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History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 6 by Thomas Carlyle

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with the House, all money-quarrels settled eight or ten years ago:
why not him?"--"Excellent!" said her Majesty; and does suggest him
to the King, in the next Schwedt-Weissenfels onslaught.
Friedrich Wilhelm grumbles an assent, "Well, then:--but I will be
passive, observe; not a GROSCHEN of Dowry, for one thing!"--

And this is the first appearance of the young Margraf Friedrich,
Heir-Apparent of Baireuth; who comes in as a hypothetic figure, at
this late stage;--and will carry off the fair prize, as is well
known. Still only doing the Grand Tour; little dreaming of the
high fortune about to drop into his mouth. So many wooers, "four
Kings" among them, suing in vain; him, without suing, the Fates
appoint to be the man.

Not a bad young fellow at all, though no King. Wilhelmina, we
shall find, takes charmingly to him, like a good female soul;
regretless of the Four Kings;--finds her own safe little island
there the prettiest in the world, after such perils of drowning
in stormy seas.--Of his Brandenburg genealogy, degree of
cousinship to Queen Caroline of England, and to the lately wedded
young gentleman of Anspach Queen Caroline's Nephew, we shall say
nothing farther, having already spoken of it, and even drawn an
abstruse Diagram of it, [Antea, vol. v. p. 309c.] sufficient for
the most genealogical reader. But in regard to that of the
peremptory "Not a GROSCHEN of Dowry" from Friedrich Wilhelm (which
was but a bark, after all, and proved the reverse of a bite, from
his Majesty), there may a word of explanation be permissible.

The Ancestor of this Baireuth Prince Friedrich,--as readers knew
once, but doubtless have forgotten again,--was a Younger Son;
and for six generations so it stood: not till the Father of this
Friedrich was of good age, and only within these few years, did
the Elder branch die out, and the Younger, in the person of said
Father, succeed to Baireuth. Friedrich's Grandfather, as all these
progenitors had done, lived poorly, like Cadets, on apanages
and makeshifts.

So that the Young Prince's Father, George Friedrich, present
incumbent, as we may call him, of Baireuth, found himself--with a
couple of Brothers he has, whom also we may transiently see by and
by--in very straitened circumstances in their young years.
THEIR Father, son of younger sons as we saw, was himself poor, and
he had Fourteen of them as family. Now, in old King Friedrich I.'s
time, it became apparent, as the then reigning Margraf of
Baireuth's children all died soon after birth, that one of these
necessitous Fourteen was likely to succeed in Baireuth, if they
could hold out. Old King Friedrich thereupon said, "You have
chances of succession; true enough,--but nobody knows what will
become of that. Sell your chance to me, who am ultimate Heir of
all: I will give you a round sum,--the little 'Domain of
Weverlingen' in the Halberstadt Country, and say 'Half a Million
Thalers;' there you can live comfortably, and support your
Fourteen Children,"--"Done," said the necessitous Cousin; went to
Weverlingen accordingly; and there lived the rest of his days,
till 1708; leaving his necessitous Fourteen, or about Ten of
them that were alive and growing up, still all minors, and
necessitous enough.

The young men, George Friedrich at the top of them, kept silence
in Weverlingen, and conformed to Papa; having nothing to live upon
elsewhere. But they had their own thoughts; especially as their
Cousin of Baireuth was more and more likely to die childless.
And at length, being in the Kaiser's service as soldiers some of
them, and having made what interest was feasible, they, early in
Friedrich Wilhelm's reign, burst out. That is to say, appealed to
the REICHSHOFRATH (Imperial Aulic Council at Vienna; chief Court
of the Empire in such cases); openly protesting there, That their
Papa had no power to make such a bargain, selling their birthright
for immediate pottage; and that, in brief, they would not stand by
it at all;--and summoned Friedrich Wilhelm to show cause why
they should.

Long lawsuit, in consequence; lengthy law-pleadings, and much
parchment and wiggery, in that German Triple-Elixir of Chancery;--
little to the joy of Friedrich Wilhelm. Friedrich Wilhelm, from
the first, was fairness itself: "Pay me back the money; and let it
be, in all points, as you say!" answered Friedrich Wilhelm, from
the first. Alas, the money was eaten; how could the money be paid
back? The Reichshofrath dubitatively shook its wig, for years:
"Bargain bad in Law; but Money clearly repayable: the Money was
and is good;--what shall be done about the Money!" At length,
in 1722, Friedrich Wilhelm, of himself, settled with this present
Margraf, then Heir-Presumptive, How, by steady slow instalments,
it could be possible, from the revenues of Baireuth, thriftily
administered, to pay back that Half-Million and odd Thalers;
and the now Margraf, ever since his accession in 1726, has been
annually doing it. So that there is, at this time, nothing but
composed kinship and friendship between the two Courts, the little
and the big: only Friedrich Wilhelm, especially with his will
crossed in this matter of the Baireuth Marriage, thinks to
himself, "Throw more money into such a gulf? The 600,000 Thalers
had better be got out first!" and says, he will give no Dowry at
all, nor take any charge, not so much as give away the Bride, but
be passive in the matter.

Queen Sophie, delighted to conquer Grumkow at any rate, is charmed
with this notion of Baireuth; and for a moment forgets all other
considerations: Should England prove slack and fail, what a
resource will Baireuth be, compared with Weissenfels!
And Wilhelmina entering, her Majesty breaks forth into admiration
over the victory, or half-victory, just gained: What a husband for
you this, my dear, in comparison! And as Wilhelmina cannot quite
join in the rapture on a sudden; and cannot even consent, unless
Papa too give his real countenance to the match, Mamma flies out
upon the poor young Lady: [Wilhelmina, i. 201.] "Take the Grand
Turk or the Great Mogul, then," said the Queen, "and follow your
own caprice! I should not have brought so many sorrows on myself,
had I known you better. Follow the King's bidding, then; it is
your own affair. I will no longer trouble myself about your
concerns;--and spare me, please, the sorrow of your odious
presence, for I cannot stand it!" Wilhelmina wished to reply, but
the answer was, "Silence! Go, I tell you!" "And I retired all
in tears."

"All in tears." The Double-Marriage drifting furiously this long
while, in such a sea as never was; and breakers now Close a-lee,--
have the desperate crew fallen to staving-in the liquor-casks, and
quarrelling with one another?--Evident one thing is, her Majesty
cannot be considered a perfectly wise Mother! We shall see what
her behavior is, when Wilhelmina actually weds this respectable
young Prince. Ungrateful creature, to wish Papa's consent as well
as mine! that is the maternal feeling at this moment;
and Wilhelmina weeps bitterly, as one of the unluckiest of
young Ladies.

Nay, her Brother himself, who is sick of this permanent hurricane,
and would fain see the end of it at any price, takes Mamma's part;
and Wilhelmina and he come to high words on the matter. This was
the unkindest cut of all:--but, of course, this healed in a day.
Poor Prince, he has his own allowance of insults, disgraces,
blows; has just been found out in some plan, or suspicion of a
plan; found out to be in debt at least, and been half miraculously
pardoned;--and, except, in flight, he still sees no deliverance
ahead. Five days ago, 22d January, 1730, there came out a
Cabinet-Order (summary Act of Parliament, so to speak) against
"lending money to Princes of the Blood, were it even to the
Prince-Royal." A crime and misdemeanor, that shall now be;
and Forfeiture of the Money is only part of the penalty, according
to this Cabinet-Order. Rumor is, the Crown-Prince had purchased a
vehicle and appurtenances at Leipzig, and was for running off.
Certainty is, he was discovered to have borrowed 1,000 Thalers
from a certain moneyed man at Berlin (money made from French
scrip, in Mississippi Law's time);--which debt Friedrich Wilhelm
instantly paid. "Your whole debt, then, is that? Tell me the
whole!"--"My whole debt," answered the Prince; who durst not own
to about 9,000 other Thalers (1,500 pounds) he has borrowed from
other quarters, first and last. Friedrich Wilhelm saw perhaps some
premonition of flight, or of desperate measures, in this business;
and was unexpectedly mild: paid the 1,000 Thalers instantly;
adding the Cabinet-Order against future contingencies. [Ranke,
i. 296; Forster, &c.] The Prince was in this humor when he took
Mamma's side, and redoubled Wilhelmina's grief.


Faithful Mamsell Bulow consoles the Princess: "Wait, I have news
that will put her Majesty in fine humor!"--And she really proved
as good as her word. Her news is, Dubourgay and Knyphausen, in
this extremity of pinch, have decided to send off not letters
merely; but a speaking Messenger to the English Court. One Dr.
Villa; some kind of "English Chaplain" here, [Wilhelmina, i. 203;
Dubourgay's Despatch, 28th January, 1730.] whose chief trade is
that he teaches Wilhelmina English; Rev. Dr. Villa, who honors
Wilhelmina as he ought, shall be the man. Is to go instantly;
will explain what the fatal pass we are reduced to is, and whether
Princess Wilhelmina is the fright some represent her there or not.

Her Majesty is overjoyed to hear it: who would not be? Her Majesty
"writes Letters" of the due vehemency, thinks Wilhelmina,--dare
not write at all, says Dubourgay;--but loads Villa with presents,
with advices; with her whole heart speeds him under way.
"Dismissed, turned off for some fault or other--or perhaps because
the Princess knows enough of English?" so the rumor goes, in
Villa's Berlin circle.

"The Chaplain set out with his despatches," says Wilhelmina, who
does not name him, but is rather eloquent upon his errand; "loaded
with presents from the Queen. On taking leave of me he wept warm
tears. He said, saluting in the English fashion,"--I hope with
bended knee, and the maiden's fingers at his lips--"'He would deny
his Country, if it did not do its duty on this occasion.'" And so
hastened forth on his errand. Like a Carrier-Pigeon sent in
extremity;--like Noah's-Dove in the Deluge: may he revisit our
perishing Ark with Olive in his bill!


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