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The king was not at all pleased either with his sons studies or his recreations. Philosophy and literature were as obnoxious to the sturdy old monarch as were music and all amusements save the rough pastime of hunting stags and boars. He was a thorough materialist, having no other thought than to drill his troops and develop the resources of his realm. Beer and tobacco, both of which he used inordinately, were almost his only luxuries. He often growled loudly at what he deemed the coxcombry of his son and companions at Reinsberg, and frequently threatened to disperse his associates.397 Some years before this time Frederick had taken possession of East Friesland, and had made Emden a port of entry. It was a very important acquisition, as it opened to Prussia a convenient avenue for maritime commerce. With great vigor and sagacity Frederick was encouraging this commerce, thus strengthening his kingdom and enriching his subjects. England, mistress of the seas, and then, as usual, at war with France, was covering all the adjacent waters with her war-ships and privateers. Frederick had inquired of the English court, through his embassador at London, whether hemp, flax, or timber were deemed contraband. No, was the official response. Freighted with such merchandise, the Prussian ships freely sailed in all directions. But soon an English privateer seized several of them, upon the assumption that the planks with which they were loaded were contraband.

The king seemed surprised, raised his hand, opening and shutting the fingers, and then said, It is impossible. How could I move my fingers so if the pulse were gone?In the ranks all of the army were equally entitled to distinction. Promotion was conferred upon merit, not upon the accident of birth. This principle, which was entirely ignored in the other European despotisms, probably contributed to the success of Fredericks armies. A Hanoverian count wrote to him, soliciting a high position in the army for his son, in favor of his exalted birth. Frederick dictated the following reply:

But this war, into which the Prussian king had so recklessly plunged all Europe, was purely a war of personal ambition. Even Frederick did not pretend that it involved any question of human rights. Unblushingly he avowed that he drew his sword and led his hundred thousand peasant-boys upon their dreadful career of carnage and misery simply that he might enlarge his territories, gain renown as a conqueror, and make the world talk about him. It must be a fearful thing to go to the356 judgment seat of Christ with such a crime weighing upon the soul.It would be unjust alike to the father and the son to withhold a letter which reflects so much credit upon them bothupon179 the father for his humane measures, and upon the son for his appreciation of their moral beauty.

Forgive me, your majesty, General Saldern replied, but this is contrary to my honor and my oath.

On Monday morning, the 9th of October, 1741, the British minister, Lord Hyndford, accompanied by General Neipperg and General Lentulus from the Austrian camp, repaired to this castle, ostensibly to fix some cartel for the exchange of prisoners. Frederick rode out that morning with General Goltz, assuming that he was going to visit some of his outposts. In leaving, he said to the French minister Valori, I am afraid that I shall not be home to dinner. At the same time, to occupy the attention of M. Valori, he was invited to dine with Prince Leopold. By circuitous and unfrequented paths, the king and his companion hied to the castle.Sont pour jamais perdus dans les charrains.

The darkest hour is often nearest the dawn. The next day after Frederick had written the above letter he received news of the death of his most inveterate enemy, Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia. As we have mentioned, she was intensely exasperated against him in consequence of some sarcasms in which he had indulged in reference to her private life. Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter the Great, and had inherited many of her fathers imperial traits of character. She was a very formidable foe.

In the mean time, Frederick, who kept himself thoroughly informed of all these events, signed secretly, on the 5th of June, a treaty of intimate alliance with France. Though he had not yet received the Joint Resolution of the English and Dutch courts, he was well aware of its existence, and the next day sent to his envoy, M. R?sfeld, at the Hague, the following dispatch:On Monday, the 22d of August, the great review commenced near Strehlen. It lasted four days. All the country mansions around were filled with strangers who had come to witness the spectacle.

She made me a courtesy on the model of that of Agnes in the Ecole des Femmes. I took her back to the queens apartment, little edified by such a display of talent.

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To his mother he was very considerate in all his manifestations of filial affection, while, at the same time, he caused her very distinctly to understand that she was to take no share whatever in the affairs of government. When she addressed him, upon his accession to the throne, as Your Majesty, he replied, Call me son. That is the title of all others most agreeable to me. He decreed to her the title of Her Majesty the Queen-mother. The palace of Monbijou was assigned her, where she was surrounded with every luxury, treated with the most distinguished attention, and her court was the acknowledged centre of fashionable society.The probable object of the Austrian court in revealing the secret treaty of Schnellendorf was to set Frederick and France at variance. Frederick, much exasperated, not only denied the treaty, but professed increased devotion to the interests of Louis XV. The allies, consisting of France, Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony, now combined to wrest Moravia from Maria Theresa, and annex it to Saxony. This province, governed by a marquis, was a third larger than the State of Massachusetts, and contained a population of about a million and a half. Moravia bounded Silesia on the south. Frederick made a special treaty with the King of Saxony, that the southern boundary of Silesia should be a full German mile, which was between four and five English miles, beyond the line of the River Neisse. With Fredericks usual promptitude, he insisted that commissioners should be immediately sent to put down the boundary stones. France was surprised that the King of Saxony should have consented to the surrender of so important a strip of his territory.


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