Happy the people, says Montesquieu, whose annals are blank in history books. The annals of the nations are mainly composed of wars, tumult, and woe. For ten years Prussia enjoyed peace. During this happy period, when the days and the years glided by in tranquillity, there is little left for the historian to record. Frederick engaged vigorously in repairing the ruins left by the war. The burned Silesian villages were rebuilt; debts were paid; agriculture and commerce encouraged; the laws revised and reformed. A decree was issued that all lawsuits should be brought to a decision within a year after their beginning. Marshal Browne skillfully and successfully performed his part of the adventure. But there was no efficient co-operation by the Saxons. The men were weak, emaciate, and perishing from hunger. Their sinews of exertion were paralyzed. The skeleton horses could not draw the wagons or the guns. To add to their embarrassment, a raging storm of wind and rain burst upon the camp. The roads were converted into quagmires. The night was pitch-dark as the Saxons, about fourteen thousand in number, drenched with rain and groping through the mud, abandoned their camp and endeavored to steal their way across the river. The watchful Prussians detected the movement. A scene of confusion, terror, slaughter ensued, which it is in vain to endeavor to describe. The weeping skies and moaning winds indicated natures sympathy with these scenes of woe. Still the unhappy Saxons struggled on heroically. After seventy hours of toilsome marching and despairing conflict, these unhappy peasant-lads, the victims of kingly pride, were compelled to surrender at discretion. Marshal Browne, finding the enterprise an utter failure, rapidly returned to the main body of his army.

In the midst of ftes, operas, and suppers, my secret negotiation advanced. The king allowed me to speak to him on all subjects. I often intermingled questions respecting France and Austria in conversations relating to the ?neid and Livy. The discussion was sometimes very animated. At length the king said to me, Let France declare war against England, and I will march. This was all I desired. I returned as quickly as possible to the court of France. I gave them the same hopes which I had myself been led to entertain at Berlin, and which did not prove delusive.

In the above letter the king alludes to the mania of making verses. Strange as it may seem, he this winter, when apparently almost crushed beneath the weight of cares and sorrows, when every energy of mind and body seemed called into requisition in preparation for a new campaign, published an edition of his poems. One evening in April, the king, feeling a little better, decided to dress and hold a tobacco parliament, as formerly. Quite a numerous party of his customary cabinet was assembled, and the circle was full. The pipes were lighted; the king was in good-humor; the beer-pots circulated merrily; and as every one made an effort to be agreeable, the scene was unusually animated. Quite unexpectedly, in the midst of the lively talk, the door opened, and the Crown Prince entered. Simultaneously, as by a183 common instinct, the whole company arose and bowed profoundly to the young prince. The king was exceedingly annoyed. Trembling with rage, he exclaimed,

403 Frederick was in great perplexity. To wait for his enemies to complete their arrangements, and to commence the attack at their leisure, placed him at great disadvantage. To begin the attack himself, and thus to open anew the floodgates of war, would increase the hostility with which the nations were regarding him. As the diplomacy of the foreign cabinets had been secret, he would universally be regarded as the aggressor. England was Fredericks only allya treacherous ally, influenced not by sympathy for Frederick, but by hatred of France, and by fear of the loss of Hanover. The British cabinet would abandon Prussia the first moment it should see it to be for its interest to do so.

This rude, coarse discipline was thoroughly uncongenial to the Crown Prince. He was a boy of delicate feelings and sensitive temperament. The poetic nature very decidedly predominated in him. He was fond of music, played the flute, wrote verses, and was literary in his tastes. He simply hated chasing boars, riding on the sausage car, and being drenched with rain and spattered with mud. The old king, a mere animal with an active intellect, could not appreciate, could not understand even, the34 delicate mental and physical organization of his child. It is interesting to observe how early in life these constitutional characteristics will develop themselves, and how unavailing are all the efforts of education entirely to obliterate them. When Frederick William was a boy, he received, as a present, a truly magnificent dressing-gown, of graceful French fashion, richly embroidered with gold. Indignantly he thrust the robe into the fire, declaring that he would wear no such finery, and demanded instead a jacket of wholesome homespun. Fritz, on the contrary, could not endure the coarse homespun, but, with almost girlish fondness, craved handsome dress. He had no money allowance until he was seventeen years of age. A minute account was kept of every penny expended for him, and the most rigid economy was practiced in providing him with the mere necessaries of life. When Fritz was in the tenth year of his age, his father gave the following curious directions to the three teachers of his son in reference to his daily mode of life. The document, an abridgment of which we give, was dated Wusterhausen, September 3, 1721:

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.

It was on the 11th of November, 1741, that Frederick, elated with his conquest of Silesia, had returned to Berlin. In commencing the enterprise he had said, Ambition, interest, and the desire to make the world speak of me, vanquished all, and war was determined on. He had, indeed, succeeded in making the world speak of him. He had suddenly become the most prominent man in Europe. Some extolled his exploits. Some expressed amazement at his perfidy. Many, recognizing his sagacity296 and his tremendous energy, sought his alliance. Embassadors from the various courts of Europe crowded his capital. Fourteen sovereign princes, with many foreigners of the highest rank, were counted among the number. The king was in high spirits. While studiously maturing his plans for the future, he assumed the air of a thoughtless man of fashion, and dazzled the eyes and bewildered the minds of his guests with feasts and pageants.

The Russians marched to Poland. The Austrians returned to Saxony. As soon as Frederick heard of their retreat, instead of continuing his march to Berlin, he also turned his columns southward. On the 27th of October he crossed the Elbe, about sixty miles above Dresden, and found himself in the vicinity of General Daun, whose army outnumbered that of Frederick two to510 one. The situation of Frederick was extremely critical. Under these circumstances, he wrote to DArgens on the 28th:

In the mean time Frederick took positions which commanded the three gates on his, the southern, side of the river; constructed a bridge of boats; and sent four hundred men across the stream, and made preparations to force an entrance. At four oclock in the afternoon of Monday, not a gun having yet been fired, a messenger brought the intelligence that the town would be surrendered. At eight oclock the next morning, Tuesday, 3d of January, 1741, the city authorities came in their coaches, with much parade, to welcome their new sovereign. It was a bitter cold morning. The king had ridden away to reconnoitre the walls in their whole circuit. It was not until near noon that he was prepared to accompany the officials to the palace which was made ready for him. He then, on horseback, attended by his principal officers, and followed by an imposing retinue, in a grand entrance, proudly took possession of his easy conquest.230 He rode a very magnificent gray charger, and wore his usual cocked hat and a blue cloak, both of which were somewhat the worse for wear. Four footmen, gorgeously dressed in scarlet, trimmed with silver lace, walked by the side of his horse. The streets through which he passed were thronged, and the windows and balconies were crowded with spectators of both sexes. Though Frederick did not meet with an enthusiastic reception, he was very gracious, bowing to the people on each side of the street, and saluting with much courtesy those who seemed to be people of note.

Sophie Dorothee dispatched a courier with these documents, to go with the utmost speed to England. It was a long journey in those days, and the winds were often contrary. A fortnight passed. Three weeks were gone. Still there was no answer. On the 25th of January, 1730a day, writes Wilhelmina, which I shall never forgetFinckenstein, Borck, and Grumkow again called upon the queen, with the following message from the king:

In accordance with this request, Voltaire repaired to Cleves to visit the king. Many years afterward, having quarreled with Frederick, and being disposed to represent him in the most unfavorable light, he gave the following account of this interview in his Vie Prive: