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fore the princes an: the princesses of the blood-royal of Prussia was too scanty to apase hunger, and so bad that even hunger oathed it—no price was thought too extravagant for tall recruits. The ambition of the king was to form a brigade of giants, and every country was ransacked by his agents for men above the ordinary stature. These researches were not confined to Europe. No head that towered above the crowd in the bazaars of Aleppo, of Cairo, or of Surat, could escape the crimps of Frederic William. One Irishman more than seven feet high, who was picked up in London by the Prussian ambassador, received a bounty of nearly 1300l. sterling—very much more than the ambassador's salary. This extravagance was the more absurd, because a stout youth of five feet eight, who might have been procured for a few dollars, would in all probability have been a much more valuable soldier. But to Frederic William, this huge Irishman was what a brass Otho, or a Winegar Bible, is to a collector of a different kind. - It is remarkable, that though the main end of Frederic William's administration was to have a military force, though his reign forms an important epoch in the history of military discipline, and though his dominant passion was the love of military display, he was yet one of the most pacific of princes. We are afraid that his aversion to war was not the effect of humanity, but was merely one of his thousand whims. His feeling about his troops seems to have resembled a miser's feeling about his money. He loved to collect them, to count them, to see them increase; but he could not find it in his heart to break in upon the precious hoard. He looked forward to some future time when his Patagonian battalions were to drive hostile infantry before them like sheep. But this future time was always receding; and it is probable that, if his life had been prolonged thirty years, his superb army would never have seen any harder service than a sham fight in the fields near Berlin. But the great military means which he had collected, were destined to be employed by a spirit far more daring and inventive than his own. Frederic, surnamed the Great, son of Frederic William, was born in January, 1712. . It may safely be pronounced that he had received from nature a strong and sharp understanding, and a rare firmness of temper and intensity of will. As to the other parts of his character, it is difficult to say whether they are to be ascribed to nature, or to the strange training which he underwent. The history of his boyhood is painfully interesting. Oliver Twist in the parish workhouse, Smike at Dotheboys Hall, were petted children when compared with this wretched heir-apparent of a crown. The nature of Frederic William was hard and bad, and the habit of exercising arbitrary power had made him frightfully savage. His rage constantly vented itself to right and left in "curses and blows. When his majesty took a walk, every human being fled before him, as if a tiger had broken loose from a menagerie. If he met a lady in the street, he gave her a kick, and told her to go home and mind her

brats. If he saw a clergyman staring at the soldiers, he admonished the reverend gentleman to betake himself to study and prayer, and enforced this pious advice by a sound caning, administered on the spot. But it was in his own house that he was most unreasonable and ferocious. His palace was hell, and he the most execrable of fiends—a cross between Moloch and Puck. His son Frederic and his daughter Wilhelmina, afterwards Margravine of Bareuth, were in an especial manner objects of his aversion. His own mind was uncultivated. He despised literature. He hated infidels, Papists, and metaphysicians, and did not very well understand in what they differed from each other. life, according to him, was to drill and to be drilled. The recreations suited to a prince, were to sit in a cloud of tobacco-smoke, to sip Swedish beer between the puffs of the pipe, to play backgammon for three-halfpence a rubber, to kill wild hogs, and to shoot partridges by the thousand. The Prince-Royal showed little inclination either for the serious employments or for the amusements of his father. He shirked the duties of the parade—he detested the fume of tobacco—he had no taste either for

backgammon or for field-sports. He had re

ceived from nature an exquisite ear, and performed skilfully on the flute. His earliest instructors had been French refugees, and they had awakened in him a strong passion for French literature and French society. Frederic Wil

'liam regarded these tastes as effeminate and

contemptible, and, by abuse and persecution, made them still stronger. Things became worse when the Prince-Royal attained that time of life at which the great revolution in the human mind and body takes place. He was guilty of some youthful indiscretions, which no good and wise parent would regard with severity. At a later period he was accused, truly or falsely, of vices, from which History averts her eyes, and which even Satire blushes to name—vices such that, to borrow the energetic language of Lord-Keeper Coventry, “the depraved nature of man, which of itself carrieth man to all other sin, abhorreth them.” But the offences of his youth were not characterized by any peculiar turpitude. They excited, however, transports of rage in the king, who hated all faults except those to which he was himself inclined; and who conceived that he made ample atonement to Heaven for his brutality, by holding the softer passions in detestation. The Prince-Royal, too, was not one of those who are content to take their religion on trust. He asked puzzling questions, and brought forward arguments

which seemed to savour of something different

from pure Lutheranism. The king suspected that his son was inclined to be a heretic of some sort or other, whether Calvinist or Atheist his may sty did not very well know. The or dinary malignity of Frederic William was bao enough. He now thought malignity a part of his duty as a Christian man, and all the con science that he had stimulated his hatred. The flute was broken—the French books were sent out of the palace—the prince was kicked, and cudgelled, an: pulled by the hair. At dit

The business of ner the plates were hurled at his head—sometimes he was restricted to bread and water— sometimes he was forced to swallow food so nauseous that he could not keep it on his stomach. Once his father knocked him down, dragged him along the floor to a window, and was with difficulty prevented from strangling him with the cord of the curtain. The queen, for the crime of not wishing to see her son murdered, was subjected to the grossest indignities. The Princess Wilhelmina, who took her brother's part, was treated almost as ill as Mrs. Brownrigg's apprentices. Driven to despair, the unhappy youth tried to run away; then the fury of the old tyrant rose to madness. The prince was an officer in the army; his flight was therefore desertion, and, in the moral code of Frederic William, desertion was the highest of all crimes. “Desertion,” says this royal theologian, in one of his half-crazy letters, “is from hell. It is a work of the children of the devil. No child of God could possibly be guilty of it.” An accomplice of the prince, in spite of the recommendation of a court-martial, was mercilessly put to death. It seemed probable that the prince himself would suffer the same fate. It was with difficulty that the intercession of the States of Holland, of the Kings of Sweden and Poland, and of the Emperor of Germany, saved the House of Brandenburgh from the stain of an unnatural murder. After months of cruel suspense, Frederic learned that his life would be spared. He remained, however, long a prisoner; but he was not on that account to be pitied. He found in his jailers a tenderness which he had never found in his father; his table was not sumptuous, but he had wholesome food in sufficient quantity to appease hunger; he could read the Henriade without being kicked, and play on his flute without having it broken over his head. When his confinement terminated, he was a man. He had nearly completed his twentyfirst year, and could scarcely, even by such a parent as Frederic William be kept much longer under the restraints which had made nis boyhood miserable. Suffering had matured his understanding, while it had hardened his heart and soured his temper. He had learnt self-command and dissimulation; he affected to conform to some of his father's views, and submissively accepted a wife, who was a wife only in name, from his father's hand. He also served with credit, though without any opportunity of acquiring brilliant distinction, under the command of Prince Eugene, during a campaign marked by no extraordinary events. He was now permitted to keep a separate establishment, and was therefore able to indulge with caution his own tastes. Partly in order to conciliate the king, and partly, no doubt, from inclination, he gave up a portion of his time to military and political business, and thus gradually acquired such an aptitude for affairs as his most intimate associates were not aware that he possessed. His favourite abode was at Rheinsberg, near the frontier which separates the Prussian dotninions from the duchy of Mecklenburg. Rheinsberg is a fertile and smiling spot, in the

midst of the sandy waste of the Marquisate. The mansion, surrounded by woods of oak and beech, looks out upon a spacious lake. There Frederic amused himself by laying out gardens in regular alleys and intricate mazes, by building obelisks, temples, and conservatories, and by collecting rare fruits and flowers. His retirement was enlivened by a few companions, among whom he seems to have preferred those who, by birth or extraction, were French. With these inmates he dined and supped well, drank freely, and amused himself sometimes with concerts, sometimes with holding chapters of a fraternity which he called the Order of Bayard; but literature was his chief resource. His education had been entirely French. The long ascendency which Louis XIV. had enjoyed, and the eminent merit of the tragic and comic dramatists, of the satirists, and of the preachers who had flourished ander that magnificent prince, had made the French language predominant in Europe. Even in rountries which had a national literature, and wo.*ch could boast of names greater than those u’ Racine, of Molière, and of Massillon—in the

country of Dante, in the country of Cervantes,"

in the country of Shakspeare and Milton—the

intellectual fashions of Paris had been to a .

great extent adopted. Germany had not yet produced a single masterpiece of poetry or eloquence. In Germany, therefore, the French taste reigned without rival and without limit. Every youth of rank was taught to speak and write French. That he should speak and write his own tongue with politeness, or even with accuracy and facility, was regarded as comparatively an unimportant object. Even Frederic William, with all his rugged Saxon prejudices, thought it necessary that his children should know French, and quite unnecessary that they should be well versed in German. The Latin was positively interdicted. “My son,” his majesty wrote, “shall not learn Latin; and, more than that, I will not suffer anybody even to mention such a thing to me.” One of the preceptors ventured to read the Golden Bull in the original with the Prince-Royal. Frederic William entered the room, and broke out in his usual kingly style. “Rascal, what are you at there?” “Please your majesty,” answered the pre ceptor, “I was explaining the Golden Bull to his royal highness.” “I’ll Golden Bull you, you rascal!" roared the majesty of Prussia. Up went the king's cane, away ran the terrified instructor, and Frederic's classical studies ended forever. He now and then affected to quote Latin sentences, and produced such exquisite Ciceronian phrases as these:—“Stante pede morire,” —“De gustibus non est disputandus,”—“Tot verbas tot spondera.” Of Italian, he had not enough to read a page of Metastasio with ease; and of the Spanish and English, he did not, as far as we are aware, understand a single word. As the highest human compositions to which he had access were those of the French writers. it is not strange that his admiration for those writers should have been unbounded. His

ambitious and eager temper early prompted him to imitate what he admired. The wish, perhaps, dearest to his heart was, that he might rank among the masters of French rhetoric and poetry. He wrote prose and verse as indefatigably as if he had been a starving hack of Cave or Osborn; but Nature, which had bestowed on him, in a large measure, the talents of a captain and of an administrator, had withheld from him those higher and rarer gifts, without which industry labours in vain to produce immortal eloquence or song... And, indeed, had he been blessed with more imagination, wit, and fertility of thought, than he appears to have had, he would still have been subject to one great disadvantage, which would, in all probability, have forever prevented him from taking a high place among men of letters. He had not the full command of any language. There was no machine of thought which he could employ with perfect ease, confidence, and freedom. He had German enough to scold his servants, or to give the word of command to his grenadiers; but his grammar and pronounciation were extremely bad. He found it difficult to make out the meaning even of the simplest German poetry On one occasion a version of Racine's Iphigénie was read to him. He held the French original in his hand; but was forced to own that, even with such help, he could not understand the translation. Yet though he had neglected his mother tongue in order to bestow all his attention on French, his French was, after all, the French of a foreigner. It was necessary for him to have always at his beck some men of letters from Paris to point out the solecisms and false rhymes, of which, to the last, he was frequently guilty. Even had he possessed the poetic faculty—of which, as far as we can judge, he was utterly destitute—the want of a language would have prevented him from being a great poet. No noble work of imagination, as far as we recollect, was ever composed by any man, except in a dialect which he had learned without remembering how or when ; and which he had spoken with perfect ease before he had ever anályzed its structure. Romans of great talents wrote Greek verses; but how many of those verses have deserved to live? Many men of eminent genius have, in modern times, written Latin poems; but, as far as we are aware, none of those poems, not even Milton's, can be ranked in the first class of art, or even very high in the second. It is not strange, therefore, that in the French verses of Frederic, we can find nothing beyond the reach of any man of good parts and industry—nothing above the level of Newdigate and Seatonian poetry. His best pieces may perhaps rank with the worst in Dodsley's collection. In history, he succeeded better. We do not, indeed, find in any part of his voluminous Memoirs, either deep reflection or vivid painting. But the narrative is distinguished by clearness, conciseness, good sense, and a certain air of truth and simplicity, which is singularly graceful in a man who, having done great things, sits down to relate them. On the whole, however, none of his writings are so agreeable to us as his Letters; particuVot, IV.-->64

larly those which are written with earnestness, and are not embroidered with verses. It is not strange that a young man devoted to literature, and acquainted only with the literature of France, should have looked with profound veneration on the genius of Woltaire. Nor is it just to condemn him for this feeling. “A man who has never seen the sun,” says Calderon in one of his charming comedies, “cannot be blashed for thinking that no glory can exceed that of the moon. A man who has seen neither moon nor sun, cannot be blamed for talking of the unrivalled brightness of the morning star.” Had Frederic been able to read Homer and Milton, or even Virgil and Tasso, his admiration of the Henriade would prove that he was utterly destitute of the power of discerning what is excellent in art. Had he been familiar with Sophocles or Shakspeare, we should have expected him to appreciate Zaire more justly. Had he been able to study Thucydides and Tacitus in the original Greek and Latin, he would have known that there were heights in the eloquence of history far beyond the reach of the author of the Life of Charles the Twelfth. But the finest heroic poem, several of the most powerful tragedies, and the most brilliant and picturesque historical work that Frederic had ever read, were Voltaire's. Such high and various excellence moved the young prince almost to adoration. The opinions of Voltaire on religious and philosophical questions had not yet been fully exhibited to the public. At a later period, when an exile from his country, and at open war with the Church, he spoke out. But when Frederic was at Rheinsberg, Voltaire was still a courtier; and, though he could not always curb his petulant wit, he had as yet published nothing that could exclude him from Versailles, and little that a divine of the mild and generous school of Grotius and Tillotson might not read with pleasure. In the Henriade, in Zaire, and in Alzire, Christian piety is exhibited in the most amiable form, and, some years after the period of which we are writing, a Pope condescended to accept the dedication of Mahomet. The real sentiments of the poet, however, might be clearly perceived by a keen eye through the decent disguise with which he veiled them, and could not escape the sagacity of Frederic, who held similar opinions, and had been accustomed to practise similar dissimulation. The prince wrote to his idol in the style of a worshipper, and Voltaire replied with exquisite grace and address. A correspondence followed, which may be studied with advantage by those who wish to become proficients in the ignoble art of flattery. No man ever paid compliments better than Voltaire. His sweetened confectionary had always a delicate, yet stimulating flavour, which was telightful to palates wearied by the coarse preparations of inferior artists. It was only from his hand that so much sugar could be swallowed without making the swallower sick. Copies of verses, writing-desks, trinkets of amber, were exchanged between the friends. Frederic confided his writings to Voltaire, and Voltaire applauded, as if Frederic had been Racine and

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performances was a refutation of the Principe of Machiavelli. Voltaire undertook to convey it to the press. It was entitled the Anti-Machiarel, and was an edifying homily against rapacity, perfidy, arbitrary government, unjust war —in short, against almost everything for which its author is now remembered among men. The old king uttered now and then a ferocious growl at the diversions of Rheinsberg. But his health was broken, his end was approaching, and his vigour was impaired. He had only one pleasure left—that of seeing tall soldiers. He could always be propitiated by a present of a grenadier of six feet eight or six feet nine; and such presents were from time to time judiciously offered by his son. Early in the year 1740, Frederic William met death with a firmness and dignity worthy of a better and wiser man; and Frederic, who had just completed his twenty-eighth year, became King of Prussia. His character was little understood. That he had good abilities, indeed, no person who had talked with him or corresponded with him could doubt. But the easy Epicurean life which he had led, his love of good cookery and good wine, of music, of conversation, of light literature, led many to regard him as a sensual and intellectual voluptuary. His habit of canting about moderation, peace, liberty, and the happiness which a good mind derives from the happiness of others, had imposed on some who should have known better. Those who thought best of him, expected a Telemachus after Fénélon's pattern. Others predicted the approach of a Medicean age—an age propitious to learning and art, and not unpropitious to pleasure. Nobody had the least suspicion that a tyrant of extraordinary military and political talents, of industry more extraordinary still, without fear, without faith, and without mercy, had ascended the throne. The disappointment of Falstaff at his old boon companion's coronation, was not more bitter than that which awaited some of the inmates of Rheinsberg. They had long looked forward to the accession of their patron, as to the day from which their own prosperity and greatness was to date. They had at last reached the promised land, the land which they had figured to themselves as flowing with milk and honey, and they found it a desert. “No more of these fooleries,” was the short, sharp admonition given by Frederic to one of them. It soon became plain that, in the most important points, the new sovereign bore a strong family likeness to his predecessor. There was a wide difference between the father and the son as

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rince could be about the efficacy of his army, }. this anxiety never degenerated into a monomania, like that which led his father to nay fancy-prices for giants. Frederic was as thrifty about money as any prince or any private man ought to be. But he did not conceive, like his father, that it was worth while to eat unwholesome cabbages for the sake of saving four or five rix-dollars in the year. Frederic was, we fear, as malevolent as his father; but Frederic's wit enabled him often to show his malevolence in ways more decent than those to which his father resorted, and to inflict misery and degradation by a taunt instead of a blow. Frederic, it is true, by no means relinquished his hereditary privilege of kicking and cudgelling. His practice, however, as to that matter, differed in some important respects from his father's. To Frederic William, the mere circumstance that any persons whatever, men, women, or children, Prussians or foreigners, were within reach of his toes and of his cane, appeared to be a sufficient reason for proceeding to belabour them. Frederic required provocation as well as vicinity; nor was he ever known to inflict this paternal species of correction on any but his born subjects; though on one occasion M. Thiébault had reason, during a few seconds, to anticipate the high honour of being an exception to this general rule. The character of Frederic was still very imperfectly understood either by his subjects or by his neighbours, when events occurred which exhibited it in a strong light. A few months after his accession died Charles VI., Emperor of Germany, the last descendant, in the male line, of the house of Austria. Charles left no son, and had, long before his death, relinquished all hopes of male issue. During the latter part of his life, his principal object had been to secure to his descendants in the female line the many crowns of the house of Hapsburg. With this view, he had promulgated a new law of succession, widely celebrated throughout Europe under the name of the “Pragmatic Sanction.” By virtue of this decree, his daughter, the Archduchess Maria Theresa, wife of Francis of Lorraine, succeeded to the dominions of her ancestors. No sovereign has ever taken possession of a throne by a clearer title. All the politics of the Austrian cabinet had, during twenty years, been directed to one single end—the settlement of the succession. From every person whose rights could be considered as injuriously af. fected, renunciations in the most solemn form had been obtained. The new law had been ratified by the Estates of all the kingdoms and principalities which made up the great Austrian monarchy. England, France, Spain, Russia, Poland, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, the Germanic body, had bound themselves by treaty to maintain the “Pragmatic Sanction.” Tha: instrument was placed under the protection of the public faith of the whole civilized world. Even if no positive stipulations on this subject had existed, the arrangement was one which no good man would have been willing to disturb. It was a peaceable arrangement. It was an arrangement acceptable to the great population whose happiness was chiefly con ** *

cerned. It was an arrangement which made no change in the distribution of power among the states of Christendom. It was an arrangement which could be set aside only by means of a general war; and, if it were set aside, the effect would be, that the equilibrium of Europe would be deranged, that the loyal and patriotic feelings of millions would be cruelly outraged, and that great provinces, which had been united for centuries, would be torn from each other by main force. The sovereigns of Europe were, therefore, bound by every obligation which those who are intrusted with power over their fellowcreatures ought to hold most sacred, to respect and defend the rights of the Archduchess. Her situation and her personal qualities were such as might be expected to move the mind of any generous man to pity, admiration, and chivalrous tenderness. She was in her twenty-fourth year. Her form was majestic, her features beautiful, her countenance sweet and animated, her voice musical, her deportment gracious and dignified. In all domestic relations she was without reproach. She was married to a husband whom she loved, and was on the point of giving birth to a child when death deprived her of her father. The loss of a parent and the new cares of the empire were too much for her in the delicate state of her health. Her spirits were depressed, and her cheek lost its bloom. Yet it seemed that she had little cause for anxiety. It seemed that justice, humanity, and the faith of treaties would have their due weight, and that the settlement so solemnly guarantied would be quietly carried into effect. England, Russia, Poland, and Holland declared in form their intention to adhere to their engagements. The French ministers made a verbal declaration to the same effect. But from no quarter did the young Queen of Hungary receive stronger assurances of friendship and support than from the King of Prussia. Yet the King of Prussia, the “Anti-Machiavel,” had already fully determined to commit the great crime of violating his plighted faith, of robbing the ally whom he was bound to defend, and of plunging all Europe into a long, bloody, and desolating war, and all this for no end whatever except that he might extend his dominions and see his name in the gazettes. He determined to assemble a great army with speed and secrecy to invade Silesia before Maria Theresa should be apprized of his design, and to add that rich province to his kingdom. We will not condescend to refute at length the pleas which the compiler of the Memoirs before us has copied from Doctor Preuss. They amount to this—that the house of Brandenburg had some ancient pretensions to Silesia, and had in the previous century been compelled, by hard usage on the part of the court of Vienna, to waive those pretensions. It is

certain that, whoever might originally have

been in the right, Prussia had submitted.

Prince after prince of the house of Branden

burg had acquiesced in the existing arrange

ment. Nay, the court of Berlin had recently

been allie" with that of Vienna, and had gua*g

rantied the integrity of the Austrian -ses. Is it not perfectly clear that, if antiquated claims are to be set up against recent treatles and long possession, the world can never be at peace for a day? The laws of all nations have wisely established a time of limitation, after which titles, however illegitimate in their origin, cannot be questioned. It is felt by everybody that to eject a person from his estate on the ground of some injustice committed in the time of the Tudors, would produce all the evils which result from arbitrary confiscation, and would make all property insecure. It concerns the commonwealth—so runs the legal maxim—that there be an end of litigation. And surely this maxim is at least equally applicable to the great commonwealth of states, for in that commonwealth litigation means the devastation of provinces, the suspension of trade and industry, sieges like those of Badajoz and St. Sebastian, pitched fields like those of Eylau and Borodino. We hold that the transfer of Norway from Denmark to Sweden was an unjustifiable proceeding; but would the king of Denmark be therefore justified in landing, without any new provocation, in Norway, and commencing military operations there? The King of Holland thinks, no doubt, that he was unjustly deprived of the Belgian provinces. Grant that it were so. Would he, therefore, be justified in marching with an army on Brussels The case against Frederic was still stronger, inasmuch as the injustice of which he complained had been committed more than a century before. Nor must it be forgotten that he owed "he highest personal obligations to the house of Austria. It may be doubted whether his life had not been preserved by the intercession of the prince whose daughter he was about to plunder. To do the king justice, he pretended to no more virtue than he had. In manifestoes he might, for form's sake, insert some idle stories about his antiquated claim on Silesia; but in his conversations and Memoirs he took a very different tone. To quote his own words,--"Am bition, interest, the desire of making people talk about me, carried the day and I decided for war.” Having resolved on his course, he acted with ability and vigour. It was impossible wholly to conceal his preparations, for throughout the Prussian territories regiments, guns, and bag. gage were in motion, The Austrian envoy at Berlin apprized his court of these facts, and expressed a suspicion of Frederic's designs; but the ministers of Maria. Theresa refused to

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