The posting of the Five Armies this Winter—Five of them in Germany, not counting the Russians, who have vanished to Cimmeria over the horizon, for their months of rest—is something wonderful, and strikes the picturesque imagination. Such a Chain of Posts, for length, if for nothing else! From the centre of Bohemia eastward, Daun's Austrians are spread all round the western Silesian Border and the southeastern Saxon; waited on by Prussians, in more or less proximity. Next are the Reichsfolk; scattered over Thuringen and the Franconian Countries; fronting partly into Hessen and Duke Ferdinand's outskirts:—the main body of Duke Ferdinand is far to westward, in Munster Country, vigilant upon Contades, with the Rhine between. Contades and Soubise,—adjoining on the Reichsfolk are these Two French Armies: Soubise's, some 25,000, in Frankfurt-Ems Country, between the Mayn and the Lahn, with its back to the Rhine; then Contades, onward to Maes River and the Dutch Borders, with his face to the Rhine,—and Duke Ferdinand observant of him on the other side. That is the "CORDON of Posts" or winter-quarters this Year. "From the Giant Mountains and the Metal Mountains, to the Ocean;—to the mouth of Rhine," may we not say; "and back again to the Swiss Alps or springs of Rhine, that Upper-Rhine Country being all either French or Austrian, and a basis for Soubise?" [Archenholtz, i. 306.] Not to speak of Ocean itself, and its winged War-Fleets, lonesomely hovering and patrolling; or of the Americas and Indies beyond!
"This is such a Chain of mutually vigilant Winter-quarters," says Archenholtz, "as was never drawn in Germany, or in Europe, before." Chain of about 300,000 fighting men, poured out in that lengthy manner. Taking their winter siesta there, asleep with one eye open, till reinforced for new business of death and destruction against Spring. Pathetic surely, as well as picturesque. "Three Campaigns there have already been," sighs the peaceable observer: "Three Campaigns, surely furious enough; Eleven Battles in them," [Stenzel, v. 185. This, I suppose, would be his enumeration: LOBOSITZ (1756); PRAG, KOLIN, Hastenbeck, Gross-Jagersdorf, ROSSBACH, Breslau, LEUTHEN, (1757); Crefeld, ZORNDORF, HOCHKIRCH (1758): "eleven hitherto in all."] a Prag, a Kolin, Leuthen, Rossbach;—must there still be others, then, to the misery of poor mankind?" thus sigh many peaceful persons. Not considering what are, and have been, the rages, the iniquities, the loud and silent deliriums, the mad blindnesses and sins of mankind; and what amount, of CALCINING these may reasonably take. Not calcinable in three Campaigns at all, it would appear! Four more Campaigns are needed: then there will be innocuous ashes in quantity; and a result unexpected, and worth marking in World-History.
It is notably one of Friedrich's fond hopes,—of which he keeps up several, as bright cloud-hangings in the haggard inner world he now has,—that Peace is just at hand; one right struggle more, and Peace must come! And on the part of Britannic George and him, repeated attempts were made,—one in the end of this Year 1759;—but one and all of them proved futile, and, unless for accidental reasons, need not be mentioned here. Many men, in all nations, long for Peace; but there are Three Women at the top of the world who do not; their wrath, various in quality, is great in quantity, and disasters do the reverse of appeasing it.
The French people, as is natural, are weary of a War which yields them mere losses and disgraces; "War carried on for Austrian whims, which likewise seem to be impracticable!" think they. And their Bernis himself, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who began this sad French-Austrian Adventure, has already been remonstrating with Kaunitz, and grumbling anxiously, "Could not the Swedes, or somebody, be got to mediate? Such a War is too ruinous!" Hearing which, the Pompadour is shocked at the favorite creature of her hands; hastens to dismiss him ("Be Cardinal then, you ingrate of a Bernis; disappear under that Red Hat!")—and appoints, in his stead, one Choiseul (known hitherto as STAINVILLE, Comte de Stainville, French Excellency at Vienna, but now made Duke on this promotion), Duc de Choiseul; [Minister of Foreign Affairs, "11th November, 1758" (Barbier, iv. 294).] who is a Lorrainer, or Semi-Austrian, by very birth; and probably much fitter for the place. A swift, impetuous kind of man, this Choiseul, who is still rather young than otherwise; plenty of proud spirit in him, of shifts, talent of the reckless sort; who proved very notable in France for the next twenty years.
French trade being ruined withal, money is running dreadfully low: but they appoint a new Controller-General; a M. de Silhouette, who is thought to have an extraordinary creative genius in Finance. Had he but a Fortunatus-Purse, how lucky were it! With Fortunatus Silhouette as purse-holder, with a fiery young Choiseul on this hand, and a fiery old Belleisle on that, Pompadour meditates great things this Year,—Invasions of England; stronger German Armies; better German Plans, and slashings home upon Hanover itself, or the vital point;—and flatters herself, and her poor Louis, that there is on the anvil, for 1759, such a French Campaign as will perhaps astonish Pitt and another insolent King. Very fixed, fell and feminine is the Pompadour's humor in this matter. Nor is the Czarina's less so; but more, if possible; unappeasable except by death. Imperial Maria Theresa has masculine reasons withal; great hopes, too, of late. Of the War's ending till flat impossibility stop it, there is no likelihood.
To Pitt this Campaign 1759, in spite of bad omens at the outset, proved altogether splendid: but greatly the reverse on Friedrich's side; to whom it was the most disastrous and unfortunate he had yet made, or did ever make. Pitt at his zenith in public reputation; Friedrich never so low before, nothing seemingly but extinction near ahead, when this Year ended. The truth is, apart from his specific pieces of ill-luck, there had now begun for Friedrich a new rule of procedure, which much altered his appearance in the world. Thrice over had he tried by the aggressive or invasive method; thrice over made a plunge at the enemy's heart, hoping so to disarm or lame him: but that, with resources spent to such a degree, is what he cannot do a fourth time: he is too weak henceforth to think of that.
Prussia has always its King, and his unrivalled talent; but that is pretty much the only fixed item: Prussia VERSUS France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and the German Reich, what is it as a field of supplies for war! Except its King, these are failing, year by year; and at a rate fatally SWIFT in comparison. Friedrich cannot now do Leuthens, Rossbachs; far-shining feats of victory, which astonish all the world. His fine Prussian veterans have mostly perished; and have been replaced by new levies and recruits; who are inferior both in discipline and native quality;—though they have still, people say, a noteworthy taste of the old Prussian sort in them; and do, in fact, fight well to the last. But "it is observable," says Retzow somewhere, and indeed it follows from the nature of the case, "that while the Prussian Army presents always its best kind of soldiers at the beginning of a war, Austria, such are its resources in population, always improves in that particular, and its best troops appear in the last campaigns." In a word, Friedrich stands on the defensive henceforth; disputing his ground inch by inch: and is reduced, more and more, to battle obscurely with a hydra-coil of enemies and impediments; and to do heroisms which make no noise in the Gazettes. And, alas, which cannot figure in History either,—what is more a sorrow to me here!
Friedrich, say all judges of soldiership and human character who have studied Friedrich sufficiently, "is greater than ever," in these four Years now coming. [Berenhorst, in Kriegskunst; Retzow; &c.] And this, I have found more and more to be a true thing; verifiable and demonstrable in time and place,—though, unluckily for us, hardly in this time or this place at all! A thing which cannot, by any method, be made manifest to the general reader; who delights in shining summary feats, and is impatient of tedious preliminaries and investigations,—especially of MAPS, which are the indispensablest requisite of all. A thing, in short, that belongs peculiarly to soldier-students; who can undergo the dull preliminaries, most dull but most inexorably needed; and can follow out, with watchful intelligence, and with a patience not to be wearied, the multifarious topographies, details of movements and manoeuvrings, year after year, on such a Theatre of War. What is to be done with it here! If we could, by significant strokes, indicate, under features true so far as they went, the great wide fire-flood that was raging round the world; if we could, carefully omitting very many things, omit of the things intelligible and decipherable that concern Friedrich himself, nothing that had meaning: IF indeed—! But it is idle preluding. Forward again, brave reader, under such conditions as there are!
Friedrich's Winter in Breslau was of secluded, silent, sombre character, this time; nothing of stir in it but from work only: in marked contrast with the last, and its kindly visitors and gayeties. A Friedrich given up to his manifold businesses, to his silent sorrows. "I have passed my winter like a Carthusian monk," he writes to D'Argens: "I dine alone; I spend my life in reading and writing; and I do not sup. When one is sad, it becomes at last too burdensome to hide one's grief continually; and it is better to give way to it by oneself, than to carry one's gloom into society. Nothing solaces me but the vigorous application required in steady and continuous labor. This distraction does force one to put away painful ideas, while it lasts: but, alas, no sooner is the work done, than these fatal companions present themselves again, as if livelier than ever. Maupertuis was right: the sum of evil does certainly surpass that of good:—but to me it is all one; I have almost nothing more to lose; and my few remaining days, what matters it much of what complexion they be?" ["Breslau, 1st March, 1759," To D'Argens (OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 56).]
The loss of his Wilhelmina, had there been no other grief, has darkened all his life to Friedrich. Readers are not prepared for the details of grief we could give, and the settled gloom of mind they indicate. A loss irreparable and immeasurable; the light of life, the one loved heart that loved him, gone. His passionate appeals to Voltaire to celebrate for him in verse his lost treasure, and at least make her virtues immortal, are perhaps known to readers: [ODE SUR LA MORT DE S. A. S. MADAME LA PRINCESSE DE BAREITH (in OEuvres de Voltaire, xviii. 79-86): see Friedrich's Letter to him (6th November, 1758); with Voltaire's VERSES in Answer (next month); Friedrich's new Letter (Breslau, 23d January 1759), demanding something more,—followed by the ODE just cited (Ib. lxxii. 402; lxxviii. 82, 92; or OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 20-24: &c.) alas, this is a very feeble kind of immortality, and Friedrich too well feels it such. All Winter he dwells internally on the sad matter, though soon falling silent on it to others.
The War is ever more dark and dismal to him; a wearing, harassing, nearly disgusting task; on which, however, depends life or death. This Year, he "expects to have 300,000 enemies upon him;" and "is, with his utmost effort, getting up 150,000 to set against them." Of business, in its many kinds, there can be no lack! In the intervals he also wrote considerably: one of his Pieces is a SERMON ON THE LAST JUDGMENT; handed to Reader De Catt, one evening:—to De Catt's surprise, and to ours; the Voiceless in a dark Friedrich trying to give itself some voice in this way! [OEuvres de Frederic, xv. 1-10 (see Preuss's PREFACE there; Formey, SOUVENIRS, i. 37; &c. &c.)] Another Piece, altogether practical, and done with excellent insight, brevity, modesty, is ON TACTICS; [REFLEXIONS SUR LA TACTIQUE: in OEuvres de Frederic, xxviii. 153-166.]—properly it might be called, "Serious very Private Thoughts," thrown on paper, and communicated only to two or three, "On the new kind of Tactics necessary with those Austrians and their Allies," who are in such overwhelming strength. "To whose continual sluggishness, and strange want of concert, to whose incoherency of movements, languor of execution, and other enormous faults, we have owed, with some excuse for our own faults, our escaping of destruction hitherto,"—but had better NOT trust that way any longer! Fouquet is one of the highly select, to whom he communicates this Piece; adding along with it, in Fouquet's case, an affectionate little Note, and, in spite of poverty, some New-year's Gift, as usual,—the "Widow's Mite [300 pounds, we find]; receive it with the same heart with which it was set apart for you: a small help, which you may well have need of, in these calamitous times." ["Breslau, 23d December, 1758;" with Fouquet's Answer, 2d January, 1759: in OEuvres de Frederic, xx. 114-117.] Fouquet much admires the new Tactical Suggestions;—seems to think, however, that the certainly practicable one is, in particular, the last, That of "improving our Artillery to some equality with theirs." For which, as may appear, the King has already been taking thought, in more ways than one.
Finance is naturally a heavy part of Friedrich's Problem; the part which looks especially impossible, from our point of vision! In Friedrich's Country, the War Budget does not differ from the Peace one. Neither is any borrowing possible; that sublime Art, of rolling over on you know not whom the expenditure, needful or needless, of your heavy-laden self, had not yet—though England is busy at it—been invented among Nations. Once, or perhaps twice, from the STANDE of some willing Province, Friedrich negotiated some small Loan; which was punctually repaid when Peace came, and was always gratefully remembered. But these are as nothing, in face of such expenses; and the thought how he did contrive on the Finance side, is and was not a little wonderful. An ingenious Predecessor, whom I sometimes quote, has expressed himself in these words:—
"Such modicum of Subsidy [he is speaking of the English Subsidy in 1758], how useful will it prove in a Country bred everywhere to Spartan thrift, accustomed to regard waste as sin, and which will lay out no penny except to purpose! I guess the Prussian Exchequer is, by this time, much on the ebb; idle precious metals tending everywhere towards the melting-pot. At what precise date the Friedrich-Wilhelm balustrades, and enormous silver furnitures, were first gone into, Dryasdust has not informed me: but we know they all went; as they well might. To me nothing is so wonderful as Friedrich's Budget during this War. One day it will be carefully investigated, elucidated and made conceivable and certain to mankind: but that as yet is far from being the case. We walk about in it with astonishment; almost, were it possible, with incredulity. Expenditure on this side, work done on that: human nature, especially British human nature, refuses to conceive it. Never in this world, before or since, was the like. The Friedrich miracles in War are great; but those in Finance are almost greater. Let Dryasdust bethink him; and gird his flabby loins to this Enterprise; which is very behooveful in these Californian times!"—
The general Secret of Prussian Thrift, I do fear, is lost from the world. And how an Army of about 200,000, in field and garrison, could be kept on foot, and in some ability to front combined Europe, on about Three Million Sterling annually ("25 million THALERS"=3,150,000 pounds, that is the steady War-Budget of those years), remains to us inconceivable enough;—mournfully miraculous, as it were; and growing ever more so in the Nugget-generations that now run. Meanwhile, here are what hints I could find, on the Origins of that modest Sum, which also are a wonder: [Preuss, ii. 388-392; Stenzel, v. 137-141.]—
"The hoarded Prussian Moneys, or 'TREASURES' [two of them, KLEINE SCHATZ, GROSSE SCHATZ, which are rigidly saved in Peace years, for incidence of War], being nearly run out, there had come the English Subsidy: this, with Saxony, and the Home revenues and remnants of SCHATZ had sufficed for 1758; but will no longer suffice. Next to Saxony, the English Subsidy (670,000 pounds due the second time this year) was always Friedrich's principal resource: and in the latter years of the War, I observe, it was nearly twice the amount of what all his Prussian Countries together, in their ravaged and worn-out state, could yield him. In and after 1759, besides Home Income, which is gradually diminishing, and English Subsidy, which is a steady quantity, Friedrich's sources of revenue are mainly Two:—
"FIRST, there is that of wringing money from your Enemies, from those that have deserved ill of you,—such of them as you can come at. Enemies, open or secret, even Ill-wishers, we are not particular, provided only they lie within arm's-length. Under this head fall principally three Countries (and their three poor Populations, in lieu of their Governments): Saxony, Mecklenburg (or the main part of it, Mecklenburg-SCHWERIN), and Anhalt; from these three there is a continual forced supply of money and furnishings. Their demerits to Friedrich differ much in intensity; nor is his wringing of them—which in the cases of Mecklenburg and Saxony increases year by year to the nearly intolerable pitch—quite in the simple ratio of their demerits; but in a compound ratio of that and of his indignation and of his wants.
"Saxony, as Prime Author of this War, was from the first laid hold of, collared tightly: 'Pay the shot, then, what you can' (in the end it was almost what you cannot)! As to Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the grudge against Prussia was of very old standing, some generations now; and the present Duke, not a very wise Sovereign more than his Ancestors, had always been ill with Friedrich; willing to spite and hurt him when possible: in Reichs Diet he, of all German Princes, was the first that voted for Friedrich's being put to Ban of the Reich,—he; and his poor People know since whether that was a wise step! The little Anhalt Princes, too, all the Anhalts, Dessau, Bernburg, Cothen, Zerbst [perhaps the latter partially excepted, for a certain Russian Lady's sake], had voted, or at least had ambiguously half-voted, in favor of the Ban, and done other unfriendly things; and had now to pay dear for their bits of enmities. Poor souls, they had but One Vote among them all Four;—and they only half gave it, tremulously pulling it back again. I should guess it was their terrors mainly, and over-readiness to reckon Friedrich a sinking ship; and to leap from the deck of him,—with a spurn which he took for insolent! The Anhalt-Dessauers particularly, who were once of his very Army, half Prussians for generations back, he reckoned to have used him scandalously ill.
"This Year the requisition on the Four Anhalts—which they submit to patiently, as people who have leapt into the wrong ship—is, in precise tale: of money, 330,000 thalers (about 50,000 pounds); recruits, 2,200; horses, 1,800. In Saxony, besides the fixed Taxes, strict confiscation of Meissen Potteries and every Royalty, there were exacted heavy 'Contributions,' more and more heavy, from the few opulent Towns, chiefly from Leipzig; which were wrung out, latterly, under great severities,—'chief merchants of Leipzig all clapt in prison, kept on bread-and-water till they yielded,'—AS great severities as would suffice, but NOT greater; which also was noted. Unfortunate chief merchants of Leipzig,—with Bruhl and Polish Majesty little likely to indemnify them! Unfortunate Country altogether. An intelligent Saxon, who is vouched for as impartial, bears witness as follows: 'And this I know, that the oppressions and plunderings of the Austrians and Reichsfolk, in Saxony, turned all hearts away from them; and it was publicly said, We had rather bear the steady burden of the Prussians than such help as these our pretended Deliverers bring.' [Stenzel (citing from KRIEGSKANZLEI, which I have not), v. 137 n.] Whereby, on the whole, the poor Country got its back broken, and could never look up in the world since. Resource FIRST was abundantly severe.
"Resource SECOND is strangest of all;—and has given rise to criticism enough! It is no other than that of issuing base money; mixing your gold and silver coin with copper,—this, one grieves to say, is the Second and extreme resource. A rude method—would we had a better—of suspending Cash-payments, and paying by bank-notes instead!' thinks Friedrich, I suppose. From his Prussian Mints, from his Saxon [which are his for the present], and from the little Anhalt-Bernburg Mint [of which he expressly purchased the sad privilege,—for we are not a Coiner, we are a King reduced to suspend Cash-payments, for the time being], Friedrich poured out over all Germany, in all manner of kinds, huge quantities of bad Coin. This, so long as it would last, is more and more a copious fountain of supply. This, for the first time, has had to appear as an item in War-Budget 1759: and it fails in no following, but expands more and more. It was done through Ephraim, the not lovely Berlin Jew, whom we used to hear of in Voltaire's time;—through Ephraim and two others, Ephraim as President: in return for a net Sum, these shall have privilege to coin such and such amounts, so and so alloyed; shall pay to General Tauentzien, Army Treasurer, at fixed terms, the Sums specified: 'Go, and do it; our Mint-Officers sharply watching you; Mint-Officers, and General Tauentzien [with a young Herr Lessing, as his Chief Clerk, of whom the King knows nothing]; Go, ye unlovely!' And Ephraim and Company are making a great deal of money by the unlovely job. Ephraim is the pair of tongs, the hand, and the unlovely job, are a royal man's. Alas, yes. And none of us knows better than King Friedrich, perhaps few of us as well, how little lovely a job it was; how shockingly UNkingly it was,—though a practice not unknown to German Kings and Kinglets before his time, and since down almost to ours. [In STENZEL (v. 141) enumeration of eight or nine unhappy Potentates, who were busy with it in those same years.] In fact, these are all unkingly practices;—and the English Subsidy itself is distasteful to a proud Friedrich: but what, in those circumstances, can any Friedrich do?
"The first coinages of Ephraim had, it seems, in them about 3-7ths of copper; something less than the half, and more than the third,"—your gold sovereign grown to be worth 28s. 6d. "But yearly it grew worse; and in 1762 [English Subsidy having failed] matters had got inverted; and there was three times as much copper as silver. Commerce, as was natural, went rocking and tossing, as on a sea under earthquakes; but there was always ready money among Friedrich's soldiers, as among no other: nor did the common people, or retail purchasers, suffer by it. 'Hah, an Ephraimite!' they would say, grinning not ill-humoredly, at sight of one of these pieces; some of which they had more specifically named 'BLUE-GOWNS' [owing to a tint of blue perceivable, in spite of the industrious plating in real silver, or at least "boiling in some solution" of it]; these they would salute with this rhyme, then current:—
"Von aussen schon, van innen schlimm; Von aussen Friedrich, von innen Ephraim. Outside noble, inside slim: Outside Friedrich, inside Ephraim.
"By this time, whatever of money, from any source, can be scraped together in Friedrich's world, flows wholly into the Army-Chest, as the real citadel of life. In these latter years of the War, beginning, I could guess, from 1759, all Civil expenditures, and wages of Officials, cease to be paid in money; nobody of that kind sees the color even of bad coin; but is paid only in 'Paper Assignments,' in Promises to Pay 'after the Peace.' These Paper Documents made no pretence to the rank of Currency: such holders of them as had money, or friends, and could wait, got punctual payment when the term did arrive; but those that could not, suffered greatly; having to negotiate their debentures on ruinous terms,—sometimes at an expense of three-fourths.—I will add Friedrich's practical Schedule of Amounts from all these various Sources; and what Friedrich's own view of the Sources was, when he could survey them from the safe distance.
"SCHEDULE OF AMOUNTS [say for 1761]. To make up the Twenty-five Million thalers, necessary for the Army, there are:—
"From our Prussian Countries, ruined, harried as THALERS they have been,.......... 4 millions only. From Saxony and the other Wringings, ..... 7 millions. English Subsidy (4 of good gold; becoppered into double),........... 8 " From Ephraim and his Farm of the Mint (MUNZ-PATENT), .......... 7 "
In sum Twenty-six Millions; leaving you one Million of margin,—and always a plenty of cash in hand for incidental sundries. [Preuss, ii. 388.]
"Friedrich's own view of these sad matters, as he closes his History of the Seven-Years War [at "Berlin, 17th December, 1763"], is in these words: 'May Heaven grant,—if Heaven deign to look down on the paltry concerns of men,—that the unalterable and flourishing destiny of this Country preserve the Sovereigns who shall govern it from the scourges and calamities which Prussia has suffered in these times of trouble and subversion; that they may never again be forced to recur to the violent and fatal remedies which we (L'ON) have been obliged to employ in maintenance of the State against the ambitious hatred of the Sovereigns of Europe, who wished to annihilate the House of Brandenburg, and exterminate from the world whatever bore the Prussian name!'" [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 234.]
Friedrich, being denied an aggressive course this Year, by no means sits idly expectant and defensive in the interim; but, all the more vigorously, as is observable, from February onwards, strikes out from him on every side: endeavoring to spoil the Enemy's Magazines, and cripple his operations in that way. So that there was, all winter through, a good deal of Small-War (some of it not Small), of more importance than usual,—chiefly of Friedrich's originating, with the above view, or of Ferdinand his Ally's, on a still more pressing score. And, on the whole, that immense Austrian-French Cordon, which goes from the Carpathians to the Ocean, had by no means a quiet time; but was broken into, and violently hurled back, in different parts: some four, or even five, attacks upon it in all; three of them by Prince Henri,—in two of which Duke Ferdinand's people co-operated; the business being for mutual behoof. These latter Three were famous in the world, that Winter; and indeed are still recognizable as brilliant procedures of their kind; though, except dates and results, we can afford almost nothing of them here. These Three, intended chiefly against Reichs people and their Posts and Magazines, fell out on the western and middle part of the Cordon. Another attack was in the extreme eastward, and was for Friedrich's own behoof; under Fouquet's management;—intended against the Austrian-Moravian Magazines and Preparations, but had little success. Still another assault, or invasive outroad, northward against the Russian Magazines, there also was; of which by and by. Besides all which, and more memorable than all, Duke Ferdinand, for vital reasons of his own, fought a Battle this Spring, considerable Battle, and did NOT gain it; which made great noise in the world.
It is not necessary the reader should load his memory with details of all these preliminary things; on the contrary, it is necessary that he keep his memory clear for the far more important things that lie ahead of these, and entertain these in a summary way, as a kind of foreground to what is coming. Perhaps the following Fractions of Note, which put matters in something of Chronological or Synoptical form, will suffice him, or more than suffice. He is to understand that the grand tug of War, this Year, gradually turns out not to be hereabouts, nor with Daun and his adjacencies at all, but with the Russians, who arrive from the opposite Northern quarter; and that all else will prove to be merely prefatory and nugatory in comparison.
JANUARY 2d, 1759: FRANKFURT-ON-MAYN, THOUGH IT IS A REICHSTADT, FINDS ITSELF SUDDENLY BECOME FRENCH. "Prince de Soubise lies between Mayn and Lahn, with his 25,000; beautifully safe and convenient,—though ill off for a place-of-arms in those parts. Opulent Frankfurt, on his right; how handy would that be, were not Reichs Law so express! Marburg, Giessen are outposts of his; on which side one of Ferdinand's people, Prince von Ysenburg, watches him with an 8 or 10,000, capable of mischief in that quarter.
"On the Eve of New-year's day, or on the auspicious Day itself, Soubise requests, of the Frankfurt Authorities, permission for a regiment of his to march through that Imperial City. To which, by law and theory, the Imperial City can say Yes or No; but practically cannot, without grave inconvenience, say other than Yes, though most Frankfurters wish it could. 'Yes,' answer the Frankfurt Magnates; Yes surely, under the known conditions. Tuesday, January 2d, about 5 in the morning, while all is still dark in Frankfurt, regiment Nassau appears, accordingly, at the Sachsenhausen Gate, Town-guard people all ready to receive it and escort it through; and is admitted as usual. Quite as usual: but instead of being escorted through, it orders, in calm peremptory voice, the Town-guard, To ground arms; with calm rapidity proceeds to admit ten other regiments or battalions, six of them German; seizes the artillery on the Walls, seizes all the other Gates:—and poor Frankfurt finds itself tied hand and foot, almost before it is out of bed! Done with great exactitude, with the minimum of confusion, and without a hurt skin to anybody. The Inhabitants stood silent, gazing; the Town-guard laid down their arms, and went home. Totally against Law; but cleverly done; perhaps Soubise's chief exploit in the world; certainly the one real success the French have yet had.
"Soubise made haste to summon the Magistrates: 'Law of Necessity alone, most honored Sirs! Reichs Law is clear against me. But all the more shall private liberties, religions, properties, in this Imperial Free-Town, be sacred to us. Defence against any aggression: and the strictest discipline observed. Depend on me, I bid you!'—And kept his word to an honorable degree, they say; or in absence, made it be kept, during the Four Years that follow. Most Frankfurters are, at heart, Anti-French: but Soubise's affability was perfect; and he gave evening parties of a sublime character; the Magistrates all appearing there, in their square perukes and long gowns, with a mournful joy." [Tempelhof, iii. 7-8; Stenzel, v. 198-200.]
Soubise soon went home, to assist in important businesses,—Invasion of England, no less; let England look to itself this Summer!—and Broglio succeeded him, as Army-Captain in the Frankfurt parts; with laurels accruing, more or less. Soubise, like Broglio, began with Rossbach; Soubise ends with Frankfurt, for the present; where Broglio also gains his chief laurels, as will shortly be seen. Frankfurt is a great gain to France, though an illicit one. It puts a bar on Duke Ferdinand in that quarter; secures a starting-point for attacks on Hessen, Hanover; for co-operation with Contades and the Lower Rhine. It is the one success France has yet had in this War, or pretty much that it ever had in it. Due to Prince de Soubise, in that illegal fashion.—A highly remarkable little Boy, now in his tenth year, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, has his wondering eyes on these things: and, short while hence, meets daily, on the stairs and lobbies at home, a pleasant French Official Gentlemen who is quartered there; between whom and Papa occur rubs,—as readers may remember, and shall hear in April coming.
GRAND CORDON DISRUPTED: ERFURT COUNTRY, 16th FEBRUARY-2d MARCH. "About six weeks after this Frankfurt achievement, certain Reichsfolk and Austrian Auxiliaries are observed to be cutting down endless timber, '18,800 palisades, 6,000 trees of 60 feet,' and other huge furnishings, from the poor Duke of Gotha's woods; evidently meaning to fortify themselves in Erfurt. Upon which Prince Henri detaches a General Knobloch thitherward, Duke Ferdinand contributing 4,000 to meet him there; which combined expedition, after some sharp knocking and shoving, entirely disrooted the Austrians and Reichsfolk, and sent them packing. Had them quite torn out by the end of the month; and had planned to 'attack them on two sides at once' (March 2d), with a view of swallowing them whole,—when they (these Reichs Volscians, in such a state of flutter) privately hastened off, one and all of them, the day before." [Narrative, in Helden-Geschichte, v. 1022 et seq.]
This was BREAKAGE FIRST of the Grand Cordon; an explosive hurling of it back out of those Erfurt parts. Done by Prince Henri's people, in concert with Duke Ferdinand's,—who were mutually interested in the thing.
BREAKAGE SECOND: ERFURT-FULDA COUNTRY, 31st MARCH-8th APRIL. "About the end of March, these intrusive Austrian Reichsfolk made some attempt to come back into those Countries; but again got nothing but hard knocks; and gave up the Erfurt project. For, close following on this FIRST, there was a SECOND still deeper and rougher Breakage, in those same regions; the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick dashing through, on a special Errand of Ferdinand's own [of which presently], with an 8 or 10,000, in his usual fiery manner; home into the very bowels of the Reich (April 3d, and for a week onward); and returning with 'above 2,000 prisoners' in hand; especially with a Reich well frightened behind him;—still in time for Duke Ferdinand's Adventure [in fact, for his Battle of Bergen, of which we are to hear]. Had been well assisted by Prince Henri, who 'made dangerous demonstrations in the distance,' and was extremely diligent—though the interest was chiefly Ferdinand's this time." [Tempelhof, iii. 19-22.]—Contemporary with that FIRST Erfurt Business, there went on, 300 miles away from it, in the quite opposite direction, another of the same;—too curious to be omitted.
ACROSS THE POLISH FRONTIER: FEBRUARY, 24th-MARCH 4th. "In the end of February, General Wobersnow, an active man, was detached from Glogau, over into Poland, Posen way, To overturn the Russian provision operations thereabouts; in particular, to look into a certain high-flying Polack, a Prince Sulkowski of those parts; who with all diligence is gathering food, in expectation of the Russian advent; and indeed has formally 'declared War against the King of Prussia;' having the right, he says, as a Polish Magnate, subject only to his own high thought in such affairs. The Russians and their wars are dear to Sulkowski. He fell prisoner in their cause, at Zorndorf, last Autumn; was stuck, like all the others, Soltikoff himself among them, into the vaulted parts of Custrin Garrison: 'I am sorry I have no Siberia for you,' said Friedrich, looking, not in a benign way, on the captive Dignitaries, that hot afternoon; 'go to Custrin, and see what you have provided for yourselves!' Which they had to do; nothing, for certain days, but cellarage to lodge in; King inexorable, deaf to remonstrance. Which possibly may have contributed to kindle Sulkowski into these extremely high proceedings.
"At any rate, Wobersnow punctually looks in upon him: seizes his considerable stock of Russian proviants; his belligerent force, his high person itself; and in one luckless hour snuffs him out from the list of potentates. His belligerent force, about 1,000 Polacks, were all compelled, 'by the cudgel, say my authorities, to take Prussian service [in garrison regiments, and well scattered about, I suppose]; his own high person found itself sitting locked in Glogau, left to its reflections. Sat thus 'till the War ended,' say some; certainly till the Sulkowski War had been sufficiently exploded by the laughter of mankind." Here are, succinctly, the dates of this small memorability:—
"End of February, Wobersnow gathers, at Glogau, a force of about 8,000 horse and foot. Marches, 24th FEBRUARY, over Oder Bridge, straight into Poland; that same night, to the neighborhood of Lissa and Reisen (Sulkowski's dominion), about thirty miles northeast of Glogau. Sulkowski done next day;—part of the capture is 'fifteen small guns.' Wobersnow goes, next, for Posen; arrives, 28th FEBRUARY; destroys Russian Magazine, ransoms Jews. Shoots out other detachments on the Magazine Enterprise;—detaches Platen along the Warta, where are picked up various items, among others 'eighty tuns of brandy,'—but himself proceeds no farther than Posen. MARCH 4th, sets out again from Posen, homewards." [NACHRICHT VON DER UNTERNEHMUNG DES GENERAL-MAJORS VON WOBERSNOW IN POLEN, IM FEB. UND MARZ. 1759: in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 526-529. Helden-Geschichte, v. 829.] We shall hear again of Wobersnow, in a much more important way, before long.
To the Polish Republic so called, Friedrich explained politely, not apologetically: "Since you allow the Russians to march through you in attack of me, it is evident to your just minds that the attacked party must have similar privilege." "Truly!" answered they, in their just minds, generally; and I made no complaint about Sulkowski (though Polish Majesty and Primate endeavored to be loud about "Invasion" and the like):—and indeed Polish Republic was lying, for a long while past, as if broken-backed, on the public highway, a Nation anarchic every fibre of it, and under the feet and hoofs of travelling Neighbors, especially of Russian Neighbors; and is not now capable of saying much for itself in such cases, or of doing anything at all.
FRANKFURT COUNTRY, APRIL 13th: DUKE FERDINAND'S BATTLE OF BERGEN. "Duke Ferdinand, fully aware what a stroke that seizure of Frankfurt was to him, resolved to risk a long march at this bad season, and attempt to drive the French out. Contades was absent in Paris,—no fear of an attack from Contades's Army; Broglio's in Frankfurt, grown now to about 35,000, can perhaps be beaten if vigorously attacked. Ferdinand appoints a rendezvous at Fulda, of various Corps, Prince Ysenburg's and others, that lie nearest, Hessians many of them, Hanoverians others; proceeds, himself, to Fulda, with a few attendants [a drive of about 200 miles];—having left Lord George Sackville [mark the sad name of him!]—Sackville, head of the English, and General Sporken, a Hanoverian,—to take charge in Munster Country, during his absence. It was from Fulda that he shot out the Hereditary Prince on that important Errand we lately spoke of, under the head of 'BREAKAGE SECOND,'—namely, to clear his right flank, and scare the Reich well off him, while he should be marching on Frankfurt. All which, Henri assisting from the distance, the Hereditary Prince performed to perfection,—and was back (APRIL 8th) in excellent time for the Battle.
"Ferdinand stayed hardly a day in Fulda, ranking himself and getting on the road. Did his long march of above 100 miles without accident or loss of time;—of course, scaring home the Broglio Outposts in haste enough, and awakening Broglio's attention in a high degree;—and arrives, Thursday, April 12th, at Windecken, a Village about fifteen miles northeast of Frankfurt; where he passes the night under arms; intending Battle on the morrow. Broglio is all assembled, 35,000 strong; his Assailant, with the Hereditary Prince come in, counts rather under 30,000. Broglio is posted in, and on both sides of, Bergen, a high-lying Village, directly on Ferdinand's road to Frankfurt. Windecken is about fifteen miles from Frankfurt; Bergen about six:—idle Tourists of our time, on their return from Homburg to that City, leave Bergen a little on their left. The ground is mere hills, woody dales, marshy brooks; Broglio's position, with its Village, and Hill, and ravines and advantages, is the choicest of the region; and Broglio's methods, procedures and arrangements in it are applauded by all judges.
"FRIDAY, 13th APRIL, 1759, Ferdinand is astir by daybreak; comes on, along one of those woody balleys, pickeering, reconnoitring;—in the end, directly up the Hill of Bergen; straight upon the key-point. It is about 10 A.M., when the batteries and musketries awaken there; very loud indeed, for perhaps two hours or more. Prince von Ysenburg is leader of Ferdinand's attacking party. Their attack is hot and fierce, and they stick to it steadily; though garden-hedges, orchards and impediments are many, and Broglio, with, much cannon helping, makes vigorous defence. These Ysenburgers fought till their cartridges were nearly spent, and Ysenburg himself lay killed; but could not take Bergen. Nor could the Hereditary Prince; who, in aid of them, tried it in flank, with his own usual impetuosity rekindling theirs, and at first with some success; but was himself taken in flank by Broglio's Reserve, and obliged to desist. No getting of Bergen by that method.
"Military critics say coolly, 'You should have smashed it well with cannon, first [which Ferdinand had not in stock here]; and especially have flung grenadoes into it, till it was well in flame: impossible otherwise!' [Mauvillon, ii. 19.] The Ysenburgers and Hereditary Prince withdraw. No pursuit of them; or almost less than none; for the one or two French regiments that tried it (against order), nearly got cut up. Broglio, like a very Daun at Kolin, had strictly forbidden all such attempts: 'On no temptation quit your ground!'
"The Battle, after this, lay quiet all afternoon; Ferdinand still in sight; motioning much, to tempt French valor into chasing of him. But all in vain: Broglio, though his subalterns kept urging, remonstrating, was peremptory not to stir. Whereupon, towards evening, across certain woody Heights, perhaps still with some hope of drawing him out, Ferdinand made some languid attempt on Broglio's wing, or wings;—and this also failing, had to give up the affair. He continued cannonading till deep in the night; withdrew to Windecken: and about two next morning, marched for home,—still with little or no pursuit: but without hope of Frankfurt henceforth. And, in fact, has a painful Summer ahead.
"Ferdinand had lost 5 cannon, and of killed and wounded 2,500; the French counted their loss at about 1,900. [Mauvillon, ii. 10-19; Tempelhof, iii. 26-31.] The joy of France over this immense victory was extraordinary. Broglio was made Prince of the Reich, Marechal de France; would have been raised to the stars, had one been able,—for the time being. 'And your immense victory,' so sneered the by-standers, 'consists in not being beaten, under those excellent conditions;—perhaps victory is a rarity just now!'"
This is the Battle which our Boy-Friend Johann Wolfgang watched with such interest, from his garret-window, hour after hour; all Frankfurt simmering round him, in such a whirlpool of self-contradictory emotions; till towards evening, when, in long rows of carts, poor wounded Hessians and Hanoverians came jolting in, and melted every heart into pity, into wailing sorrow, and eagerness to help. A little later, Papa Goethe, stepping downstairs, came across the Official French Gentleman; who said radiantly: "Doubtless you congratulate yourself and us on this victory to his Majesty's arms." "Not a whit (KEINESWEGS)," answers Papa Goethe, a stiff kind of man, nowise in the mood of congratulating: "on the contrary, I wish they had chased you to the Devil, though I had had to go too!" Which was a great relief to his feelings, though a dangerous one in the circumstances. [Goethe's WERKE (Stuttgart und Tubingen, 1829), xxiv. (DICHTUNG UND WAHRHEIT, i.), 153-157.]
BREAKAGE THIRD: OVER THE METAL MOUNTAINS INTO BOHMEN (APRIL 14th-20th). "Ferdinand's Battle was hardly ending, when Prince Henri poured across the Mountains,—in two columns, Hulsen leading the inferior or rightmost one,—into Leitmeritz-Eger Country; and made a most successful business of the Austrian Magazines he found there. Magazines all filled; Enemy all galloping for Prag:—Daun himself, who is sitting vigilant, far in the interior, at Jaromirtz this month past, was thrown into huge flurry, for some days! Speedy Henri (almost on the one condition of BEING speedy) had his own will of the Magazines: burnt, Hulsen and he, 'about 600,000 pounds worth' of Austrian provender in those parts, 'what would have kept 50,000 men five months in bread' (not to mention hay at all); gave the Enemy sore slaps (caught about 3,000 of him, NOT yet got on gallop for Prag); burnt his 200 boats on the Elbe:—forced him to begin anew at the beginning; and did, in effect, considerably lame and retard certain of his operations through the Summer. Speedy Henri marched for home April 20th; and was all across the Mountains April 23d: a profitable swift nine days." [Tempelhof iii. 47-53; Helden-Geschichte, v. 963-966.]—And on the sixth day hence he will have something similar, and still more important, on foot. A swift man, when he must!
BREAKAGE FOURTH: INTO MAHREN (APRIL 16th-21st). "This is Fouquet's attempt, alluded to above; of which—as every reader must be satisfied with Small-War—we will give only the dates. Fouquet, ranking at Leobschutz, in Neisse Country, did break through into Mahren, pushing the Austrians before him; but found the Magazines either emptied, or too inaccessible for any worth they had;—could do nothing on the Magazines; and returned without result; home at Leobschutz again on the fifth day." [ Helden-Geschichte, v. 958-963; Tempelhof, iii. 44-47.] This, however, had a sequel for Fouquet; which, as it brought the King himself into those neighborhoods, we shall have to mention, farther on.
BREAKAGE FIFTH: INTO FRANKEN (MAY 5th-JUNE 1st). "This was Prince Henri's Invasion of the Bamberg-Nurnberg Countries; a much sharper thing than in any former Year. Much the most famous, and," luckily for us, "the last of the Small-War affairs for the present. Started,—from Tschopau region, Bamberg way,—April 29th-May 5th. In Three Columns: Finck leftmost, and foremost (Finck had marched April 29th, pretending to mean for Bohemia); after whom Knobloch; and (May 5th) the Prince himself. Who has an eye to the Reichs Magazines and Preparations, as usual;—nay, an eye to their Camp of Rendezvous, and to a fight with their miscellaneous Selves and Auxiliaries, if they will stand fight. 'You will have to leave Saxony, and help us with the Russians, soon: beat those Reichs people first!' urged the King; 'well beaten, they will not trouble Saxony for a while.' If they will stand fight? But they would not at all. They struck their tents everywhere; burnt their own Magazines, in some cases; and only went mazing hither and thither,—gravitating all upon Nurnberg, and an impregnable Camp which they have in that neighborhood. Supreme Zweibruck was himself with them; many Croats, Austrians, led by Maguire and others; all marching, whirling at a mighty rate; with a countenance sometimes of vigor, but always with Nurnberg Camp in rear. There was swift marching, really beautiful manoeuvring here and there; sharp bits of fighting, too, almost in the battle-form:—Maguire tried, or was for trying, a stroke with Finck; but made off hastily, glad to get away. [Templehof, iii. 64.] May 11th, at Himmelskron in Baireuth, one Riedesel of theirs had fairly to ground arms, self and 2,500, and become prisoners of war." Much of this manoeuvring and scuffling was in Baireuth Territory. Twice, or even thrice, Prince Henri was in Baireuth Town: "marched through Baireuth," say the careless Old Books. Through Baireuth:—No Wilhelmina now there, with her tremulous melodies of welcome! Wilhelminn's loves, and terrors for her loved, are now all still. Perhaps her poor Daughter of Wurtemberg, wandering unjustly disgraced, is there; Papa, the Widower Margraf, is for marrying again: [Married 20th September, 1759 (a Brunswick Princess, Sister's-daughter of his late Wife); died within four years.]—march on, Prince Henri!
"In Bamberg," says a Note from Archenholtz, "the Reichs troops burnt their Magazine; and made for Nurnberg, as usual; but left some thousand or two of Croats, who would not yet. Knobloch and his Prussians appeared shortly after; summoned Bamberg, which agreed to receive them; and were for taking possession; but found the Croats determined otherwise. Fight ensued; fight in the streets; which, in hideousness of noises, if in nothing else, was beyond parallel. The inhabitants sat all quaking in their cellars; not an inhabitant was to be seen: a City dead,—and given up to the demons, in this manner. Not for some hours were the Croats got entirely trampled out. Bamberg, as usual, became a Prussian place-of-arms; was charged to pay ransom of 40,000 pounds;—'cannot possibly!'—did pay some 14,000 pounds, and gave bills for the remainder." [Archenholtz. i. 371-373.] Which bills, let us mark withal, the Kaiser in Reichs Diet decreed to be invalid: "Don't pay them!" A thing not forgotten by Friedrich;—though it is understood the Bambergers, lest worse might happen, privately paid their bills. "The Expedition lasted, in whole, not quite four weeks: June 1st, Prince Henri was at the Saxon frontier again; the German world all ringing loud,—in jubilation, counter-jubilation and a great variety of tones,—with the noise of what he had done. A sharp swift man; and, sure enough, has fluttered the Reichs Volscians in their Corioli to an unexpected degree." [Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 537-563; BERICHT VON DER UNTERNEHMUNG DES PRINZEN HEINRICH IN FRANKEN, IM JAHR, 1759; Helden-Geschichte, v. 1033-1039; Tempelhof,????, et seq.]—-[COPY ILLEGIBLE PAGE 203,]
A Colonel Wunsch (Lieutenant-Colonel of the Free Corps WUNSCH) distinguished himself in this Expedition; The beginning of notably great things to him in the few following months. Wunsch is a Wurtemberger by birth; has been in many services, always in subaltern posts, and, this year, will testify strangely how worthy he was of the higher. What a Year, this of 1759, to stout old Wunsch! In the Spring, here has he just seen his poor son, Lieutenant Wunsch, perish in one of these scuffles; in Autumn, he will see himself a General, shining suddenly bright, to his King and to all the world; before Winter, he will be Prisoner to Austria, and eclipsed for the rest of this war!—Kleist, of the GREEN HUSSARS, also made a figure here; and onwards rapidly ever higher; to the top of renown in his business:—fallen heir to Mayer's place, as it were. A Note says: "Poor Mayer of the Free Corps does not ride with the Prince on this occasion. Mayer, dangerously worn down with the hard services of last Year, and himself a man of too sleepless temper, caught a fever in the New-year time; and died within few days: burnt away before his time; much regretted by his Brethren of the Army, and some few others. Gone in this way; with a high career just opening on him at the long last! Mayer was of Austrian, of half Spanish birth; a musical, really melodious, affectionate, but indignant, wildly stormful mortal; and had had adventures without end. Something of pathos, of tragedy, in the wild Life of him. [Still worth reading: in Pauli (our old watery BRANDENBURG-HISTORY Friend). Leben grosser Helden (Halle, 1759-1764, 9 vols.), iii. 142-188;—much the best Piece in that still rather watery (or windy) Collection, which, however, is authentic, and has some tolerable Portraits.] A man of considerable genius, military and other:—genius in the sleepless kind, which is not the best kind; sometimes a very bad kind. The fame of Friedrich invites such people from all sides of the world; and this was no doubt a sensible help to him."—But enough of all this.
Here, surely, is abundance of preliminary Small-War, on the part of a Friedrich reduced to the defensive!—Fouquet's Sequel, hinted at above, was to this effect. On Fouquet's failing to get hold of the Moravian Magazines, and returning to his Post at Leobschutz, a certain rash General Deville, who is Austrian chief in those parts, hastily rushed through the Jagerndorf Hills, and invaded Fouquet. Only for a few days; and had very bad success, in that bit of retaliation. The King, who is in Landshut, in the middle of his main cantonments, hastened over to Leobschutz with reinforcement to Fouquet; in the thought that a finishing-stroke might be done on this Deville;—and would have done it, had not the rash man plunged off again (May 1st, or the night before); homewards, at full speed. So that Friedrich, likewise at full speed, could catch nothing of him; but merely cannonade him in the Passes of Zuckmantel, and cut off his rear-guard of Croats. Poor forlorn of Croats, whom he had left in some bushy Chasm; to gain him a little time, and then to perish if THEY must! as Tempelhof remarks. [Tempelhof, iii. 56.] Upon which Friedrich returned to Landshut; and Fouquet had peace again.
It was from this Landshut region, where his main cantonments are, that Friedrich had witnessed all these Inroads, or all except the very earliest of them; the first Erfurt one, and the Wobersnow-Sulkowski. He had quitted Breslau in the end of March, and gone to his cantonments; quickened thither, probably, by a stroke that had befallen him at Griefenberg, on his Silesian side of the Cordon. At Griefenberg stood the Battalion Duringshofen, with its Colonel of the same name,—grenadier people of good quality, perhaps near 1,000 in whole. Which Battalion, General Beck, after long preliminary study of it, from his Bohemian side,—marching stealthily on it, one night (March 25-26th), by two or more roads, with 8,000 men, and much preliminary Croat-work,—contrived to envelop wholly, and carry off with him, before help could come up. This, I suppose, had quickened Friedrich's arrival. He has been in that region ever since,—in Landshut for the last week or two; and returns thither after the Deville affair.
And at Landshut,—which is the main Pass into Bohemia or from it, and is the grand observatory-point at present,—he will have to remain till the first days of July; almost three months. Watching, and waiting on the tedious Daun, who has the lifting of the curtain this Year! Daun had come to Jaromirtz, to his cantonments, "March 24th" (almost simultaneously with Friedrich to his); expecting Friedrich's Invasion, as usual. Long days sat Daun, expecting the King in Bohemia:—"There goes he, at last!" thought Daun, on Prince Henri's late flamy appearance there (BREAKAGE THIRD we labelled it);—and Daun had hastily pushed a Division thitherward, double-quick, to secure Prag; but found it was only the Magazines. "Above four millions worth [600,000 pounds, counting the THALERS into sterling], above four millions worth of bread and forage gone to ashes, and the very boats burnt? Well; the poor Reichsfolk, or our poor Auxiliaries to them, will have empty haversacks:—but it is not Prag!" thinks Daun.
At what exact point of time Daun came to see that Friedrich was not intending Invasion, and would, on the contrary, require to be invaded, I do not know. But it must have been an interesting discovery to Daun, if he foreshadowed to himself what results it would have on him: "Taking the defensive, then? And what is to become of one's Cunctatorship in that case!" Yes, truly. Cunctatorship is not now the trade needed; there is nothing to be made of playing Fabius-Cunctator:—and Daun's fame henceforth is a diminishing quantity. The Books say he "wasted above five weeks in corresponding with the Russian Generals." In fact, he had now weeks enough on hand; being articulately resolved (and even commanded by Kriegshofrath) to do nothing till the Russians came up;—and also (INarticulately and by command of Nature) to do as little as possible after! This Year, and indeed all years following, the Russians are to be Daun's best card.
Waiting for three months here till the curtain rose, it was Friedrich that had to play Cunctator. A wearisome task to him, we need not doubt. But he did it with anxious vigilance; ever thinking Daun would try something, either on Prince Henri or on him, and that the Play would begin. But the Play did not. There was endless scuffling and bickering of Outposts; much hitching and counter-hitching, along that Bohemian-Silesian Frontier,—Daun gradually hitching up, leftwards, northwards, to be nearer his Russians; Friedrich counter-hitching, and, in the end, detaching against the Russians, as they approached in actuality. The details of all which would break the toughest patience. Not till July came, had both parties got into the Lausitz; Daun into an impregnable Camp near Mark-Lissa (in Gorlitz Country); Friedrich, opposite and eastward of him, into another at Schmottseifen:—still after which, as the Russians still were not come, the hitching (if we could concern ourselves with it), the maze of strategic shuffling and counter-dancing, as the Russians get nearer, will become more intricate than ever.
Except that of General Beck on Battalion Duringshofen,—if that was meant as retaliatory, and was not rather an originality of Beck's, who is expert at such strokes,—Daun, in return for all these injurious Assaults and Breakages, tried little or no retaliation; and got absolutely none. Deville attempted once, as we saw; Loudon once, as perhaps we shall see: but both proved futile. For the present absolutely none. Next Year indeed, Loudon, on Fouquet at Landshut—But let us not anticipate! Just before quitting Landshut for Schmottseifen, Friedrich himself rode into Bohemia, to look more narrowly; and held Trautenau, at the bottom of the Pass, for a day or two—But the reader has had enough of Small-War! Of the present Loudon attempt, Friedrich, writing to Brother Henri, who is just home from his Franconian Invasion (BREAKAGE FIFTH), has a casual word, which we will quote. "Reich-Hennersdorf" is below Landshut, farther down the Pass; "Liebau" still farther down,—and its "Gallows," doubtless, is on some knoll in the environs!
REICH-HENNERSDORF, 9th JUNE. "My congratulations on the excellent success you have had [out in Frankenland yonder]! Your prisoners, we hear, are 3,000; the desertion and confusion in the Reichs Army are affirmed to be enormous:—I give those Reichs fellows two good months [scarcely took so long] to be in a condition to show face again. As for ourselves, I can send you nothing but contemptibilities. We have never yet had the beatific vision of Him with the Hat and Consecrated Sword [Papal Daun, that is]; they amuse us with the Sieur Loudon instead;—who, three days ago [7th July, two days] did us the honor of a visit, at the Gallows of Liebau. He was conducted out again, with all the politeness imaginable, on to near Schatzlar," well over the Bohemian Border; "where we flung a score of cannon volleys into the"—into the "DERRIERE of him, and everybody returned home." [In SCHONING, ii. 65: "9th June, 1759."]
Perhaps the only points now noticeable in this tedious Landshut interim, are Two, hardly noticed then at all by an expectant world. The first is: That in the King's little inroad down to Trautenau, just mentioned, four cannon drawn by horses were part of the King's fighting gear,—the first appearance of Horse Artillery in the world. "A very great invention," says the military mind: "guns and carriages are light, and made of the best material for strength; the gunners all mounted as postilions to them. Can scour along, over hill and dale, wherever horse can; and burst out, on the sudden, where nobody was expecting artillery. Devised in 1758; ready this Year, four light six-pounders; tried first in the King's raid down to Trautenau [June 29th-30th]. Only four pieces as yet. But these did so well, there were yearly more. Imitated by the Austrians, and gradually by all the world." [Seyfarth, ii. 543.]
The second fact is: That Herr Guichard (Author of that fine Book on the War-methods of the Greeks and Romans) is still about Friedrich, as he has been for above a year past, if readers remember; and, during those tedious weeks, is admitted to a great deal of conversation with the King. Readers will consent to this Note on Guichard; and this shall be our ultimatum on the wearisome Three Months at Landshut.
MAJOR QUINTUS ICILIUS. "Guichard is by birth a Magdeburger, age now thirty-four; a solid staid man, with a good deal of hard faculty in him, and of culture unusual for a soldier. A handy, sagacious, learned and intelligent man; whom Friedrich, in the course of a year's experience, has grown to see willingly about him. There is something of positive in Guichard, of stiff and, as it were, GRITTY, which might have offended a weaker taste; but Friedrich likes the rugged sense of the man; his real knowledge on certain interesting heads; and the precision with which the known and the not rightly known are divided from one another, in Guichard.
"Guichard's business about the King has been miscellaneous, not worth mention hitherto; but to appearance was well done. Of talk they are beginning to have more and more; especially at Landshut here, in these days of waiting; a great deal of talk on the Wars of the Ancients, Guichard's Book naturally leading to that subject. One night, datable accidentally about the end of May, the topic happened to be Pharsalia, and the excellent conduct of a certain Centurion of the Tenth Legion, who, seeing Pompey's people about to take him in flank, suddenly flung himself into oblique order [SCHRAGE STELLUNG, as we did at Leutheu], thereby outflanking Pompey's people, and ruining their manoeuvre and them. 'A dexterous man, that Quintus Icilius the Centurion!' observed Friedrich. 'Ah, yes: but excuse me, your Majesty, his name was Quintus Caecilius,' said Guichard. 'No, it was Icilius,' said the King, positive to his opinion on that small point; which Guichard had not the art to let drop; though, except assertion and counter-assertion, what could be made of it there? Or of what use was it anywhere?
"Next day, Guichard came with the book [what "Book" nobody would ever yet tell me], and putting his finger on the passage, 'See, your Majesty: Quintus CAEcilius!' extinguished his royal opponent. 'Hm,' answered Friedrich: 'so?—Well, you shall be Quintus Icilius, at any rate!' And straightway had him entered on the Army Books 'as Major Quintus Icilius;' his Majorship is to be dated '10th April, 1758' (to give him seniority); and from and after this '26th May, 1759,' he is to command the late Du Verger's Free-Battalion. All which was done:—the War-Offices somewhat astonished at such advent of an antique Roman among them; but writing as bidden, the hand being plain, and the man an undeniable article. Onward from which time there is always a 'Battalion Quintus' on their Books, instead of Battalion Du Verger; by degrees two Batallions Quintus, and at length three, and Quintus become a Colonel:—at which point the War ended; and the three Free-Battalions Quintus, like all others of the same type, were discharged." This is the authentic origin of the new name Quintus, which Guichard got, to extinction of the old; substantially this, as derived from Quintus himself,—though in the precise details of it there are obscurities, never yet solved by the learned. Nicolai, for example, though he had the story from Quintus in person, who was his familiar acquaintance, and often came to see him at Berlin, does not, with his usual punctuality, say, nor even confess that he has forgotten, what Book it was that Quintus brought with him to confute the King on their Icilius-Caecilius controversy; Nicolai only says, that he, for his part, in the fields of Roman Literature and History, knows only three Quintus-Iciliuses, not one of whom is of the least likelihood; and in fact, in the above summary, I have had to INVERT my Nicolai on one point, to make the story stick together. [Nicolai, Anekdoten, vi. 129-145.]
"Quintus had been bred for the clerical profession; carefully, at various Universities, Leyden last of all; and had even preached, as candidate for license,—I hope with moderate orthodoxy;—though he soon renounced that career. Exchanged it for learned and vigorous general study, with an eye to some College Professorship instead. He was still hardly twenty-three, when, in 1747, the new Stadtholder," Prince of Orange, whom we used to know, "who had his eye upon him as a youth of merit, graciously undertook to get him placed at Utrecht, in a vacancy which had just occurred there,—whither the Prince was just bound, on some ceremonial visit of a high nature. The glad Quintus, at that time Guichard and little thinking of such an alias, hastened to set off in the Prince's train; but could get no conveyance, such was the press of people all for Utrecht. And did not arrive till next day,—and found quarter, with difficulty, in the garret of some overflowing Inn.
"In the lower stories of his Inn, solitary Guichard, when night fell, heard a specific GAUDEAMUS going on; and inquired what it was. 'A company of Professors, handselling a newly appointed Professor;'—appointed, as the next question taught, to the very Chair poor Quintus had come for! Serene Highness could not help himself; the Utrechters were so bent on the thing. Quintus lay awake, all night, in his truckle-bed; and gloomily resolved to have done with Professorships, and become a soldier. 'If your Serene Highness do still favor me,' said Quintus next day, 'I solicit, as the one help for me, an ensign's commission!'—And persisted rigorously, in spite of all counsellings, promises and outlooks on the professorial side of things. So that Serene Highness had to grant him his commission; and Quintus was a soldier thenceforth. Fought, more or less, in the sad remainder of that Cumberland-Saxe War; and after the Peace of 1748 continued in the Dutch service. Where, loath to be idle, he got his learned Books out again, and took to studying thoroughly the Ancient Art of War. After years of this, it had grown so hopeful that he proceeded to a Book upon it; and, by degrees, determined that he must get to certain Libraries in England, before finishing. In 1754, on furlough, graciously allowed and continued, he came to London accordingly; finished his manuscript there (printed at the Hague 1757 [Memoires Militaires sur les &c. (a La Haye, 1757: 2 vols. 4to);—was in the 5th edition when I last heard of it.]): and new War having now begun, went over (probably with English introductions) as volunteer to Duke Ferdinand. By Duke Ferdinand he was recommended to Friedrich, the goal of all his efforts, as of every vagrant soldier's in those times:—and here at last, as Quintus Icilius, he has found permanent billet, a Battalion and gradually three Battalions, and will not need to roam any farther.
"They say, what is very credible, that Quintus proved an active, stout and effectual soldier, in his kind; and perhaps we may hear of some of his small-war adventures by and by: that he was a studious, hard-headed, well-informed man, and had written an excellent Book on his subject, is still abundantly clear. Readers may look in the famous Gibbon's Autobiography, or still better in the Guichard Book itself, if they want evidence. The famous Gibbon was drilling and wheeling, very peaceably indeed, in the Hampshire Militia, in those wild years of European War. Hampshire Militia served as key, or glossary in a sort, to this new Book of Guichard's, which Gibbon eagerly bought and studied; and it, was Guichard, ALIAS Quintus Icilius, who taught Gibbon all he ever knew of Ancient War, at least all the teaching he ever had of it, for his renowned DECLINE AND FALL." [See Gibbon's Works (4to, London, 1796: Memoirs of my Life and Writings], i. 97; and (Extraits de mes Lectures), ii. 52-54, of dates May 14th-26th, 1762,—during which days Gibbon is engaged in actual reading of the Memoires Militaires; and already knows the Author by his ALIAS of Quintus Icilius, "a man of eminent sagacity and insight, who was in the Dutch, and is now, I believe, in the Prussian service."
It was in the last days of June that Daun, after many litchings, got into more decisive general movement northward; and slowly but steadily planted himself at Mark-Lissa in the Lausitz: upon which, after some survey of the phenomenon, Friedrich got to Schmottseifen, opposite him, July 10th. Friedrich, on noticing such stir, had ridden down to Trautenau (June 29th-30th), new Horse-Artillery attending, to look closer into Daun's affairs; and, seeing what they were, had thereupon followed. Above a month before this, Friedrich had detached a considerable force against the Russians,—General Dohna, of whom in next Chapter:—and both Daun and he again sit waiting, till they see farther. Rapid Friedrich is obliged to wait; watching Daun and the Dohna-Russian adventure: slow Daun will continue to wait and watch there, long weeks and months, after that is settled, that and much else, fully to his mind! Each is in his impregnable Camp; and each, Daun especially, has his Divisions and Detachments hovering round him, near or far, on different strategic errands; each Main-Camp like a planet with various moons—Mark-Lissa especially, a kind of sun with planets and comets and planetary moons:—of whose intricate motions and counter-motions, mostly unimportant to us, we promised to take no notice, in face of such a crisis just at hand.
By the 6th of July, slow Daun had got hitched into his Camp of Mark-Lissa; and four days after, Friedrich attending him, was in Schmottseifen: where again was pause; and there passed nothing mentionable, even on Friedrich's score; and till July was just ending, the curtain did not fairly rise. Panse of above two weeks on Friedrich's part, and of almost three months on Daun's. Mark-Lissa, an impregnable Camp, is on the Lausitz Border; with Saxony, Silesia, Bohemia all converging hereabouts, and Brandenburg itself in the vicinity,—there is not a better place for waiting on events. Here, accordingly, till well on in September, Daun sat immovable; not even hitching now,—only shooting out Detachments, planetary, cometary, at a great rate, chiefly on his various Russian errands.
Daun, as we said, had been uncomfortably surprised to find, by degrees, that Invasion was not Friedrich's plan this Year; that the dramatic parts are redistributed, and that the playing of Fabius-Cunctator will not now serve one's turn. Daun, who may well be loath to believe such a thing, clings to his old part, and seems very lazy to rise and try another. In fact, he does not rise, properly speaking, or take up his new part at all. This Year, and all the following, he waits carefully till the Russian Lion come; will then endeavor to assist,—or even do jackal, which will be safer still. The Russians he intends shall act lion; he himself modestly playing the subaltern but much safer part! Diligent to flatter the lion; will provide him guidances, and fractional sustenances, in view of the coming hunt; will eat the lion's leavings, once the prey is slaughtered. This really was, in some sort, Daun's yearly game, so long as it would last!—
July ending, and the curtain fairly risen, we shall have to look at Friedrich with our best eyesight. Preparatory to which, there is, on Friedrich's part, ever since the middle of June, this Anti-Russian Dohna adventure going on:—of which, at first, and till about the time of getting to Schmottseifen, he had great hopes; great, though of late rapidly sinking again:—into which we must first throw a glance, as properly the opening scene.
Fouquet has been left at Landshut, should the Daun remnants still in Bohemia think of invading. Fouquet is about rooting himself rather firmly into that important Post; fortifying various select Hills round Landshut, with redoubts, curtains, communications; so as to keep ward there, inexpugnable to a much stronger force. There for about a year, with occasional short sallies, on errands that arise, Fouquet sat successfully vigilant; resisting the Devilles, Becks, Harsches; protecting Glatz and the Passes of Silesia: in about a year we shall hear of his fortunes worsening, and of a great catastrophe to him in that Landshut Post.
Friedrich allowed the Reichsfolk "two good months," after all that flurrying and havoc done on them, "before they could show face in Saxony." They did take about that time; and would have taken more, had not Prince Henri been called away by other pressing occasions in Friedrich's own neighborhood; and Saxony, for a good while (end of June to beginning of September), been left almost bare of Prussian troops. Which encourages the Reichs Army to hurry afield in very unprepared condition,—still rather within the two months. End of July, Light people of them push across to Halberstadt or Halle Country; and are raising Contributions, and plundering diligently, if nothing else. Of which we can take no notice farther: if the reader can recollect it, well; if not, also well. The poor Reichs Army nominally makes a figure this Year, but nominally only; the effective part of it, now and henceforth, being Austrian Auxiliaries, and the Reichs part as flaccid and insignificant as ever.
Prince Henri's call to quit Saxony was this. Daun, among the numerous Detachments he was making, of which we can take no notice, had shot out Two (rather of COMETARY type, to use our old figure),—which every reader must try to keep in mind. Two Detachments, very considerable: Haddick (who grew at last to 20,000), and Loudon (16,000); who are hovering about mysteriously over the Lausitz;—intending what? Their intention, Friedrich thinks, especially Haddick's intention, may be towards Brandenburg, and even Berlin: wherefore he has summoned Henri to look after it. Henri, resting in cantonments about Tschopau and Dresden, after the late fatigues, and idle for the moment, hastens to obey; and is in Bautzen neighborhood, from about the end of June and onward. Sufficiently attentive to Haddick and Loudon: who make no attempt on Brandenburg; having indeed, as Friedrich gradually sees, and as all of us shall soon see, a very different object in view!—
The Russian Lion, urged by Vienna and Versailles, made his entry, this Year, earlier than usual,—coming now within wind of Mark-Lissa, as we see;—and has stirred Daun into motion, Daun and everybody. From the beginning of April, the Russians, hibernating in the interior parts of Poland, were awake, and getting slowly under way. April 24th, the Vanguard of 10,000 quitted Thorn; June 1st, Vanguard is in Posen; followed by a First Division and a Second, each of 30,000. They called it "Soltikof crossing the Weichsel with 100,000 men;" but, exclusive of the Cossack swarms, there were not above 76,000 regulars: nor was Soltikof their Captain just at first; our old friend Fermor was, and continued to be till Soltikof, in a private capacity, reached Posen (June 29th), and produced his new commission. At Fermor's own request, as Fermor pretended,—who was skilled in Petersburg politics, and with a cheerful face served thenceforth as Soltikof's second.
At Posen, as on the road thither, they find Sulkowski's and the other burnt provenders abundantly replaced: it is evident they intend, in concert with Daun, to enclose Friedrich between two fires, and do something considerable. Whether on Brandenburg or Silesia, is not yet known to Friedrich. Friedrich, since the time they crossed Weichsel, has given them his best attention; and more than once has had schemes on their Magazines and them,—once a new and bigger Scheme actually afoot, under Wobersnow again, our Anti-Sulkowski friend; but was obliged to turn the force elsewhither, on alarms that rose. He himself cannot quit the centre of the work; his task being to watch Daun, and especially, should Daun attempt nothing else, to prevent junction of Soltikof and him.
Daun still lies torpid, or merely hitching about; but now when the Russians are approaching Posen, and the case becomes pressing, Friedrich, as is usual to him, draws upon the Anti-Swedish resource, upon the Force he has in Pommern. That is to say, orders General Dohna, who has the Swedes well driven in at present, to quit Stralsund Country, to leave the ineffectual Swedes with some very small attendance; and to march—with certain reinforcements that are arriving (Wobersnow already, Hulsen with 10,000 out of Saxony in few days)—direct against the Russians; and at once go in upon them. Try to burn their Magazines again; or, equally good, to fall vigorously on some of their separate Divisions, and cut them off in the vagrant state;—above all, to be vigorous, be rapid, sharp, and do something effectual in that quarter. These were Dohna's Instructions. Dohna has 18,000; Hulsen, with his 10,000, is industriously striding forward, from the farther side of Saxony; Wobersnow, with at least his own fine head, is already there. Friedrich, watching in the Anti-Junction position, ready for the least chance that may turn up.
Dohna marched accordingly; but was nothing like rapid enough: an old man, often in ill health too; and no doubt plenty of impediments about him. He consumed some time rallying at Stargard; twelve days more at Landsberg, on the Warta, settling his provision matters: in fine, did not get to Posen neighborhood till June 23d, three weeks after the Russian Vanguard of 10,000 had fixed itself there, and other Russian parties were daily dropping in. Dohna was 15,000, a Wobersnow with him: had he gone at once on Posen, as Wobersnow urged, it is thought he might perhaps have ruined this Vanguard and the Russian Magazine; which would have been of signal service for the remaining Campaign. But he preferred waiting for Hulsen and the 10,000, who did not arrive for seven or eight days more; by which time Soltikof and most of the Russian Divisions had got in;—and the work was become as good as hopeless, on those languid terms. Dohna did try upon the Magazine, said to be ill guarded in some Suburb of Posen; crossed the Warta with that view, found no Magazine; recrossed the Warta; and went manoeuvring about, unable to do the least good on Soltikof or his Magazines or operations. Friedrich was still in Landshut region, just about quitting it,—just starting on that little Trautenau Expedition, with his Four Pieces of Horse-Artillery (June 29th), when the first ill news of Dohna came in; which greatly disappointed Friedrich, and were followed by worse, instead of better.
The end was, Soltikof, being now all ready, winded himself out of Posen one day, veiled by Cossacks; and, to Dohna's horror, had got, or was in the act of getting, between Dohna and Brandenburg; which necessitated new difficult manoeuvres from Dohna. Soltikof too can manoeuvre a little: Soltikof edges steadily forward; making for Crossen-on-Oder, where he expects to find Austrians (Haddick and Loudon, if Friedrich could yet guess it), with 30,000 odd, especially with provision, which is wearing scarce with him. Twice or so there was still a pretty opportunity for Dohna on him; but Dohna never could resolve about it in time. Back and ever back goes Dohna; facing Soltikof; but always hitching back; latterly in Brandenburg ground, the Russians and he;—having no provision, he either. In fine, July 17th (one week after Friedrich had got to Schmottseifen), Dohna finds himself at the little Town of Zullichau (barely in time to snatch it before Soltikof could), within thirty miles of Crossen; and nothing but futility behind and before. [Tempelhof, iii, 78-88; Helden-Geschichte, v. 835-847.]
We can imagine Friedrich's daily survey of all this; his gloomy calculations what it will soon amount to if it last. He has now no Winterfeld, Schwerin, no Keith, Retzow, Moritz:—whom has he? His noblest Captains are all gone; he must put up with the less noble. One Wedell, Lieutenant-General, had lately recommended himself to the royal mind by actions of a prompt daring. The royal mind, disgusted with these Dohna hagglings, and in absolute necessity of finding somebody that had resolution, and at least ordinary Prussian skill, hoped Wedell was the man. And determined, the crisis being so urgent, to send Wedell in the character of ALTER-EGO, or "with the powers of a Roman Dictator," as the Order expressed it. [Given in Preuss, ii. 207, 208; in Stenzel, v. 212, other particulars.] Dictator Wedell is to supersede Dohna; shall go, at his own swift pace, fettered by nobody;—and, at all hazards, shall attack Soltikof straightway, and try to beat him. "You are grown too old for that intricate hard work; go home a little, and recover your health," the King writes to Dohna. And to the Dohna Army, "Obey this man, all and sundry of you, as you would myself;" the man's private Order being, "Go in upon Soltikof; attack him straightway; let us have done with this wriggling and haggling." Date of this Order is "Camp at Schmottseifen, 20th July, 1759." The purpose of such high-flown Title, and solemnity of nomination, was mainly, it appears, to hush down any hesitation or surprise among the Dohna Generals, which, as Wedell was "the youngest Lieutenant-General of the Army," might otherwise have been possible.
Wedell, furnished with some small escort and these Documents, arrives in Camp Sunday Evening, 22d July:—poor Dohna has not the least word or look of criticism; and every General, suppressing whatever thoughts there may be, prepares to yield loyal obedience to Dictator Wedell. "Wobersnow was the far better soldier of the two!" murmured the Opposition party, then and long afterwards, [Retzow, &c.]—all the more, as Wobersnow's behavior under it was beautiful, and his end tragical, as will be seen. Wobersnow I perceive to have been a valiant sharp-striking man, with multifarious resources in his head; who had faithfully helped in these operations, and I believe been urgent to quicken them. But what I remember best of him is his hasty admirable contrivance for field-bakery in pressing circumstances,—the substance of which shall not be hidden from a mechanical age:—
"You construct six slight square iron frames, each hinged to the other; each, say, two feet square, or the breadth of two common tiles, and shaped on the edges so as to take in tiles;—tiles are to be found on every human cottage. This iron frame, when you hook it together, becomes the ghost of a cubic box, and by the help of twelve tiles becomes a compact field-oven; and you can bake with it, if you have flour and water, and a few sticks. The succinctest oven ever heard of; for your operation done, and your tiles flung out again, it is capable of all folding flat like a book." [Retzow, ii. 82 n.] Never till now had Wobersnow's oven been at fault: but in these Polish Villages, all of mere thatched hovels, there was not a tile to be found; and the Bakery, with astonishment, saw itself unable to proceed.
Wedell arrived Sunday evening, 22d July; had crossed Oder at Tschischerzig,—some say by Crossen Bridge; no matter which. Dohna's Camp is some thirty miles west of Crossen; in and near the small Town called Zullichau, where his head-quarter is. In those dull peaty Countries, on the right, which is thereabouts the NORTHERN (not eastern), bank of Oder; between the Oder and the Warta; some seventy miles south-by-east of Landsberg, and perhaps as far southwest of Posen: thither has Dohna now got with his futile manoeuvrings. Soltikof, drawn up amid scrubby woods and sluggish intricate brooks, is about a mile to east of him.
Poor Dohna demits at once; and, I could conjecture, vanishes that very night; glad to be out of such a thing. Painfully has Dohna manoeuvred for weeks past; falling back daily; only anxious latterly that Soltikof, who daily tries it, do not get to westward of him on the Frankfurt road, and so end this sad shuffle. Soltikof as yet has not managed that ultimate fatality; Dohna, by shuffling back, does at least contrive to keep between Frankfurt and him;—will not try attacking him, much as Wobersnow urges it. Has agreed twice or oftener, on Wobersnow's urgency: "Yes, yes; we have a chance," Dohna would answer; "only let us rest till to-morrow, and be fresh!" by which time the opportunity was always gone again.
Wedell had arrived with a grenadier battalion and some horse for escort; had picked up 150 Russian prisoners by the way. Retzow has understood he came in with a kind of state; and seemed more or less inflated; conscious of representing the King's person, and being a Roman Dictator,—though it is a perilously difficult office too, and requires more than a Letter of Instructions to qualify you for it! This is not Leonidas Wedell, whom readers once knew; poor Leonidas is dead long since, fell in the Battle of Sohr, soon after the heroic feat of Ziethen's and his at Elbe-Teinitz (Defence of Elbe against an Army); this is Leonidas's elder Brother. Friedrich had observed his fiery ways on the day of Leuthen: "Hah, a new Winterfeld perhaps?" thought Friedrich, "All the Winterfeld I now have!"—which proved a fond hope. Wedell's Dictatorship began this Sunday towards sunset; and lasted—in practical fact, it lasted one day.
Monday morning early, Wedell is on the heights, reconnoitring Soltikof; cannot see much of him, the ground being so woody; does see what he takes to be Soltikof's left wing; and judges that Soltikof will lie quiet for this day. Which was far from a right reading of Soltikof; the fact being that Soltikof, in long columns and divisions, beginning with his right wing, was all on march since daybreak; what Wedell took for Soltikof's "left wing" being Soltikof's rear-guard and baggage, waiting till the roads cleared. Wedell, having settled everything on the above footing, returns to Zullichau about 10 o'clock; and about 11, Soltikof, miles long, disengaged from the bushy hollows, makes his appearance on the open grounds of Palzig: he, sure enough (though Wedell can hardly believe it),—five or six miles to northeast yonder; tramping diligently along, making for Crossen and the Oder Bridge;—and is actually got ahead of us, at last!
This is what Wedell cannot suffer, cost what it may. Wedell's orders were, in such case, Attack the Russians. Wedell instantly took his measures; not unskilfully, say judges,—though the result proved disappointing; and Wobersnow himself earnestly dissuaded: "Too questionable, I should doubt! Soltikof is 70,000, and has no end of Artillery; we are 26,000, and know not if we can bring a single gun to where Soltikof is!" [Tempelhof, iii. 132-134.]
Wedell's people have already, of their own accord, got to arms again; stand waiting his orders on this new emergency. No delay in Wedell or in them. "May not it be another Rossbach (if we are lucky)?" thinks Wedell: "Cannot we burst in on their flank, as they march yonder, those awkward fellows; and tumble them into heaps?" The differences were several-fold: First, that Friedrich and Seidlitz are not here. Many brave men we have, and skilful; but not a master and man like these Two. Secondly, that there is no Janus Hill to screen our intentions; but that the Russians have us in full view while we make ready. Thirdly, and still more important, that we do not know the ground, and what hidden inaccessibilities lie ahead. This last is judged to have been the killing circumstance. Between the Russians and us there is a paltry little Brook, or line of quagmire; scarcely noticeable here, but passable nowhere except at the Village-Mill of Kay, by one poor Bridge there. And then, farther inwards, as shelter of the Russians, there is another quaggy Brook, branch of the above, which is without bridge altogether. Hours will be required to get 26,000 people marched up there, not to speak of heavy guns at all.
The 26,000 march with their usual mathematical despatch: Manteuffel and the Vanguard strike in with their sharpest edge, foot and horse, direct on the Head of the Russian Column, Manteuffel leading on, so soon as his few battalions and squadrons are across. Head means BRAIN (or life) to this Russian Column; and these Manteuffel people go at it with extraordinary energy. The Russian Head gives way; infantry and cavalry:—their cavalry was driven quite to rear, and never came in sight again after this of Manteuffel. But the Russians have abundance of Reserves; also of room to manoeuvre in,—no lack of ground open, and ground defensible (Palzig Village and Churchyard, for example);—above all, they have abundance of heavy guns.
Well in recoil from Manteuffel and his furies, the beaten Russians succeed in forming "a long Line behind Palzig Village," with that Second, slighter or Branch Quagmire between them and us; they get the Village beset, and have the Churchyard of it lined with batteries,—say seventy guns. Manteuffel, unsupported, has to fall back;—unwillingly, and not chased or in disorder,—towards Kay-Mill again; where many are by this time across. Hulsen, with the Centre, attacks now, as the Vanguard had done; with a will, he too: Wobersnow, all manner of people attack; time after time, for about four hours coming: and it proves all in vain, on that Churchyard and new Line. Without cannon, we are repulsed, torn away by those Russian volcano-batteries; never enough of us at once!
Hulsen, Wobersnow, everybody in detail is repulsed, or finds his success unavailing. Poor Wobersnow did wonders; but he fell, killed. Gone he; and has left so few of his like: a man that could ill be spared at present!—Day is sinking; we find we have lost, in killed, wounded and prisoners, some 6,000 men. "About sunset,"—flaming July sun going down among the moorlands on such a scene,—Wedell gives it up; retires slowly towards Kay Bridge. Slowly; not chased, or molested; Soltikof too glad to be rid of him. Soltikof's one aim is, and was, towards Crossen; towards Austrian Junction, and something to live upon. Soltikof's loss of men is reckoned to be heavier even than Wedell's: but he could far better afford it. He has gained his point; and the price is small in comparison. Next day he enters Crossen on triumphant terms.
Poor Wedell had returned over Kay-Mill Bridge, in the night-time after his Defeat. On the morrow (Tuesday, 24th, day of Soltikof's glad entry), Wedell crosses Oder; at Tschischerzig, the old place of Sunday evening last,—in how different a humor, this time!—and in a day more, posts himself opposite to Crossen Bridge, five or six miles south; and again sits watchful of Soltikof there. At Crossen, triumphant Soltikof has found no Austrian Junction, nor anything additional to live upon. A very disappointing circumstance to Soltikof; "Austrian Junction still a problem, then; a thing in the air? And perhaps the King of Prussia taking charge of it now!" Soltikof, more and more impatient, after waiting some days, decided Not to cross Oder by that Bridge;—"shy of crossing anywhere [think the French Gentlemen, Montazet, Montalembert], to the King of Prussia's side!" [Stenzel, iv. 215 (indistinct, and giving a WRONG citation of "Montalembert, ii. 87").] Which is not unlikely, though the King is above 100 miles off him, and has Daun on his hands. Certain enough, keeping the River between him and any operations of the King, Soltikof set out for Frankfurt, forty or fifty miles farther down. In the hope probably of finding something of human provender withal? July 30th, one week after his Battle, the vanguard of him is there.
Thus, in two days, or even in one, has Wedell's Dictatorship ended. Easy to say scoffingly, "Would it had never begun!" Friedrich knows that, and Wedell knows it;—AFTER the event everybody knows it! Friedrich said nothing of reproachful; the reverse rather,—"I dreaded something of the kind; it is not your fault;" [TO WEDELL, FROM THE KING, "Schmottseifen, July 24th. 1759" (in Schoning, ii. 118).]—ordered Wedell to watch diligently at Crossen Bridge, and be ready on farther signal. The Wedell Problem, in such ruined condition, has now fallen to Friedrich himself.
This is the BATTLE OF ZULLICHAU (afternoon of 23d July, 1759); the beginning of immense disasters in this Campaign. Battle called also of KAY and of PALZIG, those also being main localities in it. It was lost, not by fault of Wedell's people, who spent themselves nobly upon it, nor perhaps by fault of Wedell himself, but principally, if not solely, by those two paltry Brooks, or threads of Quagmire, one of which turns Kay-Mill; memorable Brooks in this Campaign, 1759. [Tempelhof, iii. 125-131.]
Close in the same neighborhood, there is another equally contemptible Brook, making towards Oder, and turning the so-called Krebsmuhle, which became still more famous to the whole European Public twenty years hence. KREBS-MUHLE (Crab-Mill), as yet quite undistinguished among Mills; belonging to a dusty individual called Miller Arnold, with a dusty Son of his own for Miller's Lad: was it at work this day? Or had the terrible sound from Palzig quenched its clacking?—
Some three weeks ago (4th-6th JULY), there occurred a sudden sharp thing at Havre-de-Grace on the French Coast, worth a word from us in this place. The Montazets, Montalemberts, watching, messaging about, in the Austrian-Russian Courts and Camps, assiduously keeping their Soltikofs in tune, we can observe how busy they are. Soubise with his Invasion of England, all the French are very busy; they have conquered Hessen from Duke Ferdinand, and promise themselves a glorious Campaign, after that Seizure of Frankfurt. Soubise, intent on his new Enterprise, is really making ardent preparations: at Vanues in the Morbihan, such rendezvousing and equipping;—especially at Havre, no end of flat-bottomed boats getting built; and much bluster and agitation among the weaker sorts in both Nations. Whereupon,—
"JULY 1st [just in the days while Friedrich was first trying Horse Artillery], Rear-Admiral Rodney sails from Portsmouth with a few Frigates, and Six Bomb-ketches [FIREDRAKE, BASILISK, BLAST, and such nomenclatures [List of him, in Beatson, Naval and Military Memoirs (London, 1804), ii. 241; his Despatch excellently brief, ib. ii. 323]]; and in the afternoon of Tuesday, 3d, arrives in the frith or bay of Havre. Steers himself properly into 'the Channel of Honfleur' before dark; and therefrom, with his Firedrake, Basilisk and Company, begins such a bombardment of Havre and the flat-bottomed manufactories as was quite surprising. Fifty-two incessant hours of it, before he thought poor Havre had enough. Poor Havre had been on fire six times; the flat manufactory (unquenchable) I know not how many; all the inhabitants off in despair; and the Garrison building this battery to no purpose, then that; no salvation for them but in Rodney's 'mortars getting too hot.' He had fired of shells 1,900, of carcasses, 1,150: from Wednesday about sunrise till Friday about 8 A.M.,—about time now for breakfast; which I hope everybody had, after such a stretch of work. 'No damage to speak of,' said the French Gazetteers; 'we will soon refit everything!' But they never did; and nothing came of Havre henceforth. Vannes was always, and is now still more, to be the main place; only that Hawke—most unexpectedly, for one fancied all their ships employed in distant parts—rides there with a Channel Fleet of formidable nature; and the previous question always is: 'Cannot we beat Hawke? Can we! Or will not he perhaps go, of himself, when the rough weather comes?'"
Before Wedell's catastrophe, the Affair of those Haddick-Loudon Detachments had become a little plainer to Friedrich. The intention, he begins to suspect, is not for Berlin at all; but for junction with Soltikof,—at Crossen, or wherever it may be. This is in fact their real purpose; and this, beyond almost Berlin itself, it is in the highest degree important to prevent! Important; and now as if become impossible!
Prince Henri had come to Bautzen with his Army, specially to look after Loudon and Haddick; and he has, all this while, had Finck with some 10,000 diligently patrolling to westward of them, guarding Berlin; he himself watching from the southern side,—where, as on the western, there was no danger from them. Some time before Wedell's affair, Friedrich had pushed out Eugen of Wurtemberg to watch these people on the eastern side;—suspicious that thitherward lay their real errand. Eugen had but 6,000; and, except in conjunction with Finck and Henri, could do nothing,—nor can, now when Friedrich's suspicion turns out to be fatally true. Friedrich had always the angry feeling that Finck and Prince Henri were the blameworthy parties in what now ensued; that they, who were near, ought to have divined these people's secret, and spoiled it in time; not have left it to him who was far off, and so busy otherwise. To the last, that was his fixed private opinion; by no means useful to utter,—especially at present, while attempting the now very doubtful enterprise himself, and needing all about him to be swift and zealous. This is one of Friedrich's famous labors, this of the Haddick-Loudon junction with Soltikof; strenuous short spasm of effort, of about a week's continuance; full of fiery insight, velocity, energy; still admired by judges, though it was unsuccessful, or only had half success. Difficult to bring home, in any measure, to the mind of modern readers, so remote from it.
Friedrich got the news of Zullichau next day, July 24th;—and instantly made ready. The case is critical; especially this Haddick-Loudon part of it: add 30 or 36,000 Austrians to Soltikof, how is he then to be dealt with? A case stringently pressing:—and the resources for it few and scattered. For several days past, Haddick, and Loudon under him, whose motions were long enigmatic, have been marching steadily eastward through the Lausitz,—with the evident purpose of joining Soltikof; unless Wedell could forbid. Wedell ahead was the grand opposition;—Finck, Henri, Wurtemberg, as good as useless;—and Wedell being now struck down, these Austrians will go, especially Loudon will, at a winged rate. They are understood to be approaching Sagan Country; happily, as yet, well to westward of it, and from Sagan Town well NORTH-westward;—but all accounts of them are vague, dim: they are an obscure entity to Friedrich, but a vitally important one. Sagan Town may be about 70 miles northward of where Friedrich now is: from Sagan, were they once in the meridian of Sagan, their road is free eastward and northward;—to Crossen is about 60 miles north-by-east from Sagan, to Frankfurt near 100 north. Sagan is on the Bober; Bober, in every event, is between the Austrians and their aim.
Friedrich feels that, however dangerous to quit Daun's neighborhood, he must, he in person, go at once. And who, in the interim, will watch Daun and his enterprises? Friedrich's reflections are: "Well, in the crisis of the moment, Saxony—though there already are marauding Bodies of Reichsfolk in it—must still be left to itself for a time; or cannot Finck and his 10,000 look to it? Henri, with his Army, now useless at Bautzen, shall instantly rendezvous at Sagan; his Army to go with me, against the Russians and their Haddick-Loudons; Henri to Schmottseifen, instead of me, and attend to Daun; Henri, I have no other left! Finck and his 10,000 must take charge of Saxony, such charge as he can:—how lucky those Spring Forays, which destroyed the Reichs Magazines! Whereby there is no Reichs Army yet got into Saxony (nothing but preliminary pulses and splashings of it); none yet, nor like to be quite at once." That is Friedrich's swift plan.
Henri rose on the instant, as did everybody concerned: July 29th, Henri and Army were at Sagan; Army waiting for the King; Henri so far on his road to Schmottseifen. He had come to Sagan "by almost the rapidest marches ever heard of,"—or ever till some others of Henri's own, which he made in that neighborhood soon. Punctual, he, to his day; as are Eugen of Wurtemberg's people, and all Detachments and Divisions: Friedrich himself arrives at Sagan that same 29th, "about midnight,"—and finds plenty of work waiting: no sleep these two nights past; and none coming just yet! A most swift rendezvous. The speed of everybody has been, and needs still to be, intense.
This rendezvous at Sagan—intersection of Henri and Friedrich, bound different roads (the Brothers, I think, did not personally meet, Henri having driven off for Schmottseifen by a shorter road)—was SUNDAY, JULY 29th. Following which, are six days of such a hunt for those Austrian reynards as seldom or never was! Most vehement, breathless, baffling hunt; half of it spent in painfully beating cover, in mere finding and losing. Not rightly successful, after all. So that, on the eighth day hence, AUGUST 6th, at Mullrose, near Frankfurt, 80 miles from Sagan, there is a second rendezvous,—rendezvous of Wedell and Friedrich, who do not now "intersect," but meet after the hunt is done;—and in the interim, there has been a wonderful performance, though an unsuccessful. Friedrich never could rightly get hold of his Austrians. Once only, at Sommerfeld, a long march northwest of Sagan, he came upon some outskirts of them. And in general, in those latter eight days, especially in the first six of them, there is, in that Kotbus-Sagan Country, such an intersecting, checking, pushing and multifarious simmering of marches, on the part of half a dozen Strategic Entities, Friedrich the centre of them, as—as, I think, nobody but an express soldier-student, well furnished with admiration for this particular Soldier, would consent to have explained to him. One of the maziest, most unintelligible whirls of marching; inextricable Sword Dance, or Dance of the Furies,—five of them (that is the correct number: Haddick, Loudon, Friedrich, Wurtemberg, Wedell);—and it is flung down for us, all in a huddle, in these inhuman Books (which have several errors of the press, too): let no man rashly insist with himself on understanding it, unless he have need! Humanly pulled straight, not inhumanly flung down at random, here the essentials of it are,—in very brief state:—
"SAGAN, MONDAY, 30th JULY. Friedrich is at Sagan, since midnight last, busier and busier;" beating cover, as we termed it, and getting his hounds (his new Henri-Army) in leash; "endeavoring, especially, to get tidings of those Austrian people; who are very enigmatic,—Loudon a dexterous man,—and have hung up such a curtain of Pandours between Friedrich and them as is nearly impenetrable. In the course of this Monday Friedrich ascertains that they are verily on the road; coming eastward, for Sommerfeld,—'thence for Crossen!' he needs no ghost to tell him. Wherefore,
"TUESDAY, SAGAN TO NAUMBURG. Tuesday before daybreak Friedrich too is on the road: northwestward; in full march towards Naumburg on Bober, meaning to catch the Bridge from them there. March of the swiftest; he himself is ahead, as usual, with the Vanguard of Horse. He reaches Naumburg (northward, a march of 20 miles); finds, not Haddick or Loudon, but a Detachment of theirs: which he at once oversets with his cavalry, and chases,—marking withal that 'westward is the way they run.' Westward; and that we are still ahead, thank Heaven!
"Before his Infantry are all up, or are well rested in Naumburg, Friedrich ascertains, on more precise tidings, that the Austrians are in Sommerfeld, to westward (again a 20 miles); and judges That, no doubt, they will bear off more to leftward, by Guben probably, and try to avoid him,—unless he can still catch them in Sommerfeld. About nightfall he marches for Sommerfeld, at his swiftest; arrives Wednesday early; finds—alas!—
"SOMMERFELD, WEDNESDAY MORNING, AUGUST 1st, Friedrich finds that Loudon was there last night,—preterite tense, alas; the question now being, Where is he!" In fact, Loudon had written yesterday to Daun (Letter still extant, "Sommerfeld, July 31st"), That "being swift and light," consisting of horse for most part, "he may probably effect Junction this very night;"—but has altered his mind very much, on sight of these fugitives from Naumburg, since! And has borne off more to leftward. Straight north now, and at a very brisk pace; being now all of horse;—and has an important conference with Haddick at Guben, when they arrive there. "Not in Sommerfeld?" thinks Friedrich (earnestly surveying, through this slit he has made in the Pandour veil): "Gone to Guben most likely, bearing off from us to leftward?"—Which was the fact; though not the whole fact. And indeed the chase is now again fallen uncertain, and there has to be some beating of covers. For one thing, he learns to-day (August 1st) that the Russians are gone to Frankfurt: "Follow them, you Wedell,"—orders Friedrich: them we shall have to go into,—however this hunt end!—
"To Markersdorf, Thursday, August 2d. Friedrich takes the road for Guben; reaches Markersdorf (twenty miles' march, still seven or eight from Guben); falls upon—What phenomenon is this? The Austrian heavy Train; meal-wagons not a few, and a regiment of foot in charge of it;—but going the wrong way, not TOWARDS the Russians, but from them! What on earth can this be? This is Haddick,—if Friedrich could yet clearly know it,—Haddick and Train, who for his own part has given up the junction enterprise. At Guben, some hours ago, he had conference with Loudon; and this was the conclusion arrived at: 'Impossible, with that King so near! You, Herr Loudon, push on, without heavy baggage, and with the Cavalry altogether: you can get in, almost 20,000 strong; I, with the Infantry, with the meal and heavy guns, will turn, and make for the Lausitz again!'
"This mysterious Austrian Train, going the wrong way, Friedrich attacks, whatever it be (hoping, I suppose, it might be the Austrians altogether); chases it vigorously; snatches all the meal-wagons, and about 1,000 prisoners. Uncertain still what it is,—if not the Austrians altogether? To his sorrow, he finds, on pushing farther into it, that it is only Haddick and the Infantry; that Loudon, with the 20,000 Horse, will have gone off for Frankfurt;—irretrievably ahead, the swift Loudon,—ever careering northward all this while, since that afternoon at Sommerfeld, when the fugitives altered his opinion: a now unattainable Loudon. In the course of Thursday night, Friedrich has satisfied himself that the Loudon junction is a thing as good as done;—in effect, Loudon did get to Frankfurt, morning of August 3d, and joined the Russians there; and about the same time, or only a few hours sooner, Friedrich, by symptoms, has divined that his hunt has ended, in this rather unsuccessful way; and that chasing of Haddick is not the road to go." [Tempelhof, iii. 135-139.]
Not Haddick now; with or without their Austrians, it shall be the Russians now! Two days ago (Wednesday, as was mentioned), before sight of those enigmatic meal-wagons, Friedrich had learned that the Russians were to be in Frankfurt again; and had ordered Wedell to march thitherward, at any rate. Which Wedell is doing, all this Thursday and the four following days. As does likewise, from and after "FRIDAY, AUGUST 3d, 1 A.M." (hunt then over), Friedrich himself,—renouncing Haddick and the hunt. Straight towards Frankfurt thenceforth; head-quarters Beeskow that night; next night, Mullrose, whither Wedell is appointed, within twelve miles of Frankfurt. This is the end of Friedrich's sore Chase and March; burnt deeply into his own weary brain, if ours still refuse it admittance! Here, of utterly fatigued tone, is a Note of his, chiefly on business, to Minister Finkenstein. Indeed there are, within the next ten days, Three successive Notes to Finkenstein, which will be worth reading in their due places. This is the First of them:—
THE KING TO GRAF VON FINKENSTEIN (at Berlin).
"BEESKOW, 3d August,1759."
"I am just arrived here, after cruel and frightful marchings [CHECKS HIMSELF, HOWEVER]. There is nothing desperate in all that; and I believe the noise and disquietude this hurly-burly has caused will be the worst of it. Show this Letter to everybody, that it may be known the State is not undefended. I have made above 1,000 prisoners from Haddick. All his meal-wagons have been taken. Finck, I believe, will keep an eye on him," and secure Berlin from attempts of his. "This is all I can say.
"To-morrow I march to within two leagues of Frankfurt [to Mullrose, namely]. Katte [the Minister who has charge of such things] must send me instantly Two Hundred Wispels [say tons] of Meal, and Bakers One Hundred, to Furstenwalde. I shall encamp at Wulkow. I am very tired. For six nights I have not closed an eye. Farewell.—F."
During the above intricate War-Dance of Five,—the day while Friedrich was at Sommerfeld, the day before he came in sight of Haddick's meal-wagons going the wrong road,—there went on, at Minden, on the Weser, three hundred miles away, a beautiful feat of War, in the highest degree salutary to Duke Ferdinand and Britannic Majesty's Ministry; feat which requires a word from us here. A really splendid Victory, this of Minden, August 1st: French driven headlong through the Passes there; their "Conquest of Hanover and Weser Country" quite exploded and flung over the horizon; and Duke Ferdinand relieved from all his distresses, and lord of the ascendant again in those parts. Highly interesting to Friedrich;—especially to Prince Henri; whose apprehensions about Ferdinand and the old Richelieu Hastenbeck-Halberstadt time returning on us, have been very great; and who now, at Schmottseifen, fires FEU-DE-JOIE for it with all his heart. This is a Battle still of some interest to English readers. But can English readers consent to halt in this hot pinch of the Friedrich crisis; and read the briefest thing which is foreign to it? Alas, I fear they can;—and will insert the Note here:—
BATTLE OF MINDEN: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1st, 1759.—-"Ever since Bergen, things have gone awry with Ferdinand, and in spite of skilful management, of hard struggles and bright sparkles of success, he has had a bad Campaign of it. The French, it would seem, are really got into better fighting order; Belleisle's exertions as War-Minister have been almost wonderful,—in some respects, TOO wonderful, as we shall hear!—and Broglio and Contades, in comparison with Clermont and Soubise, have real soldier qualities. Contades, across Rhine again, in those Weser Countries, who is skilful in his way, and is pricked on by emulation of Broglio, has been spreading himself out steadily progressive there; while Broglio, pushing along from Frankfurt-on-Mayn, has conquered Hessen; is into Hanover; on the edge of conquering Hanover,—which how is Ferdinand to hinder? Ferdinand has got two, if not three Armies to deal with, and in number is not much superior to one. If he run to save Hanover from Broglio, he loses Westphalia: Osnabruck (his magazine)? Munster, Lippstadt,—Contades, if left to himself, will take these, after short siege; and will nestle himself there, and then advance, not like a transitory fever-fit, but like visible death, on Hanover. Ferdinand, rapid yet wary, manoeuvred his very best among those interests of his, on the left bank of Weser; but after the surprisal of Minden from him (brilliantly done by Broglio, and the aid of a treacherous peasant), especially after the capture of Osnabruck, his outlooks are gloomy to a degree: and at Versailles, and at Minden where Contades has established himself, 'the Conquest of Hanover' (beautiful counterweight to all one's losses in America or elsewhere) is regarded as a certainty of this Year.
"For the last ten days of July, about Minden, the manoeuvring, especially on Ferdinand's part, had been intense; a great idea in the head of Ferdinand, more or less unintelligible to Contades. Contades, with some 30,000, which is the better half of his force, has taken one of the unassailablest positions. He lies looking northward, his right wing on the Weser with posts to Minden (Minden perhaps a mile northeastward there), on his left impassable peat-bogs and quagmires; in front a quaggy River or impassable black Brook, called the Bastau, coming from the westward, which disembogues at Minden: [Sketch of Plan, p. 238]—there lies Contades, as if in a rabbit-hole, say military men; for defence, if that were the sole object, no post can be stronger. Contades has in person say 30,000; and round him, on both sides of the Weser, are Broglio with 20,000; besides other Divisions, I know not how many, besieging Munster, capturing Osnabruck (our hay magazine), attempting Lippstadt by surprise (to no purpose), and diligently working forward, day by day, to Ferdinand's ruin in those Minden regions. Three or four Divisions busy in that manner;—and above all, we say, he has Broglio with a 20,000 on the right or east bank of the Weser,—who, if Ferdinand quit him even for a day, seems to have Hanover at discretion, and can march any day upon Hanover City, where his light troops have already been more than once. Why does n't Ferdinand cross Weser, re-cross Weser; coerce Broglio back; and save Hanover? cry the Gazetteers and a Public of weak judgment. Pitt's Public is inclined to murmur about Ferdinand; Pitt himself never. Ferdinand persists in sticking by Minden neighborhood,—and, in a scarcely accountable way, manoeuvring there, shooting out therefrom what mischief he can upon the various Contades people in their sieges and the like.
"On Contades himself he can pretend to do nothing,—except hoodwink him, entice him out, and try to get a chance on him. But for his own subsistence and otherwise, he is very lively;—snatches, by a sudden stroke, Bremen City: 'Yes truly, Bremen is a Reichstadt; nor shall YOU snatch it, as you did Frankfurt; but I will, instead; and my English proviant-ships shall have a sure haven henceforth!' Snatches Bremen by one sudden stroke; RE-snatches Osnabruck by another ('our magazine considerably INCREASED since you have had it, many thanks!'); does lose Munster, to his sorrow; but nevertheless sticks by his ground here;—nay detaches his swift-cutting Nephew, the Hereditary Prince, who is growing famous for such things, to cut out Contades's strong post to southward (Gohfeld, ten miles up the Weser), which guards his meal-wagons, after their long journey from the south. That is Contades's one weak point, in this posture of things: his meal is at Cassel, seventy miles off. Broglio and he see clearly, 'Till we can get a new magazine much nearer Hanover, or at lowest, can clear out these people from infesting us here, there is no moving northward!' To both Contades and Broglio that is an evident thing: the corollary to which is, They must fight Ferdinand; must watch lynx-like till a chance turn up of beating him in fight. That is their outlook; and Ferdinand knows it is,—and manoeuvres accordingly. Military men admire much, not his movements only, but his clear insight into Contades's and Broglio's temper of mind, and by what methods they were to be handled, they and his own affairs together, and brought whither he wanted them. [In MAUVILLON (ii. 41-44) minute account of all that.]
"This attempt on Gohfeld was a serious mischief to Contades, if it succeeded. But the detaching of the Prince of Brunswick on it, and weakening one's too weak Army, 'What a rashness, what an oversight!' thinks Contades (as Ferdinand wished him to do): 'Is our skilful enemy, in this extreme embarrassment, losing head, then? Look at his left wing yonder [General Wangenheim, sitting behind batteries, in his Village of Todtenhausen, looking into Minden from the north]:—Wangenheim's left leans on the Weser, yes; but Wangenheim's right, observe, has no support within three miles of it: tear Wangenheim out, Ferdinand's flank is bare!' These things seemed to Contades the very chance he had been waiting for; and brought him triumphantly out of his rabbit-hole, into the Heath of Minden, as Ferdinand hoped they would do.
"And so, TUESDAY EVENING, JULY 31st, things being now all ripe, upwards of 50,000 French are industriously in motion. Contades has nineteen bridges ready on the Bastau Brook, in front of him; TATTOO this night, in Contades's Camp, is to mean GENERAL MARCH, 'March, all of you, across these nineteen Bridges, to your stations on the Plain or Heath of Minden yonder,—and be punctual, like the clock!' Broglio crosses Weser by the town Bridge, ranks himself opposite Todtenhausen; and through the livelong night there is, on the part of the 50,000 French, a very great marching and deploying. Contades and Broglio together are 51,400 foot and horse. Ferdinand's entire force will be near 46,000; but on the day of Battle he is only 36,000,—having detached the Hereditary Prince on Gohfeld, in what view we know.—The BATTLE OF MINDEN, called also of TONHAUSEN (meaning TODTENhausen), which hereupon fell out, has still its fame in the world; and, I perceive, is well worth study by the soldier mind: though nothing but the rough outline of it is possible here.
"Ferdinand's posts extend from the Weser river and Todtenhausen round by Stemmern, Holzhausen, to Hartum and the Bog of Bastau (the chief part of him towards Bastau),—in various Villages, and woody patches and favorable spots; all looking in upon Minden, from a distance of five or seven miles; forming a kind of arc, with Minden for centre. He will march up in eight Columns; of course, with wide intervals between them,—wide, but continually narrowing as he advances; which will indeed be ruinous gaps, if Ferdinand wait to be attacked; but which will coalesce close enough, if he be speedy upon Contades. For Contades's line is also of arc-like or almost semicircular form, behind it Minden as centre; Minden, which is at the intersection of Weser and the Brook; his right flank is on Weser, Broglio VERSUS Wangenheim the extreme right; his left, with infantry and artillery, rests on that black Brook of Bastau with its nineteen Bridges. As the ground on both wings is rough, not so fit for Cavalry, Contades puts his Cavalry wholly in the centre: they are the flower of the French Army, about 10,000 horse in all; firm open ground ahead of them there, with strong batteries, masses of infantry to support on each flank; batteries to ply with cross-fire any assailant that may come on. Broglio, we said, is right wing; strong in artillery and infantry. Broglio is to root out Waugenheim: after which,—or even before which, if Wangenheim is kept busy and we are nimble,—what becomes of Ferdinand's left flank, with a gap of three miles between Wangenheim and him, and 10,000 chosen horse to take advantage of it! Had the French been of Prussian dexterity and nimbleness in marching, it is very possible something might have come of this latter circumstance: but Ferdinand knows they are not; and intends to take good care of his flank.
"Contades and his people were of willing mind; but had no skill in 'marchiug up:' and, once got across the Bastau by their nineteen Bridges, they wasted many hours:—'Too far, am I? not far enough? Too close? not close enough?'—and broiled about, in much hurry and confusion, all night. Fight was to have begun at 5 in the morning. Broglio was in his place, silently looking into Wangenheim, by five o'clock; but unfortunately did nothing upon Wangenheim ('Not ready you, I see!'), except cannonade a little;—and indeed all through did nothing ('Still not ready you others!'); which surely was questionable conduct, though not reckoned so at Versailles, when the case came to be argued there. As to the Contades people, across those nineteen Bridges, they had a baffling confused night; and were by no means correctly on their ground at sunrise, nor at 7 o'clock, nor at 8; and were still mending themselves when the shock came, and time was done.
"The morning is very misty; but Ferdinand has himself been out examining since the earliest daybreak: his orders last night were, 'Cavalry be saddled at 1 in the morning,'—having a guess that there would be work, as he now finds there will. From 5 A.M. Ferdinand is issuing from his Camp, flowing down eastward, beautifully concentric, closing on Contades; horse NOT in centre, but English Infantry in centre (Six Battalions, or Six REGIMENTS by English reckoning); right opposite those 10,000 Horse of Contades's, the sight of whom seems to be very animating to them. The English Cavalry stand on the right wing, at the Village of Hartum: Lord George Sackville had not been very punctual in saddling at 1 o'clock; but he is there, ranked on the ground, at 8,—in what humor nobody knows; sulky and flabby, I should rather guess. English Tourists, idle otherwise, may take a look at Hartum on the south side, as the spot where a very ugly thing occurred that day.
"Soon after 8 the Fight begins: attack, by certain Hessians, on Hahlen and its batteries; attempt to drive the French out of Hahlen, as the first thing,—which does not succeed at once (indeed took three attacks in all); and perhaps looks rather tedious to those Six English Battalions. Ferdinand's order to them was, 'You shall march up to attack, you Six, on sound of drum;' but, it seems, they read it, 'BY sound of drum;' 'Beating our own drums; yes, of course!'—and, being weary of this Hahlen work, or fancying they had no concern with it, strode on, double-quick, without waiting for Hahlen at all! To the horror of their Hanoverian comrades, who nevertheless determined to follow as second line. 'The Contades cross-fire of artillery, battery of 30 guns on one flank, of 36 on the other, does its best upon this forward-minded Infantry, but they seem to heed it little; walk right forward; and, to the astonishment of those French Horse and of all the world, entirely break and ruin the charge made on them, and tramp forward in chase of the same. The 10,000 Horse feel astonished, insulted; and rush out again, furiously charging; the English halt and serry themselves: 'No fire till they are within forty paces;' and then such pouring torrents of it as no horse or man can endure. Rally after rally there is, on the part of those 10,000; mass after mass of them indignantly plunges on,—again, ever again, about six charges in all;—but do not break the English lines: one of them (regiment Mestrede-Camp, raised to a paroxysm) does once get through, across the first line, but is blown back in dreadful circumstances by the second. After which they give it up, as a thing that cannot be done. And rush rearward, hither, thither, the whole seventy-five squadrons of them; and 'between their two wings of infantry are seen boiling in complete disorder.'
"This has lasted about an hour: this is essentially the soul of the Fight,—though there wanted not other activities, to right of it and to left, on both sides; artilleries going at a mighty rate on both wings; and counter-artilleries (superlative practice 'by Captain Phillips' on OUR right wing); Broglio cannonading Wangenheim very loudly, but with little harm done or suffered, on their right wing. Wangenheim is watchful of that gap between Ferdinand and him, till it close itself sufficiently. Their right-wing Infantry did once make some attempt there; but the Prussian Horse—(always a small body of Prussians serve in this Allied Army)—shot out, and in a brilliant manner swept them home again.
PLAN OF BATTLE HERE—PAGE 239,——
Artillery and that pretty charge of Prussian Horse are all one remembers, except this of the English and Hanover Foot in the centre: 'an unsurpassable thing,' says Tempelhof (though it so easily might have been a fatal!)—which has set Contades's centre boiling, and reduced Contades altogether to water, as it were. Contades said bitterly: 'I have seen what I never thought to be possible,—a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle, and tumble them to ruin!' [Stenzel, v. 204.]
"This was the feat, this hour's work in the centre, the essential soul of the Fight:—and had Lord George Sackville, General of the Horse, come on when galloped for and bidden, here had been such a ruin, say all judges, as seldom came upon an Army. Lord George—everlasting disgrace and sorrow on the name of him—could not see his way to coming on; delayed, haggled; would not even let Granby, his lieutenant, come; not for a second Adjutant, not for a third; never came on at all; but rode to the Prince, asking, 'How am I to come on?' Who, with a politeness I can never enough admire, did not instantly kill him, but answered, in mild tone, 'Milord, the opportunity is now past!' Whereby Contades escaped ruin, and was only beaten. By about 10 in the morning all was over. When a man's centre is gone to water, no part of him is far from the fluid state. Contades retreated into his rabbit-hole by those nineteen bridges,—well tormented, they say, by Captain Phillips's artillery, till he got beyond the knolls again. Broglio, who had never been in musket-fire at all, but had merely barked on Wangenheim all morning, instead of biting, covered the retreat, and withdrew into Minden. And we are a beaten Army,—thanks to Lord George, not an annihilated one. Our loss being only 7,086 (with heavy guns, colors, cavalry flags and the like); theirs being 2,822,—full half of it falling on those rash Six Battalions. [Mauvillon, ii. 44-60; Tempelhof, iii. 154-179, &c. &c.: and Proceedings of a Court-Martial, held at the Horse-Guards, 7th-24th March and 25th March-5th April, 1760, in Trial of Lord George Sackville (London, 1760)]. In Knesebeck, Ferdinand wahrend des siebenjahrigen Krieges (i. 395), Ferdinand's Letter to Friedrich of "July 31st;" and (i. 398-418 and ii. 33-36) many special details about Sackville and "August 1st."
"And what is this one hears from Gohfeld in the evening? The Hereditary Prince, busy there on us during the very hours of Minden, has blown our rear-guard division to the winds there;—and we must move southward, one and all of us, without a moment's delay! Out of this rabbit-hole the retreat by rearward is through a difficult country, the Westphalian Gates so called; fatal to Varus's Legions long ago. Contades got under way that very night; lost most of his baggage, all his conquests, that shadow-conquest of Hanover, and more than all his glories (Versailles shrieking on him, 'Resign you; let Broglio be chief,);—and, on the whole, jumbled homeward hither and thither, gravitating towards the Rhine, nothing but Wesel to depend on in those parts, as heretofore. Broglio retreated Frankfurt-way, also as usual, though not quite so far; and at Versailles had clearly the victory. Zealous Belleisle could not protect his Contades; it is not known whether he privately blamed Contades or blamed Broglio for loss of Minden. Zealous old man, what a loss to himself withal had Minden been! That shadow-conquest of Hanover is quite vanished: and worse, in Ferdinand's spoil were certain LETTERS from Belleisle to Contades, inculcating strange things;—for example, 'IL FAUT FAIRE UN DESERT DU PAYS [all Hessen, I think, lest Ferdinand advance on you] DEVANT L'ARMEE,' and the like. Which Ferdinand saw good to publish, and which resounded rather hideously through the general mind." [Were taken at Detmold (Tempelhof, iii. 223); Old Newspapers full of Excerpts from them, in the weeks following.]
Ignominious Sackville was tried by Court-martial; cashiered, declared incapable of again serving his Majesty "in any military capacity;"—perhaps a mild way of signifying that he wanted the common courage of a soldier? Zealous Majesty, always particular in soldier matters, proclaimed it officially to be "a sentence worse than death;" and furthermore, with his own royal hand, taking the pen himself, struck out Sackville from the List of Privy-Councillors. Proper surely, and indispensable;—and should have been persisted in, like Fate; which, in a new Reign, it was not! For the rest, there was always, and is, something of enigma in Sackville's palpably bad case. It is difficult to think that a Sackville wanted common courage. This Sackville fought duels with propriety; in private life, he was a surly, domineering kind of fellow, and had no appearance of wanting spirit. It is known, he did not love Duke Ferdinand; far from it! May not he have been of peculiarly sour humor that morning, the luckless fool; sulky against Ferdinand, and his "saddling at one o'clock;" sulky against himself, against the world and mankind; and flabbily disinclined to heroic practices for the moment? And the moment came; and the man was not there, except in that foggy, flabby and forever ruinous condition! Archenholtz, alone of Writers, judges that he expressly wanted to spoil the Battle of Minden and Ferdinand's reputation, and to get appointed Commander in his stead. Wonderful; but may have some vestige of basis, too! True, this Sackville was as fit to lead the courses of the stars as to lead armies. But such a Sackville has ambition, and, what is fatally more peculiar to him, a chance for unfolding it;—any blockhead has an ambition capable, if you encourage it sufficiently, of running to the infinite. Enough of this particular blockhead; and may it be long before we see his like again!—
The English Cavalry was in a rage with Sackville. Of the English Infantry, Historians say, what is not now much heard of in this Country, "That these unsurpassable Six [in industrious valor unsurpassable, though they mistook orders, and might have fared badly!] are ever since called the Minden Regiments; that they are the 12th, 20th, 23d, 25th, 37th and 51st of the British Line; and carry 'Minden' on their colors," [Kausler, Schlachter, &c. p, 587.]—with silent profit, I hope!
Fancy how Pitt's public, lately gloomy and dubious, blazed aloft into joyful certainty again! Pitt's outlooks have been really gloomy all this season; nor are the difficulties yet ended, though we hope they will end. Let us add this other bit of Synchronism, which is still of adverse aspect, over Seas; and will be pungently interesting to Pitt and England, when they come to hear of it.
"BEFORE QUEBEC, JULY 31st, 1759. This same Evening, at Quebec, on the other side of the Atlantic,—evening at Quebec, 9 or 10 at night for Contades and his nineteen Bridges,—there is a difficult affair going on. Above and below the Falls of Montmorenci, and their outflow into the St. Lawrence: attempt on General Wolfe's part to penetrate through upon the French, under Marquis de Montcalm, French Commander-in-chief, and to get a stroke at Quebec and him. From the south side of the St. Lawrence, nothing can be done upon Quebec, such the distance over. From Isle d'Orleans and the north side, it is also impossible hitherto. Easy enough to batter the Lower Town, from your ships and redoubts: but the High Town towers aloft on its sheer pinnacles, inaccessible even to cannon; looks down on the skilfulest British Admiral and Fleet as if with an air of indifference,—trying him on dark nights with fire-ships, fire-rafts, the cunningest kinds of pyrotechny, which he skilfully tows aside.
"A strenuous thing, this of Wolfe's; though an unsuccessful. Towards evening, the end of it; all Quebec assembled on the southern ramparts, witnessing with intense interest; the sublime Falls of Montmorenci gushing on, totally indifferent. For about a month past, General Wolfe, with the proper equipments, and about 10,000 men, naval and military, who was expressly selected by Pitt to besiege Quebec, and is dying to succeed, has been trying every scheme to get into contact with it:—to no purpose, so lofty, chasmy, rocky is the ground, cut by mountainous precipices and torrent streams, branches of the grand St. Lawrence River; so skilfully taken advantage of by Montcalm and his people, who are at home here, and in regulars nearly equal Wolfe, not to speak of Savages and Canadians, Wolfe's plan of the 31st was not ill laid; and the execution has been zealous, seamen and landsmen alike of willing mind;—but it met with accidents. Accidents in boating; then a still worse accident on landing; the regiment of grenadiers, which crossed below the Falls, having, so soon as landed, rushed off on the redoubt there on their own score, without waiting for the two brigades that were to cross and co-operate ABOVE the Falls! Which cut Wolfe to the heart; and induced him, especially as the tide was making again, to give up the enterprise altogether, and recall everybody, while it was yet time. [Gentleman's Magazine for 1759, pp. 470-473; Thackeray, i. 488.] Wolfe is strict in discipline; loves the willing mind, none more, and can kindle it among those about him; but he loves discipline withal, and knows how fatal the too willing may be. For six weeks more there is toil on the back of toil everywhere for poor Wolfe. He falls into fevers, into miseries, almost into broken heart;—nothing sure to him but that of doing his own poor utmost to the very death. After six weeks, we shall perhaps hear of him again. Gliding swiftly towards death; but also towards victory and the goal of all his wishes."
And now, after this flight half round the world, it is time we return to Oder Country, and a Friedrich on the edge of formidable things there. Next day after Beeskow, where we left him, he duly arrived at Mullrose; was joined by Wedell there, August 6th; and is now at Wulkow,—"encamped between Lebus and Wulkow," as we hear elsewhere;—quite in the environs of Frankfurt and of great events.
FRIEDRICH TO GRAF VON FINKENSTEIN (Second Note).
WULKOW, 8th August, 1759.
"If you hear of firing to-morrow, don't be surprised; it is our rejoicing for the Battle of Minden. I believe I shall have to keep you in suspense some days yet. I have many arrangements to make; I find great difficulties to surmount,—and it is required to save our Country, not to lose it: I ought both to be more prudent and more enterprising than ever. In a word, I will do and undertake whatever I find feasible and possible. With all that, I see myself in the necessity of making haste, to check the designs Haddick may have on Berlin. Adieu, MON CHER. In a little, you will have either a DE PROFUNDIS or a TE DEUM.—F." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxv. 305, 306.]
Sunday, July 29th, at Frankfurt-on-Oder divine worship was broken in upon, and the poor City thrown into consternation, by actual advent, or as good as advent, of the Russians: "On the Crossen road, close by; coming, come!" And they did undeniably appear, next morning, in force; on the opposite, eastern or Kunersdorf side of the River, on the top of the Oder-Dam there; and demanded instant admission, under penalty of general death by fire.
Within the Town stood Major Arnim, a Veteran of those parts, with 400 militia; these, with their muskets and with two cannon, are the only defence of Frankfurt, The Town has Gates; but its walls, I doubt, are mainly garden-walls and house-walls. On the eastern side, the River, especially if you have cannon on the Bridge, gives it something of protection; but on the western and all other sides, it is overhung by heights. This Frankfurt, like its bigger Namesake on the Mayn, is known as a busy trading place, its Fairs much frequented in those Eastern parts; and is believed by the Russians to be far richer than it is. The reader, as there happens to be ocular testimony extant, [Johann Zudwig Kriele, SCHLACHT BEI KUNERSDORF, MIT &C. (Berlin, 1801). Kriele was subsequent Pastor in the Parish, an excellent intelligent man: has compiled in brief form, with an elaborate Chart too, a clear account of everything, in the Battle and before and after it.] may like to see a little how they behaved there.
"Arnim, taking survey of the Russian Party, values it, or what he can see of it, at 1,000 [they really were 6,000]; keeps his Drawbridge up; and answers stoutly enough, 'No.' Upon which, from the Oder-Dam, there flies off one fiery grenado; one and no more,—which alighted in the house of 'Mrs. Thielicke, a Baker's Widow, who was standing at the door;'—killed poor Mrs. Thielicke, blew the house considerably to wreck, but did not set fire to it. Amim, all the Magistrates entreating him for the love of Heaven to leave them, is secretly shoving off his two cannon to the Northern Gate; and in fact is making his packages with full speed: 'Push for Custrin,' thinks Arnim, and save selves and cannon, since no good is to be done here!'
"It was about 11 A.M. when the Thielicke grenado fell: obstinate Arnim would by no means go; only packed all the faster. A second summons came: still, No. For the third and last time the Russians then summon: 'Grenadoes, a hundred more of them lie ready, unless—!' 'We will, we will; O merciful servant of Czarish Majesty!' passionately signify the Magistrates. But Arnim is still negative, still keeps the Bridge up. One of the hundred does go, by way of foretaste: this lighted 'near the Ober Kirche, in the chimney of the Town Musikus;' brought the chimney crashing down on him [fancy a man with some fineness of ear]; tore the house a good deal to pieces, but again did not set it on fire. 'Your obstinate Town can be bombarded, then,—cannot it?' observed the Russian Messenger.—'Give us Free Withdrawal!' proposes Amim. 'No; you to be Prisoners of War; Town at Czarish Majesty's discretion.' 'Never,' answers Arnim (to the outward ear).—'Go, oh, for the love of Heaven, go!' cry all Official people.
"Arnim, deaf to clamor, but steadily diligent in getting ready, does at last go; through the Lebus Suburb, quick march; steady, yet at his best step;—taking the Town-keys in his pocket, and leaving the Drawbridge up. One is sorry for poor Arnim and his 400 Militia; whose conduct was perfect, under difficulties and alarms; but proved unsuccessful. The terrified Magistrates, finding their Keys gone, and the conflagrative Russians at their gates, got blacksmiths on the instant; smote down, by chisel and mallet, the locked Drawbridge, smote open the Gates: 'Enter, O gracious Sirs; and may Czarish Majesty have mercy on us!' So that Arnim had small start for marchers on foot; and was overtaken about half-way. Would not yield still, though the odds were overwhelming; drew himself out on the best ground discoverable; made hot resistance; hot and skilful; but in vain. About six in the evening, Arnim and Party were brought back, Prisoners, to Frankfurt again,—self, surviving men, cannons and all (self in a wounded state);—and 'were locked in various Brew-houses;' little of careful surgery, I should fear. Poor Arnim; man could do no more; and he has been unfortunate."
It is by no means our intention to describe the Iliad of miseries, the agitations, terrors and disquietudes, the tribulation and utter harrowing to despair, which poor Frankfurt underwent, incessantly from that day forward, for about five weeks to come. "The furnishings of victual [Russian stock quite out] were to an inconceivable amount; surrender of arms, of linens, cloths, of everything useful to a hungry Army; above all things, of horses, so that at last there were but four horses left in all Frankfurt; and"—But we must not go into details.
"On the second day, besides all this," what will be significant of it all, "there was exacted 'ransom of 600,000 thalers (90,000 pounds), or you shall be delivered to the Cossacks!' Frankfurt has not above 12,000 inhabitants within its bounds; here is a sudden poll-tax of 7 pounds 10s. per head. Frankfurt has not such a sum; the most rigorous collection did not yield above the tenth part of it. And more than once those sanguinary vagabonds were openly drawn out, pitch-link in hand: 'The 90,000 pounds or—!' Civic Presidency Office in Frankfurt was not a bed of roses. The poor Magistrates rushed distractedly about; wrung out moneys to the last drop; moneys, and in the end plate from those that had it; went in tearful deputation to General Soltikof,—a severe proud kind of man, capable perhaps of being flattered,—who usually locked them up instead. Magistrates were locked in Russian ward, at one time, for almost a week; sat in the blazing sun; if you try for the shade of a tree, the sentry handles arms upon you;—and were like to die. To me, Kriele, it is a miracle how the most of us lived; nay we never really wanted food, so kind was Providence, so generous our poor neighbors out of all the Towns round. The utmost of money that could be raised was 6,000 pounds; nothing but some little of plate, and our Bill for the remainder. Soltikof, a high kind of gentleman, saw at last how it stood; let the Magistrates out of ward; sent back the plate—'Nothing of that!'—nay, Czarish Majesty was herself generous; and FORGAVE the Bill, on our petition, next Year. Cossacks, indeed, were a plunderous wild crew; but the Russians kept them mostly without the gates. The regular Russians were civil and orderly, officers and men,—greatly beyond the Austrians in behavior." [Kriele, Schlacht bei Kunersdorf; pp. 1-15 (in compressed state).] By these few traits conceive Frankfurt: this, now forgotten in most books, is a background on which things were transacted still memorable to everybody.
"Friday, August 3d, General Loudon came to hand: arrived early, in the Guben (or Western) Suburb, his 18,000 and he. In high spirits naturally, and somewhat exultant to have evaded Friedrich; but found a reception that surprised him. The Russians had been living in the hope of junction; but still more vividly in that of meal. 'Auxiliaries; humph,—only 18,000 of them; how much welcomer had been as many hundredweights of meal!' Loudon had pushed his baggage direct into Frankfurt; and likewise a requisition of such and such proviants, weights of meal and the like, in exuberant amount, to be furnished straightway by the City: neither of which procedures would the Russians hear of for a moment. 'Out with you!' said they roughly to the baggage-people: 'quarter in the Guben Suburb, or where you like; not here!' And with regard to the requisition of proviant, they answered in a scornful angry key, 'Proviant? You too without it? You have not brought us meal, according to covenant; instead of meal, you bring us 18,000 new eaters, most of them on horse-back,—Satan thank you! From Frankfurt be very certain you can get no ounce of meal; Frankfurt is our own poor meal-bag, dreadfully scanty: stay outside, and feed where and how you can!'
"All this, Loudon, though of hot temper, easily capable of rising to the fierce point, had to endure in silence, for the common interest. Loudon's own table is furnished from Frankfurt; no other Austrian man's: all others have to shift how they can. Sad requisitioning needed, and sad plunder to supplement it: the Austrian behavior was very bad, say the Frankfurters; 'in particular, they had burnt gradually all the corn-mills in the country; within many miles not one mill standing when they left us,'—and four horses all the conveyance power we had. Soltikof lodges in great pomp, much soldiery and cannon parading before his doors; not an undignified man, or an inhuman or essentially foolish, but very high in his ways, and distasteful to Austrian dignitaries."
The Russian Army lies mainly across Oder; encamped on the Judenberg, and eastward there, along the Heights, near three miles, to Kunersdorf and beyond. They expect Friedrich at the gates of Frankfurt shortly; know well that they cannot defend Frankfurt. They calculate that Friedrich will attack them in their Judenberg Encampment, but hope they are nearly ready for him there. Loudon, from the Guben Suburb, will hasten across, at any moment;—welcome on such fighting occasion, though ill seen when the question is of eating! The Russians have their Wagenburg on an Island southward, farther up the River; they have three Pontoon Bridges leading thither, a free retreat should they be beaten. And in the mean while are intrenching themselves, as only Daun would,—cannon and redoubts all round those Heights;—and except it be screwing Frankfurt to do its impossible duty, and carting provender with all the horses except four, have not much farther to do but wait till the King come. Which will be speedily, it is probable!—
Wednesday, August 8th, Russian and Austrian Generals, a cheerful party of them, had rendezvoused at FISCHERS MUHLE; a Mill not yet burnt, and a pleasant Tavern as well; in one of the prettiest valleys in the Western Environs;—intending to dine there, and have a pleasant day. But the Miller's Boy runs in upon them, wide-eyed, "HIMMEL UND ERDE, Prussian Hussars!" It was in verity Prussian Hussars; the King of Prussia with them in person. He is come out reconnoitring,—the day after his arrival in those parts. The pleasuring Generals, Russian and Austrian, sprang to horseback at their swiftest,—hope of dinner gone futile, except to the intervening Prussian Hussars;—and would have all been captured, but for that Miller's Boy; whose Mill too was burnt before long. This gallop home of the undined Generals into Frankfurt was the first news we poor Frankfurters had of the King's arrival.
The King has been punctual to his reckoning: he picked up Wedell at Mullrose,—not too cordial to Wedell's people: "None of you speak to those beaten wretches," ordered he; "till perhaps they wipe off their Zullichau stain!" On the 7th, Friedrich advanced to Frankfurt neighborhood; took Camp between Wulkow and Lebus;—and has just been out reconnoitring. And has raised, fancy what emotion in poor Frankfurt lying under its nightmare! "Next day, August 9th, from Wulkow-Lebus hand, we" of Frankfurt, "heard a great firing; cannon-salvos, musket-volleys: 'Nothing of fight,' the Russian Officers told us; 'it is the King of Prussia doing joy-fire for Minden,' of which we till now knew nothing."
Friedrich, on survey of this Russian-Austrian Army, some 90,000 in number, with such posts, artilleries, advantages, judges that he, counting only 40,000, is not strong enough. And, indeed, had so anticipated, and already judged; and, accordingly, has Finck on march hitherward again,—Berlin must take its risk, Saxony must shift for itself in the interim. Finck is due in two days,—not here at Lebus precisely, but at another place appointed; Finck will raise him to 50,000; and then business can begin! Contrary to Russian expectation, Friedrich does not attack Frankfurt; seems quite quiet in his cantonments;—he is quietly (if one knew it) making preparations farther down the River. About Reitwein, between this and Custrin, there arrangements are proceeding, by no means of a showy sort.
The Russian-Austrian Army quits Frankfurt, leaving only some hundreds of garrison: Loudon moves across, Soltikof across; to the Oder-Dam and farther; and lie, powerfully intrenched, on those Kunersdorf Heights, and sandy Moorlands, which go eastward at right-angles to Oder-Dam. One of the strongest Camps imaginable. All round there, to beyond Kunersdorf and back again, near three miles each way, they have a ring of redoubts, and artillery without end. And lie there, in order of battle, or nearly so; ready for Friedrich, when he shall attack, through Frankfurt or otherwise. They face to the North (Reitwein way, as it happens); to their rear, and indeed to their front, only not so close, are woods and intricate wilds. Loudon has the left flank; that is to say, Loudon's left hand is towards the Oder-Dam and Frankfurt; he lies at the ROTHE VORWERK ("Red Grange," a Farmstead much mentioned just now); rather to northwestward of the Jew Hill and Jew Churchyard (JUDENBERG and JUDENKIRCHHOF, likewise much mentioned); and in advance of the general Mass. Soltikof's head-quarter, I rather understand, is on the right wing; probably in Kunersdorf itself, or beyond that Village; there, at least, our highly important Russian right wing is; there, elaborately fortified; and, half a mile farther, ends,—on the edge of steep dells; the Russian brink of which is strongly fringed with cannon, while beyond, on the farther brink, they have built an abatis; so making assurance doubly sure. Looking to the northward all these 90,000; their left rather southward of Frankfurt Bridge, over which Friedrich will probably arrive. Leftward, somewhat to rearward, they have bridges of their own; should anything sinister befall; three bridges which lead into that Oder Island, and the Russian Wagenburg there.
August 10th, Finck, punctual to time, arrives in the neighborhood of Reitwein (which is some ten miles down stream from Lebus, from Frankfurt perhaps fifteen); Friedrich, the same day, is there before him; eager to complete the Bridges, and get to business. One Bridge is of pontoons; one of "Oder-boats floated up from Custrin." Bridges are not begun till nightfall, lest eyes be abroad; are ready in the minimum of time. And so, during the same night of the 10th, all the Infantry, with their artilleries and battle-furnitures, pour over in two columns; the Cavalry, at the due point of time, riding by a ford short way to the right. And at four, in the gray of the August morning (Saturday, 11th August, 1759), all persons and things find themselves correctly across; ranked there, in those barren, much-indented "Pasture-grounds of Goritz" or of OEtscher; intending towards Kunersdorf; ready for unfolding into order of battle there. They leave their heavy baggage at Goritz, Wunsch to guard the Bridges and it; and, in succinct condition, are all under way. At one in the afternoon we are got to Leissow and Bischofsee; scrubby hamlets (as the rest all are), not above two miles from Kunersdorf. The August day is windless, shiny, sultry; man and horse are weary with the labors, and with the want of sleep: we decide to bivouac here, and rest on the scrubby surface, heather or whatever it is, till to-morrow.
Finck is Vanguard, ahead short way, and with his left on a bit of lake or bog; the Army is in two lines, with its right on Leissow, and has Cavalry in the kind of wood which there is to rear. Friedrich, having settled the positions, rides out reconnoitring; hither, thither, over the Heights of Trettin. "The day being still hot, he suffers considerably from thirst [it is our one Anecdote] in that arid tract: at last a Peasant does bring him, direct from the fountain, a jug of pure cold water; whom, lucky man, the King rewarded with a thaler; and not only so, but, the man being intelligent of the localities, took with him to answer questions." Readers too may desire to gain some knowledge of the important ground now under survey.
"Frankfurt, a very ancient Town, not a very beautiful," says my Note, "stands on an alluvium which has been ground down from certain clay Hills on the left bank of Oder. It counted about 12,000 inhabitants in Friedrich's time; has now perhaps about 20,000; not half the bulk of its namesake on the Mayn; but with Three great Fairs annually, and much trade of the rough kind. On this left or west bank of Oder the country is arable, moderately grassy and umbrageous, the prospect round you not unpleasant; but eastward, over the River, nothing can be more in contrast. Oder is of swift current, of turbid color, as it rolls under Frankfurt Bridge,—Wooden Bridge, with Dam Suburb at the end;—a River treeless, desolate, as you look up and down; which has, evidently, often changed its course, since grinding down that alluvium as site for Frankfurt; and which, though now holding mainly to northward, is still given to be erratic, and destructive on the eastern low grounds,—had not the Frankfurters built an 'Oder-Dam' on that side; a broad strong Earth-mound, running for many miles, and confining its floods. Beyond the Dam there are traces of an 'Old Oder (ALTE ODER);' and, in fact, Oder, in primeval and in recent time, has gone along, many-streamed; indenting, quarrying, leaving lakelets, quagmires, miscellaneous sandy tumult, at a great rate, on that eastern shore. Making of it one of the unloveliest scenes of chaotic desolation anywhere to be met with;—fallen unlovelier than ever in our own more recent times.
"What we call the Heights of Kunersdorf is a broad Chain of Knolls; coming out, at right-angles, or as a kind of spur, from the eastern high grounds; direct towards Oder and Frankfurt. Mill-Hill (MUHLBERG) is the root or easternmost part of this spur. From the Muhlberg, over Kunersdorf, to Oder-Dam, which is the whole length of the spur, or Chain of Knolls, will be little short of four miles; the breadth of the Chain is nowhere one mile,—which is its grand defect as a Camp: 'too narrow for manoeuvring in.' Here, atop and on the three sides of this Block of Knolls, was fought the furious Battle of Kunersdorf [to be fought to-morrow], one of the most furious ever known. A Block of Knolls memorable ever since.
"To all appearance: it was once some big Island or chain of Islands in the Oder deluges: it is still cut with sudden hollows,—KUHGRUND (Cow-Hollow), TIEFE WEG (Deep Way), and westernmost of all, and most important for us here, HOHLE GRUND (Big Hollow, let us call it; 'LOUDON'S Hollow' people subsequently called it);—and is everywhere strangely tumbled up into knolls blunt or sharp, the work of primeval Oder in his rages. In its highest knolls,—of which let readers note specially the Spitzberg, the Muhlberg, the Judenberg,—it rises nowhere to 150 feet; perhaps the general height of it may be about 100. On each side of it, especially on the north, the Country is of most intricate character: bushy, scraggy, with brooklets or muddy oozings wandering about, especially with a thing called the HUNERFLIESS (Hen-Floss), which springs in the eastern woods, and has inconceivable difficulty to get into Oder,—if it get at all! This was a sore Floss to Friedrich to-morrow. Hen-Floss struggles, painfully meandering and oozing, along the northern side (sometimes close, sometimes not) of our Chain of Knolls: along the south side of it (in our time, through the middle of it) goes the Highway to Reppen ["From that Highway will his attack come!" thought the Russians, always till to-day]: on the north, to Leissow, to Trettin," where Friedrich is now on survey, "go various wheel-tracks, but no firm road. A most intricate unlovely Country. Withered bent-grasses, heath, perhaps gorse, and on both sides a great deal of straggling Forest-wood, reaching eastward, and especially southward, for many miles.
"For the rest," to our ill-luck in this place, "the Battlefield of Kunersdorf has had a peculiar fate in the world; that of being blown away by the winds! The then scene of things exists no longer; the descriptions in the Old Books are gone hopelessly irrecognizable. In our time, there is not anywhere a tract more purely of tumbled sand, than all this between Kunersdorf and Dam Vorstadt; and you judge, without aid of record or tradition, that it is greatly altered for the worse since Friedrich's time,—some rabbit-colony, or other the like insignificancy, eating out the roots, till all vegetation died, and the wind got hold and set it dancing;—and that, in 1759, when Russian human beings took it for a Camp, it must have been at least coherent, more or less; covered, held together by some film of scrubby vegetation; not blowing about in every wind as now! Kunersdorf stands with its northern end pushed into that KUHGRUND (Cow-Hollow); which must then have been a grassy place. Eastward of Kunersdorf the ground has still some skin of peat, and sticks together: but westward, all that three miles, it is a mere tumult of sand-hills, tumbled about in every direction (so diligent have the conies been, and then the winds); no gullet, or definite cut or hollow, now traceable anywhere, but only an endless imbroglio of twisted sand-heaps and sand-hollows, which continually alter in the wind-storms. Sand wholly, and—except the strong paved Highway that now runs through it (to Reppen, Meseritz and the Polish Frontier, and is strongly paved till it get through Kunersdorf)—chaotic wholly; a scene of heaped barrenness and horror, not to be matched but in Sahara; the features of the Battle quite blown away, and indecipherable in our time.
"A hundred years ago, it would have some tattered skin,—of peat, of heather and dwarf whins, with the sand cropping out only here and there. So one has to figure it in Soltikof's day,—before the conies ruined it. Which was not till within the last sixty years, as appears. Kriele's Book (in 1801) still gives no hint of change: the KUHGRUND, which now has nothing but dry sand for the most industrious ruminant, is still a place of succulence and herbage in Kriele's time; 'Deep Way,' where 'at one point two carts could not pass,' was not yet blown out of existence, but has still 'a Well in it' for Kriele; HOHLE GRUND (since called Loudon's Hollow), with the Jew Hill and Jew Churchyard beyond, seem tolerable enough places to Kriele. Probably not unlike what the surrounding Country still is. A Country of poor villages, and of wild ground, flat generally, and but tolerably green; with lakelets, bushes, scrubs, and intricate meandering little runlets and oozelets; and in general with more of Forest so called than now is:—this is Kunersdorf Chain of Knolls; Soltikof's Intrenched Camp at present; destined to become very famous in the world, after lying so long obscure under Oder and its rages." [TOURIST'S NOTE (Autumnn, 1852).]
From the Knolls of Trettin, that Saturday afternoon, Friedrich takes view of the Russian Camp. All lying bright enough there; from Muhlberg to Judenberg, convenient to our glass; between us and the evening Sun. Batteries most abundant, difficulties great: Soltikof just ahead here, 72,000: Loudon at the Red Grange yonder, on their extreme left, with 18,000 more. An uncommonly strong position for 90,000 against 50,000. One thing strikes Friedrich: On front in this northern side, close by the base of the Russian Camp, runs—for the present away FROM Oder, but intending to join it elsewhere—a paltry little Brook, "Hen-Floss" so called, with at least two successive Mills on it (KLEINE MUHLE, GROSSE MUHLE); and on the northern shore of it, spilling itself out into a wet waste called ELSBRUCH (Alder Waste), which is especially notable to Friedrich. ALDER Waste? Watery, scrubby; no passage there, thinks Friedrich; which his Peasant with the water-jug confirms. "Tell me, however," inquires Friedrich, with strictness, "From the Red Grange yonder, where General Loudon is, if you wished to get over to the HOHLE GRUND, or to the Judenberg, would you cross that Hen-Floss?" "It is not crossable, your Majesty; one has to go round quite westward by the Dam." "What, from Rothe Vorwerk to Big Hollow, no passage, say you; no crossing?" "None, your Majesty," insists the Peasant;—who is not aware that the Russians have made one of firm trestles and logs, and use it daily for highway there; an error of some interest to Friedrich within the next twenty-four hours!
Friedrich himself does not know this bit of ground: but there is with him, besides the Peasant, a Major Linden, whose Regiment used to lie in Frankfurt, of whom Friedrich makes minute questioning. Linden answers confidently; has been over all this tract a hundred times; "but knows it only as a hunter," says Tempelhof, [Tempelhof, iii. 186.] "not as a soldier," which he ought to have done. His answers are supposed to have misled Friedrich on various points, and done him essential damage. Friedrich's view of the case, that evening, is by no means so despondent as might be imagined: he regards the thing as difficult, not as impossible,—and one of his anxieties is, that he be not balked of trying it straightway. Retiring to his hut in Bischofsee, he makes two Dispositions, of admirable clearness, brevity, and calculated for two contingencies: [Given in Tempelhof, iii. 182, 183.] That of the enemy retaining his now posture; and That of the enemy making off for Reppen;—which latter does not at all concern us, as matters turned! Of the former the course will unfold itself to us, in practice, shortly. At 2 A.M. Friedrich will be on foot again, at 3 on march again.—The last phenomenon, at Bischofsee this night, is some sudden glare of disastrous light rising over the woods:—"Russians burning Kunersdorf!" as neighbors are sorry to hear. That is the finale of much Russian rearranging and tumbling, this day; that barbarous burning of Kunersdorf, before going to bed. To-morrow various other poor Villages got burnt by them, which they had better have left standing.
The Russians, on hearing that Friedrich was across at Goritz, and coming on them from the north side, not from Frankfurt by the Reppen Highway, were in great agitation. Not thrown into terror, but into manifold haste, knowing what hasty adversary there was. Endless readjustments they have to make; a day of tumultuous business with the Russians, this Saturday, 11th, when the news reached them. "They inverted their front [say all the Books but Friedrich's own]: Not coming by the Reppen Highway, then!" think they. And thereupon changed rear to front, as at Zorndorf, but more elaborately;—which I should not mention, were it not that hereby their late "right wing on the Muhlberg" has, in strict speech, become their "left," and there is ambiguity and discrepancy in some of the Books, should any poor reader take to studying them on this matter. Changed their front; which involves much interior changing; readjusting of batteries and the like. That of burning Kunersdorf was the barbaric winding up of all this: barbaric, and, in the military sense, absurd; poor Kunersdorf could have been burnt at any moment, if needful; and to the Russians the keeping of it standing was the profitable thing, as an impediment to Friedrich in his advance there. They have laid it flat and permeable; ashes all of it,—except the Church only, which is of stone; not so combustible, and may have uses withal. Has perhaps served as temporary lock-up, prison for the night, to some of those Frankfurt Deputations and their troublesome wailings; and may serve as temporary hospital to-morrow, who knows?
Readjustments in the Russian Camp were manifold: but these are as nothing, in the tumultuous business of the day. Carting of their baggage, every article of value, to that safe Wagenburg in the River; driving of cattle,—the very driving of cattle through Frankfurt, endless herds of them, gathered by the Cossacks from far and wide, "lasted for four-and-twenty hours." Oxen in Frankfurt that day were at the rate of ten shillings per head. Often enough you were offered a full-grown young steer for a loaf of bread; nay the Cossacks, when there was absolutely no bidder, would slaughter down the animal, leave its carcass in the streets, and sell the hide for a TYMPF,—fivepence (very bad silver at present). Never before or since was seen in Frankfurt such a Saturday, for bellowing and braying, and raging and tumulting, all through the day and through the night; ushering in such a Sunday too!
Sunday about 3 in the morning, Friedrich is on march again,—Russians still in their place; and Disposition FIRST, not SECOND at all, to be our rule of action! Friedrich, in Two Columns, marches off, eastward through the woods, as if for Reppen quite away from the Russians and their Muhlberg; but intending to circle round at the due point, and come down upon their right flank there (left flank, as he persists to call it), out of the woods, and clasp it in his arms in an impressive, unexpected way. In Two Columns; which are meant, as usual, to be the Two Lines of Battle: Seidlitz, with chosen Cavalry, is at the head of Column First, and will be Left Wing, were we on the ground; Eugen of Wurtemberg, closing the rear of Column First, will, he, or Finck and he together, be Right Wing. That is the order of march;—order of BATTLE, we shall find, had to alter itself somewhat, for reasons extremely valid!
Finck with his 12,000 is to keep his present ground; to have two good batteries got ready, each on its knoll ahead, which shall wait silent in the interim: Finck to ride out reconnoitring, with many General Officers, and to make motions and ostentations; in a word, to persuade the Russians that here is the Main Army coming on from the north. All which Finck does; avoiding, as his orders were, any firing, or serious commencement of business, till the King reappear out of the woods. The Russians give Finck and his General Officers a cannon salvo, here and there, without effect, and get no answer. "The King does not see his way, then, after all?" think the Russians. Their Cossacks go scouring about; on the southern side, "burn Schwetig and Reipzig," without the least advantage to themselves: most of the Cavalry, and a regiment or two of excellent Austrian Grenadiers, are with Loudon, near the Red Grange, in front of the Russian extreme left;—but will have stept over into Big Hollow at a moment of crisis!
The King's march, through the Forest of Reppen, was nothing like so expeditious as had been expected. There are thickets, intricacies, runlets, boggy oozes; indifferent to one man well mounted, but vitally important to 30,000 with heavy cannon to bring on. Boggy oozings especially,—there is one dirty stream or floss (HUNERFLIESS, Hen-Floss) which wanders dismally through those recesses, issuing from the far south, with dirty daughters dismally wandering into it, and others that cannot get into it (being of the lake kind): these, in their weary, circling, recircling course towards Oder,—FAULE LAACKE (Foul Lake, LITHER-MERE, as it were), Foul Bridge, Swine's Nook (SCHWEINEBUCKT), and many others,—occasion endless difficulty. Whether Major Linden was shot that day, or what became of him after, I do not know: but it was pity he had not studied the ground with a soldier's eye instead of a hunter's! Plumping suddenly, at last, upon Hen-Floss itself, Friedrich has to turn angularly; angularly, which occasions great delay: the heavy cannon (wall-guns brought from Custrin) have twelve horses each, and cannot turn among the trees, but have to be unyoked, reyoked, turned round by hand:—in short, it was eight in the morning before Friedrich arrived at the edge of the wood, on the Klosterberg, Walckberg, and other woody BERGS or knolls, within reach of Muhlberg, and behind the preliminary abatis there (abatis which was rather of service to him than otherwise);—and began privately building his batteries.
At eight o'clock he, with Column First, which is now becoming Line First (CENTRE of Line First, if we reckon Finck as RIGHT-WING), is there; busy in that manner: Column Second, which was to have been Rear Line, is still a pretty way behind; and has many difficulties before it gets into Kunersdorf neighborhood, or can (having wriggled itself into a kind of LEFT-WING) co-operate on the Russian Position from the south side. On the north side, Finck has been ready these five hours.—Friedrich speeds the building of his batteries: "Silent, too; the Russians have not yet noticed us!" By degrees the Russians do notice something; shoot out Cossacks to reconnoitre. Cossacks in quantity; who are so insolent, and venture so very near, our gunners on the north battery give them a blast of satisfactory grape-shot; one and then another, four blasts in all, satisfactory to the gunner mind,—till the King's self, with a look, with a voice, came galloping: "Silence, will you!" The Russians took no offence; still considering Finck to be the main thing and Friedrich some scout party,—till at last,
Half-past eleven, everything being ready on the Walck Hill, Friedrich's batteries opened there, in a sudden and volcanic way. Volcanically answered by the Russians, as soon as possible; who have 72 guns on this Muhlberg, and are nothing loath. Upon whom Finck's battery is opening from the north, withal: Friedrich has 60 cannon hereabouts; on the Walckberg, on the LITTLE Spitzberg (called SEIDLITZ HILL ever since); all playing diligently on the head and south shoulder of this Muhlberg: while Finck's battery opens on the north shoulder (could he but get near enough). Volcanic to a degree all these; nor are the Russians wanting, though they get more and more astonished: Tempelhof, who was in it, says he never, except at Torgau next Year, heard a louder cannonade. Loud exceedingly; and more or less appalling to the Russian imagination: but not destructive in proportion; the distance being too considerable,—"1,950 paces at the nearest," as Tempelhof has since ascertained by measuring. Friedrich's two batteries, however, as they took the Russians in the flank or by enfilade, did good execution. "The Russian guns were ill-pointed; the Russian batteries wrong-built; batteries so built as did not allow them sight of the Hollow they were meant to defend." [Tempelhof, iii. 186, 187.]
After above half an hour of this, Friedrich orders storm of the Muhlberg: Forward on it, with what of enfilading it has had! Eight grenadier Battalions, a chosen vanguard appointed for the work (names of Battalions all given, and deathless in the Prussian War-Annals), tramp forth on this service: cross the abatis, which the Russian grenadoes have mostly burnt; down into the Hollow. Steady as planets; "with a precision and coherency," says Tempelhof, "which even on the parade-ground would have deserved praises. Once well in the Hollow, they suffer nothing; though the blind Russian fire, going all over their heads, rages threefold:" suffered nothing in the Hollow; nor till they reached almost the brow of the Muhlberg, and were within a hundred steps of the Russian guns. These were the critical steps, these final ones; such torrents of grape-shot and musket-shot and sheer death bursting out, here at last, upon the Eight Battalions, as they come above ground. Who advanced, unwavering, all the faster,—speed one's only safety. They poured into the Russian gunners and musketry battalions one volley of choicest quality, which had a shaking effect; then, with level bayonets, plunge on the batteries: which are all empty before we can leap into them; artillery-men, musketeer battalions, all on wing; general whirlpool spreading. And so, in ten minutes, the Muhlberg and its guns are ours. Ever since Zorndorf, an idea had got abroad, says Tempelhof, that the Russians would die instead of yielding; but it proved far otherwise here. Down as far as Kunersdorf, which may be about a mile westward, the Russians are all in a whirl; at best hanging in tatters and clumps, their Officers struggling against the flight; "mixed groups you would see huddled together a hundred men deep." The Russian Left Wing is beaten: had we our cannon up here, our cavalry up here, the Russian Army were in a bad way!
This is a glorious beginning; completed, I think, as far almost as Kunersdorf by one o'clock: and could the iron continue to be struck while it is at white-heat as now, the result were as good as certain. That was Friedrich's calculation: but circumstances which he had not counted on, some which he could not count on, sadly retarded the matter. His Left Wing (Rear Line, which should now have been Left Wing) from southward, his Right Wing from northward, and Finck farther west, were now on the instant to have simultaneously closed upon the beaten Russians, and crushed them altogether. The Right Wing, conquerors of the Muhlberg, are here: but neither Finck nor the Left can be simultaneous with them. Finck and his artillery are much retarded with the Flosses and poor single Bridges; and of the Left Wing there are only some Vanguard Regiments capable of helping ("who drove out the Russians from Kunersdorf Churchyard," as their first feat),—no Main Body yet for a long while. Such impediments, such intricacies of bog and bush! The entire Wing does at last get to the southeast of Kunersdorf, free of the wood; but finds (contrary to Linden with his hunter eye) an intricate meshwork of meres and straggling lakes, two of them in the burnt Village itself; no passing of these except on narrow isthmuses, which necessitate change of rank and re-change; and our Left Wing cannot, with all its industry, "march up," that is, arrive at the enemy in fighting line, without the painfulest delays.
And then the getting forward of our cannon! On the Muhlberg itself the seventy-two Russian guns, "owing to difference of calibre," or artillery-men know what, cannot be used by us: a few light guns, Tempelhof to one of them, a poor four in all, with perhaps 100 shot to each, did, by the King's order, hasten to the top of the Muhlberg; and never did Tempelhof see a finer chance for artillery than there. Soft sloping ground, with Russians simmering ahead of you, all the way down to Kunersdorf, a mile long: by horizontal pointing, you had such reboundings (RICOCHETS); and carried beautiful execution! Tempelhof soon spent his hundred shots: but it was not at once that any of our sixty heavy guns could be got up thither. Twelve horses to each: fancy it, and what baffling delays here and elsewhere;—and how the Russian whirlpool was settling more and more, in the interim! And had, in part, settled; in part, got through to the rear, and been replaced by fresh troops!
Friedrich's activities, and suppressed and insuppressible impatiences in this interval, are also conceivable, though not on record for us. The swiftest of men; tied down, in this manner, with the blaze of perfect victory ahead, were the moments NOT running out! Slower or faster, he thinks (I suppose), the victory is his; and that he must possess his soul till things do arrive. It was in one and more of those embargoed intervals that he wrote to Berlin [Preuss, ii. 212 n.] (which is waiting, as if for life or death, the issue of this scene, sixty miles distant): "Russians beaten; rejoice with me!" Four successive couriers, I believe, with messages to that effect; and at last a Fifth with dolefully contrary news!—
In proportion as the cannon and other necessaries gradually got in, the Fight flamed up from its embers more and more: and there ensued,—the Russians being now ranked again (fronting eastward now) "in many lines," and very fierce,—a second still deadlier bout; Friedrich furiously diligent on their front and right flank; Finck, from the Alder Waste, battering and charging (uphill, and under difficulties from those Flosses and single Bridges) on their left flank. This too, after long deadly efforts on the Prussian part, ended again clearly in their favor; their enemies broken a second time, and driven not only out of Kunersdorf and the Kuhgrund, but some say almost to the foot of the Judenberg,—what can only be very partially true. Broken portions of the Russian left flank,—some of Finck's people, in their victorious wrath, may have chased these very far: but it is certain the general Russian mass rallied again a long way short of the Judenberg;—though, the ground being all obliterated by the rabbits and the winds, nobody can now know with exactitude where.
And indeed the Battle, from this point onwards, becomes blurred and confused to us, only its grosser features visible henceforth. Where the "Big Spitzberg" was (so terribly important soon), nobody can now tell me, except from maps. London's motions too are obscure, though important. I believe his grenadiers had not yet been in the fire; but am certain they are now come out of Big Hollow; fresh for the rescue; and have taken front rank in this Second Rally that is made. Loudon's Cavalry Loudon himself has in hand, and waits with them in a fit place. He has 18,000 fresh men; and an eye like few others on a field of war. Loudon's 18,000 are fresh: of the Prussians that can by no means be said. I should judge it must be 3 of the afternoon. The day is windless, blazing; one of the hottest August days; and "nobody, for twelve hours past, could command a drink of water:" very fresh the poor Prussians cannot be! They have done two bouts of excellent fighting; tumbled the Russians well back, stormed many batteries; and taken in all 180 cannon.
At this stage, it appears, Finck and many Generals, Seidlitz among the others, were of opinion that, in present circumstances, with troops so tired, and the enemy nearly certain to draw off, if permitted, here had been enough for one day, and that there ought to be pause till to-morrow. Friedrich knew well the need of rest; but Friedrich, impatient of things half-done, especially of Russians half-beaten, would not listen to this proposal; which was reckoned upon him as a grave and tragic fault, all the rest of his life; though favorable judges, who were on the ground, Tempelhof for one, [Tempelhof, iii. 194.] are willing to prove that pausing here—at the point we had really got to, a little beyond the Kuhgrund, namely; and not a couple of miles westward, at the foot of the Jew Hill, where vague rumor puts us—was not feasible or reasonable. Friedrich considers with himself, "Our left wing has hardly yet been in fire!" calls out the entire left wing, foot and horse: these are to emerge from their meshwork of Lakes about Kunersdorf, and bear a hand along with us on the Russian front here,—especially to sweep away that raging Battery they have on the Big Spitzberg, and make us clear of it. The Big Spitzberg lies to south and ahead of the Russian right as now ranked; fatally covers their right flank, and half ruins the attack in front. Big Spitzberg is blown irrecognizable in our time; but it was then an all-important thing.
The left-wing Infantry thread their lake-labyrinth, the soonest possible; have to rank again on the hither side, under a tearing fire from that Spitzberg; can then at last, and do, storm onwards, upwards; but cannot, with their best efforts, take the Spitzberg: and have to fall back under its floods of tearing case-shot, and retire out of range. To Friedrich's blank disappointment: "Try it you, then, Seidlitz; you saved us at Zorndorf!" Seidlitz, though it is an impossible problem to storm batteries with horse, does charge in for the Russian flank, in spite of its covering battery: but the torrents of grape-shot are insufferable; the Seidlitz people, torn in gaps, recoil, whirl round, and do not rank again till beyond the Lakes of Kunersdorf. Seidlitz himself has got wounded, and has had to be carried away.
And, in brief, from this point onwards all goes aback with the Prussians more and more. Repeated attempts on that Spitzberg battery prove vain; to advance without it is impossible. Friedrich's exertions are passionate, almost desperate; rallying, animating, new-ordering; everywhere in the hottest of the fire. "Thrice he personally led on the main attack." He has had two horses shot down under him; mounting a third, this too gets a bullet in an artery of the neck, and is about falling, when two Adjutants save the King. In his waistcoat-pocket some small gold case (ETUI) has got smitten flat by a bullet, which would otherwise have ended matters. The people about him remonstrate on such exposure of a life beyond value; he answers curtly, "We must all of us try every method here, to win the Battle: I, like every other, must stand to my duty here!" These, and a second brief word or two farther on, are all of articulate that we hear from him this day.
Friedrich's wearied battalions here on the Heights, while the Spitzberg to left goes so ill, fight desperately; but cannot prevail farther; and in spite of Friedrich's vehement rallyings and urgings, gradually lose ground,—back at last to Kunersdorf and the Kuhgrund again. The Loudon grenadiers, and exclaimed masses of fresh Russians, are not to be broken, but advance and advance. Fancy the panting death-labors, and spasmodic toilings and bafflings, of those poor Prussians and their King! Nothing now succeeding; the death-agony now come; all hearts growing hopeless; only one heart still seeing hope. The Spitzberg is impossible; tried how often I know not. Finck, from the Alder Waste, with his Infantry, attacks, and again attacks; without success: "Let the Cavalry go round, then, and try there. Seidlitz we have not; you Eugen of Wurtemberg lead them!" Eugen leads them (cuirassiers, or we will forget what); round by the eastern end of the Muhlberg; then westward, along the Alder Waste; finally southward, against the Russian flank, himself foremost, and at the gallop for charging:—Eugen, "looking round, finds his men all gone," and has to gallop the other way, gets wounded to boot. Puttkammer, with Hussars, then tried it; Puttkammer was shot dead, and his Hussars too could do nothing.
Back, slowly back, go the Prussians generally, nothing now succeeds with them. Back to the Kuhgrund again; fairly over the steep brow there; the Russians serrying their ranks atop, rearranging their many guns. There, once more, rose frightful struggle; desperate attempt by the fordone Prussians to retake that Height. "Lasted fifteen minutes, line to line not fifty yards asunder;" such musketry,—our last cartridges withal. Ardent Prussian parties trying to storm up; few ever getting to the top, none ever standing there alive one minute. This was the death-agony of the Battle. Loudon, waiting behind the Spitzberg, dashes forward now, towards the Kuhgrund and our Left Flank. At sight of which a universal feeling shivers through the Prussian heart, "Hope ended, then!"—and their solid ranks rustle everywhere; and melt into one wild deluge, ebbing from the place as fast as it can.
It is towards six o'clock; the sweltering Sun is now fallen low and veiled; gray evening sinking over those wastes. "N'Y A-T-IL DONC PAS UN BOUGRE DE BOULET QUI PUISSE M'ATTEINDREE (Is there no one b—— of a ball that can reach me, then)?" exclaimed Friedrich in despair. Such a day he had never thought to see. The pillar of the State, the Prussian Army itself, gone to chaos in this manner. Friedrich still passionately struggles, exhorts, commands, entreats even with tears, "Children, don't forsake me, in this pinch (KINDER, VERLASSET HEUTE MICH, EUREN KONIG, EUREN VATER, NICHT)!" [Kriele, p. 169.]—but all ears are deaf. On the Muhlberg one regiment still stood by their guns, covering the retreat. But the retreat is more and more a flight; "no Prussian Army was ever seen in such a state." At the Bridges of that Hen-Floss, there was such a crowding, all our guns got jammed; and had to be left, 165 of them of various calibre, and the whole of the Russian 180 that were once in our hands. Had the chase been vigorous, this Prussian Army had been heard of no more. But beyond the Muhlberg, there was little or no pursuit; through the wood the Army, all in chaos, but without molestation otherwise, made for its Oder Bridges by the way it had come. [Tempelhof, iii. 179-200; Retzow, ii. 80-115: in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 589-598, Bericht von der am 12 August, 1759 bey Kunersdorf vorgefallenen Schlacht (Official); and IB. 598-603, Beschreibung der &c. (by a Private Hand): lucidly accurate both.]
Friedrich was among the last to quit the ground. He seemed stupefied by the excess of his emotions; in no haste to go; uncertain whether he would go at all. His adjutants were about him, and a small party of Ziethen Hussars under Captain Prittwitz. Wild swarms of Cossacks approached the place. "PRITTWITZ, ICH BIN VERLOREN (Prittwitz, I am lost)!" remarked he. "NEIN, IHRO MAJESTAT!" answered Prittwitz with enthusiasm; charged fiercely, he and his few, into the swarms of Cossacks; cut them about, held them at bay, or sent them else-whither, while the Adjutants seized Friedrich's bridle, and galloped off with him. At OEtscher and the Bridges, Friedrich found of his late Army not quite 3,000 men. Even Wunsch is not there till next morning. Wunsch with his Party had, early in the afternoon, laid hold of Frankfurt, as ordered; made the garrison prisoners, blocked the Oder Bridge; poor Frankfurt tremulously thanking Heaven for him, and for such an omen. In spite of their Wagenburg and these Pontoon-Bridges, it appears, there would have been no retreat for the Russians except into Wunsch's cannon: Wagenburg way, latish in the afternoon, there was such a scramble of runaways and retreating baggage, all was jammed into impassability; scarcely could a single man get through. In case of defeat, the Russian Army would have had no chance but surrender or extermination. [Tempelhof, iii. 194: in Retzow (ii. 110) is some dubious traditionary stuff on the matter.] At dark, however, Wunsch had summons, so truculent in style, he knew what it meant; and answering in words peremptorily, "No" with a like emphasis, privately got ready again, and at midnight disappeared. Got to Reitwein without accident.
Friedrich found at OEtscher nothing but huts full of poor wounded men, and their miseries and surgeries;—he took shelter, himself, in a hut "which had been plundered by Cossacks" (in the past days), but which had fewer wounded than others, and could be furnished with some bundles of dry straw. Kriele has a pretty Anecdote, with names and particulars, of two poor Lieutenants, who were lying on the floor, as he entered this hut. They had lain there for many hours; the Surgeons thinking them desperate; which Friedrich did not. "ACH KINDER, Alas, children, you are badly wounded, then?" "JA, your Majesty: but how goes the Battle?" (Answer, evasive on this point): "Are you bandaged, though? Have you been let blood?" "NEIN, EUER MAJESTAT, KEIN TEUFEL WILL UNS VERBINDEN (Not a devil of them would bandage us)!" Upon which there is a Surgeon instantly brought; reprimanded for neglect: "Desperate, say you? These are young fellows; feel that hand, and that; no fever there: Nature in such cases does wonders!" Upon which the leech had to perform his function; and the poor young fellows were saved,—and did new fighting, and got new wounds, and had Pensions when the War ended. [Kriele, pp. 169, 170; and in all the Anecdote-Books.] This appears to have been Friedrich's first work in that hut at OEtscher. Here next is a Third Autograph to Finkenstein, written in that hut, probably the first of several Official things there:—
THE KING TO GRAF VAN FINKENSTEIN (at Berlin): Third Note.
OETSCHER, "12th August," 1759.
"I attacked the Enemy this morning about eleven; we beat him back to the JUDENKIRCHHOF (Jew Churchyard,"—a mistake, but now of no moment), "near Frankfurt. All my troops came into action, and have done wonders. I reassembled them three times; at length, I was myself nearly taken prisoner; and we had to quit the Field. My coat is riddled with bullets, two horses were killed under me;—my misfortune is, that I am still alive. Our loss is very considerable. Of an Army of 48,000 men, I have, at this moment while I write, not more than 3,000 together; and am no longer master of my forces. In Berlin you will do well to think of your safety. It is a great calamity; and I will not survive it: the consequences of this Battle will be worse than the Battle itself. I have no resources more; and, to confess the truth, I hold all for lost. I will not survive the destruction of my Country. Farewell forever (ADIEU POUR JAMAIS).—F." [In orig. "CE 12," no other date (OEuvres de Frederic, xxv. 306).]
Another thing, of the same tragic character, is that of handing over this Army to Finck's charge. Order there is to Finck of that tenor: and along with it the following notable Autograph,—a Friedrich taking leave both of Kingship and of life. The Autograph exists; but has no date,—date of the Order would probably be still OETSCHER, 12th AUGUST; date of the Autograph, REITWEIN (across the River), next day.
FRIEDRICH TO LIEUT.-GENERAL FINCK (at OEtscher or Reitwein).
"General Finck gets a difficult commission; the unlucky Army which I give up to him is no longer in condition to make head against the Russians. Haddick will now start for Berlin, perhaps Loudon too; if General Finck go after these, the Russians will fall on his rear; if he continue on the Oder, he gets Haddick on his flank (SO KRIGT ER DEN HADEK DISS SEIT):—however, I believe, should Loudon go for Berlin, he might attack Loudon, and try to beat him: this, if it succeeded, would be a stand against misfortune, and hold matters up. Time gained is much, in these desperate circumstances. The news from Torgau and Dresden, Coper my Secretary (COPER MEIN SEGRETER," kind of lieutenant to Eichel [See Preuss, i. 349, iii. 442.]) "will send him. You (ER) must inform my Brother [Prince Henri] of everything; whom I have declared Generalissimo of the Army. To repair this bad luck altogether is not possible: but what my Brother shall command, must be done:—the Army swears to my Nephew [King henceforth].
"This is all the advice, in these unhappy circumstances, I am in a condition to give. Had I still had resources, I would have stayed by them (SO WEHRE ICH DARBEI GEBLIEBEN).
"FRIEDRICH" [Exact Copy, two exact copies, in PREUSS (i. 450, and again, ii. 215).]
All this done, the wearied Friedrich flung himself into his truss of dry straw; and was seen sound asleep there, a single sentry at the door, by some high Generals that ventured to look in. On the morrow he crossed to Reitwein; by to-morrow night, there had 23,000 of his fugitives come in to him;—but this is now to be Finck's affair, not his! That day, too (for the Paper seems to be misdated), he signed, and despatched to Schmettau, Commandant in Dresden, a Missive, which proved more fatal than either of the others; and brought, or helped to bring, very bitter fruits for him, before long:—
TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL VON SCHMETTAU (at Dresden).
"REITWEIN, 14th [probably 13th] August, 1759.
"You will perhaps have heard of the Check [L'ECHEC, Kunersdorf to wit!] I have met with from the Russian Army on the 13th [12th, if you have the Almanac at hand] of this month. Though at bottom our affairs in regard to the Enemy here are not desperate, I find I shall not now be able to make any detachment for your assistance. Should the Austrians attempt anything against Dresden, therefore, you will see if there are means of maintaining yourself; failing which, it will behoove you to try and obtain a favorable Capitulation,—to wit, Liberty to withdraw, with the whole Garrison, Moneys, Magazines, Hospital and all that we have at Dresden, either to Berlin or else-whither, so as to join some Corps of my Troops.
"As a fit of illness [MALADIE, alas!] has come on me,—which I do not think will have dangerous results,—I have for the present left the command of my Troops to Lieutenant-General von Finck; whose Orders you are to execute as if coming to you directly from myself. On this I pray God to have you in his holy and worthy keeping.—F." [Preuss, ii. Urkundenbuch, p. 43.]
At Berlin, on this 13th,—with the Five Couriers coming in successively (and not in the order of their despatch, but the fatal Fifth arriving some time AHEAD of the Fourth, who still spoke of progress and victory),—there was such a day as Sulzer (ACH MEIN LIEBER SULZER!) had never seen in the world. "'Above 50,000 human beings on the Palace Esplanade and streets about;' swaying hither and thither, in agony of expectation, in alternate paroxysm of joy and of terror and woe; often enough the opposite paroxysms simultaneous in the different groups, and men crushed down in despair met by men leaping into the air for very gladness:" Sulzer (whose sympathy is of very aesthetic type) "would not, for any consideration, have missed such a scene." [Briefe der Schweitzer Bodmer, Sulzer, Gessner; aus Gleim's literarischen Nachlasse: herausgegeben von Wilhelm Korte (Zurich, 1804), pp. 316-319.] The "scene" is much obliged to you, MEIN LIEBER!—
Practically we find, in Rodenbeck, or straggling elsewhere, this Note: "On the day after Kunersdorf, Queen and Court fly to Magdeburg: this is their second flight. Their first was on Haddick's Visit, October, 1757; but after Rossbach they soon returned, and Berlin and the Court were then extremely gay: different gentlemen, French and others of every Nation, fallen prisoners, made the Queen's soirees the finest in the world for splendor and variety, at that time." [Rodenbeck, i. 390; &c. &c.]
One other Note we save, for the sake of poor Major Kleist, "Poet of the Spring," as he was then called. A valiant, punctual Soldier, and with a turn for Literature as well; who wrote really pleasant fine things, new at that time and rapturously welcome, though too much in the sentimental vein for the times which have followed. Major Kleist,—there is a General Kleist, a Colonel Kleist of the Green Hussars (called GRUNE Kleist, a terrible cutting fellow):—this is not Grune Kleist; this is the Poet of THE SPRING; whose fate at Kunersdorf made a tragic impression in all intelligent circles of Teutschland. Here is Kriele's Note (abridged):—
"Christian Ewald von Kleist, 'Poet of the Spring' [a Pommern gentleman, now in his forty-fourth year], was of Finck's Division; had come on, after those Eight Battalions took the first Russian battery [that is, Muhlberg]; and had been assisting, with zeal, at the taking of three other batteries, regardless of twelve contusions, which he gradually got. At the third battery, he was farther badly hurt on the left arm and the right. Took his Colonel's place nevertheless, whom he now saw fall; led the regiment MUTHIG forward on the fourth battery. A case-shot smashed his right leg to pieces; he fell from his horse [hour not given, shall we say 3 P.M.]; sank, exclaiming: 'KINDER, My children, don't forsake your King!' and fainted there. Was carried to rear and leftward; laid down on some dry spot in the Elsbruch, not far from the Kuhgrund, and a Surgeon brought. The Surgeon, while examining, was torn away by case-shot: Kleist lay bleeding without help. A friend of his, Pfau [who told Kriele], one of Finck's Generals, came riding that way: Kleist called to him; asked how the Battle went; uncommonly glad to hear we are still progressive. Pfau undertook, and tried his utmost, for a carriage to Kleist; did send one of Finck's own carriages; but after such delays that the Prussians were now yielding: poor Kleist's had become Russian ground, and the carriage could not get in.
"Kleist lay helpless; no luck worse than his. In the evening, Cossacks came round him; stript him stark-naked; threw him, face foremost, into the nearest swampy place, and went their way. One of these devils had something so absurd and Teniers-like in the face of him, that Kleist, in his pains, could not help laughing at remembrance of it. In the night some Russian Hussars, human and not Cossack, found Kleist in this situation; took him to a dry place; put a cloak over him, kindled a watch-fire for themselves, and gave him water and bread. Towards morning they hastened away, throwing an 8-GROSCHEN STUCK [ninepenny piece, shilling, say half-crown] on his cloak,—with human farewell. But Cossacks again came; again stript him naked and bare. Towards noon of the 13th, Kleist contrived to attract some Russian Cavalry troop passing that way, and got speech of the Captain (one Fackelberg, a German); who at once set about helping him;—and had him actually sent into Frankfurt, in a carriage, that evening. To the House of a Professor Nikolai; where was plenty of surgery and watchful affection. After near thirty hours of such a lair, his wounds seemed still curable; there was hope for ten days. In the tenth night (22d-23d August), the shivered pieces of bone disunited themselves; cut an artery,—which, after many trials, could not be tied. August 24th, at two in the morning, he died.—Great sorrow. August 26th, there was soldier's funeral; poor Kleist's coffin borne by twelve Russian grenadiers; very many Russian Officers attending, who had come from the Camp for that end; one Russian Staff-Officer of them unbuckling his own sword to lay on the bier, as there was want of one. King Friedrich had Kleist's Portrait hung in the Garnison Kirche. Freemason Lodge, in 1788, set up a monument to him," [Kriele, pp. 39-43.]—which still stands on the Frankfurt pavement, and is now in sadly ruinous state.
The Prussian loss, in this Battle, was, besides all the cannon and field-equipages: 6,000 killed, 13,000 wounded (of which latter, 2,000 badly, who fell to the Russians as prisoners); in all, about 19,000 men. Nor was the Russian loss much lighter; of Russians and Austrians together, near 18,000, as Tempelhof counts: "which will not surprise your Majesty," reports Soltikof to his Czarina; "who are aware that the King of Prussia sells his defeats at a dear rate." And privately Soltikof was heard to say, "Let me fight but another such Victory, and I may go to Petersburg with the news of it myself, with the staff in my hand." The joy at Petersburg, striving not to be braggart or immodest, was solemn, steady and superlative: a great feat indeed for Russia, this Victory over such a King,—though a kind of grudge, that it was due to Loudon, dwelt, in spite of Loudon's politic silence on that point, unpleasantly in the background. The chase they had shamefully neglected. It is said, certain Russian Officers, who had charge of that business stept into a peasant's cottage to consult on it; contrived somehow to find tolerable liquor there; and sat drinking instead. [Preuss, ii. 217.]
Friedrich's despair did not last quite four days. On the fourth day,—day after leaving Reitwein,—there is this little Document, which still exists, of more comfortable tenor: "My dear Major-General von Wunsch,—Your Letter of the 16th to Lieutenant-General von Finck punctually arrived here: and for the future, as I am now recovered from my illness, you have to address your Reports directly to Myself.—F." ["Madlitz," on the road to Furstenwalde, "17th August:" in Preuss, Friedrich der Grosse; eine historische Portrait-Skizze (kind of LECTURE, so let us call it, if again citing it; Lecture delivered, on Friedrich's Birthday, to Majesty and Staff-Officers as Audience, Berlin, 24th January, 1855), p. 18.] Finding that, except Tottleben warily reconnoitring with a few Cossacks, no Russians showed themselves at Reitwein; that the Russians were encamping and intrenching on the Wine-Hills south of Frankfurt, not meaning anything immediate,—he took heart again; ranked his 23,000; sent for General Kleist from Pommern with his Anti-Swedish handful (leave the Swedes alone, as usual in time of crisis); considered that artilleries and furnishings could come to him from Berlin, which is but 60 miles; that there still lay possibility ahead, and that, though only a miracle could save him, he would try it to the very last.
A great relief, this of coming to oneself again! "Till death, then;—rage on, ye elements and black savageries!" Friedrich's humor is not despondent, now or afterwards; though at this time it is very sad, very angry, and, as it were, scorning even to hope: but he is at all times of beautifully practical turn; and has, in his very despair, a sobriety of eyesight, and a fixed steadiness of holding to his purpose, which are of rare quality. His utterances to D'Argens, about this time and onward,—brief hints, spontaneous, almost unconscious,—give curious testimony of his glooms and moody humors. Of which the reader shall see something. For the present, he is in deep indignation with his poor Troops, among other miseries. "Actual running away!" he will have it to be; and takes no account of thirst, hunger, heat, utter weariness and physical impossibility! This lasts for some weeks. But in general there is nothing of this injustice to those about him. In general, nothing even of gloom is manifested; on the contrary, cheerfulness, brisk hope, a strangely continual succession of hopes (mostly illusory);—though, within, there is traceable very great sorrow, weariness and misery. A fixed darkness, as of Erebus, is grown habitual to him; but is strictly shut up, little of it shown to others, or even, in a sense, to himself. He is as a traveller overtaken by the Night and its tempests and rain-deluges, but refusing to pause; who is wetted to the bone, and does not care farther for rain. A traveller grown familiar with the howling solitudes; aware that the Storm-winds do not pity, that Darkness is the dead Earth's Shadow:—a most lone soul of a man; but continually toiling forward, as if the brightest goal and haven were near and in view.
Once more the world was certain of Friedrich's ruin;—Friedrich himself we have seen certain of it, for some few desperate hours:—but the world and he, as had been repeatedly the world's case, were both disappointed. Intrinsically there could be little doubt but Friedrich's enemies might now have ruined him, had they been diligent about it. Now again, and now more than ever, they have the winning-post in sight. At small distance is the goal and purpose of all these four years' battlings and marchings, and ten years' subterranean plottings and intriguings. He himself says deliberately, "They had only to give him the finishing stroke (COUP-DE-GRACE)." [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 20.] But they never gave him that stroke; could not do it, though heartily desirous. Which was, and is, matter of surprise to an observant public.
The cause of failure may be considered to have been, in good part, Daun and his cunctations. Daun's zeal was unquestionable; ardent and continual is Daun's desire to succeed: but to try it at his own risk was beyond his power. He expected always to succeed by help of others: and to show them an example, and go vigorously to work himself, was what he never could resolve on. Could play only Fabius Cunctator, it would seem; and never was that part less wanted than now! Under such a Chief Figure, the "incoherency of action," instead of diminishing, as Friedrich had feared, rose daily towards its maximum; and latterly became extreme. The old Lernean Hydra had many heads; but they belonged all to one body. The many heads of this Anti-Friedrich Hydra had withal each its own body, and separate set of notions and advantages. Friedrich was at least a unity; his whole strength going one way, and at all moments, under his own sole command. The value of this circumstance is incalculable; this is the saving-clause of Pitt and his England (Pitt also a despotic sovereign, though a temporary one); this, second only to Friedrich's great gifts from Nature, and the noble use he makes of them, is above all others the circumstance that saved him in such a duel with the Hydras.
On the back of Kunersdorf, accordingly, there was not only no finishing stroke upon Friedrich, but for two months no stroke or serious attempt whatever in those neighborhoods where Friedrich is. There are four Armies hereabouts: The Grand Russian, hanging by Frankfurt; Friedrich at Furstenwalde (whitherward he marched from Reitwein August 16th), at Furstenwalde or farther south, guarding Berlin;—then, unhurt yet by battle of any kind, there are the Grand Daunish or Mark-Lissa Army, and Prince Henri's of Schmottseifen. Of which latter Two the hitchings and manoeuvrings from time to time become vivid, and never altogether cease; but in no case come to anything. Above two months' scientific flourishing of weapons, strategic counter-dancing; but no stroke struck, or result achieved, except on Daun's part irreparable waste of time:—all readers would feel it inhuman to be burdened with any notice of such things. One march of Prince Henri's, which was of a famous and decisive character, we will attend to, when it comes, that is, were the end of September at hand; the rest must be imagined as a general strategic dance in those frontier parts,—Silesia to rearward on one side, the Lausitz and Frankfurt on the other,—and must go on, silently for most part, in the background of the reader's fancy. Indeed, Saxony is the scene of action; Friedrich, Henri, Soltikof, Daun, comparatively inactive for the next six weeks and more.
Some days before Kunersdorf, Daun personally, with I will forget how many thousands, had made a move to northward from Mark-Lissa, 60 miles or so, through Sagan Country; and lies about Priebus, waiting there ever since. Priebus is some 40 miles north of Gorlitz, about 60 west of Glogau, south of Frankfurt 80. This is where the Master-Smith, having various irons in the fire, may be handiest for clutching them out, and forging at them, as they become successively hot. Daun, as Master-Smith, has at least three objects in view. The FIRST is, as always, Reconquest of Silesia: this is obstructed by Prince Henri, who sits, watchful on the threshold, at Schmottseifen yonder. The SECOND is, as last year, Capture of Dresden: which is much the more feasible at present,—there being, except the Garrisons, no Prussian force whatever in Saxony; and a Reichs Army now actually there at last, after its long haggling about its Magazines; and above all, a Friedrich with his hands full elsewhere. To keep Friedrich's hands full,—in other words, to keep the Russians sticking to him,—that is the THIRD object: or indeed we may call it the first, second and third; for Daun is well aware that unless Soltikof can manage to keep Friedrich busy, Silesia, Saxony and all else becomes impossible.
Ever since the fortunate junction of Loudon with Soltikof, Daun has sat, and still sits, expectant; elaborately calculative, gathering Magazines in different parts, planting out-parties, this way, that way, with an eye to these three objects, all or each,—especially to the third object, which he discerns to be all AND each. Daun was elaborately calculative with these views: but to try any military action, upon Prince Henri for example, or bestir himself otherwise than in driving provender forward, and marching detachments hither and thither to the potentially fit and fittest posts, was not in Daun's way,—so much the worse for Daun, in his present course of enterprise.
Prince Henri had lain quiet at Schmottseifen, waiting his Brother's adventure; did not hear the least tidings of him till six days after Kunersdorf, and then only by rumor; hideous, and, though still dubious, too much of it probable! On the very day of Kunersdorf, Henri had begun effecting some improvements on his right flank,—always a sharply strategic, most expert creature,—and made a great many motions, which would be unintelligible here. [Detailed, every fibre of them (as is the soul-confusing custom there), in Tempelhof, iii. 228 et seq.] Henri feels now that upon him lies a world of duties; and foremost of all, the instant duty of endeavoring to open communication with his Brother. Many marches, in consequence; much intricate marching and manoeuvring between Daun and him: of which, when we come to Henri's great March (of 25th September), there may be again some hint.
For the present, let readers take their Map, and endeavor to fix the following dates and localities in their mind. Here, in summary, are the King's various Marches, and Two successive Encampments, two only, during those Six Weeks of forced inaction, while he is obliged to stand watching the Russians, and to witness so many complicacies and disasters in the distance; which he struggles much and fruitlessly to hinder or help:—
ENCAMPMENT 1st (Furstenwalde, August 18th-30th). Friedrich left Reitwein AUGUST 16th; 17th, he is at Madlitz [Note to Wunsch written there, which we read]; 18th, to Furstenwalde, and encamp. Furstenwalde is on the Spree, straight between Frankfurt and Berlin; 25 miles from the former, 35 from the latter. Here for near a fortnight. At first, much in alarm about the Russians and Berlin; but gradually ascertaining that the Russians intend nothing.
"In effect, all this while Soltikof lay at Lossow, 10 miles south of Frankfurt, with his right on Oder; totally motionless, inactive, except listening, often rather gloomily, to Daun's and Montalembert's suasive eloquences and advices,—and once, August 22d, in the little Town of Guben, holding Conference with Daun [of which by and by]. In consequence of which, AUGUST 28th, Soltikof and his Russians and Austrians got under way again; southward, but only a few marches: first to Mullrose, then to Lieberose:—whom, the instant he heard of their movements, Friedrich, August 30th, hastened to follow; but had not to follow very far. Whereupon ensues,
"ENCAMPMENT SECOND (Waldau, till September 15th). AUGUST 30th, Friedrich, we say, rose from Furstenwalde; hastened to follow this Russian movement, and keep within wind of it: up the valley of the Spree; first to Mullrose neighborhood [where the Russians, loitering some time, spoiled the canal-locks of the Friedrich-Wilhelm Canal, if nothing more],—thence to Lieberose neighborhood; Waldau, the King's new place of encampment,—Waldau, with Spree Forest to rear of it: silent both parties till September 15th, when Soltikof did fairly march, not towards Berlin, but quite in the opposite direction."
By the middle of September, when the Russians did get on foot, and moved eastward; especially on and after September 25th, when Henri made his famous March westward; then it will behoove us to return to Friedrich and these localities. For the present we must turn to Saxony, where, and not here, the scene of action is. Take, farther, only the following bits of Note, which will now be readable. First, these Utterances to D'Argens; direct glimpses into the heavy-laden, indeed hag-ridden and nearly desperate inner man of Friedrich, during the first three weeks after his defeat at Kunersdorf:—
THE KING TO MARQUIS D'ARGENS (at Berlin): Six Notes.
1. "MADLITZ [road from Reitwein to Furstenwalde], 16th AUGUST, 1759. We have been unfortunate, my dear Marquis; but not, by my fault. The victory was ours, and would even have been a complete one, when our infantry lost patience, and at the wrong moment abandoned the field of battle. The enemy to-day is on march to Mullrose, to unite with Haddick [not to Mullrose for ten days yet; Haddick had already got united with THEM]. The Russian infantry is almost totally destroyed. Of my own wrecks, all that I have been able to assemble amounts to 32,000 men; with these I am pushing on to throw myself across the enemy's road, and either perish or save the Capital. That is not what you [you Berliners] will call a deficiency of resolution.
"For the event I cannot answer. If I had more lives than one, I would sacrifice them all to my Country. But if this stroke fail, I think I am clear-scores with her, and that it will be permissible to look a little to myself. There are limits to everything. I support my misfortune; courage not abated by it: but I am well resolved, after this stroke, if it fail, to open an outgate for myself [that small glass tube which never quits me], and no longer be the sport of any chance."
2. Furstenwalde, 20th AUGUST.... "Remain at Berlin, or retire to Potsdam; in a little while there will come some catastrophe: it is not fit that you suffer by it. If things take a good turn, you can be back to Berlin [from Potsdam] in four hours. If ill-luck still pursue us, go to Hanover or to Zelle, where you can provide for your safety.
"I protest to you, that in this late Action I did what was humanly possible to conquer; but my people"—Oh, your Majesty!
3. FURSTENWALDE, 21st AUGUST.... "The enemy is intrenching himself near Frankfurt; a sign he intends no attempt. If you will do me the pleasure to come out hither, you can in all safety. Bring your bed with you; bring my Cook Noel; and I will have you a little chamber ready. You will be my consolation and my hope."—
This day,—let readers mark the circumstance,—Friedrich, in better spirits, detaches Wunsch with some poor 6,000, to try if he can be of help in Saxony; where the Reichs Army, now arrived in force, and with nothing whatever in the field against them, is taking all the Northward Garrison-Towns, and otherwise proceeding at a high rate. Too possibly with an eye towards Dresden itself! Wunsch sets out August 21st. [Tempelhof, iii. 211.] And we shall hear of him in those Saxon Countries before long.
4. FURSTENWALDE, 22d AUGUST. "Yesterday I wrote to you to come; but to-day I forbid it. Daun is at Kotbus; he is marching on Luben and Berlin [nothing like so rash!].—Fly these unhappy Countries!—This news obliges me again to attack the Russians between here and Frankfurt. You may imagine if this is a desperate resolution. It is the sole hope that remains to me, of not being cut off from Berlin on the one side or the other. I will give the discouraged troops some brandy"—alas!—"but I promise myself nothing of success. My one consolation is, that I shall die sword in hand."
5. SAME PLACE AND DAY (after a Letter FROM D'Argens). "You make the panegyric, MON CHER, of an Army that does not deserve any. The soldiers had good limbs to run with, none to attack the enemy. [Alas, your Majesty; after fifteen hours of such marching and fighting!]
"For certain I will fight; but don't flatter yourself about the event. A happy chance alone can help us. Go, in God's name, to Tangermunde [since the Royal Family went, D'Argens and many Berliners are thinking of flight], to Tangermunde, where you will be well; and wait there how Destiny shall have disposed of us. I will go to reconnoitre the enemy to-morrow. Next day, if there is anything to do, we will try it. But if the enemy still holds to the Wine-Hills of Frankfurt, I shall never dare to attack him.
"No, the torment of Tantalus, the pains of Prometheus, the doom of Sisyphus, were nothing like what I suffer for the last ten days [from Kunersdorf till now, when destruction has to be warded off again, and the force wanting]. Death is sweet in comparison to such a life. Have compassion on me and it; and believe that I still keep to myself a great many evil things, not wishing to afflict or disquiet anybody with them; and that I would not counsel you to fly these unlucky Countries, if I had any ray of hope. Adieu, MON CHER."
Four days after, AUGUST 25th, from this same Furstenwalde, the Russians still continuing stagnant, Friedrich despatches to Schmettau, Commandant of Dresden (by some industrious hand, for the roads are all blocked), a Second Letter, "That Dresden is of the highest moment; that in case of Siege there, relief [Wunsch, namely, and perhaps more that may follow] is on the road; and that Schmettau must defend himself to the utmost." Let us hope this Second Missive may counteract the too despondent First, which we read above, should that have produced discouragement in Schmettau! [Second Letter is given in Schmettau's Leben, pp. 436, 437.]—D'Argens does run to Wolfenbuttel; stays there till September 9th. Nothing more from Friedrich till 4th September, when matters are well cooled again.
6. WALDAU, 4th SEPTEMBER. "I think Berlin is now in safety; you may return thither. The Barbarians [Russians] are in the Lausitz; I keep by the side of them, between them and Berlin, so that there is nothing to fear for the Capital. The imminency of danger is past; but there will still be many bad moments to get through, before reaching the end of the Campaign. These, however, only regard myself; never mind these. My martyrdom will last two months yet; then the snows and the ices will end it." [OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 78, 82, 83, 85, 86.]
Thus at Furstenwalde, then at Waldau, keeping guard, forlorn but resolute, against the intrusive Russian-Austrian deluges, Friedrich stands painfully vigilant and expectant,—still for about a fortnight more. With bad news coming to him latterly, as we shall hear. He is in those old moorland Wusterhausen Countries, once so well known under far other circumstances. Thirty years ago, in fine afternoons, we used to gallop with poor Duhan de Jandun, after school-tasks done, towards Mittenwalde, Furstenwalde and the furzy environs, far and wide; at home, our Sister and Mother waiting with many troubles and many loves, and Papa sleeping, Pan-like, under the shadow of his big tree:—Thirty years ago, ah me, gone like a dream is all that; and there is solitude and desolation and the Russian-Austrian death-deluges instead! These, I suppose, were Friedrich's occasional remembrances; silent always, in this locality and time. The Sorrows of WERTER, of the GIAOUR, of the Dyspeptic Tailor in multifarious forms, are recorded in a copious heart-rending manner, and have had their meed of weeping from a sympathetic Public: but there are still a good few Sorrows which lie wrapt in silence, and have never applied there for an idle tear!—Let us look now into Daun's side of things.
DAUM, AFTER NEGOTIATION, HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH SOLTIKOF (at Guben, August 22d).—"Daun, who had moved to Priebus, with a view to be nearer Soltikof, had scarcely got his tent pitched there (August 13th), when a breathless horseman rode in, with a Note from Loudon, dated the night before: 'King of Prussia beaten, to the very bone, beyond mistake this time,—utterly ruined, if one may judge!' What a vision of the Promised Land! Delighted Daun moves forward, one march, to Triebel on the morrow; to be one march nearer the scene of glory, and endeavor to forge this biggest of the hot irons to advantage.
"At Triebel Soltikof's own account, elucidated by oral messengers, eye-witnesses, and, in short, complete conspectus of this ever memorable Victory, await the delighted Daun. Who despatches messengers, one and another; Lacy, the first, not succeeding quite: To congratulate with enthusiasm the most illustrious of Generals; who has beaten King Friedrich as none else ever did or could; beaten to the edge of extinction;—especially to urge him upon trampling out this nearly extinct King, before he gleam up again. Soltikof understands the congratulations very well; but as to that of trampling out, snorts an indignant negative: 'Nay, you, why don't you try it? Surely it is more your business than my Imperial Mistress's or mine. We have wrenched two victories from him this season. Kay and Kunersdorf have killed near the half of us: go you in, and wrench something!' This is Soltikof's logic; which no messenger of Daun's, Lacy or another, aided by never such melodies and suasions from Montalembert and Loudon, who are permanently diligent that way, can shake.
"And truly it is irrefragable. How can Daun, if himself merely speculative, calculative, hope that Soltikof will continue acting? Men who have come to help you in a heavy job of work need example. If you wish me to weep, be grieved yourself first of all. Soltikof angrily wipes his countenance at this point, and insists on a few tears from Daun. Without metaphor, Soltikof has shot away all his present ammunition, his staff of bread is quite precarious in these parts; and Soltikof thinks always, 'Is it my business, then, or is it yours?'
"Soltikof has intrenched himself on the Wine-Hills at Lossow, comfortably out of Friedrich's way, and contiguous to Oder and the provision-routes; sits there, angrily deaf to the voice of the charmer; nothing to be charmed out of him, but gusts of indignation, instead of consent. A proud, high-going, indignant kind of man, with a will of his own. And sees well enough what is what, in all this symphony of the Lacys, the Montalemberts and surrounding adorers. Montalembert, who is here this season, our French best man (unprofitable Swedes must put up with an inferior hand), is extremely persuasive, tries all the arts of French rhetoric, but effects nothing. 'To let the Austrians come in for the finishing stroke,—-Excellence, it will be to let them gain, in History, a glory which is of your earning. Daun and Austria, not Soltikof and Russia, will be said to have extinguished this pestilent King; whom History will have to remember!' [Choiseul's Letter (not DUC de Choiseul, but COMTE, now Minister at Vienna) to Montalembert, "Vienna, 16th August;" and Montalembert's Answer, "Lieberhausen [means LIEBEROSE], 31st August, 1759:" in Montalembert, Correspondance, ii. 58-65.] 'With all my heart,' answers Soltikof; 'I make the Austrians and History perfectly welcome! Monsieur, my ammunition is in Posen; my bread is fallen scarce; in Frankfurt can you find me one horse more?' Indignant Soltikof is not to be taken by chaff; growls now and then, if you stir him to the bottom: 'Why should we, who are volunteer assistants, take all the burden of the work? I will fall back to Posen, and home to Poland and East Preussen, if this last much longer.'
"Austria has a good deal disgusted these Soltikofs and Russian Chief Officers;—who are not so stupid as Austria supposes. Austria's steady wish is, 'Let them do their function of cat's-paw for us; we are here to eat the chestnuts; not, if we can help it, to burn our own poor fingers for them!' After every Campaign hitherto, Austria has been in use to raise eager accusations at Petersburg; and get the Apraxins, Fermors into trouble: this is not the way to conciliate Russian General Officers. Austria, taught probably by Daun, now tries the other tack: heaps Soltikof with eulogies, flatteries, magnificent presents. All which Soltikof accepts, but with a full sense of what they mean. An unmanageable Soltikof; his answer always,—'Your turn now to fight a victory! I will go my ways to Posen again, if you don't.' And, in these current weeks, in Soltikof's audience-room, if anybody were curious about it, we could present a very lively solicitation going on, with answers very gruff and negatory. No suasion of Montalembert, Lacy, and Daun Embassies, backed by diamond-hilted swords, and splendor of gifts from Vienna itself, able to prevail on the barbarous people.
"Daun at length resolves to go in person; solicits an Interview with the distinguished Russian Conqueror; gets it, meets Soltikof at Guben, half-way house between Frankfurt and Triebel; select suite attending both Excellencies (August 22d); and exerts whatever rhetoric is in him on the barbarous man. The barbarous man is stiff as brass; but Daun comes into all his conditions: 'Saxony, Silesia,—Excellenz, we have them both within clutch; such our exquisite angling and manoeuvring, in concert with your immortal victory, which truly gives the life-breath to everything. Oh, suffer us to clutch them: keep that King away from us; and see if they are not ours, Saxony first, Silesia next! Provisions of meal? I will myself undertake to furnish bread for you [though I have to cart it from Bohemia all the way, and am myself terribly off; but fixed to do the impossible]; ration of bread shall fail no Russian man, while you escort us as protective friend. Towards Saxony first, where the Reichs Army is, and not a Prussian in the field; the very Garrisons mostly gone by this time. Dresden is to be besieged, within a week; Dresden itself is ours, if only YOU please! Come into the Lausitz with us, Magazines are there, loaves in abundance: Saxony done, Dresden ours, cannot we turn to Silesia together; besiege Glogau together (I am myself about trying Neisse, by Harsch again); capture Glogau as well as Neisse; and crown the successfulest campaign that ever was? Oh, Excellenz—!'"
In a word, Excellenz, strictly fixing that condition of the loaves, consents. Will get ready to leave those Frankfurt Wine-Hills in about a week. "But the loaves, you recollect: no Bread, no Russian!" Daun returns to Triebel a victorious man,—though with an onerous condition incumbent. Tempelhof, minutely computing, finds that to cart from Bohemia such a cipher of human rations daily into these parts, will surpass all the vehiculatory power of Daun. [Tempelhof, iii. 225.]'
The Reichs Army, though it had been so tumbled about, in Spring, with such havoc on its magazines and preparations, could not wait to refit itself, except superficially; and showed face over the Mountains almost earlier than usual. The chance was so unique: a Saxony left to its mere Garrisons,—as it continued to be, for near two months this Year. On such golden opportunity the Reichs Army—first, in light mischievous precursor parties, who roamed as far as Halle or even as Halberstadt; then the Army itself, well or ill appointed, under Generalissimo the Prince von Zweibruck,—did come on, winding through Thuringen towards the Northwestern Towns; various Austrian Auxiliary-Corps making appearance on the Dresden side. Eight Austrian regiments, as a permanency, are in the Reichs Army itself. Commander, or part Commander, of the eight is (what alone I find noteworthy in them) "Herr General Thomas von Blonquet:" Irish by nation, says a foot-note; [Seyfarth, ii. 831 n.]—sure enough some adventurous "Thomas PLUNKET," visible this once, soldiering, in those circumstances; never heard of by a sympathetic reader before or after. It was while the King was hunting the Haddick-Loudon people in Sagan Country in such vehement fashion, that Zweibruck came trumpeting into Saxony,—King, Prince Henri and everybody, well occupied otherwise, far away!
The Reichs Army has a camp at Naumburg (Rossbach neighborhood): and has light troops out in Halle neighborhood; which have seized Halle; are very severe upon Halle, and other places thereabouts, till chased away. August 7th, the Reichs Army begirt Leipzig; summoned the weak garrison there. It is a Town capable of ruin, but not of defence: "Free-withdrawal," proposes the Reichs Army,—and upon these terms gets hold of Leipzig, for the time being. Leipzig, Torgau, Wittenberg; in a fortnight or less, all the Prussian posts in those parts fall to the Reichs Army. Its marchings and siegings, among those Northwestern places, not one of them capable of standing above a few days' siege, are worth no mention, except to Parish History: enough that, by little after the middle of August, Zweibruck had got all these places, "Free-withdrawal" the terms for all; and that, except it be the following feature in their Siege of Torgau, feature mainly Biographic, and belonging to a certain Colonel Wolfersdorf concerned, there is not one of those Sieges now worth a moment's attention from almost any mortal. This is the Torgau feature,—feature of human nature, soldiering under difficulties:—
COLONEL VON WOLFERSDORF BEAUTIFULLY DEFENDS HIMSELF IN TORGAU (August 9th-14th). Two days after Leipzig was had, there appeared at Torgau a Body of Pandours, 2,000 and more; who attempted some kind of scalade on Torgau and its small Garrison (of 700 or so),—where are a Magazine, a Hospital and other properties: not capable, by any garrison, of standing regular siege; but important to defend till you have proper terms offered. The multitudinous Pandours, if I remember, made a rush into the Suburbs, in their usual vociferous way; but were met by the 700 silent Prussians,—silent except through their fire-arms and field-pieces,—in so eloquent a style as soon convinced the Pandour mind, and sent it travelling again. And in the evening of the same day (August 9th), Colonel Wolfersdorf arrives, as new Commandant, and with reinforcements, small though considerable in the circumstances.
Wolfersdorf, one dimly gathers, had marched from Wittenberg on this errand; the whole force in Torgau is now of about 3,000, still with only field-cannon, but with a Captain over them;—who, as is evident, sets himself in a very earnest manner to do his utmost in defence of the place. Next morning Reichs General Kleefeld ("Cloverfield"), with 6 or 8,000 Pandour and Regular, summons Wolfersdorf: "Surrender instantly; or—!" "We will expect you!" answers Wolfersdorf. Whereupon, same morning (August 10th), general storm; storm No. 1: beautifully handled by Wolfersdorf; who takes it in rear (to its astonishment), as well as in front; and sends it off in haste. On the morrow, Saturday, a second followed; and on Sunday a third; both likewise beautifully handled. This third storm, readers see, was "Sunday, August 12th:" a very busy stormful day at Torgau here,—and also, for some others of us, during the heats of Kunersdorf, over the horizon far away! Wolfersdorf tumbles back all storms; furthermore makes mischievous sallies: a destructive, skilled person; altogether prompt, fertile in expedients; and evidently is not to be managed by Kleefeld. So that Prince von Stolberg, Second to supreme Zweibruck himself, has to take it in hand. And,
MONDAY, 13th, at break of day, Stolberg arrives with a train of battering guns and 6,000 new people; summons Wolfersdorf: "No," as before. Storms him, a fourth time; likewise "No," as before: attacks, thereupon, his Elbe Bridge, and his Redoubt across the River; finds a Wolfersdorf party rush destructively into his rear there. And has to withdraw, and try battering from behind the Elbe Dam. Continues this, violently for about two hours; till again Wolfersdorf, whose poor fieldpieces, the only artillery he has, "cannot reach so far with leaden balls" (the iron balls are done, and the powder itself is almost done), manages, by a flank attack, to quench this also. Which produces entire silence, and considerable private reflection, on the part of indignant Stolberg. Stolberg offers him the favorablest terms devisable: "Withdraw freely, with all your honors, all your properties; only withdraw!" Which Wolfersdorf, his powder and ball being in such a state of ebb, and no relief possible, agrees to; with stipulations very strict as to every particular. [In Anonymous of Hamburg (iii. 350) the Capitulation, "August 14th." given IN EXTENSO.]
COLONEL VON WOLFERSDORF WITHDRAWS, ALSO BEAUTIFULLY (August 15th). Accordingly, Wednesday, August 15th, at eight in the morning, Wolfersdorf by the Elbe Gate moves out; across Elbe Bridge, and the Redoubt which is on the farther shore yonder. Near this Redoubt, Stolberg and many of his General Officers are waiting to see him go. He goes in state; flags flying, music playing. Battalion Hessen-Cassel, followed by all our Packages, Hospital convalescents, King's Artillery, and whatever is the King's or ours, marches first. Next comes, as rear-guard to all this, Battalion Grollmann;—along with which is Wolfersdorf himself, knowing Grollmann for a ticklish article (Saxons mainly); followed on the heel by Battalion Hofmann, and lastly by Battalion Salmuth, trusty Prussians both of these.
Battalion Hessen-Cassel and the Baggages are through the Redoubt, Prince of Stolberg handsomely saluting as saluted. But now, on Battalion Grollmann's coming up, Stolberg's Adjutant cries out with a loud voice of proclamation, many Officers repeating and enforcing: "Whoever is a brave Saxon, whoever is true to his Kaiser, or was of the Reichs Army, let him step out: Durchlaucht will give him protection!" At sound of which Grollmann quivers as if struck by electricity; and instantly begins dissolving;—dissolves, in effect, nearly all, and is in the act of vanishing like a dream! Wolfersdorf is a prompt man; and needs to be so. Wolfersdorf, in Olympian rage, instantly stops short; draws pistol: "I will shoot dead every man that quits rank!" vociferates he; and does, with his pistol, make instant example of one; inviting every true Prussian to do the like: "Jagers, Hussars, a ducat for every traitor you shoot down!" continues Wolfersdorf (and punctually paid it afterwards): unable to prevent an almost total dissolution of Grollmann. For some minutes, there is a scene indescribable: storm of vociferation, menace, musket-shot, pistol-shot; Grollmann disappearing on every side,—"behind the Redoubt, under the Bridge, into Elbe Boats, under the cloaks of the Croats;"—in spite of Wolfersdorf's Olympian rages and efforts.
At sight of the shooting, Prince Stolberg, a hot man, had said indignantly, "Herr, that will be dangerous for you (DAS WIRD NICHT GUT GEHN)!" Wolfersdorf not regarding him a whit; regarding only Grollmann, and his own hot business of coercing it at a ducat per head. Grollmann gone, and Battalion Hofmann in due sequence come up, Wolfersdorf—who has sent an Adjutant, with order, "Hessen-Cassel, HALT"—gives Battalion Hofmann these three words of command: "Whole Battalion, halt!—Front!—Make ready!" (with due simultaneous click of every firelock, on utterance of that last);—and turning to Prince Stolberg, with a brow, with a tone of voice: "Durchlaucht, Article 9 of the Capitulation is express on this point; 'ALL DESERTION STRICTLY PROHIBITED; NO DESERTER TO BE RECEIVED EITHER ON THE IMPERIAL OR ON THE PRUSSIAN SIDE!' [Durchlaucht silently gives, we suppose, some faint sniff.] Since your Durchlaucht does not keep the Capitulation, neither will I regard it farther. I will now take you and your Suite prisoners, return into the Town, and again begin defending myself. Be so good as ride directly into that Redoubt, or I will present, and give fire!"
A dangerous moment for the Durchlaucht of Stolberg; Battalion Salmuth actually taking possession of the wall again; Hofmann here with its poised firelock on the cock, "ready" for that fourth word, as above indicated. A General Lusinsky of Stolberg's train, master of those Croats, and an Austrian of figure, remarks very seriously: "Every point of the Capitulation must be kept!" Upon which Durchlaucht has to renounce and repent; eagerly assists in recovering Grollmann, restores it (little the worse, little the FEWER); will give Wolfersdorf "COMMAND of the Austrian Escort you are to have", and every satisfaction and assurance;—wishful only to get rid of Wolfersdorf. Who thereupon marches to Wittenberg, with colors flying again, and a name mentionable ever since. [Templehof, iii. 201-204; Seyfarth, ii. 562 n., and Beylagen, ii. 587; Militair-Lexikon, iv. 283.]
This Wolfersdorf was himself a Pirna Saxon; serving Polish Majesty, as Major, in that Pirna time; perhaps no admirer of "Feldmarschall Bruhl" and Company?—at any rate, he took Prussian service, as then offered him; and this is his style of keeping it. A decidedly clever soldier, and comes out, henceforth, more and more as such,—unhappily not for long. Was taken at Maxen, he too, as will be seen. Rose, in after times, to be Lieutenant-General, and a man famous in the Prussian military circles; but given always, they say, to take the straight line (or shortest distance between self and object), in regard to military matters, to recruiting and the like, and thus getting himself into trouble with the Civil Officials.
Wolfersdorf, at Wittenberg or farther on, had a flattering word from the King; applauding his effective procedures at Torgau; and ordering him, should Wittenberg fall (as it did, August 23d), to join Wunsch, who is coming with a small Party to try and help in those destitute localities. Wunsch the King had detached (21st August), as we heard already. Finck the King finds, farther, that he can detach (from Waldau Country, September 7th); [Tempelhof, iii. 211, 237.] Russians being so languid, and Saxony fallen into such a perilous predicament.
"Few days after Kunersdorf," says a Note, which should be inserted here, "there had fallen out a small Naval matter, which will be consolatory to Friedrich, and go to the other side of the account, when he hears of it: Kunersdorf was Sunday, August 12th; this was Saturday and Sunday following. Besides their Grand Brest Fleet, with new Flat-bottoms, and world-famous land-preparations going on at Vannes, for Invasion of proud Albion, all which are at present under Hawke's strict keeping, the French have, ever since Spring last, a fine subsidiary Fleet at Toulon, of very exultant hopes at one time; which now come to finis.
"SEA-FIGHT (PROPERLY SEA-HUNT OF 200 MILES), IN THE CADIZ WATERS, AUGUST 18th-19th. The fine Toulon Fleet, which expected at one time, Pitt's ships being so scattered over the world, to be 'mistress of the Mediterranean,' has found itself, on the contrary (such were Pitt's resources and promptitudes); cooped in harbor all Summer; Boscawen watching it in the usual strict way. No egress possible; till, in the sultry weather (8th July-4th August), Boscawen's need of fresh provisions, fresh water and of making some repairs, took him to Gibraltar, and gave the Toulon Fleet a transient opportunity, which it made use of.
"August 17th, at 8 in the evening, Boscawen, at Gibraltar (some of his ships still in deshabille or under repair), was hastily apprised by one of his Frigates, That the Toulon Fleet had sailed; been seen visibly at Ceuta Point so many hours ago. 'Meaning,' as Boscawen guesses, 'to be through the Straits this very night!' By power of despatch, the deshabille ships were rapidly got buttoned together (in about two hours); and by 10 P.M. all were under sail. And soon were in hot chase; the game, being now in view,—going at its utmost through the Straits, as anticipated. At 7 next morning (Saturday, August 18th) Boscawen got clutch of the Toulon Fleet; still well east of Cadiz, somewhere in the Trafalgar waters, I should guess. Here Boscawen fought and chased the Toulon Fleet for 24 hours coming; drove it finally ashore, at Lagos on the coast of Portugal, with five of its big ships burnt or taken, its crews and other ships flying by land and water, its poor Admiral mortally wounded; and the Toulon Fleet a ruined article. The wind had been capricious, here fresh, there calm; now favoring the hunters, now the hunted; both Fleets had dropped in two. De la Clue, the French Admiral, complained bitterly how his Captains lagged, or shore off and forsook him. Boscawen himself, who for his own share had gone at it eagle-like, was heard grumbling, about want of speed in some people; and said: 'It is well; but it might have been better!' [Beatson, ii. 313-319; ib. iii. 237-238, De la Clue, the French Admiral's Despatch;—Boscawen's Despatch, &c., in Gentleman's Magazine, xxix. 434.]
"De la Clue—fallen long ago from all notions of 'dominating the Mediterranean'—had modestly intended to get through, on any terms, into the Ocean; might then, if possible, have joined the Grand 'Invasion Squadron,' now lying at Brest, till Vannes and the furnishings are ready, or have tried to be troublesome in the rear of Hawke, who is blockading all that. A modest outlook in comparison;—and this is what it also has come to. As for the Grand Invasion Squadron, Admiral Conflans, commanding it, still holds up his head in Brest Harbor, and talks big. Makes little of Rodney's havoc on the Flat-bottoms at Havre, 'Will soon have Flat-bottoms again: and you shall see!'—if only Hawke, and wind and weather and Fortune, will permit."
Since the first weeks of, August there have been Austrian detachments, Wehla's Corps, Brentano's Corps, entering Saxony from the northeast or Daun-ward side, and posting themselves in the strong points looking towards Dresden; waiting there till the Reichs Army should capture its Leipzigs, Torgaus, Wittenbergs, and roll forward from northwest. To all which it is easy to fancy what an impetus was given by Kunersdorf and August 12th; the business, after that, going on double-quick, and pointing to immediate practical industry on Dresden. The Reichs Army hastens to settle its northwestern Towns, puts due garrison in each, leaves a 10 or 12,000 movable for general protection, in those parts; and, August 23d, marches for Dresden. There are only some 15,000 left of it now; almost half the Reichs Army drunk up in that manner; were not Daun now speeding forth his Maguire with a fresh 12,000; who is to command the Wehlas and Brentanos as well. And, in effect, to be Austrian Chief, and as regards practical matters, Manager of this important Enterprise,—all-important to Daun just now. Schmettau in Dresden sees clearly what mischief is at hand.
To Daun this Siege of Dresden is the alpha to whatever omegas there may be: he and his Soltikof are to sit waiting this; and can attempt nothing but eating of provender, till this be achieved. As the Siege was really important, though not quite the alpha to all omegas, and has in it curious points and physiognomic traits, we will invite readers to some transient inspection of it,—the rather as there exist ample contemporary Narratives, DIARIUMS and authentic records, to render that possible and easy. [In TEMPELHOF (iii. 210-216-222) complete and careful Narrative; in ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG (iii. 371-377) express "DAY-BOOK" by some Eye-witness in Dresden.]'
"Ever since the rumor of Kunersdorf," says one Diarium, compiled out of many, "in the last two weeks of August, Schmettau's need of vigilance and diligence has been on the increase, his outlooks becoming grimmer and grimmer. He has a poorish Garrison for number (3,700 in all [Schmettau's LEBEN (by his Son), p. 408.]), and not of the best quality; deserters a good few of them: willing enough for strokes; fighting fellows all, and of adventurous turn, but uncertain as to loyalty in a case of pinch. He has endless stores in the place; for one item, almost a million sterling of ready money. Poor Schmettau, if he knew it, has suddenly become the Leonidas of this campaign, Dresden its Thermopylae; and"—But readers can conceive the situation.
"AUGUST 20th, Schmettau quits the Neustadt, or northern part of Dresden, which lies beyond the River: unimportant that, and indefensible with garrison not adequate; Schmettau will strengthen the River-bank, blow up the Stone Bridge if necessary, and restrict himself to Dresden Proper. The Court is here; Schmettau does not hope that the Court can avert a Siege from him; but he fails not to try, in that way too, and may at least gain time.
"AUGUST 25th, He has a Mine put under the main arch of the Bridge: 'mine ill-made, uncertain of effect,' reports the Officer whom he sent to inspect it. But it was never tried, the mere rumor of it kept off attacks on that side. Same day, August 25th, Schmettau receives that unfortunate Royal Missive [Tempelhof, iii. 208; Schmettau's LEBEN (p. 421) has "August 27th."] written in the dark days of Reitwein, morrow of Kunersdorf (14th or 13th August)," which we read above. "That there is another Letter on the road for him, indicating 'Relief shall be tried,' is unknown to Schmettau, and fatally continues unknown. While Schmettau is reading this (August 25th), General Wunsch has been on the road four days: Wunsch and Wolfersdorf with about 8,000, at their quickest pace, and in a fine winged frame of mind withal, are speeding on: will cross Elbe at Meissen to-morrow night,—did Schmettau only know. People say he did, in the way of rumor, understand that Kunersdorf had not been the fatal thing it was thought; and that efforts would be made by a King like his. In his place one might have, at least, shot out a spy or two? But he did not, then or afterwards.
"Already, ever since the arrival of Wehla and Brentano in those parts, he has been laboring under many uncertainties; too many for a Leonidas! Hanging between Yes and No, even about that of quitting the Neustadt, for example: carrying over portions of his goods, but never heartily the whole; unable to resolve; now lifting visibly the Bridge pavement, then again visibly restoring it;—and, I think, though the contrary is asserted, he had at last to leave in the Neustadt a great deal of stores, horse-provender and other, not needful to him at present, or impossible to carry, when dubiety got ended. He has put a mine under the Bridge; but knows it will not go off.
"Schmettau has been in many wars, but this is a case that tries his soldier qualities as none other has ever done. A case of endless intricacy,—if he be quite equal to it; which perhaps he was not altogether. Nobody ever doubted Schmettau's high qualities as a man and captain; but here are requisite the very highest, and these Schmettau has not. The result was very tragical; I suppose, a pain to Friedrich all his life after; and certainly to Schmettau all his. This is Saturday night, 25th August: before Tuesday week (September 4th) there will have sad things arrived, irremediable to Schmettau. Had Schmettau decided to defend himself, Dresden had not been taken. What a pity Schmettau had not been spared this Missive, calculated to produce mere doubt! Whether he could not, and should not, after a ten days of inquiry and new discernment, have been able to read the King's true meaning, as well as the King's momentary humor, in this fatal Document, there is no deciding. Sure enough, he did not read the King's true meaning in it, but only the King's momentary humor; did not frankly set about defending himself to the death,—or 'seeing' in that way 'whether he could not defend himself,'—with a good capitulation lying in the rear, after he had.
"SUNDAY, AUGUST 26th, Trumpet at the gates. Messenger from Zweibruck is introduced blindfold; brings formal Summons to Schmettau. Summons duly truculent: 'Resistance vain; the more you resist, the worse it will be,—and there is a worst [that of being delivered to the Croats, and massacred every man], of which why should I speak? Especially if in anything you fail of your duty to the Kur-Prinz [Electoral Prince and Heir-Apparent, poor crook-backed young Gentleman, who has an excellent sprightly Wife, a friend of Friedrich's and daughter of the late Kaiser Karl VII., whom we used so beautifully], imagine what your fate will be!'—To which Schmettau answers: 'Can Durchlaucht think us ignorant of the common rules of behavior to Persons of that Rank? For the rest, Durchlaucht knows what our duties here are, and would despise us if we did NOT do them;'—and, in short, our answer again is, in polite forms, 'Pooh, pooh; you may go your way!' Upon which the Messenger is blindfolded again; and Schmettau sets himself in hot earnest to clearing out his goods from the Neustadt; building with huge intertwisted cross-beams and stone and earth-masses a Battery at his own end of the Bridge, batteries on each side of it, below and above;—locks the Gates; and is passionately busy all Sunday,—though divine service goes on as usual.
"Hardly were the Prussian guns got away, when Croat people in quantity came in, and began building a Battery at their end of the Bridge, the main defence-work being old Prussian meal-barrels, handily filled with earth. 'If you fire one cannon-ball across on us,' said Schmettau, 'I will bombard the Neustadt into flame in few minutes [I have only to aim at our Hay Magazine yonder]: be warned! 'Nor did they once fire from that side; Electoral Highness withal and Royal Palace being quite contiguous behind the Prussian Bridge-Battery. Electoral Highness and Household are politely treated, make polite answer to everything; intend going down into the 'APOTHEKE' (Kitchen suite), or vaulted part of the Palace, and will lodge there when the cannonade begins.
"This same SUNDAY, AUGUST 26th, Maguire arrived; and set instantly to building his bridge at Pillnitz, a little way above Dresden: at Uebigau, a little below Dresden, the Reichsfolk have another. Reichsfolk, Zweibruck in person, come all in on Wednesday; post themselves there, to north and west of the City. What is more important, the siege-guns, a superb stock, are steadily floating, through the Pirna regions, hitherward; get to hand on Friday next, the fifth day hence. [Tempelhof, p. 210.] Korbitz (half-way out to Kesselsdorf) is Durchlaucht's head-quarter:—Chief General is Durchlaucht, conspicuously he, at least in theory, and shall have all the glory; though Maguire, glancing on these cannon, were it nothing more, has probably a good deal to say. Maguire too, I observe, takes post on that north or Kesselsdorf side; contiguous for the Head General. Wehla and Brentano post themselves on the south or up-stream side; it is they that hand in the siege-guns: batteries are already everywhere marked out, 13 cannon-batteries and 5 howitzer. In short, from the morrow of that truculent Summons, Monday morning to Thursday, there is hot stir of multifarious preparation on Schmettau's part; and continual pouring in of the hostile force, who are also preparing at the utmost. Thursday, the Siege, if it can be called a Siege, begins. Gradually, and as follows:—
"THURSDAY MORNING (August 30th), Schmettau, who is, night and day, 'palisading the River,' and much else,—discloses (that is, Break of Day discloses on his part) to the Dresden public a huge Gallows, black, huge, of impressive aspect; labelled 'For Plunderers, Mutineers and their Helpers.' [ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG, iii. 373.] The Austrian heavy guns are not yet in battery; but multitudes of loose Croat people go swarming about everywhere, and there is plentiful firing from such artilleries as they have. This same Thursday morning, two or three battalions of them rush into the Pirna Suburb; attack the Prussian Guard-parties there. Schmettau instantly despatches Captain Kollas and a Trumpet:—'Durchlaucht, have the goodness to recall these Croat Parties; otherwise the Suburb goes into flame! And directly on arrival of this Messenger, may it please Durchlaucht. For we have computed the time; and will not wait beyond what is reasonable for his return!' Zweibruck is mere indignation and astonishment; 'will burn Halle,' burn Quedlinburg, Berlin itself, and utterly ruin the King of Prussia's Dominion in general:—the rejoinder to which is, burning of Pirna Suburb, as predicted; seventy houses of it, this evening, at six o'clock.
"Onward from which time there is on both sides, especially on Schmettau's, diligent artillery practice; cannonade kept up wherever Schmettau can see the enemy busy; enemy responding with what artillery he has:—not much damage done, I should think, though a great deal of noise; and for one day (Saturday, September 1st), our Diarist notes, 'Not safe to walk the streets this day.' But, in effect, the Siege, as they call it,—which fell dead on the fifth day, and was never well alive—consists mainly of menace and counter-menace, in the way of bargain-making and negotiation;—and, so far as I can gather, that superb Park of Austrian Artillery, though built into batteries, and talked about in a bullying manner, was not fired from at all.
"Schmettau affects towards the enemy (and towards himself, I dare say) an air of iron firmness; but internally has no such feeling,—'Calls a Council of War,' and the like. Council of War, on sight of that King's Missive, confirms him with one voice: 'Surely, surely, Excellenz; no defence possible!' Which is a prophecy and a fulfilment, both in one. Why Schmettau did not shoot forth a spy or two, to ascertain for him What, or whether Nothing whatever, was passing outside Dresden? I never understand! Beyond his own Walls, the world is a vacancy and blank to Schmettau, and he seems content it should be so.
"SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2d. Though Schmettau's cannonade was very loud, and had been so all night, divine service was held as usual, streets safe again,—Austrians, I suppose, not firing with cannon. About 4 P.M., after a great deal of powder spent, General Maguire, stepping out on Elbe Bridge, blows or beats Appeal, three times; 'wishes a moment's conversation with his Excellency.' Granted at once; witnesses attending on both sides. 'Defence is impossible; in the name of humanity, consider!' urges Maguire. 'Defence to the last man of us is certain,' answers Schmettau, from the teeth outwards;—but, in the end, engages to put on paper, in case he, by extremity of ill-luck, have at any time to accept terms, what his terms will inflexibly be. Upon which there is 'Armistice till To-morrow:' and Maguire, I doubt not, reports joyfully on this feeling of the enemy's pulse. Zweibruck and Maguire are very well aware of what is passing in these neighborhoods (General Wunsch back at Wittenberg by forced marches; blew it open in an hour); and are growing highly anxious that Dresden on any terms were theirs.
"MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3d, The death-day of the Siege; an uncommonly busy day,—though Armistice lasted perfect till 3 P.M., and soon came back more perfect than ever. A Siege not killed by cannon, but by medical industry. Let us note with brevity the successive symptoms and appliances. About seven in the morning Maguire had his Messenger in Dresden, 'Your Excellency's Paper ready?' 'Nearly ready,' answers Schmettau; 'we will send it by a Messenger of our own.' And about eleven of the day Maguire does get it;—the same Captain Kollas (whose name we recollect) handing it in; and statue-like waiting Answer. 'Pshaw, this will never do,' ejaculates Maguire; 'terms irrationally high!' Captain Kollas 'knows nothing of what is IN the Paper; and is charged only to bring a Written Answer from Excellenz.' Excellenz, before writing, 'will have to consult with Durchlaucht;' can, however, as if confidentially and from feelings of friendship, can assure you, Sir, on my honor, That the Garrison will be delivered to the Croats, and every man of it put to the sword. 'The Garrison will expect that (WIRD DAS ERWARTEN),' said Kollas, statue-like; and withdrew, with the proper bow. [Tempelhof, iii. 211.] Something interesting to us in these Military diplomatic passages, with their square-elbowed fashions, and politeness stiff as iron!
"Not till three of the afternoon does the Written Answer reach Schmettau: 'Such Terms never could be accepted.'—'Good,' answers Schmettau: 'To our last breath no others will be offered.' And commences cannonading again, not very violently, but with the order, 'Go on, then, night and day!'
"About 10 at night, General Guasco, a truculent kind of man, whom I have met with up and down, but not admitted to memory, beats Appeal on the Bridge: 'Inform the Commandant that there will now straightway 13 batteries of cannon, and 5 ditto of howitzers open on him, unless he bethinks himself!' Which dreadful message is taken to Schmettau. 'Wish the gentleman good-evening,' orders Schmettau; 'and say we will answer with 100 guns.' Upon which Guasco vanishes;—but returns in not many minutes, milder in tone; requests 'a sight of that Written Paper of Terms again.' 'There it still is,' answers Schmettau, 'not altered, nor ever shall be.' And there is Armistice again:—and the Siege, as turns out, has fired its last shot; and is painfully expiring in paroxysms of negotiation, which continue a good many hours. Schmettau strives to understand clearly that his terms (of the King's own suggesting, as Schmettau flatters himself) are accepted: nor does Durchlaucht take upon him to refuse in any point; but he is strangely slow to sign, still hoping to mend matters.
"Much hithering and thithering there was, till 4 next morning (Durchlaucht has important news from Torgau, at that moment); till 11 next day; till 4 in the afternoon and later,—Guasco and others coming with message after message, hasty and conciliatory: (Durchlaucht at such a distance, his signature not yet come; but be patient; all is right, upon my honor!' Very great hurry evident on the part of Guasco and Company; but, nothing suspected by Schmettau. Till, dusk or darkness threatening now to supervene, Maguire and Schmettau with respective suites have a Conference on the Bridge,—'rain falling very heavy.' Durchlaucht's signature, Maguire is astonished to say, has not yet come; hut Maguire pledges his honor 'that all shall be kept without chicane;' and adds 'what to some of us seemed not superfluous afterwards), 'I am incapable of acting falsely or with chicane.' In fact, till 9 in the evening there was no signature by Durchlaucht; but about 6, on such pledge by Maguire of his hand and his honor, the Siege entirely gave up the ghost; and Dresden belonged to Austria. Tuesday Evening, 4th September, 1759; Sun just setting, could anybody see him for the rain.
"Schmettau had been over-hasty; what need had Schmettau of haste? The terms had not yet got signature, perfection of settlement on every point; nor were they at all well kept, when they did! Considerable flurry, temporary blindness, needless hurry, and neglect of symptoms and precautions, must be imputed to poor Schmettau; whose troubles began from this moment, and went on increasing. The Austrians are already besetting Elbe Bridge, rooting up the herring-bone balks; and approaching our Block-house,—sooner than was expected. But that is nothing. On opening the Pirna Gate to share it with the Austrians, Friedrich's Spy (sooner had not been possible to the man) was waiting; who handed Schmettau that Second Letter of Friedrich's, 'Courage; there is relief on the road!' Poor Schmettau!"
What Captain Kollas and the Prussian Garrison thought of all this, THEY were perhaps shy of saying, and we at such distance are not informed,—except by one symptom: that, of Colonel Hoffman, Schmettau's Second, whose indignation does become tragically evident. Hoffman, a rugged Prussian veteran, is indignant at the Capitulation itself; doubly and trebly indignant to find the Austrians on Elbe Bridge, busy raising our Balks and Battery: "How is this Sir?" inquires he of Captain Sydow, who is on guard at the Prussian end; "How dared you make this change, without acquainting the Second in Command? Order out your men, and come along with me to clear the Bridge again!" Sydow hesitates, haggles; indignant Hoffman, growing loud as thunder, pulls out a pistol, fatal-looking to disobedient Sydow; who calls to his men, or whose men spring out uncalled; and shoot Hoffman down,—send two balls through him, so that he died at 8 that night. With noise enough, then and afterwards. Was drunk, said Schmettau's people. Friedrich answered, on report of it: "I think as Hoffman did. If he was 'drunk,' it is pity the Governor and all the Garrison had not been so, to have come to the same judgment, as he." [P.S. in Autograph of Letter to Schmettau, "Waldau, 11th September, 1759" (Preuss, ii.; Urkundenbuch, p. 45).] Friedrich's unbearable feelings, of grief and indignation, in regard to all this Dresden matter,—which are not expressed except coldly in business form,—can be fancied by all readers. One of the most tragical bits of ill-luck that ever befell him. A very sore stroke, in his present condition; a signal loss and affront. And most of all, unbearable to think how narrowly it has missed being a signal triumph;—missed actually by a single hair's-breadth, which is as good as by a mile, or by a thousand miles!
Soon after 9 o'clock that evening, Durchlaucht in person came rolling through our battery and the herring-bone balks, to visit Electoral Highness,—which was not quite the legal time either, Durchlaucht had not been half an hour with Electoral Highness, when a breathless Courier came in: "General Wunsch within ten miles [took Torgau in no time, as Durchlaucht well knows, for a week past]; and will be here before we sleep!" Durchlaucht plunged out, over the herring-bone balks again (which many carpenters are busy lifting); and the Electoral Highnesses, in like manner, hurry off to Toplitz that same night, about an hour after. What a Tuesday Night! Poor Hoffman is dead at 8 o'clock; the Saxon Royalties, since 11, are galloping for Pirna, for Toplitz; Durchlaucht of Zweibruck we saw hurry off an hour before them,—Capitulation signature not yet dry, and terms of it beginning to be broken; and Wunsch reported to be within ten miles!
The Wunsch report is perfectly correct. Wunsch is at Grossenhayn this evening; all in a fiery mood of swiftness, his people and he;—and indeed it is, by chance, one of Wolfersdorf's impetuosities that has sent the news so fast. Wunsch had been as swift with Torgau as he was with Wittenberg: he blew out the poor Reichs Garrison there by instant storm, and packed it off to Leipzig, under charge of "an Officer and Trumpet:"—he had, greatly against his will, to rest two days there for a few indispensable cannon from Magdeburg. Cannon once come, Wunsch, burning for deliverance of Dresden, had again started at his swiftest, "Monday, 3d September [death day of the Siege], very early."
"He is under 8,000; but he is determined to do it;—and would have done it, think judges, half thinks Zweibruck himself: such a fire in that Wunsch and his Corps as is very dangerous indeed. At 4 this morning, Zweibruck heard of his being on march: 'numbers uncertain'—(numbers seemingly not the important point,—blows any number of us about our business!)—and since that moment Zweibruck has driven the capitulation at such a pace; though the flurried Schmettau suspected nothing.
"Afternoon of TUESDAY, 4th, Wunsch, approaching Grossenhayn, had detached Wolfersdorf with 100 light horse rightwards to Grodel, a boating Village on Elbe shore, To seek news of Dresden; also to see if boats are procurable for carrying our artillery up thither. At Grodel, Wolfersdorf finds no boats that will avail: but certain boat-people, new from Dresden, report that no capitulation had been published when they left, but that it was understood to be going on. New spur to Wolfersdorf and Wunsch. Wolfersdorf hears farther in this Village, That there are some thirty Austrian horse in Grossenhayn:—'Possible these may escape General Wunsch!' thinks Wolfersdorf; and decides to have them. Takes thirty men of his own; orders the other seventy to hold rightward, gather what intelligence is going, and follow more leisurely; and breaks off for the Grossenhayn-Dresden Highway, to intercept those fellows.
"Getting to the highway, Wolfersdorf does see the fellows; sees also,—with what degree of horror I do not know,—that there are at least 100 of them against his 30! Horror will do nothing for Wolfersdorf, nor are his other 70 now within reach. Putting a bold face on the matter, he commands, Stentor-like, as if it were all a fact: 'Grenadiers, march; Dragoons, to right forwards, WHEEL; Hussars, FORWARD: MARCH!'—and does terrifically dash forward with the thirty Hussars, or last item of the invoice; leaving the others to follow. The Austrians draw bridle with amazement; fire off their carbines; take to their heels, and do not stop for more. Wolfersdorf captures 68 of them, for behoof of Grossenhayn; and sends the remaining 32 galloping home. [Tempelhof, iii. 214.] Who bring the above news to Durchlaucht of Zweibruck: '12,000 of them, may it please your Durchlaucht; such the accounts we had!'—Fancy poor Schmettau's feelings!
"On the morrow Dresden was roused from its sleep by loud firing and battle, audible on the north side of the River: 'before daybreak, and all day.' It is Wunsch impetuously busy in the woody countries there. Durchlaucht had shot out Generals and Divisions, Brentano, Wehla, this General and then that, to intercept Wunsch: these the fiery Wunsch—almost as if they had been combustible material coming to quench fire—repels and dashes back, in a wonderful manner, General after General of them. And is lord of the field all day:—but cannot hear the least word from Dresden; which is a surprising circumstance.
"In the afternoon Wunsch summons Maguire in the Neustadt: 'Will answer you in two hours,' said Maguire. Wunsch thereupon is for attacking their two Pontoon Elbe-Bridges; still resolute for Dresden,—and orders Wolfersdorf on one of them, the Uebigau Bridge, who finds the enemy lifting it at any rate, and makes them do it faster. But night is now sinking; from Schmettau not a word or sign. 'Silence over there, all day; not a single cannon to or from,' say Wunsch and Wolfersdorf to one another. 'Schmettau must have capitulated!' conclude they, and withdraw in the night-time, still thunderous if molested; bivouac at Grossenhayn, after twenty-four hours of continual march and battle, not time even for a snatch of food. [BERICHT VON DER ACTION DES GENERAL-MAJORS VON WUNSCH, BEY REICHENBERG, DEN 5 SEPTEMBER, 1759 in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 606-608.]
"Resting at Grossenhayn, express reaches Wunsch from his Commandant at Torgau: 'Kleefeld is come on me from Leipzig with 14,000; I cannot long hold out, unless relieved.' Wunsch takes the road again; two marches, each of twenty miles. Reaches Torgau late; takes post in the ruins of the North Suburb, finds he must fight Kleefeld. Refreshes his men 'with a keg of wine per Company,' surely a judicious step; and sends to Wolfersdorf, who has the rear-guard, 'Be here with me to-morrow at 10.' Wolfersdorf starts at 4, is here at 10: and Wunsch, having scanned Kleefeld and his Position [a Position strong IF you are dexterous to manoeuvre in it; capable of being ruinous if you are not,—part of the Position of a bigger BATTLE OF TORGAU, which is coming],—flies at Kleefeld and his 14,000 like a cat-o'-mountain; takes him on the left flank:—Kleefeld and such overplus of thousands are standing a little to west-and-south of Torgau, with the ENTEFANG [a desolate big reedy mere, or PLACE OF DUCKS, still offering the idle Torgauer a melancholy sport there] as a protection to their right; but with no evolution-talent, or none in comparison to Wunsch's;—and accordingly are cut to pieces by Wunsch, and blown to the winds, as their fellows have all been." [HOFBERCHT VON DER AM 8 SEPTEMBER, 1759, BEY TORGAU, VORGEFALLENEN ACTION: in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 609, 610. Tempelhof, iii. 219-222.]
Wunsch, absolute Fate forbidding, could not save Dresden: but he is here lord of the Northern regions again,—nothing but Leipzig now in the enemy's hand;—and can await Finck, who is on march with a stronger party to begin business here. It is reckoned, there are few more brilliant little bits of Soldiering than this of Wunsch's. All the more, as his men, for most part, were not Prussian, but miscellaneous Foreign spirits of uncertain fealty: roving fellows, of a fighting turn, attracted by Friedrich's fame, and under a Captain who had the art of keeping them in tune. Wunsch has been soldiering, in a diligent though dim miscellaneous way, these five-and-twenty years; fought in the old Turk Wars, under disastrous Seckendorf,—Wunsch a poor young Wurtemberg ensign, visibly busy there (1737-1739)) as was this same Schmettau, in the character of staff-officer, far enough apart from Wunsch at that time!—fought afterwards, in the Bavarian service, in the Dutch, at Roucoux, at Lauffeld, again under disastrous people. Could never, under such, find anything but subaltern work all this while; was glad to serve, under the eye of Friedrich, as Colonel of a Free Corps; which he has done with much diligence and growing distinction: till now, at the long last, his chance does come; and he shows himself as a real General. Possibly a high career lying ahead;—a man that may be very valuable to Friedrich, who has now so few such left? Fate had again decided otherwise for Wunsch; in what way will be seen before this Campaign ends: "an infernal Campaign," according to Friedrich, "CETTE CAMPAGNE INFERNALE."
Finck, whom Friedrich had just detached from Waldau (September 6th) with a new 8 or 6,000, to command in chief in those parts, and, along with Wunsch, put Dresden out of risk, as it were,—Finck does at least join Wunsch, as we shall mention in a little. And these Two, with such Wolfersdorfs and people under them, did prove capable of making front against Reichsfolk in great overplus of number. Nor are farther SIEGES of those Northern Garrisons, but recaptures of them, the news one hears from Saxony henceforth;—only that Dresden is fatally gone. Irrecoverably, as turned out, and in that unbearable manner. Here is the concluding scene:—
DRESDEN, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th; EXIT SCHMETTAU. "A thousand times over, Schmettau must have asked himself, 'Why was I in such a hurry? Without cause for it I, only Maguire having cause!'—The Capitulation had been ended in a huddle, without signature: an unwise Capitulation; and it was scandalously ill kept. Schmettau was not to have marched till Monday, 10th,—six clear days for packing and preparing;—but, practically, he has to make three serve him; and to go half-packed, or not packed at all. Endless chicanes do arise, 'upon my honor!'—not even the 800 wagons are ready for us; 'Can't your baggages go in boats, then?' 'No, nor shall!' answers Schmettau, with blazing eyes, and heart ready to burst; a Schmettau living all this while as in Purgatory, or worse. Such bullyings from truculent Guasco, who is now without muzzle. Capitulation, most imperfect in itself, is avowedly infringed: King's Artillery,—which we had haggled for, and ended by 'hoping for,' to Maguire that rainy evening: why were we in such a hurry, too, and blind to Maguire's hurry!—King's Artillery, according to Durchlaucht of Zweibruck, when he actually signed within the walls, is 'NICHT ACCORDIRT (Not granted), except the Field part.' King's regimental furnishings, all and sundry, were 'ACCORDIRT, and without visitation,'—but on second thoughts, the Austrian Officials are of opinion there must really be visitation, must be inspection. 'May not some of them belong to Polish Majesty?' In which sad process of inspection there was incredible waste, Schmettau protesting; and above half of the new uniforms were lost to us. Our 80 pontoons, which were expressly bargained for, are brazenly denied us: '20 of them are Saxon,' cry the Austrians: 'who knows if they are not almost all Saxon,'—upon my honor! At this rate, only wait a day or two, and fewer wagons than 800 will be needed! thinks Schmettau; and consents to 18 river-boats; Boats in part, then; and let us march at once. Accordingly,
"SATURDAY, 8th, at 5 in the morning, Schmettau, with goods and people, does at last file out: across Elbe Bridge through the Neustadt; Prussians five deep; a double rank of Austrians, ranged on each side, in 'espalier' they call it,—espalier with gaps in it every here and there, to what purpose is soon evident. The march was so disposed (likewise for a purpose) that, all along, there were one or two Companies of Prussian Foot; and then in the interval, carriages, cannon, cavalry and hussars. Schmettau's carriage is with the rear-guard, Madam Schmettau's well in the van:—in two other carriages are two Prussian War-and-Domain Ministers. [ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG, III. 376.] 'Managers of Saxon Finance,' these Two;—who will have to manage elsewhere than in Dresden henceforth. Zinnow, Borck, they sit veritably there, with their multiform Account Papers: of whom I know absolutely nothing,—except (if anybody cared) that Zinnow, who 'died of apoplexy in June following,' is probably of pursy red-nosed type; and that Borck, for certain, has a very fine face and figure; delicacy, cheerful dignity, perfect gentlemanhood in short, written on every feature of him; as painted by Pesne, and engraved by Schmidt, for my accidental behoof. [Fredericus Wilhelmus Borck (Pesne pinxit, 1732; Schmidt, sculptur Regis, sculpsit, Berolini, 1764): an excellent Print and Portrait.] Curious to think of that elaborate court-coat and flowing periwig, with this specific Borck, 'old as the Devil' (whom I have had much trouble to identify), forming visible part of this dismal Procession: the bright eye of Borck not smiling as usual, but clouded, though impassive! But that of Borck or his Limners is not the point.
"The Prussians have been divided into small sections, with a mass of baggage-wagons and cavalry between every two. And no sooner is the mass got in movement, than there rises from the Austrian part, and continues all the way, loud invitation, 'Whosoever is a brave Saxon, a brave Austrian, Reichsman, come to us! Gaps in the espalier, don't you see!' And Schmettau, in the rear, with baggage and cavalry intervening,—nobody can reach Schmettau. Here is a way of keeping your bargain! The Prussian Officers struggle stoutly: but are bellowed at, struck at, menaced by bayonet and bullet,—none of them shot, I think, but a good several of them cut and wounded;—the Austrian Officers themselves in passionate points behaving shamefully, 'Yes, shoot them down, the (were it nothing else) heretic dogs;' and being throughout evidently in a hot shivery frame of mind, forgetful of the laws. Seldom was such a Procession; spite, rage and lawless revenge blazing out more and more. On the whole, there deserted, through those gaps of the espalier, about half of the whole Garrison. On Madam Schmettau's hammercloth there sat, in the Schmettau livery, a hard-featured man, recognizable by keen eyes as lately a Nailer, of the Nailer Guild here; who had been a spy for Schmettau, and brought many persons into trouble: him they tear down, and trample hither and thither,—at last, into some Guard-house near by." [The Schmettau DIARIUM in ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG, iii. 364-376 (corrected chiefly from TEMPELHOF): Protest, and Correspondence in consequence, is in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 611-621; in Helden-Geschichte, &c. &c.]
Schmettau's protest against all this is vehement, solemnly circumstantial: but, except in regard to the trampled Nailer (Zweibruck on that point "heartily sorry for the insult to your Excellency's livery; and here the man is, with a thousand apologies"), Schmettau got no redress. Nor had Friedrich any, now or henceforth. Friedrich did at once, more to testify his disgust than for any benefit, order Schmettau: "Halt at Wittenberg, not at Magdeburg as was pretended to be bargained. Dismiss your Escort of Austrians there; bid them home at once, and out of your sight." Schmettau himself he ordered to Berlin, to idle waiting. Never again employed Schmettau: for sixteen years that they lived together, never saw his face more.
Schmettau's ill-fortune was much pitied, as surely it deserved to be, by all men. About Friedrich's severity there was, and still occasionally is, controversy held. Into which we shall not enter for Yes or for No. "You are like the rest of them!" writes Friedrich to him; "when the moment comes for showing firmness, you fail in it." ["Waldau, 10th September, 1759:" in Preuss, ii. URKUNDEN. p. 44.] Friedrich expects of others what all Soldiers profess,—and what is in fact the soul of all nobleness in their trade,—but what only Friedrich himself, and a select few, are in the habit of actually performing. Tried by the standard of common practice, Schmettau is clearly absolvable; a broken veteran, deserving almost tears. But that is not the standard which it will be safe for a King of men to go by. Friedrich, I should say, would be ordered by his Office, if Nature herself did not order him, to pitch his ideal very high; and to be rather Rhadamanthine in judging about it. Friedrich was never accused of over-generosity to the unfortunate among his Captains.
After the War, Schmettau, his conduct still a theme of argument, was reduced to the Invalid List: age now sixty-seven, but health and heart still very fresh, as he pleaded; complaining that he could not live on his retiring Pension of 300 pounds a year. "Be thankful you have not had your head struck off by sentence of Court-Martial," answered Friedrich. Schmettau, after some farther troubles from Court quarters, retired to Brandenburg, and there lived silent, poor but honorable, for his remaining fifteen years. Madam Schmettau came out very beautiful in those bad circumstances: cheery, thrifty, full of loyal patience; a constant sunshine to her poor man, whom she had preceded out of Dresden in the way we saw. Schmettau was very quiet, still studious of War matters; [See Leben (by his Son, "Captain Schmettau;" a modest intelligent Book), pp. 440-447.] "sent the King" once,—in 1772, while Polish Prussia, and How it could be fortified, were the interesting subject,—"a JOURNAL," which he had elaborated for himself, "OF THE MARCHES OF KARL TWELFTH IN WEST PREUSSEN;" which was well received: "Apparently the King not angry with me farther?" thought Schmettau. A completely retired old man; studious, social,—the best men of the Army still his friends and familiars:—nor, in his own mind, any mutiny against his Chief; this also has its beauty in a human life, my friend. So long as Madam Schmettau lived, it was well; after her death, not well, dark rather, and growing darker: and in about three years Schmettau followed (27th October, 1775), whither that good soul had gone. The elder Brother—who was a distinguished Academician, as well as Feldmarschall and Negotiator—had died at Berlin, in Voltaire's time, 1751. Each of those Schmettaus had a Son, in the Prussian Army, who wrote Books, or each a short Book, still worth reading. [Bavarian War of 1778, by the Feldmarschall's Son; ad this Leben we have just been citing, by the Lieutenant-General's.] But we must return.
On the very morrow, September 5th, Daun heard of the glorious success at Dresden; had not expected it till about the 10th at soonest. From Triebel he sends the news at gallop to Lieberose and Soltikof: "Rejoice with us, Excellenz: did not I predict it? Silesia and Saxony both are ours; fruits chiefly of your noble successes. Oh, continue them a very little!" "Umph!" answers Soltikof, not with much enthusiasm: "Send us meal steadily; and gain you, Excellenz's self, some noble success!" Friedrich did not hear of it for almost a week later; not till Monday, 10th,—as a certain small Anecdote would of itself indicate.
Sunday Evening, 9th September, General Finck, with his new 6,000, hastening on to join Wunsch for relief of Dresden, had got to Grossenhayn; and was putting up his tents, when the Outposts brought him in an Austrian Officer, who had come with a Trumpeter inquiring for the General. The Austrian Officer "is in quest of proper lodgings for General Schmettau and Garrison [fancy Finck's sudden stare!];—last night they lodged at Gross-Dobritz, tolerably to their mind: but the question for the Escort is, Where to lodge this night, if your Excellency could advise me?" "Herr, I will advise you to go back to Gross-Dobritz on the instant," answers Finck grimly; "I shall be obliged to make you and your Trumpet prisoners, otherwise!" Exit Austrian Officer. That same evening, too, Captain Kollas, carrying Schmettau's sad news to the King, calls on Finck in passing; gives dismal details of the Capitulation and the Austrian way of keeping it; filling Finck's mind with sorrowful indignation. [Tempelhof, iii. 237.]
Finck—let us add here, though in date it belongs a little elsewhere—pushes on, not the less, to join Wunsch at Torgau; joins Wunsch, straightway recaptures Leipzig, garrison prisoners (September 13th): recaptures all those northwestern garrisons,—multitudinous Reichsfolk trying, once, to fight him, in an amazingly loud, but otherwise helpless way ("ACTION OF KORBITZ" they call it); cannonading far and wide all day, and manoeuvring about, here bitten in upon, there trying to bite, over many leagues of Country; principally under Haddick's leading; [HOFBERICHT VON DER AM 21 SEPTEMBER BEY KORBITZ (in Meissen Country, south of Elbe; Krogis too is a Village in this wide-spread "Action") VORGEFALLENEN ACTION (Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 621-630). Tempelhof, iii. 248, 258.] who saw good to draw off Dresden-ward next day, and leave Finck master in those regions. To Daun's sad astonishment,—in a moment of crisis,—as we shall hear farther on! So that Saxony is not yet conquered to Daun; Saxony, no, nor indeed will be:—but Dresden is. Friedrich never could recover Dresden; though he hoped, and at intervals tried hard, for a long while to come.
The eyes of all had been bent on Dresden latterly; and there had occurred a great deal of detaching thitherward, and of marching there and thence, as we have partly seen. And the end is, Dresden, and to appearance Saxony along with it, is Daun's. Has not Daun good reason now to be proud of the cunctatory method? Never did his game stand better; and all has been gained at other people's expense. Daun has not played one trump card; it is those obliging Russians that have played all the trumps, and reduced the Enemy to nothing. Only continue that wise course,—and cart meal, with your whole strength, for the Russians!—
Safe behind the pools of Lieberose, Friedrich between them and Berlin, lie those dear Russians; extending, Daun and they, like an impassable military dike, with spurs of Outposts and cunningly devised Detachments, far and wide,—from beyond Bober or utmost Crossen on the east, to Hoyerswerda in Elbe Country on the west;—dike of eighty miles long, and in some eastern parts of almost eighty broad; so elaborate is Daun's detaching quality, in cases of moment. "The King's broken Army on one side of us," calculates Daun; "Prince Henri's on the other; incommunicative they; reduced to isolation, powerless either or both of them against such odds. They shall wait there, please Heaven, till Saxony be quite finished. Zweibruck, and our Detachments and Maguires, let them finish Saxony, while Soltikof keeps the King busy. Saxony finished, how will either Prince or King attempt to recover it! After which, Silesia for us;—and we shall then be near our Magazines withal, and this severe stress of carting will abate or cease." In fact, these seem sound calculations: Friedrich is 24,000; Henri 38,000; the military dike is, of Austrians 75,000, of Russians and Austrians together 120,000. Daun may fairly calculate on succeeding beautifully this Year: Saxony his altogether; and in Silesia some Glogau or strong Town taken, and Russians and Austrians wintering together in that Country.
If only Daun do not TOO much spare his trump cards! But there is such a thing as excess on that side too: and perhaps it is even the more ruinous kind,—and is certainly the more despised by good judges, though the multitude of bad may notice it less. Daun is unwearied in his vigilantes, in his infinite cartings of provision for himself and Soltikof,—long chains of Magazines, big and little, at Guben, at Gorlitz, at Bautzen, Zittau, Friedland; and does, aided by French Montalembert, all that man can to keep those dear stupid Russians in tune.
Daun's problem of carting provisions, and guarding his multifarious posts, and sources of meal and defence, is not without its difficulties. Especially with a Prince Henri opposite; who has a superlative manoeuvring talent of his own, and an industry not inferior to Daun's in that way. Accordingly, ever since August 11th-13th, when Daun moved northward to Triebel, and Henri shot out detachments parallel to him, "to secure the Bober and our right flank, and try to regain communication with the King,"—still more, ever since August 22d, when Daun undertook that onerous cartage of meal for Soltikof as well as self, the manoeuvring and mutual fencing and parrying, between Henri and him, has been getting livelier and livelier. Fain would Daun secure his numerous Roads and Magazines; assiduously does Henri threaten him in these points, and try all means to regain communication with his Brother. Daun has Magazines and interests everywhere; Henri is everywhere diligent to act on them.
Daun in person, ever since Kunersdorf time, has been at Triebel; Henri moved to Sagan after him, but has left a lieutenant at Schmottseifen, as Daun has at Mark-Lissa:—here are still new planets, and secondary ditto, with revolving moons. In short, it is two interpenetrating solar systems, gyrating, osculating and colliding, over a space of several thousand square miles,—with an intricacy, with an embroiled abstruseness Ptolemean or more! Which indeed the soldier who would know his business—(and not knowing it, is not he of all solecisms in this world the most flagrant?)—ought to study, out of Tempelhof and the Books; but which, except in its results, no other reader could endure. The result we will make a point of gathering: carefully riddled down, there are withal in the details five or six little passages which have some shadow of interest to us; these let us note, and carefully omit the rest:—
OF FOUQUET AT LANDSHUT. "Fouquet was twice attacked at Landshut; but made a lucky figure both times. Attack first was by Deville: attack second by Harsch. Early in July, not long after Friedrich had left for Schmottseifen, rash Deville (a rash creature, and then again a laggard, swift where he should be slow, and VICE VERSA) again made trial on Landshut and Fouquet; but was beautifully dealt with; taken in rear, in flank, or I forget how taken, but sent galloping through the Passes again, with a loss of many Prisoners, most of his furnitures, and all his presence of mind: whom Daun thereupon summoned out of those parts, 'Hitherward to Mark-Lissa with your Corps; leave Fouquet alone!' [HOFBERICHT VON DEN UNTERNEHMUNGEN DES FOUQUETSCHEN CORPS, IM JULIUS 1759: in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 582-586.]
"After which, Fouquet, things being altogether quiet round him, was summoned, with most part of his force, to Schmottseifen; left General Goltz (a man we have met before) to guard Landshut; and was in fair hopes of proving helpful to Prince Henri,—when Harsch [Harsch by himself this time, not Harsch and Deville as usual] thought here was his opportunity; and came with a great apparatus, as if to swallow Landshut whole. So that Fouquet had to hurry off reinforcements thither; and at length to go himself, leaving Stutterheim in his stead at Schmottseifen. Goltz, however, with his small handful, stood well to his work. And there fell out sharp fencings at Landshut:—especially one violent attack on our outposts; the Austrians quite triumphant; till 'a couple of cannon open on them from the next Hill,'—till some violent Werner or other charge in upon them with Prussian Hussars;—a desperate tussle, that special one of Werner's; not only sabres flashing furiously on both sides, but butts of pistols and blows on the face: [Tempelhof, iii. 233: 31st August.] till, in short, Harsch finds he can make nothing of it, and has taken himself away, before Fouquet come." This Goltz, here playing Anti-Harsch, is the Goltz who, with Winterfeld, Schmettau and others, was in that melancholy Zittau march, of the Prince of Prussia's, in 1757: it was Goltz by whom the King sent his finishing compliment, "You deserve, all of you, to be tried by Court-Martial, and to lose your heads!" Goltz is mainly concerned with Fouquet and Silesia, in late times; and we shall hear of him once again. Fouquet did not return to Schmottseifen; nor was molested again in Landshut this year, though he soon had to detach, for the King's use, part of his Landshut force, and had other Silesian business which fell to him.
FORTRESS OF PEITZ. The poor Fortress of Peitz was taken again;—do readers remember it, "on the day of Zorndorf," last year? "This year, a fortnight after Kunersdorf, the same old Half-pay Gentleman with his Five-and-forty Invalids have again been set adrift, 'with the honors of war,' poor old creatures; lest by possibility they afflict the dear Russians and our meal-carts up yonder. [Tempelhof, iii. 231: 27th August.] I will forget who took Peitz: perhaps Haddick, of whom we have lately heard so much? He was captor of Berlin in 1757, did the Inroad on Berlin that year,—and produced Rossbach shortly after. Peitz, if he did Peitz, was Haddick's last success in the world. Haddick has been most industrious, 'guarding the Russian flank,'—standing between the King and it, during that Soltikof march to Mullrose, to Lieberose; but that once done, and the King settled at Waldau, Haddick was ordered to Saxony, against Wunsch and Finck:—and readers know already what he made of these Two in the 'Action at Korbitz, September 21st,'—and shall hear soon what befell Haddick himself in consequence."
COLONEL HORDT IS CAPTURED. "It was in that final marching of Soltikof to Lieberose that a distinguished Ex-Swede, Colonel Hordt, of the Free Corps HORDT, was taken prisoner. At Trebatsch; hanging on Soltikof's right flank on that occasion. It was not Haddick, it was a swarm of Cossacks who laid Hordt fast; his horse having gone to the girths in a bog. [Memoires du Comte de Hordt (a Berlin, 1789), ii. 53-58 (not dated or intelligible there): in Tempelhof (iii. 235, 236) clear account, "Trebatsch, September 4th."] Hordt, an Ex-Swede of distinction,—a Royalist Exile, on whose head the Swedes have set a price (had gone into 'Brahe's Plot,' years since, Plot on behalf of the poor Swedish King, which cost Brahe his life),—Hordt now might have fared ill, had not Friedrich been emphatic, 'Touch a hair of him, retaliation follows on the instant!' He was carried to Petersburg; 'lay twenty-six months and three days' in solitary durance there; and we may hear a word from him again."
ZIETHEN ALMOST CAPTURED. "Prince Henri, in the last days of August, marched to Sagan in person; [Tempelhof, iii. 231: 29th August.] Ziethen along with him; multifariously manoeuvring 'to regain communication with the King.' Of course, with no want of counter-manoeuvring, of vigilant outposts, cunningly devised detachments and assiduous small measures on the part of Daun. Who, one day, had determined on a more considerable thing; that of cutting out Ziethen from the Sagan neighborhood. And would have done it, they say,—had not he been too cunctatory. September 2d, Ziethen, who is posted in the little town of Sorau, had very nearly been cut off. In Sorau, westward, Daun-ward, of Sagan a short day's march: there sat Ziethen, conscious of nothing particular,—with Daun secretly marching on him; Daun in person, from the west, and two others from the north and from the south, who are to be simultaneous on Sorau and the Zietheners. A well-laid scheme; likely to have finished Ziethen satisfactorily, who sat there aware of nothing. But it all miswent: Daun, on the road, noticed some trifling phenomenon (Prussian party of horse, or the like), which convinced his cautious mind that all was found out; that probably a whole Prussian Army, instead of a Ziethen only, was waiting at Sorau; upon which Daun turned home again, sorry that he could not turn the other two as well. The other two were stronger than Ziethen, could they have come upon him by surprise; or have caught him before he got through a certain Pass, or bit of bad ground, with his baggage. But Ziethen, by some accident, or by his own patrols, got notice; loaded his baggage instantly; and was through the Pass, or half through it, and in a condition to give stroke for stroke with interest, when his enemies came up. Nothing could be done upon Ziethen; who marched on, he and all his properties, safe to Sagan that night,—owing to Daun's over-caution, and to Ziethen's own activity and luck." [Tempelhof, iii. 233.]
All this was prior to the loss of Dresden. During the crisis of that, when everybody was bestirring himself, Prince Henri made extraordinary exertions: "Much depends on me; all on me!" sighed Henri. A cautious little man; but not incapable of risking, in the crisis of a game for life and death. Friedrich and he are wedged asunder by that dike of Russians and Austrians, which goes from Bober river eastward, post after post, to Hoyerswerda westward, eighty miles along the Lausitz-Brandenburg Frontier, rooting itself through the Lausitz into Bohemia, and the sources of its meal. Friedrich and he cannot communicate except by spies ("the first JAGER," or regular express "from the King, arrived September 13th" [Ib. iii. 207.]): but both are of one mind; both are on one problem, "What is to be done with that impassable dike?"—and co-operate sympathetically without communicating. What follows bears date AFTER the loss of Dresden, but while Henri still knew only of the siege,—that JAGER of the 13th first brought him news of the loss.
"A day or two after Ziethen's adventure, Henri quits Sagan, to move southward for a stroke at the Bohemian-Lausitz magazines; a stroke, and series of strokes. SEPTEMBER 8th, Ziethen and (in Fouquet's absence at Landshut) Stutterheim are pushed forward into the Zittau Country; first of all upon Friedland,—the Zittau Friedland, for there are Friedlands many! SEPTEMBER 9th, Stutterheim summons Friedland, gets it; gets the bit of magazine there; and next day hastens on to Zittau. Is refused surrender of Zittau; learns, however, that the magazine has been mostly set on wheels again, and is a stage forward on the road to Bohemia; whitherward Stutterheim, quitting Zittau as too tedious, hastens after it, and next day catches it, or the unburnt remains of it. A successful Stutterheim. Nor is Ziethen idle in the mean while; Ziethen and others; whom no Deville or Austrian Party thinks itself strong enough to meddle with, Prince Henri being so near.
"Here is a pretty tempest in the heart of our Bohemian meal-conduit! Continue that, and what becomes of Soltikof and me? Daun is off from Triebel Country to this dangerous scene; indignantly cashiers Deville, 'Why did not you attack these Ziethen people? Had not you 10,000, Sir?' Cashiers poor Deville for not attacking;—does not himself attack: but carts away the important Gorlitz magazine, to Bautzen, which is the still more important one; sits down on the lid of that (according to wont); shoots out O'Donnell (an Irish gentleman, Deville's successor), and takes every precaution. Prince Henri, in presence of O'Donnell, coalesces again; walks into Gorlitz; encamps there, on the Landskron and other Heights (Moys Hill one of them, poor Winterfeld's Hill!),—and watches a little how matters will turn, and whether Daun, severely vigilant from Bautzen, seated on the lid of his magazine, will not perhaps rise."
First and last, Daun in this business has tried several things; but there was pretty much always, and emphatically there now is, only one thing that could be effectual: To attack Prince Henri, and abolish him from those countries;—as surely might have been possible, with twice his strength at your disposal?—This, though sometimes he seemed to be thinking of such a thing, Daun never would try: for which the subsequent FACTS, and all good judges, were and are inexorably severe on Daun. Certain it is, no rashness could have better spilt Daun's game than did this extreme caution.
Soltikof's disgust at this new movement of Daun's was great and indignant. "Instead of going at the King, and getting some victory for himself, he has gone to Bautzen, and sat down on his meal-bags! Meal? Is it to be a mere fighting for meal? I will march to-morrow for Poland, for Preussen, and find plenty of meal!" And would have gone, they say, had not Mercury, in the shape of Montalembert with his most zealous rhetoric, intervened; and prevailed with difficulty. "One hour of personal interview with Excellency Daun," urges Montalembert; "one more!" "No," answers Soltikof.—"Alas, then, send your messenger!" To which last expedient Soltikof does assent, and despatches Romanzof on the errand.
SEPTEMBER 15th, at Bautzen, at an early hour, there is meeting accordingly; not Romanzof, Soltikof's messenger, alone, but Zweibruck in person, Daun in person; and most earnest council is held. "A noble Russian gentleman sees how my hands are bound," pleads Daun. "Will not Excellency Soltikof, who disdains idleness, go himself upon Silesia, upon Glogau for instance, and grant me a few days?" "No," answers Romanzof; "Excellency Soltikof by himself will not. Let Austria furnish Siege-Artillery; daily meal I need not speak of; 10,000 fresh Auxiliaries beyond those we have: on these terms Excellency Soltikof will perhaps try it; on lower terms, positively not." "Well then, yes!" answers Daun, not without qualms of mind. Daun has a horror at weakening himself to that extent; but what can he do? "General Campitelli, with the 10,000, let him march this night, then; join with General Loudon where you please to order: Excellency Soltikof shall see that in every point I conform." [Tempelhof, iii. 247-249.]—An important meeting to us, this at Bautzen; and breaks up the dead-lock into three or more divergent courses of activity; which it will now behoove us to follow, with the best brevity attainable. "Bautzen, Saturday, 15th September, early in the morning," that is the date of the important Colloquy. And precisely eight-and-forty hours before, "on Thursday, 13th, about 10 A.M.", in the western Environs of Quebec, there has fallen out an Event, quite otherwise important in the History of Mankind! Of which readers shall have some notice at a time more convenient.—
Romanzof returning with such answer, Soltikof straightway gathers himself, September 15th-16th, and gets on march. To Friedrich's joy; who hopes it may be homeward; waits two days at Waldau, for the Yes or No. On the second day, alas, it is No: "Going for Silesia, I perceive; thither, by a wide sweep northward, which they think will be safer!" Upon which Friedrich also rises; follows, with another kind of speed than Soltikof's; and, by one of his swift clutchings, lays hold of Sagan, which he, if Soltikof has not, sees to be a key-point in this operation. Easy for Soltikof to have seized this key-point, key of the real road to Glogau; easy for Loudon and the new 10,000 to have rendezvoused there: but nobody has thought of doing it. A few Croats were in the place, who could make no debate.
From Sagan Friedrich and Henri are at length in free communication; Sagan to the Landskron at Gorlitz is some fifty miles of country, now fallen vacant. From Henri, from Fouquet (the dangers of Landshut being over), Friedrich is getting what reinforcement they can spare (September 20th-24th); will then push forward again, industriously sticking to the flanks of Soltikof, thrusting out stumbling-blocks, making his march very uncomfortable.
Strange to say, from Sagan, while waiting two days for these reinforcements, there starts suddenly to view, suddenly for Friedrich and us, an incipient Negotiation about Peace! Actual Proposal that way (or as good as actual, so Voltaire thinks it), on the part of Choiseul and France; but as yet in Voltaire's name only, by a sure though a backstairs channel, of his discovering. Of which, and of the much farther corresponding that did actually follow on it, we purpose to say something elsewhere, at a better time. Meanwhile Voltaire's announcement of it to the King has just come in, through a fair and high Hand: how Friedrich receives it, what Friedrich's inner feeling is, and has been for a fortnight past—Here are some private utterances of his, throwing a straggle of light on those points:—
FOUR LETTERS OF FRIEDRICH'S (10th-24th September).
No. 1. TO PRINCE FERDINAND (at Berlin). Poor little Ferdinand, the King's Brother, fallen into bad health, has retired from the Wars, and gone to Berlin; much an object of anxiety to the King, who diligently corresponds with the dear little man,—giving earnest medical advices, and getting Berlin news in return.
"WALDAU, 10th September, 1759.
"Since my last Letter, Dresden has capitulated,—the very day while Wunsch was beating Maguire at The Barns (north side of Dresden, September 5th) day AFTER the capitulation]. Wunsch went back to Torgau, which St. Andre, with 14,000 Reichs-people under him, was for retaking; him too Wunsch beat, took all his tents, kettles, haversacks and utensils, 300 prisoners, six cannon and some standards. Finck is uniting with Wunsch; they will march on the Prince of Zweibruck, and retake Dresden [hopes always, for a year and more, to have Dresden back very soon]. I trust before long to get all these people gathered round Dresden, and our own Country rid of them: that, I take it, will be the end of the Campaign.
"Many compliments to the Prince of Wurtemberg [wounded at Kunersdorf], and to all our wounded Generals: I hope Seidlitz is now out of danger: that bleeding fit (EBULLITION DE SANG) will cure him of the cramp in his jaw, and of his colics; and as he is in bed, he won't take cold. I hope the viper-broth will do you infinite good; be assiduous in patching your constitution, while there is yet some fine weather left: I dread the winter for you; take a great deal of care against cold. I have still a couple of cruel months ahead of me before ending this Campaign. Within that time, there will be, God knows what upshot." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxvi. 544.]—This is "September 10th:" the day of Captain Kollas's arrival with his bad Dresden news; Daun and Soltikof profoundly quiet for three days more.
No. 2. TO THE DUCHESS OF SACHSEN-GOTHA (at Gotha). Voltaire has enclosed his Peace-Proposal to that Serene Lady, always a friend of Friedrich's and his; to whom Friedrich, directly on receipt of it, makes answer:—
"SAGAN, 22d September, 1759.
"MADAM,—I receive on all occasions proofs of your goodness, to which I am as sensible as a chivalrous man can be. Certainly it is not through your hands, Madam, that my Correspondence with V. [with Voltaire, if one durst write it in full] ought to be made to pass! Nevertheless, in present circumstances, I will presume to beg that you would forward to him the Answer here enclosed, on which I put no Address. The difficulty of transmitting Letters has made me choose my Brother," Ferdinand, at Berlin, "to have this conveyed to your hand.
"If I gave bridle to my feelings, now would be the moment for developing them; but in these critical times I judge it better not; and will restrict myself to simple assurances of—" F.
No. 3. TO VOLTAIRE, at the Delices (so her Serene Highness will address it). Here is part of the Enclosure to "V." Friedrich is all for Peace; but keeps on his guard with such an Ambassador, and writes in a proud, light, only half-believing style:—
"SAGAN, 22d September, 1759.
"The Duchess of Sachsen-Gotha sends me your Letter. I never received your packet of the 29th: communications all interrupted here; with much trouble I get this passed on to you, if it is happy enough to pass.
"My position is not so desperate as my enemies give out. I expect to finish my Campaign tolerably; my courage is not sunk:—it appears, however, there is talk of Peace. All I can say of positive on this article is, That I have honor for ten; and that, whatever misfortune befall me, I feel myself incapable of doing anything to wound, the least in the world, this principle,—which is so sensitive and delicate for one who thinks like a gentleman (PENSE EN PREUX CHEVALIER); and so little regarded by rascally politicians, who think like tradesmen.
"I know nothing of what you have been telling me about [your backstairs channels, your Duc de Choiseul and his humors]: but for making Peace there are two conditions which I never will depart from: 1. To make it conjointly with my faithful Allies [Hessen and England; I have no other]; 2. To make it honorable and glorious. Observe you, I have still honor remaining; I will preserve that, at the price of my blood.
"If your people want Peace, let them propose nothing to me which contradicts the delicacy of my sentiments. I am in the convulsions of military operations; I do as the gamblers who are in ill-luck, and obstinately set themselves against Fortune. I have forced her to return to me, more than once, like a fickle mistress, when she had run away. My opponents are such foolish people, in the end I bid fair to catch some advantage over them: but, happen whatsoever his Sacred Majesty Chance may please, I don't disturb myself about it. Up to this point, I have a clear conscience in regard to the misfortunes that have come to me. As to you, the Battle of Minden, that of Cadiz" (Boscawen VERSUS De la Clue; Toulon Fleet running out, and caught by the English, as we saw), these things perhaps, "and the loss of Canada, are arguments capable of restoring reason to the French, who had got confused by the Austrian hellebore.
"This is my way of thinking. You do not find me made of rose-water: but Henri Quatre, Louis Quatorze,—my present enemies even, whom I could cite [Maria Theresa, twenty years ago, when your Belleisle set out to cut her in Four],—were of no softer temper either. Had I been born a private man, I would yield everything for the love of Peace; but one has to take the tone of one's position. This is all I can tell you at present. In three or four weeks the ways of correspondence will be freer.—F." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 60, 61.]
No. 4. TO PRINCE FERDINAND. Two days later: has got on foot again,—end of his first march upon Soltikof again:—
"BAUNAU, 24th September, 1759.
"Thank you for the news you send of the wounded Officers," Wurtemberg, Seidlitz and the others. "You may well suppose that in the pass things are at, I am not without cares, inquietudes, anxieties; it is the frightfulest crisis I have had in my life. This is the moment for dying unless one conquer. Daun and my Brother Henri are marching side by side [not exactly!]. It is possible enough all these Armies may assemble hereabouts, and that a general Battle may decide our fortune and the Peace. Take care of your health, dear Brother.—F." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxvi. 545.]
Baunau is on Silesian ground, as indeed Sagan itself is; at Baunau Friedrich already, just on arriving, has done a fine move on Soltikof, and surprisingly flung the toll-gate in Soltikof's face. As we shall see by and by;—and likewise that Prince Henri, who emerges to-morrow morning (September 25th), has not been "marching side by side with Daun," but at a pretty distance from that gentleman!—
Soltikof is a man of his word; otherwise one suspects he already saw his Siege of Glogau to be impossible. Russians are not very skilful at the War-minuet: fancy what it will be dancing to such a partner! Friedrich, finding they are for Glogau, whisks across the Oder, gets there before them: "No Glogau for you!" They stand agape for some time; then think "Well then Breslau!" Friedrich again whisks across from them, farther up, and is again ahead of them when they cross: "No Breslau either!" In effect, it is hopeless; and we may leave the two manoeuvring in those waste parts, astride of Oder, or on the eastern bank of it, till a fitter opportunity; and attend to Henri, who is now the article in risk.
Zweibruck's report of himself, on that day of the general Colloquy, was not in the way of complaint, like that of the Russians, though there did remain difficulties. "Dresden gloriously ours; Maguire Governor there, and everything secure; upon my honor. But in the northwest part, those Fincks and Wunsches, Excellenz?"—And the actual truth is, Wunsch has taken Leipzig, day before yesterday (September 13th), as Daun sorrowfully knows, by news come in overnight. And six days hence (September 21st), Finck and Wunsch together will do their "ACTION OF KORBITZ," and be sending Haddick a bad road! These things Zweibruck knows only in part; but past experience gives him ominous presentiment, as it may well do; and he thinks decidedly: "Excellenz, more Austrian troops are indispensable there; in fact, your Excellenz's self, were that possible; which one feels it is not, in the presence of these Russians!"
Russians and Reichsfolk, these are a pair of thumbscrews on both thumbs of Daun; screwing the cunctation out of him; painfully intimating: "Get rid of this Prince Henri; you must, you must!" And, in the course of the next eight days Daun has actually girt himself to this great enterprise. Goaded on, I could guess, by the "Action of Korbitz" (done on Friday, thirty hours ago); the news of which, and that Haddick, instead of extinguishing Finck, is retreating from him upon Dresden,—what a piece of news! thinks Daun: "You, Zweibruck, Haddick, Maguire and Company, you are 36,000 in Saxony; Finck has not 12,000 in the field: How is this?"—and indignantly dismisses Haddick altogether: "Go, Sir, and attend to your health!" [Tempelhof, iii. 276, 258-261.] News poignantly astonishing to Daun, as would seem;—like an ox-goad in the lazy rear of Daun. Certain it is, Daun had marched out to Gorlitz in collected form; and, on Saturday afternoon, SEPTEMBER 22d is personally on the Heights (not Moys Hill, I should judge, but other points of vision), taking earnest survey of Prince Henri's position on the Landskron there. "To-morrow morning we attack that Camp," thinks Daun; "storm Prince Henri and it: be rid of him, at any price!" [Ib. iii. 253-256 (for the March now ensuing): iii. 228-234, 241-247 (for Henri's anterior movements).]
"To-morrow morning," yes:—but this afternoon, and earlier, Prince Henri has formed a great resolution, his plans all laid, everything in readiness; and it is not here you will find Prince Henri to-morrow. This is his famous March of Fifty Hours, this that we are now come to; which deserves all our attention,—and all Daun's much more! Prince Henri was habitually a man cautious in War; not aggressive, like his Brother, but defensive, frugal of risks, and averse to the lion-springs usual with some people; though capable of them, too, in the hour of need. Military men are full of wonder at the bold scheme he now fell upon; and at his style of executing it. Hardly was Daun gone home to his meditations on the storm of the Landskron to-morrow, and tattoo beaten in Prince Henri's Camp there, when, at 8 that Saturday evening, issuing softly, with a minimum of noise, in the proper marching columns, baggage-columns, Henri altogether quitted this Camp; and vanished like a dream. Into the Night; men and goods, every item:—who shall say whitherward? Leaving only a few light people to keep up the watch-fires and sentry-cries, for behoof of Daun! Let readers here, who are in the secret, watch him a little from afar.
Straight northward goes Prince Henri, down Neisse Valley, 20 miles or so, to Rothenburg; in columns several-fold, with much delicate arranging, which was punctually followed: and in the course of to-morrow Prince Henri is bivouacked, for a short rest of three hours,—hidden in unknown space, 20 miles from Daun, when Daun comes marching up to storm him on the Landskron! Gone veritably; but whitherward Daun cannot form the least guess. Daun can only keep his men under arms there, all day; while his scouts gallop far and wide,—bringing in this false guess and the other; and at length returning with the eminently false one, misled by some of Henri's baggage-columns, which have to go many routes, That the Prince is on march for Glogau:—"Gone northeast; that way went his wagons; these we saw with our eyes." "Northeast? Yes, to Glogau possibly enough," thinks Daun: "Or may not he, cunning as he is and full of feints, intend a stroke on Bautzen, in my absence?"—and hastens thither again, and sits down on the Magazine-lid, glad to find nothing wrong there.
This is all that Daun hears of Henri for the next four days. Plenty of bad news from Saxony in these four days: the Finck-Haddick Action of Korbitz, a dismal certainty before one started,—and Haddick on his road to some Watering Place by this time! But no trace of Henri farther; since that of the wagons wending northeast. "Gone to Glogau, to his Brother: no use in pushing him, or trying to molest him there!" thinks Daun; and waits, in stagnant humor, chewing the cud of bitter enough thoughts, till confirmation of that guess arrive:—as it never will in this world! Read an important Note:—
"To northward of Bautzen forty miles, and to westward forty miles, the country is all Daun's; only towards Glogau, with the Russians and Friedrich thereabouts, does it become disputable, or offer Prince Henri any chance. Nevertheless it is not to Glogau, it is far the reverse, that the nimble Henri has gone. Resting himself at Rothenburg 'three hours' (speed is of all things the vitalest), Prince Henri starts again, SUNDAY afternoon, straight westward this time. Marches, with his best swiftness, with his best arrangements, through many sleeping Villages, to Klitten, not a wakeful one: a march of 18 miles from Rothenburg;—direct for the Saxon side of things, instead of the Silesian, as Daun had made sure.
"At Klitten, MONDAY morning, bivouac again, for a few hours,—'has no Camp, only waits three hours,' is Archenholtz's phrase: but I suppose the meaning is, Waits till the several Columns, by their calculated routes, have all got together; and till the latest in arriving has had 'three hours' of rest,—the earliest having perhaps gone on march again, in the interim? There are 20 miles farther, still straight west, to Hoyerswerda, where the outmost Austrian Division is: 'Forward towards that; let us astonish General Wehla and his 3,000, and our March is over!' All this too Prince Henri manages; never anything more consummate, more astonishing to Wehla and his Master.
"Wehla and Brentano, readers perhaps remember them busy, from the Pirna side, at the late Siege of Dresden. Siege gloriously done, Wehla was ordered to Hoyerswerda, on the northwest frontier; Brentano to a different point in that neighborhood; where Brentano escaped ruin, and shall not be mentioned; but Wehla suddenly found it, and will require a word. Wehla, of all people on the War-theatre, had been the least expecting disturbance. He is on the remotest western flank; to westward of him nothing but Torgau and the Finck-Wunsch people, from whom is small likelihood of danger: from the eastern what danger can there be? A Letter of Dauns, some days ago, had expressly informed him that, to all appearance, there was none.
"And now suddenly, on the Tuesday morning, What is this? Prussians reported to be visible in the Woods! 'Impossible!' answered Wehla;—did get ready, however, what he could; Croat Regiments, pieces of Artillery behind the Elster River and on good points; laboring more and more diligently, as the news proved true. But all his efforts were to no purpose. General Lentulus with his Prussians (the mute Swiss Lentulus, whom we sometimes meet), who has the Vanguard this day, comes streaming out of the woods across the obstacles; cannonades Wehla both in front and rear; entirely swallows Wehla and Corps: 600 killed; the General himself, with 28 Field-Officers, and of subalterns and privates 1,785, falling prisoners to us; and the remainder scattered on the winds, galloping each his own road towards covert and a new form of life. Wehla is eaten, in this manner, Tuesday, September 25th:—metaphorically speaking, the March of Fifty Hours ends in a comfortable twofold meal (military-cannibal, as well as of common culinary meat), and in well-deserved rest." [Tempelhof, iii. 255, 256; Seyfarth, Beylagen; &c.]
The turning-point of the Campaign is reckoned to be this March of Henri's; one of the most extraordinary on record. Prince Henri had a very fast March INTO these Silesian-Lausitz Countries, early in July, [Seyfarth, ii. 545.] and another very fast, from Bautzen, to intersect with Schmottseifen, in the end of July: but these were as nothing compared with the present. Tempelhof, the excellent solid man,—but who puts all things, big and little, on the same level of detail, and has unparalleled methods of arranging (what he reckons to be "arranging"), and no vestige of index,—is distressingly obscure on this grand Incident; but at length, on compulsion, does yield clear account. [Tempelhof, iii. 253-258.] In Archenholtz it is not DATED at all; who merely says as follows: "Most extraordinary march ever made; went through 50 miles of Country wholly in the Enemy's possession; lasted 56 hours, in which long period there was no camp pitched, and only twice a rest of three hours allowed the troops. During the other fifty hours the march, day and night, continually proceeded. Ended (NO date) in surprise of General Wehla at Hoyerswerda, cutting up 600 of his soldiers, and taking 1,800 prisoners. Kalkreuth, since so famous," in the Anti-Napoleon Wars, "was the Prince's Adjutant." [Archenholtz, i. 426.]
This is probably Prince Henri's cleverest feat,—though he did a great many of clever; and his Brother used to say, glancing towards him, "There is but one of us that never committed a mistake." A highly ingenious dexterous little man in affairs of War, sharp as needles, vehement but cautious; though of abstruse temper, thin-skinned, capricious, and giving his Brother a great deal of trouble with his jealousies and shrewish whims. By this last consummate little operation he has astonished Daun as much as anybody ever did; shorn his elaborate tissue of cunctations into ruin and collapse at one stroke; and in effect, as turns out, wrecked his campaign for this Year.
Daun finds there is now no hope of Saxony, unless he himself at once proceed thither. At once thither;—and leave Glogau and the Russians to their luck,—which in such case, what is it like to be? Probably, to Daun's own view, ominous enough; but he has no alternative. To this pass has the March of Fifty Hours brought us. There is such a thing as being too cunctatory, is not there, your Excellency? Every mortal, and more especially every Feldmarschall, ought to strike the iron while it is hot. The remainder of this Campaign, we will hope, can be made intelligible in a more summary manner.
Friedrich's manoeuvres against Soltikof,—every reader is prepared to hear that Soltikof was rendered futile by them: and none but military readers could take delight in the details. Two beautiful short-cuts he made upon Soltikof; pulled him up both times in mid career, as with hard check-bit. The first time was at Zobelwitz: September 24th, Friedrich cut across from Sagan, which is string to bow of the Russian march; posted himself on the Heights of Zobelwitz, of Baunau, Milkau (at Baunau Friedrich will write a LETTER this night, if readers bethink themselves; Milkau is a place he may remember for rain-deluges, in the First Silesian War [Supra, p. 323; ib. vol. vii. p. 311.]): "Let the Russians, if they now dare, try the Pass of Neustadtel here!" A fortunate hour, when he got upon this ground. Quartermaster-General Stoffel, our old Custrin acquaintance, is found marking out a Camp with a view to that Pass of Neustadtel; [Tempelhof, iii. 293; Retzow, ii. 163.] is, greatly astonished to find the Prussian Army emerge on him there; and at once vanishes, with his Hussar-Cossack retinues. "September 24th," it is while Prince Henri was on the last moiety of his March of Fifty Hours. This severe twitch flung Soltikof quite out from Glogau,—was like to fling him home altogether, had it not been for Montalembert's eloquence;—did fling him across the Oder. Where, again thanks to Montalembert, he was circling on with an eye to Breslau, when Friedrich, by the diameter, suddenly laid bridges, crossed at Koben, and again brought Soltikof to halt, as by turnpike suddenly shut: "Must pay first; must beat us first!"
These things had raised Friedrich's spirits not a little. Getting on the Heights of Zobelwitz, he was heard to exclaim, "This is a lucky day; worth more to me than a battle with victory." [Retzow, ii. 163.] Astonishing how he blazed out again, quite into his old pride and effulgence, after this, says Retzow. Had been so meek, so humbled, and even condescended to ask advice or opinion from some about him. Especially "from two Captains," says the Opposition Retzow, whose heads were nearly turned by this sunburst from on high. Captain Marquart and another,—I believe, he did employ them about Routes and marking of Camps, which Retzow calls consulting: a King fallen tragically scarce of persons to consult; all his Winterfelds, Schwerins, Keiths and Council of Peers now vanished, and nothing but some intelligent-looking Captain Marquart, or the like, to consult:—of which Retzow, in his splenetic Opposition humor, does not see the tragedy, but rather the comedy: how the poor Captains found their favor to be temporary, conditional, and had to collapse again. One of them wrote an "ESSAY on the COUP-D'OEIL MILITAIRE," over which Retzow pretends to weep. This was Friedrich's marginal Note upon the MS., when submitted to his gracious perusal: "You (ER) will do better to acquire the Art of marking Camps than to write upon the Military Stroke of Eye." Beautifully written too, says Retzow; but what, in the eyes of this King, is beautiful writing, to knowing your business well? No friend he to writing, unless you have got something really special, and urgent to be written.
Friedrich crassed the Oder twice. Took Soltikof on both sides of the Oder, cut him out of this fond expectation, then of that; led him, we perceive, a bad life. Latterly the scene was on the right bank; Sophienthal, Koben, Herrnstadt and other poor places,—on that big eastern elbow, where Oder takes his final bend, or farewell of Poland. Ground, naturally, of some interest to Friedrich: ground to us unknown; but known to Friedrich as the ground where Karl XII. gave Schulenburg his beating, ["Near Guhrau" (while chasing August the Strong and him out of Poland), "12th October, 1704:" vague account of it, dateless, and as good as placeless, in Voltaire (Charles Douse, liv. iii.), OEuvres, xxx. 142-145.] which produced the "beautiful retreat" of Schulenburg. The old Feldmarschall Schulenburg whom we used to hear of once,—whose Nephew, a pipeclayed little gentleman, was well known to Friedrich and us.
For the rest, I do not think he feels this out-manoeuvring of the Russians very hard work. Already, from Zobelwitz Country, 25th September, day of Henri at Hoyerswerda, Friedrich had written to Fouquet: "With 21,000 your beaten and maltreated Servant has hindered an Army of 50,000 from attacking him, and compelled them to retire on Neusatz!" Evidently much risen in hope; and Henri's fine news not yet come to hand. By degrees, Soltikof, rendered futile, got very angry; especially when Daun had to go for Saxony. "Meal was becoming impossible, at any rate," whimpers Daun: "O Excellency, do but consider, with the nobleness natural to you! Our Court will cheerfully furnish money, instead of meal."—"Money? My people cannot eat money!" growled Soltikof, getting more and more angry; threatening daily to march for Posen and his own meal-stores. What a time of it has Montalembert, has the melancholy Loudon, with temper so hot!
At Sophienthal, October 10th, Friedrich falls ill of gout;—absolutely lamed; for three weeks cannot stir from his room. Happily the outer problem is becoming easier and easier; almost bringing its own solution. At Sophienthal the lame Friedrich takes to writing about CHARLES XII. AND HIS MILITARY CHARACTER,—not a very illuminative Piece, on the first perusal, but I intend to read it again; [REFLEXIONS SUR LES TALENS MILITAIRES ET SUR LE CARACTERE DE CHARLES XII. (OEuvres de Frederic, vii. 69-88).]—which at least helps him to pass the time. Soltikof, more and more straitened, meal itself running low, gets angrier and angrier. His treatment of the Country, Montalembert rather encouraging, is described as "horrible." One day he takes the whim, whim or little more, of seizing Herrnstadt; a small Town, between the Two Armies, where the Prussians have a Free Battalion. The Prussian Battalion resists; drives Soltikof's people back. "Never mind," think they: "a place of no importance to us; and Excellency Soltikof has ridden else-whither." By ill-luck, in the afternoon, Excellency Soltikof happened to mention the place again. Hearing that the Prussians still have it, Soltikof mounts into a rage; summons the place, with answer still No; thereupon orders instant bombardment of it, fiery storms of grenadoes for it; and has the satisfaction of utterly burning poor Herrnstadt; the Prussian Free-Corps still continuing obstinate. It was Soltikof's last act in those parts, and betokens a sulphurous state of humor.
Next morning (October 24th), he took the road for Posen, and marched bodily home. [Tempelhof, iii. 299, 291-300 (general account, abundantly minute).] Home verily, in spite of Montalembert and all men. "And for me, what orders has Excellency?" Loudon had anxiously inquired, on the eve of that event. "None whatever!" answered Excellency: "Do your own pleasure; go whithersoever seems good to you." And Loudon had to take a wide sweep round, by Kalish, through the western parts of Poland; and get home to the Troppau-Teschen Country as he best could.
By Kalish, by Czenstochow, Cracow, poor Loudon had to go: a dismal march of 300 miles or more,—waited on latterly by Fouquet, with Werner, Goltz and others, on the Silesian Border; whom Friedrich had ordered thither for such end. Whom Loudon skilfully avoided to fight; having already, by desertion and by hardships, lost half his men on the road. Glad enough to get home and under roof, with his 20,000 gone to 10,000; and to make bargain with Fouquet: "Truce, then, through Winter; neither of us to meddle with the other, unless after a fortnight's warning given." [Tempelhof, iii. 328-331.] NOVEMBER 1st, a month before this, the King, carried on a litter by his soldiers, had quitted Sophienthal; and, crossing the River by Koben, got to Glogau. [Rodenbeck, i. 396.] The greater part of his force, 13,000 under Hulsen, he had immediately sent on for Saxony; he himself intending to wait recovery in Glogau, with this Silesian wing of the business happily brought to finis for the present.
On the Saxon side, too, affairs are in such a course that the King can be patient at Glogau till he get well. Everything is prosperous in Saxony since that March on Hoyerswerda; Henri, with his Fincks and Wunsches, beautifully posted in the Meissen-Torgau region; no dislodging of him, let Daun, with his big mass of forces, try as he may. Daun, through the month of October, is in various Camps, in Schilda last of all: Henri successively in two; in Strehla for some ten days; then in Torgau for about three weeks, carefully intrenched, [Tempelhof. iii. 276, 281, 284 (Henri in Strehla, October 4th-17th; thence to Torgau: 22d October, Daun "quits his Camp of Belgern" for that of Schilda, which was his last in those parts).]—where traces of him will turn up (not too opportunely) next year. Daun, from whatever Camp, goes laboring on this side and on that; on every side the deft Henri is as sharp as needles; nothing to be made of him by the cunning movements and contrivances of Daun. Very fine manoeuvring it was, especially on Henri's part; a charm to the soldier mind;—given minutely in Tempelhof, and capable of being followed (if you have Maps and Patience) into the last details. Instructive really to the soldier;—but must be, almost all, omitted here. One beautiful slap to Duke d'Ahremberg (a poor old friend of Daun's and ours) we will remember: "Action of Pretsch" they call it; defeat, almost capture of poor D'Ahremberg; who had been sent to dislodge the Prince, by threatening his supplies, and had wheeled, accordingly, eastward, wide away; but, to his astonishment, found, after a march or two, Three select Prussian Corps emerging on him, by front, by rear, by flank, with Horse-artillery (quasi-miraculous) bursting out on hill-tops, too,—and, in short, nothing for it but to retreat, or indeed to run, in a considerably ruinous style: poor D'Ahremberg! [Seyfarth (Beylagen, ii. 634-637), "HOFBERICHT VON DER AM 29 OCTOBER, 1759, BEY MEURO [chiefly BEY PRETSCH] VORGEFALLENEN ACTION;" ib. ii. 543 n.] On the whole, Daun is reduced to a panting condition; and knows not what to do. His plans were intrinsically bad, says Tempelhof; without beating Henri in battle, which he cannot bring himself to attempt, he, in all probability, will, were it only for difficulties of the commissariat kind, have to fall back Dresden-ward, and altogether take himself away. [Tempelhof, iii. 287-289.]
After this sad slap at Pretsch, Daun paused for consideration; took to palisading himself to an extraordinary degree, slashing the Schilda Forests almost into ruin for this end; and otherwise sat absolutely quiet. Little to be done but take care of oneself. Daun knows withal of Hulsen's impending advent with the Silesian 13,000;—November 2d, Hulsen is actually at Muskau, and his 13,000 magnified by rumor to 20,000. Hearing of which, Daun takes the road (November 4th); quits his gloriously palisaded Camp of Schilda; feels that retreat on Dresden, or even home to Bohemia altogether, is the one course left.
And now, the important Bautzen Colloquy of SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th, having here brought its three or more Courses of Activity to a pause,—we will glance at the far more important THURSDAY, 13th, other side the Ocean:—
ABOVE QUEBEC, NIGHT OF SEPTEMBER 12th-13th, In profound silence, on the stream of the St. Lawrence far away, a notable adventure is going on. Wolfe, from two points well above Quebec ("As a last shift, we will try that way"), with about 5,000 men, is silently descending in boats; with purpose to climb the Heights somewhere on this side the City, and be in upon it, if Fate will. An enterprise of almost sublime nature; very great, if it can succeed. The cliffs all beset to his left hand, Montcalm in person guarding Quebec with his main strength.
Wolfe silently descends; mind made up; thoughts hushed quiet into one great thought; in the ripple of the perpetual waters, under the grim cliffs and the eternal stars. Conversing with his people, he was heard to recite some passages of Gray's ELEGY, lately come out to those parts; of which, says an ear-witness, he expressed his admiration to an enthusiastic degree: "Ah, these are tones of the Eternal Melodies, are not they? A man might thank Heaven had he such a gift; almost as WE might for succeeding here, Gentlemen!" [Professor Robison, then a Naval Junior, in the boat along with Wolfe, afterwards a well-known Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh, was often heard, by persons whom I have heard again, to repeat this Anecdote. See Playfair, BIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF PROFESSOR ROBISON,—in Transactions of Royal Society of Edinburgh, vii. 495 et seq.] Next morning (Thursday, 13th September, 1759), Wolfe, with his 5,000, is found to have scrambled up by some woody Neck in the heights, which was not quite precipitous; has trailed one cannon with him, the seamen busy bringing up another; and by 10 of the clock stands ranked (really somewhat in the Friedrich way, though on a small scale); ready at all points for Montcalm, but refusing to be over-ready.
Montcalm, on first hearing of him, had made haste: "OUI, JE LES VOIS OU ILS NE DOIVENT PAS ETRE; JE VAIS LES E'CRASER (to smash them)!" said he, by way of keeping his people in heart. And marches up, beautifully skilful, neglecting none of his advantages. Has numerous Canadian sharpshooters, preliminary Indians in the bushes, with a provoking fire: "Steady!" orders Wolfe; "from you not one shot till they are within thirty yards." And Montcalm, volleying and advancing, can get no response, more than from Druidic stones; till at thirty yards the stones become vocal,—and continue so at a dreadful rate; and, in a space of seventeen minutes, have blown Montcalm's regulars, and the gallant Montcalm himself, and their second in command, and their third, into ruin and destruction. In about seven minutes more the agony was done; "English falling on with the bayonet, Highlanders with the claymore;" fierce pursuit, rout total:—and Quebec and Canada as good as finished. The thing is yet well known to every Englishman; [The military details of it seem to be very ill known (witness Colonel Beatson's otherwise rather careful Pamphlet, THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM, written quite lately, which we are soon to cite farther); and they would well deserve describing in the SEYFARTH-BEYLAGEN, or even in the TEMPELHOF way,—could an English Officer, on the spot as this Colonel was, be found to do it!—Details are in Beatson (quite another "Beatson"), Naval and Military History, ii. 300-308; in Gentleman's Magazine for 1759, the Despatches and particulars: see also Walpole, George the Second, iii. 217-222.] and how Wolfe himself died in it, his beautiful death.
Truly a bit of right soldierhood, this Wolfe. Manages his small resources in a consummate manner; invents, contrives, attempts and re-attempts, irrepressible by difficulty or discouragement, How could a Friedrich himself have managed this Quebec in a more artistic way? The small Battle itself, 5,000 to a side, and such odds of Savagery and Canadians, reminds you of one of Friedrich's: wise arrangements; exact foresight, preparation corresponding; caution with audacity; inflexible discipline, silent till its time come, and then blazing out as we see. The prettiest soldiering I have heard of among the English for several generations. Amherst, Commander-in-chief, is diligently noosing, and tying up, the French military settlements, Niagara, Ticonderoga; Canada all round: but this is the heart or windpipe of it; keep this firm, and, in the circumstances, Canada is yours.
Colonel Reatson, in his recent Pamphlet, THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM,—which, especially on the military side, is distressingly ignorant and shallow, though NOT intentionally incorrect anywhere,—gives Extracts from a Letter of Montcalm's ("Quebec, 24th August, 1759"), which is highly worth reading, had we room. It predicts to a hair's-breadth, not only the way "M. Wolfe, if he understands his trade, will take to beat and ruin me if we meet in fight;" but also,—with a sagacity singular to look at, in the years 1775-1777, and perhaps still more in the years 1860-1863,—what will be the consequences to those unruly English, Colonial and other. "If he beat me here, France has lost America utterly," thinks Montcalm: "Yes;—and one's only consolation is, In ten years farther, America will be in revolt against England!" Montcalm's style of writing is not exemplary; but his power of faithful observation, his sagacity, and talent of prophecy are so considerable, we are tempted to give the IPSISSIMA VERBA of his long Letter in regard to those two points,—the rather as it seems to have fallen much out of sight in our day:—
MONTCALM TO A COUSIN IN FRANCE.
"CAMP BEFORE QUEBEC, 24th August, 1759.
"MONSIEUR ET CHER COUSIN,—Here I am, for more than three months past, at handgrips with M. Wolfe; who ceases not day or night to bombard Quebec, with a fury which is almost unexampled in the Siege of a Place one intends to retain after taking it."... Will never take it in that way, however, by attacking from the River or south shore; only ruins us, but does not enrich himself. Not an inch nearer his object than he was three months ago; and in one month more the equinoctial storms will blow his Fleet and him away.—Quebec, then, and the preservation of the Colony, you think, must be as good as safe?" Alas, the fact is far otherwise. The capture of Quebec depends on what we call a stroke-of-hand—[But let us take to the Original now, for Prediction First]:—
"La prise de Quebec depend d'un coup de main. Les Anglais sont maitres de la riviere: ils n'ont qu'a effectuer une descente sur la rive ou cette Ville, sans fortifications et sans defense, est situee. Les voila en etat de me presenter la bataille; que je ne pourrais plus refuser, et que je ne devrais pas gagner. M. Wolfe, en effet, s'il entend son metier, n'a qu'a essuyer le premier feu, venir ensuite a grands pas sur mon armee, faire a bout portant sa decharge; mes Canadiens, sans discipline, sourds a la voix du tambour et des instrumens militaires, deranges pa cette escarre, ne sauront plus reprendre leurs rangs. Ils sont d'ailleurs sans baionettes pour repondre a celles de l'ennemi: il ne leur reste qu'a fuir,—et me voila battu sans ressource. [This is a curiously exact Prediction! I won't survive, however; defeat here, in this stage of our affairs, means loss of America altogether:] il est des situations ou il ne reste plus a un General que de perir avec honneur.... Mes sentimens sont francais, et ils le seront jusque dans le tombeau, si dans le tombeau on est encore quelque chose.
"Je me consolerai du moins de ma defaite, et de la perte de la Colonie, par l'intime persuasion ou je suis [Prediction Second, which is still more curious], que cette defaite vaudra, un jour, a ma Patrie plus qu'une victoire; et que le vainqueur, en s'agrandissant, trouvera un tombeau dans son agrandissement meme.
"Ce que j'avance ici, mon cher Cousin, vous paraitra un paradoxe: mais un moment de reflexion politique, un coup d'oeil sur la situation des choses en Amerique, et la verite de mon opinion brillera dans tout son jour. [Nobody will obey, unless necessity compel him: VOILA LES HOMMES; GENE of any kind a nuisance to them; and of all men in the world LES ANGLAIS are the most impatient of obeying anybody.] Mais si ce sont-la les Anglais de l'Europe, c'est encore plus les Anglais d'Amerique. Une grande partie de ces Colons sont les enfans de ces hommes qui s'expatrierent dans ces temps de trouble ou l'ancienne Angleterre, en proie aux divisions, etait attaquee dans ses privileges et droits; et allerent chercher en Amerique une terre ou ils pussent vivre et mourir libres et presque independants:—et ces enfans n'ont pas degenere des sentimens republicains de leurs peres. D'autres sont des hommes ennemis de tout frein, de tout assujetissement, que le gouvernement y a transportes pour leurs crimes, D'autres, enfin, sont un ramas de differentes nations de l'Europe, qui tiennent tres-peu a l'ancienne Angleterre par le coeur et le sentiment; tous, en general, ne ce soucient gueres du Roi ni du Parlement d'Angleterre.
"Je les connais bien,—non sur des rapports etrangers, mais sur des correspondances et des informations secretes, que j'ai moi-meme menagees; et dont, un jour, si Dieu me prete vie, je pourrai faire usage a l'avantage de ma Patrie. Pour surcroit de bonheur pour eux, tous ces Colons sont parvenues, dans un etat tres-florissant; ils sont nombreux et riches:—ils recueillent dans le sein de leur patrie toutes les necessites de la vie. L'ancienne Angleterre a ete assez sotte, et assez dupe, pour leur laisser etablir chez eux les arts, les metiers, les manufactures:—c'est a dire, qu'elle leur a laisse briser la chaine de besoins qui les liait, qui les attachait a elle, et qui les fait dependants. Aussi toutes ces Colonies Anglaises auraient-elles depuis longtemps secoue le joug, chaque province aurait forme une petite republique independante, si la crainte de voir les Francais a leur Porte n'avait ete un frein qui les avait retenu. Maitres pour maitres, ils ont pefere leurs compatriotes aux etrangers; prenant cependant pour maxime de n'obeir que le moins qu'ils pourraient. Mais que le Canada vint a etre conquis, et que les Canadiens et ces Colons ne fussent plus qu'une seul peuple,—et la premiere occasion ou l'ancienne Angleterre semblerait toucher a leurs interets, croyez-vous, mon cher Cousin, que ces Colons obeiront? Et qu'auraient-ils a craindre en se revoltant?... Je suis si sur de ce que j'ecris, que je ne donnerais pas dix ans apres la conquete du Canada pour en voir l'accomplissement.
"Voila ce que, comme Francais, me console aujourd'hui du danger imminent, que court ma Patrie, de voir cette Colonie perdue pour elle." [In Beatson, Lieutenant-Colonel R.E., The Plains of Abraham; Notes original and selected (Gibraltar, Garrison Library Press, 1858), pp. 38 et seq.] Extract from "Lettres de M. le Marquis de Montcalm a MM. De Berryer et De la Mole: 1757-1759 (Londres, 1777),"—which is not in the British-Museum Library, on applying; and seems to be a forgotten Book. (NOTE OF FIRST EDITION, 1865.)
"A Copy is in the BOSTON ATHENAEUM LIBRARY, New-England: it is a Pamphlet rather than a Book; contains Two Letters to Berryer MINISTRE DE LA MARINE, besides this to Mole the Cousin: Publisher is the noted J. Almon,—in French and English." (From Boston Sunday Courier, of 19th April, 1868, where this Letter is reproduced.)
In the Temple Library, London, I have since found a Copy: and, on strict survey, am obliged to pronounce the whole Pamphlet a FORGERY,—especially the Two Letters to "Berryer MINISTER OF MARINE;" who was not yet Minister of anything, nor thought of as likely to be, for many months after the date of these Letters addressed to him as such! Internal evidence too, were such at all wanted, is abundant in these BERRYER Letters; which are of gross and almost stupid structure in comparison to the MOLE one. As this latter has already got into various Books, and been argued of in Parliaments and high places (Lord Shelburne asserting it to be spurious, Lord Mansfield to be genuine: REPORT OF PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES in Gentleman's Magazine for NOVEMBER and for DECEMBER, 1777, pp. 515, 560),—it may be allowed to continue here in the CONDEMNED state. Forger, probably, some Ex-Canadian, or other American ROYALIST, anxious to do the Insurgent Party and their British Apologists an ill turn, in that critical year;—had shot off his Pamphlet to voracious Almon; who prints without preface or criticism, and even without correcting the press. (NOTE OF JULY, 1868.)
Montcalm had been in the Belleisle RETREAT FROM PRAG (December, 1742); in the terrible EXILLES Business (July, 1747), where the Chevalier de Belleisle and 4 or 5,000 lost their lives in about an hour. Captain Cook was at Quebec, Master in the Royal Navy; "sounding the River, and putting down buoys." Bougainville, another famous Navigator, was Aide-de-Camp of Montcalm. There have been far-sounding Epics built together on less basis than lies ready here, in this CAPTURE OF QUEBEC;—which itself, as the Decision that America is to be English and not French, is surely an Epoch in World-History! Montcalm was 48 when he perished; Wolfe 33. Montcalm's skull is in the Ursulines Convent at Quebec,—shown to the idly curious to this day. [Lieutenant-Colonel Beatson, pp. 28, 15.]
It was on October 17th,—while Friedrich lay at Sophienthal, lamed of gout, and Soltikof had privately fixed for home (went that day week),—that this glorious bit of news reached England. It was only three days after that other, bad and almost hopeless news, from the same quarter; news of poor Wolfe's Repulse, on the other or eastern side of Quebec, July 31st, known to us already, not known in England till October 14th. Heightened by such contrast, the news filled all men with a strange mixture of emotions. "The incidents of Dramatic Fiction," says one who was sharer in it, "could not have been conducted with more address to lead an audience from despondency to sudden exultation, than Accident had here prepared to excite the passions of a whole People. They despaired; they triumphed; and they wept,—for Wolfe had fallen in the hour of victory! Joy, grief, curiosity, astonishment, were painted in every countenance: the more they inquired, the higher their admiration rose. Not an incident but was heroic and affecting." [Walpole, iii. 219.] America ours; but the noble Wolfe now not!
What Pitt himself said of these things, we do not much hear. On the meeting of his Parliament, about a month hence, his Speech, somebody having risen to congratulate and eulogize him, is still recognizably of royal quality, if we evoke it from the Walpole Notes. Very modest, very noble, true; and with fine pieties and magnanimities delicately audible in it: "Not a week all Summer but has been a crisis, in which I have not known whether I should not be torn to pieces, instead of being commended, as now by the Honorable Member. The hand of Divine Providence; the more a man is versed in business, the more he everywhere traces that!... Success has given us unanimity, not unanimity success. For my own poor share, I could not have dared as I have done, except in these times. Other Ministers have hoped as well, but have not been so circumstanced to dare so much.... I think the stone almost rolled to the top of the hill; but let us have a care; it may rebound, and hideously drag us down with it again." [Ib. iii. 225; Thackeray, i. 446.]
The essential truth, moreover, is, Pitt has become King of England; so lucky has poor England, in its hour of crisis, again been. And the difference between an England guided by some kind of Friedrich (temporary Friedrich, absolute, though of insecure tenure), and by a Newcastle and the Clack of Tongues, is very great! But for Pitt, there had been no Wolfe, no Amherst; Duke Ferdinand had been the Royal Highness of Cumberland,—and all things going round him in St. Vitus, at their old rate. This man is a King, for the time being,—King really of the Friedrich type;—and rules, Friedrich himself not more despotically, where need is. Pitt's War-Offices, Admiralties, were not of themselves quick-going entities; but Pitt made them go. Slow-paced Lords in Office have remonstrated, on more than one occasion: "Impossible, Sir; these things cannot be got ready at the time you order!" "My Lord, they indispensably must," Pitt would answer (a man always reverent of coming facts, knowing how inexorable they are); and if the Negative continued obstinate in argument, he has been known to add: "My Lord, to the King's service, it is a fixed necessity of time. Unless the time is kept, I will impeach your Lordship!" Your Lordship's head will come to lie at your Lordship's feet! Figure a poor Duke of Newcastle, listening to such a thing;—and knowing that Pitt will do it; and that he can, such is his favor with universal England;—and trembling and obeying. War-requisites for land and for sea are got ready with a Prussian punctuality,—at what multiple of the Prussian expense, is a smaller question for Pitt.
It is about eighteen months ago that Pownal, Governor of New England, a kind of half-military person, not without sound sense, though sadly intricate of utterance,—of whom Pitt, just entering on Office, has, I suppose, asked an opinion on America, as men do of Learned Counsel on an impending Lawsuit of magnitude,—had answered, in his long-winded, intertwisted, nearly inextricable way, to the effect, "Sir, I incline to fear, on the whole, that the Action will NOT lie,—that, on the whole, the French will eat America from us in spite of our teeth." [In THACKERAY, ii. 421-452, Pownal's intricate REPORT (his "DISCOURSE," or whatever he calls it, "ON THE DEFENCE OF THE INLAND FRONTIERS," his &c. &c.), of date "15th January, 1758."] January 15th, 1758, that is the Pownal Opinion-of-Counsel;—and on September 13th, 1759, this is what we have practically come to. And on September 7th, 1760: within twelve months more,—Amherst, descending the Rapids from Ticonderoga side, and two other little Armies, ascending from Quebec and Louisburg, to meet him at Montreal, have proved punctual almost to an hour; and are in condition to extinguish, by triple pressure (or what we call noosing), the French Governor-General in Montreal, a Monsieur de Vaudreuil, and his Montreal and his Canada altogether; and send the French bodily home out of those Continents. [Capitulation between Amherst and Vaudreuil ("Montreal, 8th September, 1760"), in 55 Articles: in BEATSON, iii. 274-283.] Which may dispense us from speaking farther on the subject.
From the Madras region, too, from India and outrageous Lally, the news are good. Early in Spring last, poor Lally,—a man of endless talent and courage, but of dreadfully emphatic loose tongue, in fact of a blazing ungoverned Irish turn of mind,—had instantly, on sight of some small Succors from Pitt, to raise his siege of Madras, retire to Pondicherry; and, in fact, go plunging and tumbling downhill, he and his India with him, at an ever-faster rate, till they also had got to the Abyss. "My policy is in these five words, NO ENGLISHMAN IN THIS PENINSULA," wrote he, a year ago, on landing in India; and now it is to be No FRENCHMAN, and there is one word in the five to be altered!—Of poor Lally, zealous and furious over-much, and nearly the most unfortunate and worst-used "man of genius" I ever read of, whose lion-like struggles against French Official people, and against Pitt's Captains and their sea-fights and siegings, would deserve a volume to themselves, we have said, and can here say, as good as nothing,—except that they all ended, for Lally and French India, in total surrender, 16th January, 1761; and that Lally, some years afterwards, for toils undergone and for services done, got, when accounts came to be liquidated, death on the scaffold. Dates I give below. [28th April, 1758, Lands at Pondicherry; instantly proceeds upon Fort St. David. 2d June, 1758, Takes it: meant to have gone now on Madras; but finds he has no money;—goes extorting money from Black Potentates about, Rajah of Travancore, &c., in a violent and extraordinary style; and can get little. Nevertheless, 14th December, 1758, Lays Siege to Madras.]
16th February, 1759, Is obliged to quit trenches at Madras, and retire dismally upon Pondicherry,—to mere indigence, mutiny ("ten mutinies"), Official conspiracy, and chaos come again.
22d January, 1760, Makes outrush on Wandewash, and the English posted there; is beaten, driven back into Pondicherry. April, 1760, Is besieged in Pondicherry. 16th January, 1761, Is taken, Pondicherry, French India and he;—to Madras he, lest the French Official party kill him, as they attempt to do.
23d September, 1761, arrives, prisoner, in England: thence, on parole, to France and Paris, 21st October. November, 1762, To Bastille; waits trial nineteen months; trial lasts two years. 6th May, 1766, To be BEHEADED,—9th May was. [See BEATSON, ii. 369-372, 96-110, &c.; Voltaire (FRAGMENTS SUR L'INDE) in OEuvres, xxix. 183-253; BIOGRAPHIC UNIVERSELLE, Lally.]
"Gained Fontenoy for us," said many persons;—undoubtedly gained various things for us, fought for us Berserkir-like on all occasions; hoped, in the end, to be Marechal de France, and undertook a Championship of India, which issues in this way! America and India, it is written, are both to be Pitt's. Let both, if possible, remain silent to us henceforth.
As to the Invasion-of-England Scheme, Pitt says he does not expect the French will invade us; but if they do, he is ready. [Speech, 4th November, supra.]
November 6th-8th, Daun had gone to Meissen Country: fairly ebbing homeward; Henri following, with Hulsen joined,—not vehemently attacking the rhinoceros, but judiciously pricking him forward. Daun goes at his slowest step: in many divisions, covering a wide circuit; sticking to all the strong posts, till his own time for quitting them: slow, sullenly cautious; like a man descending dangerous precipices back foremost, and will not be hurried. So it had lasted about a week; Daun for the last four days sitting restive, obstinate, but Henri pricking into him more and more, till the rhinoceros seemed actually about lifting himself,—when Friedrich in person arrived in his Brother's Camp. [Tempelhof, iii. 301-305.]
At the Schloss of Herschstein, a mile or two behind Lommatsch, which is Henri's head-quarter (still to westward of Meissen; Daun hanging on, seven or eight miles to southeastward ahead; loath to go, but actually obliged),—it was there, Tuesday, November 13th, that the King met his Brother again. A King free of his gout; in joyful spirits; and high of humor,—like a man risen indignant, once more got to his feet, after three months' oppressions and miseries from the unworthy. "Too high," mourns Retzow, in a gloomy tone, as others do in perhaps a more indulgent one. Beyond doubt, Friedrich's farther procedures in this grave and weighty Daun business were more or less imprudent; of a too rapid and rash nature; and turned out bitterly unlucky to him. "Had he left the management to Henri!" sighed everybody, after the unlucky event.
Friedrich had not arrived above four-and-twenty hours, when news came in: "The Austrians in movement again; actually rolling off Dresden-ward again." "Haha, do they smell me already!" laughed he: "Well, I will send Daun to the Devil,"—not adding, "if I can." And instantly ordered sharp pursuit,—and sheer stabbing with the ox-goad, not soft and delicate pricking, as Henri's lately. [Retzow, ii. 168; Tempelhof, iii. 306.] Friedrich, in fact; was in a fiery condition against Daun: "You trampled on me, you heavy buffalo, these three months; but that is over now!"—and took personally the vanguard in this pursuit. And had a bit of hot fighting in the Village of Korbitz (scene of that Finck-Haddick "Action," 21st September last, and of poor Haddick's ruin, and retirement to the Waters);—where the Austrians now prove very fierce and obstinate; and will not go, till well slashed into, and torn out by sheer beating:—which was visibly a kind of comfort to the King's humor. "Our Prussians do still fight, then, much as formerly! And it was all a hideous Nightmare, all that, and Daylight and Fact are come, and Friedrich is himself again!"
They say Prince Henri took the liberty of counselling him, even of entreating him: "Leave well alone; why run risks?" said Henri. Daun, it was pretty apparent, had no outlook at the present but that of sauntering home to Bohmen; leaving Dresden to be an easy prey again, and his whole Campaign to fall futile, as the last had. Under Henri's gentle driving he would have gone slower; but how salutary, if he only went! These were Henri's views: but Friedrich was not in the slow humor; impatient to be in Dresden; "will be quartered there in a week," writes he, "and more at leisure than now." ["Wilsdruf, 17th November, 1759," and still more "19th November," Friedrich to Voltaire in high spirits that way (OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 66).] He is thinking of Leuthen, of Rossbach, of Campaign 1757, so gloriously restored after ruin; and, in the fire of his soul, is hoping to do something similar a second time. That is Retzow's notion: who knows but there may be truth in it? A proud Friedrich, got on his feet again after such usage;—nay, who knows whether it was quite so unwise to be impressive on the slow rhinoceros, and try to fix some thorn in his snout, or say (figuratively), to hobble his hind-feet; which, I am told, would have been beautifully ruinous; and, though riskish, was not impossible? [Tempelhof, iii. 311, &c.] Ill it indisputably turned out; and we have, with brevity, to say how, and leave readers to their judgment of it.
It was in the Village of Krogis, about six miles forward, on the Meissen-Freyberg road, a mile or two on from Korbitz, and directly after the fierce little tussle in that Village,—that Friedrich, his blood still up, gave the Order for Maxen, which proved so unlucky to him. Wunsch had been shot off in pursuit of the beaten Austrians; but they ran too fast; and Wunsch came back without farther result, still early in the day. Back as far as Krogis, where the next head-quarter is to be;—and finds the King still in a fulminant condition; none the milder, it is likely, by Wunsch's returning without result. "Go straight to General Finck; bid him march at once!" orders the King; and rapidly gives Wunsch the instructions Finck is to follow. Finck and his Corps are near Nossen, some ten miles ahead of Krogis, some twenty west from Dresden. There, since yesterday, stands Finck, infesting the left or western flank of the Austrians,—what was their left, and will be again, when they call halt and face round on us:—Let Finck now march at once, quite round that western flank; by Freyberg, Dippoldiswalde, thence east to Maxen; plant himself at Maxen (a dozen miles south of Dresden, among the rocky hills), and stick diligently in the rear of those Austrians, cutting off, or threatening to cut off, their communications with Bohemia, and block the Pirna Country for them.
Friedrich calculates that, if Daun is for retreating by Pirna Country, this will, at lowest, be a method to quicken him in that movement; or perhaps it may prove a method to cut off such retreat altogether, and force Daun to go circling by the Lausitz Hills and Wildernesses, exposed to tribulations which may go nigh to ruin him. That is Friedrich's proud thought: "an unfortunate Campaign; winding up, nevertheless, as 1757 did, in blazes of success!" And truly, if Friedrich could have made himself into Two; and, while flashing and charging in Daun's front, have been in command at Maxen in Daun's rear,—Friedrich could have made a pretty thing of this waxen Enterprise; and might in good part have realized his proud program. But there is no getting two Friedrichs. Finck, a General of approved quality, he is the nearest approach we can make to a second Friedrich;—and he, ill-luck too super-adding itself, proves tragically inadequate. And sets all the world, and Opposition Retzow, exclaiming, "See: Pride goes before a fall!"—
At 3 in the afternoon, Friedrich, intensely surveying from the heights of Krogis the new Austrian movements and positions, is astonished, not agreeably ("What, still only here, Herr General!"), by a personal visit from Finck. Finck finds the Maxen business intricate, precarious; wishes farther instructions, brings forward this objection and that. Friedrich at last answers, impatiently: "You know I can't stand making of difficulties (ER WEISS DASS ICH DIE DIFFICULTATEN NICHT LEIDEN KANN; MACHE DASS ER FORT KOMMT); contrive to get it done!" With which poor comfort Finck has to ride back to Nossen; and scheme out his dispositions overnight.
Next morning, Thursday, 15th, Finck gets on march; drives the Reichsfolk out of Freyberg; reaches Dippoldiswalde:—"Freyberg is to be my Magazine," considers Finck; "Dippoldiswalde my half-way house; Four Battalions of my poor Eighteen shall stand there, and secure the meal-carts." Friday, 16th, Finck has his Vanguard, Wunsch leading it, in possession of Maxen and the Heights; and on Saturday gets there himself, with all his people and equipments. I should think about 12,000 men: in a most intersected, intertwisted Hill Country; full of gullets, dells and winding brooks;—it is forecourt of the Pirna rocks, our celebrated Camp of Gahmig lies visible to north, Dohna and the Rothwasser bounding us to east;—in grim November weather, some snow falling, or snow-powder, alternating with sleet and glazing frosts: by no means a beautiful enterprise to Finck. Nor one of his own choosing, had one a choice in such cases.
To Daun nothing could be more unwelcome than this news of Finck, embattled there at Maxen in the inextricable Hill Country, direct on the road of Daun's meal-carts and Bohemian communications. And truly withal,—what Daun does not yet hear, but can guess,—there is gone, in supplement or as auxiliary to Finck, a fierce Hussar party, under GRUNE Kleist, their fiercest Hussar since Mayer died; who this very day, at Aussig, burns Daun's first considerable Magazine; and has others in view for the same fate. [Friedrich's second Letter to Voltaire, Wilsdruf, "19th November, 1759."] An evident thing to Daun, that Finck being there, meal has ceased.
On the instant, Daun falls back on Dresden; Saturday, 17th, takes post in the Dell of Plauen (PLAUEN'SCHE GRUND); an impassable Chasm, with sheer steeps on both sides, stretching southward from Dresden in front of the Hill Country: thither Daun marches, there to consider what is to be done with Finck. Amply safe this position is; none better in the world: a Village, Plauen, and a Brook, Weistritz, in the bottom of this exquisite Chasm; sheer rock-walls on each side,—high especially on the Daun, or south side;—head-quarters can be in Dresden itself; room for your cavalry on the plain ground between Dresden and the Chasm. A post both safe and comfortable; only you must not loiter in making up your mind as to Finck; for Friedrich has followed on the instant. Friedrich's head-quarter is already Wilsdruf, which an hour or two ago was Daun's: at Kesselsdorf vigilant Ziethen is vanguard. So that Friedrich looks over on you from the northern brow of your Chasm; delays are not good near such a neighbor.
Daun—urged on by Lacy, they say—is not long in deciding that, in this strait, the short way out will be to attack Finck in the Hills. Daun is in the Hills, as well as Finck (this Plauen Chasm is the boundary-ditch of the Hills): Daun with 27,000 horse and foot, moving on from this western part; 3,000 light people (one Sincere the leader of them) moving simultaneously from Dresden itself, that is, from northward or northwestward; 12,000 Reichsfolk, horse and foot, part of them already to southeastward of Finck, other part stealing on by the Elbe bank thitherward: here, from three different points of the compass, are 42,000. These simultaneously dashing in, from west, north, south, upon Finck, may surely give account of his 12,000 and him! If only we can keep Friedrich dark upon it; which surely our Pandours will contrive to do.
Finck, directly on arriving at Maxen, had reported himself to the King; and got answer before next morning: "Very well; but draw in those Four Battalions you have left in Dippoldiswalde; hit with the whole of your strength, when a chance offers." Which order Finck, literally and not too willingly, obeys; leaves only some light remnant in Dippoldiswalde, and reinforcement to linger within reach, till a certain Bread-convoy come to him, which will be due next morning (Monday, 19th); and which does then safely get home, though under annoyances from cannonading in the distance.
SUNDAY, 18th, Finck fails not to reconnoitre from the highest Hill-top; to inquire by every method: he finds, for certain, that the enemy are coming in upon him. With his own eyes he sees Reichsfolk marching, in quantity, southeastward by the Elbe shore: "Intending towards Dohna, as is like?"—and despatched Wunsch, who, accordingly, drove them out of Dohna. Of all this Finck, at once, sent word to Friedrich. Who probably enough received the message; but who would get no new knowledge from it,—vigilant Ziethen having, by Austrian deserters and otherwise, discovered this of the Reichsfolk; and furthermore that Sincere with 3,000 was in motion, from the north, upon Finck. Sunday evening, Friedrich despatches Ziethen's Report; which punctually came to Finck's hand; but was the last thing he received from Friedrich, or Friedrich from him. The intervening Pandours picked up all the rest. The Ziethen REPORT, of two or three lines, most succinct but sufficient, like a cutting of hard iron, is to be read in many Books: we may as well give the Letter and it:—
FRIEDRICH'S LETTER (WILSDRUF, 18th NOVEMBER, 1759). "My dear General-Lieutenant von Finck,—I send you the enclosed Report from General Ziethen, showing what is the lie of matters as seen from this side; and leave the whole to your disposition and necessary measures. I am your well-affectioned King,—F." The Enclosure is as follows:—
GENERAL ZIETHEN'S REPORT (KESSELSDORF, 18th NOVEMBER, 1759). "To your Royal Majesty, send [no pronoun "I" allowed] herewith a Corporal, who has deserted from the Austrians. He says, Sincere with the Reserve did march with the Reichs Army; but a league behind it, and turned towards Dippoldiswalde. General Brentano [Wehla's old comrade, luckier than Wehla], as this Deserter heard last night in Daun's head-quarter,—which is in the southern Suburb of Dresden, in the Countess Moschinska's Garden,—was yesterday to have been in Dohlen [looking into our outposts from the hither side of their Plauen Dell], but was not there any longer," as our Deserter passed, "and it was said that he had gone to Maxen at three in the afternoon." [Tempelhof, iii. 309.]
Thus curtly is Finck authorized to judge for himself in the new circumstances. Marginally is added, in Friedrich's own hand: "ER WIRD ENTWEDER MIT DEN REICHERN ODER MIT SICEREN EINEN GANG HABEN,—Either with the Reichers or with Sincere you will have a bout, I suppose."
MAP FACING PAGE 350, BOOK XIX GOES HERE——
Finck, from his own Hill-top, on Sunday and Monday, sees all this of Ziethen, and much more. Sees the vanguard of Daun himself approaching Dippoldiswalde, cannonading his meal-carts as they issue there; on all sides his enemies encompassing him like bees;—and has a sphinx-riddle on his mind, such as soldier seldom had. Shall he manoeuvre himself out, and march away, bread-carts, baggages and all entire? There is still time, and perfect possibility, by Dippoldiswalde there, or by other routes and methods. But again, did not his Majesty expect, do not these words "a bout" still seem to expect, a bit of fighting with somebody or other? Finck was an able soldier, and his skill and courage well known; but probably another kind of courage was wanted this day, of which Finck had not enough. Finck was not king of this matter; Finck was under a King who perhaps misjudged the matter. If Finck saw no method of doing other than hurt and bad service to his King by staying here, Finck should have had the courage to come away, and front the King's unreasonable anger, expecting redress one day, or never any redress. That was Finck's duty: but everybody sees how hard it was for flesh and blood.
Finck, truer to the letter than to the spirit, determined to remain. Did, all that Monday, his best to prepare himself; called in his outposts ("Was not I ordered?" thinks Finck, too literally); and sees his multitudes of enemies settle round him;—Daun alone has 27,000 men, who take camp at Dippoldiswalde; and in sum-total they are as 4 to 1 of Finck:—a Finck still resolute of face, though internally his thoughts may be haggard enough. Doubtless he hopes, too, that Friedrich will do something:—unaware that none of his messages reach Friedrich. As for Daun, having seen his people safely encamped here, he returns to Dresden for the night, to see that Friedrich is quiet. Friedrich is quiet enough: Daun, at seven next morning (TUESDAY, 20th), appeared on the ground again; and from all sides Finck is assaulted,—from Daun's side nearest and soonest, with Daun's best vigor.
Dippoldiswalde is some seven miles from Maxen. Difficult hill-road all the way: but the steepest, straitest and worst place is at Reinhartsgrimma, the very first Hamlet after you are out of Dippoldiswalde. There is a narrow gullet there, overhung with heights all round. The roads are slippery, glazed with sleet and frost; Cavalry, unroughened, make sad sliding and sprawling; hardly the Infantry are secure on their feet: a terrible business getting masses of artillery-wagons, horse and man, through such a Pass! It is thought, had Finck garnished this Pass of Reinhartsgrimma, with the proper batteries, the proper musketries, Daun never would have got through. Finck had not a gun or a man in it: "Had not I order?" said he,—again too literally. As it was, Daun, sliding and sprawling in the narrow steeps, had difficulties almost too great; and, they say, would have given it up, had it not been that a certain Major urged, "Can be done, Excellenz, and shall!" and that the temper of his soldiers was everywhere excellent. Unfortunate Finck had no artillery to bear on Daun's transit through the Pass. Nothing but some weak body of hussars and infantry stood looking into it, from the Hill of Hausdorf: even these might have given him some slight hindrance; but these were played upon by endless Pandours, "issuing from a wood near by," with musketries, and at length with cannon batteries, one and another;—and had to fall back, or to be called back, to Maxen Hill, where the main force is.
In the course of yesterday, by continual reconnoitring, by Austrian deserters, and intense comparison of symptoms, Finck had completely ascertained where the Enemy's Three Attacks were to be,—"on Maxen, from Dippoldiswalde, Trohnitz, Dohna, simultaneously three attacks," it appears;—and had with all his skill arranged himself on the Maxen summits to meet these. He stands now elaborately divided into Three groups against those Three simultaneities; forming (sadly wide apart, one would say, for such a force as Finck's) a very obtuse-angled triangle:—the obtuse vertex of which (if readers care to look on their Map) is Trohnitz, the road Brentano and Sincere are coming. On the base-angles, Maxen and Dohna, Finck expects Daun and the Reich. From Trohnitz to Maxen is near two miles; from Maxen to Dohna above four. At Dohna stands Wunsch against the Reich; Finck himself at Maxen, expecting Daun, as the pith of the whole affair. In this triangular way stands Finck at the topmost heights of the country,—"Maxen highest, but Hausdorf only a little lower,"—and has not thought of disputing the climb upwards. Too literal an eye to his orders: alas, he was not himself king, but only king's deputy!
The result is, about 11 A.M., as I obscurely gather, Daun has conquered the climb; Daun's musketries begin to glitter on the top of Hausdorf; and 26 or 32 heavy cannon open their throats there; and the Three Attacks break loose. Finck's Maxen batteries (scarcely higher than Daun's, and far inferior in weight) respond with all diligence, the poor regimental fieldpieces helping what they can. Mutual cannonade, very loud for an hour and half; terrific, but doing little mischief; after which Daun's musketries (the ground now sufficiently clear to Daun), which are the practical thing, begin opening, first from one point, then from another: and there ensues, for five hours coming, at Maxen and at the other two points of Finck's triangle, such a series of explosive chargings, wheelings, worryings and intricate death-wrestlings, as it would provoke every reader to attempt describing to him. Except indeed he were a soldier, bound to know the defence of posts; in which case I could fairly promise him that there are means of understanding the affair, and that he might find benefit in it. [Tempelhof, iii. 307-317. JOURNAL UND NACHRICHT VON DER GEFANGENNEHMUNG DES FINCK'SCHEN CORPS BEY MAXEN, IM JAHRE 1759 (Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 637-654).]
Daun's Grenadiers, and Infantry generally, are in triumphant spirits; confident of victory, as they may reasonably be. Finck's people, too, behave well, some of them conspicuously well, though in gloomier mood; and make stubborn fight, successful here and there, but, as a whole, not capable of succeeding. By 3 in the afternoon, the Austrians have forced the Maxen Post; they "enter Maxen with great shoutings;" extrude the obstinate Prussian remnants; and, before long, have the poor Village "on fire in every part." Finck retreating northward to Schmorsdorf, towards the obtuse angle of his triangle, if haply there may be help in that quarter for him. Daun does not push him much; has Maxen safely burning in every part.
From Schmorsdorf Finck pushes out a Cavalry charge on Brentano. "Could we but repulse Brentano yonder," thinks he, "I might have those Four Battalions to hand, and try again!" But Brentano makes such cannonading, the Cavalry swerve to a Hollow on their right; then find they have not ground, and retire quite fruitless. Finck's Cavalry, and the Cavalry generally, with their horses all sliding on the frosty mountain-gnarls, appear to be good for little this day. Brentano, victorious over the Cavalry, comes on with such storm, he sweeps through the obtuse angle, home upon Finck; and sweeps him out of Schmorsdorf Village to Schmorsdorf Hill, there to take refuge, as the night sinks,—and to see himself, if his wild heart will permit him to be candid, a ruined man. Of the Three Attacks, Two have completely succeeded on him; only Wunsch, at Dohna, stands victorious; he has held back the Reich all day, and even chased it home to its posts on the Rothwasser (RED WATER), multitudinous as it was.
Finck's mood, as the November shadows gathered on him,—the equal heart may at least pity poor Finck! His resolution is fixed: "Cut ourselves through, this night: Dohna is ours: other side that Red Water there are roads;—perish or get through!" And the Generals (who are rallied now "on the Heights of Falkenhain and Bloschwitz," midway between Maxen and Dohna) get that Order from him. And proceed to arrange for executing it,—though with outlook more and more desperate, as their scouts report that every pass and post on the Red Water is beset by Reichsfolk. "Wunsch, with the Cavalry, he at least may thread his way out, under cloud of night, by the opposite or Daun side," calculates Finck. And Wunsch sets out accordingly: a very questionable, winding, subterranean march; difficult in the extreme,—the wearied SLIPshod horses going at a snail's pace; and, in the difficult passes, needing to be dragged through with bridle and even to be left altogether:—in which, withal, it will prove of no use for Wunsch to succeed! Finck's Generals endeavoring to rank and rearrange through the night, find that their very cartridges are nearly spent, and that of men, such wounding, such deserting has there been, they have, at this time, by precise count, 2,836 rank and file. Evidently desperate.
At daylight, Daun's cannon beginning again from the Maxen side, Finck sends to capitulate. "Absolute surrender," answers Daun: "prisoners of war, and you shall keep your private baggage. General Wunsch with the Cavalry, he too must turn back and surrender!" Finck pleaded hard, on this last score: "General Wunsch, as head of the Cavalry, is not under me; is himself chief in that department." But it was of no use: Wunsch had to return (not quite got through Daun's Lines, after such a night), and to surrender, like everybody else. Like Eight other Generals; like Wolfersdorf of Torgau, and many a brave Officer and man. Wednesday morning, 21st November, 1769: it is Finck's fourth day on Maxen; his last in the Prussian Service.
That same Wednesday Afternoon there were ranked in the GROSSE GARTEN at Dresden, of dejected Prussian Prisoners from Maxen, what exact number was never known: the Austrians said 15,000; but nobody well believed them; their last certain instalment being only, in correct numbers, 2,836. Besides the killed, wounded and already captured, many had deserted, many had glided clear off. It is judged that Friedrich lost, by all these causes, about 12,000 men. Gone wholly,—with their equipments and appurtenances wholly, which are not worth counting in comparison. Finck and the other Generals, 8 of them, and 529 Officers,—Finck, Wunsch, Wolfersdorf, Mosel (of the Olmutz Convoy), not to mention others of known worth, this is itself a sore loss to Friedrich, and in present circumstances an irreparable. [Seyfarth, ii. 576; in Helden-Geschichte, (v. 1115), the Vienna Account.]
The outburst and paroxysm of Gazetteer rumor, which arose in Europe over this, must be left to the imagination; still more the whirlwind of astonishment, grief, remorse and indignation that raged in the heart of Friedrich on first hearing of it. "The Caudine Forks;" "Scene of Pirna over again, in reverse form;" "Is not your King at last over with it?" said and sang multifariously the Gazetteers. As counter-chorus to which, in a certain Royal Heart: "That miserable purblind Finck, unequal to his task;—that overhasty I, who drove him upon it! This disgrace, loss nigh ruinous; in fine, this infernal Campaign (CETTE CAMPAGNE INFEMALE)!" The Anecdote-Books abound in details of Friedrich's behavior at Wilsdruf that day; mythical all, or in good part, but symbolizing a case that is conceivable to everybody. Or would readers care to glance into the very fact with their own eyes? As happens to be possible.
1. BEFORE MAXEN: FRIEDRICH TO D'ARGENS AND OTHERS.
TO D'ARGENS (Krogis, 15th November, order for Maxen just given). "Yesterday I joined the Army [day before yesterday, but took the field yesterday], and Daun decamped. I have followed him thus far, and will continue it to the frontiers of Bohemia. Our measures are so taken [Finck, to wit], that he will not get out of Saxony without considerable losses. Yesterday cost him 500 men taken at Korgis here. Every movement he makes will cost him as many." [OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 101.]
TO VOLTAIRE (Wilsdruf, 17th November). "We are verging on the end of our Campaign: and I will write to you in eight days from Dresden, with more composure and coherency than now." [Ib. xxiii. 66.]
TO THE SAME (Wilsdruf, 19th November). "The Austrians are packing off to Bohemia,—where, in reprisal for the incendiary operations they have done in my countries, I have burnt them two big magazines. I render the beatified Hero's retreat as difficult as possible; and I hope he will come upon some bad adventures within a few days." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 66.]
SAME DAY AND PLACE, TO D'ARGENS. A volley of most rough-paced off-hand Rhyming, direct from the heart; "Ode [as he afterwards terms it, or irrepressible extempore LILT] TO FORTUNE:"
"MARQUIS, QUEL CHANGEMENT, what a change! I, a poor heretic creature, never blessed by the Holy Father; indeed, little frequenting Church, nor serving either Baal or the God of Israel; held down these many months, and reported by more than one shaven scoundrel [priest-pamphleteer at Vienna] to be quite extinct, and gone vagabond over the world,—see how capricious Fortune, after all her hundred preferences of my rivals, lifts me with helpful hand from the deep, and packs this Hero of the Hat and Sword,—whom Popes have blessed what they could, and who has walked in Pilgrimage before now [to Marienzell once, I believe, publicly at Vienna],—out of Saxony; panting, harassed goes he, like a stranger dog from some kitchen where the cook had flogged him out!" [Ib. xix. 103-106.]... (A very exultant Lilt, and with a good deal more of the chanticleer in it than we are used to in this King!)
2. AFTER MAXEN.
TO D'ARGENS (Wilsdruf, 22d November). "Do with that [some small piece of business] whatever you like, my dear Marquis. I am so stupefied (E'TOURDI) with the misfortune which has befallen General Finck, that I cannot recover from my astonishment. It deranges all my measures; it cuts me to the quick. Ill-luck, which persecutes my old age, has followed me from the Mark [Kunersdorf, in the Mark of Brandenburg] to Saxony. I will still strive what I can. The little ODE I sent you, addressed TO FORTUNE, had been written too soon! One should not sing victory till the battle is over. I am so crushed down by these incessant reverses and disasters, that I wish a thousand times I were dead; and from day to day I grow wearier of dwelling in a body worn out and condemned to suffer. I am writing to you in the first moment of my grief. Astonishment, sorrow, indignation, scorn, all blended together, lacerate my soul. Let us get to the end, then, of this execrable Campaign; I will then write to you what is to become of me; and we will arrange the rest. Pity me;—ad make no noise about me; bad news go fast enough of themselves. Adieu, dear Marquis." [OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 107.]
All this, of course, under such pressing call of actualities, had very soon to transform itself into silence; into new resolution, and determinate despatch of business. But the King retained a bitter memory of it all his days. To Finck he was inexorable:—ordered him, the first thing on his return from Austrian Captivity, Trial by Court-Martial; which (Ziethen presiding, June, 1763) censured Finck in various points, and gave him, in supplement to the Austrian detention, a Year's Imprisonment in Spandau. No ray of pity visible for him, then or afterwards, in the Royal mind. So that the poor man had to beg his dismissal; get it, and go to Denmark for new promotion and appreciation.—"Far too severe!" grumbled the Opposition voices, with secret counter-severity. And truly it would have been more beautiful to everybody, for the moment, to have made matters soft to poor Finck,—had Friedrich ever gone on that score with his Generals and Delegates; which, though the reverse of a cruel man, he never did. And truly, as we often observe, the Laws of Fact are still severer than Friedrich was:—so that, in the long-run, perhaps it is beautifulest of all for a King, who is just, to be rhadamanthine in important cases.
Exulting Daun, instead of Bohemia for winter-quarters, pushes out now for the prize of Saxony itself. Daun orders Beck to attack suddenly another Outpost of Friedrich's, which stands rearward of him at Meissen, under a General Dierecke,—the same whom, as Colonel Dierecke, we saw march out of flamy Zittau, summer gone two years. Beck goes in accordingly, 3d December; attacks Dierecke, not by surprise, but with overwhelming superiority; no reinforcement possible: Dierecke is on the wrong side of the Elbe, no retreat or reinforcement for him; has to fight fiercely all day, Meissen Bridge being in a broken state; then, at night, to ship his people across in Elbe boats, which are much delayed by the floating ice, so that daylight found 1,500 of them still on that northern side; all of whom, with General Dierecke himself, were made prisoners by Beck. [Tempelhof, iii. 321: "3d-4th December, 1759."] A comfortable supplement to Maxen, though not of the same magnificence.
After which, Daun himself issued minatory from the Plauen Chasm; expecting, as all the world did, that Friedrich, who is 36,000 of Unfortunate against, say, 72,000 of Triumphant, will, under penalty, take himself away. But it proved otherwise. "If you beat us, Excellency Feldmarschall, yes; but till then—!" Friedrich draws out in battalia; Leo in wild ragged state and temper, VERSUS Bos in the reverse: "Come on; then!" Rhinoceros Bos, though in a high frame of mind, dare not, on cool survey; but retires behind the Plauen Chasm again. Will at least protect Dresden from recapture; and wait here, in the interim; carting his provision out of Bohemia,—which is a rough business, with Elbe frozen, and the passes in such a choked wintry state. Upon whom Friedrich, too, has to wait under arms, in grim neighborhood, for six weeks to come: such a time as poor young Archenholtz never had before or after. [Archenholtz, ii. 11-13.] It was well beyond New-year's day before Friedrich could report of himself, and then only in a sense, as will be seen: "We retired to this poor cottage [cottage still standing, in the little Town of Freyberg]; Daun did the like; and this unfortunate Campaign, as all things do, came actually to an end."
Daun holds Dresden and the Dell of Plauen; but Saxony, to the world's amazement, he is as far as ever from holding. "Daun's front is a small arc of a circle, bending round from Dresden to Dippoldiswalde; Friedrich is at Freyberg in a bigger concave arc, concentric to Daun, well overlapping Daun on that southward or landward side, and ready for him, should he stir out; Kesselsdorf is his nearest post to Daun; and the Plauen Chasm for boundary, which was not overpassed by either." In Dresden, and the patch of hill-country to the southeastward of it by Elbe side, which is instep or glacis of the Pirna rock-country, seventy square miles or so, there rules Daun; and this—with its heights of Gahmig, valuable as a defence for Dresden against Austria, but not otherwise of considerable value—was all that Daun this year, or pretty much in any coming year, could realize of conquest in Saxony.
Fabius Cunctator has not succeeded, as the public expected. In fact, ever since that of Hochkirch and the Papal Hat, he has been a waning man, more and more questionable to the undiscerning public. Maxen was his last gleam upwards; a round of applause rose again on Maxen, feeble in comparison with Hochkirch, but still arguing hope,—which, after this, more and more died out; so that in two years more, poor Madam Daun, going to Imperial Levee, "had her state-carriage half filled with nightcaps, thrown into it by the Vienna people, in token of her husband's great talent for sleep." [Archenholtz (Anno 1762, "last Siege of Schweidnitz").]
Friedrich was very loath to quit the field this Winter. In spite of Maxen and ill-luck and the unfavorablest weather, it still was, for about two months, his fixed purpose to recapture Dresden first, and drive Daun home. "Had I but a 12,000 of Auxiliaries to guard my right flank, while trying it!" said he. Ferdinand magnanimously sent him the Hereditary Prince with 12,000, who stayed above two months; ["Till February 15th;" List of the Regiments (German all), in SEYFARTH, ii. 578 n.] and Friedrich did march about, attempting that way, [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 32. Old Newspaper rumors: in Gentleman's Magazine, xxix. 605, "29th December," &c.]—pushed forward to Maguire and Dippoldiswalde, looked passionately into Maguire on all sides; but found him, in those frozen chasms, and rock-labyrinths choked with snow, plainly unattackable; him and everybody, in such frost-element;—and renounced the passionate hope.
It was not till the middle of January that Friedrich put his troops into partial cantonments, Head-quarter Freyberg; troops still mainly in the Villages from Wilsdruf and southward, close by their old Camp there. Camp still left standing, guarded by Six Battalions; six after six, alternating week about: one of the grimmest camps in Nature; the canvas roofs grown mere ice-plates, the tents mere sanctuaries of frost:—never did poor young Archenholtz see such industry in dragging wood-fuel, such boiling of biscuits in broken ice, such crowding round the embers to roast one side of you, while the other was freezing. [Archenholtz (UT SUPRA), ii. 11-15.] But Daun's people, on the opposite side of Plauen Dell, did the like; their tents also were left standing in the frozen state, guarded by alternating battalions, no better off than their Prussian neighbors. This of the Tents, and Six frost-bitten Battalions guarding them, lasted till April. An extraordinary obstinacy on the part both of Daun and of Friedrich; alike jealous of even seeming to yield one inch more of ground.
The Hereditary Prince, with his 12,000, marched home again in February; indeed, ever after the going into cantonments, all use of the Prince and his Force here visibly ceased; and, on the whole, no result whatever followed those strenuous antagonisms, and frozen tents left standing for three months; and things remained practically what they were. So that, as the grand "Peace Negotiations" also came to nothing, we might omit this of Winter-quarters altogether; and go forward to the opening of Campaign Fifth;—were it not that characteristic features do otherwise occur in it, curious little unveilings of the secret hopes and industries of Friedrich:—besides which, there have minor private events fallen out, not without interest to human readers. For whose behoof mainly a loose intercalary Chapter may be thrown together here.
November 21st, the very day while Finck was capitulating in the Hills of Maxen, Duke Ferdinand, busy ever since his Victory at Minden, did, after a difficult Siege of Munster, Siege by Imhof, with Ferdinand protecting him, get Munster into hand again, which was reckoned a fine success to him. Very busy has the Duke been: industriously reaping the fruits of his Victory at Minden; and this, the conclusive rooting out of the French from that Westphalian region, is a very joyful thing; and puts Ferdinand in hopes of driving them over the Mayn altogether. Which some think he would have done; had not he, with magnanimous oblivion of self and wishes, agreed to send the Hereditary Prince and those 12,000 to assist in Friedrich's affairs, looking upon that as the vital point in these Allied Interests. Friedrich's attempts, we have said, turned out impossible; nor would the Hereditary Prince and his 12,000, though a good deal talked about in England and elsewhere, [Walpole, George Second, iii. 248 (in a sour Opposition tone); &c. &c.] require more than mention; were it not that on the road thither, at Fulda ("Fulda is half-way house to Saxony," thinks Ferdinand, "should Pitt and Britannic Majesty be pleased to consent, as I dare presume they will"), the Hereditary Prince had, in his swift way, done a thing useful for Ferdinand himself, and which caused a great emotion, chiefly of laughter, over the world, in those weeks.
"No Enemy of Friedrich's," says my Note, "is of feller humor than the Serenity of Wurtemberg, Karl Eugen, Reigning Duke of that unfortunate Country; for whom, in past days, Friedrich had been so fatherly, and really took such pains. 'Fatherly? STEP-fatherly, you mean; and for his own vile uses!' growled the Serenity of Wurtemberg:—always an ominous streak of gloom in that poor man; streak which is spread now to whole skies of boiling darkness, owing to deliriums there have been! Enough, Karl Eugen, after divorcing his poor Wife, had distinguished himself by a zeal without knowledge, beyond almost all the enemies of Friedrich;—and still continues in that bad line of industry. His poor Wife he has made miserable in some measure; also himself; and, in a degree, his poor soldiers and subjects, who are with him by compulsion in this Enterprise. The Wurtembergers are Protestants of old type; and want no fighting against 'the Protestant Hero,' but much the reverse! Serene Karl had to shoot a good few of these poor people, before they would march at all; and his procedures were indeed, and continued to be, of a very crying nature, though his poor Populations took them silently. Always something of perverse in this Serene Highness; has it, I think, by kind.
"Besides his quota to the Reich, Karl Eugen has 12,000 more on foot,—and it is of them we are treating at present. In 1757 he had lent these troops to the Empress Queen, for a consideration; it was they that stood on the Austrian left, at Leuthen; and were the first that got beaten, and had to cease standing,—as the Austrians were abundantly loud in proclaiming. To the disgust of Serene Highness: 'Which of you did stand, then? Was it their blame, led as they were?' argued he. And next year, 1758, after Crefeld, he took his 12,000 to the French ('subsidy,' or consideration, 'to be paid in SALT,' it appears [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 10.]); with whom they marched about, and did nothing considerable. The Serenity had pleaded, 'I must command them myself!' 'You?' said Belleisle, and would not hear of it. Next year again, however, that is 1759, the Duke was positive, 'I must;' Belleisle not less so, 'You cannot;'—till Minden fell out; and then, in the wreck of Contades, Belleisle had to consent. Serenity of Wurtemberg, at that late season, took the field accordingly; and Broglio now has him at Fulda, 'To cut off Ferdinand from Cassel;' to threaten Ferdinand's left flank and his provision-carts in that quarter. May really become unpleasant there to Ferdinand;—and ought to be cut out by the Hereditary Prince. 'To Fulda, then, and cut him out!'
"FULDA, FRIDAY, 30th NOVEMBER, 1759. Serene Highness is lying here for a week past; abundantly strong for the task on hand,—has his own 12,000, supplemented by 1,000 French Light Horse;—but is widely scattered withal, posted in a kind of triangular form; his main posts being Fulda itself, and a couple of others, each thirty miles from Fulda, and five miles from one another,—with 'patrols to connect them,' better or worse. Abundantly strong for the task, and in perfect security; and indeed intends this day to 'fire VICTORIA' for the Catastrophe at Maxen, and in the evening will give a Ball in farther honor of so salutary an event:—when, about 9 A.M., news arrives at the gallop, 'Brunswickers in full march; are within an hour of the Town-Bridge!' Figure to what flurry of Serene Highness; of the victoria-shooting apparatus; of busy man-milliner people, and the Beauty and Fashion of Fulda in general!
"The night before, a rumor of the French Post being driven in by somebody had reached Serene Highness; who gave some vague order, not thinking it of consequence. Here, however, is the Fact come to hand in a most urgent and undeniable manner! Serene Highness gets on horseback; but what can that help? One cannon (has nothing but light cannon) he does plant on the Bridge; but see, here come premonitory bomb-shells one and another, terrifying to the mind;—and a single Hessian dragoon, plunging forward on the one unready cannon, and in the air making horrid circles,—the gunners leave said cannon to him, take to their heels; and the Bridge is open. The rest of the affair can be imagined. Retreat at our swiftest, 'running fight,' we would fain call it, by various roads; lost two flags, two cannon; prisoners were above 1,200, many of them Officers. 'A merciful Providence saved the Duke's Serene Person from hurt,' say the Stuttgard Gazetteers: which was true,—Serene Highness having been inspired to gallop instantly to rearward and landward, leaving an order to somebody, 'Do the best you can!'
"So that the Ball is up; dress-pumps and millineries getting all locked into their drawers again,—with abundance of te-hee-ing (I hope, mostly in a light vein) from the fair creatures disappointed of their dance for this time. Next day Serene Highness drew farther back, and next day again farther,—towards Frankenland and home, as the surest place;—and was no more heard of in those localities." [Buchholz, ii. 332; Mauvillon, ii. 80; Helden-Geschichte, v. 1184-1193; Old Newspapers, in Gentleman's Magazine, xxix. 603.]
Making his first exit, not yet quite his final, from the War-Theatre, amid such tempests of haha-ing and te-hee-ing. With what thoughts in his own lofty opaque mind;—like a crowned mule, of such pace and carriage, who had unexpectedly stepped upon galvanic wires!—
As to those poor Wurtembergers, and their notion of the "Protestant Hero," I remark farther, that there is a something of real truth in it. Friedrich's Creed, or Theory of the Universe, differed extremely, in many important points, from that of Dr. Martin Luther: but in the vital all-essential point, what we may call the heart's core of all Creeds which are human, human and not simious or diabolic, the King and the Doctor were with their whole heart at one: That it is not allowable, that it is dangerous and abominable, to attempt believing what is not true. In that sense, Friedrich, by nature and position, was a Protestant, and even the chief Protestant in the world. What kind of "Hero," in this big War of his, we are gradually learning;—in which too, if you investigate, there is not wanting something of "PROTESTANT Heroism," even in the narrow sense. For it does appear,—Maria Theresa having a real fear of God, and poor Louis a real fear of the Devil, whom he may well feel to be getting dangerous purchase over him,—some hope-gleams of acting upon Schism, and so meriting Heaven, did mingle with their high terrestrial combinations, on this unique opportunity, more than are now supposed in careless History-Books.
In the heat of this Campaign, "July 27th,"—some four days after the Battle of Zullichau, just while Friedrich was hurrying off for that Intersection at Sagan, and breathless Hunt of Loudon and Haddick,—poor Maupertuis had quitted this world. July 27th, 1759; at Basel, on the Swiss Borders, in his friend Bernouilli's house, after long months of sickness painfully spent there. And our poor Perpetual President, at rest now from all his Akakia burns, and pains and labors in flattening the Earth and otherwise, is gone.
Many beautifuler men have gone within the Year, of whom we can say nothing. But this is one whose grandly silent, and then occasionally fulminant procedures, Akakia controversies, Olympian solemnities and flamy pirouettings under the contradiction of sinners, we once saw; and think with a kind of human pathos that we shall see no more. From his goose of an adorer, La Beaumelle, I have riddled out the following particulars, chiefly chronological,—and offer them to susceptible readers. La Beaumelle is, in a sort, to be considered the speaker; or La Beaumelle and this Editor in concert.
FINAL PILGRIMAGE OF THE PERPETUAL PRESIDENT. "Maupertuis had quitted Berlin soon after Voltaire. That threat of visiting Voltaire with pistols,—to be met by 'my syringe and vessel of dishonor' on Voltaire's part,—was his last memorability in Berlin. His last at that time; or indeed altogether, for he saw little of Berlin farther.
"End of April, 1753, he got leave of absence; set out homewards, for recovery of health. Was at Paris through summer and autumn: very taciturn in society; 'preferred pretty women to any man of science;' would sententiously say a strong thing now and then, 'bitter but not without BONHOMIE,' shaking slightly his yellow wig. Disdainful, to how high a degree, of AKAKIA brabbles, and Voltaire gossip for or against! In winter went to St. Malo; found his good Father gone; but a loving Sister still there.
"June, 1754, the King wrote to him, 'VENEZ VITE, Come quickly:' July, 1754, he came accordingly, [OEuvres de Frederic, xx. 49.] saw Berlin again; did nothing noticeable there, except get worse in health; and after eleven months, June, 1756, withdrew again on leave,—never to return this time, though he well intended otherwise. But at St. Malo, when, after a month or two of Paris, he got thither (Autumn, 1756), and still more, next summer, 1757, when he thought of leaving St. Malo,—what wars, and rumors of war, all over the world!
"June, 1757, he went to Bordeaux, intending to take ship for Hamburg, and return; but the sea was full of English cruisers [Pitt's Descents lying in store for St. Malo itself]. No getting to Berlin by the Hamburg or sea route! 'Never mind, then,' wrote the King: 'Improve your health; go to Italy, if you can.'
"Summer, 1757, Maupertuis made for Italy; got as far as Toulouse;—stayed there till May following; sad, tragically stoical; saying, sparingly, and rather to women than men, strong things, admired by the worthier sort. Renounced thoughts of Italy: 'Europe bleeding, and especially France and Prussia, how go idly touring?'
"May, 1758, Maupertuis left Toulouse: turned towards Berlin; slow, sad, circuitous;—never to arrive. Saw Narbonne, Montpellier, Nimes; with what meditations! At Lyons, under honors sky-high, health getting worse, stays two months; vomits clots of blood there. Thence, July 24th, to Neufchatel and the Lord Marischal; happy there for three months. Hears there of Professor Konig's death (AKAKIA Konig): 'One scoundrel less in the world,' ejaculated he; 'but what is one!'—October 16th, to the road again, to Basel; stays perforce, in Bernouilli's house there, all Winter; health falling lower and lower.
"April, 1759, one day he has his carriage at the door ('Homeward, at all rates!'): but takes violent spasms in the carriage; can't; can no farther in this world. Lingers here, under kind care, for above three months more: dying slowly, most painfully. With much real stoicism; not without a stiff-jointed algebraic kind of piety, almost pathetic in its sort. 'Two Capuchins from a neighboring Convent daily gave him consolations,' not entirely satisfactory; for daily withal, 'unknown to the Capuchins, he made his Valet, who was a Protestant, read to him from the Geneva Bible;'—and finds many things hard to the human mind. July 27th, 1759, he died." [La Beaumelle, Vie de Maupertuis, pp. 196-216.]
Poor Maupertuis; a man of rugged stalwart type; honest; of an ardor, an intelligence, not to be forgotten for La Beaumelle's pulings over them. A man of good and even of high talent; unlucky in mistaking it for the highest! His poor Wife, a born Borck,—hastening from Berlin, but again and again delayed by industry of kind friends, and at last driving on in spite of everything,—met, in the last miles, his Hearse and Funeral Company. Adieu, a pitying adieu to him forever,—and even to his adoring La Beaumelle, who is rather less a blockhead than he generally seems.
This of the Two Capuchins, the last consummation of collapse in man, is what Voltaire cannot forget, but crows over with his shrillest mockery; and seldom mentions Maupertuis without that last touch to his life-drama.
On the very day of Maxen, Tuesday, November 20th, the grand French Invasion found its terminus,—not on the shores of Britain, but of Brittany, to its surprise. We saw Rodney burn the Flat-bottom manufactory at Havre; Boscawen chase the Toulon Squadron, till it ended on the rocks of Lagos. From January onwards, as was then mentioned, Hawke had been keeping watch, off Brest Harbor, on Admiral Conflans, who presides there over multifarious preparations, with the last Fleet France now has. At Vannes, where Hawke likewise has ships watching, are multifarious preparations; new Flat-bottoms, 18,000 troops,—could Conflans and they only get to sea. At the long last, they did get;—in manner following:—
"November 9th, a wild gale of wind had blown Hawke out of sight; away home to Torbay, for the moment. 'Now is the time!' thought Conflans, and put to sea (November 14th); met by Hawke, who had weighed from Torbay to his duty; and who, of course, crowded every sail, after hearing that Conflans was out. At break of day, November 20th [in the very hours when poor Finck was embattling himself round Maxen, and Daun sprawling up upon him through the Passes], Hawke had had signal, 'A Fleet in sight;' and soon after, 'Conflans in sight,'—and the day of trial come.
"Conflans is about the strength of Hawke, and France expects much of him; but he is not expecting Hawke. Conflans is busy, at this moment, in the mouth of Quiberon Bay, opening the road for Vannes and the 18,000;—in hot chase, at the moment, of a Commodore Duff and his small Squadron, who have been keeping watch there, and are now running all they can. On a sudden, to the astonishment of Conflans, this little Squadron whirls round, every ship of it (with a sky-rending cheer, could he hear it), and commences chasing! Conflans, taking survey, sees that it is Hawke; he, sure enough, coming down from windward yonder at his highest speed; and that chasing will not now be one's business!—
"About 11 A.M. Hawke is here; eight of his vanward ships are sweeping on for action. Conflans, at first, had determined to fight Hawke; and drew up accordingly, and did try a little: but gradually thought better of it; and decided to take shelter in the shoaly coasts and nooks thereabouts, which were unknown to Hawke, and might ruin him if he should pursue, the day being short, and the weather extremely bad. Weather itself almost to be called a storm. 'Shoreward, then; eastward, every ship!' became, ultimately, Conflans's plan. On the whole, it was 2 in the afternoon before Hawke, with those vanward Eight, could get clutch of Conflans. And truly he did then strike his claws into him in a thunderously fervid manner, he and all hands, in spite of the roaring weather:—a man of falcon, or accipitral, nature as well as name.
"Conflans himself fought well; as did certain of the others,—all, more or less, so long as their plan continued steady:—thunderous miscellany of cannon and tempest; Conflans with his plan steady, or Conflans with his plan wavering, VERSUS those vanward Eight, for two hours or more. But the scene was too dreadful; this ship sinking, that obliged to strike; things all going awry for Conflans. Hawke, in his own Flagship, bore down specially on Conflans in his,—who did wait, and exchange a couple of broadsides; but then sheered off, finding it so heavy. French Vice-Admiral next likewise gave Hawke a broadside; one only, and sheered off, satisfied with the return. Some Four others, in succession, did the like; 'One blast, as we hurry by' (making for the shore, mostly)! So that Hawke seemed swallowed in volcanoes (though, indeed, their firing was very bad, such a flurry among them), and his Blue Flag was invisible for some time, and various ships were hastening to help him,—till a Fifth French ship coming up with her broadside, Hawke answered her in particular (LA SUPERBE, a Seventy-four) with all his guns together; which sent the poor ship to the bottom, in a hideously sudden manner. One other (the THESEE) had already sunk in fighting; two (the SOLEIL and the HEROS) were already running for it,—the HEROS in a very unheroic manner! But on this terrible plunge-home of the SUPERBE, the rest all made for the shore;—and escaped into the rocky intricacies and the darkness. Four of Conflans's ships were already gone,—struck, sunk, or otherwise extinct,—when darkness fell, and veiled Conflans and his distresses. 'Country people, to the number of 10,000,' crowded on the shore, had been seen watching the Battle; and, 'as sad witnesses of the White Flag's disgrace,' disappeared into the interior." [Beatson, ii. 327-345: and Ib. iii. 244-250. In Gentleman's Magazine, (xxix. 557), "A Chaplain's Letter," &c.]
It was such a night as men never witnessed before. Walpole says: "The roaring of the elements was redoubled by the thunder from our ships; and both concurred in that scene of horror to put a period to the Navy and hopes of France. Seven ships of the line got into the River Vilaine [lay there fourteen months, under strict watching, till their backs were broken, "thumping against the shallow bottom every tide," and only "three, with three frigates," ever got out again]; eight more escaped to different ports," into the River Charente ultimately. "Conflans's own ship and another were run on shore, and burnt. One we took." Two, with their crews, had gone to the bottom; one under Hawke's cannon; one partly by its own mismanagement. "Two of ours were lost in the storm [chasing that SOLEIL and HEROS], but the crews saved. Lord Howe, who attacked LA FORMIDABLE, bore down on her with such violence, that her prow forced in his lower tier of guns. Captain Digby, in the DUNKIRK, received the fire of twelve of the enemy's ships, and lost not a man. Keppel's was full of water, and he thought it sinking: a sudden squall emptied his ship; but he was informed all his powder was wet; 'Then,' said he, 'I am sorry I am safe.' They came and told him a small quantity was undamaged; 'Very well,' said he; 'then attack again.' Not above eight of our ships were engaged in obtaining that decisive victory. The Invasion was heard of no more." [Walpole, George Second, iii. 232.—Here is the List, accurately riddled out: 1. FORMIDABLE, struck (about 4 P.M.): 2. THESEE, sunk (by a tumble it made, while in action, under an unskilful Captain): 3. SUPERBE, sunk: 4. HEROS, struck; could not he boarded, such weather; and recommenced next day, but had to run and strand itself, and be burnt by the English;—as did (5.) the SOLEIL ROYAL (Conflans's Flagship), Conflans and crew (like those of the HEROS) getting out in time.]
Invasion had been fully intended, and even, in these final days, considerably expected. In the old London Newspapers we read this notice: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19th: "To-day there came Three Expresses,"—Three Expresses, with what haste in their eyes, testifying successively of Conflans's whereabouts. But it was believed that Hawke would still manage. And, at any rate, Pitt wore such a look,—and had, in fact, made such preparation on the coasts, even in failure of Hawke,—there was no alarm anywhere. Indignation rather;—and naturally, when the news did come, what an outburst of Illumination in the windows and the hearts of men!
"Hawke continued watching the mouths of the Vilaine and Charente Rivers for a good while after, and without interruption henceforth,—till the storms of Winter had plainly closed them for one season. Supplies of fresh provisions had come to him from England all Summer; but were stopped latterly by the wild weather. Upon which, in the Fleet, arose this gravely pathetic Stave of Sea-Poetry, with a wrinkle of briny humor grinning in it:—
Till Hawke did bang Monsieur Conflans [CONGFLANG], You sent us beef and beer; Now Monsieur's beat, we've nought to eat, Since you have nought to fear." [Beatson, ii. 342 n.]
The French mode of taking this catastrophe was rather peculiar. Hear Barbier, an Eye-witness; dating PARIS, DECEMBER, 1759: "Since the first days of December, there has been cried, and sold in the streets, a Printed Detail of all that concerns the GRAND INVASION projected this long while: to wit, the number of Ships of the Line, of Frigates, Galiots,—among others 500 Flat-bottomed Boats, which are to carry over, and land in England, more than 54,000 men;—with list of the Regiments, and number of the King's Guards, that are also to go: there are announced for Generals-in-Chief, M. le Prince de Conti [do readers remember him since the Broglio-Maillebois time, and how King Louis prophesied in autograph that he would be "the Grand Conti" one day?]—Prince de Conti, Prince de Soubise [left his Conquest of Frankfurt for this greater Enterprise], and Milord Thomont [Irish Jacobite, whom I don't know]. As sequel to this Detail, there is a lengthy Song on the DISEMBARKMENT IN ENGLAND, and the fear the English must have of it!" Calculated to astonish the practical forensic mind.
"It is inconceivable", continues he, "how they have permitted such a Piece to be printed; still more to be cried, and sold price one halfpenny (DEUX LIARDS). This Song is indecent, in the circumstances of the actual news from our Fleet at Brest (20th of last month);—in regard to which bad adventure M. le Marquis de Conflans has come to Versailles, to justify himself, and throw the blame on M. le Marquis de Beauffremont [his Rear-Admiral, now safe in the Charente, with eight of our poor ships]. Such things are the more out of place, as we are in a bad enough position,—no Flat-bottoms stirring from the ports, no Troops of the MAISON DU ROI setting out; and have reason to believe that we are now to make no such attempt." [Barbier, iv. 336.]
Silhouette, the Controller-General, was thought to have a creative genius in finance: but in the eighth month of his gestation, what phenomena are these? October 26th, there came out Four Decrees of Council, setting forth, That, "as the expenses of the War exceed not only the King's ordinary revenues, but the extraordinaries he has had to lay on his people, there is nothing for it but," in fact, Suspension of Payment; actual Temporary Bankruptcy:—"Cannot pay you; part of you not for a year, others of you not till the War end; will give you 5 per cent interest instead." Coupled with which, by the same creative genius, is a Declaration in the King's name, "That the King compels nobody, but does invite all and sundry of loyal mind to send their Plate (on loan, of course, and with due receipt for it) to the Mint to be coined, lest Majesty come to have otherwise no money,"—his very valets, as is privately known, having had no wages from him for ten months past.
Whereupon the rich Princes of the Blood, Due d'Orleans foremost, and Official persons, Pompadour, Belleisle, Choiseul, do make an effort; and everybody that has Plate feels uneasily that he cannot use it, and that he ought to send it. And, November 5th, the King's own Plate, packed ostentatiously in carts, went to the Mint;—the Dauphiness, noble Saxon Lady, had already volunteered with a silver toilet-table of hers, brand-new and of exquisite costly pattern; but the King forbade her. On such examples, everybody had to make an effort, or uneasily try to make one. King Friedrich, eight days after Maxen, is somewhat amused at these proceedings in the distance:—
"The kettles and spoons of the French seem to me a pleasant resource, for carrying on War!" writes he to D'Argens. ["Wilsdruf, 28th November, 1759," OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 108.] "A bit of mummery to act on the public feeling, I suppose. The result of it will be small: but as the Belleisle LETTERS [taken in Contades's baggage, after Minden, and printed by Duke Ferdinand for public edification] make always such an outcry about poverty, those people are trying to impose on their enemies, and persuade them that the carved and chiselled silver of the Kingdom will suffice for making a vigorous Campaign. I see nothing else that can have set them on imagining the farce they are now at. There is Munster taken from them by the English-Hanoverian people; it is affirmed that the French, on the 25th, quitted Giessen, to march on Friedberg and repass the Rhine [might possibly have done so;—but the Hereditary Prince and his 12,000 come to be needed elsewhere!]—Poor we are opposite our enemies here, cantoned in the Villages about; the last truss of straw, the last loaf of bread will decide which of us is to remain in Saxony. And as the Austrians are extremely squeezed together, and can get nothing out of Bohmen,"—one hopes it will not be they!
All through November, this sending of Plate, I never knew with what net-result of moneys coinable, goes on in Paris; till, at the highest tables, there is nothing of silver dishes left;—and a new crockery kind (rather clumsy; "CULS NOIRS," as we derisively call them, pigment of BOTTOM part being BLACK) has had to be contrived instead. Under what astonishments abroad and at home, and in the latter region under what execrations on Silhouette, may be imagined. "TOUT LE MONDE JURE BEAUCOUP CONTRE M. DE SILHOUETTE, All the world swears much against him," says Barbier;—but I believe probably he was much to be pitied: "A creative genius, you; and this is what you come to?"
November 22d, the poor man got dismissed; France swearing at him, I know not to what depth; but howling and hissing, evidently, with all its might. The very tailors and milliners took him up,—trousers without pockets, dresses without flounce or fold, which they called A LA SILHOUETTE:—and, to this day, in France and Continental Countries, the old-fashioned Shadow-Profile (mere outline, and vacant black) is practically called a SILHOUETTE. So that the very Dictionaries have him; and, like bad Count Reinhart, or REYNARD, of earlier date, he has become a Noun Appellative, and is immortalized in that way. The first of that considerable Series of Creative Financiers, Abbe Terray and the rest,—brought in successively with blessings, and dismissed with cursings and hissings,—who end in Calonne, Lomenie de Brienne, and what Mirabeau Pere called "the General Overturn (CULBUTE GENERALE)." Thitherward, privately, straight towards the General Overturn, is France bound;—and will arrive in about thirty years.
In this avalanche of impending destructions, what can be more surprising than to hear of the Editing of Poems on his Majesty's part! Actual publication of that OEuvre de Poesie, for which Voltaire, poor gentleman, suffered such tribulation seven years ago. Now coming out from choice: Reprint of it, not now to the extent of twelve copies for highly special friends, but in copious thousands, for behoof of mankind at large! The thing cost Friedrich very little meditating, and had become necessary,—and to be done with speed.
Readers recollect the OEUVRE DE POESIE, and satirical hits said to be in it. At Paris, about New-year's time 1760, some helpful Hand had contrived to bring out, under the pretended date "Potsdam," a cheap edition of that interesting Work. ["OEuvres du Philosophe de Sans-Souci:" 1 vol. 12 mo, "Potsdam [PARIS, in truth], 1760."] Merely in the way of theft, as appeared to cursory readers, to D'Argens, for example: [His Letter to the King, OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 138.] but, in deeper fact, for the purpose of apprising certain Crowned Heads, friendly and hostile,—Czarish Majesty and George II. of England the main two,—what this poetizing King was pleased to think of them in his private moments. D'Argens declares himself glad of this theft, so exquisitely clever is the Book. But Friedrich knows better: "March 17th, when a Copy of it came to him," Friedrich sees well what is meant,—and what he himself has to do in it. He instantly sets about making a few suppressions, changes of phrase; sends the thing to D'Argens: "Publish at once, with a little prefatory word." And, at the top of his speed, D'Argens has, in three weeks' time, the suitable AVANT-PROPOS, or AVIS AU LIBRAIRE, "circulating in great quantities, especially in London and Petersburg" ("Thief Editor has omitted; and, what is far more, has malignantly interpolated: here is the poor idle Work itself, not a Counterfeit of it, if anybody care to read it"), and an Orthodox Edition ready. [Came out April 9th [see MITCHELL, ii. 153], "and a second finer Edition in June:" in OEuvres de Frederic, x. p. x, xix. 137 n., 138; especially in PREUSS, i. 467, 468 (if you will compare him with HIMSELF on these different occasions, and patiently wind out his bit of meaning), all manner of minutest details.] The diligent Pirate Booksellers, at Amsterdam, at London, copiously reproduced this authorized Berlin Edition too,—or added excerpts from it to their reprints of the Paris one, by way of various-readings. And everybody read and compared, what nobody will now do; theme, and treatment of theme, being both now so heartily indifferent to us.
Who the Perpetrator of this Parisian maleficence was, remained dark;—and would not be worth inquiring into at all, except for two reasons intrinsically trifling, but not quite without interest to readers of our time. First, that Voltaire, whom some suspected (some, never much Friedrich, that I hear of), appears to have been perfectly innocent;—and indeed had been incapacitated for guilt, by Schmidt and Freytag, and their dreadful Frankfurt procedures! This is reason FIRST; poor Voltaire mutely asking us, Not to load him with more sins than his own. Reason SECOND is, that, by a singular opportunity, there has, in these very months, [Spring, 1863.] a glimmering of light risen on it to this Editor; illustrating two other points as well, which readers here are acquainted with, some time ago, as riddles of the insignificant sort. The DEMON NEWSWRITER, with his "IDEA" of Friedrich, and the "MATINEES DU ROI DE PRUSSE:" readers recollect both those Productions; both enigmatic as to authorship;—but both now become riddles which can more or less be read.
For the surprising circumstance (though in certain periods, when the realm of very Chaos re-emerges, fitfully, into upper sunshine now and then, nothing ought to surprise one as happening there) is, That, only a few months ago, the incomparable MATINEES (known to my readers five years since) has found a new Editor and reviver. Editor illuminated "by the Secretary of the Great Napoleon," "by discovery of manuscripts," "by the Duc de Rovigo," and I know not what; animated also, it is said, by religious views. And, in short, the MATINEES is again abroad upon the world,—"your London Edition twice reprinted in Germany, by the Jesuit party since" (much good may it do the Jesuit party!)—a MATINEES again in comfortable circumstances, as would seem. Probably the longest-eared Platitude now walking the Earth, though there are a good many with ears long. Unconscious, seemingly, that it has been killed thrice and four times already; and that indeed, except in the realm of Nightmare, it never was alive, or needed any killing; belief in it, doubt upon it (I must grieve to inform the Duc de Rovigo and honorable persons concerned), being evidence conclusive that you have not yet the faintest preliminary shadow of correct knowledge about Friedrich or his habits or affairs, and that you ought first to try and acquire some.
To me argument on this subject would have been too unendurable. But argument there was on it, by persons capable and willing, more than one: and in result this surprising brand-new London moon-calf of a MATINEES was smitten through, and slit in pieces, for the fifth time,—as if that could have hurt it much! "MIT DER DUMMHEIT," sings Schiller; "Human Stupidity is stronger than the very Gods." However, in the course of these new inspections into matters long since obsolete, there did—what may truly be considered as a kind of profit by this Resuscitating of the moon-calf MATINEES upon afflicted mankind, and is a net outcome from it, real, though very small—some light rise as to the origin and genesis of MATINEES; some twinkles of light, and, in the utterly dark element, did disclose other monstrous extinct shapes looming to right and left of said monster: and, in a word, the Authorship of MATINEES, and not of MATINEES only, becomes now at last faintly visible or guessable. To one of those industrious Matadors, as we may call them, Slayers of this moon-calf for the fourth or fifth time, I owe the following Note; which, on verifying, I can declare to be trustworthy:—
"The Author of MATINEES, it is nearly certain", says my Correspondent, "is actually a 'M. de Bonneville,'—contrary to what you wrote five years ago. [A.D. 1858 (SUPRA, v. 165, 166).] Not indeed the Bonneville who is found in Dictionaries, who is visibly impossible; but a Bonneville of the preceding generation, who was Marechal de Saxe's Adjutant or Secretary, old enough to have been the Uncle or the Father of that revolutionary Bonneville. Marechal de Saxe died November 30th, 1750; this senior Bonneville, still a young man, had been with him to Potsdam on visit there. Bonneville, conscious of genius, and now out of employment, naturally went thither again; lived a good deal there, or went between France and there: and authentic History knows of him, by direct evidence, and by reflex, the following Three Facts (the SECOND of them itself threefold), of which I will distinguish the indubitable from the inferentially credible or as good as certain:—
"1. Indubitable, That Bonneville sold to Friedrich certain Papers, military Plans, or the like, of the late Marechal and was paid for them; but by no means met the recognition his genius saw itself to merit. These things are certain, though not dated, or datable except as of the year 1750 or 1751. After which, for above twenty years, Bonneville entered upon a series of adventures, caliginous, underground, for most part; 'soldiering in America,' 'writing anonymous Pamphlets or Books,' roaming wide over the world; and led a busy but obscure and uncertain life, hanging by Berlin as a kind of centre, or by Paris and Berlin as his two centres; and had a miscellaneous series of adventures, subterranean many of them, unluminous all of them, not courting the light; which lie now in naturally a very dark condition. Dimly discernible, however, in the general dusk of Bonneville, dim and vague of outline, but definitely steady beyond what could have been expected, it does appear farther,—what alone entitles Bonneville to the least memory here, or anywhere in Nature now or henceforth,—
"2. Inferentially credible, That, shortly after that first rebuff in Potsdam, he, not another, in 1752, was your 'DEMON NEWSWRITER,' whom we gazed at, some time since, devoutly crossing ourselves, for a little while!
"Likewise that, in 1759-1760, after or before his American wanderings, he, the same Bonneville, as was suspected at the time, ["Nicolai, Ueber Zimmermanns Fragmente, i. 181, 182, ii. 253, 254. Sketch of what is authentically known about Bonneville: 'suspected both of MATINEES and of the Stolen EDITION.'"] stole and edited this surreptitious mischief-making OEuvres du Philosophe de Sans-Souci (Paris or Lyon, pretending to be 'Potsdam,' January, 1760)," which we are now considering!" Encouraged, probably enough, by Choiseul himself, who, in any case, is now known to have been the promoter of this fine bit of mischief, [Choiseul's own Note, "To M. de Malesherbes, DIRECTEUR DE LA LIBRAIRE, 10th December, 1759: 'By every method screen the King's Government from being suspected;—and get the Edition out at once.'" (Published in the Constitutionnel, 2d December, 1850, by M. Sainte-Beuve; copied in Preuss, OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 168 n.)]—and who may thereupon [or may as probably, NOT "thereupon," if it were of the least consequence to gods or men] have opened to Bonneville a new military career in America? Career which led to as good as nothing; French soldiering in America being done for, in the course of 1760. Upon which Bonneville would return to his old haunts, to his old subterranean industries in Paris and Berlin.
"And that, finally, in 1765, he, as was again suspected at the time, ["Nicolai, Ueber Zimmermanns Fragmente, i. 181, 182, ii. 253, 254. Sketch of what is authentically known about Bonneville: 'suspected both of MATINEES and of the Stolen EDITION.'"] he and no other, did write those MATINEES, which appeared next year in print (1766), and many times since; and have just been reprinted, as a surprising new discovery, at London, in Spring, 1863.
"3. Again indubitable, That either after or before those Editorial exploits, Bonneville had sold the Marechal de Saxe's Plans and Papers, which were already the King's, to some second person, and been a second time paid for them. And was, in regard to this Swindling exploit, found out; and by reason of that sale, or for what reason is not known, was put into Spandau, and, one hopes, ended his life there." ["Nicolai, UBI SUPRA;—and besides him, only the two following references, out of half a cart-load: 1. Bachaumont, MEMOIRES SECRETES, '7th February, 1765' (see Barbier, Dictionnaire des Anonymes, Matinees), who calls MATINEES 'a development of the IDEE DE LA PERSONNE,' &c. (that is, of your 'DEMON NEWSWRITER;' already known to Bachaumont, this 'IDEE,' it seems, as well as the MATINEES in Manuscript). 2. LETTER of Grimm to Duchess of Sachsen-Gotha [OUR Duchess], dated 'Paris, 15th April, 1765:' not in printed Correspondance de Grimm, but still in the Archives of Gotha, in company with a MS. of MATINEES, probably the oldest extant (see,—in the GRENZBOTEN Periodical, Leipzig, 1863, pp. 473-484, 500-519,—K. SAMWER, who is Chief MALLEUS of this new London moon-calf, and will inform the curious of every particular)]."
MATINEES was first printed 1766 (no place), and seven or eight times since, in different Countries; twice or thrice over, as "an interesting new discovery:"—very wearisome to this Editor; who read MATINEES (in poor LONDON print, that too) many years ago,—with complete satisfaction as to Matinees, and sincere wish not to touch it again even with a pair of tongs;—and has since had three "priceless MSS. of it" offered him, at low rates, as a guerdon to merit.
Fact No. 2, which alone concerns us here,—and which, in its three successive stages, does curiously cohere with itself and with other things,—comes, therefore, not by direct light, which indeed, by the nature of the case, would be impossible. Not by direct light, but by various reflex lights, and convergence of probabilities old and new, which become the stronger the better they are examined; and may be considered as amounting to what is called a moral certainty,—"certain" enough for an inquiry of that significance. To a kind of moral certainty: kind of moral consolation too; only One individual of Adam's Posterity, not Three or more, having been needed in these multifarious acts of scoundrelism; and that One receiving payment, or part payment, so prompt and appropriate, in the shape of a permanent cannon-ball at his ankle.
This is the one profit my readers or I have yet derived from the late miraculous Resuscitation of MATINEES ROYALES; the other items of profit in that Enterprise shall belong, not to us in the least measure, but to Bonneville, and to his well or ill disposed Coadjutors and Copartners in the Adventure. Adieu to it, and to him and to them, forever and a day!
This Winter there was talk of Peace, more specifically than ever. November 15th, at the Hague, as a neutral place, there had been, by the two Majesties, Britannic and Prussian, official DECLARATION, "We, for our part, deeply lament these horrors, and are ready to treat of Peace." This Declaration was presented November 15th, 1759, by Prince Ludwig of Brunswick (Head General of the Dutch, and a Brother of Prince Ferdinand our General's, suitable for such case), to the Austrian-French Excellencies at the Hague. By whom it had been received with the due politeness, "Will give it our profoundest consideration;" [DECLARATION (by the two Majesties) that they are ready to treat of Peace, 15th November, 1759, presented by, &c. (as above); ANSWER from France, in stingy terms, and not till 3d April, 1760: are in London Gazette; in Gentleman's Magazine, xxix. 603, xxx. 188; in &c. &c.]—which indeed the French, for some time, privately did; though the Austrians privately had no need to do so, being already fixed for a negative response to the proposal. But hereby rose actual talk of a "Congress;" and wagging of Diplomatic wigs as to where it shall be. "In Breda," said some; "Breda a place used to Congresses." "Why not in Nanci here?" said poor old Ex-Polish Stanislaus, alive to the calls of benevolence, poor old Titular soul. Others said "Leipzig;" others "Augsburg;"—and indeed in Augsburg, according to the Gazetteers, at one time, there were "upholsterers busy getting ready the apartments." So that, with such rumor in the Diplomatic circles, the Gazetteer and outer world was full of speculation upon Peace; and Friedrich had lively hopes of it, and had been hoping three months before, as we transiently saw, though again it came to nothing. All to nothing; and is not, in itself, worth the least attention from us here,—a poor extinct fact, loud in those months and filling the whole world, now silent and extinct to everybody,—except, indeed, that it offers physiognomic traits here and there of a certain King, and of those about him. For which reason we will dwell on it a few minutes longer.
Nobody, in that Winter 1759-1760, could guess where, or from whom, this big world-interesting Peace-Negotiation had its birth; as everybody now can, when nobody now is curious on the question! At Sagan, in September last, we all saw the small private source of it, its first outspurt into daylight; and read Friedrich's ANSWERS to Voltaire and the noble Duchess on it:—for the sake of which Two private Correspondents, and of Friedrich's relation to them, possibly a few more Excerpts may still have a kind of interest, now when the thing corresponded on has ceased to have any. To the Duchess, a noble-minded Lady, beautifully zealous to help if she could, by whose hand these multifarious Peace-Papers have to pass, this is always Friedrich's fine style in transmitting them. Out of many specimens, following that of Sagan which we gave, here are the Next Three:—
FRIEDRICH TO THE DUCHESS OF SACHSEN-GOTHA (Three other Letters on the "Peace").
1. "WILSDRUF, 21st November, 1759 [day after Maxen, SURRENDER was THIS morning—of which he has not heard].
"MADAM,—Nothing but your generosities and your indulgence could justify my incongruity [INCONGRUITE, in troubling you with the Enclosed]. You will have it, Madam, that I shall still farther abuse those bounties, which are so precious to me: at least remember that it is by your order, if I forward through your hand this Letter, which does not merit such honor.
"Chance, which so insolently mocks the projects of men, and delights to build up and then pull down, has led us about, thus far,—to the end of the Campaign [not quite ended yet, if we knew]. The Austrians are girt in by the Elbe on this side; I have had two important Magazines of theirs in Bohemia destroyed [Kleist's doing]. There have been some bits of fighting (AFFAIRES), that have turned entirely to our advantage:—so that I am in hopes of forcing M. Daun to repass the Elbe, to abandon Dresden, and to take the road for Zittau and Bohemia.
"I talk to you, Madam, of what I am surrounded with; of what, being in your neighborhood, may perhaps have gained your attention. I could go to much greater length, if my heart dared to explain itself on the sentiments of admiration, gratitude and esteem, with which I am,—Madam my Cousin,—Your most faithful Cousin, Friend and Servant,—F."
"FREYBERG, 18th December, 1759.
"MADAM,—You spoil me so by your indulgence, you so accustom me to have obligations to you, that I reproach myself a hundred times with this presumption. Certainly I should not continue to enclose these Letters to your care, had not I the hope that perhaps the Correspondence may be of some use to England, and even to Europe,—for without doubt Peace is the desirable, the natural and happy state for all Nations. It is to accelerate Peace, Madam, that I abuse your generosities. This motive excuses me to myself for the incongruity of my procedures.
"The goodness you have to take interest in my situation obliges me to give you some account of it. We have undergone all sorts of misfortune here [Maxen, what not], at the moment we were least expecting them. Nevertheless, there remains to us courage and hope; here are Auxiliaries [Hereditary Prince and 12,000] on the point of arriving; there is reason to think that the end of our Campaign will be less frightful than seemed likely three weeks ago. May you, Madam, enjoy all the happiness that I wish you. May all the world become acquainted with your virtues, imitate them, and admire you as I do. May you be persuaded that...—F."
"FREYBERG, 16th February, 1760.
"MADAM,—It is to my great regret that I importune Your Highness so often with my Letters. Your bounties, Madam, have spoiled me;—it will teach you to be more chary of them to others. I regard you as an estimable Friend, to whose friendship I have recourse in straits. The question is still Peace, Madam; and were not the object of my importunities so beautiful, Madam, I should be inexcusable."—Goes then into practical considerations, about "Cocceji" (King's Aide-de-Camp, once Keith's, who carries this Letter), about a "Herr von Edelsheim," a "Bailli de Froulay", and the possible "Conditions of Peace,"—not of consequence to us just now. [OEuvres de Frederic, xviii. 174, 173, 172. Correspondence on this subject lasts from 22d September, 1759, to 8th May, 1760: IB. pp. 170-186. In that final Letter of 8th May is the phrase, hardly worth restoring to its real ownership, though the context considerably redeems it there,—"the prejudice I can't get rid of, that, in war, DIEU EST POUR LES GROS ESCADRONS."]
As to Voltaire again, and the new Friedrich-Voltaire Style of Correspondence, something more of detail will be requisite. Ever since the black days of 1757, when poor Wilhelmina, with Rossbach and Leuthen still hidden from her in a future gloomy as death, desperately brought Voltaire to bear upon Cardinal Tencin in this matter, without success, there has been a kind of regular corresponding between Voltaire and Friedrich; characteristic on both sides. A pair of Lovers hopelessly estranged and divorced; and yet, in a sense, unique and priceless to one another. The Past, full of heavenly radiances, which issued, alas, in flames and sooty conflagrations as of Erebus,—let us forget it, and be taught by it! The Past is painful, and has been too didactic to some of us: but here still is the Present with its Future; better than blank nothing. Pleasant to hear the sound of that divine voice of my loved one, were it only in commonplace remarks on the weather,—perhaps intermixed with secret gibings on myself:—let us hear it while we can, amid those world-wide crashing discords and piping whirlwinds of war.
Friedrich sends his new Verses or light Proses, which he is ever and anon throwing off; Voltaire sends his, mostly in print, and of more elaborate turn: they talk on matters that are passing round them, round this King, the centre of them,—Friedrich usually in a rather swaggering way (lest his Correspondent think of blabbing), and always with something of banter audible in him;—as has Voltaire too, but in a finer TREBLE tone, being always female in this pretty duet of parted lovers. It rarely comes to any scolding between them; but there is or can be nothing of cordiality. Nothing, except in the mutual admiration, which one perceives to be sincere on both sides; and also, in the mutual practical estrangement: "Nothing more of you,—especially of YOU, Madam,—as a practical domestic article!"
After long reading, with Historical views, in this final section of the Friedrich-Voltaire Correspondence, at first so barren otherwise and of little entertainment, one finds that this too, when once you CAN "read" it (that is to say, when the scene and its details are visible to you), becomes highly dramatic, Shakspearean-comic or more, for this is Nature's self, who far excels even Shakspeare;—and that the inextricably dark condition of these Letters is a real loss to the ingenuous reader, and especially to the student of Friedrich. Among the frequently recurring topics, one that oftenest turns up on Voltaire's side is that of Peace: Oh, if your Majesty would but make Peace! Does it depend on me? thinks Friedrich always; and is, at last, once provoked to say so:—
FRIEDRICH TO VOLTAIRE.
"REICH-HENNERSDORF, 2d July, 1759, [shortly before Schmottseifen, while waiting Daun's slow movements].
"Asking ME for Peace: there is a bitter joke!—[In verse, this; flings off a handful of crackers on the BIEN-AIME, whose Chamberlain you are, on the HONGROISE QUI'IL ADORE, on the Russian QUE J'ABHORRE;—then continues in prose]:
"It is to him," the Well-beloved Louis, "that you must address yourself, or to his Amboise in Petticoats [his Pompadour, acting the Cardinal-Premier on this occasion]. But these people have their heads filled with ambitious projects: these people are the difficulty; they wish to be the sovereign arbiters of sovereigns;—and that is what persons of my way of thinking will by no means put up with. I love Peace quite as much as you could wish; but I want it good, solid and honorable. Socrates or Plato would have thought as I do on this subject, had they found themselves placed in the accursed position which is now mine in the world.
"Think you there is any pleasure in leading this dog of a life [CHIENNE, she-dog]? In seeing and causing the butchery of people you know nothing of; in losing daily those you do know and love; in seeing perpetually your reputation exposed to the caprices of chance; in passing year after year in disquietudes and apprehensions; in risking, without end, your life and your fortune?
"I know right well the value of tranquillity, the sweets of society, the charms of life; and I love to be happy, as much as anybody whatever. But much as I desire these blessings, I will not purchase them by basenesses and infamies. Philosophy enjoins us to do our duty; faithfully to serve our Country, at the price of our blood, of our repose, and of every sacrifice that can be required of us. The illustrious ZADIG went through a good many adventures which were not to his taste, CANDIDE the like; and nevertheless took their misfortune in patience. What finer example to follow than that of those heroes?
"Take my word, our 'curt jackets,' as you call them [HABITS ECOURTES, peculiar to the Prussian soldier at that time], are as good as your red heels, as the Hungarian pelisses, and the green frocks of the Roxelans [Russians]. We are actually on the heels of the latter [at least poor Dohna is, and poor Dictator Wedell will be, not with the effect anticipated!]—who by their stupidities give us fine chance. You will see I shall get out of the scrape this Year too, and deliver myself both from the Greens and the Dirty-Whites [Austrian color of coat]. My neighbor of the Sacred Hat,—I think, in spite of Holy Father's benediction, the Holy Ghost must have inspired him the reverse way; he seems to have a great deal of lead in his bottom.... F." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 53.]
VOLTAIRE IN ANSWER.
"THE DELICES," guessed to be some time in "August, 1759."
"In whatever state you are, it is very certain that you are a great man. It is not to weary your Majesty that I now write; it is to confess myself,—on condition you will give me absolution! I have betrayed you; that is the fact"—(really guilty this time, and HAVE shown something of your writing; as your Majesty, oh how unjustly, is often suspecting that I do, and with mischievous intention, instead of good, ah, Sire!)—In fact, I have received that fine "MARCUS-AURELIUS" Letter (Letter we have just read); exquisite Piece, though with biting "JUVENAL" qualities in it too; and have shown it, keeping back the biting parts, to a beautiful gillflirt of the Court, MINAUDIERE (who seems to be a Mistress of Choiseul's), who is here attending Tissot for her health: MINAUDIERE charmed with it; insists on my sending to Choiseul, "He admires the King of Prussia, as he does all nobleness and genius; send it!" And I did so;—and look here, what an Answer from Choiseul (Answer lost): and may it not have a fine effect, and perhaps bring Peace—Oh, forgive me, Sire. But read that Note of the great man. "Try if you can decipher his writing. One may have very honest sentiments, and a great deal of ESPRIT, and yet write like a cat....
"Sire, there was once a lion and a mouse (RAT); the mouse fell in love with the lion, and went to pay him court. The lion, tired of it, gave him a little scrape with his paw. The mouse withdrew into his mouse-hole (SOURICIERE); but he still loved the lion; and seeing one day a net they were spreading out to catch the lion and kill him, he gnawed asunder one mesh of it. Sire, the mouse kisses very humbly your beautiful claws, in all submissiveness:—he will never die between two Capuchins, as, at Bale, the mastiff (DOGUE) of St. Malo has done [27th July last]. He would have wished to die beside his lion. Believe that the mouse was more attached than the mastiff."—V. [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 59, 60.]
To which we saw the Answer, pair of Answers, at Sagan, in September last. This Note from Choiseul, conveyed by Voltaire, appears to have been the trifling well-spring from which all those wide-spread waters of Negotiation flowed. Pitt, when applied to, on the strength of Friedrich's hopes from this small Document of Choiseul's, was of course ready, "How welcome every chance of a just Peace!" and agreed to the Joint Declaration at the Hague; and took what farther trouble I know not,—probably less sanguine of success than Friedrich. Friedrich was ardently industrious in the affair; had a great deal of devising and directing on it, a great deal of corresponding with Voltaire and the Duchess, only small fractions of which are now left. He searched out, or the Duchess of Sachsen-Gotha did it for him, a proper Secret Messenger for Paris: Secret Messenger, one Baron von Edelsheim, properly veiled, was to consult a certain Bailli de Froulay, a friend of Friedrich's in Paris;—which loyal-hearted Bailli did accordingly endeavor there; but made out nothing. Only much vague talking; part of it, or most of it, subdolous on Choiseul's side. Pitt would hear of no Peace which did not include Prussia as well as England: some said this was the cause of failure;—the real cause was that Choiseul never had any serious intention of succeeding. Light Choiseul, a clever man, but an unwise, of the sort called "dashing," had entertained the matter merely in the optative form,—and when it came nearer, wished to use it for making mischief between Pitt and Friedrich, and for worming out Edelsheim's secrets, if he had any,—for which reason he finally threw Edelsheim into the Bastille for a few days. [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 38-41, detailed account of the Affair.]
About the end of March I guess it to have been that Choiseul, by way of worming out poor Edelsheim's secrets, flung him into the Bastille for a day or two. Already in December foregoing, we have seen Choiseul's Black-Artist busy upon the Stolen EDITION of Friedrich's Verses. A Choiseul full of intrigues; adroit enough, ambitious enough; restlessly industrious in making mischief, if there were nothing else to be made; who greatly disgusted Friedrich, now and afterwards.
And this was what the grand Voltaire Pacification came to, though it filled the world with temporary noise, and was so interesting to Voltaire and another. What a heart-affecting generosity, humility and dulcet pathos in that of the poor Mouse gnawing asunder a mesh of the Lion's net! There is a good deal of that throughout, on the Voltaire side,—that is to say, while writing to Friedrich. But while writing of him, to third parties, sometimes almost simultaneously, the contrast of styles is not a little startling; and the beautiful affectionately chirping Mouse is seen suddenly to be an injured Wild-cat with its fur up. All readers of Voltaire are aware of this; and how Voltaire handles his "LUC" (mysterious nickname for KING FRIEDRICH ), when Luc's back is turned. For alas, there is no man or thing but has its wrong side too; least of all, a Voltaire,—doing TREBLE voice withal, if you consider it, in such a Duet of estranged Lovers! Suppose we give these few Specimens,—treble mostly, and a few of bass as well,—to illustrate the nature of this Duet, and of the noises that went on round it, in a war-convulsed world? And first of all, concerning the enigma "What is Luc?"
What the LUC in Voltaire is? Shocking explanations have been hit upon: but Wagniere (WAGNER, an intelligent Swiss man), Voltaire's old Secretary, gives this plain reading of the riddle: "M. de Voltaire had, at The Delices [near by Ferney, till the Chateau got built], a big Ape, of excessively mischievous turn; who used to throw stones at the passers-by, and sometimes would attack with its teeth friend or foe alike. One day it thrice over bit M. de Voltaire's own leg. He had called it LUC (Luke); and in conversation with select friends, as also in Letters to such, he sometimes designated the King of Prussia by that nickname: 'HE is like my Luc here; bites whoever caresses him!'—In 1756 M. de Voltaire, having still on his heart the Frankfurt Outrage, wrote curious MEMOIRES [ah, yes, VIE PRIVEE]; and afterwards wished to burn them; but a Copy had been stolen from him in 1768,"—and they still afflict the poor world.
To the same effect speaks Johannes von Muller: "Voltaire had an Ape called Luc; and the spiteful man, in thus naming the King, meant to stigmatize him as the mere APE of greater men; as one without any greatness of his own."—No; LUC was mischievous, flung stones after passengers; had, according to Clogenson, "bitten Voltaire himself, while being caressed by him;" that was the analogy in Voltaire's mind. Preuss says, this Nickname first occurs "12th December, 1757." Suppose 11th December to have been the day of getting one's leg bitten thrice over; and that, in bed next morning,—stiff, smarting, fretful against the sad ape-tricks and offences of this life,—before getting up to one's Works and Correspondences, the angry similitude had shot, slightly fulgurous and consolatory, athwart the gloom of one's mood? [Longchamp et Wagniere Memoires, i. 34; Johannes von Muller, Works (12mo, Stuttgard, 1821), xxxi. 140 (LETTERS TO HIS BROTHER, No, 218, "July, 1796"); Clogenson's Note, in OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxvii. 103; Preuss, ii. 71.] That will account for Luc.
Many of the Voltaire-Friedrich LETTERS are lost; and the remainder lie in sad disorder in all the Editions, their sequence unintelligible without lengthy explanation. So that the following Snatches cannot well be arranged here in the way of Choral Strophe and Antistrophe, as would have been desirable. We shall have to group them loosely under heads; with less respect to date than to subject-matter, and to the reader's convenience for understanding them.
TO D'ARGENTAL (Has not yet heard of LEUTHEN, which happened five days before).... "I have tasted the vengeance of consoling the King of Prussia, and that is enough for me. He goes beating on the one side, and getting beaten on the other: except for another miracle [like Rossbach], he will be ruined. Better have really been a philosopher, as he pretended to be." [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxvii. 139 ("The Delices, 10th December, 1757").]
TO THE REVEREND COMTE DE BERNIS (outwardly still our flourishing Prime-Minister, by grace of Pompadour, but soon to be extinguished under a Red Hat. Date is six days before ZORNDORF).... "I cannot imagine how some people have gone into suspecting that my heart might have the weakness to lean a little towards WHOM you know, towards my Ingrate that was! One is bound to have politeness; but one has memory as well;—and one is attached, as warmly as superfluously, to the Good Cause, which it belongs only to you to defend. Certain it is, poor I am not like the three-fourths of the Germans in these days [since ROSSBACH, above all]! I have everywhere seen Ladies'-fans with the Prussian Eagle painted on them, eating the FLEUR-DE-LIS; the Hanover Horse giving a kick to M. de Richelieu's bottom; a Courier carrying a bottle of Queen-of-Hungary Water to Madame de Pompadour. My Nieces shall certainly not have that fashion of Fans, at my poor little DELICES, whither I am just returning." [Ib. lxxvii. 35 ("Soleure, 19th August, 1758").]
TO MADAME D'ARGENTAL (on occasion of MINDEN: Kunersdorf three days ago, but not yet heard of).... "Truly, Madame, when M. de Contades leads to the butchery all the descendants of our ancient chevaliers, and sets them to attack eighty pieces of cannon [not in the least, if you knew it; the reverse, if you knew it],—as Don Quixote did the windmills! This horrible day pierces my soul. I am French to excess, especially since those new favors [not worth mentioning here], which I owe to my divine Angels and to M. le Duc de Choiseul.
"Luc—you know who Luc is [as do we]—is probably giving Battle to the Austrians and Russians [KUNERSDORF, 12th; three days ago, did it, and was beaten to your mind], at the moment while I have the honor of writing to you; at least, he told me such was his Royal intention. If they beat him, as may happen, what a shame for us to have been beaten by the Duke of Brunswick! I wish you knew this Duke [as I have done; a Duke of no ESPRIT, no gift of tongue, in fact no talent at all that I could discern], you would be much astonished; and would say, 'The people whom he beats must be great blockheads.' The truth of the fact is, that all these troops are better disciplined than ours:" [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxviii, 186, 187 ("Delices, 15th August, 1759").]—Yes indeed, my esteemed Voltaire; and also, perhaps, that ESPRIT, or gift of tongue, is not the sole gift for Battles and Campaigns?—
TO D'ARGENTAL (seventh day after KUNERSDORF: "mouse upon lion's net" nearly contemporaneous). "At last, then, I think my Russians must be near Great Glogau [might have been, one thinks, after such a Kunersdorf; did not start for a month yet; never could get very near at all]. Who would have thought that Barberina [Mackenzie's Dancer once; sent to Glogau, Cocceji and she, when their marriage became public] was going to be besieged by the Russians, and in Glogau: O Destiny!—
"I don't love Luc, far from it: I never will pardon him his infamous procedure with my Niece [at Frankfurt that time]; nor the face he has to write me flattering things twice a month; without having ever repaired his wrongs. I desire much his entire humiliation, the chastisement of the sinner; whether his eternal damnation. I don't quite know." [Ib. lxxviii. 195 ("19th August, 1759").] (Hear, hear!)
TO THE SAME (a month after MAXEN: "Peace" Negotiation very lively). ... "Meanwhile, if Luc could be punished before this happy Peace! If, by this last stroke of General Beck [tussle with Dierecke at Meissen, 4th December, capture of Dierecke and 1,500; stroke not of an overwhelming nature, but let us be thankful for our mercies], which has opened the road from the Lausitz to Berlin [alas, not in the least], some Haddick could pay Berlin a visit again! You see, in Tragedy I wish always to have crime punished.
"There is talk of a great Battle fought the 6th [not a word of truth in it] between Luc and him of the Consecrated Hat: said to have been very murderous. I interest myself very much in this Piece" now playing under the Sun. "Whenever the Austrians have any advantage, Kaunitz says to Madame de Bentinck [litigant wandering Lady, known to me at Berlin and elsewhere], 'Write that to our Friend Voltaire.' Whenever Luc has the least success, he tells me, 'I have battered the oppressors of mankind. Dear Angel, in these horrors I am the only one that has room to laugh:—and yet I don't laugh either; owing to the CULS-NOIRS [base crockery; one's Dinner Plate all vanished [Supra, p. 374.]], to the Annuities, Lotteries, and to Pondicherry,—for I am always afraid about that latter!" (Going, that, for certain; going, gone, and your East Indies along with it!) [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxviii. 346 ("22d December, 1759").]
TO PERPETUAL SECRETARY FORMEY (in forwarding a "Letter left with me"). "Health and peace, Monsieur; and be SECRETAIRE ETERNEL. Your King is always a man unique, astonishing, inimitable. He makes charming verses, in times when another could not write a line of prose; he deserves to be happy: but will he be so? And if not, what becomes of you? For my own part, I will not die between two Capuchins. Hardly worth while, exalting one's soul for such a future as that. What a stupid and detestable farce this world is!" [Ib. lxxviii. 348 (from SOUVENIRS D'UN CITOYEN, i. 302), "11th January 1760."]
TO D'ARGENTAL ("Peace" Negotiations still at their briskest),... "But, my dear Angel, you will see on Tuesday the great man who has turned my head (DONT JE SUIS FOU), M. le Duc de Choiseul. The Letters he honors me with enchant me. God will bless him, don't doubt it,"—after all! "We have at Pondicherry a Lally, a devil of an Irish spirit,—who will cost me, sooner or later, above 20,000 livres annually [have rents in our INDIA COMPANY, say 1,000 pounds a year, as my Angels know], which used to be the readiest item of my Pittance. But M. le Duc de Choiseul will triumph over Luc in one way or other; then what joy! I suppose he shows you my impertinent reveries. Do you know, Luc is so mad, that I don't despair of bringing him to reason [persuading him to give up Cleve, and knuckle as he should, in this Peace Affair]. That were what I should call the true Comedy! I should like to have your advices on the conduct of that Dramatic Piece." [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxviii. 375 ("Delices, 15th February, 1760").]
The late "mouse" gnawing its mesh of net, what a subtle and mighty hunter has it grown! This of Cleve, however, and of knuckling, would not do. Hear the stiff Answer that comes: "'Conditions of Peace,' do you call them? The people that propose such can have no wish to see Peace. What a logic theirs! 'I might yield the Country of Cleve, because the inhabitants are stupid'! What would your Ministers say if one required the Province of Champagne from them, because the Proverb says, Ninety-nine sheep and one Champagner make a Hundred head of cattle?" [Friedrich to Voltaire, "Freyberg, 3d April, 1760:" OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 73, 74.]
AGAIN TO D'ARGENTAL (three or four months after; Luc having proved obstinate, and still unsuccessful).... "I conjure you make use of all your eloquence to tell him [the supreme Duc de Choiseul], that if Luc misgo, it will be no misfortune to France. That Brandenburg will always remain an Electorate; that it is good there be no Elector in it strong enough to do without the protection of our King; and that all the Princes of the Empire will always have recourse to that august protection Most Christian Majesty's] CONTRA L'AQUILA GRIFAGNA,—were the Prussian Kingship but abolished. Nota bene, if Luc were discomfited this Year, we should have Peace next Winter." [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxix. 110 ("July, 1760").]
TO SUPREME CHOISEUL (a year later).... "He has been a bad man, this Luc; and now, if one were to bet,—by the law of probability it would be 3 to 1 that Luc will go to pot (SERA PERDU), with his rhymings and his banterings, and his injustices and politics, all as bad as himself." [Ib. lxxx. 313 ("Chateau de Ferney, 13th July, 1761").]
TO D'ALEMBERT (in the Rossbach-Leuthen interval: on the Battle of BRESLAU, 22d November, 1757; called by the Austrians "a Malplaquet," and believed by Voltaire to be a Malplaquet and more). ... "The Austrians do avenge us, and humble us [us, and our miserable Rossbachs], in a terrible manner. Thirteen attacks on the Prussian intrenchments, lasted six hours; never was Victory bloodier, or more horribly beautiful [in the brain of certain men]. We pretty French fellows, we are more expeditious, our job is done in five minutes. The King of Prussia is always writing me Verses, now like a desperado, now like a hero; and as for me, I try to live like a philosopher in my hermitage. He has obtained what he always wished: to beat the French, to be admired by them, to mock them; but the Austrians are mocking him in a very serious way. Our shame of November 5th has given him glory; and with such glory, which is but transient and dearly bought, he must content himself. He will lose his own Countries, with those he has seized, unless the French again discover [which they will] the secret of losing all their Armies, as they did in 1741." [Ib. Lxxvii. 133, 134 ("Delices, 6th December, 1757," day after Leuthen).]
TO CLAIRAUT, THE MATHEMATICIAN (Maupertuis lately dead). An excellent Treatise, this you have sent me, Monsieur! "Your war with the Geometers on the subject of this Comet appears to me like a war of the gods in Olympus, while on Earth there is going on a fight of dogs and cats.... Would to Heaven our friend Moreau-Maupertuis had cultivated his art like you! That he had predicted comets, instead of exalting his soul to predict the future; of dissecting the brains of giants to know the nature of the soul; of japanning people with pitch to cure them of every malady; of persecuting Konig; and of dying between Two Capuchins" (dead three weeks ago, on those terms, poor soul)! [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxviii. 191 ("Delices, 19th August, 1759").]
TO D'ALEMBERT (a week later).... "What say you of Maupertuis dying between Two Capuchins! He was ill, this long while, of a repletion of pride; but I had not reckoned him either a hypocrite or an imbecile. I don't advise you ever to go and fill his place at Berlin; you would repent that. I am Astolpho warning Roger (Ruggiero) not to trust himself to the Enchantress Alcina; but Roger was unadvisable." [Ib. lxxviii. 197 ("Delices, 25th August, 1759").]
TO THE SAME (two years later: Luc, on certain grounds, may as well be saved). "With regard to Luc, though I have my just causes of anger against him, I own to you, in my quality of Frenchman and thinking being, I am glad that a certain most Orthodox House has not swallowed Germany, and that the Jesuits are not confessing in Berlin. Over towards the Danube superstition is very powerful.... The INFAME—You are well aware that I speak of superstition only; for as to the Christian religion, I respect and love it, like you. Courage, Brethren! Preach with force, and write with address: God will bless you.—Protect, you my Brother, the Widow Calas all you can! She is a poor weak-minded Huguenot, but her Husband was the victim of the WHITE PENITENTS. It is the concern of Human Nature that the Fanatics of Toulouse be confounded." (The case of Calas, SECOND act of it, getting on the scene: a case still memorable to everybody. Stupendous bit of French judicature; and Voltaire's noblest outburst, into mere transcendent blaze of pity, virtuous wrath, and determination to bring rescue and help against the whole world.) [OEuvres de Voltaire, lxxviii. 52, 53 ("Ferney, 28th November, 1762").]
AT SCHMOTTSEIFEN, FIVE DAYS BEFORE ZULLICHAU, TEN DAYS BEFORE THAT HUNT OF LOUDON AND HADDICK (Voltaire, under rebuke for indiscretion, has been whimpering a little. My discreet Niece burnt those LAST verses, Sire; no danger there, at least! Truculent Bishop Something-AC tried to attack your Majesty; but was done for by a certain person). Friedrich answers: "In truth, you are a singular creature. When I think of scolding you, you say two words, and the reproach expires. Impossible to scold you, even when you deserve it....
"As to your Niece, let her burn me or roast me, I care little. Nor are you to think me so sensitive to what your Bishops in IC or in AC may say of me. I have the lot of all actors who play in public; applauded by some, despised by others. One must prepare oneself for satires, for calumnies, for a multitude of lies, which will be sent abroad into currency against one: but need that trouble my tranquillity? I go my road; I do nothing against the interior voice of my conscience; and I concern myself very little in what way my actions paint themselves in the brain of beings, not always very thinking, with two legs and without feathers." ["Schmottseifen, 18th July, 1759;" OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 55, 56.]
AT WILSDRUF, JUST BEFORE MAXEN (an exultant exuberant curious Letter; too long for insertion,—part of it given above).... "For your Tragedy of SOCRATE, thanks. At Paris they are going to burn it, the wretched fools,—not aware that absurd fanaticism is their dominant vice. Better burn the dose of medicine, however, than the useful Doctor. I, can I join myself to that set? If I bite you, as you complain, it is without my knowledge. But I am surrounded with enemies, one hitting me, another pricking me, another daubing me with mud;—patience at last yields, and one flies abroad into a general rage, too indiscriminate perhaps."
You talk of my Verses on Rossbach (my ADIEU TO THE HOOPERS on finding their Bridge burnt [Supra, p. 21.]). "This Campaign I have had no beatific vision, in the style of Moses. The barbarous Cossacks and Tartars, infamous to look at on any side, have burnt and ravaged countries, and committed atrocious inhumanities. This is all I saw of THEM. Such melancholy spectacles don't tend to raise one's spirits. [Breaks off into metre:] LA FORTUNE INCONSTANTE ET FIERE, Fortune inconstant and proud. Does not treat her suitors Always in an equal manner. Those fools called heroes, who run the country,
Ces fous nommes heros, et qui courent les champs, Couverts de sang et de poussiere, Voltaire, n'ont pas tous les ans La faceur de voir le derriere De leurs ennemis insolents.
Can't expect that pleasure every year"!...
Maupertuis, say you? "Don't trouble the ashes of the dead; let the grave at least put an end to your unjust hatreds. Reflect that even Kings make peace after long battling; cannot you ever make it? I think you would be capable, like Orpheus, of descending to Hell, not to soften Pluto and bring back your beautiful Emilie, but to pursue into that Abode of Woe an enemy whom your wrath has only too much persecuted in the world: for shame!" [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 61-65 ("Wilsdruf, 17th November, 1759").]—and rebukes him, more than once elsewhere, in very serious terms.
IN WINTER-QUARTERS, ON PEACE AND THE STOLEN EDITION. (Starts in verse, which we abridge:) With how many laurels you have covered yourself in all the fields of Literature! One laurel yet is wanting to the brow of Voltaire. If, as the crown of so many perfect works, he could by a skilful manoeuvre bring back Peace, I, and Europe with me, would think that his masterpiece! [Takes to prose:]
"This is my thought and all Europe's. Virgil made as fine Verses as you; but he never made a Peace. It will be a distinction you will have over all your brethren of Parnassus, if you succeed.
"I know not who has betrayed me, and thought of printing [the EDITION;—not you, surely!] a pack of rhapsodies which were good enough to amuse myself, but were never meant for publication. After all, I am so used to treacheries and bad manoeuvres,"—what matters this insignificant one?
"I know not who the Bredow is [whom you speak of having met]; but he has told you true. The sword and death have made frightful ravages among us. And the worst is, we are not yet at the end of the tragedy. You may judge what effect these cruel shocks made on me. I wrap myself in my stoicism, the best I can. Flesh and blood revolt against such tyrannous command; but it must be followed. If you saw me, you would scarcely know me again: I am old, broken, gray-headed, wrinkled; I am losing my teeth and my gayety: if this go on, there will be nothing of me left, but the mania of making verses, and an inviolable attachment to my duties and to the few virtuous men whom I know." [OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 69 ("Freyberg, 24th Feb. 1760").]
IN WINTER-QUARTERS, A MONTH LATER (comes still on "Peace" again). ... "I will have you paid that bit of debt [perhaps of postage or the like], that Louis of the Mill (Louis du Moulin," at Fontenoy, who got upon a Windmill with his Dauphin, and caught that nickname from the common men) "may have wherewithal to make war on me. Add tenth-penny tax to your tax of twentieth-penny; impose new capitations, make titular offices to get money; do, in a word, whatever you like. In spite of all your efforts, you will not get a Peace signed by my hands, except on conditions honorable to my Nation. Your people, blown up with self-conceit and folly, may depend on these words. Adieu, live happy; and while you make all your efforts to destroy Prussia, think that nobody has less deserved it than I, either of you or of your French." [Ib. xxiii. 72 ("Freyberg, 20th March, 1760").]
STILL IN WINTER-QUARTERS (on "Peace" still; but begins with "Maupertuis," which is all we will give). "What rage animates you against Maupertuis? You accuse HIM of having published that Furtive EDITION. Know that his Copy, well sealed by him, arrived here after his death, and that he was incapable of such an indiscretion. [Breaks into verse:]
Leave in peace the cold ashes of Maupertuis: Truth can defend him, and will. His soul was faithful and noble: He pardoned you that scandalous Akakia (CE VIL LIBELLE QUE VOTRE FUREUR CRIMINELLE PRIT SOIN CHEZ MOI DE GRIFFONER); he did:— And you? Shame on such delirium as Voltaire's! What, this beautiful, what, this grand genius, Whom I admired with transport, Soils himself with calumny, and is ferocious on the dead? Flocking together, in the air uttering cries of joy, Vile ravens pounce down upon sepulchres, And make their prey of corpses:"—
Blush, repent, alas!
These Specimens will suffice. "The King of Prussia?" Voltaire would sometimes say: "He is as potent and as malignant as the Devil; but he is also as unhappy, not knowing friendship,"—having such a chance, too, with some of us!
In the beginning of this Year, 1759, Earl Marischal had been called out of his Neufchatel stagnancy, and launched into the Diplomatic field again; sent on mission into Spain, namely. The case was this: Ferdinand VI. of Spain (he who would not pay Friedrich the old Spanish debt, but sent him merino rams, and a jar of Queen-Dowager snuff) had fallen into one of his gloomy fits, and was thought to be dying;—did, in fact, die, in a state nearly mad, on the 10th August following. By Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and by all manner of Treaties, Carlos of Naples, his Half-Brother (Termagant's Baby Carlos, whom we all knew), was to succeed him in Spain; Don Philip, the next Brother, now of Parma and Piacenza, was to follow as King in Naples,—ceding those two litigious Duchies to Austria, after all. Friedrich, vividly awake to every chance, foresaw, in case of such disjunctures in Italy, good likelihood of quarrel there. And has despatched the experienced old Marischal to be on the ground, and have his eyes open. Marischal knows Spain very well; and has often said, "He left a dear old friend there, the Sun." Marischal was under way, about New-year's time; but lingered by the road, waiting how Ferdinand would turn,—and having withal an important business of his own, as he sauntered on. Did not arrive, I think, till Summer was at hand, and his dear Old Friend coming out in vigor.
August 10th, 1759, Ferdinand died; and the same day Carlos became King of Spain. But, instead of giving Naples to Don Philip, Carlos gave it to a junior Son of his own; and left poor Philip to content himself with Parma and Piacenza, as heretofore. Clear against the rights of Austria; Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is perfectly explicit on that point! Will not Austria vindicate its claim? Politicians say, Austria might have recovered not only Parma and Piacenza, but the kingdom of Naples itself,—no France at present able to hinder it, no Spain ever able. But Austria, contrary to expectation, would not: a Country tenacious enough of its rights, real and imaginary; greedy enough of Italy, but of Silesia much more! The matter was deliberated in Council at Vienna; but the result was magnanimously, No. "Finish this Friedrich first; finish this Silesia. Nothing else till that!"
The Marischal's legationary function, therefore, proved a sinecure; no Carlos needing Anti-Austrian assistance from Friedrich or another; Austria magnanimously having let him alone. Doubtless a considerable disappointment to Friedrich. Industrious Friedrich had tried, on the other side of this affair, Whether the King of Sardinia, once an adventurous fighting kind of man, could not be stirred up, having interests involved? But no; he too, grown old, devotional, apprehensive, held by his rosaries, and answered, No. Here is again a hope reasonable to look at, but which proves fallacious.
Marischal continued in Spain, corresponding, sending news (the Prussian Archives alone know what), for nearly a couple of years. [Returned "April, 1762" (Friedrich's Letter to him, "10th April, 1762:" in OEuvres de Frederic, xx. 285).] His Embassy had one effect, which is of interest to us here. On his way out, he had gone by London, with a view of getting legal absolution for his Jacobitism,—so far, at least, as to be able to inherit the Earldom of Kintore, which is likely to fall vacant soon. By blood it is his, were the Jacobite incapacities withdrawn. Kintore is a cadet branch of the Keiths; "John, younger Son of William Sixth Lord Marischal," was the first Kintore. William Sixth's younger Son, yes;—and William's Father, a man always venerable to me, had (A.D. 1593) founded Marischal College, Aberdeen,—where, for a few, in those stern granite Countries, the Diviner Pursuits are still possible (thank God and this Keith) on frugal oatmeal. MARISCHAL-COLLEGE Keith, or FIFTH Lord Marischal, was grandfather's grandfather of our Potsdam Friend, who is tenth and last. [Douglas's Scotch Peerage, pp. 448 et seq., 387 et seq.] Honor to the brave and noble, now fallen silent under foot NOT of the nobler! In a word, the fourth Kintore was about dying childless; and Marischal had come by London on that heritage business.
He carried, naturally, the best recommendations. Britannic Majesty, Pitt and everybody met him with welcome and furtherance; what he wished was done, and in such a style of promptness and cordiality, Pitt pushing it through, as quite gained the heart of old Marischal. And it is not doubted, though particulars have not been published, That he sent important Spanish notices to Pitt, in these years;-and especially informed him that King Carlos and the French Bourbon had signed a FAMILY COMPACT (15th August, 1761), or solemn covenant, to stand by one another as brothers. Which was thenceforth, to Pitt privately, an important fact, as perhaps we shall see; though to other men it was still only a painful rumor and dubiety. Whether the old Marischal informed him, That King Carlos hated the English; that he never had, in his royal mind, forgiven that insult of Commodore Martin's (watch laid on the table, in the Bay of Naples, long ago), I do not know; but that also was a fact. A diligent, indignant kind of man, this Carlos, I am told; by no means an undeserving King of Spain, though his Portraits declare him an ugly: we will leave him in the discreet Marischal's hands, with the dear Old Friend shining equally on both.
Singular to see how, in so veracious an intellect as Friedrich's, so many fallacies of hope are constantly entertained. War in Italy, on quarrel with King Carlos; Peace with France and the Pompadour, by help of Edelsheim and the Bailli de Froulay; Peace with Russia and the INFAME CATIN, by help of English briberies (Friedrich sent an agent this winter with plenty of English guineas, but he got no farther than the Frontier, not allowed even to try): sometimes, as again this winter, it is hope of Denmark joining him (in alarm against the Russian views on Holstein; but that, too, comes to nothing); above all, there is perennially, budding out yearly, the brighter after every disappointment, a hope in the Grand Turk and his adherencies. Grand Turk, or failing him, the Cham of Tartary,—for certain, some of these will be got to fasten on the heels of Austria, of Russia; and create a favorable diversion? Friedrich took an immense deal of trouble about this latter hope. It is almost pathetic to see with what a fond tenacity he clings to it; and hopes it over again, every new Spring and Summer. [Preuss, ii. 121 et seq., 292 &c.; Schoning, ii. iii. PASSIM.]
The hope that an INFAME CATIN might die some day (for she is now deep in chaotic ailments, deepish even in brandy) seems never to have struck him; at least there is nowhere any articulate hint of it,—the eagle-flight of one's imagination soaring far above such a pettiness! Hope is very beautiful; and even fallacious hope, in such a Friedrich. The one hope that did not deceive him, was hope in his own best exertion to the very death; and no fallacy ever for a moment slackened him in that. Stand to thyself: in the wide domain of Imagination, there is no other certainty of help. No other certainty;—and yet who knows through what pettinesses Heaven may send help!
It was April 25th before Friedrich quitted Freyberg, and took Camp; not till the middle of June that anything of serious Movement came. Much discouragement prevails in his Army, we hear: and indeed, it must be owned, the horoscope of these Campaigns grows yearly darker. Only Friedrich himself must not be discouraged! Nor is;—though there seldom lay ahead of any man a more dangerous-looking Year than this that is now dimly shaping itself to Friedrich. His fortune seems to have quitted him; his enemies are more confident than ever.
This Year, it seems, they have bethought them of a new device against him. "We have 90 million Population," count they; "he has hardly 5; in the end, he must run out of men! Let us cease exchanging prisoners with him." At Jagerndorf, in April, 1758 (just before our march to Olmutz), there had been exchange; not without haggles; but this was the last on Austria's part. Cartel of the usual kind, values punctually settled: a Field-marshal is worth 3,000 common men, or 1,500 pounds; Colonel worth 130 men, or 65 pounds; common man is worth 10s. sterling, not a high figure. [Archenholtz, ii. 53.] The Russians haggled still more, no keeping of them to their word; but they tried it a second time, last year (October, 1759); and by careful urging and guiding, were got dragged through it, and the prisoners on both sides sent to their colors again. After which, it was a settled line of policy, "No more exchanging or cartelling; we will starve him out in that article!" And had Friedrich had nothing but his own 5 millions to go upon, though these contributed liberally, he had in truth been starved out. Nor could Saxony, with Mecklenburg, Anhalt, Erfurt, and their 10,000 men a year, have supplied him,—"had not there," says Archenholtz (a man rather fond of superlatives),—
"Had not there risen a Recruiting system," or Crimping system, "the like of which for kind and degree was never seen in the Earth before. Prisoners, captive soldiers, if at all likely fellows, were by every means persuaded, and even compelled, to take Prussian service. Compelled, cudgel in hand," says Archenholtz (who is too indiscriminating, I can see,—for there were Pfalzers, Wurtembergers, Reichsfolk, who had FIRST been compelled the other way): "not asked if they wished to serve, but dragged to the Prussian colors, obliged to swear there, and fight against, their countrymen." Say at least, against their countrymen's Governors, contumacious Serene Highnesses of Wurtemberg, Mecklenburg and the like. Wurtemberg, we mentioned lately, had to shoot a good few of his first levy against the Protestant Champion, before they would march at all!—I am sorry for these poor men; and wish the Reich had been what it once was, a Veracity and Practical Reality, not an Imaginary Entity and hideously contemptible Wiggery, as it now is! Contemptible, and hideous as well;—setting itself up on that, fundamental mendacity; which is eternally tragical, though little regarded in these days, and which entails mendacities without end on parties concerned!—But, apart from all this, certain it is,
"The whole German Reich was deluged with secret Prussian Enlisters. The greater part of these were not actual Officers at all, but hungry Adventurers, who had been bargained with, and who, for their own profit, allowed themselves every imaginable art to pick up men. Head and centre of them was the Prussian Colonel Colignon," one of the Free-Corps people; "a man formed by nature for this business [what a beautiful man!]—who gave all the others their directions, and taught them by his own example. Colignon himself," in winter-time, "travelled about in all manner of costumes and characters; persuading hundreds of people into the Prussian service. He not only promised Commissions, but gave such,—nominating loose young fellows (LAFFEN), students, merchants' clerks and the like, to Lieutenancies and Captaincies in the Prussian Army [about as likely as in the Seraphim and Cherubim, had they known it]: in the Infantry, in the Cuirassiers, in the Hussars,—it is all one, you have only to choose. The renown of the Prussian arms was so universal, and combined with the notion of rich booty, that Colignon's Commission-manufactory was continually busy. No need to provide marching-money, hand-money [shillings for earnest]; Colignon's recruits travelled mostly of will and at their own charge. In Franken, in Schwaben, in the Rhine Countries, a dissolute son would rob his father,—as shopmen their masters' tills, and managers their cash-boxes,—and hie off to those magnanimous Prussian Officials, who gave away companies like kreutzers, and had a value for young fellows of spirit. They hastened to Magdeburg with their Commissions; where they were received as common recruits, and put by force into the regiments suitable. No use in resisting: the cudgel and the drill-sergeant,"—who doubts it?—"till complete submission. By this and other methods Colignon and his helpers are reckoned to have raised for the King, in the course of this War, about 60,000 recruits." [Archenholtz, ii. 53.]
This Year, Daun, though his reputation is on the decline lately, is to have the chief command, as usual; the Grand Army, with Saxony for field of conquest, and the Reichsfolk to assist, is to be Daun's. But, what is reckoned an important improvement, Loudon is to have a separate command, and Army of his own. Loudon, hot of temper, melancholic, shy, is not a man to recommend himself to Kriegshofrath people; but no doubt Imperial Majesty has had her own wise eye on him. His merits are so undeniable; the need of some Commander NOT of the Cunctator type is become so very pressing. "Army of Silesia, 50,000;" that is to be Loudon's, with 40,000 Russians to co-operate and unite themselves with Loudon; and try actually for conquest of Silesia, this Year; while Daun, conquering Saxony, keeps the King busy.
At Petersburg, Versailles, Vienna, much planning there has been, and arduous consulting: first at Petersburg, in time and in importance, where Montalembert has again been very urgent in regard to those poor Swedish people, and the getting of them turned to some kind of use: "Stettin in conjunction with the Swedes; oh, listen to reason, and take Stettin!" "Would not Dantzig by ourselves be the advisable thing?" answers Soltikof: "Dantzig is an important Town, and the grand Baltic Haven; and would be so convenient for our Preussen, since we have determined to maintain that fine Conquest." So thinks Czarish Majesty, as well as Soltikof, privately, though there are difficulties as to Dantzig; and, in fine, except Colberg over again, there can be nothing attempted of sieging thereabouts. A Siege of Colberg, however, there is actually to be: Second Siege,—if perhaps it will prove luckier than the First was, two years since? Naval Armament Swedish-Russian, specific Land Armament wholly Russian, are to do this Second Siege, at a favorable time; except by wishes, Soltikof will not be concerned in it; nor, it is to be hoped, shall we,—in such pressure of haste as is probably ahead for us.
"Silesia would be the place for sieges!" say the Vienna people always; and Imperial Majesty is very urgent; and tries all methods,—eloquence, flatteries, bribes,—to bring Petersburg to that view. Which is at last adopted; heartily by Czarish Majesty, ever ready for revenge on Friedrich, the more fatal and the more direct, the better. Heartily by her; not so heartily by Soltikof and her Army people, who know the Austrian habits; and privately decide on NOT picking chestnuts from the fire, while the other party's paws keep idle, and only his jaws are ready.
Of Small-War there is nothing or little to be said; indeed there occurs almost none. Roving Cossack-Parties, under one Tottleben, whom we shall hear of otherwise, infest Pommern, bickering with the Prussian posts there; not ravaging as formerly, Tottleben being a civilized kind of man. One of these called at the Castle of Schwedt, one day; found Prince Eugen of Wurtemberg there (nearly recovered of his Kunersdorf wounds), who is a Son-in-law of the House, married to a Daughter of Schwedt;—ancestor of the now Russian Czars too, had anybody then known it. Him these Cossacks carried off with them, a march or two; then, taking his bond for a certain ransom, let him go. Bond and bondholder being soon after captured by the Prussians, Eugen paid no ransom; so that to us his adventure is without moment, though it then made some noise among the Gazetteers.
Two other little passages, and only two, we will mention; which have in themselves a kind of memorability. First, that of General Czetteritz and the MANUSCRIPT he lost. Of posts across the Elbe I find none mentionable here, and believe there is none, except only Czetteritz's; who stands at Cosdorf, well up towards Torgau Country, as sentry over Torgau and the Towns there. On Czetteritz there was, in February, an attempt made by the active General Beck, whom Daun had detached for that object. Extremely successful, according to the Austrian Gazetteers; but in reality amounting to as good as nothing:—Surprisal of Czetteritz's first vedette, in the dawn of a misty February morning (February 21st, 1760); non-surprisal of his second, which did give fire and alarm, whereupon debate; and Czetteritz springing into his saddle; retreat of his people to rearward, with loss of 7 Officers and 200 prisoners;—but ending in re-advance, with fresh force, a few hours after; [Seyfarth, ii. 655.]—in repulse of Beck, in recovery of Cosdorf, and a general state of AS-YOU-WERE in that part. A sputter of Post-War, not now worth mentioning at all,—except only for one small circumstance: That in the careering and swift ordering, such as there was, on the rear-guard especially, Major-General Czetteritz's horse happened to fall; whereby not only was the General taken prisoner, but his quarters got plundered, and in his luggage,—what is the notable circumstance,—there was found a small Manuscript, MILITAIRISCHE INSTRUKZION FUR DIE GENERALE, such as every Prussian General has, and is bound to keep religiously secret.[Stands now in OEuvres de Frederic, xxviii. 3 et. seq.; was finished (the revisal of it was), by the King, "2d April, 1748)" see PREUSS, i. 478-480; and (OEuvres de Frederic, xxviii. PREFACE, for endless indistinct details about the translations and editions of it. London Edition, 1818, calls itself the FIFTH.] This, carried to Daun's head-quarters, was duly prized, copied; and in the course of a year came to print, in many shapes and places; was translated into English, under the Title, MILITARY INSTRUCTIONS BY THE KING OF PRUSSIA, in 1762 (and again, hardly so WELL, in 1797); and still languidly circulates among the studious of our soldiers. Not a little admired by some of them; and unfortunately nearly all they seem to know of this greatest of modern Soldiers. [See, for example, in Life of General Sir Charles Napier, by his Brother (London, 1857), iii. 365 and elsewhere,—one of the best judges in the world expressing his joy and admiration on discovery of Friedrich; discovery, if you read well, which amounts to these INSTRUCTIONS, and no more.]
Next, about a month after, we have something to report of Loudon from Silesia, or rather of the Enemies he meets there; for it is not a victorious thing. But it means a starting of the Campaign by an Austrian invasion of Silesia; long before sieging time, while all these Montalembert-Soltikof pleadings and counter-pleadings hang dubious at Petersburg, and Loudon's "Silesian Army" is still only in a nascent or theoretic state, and only Loudon himself is in a practical one.
Friedrich has always Fouquet at Landshut, in charge of the Silesian Frontier; whose outposts, under Goltz as head of these, stretch, by Neisse, far eastward, through the Hills to utmost Mahren; Fouquet's own head-quarter being generally Landshut, the main gate of the Country. Fouquet, long since, rooted himself rather firmly into that important post; has a beautiful ring of fortified Hills around Landshut; battery crossing battery, girdling it with sure destruction, under an expert Fouquet,—but would require 30,000 men to keep it, instead of 13,000, which is Fouquet's allotment. Upon whom Loudon is fully intending a stroke this Year. Fouquet, as we know, has strenuously managed to keep ward there for a twelvemonth past; in spite, often enough, of new violent invadings and attemptings (violent, miscellaneous, but intermittent) by the Devilles and others;—and always under many difficulties of his own, and vicissitudes in his employment: a Fouquet coming and going, waxing and waning, according to the King's necessities, and to the intermittency or constancy of pressures on Landshut. Under Loudon, this Year, Fouquet will have harder times than ever;—in the end, too hard! But will resist, judge how by the following small sample:—
"Besides Fouquet and his 13,000," says my Note, "the Silesian Garrisons are all vigilant, are or ought to be; and there are far eastward of him, for guarding of the Jagerndorf-Troppau Border, some 4 or 6,000, scattered about, under Lieutenant-General Goltz, in various Hill Posts,—the chief Post of which, Goltz's own, is the little Town of Neustadt, northward of Jagerndorf [where we have billeted in the old Silesian Wars]: Goltz's Neustadt is the chief; and Leobschutz, southwestward of it, under 'General Le Grand' [once the Major GRANT of Kolin Battle, if readers remember him, "Your Majesty and I cannot take the Battery ourselves!"] is probably the second in importance. Loudon, cantoned along the Moravian side of the Border, perceives that he can assemble 32,000 foot and horse; that the Prussians are 13,000 PLUS 6,000; that Silesia can be invaded with advantage, were the weather come. And that, in any kind of weather, Goltz and his straggle of posts might be swept into the interior, perhaps picked up and pocketed altogether, if Loudon were sharp enough. Swept into the interior Goltz was; by no means pocketed altogether, as he ought to have been!
"MARCH 13th, 1760, Loudon orders general muster hereabouts for the 15th, everybody to have two days, bread and forage; and warns Goltz, as bound in honor: 'Excellenz, to-morrow is March 14th; to-morrow our pleasant time of Truce is out,—the more the pity for both of us!' 'Yea, my esteemed neighbor Excellenz!' answers Goltz, with the proper compliments; but judges that his esteemed neighbor is intending mischief almost immediately. Goltz instantly sends orders to all his posts: 'You, Herr General Grant, you at Leobschutz, and all the rest of you, make your packages; march without delay; rendezvous at Steinau and Upper Glogau [far different from GREAT-Glogau], Neisse-ward; swift!' And would have himself gone on the 14th, but could not,—his poor little Bakery not being here, nor wagons for his baggages quite to be collected in a moment,—and it was Saturday, 15th, 5 A.M., that Goltz appointed himself to march.
"The last time we saw General Goltz was on the Green of Bautzen, above two years ago,—when he delivered that hard message to the King's Brother and his party, 'You deserve to be tried by Court-martial, and have your heads cut off!' He was of that sad Zittau business of the late Prince of Prussia's,—Goltz, Winterfeld, Ziethen, Schmettau and others? Winterfeld and the Prince are both dead; Schmettau is fallen into disaster; Goltz is still in good esteem with the King. A stalwart, swift, flinty kind of man, to judge by the Portraits of him; considerable obstinacy, of a tacitly intelligent kind, in that steady eye, in that droop of the eyebrows towards the strong cheek-bones; plenty of sleeping fire in Lieutenant-General Goltz.
"His principal force, on this occasion, is one Infantry Regiment; REGIMENT MANTEUFFEL:—readers perhaps recollect that stout Pommern Regiment, Manteuffel of Foot, and the little Dialogue it had with the King himself, on the eve of Leuthen: 'Good-night, then, Fritz! To-morrow all dead, or else the Enemy beaten.' Their conduct, I have heard, was very shining at Leuthen, where everybody shone; and since then they have been plunging about through the death-element in their old rugged way,—and re-emerge here into definite view again, under Lieutenant-General Goltz, issuing from the north end of Neustadt, in the dim dawn of a cold spring morning, March 15th, 5 A.M.; weather latterly very wet, as I learn. They intend Neisse-way, with their considerable stock of baggage-wagons; a company of Dragoons is to help in escorting: party perhaps about 2,000 in all. Goltz will have his difficulties this day; and has calculated on them. And, indeed, at the first issuing, here they already are.
"Loudon, with about 5,000 horse,—four Regiments drawn up here, and by and by with a fifth (happily not with the grenadiers, as he had calculated, who are detained by broken bridges, waters all in flood from the rain),—is waiting for him, at the very environs of Neustadt. Loudon, by a trumpet, politely invites him to surrender, being so outnumbered; Goltz, politely thanking, disregards it, and marches on: Loudon escorting, in an ominous way; till, at Buchelsdorf, the fifth Regiment (best in the Austrian service) is seen drawn out across the highway, plainly intimating, No thoroughfare to Goltz and Pommern. Loudon sends a second trumpet: 'Surrender prisoners; honorablest terms; keep all your baggage: refuse, and you are cut down every man.' 'You shall yourself hear the answer,' said Goltz. Goltz leads this second trumpet to the front; and, in Pommern dialect, makes known what General Loudon's proposal is. The Pommerners answer, as one man, a No of such emphasis as I have never heard; in terms which are intensely vernacular, it seems, and which do at this day astonish the foreign mind: 'We will for him something, WIR WOLLEN IHM WAS—' But the powers of translation and even of typography fail; and feeble paraphrase must give it: 'We will for him SOMETHING INEFFABLE CONCOCT,' of a surprisingly contrary kind! 'WIR WOLLEN IHM WAS' (with ineffable dissyllabic verb governing it)! growled one indignant Pommerner; 'and it ran like file-fire along the ranks,' says Archenholtz; everybody growling it, and bellowing it, in fierce bass chorus, as the indubitable vote of Pommern in those circumstances.
"Loudon's trumpet withdrew. Pommern formed square round its baggage; Loudon's 5,000 came thundering in, fit to break adamant; but met such a storm of bullets from Pommern, they stopped about ten paces short, in considerable amazement, and wheeled back. Tried it again, still more amazement; the like a third time; every time in vain. After which, Pommern took the road again, with vanguard, rearguard; and had peace for certain miles,—Loudon gloomily following, for a new chance. How many times Loudon tried again, and ever again, at good places, I forget,—say six times in all. Between Siebenhufen and Steinau, in a dirty defile, the jewel of the road for Loudon, who tried his very best there, one of our wagons broke down; the few to rear of it, eighteen wagons and some country carts, had to be left standing. Nothing more of Pommern was left there or anywhere. Near Steinau there, Loudon gave it up as desperate, and went his way. His loss, they say, was 300 killed, 500 wounded; Pommern's was 35 killed, and above 100 left wounded or prisoners. One of the stiffest day's works I have known: some twelve miles of march, in every two an attack. Pommern has really concocted something surprising, and kept its promise to Loudon! 'Thou knowest what the Pommerners can do,' said they once to their own King. An obstinate, strong-boned, heavy-browed people; not so stupid as you think. More or less of Jutish or Anglish type; highly deficient in the graces of speech, and, I should judge, with little call to Parliamentary Eloquence." [Preuss, ii. 241 (incorrect in some small points); Archenholtz, ii. 61; Seyfarth, ii. 640, and Beylagen, ii. 657-660; Tempelhof, iv. 8-10; in ANONYMOUS OF HAMBURG (iv. 68) the Austrian account.]
Friedrich is, this Year, considered by the generality of mankind, to be ruined: "Lost 60,000 men last Campaign; was beaten twice; his luck is done; what is to become of him?" say his enemies, and even the impartial Gazetteer, with joy or sorrow. Among his own people there is gloom or censure; hard commentaries on Maxen: "So self-willed, high, and deaf to counsel from Prince Henri!" Henri himself, they say, is sullen; threatening, as he often does, to resign "for want of health;" and as he quite did, for a while, in the end of this Campaign, or interval between this and next.
Friedrich has, with incredible diligence, got together his finance (copper in larger dose than ever, Jew Ephraim presiding as usual); and, as if by art-magic, has on their feet 100,000 men against his enemy's 280,000. Some higher Officers are secretly in bad spirits; but the men know nothing of discouragement. Friedrich proclaims to them at marching, "For every cannon you capture, 100 ducats; for every flag, 50; for every standard (cavalry flag), 40;"—which sums, as they fell due, were accordingly paid thenceforth. [Stenzel, v. 236, 237; ib. 243.] But Friedrich, too, is abundantly gloomy, if that could help him; which he knows well it cannot, and strictly hides it from all but a few;—or all but D'Argens almost alone, to whom it can do no harm. Read carefully by the light of contemporary occurrences, not vaguely in the vacant haze, as the Editors give it, his correspondence with D'Argens becomes interesting almost to a painful degree: an unaffected picture of one of the bravest human souls weighed down with dispiriting labors and chagrins, such as were seldom laid on any man; almost beyond bearing, but incurable, and demanding to be borne. Wilhelmina is away, away; to D'Argens alone of mortals does he whisper of these things; and to him not wearisomely, or with the least prolixity, but in short sharp gusts, seldom now with any indignation, oftenest with a touch of humor in them, not soliciting any sympathy, nor expecting nearly as much as he will get from the faithful D'Argens.
"I am unfortunate and old, dear Marquis; that is why they persecute me: God knows what my future is to be this Year! I grieve to resemble Cassandra with my prophecies; but how augur well of the desperate situation we are in, and which goes on growing worse? I am so gloomy to-day, I will cut short.... Write to me when you have nothing better to do; and don't forget a poor Philosopher who, perhaps to expiate his incredulity, is doomed to find his Purgatory in THIS world." [OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 138, 139 ("Freyberg, 20th March, 1760").]... To another Friend, in the way of speech, he more deliberately says: "The difficulties I had, last Campaign, were almost infinite: such a multitude of enemies acting against me; Pommern, Brandenburg, Saxony, Frontiers of Silesia, alike in danger, often enough all at one time. If I escaped absolute destructiou, I must impute it chiefly to the misconduct of my enemies; who gained such advantages, but had not the sense to follow them up. Experience often corrects people of their blunders: I cannot expect to profit by anything of that kind; on their part, in the course of this Campaign:" judge if it will be a light one, MON CHER. [To Mitchell, one evening, "Camp of Schlettau, May 23d" (Mitchell, ii. 159).]
The symptoms we decipher in these Letters, and otherwise, are those of a man drenched in misery; but used to his black element, unaffectedly defiant of it, or not at the pains to defy it; occupied only to do his very utmost in it, with or without success, till the end come. Prometheus, chained on the Ocean-cliffs, with the New Ruling-Powers in the upper hand, and their vultures gradually eating him; dumb Time and dumb Space looking on, apparently with small sympathy: Prometheus and other Titans, now and then, have touched the soul of some AEschylus, and drawn tones of melodious sympathy, far heard among mankind. But with this new Titan it is not so: nor, upon the whole, with the proper Titan, in this world, is it usually so; the world being a—what shall we say?—a poorish kind of world, and its melodies and dissonances, its loves and its hatreds worth comparatively little in the long-run. Friedrich does wonderfully without sympathy from almost anybody; and the indifference with which he walks along, under such a cloud of sulky stupidities, of mendacities and misconceptions from the herd of mankind, is decidedly admirable to me.
But let us look into the Campaign itself. Perhaps—contrary to the world's opinion, and to Friedrich's own when, in ultra-lucid moments, he gazes into it in the light of cold arithmetic, and finds the aspect of it "frightful"—this Campaign will be a little luckier to him than the last? Unluckier it cannot well be:—or if so, it will at least be final to him!