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Title: History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 10
Author: Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 10" ***

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HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH II OF PRUSSIA

FREDERICK THE GREAT

By Thomas Carlyle

Volume X.



BOOK X. -- AT REINSBERG. - 1736-1740.



Chapter I. -- MANSION OF REINSBERG.

On the Crown-Prince's Marriage, three years ago, when the AMT or
Government-District RUPPIN, with its incomings, was assigned to him for
revenue, we heard withal of a residence getting ready. Hint had fallen
from the Prince, that Reinsberg, an old Country-seat, standing with
its Domain round it in that little Territory of Ruppin, and probably
purchasable as was understood, might be pleasant, were it once his
and well put in repair. Which hint the kind paternal Majesty instantly
proceeded to act upon. He straightway gave orders for the purchase of
Reinsberg; concluded said purchase, on fair terms, after some months'
bargaining; [23d October, 1733, order given,--16th March, 1734, purchase
completed (Preuss, i. 75).]--and set his best Architect, one Kemeter,
to work, in concert with the Crown-Prince, to new-build and enlarge
the decayed Schloss of Reinsberg into such a Mansion as the young Royal
Highness and his Wife would like.

Kemeter has been busy, all this while; a solid, elegant, yet frugal
builder: and now the main body of the Mansion is complete, or nearly so,
the wings and adjuncts going steadily forward; Mansion so far ready that
the Royal Highnesses can take up their abode in it. Which they do, this
Autumn, 1736; and fairly commence Joint Housekeeping, in a permanent
manner. Hitherto it has been intermittent only: hitherto the
Crown-Princess has resided in their Berlin Mansion, or in her own
Country-house at Schonhausen; Husband not habitually with her, except
when on leave of absence from Ruppin, in Carnival time or for shorter
periods. At Ruppin his life has been rather that of a bachelor, or
husband abroad on business; up to this time. But now at Reinsberg they
do kindle the sacred hearth together; "6th August, 1736," the date of
that important event. They have got their Court about them, dames and
cavaliers more than we expected; they have arranged the furnitures of
their existence here on fit scale, and set up their Lares and Penates
on a thrifty footing. Majesty and Queen come out on a visit to them next
month; [4th September, 1736 (Ib.).]--raising the sacred hearth into its
first considerable blaze, and crowning the operation in a human manner.

And so there has a new epoch arisen for the Crown-Prince and his
Consort. A new, and much-improved one. It lasted into the fourth year;
rather improving all the way: and only Kingship, which, if a higher
sphere, was a far less pleasant one, put an end to it. Friedrich's
happiest time was this at Reinsberg; the little Four Years of Hope,
Composure, realizable Idealism: an actual snatch of something like the
Idyllic, appointed him in a life-pilgrimage consisting otherwise of
realisms oftenest contradictory enough, and sometimes of very grim
complexion. He is master of his work, he is adjusted to the practical
conditions set him; conditions once complied with, daily work done,
he lives to the Muses, to the spiritual improvements, to the social
enjoyments; and has, though not without flaws of ill-weather,--from
the Tobacco-Parliament perhaps rather less than formerly, and from
the Finance-quarter perhaps rather more,--a sunny time. His innocent
insipidity of a Wife, too, appears to have been happy. She had the
charm of youth, of good looks; a wholesome perfect loyalty of character
withal; and did not "take to pouting," as was once apprehended of
her, but pleasantly gave and received of what was going. This poor
Crown-Princess, afterwards Queen, has been heard, in her old age,
reverting, in a touching transient way, to the glad days she had at
Reinsberg. Complaint openly was never heard from her, in any kind of
days; but these doubtless were the best of her life.

Reinsberg, we said, is in the AMT Ruppin; naturally under the
Crown-Prince's government at present: the little Town or Village of
Reinsberg stands about, ten miles north of the Town Ruppin;--not quite
a third-part as big as Ruppin is in our time, and much more pleasantly
situated. The country about is of comfortable, not unpicturesque
character; to be distinguished almost as beautiful, in that region
of sand and moor. Lakes abound in it; tilled fields; heights called
"hills;" and wood of fair growth,--one reads of "beech-avenues" of "high
linden-avenues:"--a country rather of the ornamented sort, before the
Prince with his improvements settled there. Many lakes and lakelets in
it, as usual hereabouts; the loitering waters straggle, all over that
region, into meshes of lakes. Reinsberg itself, Village and Schloss,
stands on the edge of a pleasant Lake, last of a mesh of such: the
SUMMARY, or outfall, of which, already here a good strong brook or
stream, is called the RHEIN, Rhyn or Rein; and gives name to the little
place. We heard of the Rein at Ruppin: it is there counted as a kind of
river; still more, twenty miles farther down, where it falls into the
Havel, on its way to the Elbe. The waters, I think, are drab-colored,
not peat-brown: and here, at the source, or outfall from that mesh
of lakes, where Reinsberg is, the country seems to be about the
best;--sufficient, in picturesqueness and otherwise, to satisfy a
reasonable man.

The little Town is very old; but, till the Crown-Prince settled there,
had no peculiar vitality in it. I think there are now some potteries,
glass-manufactories: Friedrich Wilhelm, just while the Crown-Prince
was removing thither, settled a first Glass-work there; which took
good root, and rose to eminence in the crystal, Bohemian-crystal,
white-glass, cut-glass, and other commoner lines, in the Crown-Prince's
time. [_Bescheibung des Lutschlosses &c. zu Reinsberg_ (Berlin, 1788);
Author, a "Lieutenant Hennert," thoroughly acquainted with his subject.]

Reinsberg stands on the east or southeast side of its pretty Lake: Lake
is called "the GRINERICK SEE" (as all those remote Lakes have their
names); Mansion is between the Town and Lake. A Mansion fronting, we may
say, four ways; for it is of quadrangular form, with a wet moat from
the Lake begirdling it, and has a spacious court for interior: but the
principal entrance is from the Town side; for the rest, the Building is
ashlar on all sides, front and rear. Stands there, handsomely abutting
on the Lake with two Towers, a Tower at each angle, which it has on that
lakeward side; and looks, over Reinsberg, and its steeple rising amid
friendly umbrage which hides the house-tops, towards the rising sun.
Townward there is room for a spacious esplanade; and then for the
stables, outbuildings, well masked; which still farther shut off the
Town. To this day, Reinsberg stands with the air of a solid respectable
Edifice; still massive, rain-tight, though long since deserted by
the Princeships,--by Friedrich nearly sixscore years ago, and nearly
threescore by Prince Henri, Brother of Friedrich's, who afterwards had
it. Last accounts I got were, of talk there had risen of planting an
extensive NORMAL-SCHOOL there; which promising plan had been laid aside
again for the time.

The old Schloss, residence of the Bredows and other feudal people for
a long while, had good solid masonry in it, and around it orchards,
potherb gardens; which Friedrich Wilhelm's Architects took good care to
extend and improve, not to throw away: the result of their art is what
we see, a beautiful Country-House, what might be called a Country-Palace
with all its adjuncts;--and at a rate of expense which would fill
English readers, of this time, with amazement. Much is admirable to us
as we study Reinsberg, what it had been, what it became, and how it was
made; but nothing more so than the small modicum of money it cost. To
our wondering thought, it seems as if the shilling, in those parts, were
equal to the guinea in these; and the reason, if we ask it, is by no
means flattering altogether. "Change in the value of money?" Alas,
reader, no; that is not above the fourth part of the phenomenon.
Three-fourths of the phenomenon are change in the methods of
administering money,--difference between managing it with wisdom and
veracity on both sides, and managing it with unwisdom and mendacity on
both sides. Which is very great indeed; and infinitely sadder than
any one, in these times, will believe!--But we cannot dwell on
this consideration. Let the reader take it with him, as a constant
accompaniment in whatever work of Friedrich Wilhelm's or of Friedrich
his Son's, he now or at any other time may be contemplating. Impious
waste, which means disorder and dishonesty, and loss of much other than
money to all, parties,--disgusting aspect of human creatures, master and
servant, working together as if they were not human,--will be spared
him in those foreign departments; and in an English heart thoughts will
arise, perhaps, of a wholesome tendency, though very sad, as times are.

It would but weary the reader to describe this Crown-Prince Mansion;
which, by desperate study of our abstruse materials, it is possible to
do with auctioneer minuteness. There are engraved VIEWS of Reinsberg
and its Environs; which used to lie conspicuous in the portfolios of
collectors,---which I have not seen. [See Hennert, just cited, for the
titles of them.] Of the House itself, engraved Frontages (FACADES),
Ground-plans, are more accessible; and along with them, descriptions
which are little descriptive,--wearisomely detailed, and as it were dark
by excess of light (auctioneer light) thrown on them. The reader
sees, in general, a fine symmetrical Block of Buildings, standing in
rectangular shape, in the above locality;--about two hundred English
feet, each, the two longer sides measure, the Townward and the Lakeward,
on their outer front: about a hundred and thirty, each, the two shorter;
or a hundred and fifty, taking in their Towers just spoken of. The
fourth or Lakeward side, however, which is one of the longer pair,
consists mainly of "Colonnade;" spacious Colonnade "with vases and
statues;" catching up the outskirts of said Towers, and handsomely
uniting everything.

Beyond doubt, a dignified, substantial pile of stone-work; all of good
proportions. Architecture everywhere of cheerfully serious, solidly
graceful character; all of sterling ashlar; the due RISALITES
(projecting spaces) with their attics and statues atop, the due
architraves, cornices and corbels,--in short the due opulence of
ornament being introduced, and only the due. Genuine sculptors, genuine
painters, artists have been busy; and in fact all the suitable fine
arts, and all the necessary solid ones, have worked together, with
a noticeable fidelity, comfortable to the very beholder to this day.
General height is about forty feet; two stories of ample proportions:
the Towers overlooking them are sixty feet in height. Extent of outer
frontage, if you go all round, and omit the Colonnade, will be five
hundred feet and more: this, with the rearward face, is a thousand
feet of room frontage:--fancy the extent of lodging space. For "all the
kitchens and appurtenances are underground;" the "left front" (which is
a new part of the Edifice) rising comfortably over these. Windows I did
not count; but they must go high up into the Hundreds. No end to
lodging space. Way in a detached side-edifice subsequently built, called
Cavalier House, I read of there being, for one item, "fifty lodging
rooms," and for another "a theatre." And if an English Duke of Trumps
were to look at the bills for all that, his astonishment would be
extreme, and perhaps in a degree painful and salutary to him.

In one of these Towers the Crown-Prince has his Library: a beautiful
apartment; nothing wanting to it that the arts could furnish, "ceiling
done by Pesne" with allegorical geniuses and what not,--looks out on
mere sky, mere earth and water in an ornamental state: silent as in
Elysium. It is there we are to fancy the Correspondence written, the
Poetries and literary industries going on. There, or stepping down for
a turn in the open air, or sauntering meditatively under the Colonnade
with its statues and vases (where weather is no object), one commands
the Lake, with its little tufted Islands, "Remus Island" much famed
among them, and "high beech-woods" on the farther side. The Lake is very
pretty, all say; lying between you and the sunset;--with perhaps some
other lakelet, or solitary pool in the wilderness, many miles away,
"revealing itself as a cup of molten gold," at that interesting moment.
What the Book-Collection was, in the interior, I know not except by mere
guess.

The Crown-Princess's Apartment, too, which remained unaltered at the
last accounts had of it, [From Hennert, namely, in 1778.] is very
fine;--take the anteroom for specimen: "This fine room," some twenty
feet height of ceiling, "has six windows; three of them, in the main
front, looking towards the Town, the other three, towards the Interior
Court. The light from these windows is heightened by mirrors covering
all the piers (SCHAFTE, interspaces of the walls), to an uncommonly
splendid pitch; and shows the painting of the ceiling, which again is
by the famous Pesne, to much perfection. The Artist himself, too, has
managed to lay on his colors there so softly, and with such delicate
skill, that the light-beams seem to prolong themselves in the painted
clouds and air, as if it were the real sky you had overhead." There in
that cloud-region "Mars is being disarmed by the Love-goddesses, and
they are sporting with his weapons. He stretches out his arm towards the
Goddess, who looks upon him with fond glances. Cupids are spreading
out a draping." That is Pesne's luxurious performance in the
ceiling.--"Weapon-festoons, in basso-relievo, gilt, adorn the walls of
this room; and two Pictures, also by Pesne, which represent, in life
size, the late King and Queen [our good friends Friedrich Wilhelm and
his Sophie], are worthy of attention. Over each of the doors, you
find in low-relief the Profiles of Hannibal, Pompey, Scipio, Caesar,
introduced as Medallions."

All this is very fine; but all this is little to another ceiling, in
some big Saloon elsewhere, Music-saloon, I think: Black Night, making
off, with all her sickly dews, at one end of the ceiling; and at the
other end, the Steeds of Phoebus bursting forth, and the glittering
shafts of Day,--with Cupids, Love-goddesses, War-gods, not omitting
Bacchus and his vines, all getting beautifully awake in consequence. A
very fine room indeed;--used as a Music-saloon, or I know not what,--and
the ceiling of it almost an ideal, say the connoisseurs.

Endless gardens, pavilions, grottos, hermitages, orangeries, artificial
ruins, parks and pleasances surround this favored spot and its Schloss;
nothing wanting in it that a Prince's establishment needs,--except
indeed it be hounds, for which this Prince never had the least demand.

Except the old Ruppin duties, which imply continual journeyings thither,
distance only a morning's ride; except these, and occasional commissions
from Papa, Friedrich is left master of his time and pursuits in this new
Mansion. There are visits to Potsdam, periodical appearances at
Berlin; some Correspondence to keep the Tobacco-Parliament in tune. But
Friedrich's taste is for the Literatures, Philosophies: a--young Prince
bent seriously to cultivate his mind; to attain some clear knowledge of
this world, so all-important to him. And he does seriously read, study
and reflect a good deal; his main recreations, seemingly, are Music,
and the converse of well-informed, friendly men. In Music we find him
particularly rich. Daily, at a fixed hour of the afternoon, there is
concert held; the reader has seen in what kind of room: and if the
Artists entertained here for that function were enumerated (high names,
not yet forgotten in the Musical world), it would still more astonish
readers. I count them to the number of twenty or nineteen; and mention
only that "the two Brothers Graun" and "the two Brothers Benda" were of
the lot; suppressing four other Fiddlers of eminence, and "a Pianist
who is known to everybody." [Hennert, p. 21.] The Prince has a fine
sensibility to Music: does himself, with thrilling adagios on the
flute, join in these harmonious acts; and, no doubt, if rightly vigilant
against the Nonsenses, gets profit, now and henceforth, from this part
of his resources.

He has visits, calls to make, on distinguished persons within reach; he
has much Correspondence, of a Literary or Social nature. For instance,
there is Suhm the Saxon Envoy translating _Wolf's Philosophy_ into
French for him; sending it in fascicles; with endless Letters to and
from, upon it,--which were then highly interesting, but are now dead
to every reader. The Crown-Prince has got a Post-Office established
at Reinsberg; leathern functionary of some sort comes lumbering round,
southward, "from the Mecklenburg quarter twice a week, and goes by
Fehrbellin," for the benefit of his Correspondences. Of his calls in the
neighborhood, we mean to show the reader one sample, before long; and
only one.

There are Lists given us of the Prince's "Court" at Reinsberg; and one
reads, and again reads, the dreariest unmemorable accounts of them; but
cannot, with all one's industry, attain any definite understanding of
what they were employed in, day after day, at Reinsberg:--still more
are their salaries and maintenance a mystery to us, in that frugal
establishment. There is Wolden for Hofmarschall, our old Custrin friend;
there is Colonel Senning, old Marlborough Colonel with the wooden leg,
who taught Friedrich his drillings and artillery-practices in boyhood,
a fine sagacious old gentleman this latter. There is a M. Jordan,
Ex-Preacher, an ingenious Prussian-Frenchman, still young, who acts
as "Reader and Librarian;" of whom we shall hear a good deal more.
"Intendant" is Captain (Ex-Captain) Knobelsdorf; a very sensible
accomplished man, whom we saw once at Baireuth; who has been to Italy
since, and is now returned with beautiful talents for Architecture: it
is he that now undertakes the completing of Reinsberg, [Hennert, p.
29.] which he will skilfully accomplish in the course of the next three
years. Twenty Musicians on wind or string; Painters, Antoine Pesne but
one of them; Sculptors, Glume and others of eminence; and Hof-Cavaliers,
to we know not what extent:--how was such a Court kept up, in harmonious
free dignity, and no halt in its finances, or mean pinch of any kind
visible? The Prince did get in debt; but not deep, and it was mainly for
the tall recruits he had to purchase. His money-accounts are by no means
fully known to me: but I should question if his expenditure (such is my
guess) ever reached 3,000 pounds a year; and am obliged to reflect more
and more, as the ancient Cato did, what an admirable revenue frugality
is!

Many of the Cavaliers, I find, for one thing, were of the Regiment
Goltz; that was one evident economy. "Rittmeister van Chasot," as the
Books call him: readers saw that Chasot flying to Prince Eugene, and
know him since the Siege of Philipsburg. He is not yet Rittmeister,
or Captain of Horse, as he became; but is of the Ruppin Garrison;
Hof-Cavalier; "attended Friedrich on his late Prussian journey;" and
is much a favorite, when he can be spared from Ruppin. Captain Wylich,
afterwards a General of mark; the Lieutenant Buddenbrock who did the
parson-charivari at Ruppin, but is now reformed from those practices:
all these are of Goltz. Colonel Keyserling, not of Goltz, nor in active
military duty here, is a friend of very old standing; was officially
named as "Companion" to the Prince, a long while back; and got into
trouble on his account in the disastrous Ante-Custrin or Flight Epoch:
one of the Prince's first acts, when he got pardoned after Custrin, was
to beg for the pardon of this Keyserling; and now he has him here, and
is very fond of him. A Courlander, of good family, this Keyserling;
of good gifts too,--which, it was once thought, would be practically
sublime; for he carried off all manner of college prizes, and was the
Admirable-Crichton of Konigsberg University and the Graduates there. But
in the end they proved to be gifts of the vocal sort rather: and have
led only to what we see. A man, I should guess, rather of buoyant
vivacity than of depth or strength in intellect or otherwise.
Excessively buoyant, ingenious; full of wit, kindly exuberance; a
loyal-hearted, gay-tempered man, and much a favorite in society as well
as with the Prince. If we were to dwell on Reinsberg, Keyserling would
come prominently forward.

Major van Stille, ultimately Major-General von Stille, I should also
mention: near twenty years older than the Prince; a wise thoughtful
soldier (went, by permission, to the Siege of Dantzig lately, to improve
himself); a man capable of rugged service, when the time comes. His
military writings were once in considerable esteem with professional
men; and still impress a lay reader with favorable notions towards
Stille, as a man of real worth and sense. [_Campagnes du Roi de
Prusse;_--a posthumous Book; ANTERIOR to the Seven-Years War.]



OF MONSIEUR JORDAN AND THE LITERARY SET.

There is, of course, a Chaplain in the Establishment: a Reverend "M.
Deschamps;" who preaches to them all,--in French no doubt. Friedrich
never hears Deschamps: Friedrich is always over at Ruppin on Sundays;
and there "himself reads a sermon to the Garrison," as part of the day's
duties. Reads finely, in a melodious feeling manner, says Formey, who
can judge: "even in his old days, he would incidentally," when some
Emeritus Parson, like Formey, chanced to be with him, "roll out choice
passages from Bossuet, from Massillon," in a voice and with a look,
which would have been perfection in the pulpit, thinks Formey.
[_Souvenirs d'un Citoyen_ (2de edition, Paris, 1797), i. 37.]

M. Jordan, though he was called "LECTEUR (Reader)," did not read to him,
I can perceive; but took charge of the Books; busied himself honestly to
be useful in all manner of literary or quasi-literary ways. He was,
as his name indicates, from the French-refugee department; a recent
acquisition, much valued at Reinsberg. As he makes a figure afterwards,
we had better mark him a little.

Jordan's parents were wealthy religious persons, in trade at Berlin;
this Jordan (Charles Etienne, age now thirty-six) was their eldest son.
It seems they had destined him from birth, consulting their own pious
feelings merely, to be a Preacher of the Gospel; the other sons, all of
them reckoned clever too, were brought up to secular employments. And
preach he, this poor Charles Etienne, accordingly did; what best Gospel
he had; in an honest manner, all say,--though never with other than a
kind of reluctance on the part of Nature, forced out of her course. He
had wedded, been clergyman in two successive country places; when his
wife died, leaving him one little daughter, and a heart much overset by
that event. Friends, wealthy Brothers probably, had pushed him out into
the free air, in these circumstances: "Take a Tour; Holland, England;
feel the winds blowing, see the sun shining, as in times past: it will
do you good!"

Jordan, in the course of his Tour, came to composure on several points.
He found that, by frugality, by wise management of some peculium already
his, his little Daughter and he might have quietness at Berlin, and the
necessary food and raiment;--and, on the whole, that he would altogether
cease preaching, and settle down there, among his Books, in a frugal
manner. Which he did;--and was living so, when the Prince, searching for
that kind of person, got tidings of him. And here he is at Reinsberg;
bustling about, in a brisk, modestly frank and cheerful manner: well
liked by everybody; by his Master very well and ever better, who grew
into real regard, esteem and even friendship for him, and has much
Correspondence, of a freer kind than is common to him, with little
Jordan, so long as they lived together. Jordan's death, ten years hence,
was probably the one considerable pain he had ever given his neighbors,
in this the ultimate section of his life.

I find him described, at Reinsberg, as a small nimble figure, of
Southern-French aspect; black, uncommonly bright eyes; and a general
aspect of adroitness, modesty, sense, sincerity; good prognostics, which
on acquaintance with the man were pleasantly fulfilled.

For the sake of these considerations, I fished out, from the Old-Book
Catalogues and sea of forgetfulness, some of the poor Books he wrote;
especially a _Voyage Litteraire,_ [_Histoire d'un Voyage Litteraire
fait, en MDCCXXXIII., en France, en Angleterre et en Hollande_ (2de
edition, a La Haye, 1736).] Journal of that first Sanitary Excursion or
Tour he took, to get the clouds blown from his mind. A LITERARY VOYAGE
which awakens a kind of tragic feeling; being itself dead, and treating
of matters which are all gone dead. So many immortal writers, Dutch
chiefly, whom Jordan is enabled to report as having effloresced, or
being soon to effloresce, in such and such forms, of Books important to
be learned: leafy, blossomy Forest of Literature, waving glorious in
the then sunlight to Jordan;--and it lies all now, to Jordan and us, not
withered only, but abolished; compressed into a film of indiscriminate
PEAT. Consider what that peat is made of, O celebrated or uncelebrated
reader, and take a moral from Jordan's Book! Other merit, except indeed
clearness and commendable brevity, the _Voyage Litteraire_ or other
little Books of Jordan's have not now. A few of his Letters to
Friedrich, which exist, are the only writings with the least life
left in them, and this an accidental life, not momentous to him or
us. Dryasdust informs me, "Abbe Jordan, alone of the Crown-Prince's
cavaliers, sleeps in the Town of Reinsberg, not in the Schloss:" and if
I ask, Why?--there is no answer. Probably his poor little Daughterkin
was beside him there?--

We have to say of Friedrich's Associates, that generally they were of
intelligent type, each of them master of something or other, and
capable of rational discourse upon that at least. Integrity, loyalty of
character, was indispensable; good humor, wit if it could be had, were
much in request. There was no man of shining distinction there; but
they were the best that could be had, and that is saying all. Friedrich
cannot be said, either as Prince or as King, to have been superlatively
successful in his choice of associates. With one single exception, to
be noticed shortly, there is not one of them whom we should now remember
except for Friedrich's sake;--uniformly they are men whom it is now a
weariness to hear of, except in a cursory manner. One man of shining
parts he had, and one only; no man ever of really high and great mind.
The latter sort are not so easy to get; rarely producible on the soil of
this Earth! Nor is it certain how Friedrich might have managed with one
of this sort, or he with Friedrich;--though Friedrich unquestionably
would have tried, had the chance offered. For he loved intellect as few
men on the throne, or off it, ever did; and the little he could gather
of it round him often seems to me a fact tragical rather than otherwise.

With the outer Berlin social world, acting and reacting, Friedrich has
his connections, which obscurely emerge on us now and then. Literary
Eminences, who are generally of Theological vesture; any follower of
Philosophy, especially if he be of refined manners withal, or known in
fashionable life, is sure to attract him; and gains ample recognition
at Reinsberg or on Town-visits. But the Berlin Theological or Literary
world at that time, still more the Berlin Social, like a sunk extinct
object, continues very dim in those old records; and to say truth, what
features we have of it do not invite to miraculous efforts for farther
acquaintance. Venerable Beausobre, with his _History of the Manicheans,
[_Histoire critique de Manichee et du Manicheisme:_ wrote also
_Remarques &c. sur le Nouveau Testament,_ which were once famous;
_Histoire de la Reformation;_ &c. &c. He is Beausobre SENIOR; there were
two Sons (one of them born in second wedlock, after Papa was 70), who
were likewise given to writing.--See Formey, _Souvenirs d'un Citoyen
since, in Toland and the Republican Queen's time, as a light of the
world. He is now fourscore, grown white as snow; very serene, polite,
with a smack of French noblesse in him, perhaps a smack of affectation
traceable too. The Crown-Prince, on one of his Berlin visits, wished to
see this Beausobre; got a meeting appointed, in somebody's rooms "in
the French College," and waited for the venerable man. Venerable man
entered, loftily serene as a martyr Preacher of the Word, something
of an ancient Seigneur de Beausobre in him, too; for the rest, soft as
sunset, and really with fine radiances, in a somewhat twisted state,
in that good old mind of his. "What have you been reading lately, M. de
Beausobre?" said the Prince, to begin conversation. "Ah, Monseigneur,
I have just risen from reading the sublimest piece of writing that
exists."--"And what?" "The exordium of St. John's Gospel: _In the
Beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was--"_
Which somewhat took the Prince by surprise, as Formey reports; though he
rallied straightway, and got good conversation out of the old gentleman.
To whom, we perceive, he writes once or twice, [_OEuvres de Frederic,_
121-126. Dates are all of 1737; the last of Beausobre's years.]--a copy
of his own verses to correct, on one occasion,--and is very respectful
and considerate.

Formey tells us of another French sage, personally known to the Prince
since Boyhood; for he used to be about the Palace, doing something.
This is one La Croze; Professor of, I think, "Philosophy" in the French
College: sublime Monster of Erudition, at that time; forgotten now, I
fear, by everybody. Swag-bellied, short of wind; liable to rages, to
utterances of a coarse nature; a decidedly ugly, monstrous and rather
stupid kind of man. Knew twenty languages, in a coarse inexact way.
Attempted deep kinds of discourse, in the lecture-room and elsewhere;
but usually broke off into endless welters of anecdote, not always of
cleanly nature; and after every two or three words, a desperate sigh,
not for sorrow, but on account of flabbiness and fat. Formey gives a
portraiture of him; not worth copying farther. The same Formey, standing
one day somewhere on the streets of Berlin, was himself, he cannot
doubt, SEEN by the Crown-Prince in passing; "who asked M. Jordan, who
that was," and got answer:--is not that a comfortable fact? Nothing
farther came of it;--respectable Ex-Parson Formey, though ever
ready with his pen, being indeed of very vapid nature, not wanted at
Reinsberg, as we can guess.

There is M. Achard, too, another Preacher, supreme of his sort, in the
then Berlin circles; to whom or from whom a Letter or two exist. Letters
worthless, if it were not for one dim indication: That, on inquiry, the
Crown-Prince had been consulting this supreme Achard on the difficulties
of Orthodoxy; [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi. pp. 112-117: date,
March-June, 1736.] and had given him texts, or a text, to preach from.
Supreme Achard did not abolish the difficulties for his inquiring
Prince,--who complains respectfully that "his faith is weak," and leaves
us dark as to particulars. This Achard passage is almost the only
hint we have of what might have been an important chapter: Friedrich's
Religious History at Reinsberg. The expression "weak faith" I take to
be meant not in mockery, but in ingenuous regret and solicitude; much
painful fermentation, probably, on the religious question in those
Reinsberg years! But the old "GNADENWAHL" business, the Free-Grace
controversy, had taught him to be cautious as to what he uttered on
those points. The fermentation, therefore, had to go on under cover;
what the result of it was, is notorious enough; though the steps of the
process are not in any point known.

Enough now of such details. Outwardly or inwardly, there is no History,
or almost none, to be had of this Reinsberg Period; the extensive
records of it consisting, as usual, mainly of chaotic nugatory matter,
opaque to the mind of readers. There is copious correspondence of the
Crown-Prince, with at least dates to it for most part: but this,
which should be the main resource, proves likewise a poor one; the
Crown-Prince's Letters, now or afterwards, being almost never of a deep
or intimate quality; and seldom turning on events or facts at all, and
then not always on facts interesting, on facts clearly apprehensible to
us in that extinct element.

The Thing, we know always, IS there; but vision of the Thing is only to
be had faintly, intermittently. Dim inane twilight, with here and
there a transient SPARK falling somewhither in it;--you do at last, by
desperate persistence, get to discern outlines, features:--"The Thing
cannot always have been No-thing," you reflect! Outlines, features:--and
perhaps, after all, those are mostly what the reader wants on this
occasion.



Chapter II. -- OF VOLTAIRE AND THE LITERARY CORRESPONDENCES.

One of Friedrich's grand purposes at Reinsberg, to himself privately
the grandest there, which he follows with constant loyalty and ardor,
is that of scaling the heights of the Muses' Hill withal; of attaining
mastership, discipleship, in Art and Philosophy;--or in candor let us
call it, what it truly was, that of enlightening and fortifying himself
with clear knowledge, clear belief, on all sides; and acquiring some
spiritual panoply in which to front the coming practicalities of life.
This, he feels well, will be a noble use of his seclusion in those still
places; and it must be owned, he struggles and endeavors towards this,
with great perseverance, by all the methods in his power, here, or
wherever afterwards he might be.

Here at Reinsberg, one of his readiest methods, his pleasantest if not
his usefulest, is that of getting into correspondence with the chief
spirits of his time. Which accordingly he forthwith sets about, after
getting into Reinsberg, and continues, as we shall see, with much
assiduity. Rollin, Fontenelle, and other French lights of the then
firmament,--his Letters to them exist; and could be given in some
quantity: but it is better not. They are intrinsically the common
Letters on such occasions: "O sublime demi-god of literature, how small
are princely distinctions to such a glory as thine; thou who enterest
within the veil of the temple, and issuest with thy face shining!"--To
which the response is: "Hm, think you so, most happy, gracious,
illustrious Prince, with every convenience round you, and such prospects
ahead? Well, thank you, at any rate,--and, as the Irish say, more power
to your Honor's Glory!" This really is nearly all that said Sets of
Letters contain; and except perhaps the Voltaire Set, none of them give
symptoms of much capacity to contain more.

Certainly there was no want of Literary Men discernible from Reinsberg
at that time; and the young Prince corresponds with a good many of them;
temporal potentate saluting spiritual, from the distance,--in a way
highly interesting to the then parties, but now without interest, except
of the reflex kind, to any creature. A very cold and empty portion,
this, of the Friedrich Correspondence; standing there to testify what
his admiration was for literary talent, or the great reputation of such;
but in itself uninstructive utterly, and of freezing influence on the
now living mind. Most of those French lights of the then firmament are
gone out. Forgotten altogether; or recognized, like Rollin and others,
for polished dullards, university big-wigs, and long-winded commonplace
persons, deserving nothing but oblivion. To Montesquieu,--not yet called
"Baron de Montesquieu" with ESPRIT DES LOIS, but "M. de Secondat" with
(Anonymous) LETTRES PERSANES, and already known to the world for a
person of sharp audacious eyesight,--it does not appear that Friedrich
addressed any Letter, now or afterwards. No notice of Montesquieu; nor
of some others, the absence of whom is a little unexpected. Probably
it was want of knowledge mainly; for his appetite was not fastidious at
this time. And certainly he did hit the centre of the mark, and get
into the very kernel of French literature, when, in 1736, hardly yet
established in his new quarters, he addressed himself to the shining
figure known to us as "Arouet Junior" long since, and now called M. DE
VOLTAIRE; which latter is still a name notable in Friedrich's History
and that of Mankind. Friedrich's first Letter, challenging Voltaire
to correspondence, dates itself 8th August, 1736; and Voltaire's
Answer--the Reinsberg Household still only in its second month--was
probably the brightest event which had yet befallen there.

On various accounts it will behoove us to look a good deal more strictly
into this Voltaire; and, as his relations to Friedrich and to the world
are so multiplex, endeavor to disengage the real likeness of the
man from the circumambient noise and confusion which in his instance
continue very great. "Voltaire was the spiritual complement of
Friedrich," says Sauerteig once: "what little of lasting their poor
Century produced lies mainly in these Two. A very somnambulating
Century! But what little it DID, we must call Friedrich; what little it
THOUGHT, Voltaire. Other fruit we have not from it to speak of, at this
day. Voltaire, and what CAN be faithfully done on the Voltaire Creed;
'Realized Voltairism;'--admit it, reader, not in a too triumphant
humor,--is not that pretty much the net historical product of the
Eighteenth Century? The rest of its history either pure somnambulism; or
a mere Controversy, to the effect, 'Realized Voltairism? How soon
shall it be realized, then? Not at once, surely!' So that Friedrich and
Voltaire are related, not by accident only. They are, they for want of
better, the two Original Men of their Century; the chief and in a sense
the sole products of their Century. They alone remain to us as still
living results from it,--such as they are. And the rest, truly, OUGHT
to depart and vanish (as they are now doing); being mere ephemera;
contemporary eaters, scramblers for provender, talkers of acceptable
hearsay; and related merely to the butteries and wiggeries of their
time, and not related to the Perennialities at all, as these Two
were."--With more of the like sort from Sauerteig.

M. de Voltaire, who used to be M. Francois-Marie Arouet, was at this
time about forty, [Born 20th February, 1694; the younger of two sons:
Father, "Francois Arouet, a Notary of the Chatelet, ultimately Treasurer
of the Chamber of Accounts;" Mother, "Marguerite d'Aumart, of a noble
family of Poitou."] and had gone through various fortunes; a man, now
and henceforth, in a high degree conspicuous, and questionable to his
fellow-creatures. Clear knowledge of him ought, at this stage, to
be common; but unexpectedly it is not. What endless writing and
biographying there has been about this man; in which one still reads,
with a kind of lazy satisfaction, due to the subject, and to the French
genius in that department! But the man himself, and his environment and
practical aspects, what the actual physiognomy of his life and of him
can have been, is dark from beginning to ending; and much is left in an
ambiguous undecipherable condition to us. A proper History of Voltaire,
in which should be discoverable, luminous to human creatures, what he
was, what element he lived in, what work he did: this is still a problem
for the genius of France!--

His Father's name is known to us; the name of his Father's profession,
too, but not clearly the nature of it; still less his Father's
character, economic circumstances, physiognomy spiritual or social: not
the least possibility granted you of forming an image, however faint,
of that notable man and household, which distinguished itself to all the
earth by producing little Francois into the light of this sun. Of Madame
Arouet, who, or what, or how she was, nothing whatever is known. A human
reader, pestered continually with the Madame-Denises, Abbe-Mignots and
enigmatic nieces and nephews, would have wished to know, at least, what
children, besides Francois, Madame Arouet had: once for all, How many
children? Name them, with year of birth, year of death, according to the
church-registers: they all, at any rate, had that degree of history! No;
even that has not been done. Beneficent correspondents of my own make
answer, after some research, No register of the Arouets anywhere to
be had. The very name VOLTAIRE, if you ask whence came it? there is no
answer, or worse than none.--The fit "History" of this man, which might
be one of the shining Epics of his Century, and the lucid summary and
soul of any HISTORY France then had, but which would require almost a
French demi-god to do it, is still a great way off, if on the road at
all! For present purposes, we select what follows from a well-known
hand:--

"YOUTH OF VOLTAIRE (1694-1725).--French Biographers have left the Arouet
Household very dark for us; meanwhile we can perceive, or guess, that it
was moderately well in economic respects; that Francois was the second
of the Two Sons; and that old Arouet, a steady, practical and perhaps
rather sharp-tempered old gentleman, of official legal habits and
position, 'Notary of the Chatelet' and something else, had destined him
for the Law Profession; as was natural enough to a son of M. Arouet, who
had himself succeeded well in Law, and could there, best of all, open
roads for a clever second son. Francois accordingly sat 'in chambers,'
as we call it; and his fellow-clerks much loved him,--the most amusing
fellow in the world. Sat in chambers, even became an advocate; but did
not in the least take to advocateship;--took to poetry, and other airy
dangerous courses, speculative, practical; causing family explosions
and rebukes, which were without effect on him. A young fool, bent on
sportful pursuits instead of serious; more and more shuddering at Law.
To the surprise and indignation of M. Arouet Senior. Law, with its wigs
and sheepskins, pointing towards high honors and deep flesh-pots, had no
charms for the young fool; he could not be made to like Law.

"Whereupon arose explosions, as we hint; family explosions on the part
of M. Arouet Senior; such that friends had to interfere, and it was
uncertain what would come of it. One judicious friend, 'M. Caumartin,'
took the young fellow home to his house in the country for a time;--and
there, incidentally, brought him acquainted with old gentlemen deep
in the traditions of Henri Quatre and the cognate topics; which much
inflamed the young fellow, and produced big schemes in the head of him.

"M. Arouet Senior stood strong for Law; but it was becoming daily more
impossible. Madrigals, dramas (not without actresses), satirical wit,
airy verse, and all manner of adventurous speculation, were what
this young man went upon; and was getting more and more loved for;
introduced, even, to the superior circles, and recognized there as one
of the brightest young fellows ever seen. Which tended, of course, to
confirm him in his folly, and open other outlooks and harbors of refuge
than the paternal one.

"Such things, strange to M. Arouet Senior, were in vogue then; wicked
Regent d'Orleans having succeeded sublime Louis XIV., and set strange
fashions to the Quality. Not likely to profit this fool Francois,
thought M. Arouet Senior; and was much confirmed in his notion, when a
rhymed Lampoon against the Government having come out (LES J'AI VU, as
they call it ["I have seen (J'AI VU)" this ignominy occur, "I have seen"
that other,--to the amount of a dozen or two;--"and am not yet twenty."
Copy of it, and guess as to authorship, in _OEuvres de Voltaire_, i.
321.]), and become the rage, as a clever thing of the kind will, it was
imputed to the brightest young fellow in France, M. Arouet's Son. Who,
in fact, was not the Author; but was not believed on his denial; and
saw himself, in spite of his high connections, ruthlessly lodged in the
Bastille in consequence. 'Let him sit,' thought M. Arouet Senior, 'and
come to his senses there!' He sat for eighteen months (age still little
above twenty); but privately employed his time, not in repentance, or in
serious legal studies, but in writing a Poem on his Henri Quatre. 'Epic
Poem,' no less; LA LIGUE, as he then called it; which it was his hope
the whole world would one day fall in love with;--as it did. Nay, in two
years more, he had done a Play, OEDIPE the renowned name of it; which
ran for forty-eight nights' (18th November, 1718, the first of them);
and was enough to turn any head of such age. Law may be considered
hopeless, even by M. Arouet Senior.

"Try him in the Diplomatic line; break these bad habits and connections,
thought M. Arouet, at one time; and sent him to the French Ambassador
in Holland,--on good behavior, as it were, and by way of temporary
banishment. But neither did this answer. On the contrary, the young
fellow got into scrapes again; got into amatory intrigues,--young lady
visiting you in men's clothes, young lady's mother inveigling, and I
know not what;--so that the Ambassador was glad to send him home again
unmarried; marked, as it were, 'Glass, with care!' And the young lady's
mother printed his Letters, not the least worth reading:--and the old M.
Arouet seems now to have flung up his head; to have settled some small
allowance on him, with peremptory no hope of more, and said, 'Go your
own way, then, foolish junior: the elder shall be my son.' M. Arouet
disappears at this point, or nearly so, from the history of his son
Francois; and I think must have died in not many years. Poor old
M. Arouet closed his old eyes without the least conception what a
prodigious ever-memorable thing he had done unknowingly, in sending this
Francois into the world, to kindle such universal 'dry dung-heap of a
rotten world,' and set it blazing! Francois, his Father's synonym, came
to be representative of the family, after all; the elder Brother also
having died before long. Except certain confused niece-and-nephew
personages, progeny of the sisters, Francois has no more trouble or
solacement from the paternal household. Francois meanwhile is his
Father's synonym, and signs Arouet Junior, 'Francois Aroue l. j. (LE
JEUNE).'

"'All of us Princes, then, or Poets!' said he, one night at supper,
looking to right and left: the brightest fellow in the world, well fit
to be Phoebus Apollo of such circles; and great things now ahead of him.
Dissolute Regent d'Orleans, politest, most debauched of men, and very
witty, holds the helm; near him Dubois the Devil's Cardinal, and so many
bright spirits. All the Luciferous Spiritualism there is in France is
lifting anchor, under these auspices, joyfully towards new latitudes
and Isles of the Blest. What may not Francois hope to become? 'Hmph!'
answers M. Arouet Senior, steadily, so long as he lives. Here are one
or two subsequent phases, epochs or turning-points, of the young
gentleman's career.

"PHASIS FIRST (1725-1728).--The accomplished Duc de Sulli (Year 1725,
day not recorded), is giving in his hotel a dinner, such as usual; and a
bright witty company is assembled;--the brightest young fellow in
France sure to be there; and with his electric coruscations illuminating
everything, and keeping the table in a roar. To the delight of most; not
to that of a certain splenetic ill-given Duc de Rohan; grandee of high
rank, great haughtiness, and very ill-behavior in the world; who feels
impatient at the notice taken of a mere civic individual, Arouet Junior.
_ 'Quel est done ce jeune homme qui parle si haut,_ Who is this young
man that talks so loud, then?' exclaims the proud splenetic Duke.
'Monseigneur,' flashes the young man back upon him in an electric
manner, 'it is one who does not drag a big name about with him; but who
secures respect for the name he has!' Figure that, in the penetrating
grandly clangorous voice (VOIX SOMBRE ET MAJESTUEUSE), and the momentary
flash of eyes that attended it. Duc de Rohan rose, in a sulphurous
frame of mind; and went his ways. What date? You ask the idle French
Biographer in vain;--see only, after more and more inspection, that
the incident is true; and with labor date it, summer of the Year
1725. Treaty of Utrecht itself, though all the Newspapers and Own
Correspondents were so interested in it, was perhaps but a foolish
matter to date in comparison!

"About a week after, M. Arouet Junior was again dining with the Duc
de Sulli, and a fine company as before. A servant whispers him, That
somebody has called, and wants him below. 'Cannot come,' answers Arouet;
'how can I, so engaged?' Servant returns after a minute or two: 'Pardon,
Monsieur; I am to say, it is to do an act of beneficence that you are
wanted below!' Arouet lays down his knife and fork; descends instantly
to see what act it is. A carriage is in the court, and hackney-coach
near it: 'Would Monsieur have the extreme goodness to come to the door
of the carriage, in a case of necessity?' At the door of the carriage,
hands seize the collar of him, hold him as in a vice; diabolic visage
of Duc de Rohan is visible inside, who utters, looking to the
hackney-coach, some "VOILA, Now then!" Whereupon the hackney-coach
opens, gives out three porters, or hired bullies, with the due
implements: scandalous actuality of horsewhipping descends on the back
of poor Arouet, who shrieks and execrates to no purpose, nobody being
near. 'That will do,' says Rohan at last, and the gallant ducal party
drive off; young Arouet, with torn frills and deranged hair, rushing up
stairs again, in such a mood as is easy to fancy. Everybody is sorry,
inconsolable, everybody shocked; nobody volunteers to help in avenging.
'Monseigneur de Sulli, is not such atrocity done to one of your
guests, an insult to yourself?' asks Arouet. 'Well, yes perhaps,
but'--Monseigneur de Sulli shrugs his shoulders, and proposes nothing.
Arouet withdrew, of course in a most blazing condition, to consider what
he could, on his own strength, do in this conjuncture.

"His Biographer Duvernet says, he decided on doing two things: learning
English and the small-sword exercise. [_La Vie de Voltaire,_ par M--(a
Geneve, 1786), pp. 55-57; or pp. 60-63, in his SECOND form of the Book.
The "M--" is an Abbe Duvernet; of no great mark otherwise. He got
into Revolution trouble afterwards, but escaped with his head; and
republished his Book, swollen out somewhat by new "Anecdotes" and
republican bluster, in this second instance; signing himself T. J. D.
V--(Paris, 1797). A vague but not dark or mendacious little Book;
with traces of real EYESIGHT in it,--by one who had personally known
Voltaire, or at least seen and heard him.] He retired to the country for
six months, and perfected himself in these two branches. Being perfect,
he challenged Duc de Rohan in the proper manner; applying ingenious
compulsives withal, to secure acceptance of the challenge. Rohan
accepted, not without some difficulty, and compulsion at the Theatre or
otherwise:--accepted, but withal confessed to his wife. The result was,
no measuring of swords took place; and Rohan only blighted by public
opinion, or incapable of farther blight that way, went at large; a
convenient LETTRE DE CACHET having put Arouet again in the Bastille.
Where for six months Arouet lodged a second time, the innocent not the
guilty; making, we can well suppose, innumerable reflections on the
phenomena of human life. Imprisonment once over, he hastily quitted for
England; shaking the dust of ungrateful France off his feet,--resolved
to change his unhappy name, for one thing.

"Smelfungus, denouncing the torpid fatuity of Voltaire's Biographers,
says he never met with one Frenchman, even of the Literary classes, who
could tell him whence this name VOLTAIRE originated. 'A PETITE
TERRE, small family estate,' they said; and sent him hunting through
Topographies, far and wide, to no purpose. Others answered, 'Volterra
in Italy, some connection with Volterra,'--and seemed even to know that
this was but fatuity. 'In ever-talking, ever-printing Paris, is it as
in Timbuctoo, then, which neither prints nor has anything to print?'
exclaims poor Smelfungus! He tells us at last, the name VOLTAIRE is
a mere Anagram of AROUET L. J.--you try it;
A.R.O.U.E.T.L.J.=V.O.L.T.A.I.R.E and perceive at once, with obligations
to Smelfungus, that he has settled this small matter for you, and that
you can be silent upon it forever thenceforth.

"The anagram VOLTAIRE, gloomily settled in the Bastille in this manner,
can be reckoned a very famous wide-sounding outer result of the Rohan
impertinence and blackguardism; but it is not worth naming beside the
inner intrinsic result, of banishing Voltaire to England at this point
of his course. England was full of Constitutionality and Freethinking;
Tolands, Collinses, Wollastons, Bolingbrokes, still living; very free
indeed. England, one is astonished to see, has its royal-republican ways
of doing; something Roman in it, from Peerage down to Plebs; strange and
curious to the eye of M. de Voltaire. Sciences flourishing; Newton still
alive, white with fourscore years, the venerable hoary man; Locke's
Gospel of Common Sense in full vogue, or even done into verse, by
incomparable Mr. Pope, for the cultivated upper classes. In science,
in religion, in politics, what a surprising 'liberty' allowed or taken!
Never was a freer turn of thinking. And (what to M. de Voltaire is a
pleasant feature) it is Freethinking with ruffles to its shirt and rings
on its fingers;--never yet, the least, dreaming of the shirtless or
SANSCULOTTIC state that lies ahead for it! That is the palmy condition
of English Liberty, when M. de Voltaire arrives there.

"In a man just out of the Bastille on those terms, there is a mind
driven by hard suffering into seriousness, and provoked by indignant
comparisons and remembrances. As if you had elaborately ploughed and
pulverized the mind of this Voltaire to receive with its utmost avidity,
and strength of fertility, whatever seed England may have for it. That
was a notable conjuncture of a man with circumstances. The question,
Is this man to grow up a Court Poet; to do legitimate dramas, lampoons,
witty verses, and wild spiritual and practical magnificences, the like
never seen; Princes and Princesses recognizing him as plainly divine,
and keeping him tied by enchantments to that poor trade as his task in
life? is answered in the negative. No: and it is not quite to decorate
and comfort your 'dry dung-heap' of a world, or the fortunate cocks that
scratch on it, that the man Voltaire is here; but to shoot lightnings
into it, and set it ablaze one day! That was an important alternative;
truly of world-importance to the poor generations that now are; and
it was settled, in good part, by this voyage to England, as one may
surmise. Such is sometimes the use of a dissolute Rohan in this world;
for the gods make implements of all manner of things.

"M. de Voltaire (for we now drop the Arouet altogether, and never hear
of it more) came to England--when? Quitted England--when? Sorrow on
all fatuous Biographers, who spend their time not in laying permanent
foundation-stones, but in fencing with the wind!--I at last find
indisputably, it was in 1726 that he came to England: [Got out of
the Bastille, with orders to leave France, "29th April" of that year
(_OEuvres de Voltaire,_ i. 40 n.).] and he himself tells us that he
1728.' Spent, therefore, some two years there in all,--last year of
George I.'s reign, and first of George II.'s. But mere inanity and
darkness visible reign, in all his Biographies, over this period of his
life, which was above all others worth investigating: seek not to know
it; no man has inquired into it, probably no competent man now ever
will. By hints in certain Letters of the period, we learn that he
lodged, or at one time lodged, in 'Maiden Lane, Covent Garden;' one of
those old Houses that yet stand in Maiden Lane: for which small fact
let us be thankful. His own Letters of the period are dated now and
then from 'Wandsworth.' Allusions there are to Bolingbroke; but the
Wandsworth is not Bolingbroke's mansion, which stood in Battersea; the
Wandsworth was one Edward Fawkener's; a man somewhat admirable to young
Voltaire, but extinct now, or nearly so, in human memory. He had been a
Turkey Merchant, it would seem, and nevertheless was admitted to speak
his word in intellectual, even in political circles; which was wonderful
to young Voltaire. This Fawkener, I think, became Sir Edward Fawkener,
and some kind of 'Secretary to the Duke of Cumberland:'--I judge it to
be the same Fawkener; a man highly unmemorable now, were it not for the
young Frenchman he was hospitable to. Fawkener's and Bolingbroke's
are perhaps the only names that turn up in Voltaire's LETTERS of
this English Period: over which generally there reigns, in the French
Biographies, inane darkness, with an intimation, half involuntary, that
it SHOULD have been made luminous, and would if perfectly easy.

"We know, from other sources, that he had acquaintance with many men
in England, with all manner of important men: Notes to Pope in
Voltaire-English, visit of Voltaire to Congreve, Notes even to such as
Lady Sundon in the interior of the Palace, are known of. The brightest
young fellow in the world did not want for introductions to the highest
quarters, in that time of political alliance, and extensive private
acquaintance, between his Country and ours. And all this he was the
man to improve, both in the trivial and the deep sense. His bow to the
divine Princess Caroline and suite, could it fail in graceful reverence
or what else was needed? Dexterous right words in the right places,
winged with ESPRIT so called: that was the man's supreme talent,
in which he had no match, to the last. A most brilliant, swift,
far-glancing young man, disposed to make himself generally agreeable.
For the rest, his wonder, we can see, was kept awake; wonder readily
inclining, in his circumstances, towards admiration. The stereotype
figure of the Englishman, always the same, which turns up in Voltaire's
WORKS, is worth noting in this respect. A rugged surly kind of fellow,
much-enduring, not intrinsically bad; splenetic without complaint,
standing oddly inexpugnable in that natural stoicism of his; taciturn,
yet with strange flashes of speech in him now and then, something which
goes beyond laughter and articulate logic, and is the taciturn elixir of
these two, what they call 'humor' in their dialect: this is pretty much
the REVERSE of Voltaire's own self, and therefore all the welcomer to
him; delineated always with a kind of mockery, but with evident love.
What excellences are in England, thought Voltaire; no Bastille in it,
for one thing! Newton's Philosophy annihilated the vortexes of Descartes
for him; Locke's Toleration is very grand (especially if all is
uncertain, and YOU are in the minority); then Collins, Wollaston and
Company,--no vile Jesuits here, strong in their mendacious mal-odorous
stupidity, despicablest yet most dangerous of creatures, to check
freedom of thought! Illustrious Mr. Pope, of the _Essay on Man,_ surely
he is admirable; as are Pericles Bolingbroke, and many others. Even
Bolingbroke's high-lacquered brass is gold to this young French friend
of his.--Through all which admirations and exaggerations the progress of
the young man, toward certain very serious attainments and achievements,
is conceivable enough.

"One other man, who ought to be mentioned in the Biographies, I find
Voltaire to have made acquaintance with, in England: a German
M. Fabrice, one of several Brothers called Fabrice or
Fabricius,--concerning whom, how he had been at Bender, and how Voltaire
picked CHARLES DOUSE from the memory of him, there was already mention.
The same Fabrice who held poor George I. in his arms while they drove,
galloping, to Osnabriick, that night, IN EXTREMIS:--not needing mention
again. The following is more to the point.

"Voltaire, among his multifarious studies while in England, did not
forget that of economics: his Poem LA LIGUE,--surreptitiously printed,
three years since, under that title (one Desfontaines, a hungry
Ex-Jesuit, the perpetrator), [1723, VIE, par T. J. D. V. (that is, "M--"
in the second form), p. 59.]--he now took in hand for his own benefit;
washed it clean of its blots; christened it HENRIADE, under which name
it is still known over all the world;--and printed it; published it
here, by subscription, in 1726; one of the first things he undertook.
Very splendid subscription; headed by Princess Caroline, and much
favored by the opulent of quality. Which yielded an unknown but very
considerable sum of thousands sterling, and grounded not only the
world-renown but the domestic finance of M. de Voltaire. For the fame of
the 'new epic,' as this HENRIADE was called, soon spread into all lands.
And such fame, and other agencies on his behalf, having opened the way
home for Voltaire, he took this sum of Thousands Sterling along with
him; laid it out judiciously in some city lottery, or profitable scrip
then going at Paris, which at once doubled the amount: after which he
invested it in Corn-trade, Army Clothing, Barbary-trade, Commissariat
Bacon-trade, all manner of well-chosen trades,--being one of the
shrewdest financiers on record;--and never from that day wanted
abundance of money, for one thing. Which he judged to be extremely
expedient for a literary man, especially in times of Jesuit and other
tribulation. 'You have only to watch,' he would say, 'what scrips,
public loans, investments in the field of agio, are offered; if you
exert any judgment, it is easy to gain there: do not the stupidest of
mortals gain there, by intensely attending to it?'

"Voltaire got almost nothing by his Books, which he generally had to
disavow, and denounce as surreptitious supposititious scandals, when
some sharp-set Book-seller, in whose way he had laid the savory
article as bait, chose to risk his ears for the profit of snatching
and publishing it. Next to nothing by his Books; but by his fine
finance-talent otherwise, he had become possessed of ample moneys. Which
were so cunningly disposed, too, that he had resources in every Country;
and no conceivable combination of confiscating Jesuits and dark fanatic
Official Persons could throw him out of a livelihood, whithersoever he
might be forced to run. A man that looks facts in the face; which is
creditable of him. The vulgar call it avarice and the like, as their way
is: but M. de Voltaire is convinced that effects will follow causes; and
that it well beseems a lonely Ishmaelite, hunting his way through the
howling wildernesses and confused ravenous populations of this world, to
have money in his pocket. He died with a revenue of some 7,000 pounds a
year, probably as good as 20,000 pounds at present; the richest literary
man ever heard of hitherto, as well as the remarkablest in some other
respects. But we have to mark the second phasis of his life [in which
Friedrich now sees him], and how it grew out of this first one.

"PHASIS SECOND (1728-1733).--Returning home as if quietly triumphant,
with such a talent in him, and such a sanction put upon it and him by a
neighboring Nation, and by all the world, Voltaire was warmly received,
in his old aristocratic circles, by cultivated France generally; and
now in 1728, in his thirty-second year, might begin to have definite
outlooks of a sufficiently royal kind, in Literature and otherwise. Nor
is he slow, far from it, to advance, to conquer and enjoy. He writes
successful literature, falls in love with women of quality; encourages
the indigent and humble; eclipses, and in case of need tramples down,
the too proud. He elegizes poor Adrienne Lecouvreur, the Actress,--our
poor friend the Comte de Saxe's female friend; who loyally emptied out
her whole purse for him, 30,000 pounds in one sum, that he might try
for Courland, and whether he could fall in love with her of the Swollen
Cheek there; which proved impossible. Elegizes Adrienne, slightly, and
even buries her under cloud of night: ready to protect unfortunate
females of merit. Especially theatrical females; having much to do in
the theatre, which we perceive to be the pulpit or real preaching-place
of cultivated France in those years. All manner of verse, all manner of
prose, he dashes off with surprising speed and grace: showers of light
spray for the moment; and always some current of graver enterprise,
_Siecle de Louis Quatorze_ or the like, going on beneath it. For he is a
most diligent, swift, unresting man; and studies and learns amazingly in
such a rackety existence. Victorious enough in some senses; defeat, in
Literature, never visited him. His Plays, coming thick on the heels of
one another, rapid brilliant pieces, are brilliantly received by the
unofficial world; and ought to dethrone dull Crebillon, and the sleepy
potentates of Poetry that now are. Which in fact is their result with
the public; but not yet in the highest courtly places;--a defect much to
be condemned and lamented.

"Numerous enemies arise, as is natural, of an envious venomous
description; this is another ever-widening shadow in the sunshine. In
fact we perceive he has, besides the inner obstacles and griefs, two
classes of outward ones: There are Lions on his path and also Dogs.
Lions are the Ex-Bishop of Mirepoix, and certain other dark Holy
Fathers, or potent orthodox Official Persons. These, though Voltaire
does not yet declare his heterodoxy (which, indeed, is but the orthodoxy
of the cultivated private circles), perceive well enough, even by the
HENRIADE, and its talk of 'tolerance,' horror of 'fanaticism' and the
like, what this one's 'DOXY is; and how dangerous he, not a mere mute
man of quality, but a talking spirit with winged words, may be;--and
they much annoy and terrify him, by their roaring in the distance. Which
roaring cannot, of course, convince; and since it is not permitted to
kill, can only provoke a talking spirit into still deeper strains of
heterodoxy for his own private behoof. These are the Lions on his path:
beasts conscious to themselves of good intentions; but manifesting from
Voltaire's point of view, it must be owned, a physiognomy unlovely to
a degree. 'Light is superior to darkness, I should think,' meditates
Voltaire; 'power of thought to the want of power! The ANE DE MIREPOIX
(Ass of Mirepoix), [Poor joke of Voltaire's, continually applied to this
Bishop, or Ex-Bishop,--who was thought, generally, a rather tenebrific
man for appointment to the FEUILLE DES BENEFICES (charge of nominating
Bishops, keeping King's conscience, &c.); and who, in that capacity,
signed himself ANC (by no means "ANE," but "ANCIEN, Whilom") DE
MIREPOIX,--to the enragement of Voltaire often enough.] pretending to
use me in this manner, is it other, in the court of Rhadamanthus,
than transcendent Stupidity, with transcendent Insolence superadded?'
Voltaire grows more and more heterodox; and is ripening towards
dangerous utterances, though he, strives to hold in.

"The Dogs upon his path, again, are all the disloyal envious persons of
the Writing Class, whom his success has offended; and, more generally,
all the dishonest hungry persons who can gain a morsel by biting him:
and their name is legion. It must be owned, about as ugly a Doggery
('INFAME CANAILLE' he might well reckon them) as has, before or since,
infested the path of a man. They are not hired and set on, as angry
suspicion might suggest; but they are covertly somewhat patronized
by the Mirepoix, or orthodox Official class. Scandalous Ex-Jesuit
Desfontaines, Thersites Freron,--these are but types of an endless
Doggery; whose names and works should be blotted out; whose one claim to
memory is, that the riding man so often angrily sprang down, and tried
horsewhipping them into silence. A vain attempt. The individual hound
flies howling, abjectly petitioning and promising; but the rest bark
all with new comfort, and even he starts again straightway. It is bad
travelling in those woods, with such Lions and such Dogs. And then the
sparsely scattered HUMAN Creatures (so we may call them in contrast,
persons of Quality for most part) are not always what they should be.
The grand mansions you arrive at, in this waste-howling solitude, prove
sometimes essentially Robber-towers;--and there may be Armida Palaces,
and divine-looking Armidas, where your ultimate fate is still worse.

_'Que le monde est rempli d'enchanteurs, je ne dis rien
d'enchanteresses!'_

To think of it, the solitary Ishmaelite journeying, never so well
mounted, through such a wilderness: with lions, dogs, human robbers and
Armidas all about him; himself lonely, friendless under the stars:--one
could pity him withal, though that is not the feeling he solicits; nor
gets hitherto, even at this impartial distance.

"One of the beautiful creatures of Quality,--we hope, not an
Armida,--who came athwart Voltaire, in these times, was a Madame du
Chatelet; distinguished from all the others by a love of mathematics
and the pure sciences, were it nothing else. She was still young, under
thirty; the literary man still under forty. With her Husband, to whom
she had brought a child, or couple of children, there was no formal
quarrel; but they were living apart, neither much heeding the other,
as was by no means a case without example at that time; Monsieur
soldiering, and philandering about, in garrison or elsewhere; Madame, in
a like humor, doing the best for herself in the high circles of society,
to which he and she belonged. Most wearisome barren circles to a person
of thought, as both she and M. de Voltaire emphatically admitted to one
another, on first making acquaintance. But is there no help?

"Madame had tried the pure sciences and philosophies, in Books: but
how much more charming, when they come to you as a Human Philosopher;
handsome, magnanimous, and the wittiest man in the world! Young
Madame was not regularly beautiful; but she was very piquant, radiant,
adventurous; understood other things than the pure sciences, and could
be abundantly coquettish and engaging. I have known her scuttle off, on
an evening, with a couple of adventurous young wives of Quality, to the
remote lodging of the witty M. de Voltaire, and make his dim evening
radiant to him. [One of Voltaire's Letters.] Then again, in public
crowds, I have seen them; obliged to dismount to the peril of Madame's
diamonds, there being a jam of carriages, and no getting forward for
half the day. In short, they are becoming more and more intimate, to the
extremest degree; and, scorning the world, thank Heaven that they are
mutually indispensable. Cannot we get away from this scurvy wasp's-nest
of a Paris, thought they, and live to ourselves and our books?

"Madame was of high quality, one of the Breteuils; but was poor in
comparison, and her Husband the like. An old Chateau of theirs, named
Cirey, stands in a pleasant enough little valley in Champagne; but so
dilapidated, gaunt and vacant, nobody can live in it. Voltaire, who is
by this time a man of ample moneys, furnishes the requisite cash; Madame
and he, in sweet symphony, concert the plans: Cirey is repaired,
at least parts of it are, into a boudoir of the gods, regardless of
expense; nothing ever seen so tasteful, so magnificent; and the two
withdraw thither to study, in peace, what sciences, pure and other, they
have a mind to. They are recognized as lovers, by the Parisian public,
with little audible censure from anybody there,--with none at all from
the easy Husband; who occasionally even visits Cirey, if he be passing
that way; and is content to take matters as he finds them, without
looking below the surface. [See (whosoever is curious) Madame de
Grafigny, _Vie Privee de Voltaire et de Madame du Chatelet_ (Paris,
1820). A six months of actual Letters written by poor Grafigny, while
sheltering at Cirey, Winter and Spring, 1738-1739; straitened there
in various respects,--extremely ill off for fuel, among other things.
Rugged practical Letters, shadowing out to us, unconsciously oftenest,
and like a very mirror, the splendid and the sordid, the seamy side
and the smooth, of Life at Cirey, in her experience of it. Published,
fourscore years after, under the above title.] For the Ten Commandments
are at a singular pass in cultivated France at this epoch. Such
illicit-idyllic form of life has been the form of Voltaire's since
1733,"--for some three years now, when Friedrich and we first make
acquaintance with him. "It lasted above a dozen years more: an illicit
marriage after its sort, and subject only to the liabilities of such.
Perhaps we may look in upon the Cirey Household, ourselves, at some
future time; and"--This Editor hopes not!

"Madame admits that for the first ten years it was, on the whole,
sublime; a perfect Eden on Earth, though stormy now and then. [_Lettres
Inedites de Madame la Marquise du Chastelet; auxquelles on a joint une
Dissertation_ (&c. of hers): Paris, 1806.] After ten years, it began to
grow decidedly dimmer; and in the course of few years more, it
became undeniably evident that M. de Voltaire 'did not love me as
formerly:'--in fact, if Madame could have seen it, M. de Voltaire
was growing old, losing his teeth, and the like; and did not care for
anything as formerly! Which was a dreadful discovery, and gave rise to
results by and by.

"In this retreat at Cirey, varied with flying visits to Paris, and kept
awake by multifarious Correspondences, the quantity of Literature done
by the two was great and miscellaneous. By Madame, chiefly in the region
of the pure sciences, in Newtonian Dissertations, competitions for
Prizes, and the like: really sound and ingenious Pieces, entirely
forgotten long since. By Voltaire, in serious Tragedies, Histories, in
light Sketches and deep Dissertations:--mockery getting ever wilder
with him; the satirical vein, in prose and verse, amazingly copious, and
growing more and more heterodox, as we can perceive. His troubles from
the ecclesiastical or Lion kind in the Literary forest, still more from
the rabid Doggery in it, are manifold, incessant. And it is pleasantly
notable,--during these first ten years,--with what desperate intensity,
vigilance and fierceness, Madame watches over all his interests and
liabilities and casualties great and small; leaping with her whole force
into M. de Voltaire's scale of the balance, careless of antecedences and
consequences alike; flying, with the spirit of an angry brood-hen,
at the face of mastiffs, in defence of any feather that is M. de
Voltaire's. To which Voltaire replies, as he well may, with eloquent
gratitude; with Verses to the divine Emilie, with Gifts to her, verses
and gifts the prettiest in the world;--and industriously celebrates the
divine Emilie to herself and all third parties.

"An ardent, aerial, gracefully predominant, and in the end somewhat
termagant female figure, this divine Emilie. Her temper, radiant rather
than bland, was none of the patientest on occasion; nor was M. de
Voltaire the least of a Job, if you came athwart him the wrong way. I
have heard, their domestic symphony was liable to furious flaws,--let
us hope at great distances apart:--that 'plates' in presence of the
lackeys, actual crockery or metal, have been known to fly from end to
end of the dinner-table; nay they mention 'knives' (though only in the
way of oratorical action); and Voltaire has been heard to exclaim, the
sombre and majestic voice of him risen to a very high pitch: _'Ne me
regardez tant de ces yeux hagards et louches,_ Don't fix those haggard
sidelong eyes on me in that way!'--mere shrillness of pale rage
presiding over the scene. But we hope it was only once in the quarter,
or seldomer: after which the element would be clearer for some time. A
lonesome literary man, who has got a Brood Phoenix to preside over him,
and fly at the face of gods and men for him in that manner, ought to be
grateful.

"Perhaps we shall one day glance, personally, as it were, into Cirey
with our readers;"--Not with this Editor or his!--"It will turn out beyond
the reader's expectation. Tolerable illicit resting-place, so far as the
illicit can be tolerable, for a lonesome Man of Letters, who goes into
the illicit. Helpfulness, affection, or the flattering image of such,
are by no means wanting: squalls of infirm temper are not more frequent
than in the most licit establishments of a similar sort. Madame, about
this time, has a swift Palfrey, 'ROSSIGNOL (Nightingale)' the name of
him; and gallops fairy-like through the winding valleys; being an
ardent rider, and well-looking on horseback. Voltaire's study is inlaid
with--the Grafigny knows all what:--mere china tiles, gilt sculptures,
marble slabs, and the supreme of taste and expense: study fit for the
Phoebus Apollo of France, so far as Madame could contrive it. Takes
coffee with Madame, in the Gallery, about noon. And his bedroom, I
expressly discern, [_Letters of Voltaire._] looks out upon a running
brook, the murmur of which is pleasant to one."

Enough, enough. We can perceive what kind of Voltaire it was to whom the
Crown-Prince now addressed himself; and how luminous an object, shining
afar out of the solitudes of Champagne upon the ardent young man, still
so capable of admiration. Model Epic, HENRIADE; model History, CHARLES
DOUZE; sublime Tragedies, CISAR, ALZIRE and others, which readers still
know though with less enthusiasm, are blooming fresh in Friedrich's
memory and heart; such Literature as man never saw before; and in the
background Friedrich has inarticulately a feeling as if, in this man,
there were something grander than all Literatures: a Reform of human
Thought itself; a new "Gospel," good-tidings or God's-Message, by this
man;--which Friedrich does not suspect, as the world with horror does,
to be a new BA'SPEL, or Devil's-Message of bad-tidings! A sublime enough
Voltaire; radiant enough, over at Cirey yonder. To all lands, a visible
Phoebus Apollo, climbing the eastern steeps; with arrows of celestial
"new light" in his quiver; capable of stretching many a big foul Python,
belly uppermost, in its native mud, and ridding the poor world of her
Nightmares and Mud-Serpents in some measure, we may hope!--

And so there begins, from this point, a lively Correspondence between
Friedrich and Voltaire; which, with some interruptions of a notable
sort, continued during their mutual Life; and is a conspicuous feature
in the Biographies of both. The world talked much of it, and still
talks; and has now at last got it all collected, and elucidated into a
dimly legible form for studious readers. [Preuss, _OEuvres de Frederic,_
(xxi. xxii. xxiii., Berlin, 1853); who supersedes the lazy French
Editors in this matter.] It is by no means the diabolically wicked
Correspondence it was thought to be; the reverse, indeed, on both
sides;--but it has unfortunately become a very dull one, to the actual
generation of mankind. Not without intrinsic merit; on the contrary
(if you read intensely, and bring the extinct alive again), it sparkles
notably with epistolary grace and vivacity; and, on any terms, it has
still passages of biographical and other interest: but the substance
of it, then so new and shining, has fallen absolutely commonplace, the
property of all the world, since then; and is now very wearisome to the
reader. No doctrine or opinion in it that you have not heard, with clear
belief or clear disbelief, a hundred times, and could wish rather not
to hear again. The common fate of philosophical originalities in this
world. As a Biographical Document, it is worth a very strict perusal,
if you are interested that way in either Friedrich or Voltaire: finely
significant hints and traits, though often almost evanescent, so slight
are they, abound in this Correspondence; frankness, veracity under
graceful forms, being the rule of it, strange to say! As an illustration
of Two memorable Characters, and of their Century; showing on what
terms the sage Plato of the Eighteenth Century and his Tyrant Dionysius
correspond, and what their manners are to one another, it may long have
a kind of interest to mankind: otherwise it has not much left.

In Friedrich's History it was, no doubt, an important fact, that there
lived a Voltaire along with him, twenty years his senior. With another
Theory of the Universe than the Voltaire one, how much OTHER had
Friedrich too been! But the Theory called by Voltaire's name was
not properly of Voltaire's creating, but only of his uttering and
publishing; it lay ready for everybody's finding, and could not well
have been altogether missed by such a one as Friedrich. So that perhaps
we exaggerate the effects of Voltaire on him, though undoubtedly they
were considerable. Considerable; but not derived from this express
correspondence, which seldom turns on didactic points at all; derived
rather from Voltaire's Printed WORKS, where they lay derivable to
all the world. Certain enough it is, Voltaire was at this time,
and continued all his days, Friedrich's chief Thinker in the world;
unofficially, the chief Preacher, Prophet and Priest of this Working
King;--no better off for a spiritual Trismegistus was poor Friedrich in
the world! On the practical side, Friedrich soon outgrew him,--perhaps
had already outgrown, having far more veracity of character, and an
intellect far better built in the silent parts of it, and trained too
by hard experiences to know shadow from substance;--outgrew him,
and gradually learned to look down upon him, occasionally with much
contempt, in regard to the practical. But in all changes of humor
towards Voltaire, Friedrich, we observe, considers him as plainly
supreme in speculative intellect; and has no doubt but, for thinking
and speaking, Nature never made such another. Which may be taken as
a notable feature of Friedrich's History; and gives rise to passages
between Voltaire and him, which will make much noise in time coming.

Here, meanwhile, faithfully presented though in condensed form, is the
starting of the Correspondence; First Letter of it, and first Response.
Two Pieces which were once bright as the summer sunrise on both sides,
but are now fallen very dim; and have much needed condensation, and
abridgment by omission of the unessential,--so lengthy are they, so
extinct and almost dreary to us! Sublime "Wolf" and his "Philosophy,"
how he was hunted out of Halle with it, long since; and now shines from
Marburg, his "Philosophy" and he supreme among mankind: this, and other
extinct points, the reader's fancy will endeavor to rekindle in some
slight measure:--

TO M. DE VOLTAIRE, AT CIREY (from the Crown-Prince).

"BERLIN, 8th August, 1736.

"MONSIEUR,--Although I have not the satisfaction of knowing you
personally, you are not the less known to me through your Works. They
are treasures of the mind, if I may so express myself; and they reveal
to the reader new beauties at every fresh perusal. I think I have
recognized in them the character of their ingenious Author, who does
honor to our age and to human nature. If ever the dispute on the
comparative merits of the Moderns and the Ancients should be revived,
the modern great men will owe it to you, and to you only, that the scale
is turned in their favor. With the excellent quality of Poet you join
innumerable others more or less related to it. Never did Poet before
put Metaphysics into rhythmic cadence: to you the honor was reserved of
doing it first.

"This taste for Philosophy manifested in your writings, induces me to
send you a translated Copy of the _Accusation and defence of M. Wolf,_
the most celebrated Philosopher of our days; who, for having carried
light into the darkest places of Metaphysics, is cruelly accused of
irreligion and atheism. Such is the destiny of great men; their superior
genius exposes them to the poisoned arrows of calumny and envy. I am
about getting a Translation made of the _Treatise on God, the Soul,
and the World,"_--Translation done by an Excellency Suhm, as has been
hinted,--"from the pen of the same Author. I will send it you when it
is finished; and I am sure that the force of evidence in all his
propositions, and their close geometrical sequence, will strike you.

"The kindness and assistance you afford to all who devote themselves to
the Arts and Sciences, makes me hope that you will not exclude me from
the number of those whom you find worthy of your instructions:--it is so
I would call your intercourse by Correspondence of Letters; which cannot
be other than profitable to every thinking being....

... "beauties without number in your works. Your HENRIADE delights me.
The tragedy of CESAR shows us sustained characters; the sentiments in it
are magnificent and grand, and one feels that Brutus is either a Roman,
or else an Englishman _(ou un Romain ou un Anglais)._ Your ALZIRE, to
the graces of novelty adds...

"Monsieur, there is nothing I wish so much as to possess all your
Writings," even those not printed hitherto. "Pray, Monsieur, do
communicate them to me without reserve. If there be amongst your
Manuscripts any that you wish to conceal from the eyes of the public,
I engage to keep them in the profoundest secrecy. I am unluckily aware,
that the faith of Princes is an object of little respect in our days;
nevertheless I hope you will make an exception from the general rule in
my favor. I should think myself richer in the possession of your Works
than in that of all the transient goods of Fortune. These the same
chance grants and takes away: your Works one can make one's own by means
of memory, so that they last us whilst it lasts. Knowing how weak my own
memory is, I am in the highest degree select in what I trust to it.

"If Poetry were what it was before your appearance, a strumming of
wearisome idyls, insipid eclogues, tuneful nothings, I should renounce
it forever:" but in your hands it becomes ennobled; a melodious "course
of morals; worthy of the admiration and the study of cultivated minds
(DES HONNETES GENS). You"--in fine, "you inspire the ambition to follow
in your footsteps. But I, how often have I said to myself: 'MALHEUREUX,
throw down a burden which is above thy strength! One cannot imitate
Voltaire, without being Voltaire!'

"It is in such moments that I have felt how small are those advantages
of birth, those vapors of grandeur, with which vanity would solace us!
They amount to little, properly to nothing (POUR MIEUX DIRE, RIEN).
Nature, when she pleases, forms a great soul, endowed with faculties
that can advance the Arts and Sciences; and it is the part of Princes to
recompense his noble toils. Ah, would Glory but make use of me to crown
your successes! My only fear would be, lest this Country, little fertile
in laurels, proved unable to furnish enough of them.

"If my destiny refuse me the happiness of being able to possess you, may
I, at least, hope one day to see the man whom I have admired so long now
from afar; and to assure you, by word of mouth, that I am,--With all the
esteem and consideration due to those who, following the torch of
truth for guide, consecrate their labors to the Public,--Monsieur, your
affectionate friend,

"FREDERIC, P. R. of Prussia."

[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxi. 6.]


By what route or conveyance this Letter went, I cannot say. In general,
it is to be observed, these Friedrich-Voltaire Letters--liable perhaps
to be considered contraband at BOTH ends of their course--do not go by
the Post; but by French-Prussian Ministers, by Hamburg Merchants, and
other safe subterranean channels. Voltaire, with enthusiasm, and no
doubt promptly, answers within three weeks:--

TO THE CROWN-PRINCE, AT REINSBERG (from Voltaire).

"CIREY, 26th August, 1736.

"MONSEIGNEUR,--A man must be void of all feeling who were not infinitely
moved by the Letter which your Royal Highness has deigned to honor me
with. My self-love is only too much flattered by it: but my love of
Mankind, which I have always nourished in my heart, and which, I venture
to say, forms the basis of my character, has given me a very much purer
pleasure,--to see that there is, now in the world, a Prince who thinks
as a man; a PHILOSOPHER Prince, who will make men happy.

"Permit me to say, there is not a man on the earth but owes thanks for
the care you take to cultivate by sound philosophy a soul that is born
for command. Good kings there never were except those that had begun by
seeking to instruct themselves; by knowing-good men from bad; by loving
what was true, by detesting persecution and superstition. No Prince,
persisting in such thoughts, but might bring back the golden age into
his Countries! And why do so few Princes seek this glory? You feel it,
Monseigneur, it is because they all think more of their Royalty than of
Mankind. Precisely the reverse is your case:--and, unless, one day,
the tumult of business and the wickedness of men alter so divine a
character, you will be worshipped by your People, and loved by the whole
world. Philosophers, worthy of the name, will flock to your States;
thinkers will crowd round that throne, as the skilfulest artisans do to
the city where their art is in request. The illustrious Queen Christina
quitted her kingdom to go in search of the Arts; reign you, Monseigneur,
and the Arts will come to seek you.

"May you only never be disgusted with the Sciences by the quarrels of
their Cultivators! A race of men no better than Courtiers; often
enough as greedy, intriguing, false and cruel as these," and still more
ridiculous in the mischief they do. "And how sad for mankind that the
very Interpreters of Heaven's commandments, the Theologians, I mean,
are sometimes the most dangerous of all! Professed messengers of the
Divinity, yet men sometimes of obscure ideas and pernicious behavior;
their soul blown out with mere darkness; full of gall and pride, in
proportion as it is empty of truths. Every thinking being who is not of
their opinion is an Atheist; and every King who does not favor them
will be damned. Dangerous to the very throne; and yet intrinsically
insignificant:" best way is, leave their big talk and them alone; speedy
collapse will follow....

"I cannot sufficiently thank your Royal Highness for the gift of that
little Book about Monsieur Wolf. I respect Metaphysical ideas; rays of
lightning they are in the midst of deep night. More, I think, is not
to be hoped from Metaphysics. It does not seem likely that the
First-principles of things will ever be known. The mice that nestle
in some little holes of an immense Building, know not whether it is
eternal, or who the Architect, or why he built it. Such mice are we; and
the Divine Architect who built the Universe has never, that I know
of, told his secret to one of us. If anybody could pretend to guess
correctly, it is M. Wolf." Beautiful in your Royal Highness to protect
such a man. And how beautiful it will be, to send me his chief Book,
as you have the kindness to promise! "The Heir of a Monarchy, from his
palace, attending to the wants of a recluse far off! Condescend to
afford me the pleasure of that Book, Monseigneur....

"What your Royal Highness thinks of poetry is just: verses that do not
teach men new and touching truths, do not deserve to be read." As to
my own poor verses--But, after all, "that HENRIADE is the writing of an
Honest Man: fit, in that sense, that it find grace with a Philosopher
Prince.

"I will obey your commands as to sending those unpublished Pieces. You
shall be my public, Monseigneur; your criticisms will be my reward:
it is a price few Sovereigns can pay. I am sure of your secrecy:
your virtue and your intellect must be in proportion. I should indeed
consider it a precious happiness to come and pay my court to your Royal
Highness! One travels to Rome to see paintings and ruins: a Prince such
as you is a much more singular object; worthier of a long journey! But
the friendship [divine Emilie's] which keeps me in this retirement does
not permit my leaving it. No doubt you think with Julian, that great and
much calumniated man, who said, 'Friends should always be preferred to
Kings.'

"In whatever corner of the world I may end my life, be assured,
Monseigneur, my wishes will continually be for you,--that is to say,
for a whole People's happiness. My heart will rank itself among your
subjects; your glory will ever be dear to me. I shall wish, May you
always be like yourself, and may other Kings be like you!--I am, with
profound respect, your Royal Highness's most humble

"VOLTAIRE."

[_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xxi. 10.]


The Correspondence, once kindled, went on apace; and soon burst forth,
finding nourishment all round, into a shining little household fire,
pleasant to the hands and hearts of both parties. Consent of opinions on
important matters is not wanting; nor is emphasis in declaring the same.
The mutual admiration, which is high,--high and intrinsic on Friedrich's
side; and on Voltaire's, high if in part extrinsic,--by no means wants
for emphasis of statement: superlatives, tempered by the best art,
pass and repass. Friedrich, reading Voltaire's immortal Manuscripts,
confesses with a blush, before long, that he himself is a poor
Apprentice that way. Voltaire, at sight of the Princely Productions,
is full of admiration, of encouragement; does a little in correcting,
solecisms of grammar chiefly; a little, by no means much. But it is a
growing branch of employment; now and henceforth almost the one
reality of function Voltaire can find for himself in this beautiful
Correspondence. For, "Oh what a Crown-Prince, ripening forward to be the
delight of human nature, and realize the dream of sages, Philosophy upon
the Throne!" And on the other side, "Oh what a Phoebus Apollo, mounting
the eastern sky, chasing the Nightmares,--sowing the Earth with Orient
pearl, to begin with!"--In which fine duet, it must be said, the Prince
is perceptibly the truer singer; singing within compass, and from the
heart; while the Phoebus shows himself acquainted with art, and warbles
in seductive quavers, now and then beyond the pitch of his voice. We
must own also, Friedrich proves little seducible; shows himself laudably
indifferent to such siren-singing;--perhaps more used to flattery, and
knowing by experience how little meal is to be made of chaff. Voltaire,
in an ungrateful France, naturally plumes himself a good deal on such
recognition by a Foreign Rising Sun; and, of the two, though so many
years the elder, is much more like losing head a little.

Elegant gifts are despatched to Cirey; gold-amber trinkets for Madame,
perhaps an amber inkholder for Monsieur: priceless at Cirey as the gifts
of the very gods. By and by, a messenger goes express: the witty Colonel
Keyserling, witty but experienced, whom we once named at Reinsberg;
he is to go and see with his eyes, since his Master cannot. What a
messenger there; ambassador from star to star! Keyserling's report at
Reinsberg is not given; but we have Grafigny's, which is probably the
more impartial. Keyserling's embassy was in the end of next year; [3d
November, 1737 (as we gather from the Correspondence).] and there is
plenty of airy writing about it and him, in these Letters.

Friedrich has translated the name KEYSERLING (diminutive of KAISER) into
"Caesarion;"--and I should have said, he plays much upon names and also
upon things, at Reinsberg, in that style; and has a good deal of airy
symbolism, and cloud-work ingeniously painted round the solidities of
his life there. Especially a "Bayard Order," as he calls it: Twelve of
his selectest Friends made into a Chivalry Brotherhood, the names of
whom are all changed, "Caesarion" one of them; with dainty devices, and
mimetic procedures of the due sort. Which are not wholly mummery; but
have a spice of reality, to flavor them to a serious young heart.
For the selection was rigorous, superior merit and behavior a strict
condition; and indeed several of these Bayard Chevaliers proved notable
practical Champions in time coming;--for example Captain Fouquet,
of whom we have heard before, in the dark Custrin days. This is a
mentionable feature of the Reinsberg life, and of the young Prince's
character there: pleasant to know of, from this distance; but not now
worth knowing more in detail.

The Friedrich-Voltaire Correspondence contains much incense; due whiffs
of it, from Reinsberg side, to the "divine Emilie," Voltaire's quasi
better-half or worse-half; who responds always in her divinest manner
to Reinsberg, eager for more acquaintance there. The Du Chatelets had
a Lawsuit in Brabant; very inveterate, perhaps a hundred years old or
more; with the "House of Honsbrouck:" [_Lettres Inedites de Voltaire_
(Paris, 1826), p. 9.] this, not to speak of other causes, flights from
French peril and the like, often brought Voltaire and his Dame
into those parts; and gave rise to occasional hopes of meeting with
Friedrich; which could not take effect. In more practical style,
Voltaire solicits of him: "Could not your Royal Highness perhaps
graciously speak to some of those Judicial Big wigs in Brabant, and flap
them up a little!" Which Friedrich, I think, did, by some good means.
Happily, by one means or other, Voltaire got the Lawsuit ended,--1740,
we might guess, but the time is not specified;--and Friedrich had a
new claim, had there been need of new, to be regarded with worship by
Madame. [Record of all this, left, like innumerable other things there,
in an intrinsically dark condition, lies in Voltaire's LETTERS,--not
much worth hunting up into clear daylight, the process being so
difficult to a stranger.] But the proposed meeting with Madame could
never take effect; not even when Friedrich's hands were free. Nay
I notice at last, Friedrich had privately determined it never
should--Madame evidently an inconvenient element to him. A young man not
wanting in private power of eyesight; and able to distinguish chaff from
meal! Voltaire and he will meet; meet, and also part; and there will
be passages between them:--and the reader will again hear of this
Correspondence of theirs, where it has a biographical interest. We are
to conceive it, at present, as a principal light of life to the
young heart at Reinsberg; a cheerful new fire, almost an altar-fire,
irradiating the common dusk for him there.

Of another Correspondence, beautifully irradiative for the young heart,
we must say almost nothing: the Correspondence with Suhm. Suhm the Saxon
Minister, whom we have occasionally heard of, is an old Friend of the
Crown-Prince's, dear and helpful to him: it is he who is now doing those
_Translations of Wolf,_ of which Voltaire lately saw specimens; translate
at large, for the young man's behoof. The young man, restless to know
the best Philosophy going, had tried reading of Wolf's chief Book; found
it too abstruse, in Wolf's German: wherefore Suhm translates; sends it
to him in limpid French; fascicle by fascicle, with commentaries;
young man doing his best to understand and admire,--gratefully, not too
successfully, we can perceive. That is the staple of the famous SUHM
CORRESPONDENCE; staple which nobody could now bear to be concerned with.

Suhm is also helpful in finance difficulties, which are pretty frequent;
works out subventions, loans under a handsome form, from the Czarina's
and other Courts. Which is an operation of the utmost delicacy;
perilous, should it be heard of at Potsdam. Wherefore Suhm and the
Prince have a covert language for it: and affect still to be speaking
of "Publishers" and "new Volumes," when they mean Lenders and
Bank-Draughts. All these loans, I will hope, were accurately paid one
day, as that from George II. was, in "rouleaus of new gold." We need not
doubt the wholesome charm and blessing of so intimate a Correspondence
to the Crown-Prince: and indeed his real love of the amiable Suhm,
as Suhm's of him, comes beautifully to light in these Letters:
but otherwise they are not now to be read without weariness, even
dreariness, and have become a biographical reminiscence merely.

Concerning Graf von Manteufel, a third Literary Correspondent, and the
only other considerable one, here, from a German Commentator on this
matter, is a Clipping that will suffice:--

"Manteufel was Saxon by birth, long a Minister of August the Strong, but
quarrelled with August, owing to some frail female it is said, and
had withdrawn to Berlin a few years ago. He shines there among the
fashionable philosophical classes; underhand, perhaps does a little
in the volunteer political line withal; being a very busy pushing
gentleman. Tall of stature, 'perfectly handsome at the age of sixty;'
[Formey, _Souvenirs d'un Citoyen,_ i. 39-45.] great partisan of Wolf and
the Philosophies, awake to the Orthodoxies too. Writes flowing elegant
French, in a softly trenchant, somewhat too all-knowing style. High
manners traceable in him; but nothing of the noble loyalty, natural
politeness and pious lucency of Suhm. One of his Letters to Friedrich
has this slightly impertinent passage;--Friedrich, just getting settled
in Reinsberg, having transiently mentioned 'the quantity of fair sex'
that had come about him there:--

"'BERLIN, 26th AUGUST, 1736 (to the Crown-Prince).... I am well
persuaded your Royal Highness will regulate all that to perfection, and
so manage that your fair sex will be charmed to find themselves with you
at Reinsberg, and you charmed to have them there. But permit me, your
Royal Highness, to repeat in this place, what I one day took the liberty
of saying here at Berlin: Nothing in the world would better suit the
present interests of your Royal Highness and of us all, than some Heir
of your Royal Highness's making! Perhaps the tranquil convenience with
which your Royal Highness at Reinsberg can now attend to that object,
will be of better effect than all those hasty and transitory visits at
Berlin were. At least I wish it with the best of my heart. I beg pardon,
Monseigneur, for intruding thus into everything which concerns your
Royal Highness;'--In truth, I am a rather impudent busybodyish fellow,
with superabundant dashing manner, speculation, utterance; and shall get
myself ordered out of the Country, by my present correspondent, by and
by.--'Being ever,' with the due enthusiasm, 'MANTEUFEL.' [_OEuvres de
Frederic,_ xxv. 487;--Friedrich's Answer is, Reinsberg, 23d September
(Ib. 489).]

"To which Friedrich's Answer is of a kind to put a gag in the foul mouth
of certain extraordinary Pamphleteerings, that were once very copious in
the world; and, in particular, to set at rest the Herr Dr. Zimmermann,
and his poor puddle of calumnies and credulities, got together in that
weak pursuit of physiology under obscene circumstances;--

"Which is the one good result I have gathered from the Manteufel
Correspondence," continues our German friend; whom I vote with!--Or
if the English reader never saw those Zimmermann or other dog-like
Pamphleteerings and surmisings, let this Excerpt be mysterious and
superfluous to the thankful English reader.

On the whole, we conceive to ourselves the abundant nature of
Friedrich's Correspondence, literary and other; and what kind of event
the transit of that Post functionary "from Fehrbellin northwards," with
his leathern bags, "twice a week," may have been at Reinsberg, in those
years.



Chapter III. -- CROWN-PRINCE MAKES A MORNING CALL.

Thursday, 25th October, 1736, the Crown-Prince, with Lieutenant
Buddenbrock and an attendant or two, drove over into Mecklenburg, to
a Village and serene Schloss called Mirow, intending a small act of
neighborly civility there; on which perhaps an English reader of our
time will consent to accompany him. It is but some ten or twelve miles
off, in a northerly direction; Reinsberg being close on the frontier
there. A pleasant enough morning's-drive, with the October sun shining
on the silent heaths, on the many-colored woods and you.

Mirow is an Apanage for one of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz junior
branches: Mecklenburg-Strelitz being itself a junior compared to the
Mecklenburg-Schwerin of which, and its infatuated Duke, we have heard so
much in times past. Mirow and even Strelitz are not in--a very shining
state,--but indeed, we shall see them, as it were, with eyes. And the
English reader is to note especially those Mirow people, as perhaps of
some small interest to him, if he knew it. The Crown-Prince reports to
papa, in a satirical vein, not ungenially, and with much more freedom
than is usual in those Reinsberg letters of his:--

"TO HIS PRUSSIAN MAJESTY (from the Crown-Prince).

"REINSBERG, 26th October, 1736.

... "Yesterday I went across to Mirow. To give my Most All-gracious
Father an idea of the place, I cannot liken it to anything higher than
Gross-Kreutz [term of comparison lost upon us; say GARRAT, at a venture,
or the CLACHAN OF ABERFOYLE]: the one house in it, that can be called
a house, is not so good as the Parson's there. I made straight for the
Schloss; which is pretty much like the Garden-house in Bornim: only
there is a rampart round it; and an old Tower, considerably in ruins,
serves as a Gateway to the House.

"Coming on the Drawbridge, I perceived an old stocking-knitter disguised
as Grenadier, with his cap, cartridge-box and musket laid to a side,
that they might not hinder him in his knitting-work. As I advanced, he
asked, 'Whence I came, and whitherward I was going?' I answered, that 'I
came from the Post-house, and was going over this Bridge:' whereupon the
Grenadier, quite in a passion, ran to the Tower; where he opened a door,
and called out the Corporal. The Corporal seemed to have hardly been out
of bed; and in his great haste, had not taken time to put on his shoes,
nor quite button his breeches; with much flurry he asked us, 'Where we
were for, and how we came to treat the Sentry in that manner?' Without
answering him at all, we went our way towards the Schloss.

"Never in my life should I have taken this for a Schloss, had it not
been that there were two glass lamps fixed at the door-posts, and the
figures of two Cranes standing in front of them, by way of Guards.
We made up to the House; and after knocking almost half an hour to no
purpose, there peered out at last an exceedingly old woman, who looked
as if she might have nursed the Prince of Mirow's father. The poor
woman, at sight of strangers, was so terrified, she slammed the door to
in our faces. We knocked again; and seeing there could nothing be made
of it, we went round to the stables; where a fellow told us, 'The young
Prince with his Consort was gone to Neu-Strelitz, a couple of miles off
[ten miles English]; and the Duchess his Mother, who lives here, had
given him, to make the better figure, all her people along with him;
keeping nobody but the old woman to herself.'

"It was still early; so I thought I could not do better than profit by
the opportunity, and have a look at Neu-Strelitz. We took post-horses;
and got thither about noon. Neu-Strelitz is properly a Village; with
only one street in it, where Chamberlains, Office-Clerks, Domestics all
lodge, and where there is an Inn. I cannot better describe it to my Most
All-gracious Father than by that street in Gumbinnen where you go up to
the Town-hall,--except that no house here is whitewashed. The Schloss is
fine, and lies on a lake, with a big garden; pretty much like Reinsberg
in situation.

"The first question I asked here was for the Prince of Mirow: but they
told me he had just driven off again to a place called Kanow; which
is only a couple of miles English from Mirow, where we had been.
Buddenbrock, who is acquainted with Neu-Strelitz, got me, from a
chamberlain, something to eat; and in the mean while, that Bohme came
in, who was Adjutant in my Most All-gracious Father's Regiment [not of
Goltz, but King's presumably]: Bohme did not know me till I hinted
to him who I was. He told me, 'The Duke of Strelitz was an excellent
seamster;'" fit to be Tailor to your Majesty in a manner, had not Fate
been cruel, "'and that he made beautiful dressing-gowns (CASSAQUINS)
with his needle.' This made me curious to see him: so we had ourselves
presented as Foreigners; and it went off so well that nobody recognized
me. I cannot better describe the Duke than by saying he is like old
Stahl [famed old medical man at Berlin, dead last year, physiognomy not
known to actual readers], in a blond Abbe's-periwig. He is extremely
silly (BLODE); his Hofrath Altrock tells him, as it were, everything he
has to say." About fifty, this poor Duke; shrunk into needlework, for a
quiet life, amid such tumults from Schwerin and elsewhere.

"Having taken leave, we drove right off to Kanow; and got thither about
six. It is a mere Village; and the Prince's Pleasure-House (LUSTHAUS)
here is nothing better than an ordinary Hunting-Lodge, such as any
Forest-keeper has. I alighted at the Miller's; and had myself
announced" at the LUSTHAUS, "by his maid: upon which the Major-Domo
(HAUS-HOFMEISTER) came over to the Mill, and complimented me; with whom
I proceeded to the Residenz," that is, back again to Mirow, "where
the whole Mirow Family were assembled. The Mother is a Princess of
Schwartzburg, and still the cleverest of them all," still under sixty;
good old Mother, intent that her poor Son should appear to advantage,
when visiting the more opulent Serenities. "His Aunt also," mother's
sister, "was there. The Lady Spouse is small; a Niece to the Prince
of Hildburghausen, who is in the Kaiser's service: she was in the
family-way; but (ABER) seemed otherwise to be a very good Princess.

"The first thing they entertained me with was, the sad misfortune
come upon their best Cook; who, with the cart that was bringing the
provisions, had overset, and broken his arm; so that the provisions had
all gone to nothing. Privately I have had inquiries made; there was
not a word of truth in the story. At last we went to table; and, sure
enough, it looked as if the Cook and his provisions had come to some
mishap; for certainly in the Three Crowns at Potsdam [worst inn, one may
guess, in the satirical vein], there is better eating than here.

"At table, there was talk of nothing but of all the German Princes who
are not right in their wits (NICHT RECHT KLUG)," as Mirow himself,
your Majesty knows, is reputed to be!" There was Weimar, [Wilhelmina's
acquaintance; wedded, not without difficulty, to a superfluous Baireuth
Sister-in-law by Wilhelmina (_ Memoires de Wilhelmina,_ ii. 185-194):
Grandfather of Goethe's Friend;--is nothing like fairly out of his wits;
only has a flea (as we may say) dancing occasionally in the ear of him.
Perhaps it is so with the rest of these Serenities, here fallen upon
evil tongues?] Gotha, Waldeck, Hoym, and the whole lot of them, brought
upon the carpet:--and after our good Host had got considerably drunk, we
rose,--and he lovingly promised me that 'he and his whole Family would
come and visit Reinsberg.' Come he certainly will; but how I shall get
rid of him, God knows.

"I most submissively beg pardon of my Most All-gracious Father for
this long Letter; and"--we will terminate here. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_
xxvii. part 3d, pp. 104-106.]

Dilapidated Mirow and its inmates, portrayed in this satirical way,
except as a view of Serene Highnesses fallen into Sleepy Hollow, excites
little notice in the indolent mind; and that little, rather pleasantly
contemptuous than really profitable. But one fact ought to kindle
momentary interest in English readers: the young foolish Herr, in this
dilapidated place, is no other than our "Old Queen Charlotte's" Father
that is to be,--a kind of Ancestor of ours, though we little guessed
it! English readers will scan him with new curiosity, when he pays that
return visit at Reinsberg. Which he does within the fortnight:--

"TO HIS PRUSSIAN MAJESTY (from the Crown-Prince).

"REINSBERG, 6th November, 1736.

... "that my Most All-gracious Father has had the graciousness to send
us some Swans. My Wife also has been exceedingly delighted at the fine
Present sent her.... General Praetorius," Danish Envoy, with whose Court
there is some tiff of quarrel, "came hither yesterday to take leave of
us; he seems very unwilling to quit Prussia.

"This morning about three o'clock, my people woke me, with word that
there was a Stafette come with Letters,"--from your Majesty or Heaven
knows whom! "I spring up in all haste; and opening the Letter,--find it
is from the Prince of Mirow; who informs me that 'he will be here to-day
at noon.' I have got all things in readiness to receive him, as if he
were the Kaiser in person; and I hope there will be material for some
amusement to my Most All-gracious Father, by next post."--Next post is
half a week hence:--

"TO HIS PRUSSIAN MAJESTY (from the Crown-Prince).

"REINSBERG, 11th Novemher.

... "The Prince of Mirow's visit was so curious, I must give my Most
All-gracious Father a particular report of it. In my last, I mentioned
how General Praetorius had come to us: he was in the room, when I
entered with the Prince of Mirow; at sight of him Praetorius exclaimed,
loud enough to be heard by everybody, 'VOILA LE PRINCE CAJUCA!'
[Nickname out of some Romance, fallen extinct long since.] Not one of us
could help laughing; and I had my own trouble to turn it so that he did
not get angry.

"Scarcely was the Prince got in, when they came to tell me, for his
worse luck, that Prince Heinrich," the Ill Margraf, "was come;--who
accordingly trotted him out, in such a way that we thought we should all
have died with laughing. Incessant praises were given him, especially
for his fine clothes, his fine air, and his uncommon agility in dancing.
And indeed I thought the dancing would never end.

"In the afternoon, to spoil his fine coat,"--a contrivance of the Ill
Margraf's, I should think,--"we stept out to shoot at target in the
rain: he would not speak of it, but one could observe he was in much
anxiety about the coat. In the evening, he got a glass or two in his
head, and grew extremely merry; said at last, 'He was sorry that, for
divers state-reasons and businesses of moment, he must of necessity
return home;'--which, however, he put off till about two in the morning.
I think, next day he would not remember very much of it.

"Prince Heinrich is gone to his Regiment again;" Praetorius too is
off;--and we end with the proper KOW-TOW. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvii.
part 3d, p. 109.]

These Strelitzers, we said, are juniors to infatuated Schwerin; and poor
Mirow is again junior to Strelitz: plainly one of the least opulent
of Residences. At present, it is Dowager Apanage (WITTWEN-SITZ) to the
Widow of the late Strelitz of blessed memory: here, with her one Child,
a boy now grown to what manhood we see, has the Serene Dowager lived,
these twenty-eight years past; a Schwartzburg by birth, "the cleverest
head among them all." Twenty-eight years in dilapidated Mirow: so long
has that Tailoring Duke, her eldest STEP-SON (child of a prior wife)
been Supreme Head of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; employed with his needle, or
we know not how,--collapsed plainly into tailoring at this date. There
was but one other Son; this clever Lady's, twenty years junior,--"Prince
of Mirow" whom we now see. Karl Ludwig Friedrich is the name of this
one; age now twenty-eight gone. He, ever since the third month of him,
when the poor Serene Father died ("May, 1703"), has been at Mirow with
Mamma; getting what education there was,--not too successfully, as would
appear. Eight years ago, "in 1726," Mamma sent him off upon his
travels; to Geneva, Italy, France: he looked in upon Vienna, too; got a
Lieutenant-Colonelcy in the Kaiser's Service, but did not like it;
soon gave it up; and returned home to vegetate, perhaps to seek a
wife,--having prospects of succession in Strelitz. For the Serene
Half-Brother proves to have no children: were his tailoring once
finished in the world, our Prince of Mirow is Duke in Chief. On this
basis the wedded last year; the little Wife has already brought him one
child, a Daughter; and has (as Friedrich notices) another under way,
if it prosper. No lack of Daughters, nor of Sons by and by: eight years
hence came the little Charlotte,--subsequently Mother of England: much
to her and our astonishment. [Born (at Mirow) 19th May, 1744; married
(London), 8th September, 1761; died, 18th November, 1818 (Michaelis, ii.
445, 446; Hubner, t. 195; OErtel, pp. 43, 22).]

The poor man did not live to be Duke of Strelitz; he died, 1752, in
little Charlotte's eighth year; Tailor Duke SURVIVING him a few months.
Little Charlotte's Brother did then succeed, and lasted till 1794; after
whom a second Brother, father of the now Serene Strelitzes;--who also
is genealogically notable. For from him there came another still more
famous Queen: Louisa of Prussia; beautiful to look upon, as "Aunt
Charlotte" was not, in a high degree; and who showed herself a Heroine
in Napoleon's time, as Aunt Charlotte never was called to do. Both Aunt
and Niece were women of sense, of probity, propriety; fairly beyond the
average of Queens. And as to their early poverty, ridiculous to this
gold-nugget generation, I rather guess it may have done them benefits
which the gold-nugget generation, in its Queens and otherwise, stands
far more in want of than it thinks.

But enough of this Prince of Mirow, whom Friedrich has accidentally
unearthed for us. Indeed there is no farther history of him, for or
against. He evidently was not thought to have invented gunpowder, by
the public. And yet who knows but, in his very simplicity, there lay
something far beyond the Ill Margraf to whom he was so quizzable? Poor
down-pressed brother mortal; somnambulating so pacifically in Sleepy
Hollow yonder, and making no complaint!

He continued, though soon with less enthusiasm, and in the end very
rarely, a visitor of Friedrich's during this Reinsberg time. Patriotic
English readers may as well take the few remaining vestiges, too, before
quite dismissing him to Sleepy Hollow. Here they are, swept accurately
together, from that Correspondence of Friedrich with Papa:--

"REINSBERG, 18th NOVEMBER, 1736.... report most submissively that
the Prince of Mirow has again been here, with his Mother, Wife, Aunt,
Hofdames, Cavaliers and entire Household; so that I thought it was the
Flight out of Egypt [Exodus of the Jews]. I begin to have a fear of
those good people, as they assured me they would have such pleasure in
coming often!"

"REINSBERG, 1st FEBRUARY, 1737." Let us give it in the Original too, as
a specimen of German spelling:--

_"Der Prints von Mihrau ist vohr einigen thagen hier gewessen und haben
wier einige Wasser schwermer in der See ihm zu Ehren gesmissen, seine
frau ist mit eber thoten Printzesin nieder geKomen.--Der General
schulenburg ist heute hier gekommen und wirdt morgen"_--That is to say:--

"The Prince of Mirow was here a few days ago; and we let off, in honor
of him, a few water-rockets over the Lake: his Wife has been brought to
bed of a dead Princess. General Schulenburg [with a small s] came hither
to-day; and to-morrow will"...

"REINSBERG, 28th MARCH, 1737.... Prince von Mirow was here yesterday;
and tried shooting at the popinjay with us; he cannot see rightly, and
shoots always with help of an opera-glass."

"RUPPIN, 20th OCTOBER, 1737. The Prince of Mirow was with us last
Friday; and babbled much in his high way; among other things, white-lied
to us, that the Kaiserinn gave him a certain porcelain snuff-box he was
handling; but on being questioned more tightly, he confessed to me he
had bought it in Vienna." [_Briefe an Vater,_ p. 71 (CARET in _OEuvres_
); pp. 85-114.--See Ib. 6th November, 1737, for faint trace of a visit;
and 25th September, 1739, for another still fainter, the last there is.]

And so let him somnambulate yonder, till the two Queens, like winged
Psyches, one after the other, manage to emerge from him.

Friedrich's Letters to his Father are described by some Prussian Editors
as "very attractive, SEHR ANZIEHENDE BRIEFE;" which, to a Foreign
reader, seems a strange account of them. Letters very hard to understand
completely; and rather insignificant when understood. They turn on Gifts
sent to and sent from, "swans," "hams," with the unspeakable thanks for
them; on recruits of so many inches; on the visitors that have been;
they assure us that "there is no sickness in the regiment," or tell
expressly how much:--wholly small facts; nothing of speculation, and of
ceremonial pipe-clay a great deal. We know already under what
nightmare conditions Friedrich wrote to his Father! The attitude of the
Crown-Prince, sincerely reverent and filial, though obliged to appear
ineffably so, and on the whole struggling under such mountains of
encumbrance, yet loyally maintaining his equilibrium, does at last
acquire, in these Letters, silently a kind of beauty to the best class
of readers. But that is nearly their sole merit. By far the most human
of them, that on the first visit to Mirow, the reader has now seen;
and may thank us much that we show him no more of them. [_Friedrich
des Grossen Briefe an seinen Vater_ (Berlin, 1838)]. Reduced in size,
by suitable omissions; and properly spelt; but with little other
elucidation for a stranger: in _OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 3d, pp, 1-123
(Berlin, 1856).



Chapter IV. -- NEWS OF THE DAY.

While these Mirow visits are about their best, and much else at
Reinsberg is in comfortable progress, Friedrich's first year there just
ending, there come accounts from England of quarrels broken out between
the Britannic Majesty and his Prince of Wales. Discrepancies risen now
to a height; and getting into the very Newspapers;--the Rising Sun too
little under the control of the Setting, in that unquiet Country!

Prince Fred of England did not get to the Rhine Campaign, as we saw:
he got some increase of Revenue, a Household of his own; and finally
a Wife, as he had requested: a Sachsen-Gotha Princess; who, peerless
Wilhelmma being unattainable, was welcome to Prince Fred. She is in the
family-way, this summer 1737, a very young lady still; result thought to
be due--When? Result being potential Heir to the British Nation, there
ought to have been good calculation of the time when! But apparently
nobody had well turned his attention that way. Or if Fred and Spouse
had, as is presumable, Fred had given no notice to the Paternal
Majesty,--"Let Paternal Majesty, always so cross to me, look out
for himself in that matter." Certain it is, Fred and Spouse, in the
beginning of August, 1737, are out at Hampton Court; potential Heir due
before long, and no preparation made for it. August 11th in the evening,
out at solitary Hampton Court; the poor young Mother's pains came on; no
Chancellor there, no Archbishop to see the birth,--in fact, hardly
the least medical help, and of political altogether none. Fred, in
his flurry, or by forethought,--instead of dashing off expresses, at
a gallop as of Epsom, to summon the necessary persons and appliances,
yoked wheeled vehicles and rolled off to the old unprovided Palace of
St. James's, London, with his poor Wife in person! Unwarned, unprovided;
where nevertheless she was safely delivered that same night,--safely,
as if by miracle. The crisis might have taken her on the very highway:
never was such an imprudence. Owing, I will believe, to Fred's sudden
flurry in the unprovided moment,--unprovided, by reason of prior
desuetudes and discouragements to speech, on Papa's side. A shade of
malice there might also be. Papa doubts not, it was malice aforethought
all of it. "Had the potential Heir of the British Nation gone to wreck,
or been born on the highway, from my quarrels with this bad Fred, what
a scrape had I been in!" thinks Papa, and is in a towering permanence
of wrath ever since; the very Newspapers and coffee-houses and populaces
now all getting vocal with it.

Papa, as it turned out, never more saw the face of Fred. Judicious
Mamma, Queen Caroline, could not help a visit, one visit to the poor
young Mother, so soon as proper: coming out from the visit, Prince Fred
obsequiously escorting her to her carriage, found a crowd of people and
populace, in front of St. James's; and there knelt down on the street,
in his fine silk breeches, careless of the mud, to "beg a Mother's
blessing," and show what a son he was, he for his part, in this
sad discrepancy that had risen! Mamma threw a silent glance on him,
containing volumes of mixed tenor; drove off; and saw no more of Fred,
she either. I fear, this kneeling in the mud tells against Prince Fred;
but in truth I do not know, nor even much care. [Lord Hervey, _Memoirs
of George the Second,_ ii. 362-370, 409.] What a noise in England about
nothing at all!--What a noisy Country, your Prussian Majesty! Foolish
"rising sun" not restrainable there by the setting or shining one;
opposition parties bowling him about among the constellations, like a
very mad object!--

But in a month or two, there comes worse news out of England; falling
heavy on the heart of Prussian Majesty: news that Queen Caroline herself
is dead. ["Sunday evening, 1st December (20th Nov.), 1737." Ib. pp.
510-539.] Died as she had lived, with much constancy of mind, with a
graceful modest courage and endurance; sinking quietly under the load of
private miseries long quietly kept hidden, but now become too heavy,
and for which the appointed rest was now here. Little George blubbered
a good deal; fidgeted and flustered a good deal: much put about, poor
foolish little soul. The dying Caroline recommended HIM to Walpole;
advised his Majesty to marry again. _"Non, j'aurai des maitresses_ (No,
I'll have mistresses)!" sobbed his Majesty passionately. _"Ah, mon Dieu,
cela n'empeche pas_" (that does not an experience of the case). There is
something stoically tragic in the history of Caroline with her flighty
vaporing little King: seldom had foolish husband so wise a wife. "Dead!"
thought Friedrich Wilhelm, looking back through the whirlwinds of life,
into sunny young scenes far enough away: "Dead!"--Walpole continued to
manage the little King; but not for long; England itself rising in
objection. Jenkins's Ear, I understand, is lying in cotton; and there
are mad inflammable strata in that Nation, capable of exploding at a
great rate.

From the Eastern regions our Newspapers are very full of events: War
with the Turk going on there; Russia and Austria both doing their best
against the Turk. The Russians had hardly finished their Polish-Election
fighting, when they decided to have a stroke at the Turk,--Turk always
an especial eye-sorrow to them, since that "Treaty of the Pruth," and
Czar Peter's sad rebuff there:--Munnich marched direct out of Poland
through the Ukraine, with his eye on the Crimea and furious business
in that quarter. This is his second Campaign there, this of 1737; and
furious business has not failed. Last year he stormed the Lines of
Perecop, tore open the Crimea; took Azoph, he or Lacy under him;
took many things: this year he had laid his plans for Oczakow;--takes
Oczakow,--fiery event, blazing in all the Newspapers, at Reinsberg
and elsewhere. Concerning which will the reader accept this condensed
testimony by an eye-witness?

"OCZAKOW, 13th JULY, 1737. Day before yesterday, Feldmarschall Munnich
got to Oczakow, as he had planned,"--strong Turkish Town in the nook
between the Black Sea and the estuary of the Dnieper;--"with intention
to besiege it. Siege-train, stores of every sort, which he had set
afloat upon the Dnieper in time enough, were to have been ready for
him at Oczakow. But the flotilla had been detained by shallows, by
waterfalls; not a boat was come, nor could anybody say when they were
coming. Meanwhile nothing is to be had here; the very face of the earth
the Turks have burnt: not a blade of grass for cavalry within eight
miles, nor a stick of wood for engineers; not a hole for covert, and
the ground so hard you cannot raise redoubts on it: Munnich perceives he
must attempt, nevertheless.

"On his right, by the sea-shore, Munnich finds some remains of gardens,
palisades; scrapes together some vestige of shelter there (five
thousand, or even ten thousand pioneers working desperately all that
first night, 11th July, with only half success); and on the morrow
commences firing with what artillery he has. Much outfired by the
Turks inside;--his enterprise as good as desperate, unless the Dnieper
flotilla come soon. July 12th, all day the firing continues, and all
night; Turks extremely furious: about an hour before daybreak, we notice
burning in the interior, 'Some wooden house kindled by us, town got on
fire yonder,'--and, praise to Heaven, they do not seem to succeed in
quenching it again. Munnich turns out, in various divisions; intent
on trying something, had he the least engineer furniture;--hopes
desperately there may be promise for him in that internal burning still
visible.

"In the centre of Munnich's line is one General Keith, a deliberate
stalwart Scotch gentleman, whom we shall know better; Munnich himself is
to the right: Could not one try it by scalade; keep the internal burning
free to spread, at any rate? 'Advance within musket-shot, General
Keith!' orders Munnich's Aide-de-Camp cantering up. 'I have been
this good while within it,' answers Keith, pointing to his dead men.
Aide-de-Camp canters up a second time: 'Advance within half musket-shot,
General Keith, and quit any covert you have!' Keith does so; sends, with
his respects to Feldmarschall Munnich, his remonstrance against such
a waste of human life. Aide-de-Camp canters up a third time:
'Feldmarschall Munnich is for trying a scalade; hopes General Keith will
do his best to co-operate!' 'Forward, then!' answers Keith; advances
close to the glacis; finds a wet ditch twelve feet broad, and has not a
stick of engineer furniture. Keith waits there two hours; his men,
under fire all the while, trying this and that to get across; Munnich's
scalade going off ineffectual in like manner:--till at length Keith's
men, and all men, tire of such a business, and roll back in great
confusion out of shot-range. Munnich gives himself up for lost. And
indeed, says Mannstein, had the Turks sallied out in pursuit at that
moment, they might have chased us back to Russia. But the Turks did not
sally. And the internal conflagration is not quenched, far from it;--and
about nine A.M. their Powder-Magazine, conflagration reaching it, roared
aloft into the air, and killed seven thousand of them," [Mannstein, pp.
151-156.]--

So that Oczakow was taken, sure enough; terms, life only: and every
remaining Turk packs off from it, some "twenty thousand inhabitants
young and old" for one sad item.--A very blazing semi-absurd event, to
be read of in Prussian military circles,--where General Keith will be
better known one day.

Russian War with the Turk: that means withal, by old Treaties, aid of
thirty thousand men from the Kaiser to Russia. Kaiser, so ruined lately,
how can he send thirty thousand, and keep them recruited, in such
distant expedition? Kaiser, much meditating, is advised it will be
better to go frankly into the Turk on his own score, and try for slices
of profit from him in this game. Kaiser declares war against the Turk;
and what is still more interesting to Friedrich Wilhelm and the
Berlin Circles, Seckendorf is named General of it. Feldzeugmeister now
Feldmarschall Seckendorf, envy may say what it will, he has marched this
season into the Lower-Donau Countries,--going to besiege Widdin, they
say,--at the head of a big Army (on paper, almost a hundred and fifty
thousand, light troops and heavy)--virtually Commander-in-Chief; though
nominally our fine young friend Franz of Lorraine bears the title
of Commander, whom Seckendorf is to dry-nurse in the way sometimes
practised. Going to besiege Widdin, they say. So has the poor Kaiser
been advised. His wise old Eugene is now gone; [Died 30th April,
1736.] I fear his advisers,--a youngish Feldzeugmeister, Prince of
Hildburghausen, the chief favorite among them,--are none of the wisest.
All Protestants, we observe, these favorite Hildburghausens, Schmettaus,
Seckendorfs of his; and Vienna is an orthodox papal Court;--and there
is a Hofkriegsrath (Supreme Council of War), which has ruined many
a General, poking too meddlesomely into his affairs! On the whole,
Seckendorf will have his difficulties. Here is a scene, on the
Lower Donau, different enough from that at Oczakow, not far from
contemporaneous with it. The Austrian Army is at Kolitz, a march or two
beyond Belgrade:--

"KOLITZ, 2d JULY, 1737. This day, the Army not being on march, but
allowed to rest itself, Grand Duke Franz went into the woods to hunt.
Hunting up and down, he lost himself; did not return at evening; and, as
the night closed in and no Generalissimo visible, the Generalissimo AD
LATUS (such the title they had contrived for Seckendorf) was in much
alarm. Generalissimo AD LATUS ordered out his whole force of drummers,
trumpeters: To fling themselves, postwise, deeper and deeper into the
woods all round; to drum there, and blow, in ever-widening circle, in
prescribed notes, and with all energy, till the Grand Duke were found.
Grand Duke being found, Seckendorf remonstrated, rebuked; a thought
too earnestly, some say, his temper being flurried,"--voice snuffling
somewhat in alt, with lisp to help:--"so that the Grand Duke took
offence; flung off in a huff: and always looked askance on the
Feldmarschall from that time;" [See _Lebensgeschichte des Grafen van
Schmettau_ (by his Son: Berlin, 1806), i. 27.]--quitting him altogether
before long; and marching with Khevenhuller, Wallis, Hildburghausen, or
any of the subordinate Generals rather. Probably Widdin will not go
the road of Oczakow, nor the Austrians prosper like the Russians, this
summer.

Pollnitz, in Tobacco-Parliament, and in certain Berlin circles foolishly
agape about this new Feldmarschall, maintains always, Seckendorf will
come to nothing; which his Majesty zealously contradicts,--his
Majesty, and some short-sighted private individuals still favorable to
Seckendorf. [Pollnitz, _Memoiren,_ ii. 497-502.] Exactly one week after
that singular drum-and-trumpet operation on Duke Franz, the Last of the
Medici dies at Florence; [9th July (_Fastes de Louis XV._, p. 304).]
and Serene Franz, if he knew it, is Grand Duke of Tuscany, according to
bargain: a matter important to himself chiefly, and to France, who, for
Stanislaus and Lorraine's sake, has had to pay him some 200,000 pounds a
year during the brief intermediate state.



OF BERG AND JULICH AGAIN; AND OF LUISCIUS WITH THE ONE RAZOR.

These remote occurrences are of small interest to his Prussian Majesty,
in comparison with the Pfalz affair, the Cleve-Julich succession, which
lies so near home. His Majesty is uncommonly anxious to have this
matter settled, in peace, if possible. Kaiser and Reich, with the other
Mediating Powers, go on mediating; but when will they decide? This year
the old Bishop of Augsburg, one Brother of the older Kur-Pfalz Karl
Philip, dies; nothing now between us and the event itself, but Karl
Philip alone, who is verging towards eighty: the decision, to be
peaceable, ought to be speedy! Friedrich Wilhelm, in January last, sent
the expert Degenfeld, once of London, to old Karl Philip; and has
him still there, with the most conciliatory offers: "Will leave your
Sulzbachs a part, then; will be content with part, instead of the whole,
which is mine if there be force in sealed parchment; will do anything
for peace!" To which the old Kur-Pfalz, foolish old creature, is
steadily deaf; answers vaguely, negatively always, in a polite manner;
pushing his Majesty upon extremities painful to think of. "We hate war;
but cannot quite do without justice, your Serenity," thinks Friedrich
Wilhelm: "must it be the eighty thousand iron ramrods, then?" Obstinate
Serenity continues deaf; and Friedrich Wilhelm's negotiations, there
at Mannheim, over in Holland, and through Holland with England, not to
speak of Kaiser and Reich close at hand, become very intense; vehemently
earnest, about this matter, for the next two years. The details of
which, inexpressibly uninteresting, shall be spared the reader.

Summary is, these Mediating Powers will be of no help to his Majesty;
not even the Dutch will, with whom he is specially in friendship: nay,
in the third year it becomes fatally manifest, the chief Mediating
Powers, Kaiser and France, listening rather to political convenience,
than to the claims of justice, go direct in Kur-Pfalz's favor;--by
formal treaty of their own, ["Versailles, 13th January, 1739" (Olrich,
_Geschichte der Schlesischen Kriege,_ i. 13); Mauvillon, ii 405-446;
&c.] France and the Kaiser settle, "That the Sulzbachers shall, as a
preliminary, get provisional possession, on the now Serenity's decease;
and shall continue undisturbed for two years, till Law decide between
his Prussian Majesty and them." Two years; Law decide;--and we know what
are the NINE-POINTS in a Law-case! This, at last, proved too much
for his Majesty. Majesty's abstruse dubitations, meditations on such
treatment by a Kaiser and others, did then, it appears, gloomily settle
into fixed private purpose of trying it by the iron ramrods, when old
Kur-Pfalz should die,--of marching with eighty thousand men into the
Cleve Countries, and SO welcoming any Sulzbach or other guests that
might arrive. Happily old Kur-Pfalz did not die in his Majesty's time;
survived his Majesty several years: so that the matter fell into other
hands,--and was settled very well, near a century after.

Of certain wranglings with the little Town of Herstal,--Prussian Town
(part of the Orange Heritage, once KING PEPIN'S Town, if that were
any matter now) in the Bishop of Liege's neighborhood, Town highly
insignificant otherwise,--we shall say nothing here, as they will fall
to be treated, and be settled, at an after stage. Friedrich Wilhelm was
much grieved by the contumacies of that paltry little Herstal; and
by the Bishop of Liege's high-flown procedures in countenancing
them;--especially in a recruiting ease that had fallen out there,
and brought matters to a head. ["December, 1738," is crisis of the
recruiting case (_Helden-Geschichte,_ ii. 63); "17th February, 1739,"
Bishop's high-flown appearance in it (ib. 67); Kaiser's in consequence,
"10th April, 1739."] The Kaiser too was afflictively high in
countenancing the Bishop;---for which both Kaiser and Bishop got due
payment in time. But his Prussian Majesty would not kindle the world for
such a paltriness; and so left it hanging in a vexatious condition. Such
things, it is remarked, weigh heavier on his now infirm Majesty than
they were wont. He is more subject to fits of hypochondria, to talk of
abdicating. "All gone wrong!" he would say, if any little flaw rose,
about recruiting or the like. "One might go and live at Venice, were one
rid of it!" [Forster (place LOST).] And his deep-stung clangorous growl
against the Kaiser's treatment of him bursts out, from time to time;
though he oftenest pities the Kaiser, too; seeing him at such a pass
with his Turk War and otherwise.

It was in this Pfalz business that Herr Luiscius, the Prussian
Minister in Holland, got into trouble; of whom there is a light dash
of outline-portraiture by Voltaire, which has made him memorable to
readers. This "fat King of Prussia," says Voltaire, was a dreadfully
avaricious fellow, unbeautiful to a high degree in his proceedings with
mankind:--

"He had a Minister at the Hague called Luiscius; who certainly of all
Ministers of Crowned Heads was the worst paid. This poor man, to warm
himself, had made some trees be felled in the Garden of Honslardik,
which belonged at that time to the House of Prussia; he thereupon
received despatches from the King, intimating that a year of his salary
was forfeited. Luiscius, in despair, cut his throat with probably the
one razor he had (SEUL RASOIR QU'IL EUT); an old valet came to his
assistance, and unhappily saved his life. In after years, I found his
Excellency at the Hague; and have occasionally given him an alms at the
door of the VIEILLE COUR (Old Court), a Palace belonging to the King of
Prussia, where this poor Ambassador had lived a dozen years. It must be
owned, Turkey is a republic in comparison to the despotism exercised by
Friedrich Wilhelm." [_OEuvres de Voltaire (Vie Pricee,_ or what they
now call _Memoires_ ), ii. 15.]

Here truly is a witty sketch; consummately dashed off, as nobody but
Voltaire could; "round as Giotto's O," done at one stroke. Of which
the prose facts are only as follows. Luiscius, Prussian Resident,
not distinguished by salary or otherwise, had, at one stage of these
negotiations, been told, from head-quarters, He might, in casual
extra-official ways, if it seemed furthersome, give their High
Mightinesses the hope, or notion, that his Majesty did not intend actual
war about that Cleve-Julich Succession,--being a pacific Majesty, and
unwilling to involve his neighbors and mankind. Luiscius, instead of
casual hint delicately dropped in some good way, had proceeded by direct
declaration; frank assurance to the High Mightinesses, That there would
be no war. Which had never been quite his Majesty's meaning, and perhaps
was now becoming rather the reverse of it. Disavowal of Luiscius had
to ensue thereupon; who produced defensively his instruction from
head-quarters; but got only rebukes for such heavy-footed clumsy
procedure, so unlike Diplomacy with its shoes of felt;--and, in
brief, was turned out of the Diplomatic function, as unfit for it; and
appointed to manage certain Orange Properties, fragments of the
Orange Heritage which his Majesty still has in those Countries. This
misadventure sank heavily on the spirits of Luiscius, otherwise none of
the strongest-minded of men. Nor did he prosper in managing the Orange
Properties: on the contrary, he again fell into mistakes; got soundly
rebuked for injudicious conduct there,--"cutting trees," planting trees,
or whatever it was;--and this produced such an effect on Luiscius, that
he made an attempt on his own throat, distracted mortal; and was only
stopped by somebody rushing in. "It was not the first time he had tried
that feat," says Pollnitz, "and been prevented; nor was it long till he
made a new attempt, which was again frustrated: and always afterwards
his relations kept him close in view:" Majesty writing comfortable
forgiveness to the perturbed creature, and also "settling a pension
on him;" adequate, we can hope, and not excessive; "which Luiscius
continued to receive, at the Hague, so long as he lived." These are the
prose facts; not definitely dated to us, but perfectly clear otherwise.
[Pollnitz, ii. 495, 496;--the "NEW attempt" seems to have been "June,
1739" (_ Gentleman's Magazine,_ in mense, p. 331).]

Voltaire, in his Dutch excursions, did sometimes, in after years, lodge
in that old vacant Palace, called VIEILLE COUR, at the Hague; where he
gracefully celebrates the decayed forsaken state of matters; dusky vast
rooms with dim gilding; forgotten libraries "veiled under the biggest
spider-webs in Europe;" for the rest, an uncommonly quiet place,
convenient for a writing man, besides costing nothing. A son of this
Luiscius, a good young lad, it also appears, was occasionally Voltaire's
amanuensis there; him he did recommend zealously to the new King
of Prussia, who was not deaf on the occasion. This, in the fire of
satirical wit, is what we can transiently call "giving alms to a
Prussian Excellency;"--not now excellent, but pensioned and cracked; and
the reader perceives, Luiscius had probably more than one razor, had not
one been enough, when he did the rash act. Friedrich employed Luiscius
Junior, with no result that we hear of farther; and seems to have
thought Luiscius Senior an absurd fellow, not worth mentioning again:
"ran away from the Cleve Country [probably some mad-house there] above a
year ago, I hear; and what is the matter where such a crack-brain end?"
[Voltaire, _OEuvres_ (Letter to Friedrich, 7th October, 1740), lxxii.
261; and Fredrich's answer (wrong dated), ib. 265; Preuss, xxii. 33.]



Chapter V. -- VISIT AT LOO.

The Pfalz question being in such a predicament, and Luiscius
diplomatizing upon it in such heavy-footed manner, his Majesty thinks
a journey to Holland, to visit one's Kinsfolk there, and incidentally
speak a word with the High Mightinesses upon Pfalz, would not be amiss.
Such journey is decided on; Crown-Prince to accompany. Summer of 1738:
a short visit, quite without fuss; to last only three days;--mere sequel
to the Reviews held in those adjacent Cleve Countries; so that
the Gazetteers may take no notice. All which was done accordingly:
Crown-Prince's first sight of Holland; and one of the few reportable
points of his Reinsberg life, and not quite without memorability to him
and us.

On the 8th of July, 1738, the Review Party got upon the road for Wesel:
all through July, they did their reviewing in those Cleve Countries; and
then struck across for the Palace of Loo in Geldern, where a Prince of
Orange countable kinsman to his Prussian Majesty, and a Princess still
more nearly connected,--English George's Daughter, own niece to his
Prussian Majesty,--are in waiting for this distinguished honor. The
Prince of Orange we have already seen, for a moment once; at the siege
of Philipsburg four years ago, when the sale of Chasot's horses went
off so well. "Nothing like selling horses when your company have dined
well," whispered he to Chasot, at that time; since which date we have
heard nothing of his Highness.

He is not a beautiful man; he has a crooked back, and features
conformable; but is of prompt vivacious nature, and does not want for
sense and good-humor. Paternal George, the gossips say, warned his
Princess, when this marriage was talked of, "You will find him very
ill-looking, though!" "And if I found him a baboon--!" answered she;
being so heartily tired of St. James's. And in fact, for anything I
have heard, they do well enough together. She is George II.'s eldest
Princess;--next elder to our poor Amelia, who was once so interesting
to us! What the Crown-Prince now thought of all that, I do not know;
but the Books say, poor Amelia wore the willow, and specially wore the
Prince's miniature on her breast all her days after, which were many.
Grew corpulent, somewhat a huddle in appearance and equipment, "eyelids
like upper-LIPS," for one item: but when life itself fled, the miniature
was found in its old place, resting on the old heart after some sixty
years. O Time, O Sons and Daughters of Time!--

His Majesty's reception at Loo was of the kind he liked,--cordial,
honorable, unceremonious; and these were three pleasant days he had.
Pleasant for the Crown-Prince too; as the whole Journey had rather been;
Papa, with covert satisfaction, finding him a wise creature, after all,
and "more serious" than formerly. "Hm, you don't know what things are in
that Fritz!" his Majesty murmured sometimes, in these later years, with
a fine light in his eyes.

Loo itself is a beautiful Palace: "Loo, close by the Village Appeldoorn,
is a stately brick edifice, built with architectural regularity; has
finely decorated rooms, beautiful gardens, and round are superb alleys
of oak and linden." [Busching, _Erdbeschreibung,_ viii. 69.] There
saunters pleasantly our Crown-Prince, for these three days;--and one
glad incident I do perceive to have befallen him there: the arrival of a
Letter from Voltaire. Letter much expected, which had followed him from
Wesel; and which he answers here, in this brick Palace, among the superb
avenues and gardens. [_OEuvres,_ xxi. 203, the Letter, "Cirey, June,
1738;" Ib. 222, the Answer to it, "Loo, 6th August, 1738."]

No doubt a glad incident, irradiating, as with a sudden sunburst in gray
weather, the commonplace of things. Here is news worth listening to;
news as from the empyrean! Free interchange of poetries and proses,
of heroic sentiments and opinions, between the Unique of Sages and the
Paragon of Crown-Princes; how charming to both! Literary business, we
perceive, is brisk on both hands; at Cirey the _Discours sur l'Homme_
("Sixth DISCOURS" arrives in this packet at Loo, surely a deathless
piece of singing); nor is Reinsberg idle: Reinsberg is copiously doing
verse, such verse! and in prose, very earnestly, an "ANTI-MACHIAVEL;"
which soon afterwards filled all the then world, though it has now
fallen so silent again. And at Paris, as Voltaire announces with a
flourish, "M. de Maupertuis's excellent Book, _Figure de la T'erre,_
is out;" [Paris, 1738: Maupertuis's "measurement of a degree," in the
utmost North, 1736-1737 (to prove the Earth flattened there). Vivid
Narrative; somewhat gesticulative, but duly brief. The only Book of
that great Maupertuis which is now readable to human nature.] M. de
Maupertuis, home from the Polar regions and from measuring the Earth
there; the sublimest miracle in Paris society at present. Might build,
new-build, an ACADEMY OF SCIENCES at Berlin for your Royal Highness,
one day? suggests Voltaire, on this occasion: and Friedrich, as we shall
see, takes the hint. One passage of the Crown-Prince's Answer is in
these terms;--fixing this Loo visit to its date for us, at any rate:--

"LOO IN HOLLAND, 6th AUGUST, 1739.... I write from a place where there
lived once a great man [William III. of England, our Dutch William];
which is now the Prince of Orange's House. The demon of Ambition sheds
its unhappy poisons over his days. He might be the most fortunate of
men; and he is devoured by chagrins in his beautiful Palace here, in the
middle of his gardens and of a brilliant Court. It is pity in truth;
for he is a Prince with no end of wit (INFINIMENT D'ESPRIT), and has
respectable qualites." Not Stadtholder, unluckily; that is where the
shoe pinches; the Dutch are on the Republican tack, and will not have
a Stadtholder at present. No help for it in one's beautiful gardens and
avenues of oak and linden.

"I have talked a great deal about Newton with the Princess,"--about
Newton; never hinted at Amelia; not permissible!--"from Newton we passed
to Leibnitz; and from Leibnitz to the Late Queen of England," Caroline
lately gone, "who, the Prince told me, was of Clarke's sentiment" on
that important theological controversy now dead to mankind.--And of
Jenkins and his Ear did the Princess say nothing? That is now becoming a
high phenomenon in England! But readers must wait a little.

Pity that we cannot give these two Letters in full; that no reader,
almost, could be made to understand them, or to care for them when
understood. Such the cruelty of Time upon this Voltaire-Friedrich
Correspondence, and some others; which were once so rosy, sunny, and are
now fallen drearily extinct,--studiable by Editors only! In itself
the Friedrich-Voltaire Correspondence, we can see, was charming; very
blossomy at present: businesses increasing; mutual admiration now risen
to a great height,--admiration sincere on both sides, most so on
the Prince's, and extravagantly expressed on both sides, most so on
Voltaire's.



CROWN-PRINCE BECOMES A FREEMASON; AND IS HARANGUED BY MONSIEUR DE
BIELFELD.

His Majesty, we said, had three pleasant days at Loo; discoursing, as
with friends, on public matters, or even on more private matters, in
a frank unconstrained way. He is not to be called "Majesty" on this
occasion; but the fact, at Loo, and by the leading Mightinesses of
the Republic, who come copiously to compliment him there, is well
remembered. Talk there was, with such leading Mightinesses, about the
Julich-and-Berg question, aim of this Journey: earnest enough private
talk with some of them: but it availed nothing; and would not be worth
reporting now to any creature, if we even knew it. In fact, the Journey
itself remains mentionable chiefly by one very trifling circumstance;
and then by another, not important either, which followed out of that.
The trifling circumstance is,--That Friedrich, in the course of this
Journey, became a Freemason: and the unimportant sequel was, That he
made acquaintance with one Bielfeld, on the occasion; who afterwards
wrote a Book about him, which was once much read, though never much
worth reading, and is still citable, with precaution, now and then.
[Monsieur le Baron de Bielfeld, _Lettres Familieres et Autres,_
1763;--second edition, 2 vols. a Leide, 1767, is the one we use here.]
Trifling circumstance, of Freemasonry, as we read in Bielfeld and in
many Books after him, befell in manner following.

Among the dinner-guests at Loo, one of those three days, was a Prince of
Lippe-Buckeburg,--Prince of small territory, but of great speculation;
whose territory lies on the Weser, leading to Dutch connections; and
whose speculations stretch over all the Universe, in a high fantastic
style:--he was a dinner-guest; and one of the topics that came up was
Freemasonry; a phantasmal kind of object, which had kindled itself, or
rekindled, in those years, in England first of all; and was now hovering
about, a good deal, in Germany and other countries; pretending to be
a new light of Heaven, and not a bog-meteor of phosphorated hydrogen,
conspicuous in the murk of things. Bog-meteor, foolish putrescent
will-o'-wisp, his Majesty promptly defined it to be: Tom-foolery and
KINDERSPIEL, what else? Whereupon ingenious Buckeburg, who was himself
a Mason, man of forty by this time, and had high things in him of the
Quixotic type, ventured on defence; and was so respectful, eloquent,
dexterous, ingenious, he quite captivated, if not his Majesty, at
least the Crown-Prince, who was more enthusiastic for high things.
Crown-Prince, after table, took his Durchlaucht of Buckeburg
aside; talked farther on the subject, expressed his admiration, his
conviction,--his wish to be admitted into such a Hero Fraternity.
Nothing could be welcomer to Durchlaucht. And so, in all privacy, it
was made up betweeen them, That Durchlaucht, summoning as many mystic
Brothers out of Hamburg as were needful, should be in waiting with them,
on the Crown-Prince's road homeward,--say at Brunswick, night before
the Fair, where we are to be,--and there make the Crown-Prince a Mason.
[Bielfeld, i. 14-16; Preuss, i. 111; Preuss, _Buch fur Jedermann,_ i.
41.]

This is Bielfeld's account, repeated ever since; substantially correct,
except that the scene was not Loo at all: dinner and dialogue, it now
appears, took place in Durchlaucht's own neighborhood, during the Cleve
Review time; "probably at Minden, 17th July;" and all was settled into
fixed program before Loo came in sight. [_OEuvres de Frederic,_
xvs. 201: Friedrich's Letter to this Durchlaucht, "Comte de
Schaumbourg-Lippe" he calls him; date, "Moyland, 26th July, 1738:
"Moyland, a certain SCHLOSS, or habitable Mansion, of his Majesty's,
few miles to north of Mors in the Cleve Country; where his Majesty
used often to pause;--and where (what will be much more remarkable to
readers) the Crown-Prince and Voltaire had their first meeting,
two years hence.] Bielfeld's report of the subsequent procedure at
Brunswick, as he saw it and was himself part of it, is liable to no
mistakes, at least of the involuntary kind; and may, for anything we
know, be correct in every particular.

He says (veiling it under discreet asterisks, which are now decipherable
enough), The Durchlaucht of Lippe-Buckeburg had summoned six Brethren of
the Hamburg Lodge; of whom we mention only a Graf von Kielmannsegge, a
Baron von Oberg, both from Hanover, and Bielfeld himself, a Merchant's
Son, of Hamburg; these, with "Kielmannsegge's Valet to act as Tiler,"
Valet being also a Mason, and the rule equality of mankind,--were to
have the honor of initiating the Crown-Prince. They arrived at the
Western Gate of Brunswick on the 11th of August, as prearranged;
Prussian Majesty not yet come, but coming punctually on the morrow. It
is Fair-time; all manner of traders, pedlers, showmen rendezvousing;
many neighboring Nobility too, as was still the habit. "Such a bulk
of light luggage?" said the Custom-house people at the Gate;--but were
pacified by slipping them a ducat. Upon which we drove to "Korn's Hotel"
(if anybody now knew it); and there patiently waited. No great things
of a Hotel, says Bielfeld; but can be put up with;--worst feature is, we
discover a Hanover acquaintance lodging close by, nothing but a wooden
partition between us: How if he should overhear!--

Prussian Majesty and suite, under universal cannon-salvos, arrived,
Sunday the 12th; to stay till Wednesday (three days) with his august
Son-in-law and Daughter here. Durchlaucht Lippe presents himself at
Court, the rest of us not; privately settles with the Prince: "Tuesday
night, eve of his Majesty's departure; that shall be the night: at
Korn's Hotel, late enough!" And there, accordingly, on the appointed
night, 14th-15th August, 1738, the light-luggage trunks have yielded
their stage-properties; Jachin and Boaz are set up, and all things are
ready; Tiler (Kielmannsegge's Valet) watching with drawn sword
against the profane. As to our Hanover neighbor, on the other side
the partition, says Bielfeld, we waited on him, this day after dinner,
successively paying our respects; successively pledged him in so
many bumpers, he is lying dead drunk hours ago, could not overhear a
cannon-battery, he. And soon after midnight, the Crown-Prince glides in,
a Captain Wartensleben accompanying, who is also a candidate; and the
mysterious rites are accomplished on both of them, on the Crown-Prince
first, without accident, and in the usual way.

Bielfeld could not enough admire the demeanor of this Prince, his
clearness, sense, quiet brilliancy; and how he was so "intrepid,"
and "possessed himself so gracefully in the most critical instants."
Extremely genial air, and so young, looks younger even than his years:
handsome to a degree, though of short stature. Physiognomy, features,
quite charming; fine auburn hair (BEAU BRUN), a negligent plenty of it;
"his large blue eyes have something at once severe, sweet and gracious."
Eligible Mason indeed. Had better make despatch at present, lest Papa
be getting on the road before him!--Bielfeld delivered a small address,
composed beforehand; with which the Prince seemed to be content. And
so, with masonic grip, they made their adieus for the present; and the
Crown-Prince and Wartensleben were back at their posts, ready for the
road along with his Majesty.

His Majesty came on Sunday; goes on Wednesday, home now at a stretch;
and, we hope, has had a good time of it here, these three days. Daughter
Charlotte and her Serene Husband, well with their subjects, well with
one another, are doing well; have already two little Children; a Boy
the elder, of whom we have heard: Boy's name is Karl, age now three;
sprightly, reckoned very clever, by the fond parents;--who has many
things to do in the world, by and by; to attack the French Revolution,
and be blown to pieces by it on the Field of Jena, for final thing!
That is the fate of little Karl, who frolics about here, so sunshiny and
ingenuous at present.

Karl's Grandmother, the Serene Dowager Duchess, Friedrich's own
Mother-in-law, his Majesty and Friedrich would also of course see
here. Fine Younger Sons of hers are coming forward; the reigning Duke
beautifully careful about the furtherance of these Cadets of the House.
Here is Prince Ferdinand, for instance; just getting ready for the Grand
Tour; goes in a month hence: [Mauvillon (FILS, son of him whom we cite
otherwise), _Geschichte Ferdinands Herzogs von Braunschweig-Luneburg_
(Leipzig, 1794), i. 17-25.] a fine eupeptic loyal young fellow; who,
in a twenty years more, will be Chatham's Generalissimo, and fight
the French to some purpose. A Brother of his, the next elder, is now
fighting the Turks for his Kaiser; does not like it at all, under such
Seckendorfs and War-Ministries as there are. Then, elder still, eldest
of all the Cadets, there is Anton Ulrich, over at Petersburg for some
years past, with outlooks high enough: To wed the Mecklenburg Princess
there (Daughter of the unutterable Duke), and be as good as Czar of
all the Russias one day. Little to his profit, poor soul!--These,
historically ascertainable, are the aspects of the Brunswick Court
during those three days of Royal Visit, in Fair-time; and may serve to
date the Masonic Transaction for us, which the Crown-Prince has just
accomplished over at Korn's.

As for the Transaction itself, there is intrinsically no harm in this
initiation, we will hope: but it behooves to be kept well hidden from
Papa. Papa's good opinion of the Prince has sensibly risen, in the
course of this Journey, "so rational, serious, not dangling about among
the women as formerly;"--and what a shock would this of Korn's Hotel be,
should Papa hear of it! Poor Papa, from officious tale-bearers he hears
many things: is in distress about Voltaire, about Heterodoxies;--and
summoned the Crown-Prince, by express, from Reinsberg, on one occasion
lately, over to Potsdam, "to take the Communion" there, by way of
case-hardening against Voltaire and Heterodoxies! Think of it, human
readers!--We will add the following stray particulars, more or less
illustrative of the Masonic Transaction; and so end that trifling
affair.

The Captain Wartensleben, fellow-recipient of the mysteries at
Brunswick, is youngest son, by a second marriage, of old Feldmarschall
Wartensleben, now deceased; and is consequently Uncle, Half-Uncle, of
poor Lieutenant Katte, though some years younger than Katte would now
have been. Tender memories hang by Wartensleben, in a silent way! He
is Captain in the Potsdam Giants; somewhat an intimate, and not
undeservedly so, of the Crown-Prince;--succeeds Wolden as Hofmarschall
at Reinsberg, not many months after this; Wolden having died of an
apoplectic stroke. Of Bielfeld comes a Book, slightly citable; from
no other of the Brethren, or their Feat at Kern's, comes (we may say)
anything whatever. The Crown-Prince prosecuted his Masonry, at Reinsberg
or elsewhere, occasionally, for a year or two; but was never ardent
in it; and very soon after his Accession, left off altogether:
"Child's-play and IGNIS FATUUS mainly!" A Royal Lodge was established at
Berlin, of which the new King consented to be patron; but he never once
entered the place; and only his Portrait (a welcomely good one, still
to be found there) presided over the mysteries in that Establishment.
Harmless "fire," but too "fatuous;" mere flame-circles cut in the air,
for infants, we know how!--

With Lippe-Buckeburg there ensued some Correspondence, high enough on
his Serenity's side; but it soon languished on the Prince's side; and
in private Poetry, within a two years of this Brunswick scene, we find
Lippe used proverbially for a type-specimen of Fools. ["Taciturne,
Caton, avec mes bons parents, Aussi fou que la Lippe met les jeunes
gens." _OEuvres,_ xi. 80 (_Discours sur la Faussete,_ written 1740).]
A windy fantastic individual;--overwhelmed in finance-difficulties too!
Lippe continued writing; but "only Secretaries now answered him" from
Berlin. A son of his, son and successor, something of a Quixote too, but
notable in Artillery-practice and otherwise, will turn up at a future
stage.

Nor is Bielfeld with his Book a thing of much moment to Friedrich or to
us. Bielfeld too has a light airy vein of talk; loves Voltaire and the
Philosophies in a light way;--knows the arts of Society, especially
the art of flattering; and would fain make himself agreeable to the
Crown-Prince, being anxious to rise in the world. His Father is a
Hamburg Merchant, Hamburg "Sealing-wax Manufacturer," not ill off
for money: Son has been at schools, high schools, under tutors,
posture-masters; swashes about on those terms, with French ESPRIT in his
mouth, and lace ruffles at his wrists; still under thirty; showy enough,
sharp enough; considerably a coxcomb, as is still evident. He did
transiently get about Friedrich, as we shall see; and hoped to have sold
his heart to good purpose there;--was, by and by, employed in slight
functions; not found fit for grave ones. In the course of some years,
he got a title of Baron; and sold his heart more advantageously, to some
rich Widow or Fraulein; with whom he retired to Saxony, and there lived
on an Estate he had purchased, a stranger to Prussia thenceforth.

His Book (_Lettres Familieres et Autres,_ all turning on Friedrich),
which came out in 1763, at the height of Friedrich's fame, and was
much read, is still freely cited by Historians as an Authority. But the
reading of a few pages sufficiently intimates that these "Letters"
never can have gone through a terrestrial Post-office; that they are an
afterthought, composed from vague memory and imagination, in that fine
Saxon retreat;--a sorrowful ghost-like "TRAVELS OF ANACHARSIS," instead
of living words by an eye-witness! Not to be cited "freely" at all,
but sparingly and under conditions. They abound in small errors,
in misdates, mistakes; small fictions even, and impossible
pretensions:--foolish mortal, to write down his bit of knowledge in that
form! For the man, in spite of his lace ruffles and gesticulations, has
brisk eyesight of a superficial kind: he COULD have done us this little
service (apparently his one mission in the world, for which Nature gave
him bed and board here); and he, the lace ruffles having gone into his
soul, has been tempted into misdoing it!--Bielfeld and Bielfeld's
Book, such as they are, appear to be the one conquest Friedrich got of
Freemasonry; no other result now traceable to us of that adventure in
Korn's Hotel, crowning event of the Journey to Loo.



SECKENDORF GETS LODGED IN GRATZ.

Feldmarschall Seckendorf, after unheard-of wrestlings with the Turk
War, and the Vienna War-Office (HOFKRIEGSRATH), is sitting, for the last
three weeks,--where thinks the reader?--in the Fortress of Gratz among
the Hills of Styria; a State-Prisoner, not likely to get out soon!
Seckendorf led forth, in 1737, "such an Army, for number, spirit and
equipment," say the Vienna people, "as never marched against the Turk
before;" and it must be owned, his ill success has been unparalleled.
The blame was not altogether his; not chiefly his, except for his rash
undertaking of the thing, on such terms as there were. But the truth
is, that first scene we saw of him,--an Army all gone out trumpeting and
drumming into the woods to FIND its Commander-in-Chief,--was an emblem
of the Campaign in general. Excellent Army; but commanded by nobody in
particular; commanded by a HOFKRIEGSRATH at Vienna, by a Franz Duke
of Tuscany, by Feldmarschall Seckendorf, and by subordinates who were
disobedient to him: which accordingly, almost without help of the Turk
and his disorderly ferocity, rubbed itself to pieces before long. Roamed
about, now hither now thither, with plans laid and then with plans
suddenly altered, Captain being Chaos mainly; in swampy countries, by
overflowing rivers, in hunger, hot weather, forced marches; till it was
marched gradually off its feet; and the clouds of chaotic Turks, who
did finally show face, had a cheap pennyworth of it. Never was such a
campaign seen as this of Seckendorf in 1737, said mankind. Except
indeed that the present one, Campaign of 1738, in those parts, under a
different hand, is still worse; and the Campaign of 1739, under still a
different, will be worst of all!--Kaiser Karl and his Austrians do not
prosper in this Turk War, as the Russians do,--who indeed have got
a General equal to his task: Munnich, a famed master in the art of
handling Turks and War-Ministries: real father of Russian Soldiering,
say the Russians still. [See MANNSTEIN for Munnich's plans with the
Turk (methods and devices of steady Discipline in small numbers VERSUS
impetuous Ferocity in great); and Berenhorst (_Betrachtungen uber die
Kriegskunst,_ Leipzig, 1796), a first-rate Authority, for examples and
eulogies of them.]

Campaign 1737, with clouds of chaotic Turks now sabring on the skirts of
it, had not yet ended, when Seckendorf was called out of it; on polite
pretexts, home to Vienna; and the command given to another. At the
gates of Vienna, in the last days of October, 1737, an Official Person,
waiting for the Feldmarschall, was sorry to inform him, That he,
Feldmarschall Seckendorf, was under arrest; arrest in his own house,
in the KOHLMARKT (Cabbage-market so called), a captain and twelve
musketeers to watch over him with fixed bayonets there; strictly
private, till the HOFKRIEGSRATH had satisfied themselves in a point
or two. "Hmph!" snuffled he; with brow blushing slate-color, I should
think, and gray eyes much alight. And ever since, for ten months or so,
Seckendorf, sealed up in the Cabbage-market, has been fencing for
life with the HOFKRIEGSRATH; who want satisfaction upon "eighty-six"
different "points;" and make no end of chicaning to one's clear answers.
And the Jesuits preach, too: "A Heretic, born enemy of Christ and his
Kaiser; what is the use of questioning!" And the Heathen rage, and all
men gnash their teeth, in this uncomfortable manner.

Answering done, there comes no verdict, much less any acquittal; the
captain and twelve musketeers, three of them with fixed bayonets in
one's very bedroom, continue. One evening, 21st July, 1738, glorious
news from the seat of War--not TILL evening, as the Imperial Majesty
was out hunting--enters Vienna; blowing trumpets; shaking flags: "Grand
Victory over the Turks!" so we call some poor skirmish there has been;
and Vienna bursting all into three-times-three, the populace get very
high. Populace rush to the Kohlmarkt: break the Seckendorf windows;
intent to massacre the Seckendorf; had not fresh military come, who were
obliged to fire and kill one or two. "The house captain and his twelve
musketeers, of themselves, did wonders; Seckendorf and all his domestics
were in arms:" "JARNI-BLEU" for the last time!--This is while the
Crown-Prince is at Wesel; sound asleep, most likely; Loo, and the
Masonic adventure, perhaps twinkling prophetically in his dreams.

At two next morning, an Official Gentleman informs Seckendorf, That
he, for his part, must awaken, and go to Gratz. And in one hour more (3
A.M.), the Official Gentleman rolls off with him; drives all day; and
delivers his Prisoner at Gratz:--"Not so much as a room ready there;
Prisoner had to wait an hour in the carriage," till some summary
preparation were made. Wall-neighbors of the poor Feldmarschall, in his
Fortress here, were "a GOLD-COOK (swindling Alchemist), who had gone
crazy; and an Irish Lieutenant, confined thirty-two years for some
love-adventure, likewise pretty crazy; their noises in the night-time
much disturbed the Feldmarschall." [_Seckendorfs Leben,_ ii. 170-277
pp. 27-59.] One human thing there still is in his lot, the
Feldmarschall's old Grafinn. True old Dame, she, both in the Kohlmarkt
and at Gratz, stands by him, "imprisoned along with him" if it must be
so; ministering, comforting, as only a true Wife can;--and hope has not
quite taken wing.

Rough old Feldmarschall; now turned of sixty: never made such a Campaign
before, as this of 1737 followed by 1738! There sits he; and will not
trouble us any more during the present Kaiser's lifetime. Friedrich
Wilhelm is amazed at these sudden cantings of Fortune's wheel, and
grieves honestly as for an old friend: even the Crown-Prince finds
Seckendorf punished unjustly; and is almost, sorry for him, after all
that has come and gone.



THE EAR OF JENKINS RE-EMERGES.

We must add the following, distilled from the English Newspapers, though
it is now almost four months after date:--

"LONDON, 1st APRIL, 1738. In the English House of Commons, much more
in the English Public, there has been furious debating for a fortnight
past: Committee of the whole House, examining witnesses, hearing
counsel; subject, the Termagant of Spain, and her West-Indian
procedures;--she, by her procedures somewhere, is always cutting out
work for mankind! How English and other strangers, fallen-in with in
those seas, are treated by the Spaniards, readers have heard, nay have
chanced to see; and it is a fact painfully known to all nations. Fact
which England, for one nation, can no longer put up with. Walpole and
the Official Persons would fain smooth the matter; but the West-India
Interest, the City, all Mercantile and Navigation Interests are in dead
earnest: Committee of the whole House, 'Presided by Alderman Perry,' has
not ears enough to hear the immensities of evidence offered; slow Public
is gradually kindling to some sense of it. This had gone on for two
weeks, when--what shall we say?--the EAR OF JENKINS re-emerged for the
second time; and produced important effects!

"Where Jenkins had been all this while,--steadfastly navigating to and
fro, steadfastly eating tough junk with a wetting of rum; not thinking
too much of past labors, yet privately 'always keeping his lost Ear in
cotton' (with a kind of ursine piety, or other dumb feeling),--no mortal
now knows. But to all mortals it is evident he was home in London at
this time; no doubt a noted member of Wapping society, the much-enduring
Jenkins. And witnesses, probably not one but many, had mentioned him to
this Committee, as a case eminently in point. Committee, as can still
be read in its Rhadamanthine Journals, orders: 'DIE JOVIS, 16*
MARTII 1737-1738, That Captain Robert Jenkins do attend this House
immediately;' and then more specially, '17* MARTII' captious objections
having risen in Official quarters, as we guess,--'That Captain Robert
Jenkins do attend upon Tuesday morning next.' [_Commons Journals,_
xxiii. (in diebus).] Tuesday next is 21st March,--1st of April, 1738, by
our modern Calendar;--and on that day, not a doubt, Jenkins does attend;
narrates that tremendous passage we already heard of, seven years ago,
in the entrance of the Gulf of Florida; and produces his Ear wrapt in
cotton:--setting all on flame (except the Official persons) at sight of
it."

Official persons, as their wont is in the pressure of debate, endeavored
to deny, to insinuate in their vile Newspapers, That Jenkins lost his
Ear nearer home and not for nothing; as one still reads in the History
Books. [Tindal (xx. 372). Coxe, &c.] Sheer calumnies, we now find.
Jenkins's account was doubtless abundantly emphatic; but there is no
ground to question the substantial truth of him and it. And so, after
seven years of unnoticeable burning upon the thick skin of the English
Public, the case of Jenkins accidentally burns through, and sets England
bellowing; such a smart is there of it,--not to be soothed by Official
wet-cloths; but getting worse and worse, for the nineteen months
ensuing. And in short--But we will not anticipate!



Chapter VI. -- LAST YEAR OF REINSBERG; JOURNEY TO PREUSSEN.

The Idyllium of Reinsberg--of which, except in the way of sketchy
suggestion, there can no history be given--lasted less than four years;
and is now coming to an end, unexpectedly soon. A pleasant Arcadian
Summer in one's life;--though it has not wanted its occasional discords,
flaws of ill weather in the general sunshine. Papa, always in uncertain
health of late, is getting heavier of foot and of heart under his heavy
burdens; and sometimes falls abstruse enough, liable to bewilderments
from bad people and events: not much worth noticing here. [See Pollnitz,
ii. 509-515; Friedrich's Letter to Wilhelmina ("Berlin, 20th January,
1739:" in _OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 1st, pp. 60, 61); &c. &c.] But the
Crown-Prince has learned to deal with all this; all this is of
transient nature; and a bright long future seems to lie ahead at
Reinsberg;--brightened especially by the Literary Element; which, in
this year of 1739, is brisker than it had ever been. Distinguished
Visitors, of a literary turn, look in at Reinsberg; the Voltaire
Correspondence is very lively; on Friedrich's part there is copious
production, various enterprise, in the form of prose and verse; thoughts
even of going to press with some of it: in short, the Literary Interest
rises very prominent at Reinsberg in 1739. Biography is apt to forget
the Literature there (having her reasons); but must at last take some
notice of it, among the phenomena of the year.

To the young Prince himself, "courting tranquillity," as his door-lintel
intimated, [_"Frederico tranquillitatem colenti"_ (Infra, p. 123).]
and forbidden to be active except within limits, this of Literature was
all along the great light of existence at Reinsberg; the supplement
to all other employments or wants of employment there. To Friedrich
himself, in those old days, a great and supreme interest; while again,
to the modern Biographer of him, it has become dark and vacant; a thing
to be shunned, not sought. So that the fact as it stood with Friedrich
differs far from any description that can be given of the fact. Alas, we
have said already, and the constant truth is, Friedrich's literatures,
his distinguished literary visitors and enterprises, which were once
brand-new and brilliant, have grown old as a garment, and are a sorrow
rather than otherwise to existing mankind! Conscientious readers, who
would represent to themselves the vanished scene at Reinsberg, in this
point more especially, must make an effort.

As biographical documents, these Poetries and Proses of the young man
give a very pretty testimony of him; but are not of value otherwise. In
fact, they promise, if we look well into them, That here is probably a
practical faculty and intellect of the highest kind; which again, on
the speculative, especially on the poetical side, will never be
considerable, nor has even tried to be so. This young soul does not deal
in meditation at all, and his tendencies are the reverse of sentimental.
Here is no introspection, morbid or other, no pathos or complaint,
no melodious informing of the public what dreadful emotions you labor
under: here, in rapid prompt form, indicating that it is truth and not
fable, are generous aspirations for the world and yourself, generous
pride, disdain of the ignoble, of the dark, mendacious;--here, in short,
is a swift-handed, valiant, STEEL-bright kind of soul; very likely for a
King's, if other things answer, and not likely for a Poet's. No doubt he
could have made something of Literature too; could have written Books,
and left some stamp of a veracious, more or less victorious intellect,
in that strange province too. But then he must have applied himself to
it, as he did to reigning: done in the cursory style, we see what it has
come to.

It is certain, Friedrich's reputation suffers, at this day, from his
writing. From his NOT having written nothing, he stands lower with the
world. Which seems hard measure;--though perhaps it is the law of the
case, after all. "Nobody in these days," says my poor Friend, "has the
least notion of the sinful waste there is in talk, whether by pen or
tongue. Better probably that King Friedrich had written no Verses; nay
I know not that David's Psalms did David's Kingship any good!" Which
may be truer than it seems. Fine aspirations, generous convictions,
purposes,--they are thought very fine: but it is good, on various
accounts, to keep them rather silent; strictly unvocal, except on
call of real business; so dangerous are they for becoming conscious of
themselves! Most things do not ripen at all except underground. And it
is a sad but sure truth, that every time you SPEAK of a fine purpose,
especially if with eloquence and to the admiration of by-standers,
there is the LESS chance of your ever making a fact of it in your poor
life.--If Reinsberg, and its vacancy of great employment, was the cause
of Friedrich's verse-writing, we will not praise Reinsberg on that
head! But the truth is, Friedrich's verses came from him with uncommon
fluency; and were not a deep matter, but a shallow one, in any sense.
Not much more to him than speaking with a will; than fantasying on the
flute in an animated strain. Ever and anon through his life, on small
hint from without or on great, there was found a certain leakage of
verses, which he was prompt to utter;--and the case at Reinsberg, or
afterwards, is not so serious as we might imagine.



PINE'S HORACE; AND THE ANTI-MACHIAVEL.

In late months Friedrich had conceived one notable project; which
demands a word in this place. Did modern readers ever hear of "John
Pine, the celebrated English Engraver"? John Pine, a man of good
scholarship, good skill with his burin, did "Tapestries of the House
of Lords," and other things of a celebrated nature, famous at home and
abroad: but his peculiar feat, which had commended him at Reinsberg, was
an Edition of HORACE: exquisite old FLACCUS brought to perfection, as it
were; all done with vignettes, classical borderings, symbolic marginal
ornaments, in fine taste and accuracy, the Text itself engraved; all by
the exquisite burin of Pine. ["London, 1737" (_Biographie Universelle,_
xxxiv. 465).] This Edition had come out last year, famous over the
world; and was by and by, as rumor bore, to be followed by a VIRGIL done
in the like exquisite manner.

The Pine HORACE, part of the Pine VIRGIL too, still exist in the
libraries of the curious; and are doubtless known to the proper parties,
though much forgotten by others of us. To Friedrich, scanning the Pine
phenomenon with interest then brand-new, it seemed an admirable tribute
to classical genius; and the idea occurred to him, "Is not there, by
Heaven's blessing, a living genius, classical like those antique Romans,
and worthy of a like tribute?" Friedrich's idea was, That Voltaire being
clearly the supreme of Poets, the HENRIADE, his supreme of Poems, ought
to be engraved like FLACCUS; text and all, with vignettes, tail-pieces,
classical borderings beautifully symbolic and exact; by the exquisite
burin of Pine. Which idea the young hero-worshipper, in spite of his
finance-difficulties, had resolved to realize; and was even now busy
with it, since his return from Loo. "Such beautiful enthusiasm," say
some readers; "and in behalf of that particular demi-god!" Alas, yes; to
Friedrich he was the best demi-god then going; and Friedrich never had
any doubt about him.

For the rest, this heroic idea could not realize itself; and we
are happy to have nothing more to do with Pine or the HENRIADE.
Correspondences were entered into with Pine, and some pains taken:
Pine's high prices were as nothing; but Pine was busy with his VIRGIL;
probably, in fact, had little stomach for the HENRIADE; "could not for
seven years to come enter upon it:" so that the matter had to die away;
and nothing came of it but a small DISSERTATION, or Introductory Essay,
which the Prince had got ready,--which is still to be found printed
in Voltaire's Works [_OEuvres, xiii. 393-402._] and in Friedrich's, if
anybody now cared much to read it. Preuss says it was finished, "the
10th August, 1739;" and that minute fact in Chronology, with the above
tale of Hero-worship hanging to it, will suffice my readers and me.

But there is another literary project on hand, which did take
effect;--much worthy of mention, this year; the whole world having risen
into such a Chorus of TE DEUM at sight of it next year. In this year
falls, what at any rate was a great event to Friedrich, as literary man:
the printing of his first Book,--assiduous writing of it with an eye to
print. The Book is that "celebrated ANTI-MACHIAVEL," ever-praiseworthy
Refutation of Machiavel's PRINCE; concerning which there are such
immensities of Voltaire Correspondence, now become, like the Book
itself, inane to all readers. This was the chosen soul's employment of
Friedrich, the flower of life to him, at Reinsberg, through the yea?
1739. It did not actually get to press till Spring 1740; nor actually
come out till Autumn,--by which time a great change had occurred in
Friedrich's title and circumstances: but we may as well say here what
little is to be said of it for modern readers.

"The Crown-Prince, reading this bad Book of Machiavel's, years ago, had
been struck, as all honest souls, especially governors or apprentices
to governing, must be, if they thought of reading such a thing, with
its badness, its falsity, detestability; and came by degrees, obliquely
fishing out Voltaire's opinion as he went along, on the notion of
refuting Machiavel; and did refute him, the best he could. Set down,
namely, his own earnest contradiction to such ungrounded noxious
doctrines; elaborating the same more and more into clear logical
utterance; till it swelled into a little Volume; which, so excellent
was it, so important to mankind, Voltaire and friends were clear for
publishing. Published accordingly it was; goes through the press next
Summer (1740), under Voltaire's anxious superintendence: [Here, gathered
from Friedrich's Letters to Voltaire, is the Chronology of the little
Enterprise:--1738, MARCH 21, JUNE 17, "Machiavel a baneful man,"
thinks Friedrich. "Ought to be refuted by somebody?" thinks he (date not
known). 1739, MARCH 22, Friedrich thinks of doing it himself. Has done
it, DECEMBER 4;--"a Book which ought to be printed," say Voltaire and
the literary visitors. 1740, APRIL 26, Book given up to Voltaire for
finished; Book appears, "end of SEPTEMBER," when a great change had
occurred in Friedrich's title and position.] for the Prince has at
length consented; and Voltaire hands the Manuscript, with mystery yet
with hints, to a Dutch Bookseller, one Van Duren at the Hague, who
is eager enough to print such an article. Voltaire himself--such his
magnanimous friendship, especially if one have Dutch Lawsuits, or
business of one's own, in those parts--takes charge of correcting;
lodges himself in the 'Old Court' (Prussian Mansion, called VIEILLE
COUR, at the Hague, where 'Luiscius,' figuratively speaking, may 'get
an alms' from us); and therefrom corrects, alters; corresponds with the
Prince and Van Duren, at a great rate. Keeps correcting, altering, till
Van Duren thinks he is spoiling it for sale;--and privately determines
to preserve the original Manuscript, and have an edition of that, with
only such corrections as seem good to Van Duren. A treasonous step
on this mule of a Bookseller's part, thinks Voltaire; but mulishly
persisted in by the man. Endless correspondence, to right and left,
ensues; intolerably wearisome to every reader. And, in fine, there came
out, in Autumn next,"--the Crown-Prince no longer a Crown-Prince by
that time, but shining conspicuous under Higher Title,--"not one
ANTI-MACHIAVEL only, but a couple or a trio of ANTI-MACHIAVELS; as
printed 'at the Hague;' as reprinted 'at London' or elsewhere; the
confused Bibliography of which has now fallen very insignificant. First
there was the Voltaire text, Authorized Edition, 'end of September,
1740;' then came, in few weeks, the Van Duren one; then, probably, a
third, combining the two, the variations given as foot-notes:--in short,
I know not how many editions, translations, printings and reprintings;
all the world being much taken up with such a message from the upper
regions, and eager to read it in any form.

"As to Friedrich himself, who of course says nothing of the
ANTI-MACHIAVEL in public, he privately, to Voltaire, disowns all these
editions; and intends to give a new one of his own, which shall be the
right article; but never did it, having far other work cut out for him
in the months that came. But how zealous the worlds humor was in that
matter, no modern reader can conceive to himself. In the frightful
Compilation called HELDEN-GESCHICHTE, which we sometimes cite, there
are, excerpted from the then 'Bibliotheques' (NOUVELLE BIBLIOTHEQUE
and another; shining Periodicals of the time, now gone quite dead),
two 'reviews' of the ANTI-MACHIAVEL, which fill modern readers with
amazement: such a DOMINE DIMITTAS chanted over such an article!--These
details, in any other than the Biographical point of view, are now
infinitely unimportant."

Truly, yes! The Crown-Prince's ANTI-MACHIAVEL, final correct edition (in
two forms, Voltaire's as corrected, and the Prince's own as written),
stands now in clear type; [Preuss, _OEuvres de Frederic,_ viii.
61-163.] and, after all that jumble of printing and counter-printing, we
can any of us read it in a few hours; but, alas, almost none of us
with the least interest, or, as it were, with any profit whatever.
So different is present tense from past, in all things, especially
in things like these! It is sixscore years since the ANTI-MACHIAVEL
appeared. The spectacle of one who was himself a King (for the
mysterious fact was well known to Van Duren and everybody) stepping
forth to say with conviction, That Kingship was not a thing of attorney
mendacity, to be done under the patronage of Beelzebub, but of human
veracity, to be set about under quite Other patronage; and that, in
fact, a King was the "born servant of his People" (DOMESTIQUE Friedrich
once calls it), rather than otherwise: this, naturally enough, rose upon
the then populations, unused to such language, like the dawn of a new
day; and was welcomed with such applauses as are now incredible, after
all that has come and gone! Alas, in these sixscore years, it has been
found so easy to profess and speak, even with sincerity! The actual
Hero-Kings were long used to be silent; and the Sham-Hero kind grow
only the more desperate for us, the more they speak and profess!--This
ANTI-MACHIAVEL of Friedrich's is a clear distinct Treatise; confutes,
or at least heartily contradicts, paragraph by paragraph, the incredible
sophistries of Machiavel. Nay it leaves us, if we sufficiently force
our attention, with the comfortable sense that his Royal Highness is
speaking with conviction, and honestly from the heart, in the affair:
but that is all the conquest we get of it, in these days. Treatise
fallen more extinct to existing mankind it would not be easy to name.

Perhaps indeed mankind is getting weary of the question altogether.
Machiavel himself one now reads only by compulsion. "What is the use of
arguing with anybody that can believe in Machiavel?" asks mankind,
or might well ask; and, except for Editorial purposes, eschews any
ANTI-MACHIAVEL; impatient to be rid of bane and antidote both. Truly
the world has had a pother with this little Nicolo Machiavelli and his
perverse little Book:--pity almost that a Friedrich Wilhelm, taking
his rounds at that point of time, had not had the "refuting" of him;
Friedrich Wilhelm's method would have been briefer than Friedrich's! But
let us hope the thing is now, practically, about completed. And as to
the other question, "Was the Signor Nicolo serious in this perverse
little Book; or did he only do it ironically, with a serious inverse
purpose?" we will leave that to be decided, any time convenient, by
people who are much at leisure in the world!--

The printing of the ANTI-MACHIAVEL was not intrinsically momentous in
Friedrich's history; yet it might as well have been dispensed with.
He had here drawn a fine program, and needlessly placarded it for the
street populations: and afterwards there rose, as could not fail on
their part, comparison between program and performance; scornful cry,
chiefly from men of weak judgment, "Is this King an ANTI-Machiavel,
then? Pfui!" Of which,--though Voltaire's voice, too, was heard in
it, in angry moments,--we shall say nothing: the reader, looking
for himself, will judge by and by. And herewith enough of the
ANTI-MACHIAVEL. Composition of ANTI-MACHIAVEL and speculation of the
Pine HENRIADE lasted, both of them, all through this Year 1739, and
farther: from these two items, not to mention any other, readers can
figure sufficiently how literary a year it was.



FRIEDRICH IN PREUSSEN AGAIN; AT THE STUD OF TRAKEHNEN. A TRAGICALLY
GREAT EVENT COMING ON.

In July this year the Crown-Prince went with Papa on the Prussian
Review-journey. ["Set out, 7th July" (_OEuvres,_ xxvii. part 1st, 67
n.).] Such attendance on Review-journeys, a mark of his being well with
Papa, is now becoming usual; they are agreeable excursions, and cannot
but be instructive as well. On this occasion, things went beautifully
with him. Out in those grassy Countries, in the bright Summer, once more
he had an unusually fine time;--and two very special pleasures befell
him. First was, a sight of the Emigrants, our Salzburgers and other, in
their flourishing condition, over in Lithuania yonder. Delightful to see
how the waste is blossoming up again; busy men, with their industries,
their steady pious husbandries, making all things green and fruitful:
horse-droves, cattle-herds, waving cornfields;--a very "SCHMALZGRUBE
(Butter-pit)" of those Northern parts, as it is since called. [Busching,
Erdbeschreibung, ii. 1049.] The Crown-Prince's own words on this matter
we will give; they are in a Letter of his to Voltaire, perhaps already
known to some readers;--and we can observe he writes rather copiously
from those localities at present, and in a cheerful humor with
everybody.

"INSTERBURG, 27th JULY, 1739 (Crown-Prince to Voltaire).... Prussian
Lithuania is a Country a hundred and twenty miles long, by from sixty
to forty broad; ["Miles ENGLISH," we always mean, UNLESS &c.] it was
ravaged by Pestilence at the beginning of this Century; and they say
three hundred thousand people died of disease and famine." Ravaged by
Pestilence and the neglect of King Friedrich I.; till my Father, once
his hands were free, made personal survey of it, and took it up, in
earnest.

"Since that time," say twenty years ago, "there is no expense that the
King has been afraid of, in order to succeed in his salutary views.
He made, in the first place, regulations full of wisdom; he rebuilt
wherever the Pestilence had desolated: thousands of families, from the
ends of Europe," seventeen thousand Salzburgers for the last item, "were
conducted hither; the Country repeopled itself; trade began to flourish
again;--and now, in these fertile regions, abundance reigns more than it
ever did.

"There are above half a million of inhabitants in Lithuania; there are
more towns than there ever were, more flocks than formerly, more wealth
and more productiveness than in any other part of Germany. And all
this that I tell you of is due to the King alone: who not only gave the
orders, but superintended the execution of them; it was he that devised
the plans, and himself got them carried to fulfilment; and spared
neither care nor pains, nor immense expenditures, nor promises nor
recompenses, to secure happiness and life to this half-million of
thinking beings, who owe to him alone that they have possessions and
felicity in the world.

"I hope this detail does not weary you. I depend on your humanity
extending itself to your Lithuanian brethren, as well as to your French,
English, German, or other,--all the more as, to my great astonishment,
I passed through villages where you hear nothing spoken but French.--I
have found something so heroic, in the generous and laborious way in
which the King addressed himself to making this desert flourish with
inhabitants and happy industries and fruits, that it seemed to me you
would feel the same sentiments in learning the circumstances of such
a re-establishment. I daily expect news of you from Enghien" [in those
Dutch-Lawsuit Countries].... The divine Emilie;... the Duke [D'Aremberg,
Austrian Soldier, of convivial turn,--remote Welsh-Uncle to a certain
little Prince de Ligne, now spinning tops in those parts; [Born 23d
May, 1735, this latter little Prince; lasted till 13th December, 1814
("DANSE, MAIS IL NE MARCHE PAS").] not otherwise interesting], whom
Apollo contends for against Bacchues.... Adieu. NE M'OUBLIEZ PAS, MON
CHER AMI." [_OEuvres,_ xxi. 304, 305.]

This is one pleasant scene, to the Crown-Prince and us, in those grassy
localities. And now we have to mention that, about a fortnight later,
at Konigsberg one day, in reference to a certain Royal Stud or
Horse-breeding Establishment in those same Lithuanian regions, there had
a still livelier satisfaction happened him; satisfaction of a personal
and filial nature. The name of this Royal Stud, inestimable on such
ground, is Trakehnen,--lies south of Tilsit, in an upper valley of the
Pregel river;--very extensive Horse-Establishment, "with seven farms
under it," say the Books, and all "in the most perfect order," they need
hardly add, Friedrich Wilhelm being master of it. Well, the Royal
Party was at Konigsberg, so far on the road homewards again from those
outlying parts, when Friedrich Wilhelm said one day to his Son, quite in
a cursory manner, "I give thee that Stud of Trakehnen; thou must go back
and look to it;" which struck Fritz quite dumb at the moment.

For it is worth near upon 2,000 pounds a year (12,000 thalers); a
welcome new item in our impoverished budget; and it is an undeniable
sign of Papa's good-humor with us, which is more precious still. Fritz
made his acknowledgments, eloquent with looks, eloquent with voice,
on coming to himself; and is, in fact, very proud of his gift, and
celebrates it to his Wilhelmina, to Camas and others who have a right to
know such a thing. Grand useful gift; and handed over by Papa grandly,
in three business words, as if it had been a brace of game: "I give it
thee, Fritz!" A thing not to be forgotten. "At bottom, Friedrich Wilhelm
was not avaricious" (not a miser, only a man grandly abhorring waste,
as the poor vulgar cannot do), "not avaricious," says Pollnitz once;
"he made munificent gifts, and never thought of them more." This of
Trakehnen,--perhaps there might be a whiff of coming Fate concerned in
it withal: "I shall soon be dead, not able to give thee anything, poor
Fritz!" To the Prince and us it is very beautiful; a fine effulgence of
the inner man of Friedrich Wilhelm. The Prince returned to Trakehnen, on
this glad errand; settled the business details there; and, after a
few days, went home by a route of his own;--well satisfied with this
Prussian-Review journey, as we may imagine.

     [SEE EARLIER---Prussian Review-journey (placing of hyphen)]

One sad thing there was, though Friedrich did not yet know how sad, in
this Review-journey: the new fit of illness that overtook his Majesty.
From Pollnitz, who was of the party, we have details on that head.
In his Majesty's last bad illness, five years ago, when all seemed
hopeless, it appears the surgeons had relieved him,--in fact recovered
him, bringing off the bad humors in quantity,--by an incision in the
foot or leg. In the course of the present fatigues, this old wound broke
out again; which of course stood much in the way of his Majesty; and
could not be neglected, as probably the causes of it were. A regimental
surgeon, Pollnitz says, was called in; who, in two days, healed the
wound,--and declared all to be right again; though in fact, as we may
judge, it was dangerously worse than before. "All well here," writes
Friedrich; "the King has been out of order, but is now entirely
recovered (TOUT A FAIT REMIS)." ["Konigsberg, 30th July, 1739," to his
Wife (_OEuvres,_ xxvi. 6).]

Much reviewing and heavy business followed at Konigsberg;--gift of
Trakehnen, and departure of the Crown-Prince for Trakehnen, winding it
up. Directly on the heel of which, his Majesty turned homewards, the
Crown-Prince not to meet him till once at Berlin again. Majesty's first
stage was at Pillau, where we have been. At Pillau, or next day at
Dantzig, Pollnitz observed a change in his Majesty's humor, which had
been quite sunshiny all this journey hitherto. At Dantzig Pollnitz
first noticed it; but at every new stage it grew worse, evil accidents
occurring to worsen it; and at Berlin it was worst of all;--and, alas,
his poor Majesty never recovered his sunshine in this world again! Here
is Pollnitz's account of the journey homewards:--

"Till now," till Pillau and Dantzig, "his Majesty had been in especially
good humor; but in Dantzig his cheerfulness forsook him;--and it never
came back. He arrived about ten at night in that City [Wednesday, 12th
August, or thereby]; slept there; and was off again next morning at
five. He drove only thirty miles this day; stopped in Lupow [coast road
through Pommern], with Herr von Grumkow [the late Grumkow's Brother],
Kammer President in this Pommern Province. From Lupow he went to a poor
Village near Belgard, EIGHTY miles farther;"--last village on the great
road, Belgard lying to left a little, on a side road;--"and stayed there
overnight.

"At Belgard, next morning, he reviewed the Dragoon Regiment von
Platen; and was very ill content with it. And nobody, with the least
understanding of that business, but must own that never did Prussian
Regiment manoeuvre worse. Conscious themselves how bad it was, they lost
head, and got into open confusion. The King did all that was possible
to help them into order again. He withdrew thrice over, to give the
Officers time to recover themselves; but it was all in vain. The King,
contrary to wont, restrained himself amazingly, and would not show his
displeasure in public. He got into his carriage, and drove away with
the Furst of Anhalt," Old Dessauer, "and Von Winterfeld," Captain in the
Giant Regiment, "who is now Major-General von Winterfeld; [Major-General
since 1743, of high fame; fell in fight, 7th September, 1757.] not
staying to dine with General von Platen, as was always his custom with
Commandants whom he had reviewed. He bade Prince Wilhelm and the rest of
us stay and dine; he himself drove away,"--towards the great road again,
and some uncertain lodging there.

"We stayed accordingly; and did full justice to the good cheer,"--though
poor Platen would certainly look flustered, one may fancy. "But as the
Prince was anxious to come up with his Majesty again, and knew not where
he would meet him, we had to be very swift with the business.

"We found the King with Anhalt and Winterfeld, by and by; sitting in
a village, in front of a barn, and eating a cold pie there, which the
Furst of Anhalt had chanced to have with him; his Majesty, owing to what
he had seen on the parade-ground, was in the utmost ill-humor (HOCHST
UBLER LAUNE). Next day, Saturday, he went a hundred and fifty or two
hundred miles; and arrived in Berlin at ten at night. Not expected there
till the morrow; so that his rooms were locked,--her Majesty being over
in Monbijou, giving her children a Ball;" [Pollnitz, ii. 534-537.]--and
we can fancy what a frame of mind there was!

Nobody, not at first even the Doctors, much heeded this new fit of
illness; which went and came: "changed temper," deeper or less deep
gloom of "bad humor," being the main phenomenon to by-standers. But the
sad truth was, his Majesty never did recover his sunshine; from Pillau
onwards he was slowly entering into the shadows of the total Last
Eclipse; and his journeyings and reviewings in this world were all done.
Ten months hence, Pollnitz and others knew better what it had been!--



Chapter VII. -- LAST YEAR OF REINSBERG: TRANSIT OF BALTIMORE AND OTHER
PERSONS AND THINGS.

Friedrich had not been long home again from Trakehnen and Preussen,
when the routine of things at Reinsberg was illuminated by Visitors, of
brilliant and learned quality; some of whom, a certain Signor Algarotti
for one, require passing mention here. Algarotti, who became a permanent
friend or satellite, very luminous to the Prince, and was much about him
in coming years, first shone out upon the scene at this time,--coming
unexpectedly, and from the Eastward as it chanced.

On his own score, Algarotti has become a wearisome literary man to
modern readers: one of those half-remembered men; whose books seem to
claim a reading, and do not repay it you when given. Treatises, of a
serious nature, ON THE OPERA; setting forth, in earnest, the potential
"moral uses" of the Opera, and dedicated to Chatham; _Neutonianismo per
le Donne_ (Astronomy for Ladies): the mere Titles of such things are
fatally sufficient to us; and we cannot, without effort, nor with it,
recall the brilliancy of Algarotti and them to his contemporary world.

Algarotti was a rich Venetian Merchant's Son, precisely about the
Crown-Prince's age; shone greatly in his studies at Bologna and
elsewhere; had written Poesies (RIME); written especially that
_Newtonianism for the Dames_ (equal to Fontenelle, said Fame, and
orthodox Newtonian withal, not heterodox or Cartesian); and had shone,
respected, at Paris, on the strength of it, for three or four years
past: friend of Voltaire in consequence, of Voltaire and his divine
Emilie, and a welcome guest at Cirey; friend of the cultivated world
generally, which was then laboring, divine Emilie in the van of it,
to understand Newton and be orthodox in this department of things.
Algarotti did fine Poesies, too, once and again; did Classical
Scholarships, and much else: everywhere a clear-headed, methodically
distinct, concise kind of man. A high style of breeding about him,
too; had powers of pleasing, and used them: a man beautifully lucent in
society, gentle yet impregnable there; keeping himself unspotted from
the world and its discrepancies,--really with considerable prudence,
first and last.

He is somewhat of the Bielfeld type; a Merchant's Son, we observe, like
Bielfeld; but a Venetian Merchant's, not a Hamburg's; and also of better
natural stuff than Bielfeld. Concentrated himself upon his task with
more seriousness, and made a higher thing of it than Bielfeld; though,
after all, it was the same task the two had. Alas, our "Swan of
Padua" (so they sometimes called him) only sailed, paddling grandly,
no-whither,--as the Swan-Goose of the Elbe did, in a less stately
manner! One cannot well bear to read his Books. There is no light upon
Friedrich to tempt us; better light than Bielfeld's there could have
been, and much of it: but he prudently, as well as proudly, forbore such
topics. He approaches very near fertility and geniality in his writings,
but never reaches it. Dilettantism become serious and strenuous, in
those departments--Well, it was beautiful to young Friedrich and
the world at that time, though it is not to us!--Young Algarotti,
twenty-seven this year, has been touring about as a celebrity these four
years past, on the strength of his fine manners and _Newtonianism for
the Dames._

It was under escort of Baltimore, "an English Milord," recommended from
Potsdam itself, that Algarotti came to Reinsberg; the Signor had much to
do with English people now and after. Where Baltimore first picked him
up, I know not: but they have been to Russia together; Baltimore by
twelve years the elder of the two: and now, getting home towards
England again, they call at Reinsberg in the fine Autumn weather;--and
considerably captivate the Crown-Prince, Baltimore playing chief,
in that as in other points. The visit lasted five days: [20th-25th
September, 1739 (_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xiv. p. xiv).] there was copious
speech on many things;--discussion about Printing of the ANTI MACHIAVEL;
Algarotti to get it printed in England, Algarotti to get Pine and
his Engraved HENRIADE put under way; neither of which projects took
effect;--readers can conceive what a charming five days these were.
Here, in the Crown-Prince's own words, are some brief glimmerings which
will suffice us:--

REINSBERG, 25th SEPT. 1739 (Crown-Prince to Papa).... that "nothing new
has occurred in the Regiment, and we have few sick. Here has the English
Milord, who was at Potsdam, passing through [stayed five days, though
we call it passing, and suppress the Algarotti, Baltimore being indeed
chief]. He is gone towards Hamburg, to take ship for England there. As
I heard that my Most All-gracious Father wished I should show him
courtesy, I have done for him what I could. The Prince of Mirow has also
been here,"--our old Strelitz friend. Of Baltimore nothing more to
Papa. But to another Correspondent, to the good Suhm (who is now at
Petersburg, and much in our intimacy, ready to transact loans for us,
translate Wolf, or do what is wanted), there is this passage next day:--

REINSBERG, 26th SEPTEMBER, 1739 (to Suhm). "We have had Milord
Baltimore here, and the young Algarotti; both of them men who, by their
accomplishments, cannot but conciliate the esteem and consideration
of all who see them. We talked much of you [Suhm], of Philosophy, of
Science, Art; in short, of all that can be included in the taste of
cultivated people (HONNETES GENS)." [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi. 378.]
And again to another, about two weeks hence:--

REINSBERG, 10th OCTOBER, 1739 (to Voltaire). "We have had Milord
Baltimore and Algarotti here, who are going back to England. This Milord
is a very sensible man (HOMME TRESSENSE); who possesses a great deal of
knowledge, and thinks, like us, that sciences can be no disparagement to
nobility, nor degrade an illustrious rank. I admired the genius of this
ANGLAIS, as one does a fine face through a crape veil. He speaks French
very ill, yet one likes to hear him speak it; and as for his English,
he pronounces it so quick, there is no possibility of following him. He
calls a Russian 'a mechanical animal.' He says 'Petersburg is the eye
of Russia, with which it keeps civilized countries in sight; if you took
this eye from it, Russia would fall again into barbarism, out of which
it is just struggling.' [Ib. xxi. 326, 327.]... Young Algarotti,
whom you know, pleased me beyond measure. He promised that he"--But
Baltimore, promise or not, is the chief figure at present.

Evidently an original kind of figure to us, CET ANGLAIS. And indeed
there is already finished a rhymed EPISTLE to Baltimore; _Epitre sur la
Liberte_ (copy goes in that same LETTER, for Voltaire's behoof), which
dates itself likewise October 10th; beginning,--_"L'esprit libre,
Milord, qui regne en Angleterre,"_ which, though it is full of fine
sincere sentiments, about human dignity, papal superstition, Newton,
Locke, and aspirations for progress of culture in Prussia, no reader
could stand at this epoch.

What Baltimore said in answer to the EPITRE, we do not know; probably
not much: it does not appear he ever saw or spoke to Friedrich a second
time. Three weeks after, Friedrich writing to Algarotti, has these
words: "I pray you make my friendships to Milord Baltimore, whose
character and manner of thinking I truly esteem. I hope he has, by this
time, got my EPITRE on the English Liberty of Thought." [29th October
1739, To Algarotti in London (_OEuvres,_ xviii. 5).] And so Baltimore
passes on, silent in History henceforth,--though Friedrich seems to have
remembered him to late times, as a kind of type-figure when England came
into his head. For the sake of this small transit over the sun's disk, I
have made some inquiry about Baltimore; but found very little;--perhaps
enough:--

"He was Charles, Sixth Lord Baltimore, it appears; Sixth, and last
but one. First of the Baltimores, we know, was Secretary Calvert
(1618-1624), who colonized Maryland; last of them (1774) was the Son
of this Charles; something of a fool, to judge by the face of him in
Portraits, and by some of his doings in the world. He, that Seventh
Baltimore, printed one or two little Volumes "now of extreme
rarity"--(cannot be too rare); and winded up by standing an ugly Trial
at Kingston Assizes (plaintiff an unfortunate female). After which he
retired to Naples, and there ended, 1774, the last of these Milords.
[Walpole (by Park), _Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors_ (London,
1806), v. 278.]

"He of the Kingston Assizes, we say, was not this Charles; but his
Son, whom let the reader forget. Charles, age forty at this time, had
travelled about the Continent a good deal: once, long ago, we imagined
we had got a glimpse of him (but it was a guess merely) lounging
about Luneville and Lorraine, along with Lyttelton, in the
Congress-of-Soissons time? Not long after that, it is certain enough,
he got appointed a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince Fred; who was a
friend of speculative talkers and cultivated people. In which situation
Charles Sixth Baron Baltimore continued all his days after; and might
have risen by means of Fred, as he was anxious enough to do, had both of
them lived; but they both died; Baltimore first, in 1751, a year before
Fred. Bubb Doddington, diligent laborer in the same Fred vineyard,
was much infested by this Baltimore,--who, drunk or sober (for he
occasionally gets into liquor), is always putting out Bubb, and
stands too well with our Royal Master, one secretly fears! Baltimore's
finances, I can guess, were not in too good order; mostly an Absentee;
Irish Estates not managed in the first style, while one is busy in the
Fred vineyard! 'The best and honestest man in the world, with a good
deal of jumbled knowledge,' Walpole calls him once: 'but not capable of
conducting a party.'" [Walpole's _Letters to Mann_ (London, 1843), ii.
175; 27th January, 1747. See ib. i. 82.] Oh no;--and died, at any rate,
Spring 1751: [_Peerage of Ireland_ (London, 1768), ii. 172-174.] and we
will not mention him farther.



BIELFELD, WHAT HE SAW AT REINSBERG AND AROUND.

Directly on the rear of these fine visitors, came, by invitation, a pair
of the Korn's-Hotel people; Masonic friends; one of whom was Bielfeld,
whose dainty Installation Speech and ways of procedure had been of
promise to the Prince on that occasion. "Baron von Oberg" was the
other:--Hanoverian Baron: the same who went into the Wars, and was a
"General von Oberg" twenty years hence? The same or another, it does
not much concern us. Nor does the visit much, or at all; except that
Bielfeld, being of writing nature, professes to give ocular account
of it. Honest transcript of what a human creature actually saw at
Reinsberg, and in the Berlin environment at that date, would have had
a value to mankind: but Bielfeld has adopted the fictitious form;
and pretty much ruined for us any transcript there is. Exaggeration,
gesticulation, fantastic uncertainty afflict the reader; and prevent
comfortable belief, except where there is other evidence than
Bielfeld's.

At Berlin the beautiful straight streets, Linden Avenues (perhaps a
better sample than those of our day), were notable to Bielfeld; bridges,
statues very fine; grand esplanades, and such military drilling and
parading as was never seen. He had dinner-invitations, too, in quantity;
likes this one and that (all in prudent asterisks),---likes Truchsess
von Waldburg very much, and his strange mode of bachelor housekeeping,
and the way he dines and talks among his fellow-creatures, or sits
studious among his Military Books and Paper-litters. But all is loose
far-off sketching, in the style of _Anacharsis the Younger;_ and makes
no solid impression.

Getting to Reinsberg, to the Town, to the Schloss, he crosses the
esplanade, the moat; sees what we know, beautiful square Mansion among
its woods and waters;--and almost nothing that we do not know, except
the way the moat-bridge is lighted: "Bridge furnished," he says, "with
seven Statues representing the seven Planets, each holding in her hand
a glass lamp in the form of a globe;"--which is a pretty object in the
night-time. The House is now finished; Knobelsdorf rejoicing in his
success; Pesne and others giving the last touch to some ceilings of
a sublime nature. On the lintel of the gate is inscribed FREDERICO
TRANQUILLITATEM COLENTI (To Friedrich courting Tranquillity). The
gardens, walks, hermitages, grottos, are very spacious, fine: not yet
completed,--perhaps will never be. A Temple of Bacchus is just now on
hand, somewhere in those labyrinthic woods: "twelve gigantic Satyrs as
caryatides, crowned by an inverted Punch-bowl for dome;" that is the
ingenious Knobelsdorf's idea, pleasant to the mind. Knobelsdorf is of
austere aspect; austere, yet benevolent and full of honest sagacity;
the very picture of sound sense, thinks Bielfeld. M. Jordan is handsome,
though of small stature; agreeable expression of face; eye extremely
vivid; brown complexion, bushy eyebrows as well as beard are black.
[Bielfeld (abridged), i. 45.]

Or did the reader ever hear of "M. Fredersdorf," Head Valet at this
time? Fredersdorf will become, as it were, Privy-Purse, House-Friend,
and domestic Factotum, and play a great part in coming years. "A tall
handsome man;" much "silent sense, civility, dexterity;" something
"magnificently clever in him," thinks Bielfeld (now, or else twenty
years afterwards); whom we can believe. [Ib. p. 49.] He was a gift
from General Schwerin, this Fredersdorf; once a Private in Schwerin's
regiment, at Frankfurt-on-Oder,--excellent on the flute, for one
quality. Schwerin, who had an eye for men, sent him to Friedrich, in the
Custrin time; hoping he might suit in fluting and otherwise. Which he
conspicuously did. Bielfeld's account, we must candidly say, appears
to be an afterthought; but readers can make their profit of it, all the
same.

As to the Crown-Prince and Princess, words fail to express
their gracious perfections, their affabilities, polite
ingenuities:--Bielfeld's words do give us some pleasant shadowy
conceivability of the Crown-Princess:--

"Tall, and perfect in shape; bust such as a sculptor might copy;
complexion of the finest; features ditto; nose, I confess, smallish
and pointed, but excellent of that kind; hair of the supremest flaxen,
'shining' like a flood of sunbeams, when the powder is off it. A humane
ingenuous Princess; little negligences in toilet or the like, if such
occur, even these set her off, so ingenuous are they. Speaks little;
but always to the purpose, in a simple, cheerful and wise way. Dances
beautifully; heart (her soubrette assures me) is heavenly;--and 'perhaps
no Princess living has a finer set of diamonds.'"

Of the Crown-Princess there is some pleasant shadow traced as on cobweb,
to this effect. But of the Crown-Prince there is no forming the
least conception from what he says:--this is mere cobweb with Nothing
elaborately painted on it. Nor do the portraits of the others attract
by their verisimilitude. Here is Colonel Keyserling, for instance; the
witty Courlander, famous enough in the Friedrich circle; who went on
embassy to Cirey, and much else: he "whirls in with uproar (FRACAS)
like Boreas in the Ballet;" fowling-piece on shoulder, and in his
"dressing-gown" withal, which is still stranger; snatches off Bielfeld,
unknown till that moment, to sit by him while dressing; and there, with
much capering, pirouetting, and indeed almost ground-and-lofty
tumbling, for accompaniment, "talks of Horses, Mathematics, Painting,
Architecture, Literature, and the Art of War," while he dresses. This
gentleman was once Colonel in Friedrich Wilhelm's Army; is now fairly
turned of forty, and has been in troubles: we hope he is not LIKE in the
Bielfeld Portrait;--otherwise, how happy that we never had the honor of
knowing him! Indeed, the Crown-Prince's Household generally, as Bielfeld
paints it in flourishes of panegyric, is but unattractive; barren to
the modern on-looker; partly the Painter's blame, we doubt not. He gives
details about their mode of dining, taking coffee, doing concert;--and
describes once an incidental drinking-bout got up aforethought by the
Prince; which is probably in good part fiction, though not ill done.
These fantastic sketchings, rigorously winnowed into the credible and
actual, leave no great residue in that kind; but what little they do
leave is of favorable and pleasant nature.

Bielfeld made a visit privately to Potsdam, too: saw the Giants drill;
made acquaintance with important Captains of theirs (all in ASTERISKS)
at Potsdam; with whom he dined, not in a too credible manner, and even
danced. Among the asterisks, we easily pick out Captain Wartensleben
(of the Korn's-Hotel operation), and Winterfeld, a still more important
Captain, whom we saw dining on cold pie with his Majesty, at a barn-door
in Pommern, not long since. Of the Giants, or their life at Potsdam,
Bielfeld's word is not worth hearing,--worth suppressing rather; his
knowledge being so small, and hung forth in so fantastic a way. This
transient sight he had of his Majesty in person; this, which is
worth something to us,--fact being evidently lodged in it, "After
church-parade," Autumn Sunday afternoon (day uncertain, Bielfeld's
date being fictitious, and even impossible), Majesty drove out to
Wusterhausen, "where the quantities of game surpass all belief;" and
Bielfeld had one glimpse of him:--

"I saw his Majesty only, as it were, in passing. If I may judge by his
Portraits, he must have been of a perfect beauty in his young time; but
it must be confessed there is nothing left of it now. His eyes truly are
fine; but the glance of them is terrible: his complexion is composed
of the strongest tints of red, blue, yellow, green,"--not a lovely
complexion at all; "big head; the thick neck sunk between the shoulders;
figure short and heavy (COURTE ET RAMASSEE)." [Bielfeld, p. 35.]

"Going out to Wusterhausen," then, that afternoon, "October, 1739." How
his Majesty is crushed down; quite bulged out of shape in that sad way,
by the weight of time and its pressures: his thoughts, too, most likely,
of a heavy-laden and abstruse nature! The old Pfalz Controversy has
misgone with him: Pfalz, and so much else in the world;--the world in
whole, probably enough, near ending to him; the final shadows, sombre,
grand and mournful, closing in upon him!



TURK WAR ENDS; SPANISH WAR BEGINS. A WEDDING IN PETERSBURG.

Last news come to Potsdam in these days is, The Kaiser has ended his
disastrous Turk War; been obliged to end it; sudden downbreak, and as it
were panic terror, having at last come upon his unfortunate Generals in
those parts. Duke Franz was passionate to be out of such a thing; Franz,
General Neipperg and others; and now, "2d September, 1739," like lodgers
leaping from a burning house, they are out of it. The Turk gets Belgrade
itself, not to mention wide territories farther east,--Belgrade without
shot fired;--nay the Turk was hardly to be kept from hanging the
Imperial Messenger (a General Neipperg, Duke Franz's old Tutor, and
chief Confidant, whom we shall hear more of elsewhere), whose passport
was not quite right on this occasion!--Never was a more disgraceful
Peace. But also never had been worse fighting; planless, changeful,
powerless, melting into futility at every step:--not to be mended by
imprisonments in Gratz, and still harsher treatment of individuals. "Has
all success forsaken me, then, since Eugene died?" said the Kaiser; and
snatched at this Turk Peace; glad to have it, by mediation of France,
and on any terms.

Has not this Kaiser lost his outlying properties at a fearful rate?
Naples is gone; Spanish Bourbon sits in our Naples; comparatively
little left for us in Italy. And now the very Turk has beaten us small;
insolently fillips the Imperial nose of us,--threatening to hang our
Neipperg, and the like. Were it not for Anne of Russia, whose big
horse-whip falls heavy on this Turk, he might almost get to Vienna
again, for anything we could do! A Kaiser worthy to be pitied;--whom
Friedrich Wilhelm, we perceive, does honestly pity. A Kaiser much
beggared, much disgraced, in late years; who has played a huge life-game
so long, diplomatizing, warring; and, except the Shadow of Pragmatic
Sanction, has nothing to retire upon.

The Russians protested, with astonishment, against such Turk Peace on
the Kaiser's part. But there was no help for it. One ally is gone, the
Kaiser has let go this Western skirt of the Turk; and "Thamas Kouli
Khan" (called also Nadir Shah, famed Oriental slasher and slayer of that
time) no longer stands upon the Eastern skirt, but "has entered India,"
it appears: the Russians--their cash, too, running low--do themselves
make peace, "about a month after;" restoring Azoph and nearly all their
conquests; putting off the ruin of the Turk till a better time.

War is over in the East, then; but another in the West, England against
Spain (Spain and France to help), is about beginning. Readers remember
how Jenkins's Ear re-emerged, Spring gone a year, in a blazing
condition? Here, through SYLVANUS URBAN himself, are two direct
glimpses, a twelve-month nearer hand, which show us how the matter has
been proceeding since:--

"LONDON, 19th FEBRUARY, 1739. The City Authorities,"--laying or going to
lay "the foundation of the Mansion-House" (Edifice now very black in our
time), and doing other things of little moment to us, "had a Masquerade
at the Guildhall this night. There was a very splendid appearance at the
Masquerade; but among the many humorous and whimsical characters, what
seemed most to engage attention was a Spaniard, who called himself
'Knight of the Ear;' as Badge of which Order he wore on his breast the
form of a Star, with its points tinged in blood; and on the body of it
an Ear painted, and in capital letters the word JENKINS encircling it.
Across his shoulder there hung, instead of ribbon, a large Halter; which
he held up to several persons dressed as English Sailors, who seemed in
great terror of him, and falling on their knees suffered him to rummage
their pockets; which done, he would insolently dismiss them with strokes
of his halter. Several of the Sailors had a bloody Ear hanging down from
their heads; and on their hats were these words, EAR FOR EAR; on others,
NO SEARCH OR NO TRADE; with the like sentences." [_Gentleman's
Magazine_ for 1739, p. 103;--our DATES, as always, are N. 8.] The
conflagration evidently going on; not likely to be damped down again, by
ministerial art!--

"LONDON, 19th MARCH, 1739." Grand Debate in Parliament, on the late
"Spanish Convention," pretended Bargain of redress lately got from
Spain: Approve the Convention, or Not approve? "A hundred Members were
in the House of Commons before seven, this morning; and four hundred had
taken their seat by ten; which is an unheard-of thing. Prince of Wales,"
Fred in person, "was in the gallery till twelve at night, and had his
dinner sent to him. Sir Robert Walpole rose: 'Sir, the great pains
that have been taken to influence all ranks and degrees of men in this
Nation--... But give me leave to'"--apply a wet cloth to Honorable
Gentlemen. Which he does, really with skill and sense. France and the
others are so strong, he urges; England so unprepared; Kaiser at such
a pass; 'War like to be, about the Palatinate Dispute [our friend
Friedrich Wilhelm's]: Where is England to get, allies?'--and hours long
of the like sort. A judicious wet cloth; which proved unavailing.

For "William Pitts" (so they spell the great Chatham that is to be) was
eloquent on the other side: "Despairing Merchants," "Voice of England,"
and so on. And the world was all in an inflamed state. And Mr. Pulteney
exclaimed: Palatinate? Allies? "We need no allies; the case of Mr.
Jenkins will raise us volunteers everywhere!" And in short,--after eight
months more of haggling, and applying wet cloths,--Walpole, in the
name of England, has to declare War against Spain; ["3d November (23d
October), 1739."] the public humor proving unquenchable on that matter.
War; and no Peace to be, "till our undoubted right," to roadway on
the oceans of this Planet, become permanently manifest to the Spanish
Majesty.

Such the effect of a small Ear, kept about one in cotton, from ursine
piety or other feelings. Has not Jenkins's Ear re-emerged, with a
vengeance? It has kindled a War: dangerous for kindling other Wars, and
setting the whole world on fire,--as will be too evident in the sequel!
The EAR OF JENKINS is a singular thing. Might have mounted to be a
constellation, like BERENICE'S HAIR, and other small facts become
mythical, had the English People been of poetic turn! Enough of IT, for
the time being.--

This Summer, Anton Ulrich, at Petersburg, did wed his Serene Mecklenburg
Princess, Heiress of all the Russias: "July 14th, 1739,"--three months
before that Drive to Wusterhausen, which we saw lately. Little
Anton Ulrich, Cadet of Brunswick; our Friedrich's Brother-in-Law;--a
noticeably small man in comparison to such bulk of destiny, thinks
Friedrich, though the case is not without example! [A Letter of his to
Suhm; touching on Franz of Lorraine and this Anton Ulrich.]

"Anton Ulrich is now five-and-twenty," says one of my Notebooks;
"a young gentleman of small stature, shining courage in battle, but
somewhat shy and bashful; who has had his troubles in Petersburg
society, till the trial came,--and will have. Here are the stages of
Anton Ulrich's felicity:--

"WINTER, 1732-1733. He was sent for to Petersburg (his Serene Aunt the
German Kaiserinn, and Kaiser Karl's diplomatists, suggesting it there),
with the view of his paying court to the young Mecklenburg Princess,
Heiress of all the Russias, of whom we have often heard. February, 1733,
he arrived on this errand;--not approved of at all by the Mecklenburg
Princess, by Czarina Anne or anybody there: what can be done with
such an uncomfortable little creature? They gave him the Colonelcy of
Cuirassiers: 'Drill there, and endure.'

"SPRING, 1737. Much-enduring, diligently drilling, for four years past,
he went this year to the Turk War under Munnich;--much pleased Munnich,
at Oczakow and elsewhere; who reports in the War-Office high things of
him. And on the whole,--the serene Vienna people now again
bestirring themselves, with whom we are in copartnery in this Turk
business,--little Anton Ulrich is encouraged to proceed. Proceeds;
formally demands his Mecklenburg Princess; and,

"JULY 14th, 1739, weds her; the happiest little man in all the Russias,
and with the biggest destiny, if it prosper. Next year, too, there
came a son and heir; whom they called Iwan, in honor of his Russian
Great-grandfather. Shall we add the subsequent felicities of Anton
Ulrich here; or wait till another opportunity?"

Better wait. This is all, and more than all, his Prussian Majesty,
rolling out of Wusterhausen that afternoon, ever knew of them, or needed
to know!--



Chapter VIII. -- DEATH OF FRIEDRICH WILHELM.

At Wusterhausen, this Autumn, there is game as usual, but little or
no hunting for the King. He has to sit drearily within doors, for most
part; listening to the rustle of falling leaves, to dim Winter coming
with its rains and winds. Field-sports are a rumor from without: for him
now no joyous sow-baiting, deer-chasing;--that, like other things, is
past.

In the beginning of November, he came to Berlin; was worse there, and
again was better;--strove to do the Carnival, as had been customary;
but, in a languid, lamed manner. One night he looked in upon an
evening-party which General Schulenburg was giving: he returned home,
chilled, shivering, could not, all night, be brought to heat again.
It was the last evening-party Friedrich Wilhelm ever went to. [Pollnitz
(ii. 538); who gives no date.] Lieutenant-General Schulenburg: the same
who doomed young Friedrich to death, as President of the Court-Martial;
and then wrote the Three Letters about him which we once looked into:
illuminates himself in this manner in Berlin society,--Carnival
season, 1740, weather fiercely cold. Maypole Schulenburg the lean Aunt,
Ex-Mistress of George I., over in London,--I think she must now be dead?
Or if not dead, why not! Memory, for the tenth time, fails me, of the
humanly unmemorable, whom perhaps even flunkies should forget; and I
will try it no more. The stalwart Lieutenant-General will reappear on
us once, twice at the utmost, and never again. He gave the last
evening-party Friedrich Wilhelm ever went to.

Poor Friedrich Wilhelm is in truth very ill; tosses about all day, in
and out of bed,--bed and wheeled-chair drearily alternating; suffers
much;--and again, in Diplomatic circles, the rumors are rife and
sinister. Ever from this chill at Schulenburg's the medicines did him
no good, says Pollnitz: if he rallied, it was the effect of Nature, and
only temporary. He does daily, with punctuality, his Official business;
perhaps the best two hours he has of the four-and-twenty, for the
time hangs heavy on him. His old Generals sit round his bed, talking,
smoking, as it was five years ago; his Feekin and his Children much
about him, out and in: the heavy-laden, weary hours roll round as they
can. In general there is a kind of constant Tabaks-Collegium, old Flans,
Camas, Hacke, Pollnitz, Derschau, and the rest by turns always there;
the royal Patient cannot be left alone, without faces he likes: other
Generals, estimable in their way, have a physiognomy displeasing to the
sick man; and will smart for it if they enter,--"At sight of HIM every
pain grows painfuler!"--the poor King being of poetic temperament, as
we often say. Friends are encouraged to smoke, especially to keep up
a stream of talk; if at any time he fall into a doze and they cease
talking, the silence will awaken him.

He is worst off in the night; sleep very bad: and among his sore bodily
pains, ennui falls very heavy to a mind so restless. He can paint, he
can whittle, chisel: at last they even mount him a table, in his
bed, with joiner's tools, mallets, glue-pots, where he makes small
carpentry,--the talk to go on the while;--often at night is the sound of
his mallet audible in the Palace Esplanade; and Berlin townsfolk pause
to listen, with many thoughts of a sympathetic or at least inarticulate
character: "HM, WEH, IHRO MAJESTAT: ACH GOTT, pale Death knocks with
impartial foot at the huts of poor men and the Palaces of Kings!"
[Pollnitz, ii. 539.] Reverend Herr Roloff, whom they call Provost
(PROBST, Chief Clergyman) Roloff, a pious honest man and preacher, he,
I could guess, has already been giving spiritual counsel now and then;
later interviews with Roloff are expressly on record: for it is the
King's private thought, ever and anon borne in upon him, that death
itself is in this business.

Queen and Children, mostly hoping hitherto, though fearing too, live
in much anxiety and agitation. The Crown-Prince is often over from
Reinsberg; must not come too often, nor even inquire too much: his
affectionate solicitude might be mistaken for solicitude of another
kind! It is certain he is in no haste to be King; to quit the haunts of
the Muses, and embark on Kingship. Certain, too, he loves his Father;
shudders at the thought of losing HIM. And yet again there will gleams
intrude of a contrary thought; which the filial heart disowns, with a
kind of horror, "Down, thou impious thought!"--We perceive he manages in
general to push the crisis away from him; to believe that real danger is
still distant. His demeanor, so far as we can gather from his Letters or
other evidence, is amiable, prudent, natural; altogether that of a human
Son in those difficult circumstances. Poor Papa is heavy-laden: let us
help to bear his burdens;--let us hope the crisis is still far off!--

Once, on a favorable evening, probably about the beginning of April,
when he felt as if improving, Friedrich Wilhelm resolved to dress, and
hold Tobacco-Parliament again in a formal manner, Let us look in
there, through the eyes of Pollnitz, who was of it, upon the last
Tobacco-Parliament:--

"A numerous party; Schwerin, Hacke, Derschau, all the chiefs and
commandants of the Berlin Garrison are there; the old circle full;
social human speech once more, and pipes alight; pleasant to the King.
He does not himself smoke on this occasion; but he is unusually lively
in talk; much enjoys the returning glimpse of old days; and the Tobacco
circle was proceeding through its phases, successful beyond common. All
at once the Crown-Prince steps in; direct from Reinsberg: [12th April,
1740? (_OEuvres,_ xxvii. part lst, p. 29); Pollnitz is dateless] an
unexpected pleasure. At sight of whom the Tobacco circle, taken on
the sudden, simultaneously started up, and made him a bow. Rule is, in
Tobacco-Parliament you do not rise--for anybody; and they have risen.
Which struck the sick heart in a strange painful way. 'Hm, the Rising
Sun?' thinks he; 'Rules broken through, for the Rising Sun. But I am not
dead yet, as you shall know!' ringing for his servants in great wrath;
and had himself rolled out, regardless of protestations and excuses.
'Hither, you Hacke!' said he.

"Hacke followed; but it was only to return on the instant, with the
King's order, 'That you instantly quit the Palace, all of you, and don't
come back!' Solemn respectful message to his Majesty was of no effect,
or of less; they had to go, on those terms; and Pollnitz, making for
his Majesty's apartment next morning as usual, was twitched by a
Gens-d'arme, 'No admittance!' And it was days before the matter would
come round again, under earnest protestations from the one side, and
truculent rebukes from the other." [Pollnitz (abridged), ii. 50.] Figure
the Crown-Prince, figure the poor sick Majesty; and what a time in those
localities!

With the bright spring weather he seemed to revive; towards the end of
April he resolved for Potsdam, everybody thinking him much better, and
the outer Public reckoning the crisis of the illness over. He himself
knew other. It was on the 27th of the month that he went; he said, "Fare
thee well, then, Berlin; I am to die in Potsdam, then (ICH WERDE IN
POTSDAM STERBEN)!" The May-flowers came late; the weather was changeful,
ungenial for the sick man: this winter of 1740 had been the coldest
on record; it extended itself into the very summer; and brought great
distress of every kind;--of which some oral rumor still survives in
all countries. Friedrich Wilhelm heard complaints of scarcity among the
people; admonitions to open his Corn-granaries (such as he always has
in store against that kind of accident); but he still hesitated and
refused; unable to look into it himself, and fearing deceptions.

For the rest, he is struggling between death and life; in general
persuaded that the end is fast hastening on. He sends for Chief Preacher
Roloff out to Potsdam; has some notable dialogues with Roloff, and with
two other Potsdam Clergymen, of which there is record still left us.
In these, as in all his demeanor at this supreme time, we see the big
rugged block of manhood come out very vividly; strong in his simplicity,
in his veracity. Friedrich Wilhelm's wish is to know from Roloff what
the chances are for him in the other world,--which is not less certain
than Potsdam and the giant grenadiers to Friedrich Wilhelm; and where,
he perceives, never half so clearly before, he shall actually peel off
his Kinghood, and stand before God Almighty, no better than a naked
beggar. Roloff's prognostics are not so encouraging as the King had
hoped. Surely this King "never took or coveted what was not his; kept
true to his marriage-vow, in spite of horrible examples everywhere;
believed the Bible, honored the Preachers, went diligently to Church,
and tried to do what he understood God's commandments were?" To all
which Roloff, a courageous pious man, answers with discreet words and
shakings of the head, "Did I behave ill, then; did I ever do injustice?"
Roloff mentions Baron Schlubhut the defalcating Amtmann, hanged at
Konigsberg without even a trial. "He had no trial; but was there any
doubt he had justice? A public thief, confessing he had stolen the taxes
he was set to gather; insolently offering, as if that were all, to
repay the money, and saying, It was not MANIER (good manners) to hang
a nobleman!" Roloff shakes his head, Too violent, your Majesty, and
savoring of the tyrannous. The poor King must repent.

"Well,--is there anything more? Out with it, then; better now than too
late!"--Much oppression, forcing men to build in Berlin.--"Oppression?
was it not their benefit, as well as Berlin's and the Country's? I had
no interest in it other. Derschau, you who managed it?" and his Majesty
turned to Derschau. For all the smoking generals and company are still
here; nor will his Majesty consent to dismiss them from the presence
and be alone with Roloff: "What is there to conceal? They are people of
honor, and my friends." Derschau, whose feats in the building way are
not unknown even to us, answers with a hard face, It was all right and
orderly; nothing out of square in his building operations. To which
Roloff shakes his head: "A thing of public notoriety, Herr General."--"I
will prove everything before a Court," answers the Herr General with
still harder face; Roloff still austerely shaking his head. Hm!--And
then there is forgiveness of enemies; your Majesty is bound to forgive
all men, or how can you ask to be forgiven? "Well, I will, I do; you
Feekin, write to your Brother (unforgivablest of beings), after I am
dead, that I forgave him, died in peace with him."--Better her Majesty
should write at once, suggests Roloff.--"No, after I am dead," persists
the Son of Nature,--that will be safer! [Wrote accordingly, "not able to
finish without many tears;" honest sensible Letter (though indifferently
spelt), "Berlin, 1st June, 1740;"--lies now in State-Paper Office:
"ROYAL LETTERS, vol. xciv., Prussia, 1689-1777."] An unwedgeable and
gnarled big block of manhood and simplicity and sincerity; such as we
rarely get sight of among the modern sons of Adam, among the crowned
sons nearly never. At parting he said to Roloff, "You (ER, He) do not
spare me; it is right. You do your duty like an honest Christian man."
[_Notata ex ore Roloffi_ ("found among the Seckendorf Papers," no date
but "May 1740"), in Forster, ii. 154, 155; in a fragmentary state:
completed in Pollnitz, ii. 545-549.]

Roloff, I perceive, had several Dialogues with the King; and stayed in
Potsdam some days for that object. The above bit of jotting is from
the Seckendorf Papers (probably picked up by Seckendorf Junior), and is
dated only "May." Of the two Potsdam Preachers, one of whom is "Oesfeld,
Chaplain of the Giant Grenadiers," and the other is "Cochius, Calvinist
Hofprediger," each published on his own score some Notes of dialogue and
circumstance; [Cochius the HOFPREDIGER'S (Calvinist Court-Chaplain's)
ACCOUNT of his Interviews (first of them "Friday, 27th May, 1740, about
9 P.M."); followed by ditto from Oesfeld (Chaplain of the Giants), who
usually accompanied Cochius,--are in Seyfarth, _Geschichte Friedrich
des Grossen_ (Leipzig, 1783-1788), i. (Beylage) 24-40. Seyfarth was
"Regiments-Auditor" in Halle: his Work, solid though stupid, consists
nearly altogether of multifarious BEYLAGEN (Appendices) and NOTES; which
are creditably accurate, and often curious; and, as usual, have no Index
for an unfortunate reader.] which are to the same effect, so far as they
concern us; and exhibit the same rugged Son of Nature, looking with
all his eyesight into the near Eternity, and sinking in a human and not
inhuman manner amid the floods of Time. "Wa, Wa, what great God is this,
that pulls down the strength of the strongest Kings!"--

The poor King's state is very restless, fluctuates from day to day; he
is impatient of bed; sleeps very ill; is up whenever possible; rolls
about in his wheeled-chair, and even gets into the air: at one time
looking strong, as if there were still months in him, and anon sunk
in fainting weakness, as if he had few minutes to live. Friedrich at
Reinsberg corresponds very secretly with Dr. Eller; has other friends at
Potsdam whose secret news he very anxiously reads. To the last he cannot
bring himself to think it "serious." [Letter to Eller, 25th May, 1740
(_OEuvres_ ), xvi. 184.]

On Thursday, 26th of May, an express from Eller, or the Potsdam friends,
arrives at Reinsberg: He is to come quickly, if he would see his Father
again alive! The step may have danger, too; but Friedrich, a world of
feelings urging him, is on the road next morning before the sun. His
journey may be fancied; the like of it falls to all men. Arriving at
last, turning hastily a corner of the Potsdam Schloss, Friedrich sees
some gathering in the distance: it is his Father in his ROLLWAGEN
(wheeled-chair),--not dying; but out of doors, giving orders about
founding a House, or seeing it done. House for one Philips, a crabbed
Englishman he has; whose tongue is none of the best, not even to Majesty
itself, but whose merits as a Groom, of English and other Horses, are
without parallel in those parts. Without parallel, and deserve a
House before we die. Let us see it set agoing, this blessed Mayday!
Of Philips, who survived deep into Friedrich's time, and uttered rough
sayings (in mixed intelligible dialect) when put upon in his grooming,
or otherwise disturbed, I could obtain no farther account: the man did
not care to be put in History (a very small service to a man); cared
to have a house with trim fittings, and to do his grooming well, the
fortunate Philips.

At sight of his Son, Friedrich Wilhelm threw out his arms; the Son
kneeling sank upon his breast, and they embraced with tears. My Father,
my Father; My Son, my Son! It was a scene to make all by-standers and
even Philips weep.--Probably the emotion hurt the old King; he had to be
taken in again straightway, his show of strength suddenly gone, and
bed the only place for him. This same Friday he dictated to one of his
Ministers (Boden, who was in close attendance) the Instruction for his
Funeral; a rude characteristic Piece, which perhaps the English reader
knows. Too long and rude for reprinting here. [Copy of it, in Seyfarth
(ubi supra), i. 19-24. Translated in Mauvillon (ii. 432-437); in &c.
&c.]

He is to be buried in his uniform, the Potsdam Grenadiers his escort;
with military decorum, three volleys fired (and take care they be
well fired, "NICHT PLACKEREN"), so many cannon-salvos;--and no fuss or
flaunting ceremony: simplicity and decency is what the tenant of that
oak coffin wants, as he always did when owner of wider dominions. The
coffin, which he has ready and beside him in the Palace this good
while, is a stout piece of carpentry, with leather straps and other
improvements; he views it from time to time; solaces his truculent
imagination with the look of it: "I shall sleep right well there," he
would say. The image he has of his Burial, we perceive, is of perfect
visuality, equal to what a Defoe could do in imagining. All is seen,
settled to the last minuteness: the coffin is to be borne out by so and
so, at such and such a door; this detachment is to fall-in here, that
there, in the attitude of "cover arms" (musket inverted under left arm);
and the band is to play, with all its blackamoors, _O Haupt voll Blut
und Wunden_ (O Head, all bleeding wounded); a Dirge his Majesty had
liked, who knew music, and had a love for it, after his sort. Good Son
of Nature: a dumb Poet, as I say always; most dumb, but real; the value
of him great, and unknown in these babbling times. It was on this same
Friday night that Cochius was first sent for; Cochius, and Oesfeld with
him, "about nine o'clock."

For the next three days (Saturday to Monday) when his cough and
many sufferings would permit him, Friedrich Wilhelm had long private
dialogues with his Son; instructing him, as was evident, in the
mysteries of State; in what knowledge, as to persons and to things, he
reckoned might be usefulest to him. What the lessons were, we know not;
the way of taking them had given pleasure to the old man: he was heard
to say, perhaps more than once, when the Generals were called in, and
the dialogue interrupted for a while: "Am not I happy to have such a
Son to leave behind me!" And the grimly sympathetic Generals testified
assent; endeavored to talk a little, could at least smoke, and
look friendly; till the King gathered strength for continuing his
instructions to his Successor. All else was as if settled with him; this
had still remained to do. This once done (finished, Monday night), why
not abdicate altogether; and die disengaged, be it in a day or in a
month, since that is now the one work left? Friedrich Wilhelm does so
purpose.

His state, now as all along, was fluctuating, uncertain, restless. He
was heard murmuring prayers; he would say sometimes, "Pray for me; BETET
BETET." And more than once, in deep tone: "Lord, enter not into judgment
with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified!"
The wild Son of Nature, looking into Life and Death, into Judgment
and Eternity, finds that these things are very great. This too is a
characteristic trait: In a certain German Hymn (_Why fret or murmur,
then?_ the title of it), which they often sang to him, or along with
him, as he much loved it, are these words, "Naked I came into the world,
and naked shall I go,"--"No," said he "always with vivacity," at this
passage; "not quite nakid, I shall have my uniform on:" Let us be exact,
since we are at it! After which the singing proceeded again. "The late
Graf Alexander von Wartenberg"--Captain Wartenberg, whom we know, and
whose opportunities--"was wont to relate this." [Busching (in 1786),
_Beitrage,_ iv. 100.]

Tuesday, 31st May, "about one in the morning," Cochius was again sent
for. He found the King in very pious mood, but in great distress, and
afraid he might yet have much pain to suffer. Cochius prayed with him;
talked piously. "I can remember nothing," said the King; "I cannot pray,
I have forgotten all my prayers."--"Prayer is not in words, but in the
thought of the heart," said Cochius; and soothed the heavy-laden man
as he could. "Fare you well," said Friedrich Wilhelm, at length; "most
likely we shall not meet again in this world." Whereat Cochius burst
into tears, and withdrew. About four, the King was again out of bed;
wished to see his youngest Boy, who had been ill of measles, but was
doing well: "Poor little Ferdinand, adieu, then, my little child!" This
is the Father of that fine Louis Ferdinand, who was killed at Jena;
concerning whom Berlin, in certain emancipated circles of it, still
speaks with regret. He, the Louis Ferdinand, had fine qualities; but
went far a-roving, into radicalism, into romantic love, into
champagne; and was cut down on the threshold of Jena, desperately
fighting,--perhaps happily for him.

From little Ferdinand's room Friedrich Wilhelm has himself rolled into
Queen Sophie's. "Feekin, O my Feekin, thou must rise this day, and help
me what thou canst. This day I am going to die; thou wilt be with me
this day!" The good Wife rises: I know not that it was the first time
she had been so called; but it did prove the last. Friedrich Wilhelm
has decided, as the first thing he will do, to abdicate; and all the
Official persons and companions of the sick-room, Pollnitz among them,
not long after sunrise, are called to see it done. Pollnitz, huddling on
his clothes, arrived about five: in a corridor he sees the wheeled-chair
and poor sick King; steps aside to let him pass: "'It is over (DAS IST
VOLLBRACHT),' said the King, looking up to me as he passed: he had on
his nightcap, and a blue mantle thrown round him." He was wheeled into
his anteroom; there let the company assemble; many of them are already
there.

The royal stables are visible from this room: Friedrich Wilhelm orders
the horses to be ridden out: you old Furst of Anhalt-Dessau my oldest
friend, you Colonel Hacke faithfulest of Adjutant-Generals, take each
of you a horse, the best you can pick out: it is my last gift to you.
Dessau, in silence, with dumb-show of thanks, points to a horse, any
horse: "You have chosen the very worst," said Friedrich Wilhelm: "Take
that other, I will warrant him a good one!" The grim old Dessauer thanks
in silence; speechless grief is on that stern gunpowder face, and he
seems even to be struggling with tears. "Nay, nay, my friend," Friedrich
Wilhelm said, "this is a debt we have all to pay."

The Official people, Queen, Friedrich, Minister Boden, Minister
Podewils, and even Pollnitz, being now all present, Friedrich Wilhelm
makes his Declaration, at considerable length; old General Bredow
repeating it aloud, [Pollnitz, ii. 561.] sentence by sentence, the
King's own voice being too weak; so that all may hear: "That he
abdicates, gives up wholly, in favor of his good Son Friedrich; that
foreign Ambassadors are to be informed; that you are all to be true and
loyal to my Son as you were to me"--and what else is needful. To which
the judicious Podewils makes answer, "That there must first be a written
Deed of his high Transaction executed, which shall be straightway set
about; the Deed once executed, signed and sealed,--the high Royal will,
in all points, takes effect." Alas, before Podewils has done speaking,
the King is like falling into a faint; does faint, and is carried to
bed: too unlikely any Deed of Abdication will be needed.

Ups and downs there still were; sore fluctuating labor, as the poor King
struggles to his final rest, this morning. He was at the window again,
when the WACHT-PARADE (Grenadiers on Guard) turned out; he saw them make
their evolutions for the last time. [Pauli, viii. 280.] After which, new
relapse, new fluctuation. It was about eleven o'clock, when Cochius was
again sent for. The King lay speechless, seemingly still conscious, in
bed; Cochius prays with fervor, in a loud tone, that the dying King may
hear and join. "Not so loud!" says the King, rallying a little. He
had remembered that it was the season when his servants got their new
liveries; they had been ordered to appear this day in full new costume:
"O vanity! O vanity!" said Friedrich Wilhelm, at sight of the ornamented
plush. "Pray for me, pray for me; my trust is in the Saviour!" he often
said. His pains, his weakness are great; the cordage of a most tough
heart rending itself piece by piece. At one time, he called for a
mirror: that is certain:--rugged wild man, son of Nature to the last.
The mirror was brought; what he said at sight of his face is variously
reported: "Not so worn out as I thought," is Pollnitz's account, and the
likeliest;--though perhaps he said several things, "ugly face," "as
good as dead already;" and continued the inspection for some moments.
[Pollnitz, ii. 564; Wilhelmina, ii. 321.] A grim, strange thing.

"Feel mv pulse, Pitsch," said he, noticing the Surgeon of his Giants:
"tell me how long this will last."--"Alas, not long," answered
Pitsch.--"Say not, alas; but how do you (He) know?"--"The pulse is
gone!"--"Impossible," said he, lifting his arm: "how could I move my
fingers so, if the pulse were gone?" Pitsch looked mournfully steadfast.
"Herr Jesu, to thee I live; Herr Jesu, to thee I die; in life and in
death thou art my gain (DU BIST MEIN GEWINN)." These were the last words
Friedrich Wilhelm spoke in this world. He again fell into a faint. Eller
gave a signal to the Crown-Prince to take the Queen away. Scarcely
were they out of the room, when the faint had deepened into death; and
Friedrich Wilhelm, at rest from all his labors, slept with the primeval
sons of Thor.

No Baresark of them, nor Odin's self, I think, was a bit of truer human
stuff;--I confess his value to me, in these sad times, is rare
and great. Considering the usual Histrionic, Papin's-Digester,
Truculent-Charlatan and other species of "Kings," alone attainable for
the sunk flunky populations of an Era given up to Mammon and the worship
of its own belly, what would not such a population give for a Friedrich
Wilhelm, to guide it on the road BACK from Orcus a little? "Would give,"
I have written; but alas, it ought to have been "SHOULD give." What THEY
"would" give is too mournfully plain to me, in spite of ballot-boxes:
a steady and tremendous truth from the days of Barabbas downwards and
upwards!--Tuesday, 31st May, 1740, between one and two o'clock in the
afternoon, Friedrich Wilhelm died; age fifty-two, coming 15th August
next. Same day, Friedrich his Son was proclaimed at Berlin; quilted
heralds, with sound of trumpet and the like, doing what is customary on
such occasions.

On Saturday, 4th June, the King's body is laid out in state; all Potsdam
at liberty to come and see. He lies there, in his regimentals, in
his oaken coffin, on a raised place in the middle of the room; decent
mortuary draperies, lamps, garlands, banderols furnishing the room and
him: at his feet, on a black-velvet TABOURET (stool), are the chivalry
emblems, helmet, gauntlets, spurs; and on similar stools, at the right
hand and the left, lie his military insignia, hat and sash, sword,
guidon, and what else is fit. Around, in silence, sit nine veteran
military dignitaries; Buddenbrock, Waldau, Derschau, Einsiedel, and five
others whom we omit to name. Silent they sit. A grim earnest sight in
the shine of the lamplight, as you pass out of the June sun. Many went,
all day; looked once again on the face that was to vanish. Precisely at
ten at night, the coffin-lid is screwed down: twelve Potsdam Captains
take the coffin on their shoulders; four-and-twenty Corporals with
wax torches, four-and-twenty Sergeants with inverted halberts lowered;
certain Generals on order, and very many following as volunteers; these
perform the actual burial,--carry the body to the Garrison Church, where
are clergy waiting, which is but a small step off; see it lodged, oak
coffin and all, in a marble coffin in the side vault there, which is
known to Tourists. [Pauli, viii. 281.] It is the end of the week, and
the actual burial is done,--hastened forward for reasons we can guess.

Filial piety by no means intends to defraud a loved Father of the
Spartan ceremonial contemplated as obsequies by him: very far from it.
Filial piety will conform to that with rigor; only adding what musical
and other splendors are possible, to testify his love still more. And
so, almost three weeks hence, on the 23d of the month, with the aid of
Dresden Artists, of Latin Cantatas and other pomps (not inexcusable,
though somewhat out of keeping), the due Funeral is done, no Corpse
but a Wax Effigy present in it;--and in all points, that of the
Potsdam Grenadiers not forgotten, there was rigorous conformity to the
Instruction left. In all points, even to the extensive funeral dinner,
and drinking of the appointed cask of wine, "the best cask in my
cellar." Adieu, O King.

The Potsdam Grenadiers fired their three volleys (not "PLACKERING," as
I have reason to believe, but well); got their allowance, dinner-liquor,
and appointed coin of money: it was the last service required of them in
this world. That same night they were dissolved, the whole Four Thousand
of them, at a stroke; and ceased to exist as Potsdam Grenadiers.
Colonels, Captains, all the Officers known to be of merit, were
advanced, at least transferred. Of the common men, a minority, of not
inhuman height and of worth otherwise, were formed into a new Regiment
on the common terms: the stupid splay-footed eight-feet mass were
allowed to stalk off whither they pleased, or vegetate on frugal
pensions; Irish Kirkman, and a few others neither knock-kneed nor
without head, were appointed HEYDUCS, that is, porters to the King's or
other Palaces; and did that duty in what was considered an ornamental
manner.

Here are still two things capable of being fished up from the sea of
nugatory matter; and meditated on by readers, till the following Books
open.

The last breath of Friedrich Wilhelm having fled, Friedrich hurried to a
private room; sat there all in tears; looking back through the gulfs of
the Past, upon such a Father now rapt away forever. Sad all, and soft in
the moonlight of memory,--the lost Loved One all in the right as we
now see, we all in the wrong!--this, it appears, was the Son's fixed
opinion. Seven years hence, here is how Friedrich concludes the HISTORY
of his Father, written with a loyal admiration throughout: "We have left
under silence the domestic chagrins of this great Prince: readers must
have some indulgence for the faults of the Children, in consideration
of the virtues of such a Father." [_OEuvres,_ i. 174 (_Memoires de
Brandebourg:_ finished about 1747).] All in tears he sits at present,
meditating these sad things.

In a little while the Old Dessauer, about to leave for Dessau, ventures
in to the Crown-Prince, Crown-Prince no longer; "embraces his knees;"
offers, weeping, his condolence, his congratulation;--hopes withal that
his sons and he will be continued in their old posts, and that he,
the Old Dessauer, "will have the same authority as in the late reign."
Friedrich's eyes, at this last clause, flash out tearless, strangely
Olympian. "In your posts I have no thought of making change: in your
posts, yes;--and as to authority, I know of none there can be but what
resides in the King that is sovereign!" Which, as it were, struck
the breath out of the Old Dessauer; and sent him home with a painful
miscellany of feelings, astonishment not wanting among them.

At an after hour, the same night, Friedrich went to Berlin; met by
acclamation enough. He slept there, not without tumult of dreams, one
may fancy; and on awakening next morning, the first sound he heard was
that of the Regiment Glasenap under his windows, swearing fealty to
the new King. He sprang out of bed in a tempest of emotion; bustled
distractedly to and fro, wildly weeping. Pollnitz, who came into the
anteroom, found him in this state, "half-dressed, with dishevelled hair,
in tears, and as if beside himself." "These huzzaings only tell me what
I have lost!" said the new King.--"HE was in great suffering," suggested
Pollnitz; "he is now at rest." "True, he suffered; but he was here with
us: and now--!" [Ranke (ii. 46, 47)], from certain Fragments, still, in
manuscript, of Pollnits's _Memoiren._





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