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History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 10 by Thomas Carlyle

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War is over in the East, then; but another in the West, England
against Spain (Spain and France to help), is about beginning.
Readers remember how Jenkins's Ear re-emerged, Spring gone a year,
in a blazing condition? Here, through SYLVANUS URBAN himself, are
two direct glimpses, a twelve-month nearer hand, which show us how
the matter has been proceeding since:--

"LONDON, 19th FEBRUARY, 1739. The City Authorities,"--laying or
going to lay "the foundation of the Mansion-House" (Edifice now
very black in our time), and doing other things of little moment
to us, "had a Masquerade at the Guildhall this night. There was a
very splendid appearance at the Masquerade; but among the many
humorous and whimsical characters, what seemed most to engage
attention was a Spaniard, who called himself 'Knight of the Ear;'
as Badge of which Order he wore on his breast the form of a Star,
with its points tinged in blood; and on the body of it an Ear
painted, and in capital letters the word JENKINS encircling it.
Across his shoulder there hung, instead of ribbon, a large Halter;
which he held up to several persons dressed as English Sailors,
who seemed in great terror of him, and falling on their knees
suffered him to rummage their pockets; which done, he would
insolently dismiss them with strokes of his halter. Several of
the Sailors had a bloody Ear hanging down from their heads; and on
their hats were these words, EAR FOR EAR; on others, NO SEARCH OR
NO TRADE; with the like sentences." [ Gentleman's Magazine
for 1739, p. 103;--our DATES, as always, are N. 8.]
The conflagration evidently going on; not likely to be damped down
again, by ministerial art!--

"LONDON, 19th MARCH, 1739." Grand Debate in Parliament, on the
late "Spanish Convention," pretended Bargain of redress lately got
from Spain: Approve the Convention, or Not approve? "A hundred
Members were in the House of Commons before seven, this morning;
and four hundred had taken their seat by ten; which is an unheard-
of thing. Prince of Wales," Fred in person, "was in the gallery
till twelve at night, and had his dinner sent to him. Sir Robert
Walpole rose: 'Sir, the great pains that have been taken to
influence all ranks and degrees of men in this Nation--...
But give me leave to'"--apply a wet cloth to Honorable Gentlemen.
Which he does, really with skill and sense. France and the others
are so strong, he urges; England so unprepared; Kaiser at such a
pass; 'War like to be, about the Palatinate Dispute [our friend
Friedrich Wilhelm's]: Where is England to get, allies?'--and hours
long of the like sort. A judicious wet cloth; which
proved unavailing.

For "William Pitts" (so they spell the great Chatham that is to
be) was eloquent on the other side: "Despairing Merchants," "Voice
of England," and so on. And the world was all in an inflamed
state. And Mr. Pulteney exclaimed: Palatinate? Allies? "We need no
allies; the case of Mr. Jenkins will raise us volunteers
everywhere!" And in short,--after eight months more of haggling,
and applying wet cloths,--Walpole, in the name of England, has to
declare War against Spain; ["3d November (23d October), 1739."]
the public humor proving unquenchable on that matter. War; and no
Peace to be, "till our undoubted right," to roadway on the oceans
of this Planet, become permanently manifest to the
Spanish Majesty.

Such the effect of a small Ear, kept about one in cotton, from
ursine piety or other feelings. Has not Jenkins's Ear re-emerged,
with a vengeance? It has kindled a War: dangerous for kindling
other Wars, and setting the whole world on fire,--as will be too
evident in the sequel! The EAR OF JENKINS is a singular thing.
Might have mounted to be a constellation, like BERENICE'S HAIR,
and other small facts become mythical, had the English People been
of poetic turn! Enough of IT, for the time being.--

This Summer, Anton Ulrich, at Petersburg, did wed his Serene
Mecklenburg Princess, Heiress of all the Russias: "July 14th,
1739,"--three months before that Drive to Wusterhausen, which we
saw lately. Little Anton Ulrich, Cadet of Brunswick;
our Friedrich's Brother-in-Law;--a noticeably small man in
comparison to such bulk of destiny, thinks Friedrich, though the
case is not without example! [A Letter of his to Suhm; touching on
Franz of Lorraine and this Anton Ulrich.]

"Anton Ulrich is now five-and-twenty," says one of my Notebooks;
"a young gentleman of small stature, shining courage in battle,
but somewhat shy and bashful; who has had his troubles in
Petersburg society, till the trial came,--and will have. Here are
the stages of Anton Ulrich's felicity:--

"WINTER, 1732-1733. He was sent for to Petersburg (his Serene Aunt
the German Kaiserinn, and Kaiser Karl's diplomatists, suggesting
it there), with the view of his paying court to the young
Mecklenburg Princess, Heiress of all the Russias, of whom we have
often heard. February, 1733, he arrived on this errand;--not
approved of at all by the Mecklenburg Princess, by Czarina Anne or
anybody there: what can be done with such an uncomfortable little
creature? They gave him the Colonelcy of Cuirassiers: 'Drill
there, and endure.'

"SPRING, 1737. Much-enduring, diligently drilling, for four years
past, he went this year to the Turk War under Munnich;--much
pleased Munnich, at Oczakow and elsewhere; who reports in the War-
Office high things of him. And on the whole,--the serene Vienna
people now again bestirring themselves, with whom we are in
copartnery in this Turk business,--little Anton Ulrich is
encouraged to proceed. Proceeds; formally demands his Mecklenburg
Princess; and,

"JULY 14th, 1739, weds her; the happiest little man in all the
Russias, and with the biggest destiny, if it prosper. Next year,
too, there came a son and heir; whom they called Iwan, in honor of
his Russian Great-grandfather. Shall we add the subsequent
felicities of Anton Ulrich here; or wait till another

Better wait. This is all, and more than all, his Prussian Majesty,
rolling out of Wusterhausen that afternoon, ever knew of them, or
needed to know!--

Chapter VIII.


At Wusterhausen, this Autumn, there is game as usual, but little
or no hunting for the King. He has to sit drearily within doors,
for most part; listening to the rustle of falling leaves, to dim
Winter coming with its rains and winds. Field-sports are a rumor
from without: for him now no joyous sow-baiting, deer-chasing;--
that, like other things, is past.

In the beginning of November, he came to Berlin; was worse there,
and again was better;--strove to do the Carnival, as had been
customary; but, in a languid, lamed manner. One night he looked in
upon an evening-party which General Schulenburg was giving:
he returned home, chilled, shivering;, could not, all night, be
brought to heat again. It was the last evening-party Friedrich
Wilhelm ever went to. [Pollnitz (ii. 538); who gives no date.]
Lieutenant-General Schulenburg: the same who doomed young
Friedrich to death, as President of the Court-Martial;
and then wrote the Three Letters about him which we once looked
into: illuminates himself in this manner in Berlin society,--
Carnival season, 1740, weather fiercely cold. Maypole Schulenburg
the lean Aunt, Ex-Mistress of George I., over in London,--I think
she must now be dead? Or if not dead, why not! Memory, for the
tenth time, fails me, of the humanly unmemorable, whom perhaps
even flunkies should forget; and I will try it no more.
The stalwart Lieutenant-General will reappear on us once, twice at
the utmost, and never again. He gave the last evening-party
Friedrich Wilhelm ever went to.

Poor Friedrich Wilhelm is in truth very ill; tosses about all day,
in and out of bed,--bed and wheeled-chair drearily alternating;
suffers much;--and again, in Diplomatic circles, the rumors are
rife and sinister. Ever from this chill at Schulenburg's the
medicines did him no good, says Pollnitz: if he rallied, it was
the effect of Nature, and only temporary. He does daily, with
punctuality, his Official business; perhaps the best two hours he
has of the four-and-twenty, for the time hangs heavy on him. His
old Generals sit round his bed, talking, smoking, as it was five
years ago; his Feekin and his Children much about him, out and in:
the heavy-laden, weary hours roll round as they can. In general
there is a kind of constant Tabaks-Collegium, old Flans, Camas,
Hacke, Pollnitz, Derschau, and the rest by turns always there;
the royal Patient cannot be left alone, without faces he likes:
other Generals, estimable in their way, have a physiognomy
displeasing to the sick man; and will smart for it if they enter,
--"At sight of HIM every pain grows painfuler!"--the poor King
being of poetic temperament, as we often say. Friends are
encouraged to smoke, especially to keep up a stream of talk; if at
any time he fall into a doze and they cease talking, the silence
will awaken him.

He is worst off in the night; sleep very bad: and among his sore
bodily pains, ennui falls very heavy to a mind so restless. He can
paint, he can whittle, chisel: at last they even mount him a
table, in his bed, with joiner's tools, mallets, glue-pots, where
he makes small carpentry,--the talk to go on the while;--often at
night is the sound of his mallet audible in the Palace Esplanade;
and Berlin townsfolk pause to listen, with many thoughts of a
sympathetic or at least inarticulate character: "HM, WEH, IHRO
MAJESTAT: ACH GOTT, pale Death knocks with impartial foot at the
huts of poor men and the Palaces of Kings!" [Pollnitz, ii. 539.]
Reverend Herr Roloff, whom they call Provost (PROBST, Chief
Clergyman) Roloff, a pious honest man and preacher, he, I could
guess, has already been giving spiritual counsel now and then;
later interviews with Roloff are expressly on record: for it is
the King's private thought, ever and anon borne in upon him, that
death itself is in this business.

Queen and Children, mostly hoping hitherto, though fearing too,
live in much anxiety and agitation. The Crown-Prince is often over
from Reinsberg; must not come too often, nor even inquire too
much: his affectionate solicitude might be mistaken for solicitude
of another kind! It is certain he is in no haste to be King;
to quit the haunts of the Muses, and embark on Kingship.
Certain, too, he loves his Father; shudders at the thought of
losing HIM. And yet again there will gleams intrude of a contrary
thought; which the filial heart disowns, with a kind of horror,
"Down, thou impious thought!"--We perceive he manages in general
to push the crisis away from him; to believe that real danger is
still distant. His demeanor, so far as we can gather from his
Letters or other evidence, is amiable, prudent, natural;
altogether that of a human Son in those difficult circumstances.
Poor Papa is heavy-laden: let us help to bear his burdens;--
let us hope the crisis is still far off!--

Once, on a favorable evening, probably about the beginning of
April, when he felt as if improving, Friedrich Wilhelm resolved to
dress, and hold Tobacco-Parliament again in a formal manner, Let
us look in there, through the eyes of Pollnitz, who was of it,
upon the last Tobacco-Parliament:--

"A numerous party; Schwerin, Hacke, Derschau, all the chiefs and
commandants of the Berlin Garrison are there; the old circle full;
social human speech once more, and pipes alight; pleasant to the
King. He does not himself smoke on this occasion; but he is
unusually lively in talk; much enjoys the returning glimpse of old
days; and the Tobacco circle was proceeding through its phases,
successful beyond common. All at once the Crown-Prince steps in;
direct from Reinsberg: [12th April, 1740? ( OEuvres, italic> xxvii. part lst, p. 29); Pollnitz is dateless] an
unexpected pleasure. At sight of whom the Tobacco circle, taken on
the sudden, simultaneously started up, and made him a bow.
Rule is, in Tobacco-Parliament you do not rise--for anybody;
and they have risen. Which struck the sick heart in a strange
painful way. 'Hm, the Rising Sun?' thinks he; 'Rules broken
through, for the Rising Sun. But I am not dead yet, as you shall
know!' ringing for his servants in great wrath; and had himself
rolled out, regardless of protestations and excuses.
'Hither, you Hacke!' said he.

"Hacke followed; but it was only to return on the instant, with
the King's order, 'That you instantly quit the Palace, all of you,
and don't come back!' Solemn respectful message to his Majesty was
of no effect, or of less; they had to go, on those terms;
and Pollnitz, making for his Majesty's apartment next morning as
usual, was twitched by a Gens-d'arme, 'No admittance!' And it was
days before the matter would come round again, under earnest
protestations from the one side, and truculent rebukes from the
other." [Pollnitz (abridged), ii. 50.] Figure the Crown-Prince,
figure the poor sick Majesty; and what a time in those localities!

With the bright spring weather he seemed to revive; towards the
end of April he resolved for Potsdam, everybody thinking him much
better, and the outer Public reckoning the crisis of the illness
over. He himself knew other. It was on the 27th of the month that
he went; he said, "Fare thee well, then, Berlin; I am to die in
Potsdam, then (ICH WERDE IN POTSDAM STERBEN)!" The May-flowers
came late; the weather was changeful, ungenial for the sick man:
this winter of 1740 had been the coldest on record; it extended
itself into the very summer; and brought great distress of every
kind;--of which some oral rumor still survives in all countries.
Friedrich Wilhelm heard complaints of scarcity among the people;
admonitions to open his Corn-granaries (such as he always has in
store against that kind of accident); but he still hesitated and
refused; unable to look into it himself, and fearing deceptions.

For the rest, he is struggling between death and life; in general
persuaded that the end is fast hastening on. He sends for Chief
Preacher Roloff out to Potsdam; has some notable dialogues with
Roloff, and with two other Potsdam Clergymen, of which there is
record still left us. In these, as in all his demeanor at this
supreme time, we see the big rugged block of manhood come out very
vividly; strong in his simplicity, in his veracity.
Friedrich Wilhelm's wish is to know from Roloff what the chances
are for him in the other world,--which is not less certain than
Potsdam and the giant grenadiers to Friedrich Wilhelm; and where,
he perceives, never half so clearly before, he shall actually
peel off his Kinghood, and stand before God Almighty, no better
than a naked beggar. Roloff's prognostics are not so encouraging
as the King had hoped. Surely this King "never took or coveted
what was not his; kept true to his marriage-vow, in spite of
horrible examples everywhere; believed the Bible, honored the
Preachers, went diligently to Church, and tried to do what he
understood God's commandments were?" To all which Roloff, a
courageous pious man, answers with discreet words and shakings of
the head, "Did I behave ill, then; did I ever do injustice?"
Roloff mentions Baron Schlubhut the defalcating Amtmann, hanged at
Konigsberg without even a trial. "He had no trial; but was there
any doubt he had justice? A public thief, confessing he had stolen
the taxes he was set to gather; insolently offering, as if that
were all, to repay the money, and saying, It was not MANIER (good
manners) to hang a nobleman!" Roloff shakes his head, Too violent,
your Majesty, and savoring of the tyrannous. The poor King
must repent.

"Well,--is there anything more? Out with it, then; better now than
too late!"--Much oppression, forcing men to build in Berlin.--
"Oppression? was it not their benefit, as well as Berlin's and the
Country's? I had no interest in it other. Derschau, you who
managed it?" and his Majesty turned to Derschau. For all the
smoking generals and company are still here; nor will his Majesty
consent to dismiss them from the presence and be alone with
Roloff: "What is there to conceal? They are people of honor, and
my friends." Derschau, whose feats in the building way are not
unknown even to us, answers with a hard face, It was all right and
orderly; nothing out of square in his building operations.
To which Roloff shakes his head: "A thing of public notoriety,
Herr General."--"I will prove everything before a Court," answers
the Herr General with still harder face; Roloff still austerely
shaking his head. Hm!--And then there is forgiveness of enemies;
your Majesty is bound to forgive all men, or how can you ask to be
forgiven? "Well, I will, I do; you Feekin, write to your Brother
(unforgivablest of beings), after I am dead, that I forgave him,
died in peace with him."--Better her Majesty should write at once,
suggests Roloff.--"No, after I am dead," persists the Son of
Nature,--that will be safer! [Wrote accordingly, "not able to
finish without many tears;" honest sensible Letter (though
indifferently spelt), "Berlin, 1st June, 1740;"--lies now in
State-Paper Office: "ROYAL LETTERS, vol. xciv., Prussia,
1689-1777."] An unwedgeable and gnarled big block of manhood and
simplicity and sincerity; such as we rarely get sight of among the
modern sons of Adam, among the crowned sons nearly never.
At parting he said to Roloff, "You (ER, He) do not spare me; it is
right. You do your duty like an honest Christian man."
[ Notata ex ore Roloffi ("found among the
Seckendorf Papers," no date but "May 1740"), in Forster, ii. 154,
155; in a fragmentary state: completed in Pollnitz, ii. 545-549.]

Roloff, I perceive, had several Dialogues with the King;
and stayed in Potsdam some days for that object. The above bit of
jotting is from the Seckendorf Papers (probably picked up by
Seckendorf Junior), and is dated only "May." Of the two Potsdam
Preachers, one of whom is "Oesfeld, Chaplain of the Giant
Grenadiers," and the other is "Cochius, Calvinist Hofprediger,"
each published on his own score some Notes of dialogue and
circumstance; [Cochius the HOFPREDIGER'S (Calvinist Court-
Chaplain's) ACCOUNT of his Interviews (first of them "Friday, 27th
May, 1740, about 9 P.M."); followed by ditto from Oesfeld
(Chaplain of the Giants), who usually accompanied Cochius,--are in
Seyfarth, Geschichte Friedrich des Grossen
(Leipzig, 1783-1788), i. (Beylage) 24-40. Seyfarth was "Regiments-
Auditor" in Halle: his Work, solid though stupid, consists nearly
altogether of multifarious BEYLAGEN (Appendices) and NOTES;
which are creditably accurate, and often curious; and, as usual,
have no Index for an unfortunate reader.] which are to the same
effect, so far as they concern us; and exhibit the same rugged Son
of Nature, looking with all his eyesight into the near Eternity,
and sinking in a human and not inhuman manner amid the floods of
Time. "Wa, Wa, what great God is this, that pulls down the
strength of the strongest Kings!"--

The poor King's state is very restless, fluctuates from day to
day; he is impatient of bed; sleeps very ill; is up whenever
possible; rolls about in his wheeled-chair, and even gets into the
air: at one time looking strong, as if there were still months in
him, and anon sunk in fainting weakness, as if he had few minutes
to live. Friedrich at Reinsberg corresponds very secretly with
Dr. Eller; has other friends at Potsdam whose secret news he very
anxiously reads. To the last he cannot bring himself to think it
serious." [Letter to Eller, 25th May, 1740 ( OEuvres italic>), xvi. 184.]

On Thursday, 26th of May, an express from Eller, or the Potsdam
friends, arrives at Reinsberg: He is to come quickly, if he would
see his Father again alive! The step may have danger, too; but
Friedrich, a world of feelings urging him, is on the road next
morning before the sun. His journey may be fancied; the like of it
falls to all men. Arriving at last, turning hastily a corner of
the Potsdam Schloss, Friedrich sees some gathering in the
distance: it is his Father in his ROLLWAGEN (wheeled-chair),--not
dying; but out of doors, giving orders about founding a House, or
seeing it done. House for one Philips, a crabbed Englishman he
has; whose tongue is none of the best, not even to Majesty itself,
but whose merits as a Groom, of English and other Horses, are
without parallel in those parts. Without parallel, and deserve a
House before we die. Let us see it set agoing, this blessed
Mayday! Of Philips, who survived deep into Friedrich's time, and
uttered rough sayings (in mixed intelligible dialect) when put
upon in his grooming, or otherwise disturbed, I could obtain no
farther account: the man did not care to be put in History (a very
small service to a man); cared to have a house with trim fittings,
and to do his grooming well, the fortunate Philips.

At sight of his Son, Friedrich Wilhelm threw out his arms; the Son
kneeling sank upon his breast, and they embraced with tears.
My Father, my Father; My Son, my Son! It was a scene to make all
by-standers and even Philips weep.--Probably the emotion hurt the
old King; he had to be taken in again straightway, his show of
strength suddenly gone, and bed the only place for him. This same
Friday he dictated to one of his Ministers (Boden, who was in
close attendance) the Instruction for his Funeral; a rude
characteristic Piece, which perhaps the English reader knows.
Too long and rude for reprinting here. [Copy of it, in Seyfarth
(ubi supra), i. 19-24. Translated in Mauvillon (ii. 432-437);
in &c. &c.]

He is to be buried in his uniform, the Potsdam Grenadiers his
escort; with military decorum, three volleys fired (and take care
they be well fired, "NICHT PLACKEREN"), so many cannon-salvos;--
and no fuss or flaunting ceremony: simplicity and decency is what
the tenant of that oak coffin wants, as he always did when owner
of wider dominions. The coffin, which he has ready and beside him
in the Palace this good while, is a stout piece of carpentry, with
leather straps and other improvements; he views it from time to
time; solaces his truculent imagination with the look of it:
"I shall sleep right well there," he would say. The image he has
of his Burial, we perceive, is of perfect visuality, equal to what
a Defoe could do in imagining. All is seen, settled to the last
minuteness: the coffin is to be borne out by so and so, at such
and such a door; this detachment is to fall-in here, that there,
in the attitude of "cover arms" (musket inverted under left arm);
and the band is to play, with all its blackamoors,
O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O Head, all
bleeding wounded); a Dirge his Majesty had liked, who knew music,
and had a love for it, after his sort. Good Son of Nature: a dumb
Poet, as I say always; most dumb, but real; the value of him
great, and unknown in these babbling times. It was on this same
Friday night that Cochius was first sent for; Cochius, and Oesfeld
with him, "about nine o'clock."

For the next three days (Saturday to Monday) when his cough and
many sufferings would permit him, Friedrich Wilhelm had long
private dialogues with his Son; instructing him, as was evident,
in the mysteries of State; in what knowledge, as to persons and to
things, he reckoned might be usefulest to him. What the lessons
were, we know not; the way of taking them had given pleasure to
the old man: he was heard to say, perhaps more than once, when the
Generals were called in, and the dialogue interrupted for a while:
"Am not I happy to have such a Son to leave behind me!" And the
grimly sympathetic Generals testified assent; endeavored to talk a
little, could at least smoke, and look friendly; till the King
gathered strength for continuing his instructions to his
Successor. All else was as if settled with him; this had still
remained to do. This once done (finished, Monday night), why not
abdicate altogether; and die disengaged, be it in a day or in a
month, since that is now the one work left? Friedrich Wilhelm does
so purpose.

His state, now as all along, was fluctuating, uncertain, restless.
He was heard murmuring prayers; he would say sometimes, "Pray for
me; BETET BETET." And more than once, in deep tone: "Lord, enter
not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man
living be justified!" The wild Son of Nature, looking into Life
and Death, into Judgment and Eternity, finds that these things are
very great. This too is a characteristic trait: In a certain
German Hymn ( Why fret or murmur, then? the
title of it), which they often sang to him, or along with him, as
he much loved it, are these words, "Naked I came into the world,
and naked shall I go,"--"No," said he "always with vivacity," at
this passage; "not quite nakid, I shall have my uniform on:"
Let us be exact, since we are at it! After which the singing
proceeded again. "The late Graf Alexander von Wartenberg"--Captain
Wartenberg, whom we know, and whose opportunities--"was wont to
relate this." [Busching (in 1786), Beitrage,
iv. 100.]

Tuesday, 31st May, "about one in the morning," Cochius was again
sent for. He found the King in very pious mood, but in great
distress, and afraid he might yet have much pain to suffer.
Cochius prayed with him; talked piously. "I can remember nothing,"
said the King; "I cannot pray, I have forgotten all my prayers."--
"Prayer is not in words, but in the thought of the heart," said
Cochius; and soothed the heavy-laden man as he could. "Fare you
well," said Friedrich Wilhelm, at length; "most likely we shall
not meet again in this world." Whereat Cochius burst into tears,
and withdrew. About four, the King was again out of bed; wished to
see his youngest Boy, who had been ill of measles, but was doing
well: "Poor little Ferdinand, adieu, then, my little child!"
This is the Father of that fine Louis Ferdinand, who was killed at
Jena; concerning whom Berlin, in certain emancipated circles of
it, still speaks with regret. He, the Louis Ferdinand, had fine
qualities; but went far a-roving, into radicalism, into romantic
love, into champagne; and was cut down on the threshold of Jena,
desperately fighting,--perhaps happily for him.

From little Ferdinand's room Friedrich Wilhelm has himself rolled
into Queen Sophie's. "Feekin, O my Feekin, thou must rise this
day, and help me what thou canst. This day I am going to die;
thou wilt be with me this day!" The good Wife rises: I know not
that it was the first time she had been so called; but it did
prove the last. Friedrich Wilhelm has decided, as the first thing
he will do, to abdicate; and all the Official persons and
companions of the sick-room, Pollnitz among them, not long after
sunrise, are called to see it done. Pollnitz, huddling on his
clothes, arrived about five: in a corridor he sees the wheeled-
chair and poor sick King; steps aside to let him pass: "'It is
over (DAS IST VOLLBRACHT),' said the King, looking up to me as he
passed: he had on his nightcap, and a blue mantle thrown round
him." He was wheeled into his anteroom; there let the company
assemble; many of them are already there.

The royal stables are visible from this room: Friedrich Wilhelm
orders the horses to be ridden out: you old Furst of Anhalt-Dessau
my oldest friend, you Colonel Hacke faithfulest of Adjutant-
Generals, take each of you a horse, the best you can pick out:
it is my last gift to you. Dessau, in silence, with dumb-show of
thanks, points to a horse, any horse: "You have chosen the very
worst," said Friedrich Wilhelm: "Take that other, I will warrant
him a good one!" The grim old Dessauer thanks in silence;
speechless grief is on that stern gunpowder face, and he seems
even to be struggling with tears. "Nay, nay, my friend," Friedrich
Wilhelm said, "this is a debt we have all to pay."

The Official people, Queen, Friedrich, Minister Boden, Minister
Podewils, and even Pollnitz, being now all present, Friedrich
Wilhelm makes his Declaration, at considerable length; old General
Bredow repeating it aloud, [Pollnitz, ii. 561.] sentence by
sentence, the King's own voice being too weak; so that all may
hear: "That he abdicates, gives up wholly, in favor of his good
Son Friedrich; that foreign Ambassadors are to be informed;
that you are all to be true and loyal to my Son as you were to
me"--and what else is needful. To which the judicious Podewils
makes answer, "That there must first be a written Deed of his high
Transaction executed, which shall be straightway set about;
the Deed once executed, signed and sealed,--the high Royal will,
in all points, takes effect." Alas, before Podewils has done
speaking, the King is like falling into a faint; does faint, and
is carried to bed: too unlikely any Deed of Abdication will
be needed.

Ups and downs there still were; sore fluctuating labor, as the
poor King struggles to his final rest, this morning. He was at the
window again, when the WACHT-PARADE (Grenadiers on Guard) turned
out; he saw them make their evolutions for the last time. [Pauli,
viii. 280.] After which, new relapse, new fluctuation. It was
about eleven o'clock, when Cochius was again sent for. The King
lay speechless, seemingly still conscious, in bed; Cochius prays
with fervor, in a loud tone, that the dying King may hear and
join. "Not so loud!" says the King, rallying a little. He had
remembered that it was the season when his servants got their new
liveries; they had been ordered to appear this day in full new
costume: "O vanity! O vanity!" said Friedrich Wilhelm, at sight of
the ornamented plush. "Pray for me, pray for me; my trust is in
the Saviour!" he often said. His pains, his weakness are great;
the cordage of a most tough heart rending itself piece by piece.
At one time, he called for a mirror: that is certain:--rugged wild
man, son of Nature to the last. The mirror was brought; what he
said at sight of his face is variously reported: "Not so worn out
as I thought," is Pollnitz's account, and the likeliest;--though
perhaps he said several things, "ugly face," "as good as dead
already;" and continued the inspection for some moments.
[Pollnitz, ii. 564; Wilhelmina, ii. 321.] A grim, strange thing.

"Feel mv pulse, Pitsch," said he, noticing the Surgeon of his
Giants: "tell me how long this will last."--"Alas, not long,"
answered Pitsch.--"Say not, alas; but how do you (He) know?"--
"The pulse is gone!"--"Impossible," said he, lifting his arm:
"how could I move my fingers so, if the pulse were gone?"
Pitsch looked mournfully steadfast. "Herr Jesu, to thee I live;
Herr Jesu, to thee I die; in life and in death thou art my gain
(DU BIST MEIN GEWINN)." These were the last words Friedrich
Wilhelm spoke in this world. He again fell into a faint.
Eller gave a signal to the Crown-Prince to take the Queen away.
Scarcely were they out of the room, when the faint had deepened
into death; and Friedrich Wilhelm, at rest from all his labors,
slept with the primeval sons of Thor.

No Baresark of them, nor Odin's self, I think, was a bit of truer
human stuff;--I confess his value to me, in these sad times, is
rare and great. Considering the usual Histrionic, Papin's-
Digester, Truculent-Charlatan and other species of "Kings," alone
attainable for the sunk flunky populations of an Era given up to
Mammon and the worship of its own belly, what would not such a
population give for a Friedrich Wilhelm, to guide it on the road
BACK from Orcus a little? "Would give," I have written; but alas,
it ought to have been "SHOULD give." What THEY "would" give is too
mournfully plain to me, in spite of ballot-boxes: a steady and
tremendous truth from the days of Barabbas downwards and upwards!
--Tuesday, 31st May, 1740, between one and two o'clock in the
afternoon, Friedrich Wilhelm died; age fifty-two, coming 15th
August next. Same day, Friedrich his Son was proclaimed at Berlin;
quilted heralds, with sound of trumpet and the like, doing what is
customary on such occasions.

On Saturday, 4th June, the King's body is laid out in state;
all Potsdam at liberty to come and see. He lies there, in his
regimentals, in his oaken coffin, on a raised place in the middle
of the room; decent mortuary draperies, lamps, garlands, banderols
furnishing the room and him: at his feet, on a black-velvet
TABOURET (stool), are the chivalry emblems, helmet, gauntlets,
spurs; and on similar stools, at the right hand and the left, lie
his military insignia, hat and sash, sword, guidon, and what else
is fit. Around, in silence, sit nine veteran military dignitaries;
Buddenbrock, Waldau, Derschau, Einsiedel, and five others whom we
omit to name. Silent they sit. A grim earnest sight in the shine
of the lamplight, as you pass out of the June sun. Many went, all
day; looked once again on the face that was to vanish.
Precisely at ten at night, the coffin-lid is screwed down:
twelve Potsdam Captains take the coffin on their shoulders;
four-and-twenty Corporals with wax torches, four-and-twenty
Sergeants with inverted halberts lowered; certain Generals on
order, and very many following as volunteers; these perform the
actual burial,--carry the body to the Garrison Church, where are
clergy waiting, which is but a small step off; see it lodged, oak
coffin and all, in a marble coffin in the side vault there, which
is known to Tourists. [Pauli, viii. 281.] It is the end of the
week, and the actual burial is done,--hastened forward for reasons
we can guess.

Filial piety by no means intends to defraud a loved Father of the
Spartan ceremonial contemplated as obsequies by him: very far from
it. Filial piety will conform to that with rigor; only adding what
musical and other splendors are possible, to testify his love
still more. And so, almost three weeks hence, on the 23d of the
month, with the aid of Dresden Artists, of Latin Cantatas and
other pomps (not inexcusable, though somewhat out of keeping), the
due Funeral is done, no Corpse but a Wax Effigy present in it;--
and in all points, that of the Potsdam Grenadiers not forgotten,
there was rigorous conformity to the Instruction left. In all
points, even to the extensive funeral dinner, and drinking of the
appointed cask of wine, "the best cask in my cellar." Adieu,
O King.

The Potsdam Grenadiers fired their three volleys (not
"PLACKERING," as I have reason to believe, but well); got their
allowance, dinner-liquor, and appointed coin of money: it was the
last service required of them in this world. That same night they
were dissolved, the whole Four Thousand of them, at a stroke;
and ceased to exist as Potsdam Grenadiers. Colonels, Captains, all
the Officers known to be of merit, were advanced, at least
transferred. Of the common men, a minority, of not inhuman height
and of worth otherwise, were formed into a new Regiment on the
common terms: the stupid splay-footed eight-feet mass were allowed
to stalk off whither they pleased, or vegetate on frugal pensions;
Irish Kirkman, and a few others neither knock-kneed nor without
head, were appointed HEYDUCS, that is, porters to the King's or
other Palaces; and did that duty in what was considered an
ornamental manner.

Here are still two things capable of being fished up from the sea
of nugatory matter; and meditated on by readers, till the
following Books open.

The last breath of Friedrich Wilhelm having fled, Friedrich
hurried to a private room; sat there all in tears; looking back
through the gulfs of the Past, upon such a Father now rapt away
forever. Sad all, and soft in the moonlight of memory,--the lost
Loved One all in the right as we now see, we all in the wrong!--
this, it appears, was the Son's fixed opinion. Seven years hence,
here is how Friedrich concludes the HISTORY of his Father, written
with a loyal admiration throughout: "We have left under silence
the domestic chagrins of this great Prince: readers must have some
indulgence for the faults of the Children, in consideration of the
virtues of such a Father." [ OEuvres, i. 174
( Memoires de Brandebourg: finished about
1747).] All in tears he sits at present, meditating these
sad things.

In a little while the Old Dessauer, about to leave for Dessau,
ventures in to the Crown-Prince, Crown-Prince no longer;
"embraces his knees;" offers, weeping, his condolence, his
congratulation;--hopes withal that his sons and he will be
continued in their old posts, and that he, the Old Dessauer,
"will have the same authority as in the late reign." Friedrich's
eyes, at this last clause, flash out tearless, strangely Olympian.
"In your posts I have no thought of making change: in your posts,
yes;--and as to authority, I know of none there can be but what
resides in the King that is sovereign!" Which, as it were, struck
the breath out of the Old Dessauer; and sent him home with a
painful miscellany of feelings, astonishment not wanting
among them.

At an after hour, the same night, Friedrich went to Berlin; met by
acclamation enough. He slept there, not without tumult of dreams,
one may fancy; and on awakening next morning, the first sound he
heard was that of the Regiment Glasenap under his windows,
swearing fealty to the new King. He sprang out of bed in a tempest
of emotion; bustled distractedly to and fro, wildly weeping.
Pollnitz, who came into the anteroom, found him in this state,
"half-dressed, with dishevelled hair, in tears, and as if beside
himself." "These huzzaings only tell me what I have lost!" said
the new King.--"HE was in great suffering," suggested Pollnitz;
"he is now at rest." "True, he suffered; but he was here with us:
and now--!" [Ranke (ii. 46, 47), from certain Fragments, still, in
manuscript, of Pollnits's Memoiren.


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