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Frederick now entered upon a period of ten years of peace.Potsdam, April 1, 1744.

With that answer! Sir Thomas replied, in tones of surprise. Is your majesty serious? Is that your majestys deliberate answer?The more you have proved that you were acquainted with452 the intentions of Saxony, the more odious have you rendered its invasion. In order to procure this knowledge, your minister has degraded his character. By means proscribed in society, you have discovered only that the King Elector of Saxony did not love the power of Prussia, that he feared it, and that he even dared to form projects to defend himself against it. Documents which are stolen make against the accuser who produces them, if they do not prove the crime which they impute.116

Ere long a company of Austrian scouts approached. From a distance they eyed the sentinel, moving to and fro as he guarded his post. A sharp-shooter crept near, and, taking deliberate aim at his supposed victim, fired. A twitch upon the rope caused the image to fall flat. The whole band of Austrians, with a shout, rushed to the spot. The Prussians, from their ambuscade, opened upon them a deadly fire of bullets. Then, as the ground was covered with the mutilated and the dead, the Prussians, causing the welkin to ring with their peals of laughter, rushed with fixed bayonets upon their entrapped foes. Not a single Austrian had escaped being struck by a bullet. Those who were not killed outright were wounded, and were taken captive. This is one of the slight pleasantries of war.549 Frederick had cultivated a supreme indifference to public opinion. Not believing in any God, in any future retribution, or in any immortality, and regarding men merely as the insects of an hour, like the myriad polyps which, beneath the ocean, rear their stupendous structures and perish, his sense of right and wrong must necessarily have been very different from that which a believer in the Christian faith is accustomed to cherish. In allusion to this subject, he writes:

On Sunday morning, January 15th, the deadly, concentric fire of shot and shell was opened upon the crowded city, where women and children, torn by wars merciless missiles, ran to and fro frantic with terror. The dreadful storm continued to rage, with but few intermissions, until Wednesday. Still there were no signs of surrender. The king, though his head-quarters were a few miles distant, at Ottmachau, was almost constantly on the ground superintending every thing. As he felt sure of the entire conquest of Silesia, the whole province being now in his possession except three small towns, he looked anxiously upon the destruction which his own balls and bombs were effecting. He was destroying his own property.

Early in the morning Fredericks whole army was on the rapid march for Breslau, which was scarcely twenty miles distant from the battle-field. The Austrians had collected immense military stores in the city. Prince Charles, as he fled through the place with the wreck of his army, left a garrison of seventeen thousand men for its defense. In a siege of twelve days, during which there was an incessant bombardment and continual assaults, the city was carried. A few days after this, Liegnitz, which the Austrians had strongly fortified, was also surrendered to the victor. Frederick had thus reconquered the whole of Silesia excepting the single fortress of Schweidnitz.The king then questioned him very closely respecting the place where he had studied, during what years, under what teachers, and to what branches he had devoted special attention. While thus conversing the clock struck twelve. This was the dinner-hour of his majesty. Now I must go, said the king. They wait for their soup.

His very flute, Carlyle writes, most innocent Princess, as he used to call his flute in old days, is denied him ever since he came to Cüstrin. But by degrees he privately gets her back, and consorts much with her; wails forth, in beautiful adagios, emotions for which there is no other utterance at present. He has liberty of Cüstrin and the neighborhood. Out of Cüstrin he is not to lodge any night without leave had of the commandant.

I was glad to receive you in my house. I esteemed your genius, your talents, and your acquirements. I had reason to think that a man of your age, weary of fencing against authors, and exposing himself to the storm, came hither to take refuge, as in a safe harbor.On the 16th the battered, smouldering, blood-stained city was surrendered, with its garrison of sixteen thousand men. The prisoners of war were marched off to Fredericks strong places in the north. Prague was compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the emperor, and to pay a ransom of a million of dollars. Abundant stores of provision and ammunition were found in the city. It was a brilliant opening of the campaign.

Frederick withdrew his troops into strong cantonments in the valley of the upper Elbe. This beautiful river takes its rise in romantic chasms, among the ridges and spurs of the Giant Mountains, on the southeastern borders of Silesia. Here the Prussian army was distributed in small towns along a line following the windings of the stream, about forty miles in length. All the troops could be concentrated in forty-eight hours. The encampments faced the south, with the Elbe behind them. At some little distance north of the river, safe from surprise, the magazines were stationed. The mountains of Bohemia rose sublimely306 in the distant background. In a letter to M. Jordan, under date of Chrudim, May 5th, 1742, Frederick expresses his views of this profitless campaign in the following terms:475 During this dismal winter of incessant and almost despairing labor the indefatigable king wrote several striking treatises on military affairs. It is manifest that serious thoughts at times occupied his mind. He doubtless reflected that if there were a God who took any cognizance of human affairs, there must be somewhere responsibility to Him for the woes with which these wars were desolating humanity. To the surprise of De Catt, the king presented him one evening with a sermon upon The Last Judgment, from his own pen. He also put upon paper his thoughts On the new kind of tactics necessary with the Austrians and their allies. He seems himself to have been surprised that he had been able so long to resist such overpowering numbers. In allusion to the allies he writes:Frederick, having regained Silesia, was anxious for peace. He wrote a polite letter to Maria Theresa, adroitly worded, so as to signify that desire without directly expressing it. The empress queen, disheartened by the disasters of Rossbach and Leuthen, was rather inclined to listen to such suggestions; but the Duchess448 of Pompadour verified the adage that hell has no fury like a woman scorned. She governed the wretched Louis XV., and through him governed France. In her intense personal exasperation against Frederick she would heed no terms of compromise, and infused new energy into all warlike operations. Large subsidies were paid by France to Austria, Sweden, and Russia, to prepare for the campaign of 1758.

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188 He then summoned his physician, M. Pitsch, and said, Feel my pulse. Tell me how long this will last.My very dear Sister,It would be impossible to leave this place without signifying, dearest sister, my lively gratitude for all the marks of favor you showed me in the House on the Lake. The highest of all that it was possible to do was that of procuring me the satisfaction of paying my court to you. I beg millions of pardons for so incommoding you, dearest sister, but I could not help it, for you know my sad circumstances well enough. I entreat you write me often about your health. Adieu, my incomparable and dear sister. I am always the same to you, and will remain so till my death.

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