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In reference to this campaign the king subsequently wrote: At the death of the emperor there were but two Austrian regiments in Silesia. Being determined to assert my right to that duchy, I was obliged to make war during the winter, that I might make the banks of the Neisse the scene of action. Had I waited till the spring, what we gained by one single march would certainly have cost us three or four difficult campaigns.44 CHAPTER XI. DIPLOMATIC INTRIGUES.

Frederick, while equally complimentary, while lavishing gifts and smiles upon his guest, to whom he had written that as there could be but one God, so there could be but one Voltaire, wrote from Ruppin to M. Jordan, on the 28th of November, just before Voltaire took his leave.

Kaunitz, the Austrian prime minister, was by no means prepared for this decisive action. In less than a week Frederick had one hundred thousand soldiers on the frontiers. Austria had not ten thousand there to meet them. Kaunitz, quite alarmed, assumed a supplicatory tone, and called for negotiation.

The kings procedure, added the unhappy mother, is not in accordance with that law. He is doing violence to my daughters inclinations, thus rendering her wretched for the remainder of her days. He wishes to give her for a husband a brutal debauchee, a younger brother, who is nothing but an officer in the army of the King of Poland; a landless man, without the means of living according to his rank. I will write to England. But, whatever the answer, I had rather a thousand times see my child in the grave than hopelessly miserable.

My lord, I could desire your lordship to summon up, if it were necessary, the spirit of all your lordships instructions, and the sense of the king, of the Parliament, and of the whole British nation. It is upon this great moment that depends the fate, not of the house of Austria, not of the empire, but of the house of Brunswick, of Great Britain, of all Europe. I verily believe the King of Prussia himself does not know the extent of the present danger. With whatever motive he may act, there is not one, not that of the wildest resentment, that can blind him to this degreeof himself perishing in the ruin he is bringing upon others. With his concurrence, the French will, in less than six weeks, be masters of the German empire. The weak Elector of Bavaria is but their instrument. Prague and Vienna may, and probably will, be taken in that short time. Will even the King of Prussia himself be reserved to the last?

Frederick cautiously refused to sign his name to any paper. Verbally, he agreed that in one week from that time, on the 16th, General Neipperg should have liberty to retire to the south through the mountains, unmolested save by sham attacks in his rear. A small garrison was to be left in Neisse. After maintaining a sham siege for a fortnight, they were to surrender the291 city. Sham hostilities, to deceive the French, were to be continued until the year was out, and then a treaty was to be signed and ratified.

The astonishment and indignation in Vienna, in view of this terrible defeat, were intense. Prince Charles was immediately relieved of his command, and General Daun appointed in his stead. It is the testimony of all military men that the battle of Leuthen was one of the most extraordinary feats of war. Napoleon, speaking of it at St. Helena, said,

They have a daughter, Sophie-Frederike, now near fifteen, and very forward for her age; comely to look upon, wise to listen to. Is not she the suitable one? thinks Frederick in regard to this matter. Pier kindred is of the oldestold as Albert the Bear. She has been frugally brought up, Spartan-like, though as a princess by birth. Let her cease skipping ropes on the ramparts yonder with her young Stettin playmates, and prepare for being a czarina of the Russias, thinks he. And communicates his mind to the czarina, who answers, Excellent! How did I never think of that myself!

There they informed her that they had each received a letter the night before from the king, the contents of which they were73 forbidden, under penalty of death, from communicating to any one but to her. The king wished them to say to her majesty that he would no longer endure her disobedience in reference to the marriage of Wilhelmina; that, in case this disobedience continued, there should be an entire separation between him and his wifea divorceand that she and her daughter should both be banished to the chateau of Oranienburg, about twenty miles from Berlin, and there held in close imprisonment. The king was willing that Sophie Dorothee should write once more, and only once more, to her brother, George II., and demand of him a categorical answer, yes or no, whether he would consent to the immediate marriage of the Prince of Wales and Wilhelmina. The king would wait a fortnight for an answer, or, if the winds were contrary, three weeks; but not a day more. Should no answer in that time be returned, or a negative or an evasive answer, then Wilhelmina was to make her immediate choice of a husband between either the Duke of Weissenfels or the Marquis of Schwedt, and to be married without delay.9

Think you there is any pleasure in living this dogs life, in seeing and causing the butchery of people you know nothing of, in losing daily those you do know and love, in seeing perpetually your reputation exposed to the caprices of chance, passing year after year in disquietudes and apprehensions, in risking without end your life and your fortune?

After the concert, which usually continued an hour, he engaged197 in conversation until ten oclock. He then took supper with a few friends, and at eleven retired to his bed.

On the 26th of January Frederick set out from Glatz, with a strong cortge, for Olmütz, far away to the southeast. This place his troops had occupied for a month past. His route led through a chain of mountains, whose bleak and dreary defiles were clogged with drifted snow, and swept by freezing gales. It was a dreadful march, accompanied by many disasters and much suffering.

By the most extraordinary exertions, which must have almost depopulated his realms of all the young men and those of middle age, Frederick succeeded in so filling up his depleted ranks as to have in the opening spring of 1759 two hundred thousand men in field and garrison. Indeed, regardless of all the laws of nations, he often compelled the soldiers and other men of conquered provinces to enlist in his armies. How he, in his poverty, obtained the pecuniary resources requisite to the carrying on of such a war, is to the present day a matter of amazement.

About six miles from Ruppin there was the village of Reinsberg, containing about one thousand inhabitants, clustered around an ancient dilapidated castle. Frederick was with his regiment in Ruppin. The Princess Royal, his wife, resided in Berlin. There was an ostensible reason for this separation in the fact that there was no suitable mansion for the royal couple at Ruppin. The castle, with its extensive grounds, belonged to a French refugee. The king purchased it, and assigned it to his son. As the whole estate was in a condition of extreme dilapidation, Frederick immediately commenced improvements and repairs.153 The building, the gardens, the forests, and the surrounding lands rapidly assumed a new aspect, until Reinsberg became one of the most attractive spots in Europe.