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After this signal achievement his Prussian majesty established his army in winter quarters along the banks of the Elbe. He took up his abode in the palace of Dresden, awaiting the opening of the spring campaign. Saxony was held with a tight grasp, and taxes and recruits were gathered from the country as if it had always belonged to Prussia. Frederick had hoped that his sudden campaign would have led him into the heart of the Austrian states. Instead of this, though he had wrested Saxony from Poland, he had given Austria ample time to prepare her armies for a long war, and had roused all Europe to intense hostility against him.

General Neipperg was not attempting to move in the deep snow. He, however, sent out a reconnoitring party of mounted hussars under General Rothenburg. About two miles from Mollwitz this party encountered the advance-guard of the Prussians. The hussars, after a momentary conflict, in which several fell, retreated and gave the alarm. General Neipperg was just sitting down to dinner. The Prussian advance waited for the rear columns to come up, and then deployed into line. As the Austrian hussars dashed into the village of Mollwitz with the announcement that the Prussians were on the march, had attacked them, and killed forty of their number, General Neipperg dropped knife and fork, sprang from the table, and dispatched couriers in all directions, galloping for life, to concentrate his troops. His force was mainly distributed about in three villages, two or three miles apart. The clangor of trumpets and drums resounded; and by the greatest exertions the Austrian troops were collected from their scattered encampments, and formed in two parallel lines, about two miles in length, facing the Prussians, who were slowly advancing in the same order, wading through the snow. Each army was formed with the infantry in the centre and the cavalry on the wings. Frederick was then but an inexperienced soldier. He subsequently condemned the want of military ability which he displayed upon this occasion.447 We have taken here from fourteen to fifteen thousand prisoners. In all, I have above twenty-three thousand of the queens troops in my hands, fifteen generals, and above seven hundred officers. It is a plaster on my wounds, but it is far enough from healing them.Fritz, however, had not his fathers strength to resist the allurements of this wicked court. He was but sixteen years of age. From childhood he had been kept secluded from the world, and had been reared under the sternest discipline. He was remarkably handsome, full of vivacity, which qualified him to shine52 in any society, and was heir to the Prussian monarchy. He was, consequently, greatly caressed, and every conceivable inducement was presented to him to lure him into the paths of guilty pleasure. He fell. From such a fall one never on earth recovers. Even though repentance and reformation come, a scar is left upon the soul which time can not efface.

It would be easier for me to make peace with France than with Prussia. What good could possibly result now from peace with Prussia? I must have Silesia again. Without Silesia the imperial sceptre would be but a bauble. Would you have us sway that sceptre under the guardianship of Prussia? Prince Charles is now in a condition to fight the Prussians again. Until after another battle, do not speak to me of peace. You say that if we make peace with Prussia, Frederick will give his vote for the grand-duke as emperor. The grand-duke is not so ambitious of an empty honor as to engage in it under the tutelage of Prussia. Consider, moreover, is the imperial dignity consistent with the loss of Silesia? One more battle I demand. Were I compelled to agree with Frederick to-morrow, I would try him in a battle to-night.85256 It was now about noon. The sun shone brightly on the glistening snow. There was no wind. Twenty thousand peasants, armed and drilled as soldiers, were facing each other upon either side, to engage in mutual slaughter, with no animosity between themno cause of quarrel. It is one of the unrevealed mysteries of Providence that any one man should thus have it in his power to create such wide-spread death and misery. The Austrians had a splendid body of cavalry, eight thousand six hundred in number. Frederick had but about half as many horsemen. The Prussians had sixty pieces of artillery, the Austrians but eighteen.

General Neipperg cautiously advanced toward him, and encamped in the vicinity of Steinauthe same Steinau which but a few weeks before had been laid in ashes as the Prussian troops284 passed through it. The two armies were now separated from each other but by an interval of about five miles. The country was flat, and it was not probable that the contest which Frederick so eagerly sought could long be avoided.An eye-witness thus describes the tactics by which Frederick executed his design: It is a particular man?uvre which, up to the present time, none but Prussian troops can execute with the precision and velocity indispensable to it. You divide your line into many pieces. You can push these forward stair-wise, so that they shall halt close to one another. Forming itself in this way, a mass of troops takes up in proportion very little ground. And it shows in the distance, by reason of the mixed uniforms and standards, a totally chaotic mass of men, heaped one on another. But it needs only that the commander lift his finger, and instantly this living coil of knotted intricacies develops itself in perfect order, and with a speed like that of mountain rivers.112

Frederick soon followed the Austrians with his whole army, hoping to bring them to a decisive battle. But General Neipperg was conscious that he was unable to cope with the Prussian army in the open field. For a week there was man?uvring and counter-man?uvring with great skill on both sides, General Neipperg baffling all the endeavors of Frederick to bring him to a general action.After a long pause Lord Hyndford inquired, Would your majesty consent to an armistice?

Frederick had not grown old gracefully. He was domineering, soured, and irritable, finding fault with every body and every thing. As his troops were getting into camp at Jaromirtz on the 8th of July, the king, weary with riding, threw himself upon the ground for a little rest, his adjutants being near him. A young officer was riding by. Frederick beckoned to him, and wrote, with his pencil, an order of not the slightest importance, and said to the officer, aloud, in the hearing of all, purposely to wound their feelings,DISCIPLINING THE JUDGES.The queen was radiantly beautiful in form and features. Her eyes were filled with tears. The scene and the words roused the zeal of these wild Magyar warriors to the highest pitch. They drew their sabres, flourished them over their heads, and with united voice shouted Moriamur pro nostro rege, Maria TheresaLet us die for our king, Maria Theresa. They always, writes Voltaire, give the title of king to their queen. In fact, no princess ever better deserved that title.

A son was born and died. A daughter came, Wilhelmina. But a daughter could not inherit the crown. Another son was born and died. There was great anxiety at court, from fear that the direct line of succession might not be preserved. But on the 24th of January, 1712, when the monarchy was but twelve years old, the little prince was born who subsequently obtained such renown as Frederick the Great. The king, his grandfather, was aged and infirm. The excessive joy with which he greeted little Fritz, as he fondly called the child, was cordially reciprocated throughout the Prussian nation. The realm blazed with bonfires and illuminations, and resounded with every demonstration of public joy. The young prince was christened with great pomp, Charles Frederick. The emperor, Charles VI., was present on the occasion, and in the solemnities there were blended the most imposing civil, military, and ecclesiastical rites. The baptism took place on the 31st of January, 1712, when the babe was a week old. The young prince subsequently dropped the name of Charles, and Frederick became his sole designation. Wilhelmina, Fredericks sister, was about three years older than himself. We shall have frequent occasion to allude to her in the course of this history, as between her and her brother there sprang up a warm attachment, which was of life-long continuance. Ten children were subsequently born to the royal pair, making fourteen in all, most of whom attained mature years.

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The ever-wakeful eye of Frederick detected the movement. His beautiful encampment at Chrudim had lasted but two days. Instantly couriers were dispatched in all directions to rendezvous the Prussian troops on a vast plain in the vicinity of Chrudim. But a few hours elapsed ere every available man in the Prussian ranks was on the march. This movement rendered it necessary for Prince Charles to concentrate the Austrian army also. The field upon which these hosts were gathering for battle was an undulating prairie, almost treeless, with here and there a few hamlets of clustered peasant cottages scattered around.It will have been easy for you to conceive my grief when you reflect upon the loss I have had. There are some misfortunes which are reparable by constancy and courage, but there are others against which all the firmness with which one can arm ones self, and all the reasonings of philosophers, are only vain and useless attempts at consolation.121 Of the latter kind is the one with which my unhappy fate overwhelms me, at a moment the most embarrassing and the most anxious of my whole life. I have not been so sick as you have heard. My only complaints are colics, sometimes hemorrhoidal, and sometimes nephritic.



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