did come unexpected interruptions, not of
Friedrich's bringing.


Friedrich's pursuits and intended conquests, for the present, are
of peaceable and even gay nature. French Theatre, Italian Opera-
House, these are among the immediate outlooks. Voltaire, skilled
in French acting, if anybody ever were, is multifariously
negotiating for a Company of that kind,--let him be swift, be
successful. [Letters of Voltaire (PASSIM, in these months).]
An Italian Opera there shall be; the House is still to be built:
Captain Knobelsdorf, who built Reinsberg, whom we have known, is
to do it. Knobelsdorf has gone to Italy on that errand; "went by
Dresden, carefully examining the Opera-House there, and all the
famed Opera-Houses on his road." Graun, one of the best judges
living, is likewise off to Italy, gathering singers. Our Opera
too shall be a successful thing, and we hope, a speedy. Such are
Friedrich's outlooks at this time.

A miscellaneous pleasant company is here; Truchsess and Bielfeld,
home from Hanover, among them; Wilhelmina is here;--Voltaire
himself perhaps coming again. Friedrich drinks his Pyrmont waters;
works at his public businesses all day, which are now well in
hand, and manageable by couriers; at evening he appears in
company, and is the astonishment of everybody; brilliant, like a
new-risen sun, as if he knew of no illness, knew of no business,
but lived for amusement only. "He intends Private Theatricals
withal, and is getting ready Voltaire's MORT DE CESAR." [Preuss,
Thronbesteigung, p. 415.] These were pretty
days at Reinsberg. This kind of life lasted seven or eight weeks,
--in spite of interruptions of subterranean volcanic nature, some
of which were surely considerable. Here, in the very first week,
coming almost volcanically, is one, which indeed is the sum of
them all.

Tuesday forenoon, 25th October, 1740, Express arrives at
Reinsberg; direct from Vienna five days ago; finds Friedrich under
eclipse, hidden in the interior, laboring under his ague-fit:
question rises, Shall the Express be introduced, or be held back?
The news he brings is huge, unexpected, transcendent, and may
agitate the sick King. Six or seven heads go wagging on this
point,--who by accident are namable, if readers care: "Prince
August Wilhelm," lately betrothed; "Graf Truchsess," home from
Hanover; "Colonel Graf von Finkenstein," old Tutor's Son, a
familiar from boyhood upwards; "Baron Pollnitz" kind of chief
Goldstick now, or Master of the Ceremonies, not too witty, but the
cause of wit; "Jordan, Bielfeld," known to us; and lastly,
"Fredersdorf," Major-domo and Factotum, who is grown from Valet to
be Purse-Keeper, confidential Manager, and almost friend,--
a notable personage in Friedrich's History. They decide,
"Better wait!"

They wait accordingly; and then, after about an hour, the
trembling-fit being over, and Fredersdorf having cautiously
preluded a little, and prepared the way, the Despatch is
delivered, and the King left with his immense piece of news.
News that his Imperial Majesty Karl VI. died, after short illness,
on Thursday, the 20th last. Kaiser dead: House of Hapsburg, and
its Five Centuries of tough wrestling, and uneasy Dominancy in
this world, ended, gone to the distaff:--the counter-wrestling
Ambitions and Cupidities not dead; and nothing but Pragmatic
Sanction left between the fallen House and them! Friedrich kept
silence; showed no sign how transfixed he was to hear such
tidings; which, he foresaw, would have immeasurable consequences
in the world.

One of the first was, that it cured Friedrich of his ague.
It braced him (it, and perhaps "a little quinquina which he now
insisted on") into such a tensity of spirit as drove out his ague
like a mere hiccough; quite gone in the course of next week;
and we hear no more of that importunate annoyance. He summoned
Secretary Eichel, "Be ready in so many minutes hence;" rose from
his bed, dressed himself; [Preuss, Thronbesteigung, italic> p. 416.]--and then, by Eichel's help, sent off expresses
for Schwerin his chief General, and Podewils his chief Minister.
A resolution, which is rising or has risen in the Royal mind, will
be ready for communicating to these Two by the time they arrive,
on the second day hence. This done, Friedrich, I believe, joined
his company in the evening; and was as light and brilliant as if
nothing had happened.

Chapter VIII.


The Kaiser's death came upon the Public unexpectedly; though not
quite so upon observant persons closer at hand. He was not yet
fifty-six out; a firm-built man; had been of sound constitution,
of active, not intemperate habits: but in the last six years,
there had come such torrents of ill luck rolling down on him, he
had suffered immensely, far beyond what the world knew of; and to
those near him, and anxious for him, his strength seemed much
undermined. Five years ago, in summer 1735, Robinson reported,
from a sure hand: "Nothing can equal the Emperor's agitation under
these disasters [brought upon him by Fleury and the Spaniards,
as after-clap to his Polish-Election feat]. His good Empress is
terrified, many times, he will die in the course of the night,
when singly with her he gives a loose to his affliction, confusion
and despair." Sea-Powers will not help; Fleury and mere ruin will
engulf! "What augments this agitation is his distrust in every one
of his own Ministers, except perhaps Bartenstein," [Robinson to
Lord Warrington, 5th July, 1735 (in State-Paper Office).]--who is
not much of a support either, though a gnarled weighty old stick
in his way ("Professor at Strasburg once"): not interesting to us
here. The rest his Imperial Majesty considers to be of sublimated
blockhead type, it appears. Prince Eugene had died lately, and
with Eugene all good fortune.

And then, close following, the miseries of that Turk War, crashing
down upon a man! They say, Duke Franz, Maria Theresa's Husband,
nominal Commander in those Campaigns, with the Seckendorfs and
Wallises under him going such a road, was privately eager to have
done with the Business, on any terms, lest the Kaiser should die
first, and leave it weltering. No wonder the poor Kaiser felt
broken, disgusted with the long Shadow-Hunt of Life; and took to
practical field-sports rather. An Army that cannot fight, War-
Generals good only to be locked in Fortresses, an Exchequer that
has no money; after such wagging of the wigs, and such Privy-
Councilling and such War-Councilling:--let us hunt wild swine, and
not think of it! That, thank Heaven, we still have; that, and
Pragmatic Sanction well engrossed, and generally sworn to by
mankind, after much effort!--

The outer Public of that time, and Voltaire among them more
deliberately afterwards, spoke of "mushrooms," an "indigestion of
mushrooms;" and it is probable there was something of mushrooms
concerned in the event, Another subsequent Frenchman, still more
irreverent, adds to this of the "excess of mushrooms," that the
Kaiser made light of it. "When the Doctors told him he had few
hours to live, he would not believe it; and bantered his
Physicians on the sad news. 'Look me in the eyes,' said he;
'have I the air of one dying? When you see my sight growing dim,
then let the sacraments be administered, whether I order or not.'"
Doctors insisting, the Kaiser replied: "'Since you are foolish
fellows, who know neither the cause nor the state of my disorder,
I command that, once I am dead, you open my body, to know what the
matter was; you can then come and let me know!"'
[ Anecdotes Germaniques (Paris, 1769),
p. 692.]--in which also there is perhaps a glimmering of distorted
truth, though, as Monsieur mistakes even the day ("18th October,"
says he, not 2Oth), one can only accept it as rumor from the

Here, by an extremely sombre domestic Gentleman of great
punctuality and great dulness, are the authentic particulars, such
as it was good to mention in Vienna circles. [(Anonymous)
Des &c. Romischen Kaisers Carl VI. Leben und Thaten
(Frankfurt und Leipzig, 1741), pp. 220-227.] An extremely dull
Gentleman, but to appearance an authentic; and so little defective
in reverence that he delicately expresses some astonishment at
Death's audacity this year, in killing so many Crowned Heads.
"This year 1740," says he, "though the weather throughout Europe
had been extraordinarily fine," or fine for a cold year, "had
already witnessed several Deaths of Sovereigns: Pope Clement XII.,
Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, the Queen Dowager of Spain
[Termagant's old stepmother, not Termagant's self by a great way].
But that was not enough: unfathomable Destiny ventured now on
namely, and Russia's great, Monarchess;"--an audacity to be
remarked. Of Russia's great Monarchess (Czarina Anne, with the big
cheek) we will say nothing at present; but of Karl VI. only,--
abridging much, and studying arrangement.

"Thursday, October 13th, returning from Halbthurn, a Hunting Seat
of his," over in Hungary some fifty miles, "to the Palace Favorita
at Vienna, his Imperial Majesty felt slightly indisposed,"--
indigestion of mushrooms or whatever it was: had begun AT
Halbthurn the night before, we rather understand, and was the
occasion of his leaving. "The Doctors called it cold on the
stomach, and thought it of no consequence. In the night of
Saturday, it became alarming;" inflammation, thought the Doctors,
inflammation of the liver, and used their potent appliances, which
only made the danger come and go; "and on the Tuesday, all day,
the Doctors did not doubt his Imperial Majesty was dying.
["Look me in the eyes; pack of fools; you will have to dissect me,
you will then know:" Any truth in all that? No matter.]

"At noon of that Tuesday he took the Sacrament, the Pope's Nuncio
administering. His Majesty showed uncommonly great composure of
soul, and resignation to the Divine Will;" being indeed
"certain,"--so he expressed it to "a principal Official Person
sunk in grief" (Bartenstein, shall we guess?), who stood by him--
"certain of his cause," not afraid in contemplating that dread
Judgment now near: "Look at me! A man that is certain of his cause
can enter on such a Journey with good courage and a composed mind
(MIT GUTEM UND DELASSENEM MUTH)." To the Doctors, dubitating what
the disease was, he said, "If Gazelli" my late worthy Doctor,
"were still here, you would soon know; but as it is, you will
learn it when you dissect me;"--and once asked to be shown the Cup
where his heart would lie after that operation.

"Sacrament being over," Tuesday afternoon, "he sent for his
Family, to bless them each separately. He had a long conversation
with Grand Duke Franz," titular of Lorraine, actual of Tuscany,
"who had assiduously attended him, and continued to do so, during
the whole illness." The Grand Duke's Spouse,--Maria Theresa, the
noble-hearted and the overwhelmed; who is now in an interesting
state again withal; a little Kaiserkin (Joseph II.) coming in five
months; first child, a little girl, is now two years old;--"had
been obliged to take to bed three days ago; laid up of grief and
terror (VOR SCHMERZEN UND SCHRECKEN), ever since Sunday the 16th.
Nor would his Imperial Majesty permit her to enter this death-
room, on account of her condition, so important to the world;
but his Majesty, turning towards that side where her apartment
was, raised his right hand, and commanded her Husband, and the
Archduchess her younger Sister, to tell his Theresa, That he
blessed her herewith, notwithstanding her absence." Poor Kaiser,
poor Theresa! "Most distressing of all was the scene with the
Kaiserin. The night before, on getting knowledge of the sad
certainty, she had fainted utterly away (STARKE OHNMACHT), and had
to be carried into the Grand Duchess's [Maria Theresa's] room.
Being summoned now with her Children, for the last blessing, she
cried as in despair, 'Do not leave me, Your Dilection, do not (ACH
"Her Imperial Majesty would not quit the room again, but remained
to the last.

"Wednesday, 19th, all day, anxiety, mournful suspense;" poor
weeping Kaiserin and all the world waiting; the Inevitable visibly
struggling on. "And in the night of that day [night of 19th-20th
Oct., 1740], between one and two in the morning, Death snatched
away this most invaluable Monarch (DEN PREISWURDIGSTEN MONARCHEN)
in the 66th year of his life;" and Kaiser Karl VI., and the House
of Hapsburg and its Five tough Centuries of good and evil in this
world had ended. The poor Kaiserin "closed the eyes" that could
now no more behold her; "kissed his hands, and was carried out
more dead than alive." [Anonymous, UT SUPRA, pp. 220-227.--
Adelung, Pragmatische Staatsgeschichte
(Gotha, 1762-1767), ii. 120. JOHANN CHRISTOPH Adelung; the same
who did the DICTIONARY aud many other deserving Books; here is the
precise Title: "Pragmatische Staatsgeschichte Europens,"
that is, "Documentary History of Europe, from Kaiser
Karl's Death, 1740, till Peace of Paris, 1763." A solid, laborious
and meritorious Work, of its kind; extremely extensive (9 vols.
4to, some of which are double and even treble), mostly in the
undigested, sometimes in the quite uncooked or raw condition;
perhaps about a fifth part of it consists of "Documents" proper,
which are shippable. It cannot help being dull, waste, dreary, but
is everywhere intelligible (excellent Indexes too),--and offers an
unhappy reader by far the best resource attainable for survey of
that sad Period.]

A good affectionate Kaiserin, I do believe; honorable, truthful,
though unwitty of speech, and converted by Grandpapa in a peculiar
manner, For her Kaiser too, after all, I have a kind of love.
Of brilliant articulate intellect there is nothing; nor of
inarticulate (as in Friedrich Wilhelm's case) anything
considerable: in fact his Shadow-Hunting, and Duelling with the
Termagant, seemed the reverse of wise. But there was something of
a high proud heart in it, too, if we examine; and even the
Pragmatic Sanction, though in practice not worth one regiment of
iron ramrods, indicates a profoundly fixed determination, partly
of loyal nature, such as the gods more or less reward. "He had
been a great builder," say the Histories; "was a great musician,
fit to lead orchestras, and had composed an Opera,"--poor Kaiser.
There came out large traits of him, in Maria Theresa again, under
an improved form, which were much admired by the world. He looks,
in his Portraits, intensely serious; a handsome man, stoically
grave; much the gentleman, much the Kaiser or Supreme Gentleman.
As, in life and fact, he was; "something solemn in him, even when
he laughs," the people used to say. A man honestly doing his very
best with his poor Kaisership, and dying of chagrin by it.
"On opening the body, the liver-region proved to be entirely
deranged; in the place where the gall-bladder should have been, a
stone of the size of a pigeon's egg was found grown into the
liver, and no gall-bladder now there."

That same morning, with earliest daylight, "Thursday, 20th, six
A.M.," Maria Theresa is proclaimed by her Heralds over Vienna:
"According to Pragmatic Sanction, Inheritress of all the," &c.
&c.;--Sovereign Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and
Bohemia, for chief items. "At seven her Majesty took the Oath from
the Generals and Presidents of Tribunals,--said, through her
tears, 'All was to stand on the old footing, each in his post,'"--
and the other needful words. Couriers shoot forth towards all
Countries;--one express courier to Regensburg, and the enchanted
Wiggeries there, to say That a new Kaiser will be needed;
REICHS-Vicar or Vicars (Kur-Sachsen and whoever more, for they are
sometimes disagreed about it) will have to administer in
the interim.

A second courier we saw arrive at Reinsberg; he likewise may be
important. The Bavarian Minister, Karl Albert Kur-Baiern's man,
shot off his express, like the others; answer is, by return of
courier, or even earlier (for a messenger was already on the
road), Make protest! "We Kur-Baiern solemnly protest against
Pragmatic Sanction, and the assumption of such Titles by the
Daughter of the late Kaiser. King of Bohemia, and in good part
even of Austria, it is not you, Madam, but of right WE; as, by
Heaven's help, it is our fixed resolution to make good!"
Protest was presented, accordingly, with all the solemnities,
without loss of a moment. To which Bartenstein and the Authorities
answered "Pooh-pooh," as if it were nothing. It is the first
ripple of an immeasurable tide or deluge in that kind, threatening
to submerge the new Majesty of Hungary;--as had been foreseen at
Reinsberg; though Bartenstein and the Authorities made light of
it, answering "Pooh-pooh," or almost "Ha-ha," for the present.

Her Hungarian Majesty's chief Generals, Seckendorf, Wallis,
Neipperg, sit in their respective prison-wards at this time (from
which she soon liberates them): Kur-Baiern has lodged protest;
at Reinsberg there will be an important resolution ready:--and in
the Austrian Treasury (which employs 40,000 persons, big and
little) there is of cash or available, resource, 100,000 florins,
that is to say, 10,000 pounds net. [Mailath, Geschichte
des Oestreichischen Kaiserstaats (Hamburg, 1850),
v. 8.] And unless Pragmatic sheepskin hold tighter than some
persons expect, the affairs of Austria and of this young
Archduchess are in a threatening way.

His Britannic Majesty was on the road home, about Helvoetsluys or
on the sea for Harwich, that night the Kaiser died; of whose
illness he had heard nothing. At London, ten days after, the
sudden news struck dismally upon his Majesty and the Political
Circles there: "No help, then, from that quarter, in our Spanish
War; perhaps far other than help!"--Nay, certain Gazetteers were
afraid the grand new Anti-Spanish Expedition itself, which was
now, at the long last, after such confusions and delays, lying
ready, in great strength, Naval and Military, would be
countermanded,--on Pragmatic-Sanction considerations, and the
crisis probably imminent. [London Newspapers (31st Oct.-6th Nov.,
1740). But it was not countermanded; it sailed all the same,
"November 6th" (seventh day after the bad news); and made towards
--Shall we tell the reader, what is Officially a dead secret,
though by this time well guessed at by the Public, English and
also Spanish?--towards Carthagena, to reinforce fiery Vernon, in
the tropical latitudes; and overset Spanish America, beginning
with that important Town!

Commodore Anson, he also, after long fatal delays, is off, several
weeks ago; [29th (18th) September, 1740.] round Cape Horn; hoping
(or perhaps already not hoping) to co-operate from the Other
Ocean, and be simultaneous with Vernon,--on these loose principles
of keeping time! Commodore Anson does, in effect, make a Voyage
which is beautiful, and to mankind memorable; but as to keeping
tryst with Vernon, the very gods could not do it on those terms!

Chapter IX.


Thursday, 27th October, two days after the Expresses went for
them, Schwerin and Podewils punctually arrived at Reinsberg.
They were carried into the interior privacies, "to long
conferences with his Majesty that day, and for the next four days;
Majesty and they even dining privately together;" grave business
of state, none guesses how grave, evidently going on.
The resolution Friedrich laid before them, fruit of these two days
since the news from Vienna, was probably the most important ever
formed in Prussia, or in Europe during that Century: Resolution to
make good our Rights on Silesia, by this great opportunity, the
best that will ever offer. Resolution which had sprung, I find,
and got to sudden fixity in the head of the young King himself;
and which met with little save opposition from all the other sons
of Adam, at the first blush and for long afterwards. And, indeed,
the making of it good (of it, and of the immense results that hung
by it) was the main business of this young King's Life henceforth;
and cost him Labors like those of Hercules, and was in the highest
degree momentous to existing and not yet existing millions of
mankind,--to the readers of this History especially.

It is almost touching to reflect how unexpectedly, like a bolt out
of the blue, all this had come upon Friedrich; and how it overset
his fine program for the winter at Reinsberg, and for his Life
generally. Not the Peaceable magnanimities, but the Warlike, are
the thing appointed Friedrich this winter, and mainly henceforth.
Those "GOLDEN or soft radiances" which we saw in him, admirable to
Voltaire and to Friedrich, and to an esurient philanthropic
world,--it is not those, it is "the STEEL-BRIGHT or stellar kind,"
that are to become predominant in Friedrich's existence:
grim hail-storms, thunders and tornado for an existence to him,
instead of the opulent genialities and halcyon weather,
anticipated by himself and others! Indisputably enough to us, if
not yet to Friedrich, "Reinsberg and Life to the Muses" are done.
On a sudden, from the opposite side of the horizon, see,
miraculous Opportunity, rushing hitherward,--swift, terrible,
clothed with lightning like a courser of the gods: dare you clutch
HIM by the thundermane, and fling yourself upon him, and make for
the Empyrean by that course rather? Be immediate about it, then;
the time is now, or else never!--No fair judge can blame the young
man that he laid hold of the flaming Opportunity in this manner,
and obeyed the new omen. To seize such an opportunity, and
perilously mount upon it, was the part of a young magnanimous
King, less sensible to the perils, and more to the other
considerations, than one older would have been.

Schwerin and Podewils were, no doubt, astonished to learn what the
Royal purpose was; and could not want for commonplace objections
many and strong, had this been the scene for dwelling on them, or
dressing them out at eloquent length. But they knew well this was
not the scene for doing more than, with eloquent modesty, hint
them; that the Resolution, being already taken, would not alter
for commonplace; and that the question now lying for honorable
members was, How to execute it? It is on this, as I collect, that
Schwerin and Podewils in the King's company did, with extreme
intensity, consult during those four days; and were, most
probably, of considerable use to the King, though some of their
modifications adopted by him turned out, not as they had
predicted, but as he. On all the Military details and outlines,
and on all the Diplomacies of this business, here are two Oracles
extremely worth consulting by the young King.

To seize Silesia is easy: a Country open on all but the south
side; open especially on our side, where a battalion of foot might
force it; the three or four fortresses, of which only two, Glogau
and Neisse, can be reckoned strong, are provided with nothing as
they ought to be; not above 3,000 fighting men in the whole
Province, and these little expecting fight. Silesia can be seized:
but the maintaining of it?--We must try to maintain it,
thinks Friedrich.

At Reinsberg it is not yet known that Kur-Baiern has protested;
but it is well guessed he means to do so, and that France is at
his back in some sort. Kur-Baiern, probably Kur-Sachsen, and
plenty more, France being secretly at their back. What low
condition Austria stands in, all its ready resources run to the
lees, is known; and that France, getting lively at present with
its Belleisles and adventurous spirits not restrainable by Fleury,
is always on the watch to bring Austria lower; capable, in spite
of Pragmatic Sanction, to snatch the golden moment, and spring
hunter-like on a moribund Austria, were the hunting-dogs once out
and in cry. To Friedrich it seems unlikely the Pragmatic Sanction
will be a Law of Nature to mankind, in these circumstances.
His opinion is, "the old political system has expired with the
Kaiser." Here is Europe, burning in one corner of it by Jenkins's
Ear, and such a smoulder of combustible material awakening nearer
hand: will not Europe, probably, blaze into general War;
Pragmatic Sanction going to waste sheepskin, and universal
scramble ensuing? In which he who has 100,000 good soldiers, and
can handle them, may be an important figure in urging claims, and
keeping what he has got hold of!--

Friedrich's mind, as to the fact, is fixed: seize Silesia we will:
but as to the manner of doing it, Schwerin and Podewils modify
him. Their counsel is: "Do not step out in hostile attitude at the
very first, saying, 'These Duchies, Liegnitz, Brieg, Wohlau,
Jagerndorf, are mine, and I will fight for them;' say only,
'Having, as is well known, interests of various kinds in this
Silesia, I venture to take charge of it in the perilous times now
come, and will keep it safe for the real owner.' Silesia seized in
this fashion," continue they, "negotiate with the Queen of
Hungary; offer her help, large help in men and money, against her
other enemies; perhaps she will consent to do us right?"--
"She never will consent," is Friedrich's opinion. "But it is worth
trying?" urge the Ministers.--"Well," answers Friedrich, "be it in
that form; that is the soft-spoken cautious form: any form will
do, if the fact be there." That is understood to have been the
figure of the deliberation in this conclave at Reinsberg, during
the four days. [Stenzel (from what sources he does not clearly
say, no doubt from sources of some authenticity) gives this as
summary of it, iv. 61-65.] And now it remains only to fix the
Military details, to be ready in a minimum of time; and to keep
our preparations and intentions in impenetrable darkness from all
men, in the interim. Adieu, Messieurs.

And so, on the 1st of November, fifth morning since they came,
Schwerin and Podewils, a world of new business silently ahead of
them, return to Berlin, intent to begin the same. All the Kings
will have to take their resolution on this matter; wisely, or else
unwisely. King Friedrich's, let it prove the wisest or not, is
notably the rapidest,--complete, and fairly entering upon action,
on November 1st. At London the news of the Kaiser's death had
arrived the day before; Britannic Majesty and Ministry, thrown
much into the dumps by it, much into the vague, are nothing like
so prompt with their resolution on it. Somewhat sorrowfully in the
vague. In fact, they will go jumbling hither and thither for about
three years to come, before making up their minds to a resolution:
so intricate is the affair to the English Nation and them!
Intricate indeed; and even imaginary,--definable mainly as a
bottomless abyss of nightmare dreams to the English Nation and
them! Productive of strong somnambulisms, as my friend has it!--


Podewils and Schwerin gone, King Friedrich, though still very busy
in working-hours, returns to his society and its gayeties and
brilliancies; apparently with increased appetite after these four
days of abstinence. Still busy in his working-hours, as a King
must be; couriers coming and going, hundreds of businesses
despatched each day; and in the evening what a relish for
society,--Praetorius is quite astonished at it. Music, dancing,
play-acting, suppers of the gods, "not done till four in the
morning sometimes," these are the accounts Praetorius hears at
Berlin. "From all persons who return from Reinsberg," writes he,
"the unanimous report is, That the King works, the whole day
through, with an assiduity that is unique; and then, in the
evening, gives himself to the pleasures of society, with a
vivacity of mirth and sprightly humor which makes those Evening-
Parties charming." [Excerpt, in Preuss, Thronbesteigung,
p. 418.] So it had to last, with frequent short
journeys on Friedrich's part, and at last with change to Berlin as
head-quarters, for about seven weeks to come,--till the beginning
of December, and the day of action, namely. A notable little
Interim in Friedrich's History and that of Europe.

Friedrich's secret, till almost the very end, remained
impenetrable; though, by degrees, his movements excited much
guessing in the Gazetteer and Diplomatic world everywhere.
Military matters do seem to be getting brisk in Prussia; arsenals
much astir; troops are seen mustering, marching, plainly to a
singular degree. Marching towards the Austrian side, towards
Silesia, some note. Yes; but also towards Cleve, certain
detachments of troops are marching,--do not men see? And the
Intrenchment at Buderich in those parts, that is getting forward
withal,--though privately there is not the least prospect of using
it, in these altered circumstances. Friedrich already guesses that
if he could get Silesia, so invaluable on the one skirt of him, he
mill probably have to give up his Berg-Julich claims on the other;
I fancy he is getting ready to do so, should the time come for
such alternative. But he labors at Buderich, all the same, and
"improves the roads in that quarter,"--which at least may help to
keep an inquisitive public at bay. These are seven busy weeks on
Friedrich's part, and on the world's: constant realities of
preparation, on the one part, industriously veiled; on the other
part, such shadows, guessings, spyings, spectral movements above
ground and below; Diplomatic shadows fencing, Gazetteer shadows
rumoring;--dreams of a world as if near awakening to something
great! "All Officers on furlough have been ordered to their
posts," writes Bielfeld, on those vague terms of his: "On arriving
at Berlin, you notice a great agitation in all departments of the
State. The regiments are ordered to prepare their equipages, and
to hold themselves in readiness for marching. There are magazines
being formed at Frankfurt-on-Oder and at Crossen,"--handy for
Silesia, you would say? "There are considerable trains of
Artillery getting ready, and the King has frequent conferences
with his Generals." [Bielfeld, i. 165 (Berlin, 30th November, is
the date he puts to it).] The authentic fact is: "By the middle of
November, Troops, to the extent of 30,000 and more, had got orders
to be ready for marching in three weeks hence; their public
motions very visible ever since, their actual purpose a mystery to
all mortals except three.

Towards the end of November, it becomes the prevailing guess that
the business is immediate, not prospective; that Silesia may be in
the wind, not Julich and Berg. Which infinitely quickens the
shadowy rumorings and Diplomatic fencings of mankind. The French
have their special Ambassador here; a Marquis de Beauvau,
observant military gentleman, who came with the Accession
Compliment some time ago, and keeps his eyes well open, but cannot
see through mill-stones. Fleury is intensely desirous to know
Friedrich's secret; but would fain keep his own (if he yet have
one), and is himself quite tacit and reserved. To Fleury's Marquis
de Beauvau Friedrich is very gracious; but in regard to secrets,
is for a reciprocal procedure. Could not Voltaire go and try?
It is thought Fleury had let fall some hint to that effect,
carried by a bird of the air. Sure enough Voltaire does go;
is actually on visit to his royal Friend; "six days with him at
Reinsberg;" perhaps near a fortnight in all (20 November-
2 December or so), hanging about those Berlin regions, on the
survey. Here is an unexpected pleasure to the parties;--but in
regard to penetrating of secrets, an unproductive one!

Voltaire's ostensible errand was, To report progress about the
ANTI-MACHIAVEL, the Van Duren nonsense; and, at any rate, to
settle the Money-accounts on these and other scores; and to
discourse Philosophies, for a day or two, with the First of Men.
The real errand, it is pretty clear, was as above. Voltaire has
always a wistful eye towards political employment, and would fain
make himself useful in high quarters. Fleury and he have their
touches of direct Correspondence now and then; and obliquely there
are always intermediates and channels. Small hint, the slightest
twinkle of Fleury's eyelashes, would be duly speeded to Voltaire,
and set him going. We shall see him expressly missioned hither,
on similar errand, by and by; though with as bad success as
at present.

Of this his First Visit to Berlin, his Second to Friedrich,
Voltaire in the VIE PRIVEE says nothing. But in his SIECLE DE
LOUIS XV. he drops, with proud modesty, a little foot-note upon
it: "The Author was with the King of Prussia at that time; and can
affirm that Cardinal de Fleury was totally astray in regard to the
Prince he had now to do with." To which a DATE slightly wrong is
added; the rest being perfectly correct. [ OEuvres italic> (Siecle de Louis XV., c. 6), xxviii. 74.] No other details
are to be got anywhere, if they were of importance; the very dates
of it in the best Prussian Books are all slightly awry. Here, by
accident, are two poor flint-sparks caught from the dust
whirlwind, which yield a certain sufficing twilight, when put in
their place; and show us both sides of the matter, the smooth side
and the seamy:--

21st Nov.," showing the smooth side.

"MY DEAR SWAN OF PADUA,--Voltaire has arrived; all sparkling with
new beauties, and far more sociable than at Cleve. He is in very
good humor; and makes less complaining about his ailments than
usual. Nothing can be more frivolous than our occupations here:"
mere verse-making, dancing, philosophizing, then card-playing,
dining, flirting; merry as birds on the bough (and Silesia
invisible, except to oneself and two others). [ OEuvres de
Frederic, xviii. 25.]

"RUPPIN, 28th November.
"... Thy Miser [Voltaire, now gone to Berlin, of whom Jordan is to
send news, as of all things else], thy Miser shall drink to the
lees of his insatiable desire (SIC) to enrich himself: he shall
have the 3,000 thalers (450 pounds). He was with me six days:
that will be at the rate of 500 thalers (75 pounds) a day. That is
paying dear for one's merry-andrew (C'EST BIEN PAYER UN FOU);
never had court-fool such wages before." [Ib. xvii. 72.
Particulars of the money-payment (travelling expenses chiefly,
rather exorbitant, and THIS journey added to the list; and no
whisper of the considerable Van-Duren moneys, and copyright of
ANTI-MACHIAVEL, in abatement) are in Rodenbeck, i. 27. Exact sum
paid is 3,300 thalers; 2,000 a good while ago, 1,300 at this time,
which settles the greedy bill.]

Which latter, also at first hand, shows us the seamy side.
And here, finally, with date happily appended, is a poetic snatch,
in Voltaire's exquisite style, which with the response gives us
the medium view:--

VOLTAIRE'S ADIEU ( "Billet de Conge,
2 December, 1740").

"Non, malgre vos vertus, non, malgre vos appas,
Mon ame n'est point satisfaite;
Non, vous n'etes qu'une coquette,
Qui subjuguez les coeurs, et ne rous donnez pas."


"Mon ame sent le prix de vos divins appas;
Mais ne presumez point qu'elle soit satisfaite.
Traitre, vous me quittez pour suivre une coquette;
Moi je ne vous quitterais pas."
[ OEuvres de Frederic (xiv. 167);
OEuvres de Voltaire; &c. &c.]

--Meaning, perhaps, in brief English: V. "Ah, you are but a
beautiful coquette; you charm away our hearts, and do not give
your own [won't tell me your secret at all]!" F. "Treacherous
Lothario, it is you that quit me for a coquette [your divine
Emilie; and won't stay here, and be of my Academy];
but however--!" Friedrich looked hopingly on the French, but could
not give his secret except by degrees and with reciprocity.
Some days hence he said to Marquis de Beauvau, in the Audience of
leave, a word which was remembered.


As to Friedrich himself, since about the middle of November his
plans seem to have been definitely shaped out in all points;
Troops so many, when to be on march, and how; no important detail
uncertain since then. November 17th, he jots down a little Note,
which is to go to Vienna, were the due hour come, by a special
Ambassador, one Count Gotter, acquainted with the ground there;
and explain to her Hungarian Majesty, what his exact demands are,
and what the exact services he will render. Of which important
little Paper readers shall hear again. Gotter's demands are at
first to be high: Our Four Duchies, due by law so long; these and
even more, considering the important services we propose; this is
to be his first word;--but, it appears, he is privately prepared
to put up with Two Duchies, if he can have them peaceably:
Duchies of Sagan and Glogau, which are not of the Four at all, but
which lie nearest us, and are far below the value of the Four, to
Austria especially. This intricate point Friedrich has already
settled in his mind. And indeed it is notably the habit of this
young King to settle matters with himself in good time: and in
regard to all manner of points, he will be found, on the day of
bargaining about them, to have his own resolution formed and
definitely fixed;--much to his advantage over conflicting parties,
who have theirs still flying loose.

Another thing of much concernment is, To secure himself from
danger of Russian interference. To this end he despatches Major
Winterfeld to Russia, a man well known to him;--day of
Winterfeld's departure is not given; day of his arrival in
Petersburg is "19th December" just coming. Russia, at present, is
rather in a staggering condition; hopeful for Winterfeld's object.
On the 28th of October last, only eight days after the Kaiser,
Czarina Anne of Russia, she with the big cheek, once of Courland,
had died; "audacious Death," as our poor friend had it, "venturing
upon another Crowned Head" there. Bieren her dear Courlander, once
little better than a Horse-groom, now Duke of Courland, Quasi-
Husband to the late Big Cheek, and thereby sovereign of Russia,
this long while past, is left Official Head in Russia. Poor little
Anton Ulrich and his august Spouse, well enough known to us, have
indeed produced a Czar Iwan, some months ago, to the joy of
mankind: but Czar Iwan is in his cradle: Father and Mother's
function is little other than to rock the cradle of Iwan;
Bieren to be Regent and Autocrat over him and them in the interim.
To their chagrin, to that of Feldmarschall Munnich and many
others: the upshot of which will be visible before long.
Czarina Anne's death had seemed to Friedrich the opportune removal
of a dangerous neighbor, known to be in the pay of Austria:
here now are new mutually hostile parties springing up; chance,
surely, of a bargain with some of them? He despatches Winterfeld
on this errand;--probably the fittest man in Prussia for it.
How soon and perfectly Winterfeld succeeded, and what Winterfeld
was, and something of what a Russia he found it, we propose to
mention by and by.

These, and all points of importance, Friedrich has settled with
himself some time ago. What his own private thoughts on the
Silesian Adventure are, readers will wish to know, since they can
at first hand. Hear Friedrich himself, whose veracity is
unquestionable to such as know anything of him:--

"This Silesian Project fulfilled all his (the King's) political
views,"--summed them all well up into one head. "It was a means of
acquiriug reputation; of increasing the power of the State; and of
terminating what concerned that long-litigated question of the
Berg-Julich Succession;"--can be sure of getting that, at lowest;
intends to give that up, if necessary.

"Meanwhile, before entirely determining, the King weighed the
risks there were in undertaking such a War, and the advantages
that were to be hoped from it. On one side, presented itself the
potent House of Austria, not likely to want resources with so many
vast Provinces under it; an Emperor's Daughter attacked, who would
naturally find allies in the King of England, in the Dutch
Republic, and so many Princes of the Empire who had signed the
Pragmatic Sanction." Russia was--or had been, and might again be--
in the pay of Vienna. Saxony might have some clippings from
Bohemia thrown to it, and so be gained over. Scanty Harvest, 1740,
threatened difficulties as to provisioning of troops. "The risks
were great. One had to apprehend the vicissitudes of war. A single
battle lost might be decisive. The King had no allies; and his
troops, hitherto without experience, would have to front old
Austrian soldiers, grown gray in harness, and trained to war by so
many campaigns.

"On the other side were hopeful considerations,"--four in number:
FIRST, Weak condition of the Austrian Court, Treasury empty, War-
Apparatus broken in pieces; inexperienced young Princess to defend
a disputed succession, on those terms. SECOND, There WILL be
allies; France and England always in rivalry, both meddling in
these matters, King is sure to get either the one or the other.--
THIRD, Silesian War lies handy to us, and is the only kind of
Offensive War that does; Country bordering on our frontier, and
with the Oder running through it as a sure high-road for
everything. FOURTH, "What suddenly turned the balance," or at
least what kept it steady in that posture,--"news of the Czarina's
death arrives:" Russia has ceased to count against us; and become
a manageable quantity. On, therefore!--

"Add to these reasons," says the King, with a candor which has not
been well treated in the History Books, "Add to these reasons, an
Army ready for acting; Funds, Supplies all found [lying barrelled
in the Schloss at Berlin];--and perhaps the desire of making
oneself a name," from which few of mortals able to achieve it are
exempt in their young time: "all this was cause of the War which
the King now entered upon." [ OEuvres de Frederic italic> (Histoire de mon Temps), i. 128.]

"Desire to make himself a name; how shocking!" exclaim several
Historians. "Candor of confession that he may have had some such
desire; how honest!" is what they do not exclaim. As to the
justice of his Silesian Claims, or even to his own belief about
their justice, Friedrich affords not the least light which can be
new to readers here. He speaks, when business requires it, of
"those known rights" of his, and with the air of a man who expects
to be believed on his word; but it is cursorily, and in the
business way only; and there is not here or elsewhere the least
pleading:--a man, you would say, considerably indifferent to our
belief on that head; his eyes set on the practical merely.
"Just Rights? What are rights, never so just, which you cannot
make valid? The world is full of such. If you have rights and can
assert them into facts, do it; that is worth doing!"--

We must add two Notes, two small absinthine drops, bitter but
wholesome, administered by him to the Old Dessauer, whose gloomy
wonder over all this military whirl of Prussian things, and
discontent that he, lately the head authority, has never once been
spoken to on it, have been great. Guessing, at last, that it was
meant for Austria, a Power rather dear to Leopold, he can suppress
himself no longer; but breaks out into Cassandra prophesyings,
which have piqued the young King, and provoke this return:--

1. "REINSBERG, 24th November, 1740.--I have received your Letter,
and seen with what inquietude you view the approaching march of my
Troops. I hope you will set your mind at ease on that score;
and wait with patience what I intend with them and you. I have
made all my dispositions; and Your Serenity will learn, time
enough, what my orders are, without disquieting yourself about
them, as nothing has been forgotten or delayed."--FRIEDRICH.

Old Dessauer, cut to the bone, perceives he will have to quit that
method and never resume it; writes next how painful it is to an
old General to see himself neglected, as if good for nothing,
while his scholars are allowed to gather laurels. Friedrich's
answer is of soothing character:--

2. "BERLIN, 2d DECEMBER, 1740.--You may be assured I honor your
merits and capacity as a young Officer ought to honor an old one,
who has given the world so many proofs of his talent (DEXTERITAT);
nor will I neglect Your Serenity on any occasion when you can help
me by your good Counsel and co-operation." But it is a mere
"bagatelle" this that I am now upon; though, next year, it may
become serious.

For the rest, Saxony being a neighbor whose intentions one does
not know, I have privately purposed Your Serenity should keep an
outlook that way, in my absence. Plenty of employment coming for
Your Serenity. "But as to this present Expedition, I reserve it
for myself alone; that the world may not think the King of Prussia
marches with a Tutor to the Field."--FRIEDRICH. [Orlich,
Geschichte der Schlesischen Kriege (Berlin, 1841),
i. 38, 39.]

And therewith Leopold, eagerly complying, has to rest satisfied;
and beware of too much freedom with this young King again.

"Berlin, December 2d," is the date of that last Note to the
Dessauer; date also of Voltaire's ADIEU with the RESPONSE;--
on which same day, "Friday, December 2d," as I find from the Old
Books, his Majesty, quitting the Reinsberg sojourn, "had arrived
in Berlin about 2 P.M.; accompanied by Prince August Wilhelm
[betrothed at Brunswick lately]; such a crowd on the streets as if
they had never seen him before." He continued at Berlin or in the
neighborhood thenceforth. Busy days these; and Berlin a much
whispering City, as Regiment after Regiment marches away.
King soon to follow, as is thought,--"who himself sometimes deigns
to take the Regiments into highest own eyeshine, HOCHST-EIGENEN
AUGENSCHEIN" (that is, to review them), say the reverential
Editors. December 6th--But let us follow the strict sequence of
Phenomena at Berlin.


Of course her Hungarian Majesty, and her Bartensteins and
Ministries, heard enough of those Prussian rumors, interior
Military activities, and enigmatic movements; but they seem
strangely supine on the matter; indeed, they seem strangely
supine on such matters; and lean at ease upon the Sea-Powers, upon
Pragmatic Sanction and other Laws of Nature. But at length even
they become painfully interested as to Friedrich's intentions;
and despatch an Envoy to sift him a little: an expert Marchese di
Botta, Genoese by birth, skilful in the Russian and other
intricacies; who was here at Berlin lately, doing the Accession
Compliment (rather ill received at that time), and is fit for the
job. Perhaps Botta will penetrate him? That is becoming desirable,
in spite of the gay Private Theatricals at Reinsberg, and the
Berlin Carnival Balls he is so occupied with.

England is not less interested, and the diligent Sir Guy is doing
his best; but can make out nothing satisfactory;--much the reverse
indeed; and falls into angry black anticipations. "Nobody here,
great or small," says his Excellency, "dares make any
representation to this young Prince against the measures he is
pursuing; though all are sensible of the confusion which must
follow. A Prince who had the least regard to honor, truth and
justice, could not act the part he is goingto do." Alas, no,
Excellency Dickens! "But it is plain his only view was, to deceive
us all, and conceal for a while his ambitious and mischievous
designs." [Despatch, 29th November-3d December, 1740: Raumer,
p. 58.] "Never was such dissimulation!" exclaims the Diplomatic
world everywhere, being angered at it, as if it were a vice on the
part of a King about to invade Silesia. Dissimulation, if that
mean mendacity, is not the name of the thing; it is the art of
wearing a polite cloak of darkness, and the King is little
disturbed what name they call it.

Botta did not get to Berlin till December lst, had no Audience
till the 5th;--by which time it is becoming evident to Excellency
Dickens, and to everybody, that Silesia is the thing meant.
Botta hints as much in that first Audience, December 5th:
"Terrible roads, those Silesian ones, your Majesy!" says Botta, as
if historically merely, but with a glance of the eye. "Hm,"
answers his Majesty in the same tone, "the worst that comes of
them is a little mud!"--Next day, Dickens had express Audience,
"Berlin, Tuesday 6th:" a smartish, somewhat flurried Colloquy with
the King; which, well abridged, may stand as follows:--

DICKENS. ... "Indivisibility of the Austrian Monarchy, Sire!"--
KING. "Indivisibility? What do you mean?"--DICKENS. "The
maintenance of the Pragmatic Sanction."--KING. "Do you intend to
support it? I hope not; for such is not my intention." (There is
for you!) ...

DICKENS. "England and Holland will much wonder at the measures
your Majesty was taking, at the moment when your Majesty proposed
to join with them, and were making friendly proposals!" (Has been
a deceitful man, Sir Guy, at least an impenetrable;--but this
latter is rather strong on your part!) "What shall I write to
England?" ("When I mentioned this," says Dickens, "the King grew
red in the face," eyes considerably flashing, I should think.)

KING. "You can have no instructions to ask that question! And if
you had, I have an answer ready for you. England has no right to
inquire into my designs. Your great Sea-Armaments, did I ask you
any questions about them? No; I was and am silent on that head;
only wishing you good luck, and that you may not get beaten by the
Spaniards." (Dickens hastily draws in his rash horns again;
after a pass or two, King's natural color returns.) ...

KING. "Austria as a Power is necessary against the Turks. But in
Germany, what need of Austria being so superlative? Why should
not, say, Three Electors united be able to oppose her? ...
Monsieur, I find it is your notion in England, as well as theirs
in France, to bring other Sovereigns under your tutorage, and lead
them about. Understand that I will not be led by either. ... Tush,
YOU are like the Athenians, who, when Philip of Macedon was ready
to invade them, spent their time in haranguing!"

DICKENS. ... "Berg and Julich, if we were to guarantee them?"--
KING. "Hm. Don't so much mind that Rhine Country: difficulties
there,--Dutch always jealous of one. But, on the other Frontier,
neither England nor Holland could take umbrage,"--points clearly
to Silesia, then, your Excellency Dickens? [Raumer, (from State-
Paper Office), pp. 63, 64.]

Alas, yes! Troops and military equipments are, for days past,
evidently wending towards Frankfurt, towards Crossen, and even the
Newspapers now hint that something is on hand in that quarter.
Nay, this same day, TUESDAY, 6th DECEMBER, there has come out
brief Official Announcement, to all the Foreign Ministers at
Berlin, Excellency Dickens among them, "That his Royal Majesty,
our most all-gracious Herr, has taken the resolution to advance a
Body of Troops into Schlesien,"--rather out of friendly views
towards Austria (much business lying between us about Schlesien),
not out of hostile views by any means, as all Excellencies shall
assure their respective Courts. [Copy of the Paper in
Helden-Geschichte, i. 447.] Announcement which had
thrown the Excellency Dickens into such a frame of mind, before he
got his Audience to-day!--

SATURDAY following, which was December l0th, Marquis de Beauvau
had his Audience of leave; intending for Paris shortly:
Audience very gracious; covertly hinting, on both sides, more than
it said; ending in these words, on the King's side, which have
become famous: "Adieu, then, M. le Marquis. I believe I am going
to play your game; if the aces fall to me, we will share (
Je vais, je crois, jouer votre jeu: si les as me viennent, nous
partagerons)!" [Voltaire, OEuvres (Siecle de
Louis XV., c. 6), xxviii. 74.]

To Botta, all this while, Friedrich strove to be specially civil;
took him out to Charlottenburg, that same Saturday, with the Queen
and other guests; but Botta, and all the world, being now certain
about Silesia, and that no amount of mud, or other terror on the
roads, would be regarded, Botta's thoughts in this evening party
are not of cheerful nature. Next day, Sunday, December 11th, he
too gets his Audience of leave; and cannot help bursting out, when
the King plainly tells him what is now afoot, and that the
Prussian Ambassador has got instructions what to offer upon it at
Vienna. "Sire, you are going to ruin the House of Austria," cried
Botta, "and to plunge yourself into destruction (VOUS ABIMER) at
the same time!"--"Depends on the Queen," said Friedrich, "to
accept the Offers I have made her." Botta sank silent, seemed to
reflect, but gathering himself again, added with an ironical air
and tone of voice, "They are fine Troops, those of yours, Sire.
Ours have not the same splendor of appearance; but they have
looked the wolf in the face. Think, I conjure you, what you are
getting into!" Friedrich answered with vivacity, a little nettled
at the ironical tone of Botta, and his mixed sympathy and menace:
"You find my troops are beautiful; perhaps I shall convince you
they are good too." Yes, Excellency Botta, goodish troops;
and very capable "to look the wolf in the face,"--or perhaps in
the tail too, before all end! "Botta urged and entreated that at
least there should be some delay in executing this project.
But the King gave him to understand that it was now too late, and
that the Rubicon was passed." [Friedrich's own Account (
OEuvres, ii. 57).]

The secret is now out, therefore; Invasion of Silesia certain and
close at hand. "A day or two before marching," may have been this
very day when Botta got his audience, the King assembled his Chief
Generals, all things ready out in the Frankfurt-Crossen region
yonder; and spoke to them as follows; briefly and to the point:--

"Gentlemen, I am undertaking a War, in which I have no allies but
your valor and your good-will. My cause is just; my resources are
what we ourselves can do; and the issue lies in Fortune.
Remember continually the glory which your Ancestors acquired in
the plains of Warsaw, at Fehrbellin, and in the Expedition to
Preussen [across the Frische Haf on ice, that time]. Your lot is
in your own hands: distinctions and rewards wait upon your fine
actions which shall merit them.

"But what need have I to excite you to glory? It is the one thing
you keep before your eyes; the sole object worthy of your labors.
We are going to front troops who, under Prince Eugene, had the
highest reputation. Though Prince Eugene is gone, we shall have to
measure our strength against brave soldiers: the greater will be
the honor if we can conquer. Adieu, go forth. I will follow you
straightway to the rendezvous of glory which awaits us."
[ OEuvres de Frederic, ii.58.]


On the evening of Monday, 12th, there was, as usual, Masked (or
Half-Masked) Ball, at the Palace. As usual; but this time it has
become mentionable in World-History. Bielfeld, personally
interested, gives us a vivid glance into it;--which, though
pretending to be real and contemporaneous, is unfortunately
MYTHICAL only, and done at a great interval of years (dates, and
even slight circumstances of fact, refusing to conform);--which,
however, for the truth there is in it, we will give, as better
than nothing. Bielfeld's pretended date is, "Berlin, 15th
December;" should have been 14th,--wrong by a day, after one's
best effort!

"BERLIN, 15th DECEMBER, 1740. As for me, dear Sister, I am like a
shuttlecock whom the Kings of Prussia and of England hit with
their rackets, and knock to and fro. The night before last, I was
at the Palace Evening Party (ASSEMBLEE); which is a sort of Ball,
where you go in domino, but without mask on the face. The Queen
was there, and all the Court. About eight o'clock the King also
made his appearance. His Majesty, noticing M. de G---[that is DE
GUIDIKEN, or Guy Dickens], English Minister, addressed him;
led him into the embrasure of a window, and talked alone with him
for more than an hour [uncertain, probably apocryphal this].
I threw, from time to time, a stolen glance at this dialogue,
which appeared to me to be very lively. A moment after, being just
dancing with Madame the Countess de--THREE ASTERISKS,--I felt
myself twitched by the domino; and turning, was much surprised to
see that it was the King; who took me aside, and said, 'Are your
boots oiled (VOS BOTTES SONT-ELLES GRAISSIES, Are you ready for a
journey)? ' I replied, 'Sire, they will always be so for your
Majesty's service.'--'Well, then, Truchsess and you are for
England; the day after to-morrow you go. Speak to M. de
Podewils!'--This was said like a flash of lightning. His Majesty
passed into another apartment; and I, I went to finish my minuet
with the Lady; who had been not less astonished to see me
disappear from her eyes, in the middle of the dance, than I was at
what the King said to me." [Bielfeld, i. 167, 168.]
Next morning, I--

The fact is, next morning, Truchsess and I began preparation for
the Court of London,--and we did there, for many months
afterwards, strive our best to keep the Britannic Majesty in some
kind of tune, amid the prevailing discord of events;--fact
interesting to some. And the other fact, interesting to everybody,
though Bielfeld has not mentioned it, is, That King Friedrich, the
same next morning, punctually "at the stroke of 9," rolled away
Frankfurt-ward,--into the First Silesian War! Tuesday, "13th
December, this morning, the King, privately quitting the Ball, has
gone [after some little snatch of sleep, we will hope] for
Frankfurt, to put himself at the head of his Troops." [Dickens (in
State-Paper Office), 13th December, 1740; see also
Helden-Geschichte, i. 452; &c. &c.] Bellona his
companion for long years henceforth, instead of Minerva and the
Muses, as he had been anticipating.

Hereby is like to be fulfilled (except that Friedrich himself is
perhaps this "little stone") what Friedrich prophesied to his
Voltaire, the day after hearing of the Kaiser's death: "I believe
there will, by June next, be more talk of cannon, soldiers,
trenches, than of actresses, and dancers for the ballet.
This small Event changes the entire system of Europe. It is the
little stone which Nebuchadnezzar saw, in his dream, loosening
itself, and rolling down on the Image made of Four Metals, which
it shivers to ruin." [Friedrich to Voltaire, busy gathering actors
at that time, 26th October, 1740 ( OEuvres de Frederic,
xxii. 49).]

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