History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 09 by Carlyle, Thomas
HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH II OF PRUSSIA
FREDERICK THE GREAT
By Thomas Carlyle
BOOK IX. -- LAST STAGE OF FRIEDRICH'S APPRENTICESHIP: LIFE IN RUPPIN. -- 1732-1736.
Chapter I. -- PRINCESS ELIZABETH CHRISTINA OF BRUNSWICK-BEVERN.
We described the Crown-Prince as intent to comply, especially in all visible external particulars, with Papa's will and pleasure;--to distinguish himself by real excellence in Commandantship of the Regiment Goltz, first of all. But before ever getting into that, there has another point risen, on which obedience, equally essential, may be still more difficult.
Ever since the grand Catastrophe went off WITHOUT taking Friedrich's head along with it, and there began to be hopes of a pacific settlement, question has been, Whom shall the Crown-Prince marry? And the debates about it in the Royal breast and in Tobacco-Parliament, and rumors about it in the world at large, have been manifold and continual. In the Schulenburg Letters we saw the Crown-Prince himself much interested, and eagerly inquisitive on that head. As was natural: but it is not in the Crown-Prince's mind, it is in the Tobacco-Parliament, and the Royal breast as influenced there, that the thing must be decided. Who in the world will it be, then? Crown-Prince himself hears now of this party, now of that. England is quite over, and the Princess Amelia sunk below the horizon. Friedrich himself appears a little piqued that Hotham carried his nose so high; that the English would not, in those life-and-death circumstances, abate the least from their "Both marriages or none,"--thinks they should have saved Wilhelmina, and taken his word of honor for the rest. England is now out of his head;--all romance is too sorrowfully swept out: and instead of the "sacred air-cities of hope" in this high section of his history, the young man is looking into the "mean clay hamlets of reality," with an eye well recognizing them for real. With an eye and heart already tempered to the due hardness for them. Not a fortunate result, though it was an inevitable one. We saw him flirting with the beautiful wedded Wreech; talking to Lieutenant-General Schulenburg about marriage, in a way which shook the pipe-clay of that virtuous man. He knows he would not get his choice, if he had one; strives not to care. Nor does he, in fact, much care; the romance being all out of it. He looks mainly to outward advantages; to personal appearance, temper, good manners; to "religious principle," sometimes rather in the reverse way (fearing an OVERPLUS rather);--but always to likelihood of moneys by the match, as a very direct item. Ready command of money, he feels, will be extremely desirable in a Wife; desirable and almost indispensable, in present straitened circumstances. These are the notions of this ill-situated Coelebs.
The parties proposed first and last, and rumored of in Newspapers and the idle brains of men, have been very many,--no limit to their numbers; it MAY be anybody: an intending purchaser, though but possessed of sixpence, is in a sense proprietor of the whole Fair! Through Schulenburg we heard his own account of them, last Autumn;--but the far noblest of the lot was hardly glanced at, or not at all, on that occasion. The Kaiser's eldest Daughter, sole heiress of Austria and these vast Pragmatic-Sanction operations; Archduchess Maria Theresa herself,--it is affirmed to have been Prince Eugene's often-expressed wish, That the Crown-Prince of Prussia should wed the future Empress [Hormayr, _Allgemeine Geschichte der neueslen Zeit_ (Wien, 1817), i. 13; cited in Preuss, i. 71.] Which would indeed have saved immense confusions to mankind! Nay she alone of Princesses, beautiful, magnanimous, brave, was the mate for such a Prince,--had the Good Fairies been consulted, which seldom happens:--and Romance itself might have become Reality in that case: with high results to the very soul of this young Prince! Wishes are free: and wise Eugene will have been heard, perhaps often, to express this wish; but that must have been all. Alas, the preliminaries, political, especially religious, are at once indispensable and impossible: we have to dismiss that daydream. A Papal-Protestant Controversy still exists among mankind; and this is one penalty they pay for not having settled it sooner. The Imperial Court cannot afford its Archduchess on the terms possible in that quarter.
What the Imperial Court can do is, to recommend a Niece of theirs, insignificant young Princess, Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick-Bevern, who is Niece to the Empress; and may be made useful in this way, to herself and us, think the Imperial Majesties;--will be a new tie upon the Prussians and the Pragmatic Sanction, and keep the Alliance still surer for our Archduchess in times coming, think their Majesties. She, it is insinuated by Seckendorf in Tobacco-Parliament; ought not she, Daughter of your Majesty's esteemed friend,--modest-minded, innocent young Princess, with a Brother already betrothed in your Majesty's House,--to be the Lady? It is probable she will.
Did we inform the reader once about Kaiser Karl's young marriage adventures; and may we, to remind him, mention them a second time? How Imperial Majesty, some five-and-twenty years ago, then only King of Spain, asked Princess Caroline of Anspach, who was very poor, and an orphan in the world. Who at once refused, declining to think of changing her religion on such a score;--and now governs England, telegraphing with Walpole, as Queen there instead. How Karl, now Imperial Majesty, then King of Spain, next applied to Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel; and met with a much better reception there. Applied to old Anton Ulrich, reigning Duke, who writes big Novels, and does other foolish good-natured things;--who persuaded his Grand-daughter that a change to Catholicism was nothing in such a case, that he himself should not care in the least to change. How the Grand-daughter changed accordingly, went to Barcelona, and was wedded;--and had to dun old Grandpapa, "Why don't you change, then?" Who did change thereupon; thinking to himself, "Plague on it I must, then!" the foolish old Herr. He is dead; and his Novels, in six volumes quarto, are all dead: and the Grand-daughter is Kaiserinn, on those terms, a serene monotonous well-favored Lady, diligent in her Catholic exercises; of whom I never heard any evil, good rather, in her eminent serene position. Pity perhaps that she had recommended her Niece for this young Prussian gentleman; whom it by no means did "attach to the Family" so very careful about him at Vienna! But if there lay a sin, and a punishment following on it, here or elsewhere, in her Imperial position, surely it is to be charged on foolish old Anton Ulrich; not on her, poor Lady, who had never coveted such height, nor durst for her soul take the leap thitherward, till the serene old literary gentleman showed her how easy it was.
Well, old Anton Ulrich is long since dead, [1714, age 70. Huber, t. 190.] and his religious accounts are all settled beyond cavil; and only the sad duty devolves on me of explaining a little what and who his rather insipid offspring are, so far as related to readers of this History. Anton Ulrich left two sons; the elder of whom was Duke, and the younger had an Apanage, Blankenburg by name. Only this younger had children,--serene Kaiserinn that now is, one of them: The elder died childless, [1731, Michaelis, i. 132.] precisely a few months before the times we are now got to; reigning Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, ["Welf-BOOTHS" (Hunted Camp of the Welfs), according to Etymology. "Brunswick," again, is BRAUN'S-Wick; "Braun" (Brown) being an old militant Welf in those parts, who built some lodge for himself, as a convenience there,--Year 880, say the uncertain old Books. Hubner, t. 149; Michaelis, &c.] all but certain Apanages, and does not concern us farther. To that supreme dignity the younger has now come, and his Apanage of Blankenburg and children with him;--so that there is now only one outstanding Apanage (Bevern, not known to us yet); which also will perhaps get reunited, if we cared for it. Ludwig Rudolf is the name of this new sovereign Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, or Duke in chief; age now sixty; has a shining, bustling, somewhat irregular Duchess, says Wilhelmina; and a nose--or rather almost no nose, for sad reasons! [Wilhelmina, ii. 121.] Other qualities or accidents I know not of him,--except that he is Father of the Vienna Kaiserinn; Grandfather of the Princess whom Seckendorf suggests for our Friedrich of Prussia.
In Ludwig Rudolf's insipid offspring our readers are unexpectedly somewhat interested; let readers patiently attend, therefore. He had three Daughters, never any son. Two of his Daughters, eldest and youngest, are alive still; the middle one had a sad fate long ago. She married, in 1711, Alexius the Czarowitz of Peter the Great: foolish Czarowitz, miserable and making others miserable, broke her heart by ill conduct, ill usage, in four years; so that she died; leaving him only a poor small Peter II., who is now dead too, and that matter ended all but the memory of it. Some accounts bear, that she did not die; that she only pretended it, and ran and left her intolerable Czarowitz. That she wedded, at Paris, in deep obscurity, an Officer just setting out for Louisiana; lived many years there as a thrifty soldier's wife; returned to Paris with her Officer reduced to half-pay; and told him--or told some select Official person after him, under seven-fold oath, being then a widow and necessitous--her sublime secret. Sublime secret, which came thus to be known to a supremely select circle at Paris; and was published in Books, where one still reads it. No vestige of truth in it,--except that perhaps a necessitous soldier's widow at Paris, considering of ways and means, found that she had some trace of likeness to the Pictures of this Princess, and had heard her tragic story.
Ludwig Rudolf's second Daughter is dead long years ago; nor has this fable as yet risen from her dust. Of Ludwig Rudolf's other two Daughters, we have said that one, the eldest, was the Kaiserinn; Empress Elizabeth Christina, age now precisely forty; with two beautiful Daughters, sublime Maria Theresa the elder of them, and no son that would live. Which last little circumstance has caused the Pragmatic Sanction, and tormented universal Nature for so many years back! Ludwig Rudolf has a youngest Daughter, also married, and a Mother in Germany,--to this day conspicuously so;--of whom next, or rather of her Husband and Family-circle, we must say a word.
Her Husband is no other than the esteemed Friend of Friedrich Wilhelm; Duke of Brunswick-Bevern, by title; who, as a junior branch, lives on the Apanage of Bevern, as his Father did; but is sure now to inherit the sovereignty and be Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel at large, he or his Sons, were the present incumbent, Ludwig Rudolf, once out. Present incumbent, we have just intimated, is his Father-in-law; but it is not on that ground that he looks to inherit. He is Nephew of old Anton Ulrich, Son of a younger Brother (who was also "Bevern" in Anton's time); and is the evident Heir-male; old Anton being already fallen into the distaff, with nothing but three Grand-daughters. Anton's heir will now be this Nephew; Nephew has wedded one of the Grand-daughters, youngest of the Three, youngest Daughter of Ludwig Rudolf, Sovereign Duke that now is; which Lady, by the family she brought him, if no otherwise, is memorable or mentionable here, and may be called, a Mother in Germany.
[ANTON ULRICH (1833-1714). Duke in Chief; that is, Duke of Brunswick-WOLFENBUTTEL. AUGUST WILHELM, elder Son and Heir (1662, 1714, 1731); had no children. LUDWIG RUDOLF, the younger Son (1671, 1731, 1735), apanagad in Blankenburg: Duke of Brunswick-BLANKENBURG; became WOLFENBUTTEL. 1731, died, 1st March, 1735. No Son; so that now the Bevern succeeded. Three Daughters: Elizabeth Christina, the Kaiserinn (1691, 1708, 1750). Charlotte Christina (1694, 1711, 1715), Alexius of Russia's, had a FABULOUS end. Antoinette Amelia (1695, 1712, 1762); Bevern's Wife,--a "Mother in Germany." FERDINAND ALBERT (1636-1687), his younger Brother apanaged in Bevern; that is, Duke of Brunswick-BEVERN. FERDINAND ALBERT, eldest Son (an elder had perished, 1704, on the Schellenberg under Marlborough), followed in Bevern (1680, 1687-1704, 1735); Kaiser's soldier, Friedrich Wilhelm's friend; married his Cousin, Antoinette Amelia ("Mother in Germany," as we call her). Duke in Chief, 1st March, 1785, on Ludwig Rudolf's decease; died himself, 3d September same year. BORN 1713, Karl the Heir (to marry our Friedrich's Sister). 1714, Anton Ulrich (Russia; tragedy of Czar Iwan). 1715, 8th November, Elizabeth Christina (Crown Prince's). 1718, Ludwig Ernst (Holland, 1787). 1721, Ferdinand (Chatham's and England's) of the Seven Years War. 1722, 1724, 1725, 1732, Four others; Boys the youngest Two, who were both killed in Friedrich's Wars.]
Father Bevern her Husband, Ferdinand Albert the name of him, is now just fifty, only ten years younger than his serene Father-in-law, Ludwig Rudolf:--whom, I may as well say here, he does at last succeed, three years hence (1735) and becomes Duke of Brunswick in General, according to hope; but only for a few months, having himself died that same year. Poor Duke; rather a good man, by all the accounts I could hear; though not of qualities that shone. He is at present "Duke of Brunswick-Bevern,"--such his actual nomenclature in those ever-fluctuating Sibyl's-leaves of German History-Books, Wilhelmina's and the others;--expectant Duke of Brunswick in General; much a friend of Friedrich Wilhelm. A kind of Austrian soldier he was formerly, and will again be for brief times; General-Feldmarschall so styled; but is not notable in War, nor otherwise at all, except for the offspring he had by this serene Spouse of his. Insipid offspring, the impatient reader says; but permits me to enumerate one or two of them:--
1. Karl, eldest Son; who is sure to be Brunswick in General; who is betrothed to Princess Charlotte of Prussia,--"a satirical creature, she, fonder of my Prince than of him," Wilhelmina thinks. The wedding nevertheless took effect. Brunswick in General duly fell in, first to the Father; then, in a few months more, to Karl with his Charlotte: and from them proceeded, in due time, another Karl, of whom we shall hear in this History;--and of whom all the world heard much in the French Revolution Wars; in 1792, and still more tragically afterwards. Shot, to death or worse, at the Battle of Jena, October, 1806; "battle lost before it was begun,"--such the strategic history they give of it. He peremptorily ordered the French Revolution to suppress itself; and that was the answer the French Revolution made him. From this Karl, what NEW Queens Caroline of England and portentous Dukes of Brunswick, sent upon their travels through the anarchic world, profitable only to Newspapers, we need not say!--
2. Anton Ulrich; named after his august Great-Grandfather; does not write novels like him. At present a young gentleman of eighteen; goes into Russia before long, hoping to beget Czars; which issues dreadfully for himself and the potential Czars he begot. The reader has heard of a potential "Czar Iwan," violently done to death in his room, one dim moonlight night of 1764, in the Fortress of Schlusselburg, middle of Lake Ladoga; misty moon looking down on the stone battlements, on the melancholy waters, and saying nothing.--But let us not anticipate.
3. Elizabeth Christina; to us more important than any of them. Namesake of the Kaiserinn, her august Aunt; age now seventeen; insipid fine-complexioned young lady, who is talked of for the Bride of our Crown-Prince. Of whom the reader will hear more. Crown-Prince fears she is "too religious,"--and will have "CAGOTS" about her (solemn persons in black, highly unconscious how little wisdom they have), who may be troublesome.
4. A merry young Boy, now ten, called Ferdinand; with whom England within the next thirty years will ring, for some time, loud enough: the great "Prince Ferdinand" himself,--under whom the Marquis of Granby and others became great; Chatham superintending it. This really was a respectable gentleman, and did considerable things,--a Trismegistus in comparison with the Duke of Cumberland whom he succeeded. A cheerful, singularly polite, modest, well-conditioned man withal. To be slightly better known to us, if we live. He at present is a Boy of ten, chasing the thistle's beard.
5. Three other sons, all soldiers, two of them younger than Ferdinand; whose names were in the gazettes down to a late period;--whom we shall ignore in this place. The last of them was marched out of Holland, where he had long been Commander-in-chief on rather Tory principles, in the troubles of 1787. Others of them we shall see storming forward on occasion, valiantly meeting death in the field of fight, all conspicuously brave of character; but this shall be enough of them at present.
It is of these that Ludwig Rudolf's youngest daughter, the serene Ferdinand Albert's wife, is Mother in Germany; highly conspicuous in their day. If the question is put, it must be owned they are all rather of the insipid type. Nothing but a kind of albuminous simplicity noticeable in them; no wit, originality, brightness in the way of uttered intellect. If it is asked, How came they to the least distinction in this world?--the answer is not immediately apparent. But indeed they are Welf of the Welfs, in this respect as in others. One asks, with increased wonder, noticing in the Welfs generally nothing but the same albuminous simplicity, and poverty rather than opulence of uttered intellect, or of qualities that shine, How the Welfs came to play such a part, for the last thousand years, and still to be at it, in conspicuous places? Reader, I have observed that uttered intellect is not what permanently makes way, but unuttered. Wit, logical brilliancy, spiritual effulgency, true or FALSE,--how precious to idle mankind, and to the Newspapers and History-Books, even when it is false: while, again, Nature and Practical Fact care next to nothing for it in comparison, even when it is true! Two silent qualities you will notice in these Welfs, modern and ancient; which Nature much values: FIRST, consummate human Courage; a noble, perfect, and as it were unconscious superiority to fear. And then SECONDLY, much weight of mind, a noble not too conscious Sense of what is Right and Not-Right, I have found in some of them;--which means mostly WEIGHT, or good gravitation, good observance of the perpendicular; and is called justice, veracity, high-honor, and other such names. These are fine qualities indeed, especially with an "albuminous simplicity" as vehicle to them. If the Welfs had not much articulate intellect, let us guess they made a good use, not a bad or indifferent, as is commoner, of what they had.
WHO HIS MAJESTY'S CHOICE IS; AND WHAT THE CROWN-PRINCE THINKS OF IT.
Princess Elizabeth Christina, the insipid Brunswick specimen, backed by Seckendorf and Vienna, proves on consideration the desirable to Friedrich Wilhelm in this matter. But his Son's notions, who as yet knows her only by rumor, do not go that way. Insipidity, triviality; the fear of "CAGOTAGE" and frightful fellows in black supremely unconscious what blockheads they are, haunts him a good deal. And as for any money coming,--her sublime Aunt the Kaiserinn never had much ready money; one's resources on that side are likely to be exiguous. He would prefer the Princess of Mecklenburg, Semi-Russian Catharine or Anna, of whom we have heard; would prefer the Princess of Eisenach (whose name he does not know rightly); thinks there are many Princesses preferable. Most of all he would prefer, what is well known of him in Tobacco-Parliament, but known to be impossible, this long while back, to go upon a round of travel,--as for instance the Prince of Lorraine is now doing,--and look about him a little.
These candid considerations the Crown-Prince earnestly suggests to Grumkow, and the secret committee of Tobacco-Parliament; earnestly again and again, in his Correspondence with that gentleman, which goes on very brisk at present. "Much of it lost," we hear;--but enough, and to spare, is saved! Not a beautiful correspondence: the tone of it shallow, hard of heart; tragically flippant, especially on the Crown-Prince's part; now and then even a touch of the hypocritical from him, slight touch and not with will: alas, what can the poor young man do? Grumkow--whose ground, I think, is never quite so secure since that Nosti business--professes ardent attachment to the real interests of the Prince; and does solidly advise him of what is feasible, what not, in head-quarters; very exemplary "attachment;" credible to what length, the Prince well enough knows. And so the Correspondence is unbeautiful; not very descriptive even,--for poor Friedrich is considerably under mask, while he writes to that address; and of Grumkow himself we want no more "description;" and is, in fact, on its own score, an avoidable article rather than otherwise; though perhaps the reader, for a poor involved Crown-Prince's sake, will wish an exact Excerpt or two before we quite dismiss it.
Towards turning off the Brunswick speculation, or turning on the Mecklenburg or Eisenach or any other in its stead, the Correspondence naturally avails nothing. Seckendorf has his orders from Vienna: Grumkow has his pension,--his cream-bowl duly set,--for helping Beckendorf. Though angels pleaded, not in a tone of tragic flippancy, but with the voice of breaking hearts, it would be to no purpose. The Imperial Majesties have ordered, Marry him to Brunswick, "bind him the better to our House in time coming;" nay the Royal mind at Potsdam gravitates, of itself, that way, after the first hint is given. The Imperial will has become the Paternal one; no answer but obedience. What Grumkow can do will be, if possible, to lead or drive the Crown-Prince into obeying smoothly, or without breaking of harness again. Which, accordingly, is pretty much the sum of his part in this unlovely Correspondence: the geeho-ing of an expert wagoner, who has got a fiery young Arab thoroughly tied into his dastard sand-cart, and has to drive him by voice, or at most by slight crack of whip; and does it. Can we hope, a select specimen or two of these Documents, not on Grumkow's part, or for Grumkow's unlovely sake, may now be acceptable to the reader? A Letter or two picked from that large stock, in a legible state, will show us Father and Son, and how that tragic matter went on, better than description could.
Papa's Letters to the Crown-Prince during that final Custrin period,--when Carzig and Himmelstadt were going on, and there was such progress in Economics, are all of hopeful ruggedly affectionate tenor; and there are a good few of them: style curiously rugged, intricate, headlong; and a strong substance of sense and worth tortuously visible everywhere. Letters so delightful to the poor retrieved Crown-Prince then and there; and which are still almost pleasant reading to third-parties, once you introduce grammar and spelling. This is one exact specimen; most important to the Prince and us. Suddenly, one night, by estafette, his Majesty, meaning nothing but kindness, and grateful to Seckendorf and Tobacco-Parliament for such an idea, proposes,--in these terms (merely reduced to English and the common spelling):--
"TO THE CROWN-PRINCE AT CUSTRIN (from Papa). "POTSDAM, 4th February, 1732
"MY DEAR SON FRITZ,--I am very glad you need no more physic. But you must have a care of yourself, some days yet, for the severe weather; which gives me and everybody colds; so pray be on your guard (NEHMET EUCH KUBSCH IN ACHT).
"You know, my dear Son, that when my children are obedient, I love them much: so, when you were at Berlin, I from my heart forgave you everything; and from that Berlin time, since I saw you, have thought of nothing but of your well-being and how to establish you,--not in the Army only, but also with a right Step-daughter, and so see you married in my lifetime. You may be well persuaded I have had the Princesses of Germany taken survey of, so far as possible, and examined by trusty people, what their conduct is, their education and so on: and so a Princess has been found, the Eldest one of Bevern, who is well brought up, modest and retiring, as women ought to be.
"You will without delay (CITO) write me your mind on this. I have purchased the Von Katsch House; the Feldmarschall," old Wartensleben, poor Katte's grandfather, "as Governor" of Berlin, "will get that to live in: and his Government House, [Fine enough old House, or Palace, built by the Great Elector; given by him to Graf Feldmarschall von Schomberg, the "Duke Schomberg" who was killed in the Battle of the Boyne: "same House, opposite the Arsenal, which belongs now (1855) to his Royal Highness Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia." (Preuss, i. 73; and _ OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvi. 12 n.)] I will have made new for you, and furnish it all; and give you enough to keep house yourself there; and will command you into the Army, April coming [which is quite a subordinate story, your Majesty!].
"The Princess is not ugly, nor beautiful. You must mention it to no mortal;--write indeed to Mamma (DER MAMA) that I have written to you. And when you shall have a Son, I will let you go on your Travels,--wedding, however, cannot be before winter next. Meanwhile I will try aud contrive opportunity that you see one another, a few times, in all honor, yet so that you get acquainted with her. She is a God-fearing creature (GOTTESFURCHTIGES MENSCH), which is all in all; will suit herself to you [be COMPORTABLE to you] as she does to the Parents-in-law.
"God give his blessing to it; and bless You and your Posterity, and keep Thee as a good Christian. And have God always before your eyes;--and don't believe that damnable PARTICULAR tenet [Predestination]; and be obedient and faithful: so shall it, here in Time and there in Eternity, go well with thee;--and whoever wishes that from the heart, let him say Amen.
"Your true Father to the death,
"When the Duke of Lorraine comes, I will have thee come. I think thy Bride will be here then. Adieu; God be with you." [_ OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii, part 3d, p. 55.]
This important Missive reached Custrin, by estafette, that same midnight, 4th-5th February; when Wolden, "Hofmarschall of the Prince's Court" (titular Goldstick there, but with abundance of real functions laid on him), had the honor to awaken the Crown-Prince into the joy of reading. Crown-Prince instantly despatched, by another estafette, the requisite responses to Papa and Mamma,--of which Wolden does not know the contents at all, not he, the obsequious Goldstick;--but doubtless they mean "Yes," Crown-Prince appearing so overjoyed at this splendid evidence of Papa's love, as the Goldstick could perceive. [Wolden's LETTER to Friedrich Wilhelm, "5th February, 1732:" in Preuss, ii. part 2d (or URKUNDENOUCH), p. 206. Mamma's answer to the message brought her by this return estafette, a mere formal VERY-WELL, written from the fingers outward, exists (_OEuvres,_ xxvi. 65); the rest have happily vanished.]
What the Prince's actual amount of joy was, we shall learn better from the following three successive utterances of his, confidentially despatched to Grumkow in the intermediate days, before Berlin or this "Duke of Lorraine" (whom our readers and the Crown-Prince are to wait upon), with actual sight of Papa and the Intended, came in course. Grumkow's Letters to the Crown-Prince in this important interval are not extant, nor if they were could we stand them: from the Prince's Answers it will be sufficiently apparent what the tenor of them was. Utterance first is about a week after that of the estafette at midnight:--
TO GENERAL FELDMARSCHALL VON GRUMKOW, AT POTSDAM (from the Crown-Prince).
"CUSTRIN, 11th February, 1732.
"MY DEAR GENERAL AND FRIEND,--I was charmed to learn by your Letter that my affairs are on so good a footing [Papa so well satisfied with my professions of obedience]; and you may depend on it I am docile to follow your advice. I will lend myself to whatever is possible for me; and provided I can secure the King's favor by my obedience, I will do all that is within my power.
"Nevertheless, in making my bargain with the Duke of Bevern, manage that the CORPUS DELICTI [my Intended] be brought up under her Grandmother [Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Ludwig Rudolf's Spouse, an airy coquettish Lady,--let her be the tutoress and model of my Intended, O General]. For I should prefer being made a"--what shall we say? by a light wife,--"or to serve under the haughty FONTANGE [Species of topknot; so named from Fontange, an unfortunate female of Louis Fourteenth's, who invented the ornament.] of my Spouse [as Ludwig Rudolf does, by all accounts], than to have a blockhead who would drive me mad by her ineptitudes? and whom I should be ashamed to produce.
"I beg you labor at this affair. When one hates romance heroines as heartily as I do, one dreads those 'virtues' of the ferocious type [LES VERTUS FAROUCHES, so terribly aware that they are virtuous]; and I had rather marry the greatest--[unnamable]--in Berlin, than a devotee with half a dozen ghastly hypocrites (CAGOTS) at her beck. If it were still MOGLICH [possible, in German] to make her Calvinist [REFORMEE; our Court-Creed, which might have an allaying tendency, and at least would make her go with the stream]? But I doubt that:--I will insist, however, that her Grandmother have the training of her. What you can do to help in this, my dear Friend, I am persuaded you will do.
"It afflicted me a little that the King still has doubts of me, while I am obeying in such a matter, diametrically opposite to my own ideas. In what way shall I offer stronger proofs? I may give myself to the Devil, it will be to no purpose; nothing but the old song over again, doubt on doubt.--Don't imagine I am going to disoblige the Duke, the Duchess or the Daughter, I beseech you! I know too well what is due to them, and too much respect their merits, not to observe the strictest rules of what is proper,--even if I hated their progeny and them like the pestilence.
"I hope to speak to you with open heart at Berlin.--You may think, too, how I shall be embarrassed, having to do the AMOROSO perhaps without being it, and to take an appetite for mute ugliness,--for I don't much trust Count Seckendorf's taste in this article,"--in spite of his testimonies in Tobacco-Parliament and elsewhere. "Monsieur! Once more, get this Princess to learn by heart the ECOLE DES MARIS and the ECOLE DES FEMMES; that will do her much more good than TRUE CHRISTIANITY by the late Mr. Arndt! [Johann Arndt ("late" this long while back), _Von wahren Christenthum,_ Magdeburg, 1610.] If, besides, she would learn steadiness of humor (TOUJOURS DANSER SUR UN PIED), learn music; and, NOTA BENE, become rather too free than too virtuous,--ah then, my dear General, then I should feel some liking for her, and a Colin marrying a Phyllis, the couple would be in accordance: but if she is stupid, naturally I renounce the Devil and her.--It is said she has a Sister, who at least has common sense. Why take the eldest, if so? To the King it must be all one. There is also a Princess Christina Marie of Eisenach [real name being Christina WILHELMINA, but no matter], who would be quite my fit, and whom I should like to try for. In fine, I mean to come soon into your Countries; [Did come, 26th February, as we shall see.] and perhaps will say like Caesar, VENI, VIDI, VICI."...
Paragraph of tragic compliments to Grumkow we omit. Letter ends in this way:--
"Your Baireuth News is very interesting; I hope, in September next [time of a grand problem coming there for Wilhelmina], my Sister will recover her first health. If I go travelling, I hope to have the consolation of seeing her for a fortnight or three weeks; I love her more than my life; and for all my obediences to the King, surely I shall deserve that recompense. The diversions for the Duke of Lorraine are very well schemed; but"--but what mortal can now care about them? Close, and seal. [Forster, iii. 160-162; _OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi, 37-39.]
As to this Duke of Lorraine just coming, he is Franz Stephan, a pleasant young man of twenty-five, son of that excellent Duke Leopold Joseph, whom young Lyttelton of Hagley was so taken with, while touring in those parts in the Congress-of-Soissons time. Excellent Duke Leopold Joseph is since dead; and this Franz has succeeded to him,--what succession there was; for Lorraine as a Dukedom has its neck under the foot of France this great while, and is evidently not long for this world. Old Fleury, men say, has his eye upon it. And in fact it was, as we shall see, eaten up by Fleury within four years' time; and this Franz proved the last of all the Dukes there. Let readers notice him: a man of high destiny otherwise, of whom we are to hear much. For ten years past he has lived about Vienna, being a born Cousin of that House (Grandmother was Kaiser Leopold's own Sister); and it is understood, nay it is privately settled he is to marry the transcendent Archduchess, peerless Maria Theresa herself; and is to reap, he, the whole harvest of that Pragmatic Sanction sown with such travail of the Universe at large. May be King of the Romans (which means successor to the Kaisership) any day; and actual Kaiser one day.
We may as well say here, he did at length achieve these dignities, though not quite in the time or on the terms proposed. King of the Romans old Kaiser Karl never could quite resolve to make him,--having always hopes of male progeny yet; which never came. For his peerless Bride he waited six years still (owing to accidents), "attachment mutual all the while;" did then wed, 1738, and was the happiest of men and expectant Kaisers:--but found, at length, the Pragmatic Sanction to have been a strange sowing of dragon's-teeth, and the first harvest reapable from it a world of armed men!--For the present he is on a grand Tour, for instruction and other objects; has been in England last; and is now getting homewards again, to Vienna, across Germany; conciliating the Courts as he goes. A pacific friendly eupeptic young man; Crown-Prince Friedrich, they say, took much to him in Berlin; did not quite swear eternal friendship; but kept up some correspondence for a while, and "once sends him a present of salmon."--But to proceed with the utterances to Grumkow.
Utterance SECOND is probably of prior date; but introducible here, being an accidental Fragment, with the date lost:--
TO THE FELDMARSCHALL VON GRUMKOW (from the Crown-Prince; exact date lost).
"... As to what you tell me of the Princess of Mecklenburg," for whom they want a Brandenburg Prince,--"could not I marry her? Let her come into this Country, and think no more of Russia: she would have a dowry of two or three millions of roubles,--only fancy how I could live with that! I think that project might succeed. The Princess is Lutheran; perhaps she objects to go into the Greek Church?--I find none of these advantages in this Princess of Bevern; who, as many people, even of the Duke's Court, say, is not at all beautiful, speaks almost nothing, and is given to pouting (FAISANT LA FACHEE). The good Kaiserinn has so little herself, that the sums she could afford her Niece would be very moderate." [Fragment given in _Sechendorfs Leben,_ iii. 249 u.]
"Given to pouting," too! No, certainly; your Insipidity of Brunswick, without prospects of ready money; dangerous for CAGOTAGE; "not a word to say for herself in company, and given to pouting:" I do not reckon her the eligible article!--
Seckendorf, Schulenburg, Grumkow and all hands are busy in this matter: geeho-ing the Crown-Prince towards the mark set before him. With or without explosion, arrive there he must; other goal for him is none!--In the mean while, it appears, illustrious Franz of Lorraine, coming on, amid the proper demonstrations, through Magdeburg and the Prussian Towns, has caught some slight illness and been obliged to pause; so that Berlin cannot have the happiness of seeing him quite so soon as it expected. The high guests invited to meet Duke Franz, especially the high Brunswicks, are already there. High Brunswicks, Bevern with Duchess, and still more important, with Son and with Daughter:--insipid CORPUS DELICTI herself has appeared on the scene; and Grumkow, we find, has been writing some description of her to the Crown-Prince. Description of an unfavorable nature; below the truth, not above it, to avert disappointment, nay to create some gleam of inverse joy, when the actual meeting occurs. That is his art in driving the fiery little Arab ignominiously yoked to him; and it is clear he has overdone it, for once. This is Friedrich's THIRD utterance to him; much the most emphatic there is:--
TO THE GENERAL FELDMARSCHALL VON GRUMKOW.
"CUSTRIN, 19th February, 1732.
"Judge, my dear General, if I can have been much charmed with the description you give of the abominable object of my desires! For the love of God, disabuse the King in regard to her [show him that she is a fool, then]; and let him remember well that fools commonly are the most obstinate of creatures.
"Some months ago he wrote a Letter to Walden," the obsequious Goldstick, "of his giving me the choice of several Princesses: I hope he will not give himself the lie in that. I refer you entirely to the Letter, which Schulenburg will have delivered,"--little Schulenburg called here, in passing your way; all hands busy. "For there is no hope of wealth, no reasoning, nor chance of fortune that could change my sentiment as expressed there [namely, that I will not have her, whatever become of me]; and miserable for miserable, it is all one! Let the King but think that it is not for himself that he is marrying me, but for MYself; nay he too will have a thousand chagrins, to see two persons hating one another, and the miserablest marriage in the world;--to hear their mutual complaints, which will be to him so many reproaches for having fashioned the instrument of our yoke. As a good Christian, let him consider, If it is well done to wish to force people; to cause divorces, and to be the occasion of all the sins that an ill-assorted marriage leads us to commit! I am determined to front everything in the world sooner: and since things are so, you may in some good way apprise the Duke" of Bevern "that, happen what may, I never will have her.
"I have been unfortunate (MALHEUREUX) all my life; and I think it is my destiny to continue so. One must be patient, and take the time as it comes. Perhaps a sudden tract of good fortune, on the back of all the chagrins I have made profession of ever since I entered this world, would have made me too proud. In a word, happen what will, I have nothing to reproach myself with. I have suffered sufficiently for an exaggerated crime [that of "attempting to desert;"--Heavens!]--and I will not engage myself to extend my miseries (CHAGRINS) into future times. I have still resources:--a pistol-shot can deliver me from my sorrows and my life: and I think a merciful God would not damn me for that; but, taking pity on me, would, in exchange for a life of wretchedness, grant me salvation. This is whitherward despair can lead a young person, whose blood is not so quiescent as if he were seventy. I have a feeling of myself, Monsieur; and perceive that, when one hates the methods of force as much as I, our boiling blood will carry us always towards extremities.
... "If there are honest people in the world, they must think how to save me from one of the most perilous passages I have ever been in. I waste myself in gloomy ideas; I fear I shall not be able to hide my grief, on coming to Berlin. This is the sad state I am in;--but it will never make me change from being,"--surely to an excessive degree, the illustrious Grumkow's most &c. &c.
"I have received a Letter from the King; all agog (BIEN COIFFE) about the Princess. I think I may still finish the week here. [26th, did arrive in Berlin: Preuss (in _OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 58 n).] When his first fire of approbation is spent, you might, praising her all the while, lead him to notice her faults. Mon Dieu, has he not already seen what an ill-assorted marriage comes to,--my Sister of Anspach and her Husband, who hate one another like the fire! He has a thousand vexations from it every day.... And what aim has the King? If it is to assure himself of me, that is not the way. Madam of Eisenach might do it; but a fool not (POINT UNE BETE);--on the contrary, it is morally impossible to love the cause of our misery. The King is reasonable; and I am persuaded he will understand this himself." [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi. 41, 42.]
Very passionate pleading; but it might as well address itself to the east-winds. Have east-winds a heart, that they should feel pity? JARNI-BLEU, Herr Feldzeugmeister,--only take care he don't overset things again!
Grumkow, in these same hours, is writing a Letter to the Prince, which we still have, [Ib. xvi. 43.] How charmed his Majesty is at such obedience; "shed tears of joy," writes Grumkow, "and said it was the happiest day of his life." Judge Grumkow's feelings soon after, on this furious recalcitration breaking out! Grumkow's Answer, which also we still have [Ib. xvi. pp. 44-46.] is truculence itself in a polite form:--horror-struck as a Christian at the suicide notion, at the--in fact at the whole matter; and begs, as a humble individual, not wishful of violent death and destruction upon self and family, to wash his poor hands of it altogether. Dangerous for the like of him; "interfering between Royal Father and Royal Son of such opposite humors, would break the neck of any man," thinks Grumkow; and sums up with this pithy reminiscence: "I remember always what, the King said to me at Wusterhausen, when your Royal Highness lay prisoner in the Castle of Custrin, and I wished to take your part: _'Nein Grumkow, denket an diese Stelle, Gott gebe dass ich nicht wahr rede, aber mein Sohn stirht nicht eines naturlichen Todes; und Gott gebe dass er nicht unter Henkers Hande komme._ No, Grumkow, think of what I now tell you: God grant it do not come true,--but my Son won't die a natural death; God grant he do not come into the Hangman's hands yet!' I shuddered at these words, and the King repeated them twice to me: that is true, or may I never see God's face, or have part in the merits of our Lord."--The Crown-Prince's "pleadings" may fitly terminate here.
DUKE OF LORRAINE ARRIVES IN POTSDAM AND IN BERLIN.
Saturday, 23d February, 1732, his Serene Highness of Lorraine did at length come to hand. Arrived in Potsdam that day; where the two Majesties, with the Serene Beverns, with the Prince Alexander of Wurtemberg, and the other high guests, had been some time in expectation. Suitable persons invited for the occasion: Bevern, a titular Austrian Feldmarschall; Prince Alexander of Wurtemberg, an actual one (poor old Eberhard Ludwig's Cousin, and likely to be Heir there soon); high quasi-Austrian Serenities;--not to mention Schulenburg and others officially related to Austria, or acquainted with it. Nothing could be more distinguished than the welcome of Duke Franz; and the things he saw and did, during his three weeks' visit, are wonderful to Fassmann and the extinct Gazetteers. Saw the Potsdam Giants do their "EXERCITIA," transcendent in perfection; had a boar-hunt; "did divine service in the Potsdam Catholic Church; "--went by himself to Spandau, on the Tuesday (26th), where all the guns broke forth, and dinner was ready: King, Queen and Party having made off for Berlin, in the interim, to be ready for his advent there "in the evening about, five." Majesties wait at Berlin, with their Party,--among whom, say the old Newspapers, "is his Royal Highness the Crown-Prince:" Crown-Prince just come in from Custrin; just blessed with the first sight of his Charmer, whom he finds perceptibly less detestable than he expected.
Serene Highness of Lorraine arrived punctually at five, with outburst of all the artilleries and hospitalities; balls, soirees, EXERCITIA of the Kleist Regiment, of the Gerns-d'Armes; dinners with Grumkow, dinners with Seckendorf, evening party with the Margravine Philip (Margravine in high colors);--one scenic miracle succeeding another, for above a fortnight to come.
The very first spectacle his Highness saw, a private one, and of no intense interest to him, we shall mention here for our own behoof. "An hour after his arrival the Duke was carried away to his Excellency Herr Creutz the Finance-Minister's; to attend a wedding there, along with his Majesty. Wedding of Excellency Creutz's only Daughter to the Herr HOFJAGERMEISTER von Hacke."--HOFJAGERMEISTER (Master of the Hunt), and more specifically Captain Hacke, of the Potsdam Guard or Giant regiment, much and deservedly a favorite with his Majesty. Majesty has known, a long while, the merits military and other of this Hacke; a valiant expert exact man, of good stature, good service among the Giants and otherwise, though not himself gigantic; age now turned of thirty;--and unluckily little but his pay to depend on. Majesty, by way of increment to Hacke, small increment on the pecuniary side, has lately made him "Master of the Hunt;" will, before long, make him Adjutant-General, and his right-hand man in Army matters, were he only rich;--has, in the mean while, made this excellent match for him; which supplies that defect. Majesty was the making of Creutz himself; who is grown very rich, and has but one Daughter: "Let Hacke have her!" his Majesty advised;--and snatches off the Duke of Lorraine to see it done. [Fassmann, p. 430.]
Did the reader ever hear of Finance-Minister Creutz, once a poor Regiment's Auditor, when his Majesty, as yet Crown-Prince, found talent in him? Can readers fish up from their memory, twenty years back, anything of a terrific Spectre walking in the Berlin Palace, for certain nights, during that "Stralsund Expedition" or famed Swedish-War time, to the terror of mankind? Terrific Spectre, thought to be in Swedish pay,--properly a spy Scullion, in a small concern of Grumkow VERSUS Creutz? [Antea, vol. v. pp. 356-358; Wilhelmina.] This is the same Creutz; of whom we have never spoken more, nor shall again, now that his rich Daughter is well married to Hacke, a favorite of his Majesty's and ours. It was the Duke's first sight in Berlin; February 26th; prologue to the flood of scenic wonders there.
But perhaps the wonderfulest thing, had he quite understood it, was that of the 10th March, which he was invited to. Last obligation laid upon the Crown-Prince, "to bind him to the House of Austria," that evening. Of which take this account, external and internal, from authentic Documents in our hand.
BETROTHAL OF THE CROWN-PRINCE TO THE BRUNSWICK CHARMER, NIECE OF IMPERIAL MAJESTY, MONDAY EVENING, 10th MARCH, 1732.
Document FIRST is of an internal nature, from the Prince's own hand, written to his Sister four days before:--
TO THE PRINCESS WILHELMINA AT BAIREUTH.
"BERLIN, 6th March, 1732.
"MY DEAREST SISTER,--Next Monday comes my Betrothal, which will be done just as yours was. The Person in question is neither beautiful nor ugly, not wanting for sense, but very ill brought up, timid, and totally behind in manners and social behavior (MANIERES DU SAVOIR-VIVRE): that is the candid portrait of this Princess. You may judge by that, dearest Sister, if I find her to my taste or not. The greatest merit she has is that she has procured me the liberty of writing to you; which is the one solacement I have in your absence.
"You never can believe, my adorable Sister, how concerned I am about your happiness; all my wishes centre there, and every moment of my life I form such wishes. You may see by this that I preserve still that sincere friendship which has united our hearts from our tenderest years:--recognize at least, my dear Sister, that you did me a sensible wrong when you suspected me of fickleness towards you, and believed false reports of my listening to tale-bearers; me, who love only you, and whom neither absence nor lying rumors could change in respect of you. At least don't again believe such things on my score, and never mistrust me till you have had clear proof,--or till God has forsaken me, and I have lost my wits. And being persuaded that such miseries are not in store to overwhelm me, I here repeat how much I love you, and with what respect and sincere veneration,--I am and shall be till death, my dearest Sister,--Your most humble and faithful Brother and Valet,
[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 5]
That was on the Thursday; Betrothal is on the Monday following. Document SECOND is from poor old Fassmann, and quite of external nature; which we much abridge:--
"Monday evening, all creatures are in gala, and the Royal Apartments upstairs are brilliantly alight; Duke of Lorraine with the other high strangers are requested to take their place up there, and wait for a short while. Prussian Majesty, Queen and Crown-Prince with him, proceeds then, in a solemn official manner, to the Durchlaucht of Bevern's Apartment, in a lower floor of the Palace; where the Bevern Party, Duke, Duchess, Son and intended Charmer are. Prussian Majesty asks the Durchlaucht and Spouse, 'Whether the Marriage, some time treated of, between that their Princess here present, and this his Crown-Prince likewise here, is really a thing to their mind?' Serene Spouses answer, to the effect, 'Yea, surely, very much!' Upon which they all solemnly ascend to the Royal Apartments [upstairs where we have seen Wilhelmina dancing before now], where Lorraine, Wurtemberg and the other sublimities are in waiting. Lorraine and the sublimities form a semicircle; with the two Majesties, and pair of young creatures, in the centre. You young creatures, you are of one intention with your parents in this matter? Alas, there is no doubt of it. Pledge yourselves, then, by exchange of rings! said his Majesty with due business brevity. The rings are exchanged: Majesty embraces the two young creatures with great tenderness;" as do Queen and Serenities; and then all the world takes to embracing and congratulating; and so the betrothal is a finished thing. Bassoons and violins, striking up, whirl it off in universal dancing,--in "supper of above two hundred and sixty persons," princely or otherwise sublime in rank, with "spouses and noble ladies there" in the due proportion. [Fassmann, pp. 432, 433.]
Here is fraction of another Note from the Crown-Prince to his Sister at Baireuth, a fortnight after that event:--
BERLIN, 24th MARCH, 1732 (to Princess Wilhelmina).--... "God be praised that you are better, dearest Sister! For nobody can love you more tenderly than I do.--As to the Princess of Bevern [my Betrothed], the Queen [Mamma, whom you have been consulting on these etiquettes] bids me answer, That you need not style her `Highness,' and that you may write to her quite as to an indifferent Princess. As to 'kissing of the hands,' I assure you I have not kissed them, nor will kiss them; they are not pretty enough to tempt one that way. God long preserve you in perfect health! And you, preserve for me always the honor of your good graces; and believe, my charming Sister, that never brother in the world loved with such tenderness a sister so charming as mine; in short, believe, dear Sister, that without compliments, and in literal truth, I am yours wholly (TOUT A VOUS),
[Ib. xxvii. part 1st, p. 5.]
This is the Betrothal of the Crown-Prince to an Insipidity of Brunswick. Insipidity's private feelings, perhaps of a languidly glad sort, are not known to us; Crown-Prince's we have in part seen. He has decided to accept his fate without a murmur farther. Against his poor Bride or her qualities not a word more. In the Schloss of Berlin, amid such tempests of female gossip (Mamma still secretly corresponding with England), he has to be very reserved, on this head especially. It is understood he did not, in his heart, nearly so much dislike the insipid Princess as he wished Papa to think he did.
Duke Franz of Lorraine went off above a week ago, on the Saturday following the Betrothal; an amiable serene young gentleman, well liked by the Crown-Prince and everybody. "He avoided the Saxon Court, though passing near it," on his way to old Kur-Mainz; "which is a sign," thinks Fassmann, "that mutual matters are on a weak footing in that quarter;"--Pragmatic Sanction never accepted there, and plenty of intricacies existing. Crown-Prince Friedrich may now go to Ruppin and the Regiment Goltz; his business and destinies being now all reduced to a steady condition;--steady sky, rather leaden, instead of the tempestuous thunder-and-lightning weather which there heretofore was. Leaden sky, he, if left well to himself, will perhaps brighten a little. Study will be possible to him; improvement of his own faculties, at any rate. It is much his determination. Outwardly, besides drilling the Regiment Goltz, he will have a steady correspondence to keep up with his Brunswick Charmer;--let him see that he be not slack in that.
Chapter II. -- SMALL INCIDENTS AT RUPPIN.
Friedrich, after some farther pause in Berlin, till things were got ready for him, went to Ruppin. This is in the Spring of 1732; [Still in Berlin, 6th March; dates from NAUEN (in the Ruppin neighborhood) for the first time, 25th April, 1732, among his LETTERS yet extant: Preuss, _OEuvres de Frederic, _ xxvii. part lst, p. 4; xvi. 49.] and he contin his residence there till August, 1736. Four important years of young life; of which we must endeavor to give, in some intelligible condition, what traces go hovering about in such records as there are.
Ruppin, where lies the main part of the Regiment Goltz, and where the Crown-Prince Colonel of it dwells, is a quiet dull, little Town, in that northwestern region; inhabitants, grown at this day to be 10,000, are perhaps guessable then at 2,000. Regiment Goltz daily rolls its drums in Ruppin: Town otherwise lifeless enough, except on market-days: and the grandest event ever known in it, this removal of the Crown-Prince thither,--which is doubtless much a theme, and proud temporary miracle, to Ruppin at present. Of society there or in the neighborhood, for such a resident, we hear nothing.
Quiet Ruppin stands in grassy flat country, much of which is natural moor, and less of it reclaimed at that time than now. The environs, except that they are a bit of the Earth, and have a bit of the sky over them, do not set up for loveliness. Natural woods abound in that region, also peat-bogs not yet drained; and fishy lakes and meres, of a dark complexion: plenteous cattle there are, pigs among them;--thick-soled husbandmen inarticulately toiling and moiling. Some glass-furnaces, a royal establishment, are the only manufactures we hear of. Not a picturesque country; but a quiet and innocent, where work is cut out, and one hopes to be well left alone after doing it. This Crown-Prince has been in far less desirable localities.
He had a reasonable house, two houses made into one for him, in the place. He laid out for himself a garden in the outskirts, with what they call a "temple" in it,--some more or less ornamental garden-house,--from which I have read of his "letting off rockets" in a summer twilight. Rockets to amuse a small dinner-party, I should guess,--dinner of Officers, such as he had weekly or twice a week. On stiller evenings we can fancy him there in solitude; reading meditative, or musically fluting;--looking out upon the silent death of Day: how the summer gloaming steals over the moorlands, and over all lands; shutting up the toil of mortals; their very flocks and herds collapsing into silence, and the big Skies and endless Times overarching him and them. With thoughts perhaps sombre enough now and then, but profitable if he face them piously.
His Father's affection is returning; would so fain return if it durst. But the heart of Papa has been sadly torn up: it is too good news to be quite believed, that he has a son grown wise, and doing son-like! Rumor also is very busy, rumor and the Tobacco-Parliament for or against; a little rumor is capable of stirring up great storms in the suspicious paternal mind. All along during Friedrich's abode at Ruppin, this is a constantly recurring weather-symptom; very grievous now and then; not to be guarded against by any precaution;--though steady persistence in the proper precaution will abate it, and as good as remove it, in course of time. Already Friedrich Wilhelm begins to understand that "there is much in this Fritz,"--who knows how much, though of a different type from Papa's?--and that it will be better if he and Papa, so discrepant in type, and ticklishly related otherwise, live not too constantly together as heretofore. Which is emphatically the Crown-Prince's notion too.
I perceive he read a great deal at Ruppin: what Books I know not specially: but judge them to be of more serious solid quality than formerly; and that his reading is now generally a kind of studying as well. Not the express Sciences or Technologies; not these, in any sort,--except the military, and that an express exception. These he never cared for, or regarded as the noble knowledges for a king or man. History and Moral Speculation; what mankind have done and been in this world (so far as "History" will give one any glimpse of that), and what the wisest men, poetical or other, have thought about mankind and their world: this is what he evidently had the appetite for; appetite insatiable, which lasted with him to the very end of his days. Fontenelle, Rollin, Voltaire, all the then French lights, and gradually others that lay deeper in the firmament:--what suppers of the gods one may privately have at Ruppin, without expense of wine! Such an opportunity for reading he had never had before.
In his soldier business he is punctual, assiduous; having an interest to shine that way. And is, in fact, approvable as a practical officer and soldier, by the strictest judge then living. Reads on soldiering withal; studious to know the rationale of it, the ancient and modern methods of it, the essential from the unessential in it; to understand it thoroughly,--which he got to do. One already hears of conferences, correspondences, with the Old Dessauer on this head: "Account of the Siege of Stralsund," with plans, with didactic commentaries, drawn up by that gunpowder Sage for behoof of the Crown-Prince, did actually exist, though I know not what has become of it. Now and afterwards this Crown-Prince must have been a great military reader. From Caesar's COMMENTARIES, and earlier, to the Chevalier Folard, and the Marquis Feuquiere; [_Memoires sur la Guerre_ (specially on the Wars of Louis XIV., in which Feuquiere had himself shone): a new Book at this time (Amsterdam, 1731; first COMPLETE edition is, Paris, 1770, 4 vols. 4to); at Ruppin, and afterwards, a chief favorite with Friedrich.] from Epaminondas at Leuctra to Charles XII. at Pultawa, all manner of Military Histories, we perceive, are at his finger-ends; and he has penetrated into the essential heart of each, and learnt what it had to teach him. Something of this, how much we know not, began at Ruppin; and it did not end again.
On the whole, Friedrich is prepared to distinguish himself henceforth by strictly conforming, in all outward particulars possible, to the paternal will, and becoming the most obedient of sons. Partly from policy and necessity, partly also from loyalty; for he loves his rugged Father, and begins to perceive that there is more sense in his peremptory notions than at first appeared. The young man is himself rather wild, as we have seen, with plenty of youthful petulance and longings after forbidden fruit. And then he lives in an element of gossip; his whole life enveloped in a vast Dionysius'-Ear, every word and action liable to be debated in Tobacco-Parliament. He is very scarce of money, too, Papa's allowance being extremely moderate, "not above 6,000 thalers (900 pounds)," says Seckendorf once. [Forster, iii. 114 (Seckendorf to Prince Eugene).] There will be contradictions enough to settle: caution, silence, every kind of prudence will be much recommendable.
In all outward particulars the Crown-Prince will conform; in the inward, he will exercise a judgment, and if he cannot conform, will at least be careful to hide. To do his Commandant duties at Ruppin, and avoid offences, is much his determination. We observe he takes great charge of his men's health; has the Regiment Goltz in a shiningly exact condition at the grand reviews;--is very industrious now and afterwards to get tall recruits, as a dainty to Papa. Knows that nothing in Nature is so sure of conciliating that strange old gentleman; corresponds, accordingly, in distant quarters; lays out, now and afterwards, sums far too heavy for his means upon tall recruits for Papa. But it is good to conciliate in that quarter, by every method, and at every expense;--Argus of Tobacco-Parliament still watching one there; and Rumor needing to be industriously dealt with, difficult to keep down. Such, so far as we can gather, is the general figure of Friedrich's life at Ruppin. Specific facts of it, anecdotes about it, are few in those dim Books; are uncertain as to truth, and without importance whether true or not. For all his gravity and Colonelship, it would appear the old spirit of frolic has not quitted him. Here are two small incidents, pointing that way; which stand on record; credible enough, though vague and without importance otherwise. Incident FIRST is to the following feeble effect; indisputable though extremely unmomentous: Regiment Goltz, it appears, used to have gold trimmings; the Colonel Crown-Prince petitioned that they might be of silver, which he liked better. Papa answers, Yes. Regiment Goltz gets its new regimentals done in silver; the Colonel proposes they shall solemnly BURN their old regimentals. And they do it, the Officers of them, SUB DIO, perhaps in the Prince's garden, stripping successively in the "Temple" there, with such degree of genial humor, loud laughter, or at least boisterous mock-solemnity, as may be in them. This is a true incident of the Prince's history, though a small one.
Incident SECOND is of slightly more significance; and intimates, not being quite alone in its kind, a questionable habit or method the Crown-Prince must have had of dealing with Clerical Persons hereabouts when they proved troublesome. Here are no fewer than three such Persons, or Parsons, of the Ruppin Country, who got mischief by him. How the first gave offence shall be seen, and how he was punished: offences of the second and the third we can only guess to have been perhaps pulpit-rebukes of said punishments: perhaps general preaching against military levities, want of piety, nay open sinfulness, in thoughtless young men with cockades. Whereby the thoughtless young men were again driven to think of nocturnal charivari? We will give the story in Dr. Busching's own words, who looks before and after to great distances, in a way worth attending to. The Herr Doctor, an endless Collector and Compiler on all manner of subjects, is very authentic always, and does not want for natural sense: but he is also very crude,--and here and there not far from stupid, such his continual haste, and slobbery manner of working up those Hundred and odd Volumes of his:--[See his Autobiography, which forms _Beitrage,_ B. vi. (the biggest and last volume).]
"The sanguine-choleric temperament of Friedrich," says this Doctor, "drove him, in his youth, to sensual enjoyments and wild amusements of different kinds; in his middle age, to fiery enterprises; and in his old years to decisions and actions of a rigorous and vehement nature; yet so that the primary form of utterance, as seen in his youth, never altogether ceased with him. There are people still among us (1788) who have had, in their own experience, knowledge of his youthful pranks; and yet more are living, who know that he himself, at table, would gayly recount what merry strokes were done by him, or by his order, in those young years. To give an instance or two.
"While he was at Neu-Ruppin as Colonel of the Infantry Regiment there, the Chaplain of it sometimes waited upon him about the time of dinner,--having been used to dine occasionally with the former Colonel. The Crown-Prince, however, put him always off, did not ask him to dinner; spoke contemptuously of him in presence of the Officers. The Chaplain was so inconsiderate, he took to girding at the Crown-Prince in his sermons. 'Once on a time,' preached he, one day, 'there was Herod who had Herodias to dance before him; and he,--he gave her John the Baptist's head for her pains!'" This HEROD, Busching says, was understood to mean, and meant, the Crown-Prince; HERODIAS, the merry corps of Officers who made sport for him; JOHN THE BAPTIST'S HEAD was no other than the Chaplain not invited to dinner! "To punish him for such a sally, the Crown-Prince with the young Officers of his Regiment went, one night, to the Chaplain's house," somewhere hard by, with cow's-grass adjoining to it, as we see: and "first, they knocked in the windows of his sleeping-room upon him [HINGE-windows, glass not entirely broken, we may hope]; next there were crackers [SCHWARMER, "enthusiasts," so to speak!] thrown in upon him; and thereby the Chaplain, and his poor Wife," more or less in an interesting condition, poor woman, "were driven out into the court-yard, and at last into the dung-heap there;"--and so left, with their Head on a Charger to that terrible extent!
That is Busching's version of the story; no doubt substantially correct; of which there are traces in other quarters,--for it went farther than Ruppin; and the Crown-Prince had like to have got into trouble from it. "Here is piety!" said Rumor, carrying it to Tobacco-Parliament. The Crown-Prince plaintively assures Grumkow that it was the Officers, and that they got punished for it. A likely story, the Prince's!
"When King Friedrich, in his old days, recounted this after dinner, in his merry tone, he was well pleased that the guests, and even the pages and valets behind his back, laughed aloud at it." Not a pious old King, Doctor, still less an orthodox one! The Doctor continues: "In a like style, at Nauen, where part of his regiment lay, he had--by means of Herr von der Groben, his First-Lieutenant," much a comrade of his, as we otherwise perceive--"the Diaconus of Nauen and his Wife hunted out of bed, and thrown into terror of their lives, one night:"--offence of the Diaconus not specified. "Nay he himself once pitched his gold-headed stick through Salpius the Church Inspector's window,"--offence again not specified, or perhaps merely for a little artillery practice?--"and the throw was so dexterous that it merely made a round hole in the glass: stick was lying on the floor; and the Prince," on some excuse or other, "sent for it next morning." "Margraf Heinrich of Schwedt," continues the Doctor, very trustworthy on points of fact, "was a diligent helper in such operations. Kaiserling," whom we shall hear of, "First-Lieutenant von der Groben," these were prime hands; "Lieutenant Buddenbrock [old Feldmarschall's son] used, in his old days, when himself grown high in rank and dining with the King, to be appealed to as witness for the truth of these stories." [Busching, _Beitrage zu der Lebensgeschichte denkwurdiger Personen,_ v. 19-21. Vol. v.--wholly occupied with _Friedrich II. King of Prussia_ (Halle, 1788),--is accessible in French and other languages; many details, and (as Busching's wont is) few or none not authentic, are to be found in it; a very great secret spleen against Friedrich is also traceable,--for which the Doctor may have had his reasons, not obligatory upon readers of the Doctor. The truth is, Friedrich never took the least special notice of him: merely employed and promoted him, when expedient for both parties; and he really was a man of considerable worth, in an extremely crude form.]
These are the two Incidents at Ruppin, in such light as they have. And these are all. Opulent History yields from a ton of broken nails these two brass farthings, and shuts her pocket on us again. A Crown-Prince given to frolic, among other things; though aware that gravity would beseem him better. Much gay bantering humor in him, cracklings, radiations,--which he is bound to keep well under cover, in present circumstances.
Chapter III. -- THE SALZBURGERS.
For three years past there has been much rumor over Germany, of a strange affair going on in the remote Austrian quarter, down in Salzburg and its fabulous Tyrolese valleys. Salzburg, city and territory, has an Archbishop, not theoretically Austrian, but sovereign Prince so styled; it is from him and his orthodoxies, and pranks with his sovereign crosier, that the noise originates. Strange rumor of a body of the population discovered to be Protestant among the remote Mountains, and getting miserably ill-used, by the Right Reverend Father in those parts. Which rumor, of a singular, romantic, religious interest for the general Protestant world, proves to be but too well founded. It has come forth in the form of practical complaint to the CORPUS EVANGELICORUM at the Diet, without result from the CORPUS; complaint to various persons;--in fine, to his Majesty Friedrich Wilhelm, WITH result.
With result at last; actual "Emigration of the Salzburgers:" and Germany--in these very days while the Crown-Prince is at Berlin betrothing himself, and Franz of Lorraine witnessing the EXERCITIA and wonders there--sees a singular phenomenon of a touching idyllic nature going on; and has not yet quite forgotten it in our days. Salzburg Emigration was all in motion, flowing steadily onwards, by various routes, towards Berlin, at the time the Betrothal took place; and seven weeks after that event, when the Crown-Prince had gone to Ruppin, and again could only hear of it, the First Instalment of Emigrants arrived bodily at the Gates of Berlin, "30th April, at four in the afternoon;" Majesty himself, and all the world going out to witness it, with something of a poetic: almost of a psalmist feeling, as well as with a practical on the part of his Majesty. First Instalment this; copiously followed by others, all that year; and flowing on, in smaller rills and drippings, for several years more, till it got completed. A notable phenomenon, full of lively picturesque and other interest to Brandenburg and Germany;--which was not forgotten by the Crown-Prince in coming years, as we shall transiently find; nay which all Germany still remembers, and even occasionally sings. Of which this is in brief the history.
The Salzburg Country, northeastern slope of the Tyrol (Donau draining that side of it, Etsch or Adige the Italian side), is celebrated by the Tourist for its airy beauty, rocky mountains, smooth green valleys, and swift-rushing streams; perhaps some readers have wandered to Bad-Gastein, or Ischl, in these nomadic summers; have looked into Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, and the Bavarian-Austrian boundary-lands; seen the wooden-clock makings, salt-works, toy-manufactures, of those simple people in their slouch-hats; and can bear some testimony to the phenomena of Nature there. Salzburg is the Archbishop's City, metropolis of his bit of sovereignty that then was. [Tolerable description of it in the Baron Riesbeck's _Travels through Germany_ (London, 1787, Translation by Maty, 3 vols. 8vo), i. 124-222;--whose details otherwise, on this Emigration business, are of no authenticity or value. A kind of Play-actor and miscellaneous Newspaper-man in that time (not so opulent to his class as ours is); who takes the title of "Baron" on this occasion of coming, out with a Book of Imaginary _"Travels."_ Had personally lived, practising the miscellaneous arts, about Lintz and Salzburg,--and may be heard on the look of the Country, if on little else.] A romantic City, far off among its beautiful Mountains, shadowing (itself in the Salza River, which rushes down into the Inn, into the Donau, now becoming great with the tribute of so many valleys. Salzburg we have not known hitherto except as the fabulous resting-place of Kaiser Barbarossa: but we are now slightly to see it in a practical light; and mark how the memory of Friedrich Wilhelm makes an incidental lodgment for itself there.
It is well known there was extensive Protestantism once in those countries. Prior to the Thirty-Years War, the fair chance was, Austria too would all become Protestant; an extensive minority among all ranks of men in Austria too, definable as the serious intelligence of mankind in those countries, having clearly adopted it, whom the others were sure to follow. In all ranks of men; only not in the highest rank, which was pleased rather to continue Official and Papal. Highest rank had its Thirty-Years War, "its sleek Fathers Lummerlein and Hyacinth in Jesuit serge, its terrible Fathers Wallenstein in chain-armor;" and, by working late and early then and afterwards, did manage at length to trample out Protestantism,--they know with what advantage by this time. Trample out Protestantism; or drive it into remote nooks, where under sad conditions it might protract an unnoticed existence. In the Imperial Free-Towns, Ulm, Augsburg, and the like, Protestantism continued, and under hard conditions contrives to continue: but in the country parts, except in unnoticed nooks, it is extinct. Salzburg Country is one of those nooks; an extensive Crypto-Protestantism lodging, under the simple slouch-hats, in the remote valleys there. Protestantism peaceably kept concealed, hurting nobody; wholesomely forwarding the wooden-clock manufacture, and arable or grazier husbandries, of those poor people. More harmless sons of Adam, probably, did not breathe the vital air, than those dissentient Salzburgers; generation after generation of them giving offence to no creature.
Successive Archbishops had known of this Crypto-Protestantism, and in remote periods had made occasional slight attempts upon it; but none at all for a long time past. All attempts that way, as ineffectual for any purpose but stirring up strife, had been discontinued for many generations; [Buchholz, i. 148-151.] and the Crypto-Protestantism was again become a mythical romantic object, ignored by Official persons. However, in 1727, there came a new Archbishop, one "Firmian", Count Firmian by secular quality, of a strict lean character, zealous rather than wise; who had brought his orthodoxies with him in a rigid and very lean form.
Right Reverend Firmian had not been long in Salzburg till he smelt out the Crypto-Protestantism, and determined to haul it forth from the mythical condition into the practical; and in fact, to see his law-beagles there worry it to death as they ought. Hence the rumors that had risen over Germany, in 1729: Law-terriers penetrating into human cottages in those remote Salzburg valleys, smelling out some German Bible or devout Book, making lists of Bible-reading cottagers; haling them to the Right Reverend Father-in-God; thence to prison, since they would not undertake to cease reading. With fine, with confiscation, tribulation: for the peaceable Salzburgers, respectful creatures, doffing their slouch-hats almost to mankind in general, were entirely obstinate in that matter of the Bible. "Cannot, your Reverence; must not, dare not!" and went to prison or whithersoever rather; a wide cry rising, Let us sell our possessions and leave Salzburg then, according to Treaty of Westphalia, Article so-and-so. "Treaty of Westphalia? Leave Salzburg?" shrieked the Right Reverend Father: "Are we getting into open mutiny, then? Open extensive mutiny!" shrieked he. Borrowed a couple of Austrian regiments,--Kaiser and we always on the pleasantest terms,--and marched the most refractory of his Salzburgers over the frontiers (retaining their properties and families); whereupon noise rose louder and louder.
Refractory Salzburgers sent Deputies to the Diet; appealed, complained to the CORPUS EVANGELICORUM, Treaty of Westphalia in hand,--without result. CORPUS, having verified matters, complained to the Kaiser, to the Right Reverend Father. The Kaiser, intent on getting his Pragmatic Sanction through the Diet, and anxious to offend nobody at present, gave good words; but did nothing: the Right Reverend Father answered a Letter or two from the CORPUS; then said at last, He wished to close the Correspondence, had the honor to be,--and answered no farther, when written to. CORPUS was without result. So it lasted through 1730; rumor, which rose in 1729, waxing ever louder into practicable or impracticable shape, through that next year; tribulation increasing in Salzburg; and noise among mankind. In the end of 1730, the Salzburgers sent Two Deputies to Friedrich Wilhelm at Berlin; solid-hearted, thick-soled men, able to answer for themselves, and give real account of Salzburg and the phenomena; this brought matters into a practicable state.
"Are you actual Protestants, the Treaty of Westphalia applicable to you? Not mere fanatic mystics, as Right Reverend Firmian asserts; protectible by no Treaty?" That was Friedrich Wilhelm's first question; and he set his two chief Berlin Clergymen, learned Roloff one of them, a divine of much fame, to catechise the two Salzburg Deputies, and report upon the point. Their Report, dated Berlin, 30th November, 1730, with specimens of the main questions, I have read; [Fassmann, pp. 446-448.] and can fully certify, along with Roloff and friend, That here are orthodox Protestants, apparently of very pious peaceable nature, suffering hard wrong;--orthodox beyond doubt, and covered by the Treaty of Westphalia. Whereupon his Majesty dismisses them with assurance, "Return, and say there shall be help!"--and straightway lays hand on the business, strong swift steady hand as usual, with a view that way.
Salzburg being now a clear case, Friedrich Wilhelm writes to the Kaiser; to the King of England, King of Denmark;--orders preparations to be made in Preussen, vacant messuages to be surveyed, moneys to be laid up;--bids his man at the Regensburg Diet signify, That unless this thing is rectified, his Prussian Majesty will see himself necessitated to take effectual steps: "reprisals" the first step, according to the old method of his Prussian Majesty. Rumor of the Salzburg Protestants rises higher and higher. Kaiser intent on conciliating every CORPUS, Evangelical and other, for his Pragmatic Sanction's sake, admonishes Right Reverend Firmian; intimates at last to him, That he will actually have to let those poor people emigrate if they demand it; Treaty of Westphalia being express. In the end of 1731 it has come thus far.
"Emigrate, says your Imperial Majesty? Well, they shall emigrate," answers Firmian; "the sooner the better!" And straightway, in the dead of winter, marches, in convenient divisions, some nine hundred of them over the frontiers: "Go about your business, then; emigrate--to the Old One, if you like!"--"And our properties, our goods and chattels?" ask they.--"Be thankful you have kept your skins. Emigrate, I say.!" And the poor nine hundred had to go out, in the rigor of winter, "hoary old men among them, and women coming near their time;" and seek quarters in the wide world mostly unknown to them. Truly Firmian is an orthodox Herr; acquainted with the laws of fair usage and the time of day. The sleeping Barbarossa does not awaken upon him within the Hill here:--but in the Roncalic Fields, long ago, I should not have liked to stand in his shoes!
Friedrich Wilhelm, on this procedure at Salzburg, intimates to his Halberstadt and Minden Catholic gentlemen, That their Establishments must be locked up, and incomings suspended; that they can apply to the Right Reverend Firmian upon it;--and bids his man at Regensburg signify to the Diet that such is the course adopted here. Right Reverend Firmian has to hold his hand; finds both that there shall be Emigration, and that it must go forward on human terms, not inhuman; and that in fact the Treaty of Westphalia will have to guide it, not he henceforth. Those poor ousted Salzburgers cower into the Bavarian cities, till the weather mend, and his Prussian Majesty's arrangements be complete for their brethren and them.
His Prussian Majesty has been maturing his plans, all this while;--gathering moneys, getting lands ready. We saw him hanging Schlubhut in the autumn of 1731, who had peculated from said moneys; and surveying Preussen, under storms of thunder and rain on one occasion. Preussen is to be the place for these people; Tilsit and Memel region, same where the big Fight of Tannenberg and ruin of the Teutsch Ritters took place: in that fine fertile Country there are homes got ready for this Emigration out of Salzburg.
Long ago, at the beginning of this History, did not the reader hear of a pestilence in Prussian Lithuania? Pestilence in old King Friedrich's time; for which the then Crown-Prince, now Majesty Friedrich Wilhelm, vainly solicited help from the Treasury, and only brought about partial change of Ministry and no help. "Fifty-two Towns" were more or less entirely depopulated; hundreds of thousands of fertile acres fell to waste again, the hands that had ploughed them being swept away. The new Majesty, so soon as ever the Swedish War was got rid of, took this matter diligently in hand; built up the fifty-two ruined Towns; issued Proclamations once and again (Years 1719, 1721) to the Wetterau, to Switzerland, Saxony, Schwaben; [Buchholz, i. 148.] inviting Colonists to come, and, on favorable terms, till and reap there. His terms are favorable, well-considered; and are honestly kept. He has a fixed set of terms for Colonists: their road-expenses thither, so much a day allowed each travelling soul; homesteads, ploughing implements, cattle, land, await them at their journey's end; their rent and services, accurately specified, are light not heavy; and "immunities" from this and that are granted them, for certain years, till they get well nestled. Excellent arrangements: and his Majesty has, in fact, got about 20,000 families in that way. And still there is room for thousands more. So that if the tyrannous Firmian took to tribulating Salzburg in that manner, Heaven had provided remedies and a Prussian Majesty. Heaven is very opulent; has alchemy to change the ugliest substances into beautifulest. Privately to his Majesty, for months back, this Salzburg Emigration is a most manageable matter. Manage well, it will be a god-send to his Majesty, and fit, as by pre-established harmony, into the ancient Prussian sorrow; and "two afflictions well put together shall become a consolation," as the proverb promises! Go along then, Right Reverend Firmian, with your Emigration there: only no foul-play in it,--or Halberstadt and Minden get locked:--for the rest of the matter we will undertake.
And so, February 2d, 1732, Friedrich Wilhelm's Proclamation [Copy of it in Mauvillon, February, 1732, ii. 311.] flew abroad over the world; brief and business-like, cheering to all but Firmian;--to this purport: "Come, ye poor Salzburgers, there are homes provided for you. Apply at Regensburg, at Halle: Commissaries are appointed; will take charge of your long march and you. Be kind, all Christian German Princes: do not hinder them and me." And in a few days farther, still early in February (for the matter is all ready before proclaiming), an actual Prussian Commissary hangs out his announcements and officialities at Donauworth, old City known to us, within reach of the Salzburg Boundaries; collects, in a week or two, his first lot of Emigrants, near a thousand strong; and fairly takes the road with them.
A long road and a strange: I think, above five hundred miles before we get to Halle, within Prussian land; and then seven hundred more to our place there, in the utmost East. Men, women, infants and hoary grandfathers are here;--most of their property sold,--still on ruinous conditions, think of it, your Majesty. Their poor bits of preciosities and heirlooms they have with them; made up in succinct bundles, stowed on ticketed baggage-wains; "some have their own poor cart and horse, to carry the too old and the too young, those that cannot walk." A pilgrimage like that of the Children of Israel: such a pilgrim caravan as was seldom heard of in our Western Countries. Those poor succinct bundles, the making of them up and stowing of them; the pangs of simple hearts, in those remote native valleys; the tears that were not seen, the cries that were addressed to God only: and then at last the actual turning out of the poor caravan, in silently practical condition, staff in hand, no audible complaint heard from it; ready to march; practically marching here:--which of us can think of it without emotion, sad, and yet in a sort blessed!
Every Emigrant man has four GROSCHEN a day (fourpence odd) allowed him for road expenses, every woman three groschen, every child two: and regularity itself, in the shape of Prussian Commissaries, presides over it. Such marching of the Salzburgers: host after host of them, by various routes, from February onwards; above seven thousand of them this year, and ten thousand more that gradually followed,--was heard of at all German firesides, and in all European lands. A phenomenon much filling the general ear and imagination; especially at the first emergence of it. We will give from poor old authentic Fassmann, as if caught up by some sudden photograph apparatus, a rude but undeniable glimpse or two into the actuality of this business: the reader will in that way sufficiently conceive it for himself.
Glimpse FIRST is of an Emigrant Party arriving, in the cold February days of 1732, at Nordlingen, Protestant Free-Town in Bavaria: three hundred of them; first section, I think, of those nine hundred who were packed away unceremoniously by Firmian last winter, and have been wandering about Bavaria, lodging "in Kaufbeuern" and various preliminary Towns, till the Prussian arrangements became definite. Prussian Commissaries are, by this time, got to Donauworth; but these poor Salzburgers are ahead of them, wandering under the voluntary principle as yet. Nordlingen, in Bavaria, is an old Imperial Free-Town; Protestantism not suppressed there, as it has been all round; scene of some memorable fighting in the Thirty-Years War, especially of a bad defeat to the Swedes and Bernhard of Weimar, the worst they had in the course of that bad business. The Salzburgers are in number three hundred and thirty-one; time, "first days of February, 1732, weather very cold and raw." The charitable Protestant Town has been expecting such an advent:--
"Two chief Clergymen, and the Schoolmaster and Scholars, with some hundreds of citizens and many young people" went out to meet them; there, in the open field, stood the Salzburgers, with their wives and their little ones, with their bullock-carts and baggage-wains," pilgriming towards unknown parts of the Earth. "'Come in, ye blessed of the Lord! Why stand ye without?' said the Parson solemnly, by way of welcome; and addressed a Discourse to them," devout and yet human, true every word of it, enough to draw tears from any Fassmann that were there;--Fassmann and we not far from weeping without words. "Thereupon they ranked themselves two and two, and marched into the Town," straight to the Church, I conjecture, Town all out to participate; "and there the two reverend gentlemen successively addressed them again, from appropriate texts: Text of the first reverend gentleman was, _And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life._ [Matthew xix. 29.] Text of the second was, _Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee."_ [Genesis xii. 1.] Excellent texts; well handled, let us hope,--especially with brevity. After which the strangers were distributed, some into public-houses, others taken home by the citizens to lodge.
"Out of the Spital there was distributed to each person, for the first three days, a half-pound of flesh-meat, bread, and a measure of beer. The remaining days they got in money six CREUTZERS (twopence) each, and bread. On Sunday, at the Church-doors there was a collection; no less than eight hundred GULDEN [80 pounds; population, say, three thousand] for this object. At Sermon they were put into the central part of the Church," all Nordlingen lovingly encompassing them; "and were taught in two sermons," texts not given, _What the true Church is built of, and ought to have;_ Nordlingen copiously shedding tears the while (VIELE THRANEN VERGOSSEN), as it well might. "Going to Church, and coming from it, each Landlord walked ahead of his party; party followed two and two. On other days, there was much catechising of them at different parts of the Town;"--orthodox enough, you see, nothing of superstition or fanaticism in the poor people;--"they made a good testimony of their Evangelical truth.
"The Baggage-wagons which they had with them, ten in number, upon which some of their old people sat, were brought into the Town. The Baggage was unloaded, and the packages, two hundred and eighty-one of them in all [for Fassmann is Photography itself], were locked in the Zoll-Haus. Over and above what they got from the Spital, the Church-collection and the Town-chest, Citizens were liberal; daily sent them food, or daily had them by fours and fives to their own houses to meat." And so let them wait for the Prussian Commissary, who is just at hand: "they would not part from one another, these three hundred and thirty-one," says Fassmann, "though their reunion was but of that accidental nature." [Fassmann, pp. 439, 440.]
Glimpse SECOND: not dated; perhaps some ten days later; and a Prussian Commissary with this party:--
"On their getting to the Anspach Territory, there was so incredible a joy at the arrival of these exiled Brothers in the Faith (GLAUBENS-BRUDER) that in all places, almost in the smallest hamlets, the bells were set a-tolling; and nothing was heard but a peal of welcome from far and near." Prussian Commissary, when about quitting Anspach, asked leave to pass through Bamberg; Bishop of Bamberg, too orthodox a gentleman, declined; so the Commissary had to go by Nurnberg and Baireuth. Ask not if his welcome was good, in those Protestant places. "At Erlangen, fifteen miles from Nurnberg, where are French Protestants and a Dowager Margravine of Baireuth,"--Widow of Wilhelmina's Father-in-law's predecessor (if the reader can count that); DAUGHTER of Weissenfels who was for marrying Wilhelmina not long since!--"at Erlangen, the Serene Dowager snatched up fifty of them into her own House for Christian refection; and Burghers of means had twelve, fifteen and even eighteen of them, following such example set. Nay certain French Citizens, prosperous and childless, besieged the Prussian Commissary to allow them a few Salzburg children for adoption; especially one Frenchman was extremely urgent and specific: but the Commissary, not having any order, was obliged to refuse." [Fassmann, p. 441.] These must have been interesting days for the two young Margravines; forwarding Papa's poor pilgrims in that manner.
"At Baireuth," other side of Nurnberg, "it was towards Good Friday when the Pilgrims under their Commissarius arrived. They were lodged in the villages about, but came copiously into the Town; came all in a body to Church on Good Friday; and at coming out, were one and all carried off to dinner, a very scramble arising among the Townsfolk to get hold of Pilgrims and dine them. Vast numbers were carried to the Schloss:" one figures Wilhelmina among them, figures the Hereditary Prince and old Margraf: their treatment there was "beyond belief," says Fassmann; "not only dinner of the amplest quality and quantity, but much money added and other gifts." From Baireuth the route is towards Gera and Thuringen, circling the Bamberg Territory: readers remember Gera, where the Gera Bond was made?--"At Gera, a commercial gentleman dined the whole party in his own premises, and his wife gave four groschen to each individual of them; other two persons, brothers in the place, doing the like. One of the poor pilgrim women had been brought to bed on the journey, a day or two before: the Commissarius lodged her in his own inn, for greater safety; Commissarius returning to his inn, finds she is off, nobody at first can tell him whither: a lady of quality (VORMEHME DAME) has quietly sent her carriage for the poor pilgrim sister, and has her in the right softest keeping. No end to people's kindness: many wept aloud, sobbing out, 'Is this all the help we can give?' Commissarius said, 'There will others come shortly; them also you can help.'"
In this manner march these Pilgrims. "From Donauworth, by Anspach, Nurnberg, Baireuth, through Gera, Zeitz, Weissenfels, to Halle," where they are on Prussian ground, and within few days of Berlin. Other Towns, not upon the first straight route to Berlin, demand to have a share in these grand things; share is willingly conceded: thus the Pilgrims, what has its obvious advantages, march by a good variety of routes. Through Augsburg, Ulm (instead of Donauworth), thence to Frankfurt; from Frankfurt some direct to Leipzig: some through Cassel, Hanover, Brunswick, by Halberstadt and Magdeburg instead of Halle. Starting all at Salzburg, landing all at Berlin; their routes spread over the Map of Germany in the intermediate space.
"Weissenfels Town and Duke distinguished themselves by liberality: especially the Duke did;"--poor old drinking Duke; very Protestant all these Saxon Princes, except the Apostate or Pseudo-Apostate the Physically Strong, for sad political reasons. "In Weissenfels Town, while the Pilgrim procession walked, a certain rude foreign fellow, flax-pedler by trade, ["HECHELTRAGER," Hawker of flax-combs or HECKLES;--is oftenest a Slavonic Austrian (I am told).] by creed Papist or worse, said floutingly, 'The Archbishop ought to have flung you all into the river, you--!' Upon which a menial servant of the Duke's suddenly broke in upon him in the way of actuality, the whole crowd blazing into flame; and the pedler would certainly have got irreparable damage, had not the Town-guard instantly hooked him away."
April 21st, 1732, the first actual body, a good nine hundred strong, [Buchholz, i. 156.] got to Halle; where they were received with devout jubilee, psalm-singing, spiritual and corporeal refection, as at Nordlingen and the other stages; "Archidiaconus Franke" being prominent in it,--I have no doubt, a connection of that "CHIEN DE FRANKE," whom Wilhelmina used to know. They were lodged in the Waisenhaus (old Franke's ORPHAN-HOUSE); Official List of them was drawn up here, with the fit specificality; and, after three days, they took the road again for Berlin. Useful Buchholz, then a very little boy, remembers the arrival of a Body of these Salzburgers, not this but a later one in August, which passed through his native Village, Pritzwalk in the Priegnitz: How village and village authorities were all awake, with opened stores and hearts; how his Father, the Village Parson, preached at five in the afternoon. The same Buchholz, coming afterwards to College at Halle, had the pleasure of discovering two of the Commissaries, two of the three, who had mainly superintended in this Salzburg Pilgrimage. Let the reader also take a glance at them, as specimens worth notice:--
COMMISSARIUS FIRST: "Herr von Reck was a nobleman from the Hanover Country; of very great piety; who, after his Commission was done, settled at Halle; and lived there, without servant, in privacy, from the small means he had;--seeking his sole satisfaction in attendance on the Theological and Ascetic College-Lectures, where I used to see him constantly in my student time."
COMMISSARIUS SECOND: "Herr Gobel was a medical man by profession; and had the regular degree of Doctor; but was in no necessity to apply his talents to the gaining of bread. His zeal for religion had moved him to undertake this Commission. Both these gentlemen I have often seen in my youth," but do not tell you what they were like farther; "and both their Christian names have escaped me."
A third Commissarius was of Preussen, and had religious-literary tendencies. I suppose these three served gratis;--volunteers; but no doubt under oath, and tied by strict enough Prussian law. Physician, Chaplain, Road-guide, here they are, probably of supreme quality, ready to our hand. [Buchholz, _Neueste Preussisch-Brandenburgische Geschichte_ (berlin, 1775, 2 vols. 4to), i. 155 n.]
Buchholz, after "his student time," became a poor Country-schoolmaster, and then a poor Country-Parson, in his native Altmark. His poor Book is of innocent, clear, faithful nature, with some vein of "unconscious geniality" in it here and there;--a Book by no means so destitute of human worth as some that have superseded it. This was posthumous, this "NEWEST HISTORY," and has a LIFE of the Author prefixed. He has four previous Volumes on the _"Ancient History of Brandenburg,"_ which are not known to me.--About the Year 1745, there were four poor Schoolmasters in that region (two at Havelberg, one at Seehausen, one at Werben), of extremely studious turn; who, in spite of the Elbe which ran between, used to meet on stated nights, for colloquy, for interchange of Books and the like. One of them, the Werben one, was this Buchholz; another, Seehausen, was the Winckelmann so celebrated in after years. A third, one of the Havelberg pair, "went into Mecklenburg in a year or two, as Tutor to Karl Ludwig the Prince of Strelitz's children,"--whom also mark. For the youngest of these Strelitz children was no other than the actual "Old Queen Charlotte" (ours and George III.'s), just ready for him with her Hornbooks about that time: Let the poor man have what honor he can from that circumstance! "Prince Karl Ludwig," rather a foolish-looking creature, we may fall in with personally by and by.
It was the 30th April, 1732, seven weeks and a day since Crown-Prince Friedrich's Betrothal, that this first body of Salzburg Emigrants, nine hundred strong, arrived at Berlin; "four in the afternoon, at the Brandenburg Gate;" Official persons, nay Majesty himself, or perhaps both Majesties, waiting there to receive them. Yes, ye poor footsore mortals, there is the dread King himself; stoutish short figure in blue uniform and white wig, straw-colored waistcoat, and white gaiters; stands uncommonly firm on his feet; reddish, blue-reddish face, with eyes that pierce through a man: look upon him, and yet live if you are true men. His Majesty's reception of these poor people could not but be good; nothing now wanting in the formal kind. But better far, in all the essentialities of it, there had not been hitherto, nor was henceforth, the least flaw. This Salzburg Pilgrimage has found for itself, and will find, regulation, guidance, ever a stepping-stone at the needful place; a paved road, so far as human regularity and punctuality could pave one. That is his Majesty's shining merit. "Next Sunday, after sermon, they [this first lot of Salzburgers] were publicly catechised in church; and all the world could hear their pertinent answers, given often in the very Scripture texts, or express words of Luther."
His Majesty more than once took survey of these Pilgrimage Divisions, when they got to Berlin. A pleasant sight, if there were leisure otherwise. On various occasions, too, her Majesty had large parties of them over to Monbijou, to supper there in the fine gardens; and "gave them Bibles," among other gifts, if in want of Bibles through Firmian's industry. Her Majesty was Charity itself, Charity and Grace combined, among these Pilgrims. On one occasion she picked out a handsome young lass among them, and had Painter Pesne over to take her portrait. Handsome lass, by Pesne, in her Tyrolese Hat, shone thenceforth on the walls of Monbijou; and fashion thereupon took up the Tyrolese Hat, "which has been much worn since by the beautiful part of the Creation," says Buchholz; "but how many changes they have introduced in it no pen can trace."
At Berlin the Commissarius ceased; and there was usually given the Pilgrims a Candidatus Theologiae, who was to conduct them the rest of the way, and be their Clergyman when once settled. Five hundred long miles still. Some were shipped at Stettin; mostly they marched, stage after stage,--four groschen a day. At the farther end they found all ready; tight cottages, tillable fields, all implements furnished, and stock,--even to "FEDERVIEH," or Chanticleer with a modicum of Hens. Old neighbors, and such as liked each other, were put together: fields grew green again, desolate scrubs and scrags yielding to grass and corn. Wooden clocks even came to view,--for Berchtesgaden neighbors also emigrated; and Swiss came, and Bavarians and French:--and old trades were revived in those new localities.
Something beautifully real-idyllic in all this, surely:--Yet do not fancy that it all went on like clock-work; that there were not jarrings at every step, as is the way in things real. Of the Prussian Minister chiefly concerned in settling this new Colony I have heard one saying, forced out of him in some pressure: "There must be somebody for a scolding-stock and scape-goat; I will be it, then!" And then the Salzburg Officials, what a humor they were in! No Letters allowed from those poor Emigrants; the wickedest rumors circulated about them: "All cut to pieces by inroad of the Poles;" "Pressed for soldiers by the Prussian drill-sergeant;" "All flung into the Lakes and stagnant waters there; drowned to the last individual;" and so on. Truth nevertheless did slowly pierce through. And the "GROSSE WIRTH," our idyllic-real Friedrich Wilhelm, was wanting in nothing. Lists of their unjust losses in Salzburg were, on his Majesty's order, made out and authenticated, by the many who had suffered in that way there,--forced to sell at a day's notice, and the like:--with these his Majesty was diligent in the Imperial Court; and did get what human industry could of compensation, a part but not the whole. Contradictory noises had to abate. In the end, sound purpose, built on fact and the Laws of Nature, carried it; lies, vituperations, rumors and delusion sank to zero; and the true result remained. In 1738, the Salzburg Emigrant Community in Preussen held, in all their Churches, a Day of Thanksgiving; and admitted piously that Heaven's blessing, of a truth, had been upon this King and them. There we leave them, a useful solid population ever since in those parts; increased by this time we know not how many fold.
It cost Friedrich Wilhelm enormous sums, say the Old Histories; probably "ten TONS OF GOLD,"--that is to say, ten hundred thousand thalers; almost 150,000 pounds, no less! But he lived to see it amply repaid, even in his own time; how much more amply since;--being a man skilful in investments to a high degree indeed. Fancy 150,000 pounds invested there, in the Bank of Nature herself; and a hundred millions invested, say at Balaclava, in the Bank of Newspaper rumor: and the respective rates of interest they will yield, a million years hence! This was the most idyllic of Friedrich Wilhelm's feats, and a very real one the while.
We have only to add or repeat, that Salzburgers to the number of about 7,000 souls arrived at their place this first year; and in the year or two following, less noted by the public, but faring steadily forward upon their four groschen a day, 10,000 more. Friedrioh Wilhelm would have gladly taken the whole; "but George II. took a certain number," say the Prussian Books (George II., or pious Trustees instead of him), "and settled them at Ebenezer in Virginia,"--read, Ebenezer IN GEORGIA, where General Oglethorpe was busy founding a Colony. [Petition to Parliament, 10th (21st) May, 1733, by Oglethorpe and his Trustees, for 10,000 pounds to carry over these Salzburgers; which was granted; Tindal's RAPIN (London, 1769), xx. 184.] There at Ebenezer I calculate they might go ahead, too, after the questionable fashion of that country, and increase and swell;--but have never heard of them since.
Salzburg Emigration was a very real transaction on Friedrich Wilhelm's part; but it proved idyllic too, and made a great impression on the German mind. Readers know of a Book called _Hermann and Dorothea?_ It is written by the great Goethe, and still worth reading. The great Goethe had heard, when still very little, much talk among the elders about this Salzburg Pilgrimage; and how strange a thing it was, twenty years ago and more. [1749 was Goethe's birth-year.] In middle life he threw it into Hexameters, into the region of the air; and did that unreal Shadow of it; a pleasant work in its way, since he was not inclined for more.
Chapter IV. -- PRUSSIAN MAJESTY VISITS THE KAISER.
Majesty seeing all these matters well in train,--Salzburgers under way, Crown-Prince betrothed according to his Majesty's and the Kaiser's (not to her Majesty's, and high-flying little George of England my Brother the Comedian's) mind and will,--begins to think seriously of another enterprise, half business, half pleasure, which has been hovering in his mind for some time. "Visit to my Daughter at Baireuth," he calls it publicly; but it means intrinsically Excursion into Bohmen, to have a word with the Kaiser, and see his Imperial Majesty in the body for once. Too remarkable a thing to be omitted by us here.
Crown-Prince does not accompany on this occasion; Crown-Prince is with his Regiment all this while; busy minding his own affairs in the Ruppin quarter;--only hears, with more or less interest, of these Salzburg-Pilgrim movements, of this Excursion into Bohmen. Here are certain scraps of Letters; which, if once made legible, will assist readers to conceive his situation and employments there. Letters otherwise of no importance; but worth reading on that score. The FIRST (or rather first three, which we huddle into one) is from "Nauen," few miles off Ruppin; where one of our Battalions lies; requiring frequent visits there:--
1. TO GRUMKOW, AT BERLIN (from the Crown-Prince).
"NAUEN, 26th April, 1732.
"MONSIEUR MY DEAREST FRIEND,--I send you a big mass of papers, which a certain gentleman named Plotz has transmitted me. In faith, I know not in the least what it is: I pray you present it [to his Majesty, or in the proper quarter], and make me rid of it.
"To-morrow I go to Potsdam [a drive of forty miles southward], to see the exercise, and if we do it here according to pattern. NEUE BESEN KEHREN GUT [New brooms sweep clean, IN GERMAN]; I shall have to illustrate my new character" of Colonel; "and show that I am EIN TUCHTIGER OFFICIER (a right Officer). Be what I may, I shall to you always be", &c. &c.
NAUEN, 7th MAY, 1732. "... Thousand thanks for informing me how everything goes on in the world. Things far from agreeable, those leagues [imaginary, in Tobacco-Parliament] suspected to be forming against our House! But if the Kaiser don't abandon us;... if God second the valor of 80,000 men resolved to spend their life,... let us hope there will nothing bad happen.
"Meanwhile, till events arrive, I make a pretty stir here (ME TREMOUSSE ICI D'IMPORTANCE), to bring my Regiment to its requisite perfection, and I hope I shall succeed. The other day I drank your dear health, Monsieur; and I wait only the news from my Cattle-stall that the Calf I am fattening there is ready for sending to you. I unite Mars and Housekeeping, you see. Send me your Secretary's name, that I may address your Letters that way,"--our Correspondence needing to be secret in certain quarters.
... "With a" truly infinite esteem, "FREDERIC."
NAUEN, 10th MAY, 1732. "You will see by this that I am exact to follow your instruction; and that the SCHULZ of Tremmen [Village in the Brandenburg quarter, with a SCHULZ or Mayor to be depended on], becomes for the present the mainspring of our correspondence. I return you all the things (PIECES) you had the goodness to communicate to me,--except _Charles Douze,_ [Voltaire's new Book; lately come out, "Bale, 1731."] which attaches me infinitely. The particulars hitherto unknown which he reports; the greatness of that Prince's actions, and the perverse singularity (BIZARRERIE) of his fortune: all this, joined to the lively, brilliant and charming way the Author has of telling it, renders this Book interesting to the supreme degree.... I send you a fragment of my correspondence with the most illustrious Sieur Crochet," some French Envoy or Emissary, I conclude: "you perceive we go on very sweetly together, and are in a high strain. I am sorry I burnt one of his Letters, wherein he assured me he would in the Versailles Antechamber itself speak of me to the King, and that my name had actually been mentioned at the King's Levee. It certainly is not my ambition to choose this illustrious mortal to publish my renown; on the contrary, I should think it soiled by such a mouth, and prostituted if he were the publisher. But enough of the Crochet: the kindest thing we can do for so contemptible an object is to say nothing of him at all." [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi. 49, 51.]--...
Letter SECOND is to Jaagermeister Hacke, Captain of the Potsdam Guard; who stands in great nearness to the King's Majesty; and, in fact, is fast becoming his factotum in Army-details. We, with the Duke of Lorraine and Majesty in person, saw his marriage to the Excellency Creutz's Fraulein Daughter not long since; who we trust has made him happy;--rich he is at any rate, and will be Adjutant-General before long; powerful in such intricacies as this that the Prince has fallen into.
The Letter has its obscurities; turns earnestly on Recruits tall and short; nor have idle Editors helped us, by the least hint towards "reading" it with more than the EYES. Old Dessauer at this time is Commandant at Magdeburg; Buddenbrock, perhaps now passing by Ruppin, we know for a high old General, fit to carry messages from Majesty,--or, likelier, it may be Lieutenant Buddenbrock, his Son, merely returning to Ruppin? We can guess, that the flattering Dessauer has sent his Majesty five gigantic men from the Magdeburg regiments, and that Friedrich is ordered to hustle out thirty of insignificant stature from his own, by way of counter-gift to the Dessauer;--which Friedrich does instantly, but cannot, for his life, see how (being totally cashless) he is to replace them with better, or replace them at all!
2. TO CAPTAIN HACKE, OF THE POTSDAM GUARD.
"RUPPIN, 15th July, 1732.
"MEIN GOTT, what a piece of news Buddenbrock has brought me! I am to get nothing out of Brandenburg, my dear Hacke? Thirty men I had to shift out of my company in consequence [of Buddenbrock's order]; and where am I now to get other thirty? I would gladly give the King tall men, as the Dessauer at Magdeburg does; but I have no money; and I don't get, or set up for getting, six men for one [thirty short for five tall], as he does. So true is that Scripture: To him that hath shall be given; and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.
"Small art, that the Prince of Dessau's and the Magdeburg Regiments are fine, when they have money at command, and thirty men GRATIS over and above! I, poor devil, have nothing; nor shall have, all my days. Prithee, dear Hacke (BITTE IHN, LIEBER HACKE), think of all that: and if I have no money allowed, I must bring Asmus [Recruit unknown to me] alone as Recruit next year; and my Regiment will to a certainty be rubbish (KROOP). Once I had learned a German Proverb--
'VERSPRECHEN UND HALTEN (To promise and to keep) ZIEMT WOHL JUNGEN UND ALTEN (Is pretty for young and for old)!'
"I depend alone on you (IHN), dear Hacke; unless you help, there is a bad outlook. To-day I have knocked again [written to Papa for money]; and if that does not help, it is over. If I could get any money to borrow, it would do; but I need not think of that. Help me, then, dear Hacke! I assure you I will ever remember it; who, at all times, am my dear Herr Captain's devoted (GANZ ERGEBENER) servant and friend,
[In German: _OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 177.]
To which add only this Note, two days later, to Seckendorf; indicating that the process of "borrowing" has already, in some form, begun,--process which will have to continue: and to develop itself;--and that his Majesty, as Seckendorf well knows, is resolved upon his Bohemian journey:--
3. TO THE GENERAL FELDZEUGMEISTER GRAF VON SECKENDORF.
"RUPPIN, 17th July, 1732.
"MY VERY DEAR GENERAL,--I have written to the King, that I owed you 2,125 THALERS for the Recruits; of which he says there are 600 paid: there remain, therefore, 1,525, which he will pay you directly.
"The King is going to Prague: I shall not be of the party [as you will]. To say truth, I am not very sorry; for it would infallibly give rise to foolish rumors in the world. At the same time, I should have much wished to see the Emperor, Empress, and Prince of Lorraine, for whom I have a quite particular esteem. I beg you, Monsieur, to assure him of it;--and to assure yourself that I shall always be,--with a great deal of consideration, MONSIEUR, MON TRES-CHER GENERAL, &c. FREDERIC."
And now--for the Bohemian Journey, "Visit at Kladrup" as they call it;--Ruppin being left in this assiduous and wholesome, if rather hampered condition.
Kaiser Karl and his Empress, in this summer of 1732, were at Karlsbad, taking the waters for a few weeks. Friedrich Wilhelm, who had long, for various reasons, wished to see his Kaiser face to face, thought this would be a good opportunity. The Kaiser himself, knowing how it stood with the Julich-and-Berg and other questions, was not anxious for such an interview; still less were his official people; among whom the very ceremonial for such a thing was matter of abstruse difficulty. Seckendorf accordingly had been instructed to hunt wide, and throw in discouragements, so far as possible;--which he did, but without effect. Friedrich Wilhelm had set his heart upon the thing; wished to behold for once a Head of the Holy Roman Empire, and Supreme of Christendom;--also to see a little, with his own eyes, into certain matters Imperial.
And so, since an express visit to Karlsbad might give rise to newspaper rumors, and will not suit, it is settled, there shall be an accidental intersection of routes, as the Kaiser travels homeward,--say in some quiet Bohemian Schloss or Hunting-seat of the Kaiser's own, whither the King may come incognito; and thus, with a minimum of noise, may the needful passage of hospitality be done. Easy all of this: only the Vienna Ministers are dreadfully in doubt about the ceremonial, Whether the Imperial hand can be given (I forget if for kissing or for shaking)?--nay at last they manfully declare that it cannot be given; and wish his Prussian Majesty to understand that it must be refused. [Forster, i. 328.] "RES SUMMAE CONSEQUENTIAE," say they; and shake solemnly their big wigs.--Nonsense (NARRENPOSSEN)! answers the Prussian Majesty: You, Seckendorf, settle about quarters, reasonable food, reasonable lodgings; and I will do the ceremonial.
Seckendorf--worth glancing into, for biographical purposes, in this place--has written to his Court: That as to the victual department, his Majesty goes upon good common meat; flesh, to which may be added all manner of river-fish and crabs: sound old Rhenish is his drink, with supplements of brown and of white beer. Dinner-table to be spread always in some airy place, garden-house, tent, big clean barn,--Majesty likes air, of all things;--will sleep, too, in a clean barn or garden-house: better anything than being stifled, thinks his Majesty. Who, for the rest, does not like mounting stairs. [Seckendorf's Report (in Forster, i. 330).] These are the regulations; and we need not doubt they were complied with.
Sunday, 27th July, 1732, accordingly, his Majesty, with five or six carriages, quits Berlin, before the sun is up, as is his wont: eastward, by the road for Frankfurt-on-Oder; "intends to look at Schulenburg's regiment," which lies in those parts,--Schulenburg's regiment for one thing: the rest is secret from the profane vulgar. Schulenburg's regiment (drawn up for Church, I should suppose) is soon looked at; Schulenburg himself, by preappointment, joins the travelling party, which now consists of the King and Eight:--known figures, seven, Buddenbrock, Schulenburg, Waldau, Derschau, Seckendorf; Grumkow, Captain Hacke of the Potsdam Guard; and for eighth the Dutch Ambassador, Ginkel, an accomplished knowing kind of man, whom also my readers have occasionally seen. Their conversation, road-colloquy, could it interest any modern reader? It has gone all to dusk; we can know only that it was human, solid, for most part, and had much tobacco intermingled. They were all of the Calvinistic persuasion, of the military profession; knew that life is very serious, that speech without cause is much to be avoided. They travelled swiftly, dined in airy places: they are a FACT, they and their summer dust-cloud there, whirling through the vacancy of that dim Time; and have an interest for us, though an unimportant one.
The first night they got to Grunberg; a pleasant Town, of vineyards and of looms, across the Silesian frontier. They are now turning more southeastward; they sleep here, in the Kaiser's territory, welcomed by some Official persons; who signify that the overjoyed Imperial Majesty has, as was extremely natural, paid the bill everywhere. On the morrow, before the shuttles awaken, Friedrich Wilhelm is gone again; towards the Glogau region, intending for Liegnitz that night. Coursing rapidly through the green Silesian Lowlands, blue Giant Mountains (RIESENGEBIRGE) beginning to rise on the southwestward far away. Dines, at noon, under a splendid tent, in a country place called Polkwitz, ["Balkowitz," say Pollnitz (ii. 407) and Forster; which is not the correct name.] with country Nobility (sorrow on them, and yet thanks to them) come to do reverence. At night he gets to Liegnitz.
Here is Liegnitz, then. Here are the Katzbach and the Blackwater (SCHWARZWASSER), famed in war, your Majesty; here they coalesce; gray ashlar houses (not without inhabitants unknown to us) looking on. Here are the venerable walls and streets of Liegnitz; and the Castle which defied Baty Khan and his Tartars, five hundred years ago. [1241, the Invasion, and Battle here, of this unexpected Barbarian.]--Oh, your Majesty, this Liegnitz, with its princely Castle, and wide rich Territory, the bulk of the Silesian Lowland, whose is it if right were done? Hm, his Majesty knows full well; in Seckendorf's presence, and going on such an errand, we must not speak of certain things. But the undisputed truth is, Duke Friedrich II., come of the Sovereign Piasts, made that ERBVERBRUDERUNG, and his Grandson's Grandson died childless: so the heirship fell to us, as the biggest wig in the most benighted Chancery would have to grant;--only the Kaiser will not, never would; the Kaiser plants his armed self on Schlesien, and will hear no pleading. Jagerndorf too, which we purchased with our own money---No more of that; it is too miserable! Very impossible too, while we have Berg and Julich in the wind!--
At Liegnitz, Friedrich Wilhelm "reviews the garrison, cavalry and infantry," before starting; then off for Glatz, some sixty miles before we can dine. The goal is towards Bohemia, all this while; and his Majesty, had he liked the mountain-passes, and unlevel ways of the Giant Mountains, might have found a shorter road and a much more picturesque one. Road abounding in gloomy valleys, intricate rock-labyrinths, haunts of Sprite RUBEZAHL, sources of the Elbe and I know not what. Majesty likes level roads, and interesting rock-labyrinths built by man rather than by Nature. Majesty makes a wide sweep round to the east of all that; leaves the Giant Mountains, and their intricacies, as a blue Sierra far on his right,--had rather see Glatz Fortress than the caverns of the Elbe; and will cross into Bohemia, where the Hills are fallen lowest. At Glatz during dinner, numerous Nobilities are again in waiting. Glatz is in Jagerndorf region; Jagerndorf, which we purchased with our own money, is and remains ours, in spite of the mishaps of the Thirty-Years War;--OURS, the darkest Chancery would be obliged to say, from under the immensest wig! Patience, your Majesty; Time brings roses!--
From Glatz, after viewing the works, drilling the guard a little, not to speak of dining, and despatching the Nobilities, his Majesty takes the road again; turns now abruptly westward, across the Hills at their lowest point; into Bohemia, which is close at hand. Lewin, Nachod, these are the Bohemian villages, with their remnant of Czechs; not a prosperous population to look upon: but it is the Kaiser's own Kingdom: "King of Bohemia" one of his Titles ever since Sigismund SUPER-GRAMMATICAM'S time. And here now, at the meeting of the waters (Elbe one of them, a brawling mountain-stream) is Jaromierz, respectable little Town, with an Imperial Officiality in it,--where the Official Gentlemen meet us all in gala, "Thrice welcome to this Kingdom, your Majesty!"--and signify that they are to wait upon us henceforth, while we do the Kaiser's Kingdom of Bohemia that honor.
It is Tuesday night, 29th July, this first night in Bohemia. The Official Gentlemen lead his Majesty to superb rooms, new-hung with crimson velvet, and the due gold fringes and tresses,--very grand indeed; but probably not so airy as we wish. "This is the way the Kaiser lodges in his journeys; and your Majesty is to be served like him." The goal of our journey is now within few miles. Wednesday, 30th July, 1732, his Majesty awakens again, within these crimson-velvet hangings with the gold tresses and fringes, not so airy as he could wish; despatches Grumkow to the Kaiser, who is not many miles off, to signify what honor we would do ourselves.
It was on Saturday last that the Kaiser and Kaiserinn, returning from Karlsbad, illuminated Prag with their serene presence; "attended high-mass, vespers," and a good deal of other worship, as the meagre old Newspapers report for us, on that and the Sunday following. And then, "on Monday, at six in the morning," both the Majesties left Prag, for a place called Chlumetz, southwestward thirty miles off, in the Elbe region, where they have a pretty Hunting Castle; Kaiser intending "sylvan sport for a few days," says the old rag of a Newspaper, "and then to return to Prag." It is here that Grumkow, after a pleasant morning's drive of thirty miles with the sun on his back, finds Kaiser Karl VI.; and makes his announcements, and diplomatic inquiries what next.
Had Friedrich Wilhelm been in Potsdam or Wusterhausen, and heard that Kaiser Karl was within thirty miles of him, Friedrich Wilhelm would have cried, with open arms, Come, come! But the Imperial Majesty is otherwise hampered; has his rhadamanthine Aulic Councillors, in vast amplitude of wig, sternly engaged in study of the etiquettes: they have settled that the meeting cannot be in Chlumetz; lest it might lead to night's lodgings, and to intricacies. "Let it be at Kladrup," say the Ample-wigged; Kladrup, an Imperial Stud, or Horse-Farm, half a dozen miles from this; where there is room for nothing more than dinner. There let the meeting be, to-morrow at a set hour; and, in the mean time, we will take precautions for the etiquettes. So it is settled, and Grumkow returns with the decision in a complimentary form.
Through Konigsgratz, down the right bank of the Upper Elbe, on the morrow morning, Thursday, 31st July, 1732, Friedrich Wilhelm rushes on towards Kladrup; finds that little village, with the Horse-edifices, looking snug enough in the valley of Elbe;--alights, welcomed by Prince Eugenio von Savoye, with word that the Kaiser is not come, but steadily expected soon. Prinoe Eugenio von Savoye: ACH GOTT, it is another thing, your Highness, than when we met in the Flanders Wars, long since;--at Malplaquet that morning, when your Highness had been to Brussels, visiting your Lady Mother in case of the worst! Slightly grayer your Highness is grown; I too am nothing like so nimble; the great Duke, poor man, is dead!--Prince Eugenio von Savoye, we need not doubt, took snuff, and answered in a sprightly appropriate manner.
Kladrup is a Country House as well as a Horse-Farm: a square court is the interior, as I gather; the Horse-buildings at a reverent distance forming the fourth side. In the centre of this court,--see what a contrivance the Aulic Councillors have hit upon,--there is a wooden stand built, with three staircases leading up to it, one for each person, and three galleries leading off from it into suites of rooms: no question of precedence here, where each of you has his own staircase and own gallery to his apartment! Friedrich Wilhelm looks down like a rhinoceros on all those cobwebberies. No sooner are the Kaiser's carriage-wheels heard within the court, than Friedrich Wilhelm rushes down, by what staircase is readiest; forward to the very carriage-door; and flings his arms about the Kaiser, embracing and embraced, like mere human friends glad to see one another. On these terms, they mount the wooden stand, Majesty of Prussia, Kaiser, Kaiserinn, each by his own staircase; see, for a space of two hours, the Kaiser's foals and horses led about,--which at least fills up any gap in conversation that may threaten to occur. The Kaiser, a little man of high and humane air, is not bright in talk; the Empress, a Brunswick Princess of fine carriage, Grand-daughter of old Anton Ulrich who wrote the Novels, is likewise of mute humor in public life; but old Nord-Teutschland, cradle of one's existence; Brunswick reminiscences; news of your Imperial Majesty's serene Father, serene Sister, Brother-in-law the Feldmarschall and Insipid Niece whom we have had the satisfaction to betroth lately,--furnish small-talk where needful.
Dinner being near, you go by your own gallery to dress. From the drawing-room, Friedrich Wilhelm leads out the Kaiserinn; the Kaiser, as Head of the world, walks first, though without any lady. How they drank the healths, gave and received the ewers and towels, is written duly in the old Books, but was as indifferent to Friedrich Wilhelm as it is to us; what their conversation was, let no man presume to ask. Dullish, we should apprehend,--and perhaps BETTER lost to us? But where there are tongues, there are topics: the Loom of Time wags always, and with it the tongues of men. Kaiser and Kaiserinn have both been in Karlsbad lately; Kaiser and Kaiserinn both have sailed to Spain, in old days, and been in sieges and things memorable: Friedrich Wilhelm, solid Squire Western of the North, does not want for topics, and talks as a solid rustic gentleman will. Native politeness he knows on occasion; to etiquette, so far as concerns his own pretensions, he feels callous altogether,--dimly sensible that the Eighteenth Century is setting in, and that solid musketeers and not goldsticks are now the important thing. "I felt mad to see him so humiliate himself," said Grumkow afterwards to Wilhelmina, "J'ENRAGEAIS DANS MA PEAU:" why not?
Dinner lasted two hours; the Empress rising, Friedrich Wilhelm leads her to her room; then retires to his own, and "in a quarter of an hour" is visited there by the Kaiser; "who conducts him," in so many minutes exact by the watch, "back to the Empress,"--for a sip of coffee, as one hopes; which may wind up the Interview well. The sun is still a good space from setting, when Friedrich Wilhelm, after cordial adieus, neglectful of etiquette, is rolling rapidly towards Nimburg, thirty miles off on the Prag Highway; and Kaiser Karl with his Spouse move deliberately towards Chlumetz to hunt again. In Nimburg Friedrich Wilhelm sleeps, that night;--Imperial Majesties, in a much-tumbled world, of wild horses, ceremonial ewers, and Eugenios of Savoy and Malplaquet, probably peopling his dreams. If it please Heaven, there may be another private meeting, a day or two hence.
Nimburg, ah your Majesty, Son Fritz will have a night in Nimburg too;--riding slowly thither amid the wrecks of Kolin Battle, not to sleep well;--but that happily is hidden from your Majesty. Kolin, Czaslau (Chotusitz), Elbe Teinitz,--here in this Kladrup region, your Majesty is driving amid poor Villages which will be very famous by and by. And Prag itself will be doubly famed in war, if your Majesty knew it, and the Ziscaberg be of bloodier memory than the Weissenberg itself!--His Majesty, the morrow's sun having risen upon Nimburg, rolls into Prag successfully about eleven A.M., Hill of Zisca not disturbing him; goes to the Klein-Seite Quarter, where an Aulic Councillor with fine Palace is ready; all the cannon thundering from the walls at his Majesty's advent; and Prince Eugenio, the ever-present, being there to receive his Majesty,--and in fact to invite him to dinner this day at half-past twelve. It is Friday, 1st of August, 1732.
By a singular chance, there is preserved for us in Fassmann's Book, what we may call an Excerpt from the old _Morning Post_ of Prag, bringing that extinct Day into clear light again; recalling the vanished Dinner-Party from the realms of Hades, as a thing that once actually WAS. The List of the Dinner-guests is given complete; vanished ghosts, whom, in studying the old History-Books, you can, with a kind of interest, fish up into visibility at will. There is Prince Eugenio von Savoye at the bottom of the table, in the Count-Thun Palace where he lodges; there bodily, the little man, in gold-laced coat of unknown cut; the eyes and the tempers bright and rapid, as usual, or more; nose not unprovided with snuff, and lips in consequence rather open. Be seated, your Majesty, high gentlemen all.
A big chair-of-state stands for his Majesty at the upper end of the table: his Majesty will none of it; sits down close by Prince Eugene at the very bottom, and opposite Prince Alexander of Wurtemberg, whom we had at Berlin lately, a General of note in the Turkish and other wars: here probably there will be better talk; and the big chair may preside over us in vacancy. Which it does. Prince Alexander, Imperial General against the Turks, and Heir-Apparent of Wurtemberg withal, can speak of many things,--hardly much of his serene Cousin the reigning Duke; whose health is in a too interesting state, the good though unlucky man. Of the Gravenitz sitting now in limbo, or travelling about disowned, TOUJOURS UN LAVEMENT SES TROUSSES, let there be deep silence. But the Prince Alexander can answer abundantly on other heads. He comes to his inheritance a few months hence; actual reigning Duke, the poor serene Cousin having died: and perhaps we shall meet, him transiently again.
He is Ancestor of the Czars of Russia, this Prince Alexander, who is now dining here in the body, along with Friedrich Wilhelm and Prince Eugene: Paul of Russia, unbeautiful Paul, married the second time, from Mumpelgard (what the French call Montbeillard, in Alsace), a serene Grand-daughter of his, from whom come the Czars,--thanks to her or not. Prince Alexander is Ancestor withal of our present "Kings of Wurtemberg," if that mean anything: Father (what will mean something) to the serene Duke, still in swaddling-clothes, [Born 21st January, 1732; Carl Eugen the name of him (Michaelis, iii. 450).] who will be son-in-law to Princess Wilhelmina of Baireuth (could your Majesty foresee it); and will do strange pranks in the world, upon poet Schiller and others. Him too, and Brothers of his, were they born and become of size, we shall meet. A noticeable man, and not without sense, this Prince Alexander; who is now of a surety eating with us,--as we find by the extinct _Morning Post_ in Fassmann's old Book.
Of the others eating figures, Stahrembergs, Sternbergs, Kinsky Ambassador to England, Kinsky Ambassador to France, high Austrian dignitaries, we shall say nothing;--who would listen to us? Hardly can the Hof-Kanzler Count von Sinzendorf, supreme of Aulic men, who holds the rudder of Austrian State-Policy, and probably feels himself loaded with importance beyond most mortals now eating here or elsewhere,--gain the smallest recognition from oblivious English readers of our time. It is certain he eats here on this occasion; and to his Majesty he does not want for importance. His Majesty, intent on Julich and Berg and other high matters, spends many hours next day, in earnest private dialogue with him. We mention farther, with satisfaction, that Grumkow and Ordnance-Master Seckendorf are both on the list, and all our Prussian party, down to Hacke of the Potsdam grenadiers, friend Schulenburg visibly eating among the others. Also that the dinner was glorious (HERRLICH), and ended about five. [Fassmann, p. 474.] After which his Majesty went to two evening parties, of a high order, in the Hradschin Quarter or elsewhere; cards in the one (unless you liked to dance, or grin idle talk from you), and supper in the other.
His Majesty amused himself for four other days in Prag, interspersing long earnest dialogues with Sinzendorf, with whom he spent the greater part of Saturday, [Pollnitz, ii. 411.]--results as to Julion and Berg of a rather cloudy nature. On Saturday came the Kaiser, too, and Kaiserinn, to their high Nouse, the Schloss in Prag; and there occurred, in the incognito form, "as if by accident," three visits or counter-visits, two of them of some length. The King went dashing about; saw, deliberately or in glimpses, all manner of things,--from "the Military Hospital" to "the Tongue of St. Nepomuk" again. Nepomuk, an imaginary Saint of those parts; pitched into the Moldau, as is fancied and fabled, by wicked King Wenzel (King and Deposed-Kaiser, whom we have heard of), for speaking and refusing to speak; Nepomuk is now become the Patron of Bridges, in consequence; stands there in bronze on the Bridge of Prag; and still shows a dried Tongue in the world: [_Die Legende vom heiligen Johann von Nepomuk, _von D. Otto Abel (Berlin, 1855); an acute bit of Historical Criticism.] this latter, we expressly find, his Majesty saw.
On Sunday, his Majesty, nothing of a strait-laced man, attended divine or quasi-divine worship in the Cathedral Church,--where high Prince Bishops delivered PALLIUMS, did histrionisms; "manifested the ABSURDITAT of Papistry" more or less. Coming out of the Church, he was induced to step in and see the rooms of the Schloss, or Imperial Palace. In one of the rooms, as if by accident, the Kaiser was found lounging:--"Extremely delighted to see your Majesty!"--and they had the first of their long or considerable dialogues together; purport has not transpired. The second considerable dialogue was on the morrow, when Imperial Majesty, as if by accident, found himself in the Count-Nostitz Palace, where Friedrich Wilhelm lodges. Delighted to be so fortunate again! Hope your Majesty likes Prag? Eternal friendship, OH JA:--and as to Julich and Berg? Particulars have not transpired.
Prag is a place full of sights: his Majesty, dashing about in all quarters, has a busy time; affairs of state (Julich and Berg principally) alternating with what we now call the LIONS. Zisca's drum, for instance, in the Arsenal here? Would your Majesty wish to see Zisca's own skin, which he bequeathed to be a drum when HE had done with it?"NARRENPOSSEN!"--for indeed the thing is fabulous, though in character with Zisca. Or the Council-Chamber window, out of which "the Three Prag Projectiles fell into the Night of things," as a modern Historian expresses it? Three Official Gentlemen, flung out one morning, [13th (23d) May, 1618 (Kohler, p. 507).] 70 feet, but fell on "sewerage," and did not die, but set the whole world on fire? That is too certain, as his Majesty knows: that brought the crowning of the Winter-King, Battle of the Weissenberg, Thirty-Years War; and lost us Jagerndorf and much else.
Or Wallenstein's Palace,--did your Majesty look at that? A thing worth glancing at, on the score of History and even of Natural-History. That rugged son of steel and gunpowder could not endure the least noise in his sleeping-room or even sitting-room,--a difficulty in the soldiering way of life;--and had, if I remember, one hundred and thirty houses torn away in Prag, and sentries posted all round in the distance, to secure silence for his much-meditating indignant soul. And yonder is the Weissenberg, conspicuous in the western suburban region: and here in the eastern, close by, is the Ziscaberg;--O Heaven, your Majesty, on this Zisca-Hill will be a new "Battle of Prag," which will throw the Weissenberg into eclipse; and there is awful fighting coming on in these parts again!
The THIRD of the considerable dialogues in Prag was on this same Monday night; when his Majesty went to wait upon the Kaiserinn, and the Kaiser soon accidentally joined them. Precious gracious words passed;--on Berg and Julich nothing particular, that we hear;--and the High Personages, with assurances of everlasting friendship, said adieu; and met no more in this world. On his toilet-table Friedrich Wilhelm found a gold Tobacco-box, sent by the highest Lady extant; gold Tobacco-box, item gold Tobacco-stopper or Pipe-picker: such the parting gifts of her Imperial Majesty. Very precious indeed, and grateful to the honest heart;--yet testifying too (as was afterwards suggested to the royal mind) what these high people think of a rustic Orson King; and how they fling their nose into the air over his Tabagies and him.
On the morrow morning early, Friedrich Wilhelm rolls away again homewards, by Karlsbad, by Baireuth; all the cannon of Prag saying thrice, Good speed to him. "He has had a glorious time," said the Berlin Court-lady to Queen Sophie one evening, "no end of kindness from the Imperial Majesties: but has he brought Berg and Julich in his pocket?"--Alas, not a fragment of them; nor of any solid thing whatever, except it be the gold Tobacco-box; and the confirmation of our claims on East-Friesland (cheap liberty to let us vindicate them if we can), if you reckon that a solid thing. These two Imperial gifts, such as they are, he has consciously brought back with him;--and perhaps, though as yet unconsciously, a third gift of much more value, once it is developed into clearness: some dim trace of insight into the no-meaning of these high people; and how they consider US as mere Orsons and wild Bisons, whom they will do the honor to consume as provision, if we behave well!
The great King Friedrich, now Crown-Prince at Ruppin, writing of this Journey long afterwards,--hastily, incorrectly, as his wont is, in regard to all manner of minute outward particulars; and somewhat maltreating, or at least misplacing, even the inward meaning, which was well known to him WITHOUT investigation, but which he is at no trouble to DATE for himself, and has dated at random,--says, in his thin rapid way, with much polished bitterness:--
"His [King Friedrich Wilhelm's] experience on this occasion served to prove that good-faith and the virtues, so contrary to the corruption of the age, do not succeed in it. Politicians have banished sincerity (LA CANDEUR) into private life: they look upon themselves as raised quite above the laws which they enjoin on other people; and give way without reserve to the dictates of their own depraved mind.
"The guaranty of Julich and Berg, which Seckendorf had formally promised in the name of the Emperor, went off in smoke; and the Imperial Ministers were in a disposition so opposed to Prussia, the King saw clearly [not for some years yet] that if there was a Court in Europe intending to cross his interests, it was certainly that of Vienna. This Visit of his to the Emperor was like that of Solon to Croesus [Solon not I recognizable, in the grenadier costume, amid the tobacco-smoke, and dim accompaniments?]--and he returned to Berlin, rich still in his own virtue. The most punctilious censors could find no fault in his conduct, except a probity carried to excess. The Interview ended as those of Kings often do: it cooled [not for some time yet], or, to say better, it extinguished the friendship there had been between the two Courts. Friedrich Wilhelm left Prag full of contempt [dimly, altogether unconsciously, tending to have some contempt, and in the end to be full of it] for the deceitfulness and pride of the Imperial Court: and the Emperor's Ministers disdained a Sovereign who looked without interest on frivolous ceremonials and precedences. Him they considered too ambitious in aiming at the Berg-and-Julich succession: them he regarded [came to regard] as a pack of knaves, who had broken their word, and were not punished for it."
Very bitter, your Majesty; and, in all but the dates, true enough. But what a drop of concentrated absinthe follows next, by way of finish,--which might itself have corrected the dating!
"In spite of so many subjects of discontent, the King wedded his Eldest Son [my not too fortunate self], out of complaisance to the Vienna Court, with a Princess of Brunswick-Bevern, Niece to the Empress:"--bitter fact; necessitating change of date in the paragraphs just written. [_OEuvres de Frederic (Memoires de Brandenbourg),_ i. 162, 163.]
Friedrich Wilhelm, good soul, cherishes the Imperial gifts, Tobacco-box included;--claps the Arms of East-Friesland on his escutcheon; will take possession of Friesland, if the present Duke die heirless, let George of England say what he will. And so he rolls homeward, by way of Baireuth. He stayed but a short while in Karlsbad; has warned his Wilhelmina that he will be at Baireuth on the 9th of the month. [Wilhelmina, ii. 55.]
Wilhelmina is very poorly; "near her time," as wives say; rusticating in "the Hermitage," a Country-House in the vicinity of Baireuth; Husband and Father-in-law gone away, towards the Bohemian frontier, to hunt boars. Oh, the bustle and the bother that high Lady had; getting her little Country House stretched out to the due pitch to accommodate everybody,--especially her foolish Sister of Anspach and foolish Brother-in-law and suite,--with whom, by negligence of servants and otherwise, there had like to have risen incurable quarrel on the matter. But the dexterous young Wife, gladdest; busiest and weakliest of hopeful creatures, contrived to manage everything, like a Female Fieldmarshal, as she was. Papa was delighted; bullied the foolish Anspach people,--or would have done so, had not I intervened, that the matter might die. Papa was gracious, happy; very anxious about me in my interesting state. "Thou hast lodged me to perfection, good Wilhelmina. Here I find my wooden stools, tubs to wash in; all things as if I were at Potsdam:--a good girl; and thou must take care of thyself, my child (MEIN KIND)."
At dinner, his Majesty, dreading no ill, but intent only on the practical, got into a quiet, but to me most dreadful, lecture to the old Margraf (my Father-in-law) upon debt and money and arrears: How he, the Margraf, was cheated at every turn, and led about by the nose, and kept weltering in debt: how he should let the young Margraf go into the Offices, to supervise, and withal to learn tax-matters and economics betimes. How he (Friedrich Wilhelm) would send him a fellow from Berlin who understood such things, and would drill his scoundrels for him! To which the old Margraf, somewhat flushed in the face, made some embarrassed assent, knowing it in fact to be true; and accepted the Berlin man:--but he made me (his poor Daughter-in-law) smart for it afterwards: "Not quite dead YET, Madam; you will have to wait a little!"--and other foolish speech; which required to be tempered down again by a judicious female mind.
Grumkow himself was pleasant on this occasion; told us of Kladrup, the Prag etiquettes; and how he was like to go mad seeing his Majesty so humiliate himself. Fraulein Grumkow, a niece of his, belonging to the Austrian court, who is over here with the rest, a satirical intriguing baggage, she, I privately perceive, has made a conquest of my foolish Brother-in-law, the Anspach Margraf here;--and there will be jealousies, and a cat-and-dog life over yonder, worse than ever! Tush, why should we talk?--These are the phenomena at Baireuth; Husband and Father-in-law having quitted their boar-hunt and hurried home.
After three days, Friedrich Wilhelm rolled away again; lodged, once more, at Meuselwitz, with abstruse Seckendorf, and his good old Wife, who do the hospitalities well when they must, in spite of the single candle once visible. On the morrow after which, 14th August, 1732, his Majesty is off again, "at four in the morning," towards Leipzig, intending to be home that night, though it is a long drive. At Leipzig, not to waste time, he declines entering the Town; positively will not, though the cannon-salvos are booming all round;--"breakfasts in the suburbs, with a certain Horse-dealer (ROSS-HANDLER) now deceased:" a respectable Centaur, capable, no doubt, of bargaining a little about cavalry mountings, while one eats, with appetite and at one's ease. Which done, Majesty darts off again, the cannon-salvos booming out a second time;--and by assiduous driving gets home to Potsdam about eight at night. And so has happily ENDED this Journey to Kladrup: [Fassmann, pp. 474-479; Wilhelmina, ii. 46-55; Pollnitz, ii. 407-412; Forster, i. 328-334.]
Chapter V. -- GHOST OF THE DOUBLE-MARRIAGE RISES; TO NO PURPOSE.
We little expected to see the "Double-Marriage" start up into vitality again, at this advanced stage; or, of all men, Seckendorf, after riding 25,000 miles to kill the Double-Marriage, engaged in resuscitating it! But so it is: by endless intriguing, matchless in History or Romance, the Austrian Court had, at such expense to the parties and to itself, achieved the first problem of stifling the harmless Double-Marriage; and now, the wind having changed, it is actually trying its hand the opposite way.
Wind is changed: consummate Robinson has managed to do his thrice-salutary "Treaty of Vienna;" [16th March, 1731, the TAIL of it (accession of the Dutch, of Spain, &c.) not quite coiled up till 20th February, 1732: Scholl, i. 218-222.] to clout up all differences between the Sea-Powers and the Kaiser, and restore the old Law of Nature,--Kaiser to fight the French, Sea-Powers to feed and pay him while engaged in that necessary job. And now it would be gratifying to the Kaiser, if there remained, on this side of the matter, no rent anywhere, if between his chief Sea ally and his chief Land one, the Britannic Majesty and the Prussian, there prevailed a complete understanding, with no grudge left.
The honor of this fine resuscitation project is ascribed to Robinson by the Vienna people: "Robinson's suggestion," they always say: how far it was, or whether at all it was or not, nobody at present knows. Guess rather, if necessary, it had been the Kaiser's own! Robinson, as the thing proceeds, is instructed from St. James's to "look on and not interfere;" [Despatches, in State-Paper Office] Prince Eugene, too, we can observe, is privately against it, though officially urgent, and doing his best. Who knows,--or need know?
Enough that High Heads are set upon it; that the diplomatic wigs are all wagging with it, from about the beginning of October, 1732; and rumors are rife and eager, occasionally spurting out into the Newspapers: Double-Marriage after all, hint the old Rumors: Double-Marriage somehow or other; Crown-Prince to have his English Princess, Prince Fred of England to console the Brunswick one for loss of her Crown-Prince; or else Prince Karl of Brunswick to--And half a dozen other ways; which Rumor cannot settle to its satisfaction. The whispers upon it, from Hanover, from Vienna, at Berlin, and from the Diplomatic world in general, occasionally whistling through the Newspapers, are manifold and incessant,--not worthy of the least attention from us here. [Forster, iii. 111, 120, 108, 113, 122.] What is certain is, Seckendorf, in the end of October, is corresponding on it with Prince Eugene; has got instructions to propose the matter in Tobacco-Parliament; and does not like it at all. Grumkow, who perhaps has seen dangerous clouds threatening to mount upon him, and never been quite himself again in the Royal Mind since that questionable NOSTI business, dissuades earnestly, constantly. "Nothing but mischief will come of such a proposal," says Grumkow steadily; and for his own share absolutely declines concern in it.
But Prince Eugene's orders are express; remonstrances, cunctations only strengthen the determination of the High Heads or Head: Forward with this beautiful scheme! Seckendorf, puckered into dangerous anxieties, but summoning all his cunning, has at length, after six weeks' hesitation, to open it, as if casually, in some favorable hour, to his Prussian Majesty. December 5th, 1732, as we compute;--a kind of epoch in his Majesty's life. Prussian Majesty stares wide-eyed; the breath as if struck out of him; repeats, "Julich and Berg absolutely secured, say you? But--hm, na!"--and has not yet taken in the unspeakable dimensions of the occurrence. "What? Imperial Majesty will make me break my word before all the world? Imperial Majesty has been whirling me about, face now to the east, face straightway round to the west: Imperial Majesty does not feel that I am a man and king at all; takes me for a mere machine, to be seesawed and whirled hither and thither, like a rotatory Clothes-horse, to dry his Imperial Majesty's linen upon. TAUSEND HIMMEL--!"
The full dimensions of all this did not rise clear upon the intellect of Prussian Majesty,--a slow intellect, but a true and deep, with terrible earthquakes and poetic fires lying under it,--not at once, or for months, perhaps years to come. But they had begun to dawn upon him painfully here; they rose gradually into perfect clearness: all things seen at last as what they were;--with huge submarine earthquake for consequence, and total change of mind towards Imperial Majesty and the drying of his Pragmatic linen, in Friedrich Wilhelm. Amiable Orson, true to the heart; amiable, though terrible when too much put upon!
This dawning process went on for above two years to come, painfully, reluctantly, with explosions, even with tears. But here, directly on the back of Seckendorf's proposal, and recorded from a sure hand, is what we may call the peep-of-day in that matter: First Session of Tobacco-Parliament, close after that event. Event is on the 5th December, 1732; Tobacco Session is of the 6th;--glimpse of it is given by Speaker Grumkow himself; authentic to the bone.
SESSION OF TOBACCO-PARLIAMENT, 6th DECEMBER, 1732.
Grumkow, shattered into "headache" by this Session, writes Report of it to Seckendorf before going to bed. Look, reader, into one of the strangest Political Establishments; and how a strange Majesty comports himself there, directly after such proposal from Vienna to marry with England still!--"Schwerin" is incidentally in from Frankfurt-on-Oder, where his Regiment and business usually lie: the other Honorable Members we sufficiently know. Majesty has been a little out of health lately; perceptibly worse the last two days. "Syberg" is a Gold-cook (Alchemical gentleman, of very high professions), came to Berlin some time ago; whom his Majesty, after due investigation, took the liberty to hang. [Forster, iii. 126.] Readers can now understand what speaker Grumkow writes, and despatches by his lackey, in such haste:--
"I never saw such a scene as this evening. Derschau, Schwerin, Buddenbrock, Rochow, Flanz were present. We had been about an hour in the Red Room [languidly doing our tobacco off and on], when he [the King] had us shifted into the Little Room: drove out the servants; and cried, looking fixedly at me: 'No, I cannot endure it any longer! ES STOSSET MIR DAS HERZ AB,' cried he, breaking into German: 'It crushes the heart out of me; to make me do a bit of scoundrelism, me, me! I say; no, never! Those damned intrigues; may the Devil take them!'--
"EGO (Grumkow). 'Of course, I know of nothing. But I do not comprehend your Majesty's inquietude, coming thus on the sudden, after our common indifferent mood.'
"KING. 'What, make me a villain! I will tell it right out. Certain damned scoundrels have been about betraying me. People that should have known me better have been trying to lead me into a dishonorable scrape'--("Here I called in the hounds, JE ROMPIS LES CHIENS," reports Grumkow, "for he was going to blab everything; I interrupted, saying):--
"EGO. 'But, your Majesty, what is it ruffles you so? I know not what you talk of. Your Majesty has honorable people about you; and the man who lets himself be employed in things against your Majesty must be a traitor.'
"KING. 'Yes, JA, JA. I will do things that will surprise them. I--'
"And, in short, a torrent of exclamations: which I strove to soften by all manner of incidents and contrivances; succeeding at last,"--by dexterity and time (but, at this point, the light is now blown out, and we SEE no more):--"so that he grew quite calm again, and the rest of the evening passed gently enough.
"Well, you see what the effect of your fine Proposal is, which you said he would like! I can tell you, it is the most detestable incident that could have turned up. I know, you had your orders: but you may believe and depend on it, he has got his heart driven rabid by the business, and says, 'Who knows now whether that villain Syberg' Gold-cook, that was hanged the other day, 'was not set on by some people to poison me?' In a word, he was like a madman.
"What struck me most was when he repeated, 'Only think! Think! Who would have expected it of people that should have known me; and whom I know, and have known, better than they fancy!'"--Pleasant passage for Seckendorf to chew the cud upon, through the night-watches!
"In fine, as I was somewhat confused; and anxious, above all, to keep him from exploding with the secret, I cannot remember everything, But Derschau, who was more at his ease, will be able to give you a full account. He [the King] said more than once: 'THIS was his sickness; the thing that ailed him, this: it gnawed his heart, and would be the death of him!' He certainly did not affect; he was in a very convulsive condition. [JARNI-BLEU, here is a piece of work, Herr Seckendorf!]--Adieu, I have a headache." Whereupon to bed.
[Forster, iii. 135, 136.]
This Hansard Report went off direct to Prince Eugene; and ought to have been a warning to the high Vienna heads and him. But they persisted not the less to please Robinson or themselves; considering his Prussian Majesty to be, in fact, a mere rotatory Clothes-horse for drying the Imperial linen on; and to have no intellect at all, because he was without guile, and had no vulpinism at all. In which they were very much mistaken indeed. History is proud to report that the guileless Prussian Majesty, steadily attending to his own affairs in a wise manner, though hoodwinked and led about by Black-Artists as he had been, turned out when Fact and Nature subsequently pronounced upon it, to have had more intellect than the whole of them together,--to have been, in a manner, the only one of them that had any real "intellect," or insight into Fact and Nature, at all. Consummate Black-art Diplomacies overnetting the Universe, went entirely to water, running down the gutters to the last drop; and a prosperous Drilled Prussia, compact, organic in every part, from diligent plough-sock to shining bayonet and iron ramrod, remained standing. "A full Treasury and 200,000 well-drilled men would be the one guarantee to your Pragmatic Sanction," Prince Eugene had said. But that bit of insight was not accepted at Vienna; Black-art, and Diplomatic spider-webs from pole to pole, being thought the preferable method.
Enough, Seckendorf was ordered to manipulate and soothe down the Prussian Majesty, as surely would be easy; to continue his galvanic operations on the Double-Match, or produce a rotation in the purposes of the royal breast. Which he diligently strove to do, when once admitted to speech again;--Grumkow steadily declining to meddle, and only Queen Sophie, as we can fancy, auguring joyfully of it. Seckendorf, admitted to speech the third day after that explosive Session, snuffles his softest, his cunningest;--continues to ride diligently, the concluding portion (such it proved) of his 25,000 miles with the Prussian Majesty up and down through winter and spring; but makes not the least progress, the reverse rather.
Their dialogues and arguings on the matter, here and elsewhere, are lost in air; or gone wholly to a single point unexpectedly preserved for us. One day, riding through some village, Priort some say his Majesty calls it, some give another name,--advocate Seckendorf, in the fervor of pleading and arguing, said some word, which went like a sudden flash of lightning through the dark places of his Majesty's mind, and never would go out of it again while he lived after. In passionate moments, his Majesty spoke of it sometimes, a clangorous pathos in his tones, as of a thing hideous, horrible, never to be forgotten, which had killed him,--death from a friend's hand. "It was the 17th of April, 1733, [All the Books (Forster, ii. 142, for one) mention this utterance of his Majesty, on what occasion we shall see farther on; and give the date "1732," not 1733: but except as amended above, it refuses to have any sense visible at this distance. The Village of Priort is in the Potsdam region.] riding through Priort, a man said something to me: it was as if you had turned a dagger about in my heart. That man was he that killed me; there and then I got my death!"
A strange passion in that utterance: the deep dumb soul of his Majesty, of dumb-poetic nature, suddenly brought to a fatal clearness about certain things. "O Kaiser, Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire; and this is your return for my loyal faith in you? I had nearly killed my Fritz, my Wilhelmina, broken my Feekin's heart and my own, and reduced the world to ruins for your sake. And because I was of faith more than human, you took me for a dog? O Kaiser, Kaiser!"--Poor Friedrich Wilhelm, he spoke of this often, in excited moments, in his later years; the tears running down his cheeks, and the whole man melted into tragic emotion: but if Fritz were there, the precious Fritz whom he had almost killed for their sake, he would say, flashing out into proud rage, "There is one that will avenge me, though; that one! DA STEHT EINER, DER MICH RACHEN WIRD!" [Forster, ii. 153.] Yes, your Majesty; perhaps that one. And it will be seen whether YOU were a rotatory Clothes-horse to dry their Pragmatic linen upon, or something different a good deal.
Chapter VI. -- KING AUGUST MEDITATING GREAT THINGS FOR POLAND.
In the New-year's days of 1733, the topic among diplomatic gentlemen, which set many big wigs wagging, and even tremulously came out in the gray leaves of gazetteers and garreteers of the period, was a royal drama, dimly supposed to be getting itself up in Poland at this time. Nothing known about it for certain; much guessed. "Something in the rumor!" nods this wig; "Nothing!" wags that, slightly oscillating; and gazetteers, who would earn their wages, and have a peck of coals apiece to glad them in the cold weather, had to watch with all eagerness the movements of King August, our poor old friend, the Dilapidated-Strong, who is in Saxony at present; but bound for Warsaw shortly,--just about lifting the curtain on important events, it is thought and not thought. Here are the certainties of it, now clear enough, so far as they deserve a glance from us.
January 10th, 1733, August the Dilapidated-Strong of Poland has been in Saxony, looking after his poor Electorate a little; and is on the road from Dresden homewards again;--will cross a corner of the Prussian Dominions, as his wont is on such occasions. Prussian Majesty, if not appearing in person, will as usual, by some Official of rank, send a polite Well-speed-you as the brother Majesty passes. This time, however, it was more than politeness; the Polish Majesty having, as was thought, such intricate affairs in the wind. Let Grumkow, the fittest man in all ways, go, and do the greeting to his old Patroon: greeting, or whatever else may be needed.
Patroon left Dresden,--"having just opened the Carnival" or fashionable Season there, opened and nothing more,--January 10th, 1733; [Fassmann, _Leben Friedrich Augusti des Grossen,_ p. 994.] being in haste home for a Polish Diet close at hand. On which same day Grumkow, we suppose, drives forth from Berlin, to intersect him, in the Neumark, about Crossen; and have a friendly word again, in those localities, over jolly wine. Intersection took place duly;--there was exuberant joy on the part of the Patroon; and such a dinner and night of drinking, as has seldom been. Abstruse things lie close ahead of August the Dilapidated-Strong, important to Prussia, and for which Prussia is important; let Grumkow try if he can fish the matter into clearness out of these wine-cups. And then August, on his side, wishes to know what the Kaiser said at Kladrup lately; there is much to be fished into clearness.
Many are the times August the Strong has made this journey; many are the carousals, on such and other occasions, Grumkow and he have had. But there comes an end to all things. This was their last meeting, over flowing liquor or otherwise, in the world. Satirical History says, they drank all night, endeavoring to pump one another, and with such enthusiasm that they never recovered it; drank themselves to death at Crossen on that occasion. [_OEuvres de Frederic (Memoires de Brandenbourg),_ i. 163.] It is certain August died within three weeks; and people said of Grumkow, who lived six years longer, he was never well after this bout. Is it worth any human Creature's while to look into the plans of this precious pair of individuals? Without the least expense of drinking, the secrets they were pumping out of each other are now accessible enough,--if it were of importance now. One glance I may perhaps commend to the reader, out of these multifarious Note-books in my possession:--
"August, by change of his religion, and other sad operations, got to be what they called the King of Poland, thirty five years ago; but, though looking glorious to the idle public, it has been a crown of stinging-nettles to the poor man,--a sedan-chair running on rapidly, with the bottom broken out! To say nothing of the scourgings he got, and poor Saxony along with him, from Charles XII., on account of this Sovereignty so called, what has the thing itself been to him? In Poland, for these thirty-five years, the individual who had least of his real will done in public matters has been, with infinite management, and display of such good-humor as at least deserves credit, the nominal Sovereign Majesty of Poland. Anarchic Grandees have been kings over him; ambitious, contentious, unmanageable;--very fanatical too, and never persuaded that August's Apostasy was more than a sham one, not even when he made his Prince apostatize too. Their Sovereignty has been a mere peck of troubles, disgraces and vexations: for those thirty-five years, an ever-boiling pot of mutiny, contradiction, insolence, hardly tolerable even to such nerves as August's.
"August, for a long time back, has been thinking of schemes to clap some lid upon all that. To make the Sovereignty hereditary in his House: that, with the good Saxon troops we have, would be a remedy;--and in fact it is the only remedy. John Casimir (who abdicated long ago, in the Great Elector's time, and went to Paris,--much charmed with Ninon de l'Enclos there) told the Polish Diets, With their LIBERUM VETO, and 'right of confederation' and rebellion, they would bring the country down under the feet of mankind, and reduce their Republic to zero one day, if they persisted. They have not failed to persist. With some hereditary King over it, and a regulated Saxony to lean upon: truly might it not be a change to the better? To the worse, it could hardly be, thinks August the Strong; and goes intent upon that method, this long while back;--and at length hopes now, in few days longer, at the Diet just assembling, to see fruits appear, and the thing actually begin.
"The difficulties truly are many; internal and external:--but there are calculated methods, too. For the internal: Get up, by bribery, persuasion, some visible minority to countenance you; with these manoeuvre in the Diets; on the back of these, the 30,000 Saxon troops. But then what will the neighboring Kings say? The neighboring Kings, with their big-mouthed manifestoes, pities for an oppressed Republic, overwhelming forces, and invitations to 'confederate' and revolt: without their tolerance first had, nothing can be done. That is the external difficulty. For which too there is a remedy. Cut off sufficient outlying slices of Poland; fling these to the neighboring Kings to produce consent: Partition of Poland, in fact; large sections of its Territory sliced away: that will be the method, thinks King August.
"Neighboring Kings, Kaiser, Prussia, Russia, to them it is not grievous that Poland should remain in perennial anarchy, in perennial impotence; the reverse rather: a dead horse, or a dying, in the next stall,--he at least will not kick upon us, think the neighboring Kings. And yet,--under another similitude,--you do not like your next-door neighbor to be always on the point of catching fire; smoke issuing, thicker or thinner, through the slates of his roof, as a perennial phenomenon? August will conciliate the neighboring Kings. Russia, big-cheeked Anne Czarina there, shall have not only Courland peaceably henceforth, but the Ukraine, Lithuania, and other large outlying slices; that surely will conciliate Russia. To Austria, on its Hungarian border, let us give the Country of Zips;--nay there are other sops we have for Austria. Pragmatic Sanction, hitherto refused as contrary to plain rights of ours,--that, if conceded to a spectre-hunting Kaiser? To Friedrich Wilhelm we could give West-Preussen; West-Preussen torn away three hundred years ago, and leaving a hiatus in the very continuity of Friedrich Wilhelm: would not that conciliate him? Of all enemies or friends, Friedrich Wilhelm, close at hand with 80,000 men capable of fighting at a week's, notice, is by far the most important.
"These are August's plans: West-Preussen for the nearest Neighbor; Zips for Austria; Ukraine, Lithuania, and appendages for the Russian Czarina: handsome Sections to be sliced off, and flung to good neighbors; as it were, all the outlying limbs and wings of the Polish Territory sliced off; compact body to remain, and become, by means of August and Saxon troops, a Kingdom with government, not an imaginary Republic without government any longer. In fact, it was the 'Partition of Poland,' such as took effect forty years after, and has kept the Newspapers weeping ever since. Partition of Poland,--MINUS the compact interior held under government, by a King with Saxon troops or otherwise. Compact interior, in that effective partition, forty years after, was left as anarchic as ever; and had to be again partitioned, and cut away altogether,--with new torrents of loud tears from the Newspapers, refusing to be comforted to this day.
"It is not said that Friedrich Wilhelm had the least intention of countenancing August in these dangerous operations, still less of going shares with August; but he wished much, through Grumkow, to have some glimpse into the dim program of them; and August wished much to know Friedrich Wilhelm's and Grumkow's humor towards them. Grumkow and August drank copiously, or copiously pressed drink on one another, all night (11th-12th January, 1733, as I compute; some say at Crossen, some say at Frauendorf a royal domain near by), with the view of mutually fishing out those secrets;--and killed one another in the business, as is rumored."
What were Grumkow's news at home-coming, I did not hear; but he continues very low and shaky;--refuses, almost with horror, to have the least hand in Seckendorf's mad project, of resuscitating the English Double-Marriage, and breaking off the Brunswick one, at the eleventh hour and after word pledged. Seckendorf himself continues to dislike and dissuade: but the High Heads at Vienna are bent on it; and command new strenuous attempts;--literally at the last moment; which is now come.
Chapter VII. -- CROWN-PRINCE'S MARRIAGE.
Since November last, Wilhelmina is on visit at Berlin,--first visit since her marriage;--she stays there for almost ten months; not under the happiest auspices, poor child. Mamma's reception of her, just off the long winter journey, and extenuated with fatigues and sickly chagrins, was of the most cutting cruelty: "What do you want here? What is a mendicant like you come hither for?" And next night, when Papa himself came home, it was little better. "Ha, ha," said he, "here you are; I am glad to see you." Then holding up a light, to take view of me: "How changed you are!" said he: "What is little Frederika [my little Baby at Baireuth] doing?" And on my answering, continued: "I am sorry for you, on my word. You have not bread to eat; and but for me you might go begging. I am a poor man myself, not able to give you much; but I will do what I can. I will give you now and then a twenty or a thirty shillings (PAR DIX OU DOUZE FLORINS), as my affairs permit: it will always be something to assuage your want. And you, Madam," said he, turning to the Queen, "you will sometimes give her an old dress; for the poor child has n't a shift to her back." [Wilhelmina, ii. 85.] This rugged paternal banter was taken too literally by Wilhelmina, in her weak state; and she was like "to burst in her skin," poor Princess.
So that,--except her own good Hereditary Prince, who was here "over from Pasewalk" and his regimental duties, waiting to welcome her; in whose true heart, full of honest human sunshine towards her, she could always find shelter and defence,--native Country and Court offer little to the brave Wilhelmina. Chagrins enough are here: chagrins also were there. At Baireuth our old Father Margraf has his crotchets, his infirmities and outbreaks; takes more and more to liquor; and does always keep us frightfully bare in money. No help from Papa here, either, on the finance side; no real hope anywhere (thinks Seckendorf, when we consult him), except only in the Margraf's death: "old Margraf will soon drink himself dead," thinks Seckendorf; "and in the mean while there is Vienna, and a noble Kaiserinn who knows her friends in case of extremity!" thinks he. [Wilhelmina, ii. 81-111.] Poor Princess, in her weak shattered state, she has a heavy time of it; but there is a tough spirit in her; bright, sharp, like a swift sabre, not to be quenched in any coil; but always cutting its way, and emerging unsubdued.
One of the blessings reserved for her here, which most of all concerns us, was the occasional sight of her Brother. Brother in a day or two ["18th November," she says; which date is wrong, if it were of moment (see _OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 1st, where their CORRESPONDENCE is).] ran over from Ruppin, on short leave, and had his first interview. Very kind and affectionate; quite the old Brother again; and "blushed" when, at supper, Mamma and the Princesses, especially that wicked Charlotte (Papa not present), tore up his poor Bride at such a rate. "Has not a word to answer you, but YES or NO," said they; "stupid as a block." "But were you ever at her toilette?" said the wicked Charlotte: "Out of shape, completely: considerable waddings, I promise you: and then"--still worse features, from that wicked Charlotte, in presence of the domestics here. Wicked Charlotte; who is to be her Sister-in-law soon;--and who is always flirting with my Husband, as if she liked that better!--Crown-Prince retired, directly after supper: as did I, to my apartment, where in a minute or two he joined me.
"To the question, How with the King and you? he answered, 'That his situation was changing every moment; that sometimes he was in favor, sometimes in disgrace;--that his chief happiness consisted in absence. That he led a soft and tranquil life with his Regiment at Ruppin; study and music his principal occupations; he had built himself a House there, and laid out a Garden, where he could read, and walk about.' Then as to his Bride, I begged him to tell me candidly if the portrait the Queen and my Sister had been making of her was the true one. 'We are alone,' replied he, 'and I will conceal nothing from you. The Queen, by her miserable intrigues, has been the source of our misfortunes. Scarcely were you gone when she began again with England; wished to substitute our Sister Charlotte for you; would have had me undertake to contradict the King's will again, and flatly refuse the Brunswick Match;--which I declined. That is the source of her venom against this poor Princess. As to the young Lady herself, I do not hate her so much as I pretend; I affect complete dislike, that the King may value my obedience more. She is pretty, a complexion lily-and-rose; her features delicate; face altogether of a beautiful person. True, she has no breeding, and dresses very ill: but I flatter myself, when she comes hither, you will have the goodness to take her in hand. I recommend her to you, my dear Sister; and beg your protection for her.' It is easy to judge, my answer would be such as he desired." [Wilhelmina, ii. 89.]
For which small glimpse of the fact itself, at first-hand, across a whirlwind of distracted rumors new and old about the fact, let us be thankful to Wilhelmina. Seckendorf's hopeless attempts to resuscitate extinct English things, and make the Prussian Majesty break his word, continue to the very last; but are worth no notice from us. Grumkow's Drinking-bout with the Dilapidated-Strong at Crossen, which follows now in January, has been already noticed by us. And the Dilapidated-Strong's farewell next morning,--"Adieu, dear Grumkow; I think I shall not see you again!" as he rolled off towards Warsaw and the Diet,--will require farther notice; but must stand over till this Marriage be got done. Of which latter Event,--Wilhelmina once more kindling the old dark Books into some light for us,--the essential particulars are briefly as follows.
Monday, 8th June, 1733, the Crown-Prince is again over from Ruppin: King, Queen and Crown-Prince are rendezvoused at Potsdam; and they set off with due retinues towards Wolfenbuttel, towards Salzdahlum the Ducal Schloss there; Sister Wilhelmina sending blessings, if she had them, on a poor Brother in such interesting circumstances. Mamma was "plunged in black melancholy;" King not the least; in the Crown-Prince nothing particular to be remarked. They reached Salzdahlum, Duke Ludwig Rudolf the Grandfather's Palace, one of the finest Palaces, with Gardens, with antiques, with Picture-Galleries no end; a mile or two from Wolfenbuttel; built by old Anton Ulrich, and still the ornament of those parts;--reached Salzdahlum, Wednesday the 10th; where Bride, with Father, Mother, much more Grandfather, Grandmother, and all the sublimities interested, are waiting in the highest gala; Wedding to be on Friday next.
Friday morning, this incident fell out, notable and somewhat contemptible: Seckendorf, who is of the retinue, following his bad trade, visits his Majesty who is still in bed:--"Pardon, your Majesty: what shall I say for excuse? Here is a Letter just come from Vienna; in Prince Eugene's hand;--Prince Eugene, or a Higher, will say something, while it is still time!" Majesty, not in impatience, reads the little Prince's and the Kaiser's Letter. "Give up this, we entreat you for the last time; marry with England after all!" Majesty reads, quiet as a lamb; lays the Letter under his pillow; will himself answer it; and does straightway, with much simple dignity, to the effect, "For certain, Never, my always respected Prince!" [Account of the Interview by Seckendorf, in Forster, iii, 148-155; Copy of the answer itself is in the State-Paper Office here.] Seckendorf, having thus shot his last bolt, does not stay many hours longer at Salzdahlum;--may as well quit Friedrich Wilhelm altogether, for any good he will henceforth do upon him. This is the one incident between the Arrival at Salzdahlum and the Wedding there.
Same Friday, 12th June, 1733, at a more advanced hour, the Wedding itself took effect; Wedding which, in spite of the mad rumors and whispers, in the Newspapers, Diplomatic Despatches and elsewhere, went off, in all respects, precisely as other weddings do; a quite human Wedding now and afterwards. Officiating Clergyman was the Reverend Herr Mosheim: readers know with approval the _Ecclesiastical History_ of Mosheim: he, in the beautiful Chapel of the Schloss, with Majesties and Brunswick Sublimities looking on, performed the ceremony: and Crown-Prince Friedrich of Prussia has fairly wedded the Serene Princess Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick-Bevern, age eighteen coming, manners rather awkward, complexion lily-and-rose;--and History is right glad to have done with the wearisome affair, and know it settled on any tolerable terms whatever. Here is a Note of Friedrich's to his dear Sister, which has been preserved:--
TO PRINCESS WILHELMINA OF BAIREUTH, AT BERLIN.
"SALZDAHLUM, Noon, 19th June, 1733.
"MY DEAR SISTER,--A minute since, the whole Ceremony was got finished; and God be praised it is over! I hope you will take it as a mark of my friendship that I give you the first news of it.
"I hope I shall have the honor to see you again soon; and to assure you, my dear Sister, that I am wholly yours (TOUT A VOUS). I write in great haste; and add nothing that is merely formal. Adieu. [_OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 9.]
One Keyserling, the Prince's favorite gentleman, came over express, with this Letter and the more private news; Wilhelmina being full of anxieties. Keyserling said, The Prince was inwardly "well content with his lot; though he had kept up the old farce to the last; and pretended to be in frightful humor, on the very morning; bursting out upon his valets in the King's presence, who reproved him, and looked rather pensive,"--recognizing, one hopes, what a sacrifice it was. The Queen's Majesty, Keyserling reported, "was charmed with the style and ways of the Brunswick Court; but could not endure the Princess-Royal [new Wife], and treated the two Duchesses like dogs (COMME DES CHIENS)." [Wilhelmina, ii. 114.] Reverend Abbot Mosheim (such his title; Head Churchman, theological chief of Helmstadt University in those parts, with a couple of extinct little ABBACIES near by, to help his stipend) preached next Sunday, "On the Marriage of the Righteous,"--felicitous appropriate Sermon, said a grateful public; [Text, Psalm, xcli. 12; "Sermon printed in Mosheim's _Works."_]--and in short, at Salzdahlum all goes, if not as merry as some marriage-bells, yet without jarring to the ear.
On Tuesday, both the Majesties set out towards Potsdam again; "where his Majesty," having business waiting, "arrived some time before the Queen." Thither also, before the week ends, Crown-Prince Friedrich with his Bride, and all the Serenities of Brunswick escorting, are upon the road,--duly detained by complimentary harangues, tedious scenic evolutions at Magdeburg and the intervening Towns;--grand entrance of the Princess-Royal into Berlin is not till the 27th, last day of the week following. That was such a day as Wilhelmina never saw; no sleep the night before; no breakfast can one taste: between Charlottenburg and Berlin, there is a review of unexampled splendor; "above eighty carriages of us," and only a tent or two against the flaming June sun: think of it! Review begins at four a.m.;--poor Wilhelmina thought she would verily have died, of heat and thirst and hunger, in the crowded tent, under the flaming June sun; before the Review could end itself, and march into Berlin, trumpeting and salvoing, with the Princess-Royal at the head of it. [Wilhelmina, ii. 127-129.]
Of which grand flaming day, and of the unexampled balls and effulgent festivities that followed, "all Berlin ruining itself in dresses and equipages," we will say nothing farther; but give only, what may still have some significance for readers, Wilhelmina's Portrait of the Princess-Royal on their first meeting, which had taken place at Potsdam two days before. The Princess-Royal had arrived at Potsdam too, on that occasion, across a grand Review; Majesty himself riding out, Majesty and Crown-Prince, who had preceded her a little, to usher in the poor young creature;--Thursday, June 25th, 1733:--
"The King led her into the Queen's Apartment; then seeing, after she had saluted us all, that she was much heated and dispowdered (DEPOUDREE), he bade my Brother take her to her own room. I followed them thither. My Brother said to her, introducing me: 'This is a Sister I adore, and am obliged to beyond measure. She has had the goodness to promise me that she will take care of you, and help you with her good counsel; I wish you to respect her beyond even the King and Queen, and not to take the least step without her advice: do you understand?' I embraced the Princess-Royal, and gave her every assurance of my attachment; but she remained like a statue, not answering a word. Her people not being come, I repowdered her myself, and readjusted her dress a little, without the least sign of thanks from her, or any answer to all my caressings. My Brother got impatient at last; and said aloud: 'Devil's in the blockhead (PESTE SOIT DE LA BETE): thank my Sister, then!' She made me a courtesy, on the model of that of Agnes in the ECOLE DES FEMMES. I took her back to the Queen's Apartment; little edified by such a display of talent.
"The Princess-Royal is tall; her figure is not fine: stooping slightly, or hanging forward, as she walks or stands, which gives her an awkward air. Her complexion is of dazzling whiteness, heightened by the liveliest colors: her eyes are pale blue, and not of much promise for spiritual gifts. Mouth small; features generally small,--dainty (MIGNONS) rather than beautiful:--and the countenance altogether is so innocent and infantine, you would think this head belonged to a child of twelve. Her hair is blond, plentiful, curling in natural locks. Teeth are unhappily very bad, black and ill set; which are a disfigurement in this fine face. She has no manners, nor the least vestige of tact; has much difficulty in speaking and making herself understood: for most part you are obliged to guess what she means; which is very embarrassing." [Wilhelmina, ii. 119-121.]
The Berlin gayeties--for Karl, Heir-Apparent of Brunswick, brother to this Princess-Royal, wedded his Charlotte, too, about a week hence [2d July, 1733.]--did not end, and the serene Guests disappear, till far on in July. After which an Inspection with Papa; and then Friedrich got back to Ruppin and his old way of life there. Intrinsically the old studious, quietly diligent way of life; varied by more frequent excursions to Berlin;--where as yet the Princess-Royal usually resides, till some fit residence be got ready in the Ruppin Country for a wedded Crown-Prince and her.
The young Wife had an honest guileless heart; if little articulate intellect, considerable inarticulate sense; did not fail to learn tact, perpendicular attitude, speech enough;--and I hope kept well clear of pouting (FAIRE LA FACHEE), a much more dangerous rock for her. With the gay temper of eighteen, and her native loyalty of mind, she seems to have shaped herself successfully to the Prince's taste; and growing yearly gracefuler and better-looking was an ornament and pleasant addition to his Ruppin existence. These first seven years, spent at Berlin or in the Ruppin quarter, she always regarded as the flower of her life. [Busching (Autobiography, _Beitrage,_ vi.) heard her say so, in advanced years.]
Papa, according to promise, has faithfully provided a Crown-Prince Palace at Berlin; all trimmed and furnished, for occasional residences there; the late "Government House" (originally SCHOMBERG House), new-built,--which is, to this day, one of the distinguished Palaces of Berlin. Princess-Royal had Schonhausen given her; a pleasant Royal Mansion some miles out of Berlin, on the Ruppin side. Furthermore, the Prince-Royal, being now a wedded man, has, as is customary in such case, a special AMT (Government District) set apart for his support; the "Amt of Ruppin," where his business lies. What the exact revenues of Ruppin are, is not communicated; but we can justly fear they were far too frugal,--and excused the underhand borrowing, which is evident enough as a painful shadow in the Prince's life henceforth. He does not seem to have been wasteful; but he borrows all round, under sevenfold secrecy, from benevolent Courts, from Austria, Russia, England: and the only pleasant certainty we notice in such painful business is, that, on his Accession, he pays with exactitude,--sends his Uncle George of England, for example, the complete amount in rouleaus of new coin, by the first courier that goes. [Despatch (of adjacent date) in the State-Paper Office here.]
A thought too frugal, his Prussian Majesty; but he means to be kind, bountiful; and occasionally launches out into handsome munificence. This very Autumn, hearing that the Crown-Prince and his Princess fancied Reinsberg; an old Castle in their Amt Ruppin, some miles north of them,--his Majesty, without word spoken, straightway purchased Reinsberg, Schloss and Territory, from the owner; gave it to his Crown-Prince, and gave him money to new-build it according to his mind. [23d Oct. 1733-16th March, 1734 (Preuss, i. 75).] Which the Crown-Prince did with much interest, under very wise architectural advice, for the next three years; then went into it, to reside;--yet did not cease new-building, improving, artistically adorning, till it became in all points the image of his taste.
A really handsome princely kind of residence, that of Reinsberg:--got up with a thrift that most of all astonishes us. In which improved locality we shall by and by look in upon him again. For the present we must to Warsaw, where tragedies and troubles are in the wind, which turn out to be not quite without importance to the Crown-Prince and us.
Chapter VIII. -- KING AUGUST DIES; AND POLAND TAKES FIRE.
Meanwhile, over at Warsaw, there has an Event fallen out. Friedrich, writing rapidly from vague reminiscence, as he often does, records it as "during the marriage festivities;" [_OEuvres (Memoires de Brandenbourg),_ i. 163.] but it was four good months earlier. Event we must now look at for a moment.
In the end of January last, we left Grumkow in a low and hypochondriacal state, much shaken by that drinking-bout at Crossen, when the Polish Majesty and he were so anxious to pump one another, by copious priming with Hungary wine. About a fortnight after, in the first days of February following (day is not given), Grumkow reported something curious. "In my presence," says Wilhelmina, "and that of forty persons," for the thing was much talked about, "Grumkow said to the King one morning: 'Ah Sire, I am in despair; the poor Patroon is dead! I was lying broad awake, last night: all on a sudden, the curtains of my bed flew asunder: I saw him; he was in a shroud: he gazed fixedly at me: I tried to start up, being dreadfully taken; but the phantom disappeared!'" Here was an illustrious ghost-story for Berlin, in a day or two when the Courier came. "Died at the very time of the phantom; Death and phantom were the same night," say Wilhelmina and the miraculous Berlin public,--but do not say WHAT night for either of them it was. [Wilhelmina, ii. 98. Event happened, 1st February; news of it came to Berlin, 4th February: Fassmann (p. 485); Buchholz; &c.] By help of which latter circumstance the phantom becomes reasonably unmiraculous again, in a nervous system tremulous from drink. "They had been sad at parting," Wilhelmina says, "having drunk immensities of Hungary wine; the Patroon almost weeping over his Grumkow: 'Adieu, my dear Grumkow,' said he; 'I shall never see you more!'"
Miraculous or not, the catastrophe is true: August, the once Physically Strong, lies dead;--and there will be no Partition of Poland for the present. He had the Diet ready to assemble; waiting for him, at Warsaw; and good trains laid in the Diet, capable of fortunate explosion under a good engineer. Engineer, alas! The Grumkow drinking-bout had awakened that old sore in his foot: he came to Warsaw, eager enough for business; but with his stock of strength all out, and Death now close upon him. The Diet met, 26th-27th January; engineer all alert about the good trains laid, and the fortunate exploding of them; when, almost on the morrow--"Inflammation has come on!" said the Doctors, and were futile to help farther. The strong body, and its life, was done; and nothing remained but to call in the Archbishop, with his extreme unctions and soul-apparatus.
August made no moaning or recalcitrating; took, on the prescribed terms, the inevitable that had come. Has been a very great sinner, he confesses to the Archbishop: "I have not at present strength to name my many and great sins to your Reverence," said he; "I hope for mercy on the"--on the usual rash terms. Terms perhaps known to August to be rash; to have been frightfully rash; but what can he now do? Archbishop thereupon gives absolution of his sins; Archbishop does,--a baddish, unlikely kind of man, as August well knows. August "laid his hand on his eyes," during such sad absolution-mummery; and in that posture had breathed his last, before it was well over. ["Sunday, 1st February, 1733, quarter past 4 A.M." (Fassmann, _Leben Frederici Augusti Konigs in Pohlen,_ pp. 994-997).] Unhappy soul; who shall judge him?--transcendent King of edacious Flunkies; not without fine qualities, which he turned to such a use amid the temptations of this world!
POLAND HAS TO FIND A NEW KING.
His death brought vast miseries on Poland; kindled foolish Europe generally into fighting, and gave our Crown-Prince his first actual sight and experience of the facts of War. For which reason, hardly for another, the thing having otherwise little memorability at present, let us give some brief synopsis of it, the briefer the better. Here, excerpted from multifarious old Note-books, are some main heads of the affair:--
"On the disappearance of August the Strong, his plans of Partitioning Poland disappeared too, and his fine trains in the Diet abolished themselves. The Diet had now nothing to do, but proclaim the coming Election, giving a date to it; and go home to consider a little whom they would elect. ["Interregnum proclaimed," 11th February; Preliminary Diet to meet 21st April;--meets; settles, before May is done, that the Election shall BEGIN 25th August: it must END in six weeks thereafter, by law of the land.] A question weighty to Poland. And not likely to be settled by Poland alone or chiefly; the sublime Republic, with LIBERUM VETO, and Diets capable only of anarchic noise, having now reached such a stage that its Neighbors everywhere stood upon its skirts; asking, 'Whitherward, then, with your anarchy? Not this way;--we say, that way!'-and were apt to get to battle about it, before such a thing could be settled. A house, in your street, with perpetual smoke coming through the slates of it, is not a pleasant house to be neighbor to! One honest interest the neighbors have, in an Election Crisis there, That the house do not get on fire, and kindle them. Dishonest interests, in the way of theft and otherwise, they may have without limit.
"The poor house, during last Election Crisis,--when August the Strong was flung out, and Stanislaus brought in; Crisis presided over by Charles XII., with Czar Peter and others hanging on the outskirts, as Opposition party,--fairly got into flame; [Description of it in Kohler, _Munzbelustigungen,_ vi. 228-230.] but was quenched down again by that stout Swede; and his Stanislaus, a native Pole, was left peaceably as King for the years then running. Years ran; and Stanislaus was thrown out, Charles himself being thrown out; and had to make way for August the Strong again:--an ejected Stanislaus: King only in title; known to most readers of this time. [Stanislaus Lesczinsky, "Woywode of Posen," born 1677: King of Poland, Charles XII. superintending, 1704 (age then 27); driven out 1709, went to Charles XII. at Bender; to Zweibruck, 1714; thence, on Charles's death, to Weissenburg (Alsace, or Strasburg Country): Daughter married to Louis XV., 1725. Age now 56.--Hubner, t. 97; _Histoire de Stanislas I., Roi de Pologlne_ (English Translation, London, 1741), pp. 96-126; &c.]
"Poor man, he has been living in Zweibruck, in Weissenburg and such places, in that Debatable French-German region,--which the French are more and more getting stolen to themselves, in late centuries:--generally on the outskirts of France he lives; having now connections of the highest quality with France. He has had fine Country-houses in that Zweibruck (TWO-BRIDGE, Deux-Ponts) region; had always the ghost of a Court there; plenty of money,--a sinecure Country-gentleman life;--and no complaints have been heard from him. Charles XII., as proprietor of Deux-Ponts, had first of all sent him into those parts for refuge; and in general, easy days have been the lot of Stanislaus there.
"Nor has History spoken of him since, except on one small occasion: when the French Politician Gentlemen, at a certain crisis of their game, chose a Daughter of his to be Wife for young Louis XV., and bring royal progeny, of which they were scarce. This was in 1724-1725; Duc de Bourbon, and other Politicians male and female, finding that the best move. A thing wonderful to the then Gazetteers, for nine days; but not now worth much talk. The good young Lady, it is well known, a very pious creature, and sore tried in her new station, did bring royal progeny enough,--and might as well have held her hand, had she foreseen what would become of them, poor souls! This was a great event for Stanislaus, the sinecure Country-gentleman, in his French-German rustication. One other thing I have read of him, infinitely smaller, out of those ten years: in Zweibruck Country, or somewhere in that French-German region, he 'built a pleasure-cottage,' conceivable to the mind, 'and called it SCHUHFLICK (Shoe-Patch),' [Busching, _Erdbeschreibung,_ v. 1194.]--a name that touches one's fancy on behalf of the innocent soul. Other fact I will not remember of him. He is now to quit Shoe-Patch and his pleasant Weissenburg Castle; to come on the public stage again, poor man; and suffer a second season of mischances and disgraces still worse than the first. As we shall see presently;--a new Polish Election Crisis having come!
"What individual the Polish Grandees would have chosen for King if entirely left alone to do it? is a question not important; and indeed was never asked, in this or in late Elections. Not the individual who could have BEEN a King among them were they, for a long time back, in the habit of seeking after; not him, but another and indeed reverse kind of individual,--the one in whom there lay most NOURISHMENT, nourishment of any kind, even of the cash kind, for a practical Polish Grandee. So that the question was no longer of the least importance, to Poland or the Universe; and in point of fact, the frugal Destinies had ceased to have it put, in that quarter. Not Grandees of Poland; but Intrusive Neighbors, carrying Grandees of Poland 'in their breeches-pocket' (as our phrase is), were the voting parties. To that pass it was come. Under such stern penalty had Poland and its Grandees fallen, by dint of false voting: the frugal Destinies had ceased to ask about their vote; and they were become machines for voting with, or pistols for fighting with, by bad Neighbors who cared to vote! Nor did the frugal Destinies consider that the proper method, either; but had, as we shall see, determined to abolish that too, in about forty years more."
OF THE CANDIDATES; OF THE CONDITIONS. HOW THE ELECTION WENT.
It was under such omens that the Polish Election of 1733 had to transact itself. Austria, Russia, Prussia, as next Neighbors, were the chief voting parties, if they cared to intrude;--which Austria and Russia were clear for doing; Prussia not clear, or not beyond the indispensable or evidently profitable. Seckendorf, and one Lowenwolde the Russian Ambassador at Berlin, had, some time ago, in foresight of this event, done their utmost to bring Friedrich Wilhelm into co-operation,--offering fine baits, "Berg and Julich" again, among others;--but nothing definite came of it: peaceable, reasonably safe Election in Poland, other interest Friedrich Wilhelm has not in the matter; and compliance, not co-operation, is what can be expected of him by the Kaiser and Czarina. Co-operating or even complying, these three could have settled it; and would,--had no other Neighbor interfered. But other neighbors can interfere; any neighbor that has money to spend, or likes to bully in such a matter! And that proved to be the case, in this unlucky instance.
Austria aud Russia, with Prussia complying, had,--a year ago, before the late August's decease, his life seeming then an extremely uncertain one, and foresight being always good,--privately come to an understanding, [31st December, 1731, "Treaty of Lowenwolde" (which never got completed or became valid): Scholl, ii. 223.] in case of a Polish Election:--
"1. That France was to have no hand in it whatever,--no tool of France to be King; or, as they more politely expressed it, having their eye upon Stanislaus, No Piast or native Pole could be eligible.
"2. That neither could August's Son, the new August, who would then be Kurfurst of Saxony, be admitted King of Poland.--And, on the whole,
"3. That an Emanuel Prince of Portugal would be the eligible man." Emanuel of Portugal, King of Portugal's Brother; a gentleman without employment, as his very Title tells us: gentleman never heard of before or since, in those parts or elsewhere, but doubtless of the due harmless quality, as Portugal itself was: he is to be the Polish King,--vote these Intrusive Neighbors. What the vote of Poland itself may be, the Destinies do not, of late, ask; finding it a superfluous question.
So had the Three Neighbors settled this matter:--or rather, I should say, so had Two of them; for Friedrich Wilhelm wanted, now or afterwards, nothing in this Election, but that it should not take fire and kindle him. Two of the Neighbors: and of these two, perhaps we might guess the Kaiser was the principal contriver and suggester; France and Saxony being both hateful to him,--obstinate refusers of the Pragmatic Sanction, to say nothing more. What the Czarina, Anne with the big cheek, specially wanted, I do not learn,--unless it were peaceable hold of Courland; or perhaps merely to produce herself in these parts, as a kind of regulating Pallas, along with the Jupiter Kaiser of Western Europe;--which might have effects by and by.
Emanuel of Portugal was not elected, nor so much as spoken of in the Diet. Nor did one of these Three Regulations take effect; but much the contrary,--other Neighbors having the power to interfere. France saw good to interfere, a rather distant neighbor; Austria, Russia, could not endure the French vote at all; and so the whole world got on fire by the business.
France is not a near Neighbor; but it has a Stanislaus much concerned, who is eminently under the protection of France:--who may be called the "FATHER of France," in a sense, or even the "Grandfather;" his Daughter being Mother of a young creature they call Dauphin, or "Child of France." Fleury and the French Court decide that Stanislaus, Grandfather of France, was once King of Poland: that it will behoove, for various reasons, he be King again. Some say old Fleury did not care for Stanislaus; merely wanted a quarrel with the Kaiser,--having got himself in readiness, "with Lorraine in his eye;" and seeing the Kaiser not ready. It is likelier the hot young spirits, Belleisle and others, controlled old Fleury into it. At all events, Stanislaus is summoned from his rustication; the French Ambassador at Warsaw gets his instructions. French Ambassador opens himself largely, at Warsaw, by eloquent speech, by copious money, on the subject of Stanislaus; finds large audience, enthusiastic receptivity;--and readers will now understand the following chronological phenomena of the Polish Election:--
"AUGUST 25th, 1733. This day the Polish Election begins. So has the Preliminary Diet (kind of Polish CAUCUS) ordered it;--Preliminary Diet itself a very stormy matter; minority like to be 'thrown out of window,' to be 'shot through the head,' on some occasions. [_History of Stanislaus_ (cited above), p. 136.] Actual Election begins; continues SUB DIO, 'in the Field of Wola,' in a very tempestuous fashion; bound to conclude within six weeks. Kaiser has his troops assembled over the border, in Silesia, 'to protect the freedom of election;' Czarina has 30,000 under Marshal Lacy, lying on the edge of Lithuania, bent on a like object; will increase them to 50,000, as the plot thickens.
"So that Emanuel of Portugal is not heard of; and French interference is, with a vengeance,--and Stanislaus, a born Piast, is overwhelmingly the favorite. Intolerable to Austria, to Russia; the reverse to Friedrich Wilhelm, who privately thinks him the right man. And Kurfurst August of Saxony is the other Candidate,--with troops of his own in the distance, but without support in Poland; and depending wholly on the Kaiser and Czarina for his chance. And our 'three settled points' are gone to water in this manner!
"August seeing there was not the least hope in Poland's own vote, judiciously went to the Kaiser first of all: 'Imperial Majesty, I will accept your Pragmatic Sanction root and branch, swallow it whole; make me King of Poland!'--'Done!' answers Imperial Majesty; [16th July, 1733; Treaty in Scholl, ii. 224-231.] brings the Czarina over, by good offers of August's and his;--and now there is an effective Opposition Candidate in the field, with strength of his own, and good backing close at hand. Austrian, Russian Ambassadors at Warsaw lift up their voice, like the French one; open their purse, and bestir themselves; but with no success in the Field of Wola, except to the stirring up of noise and tumult there. They must look to other fields for success. The voice of Wola and of Poland, if it had now a voice, is enthusiastic for Stanislaus.
"SEPTEMBER 7th. A couple of quiet-looking Merchants arrive in Warsaw,--one of whom is Stanislaus in person. Newspapers say he is in the French Fleet of War, which is sailing minatory towards these Coasts: and there is in truth a Gentleman in Stanislaus's clothes on board there;--to make the Newspapers believe. Stanislaus himself drove through Berlin, a day or two ago; gave the sentry a ducat at the Gate, to be speedy with the Passports,--whom Friedrich Wilhelm affected to put under arrest for such negligent speed. And so, on the 10th of the month, Stanislaus being now rested and trimmed; makes his appearance on the Field of Wola itself; and captivates all hearts by the kind look of him. So that, on the second day after, 12th September, 1733, he is, as it were, unanimously elected; with acclamation, with enthusiasm; and sees himself actual King of Poland,--if France send proper backing to continue him there. As, surely, she will not fail?--But there are alarming news that the Russians are advancing: Marshal Lacy with 30,000; and reinforcements in the rear of him.
"SEPTEMBER 22d. Russians advancing more and more, no French help arrived yet, and the enthusiastic Polish Chivalry being good for nothing against regular musketry,--King Stanislaus finds that he will have to quit Warsaw, and seek covert somewhere. Quits Warsaw this day; gets covert in Dantzig. And, in fact, from this 22d of September, day of the autumnal equinox, 1733, is a fugitive, blockaded, besieged Stanislaus: an Imaginary King thenceforth. His real Kingship had lasted precisely ten days.
"OCTOBER 3d. Lacy and his Russians arrive in the suburbs of Warsaw, intent upon 'protecting freedom of election.' Bridges being broken, they do not yet cross the River, but invite the free electors to come across and vote: 'A real King is very necessary,--Stanislaus being an imaginary one, brought in by compulsion, by threats of flinging people out of window, and the like.' The free electors do not cross. Whereupon a small handful, now free enough, and NOT to be thrown out of window, whom Lacy had about him, proceed to elect August of Saxony; he, on the 5th of October, still one day within the legal six weeks, is chosen and declared the real King:--'twelve senators and about six hundred gentlemen' voting for him there, free they in Lacy's quarters, the rest of Poland having lain under compulsion when voting for Stanislaus. That is the Polish Election, so far as Poland can settle it. We said the Destinies had ceased, some time since, to ask Poland for its vote; it is other people who have now got the real power of voting. But that is the correct state of the poll at Warsaw, if important to anybody."
August is crowned in Cracow before long; "August III.," whom we shall meet again in important circumstances. Lacy and his Russians have voted for August; able, they, to disperse all manner of enthusiastic Polish Chivalry; which indeed, we observe, usually stands but one volley from the Russian musketry; and flies elsewhither, to burn and plunder its own domestic enemies. Far and wide, robbery and arson are prevalent in Poland; Stanislaus lying under covert; in Dantzig,--an imaginary King ever since the equinox, but well trusting that the French will give him a plumper vote. French War-fleet is surely under way hither.
POLAND ON FIRE; DANTZIG STANDS SIEGE.
These are the news our Crown-Prince hears at Ruppin, in the first months of his wedded life there. With what interest we may fancy. Brandenburg is next neighbor; and these Polish troubles reach far enough;--the ever-smoking house having taken fire; and all the street threatening to get on blaze. Friedrich Wilhelm, nearest neighbor, stands anxious to quench, carefully sweeping the hot coals across again from his own borders; and will not interfere on one or the other side, for any persuasion.
Dantzig, strong in confidence of French help, refuses to give up Stanislaus when summoned; will stand siege rather. Stands siege, furious lengthy siege,--with enthusiastic defence; "a Lady of Rank firing off the first gun," against the Russian batteries. Of the Siege of Dantzig, which made the next Spring and Summer loud for mankind (February-June, 1734), we shall say nothing,--our own poor field, which also grows loud enough, lying far away from Dantzig,---except:
FIRST, That no French help came, or as good as none; the minatory War-fleet having landed a poor 1,500 men, headed by the Comte de Plelo, who had volunteered along with them; that they attempted one onslaught on the Russian lines, and that Plelo was shot, and the rest were blown to miscellaneous ruin, and had to disappear, not once getting into Dantzig.
SECONDLY, That the Saxons, under Weissenfels, our poor old friend, with proper siege-artillery, though not with enough, did, by effort (end of May), get upon the scene; in which this is to be remarked, that Weissenfels's siege-artillery "came by post;" two big mortars expressly passing through Berlin, marked as part of the Duke of Weissenfels's Luggage. And
THIRDLY, That Munnich, who had succeeded Lacy as Besieging General, and was in hot haste, and had not artillery enough, made unheard-of assaults (2,000 men, some say 4,000, lost in one night-attack upon a post they call the Hagelberg; rash attack, much blamed by military men); [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 2d, p. 31.]--but nevertheless, having now (by Russian Fleet, middle of June) got siege-artillery enough, advances irrepressibly day by day.
So that at length, things being now desperate, Stanislaus, disguised as a cattle-dealer, privately quitted Dantzig, night of 27th June, 1734; got across the intricate mud-and-water difficulties of the Weichsel and its mouths, flying perilously towards Preussen and Friedrich Wilhelm's protection. [Narrative by himself, in HISTORY, pp. 235-248.] Whereby the Siege of Dantzig ended in chamade, and levying of penalties; penalties severe to a degree, though Friedrich Wilhelm interceded what he could. And with the Siege of Dantzig, the blazing Polish Election went out in like manner; [Clear account, especially of Siege, in Mannstein (pp. 71-83), who was there as Munnich's Aide-de-damp.]--having already kindled, in quarters far away from it, conflagrations quite otherwise interesting to us. Whitherward we now hasten.
Chapter IX. -- KAISER'S SHADOW-HUNT HAS CAUGHT FIRE.
Franz of Lorraine, the young favorite of Fortune, whom we once saw at Berlin on an interesting occasion, was about this time to have married his Imperial Archduchess; Kaiser's consent to be formally demanded and given; nothing but joy and splendor looked for in the Court of Vienna at present. Nothing to prevent it,--had there been no Polish Election; had not the Kaiser, in his Shadow-Hunt (coursing the Pragmatic Sanction chiefly, as he has done these twenty years past), gone rashly into that combustible foreign element. But so it is: this was the fatal limit. The poor Kaiser's Shadow-Hunt, going Scot-free this long while, and merely tormenting other people, has, at this point, by contact with inflammable Poland, unexpectedly itself caught fire; goes now plunging, all in mad flame, over precipices one knows not how deep: and there will be a lamentable singeing and smashing before the Kaiser get out of this, if he ever get! Kaiser Karl, from this point, plunges down and down, all his days; and except in that Shadow of a Pragmatic Sanction, if he can still save that, has no comfort left. Marriages are not the thing to be thought of at present!--
Scarcely had the news of August's Election, and Stanislaus's flight to Dantzig, reached France, when France, all in a state of readiness, informed the Kaiser, ready for nothing, his force lying in Silesia, doing the Election functions on the Polish borders there, "That he the Kaiser had, by such treatment of the Grandfather of France and the Polish Kingdom fairly fallen to him, insulted the most Christian Majesty; that in consequence the most Christian Majesty did hereby declare War against the said Kaiser,"--and in fact had, that very day (14th of October, 1733), begun it. Had marched over into Lorraine, namely, secured Lorraine against accidents; and, more specially, gone across from Strasburg to the German side of the Rhine, and laid siege to Kehl. Kehl Fortress; a dilapidated outpost of the Reich there, which cannot resist many hours. Here is news for the Kaiser, with his few troops all on the Polish borders; minding his neighbors' business, or chasing Pragmatic Sanction, in those inflammable localities.
Pacific Fleury, it must be owned, if he wanted a quarrel with the Kaiser, could not have managed it on more advantageous terms. Generals, a Duc de Berwick, a Noailles, Belleisle; generals, troops, artillery, munitions, nothing is wanting to Fleury; to the Kaiser all things. It is surmised, the French had their eye on Lorraine, not on Stanislaus, from the first. For many centuries, especially for these last two,--ever since that Siege of Metz, which we once saw, under Kaiser Karl V. and Albert Alcibiades,--France has been wrenching and screwing at this Lorraine, wriggling it off bit by bit; till now, as we perceived on Lyttelton junior of Hagley's visit, Lorraine seems all lying unscrewed; and France, by any good opportunity, could stick it in her pocket. Such opportunity sly Fleury contrived, they say;--or more likely it might be Belleisle and the other adventurous spirits that urged it on pacific Fleury;--but, at all events, he has got it. Dilapidated Kehl yields straightway: [29th October, 1733. _Memoires du Marechal de Berwick_ (in Petitot'e Collection, Paris, 1828), ii. 303.] Sardinia, Spain, declare alliance with Fleury; and not Lorraine only, and the Swabian Provinces, but Italy itself lies at his discretion,--owing to your treatment of the Grandfather of France, and these Polish Elective methods.
The astonished Kaiser rushes forward to fling himself into the arms of the Sea-Powers, his one resource left: "Help! moneys, subsidies, ye Sea-Powers!" But the Sea-Powers stand obtuse, arms not open at all, hands buttoning their pockets: "Sorry we cannot, your Imperial Majesty. Fleury engages not to touch the Netherlands, the Barrier Treaty; Polish Elections are not our concern!" and callously decline. The Kaiser's astonishment is extreme; his big heart swelling even with a martyr-feeling; and he passionately appeals: "Ungrateful, blind Sea-Powers! No money to fight France, say you? Are the Laws of Nature fallen void?" Imperial astonishment, sublime martyr-feeling, passionate appeals to the Laws of Nature, avail nothing with the blind Sea-Powers: "No money in us," answer they: "we will help you to negotiate."--"Negotiate!" answers he: and will have to pay his own Election broken-glass, with a sublime martyr-feeling, without money from the Sea-Powers.
Fleury has got the Sardinian Majesty; "Sardinian doorkeeper of the Alps," who opens them now this way, now that, for a consideration: "A slice of the Milanese, your Majesty;" bargains Fleury. Fleury has got the Spanish Majesty (our violent old friend the Termagant of Spain) persuaded to join: "Your infant Carlos made Duke of Parma and Piacenza, with such difficulty: what is that? Naples itself, crown of the Two Sicilies, lies in the wind for Carlos;--and your junior infant, great Madam, has he no need of apanages?" The Termagant of Spain, "offended by Pragmatic Sanction" (she says), is ready on those terms; the Sardinian Majesty is ready: and Fleury, this same October, with an overwhelming force, Spaniards and Sardinians to join, invades Italy; great Marshal Villars himself taking the command. Marshal Villars, an extremely eminent old military gentleman,--somewhat of a friend, or husband of a lady-friend, to M. de Voltaire, for one thing;--and capable of slicing Italy to pieces at a fine rate, in the condition it was in.
Never had Kaiser such a bill of broken-glass to pay for meddling in neighbors, elections before. The year was not yet ended, when Villars and the Sardinian Majesty had done their stroke on Lombardy; taken Milan Citadel, taken Pizzighetone, the Milanese in whole, and appropriated it; swept the poor unprepared Kaiser clear out of those parts. Baby Carlos and the Spaniards are to do the Two Sicilies, Naples or the land one to begin with, were the Winter gone. For the present, Louis XV. "sings TE DEUM, at Paris, 23d December, 1733" [_Fastes du Regne de Louis XV._] Villars, now above four-score, soon died of those fatigues; various Marshals, Broglio, Coigny, Noailles, succeeding him, some of whom are slightly notable to us; and there was one Maillebois, still a subordinate under them, whose name also may reappear in this History.
SUBSEQUENT COURSE OF THE WAR, IN THE ITALIAN PART OF IT.
The French-Austrian War, which had now broken out, lasted a couple of years; the Kaiser steadily losing, though he did his utmost; not so much a War, on his part, as a Being Beaten and Being Stript. The Scene was Italy and the Upper-Rhine Country of Germany; Italy the deciding scene; where, except as it bears on Germany, our interest is nothing, as indeed in Germany too it is not much. The principal events, on both stages, are chronologically somewhat as follows;--beginning with Italy:--
MARCH 29th, 1734. Baby Carlos with a Duke of Montemar for General, a difficult impetuous gentleman, very haughty to the French allies and others, lands in Naples Territory; intending to seize the Two Sicilies, according to bargain. They find the Kaiser quite unprepared, and their enterprise extremely feasible.
"MAY 10th. Baby Carlos--whom we ought to call Don Carlos, who is now eighteen gone, and able to ride the great horse--makes triumphant entry into Naples, having easily swept the road clear; styles himself 'King of the Two Sicilies' (Papa having surrendered him his 'right' there); whom Naples, in all ranks of it, willingly homages as such. Wrecks of Kaiser's forces intrench themselves, rather strongly, at a place called Bitonto, in Apulia, not far off.
"MAY 25th. Montemar, in an impetuous manner, storms them there:--which feat procures for him the title, Duke of Bitonto; and finishes off the First of the Sicilies. And indeed, we may say, finishes Both the Sicilies: our poor Kaiser having no considerable force in either, nor means of sending any; the Sea-Powers having buttoned their pockets, and the Combined Fleet of France and Spain being on the waters there.
"We need only add, on this head, that, for ten months more, Baby Carlos and Montemar went about besieging, Gaeta, Messina, Syracuse; and making triumphal entries;--and that, on the 30th of June, 1735, Baby Carlos had himself fairly crowned at Palermo. [_Fastes de Louis XV., i. 278._] 'King of the Two Sicilies' DE FACTO; in which eminent post he and his continue, not with much success, to this day.
"That will suffice for the Two Sicilies. As to Lombardy again, now that Villars is out of it, and the Coignys and Broglios have succeeded:--
"JUNE 29th, 1734. Kaiser, rallying desperately for recovery of the Milanese, has sent an Army thither, Graf von Mercy leader of it: Battle of Parma between the French and it (29th June);--totally lost by the Kaiser's people, after furious fighting; Graf von Mercy himself killed in the action. Graf von Mercy, and what comes nearer us, a Prince of Culmbach, amiable Uncle of our Wilhelmina's Husband, a brave man and Austrian Soldier, who was much regretted by Wilhelmina and the rest; his death and obsequies making a melancholy Court of Baireuth in this agitated year. The Kaiser, doing his utmost, is beaten at every point.
"SEPTEMBER 15th. Surprisal of the Secchia. Kaiser's people rally,--under a General Graf von Konigseck worth noting by us,--and after some manoeuvring, in the Guastalla-Modena region, on the Secchia and Po rivers there, dexterously steal across the Secchia that night (15th September), cutting off the small guard-party at the ford of the Secchia, then wading silently; and burst in upon the French Camp in a truly alarming manner. [Hormayr, xx. 84; _Fastes,_ as it is liable to do, misdates.] So that Broglio, in command there, had to gallop with only one boot on, some say 'in his shirt,' till he got some force rallied, and managed to retreat more Parthian-like upon his brother Marechal's Division. Artillery, war-chest, secret correspondence, 'King of Sardinia's tent,' and much cheering plunder beside Broglio's odd boot, were the consequences; the Kaiser's one success in this War; abolished, unluckily, in four days!--The Broglio who here gallops is the second French Marechal of the name, son of the first; a military gentleman whom we shall but too often meet in subsequent stages. A son of this one's, a third Marechal Broglio, present at the Secchia that bad night, is the famous War-god of the Bastille time, fifty-five years hence,--unfortunate old War-god, the Titans being all up about him. As to Broglio with the one boot, it is but a triumph over him till--
"SEPTEMBER 19th. Battle of Guastalla, that day. Battle lost by the Kaiser's people, after eight hours, hot fighting; who are then obliged to hurry across the Secchia again;--and in fact do not succeed in fighting any more in that quarter, this year or afterwards. For, next year (1735), Montemar is so advanced with the Two Sicilies, he can assist in these Northern operations; and Noailles, a better Marechal, replaces the Broglio and Coigny there; who, with learned strategic movements, sieges, threatenings of siege, sweeps the wrecks of Austria, to a satisfactory degree, into the Tyrol, without fighting, or event mentionable thenceforth.
"This is the Kaiser's War of two Campaigns, in the Italian, which was the decisive part of it: a continual Being Beaten, as the reader sees; a Being Stript, till one was nearly bare in that quarter."
COURSE OF THE WAR, IN THE GERMAN PART OF IT.
In Germany the mentionable events are still fewer; and indeed, but for one small circumstance binding on us, we might skip them altogether. For there is nothing comfortable in it to the human memory otherwise.
Marechal Duc de Berwick, a cautious considerable General (Marlborough's Nephew, on what terms is known to readers), having taken Kehl and plundered the Swabian outskirts last Winter, had extensive plans of operating in the heart of Germany, and ruining the Kaiser there. But first he needs, and the Kaiser is aware of it, a "basis on the Rhine;" free bridge over the Rhine, not by Strasburg and Kehl alone: and for this reason, he will have to besiege and capture Philipsburg first of all. Strong Town of Philipsburg, well down towards Speyer-and-Heidelberg quarter on the German side of the Rhine: [See map] here will be our bridge. Lorraine is already occupied, since the first day of the War; Trarbach, strong-place of the Moselle and Electorate of Trier, cannot be difficult to get? Thus were the Rhine Country, on the French side, secure to France; and so Berwick calculates he will have a basis on the Rhine, from which to shoot forth into the very heart of the Kaiser.
Berwick besieged Philipsburg accordingly (Summer and Autumn); Kaiser doing his feeble best to hinder: at the Siege, Berwick lost his life, but Philipsburg surrendered to his successor, all the same;--Kaiser striving to hinder; but in a most paralyzed manner, and to no purpose whatever. And--and this properly WAS the German War; the sum of all done in it during those two years.
Seizure of Nanci (that is, of Lorraine), seizure of Kehl we already heard of; then, prior to Philipsburg, there was siege or seizure of Trarbach by the French; and, posterior to it, seizure of Worms by them; and by the Germans there was "burning of a magazine in Speyer by bombs." And, in brief, on both sides, there was marching and manoeuvring under various generals (our old rusty Seckendorf one of them), till the end of 1735, when the Italian decision arrived, and Truce and Peace along with it; but there was no other action worth naming, even in the Newspapers as a wonder of nine days, The Siege of Philipsburg, and what hung flickering round that operation, before and after, was the sum-total of the German War.
Philipsburg, key of the Rhine in those parts, has had many sieges; nor would this one merit the least history from us; were it not for one circumstance: That our Crown-Prince was of the Opposing Army, and made his first experience of arms there. A Siege of Philipsburg slightly memorable to us, on that one account. What Friedrich did there, which in the military way was as good as nothing; what he saw and experienced there, which, with some "eighty Princes of the Reich," a Prince Eugene for General, and three months under canvas on the field, may have been something: this, in outline, by such obscure indications as remain, we would fain make conceivable to the reader. Indications, in the History-Books, we have as good as none; but must gather what there is from WILHELMINA and the Crown-Prince's LETTERS,--much studying to be brief, were it possible!
Chapter X. -- CROWN-PRINCE GOES TO THE RHINE CAMPAIGN.
The Kaiser--with Kehl snatched from him, the Rhine open, and Louis XV. singing TE DEUM in the Christmas time for what Villars in Italy had done--applied, in passionate haste, to the Reich. The Reich, though Fleury tried to cajole it, and apologize for taking Kehl from it, declares for the Kaiser's quarrel; War against France on his behalf; [13th March, 1734 (Buchholz, i. 131).]--it was in this way that Friedrich Wilhelm and our Crown-Prince came to be concerned in the Rhine Campaign. The Kaiser will have a Reich's-Army (were it good for much, as is not likely) to join to his own Austrian one. And if Prince Eugene, who is Reich's-Feldmarschall, one of the TWO Feldmarschalls, get the Generalship as men hope, it is not doubted but there will be great work on the Rhine, this Summer of 1734.
Unhappily the Reich's-Army, raised from--multifarious contingents, and guided and provided for by many heads, is usually good for little. Not to say that old Kur-Pfalz, with an eye to French help in the Berg-and-Julich matter; old Kur-Pfalz, and the Bavarian set (KUR-BAIERN and KUR-KOLN, Bavaria and Cologne, who are Brothers, and of old cousinship to Kur-Pfalz),--quite refuse their contingents; protest in the Diet, and openly have French leanings. These are bad omens for the Reich's-Army. And in regard to the Reich's-Feldmarschall Office, there also is a difficulty. The Reich, as we hinted, keeps two supreme Feldmarschalls; one Catholic, one Protestant, for equilibrium's sake; illustrious Prince Eugenio von Savoye is the Catholic;--but as to the Protestant, it is a difficulty worth observing for a moment.
Old Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Wurtemberg, the unfortunate old gentleman bewitched by the Gravenitz "Deliver us from evil," used to be the Reich's-Feldmarschall of Protestant persuasion;--Commander-in-Chief for the Reich, when it tried fighting. Old Eberhard had been at Blenheim, and had marched up and down: I never heard he was much of a General; perhaps good enough for the Reich, whose troops were always bad. But now that poor Duke, as we intimated once or more, is dead; there must be, of Protestant type, a new Reich's-Feldmasschall had. One Catholic, unequalled among Captains, we already have; but where is the Protestant, Duke Eberhard being dead?
Duke Eberhard's successor in Wurtemberg, Karl Alexander by name, whom we once dined with at Prag on the Kladrup journey, he, a General of some worth, would be a natural person. Unluckily Duke Karl Alexander had, while an Austrian Officer and without outlooks upon Protestant Wurtemberg, gone over to Papacy, and is now Catholic. "Two Catholic Feldmarschalls!" cries the CORPUS EVANGELICORUM; "that will never do!"
Well, on the other or Protestant side there appear two Candidates; one of them not much expected by the reader: no other than Ferdinand Duke of Brunswick-Bevern, our Crown-Prince's Father-in-law; whom we knew to be a worthy man, but did not know to be much of a soldier, or capable of these ambitious views. He is Candidate First. Then there is a Second, much more entitled: our gunpowder friend the Old Dessauer; who, to say nothing of his soldier qualities, has promises from the Kaiser,--he surely were the man, if it did not hurt other people's feelings. But it surely does and will. There is Ferdinand of Bevern applying upon the score of old promises too. How can people's feelings be saved? Protestants these two last: but they cannot both have it; and what will Wurtemberg say to either of them? The Reich was in very great affliction about this preliminary matter. But Friedrich Wilhelm steps in with a healing recipe: "Let there be four Reich's-Feldmarschalls," said Friedrich Wilhelm; "two Protestant and two Catholic: won't that do?"--Excellent! answers the Reich: and there are four Feldmarschalls for the time being; no lack of commanders to the Reich's-Army. Brunswick-Bevern tried it first; but only till Prince Eugene were ready, and indeed he had of himself come to nothing before that date. Prince Eugene next; then Karl Alexander next; and in fact they all might have had a stroke at commanding, and at coming to nothing or little,--only the Old Dessauer sulked at the office in this its fourfold state, and never would fairly have it, till, by decease of occupants, it came to be twofold again. This glimpse into the distracted effete interior of the poor old Reich and its Politics, with friends of ours concerned there, let it be welcome to the reader. [_Leopoldi von Anhalt-Dessau Leben_ (by Ranfft), p. 127; Buchholz, i. 131.]
Friedrich Wilhelm was without concern in this War, or in what had led to it. Practical share in the Polish Election (after that preliminary theoretic program of the Kaiser's and Czarina's went to smoke) Friedrich Wilhelm steadily refused to take: though considerable offers were made him on both sides,--offer of West Preussen (Polish part of Prussia, which once was known to us) on the French side. [By De la Chetardie, French Ambassador at Berlin (Buchholz, i. 130).] But his primary fixed resolution was to stand out of the quarrel; and he abides by that; suppresses any wishes of his own in regard to the Polish Election;--keeps ward on his own frontiers, with good military besom in hand, to sweep it out again if it intruded there. "What King you like, in God's name; only don't come over my threshold with his brabbles and him!"
But seeing the Kaiser got into actual French War, with the Reich consenting, he is bound, by Treaty of old date (date older than WUSTERHAUSEN, though it was confirmed on that famous occasion), "To assist the Kaiser with ten thousand men;" and this engagement he intends amply to fulfil. No sooner, therefore, had the Reich given sure signs of assenting ("Reich's assent" is the condition of the ten thousand), than Friedrich Wilhelm's orders were out, "Be in readiness!" Friedrich Wilhelm, by the time of the Reich's actual assent, or Declaration of War on the Kaiser's behalf, has but to lift his finger: squadrons and battalions, out of Pommern, out of Magdeburg, out of Preussen, to the due amount, will get on march whitherward you bid, and be with you there at the day you indicate, almost at the hour. Captains, not of an imaginary nature, these are always busy; and the King himself is busy over them. From big guns and wagon-horses down to gun-flints and gaiter-straps, all is marked in registers; nothing is wanting, nothing out of its place at any time, in Friedrich Wilhelm's Army.
From an early period, the French intentions upon Philipsburg might be foreseen or guessed: and in the end of March, Marechal Berwick, "in three divisions," fairly appears in that quarter; his purpose evident. So that the Reich's-Army, were it in the least ready, ought to rendezvous, and reinforce the handful of Austrians there. Friedrich Wilhelm's part of the Reich's-Army does accordingly straightway get on march; leaves Berlin, after the due reviewing, "8th April:" [Fassmann, p. 495.] eight regiments of it, three of Horse and five of Foot, Goltz Foot-regiment one of them;--a General Roder, unexceptionable General, to command in chief;--and will arrive, though the farthest off, "first of all the Reich's-Contingents;" 7th of June, namely. The march, straight south, must be some four hundred miles.
Besides the Official Generals, certain high military dignitaries, Schulenburg, Bredow, Majesty himself at their head, propose to go as volunteers;--especially the Crown-Prince, whose eagerness is very great, has got liberty to go. "As volunteer" he too: as Colonel of Goltz, it might have had its unsuitabilities, in etiquette and otherwise. Few volunteers are more interested than the Crown-Prince. Watching the great War-theatre uncurtain itself in this manner, from Dantzig down to Naples; and what his own share in it shall be: this, much more than his Marriage, I suppose, has occupied his thoughts since that event. Here out of Ruppin, dating six or seven weeks before the march of the Ten Thousand, is a small sign, one among many, of his outlooks in this matter. Small Note to his Cousin, Margraf Heinrich, the ill-behaved Margraf, much his comrade, who is always falling into scrapes; and whom he has just, not without difficulty, got delivered out of something of the kind. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 2d, pp. 8, 9.] He writes in German and in the intimate style of THOU:--
"RUPPIN. 23d FEBRUARY, 1734. MY DEAR BROTHER,--I can with pleasure answer that the King hath spoken of thee altogether favorably to me [scrape now abolished, for the time]:--and I think it would not have an ill effect, wert thou to apply for leave to go with the ten thousand whom he is sending to the Rhine, and do the Campaign with them as volunteer. I am myself going with that corps; so I doubt not the King would allow thee.
"I take the freedom to send herewith a few bottles of Champagne; and wish" all manner of good things.
[Ib. xxvii. part 2d, p. 10.]
This Margraf Heinrich goes; also his elder Brother, Margraf Friedrich Wilhelm,--who long persecuted Wilhelmina with his hopes; and who is now about getting Sophie Dorothee, a junior Princess, much better than he merits: Betrothal is the week after these ten thousand march; [16th April, 1734 (Ib. part 1st, p. 14 n).] he thirty, she fifteen. He too will go; as will the other pair of Cousin Margraves,--Karl, who was once our neighbor in Custrin; and the Younger Friedrich Wilhelm, whose fate lies at Prag if he knew it. Majesty himself will go as volunteer. Are not great things to be done, with Eugene for General?--To understand the insignificant Siege of Philipsburg, sum-total of the Rhine Campaign, which filled the Crown-Prince's and so many other minds brimful; that Summer, and is now wholly out of every mind, the following Excerpt may be admissible:--
"The unlucky little Town of Philipsburg, key of the Rhine in that quarter, fortified under difficulties by old Bishops of Speyer who sometimes resided there, [Kohler, _Munzbelustigungen,_ vi. 169.] has been dismantled and refortified, has had its Rhine-bridge torn down and set up again; been garrisoned now by this party, now by that, who had 'right of garrison there;' nay France has sometimes had 'the right of garrison;'--and the poor little Town has suffered much, and been tumbled sadly about in the Succession-wars and perpetual controversies between France and Germany in that quarter. In the time we are speaking of, it has a 'flying-bridge' (of I know not what structure), with fortified 'bridge-head (TETE-DE-PONT,)' on the western or France-ward side of the River. Town's bulwarks, and complex engineering defences, are of good strength, all put in repair for this occasion: Reich and Kaiser have an effective garrison there, and a commandant determined on defence to the uttermost: what the unfortunate Inhabitants, perhaps a thousand or so in number, thought or did under such a visitation of ruin and bombshells, History gives not the least hint anywhere. 'Quite used to it!' thinks History, and attends to other points.
"The Rhine Valley here is not of great breadth: eastward the heights rise to be mountainous in not many miles. By way of defence to this Valley, in the Eugene-Marlborough Wars, there was, about forty miles southward, or higher up the River than Philipsburg, a military line or chain of posts; going from Stollhofen, a boggy hamlet on the Rhine, with cunning indentations, and learned concatenation of bog and bluff, up into the inaccessibilities,--LINES OF STOLLHOFEN, the name of it,--which well-devised barrier did good service for certain years. It was not till, I think, the fourth year of their existence, year 1707, that Villars, the same Villars who is now in Italy, 'stormed the Lines of Stollhofen;' which made him famous that year.
"The Lines of Stollhofen have now, in 1734, fallen flat again; but Eugene remembers them, and, I could guess, it was he who suggests a similar expedient. At all events, there is a similar expedient fallen upon: LINES OF ETTLINGEN this time; one-half nearer Philipsburg; running from Muhlburg on the Rhine-brink up to Ettlingen in the Hills. [See map] Nearer, by twenty miles; and, I guess, much more slightly done. We shall see these Lines of Ettlingen, one point of them, for a moment:--and they would not be worth mentioning at all, except that in careless Books they too are called 'Lines of STOLLHOFEN,' [Wilhelmina (ii. 206), for instance; who, or whose Printer, call them "Lines of STOKOFF" even.] and the ingenuous reader is sent wandering on his map to no purpose."
"Lines of ETTLINGEN" they are; related, as now said, to the Stollhofen set. Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Bevern, one of the four Feldmarschalls, has some ineffectual handful of Imperial troops dotted about, within these Lines and on the skirts of Philipsburg;--eagerly waiting till the Reich's-Army gather to him; otherwise he must come to nothing. Will at any rate, I should think, be happy to resign in favor of Prince Eugene, were that little hero once on the ground.
On Mayday, Marechal Berwick, who has been awake in this quarter, "in three divisions," for a month past,--very impatient till Belleisle with the first division should have taken Trarbach, and made the Western interior parts secure,--did actually cross the Rhine, with his second division, "at Fort Louis," well up the River, well south of Philipsburg; intending to attack the Lines of Ettlingen, and so get in upon the Town. There is a third division, about to lay pontoons for itself a good way farther down, which will attack the Lines simultaneously from within,--that is to say, shall come upon the back of poor Bevern and his defensive handful of troops, and astonish him there. All prospers to Berwick in this matter: Noailles his lieutenant (not yet gone to Italy till next year), with whom is Maurice Comte de Saxe (afterwards Marechal de Saxe), an excellent observant Officer, marches up to Ettlingen, May 3d; bivouacs "at the base of the mountain" (no great things of a mountain); ascends the same in two columns, horse and foot, by the first sunlight next morning; forms on a little plain on the top; issues through a thin wood,--and actually beholds those same LINES OF ETTLINGEN, the outmost eastern end of them: a somewhat inconsiderable matter, after all! Here is Noailles's own account:--
"These retrenchments, made in Turk fashion, consisted of big trees set zigzag (EN ECHIQUIER), twisted together by the branches; the whole about five fathoms thick. Inside of it were a small forlorn of Austrians: these steadily await our grenadiers, and do not give their volley till we are close. Our grenadiers receive their volley; clear the intertwisted trees, after receiving a second volley (total loss seventy-five killed and wounded); and--the enemy quits his post; and the Lines of Ettlingen ARE stormed!" [Noailles, _Memoires_ (in Petitot's Collection), iii. 207.] This is not like storming the Lines of Stollhofen; a thing to make Noailles famous in the Newspapers for a year. But it was a useful small feat, and well enough performed on his part. The truth is, Berwick was about attacking the Lines simultaneously on the other or Muhlburg end of them (had not Noailles, now victorious, galloped to forbid); and what was far more considerable, those other French, to the northward, "upon pontoons," are fairly across; like to be upon the BACK of Duke Ferdinand and his handful of defenders. Duke Ferdinand perceives that he is come to nothing; hastily collects his people from their various posts; retreats with them that same night, unpursued, to Heilbronn; and gives up the command to Prince Eugene, who is just arrived there,--who took quietly two pinches of snuff on hearing this news of Ettlingen, and said, "No matter, after all!"
Berwick now forms the Siege, at his discretion; invests Philipsburg, 13th May; [Berwick, ii. 312; 23d, says Noailles's Editor (iii. 210).] begins firing, night of the 3d-4th June;--Eugene waiting at Heilbronn till the Reich's-Army come up. The Prussian ten thousand do come, all in order, on the 7th: the rest by degrees, all later, and all NOT quite in order. Eugene, the Prussians having joined him, moves down towards Philipsburg and its cannonading; encamps close to rearward of the besieging French. "Camp of Wiesenthal" they call it; Village of Wiesenthal with bogs, on the left, being his head-quarters; Village of Waghausel, down near the River, a five miles distance, being his limit on the right. Berwick, in front, industriously battering Philipsburg into the River, has thrown up strong lines behind him, strongly manned, to defend himself from Eugene; across the River, Berwick has one Bridge, and at the farther end one battery with which he plays upon the rear of Philipsburg. He is much criticised by unoccupied people, "Eugene's attack will ruin us on those terms!"--and much incommoded by overflowings of the Rhine; Rhine swoln by melting of the mountain-snows, as is usual there. Which inundations Berwick had well foreseen, though the War-minister at Paris would not: "Haste!" answered the War-minister always: "We shall be in right time. I tell you there have fallen no snows this winter: how can inundation be?"--"Depends on the heat," said Berwick; "there are snows enough always in stock up there!"
And so it proves, though the War-minister would not believe; and Berwick has to take the inundations, and to take the circumstances;--and to try if, by his own continual best exertions, he can but get Philipsburg into the bargain. On the 12th of June, visiting his posts, as he daily does, the first thing, Berwick stept out of the trenches, anxious for clear view of something; stept upon "the crest of the sap," a place exposed to both French and Austrian batteries, and which had been forbidden to the soldiers,--and there, as he anxiously scanned matters through his glass, a cannon-ball, unknown whether French or Austrian, shivered away the head of Berwick; left others to deal with the criticisms, and the inundations, and the operations big or little, at Philipsburg and elsewhere! Siege went on, better or worse, under the next in command; "Paris in great anxiety," say the Books.
It is a hot siege, a stiff defence; Prince Eugene looks on, but does not attack in the way apprehended. Southward in Italy, we hear there is marching, strategying in the Parma Country; Graf von Mercy likely to come to an action before long. Northward, Dantzig by this time is all wrapt in fire-whirlwinds; its sallyings and outer defences all driven in; mere torrents of Russian bombs raining on it day and night; French auxiliaries, snapt up at landing, are on board Russian ships; and poor Stanislaus and "the Lady of Quality who shot the first gun" have a bad outlook there. Towards the end of the month, the Berlin volunteer Generals, our Crown-Prince and his Margraves among them, are getting on the road for Philipsburg;--and that is properly the one point we are concerned with. Which took effect in manner following.
Tuesday evening, 29th June, there is Ball at Monbijou; the Crown-Prince and others busy dancing there, as if nothing special lay ahead. Nevertheless, at three in the morning he has changed his ball-dress for a better, he and certain more; and is rushing southward, with his volunteer Generals and Margraves, full speed, saluted by the rising sun, towards Philipsburg and the Seat of War. And the same night, King Stanislaus, if any of us cared for him, is on flight from Dantzig, "disguised as a cattle-dealer;" got out on the night of Sunday last, Town under such a rain of bombshells being palpably too hot for him: got out, but cannot get across the muddy intricacies of the Weichsel; lies painfully squatted up and down, in obscure alehouses, in that Stygian Mud-Delta,--a matter of life and death to get across, and not a boat to be had, such the vigilance of the Russian. Dantzig is capitulating, dreadful penalties exacted, all the heavier as no Stanislaus is to be found in it; and search all the keener rises in the Delta after him. Through perils and adventures of the sort usual on such occasions, [Credible modest detail of them, in a LETTER from Stanislaus himself (_History of Stanislaus,_ already cited, pp. 235-248).] Stanislaus does get across; and in time does reach Preussen; where, by Friedrich Wilhelm's order, safe opulent asylum is afforded him, till the Fates (when this War ends) determine what is to become of the poor Imaginary Majesty. We leave him, squatted in the intricacies of the Mud-Delta, to follow our Crown-Prince, who in the same hour is rushing far elsewhither.
Margraves, Generals and he, in their small string of carriages, go on, by extra-post, day and night; no rest till they get to Hof, in the Culmbach neighborhood, a good two hundred miles off,--near Wilhelmina, and more than half-way to Philipsburg. Majesty Friedrich Wilhelm is himself to follow in about a week: he has given strict order against waste of time: "Not to part company; go together, and NOT by Anspach or Baireuth,"--though they lie almost straight for you.
This latter was a sore clause to Friedrich, who had counted all along on seeing his dear faithful Wilhelmina, as he passed: therefore, as the Papa's Orders, dangerous penalty lying in them, cannot be literally disobeyed, the question rises, How see Wilhelmina and not Baireuth? Wilhelmina, weak as she is and unfit for travelling, will have to meet him in some neutral place, suitablest for both. After various shiftings, it has been settled between them that Berneck, a little town twelve miles from Baireuth on the Hof road, will do; and that Friday, probably early, will be the day. Wilhelmina, accordingly, is on the road that morning, early enough; Husband with her, and ceremonial attendants, in honor of such a Brother; morning is of sultry windless sort; day hotter and hotter;--at Berneck is no Crown-Prince, in the House appointed for him; hour after hour, Wilhelmina waits there in vain. The truth is, one of the smallest accidents has happened: the Generals "lost a wheel at Gera yesterday;" were left behind there with their smiths, have not yet appeared; and the insoluble question among Friedrich and the Margraves is, "We dare not go on without them, then? We dare;--dare we?" Question like to drive Friedrich mad, while the hours, at any rate, are slipping on! Here are three Letters of Friedrich, legible at last; which, with Wilhelmina's account from the other side, represent a small entirely human scene in this French-Austrian War,--nearly all of human we have found in the beggarly affair:--
1. TO PRINCESS WILHELMINA, AT BAIREUTH, OR ON THE ROAD TO BERNECK.
"HOF, 2d July [not long after 4 a.m.], 1794.
"MY DEAR SISTER,--Here am I within six leagues [say eight or more, twenty-five miles English] of a Sister whom I love; and I have to decide that it will be impossible to see her, after all!"--Does decide so, accordingly, for reasons known to us.
"I have never so lamented the misfortune of not depending on myself as at this moment! The King being but very sour-sweet on my score, I dare not risk the least thing; Monday come a week, when he arrives himself, I should have a pretty scene (SERAIS JOLIMENT TRAITE) in the Camp, if I were found to have disobeyed orders.
"... The Queen commands me to give you a thousand regards from her. She appeared much affected at your illness; but for the rest, I could not warrant you how sincere it was; for she is totally changed, and I have quite lost reckoning of her (N'Y CONNAIS RIEN). That goes so far that she has done me hurt with the King, all she could: however, that is over now. As to Sophie [young Sister just betrothed to the eldest Margraf whom you know], she also is no longer the same; for she approves all that the Queen says or does; and she is charmed with her big clown (GROS NIGAUD) of a Bridegroom.
"The King is more difficult than ever; he is content with nothing, so as to have lost whatsoever could be called gratitude for all pleasures one can do him,"--marrying against one's will, and the like. "As to his health, it is one day better, another worse; but the legs, they are always swelled, Judge what my joy must be to get out of that turpitude,--for the King will only stay a fortnight, at most, in the Camp.
"Adieu, my adorable Sister: I am so tired, I cannot stir; having left on Tuesday night, or rather Wednesday morning at three o'clock, from a Ball at Monbijou, and arrived here this Friday morning at four. I recommend myself to your gracious remembrance; and am, for my own part, till death, dearest Sister,"--
[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 13.]
This is Letter First; written Friday morning, on the edge of getting into bed, after such fatigue; and it has, as natural in that mood, given up the matter in despair. It did not meet Wilhelmina on the road; and she had left Baireuth;--where it met her, I do not know; probably at home, on her return, when all was over. Let Wilhelmina now speak her own lively experiences of that same Friday:--
"I got to Berneck at ten. The heat was excessive; I found myself quite worn out with the little journey I had done. I alighted at the House which had been got ready for my Brother. We waited for him, and in vain waited, till three in the afternoon. At three we lost patience; had dinner served without him. Whilst we were at table, there came on a frightful thunder-storm. I have witnessed nothing so terrible: the thunder roared and reverberated among the rocky cliffs which begirdle Berneck; and it seemed as if the world was going to perish: a deluge of rain succeeded the thunder.
"It was four o'clock; and I could not understand what had become of my Brother. I had sent out several persons on horseback to get tidings of him, and none of them came back. At length, in spite of all my prayers, the Hereditary Prince [my excellent Husband] himself would go in search. I remained waiting till nine at night, and nobody returned. I was in cruel agitations: these cataracts of rain are very dangerous in the mountain countries; the roads get suddenly overflowed, and there often happen misfortunes. I thought for certain, there had one happened to my Brother or to the Hereditary Prince." Such a 2d of July, to poor Wilhelmina!
"At last, about nine, somebody brought word that my Brother had changed his route, and was gone to Culmbach [a House of ours, lying westward, known to readers]; there to stay overnight. I was for setting out thither,--Culmbach is twenty miles from Berneck; but the roads are frightful," White Mayn, still a young River, dashing through the rock-labyrinths there, "and full of precipices:--everybody rose in opposition, and, whether I would or not, they put me into the carriage for Himmelkron [partly on the road thither], which is only about ten miles off. We had like to have got drowned on the road; the waters were so swoln [White Mayn and its angry brooks], the horses could not cross but by swimming.
"I arrived at last, about one in the morning. I instantly threw myself on a bed. I was like to die with weariness; and in mortal terrors that something had happened to my Brother or the Hereditary Prince. This latter relieved me on his own score; he arrived at last, about four o'clock,--had still no news farther of my Brother. I was beginning to doze a little, when they came to warn me that 'M. von Knobelsdorf wished to speak with me from the Prince-Royal.' I darted out of bed, and ran to him. He," handing me a Letter, "brought word that"--
But let us now give Letter Second, which has turned up lately, and which curiously completes the picture here. Friedrich, on rising refreshed with sleep at Hof, had taken a cheerfuler view; and the Generals still lagging rearward, he thinks it possible to see Wilhelmina after all. Possible; and yet so very dangerous,--perhaps not possible? Here is a second Letter written from Munchberg, some fifteen miles farther on, at an after period of the same Friday: purport still of a perplexed nature, "I will, and I dare not;"--practical outcome, of itself uncertain, is scattered now by torrents and thunderstorms. This is the Letter, which Knobelsdorf now hands to Wilhelmina at that untimely hour of Saturday:--
2. TO PRINCESS WILHELMINA (by Knobelsdorf).
"MUNCHBERG, 2d July, 1754.
"MY DEAREST SISTER,--I am in despair that I cannot satisfy my impatience and my duty,--to throw myself at your feet this day. But alas, dear Sister, it does not depend on me: we poor Princes, "the Margraves and I," are obliged to wait here till our Generals [Bredow, Schulenburg and Company] come up; we dare not go along without them. They broke a wheel in Gera [fifty miles behind us]; hearing nothing of them since, we are absolutely forced to wait here. Judge in what a mood I am, and what sorrow must be mine! Express order not to go by Baireuth or Anspach:--forbear, dear sister, to torment me on things not depending on myself at all.
"I waver between hope and fear of paying my court to you. I hope it might still be at Berneck," this evening,--"if you could contrive a road into the Nurnberg Highway again; avoiding Baireuth: otherwise I dare not go. The Bearer, who is Captain Knobelsdorf [excellent judicious man, old acquaintance from the Custrin time, who attends upon us, actual Captain once, but now titular merely, given to architecture and the fine arts (Seyfarth (Anonymous), _Lebens-und Regierungs-Geschichte Friedrichs des Andern_ (Leipzig, 1786), ii. 200. _OEuvres de Frederic,_ vii. 33. Preuss, _Friedrich mit seinen Verwandten_ (Berlin. 1838), pp. 8, 17.)], will apprise you of every particular: let Knobelsdorf settle something that may be possible. This is how I stand at present; and instead of having to expect some favor from the King [after what I have done by his order], I get nothing but chagrin. But what is crueler upon me than all, is that you are ill. God, in his grace, be pleased to help you, and restore the precious health which I so much wish you!... FRIEDRICH."
[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part lst, p. 15.]
Judicious Knobelsdorf settles that the meeting is to be this very morning at eight; Wilhelmina (whose memory a little fails her in the insignificant points) does not tell us where: but, by faint indications, I perceive it was in the Lake-House, pleasant Pavilion in the ancient artificial Lake, or big ornamental Fishpond, called BRANDENBURGER WEIHER, a couple of miles to the north of Baireuth: there Friedrich is to stop,--keeping the Paternal Order from the teeth outwards in this manner. Eight o'clock: so that Wilhelmina is obliged at once to get upon the road again,--poor Princess, after such a day and night. Her description of the Interview is very good:--
"My Brother overwhelmed me with caresses; but found me in so pitiable a state, he could not restrain his tears. I was not able to stand on my limbs; and felt like to faint every moment, so weak was I. He told me the King was much angered at the Margraf [my Father-in-Law] for not letting his Son make the Campaign,"--concerning which point, said Son, my Husband, being Heir-Apparent, there had been much arguing in Court and Country, here at Baireuth, and endless anxiety on my poor part, lest he should get killed in the Wars. "I told him all the Margraf's reasons; and added, that surely they were good, in respect of my dear Husband. 'Well,' said he, 'let him quit soldiering, then, and give back his regiment to the King. But for the rest, quiet yourself as to the fears you may have about him if he do go; for I know, by certain information, that there will be no blood spilt.'--'They are at the Siege of Philipsburg, however.'--'Yes,' said my Brother, 'but there will not be a battle risked to hinder it.'
"The Hereditary Prince," my Husband, "came in while we were talking so; and earnestly entreated my Brother to get him away from Baireuth. They went to a window, and talked a long time together. In the end, my Brother told me he would write a very obliging Letter to the Margraf, and give him such reasons in favor of the Campaign, that he doubted not it would turn the scale. 'We will stay together,' said he, addressing the Hereditary Prince; 'and I shall be charmed to have my dear Brother always beside me.' He wrote the Letter; gave it to Baron Stein [Chamberlain or Goldstick of ours], to deliver to the Margraf. He promised to obtain the King's express leave to stop at Baireuth on his return;--after which he went away. It was the last time I saw him on the old footing with me: he has much changed since then!--We returned to Baireuth; where I was so ill that, for three days, they did not think I should get over it." [Wilhelmina, ii. 200-202.]
Crown-Prince dashes off, southwestward, through cross country, into the Nurnberg Road again; gets to Nurnberg that same Saturday night; and there, among other Letters, writes the following; which will wind up this little Incident for us, still in a human manner:--
3. TO PRINCESS WILHELMINA AT BAIREUTH.
"NURNBERG, 3d July, 1734.
"MY DEAREST (TRES-CHERE) SISTER,--It would be impossible to quit this place without signifying, dearest Sister, my lively gratitude for all the marks of favor you showed me in the WEIHERHAUS [House on the Lake, to-day]. The highest of all that it was possible to do, was that of procuring me the satisfaction of paying my court to you. I beg millions of pardons for so putting you about, dearest Sister; but I could not help it; for you know my sad circumstances well enough. In my great joy, I forgot to give you the Enclosed. I entreat you, write me often news of your health! Question the Doctors; and"--and in certain contingencies, the Crown-Prince "would recommend goat's-milk" for his poor Sister. Had already, what was noted of him in after life, a tendency to give medical advice, in cases interesting to him?--
"Adieu, my incomparable and dear Sister. I am always the same to you, and will remain so till my death.
[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part lst, p. 57.]
Generals with their wheel mended, Margraves, Prince and now the Camp Equipage too, are all at Nurnberg; and start on the morrow; hardly a hundred miles now to be done,--but on slower terms, owing to the Equipage. Heilbronn, place of arms or central stronghold of the Reich's-Army, they reach on Monday: about Eppingen, next night, if the wind is westerly, one may hear the cannon,--not without interest. It was Wednesday forenoon, 7th July, 1734, on some hill-top coming down from Eppingen side, that the Prince first saw Philipsburg Siege, blotting the Rhine Valley yonder with its fire and counter-fire; and the Tents of Eugene stretching on this side: first view he ever had of the actualities of war. His account to Papa is so distinct and good, we look through it almost as at first-hand for a moment:--
"CAMP AT WIESENTHAL, Wednesday, 7th July, 1734.
"MOST ALL-GRACIOUS FATHER,--... We left Nurnberg [nothing said of our Baireuth affair], 4th early, and did not stop till Heilbronn; where, along with the Equipage, I arrived on the 5th. Yesterday I came with the Equipage to Eppingen [twenty miles, a slow march, giving the fourgons time]; and this morning we came to the Camp at Wiesenthal. I have dined with General Roder [our Prussian Commander]; and, after dinner, rode with Prince Eugene while giving the parole. I handed him my All-gracious Father's Letter, which much rejoiced him. After the parole, I went to see the relieving of our outposts [change of sentries there], and view the French retrenchment.
"We," your Majesty's Contingent, "are throwing up three redoubts: at one of them today, three musketeers have been miserably shot [GESCHOSSEN, wounded, not quite killed]; two are of Roder's, and one is of Finkenstein's regiment.
"To-morrow I will ride to a village which is on our right wing; Waghausel is the name of it [Busching, v. 1152.] [some five miles off, north of us, near by the Rhine]; there is a steeple there, from which one can see the French Camp; from this point I will ride down, between the two Lines," French and ours, "to see what they are like.
"There are quantities of hurdles and fascines being made; which, as I hear, are to be employed in one of two different plans. The first plan is, To attack the French retrenchment generally; the ditch which is before it, and the morass which lies on our left wing, to be made passable with these fascines. The other plan is, To amuse the Enemy by a false attack, and throw succor into the Town.--One thing is certain, in a few days we shall have a stroke of work here. Happen what may, my All-gracious Father may be assured that" &c., "and that I will do nothing unworthy of him.
[_OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 79.]
Neither of those fine plans took effect; nor did anything take effect, as we shall see. But in regard to that "survey from the steeple of Waghausel, and ride home again between the Lines,"--in regard to that, here is an authentic fraction of anecdote, curiously fitting in, which should not be omitted. A certain Herr van Suhm, Saxon Minister at Berlin, occasionally mentioned here, stood in much Correspondence with the Crown-Prince in the years now following: Correspondence which was all published at the due distance of time; Suhm having, at his decease, left the Prince's Letters carefully assorted with that view, and furnished with a Prefatory "Character of the Prince-Royal _(Portrait du Prince-Royal, par M. de Suhm)."_ Of which Preface this is a small paragraph, relating to the Siege of Philipsburg; offering us a momentary glance into one fibre of the futile War now going on there. Of Suhm, and how exact he was, we shall know a little by and by. Of "Prince von Lichtenstein," an Austrian man and soldier of much distinction afterwards, we have only to say that he came to Berlin next year on Diplomatic business, and that probably enough he had been eye-witness to the little fact,--fact credible perhaps without much proving. One rather regretted there was no date to it, no detail to give it whereabout and fixity in our conception; that the poor little Anecdote, though indubitable, had to hang vaguely in the air. Now, however, the above dated LETTER does, by accident, date Suhm's Anecdote too; date "July 8" as good as certain for it; the Siege itself having ended (July 18) in ten days more. Herr von Suhm writes (not for publication till after Friedrich's death and his own):--
"It was remarked in the Rhine Campaign of 1734, that this Prince has a great deal of intrepidity (BEAUCOUP DE VALEUR). On one occasion, among others [to all appearance, this very day, "July 8," riding home from Waghausel between the lines], when he had gone to reconnoitre the Lines of Philipsburg, with a good many people about him,--passing, on his return, along a strip of very thin wood, the cannon-shot from the Lines accompanied him incessantly, and crashed down several trees at his side; during all which he walked his horse along at the old pace, precisely as if nothing were happening, nor in his hand upon the bridle was there the least trace of motion perceptible. Those who gave attention to the matter remarked, on the contrary, that he did not discontinue speaking very tranquilly to some Generals who accompanied him; and who admired his bearing, in a kind of danger with which he had not yet had occasion to familiarize himself. It is from the Prince von Lichtenstein that I have this anecdote." [_Correspondance de Frederic II. avec M. de Suhm _ (Berlin, 1787); Avant-propos, p. xviii. (written 28th April, 1740). The CORRESPONDANCE is all in _OEuvres de Frederic_ (xvi, 247-408); but the Suhm Preface not.]
On the 15th arrived his Majesty in person, with the Old Dessauer, Buddenbrock, Derschau and a select suite; in hopes of witnessing remarkable feats of war, now that the crisis of Philipsburg was coming on. Many Princes were assembled there, in the like hope: Prince of Orange (honeymoon well ended [Had wedded Princess Anne, George II.'s eldest, 25th (14th) March, 1734; to the joy of self and mankind, in England here.]), a vivacious light gentleman, slightly crooked in the back; Princes of Baden, Darmstadt, Waldeck: all manner of Princes and distinguished personages, fourscore Princes of them by tale, the eyes of Europe being turned on this matter, and on old Eugene's guidance of it. Prince Fred of England, even he had a notion of coming to learn war.
It was about this time, not many weeks ago, that Fred, now falling into much discrepancy with his Father, and at a loss for a career to himself, appeared on a sudden in the Antechamber at St. James's one day; and solemnly demanded an interview with his Majesty. Which his indignant Majesty, after some conference with Walpole, decided to grant. Prince Fred, when admitted, made three demands: 1. To be allowed to go upon the Rhine Campaign, by way of a temporary career for himself; 2. That he might have something definite to live upon, a fixed revenue being suitable in his circumstances; 3. That, after those sad Prussian disappointments, some suitable Consort might be chosen for him,--heart and household lying in such waste condition. Poor Fred, who of us knows what of sense might be in these demands? Few creatures more absurdly situated are to be found in this world. To go where his equals were, and learn soldiering a little, might really have been useful. Paternal Majesty received Fred and his Three Demands with fulminating look; answered, to the first two, nothing; to the third, about a Consort, "Yes, you shall; but be respectful to the Queen;--and now off with you; away!" [Coxe's _Walpole,_ i. 322.]
Poor Fred, he has a circle of hungry Parliamenteers about him; young Pitt, a Cornet of Horse, young Lyttelton of Hagley, our old Soissons friend, not to mention others of worse type; to whom this royal Young Gentleman, with his vanities, ambitions, inexperiences, plentiful inflammabilities, is important for exploding Walpole. He may have, and with great justice I should think, the dim consciousness of talents for doing something better than "write madrigals" in this world; infinitude of wishes and appetites he clearly has;--he is full of inflammable materials, poor youth. And he is the Fireship those older hands make use of for blowing Walpole and Company out of their anchorage. What a school of virtue for a young gentleman;--and for the elder ones concerned with him! He did not get to the Rhine Campaign; nor indeed ever to anything, except to writing madrigals, and being very futile, dissolute and miserable with what of talent Nature had given him. Let us pity the poor constitutional Prince. Our Fritz was only in danger of losing his life; but what is that, to losing your sanity, personal identity almost, and becoming Parliamentary Fireship to his Majesty's Opposition?
Friedrich Wilhelm stayed a month campaigning here; graciously declined Prince Eugene's invitation to lodge in Headquarters, under a roof and within built walls; preferred a tent among his own people, and took the common hardships,--with great hurt to his weak health, as was afterwards found.
In these weeks, the big Czarina, who has set a price (100,000 rubles, say 15,000 pounds) upon the head of poor Stanislaus, hears that his Prussian Majesty protects him; and thereupon signifies, in high terms, That she, by her Feld-marschall Munnich, will come across the frontiers and seize the said Stanislaus. To which his Prussian Majesty answers positively, though in proper Diplomatic tone, "Madam, I will in no wise permit it!" Perhaps his Majesty's remarkablest transaction, here on the Rhine, was this concerning Stanislaus. For Seckendorf the Feldzeugmeister was here also, on military function, not forgetful of the Diplomacies; who busily assailed his Majesty, on the Kaiser's part, in the same direction: "Give up Stanislaus, your Majesty! How ridiculous (LACHERLICH) to be perhaps ruined for Stanislaus!" But without the least effect, now or afterwards.
Poor Stanislaus, in the beginning of July, got across into Preussen, as we intimated; and there he continued, safe against any amount of rubles and Feldmarschalls, entreaties and menaces. At Angerburg, on the Prussian frontier, he found a steadfast veteran, Lieutenant-General von Katte, Commandant in those parts (Father of a certain poor Lieutenant, whom we tragically knew of long ago!)--which veteran gentleman received the Fugitive Majesty, [_Militair-Lexikon,_ ii. 254.] with welcome in the King's name, and assurances of an honorable asylum till the times and roads should clear again for his Fugitive Majesty. Fugitive Majesty, for whom the roads and times were very dark at present, went to Marienwerder; talked of going "to Pillau, for a sea-passage," of going to various places; went finally to Konigsberg, and there--with a considerable Polish Suite of Fugitives, very moneyless, and very expensive, most of them, who had accumulated about him--set up his abode. There for almost two years, in fact till this War ended, the Fugitive Polish Majesty continued; Friedrich Wilhelm punctually protecting him, and even paying him a small Pension (50 pounds a month),--France, the least it could do for the Grandfather of France, allowing a much larger one; larger, though still inadequate. France has left its Grandfather strangely in the lurch here; with "100,000 rubles on his head." But Friedrich Wilhelm knows the sacred rites, and will do them; continues deaf as a door-post alike to the menaces and the entreaties of Kaiser and Czarina; strictly intimating to Munnich, what the Laws of Neutrality are, and that they must be observed. Which, by his Majesty's good arrangements, Munnich, willing enough to the contrary had it been feasible, found himself obliged to comply with. Prussian Majesty, like a King and a gentleman, would listen to no terms about dismissing or delivering up, or otherwise, failing in the sacred rites to Stanislaus; but honorably kept him there till the times and routes cleared themselves again. [Forster, ii. 132, 134-136.] A plain piece of duty; punctually done: the beginning of it falls here in the Camp at Philipsburg, July-August 1734; in May, 1736, we shall see some glimpse of the end!--
His Prussian Majesty in Camp at Philipsburg--so distinguished a volunteer, doing us the honor to encamp here--"was asked to all the Councils-of-war that were held," say the Books. And he did attend, the Crown-Prince and he, on important occasions: but, alas, there was, so to speak, nothing to be consulted of. Fascines and hurdles lay useless; no attempt was made to relieve Philipsburg. On the third day after his Majesty's arrival, July 18th, Philipsburg, after a stiff defence of six weeks, growing hopeless of relief, had to surrender;--French then proceeded to repair Philipsburg, no attempt on Eugene's part to molest them there. If they try ulterior operations on this side the River, he counter-tries; and that is all.
Our Crown-Prince, somewhat of a judge in after years, is maturely of opinion, That the French Lines were by no means inexpugnable; that the French Army might have been ruined under an attack of the proper kind. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ i. 167.] Their position was bad; no room to unfold themselves for fight, except with the Town's cannon playing on them all the while; only one Bridge to get across by, in case of coming to the worse: defeat of them probable, and ruin to them inevitable in case of defeat. But Prince Eugene, with an Army little to his mind (Reich's-Contingents not to be depended on, thought Eugene), durst not venture: "Seventeen victorious Battles, and if we should be defeated in the eighteenth and last?"
It is probable the Old Dessauer, had he been Generalissimo, with this same Army,--in which, even in the Reich's part of it, we know ten thousand of an effective character,--would have done some stroke upon the French; but Prince Eugene would not try. Much dimmed from his former self this old hero; age now 73;--a good deal wearied with the long march through Time. And this very Summer, his Brother's Son, the last male of his House, had suddenly died of inflammatory fever; left the old man very mournful: "Alone, alone, at the end of one's long march; laurels have no fruit, then?" He stood cautious, on the defensive; and in this capacity is admitted to have shown skilful management.
But Philipsburg being taken, there is no longer the least event to be spoken of; the Campaign passed into a series of advancings, retreatings, facing, and then right-about facings,--painful manoeuvrings, on both sides of the Rhine and of the Neckar,--without result farther to the French, without memorability to either side. About the middle of August, Friedrich Wilhelm went away;--health much hurt by his month under canvas, amid Rhine inundations, and mere distressing phenomena. Crown-Prince Friedrich and a select party escorted his Majesty to Mainz, where was a Dinner of unusual sublimity by the Kurfurst there; [15th August (Fassmann, p. 511.)]--Dinner done, his Majesty stept on board "the Electoral Yacht;" and in this fine hospitable vehicle went sweeping through the Binger Loch, rapidly down towards Wesel; and the Crown-Prince and party returned to their Camp, which is upon the Neckar at this time.
Camp shifts about, and Crown-Prince in it: to Heidelberg, to Waiblingen, Weinheim; close to Mainz at one time: but it is not worth following: nor in Friedrich's own Letters, or in other documents, is there, on the best examination, anything considerable to be gleaned respecting his procedures there. He hears of the ill-success in Italy, Battle of Parma at the due date, with the natural feelings; speaks with a sorrowful gayety, of the muddy fatigues, futilities here on the Rhine;--has the sense, however, not to blame his superiors unreasonably. Here, from one of his Letters to Colonel Camas, is a passage worth quoting for the credit of the writer. With Camas, a distinguished Prussian Frenchman, whom we mentioned elsewhere, still more with Madame Camas in time coming, he corresponded much, often in a fine filial manner:--
"The present Campaign is a school, where profit may be reaped from observing the confusion and disorder which reigns in this Army: it has been a field very barren in laurels; and those who have been used, all their life, to gather such, and on Seventeen distinguished occasions have done so, can get none this time." Next year, we all hope to be on the Moselle, and to find that a fruitfuler field... "I am afraid, dear Camas, you think I am going to put on the cothurnus; to set up for a small Eugene, and, pronouncing with a doctoral tone what each should have done and not have done, condemn and blame to right and left. No, my dear Camas; far from carrying my arrogance to that point, I admire the conduct of our Chief, and do not disapprove that of his worthy Adversary; and far from forgetting the esteem and consideration due to persons who, scarred with wounds, have by years and long service gained a consummate experience, I shall hear them more willingly than ever as my teachers, and try to learn from them how to arrive at honor, and what is the shortest road into the secret of this Profession." ["Camp at Heidelberg, 11th September, 1734" (_OEuvres,_ xvi. 131).]
This other, to Lieutenant Groben, three weeks earlier in date, shows us a different aspect; which is at least equally authentic; and may be worth taking with us. Groben is Lieutenant,--I suppose still of the Regiment Goltz, though he is left there behind;--at any rate, he is much a familiar with the Prince at Ruppin; was ringleader, it is thought, in those midnight pranks upon parsons, and the other escapades there; [Busching, v. 20.] a merry man, eight years older than the Prince,--with whom it is clear enough he stands on a very free footing. Philipsburg was lost a month ago; French are busy repairing it; and manoeuvring, with no effect, to get into the interior of Germany a little. Weinheim is a little Town on the north side of the Neckar, a dozen miles or so from Mannheim;--out of which, and into which, the Prussian Corps goes shifting from time to time, as Prince Eugene and the French manoeuvre to no purpose in that Rhine-Neckar Country. "HERDEK TEREMTETEM" it appears, is a bit of Hungarian swearing; should be ORDEK TEREMTETE; and means "The Devil made you!"
[MAP GOES HERE------missing]
"WEINHEIM, 17th August, 1734.
"HERDEK TEREMTETE! 'Went with them, got hanged with them,' [_"Mitgegangen mitgehangen:"_ Letter is in German.] said the Bielefeld Innkeeper! So will it be with me, poor devil; for I go dawdling about with this Army here; and the French will have the better of us. We want to be over the Neckar again [to the South or Philipsburg side], and the rogues won't let us. What most provokes me in the matter is, that while we are here in such a wilderness of trouble, doing our utmost, by military labors and endurances, to make ourselves heroic, thou sittest, thou devil, at home!
"Duc de Bouillon has lost his equipage; our Hussars took it at Landau [other side the Rhine, a while ago]. Here we stand in mud to the ears; fifteen of the Regiment Alt-Baden have sunk altogether in the mud. Mud comes of a water-spout, or sudden cataract of rain, there was in these Heidelberg Countries; two villages, Fuhrenheim and Sandhausen, it swam away, every stick of them (GANZ UND GAR).
"Captain van Stojentin, of Regiment Flans," one of our eight Regiments here, "has got wounded in the head, in an affair of honor; he is still alive, and it is hoped he will get through it.
"The Drill-Demon has now got into the Kaiser's people too: Prince Eugene is grown heavier with his drills than we ourselves. He is often three hours at it;--and the Kaiser's people curse us for the same, at a frightful rate. Adieu. If the Devil don't get thee, he ought. Therefore VALE. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 181.]
No laurels to be gained here; but plenty of mud, and laborious hardship,--met, as we perceive, with youthful stoicism, of the derisive, and perhaps of better forms. Friedrich is twenty-two and some months, when he makes his first Campaign. The general physiognomy of his behavior in it we have to guess from these few indications. No doubt he profited by it, on the military side; and would study with quite new light and vivacity after such contact with the fact studied of. Very didactic to witness even "the confusions of this Army," and what comes of them to Armies! For the rest, the society of Eugene, Lichtenstein, and so many Princes of the Reich, and Chiefs of existing mankind, could not but be entertaining to the young man; and silently, if he wished to read the actual Time, as sure enough he, with human and with royal eagerness, did wish,--they were here as the ALPHABET of it to him: important for years coming. Nay it is not doubted, the insight he here got into the condition of the Austrian Army and its management--"Army left seven days without bread," for one instance--gave him afterwards the highly important notion, that such Army could be beaten if necessary!--
Wilhelmina says, his chief comrade was Margraf Heinrich;--the ILL Margraf; who was cut by Friedrich, in after years, for some unknown bad behavior. Margraf Heinrich "led him into all manner of excesses," says Wilhelmina,--probably in the language of exaggeration. He himself tells her, in one of his LETTERS, a day or two before Papa's departure: "The Camp is soon to be close on Mainz, nothing but the Rhine between Mainz and our right wing, where my place is; and so soon as Serenissimus goes [LE SERENISSIME, so he irreverently names Papa], I mean to be across for some sport," [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 17 (10th August).]--no doubt the Ill Margraf with me! With the Elder Margraf, little Sophie's Betrothed, whom he called "big clown" in a Letter we read, he is at this date in open quarrel,--"BROUILLE A TOUTE OUTRANCE with the mad Son-in-law, who is the wildest wild-beast of all this Camp." [Ibid.]
Wilhelmina's Husband had come, in the beginning of August; but was not so happy as he expected. Considerably cut out by the Ill Heinrich. Here is a small adventure they had; mentioned by Friedrich, and copiously recorded by Wilhelmina: adventure on some River,--which we could guess, if it were worth guessing, to have been the Neckar, not the Rhine. French had a fortified post on the farther side of this River; Crown-Prince, Ill Margraf, and Wilhelmina's Husband were quietly looking about them, riding up the other side: Wilhelmina's Husband decided to take a pencil-drawing of the French post, and paused for that object. Drawing was proceeding unmolested, when his foolish Baireuth Hussar, having an excellent rifle (ARQUEBUSE RAYEE) with him, took it into his head to have a shot at the French sentries at long range. His shot hit nothing; but it awakened the French animosity, as was natural; the French began diligently firing; and might easily have done mischief. My Husband, volleying out some rebuke upon the blockhead of a Hussar, finished his drawing, in spite of the French bullets; then rode up to the Crown-Prince and Ill Margraf, who had got their share of what was going, and were in no good-humor with him. Ill Margraf rounded things into the Crown-Prince's ear, in an unmannerly way, with glances at my Husband;--who understood it well enough; and promptly coerced such ill-bred procedures, intimating, in a polite impressive way, that they would be dangerous if persisted in. Which reduced the Ill Margraf to a spiteful but silent condition. No other harm was done at that time; the French bullets all went awry, or "even fell short, being sucked in by the river," thinks Wilhelmina. [Wilhelmina, ii. 208, 209; _OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 19.]
A more important feature of the Crown-Prince's life in these latter weeks is the news he gets of his father. Friedrich Wilhelm, after quitting the Electoral Yacht, did his reviewing at Wesel, at Bielefeld, all his reviewing in those Rhine and Weser Countries; then turned aside to pay a promised visit to Ginkel the Berlin Dutch Ambassador, who has a fine House in those parts; and there his Majesty has fallen seriously ill. Obliged to pause at Ginkel's, and then at his own Schloss of Moyland, for some time; does not reach Potsdam till the 14th September, and then in a weak, worsening, and altogether dangerous condition, which lasts for months to come. [Fassmann, pp. 512-533: September, 1734-January, 1735.] Wrecks of gout, they say, and of all manner of nosological mischief; falling to dropsy. Case desperate, think all the Newspapers, in a cautious form; which is Friedrich Wilhelm's own opinion pretty much, and that of those better informed. Here are thoughts for a Crown-Prince; well affected to his Father, yet suffering much from him which is grievous. To by-standers, one now makes a different figure: "A Crown-Prince, who may be King one of these days,--whom a little adulation were well spent upon!" From within and from without come agitating influences; thoughts which must be rigorously repressed, and which are not wholly repressible. The soldiering Crown-Prince, from about the end of September, for the last week or two of this Campaign, is secretly no longer quite the same to himself or to others.
GLIMPSE OF LIEUTENANT CHASOT, AND OF OTHER ACQUISITIONS.
We have still two little points to specify, or to bring up from the rearward whither they are fallen, in regard to this Campaign. After which the wearisome Campaign shall terminate; Crown-Prince leading his Ten Thousand to Frankfurt, towards their winter-quarters in Westphalia; and then himself running across from Frankfurt (October 5th), to see Wilhelmina for a day or two on the way homewards:--with much pleasure to all parties, my readers and me included!
FIRST point is, That, some time in this Campaign, probably towards the end of it, the Crown-Prince, Old Dessauer and some others with them, "procured passports," went across, and "saw the French Camp," and what new phenomena were in it for them. Where, when, how, or with what impression left on either side, we do not learn. It was not much of a Camp for military admiration, this of the French. [_Memoires de Noailles_ (passim).] There were old soldiers of distinction in it here and there; a few young soldiers diligently studious of their art; and a great many young fops of high birth and high ways, strutting about "in red-heeled shoes," with "Commissions got from Court" for this War, and nothing of the soldier but the epaulettes and plumages,--apt to be "insolent" among their poorer comrades. From all parties, young and old, even from that insolent red-heel party, nothing but the highest finish of politeness could be visible on this particular occasion. Doubtless all passed in the usual satisfactory manner; and the Crown-Prince got his pleasant excursion, and materials, more or less, for after thought and comparison. But as there is nothing whatever of it on record for us but the bare fact, we leave it to the reader's imagination,--fact being indubitable, and details not inconceivable to lively readers. Among the French dignitaries doing the honors of their Camp on this occasion, he was struck by the General's Adjutant, a "Count de Rottembourg" (properly VON ROTHENBURG, of German birth, kinsman to the Rothenburg whom we have seen as French Ambassador at Berlin long since); a promising young soldier; whom he did not lose sight of again, but acquired in due time to his own service, and found to be of eminent worth there. A Count von Schmettau, two Brothers von Schmettau, here in the Austrian service; superior men, Prussian by birth, and very fit to be acquired by and by; these the Crown-Prince had already noticed in this Rhine Campaign,--having always his eyes open to phenomena of that kind.
The SECOND little point is of date perhaps two months anterior to that of the French Camp; and is marked sufficiently in this Excerpt from our confused manuscripts.
Before quitting Philipsburg, there befell one slight adventure, which, though it seemed to be nothing, is worth recording here. One day, date not given, a young French Officer, of ingenuous prepossessing look, though much flurried at the moment, came across as involuntary deserter; flying from a great peril in his own camp. The name of him is Chasot, Lieutenant of such and such a Regiment: "Take me to Prince Eugene!" he entreats, which is done. Peril was this: A high young gentleman, one of those fops in red heels, ignorant, and capable of insolence to a poorer comrade of studious turn, had fixed a duel upon Chasot. Chasot ran him through, in fair duel; dead, and is thought to have deserved it. "But Duc de Boufflers is his kinsman: run, or you are lost!" cried everybody. The Officers of his Regiment hastily redacted some certificate for Chasot, hastily signed it; and Chasot ran, scarcely waiting to pack his baggage.
"Will not your Serene Highness protect me?"--"Certainly!" said Eugene;--gave Chasot a lodging among his own people; and appointed one of them, Herr Brender by name, to show him about, and teach him the nature of his new quarters. Chasot, a brisk, ingenuous young fellow, soon became a favorite; eager to be useful where possible; and very pleasant in discourse, said everybody.
By and by,--still at Philipsburg, as would seem, though it is not said,--the Crown-Prince heard of Chasot; asked Brender to bring him over. Here is Chasot's own account: through which, as through a small eyelet-hole, we peep once more, and for the last time, direct into the Crown-Prince's Campaign-life on this occasion:--
"Next morning, at ten o'clock the appointed hour, Brender having ordered out one of his horses for me, I accompanied him to the Prince; who received us in his Tent,--behind which he had, hollowed out to the depth of three or four feet, a large Dining-room, with windows, and a roof," I hope of good height, "thatched with straw. His Royal Highness, after two hours' conversation, in which he had put a hundred questions to me [a Prince desirous of knowing the facts], dismissed us; and at parting, bade me return often to him in the evenings.
"It was in this Dining-room, at the end of a great dinner, the day after next, that the Prussian guard introduced a Trumpet from Monsieur d'Asfeld [French Commander-in-Chief since Berwick's death], with my three horses, sent over from the French Army. Prince Eugene, who was present, and in good humor, said, 'We must sell those horses, they don't speak German; Brender will take care to mount you some way or other.' Prinoe Lichtenstein immediately put a price on my horses; and they were sold on the spot at three times their worth. The Prince of Orange, who was of this Dinner [slightly crook-backed witty gentleman, English honeymoon well over], said to me in a half-whisper, 'Monsieur, there is nothing like selling horses to people who have dined well.'
"After this sale, I found myself richer than I had ever been in my life. The Prince-Royal sent me, almost daily, a groom and led horse, that I might come to him, and sometimes follow him in his excursions. At last, he had it proposed to me, by M. de Brender, and even by Prince Eugene, to accompany him to Berlin." Which, of course, I did; taking Ruppin first. "I arrived at Berlin from Ruppin, in 1734, two days after the marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm Margraf of Schwedt [Ill Margraf's elder Brother, wildest wild-beast of this camp] with the Princess Sophie,"--that is to say, 12th of November; Marriage having been on the 10th, as the Books teach us. Chasot remembers that, on the 14th, "the Crown-Prince gave, in his Berlin mansion, a dinner to all the Royal Family," in honor of that auspicious wedding. [Kurd vou Schlozer, _ Chasot_ (Berlin, 1856), pp. 20-22. A pleasant little Book; tolerably accurate, and of very readable quality.]
Thus is Chasot established with the Crown-Prince. He will turn up fighting well in subsequent parts of this History; and again duelling fatally, though nothing of a quarrelsome man, as he asserts.
CROWN-PRINCE'S VISIT TO BAIREUTH ON THE WAY HOME.
October 4th, the Crown-Prince has parted with Prince Eugene,--not to meet again in this world; "an old hero gone to the shadow of himself," says the Crown-Prince; [_OEuvres (Memoires de Brandebourg),_ i. 167.]--and is giving his Prussian War-Captains a farewell dinner at Frankfurt-on-Mayn; having himself led the Ten Thousand so far, towards Winter-quarters, and handing them over now to their usual commanders. They are to winter in Westphalia, these Ten Thousand, in the Paderborn-Munster Country; where they are nothing like welcome to the Ruling Powers; nor are intended to be so,--Kur-Koln (proprietor there) and his Brother of Bavaria having openly French leanings. The Prussian Ten Thousand will have to help themselves to the essential, therefore, without welcome;--and things are not pleasant. And the Ruling Powers, by protocolling, still more the Commonalty if it try at mobbing, ["28th March, 1735" (Fassmann, p. 547); Buchholz, i. 136.] can only make them worse. Indeed it is said the Ten Thousand, though their bearing was so perfect otherwise, generally behaved rather ill in their marches over Germany, during this War,--and always worst, it was remarked by observant persons, in the countries (Bamberg and Wurzburg, for instance) where their officers had in past years been in recruiting troubles. Whereby observant persons explained the phenomenon to themselves. But we omit all that; our concern lying elsewhere. "Directly after dinner at Frankfurt," the Crown-Prince drives off, rapidly as his wont is, towards Baireuth. He arrives there on the morrow; "October 5th," says Wilhelmina,--who again illuminates him to us, though with oblique lights, for an instant.
Wilhelmina was in low spirits:--weak health; add funeral of the Prince of Culmbach (killed in the Battle of Parma), illness of Papa, and other sombre events:--and was by no means content with the Crown-Prince, on this occasion. Strangely altered since we met him in July last! It may be, the Crown-Prince, looking, with an airy buoyancy of mind, towards a certain Event probably near, has got his young head inflated a little, and carries himself with a height new to this beloved Sister;--but probably the sad humor of the Princess herself has a good deal to do with it. Alas, the contrast between a heart knowing secretly its own bitterness, and a friend's heart conscious of joy and triumph, is harsh and shocking to the former of the two! Here is the Princess's account; with the subtrahend, twenty-five or seventy-five per cent, not deducted from it:--
"My Brother arrived, the 5th of October. He seemed to me put out (DECONTENANCE); and to break off conversation with me, he said he had to write to the King and Queen. I ordered him pen and paper. He wrote in my room; and spent more than a good hour in writing a couple of Letters, of a line or two each. He then had all the Court, one after the other, introduced to him; said nothing to any of them, looked merely with a mocking air at them; after which we went to dinner.
"Here his whole conversation consisted in quizzing (TURLUPINER) whatever he saw; and repeating to me, above a hundred times over, the words 'little Prince,' 'little Court.' I was shocked; and could not understand how he had changed so suddenly towards me. The etiquette of all Courts in the Empire is, that nobody who has not at the least the rank of Captain can sit at a Prince's table: my Brother put a Lieutenant there, who was in his suite; saying to me, 'A King's Lieutenants are as good as a Margraf's Ministers.' I swallowed this incivility, and showed no sign.
"After dinner, being alone with me, he said,"--turning up the flippant side of his thoughts, truly, in a questionable way:--"'Our Sire is going to end (TIRE A SA FIN); he will not live out this month. I know I have made you great promises; but I am not in a condition to keep them. I will give you up the Half of the sum which the late King [our Grandfather] lent you; [Supra, pp. 161, 162.] I think you will have every reason to be satisfied with that.' I answered, That my regard for him had never been of an interested nature; that I would never ask anything of him, but the continuance of his friendship; and did not wish one sou, if it would in the least inconvenience him. 'No, no,' said he, 'you shall have those 100,000 thalers; I have destined them for you.--People will be much surprised,' continued he, 'to see me act quite differently from what they had expected. They imagine I am going to lavish all my treasures, and that money will become as common as pebbles at Berlin: but they will find I know better. I mean to increase my Army, and to leave all other things on the old footing. I will have every consideration for the Queen my Mother, and will sate her (RASSASIERAI) with honors; but I do not mean that she shall meddle in my affairs; and if she try it, she will find so.'" What a speech; what an outbreak of candor in the young man, preoccupied with his own great thoughts and difficulties,--to the exclusion of any other person's!
"I fell from the clouds, on hearing all that; and knew not if I was sleeping or waking. He then questioned me on the affairs of this Country. I gave him the detail of them. He said to me: 'When your goose (BENET) of a Father-in-law dies, I advise you to break up the whole Court, and reduce yourselves to the footing of a private gentleman's establishment, in order to pay your debts. In real truth, you have no need of so many people; and you must try also to reduce the wages of those whom you cannot help keeping. You have been accustomed to live at Berlin with a table of four dishes; that is all you want here: and I will invite you now and then to Berlin; which will spare table and housekeeping.'
"For a long while my heart had been getting big; I could not restrain my tears, at hearing all these indignities. 'Why do you cry?' said he: 'Ah, ah, you are in low spirits, I see. We must dissipate that dark humor. The music waits us; I will drive that fit out of you by an air or two on the flute.' He gave me his hand, and led me into the other room. I sat down to the harpsichord; which I inundated (INONDAI) with my tears. Marwitz [my artful Demoiselle d'Atours, perhaps too artful in time coming] placed herself opposite me, so as to hide from the others what disorder I was in." [Wilhelmina, ii. 216-218.]
For the last two days of the visit, Wilhelmina admits, her Brother was a little kinder. But on the fourth day there came, by estafette, a Letter from the Queen, conjuring him to return without delay, the King growing worse and worse. Wilhelmina, who loved her Father, and whose outlooks in case of his decease appeared to be so little flattering, was overwhelmed with sorrow. Of her Brother, however, she strove to forget that strange outbreak of candor; and parted with him as if all were mended between them again. Nay, the day after his departure, there goes a beautifully affectionate Letter to him; which we could give, if there were room: [_OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 1st, p. 23.] "the happiest time I ever in my life had;" "my heart so full of gratitude and so sensibly touched;" "every one repeating the words 'dear Brother' and 'charming Prince-Royal:'"--a Letter in very lively contrast to what we have just been reading. A Prince-Royal not without charm, in spite of the hard practicalities he is meditating, obliged to meditate!--
As to the outbreak of candor, offensive to Wilhelmina and us, we suppose her report of it to be in substance true, though of exaggerated, perhaps perverted tone; and it is worth the reader's note, with these deductions. The truth is, our charming Princess is always liable to a certain subtrahend. In 1744, when she wrote those _Memoires,_ "in a Summer-house at Baireuth," her Brother and she, owing mainly to go-betweens acting on the susceptible female heart, were again in temporary quarrel (the longest and worst they ever had), and hardly on speaking terms; which of itself made her heart very heavy;--not to say that Marwitz, the too artful Demoiselle, seemed to have stolen her Husband's affections from the poor Princess, and made the world look all a little grim to her. These circumstances have given their color to parts of her Narrative, and are not to be forgotten by readers.
The Crown-Prince--who goes by Dessau, lodging for a night with the Old Dessauer, and writes affectionately to his Sister from that place, their Letters crossing on the road--gets home on the 12th to Potsdam. October 12th, 1734, he has ended his Rhine Campaign, in that manner;--and sees his poor Father, with a great many other feelings besides those expressed in the dialogue at Baireuth.
Chapter XI. -- IN PAPA'S SICK-ROOM; PRUSSIAN INSPECTIONS: END OF WAR.
It appears, Friedrich met a cordial reception in the sickroom at Potsdam; and, in spite of his levities to Wilhelmina, was struck to the heart by what he saw there. For months to come, he seems to be continually running between Potsdam and Ruppin, eager to minister to his sick Father, when military leave is procurable. Other fact, about him, other aspect of him, in those months, is not on record for us.
Of his young Madam, or Princess-Royal, peaceably resident at Berlin or at Schonhausen, and doing the vacant officialities, formal visitings and the like, we hear nothing; of Queen Sophie and the others, nothing: anxious, all of them, no doubt, about the event at Potsdam, and otherwise silent to us. His Majesty's illness comes and goes; now hope, and again almost none. Margraf of Schwedt and his young Bride, we already know, were married in November; and Lieutenant Chasot (two days old in Berlin) told us, there was Dinner by the Crown-Prince to all the Royal Family on that occasion;--poor Majesty out at Potsdam languishing in the background, meanwhile.
His Carnival the Crown-Prince passes naturally at Berlin. We find he takes a good deal to the French Ambassador, one Marquis de la Chetardie; a showy restless character, of fame in the Gazettes of that time; who did much intriguing at Petersburg some years hence, first in a signally triumphant way, and then in a signally untriumphant; and is not now worth any knowledge but a transient accidental one. Chetardie came hither about Stanislaus and his affairs; tried hard, but in vain, to tempt Friedrich Wilhelm into interference;--is naturally anxious to captivate the Crown-Prince, in present circumstances.
Friedrich Wilhelm lay at Potsdam, between death and life, for almost four months to come; the Newspapers speculating much on his situation; political people extremely anxious what would become of him,--or in fact, when he would die; for that was considered the likely issue. Fassmann gives dolorous clippings from the _Leyden Gazette,_ all in a blubber of tears, according to the then fashion, but full of impertinent curiosity withal. And from the Seckendorf private Papers there are Extracts of a still more inquisitive and notable character: Seckendorf and the Kaiser having an intense interest in this painful occurrence.
Seckendorf is not now himself at Berlin; but running much about, on other errands; can only see Friedrich Wilhelm, if at all, in a passing way. And even this will soon cease;--and in fact, to us it is by far the most excellent result of this French-Austrian War, that it carries Seckendorf clear away; who now quits Berlin and the Diplomatic line, and obligingly goes out of our sight henceforth. The old Ordnance-Master, as an Imperial General of rank, is needed now for War-Service, if he has any skill that way. In those late months, he was duly in attendance at Philipsburg and the Rhine-Campaign, in a subaltern torpid capacity, like Brunswick-Bevern and the others; ready for work, had there been any: but next season, he expects to have a Division of his own, and to do something considerable.--In regard to Berlin and the Diplomacies, he has appointed a Nephew of his, a Seckendorf Junior, to take his place there; to keep the old machinery in gear, if nothing more; and furnish copious reports during the present crisis. These Reports of Seckendorf Junior--full of eavesdroppings, got from a KAMMERMOHR (Nigger Lackey), who waits in the sick-room at Potsdam, and is sensible to bribes--have been printed; and we mean to glance slightly into them. But as to Seckendorf Senior, readers can entertain the fixed hope that they have at length done with him; that, in these our premises, we shall never see him again;--nay shall see him, on extraneous dim fields, far enough away, smarting and suffering, till even we are almost sorry for the old knave!--
Friedrich Wilhelm's own prevailing opinion is, that he cannot recover. His bodily sufferings are great: dropsically swollen, sometimes like to be choked: no bed that he can bear to lie on;--oftenest rolls about in a Bath-chair; very heavy-laden indeed; and I think of tenderer humor than in former sicknesses. To the Old Dessauer he writes, few days after getting home to Potsdam: "I am ready to quit the world, as Your Dilection knows, and has various times heard me say. One ship sails faster, another slower; but they come all to one haven. Let it be with me, then, as the Most High has determined for me." [Orlich, _Geschichte der Schlesischen Kriege_ (Berlin, 1841), i. 14. "From the Dessau Archives; date, 21st September, 1734."] He has settled his affairs, Fassmann says, so far as possible; settled the order of his funeral, How he is to be buried, in the Garrison Church of Potsdam, without pomp or fuss, like a Prussian Soldier; and what regiment or regiments it is that are to do the triple volley over him, by way of finis and long farewell. His soul's interests too,--we need not doubt he is in deep conference, in deep consideration about these; though nothing is said on that point. A serious man always, much feeling what immense facts he was surrounded with; and here is now the summing up of all facts. Occasionally, again, he has hopes; orders up "two hundred of his Potsdam Giants to march through the sick-room," since he cannot get out to them; or old Generals, Buddenbrock, Waldau, come and take their pipe there, in reminiscence of a Tabagie. Here, direct from the fountain-head, or Nigger Lackey bribed by Seckendorf Junior, is a notice or two:--
"POTSDAM, SEPTEMBER 30th, 1734. Yesterday, for half an hour, the King could get no breath: he keeps them continually rolling him about" in his Bath-chair, "over the room, and cries 'LUFT, LUFT (Air, air)!'
"OCTOBER 2d. The King is not going to die just yet; but will scarcely see Christmas. He gets on his clothes; argues with the Doctors, is impatient; won't have people speak of his illness;--is quite black in the face; drinks nothing but MOLL [which we suppose to be small bitter beer], takes physic, writes in bed.
"OCTOBER 5th. The Nigger tells me things are better. The King begins to bring up phlegm; drinks a great deal of oatmeal water [HAFERGRUTZWASSER, comfortable to the sick]; says to the Nigger: 'Pray diligently, all of you; perhaps I shall not die!'"
October 5th: this is the day the Crown-Prince arrives at Baireuth; to be called away by express four days after. How valuable, at Vienna or elsewhere, our dark friend the Lackey's medical opinion is, may be gathered from this other Entry, three weeks farther on,--enough to suffice us on that head:--
"The Nigger tells me he has a bad opinion of the King's health. If you roll the King a little fast in his Bath-chair, you hear the water jumble in his body,"--with astonishment! "King gets into passions; has beaten the pages [may we hope, our dark friend among the rest?], so that it was feared apoplexy would take him."
This will suffice for the physiological part; let us now hear our poor friend on the Crown-Prince and his arrival:--
"OCTOBER 12th. Return of the Prince-Royal to Potsdam; tender reception.--OCTOBER 21st. Things look ill in Potsdam. The other leg is now also begun running; and above a quart (MAAS) of water has come from it. Without a miracle, the King cannot live,"--thinks our dark friend. "The Prince-Royal is truly affected (VERITABLEMENT ATTENDRI) at the King's situation; has his eyes full of water, has wept the eyes out of his head: has schemed in all ways to contrive a commodious bed for the King; wouldn't go away from Potsdam. King forced him away; he is to return Saturday afternoon. The Prince-Royal has been heard to say, 'If the King will let me live in my own way, I would give an arm to lengthen his life for twenty years.' King always calls him Fritzchen. But Fritzchen," thinks Seckendorf Junior, "knows nothing about business. The King is aware of it; and said in the face of him one day: 'If thou begin at the wrong end with things, and all go topsy-turvy after I am gone, I will laugh at thee out of my grave!'" [Seckendorf (BARON), _Journal Secret;_ cited in Forster, ii. 142.]
So Friedrich Wilhelm; laboring amid the mortal quicksands; looking into the Inevitable, in various moods. But the memorablest speech he made to Fritzchen or to anybody at present, was that covert one about the Kaiser and Seckendorf, and the sudden flash of insight he got, from some word of Seckendorf's, into what they had been meaning with him all along. Riding through the village of Priort, in debate about Vienna politics of a strange nature, Seckendorf said something, which illuminated his Majesty, dark for so many years, and showed him where he was. A ghastly horror of a country, yawning indisputable there; revealed to one as if by momentary lightning, in that manner! This is a speech which all the ambassadors report, and which was already mentioned by us,--in reference to that opprobrious Proposal about the Crown-Prince's Marriage, "Marry with England, after all; never mind breaking your word!" Here is the manner of it, with time and place:--
"Sunday last," Sunday, 17th October, 1734, reports Seckendorf, Junior, through the Nigger or some better witness, "the King said to the Prince-Royal: 'My dear Son, I tell thee I got my death at Priort. I entreat thee, above all things in the world, don't trust those people (DENEN LEUTEN), however many promises they make. That day, it was April 17th, 1733, there was a man said something to me: it was as if you had turned a dagger round in my heart.'" [Seckendorf (BARON), _Journal Secret;_ cited in Forster, ii. 142.]--
Figure that, spoken from amid the dark sick whirlpools, the mortal quicksands, in Friedrich Wilhelm's voice, clangorously plaintive; what a wild sincerity, almost pathos, is in it; and whether Fritzchen, with his eyes all bewept even for what Papa had suffered in that matter, felt lively gratitudes to the House of Austria at this moment!--
It was four months after, "21st January, 1735," [Fassmann, p. 533.] when the King first got back to Berlin, to enlighten the eyes of the Carnival a little, as his wont had been. The crisis of his Majesty's illness is over, present danger gone; and the Carnival people, not without some real gladness, though probably with less than they pretend, can report him well again. Which is far from being the fact, if they knew it. Friedrich Wilhelm is on his feet again; but he never more was well. Nor has he forgotten that word at Priort, "like the turning of a dagger in one's heart;"--and indeed gets himself continually reminded of it by practical commentaries from the Vienna Quarter.
In April, Prince Lichtenstein arrives on Embassy with three requests or demands from Vienna: "1. That, besides the Ten Thousand due by Treaty, his Majesty would send his Reich's Contingent," NOT comprehended in those Ten Thousand, thinks the Kaiser. "2. That he would have the goodness to dismiss Marquis de la Chetardie the French Ambassador, as a plainly superfluous person at a well-affected German Court in present circumstances;"--person excessively dangerous, should the present Majesty die, Crown-Prince being so fond of that Chetardie. "3. That his Prussian Majesty do give up the false Polish Majesty Stanislaus, and no longer harbor him in East Preussen or elsewhere." The whole of which demands his Prussian Majesty refuses; the latter two especially, as something notably high on the Kaiser's part, or on any mortal's, to a free Sovereign and Gentleman. Prince Lichtenstein is eloquent, conciliatory; but it avails not. He has to go home empty-handed; manages to leave with Herr von Suhm, who took care of it for us, that Anecdote of the Crown-Prince's behavior under cannon-shot from Philipsburg last year; and does nothing else recordable, in Berlin.
The Crown-Prince's hopes were set, with all eagerness, on getting to the Rhine-Campaign next ensuing; nor did the King refuse, for a long while, but still less did he consent; and in the end there came nothing of it. From an early period of the year, Friedrich Wilhelm sees too well what kind of campaigning the Kaiser will now make; at a certain Wedding-dinner where his Majesty was,--precisely a fortnight after his Majesty's arrival in Berlin,--Seckendorf Junior has got, by eavesdropping, this utterance of his Majesty's: "The Kaiser has not a groschen of money. His Army in Lombardy is gone to twenty-four thousand men, will have to retire into the Mountains. Next campaign [just coming], he will lose Mantua and the Tyrol. God's righteous judgment it is: a War like this! Comes of flinging old principles overboard,--of meddling in business that was none of yours;" and more, of a plangent alarming nature. [Forster, ii. 144 (and DATE it from _Militair-Lexikon,_ ii. 54).]
Friedrich Wilhelm sends back his Ten Thousand, according to contract; sends, over and above, a beautiful stock of "copper pontoons" to help the Imperial Majesty in that River Country, says Fassmann;--sends also a supernumerary Troop of Hussars, who are worth mentioning, "Six-score horse of Hussar type," under one Captain Ziethen, a taciturn, much-enduring, much-observing man, whom we shall see again: these are to be diligently helpful, as is natural; but they are also, for their own behoof, to be diligently observant, and learn the Austrian Hussar methods, which his Majesty last year saw to be much superior. Nobody that knows Ziethen doubts but he learnt; Hussar-Colonel Baronay, his Austrian teacher here, became too well convinced of it when they met on a future occasion. [_Life of Ziethen_ (veridical but inexact, by the Frau von Blumenthal, a kinswoman of his; English Translation, very ill printed, Berlin, 1803), p. 54.] All this his Majesty did for the ensuing campaign: but as to the Crown-Prince's going thither, after repeated requests on his part, it is at last signified to him, deep in the season, that it cannot be: "Won't answer for a Crown-Prince to be sharer in such a Campaign;--be patient, my good Fritzchen, I will find other work for thee." [Friedrich's Letter, 5th September, 1735; Friedrich Wilhelm's Answer next day (_OEuvres de Frederic_, xxvii. part 3d, 93-95).] Fritzchen is sent into Preussen, to do the Reviewings and Inspections there; Papa not being able for them this season; and strict manifold Inspection, in those parts, being more than usually necessary, owing to the Russian-Polish troubles. On this errand, which is clearly a promotion, though in present circumstances not a welcome one for the Crown-Prince, he sets out without delay; and passes there the equinoctial and autumnal season, in a much more useful way than he could have done in the Rhine-Campaign.
In the Rhine-Moselle Country and elsewhere the poor Kaiser does exert himself to make a Campaign of it; but without the least success. Having not a groschen of money, how could he succeed? Noailles, as foreseen, manoeuvres him, hitch after hitch, out of Italy; French are greatly superior, more especially when Montemar, having once got Carlos crowned in Naples and put secure, comes to assist the French; Kaiser has to lean for shelter on the Tyrol Alps, as predicted. Italy, all but some sieging of strong-places, may be considered as lost for the present.
Nor on the Rhine did things go better. Old Eugene, "the shadow of himself," had no more effect this year than last: nor, though Lacy and Ten Thousand Russians came as allies, Poland being all settled now, could the least good be done. Reich's Feldmarschall Karl Alexander of Wurtemberg did "burn a Magazine" (probably of hay among better provender) by his bomb-shells, on one occasion. Also the Prussian Ten Thousand--Old Dessauer leading them, General Roder having fallen ill--burnt something: an Islet in the Rhine, if I recollect, "Islet of Larch near Bingen," where the French had a post; which and whom the Old Dessauer burnt away. And then Seckendorf, at the head of thirty thousand, he, after long delays, marched to Trarbach in the interior Moselle Country; and got into some explosive sputter of battle with Belleisle, one afternoon,--some say, rather beating Belleisle; but a good judge says, it was a mutual flurry and terror they threw one another into. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ i. 168.] Seckendorf meant to try again on the morrow: but there came an estafette that night: "Preliminaries signed (Vienna, 3d October, 1735);--try no farther!" ["Cessation is to be, 5th November for Germany, 15th for Italy; Preliminaries" were, Vienna, "3d October," 1735 (Scholl, ii. 945).] And this was the second Rhine-Campaign, and the end of the Kaiser's French War. The Sea-Powers, steadily refusing money, diligently run about, offering terms of arbitration; and the Kaiser, beaten at every point, and reduced to his last groschen, is obliged to comply. He will have a pretty bill to pay for his Polish-Election frolic, were the settlement done! Fleury is pacific, full of bland candor to the Sea-Powers; the Kaiser, after long higgling upon articles, will have to accept the bill.
The Crown-Prince, meanwhile, has a successful journey into Preussen; sees new interesting scenes, Salzburg Emigrants, exiled Polish Majesties; inspects the soldiering, the schooling, the tax-gathering, the domain-farming, with a perspicacity, a dexterity and completeness that much pleases Papa. Fractions of the Reports sent home exist for us: let the reader take a glance of one only; the first of the series; dated MARIENWERDER (just across the Weichsel, fairly out of Polish Preussen and into our own), 27th September, 1735, and addressed to the "Most All-gracious King and Father;"--abridged for the reader's behoof:--
... "In Polish Preussen, lately the Seat of War, things look hideously waste; one sees nothing but women and a few children; it is said the people are mostly running away,"--owing to the Russian-Polish procedures there, in consequence of the blessed Election they have had. King August, whom your Majesty is not in love with, has prevailed at this rate of expense. King Stanislaus, protected by your Majesty in spite of Kaisers and Czarinas, waits in Konigsberg, till the Peace, now supposed to be coming, say what is to become of him: once in Konigsberg, I shall have the pleasure to see him. "A detachment of five-and-twenty Saxon Dragoons of the Regiment Arnstedt, marching towards Dantzig, met me: their horses were in tolerable case; but some are piebald, some sorrel, and some brown among them," which will be shocking to your Majesty, "and the people did not look well."...
"Got hither to Marienwerder, last night: have inspected the two Companies which are here, that is to say, Lieutenant-Col. Meier's and Rittmeister Haus's. In very good trim, both of them; and though neither the men nor their horses are of extraordinary size, they are handsome well-drilled fellows, and a fine set of stiff-built horses (GEDRUNGENEN PFERDEN). The fellows sit them like pictures (REITEN WIE DIE PUPPEN); I saw them do their wheelings. Meier has some fine recruits; in particular two;"--nor has the Rittmeister been wanting in that respect. "Young horses" too are coming well on, sleek of skin. In short, all is right on the military side. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 97.]
Civil business, too, of all kinds, the Crown-Prince looked into, with a sharp intelligent eye;--gave praise, gave censure in the right place; put various things on a straight footing, which were awry when he found them. In fact, it is Papa's second self; looks into the bottom of all things quite as Papa would have done, and is fatal to mendacities, practical or vocal, wherever he meets them. What a joy to Papa: "Here, after all, is one that can replace me, in case of accident. This Apprentice of mine, after all, he has fairly learned the Art; and will continue it when I am gone!"--
Yes, your Majesty, it is a Prince-Royal wise to recognize your Majesty's rough wisdom, on all manner of points; will not be a Devil's-FRIEND, I think, any more than your Majesty was. Here truly are rare talents; like your Majesty and unlike;--and has a steady swiftness in him, as of an eagle, over and above! Such powers of practical judgment, of skilful action, are rare in one's twenty-third year. And still rarer, have readers noted what a power of holding his peace this young man has? Fruit of his sufferings, of the hard life he has had. Most important power; under which all other useful ones will more and more ripen for him. This Prince already knows his own mind, on a good many points; privately, amid the world's vague clamor jargoning round him to no purpose, he is capable of having HIS mind made up into definite Yes and No,--so as will surprise us one day.
Friedrich Wilhelm, we perceive, [His Letter, 24th October, 1735. (Ib. p. 99).] was in a high degree content with this performance of the Prussian Mission: a very great comfort to his sick mind, in those months and afterwards. Here are talents, here are qualities,--visibly the Friedrich-Wilhelm stuff throughout, but cast in an infinitely improved type:--what a blessing we did not cut off that young Head, at the Kaiser's dictation, in former years!--
At Konigsberg, as we learn in a dim indirect manner, the Crown-Prince sees King Stanislaus twice or thrice,--not formally, lest there be political offence taken, but incidentally at the houses of third-parties;--and is much pleased with the old gentleman; who is of cultivated good-natured ways, and has surely many curious things, from Charles XII. downwards, to tell a young man. [Came 8th October, went 21st (_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 98).] Stanislaus has abundance of useless refugee Polish Magnates about him, with their useless crowds of servants, and no money in pocket; Konigsberg all on flutter, with their draperies and them, "like a little Warsaw:" so that Stanislaus's big French pension, moderate Prussian monthly allowance, and all resources, are inadequate; and, in fact, in the end, these Magnates had to vanish, many of them, without settling their accounts in Konigsberg. [_History of Stanislaus. _] For the present they wait here, Stanislaus and they, till Fleury and the Kaiser, shaking the urn of doom in abstruse treaty after battle, decide what is to become of them.
Friedrich returned to Dantzig: saw that famous City, and late scene of War; tracing with lively interest the footsteps of Munnich and his Siege operations,--some of which are much blamed by judges, and by this young Soldier among the rest. There is a pretty Letter of his from Dantzig, turning mainly on those points. Letter written to his young Brother-in-law, Karl of Brunswick, who is now become Duke there; Grandfather and Father both dead; [Grandfather, 1st March, 1735; Father (who lost the _Lines of Ettlingen_ lately in our sight), 3d September, 1735. Supra, vol. vi. p. 372.] and has just been blessed with an Heir, to boot. Congratulation on the birth of this Heir is the formal purport of the Letter, though it runs ever and anon into a military strain. Here are some sentences in a condensed form:--
"DANTZIG, 26th OCTOBER, 1735.... Thank my dear Sister for her services. I am charmed that she has made you papa with so good a grace. I fear you won't stop there; but will go on peopling the world"--one knows not to what extent--"with your amiable race. Would have written sooner; but I am just returning from the depths of the barbarous Countries; and having been charged with innumerable commissions which I did not understand too well, had no good possibility to think or to write.
"I have viewed all the Russian labors in these parts; have had the assault on the Hagelsberg narrated to me; been on the grounds;--and own I had a better opinion of Marshal Munnich than to think him capable of so distracted an enterprise. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 2d, p. 31. Pressed for time, and in want of battering-cannon, he attempted to seize this Hagelsberg, one of the outlying defences of Dantzig, by nocturnal storm; lost two thousand men; and retired, WITHOUT doing "what was flatly impossible," thinks the Crown-Prince. See Mannstein, pp. 77-79, for an account of it.]... Adieu, my dear Brother. My compliments to the amiable young Mother. Tell her, I beg you, that her proof-essays are masterpieces (COUPS D'ESSAI SONT DES COUPS DE MAITRE)."...
"Your most," &c.,
The Brunswick Masterpiece, achieved on this occasion, grew to be a man and Duke, famous enough in the Newspapers in time coming: Champagne, 1792; Jena, 1806; George IV.'s Queen Caroline; these and other distracted phenomena (pretty much blotting out the earlier better sort) still keep him hanging painfully in men's memory. From his birth, now in this Prussian Journey of our Crown-Prince, to his death-stroke on the Field of Jena, what a seventy-one years!--
Fleury and the Kaiser, though it is long before the signature and last finish can take place, are come to terms of settlement, at the Crown-Prince's return; and it is known, in political circles, what the Kaiser's Polish-Election damages will probably amount to. Here are, in substance, the only conditions that could be got for him:--
"1. Baby Carlos, crowned in Naples, cannot be pulled out again: Naples, the Two Sicilies, are gone without return. That is the first loss; please Heaven it be the worst! On the other hand, Baby Carlos will, as some faint compensation, surrender to your Imperial Majesty his Parma and Piacenza apanages; and you shall get back your Lombardy,--all but a scantling which we fling to the Sardinian Majesty; who is a good deal huffed, having had possession of the Milanese these two years past, in terms of his bargain with Fleury. Pacific Fleury says to him: 'Bargain cannot be kept, your Majesty; please to quit the Milanese again, and put up with this scantling.'
"2. The Crown of Poland, August III. has got it, by Russian bombardings and other measures: Crown shall stay with August,--all the rather as there would be no dispossessing him, at this stage. He was your Imperial Majesty's Candidate; let him be the winner there, for your Imperial Majesty's comfort.
"3. And then as to poor Stanislaus? Well, let Stanislaus be Titular Majesty of Poland for life;--which indeed will do little for him:--but in addition, we propose, That, the Dukedom of Lorraine being now in our hands, Majesty Stanislaus have the life-rent of Lorraine to subsist upon; and--and that Lorraine fall to us of France on his decease!--'Lorraine?' exclaim the Kaiser, and the Reich, and the Kaiser's intended Son-in-law Franz Duke of Lorraine. There is indeed a loss and a disgrace; a heavy item in the Election damages!
"4. As to Duke Franz, there is a remedy. The old Duke of Florence, last of the Medici, is about to die childless: let the now Duke of Lorraine, your Imperial Majesty's intended Son-in-law, have Florence instead.--And so it had to be settled. 'Lorraine? To Stanislaus, to France?' exclaimed the poor Kaiser, still more the poor Reich, and poor Duke Franz. This was the bitterest cut of all; but there was no getting past it. This too had to be allowed, this item for the Election breakages in Poland. And so France, after nibbling for several centuries, swallows Lorraine whole. Duke Franz attempted to stand out; remonstrated much, with Kaiser and Hofrath, at Vienna, on this unheard-of proposal: but they told him it was irremediable; told him at last (one Bartenstein, a famed Aulic Official, told him), 'No Lorraine, no Archduchess, your Serenity!'--and Franz had to comply, Lorraine is gone; cunning Fleury has swallowed it whole. 'That was what he meant in picking this quarrel!' said Teutschland mournfully. Fleury was very pacific, candid in aspect to the Sea-Powers and others; and did not crow afflictively, did not say what he had meant.
"5. One immense consolation for the Kaiser, if for no other, is: France guarantees the Pragmatic Sanction,--though with very great difficulty; spending a couple of years, chiefly on this latter point as was thought. [Treaty on it not signed till 18th November, 1738 (Scholl, ii. 246).] How it kept said guarantee, will be seen in the sequel."
And these were the damages the poor Kaiser had to pay for meddling in Polish Elections;--for galloping thither in chase of his Shadows. No such account of broken windows was ever presented to a man before. This may be considered as the consummation of the Kaiser's Shadow-Hunt; or at least its igniting and exploding point. His Duel with the Termagant has at last ended; in total defeat to him on every point. Shadow-Hunt does not end; though it is now mostly vanished; exploded in fire. Shadow-Hunt is now gone all to Pragmatic Sanction, as it were: that now is the one thing left in Nature for a Kaiser; and that he will love, and chase, as the summary of all things. From this point he steadily goes down, and at a rapid rate;--getting into disastrous Turk Wars, with as little preparation for War or Fact as a life-long Hunt of SHADOWS presupposes; Eugene gone from him, and nothing but Seckendorfs to manage for him;--and sinks to a low pitch indeed. We will leave him here; shall hope to see but little more of him.
In the Summer of 1736, in consequence of these arrangements,--which were completed so far, though difficulties on Pragmatic Sanction and other points retarded the final signature for many months longer,--the Titular Majesty Stanislaus girt himself together for departure towards his new Dominion or Life-rent; quitted Konigsberg; traversed Prussian Poland, safe this time, "under escort of Lieutenant-General von Katte [our poor Katte of Custrin's Father] and fifty cuirassiers;" reached Berlin in the middle of May, under flowerier aspects than usual. He travelled under the title of "Count" Something, and alighted at the French Ambassador's in Berlin: but Friedrich Wilhelm treated him like a real Majesty, almost like a real Brother; had him over to the Palace; rushed out to meet him there, I forget how many steps beyond the proper limits; and was hospitality itself and munificence itself;--and, in fact, that night and all the other nights, "they smoked above thirty pipes together," for one item. May 21st, 1736, [Forster (i. 227), following loose Pollnitz (ii. 478), dates it 1735: a more considerable error, if looked into, than is usual in Herr Forster; who is not an ill-informed nor inexact man;--though, alas, in respect of method (that is to say, want of visible method, indication, or human arrangement), probably the most confused of all the Germans!] Ex-Majesty Stanislaus went on his way again; towards France,--towards Meudon, a quiet Royal House in France,--till Luneville, Nanci, and their Lorraine Palaces are quite ready. There, in these latter, he at length does find resting-place, poor innocent insipid mortal, after such tossings to and fro: and M. de Voltaire, and others of mark, having sometimes enlivened the insipid Court there, Titular King Stanislaus has still a kind of remembrance among mankind.
Of his Prussian Majesty we said that, though the Berlin populations reported him well again, it was not so. The truth is, his Majesty was never well again. From this point, age only forty-seven, he continues broken in bodily constitution; clogged more and more with physical impediments; and his History, personal and political withal, is as that of an old man, finishing his day. To the last he pulls steadily, neglecting no business, suffering nothing to go wrong. Building operations go on at Berlin; pushed more than ever, in these years, by the rigorous Derschau, who has got that in charge. No man of money or rank in Berlin but Derschau is upon him, with heavier and heavier compulsion to build: which is felt to be tyrannous; and occasions an ever-deepening grumble among the moneyed classes. At Potsdam his Majesty himself is the Builder; and gives the Houses away to persons of merit. [Pollnitz, ii. 469.]
Nor is the Army less an object, perhaps almost more. Nay, at one time, old Kur-Pfalz being reckoned in a dying condition, Friedrich Wilhelm is about ranking his men, prepared to fight for his rights in Julich and Berg; Kaiser having openly gone over, and joined with France against his Majesty in that matter. However, the old Kur-Pfalz did not die, and there came nothing of fight in Friedrich Wilhelm's time. But his History, on the political side, is henceforth mainly a commentary to him on that "word" he heard in Priort, "which was as if you had turned a dagger in my heart!" With the Kaiser he has fallen out: there arise unfriendly passages between them, sometimes sarcastic on Friedrich Wilhelm's part, in reference to this very War now ended. Thus, when complaint rose about the Prussian misbehaviors on their late marches (misbehaviors notable in Countries where their recruiting operations had been troubled), the Kaiser took a high severe tone, not assuaging, rather aggravating the matter; and, for his own share, winded up by a strict prohibition of Prussian recruiting in any and every part of the Imperial Dominions. Which Friedrich Wilhelm took extremely ill. This is from a letter of his to the Crown-Prince, and after the first gust of wrath had spent itself: "It is a clear disadvantage, this prohibition of recruiting in the Kaiser's Countries. That is our thanks for the Ten Thousand men sent him, and for all the deference I have shown the Kaiser at all times; and by this you may see that it would be of no use if one even sacrificed oneself to him. So long as they need us, they continue to flatter; but no sooner is the strait thought to be over, and help not wanted, than they pull off the mask, and have not the least acknowledgment. The considerations that will occur to you on this matter may put it in your power to be prepared against similar occasions in time coming." [6th February, 1736: _OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxvii. part 3d, p. 102.]
Thus, again, in regard to the winter-quarters of the Ziethen Hussars. Prussian Majesty, we recollect, had sent a Supernumerary Squadron to the last Campaign on the Rhine. They were learning their business, Friedrich Wilhelm knew; but also were fighting for the Kaiser,--that was what the Kaiser knew about them. Somewhat to his surprise, in the course of next year, Friedrich Wilhelm received, from the Vienna War-Office, a little Bill of 10,284 florins (1,028 pounds 8 shillings) charged to him for the winter-quarters of these Hussars. He at once paid the little Bill, with only this observation: "Heartily glad that I can help the Imperial AERARIUM with that 1,028 pounds 8 shillings. With the sincerest wishes for hundred-thousandfold increase to it in said AERARIUM; otherwise it won't go very far!" [Letter to Seckendorf (SENIOR): Forster, ii. 150.]
At a later period, in the course of his disastrous Turk War, the Kaiser, famishing for money, set about borrowing a million gulden (100,000 pounds) from the Banking House Splittgerber and Daun at Berlin. Splittgerber and Daun had not the money, could not raise it: "Advance us that sum, in their name, your Majesty," proposes the Vienna Court: "There shall be three-per-cent bonus, interest six per cent, and security beyond all question!" To which fine offer his Majesty answers, addressing Seckendorf Junior: "Touching the proposal of my giving the Bankers Splittgerber and Daun a lift, with a million gulden, to assist in that loan of theirs,--said proposal, as I am not a merchant accustomed to deal in profits and percentages, cannot in that form take effect. Out of old friendship, however, I am, on Their Imperial Majesty's request, extremely ready to pay down, once and away (A FOND PERDU), a couple of million gulden, provided the Imperial Majesty will grant me the conditions known to your Uncle [FULFILMENT of that now oldish Julich-and-Berg promise, namely!] which are FAIR. In such case the thing shall be rapidly completed!" [Forster, ii. 151 (without DATE there).]
In a word, Friedrich Wilhelm falls out with the Kaiser more and more; experiences more and more what a Kaiser this has been towards him. Queen Sophie has fallen silent in the History Books; both the Majesties may look remorsefully, but perhaps best in silence, over the breakages and wrecks this Kaiser has brought upon them. Friedrich Wilhelm does not meanly hate the Kaiser: good man, he sometimes pities him; sometimes, we perceive, has a touch of authentic contempt for him. But his thoughts, in that quarter, premature old age aggravating them, are generally of a tragic nature, not to be spoken without tears; and the tears have a flash at the bottom of them, when he looks round on Fritz and says, "There is one, though, that will avenge me!" Friedrich Wilhelm, to the last a broad strong phenomenon, keeps wending downward, homeward, from this point; the Kaiser too, we perceive, is rapidly consummating his enormous Spectre-Hunts and Duels with Termagants, and before long will be at rest. We have well-nigh done with both these Majesties.
The Crown-Prince, by his judicious obedient procedures in these Four Years at Ruppin, at a distance from Papa, has, as it were, completed his APPRENTICESHIP; and, especially by this last Inspection-Journey into Preussen, may be said to have delivered his PROOF-ESSAY with a distinguished success. He is now out of his Apprenticeship; entitled to take up his Indentures, whenever need shall be. The rugged old Master cannot but declare him competent, qualified to try his own hand without supervision:--after all those unheard-of confusions, like to set the shop on fire at one time, it is a blessedly successful Apprenticeship! Let him now, theoretically at least, in the realms of Art, Literature, Spiritual Improvement, do his WANDERJAHRE, over at Reinsberg, still in the old region,--still well apart from Papa, who agrees best NOT in immediate contact;--and be happy in the new Domesticities, and larger opportunities, provided for him there; till a certain time come, which none of us are in haste for.